Stress (15)

How To Calm Your Amped Up Mind

Do you ever feel amped up? Wound up or restless? Anxiety is a drag. Feeling amped up can happen to everyone at some time in life. This is one way that anxiety presents itself. How you deal with anxiety is what makes the difference. How do you soothe your overexcited mind?7948958674?profile=RESIZE_400x

What Is Anxiety?

Let's see what the experts say. According to anxiety.org: Anxiety is the reaction to situations perceived as stressful or dangerous. "The amped-up feeling and restlessness you may feel can be manifestations of anxiety. The world we live in and the hectic pace of our society often leaves people feeling this way. Many wonder how they can learn to relax.

Symptoms Of Anxiety:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

(According to nimh.org)

How To Soothe Your Amped Up Mind

Be Here Now 

Anxiety can be described as worrying about something that is in the future. Be here now: What's happening at this moment? Bring yourself back to the present. This can be done by doing a task that requires all of your attention. For some people, this might be an art project. Others might find relief from a sport that demands all their focus. For others pausing and reflecting on being present is enough. Find what works for you to bring you into the moment you are in right now and relax your intense emotions. I always look at my feet and tell myself, this where you are. Be here. Then I picture myself with a snow shovel in a foot of snow. You need to shovel snow, not buy a ticket to Florida. This centers me in the present moment.

Take A Break

Sometimes you need a break. Get out of town, take a day off, or go for a run. Move your body and breathe fresh air. A change of environment or even a change of routine can refresh the soul and relax the mind.

Check-In

Ask yourself if what you are anxious about is reasonable and logical. Check-in. Ask yourself if whatever is happening at this moment is even worth investing your energy in. This allows you to train your brain to develop a rational way to deal with your anxious emotions. Developing these habits prepares you for the future when you have a similar experience. Having a contingency plan will help you feel calmer at the moment.

Meditation And Deep Breathing 

Deep breathing will help you relax. Meditation or breathing exercises help; both are excellent relaxation and focusing methods. Search online for various methods to try. Yoga, group classes, or individual practice may help you with relaxation and self-soothing. All of these activities are excellent for your wellbeing and overall health.

Reframe

Changing the way you look at a situation can change the way you feel about it. A change in your outlook can be achieved by intentional acts. Over time it will happen automatically. According to a study: "Appraisal theories of emotion suggest that it is an individual's subjective appraisal of an event—that is, its' meaning and significance—rather than the event itself that leads to a specific emotional reaction." (Seeing the Silver Lining: Cognitive Reappraisal Ability Moderates the Relationship Between Stress and Depressive Symptoms, Allison S. Troy, et al., 2010) 

How you look at an event can change your emotions about it. If you have a balanced, calm mindset, it will take more for you to feel excited. You will have better distress tolerance and be better able to handle emotions that arise. 

You can learn to calm yourself using small changes to daily habits and to reframe your thoughts. Implementing some of these practices will help you develop techniques to increase relaxation in your everyday life, de-stress, and improve your mental health. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

 

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5 Signs You Worry Too Much

Worrying can have significant impacts on our successes in life and our willingness to branch out, take risks, and step out into our fears. It can be difficult to analyze where worries and anxiety come from as they can be a result of past negative or traumatic experiences. 

Coming to terms with the fact that you might be worried about the future too much is essential when trying to transform your mindset and become more present in the moment. Below are five signs that you can use to determine whether you are worrying too much.7024983454?profile=RESIZE_400x

Once you admit to yourself that worry may be impacting your life in a negative way, you will be able to find strategies that work best for you that will shift your perspective and allow you to finally let go. 

  1. Constantly Looking at the Worst Possible Scenarios

When you find yourself always looking at what could go wrong if you take the risk or step out of your comfort zone, chances are you will be hesitant and will stick with what is comfortable. This is an extremely common mindset that prevents people from ever accomplishing their goals and aspirations.

If you find yourself looking at the worst possible scenarios of a potential situation, it is important to analyze why you are worrying so much and what fears may be holding you back. Be honest with yourself and start looking at what could go right is one of the best ways to begin to shift your mindset. 

  1. Inability to Sleep

If you find yourself toss and turn with negative thoughts repeating in the mind, worry and anxiety might be having impacts on your sleep which will cause a domino effect on many other aspects of your life.

If your sleep quality is very low and you have trouble falling asleep, during the day your emotions will impact you in a negative way and a negative cycle will begin. It is important to realize these feelings before they take over your life and find new techniques for letting go of worry and falling asleep at the same time each night.

  1. Reliving Negative Experiences

If you find yourself reliving and looking at the past and negative experiences that happened, it is important to sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself. These experiences are probably having a larger impact on your life than you think and may subconsciously be preventing you from realizing your highest potential.

