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How To Be “High Functioning” Bipolar?

What does “high functioning” bipolar mean?

Does it mean that you don’t need help?

Do you have less severe symptoms?

Before we answer these questions lets learn about bipolar disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood.

It causes shifts in energy, activity levels and focus. Also, it affects the ability to finish out day-to-day tasks.

It affects 1 out of 100 people and needs to be managed long-term. For some people Bipolar Disorder is disabling but there are others that are high functioning.

Bipolar Is Different For Everyone

What it means to be bipolar is different for everyone who has it. There are some that have bipolar I and others that have bipolar II.

Someone with bipolar I has more severe manic or high energy episodes. Bipolar II has less severe manic episodes.

It’s common for someone to have at least one bipolar episode every few years. However, there are others that have “rapid cycling” bipolar. This means that they have at least 4 episodes a year.

Even high functioning bipolar is different for everyone.

What Does “High Functioning” Bipolar Mean?

The term “high functioning” bipolar disorder doesn’t apply to how severe the illness is. Instead it applies to how someone manages it. This means that symptoms like anxiety are happening, but they’re managed well enough to maintain daily functioning.

Someone with high functioning bipolar disorder can appear normal. They might have steady jobs and solid relationships with others.

However, they put in a lot of energy and effort to handle the turmoil that comes with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder is managed with medication and therapy. Also it’s managed with lifestyle changes and using coping strategies.

How To Be “High Functioning” Bipolar?

High Functioning Bipolar Disorder doesn’t mean not having support from a therapist. This is far from the truth, having a therapist helps to manage symptoms.

Therapy is part of your bipolar treatment. There are different ways to manage symptoms alongside therapy.

Different Ways Include:

Keeping In Touch With Your Therapist

Keep in touch with your therapist as part of your treatment. Stress and anxiety can push you to the brink and trigger bipolar symptoms. When this happens your therapist will help you get through rough patches.

Making Lifestyle Changes

Bipolar Disorder is managed with lifestyle changes. Choosing a healthier lifestyle helps with overall well being.

Regular exercise leads to less stress and anxiety. Also, it helps with boosting self-esteem and helps with brain function.

Changing Diet

It turns out that diet plays a role in triggering bipolar episodes. It helps to avoid eating foods that are overly processed and high in fat, sugar and salt. Instead try eating Whole Foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.

Sticking to a healthy diet is good for your mental health. It sets you up for fewer mood episodes and leads to a happier life.

Please Click Below To Learn About Processed Food’s Role In Triggering Mental Illness:

Focusing Your Energy

Anxiety happens to all of us, especially if you have bipolar disorder. It may feel like you have “nervous energy”.

There are so many different ways to focus that nervous energy. Start by accepting that you’re anxious and release it.

Release it by breathing or listening to music. Then you should take action by focusing that energy into something good.

Get Creative

A lot of famous artist, actors and musicians have or had bipolar disorder. They include artist Vincent Van Gough, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and musician Kurt Cobain.

A lot of people with bipolar disorder might be creative. They’re more likely than others to have a creative talent.

Having a creative talent such as painting is a way to cope. When there’s nervous energy painting is a good thing to take up.

Start Journaling

Keeping a journal helps in many ways. It boosts your mood and sense of well being. Also, it helps you keep your thoughts organized.

There are other benefits to journaling. It not only improves your writing skills, but it also can become more than journaling. This blog started off as a journal entry.

How Do You Manage Bipolar Disorder?

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If you liked what you read and you want to learn more, please click on the button below and download a copy of “10 Coping Strategies For Bipolar Disorder”:

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/mental-illnesses-disorders/bipolar-disorder#:~:text=Bipolar%20is%20different%20for%20everyone,least%204%20episodes%20per%20year.

https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-1-vs-bipolar-2#bipolar-vs-bipolar-

https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/guide-drawn-to-art

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How To Stop Social Media Triggers!?

Social Media is a big part of 21st century life.

Using it has brought benefits to its users, however using social media has a lot of triggering effects like loneliness, anxiety and depression.

Let’s learn how to stop social media triggers!

What Is Social Media?

Social Media refers to websites and applications that allow users to be part of a social network. They allow users to create and share content.

