Positive Psychology – The Secret to Optimal Well-being — Damon Ashworth Psychology

 

For many years, Psychology, following in the footsteps of Medicine, was preoccupied with the alleviation of suffering. A worthy objective, but the treatments were focused on how to reduce depression or anxiety, not how to increase happiness. Does not feeling bad equate to the same thing as feeling good? If someone is no longer feeling […]

via Positive Psychology – The Secret to Optimal Well-being — Damon Ashworth Psychology

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Depressed man looking out the window

7 Depression Quotes

1. Grief comes and goes, but depression is unremitting.

Kay Redfield Jamison

2. Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.

Dorothy Rowe

3. Depression is frustrating. It’s knowing there’s so much to be grateful for and happy about and to enjoy, but you just can’t get there.

Allie Griffin

4. Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.

Joyce Meyer

5. Depression is rage spread thin.

George Santayana

6. If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast: You may escape without a mauling.

R. W. Shepherd

7. Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. But with patience and persistence, I believe that nearly all individuals suffering from depression can improve and experience a sense of joy and self-esteem once again.

David D. Burns

Depression: It’s a Word We Use a Lot, But What Exactly is It? Clack, S., & Ward,T. (2019) | The Conversation — Mark Taylor Psychology

People with depression experience symptoms that affect their mood, cognitive function and physical health. Depression is a serious disorder marked by disturbances in mood, cognition, physiology and social functioning. People can experience deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness and despair. These core features of depression have expanded to include an inability to […]

via Depression: it’s a word we use a lot, but what exactly is it? Clack, S., & Ward,T. (2019) | The Conversation — Mark Taylor Psychology

Air Pollution Linked to Mental Health Issues in Children: Studies

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati, have underscored the link between air pollution and mental health in children in a series of three new studies.

One of the studies published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives demonstrated that short-term exposure to environmental air pollution was related to worsening of symptoms of psychiatric disorders in children one to two days later, as marked by increased use of the emergency department for psychiatric issues in Cincinnati Children’s.

The study also revealed that children living in underprivileged localities may be more prone to the effects of air pollution in comparison with other children, especially for disorders related to anxiety and sui**dality.

The above study was led by Cole Brokamp, PhD, and Patrick Ryan, PhD, researchers in the division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children’s. According to the Dr Brokamp, “This study is the first to show an association between daily outdoor air pollution levels and increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and sui**dality, in children. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but it could lead to new prevention strategies for children experiencing symptoms related to a psychiatric disorder. The fact that children living in high poverty neighborhoods experienced greater health effects of air pollution could mean that pollutant and neighborhood stressors can have synergistic effects on psychiatric symptom severity and frequency.”

Two previous studies by researchers from Cincinnati Children’s have also linked air pollution to children’s mental health. Published in the journal Environmental Research, the study led by Kelly Brunst, PhD, a researcher in the department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, and Kim Cecil, PhD, a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s, found a relation between recent high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) exposure and higher generalized anxiety. This study is believed to be the first to use neuroimaging to relate TRAP exposure, metabolic disturbances in the brain, and generalized anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children. Higher myoinositol concentrations in the brain—a marker of the brain’s neuroinflammatory response to TRAP was observed.

Another study, also published in Environmental Research, and led by Kimberly Yolton, PhD, director of research in the division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s, and Dr. Ryan revealed that exposure to TRAP during early life and across childhood was significantly linked with self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms in 12-year-olds. Similar findings have been reported in adults too, but research demonstrating clear connections between TRAP exposure and mental health in children has been limited.

“Collectively, these studies contribute to the growing body of evidence that exposure to air pollution during early life and childhood may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in adolescence,” states Dr Ryan. “More research is needed to replicate these findings and uncover underlying mechanisms for these associations.”

