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Different Types Of Anxiety
By Claire (The Millennial Londoner) Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is purely for informational purposes compiled from personal experience and reputable sources. If you require any health advice please speak to a medical specialist. This blog also contains affiliate links that allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. If you have ever experienced nervousness while doing a presentation, hyperventilated or feel nauseated at the sight of a rodent then you may be suffering from anxiety. Over the years I have faced almost every type of anxiety disorder there is and yet somehow believed it was all just one disorder. Here is a list of the different types of anxiety. 1. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Generalized Anxiety Disorders are the most common type of anxiety and can be irritating to deal with on a daily basis but they can be manageable. It's the everyday anxiety that might make you feel slightly off/unwell or where you find yourself feeling nervous without knowing why. You will experience a bunch of these symptoms with generalised anxiety; Clammy hands/ sweating Stomach upset Trouble falling/ staying asleep Constant worrying/ dreading things Difficulty concentrating Headaches Being snappy/ irritable 2. Social Anxiety/ Social Phobia Social phobia's (A.K.A social anxiety) is another common type of anxiety you're going to see quite often or even experience yourself. Social anxiety is that nervous feeling you get when you're about to do a presentation or get butterflies when you're getting ready to go to a party. This could be a sign you have social anxiety (welcome to the club!) all that means is certain social situations will make your amygdala fire up. Symptoms of social anxiety can include; Stumbling over your words Dry mouth/ cottonmouth Blushing Fear of being judged Fear of public speaking Sweating during social outings Shaking/ trembling/ nervous feeling for no apparent reason 3. Panic Disorder I know this one all too well and will make more in-depth posts soon so make sure you look out for them but panic disorder is when you experience panic attacks on a frequent basis. If you have a panic attack it doesn't necessarily mean you have panic disorder in the same way if you experience sadness it doesn't mean you have depression. If you have ever experienced this, I completely sympathize with you because it can feel like the end of the world during these episodes. If you experience panic attacks often you might have panic disorder. These are some of the symptoms that come with panic disorder; Racing heart Rapid breathing/hyperventilating Jittery or needing to move around Nausea Claw hands Tingling or numbness in fingers, toes and lips Pale skin Feeling lightheaded/faint Fainting Sweating Trembling 4. Phobias Phobias are another form of anxiety that can cause havoc in your daily life, especially if you often encounter phobias. The reason I put this straight after the panic disorder is that complications of panic disorder can lead to a phobia called agoraphobia Agoraphobia: Extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one's own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult. This is something that I have struggled with for years so it's really important that you get it seen as quickly as possible because it can consume your life. Agoraphobia is basically when you fear the fear itself and find yourself in this never-ending cycle of being anxious in a certain place then avoiding that in the hopes it will relieve your anxiety. After a while of doing this, you might have panic attacks just going to the supermarket or seeing your friends. There are plenty of other examples of phobias here are a few; - Claustrophobia - Fear of being in small or confined places e.g sitting in the back of a small car or in a crowded room - Acrophobia - fear of heights - Arachnophobia - fear of spiders Some symptoms of phobias are; Hot or cold sensation rushing through veins Pins and needles sensation Shaking Clammy hands/ Sweating Feeling dizzy or faint Dry mouth/ cottonmouth Hyperventilating Fast heart rate Avoiding things that you're afraid of e.g spiders If you find yourself getting sweaty palms after seeing a spider or feeling sick at the thought of being in a crowded room then you might have some phobias. 5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Now, this is where I am in shallow waters because I don't have PTSD so I am only going off of what I researched while making this post. PTSD is a response to a traumatic event that results in the person suffering from it having frequent nightmares and possibly avoiding certain places or people that trigger flashbacks. It can also impact your sense of self, you might find yourself doubting your worth and think you will never be "normal" again. Along with every other type of anxiety listed on this post it IS possible to recover from it with therapy. The symptoms of PTSD are a little different to the other anxiety symptoms. While you might not have the typical fight or flight symptoms you will most likely experience; Night terrors Avoiding certain places or people that spark that traumatic event in your head all over again Being hypervigilant/ aware of your surroundings. Having low self-esteem/ believing you deserved what happened to you Being startled easily Blurred memory of traumatic event Trouble falling and staying asleep Having low regard for wellbeing/self-sabotaging behaviour If you relate to these symptoms it could be a sign that you might have post-traumatic stress disorder. 