Our Age of Anxiety

We rise each morning full of hopes and dreams.
We bravely set out into the world.
We get on planes, trains, and highways striving to make our dent in this modern world.

We are living in an age of anxiety.
Millions are suffering, most in silence.
We fight it. We run from it.
The stigma keeps us in the dark.
But what if there was a better way?

What if we could come together and share our stories?
What if we could learn to relax and take in each moment?
What if we could grow just a little each day?
What could we do if we weren’t afraid anymore?

Breathe in. Breathe out.
We can create our own calm.
One day a time, one moment a time.

5 More Stress & Anxiety Quotes to Help You

I’m back with a second set of anxiety quotes. These words have helped me deal with anxious situations many times, so I hope you find them helpful too.

Anxiety Quote 1: Most things we worry about never happen.
“Most things we worry about never happen.”

Anxiety Quote 2: What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

Anxiety Quote 3: The past has no power over the present moment.
“The past has no power over the present moment.”

Anxiety Quote 4: Feel the fear...and do it anyway.
“Feel the fear…and do it anyway”

Anxiety Quote 5: Don't worry, be happy.
“Don’t worry, be happy.”

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

Manage Day-To-Day Stress and Anxiety with the Pacifica App

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This post was written by Ashlee Christian and was originally posted here at OfficeNinjas.

No matter what manner of office ninja you are, daily stress and anxiety come with the territory. In fact, being able to handle all the things that your role demands of you is what makes you rock. However, too much daily stress and anxiety can be hazardous to your health. As someone who suffers from (sometimes comical amounts of) chronic worry, I can say that managing it has been hard for me.

Being mindful of your stress and working to understand what causes it can be the first step towards better stress management. And since this is 2015, there is, naturally, an app for that! Pacifica features a variety of tools to help you manage daily stress and anxiety. The app is based around Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and works to help you understand your issues and change patterns of behavior over time.

The app is comprised of five main activities: Mood, Relax, Thoughts, Experiments, and Health. Each activity allows you to reflect on your daily moods and thoughts over time, as well as challenge yourself to face your anxieties head on and push through them.

MOOD
Mood
The mood tracking activity allows you to rate your daily moods and recognize patterns over time. The app will send you notifications at various points throughout the day asking how you’re feeling. Along with rating your mood you can add a note explaining why you are feeling a certain way. This can help identify any triggers or scenarios that may lead to certain moods.

RELAX
Relax
The relax feature allows you to choose from three relaxation activities: positive visualization, muscle relaxation, and deep breathing. You can also select from a variety of relaxing soundscapes to accompany your activity of choice. This feature is amazing for those times during the day when you feel your anxiety ramp up, or at night when you find it difficult to turn off your brain and fall asleep.

THOUGHTS
Thoughts
The thoughts activity allows you to record your daily musing and helps you work through and process patterns of thought and behavior. Plus, the daily quotes is awesome in getting inspired and setting your focus for the day.

EXPERIMENTS
Experiments
This activity is different than the rest as it challenges you to face your anxiety. Choose one of your goals, identify a small step towards this goal, and then rate how difficult you think it might be to achieve it. Whether or not you get a chance to complete the experiments, simply writing them down and reflecting on the triggers that cause you anxiety throughout the day is useful.

HEALTH
Health
The health activity features seven categories to rate yourself on everyday: sleep, exercise, eating, water, caffeine, alcohol, and outdoors. Over time you can use this feature to identify correlations between these health factors and your levels of stress and anxiety.  For example, you may find that your stress levels are higher on days where you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or lower on days when you work out in the morning.

As an office ninja you may not be able to control what gets thrown at you throughout the day, but you can, over time, learn to control how it affects you. With Pacifica you can take your stress and anxiety into your hands and show it who’s boss!

Pacifica is available for iOS and Android devices and is free with limited features, $3.99 for a 30 day trial, and $29.99 a year.  

Office ninjas, how do you manage your daily stress and anxiety?

4 Lessons on Anxiety: The Only Way Out is Through

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It sounds counter-intuitive, but as someone who has dealt with anxiety, I’ve found this statement to be true. It’s natural to avoid anxiety or to deny its existence all together, but recovery comes in accepting it. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, relaxation, and wellness, I’ve been able to address my anxiety head-on this past year. While I’m not sure it can ever be completely “cured”, a holistic approach can certainly help manage and reduce it. Here’s my advice:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn the physiological causes and effects of anxiety. Your symptoms/feelings stem from your fears, your thoughts, and your body’s own fight-or-flight response (an antiquated alarm system left over from our cavemen ancestors). Though the adrenaline rush is uncomfortable, these feelings aren’t harmful and can’t actually last very long. So, though your heart may be racing, that’s okay. You’re safe and in no real danger. Think about this: If you’ve had an anxiety attack, you’ve likely already experienced the worst your body can feel. Don’t be bluffed by physical feelings.
  2. Relax & take care of yourself: Learn to recognize when you’re feeling anxious and take the necessary steps to relax and take care of yourself (this includes identifying common triggers like alcohol, sleep, and caffeine). To reduce anxiety in the moment, try deep belly breathing or mindfulness meditation. Both of these help calm the adrenal response. To relieve more long-term tension, try progressive muscle relaxation or vigorous exercise. The main idea is to acquire tools to calm yourself whenever anxiety strikes, so you can more easily cope. Think about this:Your body is a machine like any other. If you take care of it, it’ll take care of you.
  3. Question your thoughts: Learn to judge your thoughts critically instead of accepting them as facts. Your thoughts, more than anything, affect how you feel and ultimately your perspective of the world. People with anxiety often have an intensely negative view. They overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening, exaggerate the consequences, and underestimate their ability to cope. So check your thoughts. What evidence do you have? What are the odds of this happening? What would a friend say to you? Think about this: Just because you think something does not make it true. You’re not a fortune teller, a mind-reader or the center of the universe. Try to see things in a more balanced way and you’ll feel better.
  4. Behave courageously: Learn to face your anxiety despite the fear. This is obviously the hardest part, but it’s also the way out. Anxiety has a way of chipping away at self-esteem. It’ll make you think you can’t do THIS or you can’t do THAT. It’s easy to get stuck in this cycle of fear. But you can face your fears a little each day, and eventually, work toward your bigger goals. It doesn’t matter how small the initial steps are. Instead of dread, try being curious in these new scenarios and use your coping skills. It’s not about being free of anxiety in these early moments, but enduring despite the anxious feelings. This is how real change happens. Think about this: By taking small steps each day, you can rebuild your confidence. You’re a lot stronger than you think you are. Don’t let anxiety dictate your life.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

5 Stress & Anxiety Quotes to Help You

As someone with anxiety, I’ve always found certain anxiety quotes helpful. It almost seems too simple, but there’s a lot of power behind these words.

Anxiety Quote 1: The only way out is through.
“The only way out is through.”

Anxiety Quote 2: One day at a time. One moment at a time.
“One day at a time. One moment at a time.”

Anxiety Quote 3: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Anxiety Quote 4: Don't believe every thing you think.
“Don’t believe every thing you think.”

Anxiety Quote 5: You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

Mental Health: 4 Steps to Recovery

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This post was written by Katie Arbre and was originally posted here.

The road to recovery is never straight, nor is it simple. You don’t get a map or a road sign and most people walk it completely alone. But, fear not moi amis! I left a breadcrumb trail.

Just follow my personal steps towards a happy, stable you…

Step 1- Recognition.
Step 2- Understand your illness.
Step 3- Learn your triggers.
Step 4- Introduce healthy changes at your own pace.

1) Recognition:

“I have a mental illness.”

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I recently came to terms with having an eating disorder. I’ve always known there was something wrong with my eating habits but I did not face the fact that it was down to an eating disorder. Now that I’ve accepted it, I can move on and get healthy. The same can be said for my self-harm. I ignored the issue for such a long time, it made it all the more difficult to stop. But now, I’ve moved on and progressed greatly. The biggest step you can take is to recognise that you are unwell and then decide that you want to recover.

No one is going to save you, you must decide  to save yourself. You should  start by telling a friend about your mental state, or a relative or even just say it aloud to yourself. But, by acknowledging the issue, you are much closer to solving it.

2) Understand Your Illness:

Of course, researching is the next step. You can only start thinking about recovery once you understand what it is you are recovering from. My boyfriend and I read through many self-harm sites. Frankie couldn’t understand how I could do that to myself and I needed to see that I wasn’t crazy or completely alone. We found a lot of useful information on Mind– the mental health charity. I learned that I self-harmed because I had low self-esteem and by doing it, I no longer felt numb. Frankie learned that people deal with feelings in different ways, I have always been a very closed person and I don’t convey emotion well. Self-harm was my way of dealing with that, it meant I didn’t have to face what I was feeling. I just felt I had no other option, I would rather hurt in that way than be hurt by others. And I’m still learning a lot about my eating disorder, I’m currently researching healthy foods and how to actuallycook them…
It’s a whole new world for me, I used to live on shortbread biscuits.

3) Learn Your Triggers:

Unfortunately, you can’t just stop having a mental illness. It’s not that simple. And I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the origin of mental illnesses. But after digging in my brain, I got as deep as developing one due to low self esteem in terms of my appearance… Now, I try not to think about appearance in such an ‘all or nothing’ way. I’m not defined by how I look, I shouldn’t let it dominate my life. I much prefer my world now where appearance doesn’t matter. It’s helped me see the world in a whole new light- Beauty is everywhere! If you feel you can’t dig deep for answers, you can instead learn what triggers you. Find out what ‘sets you off ‘ and affects your mood. For instance, if I don’t eat, I get moody and upset over the tiniest things. And if I don’t exercise, I get angry and irritable. It builds up throughout the day, my hands can get restless and I find myself wanting to self-harm. But, I can fix this… with exercise!

There’s a great Mental Health App you can download called Pacifica. It’s designed to monitor Anxiety, but I have found it helps keep track of everything. I was looking for an app like Pacifica back when I was recovering from self-harm. You can record your mood, from feeling great to feeling awful and add a couple of keywords- this is good for looking back on e.g. I only felt ‘okay’ on this day because I was stressed. You can also record how much you drank, slept, exercised, spent outdoors and whether or not you ate well. I like doing this because it makes me so much more aware of what I’m doing and how it affects my mental state. I can see that when I feel stressed, I eat junk food and don’t exercise. I don’t feel good so I eat comfort food as a quick ‘happy’ fix but ultimately it makes me feel worse… the sugar crash, toxins, synthetic hormones and what-not. Some Health Apps can be quite daunting, the idea of getting my health on track is scary, it’s an arduous commitment. But, Pacifica lets you take it at your own pace. By learning what triggers me, I now know that sometimes I just have to eat something, rest or exercise and I will feel 10 times better.

4) Introduce Healthy Changes:

Little by little, start changing your lifestyle. Drink more water, eat healthier, grow stronger. Cut out toxins and processed foods (something I’m attempting at the moment). Be kinder to yourself with daily positive affirmations- not criticising yourself every morning can truly change your day. Negative thoughts are really ugly, so don’t inflict them upon yourself or anyone else for that matter. Look around you, appreciate Earth! Cut down on technology. Go to bed early, wake up early. Mix up your routine, try something different. Just please don’t you ever give up on yourself!

As my brother always says: “There’s so much more to life than what you see here. Go out and try it.”

Yes, you will have a few difficult, stormy days, but they will pass and you will carry on. Your ultimate destination: Wholesomeness. (Not to be confused with awesomeness. Although yes, you will also be awesome.)

Good Luck!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts.

& I recently got to 1K on Bloglovin! Thanks so much for following Our Wolf Song 🙂

5 Diet Tips for Anxiety

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Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps one deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, or remain focused on an important speech. In general, it helps one cope with the tasks and demands of everyday life. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can become a disabling disorder. Fortunately, effective treatments for anxiety disorders are available that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive and fulfilling lives. However, studies have shown that having a healthy diet may reduce signs and symptoms of anxiety. Although food can’t cure an anxiety disorder, consider some diet changes and that would benefit a severely anxious person:

Avoid or limit caffeine intake as much as possible. Caffeine is present in many soft drinks, not just in tea and coffee and it can set up its own vicious cycle. It can speed up heart rate and disrupt sleep – which later on become prevailing signs of anxiety. Trying to overcome tiredness by drinking more caffeine only makes the long-term problem worse.

Avoid too much alcohol. Similarly, alcohol can worsen the symptoms of anxiety, and disrupt sleep. Many people reach for a drink to calm their nerves, but the consequences of overindulgence can outweigh the benefits of initial relaxation. For some, a hangover, insomnia, and dehydration make one feel worse than before one had a drink. In excessive amounts, alcohol can actually act as a depressant, making the drinker feel sluggish or more anxious. Alcohol, like a simple sugar, is rapidly absorbed by the body. Like other sugars, alcohol increases hypoglycemia symptoms. It also causes mood swings.

Eat complex carbohydrates, also known as carbs. During anxious times, turn to comforting carbs. These foods act as a mild tranquilizer by increasing the amount of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Complex carbs such as potatoes, wholewheat bread, and pasta take longer to digest than sugary simple carbs like white bread. That way, one can stay fuller longer and blood sugar is likely to stay steady, eliminating stress and anxiety.

Be sure to drink eight or more glasses of water a day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and stress. One should be well-hydrated and drinking lots of water a day can decrease symptoms of anxiety.

Take multivitamins and mineral supplements. B vitamins, whose role is to unlock the energy in food, are crucial. Vitamin B-6 helps manufacture serotonin in the brain. Choose a daily supplement that supplies 100 per cent of the daily recommendation of all vitamins and minerals.

Although tension and daily stresses are unavoidable, one can relieve tension and manage stress and anxiety better by watching out for what one eats and what one does not eat. Remember that a healthy body and a healthy mind are often one and the same thing.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.