Archive for the ‘Anger Stress and Health’ Category

Six Ways to Defuse Your Anger When Your Children Fight

September 10th, 2014 Comments Off on Six Ways to Defuse Your Anger When Your Children Fight

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

snapping with frustration

It's frustrating when your kids are constantly bickering and you have to be referee.

Choosing one side or the other often makes you feel bad,and guilty later on.

You wish your kids could get on with one another and let you attend to all the other things on your plate. But they don't!

They are not invested in harmony or collaboration. They want ownership and control over what they feel is 'right.'

So they fight and argue. They battle till they draw blood. And that's when you lose it!

One of your children gets hurt, is sobbing uncontrollably and you are now furious at having to take time out to care for the hurt child, chastise the other and somehow bring order to chaos.

Your expectations of peaceful play were shattered and now you have to take charge and undo the mess. Your anger probably comes from being forced to intervene.

So how do you mange this thorny parenting problem of facing sibling rivalry?

Do you punish the child who hurt the sibling and give all the attention to the child who is crying?

Or do you find other things for them to do and ignore what just hapened?

which part of me  do I choose


Things you should never do as a parent when you are angry at your kids for fighting

  1. Never gnore them because that makes them anxious and escalates the conflict.

 DO comment on their frustrations and distress, it’s very calming when a parent notices and acknowledges how you feel, which immediately stops the fight. Since you are angry too, it's a chance for everyone to notice that anger is around, and everyone is angry for a similar reasons.

  1. Never fight with them , because the parent becomes another child joining the fight adding to the conflict when what they really need is a for their mother to contain and manage their feelings.

DO talk about their need to feel stronger, and ‘better than’ the other, rather than focus on the rights and wrongs of the fight, and who started it. Then you will have taken charge in a way that brings them to attention without bitterness and blame. Your anger will diffuse as your children feel your understanding.


offer a helping hand


  1. Never try to compete for control because it’s sending a message that control is something to aspire to and is the go to method of interacting.

DO invite the siblings to share their feelings as mom shares hers about seeing them fight. It gives the kids a model of how to tune into one another and that everyone has similar feelings. The advantage for you  is that as you address their feelings, you teach the basics of empathy, showing them that fighting isn’t productive. You make it less likely that this pattern will repeat. Sharing your feelings means you too feel seen and heard and everyone takes equal responsibility for their feelings rather than passing the blame ball around like a hot potato.

     4. Never yell at them to stop –  You may get momentary relief but the siblings conflict remains unresolved, and it will be revived soon.

DO invite them to tell you and their sibling what they are feeling, needing and wanting without blaming or dissing the other. You benefit because you can also 'show and tell' what your needs are and how you feel when they can't be met. Everyone reduces the anger and you feel like a good mom, rather than an impatient, mean parent.

5. Never reprimand them. It is ineffective because they hear their mom disapproving of them as humans.  They get no idea of what they have done wrong and don’t understand why they are being chastised .It can lead to shame based narcissism later in life. You may feel vindicated in the moment, but you will regret it as you see your kids self-esteem falling through the ground.

DO comment on their frustration and distress. It's immediately calming because you are recognizing, not judging their emotional state. You benefit because you are giving voice to your frustration to. When you make space for your feelings and those of your children, anger is replaced by bonding.

6. Never punish them and then over-compensate when you feel guilty. This strategy is unproductive because it’s all about the mom dealing with her own hot buttons when she punishes them, showing her own desperation – then she fears losing their love and gives in. It teaches the kids that relationships are based on fear, and that evoking guilt is a great way of managing relationships. It does nothing to make them fight less or find new ways of expressing their needs.

DO create mutually agreed rules about 'fighting' or dealing with conflict, and praise them when they conform. When you feel you are taking steps to prevent the sibling fights, your anger dissapates. Including the children in making the rules ensures their compliance, and now your children are allies, not nuisances.


copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF: Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

How to manage your anger when your kids drive you nuts

Are you covering up the sadness of being a bad parent with anger?

Is envious anger stopping you from connecting wih your kids?

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond



Five Benefits of Mindfulness

September 3rd, 2014 Comments Off on Five Benefits of Mindfulness

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


mindfulness benefits


Mindfulness is a hot topic in the area of anger and stress managment. But do you know what it is?

Have you got any idea of what it entails and how it can aid you in dealing with your anger and stress?

psychotherapy for partner selection, Los Angeles


Let's start with what Mindfulness is not!

Mindfulness is not meditation.

Mindfulness is not digging into yourself and discovering your unconscious wishes.

Mindfulness is not getting rid of all your thoughts and feelings

Mindfulness is not about detachment from the people and world around you

Mindfulness is not an escape from bad feelings like hurt, pain, anger, fear or envy.

Now let's look at what mindfulness is and how it can be of use to you.