In order to become the best version of yourself and let go of your fears, it is important to let go of negative past experiences and reset your perspectives on the future. Meditation can be helpful in teaching you to be more present in the moment and to leave the past in the past to make room for new experiences. 

  1. Being Resentful

If you feel stuck in a victim mindset and expect others to act a certain way by reading your mind, you will put yourself in a very negative cycle and the world will feel like a very dark place. To change this, it is important to be straightforward about your desires and be more accepting of various situations. Spending you to let go of your worries for the future.

  1. Feeling Guilty

Guilt puts us in a state of anxiety and fear for our surroundings. When you learn to let go of guilt and be more accepting of yourself and others around you, you will gradually learn to worry less. Guilt puts life in a very worry some and negative perspective. Be honesty with yourself and give yourself the credit you deserve.

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Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do. It’s funny how often we take on impossible tasks and stressful daily schedules and not ask for assistance. Asking for help takes vulnerability and opens you up to another person. For some of us, this may come easy. For those of you who struggle, read on for some ways to ask for help. It will ease your anxiety and stress!

Accept That You Need and Deserve Help

The first and possibly hardest step is accepting that you not only need help, but you deserve it. Maybe you used to ask for help all the time, but adverse reactions made you stop. If you’re struggling, though, you need to accept that you need help or things are going to get worse.

Give that younger version of yourself who hardened your heart to others a break. You have come a long way since then. You’ve learned how to do a lot on your own, so it is not unreasonable to ask others to help you now. It is often the case that those around you would rather know you need help than watch you fail.

Know What You Need

Once you accept that you need and deserve help, you need to make sure you know what you need help with. Do you need advice about buying a car? Do you need a coworker’s advice? Make sure you know exactly what you need so you can go to the right person and ask the right thing.

Often, we struggle with requests for help because we don’t know what we need. We convey some ideas that we think might help, but the other person gets confused and offers favors that don’t make your life easier. All of that struggle can be avoided if you know exactly what you need from a person.

Don’t Leave People Guessing About What You Need6986238289?profile=RESIZE_400x

According to Alice Boyes of PsychologyToday.com, “When asking for help, make sure the person knows exactly what you want. For example, if you want to be shown what to do, rather than tell you, make sure you ask for that.”

This also works in the office. Your boss and coworkers may sometimes seem like they are waiting around for you to fail so they can be mad at you. The truth is they all want you to succeed because you are on their team. When you do your job better, so does everyone else. And your boss makes more money!

Therefore, in relationships, both personal and professional, make sure to ask for specific things when you know you need them. Be clear, and you more likely you will receive the support you need and deserve.

Give Help

When you readily help others, they will willingly help you. Knowing when to say no is crucial. If you are already feeling overwhelmed, you may not be able to meet someone’s request. This is fine. You have to make sure that you are doing well before you can help others.

When you are doing well, however, it benefits others, the world, and even you to offer up quality assistance to your friends, family, and members of your office and community. When those around you are happy and productive, it helps you and your entire community! So, take some time to help others, and you will never be wanting for assistance.

Asking for help is hard because we think it makes us weak. We’re also afraid we won’t get it. We have to push on past these fears with the firm belief that we need and deserve assistance. We must also walk the walk and help others in return.

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Unfortunately, scientists have not yet discovered a one-stop cure to anxiety and stress. Many different components of life cause both long-term and short-term stress, and these are often closely linked and related to anxiety.          

There are many different stress management and anxiety-relieving approaches that you can practice that can support and help to manage these conditions. It is essential first to identify what is causing your stress and try to analyze patterns and themes between stress-inducing events. Below are six different strategies to help minimize stress and feel calmer overall in your life.5467647273?profile=RESIZE_400x

  1. Proper Sleep 

Getting a proper night of sleep is one of the best ways to relieve stress and feel less anxious throughout the day. When you are not sleeping because all of your responsibilities are repeating through your mind before bed, it is important to take time to notice this and write things down before bed. 

By writing down what you have to do the next day, you will be able to relax your mind and not feel like you need to remember anything in the morning. Another important way to improve your sleep quality is to go to sleep at the same time every night in this way your body gets adjusted to a routine, and you will be tired every night.

  1. Journaling 

Jotting down your emotions, thoughts, and the various stressors in your daily life will allow you to clear your mind and feel relaxed during the day. When everything feels bottled up in your mind, you will not be able to focus on the tasks and responsibilities right in front of you and will likely feel very overwhelmed.

The Five-Minute Journal is a great way to keep your journaling short and simple and stick to a structure. The journal prompts you with a list to fill in each morning and night that is not time-consuming. Journaling will allow you to empty the stress going through your mind and not feel like your anxiety is overbearing.

  1. Meditation 

Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and learn to breathe more deeply when anxiety arises. Meditation is the best way to stay calm and allow your mind to feel balanced during the day. 

