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Stress

Stress

Some of you may feel that your problems in life are endless; adding extra weight to the life you've already been given. Maybe big or small, but if not dealt with appropriately, they could cumulate a mass force holding you down. And that, is the work of stresses.

WHAT IS STRESS

According to MedicalNewsToday, stress is a natural human response adapting to the events and changes in life, creating responses such as fight or flight. To be more specific, in time of stress our bodies produce large amount of chemicals including cortisol adrenaline and noradrenaline. These chemicals are known to increase heart rate, heighten muscle preparedness, increase sweating and alertness.

In short term, stress can give you the push to complete your task. However, chronic stress (long term stress) could affect you physically and may potentially lead to chronic health issues or diseases.

HOW STRESS CAN AFFECT YOU PHYSICALLY

American Psychology Association (APA) summarized 5 major body system that could be affected by stress:

  1. Musculoskeletal- On sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up and release the tension as stress passes. People with a long-term stress condition could develop musculoskeletal disorder.

  2. Respiratory System- Acute stress, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger asthma attacks.

  3. Cardiovascular- Chronic stress can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels that leads to hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.

  4. Endocrine- When body is stressed, the hypothalamus will send signals to the nervous system and pituitary gland, including adrenal glands and liver, to produce epinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones).

  5. Gastrointestinal- When stressing out, you may develop an unhealthy diet by eating too much or too less. While your diet may change, so will the digestive system. Stomachs can react with nausea or pain, and it will also affect how quickly the food moves through your body. You may find that you have either diarrhea or constipation.

  6. Nervous system- How stress develops comes down to our nervous system. Chronic stress can result in a long-term drain on the body and cause a wear-and-tear to our nervous system.

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HOW YOU THINK ABOUT STRESS MATTERS

As mentioned above, there are times stress can give you the right push to work through things in life, but there are also times stress can do harm rather than good. Interestingly, how we perceive stress can change the effect of stress on us. Psychology Today provided 7 ways to not only beat stress, but to use it for our advantage:

  1. Accept that stress is part of life

  2. Keep problems in proper perspective

  3. Take care of the physical health

  4. Adapting healthy coping skills

  5. Balance social activity with solitude

  6. Acknowledge our own choices, and accepting results

  7. Always look for the silver lining

 

Is Social Media affecting your Holidays?

Is Social Media affecting your Holidays?

There are three major networks in our brain that are utilized when using social media:

  1. The mentalizing network:

    Mentalizing occurs without our realization as a way to understand the mental states of others based on our own mental state. This can be triggered by social media when deciding what to post and how it may be perceived or when looking for the motive behind someone else’s post. It is an non-optional cognitive behavior that leads to our compulsive use of social media.

  2. The self-referential cognition network:

    This network is the process by which the brain tells us what we think of ourselves. Social media participation triggers this effect to increase by 50% compared to our day to day conversation. It is almost a survival instinct that would also lead to compulsive use.

  3. The reward network:

    This is possibly the biggest contributor for high dependency to social networking. Every time we received a like or a positive comment, dopamine is released, giving a positive feeling. Thus, many people continue to engage in social media to receive the same feeling.

WHAT TO DO

We may not always have the willingness or ability to eliminate our involvement in social media (This post does not promote people to completely eliminate the usage of social media), but if we understand the effects of social media on brain, it may help with our desire to be aware of how often we engage and the effects our usage can have on us as individuals. Here are some ways we can control our usage of social media.

  1. Tracking your time online

  2. Prioritize

  3. Get used to leaving your phone behind

  4. Spend more time with family and friends

In addition, there are many apps that can help you track your social media usage or limit your usage with the setting tailored to your liking. If you have other tips to control or monitor social media usage, please leave a comment and let us know!

Ever find yourself subconsciously checking your phone every few seconds even though there was no notification? Or, maybe you find yourself reaching for the phone in your pocket because you thought it was vibrating? It's no secret that social media has become a huge part of our lives.

Over 80% of the US population are using at least one social media site, and on average, spending 2 hours or more each day. Many have developed an addiction to social media; those who are not have developed a strong dependence.

WHAT HAPPENs IN OUR BRAINs 

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Anxiety Relief

Anxiety Relief

WHAT IS ANXIETY DISORDER

Anxiety is a natural human response to any threat or danger. Normal anxiety is rooted in fear and it serves an important survival function. When someone is faced with a dangerous situation, anxiety triggers the fight-or-flight response that leads to variety of physical changes, such as: increased blood flow to the heart and muscles, provides the body with the necessary energy and strength to deal with life-threatening situations. This allows people to run faster from an aggressive animal or increase strength in fighting off an attacker. However, when anxiety occurs at frequent times, inappropriate times, or is so intense and long-lasting that it interferes with a person's normal activities, it is considered a disorder.

Anxiety disorders are more common than any other category of mental health disorder and are believed to affect about 15% of adults in the United States. However, anxiety disorders often times are not recognized by people who have them or by health care practitioners. Consequently, they are seldomly treated.

Click HERE for the classification for anxiety disorder from DSM-5 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DAILY ANXIETY AND ANXIETY DISORDER

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HOW TO COPE WITH ANXIETY DISORDER

Aside from doctor's order after diagnosis, there are other things we can do/change to cope with anxiety disorder. Here are some techniques that you can consider:

  1. Connect with others- Build a strong support system with people who you can talk it out with.

  2. Learn to calm down quickly- Understand what are the things that can calm you down through different senses.

  3. Get moving- Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension, reduces stress hormones and boosts feel-good chemicals.

  4. Look at your worries in new ways- The core symptom of anxiety disorder is chronic worrying. Therefore, seeing things in a new perspective can break the cycle.

  5. Practice relaxation techniques- Using techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can help relieving the effect of an anxiety attack

Remember, when experiencing the symptoms of anxiety disorder, don't take it lightly. Visit your mental health specialist, follow his/her order and incorporating the coping technique can maximize the restoration for your mind.