NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the USA, published a heart-rending story by our very own Ella about her panic attacks which started when she was nine years old.
Ella describes how she learnt to navigate her challenges over the last 5 years and shares advice to her younger self (and others.)
Ella also describes how she came onboard to Earkick as a young mental health warrior to pour her knowledge and experiences into our anxiety tracker and how that helps her. You can connect with Ella or if you would like to share your own experiences please get in touch here.
June is PRIDE month. Across the world rainbow flags, parades and celebrations recognise LGBTQ+ communities. We hope 2022 is a more positive place and one which is far more inclusive than years gone by. Yet, there is much work to do to reduce stigma, prejudices and to enable diversity. One person making a significant impact in the Pride community is the wonderful Andee Chua. Andee is a former international model and currently Community and Culture Builder at HubSpot.
Love is Love with Andee
Andee spoke to our Co-Founder Karin about his mental health story, finding his passion and what he is doing today to empower young people to become the best version of themselves. We are sure you will find this interview as incredibly inspiring as we did. As we wrap up Pride month we hope it gives food for thought.
We grappled with some hard-hitting questions about what struggles made him who he is today, whether he felt he fit in as a little boy growing up in Singapore and his relationship with mental health.
Specificially in relation to Pride, Andee spoke about how identifying as a gay man he learnt more about himself, the community, the history of the Pride movement, helped him to open his perspective about himself and the topic. He recommends exposing yourself to more materials and from a range of sources to help understand and reduce stigma.
We also spoke about the phase Andee coined the term ‘imperfect perfectionist’ and how the inspiration to inspire ‘misfits’ that stemmed from recognising his favorite movie is X-Men!
Andee offered insights into the methods he uses to track his mental health:
- Building a strong support network of listening friends
- Learning to say NO to things. Focussing on the things which bring him joy, not on people pleasing
- Putting himself first
- Speaking to a psychiatrist helped him to think about how he deals with his emotions
- Tracking his mental health through recognising his sleep patterns and getting a good sleep cycle because he believes sleep is essential for recovery
- Offloading thoughts and emotions into a journal before sleep
- Tracking food intake and exercising regularly
- Self acceptance
- Working with youth and the community to have meaningful impact
We will reflect with Andee’s advice to his younger self:
“Don’t worry about how people are judging you because the world is becoming a more inclusive and safe space for you to live in. You are going to have a voice and your voice will matter, and you don’t have to be afraid.”Andee Chua, Community & Culture Builder Hubspot
Thank you Andee for telling your story to our Earkick community today. It is a privilege to speak with you about Pride. We hope you continue to be a voice for diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Following Andee’s interview we wanted to delve into the movement in a little more detail for those who may not be familiar with it.
Pride as self-care
Take time to celebrate your identity. Yes you can dress up and join a parade, or if that’s not your thing, why not host an intimate gathering with close friends. Pride helps connect members of the LGBTQ+ community. It showcases creativity, connectedness and acceptance. It is an opportunity for outreach, for political engagement and for personal development. ‘Coming out to yourself and being authentic with others in a safe, intimate space is a way to celebrate your personal Pride,’ says Jared Sulc, APC, a psychotherapist in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pride is also a protest
In 1970 the first Pride event took place in the USA and in the UK in 1972. It was inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, resulting in a demonstration against unfair treatment of LGBTQ+ people. The protests aim to raise awareness about the struggles and the need for equal rights. It is a movement which is intrinsically linked to empowering individuals who may suffer mental health issues related directly to their sexuality and gender. Learn more about how Pride began in this piece by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who looks back through the decades: ‘We want full freedom, justice and equality!’
72% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of anxiety
This stat comes from a 2021 survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by The Trevor Project who want to underscore the challenges but also share insights into ‘everyday sources of strength and positivity’. Overall, LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ people to have mental health issues according to Mental Health America who have conducted a report showing the LGBTQ+ community face stigma, discrimination and bias in many forms.
MHA was founded in 1909 to promote the overall mental health of all Americans. This study concludes that ‘LGBTQ screeners were more likely to screen at risk for Depression, Anxiety, Alcohol or Substance Use, Bipolar, Psychosis and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).’ However, the report does not argue that most LGBTQ youth are vulnerable, but actually ‘most LGBTQ youth are incredibly resilient and thrive in the face of adversity, with the help of supportive families, communities, and peers.’
