At some point in your life, you might have experienced feelings of nervousness, anxiety and low-self esteem. However, if your feelings of anxiety are getting in the way of life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. In fact, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million adults (18 years and older).
Typically, treatment options for anxiety include medication, therapy or a combination of both. But, as with any medication, there are risks. For instance, when taking an anti-anxiety medication such as clonazepam, you run the risk of becoming solely dependent on this drug, as well as the risk of an addiction.
Could your anxiety be the root of low self-esteem?
Oftentimes, if you're experiencing low self-esteem it's likely you have other negative feelings. You may also have insecurities that can come off as fears and anxieties. It's important to address why you may have feelings of anxiety, or where your low self-esteem is coming from.
Once you've identified your anxiety triggers, you'll be able to progress toward living an anxiety-free life.
How can you take control of your anxiety and boost your self-esteem naturally?
Dr. Harold Shinitzky joins Dr. Holly to discuss natural ways to take control of your anxiety, plus ways to boost your self-esteem.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show | Original Air Date: February 23, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
She's articulate. She's passionate and she tells the truth about health. She's Dr. Holly. It's time for the Dr. Holly Lucille Show.
DR. HOLLY: Hi folks. Thank you so much for coming and listening. Great to have you here. I'm super excited about this first segment. I'm just going to tell you the title of it because you've got to listen. Take Control of Your Anxiety and Boost Your Self-Esteem Naturally.
I can't think of a better thing to talk about in our modern day and to do this, I've got the esteemed, Dr. Harold Shinitzky. He is a PhD, a licensed psychologist for more than 20 years. He specializes in sports psychology and works Olympians and athletes from every professional association and he is the co-author of Take Control of Your Anxiety: A Drug-Free Approach to Living a Happy and Healthy Life.
Dr. Shinitzky, welcome to the show.
SHINITZKY: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me on.
DR. HOLLY: Well, you and I were speaking just a little prior to the show getting kicked off here and as I was saying, I was thrilled to have you because I think that this is a very big problem in our society and it's a very medicated one and so, anything that we could, perhaps, impart to listeners that would help them quell this. I mean, I think having depression, anxiety, those are some of the most uncomfortable places a human being can find themselves and often, very scary and, like I said, medicated and perhaps it doesn't need to be. So, how...You know, especially when it affects our self-esteem, how is self-esteem and anxiety, how are they related?
SHINITZKY: Well, I'll tell you, it's a great topic to cover and you are correct. The connection actually stems from, like you said, anxiety and depression are normal aspects that people do struggle with. First off, any of the listeners who are out there who feel like they are the only ones with it, 18% of the U.S. adult population, nearly 40 million, struggle with anxiety. So, you're not alone. If you think you're one in a million, you're actually in a group of about 40.
DR. HOLLY: Wow.
SHINITZKY: Yes, it's a stunning reality. So, we need to first realize that anxiety, in and of itself, is actually a normal process. Too many individuals kind of go all or none if they feel any type of angst, they feel as though, "I've got to contact my provider and get medicated." The reality is that, when your system, and I like to use the words, "gets aroused", we shove the word "anxiety" out there a little too comfortably.
DR. HOLLY: Right.
SHINITZKY: But, the system, when we get told, "Oh, we have a radio show to do." Well, if I have to finish up with my last client that I'm seeing, I might start getting a certain level of arousal to the system. Or, do I have a paper that's due on Friday or a project that's due? The system gets aroused and so there's a natural increase in the arousal of the system that also actually increases, in a healthy way, your performance—your ability to be on task.
So, if you imagine the letter "U", but upside down. An inverted "U". As the arousal increases, as you imagine this, it moves up on the left side of the "U", the performance increase. Then, you actually get to a point where, at the top of that, it's optimal performance so in athletics or if you're paying attention and focusing on your radio performance show, you want to be at that optimal level. It's when people, then, start getting too overwhelmed and that's on the right side where the downhill slope is on that "U".
DR. HOLLY: That's a great analogy.
SHINITZKY: Thank you. It really works because people need to understand, it's normal, first. It's not a bad thing. So, if you start there, it's a healthy place. But when it comes to anxiety and self-esteem, many people, unfortunately at a very early point in their life were taught, "Don't get a big head." And what ends up happening is, when they've engaged in any activity where they set, worked and, hopefully, achieved a goal, because they were kind of taught, "Hmm, be very humble," to such a point that you negate anything positive, any successes, any accomplishments, we kind of personally neutralize anything positive.
