How Volunteer Work Helps to Enhance Your Overall Well-Being

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volunteer 2Most people know if they eat good, exercise, and avoid smoking will have a far better chance of a longer and healthier life. However, your doctor may not have mentioned that when you volunteer to give to other people can actually be added to your what makes you healthy checklist.

Forty Different Studies

A medical paper by Dr. Richards and some of her colleagues from the University of Exeter Med. School in the UK includes interesting information about volunteer work. They got together and reviewed a good amount of studies that have taken place over the last 20 years on how volunteer work enhances one’s health.

Most of these studies compared volunteers to those who didn’t do volunteer work. The studies followed these subjects over time and then checked in with them a few years later to see how well they were doing. This type of method is very useful in trying to understand the effects on health from different behaviors like taking vitamins, smoking or eating certain foods. It turns out that volunteer work just like other behaviors studied does have a positive impact on one’s life.

Even though the results published in this paper show positive results, they are still cautious to warn that only general conclusions should be made from them and more studies should be done.

Research Has Discovered Some Benefits

Researchers through their studies do believe that there are benefits that come with volunteer work based on why it could be good for your health to do volunteer work.

Activity is Good for You

All things that keep you active are good for you. When you volunteer you get yourself up off the couch and leaving your home. This means you are made more physically fit and even stronger. People who are in better physical condition often deal with stress much better. This in itself can help you live a longer life.

Having Social Connections is Healthy

Having social connections can also be a good thing. We are social people, it is part of who we are and having face to face contact with others is important. It’s important that we experience the touch of others, smiles and eye contact. These types of interactions will release oxytocin which is a hormone that helps all of us to care for and bond with others. It also can help us to cope with stress much better. Volunteer work is also a very good way of meeting other people, making new friends, and bond with others over the common goals and beliefs we might share.

Volunteer Work Adds Joy

Volunteer work simply feels good and it is rewarding. By volunteering most people feel a deep sense of joy and happiness. When we have these feelings this can help us live longer and have much healthier lives.

Who Can Benefit From Volunteer Work?

Previous research has found that volunteer work volunteer 3will only bring health benefits for those who do the volunteer work to help others in need instead of doing it to help themselves out. This is why it’s important that a person only does volunteer work for a cause they deeply believe in and touches their heart in some way.

Research has also shown that volunteer work often tends to be better for people who are religious. This could be because by doing volunteer work it affirms their religious beliefs that it is important to serve and help others in need.

Word of Warning

Even though volunteering seems to be a way of feeling better and having a healthier life, some researchers believe that volunteering too much can actually be harmful for some people. By volunteering too much it might become a drain on a person. Although there is no concrete evidence on how much might be too much, it’s important to note that if your volunteering feels like a burden then it could mean it’s time to cut back on your volunteer work.

If you do want to live a little longer, be happier and have a healthier life, make sure you are in good health before considering volunteering. It’s important to yourself and others if you share your time with those who need help and support. It could be a very caring cure for both you by volunteering and those you are lending a hand to.

 

The Different Stages of Grief

grief and alone

grief and alcoholGrief is the normal response for when a person loses something or someone that is extremely important to them. A person suffering from grief may feel many different emotions that can include loneliness and sadness. They also might feel different emotions for a variety of different reasons. It can be caused by losing a job when a relationship has ended or one a loved one has died. Grief can also be felt when someone has a huge life change, suffers from a chronic illness, or moving to an unfamiliar area.

Not all people grieve in their own way. However, if you learn to understand the emotions you are feeling, look for support and take care of yourself, it is possible to heal from the loss.

Different Stages of Grief

The feelings that come with grief can happen in different phases as you begin to come to terms with the loss you’ve experienced. You need to be honest with yourself because you really can’t actually control the process of grief. This is why it’s very important to know what the reasons are for what you might be feeling. Professionals have identified the five most common stages in the process of grief:

  • Denial – It is perfectly normal to think that your loss hasn’t really happened. Often you will feel numb or shocked at the loss. You need to realize that this feeling is just temporary and it is a way that your mind reacts to the overwhelming emotions you might be feeling. Denial is your minds defense mechanism.
  • Anger – Once the reality of your loss starts to set in, you then are faced with the actual pain of the loss. You could feel helpless and even frustrated by it. Then this will most often turn into anger. This anger often can be directed toward other people in your life, angry at God, or just angry at life. It’s also perfectly normal to be angry at the person that left you or died.
  • Bargaining – During this phase of grief, often you’ll find yourself dwelling on what you may have been able to do to have prevented this loss. Most common thoughts can often be “What if I had done this or that?” or “If only I had done this or that.” Sometimes people will often try to make a deal with God over their loss.
  • Depression – Once you start to understand the loss and how it is affecting your life a sadness will often set in and then this most often leads to depression. Some of the signs that you’re depressed often include a lot of crying, inability to sleep, lack of appetite. You also may feel regretful, lonely, and overwhelmed by the loss.
  • Acceptance – This is usually the last phase of grief. This is when you finally accept the truth and reality of the loss in your life. You finally realize that this is something that simply can’t be changed. You more than likely will still have sad feelings about it but you are finally at the stage where you feel you can move on with your life.

