Tag Archives: anxiety

A Great Way to Plan Ahead: Use a Coping Plan!

Thoughtful woman looking toward a bright path

Your path ahead looks uncertain, and it will be full of ups and downs.  Most people struggle with how to cope when their emotions may tend to get out of control.

What is a Coping Plan?

I would like to share a simple worksheet that was developed to help with that.  It will guide you to put some thought into what “triggers” you, and what warning signs would be seen by others when you are upset.

It also helps you explore what is helpful and what is not helpful if you feel like you are losing control.   The Coping plan can be shared with others, so they understand more about you and your needs. And, you will be able to be more prepared  for successful coping if you plan ahead.

How to Use a Coping Plan

Please go to to my Coping Plan webpage to read more about using the worksheet and about Trauma-Informed Care.  It was developed to help prevent people from being re-traumatized because of the reactions of others to their behaviors. To summarize:

Trauma can shape people’s mental, emotional, spiritual
and physical well-being.  Nearly every
family is impacted in some way.  Instead of asking “what is wrong with you?” ask “what has happened to you?” Reduce the blame and shame that some people feel. Build understanding of how the past impacts the present and help you progress
toward healing and recovery

The original link used for the information above was:

WI Dept. of Health Services. (2012). Wisconsin State Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
Educational and Media Campaign. Retrieved 7-15-12 from
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh_bcmh/tic/index.htm 

A current link for more information about Trauma-Informed Care is https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/resilient/trauma-informed-practices.htm

You will probably also learn that your behaviors are not so different than many other people who we interacted with as we developed the worksheet.

The coping plan worksheet is available here >>>

Find successful ways to cope

My goal is to help people who are struggling with anxiety, anger, depression, addiction, or other behavior problems to cope better.  There are lots of ideas on the worksheet!

Share your coping plan with people around you

Allow  family, friends, and community be able to help you more.   Things usually seem easier when they are discussed ahead of time and they know what to expect.  Stronger relationships can happen with better coping.

Hopefully,  life’s path will look brighter as you feel more prepared and in control.  I hope this information is helpful to you!

 

Blog Post # 20  written 6-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Anxiety: The Other Stage of Grief

Woman trying to find her way through woods

Sadness and anxiety often happen together. It’s common to feel anxiety after the death of a loved one. Grief and anxiety happen together. But, not much attention is given to this side of grief. When you’ve experienced a major loss, it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost control and like the world is no longer the safe and normal place you once knew. When you pair these strong emotions of grief with feelings of helplessness, it’s easy for anxiety to grow.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety starts as extra worrying that interferes with your everyday life. You may feel a sense of dread or distress for no apparent reason, struggle with concentration, be irritable and on edge, and have trouble eating and sleeping. When anxiety is related to grief, it’s especially common to find yourself having obsessive thoughts. You may think about bad things happening to you or your loved ones. You may even face panic attacks where you have feelings of extreme fear, an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness.

Why Does Grief Cause Anxiety?

When you lose someone close to you, especially if that loss is unexpected, your sense of safety in the world can be shaken to its core. Suddenly you feel powerless and aware of how fragile life is, in a way you’ve never thought of before. You may develop an intense fear of your own death, or begin to worry about how you will manage without your loved one. These feelings can be incredibly stressful, especially when paired with the usual symptoms of grief. You may even have anxiety triggered by a fear of your own grief emotions or a feeling that you’re not able to cope with your grief.

How to Cope?

Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy. Anxiety often comes on unexpectedly and it can be hard to figure out the cause. That makes it more difficult to prepare for or avoid. However, there are some things you can do to cope with anxiety when it hits.

When you feel anxiety coming on, try practicing deep belly breathing. Breathe in slowly, letting your chest and stomach rise as your lungs fill with air, and then breathe out slowly. Breathing deeply and focusing on your breath can help tone down your body’s stress response, heading off an anxiety attack before it starts.

If you find yourself unable to sleep because you can’t turn off your racing thoughts, try playing guided imagery recordings. By guiding your thoughts toward positive imagery and away from unwanted thoughts, guided imagery can help you relax and clear your mind.

Try creating an anchor thought. An anchor thought can help you manage your anxiety when it creeps in. It’s called an “anchor thought” because it helps anchor you to reality and keeps your mind from spiraling into anxious thinking. An anchor thought might involve recalling a happy memory and the positive feelings associated with it. Or, it might be a breathing exercise or mantra you repeat until you’re feeling better.