Reference: Cole Brokamp, Jeffrey R. Strawn, Andrew F. Beck, Patrick Ryan. Pediatric Psychiatric Emergency Department Utilization and Fine Particulate Matter: A Case-Crossover Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019; 127 (9): 097006 DOI: 10.1289/ehp4815

Depression & Parenting Styles: Living With a Partner Who Parents Differently than You — Diffusing the Tension

What kind of parent are you? Do you wear your emotions on your sleeve— every little tantrum an epic battle, and every small joy an enormous victory? Are you more laidback, letting things roll off your back like water off a duck? [. . .]

via Depression & Parenting Styles: Living With a Partner Who Parents Differently than You — Diffusing the Tension

woman having migraine headache

5 Effects That Migraines Can Have On Your Mental Health

Migraines are so much more than a painful headache. Those that experience migraines on a regular basis often report that they have a detrimental impact on their mental health. There are several health concerns that arise as a result of migraines, and many others that go hand-in-hand with them. People without adequate information about the issues migraines can cause may dismiss symptoms, meaning that the chance for diagnosis is missed until later on.

If you suffer from migraines and want to find out more, read on for 5 effects that they can have on your mental health:

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a throbbing pain on one side of the head that is persistent. The pain is typically described as being moderate to severe. It can also induce symptoms such as feeling nauseous, being sick, and increased sensitivity to light or sound. They affect 1 in every 5 women and 1 in every 15 men. It’s also been suggested that migraines could be hereditary, as you’re more likely to get migraines if you have a close relative with the condition. There are different types of migraine:

Migraine with aura – when there are specific warning signs before the migraine such as seeing flashes of light.

Migraine without aura – when migraines happen without warning.

Migraine aura without headache (silent migraine) – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but the actual headache pain doesn’t develop.

   1. Depression

If your migraines occur once in a while, then you have double the risk of depression than someone who doesn’t get them at all. Similarly, if you experience chronic migraines which occur several times a month, your risk doubles again. There is such a strong link between depression and migraines because often, people with migraines can become depressed because of the terrible pain.

On the other hand, depression can also come first, soon to be followed by painful migraines. People with migraines are three times more likely to have depression and patients with depression are also three times more likely to have a migraine. It causes patients to feel sad, hopeless, fatigued, and disinterested in things they used to enjoy.

   2. Anxiety

Of those suffering from migraines, around 50%-60% will suffer from anxiety. In fact, people with chronic migraines are more likely to have anxiety than they are depression. Similar to depression, the anxiety or the migraines can come first. During a migraine attack, anxiety is often based on worry directly related to the attack, such as wondering how long it will last and when the medication will start to work.

Even when the patient isn’t experiencing a migraine, they might become anxious about when their next one will be. Interestingly, patients that have anxiety in life are more likely to develop migraines, and vice versa. If the patient suffers from depression and anxiety, they may need to take separate medication to treat each condition individually.

   3. Increased Fatigue

Many people who experience chronic migraines also feel fatigued. This level of fatigue can last a long time and cannot always be cured with a good night’s sleep. Fatigue can then have a knock-on effect on your mental health, as you start to feel sluggish and less engaged. This can cause depression or add to the symptoms of pre-existing depression. What’s more, blurred vision and poor co-ordination can also be a side-effect of fatigue. If a patient experiences fatigue, they are more likely to take time off work until they feel well enough to return. Wellness retreats or specialist aesthetic clinic Manchester offers can leave them feeling more rejuvenated and less tired.

   4. Changes in Your Mood

Migraines often develop in distinct stages for many people, the first of which is a change in your mood. In the same way that anxiety can cause patients to worry about an attack, patients can experience a change in their mood before it happens.

Changes in energy levels, behaviour and appetite can occur several hours or even days before having a migraine attack. Then, the actual headache stage occurs, where patients will experience the pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head. After, is the resolution stage. Again, at this time, patients are more likely to experience changes in their mood which can last a few days.

   5. Poor Memory

An acute confusional migraine (ACM) is a rare type of migraine that primarily affects teenagers and children. Many are still left undiagnosed but affects around 10% of children and teenagers. When experiencing an acute confusional migraine attack, one of the main symptoms is memory loss. Other symptoms include disorientation, blurred vision and speech impairment. Though this memory loss is only temporary, there is evidence to suggest chronic migraines can impact memory permanently. However, this is still very much a topic undergoing research.

