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Founder Stories: How Can Entrepreneurs Avoid Anxiety?

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We’re excited to kick off our new “Founder Stories” series of posts here on the Pacifica blog. Many of us as founders have struggled with depression and anxiety. We’re expected to hold our heads up or to turn the other cheek because anything other than complete confidence is seen as weakness. But it isn’t. This series is an opportunity to help us face the stigma head-on.

We’re honored to have Jeff Fermin of Officevibe contribute our first post of the series. Jeffrey and I connected immediately when we started talking about the experiences we had both shared in working to get a company off the ground. It takes a lot of courage to tell this story and we couldn’t be more thankful to Jeff for sharing his here.


Entrepreneurs play a game of failure.

Though we want to believe that success comes overnight and every company gets a million dollars after the first pitch to a VC, investor or firm, it’s never the case.

Behind every startup there’s a story of people that took a chance. People that did not want to abide by the norms that society puts on them. The outlier, the deviant, the trailblazer, the one that doesn’t want to do what everyone else does.

BUT… there’s a lot more failure than success. Entrepreneurs will lose more than they win; they will fall more than they rise.

Fortunately, entrepreneurs are creatives, they see the world different and they want to change the world. If they’re truly devoted to what they do, they’ll do their best to adapt and advance.

It may sound poetic, and even heroic, but what people fail to realize is the dark side of entrepreneurship and how it affects the mind. And the younger the entrepreneur, the worse the stress and anxiety will hit.

How Entrepreneurs Get Anxiety

There is a massive amount of failures, setbacks and negativity that goes with creating something new.

The worst part is that the bigger the company gets, the worse the setbacks feel. The more setbacks, the more an individual can lose their “cool” and develop mental health issues.

I am speaking from what I’ve seen on the news and heard from other entrepreneurs, but more importantly something that I’ve learned from experience. Entrepreneurs are now becoming more prone to depression, anxiety and suicide.

What’s even worse is that they are not taking the proper steps to avoid or recover from mental health issues that might be affecting their relations with others.

Now more than ever, leaders in the tech community are bringing awareness to the mental health problems developed from entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Is Not For Everyone

A couple years ago my co-founder and I met up and discussed the possibility of working with one another to start a company. I’ve always been the type to do my own thing and make my own path, so I agreed without any hesitation.

We went through startup incubators, met great people, and kept working hard to get out there. We eventually teamed up with a larger company to build an employee engagement tool that will make people happier at work.

At first it was fun. When you’re young, you can’t help but to think that your company is going to be the next Facebook, Whatsapp, Google, etc. I remember thinking that we were going to be making rounds in Silicon Valley and be like rockstars out there in a short time.

I was glued to Techcrunch, Mashable, and Venturebeat. I had seen movies like the Social Network and Pursuit of Happiness and thought that was going to be us. A team that goes from nothing to something in a couple of months.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t move as fast as some of the films that we watch or articles we read. Success doesn’t happen by just standing around and thinking “that’s going to be me.” Also, there’s a lot more stressful moments than any article or movie portrays.

When anxiety hit me, it hit me hard. The strange thing is that my platform preaches being happy at work, however, there were so many setbacks and challenges that I wasn’t. I began having anxiety attacks and I felt like my mind was trying to kill me off.

For months, I felt alone and that there was no one that could help me. I had written a resignation letter and was ready to leave. Imagine giving a company your all and then just quitting. The day after I wrote my “resignation letter” my investor brought me in to talk, not about business, but about how I was feeling.

I was transparent with him and I let him know how I felt, which to this day was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I even showed him my resignation letter. I gave up on myself, and I didn’t want to be apart from something I was a part of.

He asked me to work from my hometown and try as hard as I can to get happy. Even when I got back home, I had to adjust. It took me about seven months before I had another breakdown and I spoke to my family and told them everything. From there, I did the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I sought professional help.

That’s when I realized that the stigma around mental health is absolute nonsense.

From the very first day, I saw the improvement. My therapist actually induced an anxiety attack, and I became aware that all the problems were all self-inflicted. She helped me recover and changed my mindset about life and what I was doing. I did another couple of months of remote working and I came back to my office’s headquarters with a clear, well-functioning mind. I can say with confidence that I’m doing better, as well as Officevibe.. The only regret I have is not seeking help sooner.

How Entrepreneurs Avoid Falling into Deep Depression

I often think about all the other entrepreneurs out there that are scared to admit that they’re “vulnerable” humans. They want to believe that they’re flawless and that they never fail, but that’s not the case, nor has it ever been.

Deep down people struggle with insecurities and stress. Entrepreneurs have to be told by everybody that they’re not good enough. Consumers, investors, family members, and others will always tell you that what you are working on isn’t good enough. Entrepreneurs will always hear that “someone else does that!” or “why don’t you trying doing something else?”  Oh, and my personal favorite, “have you heard about [insert name], they’re doing so well, why don’t you trying doing that?”  Stress and anxiety is the price to pay for entrepreneurship. But if we were to poll every entrepreneur in the world, I’m sure that nearly all of them agree, it’s worth it.

While that is nice, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to avoid getting into deep depression. If you have hit rock-bottom before and escaped, you know just how difficult it can be to get out of that hole.

Taking the precautions to make sure you avoid anxiety will help you succeed and do its part in giving you a clear mind.

The first thing I would advise is having a healthy balance between work and life. For most entrepreneurs, they’re so obsessed with their product that they do their best to perfect every little aspect of their product every day. Some work deep into the night and early into the morning.

The extra stress from being overworked can cause a lot of unhealthy habits that will damage your wellbeing. Entrepreneurs feel as if they are indebted to their product, so whenever they can, they’ll take shortcuts to not work that hard on themselves and get to their idea. That tunnel vision is hard to get rid of, but they have to realize that there’s more to life than a startup or getting the next person to fall in love with a product.

Having a strict, healthy regimen and diet can help with anxiety. I noticed that I was a lot heavier set when I was depressed. I didn’t care. I stopped caring about myself, and eventually my product. When I started working out and eating right, I felt like my mind was clear. I even turned into one of those “crazy” people that wake up extra early to workout before work.

Healthy mind, healthy body. There should never be a dissonance between the two. So keep both in check and make sure that you’re keeping tabs on improving your mind and body. There are plenty of online tools to help eat and workout better. Now, thanks to creatives at Pacifica, there is a well-designed app that provides a tool to manage stress and anxiety.

I’ve had plenty of conversation with Dale (CEO of Pacifica) and he’s told me about the company’s goals and vision, and I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure that this lovely application gets out there to the masses.

As a person who beat stress, anxiety, and dealt with suicidal thoughts, I wish I would’ve had a tool to tell me that I would benefit from getting help. Being a data-driven individual, I would have loved seeing something that quantifies my stress. Whatever can be measured can be improved. If stress can be quantifiable, there has to be a way to improve it.


 

If you are interested in contributing to Founder Stories please contact us at info@thinkpacifica.com.

Version 1.1: French, Spanish and so much more

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Our latest release is the biggest since our initial launch. Chris and I can’t thank you all enough for your feedback. We listened to every single comment and tried to prioritize what we could to get this out in a reasonable amount of time. First, the new features and changes:

French & Spanish Translations
In March, Pacifica reached #1 in Health & Fitness in the French App Store. Unfortunately we didn’t have internationalization at the time. We’ve responded to your feedback and are hard at work translating Pacifica to as many languages as we are able to, beginning with French and Spanish.

Health + Mood History
You can now see your health data alongside your mood history. This better helps understand how your behaviors can affect your state of mind. For me personally, it allows me to better see how my lack of sleep and how much caffeine I’m drinking seem to always cause a dip in my mood.

Daily Quotes
The home screen has been redesigned to display daily quotes that correspond to the daily activity. Check back each day for a different quote. The new video should also provide better contrast and is more uplifting.

Male/Female Narration in Relax + 8 New Visualizations
We’ve put a lot of work into Relax this release. For one, we added male/female narration to the muscle relaxation activity. This way, you can complete the activity without looking at the screen. We also added eight visualization meditations that can be used in situations where you might not be able to record your own voice.

New Soundscape Mode in Relax
“Soundscape Only” is a new activity in our guided relaxations that allows you to listen to the soundscapes infinitely. This was possible in the last version via our “meditation mode” but it was hidden behind a few different preferences. We brought this out into its own section of Relax to make it easier to use.

Simple & Advanced Mood History
By default, the mood history now shows a simplified view of your mood over time (a smiley). This is designed to give you a quick way to see your mood trends. You can still toggle back to the graph view via the button in the upper right (now “advanced”).

Persistent Experiments
Experiments were initially designed to be done in a single day. That wasn’t very practical. Your experiments will now stick around until you complete them, allowing you to better chronicle your accomplishments. There’s no rush.

HealthKit integration for iOS
Pacifica can now read sleep, caffeine, and workout data from the Apple Health App. If you have a device that supports HealthKit integration, this should make it a bit more seamless to populate data in Pacifica.

Ok, so we’ve packed a lot features into this release. Of the many bug fixes, here are a few of the big ones:

  • We’re hoping we’ve fixed most of the crashes on both iOS and Android. This seems to be the result of the way we’re using audio and video. Please let us know if you’re still seeing problems.
  • We’ve tried to fix the issues with Pacifica taking over the audio on your device. We may not have gotten all of it, but it should be a lot better.
  • Scrolling in the mood progress view could have issues every once in a while. This should be cleaned up.
  • Too many others to name here.

Thank you again for all of your feedback, and please keep it coming. Feel free to contact us at info@thinkpacifica.com with anything that’s on your mind.

Chris & Dale

Managing Anxiety in the Digital Age

Dear Stress, Let's break up.

This post was written by Kate Carmichael LPC and was originally posted here at ATX Counseling for Teens.

This month we are talking about joy!  Obstacles that get in our way are feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear.  Everybody knows what it is like to experience stress, stress is a part of life and even though it is inevitable, we do not have to suffer with constant anxiety, worry thoughts, or a sense of unease.  We can choose new ways of healing and discover greater peace even in the most challenging circumstances.  I have recently discovered a new app that can help by allowing us to become aware of our own emotional triggers.  I find this incredibly refreshing considering technology can be a huge source of stress for many people.  This app utilizes a treatment approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which helps us identify our irrational beliefs and unhealthy behaviors.  Irrational beliefs (or negative self-talk) are the deeply rooted misperceptions that we carry about ourselves, others, and life situations.  These beliefs play like elevator music in our minds constantly making us upset and limiting our own potential.  Oftentimes, people are unaware of how deeply these thoughts go, sometimes stemming from previous trauma or an emotionally unsafe person whose voice we have internalized.  The app has features that allow you to identify these thoughts and help you replace them with new, more positive, and more productive ways of being.  It also offers breathing techniques and experiments to help you learn new behaviors when the going gets tough.  Becoming aware of our self-talk is incredibly important in our path towards experiencing greater joy.  Our thoughts are very powerful; they affect everything from how we feel about ourselves to our relationships with others.  If you can think positive, be optimistic, and find some peace you will know joy.  And these thoughts are conscious choices you can make every day…even right this moment!

Download the app here:  thinkpacifica.com
And check out the youtube video below to learn more.

Centering thought of the day:  By choosing positive, loving thoughts, I create a life full of joy.  All is well in my world.

Anxiety? There’s An App For That.

Pacifica

This post was written by Rachel Lyn and was originally posted here at Roots Elemental.

When it comes to technology, I’m a strong believer that less is more. It is so easy with the current highly evolved technologies widely available as well as living in a Western society to become engulfed in screen-time. Once in a lunar eclipsed moon, I find an app or a piece of technology that helps to connect back with the self versus focusing energy outside of the body.

Pacifica is a free app designed to assist with lessening the physical causes of stress and anxiety through mindfulness. It utilizes five categories rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and key wellness factors.

1. Mood – A thermometer for your feelings and general mood throughout the day. You can track improvements and take note of triggers over time like water intake or number of hours of sleep.

2. Relax – When you feel stressed, Pacifica offers three relaxation exercises: deep belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and positive visualization. You can even pick your soundscape like summer nights or rooftop rain.

3. Thoughts – When you feel overwhelmed and your mind is racing, this app can assist with bringing negative thought patterns into the forefront to develop more positive perspectives over time.

4. Experiments – If you’re feeling up for a challenge, this section provides ways to explore your health and get some forward-motion traction.

5. Health – A section to track your daily wellness factors like hours of sleep, time spent outdoors, minutes exercising and caffeine intake.

Why the awesome folks at Pacifica created the App:
“While there will always be a place for traditional therapy, barriers such as stigma, cost, and logistical considerations often get in the way of individuals getting the treatment they need”. Get the whole story from their about page.

True That.

Awareness and support for folks who wrestle with anxiety and stress is important work. Together, we move forward.

In a fast-paced world of conflicting values, I really like how Pacifica highlights that change happens over time. Depending on how much consciousness we have towards our health factors, we can expedite real change and balance in a lasting way. It allows you to be a detective for your own emotional and physical wellbeing on a non-judging and gentle path. As we stay strongly rooted in the present, we can look to the future.

Get the App

Visit thinkpacifica.com/blog for more on startups & anxiety

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

Pacifica

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.