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Panic Attack vs Anxiety attack : do you know the difference?
Panic attack and anxiety attack are different Knowing the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack is crucial in order to find the appropriate treatment or develop useful coping skills. By understanding the symptoms of an anxiety attack vs. panic attack, you can more efficiently address your mental health and the issues behind the attacks.  What are panic attacks and anxiety attacks? Both a  panic attack and an anxiety attack cause you to feel intense, overwhelming emotions. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same thing. Both panic and anxiety attacks activate your nervous system to send you into fight-or-flight mode, causing physical and emotional symptoms. Their differences lie in what causes the attack. Anxiety Attack Anxiety attacks are when a specific trigger occurs, such a stressful situation, where a person is already feeling anxious and the symptoms of anxiety – such as racing heart or pain in the stomach – worsens.  An anxiety attack is gradual and has symptoms that are less severe than a panic attack, but can still be distressing for those who struggle with managing anxiety. Symptoms of an anxiety attack can vary. Some people may only experience a few mild symptoms of anxiety, while others may experience a wider variety of more intense symptoms.  Common symptoms of anxiety include: - Insomnia - Restlessness - Irritability - Excessive worrying - Feeling on edge - Racing heartbeat - Muscle tension - Nausea - Shaking or sweating Panic Attack Panic and anxiety share many emotional and physical symptoms, and someone can be suffering from both at the same time. But whereas anxiety is more anticipatory and gradual, panic attacks are an abrupt symptom or culmination of anxiety that manifest much more intensely and suddenly, almost out of the blue. Panic strikes with an overwhelming sense of fear. Panic attacks are sudden, unreasonable feelings of fear and anxiety. A person suffering from a panic attack can feel loss of control and even fear safety or death.  Symptoms of a panic attack include: -  Chest pain -  Nausea -  Difficulty breathing -  Fear of losing control or feeling like you’re going to die -  Intense feeling of terror -  Elevated heart rate -  Sweating -  Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes -  Trembling or shaking Symptoms usually peak within ten minutes after an attack starts. The symptoms often disappear soon after. Some people become so fearful of these attacks that they develop panic disorder. What causes anxiety and panic attacks? What we experience while anticipating a bad outcome of a future event is called anxiety. It can lead to muscle tension and a feeling of uneasiness.  A panic attack is completely different. It is associated with a very abrupt onset of intense fear because of a sense of threat happening right now. While anxiety attacks occur gradually, panic attacks happen suddenly.  While anxiety attacks are usually caused by stressors in your life, panic attacks don’t have an apparent trigger.  In contrast to anxiety attacks, panic attacks sneak up on you. Whether you’re driving a car, having dinner or giving a presentation, panic attacks can strike at any time.  Panic attacks trigger severe and disruptive physical reactions, even when there is no real danger or apparent cause.  Diagnosis for a panic attacks and an anxiety attack In the past, it was more difficult to diagnose panic and anxiety attacks. The symptoms that come with them are similar to those of many other illnesses, including heart disease, thyroid disorders, and breathing disorders. If you have an attack, you should see your doctor to make sure that the cause of these symptoms is not a serious medical condition. If you find yourself having panic or anxiety attacks, or anxiety in general, a therapist or mental health professional can help to pinpoint these causes. They may also be able to help diagnose if you have a panic or anxiety disorder that triggers the attacks. Why we need to make sure people understand the difference If you don’t understand the terms and their differences, you might end up treating a panic disorder that you don’t actually have. In the worst case scenario, you could even become dependent on a medication you don’t need. That’s why it’s vital to seek out information about your specific condition and work with someone who is knowledgeable about the challenges that your unique condition presents.  Find the right treatment for Panic & Anxiety  Whether you’re struggling with panic attacks or an anxiety attacks, you may feel like your symptoms are out of control. The support of a qualified therapist can change all of that. They can  help you recognize whether you’re dealing with a panic attack or anxiety attack and then create a plan customized to your mind, body, and spirit. Contact us or directly book a free session with one of our therapists, and we will work together to overcome your anxiety and deal with your panic attacks.  Don’t be afraid to seek professional help !
