food cravings and the restrictions of the virus - what we can learn

Food cravings and COVID-19 – what we can learn

Deb Lang PsyD, RD; Licensed Psychologist

The idea of connecting food cravings with the restrictions of COVID-19, came to me after reading a message from a client. 

She shared with me how hard it has been for her to be stuck at home and not be able to get out and do the things she usually does.

She went on to say that she has often wished for this time at home and

now that she must stay home,

all she wants to do is go out.

I feel the same way.

I am trying to look at this time, at home, as a gift.

And there is something deep inside me that is feeling restrained and not liking it, one bit.

Can you relate?

deprivation and restriction

There is something about being told we can’t have something that makes us want it all the more.


one way of thinking about why restriction is difficult is the idea that we have to think about it to think about not having it - it is the idea of not thinking about pink elephants

Maybe it is the pink elephant idea.

When someone tells you not to think about pink elephants, all you can do is think about pink elephants.

Try it.  

Whatever you do, don’t think about pink elephants – no pink elephants.

Have pink elephants on your mind?

So, when we keep hearing about the need to stay away from public places and practice social distancing, what are we going to be thinking about?

not being able to go places 

or be with friends.

or, maybe your favorite gathering place.

when we have to practice social distancing, we feel deprived


It could be that all the talk of not going out keeps us thinking about it and maybe it also has to do with scarcity.

Early in our history, as humans, our survival depended on having the things that were important to us.  

So, when we felt deprived, we felt uneasy and afraid and had a strong pull to get them so that we survived as a species.

I’m just hypothesizing on that and it makes intuitive sense to me and seems to fit with how many of us are feeling right now.

food cravings

So, what does all of this have to do with food cravings?

I’m wondering whether you blame yourself for your food cravings?

restriction leads to thinking about what we can't have and a pull to get it

Most people who come to see me do.

They tell me that they lack willpower or self-control.

restriction and food cravings

When I try to explain the impact restricting has on cravings, most people have a hard time believing that the problem isn’t personal.

Struggles with eating and weight often lead to strong internalized messages about oneself.

These messages are rarely positive.

I call them old “diet wires.”

These are beliefs that you have “wired” about who you are based on your struggles with food or weight.

it isn’t personal

This is where I think anyone who has blamed themselves for their food cravings or failed dieting –

can learn from what is happening right now as we try to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you are restricted to home, I bet you are craving what you can’t have right now – getting out.

Being told we can’t have something seems to make us want it all the more!

Just like my client, I have a ton of projects at home that I have been anxiously waiting to tackle and now that I can’t go into town, what do I want to do?

Go into town.

It doesn’t have anything to do with willpower,

a lack of motivation or

whatever other explanations you may have ascribed to your cravings and failed dieting.

bring some new information into those old wires about your food cravings

So, if you have been feeling the impacts of the restrictions on your activities, as we try to prevent the spread of the virus, see if you can use it to bring some new information into the meaning that you have given to your food cravings and diet failures.

It isn’t personal.

It isn’t about any weakness on your part.

It’s about being human.

dieting and restriction leads to cravings.  This is normal.  It is about being human and not about some deficiency in you.

If you want to eat in a different way,

how about learning to eat in a way that cares for you and your body

rather than fighting what seems to be an instinctual reaction to deprivation or restriction?

If you would like to learn more about non-dieting approaches to health, click here.

suggestions for dealing with fear

And if you, like so many others, are feeling afraid right now and would like some help with your fear, here are some suggestions.

  • Sign up for the Library, below, and select Anxiety as a Resource.  I have been writing articles about how to deal with fear and anxiety.
  • Or if you would like individual support, click here to learn about working with me online.

I hope you have found this useful. I would love to hear your comments. You can leave one below.

Getting help for anxiety

Getting help for anxiety

Deb Lang PsyD, RD; Licensed Psychologist

Would you like to get help for your anxiety and don’t really know how to do that?

