Posted 27 June 2016 - 01:44 PM
And if anyone has something similair that could and want to share with others, fill free to do so. You never know who you may help. Cheers.
HOW TO NOT GIVE A f*** WHAT PEOPLE THINK
" We‘re all guilty.
Everyday from the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring what other people think of us.
We accept the status quo for what it is because everyone around us does.
We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become moulded by how we think other people perceive us.
How are these pants going to make me look? What will my colleagues think if I spoke out? Are those people talking shit behind my back? If I take this job, what will my friends and family think of me?
Just writing that paragraph alone gave me a headache…
It’s exhausting. It’s dreadful. It has to stop.
Living a life that follows the ideal notions of what other people think is a terrible way to live. It makes you become the spineless spectator who waits for other people to take action first. It makes you become a follower.
Worst of all, it makes you become someone who doesn’t take a stand for anything.
Today is the last day we live a life dictated by others. Today, we’re going to get to the bottom of the truth. Today is the day we stop giving a f***.
No One Really Cares
Believe it or not, we’re not that special.
We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is — those people are thinking the exact same thing.
No one in today’s “smartphone crazed” society has time in their schedule to think more than a brief second about us. The fact of the matter is, when we do have time get our thoughts straight, we’re too busy thinking about ourselves and our own shortcomings — not others.
A study done by the National Science Foundation claims that people have on average 50,000 plus thoughts a day. This means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts.
“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” — David Foster Wallace21
It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think of most things relating to “me” or “my.” This means that unless you have done something that directly affects another person or their life, they are not going to spend much time thinking about you at all.
I’ve always enjoyed watching performers trying to hustle some change at the New York City train stations. These guys simply know how to not give a f***.
But the more interesting observation I made is how the spectators react. Rather than watching the actual performers, most people are looking around to see how other people are reacting. If people were laughing, they would start laughing too. But if people weren’t paying attention, they would also pay no mind.
Even when provided the blatantly obvious opportunity to judge someone, people are still thinking about how others may perceive them.
Once you understand that this is how people’s mind works, it’s a big step towards freedom.
You Can’t Please Everyone
It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations.
There will always be people — no matter what we say or how we treat them — that will judge us. Whether you’re at the gym, at work, taking the train, or even online playing Call of Duty. Even now it‘s happening. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can stop it from affecting you.
Think about the worst thing that could possibly happen when someone is judging you or what you’re doing.
I guarantee that chances are — nothing will happen. Absolutely nothing.No one is going to go out of their busy lives to confront us, or even react for that matter. Because as I mentioned before, no one actually cares.What will happen, is that these people will actually respect you for claiming your ground. They may disagree with you, but they’ll respect you.
Start standing up for what you believe in — causes, opinions, anything. You’re going to have people that disagree with you anyways, so why not express how you truly feel?
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in life.”— Winston Churchill21
I’ve learnt that it’s better to be loved by a few people you care about, than to be liked by everyone. These are family, friends, spouse — the people who love you for who you are, and the people who will be there for you during your worst times. Focus on these people. They’re the only people that matter.
You Reap What You Sow
Worrying too much about what other people think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the way we think starts to become the way we behave. These individuals become people-pleasers and overly accommodating to others, thinking it will stop them from being judged.
In fact, the opposite is true. Most people don’t like push-overs and are turned off by it. The behaviour we use in an attempt to please others, can actually cause the opposing effect.
If how we think affects our behaviours, then how we behave affects who we attract.
This means that if you’re a push-over, then you’re going to be attracting others in your life who are also push-overs. Vice versa.
This can be quite a dangerous path to go down if you don’t recognize its consequences.
It’s been said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. When we start to attract and associate with the same people that share our weaknesses — we’re stuck. We stop growing, because there’s no one to challenge us to be better. We start thinking that this is the norm and we remain comfortable. This is not a place you want to be.
Now let’s talk about the cure. Here are 5 ways on how to not give a f***.
How To Not Give A f***
1. Know Your Values
First and foremost. You need to know what’s important to you in life, what you truly value, and what you’re ultimately aiming for. Once you know who you really are and what matters to you, what other people think of you become significantly less important. When you know your values, you’ll have something to stand up for — something you believe in.
You’ll stop saying yes to everything. Instead, you’ll learn to say no when friends pressure you to go bar-hopping, or when a tempting business opportunity that distracts you from your business.
When you have your values straight, you have your shit straight.
2. Put Yourself Out There
Now that you know what your values are, it’s time to put yourself out there.
This can be done several ways. Here are a few suggestions:
• Wearing a polka-dot sweater
• Public Speaking
• Flirting/Asking someone out
Keep in mind that when you’re doing any of these activities, you have to speak your mind. Be honest with yourself and what you share, because the world doesn’t need another conflict-avoider who does what everyone else does.
