anxiety

Creating Healthier Relationship With Your Screens

So many of us are guilty of checking our phone first thing in the morning and right before bed.

Sometimes it can feel like notifications never end.

With that being said, everything is okay in moderation and you can develop a healthy relationship with your screens. 

Practice Self Care Away From Your Screen

Sure, social media and gaming apps can be fun, but there are other ways you can pass the time. 

Try exploring different activities that give the same carefree feeling. 

You can dive into a good book, go on a walk or bust out some old board games. 

Switching it up once in a while is a great way to keep things interesting. 

Set Personal Boundaries 

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “I wish I could spend less time in front of the screens, but my job requires lots of screentime.”

Even though it could be tough, there are ways you can work around this.

You can turn your phone and computer off during breaks or challenge yourself to screen-free weekends.

Setting some time to unplug regularly can help you relax and check-in with yourself. 

There is no rule book. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you. 

Get Your Daily Dose of Quiet Time

When was the last time you sat down and let your mind wander freely?

Having some quiet time is just as essential as connecting with others. 

When we’re waiting for water to boil or a friend to call back, it’s so easy to scroll through social media to pass the time.

But that is not the only option. Feeling bored is not a bad thing. Some of our best ideas can come to us when we least expect them.

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Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

“The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable.” – Conor McGregor

Challenge Your Thoughts

When we’re afraid or nervous about something, it’s common for negative thoughts to show up uninvited. 

Just because a negative thought makes its way into your mind doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. 

Whether we realize it or not, we all experience fear and question our thoughts from time to time.

Am I on the right track?

Was that decision wise?

Do people like me? 

Just because you think something doesn’t make it true. Sometimes our thoughts/worries can be confusing and make us feel uncomfortable. 

When something becomes a habit (like worrying) we can often do it without even noticing.

Now, you can’t change a habit you aren’t even aware you have. The first thing you’ll want to do is acknowledge your negative thoughts and question them.  

Why do you think those thoughts entered your mind in the first place? Do you have any proof that whatever you are worried about will happen?

Embrace Uncertainty

Even the most well-thought-out plans don’t always go our way, and that’s okay!

Leaving your house 30 minutes before the grocery store closes doesn’t guarantee you’ll get there on time.  

Studying your textbook inside and out doesn’t guarantee you’ll ace that test. 

There are several things we can do on a day-day basis that can help get us closer to our final goals. 

But even if you do everything by the book, nothing in life is guaranteed. Instead of trying to plan your perfect day, try planning your perfectly imperfect day and see what happens. 

Stare Down Your Fear

When was the last time fear held you back? When was the last time you said no to something you really wanted to do out of fear?

Facing your fears is not something that happens overnight. Depending on the intensity, it can take weeks, months or years to eliminate a fear.

You’ll want to start out doing activities that may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but deep down, you know you can handle.

If you’re afraid to start journalling, write down 25 words.

If you’re afraid to go back to school, spend 15 minutes a day researching programs. 

When in doubt, start small and work your way up. 

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth

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Not All Decisions Are Easy – And That’s Okay

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” – Jim Rohn 

Whether we realize it or not, every single day, we make thousands upon thousands of decisions.

Some are pretty simple such as what to make for breakfast, while others can be a bit more complicated such as which job offer to accept.

When we have so many potential decisions to make, landing on one can be very difficult and make us question our instincts. 

Thoughts such as… “What if I end up regretting this?” or “I’m not sure if this is a good idea.” can stop us from going after what we want. 

When it comes to making decisions, of course, you want to feel like you made the “right” one. 

Too often, we can let the fear of the unknown impact or delay our decision-making process.

Sure, in life you may regret a few choices – but you know what? That’s how you grow!

We may not be able to predict what will happen next week, next month or next year, but we can be ready to deal with any potential obstacles and learn how to trust our gut. 

Here’s how…

List All The Pros And Cons

Making a tough decision means considering all sides – the good and the bad.

Break down the options and think about how each side will work out best for you in the long run.

It also can’t hurt to think about how each choice aligns with your personal values.

Think About Other Factors 

Ask yourself, “Who else is there to consider?” 

Think about how each decision can impact not just you, but potentially the people around you.

If you were considering taking a job in another country, that choice might also impact your close friends and family. Don’t be shy to reach out to your network and ask what they think. At the end of the day, the decision is your call, but it can’t hurt to get new insight. 

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” – Denis Waitle

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Amping Up Productivity When You’re Feeling Anxious

Has the thought of starting a new task ever brought on anxiety?

Have you ever put off a task because you were afraid it wouldn’t be “perfect”.

Striving for perfectionism can bring on anxiety and prevent us from trying new things or completing active projects. 

The more we put things off in life, the scarier they tend to become. 

Even though it may be easier said than done, the best thing you can do when you’re afraid of something is dive on in. 

Here’s how…

Start Brainstorming

There is something so special about thinking on paper. When we have so much on our minds, sometimes ideas can get lost. Thoughts that are written down are always with us. 

Looking at a blank page can be stressful – especially when you don’t know where to begin.

Even if you feel like you have nothing good to write, you’ve got to start writing.

Set a timer for ten minutes and write down anything that comes to mind that can help you complete the task at hand. 

Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or the overall layout. You can take care of that later. Right now, all you have to do is brainstorm.

If writing isn’t your thing, you can even draw out your list. 

Try Later With a Fresh Set of Eyes

Isn’t it interesting how the pressure to complete a task can be even harder than the task itself? 

Getting complicated or time-consuming tasks done in one sitting is not very realistic. It’s only a matter of time before decision fatigue kicks in.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a task you estimate will take around 4 hours to complete.

Even though you may want to get it over with and tackle it all in one sitting, you’d be much better off doing 2 hours one day and 2 more hours the next day. Ideas constantly come and go. If you’re feeling a little uncertain about an idea, sleeping on it can help. 

Set A Routine/Change Habits

So many of us can put off certain tasks without even realizing it.

Tasks we don’t exactly find fun can easily be pushed back a day or two without a second thought.

Again, the more you put something off, the more difficult it tends to become. 

Although it can feel intimidating, changing your habits is possible.

Having a routine and blocking out time to get things done can help you get started and complete tasks at your own pace. 

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More Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

At a time in our society marked by increased awareness of racial inequities, it feels even more important to recognize Black History Month as well as take steps to educate ourselves and work to help bring about change in any way that we can. 

We want to work to support and be inclusive of all people of color and other oppressed groups as well and continue to work towards overall diversity and inclusion.

Here are some ideas for this month and for every month of the year:

Support Black Owned Businesses In Your Community

Participate In Online Educational Programs or Visit a Civil Rights Museum

There is no such thing as too much education. There are several educational articles out there, you can read at your own pace.

Or, you can watch museums in Virtual Tours online.

Engage In Healthy Conversations On Social Media

Social media is an excellent place to engage in conversation with friends, family and those you may not have met in person.

Donate To Organizations That Support And Take Action Towards Racial Equity

There are several organizations out there that support racial equity.

We all have the power to make a difference. Every single dollar donated adds up.

Here are a few organizations we recommend looking into:

NAACP: Is at the forefront of the movement to build political power and ensure the wellbeing of Black communities.

Black Women’s Health Imperative: The mission of the Black Women’s Health Imperative is “to lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S.

Center for Black Equity: Supports Black LGBTQ+ individuals by building a network of community-based organizations that promote health and, economic empowerment, and equal rights while promoting individual and responsibility.

Books

In addition to reading articles online, there are several books out there, we recommend looking into.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander–You will learn how the war on drugs followed a pattern of implementation consistent with slavery and Jim Crow, how financial incentives and legal protection allow selective targeting of black males for drug crimes, and why it’s so difficult for drug convicts to reintegrate into society.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown.

You can listen to her on Brene Brown’s podcast and then read the book, which is an eye-opening account of the ongoing journey to find self-worth within a culture that claims to value diversity, but often falls short.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

This book discusses concepts of racism and Kendi’s proposals for anti-racist individual actions and systemic changes. (You can also listen to him on Brene Brown’s podcast )

Listen to Podcasts

We all have our own personal preference for absorbing information. If you prefer podcasts over a paperback book, here are a few we recommend looking into:

Code Switch: This podcast is all about race and identity in America.

1619 (NY Times): This is an audio series about how has transformed America through the oldest form of storytelling. 

Nice White Parents: This is a 5 part series all about building a better school system and what gets in the way. 

“The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Remind Yourself – This Too Shall Pass

There is no secret recipe for dealing with anxiety since we all feel things in our own way.

But with that being said, there are several different techniques that can help you better understand, accept and overcome feelings of anxiety. 

Keep on reading to learn more. 

Let It Pass

Sometimes we can prolong our anxiety without even realizing it.

The more we think about something, the harder it is to stop. 

The next time you catch yourself feeling anxious, remind yourself that this feeling is only temporary and it will pass.

Here’s some homework for you. 

Think back to the last time you felt anxious…

1) What brought it on?

2) How did you react to it? 

3) Did you use any calming techniques?

4) How long did it take you to feel better?

Remember, you have overcome anxious feelings in the past, and you can do it again. 

Catch Yourself

You know yourself better than anyone.

It’s very normal to experience some pre-anxiety symptoms.  

Maybe you have difficulty concentrating, or maybe your palms start sweating.

It doesn’t matter what the symptoms are. All that matters is that you recognize them. 

Once you recognize them, you can stop whatever you’re doing at the moment and take some time to relax before things start to escalate. 

You can focus on your breathing, journal, take a walk or call a friend. 

Remember All The Things You Can Control

“We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond to things we can’t control.” – Avis J. Williams

There are so many things out there that we can’t control, and that’s okay!

We can’t control whether we get that promotion or what other people think of us.

But we can control our mindset, actions and attitude. Every event has a silver lining and something to teach us. Sometimes the lesson will find you, and sometimes you’ll have to find it.

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How to Beat Negativity According to Science

The truth is, we all have negative thoughts sometimes, and that is completely normal.

However, too much of anything is not healthy.

When we do the same thing for so long, it can become a habit.

Some habits can be tough to break – but if you put the work in, anything is possible.

Deconstruct Your Negativity

Our thoughts truly are so powerful.

The stories we tell ourselves can significantly impact how we think, act and feel.

If we go into a situation assuming something bad will happen, chances are it will.

“Every day may not be good… but there’s something good in every day” ― Alice Morse Earle

The next time you catch yourself stuck in a negative mindset hit the pause button and question your thoughts.

Here are a couple of prompts that can help get you started.

1) What can this situation teach me?

2) How can I transform this negative feeling into a positive one?

Find Healthy Distractions

Have you ever had one of those days where your mind just couldn’t stop racing?

It’s happened to almost all of us, especially after a stressful day.

The longer we think about negative emotions, the more intense they tend to become.

Now, you shouldn’t ignore your feelings and hold them in. That can actually make things worse. However, you can take that energy and put it towards something that’s good for your well-being. You can dance, go for a run or take a walk.

Practice Gratitude​

Practicing gratitude can help remind us just how lucky we are.

Not every negative event is actually as bad as it feels at the moment. You just have to keep reminding yourself that. Feelings are not facts, and just because you feel something doesn’t make it true.

If you’re having a tough time getting started, here are a few prompts that can help. 

1) What went well today?

2) What did you learn today?

3) What everyday item makes your life easier?

You can either write your thoughts down or think about them in your mind. There are no right or wrong answers.

Relax

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” – Mark Black

When in doubt – just relax! When we’re overtired or stressed, things tend to feel way worse than they actually are. 

Going to bed earlier than usual or getting lost in a good show can instantly transform your mood. 

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