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How Does Stress Affect Your Mental Health

How Does Stress Affect Your Mental Health

Health is only as crucial as it gets, and everyone must make it a top priority. Mental health has been in the spotlight for various reasons in the recent past. It’s affecting people’s lives in one way or another. Paying close attention to it entails being mindful of any kinds of triggers and keeping them at bay. Some of the stimuli, such as work or even some relationships, may be inevitable.

Being keen on them makes it easier to know what works best and enforce it. Stress is one of the factors that impact mental health at different levels. Here are ways in which it affects your mental health.

1. Irregular Sleep Patterns

Quality sleep is a significant aspect of the overall well-being of your mental health. However, sleep is not always guaranteed due to some inevitable factors that may cause disruption. Stress interferes with regular sleep patterns, seriously affecting one’s mental health. As mentioned earlier, some of the primary causes of stress are work-related or connected to some of our relationships.

Falling prey to these factors may cause your body and mind to react differently, but the levels of impact may not vary. Some victims of stress tend to oversleep, while others find it challenging to get a shut-eye even when extremely exhausted. On the bright side, there are convenient and effective methods of dealing with irregular sleep patterns.

Others prefer to read a book or watch a movie to induce sleep. Failure to enforce the said methods might lead to more crucial effects. Better still, monitor your sleep patterns and see a specialist in case they fail to add up. Try as much as possible to avoid the triggers of unhealthy sleep patterns. Your mental health may fall prey, and it might be too late to redeem yourself when you fail to act promptly.

How does stress affect your mental health

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2. Anxiety and Depression

When stress sets in, the affected people respond differently to its effects. Prolonged stress equals eventual anxiety and depression, which may worsen when medical help is out of the question.

Anxiety and depression come in different levels depending on the nature of the stress trigger. It comes in varying ranges from severe to mild and follows specific patterns. An individual begins to exude specific behavioral, cognitive, and even physical symptoms. Some of the most common mental symptoms of anxiety and depression are; low concentration levels, poor decision-making, little to no self-confidence, and worrying over things one has no control over.

Behavioral or emotional symptoms include; irritability over nothing, in particular, constant agitation and inability to relax, moody spells, and apprehensive behavior that’s often misunderstood. Behavioral symptoms are also coupled with feelings of hopelessness and desperation. This causes the victim to engage in unreasonable actions with dire consequences.

The physical symptoms can be pretty scary, especially for those who have never experienced stress in its full measure. For instance, the most common symptoms are constant migraines, nausea, and low or complete loss of one’s sex drive.

Stress & Social Withdrawal

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3. Social Withdrawal

Stress is sometimes highly underrated and has dreadful consequences when you least expect it. Dealing with long-term stress has been established as a notorious deterrent to the progress of our mental health.

The longer it goes on, the more complex the victim finds it to socialize. They may keep to themselves when in the middle of a group or distance themselves completely.

One of the reasons for adopting a withdrawn lifestyle when stressed is due to certain beliefs conceived in the victim’s mind. One of them is that they could be in danger and only try to look for their safety by keeping to themselves. Another reason for being withdrawn is the development of trust issues. These happen primarily to victims who have experienced heartbreaks and other fraudulent episodes in the recent past.

Keeping to themselves may be their way of preventing the same things from happening or even worse. It’s essential to seek medical advice from certified mental health experts before things get out of hand.

4. Lower Concentration Levels

If one is plugged into stressful circumstances, one begins to feel and act differently. The results of stress depend on the gravity of the causes in question. Since your mental health becomes affected, concentration levels begin to dwindle.

It might become nearly impossible for some people to concentrate on work, studies, or even duties at home. It’s essential to seek medical help rather than allow this symptom to go on for prolonged periods.

Reiki Self Treatment

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Reiki Self Treatment Can Work Wonders.

In Chinese, such energy is known as ‘Wi’ or ‘Chi’ – Martial arts and acupuncture are various other disciplines that can work parallelly with this energy residing within us. Since responses to Reiki treatments vary from individual to individual and session to session, average results comprise a profound emotion of peace and relaxation. At times, people feel that tingling or warmth or even notice visual imagery.

While undergoing a Reiki session, your body will shift from flight-or-flight mode into rest and digest mode. Also referred to as Parasympathetic mode, the rest and digest cycle can induce a relaxation response, one of the states your body requires to cultivate healing.

Since transformations might include physical shifts, like a more relaxed feeling or restful sleep, giving this 5-minute practice a chance is important.

