Knowing that Anxiety Will Pass Reduces Its Effects

September 19th, 2021

Many anxiety sufferers, including those afflicted by severe social anxiety, become very wrapped up in their heads about the anxiety that they know that they will soon experience. For example, a person is heading out to the local fast-food restaurant and is afraid of talking to the operator at the drive-thru, and the mere knowledge that this is going to happen and that this is going to cause anxiety is something that causes even more anxiety for the person in question.

One of the main fears of those affected by anxiety is the anxiety itself, and the knowledge that when it is present, life is going to be more challenging and the individual in question is going to have to deal with its effects. These effects can be terrifying in themselves as well.

One powerful anxiety-recovery tool, aside from the many others available, is the knowledge that even though this anxiety is going to happen and is going to disrupt a person’s life in some way, that eventually the anxiety will pass and everything will feel much more manageable once again.

The scariest part about anxiety for those affected by it is not knowing how to handle it and knowing that instead, life is simply going to be miserable for some time.

A useful metaphor for thinking about this is for one to envision one’s self-driving along an open road on a flat stretch of desert land. Everything is peaceful and harmonious. However, the driver sees a huge mountain up ahead (similar to a person knowing anxiety is going to calm and that he or she cannot handle it), and he or she becomes very intimidated by its presence, knowing that it will be difficult to traverse.

Once the driver arrives at the base of the mountain, he or she becomes overwhelmed because he or she now realizes that the mountain is huge and will take some time to cross over. However, this person knows that after much difficulty, the mountain will be passed, and eventually the other side will be reached and all will be well again.

With the knowledge that anxiety will pass, it is possible to turn these mountains into speed bumps. The metaphor now has a change. The driver is driving along on a flat stretch of desert land once again, but instead of noticing an upcoming mountain, the driver notices a slight speed bump. Compared to the mountain, this is simple to navigate, and therefore the driver remains at ease. He or she simply slows down the vehicle as the speed bump is approached, and then he or she simply passes over it without much stress at all.

The second metaphor depicted is what the knowledge that anxiety will pass can do to a person’s anxiety level. The anxiety level can be greatly reduced and managed so that the effects it has on a person’s life are minimized. While it is very difficult to believe that anxiety will pass at times, especially when one is first beginning to explore anxiety recovery, the more that one believes it, the more that anxiety reduces and loses its harmful effects.

Every person who perseveres in anxiety recovery will realize, sooner or later, that the duration and intensity of the anticipated anxious experience greatly reduces, and especially so as one realizes that he or she can successfully manage his or her anxiety.

This is just yet another tool available to the anxiety sufferer in order to help him or her manage anxiety. Good luck to all anxiety sufferers out there as they seek to manage their anxiety and live healthy and happy lives!

Caregiver Stress: Do You Have It?

September 14th, 2021

Do you have “Caregiver Stress?” Parents become ill as they age. Sometimes, sadly, a spouse or a child needs long-term care around the clock due to illness or injury. In assessing yourself against these traits use the illness of Alzheimer’s disease as a measuring stick because it is representative of causing caregiver stress and in fact the Alzheimer’s Association was the provider of this brochure “Caregiver Stress Check.”

What character traits does a “Caregiver” have?

This is another topic where I have some personal experience.

A caregiver refuses to allow a family member to be “warehoused.” If they need care they will give it to them, no matter what the emotional, financial, or physical price.

The first problem a caregiver runs into is when they show a willingness to pitch in and help, the rest of the family is usually more than willing to let them take over, without getting involved with the care themselves. The more responsibility a caregiver will take, the more a family will dump on them but, the caregiver usually doesn’t care because in most cases they are selfless.

Does this describe you? Or do you already know you’re a caregiver?”

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Caregiver Stress Check

You only need to answer one “yes” to be at risk for caregiver stress.