6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) OCD is another foggy topic for me as I am fairly sure I don't have it but it is usually categorised by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts that you can't shake off and compulsions are the need to act on those obsessions. Especially in a pandemic, people will be more likely to obsess over germs or becoming unwell which is completely understandable. So what are some examples of obsessions and compulsions? Obsessions and compulsions can include; Obsession: Fear that you've left the oven on Compulsion: Frantically racing home fearing that your house may be on fire. Obsession: Fear of germs or getting sick Compulsion: Constantly washing your hands, cleaning excessively, avoiding places and people to reduce the risk of getting sick Obsession: Fearing something bad will happen if you don't do your rituals Compulsion: Doing the rituals in the hopes that the bad thing will no longer happen e.g. touching wood, counting, repeating a word or phrase a number of times. Obsession: Cleanliness and wanting to be organised Compulsion: Frequently cleaning and organising your home or workspace If you relate to any of the scenarios mentioned above it could be a sign you might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Conclusion These are the different types of anxiety disorders and the symptoms that come along with them. A lot of the symptoms will overlap because they trigger your sympathetic nervous system so you'll notice sweating, nausea and trembling with most anxiety disorders. Anxiety is there to protect you but when you're not in danger it can be a pain, it won't go away overnight but it will get easier. I just want to reiterate that I am not a mental health specialist so if you believe you may have an anxiety disorder please speak to your doctor. You could have symptoms of anxiety and not have an anxiety disorder so it's best to get an evaluation by a psychologist who will determine the best course of action for you. From personal experience, I think the sooner you treat your anxiety the better because I left it untreated for too long and it spiralled out of control.
Ways To Instantly Improve Depression
By Claire ( The Millennial Londoner) Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is purely for informational purposes compiled from personal experience and reputable sources. If you require any health advice please speak to a medical specialist. Ways To Instantly Improve Depression Depression can be an extremely debilitating disease that can impact every part of your life from your work, relationships, motivation and physical health. It can make you isolate yourself and destroy your happiness and fulfilment in life. Depression doesn't care about your social status, wealth, ethnicity, or age it can affect almost anyone. While there is no cure for depression there are ways to improve it and make it more manageable here are some tips I've used myself to get out of that slump. 1. Exercise Exercise is the most important and fastest way to improve your depression. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts it can improve your mental health as a whole, not just depression. The thought of exercise can be daunting but you don't have to run or do strenuous exercise, you can go for a brisk walk and that'll do the trick. 2. Vitamin B The vitamin B complex is vital for cognitive functioning and overall mental wellbeing. Studies show that incorporating the vitamin B complex into your daily life can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms so next time you feel anxiety and depression creeping in make sure you boost your vitamin b intake. The vitamins in the B complex you should prioritise are B6, B12 and Folate, these play an integral part in cognitive function and overall mood regulation. 3. Happy/Feel Good Music This one is a given but listening to music that makes you feel good is so underrated. Music can have a HUGE impact on the way we feel and can alter our outlook on life. The beauty of listening to music is it releases dopamine (the feel-good chemical) so it literally lifts your mood. I find listening to uplifting and happy music is better for my mood rather than sad music that only makes it worse but it completely depends on your music taste. 4. Comedy Shows/ Movies There's nothing like sitting down relaxing watching your favourite tv shows and movies especially if you're feeling depressed. Watching things that make you laugh can alter your neurotransmitters in your brain and ultimately boost your mood. They say laughter is the best medicine so I had to add it to the list because I DEFINITELY find this method useful in combating depression. 