Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. It can be caused by many different things, including stress, genetics, and chemical imbalances in the brain. Anxiety can lead to a number of physical and emotional symptoms, including chest pain, rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, and nausea. Everyone worries about things now and again, but to suffer from anxiety means that worrying has a debilitating impact on your daily life. If you are struggling with anxiety, there are many things that you can do to reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. In this blog post, we will discuss five ways to handle anxiety and reduce stress.
Practice Breathing and Mindfulness Techniques
Improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, which can contribute to both anxiety and panic attacks. The next time you begin to feel anxious, there are a variety of breathing techniques to help calm you down. A few of these techniques are:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This type of breathing exercise requires you to close your eyes or soften your gaze and then start to inhale and exhale. Close off your right nostril with your thumb, breathe in, close your left nostril, and then exhale. It is best to repeat this practice for ten full breaths before releasing your nostrils and breathing regularly.
This breathing practice has been shown to reduce stress when practiced for twenty minutes daily. Belly breathing requires you to place one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach. Then breathe in slowly through your nose to feel your stomach expand, and exhale through your mouth. Your chest should stay still the entire time.
Box breathing is simple and only requires you to breathe in for four seconds, hold the air in your lungs for four seconds, exhale slowly for four seconds, and then wait to inhale again for another four seconds. This type of breathing can calm you down and return your breathing to a normal pace.
Exercise More Frequently
Working out may feel like the last thing you want to do when struggling with your mental health, but exercise will release endorphins and reduce stress, anxiety, and tension. The word “exercise” may have you thinking about weight rooms or running on a treadmill, but physical activity can be a variety of ways that get your body moving. Some of these activities could be yoga, gardening, participating in sports, washing your car, or even a walk around the block.
Moving your body for 30 minutes 3-5 days a week can greatly reduce your anxiety and depression levels. However, moving for 10-15 minutes a day can also improve your mental wellness and help you start to feel better.
Eat Healthy, More Balanced Meals
The food we eat has a significant impact on our daily lives. Food fuels our bodies and our minds, and foods rich in certain nutrients can improve the way our mind functions. For example, foods rich in magnesium tend to help lower stress levels. These foods include leafy greens (such as spinach and Swiss chard), nuts, seeds, wholegrains, and legumes. Foods rich in zinc have also been tied to lower anxiety levels. These foods include oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks. Eating a balanced diet can help improve mental health and increase energy levels.
Write in a Diary
Journaling is a great way to release the built-up pressure from your day. Writing can help you discuss worries and fears, as well as check whether those fears are rational or not. When left unchecked, anxiety can cause overthinking and rumination. Sometimes getting thoughts down on paper just makes everything seem less overwhelming. You can get the most out of your journaling experience by writing exactly how you feel and what you are worried about, and then rereading what you have written. For each concern you have, try to write two ways to think about the situation differently. You can also experiment with freewriting, which means writing for a set period of time without filtering your thoughts or stopping.
Lean on Your Support System
Sometimes we just need to be around the people who love and support us. Having a support system can have a positive effect on your overall health. A support system can include family, friends, teachers, faith leaders, neighbors, peers, or therapists and counselors. Having a few people you trust and can turn to can help you manage everyday challenges, make difficult decisions, or even help center you during a crisis situation.
Anxiety can feel like a very debilitating condition, but there are many things that you can do to reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. When lifestyle changes do not help, then there is no shame in seeking treatment for mental health problems; in fact, it shows that you are strong enough to admit that you need help. You are not alone in this fight; millions of people struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. With the right tools and support, you can overcome your anxiety and regain control of your life.
It is more than okay to not be okay sometimes, but we all want to be mentally well and happy. Mental wellness is integral for living a fulfilling life but maintaining it can come with its challenges. And yet, we often neglect our own mental health in favor of other priorities like work, family, relationships, obligations, or friends. Thankfully, there are many options for those seeking to improve their mental wellbeing and their lives.
For many people, their mood can be heavily impacted by their stresses in life. Focusing on self-care and choosing healthy coping mechanisms for challenging life situations can help you build your mental strength and actually improve your mood. There are many options for those who wish to prioritize their mental health:
1) Keep moving
Every little bit of exercise can help elevate your mood. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. You do not have to be a fitness fanatic to receive the mental health benefits of exercise. Even a simple 30-minute walk outdoors can drastically improve your wellness.
2) Eat healthy
What we put in our bodies to give us energy plays a huge factor in how our brain functions. The brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected to one another. Your gut health can be a cause or a product of poor mental health. One way to help lower anxiety, depression, or stress is by being mindful of the things you eat. It is best to avoid highly processed and sugary foods, and instead opt for a healthier diet. Leafy greens, fruits, and leaner meats like salmon are all better options for those seeking to eat healthier. There are also many foods that directly improve your gut health- these include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, kimchi, olive oil, peas, bananas, garlic, and ginger.
3) Make time for yourself
Self-care routines can look different for everyone. It is important to take time for yourself and participate in hobbies or activities that are meaningful to you and that can lessen stress or anxiety. This could be anything from reading, journaling, watching your favorite movie, or treating yourself to a relaxing night in. Taking time to explore your favorite hobbies, or even try new ones, can help relax your mind and lower stress levels. Always remember it is okay to set boundaries with work and friendships to take the time to improve your own mental wellbeing.
4) Connect with others
Building your own support system is also a great way to lessen stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression. It may feel difficult to open up to others about how you are feeling, but connecting with others can help our mental health improve and elevate our mood. Your support system can be family, friends, or even professionals like a therapist who can help guide you through the more challenging times in your life.
5) Be kind to yourself
The journey to better mental health will not happen overnight. There may be days where there is still a struggle to stay motivated, but it is important to remember that healing and growth are not linear. It may take time, but a commitment to these different lifestyle changes can lead to long-term improvements in your mental wellbeing.
6) Check out your prescription options
If all of these lifestyle changes still do not help your mental health improve, or if you are finding it difficult to get started on these things without extra help, then there are many prescription options that can help you. There is no shame in seeking medical help to address your mental wellbeing. If you want to turn to medications to help you manage your mental health, then it is important to always be honest with your healthcare provider.
There are many strategies for how you can take control and overcome mental illnesses. Coping with stress, anxiety or depression may seem challenging but there is hope! Always remember you are not alone, and there is always a new option to try that can help. If all of these self-help strategies do not help, then please seek additional help from a medical professional.
A lot of men do not want to talk about their erectile dysfunction (ED), but the truth is that it can affect more than just themselves- their partners are also affected by the condition. The right communication will help avoid any embarrassment and allow room for understanding and support to grow.
Sex is a common topic in most relationships. But when one of the partners has erectile dysfunction, it can be difficult to know how to talk about it. It is important for both people to understand that this does not change anything about their relationship and love for one other. This article is designed to help you have more open conversations with your partner about ED.
ED is common and can affect anyone. It is estimated that over 30 million men in the United States have experienced ED at some point in their lives. It may be random, occasional, or chronic, but 1 in 10 men suffer from ED. While many men with ED are over the age of 50, there are still younger men who experience it, as well. Roughly 8% of men between 20-29 and 11% of men between 30-39 experience ED.
How ED Affects Relationships
The Sexual Dysfunction Association conducted an online survey to see how ED affected men. The results showed erectile dysfunction causes distress to those who experience it, with marked effects on their self-esteem and relationships. The most common initial reaction to erectile dysfunction was a sense of emasculation. For many men, the ability to perform sexually and to satisfy their partner was an important marker of their masculinity.
The importance of self-esteem cannot be overstated for a successful relationship. A person who is confident and proud of themselves will often times find they are more satisfied with their romantic relationships. High self-esteem allows them to enjoy romantic connections more than if they were suffering from feelings of worthlessness.
But it is not just the partner experiencing the ED who has lowered self-esteem. Despite the fact research has shown that ED normally has natural causes (like a circulation problem), partners of those experiencing ED have feelings of unattractiveness and tend to worry their partner has feelings for someone else. Fears of intimacy and of rejection can grow in this environment. Because of this, anxiety and depression can develop in the partner as well as the person experiencing ED.
How to Communicate with your Partner
First, it is important to remember no one is at fault for their erectile problems. It is important to broach the subject in the right setting. Having this conversation in bed or right after an ED instance has occurred is not ideal. Instead, it is better to prepare for the conversation and have it in a more relaxed or non-threatening setting.
Before beginning the conversation, it may help to educate yourself on why ED can occur and how to treat it so you can bring the information to your partner. Deepening your knowledge on the topic can help you and your partner better understand why ED is occurring and strengthen your support for one another as you venture into treatment or lifestyle changes that can help the condition.
If you are the partner of someone suffering from ED and wish to broach the subject with them, it is good to remember to set the right emotional tone for the conversation. It is important to not corner your partner or make them feel like you are attacking the condition. If your partner becomes embarrassed or defensive, then do not push the topic. However, do not entirely drop the subject. Allow them some time but let them know you need a follow-up conversation. It may be good to communicate that the condition is common, but that there are many treatment options available.
In some cases, it may be best to approach the subject with either a medical professional or with a marriage counselor. Regardless of how the topic is brought up, it is important to reiterate that you and your partner are a team and that you can lend support to one another.
A Few Things to Know about ED
Erectile Dysfunction is not necessarily about a lack of arousal. ED can actually be a symptom of underlying health concerns such as depression, high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, low testosterone, or heart disease. Emotional triggers such as anxiety or high stress levels can also cause or worsen the effects of erectile dysfunction.
ED is Treatable
The sooner you get the right treatment for your ED, the better. Treatments range from lifestyle changes to oral medications and sometimes even surgery. Making healthier food choices, improving your sleep quality, and exercising regularly can be lifestyle changes that improve the symptoms of ED. When lifestyle changes are not working or are unavailable, there are multiple prescription options to combat the effects of ED. The availability of generic ED medications has revolutionized the treatment of this condition by allowing for my financially viable options.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of ED, then it is recommended you speak to your healthcare provider.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects adolescent and teen populations, but what many people do not know is the connection between acne and mental health. The relationship between acne and mental health is strongest among young people. According to research, adolescents with moderate-to-severe acne were more likely to experience symptoms of depression than those without it. This connection may be due in part because teens who suffer from acne often feel self-conscious about their appearance which can lead to anxiety or depression.
Improving your mental wellbeing starts with understanding the connection between mental health and acne breakouts.
How Mental Health and Acne are Connected
The connection between acne and mental health is most prominent among young people. Teenagers make up the majority of those who suffer from this condition, as hormonal changes during their formative years contribute greatly to breakouts. In fact, over 80% of those with acne conditions are teenagers, and research has found that teen girls are the ones who are most affected by poor mental health linked to acne. Depression, low self-esteem, and low levels of confidence can all stem from acne breakouts.
Our confidence levels can be tied to our appearance and how others perceive us, so it is not surprising to see many acne patients suffer from chronic low self-esteem. Those with chronic acne can also become withdrawn and isolated as they avoid situations where others can see their complexion. Individuals who isolate themselves are more at risk for developing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Those with chronic acne tend to believe their complexion is their fault, but the truth is acne is frequently beyond a person’s control (like from hormones or genetics). In these situations, acne breakouts have nothing to do with how often someone washes their face or lets it breathe without makeup. Acne does not always need to be chronic or severe to affect an individual’s mental wellbeing. Mild breakouts, or even the occasional zit, can cause someone’s perception of themselves to feel worse.
Not a One-Way Street
It is not a surprise that your mental wellbeing can also affect your complexion. Higher levels of stress lead to hormonal imbalances that can cause breakouts. Higher stress levels can also lead to a decline in physical wellbeing (like eating more processed junk food) which leads to an increase in facial oil production, which in turn causes more acne.
The more stressed you become, the more likely you will experience breakouts. In order to decrease the likelihood of breakouts, you must address your daily stress levels and make time to care for your mental wellbeing.
How to Improve Skin and Mental Wellness
The first thing to address is any lifestyle changes that could improve your stress levels and therefore decrease your breakouts. There are many lifestyle change options to choose from- regular exercise, a healthy diet of leafy greens and unprocessed foods, and participating in self-care activities can all improve your mental health. Chronic stress can cause mild to severe breakouts but taking the time to address your stress levels and care for yourself will help lessen those acne breakouts.
If your acne breakouts are mild or infrequent, you may be able to see improvement from using over the counter (OTC) medicines. Some ingredients to look for are salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid will help to unclog pores, while benzoyl peroxide is used as an anti-inflammatory for existing breakouts.
If OTC medicines do not help with acne, then there are always prescription options for helping to reduce acne breakouts, whether they are severe or chronic. There are a variety of options when it comes to prescription medications that help acne. Retinoids are used to unclog pores and antibiotics are used to kill bacteria that lead to breakouts. There is also hormone balancing prescription treatments like spironolactone and birth control (which can be used to help more than just menstruation).
A Final Reminder
Acne may cause embarrassment or frustration, but breakouts are just part of being human. Your complexion should not control how you live your day-to-day life, or how you view yourself. Acne breakouts do not make someone “dirty” or mean they have poor hygiene. Acne, whether mild or severe, does not always come from a lack of self-care, but frequently starts from something outside of the individual’s control.
No one deserves to feel bad about their skin. You should be able enjoy life and love yourself without feeling ashamed or embarrassed, no matter what your complexion may look like!
If you are looking to improve your complexion and your mental health, then there are options. Lifestyle changes build your self-esteem and can help stop breakouts from forming. OTC medicines can help mild acne cases, and prescription medications can help adjust hormone levels or kill bacteria that cause acne.
The leaves are changing, pumpkin spice lattes are in full swing, and the air is getting cooler. You know what that means? The seasons are changing, and Fall is finally here! With each new season comes an opportunity to change in mindset. Fall is beginning, and we think now is the perfect time to fall into some healthier habits for this new season. Setting goals now can help us prepare for the winter months, and even prepare us to embrace the new year in a few short months.
Set your Goals
Do you want to improve your mental health? Do you want to hit the gym more often during the week, or make sure you have a healthy meal plan? The key to setting goals is to be realistic and specific. Instead of saying to yourself “I’m going to drink more water,” make an attainable and specific goal of drinking 11-15 cups per day. If you are looking to improve your mental health, then specific milestones can help you reach your goal. Commit to spending two hours a week in nature, do three acts of self-care every weekend, or make an appointment to talk to a therapist every two weeks.
You are more likely to stay on track with your goals if you write them down and get vocal about them. Write in your daily journal, make notes on your calendar, and tell your support system about your plans.
Where do you want this season to lead you? What plans do you want to strive for beyond now, and into the coming seasons? Maybe if you struggle with the winter blues, then you can use the next couple of months to prepare and plan. Start a Vitamin D supplement routine to combat any deficiencies that can come with the shorter days. Consider how you will grow through this season and how that growth will help you handle the coming seasons.
Embrace any Difficulties
There may be some roadblocks that pop up but preparing for them can help lower stress levels and make them feel easier to handle. There may be days where binging Netflix sounds better than going walking, or maybe work will pick up and life will be busier than normal. It is important to be prepared and know how you will handle the situation ahead of time. If work is busy, then make plans to have a de-stress night (or two) each week. Treat yourself to your favorite healthy meal, watch your favorite movie, or be available to visit with loved ones.
Be Strict with Yourself
Keeping your goals may require setting a few strict boundaries for yourself. If your goals revolve around a set schedule, then set daily reminders on your phone, keep your routine consistent, and commit to your plans. Set your workout clothes in sight, keep an alarm to take your birth control, PrEP, or vitamins at the same time every day, or use a water bottle that has timed goals written on the side.
What is your Motivation?
One way to help you stick with your new healthy habits is to remind yourself why you chose to start them. Dropping unhealthy or damaging habits and embracing new, positive habits can actually challenge your comfort zone. Finding your stride in new habits can make anyone feel a little lost at first, and that is why it is important to remember why you want to make these positive changes. Give yourself some extra encouragement with a new mantra to help you power through any doubt or lack of motivation.
There is no need to wait until the end of this year to start some new, healthy habits- the beginning of this new season is a perfect time to make some changes! Set goals, seek out a support network, be consistent, and remember to be patient with yourself. Healthy habits are formed gradually and will most likely come with setbacks, but these are manageable with the right motivation and preparation.
Statistics show that erectile dysfunction is becoming a more widespread problem in the United States. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that over 30 million men in the US have ED. That is 1 in 10 men, and comparable to the population of Texas! And it is not just an issue for older guys; half of all men 40 and over report some degree of erectile dysfunction. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. We’ve compiled 5 important factors for preventing ED – statistics and tips below!
1. Exercise Consistently
Exercise is an incredible way to not only boost your circulatory system and increase blood flow through the whole body, but also help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction. A Harvard study found that just 30 minutes a day could cut down on the risk for ED by 41%. In addition, other research suggests maintaining moderate exercise may be able to restore sexual performance in obese middle-aged men with ED. Staying physically active can bolster testosterone levels, provide an emotional boost, increase self-confidence, and reduce depression. All of these factors have been shown to improve sexual health in men.
Aerobic exercises are a great option for men looking to increase their sexual performance. Swimming, walking, and running will all boost blood flow by increasing circulation, which may help maintain stronger erections.
2. Watch Your Diet
Most men already know a diet high in fatty foods can lead to heart health issues, but most do not consider how the decreased circulation from poor diet will cause erectile health problems. High-fat and processed foods like fried chicken or sugary cereals should be avoided for a healthier libido. Adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your daily diet is the best way to improve sexual performance and increase intimacy. The Mediterranean diet is one that many have found success within reducing erection difficulties due to its ability to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.
The time it takes to see improvement in erectile health after adjusting diet varies for every individual. Some people may experience noticeable changes within weeks, while others only notice minor changes over a few months.
3. Keep Alcohol to a Minimum
Some may think a drink or two before intimacy will only decrease “bedroom nerves.” However, regular to heavy alcohol consumption can actually lead to decreased sexual performance. Alcohol is a depressant which means that if you are drinking heavily then your libido and mood are going to be down too! A study by the University of Washington has shown sober men are able to achieve erections more quickly than those that have been drinking. This is because intoxication slows down or interrupts signals between the brain and body, resulting in erectile dysfunction. Drinking in moderation is key, but moderation depends on the individual. The CDC recommends men should limit their consumption to two or less drinks per day.
4. Quit Smoking
While erectile dysfunction typically becomes more prevalent among men as they grow older, recent studies confirm this condition can also occur earlier on if there has been ample exposure to cigarette smoke. Many people don’t realize that heavy smokers, even at a younger age, have a much higher chance of developing ED. The chemicals in cigarette smoke injure the lining of your blood vessels and damage the function of your heart, lungs, and yes, erectile health. However, quitting smoking can improve symptoms for those with erectile dysfunction. The severity and age of onset will determine how well they recover from it.
5. Get Adequate Sleep
It is commonly known that sleep can negatively affect a person’s mental and physical health. A recent study has shown how irregular or inadequate sleeping patterns may lead to testosterone levels dropping, which could then cause not just lower libido, but also weaker erections. A few sleepless nights will most likely not contribute to erectile dysfunction, but an ongoing lack of rest may be the cause of more serious problems down the road. Sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are both linked with erectile dysfunction in men due to their interference with sexual arousal. The National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy adults should aim to have 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
What can you do when your lifestyle is too busy for exercise? Maybe things just don’t seem to be going well with quitting smoking. Or maybe you have tried all of the tips above and still struggle with erectile dysfunction. What are your options?
There are plenty of prescription options for treating erectile dysfunction if you can’t, or don’t want to, go the natural route. Two of the most common medications for ED are Sildenafil and Tadalafil, which come in pill form for oral consumption. Sildenafil and Tadalafil are the generic versions of Viagra and Cialis, which means you can have all the same benefits of a name-brand prescription without paying the price. There is no chemical difference between the name-brand or the generic version- the only difference is how much you pay for your prescription!
Erectile dysfunction isn’t something that should just go unmentioned; instead of shying away from this tough topic with embarrassment or shame, learn all about erectile dysfunction so you’ll know what it means for your relationship as well as how best to avoid developing symptoms yourself! When it comes to erectile dysfunction, you have options. We offer generic Sildenafil and Tadalafil for those struggling with ED.