1. Facing my Anxiety and Making Difficult Decisions

    February 20, 2014

    Facing my Anxiety and Making Difficult Decision

    by Audrey  Hollingshead


    3AM. My husband was sleeping soundly beside me while I lay awake. I wanted to sleep more than anything but couldn’t seem to do it. It was like I had drank twelve cups of coffee when I haven’t had a drop of regular in years. My hands shook as I puttered around my iPhone listlessly, hating that I’d be spending the next day at work with keyed up nerves. Why was this happening to me? What was going in my life that was making sleep nothing but a dream?

    If this sounds a little too familiar you might be one of the millions of anxiety sufferers losing sleep today. Like pain, sleeplessness and numerous other anxiety symptoms are often a sign that something is up. Unlike pain, however, the “up” doesn’t always have to be physical. It could be almost anything. But some psychologists believe that prolonged anxiety and depression are caused by a subconscious dissatisfaction of life. Weather you know it or not, something is not working out like you had hoped. So, how can you fix this?

    First, Take a deep breath. Deep breathing can lessen the feelings of panic and help make this process easier.

    Second, you have to look into yourself and ask a lot of important questions. Is this what I expected my job to be like? Am I really happy with my spouse or partner? Is there a sad anniversary coming up that I’m forgetting? This may take a long time, or no time, but it is always important to do.


  2. 7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    January 6, 2014

    7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    It’s pretty normal to get nervous on occasion, as anxiety certainly can come when you find yourself in a new situation or having to speak to a crowd.  For some individuals, though, anxiety can become a hindrance to everyday tasks and can take over their lives.

    Maybe you struggle with anxiety more often than an average person or the intensity seems to get a bit out of control at times.  How can you tell if your anxiety is normal or has crossed over into an anxiety disorder?  It’s not always easy to tell, but there are certain signs that will help you identify where you are on the scale of anxiety levels.

    If you happen to experience some of the following signs, you may want to contact a health professional (such as psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist) to discuss your anxiety and how you can manage what you are contending with.

    1. Irrational or extreme fears.  If you are extremely fearful of something or a situation, you may be dealing with irrational thoughts, which can lead to an anxiety disorder called a phobia.  If that phobia disrupts your life in ways that you are not satisfied with, it is time to face that phobia and work on overcoming that irrational fear.
    2. Extreme worry.  Excessive worry is a very common characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If you are worrying about all sorts of things most days of the week and your life is suffering in one way or another, you may be suffering from such. It is normal to worry on occasion about something, but when the emotions get out of whack from excessive worry and it is affecting you and others negatively, it’s time to take an honest look at the cause and check into treatments.
    3. Excessive self-consciousness.  Sometimes everyone is self-conscious, but if your world starts revolving around anxiety at the thought of being in public, talking to anyone, or eating in front of people, you may have a social anxiety disorder.  Do you find yourself sweating profusely, getting a stomach ache, feeling nauseated, or stumbling all over your words while being around people?  Feeling that eyes are always on you and being super self-conscious makes for a stressful and fearful life, so if this sounds like you, you could have an anxiety disorder.
    4. Inability to sleep.  Many people have sleep problems, but if you are tossing and turning every night full of anxious thoughts and concerns racing through your mind, you may have an anxiety disorder.
    5. Digestive issues.  Anxiety certainly affects the physical body. In fact, many indigestion problems are directly linked to chronic anxiety and stress.  If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, an ulcer, or other digestive issues, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.
    6. Feelings of panic.  Extreme feelings of panic and fear are termed panic attacks. If you find yourself suddenly gripped with paralyzing fear, a feeling of helplessness, intense emptiness feelings, racing heart, chest pain, and breathing problems, chances are you are suffering from a panic attack and require some help in order to manage such.
    7. Compulsiveness. One anxiety disorder that not many people are aware of in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  The anxious and compulsive thoughts that go along with this can make a person feel like he or she is going crazy. For example, if you have to have every item on your desk in a certain spot and get highly upset when someone moves something- to the point of yelling- you may have an issue with OCD.

