Browsing Tag:

mental health

  • Articles, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    Do you have a hard time concentrating on one thing? Do you check your Instagram or snapchat first thing in the morning? Do you seem to lose track of time? Do you panic if you lose or forget your phone? Do you take the phone into the bathroom with you? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may have a cyber addiction. This can have a negative effect on your health and life without realizing it. These habits can contribute to ADHD, anxiety and low self-esteem.

     

    Discover the Real

     Being online can feel like an escape from your emotions, but it’s not, because it’s not real. Some people put more value on the experience they create online than what they encounter in real life. The danger is that you can become immersed and sucked into the online presence they created instead of what’s truly real. That turns into an attachment to a fantasy. If you can relate to this, take small steps to reduce your time online and replace that reduced time with true human engagement. You can start with calling someone you’ve known for a while but only engaged with them through social media. Commit to finding real connections with people in your life and find ways to deepen those connections without technology.

     

    How to Unplug

    Disengaging and limiting your screen-time  is easier said than done. So, what steps can you take to help you unplug from your smartphone?

    Give yourself a list of things you must do before you get online. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do:

    • Read 3 chapters of a book
    • Create something – draw, compose a song, write a poem, write a short story
    • Practice playing an instrument
    • Play a board game with a friend or sibling
    • Take a dance class
    • Create a new hair style without recording it
    • Work on a jigsaw puzzle
    • Meet a friend at Starbucks

    You may be damaging your mental health while missing out on life by needing to see what’s happening online instead of connecting with the people right in front of you. It will still be there when you look an hour or two from later. I promise it will (unless you’re on snapchat 😉) Until then……Find your balance.

     

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Articles, Stress

    How Women Influence For The Better

    How Women Influence For The Better

    by Aulana Dudley

    A woman can be very important to a girl or boys life, they can shape who we are and how we react to certain things.
    A woman who has had a significant influence on me is Elizabeth Gross. Elizabeth has been my therapist for a little over a year. She helps me while I deal with my fear of human emotions and my anxieties mixed together. Elizabeth’s influence consists mostly of teaching me ways to handle human emotions (mostly when people cry) without becoming uncomfortable and ways to calm my mind down. For example, before I started going to Elizabeth I bottled every emotion up until I would explode and only anger would come out; I would also have panic attacks with no way of calming myself down and eventually I would just end up falling asleep. Since I’ve been seeing Elizabeth,  I’ve been able to control the number of emotional outbursts I have and I now know what can trigger them to happen. I can also find specific music to help guide my brain back to a placid mental state of mind during panic attacks.
    With Elizabeth’s influence, it has affected how I live moreso because now I know what my brain can handle and what can push it over the edge, this is what affects my character the most. She has also helped me find loopholes for my separation anxiety between my father and older sister, Satura. Elizabeth’s influence also alters my confidence; because she also aids me with my social anxiety which helps me get rid of some of my shyness and my fear of public speaking. She also helps me feel more confident in expressing how I feel about things that make me uniquely myself such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, and cartoons. Elizabeth has helped me in so many ways that I feel as though she has been a big impact in how to view certain things and my personality. Being able to see what a colossal change in my life Elizabeth has made on my life for the better has been one of the most heartwarming things I have ever been able to do.
  • Articles, Depression

    Depression and Suicide. Know the Signs. Help A Friend.

    Have you ever been so frustrated or overwhelmed to the point where you sob uncontrollably or even lose consciousness of your physical movements? Maybe you became upset because the winged-tip of your eyeliner on your left eye doesn’t match the winged-tip on your right eye even though you spent 30 minutes carefully applying each stroke of the black liquid to your eyelids. Or maybe that cow lick refuses to cooperate no matter how much hair product you apply to that one spot. Because these things are such a big deal at that moment in time, you overreact and become so worked up you forget that these things really aren’t “that deep”. There are individuals in other places battling their inner selves on a daily basis and their battles involve much more than winged eyeliner and a cow lick. You may be wondering what things could be more serious than not having the perfectly “beat” face or the most “laid” hairstyle, so I’m here to tell you…suicide. We may know what this term means, but do we really understand the factors that lead up to this mental illness that overtakes both youth and adult people? Are we aware of the signs or even ways to prevent suicide? If not, we are here to learn together.

    As celebrities are pushed to the forefront in everyday news, you may be aware of the recent suicide of fashion icon, Kate Spade. Reports have shared the possible reason Spade chose to take her own life in early June, which seems to have been confirmed in a suicide note she left her daughter, Frances. Sources have also shared that Spade’s last moments were spent joyfully, which made it seem as if everything was fine. Little did her family know, she’d finally made the decision to succumb to the worries of the world.

    Unfortunately, we fail to notice, or even to acknowledge, the signs of suicide until it is too late. Young people have become comfortable with sayings such as, “kill yourself” or “kill me now” in reference to an overwhelming situation. However, these phrases should never be used, not even jokingly. We never know what’s going on in someone’s life; especially not in their heads. As human beings, we neglect to pay attention to the actions and words of our friends and acquaintances and fail to take them seriously. It’s a negative characteristic we all carry that can be fixed with simply listening and becoming aware of the signs.

    Is My Age Group Affected by this Crisis?

    YES. People of all age groups struggle with this mental illness everywhere. However, statistics show youth struggle and give in to this illness each day. Risk factors that contribute to teen suicide include:

    • A recent or serious loss (family, friend, or pet)
    • Depression, trauma, stress
    • Alcohol and other substance use and/or abuse
    • Struggles with sexual orientation
    • A family history of suicide
    • Lack of social support
    • Bullying
    • Difficulties receiving mental help or restriction from receiving such help

    Some youth also send indirect cries for help through social media usernames as well as through the context of the messages they send through statuses, tweets, or snaps. We must become aware of the warning signs as well as prevent contributing to risk factors of this detrimental illness in order to prevent the rise in suicides.

    How Can I Help?

    • Remember that you never know what someone is going through; even if they seem to be the happiest person on the planet.
    • Pay attention to negative comments about oneself or the value of life itself
    • Brighten someone’s day by saying something nice! (You never know, they may have fought with their eyeliner that morning)
    • Pay attention to the words one uses on social media accounts.
    • BE AWARE OF WARNING SIGNS!!
  • Puberty, Sexual Health, Teen Pregnancy

    We all go through it…The Change

    Puberty – How Your Body Changes

    Your body is changing; your moods may be unpredictable and sometimes hard to explain. Don’t worry. These changes are normal. Our guide to teen health is designed to help you understand the common physical and emotional changes you are going through, and deal responsibly with new personal and social situations you may encounter. These changes are called puberty.

    Puberty lasts for several years and marks the life stage when your body is changing from a child to an adult. Hormones help trigger and guide this process. Hormones are natural chemicals in your body that produce gradual physical changes during this time and may also cause emotional changes that can sometimes seem uncontrollable. These changes are common during puberty, and they happen to everyone. Although it may seem that these changes and feelings are out of your control, don’t worry—you’re still you, just the “growing up” version.

    Common Physical Changes in Girls

    Girls going through puberty often notice physical changes, such as larger breasts, hair growth in new places, acne and changes in the shape of your hips, waste, bottom and thighs. Below are some of the common physical changes you may experience.

    Menstrual Periods & PMS

    Menstruation is a turning point in your development from a child to a teenager. It’s important to remember that this is natural and something that makes being a woman special.

    Larger Breasts

    One of the first changes you will notice are your breasts growing, usually between the ages of eight and 12. Once your breasts start growing, you will most likely want to buy a bra.

    Common Social and Emotional Issues

    Today’s young women face many emotional and social challenges during puberty. Below are some of the common tough issues you may find, and tips for handling them.

    Self Esteem & Peer Pressure

    The foundation for positive self-esteem is built at an early age and is influenced by relationships between you and your family. Your feelings about yourself will change as you grow.

    Sex & Sexually Transmitted Diseases

    When to engage or not engage in sexual relations is one of the most important decisions a person can make. From getting pregnant to becoming infected with an STD, make sure you understand the risks.

    Mental Health & Abuse

    Overall health means more than simply being in shape and eating properly. Mental health, which includes your thoughts and feelings, is just as important as physical health.

    Hair Growth

    Hair will start to grow under your arms, on your legs and on your pubic area. Shaving your underarms and legs is a personal choice, but talk about it with one of your parents first.

    Acne

    This aggravating condition may be mild (blackheads and whiteheads), moderate (larger inflamed-looking blemishes) or severe (large cysts or nodules). Acne is caused by a build-up of oil, microorganisms and dead skin cells in the hair follicles under the skin.

    Eating Disorders

    With a more prevalent preoccupation with appearance and weight in today’s society, girls may be at risk to develop eating disorders.

