Tag Archives: therapy

Living With Anxiety? Here’s How To Make Coping Easier

Standard
Living With Anxiety? Here’s How To Make Coping Easier

You know that feeling, where your heart starts to pound and your breathing quickens in response to a stressful or worrying situation? Or maybe you’re familiar with the feeling of having sweaty, clammy palms when you have an overwhelming or stressful situation to deal with? These feelings are both anxiety, which is the body’s response to feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.

Having a little anxiety on a semi-regular basis is fairly normal. However, it’s when anxiety begins to take over your life that there can be a problem, and it is something that is worth looking further into. While realising that you have anxiety can be stressful, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways that you can make managing living with anxiety easier.

It’s important to remember when it comes to anxiety that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety management; what works for one person may not work for another. The key to successfully being able to manage anxiety is making sure that you find the right approach for you and your needs. Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to a selection of anxiety coping and management strategies that you might find helpful. Have a read, take note, and determine which options work best for you:

Identify your triggers:

One of the most important steps that you can take when it comes to managing anxiety is identifying what triggers it in the first place. For some people, anxiety is triggered by experiences like starting a new job, meeting a partner’s family or friends, having to give a presentation at work, or attending a health appointment. For others, anxiety isn’t about experiences, it’s simply linked to stress and overthinking different things.

The fact is, that everyone has their own anxiety triggers; what triggers a friend with anxiety to become anxious may not trigger you, and vice versa. Often, anxiety is linked to a previous experience or situation, and things that are linked to those situations and experiences can, therefore, cause anxiety.

For example, say you got stuck in a lift and it took a while to be rescued. This may result in anxiety around using lifts or of being in confined spaces. Or, perhaps you had a loved one pass away in traumatic circumstances, you may find that you start to become anxious about other loved ones and the traumatic circumstance that caused the death, such as being involved in a road traffic accident.

By identifying what your triggers are, you can help make managing your anxiety a little easier. Because once you know what causes you to become anxious, you can begin to work out strategies for dealing with those feelings.

Decide the best strategies for coping:

When it comes to living with anxiety, it is no easy task. For some people, anxiety can be a minor annoyance and for others, anxiety can be completely and utterly debilitating. But by putting coping strategies in place, you can make managing your anxiety simpler and easier. The key here is to decide what the best coping strategies are for you and your anxiety.

Focused deep breathing is one anxiety management strategy that a lot of people find helpful. If you feel that you are becoming overly anxious, you might find that focused, deep breathing could help. You can either try and utilize this technique on your own or you can opt to use an app like the Calm app to help you manage the process of deep breathing to calm your anxiety.

Some people find that getting out and about and being active helps to make them feel less stressed out. Sometimes, simply taking the time to get out of the house and go for a short walk can be all it takes to relieve some of the stresses and strains that you might be struggling with. Or, if you don’t fancy heading out of the house, you might find that yoga can help you to feel a little calmer, and can help to reduce some of your feelings of anxiety.

Other anxiety sufferers find that sourcing certain treatments, such as Neurofeedback anxiety support can help them to make managing their anxiety and its associated symptoms a little easier to navigate. It’s always worth taking the time to look into new treatment options and therapies to see if they might work for you.

Keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings can also be helpful when it comes to managing anxiety. Writing down what is making you feel anxious helps to get that concern out of your head and can make dealing with it less daunting and stressful.

Talking is another useful way to help make living with anxiety easier too. When you talk and share how you are feeling, you start to feel less pressure and less stress as a result. Whether you find talking with a friend or family member, speaking to a therapist, or talking to other anxiety sufferers helpful, talking can be a fantastic tool for reducing feelings of anxiety.

You may also want to consider joining some anxiety support groups, as it’s often helpful to have other people to talk to who understand what it is that you are going through and are able to offer support by sharing their own experiences.