  • Do you feel you have to do it all yourself, and that you should be doing more?
  • Do you worry that the person you care for is safe?
  • Do you feel anxious about money and healthcare decisions”?
  • Here’s a “biggie:” Do you deny the impact of the disease and its effects?

If you think that you are at risk there are ways you can be helped.

You can become part of a support group; you can attend a workshop for caregivers and you can attend workshops with your whole family so that they can begin to aid you as well.

Something not in the brochure that is important is that the caregiver must maintain some type of social life whether it is with a spouse, friends or extended family. If a caregiver is isolated then their thinking becomes unrealistic and they can become despondent and angry. It is when a caregiver is angry or despondent that the chance for harm to the patient or to self is greatest.

Staying in touch with your level of stress isn’t something you do once and then forget. It is something you repeat.

Caregivers are too important to lose.

References:

Count Your Blessings to Avoid Depression

September 9th, 2021

Depression is one of the most insidious and common mental disorders in America today. It can be just a passing phase that we go through, or sometimes it can linger for years and years.

Depression robs us, not only of the daily joys of living but also of the past joys that we hold in our memories. If you feel that depression is ruining your life, or feel like there’s no hope for a brighter future, you should immediately seek professional help. If you’re not at that point but would like to feel happier on a daily basis, there are simple steps you can take right away. That old adage to count your blessings can get you on the right track.

Depression can Hide Positive Events

A study conducted by Ohio State University researchers and published in the March issues of The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry showed that people with depression have difficulty recalling positive experiences and tend to focus on negative events. While that sounds like plain old common sense and perhaps even the very definition of depression, let’s take a deeper look.

This outlook where a person recalls only negative things happening every given day would certainly act as a reinforcement to existing depression. One might feel as though nothing good is happening to them, every day is as bad as the one before with no end in sight.

Is Perception Reality?

The problem, though, lies in the perception of daily events and not in the events themselves. Certainly, bad things happen to everybody from time to time, and everyone can have a bad day. Good things happen to everyone as well. There are rarely days when there isn’t a list of positive occurrences in which the average person can find joy. What we need to do then, is find time to reinforce those positive events in our minds rather than always focusing on negative thoughts.

Joy is Habit Forming

Because of the way our brains are constantly rewiring themselves in response to our actions, learnings, and emotions, our feelings can be habit-forming. In other words, the more we think about events that depress us, the easier it becomes to fall into a depressed mood, and the harder it becomes to escape that cycle. We need to force ourselves to build positive mental pathways. Finding joy in our daily lives is also habit-forming.

Count Your Blessings

A simple exercise can begin to get us on track. Often, the thoughts that run through our minds just before we fall asleep at night can stay with us in our dreams or set the tone for our moods when we wake up in the morning. Try this little experiment: Each night, for 30 days, as you lie down to go to sleep, make a list of all the positive things that happened during the day. They can be as simple or as momentous as you like. This pillow is really soft and comfortable.

The sunset was beautiful this evening, I can’t wait to see the next one. My morning coffee was just the right temperature. My children gave me a big hug before going off to school this morning. My wife is beautiful when she smiles. It’s one day closer to spring and spring flowers. And so on. Just mentally count your blessings, and think about the particular joy that each item in your list brings.

Count Your Blessings all Day Long

The next day, make mental notes as you go through the day, actively looking for things to add to your list that night. The sky is a beautiful blue today, I can count that among today’s blessings. Literally, take a moment to stop and smell the roses or find other little moments of joy throughout your day. Make an effort to be in the moment and experience each bit of happiness that comes your way each day. Make feeling joy every single day into a habit.

This isn’t a magical cure for clinical depression, for that you really need to seek out professional help, but it can change your outlook on life. Instead of being chained and held back by the negative things that happen in everyone’s life every day, you may find yourself racing past the bad things in anticipation of finding that next item to add to your nightly list.