Taking a couple of minutes each morning for meditation is the best way to relieve stress and clear your mind before all of your responsibilities come into play.  Meditation will also allow you to stay present in the moment, which will alleviate your anxiety around the future.

  1. Exercise and Make Healthy Choices 

Taking time each day for physical activity is one of the best stress relievers. By making time to go for a walk or attend a gym near your work or home, you will feel better and more alert throughout the day. Exercise will make your stress more manageable and has direct links with lowered anxiety.

  1. Make Time for Self-Care 

Taking time for yourself is one of the best ways not to feel too overwhelmed with all of your responsibilities and allow your mind a place to calm down. There are so many different ways to practice self-care, including nature walks, practicing your favorite hobbies, or even watching your favorite television show. 

Stepping away from all of the stressors allows your mental health to improve and reduce the amount of anxiety and pressure you feel.

  1. Positive Thinking

Lastly, positive thinking is a great way to reduce your stress and anxiety and stay more present in the moment. Practicing gratitude and realizing all of the great things in your life can allow you not to feel as overwhelmed by the responsibilities you have.

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Can Stress Kill You

We have all felt the impacts of stress at some point in our lives, whether it be minor or significant. From work deadlines to school assignments or even paying off the bills, stress appears in many different aspects of our lives.

Short-term stress can make us feel anxious, exhausted, and irritable but is sometimes necessary for productivity and accomplishing our goals. However, chronic stress can have severe impacts on our health and well-being, which ultimately can lead to a shorter life span.5436662056?profile=RESIZE_400x

Chronic Stress

Long-term stress has proven to have adverse effects on our health and is much more common than one would imagine. According to WebMD, around 33 percent of people report feeling repeated and extreme stress throughout their daily lives.           

The causes of chronic stress can be anything from financial problems to a high-pressure job, to issues with family or our relationships. There are various ways that stress directly impacts our health, especially over the long term.

Symptoms of Chronic Stress           

There are many indicators that a person may be experiencing chronic stress. If they are overwhelmed and always busy, it may not be that easy to identify the symptoms and admit that they are stress-related. 

One of the most common symptoms of chronic stress is frequent tension headaches. Headaches can occur because when under pressure, you are likely not giving your mind as much oxygen as it needs. The built-up emotions that stress brings to the mind increase muscle tension and can impact our sleep.          

Stress can also increase our general anxiety levels, leaving us on edge and irritable throughout the day. Stress-related anxiety causes rapid breathing, high blood pressure, frequent stomachaches, and a weakened immune system. These impacts on the body leave you at risk for heart attacks and potentially very serious diseases. 

Long-Term Effects          

According to the American Institute of Stress, it is not the stressful situations that can kill you, but how you deal with the stress that affects your health. When your stress is excessive over long periods, you will begin to experience these symptoms and have a high risk of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.         

A study done by the Mental Health Foundation discovered that 32 percent of respondents who were experiencing chronic stress admitted to having some form of suicidal thoughts at one point in their lives.           

Heart disease is another common way that stress impacts the body. People often turn to excessive eating, drugs, or alcohol to manage chronic stress, but in reality, this worsens their symptoms and long-term health.

The high blood pressure and cholesterol that results from these decisions can damage the artery walls and eventually lead to life-threatening heart problems. 

Preventing the Effects of Chronic Stress         

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome chronic stress and prevent it from having lasting impacts on your health. One of the best ways to manage stress is to stay away from alcohol, drugs, and caffeine.           

Having a set daily routine allows the body not to feel as stressed and overwhelmed with responsibilities. Daily routines can also allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make time for exercise each day, even if it means waking up an hour earlier.

           

Routines also help with maintaining a good sleep pattern and getting the proper amounts of sleep each night. You will not experience problems falling asleep if you go to bed at the same time each night, and your body will get adjusted to waking up early in the morning.           

There are many ways to manage stress and overcome it to prevent the life-threatening impacts that stress can have on the body and your overall health. It is essential to take the necessary steps to avoid these problems and stay mentally and physically healthy for the long-term.

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Stress Management Is Not Hard

At some point or another, everyone experiences stress throughout their daily lives. Whether it be something as simple as paying the bills each month or having too many responsibilities at work, or something more substantial like divorce or moving to a new place, stress follows us through all aspects of our lives.
Stress is inevitable and can cause many negative impacts on the quality of our lives and even our long-term health. Chronic stress can also occur without us realizing since we are so caught up in the daily motions and responsibilities of our lives. 5435906896?profile=RESIZE_400x          

By identifying the different things that are causing stress in our daily lives, we can follow specific stress management techniques that are surprisingly simpler than one would expect. Stress management is not one size fits all, and not all methods work the same on every individual, but there are many things to practice to balance and notice our stress levels.