1. In his book 'The Mindful Brain', Daniel Siegel describes mindulfulness as being aware of your mind and it's processes, so that you are not operating on auto pilot.

2. Mindful awarness involves reflection of what you are thinking, doing and feeling so that you are conscious of the choices you are making, and can opt for different ones to better your moment to moment, day to day life.

Benefit: when you feel irritated and angry you can sense it in your body, as you tune into your muscle tension, teeth clenching and sighing. You can then formulate words to describe your anger, and then share it in the moment. Putting your emotional experience into words, dampens the intensity of the feelings, and helps you stay and feel in control. Others experience you as genuine, adapting the converstion accordingly. You don't store anger and it doesn't build up into stress that makes you sick.

fed up but silent

3. Reflecting on your mind and what it is thinking and doing gives you the opportunity to empower yourself, instead of just being reactive and blaming everyone and everything around you for your actions.

Benefit:you are in full control of your reactions and responses. You can choose to interpret other peoples motives in a more benign way, instead of letting your autopilot take you to the same old place of rejection and hurt. You don't feel helpless and you avoid the shame and guilt of being 'reactive.'

4. Tuning into your mental proceses puts you in the here-and-now, so that you fully participate in and experience the person you are with, the surroundings you are in and the needs you have at that time.

angel but devil in disguise  

Benefit:   staying in the present releases you from captivity. Your past negative experiences predispose you to be over cautious and dismiss anything that looks or feels good as sinister, suspicious or a fluke. Mindful awareness focuses you on the reality in front of you so that you see and create a more positive life experience.

5. Embedding yourself in the here-and-now allows you to meet your need for connection with someone else, or to be apart and take care of hurt, pain or fear. Feeling your emotions as they arise means you take care of yourself in a natural organic manner. You don't brush it off and let it build up into intense anger or resentment.

Benefit: you never get hijacked by your frustration, anger or pessimism. You tolerate the bad feelings with the good and give both equal space. You have more of you to use as a resource because you are not trying to suppress feelings that you don't approve of. That's how you build self-compassion and compassion for others.

6. You don't hide from yourself, so you come across as authentic from the inside out. The image you show to others matches what you feel inside, making relating easy, and fun.

Benefit: you are at peace with yourself, non-judgmental and accepting. You have more space to be curious about others and invite them to be with you rather than perform certain functions for you. Relating becomes more meaningul and satisfying.

bend and stretch together for flexibility

7. Reflecting in a mindful way about what you actually want or are conflicted about builds self-compassion and patience for your process. It reduces the judge inside you that wants you to be perfect.

Benefit:flexibility of spirit means you can adapt to the situations around you without getting into a panic or fearing bad outcomes. Being in step with the world around you makes life easier than if you were fighting it to suit what you think it should be.

8. Mindfulness is cheap in terms of financial outlay and you don't need to depend on others to do it. But you do need to see it as a way of being, not just a 15 minute mental exercise as if you were going to the gym or jogging. It has to become like a skin that you wear and adapt to depending on your emotional state.

Benefit:being a mindfully aware person means you can start to read others more accurately. You get to understand the dynamics of the relationships you are in and most of all, you develop the fortitude to enjoy emotional intimacy instead of fearing it.

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF: Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Four ways to turn anger into love

How to get your partner to listen to your side of things without tuning out

How to deal with panic when anger managment doesn't work


Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Three ways to help your child with stress

July 29th, 2014 Comments Off on Three ways to help your child with stress


Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

helping children with stress



An article reported in Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2009, indicated that childhood stress that went unoticed and untreated resulted in chronic sickness when these children grew up.

A further study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010 revealed that chronic stress resulting in unhappy chilhoods resulted in an elevated inflammatory response to adult stress, weakening the immune system.


Children who experience long term stres in childhood are four times more likely to develop anxiety and depression in adulthood, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal in 2008, using a large sample of over 8000 participants.

A study reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 2014 found that preschool children with stress and depression was the most salient predictor of later school-age depression over and above any of the other well-established risk factors.


Childhood stress shrinks the Hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, as reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009;


Many children hide their stress from parents so as not to be a burden. They want to be "good" so that you will value and love them, especially when they see you stressed out and struggling to juggle so much in your life.

BUT children don't have all the tools they need to manage that stress.

They don't often recognize it and can't put words to it

The consequences can be irreversible if parents don't pay attention to the subtle signs of stress in thier kids.

THREE WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD WITH STRESS : signs of stress in childhood

1. Notice their body language –  sagging chin and shoulders, droopy facial expressions, lethargy, fidgetyness, nail biting, hiding large parts of the body in clothes, hiding their face in their long hair are a few things to look out for. Change of eating habits is another sign of childhood stress – eating more, hiding food, eating less, hoarding food, eating more junk food, cravings, and loss of appetite.

