Monday, March 31, 2014

Channeling Fear and Coping With Anxiety



My TEDx Talk at Yale this past Saturday was about "Life Revision." Its full title was "There Is No Final Draft: Keep Revising Your Life To Create Your Reality." I had a tremendous time at the TEDx conference and feel such love for my alma mater! (The speeches were taped by a professional cameraman, so videos of every speech will be posted to the TEDx site soon) (I'll be sure to let you know when that is.)

During my talk I mentioned to the audience members that they could personally get in touch if they were experiencing fear or anxiety and that I would share resources I've found helpful when coping with my own anxiety (which has included panic attacks and light-headedness, on and off for about three years now).

For ease of communication, I thought I'd keep an evolving list of resources on this blog so I can share them with all of you. This list isn't exhaustive; it's just a collection of books, sites, and techniques I've found helpful in coping with my own bouts of anxiety -- particularly surrounding "life revision."

Do you have any resources or techniques you've found helpful? Please share in the comment section below.

TECHNIQUES TO RELIEVE ANXIETY

EFT Tapping - This is a branch of self-administered acupressure technique that combines "Eastern" and "Western" approaches to dealing with anxiety. I mentioned it previous in a blog post and am a HUGE proponent of the practice. I've used EFT consistently and still use EFT in my life (all self-administered, for free) and have found it to be incredibly effective in de-stressing my system and calming my body's previous ingrained panic responses.

I highly recommend you check it out -- even if it sounds New Age and whack. To start, all you need to do is read this book by Nick Ortner (I'll list it again in the books section below). He also has a great website to check out, which explains EFT tapping and can get you started. Take a leap of faith! You won't regret it.

Meditation - I used to hate the very idea of meditation because, to be honest, it freaked me out. I hated sitting with my own thoughts, for fear that my mind would go crazy or that I would have a panic attack.

To start off small, I enrolled in Deepak Chopra and Oprah's free 21-day meditation challenge. They have ongoing programs (all free) and what they'll do is send you a meditation audio file each day, right to your inbox, and you can practice in a structured, safe way. There's a community aspect, too, with forums and comment sections where people can share their experiences, which for me was very enriching and made me feel not so alone or afraid. You can check out the latest offerings from The Chopra Center here. Leave a comment below if you enroll, and perhaps we can do it together!

Another place for good free guided meditation is a website called the Fragrant Heart.

Yoga - Yoga just straight-up makes me feel better. I love DoYogaWithMe.com which offers TONS of free yoga classes that you can do right in your living room.

Singing - Singing for stress relief has been huge for me. The act of singing a song and minding your breathing is very meditative in and of itself. It's actually impossible for your body to be anxious and breathing calmly at the same time, so the act of singing with controlled breath can instantly calm you and help you work through a bought of anxiety. I'm exploring this concept more formally and hope to report back in the future on more specific ways to use singing to help you with your fear and anxiety. Stay tuned...

Improv - Enrolling in an improv class helped me deal with anxiety and created a safe environment where I could be free to say YES to any impulse and channel some of my energy into a freeing form of performance. This might be a bit out-there for you, but I would highly recommend you explore improv classes -- even if you're not an actor or performer.

BOOKS I TURNED TO WHEN I FELT LOST

Below is a smattering of book titles all over the map. My favorite books on fear and the groundlessness of life have been authored by a Buddhist nun named Pema Chodron. She is wise and rather earth-shattering in her philosophies. Also included below is a book on EFT tapping, which I described above, alongside some other titles on spirituality and energy which may seem way out there for some people. I found them personally helpful, and hope you'll consider giving them a shot, too!

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Pocket Pema Chodron (Shambhala Pocket Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living - Nick Ortner

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality - Pam Grout

I hope these resources can prove helpful. I will keep adding to the list as I uncover or recall new stuff. Remember, if you're feeling stressed, anxious, or afraid, you are SO not alone.

Love,
Felicia

Monday, March 24, 2014

If You Dare: Come See Me Give a TEDx Talk At Yale

Hi, friend.

My name is Felicia Ricci and I'm giving a TEDx Talk at Yale this Saturday. My tentative topic is REVISION.

How do you revise your life to create your reality?

Needless to say, I'm pretty freaked out, especially as I sit at Starbucks, writing the world's longest manifesto on Life and its myriad questions.

REVISION.

Part of my thesis is that revision sucks. A fact of which I'm painfully reminded as I revise, revise, revise, revise this here TED talk.

Oh, TED. Who are you? If ever I meet you, I'm going to give you a friendly slug to the chin. You know one of those light punches that says You old so-and-so but is underscored with actual hostility?

At least I have five more days.

With this in mind, do you want to see me talk? Lord help you, you can reserve your ticket here. If you come, be sure to laugh any time I make anything resembling a joke.

Or maybe I will convey my thoughts through interpretive tap dance. There is no way to know.

Love and Life Questions,
Felicia

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sledding is not as fun when you have no sled

Here is the most recent chapter in my ongoing love affair with winter. It features my large fiancé Marshall and our Only Friend, a man we met at a coffee shop one time. (Because Marshall and I moved to Pennsylvania about a year ago, we're still in the process of becoming socialized beings -- so when I say Only Friend I'm basically exaggerating. We have at least two friends.)

To the delight/dismay of weathermen and women everywhere -- who literally cannot stop using the word "overachiever" to describe every snowfall ever -- it snowed a lot this week! With Patsy Cline as my inspiration, I decided to organize a day of sledding so that those of us in our late twenties could see through the eyes of a child, i.e. forget about our mortality for several fleeting, snow-powder-filled moments. (I have a lot of great ideas like this. You might say I'm the Peter Pan in our gang of adult children.)

There was only one problem: nobody had a sled. We didn't even know what a sled looked like these days. Should we get a toboggan? I suggested a one-horse open sleigh, but instead it was decided that a flat circular plastic disc-thing would suffice.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow day pics

While I've been known to complain about sand, I actually love the snow! These past few days Pennsylvania saw about 8 inches of snowfall, way more than predicted -- "an overachiever," in the words of the poor meteorologists who seemed genuinely bewildered and embarrassed by their oversight (it's okay, meteorologists, we forgive you; no one, least of all your Doppler radar, can understand MOTHER NATURE).

Two of Marshall's gym clients ended up canceling today, and I was working from home, so we decided to break at halftime and go outside and frolic. We ended up shoveling for like an hour, and then we decided to make a snowman! We gave him wild pine hair and Victorian buttons. Then Marshall scooped a bunch of snow into a pile and, like a wintry Michelangelo, scraped and molded it into a charming, overgrown snow bunny.

Below are some photos. They're really cute, so try not to vomit.

Happy December!

--FR





Friday, November 15, 2013

I think I just met an alien

I'm a woman. I've always been a woman. I have no way of knowing what my life would be like if I weren't a woman. All I can do is witness themes and patterns that emerge from my day-to-day existence.

And here is one of them:

SO many men suck. Like, SO many. And maybe -- just maybe -- they're especially awful to women like me -- meaning, badasses who speak and ambulate and go about their lives freely.

When I say "men," I don't mean all men. In fact, I'm thinking of a certain type of grown-up-baby-boy: the people who have manipulated their way to "power" and "success" -- or, at least, the trappings of such titles (expensive cars, trophy girlfriends, etc.) -- but are really just trying to fill the vast void that exists inside of them.

I have money and power -- but I still hate myself!

(You know the type.)

Allow me to tell you about an experience I just had while working on my laptop at Starbucks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Who are you and what have you done with The Mindy Project?

I don't relish being a critic (what's the famous adage? "No statue has ever been erected to a critic"?) but occasionally I'll offer my two cents when I think something is whack and needs addressing. Not in a mean way, just in a this-is-my-opinion, take-it-or-leave-it way. I don't purport to have infallible beliefs or sensibilities; but I do think -- when it comes to storytelling -- I have a rather finely tuned bullsh*t detector.

So I'm gonna be a critic for a quick sec.

Enter The Mindy Project, a television program currently in its second season on Fox.

If you're unfamiliar with The Mindy Project, it began as a delightfully whimsical show starring the lovely and talented Mindy Kaling (of The Office and bestselling-memoir fame) that was more or less about one woman's search for love and self-actualization in New York City. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, the show ushered us alongside the eponymous heroine (a shallow but well-meaning gynecologist in a somewhat zany Ob/Gyn practice) as she endured failed dates, baby deliveries, fashion faux-pas, and more.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The best advice I will ever give you

Today, on my train ride to New York City, two interesting things happened.

In case you didn't know, I commute to NYC from outside Philly every once in a while for various wheelings and dealings because I'm gangsta and/or trying to support myself. The train ride is about an hour and fifteen minutes from scenic Trenton, where my fiancĂ© drops me off in our car before riding off into the industrial mist.

Usually while riding the train I pull out my laptop and clack away at my latest writing project, or I just play Snood. But today felt like a special day. For starters, I was wearing my glasses. Believe it or not, this is a rare event (even though in my online belting course I'm wearing my glasses 90% of my time (whatever, my allergies were acting up)) -- because, the thing is, when I wear my glasses I feel extremely vulnerable. What if I get punched in the face and they break? What if a thief runs by and snatches them away from me? What then! Blindness, that's what.

Anyway, I was wearing my glasses, and I didn't feel like doing any work. So instead I started doing something strange. It's called EFT Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping. And here is what it is.