Journaling           

Although it may seem cliché, jotting down the various things that cause us stress and the emotions we deal with daily can significantly decrease our stressors and identify patterns and themes.        

The way to utilize a stress journal is to jot down what you are experiencing when you recognize a stressful situation in your life. You can write down the event or experience that caused your stress, the different emotions you felt going through it, and the way you responded to the situation.         

After a couple of weeks of doing things, you will likely be able to identify the themes where stress is occurring in your life, and a solution may appear sooner than you would think. For example, if each of your stress entries occurred while at work, it could be that your company or the position you are in is causing you more stress than you thought.           

Based on your various journal entries, you will identify ways to manage your stress on your own and adapt your life in order to feel calmer and less overwhelmed. By writing down your stressors, you will also be able to release the emotions rather than feeling like they are bottled up in your mind. This will relieve your brain fog and allow you to focus on the tasks in front of you.

Exercise           

Staying physically active for just a small amount of time each day is one of the best stress management techniques that is widely overlooked. Even though the things that stress you out may feel like they are priority over taking time for exercise, it is a huge stress reliever that is scientifically proven to improve not only your physical health but your mental health.          

Whether it be going on a mindful walk after work, or taking workout classes during a break at work, making time for physical exercise is a great way to relieve and strengthen the mind. You will feel better, which will make the daunting tasks you are stressed about a lot more manageable.

Meditation           

Although meditation may seem like a challenging task that takes a lot of time and effort, it is quite the opposite. Meditation allows you to connect with the mind and attempt to clear it of the different stressors that you experience throughout the day.           

Even just 20 minutes a day, when you first wake up in the morning, is proven to have tons of health benefits and will increase your productivity and alertness throughout the day. Meditation is crucial to the brain and is the best and most important stress management technique. Over time, meditation has a direct link with stress relief and overall calmness.

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Stress vs. The Relaxation State

Some days you can hang out around the house spending quality time with the family and not have a care in the world. Other days, your mind seems to be racing, and nearly everything that’s occurred over the course of the day has only made you feel worse. 

That’s because the body has two major states: A stress state and a relaxation state. Depending on which state you’re currently in, your physical, mental and emotional states will all be vastly different. So, let’s go over what you might experience in each of these states. 5318029286?profile=RESIZE_400x                                                                                                        

What is the stress state? 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, when you’re in the stress state, you’re in a state of constant alert. Your nervous system continually has the “fight-or-flight” mode activated, and your body and mind are both on edge, just waiting for the next “dangerous” event to occur. 

With extra adrenaline pumping through your body, you might notice that your heart is racing and that your blood pressure has skyrocketed. You might begin to feel some tension building up throughout your body, whether that’s in your muscles, joints, or in the form of a headache. 

You could even make yourself physically sick in the form of nausea, stomach cramping, or even more susceptible to common illnesses like the cold or flu. And forget about sleeping, because the stress and anxiety are also more relentless at night. 

Mentally, you might not be able to focus as well as you usually would. Your thoughts are racing, and it seems like your mind is bouncing around to 20 different ideas in a span of only a few minutes, and there’s nothing that you can do to calm it.

You might snap at people when they approach you and have a lower tolerance for what you’re able to “put up with” during the day. It seems as if the smallest things will set you off, even though you’re usually pretty calm.

What is the relaxation state?

According to the Mayo Clinic, being in the relaxation state involves having relatively low physical and mental tension flooding through your body. If you had to describe how you were feeling, you could probably describe it as “calm.”

Unlike the stress state, your blood pressure and heart rate are both within healthy ranges and, in fact, might be lower than they usually are. That’s because you have far less cortisol (the stress hormone) pumping through your body, which helps to put your body at ease physically.

When you’re relaxed, you might notice that any physical pain or muscle tension that has built up over the last several weeks is either less severe or completely gone. Your body seems to be functioning normally, and you just feel better than ever.

You can finally get to sleep at night, and your stomach and head no longer ache at the thought of going to work, school, or any major event. You’re much easier to associate with, and people aren’t afraid to bring you bad news in fear of how you’d react. 

You can tackle those big projects at work without fretting over every single task involved because you don’t feel as overwhelmed. Plus, you’re more likely to see the positives in even the worst situations that are going on around you.

 Final Thoughts

It’s natural for your body to fluctuate between the stress and relaxation state depending on what’s going on in your life physically, mentally, and emotionally. Though you can’t entirely prevent the stress state from coming on, you can put in the effort to identify your stressors and develop healthy coping strategies.

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Okay, so besides the typical day to day hustle and immense stress of daily living in the modern world, we now have a pandemic to contend with.

Unfortunately, dealing with anxiety has become somewhat of a normal part of life for many individuals in the world today. Although this problem is not necessarily a new phenomenon, there are certain aspects of modern times that have served to exacerbate the issue.

