The Panic Button Book: Press Now!

Tammi Kirkness

         We’ve all been there. A deadline looming and your computer decides to go rogue. You call about a wrong charge on an account, our rooted around the world and back, repeating your story to four or five different people and then after waiting on hold for an hour are cut off. You run into a high school frenemy and find out s/he just signed a multi-million deal to a book about those high school days and how mean everyone was—giving you a knowing look.

         And that’s just the small stuff. But Tammi Kirkness has you covered when you’re hit with high stress situations. An Australian based life coach and wellness consultant as well as an international speaker, specializes in working with people who grapple with high functioning anxiety. That typically refers to those who seem to function well but are often overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy, are sure something bad is going to happen, compare themselves negatively to others, and tend to be workaholics and perfectionists. 

To overcome anxieties, Kirkness incorporates well-researched and proven psychological treatments and Eastern techniques of reducing anxious states such as meditation and breathing from our core, sharing her insights in her extremely easy to use book, “The Panic Button Book: Relieve Stress and Anxiety Whenever They Strike” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020; $15.99).

         Kirkness has many characteristics of someone with high-functioning anxiety.

         “A big part of my journey was working way too hard, being a perfectionist and putting way too much pressure on myself,” she says.

         Not only wasn’t it good in the short time nor could she keep it up for a long time.

         “There are things that we can do to help calm down our nervous system and still create success with sustainability,” says Kirkness. “I think taking time to pause and do some soul searching is generally the first step.”

         Other components include learning to take deep breaths which are calming and relaxing. Journaling—putting your thoughts down on paper—and meditating (there are free online apps for that) also make a difference. But what I found most useful about the book were the Decision Trees Kirkness developed.

         Dividing the book into sections, she covers Living and Working, Socializing, Relationships, and Parenting. Each has related scenarios such as “Do you have a difficult conversation coming up,” “Do you feel your partner is taking more than giving?” and “Are you not reaching your own expectations?” Then on the opposite page are the techniques you can take to help.

         As an example, one decision tree starts with the question “Are you trying to make something perfect?” Her two-step activity to counteract the need for get something done is to remind yourself that done is better than perfect. The second is to establish a clear timeline on finishing such as I’m giving this another 40 minutes and then I’m sending it in.

         Not all are simple two-steps like the above, but all are designed to provide relief from the immediate anxiety of situations and produce feelings of being more in charge of your emotions.

Author: Jane Simon Ammeson

Jane Simon Ammeson is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, food and personalities. She writes frequently for The Times of Northwest Indiana, Kentucky Living magazine, Edible Michiana, Lakeland Boating, Experience Michigan magazine, Indiana Monthly, Cleveland Magazine, Long Weekends Magazine, Food, Wine, Travel magazine and the Herald Palladium where she has a weekly food column. Her TouchScreenTravels include Indiana's Best. She also writes a weekly book review column for The Times of Northwest Indiana as well as food and travel, has authored 16 books including Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-road Guide to America's Favorite President was the winner of the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award in Travel Books, Third Place and also a Finalist for the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Travel category. Her latest books are America's Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness and Classic Restaurants of Northwest Indiana. Her other books include How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away with It, A Jazz Age Murder in Northwest Indiana and Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana, all historic true crime as well Hauntings of the Underground Railroad: Ghosts of the Midwest, Brown County, Indiana and East Chicago. Jane’s base camp is Stevensville, Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Jane at facebook.com/janesimonammeson; twitter.com/hpammeson; https://twitter.com/janeammeson1; twitter.com/travelfoodin, instagram.com/janeammeson/ and on her travel and food blog janeammeson.com and book blog: shelflife.blog/

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