The Good,The Bad, and the Ugly about Anxiety 1

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Stress and Anxiety
By John Thurman

You just received a call from you child’s school that you little one has fallen off of the monkey bars and injured her arm and that they have called an ambulance. Immediately your brain goes into the “Fight or Flight” mode.  Focusing like a laser beam, you rush to your car, call your husband and navigate traffic to get to the school. So now some moron driver on you left swerves into your lane which texting on his stupid smart phone. You are almost ready to have a small nuclear detonation!

Stress and anxiety, when it is chronic or repeated, does more than shake us up; it can make us sick. It diminishes the immune system and dries out the digestive track, setting the stage for a host of disorders from irritable bowel syndrome to ulcerative colitis. It impairs memory and in extreme cases fuel fear. It can even damage chromosomes, thereby accelerating cellular aging.

As puzzling as this might sound stress can also be a noble thing, a wellspring of life and possibilities. Without stress, we’d be as good as dead. We would not have the courage to protect our families, ask the boss for a raise, say, “no” to a boyfriend, or try out a new sport.

Why? Because stress in suitable amounts is the very stimulation that keeps us engaged with the world.

The goal is not a stress-free life; that will only happen when you are dead. The idea is to have the right amount of stress. It is like riding a bicycle; you never have balance when you are riding one, you maintain it. In applying this to your life, it means that stressors are short-lived and manageable.

You experience acceptable stress when you feel a sense of control. No matter how your body may respond at the moment, you know that you are going to come out fine on the other side-and perhaps even better for the experience. A roller coaster may send your stress-hormone levels soaring, but you know the ride will be over in minutes. When you ride any type of “thrill ride” you are voluntarily giving up a degree of control and predictability that will usually have a prodigious outcome.

Being able to anticipate and manage stress and anxiety is part of developing a type of psychological body armor. This type of body armor may be thought of as a “shield” against excessive, destructive stress. It has two major components:

Stress resistance and Stress resilience

Stress resistance may be thought of as a form of acquired immunity to excessive stress. Stress immunity is the ability to resist the development of extreme stress reactions because the stressor (the person, place, or thing that is associated with excessive stress) is not allowed to adversely impact your psychological, spiritual, or behavioral functioning.

Stress resilience is the ability to rebound from the mental, spiritual, and behavioral impact of disproportionate stress. Stress resilience is important because it protects you when your ability to resist stressors breaks down.

Over the next several Monday and Friday posts, I will be sharing some secrets on how to get a grip on stress, anxiety and worry.

Would love to know your thoughts.

Are Your Destined to Fail? No!


(c) 2013 John Thurman – Prison cell window,Chateau d’ if – Count of Monte Cristo, Marseille, Fr.
Are You Destined to Fail? No!

Do you believe that negative events are unchangeable, and you have little or no control over them? If so, you’ve fallen into the “stinking thinking trap” of Always, Always, Always. This mindset will keep you behind the walls of your prison, if you let it. 

Have you ever thought you were destined to bondage, poverty, and failure? Do you feel like you will always be stuck where you are because of what someone else did or did not do for you? When we get caught up in this stinking thinking trap, we slowly give up on the possibility of hope and change.

The Old Testament story of Gideon is a great example of this. Check out Judges 6:12-24).

The action step is to grab control. Granted, you may not control your entire environment, but there are components you can and need to control. You need to lean into that. Ask yourself these questions:

·      What is changeable?

·      What can I control?

·      How should I go about doing so?

  If you answer these questions, you will begin to push back on Always, Always, Always. Then the power you’ve given the negativity in your life can be transformed into a positive, hope infused, life changing experience.

For more, check out my book, Get a Grip on Depression

Revive Your Mind – Quit Blaming

When in Doubt, Project Blame

I work with people who have anger management issues. When someone starts a sentence with My wife…, My husband…, My boss.., or My mama…, I smile and wait. Then Ill say, Wow. So you have absolutely zero control over your emotions? Are you being completely controlled by external circumstances? People, aliens, the government, the president, the economy, your congressman, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your mom, your dadit is all their fault?

The next automatic negative thought or stinking thinking trap is Them, Them, Thembelieving that other people or circumstances are the causes of every problem you encounter. Jesus had something to say about this. This particular one has been around since Adam and Eve messed things up in the garden of Eden. When God confronted Adam about his disobedience, he immediately blamed Eve. I do not know about you, but some people working as therapist make a pretty good living helping people find a way to blame other for their current condition. FYI, I am not one of those folks.

Sometimes we avoid dealing with our own stuff by evaluating and criticizing others. Jesus instructs us to look at our imperfections before we censor and condemn the faults in others.

My wife has a business that she really enjoys. She is with Premier Designs Jewelry, a home-based business that allows here flexibility to be a grandmother, wife, and friend. It has been a lifesaver for her because it has had a positive impact emotionally, mentally, and financially to our family. By working her business, she has courageously pushed back the negatives from her early family life. Her self-esteem, love for God, and her leadership skills have grown. I am so proud of what she is done. She works hard. She has a dream. She is a leader. She encourages other women to have a dream and to move beyond their past hurts.