5. Hang Out With Friends (Virtually Due To COVID) Spending time with friends can help depression massively and you can talk to them about what is making you feel so low. Having supportive friends can help you feel more understood and less alone. When you’re depressed it is so important to NOT spend so much time alone, it can give your brain plenty of time to think negative thoughts. As the global pandemic is still spreading rapidly it's important to protect yourself, loved ones and others around you so virtual hangout sesh's are the best option right now. 6. Make Bed Everyday This one might sound a little strange but doing simple tasks like making your bed can improve your mood. Making your bed before you start your day can motivate you to carry on being productive throughout the rest of the day. Not to mention it’s nice to come back into a freshly made bed. But this alone won't help improve your depression so let's move on to the next step! 7. Make Small Achievable Goals Tying into the previous point if you give yourself small tasks to complete throughout the day (preferably in the morning) can improve your mood as you feel much more productive and it breaks down a list of chores into small manageable tasks. 8. Start Day Earlier And Do Hard Tasks Early In The Morning Simply starting your day earlier can be a HUGE help in fighting depression because you can get so much more done during the day and feel super productive having so much of the day left to do what you want. You're most productive during the morning than in the afternoon so getting hard tasks out of the way in the morning allows you to leave the afternoon to relax or complete smaller tasks i.e cleaning, getting groceries etc. 9. Pinpoint What Is Fueling Your Depression Even More And Work On Improving It Taking some time to do some self-reflection and determining what is fuelling your depression further. Maybe you’re not where you want to be, critical of your appearance or look at social media only to fall into the ‘compare and despair’ cycle. Pinpoint what parts of your life you are unhappy with and start making small steps to improve it. When my anxiety was at its worst I decided to make a pact with myself to leave the house every single day. Since then I have noticed an improvement in my mental health and highly recommend taking small steps (literally) to improve your quality of life. 10. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones Talking kindly to yourself in your mind goes a long way especially when you’re depressed, it can quite literally be life and death. Being able to counteract your negative thoughts with positive ones can change your outlook on life. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s a chemical imbalance and that the depression will pass. Positive reinforcement when you are going through depression can make a big difference. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to do better and be supportive when you're struggling. Perspective is everything when you are feeling bad about yourself or your life because you rationalise your negative thoughts and diminish their power. 11. Journal Journaling can be really beneficial for you even if you don’t suffer from anxiety or depression. It can help you organise your thoughts and recognise any discrepancies in your thought patterns. Taking time out of your day to write down your thoughts can help clear your mind of the negativity, it sounds pointless but there is something really therapeutic about writing your thoughts down on paper or saying them aloud. 12. Limit social media time/ limit certain social media app usage Social media can be amazing for many reasons but it can also be really toxic and negative. Getting likes and comments can release dopamine in your brain and can have the same effects as addictions, which can make social media even more appealing and addictive. I find my depression gets worse when I spend too much time-consuming content and comparing myself to others. Being able to put your phone down and go do something that fulfils you rather than drains you will help your depression greatly. The compare and despair mentality that comes along with social media can wreak havoc on your brain and cause you to feel like you're not pretty enough, living life as you should be or even feel like a failure. 13. Form a schedule Having a daily schedule is another way you can improve your depression. It's easy to isolate yourself away from the world with depression but having a daily routine gives you a reason to get up and leave your house. 14. Improve Diet And Sleep Hygiene There are ways of improving your mental health simply by incorporating certain foods into your diet. Adding plenty of omega 3,6 and 9 can have a profound effect on your mental health. Making sure you get enough sleep is also super important for your health but when you have depression it is easy to spend too much time sleeping. If you spend all your day sleeping you might find yourself feeling; Dehydrated Fatigued Weak FOMO (fear of missing out) Unmotivated Headaches or migraines Self Hatred from not being productive Depression can be fuelled by having a poor diet and bad sleep hygiene so getting enough sleep but not TOO much sleep is so important and make sure you’re giving yourself the nutrition your body needs. Conclusion Depression can be really tricky to navigate through especially when you're not sure how to make it more manageable. I know it can be really hard to find motivation but I promise you it will help you immensely! Let me know if there are any more tips you find useful or if you tried these and found them helpful.
