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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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Now displaying: 2018
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  
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