You guys – It’s Friday again, can you believe it? I am so happy!
I have a special freebie for you today for all of those who have Instagram and use stories alot. It’s called Mindfulness Bingo. If you use it, please tag me in your stories!
Convenience is wonderful. Having everything at our disposal, all the time. Never having to worry about opening hours when we have online shopping, or missing a TV show when we have catch up and streaming. But when everything is available 24/7, it means we have to be too.
People apologise for taking social media breaks, we’re overloaded with information, and if you don’t keep up with current events you’re left behind. We’re under pressure to be plugged in all the time and it’s taking a toll on our mental health.
We’re exhausted all the time because we’re not allowed to switch off. Every waking moment has to be filled with something productive so we can make more money, work more hours, learn more skills. And then we experience burnout, and we’re even farther behind, there’s no way we can catch up. It’s hard not to feel like we were doomed from the start.
Mindfulness takes the autonomy away from our day to day lives, and helps us slow down and truly be present in the moment. Practising mindfulness sounds like an easy task, but nowadays with constant stimulation and entertainment around us, it’s a real challenge to be bored. How many times have you picked up your phone today?
We weren’t meant to live at such a fast pace. When we slow down and take in our surroundings, we appreciate so many people and things that we might have previously took for granted. It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our relationships. Practising mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we’re better able to manage them instead of getting overwhelmed. We’re more tuned in to our senses and surroundings and we’re less likely to do something on autopilot because our brain isn’t distracted – or it’s not desperate for a distraction anymore.
Mindfulness is easy to practice daily and doesn’t require hours of your time. You can practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. If you find yourself being pulled in every direction and your thoughts are scattered all over the place, start with some mindful breathing. If you can, go somewhere quiet. Take one big, deep breath. Aim for around 5 seconds. Hold it for a second, and then exhale, releasing the tension from your brow, jaw, and shoulders. Imagine the hundreds of scattered thoughts and noise leaving with the tension, and allow yourself to start from the beginning with a clear mind.
There are loads of other great mindfulness techniques you can practice every day or just whenever you feel stressed.
Focusing on one thing, and not having your mind in six places at once, will reduce stress. The stress that used to pile up and eat away at you doesn’t have any power over you now; because you have control. You might eventually find that you don’t get as overwhelmed with the fast paced world as you used to, and you start doing things with intention, instead of just doing things for the sake of it. You might learn something about yourself, about what you need and what you don’t need. You’ll learn that it’s okay to disconnect, and go down your own path. The easiest way to win the game is to stop playing. Instant and autonomous works for robots; not people.
Author bio: Zoe Thomson is a freelance writer living in Scotland with her boyfriend and one spoiled pug. She runs her own mental health blog, No Light Without Darkness, and has published work on The Mighty and I am 1 in 4. You can find me here: Blog, Twitter
When I was a child, I did not understand why adults found the holiday season to be stressful. It was great. There were parties. There were family gatherings with presents. And the food was so yummy. There were trees to decorate, cookies to make, and maybe even some snow to play in. What in the world was stressful about these things?
Now that I am an adult and “life” has happened, I totally get it. When I was in my early twenties, my father died suddenly from a massive heart attack during the Christmas season. Each year, Christmas is a yearly reminder of my father’s physical absence. And, all those things that were so magical and enchanting as a child are now tasks to conquer on my list. Looking at that list can create stress and anxiety that can be difficult to manage.
Over the past decade of cultivating a yoga practice, I have come to realize that my practice is the doorway to finding peace during the holiday season and all year long. Yoga equips me with tools that help me find my true, higher, peaceful self. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice done in a studio. Yoga equips me with a set of tools that have a positive effect on my being.
Poses or the position we put are body in has an energetic effect. Through self-awareness, it is important to recognize when we are anxious and stressed. Responding appropriately during those first moments of realization is crucial to finding internal peace quickly. The longer we are stressed and anxious, the more time it may take to return to center and peace. Face-down positions have a grounding effect and are great for balancing anxiety and stress. You can simply turn your palms face down. If practiced over time, the subtle practice of turning your palms face down may yield large returns of internal peace. Or, you can lie on the floor or your bed face down for several moments and see if you feel a subtle grounding sensation.
The breath is central to the yoga practice because it interfaces directly with the nervous system. There are simple breathing practices that we can employ to upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for helping us rest and restore. We can be in a truly crazy environment and through some simple breathing practices stay relaxed. One easy thing you can do is lengthen your exhale. A basic practice for lengthening your exhale is to take a breath and count the length of your inhale and exhale. Then, for the next 5 breaths, keep your inhale the same count, but lengthen your exhale by 1 count each time. At the end of those 5 breaths, notice how you feel. Do you feel more relaxed? You may need to repeat the practice several times to notice a positive effect.
