Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug.

Psychoactive drugs affect the way a person thinks and feels—which may also affect the way they behave. The most commonly used legal psychoactive drugs, apart from drugs taken on prescription, are alcohol and tobacco. The most commonly used illegal psychoactive drug is cannabis (marijuana).

Some drugs fall into more than one category. For example, cannabis is both a depressant and hallucinogen, while ecstasy is a stimulant and hallucinogen.

Source: https://druginfo.sl.nsw.gov.au/drugs-what-are-drugs/psychoactive-drugs

Mid March I stopped consuming coffee. I felt it was increasing my anxiety. I still drink tea sometimes but it does not seem to affect on me as coffee did. I actually was not a coffee drinker until I moved to Montreal. So I have only been drinking in for about 6 years. Overall, I am not a super anxious person but caffeine made me into one. While preparing for exams or doing assignments for school I would drink A LOT of it to stay awake and focused and the consequence would be anxiety, stress, and irritability.  I do still crave it from time to time, but I am quite happy to go without!

For those who rely on caffeine for the boost here are ways to increase energy in other ways:

  1. Vitamin B12 and Ginseng are natural energy boosters (check with your doctor first to make sure these are right for you before using though).
  2. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. If your sleeping habits are decent and you are generally healthy, you likely don’t need caffeine for energy (here’s an article on Good Sleep Habits).
  3. Exercise can feel super tiring and exhausting if you’re just starting out, but once you get into a routine, exercise will actually give you MORE energy!
  4. Eat healthy. Cut out the junk and sugar that might be making you sluggish in the first place and replace these with healthy foods like lots of fruits and veggies (check out Dietitians of Canada for info on healthy eating).
  5. Water. Believe it or not, drinking water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day too) is a great energy booster. Your body wants it and needs it. And it’s really the healthiest drink for you (WebMD gives you 6 reasons to drink water).
  6. If you must have caffeine, maybe try limiting your intake. Instead of 3 coffees a day, have 1. Or instead of coffee, have tea.

Source: https://mindyourmind.ca/blog/caffeine-and-anxiety-are-not-friends

Overall, I sleep very well. I have been exercising more, taking multivitamins and drinking much more water. There is still a lot of room for improvement here, I consume too much sugar and don’t exercise as often as I should. but I am on the right track. I want to try Ginseng too!

Here is a list put out by a coffee company on why coffee can make you anxious.

  1. Caffeine increases stress hormones.

Most people with anxiety would agree that they have a lot of weight on their shoulders. Caffeine adds to the burden. Similar to stress, caffeine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones. Caffeine -consumption can more than double your blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

  1. Caffeine affects neurotransmitter balance.

Caffeine often gives us a desirable feeling- increased motivation, productivity, and brain power. This is a result of increasing brain chemicals dopamine and acetylcholine. However, caffeine hinders the calming neurotransmitter GABA, which puts the brain activity on hold when needed. GABA is married to happiness and relaxation, so it’s no surprise that having a low GABA level can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.

  1. Caffeine causes insomnia.

If your mind is stuck in a never-ending marathon at night time, caffeine can contribute to this problem. Caffeine-induced sleep disorder is actually a recognized psychiatric disorder. Getting good sleep is essential to our brains since this is when metabolic debris and toxins are washed away and repaired into new brain cells. It’s important to keep in mind that any caffeine you consume, even 6 hours prior to bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep.

  1. Caffeine is linked to psychiatric disorders.

Enough caffeine can create symptoms of anxiety in a healthy person that are indistinguishable from those experienced by anxiety disorder sufferers. Caffeine has also been linked to mental disorders including anxiety, panic and depression, as well as sleep and eating disorders. Fact: In 1987, it was recommended that decaffeinated beverages should be provided in psychiatric wards. Taking schizophrenic patients off caffeine has actually been proven to help their anxiety, irritability, and hostility.

  1. Caffeine can increase anxiety when taken with many medications.

Caffeine is often consumed out of habit, making it an immense part of our daily life. That being said, it sometimes slips our mind that it’s a psychoactive drug and therefore, doesn’t mix well with other drugs. Check out drugs.com for a list of over 80 medications that should not be taken alongside caffeine. It is often added to over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers to make them more effective, however, consequently increases the number of side effects in asthma medications, antidepressants, and some antibiotics. 

Source: https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/blogs/news/caffeine-and-anxiety

I am not trying to scare anyone here. However, being the most consumed psychoactive drug, it is important to know about it and it’s affect on your health!

xxxx

The Seven Deadly Sins // The Seven Holy Virtues

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I found this on Pinterest and thought it would be a good introspection exercise to go through the sins and virtues. I won’t be sharing my answers as they would just bore you but I would encourage anyone else out there interested in self-improvement to do this exercise. After reading each sin and virtue; reflect on your behavior.