Or, maybe, your health care provider has given you a referral and you are afraid to pick up the phone.

If so, you are not alone!

In this post, I hope to:

  • dispel some fears about getting help for anxiety
  • talk about some of the ways you might get help
  • and share with you what you might expect in therapy

Fears about therapy

What comes up for you when you look at this image?

fears about starting therapy

Is this the image that comes up for you when you think of therapy – and does it evoke fear?

There really have only been a few people who have come to see me, as a Psychologist/therapist, who haven’t expressed fear about the process.

Most new clients sit, anxiously, on the edge of the couch across from me worried about what will happen next.

And, yes I had a couch in my office.

It was an easy way to provide extra seating and some folks liked to stretch out – once they got comfortable.

In starting therapy, there have been fears about

  • making the call
  • what we would be doing in our sessions
  • what I was going to “see” and
  • really just the whole notion of “being in therapy” with whatever connotations that brought with it.

Can you relate to some of these fears?

what are your fears about getting help?

Are you too anxious even to contemplate it? or to pick up the phone?

If that is you, please keep reading as I am going to suggest an option which might help with that.

Do you worry that you will be judged or feel afraid that going to therapy means something negative about you?

Maybe that you are “weak” or that people will think you are “crazy?”

I think some of these notions are fading as more and more people are utilizing therapy and discovering the growth and change that is possible

And, I also know that taking the first step is often difficult.

but won’t I be judged?

When it comes to the fear of being judged, most clients very quickly realize that I am interested in:

  • getting to know them
  • in learning about the ways in which they are stuck
  • in helping them to suffer less and have more joy, and,
  • that I have no interest in judging because I know that all of us struggle, at one point or another.

therapists are humans, too

Clients also realize, as they get to know me, that I am human.

I make mistakes and I have my own struggles.

Sessions aren’t about me and I think my clients quickly realize that I don’t see myself as

being above them in any way

simply because of my education or skills.

My work is about helping people connect or reconnect with their internal strengths and wisdom.

It is not about judging whatever circumstances led them to my door.

conditions to look for in therapy

This image isn’t perfect and it does portray many of the conditions that are important in therapy or

qualities to look for in a therapist or in therapy

that you might expect in a therapist.

Maybe with the exception of the caressing.

Although in this context I might take that to mean holding and caressing your concerns and fears.

You need to feel safe and accepted for therapy to be effective.

seeking help is a sign of strength

It is a sign of strength to seek help when you are struggling

not a sign that you are “crazy”, weak or

whatever negative term you may have believed about what it means to need “therapy”.

It takes courage to look at oneself and every person who has walked through my door or picked up the phone, has demonstrated their courage!

So, what happens in therapy for anxiety?

One of the first things that I do is to gather history.

I need to understand how anxiety is showing up in your life, when it started and especially if it is related to trauma.

There are many approaches to treating anxiety.

My belief is that to make a difference with anxiety, it is essential to work on skills or practice with techniques that specifically target your anxiety.

It is also essential that you understand what anxiety is

How anxiety can be a resource - link for free course

and where it comes from

so that you are not making it worse.

Learning this information often makes a huge difference.

Most people believe that there is something wrong with them, because they get anxious and

learning that this isn’t true is such a big relief!

Will I be in therapy forever?

Some people spend a few sessions turning their thinking around about anxiety and then they are out the door.

For others, having the information is helpful and we need to work on getting it in place in their lives.

Most often this involves learning a set of skills.

These skills set the stage, or make it feel safe, for doing any necessary emotional work around old trauma or past experiences or beliefs that are triggering anxiety.

When I was in training and doing my own skill building, a trainer once said to me,

“it takes as long as it takes”

I like to add to that,

“and, that’s okay”

People typically spend as little or as long in therapy as they want and need.

You are in charge and you get to make those decisions.

still unsure about therapy to help with your anxiety?

Do you still feel too anxious to consider starting therapy?