Another wonderful tool for grounding and finding your higher self during the holidays is disciplining yourself to bring your concentration to one specific thing. This is mindfulness. Find something specific you want to bring your attention to during the holiday season. The more specific it is, the better. Maybe it is the sound of your breath? Or maybe you want it to be the sensation of air passing through the very tip of each nostril? Or maybe you want to visualize a color you associate with peace and visualize that color moving into your body as you inhale and out of your body as you exhale. Are you sitting in holiday traffic? Are you worrying about the weather forecast and how it will impact your travel plans? Or are you sitting in front of your bat-shit-crazy relative at Christmas dinner? Any of these mindfulness practices can be done inconspicuously to help you find your center, stay in control of the emotions and sensations arising, and know peace.
Knowing peace independent of what is going on around you and even inside of you is key to finding the magic and “child-like” wonder in this holiday season. Pick a tool that resonates with you and commit to practicing it. These are simple practices that can be done anywhere that, if practiced over time, will bring you the greatest gift of all: an internal fountain of joy and peace.
About the Author: Michelle Smith is a program manager for Geisinger Health System, a rural health system in central Pennsylvania. She manages The House of Care, an outpatient home for adult cancer patients undergoing treatment, and the system’s Integrative Medicine program. Michelle uses the tools of yoga therapy, reiki, and vibrational sound therapy to help staff, patients, and family members know peace during very stressful circumstances. Additionally, Michelle teaches yoga at various studios in NE Pennsylvania. Michelle is the author of the book Always With Me: The Guide to Grieving Death through Integrative Medicine which is available on Amazon.
Humans are social animals. They can’t live without socializing with other humans. History says, humans are dependent on other humans since past for food, clothing, shelter and many more things. Even today also, we need to socialize with others for many different reasons, some of them related to financial issues, some of them related to mental health.
If a person isn’t comfortable to socialize with others, that person might be experiencing Social anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may encounter chronic fear of social or performance-related situations. As a result they might become embarrassed, rejected, or scrutinized in front of general people.
Social anxiety might have a huge impact on introverts more than you others. In these situations, people with SAD almost always experience physical symptoms of anxiety. They might think that it is a predetermined characteristic that they have to carry lifelong. But that isn’t entirely true. With proper therapy social anxiety disorder can be cured with time.
But first, you must identify the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder typically fall within three different areas.
● Chest tightness
● Muscle tension
● Blurred vision
● Chest pain
● Shortness of breath
● Lump in the throat
● Trembling voice
● Ringing in the ears
● Dry mouth
● Paresthesias (tingling)
● Heart racing (tachycardia)
● Heart pounding (palpitations)
● Feelings of unreality (derealization)
or Feelings of detachment from oneself (depersonalization)
|● Negative bias
● Negative thoughts
● Negative beliefs
● Safety behaviors
Introvert people normally don’t want to join the party life. They are not social butterflies or the late night partiers. They always like a job that involves sitting quietly all day long, rather than communicating with clients, hosting a presentation, or supervising others. They like getting separated from life’s deep problems and wanted to live with loneliness.
At the same time, their natural desire to spend time alone makes it very difficult to expose themselves to the situations that cause anxiety.
Now the question is, how does an introvert with high functioning anxiety disorder overcome this situation?
Being an introvert person If you feel that you are having symptoms of social anxiety, you must learn about it as much as possible and get benefited. You should know why you can’t seem to open up in front of everyone and be as you are to others.
As a reference, you may check out the Social Anxiety episode of comedian Paul Gilmartin’s podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour with psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendrickson. There, Dr. Hendrickson discusses the physiological causes of social anxiety in easy language.
One best thing that she pointed out there is, “it’s all about being mindful of your ability to control your thoughts and reactions.” That means with regular practice, and a stone-cold determination to control it, you may positively manage your social anxiety.
You don’t need to buy a new house in a different state or city and start a new life. In order to get a fresh beginning, you may join a new club or boost your career with a new job. Remember, by heart you are an introvert person, so you must reach out to new people and interact with them regularly.
Keep telling yourself that everything is going to be ok, and you’re going to be the person who you want to be.
These new people do not treat you as someone awkward, because they don’t know you well. So, do not let them make any dull impression about you, present yourself as a social butterfly or as a cheerful person that you always want to be.