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, we recommend you start tracking on a daily basis and share your observations with your doctor. They may recommend therapy or another treatment. Speak to someone in your family or friendship circles too so they know how you are feeling.
Some of our Earkick community find daily journaling and mood tracking is a really useful way to track anxiety and keep on top of troubling feelings.
“I love the voice-memo, it’s a good idea. Voice-recording is definitely easier than typing. When I talk out loud, it actually helps me to express my feelings. It even helps reduce my anxiety.”Anonymous Earkick user
We developed Earkick because we believe mental health can be measurable for everyone and should be free and accessible for all. Our free anxiety tracker is available on the Apple AppStore, no ads, and your data is entirely anonymous, forever.
Coping mechanisms are an essential tool in our mental health kit. This week we are featuring someone who had to learn how to cope the hard way and has found her safe space. We are excited to share our platform with an emerging British dancer, yogi and artist from the UK who shares how she dealt with anxiety. Over to Georgie:
“The signs of anxiety were always there”
“As a yoga teacher, I often come across individuals who are searching for something to give them peace of mind and time for themselves. I myself was said person 6 years ago when my mental health really took its first turn. On reflection, the signs of anxiety were always there growing up when awareness was lesser, but it wasn’t until my late teens into early twenties, London living and a dance career when it really became apparent I needed help to find a way to connect with myself and ground into the present. Yoga was the answer for me.
“Now I sit here post power yoga class in West London and find myself being asked to write a piece about finding your own release. This is a topic I am incredibly passionate about and from my own personal experience, as well as witnessing those I teach in the studio in front of me, I can only stress the importance of finding a safe space for yourself, wherever it may be. Caring for yourself by giving yourself the chance, space and time – even if it is 1 hour a week – to release the tension of whatever you are mentally carrying is an amazing self help tool. Turning up and taking time for yourself in an environment where you can be your most authentic self, no matter what state you are in is worth everything, especially when life inevitably gets overwhelming at times.
Find a safe space for yourself
“Whatever enables you to mentally go to a calmer place than central London at 8am on a Monday morning, do that! Be it running, spoken word, swimming, there is simply no right or wrong. It is all about working on raising the level of self awareness to know where you feel your most peaceful and at your best.
Self awareness and boundary setting
“What I realise now is that there is no shortcut answer or one size fits all, but rather an incredibly personal exploration to undertake, starting with trying new things and personal reflection. This exploration lets us learn about ourselves, to figure out our comfort zone and also challenge it. This development of self awareness can also be an opportunity to form healthier boundaries. I personally would recommend yoga to pretty much anyone and everyone because it has had such an effect on me, but I know it’s not everyone’s calming cup of tea.
“I like my feet firmly on the ground”
“Raising your self awareness and diving deep into who you are is the first step to a happier, calmer you. I now know that painting enables me to reach a state of calm I can’t quite achieve anywhere else, whereas outdoor rope climbing rather terrifies me and leaves me exhausted. I know now after a lot of trial and error that I like my feet firmly on the ground to be at my best, and that that is totally fine. Now if I’m stressed I know to go to the art studio, not up a cliff. We do not need to be able to do everything or excel at everything we try. It is simply ok to be average at something and not hate yourself for it. A rather useful, relieving revelation to find when so much of our society is based on achievement and how successful we look on social media.
Painting by @artist.gg
How to identify your safe space?
If you’re struggling to figure out where your sacred mental safe space is, simple physical signs to start noticing when you are instinctively calmest can be if your shoulders are relaxed away from your ears, your breathing is calm, and you aren’t looking like an angry bird holding a load of subconscious tension in your face. Obviously travel, surf, the ocean, sun, is always a good start to unwinding, but can we all sustain a lifestyle that allows a bi monthly tropical surf? No matter how much I would love to, I for one as a freelancer post pandemic, cannot.
“When it comes to trying something totally alien, a lot of us feel ‘the fear’ that holds us back, but why? No one actually cares how good you are or what you are wearing because they are all too self-obsessed and worried about the same concerns for themselves. No one (sans teacher) is really noticing the new person in the back of the class who is yet to learn the difference between a downward and upward dog, they have bigger things to worry about – no offence.