8 Ways To Cope With Mental Health In Isolation
By Claire (The Millennial Londoner) Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is purely for informational purposes compiled from personal experience and reputable sources. If you require any health advice please speak to a medical specialist. Stay Safe. Stay Indoors. Save Lives. These unprecedented times have turned the world upside down leaving A LOT of confusion, fear, stress, and depression. People are being urged to stay indoors to prevent this highly contagious and deadly disease from spreading further. In a time of uncertainty, the only thing we can be certain of is the way we take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. Being confined to your home can wreak havoc on your mental health. So here are some ways you can boost your mental state. Go For A Walk/Exercise Eating Healthy Listen To Music Spend Quality Time With Friends And Family Planning What You Will Do After Lockdown Cleaning The House Mindfulness Journaling 1. Go For A Walk/Exercise This one is probably the best and most effective way to improve your mental health during the quarantine. Although different countries will have different protocols regarding lock-down, it would be inhumane to prevent people from getting daily exercise. So for most countries, you will be allowed to go outside briefly once a day to get air, exercise, or take your pet for a walk. Utilize this opportunity as it will produce serotonin also known as the "happy" chemical in your brain. If you are running low on serotonin you might start feeling fatigued, irritable, anxious, depressed, or crave sweets. You can challenge yourself to make every workout session more intense which will increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles. A quick way you can do this is by bringing some dumbbells with you on your walk. Being able to get fresh air can also help clear your mind from the stresses of what's going on in the world right now. If you prefer doing workouts from home there are plenty of apps and Youtube videos you can follow along to. My personal favourite is Joe Wicks' workouts, he also has some amazing cookbooks on how to make healthy meals in 15 minutes (highly recommend). The beauty of doing home workouts is you don't need any gym fancy equipment to be able to get your daily workout done. It can be easy to lose motivation, feel low, and maybe even question the point of getting out of bed every day during the quarantine. Owning a pet that requires daily exercise will give you a routine whilst also giving them their daily exercise. If you have a dog use this time to not only benefit your health but theirs too. Although we are being confined to our homes, we must remember our pets are too so letting them get fresh air will improve their well being too. But this won't be enough to sustain a healthy mind so let's move on to the next tip. 2. Eating Healthy (Wait! this isn't as lame as it sounds) As much as eating healthy isn't pleasant for some of us it can be fun if you experiment with the food you like, recipes, and different ways of consuming them. Eating healthy isn't just about eating 5 fruit and vegetables a day, it's about staying hydrated, having daily vitamins to boost your immune system, and having a balanced diet. What Vitamins and Minerals Are Best To Improve Your Mental Health? Vitamin B Complex: This is the primary vitamin complex that has a profound effect on your neurotransmitters. Vitamin B1: Our bodies require this to convert glucose into fuel. Without this, our bodies will become very lethargic and our brain will run low on energy causing us to become more anxious, irritable, and depressed. Vitamin B5: We need this vitamin to prevent fatigue and depression. Vitamin B12: Arguably the most vital vitamin in the B-complex, vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cell levels. If you are B12 deficient it can lead to anemia and other health implications. This can cause symptoms such as mood swings, disorientation, depression, panic disorder, dizziness, and shortness of breath. What Foods Have Vitamin B In them? For the most part, we have to rely on meat, fish and leafy greens to get our daily intake. An alternative is to take Vitamin B supplements to get your recommended daily intake. This will be a great alternative to people who are vegan and/or vegetarian. Foods that are high in Vitamin B are; Salmon Liver (Beef, Pork, Chicken) Spinach Peas Fruit (fresh or dried) If like me you don't like eating healthy there are other ways to still get your daily dose of Vitamin B without forcing yourself to eat vegetables. You can mix the vegetables with the food you like such as: Having mashed potatoes and gravy with vegetables mixed in Making some healthy side dips Create snacks combining vegetables with your favourite treats Experiment with your favourite meals and mix some extra veg with it Make some smoothies. Drinking your vitamins and nutrients is a personal favourite of mine I like to make green smoothies to gain my daily dose of Vitamin B. You can experiment with recipes to see what you prefer and add sweeteners if you find them bitter. The beauty of drinking smoothies is you can put anything in it from frozen fruit, ice cubes, various fruits, and vegetables the combinations are endless. Not only is consuming a daily dose of vitamins beneficial to your mind but it's also beneficial to your body. Fueling your body will also strengthen your immune system and help your body fight against bacteria, viruses, and other illnesses. 