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7/21/09 7:39 P

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That's great that you've been able to cope without meds. Shows good doctor and counselor working together.
Me, I have taken meds for 36 years...since I was 4 years old when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Then when I had brain surgery, in 1990 I lost 1/4 - 1/3 of my brain in an operation call a RIGHT TEMPORAL LOBECTOMY. That took out ANY and ALL emotion control centre/control centre. It also removed my organizational skills. So, with that much of the brain removed, meds are often needed to balance out the imbalace of scar tissue left behind. And for some, it doesn't even take a detailed surgery. But it is GREAT if you can go on without meds. :)

Sheri Adams

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NEW_ME_FOREVER's Photo NEW_ME_FOREVER Posts: 5,579
7/21/09 8:50 A

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My overall health is important to me. And I have not taken any medications and my anxiety/panic attacks are getting under control. I was at my breaking point, but I didnt want medication.

This is a lifelong illness and I dont plan to be addicted to medications for a temporary fix. I agree it can be used for emergencies, but I wouldn't take them my entire life.

My doctor and counselor has helped me tremendously without medication. I've also done well with helping myself by attending classes for anxiety disorders, ive did research, read books, and making healthy lifestyle changes.

Everyone is different and have their way of doing things, and that's fine.

Take care

~Key~


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7/21/09 5:09 A

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There should be no fear of taking medication IF it is needed. My entire immediate family is on anti-anxiety medications and it runs on both my dad's side and my mom's side.
I have not been admitted to a psyche ward for over one year now and that is a HUGE HUGE HUGE step for me. I have not harmed myself in about 6 months, also a HUGE HUGE step. But my family doctor did better with my medications than my psychiatrist did. There is NO SHAME in having to take medication if you have to for chemical imbalances. And there is no shame in having any kind of help from the psychiatric or counseling profession either. Both are signs of healthy attitude. "I can't do this alone. I need help. Where can I get it?" So yes, good for thos who look for help and for those who don't want to take meds, I understand, but what is more important? Your overall health or your not wanting to take the meds that may help you?

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PUNKYPOWER21's Photo PUNKYPOWER21 Posts: 155
7/20/09 4:17 P

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I haven't had a panic attack in a couple years, but when I did have them, they were pretty bad. During my first big one, I thought I was having a heart attack and that I was going to die right then and there. I had others where just getting ready to go to work (a big source of stress) made it impossible to leave the house. I suffered for awhile, but was prescribed Xanax. Then I had a breakdown and decided to go to counseling. I spent several sessions just bawling and my counselor suggested I try medication so that I could function well enough to deal with my issues. I know some people don't like medication, but for me it was a good move. I felt like a normal person for the first time in years. I forgot what it was like to feel like that and I was able to work on some things for awhile. I stopped counseling because I wasn't really comfortable with my therapist, and because I stopped seeing her, that meant I couldn't get my prescription either. But I've done pretty well over the last couple years.

It's important to remember that anxiety, panic attacks and depression go hand in hand and until you deal with your real issues, they aren't going to go away. Medication, aromatherapy, and other treatment is nice and helps you get through it, but you really have to deal with what's causing the symptoms. I haven't done that 100%, but I'm much better off than I was a couple years ago. I still get anxiety, but it's not as bad now.

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7/20/09 2:22 P

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SCOTTIE31 that is called a Visualization Technique. You visualize a place you want to go to, you put there only the people you want there, you have only the sounds you want, only the smells, only the tastes, touches, sensse etc. And you do what you feel safe doing there whether it is sitting on a sunchair or swimming etc. I have one on the beach with my cat, a small log cabin, the sun is always shining but for a few soft clouds that come down enough to let me take a step up on them. I go up for 5 counts of:
Inhale 1 and 2 and
Exhale 1 and 2 and

until I have done it 6 times watching myself going up and seeing what's around me. Then I do the same thing going down only my breathing is a lttle less stressed and once the cloud is on the sand, it lets me off without problem and when my feet touch the sand, I come to and am calm.

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GOING4MYGOAL's Photo GOING4MYGOAL Posts: 48
7/20/09 11:00 A

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I suffer from anxiety and Panic attacks. My first panic attack came on about 4 years ago and it took me to the emergency room, I did not know what was happening, it was very scary. I have suffered through them and like most people do not like to take medication however they got so bad I decided to take Xanax when I really need to. My panic attacks at some times were so bad that I was afraid to be alone. For anyone who has an Ipod I recently found on Itunes a great Podcast for meditation and it really helps me at night to relax. The Podcast is called Meditation Podcast if you subscribe to the podcast it will download all Eleven weeks of the series and weeek two there is a Podcast called Calming the Body, it has really helped me a lot.