    These signs are indicators that something is not quite on target with the way you process and manage stress and anxiety. Treatment for such includes a combination psychotherapy (e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT), changes in lifestyle (i.e. exercise, yoga, meditation), and healthy diet. Anti-anxiety medications may also be needed to manage severe cases of anxiety. Many people who struggle with anxiety disorders lead happy, healthy, and relaxed lives due to a variety of treatment options.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceodissey/2580085025/


  3. Untreated Stress Can Lead To A Nervous Breakdown

    January 4, 2014

    Untreated Stress Can Lead To A Nervous Breakdown

    We live in a world that is full of anxiety and stress. In fact, many doctors will tell you that a great deal of ailments and sicknesses are caused by an overload of chronic stress.  From finances to health to relationships, there seems to always be a stressor knocking at our door.  If you are allowing stressor after stressor to build in your life without treating it, it could lead to a nervous breakdown.


    Signs of chronic stress


    The first sign that you are carrying chronic stress is a change in your behavior or thought life.  If you are normally an upbeat, caring, thoughtful, and happy person, but have been displaying characteristics and emotions like selfishness, cruelty, bitterness, anger, fatigue, etc., then you are probably carrying a load of stress that is bringing you down. You might not even notice that your attitude and behavior is changing. It may be a loved one or friend that points out your moodiness or lack of drive.

    For example, if a man’s finances have been off for the past few months and he has been stressing over it, he might not be sleeping well at night, overeating because food makes him feel better, or lashing out at his kids because the stress has caused him to have a short fuse.  The financial stress and strain is wearing on this man little by little and if he does not do something to relieve or eliminate the stress, he could be headed for a nervous breakdown.

    Other signs of stress or that you are headed for a breakdown include:


    • Emotional outbursts
    • Isolation
    • Severe depression
    • Victim mentality
    • Hopelessness
    • Loss or gain of weight
    • Constant guilty feelings

    Ways to relieve stress


    It is important to understand how you can relieve and/or eliminate your stress.  You really can’t avoid stress, because it pops up periodically whether at work, at home, or anywhere!  The key is to find out what stress relievers work for you and use them on a regular basis. Here are some common stress busters that you can try:

    Deep breathing/meditation/yoga. All three of these fall into the same category. There are many people who can attest to the fact that deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are great stress busters.  What is great about deep breathing and yoga is that you can do these exercises each day and only spend about 15 minutes per day doing such to experience stress relief. Find a quiet place to sit and breathe deeply and let go of cares, concerns, and stress.  Think happy thoughts or as in meditation, simply concentrate on the inhale and exhale. You will notice the stress leaving your body.  Yoga is a great form of exercise and a stress reliever. You can do yoga classes or do it in the privacy of your own home.  Commit to these stress busters regularly for less stress and happier living.

    Exercise. Many people find that regular exercise helps them de-stress and feel better emotionally and physically.  You can take a brisk walk, go jogging, play tennis, disc golf, golf, hit the gym, or any other sport or exercise regimen that appeals to you. If you exercise 3 to 5 times per week, you are not only de-stressing, but also burning calories and strengthening your body.

    See a therapist. If you are having a rather difficult time with stressors, such as relationship problems, divorce, extreme anxiety and fear, depression, etc., consider seeing a counselor to learn how to cope with the root issues that are stressing you out. Sometimes people just need a little bit of insight and encouragement to get through the rough patches and therapists are well equipped to help.

    If you, or a loved one, is struggling with chronic stress and is headed for a nervous breakdown, rest assured that help is available.  Talk to a professional or at the very least, a close friend or family member about what you can do to change the situation and cope with the stressors.  Know that if you or someone close to you has a nervous breakdown, that he or she does not have a mental illness.  A nervous breakdown is a temporary condition that can be relieved with encouragement, support, and some form of treatment.  Life can resume back to normal and the person can be happy and free once again.


     Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hojas_cayendo/5204062581/



  4. Eustress vs. Distress or How To Turn Stress into Energy

    December 16, 2013

    How To Turn Stress into Energy

    Modern anti-stress techniques urge us to deal with stress, to nip it in the bud and to build a life without it. We are striving to gain well-balanced life and are searching for methods of “defeating stress” to avoid anxiety and depression resulting from too much stress. Yet, we do not take into account one important issue: stress is life itself, you cannot live your life without experiencing stress. What matters is the way you handle stress. The only step we need to take in a stressful situation is to transform stress into energy!

    Stress is one of the most “fashionable” topics. Many scientific papers are devoted to stress. We are discussing stress on TV screens and radio programs. And it is impossible to count how many techniques aiming at fighting with stress have been created recently! Stress is to blame for all our problems and diseases, starting from depression, hair loss and menstrual disruptions ending with unsuccessful relationships and deficiencies in parenting. Stress is a cult that needs to be maintained! But otherwise, we are living in conditions that require us to produce urgent and emergency reactions and decisions, as we know, these decisions and actions become a reason for stress. Do you really believe that our ancestors did not know what stress was? Do you think that only in the age of information technology we are facing this problem?

