Close Ad

anxiety

Emma Stone's Panic Is the Perfect Lesson For Any of Us That Deal with Anxiety
Celebrities

Emma Stone's Panic Is the Perfect Lesson For Any of Us That Deal with Anxiety

Emma Stone won best actress at the Oscars for Poor Things—and the 35-year-old actress was genuinely shocked when they announced her name.For anyone who works in the film industry, there is no bigger achievement than to take home a coveted Academy Award. Even Emma Stone is no exception! No matter how successful she may be, like so many others, she'd dreamed of this moment since she was a little girl. But she had a nightmare too—and it seemed like both were coming true.Emma Stone's Life Long Struggle With AnxietySeth Poppel/Yearbook LibraryAs shocking as it may seem, Emma Stone's been acting for nearly 2 decades! After her hilarious performance in the beloved coming-of-age flick Easy A, Stone quickly became a household name. You'd think being in the industry all those years, Stone would be more than comfortable basking in the limelight.But this couldn't be further from the truth.Stone has openly spoken about her anxiety mental disorder and she hopes in doing so, it'll allow others who struggle with anxiety to feel less alone."I started in therapy, I think around age 8, because it was getting really hard for me to leave the house to go to school," she says. "I sort of lived in fear of these panic attacks."Emma StoneFor someone as famous as Stone, admitting she struggles with anxiety can be terrifying. No matter how good our intentions are—our truth is vulnerable! Even though society's come a long way, we still have a ways to go. There's still a stigma around mental health issues—but Stone is dead set on not giving in.In fact, she's not giving up.How Her Weakness Became Her "Superpower"Despite her battle with anxiety, "The Amazing Spiderman" actress accepted the challenge.At only 15 years old, she convinced her parents to move from Arizona to Los Angeles so she could start an acting career. For Stone, she found the silver lining in all her fears. Instead of letting them hold her back—she used them to push her forward. When she got on stage, Stone was forced to focus on the present. She channeled her anxious emotions into something more constructive—more powerful.These jittery emotions became her secret weapon. Her greatest strength.And it paid off... Twice.No One Thought Stone Would Win—When They Called Her Name, She Looked Like She Was Going To Be SickDespite Stone's envelope-pushing performance as the incorrigible Bella Baxter—Lily Gladstone was projected to take home the award for her killer performance in "Killer's of the Flower Moon". The odds were even less in Stone's favour as she snagged her first Oscar in 2017 for her performance in La La Land.No one thought she would win a second Academy Award—including Stone herself!Then Michelle Yeoh, announced her name and the reaction cam said it all. Stone looked almost dazed—even confused! In fact, she looked like she was going to throw up. For a moment she just sat in her seat, while everyone around her gave a standing ovation.No matter how good of an actress Stone is—it's clear this was one time she wasn't faking it. As the saying goes, "just being nominated is an honour" and it's pretty clear Stone was in this frame of mind—and the turn of events was shocking to say the least.But for someone who struggles with anxiety? In a split second when everything changes?Fear kicks in. And it can be paralyzing.Good News/Winning Can Be Just As Startling As Bad News/Losing Even though the unexpected win was nothing but good news—for someone with a history of anxiety disorder like Stone—the shocking turn of events couldn't have made her stomach turn more.For people who struggle with anxiety, the overwhelming feelings can hit anytime, anywhere. In fact, one of the biggest triggers of a panic attack can be when things don't go according to plan.For Stone, winning her second Academy Award just a few years after her first win, seemed to good to be true. She wasn't prepared to take the stage—so when she had to—it hit her like a ton of (gold) bricks.After the shock wore off, Stone was caught on camera breathing deep—likely a technique to calm herself down. Finally got up to accept her award.Then her dress ripped.Talk about things not going according to plan.Her Big Moment Was Almost Overshadowed By A Wardrobe Malfunction In a split second, nearly everything went wrong for the suddenly two-time Oscar winner!As Stone made her way toward the stage, she realized the back of her dress had ripped and in her speech she alluded to this being one of her biggest "nightmares".Upon taking the stage, Stone was flush with embarrassment. She mouthed to a fellow actress on stage, "my dress, my dress".Her eyes pleaded for someone to throw her a life line. "King Kong" actress, Jessica Lange tried her best to jump in but it was all moving too fast. Michelle Yeoh who didn't catch the wardrobe malfunction—quickly handed Stone her golden statue, and Stone was forced to take the microphone and make her acceptance speech.Instead of ignoring the elephant in the room, Stone got candid about how embarrassed she was."Oh boy. My dress is broken!", Stone word-vomitted, before turning her back to the audience and gesturing at her busted zipper.Instead of Dying On The Inside—She Laughed It Off On The OutPATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty ImagesEven though the moment couldn't have felt more embarrassing for Stone, she attacked the problem head on—and the greatest thing happened.She got a laugh from the crowd. A sign of encouragement—letting her know it was OK.We've all been there. Accidents happen! And thankfully, Stone chose to get candid about how anxious she felt, and she got just the support she needed—literally.It's hard to be real when you're feeling overwhelmed, but had Stone kept her fears bottled up she may never would have known that sometimes when we think everyone's judging us...they're not.In fact, their really happy to lend us a hand—and a sewing kit?The best part was, this embarrassing wardrobe malfunction couldn't have had a more positive effect. The live, widely televised moment, made people who struggle with anxiety feel totally seen.She Didn't Have A Speech Prepared—So She Took A Deep Breath And Spoke From The Heart During her speech Emma Stone spoke about how her "Poor Things" Director, gave her an amazing piece of advice, when it came to channeling her fears into greatness."The other night I was panicking as you can kind of see—it happens a lot—that maybe something like this could happen. And Yorgos [Lanthimos, Poor Things’ director] said to me, 'Please take yourself out of it,' and he was right, because it’s not about me".Emma Stone, The Academy AwardsStone went on to say how making movies is a collaboration. It's a team sport. A film is made up of "something greater than it's sum parts". Her speech was a full circle moment.It was a reminder that even though she was the one who would take the stage—her anxiety didn't need to be front and center. In order to give proper thanks to all the amazing cast and crew who helped her have her "moment", Stone's fears would have to take a back seat. And with a bit of deep breathing to pause and reflect...they did.Thankfully, "Poor Things" director Yorgos Lanthimos was there to remind Stone of this message—and in turn Stone was able to pass it on and share it with the world.Watch Emma Stone's Full Speech:The fact of the matter is, anxiety disorder affects over 30% of the population—but the comforting news is, it doesn't discriminate.Even the rich, beautiful, and famous aren't safe when it comes to mental health problems—but thankfully these celebs who have such a big platform have the opportunity to be a mouthpiece for the rest of us—and pave the way when it comes to shattering the stigmas.But that's not the only silver lining.The Anxiety Loophole Experts Can't Stop Talking About They say depression is a avoiding pain of the past and anxiety is fear of the future. Often these two mental health issues go hand-in-hand, with one illness being more predominant than the other.But thankfully when it comes to anxiety disorder, experts have found a loophole, and it couldn't be a better way to look at the glass "half full".Is It Anxiety Or Excitement? You Have The Power To DecideChristopher Polk/Variety via Getty ImagesAccording to Forbes Magazine there's nothing stopping your from "re-labeling" your anxiety as excitement."The feeling of anxiety is physiologically almost the same as the feeling of excitement." Forbes MagazineForbes expert research concluded, "Both feelings produce an elevated heart rate and a feeling of butterflies in your stomach. Both might make you sweat. Your body is readying itself for action."3 Tips For "Re-Labeling" Your Anxiety1. Take a moment to think about your situationFirst, assess whether anxiety or excitement would serve you better in a given situation. When faced with a threatening scenario, such as someone wielding a gun, it's natural to experience anxiety, and there may be limited control over that response. Conversely, when gearing up for an interview, view it as a chance to create positive outcomes! Consider it an opportunity to showcase your skills and share your knowledge. Embrace the excitement of this prospect. By concentrating on the positive aspects, you often find that anxiety subsides, and your enthusiasm enables you to present yourself as more competent, enthusiastic, and personable.2. Focus On Positive OutcomesShift your focus to positive outcomes. Anxiety often stems from dwelling on potential negatives that rarely materialize. Stay optimistic, concentrating on positive possibilities, to reduce anxiety and enhance excitement. A heightened sense of excitement can improve your performance, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome. Cultivating this positive feedback loop is beneficial.3. Don't calm downSounds counter-intuitive, but hear us out! Harness your emotional sensations to energize yourself. Rather than fighting anxiety, channel that energy like an emotional martial artist! If possible, engage in activities like exercise, swimming, dancing, or playing sports like golf, basketball, or boxing to make use of this heightened energy.

