Honesty about anxiety from a Canadian broadcasting icon

Icon? Yup – I would have called John Moore an icon even 10 years ago. But listening to his talk and his coming back to radio? I’m a 54 year old man and I am in tears of happiness right now.

Thank you for having this courage to share. And to offer hope to so many others.

You’re a class act. Always knew that. But … this upped it a few more levels yet again.

Rossy art therapy and well-being

The Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy makes it possible for the MMFA to consolidate its developmental focus on art therapy and well-being. All actions put in place are aimed at the same goal, namely to promote the well-being of a variety of groups, whether or not they have special needs.

In this connection, some new programming, designed in partnership with the health and academic communities, is offering a whole range of innovative projects adapted to persons living either with mental health issues, autism or eating disorders, or with difficulties related to learning, living together and social inclusion. Whether they visit exhibitions in the company of an educator, participate in creative workshops or present their creations to Museum audiences, program participants have meaningful artistic and social experiences.

Numerous professionals from the medical world and the community can join forces in an unusual practice setting, thanks to the Museum’s facilities, which include an art therapy workshop, a medical consultation room and an Art Hive, created in collaboration with the Department of Creative Arts Therapy at Concordia University.

Art has a positive effect on the physical and mental health and well-being of individuals. To back this up, researchers from various institutions in Quebec are studying the beneficial effects of a visit to the Museum, which may be comparable to the benefits of physical exercise.

Furthermore, the MMFA Art and Health Advisory Committee, composed of experts from the fields of health, art therapy, research and the arts, as well as representatives of philanthropy and the MMFA, offers its expertise and support for the development of potential partnerships and innovative projects implemented at the MMFA.

See more at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

One Sheridan school increased teacher retention and decreased students ‘falling through the cracks’ by adding mental health professionals

From Chalkbeat

At one school in the tiny district of Sheridan south of Denver, two social workers roam the hallways with handheld radios, responding to crisis after crisis.

It might be a student crying in class for unknown reasons, a disruptive student, or a fight. Less urgent requests, such as a check-in for a student who just seems to be having a rough day, usually come through email.

“It’s very much boots on the ground,” said Maggie Okoniewski, one of the social workers at Fort Logan Northgate.

The school has just under 600 students in grades third through eighth. The demographics are typical of the Sheridan school district. About one in four are identified as homeless — the highest rate for any school district in the state — and about 15 percent qualify as having special needs.

In between those calls, Okoniewski and her fellow social worker Danielle Watry check in on students they’ve identified as a priority. Every week the list includes about 60 students. In the last year, the list includes students from the heavily Hispanic population who have especially struggled with deportations or fears of separations, they said.

“And if I’m in the classroom, it’s almost certain that another student will flag us down,” Watry said.

Read more…

Feeling Stuck? 4 Ways to Overcome Roadblocks in Your Life

From Psychology Today

We’ve all been there—feeling stuck in a dead-end job, unfulfilling relationship, or stale routine. Or we begin a new project and lose momentum. Feeling exhausted and defeated, we lack the energy to move forward.

At times like these, even the best intentions and willpower are not enough. But research has revealed four effective ways to break through roadblocks.

1. Expand your perspective. Most people in Western cultures develop a linear mindset, expecting current conditions to continue (Alter & Kwan, 2009). This mindset reinforces the stories we believe about ourselves. If we grew up in poverty or a dysfunctional family, we expect more of the same. With the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy, we attract more of what we know. If we had a narcissistic parent, we attract narcissistic relationships. If we grew up in poverty, we continue to see ourselves as poor and make poor choices—until we change our mindset.

To break free, we need to refocus our attention. This means taking a wider perspective rather than hiding from the truth or ignoring our problems.

Remarkably, a study at New York University found that people developed a more dynamic mindset after seeing the familiar yin/yang symbol on a researcher’s T-shirt. Instead of expecting current conditions to continue, they began seeing the world differently, becoming aware of new possibilities (Alter & Kwan, 2009).

As this study reveals, the natural wisdom of the Tao Te Ching expands our perspective, affirming nature’s dynamic cycles of yin and yang, sunlight and shadow, day and night, and the changing seasons. We then develop what psychologist Carol Dweck (2009) calls a “growth mindset.” You can expand your own mindset by exploring the wisdom of the East, studying the Tao Te Ching or spending time in nature, observing its cycles of growth and change.

2. Move. Moving our bodies affects our minds and emotions. Research has shown that exercise helps relieve depression (Babyak et al, 2000). Increasing the circulation to our brains, it also enables us to think more creatively (Steinberg et al, 1997). You can build your energy to move forward in your life by adding move movement to your days. There are many ways to do this: going for a brisk walk, using the stairs instead of an elevator, taking an exercise class, working out at the gym, dancing, swimming, or riding your bike. Find a way to move that you enjoy and feel your energies rise.

Read more here…

 

Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers

From Pew Social Trends

For boys and girls, day-to-day experiences and future aspirations vary in key ways

Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America’s youth and, whether they personally suffer from these conditions or not, seven-in-ten teens today see them as major problems among their peers. Concern about mental health cuts across gender, racial and socio-economic lines, with roughly equal shares of teens across demographic groups saying it is a significant issue in their community.

Fewer teens, though still substantial shares, voice concern over bullying, drug addiction and alcohol consumption. More than four-in-ten say these are major problems affecting people their age in the area where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17.

When it comes to the pressures teens face, academics tops the list: 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. By comparison, about three-in-ten say they feel a lot of pressure to look good (29%) and to fit in socially (28%), while roughly one-in-five feel similarly pressured to be involved in extracurricular activities and to be good at sports (21% each). And while about half of teens see drug addiction and alcohol consumption as major problems among people their age, fewer than one-in-ten say they personally feel a lot of pressure to use drugs (4%) or to drink alcohol (6%).

The pressure teens feel to do well in school is tied at least in part to their post-graduation goals. About six-in-ten teens (59%) say they plan to attend a four-year college after they finish high school, and these teens are more likely than those who have other plans to say they face a lot of pressure to get good grades.

Read more here…

Be Kind, Retrain Your Mind: 3 Tips to Overcome Negative Self-Talk

From Tiny Buddha

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha

In 1990, in an early encounter between the Dalai Lama, the foremost Tibetan teacher of Buddhism, and Western students, the Dalia Lama was asked a question about how to deal with self-hatred. He was confused and didn’t understand the question. The translator translated the question again and still the Dalai Lama was confused.

Finally, the Dalai Lama understood that the question was about how to manage negative feelings about the self. This was a new concept to him: he knew that people had negative feelings about others, but he had not encountered the challenge of self-hatred.

I wish I could say that I had never encountered the problem of self-hatred, but I’d be lying. Like so many people, even if I didn’t necessarily recognize my self-talk as such, I was inundated with internal negative self-talk.

My process of coming first to recognize what that voice was up to, then to listen to it with more compassion, and finally, once and for all, to ask it to grow up and step out of the room has been a journey of self acceptance, growth, and ultimately, freedom.

Here are three steps to deal with your own inner negative self-talk:

The first step is to become aware of the negativity of your internal voice. 

For the first twenty-eight years of my life, I was so familiar with my negative voice that I didn’t even recognize it.

I’ve been told that people with Tinnitus, a constant ringing sound in the ears, grow used to it and learn to live with it so successfully that they’re no longer really even aware the ringing’s there. That was the case with my negative voice: it was a kind of background hum.

If I did pay attention to it, I was tricked into thinking that its particular message mattered.

At sixteen it might have been the enormous, overly sweet corn muffin I’d eaten on the way home from school that was a sign of my failure.

At twenty-six it might have been that an essay I wrote hadn’t been accepted for publication; this was a sign, I was sure, that nothing I’d ever write would ever be fully understood.

It wasn’t until I’d been in therapy for a while and had a real mindfulness practice that I even began to notice the daily hum of background voices and to notice that the particulars of the negative voice I did hear were less important, actually, than the larger pattern it was a part of.

Any mindfulness practice can help you become more aware of the negative self-talk in your head. You can try guided meditations, deep breathing exercises, or mindful walking, or simply spend time tuning into your senses. When you become conscious of the present moment, it’s easier to recognize what’s going on internally.

The second step is to listen a little more deeply.

What was important was not so much what the voice was saying as what was under the voice. Often the negativity was there to distract me from something else.

Was the corn muffin or the publication rejection really the problem?

Read more here…

10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today

From Psychology Today

We’ve created an environment that fosters anxiety rather than resilience.

The New York Times recently published an article called, “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?” The author chronicled several teens’ battle with anxiety over the course of a few years.

The article questioned why we’re seeing such a rise in anxiety among today’s youth. As a psychotherapist, college lecturer, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, I agree that anxiety is a widespread issue among adolescents. It’s the most common reason people of all ages enter my therapy office.

Some young people are overachieving perfectionists with a crippling fear of failure. Others worry so much about what their peers think of them that they’re unable to function.

Some have endured rough circumstances throughout their young lives. But others have stable families, supportive parents, and plenty of resources.

I suspect the rise in anxiety reflects several societal changes and cultural shifts we’ve seen over the past couple of decades. Here are the top 10 reasons:

Read more here…

Your Anxiety Loves Sugar. Eat These 3 Things Instead.

From Healthline

Is it time to ditch sugar?

It’s no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your body if you’re indulging in a little too much of the sweet stuff. Still, 75 percent of Americans are eating too much of it.

The harmful effects it can have on your physical health are well-studied, which is why we talk so much about reducing sugar to lose weight and lower the risk of disease.

While ditching the sweet stuff can result in a physically healthier you, it’s the impact sugar has on our mental health that’s worth taking a second look at.

1. Sugar leads to highs and lows

If your idea of coping with stress involves a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, there’s a good chance you know exactly what a sugar rush is.

While most people can get through a rush and subsequent crash with minimal discomfort, there’s an entire group of people who pay a big price for eating too much sugar.

That’s because consuming a large amount of processed sugar can trigger feelings of worry, irritability, and sadness — which can be a double whammy if you also deal with depression or anxiety.

But why does sugar cause such a problem?

After eating too much sugar, your body releases insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily.

Here’s why: A sugar rush makes your body work hard to get back to normal levels.

This roller coaster of ups and downs can leave you feeling nervous, foggy, irritable, jittery, and drained.

If you have anxiety or depression, those symptoms are likely ones you already deal with on a daily basis. Sugar will exacerbate them.

2. If it doesn’t cause anxiety, it sure makes it worse

If you deal with anxiety, then you know how disastrous it can be to binge on sugar.

The powerful high and subsequent crash can make you feel irritable, shaky, and tense — all side effects that can worsen your anxiety.

But that’s not all. Sugar can also weaken your body’s ability to respond to stress, which can trigger your anxiety and prevent you from dealing with the cause of the stress.

There’ve been a few studies that have looked at the connection between sugar and anxiety, but they were both done on rats. While the findings did show a definite link between sugar intake and anxiety, researchers would like to see more studies done on humans.

Read more here…

Anxiety disorders: Facts about the most common types

From the Kids Help Phone

Causes, signs and ways to cope with the seven most common anxiety disorders.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder makes you feel extremely uncomfortable around groups of people, like in a classroom or at a party. Social anxiety is a lot more extreme than shyness because it stops you from doing things you may enjoy. It can make you avoid places or settings where you may have to interact with others.

Causes

Social anxiety can come from a fear of being watched, judged or criticized by others. No one knows for sure why some people struggle with social anxiety and others don’t. It can be caused by:

  • Genetics: people in your family may experience social anxiety, too.
  • Past experience: social anxiety may develop after a stressful or embarrassing experience or over time.

Signs

Signs of social anxiety disorder include:

  • racing heart or a “skipping” heartbeat
  • trembling
  • sinking feeling
  • twitching or tense muscles
  • blushing
  • dizziness
  • stomach ache
  • sweating

If you’re struggling at school, skipping classes, having trouble making/keeping friends or are worried that you’re using alcohol and/or drugs to cope with your feelings, consider talking to someone you trust. Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868.

How to cope

Here are some tips that may help with social anxiety disorder:

  • Read up: get more information on social anxiety. Understanding it can help you find ways to manage it.
  • Make a list: write down the “triggers” that affect your anxiety.
  • Give yourself credit: if you do something that makes you nervous or anxious, congratulate yourself on trying. Making the effort to conquer your fears is very brave.
  • Talk about it: talking gives you a chance to work on an issue with someone else, rather than taking it on by yourself.

Imagine this scenario

Let’s say you blushed when you asked a question in class. How bad would that be? What may happen as a result? How would you feel if you saw someone else make the same “mistake” as you? If they blushed, would you point and laugh? Would you think about it for the rest of the day or forget about it?

Remind yourself of this scenario when you’re feeling anxious. Chances are the embarrassment that feels like a huge deal to you will barely be noticed by others.

Remember, social anxiety disorder is treatable. You don’t have to face this forever. You can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 if you need to talk.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is when you experience frequent panic attacks. Panic attacks can be triggered by stressful events, but sometimes they just happen.

Causes

Panic attacks are often related to specific phobias. They can also be caused by:

  • Genetics: people in your family may experience panic attacks, too.
  • Past experience: panic attacks may start after a stressful or scary experience.