    In 2009, Canadian scientists examined the remains of the ancient Incas in order to find samples of cortisol (a stress hormone) in hair. The result was unexpected: people living in the 1530-1550 years BC were not just familiar with stress, they lived in conditions of constant stress. Thus, we can’t blame civilization and our informational society for problems caused by stress.

    It’s normal to be nervous!

    Try to avoid stress is the same as avoiding life. Stress is a natural reaction to any psychological or physical effects, causing loss of balance in our organism.

    There are two types of stress:

    Eustress – positive (favorable) stress

    Distress – negative (unfavorable) stress

    Eustress helps us to concentrate and defend ourselves in case of threat or danger. In most cases, eustress positively affects a person: strengthens the immune system, improves physical and emotional endurance, develops abilities for adaptation. However, please note an important point: eustress usually does not last long. In other words, in a stressful situation, the human body, “released” hormone cortisol, mobilized forces, solved the problem and immediately relaxed. This is a kind of training.

    Distress is another thing. It occurs when, despite of all efforts, the problem can’t be solved and the organism can’t relax. The body remains in an extremely tense state. Immune system suffers first leading to further health problems. It is possible to cope with distress only with the assistance of a specialist. But, fortunately, such situations are infrequent in our everyday life. Usually, what we used to call stress is eustress. Therefore, our task is to benefit from it!

    Eustress as a source of energy

    Imagine the situation: a person lives a quiet, even boring life. He doesn’t have to make special efforts to do something. And suddenly he faces a serious problem, for example, he is dismissed. Suddenly he has to survive, thus, a person has to try new areas and things and eventually succeeds. Under stress the body prepares to deal with danger and this generates a huge amount of extra energy. Our task is to “catch”  the moment and send this energy in the right direction. If you learn to manage the specified energy – you can achieve anything you want!

    Dealing with stress

    The logical question is: what to do when you experience stress? First of all let’s see what we are forbidden to do:

    – to get caught in an endless loop of negative situation or rather perception of it as negative;

    – to ignore stress (even a small problem can turn into distress in case you choose to do nothing);

    – suppress stress (the problem remains unresolved, the organism can’t “relax”). This is your sure route to clinical anxiety and depression.

    It is important to understand that stress needs to be managed! Once you find yourself in a difficult situation you have to do something and try to fix it. It is important to act, even if actions do not bring the desired effect. After surviving stress you should help the body to recover and simply relax: at physiological level the muscle tone will go down and excess cortisol will be neutralized.

    5 effective ways to manage stress

    Physical activity. During the stressful situation, and especially after coping with it, you need to give your body the physical activity that will bring a desirable muscle relaxation. If relaxation is not achieved, you cannot come out of the stressful state, even when the danger is left behind. So get used to end any negative situation with physical exercises. After an argument with a colleague, you can go outside and walk briskly. Difficult day can be finished with the training in the gym, etc.

    Breathe!  If you are extremely nervous, the wisest decision will be to step aside and make 10 deep breaths. In this situation, an additional dose of oxygen will be useful and  will help to gain relaxation.

    Meditation! Take advantage of the method of meditation excellent for you: audio (listen to music), light (look at the calming color, starry sky, the candle flame) or dance. The main purpose is to stop the flow of negative thoughts. Neuroscientists recently proved that meditation repairs damage to your brain cells and is the best stress recovery tool you have in your disposal.

    Speak! The most ancient method of solving the problem was speaking about it. Talk to a close friend, share the situation on the forum, or just talk to yourself.

    Laugh! Laughter is one of the best remedies against stress, as it accelerates the synthesis of serotonin (the hormone is efficient against stress hormone). Watch a fascinating comedy movie or communicate with a person having a great sense of humor and you will see that the problem is fading away.

    Psychologists claim that stress is not the situation itself, it’s our attitude towards it. In order to successfully fight with negative emotions, you need to work on yourself. Remember, stress is the potential that can lead you to a dizzying success!

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71038389@N00/3278662048

  5. How to Manage Anxiety Sweats

    November 27, 2013

    How to Manage Anxiety Sweats
    The big moment has arrived, you’re having an interview with your dream job. You’ve been preparing your entire working career for this one opportunity and you’ve planned everything you need down to a tee.  A copy of your resume rests flat in your laptop bag, your shirt has been pressed and dry-cleaned and you got a good night’s sleep. It seems that nothing can go wrong. You jump in your car and pull out the driveway, the air con is blasting – you don’t want to get overheated and start sweating right? Only problem is, you are sweating. Despite an 18 degree temperature, two wet circles are starting to form under your arms and they’re spreading quickly – the enemy has won again! By the time you get to your interview, you’re anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and you’re struggling to get it under control. A million thoughts run through your head like, why couldn’t they be one of those new age businesses and conduct a Skype chat interview? Or would it be bad if I cancelled now? Or maybe if I wear my backpack the entire time they won’t notice. People who suffer from anxiety sweats (myself included) know this feeling all too well. You don’t need to be embarrassed, sweating due to anxiety is a common condition that affects more people that you think. Apparently, sweating is a natural response of our sweat glands when we are anxious. For some, the sweating doesn’t begin until you’re standing in a crowded room, others just need to think about interacting with people and they start perspiring. So how do you manage this condition? Here is a few ways to help you overcome anxiety sweats.

    Wear clothes that allow you to breathe


    Much like the aforementioned scenario, if you know you are going to be in a stressful situation that may lead to sweating, try to reduce your external body temperature by wearing non synthetic clothing that is light and breathable. Wearing synthetic materials will only increase your body’s need to sweat, making it seem more excessive. Partner this with a strong antiperspirant (I use Rexona Clinical) to prevent any further sweats.

    Recognise your triggers and focus on something less anxiety provoking


    Feeling of anxiety can be incredibly overwhelming, besides sweating you may also be feeling waves of tightening in the chest, a racing heart, snowballing worries and obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour. These reactions are provoked by situations that make you uneasy or nervous. I’m not saying it’s easy to recognise all your triggers, but if you can identify a few and find ways to redirect your focus onto something other than your anxiety, you retain a sense of control. You can reach out to others, do work around the house, exercise, listen to music, watch a movie or engage in a creative activity such as drawing, painting or writing.



    Here’s yet another good reason to get involved in some extracurricular activities. Physicians have long recommended exercise as a means of relieving anxiety by helping your body to practice responding to stress. That way, when the real McCoy happens, you are much better prepared to handle an anxiety provoking situation. Exercising prior to anticipated anxiety provoking situation is also a good idea (such as job interview), because the exercise will cause inflow of endorphins into your brain and it will function better. Yet, you should finish the exercise at least two hours prior to the interview.


    This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things you can do to curb anxiety sweats. However, if you do experience anxiety on a regular basis, remember these tips and don’t be afraid to see the psychologist or psychotherapist to deal with root cause of your problems.


    Image Credit: Ryan Hyde @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/breatheindigital/4668093768



  6. Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

    November 25, 2013

    Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

    by Beth Wallace

    After years of working hard and raising a family, retirement should be a time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In reality, the ‘golden years’ aren’t always as easy or carefree like the brochures and glossy magazines seem to portray.

    Just because work and children may no longer be primary concerns, doesn’t mean our stress magically melts away. It’s true that stress is a part of everyday life; however, our ability to cope with it can weaken the older we get.

    Whatever the source — financial concerns, the transition into a retirement home, death of a spouse or illness —the effect of stress on the body and mind can be catastrophic.

    Here are 10 easy ways for seniors to reduce stress and live a happier/healthier life:

    1. Walk Away from Stress

    According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, seniors who are physically active in their leisure time are twice as likely to be in good health and have a low level of stress. If you’re looking to add some physical activity into your daily routine and have been give the green light from your doctor, walking is an excellent step — quite literally! Aside from being cheap and convenient, walking for 35-minutes or more a day can help you stay physically and mentally strong. Just remember to stay safe by dressing weather-appropriate, wear bright colors and reflectors if walking in the evening. During the winter months, make sure you wear proper footwear to avoid any slips or falls — one little slip on black ice can have long-term consequences.

    2. Say ‘Om’

    You don’t have to be able to bend it like Beckham to excel at yoga, nor do you have to twist yourself into a pretzel. While some mistakenly believe that yoga is more of a youthful activity, the young at heart can benefit greatly. Deep breathing (a key component of yoga) is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress  — increased heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure all decrease as you deeply inhale and exhale.

    3. Go for a Dip

    Swimming is an ideal solution for arthritis sufferers or anyone who wants to keep fit and avoid injury, according to Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.’s blog post “10 Ways to Relieve Arthritis Pain Naturally”.  As soon as you take that plunge into the pool, you’ll feel your stress float away while you concentrate on your laps.

    4. Bottoms Up

    In recent years, there have been many reports that have claimed a glass of red wine an evening is ideal for combating stress and lowering blood pressure.  Before you reach for that bottle opener, make sure your medications can be mixed with alcohol —to be safe, always check with your doctor. Once you get that ‘thumbs up’ it’s time for happy hour. Just don’t overdo it!

    5. Four-Legged Friends

    It’s a proven fact that pets can help lower one’s stress level —that’s why there are countless pet visitation programs that exist throughout North America. Those who are physically able to care for a pet, but have shied away from the idea in the past, may want to give it a second thought.

    For seniors or anyone for that matter,  a handful of benefits that come with having a pet are: less depression, sense of security, lower blood pressure and pulse rate, unconditional love and support — all factors that can ultimately lower your stress levels.

    6. On a Happy Note

    A new health and wellness craze that has seniors singing a happy tune in most retirement residences and care facilities is music therapy. While it’s no big surprise that music can help improve one’s mood, this form of therapy has been proven to also improve awareness, concentration, improve memory, reduce tension and promote relaxation. If there isn’t a music therapy programs in your community, you can still benefit from the calming effects of music by simply playing music at home.

    7. Massage Stress Away

    There are plenty of reasons seniors should consider booking a massage with a registered geriatric massage therapist. While it’s not exactly breaking news that a massage can help ease tension in your back, neck and shoulders did you know it can also reduce anxiety and depression? It’s true! Studies show that seniors who go for regular massages have an improvement in their personal well-being and overall health. Sounds like a great excuse to head to the spa!

    8. Reconnect with Nature

    The beauty of nature has always been compelling — it inspires us. Whether it’s your own backyard or a leisurely stroll at the beach or a park, the calming effects of Mother Nature can help promote relaxation. There’s also the added benefit of cardiovascular exercise, which also reduces stress (see #1).

    9. Get Crafty

    Have you ever considered taking up a craft? You certainly don’t have to be the next Martha Stewart to create a hand-made project. Whether it’s woodwork, sculpture, knitting, cross-stitch, etc., an artistic project can be your prescription for good health and lower stress levels.

    According to the American Journal Medical Association, a study of 30 female heart patients showed a significant decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration rate upon completing a craft project.

    10. Laugh out Loud

    There’s no denying that a good hearty laugh can make you feel great and forget your worries—that’s why the phrase ‘laughter is the best medicine’ has been used for centuries. In recent years, laughter has inspired a whole new form of therapy called Laughter Yoga — a revolutionary activity that combines yogic deep breathing with laughter exercises. For seniors, this is a safe and effective way to release energy, and reduce negative thoughts, which can in turn reduce the risk factors of cardiac diseases due to stress.

    While it’s impossible to reduce all stress from our life, especially as we age, there are countless ways seniors can counteract the negative, harmful effects. With these 10 stress busters, you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time. Ready, set, relax!

    Image Credit: Ryan Forsythe @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/16135068@N00/304753195

  7. Anxiety Disorders in Women

    November 19, 2013

    Anxiety Disorders in Women


    “Women have higher overall prevalence rates for anxiety disorders than men. Women are also much more likely than men to meet lifetime criteria for each of the specific anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), simple phobia, panic disorder, and agoraphobia” (Pigott TA, 2003).

    Anxiety disorders are widespread psychological problems.  Anxiety is normal and helpful to us if the intensity is not severe. But, when it lingers for days after the anxiety-triggering event, it turns into a troubling disorder. Women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders at twice the rate of men, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Is there a biological reason behind women’s tendency to be victimized by anxiety more often than men? Are we raising our girls in a way that makes them more anxious? Some people rationalize the disparity by claiming that men are simply less likely to admit to suffering from any psychological problem, but the fact is, no one knows, and all of these questions need to be answered.

    Anxiety disorders in women can negatively affect their social life, work and relationships. It reduces their feeling of self-worth. Many factors can cause anxiety in women, including biological, psychological, and social factors. For example, women have to deal with the considerable biological issues related to pregnancy and childbirth. Young girls can get anxious at the start of menstrual cycles. There is also the immense responsibility of being both a wife and a mother, which can sometimes trigger negative thoughts and fears. In addition, the different ways which parents raise their children and discriminate between genders has an impact on our personalities. Young girls are expected to be polite, sensitive and nice. Boys are taught not to cry because it’s not a “manly” thing to do. These parental approaches are universal and could very well be a factor behind women’s high rate in anxiety.

    The most common anxiety disorder faced by women is social phobia, which is an extreme fear of being embarrassed or judged by others. Women are more concerned and care more about their public image and appearance than men. Living in a patriarchal world, where men have greater authority in most of the institutions of society, the anxiety faced by women struggling to make their way is realistic.  It is normal to be nervous while giving a presentation to a meeting room full of male colleagues but sweating, freezing or shaking in front of them as you give your presentation is not normal, and is a sign of a social phobia.
    Generalized anxiety disorder is unreasonable excessive worry about past, present or future events. Triggers can include relationship problems, a recent divorce, the loss of a loved one or just about any traumatic event or natural disaster. Women are considered to be more sensitive by society, which means they are more likely to allow themselves to worry. Research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia concluded that the female brain may be less able to adjust to high levels of stress hormones and is also more sensitive to them. Specific phobias include irrational fears about a particular thing or event. Women are mostly afraid of animals, insects and darkness. When a woman is stricken by an obsessive compulsive disorder, she is anxious and remains anxious unless she acts on a compulsion to lessen her obsessions. Women tend to be more obsessed about locking doors, washing their hands because of a fear of germs, putting things in what they feel is the proper order, nail biting or hair pulling. When having an anxiety attack; women feel more fearful than simply feeling sad or worried, as in depression. Anxiety disorders pose a threat to a woman’s health, because it can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, dizziness or headaches, among other things.

    Experts have developed some strategies to overcome panic and fear in women and everyone else. Exercise and yoga have a strong connection to improved mental health, and a psychotherapist can show relaxation exercises that can help relieve you. Eating healthy food and avoiding junk and over-processed food can also help, as can discussing your feelings with a friend or family member. The relief we get after sharing our problems with someone is irrefutable, so go ahead and do so. Participate in social activities. Sleep well.  Some women believe that being a wife and mother requires giving it their all, but, being a human, you have the right to receive some, too. Give some of your time to yourself, too. You deserve to live a life without fear and worry.

    1.      Pigott TA. Anxiety disorders in women. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2003 Sep; 26 (3):621-72, vi-vii.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/helga/3621933626/


  8. How To Get Over Anxiety and Get My Life Back?

    November 13, 2013

    How To Get Over Anxiety and Get My Life Back?

    Once you discover that you suffer from anxiety, it is imperative to figure out what the best course of treatment will be. It can be difficult to discern whether your anxiety is something that can be overcome on your own or whether you need to seek professional help. When you ask “How to get over anxiety?” question, here are a few basic steps that you can take that can assist in determining the level of severity of anxiety you may suffer from.


    Clearly Identify the Source of Anxiety

    Anxiety is detrimental for your health and it crushes your potential. It is important to identify where the source of your anxiety is coming from. The source could be from something in your environment, from a specific incident or because of an impending event, meeting or activity. It is much easier to face fear and anxiety if you are clear about what it is. Often times, not knowing exactly what is causing your anxiety can add to the anxiety that you already feel. As difficult as it may seem to learn what is causing your worry, the fear of the unknown can be detrimental on its own.


    Determine If Your Anxiety Can Be Solved On Your Own

                Once you know what is causing your anxiety, you can start to determine whether it is something that can be dealt with. Ask yourself these questions: What can I do to lessen my anxiety? Is it a long-term or short-term fix? What steps can I take to prevent the anxiety from happening again?


    Consider Worse Case Scenario

                If you feel as if your anxiety is consuming your every thought, take some time to really think about the honest and absolute worst thing that could happen as a result of your anxiety. If you can manage to think critically about your situation, you may come to realize that there are very few situations that cannot be handled in a reasonable manner.


    Accept Uncertainty

    At this point, it is best to simply accept the uncertainty. Worrying about the unknown is counterproductive and an unnecessary source of fear that we sometimes fall victim to. If you can learn to accept the concept of chance, many aspects of your anxiety can become less prominent. This is probably the most difficult step for anyone.


