Practical ways

Practical ways to manage anxiety and stress less

Anxiety is trending right now. But it’s far from a fad. According to the Beyondblue support service for depression and anxiety, seven to 14 per cent of women aged 10 to 24 years old will experience an anxiety condition in any given year.

And in a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety. On average, that means one in four people - one in three women, and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life, says Beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman.

What causes anxiety

Some triggers such as social media are new – and others such as relationships, work stress, trauma, abuse, bereavement and public speaking have been around forever and affect men and women equally.

“Social media is placing unprecedented pressure on everyone,” says Melbourne psychologist and mindfulness consultant Dr Richard Chambers. “Studies show negative effects on self-esteem, communication skills and relationships. Social media can also lead to perfectionism (a risk factor for both anxiety and depression) and comparison with others (a sure-fire way to make ourselves unhappy).”

Other causes in women

Women are also susceptible to the stress of pregnancy and being the primary caregiver to children, which can be additional stressors. “There is also evidence that reproductive hormones like oestrogen can worsen/trigger existing anxiety symptoms,” Dr Chambers.

Growing awareness

Dr Chambers wonders whether rates of anxiety are rising because we are getting better at talking about it and diagnosing it. “And also because we have more services now, and less stigma that may previously have been an obstacle to people seeking help,” he says.

He says women are twice as likely than men to have an anxiety disorder. And anxiety disorders also tend to occur earlier in women.

“Women are more likely than men in general to seek help for any psychological disorder,” Dr Chambers says. “They go to the GP more often than men too, I think, for physical illnesses. There has been a recent movement toward men expressing vulnerability (did you see the awesome ABC show Man Up recently?) but there is still a long way to go.”

What exactly is anxiety

Dr Chambers says anxiety (like anger and depression) is called a “negative” emotion in contrast to happiness and joy which are called “positive”.

“It is about an imagined future event (likely or unlikely), in contrast to fear, which is about current threats (real or imagined),” he says. “It therefore has some value, for example, alerting us to potential problems so we can prepare adequately.”

He says all emotions happen on a spectrum and we all get anxious at times. “It is only when things like anxiety become pervasive and negatively affect our lives that they are seen as problematic,” he says.

There are different types of anxiety ranging from specific ones like social anxiety to specific phobias and what is called “generalised anxiety disorder”, where people are anxious about everything.

“In my clinical experience, there is an “anxious” thinking style - the more anxious we are, the more scattered our attention is and the more it seems like we are anxious about everything. Helping people recognise this, calm down and get clear on what they are specifically anxious or fearful about is a very powerful way of reducing anxiety,” Dr Chambers says.

How to recognise if you need treatment

Mild anxiety and depression can go away spontaneously but more serious cases require treatment. “While a lot of anxiety is treated with medication, people tend to relapse once they stop taking it, so psychotherapy (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, mindfulness etc) is a better option,” Dr Chambers says.

“If it lasts six months, happens most of the time and causes significant distress, it probably needs intervention.”

Tuning in to your state of mind

Dr Chambers believes experiencing anxiety symptoms can be sign that we are not living fully in the present. “When I get anxious, I check my mind and invariably find that I am worrying about something that may never happen (and have gone well beyond just considering its possibility and planning my response), comparing myself to others, or believing thoughts about not being good enough, being unlove-able etc,” he says.

“If I then bring mindful awareness and acceptance to the sensations in my body, let go of the beliefs and rumination, and bring an attitude of self compassion (acceptance, self-kindness and recognition that this is something everyone experiences at times), I usually feel better quite quickly. This is how I teach my clients to work with it.”

Dr Chambers also encourages his clients to “notice what anxiety feels like in your body and sounds like in your head”, in other words the thoughts and beliefs plus the tone of the inner voice. “Sometimes just noticing means they are no longer caught in it and the anxiety subsides,” he says. “Sometimes they can question the thoughts or even restructure them. And of course applying some self compassion works wonders too.”

Remember to breath

Dr Chambers says if anxiety persists and is distressing or debilitating enough, people can start to get caught in thoughts of hopelessness, and experience depressed mood.

If you do feel your anxiety levels rising, Dr Chambers suggests taking a few deep, slow breaths to help yourself relax.

“I also recommend people learn to recognise the signs of anxiety (what it feels like in their body and sounds like in their heads) so they can catch it earlier,” he says. “They can then change their thinking, let go of thoughts and focus on their senses, and/or practise self-compassion.”

“Generally, breathing is a great anchor for our attention. If we focus on it, we are no longer caught up in thoughts that create problems for us. However, many people with anxiety have great difficulty letting their breath happen naturally. Instead, they try to control it or worry they are not getting enough breath. If this happens, a different object e.g. sounds, body sensations or movement might be better.”

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

“Mindfulness can help with severe anxiety,” Dr Chambers says. “I use it all the time. CBT is also useful - the main components that help with anxiety are restructuring thoughts (changing thinking e.g. from “everything is going to of wrong” to “some things may go wrong…but many will go right”) and exposure (where people make a list of the things that make them anxious - which they are often avoiding - and then start to do the easy ones, learning to relax as they do, ultimately working their way up to the harder ones).”

