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Your Anxiety Toolkit

Your Anxiety Toolkit aims to provide you with helpful tools to manage anxiety, stress and other emotions that get in the way.
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Aug 9, 2018

“Trust your capacity to change” - Tara Brach Interview

Tara Brach Interview CBT Mindfulness Meditation Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFBs Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley Quinlan
I am thrilled and honored to share with you an interview I did with my absolute idol, Tara Brach.  If you don’t know who Tara Brach is, let me introduce to you an amazing and inspirational human.
Tara Brach is a leading Western teacher of Buddhist Meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening.  Tara is a Clinical Psychologist, meditation teacher and Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, two of my favorite books.   In addition, Tara Brach, along side Jack Kornfield, co-founded the Awareness Training Institute (ATI) and the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP).
For me, Tara’s podcast (tarabrach.com) was (and is) one of the most important parts of my own personal development and growth.  For hours I would (and still do) walk the neighborhood while listening to her podcast.  Tara helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and allowed me to access her tools and wisdom through a freely offered podcast and streaming service that inspired me to create CBTschool.com.  Tara taught me to be a fearless mental health advocate, so you may see that much of CBT School follows her goal of offering skillful and generous work.
While I was in Washington, DC for the International OCD Foundation conference, I was lucky enough to meet with Tara in person before her Wednesdays with Tara Meditation Talk and ask her some questions about anxiety and mindfulness.  I am still freaking out with excitement that I had the opportunity to meet her in person and then get to interview her for the Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.
My goal for this podcast episode was to zero in to the questions I often get asked and see what Tara’s response would be.  True to form, Tara gives us some BEAUTIFUL responses that are easy to understand and apply.
In this interview, we talk specifically about how uncertainty can be one of the hardest and most challenging parts of anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks and depression.  Tara gives some amazing mindfulness tools to help us approach uncertainty.
We also talked about her book, Radical Acceptance and what some of the road blocks are to radically accepting our discomforts or fears.  If you haven’t read her books, I strongly encourage you to.  Tara has a way of bringing compassion into the room, even if she isn’t physically there.
Tara gives us tips on how to implement Mindfulness practices into our everyday life and normalizes the struggles we all have with this.
One of the questions I was most interested in asking Tara was her advice for those who are deeply suffering with mental health right now.  She so beautifully responded with compassion and deep knowledge of mindfulness practice.  This answer brought me to tears and I am so grateful for having this experience with her.
And, last of all, I just had to ask Tara about why she uses humor in her meditation talks and Tara kindly shared with us one of her favorite jokes.  Tara used humor a lot to help us understand our own reactivity or idiosyncrasies and I just loved having a little chuckle with her.
So, as you can see, I am just a teeny bit in love with Tara (wink, wink).  I really hope you get as much as I did out of this episode.   Thank you so much Tara for your kindness and generosity.
Ok folks!  DO NOT FORGET to stay til the end of the episode because Tara so kindly gives an AMAZING GIFT at the end of the interview for our wonderful CBT School community.
Aug 2, 2018

My IOCDF Conference Key Takeaways

International OCD Foundation IOCDF Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Your Anxiety Toolkit ERP CBT ACT BFRBs Eating Disorder Kimberley Quinlan One of the biggest honors I have as a therapist who treats anxiety disorders is to present at the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) annual conference.  I just adore these conferences, mostly because they provide a mix of both treatment presentations and support groups for those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and for therapist who provide evidence based treatment for those who have OCD.   Another amazing thing about these conferences is that they also provide support groups and presentations on Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) such as Trichotillomania (Hail Pulling) and Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and also co-occuring Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse.
In this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, I wanted to share with you some of my reflections from running several support groups and attending some amazing presentations by some of the top treatment providers in the world.   The IOCDF.org put on such an amazing event and I have to admit, this one was by far my favorite.
At this years conference, I was honored to co-facilitate a new support group called the Compassion Collective with a dear friend and colleague, Michelle Massi.  Michelle and I gathered every morning at 7AM (yes, it was VERY early) to meet with attendees who wanted support with self-compassion.  Each morning we provided a new compassion tool to help those who are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  This was such an beautiful experience, as we got to really see inside the minds of the attendees and hear what is getting the way of them practicing self-compassion.  Interestingly, perfectionism and fear of failure were two of the key components or self-compassion sabotage (which I speak a lot about in this weeks podcast episode).
I was also honored to be a part of a presentation called “Let’s Talk about Sex Baby!”  This presentation was a question and answer formatted presentation where attendees asked very intimate questions about how OCD and anxiety can impact sex.  One of the most interesting themes of these presentation was just how uncomfortable people were about discussing sex with their therapist.  We had a very OPEN and HONEST dialog with attendees about sex and normalized it.
Finally, I was lucky enough to get to run the Co-existing OCD and Eating Disorder group this year with Beth Brawly.  Beth and I have ran this group several times and I love it SOOOO much.   There is a fine line where OCD and Eating Disorders combine and we met to help attendees break down faulty views of body, health, body size, food and body image.    It was so wonderful to see some very brave families join together to support their family members who are struggling.
Fore more information on the IOCDF, click here.
Lastly, this is a friendly reminder that ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned.  Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.
Jul 27, 2018
“You are right where you need to be” with Cami Julaine
Cami Julaine interview CBT ERP OCD Anxiety Eating Disorders Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley Quinlan

Well folks! Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit.  Today, we have another amazing guest interview as a part of our “We can do hard things” series.    I am so excited to share with you an amazing interview with Cami Julaine, an avid mental health advocate, blogger, singer, actor and all-around wonderful person.    In this week's episode, Cami shares her journey through Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an Eating Disorder, Trichotillomania, Panic Attacks and Trauma.

One of the things I love the most about Cami is that she is so authentic and open.  I know we all struggle with finding the motivation to keep moving forward sometimes, as managing Anxiety Disorders such as Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Phobias, Health Anxiety can be very difficult.  Cami shares with us a inspiring story of how she went from rock bottom to taking bold steps towards her recovery.  Cami shares her story of being supported by family members and close friends (ahem, Paula Abdul) who urged her to get help.

This is an incredibly interesting and informative interview, as Cami shares how she had to blend many types of tools (and therapy) to get her to where she is today.   Cami shares some wonderful mindfulness tools to help manage Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks.  You will really love these tools, as they are very similar to ones we have discussed in previous episodes of Your Anxiety Toolkit, with a little Cami Juliane-twist. :)   Cami also talks about her experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

Finally, Cami shares with us how she has integrated spirituality with her recovery and how she practices self-care and self-compassion as a part of that practice.  This is a topic that I have’t touched upon much at all and I am sure you will find it inspirational and validating.

You can find Cami Julaine on Instagram @camijulaine and more information on her website here.

One thing before we say goodbye.  GET READY...because ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned.  Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.   PS: The first 20 people to sign up get a free, exclusive “We Can Do Hard Things Meditation” that you can download and use as often as you like.  YES!

Jul 19, 2018

You Can Be Anxious AND Have Courage!

Anxiety and Courage CBT OCD Mindfulness Bravery Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan Online SchoolCourage.  Where do we find it? How do we get it? And, once we get it, how do we keep it? In this era, being courageous or brave comes with great expectations.   Men are expected to show their “brave face” ALL the time, or they run the risk of being called a “sissy.”   That is a lot of pressure!  Women (and many times men too) are expected to multi-task multiple difficult things at once, but also must look pretty and be smiling while doing it. But, to top it all off, we humans (men, women and children) with anxiety are often expected to meet all of the above criteria AND keep our anxiety to ourselves.  Where did we get this from?! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard stories about family members or partners or parents who have told someone struggling with anxiety or depression (or another mental health struggle) to “be braver” or “toughen up” or “you gotta be stronger through this.”  While I do understand what they are trying to convey, today’s podcast episode is all about approaching courage and bravery with a new (more reasonable) perspective. You see, I like to think of bravery and courage as something you can experience WITH anxiety.  I actually think they go beautifully together.  We can feel dreadful fear AND be courageous.  We can feel overwhelming sadness AND be strong.   What we have been told about bravery and courage is all off.  It limits us and makes us feel like we must not try things until we have no fear and we can “hold it together.” I like to believe that the person who decided to go to the party, despite their tremendous social anxiety, is the brave one.   I believe that the person who does that really hard thing (even if it happens to be easy for other people) is the courageous one.   I believe the one who has a tear running down their face as they face their fear is a brave rock star! I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and begin to challenge your view of what bravery and courage looks like.  As always, thank you for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT School's online courses. Enjoy!
Jul 13, 2018

Value-Based Living

  Hello there CBT School Family Value-Based Living ACT CBT OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. As you may know, each week I do my best to bring you a new tool or idea for you to put in your toolkit, in hope that it will give you some skills to manage anxiety, panic and other difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations. I always envision that I am slowly handing you one tool after another and that you are carefully packing those tools into your toolkit or tool belt, so that you feel ready to face your day, with or without anxiety. This week, I want to discuss with you your metaphorical toolkit; the box or belt in which you hold dear to your heart and use daily to help you live your best life.   The most important thing to understand in today’s podcast is that carrying a tool belt/toolbox/toolkit is a choice.  Every week, you freely join me for a weekly discussion about recovery and living a great life, while having anxiety.   You don’t have to carry your toolkit and all the tools around.  Many choose not to carry a tool belt or any tools.  But you, you do.  It’s pretty cool if you ask me. You see, the tools your put in your toolkit are your mindfulness skills.   Your toolkit, the place you hold these tools, is your values.  If you are on a mission to be a better human, you obviously value your wellbeing.  It is a value that you stand by.  You value your recovery.  You value your quality of life.  Using these tools of yours contributes to value-based living. Values are very important to our recovery.  The only problem is, that sometimes fear can come in and stomp all over our values.  Sometimes fear can lead us away from our values and away from our toolkit.  Sometimes fear can lead us towards other problematic behaviors, such as compulsions including checking, counting, avoidance, reassurance seeking and mental rumination.  Fear can also lead us towards anger and saying mean things to ourselves. Today, we talk about identifying our values and ways to use the tools you have to help you lead with values.  We use concepts from Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, also knows as ACT.  ACT is a very helpful treatment modality that beautifully compliments Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP). I hope you find it helpful! Forward we go, Kimberley
Jul 5, 2018

Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave

Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave Mindfulness CBT OCD Anxiety Depression Perfectionism Phobias Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanIn this week's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, I had the pleasure of talking to Sharon Selby, Marriage and Family Therapist and Author.  Sharon has written an amazing children’s book called Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave and this book is simply amazing.