Due to our world being so connected through the internet, social media, and other forms of media, people today are not only exposed to the issues in their immediate environment. Instead, we are shown all of the bad things taking place across the entire globe. Furthermore, we are expected to juggle so many more responsibilities at one time, all while being as productive as possible. 

Although anxiety certainly varies in intensity and frequency from person to person, there are a few ways to deal with the problem that is beneficial for anyone experiencing this issue. This article intends to discuss a few of these techniques in order to alleviate some of your anxiety, hopefully improving your overall quality of life.

Live In The Moment 

Although it may seem obvious when stated, the only point in time in which you will EVER exist is right now. Ironically, most of us dedicate the bulk of our mental energy to the past or future. Anxiety is great at causing us to replay past mistakes in our head and constantly worry about things that have yet to occur.

A big part of dealing with anxiety is to live in the moment. This means focusing all of your physical and mental energy on what is going on right now. Not only does this simplify life, but it also allows you to get the most out of your limited time. 

Trying to deal with your entire past and future on a constant basis makes it virtually impossible to appreciate what is right in front of you. 

Control What You Can Control

The truth is, many of the issues causing anxiety in your life are beyond your control. This includes global and community issues as well as problems in your personal life.

What you need to realize is that the weight of the world is NOT on your shoulders, even though it can certainly seem like it at times. Anxiety tells you that you should be worried about solving problems that are way out of your hands. 

In reality, focusing on the issues that you can resolve is a much healthier response to a problem-filled world.

It’s Okay To Not Feel Okay

Another side effect of anxiety is a feeling of isolation. People experiencing anxiety on a routine basis tend to feel like they are the only ones dealing with this issue. 

Because of this perspective, we often feel like everyone else is much happier than we are like. We won’t be accepted if anyone else knew the extent of our anxiety. It is so important to realize that this is far from the truth. 

Everyone around you is experiencing some degree of anxiety or mental hang up. You are far from alone. Don’t feel like you have to go through life, acting as if everything is okay when it isn’t.

Get Help If You Need It 

Finally, if your anxiety is something you are having trouble dealing with on your own, then don’t! There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help for this issue. Ironically, our society welcomes getting help for even minor physical ailments but acts as if doing the same for a serious mental problem is taboo.

Consider this; if you had the flu, you would most certainly seek the appropriate doctor to take care of it. Why would you not find a doctor that is trained in alleviating mental health issues if you are dealing with anxiety? There is help out there. Get it if you need it!

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How To Calm The Restless Mind

Anxiety takes energy. Your heart speeds up, you sweat, and your muscles tense. Anxiety might be better if it had the decency to burn more calories, but there isn't an upside. Having a restless mind destroys your focus, concentration and can cause many a sleepless night. An anxious mind drains you. Then, when it's time to sleep, it won't turn off.

If your mind is restless, read on for some tips on how to calm it. It takes practice and determination, but the anxious mind can be made calm. Like most hard paths, it's worth it. The benefit is making informed decisions because you won't be in survival mode, and you will be able to relax more.

Cognitive Distancing

The restless mind is trying to protect you. It is warning you of future dangers, but it can get out of control. Realize that your mind is only guessing what might happen. It doesn't know.

Distance yourself from your anxious thoughts. Step back and think about facts. How likely is it that the thing you fear will happen? What can you do to prevent it? Breathe, step back, and make a fact-based plan.

Focus on the Moment

Focusing on the moment is a mindfulness practice that teaches you to get out of your head, out of the past and the future. The restless mind indulges in all kinds of horror fantasies that are not based on reality or the task at hand.4571268081?profile=RESIZE_400x

If you focus on the moment, your mind gains tangible facts and details with which to construct your reactions. Your mind will be unable to lose itself in worry if you are focused on a conversation, delicious meal, or game, for instance. So put your mind to work focusing on the moment.

Take Action

There's nothing worse for a restless mind than sitting around. You can't just take any action, though. You have to calculate how to make your life better. You won't be good at it at first, either. You'll need to act like a scientist. Try some things out, evaluate your results, and then try something new. When you see yourself making progress, your mind will calm down.

Don't Indulge Useless Thoughts

PsychologyToday.com points out that "just because a thought is true doesn't mean that it is helpful to focus on—at least not all the time. If only 1 in 10 people will get the job you seek, for instance, and you keep thinking about those odds, you may become demotivated and not even bother applying."

Your mind identifies trouble so that you can take action, not so that you convince yourself not to try. There is a myriad of useless thoughts we often indulge. Does this person like me enough? Am I doing the right job? Will my car break down? These are vague worries that do not help you in life. They weigh you down, so do not indulge them.

Step Back and Think

Re-evaluation is essential for progress. If we don't step back to think now and then, we keep doing the same things over and over. Insanity, as they say, is doing the same things and expecting different results. So, step back for a minute and think.