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How to Let Go of the Past

September 7th, 2021

Past and future thoughts are the most dominant thoughts in our minds. To worry about the future is one thing, but to dwell on the past is quite another story. Do we dwell in the past because we’re afraid of what the future might bring? Or is there an unresolved issue in the past we’re unable to let go of? It could be that we’re just afraid of losing control.

past

It’s always nice to walk down memory lane reliving the good times from the past. Some people even believe the best is over and the worst is yet to come. Usually these people spend their time constantly thinking about what used to be. I’m sure most of us would like to re-live some of our childhood memories over, but some of us just can’t release the past.

The Mind

Hundreds of thoughts enter our minds each day, but the thoughts which use up most of our mental powers are thoughts of failure. Our problem solving minds go to work fixing and solving whatever situation we throw at it, whether it’s too late or not. Our third dimensional mind is a supercomputer that we “somewhat” control, yet sometimes our mental abilities are altered by the dreaded ego.

The ego controls our sense of self such as: who we think we are, what we think we can achieve, or anything which deem to be a threat: mental, or physical. When this sense of self is altered by a mishap or a mistake the ego automatically kicks in to rectify the situation.

Sense of Reality

Most of the time the ego is not noticed as we unconsciously start thinking about or replaying over a past situation; this is where the rub begins. Unsettled situations can usually never be filed away (in the mind) until we can accept the outcome of the situation.

Our sense of failure has permanently been logged into our minds, and the ego never fails to remind us of this. Whether we screwed up is not the problem. The key is to accept the situation (past or present) as an outcome, and not as a negative reflection on ourselves.

Most destructive emotions are fear based emotions. Fear is an emotion that is also ruled by an overactive ego. The Toltecs referred to the ego as “the voice of the judge that leads us into the dream of Hell.” This “Hell” they were referring to could quite possibly be the Hell of the mind.

Those who constantly dwell on the past are threatened by a separation from the past. The past has left them before they were ready to let go of it, and now it’s out of their control. Control is another ploy of the ego.

Why must we always be in control? This is the same situation with those who dwell on the thoughts of death, which is another situation where we have no control.

Emotional Release

It’s fine and dandy to think about the good times from the past, but we have to keep in mind that the past is out of our control. Reliving a bad situation over and over (from the past) does nothing but ruin the present moment in time. Soon you’ll be reliving this moment in time. Sometimes this cycle never ends.

Acceptance is the key to letting go of our failures or mistakes in the past. Non-judgment of ourselves is another biggie when living with an overactive ego. Don’t let your ego tell you that you’re a failure by the mistakes you’ve made in the past!

Your mind is a wonderful tool, so why not use it to help your emotional outlook, and not destroy it. When a bad memory from the past enters the mind, ask yourself what you can do to change this thought. If you’re left alone in your thoughts trying to figure it all out, then throw out these useless thoughts.

If you have trouble stopping these destructive emotions, give your mind some new creative ways of thought. After a while your mind will get used to these new thought patterns, and your new way of thinking. Persistence is a must when dealing with the mind. Regaining control over your mind will take some time, so try to be patient.

Be mentally conscious of your thoughts, and learn to control which thoughts invade your mind. Although we can never rid ourselves completely of the ego, we can at least help to slow it down to be a more productive part of the mind. Your emotional outlook hangs in the balance. So be smart and live in the moment, not in the past.

Good links:

Self Improvement Through Self Help Techniques

September 5th, 2021

Different people have different ways to deal with things. There are people that choose to indulge in the occasional drink after a long day at work. There are others that engage in relaxing activities, like meditation and yoga. These approaches involve using the power of your mind to get through your daily life.

Self Improvement

Another method to consider is humor. Laughing is always the best to fix whatever troubles that you are going through. It is a natural way to raise your spirits. Endorphines are released, which is your body’s chemical stimulants, and this chemical increase allows you to adjust your mood without hardly any effort.

Laughter can help you see things from an entirely different view. What may have previously appeared as negative and depression can be changed to something that does not really seem all that bad. Again, the raises in chemicals have raised your mood, thereby changing your way of thinking.

