Do You Have Chronic Insomnia?

shutterstock_231519856Do you have trouble falling asleep or difficulty sleeping through the night? If so, you may suffer from insomnia. According to, upwards of 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, with 10% of the population suffering from chronic insomnia disorder.

Chronic insomnia can be caused by other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, chronic stress, chronic pain, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. Sleep is crucial to your health, and sleep deprivation can hinder your overall quality of life. While chronic insomnia is often an underlying cause of another medical condition, those experiencing sleep deprivation may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling/staying asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night and having difficulty falling back asleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood disturbance
  • Tension headaches
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Increased errors or accidents

Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your daily life. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you may feel sluggish, unmotivated, and unable to concentrate at work. Additionally, as insomnia can impede your focus and cause sleepiness, sufferers are at risk for causing an accident. Research shows 20% of non-alcohol related car crash injuries are caused by tired drivers.

If you suffer from chronic insomnia, it’s important to seek treatment. Stuart MacFarlane, a Jungian analyst, has found psychotherapy to be an effective treatment for insomnia. With psychotherapy, you can determine the underlying reason for your insomnia and address it head on. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends psychotherapy before taking sleeping pills. Talk to your doctor about how psychotherapy can help improve your sleep.

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

sad young woman with worried stressed face expression and brain melting into linesDo you feel overwhelmed, nervous, and overly self-conscious around others? Do you avoid places where other people are and have difficulty making friends? If so, you may be suffering from social anxiety disorder.

Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is a mental condition characterized by an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.  People with social anxiety have a fear of embarrassing themselves and being judged, ridiculed, and criticized by others. For some people, their intense anxiety in social situations can result in a panic attack— a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and anxiety that can make you feel like you’re dying or going crazy.

Social anxiety can cause you to feel great distress, such that you may choose to avoid social situations altogether. While people with social anxiety often realize their anxiety is unreasonable, it is still extremely difficult, and may feel seemingly impossible, to overcome. Without treatment, social anxiety can interfere with your relationships and daily routine, such as school or work, and impede your overall quality of life.

Those with the condition may feel anxious when interacting with others, eating and drinking in front of others, speaking in front of people, asking questions, talking on the phone, or being the center of attention. It is sometimes connected to other mental problems such as panic disorder, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

In addition to feeling anxious in social situations, social anxiety disorder can cause physical symptoms, such as a pounding heart, sweating, blushing, shaking, upset stomach, muscle tension, and confusion. Children with social anxiety might also exhibit crying, tantrums, and clinging to a parent.

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options that can help you manage or even overcome your social anxiety, such as medication and/or therapy. Stuart MacFarlane, a Jungian analyst, is a big proponent of psychotherapy, as it helps patients discover the root of their anxiety and develop coping mechanisms to control their symptoms.   Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and the best way to treat your anxiety.

5 Tips To Stop Painful Memories


Sometimes we can get entangled by old memories and their associated negative emotions. Of course self-reflection can be helpful, but rumination is pointless, endless and destructive. Dwelling on your old misfortunes and problems merely increases your distress. Perhaps you’re replaying old conversations you had with your ex, beating up on yourself up over something that you or they said. This type of memory just creates unnecessary chaos and unhappiness and hinders your ability to move on.

When you are, it can affect you in many ways. Research has found that ruminating over negative events makes you more likely to experience anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and  can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating or substance abuse. The longer and more often you think of those past problems, the harder it is to salvage your psychological well-being. Although it is a difficult cycle to break there are things you can do to feel better and behave in a more productive manner. Check out these five tips to stop ruminating, as shared by psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane.

  1. Identify When It’s Happening

When you begin to replay that painful memory over again, learn to take note of when you’re doing it. The faster you notice yourself ruminating, the faster you can choose to do something more productive.

  1. Find Solutions

Dwelling on your problems is not helpful unless you are seeking to find a real solution. Ask yourself if you can actually do something to change the situation? If there is, facing the problem head-on might give you the clarity to empower you to move on. Take the time to learn from your mistakes, and to do what you can to solve the problem. And if there is nothing that you can do about it, of what use is ruminating?

  1. Schedule ‘Thinking’ Time

You mind needs a chance to process everything that goes on in daily life. Some people find it really helpful to build some alone time into their daily life. Adding some ‘creative thinking’ time into your daily routine can allow you to reorganize your thoughts so you can be more productive. Set aside a few minutes each day. You will notice the difference.

  1. Set Up Distractions

Some people find it helpful to set up distractions when they begin to notice negative ruminating.  They exercise or call up a friend to chat about something completely different. Channeling energy into something more productive and useful has to be better than stewing over old negative memories.

  1. Be Mindful

Mindfulness is being aware in the present moment. Mindfulness techniques have been found to be very helpful in the process of letting go of old painful memories. Living in the present is constantly rejuvenating. Consider talking with a psychotherapist about doing a course in Mindfulness.