All People Go Through the Same Phases

No matter who you are or what the loss is, each person will go through the same phases of grief, however, since each person is different, they are going to go through them in their own way and often go through the different phases in different orders. You might also swing back and forth between the different phases and you might even skip some stages totally. Also, it’s important to note that there will be reminders of the loss such as an anniversary, a song you enjoyed together, a birthday, the anniversary of their death, and so much more can actually cause the grief to return.

Is There a Normal Amount of Time to Mourn?

When it comes to grief, there really is no normal amount time for someone to go through the grieving process. The process of grief can depend on several different things that include personality, personal and spiritual beliefs, age and the kind of support you have. The kind of loss you are suffering can also factor in. For instance, your grief will more than likely last much longer if someone you love dies than if someone breaks off a relationship with you.

No matter how awful grief can make you feel, as time passes the sadness will ease. Eventually, you will be able to experience joy and happiness even with the grief still being present. Eventually, you’ll feel better and will be able to return to your normal daily activities.

How Do You Know You Need Help From a Professional?

There are some people who find their grief is overwhelming and does not get any better over time. Often this is because they are having difficulty in accepting their loss. Often times this is called “complicated grief”. If you are having great difficulty accepting a loss in your life it is recommended that you talk to a doctor especially if you are suffering from any of the things listed below:

  • You are finding it difficult to keep up with your normal daily routine such as unable to go to work or even clean your own home.
  • Feeling extremely depressed and it won’t go away.
  • Start thinking that life just isn’t worth living.
  • Thoughts of actually hurting yourself.
  • Unable to stop blaming yourself for the loss.

Consider Seeking Help From a Therapist

If you are finding it difficult to cope with the grief of grief and supportyour loss you might want to seek the help of a therapist. A therapist will help you explore the emotions you are experiencing. They can also teach you some very important coping skills that can help you learn to manage the grief that you are experiencing. They can also help you with any depression you might be experiencing and they might even prescribe medication you help you feel much better.

All to often if a person is suffering from severe emotional pain it often is tempting to find a way to numb their feelings by drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, overeat or under eat or even become a workaholic. You need to be very careful with these temptations because they are just a temporary way to escape the grief. These things are not going to help you heal any faster or even feel better. In fact, they can lead to anxiety, more depression and sometimes can lead to addiction and even can lead to a total emotional breakdown.

Don’t Give Into the Temptations

Instead of giving into the temptations around you there are things you might want to consider trying. The following things that can help you to start healing from your loss and grief:

  • Make sure to give yourself plenty of time during the grieving process. You should accept these feelings and know that they are a natural part of your grieving process.
  • It’s important to talk to other people. It’s important that you take time out and spend it with family and friends. The last thing you want to do is to be isolated.
  • It’s important that you make sure to take care of yourself while you are grieving. You should make sure to exercise, even if it’s just taking short walks. Eat food that’s good for you. Make sure to get lots of sleep. Take care of your health and try to stay energized.
  • Make sure to get involved with the hobbies. Do activities that you have always enjoyed doing. These should be things that have brought you joy in the past.
  • Finally, consider joining a support group. Often when you talk to others who are also going through grief it can help you feel much better. It can also help you feel a lot more connected.

 

Most Common Phobias People Suffer From

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phobias-needlesSo, what are most people afraid of? There are a lot of different things people are afraid of. In this post, we cover the most common phobias that people most often suffer from. Fear is a very real and common emotion that we all suffer from in our lives occasionally. However, phobias can be excessive and even uncontrollable for those suffering from them.

It can be extremely difficult for someone to overcome a phobia and when extremely intense can make a huge impact on their daily lives. In order for people to be helped, trained professionals have studied many different phobias in order for them to understand the disorder in order to help people who suffer from them.

Social Phobias

The most common of all phobias would be social ones. These phobias are considered anxiety disorders and they include people being excessively self-conscious in many different social situations.

Some people have such bad social phobias that they are so afraid of being judged that they do all they can to avoid certain social situations, even eating in front of other people.

It is thought that 1 in 20 people have some form of a social phobia.

Agoraphobia

This is one of those phobias where people are afraid of open spaces. However, this is a much more complex phobia than just being afraid of open spaces.

This is an extremely serious disorder involving anxiety. It is one of those phobias that can actually keep people trapped in their homes and it can make living a normal life nearly impossible for them. Others who suffer from this will just avoid certain venues or places.

Acrophobia

Phobias such as acrophobia are one where people are extremely afraid of heights. Some are so afraid of heights that they can’t even go on escalators at their local malls because it causes them to suffer from vertigo. Suffering from vertigo means that they feel extreme dizziness when they are dealing with heights. For some people, tall buildings or cliff top lookouts can make their heads spin.

Petromerhanophobia

This is the fear of flying. This is one of those phobias that isn’t helped when air disasters are covered in the media and can only intensify their fear of flying. Even though the fact that there are over 100,000 commercial airline flights every day and the chance of someone being struck by lightning is much higher than an airline crash, doesn’t help those who suffer from this phobia.