Source link: https://www.psyarticles.com/health/migraine.htm

Affectionate Moms with Depression May Epigenetically Buffer Their Child from Stress

Different environmental factors experienced by a child can undoubtedly impact their life in the long run. Whether they were born into poverty, lack access to education, or are surrounded by violence, these experiences have the ability to dramatically disrupt their lives if they’re without the right support system. [. . .]
via Affectionate Moms with Depression May Epigenetically Buffer Their Child from Stress

Happy man and woman jumping with joy

5 Traits of Happy People

Happiness is something we all strive to attain yet very few of us know the actual meaning of happiness. Most people think that material success—owning a big house or luxury cars, and fat bank account, great career achievements, having a family, and high social status and reputation are the things that make a person truly happy. But the truth is, true happiness has got nothing to do with these worldly things. Happiness is actually a state of mind and so, how a person perceives and reacts to life says a lot about whether he or she is on the right path to happiness or not. Here are five key traits that you should try to develop to keep yourself happy and which are typical of genuinely happy people already:

1. Live in present: Happy people focus on the present. They don’t dwell on things that have happened in past or they don’t worry about the future. They are aware that life is happening now and so they live in the moment. Research has shown that worrying too much about future is the source of anxiety and various other mental health issues, just as thinking too much about the past can be a cause of depression. Thinking too much about how things were or how they should be, rob us of our present. Happy people live in the present and make the most of it.

2. Grateful: Happy people are grateful for everything they have. Gratitude is the key to happiness. One must truly value everything that they possess in order to be happy. Being too occupied with one’s desires sometimes mislead us from the path to true happiness. Also, desiring more and more leaves us depressed and discontent; and in the process, we often forget to be thankful for the things we already have. Happy people achieve satisfaction by being grateful for everything they have and they consider themselves fortunate enough for whatever little they possess. Happy people express their gratitude on daily basis and that’s what becomes their source of happiness.

3. Optimistic: Happy people always look at the bright side. They possess a positive attitude towards life. No matter how difficult circumstances may be, they never lose their positive outlook and that’s what helps them survive difficult and challenging circumstances. They always see the glass as half full and look for the ways to fill the glass to the brim. It is the optimism that helps them stay happy and patient in difficult circumstances. Although it is not always easy to stay optimistic when things become too challenging, with practice one can certainly acquire this trait.

4. Kind: Kindness is another trait of happy people. Happy individuals are not only kind to others but to themselves as well. They build rather than destroying others. They also forgive and forget and don’t hold grudges. They find happiness in helping others. They believe in sharing and know that money spent on one’s own self does not always lead to happiness. Research too has shown that happiness or joy received from buying stuff for one’s own self is short lived or momentary. But if the money is spent on others, one gets longer-lasting and stable happiness.

5. Secure: Happy people are secure in themselves. They are confident and never compare themselves with others. They know their strengths as well as weaknesses and are comfortable with both. As they feel secure and confident in themselves, they never seek approval of others or try to please others yet they never brag. Their self-esteem is not derived from superficial things and is rather more internal. They always try to maximize their strengths and are always open to work on their weaknesses.

sad teenage girl sitting by the window

Oral Contraceptives may Increase Risk for Depressive Symptoms Among Teens

A recent study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands has provided new insight into whether there is any connection between oral contraceptive use and mood.

The study published in JAMA Psychiatry included a survey of young women about depressive symptoms, such as crying, sleeping excessively, and eating issues, which can be far subtler than diagnosed clinical depression. The investigators surveyed a cohort of more than 1,000 women from age 16 through 25 years, every three years, and collected a unique set of data about these sub-clinical symptoms.

The study demonstrated that there was no association between oral contraceptive use and severity of depressive symptom in the whole population that had been investigated. However, it was found that 16-year-old girls reported higher depressive symptom severity in comparison to 16-year-old girls not consuming birth-control pills.

The corresponding author of the study, Anouk de Wit, MD, PhD said, “One of the most common concerns women have when starting the pill, and teens and their parents have when an adolescent is considering taking the pill, is about immediate depressive risks.” De Wit now a trainee in the Department of Psychiatry at UMCG, further added, “Most women first take an oral contraceptive pill as a teen. Teens have lots of challenging emotional issues to deal with so it’s especially important to monitor how they are doing.”

