Reflexology as a cure for anxiety

I doubt reflexology is able to supply a complete cure for what are complex psychological and emotional issues. Reflexology works on the bodies energy system as interpreted in the east other two thousand years ago. Along with acupuncture and some traditional medicines it has become extremely popular throughout the western world. There is however little strong evidence that it can cure specific afflictions or general symptoms, and anxiety is no different.

A good reflexologist will not boast about their ability to cure anxiety, in fact they will not even suggest that a cure is possible. Reflexology should be treated as a holistic cure. It is applied to the whole system and, hopefully, benefits the whole person. In that case it might have an effect on anxiety, but someone embarking upon a course of reflexology as their soul strategy for dealing with anxiety would do well to be cautious.


There is, in my opinion, something to be said for a bit of self-reflexology. Your local library probably has several reflexology books, and one of them will be sure to contain a hand reflexology workout that can be used in stressful situations. Really, the worst that can happen with reflexology is nothing at all, and you might find it to be another weapon in your arsenal.

 


For a little bit more info on reflexology for anxiety click here.

 

 

How I Recoverd From Anxiety and Panic After Ten Years of Suffering.

An article by Paul David:

 

Firstly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Paul David and I suffered from every form of anxiety and panic for 10 years. My recovery came from a meeting with someone who had a full understanding of this condition, in fact he taught me more in one hour than anyone else was able to teach me in 10 years.
With this persons help I was able to recover within a few months.

My recovery came because I was given a full understanding of my condition. This is the only way to recover in my opinion. When you know why you feel like you do this takes the whole fear out of your symptoms, it stops you going round in circles everyday trying to find answers to why you feel like you do. It gives your body the freedom to recover. Just like a broken leg or a cut, your body is wanting and waiting to recover.

After my recovery I then went on to study the whole panic and anxiety subject in full, in this time I not only realised how much rubbish was spoken on the subject, I was also shocked to find out how many people actually suffered, I knew I was not alone but I could not believe how little information there is out there for a condition for which millions around the world suffer from.

This is why I decided to dedicate my life to helping others, over the years I have been asked many questions from people who suffer and below I list the most common ones.

Q.1 I feel so strange and out of touch with the world around me. Am I going mad?

No, you are definitely not. You may feel as if you are, but this is just another offshoot of anxiety.
Anxiety is not a mental illness. These feelings cannot harm you and there is nothing to worry about.

This feeling of strangeness has a totally logical explanation. It comes from the constant worrying about how you feel as you search your mind for answers to your condition. Your mind has become tired and less resilient through watching yourself and worrying about your symptoms, day in, day out. It has been bombarded with worrying thoughts and becomes fatigued. Just as our limbs can tire, so can our mind. It craves a rest from all this introspection of oneself.

In fact these feelings of unreality are your body’s way of protecting you from the onslaught of worrying thoughts. Your mind has a safety mechanism that protects against all this, causing us to feel strange and not with it. It is crying out to be left alone and just like a broken arm will heal itself so will your body, you just have to step out of the way and let it.

The main thing is not to dwell on how you feel. These feelings are temporary. Constantly worrying about ourselves and how we feel is the very thing that keeps this feeling alive and when we learn how to stop the habit, it will disappear. Once we are able to change the pattern of our worrying thoughts, we can reverse these feelings of strangeness. You are bound to worry if you don’t know why you feel like you do. That is why again ‘understanding’ is the key.

This is one of the questions I have been asked more than any other. I go into more detail in my book as I know that it is a symptom that needs special attention.

I found this feeling of detachment very hard to accept and understand myself, but when it was explained to me in full, I was able to rid myself of this disturbing symptom.

Q.2 Why do I feel better in certain situations and not in others?

This is a very common one and it all comes down to how you think in other situations.
For example, you may feel better in the safety of your own home rather than at a family gathering. There is no difference in both of these situations, the only difference is in the way you think. You are the same person and it is not the situation that makes you feel worse it is your thought pattern.
You may spend the day worrying about going to a particular function, setting your body up to be anxious on arrival and then blame it on the situation you are in rather than the thought pattern you have created during the day while at home. You may get there and then also worry about making a fool of yourself, spending the whole time tensing against how you feel and creating more anxiety. Do you see how we do this to ourselves? It is not the situation, but our perception of the situation that causes us to feel worse in certain situations. You are merely doing it to yourself with your thoughts.

You must just accept how you feel wherever you are and in whatever situation you find yourself deal with yourself and not the place. Sometimes a place may hold certain memories of failure, which makes us feel anxious, but this soon passes when we learn to accept how

If you truly accept how you feel in every situation and stop all the “What if’s” and other negative thoughts that just increase anxiety, you will find that although you may feel uncomfortable at times, nothing bad is going to happen to you, and in time your reactions lessen until you feel more able to cope, day by day. Anxiety loves avoidance, so take it’s power away and move forward and embrace these feelings of fear, even if you’re in a situation where you feel you have failed in the past.

Avoiding symptoms just does not work, as you must realise by now. I was taught to let all feelings be there, not to avoid them but to go through them. This worked for me, I had faced the demons head on and realised this was the only way to stop fearing them. I ignored my body’s instinct to avoid and started to embrace how I felt, I moved towards the feelings of fear. Eventually, I started to understand my condition so much more. I went from not been able to even mention or hear the word anxiety, to barely giving it a second thought.

I mention the word ‘understanding’ again, because this is the key to recovery. How can you not fear something you don’t understand! How can you accept something that still scares you?

Q.3 Will these feelings ever go away?

Yes, they will, once you understand why you feel like you do. You can unmask the fears you hold about anxiety. There are so many myths about anxiety that it worries me just how many people are mis-informed and truly believe they will never get better, and that they will just have to live with this condition. Too many people spend years like I did, searching for that elusive miracle cure that just does not exist.

Understanding anxiety takes away so much fear out of how we feel. Every stage and symptom has a logical explanation that can be explained. With less fear and more understanding, we also calm the constant worrying it is the lack of information on the subject that keeps the worry cycle going. Constant worrying that we will never get better also adds to the belief that we will just have to live with it.

Once we start to understand anxiety and use the tools we have learnt to cope with how we feel, the change can be dramatic. In my recovery, I found that the more knowledge I had and the more I understood my condition the easier it was to accept how I felt. I started to lose fear of my symptoms and how I felt. Eventually they began to hold less power over me and I started to pay them less respect.

It is your desperation to rid yourself of how you feel that keeps your anxiety alive. The stress you put on yourself day in day out, the constant worrying and thinking about your condition, puts a tremendous pressure on your body. Is it any wonder you stay anxious? It’s time to stop beating yourself up about how you feel and give your body the rest it craves.

Knowledge is power. The less you fear your symptoms, the less they mean. This also stops the worry cycle you may find yourself in, which is the very thing that keeps anxiety going. You are bound to worry if you don’t know what is wrong with you, that is why you need an explanation to help break this cycle.

Q.4 Why do I find it so hard in social situations? I find it so hard to communicate with people.

How can we expect to feel part of this world when all we do is worry about ourselves. Is it any wonder we find it difficult to follow a conversation when all we are concerned about is ourselves and how we feel. It is like being two separate people, one trying to hold a conversation, the other watching our body’s reaction. Is it any wonder we struggle to fit in to the world around us?

Once we find the courage to accept how we feel, even embrace these feelings, we find it easier to follow what the other person is saying. We become less concerned about how we feel which gives us more time to be interested in the situation we are in and become more involved in the present.

Q.5 Why do I seem to have so many bad thoughts running around all day?

The reason you seem to have your attention on yourself all day and it feels like there are hundreds of thoughts running through your mind is because of all your confusion about how you feel. You go round in your mind all day long, looking for answers, trying to find a way out of this hell. Some people may even stay up all night reflecting on the whole day, trying to figure it all out. Mostly these are negative or worrying thoughts and that’s why they seem to come automatically and with so much force. When you are in an anxious state, emotions seem to be ten-fold. Everything magnifies, a little problem becomes massive, and something that you could dismiss when you were healthy, sticks around all day.

Eventually thinking just becomes automatic it becomes a habit. All day, every day, these thoughts seem to come before you even think them. Looking at it from another angle, when people meditate, they stop thinking for hours on end until it becomes a habit and they can go all day without a worrying thought. That is why they feel so refreshed.

Not you, your thoughts just carry on and on and when your mind is tired, like it is now, it grasps hold of every thought, pulls them in and they seem to stick.

Don’t worry that thoughts come so often and seem so bad. These thoughts are not real, they are just exaggerated thoughts due to your overactive, fatigued mind. They hold no danger to you at all they are just THOUGHTS and nothing else.
Don’t ever think, “I must not think that”. Let all thoughts come, do not run away from any of them. See them for what they are – thoughts – exaggerated because of the way you feel. They can do you no harm and they mean nothing. They won’t be around when you recover, so pay them no respect.

Why not try following a negative/scary thought through and ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Ask yourself, “Is it really going to happen? Is this thought rational in any way?” If you do this, you may find an answer to a thought you have been so frightened of. So the next time you can see them for what they are and let them go, and deep down inside of you there is a place where you can see thoughts for what they are, you will realize they just come from habit and are just not important.

Paul has been helping people with anxiety and panic for many years now, giving people a far better understanding of their condition. You can find more information at www.anxietynomore.co.uk

 

 

Anxiety, Understanding Feelings Of Unreality/Depersonalisation.

Here I am publishing an article about feelings of depersonalization and unreality which many anxiety sufferers have labelled the worst of all symptoms. You might want to read more on the symptoms page or check out my section on Claire Weekes.  In the mean time I recommend you read this article with an open mind, because feelings of unreality can be dealt with and do not need to ruin your life.

 

Here it is:

 

D.P., as I will refer to it, is a common and understandable offshoot of the anxiety condition. I can also tell you that it is in no way a mental illness. It is not serious or harmful in any way and has a totally logical explanation. It is temporary and, with patience and understanding, eventually passes like any other symptom.

The key to recovering from this feeling of detachment is to surrender to this strange feeling, to pay it no respect and realise it is just the product of an over-tired mind, fatigued by your constant worrying thoughts and the constant checking in to how you feel. This symptom relies on your fear of it to keep it alive.

When people are caught up in the worry cycle, they begin to think deeply and constantly. They study themselves from deep within, checking in and focusing on their symptoms. They may even wake in the morning only to continue this habit,

 

 

“How do I feel this morning?”

 

“I wonder if I will be able to get through today”

 

“What’s this new sensation I feel?”

 

 

This may go on all day, exhausting their already tired mind further. This constant checking in and constant assessing of their symptoms then becomes a habit, but like all other habits this one can also be changed.

All this worry is bound to make your mind feel dull and unresponsive. Is it any wonder you have come to feel so distanced from your surroundings? Is it any wonder you find it so hard to concentrate? Some people, when studying for exams for hours on end, get to the point where they can no longer take information in, so they take a break and carry on the day after. For you, there are no breaks and no time outs.

As I have already mentioned earlier, your body has a safety mechanism that protects it from all this worry and slows the mind down to safeguard itself. It takes a step back from this onslaught, which can then produce your feelings of detachment and the world around you may become hazy or out of focus.

Once you understand this symptom as being caused by an over-tired mind, exhausted through worry, that you are not going mad and these feelings can’t harm you in any way, it makes sense. With the fear factor taken out of this symptom, it can start to hold less power over you and affect you less than it did before. Although still annoying, you now know why you feel these feelings. Once you learn to accept them and stop adding worrying thoughts to the mix, this is another symptom that you will be able to overcome in time. Taking a step back and giving up the worrying thoughts, gives your mind the chance to rest, rejuvenate and refresh.

When it happened to me, I recognised and understood what was causing it. I realised that I was checking in and worrying about it and I did fear this sensation, so I just stopped doing it. I also learnt to get busier and stop brooding on this and other symptoms. Being active gives you another focus. Having too much time on your hands can open the door to too much needless thinking. With less worry and fear of this harmless but upsetting symptom, I was eventually able to overcome it. It merely became a nuisance and because I knew the reason for its existence, it no longer held any power over me. When a worry or fear loses its importance, it loses its power and that is why it is essential to realise these symptoms are neither harmful nor serious. Gradually, without all the checking in and worrying, this symptom that so dominated my life began to diminish and eventually disappeared completely.

