Category Archives: Anxiety Disorder

社会焦虑中的典型核心恐惧

社交焦虑是很常见的,严格上来说,每个人或多或少都有一些。而它的关键特征,在于(一)害怕别人负面的批判,和/或(二)害怕被他人拒绝。

以下是一些常见的社交焦虑的核心恐惧:

人们将会看到:
  • 我的紧张不安
  • 注意到我的颤抖
  • 我涨得通红的脸
  • 我卡着说不出话来
  • 我很无聊/我的话让人无法明白
  • 我很难堪和不适
  • 我不知道该说什么/我什么都没说
然后他们会想:
  • 我很弱
  • 我很蠢
  • 我不自信
  • 我无能
  • 我很没用
  • 我不应该做这份工作
  • 我很无聊/无趣
  • 不值得花时间听我说话
  • 我做得不够好

有哪些是你在社交场合常有的顾虑吗?

恐惧&焦虑

大多数恐惧与焦虑相关的研究人员都认为恐惧和焦虑之间存在差异。 以下是一些关键点:

恐惧:

  • 通常被视为对此时此地的危险的回应。
  • 例如: 狗在我面前,我很害怕!
  • 定位:此时此地
  • 更高的交感神经唤醒,更高水平的战斗或逃跑反应。

焦虑:

  • 通常被视为对预测/预期威胁的回应。
  • 例如。 这里没有狗,但在拐弯处可能有狗!
  • 导向:未来
  • 交感神经唤醒程度较低

当然没有人喜欢感到恐惧或焦虑,我们都不想拥有它们。 然而,恐惧和焦虑都不危险。 他们完全正常,每个人都经历。

想一想:在你的生活中,是否有些时候恐惧和/或焦虑在某些方面帮助到你、拯救了你、 保护你、 激励你?

How to respond to Worrying?

  1. Refocusing Skills: Notice that you’re distracted and refocus back to the present moments. Most of the traditional mindful breathing mindfulness exercises will help developing this refocusing skills. You can try the Benson’s method here.
  2. Observing Worries: If you happen to be in a private setting, try observing your thoughts. You can try leaves on the stream or the mind-train, being the observer of your experience and thought, realise that you have choice and control to not react. It requires some practice, and usually only possible to do it in private, not like when you’re in a social situation)
  3. Rapid Unhooking Skills (noticing, naming, refocusing) notice and name them “that’s my mind worrying” “that’s I’m not good enough story” “that’s something bad will happen story”, then refocus back to what you are doing.
  4. Acceptance of Physical Sensations: Quite often we are pulled to focus on thinking, worrying, being in our head, in order to run away from unwanted feelings and sensations in the body. Notice that you’re pulled into your head, then check feelings/sensations (e.g. sweaty palm, heavy chest, upset stomach, racing heart, numb fingers) in your body then try to allow those sensations.
  5. Use it as a trigger to reconnect with your values: if you’re worrying about your health, then obviously your health is important to you, decide how you want to treat your body, decide the behaviour to improve that, take actions, rather than just thinking about it over and over again.
  6. Reminder to practice Self-Compassions: life is difficult, a lot of challenges, obstacles and loss, acknowledge that it’s not easy and be there for myself, soothing yourself.
  7. Cue to start Problem Solving: Worry = fruitless problem solving. If it’s an important topic and a solvable matter, how about finding a time to sit down and properly solve it?

The Evolution of Human Mind

Why does my mind keep thinking negatively?

Why is my mind always looking for problems and threats?

Why is my mind always warning me when I’m trying to step out of comfort zones, and making me worry a lot?

Why is my brain always predicting the worst?

Why am I always thinking about the painful memories?

Why am I so scared of rejection and not fitting in?

Why is my mind always comparing myself to others?

Why do I never feel enough or contented with what I already have, and wanting more more more?

Watch this cute animation by Dr Russ Harris that might answer your questions, from evolutionary terms:

Did you realise that what your mind does is completely normal and natural? It’s just trying to keep you safe!

Fear & Anxiety: Differences

Most researchers in the field agree that there are differences between fear and anxiety. Here are some of the key ones.

Fear:

  • Generally seen as a response to danger here and now.
  • E.g. the dog is right in front of me, I’m scared.
  • Orientation: Here and now
  • Higher sympathetic arousal, higher level of fight or flight.

Anxiety:

  • Generally seen as a response to a predicted/anticipated threat.
  • E.g. no actual dog here, but at the corner there might be a dog.
  • Future-focused
  • The degree of sympathetic arousal is lower

Of course nobody likes feeling fear or anxiety, we all don’t want to have them. However, both fear and anxiety are not dangerous. They are completely normal and everyone experiences them.

Think about this: Are there times in your life where fear and/or anxiety have been useful/helpful in some ways? Where fear and/or anxiety saved you? Protected you? Motivated you?

Addiction to Pornography (and masturbation in Muslims)

Disclaimer: I’m writing this post with a lot of compassion (i.e. acknowledging the suffering of certain group of people and hoping to help them to reduce their suffering). In no way I intend to belittle or criticize any person or religion. If you’d like this post to be removed, please be in touch hello@huibee.com

I previously came across a 20 year young man who wrote to me asking about therapy for addiction to pornography. When we first met for an assessment, this is his “addiction” – he watched porn and masturbates for about 1 to 1.5 hours a day, almost every day, other than that he has been functioning pretty normally with his work and sports activities. He doesn’t experience any urges or problems in the day. When I was attempting to validate his experience, saying that many people of his age have much stronger urges and if it isn’t affecting his life, perhaps he shouldn’t see it as an addiction. Then he revealed his guilt as in his religion, masturbation is not allowed, at all. (I’m sorry to have been so insensitive, not knowing that masturbation is prohibited in Islam). He also understands that some of his friends did this when they were younger, not so sure about now.

He never talks to anyone about it, even to his religious mentor or his father. But he has been suffering in pain for few years, trying various ways including throwing all his gadgets away so that he has no access to porn. But normally it came back much stronger when he managed to suppress it for few days. So he fell into this vicious cycle of urge → reacting to the urge → guilt → suppress → stronger urge → reacting → more guilt → trying harder to suppress → even stronger urge……….. I believe it must have been so much pain that he finally made up his mind to seek help from a Chinese therapist. In the beginning, there was some “conflicts” regarding the client’s goal, as he’s looking for “complete termination”, whereas I see it as something natural and normal so a reduction will be more appropriate (yes I subsequently realised my mistake. Therapy is about the client, not about the therapist).

In the end we have come into a conclusion of the goals and some tasks. I’m now working with him on self-compassion, and we are using techniques from aversive therapy for the “addiction”. For the past few months it has been going well.

If you’re also a Muslim who’s suffering from similar issues (porn watching & masturbation, compulsive or not), and if you’re willing, please get in touch, I can connect you guys virtually (online, without meeting each other) to support each other to go through this together.