Different Types Of Social Media Include:

  • Social Networks: Websites such as Facebook that allow users to post information, comments, images and messages.
  • Microblogging: Sites such as WordPress that allow anyone to post comments to a micro blog that attracts an audience.
  • Photo Sharing: Sites such as Instagram that allow users to share digital photos online.
  • Video Sharing: Online video platforms such as YouTube allow users to upload, convert, store and playback video content on the internet.

What Is Social Media Used For?

Social media platforms help users connect, share and give information and connect with millions of other users.

It’s important not to ignore social media, since it is an important part of our lives today.

There are roughly 3.5 billion people worldwide that use social media. That’s 45% of the world’s population. As of 2019 an additional 360 million people started using social media.

What Are Some Pros and Cons Of Social Media?

Pros Include:
  • Marketing Tool: Social media can be used for marketing a business. Since so many adults use social media it is a great for getting leads.
  • Self Education: Social media platforms such as YouTube have changed how we teach ourselves. Whether it’s a video blog (vlog) or a video posted by a college professor social media has changed how we learn. 
  • Build Relationships: At its root the purpose of social media is about connecting people to people. As you build these relationships there are opportunities to tap into new networks that may open up new opportunities.
  • Share Your Expertise: Social media is great for sharing what you know. Sharing what you know can attract other connections.

Cons Include:
  • Depression And Anxiety: A major effect of social media is being a trigger for depression and anxiety.
  • Cyberbullying: A person can be bullied by another person on social media through triggering messages.
  • FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): We get anxious seeing something more exciting going on in someone else’s life. We also feel jealous and angry when we think we’re missing out.
  • Internet Addiction: Using social media can turn into an addiction. 
  • Unhealthy Sleep Patterns: The overuse of social media via electronic devices makes it harder to sleep.
  • Poor Body Image: Social media can cause a user to have a poor body image. They may start comparing themselves with other users. 
  • Half Baked Ideas About Life: Social media paints a picture of what life should be like and we become addicted to posting the perfect post in order to receive likes. 

How To Stop Social Media Triggers?

The triggering effects of social media harm a user’s mental health.

There are users called trolls that cause a lot of problems for other users.

What Is A Troll?

A Troll is a social media user that starts fights or upsets other users. They post triggering and off topic messages in order to provoke other users.

Once a user has a presence on social media, it’s hard to totally avoid trolls. I’ve learned over time how to handle them.

Not letting trolls bait you online is good for your mental health.

Tips For Handling Trolls Before You Get Triggered:
  • Be Empathetic: A troll might be having mental health problems of their own. They may use social media to vent their problems.
  • Be Aware Of The Issue: Before things gets out of control, find out why the troll is angry. If it’s being caused by something you’ve done, apologize for it.
  • Take It Offline: Talk to a troll privately through private messaging.
  • Ban Or Block Them: A troll may have to be banned or blocked. Especially if they’re still trying to trigger you.

How Do You Handle Social Media Triggers?

Please Like And Comment!

Please Click Below If You Have Bipolar Disorder and You Want To Learn About Some Coping Strategies:

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-media.asp

https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

https://www.howtogeek.com/465416/what-is-an-internet-troll-and-how-to-handle-trolls/

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Tips For Stopping Self-Hatred

What Is Self-Hatred?

Self-hatred means that you don’t love yourself.

It makes you feel like you’re not good enough. Also, it causes you to feel anxious and depressed.

Self sabotage and other bad behaviors, along with not living the life you want happens when you don’t love yourself.

What Causes Self-Hatred?

Self-hatred comes from a downward spiral of bad self-esteem that has many causes.

Trauma

Trauma can lead to self-hatred. If you’ve been through trauma you might see the world differently. You might view the world as unsafe and see other people as dangerous.

It can feel safer to attack yourself over what happened. It might be hard to accept that bad things happen randomly in the world.

Mental Illness

Bipolar disorder or PTSD have symptoms that include self-hatred. If it happens during episodes of bipolar depression, you may start believing things about your life that aren’t true.

It’s Part Of Our Culture

We’re taught to compare ourselves with others at an early age. We’re made to feel self-hatred if we don’t live up to a culture’s half-baked pipe dreams .

Feeling Stuck

Being in a place in your life you don’t want to be makes you feel stuck. It’s a feeling that leaves you anxious and scared. Also, you end up comparing yourself to others due to self-hatred.

Please Click Here To Learn More About Getting Unstuck:

How Self-Hatred Can Ruin Your Life?

Feeling self-hatred causes anxiety that can lead to bad behaviors.

In order to deal with or numb the anxiety you may end up cutting or damaging your skin. Eating disorders and drug abuse are other ways to attack your body. It’s also possible to have suicidal thoughts.

Self-hatred and it’s bad behaviors cause you to isolate yourself. When this happens you hide your state of mind. Then you feel ashamed and feel even worse than before.

After a while you feel that you don’t deserve to be happy. This causes you to avoid things that make you happy such as eating good food, having good friends or having self respect.

How To Stop Self-Hatred?

It’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to others. You probably do it all the time at work, with your friends or on social media.

Overtime you might feel like you’re not good enough. Comparing yourself to others might trigger feelings of self-hatred.

Here are some tips to stop self-hatred:

Pay Attention To Any Triggers

Self-hatred can be brought on by triggers. If your life is stressful due to work stress or money problems it can trigger anxiety.

Anxiety can lead to unwanted thoughts and self-doubt. When this happens you might start comparing yourself to others.

When you become aware of what triggers anxiety you can stop self-hatred.

Tame your Self Critic

Self-hatred might be due to unwanted thoughts from your inner voice. Take a step back and let these thoughts pass. If that doesn’t work you might need to be treated by a doctor.

Look At Your Strengths

Look at your strengths to stop self-hatred.

Your strengths may include what you’re already good at. If you have to ask someone you know what they think.

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/ways-to-stop-self-hatred-4164280#:~:text=Self%20loathing%20is%20extreme%20criticism,of%20good%20things%20in%20life.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/self-hatred

https://www.google.com/search?q=feel+stuck+and+self+hatred&client=safari&sxsrf=ALeKk01NLVh3bAK4dCqU14hx7XYpmPFH4w:1610579645858&ei=vX7_X-3sM7Cp5NoPiY2ayAk&start=10&sa=N&ved=2ahUKEwitv7HdhJruAhWwFFkFHYmGBpkQ8tMDegQIBxA2&biw=1440&bih=820

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/unrealistic-expectations#:~:text=If%20you%20say%20that%20someone,something%20they%20want%20to%20achieve.

https://mind.se/en/information/related-conditions/self-hatred-destructiveness/#:~:text=How%20does%20this%20affect%20a,punish%20the%20body%20as%20well.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

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Rediscovering Self Confidence After A Setback

Life is strange! 

Sometimes you win and other times you lose. 

When life is going well you feel good about yourself.

Life also throws you curveballs that set you back.

Most setbacks are minor and don’t throw your life off track. They include being turned down for a promotion, being rejected by a love interest or having a cold.

Major setbacks happen and interrupt your progress. They keep you from succeeding and leave you feeling stuck.

What Are Some Examples Of Major Setbacks?

Job Loss

Losing your job is stressful. It’s a major setback to leave the workforce due to obsolete job skills.

Financial Setbacks

It’s hard to have a financial setback. Especially if you can no longer make ends meet.

Divorce/End Of Relationship

A divorce/end of relationship is a major setback. It’s a financial and emotional one.

Unexpected Expenses

These are expenses you don’t see coming.

You might have a medical emergency and have to go to the ER. Also, you might need emergency surgery.

Major Illness

Dealing with a health setback is taught. It can be diabetes or even bipolar disorder.

Consequences Of Setbacks?

Life altering setbacks can make you feel stuck. You may end up feeling defeated, doubting yourself and having less self-confidence.

Major Setbacks can be damaging to your self-esteem. They can lead to down a downward spiral. When this happens it can make a situation worse.

How To Rebuild Your Self-Confidence?

Setbacks, whether they alter your life or not are a part of life.

You’re going to face adversity. Instead of letting your baggage get the best of you, it’s important to see a setback as a time to take action.

Tips For Bouncing Back:

Take Your Time

Overcoming a major setback doesn’t happen overnight. It may take months or even years to achieve.

Meanwhile take some time to work on yourself. This can be achieved by eating the right foods, exercising and reflecting on past mistakes.

Challenge Limiting Beliefs

When you’re feeling stuck you may see yourself in an unhealthy way. Unhealthy beliefs about yourself hold you back.

Challenging these beliefs puts us in a better life state and help us overcome setbacks.

Please click below to learn more about overcoming limiting beliefs:

Be Grateful

Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness toward the world, or toward specific people.

When you’re grateful you feel thankful for what you have.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

Surround yourself with people who love and support you. They help you to move pass a setback, along with making you happy.

How Do You Overcome Challenging Setbacks?

