Tagged with 'Mental Health'

5 Holistic Approaches to Alleviate Anxiety

Anxiety Featured Image
Mind racing with thoughts and jittery nerves? Are you constantly imagining implausible “what-if” scenarios?  These feelings are normal before a big event or new situation. Think: a move, a first date, or job promotion. But, when this is you for most of the day – you could be suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is a storm cloud, either trickling as a subdued drizzle, or belting down like thunder. The good news is that you can effectively manage anxiety naturally. It takes effort and some commitment, but prescription medication isn’t often necessary in most cases of anxiety.  You can reduce anxiety and triggers by implementing small lifestyle changes, re-evaluating your diet, and taking part in de-stressing practices – like meditation. Supplements are also a great tool to help you reduce racing thoughts.  1. Mindfulness: Prevent Intrusive Thoughts When you think about meditation, you probably imagine a quiet, serene place – removed from all distractions and the outside world. Contrary to that illusion of what meditation “should” be (or how it is portrayed superficially), meditation doesn't require giving up on worldly pleasures or finding a secluded place to recite a mantra.  Something as simple as practicing deep breathing can bring back focus, leading to a greater control of your feelings – which may be rash and overzealous. Feeling “doomed” about everything isn’t productive or beneficial.  The ancient practice of meditation is about keeping the mind completely aware in the present moment of your consciousness. The past and what is yet to come can cause a disharmonious state of the mind. Mindfulness requires having no prejudices about your thoughts, body, or surroundings that may alter your thinking and add to feelings of anxiety. 2. Using Nutrition Studies provide evidence of a direct relationship between nutrition and mood. Certain foods we consume can promote relaxation, while others can trigger anxiety and promote inflammation. Transitioning to a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium can aid in easing anxiety. Foods known to have a positive influence on mood are: Complex Carbohydrates Aid in serotonin production — a neurotransmitter with a calming effect; present in: whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats. Also found in sweet potatoes and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans).  Omega-3 Fatty Acids Aids in mood-related disorders and can reduce anxiety under stress. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, while high omega-6 intake is often considered pro-inflammatory. Present in: fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, and trout, along with chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Protein-Rich Foods Aids in supporting neurotransmitter production and healthy hormone production. Present in: lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and plant-based protein sources (nuts, seeds).  Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables Aids in combating oxidative stress and chronic inflammation that can be a root cause of anxiety. Present in berries, colorful fruits, leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, and countless other fruits and vegetables.  3. Creative Outlets Overworking and complete mental inactivity are both harmful to the body and mind.  Despite our busy lifestyles, setting aside time to enjoy what makes us happy is a great way to keep anxiety at bay. Channeling that mental energy into a creative pursuit can also help supercharge productivity, while preventing racing thoughts that are counterproductive and only lead to inactivity.  Indulging yourself into a creative outlet, like creating music or visual art can provide a healing escape and place for self-expression. Engaging in a new activity or something that was long lost (let’s say a childhood hobby) can help to take your mind off intrusive, negative thoughts (and cycles of thinking) and works as a de-stressor.  Sports, art, and other hobbies can be your ticket to inner happiness, a preventative measure to stop the "anxious you" from interfering with the "true you.”  4. Quality Sleep Did you know that around ~40% of people with insomnia could face a diagnosable mental health condition? Sleep does more than give your mind and body much-needed rest.  While you get some shut-eye, your body undergoes much needed muscle growth and tissue repair. Beyond the purely physical, it helps protect your body from illness, regulates cognitive function, and helps maintain emotional balance. If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to opt for sleep supplements to address insomnia – or see a healthcare professional to be assessed.  Simple things like indigestion can prevent you from getting complete sleep. A visit to a physician can help discover if certain supplements might be beneficial to aid in sleep or protect cognitive function.  5. Physical Exercise Exercise stimulates muscles and the hormonal release ...

Tips to Build a Daily Meditation Practice

Meditation Practice
Finding moments of serenity can feel completely unattainable – especially in the chaos of modern-day lifestyles. However, within this chaos, there’s a time-tested means known as meditation that has the capacity to alter how we experience each day.  Although meditation is a time-tested means to alter how we experience each day, most people find it difficult to include and stick to it in their daily routine. One of the reasons is the hype around its rules and difficulties. Before we begin with the tips on building a daily meditation practice, let us be clear. Anyone and everyone can meditate! All you need is a will to include it in your routine. But what does meditation mean? At its core, meditation is a practice that involves training the mind to attain a state of focused attention, heightened awareness, and inner tranquility. Regular meditation helps reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, enhance concentration, and promote physical health. Now, let’s get to the tips to build a daily meditation practice! 1) Find the Right Spot Meditating is taking the mind to a focused and thoughtless state. Therefore, you need to find a quiet place where you won’t get disturbed. This place could be a corner of your living room, a cozy nook by the window, or even a spot in your backyard. The key is to create a serene space that is conducive to introspection. 2) Fix a Time Now that you’ve found a place, the next thing you need to do is fix a time. Mornings are popularly considered a time to meditate as they give a great kickstart to the day. There’s no rule to meditate at a given time. Choose a time that suits you well and can be clubbed with your daily essential tasks. For instance, you can meditate right after you brush your teeth. Set a routine, fix a time during the day, and stick to it to build consistency. 3) Create a Calm Environment In the first point, we talked about finding the right spot. Now, it’s time to create a serene environment. A calm environment will help you slide into the stage of concentration effortlessly. First, find the right relaxing music. Find soothing music or tunes without lyrics, and second, find a scent that gives you a warm and calm feeling. Your choice of music and aroma can be different from others. These things further help eliminate distractions and can vary from person to person. 4) Create Rituals Around Your Practice To solidify your meditation habit, consider creating rituals around it. It could be lighting a candle, playing soft music, or using a specific cushion. Rituals signal to your brain that it’s time to transition into a state of mindfulness, enhancing the effectiveness of your practice. Note: Adding these steps to your meditation ritual is not essential but may help you add calming effects to the surroundings, creating a meditative environment. 5) Be Comfortable Wear comfortable clothes. Ensure that accessories such as wristwatches, belts, earrings, rings, etc., don’t tighten your skin. Keeping yourself free of the accessories and wearing loose, comfortable clothes helps you concentrate on the task and doesn’t become distracting. It is an essential meditating step. 6) Embrace Mindfulness in Daily Activities Meditation isn’t confined to the cushion; it can extend to everyday activities. Practice mindfulness while walking, eating, or even washing dishes. Bringing awareness to mundane tasks helps integrate meditation into your entire day, fostering a continuous state of presence. 7) Focus on Breathing A fundamental aspect of many meditation techniques is focused attention on the breath. Concentrate on the sensation of each inhale and exhale. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring back your focus to the breath. This simple yet powerful practice cultivates mindfulness and anchors you in the present moment. 8) Keep it Simple There’s a lot of right and wrong information on the internet about meditation and its techniques. Watching all the videos and consuming so much information might make meditation feel overwhelming. You need to keep it simple. Just remember, meditation is spending alone time with yourself and giving your brain a break from the realities of life. Avoid making it a grunt task that adds stress instead of relieving you. Start with 5 minutes a day and increase the time as you build a habit and grow comfortable with it.  9) Choose the Method that Suits you Best There are various meditation techniques out there. Not each one will work for you or make you feel fulfilled. Choose the one that suits you the best. Give them a try until you find the one meant for you, and then stick to it. 10) Allow it to Come Naturally to You Some “popular” meditation techniques might seem alluring, but performing those might feel difficult. Our advice would be to not force meditation techniques upon yourself. Meditating is about you and your mental health. Allow yourself time and space so that it can come naturally to ...

Why You Need a Social Media Break and the Benefits It Promises

Social Media Break Benefits
In today's digital age, social media has woven its way into the very fabric of our lives. Imagine waking up, grabbing your phone, and diving headfirst into a never-ending stream of tweets, Instagram photos, and news updates. Social media has become integral to our lives, shaping how we connect and perceive the world. You’re immediately inundated with information from the moment you wake up, until the moment you go to sleep at night. But there's a growing trend – the social media “detox.” It's a deliberate choice to step back, disconnect, and create space for reflection. It's hitting the reset button, regaining control. We free ourselves from comparison, social pressure, and mindless scrolling by taking a break. It's a chance to reclaim time, build real connections, and prioritize mental health. This blog post explores why a social media detox is vital – regardless of age. Get ready to break free, and discover the surprising benefits of putting a pause on screen time. Let's reclaim our mental energy and focus in a world that constantly demands our attention. The dark side of social media we often overlook The constant exposure to carefully curated images and posts can create an unhealthy comparison cycle, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression.  We find ourselves chasing validation through artificial likes and comments, fearing judgment, and seeking approval from virtual strangers.  The pressure to present an image of the perfect life can affect our mental health, leaving us feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. But here's the good news: taking a break from social media can be a powerful antidote to these adverse effects. Why must you plan for Social Media Detox? Imagine a world where the number of followers or likes on your posts won't affect your self-worth.  Sound refreshing? It's an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities, reclaim your time and energy, and focus on what truly matters. By disconnecting from the constant narration and images, you create space to reconnect with yourself and those around you. Rediscover the simple joys of life. Be present in the moment. Nurture genuine relationships that go beyond the surface-level interactions of superficial social media.  Taking a break from social media could be one of the best decisions you make for your well-being.  So, if you're feeling weighed down by the pressures and expectations of the online world, it may be time to hit that "pause" button and embark on a social media detox. Your mental and emotional well-being will thank you. Improved self-esteem: Let's face it, we all fall into the trap of comparing our lives to the highlight reels of others on social media. Stepping away from that constant stream of curated perfection can help you appreciate your journey and boost your self-esteem. Better concentration and productivity: Ever found yourself scrolling mindlessly through your feed when you should be working or studying? Without the distraction of social media, you'll be amazed at how much more focused and productive you can be. Say goodbye to those hours lost in the infinite scroll. It’s a void.  Live for the moment: We've all experienced FOMO when we see others having seemingly fun experiences. Stepping away from social media allows you to live in the present moment and be content with your life without constantly comparing it to that of others. Finding your inner peace: Remember those activities you used to love but have neglected due to the time spent on social media? A detox allows you to reignite those passions and explore new hobbies that genuinely bring you joy. It's time to embrace your creativity and pursue what makes you happy. Growing deeper connections with others offline: Social media may connect us digitally, but nothing beats the warmth and depth of real-world connections. By detaching yourself from the virtual world, you can invest more time and energy into building meaningful relationships with family, friends, and the people around you.  It's about cultivating authentic connections and creating memories that last. Even in situations where your friends or family are at a distance, FaceTime and phone calls are more meaningful ways to connect.  Practical Tips for a Successful Social Media Detox Now that you're ready to sacrifice your online social world to rediscover yourself, here are some practical tips to help you navigate your social media detox journey: Know why you're stopping (or restarting) Define what you hope to achieve through your detox. It could be regaining focus, finding more time for yourself, or simply finding a healthier balance with social media.  Let your community know about your absence Let your friends and followers know you'll take a break from social media. This may be especially important for influencers or those who run their own business. It sets the expectation and helps minimize any feelings of guilt or oblig ...