According to co-author Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc, vice chair for Psychiatry Research for the Brigham’s Department of Psychiatry and executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, theirs is the “first study of this scale to dive deep into the more subtle mood symptoms that occur much more commonly than a depression episode but impact quality of life and are worrying to girls, women and their families.”

For this study, the researchers analyzed data from Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a longitudinal study of teens and young adults from the Netherlands. Each female participant filled out a survey with questions about depressive symptoms, such as crying, suicidal ideation, self-harm, eating, sleeping, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, energy, sadness, and lack of pleasure. A depressive symptom severity score was generated based on the responses of those participants.

It was found that the association between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptoms may be bidirectional: birth-control pill intake may contribute to severity of symptoms, more severe symptoms may prompt teens to begin taking oral contraceptives, or both. Observational studies, such as this one, cannot however confirm the direction of causality.

girl looking in mirror

8 Ways to Build a Positive and Healthy Body Image

Body image is a term that has gained significant importance in recent years, thanks to the recognition of its importance and role in an individual’s well-being. Body image refers to how a person views his/her physical appearance; it is a mental representation of how a person looks on the outside and how a person thinks or feels about this physical appearance. This perception is based partly on a person’s observation of self and partly on the reactions of others. In other words, our body image is formed not only by how we see ourselves on the outside, but it is also formed by how others react to our physical appearance. A lot of social factors such as media, culture, community, internet, etc. play a critical role in shaping our body image.  This body image can be positive or negative. A negative body has, however, been linked with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and poor overall well-being. A person with negative body image has often been found to resort to unhealthy measures or extreme steps to attain a more positive body image like, crash dieting, plastic surgery, etc.

At the same time, a person who has positive or high self-esteem has been empirically found to have a positive body image as well. As far as gender is considered, more women have been found to suffer from poor body image as compared to men. However, this trend is changing fast, as more men are becoming concerned about how they look.

Overall, following factors have been found to influence a person’s body image:

a. How he/she views his/her physical appearance. This perception can, however, be incorrect.

b. How he/she feels about this perception, referred to as the affective aspect of body image. Whether he/she is satisfied or not with his/her physical appearance.

c. The behavioral aspect of body image which involves the behavior that one engages in as result of his/her body image.

d. And lastly, the cognitive aspect of body image which includes how one thinks about his/her body image. This may involve preoccupation with one’s physical appearance or one aspect of it.

Having negative body image can be a cause of major distress to a person and can greatly affect his or her overall well-being. In present times of social media, we are frequently and sometimes indirectly, bombarded with images of beauty standards which constantly and continuously shape our notion of ideal beauty, and unfortunately, give rise to insecurities. However, the suggestions given in this post can help you keep all the insecurities at bay and build a positive and healthy body image.

1. Positive self-esteem: As mentioned earlier, people with negative body image suffer from low self-esteem. At the same time, it has been found that, people who have positive or high self-esteem tend to have positive body image. So if you feel dissatisfied with your body image, you probably need to boost your self-esteem. This works in two ways. Low self-esteem can lead to negative body image and negative body image can lower your self-esteem. So in either situation, building a positive self-esteem can help you build a positive body image. When you value yourself highly, you are less likely to view your physical appearance in a negative light.

2. Find healthy role models: We are greatly influenced by the public appearance of stars or celebrities. We follow them on their instagram or facebook. We often find them perfect and flawless and start comparing ourselves with them. In doing so, we forget that what we are looking at is perhaps the result of long hours of makeup session, photoshop, and lighting, etc.

Alas we have been taught throughout history that “fair is beautiful.” And we often tend to feel inadequate or less worthy if we are not fair or have dark complexion. This has a detrimental effect on the body image. If you too feel that way, it is time to find such role models who can give a boost to your self-esteem. Celebrity tennis player Serena Williams is a good example of an achiever whose body color could not stop her from attaining great success.

3. Stop comparing: You are you and that is your power. In order to build positive body image, you need to stop comparing yourself with others. Accept yourself. Unreasonable comparison leads to disappointment. You need to understand that each of us is different, and this difference is what makes us unique. Start appreciating yourself.

4. Appreciate yourself: Remember, your body is your first home. Appreciate how your body helps you achieve your goals and dreams. Your body is doing a lot to help you move forward. If you feel you are overweight and you need to lose weight, then go ahead. But don’t do it just to impress others or you hate your body fat. Instead do it for yourself and for your body because it is healthy.