3. Surround Yourself With Pros
Surround yourself with people who are self-assured, and live life without comprising their core values. These people will rub off on you quickly.
One of my best friends, Cody, has been a big influence on me. Having spent the summer with him, I’ve observed countless times where he strongly voiced his opinion on controversial topics. What I learned was that he was simply voicing opinions that people already had in their heads, but were too afraid to voice. People admired him for being so honest and direct, even when they disagreed with his views.
Thanks for not giving a F@$% Cody.
4. Create A “Growth List”
OK, now we’re getting personal.
I haven’t told anyone this, but I have this list called the “Growth List.”
A Growth List is comprised of all the things in life that makes you uncomfortable. These are fears, insecurities —anything that gives you the jitters.
My Growth List
Here’s how it works.
You start by writing all the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Then one-by-one, you do them. Once you complete the task, you move on to the next. Repeat.
My first growth task was taking a cold shower (The Flinch). I turned the water as cold as it could get, and I could feel my body shake before I even entered the shower. This was the inner bullshit voice in my head talking.
It was hard at first. But surprisingly, it got easier the second time. Then even easier the third time. Before I knew it, my body stopped shaking — I was no longer uncomfortable, I’ve conquered my fear.
This exercise does wonders. I have yet to find a better way to get out of my comfortable zone. You can read all the books in the world about being confident or getting over your fears, but if you don’t take action, you’re just someone who’s read how to ride a bicycle without ever having ridden one.
5. Travel Alone
If you’re looking for an ultimate transformation that combines all of the points above, you should travel alone. Traveling with other people can be fun, but you won’t get the opportunity to truly get out of your comfort zone.
You’ll be exposed to different social cultures, break social norms that you didn’t even know existed, and ultimately be forced to burst out of your small bubble.
Bring as little as possible, and fit everything into one backpack. Plan nothing, except for a one-way flight ticket to your destination — figure everything else out when you’re there. Trust me, you’ll be just fine.
It won’t be easy initially, but don’t get discouraged. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable will grow with time. I continue to struggle with it everyday, as do many others. But you need to get started today.
The world is already full of people who obey the status quo. But the people who don’t give a f*** are the ones that change the world.
Be the latter.
Start living life the way you want, be fearless like you once were as a child, and always, always stand up for the truth.
Someone has to."
Posted 28 June 2016 - 01:27 PM
Being depressed can make you feel helpless. You're not. Along with therapy and sometimes medication, there's a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Changing your behavior -- your physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking -- are all natural depression treatments.
These tips can help you feel better -- starting right now.
1. Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, you need a routine, says Ian Cook, MD. He's a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.
Depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.
2.Set goals. When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.
"Start very small," Cook says. "Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day."
As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals.
3. Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways, Cook says.
How much exercise do you need? You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can help.
4. Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It's a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better.
Although nothing is definitive, Cook says there's evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
5. Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse.
What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom -- no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
6. Take on responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don't. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.
If you're not up to full-time school or work, that’s fine. Think about part-time. If that seems like too much, consider volunteer work.
7. Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental -- changing how you think. When you're depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions.
The next time you're feeling terrible about yourself, use logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.
8. Check with your doctor before using supplements. "There's promising evidence for certain supplements for depression," Cook says. Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe. But more research needs to be done before we'll know for sure. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re already taking medications.
9. Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class.
"When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain," Cook says. "Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning."
10. Try to have fun. If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? "That's just a symptom of depression," Cook says. You have to keep trying anyway.
As strange as it might sound, you have to work at having fun. Plan things you used to enjoy, even if they feel like a chore. Keep going to the movies. Keep going out with friends for dinner.
When you're depressed, you can lose the knack for enjoying life, Cook says. You have to relearn how to do it. In time, fun things really will feel fun again.
Posted 28 June 2016 - 10:53 PM
Posted 29 June 2016 - 06:24 AM
We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. This brochure is meant to help you understand and control anger.
What Is Anger?
The Nature of Anger
Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage," according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.
The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.
On the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us; laws, social norms, and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.
People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.
Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.
As Dr. Spielberger notes, "when none of these three techniques work, that's when someone—or something—is going to get hurt."
The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.
Are You Too Angry?
There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.
Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?
According to Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in anger management, some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.
People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.
What makes these people this way? A number of things. One cause may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be sociocultural. Anger is often regarded as negative; we're taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.
Research has also found that family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.
Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"
Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.
It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.
Strategies to Keep Anger at Bay
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.
Some simple steps you can try:
Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."
Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.
Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.
Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."
Be careful of words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or someone else. "This !&*%@ machine never works," or "you're always forgetting things" are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.
Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).
Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective. Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.
Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.
Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your "significant other" wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.
It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.
"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.
The underlying message of highly angry people, Dr. Deffenbacher says, is "things oughta go my way!" Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them!
When you feel that urge, he suggests, picture yourself as a god or goddess, a supreme ruler, who owns the streets and stores and office space, striding alone and having your way in all situations while others defer to you. The more detail you can get into your imaginary scenes, the more chances you have to realize that maybe you are being unreasonable; you'll also realize how unimportant the things you're angry about really are. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems; rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't give in to harsh, sarcastic humor; that's just another form of unhealthy anger expression.
What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.
Changing Your Environment
Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.
Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.
Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself
Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.
Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.
Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.
Do You Need Counseling?
If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.
When you talk to a prospective therapist, tell her or him that you have problems with anger that you want to work on, and ask about his or her approach to anger management. Make sure this isn't only a course of action designed to "put you in touch with your feelings and express them"—that may be precisely what your problem is. With counseling, psychologists say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the techniques used.
What About Assertiveness Training?
It's true that angry people need to learn to become assertive (rather than aggressive), but most books and courses on developing assertiveness are aimed at people who don't feel enough anger. These people are more passive and acquiescent than the average person; they tend to let others walk all over them. That isn't something that most angry people do. Still, these books can contain some useful tactics to use in frustrating situations.
Remember, you can't eliminate anger—and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can't change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even more unhappy in the long run.
Posted 30 June 2016 - 01:21 AM
10 Simple Ways to Find Happiness
Happiness and emotional fulfillment are within your grasp.
We all want to feel happy, and each one of us has different ways of getting there. Here are 10 steps you can take to increase your joie de vivre and bring more happiness into your life:
Be with others who make you smile. Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy. Stick with those who are joyful and let rub off on you.
Hold on to your values. What you find true, what you know is fair, and what you believe in are all values. Over time, the more you honor them, the better you will feel about yourself and those you love.
Accept the good. Look at your life and take stock of what’s working, and don’t push away something just because it isn’t perfect. When good things happen, even the very little ones, let them in.
Imagine the best. Don’t be afraid to look at what you really want and see yourself getting it. Many people avoid this process because they don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t work out. The truth is that imagining getting what you want is a big part of achieving it.
Do things you love. Maybe you can’t skydive every day or take vacations every season, but as long as you get to do the things you love every once in a while, you will find greater happiness.
Find purpose. Those who believe they are contributing to the well-being of humanity tend to feel better about their lives. Most people want to be part of something greater than they are, simply because it’s fulfilling.
Listen to your heart. You are the only one who knows what fills you up. Your family and friends may think you’d be great at something that really doesn’t float your boat. It can be complicated following your bliss. Just be smart, and keep your day job for the time being.
Push yourself, not others. It’s easy to feel that someone else is responsible for your fulfillment, but the reality is that it is really your charge. Once you realize that, you have the power to get where you want to go. Stop blaming others or the world, and you’ll find your answers much sooner.
Be open to change. Even if it doesn’t feel good, change is the one thing you can count on. Change will happen, so make contingency plans and emotionally shore yourself up for the experience.
Bask in the simple pleasures. Those who love you, treasured memories, silly jokes, warm days, and starry nights—these are the ties that bind and the gifts that keep on giving.
Happiness and fulfillment are within your grasp, but sometimes just out of reach. Understanding what works best for you is the first step in finding more of them.
Posted 01 July 2016 - 05:59 AM
Little by little it takes over and you don't even realise.
Mojo, joie de vivre, raison d'etre. Gone. With no explanation. Nothing satisfactory anyway.
First you stop enjoying time with friends as much. It feels empty. It's draining and distracting from that niggling urge to do nothing.
Then it's the lack of ambition in your job. You'll do as little as possible and leave as early as possible while still being under the radar. You get quite good at being mediocre. But you remember when it mattered to you. Just a memory you brush aside.
Then the things you used to find interesting don't hold that spark anymore. Read a book? Nah. Paint some art? Nah. Write... you used to love writing? Nah. Reddit? Yeah. Netflix? Yeah. Until I fall asleep.
And you sleep way more. You just want to be in bed, alone. You're annoyed you have to leave the house to go to work. You get headaches and withdraw more.
Then even the things you used to be able to force yourself to do become too much effort. Cleaning your home gets put on the long finger so much, you end up living in near squalor. Your pillow case is yellow and there are old McDonald's packaging all over your window sill.
You start to think your friends are against you, that they don't care about you. You have done so much for them, listened to their problems, left them alone when they wanted to be left alone, went to the end of the earth to help them out in their time of need. But where are they for you? How could they do this to you? How can they turn their backs?! Everyone is obsessed with their own problems in life. And now it seems, you're obsessed with yours. You feel guilty.
Anger gives way to apathy. You cut them off. They can't hurt you if you don't care about them.
You think you're ok though. You still laugh at jokes and genuinely find them funny. You can have great conversations with people. You can really enjoy a game you're playing or tv series you've become engaged in. You can sometimes feel good even if it's brief, manic even.
Sure, you ignore the occasional thoughts of suicide. Push them away. It's only attractive not because you feel sad, but because it just seems like a better option than the years of loneliness and boredom stretched out before you.
Then you have a small spark of motivation. Today is the day you'll clean up the house. Nope. It wasn't. But it could have been.
Today is the day you go to the gym. You've only put on a little bit of weight, it wouldn't take much to become hot again. Cos you were hot. But now guys just look past you. You've gotten older and chubbier and you feel the rejection deep. So you stop caring about dating. Today was not the day you went to the gym because no matter what you look like, no one is ever going to love you. They didn't when you were hot. Why would they now? So why deny yourself some tasty food, it's not like there's anything else in life you've got going for you? And another package ends up on the windowsill with it's other rotten fried friends.
Today is the day you enlist in that course you always said you'd do. Do better in work. But then you think with all the stress you're under you can't handle more stress. So you don't bother.
Even the tiniest problems seem like insurmountable tasks and it quells the spark of motivation every God damn time.
You need help. But you can't ask for it. Last time a friend was depressed she started acting really bitter and paranoid and was always crying on nights out, bringing everyone down, spreading negativity. People stopped inviting her out and eventually she faded into memory. It's better to lie. Better to wear the mask of happiness. But you know it's a mask and it's a lead mask.
You can't go to a doctor, it's too embarrassing, too shameful, too scary and too skeptical of medication.
You research online and find that eating right and exercising can do wonders. But when you resolve to do better, you do worse. You sabotage yourself and you don't even understand why. Then you hate yourself. You're disgusting, why would anyone be there for you? How can you expect to get anything good out of life when you're a piece of crap?
You cry, you sob, you break down wailing at the light-hearted end of Raising Arizona when it shows them old with all their children coming to visit. You don't get to have that. You're just going to die alone.
Everyone has moved on in life except you. And no one seems to care. It's up to you now. When was the last time you felt happy? Were you ever?
I am the only person standing in the way of myself. I'm the only one I'm fighting. And I'm winning. I'm losing.
Posted 01 July 2016 - 07:20 AM
Posted 01 July 2016 - 07:57 AM
Posted 01 July 2016 - 08:22 AM
Later..I met wifey..figured i could use one friend..she bitches,is critical, a little insecure and blames me for everything..i have thick skin and tell her to f off alot but,does keep house clean,is a good cook does the bookkeeping and the worrying..lol..I fix everything and am the steady rock..to make her feel protected...I'm happy as life gets..I guess
Nah, you're just lucky couse you met me, ain't you ?
Posted 02 July 2016 - 11:34 AM
Temporary insomnia is inadequate or poor-quality sleep lasting anywhere from one night to a few weeks. Temporary insomnia can be a single episode or recurring episodes of insomnia separated by periods of normal sleep. There are no formal criteria for diagnosing insomnia, and what constitutes sufficient sleep for one person may be inadequate for another. Temporary insomnia may involve difficult falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep (waking up frequently), awakening too early, experiencing unrestful sleep, or a combination of the above.
The following suggestions are intended to help overcome temporary insomnia and maximize the chance of getting a healthy night's sleep:
1. Make your bedroom an inviting place. Keep the room free of clutter and distractions. Be sure you have the right bed and mattress for your needs. The wrong mattress can lead to musculoskeletal problems and sleep disturbances.
2. Use the bed only for sleeping and sex. Avoid use of the bed for watching TV, eating, working, or any other activities. If you do wish to use the bed for a bit of nighttime reading, read only pleasure books in bed.
3. Therapists often use "reconditioning" as part of a treatment plan for insomnia. With this method, people are "reconditioned" to associate the bed with sleep. If you find yourself unable to sleep at all, get out of bed and move to another room, so that you only associate the bed with sleep and not with wakefulness.
4. Establish a regular sleep-wake cycle. Your body will learn to set its internal clock to your schedule and will eventually respond to internal cues to become sleepy at a given time and to awaken at a given time. A good way to begin this is by getting up at the same time every morning, even on weekends.
5. Don't nap. No matter how tempting it may be, an afternoon nap can make falling asleep at night even harder. "Extra" sleep on weekends can also throw off your regular sleep schedule and worsen midweek insomnia.
6. Limit your consumption of caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Remember that eating chocolates and drinking cocoa and colas also are sources of caffeine.
7. Watch your alcohol intake. Don't drink any alcoholic beverages in the few hours prior to going to bed. Excessive amounts of alcohol at any time in the day can also disrupt sleep patterns and lead to unsatisfying sleep. Cigarette smokingcan also worsen insomnia.
8. Fit in some exercise during the day, but don't exercise strenuously right before bedtime.
9. Eat light meals in the evening. Eating heavily in the evening or eating just prior to going to bed can disrupt your sleep.
10. Establish a "winding down" ritual in the evenings just prior to bedtime. Try to free your mind of distracting or troublesome thoughts and engage in a relaxing, enjoyable activity like reading, listening to music, or watching a pleasant film.
- von Rantala likes this
Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:19 PM
Getting through fear is a skill that anyone can learn.
The problem is that most people cling to their fears, because it’s part of who they are.
If you aren’t ready to face your fears, you probably won’t transcend them.
And there’s nothing wrong in that. Everything happens in its own time.
If you’re reading this article though, I’m pretty sure that you’re ready to take another step forward.
You searched for this information, or you bumped into it, which isn’t just a coincidence.
Let’s have a look at some ways of dealing with fear.
How to Start Overcoming Fear, Right Now
1. Awareness. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to be aware that your fears are causing havoc in your life. It’s easy to get so attached to your thoughts and feelings that you think they are all that exist, which couldn’t be further from the truth. You are not your fears. You are the awareness that experiences it.
2. Identify. Get specific about what exactly you’re afraid of. Look at the pictures you have in your head about the situation. What is happening in them? What are you really scared of? Become an observer of your inner space.
3. Curiosity. While curiosity may have killed the cat, it certainly won’t do you any harm when investigating your fears. Get curious about what thoughts generate your fear, where do you feel the fear, and how do you react to it? Again, be an observer of what is going on.
4. The Now. What are you lacking right now? When you center yourself in the now, you realize that everything is how it is. You naturally accept what is. Tapping into the now can be as simple as feeling your body and breath. My favorite book on the subject is Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
5. EFT. EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Techniques. You use your fingertips to tap meridian points on your body while thinking of a fear you have and it alleviates and sometimes gets rid of the fear altogether. Simple, yet extremely powerful.
6. Sedona Method. Another simple system to conquer fear is the Sedona method. It consists of asking a few simple questions while focusing on your fear. It’s so simple that I dismissed it several times before taking it seriously. Bad move!
7. The Work. The Work is very similar to the Sedona method in that it asks questions. The Workis one of my favorite ways of dealing with fears, anxieties, and worries. There are many methods available, so pick the one that you resonate with.
8. Hypnosis. With hypnosis, you can program the right thoughts into your mind and eliminate negative beliefs. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it might for you. My brother uses it to consistently evoke positive change in his life. But remember, this isn’t necessarily about getting rid of your fears, but learning to relate to them in a different way.
9. Gratitude. Whenever you feel fear, switch it over to what you are grateful for instead. If you’re afraid of public speaking, be grateful for the opportunity to communicate with so many people, and that they are there to genuinely listen to what you have to say.
10. Journaling. Getting your fears down on paper is important, because trying to think them through doesn’t work. You get caught in endless loops of negativity that only lead you further down the rabbit hole, and make your life miserable.
11. Talk. No-brainer advice, but how often do we hold the negative in because we are afraid of how others might react, or because of some other reason? Talking helps, but don’t throw a pity party for yourself.
12. Therapy. If you can find a good therapist, therapy can be highly beneficial, even life-changing. Finding the right therapist for you can be hard.Listen to your heart and choose someone who resonates with you.
13. NLP. NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I’ve been to a seminar with the co-founder, Richard Bandler. You learn how your mind works. NLP has helped thousands in eliminating phobias, fears, and other emotional problems, so it has its place, but only if it feels magnetic to you.
14. Life Coach. Do you have a fear of success, or afear of failure? A good life coach can help you examine what you truly want from life, and where your fears come from. I’ve spoken to a few in my life and while it can be scary, it’s very helpful in getting clear about what you want and what’s stopping you.
15. Read. Reading a good book on your specific fear can open new doors on how you can get rid of it. I also like to read a lot of motivational and inspirational work on and around the topic I’m dealing with.
16. Take Action. I’m an action taker, and I know that fears are just fears. They are created by my imagination to make reality seem scarier than it is. When you take action and face your fears, they become weaker, because you realize that reality isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination.
17. Watch. Watching a movie or a documentary can be as enlightening as reading a book. Sometimes it’s nice to distract yourself from your fear, but if you really want to, you can find dozens of movies on the fear you’re dealing with.
18. Diet. Did you know that the food you eat can have a dramatic impact on how you feel? All the sugars, additives, sweeteners, and other chemicals in our foods have a surprisingly powerful effect in getting our body out of balance. Stick to a clean diet that suits you. Meaning, more fruits and vegetables. Just eat a bit more each day. See what happens.
19. Positivity. Whenever fear strikes, flip it over. Instead of thinking of something bad that can happen, think of something positive. What’s a positive outcome to your fear? If you’re thinking about public speaking, imagine yourself being wildly successful instead of failing horribly. This is very similar to #9, but with a small twist.
20. Perspective. Learning to deal with fear is all about putting your negative thoughts in perspective. We tend to focus too much on the negative, so by looking at all the options, you often realize that you’re making a big deal of nothing. There are so many things that can happen that it’s impossible for you to predict. We aren’t psychics.
21. Surrender. Surrendering to what is is powerful, because as long as we try to change what is, we are in war with reality. To learn more about how to surrender to what is, I recommend you read Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. It’s the book on The Work I mentioned earlier. I personally love it.
22. Your Story. We all tell ourselves a story about our fear. If I’m afraid that no one will like my writing, I tell myself a story (in my head) about how I’ll fail horribly, people will laugh at me, or even worse, no one will read what I have to say. What’s your story?
23. Release Control. We want control and predictability, even though it’s impossible to get. Where we don’t have control, we experience fear. But is it possible to ever have control? Even if you can swim, you can drown. A professional guitar player can still make mistakes and butcher a gig. Give up the illusion of control, and you’re free.
24. Help. Be kind to others. If you’re shy, focus on helping people instead of being self-conscious about how you look or sound when you talk. Flip it on other people and make yourself feel good. This is very similar to #16.
25. Meaning. I believe we all go through things for a reason. That includes the fears we have. It also includes overcoming fear and learning the lessons that come out of it. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but when I look back at the challenges and fears in my life, I see that more often than not, they delivered exactly the message I needed at that time.
26. Model. I’m not talking about modeling clothes here. I’m talking about finding someone who had the fear you have, but managed to transcend it. Get in touch with them, ask them how they did it, and see if it could work for you.
27. Pray. I’m not religious, but if you are, you may want to consider praying for guidance on how to start overcoming your specific fear. Prayer is very similar to meditation. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as it works for you.
28. WTWTCH. What’s the worst that could happen? If you’re afraid of public speaking, imagine yourself on a stage with everyone laughing at you. How do you feel afterward? You’re still alive, aren’t you? Life goes on.
29. Yoga. Energy can get trapped in your body. When you do Yoga and breathe, that energy can be released. Sometimes you release parts of your fears, or you might even find that you’ve dropped a few fears without even noticing after a few months of Yoga.
30. Ask. Your feelings are there to tell you something, ask what the purpose of them is. Ask your heart, God, the universe, or whatever you feel comfortable with. What are your fears trying to tell you?
31. Understand Failure. When you realize that failure is not the end of the world, you become free. Failure is just a stepping stone to success. And most of our fears are fear of failure, shame, or somehow not living up to the standards society has put up for us.
32. Explore Your Roots. What is the root of your fear? This may require some meditation. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started. If you’re afraid of public failure for example, when did it happen? Where you shamed in public when you were younger?
33. Breathe. Your breath can set you free. It can anchor you in the now and help you vanquish and overcome your most pervasive fears. I saved it for last, because it’s one of the simplest and mostpowerful ways of overcoming fear.
And Please Remember
Whatever fears you’re facing, remember that the only thing that matters is that you listen to yourself, and your inner GPS.
Edited by xP.Bo0m!?, 03 July 2016 - 12:24 PM.
- Patrick likes this
Posted 04 July 2016 - 10:36 AM
Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress
When you're feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies will help you cope:
Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals.
Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
Get help online. Lantern offers online programs guided by professional coaches to help you turn healthy anxiety management into a habit.
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.
5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable.
Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
Copy Pasta a lot? I don't know about you I just lick mushrooms when I am sad. Seems to work okay.
If it will help someone, great. Better to post something like this than some useless shit.
Onion licking mushrooms? Cool xD
Edited by xP.Bo0m!?, 04 July 2016 - 10:34 AM.
Posted 06 July 2016 - 09:10 AM
Tobacco cravings can wear you down when you're trying to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Delaying, avoiding triggers, yoga and nicotine replacement are among the ways to resist cravings.
For most tobacco users, tobacco cravings or urges to smoke can be powerful. But you're not at the mercy of these tobacco cravings. When an urge to use tobacco strikes, remember that although it may be intense, it will be short-lived, and it probably will pass within a few minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to stopping smoking or other tobacco use for good. But it can be difficult.
Here are 10 ways to help you resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a tobacco craving strikes:
Try nicotine replacement therapy
Talk with your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help deal with cravings. The nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription, as are the stop-smoking medications bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). However, some types of NRT, including patches, gum and lozenges, are available over-the-counter (OTC).
After reviewing decades of research, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that there's no significant safety concerns associated with using more than one OTC NRT at the same time. So if you're using nicotine replacement patches, gum or lozenges while trying to quit but you slip up and have a cigarette, you don't need to stop using the NRT. Instead, keep using the NRT and keep trying to quit.
Urges for tobacco are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or bars, in the car, or while watching television. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place to avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco. Don't set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.
If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes and then do something to distract yourself for that period of time. This simple trick may be enough to derail your tobacco craving. Repeat as often as needed.
Chew on it
Give your mouth something to do to fight a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and satisfying.
Don't have 'just one'
You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don't fool yourself into believing that you can stop at just one. More often than not, having just one leads to another— and you may end up using tobacco again.
Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce the intensity of cravings. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog. If you're stuck at home or the office, try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs. If physical activity doesn't interest you, try prayer, needlework, woodwork or journaling. Or do chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.
In the past, smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Resisting a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by practicing relaxation techniques. These include deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, hypnosis and massage.
Call for reinforcements
Touch base with a family member, friend or support group member for moral support in your effort to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together or simply share a few laughs — or get together to commiserate about your cravings.
Go online for support
Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
Remind yourself of the benefits
Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These might include feeling better, getting healthier, sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke or saving money. And if you're a closet smoker, you may save hours of time since you no longer have to spend time trying to conceal your habit.
Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to being totally tobacco-free.
Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:54 PM
No Rx needed
You're anxious, worried, freaked. You're upset about (pick one): money, health, work, family, love. Your heart is beating fast, your breathing is shallow and rapid, your mind is imagining doom, and you wish you could just relax…now! Whether you have a full-blown anxiety disorder or are just freaking out, you may not want to try medication—at least not yet.
There are many safe nondrug remedies for anxiety, from mind-body techniques to supplements to calming teas. Some start working right away, while others may help lessen anxiety over time.
If you have a jittery moment, a cuppa chamomile tea might help calm you down. Some compounds in chamomile (Matricaria recutita) bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium.
You can also take it as a supplement, typically standardized to contain 1.2% apigenin (an active ingredient), along with dried chamomile flowers. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking placebo.
L-theanine (or green tea)
They say Japanese Buddhist monks could meditate for hours, both alert and relaxed. One reason may have been an amino acid in their green tea called L-theanine, says Mark Blumenthal, of the American Botanical Council.
Research shows that L-theanine helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure, and a few small human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. In one study, anxiety-prone subjects were calmer and more focused during a test if they took 200 milligrams of L-theanine beforehand.
You can get that much L-theanine from green tea, but you'll have to drink many cups—as few as five, as many as 20.
Yes, it's in beer, but you won't get the tranquilizing benefits of the bitter herb hops (Humulus lupulus) from a brew. The sedative compound in hops is a volatile oil, so you get it in extracts and tinctures—and as aromatherapy in hops pillows.
"It's very bitter, so you don't see it in tea much, unless combined with chamomile or mint," says Blumenthal. Hops is often used as a sedative, to promote sleep, often with another herb, valerian. Note: Don't take sedative herbs if you are taking a prescription tranquilizer or sedative, and let your doctor know any supplements you are taking.
Some herbal supplements reduce anxiety without making you sleepy (such as L-theanine), while others are sedatives. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is squarely in the second category. It is a sleep aid, for insomnia. It contains sedative compounds; the German government has approved it as a treatment for sleep problems.
Valerian smells kind of nasty, so most people take it as a capsule or tincture, rather than a tea. If you want to try it, take it in the evening—not before you go to work! Valerian is often combined with other sedative herbs such as hops, chamomile, and lemon balm.
Named after the Greek word for "honey bee," lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), has been used at least since the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and help with sleep. In one study of healthy volunteers, those who took standardized lemon balm extracts (600 mg) were more calm and alert than those who took a placebo.
While it's generally safe, be aware that some studies have found that taking too much can actually make you more anxious. So follow directions and start with the smallest dose. Lemon balm is sold as a tea, capsule, and tincture. It's often combined with other calming herbs such as hops, chamomile, and valerian.
Exercise is safe, good for the brain, and a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety, both immediately and in the long term. "If you exercise on a regular basis, you'll have more self-esteem and feel healthier," says Drew Ramsey, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, who blogs at www.DrewRamseyMD.com.
"One of the major causes of anxiety is worrying about illness and health, and that dissipates when you are fit."
The 21-minute cure
Twenty-one minutes: That's about how long it takes for exercise to reliably reduce anxiety, studies show, give or take a minute. "If you're really anxious and you hop on a treadmill, you will feel more calm after the workout," Dr. Ramsey says.
"I generally ask my patients to spend 20 to 30 minutes in an activity that gets their heart rate up, whether it's a treadmill or elliptical or stair stepping—anything you like. If you rowed in college, get back to rowing. If you don't exercise, start taking brisk walks."
In spite of the name, this herb won't help you in love. It's a sedative; the German government has approved it for nervous restlessness. Some studies find that it can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as prescription drugs. It's often used for insomnia.
Like other sedatives, it can cause sleepiness and drowsiness, so don't take it—or valerian, hops, kava, lemon balm, or other sedative herbs—when you are also taking a prescription sedative.
Be careful about using more than one sedative herb at a time, and don't take passionflower for longer than one month at a time.
The intoxicating (but safe) aroma of lavender (Lavandula hybrida) may be an "emotional" anti-inflammatory. In one study, Greek dental patients were less anxious if the waiting room was scented with lavender oil. In a Florida study, students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam has less anxiety—although some students said it made their minds "fuzzy" during the test.
In one German study, a specially formulated lavender pill (not available in the U.S.) was shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as effectively as lorazepam (brand name: Ativan), an anti-anxiety medication in the same class as Valium.
Hold your breath!
Ok, let it out now. We're not recommending that you turn blue, but yoga breathing has been shown to be effective in lowering stress and anxiety. In his bestselling 2011 book Spontaneous Happiness, Andrew Weil, MD, introduced a classic yoga breathing technique he calls the 4-7-8 breath.
One reason it works is that you can't breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. To do the 4-7-8 breath, exhale completely through your mouth, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Now let it out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least twice a day.
Eat something, quick
"Almost universally, people get more anxious and irritable when they are hungry," says Dr. Ramsey, coauthor of The Happiness Diet. "When you get an anxiety attack, it may mean your blood sugar is dropping. The best thing to do is to have a quick sustaining snack, like a handful of walnuts, or a piece of dark chocolate, along with a glass of water or a nice cup of hot tea."
In the long term, diet is key to reducing anxiety, says Dr. Ramsey. His advice: Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet with carefully selected meat and seafood, plenty of leafy greens (such as kale) to get folate, and a wide variety of phytonutrients to help reduce anxiety.
Stop starving yourself, advises Dr. Ramsey. "Many people with anxiety disorders skip breakfast. I recommend that people eat things like eggs, which are a satiating and filling protein, and are nature's top source of choline. Low levels of choline are associated with increased anxiety."
You know fish oils are good for the heart, and perhaps they protect against depression. Add anxiety to the list. In one study, students who took 2.5 milligrams a day of mixed omega-3 fatty acids for 12 weeks had less anxiety before an exam than students taking placebo.
Experts generally recommend that you get your omega-3s from food whenever possible. Oily, cold-water fishes like salmon are the best sources of the fatty acids; a six-ounce piece of grilled wild salmon contains about 3.75 grams.
Other good choices: anchovies, sardines, and mussels.
When you're attacked by anxiety, it's easy to get into a mind set known as "catastrophic thinking" or "catastrophizing." Your mind goes to the bad terrible really horrible just unbearable things and what if they really do happen? "You think, ‘This could really ruin my life,'" says Dr. Ramsey.
Instead, take a few deep breaths, walk around the block, and consider the real probability that this problem will really spin out into catastrophe. How likely is it that you'll lose your job, never talk to your sister again, go bankrupt?
Chances are a catastrophic outcome is a lot less likely than you think when you're consumed with anxiety. "Very few events really change the trajectory of your life," says Dr. Ramsey.
Ever wonder why you feel so relaxed after a spell in the sauna or a steam room? Heating up your body reduces muscle tension and anxiety, research finds. Sensations of warmth may alter neural circuits that control mood, including those that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin. Warming up may be one of the ways that exercise—not to mention curling up by a fire with a cozy cup of tea—boosts mood.
As one group of researchers put it, "Whether lying on the beach in the midday sun on a Caribbean island, grabbing a few minutes in the sauna or spa after work, or sitting in a hot bath or Jacuzzi in the evening, we often associate feeling warm with a sense of relaxation and well-being."
Take a 'forest bath'
The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku, literally "forest bath." You and I know it as a walk in the woods. Japanese researchers measured body changes in people who walked for about 20 minutes in a beautiful forest, with the woodsy smells and the sounds of a running stream.
The forest bathers had lower stress hormone levels after their walk than they did after a comparable walk in an urban area.
Learn mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation, originally a Buddhist practice but now a mainstream therapy, is particularly effective in treating anxiety, says Teresa M. Edenfield, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, N.C., who often uses it to treat anxiety patients. "The act of practicing mindful awareness allows one to experience the true essence of each moment as it really occurs, rather than what is expected or feared," she says.
How to begin? You can start by simply "paying attention to the present moment, intentionally, with curiosity, and with an effort to attend non-judgmentally," Edenfield says.
Breath and question
To stay mindful, ask yourself simple questions while practicing breathing exercises, Edenfield suggests. "Sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes, and focus on how your breath feels coming in and out of your body. Now ask yourself silent questions while focusing on the breath."
What is the temperature of the air as it enters your nose? How does your breath feel different as it leaves your body? How does the air feel as it fills your lungs?
Give yourself credit
Are you having anxious thoughts? Congratulations. You're aware of your emotional state, and that awareness is the first step in reducing anxiety, says Edenfield.
"Remember to give yourself credit for being aware that you are having anxious thoughts, and probably body changes. This is truly a skill of mindfulness that must be learned, and is essential in making the next steps of intervening through strategies such as positive self-talk, cognitive reframing, or the use of mindfulness or relaxation strategies."
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