Or, maybe, you aren’t sure you need therapy and would like to, instead, learn some skills to deal with your anxiety.

Another option for beginning to work on your anxiety is to take an online class.

Online classes to help with anxiety

Now to be clear, classes are not a substitute for therapy.

And, taking a class is a good way to learn skills that can make a huge difference in dealing with your anxiety.

Currently, I have two online classes for anxiety.

In “How Anxiety can be a Resource”, I explain

  • what causes anxiety and
How anxiety can be a resource - link for free course
  • how the way most people approach anxiety only makes it worse
  • and why it is so important to approach it in a different way.

This class is free.

Not because it isn’t valuable.

It is free because I feel passionate about sharing this information with as many people as possible to help with anxiety.

It is the same information that I share with my clients when they start working me.

I also offer a skill based class for those of you who want to take it further.

B.L.O.O.M. is a skill-based model designed to help you move from feeling anxious to feeling calm, confident and courageous.

skill based model for dealing effectively with anxiety

This class sets you up to B.L.O.O.M. in ways that you haven’t been able to when your anxiety has been holding you back.

And, start with the free class.

Learn about anxiety and find out whether you have been approaching anxiety in a way that is making it worse for you.

Then, consider taking the skills class to really hone your skills.

This model can also be applied to most other areas in your life.

Online therapy

Online therapy can alleviate some of the anxiety related to starting therapy.

You don’t have to travel to an office, or worry about who might see you and you will be in the comfort and security of your home for your sessions.

It is also a helpful option, right now, with concerns about the virus.

If you would like to learn more about working with me, individually online, click here and we can talk about whether online therapy is a good option for you.

If you have found the information in this article useful, I’d love to hear it. And, if there are other topics you are interested in, be sure and let me know that as well. You can do that below in the comment section.

feelings are just feelings - they don't define you

You are not your fear

Deb Lang PsyD, RD; Licensed Psychologist

It’s pretty natural and understandable to be feeling fear right now as we face the virus and all of the ways it’s changing how we live our lives.

Looking for feelings hiding beneath fear is a useful strategy to help find balance in these difficult times.

Feelings are important messengers.

To be without fear, we wouldn’t be safe.  

Fear drives us to take precautions and to do the things we really don’t want to do right now – like shelter at home.

And there is a difference between feeling afraid and being afraid.

defining ourselves by our feelings

We often define ourselves by our feelings.  Our language supports that.

It is common to say, “I am afraid” or “I am sad”, angry, etc.

As if that is who we are.

It certainly can feel that way when any feeling is dominant in our attention.

Being caught up in joy or happiness is wonderful, isn’t it?  

Not so wonderful to be caught up in fear.

Have you had moments of joy in the midst of all of this fear? 

Has spring arrived where you live and have bursts of beautiful color grabbed your attention? 

And in that moment, did you forget your fear?

I’m also imagining that those moments have slipped, quickly, out of your awareness.

We have to fight against a natural tendency of the brain to hold onto all that is painful or scary.

This negativity bias is designed with our survival in mind and it can keep us “tipped” or out of balance, emotionally.

when fear is all you see

Unless your life is in immediate danger, in this moment, fear is only one of many feelings available to you.

Whether you see fear as a feeling or as your totality, will strongly influence what you will experience.

Let me see if I can explain.

fear and survival

Fear is a feeling that mobilizes our defensive survival strategies.

So when we only connect with our fear, the body responds.

The primitive brain and nervous system take over and gear us up to protect ourselves.

The body’s response to danger is to run, fight or freeze.

It doesn’t matter whether this is a danger standing right in front of you, like a fire or predator or whether it is a perceived threat being generated by your fears.

You will feel the urge to fight, flee or freeze.

fear can trigger the urge to run - useful in immediate danger - not so useful when at home worried about the virus

Maybe you have felt like running but with no place to go –

or maybe frozen in place not knowing what to do.

