anxiety

6 Simple Ideas to Help Deal With Anxiety

For the past few years, I’ve been struggling with the effects of anxiety as they fluctuate up and down. However, it’s safe to say that anxiety will always and forever remain to be a part of me.

Over the years, the way I have dealt with anxiety has changed tremendously. When I first began experiencing panic attacks, the only way I could deal with them was to hysterically cry in the corner. Try doing that in the middle of a college campus. With that being said, I developed (thanks to my therapist) a list of methods to help cope with anxiety so I don’t have extreme panic attacks.

Are you experiencing anxiety? Here’s some things I do to manage it for you to try. Disclaimer: just because they worked for me doesn’t mean that they are something that could help you. Everyone with anxiety deals with it differently, these methods just help with mine. 

  1. Write in a journal.

I’ve been writing for as long as I could remember. It kind of makes sense whenever I am feeling down that I resort to journal writing (or poetry) whenever anxiety strikes. Typically, I write every single emotion that I’m feeling. Once it’s on paper, I feel better. Usually.

2. Talk to friends.

Over the past two years, I’ve had friends (or significant others) who I would turn to whenever I was feeling upset and need someone to cry to. I am so grateful to have a cast of characters in my life to hug me when I’m feeling upset or anxious to remind me that everything is going to be okay. Usually after talking to someone I trust, I almost always feel better.

3. Drink a lot of water — and less caffeine.

Let’s be honest, I love my Starbucks. And, my Panera. And, my Dunkin. What can I say? I’m a coffee drinker? However, I notice that when I drink coffee I tend to feel more anxious. So, I’ve been cutting back on the coffee, and drinking more water. It’s definitely helpful.

One of the things that my therapist actually told me to do is to drink more water whenever I’m feeling anxious. That is something that I’ve been doing lately, and it helps a lot. Plus, staying hydrated has some great health benefits as well.

4. Get a spinner . . . something.

I have a spinner ring, and I wear it on days when I know my anxiety is going to be higher. Having that ring is super helpful because it takes my mind off of whatever is causing me anxiety — and it’s really fun to play with.

Over the summer, one of the fads was to have a spinner toy. Those are extremely fun to play with when you’re anxious because it draws your attention away from what’s bothering you, and you’re doing something fun! 10/10 would recommend.

5. Be positive.

Have a Mantra that you repeat to yourself whenever you’re having a panic attack. You know something positive that reminds you that everything is going to be ok.

Looking for inspiration? Some ideas include:

  • Just Breathe.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • Everything will work itself out.

6. Have a distraction.

This is when puppy videos come in handy. Cute things always invoke a smile on my face. This is why I follow so many Snoopy and puppy accounts on Instagram.

Basically, if something makes you smile, it’s definitely worth having around — and indulging in having more of it in your life!

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Remembering 9/11

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New York, April 2016

I was only seven years old when the planes crashed into the Twin Towers 16 years ago. At seven, I didn’t comprehend what exactly happened. I remember it being a typical school day. I remember my grandparents were on their way to some bus trip, leaving the job of picking me up to a neighbor. I remember that it was my Uncle Joe’s birthday.

However, I knew something was wrong when my mom was there to pick me up that day. I remember asking her why? And, then she had told me what happened that day — two planes had hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I remember going home and she never left the television set.

At seven, I didn’t know how horrific the events of the attacks were. At 23, after watching the footage and hearing the stories of those who lost loved ones in those attack, I definitely do.

9/11 was without a doubt a tragedy. It brings tears to my eyes when I hear the stories of people who lost loved ones: parents, spouses, children. 9/11 will forever be cemented in our lives as something that changed our country forever, and this is why it should be never forgotten.

Today, I remember that day, and how oblivious I was to what had occurred. Today, I honor those who risked their lives just to save others — the New York City Fire Department, civilians, etc. Today, I pay tribute to my country, and proclaim that I am proud to an American.

Even though I didn’t comprehend it much at the time, I vow to #neverforget 9/11. I vow to #neverforget the tragedy, the loss, and the families who lost a loved one.  I vow #neverforget the bravery the NY fire and police department.

#neverforget 9/11.

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Opinions on Opinions 

We all can agree that everyone on this earth is born with one thing — an opinion. That opinion is formed by several things including: experiences, education, surroundings, beliefs, religious affiliations, and your likes and dislikes. This is why each and every one of us on this planet have a different thing. 