“I would simply say feel the fear, and try it anyway, because once you have found ‘your thing’ it will be so totally worth it. Remember, be kind to yourself and others pals! It costs absolutely nothing and you never know what someone else is going through.
painting by @artist.gg
Wise words written by our fabulous guest author, Georgie Hare who you can find on instagram @georgie_hare. Thank you to Georgie for delving into such depth, sharing your experiences and opening the floor to those of us who would love to take a yoga lesson but felt too nervous!
Georgie is a trained dancer, seen on TV, films and brands like Netflix and Benefit Cosmetics. During coronavirus she pivoted, or should I say pirouetted her skills to become a fully qualified yoga teacher. You can tune to her Weekly Wisdom on the @empresshouse Riverside radio station every Monday, or on insta @yogawithgeorgie_. Georgie is also an artist who has featured in British Vogue and is inspired to paint by music, movement, feeling and colour. www.georginahare.co.uk
BIO IN DETAIL
Georgie has performed on both live and pre-recorded TV as well as in feature films, working for world renowned choreographers and directors such as Danielle Polanco and Matt Reeves. Georgie has also danced for a number of brands including the BBC, Warner Brothers, Netflix, Agent Provocateur, Spotify, and E! She was also a regular dancer for Lola’s Showgirls at The Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square and has featured in a number of music videos spanning a range of genres for artists such as Idles, Sigrid and Dusk ft M.O. Alongside dancing, Georgie also models and has worked with companies including Benefit Cosmetics, QVC, Peaches, Penguin Books and Pineapple Dance.
Georgie believes in the power of personal kindness and moving intuitively with your body. She believes feeling good ultimately comes from within and she is incredibly passionate about her yoga teaching and practice. Georgie has over 6 years’ collective experience within the yoga, fitness, and dance industry as a professional dancer and fully qualified (YAI) and insured yoga teacher. She teaches a range of styles including Vinyasa, power, yin and hot yoga, and absolutely loves the connection you can build between yourself and a student in a beautiful setting and the impact this can have on the life of the student and the peace it can bring. Georgie has taught yoga at 5* boutique studios, retreats, hotels, and for corporate companies.
Emerging Contemporary British Painter, Georgie works from her studio in London, England. Inspired by colour, movement and feeling, Georgie hopes to evoke an emotional response within the viewer and was featured in British Vogue 2021. She believes that art and movement is a complete expression of self, using acrylic paint, oil pastel, tape and glitter on canvas to create her work. Georgie has been exhibited throughout the UK, Europe, and most recently Australia.
At Earkick we are building a free anxiety tracker to follow our great mission in order to make the wold a less anxious place.
It seems there’s another ‘day’ for everything at the moment. Some are silly like Nutella Day (wholly justified IMO!) and others celebrate much needed issues like World Environment Day on 5th June or World Ocean Day in its 30th year on 8th June.
This week we have been thinking about the role of the planet on our mental health. We are encouraged to spend time in nature, to be inspired by mother earth and to cherish it. Biophilia – a love of plants – is everywhere at the moment, with people filling their homes with houseplants and growing herbs 🌿
So what about when things aren’t looking so rosy for the Earth?
Definition: “a chronic fear of environmental doom”
With headlines about droughts, wildfires, floods and increasingly extreme weather events, it’s easy to understand why we have experienced a spike in anxiety stimulated by concerns for the planet.The British Medical Journal published a paper citing eco-anxiety has a ‘disproportionate’ impact on children and young people. In an even more recent and wide scale study published in The Lancet, more than half of the 16-25 years olds surveyed believe humanity is doomed. For Gen Z, climate change is a ‘heavy emotional burden’ with social media being blamed for sharing alarming news.
There is a wealth of research about the negative impacts on our physical health such as air pollution leading to respiratory conditions, and now scientists are studying how our mental health is affected too. In fact, ‘climate change is considered the biggest threat to global mental health’ according to research conducted into eco-anxiety. The good news is the study explains that individuals and communities show ‘resilience’ and ‘positive coping strategies’ which gives us hope that we can combat the risk to our mental health.
Hope for Gen Z
Inspirational activists like Greta Thunberg, whilst controversial, are highlighting the urgency for action in order to protect the future of the planet, for ourselves and future generations. Back in 2018 the 16 year old Swedish activist said: “Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope, I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic.” Despite these damning words, she gives hope to young adults and children worldwide. She demonstrates that we can take action to make change. Greta has raised the profile of the role young people can play in influencing governments, institutions and large corporations. If you want to learn more about Greta’s school strike against climate change, which has since spread to over 70 countries, have a listen to this podcast.