Please Like and Comment!

Please Click Here To Down A Copy Of, “10 Coping Strategies For Bipolar Disorder”:

Sources:

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/02/how-to-handle-setbacks

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/how-to-bounce-back-when-you-lose-it-all/

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Overcoming Social Anxiety

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social Anxiety comes from the fear of being judged or evaluated in a bad way by other people.

Someone suffering from it might be mistaken or labeled as shy, aloof or even unfriendly. They want to make friends and be part of a group.

Social Anxiety is a long-term mental health issue that gets better with treatment.

What Are Some Symptoms Of Social Anxiety?

Someone with social anxiety can have different symptoms.

Physical Symptoms
  • Fatigue: Some people are hyperactive or aroused after an anxiety attack. There are some people that feel fatigue or extreme tiredness.
  • Trembling And Sweating: Anxiety, excitement and frailty can cause uncontrollable shaking or trembling and sweating.
  • Upset Stomach: Stress and anxiety can make you sick to your stomach.
  • Trouble Breathing And Dizziness: Anxiety tightens your muscles including the ones that help you breathe. The fear of passing out happens with shortness of breath. Being short of breath causes dizziness and can make you feel lightheaded.
  • Muscle Tension: Muscle tension causes you to feel stiffness or unexplained pain all over your body.
  • Fast Heartbeat: Anxiety causes a high heart rate and heart palpitations.

Emotional And Behavioral Symptoms
  • Fear Of Being Judged And Embarrassing Yourself: Have you ever asked someone an embarrassing question? Then you end up feeling a lot of shame and fear of being judged for asking it? This happens a lot with social anxiety.
  • Hard Time With Relationships: Social anxiety makes relationships harder. 
  • Body Image Issues: Being self-conscious about how you look can trigger social anxiety.
  • Substance Abuse: Substance abuse is more common in people with social anxiety issues.

Mental Symptoms
  • Anxiety And Panic Attacks: Anxiety is the feeling of fear of what’s to come in the future. A panic attack is an episode of intense fear with physical reactions including sweating, trembling and trouble breathing.
  • Depression And Low Self-Esteem: Along with depression social activity leads to low self-esteem.

What Triggers Social Anxiety?

Anxiety triggers vary from person to person. Some people feel anxious due to multiple triggers and there are others that feel anxious for no reason at all.

Stressful Events Include:

Stressful Life Events and Social Situations

A lot of stressful life events can trigger social anxiety including death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, moving, emotional problems, chronic illness or past trauma.

Caffeine And Diet

For those who suffer from an anxiety disorder consuming too much caffeine can trigger symptoms or make them worse.

Eating certain foods like dairy, fried foods, gluten and processed foods feed into social anxiety.

Negative Self-Talk And Suicidal Thoughts

Social anxiety can trigger negative self-talk that may limit you from believing in yourself.

Sometimes social anxiety can co-occur with depression and negative self-talk and cause suicidal thoughts. Please call a professional immediately if you’re having suicidal thoughts.

Lack Of Sleep

There is a connection between anxiety and lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep causes anxiety and anxiety itself can cause sleep problems.

How To Overcome Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety can stay with someone for life.

When you get the right treatment it can help you to manage or even overcome your symptoms.

Ways To Overcome Social Anxiety:

Work With A Therapist

It’s important to work with a therapist. Social anxiety is managed through medication, cognitive therapy and setting objective goals.

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake and Change Your Diet

Reducing the amount of caffeine you consume and changing your diet reduces anxiety symptoms. Your diet should consist of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Exposure Therapy

It’s important to get outside your comfort zone and slowly expose yourself to social situations. These can include crowded places, parties or even traveling to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.

Reframe Your Negative Thoughts

I mentioned in my post “Turning Anxiety into a Superpower” that reframing is the process where negative and unhelpful thoughts are replaced with positive and empowering ones.

Please Click Below To Learn More About Turning Anxiety Into A Superpower:

Have You Ever Dealt with Social Anxiety?

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Please Click Below To Download A Copy Of “10 Coping Strategies For Bipolar Disorder”:

Sources:

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561

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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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Applying 2020 Lessons To Your Life

The year 2020 was described as being a “Dumpster Fire”!

The term “Dumpster Fire” describes something that’s a colossal mess. It’s something that no one wants to deal with and makes someone very anxious.

Year Of Intense Anxiety

Intense anxiety affected us all over and over again in 2020. 

