personal development Articles

Coping with Social Anxiety Disorder

I am walking through the woods on a peaceful day and I suddenly see a huge grizzly bear standing on its hind legs looking at me. I am paralyzed with fear. My heart rate accelerates, my mouth feels dry, my muscles tighten, my mind goes blank, my skin gets clammy, and I feel like I just drank 10 Red Bull Energy drinks.

These are all very adaptive fight or flight responses my body produces to protect me from the huge animal. Under this stress response, I will move faster, bleed less if hurt, be fueled by energy hormones, and will be less distracted by irrelevant details going through my mind. The Fight or Flight response is rooted in my instincts as an automatic response to help me survive when my wellbeing is threatened.

What if this survival response got triggered every time I had perform a new social interaction? My body and mind respond to a social interaction with another person as if I am about to be devoured by a grizzly bear. Having the survival response trigger when it is not needed can be exhausting and bring a person’s quality of life to a standstill.

Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to social avoidance as means of coping. Fear of embarrassment or being in situations where you could be scrutin...

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15 Tips for Creating a Personal Development Plan that Works for You

In this article we'll discuss 15 tips for creating a personal development plan that works for you.

Tips for Creating a Personal Development Plan

Tip #1: Set smaller goals and work on large projects a little at a time.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the task and give up. Research from the field of change human psychology suggests that preparing for a change stage leads to the creating of reciprocal actions that facilitate change. Realize that actions do not have to be large accomplishments. Learn to celebrate small wins. Setting smaller goals and working on large projects a little at a time will help you accomplish tasks with less anxiety and in a timely manner.

Small steps lead to big change. Overcoming the little things in our everyday battles leads to achieving our big hairy audacious goals that Christ compels us to set. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).

Tip #2: Increase learning orientation.

Are you motivated by performance goals? Do you have lower self-efficacy when you have hit your expected targets? Is there something missing even when you are doing your job? Develop a learning orienta...

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Christian Couples Counseling: Tips For Growing in Your Faith Together

There is a reason marriage traditionally takes place in a sacred place, in front of God, family and friends, and is celebrated in the community. The process of two flawed, amazingly complicated human beings joining together is incredibly complex, and married couples need encouragement and support to resist the forces that would tear them apart, both internal and external.

No one reaches adulthood without suffering some sort of emotional harm. We bring whatever damage we have suffered into a marriage, often without much awareness about how much it influences our thinking and actions. This lack of awareness makes the inevitable changes that come in relationships very difficult. Faith in God can help us endure difficult transitions with hope for the future, more so when our spouse shares that faith. Growing together successfully, however, will require kindness, curiosity and mutuality.

Among the defenses that arise from early emotional damage is a need for control. For some, this need for control spills over into religious beliefs and spiritual practice. If I have a strong internal need for control, the language of faith can become a twisted tool in my hand, used to bludgeon other viewpoints into submission. A good practice is to do a little self-check when confronted by an op...

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Spiritual Development: Definition and Purpose

Spiritual Development Core Definition

Many a theologian has offered a definition of spiritual development over the course of two millennia. Spiritual development can mean many things to many people in the secular and pluralistic environment we inhabit in our terrestrial world. Spiritual development, in essence, is to believe in something beyond the material universe and to develop an awareness of realities beyond the confines of time and space.

What does spiritual development mean for the Christ follower? Acts 17:28 answers the question well: “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Our essence, belonging, search for meaning, and purpose originate from the Lord as transformed through the person of Jesus Christ and God’s infallible and unchanging Word.

The purpose of spiritual development is summed up well in Romans 12:2 that exhorts us with these powerful words: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God’s truth and purpose transform the soul, spirit, mind, and strength in all of our activities. Everything we have, including our knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities, are to be st...

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Practical Steps for Realizing Your Leadership Development Goals

You've established certain leadership development goals – but why is it that some leaders who are rising to the top succeed and stay in their positions as executives, whereas others who were seen as promising candidates for the corner suite get fired, demoted, passed over, burn out, retire, are laid off, or quit? Surprisingly, the research shows that the median rate of eventual failure for managers is 50%. [1]

Generally, books and articles on success tend to make the New York Times bestseller list. We are fascinated with learning from successful people like Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who on March 3rd, 2014 reclaimed his place as the richest person in the world. [2]

Are we led to read Gates’ numerous books because he is the richest person in the world?

May I suggest that we can learn more from failure than success?

This is because success stories tend to make us think that the road to the top was smooth and all we need to do is emulate the very successful. [3] Studying leaders who have failed can shed light on what values leaders hold as crucial in success. [4] The expenses in coping with ...

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Anxiety Attack Symptoms and Treatment: A Christian Counselor’s Perspective

If you have had a panic attack, you already know how upsetting it can be. The symptoms are very distressing. They include, but are not limited to, chest pains, a racing or pounding heart, feeling faint, weak, or dizzy, having difficulty taking a deep breath or rapid breathing, feeling sweaty or having chills, and a sense of impending doom or terror. Some victims of panic attacks say that they feel as if they are having a heart attack. When experiencing these kinds of symptoms, a trip to the emergency room is a wise precaution, just to make sure that something more serious is not happening.

Your Body’s Defense Mechanism

Signs of stress can be our body’s way of telling us to slow down. Our bodies are amazing in complexity, astonishingly resilient at times, and surprisingly fragile at others. Its fragility means that the body is equipped with a remarkable defense mechanism – the sympathetic nervous system – that kicks on in moments of crisis. In the jungle, an animal has a split second to decide whether to flee or defend itself, which you may have heard referred to as “fight or flight.”   At that moment, the entire body prepares to go into action. Imagine walking into a room and spotting a long snake in the shadows. Your pulse pounds, stress hormones floo...

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How Shame Inhibits Personal Growth and Development: From Hide-and-Seek to Hide-and-Blame

Part 2 in a series on the neuroscience of surprise and the weight of wonder. This series explores how raising children up is really the work of growing adults down: grounding and embodying the Self in relationship, integrating the brain and coming out of hiding.

My 4-year-old is hardwired for surprise. This might not be apparent in her favorite game: hide-and-seek.

Because when Taliah was younger, especially, these games ended almost before they began. Often the seeker, eyes closed and counting, was startled by a knee-high tackle from a toddler screaming with delight. Surprise! Taliah had come tearing out of her hiding place if she’d even made it that far.

Her stamina for the game has increased – along with her neural pathways.

Recently our family was hiking Multnomah Falls outside of Portland, Oregon. The cascading, 630-foot Falls are summited through 13 switchbacks along a steeply routed 1.2-mile trail.

The slow ache of Taliah’s tired little legs soon gathered into a neocortical chorus in her mind. That well-rehearsed refrain we’ve all heard as parents:

“Daaad, are we there yet? Can I ride on your shoulders? Pleeeaase?!”

A tantrum was mounting. And we were only at trail marker 5 of 13. I began bending down towards Ta...

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