This is what anxiety looks like

This-is-what-anxiety-looks-like

What happens when you feel anxious? Does your heart rate rise? Do your palms get sweaty? Would you like to run away?

We all experience some form of anxiety and worry, but for people who live with an anxiety disorder, these feelings are more extreme.

In this infographic by Mental Health America, we learn that anxiety doesn’t just affect someone’s thoughts—it also affects the body and their behaviours.  People without anxiety may tell a friend to ‘get over it’, ‘it’s not as bad as it seems,’ or to simply, ‘stop worrying,’ but a person struggling knows this won’t do anything—in fact, the stress of thinking it’s ‘wrong’ to feel so anxious, may make the symptoms worse.

Anxiety is broad and can appear different for each person. Anxiety disorders range from panic disorder, to obsessive compulsive tendencies, social anxiety to post traumatic stress disorder. The cause of anxiety and it’s symptoms vary, but, as the infographic says below, it is marked by feelings of being completely overwhelmed, feeling powerless, experiencing incredibly heightened physical responses like heart palpitations, and/or living in a constant state of fear.

People who experience anxiety will often feel isolated and alone. The good news though, is they are not. In recent years, we’ve learnt that two millions Australians experience anxiety every year, and more than 21 per cent of American adults have an anxiety disorder. By talking about this mental illness, we let our friends and family know that they can get through life and not just survive, but thrive.

If you struggle with anxiety, take a look at the coping techniques listed below. Talking to someone you trust, doing exercise, practicing deep breathing and doing mindfulness are all great strategies when you feel inhibited and your body is in panic mode.

Life-with-Anxiety-infographic

Do you struggle with feelings of anxiety, fear and being isolated? Would you like to break free of your anxiety? Contact us on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute discussion or go to BOOK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts to make an appointment.

Is Pokémon Go Good for Your Mental Health?

Is-Pokemon-Go-Good-for-Your-Mental-Health

When Pokémon Go launched two weeks ago, it took the world seconds to become obsessed with the game. Based on the manga characters that spawned card games, movies and TV shows in the 90s, the new game allows phone users to catch monsters (known as Pokémon) in real time.

This means that wherever you live, you will find colourful creatures popping up on your phone screen, giving you the chance to add them to your inventory, train them up and battle against other users.

Video games have generally been frowned upon in the past, and are acknowledged as a factor in declining mental and physical health, but this could change with Pokémon Go. If someone you know is addicted to the game, here are the pros and cons of their new obsession.

  1. Physical activity

Unlike most video games, Pokémon Go requires players to get outside and move around. As a result, closet gamers are leaving the house and exercising. Walking, skateboarding or bike riding are all great options for covering more ground in an effort to ‘catch them all’.

Pokémon Go is a great compromise for people who struggle with exercise but love virtual reality. This in turn benefits their physical health and over all wellbeing. Just take a look at what people are saying on social media.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 6.11.38 pm Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 6.12.01 pm

That being said, it’s difficult to be aware of your surroundings when you’re playing, and people can (literally and figuratively) run into all sorts of trouble.

  1. Socialising

Gaming can be a solitary activity, but this app is prompting people head outside in groups to spend hours tracking down Pokémon. This makes it easy for people to make new friends, because players will congregate in the same areas.

James Gibson, who trialed the game for Niantic (the maker of Pokémon Go), even said socialising is built-in to the game.

“The individual gets a certain amount of enjoyment playing by themselves, but only really benefit by teaming up with others and playing in same area at same time…You're forced into a social aspect to unlock the full richness of the game.”

There is a red flag to this socialisation—after all, people have their heads stuck behind their phones. But if this is balanced with conversation and general camaraderie, Pokémon Go could be a gateway to healthier community for lots of people.

  1. Relationships

Who knew a video game could bring people closer together? That’s right; couples are going out together and catching Pokémon. For couples who lack similar interests, this could be a great solution to spending quality time together

Naturally there are also negative consequences to this. Playing a video game is no substitute for real, meaningful conversation—especially if it is impeding on the time you spend together. If you and your partner like Pokémon Go, schedule time to play together after you’ve had dinner or done something that requires you to focus entirely on one another.

13254941_576612435833025_5002718662367406908_o

Niantic via Facebook

  1. Creativity

As soon as you log into Pokémon Go, you create a character for yourself. This allows you to exercise your creativity and give yourself an identity. The bright colours, alternate reality and real-time of the game means that you are constantly stimulated and your creative juices are flowing.

There are limits to the creativity of Pokémon Go. If you’re dreaming of Pikachu’s or looking for Pidgies behind every tree, it’s gotten a little out of hand. Take a break and focus on natural beauty around you instead.

  1. Discipline

It may be a simple video game, but Pokémon Go pushes people to reach new levels and become a better ‘trainer’. Someone who has lacked discipline in the past could find the motivation to set goals with this game, and the rewards of meeting these goals are built in when you win a battle, upgrade a level or train a Pokémon.

The flip side of discipline is addiction, and it’s easy to become addicted to Pokémon Go. The urgency to continually look for Pokémon and make the next level means users can ignore appointments, enter dangerous situations, take risks and forget about real life. If this is happening to you, take a sabbatical from the game so you can focus on real life.

Are you concerned about your mental health? Does technology negatively affect your life? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Understanding Anxiety

We all feel anxious at different times in our lives. Whether we are stressed about bills, relationships or work, it is a physical and mental sensation we all must work through. For many of us, anxiety can be far more than a momentary feeling, and we live with an anxiety disorder which causes unnecessary and unhealthy worry about many aspects of our lives. This can also negatively affect our physical health.

This infographic by Global Medical Education shows us some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety, and reveals how it affects our society. Have you ever felt your chest tighten up, your breathing become faster, and simultaneously felt panicky and stressed? Chances are you’ve experienced anxiety. It can be hard to define anxiety, simply because it can come in many different forms. Some people will feel social anxiety, others will find it expressed in Obsessive Compulsive tendencies, and still other people will have phobias. There is no one definite cause for why we experience these feelings and physical symptoms, but those of us who struggle with Depression and other medical conditions can find that we also experience anxiety.

So what can we do to alleviate this and care for our mental and physical wellbeing? Just because we experience anxiety or an anxiety disorder, does not mean we are left alone to struggle. There are many ways to treat and cope with anxiety. From medical remedies, to psychotherapy and counselling or natural techniques like meditation, many of us are able to go on living fulfilling and happy lives. If you or a friend is showing signs of anxiety, be kind to yourself and ask for help. Nearly 29% of us will experience an anxiety disorder during our life time, and it is important we know that we don’t have to do this alone.

Understanding Anxiety

If you continue to struggle with feelings of anxiety, sadness, despair or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover. Talking to your G.P. and/or a counsellor can give you the additional support you need to help you. If you would like to speak to Colleen for additional support you can contact her on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute discussion or go to BOOK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts to make an appointment.

7 Techniques to Manage your Anxiety

By Jessica Morris

Anxiety - Toby AllenWhether you have experienced anxiety as a niggling sensation in your abdomen or have dealt with an anxiety attack, everybody is impacted by anxiety. It comes in varying forms and will show itself naturally before a transition. However, many people are impacted by anxiety disorders – 1 in 5 in Australians, and it shows itself in Obsessive Compulsive tendencies, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, phobias and General Anxiety. While it is easy for people to suggest we ‘get over’ these feelings, feelings of anxiety and anxiety disorders can rarely be so easily overcome whether we are about to sit a big test or perhaps need to step into a shopping centre. avoidant-personality-disorder - Toby AllenSymptoms of anxiety include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Inability to think logically
  • Feelings of ‘butterflies’ in the stomach
  • A feeling of constriction in the chest
  • Aches and pains, muscle spasms
  • Insomnia

Depression - Toby AllenAs someone who lives with an anxiety disorder, I have had to learn that in some ways anxiety will always be an aspect of my life due to the chemical imbalance that it is caused by. However, this is not to say I have to struggle or face it head on every day. Early on in my diagnosis, the battle I waged against anxiety was a 24/7 task, aided by numerous counseling sessions and medication. It was in these early years that I was told about various techniques to handle and manage anxiety in my life. The implementation of these techniques meant that over time my anxiety decreased and became less of a constant enemy and more of a trained pet I was able to leash at any given moment. Anxiety is still a part of my life, but I find that techniques I was taught to train this ‘pet’ mean it no longer controls my life, and I am able to control it. People will try to control their anxiety in many ways, some healthy and some that will involve self-medication and can hurt them even more so in the future. Here are 7 healthy techniques to manage your own anxiety.