Apr 16, 2021
Signs and reasons to start therapy
How do you know when it’s time to start therapy?  First and foremost, the decision to start therapy, whether in-person or via online therapy, is highly personal. Sure, certain circumstances might mean that therapy can be incredibly beneficial to you, for example if you’re struggling with a mental illness like depression or anxiety, you’re in an unhappy relationship, or you’ve experienced a traumatic event. But therapy can also be beneficial for anyone , at any point of their life. The perception that therapy is only for when you are suffering from a serious mental disease is a myth.  Therapy is designed to help any and all individuals live happier, healthier and more productive lives. Essentially, if you want to start therapy or think you could find value in this process, that is reason enough. 6 Signs you should start therapy That being said, there are some signs that it might be time for you to start therapy 1.You no longer enjoy things you used to love doing If you don’t feel like participating in your favorite activities may be a sign of someone who is stuck in a rut, or it could be a sign of a deeper depression. Therapy can help you assess the situation, figure out what is holding you back, and create a plan to move forward.  2. You feel sad, blue or down most of the time  This is often a red flag for depression, one of the most common mental health conditions.  While occasional feelings of sadness are a normal part of being human, it’s not normal for them to last for long periods of time.  If other symptoms are present as well, such as poor concentration, sleep disturbances, low energy, and feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, depression is a very possible diagnosis. If left untreated, depression can cause significant problems in your life, which, in turn, feed the depression even more.   3. You’ve experienced a trauma Those who have  experienced a trauma that they haven\'t fully recovered from can hugely benefit from face to face therapy or online therapy.  To start therapy allows a person to explore these painful experiences with someone who is experienced in hearing about these issues, in a confidential space that\'s free of judgment.  A therapist can help the person develop new ways of thinking about the traumatic event as well as learn techniques for breaking the associations and the hold that the trauma has over them. 4. You’re spending too much time alone.  There’s nothing wrong with spending time alone. It’s good to spend time with your own thoughts and to learn how to be comfortable being alone, but too much alone time can be a bad thing. How do you know if you’re spending too much time alone? Chances are, if you’re wondering if you’re spending too much time alone, you probably are. Seeing a counsellor or have a session of online therapy can help. A counsellor can help you uncover why you’re spending so much time alone , and they can help you get back out there if you’re feeling nervous about leaving the house. The more you get out and the more connections you make with other people, the better you’ll feel. 5. You feel angry most of the time Anger problems are one of the best reasons to go to therapy – because the anger seemingly comes out of nowhere.  You may be going along each day for a week smiling and loving life, then someone accidentally touches you and you explode. Sound familiar? You’re like, where did that come from? Extreme outbursts of anger may be a sign that not all is okay beneath the surface.  6. You are grieving  After the loss of a loved one, emotions can be confusing or may come in stages that we can’t sort out and understand fully. Grief therapy is a very common type of therapy that people go to. A specialist is patient and can help guide the grieving into a healthy direction rather than leading to self destruction and a deep depression. Everybody can start therapy Therapy is for everybody, especially for people interested in self-knowledge, personal growth, and in learning how to love, lead, and live to their fullest potential. Face to face therapy or online therapy are for anyone, not just for those who are suffering. Even those of us who lead a normal life and feel pretty mentally healthy can benefit from having a mostly unbiased, professionally-trained, and experienced listening presence. 1.You’re ready to change. If you’re disappointed with life and you know something needs to change, but you aren’t sure what, you should schedule an appointment with a therapist. They can help you uncover the source of your disappointment and take steps to change it. Whether it’s a career change, ending a stale relationship, or starting a new hobby, therapy can help you discover what you really want out of life. These are just a few good reason to give therapy a try 2. You are looking for a greater self- awareness If you want to understand yourself better, therapy is very useful. It  can help you cultivate self-awareness and self-knowledge. Therapy creates a space where we can observe our thoughts, emotions, behavioral habits, and relationship patterns in a calm and thoughtful way. It allows us to reflect on our deepest fears, insecurities, and on our highest hopes and dreams. 3. You want to to improve your life balance Perhaps the greatest benefit to having therapy is achieving greater balance and harmony in life. If you are aware that your life is unbalanced, if perhaps you are a workaholic, or alternately spend too much time at home, it’s reason enough to seek therapy. 4. You’ve always been curious.  Maybe things are mostly okay in your life but you’ve just always been so curious about what therapy would feel like, and you simply want to try it out. This is a great reason to start therapy! 5. You just feel like you need to talk to someone. There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help for any health issue, including mental health. If you have an inclination that you might need to speak with someone, do it. Therapy and online therapy is a perfectly normal ― and valuable ― experience that works to many people’s benefit. Take the first step. Start Therapy! Many people avoid getting the help they need because of concern about what others may think or their own negative views of psychological difficulties.   Don’t let stigma hold you back from seeking help. Speak to a loved one, your doctor or reach out to us. Therapy is more than a treatment. It is a lifestyle choice, it is one of the many ways we cope with and understand emotions, change, stress, beliefs and relationships. If you want to start online therapy and feel empowered to schedule an appointment after reading this list, consider working with a BAC counsellors. Our mental health professionals have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you live a happier or healthier life. And they can’t wait to get started.    
