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The Mental Health Danger of Dating Apps

Online dating can be an extremely efficient way to meet new people. However this convenience comes with pros and cons as using these apps takes up plenty space (both mental and physical) — so make sure before swiping away.

In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of using technology for socializing purposes. Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, PoF, or Grindr which allow someone to meet potential partners from the convenience of their phone.

This type of social media can be beneficial when used correctly but oftentimes may lead to negative outcomes in one’s life if not properly monitored or regulated.

Why People Use Dating Apps

There is no doubt that it works, as evidenced by the Stanford University study which found little difference in quality between those who met online and offline relationships despite there being an endless supply of potential partners at your fingertips on hookup sites like Tinder or Bumble for you swipe right!

People use dating apps for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they may be looking for a casual date or to meet new people, but in other cases it might reflect issues with their own social life.

People use dating apps as a way to find an answer to the age-old question “where are the good single men/women?”, and there is usually a reason why they have not had any luck within their group of friends or through a more traditional avenue.

Motivations

Did you know that the number one motivator for men on online dating sites is to find someone attractive? Women have many different objectives when browsing, with physical attributes being third behind conversation and location. In fact, studies show that physical attraction matters most for heterosexual women followed by having self-confidence and a kind personality.

Also, it is important to consider that men on dating sites tend to be less serious than women and there is a chance you could end up with someone who isn’t looking for a true relationship.

Meeting New People

Dating apps also offer the opportunity to meet people from all over the world as well as those profiles far outside of your normal social circles. This could be an advantage for some people who are looking to meet someone new, but also has the chance of building unrealistic expectations when you do not take into account that their values may be different than your own.

Hookup Culture

Even though there are many positive aspects of using dating apps, they can also offer an easy way for people to hook-up without much effort. The ease of this method may make it a casual decision and can cause you to meet up with many people who are not really interested in something serious.

Dating Apps have made it easy to connect with people across the world – this also means that you might be matched up with people who come from a completely different culture than your own. This could lead to unrealistic expectations and if both of you are looking for very different things, then both will feel mislead when they meet. If one person wanted something casual and the other wanted a serious relationship — that could cause issues within the relationship.

Lies and Exaggerations on Dating Apps

People tend to lie on dating profiles… a lot!

Studies showed that the most common things men and women lie about on their online dating profiles are their age, weight, and income. However, many people also lied about their physical appearance by using filters that could distort their photos.

Research has also shown that people often choose to use this method when they are not very happy with their real appearance or are trying to seek validation from strangers. Furthermore, men tended to lie by omitting their marital status whereas women were more inclined to make themselves seem younger to increase their chances of getting a response.

Many people stretch the truth about their social life or what they look like in order to sound better. This can lead to negative effects because internet dating has become more casual-making it easier for users to hook up with someone without really getting to know them.

In short, people often lie on their profiles and end up meeting someone who is either not serious about dating or does not maintain the same interests as them.

Online Dating Statistics

Let’s take a look at some statistics by Pew Research to consider:

  • 57% of online daters say they hve had a positive experience
  • 63% of online daters with a BA or higher degree reported positive experiences
  • 47% of online daters with a high school diploma or less reported positive experiences
  • 45% of online daters say dating apps have mad them feel frustrated
  • 28% of online daters say that dating apps have made them more hopeful
  • 71% of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy to find attractive people
  • 64% of online daters say it is at least somewhat easy to find people with shared hobbies and interests
  • 61% of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy to find someone looking for the same kind of relationship
  • Women are 58% more likely than men to find someone they were attracted to
  • 57% of men dating online said they didn’t receive enough messages
  • 71% of people think that people are lying online to make themselves more desirable
  • LGB online daters are more likely to be harassed on dating websites

How Dating Apps Can Affect One’s Mental Health

Dating apps offer the user a chance to meet people without any effort, which is why they are so great in theory. However, there have been many studies that have shown that dating apps can have an adverse effect on the mental health of their users.

One study examining social anxiety (SA) and depression in the use of mobile dating apps found that both conditions were associated with dating app use.

Furthermore, men with social anxiety and depression have been found to have a lower chance of “matching” with an online partner of desire — and women with similar symptoms were less likely to initiate conversation online. The same study notes past research that points to higher use of online social communication in women than in men.

Many people do not want to commit to a long-term relationship, which leads to hookups with several different partners, leading to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, it may be linked with feeling rejected by someone who was interested in you.

When someone is scrolling through, swiping left or right, they begin to notice way more often when people don’t approach them. It’s this constant rejection that may be a self-esteem killer and secondarily cause and agitate social anxiety and depression.

Avoid spending more than 15 to 20 minutes a day on an app swiping or looking for new matches. You might not be using the app in a healthy manner if the app is causing you anxiety or preventing you from doing other things that you enjoy.

Other ways to meet potential partners

You should use dating apps intentionally if you suffer from depression or social anxiety. Instead of using an app, you might consider going out to a bar to meet people. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t go to a bar every night — maybe once a week, or a few times a month. Treat your dating app use similarly.

One way to meet potential partners is by using dating apps in a more serious and committed way. Instead of just looking for hookups and casual relationships, try to find someone who may actually be a nice fit for you in a long-term relationship.

In the end, there is no reason to completely stop using dating apps-just put in a little effort and you might find someone worth your time. The trick is to make sure that you are doing this for the right reasons and not just to validate yourself by making yourself seem more attractive than you really are. The main key is finding balance and steering clear of hookups.

Get out in the world and do things you love. Chances are that the people you meet doing these activities or in places you enjoy are going to be a better match for you than someone you find online.

Meeting friends of friends is another great way to meet new people that are likely to share the same interests and morals as you. And spending time with friends is good for your mental well-being anyways. So, just let things happen naturally.

