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Easy ways to beat everyday anxiety

Easy ways to beat everyday anxiety | Cultural Trendz |

Technically, anxiety is apprehension over an upcoming event. We anticipate the future with sometimes scary predictions that don’t necessarily have any basis in truth. In everyday life, anxiety’s physical and emotional symptoms can mean an increased heart rate (and even heart attack), poor concentration at work and school, sleeping problems, and just being a total Crankasaurus Rex to family, friends, and co-workers.

Anxiety and stress are physical and emotional responses to perceived dangers (that aren’t always real). And since most of us aren’t running from tigers or hunting and gathering in the woods, it’s often the little things that put us over the edge: an over-loaded email inbox, morning rush hour, or losing those keys before running out the door. Luckily, it’s easy to beat this kind of stress with just a few easy changes added throughout the day.
Note: If you feel like you might be dealing with a serious anxiety disorder, please talk to a medical professional about treatment. There are lots of options available to manage your symptoms. But if you’re looking to reduce daily anxiety, these 15 tips will get you on your way to being calm and collected in no time.

Cool as a Cucumber—Your Action Plan
1. Get enough sleep. Inconsistent sleep can have some serious consequences. Not only does it affect our physical health, but lack of sleep can also contribute to overall anxiety and stress. And sometimes it turns into a vicious cycle, since anxiety often leads to disruptions in sleep. Especially when feeling anxious, try to schedule a full seven to nine hours of snooze time and see what a few nights of sweet slumber do for those anxiety levels throughout the day.

2. Smile. When work has got us down, it’s a good idea to take a quick break to get some giggles on. Research suggests that laughter can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, so consider checking out a funny YouTube clip to calm those jittery nerves.

3. De-clutter the brain. Physical clutter = mental clutter. A messy workspace can make it more difficult to relax and make it seem like our work is never-ending. So take 15 minutes or so to tidy up the living space or work area, and then make a habit of keeping things clean and anxiety-free. It’ll help us think rationally, and there won’t be as much room for anxiety.

4. Express gratitude. Studies have found expressing gratitude helps reduce anxiety, especially when we’re well-rested. Start a gratitude journal to get in the mindset of appreciation, and out of the mindset of being overwhelmed.

5. Eat right. Anxiety can throw our bodies totally out of whack: Our appetite might change, or we might crave certain foods. But to give the body the support it needs, try eating more of foods that contain nutrients such as vitamin B and omega-3s, plus some healthy whole-grain carbohydrates. Studies have linked vitamin B with good mental health, and omega-3s may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Whole-grain carbs help regulate levels of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that helps us remain calm. And even though our cravings might be telling us otherwise, research suggests that eating sugary and processed foods can increase symptoms of anxiety.

6. Learn to breathe. A useful tool to prevent panic attacks, the breath is also a great marker of where your anxiety level is at throughout the day. Short, shallow breaths signify stress and anxiety in the brain and body. On the flip side, consciously breathing, plus lengthening and strengthening the breath helps send signals to the brain that it’s okay to relax.

7. Meditate. By now most of us have heard that meditation is relaxing, but what scientists are also discovering is that meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain, essentially rewiring the body to stress less. A number of recent studies highlight the positive effects of meditation on anxiety, mood, and stress symptoms. Meditation is also a way to observe the brain, letting us figure out how our mind generates anxiety-provoking thoughts. And understanding the brain’s thought patterns can help create distance from those thoughts.

8. Create a vision board. If the future seems big and scary, try changing the thoughts about what lies ahead. Sometimes the mere act of setting concrete goals can take the edge off anxiety about future unknowns. Take an hour to produce a vision board that creates excitement about projects and possibilities to come. And for those who aren’t the crafty type, try making an e-vision board using Pinterest for some Pinspiration. While making the board, try using the T.H.I.N.K. tool: Is my thought true, helpful, inspirational, necessary and kind? If not, dump the thought.

9. Play around. Kids and animals seem to have an innate ability to play, without stressing about their overflowing inboxes. Until business offices give us recess breaks, we’ll have to take responsibility for our own playtime. Offer to take a friend’s dog out for a walk, or babysit for an afternoon to get out of your head and let the careless creatures lead by example.

10. Be silent. Plan for a time when you can completely disconnect. Start with increments of time that seem sustainable and doable for you, even if it’s just five minutes. That means phone off, no emails, no TV, no news, nothing. Let other people know they won’t be able to reach you so you can veg worry free. There’s some evidence that too much noise can boost our stress levels, so schedule some sacred silent time among all the ruckus of daily life.

11. Worry. Yes, we can cause ourselves to freak out, but only for a certain amount of time. When something weighs heavily on your mind, or you believe something terrible is most definitely going to occur, commit to only creating that worry for 20 minutes. Think of all the possible outcomes of the scenario, figure out some game plans, and then quit thinking about it after 20 minutes go by. Have a friend call after the allotted time has passed to avoid the temptation of going over the time limit. Or schedule some of that playtime right afterward.

12. Plan ahead. Fight anxious thoughts in advance by preparing for the day ahead. Try making a schedule or a to-do list and develop habits that increase productivity. So instead of spending 10 extra minutes every morning frantically looking for those keys, make a habit of always putting them in the same place when you come home. Lay out clothes the night before, pack a gym bag and leave it by the door, or make lunch ahead of time. Focus on how to “un-think” the anxiety-producing beliefs by prepping before they pop up.

13. Visualize anything positive. When confronted with anxious thoughts, take a moment to visualize yourself handling the situation with calm, ease, and clarity. Try not to pay attention to the current mental state; just focus on the feeling of smooth-sailing through the storm. The technique is called “guided imagery” or “guided visualization” and can help reduce feelings of stress.

14. Smell something relaxing. Try sniffing some calming oils. Basil, anise, and chamomile are great choices; they reduce tension in the body and help increase mental clarity.

15. Hang out. People who have lots of social support tend to react less negatively to stress than those who fly solo. That’s probably because socializing stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety-reducing effect. So the next time a freak-out appears on the horizon, grab some pals and go for a walk or just have a quick chat.

The Takeaway
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t come up with thoughts that produce stress or anxiety. But we’re human and inevitably worry about things. So when we do start to freak, there are lots of little steps we can take to change our thoughts, calm the brain, relax the body, and get back in the game.

And, as always, be sure to check with a psychotherapist if these tips don’t cut it and you need a little extra help tackling a more significant anxiety issue!

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Hang in there baby! Everything is gonna turn out all right.

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Young people have much to teach us

Young people have much to teach us | Cultural Trendz |

Reading the wise words of Kofi Annan sparked me to write this blog to inspire existing leaders to truly reflect on what they are doing in their business to untap the potential of their young people. Annan stated: "any society that doesn't succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind." He also went on to claim from his experience with The Elders that the younger generation of leaders are the most educated, most connected and most informed generation of leaders.


So why is is that we continue to hear terrible stories about Gen Y and they continue to be labelled as mutinous, disloyal, greedy......and so the judgmental labels continue? Is it from the fear felt by the existing leaders who don't like to be challenged and see their questioning paradigm and attitude as a form of disrespect and insubordination? Is it because as Annan says this younger generation of future leaders are the most educated, most connected and most informed and therefore pose the greatest threat for the future of our existing leaders?


As an existing leader think about how you react when challenged by a younger person, especially if it is in a meeting in front of your peers.........what kind of language do you use when you respond? What kind of overt encouragement do you provide to support the courage shown by the young person? Or do you prefer to reward the quiet and respectful behaviour of the more senior people who have learned to fit in with the existing culture? Take a deep look inside your current culture - showing up in meetings especially.


I don't believe existing and experienced leaders have learned how to manage and lead the younger generation so their potential is unleashed constructively. Instead we judge them, label them, try to stuff them into a box until they have "done their time" like we had to do......wisdom is only gained through experience and this takes time - there is no substitute.


Time to shake up this paradigm - it has passed its use by date - we badly need a courageous paradigm where we untap and unleash the true potential of these highly educated and connected young people who want to make a difference - not sit around waiting until we say they are wise enough! They have spent their formative years being actively encouraged to BE high performing, to go out there and make it happen. So don't ask them to shift into a passive holding pattern when they enter the workforce. I concur with Annan - you will be left behind if you don't encourage your existing leaders to untap the potential of the young people in your business.


Be courageous and encourage them to challenge you and make sure you build personal change resilience - a necessity for our future leaders.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

A very interesting look at business culture and age group interaction.

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What does it mean to wear heels?

What does it mean to wear heels? | Cultural Trendz |

It went like this. At a reverse-demo event in New York last night, Jorge Cortell, the CEO of the healthcare startup Kanteron Systems, noticed a female attendee wearing shoes. He snapped a picture of the shoes. He then tweeted the picture of the shoes. This is what he said:

Event supposed to be for entrepreneurs, VCs, but these heels (I've seen several like this)... WTF? #brainsnotrequired

Sexist! the people cried. No, it's not! Cortell responded. His #brainsnotrequired musings were merely protective, he explained, of the health of the shoe-wearer. And, by extension, of the health of us all. Heels are dangerous. Heels are dumb. High-heeled shoes are not, as it were, "sensible shoes."

But, of course, shoes are not merely shoes. Shoes, like any other clothing choice one must make every day, reveal something—inconveniently, maybe, but inevitably—about the wearer. Chuck Taylors say something. Sambas say something. Adidas shower shoes say something. And, yes, stilettos say something.

The question is what they say. What Cortell was suggesting with his off-handed "WTF?" comment (and with the #brainsnotrequired tag that accompanied it) is that the stiletto-wearer he creep-shotted was putting superficial concerns—appearance, attractiveness, style—over matters of a more pressing variety. (Comfort, perhaps? The ability to run a 10k at a moment's notice?) His tweet was suggesting, essentially, an inversely proportional relationship between depth of intelligence and height of heel. It was suggesting, as well, that the footwearer in question was somehow attempting to game a system based on meritocracy using something else: femininity.

Heels, essentially, are cheating. Heels, essentially, are wrong.

We can debate at another time whether heels are, indeed, the high-fructose scourge of the shoe world. The issue here is their place at a tech demo—an event that finds participants rewarded, ostensibly, on the strength of their ideas and execution, rather than their style. Heels, of course, are more fraught than their fellow-shoes because they're gendered in a way that the others aren't. Stilettos are Lady Shoes. And, as such, they carry, along with an actual lady, the baggage of hundreds of years of freighted femininity. It's easy to see them and all their contradictions—bold and teetering, leg-lengthening and stride-impairing, empowering and constraining—as representative of the precarious path walked by many women in tech.

In the Valley, as the AP noted earlier this month, "women who rise to the top tend to be judged more, both by men and other women, and in order to succeed they do have to dress better." And the women in the echelons of the industry, certainly, have their heels and wear them, too. Marissa Mayer, whose love of high fashion has become a significant aspect of her public persona, posed for a Vogue profile wearing statement stilettos. Sheryl Sandberg's Time cover co-starred her heels. Some women in the Valley, Claire Cain Miller wrote in the Times last year, "worry that they will not be considered serious technologists if they care about clothes." But "many are confident enough to dress the way they want to."

And yet—here is the catch of it—the sartorial statutes of the tech industry at large assume the opposite: that to dress well is, indeed, to be hiding something. To pay obvious attention to one's own appearance is to protest too much. Mark Zuckerberg wears hoodies because he can, but also because they remind all who behold him that he has better things to think about than his clothes. Steve Jobs did the same with his black mock-turtlenecks. (Though it's worth noting that the Apple founder's symbols of sartorial laissez-faire were designed by Issey Miyake.) As Lizzie Widdicombe wrote in a recent New Yorker profile of Brian Golberg, the aspiring entrepreneur "tends to wear baggy polo shirts, purchased in San Francisco, where, as he puts it, 'the schlubbier you are, the more credibility you have.'"

Time and attention are zero-sum things, and to devote too much effort to one's appearance is to take effort away, implicitly, from one's other pursuits—professional success among them. "The perception in Silicon Valley is that if you dress well, you couldn’t possibly be smart, or you’re in P.R. but couldn’t possibly run a company," Leila Janah, founder and CEO of the job-connection site Samasource, told Miller.

Which is to say, it seems that the tech industry has not only a glass ceiling, but also a shoe ceiling. Once you're in the C-suite, you can wear heels as high as you want; until then, heels may earn you a creep-shot and a "WTF?" from men who are meant to be your peers.

The problem with that is not only the double-standard for women working in the same industry; it's also that many women who aspire to leadership roles would prefer not to wear hoodies and shower shoes as they work their way up. Many women would rather wear shoes that make them look a little bit taller—that raise them up as they raise themselves up. As Janah put it, "I remember briefly attempting the Adidas and jeans and sweatshirt over T-shirt look, but I realized I was trying to dress like a young tech geek, and that just wasn’t me. Fashion is expressing my aesthetic sense just as much as our website is."

So what's an ambitious woman to do? To heel, or not to heel? Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan and the other founders of the women's movement fought against the constraints of traditional femininity: They wanted not only equal representation, but also freedom from social pressures that came at the expense of women's careers. Those pressures were embodied, in some sense, by the heel. The movement's success, however, has meant that femininity is no longer a force; it is, or at least it is more than it's been before, a choice. Which means that #havingitall can negotiate its lines not just according to work and family, but also according to work and fashion. Wired's cover girl this month is, literally, a girl. She may be the future Steve Jobs, Wired declares. And even if she's not, she is likely the future in some other way. It is revealing, perhaps, that this symbolic tech-worker-of-the-future wears a uniform. And that you cannot see her shoes.


Vilma Bonilla's insight:

A very interesting piece highlighting shoe apparel choices in women in the tech industry.

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Futuristic Spiral High Heels | Geekologie

Futuristic Spiral High Heels | Geekologie | Cultural Trendz |
This is a pair of single spiral high heel (that's kind of similar to this thing) from designer Julian Hakes. It looks like something you'd see in a cheesy futuristic movie. It's not though, it's a real shoe and...
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