3 Surprising Ways a Weighted Blanket Can Ease Anxiety Symptoms
Mental Health

3 Surprising Ways a Weighted Blanket Can Ease Anxiety Symptoms

If you suffer from anxiety, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S. daily, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Seeking professional help for mental health struggles is always a good idea. That being said, a weighted blanket can help alleviate your anxiety symptoms while providing you with a great night of sleep. Weighted blankets tend to weigh between five and 30 pounds. Some offer cooling or heating features, depending on your sleeping preferences. They feel good – like a cozy hug. But their benefits go beyond that feel-good factor. For example, a study had 30 people who had been hospitalized for a mental health crisis use a weighted blanket, and 60% of them reported lower anxiety after using the blanket. Here are three surprising ways a weighted blanket can ease anxiety symptoms. Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation A study revealed that using a weighted blanket during dental treatments helped keep patients calmer. That’s because of Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DPTS). It refers to a technique that has been used to support individuals with autism spectrum disorders, but getting a massage or using a weighted blanket is also a form of DPTS. If you have anxiety, your nervous system often goes into high alert even if there is no actual threat in your environment. DPTS works by stimulating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite state of being in fight-or-flight mode. Chronic Pain Relief Research published in “The Journal of Pain” showed that using a 15-pound weighted blanket reduced the severity of chronic pain. Since chronic pain is also associated with anxiety, a weighted blanket can help manage your pain and reduce the anxiety symptoms that come with it. Improved Sleep Quality Even if you don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder, a lack of sleep can keep you on edge during the day. Weighted blankets help prevent the anxiety symptoms caused by poor sleep. According to The Sleep Foundation, they stimulate the production of serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone, while reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone). This may improve overall sleep quality. Weighted blankets for anxiety Ready to try a weighted blanket to manage your anxiety? They’re not all created equal. Here are a few top-rated options to consider. Casper Sleep Weighted Blanket The Casper Sleep Weighted Blanket is inspired by the design of down jackets: quilted channels distribute the micro bead fill evenly to hug your body. In other words, it’s extra cozy. Thanks to a breathable cover that lets air circulate, it won’t feel oppressive. The blanket comes in three weight options, too: 10, 15 and 20 pounds. Go with 10% of your body weight for ultimate comfort. SEE IT: $74.25 at Amazon.com Gravity Blanket “I’m thrilled a friend recommended this item to me as I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorder along with insomnia and this blanket truly helps with these conditions. I was in doubt when purchasing the Gravity Blanket due to the price, but I have to admit it’s well worth the money spent. I’m glad I made this purchase and it’s super soft as well,” wrote an Amazon reviewer. The Gravity Blanket is on the pricey side, but it gets consistent rave reviews for its high-quality design. The exterior is made of super-soft micro fleece, and it looks as good as a throw on your living couch as a blanket in your bedroom. SEE IT: $212.49 at Amazon.com Luna Cooling Weighted Blanket If you’re a hot sleeper, you can still reap the benefits of a weighted blanket. The Luna Cooling Weighted Blanket keeps you cool and comfortable while you sleep. It is made of breathable 100% cotton and a micro glass bead filling. The design features layered air channels for optimal temperature-control and air circulation. “Absolutely life changing! For as long as I can remember, I have always laid awake in bed for an hour or so before finally going to sleep. I would wake up several times in the night, experience night sweats and always feel tired during the day. Since using Luna, I am now going to sleep within 15 minutes and sleep the whole way through the night without any night sweats,” said a reviewer. SEE IT: $84.97 at Amazon.comGoalcast may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a service or product. The links are independently placed by our Commerce team and do not influence editorial content.

Sensory Overload: How To Find Relief In A Chaotic World
Meditation

Sensory Overload: How To Find Relief In A Chaotic World

We live in a world based on stimulation and attention. Everywhere you look you’ll find something that was created for the sole purpose of entertaining or grabbing the focus of a human being. For many the constant stimulation and noise is barely noticeable, but for others it is a severe detriment to their everyday lives. Sensory overload happens when one or more of the body’s senses become overwhelmed and unable to properly process information as it happens. It can occur during an intense basketball game as the crowd lights up, or even in a restaurant with a lively crowd. It even has the potential to happen at the smell of a powerful perfume of a passerby. The stimulatory trigger doesn’t necessarily need to be something intense or overbearing, however it is often at the very least quite noticeable. The feelings of sensory overload can range from mild to intense discomfort. Almost everyone has experienced sensory overload in their lives, but not everyone feels it as intensely as others. For many, there are plenty of everyday situations that are challenging to accomplish. For them, going to the school or office cafeterias can lead to sensory overload. The sounds of people talking loudly, strong smells of food, and flickering fluorescent lights can all trigger feelings of being overwhelmed and uncomfortable. The Causes of Sensory Overload(Getty)Our brains function at times like computers, constantly communicating and interpreting information and data as it interacts with the environment. We are sending commands from our brain to every single organ in our bodies and back, billions of times every second. When there are large amounts of competing sensory information and input, it’s difficult for our brains to prioritize what we should be focused on. This is what leads to that uncomfortable feeling of sensory overload. Your brain then signals your nervous system into fight or flight mode. When you’re not necessarily in a truly dangerous environment, it can be extremely overwhelming and startling to feel your body tell you to escape. Symptoms and Signals of Sensory OverloadSymptoms of sensory overload vary case by case, but some of the common ones include:. difficulty focusing due to competing sensory inputextreme irritabilityrestlessness and discomfortfeeling overly excited or “wound up”stress, fear, or anxiety about your surroundingshigher levels than usual of sensitivity to textures, fabrics, clothing tags, or other things that may rub against skinurge to cover your ears or shield your eyes from sensory input(Getty)It’s important to understand the symptoms so you can properly diagnose the issue you’re experiencing. Sensory overload is extremely common and can often be overlooked as a form of stress, but it’s critical to treat it and find relief to live a happier and healthier lifestyle. Finding Relief From Sensory OverloadAs unfortunate as it is, it can be really difficult today to escape the many triggers of sensory overload we find throughout our cities and communities. However the first step to finding relief is to know your triggers. Understanding the specific sense that provides the most challenges when in stimulating environments is key to finding relief and balance. By understanding our triggers, we are able to single out which senses are unable to process in deeply stimulating environments, and work on those. Knowing which particular noises, lights, or smells that trigger you will help you identify where the issue is most commonly coming from. Slow-exposure to these triggers may help you find relief and comfort in them. You may learn to slowly block them out, or accept them within the larger context. At the very least, knowing your triggers allows you to do your best to avoid them and find ways to block them out. It can be extremely difficult to live in environments like larger cities where there is noise everywhere, but having some noise-canceling headphones with relaxing music may just be the solution you specifically needed. Meditation as a Form of Healing(Getty)A powerful solution to sensory overload however, is the simple act of meditation. It teaches us to be still and sit with the sounds around us. To notice and pick apart where our focus is going while being in control of the stimulation we’re feeling. Mindfulness not only allows us to be as present as possible in many situations, but it also allows us to have better control over our minds and the passing thoughts. A strong indicator of a powerful mind is whether you are able to distinguish between your thoughts and yourself. Those that are able to sit and watch their thoughts pass by as if on a moving train, without fully grasping those thoughts, or feeling as if those thoughts truly define them, are more easily able to control their stimulatory inputs. Meditation allows you to distinguish between the palette of sounds, voices, textures, lights and more that happen to be shooting off billions of signals in our brain every second. It allows us to be more in control of what we’re receiving, with a heightened perception of the mosaic around us. What’s important to remember is that you are always in control of your mind and body, and through meditation as well as other de-stressing techniques, you can find a happy equilibrium that allows you to be present and still in challenging environments. It’s also important to treat our senses like we do the other parts of our body, rest and relaxation are critical to a healthy processing system. Drinking enough water, and a healthy diet also play an important role in being ready for the next challenging day ahead. If we are able to build deloading habits into our days, that allow us to relax our nervous system and conscious thought, we will find ourselves much lighter and overall happier. Stimulating environments can be an extreme challenge but taking the necessary precautions and understanding yourself are key to living a sustainable and healthy life. The cornerstone of all healthy habits is taking time for ourselves, to unload our systems and reset our bodies equilibrium.