• Lie down and get comfortable.
• Place hands behind the head, palms pillowing the back of your skull.
• For the following couple of minutes, breathe deeply.
• Imagine your palms sending healing energy to release thoughts that no longer serve your purpose.
• Allow similar forms of energy of healing and light to come into your heart.
• Now open your eyes slowly and notice how your body and mind feel together.

Conclusion

Mental health awareness is crucial for people of all ages and must never be shoved aside for some reason. Since stress is among the primary causes of most mental health challenges, we must learn all the crucial tactics to handle it. Stress is inevitable as most situations and aspects challenge us to fight back. This gives room to stress and its terrible effects when we fail to prepare adequately.


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Vital Facts To Know About Women’s Health

Vital Facts To Know About Women’s Health

While men have various health-centric challenges, a woman’s body operates on a different level. Not only are their bodies induce multiple challenges, but they also are relatively more sensitive than men. In addition, girls and women face unique complexities across their lifespans. This blog will allow you to learn more about the health conditions that affect millions of females each year.

1. Caregivers are at risk.

Facts About Women's Health

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But, before that, did you know that 2 out of every 3 caregivers in the US are women? Several studies state that women who are into caregiving tend to develop a significant risk of poor mental and physical health, including anxiety, stress, and depression. Furthermore, the covid-19 has added more to the role of females in today’s date. Maintaining healthy behavior, seeking extra support, managing stress is integral, especially in the world we live in now.

Recognize, Adapt, & Improvise

  • Some straightforward ways to maintain and sustain healthy behaviors include practicing good sleep habits, regular exercise, and avoiding excessive alcohol.
  • If you want to manage stress, take rest, breaks, consider respite care, and make time to unwind.
  • Recognize when you need more help. There are several support groups that provide safe places for people caught in similar worldly situations to locate support.

2. Asthma

Asthma is more common in women as compared to their counterparts. In 2019, its rate was relatively higher among non-Hispanic Black women. And, when it comes to Hispanic women, it was lower as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

  • Fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, or menopause can make this condition’s symptoms worse in females.
  • Asthma is one of the health flags that may lead to problems associated with their babies during pregnancy.
  • Since women’s lungs are comparatively smaller than men’s, they can be sensitive to asthma triggers, making them breathe insignificantly.
  • People suffering from asthma should avoid such triggers. These triggers can be outdoor air pollution, pets, tobacco smoke, and mold.

3. Heavy menstrual bleeding

Recurring menstrual bleeding can last for several days, affecting around 10 million American women every year. In simple terms, heavy menstrual bleeding affects one in every five women. Numerous reports have suggested that bleeding disorders can trigger this issue.

Women's Health Issues

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  • If you experience heavy bleeding, consult your healthcare provider.
  • Educate yourself on potential causes like symptoms and signs of bleeding disorders.

4. Disability

It is essential to know that women with disabilities require similar health care as those without disabilities. Moreover, they may also require additional care to determine and address specific needs. Besides, did you know that around 36 million women in the United States are living with a disabling condition, impacting their mind and body? In addition, around 45% of women who’re 65 and above are living with one or many disabilities. Speaking of which, one of the most common causes of disabilities is arthritis in women, which can be categorized under osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatism, and lupus.

  • Female adults have reported experiencing recurring mental distress almost five times as compared to adults without disabilities. These mental distresses are associated with increased use of health services, poor health behaviors, chronic disease, mental disorders, and limitations in daily routine.
  • Remember, women with disabilities require similar health care as women without them. One of the research pieces shows that several disabled women may not obtain regular health screenings, like a Pap test or mammograms, as recommended.

5. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

BV or bacterial vaginosis is one of the common vaginal conditions in women aged between 15 to 44 years. It is imperative to know that such a change is caused by the average balance of vaginal bacteria. When it comes to the United States alone, an estimated 21 million women aged between 14 to 49 years suffer from such a condition.

6. Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is a kind of human trafficking that is a severe health hazard affecting the well-being of families, individuals, and communities. When it comes to such a health issue, women are more susceptible to it. According to its definition, sex trafficking is harboring, recruitment, provision, transportation, or obtaining a person to perform a commercial sex act.

Women's Health

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  • Female victims can share consequences and risks associated with intimate partner violence, adverse childhood experiences, gang violence, and sexual violence.
  • Consequences can either be long-term or immediate. These can include relationship problems or physical problems, chronic health outcomes, and psychological concerns.

7. Overdose

Females should discuss all their ongoing medications with healthcare providers to ensure appropriate and safe use. The figure affecting overdose deaths from opioids is considerable among women. Besides, women are more sensitive to chronic pain, leading to the consumption of opioid pain relievers. That is why experts recommend women discuss everything with their family doctor or any healthcare practitioner. Since an overdose can result from any excessive medicine intake, one must know what to determine and look after.


