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Coping With Post-2020 Chaos

In the aftermath of 2020 there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty ahead. 

It’s not the same world as it was just a year ago. What was a world of order and certainty is now being replaced with a new one of chaos and uncertainty. 

What Is Chaos?

Chaos means to be completely confused or disordered. To be chaotic is to be someone or something that’s disorganized or lacking order. 

The events of 2020 including the COVID-19 pandemic plunged our world into chaos. It led to uncertainty and panic that intensified anxiety in a short period of time.

The future effects of COVID-19 include more uncertainty and chaos from changes in the world including the economy, how we live and that the pandemic may not end anytime soon.

It’s important to learn how to cope with chaos. If you don’t it will be really hard to move forward in a new world.

Why Coping With Chaos Is Important?

So far the twenty-first century has been the century of chaos. It was already unpredictable to begin with changes in technology and changes in the economy.

 We live in a time where we’re bombarded with new information flooding the brain, new technologies, new obstacles at work and thousands of choices. The chaos that’s created leaves us feeling frustrated, irritable, angry, tired and anxious.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the chaos and caused our world to unravel.

We all imagine being back in a simpler time as a way of coping. However, the reality is that the simple time we imagine is never coming back.

What we can do is learn how to cope with the chaos around us.

Tips For Coping With Chaos

Some people who suffer from chronic mental illness their minds are already chaotic. They’ve lived with chaos for so long that they feel calmer in a crisis. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable, restless and aimless when the crisis is averted. 

It gets easier for them when they learn how to manage their chaotic minds.

There are things that we can all learn to cope with chaos:

Have A Plan To Cope With Stress

An important plan to have is to take care of yourself. This could mean eating healthy, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and giving yourself a break when you’re stressed out. A healthy body is more resilient in the face of uncertainty and chaos.

Also, it helps to have close friends and family to talk to when things get tough.

It’s important to recognize when you need help.

Cope With Stress By Redirecting Your Energy

Stress can go away on its own. However when it’s caused by emotions like anger, frustration, jealousy or fear it can linger.

We need to do more than just take a step back. Instead we’re going to need to channel those negative emotions into something more positive and productive.

We can channel our energies by learning something new like a new skill or writing out what’s stressing us out. Also, we can put our energies into making our lives more orderly by cleaning our homes.

Energy can be redirected into simple pleasures such as love making with a willing partner.

Find A Peaceful Moment

In order to minimize stress in chaotic times it’s important to find a peaceful moment.

It’s important to set limits by establishing boundaries. It’s essential for asserting your needs, more time and energy is freed up for self care and there’s less anger and resentment.

Learn To Anticipate Future Uncertainty

We live in an uncertain world that grows more uncertain everyday. It’s important to learn how to cope with it.

Being intolerant of uncertainty causes problems. It puts our nervous systems on high alert and triggers our fight or flight response.

Uncertainty can leave us fearful, anxious and powerless. It leads us into a trap of endless “what ifs” and worst case scenarios about the future. This way of thinking is not only unproductive, it’s unhealthy also.

It’s important to learn about uncertainty tolerance. This includes learning about the nature of fear and anxiety, along with making critical thinking skills stronger. It’s also important to learn how to roll with things you can’t control.

It’s important to acknowledge that “shit happens”!

If you like to learn more about the nature of fear please click below:

How Do You Cope With Chaos?

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Sources:

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/chaos

https://wallstreetinsanity.com/23-ways-to-positively-redirect-stress/

https://americanbrainsociety.org/how-to-cope-with-covid-19-chaos-if-you-suffer-from-an-anxiety-disorder/

https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-uncertainty

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Keeping Escapism To a Minimum

What is Escapism?

Escapism is the tendency to distract yourself or find relief from anything that’s unpleasant, boring or scary. This can come from seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Escapism?

Escapism has many pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Can be Therapeutic and Relieves Stress
  • It’s Entertaining
  • Stress Relief
  • You Can Become Someone Else
  • Temporarily Disconnect From Reality
  • Tendency to Be More Creative
  • Makes You Want To Travel More

Cons:

  • Lack of Productivity
  • Can Lead to Addiction
  • Procrastination
  • Lose Touch With The Harsh Realities Of The World
  • Lose the Ability to Cope with Uncertainty

We all seek different forms of escapism as ways to cope with the stress and anxiety of day to day life. Some of us unwind by sitting by the pool and having a drink and there are others that like to play video games.