Apr 9, 2021
Mental Health and Work: how to be happy at work
10 tips to be happy at work  Are you happy at work? If not, it might be time to consider exploring your options. However, sometimes this isn’t an option, so we have been working on creating advice to help boost your happiness at work. Enjoying the work that you do is crucial, not only to maintain productivity but also to help support a healthy, balanced life.  Whether your job is one you feel passionate about or one that you simply know you can do well, you can increase your happiness at work with a variety of everyday strategies. Here are our ten tips on boosting happiness in the workplace.  1. Keep a positive attitude and mindset Being positive is the key to happiness! Of course it is hard being positive when there are many stressful things going on at work or outside of work. However, if you practice positive thinking before, during, and after work, it can really make a big difference throughout your whole day.It can boost up your mood and influence you to look forward to what has to come next. Practicing daily on having a positive mindset can make your work enjoyable. Thinking to yourself, “Todays going to be a great day”, “I’m so thankful for today”, “I can do it”, “I’m not going to give up” is a good way to push yourself to being more positive and feel happy at work.  2. Take a break to breath It\'s easy to get burned out during the workday. That\'s why you need to take a minute and breath before moving on to your next task.  By not taking a break, you won\'t get along with others as well, and you won\'t take criticism without the possibility of imploding. It is a must to control the level of our daily stress. You also need to take time off to recharge from the stress of work. In fact, taking a vacation not only relieves stress and recharges us, it can also improve our overall health and make us more productive at work. 3. Only Make Commitments You Can Keep One of the most serious causes of work stress and unhappiness is failing to keep commitments.  To manage stress levels and minimize unhappiness at work, create a system for tracking your commitments and managing your schedule. Stay organized enough that you can judge quickly and accurately whether you are actually able to commit to a request or a new assignment. Don’t volunteer for additional work or office tasks if you don’t have time. If your workload is exceeding your available time and energy, don’t accept the unhappy status quo. Talk to your coworkers to see if anyone else is feeling the same way, then talk to your boss about how the company can provide the additional time, help, or resources that employees need. 4. Avoid Negativity Participating in a toxic work environment will increase your unhappiness, no matter how much you enjoy your job. Choosing to be happy at work means avoiding negative conversations, gossip, and unhealthy work relationships as much as possible. No matter how positively you feel, negative people have a deep impact on your psyche. If you find that certain groups at work are more likely to engage in negative behaviours such as gossip or complaining, try to distance yourself from those people. If that’s not possible, do your best to redirect conversations onto more positive topics. You can also choose to talk to your employer about creating a company culture that values positivity and cooperation, rather than competitiveness, to create a happier work environment for all employees. 5.Take Time for Yourself Creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work. Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child or even more. If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work. 6. Make friends at work Having strong friendships at work, whether or not those friendships carried over into their outside lives, help you be happier and more motivated. Indeed gathering a circle of colleagues who share similar backgrounds or lifestyles can take a lot of pressure off you at work. When you are able to voice your feelings to people who understand, it can really help minimize stress. 7. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water It is really important to try to keep healthy when you are feeling down at work.  Staying hydrated is a simple thing everyone can do to stay healthy, alert, and happy. You can snack smarter, too: foods that are high in antioxidants, like some berries, nuts, leafy greens, and yes, dark chocolate, have been shown to support brain health 8. Be future-oriented You will make better decisions and be more satisfied with your results if you know that most of what you\'re doing in your work at this time still fits into your long-term plans and goals. That\'s only possible if you keep those plans and goals in the forefront. 9. Don’t bring your personal problems to work Thinking about your personal problems at work is not going to benefit you or the problem itself. It can actually cause discontent and affect others mood. There are many ways to keep your problems away from work. Keep yourself busy by socialising with your coworkers, try to think positively, and talk to a coach that can support you and give you advice on your personal problems and be more happy at work. 10. If all else fails, job searching will make you smile You don’t need to love your job, but it shouldn’t make you miserable on a regular basis. In that case, it may be time to reevaluate your employer, your job, or your entire career. Even if you have to remain in your current position for a while longer, actively searching for a new job that is more in line with your professional interests and personal values may be the best thing you can do to gain a sense of control and put a smile on your face once more. Have you thought about booking a session with a career coach? Contact us today, and start taking the next steps to feel happier at your workplace or to finding a new career altogether and changing your life. At BAC e, we understand the importance of feeling valued and content throughout your working life, as this can affect your life outside of the workplace and filter into your personal life.       