This process might not work for every person you meet. But to become successful with this method you need to overcome your shyness and fear. The more a person knows himself and has that much knowledge about his social anxiety, it will get much easier for him to overcome his weakness. Hendriksen says – “You become less anxious by living your life.”
I felt the same way when I was entering college. Moving away from home kept me scared. I was shy throughout grade school. But when I moved to college and made new friends, communicated with them openly without judging them like I used to do at my school, I felt it was so cool.
It actually kind of worked! Gradually, I socialize with all my friends, and their friends, and their friends, and…said goodbye to my loneliness.
Hendriksen says “Social anxiety makes us think the worst-case scenario is definitely going to happen,” But that’s definitely a wrong perception. Practically, worst-case scenarios don’t often happen.
Being an Introvert with social anxiety, you can avoid this situation easily. First, you have to imagine the worst-case scenario about any situation, and then think deeper till you figure out exactly what you’re afraid of. That means you should seek the outcome that you fear, and then argue with that fear. Hendriksen added, “It’s harder to argue with the foggy mirage of fear.”
By seeking and facing the exact threat, you may figure out how likely it really is.
Basically, the best way to win over your shyness and social anxiety is to take a gradual approach. Have you ever thought about talking to the first hot girl or guy you meet in your college? Have you ever asked for a dance to a junior girl or boy whom you like, in your college prom party?
See, doing such small things can help you a lot to fight against your social anxiety. Ending up a conversation isn’t exactly a cool option to overcome your fear. Instead, you may set small achievable goals that may help you to become more sociable.
These small gestures may trigger self-confidence in you, which may help you to reduce social anxiety and shyness.
Unfortunately, for some introvert with high functioning anxiety, the situation gets too serious to deal with alone. If some person has an anxiety disorder or depression that can’t be cured with self-motivation, then the patient might require clinical help with proper professional care.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is quite helpful to guide a patient through such a situation. Psychiatrists Dr. Joseph Burwell, can prescribe anxiety medication to help the patient in serious conditions. There’s no shame in getting the help you need from a therapist or a Psychiatrist. They are here to help these people who suffer from severe social anxiety disorder.
Few important words…
A person who suffers from social anxiety, can’t maintain his/her personal and professional life properly. But it’s important to keep fighting with this issue as long as possible. Be patient and remember that you are not alone. There are many people who still love you. Work hard, do your exercises, it’ll help you to lower your stress and improve your mood so that you become the best version of you!
The new school year is right around the corner and almost everyone is excited! Yes summer break is coming to an end, but the year will be filled with new opportunities to learn and make new friends…for most. For some, the new school year can be stressful! There is school supplies, new environment, new teachers/professors, stress if there is difficulty learning or reading and the list goes on!
Luckily, I have been there done that, when it comes to the stress associated with school. My anxiety would increase as the time got closer and would skyrocket the day before, “is my outfit right”, “what if I didn’t prepare enough”, “what if no one talks to me and I don’t make any friends”, and etc. As I would sit to take a test, I would begin to panic and often have to go outside of the classroom to catch my breath. Eventually, I began taking my classes outside and away from other classmates.
Stress is your body’s response to a challenge or demand. When you do not address the stress, it can begin to affect many aspects of your life, body and mind. Stress can often cause bodily effects such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, over eating or loss of appetite, and body aches. It can emotional cause you to have anxiety, lose focus, lack motivation, be easily frustrated or irritated, or even become depressed. When you are stressed you are more likely to use substances to cope, have angry outbursts, isolate yourself and have a decrease in participation in activities you once found pleasurable.
Throughout my experiences with stress, I learned many tips and tricks to decrease stress and rationalize my thoughts.
Good luck on your new school year! I know it will be everything you wish for and then some. Remember to implement these tips and stay positive!
Welcome! My name is Erin! I like to think of myself as agony aunt, funny mum and wordsmith of all things parenting from icky tums and dirty bums to baby blues and the terrible two’s.
How Mindfulness Can Make Parenting Easier
For a lot of people, becoming a parent is one of the best things in life. It’s enriching, rewarding and above all challenging! However, if you are a parent you will also know how stressful it can actually be.
Children have copious amounts of energy and need to be on the go all day. Their little minds work much faster than ours and so with everything else us adults have going on it can be pretty hard keeping up with the kids.
By the end of the day we can be worn out with very little energy to do anything else that needs done. Some parents turn to comfort food, others turn to wine but at the end of the day nothing has really changed and tomorrow will be the same. This is where mindfulness can help.
What Is Mindfulness?
The formal definition of mindfulness is:
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
In my words, mindfulness is living in the moment. You must clear your head of every other thought about the past or the future. You also have to focus solely on what is around you.
Try it now. Take a deep breath and look at what is around you. Focus on something specific, maybe a candle… What does it feel like? How does it smell? What does it sound like? That… is Mindfulness.
Mindfulness In Parenting
So, how can mindfulness be used in parenting to make it less stressful?
Most people get mindfulness confused with meditation. Obviously, they both require your full attention however, mindfulness does not have to be quiet and it doesn’t have to be alone. You could even practice mindfulness at a festival. And so, practicing mindfulness while parenting is easier than you think.
The first thing you need to do in order for this to work is turn off your phone (or at least out it on silent in another room). We live in an age where having your phone in your hand 80% of the day is normal, sadly. But, you have no idea how much more you will relax just by putting that phone down for an hour.
Secondly, turn off any other electronics that are likely to cause a distraction. You want your kids to practice Mindfulness too rather than sitting watching a mind numbing program that they’ve probably seen 3 times before.
Then pick an activity that is going to use all your senses. For babies you could get a “touchy feely” book, for toddlers you could do some arts and crafts, for children you could bake and for something for the whole family: go for a walk. You might be surprised by how much there is to focus on outside. By choosing an activity with a lot of texture or dynamics you can spend more time on it.
Finally, break convention! You have to think like a child, smell the puddles, taste a twig, listen to a leaf. I know I might sound like a raving loony but take it from somebody who practices mindfulness with her kids: spending an hour, taking the time to become aware of your surroundings is going ton help you unwind and tire the kids out.
How Do Children Benefit From Mindfulness?
As I said before, practicing mindfulness takes a lot of brain power which can tire your children out and keep them from getting bored. By taking time in the activity you do, you’ll find your child learns much more than what they would at a standard pace. These are great benefits for your child but teaching our children about mindfulness will also help future generations. Hopefully our children will make a habit of practicing mindfulness and teach their children to take time away from distractions. It may not seem like a big deal but I almost guarantee that if everybody practiced mindfulness daily, the world would be a little more positive.
My name is Brittany Lee Vaughn. I am a 22 year old single-stay at home-first time mother to a beautiful little girl named AnnaLee Willow. Anna is currently 5 months old and the highlight of my life. Beelieve In The Journey is my personal passion project. I hope to turn my blog into a full-time job, and stay home with my darling daughter all while doing what I’m passionate about. I hope that you will consider joining me on my journey. Below is a list of my contact information and social media accounts: Beelieve In The Journey, Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr.
Non-Medication Remedies For Anxiety
The Merriam-Websterdictionary defines anxiety as “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”
There are some key points I would like to point out in this definition. The first would be that anxiety is “marked by physical signs.” If you have experience with anxiety you know that anxiety will show its ugly face several minutes before or hours before an attack occurs. Either way, an anxiety attack will let you know that it is coming. This concept is what my therapist loves to refer to as “fight or flight mode.” It’s a very common phrase and refers back to our very own primitive instincts built into our very own brains.
Rick Hanson, Ph. D. explains that “the amygdala (as you know, there are two of them, one on each side of the brain) does initiate the fight or flight response through inputs into the hypothalamus (triggering the hormonal part of that response) and to brainstem control centers of the sympathetic nervous system for the neural parts of the fight or flight response.” Referring back to Webster’s definition, anxiety appears by feeling threatened. This is your fight or flight response. The duration and severity of your anxious state all depends on your “capacity to cope with it.” For some people this may be medication, but for others the idea of taking and/or relying on a medication everyday is a scary thought all within itself. As a person who also struggles with severe anxiety, I have witnessed the very panic of taking medication to cope with my anxiety.
I am here to tell you that anxiety is manageable, to a certain extent, without medication. I must say that I am not a healthcare professional. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I advise that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. From my own experience,
I have successfully managed anxiety using methods other than medication and I am here to share them with you!
Being mindful is one of the most effective ways to manage your anxiety. Be aware of your mind and body sending you warning signs. If you are starting to see signs of anxiety arise, whether it is long term or short term warning signs, utilize some of the upcoming tools to help you work through it.
When you start to feel yourself getting overwhelmed, have a go-to breathing exercise. Personally, I mix counting in with my breathing. I count down from 10 and take a deep breath in, hold it for a couple seconds, and then release. This keeps you stay inthe present moment and stops you from over thinking.