"I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday."


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7/19/09 6:45 P

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This is just one tool that has worked very well for me--but just like all tools, it won't work unless you "work it." A few months ago I located a place in Arizona called the Social Anxiety Institute--it's the only place is the U.S. devoted entirely to treating those with social anxiety. After examining the web site, I ordered a set of 20 CD's, which are a cognitive - behavioral therapy program recorded by the director of the institute. I try to read the handouts that came with the CD's aloud for 1/2 hour aday. Basically, they are a repetition of strategies you can use to change your negative thinking. It's all about the repetitio and reading aloud. This system has reduced my anxiety substantially. The Cd's are expensive--not for everyone. But I am on payment plan with them and they have been invaluable. I urge others with Social Anxiety to check out the website of the Social Anxiety Institute. I am now able to feel comfortable in routine social situations that used to give me a great deal of anxiety.

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SCOTTIE31's Photo SCOTTIE31 Posts: 123
7/18/09 9:27 P

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I go to the beach in my head or listen to christian music--it really helps refocus me!

Don't stress and God bless!


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NEW_ME_FOREVER's Photo NEW_ME_FOREVER Posts: 5,579
7/18/09 4:19 P

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Skinnynanny-I agree if you cant focus on life and you are at the bottom of the pit and your health/well bein is felling, then medication should be used to atleast help get your thoughts together.

I was almost to that point, but I begin to manage my anxiety before I got to that point. Even though my doc perscribed meds for panic attack, I never went to get it because exercising has helped me maintain the panic attacks.

Me and my doctor plan is to give myself a month of healthy life style changes and couseling to see how that helps but if I need the medication for panic attacks take them when needed. So far I havent needed them and I pray that I dont evern need them.

Take care

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SKINNYNANNY's Photo SKINNYNANNY Posts: 3,768
7/18/09 2:43 A

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I have had panic/anxiety attacks so bad in the past that I thought I was having a heart attack, and had to go to the hospital. there was a period where if I felt on coming on I would take a small part of a tablet given to me by the dr. it was only for the times where I felt that my panic attacks were so bad that I needed that extra help. I didn't take it every time, or every day to keep from getting them.
for me, recognizing some of the things that I could do to work through them as already mentioned got me to a point where the meds were no longer necessary.
a 30 day prescription would last me over a yr, if I took them only when none of the other things worked.
I tried lots of things to refocus away from the issue that held me in its grasp, creativity, music, reading, writing, baths, finishing projects, walking, praying, reading my bible. My faith has helped me be able to refocus, getting my mind onto something else. I see that the person that posted early hasn't gotten physically ill from her attacks, some of us do. I used to, some times meds are necessary for just a short time, you have to be the judge of that, you dont' have to take the whole prescription as I didn't . I never used it as a crutch, and got to the point where I didn't need it at all.
you seem to be doing well! good luck to you
skinnynanny

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" Steve Rolan Prefontaine

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

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SHERI1969's Photo SHERI1969 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/17/09 11:42 P

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www.indiana.edu/~engs/rbook/stress.h
tm
l

STRESS REDUCTION - it's long, but what you are looking for.

Andrews Weil suggests that we have a basic need to achieve "altered states of consciousness." He alludes to the fact that individuals from many cultures throughout history have engaged in behaviors that have produced a "natural high" and have reduced stress and tension. These activities usually involved physical exertion, quiet meditation, breathing exercises and/or risky and exciting ventures or pastimes. Herbert Benson likewise feels that many of these activities activate the "relaxation response," which is opposite to the "fight-flight" response. He suggests that activities that elicited the relaxation response became part of a society's religious and spiritual tradition, passed down from generation to generation.