Apr 1, 2021
10 Bad Habits that impact your mental health
Bad habits for our mental health tend to go ignored. We all have some “bad” habits.  While having bad habits is part of being human, sometimes they turn “toxic” and can negatively affect our mental health.  From time to time, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate how much our habits are hurting us.  Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves. We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse. Here are a few common bad habits that impact your mental health, making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life: 1. Comparing Your Life to Others’ We compare ourselves with others and then make judgments about how successful we are based on these comparisons. There are upward comparisons (with people who seem to have it better than us) and downward comparisons (with those who seem to have it worse than we do). We often feel better about our lives and accomplishments when making downward comparisons and feel bad about ourselves when making upward comparisons. The problem is that we never really know what is going on beneath the surface of other people’s lives. So when you compare, you are comparing your insides to everybody else’s outsides, as the saying goes. We can always find an area in which we’re not as good as others, such as appearance, athletic skill, or career achievement. Comparison puts a lot of pressure on you because we all have different circumstances. The best comparison to make is what you know and are doing today, compared to last month or last year. This type of comparison takes your individual circumstances and ability into account. 2. Perfectionism Positive perfectionism helps you do your best – as a perfectionist, you never deliver anything short of your absolute finest work. Habits of positive perfectionism include: setting realistic goals, letting go of failures, seeing mistakes as opportunities for growth, keeping anxiety and stress within healthy boundaries, and enjoying the process as well as the outcome. Habits of negative perfection includes setting standards beyond your reach, dissatisfaction with anything less than perfection, preoccupation with failure or disapproval, and seeing mistakes as evidence of unworthiness. Research shows that negative perfectionism is a bad habit that causes distress, fear of making mistakes, disharmony, uncertainty, and anxiety about judgment from others. 3. Procrastination Lot\'s of people try to get away with their duties and try to delay them. An attitude like ‘“we\'ll do it tomorrow”. The effects of this  behaviour may not seem all that bad at first, but over time, those effects can build, leading to stress, anxiety, broken dreams, and low self-esteem. 4. Lack of personal goals Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system. Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression. Try to get used to making to-do lists that allow you to prioritise the most important things you need to do. Always keep your deadlines realistic as you make your way down the list. 5. Focusing on the bad For those of you who find yourselves constantly focusing on the bad instead of the good, you may also find yourself suffering from feelings of stress and worry. Tip: Try mindfulness meditation, it’s a form of meditation that forces you to focus and become aware of the present moment. Positive people recognize meditation as an act of healing and rejuvenation. It helps relieve any negativity that may be weighing you down. It may also help increase your self-confidence, reduce anxiety, improve your concentration and reduce stress. 6. Lacking of “Me Time” When do you get time for yourself—between work, family, marriage, and social responsibilities? If the answer is never, you’ve pinpointed a prime source of stress and irritability. Book at least 15 minutes each day for you, you and no one else but you. Everyone deserves a mental time out to do something they enjoy. 7. Isolating Alone time is good, but humans are social creatures by nature, and not having any human contact for weeks on end is a really bad habit for your mental health. If you’re going through this, we  invite you to pick up the phone and text or call someone close to you or reach out to professional. Even for only five minutes. 8. Not sleeping enough Sleep is generally referred to as a source of both emotional and physical resilience. It provides the human body and brain an opportunity to recover from the stresses of the previous day. Good sleep helps the brain and the body rise to the challenges of tomorrow. When you skip sleep for a day or two it can make you restless and unsettled, but a poor sleeping habit over time can cause more damage to your mental health. Research shows people who suffer from poor mental health do not have good sleeping habits. 9. Overuse of social media It‘s important to stay connected, but equally important to monitor your screen time and avoid the unnecessary stress and self-esteem issues that can be caused by spending too much time on social media. To break this attachment, be mindful and limit your social media use to certain hours of the day, and use this time to speak with friends and family instead. 10. Lack of physical exercise Quality exercise is commonly known as one of the most crucial factors for maintaining physical health and mental health. In some studies, adequate exercise has been shown to have a more positive effect than antidepressants for treating anxiety symptoms. Exercise is popularly known to help release a hormone (endorphins) secreted by the central nervous system that improves the state of mind in many ways, from giving clarity to improving our mood and suppressing unnecessary stress. When it comes to mental health, these little habits listed above can be a problem for you. To stop these habits takes time, but you can make adjustments to boost your mental health with determination and practice. If you feel like your habits are a source of difficulty for you, and you need some advice on how to change them, you can reach out to a qualified mental health professional.  
