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WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND COLUMN

She worries about everything
Question: I have a big anxiety problem. I worry about everything; my dog, school, parents, brothers, school work, everything. I take sleeping pills at night, but what can I do during the day to stop it? – Christine B., Ridgewood, NY

Answer: Christine, perhaps the most important thing to realize about anxiety, is that often once you recognize (or believe) that you have an anxiety problem it can feed on itself. Sometimes people become anxious about becoming anxious and that definitely doesn’t help any. For that reason, I strongly recommend that if you think you have an anxiety problem, you consult with a professional. That way, in addition to having a clearer picture of the problem, it will also be easier to avoid being anxious about anxiety because you will know that you have someone that can help you with it.
There are many methods that can be helpful with anxiety including behavioral techniques such as muscle relaxation and square breathing, cognitive techniques that help focus on “living in the moment” or on the source of the anxiety, and anti-anxiety medications that can be helpful as well. A mental health professional can help you with your anxiety using the above tools and much more. Thousands of people have overcome anxiety problems with proper help, you can do it too! Best of luck.

Insecurity issues
Question: When I’m alone on the street or at college I always feel that people around me look at me and think bad things about me. It’s even worse when there are 2 or more people together talking or laughing, in which case I feel that they’re laughing at me or making comments about me. Is this a mental health issue?
–Anna W., Flushing

Answer: Sometimes when you are in a new or unusual situation and feel like you are not one of the crowd, it is natural to feel like people may be looking or talking about you. However, this should not last long and should not be excessive. For example, if you walk into a busy building lobby and several conversations are going on and you think all of them are about you, then that is definitely a problem. Since you are asking this question, it seems like you are self-aware and you yourself are considering that this maybe irrational – where it can’t really be that all of these people are thinking or talking about you. Recognizing that, the first step would be to remind yourself of how illogical it is on a regular basis as this will help you stop thinking that it is true.
Usually, this kind of problem stems from an insecurity that a person has about a general or specific thing about themselves. Then, building on that insecurity, anxiety kicks in and causes the person to think that everyone else is noticing that insecurity. I recommend seeing a mental health professional to discuss the particulars of your situation, to understand it better, and to ultimately help you get past these feelings.

Jacob Berelowitz, LMSW is host and executive director of Talk Therapy Television. He can be reached at jacob@talktherapytv.org.

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