2. Listen to the messages they are sending through their bodies and then invite them to share their worries and doubts using words. You have to start by showing that you notice something and give an example of how you might feel when you are stressed – that will make it okay for the child to follow suit without the guilt of adding to your burden. Listen to their pain – don't focus just on the issue or context in which they are describing their struggle.

3. Empathize by repeating what you heard in your own words, so that they know you got it. Don't try to fix it as that gives the impression that you just want everything to go away and not bother you. Be with them, hand in hand. If they ask for advice then you can offer some suggestions but make sure you follow up and maintain that empathic connection.

Putting stress into words and empathizing reduces stress by creating a sense of safety and connection.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF: Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Three ways to stop chronic stress from making you fat!

Fibromyalgia is linked to childhood stress and unprocessed negative emotions

Sress and difficulty accepting help can make your hair fall out

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Three Ways to Prevent Chronic Stress From Making You Fat

June 18th, 2014 Comments Off on Three Ways to Prevent Chronic Stress From Making You Fat


Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

gluttony from stress

Are you frustrated and angry that you seem to put on weight just by looking at high calorie foods, while others consume it as if there is no tomorrow and are as thin as reeds?

Then you may be under chronic stress that produces a biological marker called NPY that metabolizes your calories differently and makes you gain weight.

It's not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you.

You have got so used to the stress that it probably doesn't register in the same way it would for someone having a new experience.

That's the problem. Your body then has to take over and try and protect you. Unfortunately it does it by making you store fat, and then you feel ashamed, guilty and even more of a failure.

Relationship insecurity and helplessness is the most potent source of chronic stress.

So watch this video and learn three ways in which you can become more aware of and master the stress so that you don't have to suffer weight gain.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Anger makes you fat and keeps you fat!

Stress and difficulty accepting help can make your hair fall out

Stress from guilt can worsen allergies and prevent enjoyment of life

Disclaimer: this video is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Expressing Anger Appropriately is a natural Pain Relief Mechanism

June 7th, 2014 Comments Off on Expressing Anger Appropriately is a natural Pain Relief Mechanism

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

stress, back pain

Unable to sleep for the third night in a row, thirty-six-year-old Orrin, an investment analyst, got up and took his prescribed pain killers for his lower back pain and sciatica. The relief was temporary and he awoke from a drowsy state with intense throbbing pain down his right buttock, thigh and leg. His lower back pain made it difficult for him to get out of bed, so he used the cane he kept near him to push himself up. He was angry that the pain medications weren’t working, and even angrier that all the physical therapy and meditative exercises he performed regularly had little to no effect.

At work, using his ergonomic chair and work station, the pain persisted, and the stress gave him a nagging headache. When he missed the perfect moment to make a trade for one of his customers, he wasn’t aware of being angry and he just kept going, trying to compensate by working harder. As the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2007 indicated, chronic pain not only makes you uncomfortable, but impairs memory and concentration

He hated the carefree attitude of many of his colleagues, believing that they were shortchanging their customers, and ultimately tarring him with the same brush. He nipped his rising anger in the bud and tried to outdo the performance he had achieved yesterday. But the stress of being mocked by the team elevated the pain in his lower back, and gave him stomach cramps. He was in agony, and took more pain medication that gave him little or no relief. He tried walking around to relieve the pressure on his sciatic nerve but he was so tense that it was a washout.

inflamed intestines


His thirty-eight-year-old wife Amy offered to massage his back. It felt both relieving and anxiety provoking. He recalled the times when he’d longed for his mother to soothe his headaches and stomach aches, his cuts and bruises and his fears and doubts – but she usually palmed him off with candy and/or video games. He remembered how angry he used to get, but he never showed it, terrified that if he did, she would retaliate with her rage. His mother’s rage was unpredictable and fierce. She would throw food around, hurt he dog and yell at Orrin just for being around! He had prided himself for not losing his cool as he grew up. But was it worth it?

Orrin grew to be afraid of his back pain and stomach cramps returning when the medications wore off, or when he went back to his stressful work environment. It was the same fear he had as a kid when he anticipated the pain that would come with his mother’s smacks and verbal abuse. Negative emotions interfere with the brain processing of actual pain, increasing the anticipating of pain, which in many cases makes it worse, as reported by Gastroenterology, 2011.

Later in the week as Orrin’s throbbing lower back pain prevented him from sitting in his office chair, he found himself welling up in tears.  Sadness enveloped him, making his pain feel even worse, as outlined in an article published in Biological Psychiatry, 2010 – which found that sadness disrupts some neurocircuit pathways in the brain that process pain.  Sadness and depression drive the pain, making it feel much more intolerable.

