Counselor and author Jodi Aman was first introduced to anxiety when she was 5-years-old.
“I learned that there was suffering and vulnerability in the world,” Aman says.
When Aman was in her 20s, she worked as a social worker at a psychiatric hospital. She was still grappling with her own anxiety. “It kept me from going out and it kept me from life,” she says.
That’s when she decided to take charge and turn her life around.
“I realized that if I could learn this behavior, I could unlearn it,” says Aman, who credits her study of narrative therapy with playing an integral role in helping her reclaim her power. Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to help people identify their values and the skills and knowledge they have to live those values so they can effectively confront whatever problems they face.
“People have coping skills, but when you have anxiety, you disconnect from those skills and you can’t access them,” Aman says.
Aman has made it her life’s mission to help others conquer their anxiety and live their best lives. She has worked as a psychotherapist in Rochester, NY for the last 20 years. Aman strives to help her clients find calm and inner peace among a chaotic world, release fear, increase self-confidence, and find their purpose. She is the author of the new book You 1, Anxiety 0: Win Your Life Back from Fear and Panic and facilitator of the web site “Anxiety Free Me.” The web class “20 Ways to Calm” is currently being offered on the site. A web class that follows the content of her book is expected to premier on the site by the end of January. Stay tuned!
Philly Happening Editor Susan Field caught up with Aman when she visiting Philadelphia to discuss the 6-steps to stop panic and stress, every day tricks to curb anxiety, and how to use social media positively.
*(Though Aman is physically based in New York, her online counseling services are available to everyone–including Philly Happening readers! Readers can also check out Jodi Aman’s YouTube channel, Love Yourself Up TV, and her podcast, Love Yourself Up with Jodi Aman, available on i-tunes).
Why do you think that anxiety is so prevalent in our society?
Social media and commercialism have something to do with it. Social media is an avenue for comparison. In this age of commercialism, we are bombarded with messages all the time. We feel unhappy and helpless, which effects our self-worth. When I studied anxiety, I realized how it was strongly it was tied to our self-worth.
What can people do to prevent anxiety?
Mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing.
Anxiety uses a lot of tricks and tactics to keep us anxious. If we can recognize those tricks and tactics, we can stop anxiety.
People have to understand that they are a personal agent in their own lives. Even in the worst-case scenario, you can choose your response. We are never out of control. You have to trust yourself. Trust is the opposite of anxiety.
What are the 6 steps that you teach to stop panic and stress?
- Understand it biologically
- Learn the tricks and tactics that anxiety uses to keep you anxious
- Get in touch with your personal agency/cultivate your control
- Forgive yourself/ have self-compassion
- Repeat affirmations
- Repeat daily rituals (get good sleep, eat well, meditate).
What are some easy things that people living in the city can do every day to curb anxiety?
- Get to a park. Get to some green!
- Have house plants
- Touch a tree—it will help ground you! This is called “earthing.” (A philosophy that states that when we reconnect to the earth, our inner-balance is restored).
- Take some time alone
- Take a walk
Our society is so fast-paced, especially in the city. How can people stay centered in that kind of environment?
You can focus on all the things that you don’t get done, or you can celebrate what you do get done. Don’t stress about what you don’t do; instead, celebrate your accomplishments. Every day you should celebrate three things that you accomplished that day. Recognize and celebrate your skills.
When I celebrate the things I do, I get an energy boost. If it helps, tell a friend what you accomplished so that you have a witness!
Any other daily tips?
Watch inspirational podcasts and videos! We get so caught up in the negative that it becomes a pattern. Use social media for good and find the positive! Avoid comparison. If you’re going to use social media for something, follow inspirational pages and post something positive.