So, what ends up happening, if we're individuals who are anxious and they have a low self-esteem is they, themselves, become their own worst enemy. They negate, they remove, they kind of interfere, they have a disconnect between their own self-image and the positives that maybe a loved one gives them or a teacher offers up to them. So, they use psychological judo and take this compliment and sling it off of themselves because it doesn't fit their own narrative.
DR. HOLLY: Right.
SHINITZKY: And what we have to do with individuals who have this tendency is to teach them "two sets of two". That is, one is through what's called cognitive behavioral therapy where you catch the negative thoughts and insert something positive that's constructive and productive based on reality.
Most people think, "Hmm. Okay. I'll catch that negative, but what do you mean about the positive stuff?" Well, the reality is, it's actually difficult to catch yourself with negative internal thoughts, and it's actually very easy to identify the positives. Catching negatives, the reason why it's so difficult is because it's been around for a long time. It's like a friend that's always there and, you know, "Don't do it. It'll never work. Why are they talking to you?" Whatever that negative internal dialogue is.
DR. HOLLY: Right.
SHINITZKY: We usually don't notice it until it's shouting at us and so we have to learn how to catch that earlier and then insert something that's positive, productive and constructive based on reality. Well, that's actually based on your life. Every time you've received a compliment, some accolade, something like, "You know what? I've applied myself and it's kind of worked out. I've gotten good feedback." Actually taking that in. So, that's the first part of the "two and the two". That's catch yourself with a negative thought; insert something positive and constructive.
But, how does someone do that? That's where someone who has a low self-worth and anxiety has to learn how to accept a compliment. That has two parts and the two parts are very straightforward. One, when someone gives you a compliment, you need to say the words, "Thank you." You actually have to say them and then the second part of that is, why it even matters.
So, if I said, "Holly, you do a great job of really getting to deep points on your program." You should be able to say, "Thank you. I find this to be very helpful and informative for my listeners." Why it even matters. If you can say why it even matters... "That's a really pretty blouse you have on." "Well, thank you. I have a knack for taste and color coordination."
DR. HOLLY: Wow.
SHINITZKY: That means you begin to process the information and that's how you begin to improve your self-esteem.
DR. HOLLY: So, you really start to own your positive qualities.
SHINITZKY: Right. We're not talking about getting grandiose or pompous or snobbish and "I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread," but it's a reality of when I've applied myself, have I been a quick learner, can I try and be a good, loyal friend. Those aspects are real in your life and we want to draw upon them. But, again, it's not being grandiose. It's not being elitist or, you know, kind of haughty about yourself. It's being just realistic.
DR. HOLLY: Wow, I love that because when you say we kind of push that word "anxiety" out there quite a bit and also, there's been this, I think, surge of diagnosis of panic disorders or panic attacks. What causes these disorders at the root?
SHINITZKY: Well, when you talk about anxiety, it's kind of curious, because there are different types. You just identified panic attack and that's where someone might experience this physiological reaction where they might even think they have a heart attack. We always tell people you want to err on the side of caution. If you're suddenly having this crushing pain in your chest, maybe it feels like there's something radiating down and you're sweating, you know, okay. Go get checked out. You know, it's better to err on the side of caution.
If you find out, in fact, no, there was no damage to any of the heart, cardiac, coronary areas, you know, it doesn't look like you had a heart attack. It appears as though you experienced panic and it could be because you were under too much stress and those individuals need to, then, learn how to address the issues. But, the cool thing about that, there's also Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder of an anxiety condition where people have an intrusive thought or feeling and then they go into some repetitive behavior. Usually, it turns out to be counterproductive. There are people who have specific phobias: afraid of dogs, elevators, whatever it might be and they tend to do this traditional style of avoiding and they learn at a very early point that's what stops the problem: avoiding.
DR. HOLLY: Alright. Dr. Shinitzky, I've got to have you back because you've got way too much great information for us. Thank you so much.
You can find him at DrShinitzky.com. That's D-R-S-H-I-N-I-T-Z-K-Y. Thank you so much.
I am Dr. Holly Lucille. This is Mindful Medicine on RadioMD. We will be right back.