‘Does activism cure eco-anxiety’?
This was the question asked at a youth climate strike in the UK in 2020. International climate anxiety expert and psychotherapist Caroline Hickman who speaks about feelings like depression, grief, rage, sadness from the perceived lack of action by adults in response to the climate emergency. She speaks about the validity of these feelings. And the importance of building emotional resilience and building emotional intelligence to help prepare children and young adults or the future that we are inheriting.
How to increasing positivity and resilience
- Get yourself a houseplant. If you are prone to killing them off then try a succulent or cactus which are slightly easier. 🪴🌵
- Go meat-free one day a week or even stretch yourself to choose plant-based when you next eat out or get take-away.🥗🥡
- When traveling try to walk a bit, cycle or use public transport to reduce carbon emissions (and you’ll get those steps up – win-win!) 🚲🚶🏽
- When you need to calm your emotions, or you are in a busy and noisy environment, give yourself a more peaceful soundscape by listening to the ambient sounds in the free Earkick app such as rain or wind. 🎧
- And of course, talk to your friends! A problem shared is a problem halved. Chat about how you can raise awareness or make small wins in your own homes with the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Recycle) ♻️
- Measure your household’s carbon emissions effortlessly and switch to low carbon energy and eco-friendly products with this carbon footprint app 📲
- Own your voice and take your right to vote seriously in a democratic country to choose politicians who care about the climate 📣
If you find the anxiety becomes frequent, start writing down your thoughts in a journal and track your mood to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm you. Try voice noting or even video message yourself on Earkick!
For a long read: 📚
If you would like to learn more deeply about the net-zero transition, have a look at 6 articles collated by leading consultants McKinsey Sustainability. We also recommend reading about the climate action taken at the World Economic Forum at Davos 2022 in this article about safeguarding our planet and people. Or for a shorter, more accessible piece about Davos see this article in Bloomberg.
At Earkick we are building a free anxiety tracker to follow our great mission in order to make the wold a less anxious place.
I know what you’re thinking… really? When most of us search for help regarding anxiety we are met with thousands of links about anxiety disorder, symptoms, medication and panic attacks. So what possible benefits can having anxiety give us? Hear me out.
If you know you experience anxiety, that is a great step towards managing it and mastering your mental health.
Once you recognise it, you can start the journey of learning how to breathe – which sounds simple, but you’d be surprised by how many of us don’t know how to breathe properly. Meet Earkick the cute and chill Panda who will show you how to calm down within 1 minute
👉🏼 For more breathing exercises check out the Earkick app. It’s completely free and anonymous.
Look on the flipside 🌗
When you are frequently anxious, you may have low expectations, or imagine the worst will happen. So on the flip side, when things go well, take a moment to reflect and enjoy the experience. Each time something positive happens, make a note or use a mood tracker so that you can start to understand the things in your life that bring you joy.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best 📋💡
A motto from the US Marines that has stood the test of time and is now used widely as a good principle for many of us to follow. Some people who are anxiety-prone may make plan A, plan B, plan C… They are likely to be able to plan realistically rather than over optimistically which can result in saving hassle down the line – you’ll already have that umbrella ready in the event of rain, or sun screen for a beautiful Summer’s day and your friends will thank you! Worrying about what could happen can be helpful, when it is proportionate and relevant to a relationship or task at hand. If you find yourself excessively apprehensive, feeling a sense of dread or restless and with a racing heart, it could be time to reflect and see how you can improve your wellbeing. If you want to understand more about anxiety I’ve put some links at the end.
Where do you fit along the spectrum of anxiety? 🌈
At ease – you feel calm, peaceful, and safe 😌 -> 0
Slightly nervous -> 1
Nervous -> 2
Very worried ->6
Somewhat fearful ->7
Somewhat panicked ->9
Panicked -> 10
Check out how you can easily log your anxiety level in our free Earkick app 📲
Understanding where you are on this sliding scale can be really empowering to accepting where you are and acknowledging your feelings and how they affect your body. For example, you may suffer from tightness of chest, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America says anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting some 40 million adults, or about 18% of the population. So you are not alone and what you experience is not unusual. This is good because it means there is a lot of help available. At Earkick we believe you should be in the driving seat of your well-being journey. So, let’s empower you to outsmart your anxiety.
We built an anxiety tracker app do this by encouraging you to log your daily mood. By tracking every day our app learns more about you and starts to recognise patterns e.g. the causes of your anxiety such as work, family, lack of sunshine etc. We can recommend helpful exercises to do because by releasing the physical tension built up in your body you can help to reduce the tension in your mind.
3 reasons why anxiety can be good:
- You can take back control 📍
The fact you can recognise these feelings is a good first step to helping yourself. Be proud of better knowing your mind and your body. We spend a lot of time talking about our bodies, and physical fitness, and it’s time to do the same for our minds too.
- You can plan well 📆
Being worried can be a natural response to challenges and can stimulate you to be more thorough in your planning.
- You can feel grateful 💛
You may feel more gratitude for the good things in your day by being more conscious and valuing the positive things.
3 ways you can reduce your anxiety today
(because the old saying goes that good things come in threes, even London buses 😎).
- Take control by being active 🏄
Yes, you know the mantra that exercise is good for the mind and body, but the evidence is everywhere. Harvard Medical School published an article saying running for 15 minutes a day, or walking for an hour, reduces the risk of major depression. There is a wealth of evidence to say that being in green spaces can improve your mood. Dr Marcia Pescador Jimenez recently published a study proving it can even lower depression and improve processing speed and attention, as well as boost overall cognitive function. So put on your trainers and get outside even for 15 minutes today!
- Plan ahead and connect with friends 👫
Use your planning skills to reach out to friends, family or colleagues. It can be something as simple as a video call, connecting through an online game or going outside to one of the many parks, museums, or galleries for something new. New experiences can be genuinely ‘brain-changing magic’ according to Gabriella Paiella at GQ who reported on the cognitive scientist’s work Dr Laurie Santos who says ‘there is a connection between novelty and happiness’. The study, co-authored by Dr Aaron Heller analysed results which concluded novelty, and ‘going to places you had never been before, actually seemed to have an even larger association with positive emotion on that day’ and even the day after.
- Self-care time to reflect on the positives 🐼
This doesn’t have to be all about chilling. Although, if you love nothing more than getting into pjs and watching TV than crack on! It can also mean challenging yourself. Setting goals for the day or week ahead to start a new habit, (or stop an old one – hello nail biters out there we see you!) Maybe set yourself the goal to be grateful for 3 good things every day. Work smarter, not harder on your mental health. Use an easy app like Earkick to have a quick, intuitive toolkit in your back pocket.
👉🏼 Free today for you on the Apple store here.
Helpful links to resources you can trust because we have reviewed them for you:
- Psychology Today – a US publication devoted to mental health and behavourial science with reliable clinical and scientific information.
- The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK has an online mood self-assessment which is a short questionnaire for those aged over 16 to better understand how you’re feeling.
Here’s the link to the study mentioned above. Proof about living in green spaces comes from a recent study published by the Boston University School of Public Health which says: ‘ living in areas with more greenery may boost cognitive function’.
- You can take back control 📍
8 yummy snacks to reduce stress and anxiety
Food can have a huge impact on how you feel in body and mind. Next to me-time, breathwork, therapy, good sleep, drinking enough water and exercise, you can turn to small changes in nutrition. For anxiety warriors like blogger Serena, it has made all the difference.
The web is full of articles reminding us of what we should NOT eat or drink if we struggle with anxiety. And yes, it’s scientifically proven that caffeine, alcohol, processed food and too much sugar messes with your health. We got it. Sounds like a lot of no-nos and very little fun…😏
This article is different. Let’s dish up easy recipes so you can help yourself to a yummy snack. Let’s go for food that delights your eyes, warms your heart, gives you pleasure and makes you feel what you are: worthy.
A Simple Rule of Thumb
Snacks that may help reduce anxiety are made of whole foods and are minimally-processed. They’re high in molecules, called antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect your cells from being harmed by a type of unstable molecules, called free radicals. You know, the good-versus-bad-guys story. The snack options below are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins and more. And the best: Preparation time is less than 7 minutes, they look fantastic and taste delicious.
