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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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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.  
Feb 15, 2018
Are you tired of feeling like anxiety always has the reins?  This tool might be exactly what you are looking for and can be a powerful complement to the work you are already doing with anxiety. The tool is called "Shoulders Back!" and our AMAZING CBT ROCKSTAR guest is Shala Nicely! Shala explains how she came across this tool and how she uses it, both in her own life and with her clients with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).   The reason I LOVE this tool so much is that it is easy, empowering and science-based. Here are the links we discussed! Don't forget to check out Shala and Jeff Bell's E-course to help you with motivation for ERP for OCD. Click here for Shala and Jeff's E-Course Beyond The Doubt. Amy Cuddy Ted Talk talks about using a Power Pose Everyday Mindfulness Book (Written with Jon Hershfield)
Feb 9, 2018
Yep, you read it correctly!  Today we are talking about Checking Behaviors!

Chances are, you have done these behaviors a million times

They sound like this....“Just to make sure”

“I would prefer to be certain”

“I cant handle my anxiety if I don’t....”

“Terrible things will happen if I don’t.....”

If you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you might check doors, stove knobs, hair dryers, crock pots (new for those who watched the TV show, This IS us),

For those with Health Anxiety, you might check your ailments, sores, blemishes, degree of pain etc

For those with Perfectionism, you might check emails, texts, phone messages, assignments for school etc

For those with social anxiety, you might check Evite lists on who is going to an event, check your clothing or teeth in the mirror repetitively.

Checking is an attempt to control our surroundings in hopes to avoid possible bad things from happening.  We might be avoiding the uncertainty of knowing if we will get sick or not.  We might be trying to eliminate entirely the chances of the house burning down or being robbed.  Or, we might be trying to eradicate any chance of being seen as anything less than perfect.  We might be afraid of embarrassment.

But let's be honest!

The chances are, you are mostly just trying to eradicate THOUGHTS about these events.  Or, maybe you are trying to eradicate the presence of anxiety around these topics.

I understand this conundrum.  It is not uncommon to want to make sure you aren't going to burn down the house or miss a deadline or leave the door of your house wide open.  We all do checking behaviors from time to time.

However, let's be really honest with ourselves.  If you find you are doing these activities over and over, chances are that you are mostly in the fight against uncertainty….and let me let you in on a little secret.  You won’t will this one.  Fighting uncertainty is like trying to get a toddler out the door on time for school.  The more you rush it, the longer they take.  True story! 

Some might say, but when I do it, after some time, I DO find relief.   I get it.  Some are lucky to find those moments when the anxiety is lifted and you can walk away with a sense of, “Ok. I can move on”

Listen to the episode to learn about how to work on reducing compulsive checking behaviors!

When it comes to anxiety, WE CANNOT CONTINUE WITH THIS.  We must change the arm in which we are strongest.   

And lets be honest.  Uncertainty is all around us.  It is something we have to deal with even if few don't have anxiety.  It comes in every stage of our lives.   Let's work to strengthen our ability to make space for discomfort in our lives.

As always, have a wonderful week!

Feb 2, 2018
Well, this week I tell you a story about the most influential moment I have experienced regarding boundary setting.  It is one of my favorite stories to tell because it taught me SO MUCH about setting boundaries and helped me see that some of the beliefs I had around setting boundaries were ENTIRELY wrong! During this podcast, we discuss FOUR steps to Boundary Setting and discuss how this can help us manage anxiety, resentment, and anger. I hope you enjoy the story as much I as enjoy telling it! Forward we go, Kimberley
Jan 26, 2018
Wassup Yo! This podcast is seriously Badass, even if I do say so myself! I am honored to introduce to you, Tiffany Roe.  Tiffany is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Utah and has the most incredible Instagram account, which is where I "met" her.   Tiffany is another one of those CBT Rockstars, who uses Mindfulness and CBT to help her clients manage Anxiety, Depression and Eating Disorders.   I just adore her!   In this podcast, we talk about how to talk back to depression like a Gangsta.  Tiffany shares some incredibly inspirational, empowering and FUN ways to talk back to Depression, when it bullies us and makes us feel like there is no hope. BUT THERE IS MORE!  Tiffany was so excited about our conversation, she kindly put together a Spotify Playlist of her favorite music that helps her lift out of depression and back into her own power and strength.   See below or click HERE for the link.  NB: Please note that some of the songs listed in the playlist include profanity. Thank you Tiffany for joining us at Your Anxiety Toolkit. It was so fun talking with you. https://open.spotify.com/user/122159189/playlist/0OuZaqSrqLQyVsHtx4yPbS?si=IgB475OAT4KlRs0R-atTqg
Jan 19, 2018
#32: How to Reduce Reassurance Seeking Behaviors

Welcome back, everyone!