Escapism is a problem when we have a compulsive need to escape from reality and not address the issues that are unpleasant, boring or scary. When this happens escapism becomes an addiction.

What are Some Examples of Escapism?

Escapism comes in many forms including:

Sports: Sports are a positive form of escapism. Whether you’re watching your favorite team on television or sitting in the bleachers at the arena it’s a great way to release stress.

Working: We all need to work to live, but there’s a form of escapism in which someone lives to work by choice. This happens when someone has the need to escape from having to deal with issues in life such as lack of quality relationships, lack or personal fulfilment or lack of satisfaction with the direction your life is heading.

Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs (In Moderation): We all like to party in order to get a break from life.

Overeating: Food can be used as a form of escapism. The painful realities of our lives are too much for some of us to bare, if we don’t want to face unpleasant realities that bring us pain some of us overeat to take the pain away.

Video Games: We sometimes need to escape from reality by temporarily escaping from it.

Love: Love is an intense feeling of deep affection for another person. There are some people that view love as a form of escapism.

Social Media: I mention this topic a lot in this blog. Social media has its positives, but it has its negatives also including internet addiction.

How Escapism Affects your Wellbeing?

Escapism is how a lot of us cope with the challenges of life, but over time it can become unhealthy and can prevent us from doing what we want to do to improve our real lives.

Escapism can lead to these problems:

  • Dissociation and Destruction of Self
  • Loneliness
  • Compulsiveness
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Less Time and Energy for Working On Real Life Issues

If you’re having trouble coping with stress and anxiety please download my anxiety expert list by clicking on the link below:

How To Turn Escapism Into Something Positive?

It’s ok to engage in escapism in small bouts throughout the day to rest your brain and get a break from less serious stuff. However, if you’re engaging in escapism more often and it becomes avoidance.

What is Avoidance?

Excessive escapism can turn into avoidance; it’s also known as avoidance coping, avoidance behaviors and escape coping. Whatever you call it; it’s a dysfunctional form of coping that leads to the changing of our behavior in order to avoid thinking about things or feeling emotions that make us feel uncomfortable.

Avoidance involves us trying to avoid stressors that cause anxiety. The more you avoid dealing with these stressors in your life, the more the underlying anxiety accumulates.

An example of avoidance is not coping with unresolved issues from a past relationship. The amount of lingering emotional baggage can lead to love addiction, which is a compulsive, chronic craving and pursuit of romantic love in an effort to get our sense of security and worth from another person. Love addiction can lead to a toxic relationship in which you lose your sense of self and deal with ever increasing depression and anxiety.

Another example of avoidance is video game addiction. Video games in general can be addictive and they’re designed to be addictive. It’s estimated that 5 to 15% of gamers are addicted to them. These gamers already have underlying issues with depression and anxiety due to things in their lives that are difficult to cope with, so they avoid facing these problems head on. Overtime this leads to a lot of problems, for example some people that become addicted to gaming have self-esteem problems in real life caused by issues such as underemployment, relationship issues and financial issues. In the gaming world they escape from these unpleasant realities by being in control in a fantasy world where you may have a higher status than in real life. This can lead to problems with dissociation and losing oneself in this fantasy world and you can lose the ability to cope with real life altogether.

How To Cope in a Healthier Way?

There are other ways of coping with unresolved life issues that are more positive. 

These forms of coping include:

  • Talking Thru Problems: If there’s an unresolved problem in your life it’s important to talk about it and admit that its causing a problem instead of letting it fester.
  • Reframing Your Anxiety: I mentioned in a previous blog post about turning anxiety into a superpower about a form of therapy called ‘reframing’. It’s taking negative thoughts that cause anxiety and reframe them into something positive. For example, if you’re having negative thoughts about why you didn’t make a team in high school and ask yourself what positive things came from not making the team.
  • Minimize Stress: It’s important to keep stress to a minimum, because when it’s kept to a minimum anxiety is kept to a minimum.
  • Meditation: Meditation is a great way to focus on the present moment and be able to cope with reality.
  • Live Your Life Like a Character in a Game: This is an interesting idea. Certain video games allow you to level up when you gain enough experience points. For example in Role Playing Games (RPG’s) such as ‘Final Fantasy’ you eventually gain a level when you gather enough experience points. When you gain a level and manage the money you earn you’re able to equip new weapons, you gain status upgrades and you have more hit points. What if you live your life like a character in an RPG; when you have an unresolved issue you want to tackle and when you do it can feel like a level upgrade. The same thing can occur in other areas of your life; when you earn a new college degree or acquire a new professional license and become a Master at what you do it’s like a character from ‘Final Fantasy’ named Cecil upgrading his job from Dark Knight to Paladin. If you ever played one of these games you’ll understand what I mean.
  • Make Your Real Life More Fun: If you’re feeling bored with your life and you have tendencies to want to escape into an imaginary world try planning more fun real life experiences. These can include traveling, spending time with friends and family and/or going to the beach.
  • “Escape” From The Life You Already Have: If you’re unhappy with your life and need to make a change start by learning new things that you can use to make your situation better. Instead of wasting your time on your laptop binge watching shows on NetFlix start enrolling in an online course instead. You’re already spending so much time on your computer anyway try using that time to improve yourself.

