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Behavioral Health

Managing Anxiety: 12-21-12, Doomsday or Hype?

Joann Wright, PhD, Linden Oaks

Will December 21, 2012 be just another day? If you pay attention to talk radio or go to the movies, then you know that this date is centered on predictions of impending doom based on the ancient Maya calendar. Doomsday scenarios like these can cause a certain level of uneasiness and fear. M. Joann Wright, PhD, director of clinical training and anxiety services at Linden Oaks, shares tips for managing anxiety about the “end of the world” and other catastrophes: 

1.)    Accept your fear: Anxiety and phobias can feed on themselves and worsen. No matter how uncomfortable, try to manage this particular fear so you can live with it, instead of avoiding it. Discover the parts of life that are most important to you so you can adapt to the situation.

2.)    Knowledge is power:  Recognize that people have been predicting the end of the world since the dawn of mankind. In fact, one of the first recorded apocalyptic predictions dates back to 634 BC. A quick Google search of the end of the world predictions revealed 167 dates with 17 since 2000.

3.)    Reassure your child or loved one: If your child or loved one is anxious, show your interest and concern. Together, read the article or watch the show that is causing him or her to worry and take time to discuss it. While doing so, be aware of the messages you are conveying to your child about the feared situation. Are your words, body language, or voice inflection communicating anxiety too? As best you can, communicate both verbally and non-verbally a sense of assurance and security.

4.)    Talk to someone: Be sure to discuss your anxiety with someone. If your anxiety starts to interfere with your daily functioning, seek professional counseling. 

Linden Oaks Help Line is available 24/7 by calling (630) 305-5500. A trained resource and referral counselor is ready to talk to you. Visit www.edward.org/lindenoaks for more information.


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