5. Accept yourself: When it comes to our body we need to understand that there are some things we cannot change while there are other things that we can surely work on to improve. For example, you cannot change your height, complexion, whereas if you are underweight or overweight, you can definitely do something about it. Attempting to change things that cannot be changed will only lead to disappointment and frustration, and will further deteriorate your body image. Accept yourself just the way you are.

6. Realistic expectations: It is important to set realistic expectation from ourselves, especially, for young children, who are blinded by popular figures in the entertainment industry. As mentioned earlier, there are certain things about our body over which we have no control and which we cannot change. So for a young teenager who wants to become a supermodel like his or her role model but is unfortunately not tall enough, having such an expectation can be unrealistic. And this can lead to poor body image.

7. Focus on your strengths: We all may not possess attributes of supermodels or movie stars like great figure, height, or flawless complexion, but we should never forget that we all have strengths of our own. And if we start focusing on our strengths instead of focusing on our weaknesses and the things we don’t possess, we all can become the best version of ourselves.

8. Take care of yourself: Eat healthy, get quality sleep, and love yourself. If you need to lose weight do it in a healthy way. Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Isn’t it ironic that you tell every important person in your life how much you love him/her, and how much you care, but you seldom tell this to yourself? Next time when you see yourself in the mirror, don’t forget to say “I love you.” Once you start taking care of yourself and loving yourself, you can never feel or think bad about your own self.

Also read 8 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Living Alone May Increase Mental Health Risk, Study

A new study has revealed that living alone is linked to common mental disorders (CMDs) such as mood disorders, anxiety, and substance use disorders. As per some studies, almost one-third of people will experience a CMD in their lifetime. As CMDs impact not just the individual but the society as well due to their high prevalence, scientists want to comprehend all the risk factors for mental illness.

Over the past few years, researchers have been exploring whether living alone might be one such risk factor. A new study published in the journal PLOS One concludes that there is a link between living alone and CMDs. The findings also reveal that it affects all age groups and genders, and that loneliness is the predominant driver. The authors of the new study aimed to fill in the gaps in the previous studies sought links between living alone and CMDs in general, rather than focusing on just one mental condition like depression, etc. and they examined which factors seemed to be influencing the relationship.

For the study, the scientists from the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France analyzed data comprising 20,503 adults, ages 16 – 74, living in England. The three National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys conducted in 1993, 2000, and 2007 provided the data on a range of variables, including height and weight, level of education, employment status, alcohol and drug use, social support, and feelings of loneliness, for the study. The study participants were asked to complete Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised questionnaires, to assess if they had experienced any neurotic symptoms during the previous week.

Not only did the authors find the number of people living alone having steadily grown with 8.8% in1993, 9.8% in 2000, and 10.7% in 2007, their analysis also demonstrated that across all age groups and genders, there was a substantial correlation between living alone and having a CMD. The size of this relationship was fairly alike across all three surveys. CMDs were more common in those living alone than those not living alone—in 1993 it was 19.9% in those living alone vs. 13.6% in those not living alone; in 2000, 23.2% vs. 15.5%; and in 2007, 24.7% vs. 15.4%.

When the scientists probed deeper into the association between CMDs and living alone, they found that loneliness explained 84% of it. As mental health problems are a growing concern, the understanding of the risk factors associated with CMDs might help reverse the trend. Unlike those who live alone but don’t feel lonely, the ones who do, may seek interventions such as talking therapies, social care provisions, and animal-based interventions, to deal with loneliness.

The authors acknowledge that the study has certain limitations. For instance, it was a cross-sectional study, that is, it looked at a glimpse of people at one point in time. Therefore, longitudinal studies are required to establish how this relationship might play out over time. Further, the study could not assess the cause-and-effect relation between the two variables.

Therefore, it was not possible to find out through this study whether a person developed a CMD ‘because’ he or she lived alone, or whether he or she developed a CMD and ‘then’ decided to live alone. Also, probably, an individual with a predisposition for CMDs is more likely to want living alone. Apparently, more studies need to be conducted to fill in these gaps.