And I think that it is excellent. It should be something that we all should rejoice and celebrate. Instead, in my recent experiences, it has now become a catalyst for an ugly debate — one that ends up turning into an exchange of “you’re wrongs” and other brutal words. 

What is even more upsetting is that I know people who are scared to voice their opinions because they are afraid of the backlash. 

I think that’s the worst thing ever. 

Nowadays, there is an abundance of diverse opinions that are floating around. This is especially true with the increased usage of social media, as you can log online and see someone’s opinion right on your newsfeed. Sometimes, it can be like going into opinion overload, as you can read over 10 different opinions before having your morning coffee. 

Yikes. 

With that being said, there’s also another pitfall of social media — the ability to comment. With every post, there’s always a list of comments. For example, I recently wrote an article on CTBoom about Why There Shouldn’t Be Another Season of Gilmore Girls. I belong to a Gilmore Girls group on Facebook, and posted it to help generate more views, in addition to conversation. Half of the comments were statements that I was wrong. The other half were people trying to tear me down because of my writing. 

Well then. 

I wasn’t asking for them to agree. I just was interested in what they had to say. It truly bothered me that it resulted in insulted. And, of course, I wanted people to read my writing. 

And it was brought on by people who shared a different opinion than myself! 

When that happened, it really got me thinking. Do we live in a society that results in insult when we don’t agree? Whatever happened to be in a coexisting melting pot? 

My ideal society is one that allows everyone to vocalize their opinions without the fear of being hounded. This includes: political affiliation, religious beliefs, and about whether or not they like a certain song/tv show/movie. It bothers me to no end when a Hillary supporter yells at a Trump one because they don’t agree. Instead of yelling, let’s listen. Let’s have a discussion to learn why they feel that way. And, most importantly, let’s respect the different opinions that come on our newsfeeds. 

Maybe that’s an unrealistic utopian society. However, one can dream. 

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Why I Did Not Like The New Taylor Swift Song

I was watching the VMAs, and was one of the many people who tuned in to watch Taylor Swift’s newest music video, Look What You Made Me Do. And, after watching the video, it left a bad taste in my mouth. However, before you hound all over me, Swfities please just hear me out. I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan, and I loved all of her five albums. In fact, I joke that Taylor Swift is my guilty pleasure. But, with that being said, this new Taylor isn’t for me.

The song is undoubtedly about Swift’s feud with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian West, and the video is a response to the criticism that Swift received post-feud. In addition to that, it’s also a response to the many things that haters say about Swift.

After all, the video starts off by saying “here lies Taylor Swift’s reputation.” And, has all of the past eras of “Swifts” coming together to voice the criticisms that Swift has — that she likes playing the victim, that she’s a snake, and of course, the fact that she isn’t even that nice.

Now, I’m not their biggest fans myself. However, I believe that a song about the matter is both immature and just an opportunity to start more drama.

However, I get why Taylor wrote the song. And, I like the song, don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty catchy, and the lyrics are amazing. However, to me this seems like a song that should stay in private — not on the radio.


Of course, part of Taylor Swift’s charm is the fact that she writes songs about her life. As a writer, I get that. A huge part of being a writer of any kind is using it as a cathartic release of emotion. However, just as I wouldn’t write something personal and vindictive on my blog, Swift shouldn’t have released that song.

What I would have liked to see instead is someone singing about rising about hardships, and just “shaking it off” what haters have to say. But, at the end of the day, you do you Taylor.

If the old Taylor is truly dead, then I’m a little unsure if I like this new one. But, I have high hopes for Reputation, out November 10.

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The Highs and The Lows

About a year ago, I began to write this blog — well rather post more frequently than before. At the time, I wanted somewhere that was my space to write, and something that I wanted to really blossom into something big.

One year later, it is bigger than I could have ever imagined. 101 (102 counting the one that I am writing now) posts and almost 3,000 views later, it is safe to say this website is truly my corner of the world.

And, I ain’t going nowhere.

I’ve been thinking about where I was in life when I first started this blog. I was mending a broken heart. I was beginning to start my final semester of college. I was moving forward with my anxiety, and at last, truly getting better.

It’s been one hell of a year — one full of both ups and downs. The ups — graduating college, finding a job that I love at a local radio station, and surrounding myself with people who help me float. The downs– learning to forgive those who have hurt me, accepting the consequences of mistakes, learning about the right and wrong place to work, and jewelry and metals class. However, the truth is that I am truly happy with everything that is going on in my life — even if I don’t post as much as I would like.