Other options to consider

“Some people find Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) helps,” he says. “And of course if the anxiety is severe, medication might be a good idea. I always tell my clients to think of meds like scaffolding. If the foundations of their house are shaky they may need to erect some scaffolding in the short term while we work out where the cracks are and stabilise things. I like this metaphor because it implies that medication is just a short-term thing (which it should only ever be) and that the more important work is the therapy.”Read more at:short prom dresses uk | simple prom dresses


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This genius designer

It’s a joke out of Zoolander, Ben Stiller’s classic 2001 comedy ­­– a fashion line made out of discarded trash and recycled waste products.

But unlike the ‘Derelicte’ fashion line encountered by the film’s eponymous character, eco-fashion designer Nancy Judd’s work is less about mocking the pretentious world of fashion culture, and more about using human ingenuity to breathe new life into materials that would otherwise end up as environment-damaging landfill.

The idea behind Judd’s project, Recycle Runway, was first given life while working as the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe, and then, later, as the Executive Direction of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition. These jobs provided Judd with both a unique insight into both the incredulous amount of waste humans produce each year, as well as the untapped wealth of potential recycling activity yet to be embraced.

Tortured by the question of what happens to the tonnes of waste Americans produced each year, and its effect on the environment, Judd decided to do something about it.

Her answer? Dumpster diving for aluminium cans, plastic bags and rusty nails to turn into fashion and art.

Inspired by her lifetime experience as an artist, Judd set to work, co-founding the Recycle Santa Fe Art Market and Fashion Contest in 1998, up-cycling waste materials to create quirky, high-end fashions. What started as a humble personal project resulted in the formation of projects such as the Recycle Runway Collection, a fashion show based on recycled clothing exhibited internationally, with worldwide media attention, and even a front-page article on the Wall Street Journal.

Judd’s work on sustainable fashion has been sponsored by international organisations such as Toyota, Coca-Cola, and Target, with one of her pieces even gaining acceptance into the Smithsonian’s permanent collection in 2011.

When asked about the point of her pet project, Judd is insightfully honest. “I often get asked, ‘Why do I make garments out of trash?’ What’s the point of doing this work? … And really it has to do with finding another way of engaging people and talking about what’s happening to our planet. I found fashion is a really effective way of doing that.”Read more at:backless evening dresses | http://www.marieprom.co.uk/cocktail-dresses-uk


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Fashion Party in the Hollywood

The rooftop of the W Hotel, Hollywood was the scene of the March 16 opening reception for L.A. Fashion Week, one of the producers of Los Angeles Fashion Week events.

LA Fashion Week Executive Producer Arthur Chipman was on hand to greet all the fashion and art lovers.

Designer label Laurel Dewitt presented its current collection of chain metal apparel and accessories. Models adorned in one-of-a-kind head garb and face jewelry looked statuesque while wearing revealing couture metal dresses, crop tops and skirts. The collection looked perfect for the music industry beauties.

The fashion presentations continued with an art-meets-couture event curated by Megan Philips of Sur le Mur Gallery. Philips came up with the idea of having one of her artists—Karen Bystedt—known for her Warhol mixed-media art—collaborate with couturier Sonia Ete’ to create one-of-a-kind gowns and jumpsuits. Philips created the hashtag #andylovesfashion for “Andy Warhol loves fashion” for this event. Bystedt took her Warhol art and had Ete’ incorporate it into her custom gowns and jumpsuits. The result was innovative and beautiful.

Philips also brought in downtown LA charcoal artist Robert Vargas who did live, quick charcoal rendering of guests in 10-minute sitting sessions.

The event proved to be the perfect mixture of fashion, art, people-watching and a fun party scene!Read more at:uk prom dresses


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Nicole regrets not meeting Michael Jackson

Nicole regrets not meeting Michael Jackson

Nicole Scherzinger regrets turning down the chance to meet Michael Jackson.

The 38-year-old singer was asked to meet the late King of Pop - who died of acute propofol intoxication in June 2009 - by their mutual friend will.i.am but opted to stay at home instead as she had a rare evening off from her busy schedule.

Asked her biggest regret, she said: ''Not taking the time to meet Michael Jackson when I had the chance. will.i.am wanted to introduce me to him one evening, but I was in rest mode as my schedule was so busy and I didn't go.

''Now I wish I had.''

The 'Poison' singer did have a close friendship with another departed icon, Prince - who was found dead from an overdose of Fentanyl last April - and still misses him every day.

Asked who she misses most, she replied: ''My dear friend Prince. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of him.''

Meanwhile, the former Pussycat Dolls singer was left embarrassed at a recent event when her dress split right down to her ''butt crack'', and she had to flee the evening wrapped in a friend's coat.

She told Britain's Grazia magazine: ''I was in Austria at an event wearing this really lovely gown.

''When I went to sit down, the entire back of the dress ripped right down to my butt crack.

''I went so red, but luckily someone handed me their coat, which I used to cover myself as I made a quick escape.''

But that isn't the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to Nicole.

She admitted: ''I went on a Mykonos trip a few years ago and had an evening out with my friends.

''I'd had some good wine and ended up getting filmed twerking in the street. I had no idea the paps could see us.''


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