Latest talk: “Freedom from Fear-Based Beliefs” ~
“My prayer to god every day is ‘Remove the veils so I might see what is really happening here and not be intoxicated by my stories and my fears.’” – Elizabeth Lesser

Exposure to Unrealistic Figures is Driving Eating Disorders in Young People

Although it is often said that eating disorders typically begin during the teenage years and early adulthood, an increasing number of under 12s are now receiving treatment for disordered eating, with figures for admissions increasing more than 100% in less than a decade.  It seems that young girls’ exposure to unrealistic figures may at least partly explain the rise in anorexia and bulimia among tweens, with the ever popular Barbie doll providing a worrying role model.  Although, Barbie’s vital statistics are unnatural and unachievable, this is not appreciated by young girls who try to emulate her figure.

Equally, older girls are bombarded with images of ultra slim models in glossy fashion magazines, which are far from the average woman’s figure and a lot of the time they are significantly underweight.  When teens see these pictures they believe this is how they should look, but don’t necessarily take into account that the images in front of them have been photoshopped.   Television shows also promote unrealistic expectations for body image, with the vast majority of female characters at or below weight recommendations, which only a third of the population achieves naturally.  Finally, young women contemplating weight loss who access pro-anorexia websights, where eating disorders are promoted as a lifestyle choice, are exposed to material that can have a damaging impact on their eating behaviors.

While treatment is available for eating disorders, prevention is always preferable.  To protect young children and women from low self-esteem, which can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, it is essential to raise awareness of how distorted the female figures presented to us are.  Steps to Recovery highlights this in the following article and also considers the link between eating disorders and substance abuse:



Happy Halloween from us to you! We are as excited as you are about the good times that the fall season brings with it. From scary ghost stories and frightening good times, to great memories made with friends, there is plenty to enjoy this time of year, even if you struggle with anxiety disorders and/or other stressors and fears in your life.

If you are someone who is easily stressed or is prone to high anxiety, it may feel overwhelming to add yet another thing, like a costume party or taking your kids trick-or-treating. A helpful way to overcome the fear of social events or resistance to more obligations is to remember the things you enjoy most about the Halloween season.

Take the jack-o-lantern, for example:

People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The tradition started as a way for people to deal with fears and memories and the things they do not understand about the world around them. Legend says that a man known as “Stingy Jack” managed to trick the devil one night and held him as a prisoner for some time. Jack eventually freed the devil, with the promise that the devil would not bother him for the coming year and that he would not lay claim to his soul when he died. Years later, when Jack died, he was not allowed into heaven because of his shady dealings when he was alive. The Devil, upset that Jack had played a trick on him and held him captive, decided to honor his promise and did not take Jack to Hell. He gave Jack a single coal from the pit of hell, which he placed into a carved out gourd that served as a lantern. Jack roamed the earth from that day on, a lost and wandering soul. The Irish people began to refer to him as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.” The carving of pumpkins is used to symbolize the lantern Jack carries and serves as a way to keep him away, thus protecting homes and families. So when you see jack-o-lanterns at that costume party this year, you can amaze everyone with your knowledge; it can be a nice ice-breaker story too!

Dealing With Social Stress at Halloween Events

It is common knowledge that public speaking is the number one fear for most people, even surpassing the fear of death. It is not just the speakers and hosts at Halloween parties and events who will come face-to-face with social anxieties. Simply attending functions where social interaction is unavoidable or expected can be terrifying for people with anxiety, phobias and fears. So, what can you do to lessen the social stress in your life? Here are a few practical and easy things you can incorporate this season to help make things more bearable and enjoyable:

    1. When you get invited to that costume party, trick-or-treat circuit, or other social events, RSVP immediately. Don’t compound your stress and anxiety trying to decide if you can compose yourself and attend – just RSVP and start preparing yourself for the event.
    2. Before the day or night of the event, avoid all temptation to self-medicate with alcohol or any sort of medication beyond what you normally use for your day to day activities. You don’t need to rely on these things to have fun and enjoy yourself.
    3. Focus on the positive things rather than the negative as you get ready. Block out all negative images to lessen anticipation anxiety.
    4. Ask questions to keep the focus off yourself. Ask the other guest about themselves and keep the focus on things other than yourself.
    5. Never over imbibe. Do not get drunk or lose control – it may make you feel more relaxed but it opens you up to more problems. Keep yourself in control at all times.
    6. Assume that others at the party or event are also a little nervous meeting new people – you are not alone. Remember, the more socializing you do, the easier it gets. You get better at it and it will begin to feel more natural.



Fun Facts About Halloween

Here are some fun facts about Halloween that can make you the winner of any Halloween trivia game:

  • The origination of Halloween in its earliest form was inspired by Samhain, an Irish Celtic festival held at the end of harvest season each year to mark the harvest.
  • Brooms came to be associated with witches because older women who were often accused of being witches were too poor to afford a horse so they used walking sticks – and this was later updated to be a broom to give them a way to get around.
  • Black cats became popular for Halloween and were associated with witches and bad luck because they came to be seen as the guardian and protectors of a witch’s powers.
  • Halloween marks the tragic death of the famous magician Harry Houdini, who passed away after being punched in the stomach numerous times on Halloween night.

Fun Halloween Q & A

Q: What types of drinks are common at Halloween parties?

A: The drink selection will depend on whether it is a kids or adult party. Punch and such are common at all parties, but there will likely be alcohol at an adult party.

Q: What is the most famous Halloween candy?

A: The most famous candy for this time of year is candy corn.

Q: What are some popular games to play during a Halloween party?

A: You can find game such as bobbing for apples, eating contests, costume parties, dancing, and many other fun activities at most parties.


Halloween Fun in Santa Barbara

Halloween offers a full day of fun for adults and children, especially in Santa Barbara. Here are some of the Halloween events that are planned:

About Known as The Santa Barbara Therapist, Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke is a licensed clinical psychologist.  She provides treatment for eating disordersanxiety disordersaddictiondepression and self-injurious behaviors, as well as counseling for stress from her office located at 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 10P in Santa Barbara. Visit the website and Facebook page or call (818) 518-6775 for more information.

Membership and Affiliations:

International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP)

Santa Barbara County Psychological Association

For Immediate Release – July 3rd, 2014, Santa Barbara CA:  Many people are under significant amounts of stress and may want information on depression treatment, managing anxiety, or are interested in drug addiction treatment methods, but don’t know where to turn for trustworthy advice. Santa Barbara psychotherapist, Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke, provides a solution to this problem with her totally revamped, user-friendly website.

Concerned that people seeking depression counseling or therapy for anxiety may become overwhelmed trying to locate the most useful information for their specific situation, the stress therapist is bringing several powerful resources together under one convenient online umbrella.

By offering applicable tools and a positive message of support for those dealing with alcoholism and addiction, abuse, anxiety and self-esteem issues, the website encourages visitors to start living the life they deserve. Quick-access tabs lead site visitors directly to in-depth sections where they can find further information about therapy for depression, counseling for anxiety, or dealing with relationship conflicts. Helpful videos offer insights for those dealing with weight issues, low self-esteem problems, or the grips of addiction.

“I want people to know that they are not alone in dealing with these concerns,” commented the stress psychologist. “When it comes to serious mental health conditions that affect a person’s well-being and compromise their ability to fully engage in life, I believe that knowledge is indeed power. If someone feels controlled by their weight or their addiction has taken everything away from them, it’s time to seek help from a psychologist for depression or a psychologist for anxiety. I want people to know there is somebody who cares and is ready to help.”

The doctor’s website includes a regular blog which covers topics such as antidepressants, treatment for depression, and symptoms of anxiety disorders. Guests can also sign up to receive an e-newsletter and regular updates, search links for even more information on various mental health topics, or visit the online store to purchase books on psychology from Dr. McGarr-Knabke’s recommended reading list.

Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke provides therapy that works on addressing the underlying, often unconscious, issues that manifest as symptoms or problematic behaviors. Her new Santa Barbara counseling website, servicing Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Montecito, Thousand Oaks, Ojai and San Luis Obispo, provides the first steps in helping clients gain insight into their internal world, their patterns of relating and attaching, and their use of psychological defense mechanisms. By providing information, affirmation, and Santa Barbara therapy services, Dr. McGarr-Knabke hopes to let people know that change is possible.

About Known as The Santa Barbara Therapist, Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke received a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute in 2007. The Santa Barbara Psychologist now provides treatment for eating disorders, anxiety, addiction, depression and self-injurious behaviors, as well as counseling for stress from her office located at 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 10P in Santa Barbara. Visit the website and Facebook page or call (818) 518-6775 for more information.

#1. Pain is part of growing.
Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

#2. Everything in life is temporary.
Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal. After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever. It won’t. Nothing lasts forever. (Read The Last Lecture.)

So if things are good right now, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. You get a second chance, every second. You just have to take it and make the best of it.

#3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing.
Those who complain the most, accomplish the least. It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it. If you believe in something, keep trying. Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future. Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter. Take action instead. Let what you’ve learned improve how you live. Make a change and never look back.

And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

#4. Your scars are symbols of your strength.
Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of. Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars. See your scars as a sign of “YES! I MADE IT! I survived and I have my scars to prove it! And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

#5. Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

#6. Other people’s negativity is not your problem.
Be positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others try to bring you down. It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus. When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you. They do things because of them.

Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough. Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it. So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.

All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.

#7. What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.
True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead. There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them. You can’t force things to happen. You can only drive yourself crazy trying. At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.

In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be. (Read A New Earth.)

#8. The best thing you can do is to keep going.
Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

Think positively.
Eat healthy.
Exercise today.
Worry less.
Work hard.
Laugh often.
Sleep well.

Source: Marc and Angel  the authors of 1000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently.

Excessive carbohydrate consumption causes the insulin level in the blood to increase, which reduces the blood sugar level.  Research suggests that a decrease in blood sugar stimulates hunger and thus there is an intense desire to eat more food.  Through functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers observed intense activation of the nucleus accumbens (a critical brain region involved with addictive behaviors) after participants consumed a carbohydrate-rich food with a high glycemic index.  Chronic, excessive consumption of the latter food type may trigger the reward and addiction regions of the brain leading to food cravings.