Are You Experiencing Hangxiety? Here’s How to Deal With It
Mental Health

Are You Experiencing Hangxiety? Here’s How to Deal With It

Having drinks can be relaxing and enjoyable, particularly if you don’t overindulge. You feel less stressed, more carefree, even more happy, for a time. But it’s not all fun and games, especially if you end up with a hangover. Then, your laissez-faire evening may literally be making you sick—physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, people don’t usually think about getting a hangover—until it’s too late. If you do get a hangover, you’ll likely be regretting having that last drink or two (or more). But sadly, once you’ve got one, there’s not much you can do besides wait it out. While we’re all likely quite familiar with the physical repercussions of drinking too much, many people are less aware that there can be significant psychological effects of a hangover as well. These mental health ramifications include feeling stressed, nervous, worried, or generally uneasy.This experience of feeling anxiety during a hangover is so common that it has recently been coined “hangxiety.” This trending buzzword captures the emotional experience of being hungover. It’s also commonly called hangover anxiety. In this complete guide to understanding hangxiety, learn what hangxiety is, how to know if you are experiencing hangover anxiety, and how to cope.Are You Experiencing Hangxiety?We all know that drinking too much can lead to a hangover, with all its notoriously unpleasant physical symptoms. They can leave you feeling rotten for hours or even days as the alcohol leaves your system. Symptoms of a hangover typically involve lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, the feeling that the room is spinning, difficulty sleeping, generally feeling out of it, poor concentration, and impaired memory. In cases of more severe alcohol consumption, people may even blackout or pass out. However, we now realize that a hangover isn’t always limited to the body. For many people, there’s a mental health impact that can go along with the physical effects of drinking too much, as well. Often, this manifests as anxiety. And where anxiety and the hangover meet, you get hangxiety. (Getty)This anxiety can be related to anything but is often linked to the person’s feelings and nervousness about what happened while drinking, getting drunk, or the experience of being hungover. They may not remember what they did and are worried about finding out—or that they never will. Or they might be stressed about the realization that they need and want to get back to their normal life but that the hangover makes that challenging. Social anxiety, feelings of regret and worry, and general dread are also common. Stress mounts as these feelings build, which can make the physical experience of being hungover all the worse. Plus, if the physical symptoms escalate, anxiety can increase, as well.What Is Hangxiety?The word hangxiety was formed from a combination of words hangover and anxiety. Despite being a relatively new term, hangxiety is a well-documented psychological component of having a hangover. Not everyone gets hangxiety but many do—and always have. What’s new is that this emotional impact of a hangover is now more widely recognized. Hangxiety is experienced differently by different people. However, generally, it is described as an uneasy or stressed feeling that occurs during a hangover. Some people go so far as to call it a feeling of dread or intense panic or anxiety. As the body processes the alcohol from the body, you physically experience a mild form of withdrawal. This produces nervousness and jitteriness. These physical feelings of restlessness and stress naturally can turn into feelings of full-blown emotional anxiety.Sometimes this anxiety may be about poor choices you made while drunk or maybe even just about poor choices you could have made by didn’t. You may not remember everything (or anything) you did while drunk. So, anxiety may build as you wonder what happened and you may feel very distressed about this lack of memory. You also may feel anxiety, confusion, or regret over things that don’t directly relate to being drunk at all, such as concerns about your career, family, financial, or romantic life. You might feel uncomfortable or worried about the physical symptoms you are experiencing during the hangover. Or you could be frustrated with yourself for drinking so much that you now feel so terrible. Or you may simply feel anxious about how long it will take to start feeling better. For people that experience anxiety in their normal, everyday lives, you may feel a rush of anxiety sweep in once the relaxation, endorphins, and reduced inhibitions from drinking begin to lift. This anxiety may feel heightened in contrast to the relative relief from your anxiety symptoms when you were drunk. Unfortunately, the good feelings many experience when drinking, don’t last. And over indulging often leaves you feeling worse than before.Do I Have Hangxiety?(Getty)If you’re wondering if you have hangxiety, there are some fairly easy ways to tell. Firstly, tune in to how you are feeling mentally when you have a hangover. If you feel particularly anxious after excessive drinking, then it’s likely that you are prone to having hangxiety. Consider if your stress level feels elevated and if you are having trouble coping emotionally in addition to your physical symptoms. Ask yourself if you feel distressed, nervous, worried, unhappy, or on edge. If so, it’s probably hangover anxiety. If you do have hangxiety, know that feeling anxious is a common reaction to getting drunk. Also, know that as your body recovers from drinking too much, your mind should find relief as well. In the meantime, try the below strategies and tricks for dealing with hangxiety.How to Cope With HangxietySadly, there is no magic cure for a hangover—and there’s no surefire way to erase hangxiety either. However, there are some key ways to cope with this uncomfortable psychological reaction to drinking too much. These strategies are very similar to those that can help with the physical symptoms of a hangover. They include getting as much rest as possible, drinking a lot of water or other hydrating (non-alcoholic) beverages, and eating bland, light foods, if tolerated. Avoid bright lights, loud noises, and other distracting environments.Taking a shower or bath can be quite helpful as well. Just be sure that you’re not so dizzy that you’re in danger of falling. Treating your headache with ibuprofen or acetaminophen and/or a cold compress on your forehead also tends to be beneficial. Once your body is feeling better, anxiety symptoms often recede as well.Using stress-relieving tactics can also help calm your anxiety. These include deep breathing and other breathing exercises, mindfulness, light yoga or stretching, getting fresh air, walking around the block, mediation, visualization techniques, and talking with a supportive friend (or a therapist). Contact your doctor or counselor if you’re still having trouble coping after trying these techniques.(Getty)Treating any underlying anxiety you have, such as social anxiety, can also help reduce the hangxiety you feel when hungover. Utilizing any strategies you use when coping with your anxiety in other contexts may also be effective when hungover.Getting a Better Understanding of HangxietyDrinking too much often leads to a hangover, with all its yucky, head-spinning side effects. This experience isn’t limited to the physical realm, but also can have emotional ramifications, called hangxiety, as well. While hangxiety can be quite challenging to deal with, it is quite common, usually short-lived, and can be reduced in severity if you use effective coping mechanisms like self-awareness, self-care, and patience. The good news is that once you know more about what hangxiety is and how to deal with it, you are in a better position to deal with it—and prevent it from ruining your day. Plus, having a better understanding of hangover anxiety may provide more incentive next time to stop drinking in time to prevent getting a hangover in the first place.

Crystals for Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide
Self

Crystals for Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide

Humans have been fascinated by crystals for millenia. Often in gorgeous, lustrous, glass-like formations, crystals are appealing for their stunning beauty and beguiling for their intricate, rugged structure alike. But in addition to their gorgeous appearance, the best crystals have a mysterious charm and therapeutic energy that many people find healing. And natural and complementary medicine practitioners often use crystals and healing stones for their restorative properties.In fact, we know that people have believed that crystals had healing powers for the mind and body just about as far back as recorded history goes. There is evidence of crystals being used for a huge variety of healing (and magical) purposes for the human mind and body in such ancient lands as Egypt, India, Greece, Rome, and Sumer. The first documented use of an ancient healing stone is from Mesopotamia, the birthplace of human civilization.Whether for protection, calming, restorative, emotional regulation, or magical purposes, many powers have been ascribed to various crystals over time. Note that while anecdotal evidence is strong and tons of alternative medicine practitioners (and patients) tout the benefits of healing crystals, there is a lack of conclusive scientific research on efficacy. However, today, many people swear by using the gentle energy of their best healing crystals to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Popular support of the calming energy of crystals is especially strong for using crystals for anxiety. In this guide, we will discuss how beautiful crystals might help when you feel anxious, how to select the right crystals for anxiety, and how you (or a crystal healer) can use them to relieve stress and anxiety.Healing crystals for anxietyCrystals have an allure that many attribute to a special energy that gives these stones healing powers. They are a natural, safe tool that many find uniquely relaxing and restorative.Throughout history, different healing and rejuvenating abilities have been ascribed to different crystals, from curing night terrors to warding off evil spirits to drawing in love. Additionally, various cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions believe crystals do different things. (Rebecca Redmond / EyeEm / Getty)However, the most common powers crystals are thought to have are those of protection and healing of the human body and mind.Today, crystal healing is a common alternative medicine technique used by crystal healers to treat a variety of ailments. From improving your emotional balance and soothing stress to finding inner strength, self love, and inner peace, crystals may provide fantastic self care and stress relief for people with anxiety. These attributes make crystal healing particularly appealing to many people with social anxiety, in particular. To learn more about how to overcome anxiety, read our blog on the subject.Crystal healing: How crystals relieve anxietyAs there isn’t conclusive proof of how (or whether) crystal healing works, it is unclear exactly what makes crystals restorative. Believers say healing crystals facilitate the body’s energy flow, helping the body to heal itself. Additionally, the specific energies of each crystal is said to influence the mind and body of the wearing, bringing wellbeing and banishing negativity.The general idea, which goes back thousands of years, is that adorning yourself with the right crystals can offer healing, protective, and restorative powers. Key in this equation is selecting the best crystal nearby for the ailment you hope to cure or manage. So, for those with anxiety, certain crystals may provide better results than others, in terms of alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Some crystals may promote feelings of calm, while others offer rejuvenation or positivity. You’ll want to think about the feelings you want to get from the crystals you use and how that energy and emotion may work to soothe your anxiety. Then, match your desired feelings to the crystal or crystals that are known to promote those responses.Belief mattersIf you want to use crystals for anxiety, it’s key that you are open and receptive to the idea that the right crystal will have the power to help you. In fact, while specific evidence on the efficacy of crystals for healing is thin, much research shows that if you believe something will heal you that it often does, at least to some extent. This is called the placebo effect.According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “The placebo effect is a beneficial health outcome resulting from a person’s anticipation that an intervention will help.” Interestingly, studies have shown that placebos have been shown to offer effective healing power even when people know they are receiving a placebo. In other words, if you believe that crystals are healing for your anxiety, then they very well might be.It’s important to note that crystals should not be used to replace any treatments or anti-anxiety medications you are receiving for a mental health condition. Instead, think of healing crystals as an extra boost you can use in tandem with whatever other methods you use to help ease your anxiety. These other approaches may include cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and other stress-relieving techniques, such as meditation, exercise, yoga, acupuncture, and breathing exercises.Crystals for social anxietyFor those with social anxiety, you’ll want to choose crystals that promote relaxation, inner peace, and stress relief. Think about what negative feelings you are experiencing when you have anxiety. Then, choose crystals that tend to counteract or balance those feelings with more positive energies.You’ll also want to consider which crystals appeal to you specifically, as particular crystals may resonate with you stronger than others do. And they may work better for relieving your symptoms of social anxiety when you feel a connection to that crystal. Trust your instincts on which crystals draw you in. Crystal healers can also help guide you.Crystals for child anxietyMany children who have anxiety also respond well to using crystals as a part of their self care and self-soothing. During times of stress, kids can use various crystals to help recenter themselves and regain a sense of calm. Many kids are drawn to the beauty and diversity of these stones, which makes tapping into their healing powers very accessible.Choosing the right crystalsKey to using crystals for healing is to pick the right one (or ones) that will address whatever issues you’re hoping to solve. Below, we offer descriptions and potential healing powers of some of the most commonly used crystals for anxiety to help you choose the right one for your needs.AmethystAmethyst is one of the most frequently used healing crystals, particularly for anxiety. It’s also one of the most stunning. This beautiful glass-like, purple-hued crystal is actually a variety of quartz. Unlike a smoky quartz or a clear quartz, the amethyst’s name comes from the Greek for “not intoxicated,” as ancient Greeks believed wearing amethyst would prevent a person from getting drunk. Today, amethyst, which ranges in color from a pale, translucent lavender to a deep, dark, almost black purple, is most often associated with bringing a sense of calm and wellbeing. This healing crystal is also praised for helping the wearer to manage their emotions and clear their mind. Some natural health providers also use this crystal to help with addiction.In addition to its healing powers, amethyst is popular as a gemstone for jewelry. It is also the birthstone of February.AngeliteThis crystal is said to promote balance and alignment of the chakras. It comes in a range of pale shades, including blue, white, brown, violet, rose, and gray. Also called the angel stone, angelite may help you find inner peace and connect to your true spirit.AquamarineThis beguiling gemstone looks like a tidy capsule of the sea itself. Aquamarine is thought to contain some of the healing power of the ocean, too. It’s also called the mermaid stone, and is imbued with the wondrous spirit and song of those mythical creatures. Vibrant blue-green in color, aquamarine helps center the mind, cooling and calming your energy in times of stress and anxiety.Black tourmalineAlso called schorl, black tourmaline is a black triangle-shaped crystal that looks like hunks of finely packed charcoal. It offers protection and helps you feel grounded. Black tourmaline is also known as a powerful antidote to panic attacks, shielding you from dark thoughts and/or flipping negative energy into positive vibes.Blue lace agateAs its name implies, blue lace agate is blue with a lacy appearance. It is a relatively rare crystal and part of the agate family. Its sky blue color, which is threaded with layers of white (and sometimes pale brown) offers a soothing energy. Blue lace agate also has come to symbolize hope, positivity, happiness, and truth. CelestiteCelestite (also called celestine) is a pale or clear blue crystal. It is commonly used for meditation to help focus the mind. It is also thought to have heavenly qualities that promote inner peace, quiet, and calm. Incidentally, it is a source of the element strontium, which is used to make fireworks.CitrineThis crystal, which is also a type of quartz, comes in a range of bright yellow to orange hues. It is claimed to promote optimism and prosperity. Natural citrine is rare. Instead, many are manufactured out of amethysts that are turned yellow-orange using heat. KyaniteThis gorgeous, high vibrational crystal is white with vivid splashes of bright to baby blue or blue with pale spots, giving it a bewitching otherworldly appearance. This powerful stone also comes in shades of orange, green, and black. Praised for its ability to enhance spiritual wellness, kyanite provides a powerful jolt of calm—and clear-headedness—for those that need it.Lapis lazuliSometimes associated with throat healing and the throat chakra, this vivid blue stone has a mesmerizing energy that calms and offers protection. Lapis lazuli is also heralded for connecting you to your inner wisdom—and bringing anxiety to its knees. Like looking into the deep blue sky, this healing crystal helps you regain emotional balance, washing over the human body with waves of calming energy. MoonstoneTechnically sodium potassium aluminium silicate, moonstone has an ethereal, opalescent look. It comes in a variety of iridescent colors, including blue, white, as a pink crystal, or in purple, orange, green, or brown. Often used in jewelry, moonstone emanates hope, intuition, and sensitivity. This crystal is also often associated with femininity and connecting with one’s inner self.RhodoniteRhodonite comes in a range of rose, red, and pink shades. It is known to promote compassion, forgiveness, and emotional regulation. Its pink color is thought to link it to your heart or emotional center. In addition to its self soothing qualities, wearing rhodonite is thought to help attract love into your life. This powerful healing crystal is also often used to help the wearer overcome trauma and panic attacks.Rose quartzThis very popular gemstone, which is also called hyaline quartz, is known to attract love and encourage positive feelings for the self and those around you. Rose quartz is praised for boosting emotional healing, self love, self-acceptance, and inner peace. Transparent and pale pink in color, rose quartz forms in beautiful glass-like shapes. A crystal with gentle yet powerful energy, rose quartz is used to promote harmony, both internally and with those in your life. Tiger’s EyeTiger’s eye is lauded as a superb protection stone that fosters mental clarity. The gorgeous, shiny mineral looks like smooth, lustrous wood. It comes in a rich range of reddish, chocolatey browns to golden yellows, which form in stripes. Tiger’s eye is known for fostering inner strength, which is why it is sought after by people who have anxiety. This durable quartz gemstone is primarily found in South Africa and Thailand.How to use crystals for anxiety?Crystals can be used in a multitude of ways to help combat anxiety and other feelings of stress or unease. Essentially, you can use the crystals at times when you feel anxious to help you regain control, calm, and peace. You can also use them preventatively when you anticipate that anxiety may strike. Many people create a crystal grid, or arrangement of their healing crystals, to magnify the power of each one and facilitate their personal healing.You can interact with crystals in a variety of ways, too. These include wearing the crystal, say in a necklace or other piece of jewelry, or placing a crystal on your person, such as in a pocket or right on your skin. Sometimes, people will lie down and place a variety of crystals on their bare skin. You might also simply keep the healing crystal near you, such as on your bedside table. Or set up a crystal grid.Alternative medicine practitioners may incorporate crystals into various treatments, such as massage, reiki, ayurvedic healing, and Chinese medicine.Where can you buy crystals for anxiety?Crystals are widely available. You can find them at a variety of retailers, from alternative medicine-themed shops and spas to specialty grocery stores and boutiques specifically centered on crystal healing. You’ll also find a huge selection online.The takeawayCrystals have been loved and trusted for their healing properties for countless generations. The calming qualities of many crystals make them a good fit for helping you cope with anxiety. Plus, there are really no drawbacks or risks of using them. So, if you’re so inclined and feel drawn to a particular type of crystal, try it out and see if having or wearing the crystal helps you manage your anxiety. You’ve got nothing to lose—and the healing crystal just might help you overcome your anxiety.