Despite the sadness, Orrin was very aware of his anger and didn’t ignore or re-label it as ‘just frustration.’  He was furious that the one thing that usually distracted him from the pain – his high pressured and fast paced work – was not possible. He swore and cussed under his breath, threw down his briefcase and went outside. Walking along a nearby nature trail he let out his anger. Sometimes it was by kicking a twig and other times by repetitively banging one rock on another, while swearing and cussing to the squawking crows around.


man with headache


A couple of minutes later his pain had substantially subsided. He couldn’t understand it, but the relief was palpable. The Annals of Behavioral  Medicine 2013  published an article demonstrating that only Anger Awareness and Expression Training (AAET) was effective in promoting emotional processing and expression leading to less pain, particularly in headaches. The authors indicated that the paid reduction comes when swearing triggers the fight-or-flight response of stress, obliterating the link between fear of pain and the pain itself.

Having put his emotional pain into words by expressing his hurt and anger that he harbored over so many years, released his physical pain. The journal Emotion reported in 2007, that attempts to suppress anger amplifies all the irritating and uncomfortable aspects of pain perception. So by taking the muzzle off his anger reduced the sensitivity of the pain receptors and brought some respite.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Fibromyalgia is linked to childhood stress and unprocesed negative emotions

Keeping silent about your feelings may predispose you towards Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Is anger stopping you from reaching your potential?

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Stress Prevents you From Using Your Skills in Controlling Negative Emotions

May 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Stress Prevents you From Using Your Skills in Controlling Negative Emotions

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

 west los angeles anger management

Have you ever been annoyed and frustrated that everything you learned and practiced about managing your emotions failed you at the crucial moment?

It’s so disappointing when you have been to an anger management class, or spent time and money on CD’s, DVD’s and or coaches to help you master those intense feelings, only to find that you can’t access that learning when you need it the most.

That’s what happened to thirty-six-year-old Hugh a film distributor over and over again when he was out in public with his thirty-four-year old second wife June, a publicist. He was very much in love with June who was beautiful, smart and caring – so different to his first wife who only seemed interested in material things and never made him feel good as a person. Yet, at one of the many parties they attending, when June didn’t go to his side the minute he called her, he felt the blood rush to his head and an irritated voice coming out of him – getting angrier and angrier with each demand he made.

west los angeles therapy for stress related anger


He ‘knew’ she was just mingling and playing the crowds, but something inside him overrode that information, and he became belligerent.

His stress levels were through the roof and he couldn’t just stand there and wait. He pulled her away from the people she was with, castigating her for not obeying him as she should. June was mortified and made him sleep on the sofa. She didn’t speak to him the next day, and Hugh was left ashamed and scared that he might lose this wonderful woman.

Aware of his quick temper when he didn’t get an immediate response from her, June encouraged her husband to attend anger management classes.

She also bought him the latest expert DVD’s on handling anger productively. Hugh wasn’t keen, but he knew he had to do something drastic to make sure his life and his relationship didn’t go south. He learned some useful strategies in his 12 week class, and thought he had it licked. He’d practiced the skills in class and rehearsed them when he was out on the road, but somehow the emotional aroused in him when he didn’t get June’s attention immediately, just overcame all his learning and hickjacked him. The anger burst out, even though a couple of minutes later, he apologized and said he ‘knew’ he should have given her a signal that he was feeling insecure.

Topping up the classes with the CD’s made Hugh feel like he got a second chance, and this time he was going to conquer his angry outbursts. But despite his perfectly learned signals, breathing exercises and words to say how he felt instead of exploding, the anger erupted, as if against his will.

west los angeles therapy for self-hate


Unbelievably anxious and frustrated that his genuine efforts at anger management were fruitless, he started to beat himself up

 He got very concerned that June’s patience would run out, leaving him alone and unhappy. Hugh tried to beat himself up into being a calmer guy around June, until he realized he needed professional help. He first tried a life coach and the personal touch made things a lot better. He got to call the coach when he thought he would explode and get taken to a safer emotional place. After nine months, he ended the contract, believing he was cured. One month later, he was devastated when that same old explosive anger reared its ugly head while he was shopping with June, and she didn’t respond to his pleas to hurry up. He flew off the handle and embarrassed them both.

 west los angeles therapy for stress related marriage problems

 Disgusted with himself and angry as hell that all his learning and coaching hadn’t done the trick, Hugh went to therapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Now, finally he discovered the core beliefs that were being engaged when he blew up. He learned about the triggers that made him explode. And most of all he learned how punishing himself made things worse. He had a whole list of other ways to think that would prevent the anger from bursting out even though he knew it was inappropriate.

For the next six months Hugh was in seventh heaven. He was using his new found skills, and feeling successful. But one day he was upset when June said she was going on a two week business trip to promote a client’s book. Hugh got anxious. He knew there was no need to worry, but the stress got to him and all his skills flew out the window. He screamed at June for leaving him and accused her or not caring. He had gone ballistic.

west los angeles counseling for anger and stress

Accessing his skills was like getting blood out of stone!


So why did the CD’s, the coaching and the Cognitive Behavioral therapy not have a lasting effect?

Because as reported in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, August 26, 2013, even the mildest amount of stress impairs the prefrontal cortex that tempers emotion with reason and judgment. All the techniques that Hugh learned in anger management class, the CD course and his Cognitive therapy were not able to withstand the effect that small amounts of stress can have on previously learned skills. Emotions win out, as the stress alters and or blocks the communication from the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain). So Hugh didn’t stand a chance.

Things finally shifted for Hugh when he started attending therapy that focused on the emotional experiences that made him insecure and stressed. He found that he had to return to the source of the upset that stressed that as a child he could only express through anger. In his therapy Hugh made the connection between his mother always leaving him to talk to others, forgetting him in stores, at the county fair and so on, and his intense anger. The connection he made wasn’t just insightful. He felt it in his sessions when he was secure that the therapist wouldn’t do likewise. That’s when the stress diminished, and he was able to truly feel June’s commitment to him. Before he ‘knew it.’ Now he ‘felt it.’ It made all the difference. He and June are now much more stable. When those old buttons get pushed, he can use all the skills he learned but apply them at a feeling level – so that his rational and emotional brains synchronize and make him behave as he wants.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Do you numb yourself in an effort to control your angry outbursts, only to have them explode later on?

Unresolved anger and stress keeps you depressed longer

How to relieve stress in a marriage by sharing jobs

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond

Stress From Guilt Worsens Allergies and Prevents Enjoyment of Life

April 7th, 2014 Comments Off on Stress From Guilt Worsens Allergies and Prevents Enjoyment of Life

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

west los angeles psychotherapy for stress and allergies


Now that Maureen a divorced medical secretary had reached her fiftieth birthday, raised her children and had a chunk of disposable income she wanted to go on cruises with her friends. But each time she thought about booking her travel plans she felt sapped of energy. Her allergies played up and she lost the will to go through with her plan. Sometimes she got as far as buying theatre tickets, but a day or two before the show she would be swamped with work and too exhausted to use them.

Unable to have what she looked forward to, Maureen became anxious and stressed. Her allergies got worse and she had to stuff herself with Benadryl just to make it through the day. She worked hard for her money and now that she didn’t have dependent children or a boyfriend, she felt entitled to use it on herself. But she was either too busy or too sick to take advantage of her good position in life. After noticing that she continually missed out on her dreams, Maureen got angry and felt deprived. She felt as if life was taunting her with goodies and then snatching them away at the very moment she reached out for them.


On the odd occasion that she did go out with friends and enjoy a meal she was wracked with guilt.

She came home with a massive headache and drank herself to sleep while beating herself up for being so foolish with her money. She told herself she didn’t deserve her evening out, that it was just an indulgence and she ought to have used the money to buy her granddaughter ballet classes. Maureen’s self-castigating added to her stress and worsened her allergies. No matter how much Benadryl she took she couldn’t get out of bed and lay there depressed, feeling unworthy.

 west los angeles therapy for emotional stress and allergies

Research Evidence About Stress and Allergies

What Maureen didn’t realize was that antihistamines like Benadryl isn’t effective for stress that is long term or that peaks on particular days, according to researchers from Ohio University, 2008, and others, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2009.

A report in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,  2014 indicates that allergies are exacerbated by actual stress and perceived or anticipated stress, and recommends relaxing and doing fun things, meditating and deep breathing exercises to reduce stress in order to minimize its effect on allergies. But the troube is that stress caused by long term emotional problems don’t respond to these remedies.

Maureen’s source of stress was way back in her childhood

Growing up in a large family, Maureen had never felt seen and wanted. Shuttled from her parents to her grandparents and then aunts and uncles when it suited her carers, she longed to prove her value. She excelled in school and used her smarts to get jobs at the weekend to earn money and buy stuff for herself and family members. She didn’t want to feel like a burden, and enjoyed taking care of others. Basically she bought herself a place in their good books. That’s what made her feel good, and when she spent money on herself it didn’t give her that same sense of value and self-worth.

So Maureen filled most of her waking hours busy – as far away as possible from her feelings of not being wanted and loved for who she was. The long term stress that she endured wasn’t easy to manage. She read self-help books when she couldn’t sleep at nights. She bought meditation DVD’s and tried Yoga a few times before she felt guilty about working on herself and reverted back to her routine.

It wasn’t until she couldn’t shut out the fear of not being loved just for herself any longer that she came to therapy. Nothing distracted her from the palpitations and breathlessness that she experienced on waking up and during here working day. Physical checkups revealed no problems with her heart or lungs and Maureen was left with having to face the fears and the guilt about wanting to have a good time but believing that she didn’t deserve it in the eyes of her family.

In psychotherapy we worked on Maureen’s terror of being overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and anger about her childhood. Putting words to them and feeling them in the presence of someone who understood her dilemmas gave her permission to value herself for who she was and not just for how well she took care of others at work or in her family. Gradually her stress levels abated and her allergies subsided. She is now able to handle yoga and meditation without the terror that her suppressed feelings would overwhelm her if her mind was at rest.

Take the stress quiz

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Migraine is triggered by years of unexpressed emotional pain

Anger at your self makes you sick – masochistic anger part 2

How to get your own way, avoid guilt and still be lovable


Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article or implementing the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.



Unresolved Anger and Stress Keeps You Depressed Longer

March 24th, 2014 Comments Off on Unresolved Anger and Stress Keeps You Depressed Longer

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

can't take another moment

It was eleven o’clock on a Tuesday morning, and Raul, a thirty-six-year-old property developer was struggling to keep his mind focused on the high powered meeting he had organized. He felt sluggish, his mind wandered and he could barely keep track of the agenda items he was supposed to bring to the table.

For the last six months he had felt lethargic and uninterested in things that he usually enjoyed. He stopped playing squash with his best mate, and he rarely went out on Friday nights with his interior designer wife Pat to their favorite restaurant as they used to do. His day-to-day routine felt awkward, as if he were undertaking something foreign. His autopilot stopped working and he had to force himself to think hard about the simplest of things over and over again.

Raul was depressed but he didn’t want to admit it.

It couldn’t be happening to him. After all he was the whiz kid who started his own company at age 18 and rocketed to becoming the biggest and most famous property developer in the State of Utah. From fancy upmarket shopping malls to exclusive residential gated communities his name was on all the signs. But just when he was about to expand to China and India, his body slowed him down. At first it was just the odd headache that stopped him from ‘Skyping’ all night with people on the other side of the world. Then he developed a pain in the back of his right shoulder that made him feel he was carrying an enormous weight. A week later he noticed that he was clenching his jaws and gritting his teeth – unable to relax his facial muscles. Then the pain all the way down his right leg throbbed and kept him awake night after night.

Medications didn’t help like they used to, and Pat’s home remedies and massages felt loving but did nothing to ease his symptoms. Slowly Raul’s various aches and pains turned into a sort of panic. When he got in the car every morning, he felt his heart race for at least 30 seconds and he often wondered whether he was having a heart attack. Yes, he knew that he should slow down and smell the roses, but that was crap! He needed to prove that he could do what his father talked of but never did. Raul wasn’t a dreamer, he was a doer! Yet no matter how much he achieved it wasn’t sufficient proof that he was not like his dad.

west los angeles  stress and anger managementThe stress of trying to be as different to his father as possible had been with Raul since he was fifteen – when he saw his dead beat dad take to the bottle after losing his job as an auto-mechanic –  giving up on life, and his responsibility towards his family. Raul’s anger was murderous, but he channeled it into making something of himself as an entrepreneur and had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.  Yet the anger still rankled him. He had never expressed his fear of having to take care of his family after his father gave up, and he continued to be bitter about the way he was forced to grow up and support his drunkard father.

Years of bitter anger added to the stress of being robbed of his teenage years before his time. But Raul’s discomfort with expressing it made the stress a chronic condition, ultimately leading to depression at the pinnacle of his career.

This time it was serious. It had lasted much longer than his previous dips into down states which he had always been able to get himself out of.  Now his whole life seemed like a nightmare that made him not want to do anything. The more he tried to force himself the less productive he was.


west los angeles therapy for anger related depression


As reported in The Proceedings of The National Association of Science in May 2013, chronic stress makes depression last longer. It prevents regeneration of nerve cells in the brain that would normally counter the chemical imbalance linked with depression. So without the necessary neurotransmitters to change and rebalance his mood, Raul was suffering a longer spell of depression than usual. And this time it was seriously threatening his entire way of life.

Until one day he couldn’t express his words clearly to his colleagues and partners around the world. He snapped at his wife and couldn’t bear her to touch him or want to have sex with him. That’s when he made the call to me and decided to come into psychotherapy, something he had thought weak and stupid for most of his adult life.

As we worked on the raw hurt of his early life Raul’s physical pain eased considerably. At first he felt the pain less intensely and later it was less frequent – we could always trace a flare up to emotions that he had not dealt with, that were adding to his stress load. But most important of all, Raul was able to decide what kind of man he wanted to be irrespective of his parentage and the hell he had been put through. He no longer needed to be the high powered executive since there was no one he had to prove himself to any longer. Instead, Raul and Pat took on exclusive clients and built their dream homes – inside and out – just as Raul had done for himself.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


You might also like:

Cure insomnia by dealing with anger and sress in relationships

Depression buries the anger that prevents you from connecting to loved ones

Is anger spoiling the enjoyment of your achievements?


Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.









An outbreak of hives can signify the start of a healthier emotional life

October 10th, 2013 Comments Off on An outbreak of hives can signify the start of a healthier emotional life

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


west los angeles stress management for healthy relationships

The reunion between 43-year-old Petra and her two dogs when she got back home from an extended horse riding weekend on a Wyoming ranch was warm and rewarding, except for the serious outbreak of hives on her arms, chest and neck that itched, and made her feel ugly.

She couldn’t sleep, waiting for the morning to arrive so she could see her doctor and get answers to the questions swimming around in her head about why she was suddenly afflicted with this nasty outbreak – obviously she was allergic to something, but what? She had never had hives before, and the fact that it was so visible made her feel that she was being punished for leaving her workplace, and her dogs, which she rarely did.. Now, just when she was taking time out to enjoy herself, she gets slapped with hives!

The news from the doctor was no great help. Her immune system seemed to be having a non-specific reaction to something or other, and other than prescribing antihistamine she was told to wait a couple to three weeks for results. Petra just wanted to step out of her skin. It felt wretched, wrinkly, spotty, stained with red lumps that no amount of creams or lotions could soothe or hide. The medication made her drowsy and all she wanted to do was to go into a deep sleep and wake up in a new body with fresh skin.


west los angeles psychotherapy for stress related relationship problems

Three days later Petra was despondent, wondering if she would ever feel good again.

She wasn’t able to concentrate on her management duties at a popular fast food franchise that was open long hours. But it was important that she take charge again and get everything back in order, because she didn’t trust the staff to work efficiently. In fact she had to make up for all the time she was away so that the business was operating in tip-top shape, putting her up for her fifth manager of the year award.

She didn’t feel like swimming or sailing, two of her favorite sports. Her mind was embroiled in questions about what was in store for her if the hives persisted. Even if this outbreak faded, would she be prone to having it again? Would it flare up every time she was stressed at work or stressed because she wasn't dating enough? Was hives something she had to live with as she traversed the bridge between being a young, single career woman, and entering middle age without a partner and having no hope of finding one? Was this the message that she was supposed to get from having hives at this juncture of her life?


west los angeles counseling for relationship problems due to stress

Six months before her long awaited vacation Petra had been especially anxious about the ticking of her biological clock.

She hadn’t worried too much about it before her fortieth birthday, but since then she had periods when it became acutely alarming. She usually dealt with it by burying herself at work which easily consumed both her physical and psychic energy. But lately no matter how deeply engrossed she was in her work her focus seemed to shift to her being alone and childless. Despite dating men whom she met socially at friends’ homes or online, none of them did anything for her, and she was quick to find reasons why they weren’t right for her. Except for that one time she had a huge reaction to one man she was introduced to at the sailing club. Every pore of her being tingled and she didn’t know how to control her desire to throw herself at him. She wanted him to ask her out but she didn’t want to appear too eager. She was bitterly disappointed when the man didn’t read her mind and body signals, walking away on Sunday evening, leaving her sad, defeated and a little angry.

When Petra realized that despite giving herself good vacations like the horse riding weekend she was still unhappy, and that life seemed to be getting worse, she decided to attend therapy.

Petra described her alarm about having hives and how it spelled doom for her future. She would never be able to attract a decent man, wear swim suits or buy sexy clothes with this awful skin condition closing the door on her life as she knew it and imagined it would be for some time to come.


west los angeles psychotherapy for unresolved stress issues

But as we talked it became clear that the outbreak of hives was a way for Petra to breakout of her narrow and constrained life. We acknowledged how hard it was for her to ‘escape’ the straitjacket she had existed in. Contracting hives on her return was like hiring a set of contractors to build herself a new, more spacious, and brighter place to live. But she couldn’t do that until she saw how ugly her old place was. The red welts of hives did just that. It helped her to shed her old tight skin and make way for a structure and scaffolding for the new home she was to live in.

Without the hives, she would have carried on as before, slowly dying inside with nothing but a brittle skeleton to show for it. But the hives made her slow down, focus on her emotional needs and finally build a house that would make room for relationships that could nurture and satisfy her.

 Hives are after all the homes of bees. They are strong and reinforced, yet flexible. They are ideal for the manufacture and storage of honey, the perfect food for developing creatures. Petra, like the bees had to develop her emotional life that had been stifled and strangled almost to death. She had to build a welcoming and strong house for her emotional life, and feed herself with the honey it produced, rather than wait for some miracle to happen, or for some magic spell to whiskk her into the land of fulfilling relationships.

Petra’s hives did abate and she started to date men with a more open heart and mind. The rest of her story is yet to come, but she is now firmly in a more supple and receptive spirit. She is making her honey and it is the ideal antidote to skin hives!

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Is Anger the cause of your skin breakouts?

