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.

Tips For Maintaining Good Brain Health

Use my engaging games and puzzles to stay mentally sharp

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING GOOD BRAIN HEALTH

D. S. Mitchell

Insight Into Mental Sharpness

Cognitive decline is one of the biggest hurdles facing aging adults. As we grow older, our bodies change, including mental functioning. Mental decline is not inevitable, however. Here are some tips from the experts to insure good brain health. Every day we are learning about new research into brain health. That research gives us insight into how to keep our brains sharp throughout life.

 Get a Good Workout

Regular exercise helps all the muscles and organs of the body, including the brain. A good workout can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels which is good for both brain and heart. Research shows that regular exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the areas of the brain that are responsible for thinking.

Eat Right

The MIND diet is designed to help prevent dementia and slow the loss of brain function that can happen as we age. Dieters are encouraged to consume vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fish, beans, poultry and wine. The diet depends on frequent servings of green leafy vegetables. Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards and other greens that are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help, with memory. However, researchers found six or more servings a week provide the greatest brain benefits.

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Let’s Walk, Run, and Bike

Let’s Walk, Run, And Bike

D. S. Mitchell

Our society is becoming more sedentary and overweight. Many of us spend hours behind a desk at our jobs.  We drive our cars to the fast food drive thru, never even getting out of our cars.  We use our computers to shop, without ever leaving the house.  With decreased activity people are increasingly complaining of posture related aches and pains, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Just like we enjoy eating and drinking too much, we enjoy sitting too much. We are surrounded by cars, snacks, elevators, sugary drinks and fast foods. The problem has become serious enough that the World Health Organization has a new agenda focused on encouraging physical activity.

A “Black Dog Institute” of Australia study found that 1-2 hours of exercise per week can prevent depression. In addition to improved mental health multiple world-wide studies have shown that vigorous movement can stave off heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, fatigue, diabetes and even cancer.

Our country, and most of the industrialized economies are suffering from a “sitting disease”.  Physical inactivity is one of  the top 10 causes of disease and disability according to a recent UK government study. That study attributed 1 in 6 deaths to “sitting” which is equal to smoking in that country.

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Three Goblins In The Health Care Closet

3 Goblins Facing Health Care

D. S. Mitchell

On The Front Line

Writing for www.CalamityPolitics.com allows me a grass root platform to discuss health care, and every other area of our political spectrum, for that matter. It does not give me the right to say anything I want about the issues. With that said, I have ground level experience in health care. Because of that experience and exposure to trench warfare in hospital health care I have strong opinions. Client care and results need to be discussed and evaluated for effectiveness. I have a passionate interest in health care, and in this area, I believe my street level experience gives me the right to discuss the issues. Bringing common sense thinking to health care should always be welcomed. I am an RN, and have worked for 38 years in hospitals in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada.

The Sickest

My two primary areas of specialty are Crisis Psychiatry and Cardiac Intensive Care. Whether the issues are mental, behavioral, or cardiac emergency, many of the issues facing the caregiver, and the client are the same. Despite the obvious differences in the front line needs of the clients, both of these populations are often the sickest in the hospital. One thing I know, is that the health of the American citizen should not be decided by a politician in Washington, D.C. Sadly, that’s where this battle always shows its ugly underbelly.

Goblin 1: Big Pharma

Suitcases Of Medications

For the first twenty-five years of my career, when I admitted a patient that came to the unit with a suitcase of medications, I believed it was because they were incredibly ill. Like physicians I had been trained to believe in  pharmaceuticals.  As an old nurse, my thinking transformed into, the patient is sick because they are taking so many prescribed medications. I can hear the protests from the audience now. Don’t believe me, just read the labels. These are chemicals and they are toxic and poisonous.

Side Effects

Truthfully, every pill has the potential to cause side effects, some known and some unknown.   When a person complains to his doctor that he is uncomfortable due to the side effects of the medication he is taking, his doctor writes him another prescription to help deal with the side effects.  The patient has pain so his doctor writes him a prescription for an analgesic. When he complains of constipation, he is given a prescription.  You can see where this is headed, right?

Advertising Medications

In America, television is the best friend of the pharmaceutical industry.  Constant television marketing convinces viewers that there is a pill that will fix anything and everything. Unfortunately, many Americans now believe that there is a pill that will make everything in their life better.  Health care policy makers need to take this issue very seriously. I realize drug manufacturers want to make a profit, but I also believe constant repetition creates a need that previously did not exist.

Goblin 2: Poor Life Style Choices

It is important to recognize that there are both Non-Modifiable issues and Modifiable issues.

Non-Modifiable Conditions:  unchangeable circumstances, such as age, gender, race, genetics.

Modifiable:  changeable circumstances, such as life style choices that people can change.  Most particularly, cigarette smoking, poor diet, inactivity, alcohol abuse or overuse, and chronic stress. Most people understand the link between lifestyle choices and chronic illness are undeniable. Understanding that continuation of unhealthy behaviors leads to chronic disease more often than not. People need to make good choices.

Painful Truths

Predictors of chronic illness: smoking, processed foods, fast foods, starchy carbs, bread & pasta, sugar drinks, excess alcohol, overeating, excessive salt use, sugar, high fat diets, and lack of exercise.  These behaviors will lead to obesity.  Obesity increases risks, particularly of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle diseases kill more people than communicable diseases. The top five killers in America are:

1.) Diabetes
2.) Cardiovascular disease (High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, High Cholesterol)
3.) Stroke
4.) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
5.) and some forms of cancer.

The Numbers Are Eye Opening

More than 70% of deaths in the United States are attributable to one of the above listed diseases.  Even more alarming is that 75% of the U.S. Health Care dollar is spent on the same listed diseases.  Furthermore, the numbers do not reflect the personal and economic burden of chronic illness, lost work days, low productivity, disability and poor quality of life. “I’m going to die from something,” is the most common response people make when confronted with their poor life style behaviors.  There seems to be no regard for the overall effects of that attitude on self, family, community or country.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of chronic illness and death in the U.S. and is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths.  Statistics show that 10 times as many Americans have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all American wars.  Smoking hardens arteries and causes the heart to work harder.  Emphysema and COPD are caused by smoking.  Smoking causes 80% of all COPD deaths and 90% of lung cancer deaths.  Additionally, smoking is a major cause of throat, bladder cancer, voice box, liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney and colorectal cancers. So, America become your own best physician:

1.) Stop smoking
2.) Eat a plant-based diet
3.) Exercise at least 7 hours per week
4.) Reduce stress
5.) Practice good dental health
6.) Have fun

Goblin 3: The really big lie. A free market solution

Whistle-blower

Former CIGNA Senior VP turned whistle-blower, Wendall Potter called it “general gullibility and blind adherence to ideology.”  The American public has been bamboozled ” by the self-serving propaganda from health care insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical industrial complex,” he told Congress in 2011.

Around The World

Government leaders in other developed countries decided long ago, the following: 1.) health care is a right AND as such, is different than the typical free market arenas.  2.) Goblin Three: The really big lie is that health care can be viewed through a free market lens. In 2011, Jason Adkins commented in a Catholic Spirit piece, “slavish adherence to ideology in politics can and does inflict harm to the very people public officials claim to serve.”

Failure Of Competition

One basic element rarely discussed is failure of competition.  The hospital industry is highly concentrated in areas with higher populations while under serving the rural populations of the U.S. and often leaving rural hospitals subject to failure.  As as with hospitals, “health care services don’t really compete with one another as equal goods.” My doctor’s care is different from the care provided by my neighbor’s physician.  My medications are different from my neighbors.  Response to care is different for me than for him.  These variables show that no case is the same.  Thus, no “equal goods,” can apply.

Profits Vs Health

Mark Sokr 2/17/2011 said, “I think the health care market is functioning perfectly.  The problem is that the market is producing profits, NOT health.”  Hmmm.  Patients most likely would call this failure.  However, for all facets of the health care industry, profits are spectacularly high, so it can be claimed that the market is a success and doing what it is intended to do, make money, and to expect better health care results would be unrealistic. A very obvious dilemma exposes itself.  Two separate and divergent end desires.  The free market wants profit.  The citizenry wants good, inexpensive health care.  The ideology of profit and successful health care delivery do not coincide.  Since the primary goal of the free market is profit, “Any diversion from this goal is inefficient and against the interests of the holders of capital,” Mark Sokr concluded.

Conclusion

To slay the goblins in our health care closet it seems to me that we need to drop the ideology and look at the facts.

1.) Prevention must become the goal of this country.  We can cut the cost of health care by billions of dollars.
2.) Give up the idea that a pill will fix everything  and as part of that our doctor’s need to direct their patients to a healthy lifestyle and stop handing out a pill for every complaint.
3.) Personal responsibility and self advocacy must become the center of each individual’s health care and their greatest well-being.
4.) Accept the proven fact that “free market” systems are inappropriate for health care and continuously fail.
5.) A single payer system delivers the best and least expensive care.

“Yes, President Trump, “health care is complicated.”

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