Managing anxiety is no simple or straightforward task but the ideas above can help minimize those feelings and get you moving in the right direction.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

5 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Blood Tests

Standard
5 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Blood Tests

Does the thought of having your blood taken make you feel sick? Would you put off a visit to the emergency room if you thought you may need a blood test? Well, you’re not alone, as millions of people suffer from a fear of needles (trypanophobia) or blood (hemophobia). Here are five things you can try to overcome your fear:

Separate your phobias:

When thinking about taking a blood test are you afraid of seeing your own blood, the needle used to draw it, or a combination of the two? Being able to identify what it is you fear can help you to create an action plan to overcome it. For example, if you fear the sight of blood, then you could ask the nurse to erect a screen between you whilst you have your blood taken. Or, if you fear the needle itself, then your phlebotomist may be able to use a smaller needle or draw blood from a part of your body where you feel less fearful.

Educate yourself:

Many people have found themselves able to overcome or at least lessen their phobia by facing them head-on and learning more about them. This enables them to confront their fears rationally and scientifically rather than letting their brains blow them out of proportion. Do some research on phlebotomy (the scientific name for drawing blood) and even consider getting some phlebotomy training to help you understand what is going on when you have your blood taken. By doing this, you will also be exposing yourself to images and descriptions of your phobia which can help to desensitize you to their exposure.

Communicate your fears:

Don’t suffer through your phobia in silence, instead, communicate it to your phlebotomist so that you can work through it together. Because the fear of blood tests is a common occurrence, the chances are that your phlebotomist has some tricks up their sleeve to help make the process less stressful. Tell your phlebotomist of your fear in advance of your session so that they can allow a little more time for your visit and not rush you.

Distract yourself:

Believe it or not, our brains struggle to process too many things at once which makes distraction one of the best ways to get through a blood test that you are fearful of. Try bringing a friend or relative into the room and have them start an engrossing conversation with you. You may also want to try tapping or touching another part of your body whilst the blood test is conducted to distract you from the sensation of your blood being drawn.

Seek phobia counseling:

If your phobia is very severe, then you may wish to seek phobia counseling to help you deal with the anxiety that your phobia will make you feel. During phobia counseling, your counselor may choose to offer you cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling sessions, self-care treatments, or a combination of all three. These sessions aren’t designed to cure your phobia but can help you to approach and manage it in a rational way.

We all have thing that we fear and, if blood and needles are some of yours, use the tips above during your next visit to the doctor.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Silent Patient Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Silent Patient Edition

Helloooo! I just recently finished a book called The Silent Patient and, although I figured out the major twist before the grand reveal, I really enjoyed it! A thriller through and through, this book explores the effects of childhood trauma in an adult and what it means to be psychologically “killed”. Part detective story, part diary, and one hundred percent awesome, The Silent Patient was definitely worth the read.

silent

Alex Michaelides’ psychiatric facility thriller revolves around Theo, a psychotherapist, and Alicia, a patient who hasn’t uttered one word since killing her husband via multiple gunshots to the face. Theo transfers to the failing facility that Alicia is at with the intention of “rescuing” her. To do this, Theo begins to visit her estranged family and former business partners to gather a better understanding of who the mute Alicia really is.

In doing so, Theo learns of a troubled childhood and past that closely resembles his own family trauma in his youth. Then, things get especially interesting when Alicia bestows her diary onto Theo and we find out that in the days leading up to the murder she committed, she was being followed. Which begs the question if she really committed the murder at all.

Filled with multiple twists, turns, and Red Herrings, The Silent Patient was a fast read, because it was impossible to stop! I finished the three hundred twenty-five page book in two days and only wish that it could have been longer. If you are like me, then you enjoy trying to figure out the major plot twist before it happens. I revel in solving the mystery before it is revealed and my advice to those who will read it is to go with your gut instinct as soon as you start because, chances are, you are right!