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How to Manage Stress for Better Sleep

How to Manage Stress for Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re stressed can feel like an impossible task. In this article, I’ll explore some ways you can relax to help you get better shut-eye.

First, I’ll define stress and look at how it impacts sleep. I’ll then offer you expert advice on practical ways you can reduce your stress so that you can sleep better. Finally, I’ll touch on what has been stressing us out in recent years by discussing recent stress trends that inhibit rest.

Note: These general recommendations should not be taken as medical advice. If you have any health-related questions regarding sleep, consult your physician or a trained medical professional.

How are Stress and Sleep Connected?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress refers to how the brain and body respond to a demand, such as a traumatic event, a massive life change, or work performance. (1)

Poor sleep quality is linked to higher levels of stress (2), and higher stress levels are linked with shortened total sleep time and an increased likelihood of sleep disorders. (3) However, having the right amount of quality sleep (seven to eight hours for most adults) can actually reduce your stress levels. (4)

Sleep Stress

Dr. Mary Gay, PhD, notes that getting quality sleep can be tough if you can’t effectively manage your stress, since stress can impact sleep and vice versa.

When you’re stressed, your brain goes into survival mode, making it harder for you to store memories and do anything complex. This is because when you engage one part of your brain, the other parts of your brain have less energy to perform. (5) Sleep psychologist at Somnus Therapy, Katherine Hall, attributes this to your mind entering the “fight or flight” state when you’re stressed.

This “fight or flight” state can also keep you from sleeping by making you more likely to respond to slight noises and movements instead of sleeping through them. (This isn’t great if you share a bed with someone who snores!)

How to Reduce Stress for Better Sleep

Let’s check out some ways you can increase your chances of getting quality sleep by reducing your stress. I asked sleep and mental health experts to provide tips on how to do this.

Sleep Hygiene

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Proper sleep hygiene can be incredibly helpful for relaxation and managing stress at night. A few things you can do to help induce restful sleep are:

  • Reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex only
  • Keep a cool temperature in the bedroom
  • Pick a bedtime ritual to help you relax before bed
  • Avoid naps in the day after 3pm
  • Avoid difficult conversations before bedtime
  • Avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine three hours before bedtime (caffeine stays in the body for 5-7 hours)
  • Avoid screen time at least one hour before going to bed
  • Avoid large meals several hours before bedtime

Dr. Gay says it’s best to limit your social media use and your time spent consuming stressful media (political news, scary movies, etc.). She suggests having an electronics-free nighttime routine. Similarly, Dr. Prianca Naik, MD, suggests, “First thing in the morning for 10-15 minutes, don’t get on your phone. Set an intention for the day and practice gratitude. This places our mind in a positive frame.” This might be difficult at first, but you can do it!

Dr. Gay also says that the right sleep environment will help you catch some Zzz’s. One way to create this is by choosing the right mattress for you. This will depend on a variety of factors such as your size, weight, and preferred sleep position, as there’s no “one-size-fits-all” when picking a mattress. Just make sure that your mattress provides comfort and proper spinal alignment.

Do Not Pressure Yourself

“The first thing to note is that sleep is involuntary, so trying to force sleep will only cause you to be more aware of your stress, anxiety, and thoughts. One of the first things you can do to reduce stress is to take the pressure off,” says Katherine.

She offers this advice for not pressuring yourself to fall asleep:

  • Don’t panic. Rather, remind yourself that stress won’t help you sleep. Instead, take a few deep breaths and keep your mind from spiraling out of control.
  • Don’t look at the clock. Turning your clock away from your bed will help prevent you from fueling anxiety about not falling asleep as the night progresses.
  • Focus on relaxing rather than sleeping. Use relaxing music or guided meditation to help you focus on relaxing your body. You can also picture your tension leaving as you feel your body sink into the bed.
  • Know that your body is still getting rest. Even if you’re not asleep, your body is getting rest just by relaxing in bed. Thinking in this way can help you worry less and drift off to sleep.
  • Schedule a time to worry for 15 to 20 minutes early in the evening. Instead of trying to force your mind to quiet down, preemptively tackle anxiety by setting aside time just for that.

Schedule Time to Worry

Reframe Your Mindset

Are your thoughts keeping you from sleeping? Reframing them might help! Health psychologist, Dr. Rae Mazzei, provides the following examples for how to do this:

  1. Thought: “I can’t sleep and will be so tired tomorrow.”
    Reframed Thought: “I have had many nights of good sleep and a little less sleep will be fine.”
  2. Thought: “I have so much to do and will never get it done.”
    Reframed Thought: “Even though I have a lot to do, I’ll focus on it tomorrow and do the best I can to get everything done.”