Sins

Pride: A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

Envy: A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

Wrath: Extreme anger.

Sloth: Reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.

Avarice: Extreme greed for wealth or material gain.

Gluttony: Habitual greed or excess in eating.

Lust: Strong sexual desire.

Virtues

Humility: The quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.

Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Patience: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Diligence: Careful and persistent work or effort.

Temperance: Abstinence from alcoholic drink.

Abstinence: The practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something, typically alcohol or sex.

Chasity: the state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse.

 

 

 

Introvert Life

The best quote I’ve seen to describe being an introvert. Emphasis on crucial.

I get overwhelmed very easily and always need time to myself to recharge.

Today I learned that psychological explaination for introversion:

The way that your body responds to the outside environment plays a critical role in determining your level of extroversion and introversion.

On a physiological level, a network of neurons located in the brainstem known as the reticular activating system (RAS) is responsible for regulating arousal levels including wakefulness and transitions between sleeping and waking.

The RAS also plays a role in controlling how much information you take in while you are awake. When confronted by potential threats in the environment, the RAS will increase your arousal levels in order for you to be alert and ready to deal with the danger. Each person has a basic set point in terms of arousal level. Some people tend to naturally have a much higher set point, while others have a much lower set point.

The psychologist Hans Eysenck suggested that these arousal levels could be thought of as a continuum. According to his arousal theory of extroversion:

  • 15 percent of people have a minimal set point, meaning they naturally have low arousal levels
  • 15 percent of people have a high set point, meaning they naturally tend to be more aroused
  • 70 percent of people lie somewhere in the middle of the continuum

According to Eysenck’s theory, introverts are those that have naturally high levels of arousal. Because introverts tend to experience chronically high arousal levels, they tend to seek activities and environments where they can escape from overstimulation. Because of their naturally high arousal levels, they are more alert and take in more information from the environment. Escaping somewhere to have time alone to recharge gives them the opportunity to process and reflect on what they have learned.

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-you-are-an-introvert-2795427

Don’t feel bad for being introverted! It’s more of a strength than a weakness!

Why Do People Bully

If you have/are experiencing being bullied; the first and more important thing to recognize is that it is not your fault.

They are taking out their issues out on you. Maybe they too were bullied and/or abused in some way. Some people cope with stress in a negative way and hurt others as a result. It could be a coping method for whatever it is they are going through/have been through. Maybe they are angry and insecure. They could also possibly be jealous.

Most of the time bullying is done to have power and control over someone else. They will target something specific about you to create or worsen your existing insecurities.

They are most likely people of low self esteem and use bullying as a way of deflecting, and many times and more specifically; projeting their flaws onto someone else. There is a good chance that whatever they are pointing out that is wrong with you is something they are insecure about with themselves. They are not happy people.

Bullying is never okay but understanding why it is being done can help tremendously in the healing process. ♡

Sources:

https://www.dove.com/ca/en/dove-self-esteem-project/help-for-parents/teasing-and-bullying/why-do-bullies-bully.html?&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_r3nBRDxARIsAJljleEKf3RE7uvPM-Dftelji4wlGTdxxtoHWPlL8mmRQ0LCQ7Rgdb45mSMaAplUEALw_wcB

Why Do People Bully? The Scientific Reasons

❀☯❀

One of the great aspects of life I am experiencing these days is how negative experiences can lead to positive outcomes. I have always been intrigued with the idea of the balance of light and dark in life, but now I am experiencing and appreciating it.

It started with the change in my self esteem. The spark that ignited this change was being bullied, threatened, and harassed last year. While it hurt at first I am extremely thankful now for this experience and I am not bothered by it any longer. I had never been bullied before so it was a good eye-opener for me, a reality check, a much needed one. It was a small experience but it was enough to teach me a lesson. I realized that the person said these things to me because they saw in me what I didn’t. It was only after this realization that I began to feel more comfortable in my body and gained confidence overall. I started to show off my “skinny dumb bitch” “clown” “failure as a human being” “insecure and pathetic” self. The irony of picking on others for their insecurities is that it reveals your own.

More stressful events followed up until recently. One of the positive outcomes that has come from them is that I am a lot stronger mentally and continue to improve on handling negative situations in a more productive manner. I still relapse and temporarily allow a negative situation to get to me sometimes but I am able to recover much more quickly. I try to look at the situation from a learning perspective.

I’ve cut down significantly on consuming things that are not good for my health. Some things I have stopped consuming completely.

All of what has happened to me, good and bad, has lead me to finally come up with goals and ideas of what I’d like to do with my life. For so long, and what has troubled me deeply is not having any direction and goals and not finding my place. Thanks to recent events I have goals and opportunities to pursue these goals have presented themselves. I won’t share too many details now but just know, if you feel you are in a rut, that life has a way of balancing itself out. Don’t give up.

Like my ma says: It will all work out in the wash.

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Positive Affirmations

I’ve recently become interested in using positive affirmations to overwrite my negative thought patterns. When it comes to using affirmations you have to use ones that are believable to yourself as well as making actual changes to your lifestyle and make goals to work towards. Just saying the affirmations is, of course, not enough. Affirmations need to be true to you in order for them to work. Introspection with every affirmation is needed. Here is a list I have created for myself:

❈ I am trying to be in control of my reactions.

❈ I have the power to change myself and I have been changing myself.

❈ My body is filled with energy, I can feel it.

❈ Everything will be okay.

❈ I believe in myself, I have potential.

❈ I am proud of myself for changing and continuing to do so.

❈ Every day is a fresh start. If I have a bad day it’s okay, it happens, tomorrow I will try again.

❈ I am grateful for my life and for the gift of being alive.

❈ My partner and I have fun together.

❈ I want the best for my partner.

❈ I am trying to live in the present, rather than being stuck in the past or worried about the future.

❈ I am trying to accept and embrace all experiences, including unpleasant ones which provide me with life lessons.

❈ I am ready for new opportunities.

❈ I am trying to be superior to negative thoughts and low actions.

❈ I trust that I am on the right path and moving in the right direction.

❈ I am growing into the person I am meant to be.

❈ I forgive myself for the mistakes I have made.

❈ I am excited for the future.

❈ I am ready for the next chapter in my life. I am ready to grow, learn, and for new experiences.

❈ I am putting in effort to make myself happy.

❈ I am focusing on the positive things in my life. Instead of dwelling on the negative things I am trying to see them from a different perspective.

❈ I understand that great things take time.

What is your opinion on affirmations? Do you use them?

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Snapchat & Self-Esteem

I’ve been wanting to write about this subject for a while now. It amazes me how much Snapchat filters alter your face. For anyone reading who isn’t familiar with what I am talking about have a look: The first image is without filter.

Here are a few more examples:

Bigger eyes, enhanced eye color, clearer skin, longer lashes, fuller lips, thinner face, thinner and straighter nose, cheekbones, etc. You get the idea.

Most of us know at least one person who only takes selfies with Snapchat. I know a few.

I remember when I first checked it out earlier this year after seeing more and more people using it and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how dramatic some of the filters were and immediately understood why there are some individuals who only use this app. Also, Snapchat changes the filters on a regular basis and there have been some in the past that changed your face more dramatically than the ones I used here tonight.

Despite my own issues with self-esteem and insecurities I was not able to hop onto this bandwagon. I am glad I didn’t. It was just too fake for me, I wouldn’t be comfortable posting these pictures online as myself when it actually isn’t me. During my lowest times I simply just didn’t take pictures of myself. Some people don’t do that though, they do the complete opposite. I understand it though; it is an addiction.

I am reading about Snapchat and self-esteem right now. I am learning that people are actually getting cosmetic surgery done in order to look more like their filtered selfies. Apparently “55% of facial plastic surgeons in 2017 saw patients who wanted surgery to help them look better in selfies.”

In general, I am not opposed to plastic surgery to boost self-esteem. Particularly, if it’s something that has bothered the person for all of their life like large noses, birth marks, scars, bad skin, etc. What makes me uneasy though is the filters role in increasing self-esteem issues. Also, children and teenagers use these apps too. Young impressionable minds that already have issues finding and accepting themselves…

This article points out how people are no longer just comparing themselves to celebrities, they are comparing themselves…to their filtered selves. And of course we have always, in general, compared ourselves to each other. However, it’s unfair to you to compare yourself with another person’s or your own enhanced photo. Looking at your enhanced face constantly will, without a doubt, have psychological consequences. You are forcing yourself to look at yourself, yet, it isn’t you. This will affect your brain and self-perception.

People use face-enhancing apps to make themselves feel better, but just like a drug, the pleasure and boost is immediate and short-lived, and the negative consequences can be more long-lasting and damaging.

P.S. I never found the animal filters cute. I also find it silly to pose “sexy” with the pout and yet have a big dog nose and ears. When I see people like this I don’t take them seriously. Maybe I am just a cranky old lady though? I am old fashioned in some ways…

Here are two more filtered photos I had taken earlier this year when I was originally going to write on this subject… Look how cute I am! 😉

Goodnight

xxx

Other reads:

Snapchat Was Ruining My Self-Esteem

The Unexpected Reason Snapchat’s ‘Pretty’ Filters Hurt Your Self-Esteem