Those who undergo treatment for substance abuse experience a variety of different symptoms. Some symptoms include anxiety, trouble sleeping, nausea, sweating, muscle aches, nervousness, and even hallucinations. Anxiety is one of the most primary symptoms. Anxiety occurs because the body is detoxing and adjusting to various chemical changes and bodily processes. During these processes, you may experience a temporary period of anxiety. The most important factor for people to remember is that this is a normal feeling. Your body is adapting to the changes going on and therefore, anxiety is expected So, what can you do to help minimize these feelings of anxiety?
1. Work on developing grounding exercises to keep your mind and body calm as the anxiety hits. Some grounding techniques include focusing on your feet as they hit the ground and objects around you that you can touch. Tactile resources can help keep you grounded and focused on the present moment.
2. Find a safe place where you can take deep breaths and focus on your core.
3. Purchase a diary or journal where you can write down and express fears, worries, and emotions that come through your brain during these anxious times. Writing these feelings out on paper will allow for a healthy release and in turn relaxing your mind and reducing anxiety provoking thoughts.
4. Learn how you can engage with the “happy hormones,” such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Simple tasks such as laughing, dancing, engaging with nature, and eating certain foods can boost your mood and help with your anxious feelings.
5. Consider speaking with a mental health professional as they can provide you with a safe outlet to discuss your feelings and give you targeted coping skills to get past these turbulent times.
These times may be challenging, and the anxiety can be overwhelming. However, the most important thing to remember is that this is a phase and as your body adjusts to the chemical changes, your anxiety will begin to fade. Surround yourself with a support system, develop strong and realistic coping skills, and remember that anxiety can be fleeting. Just as you have conquered your substance abuse, you can conquer this anxiety too.
Recurring anxiety can happen for many different reasons. It can be due to a body memory, which means that your body is remembering getting anxious at specific times. For example, if you have suffered a previous trauma, your body might remember the exact time of day it occurred. Therefore, you have an anxious reaction at that specific time because your body learned to experience that feeling from a previous traumatic event that occurred.
Recurring anxiety can also occur due to a lack of proper sleep, nutrition, and water. This can cause low blood pressure and low blood sugar, which in turn can lead to an increase in anxiety. Nourishing your body with proper nutrition, a sufficient quantity of water, and developing a solid, steady sleep routine can help as you work to lessen these anxious occurrences.
All of this is completely normal. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. Some experience it consistently, at random times, and or at recurring times of the day. There are skills that you can develop and routines that you can engage in to help prevent and overcome these anxious feelings.
Here are my 4 tips for coping with recurring anxiety:
1. Try to investigate the feeling to determine the root cause and ask yourself the following questions: Could there have been a past trauma that may have caused this? Is there a specific trigger that is causing this to happen? When did these feelings start? Am I properly nourished with food, sleep, and hydration?
2. Change the environment that you are in when the anxiety occurs. Provide yourself with a safe space to release your emotions and become one with your body and mind. In reconnecting with your body, the mind relaxes—hence anxiety reduces.
3. Find a release for the anxiety or coping mechanisms such as taking deep breaths, taking a walk, relaxing in a warm bath, calling a friend, or dancing to your favorite song.
4. Prepare a list of daily mantras to say that encourage you to get through your anxious moments such as, ‘this is temporary and will pass,’ or ‘anxiety is just a feeling and there is no immediate threat or danger.’
Panic attacks can come on suddenly, without reason, and leave one in a total panic of what to do. Do you know what you can say to someone who is experiencing one? There are many things that you can do and say to someone who is in these moments of the unknown. Next time you encounter someone in a panic attack, try telling them one of these wonderful suggestions below!
Everyone experiences anxiety and panic in different ways. There is no perfect thing to say to help someone who is struggling with panic, but we hope that these tips give you some insight into how you can best help someone close to you.
Even when you do not want to admit it, social media has some form of power over you. As a mental health professional, I can see the effects manifesting in a variety of patients. It can affect all ages, genders, and even appear in various walks of life. The following are some of the more common ways in which social media can impact your mental health.
The truth of the matter is no one’s life is exactly as it appears on social media. People put out the parts they want others to see and hide the parts they do not want anyone knowing. The constant comparison and need to fit in can lead to depression, anxiety, and other issues. Mental health and social media is an ever evolving topic and will continue to be a hot topic in mental healthcare as we learn ways of helping patients through these newfound issues.
It is important to start your day off with a smile, positive attitude, and bright perspective. Many people do not have ample time in the morning before starting their day. So, what can you do in the morning in under 5 minutes that can transform your day? Here are 11 helpful tips:
One of the most important lessons to learn in life is when you are feeling that someone does not care about your feelings, it is often more about them than it is about you. You are interpreting the situation that they do not care about you when that may not be the case. This person may be going through something else that is completely unrelated to your relationship. They may be lacking the emotional intelligence that is needed to empathize and show compassion towards you. They may not know how to express themselves in an appropriate manner. It is crucial that you do not personalize the experience. What this ultimately means is that this has nothing to do with you and it is purely a reflection on them. Do not take this experience and internalize it in a way that you begin to blame yourself for their lack of being able to care about you and your feelings.
1. What is sympathy? What is empathy?
-Sympathy is when you experience feelings of compassion, sadness, grief, or pity for the pain that someone else is dealing with.
-Empathy is when you are able to imagine the thoughts and feelings that someone else is experiencing. This is when you can put yourself in the shoes of another person.
2. What is the difference and why does it matter?
-It is important to understand that these two differ in many ways. Sympathy is when you have feelings towards a person, whereas empathy is when you are feeling with a person. Think of sympathy as a one-way street and empathy as a two-way street. When you feel sympathy for a person, it can be interpreted as one being condescending towards the person suffering and therefore can create a separation. Comparatively, empathy allows you to be able to feel what the other is feeling, fostering a connection between the two people.
3. What is compassion?
-The literal meaning of compassion is “to suffer together.” If you see someone suffering, you want to relieve their suffering and help them through these times. It is the emotion that you feel when you want to lessen someone else’s misfortunes and struggles.
4. How are they all interconnected?
Empathy, sympathy, and compassion are all interconnected because combined they allow another person to feel like you care about them. It is offering warm guidance and being there for someone in ways to make them feel comfortable, safe, heard, and loved.
We have seen an increase in a variety of mental health issues since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the lockdown, the loss of loved ones, the change in job status, and the general anxiety of a major illness spreading through our world, people have found themselves in unfamiliar territory. When faced with these fears and stressors, some have turned to therapy, some have turned to self-injury, some have completely withdrawn, and some have turned to drinking and began engaging in addictive behaviors.
So, you might be wondering why is this happening and what are the dangers in drinking as a coping mechanism?
When someone is faced with a difficult situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they may feel that their only coping mechanism is to drink alcohol. They find that drinking numbs the emotional fears and anxieties that they cannot face on their own. People will find that after a stressful day or a stressful event, the only way they know to unwind is with a drink in their hand. COVID has only added to those daily stressors that people deal with. Drinking has become an acceptable way of dealing with this because for most, this is unprecedented territory. No one knows what the acceptable reaction is to the way we are living. Therefore, given the nature of the world we live in right now, this has become an increasingly popular coping skill. However, there is danger to this choice. You have the well-known risks of becoming addicted and dependant on the drink. You will find yourself needing multiple drinks just to get through the day. This can lead to physical addiction symptoms, as well as emotional dangers such as increase in violence and anger. The more you lean on alcohol as your stress relief, the more you put yourself at risk for these and many other detrimental effects. It is important that you deal with the emotions, anxieties, and stressful feelings you are suffering from. We do not know when this pandemic will end. Therefore, it is important to face these fears head on now and develop a healthier way of dealing with the stress. Some ways that you can deal with these feelings include engaging in physical activity, proper nutrition, meditation, or finding a mental health professional to speak to in order get to the root cause of your thoughts. Sometimes, just speaking to someone and verbally expressing your thoughts can be the stress relief that you need. Drinking does not need to be the answer.
Always remember, you must acknowledge the past and embrace the present to enjoy the future. If you drown out the present, you will not be able to enjoy your future, which we hope can be very bright.
Many people suffer from nighttime anxiety and anxiety that happens right before you try to fall asleep. I like to call this, ‘sleep anxiety,’ which is basically due to having anxiety about not being able to fall asleep. You get worried that you won’t be able to fall asleep and then think that you are going to be very tired tomorrow and it isn’t going to be okay. These thoughts can keep you up at night and lead to interrupted sleep, restless sleep, or even no sleep at all.
So, how can you go about calming the anxiety before bed? I have found that taking time to decompress and clear your mind has helped many patients. Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. We can’t just expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. We need to transition just like we transition to go outside or when we get home. I would recommend that you minimize screen time before bed, take a warm bath, engage in deep breathing, leisurely reading, or even listen to a sleep story on the Calm app. The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head, so your mindset is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. Try to reduce the pressure that you put on yourself to fall asleep. Accept that you may just end up resting and that is also good for the mind and body. Also, remind yourself that worrying about it is usually a much worse feeling in the moment versus the next day when you are feeling tired. You won’t feel as anxious, and it won’t be as bad as your imagining, and it never usually is. Also, remember that you don’t need to try to fall asleep. When your mind gets as relaxed as it can be, it does the work itself and involuntary.
In recent months, mental health in sports has come to the forefront of the news. You will often hear people discussing Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles and the decisions that they have made in order to put their mental health first. There is a stigma around mental health and even more so when you are in the public eye. The pressure to be perfect and have the ideal public image can put stress on your mental health and prevent you from taking the steps needed to give yourself self-care. If you are expected to be a role model, whether it be to your friends and family or as a public figure, you need to be in the proper mental state to do this in a positive light. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot properly represent yourself in a way in which you can inspire others.
It is important to take a break, sit with yourself, and take part in daily self-care rituals. There are few ways in which you can engage in self-care. Some of these include:
1. Putting your phone away and getting off of social media for a period of time
2. Taking a walk or engaging with nature
3. Enjoying a bath with calming music
4. Reading a book for leisure
6. Expressing yourself in a journal
There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first and taking care of your mental health is the first step in doing that.