In the direct-selling business lots of people get into a business, and they get excited, at first. They want to make a success in business. They ask a few people to have a home show or to invite people over for a party and nobody shows up, or maybe their spouse isnt supportive, so they decide to quit after a few negative responses. If asked why they dropped out, they typically say, Well, none of my friends will buy. Or nobody will do this or that. People are against me. The culture is against me. The economy is against me.

They find an external source to blame for failure. Weve become a society of professional complainers and blamers. If we find the right person to blame, we feel justified in blaming people for our problems. If you believe that other people or circumstances are the causes of every problem you encounter, then you need to look inward. That is right. Take that journey inside and ask yourself this critical question: How did I contribute to this?

If your life is not going well, then you need to determine what you have done to contribute to the situation. If you have problems with personal boundaries, then lack of boundaries contributes to other people taking advantage of you. If you never stand up for yourself, then your reticence contributes to your lack of success. If you do not do your job, then your boss may reprimand you or terminate your job. Look inward and discover how you contribute to the problem, and then begin to take some positive steps to stop.

There is good news in all of this, you have the power to change the way you think. The Apostle Paul writes, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT

Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind #4


Stop Making it All About You
By John Thurman

You can look at any of the photos of me on this website and see that I am not bald, but am follically challenged. As a matter of fact, my wife says, “You are not bald, you are just a solar powered love machine. Well, isn’t that a unique response?

One of the reasons that I am this way is because, sometimes I tend get tripped up on this particular stinking thing style. When I do, I slap myself on the forehead and go duh. That is why am balding.

This next one can be tough, but I believe you can push it back.

Me, Me, Me

The third trap is believing you are the only cause of every problem you encounter. I see many of my counseling client get stuck in this trap. Each one believes he or she is the sole problem in every relationship. Everything that goes wrong is his or her fault. 

Some people are so Me, Me, Me that they blame themselves for a bus accident in Bangladesh. They think if they had prayed more or harder or better, then the crash would not have happened.

A person who turns every event inward sucks the life out of those around him or her. However, this is contrary to everything the apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:1-13 (NLT).

This Scripture passage shows us a proven way out of the stinking thinking trap of thinking that everything is our fault. The key verse for overcoming this trap is verse 10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” The challenge for a growing believer is to realize this truth and to be active in allowing it to transform his or her life.

If you believe you are the sole cause of every problem you’ve ever encountered, the action step is to look outside yourself. Ask yourself how others and/or circumstances may have contributed to the situation. (c) 

(c) 2014 John Thurman

Recapture Your Vision: Push Back Depression & Negative Thinking


(c) 2014 John Thurman – Sagebrush Hood Ornament
Recapture Your Vision by Pushing Back Depression and Negative Thinking

Have any idea what this photo is? It is actually a hood ornament with clouds and sky in the background. Your perspective can mess with your head from time to time. 

I love being an entrepreneur, it can be a bit chaotic at times, but one of the things that keep me going is vision. Whether you have a job, are self-employed, in school or involved in a vocational quest you need a vision. An idea of what you want to end up with when you have done the work.

I was reviewing some notes from reading I have done over the years and came across a great definition of vision. Hopefully, it will help you. You see, where there is no vision, no dream, no hope, there is little life. When you are depressed, the vision can become muddled.

Here is a definition: Vision is a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that result.

Just to be clear, you can have a vision for your business, your body, your relationships, your health, pretty much anything. One of the problems is that most people have wishes, but no vision-based plans.

When you lose that vision, the joy of living becomes replaced with the mere act of surviving or just getting by. You move from joy to subsistence to depression and ultimately to despair. Personally, I do not know anyone who aspires to despair.

The good news, gaining a clear picture, a vision of what you want and what you are willing to do to get it can be a tremendous energizer. Particularly if it honors the Lord and serves man.

So, if you are having “Vision Issues,” here are some things you can do to push back the negative thinking and depressive feelings,

One of the things that happens when we experience set back is a tendency to suffer from the  “paralysis of analysis,” which can be a vision stealer. 

Step Back from the Problem

When Thomas Edison felt stumped by a problem, he removed himself from the work area, lay down, and took a little nap. Years before the research on power napping was available, he understood the importance to stepping back from a problem to get a better perspective. Taking a break from the problem can lead to a fresh perspective.

There are ways to put this principle into practice.

1. Stop. Quit putting needless energy into solving a problem that isn’t getting solved. Dr. John Gottman, relationship expert, says that we need to focus on what is fixable, not on past failures.

2. Do something completely different. Choose to swim, go for a walk, take a break, call a friend, pray, read the Bible. It should be a repetitive activity that gets your undivided attention and absorbs, redirects, and gives you energy. Ten to twenty minutes is usually enough time to reset.

3. Observe what happens about the issue when you return your thoughts to it.

Here is a question for you. Are you caught up in the “paralysis of analysis” or are you Stepping Back from the Problem to clear your head? I would love to hear from you. #getagripondepression #AskJohnthurman