And remember, rejection hurts, but don’t let it steer you away from shooting your shot. You miss every chance you don’t take. Just remember not to take rejection from a stranger personally.

If dating apps are you thing, then get to swiping. If you have found them hurting your self-esteem, dial it back a bit and minimize your time swiping.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find someone right away. Finding the right person takes self-awareness, consistency, and positivity — whether online or offline.

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Strategies for Better Heart-Brain Communication

Your heart has a mind of its own… Kinda. While it may sound cliche to “follow your heart,” there may be truth in the phrase.

It turns out, according to recent research, that there is ongoing communication between the heart and brain that has a heavy influence on how we think and feel.

The Heart-Brain Connection

We’ve had proof that the heart communicates with the brain in significant ways as early as the 1960s. In 1991, Dr. J Andrew Armour coined the term “heart brain”, describing the heart as a complex intrinsic nervous system that is somewhat a brain of its own.

Research in the psychocardiology and neurocardiology field still has tons to learn, though consistencies in studies tell us quite a bit about the heart-brain connection.

Here’s what we currently know about the “heart brain”:

  • The heart starts beating before our brain has been formed
  • The emotional brain develops far before the logical brain
  • The heart has its own complex nervous system that is independent of the brain
  • The hearts nervous system is in constant communication with the brain
  • Signals from the heart synchronize with and direct many bodily systems
  • The heart makes many decisions on its own

Because of the early development of the heart and emotional brain, stress and emotions seem to have a strong connection.

This is to no surprise as we have known for decades that things like smoking, hypertension, PTSD, and emotional stress are closely linked risk factors for heart disease and strokes.

How the Heart Processes Emotions

In stressful situations, our bodies release adrenaline in a fight-or-flight response. This adrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure and also signals blood platelets to release neuropeptide Y which can obstruct arteries in the heart.

Even emotional stress, such as a breakup, can cause abnormal contractions in the left ventricle of the heart — causing (quite literally) a broken heart.

Strategies for a healthy, happy “heart brain”

How do we leverage what we know about heart-brain communication? After all, controlling the thoughts of our minds can prove difficult enough. So, can you really control how your heart communicates with the rest of the body and mind?

To some extent yes. While the heart is an autonomous organ, we can take care of it in a number of ways.

It turns out, many things that make us smile and more appreciative of life also make our hearts happier.

Try the strategies below to make the best of your internal heart-brain communication.

Relaxation Practices

Relaxation techniques can have a surprising positive cardiovascular effect. There are a number of techniques that can achieve serotonin-boosted relaxation. A number of popular relaxation activities include mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises.

Yoga has actually proven to be a mood stabilizer and stress reducer by raising levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. And both Yoga and meditative practices have shown to increase serotonin — a crucial neurotransmitter in regulating mood.

Another technique is making a subtle change to the way you think about and talk to yourself. That internal monologue you hear all day makes a difference in how you feel.

Be mindful of negative thoughts and negative emotions; then channel positive energy to transform those thoughts into positive ones.

Comic Relief and Laughter

It doesn’t take a neurologist to know that happiness is a common result of laughter.

When we laugh, our body releases endorphins, which in turn releases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Laughter also loosens blood vessels and can lower signs of aging within them.

Exercise is another great way to stimulate endorphin release, as well as other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. If you’re looking for stress relief, there are no better ways to cool down to exercise and crack a few jokes.

Listening to “Dope” Music

Ever listened to a song and got chills? That pleasurable feeling is a consequence of dopamine release when listening to or anticipating your favorite music.

Listening to music has been known to reduce anxiety. This may be linked to the nostalgic connection music often has in our lives. Our favorite songs are often neurologically linked to positive feelings from our younger years when our brains are still in rapid development.

There does seem to be a correlation between what type of music is more mood-boosting than others. Studies have shown that upbeat music is proven to improve happiness in as little as two weeks, whereas non-positive-sounding music does not have the same effect.

A hug a day

… Keeps the doctor away!

Physical encounters like hugging or other forms of touch are known to release the hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin.

Oxytocin lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It has also been shown to directly prevent heart tissue death (which results in heart failure). Human studies have even shown intranasal oxytocin to stimulate the vagus nerve and improve mental stress test scores. It even showed to reduce chronic pain.

Taking Care of the Heart Brain

Taking care of the mind and body is always a good idea. We tend to either focus on either our mental health or our physical health, typically not both at the same time. And rather than react to a time of needed change, it’s always better to act proactively and preventatively.

Science has made it clear that taking care of the heart and brain are among the most important things we can do to prolong our lives and make for a happier self.

Sources

  1. Miller M. (2019). Emotional Rescue: The Heart-Brain Connection. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2019, cer-05-19.
  2. Armour, A. J., Dr. (n.d.). Chapter 01: Heart-Brain Communication. Retrieved August 29, 2021, from https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/heart-brain-communication/
  3. HeartMath Institute. (2015, March 03). Heart Intelligence. Retrieved August 29, 2021, from https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/the-math-of-heartmath/heart-intelligence/
  4. Halaris, A., MD. (2018, September 20). Psychocardiology: Understanding the Heart-Brain Connection: Part 1. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/psychocardiology-understanding-heart-brain-connection-part-1
  5. Silvani Alessandro, Calandra-Buonaura Giovanna, Dampney Roger A. L. and Cortelli Pietro 2016 Brain–heart interactions: physiology and clinical implications Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A.3742015018120150181
    http://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2015.0181
  6. Yuna L. Ferguson & Kennon M. Sheldon (2013) Trying to be happier really can work: Two experimental studies, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8:1, 23-33, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2012.747000
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How to Ground Someone Having a Panic Attack

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, about 3% of American adults struggle with a panic disorder each year. Women are also twice as likely to develop a panic disorder than men.

Is someone in your life struggling with a panic disorder and panic attacks?

This guide will help you learn how to ground someone having a panic attack. Keep reading to learn what you can do.

Symptoms to Look Out for

A panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks. These attacks are best described as moments of intense fear.

There are many panic attack warning signs to look out for, including some of the most common physical signs. Many people experience dizziness, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, and trembling during a panic attack.

A looming fear of death is another familiar feeling. Recurring panic attacks may lead someone to isolation and loneliness. At Solara Mental Health, you can receive specialized care for this debilitating disorder.

You Might Need to Get Help

While most panic attacks are short, some of them can last hours. One panic attack can lead to another.

If your loved one requires emergency assistance, immediately contact help. Panic attack symptoms are similar to heart attack symptoms. If your loved one is experiencing chest pain and hasn’t had a panic attack before, you should call 911.

A sign of worsening conditions can manifest itself if the pain moves to the shoulder or army during a panic attack. In the event of a worsening condition, a medical provider should be notified immediately.

Stay Calm Yourself

People with anxiety are experiencing very intense feelings and symptoms during a panic attack. One easy way to help ground them through that experience is to remain calm.

While you might feel scared yourself, showing that you’re afraid can worsen the person’s panic attack. Remaining steady by your loved one’s side can help them stay present and know that they can get through what they’re feeling.

It is one way to help control the environment around your friend or family member. They’ll feel protected knowing someone is there to hold them through this experience.

Talk Positively

Talking positively and gently is another way to help ground someone having a panic attack. Tell them that they are experiencing a panic attack. Recognizing what they’re feeling by name can relieve their fear.

Validate what they’re going through and offer positive statements. Tell them that what they’re experiencing will pass. Let them know that although it’s scary and uncomfortable, they can get through it.

Having a conversation with someone as they are having a panic attack can help keep them distracted from the more extreme feelings.

Provide Space if Needed

Anxiety and stress affect every person differently. One person with anxiety and experiencing a panic attack might feel comforted and grounded by having someone to talk to, and someone else might not.

Your friends or family members might feel better grounded by being given more space. The intensity of the panic attack might make talking too overwhelming.

Reassure your loved one that you’re available but give them the space they need to push through the panic attack themselves if that helps them best.

Ask How Else You Can Help

Remember that those who struggle with a panic disorder know themselves and what helps them cope best. If you know a friend or a loved one who struggles with panic attacks you can talk to them about what you can do to help.

Your loved one might have a hard time speaking to you in the middle of a panic attack, but you’ll know what you can do if you’ve had a conversation with them before.

During the attack, you should still ask your friend what you can do to help. What works today might not work tomorrow and it’s important to do everything you can to help them feel better.

Help Them With Some Grounding Techniques

There are different grounding methods you can try with your friend during their panic attack. These techniques can help them recenter themselves.

Four practical techniques:

  1. If they can move, ask your friend to sit down in a comfortable chair with their feet on the floor. This can help them regain control of their surroundings.
  2. You can also try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This grounding method uses the five senses to help the person focus on other things in the room and not on their panic attack.
  3. Have your friend identity five things they can see, four they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste.
  4. Another grounding tool would be to remind them to remain calm and take slow and deep breaths in and out. Helping your loved one control their breathing is the best way to push through a panic attack. Have your friend copy this pattern so they can recenter themselves.

Continue to Provide Support

Friends offer emotional support when you need it. It is why they’re an essential part of life. It’s imperative to continue to support your friend as they learn to manage their panic disorder.

They might feel embarrassed about you having witnessed their panic attacks, but you should let them know that you’re there to support them fully. Check-in from time to time and learn the best ways to help them.

When your friend doesn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed, there’s one less thing they have to feel stressed about. It can help them work through their panic disorder too.

How to Ground Someone Having a Panic Attack Explained

It’s vital to learn how to ground someone having a panic attack, especially if it’s your loved one struggling with panic disorder. You can help with grounding techniques and positive statements during a panic attack.

Contact Solara Mental Health if your loved one needs professional help to work through this disorder. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Why Spending Time Alone Is Good For Your Mental Health

Did you know that spending time alone can help you improve your quality of life?

Alone time is something that people either enjoy or fear. Unfortunately, many people struggle with being alone because they’re unsure of what to do.

While being alone can seem daunting, alone time benefits people in many ways if they know how to take advantage of it.

Here at Solara Mental Health, we regularly help people turn their lives around by changing how they think about being alone. We’ll outline why spending time alone is essential so you can also live a better life.

Read on to learn about how to spend time alone and the benefits of doing so.

The Benefits of Alone Time

When spending time alone, many people find it difficult to see what the benefits are. However, you can reap the benefits of alone time if you know how to approach things.

One of the main things we want people to understand is that being alone isn’t the same as loneliness. Alone time is simply time spent away from others, whereas loneliness is the feeling of being without someone.

Voluntarily spending time away from others can allow you to do the following:

Self-Reflect

When you’re constantly interacting with others, it can be challenging to think about yourself. However, self-reflection is crucial if you want to live a healthy lifestyle, as it also comes with many benefits.

Alone time will make it much easier to self-reflect because you won’t be focusing on others. Approach self-reflection with a positive mindset and use the time to improve yourself as a person.

Become More Productive

Alone time benefits those that are looking to get things done. If you’re never alone, you’ll have a hard time doing anything productive (unless it requires others).

Spending time alone will give you the chance to complete that project you’ve been putting off. The sooner you get things done, the quicker you can go back to being social.

Focus on Health

Similar to self-reflection, spending time alone lets people focus on improving their health. Whether it’s physically or mentally, alone time will ensure you can eliminate toxicity in your life and allow yourself to “reset.”