Twelve relationship stress factors that bring on dermatitis

Your dream can show you how you censor yourself and spoil your happiness

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


OCD Therapy May Involve Getting in Touch with Suppressed Anger

June 18th, 2013 Comments Off on OCD Therapy May Involve Getting in Touch with Suppressed Anger

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

west los angeles therapy for ocd and anger

For the seventh time in less than a minute twenty-five year old Denise, a proof reader, found herself checking that she had marked the page she ended on before she closed the book. Each time she put the book down and tried to get out of her chair a huge wave of anxiety and panic swept over her. She couldn’t be sure she had marked the last page she had read and that meant that she would have to start the book all over again. As the panic washed over her she ‘knew’ that she had marked the page but she wasn’t positive until she had checked again. A blanket of relief came over her when she found the page marked, but it was instantly replaced by another dose of doubt that started the checking cycle all over again. It was as if she couldn’t hold on to that proof for more than a Nano second. Irritation and annoyance gave her a break from the anxiety and panic, but she was exhausted with these obsessive doubts, and her compulsive checking.

Feeling fatigued and depleted of energy Denise had no desire to go to her twenty-five year old sister Eileen’s birthday party. She just wanted to stay home and veg out. Just two hours ago she had been looking forward to the party. She had thought about what to wear and imagined playing with her two-year old niece Shelly and her one year old nephew Felix. But now it just seemed too much of a burden. 

west los angeles anger managemen

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

One set of OCD syptoms lessened only to start up another set of OCD symptoms

The more she thought of the effort she would have to make to get ready and drive over to her sister’s place the more she started to worry about the notes she made as she did her proof reading. Were they complete? Were they legible? Would she be able to remember the nuanced points she needed to highlight as she prepared her final draft? The thoughts became so loud in her head that she had to go back and check all her notes, and not just the ones she had made that day. Panic drove her to check and recheck the entire set of notes she had made since starting the book, all the way to the penultimate chapter that she was now on.

Denise was consumed by the job. There was a mild rush of anxiety as she checked each page of notes, scanning for legibility and errors. But overall there was a massive sense of relief, as if she’d just been dropped into a soft feather bed. She felt weightless and free despite the rumblings of anxiety about her notes. By the time she had finished it was late and the party would be coming to an end.

west lost angeles counseling for anger and ocd symptoms

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Obsessive thoughts rescued Denise from having to face her envy of Eileen

The obsessive thoughts and compulsive acts had made Denise uncomfortable in the moment but they saved her from a fate much worse. For years she had been envious of her sister. Eileen had been the golden girl doing everything in life at the expected time and being praised for it by her parents. Denise was less outgoing and yearned for a slower pace of life. She found some peace and comfort when Eileen got married and moved out. She and her parents enjoyed their time, doing stuff together without any pressure on her to grow up and be like her sister. But then the first grandchild came along and her mother in particular was enchanted. She spent more and more time with Shelly and then when Felix came along both grandparents built their lives around Eileen and the grandkids. Denise’s comfortable existence was shattered.


Suppressed anger often leads to Obsessive Compulsive (OC) symptoms

She was angry and frightened at having to go it alone. Eileen had a smooth transition from home to marriage and family, but Denise was thrown in at the deep end and her rage was enormous. But the shame of her envy and anger was overwhelming. She couldn’t live with it choking her every waking moment. She couldn’t get rid of it either, so the only safe compromise was to distract herself from the envy and rage – by focusing on checking and rechecking her work. It did the trick since she never felt bad about her sister or the loss of her parents company. That took care of the stress that otherwise threatened to swallow her up.

Treatment for OCD and suppressed anger

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Why on earth would OCD be useful?

Obsessive Compulsive behaviors often come to rescue you from anger and rage that feels shameful and destructive. An article in the Journal Cognitive Therapy and Research 2004 reported that people high in OC symptoms tended to experience more anger than those without OC behaviors. They also had greater difficulty controlling the anger and suppressed it as a way of managing the negative experience of their rage.

Another piece of research published in the Industrial Psychology Journal in 2001 showed that people with OC symptoms experience attacks of anger that become intolerable and result in depression to quiet it down.


OCD Therapy – Denise went to therapy from time to get relief from the exhaustion and annoyance of her OC symptoms. Each time she tried out the strategies of self-talk and refocusing it worked for a short time and then just like her OC it came back as strong as ever. But what did eventually make the OC go away was when Denise was able to feel safe enough to deal with her anger, envy and shame in therapy. Taking the risk of feeling those awful feelings freed her from the need to screen them, hide from them and ruin her life in the process. So when you want to know how to cure OCD think of the long term, go in for the long haul and deal with all the unbearable emotions that OCD may cover up and you will be free.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You might also like:

Understanding your panic attacks, part 1 – facing your dilemas

Understanding your panic attacks, part 2 – getting past shame

Understanding your panic attack, part 3 – fear of going it alone

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.