There might be some truth here, or, it could be all gibberish ! You decide.
By Katherine Speller
© Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Anyone who deals with anxiety on the reg can name a few of their go-to coping strategies for making the things we need to do — from baseline executive function activities to more daunting responsibilities — a bit more bearable without our brains running haywire. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is no different and recently shared that he deals with anxiety himself — and found a surprisingly easy hack for making it through public speaking engagements with it.
In a preview of the new BBC documentary he was a part of Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, the Duke shared how his eyesight starting to get a bit poor actually helped him make it through those anxious moments.
“My eyesight started to tail off a little bit as I got older, and I didn’t use to wear contacts when I was working, so actually when I gave speeches I couldn’t see anyone’s face,” William shared in the doc.
“And it helps, because it’s just a blur of faces and because you can’t see anyone looking at you — I can see enough to read the paper and stuff like that — but I couldn’t actually see the whole room,” he adds. “And actually that really helps with my anxiety.”
Anxiety is itself a physical and mental response in your body— something that can lead your animal brain fight or flight instincts to kick in.
“When we experience anxiety, we are essentially experiencing a fight/flight response in the body,” Erica Curtis, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of the upcoming The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids Through Art, previously told SheKnows. “For example, muscles tense to act quickly or protect against injury, the heart pumps harder to oxygenate the muscles to mobilize. Even if there is no ‘real’ threat, when the brain thinks there is one, it mobilizes the body for self-protection. And because the survival part of the brain doesn’t differentiate between emotional or relational threat and physical threat, when we experience — or perceive — any threat, the part of the brain tasked with protecting you jumps into gear.”
For people with public speaking fears, the old adage “imagine them in their underwear” is often used to help make a crowd feel less intimidating. But for William, slipping out your contacts is an easy way to take the bite out of a crowd: make them all just a bunch of blurry faces.
We always appreciate a deceptively simple hack for making a situation a little less stressful. Way to go, your highness!
Whatever works, I guess.
As people practice social distancing at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many have picked up new hobbies like tie-dyeing, baking banana bread and learning TikTok dances. Another increasingly popular pastime: doing jigsaw puzzles. © Markus Spiering / EyeEm via Getty Images There are psychological reasons to explain the appeal of jigsaw puzzles amid the pandemic.
“Our primitive lizard brains are on overdrive in quarantine. We know on a cellular level that there is a threat to our survival, as both individual humans and a species, so we are stuck in a fight-flight-freeze cycle where our brains can’t figure out which one will keep us alive,” psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa told HuffPost.
“We’re not sleeping well because we’re staying alert enough to jump out of bed if the threat comes close enough to us, which our brains can’t understand is an unhelpful and irrelevant biological response to a virus,” Maenpaa said. “When we don’t get enough restorative sleep, our reaction times are slower, our emotional self-regulation is poorer, and we have trouble performing high-level cognitive functions. Puzzles are a surprising antidote to all of those challenges.”
But why and how exactly do puzzles soothe us during difficult times? HuffPost spoke to Maenpaa and other experts to find out.
They Offer A Sense Of Control
“While COVID-19 is associated with a lack of control and an unknown end, puzzles offer the opposite,” said Michael Vilensky, a psychologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s finished.”
Karen Kavett is YouTube personality with a channel entirely dedicated to jigsaw puzzles. She told HuffPost she agrees that jigsaw puzzles are a great activity when the world feels out of control because the task is entirely within your power. You can do it solo or with a group. You can spend all day putting it together or just work on it for a few minutes at a time whenever you’re in the mood.
With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s finished.Michael Vilensky, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center
“It’s also an activity where you’re simply assembling an item that already exists, rather than needing to expend mental energy to create something new,” she added. “Plus, since there are so many different types of jigsaw puzzles out there these days, anyone can find an image that speaks to them.”
There’s A Clear Purpose
Puzzles can provide a clear goal and sense of purpose in this time when people feel aimless and unable to map out future plans.
You Can Feel Accomplished
“Human beings perform best when we have tasks that we are competent at and can succeed at but that challenge us just enough to feel accomplished when we complete them,” said Maenpaa.
He added that jigsaw puzzles are unique in the way they engage the logical part of the brain (rationally fitting pieces together) and the creative side (envisioning the big picture of the completed work).