How to Overcome Anxiety
Mental Health

How to Overcome Anxiety

Anxiety can show up in our lives in any number of ways. We might feel a bit (or overwhelmingly) nervous. We might start to sweat, turn red, shake, feel panicky, or start breathing hard. Social situations may trigger social anxiety. Maybe we feel an urge to flee or hide. Our blood pressure may go up. We might feel hot or cold, light-headed, fatigued, or numb. We might feel anxious that something terrible is going to happen—even if, rationally, we know it’s not. This mix of emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety, and social anxiety in particular, is unique for each person and circumstance. For some people, anxiety is occasional or mild. At the other extreme, anxiety can be debilitating and significantly interfere with day-to-day life. People with anxiety may worry about their job, family, money, failing, socializing, personal relationships, public speaking, unpredictable events (like crime or a pandemic), politics, or some other trigger. Or you might just feel anxious and not really understand why. Even if you want to meet up with friends or go to a party, social anxiety may keep you from those activities. But, while anxiety (and social anxiety) are unique for each person, what sufferers share is a desire to overcome or relieve anxiety, and to rid themselves of the paralyzing feelings that so often accompany this kind of nervous energy.From person to person, anxiety runs the gamut from a manageable form of worry or anxious thoughts to more serious mental health conditions and extreme fear or worry, much like you would find with social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder. However, regardless of where we are on that spectrum, there are many effective ways that we can work to calm anxiety and dismantle the hold it has on us. In this guide to overcoming anxiety, we offer a primer on anxiety disorders along with a practical overview of how to stop anxiety in its tracks.What are anxiety disorders?According to Harvard Medical School, an anxiety disorder is present if a person has “persistent worry for more days than not, for at least several months.” Anxiety is a persistent or excessive worry, stress, fear, or unease that causes both psychological and physical symptoms. These intense feelings are often triggered by everyday stressors or situations that have unknown variables or outcomes. Or you may have anxious thoughts about something that you’re unhappy about. Social anxiety is when social situations cause anxious thoughts, dread, and/or panic. However, anxiety can occur in relation to just about anything. Additionally, a variety of health conditions are known to make anxiety worse. Likewise, anxious thoughts and high anxiety levels can also aggravate or cause physical symptoms and contribute to mental and physical health conditions, such as having trouble sleeping, depression, heart conditions, and digestive issues. Anxiety triggersYour anxiety trigger could be something that causes you unease or to feel afraid. This could be something unusual or rare (such as earthquakes or bankruptcy), cerebral (questions like “what am I doing with my life?” or “am I a failure?”), mundane (ordering at a restaurant or asking a question), or outlandish (an alien or zombie attack). However, many people experience anxiety during social interactions and/or when doing something in public or that feels on display or under scrutiny. This is called social anxiety (we have a whole article on how to overcome social anxiety here, if you’re interested). Fearing bad outcomes—financially, medically, professionally, academically, socially, or romantically—is common as well. In these cases, anxiety may either cause avoidance or a hyper focus on whatever is increasing your anxiety levels. Types of anxiety disorderAs noted above, anxiety can range from mild to severe and can come and go over time. For some anxious thoughts may feel like a relatively minor issue or may present as troublesome, frustrating, or annoying. Or it may feel completely overwhelming and a real detriment to your daily life. You may have anxiety over one specific thing or a more general kind of anxiety that extends into many facets of your life. For some people, anxiety causes them to focus more inward, others become less introverted and cope by distracting themselves with more extroverted behaviors. However, introverts tend to experience more anxiety, possibly because they may be more in tune with their inner life and anxiety level.For many people, anxiety is relatively manageable, but others feel ruled or limited by it. How we cope with our anxiety has a big role in how impactful it becomes. For some, anxiety tips over from typical nervousness or apprehension into more profound anxiety disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 43% of people with anxiety have mild cases, 33% have moderate anxiety, and almost 23% have a severe prognosis. When does anxiety become a mental health condition?In psychiatry, anxiety is a nervous disorder with intense, unmanageable worry or discontent, often accompanied by avoidance behaviors, panic attacks, or obsessive thoughts or behaviors. Typically, these fears and feelings of unease are not grounded in an actual discernible threat. When anxiety levels interfere with daily life they may reach the threshold of a diagnosable mental health condition. Anxiety disorders are typically divided into several different categories. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, these include five major types of anxiety conditions:Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)Social anxiety disorder (SAD)Panic disorderPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)As mentioned above, social anxiety is more focused on social interactions and fears relating to public embarrassment or attention. With general anxiety, there is a more pervasive sense of unease rather than anxiety fixated on specific situations. With OCD, people become swept up in obsessive, anxious thoughts and behaviors. Panic disorders involve having regular anxiety attacks. PTSD is anxiety caused by traumatic experiences, such as war, abuse, or an accident.Additionally, another type of anxiety commonly experienced by babies and young children is separation anxiety. In separation anxiety the child feels great distress at being separated from their parent or caregiver.Symptoms of anxietyThe experience of anxiety will vary among people and the severity of their condition. Generally, the signs and symptoms of anxiety may include the following:A sense of dreadChest painDizziness, shaking, or light-headednessFeeling a need to shut down or retreatFeeling tired, hot, or coldLack of concentration, energy, or focusNervousness, worry, tension, fearObsessive thoughts or behaviorsPanic attacksRapid breathing or hyperventilatingRapid heart rateRestlessnessSleep issuesSweatingWeakness(Tara Moore / Getty)Anxiety often coexists with other mental health conditions, such as depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Another key thing to know is that when you are in the midst of intense anxiety, such as during a panic attack or when dealing with compulsive anxious thoughts or social anxiety, your fight or flight instincts have taken over. So, while you may not be in real danger in a practical sense, your mind and body think that you are. This means your body releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, amplifying your sense of urgency, fear, stress, and unease.Prevalence of anxietyExperiencing anxiety is extremely common. In fact, it’s the most prevalent mental health concern in the United States. Alarmingly, research shows that rates of this condition are on a steady upswing. In one study, experts at The City University of New York and Columbia University reported that, in 2008, approximately 5% of American adults said they’d experienced anxiety in the prior month. That number increased to nearly 7% ten years later, in 2018. Plus, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the percentage of adults who had anxiety at any point over the course of a year is even higher—a whopping 19%. Rates are higher among women, with approximately 23% reporting periods of past-year anxiety, compared with about 14% of men. Prevalence is also greater among those under age 45, with the biggest drop off after 60. Interestingly, just 9% of U.S. seniors report experiencing anxious thoughts.Note that these are pre-COVID-19 numbers. Since the pandemic began, rates of people seeking help for anxiety disorders have only gone up. In fact, it’s been well documented that rates of mental health concerns like anxiety have skyrocketed. Scientific studies done during the height of the lockdowns, case surges, and quarantines, from Toronto to Singapore, have reported staggering levels of anxiety—with some showing up to 50% or more of participants adversely impacted.What makes you anxious?As previously noted, there are a variety of reasons