When you step back, find a way to measure progress. If you've got fitness goals, you can weigh yourself and decide if you need a better workout. If you've got money goals, evaluate how much you're spending and what you can do to earn more. You got this.

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Someone cuts you off on the freeway. You're so angry you're slow to honk your horn because you're busy shouting and swearing after them.

You sigh loudly and often stuck in the slow line at the supermarket.

A social media post has your hackles up and before you can stop yourself, you're typing an angry reply.

These are just a few of the common actions of an emotionally reactive person. Quick to react to a delay, an issue, controversial idea, a mistake, traffic jam, miscommunications or other problems. You might know someone like this or, you may be realizing that you are also one of these people.4533742146?profile=RESIZE_400x

You can feel it flaring up throughout your day. You might not realize it or not, but it's making your life incredibly difficult. You are imprisoned by your own emotions.

Imagine this.

Someone is walking the dog. The person is using a leash which allows them to guide and control the actions of the dog.

That's what a reactive person truly is – the human and the dog.

So, when a dog spots a pigeon it immediately wants to rush to it for further inspection. The person is then required to leap into action to prevent this from occurring.

It's the exact same when dealing with someone who is reactive. You see something you don't like, and your unconscious reaction is akin to chasing and barking at it. What you need to learn how to do is become the human master who pulls you back in before you react.

Pause

When you feel it rising up or you recognize a trigger, it's important to pause and take a breath.

For example, you're in traffic and someone cuts in because they hedged their bets and raced to the front of the crowd before a lane closes. It happens every day. Don't immediately allow yourself to get angry – shift your energy through breath.

Label

What exactly is your reaction? Is it anger? Frustration? Insecurity or anxiousness? You have been cut off in traffic, you react with anger. As you go through your day record your reactions.

Ask

Ask yourself why this has triggered you in the way it did. Did the event or situation itself trigger you? Probably it is related to a previous event. The point is to make yourself aware of your blind spots and triggers.

Often, the emotion in our reaction is down to something simmering below the surface. It's more than just being cut off. Rather, you might be reacting angrily because now you are going to be late. Think about this, have you ever cut someone off because you have been running late? Probably. That doesn't make it right, but it should help you put it into perspective.

Choose

You've paused, called it what it is, and asked, now it's time to choose a new reaction. This is an essential step in the process. Think about your goal, what matters most, and a productive response. Is getting angry going to help you achieve your goal?

No. The goal in our example is to get to work (or another destination) on time. Getting angry is going to relieve you of the responsibility of leaving early enough to be on time. A better response would be to shake it off and focus on the drive.

Empower

Finally, it's time to empower yourself! You can only move forward if you possess the awareness necessary to create better outcomes for everyone. Of course, it isn't easy, but with practice, you will find yourself shifting away from reactive emotions and calming yourself more effectively. It's all about building your capacity for self-reflection.

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5 Ways You Can Reduce Stress Today

Chronic stress kills! It plays a key role in heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, anxiety, and many other conditions and it is rampant in our modern hustle and bustle society.

So, you have a plan to make your life less stressful. Maybe you’ve even scheduled an appointment with a professional to start dealing with your anxiety, but that’s not for a month. You need to reduce your stress right now, but you don’t know-how.

Don’t stress about not being able to reduce stress! You’ve got enough stress already. What you need to do is kick back, and read on. Here are five ways you can reduce stress today.4517293216?profile=RESIZE_400x

Light Some Candles

Candles, especially the scented kind, are great stress reducers. Finding a good candle can be fun too. Go to a store with scented candles and sniff a bunch of them! Find a scent that makes you feel happy and calm. Get a couple so that the smells won’t get old for you.

Then, maybe after the sun goes down and you need to unwind, turn off all the bulbs and light some scented candles. Put on some relaxing music, too. This will immediately put your mind into a more relaxed space.

Put on the Right Song

Songs drive our emotions. They can take us back in time, calm us down, and amp us up. Use songs to your advantage and find some that help you relax

So, put on the right song when you feel stressed. You’ll start feeling better and pretty soon the things you’re doing to help you in the long term will kick in. Your hard work will pay off.

Laugh

There have been many studies that prove laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress (like fatigue) on the body. So, put on a funny video and laugh it up! We developed laughter as a way to feel safe in an uncertain world.

Making jokes can also be a great way to focus yourself and laugh at the same time. Channeling energy into a creative outlet is a fantastic way to relieve stress and it will give you something to be proud of. Write a comedy sketch or standup routine if putting on a funny movie isn’t enough.

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal can be a great outlet. It also serves as a way to log progress. Sometimes spilling words out onto a page can be cathartic. Journaling is like being your own therapist. When you write everything out, you can see new possible solutions. It will help you organize your thoughts and become less stressed.

