4 Things Someone with Anxiety Needs to Hear

Portrait of a sad woman

Whether you suffer from general anxiety, social anxiety, or panic attacks, anxiety can be extremely agonizing, overwhelming, and exhausting. Anxiety symptoms, both mental and physical, can impede your daily life and make work, school, social activities, and relationships more difficult to handle. When you feel overcome by your anxiety, remember this:

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one going through this and that no one else understands your anxiety. Despite this feeling, you are not alone. About 18% of the general population suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety is the most common mental illness. Chances are you have friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and peers who also suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you’re feeling anxious; you’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to offer their support.

You Are Strong

Those who suffer from anxiety are incredibly strong and brave people. Having anxiety is like being in a constant battle with yourself. You deal with things that are out of your control, yet you stay strong and fight hard to defeat it. You face your fears every day, and learn new ways to cope with your symptoms and overcome your stressors.

You Will Get Through This

If you suffer from panic attacks, then you know how grueling and antagonizing they can be. A panic attack is a sudden rush of intense fear and worry that makes you feel like you’re dying or going crazy. It feels all-to-real and the pain is also physical. But, no matter how frightening a panic attack may seem, you will get through it. It will pass, like all your other attacks have in the past. You’ll move on and become an even stronger person.

There Is Help

Anxiety is certainly a treatable condition. Aside from medication, Stuart MacFarlane, a notable therapist, says psychotherapy, exercise, yoga, and meditation can all help relieve anxiety symptoms.  Talk to your doctor about ways you can treat your anxiety.

Read More

Psychotherapy Provides Long-Term Benefits for IBS

Psychologist talking to depressed woman in the office

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10-15% of the world population. In the United States, upwards of 45 million people suffer from IBS, with symptoms including abdominal pain and discomfort and change bowel habits.

Stuart MacFarlane, a distinguished therapist, has found psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms of IBS for patients. While psychotherapy is known to provide short-term relief from IBS symptoms, a recent study found these benefits could have a long-term impact.

The study, published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, analyzed data on over 2,200 patients with IBS across 41 clinical trials and found the benefits provided by psychotherapy lasted at least six to 12 after the therapy had ended.

There are many different types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive therapy and hypnosis, and the researchers found no major variations in efficiency among the different types. The study also found the number of sessions or length of treatment had a little impact on the potential benefits and that online therapy is equally as effective as in-person treatments.

This study shows that the mind and the body are connected. As explained in a press release: “Gastrointestinal symptoms can increase stress and anxiety, which can increase the severity of the symptoms. This is a vicious cycle that psychological treatment can help break.”


Read More

Mentally Strong Vs. Acting Tough

shutterstock_149934155From a psychological standpoint, people who act tough may be suffering from serious consequences according to a recent study. The research comes from Rutgers University in New Jersey where the psychologists examined the models in healthcare avoidance related to masculine contingencies of self-worth in both men and women. They found that the social roles of acting tough actually indicate a downstream of consequences that don’t imply mental strength because the barriers these individuals put up hinder their ability to seek help.

While it’s not clear why people feel the need to act tough, it really can implicate your physical and mental health. In fact, Stuart MacFarlane, an experience therapist, believes these actions can jeopardize your mental health but with self-improvement practices, you can become mentally stronger.

Masks Insecurities

Sometimes when individuals portray themselves as ‘tough’ or develop a persona that signals “I’m the best” can often hide a number of insecurities behind that tough exterior. Rather than expending all that energy to mask those insecurities, someone who is mentally strong will recognize those shortcomings and work towards making them better.

Skews Self-Worth

Those with the tough persona may by very concerned with their outward appearance to others and those opinions play a big role in how they perceive themselves. This type of self-destructive behavior can lead to depression by overvaluing what others think of them. Someone who wants to be mentally strong shouldn’t worry about proving themselves to others and they are willing to take ask for help to become stronger.

Suppress Emotions

There certainly are people who don’t show much emotion because they may believe it’s a sign of weakness and those who with the tough persona only feel comfortable with expressing anger. This hides their real emotions of sadness, fear, anxiety and even excitement. Those who are mentally strong are will to admit the times they feel uncertain and aren’t shy to shed a tear because ignoring those emotions are mentally draining.

Taking On Too Much To Handle

Confidence is a great trait for anyone to have, however, those with tough personas will believe they can accomplish anything and may overestimate their actual abilities to reach a goal. Those who are mentally strong will be prepared for the realities of a challenge and acknowledge the potential obstacles that stand between them and their goal.

All in all, it’s not healthy to put up a tough exterior because it comes with consequences that can affect you psychologically and physically.

Read More

Helpful Tips To Get Through Grief


Grieving is a challenging journey to endure after losing a loved one.  It is natural to become overwhelmed as you go through the stages of grieving (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). However, bereavement counsellor and therapist Stuart MacFarlane has some helpful tips to comfort you through this difficult and trying time.

Seek & accept support

Enduring the pain associated with the loss of a loved one should not be something you take on alone. You need to have support and care from others around you, like friends, family members or professional bereavement counsellors. Whether they offer a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear,  or give you emotional support, help from others will benefit you.

Accept grief

In dealing with the loss of a loved one, it is important to allow the sorrow associated with the grief to be able to move on towards healing. Hiding it, pushing it away or running from grief are natural too, but in themselves won’t make things better.

Learn about grief

As you educate yourself on grieving and can dismiss the myths around it, you’ll realize that grieving is a normal part of life. Along the way, you may wind up discovering early warning signs that your grief is more complex and that you may need more support to cope. Either way, knowledge is power and the more you know, the better and faster you’ll move towards healing.

Timing is key

Grieving can be physically and emotionally exhausting as intense feelings can drain a lot of energy. So give yourself plenty of time to do routine tasks and don’t overexert yourself. Set a slow pace because you want time to rest and heal between all your daily activities.

Become involved

As you move through the phases of grieving, you may find yourself wanting to become involved in something at work or in another activity that you enjoy. This can help you focus on something else and offer a welcoming distraction from the pain associated with your grief. Sometimes people may feel guilty about taking time for themselves as if it is robbing the loved one of their attention. But its ok.

Have some fun

While grieving and bereavement isn’t a fun subject, some individuals don’t allow themselves to have any fun during the grieving process. However, everyone is familiar with that old adage laughter is the best medicine and that may as well be words to live by during this trying time. It never hurts to share a few fun and enjoyable moments with others to boost your mood.

Remain resilient

Grieving over the loss of a loved one can take time to recover from but your intense feelings will subside as you move towards wholeness again. Keep the faith and remain resilient because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Read More