A coworker once commented that I am always happy and smiling whenever he saw me. And I am. I’m happy to be at a place where I am truly happy. I am happy with my job. I am happy with the people who I surround myself with. And, I am leading a life that is balanced as much as humanly possible.

Two thumbs up, I must say.

However, over the past 365 days or so, I realized something. Life is full of highs and lows. As Aerosmith says in the song “Dream On,” “sometimes you’ve got to lose in order to win.” And, I fully believe that is 100 percent true. You’ve got to know how hard life can get, just so you can appreciate the good times when they come.

Furthermore, I believe the rough times in life — the times of doubt and confusion — are what defines your character. It doesn’t matter what hand you’re dealt with. What matters what your next move is. For me, it meant learning about how to take the wheel in my life. For me, it was about learning about what I wanted, and vocalizing it. For me, it was working my mental muscles to become stronger.

And, as for the anxiety, I think it’s better than when I first went down road two years ago. Anxiety will continue to plague my life, without a doubt. But, it’s up to me to let it define me. At the end of the day, I am not my mental illness. I am not a panic attack. I am Natalie. In fact, I gave a sermon declaring that very thing last November. 

So, here’s to the highs. Let’s enjoy every ‘feel good’ moment and good vibe that comes my way. And here’s to the lows. In those moments, let’s remember that we can power through with a smile and a feel good attitude that we can get through.

And, here’s to us. You — the reader — and, me — the person sitting behind this computer blogging. Together we made one year of blog posts happen. We’ve also made a difference. Here’s to another year of doing exactly that.

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Focus Less On Others’ Opinions, More On You

There are so many people in this world who seem to have an opinion. Well, that’s understandable, because everyone has one, although some are more outspoken to share it then others are.

With all of these opinions floating around in the air, it is easy to follow the sounds of those voices, rather than listen to your own. As a disclaimer, when you do that, you often become unhappy. And, isn’t the point of life is lead one to be happy, whether or not it pleases the people around you?

It’s easier said than done. Many people who have opinions often come from weird sources. For instance, many people often believe the notion that if they were able to do that without problem, you should too.

For example, when I was in college, I took four classes instead of the typical five that was recommended. However, I found it difficult to manage working at a newspaper, working at another job, and managing a course load that size. Therefore, I took four classes for my last three semesters, just because it was what I could manage and still maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Many people often questioned why I was doing that. A few comments that I got included: why don’t you want to get the classes out of the way so you can graduate on time? Aren’t you wasting money when you can get an extra class out of the way? Can’t you just get better at time management? Don’t get me wrong — I appreciated hearing everyone’s input on how I should do things. Those were some things that I considered. I did have to graduate a semester later because of it. I also talked about it with my mom — who was paying my tuition — who said that it was fine to do so. And of course, I used a planner and wrote everything down.

What no one asked me was how I benefited from doing that. Because I had less classes to focus on, I managed to get the best grades in my entire college career — I’m talking a 3.85 GPA.  

Overtime, I began to realize something. The less I tuned into what everyone else had to say about how I lived my life, the more I enjoyed it. Therefore, I believe you should focus on one thing — on doing what makes you happy.

poetry

Didn’t John Lennon Say Give Peace A Chance?

Inspired by John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

Everyone seems to be talking about someone.

Donald Trump insulting the someone new everyday,

Hillary Clinton and her emails,

Kim Kardashian, as she tries to maintain her fame,

or Caitlyn Jenner.

I wonder why we can’t give peace a chance.

 

People seem to seem to be talking,

but no one seems to be listening.

And all we should be saying is:

“Give peace a chance.”

 

Everyone seems to be talking about an -ism,

Feminism, racism, fascism, terrorism, communism.

You know, those old issues

But all I’m saying is

“Give peace a chance.”

Everyone seems to be talking about trying to prevent an event,

Sandy Hook, Hurricane Sandy, Boston Bombings,

9/11, Paris Shootings, Columbine.

But, with all of those tragedies in mind,

can’t we just give peace a chance?

Maybe John Lennon was onto something.

Maybe he knew that peace was the answer to the bombings,

the arguments, the messy politics, and the wars.

Maybe he knew that maybe if instead of talking we should listen.

Maybe all we need to do is to give peace a chance.