Welcome back to the Series on Problematic Anxiety-Related Behaviors.

Today, we are talking about Mindfulness-based tools to help with Reassurance Seeking.

For those of you who don’t think this topic applies to you, stick around a little.  You might find that you are employing this behavior, even in slight and tricky ways.

As mentioned in the last episode, there are behaviors that you can reduce, which will result in better outcomes when it comes to anxiety.   Last Week we discussed Avoidance and how this compulsion only makes fear worse.   This week, as we mentioned, we are discussing Reassurance Seeking Compulsions.

So, What is Reassurance Seeking?

Before I give a definition, let me give you some examples and you can see if you resonate with any of these.

Am I doing this right? (Common in Perfectionism)

Did you turn off the stove? Did I turn off the........ (Common in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Are you sure everything will be ok?

Do I look ok? (Common in Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Eating Disorders)

You still love me, right?

Do you think I will fail this test? (Common in Perfectionism)

Do you think I hurt their feelings?

Do you think they are mad at me?

Do you think I could get sick? (Common in Health Anxiety and Contamination OCD) Did I hurt someone?  Could I hurt someone?  (Common in Harm OCD)

Don't get me wrong.  These are questions that I would consider “appropriate” questions.

However, the problem lies in their frequency and intention.

If you find yourself asking questions repetitively, or you find yourself asking these questions when you know they don’t have the solution/answer, it is probably Reassurance Seeking.

Also, if you find yourself asking these questions when you could be finding the solution yourself, this could be Reassurance Seeking.

And lastly, if you find yourself attempting to find certainty in a situation where there is little to NO certainty, this podcast is for you!

Reassurance Seeking is an action of removing someone's doubts or fears. Reassurance seeking is very common (and problematic) behavior in Anxiety Disorders such as OCD, phobias, panic disorder, Generalize Anxiety Disorder.  It is also common in Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders.

That being said, it applies to us all, in our management of our own anxiety.

The goal is to recognize that we must not reach outside ourselves to remove our doubts and fears.   

Drawing other into our anxiety usually only makes it messier and creates a dynamic where you feel reliant on them to manage your anxiety.   

Also, Reassurance Seeking complicates relationships and can backfire.  People may not give you the response you were looking for and cause you to have even more anxiety.

Often clients report that their partner sometimes is very supportive and answers their questions very well, but over time, then the partner gets annoyed and then it creates friction.  Does this sound familiar?

The goal is to acknowledge your own fears as they arise, either allow them to simply be there using your mindfulness skills or work through them on your own.   

Remember, treat your fears the way you want your brain to interpret them in the future.

I hope that is helpful!  Have a wonderful week.
Jan 13, 2018

BIG announcement and Why You Have to Stop Avoiding

First, let me share some EXCITING news with you!

I am so excited to share with you some news about the work I am focusing on in 2018!

But first, let me tell you the back story.

Each year, I do my best to attend several conferences for OCD, Anxiety, Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) and Depression.   I have had the privilege of presenting at many of these conferences over the years and I often return home in a state of joy, empowerment and determination to help those who struggle with these debilitating disorders.   I love learning all about the evidence-based treatment modalities for OCD, Anxiety Disorders and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors such as Trichotillomania and Skin Picking and using the skills to increase recovery outcomes and improve self-esteem and self-care.

However, last year, I left one of the conferences quite sad.  I was sad for those sufferers who attended the conferences and then had to return home to their hometown, with very little support and no evidence-based services but licensed mental health professionals.   So few therapist know how to treat OCD, BFRB’s and Anxiety Disorders using the treatment modalities that are so successful and appropriate.

From this frustration, I decided to create an online psycho-education platform where I can offer support and educational products to those who cannot access correct care.