     

    Substance Abuse

    During your teenage years, it is a good idea to take some risks, like trying new activities or sports. However, some risk-taking behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs have negative effects.

     

    Visiting Your Doctor

    Before the onset of puberty, discuss your questions and concerns with your health care professional. It is also a time for you to gather printed material on a variety of health issues, including your menstrual cycle, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

  • Articles, Depression

    Ways to help with depression

    The first step to feeling better: Talk to an adult you trust

    Depression is not your fault, and you didn’t do anything to cause it. However, you do have some control over feeling better. The first step is asking for help.
    Talking to your parents about depression

    It may seem like there’s no way your parents will be able to help, especially if they are always nagging you or getting angry about your behavior. The truth is, parents hate to see their kids hurting. They may feel frustrated because they don’t understand what is going on with you or know how to help.

    If your parents are abusive in any way, or if they have problems of their own that makes it difficult for them to take care of you, find another adult you trust (such as a relative, teacher, counselor, or coach). This person can either help you approach your parents, or direct you toward the support you need. If you truly don’t have anyone you can talk to, refer to the resources below and at the end of this article. There are many hotlines, services, and support groups that can help.

    No matter what, talk to someone, especially if you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or others. Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do, and the first step on your way to feeling better.

    The importance of accepting and sharing your feelings

    It can be hard to open up about how you’re feeling—especially when you’re feeling depressed, hopeless, ashamed, or worthless. It’s important to remember that many people struggle with feelings like these at one time or another. They don’t mean you’re weak, fundamentally flawed, or no good. Accepting your feelings and opening up about them with someone you trust will help you feel less alone.

    No matter what it feels like, people love and care about you, and if you can muster the courage to talk about your depression, it can—and will—be resolved. Some people think that talking about sad feelings will make them worse, but the opposite is almost always true. It is very helpful to share your worries with someone who will listen and care. They don’t need to be able to “fix” you; they just need to be good listeners.

    Try not to isolate yourself—it makes depression worse

    When you’re depressed, you may not feel like seeing anybody or doing anything. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult, but isolating yourself only makes depression worse. Make it a point to stay social, even if that’s the last thing you want to do. As you get out into the world, you may find yourself feeling better.

    Spend time with friends who make you feel good—especially those who are active, upbeat, and understanding. Avoid hanging out with those who abuse drugs or alcohol, get you into trouble, or who make you feel insecure.

    Cut back on online time. Think about how you feel after spending hours upon hours playing videos games or checking social media. Not too great, right? Spending too much time online is not good for your mental health. Even if you’re interacting with friends, it’s no replacement for in-person contact. So be smart about your online time. There’s a time and place for it–just don’t let it take over your life.

    Get involved in activities you enjoy (or used to). Getting involved in extracurricular activities may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re depressed, but you’ll feel better if you do. Choose something you’ve enjoyed in the past, whether it be a sport, an art, dance or music class, or an after-school club. You might not feel motivated at first, but as you start to participate again, your mood and enthusiasm will begin to lift.

    Volunteer. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and happiness booster. Volunteering for a cause you believe in can help you feel reconnected to others and the world, and give you the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference.

    To boost mood, keep your body healthy

    Making healthy lifestyle choices can do wonders for your mood. Things like eating right, getting regular exercise, and being smart about alcohol and drugs have been shown to make a huge difference when it comes to depression.

    Get moving! Ever heard of a “runners high”? You actually get a rush of endorphins from exercising, which makes you feel instantly happier. Physical activity can be as effective as medications or therapy for depression, so get involved in sports, ride your bike, or take a dance class. Any activity helps! If you’re not feeling up to much, start with a short daily walk, and build from there.

    Be smart about what you eat. An improper diet can make you feel sluggish and tired, which worsens depression symptoms. Junk food and sugary snacks are the worst culprits! They may give you a quick boost, but they’ll leave you feeling worse in the long run. Make sure you’re feeding your mind with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Talk to your parents, doctor or school nurse about how to ensure your diet is adequately nutritious.

    Avoid alcohol and drugs. You may be tempted to drink or use drugs in an effort to escape from your feelings and get a “mood boost,” even if just for a short time. However, substance use can not only make depression worse, but can cause you to become depressed in the first place. Alcohol and drug use can also increase suicidal feelings. In short, drinking and taking drugs will make you feel worse—not better—in the long run. If you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, seek help. You will need special treatment for your substance problem on top of whatever treatment you’re receiving for your depression.