ACTIVATING THE RELAXATION RESPONSE

The activation of the "relaxation response," in opposition to the activation of the "fight-flight" response, lies in the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. When this system is stimulated by a rhythmical activity in meditative activities such as chanting, breathing in a pattern, or saying prayers over and over, the individual begins to feel calm, relaxed, and anxiety free. When the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system is activated by any of these activities, the following physiological reactions occur:


1. Slowing of heart rate
2. Decrease in respiration
3. Decrease in metabolism
4. Increase in salivation and digestion
5. Decrease in blood pressure
6. Increase in alpha brain waves
7. Feeling of relaxation
8. Feeling of warmth and heaviness

In 1970, R.K. Wallace published results concerning the physiological effects of meditation, which are similar to the effects of parasympathetic nervous system stimulation. He showed that during meditation, oxygen consumption of the body was decreased. The production of lactic acid was also decreased, thus indicating a slowing down of metabolism. A decrease in heart rate and cardiac output indicated a reduction in the workload of the heart. The skin had an increased resistance to the passage of an electrical current, indicating decreased arousal of the sympathetic nervous system. An increase in slow theta and alpha brain waves indicated a more restful state. Wallace found that meditators he studied were in a restful and relaxed state after meditation. They were awake, alert, and exhibited increased reaction time, improved coordination, and improved hearing ability. Some meditators indicated that meditation resulted in a "natural high." These effects of meditation appear to result from the activation of the parasympathetic system and perhaps even the creation of natural opiates in the brain.

As has been previously mentioned, "natural opiates" and their receptor sites have been found in the brain. These brain chemicals-endorphins- have been found to block pain and to create a feeling of euphoria or a "high' much like opiates. It is thought that the "high" or euphoria from vigorous physical exertion, risky activities, gambling, meditation, and starvation may be due to the production of these brain chemicals. In theory, the endorphins, and probably other brain-manufactured "drugs," are released in response to both physical and psychological stress and/or other physiological states. This release may be induced by stimulation of the autonomic nervous system; however, research is not yet conclusive as to the mechanism of this phenomenon.

The Altered State or "Flow" Experience

Csikszentmihalyi discusses similar states that are described by individuals who become absorbed in various creative and recreational activities. A person who is completely involved in an activity, whether it be chess, rock climbing, the arts, dance, or anything else, often experiences certain subjective feelings called the "flow state." The flow state is a feeling of unified flowing from one moment to the next in which the person is in control of his/her actions and in which there is little distinction between self and environment, past, present, and future, stimulus or response. While in the flow state, the person usually does not think of him/herself as being separate from what he/she is doing. Individuals in the flow state are usually oblivious to their surroundings and describe what they experience in the following ways:

in control of their actions, even if it is a potentially dangerous activity
a general feeling of well-being
an altered sense of time
a merging of action and awareness
clarity and manageability of limits happiness, health, vision
integration of mind and body
understanding of true self and self integration
sense of place in the universe and oneness of nature
This sense of flow, or altered state, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is what causes certain individuals to sacrifice power, fame, and money for such things as artistic creativity, hobbies, and other recreational and sports activities. He implies that this flow or altered state experience can be a strong motivator for many individuals and can be an alternative to drug use.

ALTERNATIVE HIGHS

There appear to be many types of activities that can elicit positive feelings, produce a "high" or flow experience, or reduce stress. These non-drug activities can be considered alternative highs to drugs if stress is reduced and the person is able to become involved in the positive flow experience. However, it is possible to become psychologically dependent upon anything, including any of the alternative highs, exercise, or stress reduction activities. Therefore, it is suggested that all methods that attempt to elicit relaxation, altered states, or the flow experience be done in moderation in an attempt to prevent them from becoming addictive behaviors. The activities that elicit these positive altered states fall into the categories of active and passive alternatives.

ACTIVE ALTERNATIVES

Active alternatives include vigorous physical exercise, risky ventures, and recreation and sport activities. Since at least early Greek times, physical conditioning and sport activities have been engaged in by different segments of many cultures. Individuals who excelled at various activities were often highly respected by their society.

The active types of physical activity have been found to alleviate tension once the stress response has occurred. Physical activity has also been found to produce a feeling of well-being, tranquility, and an altered state in both adults and children.

PHYSICAL EXERTION

Rhythmic physical exertion such as running, jogging, fast walking, swimming, bicycling, and dancing are thought to create a training effect. In the training effect the heart and other muscles are made stronger and the respiratory system has an increased capacity to take in air and exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. The hormonal system and metabolic reactions are also strengthened in their ability to cope with stressors. During physical activity, all of these systems are stimulated for action. However, about ninety minutes after a good physical bout of exercise, a feeling of deep relaxation occurs. To benefit from the training effect, one needs to accomplish the exercise at least three times a week for at least twenty minutes at a time. Other vigorous activities such as self defense and active sports can also promote feelings of well-being and fitness.