Take Care of Your Emotional State

Try journaling with a twist: get a destruction journal. “When the emotions and stress are intense, we might need a more intense way to express ourselves in order to get the stress out of our system. Try using a journal dedicated to destruction. They actually sell pre-made versions of this with prompts for each page. These prompts can consist of ripping the paper, scribbling on the paper, stepping on the paper. All of these are good ways to get negative energy out of your body for better rest,” explains licensed mental health counselor, Jocelyn Patterson.

Get out and socialize. Licensed marriage and family therapist, Alisha Sweyd, explains that when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, or any other difficult emotion, we will often isolate to try to protect ourselves or process it all, which can actually be the opposite of helpful. She explains that “We are meant to be in community with others, and the research shows how being connected strongly to a small community (think church or CrossFit) has incredible health benefits. One of those most powerful benefits is stress relief. Being around people who can relate while we vent, or distract us to get our minds off of our struggles, that type of socialization, will relieve stress in incredible and helpful ways.”

She also suggests laughing, something that has worked when working with her first responder patients. She explains that “Physically, laughing can relieve tension and stress responses. It brings more oxygen into your lungs and gets your organs working in the way they are supposed to, which then tells your brain everything is ok. Emotionally, it can brighten up your brain and amygdala (emotion regulation center) which alleviates your moods and relaxes your brain and body.”

Practice Mindfulness

Focus on Relaxing

Katherine also says that practicing mindfulness daily can help your emotional state. She says mindfulness helps you focus all your senses on the present, rather than being concerned with the past or future. One way she recommends reducing stress is by practicing progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). This is a form of mindfulness in which you promote relaxation through tensing and relaxing each muscle group.

Director of Relational Psych Group, Dr. Carly Claney, suggests performing a methodical and repetitive task to focus your energy and mind on. Some examples include brushing your hair, painting your nails, cutting vegetables, or mise en place for a meal.

Chris Lam is a private practice social worker, and he shared with me a very specific visualization example to use while in bed and trying to sleep:

  1. Imagine looking at the hand of a teacher holding a piece of chalk and about to write something on the chalkboard.
  2. Then, envision the hand slowly moving towards the chalkboard and then seeing the chalk hit the chalkboard.
  3. The hand starts to move and you see the chalk writing out the letters of your name.

He explained that the key to this strategy is really visualizing the micro-movements of the action. This example is chalk writing on a chalkboard however, it can be easily replaced by any other chosen motion.

Stay Active and Eat Healthily

Exercise

As the song says, “Get on your feet!” Dr. Gay says that exercise is among the most effective ways to manage and reduce your stress. She also says a healthy diet is essential, as it promotes your overall well-being.

Studies confirm that keeping physically active during times of high stress can help prevent negative effects on sleep. (6) This can be hard to do, since stress can lead to poor health decisions, impeding our efforts to exercise. (7)

“Swimming, in particular, can be a great stress-relieving tool. When we swim we practice paced breathing. If you have spoken with anyone about stress you have probably heard, “take a deep breath”, and that is exactly what you are doing when you swim,” says licensed social worker, Vicky Woodruff.

Reducing stress for better sleep

Research shows that dancing can also be an effective stress-coping mechanism. (8) Create a playlist ahead of time with some of your favorite songs and take a dance break when you are feeling very stressed.

Connect With Mother Nature

Finding moments to connect with different aspects of nature can be very helpful for stress reduction.

Licensed marriage and family therapist, Monica Elden, recommends grounding: going outside and putting your bare feet on the earth. She also says to engage your other senses, “Go and notice something pleasing in nature using as many senses as possible: Can you see the sun shining through a tree, feel the wind on your face, smell a flower?” Another tip is to go outside to look at the stars. Monica explains that “it helps to relax and put things into perspective. The problems you thought were overwhelming during the day look small and manageable when you contemplate your size relative to the universe.” (This can also be a great pre-bedtime calming ritual!)

In addition to the natural environment, animals can also help in stress reduction. Monica says that horses in particular have become well known for their assistance in stress management. She says, “They are stress detectors. If you are stressed they will know it and are less likely to cooperate.” (9)

Dr. Claney shares this sentiment and suggests that watching a live stream of puppies or other animals playing together can provide similar benefits.

How Has Our Stress Changed in Recent Years?

