10 Plus Tips To Cope With Anxiety

Got Holiday Anxiety?

With Thanksgiving comes tension for some. . .

10 Plus Tips To Cope

Don’t Let Anxiety Ruin Your Holidays

By D. S. Mitchell 

Turkey and Pumpkin Pie 

The holidays are right around the corner. Some are excited about turkey and gravy, and fancy wrapped presents, but others see only stress and anxiety on the horizon. If you are hosting parties, the stress level is on steroids; fancy china, excited young ones, guests, surprise and otherwise. It can seem overwhelming. Read on if you are looking for some tips on how to get you through the holidays as anxiety free as possible.

Be Ready

Stay rested and recharged, ahead of the holidays. Take time for yourself.  Get enough sleep, engage in activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. Don’t skip self care routines under the pressure of the approaching holidays. Don’t do it-skipping health care routines will cost in the long run. You need that 30 minutes of cardio and any other health activities you are engaged in. These activities will keep you balanced and ready to face the upcoming holiday challenges. It just might be yoga, biking, stretching, Tai Chi, or  aqua aerobics, that  saves your sanity.

Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks. Common ones, your first day at a new job, heading an important meeting, meeting your SO’s parents. Time and reflection will be required to identify your triggers. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxious mind.

4.) Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood are soothing. Certain receptors in your brain are activated by aromatherapy.

5.) Walking or Yoga

Just walk away if the situation is causing anxiety. It might be time to focus on  your body and not your mind to relieve your anxiety. Just move. Whether it’s the pool or the yoga mat, move your butt, it helps reduce stress. Try stretching, it can be incredibly beneficial.

6.) Write down your thoughts

Many mental health therapists suggest a client write down what’s causing their anxiety. Writing it down, gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting. My mother used this one, on a regular basis. She would write letters to the offenders and put them in envelopes addressed to whoever was causing her frustration and then stick it in a file, never sending it.

Not All Anxiety Is The Same
The previous suggestions are helpful if your symptoms are situational or sporadic. If anxiety is an on-going, persistent part of you life you may need more serious interventions and coping strategies.
Five Strategies For Coping With Long-Term Illness 

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, not just around the holidays, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you manage it. There might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or perhaps cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger. Confused, as to where to start? It is always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before moving ahead with your plan.

Some Well-Known Triggers:
  • debt
  • a stressful work environment
  • traveling
  • driving
  • DNA-genetics — anxiety, depression, alcoholism can run in families
  • drug withdrawal
  • medication side effects
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • multiple mental illness diagnoses (such as depression, OCDC, anxiety)
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
Managing Those Triggers

Sometimes triggers can be obvious, such as caffeine, alcohol consumption, and drug use. Other times triggers are less obvious and we may need a therapist to help us isolate those triggers. Long-term stress, such as financial or work-related situations, can be more difficult— is it a due date, a person, or the situation? At this point you may need some extra support, through therapy or with some trusted friends.

Then What?

Once you do figure out your trigger(s), you should try to limit your exposure to them if you can. If you can’t limit it — say because it is due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

1.) Try Meditation

A successful meditation regime will take time and practice.  When done regularly, you can train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting your exercise routine with more active physical exertion and then start your yoga routine.

2.) Adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral into a panic attack.

3.) Healthy Diet, Regular Exercise, Embrace Life 

Exercise regularly. Eat balanced meals. Get enough sleep. Stay connected to people who care about you. You may want to talk to your psychiatrist about adding supplements or nutrients to your long-term strategy.

4.) Consider Adding Supplements

Research shows certain supplements or nutrients help reduce anxiety symptoms. Some of these include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

It can take up to three months before your body is actually using the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor. I’ve said that twice. I cannot say it enough. Different medications interact with one another whether OTC  or prescription. Talk to your doc.

5.) Prescription Medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from psychotropic medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Is My Anxiety Harmful?

Identifying what variety of anxiety you’re dealing with can be challenging-mainly because everyone’s body reacts to danger in entirely different ways. I’m sure you have heard “anxiety” used as a general term for feeling worry, uneasiness, or nervousness. It is often situational, a big dance, a speech, a tryout; it is often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome. Every human being deals with such emotions-at some time in their life. It is part of how we are wired, our brains respond to perceived danger, even if there is no real danger.

Things Can Get Dark

There are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that may begin slowly and initially feel manageable, but build up over a few hours. (Panic attacks are different. A panic attack comes out of the blue and then subsides.)

Signs and Symptoms of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • nervousness/restlessness
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling/chills
  • tiredness/weakness
  • gastric problems
  • difficulty focusing
  • rapid breathing, hyperventilating

It is possible to have both an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Try focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Signs and Symptoms of a Panic Attack
Causes of Anxiety

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and the symptoms are interfering with your daily routine and physical symptoms. A mental health professional can help with identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

Living With Anxiety 

If your anxiety stems from a past trauma, it can be helpful to work through those issues with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if your brain chemistry predisposes you to persistent, chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it. Anxiety is likely to continue to be part of your life, but it doesn’t need to take over your life.  Treatment is available to help control those painful symptoms and make those holidays at least tolerable.

COVID-19 Is Taking A Mental Toll


COVID-19 Is Taking A Mental Toll,

But We Can Fight Back

By Wes and Anna Hessel

 Coronavirus Cuts Deep

As we move into summer, we leave Mental Health Awareness Month (May) behind. We are now looking forward to longer, warmer days, and the associated activities. But, the cold chill of COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions are creating problems well beyond the physical illness.  Researchers are now documenting emotional and psychological issues related to the coronavirus. An article in psychologytoday.com looked at the mental and the physical effects of the illness. Studies in China found lingering physical symptoms such as myalgia and dizziness. On a self-rated health status questionnaire patients also noted significant mental disturbances related to the pandemic.  People described increased occurrence of anxiety, stress, and depression.  In a study group of over 1250 individuals exposed to the coronavirus, more than 33%  exhibited insomnia, 45% had anxiety, 50% reported depression, and almost 72% described distress.

Long Term Effects

The SARS-CoV epidemic in 2003 showed the emotional cost is unlikely to be a passing problem.  Researchers in Hong Kong looked at 90 survivors of that virus.  The study group was considered well-educated with a mean age of 41. Thirty percent of them were health care professionals. One in ten in that study had at least one family member die of SARS-CoV. Overall, close to 60% had some form of mental disorder – over 6% a type of agoraphobia, 13% had a panic issue, more than 44% suffered from major depression, and nearly 48% suffered from PTSD.  When re-examined 2½ years after recovery, 3% still suffered from agoraphobia, almost 8% still suffered from a panic disorder, 13% major depression, and 25% displayed PTSD.

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10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

By David L. Jones

Depression Has Taken Over My Life

It’s Dave, here. I have for the last month been living at the bottom of a black hole. I have spent all day in bed with the comforter pulled tight over my head.  I won’t lie to you, depression has taken over my life.  Feelings of immeasurable sadness, hopelessness and utter emptiness are consuming me. This time of year is always a struggle for me, but this winter has been excruciatingly painful.

A Dark and Windowless Room

The only reason I have found the strength to pull the comforter off my head and pull up a chair to my computer and start writing, is that hopefully sharing my story, can help someone else that has found themselves trapped in a dark, door-less, window-less room.

Four Generations of Suffering

A friend of mine who also suffers from depression offered me some advice recently. She reports at least four generations of depression, alcoholism and suicide in her family. She told me that when she begins to experience depression she refuses to give herself permission to suffer.

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The Last Goodbye

The Last Goodbye

By D.S. Mitchell

As we hurry through life, we meet many people. Some are just a touch on the sleeve, quickly forgotten, while others become part of the fabric of our lives. Becoming enmeshed in the life of another person can be a good thing, but just as often it can be a bad thing.

When a once healthy relationship sours, whether after five years or forty, we are often left confused about what happened. In other cases, we know exactly what happened and wonder why we let ourselves continue a relationship that was not only unhealthy, but harmful to us, for as long as we did.

With the holidays coming at us like Richard Petty heading into a straight away, I am cleaning out my relationship closet. Sometimes the holidays magnify everything that you know is wrong with that broken friendship.

But for a thousand reasons, you keep fussing with it, nurturing it, feeding it; hoping it will surge back to life. Sometimes it does fire back to life, but usually the relationship is on life support by this time and is sputtering toward extinction. The end-time; being the only unknown.

Let me explain. I am a rescuer,  I mean, a rescuer on steroids. The worse the situation; the bigger my cape. I have spent most of my life working as an RN. Most of my nurse buddies have the same affliction.

I guess when I think about it, it makes sense. Nurses want to make everything and everybody better.  We’ll fluff and buff, arranging everything just so. That personality quirk might be okay in the hospital, but when carried into life it can be painfully unsuccessful.

In my case, the end came last weekend. After knowing Dave for 35 years I am finally done.  I have severed all communication. I cannot and will not resume the relationship. His illness has reached a point that I can no longer be of any help. In fact, my involvement may be contributing to his worsening symptoms.

I finally recognize he is worse for me than pneumonia. No tears, no anger, just acceptance and relief. When the burden of another person’s mental illness becomes too heavy to drag another inch you have to put the burden down. There should be no guilt. At this point, your only goal should be to preserve your own mental well-being.

The only reason I am sharing this with the world is that I thought it might help someone else who is struggling with mental illness in a relationship.  I know you hear it repeated, but there is a great deal of truth in being able to put yourself first.

Maybe not always, but at some point if you can’t be number one, you won’t be able to help him, or you. No matter that it is Christmas, somethings can’t wait to end. Sometimes the last goodbye is the sweetest, the most honest, and the most necessary.

**I have no safety concerns with Dave. He is  a non-violent person. That is not always the case with those suffering from a mental disorder. The assumption in my article is that the person you are separating from is under the care of a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner and has made no recent suicide threats, or threatened your life.

If the person in question has made recent threatening statements, please let the person’s mental health providers know about the situation and involve them immediately. And, yes, in some extreme circumstances the police may become involved. Don’t under any circumstances put your safety at risk.* *

Prepared For Disaster

Disasters are a frequent thing. Over the last twelve  months the need to be ready for a disaster has become ever more obvious, as headlines of school shootings, fires, category 5 hurricanes and earthquakes send terrified, often unprepared citizens, running for their lives. No one is immune to disaster, but being prepared can be the difference between death and survival. Do you have a disaster preparedness plan?

Mental preparation. Reality check time. It is important to acknowledge that disasters happen and that you and everyone you love is also at potential risk. Once that knowledge is accepted, making preparations becomes the only reasonable action. Find out what happens in your community. Know where the emergency shelters are. If there are obvious hazards about your home remove them or make needed repairs. Check your smoke detectors and be sure to change batteries at least once a year.

Be ready for an emergency.  You never know when such events will occur. The recent hurricane evacuations highlight our need to be ready for such events, day or night. Over the last year we have seen the devastation and chaos caused by Michael, Florence, Irma and Maria.  It can happen anytime, anywhere.  In my little corner of the world, the North Oregon coast, we are often subject to evacuation orders because of tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, floods and even a rare tornado.

Prepare emergency supplies. No matter where you live there is always the possibility that you will be forced to move quickly out of harm’s way. Not all incidents of danger are natural in cause, often these tragedies are man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks and toxic spills. At such time, power, water, phone and transportation services will most likely be out of service. If you own a car keep the tank at least half full.

Keep phone numbers. You will need to have numbers of friends and family close by and far away. You will need emergency phone numbers. Did you know that text messaging may be more reliable than telephone voice service.

Others may need help. Is there an elderly neighbor or an infirm family member that might need extra assistance? Be sure that you also have a local map. Planning for such an event is the first step to survival.

Rehearse your escape. Be aware of your buildings exits, as well as the emergency plan of your children’s school. Set up family meeting places-the school or the library-one inside your neighborhood and one outside your neighborhood. Walk the distance making sure that each family member is physically capable of making the trek.

Don’t Delay.In many cases when confronted with an emergency people don’t panic, in fact they will often be in denial and will intentionally delay evacuation. If authorities order evacuation, do not dally, leave immediately. Let friends know where you are, you don’t want anyone risking their life trying to find you.

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