This post concludes the series on New Year’s Resolutions. Stress and Anxiety can be kept to a minimum and easier to cope when you take a step toward making some positive changes to your life. 

Eat less junk food, drink more water, find better ways to cope with stress and most importantly keep escapism to a minimum.

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What Do You Do To Unplug From Life?

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Why You Need To Drink More Water?

What Exactly is Water and Why Do We Need It?

Water is an inorganic, tasteless, colorless and odorless chemical substance. Its formula is H20; meaning that its made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. It exists in three different forms here on Earth – solid, liquid or gas.

It’s vital to all forms of life despite not providing calories or organic nutrients.

Did you know that an adult human body is 60% water and our blood is 90% water. Also, 80% of our brains consists of water.

Along with maintaining your body’s essential functions water also has a natural calming effect. Did you know that the added hydration from drinking water can be soothing for someone undergoing intense stress and anxiety.

If you are suffering from anxiety please download my anxiety expert list by clicking the button below:

The Benefits of Drinking Water 

In the United States water (specifically bottled water) is the second most consumed beverage after soda. However, it’s estimated that most people don’t drink enough water.

There’s no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily. We do know that conventional wisdom calls for drinking eight 8 ounce glasses a day. There are many benefits to drinking more water.

Benefits Include:

Keeps You Body Functioning: Water is important, because the human body uses it in all of its cells, organs and tissues in order to maintain essential bodily functions such as temperature regulation, maximizes physical performance and nutrient absorption. 

Promotes Healthy Brain Function:  Drinking water is essential for maintaining a functional body. For example, your brain is 80% water and communicates with your kidneys through the pituitary gland and can tell them how much water to excrete or hold on to. The brain is also responsible for triggering your body’s thirst mechanism when you’re thirsty. Also, drinking water helps with concentration and cognition, helps to balance emotions and mood and increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain along with other parts of the body.

Helps You Lose Weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight. If you drink water before a meal you can prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness. Also, when you add ice to water before you drink it you can boost your metabolism, because your body has to work harder and burn more calories in order to warm that water up and this can lead to weight loss.

Helps Protect Vital Parts of Your Body: Water is essential for lubricating your joints, protecting your spinal cord and tissues. Along with maintaining moisture in these vital areas water is important for protecting your blood, bones and brain.

Essential For Digestion and Bowel Movements: Your body’s digestive system cannot function without water, so it’s important to drink water to have a healthy digestive tract and to be able to excrete feces from your body.

Less Likely To Have a Hangover: When you are at a party drinking alcohol and you want to reduce the likelihood of having a hangover switch to drinking water.

More Physical Energy: Drinking water when you’re working out increases your physical endurance and also helps you avoid muscle cramps. You should drink 5 to 10 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes while you’re exercising.

The Consequences of Not Drinking Enough Water (Dehydration)

Consequences of Dehydration include:

Kidney Problems: Not drinking enough water leads to kidney problems such as the formation of kidney stones and make you more prone to urinary tract infections. The longer you’re dehydrated the likelihood of kidney damage increases.

Mental and Cognitive Issues: It appears that dehydration decreases brain tissue fluid and may reduce brain volume and affect brain function. Dehydration affects sodium and electrolyte levels in the brain and this is linked to mental and cognitive issues. These include memory loss, confusion and brain fog. Also, since dehydration leads to an increase in cortisol levels it can lead to worsening stress and anxiety.

Constipation and Other Digestive Issues: Dehydration can lead to constipation and an overly acidic stomach; which can lead to heartburn and stomach ulcers.

