The coffee problem

Whenever I feel myself getting stressed or anxious, one of the first things I like to do is get a cup of coffee. This is initially all I need to calm down. My level of attentiveness shoots up and my productivity increases dramatically. Unfortunately, this boost in energy and alertness comes with a major downside, the big increase in stress hormones such as cortisol. This coupled with the blocking of happiness hormone production tends to actually lead to an increase in my anxiety. The big issue is that when my anxiety levels increase, all I want to do is to drink more coffee, further fuelling these issues.

Scientifically¬†speaking, there are studies that support this. The effects of caffeine on people with anxiety and depression have long been studied. There is evidence that in small amounts caffeine can be of benefit to those with these conditions. In larger quantities it can have the opposite effect, blocking the production of happy hormones and increasing the production of stress hormones. The issue I have is that caffeine doesn’t appear to be the problem for me, I can happily drink green tea all day without issue.

It took me a long time to work out that coffee, alone, as a beverage was the thing that was fuelling my problems. Despite now knowing this, I still have the problem because I cannot easily escape my dependence on coffee. Tea does not provide the same calming effect for me, even though I also don’t get the negative effects. All in all, I need to find a middle ground, it would be foolish to think I can completely give up coffee, but for my mental state, I need to try and cut back.

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Bullet journaling: Relieving symptoms of anxiety.

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health


 

One of the first things I started doing when I was first diagnosed with anxiety (GAD & SAD) was to start writing. Initially, it was so freeing to just get all of the messy thoughts and feelings out of my head and onto paper, after a while though I decided that I also needed to find a way of better organising my time. Bullet journaling was suggested by my psychologist as a way of achieving both of these things.

For those that don’t know, bullet journaling is a method of journaling that allows great flexibility in the way you use it. Using a blank journal, you are able to add whatever sections you want. I use a weekly planner, that I draw in myself as well as sections such as habit tracking and mood tracking.

Bullet journaling was created by an American digital product designer named Ryder Carroll. You can find out more here: http://bulletjournal.com/

I have found this system is so freeing and allows me to organise my life and clear my mind. I even have pages just for doodling, one of my favourite anxiety relief activities. I use Leuchtturm1917 notebooks for my bullet journal as well as other notebooks such as my doodle book and my college and work notebooks. There are Leuchtturm1917 notebooks designed specifically for bullet journals, these have a specially designed index page but are otherwise the same as the rest of the range. You can also choose between dotted, lined and plain paper depending on your preference (I use dotted).

Buy LEUCHTTURM1917 products here:

*This is an Amazon UK affiliate link.

The practice of bullet journaling is one of the best ways I have found of managing my anxiety, it is no longer something that rules my life. I will likely never be free from the grips of mental illness, but using methods like this it is easier to manage.

 

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

 

Freezing shower?

I have just read that as well as having well documented benefits for your skin, turning the shower water to freezing just before you get out can increase your ability to cope with the effects of anxiety and stress.

Has anyone tried this?

I feel like if there is any measurable benefit to this, even if it is purely psychological, it is something worth doing. If such an easy change can make a difference it has to be worth it right?

Food for thought.

The dark can be beautiful

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health


 

During some of my darkest moments, creativity became such an important part of my life. Often the art that I created was a mirror into my mind at that moment. There are images that I’m not sure I will ever be able to share, images that show a level of weakness that I never want to return to.

Why am I doing this?

Just under a year ago I was diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, this wasn’t a surprise but a confirmation of something I already knew. After confiding in my best friend and pouring out more of my feelings on her than was really fair, I decided, with her blessing that I should get some professional help.
Honestly, one of the easiest and yet most helpful things that both my friend and my counsellor told me to do was write. Anything and everything was a worthy subject. At first, I was sceptical that writing could be as powerful a tool as I was being told; but I was wrong. The brilliance of using writing as a coping mechanism is that it can be whatever you want it to be. I have spent countless hours just writing literally the first thing that comes into my head, it rarely even makes sense. Most of my writing is for me and me alone, a way to put some of the darker thoughts and feelings that I have struggled with out of my mind.

As my mental health has improved and become easier to handle, I have branched out with my writing. Moving into more creative places, including creating a comic book that follows two naive kids as they go about their daily lives.

This blog is a continuation of this process. I cannot imagine going back to not writing every day, even if it is not something I any longer need to do for my health.
Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels