Is Anxiety Ruling Your Life?

It seems that in more recent years, there has become a greater awareness of mental health. Mental health disorders are considered common throughout the United States and research shows that millions of people are affected each year. Mental health disorders range from milder issues like anxiety and panic attacks to more extreme disorders of depression, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

The common condition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 3.1% of the U.S. adult population over a 12-month period and 32% of these cases are considered as a severe condition. This disorder creates excessive worrying about issues such as employment, finances, family, relationship and health. Sadly, it seems that only half of the sufferers look for help to aid anxiety, while the other half may not be aware that they could be actively getting professional advice or seeking out alternative therapies to improve their wellbeing.

Don’t Let Anxiety Stop You from Focusing on The Future…

Many people find that when they are anxious or depressed, they find it difficult to not only focus on living in the now, but also being able to focus on a positive future ahead. Anxieties and loss in confidence can hinder you from making plans and having inspiration on what you want to do in your life. Often, having goals for the future can especially help someone to look at making positive changes, even if it’s just one step at a time. Some people have also found that having something to look forward to and getting positive insight for the future from a tarot reading, empowers them to focus ahead and to feel more confident about life. Anxiety and stress can easily feel like it is taking over your life, but learning how to manage it by taking small steps, can make you feel more in control, making a huge difference.

Why Do We Get Anxious?

Anxiety and stress disorders are one of the most common issues in mental health, but they can also be one of the easiest to recover from. Most stress and anxiety is caused by feeling vulnerable, weak or out of control of your life. Often it may be because you are feeling unhappy about certain circumstances that you believe are beyond your control. Perhaps you are in a difficult relationship, or maybe you are miserable at work? Also, family issues and disagreements can cause anxious feelings and may be causing a stressful living environment. Professional counsellors have helped many people with these problems by educating them on how to take more control of their life, how to safeguard themselves and how to avoid or remove themselves from situations that may not be good for them. Mindfulness has also proved to be a useful therapy that enables people to focus on the here and now.

Alternative & Complementary Therapies

Treating mental health disorders with complementary therapies and alternative health is often successful but it very much depends on the person. These therapies are believed to increase wellbeing, promote better mental health and help a person to learn how to relax. Some therapies are not regulated, so it is important to work with someone who is fully trained with a professional qualification. Therapies range from aromatherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage, shiatsu, reiki, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy and hypnotherapy. There is not yet enough research being done to prove that these therapies truly help mental health disorders, but many people have found that they certainly lessen anxiety and stress levels, helping them to feel more relaxed.

Many mental health disorders need professional treatment, whether it’s medication, early intervention teams, professional talking therapies (counselling, CBT etc) or in extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy. While every mental health disorder should be diagnosed and professionally recognised for appropriate treatments, we should also consider that perhaps some conditions like anxiety, could be alleviated by other treatments. However, anyone suffering from these conditions should always seek professional diagnosis and advice before looking to alternatives.

* This is a collaborative post.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 3

So three weeks have passed and my challenge is coming to an end. During this time I listened, I read and I tried to implement the changes in order to follow the tips given to me by the Aviva experts.

Last week I told you that I will share with you my week 2 tips, so here they come:

Work-life balance from Dr Doug

“Undertake a mind experiment and place yourself as the boss telling your ‘stressed self’ what they need to do. What would you say to an employee who was in your position? How would you prioritise their work, give them support, help manage their time and workload better? By placing yourself in a different role helps to put a different perspective on how you should deal with your work-life balance”.

Wellbeing from Dr Doug

“When you’re feeling overloaded or unsure what you need to do for the best outcome, change your focus for a bit to help you get a different perspective on a situation – do something different to what you’ve been doing e.g. make and enjoy a cup of coffee or take the dogs for a short walk. It will also improve the way you’re feeling as well as helping you be better placed to make the right decisions”.

Fitness from Mike, Billy and Jonny

“If you need some extra motivation to exercise challenge yourself by having a finish goal for example a 10km walk/run for charity. Tell your followers about it and share your progress. By doing this you won’t want to let yourself, your family or friends down especially if they’re sponsoring you”.
“Finish off each exercise session with a series of callisthenics exercises, e.g. press-ups, sit-ups and lunges to get more variation of exercises for the body”.

Diet from Paddy

“There’s a number of foods you could try to help you sleep. Foods rich in tryptophan will help as these help serotonin and melatonin, which are our brains ‘sleep chemicals’. For example turkey, spinach and halibut could help”.

I like the tips from week 2; actually I like them all.

The diet tip from Paddy is especially useful as I had no idea what tryptophan even was before I read this tip. I researched it a bit and I found that a lack of tryptophan can cause depression 🙁 It looks like tryptophan is very important. Other foods which contain a high content of tryptophan are: eggs, cod, soybeans (raw), cheese especially Parmesan and cheddar, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and many more.

But my favourite tip by far is the second week’s wellbeing tip from Dr Doug – when you start feeling like you’re losing it, take a time out! It makes a lot of sense but so very often when I am stuck with something I tend to just keep going despite totally losing it at times. I tried to follow the “time out” rule last week and it does help. A little break will give you some perspective as to the task at hand and when you return to it everything seems so much simpler and far less complicated.

The aim of the challenge was to both reduce stress and to be better prepared to deal with stress. The Aviva experts think that a small change for a long time will help you to achieve it, so I am committing myself to a time out rule for a lifetime. When I feel like I am stuck in the muck I will take a short break and try to regroup. Hopefully this will allow me to clear my head a little and once I return to my original task it will not be so gloomy.

Will you commit to a small change which can benefit you over a lifetime?

What do you think about the tips I have received from the Aviva experts?

Do you have any special ways to deal with stress?

Aviva #StressLess Challenge

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 2

#StressLess

I think the fact that I am taking part in this challenge is stressing me a bit. On one hand I have fantastic tips to follow which are supposed to help me be less stressed but on the other hand… I am stressing about whether I am not so stressed…

Does it make any sense?

I hope it does.

Anyway, I am on week 2 of my challenge and I have all the tips which are coming my way.

On my first week I received 3 tips:

Work-life balance from Dr Doug

“You say that the best thing about your job is not having a boss but actually you sound like you have a very demanding boss who wants you to do lots of things – you! You put pressure on yourself to do everything. Try to remember everything does not have equal importance rather than thinking everything has to be done.  Make sure that what you have on your to-do lists are things which you have to do – this helps reduce the list and pressure. Overall, it sounds that whilst you report high levels of stress, in many ways this is your normal state – consider whether you really want to make significant changes if this has always been the case”.

Wellbeing from Dr Doug

“Sleep is essential to help you be better prepared to tackle stress. Prepare yourself for  a good night’s sleep by having some relaxing time before bed. Avoid anything which makes your mind active such as online gaming and turn off your laptop or mobile devices so they don’t distract you from slumber”.

Diet from Paddy

“To get extra portions of your 5 a day in your diet, try different vegetarian dishes. Roasted vegetables are a great accompaniment to any meal you make, just chop up your favourite vegetables, add some seasoning and herbs of your choice and put in the oven until cooked. Try changing the seasoning for added variety”.

So what do I think about my week one tips?

Diet tip is a bit to sketchy for me. I think on most days I do get 5 a day and I do not agree that roasted vegetables go with any meal… Yes, I know I am hard to please…

… However I must agree with Dr Doug, especially regarding my sleep routine. Normally I would go to bed and then play a puzzle game or a round of scrabble, which is not helping me to calm down and more importantly keeping my brain activities quiet… therefore I wanted to follow this tip religiously so I decided it was time for a change: no mobiles allowed in or near the bed; to my surprise it really helps. Now instead of staring at my mobile I will have a “quiet” conversation with Mark (he always asks me why am I shouting when he is right next to me) and just drift off. It is much easier now to fall asleep.

I received 4 more tips for week two, which are actually quite interesting… The diet tip from Paddy is definitely my favourite one, but let me try them out for a week and I will tell you all about them in seven days’ time.

For now… stay calm and #stressless!

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 1

Can you cure stress?Aviva stresses of life getting to you

Most likely not, but you can for sure reduce its occurrence and intensity.

I am a “stress monkey”. I stress too often, too much and most likely about things which I can do nothing about it… but I do not think that I am a lost cause because I am aware of my high stress state and I would love to change it. I think admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting better 🙂

The Aviva team have joined up with Mumsnet to run a Stress Less Challenge with 10 UK bloggers. I was one of the lucky 10 chosen to be a part of it.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge Questionnaire

It all started with a long questionnaire about me, my lifestyle, my eating habits, work, home, hobbies etc… Based on the content of my answers, I received a bunch of tips to follow which should in theory allow me to stress less.

Aviva say “Armed with our experts ranging from a doctor, nutritionist and rugby coach we want to help you achieve a healthier and less stressed you. We want to give you some truly personalised health tips to try for 2 weeks aiming to commit to at least one for a lifetime. A small change for a big health benefit”.

My week 1 tips were about work-life balance, wellbeing and diet. They were very accurate and for sure were tailored specifically for me. “You say that the best thing about your job is not having a boss but actually you sound like you have a very demanding boss who wants you to do lots of things – you!” Lol this is so true! This is part of my problem. I want to do it all by myself. Everything has to be perfect and done now…

For as long as I can remember I have been in this high level of stress state and Dr Doug picked up on it. It was suggested to me that maybe I do not really want to change… I do! I really do! I want nothing more but to stress less and be able to relax easier and I am determine to change, so I will follow my tips and let’s hope I can stress less.

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted on the progress.

Aviva Put the spring back in your step

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.