While earlier studies showed loneliness to be linked with depression and anxiety and therefore, back up the results of this study, the new findings go a few steps further in showing that the relationship between mental health and living alone is stable across time, that the link is not restricted to older adults, and that loneliness plays a key role.

 

8 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Bullying

Being bullied has unfortunately become very common these days. But the effects of bullying on a young mind can be quite devastating including poor school performance, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, loss of self-esteem, or even depression. Earlier it was believed that bullying happens only at middle high school, but only recently it has been found that it has become fairly common at primary school levels as well. Name calling, teasing, hitting, isolating the child from the rest of class, use of abusive language, spreading rumours are some of the examples of bullying, and in this new age of social media bullying has taken a new dimension called cyber bullying.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied at school or has become target of cyber bullying it’s vital that you help your child cope or deal with bullying, especially if the child is young and does not have the skills to deal with the bully. First and foremost is to identify whether your child is being bullied or is going through some transitional phase. It becomes even more difficult if the child doesn’t come to you on his or her own to share with you that he or she is being bullied.

1. Look for the signs and talk: If you notice any sudden change in your child’s behavior like skipping school or unwillingness to go to school; if your child becomes recluse all of a sudden and no longer enjoys activities that he or she used to enjoy before, poor performance at school; any visible signs of bruises or injury that the child is not able to explain, these could be signs that something is not right and it’s time to talk to your child. All of these could be signs of your child being bullied. Create a safe space with your child so that he or she feels comfortable and safe in sharing what has been going on. For this you need to become a good listener. Be supportive and stay calm while listening. If your child is indeed being bullied, be very cautious not to blame the child. Make the child understand that there’s nothing wrong with him or her; he or she is not responsible for being bullied; and it’s not his or her fault. Try to boost your child’s confidence as the child might be having doubts about his or her own abilities to handle the situation or defend himself or herself from the bully. Reassure the child that things will be sorted out.

2. Advise the child correctly: No matter how angry you may feel but refrain from advising your child to fight back with bully by bullying. Otherwise, this can often escalate the situation to more violent outbursts. Instead, advise the child to avoid the situations or places where bullying occurs; advise him or her to avoid places where there is no adult supervision; interact with other kids at school; and most importantly, to tell teachers or other adults at the school. You can encourage the child to engage in buddy system, where the child can be accompanied by another child to visit places where bullying is most likely to occur like, hallways, washrooms, locker areas, etc. In the same way, you can encourage your child to do the same for another child who is being bullied.

3. Reassure the child: Sometimes kids think that if they tell someone at home or at school like teacher, bullying will get worse. Give assurance to the child that sharing with parents or teachers at school or some other authority, will not result in more bullying, rather, adults can help the kid deal with the bully or curb bullying. But this does not mean that you, as a parent, should take this lightly, when the child tells that bullying will get worse. You also need to find a way to handle the situation in a way that does not escalate the bullying. Like instead of approaching the bully directly or approaching his or her parents, it is better to inform the authorities at school. Most schools these days have anti-bullying programs.

4. Teach skills to deal with the bully: Most bullies thrive on the reactions of their targets. So teach your child to hold his or her reactions in front of the bully. It is better not to show any reaction to bullying. Hold your anger, tears, and fears as these give the bully power. In many cases, when the target doesn’t show any reaction to bullying, the bully stops on his or her own. Teach your child anger controlling skills (counting to ten, deep breathing, etc.).

5. Assertiveness skills: Help your child learn assertiveness skills. Help him or her practice skills where the child firmly tells the bully to “stop.” You can use role playing techniques where your play the role of the bully and your child practices assertiveness skills and learns to say “No” or “Stop” to the bully and walks away from the bully.

6. Emotional support: The child might be having a lot of emotional difficulties during this time. Try to support your child emotionally by encouraging him or her to share all the emotions that he or she is experiencing. Encourage your child to give outlet to the emotions like anger, fear, frustrations, guilt, or apprehensions, etc. If the child feels like crying, let him or her cry in front of you. Assure him or her that crying is not a sign of being weak; rather it’s a good way to give outlet to all the emotions inside.