If you think everyone has been more stressed lately, you might be right. Harvard University notes that, in recent history, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, increasing threat of climate change, and — in the United States — a divisive political landscape all contribute to more stress. (10) However, they’re not the only factors contributing to increased stress. A 2021 study in Weekly found that the reasons adults in the US currently experience stress are due to the following:

Stress Stats

  • Family health (36.3%)
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness (28.6%)
  • Worry about getting COVID-19 or infecting others (25.7%)
  • Worry about the death of loved ones (15.2%)
  • Workplace COVID-19 exposure (13.5%)
  • Concern about being blamed for spreading COVID-19 (4.1%) (11)

Dr. Mazzei says that higher stress levels in recent years have caused an increase in sleep issues among her patients. Dr. Gay says that those most likely to develop sleep difficulties related to the stress of the pandemic include ethnic minorities, women, single parents, young adults, and anyone who is responsible for their family’s healthcare. “Studies show that ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the virus itself, as well as the financial hardships it brings. This contributes to increased reports of stress, anxiety, and depression as communities try to adapt and recover,” she says. (12)

Covid-19 stress

The American Psychological Association says the COVID-19 crisis is as stressful for some people as a traumatic event, similar to 9/11. (13) A 2020 study in The International Journal of Cognitive Therapy found that, since the pandemic began, people in the USA are just as anxious about the economy as their health. (14)

Instances of stress-related anxiety and depression are also up. A 2020 survey from the US Census Bureau found:

  • Adults living alone between the ages of 18 and 44 were nearly 11% more likely to report stress than those over 44.
  • Adults living alone who had poor health reported a higher likelihood of both anxiety and depression.
  • Adults living alone who either lost employment or expected to lose employment were 19% and 18% more likely to report anxiety and depression, respectively than those who were not in a similar position. (15)

Katherine explains that high levels of anxiety hinder sleep. She said that her organization found that insomnia cases have risen 63% since April 2020, with sufferers commonly attributing this to pandemic-related stress.

Academics are another reason why many adults have recently experienced stress. In 2018 Purdue University found that 45% of college students reported more than average stress levels and 87% felt overwhelmed at least once a year by everything they needed to get done. (16)

Politics can also drive us up the wall. According to Lydia Antonatos, a licensed mental health counselor, the political climate contributes to national stress levels. She says uncertainty regarding our country’s future, fear of life getting worse, and the way in which social media divides people all contribute to higher stress levels and consequently more sleep issues.

Some adults also deal with job-related stress. For example, a 2019 survey by the National Institute of Justice found that stress levels among New Jersey law enforcement officers were so high that 27% reported experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (17) PTSD can mess with sleep because it can cause flashbacks to negative events or distressing thoughts. (18)

Job related stress

The United States Department of Justice reports that, as of 2020, between 25% and 30% of all US law enforcement officers experience stress-related health issues. (19) These issues primarily include high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, both of which are linked to an increased risk of developing sleep issues.

Because of the link between high stress and poor sleep, these recent stress trends indicate an increase in sleep issues caused by stress. The good news is there are ways to mitigate these problems.

Last Word From Sleepopolis

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our daily lives, it’s understandable if you’re feeling unusually stressed. Thankfully, there are ways to combat stress for better sleep, like avoiding pressuring yourself into sleeping, working on practicing healthy sleep hygiene, and taking care of your emotional state. If your stress, anxiety, or depression are heavily affected by stress, speak to a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.