This symptom is like any other all symptoms are still being fuelled by your fear of them. As long as the fear continues, so will the symptoms. When we start to understand why we feel like we do, we automatically fear them less and they start to lose their edge and importance, this is when symptoms gradually start to fade.

Paul has been helping people with anxiety and panic for many years now, giving people a far better understanding of their condition. You can find more information at www.anxietynomore.co.uk

 

Anxiety and Depression

In the third article from Paul David the question of depression which co-exists with, and compounds, anxiety is examined. Remember, a whole new section on depression is coming soon to Anxiety 2 Calm, so look out for it! Here’s the article:

 

Through suffering of anxiety most people also develop depression, this can then lead to feelings of self-pity and make the person feel worthless. The feelings of depression can occur because anxiety has a tendency to crush our spirit and make us feel emotionally spent, also we begin to see no way out from the way we feel and have nothing to look forward to. I also went through depression with my anxiety and got caught in the cycle of being depressed because I was depressed. I realised that if I was to recover from anxiety then I was to have no self pity, if I felt down then I felt down there was nothing I could do about this, what I would try to do is not be filled with self-pity and make myself worse.

The best thing you can do with feelings of depression through anxiety is to tell yourself the way you feel is temporary and start to invite new things into your day, don’t let how you feel dominate your day. I started to take walks and go for a swim to shake the cobwebs off how I was feeling, this helped me greatly and it gave me another focus to my day instead of focusing on myself. I believe that nature and a natural diet can be great mood lifters and can also ease the feelings of anxiety, going out for a run or a walk, taking some daily exercise is far better than sitting at home brooding on how you feel. Exercise in itself releases endorphins which are great for lifting your mood, also exercise burns off all those stress chemicals than can build up through the day.

Your thought pattern is also very important when overcoming anxiety and depression. Too many people think negatively when they feel how they do, this is understandable but is counter productive and becomes a habit, the habit to always think negative in turn makes us feel worse and crushes our spirit even more. Watch out for all the negative thinking and try and change your thought pattern, instead of saying

 

 

“This is me now I just want to curl up and hide”

 

 

say

 

 

“I don’t feel great at the moment but I am going to make the changes and come through this”

 

 

instead of saying

 

 

“I have nothing to look forward to and I hate my life”

 

 

say

 

 

“Life is what I make it from now, the only person that can make changes is me, this is just a  part of my life that I will come through”.

 

 

There are many different things you can say to yourself, but the main thing is to try and have as little self-pity as possible, to see the good in the day instead of all the bad, to come through this time a better, stronger person.

I came through my depression and it was because I made the changes above, these changes also helped me after my recovery, I am a far more confident person than I was before my own suffering and I tend to always see the good in my life. This all came about because I understand the importance of being positive, this now has become my new habit and my life is so much richer for it. I am also very proud that I stayed positive and came through this very tough part of my life; this has given me a new inner strength, a strength that I can overcome anything. I now no longer worry about anything I cannot change, if I learnt one thing it is that worrying is the most useless emotion we have and serves us no purpose whatsoever.

 

Paul has been helping people with anxiety and panic for many years now, giving people a far better understanding of their condition. You can find more information at www.anxietynomore.co.uk

 

 

How Anxiety and Panic Symptoms Develop into a Cycle

Hi,

 

Here is the second article in the Paul David series which started yesterday. Just to let those who were wondering know that I am updating other parts of the site, and there will be many new pages soon. Do bear with me while I am making these updates and don’t hesitate to mail if you have any questions: info@anxiety2calm.com. I will put any news on the homepage.

 

Paul has been helping people with anxiety and panic for many years now, giving people a far better understanding of their condition. You can find more information at www.anxietynomore.co.uk

 

Many people come to me and say ? I don?t know why I feel like I do or how it started? well I was pretty much in the dark myself as to why I seem to get worse and not better over the years and why had these feelings had come on in the first place. Well in most cases it is because of a period of worry and stress, there are other causes but in most cases this is the reason why. I receive emails from people bewildered to why they suddenly felt like this, I then ask ?Have you been under a period of stress recently?? they reply with, ?Well my mother has been ill recently, my partner left me 6 months ago, my daughter has just left home and I lost my job a couple of months ago, not until I ask them do they realise the stress they have been under for the last few months, all this stress takes its toll on the body.