Jogging, Running, and Fast Walking. The cheapest vigorous exercise is jogging, running, or fast walking. You do not need any special equipment and can do it almost anywhere and in any season. This type of exercise can help you lose weight, decrease the appetite, and keep you in good physical shape besides eliciting an altered state and reducing tension. The only disadvantage is that jogging and running may cause knee injuries in some people. This is often found among those who tend to "push themselves."

Before you start a jogging or running program, you should check with your physician to make sure that you do not have a serious medical condition. This is especially true if you are over the age of forty. Many individuals have suddenly died of heart attacks after a bout of exercise, such as snow shoveling, when they had not exercised for years.

The following are some guidelines for beginning a jogging or running program:

1. Wear rubber-soled tennis or running shoes. They do not need to be expensive or "name brand." However, they need to support your foot when you run and must fit comfortably.

2. Wear Socks. In some areas of the country, it is fashionable among college students not to wear socks with shoes. However, socks help absorb the shock to the foot when it meets the ground in running, and they help to prevent the formation of blisters.

3. During warm weather wear shorts and a T-shirt. Long pants such as "long johns" and several sweaters or a sweat shirt are needed for cold weather. There are all types of fashionable exercising outfits on the market. They are not necessary for fitness programs, even though advertisements try to convince you they are.

4. Test your physical condition by doing a Fitness Test. In this test, you run or walk as far as you can in twelve minutes. After a month of exercise, take the test again and see if you have improved if you were in the "Fair" to "Very Poor" categories.

5. If you are not used to physical activity, start off slowly. You should be able to talk and jog at the same time. If you find that you are panting or that your heart rate is above 160 beats per minute, stop jogging and walk for awhile.

Swimming and Biking. Swimming is excellent for cardiovascular conditioning and total body fitness. It produces little jar to body joints. The disadvantages are that it requires learned skill and special facilities. It also tends to be seasonal unless there is an indoor pool available. There is the minimal cost of the swimsuit. If you have never learned to swim, you might like to seek out swimming lessons at your school. Most communities have lessons offered by the YMCA, Red Cross, and other groups.

Bike riding promotes good cardiovascular conditioning and aids in weight control. It is easier on the joints than jogging, running or fast walking. It is also an excellent energy saving transportation. There are several disadvantages of bike riding. It requires a learned skill, a bike is sometimes expensive to buy, and there is always a risk of riding in automobile traffic. Riding for several miles does promote tension reduction and usually a feeling of well-being. It is also an activity that can easily be done alone or with other people.

Dancing. There are many types of dancing. They aid in weight control, can be done in almost any location, and are good for cardiovascular conditioning. Dancing can include disco, rock and roll, folk, aerobic, ballet, and T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Disco and rock and roll dancing tends to be done in public places with people as a social activity. However, as an exercise and alternative, a disco tape or record can be played at home and danced to. Many university communities have folk dancing groups. At these groups various dances from different cultures are learned and practiced. Square dancing and clogging are sometimes considered North American folk dancing forms and can usually be found in rural areas of the continent. However, many college communities have clubs devoted to square dancing.

Aerobic dancing is primarily exercising to music. Various steps and body motions are performed. This is an excellent conditioning exercise and can be done in a group or at home to a tape or record. There are several books on the market that illustrate a variety of aerobic exercises.

Ballet and classical dance usually take more practice than other current dance forms. Training and instruction are required for several years to arrive at some degree of accomplishment. However, individuals who accomplish and practice ballet often report that it promotes relaxation and well-being.

T'ai Chi Ch'uan is an oriental dance and self protection exercise. It is concerned with motion and change and is done in slow motion. It also has a meditative quality. Most practitioners report an altered state plus relaxation from engaging in this dancelike activity.

Self Defense Activities. Karate, Tae Kwando, and other self defense/martial art activities promote both rhythmical exercise and meditative concentration. These dance-defense-exercise forms are from the Orient and have been practiced in one form or another for hundreds of years. In Japan the Samurai, or warrior, class was expected to be proficient in many of these defense forms. Ritual, mental, and physical discipline and concentration are found in all of the self defense activities. Practitioners often report feelings of confidence and altered states after participating in these exercises.

Risky Venture Alternatives

Seemingly risky activities and ventures have attracted many throughout the ages because of the thrill and natural high they often bring. Until recently, many cultures included risky ventures into their social fabric to fulfill this need. As an example, young males in many societies were expected to accomplish dangerous and daring missions such as hunting a bear alone, as an initiation into manhood. However, as societies changed, these risky "rites of passage" often became extinct. A need for risky ventures and excitement is thought to be one of the reasons why some youth get "turned onto drugs."