Consider Seeking Treatment

If your anxiety doesn’t get better as your grief fades, or if it’s interfering with your everyday life, it’s important to seek treatment from a mental health professional. You may choose to talk to a grief counselor, join a support group, seek medication from a psychiatrist, or all three. No matter what you choose, getting help for your anxiety is an important step you can take toward managing your grief.

Recognize Normal Emotions

Anxiety is a normal part of grief. Grief pushes you into a world of intense emotions where nothing feels certain except, perhaps, uncertainty itself. While grieving a loved one can be an incredibly isolating experience, it’s important to remember that intense reactions like anxiety and even depression are normal, and there are experienced professionals who know how to help.

Image via Pixabay by Unsplash

Blog by Jennifer Scott, guest contributor posted  3-13-17

Updated for readability 5-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Inspirational Music for Teens

Musical notes for song written on paper

Music can help with coping:

I developed a list of old and new songs  for teenagers from many different kinds of music. Some of these songs and their lyrics could be helpful inspirational music for teens who need.  Music can help with coping and healing during recovery.

Sometimes the music that teen choose to listen too can be edgy or dark and brooding because it matches their mood.  It may feel like the music “understands” their anxiety, depression, or anger. But, music with a positive message would be more effective in the long run.  The following songs on YouTube.com were chosen by other teens.

Getting started with inspirational music:

First, try to find all of these songs from the Inspirational Music for Teens on www.YouTube.com and chose the versions that have lyrics on the screen so you can follow the words. The songs are appropriate for adults, but avoid any that have upsetting images (if you watch the music videos). Play the ones you like as often as you want to, as one of your ways of coping.

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Breathe by He is We

Fix You by Coldplay

Never Let Go by David Chowder Band

There is a Way by Newworldson

Everything by Lifehouse

Behind These Hazel Eyes by Kelly Clarkson

You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

Blackbird by the Beatles

Stand by Rascal Flatts

I Won’t Let Go by Rascal Flatts

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

Anyway by Martina McBride

Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift

A River Flows in You by Yiruma

Vanilla Twilight by Owl City

I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz

K’Naan Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix)

Brand New Me by Alicia Keyes

Hall of Fame by The Script

Enjoy the music!

Reflection:

What other songs have been inspirational, healing, or comforting to you?

Are there some other songs that you think should be added to this list?

Feel free to contact Mary Knutson to recommend more songs.

Blog #4 written 10-28-15 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-26-20

Videos to Help Teens Cope

Flower garden planted in old shoes

How to help you cope with stress:

Stress and anxiety are common emotions for teenagers. Sometimes what you need to distract yourself from what is bothering you.   The  following  list of Youtube.com videos is meant to help teens cope with stress in a positive way.

Check out the Ways of Coping Video List to help you to relax, heal, or be more mindful. Try to watch them all and see how they make you feel.  Then, choose the best ones to watch as often as you want to:

Videos for teens:

Succeed with a Positive Attitude                       1:00 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvtUByxnrGU

The Pandas: Belly of the Whale                          5:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWTFKihlhLQ

20 Words to Change Your Life                           4.29 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLZxJZ70MQ4

K’NAAN Wavin’ Flag Celebration Mix               3:75 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJSt4wP2ME

The Interlude Dance (Original)                           3:52 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cuS_31zJ6U

The Gratitude Dance (Original)                          3:25 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9z2ELaBVJY

What is Mindfulness?                                           1:59 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnB5i0ToUc

Stress – Let Go & Be in Flow of Life                   3:08 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMGOuHwfnFQ

Forgiveness & Freedom of Letting Go              4:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4VMZb8wLY

I Am Grateful                                                           4:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtoGY6zMXGM

Inspirational Video: Don’t Quit Poem              2:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkCFeNeqyHk

Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir –Lux Arumque     6:20 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

Relax – Zen Garden Kokin Gumi                                    7:09 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8

Yiruma – River Flows in You                                          3:08      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ

Enjoy the videos!

 

Blog #3  10-28-15 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-27-20

 

Videos to Help You Cope

cat in windowsill

How to help you cope with stress:

Stress and anxiety are common emotions for everyone. Sometimes what you need to distract yourself from what is bothering you.   The  following  list of Youtube.com videos is meant to help you cope with stress in a positive way.

Check out the Ways of Coping Videos List to help you to relax, heal, or be more mindful. Try to watch them all and see how they make you feel.  Then, choose the best ones to watch as often as you want to:

Videos to watch:

Ten Tips for Stress Management                       2:14 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOpZU320v5E

Succeed with a Positive Attitude                       1:00 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvtUByxnrGU

42 Ways to Celebrate and Enjoy Life                5:10 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBqsWDaUdHM

Believe in Yourself                                                  3:42 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdpHaKkbmGk

K’NAAN Wavin’ Flag Celebration Mix               3:75 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJSt4wP2ME

There is Hope (Meditation)                                 3:31 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7EuSeRBMnk

What is Mindfulness?                                           1:59 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnB5i0ToUc

Stress – Let Go & Be in Flow of Life                   3:08 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMGOuHwfnFQ

Forgiveness & Freedom of Letting Go              4:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4VMZb8wLY

I Am Grateful                                                           4:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtoGY6zMXGM

Inspirational Video: Don’t Quit Poem              2:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkCFeNeqyHk

Relax – Zen Garden Kokin Gumi                                    7:09 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8

Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir – Lux Arumque     6:20 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

Yiruma – River Flows in You                                  3:08     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ

Enjoy these videos!

 

Blog #2 10-28-15 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN  of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-27-20

(Next  – Blog #3 will be inspirational videos for teens)

Forgiveness and the Heart

This heart shaped potato was found in my garden.
This heart shaped potato was found in my garden!

A Heart-Shaped Surprise:

A surprise from my garden helped me reflect on forgiveness and the heart. I was divorced and lonely, not yet ready to forgive. Gardening was something I enjoyed.  It helped me to relax and heal. 

While digging up some potatoes in the Fall, I found a little heart-shaped potato ! I was planning to show it to my  daughter. But, then I forgot about it for several days.  There was plenty of “hustle and bustle” because my daughter’s wedding was coming up soon.

Attending a stressful event:

I was not looking forward to seeing my ex-husband and his second wife at the wedding and the reception. I had resented them for over 7 years because of their part in ending our marriage. But, during the time of the wedding celebration, I was finally able to forgive them and move on. After that, I had more peace in my heart even though there was no conversation about forgiveness with them.

Forgiveness and the heart:

The next day, I saw the heart-shaped potato again. It helped me to realize how much lighter my heart felt after forgiving them. I felt healthier and more at peace. The heart-shaped symbol of love is more that – It is also a symbol of healing. You can read more about forgiving and forgetting below:

What does “forgiving” mean?

  • Forgiving means understanding that making mistakes is part of being human. Remember that when you hear people say things that hurt your feelings, often they weren’t meant the way they sounded.
  • Accept an apology (If you get one) – Believe people if they say they’re “sorry.”
  • Forgiving is a way to reopen and heal the channels of communication.
  • It helps calm the fears of rejection, failure, or guilt.
  • Forgiveness can be an act of compassion, humanity, and gentleness – It can let someone know that she/he is valued as a person with potential for goodness.
  • But you don’t actually have to tell someone that they are forgiven. You can forgive someone in your heart (to make yourself feel better), without even telling them.
  • Forgiving can be done for your sake rather than for another person. But talking about it can be helpful to mend relationships.

What does “forgetting” mean?

  • You don’t really “forget” what happened, but you can put the issues behind you, and not bring them up again and again.
  • You “clear the air” and let go of anger, hurt, and pain over what happened.
  • Forgetting encourages and helps the other person to rebuild, reconnect, and re-establish caring, healthy relationships.
  • Forgetting doesn’t mean that you return to an abusive or unhealthy relationship. You can continue to avoid people who are toxic to you, while you wish them well in their future without you.
  • Understand that some people do not know how or are not able to love others enough to be in a healthy relationship with you. If you think of it that way, you may be able to feel sorry for them because “it’s their loss.”

What can happen if you don’t forgive?

  • Without forgiveness, the pain and hurt will stay with you.
  • Guilt and sadness continue, along with more problems in relationships.

Which of the following do you do?

  • Seek revenge and payback
  • Become angry and bitter
  • Feel defensive, self-protective, or distant
  • Blame each other
  • Have negative thinking or unhealthy behaviors
  • Feel lost or afraid – Avoid sharing or showing your feelings
  • Have fear of making mistakes, or low self-esteem
  • Fear failure, rejection, or conflict
  • Have high stress in relationships

What do people think when they refuse to forgive?

  • “You don’t deserve any kindness, concern, or forgiveness for what you did.”
  • “It hurt so much that I’ll never be able to forgive you.”
  • “I’ll never let you forget what you did, no matter how sorry you are.”
  • “People who hurt other people deserve the worst that life has to offer.”
  • “I resent everyone who has hurt me – I will make sure I’m never hurt again.”

What can help us to forgive and forget?

  • Let go of past hurt and pain.
  • Letting go and letting [God or your other spiritual beliefs] leads you during hurtful times.
  • Let go of fears for the future and allow yourself to take a risk.
  • Letting go of anger, hostility and resentment can give you more peace.
  • Overlook slight relapses or steps backward.
  • Develop an openness to the belief that people can change (but only if they want to) and realize that we can’t make other people change. The only thing we can change is ourselves.
  • Be open and honest with others about how you have been hurt.
  • Seek professional help when necessary for unhealthy, distant or cold relationships.
  • Recognize your part in what happened because “It takes two to fight”.
  • Identify and replace irrational beliefs that make it harder to forgive.

Ask Yourself:  How do you forgive others?

List something that you have been unable to forgive someone for.

How much energy, is sapped from you when you think about the hurt you went through?

What do I gain from blaming others for my feelings?

How can you put the past behind you and learn to trust again?

 

Revised from Messina, J. & Messina, C. (2009). Handling forgiving and forgetting. Retrieved from http://www.jamesjmessina.com/improvingrelationships/forgivingforgetting.html

 

Blog # 1 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN for Health Vista, Inc. 10-26-15

Updated 5-27-20

Resources for Recovery

Recovery Resources:

Many of the recovery resources were written while working with psychiatric patients. However, they were made to be helpful for recovery from other kinds of illness, or for general wellness or well-being.

Many presentations and learning activities are shared in Health Vista’s resources for recovery.  They are organized under the seven elements of recovery, the same framework used for Recovery Education lessons.

Elements of Recovery:

  • Hope
  • Security
  • Support/Managing Symptoms
  • Empowerment
  • Relationships
  • Coping
  • Finding Meaning

Find resources for recovery from Health Vista

When I was working in Inpatient Behavioral Health, I started developing and writing simple but engaging and effective patient education and learning activities.

Through the years, I also collected a wide variety of free resources for recovery include Powerpoints and many other links for health education and motivation. I wanted to make them available for others to use. Although not all of the Recovery Education lessons are posted online, many of them are.  More may be added in the future, so check back often. Here are some examples:

You can find the Hopelessness to Hope Lesson handout here.

Click to see the Finding Hope Pathfinder. That recovery lesson was made into a video YouTube to help you toward the first step to recovery.  You can also use the Positive Words Discussion Guide.

Finding Hope Pathfinder narrated video

Click the title to watch  Finding Your Way to Recovery

Recovery Workbooks:

I wrote many simple, clear, and short workbooks to share. I have donated some to community groups, but the cost of printing is too high to make them all free.  The workbooks have a cost, but they are on the healthvista.net website. Topics include Managing Pain,  Managing Long-term Pain, Managing Depression,  Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Managing Illness, Managing Mental Illness, and Coping with Trauma.

Contact me by e-mail if you want to ask if some prices can be changed.  The following coping workbook is available free of charge:

Your Recovery Workbook: Coping and Relaxation  [.pdf] can be downloaded free and printed out. 

As you will see, my website contains many free, but very valuable resources,  Please browse and explore the lessons, handouts, learning activities, and links at https://healthvista.net/health-resources/recovery-resources/

I suggest that you start by Exploring Mindfulness . Then, begin  Taking Recovery Steps:

  • Ups and downs are to be expected – It is best to handle them as calmly as possible, using help and support to get back on track
  • Take small steps – You will get to where you are going (no matter how long it takes) if you go in the right direction
  • You feel more in control when you take the recovery steps at your own pace
  • In life, there is always hope, but sometimes you have to change what you are hoping for.
  • Be open to learning and change as you start your recovery journey

“I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”  – Charles F. Kettering

Updated 5-27-20 by Mary Knutson