What I had was a nervous breakdown. This basically occurs because your body can only take so much.   When you are going through a prolonged period of stress and worry, your body cannot cope so it sort of shuts down.  It has reached breaking point and has said enough is enough. This may lead to feelings of anxiousness, feelings of panic, and the feeling of detachment. It does not matter what the symptoms are, it is your body saying ?I can take no more?.  This is where the word breakdown comes in, because that is really all it is. Now all your body is asking for is a rest and time to rejuvenate itself. Do we give it that time? No!  Through no fault of our own, we then worry about these symptoms, worry we are going mad and wonder why we feel so tired and emotionless. This puts more worry and strain on our already tired body and we may begin to feel worse. We tell ourselves we must get a grip of this thing, so we fight it and worry even more. Well I think you can now see why these symptoms persist. This is exactly what I did for all those years while I suffered. In fact I was worrying because I had been ill so long and my days were filled with fighting and worry.

One day I just accepted that, OK, this is me now. I actually understand why I feel like this. I need to give my mind and body a rest. I need to stop trying to make myself feel better and stop worrying about how I feel. So I started to just accept it, not only that, but I also accepted it may take a long time for my body to repair itself. This is exactly what your body needs – ?A Break?. It did take time for me to feel better and sort of came bit by bit. Sometimes I experienced the worst day I?d had for a long time, but I never let it bother me. I just accepted the good days and the bad ones. What I did notice over time was that my mind became a little clearer.  The odd emotion would return and my anxiety eased a little. This is when I finally realised I was doing things the right way and it all made sense to me. The feeling of strangeness was the hardest to accept, but I became a master at not letting it bother me. So, remember, it does not matter how long it takes to feel better, just start to give your body the well deserved break it so needs and it will take care of itself.

 

 

How to not think!

Recently I received an email from someone requesting any advice I had for stopping negative thought processes.

 

One almost constant symptom of anxiety and panic disorders is increased worry. Not just worry about big problems but obsessive worry about small things, irrational or unlikely things, and things about which nothing can be done anyway.

 

Of course worry is natural and we all worry at sometimes. There is a point however when worry can get in the way. Unhealthy worry could be considered as being worry which becomes more of a barrier to success than the thing you are worrying about.

 

As anxiety is often fear of fear itself worry is often fear of worrying…overly worried people tend to worry not so much about a negative outcome but how much a negative outcome will make them worry, how bad it will make them feel.

So, what can the anxious worrier do about worrying?

 

The first port of call is the original CBT technique: Every time you catch yourself having a negative thought you say audibly, or under your breath if you are in public “Stop!” and immediately focus on something else. An alternative to this is to wear an elastic band around your wrist and ping it every time you notice your negative thinking.

 

But how do you actually change the thought?

 

So, noticing negative thinking is the easy part, what do we do next? As I said above, you can force yourself to think about something else, but sometimes that negative thought or worry just comes right back. At this point in time I would take pen and paper, preferably a notebook you can keep with you at all times, and write down the negative thought. Right it down as a definite:

 

People will laugh at me.

 

or a “What if?”

 

What if I lose my thread half way through the presentation and run out of the room?

 

Then, underneath, argue against it. Argue against the chances of it happening, and about how terrible it would be if it actually did happen:

 

People won’t laugh at me, I don’t laugh at others when they make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, and anyway, I could just gather my thoughts and carry on after a short pause, what seems like eternity to me is only a couple of seconds at most. And even if it did all go wrong, and I did feel I couldn’t continue, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, I could make an excuse, say I had a stomach bug or felt sick, people understand these physical ailments much more and won’t remember in a few days time.

 

Go on like that with every negative thought you have. There is something about writing the thoughts down which allows you to view them in a much healthier light, and I think you will find that you can calm them a lot.

 

What if this doesn’t work?

 

If this doesn’t work it may well be worth talking to a therapist. It can take a long time to deal with the underlying issues, and many many people don’t need to. But for some it is life changing and well worth the investment.

 

I also recommend you read this section on the work of Byron Katie and the Sedona Method, as both can be very effective at removing negative thought processes.

 

Journey Therapy

 

On Anxiety to Calm I have a page about Journey Therapy, a therapy which was developed in the USA by Brandon Bays. The technique has found a lot of followers and the “guru” authors of many similar books have lavished it with praise.

 

Like too many of these miracle therapies and breakthroughs scientific results are hard to find, indeed it is rare to find anything other than anecdotal evidence of success.

 

Brandon Bays, according to her book, cured herself of a massive tumour in her stomach. It is then I think implicit in the book that readers can go on to cure themselves of great ills by following her method, and going to her seminars.

 

 

The book is not limited to cancer, I mention it here because it also talks about depression and anxiety. I wrote about my own brief experience of a Journey Therapy lecture here.

 

If you do an Internet search on Journey Therapy, for anxiety or otherwise, you don’t find a great deal other than praise from other gurus and the odd negative review on Amazon.

 

So what then is the truth? I would like anyone who has had experience of Journey Therapy with the books, CDs, Tapes, seminars, videos or private practitioners to write to me by adding to this blog or sending me an email to info@anxiety2calm.com. I want to hear it all…the good stuff and the bad, and whether you would recommend it or whether you felt you had wasted your time and money.

 

By the way, to the lady who contacted me by email about Journey Therapy a week or so ago: I lost lots of data from my laptop including your email address. So I wonder if you could get in touch again!

 

 

Hi, I found this article and thought it was worth sharing, just as a reminder that anyone trying to deal with a difficult disorder like anxiety or panic attacks will do much better of they have space. It might sometimes feel like work has sometimes provided an escape from problems which can overwhelm an empty mind or idle body, but really the opposite is true. Working too hard when you are anxious is like trying to douse the anxiety with a bottle of Vodka. Very short term benefit and long term struggle. So stop a bit, let yourself feel what you are feeling and then you know what it is you are dealing with.

Here it is:

 

You Deserve A Month Off Our columnist returns from a modest hiatus, realizes we are all working way, way too much
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, April 19, 2002

 

I have a message. I have a revelation.

 

It is mild and harmless and wildly common-sensical and terribly obvious on a hundred different levels and yet also revolutionary, and still we ignore it and deny it and make a point to reject it, trammel it with our macho American work boots and proudly jammed timecards and 12-hour workdays and our bleary eyes and struggling relationships and rampant heart attacks.

 

We all need more time off.

 

That’s it. That’s the revelation. Of course you agree. Of course you love the idea. But of course, like any good American, you’ve had the noxious Puritan work ethic pounded into your soul since you were knee-high to a fetus, when your mother ordered you to quit lounging and get busy and, you know, clean up your womb.
And following fast food and bad porn and the baffling incessant regeneration of the Bush clan, this mad drive for more work is the great American tragedy of our time. It is. That and sitcoms. And Meg Ryan.
We need more time off. A lot more time. Longer vacations. Extended breaks. Chunks of contiguous time which you can roll around on the tongue of your id and feel all swoony and blissed. When’s the last time you saw an unhappy Aussie? Exactly.

 

I have just returned from a six-week injury-induced hiatus, a shockingly lengthy block of time by most American work standards and aside from the mild pain and the recuperation and the lovely Vicodin/red-wine cocktails, it was glorious and refreshing and soul-regenerating and completely necessary. It prevents burnouts and ameliorates loathings and lightens the spirit and lets the psyche breathe and I am now utterly convinced that we are all idiots.

 

Or rather, the Europeans, with their regular, multi-month vacations, are geniuses. And the Australians are super-geniuses. Three months per year, paid. They pity us. They sip their Victoria Bitter and grin and make their enviable plans to travel across Asia on a Vespa for the summer and they look at us and shake their heads and say, Jesus with a brutal mortgage payment and a weekly performance evaluation, we are just *so sorry* you’re an American.

 

You, with your paltry two weeks off per year and your mad dash for niftier job titles, your drive drive drive and your leaving for work at 7 and getting home at 8, your desperate need to be defined by what you do and your neglect of everything that’s important in favor of deluxe business cards and pleated pantsuits and lots of frequent flyer miles heading to conventions at the Indianapolis Holiday Inn. That is so sad.

 

And they are so right.