Claustrophobia

This is one of those phobias that can actually sometimes go hand in hand with their fear of flying because it’s a fear of being stuck in enclosed spaces.

Those who suffer from this phobia they often feel like the walls are literally closing in around them. There are some experts believe that there could actually be a genetic link to some phobias such as this, with a survival mechanism that has laid dormant.

Entomophobia

Even though insects are a very crucial link in our food chain and truly can’t live without them doesn’t help those who suffer from this phobia. This is the fear of all insects, it’s understandable since many of them do bite.

Ophidiophobia

This is a real fear of snakes. Having the fear of things that are long and often venomous is a common fear for a lot of people and it’s understandable. One thing many should realize about snakes is that if you just leave them alone, most of the time they will leave us alone.

Cynophobia

This is one of those phobias that many of us may simply not understand. This is because it is the fear of dogs. Many children and people who go door to door for one reason or another are quite often afraid of dogs. This fear of dogs can also be made worse if they have an experience with a dog that is a negative one. It’s also one of those phobias that can be difficult to actually overcome. One of the reasons for this is that dogs can actually sense someone’s fear of them.

Astraphobia

There are many people who have this phobia, it’s the fear of storms. The boom of thunder can send a lot of people with this phobia rushing to try and find a safe place as their hearts are pounding in their chest in fear of the upcoming storm.

Even though it is often the thunder that triggers their fear response, it’s the lightning that will actually hurt someone. However, the chance of being hit by lightning is extremely unlikely.

Trypanophobia

This is the fear of needles. Everyone finds being stabbed by a sharp needle not very pleasant. Those who have trypanophobia, however, have an extremely strong fear and aversion to needles of all kinds.

Even though needles are important and worth the pain because most of the time they are used it is for health reasons or life-saving procedures. This knowledge, however, doesn’t help those who fear needles.

Dentophobia

There probably isn’t anyone who loves going to the dentist. However, those suffering from this phobia makes even getting their teeth cleaned nearly impossible. Those who suffer from this not only are afraid of the pain that often comes with dentistry that even the mere thought of just having an appointment can cause a panic attack.

Arachnophobia

This is a pretty common fear and is the fear of phobias-spidersspiders of all kinds. Some people are so afraid of spiders that they can’t even function if they know one is anywhere near them. Even though most spiders are actually harmless, this knowledge does not help those suffering from this phobia. Some will literally panic the moment they see a spider and will ask someone else to kill it for them.

These are just a few of the most common phobias that many people suffer from. For anyone who might be suffering from any phobia that is impacting their lives might want to consider seeking help from a professional that can help them learn to deal with their phobias.

 

Ways to Lift Your Spirits and Help Depression

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depression and laughingToday it seems we live in an extremely fast-paced society that often overtaxes us and makes us feel like we live in a society that’s uncaring. This can often make it hard for us to find ways to lift our spirits and help combat any depression we might be feeling.

There are ways in which we can turn things around, even if they seem dismal, there are ways in which you can feel happier, lift your spirits and ward off feelings of depression. Here are just a few ways in which you can do this.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

Four hundreds of years those who are involved with religion worldwide have understood the power of gratitude. It is something that really can lift our spirits and help ward off depression. Too often we find ourselves too caught up with what we feel we lack in our lives that we often don’t take time to recognize everything that we do have.

Too often we only find ourselves grateful when we come across those who seem to be worse off than we are. This isn’t the way we should approach life, instead, we need to learn to be more thankful for all that we do have. If need be, we should try to make a list of the things that we are grateful for.

Make Someone Else’s Day Bright

Even though we might be feeling blue from some depression that might be creeping upon us, it often can help if we take time out to try and brighten up the day of someone else. When you put a smile on the face of someone else, you’ll suddenly see that your day becomes a little brighter as well. It can be called a ripple effect. It’s a fact that a smile can be contagious. So, it’s important to always try to smile and light up others faces with their own smiles.

Become More Organized

There are a lot of experts do agree that when a person is more organized they will feel better about themselves and their circumstances. This is why it’s important to clear away the clutter that’s in your home as well as what might be out in your yard and garden. You might also want to take time out to totally detail your car. Other things you can do is to organize your closets, basement, attic, garage or any other place that’s cluttered.

Get Plenty of Fresh Air

Fresh air isn’t just good for the body but it is also depression and fresh airgreat for the mind and can really help with feelings of depression. Fresh air is something that can help to revitalize the senses and encourages us to get up and do something instead of staying in a bad mood. Things one can do is go for a walk alone or with a friend. Go for a bike ride, work in the garden. Any of these things are going to give us the stimulating fresh air our bodies and minds need.

Consider Pampering Yourself

If you’re feeling blue or suffering from a bout of depression it’s really a good idea to consider pampering yourself. Go out and get a manicure or a facial. Watch a movie that you really love and order takeout to enjoy while watching the movie. Buy yourself your favorite bouquet of flowers. Take a bubble bath using aromatic candles and listening to some soothing music. Whatever it is that makes you feel pampered you should do it.