    If working through these steps is impossible or seemingly unhelpful to you, then you should seek help from a professional. Some people are not able to answer the question “How do I get over anxiety?” on their own. Some anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. If, however, your anxiety has become a debilitating and disruptive condition in your life, affecting relationships, work, school and/or sleep, it is recommended that you seek help. You should consult your doctor if you find that your anxiety overwhelms you to the point of not being able to think straight or rationalize normally. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling and what your symptoms are. It is imperative to seek help immediately for anxiety disorders because, if left untreated, they can lead to very serious medical issues.



    Other Practical Recommendations


    *Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to treat certain dysfunctional emotions and cognitive processes using goal-oriented and organized procedures. It is considered to be successful in treating a variety of condition including anxiety. CBT was created by integrating a combination of behavioral therapy and cognitive psychology.


    *Moodkit is a mood improvement tool for mobile devices that can help to give you the guidance and wisdom to become your own expert on your moods.


    *Stress is often a big factor with anxiety issues. Taking steps to alleviate your everyday stress can help to improve your overall mood and ability to handle potentially anxiety-ridden situations. Mindful meditation has been shown in recent studies to help reduce anxiety. This form of meditation focuses on breath and body sensations as well as objectively evaluating your anxious thoughts and emotions. There has been significant research to suggest that surrounding yourself with nature can be a powerful stress reliever. Outdoor exercise can be more anxiety and stress reducing than exercising inside of a gym.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beccaplusmolly/2925613547


  9. Beating the Blues: Natural Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

    November 1, 2013

    Natural Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

    by Lisa Coleman

    Depression is a serious illness, but even those with relatively happy lives can still come down with the blues once in a while. Everyone feels this at some point, and often throughout their lives. However, there are natural steps and remedies that a person can take to help aid in beating the blues without turning to prescription medications. If this sounds like something you’re currently going through, you might be interested in following natural ways to lift your spirits.

    1. Eat Right

    Eating and maintaining a healthy diet that includes all the appropriate nutrients that a body requires is very important to a person’s health and mood. Deficiencies of nutrients in a diet such as omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins folic acid and B12, chromium, selenium, vitamin D, and zinc can all be contributing factors of depressive symptoms. Eating a well-balanced diet is a vital key to increasing your mood and to experiencing less of the blues. Including more fish and flaxseed in your diet can help with their mood boosting properties and health benefits. Taking an organic multi-vitamin may help ensure you are getting some of these deficiencies back into your diet.

    2. Get into Exercise

    You’ve likely heard this before, but exercise can work wonders when it comes to easing depression. Studies have shown that getting regular exercise can lift your mood, create a better outlook on life, help you achieve deeper sleep and give you higher self-esteem. It helps ease the beginning signs of depression and anxiety by improving blood flow to the brain. Of course, these are only the mental effects of exercise. The many positive physical effects, such as weight loss and increased immunity, will help you better deal with the stress of your everyday life. Michael Babyak, professor of medical psychology at the Duke University Medical Center, performed a study with a team of researchers that revealed doing a mild aerobic physical activity three times a week was equivalent to a standard treatment of antidepressant medications.

    Studies have shown that participating in yoga can help encourage relaxation, and remove stress and anxiety for your daily life. Studies have also revealed that the breathing exercises that accompany yoga can help lower levels of cortisol, an adrenal hormone linked to stress.

    3. Spend Time with Friends

    One of the best cures for the blues is to spend time around people who you have fun with. Often, people suffering from depression begin to isolate themselves from the world, but this only makes the problem worse in the long run. Even if you’re feeling bummed, try to force yourself out the door for that coffee date with a friend. Once you get there and begin chatting, you’re likely to feel a lift in your mood.

    If talking with someone is not an option, try keeping a journal. This is a way to “talk” without involving others, whether it is due to shyness or privacy. Jotting things down and releasing your feelings is a great way to gain perspective on how to let go of negative emotions.

    Another option is to reach out to your mother. From birth, the bond between a child and their mother is one of wholeness and purity of love. If you have a solid relationship with your mother, just hearing her soothing voice, and her words of support and wisdom can help.

    4. Revamp your Appearance

    Changing up your appearance can do a lot to help your emotions. Even if you like your appearance, there is something exciting about looking in the mirror and seeing a new version of yourself. Consider dying your hair, exploring some different outfits or even getting that tattoo you always dreamed of. If you’re a little phobic of needles, don’t worry: There are many online tattoo distributors who sell customizable and cool temporary tattoos in a variety of designs. Getting dolled up like a rock star and going out dancing for the evening might be the ticket to pulling yourself out of your slump.