During alone time, think about the foods and beverages you have when surrounded by others. Not only will an unhealthy diet negatively affect your physical health, but it can also affect your mental health. Things like depression caused by a poor diet can increase the likelihood of feeling lonely, even when around others.

Find Comfort

If you’re someone that struggles with loneliness, spending time alone can help you learn how to find comfort when away from others.

Those who are afraid of being alone often feel that way because they’re unsure how to use their time. If you can learn how to get the most out of being alone, you can have more control over your life. The comfort that comes with accepting alone time will increase your overall happiness.

How to Get the Most Out of Being Alone

Learning how to spend time alone isn’t difficult; you’ll just need to use that appropriately. If you find that being alone isn’t comforting, you can fill up that time with things to do. Whether it’s work or school obligations, exercise, or hobbies, doing activities will help.

Getting the most out of being alone can be done by planning your alone time and eliminating distractions. Here’s how to do that:

Plan Everything

It’s easy to feel lonely when you have nothing to do, and no one’s around. This can be prevented by thoroughly planning how your days will go.

From the moment you wake up until you go to bed, your entire day should be planned, including the time you’ll dedicate to doing nothing. While it may seem excessive, it’ll help you stay active, so you don’t end up feeling lonely.

Creating structure in your life will make the time spent alone more enjoyable, especially if you don’t go out much. If you’re someone that actively hangs out with others, you’ll eventually start cherishing the time you get to yourself.

Get Rid of Distractions

Aside from planning your day, you must eliminate distractions if you’d like to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Distractions can prevent you from getting things done, which will make you feel worse if you’re alone.

Whenever you’re working on something, you should never start browsing social media or random things on the internet. Instead, leave your phone in another room and consider getting something that’ll block certain websites so you can work productively.

Another type of distraction is thinking about negative things. For example, you may be watching TV, and a negative thought may cross your mind. Instantly you want to go down the rabbit hole; next thing you know, your upset with yourself because your thoughts took you to a dark place.

Reframe your thoughts and put your thoughts into perspective. Stop the train of thought you are going down and tell yourself out loud that what you’re doing is not right. This will strengthen your mind in order to take control of your thoughts.

It’s best to be engaged with something as often as possible. You’ll notice that relaxing after a long day of work is enjoyable, even if you’re by yourself. This is because you’ve gotten the most out of being alone.

Start Spending Time Alone More Often

With all of this information, you’re ready to reap the benefits of alone time. All you must do is start spending more time alone to get a better understanding of what exactly makes you feel lonely.

We encourage you to prioritize obligations to make your days more satisfying. If you still feel lonely after getting everything done, you can pick up some hobbies to keep your mind off things.

If you’re having a hard time in life, contact us to learn about how we can help you.

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Starting Over After Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging experiences a person can have. Coming out of a relationship in which this kind of abuse was prevalent requires patience, support, and time to heal. Often, moving on seems easier said than done. 

However, life, on the other side can be beyond rewarding, and starting over, while scary, can sometimes be the best thing. If you are starting over after domestic violence, here are some tips to reclaim your life. 

Establish Safety Protocols

Escaping from domestic violence is sometimes easier said than done. In some instances, the perpetrator will let you go and move on. In other cases, they will continue to pursue the relationship. 

The first step to moving on is establishing protocols to protect yourself. It might include alerting friends and family members to the change in your relationship status, filing any necessary protection orders, and navigating whatever resources are available to you to keep yourself safe. 

Find Support Wherever You Can

Some opt for therapy, while others find they do best in a group setting, like a support group. Still, others opt to talk to people in their lives or others who have been through similar experiences. 

Whatever works for you in terms of support, do it. There is no one way to move on with your life after escaping from domestic violence. Choose the option that best suits your situation and your life and commit to it. The emotional and mental trauma that can remain after domestic violence can be insidious, so support can help you to heal. 

Give Yourself Choices

Domestic violence is often based on control. Victims typically have few, if any, choices on just about anything. So, as much as you can, give yourself options. Learn how to think independently of your trauma. It will also help you learn more about what you want out of life and what you like. 

You may find delight in making even the smallest of choices, from what ice cream to eat at night to what shirt you want to wear in the morning. Celebrate the fact that you’ve reclaimed your life to the point where you can make decisions without fear of reprisal.  

Figure Out What Brings You Joy – And Do It

If you have lived through domestic violence, chances are your former partner did whatever they could to stand between you and joy. Therefore, moving on means reclaiming your happiness. That starts by finding out what brings you joy and doing it!

Perhaps before the relationship you had a hobby or wanted to try something new – but your partner prevented you from pursuing those dreams.

Everything and anything is on the table. 

Consider new ways to live your life out loud that you perhaps had not considered before and go for it. Moving on after such a traumatic experience means finding ways to bring yourself as much joy as you can find. 

Rebuild Relationships

Perpetrators of domestic violence often invest a great deal of time in isolating those that they victimize. You may be reluctant to pick back up on those relationships, but one of the best ways to move on with your life is to take back that power. 

If you were separated from your family members or friends, give them a call. Let them know as much or as little as you are comfortable sharing. Rebuilding relationships will provide you another outlet and also ensures that you have even more support as you move forward in your life.

You might be surprised to find how supportive they are when they find out more about your story. Don’t assume that the people in your life won’t be understanding; if they love you, they will be there for you. 

Set boundaries as you rebuild relationships and make it clear that you are healing. Ask for space to do that and avoid relationships that might represent setbacks or cause you to feel worse about yourself. Re-connecting is an integral part of moving forward and learning more about what you will or won’t tolerate from any relationship, romantic or otherwise. 

Cultivate a Positive Inner Voice

Chances are, while you were dealing with domestic violence, you either quieted your inner voice or suffered a great deal of negative self-talk. There is no greater time to change that than now. Moving on with your life means being much nicer to yourself.