1. Deep breathing

It sounds cliché, but it’s true: deep breathing is a key part of calming yourself when anxiety rises. Count to five slowly as you breathe in and out. This stabilises your heart rate and keeps you from hyperventilating which increases your panic. The increase of oxygen will relax your body and lessen the physical symptoms of the anxiety. Using a paper bag to practice your deep breathing is also beneficial if you have trouble regulating it yourself.

2. Exercise

By going for a jog, going surfing, doing some sprints at a nearby oval or even taking a leisurely walk with the dog, allow yourself to step out of your mind and exercise to alleviate the nervous energy in your body. Observe the environment around you and feel the anxiety leave your body with each step and movement you make. Your anxiety does not control you, you control it.

3. Journal

Anxiety would frequently overwhelm me, causing me to feel ten different emotions at once for varying reasons. It can be hard to understand why we are feeling anxiety and sometimes there will be no logic in it. Writing out your emotions whether in a classic ‘Dear Diary’ format or in the context of a story, a song or poetry can help us to understand and accept our experience. Even if no one else in your vicinity understands your anxiety driven response, your feeling are still valid and real. Express them and remember they are passing. If you are a creative person, draw strength from this strategy.

4. Draw

Drawing is not simply an activity for children, it is a strategy that enables us to release the frustration and fear that anxiety induces. Can’t draw? It doesn’t matter. Sometimes scribbling or doodling patterns will help to ease your physical symptoms and slow your brain. Other times drawing the situation or people you are fearful of and how you will overcome this is therapeutic. A great example of this is the ‘Real Monsters’ project drawn by Toby Allen. [LINK] In order to make his anxiety more normal and manageable, this young man drew it as a monster. What does your anxiety look like? Draw it.

5. Colour in

There is strength to be gained as you spread colour between the lines and control the outcome of an image. Use colours that express your emotions and make something beautiful come out of the nervous tension in your hands. Whether you colour in a children’s book or choose a Mandala or pattern, make the image your own and take control of the situation.

6. Massage

While anxiety is rooted in the brain, it will inevitably come out psychosomatically in our bodies. This may take the form of muscle spasms, a twitch, shaking, headaches and migraines or constant tension. Stretching, seeing a masseuse or asking a friend to massage us is a practical way to relieve the tension and ease our long term experience of anxiety. Even rubbing your hands and arms to ease shakingor tension is a useful way of calming yourself.

7. Practice mindfulness

When you are experiencing an anxiety attack, your brain will feel overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings. They won’t make sense or even be connected with one another, yet the process of anxiety is one that snowballs and seems untameable. When possible, step outside, take a seat, or lie down. Put on soothing music and feel every muscle in your body. Relax them from your toes to your face. Allow yourself to think of calmness and serenity, perhaps even listen to a meditation CD. Make your mind and your body relax before you continue with your day to stop this snowball effect.

About Jessica Morris Jessica Morris is a 23 year-old free-lance journalist living near Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about pop culture and how this intersects with mental health, faith and social justice; she seeks represent this generation within the media. You can view her work at www.jessicamorris.net

Colleen conducts workshops to explore ways to promote personal health and wellbeing. The next workshop, a Women’s Wellness Workshop, is to be held on Saturday 22nd February 2014, from 9.30 – 4.30 at her office location. Benefits include further tips to calm and de-stress, relaxation, increased self-awareness, inner calm and wellbeing, and connection with other women. The cost is $199.99 which includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea. Find out more at: http://watersedgecounselling.com/events-womens-wellness-workshop/ You can book online by clicking on BOOK ONLINE NOW and following the prompts.

If you continue to struggle with feelings of anxiety, sadness, despair or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover. Talking to your G.P. and/or a counsellor can give you the additional support you need to help you. If you would like to speak to Colleen for additional support you can contact her on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute discussion or go to BOOK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts to make an appointment.

Images shown with permission by Artist Toby Allen .