Archives For Anxiety

Recently someone wrote and asked me the question, “Why do I have anxiety and depression?” I’m going to answer that question today. I’m also going to tell you what you can do to decrease your symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Overcoming Anxiety and Depression

Before I start, just let me say that I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 30 years, but I wasn’t always a therapist. I started out being very anxious and depressed, just like some of you who are watching today.

My most important lessons about anxiety and depression didn’t come out of the psychology books that I studied—they came from my own experience of struggling to overcome my own anxiety and depression.

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Have you ever had a fear that no matter what you do, you’ll never get what you really want? You’re not alone! I talk to people every day who have similar fears.

One of my favorite parts about being a psychotherapist is that I get to be part of people’s transformation. It’s very exciting to witness people who were once anxious or depressed when they begin to empower themselves and take back the control of their lives.

I dearly love what happens when my clients start getting what they’ve always wanted in their lives. It’s pretty amazing to be present when that happens! I’m going to talk today about what it takes to get what you really want, so stay tuned!

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Relationships are the school of life. They give us the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons that can help us to become healthier, happier people.

In my work as a psychotherapist, almost everyone who walks through the doors of my office is struggling with a relationship in their life. One question that people often ask me is “What is a healthy relationship?” I’m going to answer that question today and I’m also going to share 3 important keys to creating healthy, happy relationships in your life.  Continue Reading…

A few months ago I wrote a blog called “How to Heal Your Body, Mind and Spirit,” which included a book review of Dr. Lissa Rankin’s recent book “Mind Over Medicine.”

Today I’ve got a special treat for you. Dr. Rankin has given a TED Talk that I want to share with you. In it, she presents wonderful news for all of us about the fascinating connection between our minds and bodies.

The talk is just 18 minutes long. Find a time when you won’t be interrupted and then sit back, relax and ENJOY! I know you’re going to love it!

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Letting Go of the Past

September 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

Did you know that symptoms of anxiety and depression are the result of unresolved hurts and traumas from the past? I’ve found in my psychotherapy practice that when people regularly practice letting go of the past, their symptoms naturally decrease.

A lot of people have trouble letting go of the past. One of my readers asked me a question about that recently. The question was, “How do I let go of past hurts and traumas and become the person I want to be?”

That’s actually two questions, so I’m going to answer them one at a time. The first part is “How do I let go of past hurts and traumas?” That’s a big one, isn’t it?

Letting Go Isn’t Always Easy

Most of you have been told at one time or another to let go of the past and move forward. You’ve probably heard people say, “The past is past. You can’t do anything about that now. Just let go of it!” Does that sound familiar to you?

The problem is, if it was as easy to let go as they make it sound, you probably would have done it already.

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Someone wrote me recently and asked, “Why doesn’t my anxiety or depression ever get better?” That’s a million dollar question, isn’t it?

I’m going to answer that question today and I’m also going to tell you what you can do to overcome your anxiety or depression, so stay tuned!


So let’s get to your question: Why doesn’t my anxiety and depression ever get better?

What I’ve found in my psychotherapy practice is that there are generally 3 reasons why you’re not getting better.

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As human beings, we are very powerful! By utilizing the power of our unconscious minds, we can create amazing, incredible lives for ourselves.

Creating a Better Life - Kari Joys

When we find ourselves in difficult, challenging times, we can learn to turn it all around by choosing to focus on what we really want. Yet, in my work as a psychotherapist, often I find that people are not aware of the tremendous power that is available to them.

Because of that lack of awareness, I’ve put together some information that you can utilize to make your own life better. If you practice these principals even for a month, you will see amazing changes happening in your life!

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All of us have experienced hurt feelings at some point in our lives. Generally it’s something someone says or does that just leaves us feeling hurt, misunderstood, unappreciated or unloved.

Getting Past Hurt Feelings

Getting through those difficult feelings and getting back to feeling happy again can be very challenging. Sometimes they stay with us for days, or weeks or months, even though we really want to be free of them.

What Causes Hurt Feelings?

When someone says or does something that hurts us, our first impulse is generally to look at what’s wrong with the person who hurt us. We often think, “How could he have said the things he said? What kind of person is he (or she) to behave like that?”

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The JoyIAm Process is an alternative treatment for stress, anxiety, depression or poor self esteem that brings you back in touch with your true, authentic self. It utilizes your body’s natural way of releasing the emotional pain from difficult experiences in your life.

How to Practice Emotional Healing

The JoyIAm Process involves learning to identify, express and release your feelings, so that you naturally come back to love and peace inside yourself. Usually it begins with getting in touch with tears or anger that you’ve been holding back and often it ends with laughing and having fun.

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A dear friend was asking me about forgiveness the other day. She asked ‘What’s wrong with me that I can’t forgive people? Even though I’ve tried to forgive them many times, why do I just keep thinking about what happened again and again?”

The Truth about Forgiveness

As we talked, I realized that this was a conversation that you might like to hear, too. Nowadays, everyone is writing and talking about the need for forgiveness, but why is it so hard to do?

What is Forgiveness?

The Encarta Dictionary defines forgiveness as “the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing.” Forgiveness is not condoning a wrong that has been done to you. It’s simply letting go of the emotional pain of what happened so that you are free to move forward in your life without your past still holding you back and dragging you down.

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Relationships are the school of life. Through our everyday relationships, we discover our own capacity to love and be loved.

Creating Healthy Relationships

When our relationships feel loving and supportive, our lives feel rich and blessed. But when we struggle with challenging relationship issues, we can sometimes feel hopeless and discouraged, like giving up on life or running away from it all.

It’s Not Your Fault!

If your original family was not emotionally healthy, you may not even know what a healthy relationship would be. You probably feel confused and wonder what you’re doing wrong, because you simply didn’t have the role modeling to know what is healthy and appropriate in relationships.

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We live in an interesting world today. We have telephones, televisions, computers, internet, e-mail, cell phones, texting and ipads, but we still don’t know how to connect heart-to-heart with each other.

lonely man

With all of these modern methods of communication, we should be more connected than we have ever been, yet many of us still feel lonely and isolated.

Social Isolation and Loneliness

The experience of social isolation or loneliness comes from not feeling safe to share your real self with others. This pattern often originates from difficult experiences in your life, such as going through a divorce, the death of a loved one or moving to a new area.

Feelings of loneliness and social isolation can also originate from negative experiences or abandonment in past relationships. Sometimes we feel lonely or isolated when we are carrying huge responsibilities in our lives or when we think we are too busy to pursue friendships.

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Abuse is one of the most obvious components of many dysfunctional families, whether it is verbal, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Can I Really Overcome Verbal, Physical, Sexual or Emotional Abuse?

Abuse in childhood is like a vampire that steals a child’s feelings of self worth or self esteem and makes him or her vulnerable to negativity and abuse later in life.

Defining Verbal, Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse

Let’s define each of the types of abuse before we continue:

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As a psychotherapist, I’ve found that it’s very important to support my clients in developing a spiritual connection. When you’re working to heal the past, there are always days where you really need help and guidance and there isn’t anyone available on the human level to give you exactly what you need.

Messages from Your Angels

You can develop your spiritual connection in many ways. Praying for help and guidance always works great, in whatever spiritual tradition you are in.

One of my favorite ways to pray for spiritual help is to ask my angels for help and guidance. Remembering to ask my angels for help has gotten me though many challenging times in my life. Hearing my angel’s guidance always feels like an incredible blessing to me.

Who Are the Angels?

Angels are messengers of God’s incredible, unconditional love for us. They are sent by God to help us and guide us whenever we remember to ask for their help.

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No matter where we grew up, who are parents were, who we’ve been in relationship with or who we’ve worked for, all of us have had some version of ‘The Legend of the Lousy Bastard’ in our lives.

‘That lousy bastard’ undoubtedly hurt us, betrayed us, used us, abused us, overpowered us or abandoned us in the middle of some horrific time or situation in our lives.

Legend of the Lousy Bastard

In our personal legend, ‘that bastard’ generally didn’t listen, didn’t care, didn’t try, wasn’t honest, wasn’t fair, wasn’t trustworthy or wasn’t kind. He or she didn’t validate us, acknowledge our right to be human, or give us the love and respect we so desperately needed at that time.

Our ‘lousy bastard’ may have been male or female, young or old, rich or poor, smart or stupid, but whoever or whatever he or she was in the world, he or she obviously never treated us the way we deserved to be treated.

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People who have anxiety disorder often have sudden and repeated periods of fear that last for several minutes. These symptoms are called panic attacks. Panic attacks happen when someone has a fear of disaster or losing control, even when there is no real danger.

How to Overcome Panic Attacks

Panic attacks often have very severe physical symptoms. Anyone who has experienced a panic attack knows how frightening and overwhelming they can be.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (http://www.nimh.nih.gov), people with panic disorder may have:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of fear
  • A feeling of being out of control during a panic attack
  • An intense worry about when the next attack will happen
  • A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
  • Physical symptoms during an attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, or stomach pain.

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There was a wonderful show on Oprah’s network on her ‘Super Soul Sunday’ show recently. It featured Dr. Brene Brown discussing her newest book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Dr. Brene Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past twelve years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her groundbreaking research has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Brené’s 2010 TEDxHouston talk, ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks on TED.com, with approximately 6 million viewers. Additionally, Brené gave the closing talk at the 2012 TED conference where she talked about shame, courage, and innovation.
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Finding a safe place to express your honest feelings can sometimes be challenging.

You can do it through finding a counselor or psychotherapist that you trust, through developing a deep friendship with someone in your life, or you can learn to express your feelings in your own journal.

Journaling to Express Your Feelings

Any way of releasing your feelings is good, so long as you don’t express them in negative ways that hurt someone else. But when no one else is available to support you, the one thing you can always do is write in your own journal.

Your Personal Journal

The good news about writing in your own personal journal is that you can literally say anything you want. You don’t have to censor what you say at all. Whether you write in a spiral notebook or on your computer, your personal journal is for you alone.

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Do you feel stressed and overwhelmed with your busy life? Do you struggle just to keep up and do what absolutely has to be done? Do you sometimes feel stressed, anxious or depressed?

Having some stress, anxiety or depression in your life is normal, but when these symptoms become more prominent, they’re often related to unresolved issues.


The truth is we all want more joy in our lives, as well as more laughter, more inner peace, more love, more friends and more prosperity. The more stress, anxiety and depression we have, the less of those positive experiences we’re likely to experience.

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Healing yourself emotionally is undoubtedly the biggest gift you could ever give to yourself. It frees you from the past and allows you to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Emotional Healing

When you heal the emotional issues you’ve stored up for a lifetime, little by little, everything in your life naturally transforms!

The Value and Importance of Healing Your Emotions

Dr. Candace B. Pert, the author of Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicinewrites about the importance of our emotions to our overall health and well-being.   Continue Reading…

Laughter as Medicine

February 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

Laughter is a powerful healing force and the most inexpensive medicine you will ever find! Laughter can strengthen your immune system, increase your intellectual performance and improve your cardiovascular flexibility.

Instant Vacation

Laughter is also an instant vacation. It can help you see the world from a broader perspective, expand your creativity and allow you to feel more deeply connected to the people you love. Laughter helps you release your stress, anxiety or depression and puts you back into the flow of life.

The Many Benefits of Laughter

In 1979, Norman Cousins wrote a book called “The Anatomy of an Illness” where he described fighting a life-threatening illness through humor. His remarkable story of triumph is still inspirational today.

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Stuck in Negativity

February 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

Negativity is very common in our 21st century way of life. Although it is incredibly debilitating and destructive, negative thinking has become our culture’s everyday norm.

Stuck in Negativity

Negative people can be very difficult and challenging to be around. They seem to notice only the negative aspects of anything that is going on around them. They also point out the negative possibilities of anything that could change things for the better. They even joke sarcastically about other people who are making an effort to improve themselves.

Negative energy has become so common that many people think it’s just the way life is. Often it doesn’t even occur to them that their own negativity is keeping them stuck right where they are, with no way out and no hope for a better future.

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Control is a very destructive emotional pattern in a relationship. A controller takes away his partner’s right to make her own choices, through over-powering his partner or using guilt, put-downs, rage, zingers or destructive mind-games.

Overcome the Control that is Keeping You Miserable

Sometimes a controller is obviously abusive, but sometimes he (or she) is so subtle that you don’t realize what the problem is until your relationship has already been damaged beyond repair.

If you are currently being controlled, you may have already lost the feeling of love you originally had for your partner. When someone continually takes away your personal freedom and your right to be yourself, it often leaves you feeling flat, empty, frustrated and disinterested in that person.

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It’s challenging sometimes to know what’s wrong in a relationship. If you’re like most people, you probably want a loving relationship more than anything else. Maybe you’ve tried and tried and tried to make your relationship work and yet somehow you just seem to be going back over the same old arguments again and again.

Is Your Partner a Controller?

Maybe you have already suspected that there is control in your relationship, but you find it difficult to find a clear definition of the issue. If you’ve been searching for clarity, here are some questions you will want to consider.

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In today’s tough economic times, many people are facing very difficult life situations. There is mounting stress and uncertainty in the air because so many people have already lost their jobs and their homes. It’s not always easy to stay cool, calm and collected when you don’t know what to expect tomorrow.

September-8- 2012

You may feel that managing your stress is impossible in today’s economic world. But after working as a psychotherapist for 30 years, I have found 7 simple, stress-reducing skills that have proven themselves again and again for coming through the darkness to a more light-hearted, stress-free way of living.

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For many years traditional medicine has believed that our genetics are the primary cause of our physical health. In the 1990s, however, scientific research found that our emotions play at least an equal or possibly even a greater role in determining whether we will be faced with illnesses like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, obesity, alcoholism, fractures or chronic pain.

Your Emotions Affect Your Health

One of the best research studies available involving the effect of emotions on physical health is the ACE study, which was conducted by the Federal Centers for Disease Control, where researchers studied people who had an “adverse childhood experience” before the age of 18. (www.acestudy.org)

Sept-3-2012

“Adverse childhood experiences” included recurrent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; growing up in a dysfunctional family where someone was clinically depressed, alcoholic, mentally ill or suicidal; or in a situation where the parents were separated, divorced, or taken away from the child in some way.

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Expect a Miracle!

December 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

It’s very common today to read sayings like ‘Expect a Miracle.’ Since Facebook and social media have become so much a part of our everyday lives, we share these uplifting proverbs with each other regularly.

Expect a Miracle!

But even though we may believe these sayings with our conscious minds, how many of us believe in our hearts that miracles can really happen in our personal lives?

Definition of Miracles

People have different definitions of the word ‘miracle.’ Dictionary.com defines a miracle as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.”

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Learning the skills of Emotional Healing can be very valuable if you want to be a healthy, happy person.

Emotional Healing for Beginners 

But like anything else that is valuable and precious, it can be difficult to know where to start when you’re doing something you haven’t done before.

What is Emotional Healing?

Emotional Healing is an alternative therapy method that brings you back in touch with your true, authentic self. It involves learning how to identify, express and release your feelings so that you naturally come back to a feeling of love and inner peace. Often it begins with getting in touch with tears or anger that you’ve been holding back and generally it ends with laughing and having fun!

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Loving Your Inner Child

November 11, 2012 — 4 Comments

One of the most powerful exercises you can do to overcome anxiety, depression or other dysfunctional family issues is to love the wounded little child inside of you.

Loving Your Inner Child

Remember that all of us were wounded in one way or another, whether it was done by well-meaning parents who simply didn’t know what we needed emotionally, or whether we were abandoned, abused or neglected.

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The primary method that has been utilized by mental health professionals to treat anxiety and depression since the 1980s has been prescription medication. These prescriptions include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and other psychotropic drugs.

Why Emotional Healing Far Surpasses Medications

For many years we, as consumers, have been programmed through TV and media that if we had anxiety or depression, it meant that there was a ‘chemical imbalance’ in our brain. Although researchers have recently found that the chemical imbalance theory was never based on factual evidence, these repetitive TV and media commercials have greatly affected our American culture.

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Anxiety and depression have become major issues in our 21st century American culture. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 56 million Americans, or approximately 25% of adults over the age of 18, suffer from anxiety or depression in a given year (http://www.nimh.nih.gov).

 Shocking Statistics on Anxiety and Depression

Please consider these important facts for a moment:

  • Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an Anxiety Disorder.
  • Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
  • Dysthymic disorder (a less severe depression) affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This figure translates to about 3.3 million American adults.
  • Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.

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Change is difficult for most people–especially those of us who grew up in dysfunctional families. We like to stay in our comfort zone; we prefer things to be safe and secure, we want to control the changes in our lives. Yet even little changes that we choose for ourselves can often require months of emotional adjustment, like having a baby, or moving to a new area.

Change can be good!

We feel overwhelmed when changes happen that are out of our control, like getting laid off from a job, or a partner asking for a divorce. And when our whole economic structure falls apart, like it has recently, it can definitely seem to us like an insurmountable crisis.

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As a psychotherapist, I have very strong feelings about how quickly health care professionals prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications these days. I wonder why, as professionals, we are not making our client’s long-term health and well being our highest priority.

Anti-Depressants or Emotional Healing?

Let me tell you my story. I’ve been involved with Emotional Healing for thirty years. When I first entered an Emotional Healing therapy group as a client in the 1970s, it was a brand new field. I was anxious and depressed, but I didn’t know why. No one talked about emotions back then. The idea that you could get in touch with your emotions and express them to help you heal was outrageous to most people.

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If you want to be a healthy, happy person, it’s very important to learn to love the person you see in the mirror. Although loving yourself can be very challenging if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, it’s definitely worth the time and effort!

Whether you feel stressed, anxious or depressed, or whether you are in a challenging relationship or even going through a divorce, learning to love yourself is a crucial step in your healing process.

Love yourself

When you honestly love yourself, your love overflows to everyone around you
and everything in your life begins to sparkle and shine!

Self-love is the essential ingredient of a healthy, happy life. It gives you the self-esteem to believe in your abilities and pursue your dreams. It helps you make healthy choices. It allows you to achieve satisfaction and fulfillment. It frees you to give and receive love in loving, supportive relationships.

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Laughter heals—and it feels good too! It benefits us in many surprising ways. Here’s a beautiful poster you’re going to love about the health benefits of laughter.

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