that people experience anxiety. These include general unease, heredity, brain chemistry, personality, upbringing, or life events. Typical contributing factors include extreme events (such as natural disasters or violence) and stressors like marriage, money, kids, or work. Also, for some, simple everyday activities like going to the grocery store or deciding which shirt to wear can create anxiety. Additionally, a number of other triggers commonly cause or worsen anxiety, such as health issues, skipping meals, lack of sleep, stress, feeling under pressure, comparing yourself to others (such as on social media), and worry about failure. Women are also more prone to anxiety than men. Anxiety disorders also may run in families. People with chronic health conditions tend to be more susceptible. Those in underserved communities, such as people with disabilities, communities of color, those living in poverty, and other historically marginalized groups also often experience higher rates of anxiety.Is anxiety always bad?Having anxiety can be extremely distressing, isolating, debilitating, and embarrassing, particularly for those with more extreme experiences. The physical impact of anxiety is very real as well. For example, research shows that prolonged anxiety may contribute to advanced aging, impaired immune function, poor sleep, poor diet, poor digestive function, and stress on the cardiovascular system.However, it is worth exploring that at the root of anxiety is your mind and body alerting you to pay attention to something. Sometimes, this hyperfocus can be positive or helpful. For example, if you are a person who has anxiety about the weather, you may be extra prepared when big storms or other climate events happen. Or if you feel intense dread over hosting social occasions, you might be meticulous about your party preparations. You might fear failure or being late, which might make you vigilant about getting your work done early or arriving places on time, respectively. But the cost of living with anxious thoughts can be extremely taxing emotionally and physically.Ways to overcome anxietyYou may appreciate some of the outcomes of your anxiety (particularly if it spurs you to accomplish your goals) but likely you don’t enjoy the process that gets you there. This is where learning to overcome your anxiety comes in. However, it’s key to dig down into what is causing the underlying stress or apprehension. What is the anxiety, fear, worry, or unease trying to tell you? Listen to these messages and explore how you can use this information to alleviate their grip on you. (In more severe cases, this is where a therapist, medication, and/or other support can be a huge help.) Also, seek to ground yourself, as much as possible, in the reality of whatever situation is causing you apprehension. Think about what is really likely to happen, including the true worst case scenarios. Maybe even make peace with them. Once you can start to see the role that your perspective plays in your anxiety—and that you have agency in your own thoughts—you can begin to free yourself from its hold. Overcoming anxiety really starts with reframing your own thoughts.Is there any treatment for anxiety?When your basic drives for survival are in high gear, it becomes exceedingly challenging for your rational brain to function properly. In other words, the work of overcoming anxiety needs to take place before or after anxiety attacks to be the most helpful—and to give you the tools to react more effectively the next time anxiety strikes.It’s important to reiterate just how pervasive anxiety has become in our culture. So, one, you’re not alone. Most people have either experienced anxiety themselves or it has impacted people close to them. So, aim to let go of any embarrassment, shame, or negative self-talk that you feel. And, two, there are a lot of services and strategies out there that can help you fight anxiety. Treatment optionsSeek counseling from a specialist in treating anxiety disorders. Research shows that talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can be very effective in unpacking the causes of anxiety and learning effective ways to cope. Successful treatments can help you change your thinking and viewpoint—a process that can be life changing. Additionally, there are a variety of prescription medications your mental health provider or doctor may suggest that can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Support groups are often productive for people struggling with anxiety. Additionally, there are many useful lifestyle changes and other strategies that can have a profound effect and aid you in overcoming anxiety.How do I stop anxiety?What helps one person rein in their anxiety may not work for another. It’s important to try a variety of techniques until you find the right ones for you. However, the important part is seeing that while some of your anxiety may be hardwired or conditioned into your brain, you also have agency over your anxious thoughts and reactions. And you can make changes to control, lesson, or fight your anxiety. Also, note that rarely will these techniques (or counseling, support groups, or medication) work instantaneously or perfectly. Overcoming anxiety is a learning process and will take effort and commitment. So, remember to give yourself grace and time while you learn and practice these strategies.Small changes can have big resultsMany of these proven anxiety fighting tips are relatively simple, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they won’t have a big impact. Plus, simple doesn’t mean easy or that there aren’t many nuances or layers to these strategies that you can explore and benefit from. In fact, studies show that simply focusing on and altering your breathing can be very helpful. We all “know” how to breathe, but making slight shifts and really getting in tune with your breathing can be extremely relaxing, restorative, and re-centering—and help combat anxious thoughts. Physical activityAdding physical exercise into your day, even a few minutes at a time, is a proven way to beat anxiety. This can be anything you enjoy, such as going on a walk, running, swimming, playing a sport, biking, jumping jacks. The key is to get the heart pumping and the mind focused on the physical rather than on worriesRelaxation techniquesRelaxation techniques relieve the apprehension or fear caused by anxiety. These practices include breathwork, such as found in many yoga practices. In fact, yoga, tai chi, and other martial arts may be helpful as they all offer repetitive, controlled movements that promote self-discipline, self-knowledge, and mind-body connection. (Solskin / Getty)Other relaxation techniques to try include massage, mediation, listening to calming music (or any other kind you enjoy), doing hobbies, talking with friends, aromatherapy, biofeedback, or whatever else you find eases your mind.Lifestyle shiftsMany people with anxiety benefit from adjustments to their daily life. These include making sure to follow healthy sleep habits, maintain a healthy weight and diet, and taking care of your physical health. Chronic pain, living with a lot of clutter, and being surrounded by negative people can also breed stress. The goal is to acknowledge, understand, and release the stressors that may be contributing to your anxiety. For example, for some people, anxiety comes from being overwhelmed. If that’s you, take steps to regain control over your life. If disorganization and lack of productivity are driving your anxiety, take steps to address those issues. Make daily to-do lists, tackle the projects or issues you keep putting off, and ask for help when you need it. If social anxiety is your issue, work on your social skills and challenge yourself to expand your comfort zone by attending social events and engaging with new people.Loving yourselfHaving anxiety can breed a lot of unhelpful, unkind feelings about yourself, which in turn can fuel even more anxiety. Get yourself out of this negative self-affirming loop by actively choosing to give yourself love instead of grief. Accept that anxiety is an issue for you. Love yourself anyway—or even more because of this. Know that it’s not your fault and that having anxiety does not make you a bad or broken person. It makes you human. Everybody has their issues. Love that, too. Key takeawaysStruggle is a normal, inevitable part of life—and so is the anxiety that often comes with it. Embrace that and honor your experiences and feelings. Choose to see your relationship with anxiety as a vehicle for growth and a path toward humility, strength, self-knowledge, community, and love. Be as patient and kind to yourself as you would to a dear friend. Love yourself for trying, even if your efforts to quell your anxiety don’t always succeed. With patience, support, and effort you can overcome your anxiety. Most importantly, keep trying—because you’re worth it.things can get betterAre you ready to overcome your obstacles today?

