Your Anxiety Toolkit - It's a Beautiful Day to Do Hard Things

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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: Sharon Selby's free e-book 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Your Child Is Anxious is available at: 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 ( 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  

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, 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   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)  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.
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.
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