Courage is another aspect that can change how you think of yourself. If you lack courage, you do not have the confidence that you need to get through the simplest of challenges. Without courage, you lack the ability to understand where your life is going, and you will not be able to change the things that you are not happy with. Your happiness is vital, not just to your professional and home lives, but to you overall health. You will find that a lack of courage can often lead you down the path to depression.

Finally, appreciate what you have, and do not wish for things that are beyond your reach. You have worked hard in your life to get to the point where you are now. Being greedy and longing for more is not healthy, and you take the chance of losing everything that you have worked for so far. If you keep going at the pace that you are going now, you can achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. If you try to go beyond that without hitting those other goals, you are taking too much of a chance and putting yourself through way too much stress.

For those people who find solace and inspiration in religion, it is wise to renew your faith efforts. For those who are more atheist, or don’t regularly practice your religion, there are other ways that you can draw inspirations that will help you in your efforts to improve yourself. Either way, you are only limited by your own creative limitations.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

September 4th, 2021

Bipolar disorder is a relatively recent entry into the field of mental health, but in fact, it is has been around for a while. Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depression so if you come across information about manic depressive disorder you can simply take that information and apply it to bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is identified and differentiated from other forms of depression by virtue of the fact that periods of depression are placed in opposition to periods of euphoria that once supplied it with the term manic depression.

The elevated mood of a person with bipolar disease actually does rise to the point of euphoria where self-esteem is boosted along with optimism and energy.

Bipolar disorder cannot accurately be termed rare since it affects about 1% of the entire population, but it is much less common than what is termed unipolar disorder. Unlike depression which affects mostly women, bipolar disorder affects both sexes equally. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are characterized by depressive episodes and manic episodes.

  • During the manic stage, the person is affable and seems almost to be high on drugs, including the possibility of acting hyperactive.
  • The depressive stage is marked by a sense of gloomy hopelessness, obsessive worry, and fatigue.

If two people were to observe the same person only during the opposing stages, each would be likely to suggest that they could not possibly be describing the same person.

Many people might think that bipolar disorder is preferable to typical depression because of the manic episodes. Many bipolar patients do report extraordinary leaps in creativity during the manic phase. Obviously, the increase in energy during the manic phase is very welcome to a person who may not even be able to work up the energy to get out of the house during the depressive phase. The manic episodes do have a downside.

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During the manic phase, a bipolar patient can become quite irritable and even begin to express signs of anxiety. In some cases, though certainly not all, the mild manic episodes can escalate to the point that the patient may begin to seem out of control. Judgment may become impaired and result in the patient attempting to do things during the manic phase that they should not do; everything from drag racing to confronting people over real or imagined slights; from gambling to promiscuity.

Treatment for bipolar disease involves the use of medication and therapy. Antidepressant drugs are typically prescribed, although anti-psychotic and even calcium channel blockers may also be used. Some patients are even prescribed Ritalin and other medications used to treat attention-deficit disorder in conjunction with antidepressants like Serzone. A number of famous people have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, including creative types like Jim Carrey and Robert Downey, Jr., Tim Burton and Sting.

In addition, some psychologists have retroactively determined from the available evidence that many artistic geniuses most likely were bipolar, including Vincent Van Gogh and Beethoven.

Sources:

Control Your Anxiety and Panic

September 3rd, 2021

You know the feeling. You’re a perfectly reasonable human being and you’re having a reasonably good day. Then suddenly and for apparently unknown reasons, your brain sends one of those pesky fight or flight signals that leave you consumed with anxiety and fear. For most of us the situation is manageable and those intensely uncomfortable feelings only last a few seconds. We tell ourselves that we’re fine and that there’s no reason to be anxious.

anxiety

We take a few deep breaths and carry on with our day. But what if that doesn’t work? What if those feelings of emotional turmoil stop us in our tracks? Try these tips to help you to control your panic and anxiety.