However, other individuals became involved in apparently thrilling and risky recreational activities as an alternative to drugs. Common activities, to be discussed below, tend to fall into airborne, land, and water ventures.

Airborne Ventures. Throughout history humans have wanted to fly. This dream has finally become possible during the past 100 years. Airborne ventures now include airplane and ultralight aircraft flying, soaring, hang gliding, ballooning, and parachute jumping. All of these activities take training. They are also expensive. They can be dangerous, and deaths are recorded each year of participants in these sports. As part of training, however, there is a great emphasis on safety and what to do in emergencies. Many university communities now have clubs for these activities which offer training to the beginner.

All of these airborne activities offer a challenge, a vehicle for self knowledge, skill building, feeling of accomplishment, and defiance against the elements-especially the air. It is a "high" to be flying above people, buildings, trees, and landscape with the birds.

Land and Sea Ventures. Humans have occupied caves and climbed mountains since prehistoric times. However, deep cave exploration and mountain climbing were usually thought to be fraught with danger and evil spirits and were considered dangerous. Today many individuals are becoming involved with these sports for the thrill and challenge they offer. Some training is required for spelunking (cave exploration), rock climbing, and mountaineering, but equipment is not that expensive. Deaths and injuries are reported for these activities, but safety procedures are emphasized in training to prevent accidents. Most college communities sponsor clubs for these sports, and the beginner can receive training, generally free of charge.

Some other potentially dangerous and thrilling land-based activities include motorcycle racing, drag racing and "demolition derbies" to name a few. Clubs for these activities are found in many communities. However, they tend not to be popular with college and university students. They do, however, offer an alternative.

Challenging water-based activities include white-water canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving. These activities have long been attractive to many individuals; some have used variations on their skills as part of their occupations, a necessary contribution to community recreation or public safety. All of these ventures take some training. Though some deaths occur each year from these activities, safety is emphasized in training. There is some expense in renting or purchasing the equipment. However, most university communities have clubs for interested participants, and training and rental are often inexpensive. All of these activities offer a challenge, self knowledge, and escape from the everyday world.

Sports and Other Recreational Activities

All societies have had various sport activities for individuals or groups. The early Greeks and Romans fostered sports and built stadiums to watch the games. There are a host of sport and recreational activities that can produce the training effect, promote fitness, and reduce tension. Most of these activities require some type of skill and need some training. They tend to have minimal expense.

Among the most popular participatory sports today are tennis, squash, racquetball, and handball. All of these activities are quite active and will usually give the person a "workout." They need to be done with at least one other person. Downhill and cross-country skiing are also popular and can be done either alone or with others. They also take some training and are good for cardiovascular conditioning.

Some other recreational activities that are enjoyed by many include golfing, billiards, and bowling. These do not produce a conditioning effect but can be relaxing to some people if they are not too self critical as to their score.

A great escape for many today is camping. In the distant past, most primitive human groups survived by "camping." However, like the other basic skills of hunting and fishing, camping is now considered a recreation. Camping for escape and an altered state is wilderness camping. In this type of activity, as opposed to pulling a recreational vehicle into a campground with electricity, the individual hikes into a wilderness area carrying food and equipment for survival. This variety of camping-especially combined with canoeing or hiking-can offer tension reduction, self renewal, self awareness, appreciation for what one has back home, and a "natural high."

Passive Alternatives

Most societies have developed methods to passively induce altered states and the relaxation response. For example, in most religions, prayer and/or meditation is common. It is often done rhythmically and repeatedly and, when carried out for a long period of time, a relaxed or altered state is often reached. This repeated form of prayer and meditation is common in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Roman Catholicism. Some other forms of passively induced altered states, besides meditation, are systematic relaxation, self hypnosis, yoga, and biofeedback.

Most of these passive alternatives, besides being used for tension and stress reduction, can also be used for alleviating insomnia. When using them for sleep, do them lying down. When you use them for stress reduction, sit comfortably in a chair.

Meditation

There are many forms of meditation. Most trace their ancestry from ancient yoga and Zen Buddhism. Over the last decade, TM, or transcendental Meditation, based upon Hindu teaching, has become popular in the west. A secret mantra (sound) is given to the meditator by a teacher of the technique. This sound is then repeated over and over with eyes closed.

Some types of Hindu and Buddhist practices focus upon a mandala- a visualization of some object such as a thousand-petal lotus. Regardless of their origin, all the meditative techniques have at least two phases. The first is to quiet the body, and the second is to quiet the mind. This is often done in the following sequence:


1. Relaxing the motor muscles i.e. arms, legs
2. Decreasing the breathing rate.
3. Decreasing the rate of other body functions.
4. Slowing brain activities.

Meditation is often considered the process of trying to eliminate the chatter of the mind-the constant thinking, planning, and fantasizing-which occupies the conscious state of the mind every waking moment. As arousal is reduced, so is anxiety. Self transcendence, or an altered state, is then achieved. Most meditators find they feel creative, positive, calm, and energetic after meditation.

A simple easy to learn meditative exercise, which combines both a mantra and a mandala, is described as follows:

1. Find a quiet place where you can be alone if possible. (This technique may be done in crowded places as long as it is appropriate for you to close your eyes. If you cannot escape to your bedroom or other isolated spot, you can always close the stall door in a public facility to achieve some degree of aloneness and privacy.)

2. Sit in a comfortable position.

3. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Let your thoughts come and go.

4. Start to visualize a particular object-for example, a rose.

5. In your thoughts, start to repeat the word for the object-"rose"-over and over, at any speed or rhythm it wants to go.

6. As you continue to repeat the word, start to imagine the rose opening and closing in the same rhythm.

7. If distracting thoughts come into your mind, let them pass through. Continue to repeat your word and see its image. (Often, worries of the day, like "what shall I have for dinner" or "I have three exams to study for," will flow through your mind to distract you.?

8. Keep this process going from two to twenty minutes.

9. When it is time to stop, open your eyes slowly.

You should feel relaxed, refreshed, and less anxious after trying this technique.

Yoga

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning "union". The practice is at least 3000 years old, and its origins can be traced to India. It is considered to be a philosophical system. There are now several sects or "paths" of yoga which have developed over the years. Bhakti yoga is a way of devotion of love and faith directed to God. It uses chants and worship, Dhyana yoga is a method of concentration. It is a purely mental discipline leading to trance states. Karma yoga is concerned with selfless work and good deeds. Charitable acts are accomplished by individuals who follow this path. Kriya yoga is primarily concerned with religious action and ritualism. Kundalini yoga theorizes potential energy coiled up in the nervous system, which can be released with the recitation of sacred mantras. Hatha yoga is the most familiar to Westerners. It is the path of health using exercise as a means to mental and physical harmony.

All forms of yoga teach methods of concentration ad contemplation to control the mind, subdue the primitive consciousness, and bring the physical body under control of the will. In Hatha yoga, slow stretching of the muscles in exercise is taught, along with breathing in certain rhythmical patterns. The body positions or asamas for exercises and meditation can be learned, with some practice, by most. These positions are thought to clear the mind and create energy and a state of relaxation for the individual.

A common breathing technique that can be done while in the Siddha, or Lotus position (sitting on the floor with the feet tucked under the knees), is as follows:

1. Sit comfortably in the Siddha position.

2. Breathe in through the mouth to the count of 6. Hold your breath to the count of 9. Exhale your breath through the mouth to the count of 3.

3. Repeat this procedure three times.

4. Breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose, using this procedure, three times.

5. Then hold the left nostril closed with a finger and repeat the procedure, breathing through the right nostril three times.

6. Continue to repeat the procedure in the following manner.

Breathe through the left nostril, breathe deeply or shallowly, hot or cold, panting, puffing, or making animal-like noises such as mooing, cooing, barking, etc. Repeat each of the breathing patterns three times for each sound or part you are concentrating upon.

These breathing exercises can then be done in the various yoga positions. After engaging in this activity, many find that they feel relaxed and are energized, alert, and calm.

Hypnosis

Like most other mind-altering techniques, hypnosis is very ancient. The earliest documented use of hypnotherapy dates back 3000 years to the Evers Papyrus of ancient Egypt. The sleep temples of the Babylonians and ancient Greeks are other examples of early hypnosis centers. Hypnosis has waxed and waned in popularity over the centuries. Until recently, it has not been popular in North America. However, hypnotic techniques under different names, such as visualization and imaging, have been used increasingly over the past twenty years. Mental health professionals are now also beginning to use hypnosis in treatment. Many hypnosis techniques are easy to learn and can bring relaxation, altered states, and alertness. They can also relieve headaches and other chronic pain and are effective against insomnia.

When people think of hypnosis, they often think of a trance state that takes special preparation, intelligence, or skill to achieve. However, going into a trance through self hypnosis is something we do every day. For example, when you drive a car and suddenly "wake up," realizing that you had driven further than you thought, you have just come out of trance. Daydreaming in a boring lecture is another example of a trance state. Using self hypnosis for relaxation or concentration is taking this natural skill of relaxed, focused concentration and putting it to use for your benefit.