Be Creative

Whether you believe it or not, you are creative, everyone is creative in some way. That’s why it’s important to tap into your creativity especially if you feel depression coming on. Your creativity could be writing, cooking, crafting, painting, drawing, sewing, whatever talent you have, use sit. When you use your creativity it gives you a sense of accomplishment and direction in your life.

Listen to Music

Consider listening to some upbeat music when you feel depression coming on. Music that is upbeat always tends to stimulate the mind and makes for a great distraction from things that might be making you feel unhappy. It’s also a good thing to sing along with your favorite music because there’s nothing better to lift up your spirits and feel better about things than singing with your favorite songs.

Go and Exercise

Exercise is a great way to combat depression. It increases the heart rate and breathing and this, in turn, creates more oxygen that’s delivered to your body’s tissues. This helps to relieve your stress and can lower the level of cortisol which is the stress hormone in our bodies. Also, exercise helps to release endorphins which are the natural pain relief produced by the body. Exercise can quickly help you shift from a sad mood to a happier one.

Try Making Someone Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine, we’ve heard that plenty of times in our lives and quite frankly it is true. Laughing is something that gets those endorphins flowing and actually gives us a true natural high that helps to relieve stress and ward off depression. Even though there is no true factual information that confirms laughing can benefit physical health, although it can’t hurt. However, laughing does lift our spirits and that’s a good thing especially when it comes to fighting off depression.

Dancing Away Stress and Depression

stress release

stress relief In recent studies in both Germany and the University of New England has shown that dance tends to lower the levels of the stress hormones in our bodies and even seems to lower the levels of depression. Whether it’s the mindfulness of dancing, the endorphins that are released or just the sheer fun of it, it’s not known for sure. However, dancing does seem to have a positive influence on stress and depression.

Learning the Tango

In this study in New England, they organized a Tango session where people were taught how to do the Tango. They discovered that by learning the Tango, it requires a person to focus their attention totally on the present moment, which is what mindfulness is all about. The Tango is very unique because it is one dance that absolutely requires that you have a partner. Having a partner makes the need for focus even more important. When you have this amount of focus tends to help people to turn off the negative thoughts that are often associated with depression and stress.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Both mindfulness and meditation are widely used to reduce stress and has far many more mental health benefits as well. But, for some people, meditation just isn’t their cup of tea and they often don’t feel comfortable doing it. This is where the study shows that the Tango could be a very useful tool to use instead of meditation for those who are interested in lowering their stress and depression levels. Not only is this dance something that requires a lot of focus but it is also something that can be quite enjoyable.

Dancing With a Partner

The study also showed that by dancing with astress free dancing partner to rhythmic music has a lot more positive effects than if you were to dance alone. It seemed to also reduce the hormone cortisol, a hormone that is associated with stress, in both partners along with many other positive emotional benefits.
This, however, does not mean that dancing alone doesn’t have positive effects because it does. It’s highly recommended that if someone is feeling the stress of life is getting to be too much, put on some music they like and dance, it will make them feel better, less stressed and may even help them feel less depressed.

A Few Recommendations

Here are a few recommendations when it comes to dancing and using it to improve your mood and lower your stress:

  • Don’t feel silly about it, dance with yourself at home and just concentrate on the music and your movement as you move with the flow of the music.
  • Join a Ballroom Dance Class. This way you can experience dancing with a partner and receive even more benefits from the art of dancing.
  • Join a local Group Dance class. There is research that shows when you move with others it can expand your sense of total social connectedness. This can also help to lower your stress levels and even your depression levels.

 

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

narcissistic personality disorder self love

narcissistic personality disorderThe word “narcissism” is a word that comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus. He was a man who saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with his reflection. This is an exaggerated sense of a person’s attractiveness but it can be a characteristic of a person with a narcissistic personality disorder. Here are a few symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder that might help you recognize this disorder.

Person Always Talks About Themselves

People who suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder will tend to always speak and think only about themselves. Very often, it’s about their appearance, achievements, or talents. But, the comments will also tend to be very exaggerated and not always accurate reflections of their real lives.

They will also tend to have very little regard for anyone around them and they rarely if ever, will ask others for their feelings and thoughts. This is generally because those who are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder don’t have empathy and this makes them unable to see or understand any needs or feelings of other people.

Often Fantasize

Often the minds of those suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder will tend to be filled with fantasies that are elaborate about their power, success, beauty, or their brilliance because of their fantasies. They feel they are owed the best of all things and that includes cars, clothes, and houses. Anything that is status-affirming that includes everything from their own medical care to where they end up going to school.

Sadly though, the fantasies they have are really to try and fend off their feelings of inner emptiness and they want to feel special and always in control. It is to try and avoid their feelings of defectiveness and even their own insignificance. This can lead them to feel immensely frustrated and angry when they don’t achieve their visions of grandeur.

They Believe They’re Superior to Others

When suffering from narcissistic personality disorder people often have a feeling of a grandiose sense of their own self-importance. This causes them to feel far superior to most people they know. Think truly believe only people who are just like them can really understand them and those are the type of people they usually will surround themselves with.

So that they can maintain these feelings of their superiority they will always turn to belittling other people by always focusing on the flaws of these people. These flaws can be real or just imagined. For a narcissist, it is a very effective manner to hide their own feelings of shortcomings and then they can protect their own self-image.

They Need Constant Praise

No matter how confident a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder appears, they actually will feel very insecure and have extremely low self-esteem. So to be able to always prop themselves up, they will constantly seek out admiration and praise. They will also expect to be recognized as a person that is superior even if they haven’t done anything to deserve it.

The self-esteem of a narcissist is very fragile even with their outward confidence and they often feel very insecure and they find it very difficult to accept any kind of criticism. Comments that might shine a light on their insecurities or their flaws are often met with rage and result in trying to divert the conversation away from them and go in a far different direction instead.

Believe They Are Entitled

Often those suffering from a narcissistic personality narcissistic personality disorder 2disorder will tend to believe they are entitled and they expect others to give them special favors and give them what they want without questioning it. If they don’t get the treatment they feel they deserve they often become either impatient or very angry. This is because most narcissists see others as existing only to serve them and their needs.

This is similar to a toddler who hasn’t discovered yet that they are not the center of the world and will become enraged when people don’t meet their demands immediately.

Takes Advantage of Other People

It does seem that people tend to be drawn to those who are narcissistic. Often they find them charming, exciting, attractive, and charismatic. Because of this, those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder won’t have any issues with these people because they know they can get them to do whatever they want them to do.

Very often a narcissist doesn’t feel that their needs are actually being met. They will then see nothing wrong with trying to take advantage of other people around them. They have very little regard for their interests or their feelings. Because of this kind of behavior, a narcissist will often have friendships that are tumultuous. Also their romantic relationships often are very short.

Envy Others

Having envy of others is a very common symptom of someone who is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. They have low self-esteem and their deep need to feel they are superior to others. This causes them to see people around them that have things they don’t have a threat. They envy them for what they have. Others who have things and a status of admiration tend to be threats to them.

Because of this envy, they often will accuse people of feelings that may be false. Then they often will put an end to their relationship with those they envy.

 

Tips for Handling a Panic Attack at Work

no panic attack

panic attack at workWhen it comes to panic attacks, they can be extremely excruciating, especially if one happens to pop up while at work. This type of mental health problem can even derail your entire day. However, if you have work to do, sometimes you have to learn how to power through the panic attack. So, if it happens at work, what can you do to manage the panic attack so you can continue working?

Here are a few tips that you can try that should help you get through a panic attack while at work:

Try Focusing On Your Breathing

When a panic attack strikes, you need to get in touch with your breathing. If you do this, you’ll be able to help yourself to calm your entire body down. It’s best if you try and do this at your desk while working.

Try to sit as comfortable as you can in your chair. Make sure that your shoulders and head are as relaxed as possible. Put one of your hands on your stomach and the other on your chest during the panic attack. Then take in several deep breaths through your nose and then exhale your breath through your mouth. Make sure to pay attention to how your muscles tighten when you release your breath.

Try to Concentrate On Your Task

If a panic attack strikes, it’s important to do your best to remind yourself that it will pass and do all that you can to try and focus on the task that you are working on. Put all your focus on this and see if you can ride it out by putting all you have into what you are working on.

Consider Going Someplace Private

If you can’t seem to calm down in your work area, this is very understandable. You may then want to go someplace more private like the bathroom or another area that’s private so you can deal with your panic attack. One thing you can do is splash some cool water on your face and neck. After you do that then try to take a couple of minutes to focus on breathing again. You also might want to tell yourself “I’m just fine.” over and over again until you start to feel calmer.

Take a Break and Go for a Walk

Another way you can try to take control of your panic attack is to take a mental break from your work. This can often be a good way to slow down any racing thoughts that might be causing the panic attack. Try taking a brisk walk around the building where you work or go somewhere you can listen to some soothing music. Whatever it is, do something that lets your body know you are just fine.

Consider Reaching Out to a Person You Trust

When a panic attack hits, it can be difficult sometimes to handle on your own. This is why it often can help if you reach out to either a co-worker or a manager that you might trust and feel comfortable with. If you don’t feel confident talking with someone at work you might call a friend or a loved one.

It’s important that you find someone who can support you and validate what’s happening. You need someone that will give you support you need and then let their comforting words sink in. Often they can actually help you to reframe what you might be experiencing.

If you can’t find anyone to talk to then you might want to look at pictures that you may have on your phone. These should be pictures that will help you think about happy times and that will help you feel and think more positive.

Try to Stay at Work for the Day

Even though it is alright to consider taking a mental panic attack 2health day off if you really need to do it. This is because a panic attack really can be totally debilitating and can make it totally impossible to do anything. However, this can make some people rely on this particular option too much and this can create a pattern where your mind will end up equating safety by not being at work. It’s best to try and stay at work when having a panic attack.

Try to Find Mental Health Resources in the Workplace

If it is common for you to have a panic attack at work, you might want to talk to HR and see if they have any options that are available on the job regarding mental health issues. Most companies shouldn’t have an issue with this and it’s vital that the workplace be more understanding when it comes to mental health issues for their employees.

It’s important to find out if your place of employment offers support for individuals that suffer from a variety of mental issues including anxiety issues such as panic attacks.

Remind Yourself It Isn’t Your Fault

One of the most important things is to remember to remind yourself that none of this is your fault. When you suffer from a panic attack you need to show compassion to yourself. Understand that a mental health issue does not mean that it’s a flaw in your personality.

It’s important that you don’t put yourself down at any time but especially during a panic attack. Don’t allow yourself to tell you that you’re a failure or that you’re a loser. You need to try to work on accepting yourself, especially during a panic attack.

 

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

bipolar disorder

bipolar disorder depressionBipolar disorder is a mental issue that can affect the brain in ways that can cause a person to have very wild mood swings. A person who suffers from bipolar disorder can sometimes be called a manic depressive. However, the huge mood changes can also cause them to seem to be extremely happy as well. Bipolar disorder can be extremely difficult to diagnose correctly because of these mood swings.

Years can pass before a medical professional actually realizes the actual source of their patient’s issues. One main reason for this difficulty with identifying the disorder is that the symptoms can get easily confused with other mental illnesses. Very often doctors will incorrectly diagnose bipolar disorder as either schizophrenia or depression.

Below you will find some of the most common signs of bipolar disorder:

Deep Depression

It’s pretty hard to find someone who is always upbeat and happy every single day. Most people will have lowered moods because of difficulties and disappointments in their lives. It could be because of a variety of different things. However, for most people, they rise above it and move on quickly. But for those suffering from bipolar disorder will have feelings that will go to the extremes that you won’t generally find with those who don’t suffer from the disorder.

Those who suffer from the disorder will be completely drained of their energy and will have no motivation at all to get up and start doing things. Often they will spend a lot of time just sleeping and tend to be very irritable and can be difficult for others to handle them.

Overly Happy

The most popular concept of bipolar disorder is that people suffering from it are always depressed. However, those who have bipolar disorder can easily go from being extremely depressed to being extremely ecstatic about things. They will also be bipolar disorder maniaextremely energetic. Patients also will feel like they don’t need to eat or sleep. They also might talk a lot and be overflowing with a high level of self-confidence.

One may also tend to get involved in all types of activities and not thinking about it all too deeply. For instance, they mind go on a spending spree or get involved with reckless behaviors. Their ideas also seem to come to them in rapid succession. They tend to live their lives in a crazy whirlwind. Then, instantly, that upbeat mood they are experiencing can suddenly turn into a deep depression.

Seem to Be Deluded

There are times when a person with bipolar disorder seems to lose their grip on reality. Sometimes they become convinced that someone is after them, or the police might be looking for them for some crime they didn’t actually commit. They sometimes will believe they are hearing and seeing things that aren’t there.

In some cases, people come to believe that they are possessed of some kind of psychic powers. Those who don’t know about their disorder can mistake them for being either very eccentric or mentally unstable. However, many people who suffer from bipolar disorder seem normal.

Often Suffer From Substance Abuse

Having bipolar disorder can increase the likelihood of them getting involved with some sort of substance abuse. Often they feel that drugs and alcohol can offer them a fix or an escape from the difficulties in their relationships, their dark thoughts, and feelings of low self-esteem.

The different addictions that can develop for a person afflicted with bipolar disorder will only complicate their problems by aggravating the mental issues that exist and then adds even more problems that will need to be addressed. This can often also lead to crimes that end up with very serious consequences.

Rapidly Speaking

When a person suffering from bipolar disorder they will often speak extremely rapid during their manic periods. They will often continue to talk rapidly for very long periods of time. However, they generally don’t allow their train of thought to come to any type of conclusion that’s logical. They just seem to go from one topic to another in a rapid-fire manner. The thought patterns they have don’t seem to make any kind of sense to those around them.

Uncontrollable Racing Thoughts

During a manic episode, a person suffering from bipolar disorder find it extremely difficult to focus just on one thing at a time. They also tend to over analyze the thoughts racing through their mind. Their speech and thoughts tend to all be random and move from one topic to another and generally are all unrelated. These types of symptoms can hold a person back from pursuing any objectives that might be goal oriented.

Extreme Irritability

Agitation and irritability are extremely common with someone suffering from bipolar disorder. Those who suffer from it can easily become very irritated by things that they normally wouldn’t be bothered by. Their mood instability can be present in both a depressive and a manic episode. They can also switch quite quickly from one extreme to another before returning to their baseline.

Unable to Maintain a Schedule

Another very common symptom of this disorder is that they tend to be unable to maintain a normal schedule. This is why very often those that suffer from bipolar disorder often miss a lot of time from work, school, and other life commitments. One of the top diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder is to see if a patient’s symptoms are actually bad enough that they interfere with their ability to function on a daily basis.

Feeling Fatigue

Those suffering from bipolar disorder can also often have times of extreme fatigue and tiredness. They tend to always want to go to bed or they may tend to stay in bed extremely late. One may also experience a total lack of motivation to get anything done.

They can often also feel like they are bogged down mentally during their episodes of depression, even though they may have gotten plenty of sleep the night before. The mental fogginess will replace the energetic euphoria they may have had before. They often tend to lack drive or the desire to those things that once interested them.

Chronic Pain for No Reason

Some people will suffer from chronic pain and there doesn’t seem to be any known cause for the pain. Their pain can be all through their body and can even cause extreme headaches. They may have generalized muscle aches as well as other nonspecific aches everywhere. Sometimes a real pain like a simple bruised knee, for example, may end up feeling unbearable and exceeds the pain that others might feel not suffering from bipolar disorder.

Feelings of Hopelessness and Deep Sadness

During an episode of depression, those suffering from bipolar disorder are often overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and sadness. They can often fall into a deep state of depression and will then suddenly have a sense of happiness and then out of nowhere will become very sluggish and they don’t see any point in doing anything at all.

Thoughts of Suicide

When a person is suffering from bipolar disorder they often feel extremely depressed and sad and in very extreme instances they can develop thoughts of suicide and will act in a suicidal fashion. This is very dangerous because bipolar disorder can make people act in a compulsive manner and it could lead them to actually taking their own life.

 

Ways Pets Seem to Help People With Depression

depression and pets

depression and dogsIt’s astonishing just how much pets seem to pick up on our emotions. This is especially true when it comes to dogs. Dogs tend to more times than not, show that they are capable of expressing empathy for their humans when they sense that they are showing signs of sadness. It’s amazing how they will show signs of their empathy and love by reacting to a person’s emotions by snuggling with them, trying to distract them, or kissing their tears away. This could be one of the reasons why many pets seem to help those with depression.

Here are just a few ways that it seems pets offer their help for those suffering from depression.

They Offer a Presence That’s Soothing

It’s not just dogs that can help people and soothe them. Some studies have shown that if a person just sits down and watches fish swimming in an aquarium can actually lower their blood pressure and ease their muscle tension. This is especially true for those who are about to undergo dental surgery. That could be one of the reasons why a lot of dentist offices tend to have aquariums in their waiting rooms.

Research has also shown that those who own a pet, especially dogs and cats, tend to have much lower blood pressure and heart rates, especially if they are facing stressful issues. This, in turn, can help those who are fighting depression can feel a sense of relief when they interact with their pets.

It has also been noted that those who have suffered from a heart attack, which sometimes can lead to depression, tend to recover quicker and often will survive longer when they have a pet in their home. It’s as if just their presence alone can be beneficial.

Pets Offer Acceptance and Unconditional Love

The acceptance and unconditional love that pets offer, especially dogs and cats, is something that all people are looking for. This is especially true for those who might be suffering from depression. Pets don’t offer their opinions, aren’t judgmental, and don’t offer up verdicts against their owners. No matter who their owner is, or what they’ve done, it doesn’t matter to them. When a person seems to be in need, they are more than willing to offer up their unconditional love and acceptance at a moments notice.

Loneliness can be a key factor for depression in depressionmany people. This is particularly true for those who reside in nursing homes. A study done by Johns Hopkins showed that residents in nursing homes felt a lot less lonely and/or depressed whenever they spent quiet time with dogs alone than they did with a visit with other residents.

The John Hopkins research studied 37 different nursing home residents scoring high in loneliness and depression. They allowed half of them to spend thirty minutes with dogs alone and the other half spent shared time with the dogs with others in the nursing home. Each group all agreed that they felt much less lonely and depression after their visits. However, the depression and loneliness decreased much more for those who were allowed to spend private time with the dogs. Many believe this is because while alone with a dog, people may feel free to divulge their innermost feelings and thoughts and without being judged.

Pets Tend to Alter Human Behavior

Many people find that if they have a pet in their home, they tend to be able to take their minds off the issues of the day. It seems they have the ability to calm us down when things don’t seem to be going our way. Taking time out to pay attention to pets and let them offer their love and attention at the same time can help to slow breathing, slow down speech, and one’s mind. This, in turn, can help people to lower their feelings of depression. Just being greeted at the door when a person comes home from a hard day at work, can immediately give a person a feeling of relief.

Pets are a Distraction

Often times, people need a distraction from their depression and pets are often the perfect solution to that. Pets can be like a riveting movie or book. They have the ability to take you out of your head and step into a different reality. It’s a reality that can involve water, food, playtime, and of course their loving attention. It’s rather difficult to continue to feel totally awful forever when you have a loving dog kissing your face.

Pets EncourageTouching

There seems to be an almost magical healing power when it comes to touch. For instance, research has shown that having a massage can lower the levels of stress hormones in the body and can even optimize the immune system. Hugging, for example, can flood the body with oxytocin which is a hormone that will reduce stress and lower the heart rate and blood pressure at the same time. Even just holding hands with another person can lower stress and aid in depression.

Pets, especially dogs, are animals that encourage touching, and it’s not very surprising to realize that just by stroking a dog or a cat will lower blood pressure and even boost the levels of dopamine and serotonin all of which can help to calm and soothe a person who might be in distress.

Pets Can Make You More Responsible

Being responsible is something that promotes good mental health, especially when it comes to depression. By being more responsible quite often it helps to build self-esteem. For those suffering from depression often also suffer from low self-esteem. By having a pet, means more responsibility. Pets need to be fed, watered, groomed and loved so that they survive. When one is successful at doing that it is a positive accomplishment. It can help make a person, especially one who has depression feel like they are capable of caring not only for this loving creature but of themselves as well.