How to Overcome Social Anxiety With This Four-Step System
Self-Development

How to Overcome Social Anxiety With This Four-Step System

There are those who seem able to enter any social situation without a care in the world, breezing through conversation to conversation, working the room, effortlessly charming everyone they meet. There are those who enter social situations and sit back, preferring to people-watch, observe, and be selective in the way they communicate with others.A simple way to categorize these two types of people, at the risk of minimizing them to a label, would be to describe them as either an extrovert or an introvert. Two polar opposites, it would seem. However, appearances can be deceiving. When it comes to social anxiety, the loud and eccentric can suffer as much as the quiet and reserved.A shining example is Ryan Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most charismatic actors, who has experienced anxiety. In his own words, he’s struggled “in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.” Allow this to be a reassurance that anxiety disorders are common, and can affect anyone.This article will provide an overview of social anxiety, including its signs, the emotional and physical symptoms associated with it, and common causes. More importantly, it will offer you a four-step system to overcoming social anxiety by bringing together some of the most effective approaches in numerous fields. It’s worth noting these steps don’t only apply to serious social anxiety, but anyone struggling with nerves in social situations.What is social anxiety?Subconsciously looking for validation or social approval is an innate quality of human nature. Nerves are part and parcel of many social interactions. But when does nervousness become a more serious issue? When does social anxiety start to affect the quality of relationships? The spectrum from shyness to nervousness is vast. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America defines social anxiety, or social phobia, as: “intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.” The level of anxiety is to such a degree that social situations are dreaded or avoided. Certain social situations can even trigger panic attacks or having to leave the situation completely.Social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million Americans. It can have a debilitating impact on someone’s quality of life, shrinking their world as they avoid situations that will trigger anxiety, from partying with friends, to career opportunities or new hobbies. As someone who used to experience extreme anxiety, I can vouch for how painful anxiety in social situations can be, and how much it dictates the choices you make.Social anxiety is distinct from other types of anxiety. Some people don’t experience high levels of anxiety in other areas of life, but struggle socially. Whereas others experience a generalized sense of anxiety, which includes social situations. For the purpose of finding solutions, though, this distinction doesn’t make too much difference, as the steps below help with general anxiety too.Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorderAnxiety isn’t exclusively a mental health issue. It also has an intense physical effect. Healthy nervousness might consist of butterflies in the stomach and a certain level of excitability. Social anxiety, however, is a whirlwind of unpleasant physical sensations, from a rapid heartbeat, weakness at the knees, cold sweats, hot flushes, dizziness, tension in the shoulders or jaw, difficulty breathing, or feeling sick.From my experience, the word terror feels more apt. Because of this, the desire to flee situations can feel like a genuine flight for survival, due to the danger the body perceives. A simple dinner or house party might feel like existential doom. And that’s downplaying it. Other signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder are:Intense fear with public speaking or meeting strangersAvoidance or discomfort when making eye contactFear of crowded placesEating in publicEntering rooms with groups of people aloneFear of speaking on the phoneAn excessive amount of worry and fear about upcoming social plansWhat causes social anxiety disorder?If you were to ask a mental health specialist or an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy, they would tell you that there’s no single answer as to what causes social anxiety disorder. Everyone has their individual journey, and unique experiences, trauma, or poor coping mechanisms. However, a mental health professional will also tell you that there tend to be a number of essential ingredients that make some people more susceptible to the extreme ends of social anxiety. They include:PerfectionismThis involves putting a lot of pressure on oneself to “perform” in a certain way in social situations. Perfectionism, ironically, has the reverse effect. For example, someone who believes a presentation has to be perfect might feel more anxiety symptoms, and not be able to deliver their message as effectively, as someone who puts less pressure on themselves.Fear of rejection or abandonmentSocial anxiety disorder often links to fears of rejection or abandonment. If I do X, then I might be rejected by the group. This belief creates a mental framework of “high stakes”. During childhood, and back in time during tribal communities, being rejected was a serious risk to survival.Fear of judgmentIn addition to being rejected, the fear of being judged by others is often as pervasive. Will people think I’m stupid? Will I say something to upset someone? Will I humiliate myself? These are all negative thoughts that can contribute to intense feelings of social anxiety.People-pleasingThe desire to avoid being authentic due to the fear of upsetting, disappointing, or letting others down, is a big precursor to anxiety. It leads to people taking excessive levels of responsibility for other people’s emotions.Fear of appearing anxiousAnother counterintuitive symptom of social anxiety is the attempt to cover up any signs of anxiety. I’ve been in this situation many times, such as noticing I’m shaking and trying to hide it, or “acting cool,” and every time it only served to exacerbate the problem.Spotlight effectThis psychological theory explains how we tend to overestimate how much attention people show to us in social situations. When feeling like the center of attention, that “all eyes on you” feeling ramps up feelings of anxiety to an unbearable degree.Treating social anxiety disorderThere are numerous different approaches to treating social anxiety as a mental health condition. There are different types of talking therapies that can help, along with anti-anxiety meditations in some situations. Personally, I see medication as a temporary support system while the underlying issues are worked on. I was on medication at one point, and it helps “take the edge” off the way I was feeling, but it wasn’t a long-term fix.Of course, it’s always best to talk with a professional if anxiety is having a significant impact on your life. However, it’s possible to make positive steps forward through self-help. That doesn’t mean superficial “positive thinking” but practical tools that have been verified by professionals in the field, or others who have been through their own journey of healing.Four steps to overcoming social anxietyBefore we dive in, a moment to expand on what “overcoming” means. I’m at a point in my life that I would never have dreamed of years ago, in terms of how little anxiety I feel. I host group events and a podcast, and I’m a public speaker. Yet I still get times where anxiety strikes, more socially than professionally. That’s just shyness, and is normal and healthy. Your journey of overcoming social anxiety is one of small wins and patience. If in one moment you were afraid, but speak up, you’ve overcome anxiety. If you go ahead with social plans when you want to cancel, that’s overcoming anxiety. It’s important to start from ground zero, and not to allow the perfectionist to take charge of your recovery. With that said, here are four steps that will help you on your way:Reframe negative thoughtsCognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used therapies for social anxiety and anxiety in general. There’s a reason for that: it’s effective. The beauty of CBT is its practicality and the ease with which it can be applied. The essence is to spot cognitive distortions that cause maladaptive or unskillful behaviors, like the examples given above, and reframe them in a helpful way.By reframing thoughts, you’re getting your mind on side, like a friend, not an enemy. Then, you act in ways that are self-serving. This is a great antidote to the vicious cycle of avoidance that comes with anxiety.I always use the pointer of reframing in the way you would a good friend. It saturates negative thoughts with a healthy dose of self-compassion. For example, “I’m going to make a fool of yourself” would be reframed to something more understanding, such as: “I’m afraid of making a fool of myself, and that’s normal. But even if I socialize, and do something silly, that shows I’m human. Not only that, I can think of many people whose ‘foolish’ behavior is endearing, and makes them more likable.”The key steps with reframing negative thoughts are:Spot the thoughtHighlight the unhelpful thought through journaling or, with the right level of self-awareness, in the moment. If I'm feeling anxious, I always ask myself: what thoughts are adding to this anxiety right now?Challenge itOffer another perspective, one which is more compassionate and one which will lead to healthier, more self-serving behavior.Take actionThen, act in accordance with the new line of thinking. If the thought is making you want to cancel, make the commitment to showing up.Practice breathing techniquesThe breath bridges body and mind, and is a physical exercise that can do a great deal of good. It’s remarkable how much of a difference taking conscious control of the pace and rhythm of the breath has on anxiety. Generally, when in an anxiety-evoking situation, the mind and body go on autopilot. Breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which contributes to the physical feeling of anxiety. It can feel as if your body is at the mercy of negative thoughts. However, there’s always an opportunity to slow the breath, and to breathe more deeply into the diaphragm. This is a big step in feeling more “in control” during spells of anxiety.Studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest-and-digest” mode, which is the opposite of “fight-or-flight.” It also stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs between the lungs and the brain, which regulates crucial bodily functions such as mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response.There are many different types of breathing techniques. However, one incredibly simple and effective approach is as follows:Start by noticing how you’re breathing in the moment. Are you taking shallow breaths? Are you holding your breath?Exhale gently through your mouth, pause for one second, and inhale as deeply into your stomach as you can through your nose. You can place your hand on your stomach as a guide to help.Be gentle and slow with each breath. You might wish to count from 1 to 5 when breathing to regulate the pace.Do this for 3 to 5 minutes as you feel your breathing begin to settle.Start a mindfulness practiceReframing thoughts and controlling the breath is a great start in regulating the foundation of social anxiety. Mindfulness is another powerful tool for one particular reason — curiosity. If you’re able to shift from fearing anxiety, to being curious and inquisitive, you take away a large part of the resistance to those feelings. And, if you don’t resist the feeling of anxiety that social situations may trigger, you won’t actually resist the social situation.Mindfulness stems from Buddhist philosophy. It’s an approach of non-judgment towards all thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Rather than judging the experience, you learn to observe and be aware. Part of the process of increasing self-awareness is that you begin to see the components of social anxiety. This breaks it down and makes it feel more achievable to overcome.A basic technique is to practice observing social anxiety when it arises. Pay attention to the thoughts, the sensations in the body. Notice whenever you resist or try to “run away” from the sensations. If you lose focus and feel completely caught up in the anxiety, bring your attention back to the present moment and the space of observation.With curiosity and non-judgment, you’ll start to disintegrate the label — “this is social anxiety” — into its smaller parts. It becomes an experience, not an overbearing entity you have to somehow conquer. Through this process, you’ll notice certain traits that might make the issue worse, like negative judgments of anxiety such as “here we go again” or “not now!”, both of which are forms of resistance.As strange as it sounds, one of my breakthroughs with my mindfulness practice was my first mindful panic attack. It was a peculiar experience, because while I was feeling the extreme anxiety, I suddenly became aware that there was a part of me separate from it, just observing. I was no longer entrenched in the experience, but witnessing it from a healthy distance.Practice social skillsThe first three steps are inner-work, focusing on your relationship to the subjective experience of social anxiety itself. The fourth step is outward-focused. After all, social anxiety is based on how you relate with other people. (SDI Productions / Getty)I wish to note that this isn’t a case of trying to become as confident, charming, or charismatic as possible so that the anxiety disappears by itself. Instead, these social skills are small hacks that shift attention and create more harmony.Focus on other peopleSocial anxiety obsesses over how you’re being, whether you’re appearing too anxious, whether you’re saying or behaving in the right way. There’s a whole lot of self-commentary. One shift that helps combat this is to focus on other people. When you prioritize making others feel comfortable, or seen, or valued, you end up focusing more on compassion and connection than individual concerns.Be honestI can’t tell you the amount of relief that comes from being honest. You’ll be surprised how much understanding people show if you say openly: “actually, I’m feeling anxious right now.” You might even find the others feel similar, too. What better way to create an authentic connection!Reduce expectationsTo counteract feelings of perfectionism, reduce your expectations on how you believe you should behave. If you’re feeling tired, accept that you're not in full form. If you’re struggling to know what to say, accept that it’s all part of being human.Avoid “othering”When my social anxiety was at its worst, I would place myself in a position where I felt like it was me vs. everyone else. Look at all those people, having fun. Look at those people at ease. Something amazing happened when I recognized this: I noticed more nuance in social settings.I noticed that others were showing signs of being anxious or feeling a bit awkward. This shared humanity makes social situations so much easier, as it creates a sense of togetherness.In conclusionSocial anxiety is something you can overcome, moment by moment, day by day, and you don’t necessarily need to join mental illness support groups to get over this affliction. Instead, be kinder and more patient with yourself on the journey. Remember the growth mindset: always look to make small progress, and learn, along the way. Understand there aren’t magic fixes, yet the anxiety itself isn’t fixed. It’s not a life sentence or something set in stone. Even those with extreme anxiety can drastically reduce its impact on their life — I know because I’m one of them.There is a counterintuitive element to overcoming social anxiety. The more you ease up on yourself and let go of high expectations, the more you invite and allow feelings of nervousness, the more you can embrace your flaws or mistakes, the more likely you are able to share your gifts with others, free from harsh self-judgment or restriction.There are no mistakes in life, and you reading this article, right now, is for a reason. You’re awesome, and you have plenty of value to contribute to other people’s lives. Remember that. Take a deep breath. And get ready to interact with others knowing you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on their day. What better gift is there than that?

Katherine Heigl Reveals The Real Reason Why She Has A Bad Reputation
Uplifting News

Katherine Heigl Reveals The Real Reason Why She Has A Bad Reputation

Actress Katherine Heigl says she was bullied in her industry for speaking up. But after experiencing crushing anxiety, she sought help and has never felt more comfortable in her own skin.Labeled a 'difficult' womanIn 2008, actress Katherine Heigl, who'd grown from a child actor into a starring role on "Grey's Anatomy," started to feel attacked.It began when she complained that the 2007 Judd Apatow film "Knocked Up" was "a little sexist," and it escalated when she turned down her Emmy nomination because she “did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant [it].” Then, in 2009, she complained to David Letterman about working 17-hour days on "Grey's Anatomy."Heigl says she was painted as a "difficult" woman in the film industry. “I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to ‘she’s ungrateful,’ then that escalated to ‘she’s difficult,’ and that escalated to ‘she’s unprofessional,’” she told The Washington Post. “What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that s--- pisses me off.”Katherine Heigl She was blamed for speaking upHeigl said she was "told to shut the f--- up," and despite her repeated apologies, the industry wanted her to say sorry even more. “The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.” Katherine Heigl Still, Heigl was getting hired for films and felt that if she was doing good work she'd prove her haters wrong.“You can be the most awful, difficult, horrible person on the planet, but if you're making them money, they're going to keep hiring you,” she said of the film industry. “I knew that whatever they felt I had done that was so awful, they would overlook it if I made them money — but then my films started to make not quite as much money.”Mounting anxietyDuring what Heigl calls the "shunning," Heigl started to feel extremely anxious.“I think my family, my mother, my husband, my friends were scared. And I regret deeply that I scared them like that. But I just couldn't control it. I had no tools,” she said, adding that mental health issues were rarely discussed in her family.In 2016, Heigl had another burst of anxiety and she finally sought the help of a therapist.“I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” she said. “I didn't realize how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I'm a big fan of Zoloft.” Would Heigl be treated this way today?Looking back on it, would Heigl face the same kind of attacks for speaking up as today? In a post-#MeToo world, it's hard to imagine she would.“If she said [some of it] today, she’d be a hero,” said her husband of 13 years, singer Josh Kelley, to The Post.“She has very strong convictions and strong opinions on certain things, and she doesn’t back down from letting you know if she feels like she’s been wronged in any way,” added friend and actor James Marsden. “I’ve always seen that as just strength of character. I can see how that can get construed as being difficult or ungrateful or whatever. But if you know Katie, it’s simply because she has the courage to stand behind something she believes.”She's tamed her anxietyHeigl hasn't let the "shunning" ordeal keep her quiet. She's back to doing what she loves with a new Netflix series, "Firefly Lane," was outspoken about the killing of George Floyd, and has formed a community with her fans by responding to their comments on social media.“It took me a long time to feel confident enough to read their comments because I just assumed the worst,” she said. “Now, it feels like a little community. I've tried to rebuild that trust with my fans through social media, show them more of who I am off camera.”She's also stopped feeling afraid to speak up to her producers.“I spent a lot of years just being the actor hired,” Heigl said. “I feel now I have enough experience and enough wisdom to have a voice, to collaborate about character, about story, about cast. It's about having a seat at the table.”Coping during the pandemicDuring the pandemic, Heigl has been coping by spending time with her family in Utah, watercolor painting, and watching Netflix's "Bridgerton." Overall, she's feeling much more balanced.“I think she has found the person that she truly is, and she’s found her way to be that person with the world,” her husband said. “She just seems more at ease with family, career, and life itself, and I’m really super proud of her for that.” Heigl agrees: “I’ve grown into accepting that ambition is not a dirty word, and that it doesn’t make me less of a feminine, loving, nurturing woman to be ambitious and have big dreams and big goals. It’s easier to be happy because I have a little more gentleness for myself.”A redemption storyDespite being pushed down by her industry, Heigl kept moving forward. She continued to do what she loves and even after going through crippling anxiety she ultimately refused to stop being herself.Her passion and drive to continue speaking up is truly inspiring and proves how impossible it is to keep a strong woman down.More uplifting stories:Why We Need To Talk About Keanu Reeves’ Girlfriend Alexandra GrantWhat Finally Convinced Jennifer Lopez That She Needed A Divorce From Marc AnthonyWhy Shakira and Gerard Piqué Are Proud To Be An Unconventional CoupleHow Hailey Baldwin Dealt With Being In A Love Triangle Involving Selena Gomez