The following procedure is a simple self hypnosis technique that takes about ten to twenty minutes to accomplish.

1. Sit in a comfortable chair.

2. Close your eyes and breathe slowly in and out ten times.

3. Imagine that you are at the top of the stairs in an old mansion.

4. Each time you breathe out, start to take a step down the stairs.

5. As you are breathing and stepping down, start counting backwards from 20 to 1.

6. As you are breathing, counting, and walking, down the steps you may notice that your body is beginning to feel relaxed, warm, and heavy.

7. When you have reached the bottom of the stairs, go out a door that opens onto a beach.

8. After you have walked through the door to the beach, feel the warm sun on your body. Hear the waves washing against the shore and the sound of seagulls. Feel the warm sand flowing through your toes. Smell the fresh salt air. See the sparkling water and the blue sky above you. Enjoy the beach for a few moments.

9. When you are ready to reorient yourself back to your surrounding environment, start to count from 1 to 20. At the count of 20, you will feel refreshed, alert, relaxed, and wide awake.

You can do many variation upon this image. Instead of going to the beach, you may like to go to a favorite outdoor spot in the woods, or to the place you used to enjoy as a child. This and other self hypnosis techniques can help you to feel relaxed and calm, and sometimes result in an natural high. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a relatively new technique. It generally relies on a machine that can measure brain waves, cardiac rhythm, pulse, breathing, muscle tension, or conduction of electricity by the skin. Since it is not a technique that you can do without purchasing expensive and complicated equipment or going to the office of a therapist who has the equipment, biofeedback will not be discussed in great detail here. Basically, biofeedback training is a conditioning process. When a more tranquil state is recorded by the equipment, the individual is rewarded by a pleasant tone or colored light. The individual attempts to concentrate so as to produce more and more of the reward in response to changes in the body system he/she is trying to control. This technique can be used to lower blood pressure, produce an increase of alpha waves, or slow pulse or muscle tension.

CREATIVE AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES

There are numerous creative activities in which an altered state is experienced by the participant. These include the arts, crafts, and hobbies.

The Arts

Music. Since the beginning of time, humans have engaged in chanting, singing, or other rhythmic vocal activities. They have also devised musical instruments to accompany them in their song, and dances to graphically illustrate the story in the music. Many cultures have developed special styles of music that reflect the geography, social order, or primary occupations of the society. Males in many African cultures, for example, would partake in chanting and dancing accompanied by drums and primitive flutes. They would sing and enact in their dance movements the hunting of game in which they were about to engage on the grasslands. This type of activity probably energized them for the hunt and created a natural high.

Music in various forms is also common today in all societies. Some people musical instruments for recreation and enjoyment-the guitar, piano, and banjo are common. If you do not already play a musical instrument, you might like to learn for your own enjoyment. Most university communities have music students who would be happy to teach you for a few dollars an hour. People who practice a musical instrument often describe an altered state of consciousness during playing.

Those individuals who sing also often report a feeling of exhilaration and a natural high after practice singing for an hour or so. Most communities have singing groups of various kinds: choirs, choruses, barbershop quartets, and community theater that produces light opera. This is another activity in which you might like to participate.

Composition and Writing. Many individuals throughout history have alluded to the production of an altered state during creative writing or musical composition. Beethoven, even though he lost his hearing, could hear music in his head and could still compose. Individuals who write often mention that they get into a "creative mood" in which they lose track of time and place and are intensely self absorbed in their writing production. This again is described as a natural high by many-including the author-who write for enjoyment.

Painting and Sculpture. Some of the earliest human artistic remains are rock paintings in caves of southern France. Art was, and is, found in all cultures in a variety of forms. For example, the Islamic religion prohibits the rendering of human likeness in art. However, adherents of Islam have created elaborate designs in various mediums instead. Cultures have varied as to the emphasis they have put on art and the status of the artist. This has produced, historically, in societies where art was not highly regarded, individuals who have suffered poverty and hardships in order to paint or express themselves artistically in other ways. These artists and others have often reported spiritual or altered conscious states from partaking in their creative activity.

If you have never tried drawing, painting, sketching or sculpting, you might like it. A variety of classes are offered in these media in all colleges and universities.