It’s A Meditative Experience
For many, doing a jigsaw puzzle almost feels like meditation. That’s how A.J. Jacobs, an author who is working on a book about different types of puzzles, describes the experience.
“Some jigsaw friends of mine talk about how time just melts away,” he said. “You feel like you’ve been working on a puzzle for five minutes, but in reality three hours have passed. That can be helpful when you’re stuck inside for two months.”
Focusing on individual puzzle pieces and one overall image forces people to be present and relax. It’s also a tactile task without external stimulation like screens.
© MoMo Productions via Getty Images Puzzles are great as a solo or group activity.
You Can Make It About Togetherness
“While puzzles can be satisfying on your own, they can also act as a welcome social activity during quarantine, in that the conversation can be about something other than COVID-19 and can bring about a sense of togetherness and working toward a shared goal,” Vilensky said.
They Provide A Welcome Escape
Jigsaw puzzles offer a way to break up the monotony of the day in quarantine. They also take us back to simpler times before the pandemic.
“Puzzles are a throwback,” said Vilensky. “Like other popular quarantine activities (bread-making, going for a drive), puzzles can help us connect to the past and offer a sense of familiarity that is reassuring during new and chaotic times.”
Kaeppeler noted that certain types of puzzle images are calming and appealing to customers because they provide a sense of escape.
“For example, images that have a first-person view of a setting provide a calm environment for someone to focus and relax,” he said. Travel-related puzzles can also offer a feeling of a getaway.
You might like to try one to see how a puzzle might work for you.
Article by Caroline Bologna
By Kaitlin Miller for The Active Times
Coronavirus Loss: How to Handle Grief During a Pandemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. from the novel coronavirus. Beyond the loss of life, this pandemic has led to a grim news cycle, government social distancing restrictions and an economic crisis leaving millions of Americans unemployed.
Fear, isolation and economic uncertainty can all have negative effects on mental health. People who have lost their jobs, their homes, their businesses or even a loved one during this time might not have adequate time and space to properly process and mourn. And even people who haven’t lost anything as concrete as a job or a loved one can also be affected by grief over seeing the world upended as our economic, healthcare and education systems struggle, according to the American Psychological Association.
Here are ways to care for your mental health after experiencing loss during the coronavirus pandemic.
Allow yourself to grieve
According to Mental Health America, grieving is the outward expression of your loss, whether that be physical, emotional or psychological. It’s important to allow yourself to express the emotions you’re experiencing and work through them. Repressing your feelings can actually cause you physical or emotional illness.
Maintain social contact
Even for the average American, lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues is a major lifestyle change that can be challenging to adjust to. According to Mental Health America, it’s important to stay in touch with supportive friends and family members who understand your feelings of loss — even if it’s remotely.
Open up to others
Connection can be difficult during this time of isolation, but it’s important to not only talk with other people but also open up and express all the feelings you’re dealing with. If you had to shutter your dream business, it could be helpful to vent about all the plans you had over the next few years. If you’ve lost a loved one, consider talking to someone who also knew them and sharing your favorite memories of the deceased.
Recognize physical symptoms of psychological problems
Your grief might not manifest in the ways you expect. Even if you’re not crying all the time, there might be other ways your body reacts. According to the CDC, physical reactions to a traumatic event include everything from headaches, body pains, stomach problems and skin rashes. If these reactions are interfering with your life to where you are unable to carry out your normal responsibilities, don’t ignore these symptoms — seek professional help.
Make time to unwind
While it’s good to fill your day with healthy, positive activities to keep you going and doing, don’t forget to still allow yourself some me-time to continue to process, decompress and destress.
Monitor behavioral changes
Grief doesn’t just look like sadness or depression. Feeling powerless and isolated after a traumatic event can also manifest as anger and being short-tempered, according to the CDC, as well as self-destructive or reckless behavior. Such behavior ironically stems from a place of self-defense but can endanger yourself and others around you.
Limit screen time
The WHO recommends anyone struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic should limit their screen time. While there are plenty of feel-good shows that could boost your spirits as well as ways to stay connected through social media, it’s important to take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
There are at least 20 more helpful recommendations to get us through this pandemic. We are so close, but may need a tip or two to manage the stress. Please click on the link below if you think some heartfelt advice is what may do wonders for how you are feeling.
