I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.  MARK TWAIN

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. Time enough to think of the future when you haven’t any future to think of. Albert Einstein, in an interview

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. C. S. Lewis, SCREWTAPE LETTERS

To most of us the future seems unsure; but then it always has been; and we who have seen great changes must have great hopes. John Masefield, GRACE BEFORE PLOUGHING

Without measureless and perpetual uncertainty the drama of human life would be destroyed. Winston Churchill THE GATHERING STORM.

There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them. Clair Boothe Luce EUROPE IN THE SPRING.

Hope is a risk that must be run. Georges Bernanos LAST ESSAYS.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

On facing fears of the unknown

One of the biggest things I hear from my clients and know at times from experience is that we are often anxious about the future, especially about the unknown. And yet is it’s not the unknown or the future that scares us, it’s what might happen that does. Just as it is not the dark that we are afraid of, it is the monster that might be lurking there that we fear. So identifying what it is that we area actually afraid of, looking at it, and deciding if it is worth fearing and deciding what we might need to do about it can be helpful.

There is another perspective (inspired from Bo Lozoff’s book It’s a Meaningful Life). We are built to deal with challenges. Uncertainty is simply the way it is – we are all in the dark about the future and always have been. No-one knows for sure what will happen tomorrow, never mind next year. This gives us an opportunity to see ourselves as resourceful people who are here to face the unknown, to discover the future and to deal with whatever happens at the time. Doing so can be our purpose in life – not to have guaranteed comfort or security, but instead to develop ourselves through meeting challenges. Not many people would want to say at the end of their lives “well, it was an easy life, and I never had to be strong”. There would be a sense of regret, of an opportunity lost. We are called on to be strong, to face fears and to overcome them. We are called to experience obstacles and to learn through experience how to manage. This process builds our character, determination, strength, and faith. It builds our mental and spiritual muscles.

The journey is not pre-planned and known from the start, because if it were this way, we would not have the opportunity to make choices and learn from them. There would be no growth, just the following of a pre-scripted role, repeating the lines and choices that we are handed by someone else. And this would do nothing to shape us and develop our character, skills, or wisdom.

Brian Grady, Ph.D.

12 June 2008

Reality Check

Who were you with? What were you doing? When was it? Where were you?
2. Moods
Describe each mood in 1 word. Rate how strong the mood was (1-100%)

3. Thoughts Ask yourself some or all of these questions:
For All moods: What was going through my mind just as I started to feel this way?
What images or memories do I have in this situation?
Especially for Depression: What does this say about me?
What does this mean about me? My life? My future?
Especially for Anxiety: What am I afraid might happen?
What is the worst thing that could happen if this is true?
Especially for Anger: What does this mean about how the other person feels or thinks of me?
What does this mean about the other person or people in general?
Circle the hot thought
4. Evidence that supports the hot thought.
Write factual evidence to support this:

5. Evidence that does not support the hot thought
Ask yourself questions to help you find evidence that your hot thought is not 100% true.

6. Alternative or balanced thought
a) Write an alternative or balanced thought and b) rate how believable this is for you (0-100%)

7. Re-rate your mood (0-100%)

Adapted from Greenberger & Padesky “Mind Over Mood

Printout: https://briangrady.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/thought-record.pdf

5/16/2007 From Reuters:

Anxiety increases death risk in heart patients

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Anxiety appears to increase the risk of heart
attacks and death in patients who have coronary artery disease, U.S.
researchers report.

Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque build-up on the inside walls
of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causing them
to harden and narrow. This can lead to heart attack, angina (chest pain)
and other serious complications.

A number of studies have looked at the toll that mental stress takes on
cardiac health, but most have focused on depression, not anxiety. The
few studies that have examined the role that anxiety might play in heart
disease have usually measured anxiety only once, not over the course of
time, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of

This study involved 516 patients with heart disease who completed a
standard anxiety questionnaire annually for an average of 3.4 years. The
study group was 82 percent male with an average age of 68 years.

A total of 44 nonfatal heart attacks and 19 deaths occurred during the
study period, Dr. Charles M. Blatt, from Harvard Medical School in
Boston, and colleagues found.

A high cumulative anxiety score was associated with an elevated risk of
both heart attack and death from any cause, whereas the initial anxiety
score was not. Subjects with average anxiety scores in the highest 25
percent were nearly twice as likely to die of a heart attack or death
from any cause compared with those with scores in the lowest 25 percent.

Upon further analysis of the data, in which the researchers factored in
the effects of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other known
cardiovascular risk factors, each unit increase in the overall anxiety
score increased the odds of nonfatal heart attack or death by 6 percent.

Initial anxiety scores failed to predict negative patient outcomes,
“suggesting that assessing anxiety regularly over the long term is
necessary,” the authors conclude. Randomly assigned clinical studies are
now needed to see whether treatment to reduce anxiety can improve the
outcome of patients with coronary artery disease.

Coping with Panic. George Clum

Stopping Anxiety Medication. Michael Otto, Mark Pollack, & David H. Barlow

Mastery of your Anxiety and Panic. Michelle G. Craske & David H. Barlow

10 Simple Solutions to Panic. Randi E. McCabe & Martin M. Antony

Overcoming Animal & Insect Phobias: How to Conquer Fear of Dogs, Snakes,
Rodents, Bees, Spiders & More. Martin M. Antony & Randi E. McCabe

Don’t Panic by Reid Wilson. Has good descriptions on how anxiety gets activated and what to do to help diminish it – very readable.

Stop Obsessing! Edna, B. Foa & Reid Wilson

Getting Control. Lee Baer

The Imp of the Mind. Lee Baer

Brainlock. Jeffrey Schwartz

Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook 6th Edition. Martha Davis,
Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning (2008 ).

Mind over Mood by Greenburger and Padesky.  Excellent workbook that provides step-by step guidance how to step back and re-evaluate situations to make them less threatening or discouraging. Highly recommended

Generalized Anxiety and Worry

When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping With Perfectionism. Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson (1998 ).

The Portable Problem Solver: Coping With Life Stressors. Susanna Mcmahon (1996)

Coping With Uncertainty: 10 Simple Solutions. Bruce Eimer and Moshe S. Torem (2002)

Social Anxiety

10 Simple Solutions to Shyness: How to Overcome Shyness, Social Anxiety &
Fear of Public Speaking. Martin M. Antony (2004)