Meditating When You Have Anxiety

Did you know that meditation can be as effective at treating anxiety as prescription drugs. That’s a real, bonafide fact backed by science.  This means that anxiety doesn’t have to feel like this all consuming, dominating monster that can strike at any moment.  Instead, meditation can be something you have in your wellness arsenal to combat it. While this is great news, the downside is it can feel impossible to meditate when you have anxiety.  But never fear, there are tools you can use to help get your Om on (don’t worry, you don’t actually have to say Om).

Use an app

Try guided meditation to help you focus and calm racing thoughts. Headspace and Stop, Breathe, & Think are just a few of some of the wonderful meditation apps out there.  YouTube also has a large library of guided meditations of various lengths.  Guided meditations can be 3 minutes or an hour based on where you are in your practice.  But don’t feel discouraged if an hour sounds completely insane. Even if you’re only starting with 3 minutes at a time, you’re still building your practice and helping yourself.  

Use a prop

To help get out of your head and into your body, try using a prop like a crystal or mala beads.  Crystals have been used since ancient times. Specific crystals like amethyst, rose quartz, and black tourmaline, to name a few, are known the help with anxiety because of their specific healing properties.  Choose a crystal that resonates with you and hold it in your hand as you meditate.

Mala beads have been used for centuries by buddhist monks during prayer and contain 108 beads.  Monks used each bead to denote a prayer or mantra, which can be used similarly during meditation.  Choose a mantra (a saying with meaning to you), like “I am enough”, and repeat it as you run your fingers along the beads.

Focus on the breath

If your thoughts won’t seem to leave you alone no matter how hard you try, don’t think about trying to meditate or quiet your mind, focus your attention on your breath instead.  Pay attention to the sensation of when you breathe in, and again when you breathe out. Count your breaths as they go in, and again as the go out so that you develop a rhythm of even breathing.  

Keep trying

Don’t get discouraged.  When you’re feeling anxious, you may not always be able to calm yourself with meditation, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.  Meditation, like most things in life, comes with practice. The more you do it, the more natural it feels.

Over time, you’ll start to see a difference in the way your thoughts comes and go.  Instead of feeling out of control, you’ll notice a sense of calm and control you may not have ever thought possible.  The next time you start to feel anxious, or the next you feel really good, give meditation a try. It can’t hurt.

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Food Vs. Mood: How One Affects the Other

This a guest post written by Martin Smith (bio below).  As The Bro Chick grows, we welcome posts from authors writing about mental health and any and all topics under its umbrella. 

Please note that the thoughts in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Bro Chick and any advice should be followed up with a medial doctor.  Thanks!

If you munch on something like a dessert, you know that while it will boost up your energy level immediately, it can also lead to poor mental health in the long run.
A number of studies have revealed that diet helps not just physically, but also plays a significant role in altering your mood. In fact, it even brings about changes in the brain structure.  However, not all foods were created equal and are certain foods work to improve your mood as well as your overall well being.

Here we have enlisted few tips by which diet may help in revamping the mood.

Eat Regularly
If blood sugar level falls down, you’ll find yourself feeling irritated, depressed and lazy. Try eating at regular intervals to keep your sugar levels balanced (this is especially important for people with mood disorders). This will assure that your body is receiving a
sustainable supply of fuel, which will keep you mentally sound.

Eat slow energy food items like oats, cereals, seeds, and nuts.  Rather than eating three huge meals a day, aim for four to six smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid eating foods that give an immediate spike or fall in your blood sugar level like sweets, desserts, and alcohol (womp womp).

Stay Hydrated
It has been proven that if you don’t drink sufficient fluids, thinking clearly or concentrating can become quite tedious. It might even spoil your mood further by making you constipated (the worst).  It is recommended to drink 1-2 liters of water a day. This helps keeps you hydrated and rejuvenated through the entire day.  Although smoothies, teas, and coffees are also considered fluids, they contain caffeine and sugar which are not very beneficial for your health.  Stick to water, it’s free!

Don’t Skip Meals

Many people have a tendency to miss out on their meals, specifically breakfast.
Breakfast is still widely considered the most important meal of the day, and if you miss it you’ll most likely feel tired and even anxious throughout the day.  Skipping meals reduces the body’s potential to assimilate food and messes with your blood sugar (as mentioned above).

Eat “Mood Foods:
There are some foods that help you to stay healthy as well as happy.  Eating good amounts of protein helps to ease off the absorption of carbohydrates in the blood,
and boosts mood and energy levels.  Eggs and yogurt are good examples of these proteins.
Vitamins, especially vitamin D helps to helps to cure several mood ailments. Spend some time under the sun (with sunscreen!) or eat foods like soy milk, oatmeal, and beef to get your supply of vitamins.  Fiber helps to increase the serotonin level in the body and release the ‘feel good’ chemicals, which can minimize mood swings. Beans and peas are good fiber friendly foods.

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When you make certain changes in your diet, allow yourself to adjust and adapt to the new pattern.  Apart from eating well, exercise also plays a focal role in helping you feel good. Don’t forget about breathing exercises, another natural way to help soothe your mind.

Author Bio
Martin Smith is a content curator, recipe developer and fitness blogger. True foodie by heart, he is fond of good food and delicious desserts. His passion for nutrition stems from a life-long love affair with food and cooking especially chocolate recipes on https://www.tesco.sg/

Grattitude

*Note: I am aware “Grattitude” is actually spelt “Gratitude” – there’s a sign near the city that has is spelt this way because gratitude is really about your attitude.  See what I did there?  Let’s move on…

As I’m sure you’re aware, this past week was Thanksgiving.  My fiancé, or ‘fiancebabe’ as we like to call each other and he shall hence be known as, spent Wednesday-Saturday (technically Sunday morning) with various combinations of our family members.

While I’m sure a lot of people might think “Jesus. You must have wanted to shoot yourself,” we were thinking “Jesus. We’re REALLY lucky.”

I have an unconventional family that we refer to as our “modern family” and I love every single one of them, no matter how we’re related.  I also have an incredible future family-in-law that I would seriously choose to spend time with.  Not many people can say that.

Instead of raging the town at some bar in the city, we spent pre-Thanksgiving doing what every good Italian family does; eating.  As we went around the table and shared what we’re thankful and grateful for, I reflected on the many blessings in my life.  I went for the sappy road and shared my gratitude for my beloved fiancebabe and my soon-to-be in-laws.  But here are some other things I am (and lot of us should be) grateful for…

  • I’m grateful for the $8.17 organic chicken bone broth (with added organic bone marrow) I bought for lunch because it means I have a stable job and salary that allows me to enjoy such extravagances (once in a while).
  • I’m grateful for the many empty whiskey and wine bottles in my apartment because it means I have good friends who helped us drink them.  And even better friends who brought them.
  • I’m grateful for my insanely sore thighs because it means I am healthy enough to use them, and that I was able to treat myself to a Soul Cycle class.
  • I’m grateful for the medication I take every day because it means I have health insurance, a good doctor, and a country that’s finally recognizing the importance of mental health.
  • I’m grateful for the hangover I had on Saturday because it means I had a great time and that my mom can still out drink me.  It also means my body has a checks and balances system in place that makes me say “I mean it this time – I’m only having one glass of wine tonight.”
  • I’m grateful when my phone blows up from a group text because it means I have friends who want to stay connected to each other.  Plus it means I have a phone and my phone is super helpful, and it entertains me on my way to work.
  • Most of all, I’m grateful for when I feel uncomfortably full, for when I’m so comfortable I don’t want to get out of bed, for when my face hurts from smiling, and when my stomach hurts from laughing because it means that I have a good and plentiful life.

I almost forgot to mention something else I’m grateful for, or should I say someone else – I’m so grateful for my fiancebabe. Because of him I get to share all of the good (and the bad) things with someone who loves me in such a unique and powerful way.  He’s also not too bad on the eyes (wink).

I hope everyone found something to be grateful for this year, and I hope you find even more to be grateful for next year.

Oh, one last thing – I am also grateful for Pumpkin Spice Lattes because they are amazing and they mean it’s fall and I am NOT SORRY ABOUT IT.

My Daily Internal Debate

It’s time to get up.

5 more minutes.

If you don’t get up now, you’re not going to have time to get your lunch and your clothes for work ready.

There are clothes in my gym bag, I can just wear those.

Ew that’s gross. No, get a clean sports bra.  And don’t forget to pack a regular bra! You can’t keep buying new ones at Victoria’s Secret.

That was one time!  And it was the semi-annual sale!  Jeeze.

You’re running out of time.  You know how frantic you get when you give yourself five minutes to get out of bed, dressed, packed, and out the door.

I have plenty of time. It’s only 7:05am.

No, it’s 7:15am.

Fuck.

You have to be out the door at 7:30 if you want to make it to the gym on time.

Ugh, I don’t feel like going.

You say that now, but when you stand up you’ll want to go.

Let me check the website and see what the workout is. Ugh, we just did front squats.  I’m going to cancel.

No, go to the gym.  You ate half a bag of jelly beans last night.  We said we weren’t going to do that anymore.

But I’m tiiiiiiiiiired.  And it’s cold outside.  And I don’t have the mental energy to deal with Atlantic Terminal right now.

Get up.  Don’t you want to eat some jelly beans when you get home?

…yeah.

If you don’t go to the gym you’re going to feel sluggish and grumpy.  And let’s be honest, you’re still going to eat the jellybeans.  You’ll feel better if you workout.

Bah. What time is it?

7:25.

I still have five minutes to decide.

But then you won’t have time to get ready.  Goddamnit you know how times works!

 
Alright!  I’m getting up.  You win again.