References

  1. “5 Things You Should Know About Stress.” National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
  2. Prather, A et al. Impact of Sleep Quality on Amygdala Reactivity, Negative Affect, and Perceived Stress. Psychosomatic Medicine. May 2013.
  3. Kashani, M et al. Perceived stress correlate with disturbed sleep: A link connecting stress and cardiovascular disease. The International Journal on the Biology of Stress. Jun 19, 2011.
  4. “Get Enough Sleep. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep
  5. “Protect your brain from stress. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/protect-your-brain-from-stress
  6. Wunsch, K et al. The effect of physical activity on sleep quality, well-being, and affect in academic stress periods. Nature and Science of Sleep. Apr 26, 2017.
  7. Stults-Kolehmainen, M et al. The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise. Sports Medicine. Jan 2014.
  8. Yasuhiro Kotera, PhD. “How Dance Can Help You Improve Your Wellbeing.” The University of Derby. Mar 3, 2020, https://www.derby.ac.uk/blog/how-dance-can-help-you-improve-your-wellbeing/
  9. “‘Horsing Around’ Reduces Stress in Youth.” Washington State University. https://news.cahnrs.wsu.edu/article/horsing-around-reduces-stress-in-youth/
  10. “A Stressful New Decade: The latest information on how stress shapes our minds and bodies.” Harvard University. Mar 6, 2020, https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2020/a-stressful-new-decade-the-latest-information-on-how-stress-shapes-our-minds-and-bodies/
  11. McKnight-Eily LR, Okoro CA, Strine TW, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Prevalence of Stress and Worry, Mental Health Conditions, and Increased Substance Use Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, April and May 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  12. “Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups.” National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Apr 19, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html
  13. Horesh, D. et al. Traumatic stress in the age of COVID-19: A call to close critical gaps and adapt to new realities. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Mar 27, 2020.
  14. Bareket-Bojmel, L et al. COVID-19-Related Economic Anxiety Is As High as Health Anxiety: Findings from the USA, the UK, and Israel. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. May 29, 2020.
  15. File, T., & Marlay, M. “Living Alone Has More Impact on Mental Health of Young Adults Than Older Adults.” Jan 13, 2021, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/young-adults-living-alone-report-anxiety-depression-during-pandemic.html
  16. “The College Student’s Guide to Stress Management.” Purdue University Global. July 2, 2020, https://www.purdueglobal.edu/blog/student-life/college-students-guide-to-stress-management-infographic/
  17. Jim Dawson, “Fighting Stress in the Law Enforcement Community,” Apr 8, 2019, nij.ojp.gov: https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/fighting-stress-law-enforcement-community
  18. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” The National Institute of Mental Health, 2020, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
  19. Barr, William P., International Association of Chiefs of Police Officer Safety and Wellness Symposium, United States Department of Justice, Feb 27, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-international-association-chiefs-police
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Living Healthy With Delta THC and CBD

Living Healthy With Delta THC and CBD

Gone are the days when marijuana held a confined notion of merely a recreational drug. It has surprised us today and continues to do so with its invaluable medicinal and healing properties. But cannabis does not come in just a single form. Cannabis comprises several beneficial compounds, and one of them is THC. It has multiple sub-categories as well.

Delta THC is one of them as it comes from pure hemp and not cannabis. Hemp contains 0.3% or a lesser amount of THC. Thus, today many nations sell delta THC where selling cannabis is illicit. On the other hand, Cannabidiol, better known as CBD in the market, is a form of phytocannabinoid containing about 40% of cannabis plant extracts. While users had a psychological block with cannabis and its derived compounds, the Farm Bill signed in 2018 was a landmark in such an industry. However, let’s first understand the difference between THC and Delta THC.

Difference Between THC & Delta THC

One of the basic differences between both of these is that Delta THC is comparatively less psychoactive than Delta-9 THC. This simply implies that the product containing Delta-8 THC has a more soothing, gradual, and satisfying effect.

Here, you will explore the incomparable therapeutic effects of CBD and delta THC in different health conditions.

1.Might Take Care of Anxiety

Cannabidiol and Delta-8 THC comprise many health nutritional components. Delta-8 is a compound that comes from the cannabis Sativa. Therefore, their therapeutic effects are also profoundly interlinked. For example, Delta THC products may work wonders for patients who suffer from constant restlessness, irritation, and agitation.

Consumers of Delta THC found that its psychological benefits often overpowered its physiological benefits. Its calming properties, just like CBD, can prevent paranoia and anxiety in the patient. Many use CBD significantly today to calm anxiety symptoms in patients. As per research in 2014, CBD communicates deeply with the brain receptors and exhibits anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.

2.Can Keep Anorexia at Bay

Maintaining a healthy weight and an agile body is a marvelous idea. But when it becomes an obsession, it can lead to a psychological disorder at some point in time. This mental condition is anorexia. In this stage, an individual begins to lose weight significantly, which destroys the body’s healthy balance.

Keeping Anorxia at Bay

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Anorexia is not a very popular topic as anxiety, but its percentage is on a significant rise. Delta THC helps in increasing the appetite and food intake of the individual at a decent rate. It has appetite stimulant properties that help patients get back into a healthy diet again.

3.An Effective New Cannabinoid Antiemetic Within Pediatric Oncology

Some published studies explored the utilization of Delta-8 as one of the antiemetics within pediatric oncology therapies and treatments. This found out several promising outcomes:

Delta THC comprises antiemetic properties that can prevent vomiting.
With 480 Delta Tetrahydrocannabidol therapies, treatments beginning a couple of hours before every antineoplastic session, continuing every 6 hrs and 24 hours, users experienced no vomiting. The use of Delta THC alleviated vomiting completely.

Moreover, Delta-8 THC can effectively eliminate vomiting in chemotherapy treatment. Not only is this a positive sign but is a significant start.

4.Might Help You Get Rid of Insomnia

A study that signifies the Delta Tetrahydrocannabidol effects on cats showed rising outcomes when increasing sleep quality and duration. It also revealed that THC induces sedation in cats. This led to longer but fewer REM episodes or paradoxical sleep. Hence delta THC supplements are widely used nowadays to decrease symptoms of severe insomnia.

On the other hand, CBD consists of nerve-calming properties that help in soothing our minds. This is why many of the CBD in-takers states that their time and sleep quality have improved. It can reduce symptoms of severe insomnia as well.

5.Can Reduce Chronic Pain

Can Delta THC reduce chronic pain?

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Chronic pain is yet again another health condition that is common among the modern-day population. Delta is one of the most natural and safest ways that can manage chronic pain symptoms. Hemp oil helps in soothing painful muscles, nerves, ligaments, and bones without any side effects.

6.Might Act As Brain Health Enhancer

Last but never least, both CBD and Delta THC may aid in improving brain health in consumers. It comes with neuroprotective potential. Delta Tetrahydrocannabidol might stimulate the central nervous system and regulate the calcium and potassium channels. It might also inhibit adenylyl cyclase, which results in pain relief.

Final Thoughts

CBD and Delta THC work effectively due to their so much potential, as mentioned above. The graph of these health products is only booming with time. They can cure the health conditions of the root with powerful healing properties. Patients of almost all ages and with underlying health conditions use CBD and THC products today. It is better to consult a professional or your family doctor to guide you the best with the correct dose, according to your health and requirement.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Dealing With Imposter Syndrome: Making it or Faking it?

Dealing With Imposter Syndrome: Making it or Faking it?

  • What are the signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome?
  • How do we deal with unrealistic expectations and feelings of self-doubt?
  • Learn what to look out for and how to break the cycle!

How to deal with imposter syndrome

“I don’t belong here”

In 2009 Taylor Swift entered the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) to accept her award for Best Female Video. A few moments into her acceptance speech, Kanye West famously interrupted her, stating that the award should have gone to Beyoncé.

A seemingly choked and confused Taylor Swift stopped her speech, as the crowd started booing Kanye. In the 2020 Taylor Swift Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, Swift describes the feeling that she did not belong on that stage.

This stands in contrast to the fact that the previous year her album sold 7 million copies worldwide, and her 2009 album Fearless was the bestselling album in the US that year and sold about 12 million copies worldwide.

Clearly, she, if anyone, belonged on that stage.

DEFINING IMPOSTER SYNDROME

What is it that makes a platinum-selling artist doubt their right to success? It could be a case of imposter syndrome. The imposter syndrome (sometimes referred to as imposter phenomenon, or imposter feelings) was first described in 1978, by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in the article The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women.

In their study, they talked to over 170 women in the academic world, all with one thing in common – that despite their success, degrees, and professional recognition, they did not feel successful. They felt like frauds.

People who experience this are unable to accept their success and often explain their success with factors outside of their control, like luck, instead of actual ability. As a consequence of this, they expect to be exposed as frauds, or imposters, at any time.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Imposter syndrome is not yet a clinical diagnosis and does not appear in the main diagnostic manuals like DSM-5 or ICD-10. According to research (Leary et al., 2000, p. 747), however, imposter syndrome has certain specific key characteristics:

  • The feeling of being a fraud: The person feels like they are faking their abilities, or that other people are wrongly assuming they have the right abilities for the task at hand.
  • Fear of being exposed: The person expects others to find out about the “fraud” at any time, and that they will be exposed as a fraud.
  • Trouble owning up to success: Any success is discredited or attributed to external factors as luck, instead of being attributed to personal qualities and behaviors.

STUCK IN THE IMPOSTER CYCLE

How to deal with imposter syndrome

Clance (1985) outlined the dynamics at work in the imposter phenomenon with the Imposter Cycle. The model describes how the perception of oneself as an imposter is maintained, even in the face of great success.

Here’s how Clance’s Imposter Cycle works:

    1. The person gets assigned, or starts, a new task or project.
    2. Symptoms of anxiety emerge.
    3. The anxiety is managed by over-preparation or procrastination (avoidance) followed by intense preparation.
    4. Upon completion, there is a feeling of relief.
    5. Positive feedback is disregarded since success is not seen as a reflection of ability. It was rather related to luck or hard work, and if you needed to work that hard you can’t be that competent in the first place.
    6. The feeling of being imposter increases, as do anxiety and possible depressive symptoms.

And the cycle continues…

In a recent systematic review, which included over 60 studies with a total of over 14 000 participants, one conclusion was that imposter syndrome could impair job performance. Imposter syndrome was also linked to depression, anxiety, burnout, and job dissatisfaction (Bravata et al., 2019, p. 1262).

So, the problem with imposter syndrome is the anxiety, depression, and psychological discomfort it creates. It also makes it hard to properly enjoy any successes you have. It may also lead to you not taking on any new projects, so you don’t have to experience any discomfort, or even worse, be exposed as a “fraud”.

COPING WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME

So now that we know more about imposter syndrome, and what makes it prevail even in the face of great success, what can we do about it?

The authors conclude that to date there are no specified treatments for imposter syndrome. But since there is a strong link to anxiety and depression, it’s important to identify individuals in need of treatment for those specific diagnoses (Bravata et al., 2019, p. 1262).

Even though imposter syndrome is not a formal diagnosis and lacks specific treatment recommendations, there are some useful strategies reported in the available science on the subject:

REACH OUT

In a recent study, looking at the self-reported efficiency of different ways of managing imposter feelings, collegial support, and mentoring is perceived as an effective strategy (Barr-Walker, Werner, Kellermeyer, & Bass, 2020).

This is further supported by studies (Bravata et al., 2019, p. 1262, Matthews & Clance, 1985) that report people experiencing imposter feelings often think they are the only one who feels this way, which increases feelings of isolation.

Talking with others about imposter feelings breaks the isolation. It is a well-known and established belief that increased social support is important for coping with the negative effects of stress (Uchino, 2009).

So maybe you can find a friendly online community of like-minded people where you can discuss these feelings (a particular Hive comes to mind…).

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Reach out. Talking with others about imposter feelings breaks the isolation.

ZOOM IN ON THE RIGHT THINGS

People with imposter feelings tend to tone down their accomplishments and abilities and enlarge perceived failures.

Training yourself to put the magnifying glass on the good things others have said about your work, or the things you did really well, is also an often-recommended way of dealing with imposter feelings (Barr-Walker, Werner, Kellermeyer, & Bass, 2020).

After all, habitually turning your attention to perceived mistakes will probably give you a distorted view of reality.

(For more on this, check out my article Battling Cognitive Distortions As A Music Teacher – A Psychologist’s Take)

REFRAME SUCCESS

People experiencing imposter feelings tend to attribute their success to external factors as luck.

They also often think that if they were actually talented, they wouldn’t have to work so hard (Bravata et al., 2019, p. 1262).

So if this is relatable for you, try to cope with these feelings by redefining and reframing your definition of success by using this type of thinking:

  • Successful people work hard for it.
  • Successful people make their own luck.

The meaning you give to words, and how you define different concepts, affect your thinking in ways that are not always helpful.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In summary, imposter feelings can negatively impact your quality of life, and in the worst-case scenario can lead to depression and anxiety. You should be able to enjoy your success, however big or small. Hopefully, this editorial can be of some help to you on your way!

If you want to read further about this issue, I’ve referenced my sources for this article below.

REFERENCE LIST

  • Bravata, D. M., Watts, S. A., Keefer, A. L., Madhusudhan, D. K., Taylor, K. T., Clark, D. M., Nelson, R. S., Cokley, K. O., & Hagg, H. K. (2019) Prevalence, Predictors, and Treatment of Impostor Syndrome: a Systematic Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 35(4), 1252–1275. <https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05364-1>
  • Clance, P.R., & Imes, S.A. (1978) The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention, Psychotherapy, 15, 241-247.
  • Clance, P. R. (1985) The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.
  • Leary, M. R., Patton, K. M., Orlando, A. E., & Wagoner Funk, W. (2000) The Impostor Phenomenon: Self- Perceptions, Reflected Appraisals, and Interpersonal Strategies. Journal of Personality, 68(4), 725–756. <https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6494.00114>
  • Matthews, G., & Clance, P. R. (1985) Treatment of the Impostor Phenomenon in Psychotherapy Clients. Psychotherapy in Private Practice, 3(1), 71-81. doi:10.1300/j294v03n01_09
  • Uchino, B. N. (2009) Understanding the Links Between Social Support and Physical Health: A Life-Span Perspective With Emphasis on the Separability of Perceived and Received Support. Perspectives on Psychological Science,4(3), 236-255. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01122.x

The original article by Ricard Magnusson was originally published at producerhive.com

About the Author:

Ricard is a Swedish music producer and licensed psychologist with a Masters Of Science in Psychology, awarded by the University of Umeå, Sweden. He has been practicing as a professional psychologist for the last 10 years. Ricard also makes music under the artist name Wheel. He has made music for adverts (Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg among others), done remix work for high-profile artists like Barry Adamson, and also produces his own material.

Ricard his social media channels: Facebook, Instagram


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay