Archive for Health & Well-Being


Anxiety Disorders Are Real

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We’ve all felt anxious at one point or another; it’s a perfectly normal response to stress.  Feeling fear and anxiety actually helps us to accurately respond to unsafe situations when there is a real danger or threat.  However, people with anxiety disorders feel stress even if there is nothing in reality to set it off.  This can cause problems with their mental health, personal relationships, jobs, finances and physical health.

Not all anxiety disorders are the same; there are actually several different classes.  Plus, just because someone has one disorder doesn’t mean they can’t have another, or at least have some overlapping symptoms.   Here’s a basic overview of the broad types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized anxiety disorder – While it is normal for people to worry occasionally about things when there are lots of stressors, people with generalized anxiety disorder tend to never stop worrying.  They may be worried about finances even if they have adequate resources, or constantly expecting bad things to happen even when they don’t.  This constant stress can also lead to physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, trembling, twitching, hot flashes, sweating, and difficulty swallowing.

Panic disorder – Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, people with panic disorder don’t have anxiety all the time.  Anxiety attacks hit suddenly and without warning or cause.  An anxiety or panic attack is characterized by a tight, pounding chest, terror, difficulty breathing, dizziness, shaking, nausea, numbness in extremities, chills or hot flashes, and a fear of losing control.

Social anxiety disorder – This is also known as social phobia and is an extreme fear of social interaction.  People with this disorder are constantly worried about people judging them or about being embarrassed in front of others.  For some people, the disorder is so severe they don’t participate in normal social activities and some are even mute in certain situations.

Post traumatic stress disorder – This diagnosis has become much more prevalent in the past few years.  Often, people become ridden with anxiety after a traumatic event and constantly worry about similar situations happening again.  For more severe cases, the person can be left unable to live their normal life again.  While stressful events trigger the symptoms, not everyone in a similar situation will develop PTSD.

Obsessive compulsive disorder – This is an anxiety disorder that includes persistent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions).  Someone may obsess over germs and then compulsively clean and sanitize.  Compulsive behavior often includes rituals that must be done before a person can go on with their daily lives and activities.

The problem with some anxiety disorders is that many people don’t even realize they have them.  If they’ve had the problem their whole life, it’s something they simply see as a normal part of life.  Others may likely see them as overprotective or simply a worry wart and just write it off.  While it may just seem like an inconvenience, it can build into a real problem and have consequences.

The good news is that these disorders are treatable.  Medications are helpful for people with severe anxiety disorders.  Often, for women in particular, the correction of hormonal imbalances will alleviate symptoms of anxiety.  In the case of milder anxiety disorders, there are many complementary therapies and self-help treatments that can bring relief and help a person live a normal, healthy life.  According to a study in the October 2004 issue of MJA, evidence supports the effectiveness of exercise, kava, relaxation training, audio programs, acupuncture, music and meditation as treatments for these disorders.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

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When Your Heart’s Not in It

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It’s usually hard to do something when your heart is not in it. Of course, it depends on what the task or situation is and how important it is to you and the duration of time involved. Every day, people manage to be with someone or do things or participate in something that they don’t particularly care for, whether it’s inconsequential or something important. We do the best we can to meet our obligations.

When it comes to responsibilities to self or to each other or to a job or business or anything connected to our safety and security, and our heart is just not in it, well the stakes get higher. It can be more complicated. Other people will likely be involved and our well-being may be affected. We’re talking about circumstances like:

  • Putting up with an unhappy relationship because you feel responsible
  • Working at an unsatisfying job because it pays the bills
  • Cooking dinner every night because you’re the mother
  • Exercising at the gym because it’s paid for, but you dread it
  • Completing any obligation that feels like a huge burden

It may feel like a noble thing to do or a sacrifice you’re willing to make when you consistently fulfill obligations that you cannot stand. In the end, if you do feel good about it and proud and happy, then keep it up because your heart is engaged in some way even if it’s not obvious to you.

Whatever approach you take, be honest about it. Life gives us clues and looking at what’s going on with an intention to know the truth will bring you closer to what your heart wants. We all usually know when a relationship is one-sided or brings out the worse in us rather than the best. If it’s a job, maybe you’re good at it, but there’s no challenge left or your creativity feels stifled. Or, it could be that whatever it is, you find it too hard to do or painful. Honesty really is the best policy here because we can’t really make any effective changes if we’re denying the reality and the truth.

Sometimes it’s necessary to accept what the situation is, because of other factors. The problem is that when your heart is not in it, anger and resentment and feeling unappreciated can build up. When this happens, it can be helpful to get a fresh perspective.

  • Focus on how you’re serving others and yourself
  • Notice your purpose and the greater purpose
  • Appreciate yourself for the difference you make
  • Continue to envision a better scenario
  • Make a plan to move beyond the status quo

If this doesn’t do it for you, then greater attention is warranted. After all, when your heart’s not in it, then you’re suffering in some way and that can’t be a good thing unless you really like being a martyr. Keeping yourself locked in a relationship or in a career or situation that is causing you to suffer shows a lack of self-love. And, we are talking about the heart here so if there’s a lack of self-love, self-care or self-appreciation, then loving change of some nature is called for. Take some time to ponder and evaluate and acknowledge the reality of the situation or relationship. Love yourself enough to reach out and get some help, embracing the change that makes your heart sing.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

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Most of us are risk aversive. In other words, we prefer to play it safe. Stick to what is usual and customary. Don’t rock the boat. Be comfortable.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong or trite about wanting to be comfortable. We say things like, “I just want to make a comfortable living. I want a comfortable home. I want to be in a comfortable job. I want to feel comfortable with my spouse. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes.” When we’re comfortable, we feel safe and secure and stable, which are all desirable states to be in.

Sometimes in everlasting states of comfort however we can easily slide into stagnation or complacency and end up feeling blah or lack passion for our relationships or for our work or for life in general. If this happens, that’s a sign to rock your boat and get uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable can stimulate personal growth in ways that are unpredictable.

How do you get out of your comfort zone? This can be done in a lot of different ways that are as unique as you are. You might take the longest route to and from work. Maybe you join a group to learn a foreign language or you volunteer to be in charge of a fundraiser. You could experiment with being kind to someone that you’ve disliked and avoided. Perhaps get up at 5:00 a.m. and devote an hour of quiet time to do automatic writing.

Here are a few general guidelines for when you decide to get out of your comfort zone:

  • Put yourself in a situation that is out of the ordinary
  • Be around people that are different from the norm
  • Take unprecedented action towards another person
  • Vary one aspect of your routine in an extraordinary way
  • Do the unusual or the unexpected

Whether you take baby steps or a giant step, notice what happens when you go beyond your usual comfort level. It’s common to feel nervous, unsure of yourself, fearful, confused or timid or any other distressing or uncomfortable feelings and sensations. That’s the whole point. In You2 by Price Pritchett, he writes in his chapter Get uncomfortable, “Uneasiness is a predictable psychological reaction when a quantum leap is underway.”

The goal is to get uncomfortable and then observe how you react and how you feel and do whatever it is anyway even if you’re scared. Much can be gained from getting out of your comfort zone, you may find that you:

  • Become acutely aware of your strengths and your challenges
  • Awaken inner gifts and resources that you didn’t know you had
  • Transform anxiety into excitement without really trying
  • Gain courage and set your sights higher
  • Make an unexpected quantum leap

The status quo, routine and knowing what to expect each day is highly comforting when you’re subjected to chaos and distress that’s out of your control. On the other hand, if you’ve set things up in your life so that you can skate by and ignore your potential or hide out in some way and not share your gifts with the world, then that’s another situation. You might want to go out on a limb in some way and check your self-imposed limits. Exceptional rewards await you.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, but you must include the following resource information in its entirety: Deborah and Michael Lindholm are co-owners of Serenity Matters, LLC. They are dedicated to empowering clients and students with the Serenity Vibration Healing® tools.

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How to Get Happy Right Now

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Much of the time, this is easier said, than done. “Be Happy!” Right!!!

When you’re feeling blue, it may seem like nothing can lift your spirits and make a difference, except for maybe some alcohol or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. These types of quick fixes are usually ineffective and can end up causing you to feel worse. We’re talking here about feeling out of sorts and unhappy as opposed to being clinically depressed, which requires professional assistance.

Many times a person believes whatever is making them unhappy in their life must be fixed before they can be happy. There is the tendency to think or say they are unhappy with their job, their marriage, their health, their finances or any number of things. In this case your thoughts may be along the lines of the following:

“If I lost 20 pounds, then I would be happy.”
“If I had a better job with benefits, then I would be happy.”
“If I could only meet someone who gets me, then I would be happy.”
“If my husband paid attention to me more, then I would be happy.”
“If we had enough money to renovate the kitchen, then I would be happy.”

Take a few moments to ponder this sentence and fill in the blanks. If I ______________, then I would be happy. However you fill in this sentence is an indication that you are spending mental energy on what you don’t have. Along with the obvious emotional distress of lamenting over what is missing in your life, creation energy is being fueled towards what is absent or lacking because that’s what your thoughts are primarily focused upon. The result? You continue to get what you already have and remain unhappy. It’s the law of attraction at work.

It’s a slippery slope to focus on the person or situation that we perceive is causing our unhappiness and hold off feeling happy until there is a resolution, which suddenly makes us happy. Along with being disempowering, an external focus usually leads to the blame game rather than taking responsibility for our own choices and actions.

Whenever we depend on other people or situations to make us happy, the chances are high that we’ll be disappointed and end up unhappy. Although we can feel happy in the presence of certain people and feel happy doing a particular type of work or feel happy where we live, happiness is a state within that doesn’t have to be tied to a situation or other people. It is a natural state of mind if we allow it to be present and consciously and continuously cultivate it.

The key to getting happy fast is to focus on something in the moment that will help you feel better. Then do another thing and another…putting your focus on what makes you feel good. Do the things that you usually take pleasure in – listen to your favorite music, watch an uplifting movie, read a good book, get your nails done, soak in the tub, smell your favorite scent, meditate, do yoga, play with your dog, read a story to your child, call your grandmother, hug your husband, order take-out or walk in the woods. Take good care of yourself – get plenty of rest, eat healthy food, move your body, relax and get some fresh air.

If you want an effective quick fix to feel happy right now, do one or all of these things. Each one only takes a few minutes.

Whatever you attribute to causing your unhappiness probably includes people and situations which are out of your control and may take awhile to resolve, but that’s no reason to deprive yourself of happiness one moment at a time. Whatever you do in a moment to uplift yourself will pay dividends in the long run as you do one thing after another consecutively to make yourself feel better. The power is always in the moment and what you choose to do with it.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, but you must include the following resource information in its entirety: Deborah and Michael Lindholm are co-owners of Serenity Matters, LLC. They are dedicated to empowering clients and students with the Serenity Vibration Healing® tools. If  you’re ready to awaken your inner power and surge forward in your life, get your FREE tips at

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3 Practices To Modify Your Thoughts

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3 Practices To Modify Your Thoughts
And Change Your Life

Ever find yourself in a funk?  You know the feeling that nothing is going right?  It happens to everyone.  The trouble is that for most people, those funks can last weeks, months, and even years. 

Why does this happen? 

Negative self talk, negative beliefs, negative thoughts – these negatives all send negative energy out and bring negative energy right back in like a magnet.  It’s the law of attraction.  We attract what we send out.  It’s not a new concept; in fact there are many age old sayings that model this law:

  • You reap what you sow
  • The rich get richer
  • Give and you shall receive

And so on, I’m sure you can think of a few yourself.

The point is that what you put out, you get back.  So if you’re in a funk and feeling or saying things like – I’m never going to lose this weight or I hate my job or Why am I always so darned tired?  You’re going to get exactly what you sent out – weight gain, an unhappy and unfulfilling work environment and fatigue.  Not so good, right?

The good news is that there are real steps you can take to modify your thoughts and change your life.  Simple steps you can take and practice to find the serenity to replace the negative thoughts and attract what you desire most in life.

Gratitude.  There are many things we do on a daily basis.  We brush our teeth, we watch TV.  Maybe we walk the dog, get the mail, go to work, read the paper and so on.  Adding gratitude into your daily practice is really just a matter of setting five minutes aside to be grateful.  This very small practice can change your life. 

Writing down what you’re grateful for will help you get started on those days when you perhaps struggle to find something to be grateful for.  You can read your list and remember just how very fortunate you are.  Once gratitude becomes part of your life you’ll find that you can quickly improve your mood or handle any situation by thinking about what you do have instead of what you don’t have.

Responsibility.  Take responsibility for your life and your present situation.  Now that doesn’t mean that you consciously, deliberately and directly caused all the tragedies and strife in your life.  However, you are responsible for how you react, respond, and deal with your present situation regardless of the cause.  This very basic switch in mindset takes you from being a victim to being empowered. 

The real key here is to respond rather than to react.  When something happens to you whether it’s as minor as a person cutting you off in traffic or something as serious as a loved one passing away, reacting takes the control away from you.  Responding however, takes responsibility and puts you in control of what happens next.

Responding embraces the experience and allows you to be in the moment; in your body and at one with the experience. Try it the next time something happens good or bad – respond.  Take responsibility for how you handle things and you’ll be surprised how you’re able to change your perspective and your life. It’s really about response-ability.

Surrender.  There are times when things happen which we cannot control.  People die, the stock market crashes, our car breaks down, our children or loved ones make mistakes.  Trying to control all of this is enough to drive anyone into feelings of despair and powerlessness.  At a certain point, it may be wise to surrender to your faith or belief that things happen for a reason. Trusting that the universe, God, the divine or whomever and whatever you believe in has a bigger picture. We may have difficulty understanding the big picture, but we surrender and know that all will be well.  It’s easily done by saying, “Here God, you manage this for me.”

Who or what you believe in doesn’t really matter, however giving up the need to control and understand everything is important.  Be grateful, create and state your intentions and be the very best person you can be and then surrender.  Let it go and have faith that everything will work out as it should. 

Any one of these practices can help shift negative thoughts about something and change the attraction of negativity in your life. The choice is always yours and your thoughts matter. They have energetic effect whether they are positive or negative. The law of attraction is neutral in this respect – you can attract mayhem or serenity with your thoughts.

© Deborah A. Lindholm

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, but you must include the following resource information in its entirety: Deborah and Michael Lindholm are co-owners of Serenity Matters, LLC. They are dedicated to empowering clients and students with the Serenity Vibration Healing® tools. If  you’re ready to awaken your inner power and surge forward in your life, get your FREE tips at

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As always, please consult with qualified health professionals before putting session or workshop ideas into practice. The ideas and techniques are not meant to diagnose or replace the need for medical attention or professional mental health care.

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