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12 Keys to Anxiety and Stress Relief Management

12 Keys to Anxiety and Stress Relief Management

It is quite normal to be worried now and again. From waiting for that call to visiting a distant relative, being anxious would be natural responses to these situations.

However, when it becomes overwhelming, your wellbeing is at risk. So, you will need to do something about it. In this blog, I will share 12 keys that can help you manage anxiety and stress.

Since WHO puts the number of people suffering from anxiety at over 300 million in 2017, we will look at anxiety and stress management techniques vetted by psychologists. Hopefully, a couple of them will feel right with you.

Let’s start with the number 12, which is to identify your anxiety source. This is a good place to start that will cost you nothing but time. The source could be a subject matter such as abuse or even a person that triggers overwhelming anxiousness leading to stress.

When you identify this trigger, Lawrence Robinson, a psychologist, and an author says if it's someone, you should either limit the time you spend with this person or end the relationship. Because it might be challenging to avoid some people or situations, Robinson outlined 3 other measures you can take in his 4A’s management technique.

That is if you can't avoid the trigger, alter it. If you still find alteration difficult, adapt to it. Some triggers just can’t change so, you have to accept it the way it is; keeping in mind that some events in life are uncontrollable.

Any of these, avoid, alter, adapt, acceptance, will help you manage anxiety and/or stress after you identify their sources.

Like identifying an anxiety source, almost all the approach we will learn about in this video to managing anxiety and stress comes at no cost. Let’s check them all out.

At number 11, you can try out relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises. There are other relaxation strategies, we will look at more of them.

Now, let’s focus on deep breathing. Sheryl Ankrom, a certified mental health counselor, and Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, write that although rapid and shallow breaths could indicate anxiousness, controlling your breath in those moments can prevent anxiety or stress from settling in. They recommend 3 steps to do this:

First inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose, secondly exhaling very slowly through your mouth. Keep at this until you feel better again. You can try it out now, and see how it feels. Go on.

Meditation which takes the number 10 spot is another relaxation technique just as deep breathing targeted at exhibiting mindfulness. Bob Stahl a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher says, “practicing mindfulness is a process of learning to trust and stay with feelings of discomfort rather than trying to escape from or analyze them”.

With mindfulness you can create space around your worries, so they don’t consume you. Katharina Star, an expert on anxiety and panic disorder, adds that initially engaging in meditation could actually increase anxiousness but as you ease into the process, recognizing your thought, the anxiety will slowly ebb away.

Next up is taking nature walks at number 9. Research has shown that mental wellbeing is linked to our engagement with nature. A study conducted in the UK found that when you exercise in natural settings, it improves your self-esteem and mood.

Our mood is associated with anxiety and stress. If you are feeling a bit low, take a walk to the pack, try camping with friends, or find a view of a forest if you are unable to go out. Just being around green natural spaces will help uplift your mood igniting happiness.

Being on social media is a common trigger of anxiety and stress. This is why taking breaks from these platforms is our number 8 anxiety and stress management strategy. Although quite a lot of people enjoy being on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, it sometimes challenges our mental state.

Anxiety, isolation, and depression are some of the by-products of these challenges. Yes, many of us rely on social media to keep up with friends and families, which is necessary, but you also have your mental state to consider.

Therefore, keep up with a friend and your family is not a problem but take weekly breaks from all of this. Try weekends where you could use the opportunity to take walks in natural settings or try out the number 6 on our list, techniques, we will learn about as we count down further.

At number 7, listening to cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance and anxiety frequently go together. Cognitive dissonance is that unsettled feeling or troubled thoughts we typically have when we know something doesn’t feel right.

When we are unable to define it in this circumstance it plunges us into anxiety and then stress. For instance, a person who aspires to have a lasting and faithful relationship, but indulges in unfaithful practices.

This creates a conflict within them. That conflict is the dissonance that arose from one’s practices and desires being incongruent. In this situation, Tanya Peterson, author of anxiety self-help books, recommends that rather than suppress the emotions, you listen to that dissonance to calm your anxiety.

Process the conflict by providing answers to questions like:

“What are your thoughts about it?

What are your emotions about it?

How are your actions causing anxiety and what does that anxiety feel like?”

With this, you sort out that dissonance. And while you are at it, you will feel a sense of calmness which consequently eases anxiety.

While you take breaks from social media, you could utilize that time for self-care. That is, create time to relax, which takes our number 6 spot. Lawrence Robinson says creating a ‘me’ time can help reduce the stress that has so far bundled up throughout the week.

You see why taking this particular time to relax fits nicely as it aligns with your breaks from social media. Robinson insists that you first have to include this relaxation period in your schedule to get started.

Know that this could be once in a week, or, a couple of seconds every day will do just fine. You could do something you enjoy every day, and try to laugh while you are at.

From identifying the triggers to carving out a ‘me’ time, we have seen some techniques that can help us manage anxiety and stress. We have more because as you know we are counting down to number 1. The main idea behind each of them is their simplicity and their positive effects. Let’s check them out.

This leads us to number 5 on the list: mental adjustments. Bruce Campbell, former self-help research project consultant for Stanford Medical school, came up with this management technique.

Sometimes we expect too much and this could lead to overthinking. We set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others, which could affect our mood when we don’t accomplish these goals.

This is why Campbell insists we change our expectations, mentally adjust our prospects. With this, there are no mood swings when you fail to get something done which stresses you out. So, set realistic and achievable goals.

Speaking from personal experience, I have found that small, incremental goals that lead up to the completion or manifestation of a greater goal works well for me.

Tackling the objectives (however small) on a daily basis gives me a sense of order, so I’m never left wondering if my day was spent constructively. Also, I’m never at that place of feeling overwhelmed. This helps greatly with my anxiety. 

At number 4, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What you choose to eat and drink can help manage anxiety and stress. Eating a healthy diet keeps the body well-nourished enough to handle stress.

Without that, you feel physically weak, allowing anxiety to set in because you are too frail to implement any of the techniques we have discussed so far. Other than eating healthy food, reduce caffeine and sugar.

This is because the temporary ‘highs’ that often come when we take caffeine or sugar could lead to mood crash leading to anxiety and stress.

Besides maintaining a healthy lifestyle, get enough sleep which is our number 3. Smitha Bhandari, a certified adult, child, adolescents, and forensic psychiatrist says that when it comes to anxiety and stress management, get enough rest because “your body needs time to recover from stressful events.”

Sleep can be an effective tool to calm your racing thoughts as your body distresses while you sleep. Yes, reducing coffee intake will give you more time to sleep. However, there are some instances, after a stressful period, you need to cut them off completely.

Moving down to number 2, we have time management. Stress sometimes comes from disorganization. Just like overthinking can trigger anxiety, having so many things to do without a clue of how to go about it can lead to stress. Here are 4 things to do;

One: Plan your day and prioritize tasks

Two: Learn to say no, and don’t over-commit yourself

Three: Break down a task into smaller bits or steps.  Remember how I mentioned setting small, incremental goals? That breakdown helps me gauge my progress, gives me a sense of accomplishment each day and prevents me from feeling unaccomplished and unclear, both of which trigger my anxiety.

And finally, four: Share responsibilities. Too much to do? Give to someone who can help, or a colleague at work who could assist you. Sharing the responsibility is difficult for someone who’s very controlling or likes to micromanage. Learning to share the responsibility is a tough skill to develop but it is quite necessary. 

Managing your day and staying organized can eliminate stress before it settles in.

Finally, at number 1, you can consider support. Sometimes, none of these techniques might prove resourceful because of the peculiarity of your situation. So, talk to a friend or family about it, and don’t rule out therapy sessions.

A therapist could recommend approaches towards anxiety and stress management that are specific to your trigger. This will be more helpful for you.

From identifying the sources of our anxiety to seeking support, these are management techniques that can help you and I deal with that overwhelming emotional distress known as anxiety and stress.

Know that a technique won’t necessarily prove useful for two people despite the similarities of their triggers. And if you experience anxiety more than the average person, then consulting a therapist will have more impact rather than seeking support from family and friends or trying out other strategies.

Additionally, you might have to use two or more management techniques to be more effective.

Tell us, out of the 12, which of the proven techniques you will combine, or have you tried out any of the techniques outlined here? If you have, do share in the comment section how you would rate it from 1-10 its impact in dealing with anxiety and stress.




8 Detriment of Comparing Ourselves to Others

8 Detriment of Comparing Ourselves to Others

Comparing ourselves to others can serve as an extra motivation to set goals and succeed. However, it also comes with many disadvantages. Like harboring resentments and a whole host of others.

In this blog, I am going to share with you how comparing ourselves to others leads to resentments and 7 other detriments.

If comparing ourselves with others only steals our joy in life as Theodore Roosevelt rightly said it would be a problem but not that big of a deal.

Unfortunately, the cons are more than my two hands can count which sure makes it a very big issue that we should actively deal with. As promised, let’s check out 8 of them.

Taking the number 8 spot is low self-esteem. When you compare yourself with others, you don’t just resent yourself and the guy next door but lose confidence in your worth.

A 2014 study of Facebook users on Social Comparison, Social Media, and Self-esteem revealed that after some users were exposed to social comparison, “they had a poorer state of self-esteem and gave themselves lower evaluations”.

Delphine Blanc, a certified professional life coach, and a hypnosis practitioner, went on to add that as you compare yourself to others, you begin to feel smaller and smaller. She claims as this happens, we tend to change “our perception of our job, our relationships, and our entire life…as our mind has the tendency to focus more on the negative”.

That is, you compare your negative personalities with other exceptional qualities,  ignoring your outstanding qualities. All of these end up making us feel not worthy, impacting our self-esteem.

Know that low-self esteem often comes from what Leon Festinger, a psychologist categorized under Upward Social Comparison in his social comparison theory proposed in 1954.

That’s because with Upward Social Comparison, we compare ourselves with people in a better situation than us and this could easily lead to resentments.

In an article published by Psychological Bulletin, it revealed that despite the many disadvantages of Upward Social Comparison, an increasing number of people go down this road compared to Downward Social Comparison.

Downward Social Comparison is when we liken ourselves to people who are in less admirable positions than us. In The Dark Side of Social Comparison, a study by Judith White and her colleagues, a team of psychologists, claimed that Downward Social Comparison positively affects us as we feel better about ourselves.

Of course, it does stop there. Whether Upward or Downward, Social Comparison has lots of disadvantages, which takes us to number 7.

Another study this time published by the American Psychological Association revealed that Downward Social Comparison also leads to increased fear and anxiety. This was after people who saw cancer patients and comparing both their situations.

Instead of relief that you would expect, they felt more afraid and developed anxiety. Even when the researcher applied Upward Social Comparison, which is with cancer patients better off than them, these people became depressed and frustrated. 

So you see, either way, it is still bad news for us.

That sounds extreme, right? Yes, I know but that’s what happens when we never seem to stop comparing ourselves with others.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with low self-esteem, fear, or feeling depressed. In the Dark Side of Social Comparison study, White and her team revealed that low self-esteem could lead to neuroticism. Neuroticism is among the big five higher-order personality traits.

Neurotic people respond extremely to stressors. Worse, they are more than likely to interpret ordinary and non-threatening situations, such as minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Other symptoms include, self-consciousness, shyness, and trouble controlling urges, and also delaying gratifications.

Pretty deep right? Yeah, I know. That’s what a very simplistic attitude like comparing yourself with others could do.

At number 6, know that comparison leads to resentment. This is the joy deprivation Roosevelt was talking about, and Karyn Hall, a certified clinician, and therapist, further verified this. You begin to feel unnecessary hate towards yourself; this limits your chances of experiencing happiness.

What makes this a whole lot worse is that nobody is taking that happiness away from us; we do it with our hands. And then you have to also deal with begrudging others for reasons they can’t do anything about. Thus, punishing them while we chastise ourselves.

Resentment resulting from comparing ourselves with others is one of the 8 detriments that we will look at that we can see affecting our daily lives. Let’s check the remaining 5.

At number 4, when we liken ourselves to others, we unknowingly have just given them the steering wheels to our lives. Yes, they become our controller. This is how this works.

Let’s say you are a writer; you came across a book and loved how the author expresses his or her ideas. This leaves you wishing you could do something like that disregarding the simple fact that writing styles are unique to the writers. What do you do now? You end up trying to copy that author's style. See what I am on about?

At your undoing, you have allowed this author to manipulate your writing style, thus controlling you. It’s funny and downright frustrating that neither of you knows that this is happening. Apply this illustration in other aspects of your life, and you will see it come into play.

Ask yourself, do you want to rule your life or allow someone else to?

While you think about that let’s check out number 3 on our list. And this is how comparison stalls our progress in life. Brenda Raftlova, a self-development advocate and coach, says “if you spend your days comparing yourself to other people’s achievements, you’ll never get anything accomplished”.

Comparing yourself with others doesn’t just leave you hating on yourself and others unnecessarily, negatively impacting your self-esteem and giving someone else control over your life, no that’s all of it.

It holds you back from accomplishing anything in life. Raftlova further wrote that this happens because you “waste your precious time” following other's dreams and goals.

There is no doubt that there is some positivity resulting from comparing ourselves with others but the negatives are just so overwhelming. Let’s learn more about them.

Taking the number 2 spot is how this habit has no end despite the magnitude of an accomplishment. So, if you eventually manage to break free and become successful in life, you will still end up comparing yourself with others.

OK, now you have envied your colleague's success at work. When you strive and end up achieving as much success, you will look for something, anything else about that colleague to begin comparing yourself with all over again. It is an unending process.

White and her team verified this that social comparison teaches a person to make more, and more frequent, social comparisons, leading the individual “to become dependent on social comparisons.”

Finally, at number 1, comparison can lead to an unhealthy dose of competitiveness, which could induce a Machiavellian world view on someone. This is from GoodTherapy, a community of therapists.

With this view, you are likely to take drastic actions to be like those you are comparing yourself to or even better than them. GoodTherapy adds that “a Machiavellian person may threaten rivals, steal resources, or tell lies to get ahead.” 

The Dark Side of Social Comparison study even went further to verify this claim establishing the fact that two studies reviewed revealed that frequent social comparison leads to a range of destructive emotions and behaviors.

Some of these are directed at the self like guilt. While some of these emotions are directed to others such as lying. Imagine this.

That’s it. From harboring resentment to having a Machiavellian world view, those are 8 different detriments of comparing ourselves with others.

Here are a few things you can take from all of this. First, from what we have learned comparing ourselves with others doesn’t only affect us psychologically; that is low self-esteem and the rest.

It also extends to affecting us physically. That is, having few or no friends resulting from resentments. Lastly, although it leads to loss of identity when we compare ourselves with them, it could spiral into something as extreme as becoming a Machiavellian.

Now tell us, have any more ideas on the downsides of comparing yourself with others? I mean real-life experiences. Share them in the comment section below, and let’s have a conversation.

8 Housing Segregation Laws Which Contributed To The Wealth Gap In America

8 Housing Segregation Laws Which Contributed To The Wealth Gap In America

Back in the 1900s, there were housing signs that read “Whites Only.” Imagine the generations suffering now because of how their families were deprived then. 

In this blog, I am going to share 8 different housing segregation laws that contributed to the wealth gap in America.

Like how even Banks gave the wrong information to African Americans discouraging them from buying homes.

Today we will look at how segregation inadvertently promoted racism in America today.


Know that owning homes and rental properties overtime contributes to wealth—families transfer income earned in the past through savings and investment to meet expenses incurred in the future. 

Look at the Rockefeller dynasty and the Walton “Walmart” accumulating wealth since before the 21st century, and you will get the idea.

However, most African Americans were denied this wealth through ridiculous housing laws that restricted them from becoming real estate owners, thus cutting off earnings and opportunities for their generations. 

Here are 8 of those laws that influenced the wealth gap, especially between African Americans and their White counterparts.

At number 8, we have the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975. This Act was to prevent racial discrimination, typically associated with lending. 

Although it meant well, it didn’t do much. After a handful of African Americans managed to collect loans, real estate agents proceed to make it challenging for them to acquire high-value homes. 

Notice I used the phrase “a handful of African Americans” and not every African American. I will tell you why in a moment. Let first see how these agents made it difficult for Blacks to acquire homes. 

Real estate agents showed European Americans high-value homes compared to African Americans who were directed at low valued homes instead. And you might say, “oh, that was in 1975”.

However, it might surprise you to know that a case study carried out in 2012 by Urban Institute revealed that White Americans heard positive comments about properties in predominantly White neighborhoods and negative remarks about that of Blacks. 

What did this do? 

Well, the handful of African Americans that manage to acquire loans were limited to buying low-value properties, thus accumulating non-valuable assets to build wealth, unlike their Whites.

A factor which made the median White Americans 12x richer than their Blacks counterpart today.

If you think this is all of it, then wait till you hear how both Banks and even Facebook contributed to ensuring this gap as we count down.

At number 7, we have a law that directly influences this wealth. The Home Owner Loan Act of 1933 gave way for the establishment of the Home Owner Loan Corporation, HOLC, which sought to refinance mortgages. 

What these HOLC guys did instead was to map out areas to invest in and sectors not to. They labeled some areas red and some green. In this green area, banks could invest; there was also home insurance. 

Mind you, the areas marked red, which was dominated by African Americans, was neglected for being “financially too risky and a threat to property values.” 

Only 2% of the allocated 120billion for refinancing that year was invested in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

This is one of the few laws that directly caused gaps in wealth. 

At number 6, recall how I said a handful of African Americans were handed loans? Yes, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974  that sought to prevent racial discrimination associated with lending looked like what worked. 

However, banks charged 8x more interest rates to non-Whites. Now, very few people would be willing to borrow at that risk just to own a property.

This Act wasn’t the only law that sought to tackle racial discrimination they were others like the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.

This brings us to our number 5, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 also looked to discourage racial discrimination among lenders. What happened instead? 

Banks gave the wrong information to African Americans to dissuade them from collecting loans and thus investing, which added to that wealth gap.

We have seen the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 down to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and how they influenced wealth among Americans. 

If you think you have seen and heard enough, then wait till you see just how Facebook of all platforms had a part to play in all of this.

At number 4, we had the GI Bill in 1944. This Bill was to help veterans after World War II. Returning soldiers who mostly were European Americans could buy houses for cheap. What did this do? 

This made a whole lot of people purchase homes, leading to White neighborhoods. Now, racism was at its height then compared to now.

European Americans often riot just to show their displeasure of having non-Whites live in the same area as them. 

This limited the number of neighborhood African Americans that could own homes, thus pushing them to stay in ghettos instead where things were less complicated.

As time went on, more laws and institutions marginalized more African Americans, and at number 1, you will see precisely how this happens.

At number 3, we had the Housing Act of 1937, which was meant to improve the living conditions for families who couldn’t live otherwise due to low income. 

Although Franklin Roosevelt's intention was sincere, it did little to alleviate the housing conditions of African Americans living in slums. 

European Americans still got a larger share of the provisions. According to Roosevelt, this, unfortunately, only made the rich “richer” and the poor “poorer.” 

At number 2, there was Nixon's Fair Housing Policy (1971), which tried to promote desegregation by fighting against redlining and discrimination. 

Unfortunately, this policy was only effective in theory and was never vigorously implemented. This brings us to number one.

Taking the number 1 spot is the Fair Housing Act (1968). This act sought to tackle segregation in rental properties and the sale of homes. 

However, like that of Nixon, there was not enough power to enforce the law. People still choose the race they prefer to sell their properties to, and Facebook promoted this. How?

ProPublica carried out a study on Facebook in 2016. Their investigation revealed that Facebook still created racial options for sponsored posts. 

This allowed people to choose the race they want to advertise and sell their properties to. Imagine! Facebook only put an end to this in 2019.

From the Home Mortgage Act to the Fair Housing Act, we can see how each law contributed to the wealth gap in America today.

With all of this, we can say that this segregation limited non-Whites access to sufficient healthcare provisions. It also made African Americans and other minority races earn less compared to their White counterparts because of limited investment opportunities. 

And finally, lack of these high-value investments further reduced employment opportunities, which contributed to poverty, widening the wealth gap till today. Are things always going to be like this?

Tell us, do you think this gap will close someday, when, and why? Comment your suggestions below, and let's have a conversation.




https://aapf.org/housing-discrimination/ (Fair Housing Act)

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america (Redlining)

https://www.lovemoney.com/galleries/amp/77379/from-rockefellers-to-rothschilds-how-five-oldmoney-dynasties-live-today (Rockfeller)

https://www.fdrlibrary.org/housing (Frank Roosevelt quotes)

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/052416/top-10-wealthiest-families-world.asp (Walmart)

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/redlining-1937/ (Relining and HOLC)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housing_segregation_in_the_United_States (All the laws)

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2019/07/15/469838/racial-disparities-home-appreciation/ (Facebook investigation, Urban Institute Study)

https://www.epi.org/blog/housing-discrimination-underpins-the-staggering-wealth-gap-between-blacks-and-whites/ (12x stats)

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2016/12/15/294374/the-united-states-history-of-segregated-housing-continues-to-limit-affordable-housing/ (Pushing African Americans into ghettos)

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/human_rights_vol36_2009/fall2009/residential_segregation_after_the_fair_housing_act/ (conclusion/takeaways)