From fear over COVID-19 to the isolating effects of social distancing fed the dumpster fire. Also, social and political unrest, natural disasters and financial struggles have fed it even more.

Many people have never experienced mental health issues like anxiety until 2020. Also, they’re very anxious about what 2021 is going to bring. 

Anxious Before 2020

There are a lot of people who’ve been living with an anxiety disorder, long before 2020.

For some their symptoms got worse, but for a few symptoms improved. 

Those few sufferers felt equipped to handle the present. They took the time and effort to work on their mental health and they also learned valuable life lessons along the way.

Life Lessons For Coping With A New World

The year 2020 has taught us many lessons to live by. These are the same lessons that chronic anxiety sufferers live by.

Life Lessons Include:

Self-Care Is A Priority, Not A Privilege

It’s hard to put yourself first. You have to pay attention to work, your family and other obligations.

Self Care is the attention paid to yourself in the spirit of growth and wellness. It’s important for staying healthy.

It’s often seen as a luxury. At times it’s mistaken for self-absorption and “me first”. However, self-care is really an important necessity for taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others.

Failure Is Inevitable For Success

Small or big changes in our lives happen that tear us down and cause us to fail.

Failure might make us feel unworthy for not succeeding. I got news for you, it’s an inevitable part of life.

Instead of seeing failure as a bad thing it’s important to see it differently. Failure should remind you to approach a goal in a different way based on the lessons you’ve learned. You might end up reemerging stronger than ever.

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Staying open minded is important, because things aren’t always what they seem.

Sometimes people, situations and certain events end up being different that how we see them. It comes to show that how you see a situation is neither correct, nor your beliefs are well adjusted.

Our minds have a habit of jumping to conclusions and rushing into things.

Be Intentional With Everything You Do

What does this mean? It means to live with intention, which means to consciously choose to create the life you want.

It also means to not have your life dictated by other people. Instead you do everything with a clear purpose and focus.

Listen To Your Gut Instinct

A gut feeling is something only you experience. It’s a personal feeling that no one else can weigh in on except you.

Often, its anxiety that comes as tightness in your chest or stomach.

It’s an intuition that tells you that a situation is off. Listening to it helps you avoid unhealthy relationships and situations.

Don’t Waste Your Time With People And Things That Don’t Add Value To Your Life

This is very important. It makes anxiety worse when you spend time with the wrong people. They’ll not only add zero value to your life, they also make your anxiety worse.

Please Click Below To Learn About Turning Anxiety Into A Superpower:

How Did 2020 Affect You?

Please Like And Comment!

Sources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/anxiety-poll-2020

https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/treating-pandemic-wave-anxiety-depression-requires-team-effort

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm#:~:text=The%20coronavirus%20disease%202019%20(,same%20period%20in%202019.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/people-say-anxiety-changed-2020_l_5f7f3914c5b664e5baba8de3

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-illness-in-america/202001/making-self-care-priority

https://exploringyourmind.com/stay-open-minded-things-arent-what-they-seem/

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Importance of Having A Purpose

What Does It Mean To Have A Purpose?

Purpose is a reason why something is done or used. It also refers to the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something.

Most adults want to live a purposeful and fulfilling life. They want to improve themselves and also give back to others.

However, in reality the majority of adults have no clear sense of purpose in their lives. 

What Happens When Your Life Has No Purpose?

 It’s interesting how having no sense of purpose in your life can cause problems.

Living A Lifeless Life

There is such a thing as a lifeless life. 

Imagine not wanting to wake up every morning, but also not wanting to go to sleep at night. 

Picture yourself with no will to work, no friends or company to spend time with. Also, no reason to continue living.

Your mind is blank with nothing to think about. Also you lack emotions, whether negative or positive.

A lifeless life is one with nothing to look forward to.

An Anxious Life

A life that lacks purpose can be an anxious one. 

When your life lacks purpose it’s senseless. It might feel like nothing you do in life is connected and doesn’t fit.

Anxiety is triggered when your mind thinks your life is in danger. 

However, a lack of purpose triggers anxiety as well. Your brain translates a lack of connection as a threat to your life. It sees anything that doesn’t seem fit as dangerous.

Lack Of Motivation

A lack of purpose leads to a lack of motivation. 

Little or no motivation comes from anxiety that prevents you from taking action. The anxiety comes from not not being connected with your goals and purpose.

Affects Your Overall Health

A life without purpose is not good for your overall health.

The strain on your mind from a lifeless life leads to increased stress and anxiety. 

There’s a connection between mind and body. Your strained mind not only leads to hair loss and fluctuating weight, but there’s also less tolerance to pain and a higher risk of heart disease.

The Importance of Having Purpose

A sense of purpose is very important to have. It’s the  motivation that drives you toward your future. However it also helps you put your life into perspective right now.

What Does Perspective Mean?

Perspective is the way you see something or how you see yourself.

Having a sense of purpose guides life decisions, influences your behavior, shapes your goals, offers a sense of direction and creates meaning in your life. 

It also leads to a change in perspective. For example having a healthy sense of purpose causes you to see life in a better way and see yourself in a better way as well.

Tangible Benefits Of Having Purpose Include:

Get The Motivation To Get Things Done

Being connected to a purpose gives you sustained energy and keeps you motivated.

Having a sense of purpose leads to strong personal motivation. It’s that driving force which allows you to achieve your goals and go after what you want.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety comes from the doubt and distress that comes with trying to find your purpose.

However, once you find your purpose you’ll find that you’re less stressed and anxious when you’re no longer in doubt about your life.

Helps You When Things Go Wrong

Finding your purpose helps you to become more confident, resilient and focused. When something goes wrong in your life you’ll be able to face it and refocus on getting back on the right path.

Improved Health

If lack of purpose leads to poorer overall health then finding purpose has the opposite effect. Feeling less stress and anxiety when connected to your purpose leads to a lower risk of heart disease and overall better health.

How To Find Purpose?

We were all born with a unique life purpose.

The most important actions to take are to identify, acknowledge and honor your life purpose.

Tips For Finding your Purpose:

Explore What You Love

Your purpose is something that’s not something that you make up. Instead it’s already there; you just to need to explore it.

For example your purpose should be something that comes natural. If you’re naturally good at blogging then explore it some more until you master it.

Follow Your Inner Guidance

Let your heart be your guide.

One of the main ways your heart can be your inner guide is by noticing your feelings. These are feelings that come with warmth and encouragement.

Be Clear About Your Purpose

Keep your mind focused on your purpose once you’re clear on what it is. The feeling you get from following your heart is the joy that your purpose brings, which brings clarity.

Align Your Goals With Your Life Purpose

Once you know what your life purpose is, it’s important to organize all your activities around it.

If your purpose is to help others through blogging, move ahead and align yourself with that role.

Lean Into Your Life Purpose

Learn how to lean into your life purpose little by little.

When you start to live your purpose notice subtle changes in how your life changes and how you see yourself.

Have You Found Purpose In Your Life?

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Sources:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purpose

https://www.lifehack.org/879897/life-without-purpose

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/senseability/sense-of-purpose-hand-out.pdf?sfvrsn=2

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/perspective

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-life-purpose

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Turning Anxiety Into A Superpower?!

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.

It’s an emotion marked by tension, negative thoughts and many physical symptoms.

Physical Symptoms Include:

  • Fast Heart Rate: Feeling fearful, anxious or stressed your heart rate goes up.
  • Sweating: Feeling anxious causes nervous sweating.
  • Feeling Tired: Having anxiety can be physically and mentally tiring.
  • Restlessness: Being unable to relax is a common anxiety symptom.
  • Shaking: Shaking and trembling can happen when anxiety gets out of hand.
  • Feeling Nervous, Tense or Fearful: These are feelings that happen with impending doom caused by anxiety.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a chronic condition marked by overly excessive worry and tension about future events.

Anxiety Disorders Include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities. The symptoms are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety.
  • Social Anxiety: A form of anxiety caused irrational fear, embarrassment and self consciousness brought on by social interactions.
  • Phobia: An extreme fear of irrational fear of something.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A disorder that leads to repetitive compulsive behaviors.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A disorder that causes anxiety and flashbacks triggered by a past traumatic event.

How Anxiety Can Be Your Superpower?

There are many people that live with anxiety disorders that have different brains.

Different Brain

Someone with chronic anxiety has a brain that functions differently than someone who doesn’t have it. They have an overactive amygdala, which is a region of the brain involved with regulating emotions.

An overactive amygdala explains why someone with chronic anxiety over generalizes and overthinks.

Different Perspective

People with chronic anxiety tend to see the world from a different perspective. This is due to overgeneralization, along with having abilities that someone without an anxiety disorder is less likely to have. 

These Abilities Include:

  • Increased Empathy: Anxiety causes you to recognize another person’s emotional state.
  • Creativity: Anxiety disorders can lead to creativity. There are artists, actors and writers who suffer from anxiety issues. The artist Edvard Munch had an anxiety disorder. An anxiety episode drove him to paint “The Scream”.
  • Higher IQ: Many people with anxiety disorders tend to have higher IQ’s. A symptom of anxiety is compulsive thinking and tendencies to compulsively analyze those thoughts.
  • Ability To Read Other People’s Vibes: Someone with an anxiety disorder is able to sense the energetic balance of those around them. Anxiety disorders lead to a preoccupation with negative outcomes. This makes it worse to be around someone who gives off a negative vibe.
  • Easily Pick Up On Lies: Negative self-talk that defines chronic anxiety can enhance your ability to detect dishonesty.
  • Has A Sixth Sense: A sixth sense is a natural ability to keep one step ahead. It allows warning signals to quickly reach the regions of your brain that help you take action.

My Personal Experience With Living With An Anxiety Disorder

All of my life I’ve had ADHD. It’s a disorder that can occur alongside bipolar disorder. 

ADHD symptoms include impulsiveness, trouble with focusing on tasks, being hyperactive and restless and having trouble with regulating emotions.

Over time my symptoms started changing, as young as 11 years old I started having panic attacks.

I also had problems with negative self-talk and overgeneralization.

Overgeneralization refers to viewing a single event as a set rule. I would fail at finishing one task and it led to an endless pattern of defeat in all tasks. It started off as a negative emotion that came with a setback. It convinced me that no one liked me and I couldn’t do anything right. 

My changing symptoms included worsening anxiety that led to a nervous breakdown.

Change In Perception

How I perceived the world and myself was affected by overgeneralization. However, I learned to challenge my thoughts with reframing.

What Is Reframing?

Reframing is a process where negative and unhelpful thoughts are identified and replaced with positive and empowering ones.

Learn how to see anxiety as a picture. When you make a picture either bigger or smaller it can change how you perceive it.

Anxiety is your natural alarm system. Most people see it as an unpleasant emotion, because of uncomfortable bodily sensations, especially if you have an anxiety disorder.

These emotions can be reframed to be seen as having an important purpose.

Anxiety tells us when some kind of danger is near, but it can also tell us that opportunity is near. For example having a sixth sense gives you the power of perception. It’s a natural ability to know about things before other people.

Having a sixth sense can tell you that a setback is around the corner. However it can be reframed to tell you that there’s a silver lining to your setback and that it’s an opportunity to move into something better.

How Do You Handle Your Negative Thoughts?

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Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety-symptoms

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

https://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_04/d_04_cr/d_04_cr_peu/d_04_cr_peu.html

https://culturacolectiva.com/technology/anxiety-is-a-superpower

https://www.verywellmind.com/reframing-defined-2610419

https://www.mentalhelp.net/self-esteem/changing-negative-thoughts/

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-purpose-of-anxiety-2797497

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A Simple Solution To The Loneliness Epidemic!?


I’ve Been Hearing a Lot About Loneliness

When I was doing my research for my previous post about holiday related loneliness. I’ve stumbled upon some interesting facts about how the way people interact with each other has changed over the years. 

It was said that 2019 was a record year for people who preferred to find relationships online vs. face-to-face. 

About 40% of couples meet each other online now vs. through family and friends. Most teens prefer to chat online than in person. We no longer have to leave the comforts of home to meet new people.

Is the rise of the internet going hand-in-hand with the rise in the proportion of people who feel lonely?

What is Loneliness? And it’s Consequences?

Loneliness is an emotional state. It’s characterized by symptoms such as anxiety, stress, depression and sleep disturbances. It’s caused a lack of human connection from not having deep and meaningful relationships. 

The terms lonely and alone are used interchangeably, however they don’t necessarily mean the same thing.

There are many single people that live solitary lives, but don’t feel lonely. There are many people in committed relationships that are always around other people that feel lonely. 

Two Types of Loneliness

There Are Two Types Of Loneliness:

  • Acute Loneliness: Occurs when a life change such as a job loss, loss of a relationship/death of a loved one.
  • Chronic Loneliness: Occurs when the uncomfortable emotional state of being lonely goes on for a long time.

Health Effects of Loneliness

We all will experience loneliness at least once in our lives, but has many negative effects on physical and mental health. 

These Include:

  • Stress, Depression and Anxiety: Feeling lonely can lead to an increase of stress and results in depression and anxiety.
  • Lack of Self-Care: The negative effects that loneliness has on your mental health can lead to a lack of motivation to eat right and exercise.
  • Increased Cortisol: Cortisol increases the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increase the substances that repair tissues. However, prolonged stress caused by loneliness can lead to too much cortisol and this can wreak havoc on your body.
  • Lower Immune System: Loneliness can affect your body’s immune system.
  • Cardiovascular Problems: Loneliness can make you more susceptible to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
  • Obesity: Loneliness along with lack of exercise, overeating and an increase of cortisol leads to obesity.

According to webMD loneliness has the potential to be just as deadly as obesity and smoking.


The Loneliness Epidemic and Its Causes

All of us will experience loneliness sometime or another. We will all end up in situations that can lead to the depletion of our social networks.

Feelings of loneliness are usually temporary. However, there are a lot of people that are lonely all the time. It’s estimated that ½ of all Americans report either having no meaningful friendships or they chronically feel lonely.

Social isolation that leads to loneliness is not just a problem for the elderly or the homebound. It’s also a problem for younger people. The largest group of chronically lonely people are adults age 25 to 44. However the loneliest group of all are young adults aged 18 to 25. 

Do You Notice A Pattern? 

There have been many social and technological changes over the years that have changed how we make friends. In the past face-to-face interaction was more common than it is now. Meaningful friendships were formed through our workplaces, family and friends and community organizations. What changed? 

Since the 1980s there have been changes in the economy. This led to more people taking temporary jobs or taking other full jobs after a short period of time. Another thing that changed was less participation in community organizations; more people had to work longer hours and didn’t have as much time to socialize with others.

The changes in the economy required more people to move to unfamiliar cities. They took more temporary work assignments and had to move again when the assignment was over. These factors can make it hard to form meaningful friendships.

The Rise Of The Internet

The biggest change of all was the rise of the internet, especially the rise of social media.

Social media has led to many positive changes, but it led to alot of negative ones. It has led to a decline in face-to-face interactions with the people we associate with.

However, there has been a decrease in the quality of our face-to-face interactions as our communication skills suffer.

Also, many people have become more antisocial. They’re more complacent with the idea of sitting behind a computer screen.

I’ve mentioned many times in this blog about the overuse of technology on our mental health. Issues such as anxiety, sleep issues, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and loneliness.

We’re relying on online relationships more than real life ones. It’s making it harder to form meaningful connections.

What is The Solution To Loneliness?

This is a tough question, because everybody is different. What worked for me may work for other people, but it may not work for others.

What does work is for you to find your tribe or community. As a species we humans are naturally hardwired to make other connections with other people.

Our ancestors lived in communities to increase their chances for survival. They had a shared interest in hunting and gathering food. Later on this led to agriculture and other shared interests included religion, customs, traditions and culture appeared. 

The Rise Of Post-Modernity

Since the beginning of modernity there has been less emphasis on community. Instead there was more emphasis on unifying the world under a single point of view.

Since the end of world war 2 we have been entering a period of something called post-modernism. The world is no longer standardized under a single point of view. We are going back to forming communities of like minded people that share the same point of view as us.

The formation of communities also works. Individuals or groups of people gather for a common interest in a particular hobby or profession. They can also share the same relationship status.

The place to start is ironically through using social media. A positive part of social media is being able to network with like minded through sites like facebook or meetup.com. 

This solution to the loneliness epidemic has shown positive results. Many previously lonely people have reported fewer hospital visits and better physical and mental health.

Conclusion

The loneliness epidemic is one of the biggest public health challenges. It’s not only in the United States, but worldwide as well.

Reducing social media usage and reemphasizing face-to-face interactions are a simple solution to an otherwise complicated problem.

This post was written in 2019. As of 2020 face-to-face interactions have been harder due to COVID-19. Try connecting through zoom or FaceTime if you can’t connect face-to-face.

How Often do you Engage in Face-to Face
Interactions with Others?

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Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/loneliness-epidemic-consequences

https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2019/05/03/millennials-and-the-loneliness-epidemic/?sh=183ba867676a

https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/01/606588504/americans-are-a-lonely-lot-and-young-people-bear-the-heaviest-burden