Frequent Illness: Dehydration leads to the weakening of the immune system and can put you at a higher risk of catching a cold or the flu.

Skin Problems: Not drinking enough water can lead to skin problems. Dehydration leads to the creation of oil in your skin to make up for the loss of water and when this happens it leads to acne, irritation and dry patches. Also, being chronically dehydrated can lead to more wrinkles, sagging skin and flakiness.

Sugar Cravings: Not drinking enough water makes it more difficult for the body to metabolize stored sugar and makes us crave sugar in order to give us quick energy when we only need to drink water.

Fatigue: When you’re dehydrated you start feeling tired and lethargic. When your body has less water your blood volume lowers; this leads to less oxygen getting to your brain and your heart has to pump harder. 

Why People Don’t Drink Enough Water and How To Encourage Them To Drink More?

It’s very important to drink plenty of water, but most Americans don’t drink enough of it. There are many reasons why they don’t drink enough water.

Reasons include:

  • Not Feeling Thirsty
  • Mostly Drink Other Beverages
  • Have To Pay For Bottled Water
  • They Don’t Have Time To Get Water
  • They Already Feel They Had Enough Water Already
  • They Don’t Like The Taste of Water
  • They Don’t Trust The Water

How To Encourage People To Drink More Water?

I mentioned in my two previous posts about how to make it a New Year’s Resolution to eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup from your diet and To become less stressed. It should also be a New Year’s Resolution to drink more water everyday. 

Here are some things that can encourage us to drink more water:

Add Flavor To Water: Some people complain about how water tastes, so add fresh fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges.

Dilute Sugary Drinks: If you don’t want to give up on sugary drinks, but at the same time consume less sugar add water and ice to make it less sweet, but still have flavor.

Use a Water Filter: If you don’t trust the purified tap water coming out of your faucet due to the smell and taste try using a water filter. Filters remove bacterial contaminants, residual chlorine, heavy metals and organic contaminants left over from the treatment process. Using a water filter also saves money on bottled water.

Drink Bottled Water: Bottled water is a great way for staying hydrated on the go. The plastic bottles are highly portable and durable and are easily stored. Also, bottled water tastes better than what comes out of the tap. However, the cost of buying bottled water adds up overtime and can cost more than tap water. The plastic used to make the bottles contain chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals can seep into the water that’s in the bottle, especially if the bottle is left in a hot place where there’s a lot of direct sunlight such as your car. If you’re concerned about (BPA) in bottled water filter it before you drink it just like tap water coming out of the faucet. Also, many bottling companies get their water from the same reservoir that tap water comes from and the water may or may come from the highest quality source.

Keep A Reusable Bottle With You: If you’re looking for a way to stay hydrated on the go and at the same time concerned about the safety of bottled water try adding filtered water to a reusable bottle. Along with convenience you’re also safeguarding your health along with being environmentally sustainable. Discarded single use plastic bottles are becoming a huge environmental problem all over the world. The cost of either throwing them away or recycling them is on the rise and a lot of the bottles are exported to other countries where they are dumped out into the ocean. Unless this problem is solved there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by mid-century.

What Do You Do To Drink More Water?

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Is Processed Food Linked to Physical and Mental Health Problems?


I was doing research for a previous blog post about guten and its effects on our physical and mental health and started asking about processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and how they affected our overall health.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a key ingredient in processed foods such as soda, pastries, condiments such as ketchup, candy, processed bread, canned fruit.

Since the late 1970’s High Fructose Corn Syrup has been added to our food and as of 2019 it’s estimated that the average American consumes at least 40 pounds of it a year. 

Since it’s the beginning of the new year many people want to make New Year’s resolutions. Many of these resolutions revolve around changing our diets and this post is intended to inform you about why giving up high fructose corn syrup is a good new years resolution.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), also known as glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-flucose syrup is a sweetener derived from corn. It is used to sweeten processed foods and soda primarily in the United States. 

Starting in the 1970’s HFCS became more widely available due to low corn prices due to farm subsidies and table sugar becoming more expensive.

HFCS is similar to regular table sugar (sucrose); they both contain fructose and glucose.

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a sugar found naturally in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables and honey. However, fructose is an added component in HFCS and as a result occurs artificially in many processed foods. 

Fructose is a valuable and needed nutrient that is good for you, but it’s a problem when it’s added artificially.

What is Glucose?

Glucose is a simple sugar made by plants and most algae during photosynthesis from water and carbon dioxide using energy from the sun. Foods that contain carbohydrates such as grain, rice and potatoes and our bodies change 100% of carbohydrates into glucose. 

Glucose is a component added to HFCS.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from corn; when corn is milled its turned into corn starch and further processing turns it into corn syrup. HFCS starts off as mostly glucose, but it’s converted into fructose by using enzymes.

What Health Problems are Linked to High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High Fructose Corn Syrup has been linked to many health problems including:

  1. Adds More Fructose To Your Body Than You Need: Before table sugar and HFCS became affordable and widely available most people’s diets contained only small amounts of fructose from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. However, over the past few decades the intake of fructose has increased significantly and has contributed to numerous health problems.
  2. Weight Gain and Obesity: The amount of fructose we consume from table sugar and HFCS has increased by 300% in the last 50 years and this has led to weight gain and obesity. Excess fructose in particular leads to the accumulation of visceral fat; which is a type of fat that surrounds your organs and leads to other serious health problems such as insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.
  3. Increases The Risk of Serious Health Problems: Along with weight gain and obesity HFCS increases the risk of developing some serious health problems including Heart Disease, Fatty Liver Disease, Diabetes, Metabolic Disorder, Inflammation and Cancer.
  4. Harms Your Brain: Some of the worst effects of HFCS occur in the brain. Disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and brain fog can result from HFCS. Unnatural amounts of Fructose from HFCS not only leads to insulin resistance that causes diabetes it can also interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar and impede production of the energy needed to process thoughts and emotions. Studies done on rats concluded that a diet high in HFCS can damage the brain’s synapses (neural junctions). All signs are pointing to yes that poor diet leads to an increase of mood, emotional and learning problems. 

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Want To Start Making a New Year’s Resolution?!

Either reducing  or avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup is a challenge, because so many foods that we eat contain it. If you decide to make it a New Year’s Resolution to change to a healthy diet there are some important steps you need to take.

Start by closely reading nutrition labels: It’s important to carefully read labels before you buy anything at the grocery store to see if HFCS is an ingredient.

Foods that contain HFCS include:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Salad Dressing
  • Frozen Junk Foods
  • Processed Breads
  • Canned Fruits
  • Processed Fruit Juices

It’s important to be aware that some brands advertise as “no high fructose corn syrup” on the package, because there may still be HFCS in that product and may be listed under a different name.

These names include:

  • Maize Syrup
  • Corn Syrup
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Fructose Syrup
  • Isolated Fructose

Avoid Meals That are Canned, Frozen or Prepackaged: These foods are convenient, but there are a lot of added ingredients such as HFCS.

KnowThe Difference Between Natural and Organic: Someone I know is always asking questions about the food labels “natural” and “organic. The word natural is sometimes placed on products that contain HFCS. Also, the word organic is sometimes placed on labels, because foods contain “organic HFCS”. It’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate labels. Foods that are HFCS free organic can be found in the section at the grocery store that contains health food or at specialty health food stores such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. In the short run some organic foods are more expensive, but you’ll feel healthier in the long run. 

Start Incorporating More Whole Foods Into Your Diet: Incorporate more whole foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When foods such as canned fruits are processed a lot of the fiber is stripped out, when grains such as wheat are processed into white flour the bran and germ that provide the most nutritional benefit are stripped out. It makes more sense to eat less processed or whole foods.

Start Baking and/or Cooking at Home More: When you bake or cook your own food you have more control over the ingredients that are added to them. If you don’t want to use table sugar instead of HFCS you can use alternative natural sweeteners such as honey or mashed fruit.

Take an Omega-3 Supplement: I mentioned that HFCS is harmful to your brain and its important to start taking an Omega-3 supplement along with changing your diet. Along with lowering blood pressure and reducing the likelihood of a heart attack Omega-3s decrease the likelihood of developing memory problems, depression and anxiety as the brain’s synapses are repaired.

I’ve noticed changes in my health right away just simply changing form Kellogg’s Raisin Bran to Organic Brands such as Cascadian Farms Raisin Bran. Right away you’ll notice that the flakes don’t taste as sweet and they have a lot more fiber. Raisin Bran is my favorite cereal and just changing to an organic brand promoted weight loss also.

Have you ever noticed that you feel better physically and mentally with an improved diet?


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