I am so proud to announce the creation of CBTschool.com.  CBTschool.com is an online platform when you can access information and online courses on how to overcome your struggles with OCD, Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s), Anxiety Disorders, Panic and Depression.   Each course will apply Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (hence the term CBT, in CBT School) and Mindfulness Tools.  These are the exact tools I use with my clients every day in my office.

I currently have one course ready to be purchased, called Mindfulness School for OCD.   I will talk more about this in coming podcasts.    Keep an eye out, as there will be more to purchase very soon.

In addition to the online courses, I plan to meet at a designated time each month to join with you on Facebook Live and Instagram, to answer any questions you may have and help you along with your journey.

More exciting news is the YOUR ANXIETY TOOLKIT podcast is now a production of CBTschool.com and we will continue to provide evidence based tools for Anxiety, Depression and Emotional Dysregulation.

Lastly, if you check out CBTschool.com’s websites, you will see that there is also some awesome free PDF’s available to help you with self care and mindfulness.   

I am so thrilled to share this news with you.   Feel free to connect with me on FB or Instagram.

Now, onto the important stuff!

This episode is  a part or an ongoing series where we discuss Problematic Anxiety Related Behaviors (also know as Compulsions).

In this episode, we will discuss a very important and problematic compulsion, which is Avoidance.

Avoidance is the withdrawal from an object, event, person or experience

Avoidance is a common behavior we employ to manage anxiety, fear, panic, obsessions and intrusive thoughts.

While our brain uses "flight" to activate us to run away from real danger and stressors, we sometime use avoidance and "flight" to avoid thoughts and fears of bad things happening.

The problem is, the more you avoid events or experiences that you perceive to be dangerous (when really they are not currently a risk to your wellbeing)  the more you tell your brain that that event or experience is dangerous and the more your brain responds with physical anxiety when you go to the event or engage in the experience.

Example: What if I get sick if I touch that door handle or ATM teller?

NOTE: Sentences that begin with “WHAT if” imply that they have not happened yet.

If you were my client and this was a common fear for you, and you have been avoiding this, I would have you go and use the ATM bank teller!!   

By not avoiding, we unlock the fear response cycle our brain is looped into.

This applies to fears that you are a bad person, that you will do something wrong, that awful horrible things will happen.   

Trick!!! When I say that….what is the immediate thought you have?

But, Kimberley, my fear is serious!!  Nope.  Your fear is a thought

But Kimberley, I could ruin peoples live if I stopped avoiding the thing I am afraid of.    POSSIBLY!!

Here is my questions for you.  What kind of life do you want to live?  Consult with your values.

Do you want to live in fear?  Do you want to let anxiety make your decisions?  Or even more, a thought make your decisions?

Or, do you want to strengthen courage and resilience?

This is a question we have to ask ourselves every day.  How Do I want to live my life?

Take risks!  Look at your life and ask yourself what you are avoiding.  Try to not let anxiety win this one.

Find a way to reduce the avoidance.

Find a way to forgive yourself for avoiding it for so long.  Don't beat yourself up.

Have a wonderful week everyone! See you next week!
Jan 4, 2018
In this episode, we try a new meditation to help you stay present in THIS day. HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is a great guided meditation to help you stay centered on the present moment and let go of yesterdays events or tomorrows possible happenings.  I recorded this meditation at the beach, as this is where I feel the most present and alive.  I hope you find it helpful.  It has become a daily part of my practice and I hope it brings you empowerment and peace. Forward we go! Kimberley  
Dec 22, 2017
Happy Almost New Year!! Well, it's that time of year! You know, the time where you reflect on the year and set outrageous resolutions for the upcoming year.  It is when you dwell on all the things you DIDN'T do last year that you said you would. During this podcast, I walk through a very successful way to set intentions for the upcoming Year, Month, Week, Day and even Hour!  I walk you through why New Year's Resolutions rarely work and how I use Honesty and values to set goals that will improve self compassion, self-respect and effectiveness. I also give a few examples of how this applies to those with OCD, Eating Disorders, Social Anxiety and Panic Attacks. Last of all, I want to with you the HAPPIEST and SAFEST New Year! Forward we go! Kimberley
Dec 16, 2017
Hello there Everyone! Today, I am thrilled to have guest, Alison Dotson on the Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. During this podcast, Alison shares her journey from not even knowing what OCD was to what helped her with her recovery.   Alison and I had a fun time also managing technological hiccups, which ended up being a wonderful practice of mindfulness. Alison Dotson is the author of Being Me with OCD: How I Learned to Obsess Less and Live My Life. In this book, Alison shares her personal journey with obsessive-compulsive disorder and includes some of the most heart-wrenching details.  Her genuine goal is to spread awareness and helping teens and young adults with OCD. Resources Mentioned in this this Podcast: Alisondotson.com facebook.com/beingmewithocd Imp of the Mind IOCDF.org twitter- beingmewithocd OCD Twin Cities  info@ocdtc.org
Dec 15, 2017
 