Do all of the things you wished someone would do for you while you were in the relationship:

  • Compliment yourself in the mirror every day.
  • Wear your favorite clothing and tell yourself how pretty you look.
  • Congratulate yourself on how well you are doing.
  • Celebrate every single milestone, no matter how big or small.
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself.

The more you cultivate a positive inner voice, the more capable you will be in creating a life worth living.

Take it Slow

Healing is not a linear path, and you may find that it takes time to move on with your life after the trauma of domestic violence. While there is an entire life waiting for you, there is no need to rush into it. 

You have to learn to become comfortable with yourself again. It is especially true if you were in an abusive relationship for a lengthy period. It may be all you know, and it may take some time for you to learn how to live outside of that trauma again.

So, make a move today and contact one of our knowledgable professionals here at our Mental Health and Psychiatric Facility. We will be here waiting to assist you at Solara Mental Health Clinic

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How to Curb a Busy Mind: The Ultimate Meditation Guide

It’s estimated that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day.

This being an average, it means that some of us will have fewer thoughts. Some of us will have many more.

If you find that your mind is becoming overactive, it can cause a lot of stress. A busy mind can leave us unable to fully switch off or relax, which isn’t good for our health.

If this sounds like you, then read on as we look at some simple but effective ways to curb a busy mind.

What Is a Busy Mind?

A busy mind can be a mixture of thoughts, worries and anxieties, emotions, doubts, and other thought patterns.

We all have these types of thoughts on a daily basis, but when the sheer number of these thoughts begins to get too much, then you’re suffering from a busy mind. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things, but when you start overthinking and aren’t able to control the number of thoughts you’re having, then you might want to consider ways to curb your busy mind.

How to Curb a Busy Mind

There are some simple but effective exercises you can try which can help to calm your busy mind. By incorporating these exercises into your daily life, you can begin to calm your mind and remove the stress that a busy mind can cause.

The Power of Pause

The modern world moves at a relentless pace, and it can feel like it’s not going to stop to give you a chance to catch your breath. Even if the world doesn’t pause for a second, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Take a moment to pause and focus your attention on your senses, allowing you to refresh and renew yourself without any other concerns. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a body scan.

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap
  • If you can, close your eyes
  • Bring your attention to your feet and feel the sensations as they interact with the floor
  • Bring your attention to your legs and how they feel against whatever you are sitting on
  • Now bring your attention to your chest and focus on your breathing, noticing the rise and fall
  • Bring your attention to your arms and hands, noticing any sensations within them
  • Open your eyes and feel how a short pause has made you feel refreshed and renewed

If you find your busy mind starts to think about other things during this exercise, don’t allow this to cause tension within you. Just acknowledge what has happened and redirect your attention to your body.

The power of the pause doesn’t have to involve taking a long break from your day. Try to incorporate short pauses into your daily life to slow things down a little. You could take a short pause:

  • After completing your current task and before moving on to the next
  • If you are interrupted, before dealing with the interruption
  • If your phone rings or you get a message or email, take a short pause before checking your phone

By building these small pauses into your day, you break up the relentless pace of daily life and allow yourself room to breathe.

Mindful Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you suddenly realize you didn’t take in a single thing they said? Sometimes our minds are racing so much we fail to give attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening involves bringing your full attention to the conversation you are having. Follow these steps:

  • Stop whatever else you are doing and focus solely on the conversation
  • Take a breath to give yourself time to process what you hear
  • Focus only on the content of what is being said rather than how it makes you feel
  • Ask yourself if you understand what has been said and if not, ask for clarification
  • Reflect back on what you have been told to confirm your understanding

It can be harder to practice mindful listening when you’re on the phone rather than face to face. During phone calls:

  • Put down anything you are holding so you’re not tempted to fiddle
  • If it helps, close your eyes so that you’re not distracted by anything in your field of view
  • Try to sit as still as possible to remove any distracting physical sensations

Connecting With Your Senses

A busy mind usually stems from thinking or worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. A simple but effective way to pause those thoughts is to focus on the present moment.

One way to do that is to connect with your senses and bring your attention to what you are feeling in the here and now. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to take time out to do so; you can perform this exercise whilst going about your day. For example:

  • When you’re eating, focus your attention on the sensations in your mouth and on your tongue
  • When you’re getting dressed in the morning, bring your attention to the feeling of your clothes against your skin
  • If you’re in bed at night, listen to the sounds in your room and outside
  • If you’re driving, notice the sensations of your hands on the steering wheel
  • If you’re out walking, notice the different smells around you

By bringing your attention to the present moment, you stop your brain from worrying about the past or the future, giving your busy mind a break and allowing yourself to reset and recharge.

Are You Looking to Curb a Busy Mind?

If you’re struggling to curb a busy mind and you find that these techniques aren’t sufficient to make a difference, then we’re to help.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, from mood and anxiety disorders to trauma and personality disorders. We have the highest success rate of any comparable program based on published scientific outcome statistics. We also offer luxurious off-site housing right next door to our treatment center so that you can move seamlessly between your appointments and your accommodation.

We’re here to help; contact us today.

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Learn the Difference: Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

Recognizing the symptoms and causes of a panic attack vs anxiety attack is a crucial step to releasing yourself from the grip of the attack.

One difference is that panic attacks may begin suddenly, while anxiety attacks escalate more gradually. Still, every person experiences panic and anxiety in different ways.

Once you can better differentiate between the two experiences, it might also be beneficial to share this information with a loved one. Then, they can better support you when you’re having a panic attack or anxiety attack.

Learning more about how your body responds to stress and trauma means you can begin to develop a deeper relationship with yourself. If you want to more fully understand your body, your mind, and your triggers, keep reading.

What’s a Panic Attack

When your autonomic nervous system takes charge of your body, it’s perceiving a threat to your person and reacting in the only ways it knows how.