    5. Try Herbal Remedies

    The extract, hypericum perforatum, from the herb found in St. John’s wort has been used for many years to treat mild to moderate depression. However, this natural herb can interfere with some anti-depressant medications so it is vital not to use without consulting with a doctor first. It is always wise to consult with a doctor or medical professional before using any nutritional supplement.

    6. Take Time for Yourself

    Sometimes, a change of scenery is all that is required to lift your mood. If it’s been a while since you got away and had some fun, now is the time to do so. Go camping with family, spend the weekend at the beach with your girlfriends or visit an amusement park with your kids. If lack of time is an issue, try a trip to a local day spa for a few hours. Get rejuvenated by a professional masseuse. This is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety currently apart of your life. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that you need a lot of money or vacation time to take a nice trip. Much can be accomplished in a weekend, or in a few hours, and by the time you get back home, you will likely feel refreshed and ready to face your problems.

    Life can be tough, and it’s natural to get depressed from time to time. However, if you find yourself unable to enjoy activities that you previously loved, you experience your mood getting worse over time or you begin having dark thoughts about hurting yourself, you should consider talking to your doctor. Sometimes, depression can be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and not anything in your lifestyle. If that’s the case, a doctor can help you figure out a proper treatment plan.

    Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytudut/5180386049

  10. Learn How To Defeat Stress

    October 5, 2013

    defeat stressby Sam Cleveland

    Stress can get incredibly burdensome. It can affect both your productivity and health. This is why it pays to take control of frustrating situations by training yourself. With good coping skills, you can surely take on seemingly unbearable challenges of the day. Below are practical tips for you to handle pressure, and enjoy more out of life.

    Find the Source of Your Stress

    First, you need to know why, how, and when you feel pressured, so you’ll have a better perspective of yourself.  This can be difficult as there are many factors which disgruntle you. For other situations, the reasons for stress may not be obvious.

    To avoid the confusion, you need to be more attentive on your daily tasks. You may realize how certain deadlines can always put you on the edge. Perhaps heavily reading through documents make you feel drained. A good way to find the sources of your stress is to make a journal. You can plot the days when you mostly experience straining activities, and which times are more relaxed.

    By identifying the culprit scenarios, you can find ways to avoid or control them. If your keyboard is not easy to use, you can have it replaced. When it seems you have too much task to work on, discuss it with your supervisor. In time, you will see the pattern of your stress levels. When you understand how you react in given situations, you can find a way to lighten your load.

    Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

    Sleep recharges your body after a whole day’s work. Try get to less of it, and you’ll end up feeling lousy the day after. It also doesn’t help if you’re constantly stressed out with irregular sleeping habits. You end up feeling tired and when it’s time for you to finally rest, you’ll have more difficulty to snooze.

    It’s best to sleep for six to eight hours a day. This is the optimum amount of time for your body to rest through the night. You should also rest early, so you won’t feel pressured of dozing off within a scheduled time. If you are having a hard time to get sleepy, try doing a breathing exercise. This helps you lessen the tension in your body as well as the stress hormones in your body are lowered.

    Visit a Health Retreat

    Most people experience lifestyle tensions due to pollution, noise, and other urban environmental factors. You can to recharge your body by taking a trip to a health retreat centre. This venue is not just a resort for you to go to on vacation. It’s specifically made to make sure you establish a healthy state of mind.

    Most health retreats consist of specialised facilities such as day spas, heated pools, and dance studios for yoga sessions. They can even be located in mountainous areas, so visitors could engage in mountain trekking, hiking, or other physically enriching activities. Health retreats also serve nutrient-packed dishes. All in all, the activities, facilities, and food selections help to detoxify your body. When you get home, you’ll be more ready to fight another batch of stress-related challenges.

    Organize your life

    Clutter in your office, home, and even your car can mentally influence you. It shows disorder, and these would make you feel even more stressed out. You’ll end up thinking of a schedule to get your place in order. You might often feel out of focus in your daily work task because of the mess. Important items such as the keys to your car might be lost in the shuffle. Organising your desk, the rooms of your house, and everything else you see in your life can benefit you. It can give you a clear mental state which aids you to combat stress.

    To have a healthy state of mind, remember to be active and organize. You should also consider a trip outside the city to help you in lowering your stress levels.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/730400293