Mar 24, 2021
Ways to relieve mental stress
What is mental stress? Mental stress  is an emotional tension or mental strain. It is  a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events that come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations. Stress is something everyone experiences. It is part of being human, and it can help motivate you to get things done. Even high stress from serious illness, job loss, a death in the family, or a painful life event can be a natural part of life.  Stress in itself is not an illness. But there are connections between stress and mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress and Mental Health  Stress isn\'t a psychiatric diagnosis, but it\'s closely linked to your mental health in two important ways:  - Stress can cause mental health problems, and make existing problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.  - Mental health problems can cause stress. You might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, health care appointments or treatments, can become extra sources of stress. Stress and Physical Health  Stress slows down some normal bodily functions, such as those that the digestive and immune systems perform. The body can then concentrate its resources on breathing, blood flow, alertness, and the preparation of the muscles for sudden use. The body changes in the following ways during a stress reaction:  - blood pressure and pulse rise  - breathing speeds up  - digestive system slows down  - immune activity decreases  - muscles become more tense  - sleepiness decreases due to a heightened state of alertness When the stress response becomes prolonged (chronic), it has a very different effect to the short bursts that enhance the body’s abilities. In many cases, the system controlling the stress response is no longer able to return to its normal state. Attention, memory, and the way we deal with emotions are negatively impacted. This long-term stress can contribute to both physical and mental illness through effects on the heart, immune and metabolic functions, and hormones acting on the brain. Some of the emotional and behavioural symptoms of stress overlap with those of mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. This can make it hard to distinguish where one begins and the other ends, or which came first.  What causes mental stress  The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion. What leads to chronic stress? Chronic stress can often be difficult to spot, as it can emerge in the absence of a severe or acute incident. Different factors, such as a disrupted sleep schedule, feeling perpetually undervalued at work, and not having close relationships with friends or family members can all independently contribute to chronic stress.  People deal with stress in different ways and the ability to deal with stress changes throughout life. Those who have developed effective strategies to deal with day-to-day stressors are less likely to develop physical and psychological symptoms. Ways to reduce mental stress  There are many small, and healthy ways we can relieve stress and feel more in control of our emotions, schedule, and demands. Here are seven ways to healthily relieve feelings of stress: 1. Breathe Deeply  The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax. 2. Go for a Walk When you are stressed, you might have a surge of adrenaline that makes it hard for you to sit still. Going for a walk can help you burn off some of that extra energy and it can also get you away from the immediate situation so you can clear your mind.  Also, research shows that simply being outside lowers stress levels, even after just five minutes in the open air. Find your nearest green space next time you need to take a break and you’ll immediately feel less anxious and more clear-headed.  3. Exercise  Not only will regular exercise relieve stress but it can also improve concentration and mental awareness. Tiring yourself out with exercise will also improve your sleep, which further reduces stress levels. it doesn’t really matter what form of exercise you choose as anything will be beneficial. Getting outside for some cardio would be a great way to boost your mood, but equally a yoga break at home will help relax the body and mind. 4. Keep a Journal When you have a problem and you\'re stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and reduce your stress.  Another way to use journaling to reduce stress is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down one or two things you’re grateful for each day; over time, it can help you have a more positive and calm mindset. 5. Talk it out Talking out your feelings with a friend or a loved one can also help relieve stress. One reason is that it allows you to say what’s bothering you out loud. Just venting your worries can sometimes make you feel better. Your conversation partner can help by simply listening; let them know if you would rather than just listen instead of offering advice. Of course, if you are looking for advice, be sure to tell them that, too. 6. Meditate Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite ways that stress does—by triggering the body\'s relaxation response. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body repair itself and preventing new damage from the physical effects of stress. It can calm your mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that keep your body\'s stress response triggered. If you haven’t tried mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there’s no better time to start.  7. Do What You Love In our culture, we tend to prioritize work and productivity while downplaying leisure activities and play. Doing something just for fun that may not seem “productive’ is often perceived as trivial  or even lazy. However, free time is anything but trivial. In fact, having free time to enjoy leisure activities is crucial to our mental health and well-being. Doing things like playing an instrument, reading a good book, playing sports, or even just drinking coffee, are wonderful ways to nurture our mental health. So don’t feel guilty about taking a little “self-time” to decompress. Seek help of a professional If none of the above suggestions help you relieve stress or you are dealing with symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, then it’s time to seek professional help.  A therapist or mental health professional can also help you find ways to manage your stress. If you’re looking for direct advice or help contact us or book a free consultation with one of our qualified therapists.     
Mar 12, 2021