 

No wonder we so love our Prozac. No wonder TV is our national anesthetic balm. The few precious minutes we have outside of work, we just want to drain, detach, unwind, go numb, de-stress, de-pollute. No wonder we know next to nothing of either ourselves or the outside world. We never get to spend any length of time there.
I cleaned my apartment. I purged. I dumped bagsful of stuff and emptied closets and rearranged my space and took inventory and painted walls and bought art and candles and wine.

 

I slept in. I forgot deadline pressure for the first time in years. I haven’t called in sick in a decade and haven’t taken more than a week off and here I was, loaded with time. It was bizarre, it was surreal, it was… extraordinary.
I went to Hawaii. Swam with dolphins. Read magazines. Spawned profound observations regarding sunsets and breaching humpback whales and sunburns and didn’t check email for days.

 

Our laws are wrong. Our ethic is wrong. Everyone wants longer vacations, yet we feel guilty. How dare you take time off. How dare you enjoy other aspects of life. What are you, a bohemian freak? Industrious and dedicated work is good and necessary and admirable but too much of it is dangerous and deadly and nothing but nothing will suck your anima dry like excess toil and lack of self-exploration and adventure.

 

We are solid and dependable and harried. We have all the shiny expensive goodies and all the appropriately excessive everything, the best in thuggish SUVs and the finest gold nugget jewelry and the blandest business parks and superlative freeways for our endless soul-draining commutes and by God we are a noble bunch of American cogs, dying our slow and fluorescent-lit, copy machine deaths with pride and fortitude. Ouch.

 

The Puritans were fools. Good, diligent fools who were desperately undersexed and humorless and badly dressed and who never downed a beer bong in college or had sex standing up or laughed so hard they blasted margaritas through their noses, but fools nonetheless. Why do we follow their lead?

 

Moral salvation through hard work? As if. As if God sits there, slumped in the holy Barcalounger, checking his books as you await entry. Did you work lots of overtime? Kneel before your 401k? Ruin countless weekends by trudging into the office on a Saturday to finish a PowerPoint presentation in lieu of sleeping in or getting out of town or having morning sex with the S.O. and then going to a cafe for a lovely post-coital breakfast and laughing and staring longingly across the table and discuss traveling to Tibet together? You did? Off to Hell with you.
We should all have a month off, minimum, everyone, every full-time employee everywhere in the country. Increased to six weeks after your first year. Then up to two months. That would be just about right. Two months. Maybe more. Think of what you could do.

 

Paint the house. Start your novel. Drive across the country. Finish that Proust bio. Rethink your life. Read up on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and come up with a solution because apparently they all insist on remaining pious violence-drunk hatemongers who regularly shame their God. Fly to Bali. You know, do stuff.
So here’s the message: Do your work, do it well, take pride and show up on time and kick ass as much as possible. Then get the hell out. Leave as often as you can. See things. Get some sun. This is the message. Hey, even Shrub has reportedly spent over 40 percent of his current term on “working” vacation. And he’s got a big phony war to keep hyping and everything.

 

Anxiety. Which herbs to use?

Chamomile is the obvious choice for anxiety. It is cheap, safe, easy to find, and can be effective. That said, a herb like chamomile is unlikely to be truly miraculous for treating severe anxiety and panic attacks. Just like Celexa and the other SSRI’s, and Valium, chamomile is only a crutch, only a temporary relief. It has not been found to treat the cause or provide any long term solution. The only long term solutions I have seen evidence of come from talking therapies such as CBT and psychotherapy.

Chamomile has been found to aid sleep and provide relaxation, but that does not mean it will snap you out of a panic attack (although it might well help, and the reason for that might be that doing something to distract yourself often does lessen anxiety.) It can also be used in a bath, which also seems to relax people.

The bottom line is that while chamomile is no doubt a nicer, safer thing to take than much of the medication available for anxiety, there is no such thing as a free lunch. It is not likely to be as effective as stronger prescription medicine, which of course in turn does not work for everyone.

For a bit of insomnia I would personally give chamomile 3/5.

As a solution to anxiety or panic attacks I would give it 1/5.

If you do decide to give it a whirl then try various amounts, and both tea and tablet form. Try flavouring it with honey as well. Whatever you do, don’t eat lots of dried flowerheads of chamomile. It can make you vomit!

Also read: Anxiety Disorder Herbal Remedies