    If you’re suffering and don’t know where to turn…

    In the U.S., call the TeenLine at (800) 852-8336. It’s free, confidential, and available from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Pacific Time, seven days a week.

    Article From: helpguide.org

  • Depression, Stress

    Anxiety Disorders

    What Is Anxiety?

    Liam had always looked out for his younger brother Sam. But whenever Sam took the late bus after soccer practice, Liam worried about him so much he couldn’t concentrate on his homework. Liam watched the clock, worrying and imagining the worst — picturing bus accidents and fearing, for no particular reason, that Sam might be injured or dead. Only when Sam arrived home safe could Liam finally relax.

    It’s completely normal to worry when things get hectic and complicated. But if worries become overwhelming, you may feel that they’re running your life. If you spend an excessive amount of time feeling worried or nervous, or you have difficulty sleeping because of your anxiety, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. They may be symptoms of an anxiety problem or disorder.

    Anxiety is a natural human reaction that involves mind and body. It serves an important basic survival function: Anxiety is an alarm system that is activated whenever a person perceives danger or threat.

    When the body and mind react to danger or threat, a person feels physical sensations of anxiety — things like a faster heartbeat and breathing, tense muscles, sweaty palms, a queasy stomach, and trembling hands or legs. These sensations are part of the body’s fight-flight response. They are caused by a rush of adrenaline and other chemicals that prepare the body to make a quick getaway from danger. They can be mild or extreme.

    The fight-flight response happens instantly when a person senses a threat. It takes a few seconds longer for the thinking part of the brain (the cortex) to process the situation and evaluate whether the threat is real, and if so, how to handle it. If the cortex sends the all-clear signal, the fight-flight response is deactivated and the nervous system can relax.

    If the mind reasons that a threat might last, feelings of anxiety might linger, keeping the person alert. Physical sensations such as rapid, shallow breathing; a pounding heart; tense muscles; and sweaty palms might continue, too.

    Normal Anxiety

    Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time. Anxiety can be described as a sense of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear, or dread of what’s about to happen or what might happen. While fear is the emotion we feel in the presence of threat, anxiety is a sense of anticipated danger, trouble, or threat.

    Feelings of anxiety can be mild or intense (or anywhere in between), depending on the person and the situation. Mild anxiety can feel like a sense of uneasiness or nervousness. More intense anxiety can feel like fear, dread, or panic. Worrying and feelings of tension and stress are forms of anxiety. So are stage fright and the shyness that can come with meeting new people.

    It’s natural for new, unfamiliar, or challenging situations to prompt feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Facing an important test, a big date, or a major class presentation can trigger normal anxiety. Although these situations don’t actually threaten a person’s safety, they can cause someone to feel “threatened” by potential embarrassment, worry about making a mistake, fitting in, stumbling over words, being accepted or rejected, or losing pride. Physical sensations — such as a pounding heart, sweaty hands, or a nervous stomach — can be part of normal anxiety, too.

    Because anxiety makes a person alert, focused, and ready to head off potential problems, a little anxiety can help us do our best in situations that involve performance. But anxiety that’s too strong can interfere with doing our best. Too much anxiety can cause people to feel overwhelmed, tongue-tied, or unable to do what they need to do.

    Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that involve excessive amounts of anxiety, fear, nervousness, worry, or dread. Anxiety that is too constant or too intense can cause a person to feel preoccupied, distracted, tense, and always on alert.

    Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions. They affect people of all ages — adults, children, and teens. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, with different symptoms. They all have one thing in common, though: Anxiety occurs too often, is too strong, is out of proportion to the present situation, and affects a person’s daily life and happiness.

    Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can come on suddenly, or they can build gradually and linger until a person begins to realize that something is wrong. Sometimes anxiety creates a sense of doom and foreboding that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s common for those with an anxiety disorder to not know what’s causing the emotions, worries, and sensations they have.

    Different anxiety disorders are named to reflect their specific symptoms.

    • Generalized anxiety.

    With this common anxiety disorder, a person worries excessively about many things. Someone with generalized anxiety may worry excessively about school, the health or safety of family members, and the future. They may always think of the worst that could happen.

    Along with the worry and dread, people with generalized anxiety have physical symptoms, such as chest pain, headache, tiredness, tight muscles, stomachaches, or vomiting. Generalized anxiety can lead a person to miss school or avoid social activities. With generalized anxiety, worries can feel like a burden, making life feel overwhelming or out of control.

    • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

    . For a person with OCD, anxiety takes the form of obsessions (bad thoughts) and compulsions (actions that try to relieve anxiety).

    • Phobias.

    These are intense fears of specific situations or things that are not actually dangerous, such as heights, dogs, or flying in an airplane. Phobias usually cause people to avoid the things they are afraid of.

    • Social phobia (social anxiety).

    This intense anxiety is triggered by social situations or speaking in front of others. An extreme form called selective mutism causes some kids and teens to be too fearful to talk at all in certain situations.

    • Panic attacks.

    These episodes of anxiety can occur for no apparent reason. With a panic attack, a person has sudden and intense physical symptoms that can include a pounding heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, or tingling feelings causes by overactivity of the body’s normal fear response. Agoraphobia is an intense fear of panic attacks that causes a person to avoid going anywhere a panic attack could possibly occur.

    • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    This type of anxiety disorder results from a traumatic or terrifying past experience. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, or constant fear after the fact.

    From: Kids Health

  • Depression, Stress

    How Anxiety Disorders Affect People

    How Anxiety Disorders Affect People

    For people dealing with anxiety disorders, symptoms can feel strange and confusing at first. For some, the physical sensations can be strong and upsetting. For others, feelings of doom or fear that can happen for no apparent reason can make them feel scared, unprotected, and on guard. Constant worries can make a person feel overwhelmed by every little thing. All this can affect someone’s concentration, confidence, sleep, appetite, and outlook.

    People with anxiety disorders might avoid talking about their worries, thinking that others might not understand. They may fear being unfairly judged, or considered weak or scared. Although anxiety disorders are common, people who have them may feel misunderstood or alone.

    How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

    Anxiety disorders can be treated by mental health professionals, or therapists. A therapist can look at the symptoms someone is dealing with, diagnose the specific anxiety disorder, and create a plan to help the person get relief.

    A particular type of talk therapy called cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is often used. In CBT, a person learns new ways to think and act in situations that can cause anxiety, and to manage and deal with stress. The therapist provides support and guidance and teaches new coping skills, such as relaxation techniques or breathing exercises. Sometimes, but not always, medication is used as part of the treatment for anxiety.

    What to Do

    Getting the problem treated can help a person feel like himself or herself again — relaxed and ready for the good things in life. Someone who might be dealing with an anxiety disorder should:

    • Tell a parent or other adult about physical sensations, worries, or fears. Because anxiety disorders don’t go away unless they are treated, it’s important to tell someone who can help. If a parent doesn’t seem to understand right away, talk to a school counselor, religious leader, or other trusted adult.
    • Get a checkup. See a doctor to make sure there are no physical conditions that could be causing symptoms.
    • Work with a mental health professional. Ask a doctor, nurse, or school counselor for a referral to someone who treats anxiety problems. Finding out what’s causing the symptoms can be a great relief.
    • Get regular exercise, good nutrition, and sleep. These provide your body and brain with the right fuel and time to recharge.
    • Try to stay patient and positive. It can take time to feel better, and courage to face fears. But letting go of worry allows space for more happiness and fun.

    Some people with anxiety disorders might blame themselves. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or mistakenly think that anxiety is a weakness or a personal failing. Anxiety can keep people from going places or doing things they enjoy.

    The good news is, doctors today understand anxiety disorders better than ever before and, with treatment, a person can feel better.

    What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

    Experts don’t know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. Several things seem to play a role, including genetics, brain biochemistry, an overactive fight-flight response, stressful life circumstances, and learned behavior.

    Someone with a family member who has an anxiety disorder has a greater chance of developing one, too. This may be related to genes that can affect brain chemistry and the regulation of chemicals called neurotransmitters. But not everyone with a family member who has an anxiety disorder will develop problems with anxiety.

    Things that happen in a person’s life can also set the stage for anxiety disorders. Frightening traumatic events that can lead to PTSD are a good example.

    Growing up in a family where others are fearful or anxious can “teach” a child to view the world as a dangerous place. Likewise, someone who grows up in an environment that is actually dangerous (if there is violence in the family or community, for example) may learn to be fearful or expect the worst.

    Although everyone experiences normal anxiety in certain situations, most people — even those who experience traumatic situations — don’t develop anxiety disorders. And people who develop anxiety disorders can get relief with proper treatment and care. They can learn ways to manage anxiety and to feel more relaxed and at peace.

    From: Kid Health