Or, you have found yourself fighting for the last package of toilet paper and wondering what came over you.

Running, fighting and freezing are all normal responses to a real or perceived threat to our survival. 

Very effective in facing a predator and not that effective when sitting at home worried about the virus.

And these responses can lead to more stress. 

If I feel the urge to run and I can’t, what is going to happen?

Yep, I’m probably going to feel even more afraid or even in panic.

finding balance by looking for hidden feelings

So, remember those moments of joy that I asked you about a few moments ago and how they may have shifted your perspective and state, if even for a moment?

Purposely looking for those feelings is really important right now.  

Looking for and finding those balancing feelings is one way of calming the nervous system.

I bet those other feelings are there.  You will just need to look for them.

And, guess what?

Imagining works just as well.

If rain is hitting your window as you are sheltering in your home, you can imagine beautiful flowers blooming out in that rain.

the body doesn't differentiate between what we are imagining or experiencing - use that to your advantage in dealing with fear


Gratitude is one of those feelings that often hides under fear or anger.

If you are feeling afraid or maybe angry about all of the restrictions in your life right now,

take a moment to bring your attention to your surroundings and notice anything that you find beautiful or that brings up feelings of gratitude.

As I write this article, I am feeling some fear about whether what I write will be helpful.

If I bring my attention up and away from the computer screen, I see a beautiful view of the mountains and snow falling softly outside my window.

When I focus on that, I feel a smile forming on my face.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the snow – even at the end of March.

My body feels different in this moment than it did just a moment ago when I was concentrating on writing this article.

I could have just as easily, closed my eyes and imagined my feet walking on the warm sand of a beach, with the sound of the waves softly splashing in the background and the sun on my shoulders.

imagining the warm sand and the sound of the waves can evoke the same relaxation in the body as being there in person

And in this moment I feel grateful for my imagination and where it can take me.

If I bring my attention back to my article, the joy and gratitude might slip behind the intensity I feel around writing this and it is still there.

All I need to do is look up and take a moment to feel how lucky I am to have such a beautiful view, right outside my window.

Or, take myself back to that beach and allow my body to relax in the warm sun.

what do you feel grateful for?

When you look around, what do you feel grateful for, in this moment?

Who do you feel grateful for?

In what ways do these things or people add to your life or make life easier for you?

Did you find gratitude, hidden under your fear?

Take a moment to really soak in those feelings of gratitude all the way down to the level of your cells.


Security is another feeling worth spending some time trying to find.

Feelings of security balance our feelings of fear.

What do you feel secure about in this moment?

If you are caught up in fear and your life has totally changed, your first response might be

“I don’t feel secure about anything in this moment”

This is so understandable. When we are “tipped” by our fear it is hard, sometimes, to access feelings of security.

If you were sitting across from me, I would ask,

in fear we lose touch with simple things that bring security - like knowing I have a chair to sit on and that it will hold me

“Do you feel secure that the chair you are sitting on will hold you?”

Or, “Do you feel secure that you know where you are right now or what day it is?”

See where I am going with this?

There are usually many things providing security in this moment and they get lost under the big “what ifs” of our fear.

Taking a moment to feel those feelings of security can help to bring a bit of balance and soaking in that feeling is a nice way to calm your nervous system.

compassion for self and others

Sometimes we are just too tipped into fear to really feel grateful or secure about anything.

If that is where you are, feeling compassion is a way of bringing yourself back into a more balanced place.

Compassion is about being there for yourself or others in a kind and nonjudgmental way and with a willingness to help. 

compassion is being there in a kind and nonjudgmental way and with a willingness to help

It isn’t the same as sympathy – we are not feeling sorry for ourselves or others.

It is an act of kindness, warmth, and willingness to help.


“I’m here, I care and I’m willing to help.”

It’s nice to know someone is there who cares and doesn’t judge us, isn’t it?

See if you can give yourself that caring and comfort. 