By Anna Borges of SELF
I’m not going to lie to you—I love numbing out. When a wave of feelings comes my way, I take one look, say “Nope,” and reach for my Nintendo Switch. Or Netflix. Or my bed. Or a glass of wine.
But, “When you’re busy numbing out your feelings, your feelings are in the other room doing push-ups,” Caroline Fenkel, D.S.W., L.C.S.W., executive director of Newport Academy, tells SELF. “Then, when you’re done smoking weed or watching Netflix or whatever you were doing to numb out, and you walk into the other room, you’re like, Wait a minute. These feelings are worse than they were before. That’s because you gave them all that time and space to do push-ups.”
So what’s the alternative? Well, to start, feeling our feelings is shorthand for a multistep process of acknowledging and dealing with your emotions in a healthy way, often known as emotional regulation. There’s the emotion coming up in the first place, and then there’s the choice you make: Do I want to deal with this emotion or do I want to ignore it?
Developing ways to give time and space to our difficult emotions is especially important right now. There are a lot of feelings going around. To help, consider these therapist-approved tips for tackling your emotions head-on.
1. Know what your go-to numbing behaviors are. Basically, it’s anything you do intentionally or unconsciously to avoid facing your feelings. It’s often in the form of some sort of distraction, but not always.
Immersive entertainment (like video games and streaming) are classic choices, as are alcohol, drugs, and food. But there are some sneakier behaviors that you might not realize you’re using to numb out your emotions. “Busyness is a big one,” says Howes. “Packing your calendar full and saying, ‘I’m too busy to feel anything right now, I’ve got too many things to worry about,’ or chronically putting your nose into other people’s business, offering support and advice to avoid facing your own stuff.”
2. Start with identifying your feelings.
3. Resist judging your feelings.
4. Ask, “What are these feelings telling me?”
5. Find a way to express the feeling mindfully and safely.
Do you need to talk about it with a friend? Do you need to write it out in your journal? Do you need to have a good cry? The list goes on: Paint something. Rip up a piece of paper. Dance around to a cathartic song. Hell, try anxiously scrubbing a bathtub (don’t judge me). Whatever helps you feel like you’re working through the emotion. “So many people try their hardest not to feel something,” says Howes. “They don’t realize the relief that comes with not having to suppress it any longer.”
6. Focus on physical sensations instead.
7. Remember it’s okay to hit snooze on a feeling.
8. Be smart and intentional about using distractions.
9. Practice, practice, practice.
If you are struggling, you must read the entire article. It contains more actionable steps that you can use to overcome the worry, anxiety, the dread that some thoughts cause us in denying their existence. But they are there, doing pushups while we procrastinate. Take control, click here to learn more:
- Research shows that stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out.
- In recent years, stars like Sophie Turner, Chris Evans, Chrissy Teigen, and Prince Harry have spoken candidly about their struggles with mental illness.
Luckily, in recent years, we’ve seen a shift in the way people view and talk about mental health. Conversations about depression, anxiety, addiction, and more have moved from the private to the public sphere. That’s not only important, but effective, according to mental health experts.
In fact, when public figures open up about their own mental health struggles, it can help break down stigma, spark important discussions, and even inspire people to seek treatment.
Below, we rounded up celebrities who have spoken candidly about their own battles with everything from postpartum depression to anorexia.
Prince Harry spoke to a therapist about his mental health after two years of “total chaos” in his late twenties.
Chrissy Teigen revealed she developed postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth to her daughter, Luna, in 2016.
After sustaining several serious injuries in his freshman year of college, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson experienced his “first of three depressions.”
An outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, Demi Lovato is open about her battles with bipolar disorder, bulimia, and addiction.
Ryan Reynolds has credited his wife, Blake Likely, for helping him cope with his anxiety.
Gabourey Sidibe talks candidly about mental health in her memoir, “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.”
Wayne Brady described his battle with depression and “constant self-doubt” in 2014.
James Franco opened up about his history of addiction and depression in August 2017.
Jon Hamm, who has struggled with addiction and chronic depression, opened up about the benefits of therapy in 2017.
You are not alone ! There are several more well-known people who wanted to share their stories, and you can read more about them at:
Food as stress relief ? Darn right ! Sarah from sugarapron.com has put together a recipe for amazing no-bake bars that people gush over and remember for months to come.
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Overhangs the edges of the foil to lift the bars easier from the baking dish. (You can use a 9×13-inch if you want thinner bars.)
Melt butter and brown sugar in large saucepan over medium heat, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in vanilla. Mix in the oats.
Cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended.
Pour half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread out the mixture evenly, pressing down. Reserve the other half for second layer.
To make the filling, melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a small microwave-safe bowl and stir until it’s smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, reserving about 1/4 cup for drizzling and spread evenly.
Pour the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently and drizzle with the remaining chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.
Note: Like any no-bake cookie, the final texture of these really depends on how long you boil the sugar mixture. If it doesn’t boil long enough, the cookie/bars mixture will be too soft, if you boil too long, they could turn out dry and crumbly.
For someone like me who doesn’t bake, these bars are like a reward from heaven. Enjoy.
©University of Sydney
Article by Kells McPhillips, May 1, 2020
Find your “anchors of normality”
The word “normal” has become tinged with nostalgia these days and Dr. Soph says there’s a reason why. “Our life has been tipped upside down. Everything that’s happening around us is creating a sense of uncertainty, which is activating our survival response,” she says. “When the brain is in survival mode, and it’s panicking about what’s happening, it’s looking for anything it knows so that it can go: ‘Okay, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.’”
Give your brain that reassurance by choosing three to four things you used to always do during a regular day or week (these are called your anchors of normality)—and make them a must. It could be as simple as making sure to always shower in the morning because that’s what you usually did before work, or making time to practice yoga like you did pre-COVID-19. (Just make sure that these habits are still appropriate for social distancing measures, to ensure you’re not putting yourself and others at risk.) Add them to your daily to-do list or set calendar reminders if you have to.
Identify your coping styles
There are three types of coping that people turn to during difficult times—problem-solving coping, emotional coping, and avoidance coping—and knowing your go-to style can help you suss out the tactics that are helping you versus the ones that are hurting you.
“If it’s problem-solving focused, that’s where we think we can actually make some kind of change [to the stressor],” says Dr. Soph. For example, if your recent credit card bill is way higher than expected, you may find comfort in writing up a new budget to accommodate it—you have control over that situation.
The second type of coping, emotional coping, is what you turn to when you can’t necessarily take action to change a situation but instead want to change your emotions. This can look like leaning on your support networks of friends and family to feel better, says Dr. Soph, or writing down gratitude affirmations, or just playing with your pets—all of which can help improve your mood and help you better deal with a situation.
Last is avoidance or bypassing, where you deal with a situation by creating habits like self-blame that don’t ultimately serve any purpose. Dr. Soph says to be on high alert for this style of coping, as it can be ineffective and potentially harmful.
“Your coping style is something that you develop depending on your childhood experiences,” Dr. Soph says. You can identify yours by monitoring the knee-jerk reactions you have when you feel out of sorts. If your first go-to on a stressful day is to go for a run or eat a cookie, you likely tend to gravitate towards emotional coping. If you’re all about writing a to-do list to help you prioritize when you’re struggling against multiple work deadlines, you’re probably more of a problem-solving coper. Knowing your patterns will help you create healthier ones (or at least find more tactics that truly work for you).
Make an “eco map” of your social resources
When things feel really tough, it can be hard to know who in your life you can depend on for support. That’s why Jack Saul, PhD, is a strong proponent of eco-mapping, or making like a cartographer and creating a visual representation of your support network. Nurses are often encouraged to use this technique to track those who care about their patients, but in your case, you can whip out colored pencils, paper, the works, and go about drawing a map of your connections.
Mine, for example, would feature a stick-person me floating in a pink bubble, connected to a bubble containing my boyfriend, then my extended family, work-family, and various other pals. When you feel like your mental health feels off-balance, you can reach for your artwork to see whose voice is going to spark the most joy in your life. And, on the opposite side of things, this will help you remember who might benefit from your support.
For more mental health ideas and a 30 day challenge, go to: