Breathing, as a mental health tool, is the most effective tool for calming your mind and body. Take a deep, cleansing breath now to see for yourself. Fear holds the breath. Reduced oxygen triggers panic. If you want one simple, easy tool right now to calm your anxiety...
just breathe in and exhale out. Repeat.
The Map to Emotional Health, describes the steps of working through emotions:
1. Acknowledge the emotion in both mind and body
2. Learn coping strategies to tolerate distress
3. Let Go. Release the need to hold on to negative thoughts and bad habits.
Telka's 4 Choices Tool helps differentiate your "Fight, Flight, Freeze" responses from your wiser, more logical, problem-solving mind. Don't make fear-based decisions. Align your actions with your values using the map and the worksheets to practice your cognitive re-framing.
Use the testing below to gather information about your mental and physical wellness. Discuss results with your health care providers and follow their recommendations. These materials are not a substitute for medical care and are not intended to diagnose or treat mental illness. For more support and understanding about mental illness check out NAMI
We need healthy anxiety to alert us when the toddler is near the road, wallet is low on funds, and "that" is not good idea.
Ask yourself, "Is my anxiety helping me right now?"
"Is what I am worrying about right now a fact, or did I make a story up in my head?"
Use tools #5-14 to understand and cope with uncomfortable emotions.
National Alliance of Mental Illness: NAMI Lansing offers Zoom Support
Let’s start with a clarification, are you asking about an emotion or a brain disease? Depression and anxiety are normal human emotions used to label our feelings when something is sad, daunting, nerve wracking or even frightening. Unfortunately, these words are also used to describe brain diseases ranging from mild to severe mood disorders. These brain diseases are commonly referred to as mental illness and impact less than 25% of the adults in the U.S. Severe mental illness represents less than 6% of the adults in the U.S. Testing will solve the mystery of what are normal anxious and depressed emotions and what are indications of mental illnesses. Use the tests in "Tool #4 Testing, Testing, Testing" on this page to identify mood disorders' symptoms, severity and duration. Discuss your test results with your healthcare provider.
Bottom line: Differences between normal emotions and symptoms of mental illness:
1. Emotions come and go while symptoms of mood disorders/brain disease remain consistently troublesome for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks and may also include additional physical symptoms. Using a mood tracker may help with this distinction.
2. Uncomfortable emotions improve with distractions and vacations, while mood disorders, like broken bones and infections, continue to cause discomfort even after a winning lottery ticket.
3. Mental illness, like other brain diseases, may disrupt sleep, energy levels, pain sensitivity, inflammation, digestion, appetite, motivation, concentration, memory, focus and mood.
4. Depressed and anxious emotions may respond well to healthy lifestyle, good coping skills and social support. Brain diseases may also respond well to healthy lifestyle, good coping skills and social support, however, just like any damaged organ, the brain needs time to repair and heal. Recovery from brain disease is not as swift as recovery from the normal fight, flight or freeze, stress responses.
Death by suicide is heartbreaking, confusing, and tragic. I want to share with you something that I learned while working in an outpatient mental health hospital. When we lost a patient to suicide, the whole treatment team would meet to debrief the crisis. We all— therapists, doctors and nurses shared our feelings of helplessness and grief. We wanted to know what we could have done, if this was anyone's fault, had we failed? We were the PROFESSIONALS and we could not prevent every death by suicide. The most valuable information I received during a debriefing was from a psychiatrist who said that when an organ in the body fails to work properly, we refer to that as an organ failure. Organ failure as a cause of death makes sense to everyone– especially when the organ is a heart, lungs, liver ..etc.. People accept organ failure as a cause of death and understand it as a medical event, without personal failure or judgement. Organ failure is part of the life cycle and understanding the cause of death helps facilitate healing. But when the organ that failed to work properly is the human brain, society does not always understand as clearly. The ultimate function of the brain is to sustain life through an internal, automatic drive to survive. When the brain fails to perform that survival function — the psychiatrist reminded us that the cause of death is actually organ failure. Medicine does not yet have a cure for the numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions that ultimately result in death by suicide. Neuroscience is decades behind treatment for the brain compared to cardiac care and cancer treatment. Losing a loved one is painful enough but losing a loved one to death by suicide is a complicated pain. Healing is possible when we accept organ failure as the cause of death, without blame or judgement. My wish for you and your family is that you find peace in the memories you share and that you reach out to support each other at this difficult time. May the information shared in this writing become one small step toward healing discussions, learning to cope, and embracing your grief effectively.
Check out the “Creating Best Results” pdf on this site. In addition to those 20 tips, I also suggest that you take responsibility for your emotions. Use the map, it’s your journey and your choice of destination. You are welcome to use all the tools, videos and resources on this site with the therapist of your choice.
"Worry about everything" has a huge toolkit of options.
1. Using the list in Creating Best Results, evaluate the lifestyle or health issues that may cause a racing mind and delayed, interrupted or disturbed sleep. Check for problems with caffeine and sleep hygiene. Creating Best Results recommendations include effective strategies such as meditation, mindful breathing, journaling, and mind-calming apps … are you willing to try any of those options? A meeting with your family physician to discuss the need for a psychiatric consult is helpful for people with complex medical conditions, sleep disorders, chronic pain, addictions, ADHD, and severe mental illness such as bipolar and psychotic disorders.
2. Coping tools to help with worry:
· What data supports your worries? Reality check—are the worries true or distorted thoughts?
· Understanding the difference between worry, anxiety and fear may be useful
Let's address this worry with a reality check—(run the math.) What financial data supports your worries? Financial worries based on facts are a smart concern, not a worry problem. Address real financial concerns with assistance from resources and supports. Consider use of the public library, employer based financial advisors, friends with money management skills, legal advice, retirement planning, social services, and community programs. Remain open to whatever resources, supports, entitlements and information is available.
Tools: If the reality check proves that finances are stable and the worry is a distorted thought, then use the tools listed in FAQ #4 "Worry about everything".
Poor time management skills require an evaluation to determine the underlying cause. To prepare for an evaluation with the healthcare provider of your choice, consider this:
1. Is "poor time management" a new problem, or something that has caused stress all of your life?
2. How is your time management negatively impacting work, home, school or relationships? Be specific.
4. As you await your appointment with the healthcare provider of your choice, use Creating Best Results, to improve your selfcare. What are you willing to do differently to manage your time more effectively?
Use the tools listed in FAQ #4 (Worry about everything) with the provider of your choice. You may also find this helpful:
Resources in addition to neuropsychological evaluation and cognitive testing
Consider an educational and ADA accommodations that may be applicable
People pleasing is a coping tool we humans can use when navigating toxic, dysfunctional or angry relationships. Sometimes pleasing others helps us de-escalate dangerous situations. I do not want you to stop your people pleasing behavior if it is keeping you alive. Consider these tips as outlined on my People Pleaser Tool pdf:
1. Reality Check: Where is this worry coming from—emotion, logic or wise mind?
A worry related to pleasing others in response to employment, education, oppression or a dangerous or life-threatening situation is a survival strategy, not a worry problem. List your specific people pleasing worries then do a reality check. Replace fears with facts.
3. Seek to understand-When was the first time you remember being worried about pleasing someone-- do you have a pattern? At what age will you be old enough to outgrow the worry about what "those" people think?
5. If the worry is not related to survival or danger, make a list of your people pleasing worries. Once you have completed your list, ask yourself “then what will happen?”
6. Confidence-Would your people pleasing worries be resolved with healthier self-esteem?
7. Insight-. Would your people pleasing worries benefit from understanding yourself?
8. Apply these additional tools to reduce your worry:
· Understanding the difference between worry, anxiety and fear may be useful
9. Thoughts . Apply these questions to your “people pleasing” concerns.
· What are you afraid will happen if you stop "people pleasing"?
· Does your people pleasing involve reasonable expectations?
· Does people pleasing involve healthy trust?
· Is people pleasing impacted by healthy boundaries or checkers cheating?
· Is people pleasing connected to passivity or aggression?
· How does people pleasing impact the rules for healthy dating?
· Would people pleasing resolve with understanding how to detach with love, and let go?
· Does people pleasing stem from an inability to cope with anger?
· Would people pleasing be reduced if you practiced transforming worry to wisdom?
Bottom line is that you are responsible for your communication, assertiveness and relationships. You get to decide what works for you and what needs to change.
10. Align your thoughts and your actions with your values. Are you pleasing yourself by becoming the person you wish to be?
Telka's tools, resources and recommendations are not a substitute for mental health treatment or intended to be used as medical care. This site is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions or psychiatric concerns. Consult your own health care professional with your concerns. Telka does not offer emergency services or crisis intervention. Telka is not a physician, does not prescribe medication. Suicide Prevention Hot line