Before you turn away thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me.  This is about kids stuff!”, wait up!  Since reading Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave, I have been using these techniques with some of my adult clients and they LOVE them too.   This episode brings some helpful tools and tricks to manage anxiety and perfectionism (at any age). Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave is a science-based book using the same mindfulness tools and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools I use with some of my clients and members of the CBT School Campus with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety and Phobias.

During the episode, Sharon discusses her inspiration behind the book, her work with young children who have anxiety and what tools she has found to be super helpful.  As I mentioned about, I have found that these tools are helpful for us BIG kids too (adults).   Sharon also tells us about some of the games involved in the books and some helpful tools to manage fear, perfectionism, separation anxiety, and panic.

You guys know how much I LOVE a good story or metaphor, and there are plenty in this book.  Here is one I want you to think about.  In the book, Sharon talks about how our brains need to make mistakes to grow.  If we make a mistake, it is like water on a plant.  Mistakes help our brains grow into smarter and kinder people.  I just adore this part of the book and it is something I have implemented with my young (and old) clients (and me too!).   When I make as mistake, I now close my eyes and imagine my brain neurons growing and thriving. This is just one of the wonderful tools that Sharon talks about.

I cannot wait for you to listen to this week's podcast, and read this book.  Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave is a bookshelf must have, if you have kids with anxiety. But don’t forget,  THIS big kid loves it too!!!

 

See the link below to get your hands on Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave:

https://www.sharonselby.com/product/surfing-worry-imps-wave-reducing-childrens-anxiety Sharon Selby's free e-book 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Your Child Is Anxious is available at: sharonselby.com/free-ebook You can also hear more about Sharon on her Website HERE
Jun 28, 2018

 Thought Suppression Doesn't Work!!

 
Thought Suppression Intrusive Thoughts CBT OCD Anxiety Depression Mindfulness Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan
You may have heard it multiple times, but consider this a little reminder. THOUGHT SUPPRESSION NEVER WORKS!  This short but hefty statement is considered one of the golden rules when it comes to the management of anxiety disorders, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Healthy Anxiety and Phobias.
However, the truth is, we all attempt to make our “bad” or anxiety-provoking thoughts away.  We try to push them down so they won't hurt us anymore.   We try to make them go away, so we don’t have to feel the related shame, guilt, irritation, and annoyance of these thoughts.    Does this sound anything like you?  Let me tell you, you are in the right place.
You see, this is a very common reaction to intrusive, anxiety-producing thoughts.  For those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Health Anxiety (hypochondria), Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder or Specific Phobias, thought suppression can be involuntary and we often do not even know we are doing it.   Intuitively, our brains will fight or run away from almost anything that creates discomfort for us.  We are biologically set up for fight, flight or freeze.
In today’s episode, we talk about why thought suppression never works.  We talk about how thought suppression can actually increase our anxiety over time and how thought suppression teaches us to intuitively judge our thoughts as bad.
If this sounds counter-intuitive to you, you are not alone.  My clients and the members of the CBT School Campus are commonly asking some pretty great questions about this, so I wondered if this was a topic that might benefit you.
In this week's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast, we talk about how Mindfulness can help us to accept and allow thoughts, non-judgmentally.  We address how it can change the dynamic between you and your thoughts to a more peaceful and coexisting relationship.
Remember, allowing thoughts is the key.  Allow them to come and go.  Accept them and see what happens.  Listen to hear more!
Jun 22, 2018

Anxiety-Related Exhaustion is NO JOKE!

