Is It Anxiety or Normal Stress?

What are anxiety disorders?
How do you know when there’s a problem?
How do you differentiate anxiety from stress?
How do you navigate this topic for yourself and others in a compliant way?

Video education about anxiety disorders from my background as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor below!

Know someone who could benefit from this info? Reach out with a personal message to your hurting friend. Odds are, he or she needs to know you care!

Download the transcript of this video below!

Anxiousness and fear are normal, common human responses to stressors. Low mood is another normal response to a stressor. Some people are irritable or angry or aggressive in response to stressors. These are all normal human responses to stressors.

What makes it a disorder is: “Is it significantly impacting your functioning”?

Tracy Moore, Lmhc

The Guilt of Self-Care

If it feels indulgent to even be reading a blog post about self-care, you’re not alone. Many people (women in particular) report a sense of guilt when they take the time, effort, and energy to build a self-care routine.

Yet, the adage “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others” definitely holds some weight in the realm of self-care. In times of stress we’re breathing heavier, heart rate increased, we NEED to stop and care for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being before we become entirely depleted. That’s the essence of self-care.

It doesn’t have to be sexy or Insta-worthy. It just needs to happen. See, nobody’s taking selfies in the plane putting their oxygen masks on. Why? Because it just has to happen.

Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly, eat right, get sufficient sleep, and find satisfaction in their work and personal lives have less depression, anxiety, and illnesses, such as heart disease. The American Psychological Association has a great PDF aptly titled “Self-Care for Women: Now, Not Later“.

My personal self-care routine involves many of the things outlined by the APA paper, and adds in a few other tools, such as essential oils, that have helped my emotional balance in tremendous ways.

The big takeaways?

  • Consistency is awesome, but even infrequent or inconsistent self-care is better than none.
  • Laughing is more therapeutic than we give it credit for. Don’t neglect this simple release of stress!
  • Negativity is more harmful than we give it credit for. Criticism and negative self-talk is the enemy of a peaceful heart.
  • Saying “no” to the non-essentials is a powerful and effective means of self-care.

Resources:
APA: https://www.apa.org/careers/early-career/self-care.pdf

Check out tips from my personal self-care routine here!

Apologizing to Kids

When is the last time you asked your child for forgiveness?

Parenting is not for sissies, y’all. No matter your particular philosophy, there is no “easy button” for raising children. There are definitely times I act or react in a way where I find myself needing to apologize.

For many of us, it’s SO hard to admit we’re wrong. And, when little eyes are watching our responses, it’s even more pivotal that we set a positive example. Humility, Surrender, and White Angelica can absolutely help you prepare yourself emotionally, especially if you or your child struggle with self-control. Apply Humility and Surrender topically on pulse points and use White Angelica in the diffuser or apply on your shoulders. Once you’re armed and oiled, be intentional to make things right with your child.

How-To Make Things Right:

  • 1) Get on their level and look them in the eye.
  • 2) Speak with sincerity and don’t excuse your behavior. Be short, sweet, and to the point. Because, trying to rationalize your poor choices to a child is… well, childish.
  • 3) Be specific and incorporate, “I’m sorry I ___________. Will you please forgive me?”

Sometimes the answer will be a defiant NO. Give them time and engage their heart. Consider utilizing Forgiveness aromatically and Present Time topically on their earlobes (and yours) to soften your child’s emotional state if they are stuck.

You are loved, friend. We forgive because we have been forgiven much. Allow your child to experience the joy of extending mercy to you; allow yourself to experience the freedom of humbling yourself before your children.

Limbic System FAQ

Q: I’ve heard a lot that the limbic system only responds to scent, but I’ve never been able to verify that. Can you explain?

A: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

The limbic system is the permanent address of all the feels.

It has a scrapbook of positive and negative memories (the hippocampus) that is guarded by an alarm system (the amygdala).

The scrapbook stores memories based on a common feeling rather than a common thought. So, all the happy memories are in one section, then all the afraid memories are in this other section, etc., and so on. Those emotions are cross-referenced with other things too, such as the literal physical feeling associated with it, and the area of the body where those negative feelings typically reside (grief/lungs, anxiousness/stomach, etc).

(This is why AFT works and you can pull up a seemingly unrelated memory that IS actually related because of how your brain filed the information.)

Now, the alarm system is connected to certain areas of the scrapbook; particularly negative, stressful, and traumatic events. It’s our body’s way of alerting us that something is wrong, that we’ve been here before and it ended badly.

It’s also important to realize that some people’s alarm systems are more sensitive than others. Those with trauma or brain imbalances tend to have a hair-trigger alarm system so that their amygdala is in constant fight or flight, scanning for danger. These people may seem to always be in the feels. The thinking/logical sections of the brain are overridden by the more urgent feelings.

Also, yes, input from any of the senses can set OFF your alarm system. Someone gets too close, something is too loud, something is too smelly, you taste something that triggers a negative association, you see something frightening or traumatic… any sense can trigger the alarm system.

But, only one can switch it off.

Only the olfactory system can connect with the feeling brain (which is being triggered) before it connects with the thinking brain. When I’m triggered, I feel first and think later. For people with a history of trauma, thinking may come MUCH later or not at all. If I’m in deep fight/flight/freeze, there is little that can snap me out of it. This reality has never been more apparent than with my sweet son, who will go to the mat over things that trigger him. I’m not talking about regular stresses and disappointments you can talk yourself down from. I’m talking about a traumatized reaction to an innocuous event. It’s as if there isn’t a choice, because there is no logical thought going into the reaction.

When traumatic stress is truly triggered, it is life or death, you are doing whatever you can to survive. Your brain is telling you to fight or leave and you find yourself acting before you even realize what is happening. That alarm is sounding and turning it off is a challenge. Of course there are ways of retraining the brain and many different psychological approaches. Logic can rule once the incident is over, but the fact remains there will be more triggers. There will be more incidents. There will be more hair-trigger reactions.

Unless, there was a way to halt the process and retrain the brain that lasted.

The most effective, most permanent “off-switch” for that triggered alarm are therapeutic essential oils. The tiny molecules bypass the blood brain barrier and go into the cells. The constituents work like a symphony in the body. The ligands attach to receptor sites that match the same frequency and the cell door opens for business. The molecules do their jobs in the cell, assisting with deleting and restoring correct Information, bringing the body, mind, and spirit in balance.

The best example of this I’ve seen is Trauma Life. Within minutes it halts the fight/flight for our son. Consistent use has meant his past doesn’t dictate his future. He is tasting freedom from the bondage he once was in. He can hear the gentle whisper of truth over the terrible lies.

Driving on the Struggle Bus

Riding the Struggle Bus today because mama tried to do work uninterrupted for 5 minutes.

Y’all, there is panic that sets in when this child’s brain tells him he is in danger. The body keeps score of trauma. I’ll preach it forever. Panic gets shut down immediately by implementing the right tools.

1) Calm voice. Always. Even when I’m frustrated. Yelling engages the amygdala even more and creates an escalated panic that is much harder to calm.

2) Short phrases. Clear directions. Few words.

3) Oils. Always. Trauma Life halts the fight/flight/freeze. JuvaFlex and Release usher the anger out of the body. (For both of us.)

4) Grace. Unending. When I see his behavior for what it is – fear – I know that Jesus gives me the power to speak life and truth. Just as the Holy Spirit does for me in my moments of panic, so can I show grace and compassion to my child. What seems like a personal assault gets put in its right perspective. And I get the chance to be Jesus with skin on day after day, moment after moment.