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  DR. Michael Shery, clinical psycholoGY

  2615 Three Oaks Rd, Ste. 2A, 

  Cary, Illinois 60013  847 275 8236 (24 Hrs);




“Since 1976, state-of-the-art counseling which treats the problem, not just the symptom…”





Doctoral degree: University of Southern California, 1975






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Overwhelming Anxiety: From Worried to Wonderful!


If you find your mind continually dwelling on the worst possible thing that could happen in a situation, you have a pessimistically-inclined catastrophic mindset.

There are various theories regarding the causes of worry in some people, including heredity, trauma and anxiety-laden parenting styles. For example, if your were raised by a mom who was constantly dreading how your activities might harm you, it is very possible that your predisposition toward anxiety is at least, partially, a result of her parental mindset.

If she over-protected you, you likely got the message that the world is very dangerous and that you must constantly think about possible threats. When a kid begins to inadvertently imitate a parents behavior that is the result of a psychological dynamic known as modeling.

You, like other kids, were a cognitive "sponge," and modeling might have lead to your absorbing the essence of your mom's mindset. Be aware of the anxiety level of your parenting style now, because if it is anxiety-laden, the odds are increased that your kid's mindset will be too.

This could lead later to your kids having post traumatic stress, OCD, stress disorder, generalized anxiety or other such disorders. I know that is something that you do not want.

So, for any number of reasons it is important to take care of yourself and reduce your anxiety level. Below are listed coping skills that have proven effective for people like you:

1. Re-Direct Your Attention

This technique is effective, not only for anxiety disorders, but also for depression. Re-directing attention enables you to terminate the cognitive dwelling process and attend to material that does not trigger ruminating.

An effective method stops the cognitive rumination process. So, how do you re-direct your attention?

First, consciously remind yourself that a "thought is just a thought." It is not reality; it is just the result of an eruption of neuro-chemical energy.

In fact many, if not most thoughts are exaggerated, irrational, catastrophic and not warranted. Don't react, do not lock on to a largely unimportant, largely irrelevant and erroneous neuro-chemical event!

Cognitive flexibility and fluidity is crucial if you suffer from chronic worrying. Anything that can absorb your attention away from the anxiety trigger can help.

For example, pleasure reading, going to a movie or engaging in an athletic event can be therapeutic.

2. Engage in Dialogue

Discuss your anxiety with a professional counselor or trusted confidant. This will help you to acquire a more realistic perspective than the catastrophic one that has trapped your attention.

3. Do Journaling!

Record your troubling thoughts in a journal, notice the degree of catastrophic thinking inherent in them and, looking from the point of view of an outsider, restructure them so they more closely resemble a realistic perspective. Writing about realistic aspects is an effective way to re-structure them in a healthier way.

4. Use Self-Calming Methods

Get a book on self-hypnosis. Learn it and place yourself in a deeply relaxed state.

Give your subconscious suggestions about not worrying and enabling you to jump over a thought rather than dwell on it. Other options include meditation, deep breathing exercises and yoga.

5. Drop the Drama; Write the Facts

If you enter an episode of exaggerated, catastrophic thinking, write down the "drama" you are experiencing, as it feels. Next, take a break, have lunch and get away from the experience for awhile. Return to the journal and re-write your entry with only the facts.

If you're worried about failing a class, for example, remind yourself that you usually pass your classes or you can get a tutor or, if you fail, you can take it over in summer school. It is not the end of the world!.

6. Engage in Professional Treatment

You could participate in individual counseling or psychotherapy. The purpose of which is to understand yourself and your situation clearer.

You receive the valuable and objective feedback and support from a professional counselor or psychologist with experience in treating anxiety. Money should not deter you because counseling can be received from private practitioners and non-profit sliding scale community agencies.

Medication is another option. Your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist could prescribe an anti-anxiety agent or anti-depressant for you. Look these agents up in a search engine and evaluate the possibilities.

You could use a home-therapy kit, sometimes called self-therapy kits (STKs). If professional treatment seems like too big a step at this time, using cognitive therapy-oriented self-therapy or home therapy kits (STKs) can help. They are self-help programs that use cognitive therapy to tutor you, step-by-step on how to eliminate your anxiety.

They teach anxiety-reduction skills in a multimedia format: CDs, DVDs, MP3s, e-books, workbooks, audios, videos etc. Cognitive-behavioral tutoring can be very helpful.

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About The Author

Dr. Mike Shery is a licensed clinical psychologist and is affiliated with almost all health plans, including:  ValueOptions, Medicare, Cigna, Coventry, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna-Allied, First Health, Healthstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComPsych, Magellan Health, Meridian, HFN, Tricare, Humana, most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare, CAPP, Multiplan, Mental Health Network, Managed Health Network, United Behavioral Health, PPONext, Private Health Care Systems, Humana-Military and Beech Street .


He has practiced clinical psychology for approximately 30 years and is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling by the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is the director of Affiliated Counseling and Referral Services and is a member of the American Counseling Association.


The office is located in Cary, IL and in select cases phone consultations are available for those who don’t live locally> Telephone Counseling.

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