I give this book a ten out of ten, no questions asked. It was one of the most unique thrillers that I’ve read in a good long while. The mental health aspect of it was fascinating and there was not one single character that I didn’t enjoy reading about. Give it a try, because you will not be disappointed. 😀

What is your favorite thriller? Do you like to try and solve the grand reveal while reading or watching a movie? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Guide To Chinese Massage Therapy

Standard
Guide To Chinese Massage Therapy

There are many different types of massages available nowadays. However, one that has been popular for many years is Chinese massage therapy, also known as tui na. It is believed that this therapy originated in 2700 BC to balance the energies in our bodies. The theory states that the body is an imbalance of energies that can lead to stress, illness, and disease. Chinese massage therapy balances the energies to ensure a natural flow occurs and the body is relieved of stress. Today, Chinese massage is practiced regularly. This article reveals the benefits of this therapy in detail:

What are the benefits of Chinese massage therapy?

  • Treatment of soft tissue injuries – From sciatica and lower back pain to a frozen shoulder; Chinese massage therapy helps with a wealth of different soft tissue injuries. You can combine this with physical therapy for a complete approach. The masseuse will use techniques to help eradicate pain and ease any stiffness you may be experiencing.
  • Increased energy – Do you get those moments where you feel completely drained? Energy is something we all wish we had more of. Chinese massage therapy can provide you with more energy as it realigns the flow of Qi in the body. You will leave the spa feeling revitalized.
  • Decrease stress levels – When you couple decreased stress levels with the former part regarding increased energy; it is not hard to see why everyone should have regular Chinese massages. This treatment can do wonders for your psychological well being. It is extremely relaxing and will relieve you of any tension or stress you are experiencing. Practitioners of this treatment believe that the imbalanced energies in the body and the blockages of the flow of Qi disrupt an individual’s mental state. This is why Chinese massages are advised for those who suffer from depression or anxiety.
  • Helps with circulatory problems – In addition to the points that have already been mentioned, Chinese massage therapy is ideal for those suffering from problems with their circulation. The masseuse will focus on various pressure points and use an array of hand techniques to stimulate your circulatory systems. This is something that is beneficial for all.
  • Physical and mental well being – On a final note, it is vital to recognize that Chinese massage therapy focuses on the physical and mental health of an individual. This is undoubtedly the main benefit of all. Most treatments tend to focus on one or the other. There is no way you won’t feel the benefits of this type of massage.

When you take all of these points into account, it is not hard to see why Chinese massage therapy has been extremely popular for many years now. If you have never experienced this treatment before, do make sure you give it a try!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Coping With The Stress Of An Unexpected Situation

Standard
Coping With The Stress Of An Unexpected Situation

Studies have shown that most of us feel stressed out at least some of the time in our typical day to day lives. We get stressed about work issues. We worry about our family and our relationships. We panic about financial problems. We’re stressed out by constantly being connected to social media and our emails. We worry that we’re eating too much or not enough of the right things. We know we should be exercising more, but we just can’t find the time. We work long, hard hours, we rarely give ourselves a break and when we do we use it to scroll through Instagram feeling envious of other people’s perfect lives.

That’s when things are going well. Our stress levels often reach their peak when something unexpected happens. Unfortunately, unexpected situations can’t always be avoided. Things break down and need repairing. People lose jobs or get sick. We find ourselves facing legal issues or problems with our children. You can’t prepare for them, but you can learn how to cope with the stress that they bring, allowing you to deal with them better.

cope1

Just breathe!

Research:

When something unexpected happens, it’s the unknown that causes us stress. Not knowing what’s going on, or why, or what will happen next causes undue concern, sleepless nights, and panic. Research your situation, employ the right people to help you, look for a lawyer and real time court reporters if you need to. Learn as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help understanding if you need it.

Speak to Someone:

You’ve probably heard the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Well, it’s often true. We’re frightened and stressed out because of a lack of knowledge, but we almost talk ourselves into getting more stressed out if we deal with it in our own heads.

Speak to someone about your worries and concerns. This might be a professional that can offer you help or it could just be a close friend. Either one will give you a soundboard to get things off of your chest and offer you advice. Sometimes just vocalizing our problems makes them seem smaller.

Look At Your Options:

We often get stressed out because we feel trapped. Something unexpected happens, and we can’t see a way out. We panic, we focus on the negatives, and all we can see is the worst possible outcome. But, chances are, you have got options. Speaking to someone and learning more about your situation will help you to see them. Don’t be too proud to ask for help from the people that love you. They’ll need your help too one day, and you’d hate to think that they wouldn’t ask for it.