3. Listen To Music Listening to music is a fantastic way to boost your spirits during the lockdown. The music we listen to can influence our view on life and everything around us. Isolation can make us feel a variety of emotions like claustrophobia, anxiousness, hopelessness, and depression. This is why unwinding with our favourite music is so important for our mental well-being! Studies show that listening to music releases dopamine (also known as the happy chemical) and can reduce cortisol levels in your brain. It can also improve productivity so if you're working from home you might find it more beneficial to listen to music. I find listening to my favourite songs distracts me from my anxious thoughts, allowing the physical symptoms to subside along with it. I highly recommend listening to your favourite songs next time you're overthinking too much or feeling overwhelmed, it can really boost your mood. Apple and Spotify have plenty of feel-good playlists you can listen to if you want some inspiration to add to your library. But like the previous steps this won't help you cope in isolation on its own so let's move on to the next tip. 4. Spend Quality Time With Friends And Family (Virtually) As humans we are social by nature, so we should use this time in isolation to catch up with that friend you forgot to reply to, that family member who you promised to catch up with or maybe getting to know your neighbours more. However with social distancing in place it is so important to NOT break the law to speak to your loved ones. Now more than ever we need to socialize with one another. With the evolution of technology there is no excuse in spending more time connecting with our friends and family whilst practicing social distancing. Tired Of Typing? Luckily we live in a time where we can virtually talk to people through our handheld devices almost everywhere on the planet. Apple Facetime, HouseParty, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts are some of the best platforms to virtually hangout with your loved ones. Check-in on people who might be alone, vulnerable or struggling with their mental health. We all need someone sometimes just to listen to us and remind us that we're not alone. It doesn't have to be a formal conversation that feels awkward, intense or that you are pressurizing that person to talk about their feelings. Let it flow naturally and make it feel completely natural because that's the goal here, we need to feel like we can trust the people we open up to without feeling judged. It's hard to accept when you're not okay, but it's EVEN harder to tell people that you're struggling to keep your head above water. Whilst we are all stuck indoors we might start feeling out of touch with reality and start feeling lonely. It is so important to stay connected to people even if it is digitally, it will improve your mental health immensely. 5. Planning What You Will Do After Lockdown If like me you're feeling a little defeated knowing all your plans for the foreseeable future have been cancelled, you'll be wondering what to do with yourself whilst waiting for the lock-down to be lifted. One thing that I find always makes me happy and optimistic for the future is writing down things I want to do or achieve e.g I want to go on holiday to America. Planning things to look forward to not only kills time and distracts you from what's going on in the world right now but it motivates you to keep pushing through the hard times. Knowing you'll have a reward at the end of this will boost your morale and give you something to look forward to. If you can't think of anything or want some inspiration getting started, try making a mind map of goals you'd like to achieve, jobs around the house that need doing or activities you'd like to experience. Think of things you might like to do once lock-down is lifted such as; Going to the theme park Going to the cinema Going to a music festival Going on holiday Buying a pet Visiting family and friends Going shopping Going swimming Examples of goals you'd like to achieve could be; Learning a new language Paying off any credit cards or bills Redecorate the house Make career plans Start saving and becoming more frugal with your money Trying new coping mechanisms to maintain a healthy mind Being on time to work/school every day Making every day as productive as possible The key to writing down plans is making them as detailed as possible. If you want to go on holiday don't just write down a location, look at different accommodations, means of transport and compare prices like you would if you were booking a holiday. Hopefully, you will start feeling much more optimistic about the future and excited for the lock-down to be lifted. Although lock-down won't end abruptly and it may take up to a year till we go back to normality, we can still make plans even if it's just to get us through these unprecedented times. The main objective here is to distract ourselves from anxiety, depression, and the general doom and gloom going on in the world right now. Not only will it be rewarding planning it but you will hopefully feel a sense of accomplishment having waited so long to finally do those activities. 6. Cleaning The House Similarly to the previous point, we should distract ourselves and do things that keep us occupied for a long period of time. Especially with anxiety and depression, you will find your mood improves ever so slightly once you re-direct your thoughts from the things that make you anxious or depressed. This is where cleaning comes in, we all hate doing chores and probably find it quite monotonous, however, whilst we're all stuck indoors this is the perfect time to get on top of the washing up, laundry, gardening, and decluttering. Whilst some recycling centers will be closed we can still prepare any unwanted goods to go once quarantine is over. Luckily for us, we have incredible key workers that are working round the clock to provide us with everyday items so we don't have to go out and buy bin bags, cleaning products, and storage containers. Use this time to find items that could go to charity, be sold, or recycled. For items that are too good to go to waste why not try: Freecycle (a non-profit site that allows people to give away items for free) Cash For Clothes (get paid 50p per kilo of clothes) Donating To Charity As the saying goes "one mans trash is another man's treasure" which couldn't fit more perfectly in dire times like this where people may be struggling financially and looking for cheap bargains. I find that my anxiety gets worse when I am not doing anything and end up thinking myself into a panic attack which is why keeping busy is imperative to me. Being physically busy is perfect because you are physically exerting energy whilst being occupied mentally by thinking of the task at hand. After a while of being inactive, you might experience insomnia because your body isn't exerting much energy throughout the day so you won't feel tired when it comes to falling asleep. Exerting energy, eating kiwi's (before bed), and reducing screen time before you sleep are a few ways to help revert insomnia. 7. Mindfulness Being mindful simply means being aware of your mind and body in the present moment. Life can be chaotic sometimes and we can feel quite burned out after a while. By practicing mindfulness we can press the pause button on life and just take a moment to be present without thinking about work, replying to texts, completing chores, etc. When is the last time you stopped and sat in silence? I didn't take it seriously when I first heard about mindfulness until I practised it a few times. Since then I take time out when I feel overwhelmed or burnt out to reset my mind and realize that life doesn't have to be this stressful. That I am in control of my life no matter what is going on in the world I can revert myself back to a calm state of mind. How Do We Practice Mindfulness? There are many ways we can practice mindfulness, here are a few of the most popular methods: Meditation Grounding Techniques Walking Mindfulness Meditation I struggle to meditate as I usually end up getting bored easily however if you have never tried it before I highly recommend you giving it a try. You can find a plethora of sites, videos, and apps that give guided meditations, here are some to help you get started: Headspace Calm Simple Habit InsightTimer These are only a few sites to practise mindfulness but they are a good place to start. You can alter them and see what works best for you. The best part is that they are free to use unless you'd like to pay for premium meditations and music. Grounding Techniques This is one of my favourite techniques because it is simple, quick, effective, and works well with anxiety and panic disorder. The beauty of the grounding technique is that it allows you to divert your attention to your surroundings allowing your anxiety to dissipate. The 5 Step Grounding Technique Tip: Make sure you are comfortable and preferably sitting down before trying this method 5 Things You Can See Find a nice place to sit down so you can observe your surroundings. Look around and spot 5 things you can see. 4 Things You Can Feel Whilst sitting still, look around you and find four things that you can touch. 3 Things You Can Hear Listen around you and identify three different things you can hear. 2 Things You Can Smell This one might be a little tricky if you are in a rural area but try and find two distinguishing smells. 1 Thing You Can Taste This one can tie in with things you smell, can you taste something? like fresh air or maybe you were eating something and can still taste it. The point of doing this exercise is to distract you from your racing thoughts of impending doom. It can temporarily reduce stress and it allows you to acknowledge the present moment. The Breathing Technique Find a nice comfortable spot and take a seat. This technique also works well with panic disorder alongside mindfulness. The beauty of doing the breathing technique is you can breathe anywhere, discretely without drawing your attention to yourself. Very quick and easy to do, this will only take a few steps. To start this technique you must be seated comfortably with your back straight and feet touching the ground. Step 1: Close your eyes and inhale a deep breath for 4 seconds. Step 2: Hold your breath for a further 4 seconds. Step 3: As you exhale (for 4 seconds) imagine you have a balloon in your stomach and as you're releasing that breath push your stomach outwards like you're inflating a balloon. Repeat these steps until you feel calmer and more present. Walking Mindfulness Walking is another quick and easy way to practice mindfulness that can be done at any time you go for a walk. To practice mindful walking, you must go for a walk when you have some free time where you are not in a rush to get somewhere allowing you to delve into your thoughts. As you're walking you'll want to focus on your physical sensations and think of the following questions: How is your breathing? Is it fast? Is it slow? Do your feet feel light or heavy? What sounds can you hear? Can you hear cars passing you by? Do you hear birds tweeting or people talking? What scents can you smell? Can you smell freshly cut grass? The flowers blossoming? Maybe you live in a city and can smell petrol from passing cars or fresh bread from the bakery. All these types of questions should be going through your head whilst you're walking. We can get too caught up in our own lives to just exist and be aware of how our bodies feel. Anytime you find yourself getting distracted try and bring your attention back to your breathing, even tell yourself to inhale and exhale if it redirects your thoughts back to the present moment. 8. Journaling A classic way of coping with your thoughts is by writing them down in a diary. I'm not suggesting creating a masterpiece as Anne Frank did but I am sure you can agree isolation will make many of us feel trapped, depressed, anxious, etc so writing down what you're feeling will allow you to get those feelings off of your chest. It has been scientifically proven that jotting down your feelings can improve your mood and even help you release any pent up emotions. The beauty of doing this is you can analyze your thoughts and determine if there are any patterns or triggers that may be causing you any emotional distress. Not sure where to start? Here are some questions to help you get started: What are grateful for? Why are you most grateful for them? What did you do today? How did it make you feel? What did you eat for breakfast? Is this your favourite meal of the day? What are your favourite activities to do at home? How does it make you feel afterwards? What makes you feel anxious? What makes you feel depressed? What are your biggest fears in isolation and how do you manage them? Conclusion Whether you try all of these methods or just some of them, hopefully, you will notice a difference in your mental health during this isolation period. Through these unprecedented times, we can learn more about ourselves and our inner strength making us stronger than we were before COVID-19.
5 Awesome Anxiety Fidget Toys You Need In Your Life!
By Claire ( Millennial Londoner) Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links that allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. There is nothing worse than having an anxiety attack in the middle of class as you're about to give a presentation. Or when you are in the middle of an important business meeting and can't run out of the room to get some air. It can feel paralyzing when you are in an environment where you aren't able to do grounding techniques or simply go for a walk. It can consume you out of nowhere and impact your daily life in many ways. So What Is The Alternative To This? I find that fidgeting with something helps divert my attention from my racing intrusive thoughts and allows me to relax with the different sensations they present. Fidget toys that specialize in alleviating stress and anxiety have become a huge trend over recent years and the best bit is most of these toys are small and discrete. This means you can use them virtually anywhere without disturbing your boss, teacher or others whilst simultaneously alleviating your anxiety. If like me you get self-conscious trying to control your anxiety in public I find that smaller fidget toys like the fidget cube or fidget peas work better for me. I can use the stress toy without drawing attention to myself or disturbing the people around me. Here are 5 awesome anxiety-relieving fidget toys you need in your life 1. The Fidget Pen This sleek and subtle fidget pen is perfect for anyone that wants something to ease their anxiety in a formal or corporate environment. The beauty of this fidget toy is it is so versatile with the ability to relieve stress and anxiety whilst simultaneously being a perfectly functioning pen. This pen has 8 different features such as a rollerball, click switch and buttons that will help you be much more productive and anxiety-free. Whether it be at work, school, home or elsewhere this pen will improve productivity and reduce anxiety. 2. The Fidget Cube This needs no introduction as I am sure you must have seen or at least heard of the fidget cube in recent years. The fidget cube's nimble design makes it a perfect fidget toy to bring with you on the go. Small in size it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand making it the best discrete fidget toy to bring almost anywhere. I personally LOVE this the most because it is pocket-sized, fun to play with and I find myself being able to divert my thoughts from anxiety to hand coordination. There are multiple features of the fidget cube such as the joystick, click buttons, switch button, spinner buttons. 3. The Fidget Chain Small and compact like the other fidget toys the fidget chain is another perfect item to bring with you on the go. You can soothe stress and anxiety by placing the chain around your finger and moving the rubber roller. This sensation can help you concentrate, improve your hand coordination and circulate your blood flow. 4. The Fidget Peas The fidget peas are another compact fidget toy perfect for any environment be it your daily commute to work or school, your classroom or work office. I like them because they are cute and can be attached to a bag, clothing or pencil case so you can take bring them everywhere with you. 5. Box Of Fidget Toys The ultimate way to find the right fidget toy is to buy a box of miscellaneous toys. With plenty of choices to choose from you can decide which fidget toys are best for you. For me, I find the smaller and more subtle the better because I'm not drawing attention to myself or distracting others around me. You have a choice of 30 items from sensory rings, stretchy bans, squidgy beans and many more. Whether it's stress or anxiety you're trying to curb, any of these fidget toys will help you out. I find that having a fidget toy or stress ball gives me something to focus on when I am having a panic attack. By holding and squeezing the fidget toy you're diverting your attention away from the anxious thoughts which will allow the physical symptoms to dissipate.
5 Unusual Anxiety Symptoms
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is purely for informational purposes compiled from personal experience and reputable sources. If you require any health advice please speak to a medical specialist. Anxiety can wreak havoc on your body mentally, physically and emotionally. If you Google anxiety you will see the usual symptoms people associate with the condition such as, heart palpitations, nausea, feeling of impending doom. But not many people correlate these symptoms with anxiety. Anxiety is vital for our survival as it warns us that we're in potential danger that may require a fight, flight or freeze response. In dangerous circumstances anxiety can help us, however, when we have those horrible "what if" moments frequently that's when it becomes a disorder. Crazy to think we have this amazing superpower that can protect us yet also be our Achilles heel at the same time. So What Are The 5 Symptoms Unusual Anxiety Symptoms? 5. Acid Reflux Acid reflux is a very unpleasant symptom of anxiety that isn't talked about often. The symptoms usually arise from panic attacks when your body is tense and your stomach muscles are contracting. This can make your stomach acid rise into your oesophagus causing heartburn, the taste of metal in your mouth, burping and possibly nausea. 4. Digestion Anxiety can also wreak havoc on your digestion system, there are tonnes of studies that link your brain to your gut. If like me you get a dry mouth, cold sweats and butterflies before public speaking or going on a roller coaster then you have experienced anxiety-related gastrointestinal issues. When your body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode it pauses the digestion process to prepare you for the potential danger. 3. Muscle Twitching Muscle twitching is another odd symptom that can come from having anxiety. It's a response to stress and adrenaline when your body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode. When your body prepares for a threat the blood will rush to your core muscles to help fight or flee from danger. Your nerves have a HUGE part to play in this because they transfer the message from your brain to your muscles and organs to fight the potential threat. While your nervous system is fired up your arms, legs, feet and hands might start twitching involuntarily. 2. Dry Mouth This one is also quite odd because you wouldn't associate it with anxiety but it is very common. There are a few reasons why you get dry mouth with anxiety, the first is because of adrenaline. When your body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode your ANS (autonomous nervous system) kicks in reducing the amount of saliva your glands release. You can also get a dry mouth from hyperventilating as your mouth is open and shallow breathing. 1. Finger and Toe Curling This will sound like an odd one but I've put this on the list because I experienced this and had no idea it was anxiety-related. Hyperventilating is a common symptom of panic attacks which can cause you to breathe rapidly. When you are hyperventilating your body can't produce enough carbon dioxide to keep up with your rapid breathing which can make you feel nauseated and lightheaded. Hyperventilating can also decrease your calcium levels which causes your fingers and toes to curl up or you may feel numbness or tingling. I panicked, even more, the first time this happened to me because you never hear about your fingers cramping up like crab claws during a panic attack. But don't panic ( literally and figuratively) it is completely normal for this to happen and once your panic attack passes your hands and feet will return to normal. And there you have it! These are the 5 unusual anxiety symptoms that we may overlook daily. The key to combating anxiety is identifying what symptoms you have and patterns that they formulate I.e triggers. If you notice symptoms after you see a trigger such as blood, rodents, needles, heights etc you'll likely have phobia's that cause your body to protect you by firing up your fight or flight system. If you like making notes you could buy a diary/journal and log your symptoms along with the intensity of them and possible triggers. This will be REALLY useful for you to understand your anxiety's patterns and ultimately help you pinpoint the triggers so you can correct them. If therapy is something you are open to, your therapist will likely ask you to write down your anxiety episodes along with the symptoms and intensity of the symptoms.