Anxiety-Related Exhaustion CBT OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit Mental Health BFRB's Depression One of the most common struggles I hear from my clients and the members of the CBT School Campus is how EXHAUSTING anxiety and depression can be.   If you are barraged daily by exhaustion resulting from Anxiety (or any other mental health issue), you are NOT ALONE!  Experiencing Anxiety is a full-time job.  No one can argue with that.    Anxiety can drain us of our physical energy, our emotional energy and can cause us to have nothing left to give at the end of the day. It can make us too tired to be social and make us want to sleep the day away.   Anxiety-Related Exhaustion can make us feel alone and like there is no hope for us. If this is you, this is the episode for you. Because you know what?!  There IS hope for US! In this podcast, we talk about some mindfulness tools to manage anxiety-related exhaustion.  We talk about learning to observe your thoughts and correct them to thoughts that are more helpful and less draining. We also address a few very important mindset shifts you may need to make.  You see, when we are overwhelmed with tiredness and anxiety-related exhaustion, we often will begin to feel hopeless and start to believe that there is no end in sight.  Everyone tells us, "Just keep going", but we can sometimes feel like we barely have the energy or faith that we need to "just keep going".   In this episode, we talk about specific mindset tools that I use with my clients who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Anxiety, Depression and Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB's). And last of all, I use one of my favorite metaphors for managing Anxiety-Related Exhaustion.  You guys know me! I love to use silly metaphors.  That being said, I really believe in it and it works.  I promise you that it will make you take better care of yourself if you put it in place and prioritize it. Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think and if this is helpful. Also, if you listen on iTunes, please do leave a review.  Good reviews help me reach more people and help me get the really important (and inspirational) people on the show. Forward we go, Kimberley
Jun 14, 2018

How Advocacy "Keeps Me Well": Interview with Ethan Smith OCD Advocate

Ethan Smith OCD Advocate IOCDF Advocate Spokesperson You Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Do you ever wish you had someone to inspire you and give you hope about your recovery?  Maybe you wish there was a story about OCD or anxiety or mental health that looks similar to yours and you wish you knew how the story turns out? Well, today I give you Ethan Smith OCD Advocate. Ethan Smith (OCD Advocate) was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Annual International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (IOCDF.org) Conference, the International OCD Foundation National Ambassador, a writer, director, producer and OCD Advocate. Amongst these incredible talents and accolades, Ethan is hilarious and kind and VERY informed about the ins and outs of OCD and the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  During this interview, Ethan talks about his struggles to find correct therapy, his experience with finding evidence-based treatment such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Ethan also opens up about his draw towards advocacy work, stating that advocacy "keeps him well" and how being honest and open is considered advocacy work.  I think we often feel that we have to write a book or start a campaign or a fundraiser to be mental health advocates, but Ethan shares his belief that we ultimately just have to share our story and use our story to help others not feel alone. One of the things I love the most about Ethan is his ability to express compassion and humor in the same sentence.  Discussions around Mental Health can feel very heavy, and Ethan has a way of making light of a very heavy topic. Thank you, Ethan, for all that you do. If you feel like sharing your mental health struggles with others is too big of a step right now, consider joining our Facebook Group, CBT School Campus.  This group is filled with brave, supportive and compassionate people and was created so you could feel support and connected to others who are working tirelessly on their mental health in a safe and supportive platform.   Click here to be taken to the FB group. Click here for Ethan's Keynote Speaker Video DO YOU WANT TO REALLY IMPROVE ON YOUR MINDFULNESS SKILLS FOR OCD?  CHECK OUT CBT SCHOOL'S ONLINE COURSE, MINDFULNESS FOR OCD.
Jun 8, 2018

Are you Superhuman or Human?

Superhuman or human OCD Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan Therapy Psychology CBTIt's an interesting question, isn't it? Are you a Superhuman or Human?  I think in order to answer this question, we need to address how we perceive a superhuman and how we view ourselves, as humans.  We need to address how we "rate" ourselves as a whole. You see, sometimes society and our community will send us the message that those of us who struggle with anxiety or depression (or with a mental health issue) are humans that are missing something. In some circles, us anxious humans get seen as being "less than" or weak because we struggle. Most media outlets portray superhuman as those who have beyond average muscles and their stories usually end in glory and power and victory. Let me pose a new idea for you.  Maybe it isn't a new idea to you, but I am guessing it is an idea that you need to be reminded of. I don't believe for one teeny tiny microsecond that those who experience anxiety are "less than" humans. I don't for a second believe that those who have mental health struggles are "weak". Let me tell you a little fact.  The definition of superhuman is "having or showing exceptional ability or power". Handling Anxiety and Depression or any other mental health issue takes exceptional abilities and a LOT of power and strength. Let's take a look here.  If being superhuman requires you to have an exceptional ability, I would be very comfortable saying that managing anxiety classifies as an "exceptional ability".  Do you agree?  I think that if anyone knew just how hard you were working, they too would say that managing anxiety and depression (or other mental health issues) is superhuman.   We don't give ourselves enough credit.  This podcast is all about how much of a SUPERHUMAN YOU ARE! Click HERE For Online Course for OCD
Jun 1, 2018

Is Fred In The Refridgerator? Interview with Shala Nicely

Shala Nicely Is Fred In The Refrigerator BookWell, this episode is one of my favorites.  Do I say that every week (hehe)?  But this week I am not joking! In today's episode, I have the honor of interviewing the AMAZING Shala Nicely.  Shala has written the most amazing, Is Fred In The Refridgerator?: Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life.  If you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or Depression or another mental health struggle, Shala has written THE book for you. In the book, Is Fred in the Refridgerator, Shala talks about her recovery with OCD, BDD, depression, substance abuse and much more.   The book is an amazing and fun read, but also walks us through her struggles to find correct therapy for OCD, the rules her OCD held her to and the key components of her mental health recovery. Why is this one of my favorite episodes? Well, Shala walks the walk and talks the talk and she gets very vulnerable and transparent about her struggles with OCD.  I love anyone who shares their truth, and Shala did just that.  It was truly inspiring and my heart pretty much exploded during the recording of this episode. I asked Shala a lot of really deep questions and she was so honest and open with us, and for that, I am so grateful.   I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.  See the link below toget your hands on Is Fred In The Refridgerator? Links: BUY IT ON AMAZON: Is Fred In The Refridgerator shalanicely.com  

If you missed last weeks episode 50 5 Lessons Learned from Hosting Your Anxiety Toolkit

Thank you again for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT Schools online courses.  Please click here to find out more about Mindfulness School for OCD.

May 25, 2018

5 Lessons Learned from Hosting Your Anxiety Toolkit FIVE LESSONS LEARNED FROM HOSTING THIS PODCAST 

Today is a special day.  Today I share the FIVE LESSONS LEARNED FROM HOSTING THIS PODCAST! 

Today marks the 50th episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.   I get a little sentimental during this one, but please stick with me.

Let me start by saying that I am so grateful for reaching 50 episodes.  When I started this podcast, in my pjs in my kitchen with my sleeping baby next to me as I recorded my first episode, never in my wildest dreams could imagine what it would become.   From this podcast came CBTSchool.com, and from CBT school came a community that I could never have imagined.

So Today, on this 50th episode, I celebrate YOU!    And, today I want to talk to you about what I have learned and a few of my favorite quotes that I live by (and I promise this will apply to you).

In this episode, I share 5 lessons learned by hosting this podcast and I have lived by as I hosted this podcast.  I have to be honest.  I have learned SO much and I cannot wait to share the lessons with you.  I won't pretend it has all been easy.  It hasn't.  There was a couple of time that this podcast nearly didn't get made.   And, there were quite a few times it was made OVER AND OVER!  All I can say is that I am so grateful for your support and compassion as I bumped along. If you missed last weeks episode 49 The Content of Your Thoughts Are Not Important Thank you again for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT Schools online courses.  Please click here to find out more about Mindfulness School for OCD.

May 18, 2018

The Content Of Your Thoughts Are Not Important

One of the biggest struggles my clients have is when they get caught up in the belief that their specific intrusive thoughts or fears warrant LOTS of attention and moral weight.   

This is one of the most difficult things to manage when you are struggling with significant anxiety.  We can see that other peoples fears are irrational, but when it comes to our specific fear, we become unglued, confused and reactive.

Here are a few questions that I want you to ask yourself before listening to this podcast.

Have you caught yourself saying any of the following?

The Content of Your Thoughts are Not Important OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit

1.  “It's easy for you to say to, "just accept the thoughts".   You don’t have thoughts about hurting someone all day like I do (insert here whatever thought you are obsessing or ruminating on).  This thought is WAY worse than other thoughts.”

2. “This isn’t any old thought.  This would destroy my life if this thought came true.”

3. “I know I have to accept the uncertainty, but this isn’t just a thought”

These are all examples of getting caught up in our thoughts content.

When we get caught up in the CONTENT of our thoughts we can get stuck in a cycle of anxiety.

When we give our thoughts all of this attention and value, our brains become hypervigilent and get even more worked up about the presence of these thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  Please note here,  I am in NO WAY telling you this is your fault.  This is just the way our brains work.    We also have be to careful about our narrative about this thought.  If we tell ourselves the thought is "bad", that triggers self-judgment, shame and self-doubt. Then we are off and running, judging ourselves more and putting ourselves down.

Listen to the podcast to hear my FIVE STEPS to help when you are getting caught in the content of your thoughts.

At the end of the podcast, I offer a little Challenge for you.

Observe your thoughts and ask yourself if you could start to make any of these changes in your life.

If you do notice that you are giving too much weight to a thought, try to practice Non-judgment (Ep 1) or Beginners Mind (ep 6) or What you say to yourself Matters (ep 17).

Thank you again for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT Schools online courses.  Please click here to find out more about Mindfulness School for OCD.

May 11, 2018
Ep. 48: 4 Steps to Doing Hard Things! OCD Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan Welcome back! This week's episode is a celebration of last weeks guest interview with Dennis A. Aguilar. Last weeks episode was the first of the series called, We Can Do Hard Things Series.   In this series, I will interview people who have fought through the thickness of mental health struggles and have relentlessly worked on themselves.  These will be inspiring and motivating stories that will help you see that you are not alone in your recovery process. One question I have been getting from listeners, in response to last weeks podcast, was the question, "But, How do I do hard things when doing even the smallest things seem so hard for me?" This podcast will outline the FOUR steps I use to doing the hard things.  These steps are mostly tools that will help you understand and appreciate your personal journey. I often gently say to myself, "It is a beautiful day to do hard things!" and I really believe this to be a core part of my own mental health toolkit. I hope you enjoy this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit. Resources: Episode The Skill of Non-Judgment  Click HERE for My Free PDF Printout: My FOUR Favorite Mindfulness Tools for OCD CBT SChool Campus Facebook Group
May 4, 2018
We can do hard things, Depression, Mindfulness, Psychology, Self-help If you know me at all, you know that I 100% believe that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!  If you are on Instagram or Facebook, you will often hear me repeat, "We can do hard things!" "We can do hard things!" "We can do hard things!" I am also a strong believer in Progressive Mastery.  Progressive Mastering is the systematic and step-by-step approach to learning new things.  Basically, we incredible humans can learn just about anything if we break it down into small steps and take one step at a time. I cannot stress this approach enough when it comes to mental wellness.  We must not look up at the mountain, tell ourselves how we will NEVER be able to make it up there and then give up.   We must take on emotion at a time.  One thought at a time.  One sensation at a time.  One urge at a time. When we do this, we move forward.  We move upward.  We soar! This week's podcast is the first of a series I am doing called "We can do hard things".  During this series, I will interview people who have taken the hard, but rewarding route of working through their emotions, mental health disorders, trauma and difficult childhoods. I could not be more excited to share this weeks episode with you. Dennis A. Aguilar joins us today to share the inspiring story of his life journey through mental illness.  Dennis talks about trauma, depression, suicidal ideation, OCD, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, ADD, social anxiety and other struggles he manages.  I found this interview to be incredibly inspiring and I am sure you will to0. Dennis also gives TONs of amazing advice to those who feel like recovery is not an option for them.  He talks about how he would go through stages of hopelessness and how to fought himself to just keep going. About Dennis A. Aguilar and Resources He Suggests Instagram Books: Mind Programming: From Persuasion to Brain Washing The Siva Mind Control Method What Every Body is Saying The Heart Of The Buddha Psychology Fifth Edition The Norton Psychology Reader How Pleasure Works How The Mind Works Emotions Revealed Taking Charge of ADHD The Lazy Mans Way To Riches Other: Luminosity  
Apr 27, 2018

In This Episode, We Are Going To Get Creative

Relationship with Anxiety, Therapy, CBT, OCD, ERP, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks Are you guys friends? You know.  You, and Anxiety.  Do you guys yell at each other?  Or, do you talk between yourselves in a respectful and considerate manner? This episode is all about your relationship with anxiety. Does Anxiety manipulate you into behaviors you don't want to engage in? Or, do you hold your ground when anxiety is trying to get its way? These questions might help you to determine what kind of relationship you have with the anxiety in your life.    This is a really important question and a conversation that we must continually have with ourselves.   Do you have a good relationship with anxiety? In today's podcast episode, we talk about How to Improve Your Relationship with Anxiety.  This includes how you talk with yourself, how you react to your anxiety and what your expectations are about its presence in your life. You guys know how much I LOVE a good metaphor.  Well, this week's podcast is one BIG metaphor on how to build a better relationship with your anxiety, depression, emotions, and sensations.   My goal is to give you a visual for managing and tolerating discomfort. In this episode, I also address setting boundaries with anxiety and depression but creating a relationship with anxiety AND depression.  I can't wait to hear whether this is helpful for you.  I find it incredibly helpful.  Enjoy! Click HERE to join our free FACEBOOK GROUP, CBT SCHOOL CAMPUS Click HERE to learn more about CBT Schools Mindfulness for OCD E-course Click HERE to learn more about CBT Schools e-course for Hair Pulling and Skin Picking, BFRB School
Apr 20, 2018
Do you sometimes wonder what the secret sauce is to Anxiety Recovery?  Well, today, we have an INCREDIBLE interview with Sheva Rajaee discussing the FIVE ROADBLOCKS TO ANXIETY RECOVERY! 5 roadblocks to Anxiety Recovery OCD, bfrb, Sheva Rajaee,Sheva Rajaee (forgive me for the error with her maiden name in the podcast) is a lovely friend of mine and I was lucky enough to get to work alongside her at the center where we were trained. Sheva is an OCD Advocate rockstar and was a speaker at last years UCLA TEDx Talk event, presenting the talk titled, “Addicted to the answer – anxiety in the age of information”. In this interview, Sheva comes very well prepared (as she always is) and she details what she calls the FIVE ROADBLOCKS TO ANXIETY RECOVERY, including tools to help manage Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB's). Sheva details ways you can compliment Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tools and she uses a wonderful metaphor that we discussed in such depth that we ended up in hysterics! We talk about doing the hard work, staying committed and some mindset shifts that can help with recovery success.   Sheva and I also talk about those who are not currently in therapy and how they can utilize their own resources to keep them going. Sheva has her own private practice in Irvine, CA called the Center for Anxiety and OCD.  You can find Sheva on Instagram @theshrinkwrap.
Apr 13, 2018

Anxiety + Anxiety + Anxiety = Anger

Do you feel ever notice that your overwhelming fear turns into overwhelming anger?  Yes?  Well, you are not alone.   Anger is a very common bi-product of anxiety. Today, I share a little bit more about my experience of listening to Clint Malarchuk, who was a National Hockey League player and was the keynote speaker at the most recent So Cal IOCDF Conference.  Click here for last weeks podcast episode on YOU ARE NOT ALONE anxiety, anger, OCD, Mindfulness, depression, BFRB, CBT, Podcast for Anxiety Clint and his wife told their beautiful story about Clint's struggles with OCD and Trauma.   Clint shared all about his journey of managing obsessions and compulsions while excelling as a professional hockey player.   There was SO much about Clint and his wife presentation that I loved, but one thing stood out to me as being REALLY important.   Clint shared about his Anger.  Clint and his wife shared how he was overwhelmed with rage.  Clint was angry at himself.  Angry with his wife for demanding her get help.  Angry at his disorder, for taking so much away from him. It made me wonder, I am sure some of you would love to know that they are not alone in their anger. This podcast is for you if you commonly feel angry about what you are going through and angry at those who just don't get it. Anger is a normal human emotion, but we need to work on making space for it.  We cannot push it down and we cannot transfer it onto other people by yelling, throwing, punching and/or saying mean things. If you want to learn more about anger and how to manage it, listen to this podcast. I detail FOUR KEYS ways you can manage your experience of anger (and NO, punching a pillow is not one of them).   You will learn that you have to honor and respect your anger and create a better relationship with it. Click HERE to read about CBT School's Mindfulness for OCD Online course Click HERE to read about CBT School's online Course, BFRB School: Joyful living with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (Hair pulling and Skin Picking)
Apr 5, 2018

In Case You Didn't know, You are not Alone

Just a couple of weeks ago, I attended and was honored to present at the Southern California OCD Conference ran by socalocd.com.   It was such an incredible event and I left with my heart feeling full and mind inspired.

The thing about these conferences is that the energy of the attendees is so infectious.   At the beginning of the day, the room is filled with anticipation and hope.  These conferences are held in hope to give tools and support to those in the community with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. After listening to the keynote speakers and breaking into group sessions where attendees learn tools to manage their OCD (I spoke on Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for OCD), we meet at the end of the day for a final Q&A with the panelists.   The room was filled with togetherness.   There was a sense of community and cohesion that warmed my heart (and it lasted for days). The next day, I posted on Instagram how honored I was to attend such a beautiful conference and I sent out the message that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I knew a lot of people were not able to attend such a wonderful event and I wanted to spread the love and connection that I was feeling. The response flawed me.  Direct Messages and emails came in from those who are struggling with OCD and Anxiety and Depression, reporting how alone they feel. It got me wondering.

Do you feel ALONE in your suffering?

Do you feel like no one understands just how hard it is for you? Do you feel like no one could possibly understand what is it like to experience such anxiety and fear and panic?

I am also wondering, Do you feel alone in your bravery?

Do you feel like no one understands or appreciates how incredibly brave you are? You get up every day and do your best to get through the day with anxiety and depression and dread.    You face your fears, not because you want to, but because you HAVE to. Do you feel so alone that you feel angry?  Maybe you are so angry and hurt because no one else you know has to face their fears every single day, day in and day out.

Do you feel alone because everyone else seems to do the thing that you fear so easily?

If any of this describes you, this episode is for you. You are NOT alone! Click the below link to be added to the group.  I would LOVE to have you join us.

CBT School Campus Private Facebook Group

Link to OCD So Cal Below:

OCD SoCal is an affiliate of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation (IOCDF)
Mar 30, 2018

Ep.42 Dispelling The Myths About Managing Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Jon Hershfield Shares How To Have A Wise Relationship With Thoughts, Feelings, and Sensations

Anxiety Management Therapy Help OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder CalabasasYou guys know how much I LOVE breaking down ALL THINGS ANXIETY and then deliver it in easy and helpful ways.  In today's episode, I am THRILLED to share Jon Hershfield's wisdom with you.  He is a genius at breaking things down into easy-to-understand ways. For this episode, I reached out to some trusted and respected Mental Health Professionals for input.    I asked if they could share some of the unskilled advice that some of their clients have received from their previous therapists or medical professionals. During our time together, Jon addressed how some advice for anxiety can be problematic and Jon shared his INCREDIBLE knowledge and wisdom on how to manage anxiety and obsessions in a mindful and rational way. We discuss topics such as:
  • Why can't I just distract myself from the thoughts?

  • Can I just Listen to music to drown out the thoughts?

  • Can I imagine a Stop Sign when having intrusive thoughts or worrying?

  • What about squashing thoughts like a bug?

  • If I think it, is it my unconscious mind trying to tell me something?

  • My Doctor told me that I just need one really heavy period for this anxiety to pass

  • My Doctor told me my Anxiety is due to not being breastfed

  • I understand I can get these scary thoughts to go away by thinking positive and using The Law of Attraction.
About Jon: Jon is the author of  When a Family Member Has OCD: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Skills to Help Families Affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder .    Hershfield is also the Co-Author of Everyday Mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully with Shala Nicely and The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Tom Corboy.  Jon has a private Practice in Baltimore and uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCDbaltimore.com  The OCD and Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore

Twitter: CBTOCD

Facebook: @JonHershfield

Click here to read about how Mindfulness can help you.
Mar 23, 2018
So often, when we are anxious, we forget to stay present. Instead, we worry about what could possibly happen in the future. "What if something bad happens?" "What if I panic?" "What if...?"

The more I observe my thoughts, the more I notice how incorrect my thoughts are.   In a split second, our brain will tell us an awful story about how a terrible thing is going to happen, how we are terrible people for thinking this thought, or how we cannot handle this feeling.

We must come to accept that much of what we think is incorrect.

I want to introduce you to TWO words that could change your life and make you more present if you put it into practice enough.

Before I share the words with you, I want to encourage you to first get used to observing what you are thinking, feeling, experiencing.

It could be emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, irritability etc.

It could be thoughts, such as "I am so angry- I am so upset- I am not getting better- I cant do this- I cant handle this- I am feeling hopeless......"

It could be sensations such as panic and anxiety-related sensations, increased heart rate, shaking, sweating, depersonalization etc

It could be sensations related to Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (Trichotillomania and Compulsive Skin Picking) such as tingling fingers, itchiness or throbbing.

Once you are able to notice and observe these experiences, I encourage you to click on the link and add these two little words to your narrative.

Enjoy! I hope they bring you as much peace as they bring me. I have even added a short meditation to help you with this practice.  :)

Mar 16, 2018
If you have ever experienced the discomfort of a panic attack, you will appreciate this episode. When it comes to managing Panic, there is a lot of bad advice out there.  I often have clients come to me reporting that they have been trying to "Stop Panicking" for years, only to find that nothing was working.  They report painfully fast heart rates, tight chests, and fear that they will die.  If you have experienced this, you are definitely not alone. In today's podcast, I will share with you My 5 Favorite Tips for Managing Panic Attacks (or Anxiety Attacks). As I mention in the episode, these are not the ONLY tips you need, but they are super important ones and ones I share often with my clients.  These mindfulness tools are SUPER helpful in managing your mindset and perspective on anxiety. I hope they help you on your journey to managing anxiety, panic, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and other struggles related to fear and worry. Forward we go, Kimberley
Mar 9, 2018
Hi, there folks! Once again, it is an honor to hang out with you. This week's podcast is a little bit silly.  But, I am dead serious when I say that This. Tool. Works!   If you are struggling with perfectionism, or anxiety that stops you from starting a project or participating in an event, this is the podcast for you. Sometimes we need a different perspective to pull us out of our constant need to make things perfect and perform in a way that doesn't make us vulnerable.  Writing about it doesn't really do it justice, so give this episode a listen.   I hope it gives you a little laugh and you can use this tool when you are up against fear and need a little push forward. Forward we go, Kimberley
Mar 2, 2018
Today, I am thrilled to interview Stuart Ralph, the host of the amazing OCD Stories Podcast. In his podcast, Stuart interviews some of the most influential and inspiring psychotherapists and researchers in the anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder field.   During our interview together, I asked Stuart to tell us about some of the most inspiring and memorable interviews he has done and he gave us some SUPER important takeaways. In the podcast, we discussed: OCD Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Calabasas Los Angeles Thousand Oaks Therapist CBT How Steven Hayes (author of  Get out of Your Mind and Into Your Life) told Stuart, "You are the Lucky Ones!" How Reid Wilson taught him that "The Content of your worries is trash". How Professor Paul Gilbert (Founder of Compassion Focused Treatment and author of the book, The Compassionate Mind) discussed the application of Self Compassion and how important it is for mental health recovery (especially those who experience anxiety, OCD and mood disorders). Stuart left us with this big piece of wisdom; "We all need love and self-care, and if we give ourselves huge doses of that we can move towards recovery". I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Please don't forget to leave a review for this podcast!  Your reviews help us reach more people, so then I can help more people! Virtual Hugs everyone!  
Feb 23, 2018
Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with all of the pressure (from work, friends, family, school, society) that we forget that the pressure we feel isn't always mandatory.  We CAN give ourselves permission to drop the pressure and just BE.   I know! This might sound super impossible, but hear me out. What would happen if you responded to the anxiety and pressure and stress with, "I give myself permission to eat whatever I wanted" "I give myself permission to have scary thoughts" (such as intrusive violent, sexual or scrupulous thoughts) "I give myself permission to not only have these scary thoughts but also not solve what they mean about me" "I give myself permission to allow this anxiety to be here" "I give myself permission to be imperfect" "I give myself permission to rest!" "I give myself permission to just be ME" This is some powerful stuff!
Giving yourself permission to listen to your body can be incredibly helpful when managing eating disorders (and disordered eating), Intrusive thoughts associated with Obsessive Compulsive (including harm, sexual, religious, contamination and symmetry obsessions to list a few), Social Anxiety, Perfectionism, low self-esteem and chronic anxiety and panic.
Listen to hear why this is such an important tool for managing anxiety and reducing the pressure we feel daily.  
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