7. Believe in your child: This is a time when the child might be experiencing a lot of self-doubts and loss of self-esteem. It is very important to show your faith in the child. Highlight your child’s potentials and positive aspects of his or her personality. Your confidence in your child’s abilities will surely build his or her self-esteem. You can teach your child to focus on the positive aspects of the situation. Teach him or her to take a positive outlook of the situation and take it as a challenge rather than a problem. Assure your child that you are with him/her, no matter what, and that together both of you will definitely win this challenge.

8. Share with the authorities: Last but not the least, encourage your child to inform someone at school, like a teacher or counselor, or you can share the whole situation with school authorities yourself on your child’s behalf. But do ensure that things don’t get worse, like you can visit school when there is least chance of encountering the bully. Also, assure the child that adults have ways to tackle the situation.

Sleeping Problems and, Anxiety and Stress—A Two-way Street

Sleep plays a vital role in an individual’s physical and mental well-being. It acts as a reset button that triggers body’s restorative processes and gives mind the time to process emotions in order to recognize and react appropriately. Regular good quality sleep is essential for proper brain functioning, repair of heart and blood vessels, and overall physical and emotional healing.

Sleep provides the nerve cells an opportunity to shut down and repair themselves meanwhile, without which they might get exhausted and start malfunctioning. In today’s fast paced world however, we often neglect our sleep just to meet the worldly demands and get things done. According to a 2014 survey, less than 50% of survey participants across the world claimed to be sleeping well at night.

Most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep for healthy functioning, though the sleep requirement may vary from person to person slightly. Absence of adequate sleep often leads to impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and brain fog.

During the past few decades neuroscience has advanced a great deal but unfortunately sleep still continues to remain largely a riddle. However, what’s a known fact is that sleep like air, water, and food is indispensible for us. Sleep deprivation creates a sleep debt that our body is going to demand to have squared up with at some point.

Sleep Deprivation, Anxiety, Stress: Causes and Interrelation

Sleep deprivation may be caused due to various medical (painful ailments), environmental (light, noise, or extreme temperatures), or psychiatric (depression and anxiety disorders) conditions. The causes may be different, but sleep deprivation, indiscriminately, results in disruption of body’s natural slumber cycle in all cases.

Life stresses like job loss or change, passing away of a kith or kin, a temporary illness, or environmental factors usually trigger acute or short-term insomnia or sleeplessness. On the other hand, factors such as chronic stress, anxiety disorders (GAD, PTSD, etc.), depression, and chronic pain or discomfort at night, usually result in chronic or long-term insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week and continues for a month or longer. Ruminating in bed on daily basis about pending works, unresolved issues, and emotionally devastating long-term life-changes, or excessive worrying about future uncertainties are some of the common reasons leading to chronic insomnia.

Most people who experience persistent stress and anxiety or panic attacks on a daily basis report that they have trouble sleeping. While stress and anxiety interfere with sleep, sometimes it becomes difficult to tell whether one is having trouble sleeping because of anxiety, or one is anxious because one can’t sleep. Actually, it may be both. Whereas stress and anxiety can cause sleeping issues, or worsen existing ones, lack of sleep can also cause an anxiety disorder.

It has been demonstrated that sleep debt can have severe ramifications on one’s anxiety levels. A study has shown that grave sleep deprivation leads to an increase in one’s state of anxiety, depression, and general distress in comparison with individuals who had a normal night of sleep. According to another study, individuals who were sleep deprived reported a greater spike in anxiety during tasks and rated the likelihood of potential disasters as higher when sleep deprived, as compared to when rested.

The amount of sleep an individual gets each night also governs how well he or she can deal with anxiety and stress. When an individual is severely sleep-deprived, the deprivation acts as a chronic stressor that hinders brain functions and leads to an overload on the body’s systems, which in turn, contributes to brain fog, confusion, memory loss, and depression, making it harder for the individual to deal with stress. Also, sleep deprivation leads to an imbalance in the hormone levels that increases anxiety levels. Anxiety issues are also worsened because of

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Chronic sleep deprivation can result in a range of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, weight gain, and increased levels of stress hormones.

Also read:

Five Tips for Better Sleep
Self-Help Techniques to Manage Anxiety
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Risk of Alzheimer’s May Rise Due to Stress