Schedule a time to worry

Everyday schedule a consistent time and place to worry and if necessary, schedule several times per day. At your chosen time, sit down and think about what is worrying you and what you can do about it. Focus on reality and what’s really happening. Avoid thinking about what may or may not happen with any given situation or person that is causing your anxiety and panic. If it’s helpful, write your worries and what you can do about them in a journal. Keep track of your progress as you cope with them.

Learn relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are a great way to control anxiety and panic. Deep breathing, yoga, meditation, tai chi and the emotional freedom technique are all excellent ways to calm yourself. Practice your chosen technique on a daily basis. Daily practice will help to keep you calm in general but also strengthens your ability to quickly relax when anxiety and panic grips you.

Get plenty of sleep

We all know the health benefits of getting adequate amounts of sleep. When you’re well rested, you’re better able to cope.

Exercise daily

You don’t have to buy an expensive gym membership or perform an exhausting exercise regime everyday. On a daily basis, take 30 minutes to walk around your neighborhood. Not only will the exercise refresh and strengthen you, but you’ll also feel more in control when you do feel panic and anxiety.

Confront the situations that cause your panic and anxiety

This can be done at your own pace and as you feel comfortable. Decide what situations cause your anxiety and panic and then purposefully expose yourself to them. Overtime, you’ll learn to control your panic and perhaps learn that you indeed had nothing to fear in the first place. This exercise also builds your confidence and self-esteem, making you better able to confront other situations that might cause panic and anxiety.

You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. Marcus Aurelius

Visualization

In your mind’s eye, picture your perfect place, situation, or person. Include as many of your senses, as you can, while you’re visualizing. Add to your visualization, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. As you relax, keep telling yourself that you’re fine, there is nothing to fear, no one is going to harm you, etc.

Speak to your primary physician

If you’re anxiety and panic attacks are so severe that you find yourself unable to cope, speak to your doctor. That person can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that will support you as you learn other techniques to control the anxiety and panic.

Panic and anxiety don’t have to control you or your life. With persistence, patience and practice you’ll control them!

How to Cope with Stress: A Basic Primer

How to Cope with Stress: A Basic Primer

September 2nd, 2021

Stress is our response to situations, which occur almost every day, and we find it difficult to handle. Getting late to arrive at work, falling ill, facing an exam, failing to achieve a goal, breaking of a relationship, passing of a loved one, having to do a lot in a little time, being burdened with outstanding bills, are a few to mention. A certain level of stress is needed for us to be productive. Otherwise we do not tend to put any effort into what we do.

stress

The problem occurs when your stress factor increases far beyond the level it has to be. So, we must learn what bad impacts it can have on us, and how to keep it on a moderate level.
There are some signs that tell you that your stress factor is too high. Irritability is one. If you find yourself snapping at everybody, take caution. You may also feel that what you used to enjoy no more pleases you.

It’s difficult for one to concentrate on something when one is too stressed. Loss of appetite, overeating, lack of sexual drive, sleep disturbance, reduced efficiency in work, increased use of tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee, or any other addictive substance, symptoms of illness with no underline physical cause [psychosomatic symptoms] are such warnings too.

Suppose you have some of these warning signals. What will happen if you do not take action? It might affect your family and social life. It is likely that you would not be able to perform your best in your career or education. Your physical and mental health may become at risk. More than anything, your happiness will be stolen away from you.

But, cheer up! There are so many stress coping methods, which can be used to bring your stress factor down to the level where it should be. It is only a matter of knowing them, applying them to see which works for you best and practice them until they become habits. They are all very simple and easy. Let’s go into some detail about some of them, one by one.

Be organized

Always work towards a goal, whether it is a matter regarding your job or education or family life or social life or what ever. Make sure that your goals do not clash with your values. For example, if you are very fond of spending a lot of time with your children, having a carrier goal that requires hours and hours of office deskwork will be problematic. Plan each of your days according to your goal. It is not possible always to stick to a plan, but nevertheless, a plan will help you to do more and better with less time, taking a lot of stress off you.