So next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, get out your journal and write about it. That alone will calm you down. Some days you may need to analyze your writing and make a plan for the next day. Keep it up and read your old journal entries to see how far you’ve come.

Hit the Gym

On top of the many health benefits to working out, hitting the gym blows off steam. Sometimes people feel stress because they have too much energy. Working outspends that juice and releases endorphins to make you feel happy. It is especially good at relieving pent up aggression.

Regular workouts will improve your heart health and keep your back from getting sore as you age. Don’t forget to diet, too. Improper diet and exercise can make your body feel stressed all by themselves. Try it out! Go for a run and you will feel less stressed immediately.

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Dealing with Panic Attacks

What is a panic attack? The fast onset of emotions, such as anxiety or intense fear, is what you will experience. These attacks can be debilitating.  Panic attacks can also produce physical ailments, too. Shaking and have trouble concentrating are two of the symptoms that may accompany a panic attack. Uncontrollably crying may be part of your attack.  4351234085?profile=RESIZE_710x

Panic attacks can cause nausea and dizziness, pressing chest pain. Many people who suffer from them report feeling as if they’re going to die. These attacks can be extremely frightening to the person suffering from them as well as to the people who witness them. 

If panic attacks are something you struggle with, there are things that you can do. In this article, we will give you tips that can help you cope with a panic attack. You aren’t out of control. It only feels like you are.

No matter what is happening in your life, getting control of your breathing is the first step. Take deep, steady breaths. Breathing in slowly and letting the air out can help you calm both your racing mind and heart. While you’re doing the breathing, count slowly till your diaphragm is totally expanded. Add 2 to the count and exhale to that count. Repeat till you regain the feeling of control.

While a panic attack can feel like it lasts forever, you might find that the worst of it passes in just a few minutes when you use breath control. Remember that the fear that’s associated with a panic attack feels real, but it isn’t.

You might feel that you’re not where you are. If your panic attacks are a result of trauma, you might think that you’re back in time and place to where the trauma occurred.

You might believe that impending doom is about to happen, but it’s not. Ground yourself in reality as you’re going through the attack. Tell yourself where you are, that you’re safe that the attack won’t last forever.

An excellent way to ground yourself, in reality, is to make a connection physically with your present moment. This might be something like feeling the arms of the chair or petting your dog.

Touching something else helps you redirect your attention. This is also true of sight. Look at something while you’re in a panic attack. Pay attention to how it is constructed and the colors of it. This is known as a redirect, and it helps calm panic attacks.

Some people find it beneficial to use exercise as a means of practicing self-care during panic attacks. Go for a walk or spend time throwing a ball back and forth with a dog. Doing something physical can be a way of redirecting, as well. There are plenty of studies that show exercising is beneficial to our mental health.

It is important not to do this alone. Having an understanding friend or support group is very beneficial. For some people, there is a need for intervention. When the fear is overwhelming, and it’s impacting their ability to function, seeing a therapist can help.  Self-care for panic attacks is critical before, during, and after they occur.

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Don’t Forget to Declutter Your Mind

One of the things you notice when you start decluttering is how so much of the clutter in your house reflects the confusion in your mind. If you’re hanging onto clothes that don’t fit, or the ugly vase your mother gave you for Christmas or the exercise bike you might get around to using, you don’t just have a problem with too much stuff. You have a problem letting go. Chances are you’re also hanging onto a whole bunch of bad feelings, ill-founded assumptions, old grievances, and future worries.4196978493?profile=RESIZE_710x

If it feels good to declutter your house, it feels even better to declutter your mind. Here are some useful expert tips to make some space in your mind.

  1. Use some meditation techniques

You don’t have to do the full sitting on a cushion in a darkened room thing to benefit from meditation techniques. If you’re feeling overwound, some simple breathing techniques can help you calm down and focus. For a few minutes, focus only on your breathing and nothing else. If your mind wanders or gets back into the worrying groove, you must put that aside and come back to focus on your breath.

  1. Write it down

It can help to write down anything that’s on your mind. Once all those worries are down on paper, you can prioritize them and work out a plan to deal with them. You can also assess them to identify what’s essential and what isn’t. When you can see what’s essential, you can focus your energy and free up some of that mental space!

  1. Stay in the present

Brooding over the past and worrying about the future take up a lot of space in your mind and achieve precisely nothing. Let go of regret over past mistakes or resentment of past slights and move on. Keep your focus on what you can influence right here, right now.

  1. Do one thing at a time

Multitasking is not only overrated (it’s very inefficient), it also leads to higher anxiety, and you never do any one thing properly. Focus on doing things methodically and thoroughly. As you finish one task, move onto the next.