Another important thing that caring for a pet brings is structure to the day. Often those who suffer from depression find it difficult to create structure in their lives which in turn can cause more problems in their lives. By living with a pet that depends on them to survive, it gives them the structure they need and a feeling of self-worth.

 

Meditation for Treating Depression

meditation face

meditation and wellnessWhen it comes to depression, many people think that the only way to treat it is with therapy and medications. Even though these things are quite helpful, there are alternative treatments that can work for many people. One of those treatments is meditation.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a way of helping a person focus their attention in a way that will help them feel calmer and gives them a clearer awareness of their life. Philosophies in the East have always recognized the benefits one can receive from meditation for many centuries. Now, meditation is practiced a lot in the West and those who practice it believe that it does have many positive effects on one’s health.

Two Common Techniques

There are two very common meditation techniques that are most often used and those are mindful and concentrative meditation:

  • Mindful is a meditation that is influenced by mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR. It doesn’t focus on just one purpose. Instead, people are made aware of all of their feelings, thoughts, images, and sounds that might be passing through their minds.
  • Concentrative is a type of meditation that includes the most common known as TM or transcendental meditation. This type of meditation will focus on a single sound, mantra, image, or even a persons breathing.

Both types of meditation will usually include slow and regular breathing while you sit quietly for about twenty minutes.

What Can You Use Meditation For?

People often use meditation to treat a variety of both mental and physical problems that can include:

  • Addiction and its behaviors from drugs and alcohol
  • Depression, stress, and anxiety issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain control

Is It Safe?

Meditation most often involves just sitting quietly for some time and taking in deep breaths, those who can’t sit for a long time comfortably or if they have respiratory issues may find meditation difficult. Also, those who may suffer from ADHD or suffering from schizophrenia, might not be able to do meditation effectively. Otherwise, it should be safe and relatively easy for most.

According to research, there is thought to be no negative side effects or any kinds of complications when meditation is practiced. There also tends to be no negative side effects when it’s combined with medical treatments.

Instructions for Simple Mindful Meditation

If you’re interested in trying mindful meditation meditation and thoughtsyourself, whether it’s for depression, or just to learn how to calm down and relax, here are a few simple instructions that will help you learn how to do some simple mindful meditation.

Getting Situated

First, you will want to either sit on a chair or sit on the floor upright. You will also want to make sure that you pick a room that will not have any distractions. You also don’t want to face anything that might be stimulating like your TV or even a window. It’s best to just face a wall that’s blank if you can.

Once you find a good spot you want to make sure that you are comfortable in your seated position. You will want to be able to focus only on your breathing and not how you are feeling physically, so you need to be comfortable. If you pick a chair to sit in, make sure it is solid and doesn’t wiggle. Try to sit as straight as you can so it’s easier to breathe.

Once seated in a comfortable position put your hands on your thighs facing down. Make sure that your eyes are open a little bit and put your gaze on the floor or the wall in front of you. Also, make sure that your hips are higher than your knees are.

Start By Focusing on Present Moment

Take a few minutes to just sit and get your mind to focus on the present. While you are doing that make sure to become aware of your environment, your body, and your posture. Your mind will try to wander but when it does, just gently urge it back to your thoughts about your environment and body.

Now Feel Your Breathing

Once you’ve finished focusing on the present moment you should next turn your attention to your breathing. We take breathing for granted and now is the time to learn to focus on how the air actually goes in and out of the lungs:

 

  • Focus your attention on your breathing. You don’t have to change how you are breathing, just pay close attention to the natural rhythm of it.
  • While breathing you still need to keep paying attention to your environment and your body along with breathing. At this time you should try to spend a few more minutes focusing on the present moment and breathing.
  • Next, you may want to try to practice diaphragm breathing. You can do this sitting or lie down. If you want to do it sitting you need to make sure you sit straight as possible so it’s easier to breathe. Put one of your hands on your chest and then the other hand on your lower stomach. Next, you will breathe in a way that your hand on your stomach will rise while the one of your chest will remain still. Make sure to breathe through the nose and then out through the mouth. Repeat this until you feel nice and calm.

Allow Thoughts to Flow Through

After you’ve done your breathing and focusing on the present for a few minutes go ahead and let your mind wander just a bit. When the thoughts begin to flow in, don’t judge them or analyze the thoughts. Just allow them to come into your mind and to flow out freely.

 

  • There might be a lot of things that start to arise during meditation. They could be memories, concerns, worries, and so on. Never try to control these thoughts. Just allow them to naturally come and then leave on their own.
  • Again, don’t judge the thoughts that you have. You also don’t want to try to work through them. Just let them happen. It’s alright to name them as they come to mind but just let them go after.

Length of Meditation

Although the most common amount of time that most people sit down to meditate is about 20 minutes a day, it is also suggested that you have a goal to try and set aside one session a week that lasts about two and a half hours. This is particularly helpful for those who are using meditation to help improve the symptoms they are experiencing with depression.