Maybe putting your hand on your heart or rubbing your arm.

As you do that see if you can really feel that flow of warmth and kindness coming from you to you.

And, you might remind yourself that in this moment you are not alone.

That many others are suffering, just like you, all around the world.  

when you are feeling afraid realizing that you are not alone that many others are also suffering in this moment and feeling compassion for them is one way of coming back into balance

See if you can feel yourself being a part of something bigger than yourself.

You might even imagine a warm glow of light flowing between you and others – filled with warmth and kindness. 

And, you might say to yourself, 

“This is a moment of suffering.  Suffering is a part of being human.  

May I be kind to myself, in this moment. 

May I also feel kindness toward others who are suffering around the world, just like me, in this moment.”

How was that? It is hard to feel compassion and fear at the same time, isn’t it?

If it is hard for you to grasp the concept of compassion, any feeling of connection will work.  It could be caring or love – it could be prayer.

sending warmth and compassion to you

I hope that looking for hidden feelings will help you to find moments of joy to balance your fear, as we face this challenge before us.

Right now I am feeling compassion for myself around my own fears about writing useful articles and

as I do that I am imagining you in my circle of warmth and compassion

bringing our attention to others who are suffering and feeling compassion toward them is another way of balancing our emotions when we are afraid

feeling a flow of kindness moving from me to you,

as you face whatever challenges you are facing.

I’m hoping you can feel it 🙂

If you would like to learn more about tools for moving through fear, be sure to check out my free guide.

Feeling afraid and anxious. Learn how to connect with your inner strength by caring for the afraid child within you

Feeling afraid and anxious? I bet you know how to how to deal with that monster in the closet.

Deb Lang PsyD, RD; Licensed Psychologist

It is pretty understandable to be feeling afraid and anxious with all the unknowns related to the COVID-19 virus.

And no, I don’t mean that COVID-19 is the monster in the closet. 

 I guess it could be compared to that, since it is scary and unknown.

And, I didn’t think about that when I wrote this –

keep reading and I will explain.

Trying to get rid of fear and anxiety

If you are feeling anxious about all of this, I’m imagining that you would like the anxiety to go away.

You may be hearing or reading articles about how stress is bad for immunity and so you may be 

feeling stress about being stressed!

Despite that very natural pull to stop it, I want to encourage you to move toward your fear and anxiety rather than trying to make it go away.

I realize that sounds counterintuitive and your immediate reaction might be, “why in the heck would I want to do that?”

So, here’s where that monster comes in.

The monster in the closet

thinking about how you might deal with an afraid child can help you connect with your inner strength

Imagine for a moment, that your child is afraid of the monster in their closet and comes out to the living room to tell you about it

How might you respond?

Would you be angry with them for bothering you?  – well maybe if you had a really stressful day

Would you try to ignore them or somehow make them go away?

What happens when you try to ignore a child who is afraid or try to make them go away?

Clients, who are parents, pretty quickly smile or chuckle and say, 

 “that would make it worse.”

So, why am I bringing up kids and monsters in the closet?

The brain and fear

I’m bringing it up because the part of our brain reacting to danger is pretty “child-like.”

It is quick to respond to danger and isn’t really good at bringing itself back into balance except by triggering us to run, fight or freeze.

the emotional brain triggers us to run fight or freeze.  Thinking about kids is one way of understanding how this system operates is helpful when feeling anxious or afraid

When we are children this is the largest part of our brain.

Our thinking brain slowly develops over time and isn’t fully developed until our 20’s.

So, if you want to have a picture of that part of our brain, using a child is a good way of doing it.

When our emotional brain responds to danger, we need the thinking brain – or in the example of the fearful child – a calm adult to help restore balance.

So, thinking about how we deal with kids is a pretty easy way of thinking about how to deal with the part of your brain that is triggering a fear response to this virus.

when feeling afraid and anxious we often lose touch with our inner strengths.  Thinking about how you might reassure a child is one way of reconnecting with those strengths.

When anxiety or fear strikes, it is easy to, without realizing it, jump right in there with the emotional brain and say something like,

“oh, no – this is bad – this is really bad”

Can you bring up a picture in your mind of a parent responding to a child in this way?

What will happen?

Even if you don’t have kids, I bet you know that the child will feel even more afraid.

And yet, this is what we often do when our own internal child is afraid.

Our internal child – the emotional brain

Before I go any further, please know that I am oversimplifying things when I talk about the operation and parts of the brain.  

Of course, the brain is much more complicated than this.

The gut and our nervous system are also actively involved in our emotional regulation.

And, thinking about it in this way, is a way you can learn to calm your nervous system. 

What the system needs

The childlike emotional brain needs a calm, confident adult, just like that scared child standing next to you.

So instead of trying to ignore or push away fears and anxiety, it is a much more effective strategy to

channel your inner parent,

respond to the fear and

provide the necessary reassurance to calm the system.

But, how am I going to do that?

Let’s go back to the monster in the closet.

What does the child need in that moment?

Your child needs to know that you are paying attention, right? 

 If they don’t they are going to keep nagging you.

if we are really afraid - trying to ignore our fears is not a very effective strategy - moving toward them and dealing with them is much more helpful

Picture a child tugging on your shirt sleeves saying,

“I’m scared”

And, you ignore them.

Maybe they will go and get distracted and forget about it.

Probably not, if they are really afraid of that monster.

Embrace your fear

So the first step is

being, right there, with your fear rather than trying to avoid it.

Acknowledge the part of you that is afraid,

so it knows you are listening.

And in doing that, your child needs to know you aren’t afraid, right?  

So, when you acknowledge the fear,

connect with the part of you that would be the strong adult helping your child with their fear. 

Think about the tone of voice you would use.  

Think about the expression on your face, how you would hold your body, especially your head and shoulders, that would

when you are afraid remind yourself of your strengths and that you will handle what comes - one way or another

let them know that you are there and you are strong.

Take a moment to feel that strength.

And a child would also need to know that there isn’t actually a monster in the closet, right?

They would need to know the facts –

that the noise they were hearing is the wind –

that the fear that you are feeling is from the newscast.

If you are still afraid and anxious or there isn’t an easy answer

Maybe the answer is not as simple as the branch hitting the house. Or maybe you have the facts and

you are still afraid about the virus or anxious about the impacts.

Then what?

I bet you would let your child know

that you are going to be right there with them

as they face this danger, right?

You would be strong for them in that moment.

And you would remind them of the “truth of the moment.”

That in this moment we are safe.

That you will deal with it, if and when, it comes.

If the virus has already come, you would be reminding them of what you are doing, to deal with it, to stay safe.

And then, you switch the focus.


 You don’t sit there talking about the fear over and over until you are right back where you started.

You redirect.

If you are a parent, you have already done this – probably a million times.

Don’t have kids? Imagine one sitting next to you.  

If you can’t imagine that, imagine a good friend or a sibling.

I bet you would do the same thing.

And often this is harder for ourselves.

If it is hard for you please don’t be hard on yourself.

it’s a matter of skills and practice

Whether you join in the fear being generated in your emotional brain and make it worse,

who we are feeling afraid and anxious, we need to take the "hand" of the scared part of us and help it to feel safe

or, whether you take the “hand” of this part of your brain and let it know that you are there for it,

is a matter how frightened you are in that moment

and also of skills and experience.

In extreme fright and in facing a life threat, it isn’t reasonable to do this.

And, often times people have trouble doing this for themselves, not because they aren’t good at doing this with others, but because they have never thought of doing this for themselves.

So, it is simply a matter of tapping into a skill that is already there and hasn’t been used.

Thinking about how you would handle this with a child or friend is one way of tapping into this skill.

And, there is another benefit to doing this.