Crafts

Crafts such as pottery, basket weaving, and cloth and tool making have been around since early humans first began to collect in small tribes. There has been evidence of craft production throughout recorded archeological history. Undoubtedly, hand crafts were first practiced as a necessity for basic survival. However, as societies progressed, many crafts, even though they were no longer necessary for survival, remained as certain individuals took pleasure in engaging in them. There are hundreds of crafts in which you can become involved. In most cases, some item is created. Crafts can take the form of knitting, crocheting, nee

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7/17/09 8:58 P

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1TOBFIT Thanks so much and i will look into the book when i finish the one my counselor gave me preciate you all and blessings to everyone on this LIFE journey whatever yours may be.



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emoticon New_Me_Forever for taking charge of your health! I think your plan about focusing on yourself is right on! There is an old book by Louise Hay titled: You can Heal Your Life. It has affirmations that will help in so many ways ! Im sure you can find it in your local library.
I wish you much luck on your journey you will overcome this emoticon
Blessings,
Jackie

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7/17/09 10:02 A

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Exactly! That's what I was explainig to my doctor and couselor. But my anxiety/panic attacks had gotten so bad they wanted me to go on it for at least 6weeks.

I said no instead for 6 weeks I will focus on Self: eating healthier, exercising, cousling, practicing relaxation, etc...And see how that helps.

So after a month I will see if I still need the meds. Its been a couple weeks and Im already feeling better. Less panic attacks, Im practicing positive self talk (my couselor gave me a great workbook: The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Borune), and Im able to calm myself better when I feel my self getting anxious.

So I know with help and without medicines I can get through this with a Fight!

~Key~


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It's actually better if you can handle panic without meds, because using the meds can actually keep you from getting better in the long run (because you think of them as what makes things better and stress when not using them!).

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emoticon ...Wow! Its good to know others can heal without meds. Im currently working on managing my anxiety and panic attacks Naturally...without meds! Way 2 Go!

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lol, think I am too far away to do that, but thanks for the opportunity and for asking! :)

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Last posts are excellent advice, you guys want to cover for me with patients when I go on vacation?

Beth Parks Aronson

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PREPARING AND DEALING WI TH ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS

PREPARATION FOR POSITIVE SELF-STATEMENTS FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY

PREPARATION:
These are things you can say to your self so you wont' get so upset and anxious before the time of the event you are nervous about arrives. It will keep you calm. Things you can say to yourself:
- It's not going to be as bad as I think,
- It won't last long and I can cope with it.
- I might enjoy it if I go.
- If I do get bad feelings, I know they won't last long and I can cope with them.
- It's better to go than not to go. Worry doesn't help.
- I'm getting better and need to go to rebuild my confidence.

CONCENTRATION
Next you have to concentrate. You have to be in the ready to go mode. For this moment things you can say to yourself would include:
-Concentrate on what is going on.
-This is just anxiety; it is an unpleasant feeling but I've never been ill.
-The feelings are unpleasant but not harmful or dangerous.
-Concetrate on what I have to do.
-I know I am going to be OK.
-One step at a time.
-The feelings ALWAYS pass away.
-Remember to relax and think positive

PRAISE
Now your moment of stress and anxiety is over and done with. These are some of the things you can say to yourself:
-I coped with that.
-I achieved that; I'm getting better.
-I handled that; it should be easier next time.
-I can be pleased with the progress I am making.
-I did that well.
-If I keep this up, I'm going to get really good at this.


Sheri Adams

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For me, Ive found when I exercise regularly (daily) and am consistent with meditation (daily), I dont have any anxiety or panics.Consistency is the key word here. When Im not consistent, I sure feel the effects! These two actions allowed me to discontinue taking anti-anxiety meds ! emoticon

-Jackie-


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When your mind says give up, hope whispers one more try



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There is a great workbook called Overcoming Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia by McKay and Zuercher-White. I use it with my patients and they've found it really helpful. It has a whole range of things including breathing exercises and cognitive therapy strategies to help you get it under control.

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To thrive in spite of anxiety, stress, & panic, I try to remember that art-making puts me in a kind of flow state which is way outside the boundaries of the above 3. I sometimes forget to remember, though. emoticon

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Thanks! Im trying! emoticon

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good job sounds like you are ahead of some of the rest of us. keep up the great work. emoticon

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Hey Everyone,

Since this is the stress relief team I thought I would ask How do you cope with anxiety, stress, or panic attacks, because they do play a role in stressful times. So if you suffer from any of those problems how do you get through them?

I practice deep breathing, positive self talk, and aromatherpy.

~Key~


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