Feel free to make changes to your goals and plans as you see fit. Flexibility is important until you get things fairly shaped.

Tidy up your home and workplace

Seeing everything neatly arranged in their places gives you a significant relief from stress. It also saves time. The mere action of cleaning and arranging things in order will have a very good effect.

Try to approach any problem you face in life, in a systematic manner

Ask yourself, how, why, when, it happened. Gather as much information as possible, regarding the nature of the problem, and how to solve it. Then do your best to solve it. Accept what you can’t change, as it is.

Exercise regularly

In addition to improving fitness, an exhausting physical workout makes a lot of serotonin secreted into your blood. Serotonin gives you a feeling of satisfaction and well-being. Include aerobic, flexibility, and, resistance exercises to your program in good balance. Consult your physician, discuss with a personal trainer, and do a bit of reading, about what combination of work out in what intensity suits you best.

Eat healthily

Make your meals consist mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw, whole grain, lean meat and small fish. Take fat, oil, sugar, salt, and spices sparingly. Avoid junk food at all costs. A wholesome diet will always give a better shape to your body, improve your health, and that means less stress for you. Healthy food also pumps harmless, “feel-grate”, substances to your systems.

Have social support

When you feel stressed, talk to someone who listens well without judging you. Even if that person does not put a solution to your problem, emptying your heart of troubled thoughts will make you feel relieved. Trying to help someone who is in need will also help you to cope with your own stress. A sociable person is less vulnerable to stress.

Do something you can enjoy

Read a good book, listen to some soothing music, go for a nature walk, watch a movie you like, draw a picture, compose a song, go out and meet friends, have a party, any thing that is fun and relaxing to you.

Learn to relax

There are so many easy relaxation exercises that may help you to stay calm in spite of all life’s burdens. You can learn them on the net, from books, from a clinical psychologist or a yoga instructor. You can download relaxation music mp3s from the Internet for free.

Give up any stimulating substances, which you are addicted to

Try quitting cold turkey, or reduce the intake gradually. However, if you find it difficult to do on your own, you may have to get help from a team of professionals consisting of a physician, clinical psychologist, and probably a psychiatrist.

So, you have touched upon a few of the numerous strategies of coping with stress. If you do some research yourself, reading, surfing the net, consulting professionals, you will get to know much more. Not only that but also you will be able to form your own techniques, depending on your knowledge gained by exploring. So, go ahead, learn them, apply them, be less vulnerable to stress, and be happy.

The Common Causes of Failure in Baking

What a Nightmare!

September 2nd, 2021

I was recently honored to interpret some tween celebrities’ dreams for a teen magazine. Many were nightmares, and I was so thrilled to be able to distinguish for these kids the “value” of a nightmare. Like so many adult patients who fly into my office ablaze with fear from an upsetting nightmare, they don’t understand that there’s an important message in that disturbing image.

nightmare

We are all constantly bombarded with so much information (some studies say over 80,000+ bits per second), that the conscious mind cannot possibly handle it all while focusing on important tasks. So, much of that excess gets buried in the unconscious and collects there. Dreams and nightmares are our way of dumping the trash. If you dream about smoking a cigarette, it does not mean that you want to smoke! It simply can mean that your mind is letting go of what it no longer needs…deleting unnecessary files if you will.

Dreams also send up messages from the deep about what needs to be examined. For example, if you are conflicted about something in your life, your nightmare or dream will send up a message to you in the form of a symbol or image. It has it own world of symbology and images, so don’t try to analyze your dreams/nightmares literally. Instead, break down each image, object, event and ask yourself about your own feelings about it.

There are no universal meanings for dreams; they are relative to the individual, and can certainly change over time, depending on life experiences and circumstances. What you then want to examine is what part of you is reflected in that person/object/image/experience. That is the hidden message in the dream/nightmare.

If you dream about a snake, for example, it does mean that you want to buy a snake or will be bitten by one soon. Rather, you want to ask yourself how you feel about snakes. Then, what part of you identifies with a snake. If you like snakes, perhaps you are feeling sexy and slinky. If you are afraid of them, perhaps you are feeling sneaky or mean. If you dream about your mother, it is not about your mother per se; it is about the part of you (good or bad!) you feel is reflected in her.

I once had a frightful dream in which I was onstage, poised by a conductor to play a flute concerto with the orchestra and have never played flute in my life! While I find flute music to be very soothing and beautiful, the dream was about my feeling unprepared in my own life for doing something soothing and beautiful.

It actually was the night before I had an interview to be a psychological assistant, and my dream was a release of the insecurity of being good enough/prepared enough to do what I find soothing and beautiful, opening up a space to move to the next level in my career.

Many have similar dreams, the “actor’s nightmare,” or students taking an important test and going blank, or a job interview where you forget your resume. Venting that fear allows us to discharge the fear and anxiety, and focus on the task at hand during our waking hours.

Quite a relief, huh? We are so conditioned to criticizing ourselves that we will even find ways to make our dreams wrong! Remember, everything has a positive intent. So embrace your nightmares and dreams for giving you clues to resolving conflicts and seeing yourself more clearly. Look for that gem, even when it is buried in pain. You can do that in your waking hours, too.

Sweet dreams.

The Common Causes of Failure in Baking

September 1st, 2021

“You always pass failure on the way to success.” – Mickey Rooney

There is an unlimited number of common reasons why a person may fail at baking something. However, in general, all these reasons can be broken down into four common causes for failure in baking: your ingredients, your equipment, your environment, and yourself. If you understand these four key factors, which contribute to all common baking failures and set measures to prevent them, you will find that your failing rate will go down.

Failure in Baking1. Your ingredients

One of the four most common causes of baking failure, your ingredients are the most important part of the baking process. Why? Because they make up the final product that you get, of course. It is all too often that people jump into baking without understanding what their ingredients are for, what their ingredients do, and how their ingredients affect the baking process.

If you take some time to read up a bit about the ingredients you are using in your baking and get to understand them better, then there is no doubt that you will definitely improve to the point of not making any mistakes.

Sometimes, you may have unluckily gotten a bad recipe. The recipe either gives you the wrong measurement for ingredients or maybe it gives you the directions but not very clearly. The problems from this too can be avoided by better understanding of the ingredients, their combinations, and the methods required to mix them.

2. Your equipment

The equipment you use is a very essential part of the baking process, but it is so often overlooked. Just like with your ingredients, you have to understand your equipment well. I’m not saying that you have to be an electrician or mechanic, but at the very least you should know the ins and outs of the baking equipment you use in your own home and the best equipment for the job. Every single thing you use, from the cake pan to the mixing bowl, can affect your baking and cause you to fail.

It would be impossible to mention every aspect, but just for the sake of illustration let us take the cake pan as an example. Different cake pans will lead to different outcomes for your cake. Dark-colored baking pans will require a lower baking temperature than shiny, light-colored ones. Some cakes require you to grease and flour your cake pans, and some do not.

3. Your environment

Your environment doesn’t cause you to fail as often as the other factors, but it does play tricks on you from time to time. Things like the weather and temperature of the air can affect your baking tremendously. The altitude at which you are baking will affect several factors too. Therefore, it is important that you understand how your environment affects the baking process.

4. Yourself

In the end, all the three factors above lead to the problem of ‘yourself’. It’s because you didn’t understand how your ingredients, your equipment, and your environment affect the baking process that you find yourself presented with the problem of failure. Sometimes you may have been careless, and not followed the directions specified in the recipe correctly. Other times you may have been in a hurry and done everything in a rush without thinking and preparation.

Conclusion

Once you cover these four bases, you will significantly lower your failure rate. And in the unlikely situation that you fail after that, you will probably understand why you failed, and know how to avoid it in the future.