Thinking about how I would handle this with a child or friend,

forces me to “think” which requires the thinking brain and stepping out of the fear!

The skills to deal with fear

If you were lucky, you had an adult who modeled this for you when you were a child, in a consistent enough way, that you internalized these skills.

The adult

  • acknowledged your fear
  • taught you how to deal with fear and anxiety
  • and how to come back into balance.

Important life skills.

And many kids, for whatever reason, don’t internalize these skills and grow up to be adults who lack them.  

This often leads to problems with anxiety.

Feeling anxious and afraid? Click here for link to sign up for interest in B.L.O.O.M. a skill based model for learning to deal with anxiety

The good news is it isn’t too late to learn them.

If you are one of those who lack these skills and struggle with anxiety, consider signing up for the B.L.O.O.M. interest list.

Right now, I am in the process of developing this skill-based model for dealing with fear and anxiety and it will be available later in the spring.

in summary

This turned out longer than I expected. I guess I had a lot to say 🙂

If you have been a client of mine, you know I love talking about skills to deal with fear and anxiety because they can make such a difference.

Thinking about how you might comfort a scared child is one way of calming your system when you are feeling afraid or anxious.

Think about how you might give:

  • acknowledgement, 
  • confident comforting,
  • the facts, and
  • distraction.

Try not to keep reminding your inner child of danger by continually reading news reports or posts to social media about the virus.

Stay connected with the facts by, occasionally, checking in with reputable sites like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Continue to play, connect with friends – by phone if necessary, exercise and do all of those things that you do to keep your kids in balance.

Feeling anxious and afraid?  Learn
how anxiety can be a resource -  link to free online course

And if you struggle with anxiety you can also check out my free online course, “How Anxiety can be a Resource.”  

Or, if getting some individual attention sounds more appealing and you would like to explore the possibility of working with me in online therapy, click here.

If you were hoping for a follow-up to my last article explaining why anxiety traps people, I haven’t forgotten.

And, if you enjoyed this article and would like to receive notification as they are published, scroll down and sign up for the Library.

With warmth and kindness,


5 signs that it might be time to get help for your anxiety

Struggling with anxiety? 5 signs that it might be time to get some help

Deb Lang PsyD, RD; Licensed Psychologist

Do you wonder whether you should get help for your anxiety – but end up second guessing yourself?

Are you unsure that it will help or maybe question whether you need it in the first place?

If you are like many of the people who come to see me for help with their anxiety, this debate can go on for some time – often months or even years.

I feel sad when I hear how long people have waited to get help – sad because anxiety is so treatable.

By that I mean, with the right tools, most people with anxiety get better.

Instead many, maybe most, people


a common strategy to try and deal with anxiety is avoidance.  Unfortunately it makes anxiety worse.

on their own

all alone

trying to control their anxiety

and without realizing it, they make it worse.

So, I’d like to share some signs suggesting that it would be a good idea to reach out for support. 

Signs that it might be time to get some help

How anxiety can be a resource - link for free course

There are many signs that I could include in this list.  I have simply chosen five. 

If you don’t see a symptom that you feel worried about, please don’t take it to mean that it isn’t important.

  1. You are starting to avoid places, people, and activities that you once enjoyed. Avoidance is a commonly used strategy to deal with anxiety. Although avoidance may provide temporary relief, it most often leads to loneliness, isolation and depression.
  2. You try to control situations to avoid getting anxious. Trying to prevent anxiety through planning and control is another commonly used strategy for those struggling with anxiety. Unfortunately, this type of planning leads to anxiety about getting anxious. If you do this, I bet you know what I mean!
  3. You are self-medicating through drugs or alcohol to ease your symptoms. Anxiety is uncomfortable and it is understandable that you want relief. Medicating the symptoms can provide temporary relief but doesn’t really address the problem. And there is the added worry (anxiety) about addiction.
  4. You are missing work or withdrawing from family responsibilities. Trying to prevent or control anxiety often leads people to stay home from work or back out of family activities. This often leads to family or work conflicts/difficulties and you guessed it, more anxiety.
  5. Your health is suffering. Dealing with chronic stress is draining, emotionally and physically. If your health is suffering, please get some support.
struggling with anxiety - 5 signs that it might be time to get some help.

