Overcoming Anxiety Virtual Book Tour

As part of the eBook Launch Extravaganza for Overcoming Anxiety, there will be a huge discount on the book during the first 10 days after the release, and some extensive virtual touring. I will be doing the usual virtual touring activities  (guest posts, reviews, interviews, responding to comments) and look forward to interacting with many of my readers on these sites:

Here is the planned virtual blog tour so far for this nonfiction mental health book:

7/27         interview   Va Beach Publishing Examiner
7/28         excerpt      Book Reviews and Authors
7/28         spotlight      Fit4moms
7/28         review          My Bookish Life
7/28         guest post    Books Direct Online
7/29         review          The Dark Phantom
7/29         spotlight       KitnKaboodle
7/29         guest post     Literally Speaking
7/29         excerpt         Jamie Hope’s Journey
7/30         review           The Serious Reader
7/30         excerpt         Valley Girl Gone Country
7/30         review            Bound for Escape
7/30         interview         CA Milson’s Blog
7/31          interview        Julius Thom Novels
7/31          review            The Pink Lyme
8/1            review              Book Fidelity
8/2           interview         Book Adventures of Emily
8/3           interview       Virtual Book Club
8/4           review              Literary Meanderings
8/5           review               Crafty Mom Zen
8/5           guest post         What is That Book About?
8/7            review             Ogitchida Book Blog
8/8            interview          Literary Lunes
8/10          interview       The Writer’s Life
8/11           review             Curling Up By the Fire
8/12           review            My Life, Loves and Passion
8/13           guest blog      Mythical Books
8/17           review               Laura’s Interests
8/18           guest blog        Queen Of All She Reads
8/20          review             Our Family’s Adventure

Droid Addiction

Add to the list of addictions that are so trendy, one new one  — and this one has spread like wildfire amongst the under-40 crowd. Anyone with a new smart phone — especially the recent generation of Droid smartphones, knows what I am talking about.  Try, just try to go without your phone for a week.

The key aspect of most addictions, including cigarettes, booze, drugs and other such obsessions, is not the chemical itself. These addictions are all maintained as much by the body’s spikes of neuroendocrines and endorphins than the external chemicals. When tension builds and then is sated and released, an exchange of internal chemicals in your body leaves you feeling good, pain-free, and somewhat relaxed, at least relative to the tension you usually carry.

Droid addicts are constantly stimulating themselves, and along with that stimulation likely comes a surge of endorphins and other things that make us feel pleasure and feel “jazzed.” Along with more sedate (by comparison) internet addictions, especially games  like Mafia Wars and Farmville, Droid/smartphone addictions keep us from spending time on things that can really matter. No time for nature. No time for others, or even to say (unless by text) how is your day.

So put down your Droid for a day, and discover what life is like out there, away from the little box. Ladies, if you are thinking of buying presents for him this christmas, consider something to do with the outdoors, or with a sport, rather than still yet another gadget that will just take him away from you. And guys, please go shoot some hoops!

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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Anxiety, Sadness and Depression

Many people do not know the difference between sadness  and the clinical depression found in psychiatric disorders, like those classified as Mood Disorders. They also do not have a clear idea about the difference between worry, fear and anxiety that rises to a level of clinical concern. They have even less of a clue whether the sadness they are feeling is a significant clinical problem, or just a feeling.

The main distinction is that clinical depression — or also in clinical ilevels of anxiety —  these disorders are debilitating. True clinical disorders interfere with work or studies, often makes the social life of the patient and thier family miserable,  and they usually come with unbelievably hard to take psychological pain. That is when psychologists call it names like clinical depression or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

 This confusion can cause a lot of problems, with armchair psychologist-wannabes giving overly simple advice to friends and family. These patients, who have real clinical problems and not normal mood swings, likely need instead a professional consultation.  Clinically anxious people are not worry worts, they are typically racked with dread and living on a roller coaster. Clinically depressed persons may stay in bed for days, or alternatively sleep too little, and have no interest in the things they used to enjoy.

Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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The smell of fear is real, claim scientists

The smell of fear is real, according to a recent account of an experiment, but the finding that fear is contagious because of smell, may lead to weapons of mass disgust. The study, funded by the US Defence Department, might eventually have implications for military and crowd control applications.

Research of this type looks at pheremones, defined by Wikipedia as a “chemical that triggers a natural behavioral response” in others. The assumption is that we emit telltale chemical signals in our aroma and that others sense it and act accordingly.

In addition to fear pheromones, other scents that cue our behavior are far more prevalent than we believe. Recent studies suggest that our nose gives us all kinds of “social” cues, and we follow them without realizing it. For one thing, women who share the same residence may be prone to synchronize their menstrual cycles, and the cues they are using are likely olfactory. Also, mothers can recognize their child by their unique smell (without realizing they rely on it) and there is evidence that there is real chemistry in our decisions about who we think is “hot.”

In the most recent and very interesting DARPA funded research on pheromones is about the smell of fear. Researchers at Stony Brook University have found that when we sweat, while we are in a state of fear, then those within a wiffing range of us can pick up on our fear.

In a study of 40 newbie sky divers, their underarm sweat later triggered, in a second group, a reaction in the area of the brain associated with fear. While they were not aware of being afraid, such a lack of awareness, while raising questions about what really happened, proves little, while raising some questions.

People rarely report any awareness of the effects of pheromones. For example, in another study by Denise Chen, subjects reacted to fear pheromones behaviorally, but again without actual awareness.

I have to say I am spooked by the fact that the defense department is getting a leg up (so to speak) on us, trying to learn how to control us with smells we don’t know are impacting us. At least with WMD, we can imagine we could see it coming.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Market

As a psychologist I thought in these tough times I could offer:

Five Stress Busting Techniques to Deal with Market Volatilty

1. Find something compelling to take your mind off it. The wild swings of the market and steep slides can be absorbing, but if you think about it, there are many equally compelling things in your life to dwell on instead. What consumed your attention and time a month ago? Switch chanels in your mind to that other interest.
2. Figure out something you can do and then do it. You don’t have any control over market swings but there are things you could do. If you are worried about the value of your home you could plant an attractive tree to improve curb appeal. And if stocks are your concern, find the stock in your portfolio you don’t feel comfortable with and sell it.
3. Take Care of Your Family. While its unlikely that the recession would progress to a depression, it might feel a little safer at home if you buy some extra canned goods and bottled water, just in case things did go south fast.
4. Exercize. Now is a good time to put on your running shoes or cut the sweets out of your diet. You may not be able to control your finances as much as you like, but you do have a lot of impact on how your body feels and looks.
5. Learn some stress Reduction Techniques. Meditation and prayer can be helpful if you do that sort of thing, but there are plenty of alternatives. An online search will lead you to many sites that have breathing exercizes, and they boil down to take several very deep slow breaths, paying attention to making your breathing full and rhythmic. Doing this can help reset your nervous system from an anxious fearful stance to a resting place from which it is much easier to make good choices.