  1. Control all the incoming data

We talk about being available 24/7 and the 24-hour news cycle, but there is only one person who can control that. You can choose to switch off your computer, smartphone, and tv and control the amount of data your brain is trying to process.

Decluttering your mind will pay off in all sorts of ways you hadn’t imagined. You will be more productive, less stressed, and more motivated.

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As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic.

We have been told by authorities to say in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress and anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

We’re going to go over three of the best ways that you can stay calm and centered in times of COVID-19 panic!4185698924?profile=RESIZE_710x

Meditation & Mindfulness

So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is the perfect time to try them out and get some practice under your belt.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health. Here’s what meditation can do for you.

  • Greater outlook on life (positivity)
  • Increased feelings of calmness
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Reduced levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Improved focus

The best part is: There are plenty of different types of meditation.

If you’re unable to focus for long periods of time, you might want to try out guided meditations or visualization techniques. When you’re looking to stay more active while you’re quarantined, you can give yoga or Pilates a go!

Finding a Creative Outlet

You may be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, that’ll probably only increase your feelings of panic during such trying times!

Start now and try out some new (or old) creative hobbies is now. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. That means creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax.

A creative outlet can be almost anything. A few things you might want to try out (if you have the supplies in your home).

  • Painting, coloring, or drawing
  • Singing or playing musical instruments
  • Taking photos or videos of things you enjoy
  • Building something with things lying around the house
  • Writing
  • Puzzles
  • Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles.

Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others

It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle this fear once and for all. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety.

With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own.

As long as you’re keeping your distance and not exposing anyone to the virus, you can deliver food and groceries or do things like their yard work. It’ll give you good feelings while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, family, and friends to let them know you are available.

Final Thoughts

You can’t do anything yourself when it comes to curing COVID-19, there are things you can do that can reduce your panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness.

By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

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What Is Chronic Stress?

Stress is the normal reaction of our bodies to external situations and influences. Circumstances arise that cause our bodies to increase heart rate and cortisol is released. In short term situations, like a house fire, this is beneficial. It allows us to escape from danger. After the threat has passed, cortisol levels return to normal and everything is fine. However, other situations, like everyday life, can and do, increase our stress. And when they are under a constant barrage of stressors, then this leads to chronic stress.3833526749?profile=RESIZE_710x

If life were so simple that our stress was easily digestible, then all would be well. But that is rarely the case. I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have any stress; My life is good.” Does this sound familiar? 

Morning comes, and the kids need breakfast. Running late for school and work you get everyone thrown into the car to start heading towards your destination. You make the turn out of the neighborhood to find out they are repainting lines on the street, which is causing a backup of traffic. After your five-minute ride to the school turns into 30 minutes, you hurriedly get the kids dropped off, dodge the maze of other parents, and make your way to the highway. You turn onto the highway, praying that traffic goes your way because it takes exactly 22 minutes to get from there to work and you have 27 minutes to get there before you are late. You make the turn onto the ramp and sit. Your highway has become a parking lot.

If you could stop there and do some stress relief techniques, you would be fine, but life doesn’t do that. The demands of home-life, commutes, work and an always-on-always-available stream of negative news, Facebook news feeds, IG posts, and 24-hour lifestyle, keep our levels elevated. This prolonged exposure to all of this outside stimuli compound, until one day, we throw our hands in the air in frustration, scream “I give up!” and collapse from exhaustion. That is Chronic Stress and if left unchecked, it can kill you.

HOW?

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, Chronic Stress affects many aspects of your life. Just a few of the tale-tale signs that you are suffering from chronic stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Changes in Sexual Activity
  • Insomnia / Sleep Problems
  • Digestive Problems
  • Loss of Memory
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Weight Gain
  • Irritability

Any combination of these things add up and can lead to the most dangerous of them all Heart Disease. 

WHAT CAN I DO? 

Specific stress reduction techniques vary according to each person (maybe running isn’t your thing, but swimming is), but they all share a common theme.

  • Find your center through a form of meditation,
  • Clear your mind through creative ventures (writing, painting, music, etc.),
  • Change your physical habits through exercise and diet,
  • And lastly, affect change in your life.

With a stressful life, you can not lead happy life. There is no sense staying stuck in the same rut over and over again, just because that is the way I have always been. Time and again, people say, I don’t have time for meditation. I used to write when I was in college, but then life happened. Once I get home, I don’t have time to cook meals, I order in, I can’t possibly take the time out to go to the Gym with my hectic schedule. None of these statements are correct, we only believe them to be true.

 

Instead of sitting on the couch, binge-watching episodes of your favorite show. Unplug and do something. Once the habit of reorienting your life starts stress will be something that you knew you once had but will no longer be a present factor in your daily life. Sure, things pop up, but if you remember that there are outlets for the stress and that you have a plan, then you can be sure that you can handle anything life throws at you.

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