Browsing Tag:

worry

  • 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

  • Stress

    Managing Stress

    What Is Stress?

    Stress is the uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re worried, scared, angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed. It is caused by emotions, but it also affects your mood and body. Many adults think that teens don’t have stress because they don’t have to work and support a family. They are missing the point and are wrong!

    What Causes Stress?

    Stress comes from many different places.

    • From your parents. “Don’t disappoint me, clean up, hurry up, finish this, do your homework, go out for the team, practice your music, try out for the school play, do your best, stay out of trouble, make more friends, don’t ever try drugs.”
    • From your friends. “How’d you do on the test, try this, prove you’re not a loser, don’t hang out with them, don’t wear that.”
    • Even from yourself. “I need to lose weight, build my muscles, wear the right clothes, get better grades, score more goals, show my parents I’m not a kid anymore.”

    And from:

    • Watching parents argue
    • Figuring out how to be independent
    • Feeling pressure to get good grades
    • Thinking about the future
    • Being pressured to do something you know is bad for you, like smoking
    • Not being good enough at sports
    • Worrying about how your body’s changing
    • Dealing with sexual feelings
    • Worrying about neighborhood or world problems
    • Feeling guilty

     

    How Does the Body Handle Stress?

    First, here are 2 short definitions.

    • Hormone: a chemical made by one part of the body that travels through your blood to send messages to the rest of the body.
    • Nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, and all of the nerves. The nerves send messages between your brain and the rest of your body.

    The body is a finely-tuned machine that can change quickly to do what we need it to do, like react to stress. The body has two nervous systems. The voluntary system does what you choose to have it do—walk, talk, move. The involuntary system keeps the body running without your even thinking about it—breathe, sweat, digest. The body actually has 2 different nerve pathways in the involuntary system. One works while we’re relaxed, and the other works when there’s an emergency. These 2 systems can’t work together at the same time. It’s important to know this because we can shut off the emergency system by flipping a switch and turning on the relaxed system.

    Is Stress Always Bad?

    Even though stress is uncomfortable, it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes stress helps us deal with tough situations. A lot of stress changes our bodies quickly and helps us react to an emergency. A little stress keeps us alert and helps us work harder.

    Ages ago, when people lived in the jungle—where a tiger might leap out at any moment—the emergency nervous system was key to survival. Imagine your great, great, great ancestors, Sam and Zelda, munching on some berries. Suddenly they saw a tiger and had to run! Hormones gave them the burst of energy they needed to escape.

    How did their bodies react? First, Sam and Zelda got that sinking feeling in their stomachs as the blood in their bellies quickly went to their legs so they could take off. Then when they jumped to their feet, their hearts beat faster to pump more blood. As they ran from the tiger, they breathed faster to take in more air. Their sweat cooled them as they ran. Their pupils became bigger so they could see in the dark, in case they needed to jump over a log while running away. They didn’t think about anything but running because they weren’t supposed to stop and figure out a friendly way to work it all out with the tiger.

    Our ancestors never would have survived without the stress reaction, but stress helps us do more than run. It keeps us alert and prepared for the next lurking tiger.

    Few of us need to outrun tigers today, but we all have problems and worries that turn on some of those exact same stress responses, like that panicky feeling you sometimes get when you’re studying for a big test. Your heart beats fast. Your breathing becomes heavier. You sweat and get flashes of heat because your hormones are confused about why you aren’t listening to them. Why are you standing still when they are telling you to run?

    If Stress Is a Survival Tool, Why Does It Make Us Feel Awful?

    Sam and Zelda had few choices when the tiger chased them. Either the tiger ate them or they escaped. As sick as it sounds, if they’d been eaten, they wouldn’t have had much to worry about anymore, right? If they lived, you can be sure their burst of energy allowed them to outrun the tiger or at least outrun Zok (their slower friend who was eaten by the tiger). In their run for survival, Sam and Zelda used up every drop of their hormone burst and then took a well-deserved nap.

    In the modern world, our biggest worries aren’t usually about life or death. We don’t really have to run away from our problems. But those same stress hormones stay in our bodies because, unlike Sam and Zelda, we don’t use them up by running. Instead, those hormones continue to hang around, unused and confused. They seem to be asking, “Why did my body stand still when that ‘tiger’ attacked?”

    It would be better if we had different hormones for different stresses. Hormones to deal with parental pressure would make you love chores. Hormones related to school stress would make you focus longer and shut down your kidneys so you wouldn’t need bathroom breaks. But we only have those hormones that prepare us to flee or fight. So it’s really important to use your brain to decide what’s a real emergency and to use exercise to use up those hormone bursts.

    Even when there are no real emergencies, our emotions make our bodies act like there is a huge crisis because the brain controls both emotions and stress hormones. If your brain thinks something terrible is happening, your body will react as if it really is! Even a little bit of stress that never seems to go away can confuse the body. It makes the body work harder to prepare for an emergency that may not really be there.

    A tiger running at you is a real crisis. If you believe a mild stress (like a math test) is an emergency, you will not be able to study. Your body will be preparing to deal with a real tiger, and you won’t be able to concentrate on anything but escaping. The trick is to figure out when something really is an emergency and when your emotions are only treating it like one.

    From: Fostering Resilience

  • 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