It’s not even the “triad” of holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza, or New Year’s Day), and the signs of stress already abound. Twitter has turned into a squawking citizen’s megaphone, a way to complain to the faceless masses out there on the Internets about a personal offense, poor customer service, or social injustice, all at equal volume.
Social Media feeds are exploding and imploding, with some taking to their feeds to tell their friends and family that they are overwhelmed, discouraged, or angry, while others slink away quietly, all but shuttering their accounts.
While therapists are not advice givers, I thought that it might be helpful to share just a few stress-reducing behaviors that can help you if you’re feeling frazzled and exhausted.
Editorial Note: It is extremely rare that I write about real stories as they happen. Confidentiality must be maintained in my work at all costs. However, the aftermath of an article in the New York Times in August 2015 demands a response. In this post, all stories have been generalized; only the original post is referenced. I will not confirm the presence of employees from any one company in the Seattle area as clients. I was not approached by Amazon nor any other company to write this post. These are my own words. – imei
On Sunday morning August 16, 2015, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and David Streitfelt published an article about workplace ethics and conditions at Amazon.com. The article’s description from former employees who cried at their desks and were encouraged to tear each other’s ideas apart through use of internal communications sparked a firestorm of comments, including ones from current Amazon employees defending the company’s practices and attacking the veracity of the journalists. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos responded quickly with a letter to his employees, asking them to share whether they had experienced the stories found in the article.
How does any of this relate to a private practice in mental health a few miles down the road from Amazon’s headquarters? Why would I devote a lengthy post to what is being hailed by some as a classic example of media spin?
Anxiety is a common feature of modern life. Anxiety is more often a fear of something that has not happened – and may not even happen at all. Contrast the difference between the real fear of receiving an eviction notice on one’s door after failing to pay the mortgage for four consecutive months (cause and effect fear), and the anxiety of that same situation, only you actually possess enough money to pay the mortgage. Generally, Anxiety is a problem when your responses exceed what one would expect in the circumstances you face. In other words, you have an over-response. Anxieties can show up as a complex and chronic repetition of responses to the unknown, or they can take on the shape of specific phobia so powerful that you develop palpitations, diaphoresis, dysphoria, dizziness, and nausea just thinking about the phobia. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks can leave one feeling paralyzed, unable to tap one’s usual cognitive and physical skills to get oneself back to a place of safety and security. Other than using narcotics and sleep medication, are there other ways help people encounter their feelings of anxiety? The answer may lie in attacking anxiety with breathing.