Today, we have an AMAZING guess on the podcast, Dave Trachtenberg.    Dave is the Program Director at Minds Incorporated.  Minds Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to empowering Washington DC-area schools by teaching mindfulness-based practices to students, educators, and parents.

During the Podcast, Dave shares how

Minds Inc. teaches students, starting in elementary school (and their educators, and parents) simple daily mindfulness practices.  Dave speaks about how these teachings increase focus and attention, reduce stress and anxiety, create resilience and the capacity to handle difficult emotions, and build compassion.

As discussed in the podcast, sometimes when I get down about the state of the world, I find myself doing late night Google searches on how I can make it better.  In my searches, I found Minds Inc's website and came across Dave.   Dave shared some beautiful stories about helping young children and teens and also shared his own struggles with OCD, Tic Disorder, Depression and Self-worth.   

Dave answered the following questions:

Tell us about Minds Inc?

What got you involved in teaching meditation to Teachers, Students and Parents?

What is your personal experience with meditation and Mindfulness?

What at some experiences/examples of situations you have had with youth at Minds Incorporated?  (successes, struggles, changes made)? 

What type of meditation does Minds Inc. teach?

What special tools/practices do you use for living mindfully?

What advice do you give for those starting out with meditation?

Tell us how you manage struggles with meditation?

How can we teach our children?

This was one of my favorite conversations and I am so thrilled to share it with you.  I would love to hear your feedback. Have a wonderful day! Kimberley   Resources: Mindsincorporated.org Brain Lock Angel Kyodo Williams http://transformativechange.org/founder/ Pema Chodron  Link here Mindfulness For Dummies Mindfulness An * Week Plan How to Live in a Frantic World
Dec 11, 2017
Well, Lets be honest!  Sometimes I get so excited about practicing and teaching the deep and helpful concepts of Mindfulness that I forget to remind y'all of how simple it can and should be! Often, when we experience anxiety (or other strong emotions), we often forget everything we have learned and are left standing helpful and afraid.  In this podcast, we return to one of the most simplest and easiest Mindfulness tool available. Check it out!  And, if you are noticing how basic and thinned out this blog is, that is no accident.  This week, we are practicing simplicity!!  See you next week!    
Dec 2, 2017

Vulnerability: The Road to Courage, Self-Compassion and Self-Worth

In today’s podcast, I wanted to dissect the concept of Vulnerability.

Brene Brown, reknowned researcher on Vulnerability defines Vulnerability as

“Uncertainty, Risk and Emotional Exposure”

I find this somewhat ironic, as Uncertainty, Risk and Emotional Exposure are the worst nightmare of someone who experiences anxiety, OCD, an eating disorder (such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa), trauma, grief or depression.

I think many humans struggle with these concepts, but I feel that it is significantly difficult for those who struggle with these mental health disorders.   In many cases, there is a complete rejection of vulnerability. 

I believe we think that if we avoid vulnerability, we

OCD FEAR anxiety Depression Eating Disorder CBT Panic Self-Compassion

 can rid ourselves of shame, embarrassment, being judged, feeling sad or hurt.   

However, all we end up doing is numbing. 

When we have anxiety, we think that if we avoid vulnerability, we could rid ourselves of possible bad or catastrophic  outcomes. 

However, all we end up doing is becoming compulsive. 

In this podcast, I detail the workings of those who are successful at being vulnerable and take a look at the outcomes that result. 

We will outlines ways that you can practice vulnerability in large or small steps. 

We look at the repurcussions of staying safe and avoiding vulernability and we detail the research’s findings about self-worth and conectivity. 

I hope you enjoy it!  This is one of my favorite subjects. 

Forward we go!

Kimberley

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
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