Concentrate On What You Can Change:

We can’t change everything. If something has happened, it’s happened. You can’t change it, and you can’t fix the past. So stop worrying about it. Focus your energies on the future, the things that you can change, and you’ll feel much better.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

What Makes Ending An Addiction So Challenging?

Standard
What Makes Ending An Addiction So Challenging?

Recognizing that you have a problem with addiction is the first hurdle that you have to overcome. Once you’ve admitted that you’ve got a problem, it’s time for you to think about quitting. You probably didn’t expect to become addicted when you first experienced an addictive substance or behavior for the first time. However, what started out as fun can quickly become something more serious. There are several different ways in which you can try quitting, but don’t be surprised if your first attempt is a difficult feat. If you’re left wondering why you found it so hard, here are some of the reasons why:

Conflict and Ambivalence

Alcohol, drug addiction, or some other type of addictive behavior that becomes excessive will create conflict in your life. It can be within yourself because you want to change, but also have stronger urges to repeat the addictive behavior. Conflict also occurs with other people because they either want you to quit or join them in the addictive behavior. These conflicts don’t go away, and your expectations only get higher. Ambivalence is the feeling of wanting to continue and wanting to quit at the same time.

Tolerance – a Key Symptom of Addiction:

Tolerance, together with withdrawal, are the two processes that resulted in your addiction in the first place. The two are interconnected and, without them, it would be easier to quit. Tolerance is a physical and psychological process. The first time you experience an addictive substance or behavior your tolerance is low and the effect you feel is very strong. The more you repeat the behavior or take a substance, the higher your tolerance is and the more you need to take or do the behavior to get the same effect.

Withdrawal is experienced when you aren’t able to do the addictive behavior. The symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Symptoms might include shaking, feeling unwell, upset stomach, and feeling anxious or depressed. This, in itself, can be a barrier from quitting.

Guilt and Justification:

Guilt about your behavior is a strong motivator to make changes, but it also works against you. You find yourself justifying your behavior, not just to yourself but to other people too. Examples are telling yourself it’s not a problem, saying you’ve already cut down, or using other people or situations to divert attention.

What Can You Do If You Really Want to Quit?

There are a variety of different types of treatment to help you if you really want to quit. Therapy, for example, helps you sort out and change the thoughts that are keeping you addicted. It’s not going to be an easy or straightforward journey, but the support of a good treatment program will help you move forward and eventually quit. Treatment will make the quitting process much easier, but there are strategies that you can follow if you want to try to quit your addiction on your own.

Overcoming an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or some kind of behavior doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step, followed by withdrawal and detox. The recovery journey doesn’t always end there, and you may need professional support for many years to come.

Final Therapy Update

Standard
Final Therapy Update

Helloooo! I hope that all of you are having a wonderful weekend so far. As you can tell by the title of this post, this will be my Final Therapy Update until I choose to go again. I was definitely on the fence about going to my appointment this week, and I ended up canceling it.

I just feel tired of going over the same things week in and week out, and I almost feel like being in therapy gave me an excuse to engage in risky behaviors like binge eating or drinking, because I could just talk about it at my next appointment. My therapy sessions were very helpful to a point, but I felt like the metaphorical wall had been hit, and none of the advice that I was getting was anything that I felt like I could utilize.

This is not to say that I didn’t like my therapist at all, because I really did. But, I also felt like she was trying to force a belief system on me that I was not comfortable with, and didn’t seem to have any other advice but that. Although I could totally research things on my own, I did expect to gain some new insights during therapy and, after a while, I just wasn’t any more.

If a mental rough patch comes up, I do plan on returning again so that I have a safe place to communicate my feelings. But, for now, I am taking my medication daily and seeing what I can do on my own to start improving things for myself.

Has there been a time when therapy has been helpful for you? What are some of your mental health struggles? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Therapy Edition

Standard
Monday Update: Therapy Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to another week here on lifewithlilred! As many of you have shown an interest in my therapy journey, here is an update. Meh, it’s going so so. I feel like I have hit the metaphorical wall where nothing seems helpful and I’m running out of things to talk about. And, I’m getting frustrated with rehashing the same shit just worded differently all of the time.

I’ve actually been playing around with the idea of not going after the few appointments left that I have scheduled. But, I feel like that’s a bad idea. Maybe once every two weeks would be a bit better. I don’t know, it’s just becoming more of an annoyance than anything, and I feel like I’m getting even more pissed off by my weekly visits.

Obviously, there’s still a bunch of stuff in the ol’ mental health department that I need to work on, but I just feel kind of burnt out. Like I’m so micro-focused on it that it’s making me even more depressed, anxious, and just all around angry. I feel like I need a break. I guess that will just be something to chat about during this week’s session, amIright?!

Who else has felt similarly to the above during their time in therapy? How did you deal with it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Trying Something New

Standard
Trying Something New

Hello everyone and happy weekend! Saying that this winter has been below average would be putting it nicely, because it really freaking sucked. But, life goes on, and sometimes you just have to keep pushing through until your next big exciting break happens. To keep myself from going insane, I have been trying to incorporate some new things into my life to keep my mental health in check and to have some fun.

One thing that I love to do is learn new languages. I speak English and pretty above decent French, if I do say so myself. Learning new languages has always been a fun thing for me, rather than a chore. So, to add to the fun, I began teaching myself American Sign Language about two months ago and I’m really enjoying it. I try my best to practice for at least a little bit every day and am proud of the progress that I’ve made. I also like to watch French films and TV shows or movies with sign language in it to keep myself sharp.

The great thing about learning a new language, is that there is always something new that you can learn within the language that you’re practicing. Constantly gaining knowledge helps keep my mind off of some of the bullshit, and it is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. I plan on learning Spanish next because, despite taking it for eight years in grade school, I can’t remember a darn thing and I’d like to have it in my language arsenal.

Another new activity that I have been trying, as per recommendation of my therapist, is yoga and meditation. I have taken yoga classes before and really enjoyed it, and with my therapist pushing it every week, I decided to give it another shot. I found free yoga and meditation classes at one of the local libraries and have had nothing but good experiences so far. And, since I ball on a budget, you can’t beat free!

Although I haven’t been having the best of times in life by any means at the moment, I am proud of myself for getting up and trying to learn something new instead of giving up and doing nothing with my day. I always feel good when I activate my mind and body and now, I just need to remind myself to keep doing it because I know that it works.

What is something new that you would like to try? Are you taking any classes or teaching yourself about a subject that you’re interested in? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Pinterest

Therapy Update (Since You Asked!)

Standard
Therapy Update (Since You Asked!)

Hellooo! So I’ve gotten quite a few requests for a follow up post about my journey that I started a month or so ago when I chose to go back to therapy. So, here it is! I’ll tell you what, the first few weeks were hard with a capital H-A-R-D. I forgot about the whole therapy process of feeling like utter shit after unearthing painful memories. So, for about three or so weeks, I was a hot mess. I was extremely depressed, mentally and physically exhausted, and retreating to old not so good habits.

But then, the hour long appointments began getting easier and I was even starting to enjoy going to them. First of all, I freaking love my therapist. She is so kind and easy to talk to AND she laughs at all of my bad jokes, which is a wonderful added bonus. On our first session together, she taught me about the importance of deep breathing when I am feeling stressed, upset, or overwhelmed and I employ that skill often now. It’s crazy how something that we don’t even think about, like breathing, can make you feel so much better and clear headed once you take a moment to pause and take a good, deep breath.

My therapist has also helped me with changing my thought patterns, because I tend to have an “it’s the end of the world” mind frame when something goes wrong, so we have worked on addressing that. It’s so nice to have a safe place to go and express my feelings and troubles every week with no judgement or backlash. I look forward to my therapy sessions and am proud of the progress that I have made thus far.

How do you do something good for your mental health? How do you calm yourself when you are upset? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah