November 11, 2011

Laugh it off.

It has been shown that even a fake smile or laugh produces positive emotional responses because the brain cannot tell the difference. Our facial muscles can cue the brain to experience a positive emotion. Laughter has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. Laughing causes the brain to release endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also boosts the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system.

The next time you’re in a bad mood, smile or laugh even if it’s fake and see if you notice a difference in your emotions. Sometimes life throws things at you that you’re just not sure what to do with. Those could be opportunities to just laugh it off.

Nyla Lengacher

October 07, 2011

Choose Your Attitude

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” Victor Frankl

We go through many things in life; the good, bad, unfair, absurd, fantastic, miraculous, etc. Victor is right, we have a choice in our responses to what life throws at us.

Speaking of things thrown at us. Nine years ago I stopped on the side of a highway to try and help at an accident site. Instead a truck that lost control in the rain hit me as I was standing there. I was knocked out of my tied shoes and my body took the guardrail with me as I flew into a ditch. When I regained consciousness I realized I could not get up. A long story short, I broke a hip and a foot and was pretty banged up. Since the breaks were on different sides of my body, I could not bear weight and was thus bed-bound.

As I was recovering I would hear comments like, “no good deed goes unpunished”. I don’t agree at all. Many asked how I could be in such good spirits considering what I was going through. I told them, “You don’t understand, I’m alive and shouldn’t have survived being hit like that”. Go figure, living put me in good spirits☺. I chose an attitude of gratitude.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’ve always chosen the best responses, but I try to be very aware of my attitude. It makes all the difference in how I feel about life circumstances.


August 15, 2011

Behavior Change Exercise for Social Anxiety

Human behavior is changeable. Being able to adapt to changes in our environment has enabled us to survive.

To change behavior, we must look at factors in the current situation that maintain the undesirable behavior as well as focus on alterations that will call forth and support desirable behaviors.

Social anxiety can have secondary gains. For example, it can prevent exposure to feeling uninteresting, unintelligent, like you don’t belong, etc. Have you put yourself in a situation that supports behavior that you want to change? Maybe taking a job where you do not have to have social interaction, avoiding a hobby that you would like to pursue, making new friends, dating, or something else?

Challenge yourself with the questions below.

1) What are some factors in your current life situation that maintains the undesirable behavior? For example, isolating, avoiding social events, etc.

2) What secondary gains are you getting from the factors you listed above?

3) How can you alter those factors in a way that supports the behaviors you would like to develop?

Remember to pick your battles. Prioritize the things that mean the most to you. Some of the changes are not worth the level of anxiety they would arouse at this point in your life. However, if there are things you really feel strongly about it’s well worth taking the small steps to move in that direction.

By Nyla Lengacher

April 28, 2011

The Blueprint of Your Mind

When you think of a blueprint for a home you are building, you can see what that home will look like when it’s completed. Of course you would want the builders to use the best materials possible and do quality work. The excitement builds and you can’t wait for the completion so that you can move in and enjoy what you’ve dreamed of.

The way you view your experiences and all the things that enter your life is filtered through your mental blueprints. If your focus in life is on what you do not have, worries and cynicism, then the building materials that are used will manifest as limitations, anxieties and doubtfulness. Your mindset lays the groundwork and the foundation for your success, happiness, future and all that you build in life. Your beliefs, thoughts and ideas construct the blueprint that you will follow.

If for some reason the foundation is faulty or becomes faulty guess what, it can be fixed. As the saying goes, “you can make a right decision, or you can make a decision right”. I’m not sure who coined that phrase but I really like it.

Blueprints can be broken down to just your plan for the next day. If you purpose your blueprint for tomorrow the night before, your subconscious can work on that plan while you sleep. So whether you are planning for tomorrow or one year from now, be intentional about the print you are creating.


February 13, 2011

Protection or Sabotage

Many times we unconsciously do things that we don’t want to do. Now that’s a sentence you may want to say “duh” to. We are made to flee, freeze or fight if we sense that we are in danger. This comes in many forms. If we come across a bear on a hike, it’s pretty obvious that we would sense danger. However, there are everyday things that to some may seem safe and good. For example: going to a party, making a new friend, or building a closer friendship with someone we already know. However for some with social anxiety there may be a strong desire to do these things but if fear is elicited, avoidance may occur providing safety, but sabotaging what is really wanted.

Try to step back and think about the things in your life that you may be avoiding. Is there a secondary gain that you are getting from that avoidance? Does that secondary gain outweigh what you are missing out on? If it doesn’t, it may be time to start taking the small steps needed to face the fear. When I say small, I mean small. Too much too soon can set you up for failure and damage further progress. Put your toe in the water so to speak and try something a little outside your comfort zone. Go to a coffee shop and read a book. You’ll be around people but you don’t necessarily have to have a conversation.

If it’s a relationship you’re avoiding because the last one broke your heart, it may be time to risk loving again. Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved? Only you can decide that one.

Have you avoided career advancement because you don’t know if you can live up to the expectations? I’ve found that for many, it’s the expectations they have of themselves that are the block, not their employers. Remember that for everyone in a new job or job role there is a learning curve so please be kind to you!

Good luck!

Nyla Lengacher

January 05, 2011


To join or not to join? I’ll start by saying that I have not joined. The positives include, connecting with former friends and family you haven’t seen in forever, keeping up with each others lives through pictures and sharing. I see negatives like it being time consuming for many potentially taking away from face to face interaction and socialization.

An old friend recently emailed me. She asked me to get on Facebook to see her pictures. Since I’m not on Facebook, I called a friend and got on her account. I have to admit, I really enjoyed seeing my old friend’s pictures and reading some about her life. I had not seen her in close to 30 years! I’m not sure if I will ultimately get on or not but I’m much more tempted now.

So are you on or off?

by Nyla Lengacher