Meditation can center your thoughts and help you overcome your fears. Mediation is a great long term anxiety method but can also be utilized in the moment of an anxiety attack. You can also mix breathing techniques in with meditation.
Self Help/Personal Development Blogs or Books
Reading blogs or books on how to improve yourself, love yourself, manage your anxiety, or even on how to just get the most out of your life will help your anxiety. The authors of these blogs or books are going through or have gone through exactly what you are going through right now. I find it very comforting to know that I am not alone in this. I hope that you do too. Best part about this is that you are already taking advantage of this tool just by reading this!
Exercise is a very BLEH way for some people to manage their anxiety. From personal experience it does help. It gives a sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel strong and capable. Sometimes anxiety is caused from overthinking and being hard on ourselves.Exercising eliminates these aspects of anxiety. If you aren’t able to go for a run or hit the gym you can simply walk, practice yoga, or do some vigorous cleaning. These are lighter forms of exercise that will also give you those same feelings.
Changing Your Sleep Patterns
If you are anything like me then depression and anxiety go hand in hand. One of the most effective ways to manage both of these at once is changing your sleep patterns. Most people will recommend that you get 8-9 hours of sleep a night to become well rested. Although, too much sleeping can be detrimental to your mental health and well being. To a certain extent, I believe in this. On the other hand I believe sleep can give you a mental reboot of sorts. If I start to feel myself getting anxious I will go to bed early or take a nap. Too much sleep can be seen as depression warning signs, but it can also be a great self love and reboot tool as well.
Something I use all the time are brain dump tools. I go a bit overboard and use a bullet journal, planner, writing journal, as well as a counselor. I am very comforted by lists and organization. I feel like I have control over myself, my brain, and my emotions if I am able to put it all on paper. A bullet journal helps me create an environment to place all my lists, plans, and habits. A writing journal helps me dump all of my overthinking out onto paper. Once I pour everything out I shut the journal and never read it again. Once my thoughts are on paper, then that is it. Worries out the door! I see a counselor whenever I need to work through something that is causing me emotional distress or making me nervous. Having someone unbiased and experienced makes me feel safe and allows me to move forward. I highly advise to use any one or more of these tools to help you stop overthinking and causing worry.
These are just some things that have personally helped me overcome my anxiety everyday. I hope that they can help you as well.
You are not alone. It is incredibly important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with you and that what you are going through is normal. Anxiety IS manageable especially when you have support. If you start to feel like it is unmanageable reach out for help. Whether it is a health expert, a friend, a family member, or even me. I am always an email or private message away.
Brittany Lee Vaughn
I want to thanks Brittany for sending over her entry as a guest blogger for my blog! She’s been patiently waiting for it to go up on my site because I had so many people send me their posts over the last few months, and still more are coming in! Check our Brittany’s blog, or hit her up on any social media listed at the top for more stories and remember to check in on your mental health from time to time.
Well, today has been interesting so far. Meeting went alright I guess; but people seriously have attitude problems here with doing this. If you don’t want to be a part of it, maybe you shouldn’t be a part of the company… That’s just my opinion really, but who am I to say anything.
Work is just becoming annoying to go to now; I love it, and I like the money I get for doing what I do, but I mean; I think I should get a raise to deal with these people we’re working with. We’re creating a company bible, which is cool and all, since I’m in charge and I like being in charge of people in a way; but no one is really… helping me. I have to print everything out, I have to do all the corrections, I have to organize the meetings.. when everyone has access to the drive in order to change procedures. Why can’t you make your own changes and print them out and just give them to me? Is that really so hard to do? Also, why do they insist on giving me a form letter to do when all they have to do is click print and print an envelope along with it and stamp it? Instead, no, they make me do it; like I don’t have enough to do as it is… I’m swamped. I’m taking a breather for the moment to write about this crap. My brain is SO boggled you have no idea. Anyone know how to deal with this? I mean everyone knows I’ve got a lot on my plate here, but they still continue to pile up work for me. Every weekend I go home with a headache from staring at the computer screen so long and I’m not liking it.
I hope the rest of the weekend goes alright. I’m really not in the mood to be let down any more this week, I’m so over it. I plan on watching Harry Potter all weekend and cleaning/laundry. There’s nothing else to really do except that or play video games and shit.. So what can I do? My other package still didn’t come in the mail; and it should have been here by now considering the last thing I ordered from them was at my place within 4 days. So why is this one taking so long I just want it already. ..And I really need to stop buying things online. I have to save for car insurance constantly since I need to save up 650 by September already… this is going to suck majorly if you ask me.
I need a life-long pick me up.