These are just five of the signs that suggest you would benefit from getting help for your anxiety – there are certainly others.

If you feel like you can’t take it anymore

If you are feeling hopeless or like you can’t take it any more, please reach out for help! With the right tools anxiety is so treatable and you need the tools!

Think of it as your psyche saying:

” this feels desperate and we need some help!”

Please listen.

Ready to take a step to turn this around?

Is it time for you to get some support and guidance to turn this around?

How about an online class?

How anxiety can be a resource - link for free course

If you see yourself in these signs, how about sticking your toe in the water with an online class?

“How Anxiety can be a Resource”, is packed with useful information to help you start learning how to approach your anxiety.

Or, therapy?

Starting therapy is another way of working on your anxiety.

If you live in Montana or Colorado, click here to learn about the possibility of working with me through online therapy.

If you live outside of those areas, be sure and look for a therapist who specializes, and has experience, dealing with anxiety.

It’s okay to be where you are

Whether you are ready to take a step to deal with your anxiety or not – it is okay.

Please don’t beat yourself up for not being ready. That will only lead to more anxiety!

The trap

Keep a watch out in your inbox. Find out about the trap most people fall into when it comes to anxiety.

Signup to get articles as they are published

And if you haven’t done so, be sure to sign up below for the library, so you can receive new information, like this, as soon as it is published.

Until next time, with warmth and kindness,


Dismayed by the state of our world?

Over the past months, friends and clients have shared with me the stress they are feeling about the state of our world. Some are angry, some furious while others are sad and/or anxious.  Most have expressed the whole range of feelings.

Many of my sessions with clients have focused on these feelings. So when the following appeared in a holiday letter, I knew that I needed to share it.

Read More

tool for dealing effectively with worry

How to worry effectively

Are you a worrier?

  • Are you constantly considering:
  • what might happen or
  • what you wish you would have done differently?

Do you have a hard time turning it off?

Or, are you afraid to stop worrying for fear that you will miss something important?

If so, this post is for you – well it is really for anyone with a pre-frontal cortex and that would be all of us!

Read More

what to do if you are too anxious to try meditation and how it can help

How meditation can help with anxiety and what to do if you are feeling too anxious to try it.

benefits of meditation

It is hard to ignore the abundance of evidence demonstrating the benefits of meditation.

Just to mention a few  – meditating has been shown to help with anxiety, depression, sleep, addictions, and follow-through with personal goals.

For people with anxiety just the thought of meditating can trigger anxiety.

Is that true for you?

Do you get anxious just thinking about meditating?

Read More

failed dieting and the pressure to be thin

Failed dieting and the pressure to be thin

Are you feeling like a failure because you haven’t been able to stick with the diet you started in January?  Or have you been losing and regaining for years?  If so, I have some ideas for you.   

Read More

each moment offers the opportunity for choice and a new resolution

What if a New Year’s Resolution Only Had to Last for a Moment?

What if a New Year's resolution only had to last a moment?I imagine you are surprised to be hearing from me! I have been so busy in my private practice working with clients – for which I feel very grateful – that I have neglected this blog. I feel sad about that, as I do enjoy it.

Sitting with clients this past week, the idea of New Year’s resolutions has crept into many conversations. I have been happily surprised as there has been less talk of “this year I am going to…..”

And people still seem to be searching for a way to start the New Year with a sense of purpose while, at the same time, not setting themselves up for failure. So, I thought that it might be useful to put this idea out there, again, this year.

What if resolutions only had to last for a moment?

Read More

This blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. If you are in need of professional services, please call me to schedule an appointment or contact a professional in your area.