Mindfulness

The Importance of Time

I believe that the most important thing that anyone can give you is their time. Why? Because we only have so much time in a day — 24 hours comprised of 60 minute intervals. And, not to put a damper on this post, but we really don’t know when our last second will be. Therefore, it’s important for us to enjoy every minute of everyday.

One of the problems many people — myself included — tend to have is time management. What is an important way to manage our time? How do we do it in a way that’s effective? And, most importantly, how do we do it, and still manage to do the things that we love?

After all, I feel that sometimes we often forget we do in fact lose sight on the importance of ‘me’ time — time devoted to doing the things that we love such as read, exercise or even watch an episode of Netflix. Why? Well, sometimes it could be from work — you work later or more, for extra cash or to make sure you’re doing a good job. Or, you could be swept up in the attempts to do things for other people.

Either way, you’re putting the needs of yourself behind everyone and everything else — somewhere where it probably shouldn’t be.

I think that we owe ourselves responsibility in the same manner that we owe the other people and things in our lives, whether it may be to make sure that we get enough sleep, making sure we take five minutes to go to the gym or even breathe. In fact it’s called a little thing called self care.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever to manage our time throughout our busy lives so we can do that. And, by doing that, you’re only improving your performance for the other roles that you have in your life — mother, father, worker, friends, girlfriend, etc. I think that it’s something that many often forget.

But, the question is, how do we accomplish this? Well, it’s simple. We take five minutes to eat our lunches without doing any work. In addition to scheduling time for our work meetings, we also take the time to schedule time to exercise and to balance our schedules with something fun. We also take the time to just breath, to veg out and to take a bubble bath.

It’s all about balance, people.

I too struggle with this There was a time in my life where I would devote myself solely to work and school. During that time in my life, I felt that I constantly kept on going and going. I also had a job that took over every minute of my life — where I would stay late almost every night, and do work on weekends and night. In both instances, those aren’t healthy.

Looking back, I wonder now what would have happened if I had put myself a priority versus everything else in my life. I’m pretty sure if I drew the line from that, if I had said ‘no, it’s not going to work out for me,’ I would have been happier and maybe have been able to get through these stressful moments ten times easier. I now know that I owe it to myself to do so — and make sure that I make myself a priority.

So, the next time you are stressed out for any reason — work, school, balancing work and school — take a moment and look at how you spend your time. Chances are, you need to devote more to yourself.

poetry

Elton John’s Love Songs

Can you feel the love tonight?

I know I was able to,

as we drove to the beach on the cold highway in late August.

Your song was on the radio

It was a slow sad song,

about a lonely soul who had no valentines.

I guess that’s why sad songs say so much.

 

There’s something about the way you look tonight,

that makes me realize you’re the one.

I don’t believe the end will come for us,

despite the sacrifice of long distance.

 

Don’t go breaking my heart,” I tell you,

as you say “I couldn’t if I tried.”

Your healing hands embrace me,

and I whisper softly,

Hold me closer, tiny dancer.”

 

The Indian sunset signaled it was time to go,

a goodbye soon to follow.

But we’ve said goodbye before,

and I’m still standing.

 

Long distance relationships are the reason why

I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

poetry

In the 1989 Mindset: Inspired By Taylor Swift

I leave you behind for a sign that says

“Welcome to New York.”

You didn’t want to come with me to my new world,

so I had to leave you in Connecticut.

I clutch my Starbucks in one hand, and my suitcase in the other,

my name is written in Sharpie marker in the blank space

on the Starbucks cup.

I walk down storefronts, with mannequins that had more

style, money and poise than I ever will.

I used to think that “we’d never go out of style.”

 

The city seems to engulf me,

but my mind seems to span farther than the skyscrapers.

I will never be out of the woods or in the clear from you.

the memory of you screaming at me

all you had to do was stay,

haunts me.

I just can’t shake it off your facial expression

as I walked out that door.

 

I look down at my phone,

no missed text messages,

no missed calls.

I would never text you,

but I wish you would text me.

 

There’s nothing but bad blood between us now,

where there used to be “mad love.”

not even in my wildest dreams.

 

I see a guy catcalling a girl from a cab,

and I can’t help but think is,

that’s not how you get the girl,

but you didn’t know how to keep one.

 

But soon, my mind comes back on you,

this love is something that will never leave me.

I know places where the memories won’t hurt me,

that’s in the city in my new life.

Maybe the Big Apple is where I’ll be finally clean,

away from your ghost,

and your imprint on my heart.

 

Note: The poem was inspired by the album 1989 by Taylor Swift.