This can also be referred to as your fight or flight response (which also includes the freeze and fawn responses).

Your body is bracing for impact, even if that potential danger is a conversation or a fear of elevators, and not a predator or hurricane. That being said, this stress is still genuine, even if the potential trigger doesn’t seem like it should be a “big deal.”

Panic attacks can arrive quickly. Sometimes there are no warning signs, and the physical symptoms can feel overwhelming.

In addition, panic attacks are typically more short-lived and subside in around 10 minutes. This may not be the case for all panic attacks, but it is a general estimation.

What’s an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks can more frequently or easily be connected to a specific trigger.

For example, if you’re anticipating stress about a business meeting, that pre-event stress can cause an anxiety attack.

The level of overwhelm can vary for anxiety attacks. But the symptoms are more likely to linger in your body for minutes or hours after recovering from the attack.

These symptoms may grow and subside multiple times throughout the experience, as well.

Frequent anxiety attacks can be a result of other mental health conditions or phobias. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), claustrophobia, and other memories of trauma can cause extreme anxiety.

All the Symptoms

The symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety attacks are similar. So, it’s understandable why it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the two.

But there are a few symptoms that might be able to help you identify which experience you’re having, and potentially why it might be happening.

Panic Attack Symptoms

Some panic attack symptoms include chest pain, nausea, sweating, and dizziness.

While an anxiety attack could exhibit similar symptoms, a panic attack can also include feeling a loss of control. This feeling can be accompanied by a fear that you will die, or mentally dissociating from yourself or your surroundings.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Symptoms of an anxiety attack might also involve irritability, numbness in your arms or legs, and shortness of breath.

Anxiety attacks are currently included in the DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But, some other symptoms attributed to anxiety attacks are extreme worry and distress, and restlessness.

Possible Triggers

What causes panic attacks and anxiety attacks could be any singular event or a combination of stressors.

An upcoming work project or social gathering could trigger an anxiety attack. Recalling past trauma or being in a toxic relationship could cause a panic attack. Or, the resulting reaction could be vice versa.

What You Can Do

While you can’t necessarily control when or how a panic attack or anxiety attack occurs, there are some things you can do to reduce your stress.

Over time, you can learn to recognize and accept your emotional and physiological responses.

At Home

There are some holistic relaxation practices you can incorporate into your routines and reactions at home to help with anxiety and panic. Some of these include breathing patterns and other mindfulness efforts.

Learning to relax and destress isn’t something that happens in a day or two. It is a regular practice of returning to the present moment.

You have to learn to recognize that your body’s response to danger isn’t founded in any physical threat to your well-being.

In other words, your stress is still real and valid. But the threat your mind perceives will not actually physically harm you in that moment of overwhelming stress.

Practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling can also help bring your body back to reality and reset your mind’s perspective.

Lifestyle Changes

While practicing yoga and coloring are effective methods to relax, they can only help so much.

If showing up at your job every day is a constant source of stress, or your three cups of coffee are more for comfort than for increasing productivity, you might need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Huge stressors like your job, your relationship, and your eating habits can be significant triggers for panic attacks or anxiety attacks. Altering your lifestyle is imperative to reduce your body’s overwhelming responses to stress.

Try to slowly cut back on your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Incorporate physical movement into each day. If you want to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles, join a support group.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

It may be confusing to determine the differences between a panic attack vs anxiety attack. Ultimately, your main job is to take care of yourself and recognize how your body is responding to extreme stress.

If you resonated with this information, make sure you have all the information you need before you make any significant life decisions. If you’d like to seek out more in-depth personal care, check out our programs here.

7 Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety Most People Don’t Notice

Anxiety hurts. 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making them the most common mental illness in the United States.

Few people would imagine just how prevalent anxiety is. Mental illness isn’t a physical disease. It doesn’t show up on the body. It resides in the mind, which can make it hard to recognize.

High-functioning anxiety is especially difficult to see. Many people who have it are successful people. Yet, it can be crippling.

Learn to recognize the signs of high-functioning anxiety, and you can learn how to manage it. Here are seven signs of what it’s like.

1. Being an Overachiever

It’s important to set goals and take strides toward them. But people with high-functioning anxiety may set too many high goals.

People with high-functioning anxiety may not stop working. They don’t take vacations, and they stay late at the office. Once they achieve a goal, they set a new one and start working on it.

A person may never feel satisfied with their work. Their coworkers and boss may regard them very positively. But all that matters to the overachiever is the next goal to hit.

It’s hard to recognize when someone is an overachiever. Overachievers meet deadlines and present a professional appearance. Many overachievers have full and active social lives.

But they can’t stop working. Their anxiety compels them to keep going, beyond a point that is healthy.

2. Being a Perfectionist

A little anxiety can serve as a mental check. It can help a person recognize the mistakes they have made and correct them. But too much anxiety can prompt a person to be too cautious.

Someone with high-functioning anxiety stresses out over every detail. They may revise a written work many times over. They may check-in with employees many times a day, exercising too much control.

They may become afraid of failure. If they make one small mistake, they view themselves as having failed.

People with high-functioning anxiety can become focused on results, neglecting the process of creating work. The people around them usually see them as good workers. But the truth is they are pushing themselves too hard.

3. Apologizing for Insignificant Things

A related behavior to perfectionism is over-apologizing. Many bosses forgive or correct small mistakes. But to someone with anxiety, no mistake is too small.

Many people with high-functioning anxiety apologize for something that isn’t their fault. They take responsibility for someone else’s mistake. They take responsibility for an accident that was outside their control.

Apologizing for small things may lead someone to take on more work. They want to correct a mistake, so they redo their work or ask for another task. This can cause a person to feel stretched too thin.

4. Inability to Say “No”

The fear of failure leads many people to associate failure with the smallest things. When they say “no” to someone, they think they are failing in that person’s eyes. As such, many people with high-functioning anxiety don’t say “no.”

Like apologizing, this can lead people to overexert themselves. They take on more work than they should. They stay later to work, exhausting themselves.

The inability to say “no” can lead to trouble in social areas. A person may commit themselves to a relationship that isn’t good for them. They may give too much to their partner and not ask for anything in return.

5. Overthinking

Some tasks deserve more thought than others. Someone with high-functioning anxiety may apply the same level of thought to all tasks.

Someone gives a 100-word assignment the same priority as a 500-word one. They apply sophisticated techniques that aren’t warranted.

This causes the person to exhaust themselves. It can also hurt their work process. They may turn in assignments too late because they spend so much time thinking it over.

A person can even overthink their physical and mental health. They may become a hypochondriac, convinced that they have significant health problems. They may diagnose themselves with generalized anxiety when they have another condition.

6. Too Little Sleep

The most common physical symptom of high-functioning anxiety is too little sleep. A person spends the night at the office, rather than going to bed.

When they do go to bed, their mind is racing. They keep overthinking things, and they can’t fall asleep.

They may wake up in the middle of the night, consumed in thought. They may also wake up early so they can get work done.

7. Coping With Drugs or Alcohol

People with high-functioning anxiety may use drugs to work longer. Drugs can provide a rush that gives them more energy. They may become dependent on drugs or alcohol for feelings of happiness or pleasure.

Some people may recognize that their behavior isn’t healthy. But they don’t seek professional help. They turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their problems.

Daily Coping Tips for High-Functioning Anxiety

There are many treatment options for people with high-functioning anxiety. If anything in your mental or physical health troubles you, go to a doctor immediately.

You can receive a formal diagnosis of generalized, high-functioning, and/or social anxiety. Your doctor can point to any medical conditions that cause your anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients to identify negative thoughts. They practice new skills, learning to set attainable goals. They monitor themselves, developing problem-solving strategies to meet challenges.

Psychodynamic therapy allows patients to examine their own lives. They determine the roots and triggers of their anxiety. They learn management methods and grow to have a sense of peace in their lives.

Commit to spending fifteen minutes every day on your mental health. Practice sleep hygiene, sticking to a regular schedule.

When you notice a negative thought, counter it with something realistic. Practice deep breathing and muscle stretching to control your tension.

Go and Get the Help You Deserve

High-functioning anxiety can be complicated and isolating. But you can get help. Recognize some common signs, and you can start improving your mental health.

The most common signs are being an overachiever and a perfectionist. Apologizing for insignificant things and being unable to say “no” are also common.

Many people overthink things, causing them to lose sleep. Some turn to alcohol and drugs to help them work longer or to cope.
You have worth. Find some help that can maximize your worth.

Solara Mental Health is San Diego’s leading mental health clinic. Contact us today, or call us at 844-263-4882.

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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)? How Well Does it Work to Treat Depression and Anxiety?

speaking with mental health professional about treatment

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Depression and anxiety have a new treatment option, and it is becoming more widely used all across the United States. What is transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS?

How well does TMS work?
Does it sound too “science fiction-ey”?

More than 16 million adults in the United States experienced a major depressive episode between 2017 and 2018, and with medical science advancing as rapidly as it is, it’s no wonder that new technologies and therapies are beginning to take the stage as options to conventional mental health treatment plans.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS is a magnetic stimulation technique intended to target nerves in your brain that affect your mental health. More specifically, the magnetic field, delivered through a special device you wear on or over your head, stimulates the brain cells known to affect mood. The levels of magnetic energy used are in low amounts, at an individual’s unique brain frequency.

Most TMS sessions take 20 to 60 minutes, and don’t require any time to recover afterward. About four to six weeks into treatment (daily, five days a week) is when most patients start noticing significant results, and after that initial treatment, patients only need to go on an “as needed” basis. Regardless of the fact that it’s not meant to be a permanent cure, patients who undergo TMS therapy feel much better overall for several months up to a full year afterward.

Many lifelong depression and anxiety patients who have undergone TMS treatments for at least a month to six weeks will tell you that they begin seeing positive results immediately after each treatment.

TMS was approved in 2008 to treat depression and in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved TMS therapy to treat some migraine conditions. In the fall of 2018 the FDA went on to approve TMS to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and studies are currently underway to see if it can be a viable treatment for other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some aspects of TMS appear to simulate what some medications do, e.g., the release of dopamine that happens after a TMS session is similar (but not exactly the same) to what a medication can do.

But TMS can restore functionality, and that’s the important thing. Patients who undergo TMS treatment report “feeling normal” again, compared to patients on psychotropic medications who feel “different” than they do normally, because of some of the medication’s side effects.

What’s so Great About TMS?

TMS is part of a newer generation of developing technologies informed by neuroscience and easier to use than current technologies. It could very well be a look at the future of mental health care: it’s non-invasive, immediately effective after the first month to six weeks of treatment for long periods of time, and it’s especially effective for those with more severe depression and anxiety.

After the brief treatment, patients can get back to being engaged with their lives immediately, with a more positive outlook, and all the energy they need to do all the things they normally do. Further research shows that even just a few minutes of TMS daily can make a significant improvement in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

TMS side effects are few and they are mild. Common side effects include minor headaches, lightheadedness, and some scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. Some facial muscle spasms, and tingling or twitching of these muscles has also been reported during treatment sessions

What’s the Difference Between TMS and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

TMS has shown itself to be a viable alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for patients who are resistant to conventional mental illness treatments.

There are some key differences between TMS and ECT treatments:

  • ECT requires anesthesia and typically a hospital stay while TMS does not.
  • ECT brings with it the risk of memory loss and cognitive confusion. Patients undergoing TMS have not manifested these side effects.
  • ECT is designed to create a brief seizure in the patient as a part of the treatment session. TMS does not utilize seizures as a way to treat patients.

TMS Accessibility?

If you’ve tried several types of antidepressants or other standard depression treatment, and have not received relief from your symptoms, you may want to discuss TMS with your mental health care professional. Ask him or her about the benefits and risks, and if TMS could be a good addition to your treatment.

TMS currently has one downside: the cost. It costs up to $10,000 to 15,000 for the initial four-to-six-week treatment. Though TMS has been approved by the FDA to treat depression and anxiety after trying one antidepressant medication that proved unsuccessful at controlling depressive/anxiety symptoms, many insurance companies won’t cover the treatment until after a patient has tried at least four different antidepressants. Double check with your insurance company to see if your coverage will cover TMS treatments if you are considering. It is still less expensive than ECT.

As always, maintain your sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques as you normally would, even if you do undergo TMS treatment, as it will not be effective if you are not taking care of yourself.

Have you heard about TMS? Post a comment below. . .We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Are you struggling with mental health issues? Mental health is very manageable. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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The Best Reasons to Let Jasmine Plants and Their Essential Oils Help with Your Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks

jasmine flowers can help you with your depression, anxiety, and overall mental health

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Scientists have concluded that the scent of jasmine has such therapeutic benefits that it could possibly end up being used as a medication alternative for depression, stress, anxiety, sleep, and other disorders. 

Is jasmine (or any other plant) really capable of helping boost your mood and relieve anxiety?

It’s common knowledge that one benefit of having plants indoors is that they help improve air quality by circulating oxygen freely. Less well known is the fact that, as simple as it seems, there are several plants that can actually alleviate several mental illness symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Your brain needs a sufficient supply of oxygen to function properly. Scientific research has already shown direct relationships between stress and tainted oxygen levels. When toxins exist in the indoor air spike, so do levels of stress/anxiety, which can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, otherwise known as depression.

Has anyone ever told you that when you start feeling stressed, or feel a panic attack coming on, to take a break and walk around the block for a few minutes to “clear your head”? By the way, it really does work!

It should come as a “no-brainer,” then, that one of your first lines of defense against stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression is to keep the air clean in your environment.

And if you’ve never smelled jasmine, know that the scent rising off of the petals is delightfully sweet and inviting. No wonder that jasmine’s scent is found in more than 83 percent of all women’s fragrances and in about one-third of all men’s.

JASMINE FOR ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS AND DEPRESSION

Jasmine oil is derived from the white/yellow jasmine flower (often listed as Jasminum officinale), and therefore sports a pleasant, flowery scent. It has been used for centuries in Asia as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, emotional distress, low libido, and insomnia. The word Jasmine has evolved from the Persian yasmin, meaning “a gift from God” due to the patently strong aroma created by the jasmine flower.

Researchers have shown that jasmine essential oil and plant aromas can sedate lab mice quite quickly. When exposed to the fragrance of jasmine, normally active mice will cease all movement and activity and “just chill” in a corner of their cages.

Jasmine’s scent directly impacts a brain/central nervous system chemical known as GABA, which results in the calming of the nerves, a soothing of anxiety/mild depression, and the facilitating of rest. This GABA effect was bolstered by more than five times when exposed to jasmine fragrance, to be more precise, overshadowing the same effect caused by other scents. Jasmine was also shown to be more effective than anti-anxiety meds and sleeping pills in promoting quality sleep. One study indicated that the disbursement of jasmine fragrance into a roomful of sleeping test subjects noticeably led to less tossing and turning and heightened sleep efficiency, even without additional sleep time.

Scientists went on to say that this demonstrated link between jasmine aroma and relaxed mood may be among the strongest arguments in support of the viability of aromatherapy as a mental health treatment method.

JASMINE ESSENTIAL OIL FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Scientific studies show some other benefits of indulging in the scent of jasmine:

  • Almost instantaneous soothing of nervous tension; alleviates spasms
  • Promotes feelings of contentment and happiness
  • Boosts cognitive performance, concentration, and alertness, even in the late afternoon hours when most people are beginning to slow down and “fade out” for the day
  • Balance of mood swings, blood pressure, PMS symptoms, hormones, menopause/hot flashes, and libido
  • Defuses aggression
  • Boosts vigor/vitality
  • Can lower blood pressure
  • Long-term treatment for insomnia
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Combats bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Alleviates coughing
  • Skin care; including reduction of visibility of scarring/scar tissue

How do you use jasmine oil?

What are the best ways to apply and enjoy the benefits of jasmine oil/plants? Here are a few:

  • You can inhale the jasmine fragrance through your nose or apply it directly to the skin. Even just a few drops will have a noticeable effect before long. How soothing is it? Some research has referred to the jasmine scent as being “as good as valium at calming the nerves without the side effects.”
  • Don’t worry about combining it with a carrier oil. Use it undiluted for the best results.
  • You can, however combine it with other essential oils, as well as with lotions, coconut oil, and for a variety of other household/personal uses. Try it as a massage oil or in candles/soaps.
  • Combine with other essential oils (e.g., citrus oil, vanilla, lavender, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, and others).
  • Apply a few drops to a washcloth (with or without lavender oil) and toss in the dryer with your clothes. Voila! Your own homemade dryer sheets that will soften your clothes, make them smell great, and boost your mood!

Keep in mind that while jasmine plants/oils can help alleviate depressive/anxiety-driven symptoms, they are no substitute for proper therapy with someone properly trained and licensed to help you with any serious cases of mental disorder. Consult with a mental health professional.

WHAT DO YOU USE FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ALLEVIATION?? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Are you struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Both are treatable, and their treatment usually leads to an improved sense of overall wellness and better sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.