Improve Your Marriage and Every Area of Your Life - A Psychologist Tells the Truth, Anxiety

by: Barbara DeShong, Ph.D.

If you do not take life seriously, it's not worth living. But if you only take life seriously, it's not worth living either. This idea--that we can live a thoughtful life and learn with humor is behind my motivation for writing this series of articles. Two decades of doing clinical psychology has taught me that each of us can improve our lives by making small changes. I'm not selling anything. All I'm asking is for you to join me on this journey. And why not? Could be fun.

For sure your friends and family will appreciate your efforts. What makes me think small changes can really change the course of your life? Because without intervention, people, ourselves included, repeat the same self-destructive habits for years and years. Without awakening to our own powers to change, every conversation, every relationship outcome is completely predictable.

And who wants to be predictable? Just think how different your conversations and your important relationships would be if, when you are criticized (or when you think you are being criticized), you were able to calm yourself for a few moments. With that one little change, interactions which would usually race on as out-of-control emotional train wrecks just might go a bit better. One of the things years of doing therapy has convinced me of, is that you don't have to tell a professional your entire childhood or come up with diagnostic labels or "reasons" why you are the way you are.

The one concept you have to understand to follow along and consider changing your life experience is "anxiety." Anxiety is your body's response to threat, real or imagined. Almost all the threats we experience in modern life are imagined. The body is responding to a threat to "self-esteem," rather than warding off true danger. The most important thing to realize as we begin our journey is that when we experience "anxiety" we stop thinking and start reacting emotionally.

To take charge of your life, you must learn to recognize how anxiety affects your daily functioning. Without the capacity to slow down and "think" your life will be lost in automatic and self-defeating behaviors. So, we're off. Hut, hut.

Barbara Rice DeShong, Ph.D.
A Psychologist on the Loose

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