To find out if changes in your diet do have an impact on your mood and anxiety, download the free Earkick app. It lets you track your food along with mood, anxiety levels, symptoms and much more in less than one minute. Your stats will reveal how new habits such as healthy snacks impact your well-being over time and you will be able to stick with what works best for you.
To access the recipes, just click on the respective images.
Warm & melting
Fresh and cooling
Berry-Yoghurt-Honey Snack 🍓🫐🍯
Chia Pudding with Banana 🍶🍌
Crunchy & hearty
Homemade Trail Mix 💪🏽
Trail mix with almonds, walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and goya berries
Ultra quick but powerful
No time to prepare anything? Make sure to have the following in stock:
1 fresh orange 🍊
1 bar of dark chocolate 🍫
You can even add a daily reminder for your snack and a weekly notification for your shopping list to your goal section in the Earkick app. Download it now and get started!
And remember: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet and anxiety. You are unique and may react differently to certain foods. That’s why we need your snack-expertise! Got any favorite recipes that worked for you? Pleeeeeaaaase share!
Let’s dish them all – the more the merrier 🥳
To find the entire collection, head over to our Earkick recipe wall.
At Earkick we are building a free anxiety tracker to follow our great mission in order to make the wold a less anxious place.
How often have you fantasized about having a superpower, enabling you to save others, win a race or at least escape embarrassing situations you got yourself into?
Wouldn’t it be wicked to fly like Superman 🦸♂️ , time travel like Cable, be invisible like Sue Storm 🦸🏻♀️ or heal like Wolverine?
I have good news for you: You were born with a marvelous superpower – your breath.
Your breathing may rather seem like an invisible and trivial necessity to you, rather than a sensational gift. But it is one of the greatest tools to transform your body and mind.
If even Navy SEALS use breathwork to help them focus and calm before a battle, a mental health warrior like you should give it a try, too. Let’s dig into why breathing matters and how you can make it work for yourself.
Powered By Your Breath 🎈
You’ve been breathing around 23’000 breaths a day since your first liberating cry when entering the world. Although most of your inhales and exhales might have since happened without your conscious effort, you are actually powered by your breath. Your lungs breathe in air, then absorb your body’s life-sustaining gas, oxygen. It is then sent through your bloodstream into your organs, allowing you to move, talk, think, rest and digest. But wait…
Why bother about intentional breathing if your body does it automatically anyway?
Your past experiences with trauma, stress, anxiety, and working hunched over a computer or spending hours scrolling on your mobile phone affect how you breathe. Your previously natural breathing patterns become maladaptive over time. Since this usually happens in tiny steps, you most likely never noticed the change. If you experience stress on a daily basis due to nerve-racking traffic, a toxic boss or work overload, you may even be headed towards a chronic condition. You may also know the “tired but wired” feeling where the body is drained of energy but overly stimulated at the same time 🤯.
That’s where your breathing patterns can make all the difference, because they can keep your daily stress levels in check. Breathing impacts the health of your entire body via two command centers: the endocrine and the nervous system.
Know Your Command Centers 🧠
Your body has a center, where it makes hormones, the body’s chemical messengers. They carry information and commands from one set of cells to the other, ensuring that your organs and body functions do a good job. It’s called your endocrine system.
The command center of your body is the nervous system. Coming from your brain, it controls your thoughts, movements and automatic responses to the world around you. Other body systems and processes, such as digestion, breathing and sexual development are also controlled via that command center.
Once you learn to use intentional breathing, you can make yourself calm down whenever you need it. Think of it as triggering the fight-or-flight response 😰 to switch off and triggering the rest-and-digest response 😌 to switch on. The quickest and easiest way to destress or reduce anxiety starts with breathing in and breathing out.
3 Simple Ways To Get Started ⏩
- Belly breathing: When you’re stressed, your breathing migrates from the belly, where a relaxed breath originates, to the upper chest. Chest breathing is shallow and keeps you feeling continuously on edge. By intentionally breathing from the belly, your body’s braking system, the parasympathicus, is activated. It is responsible for relaxing the body by reducing heart rate, respiration, stress hormone levels and blood pressure.
- Make your exhale longer than your inhale: This is a simple rule of thumb that sends your body into rest-and-digest mode. In combination with belly breathing, you’ll soon feel the effect. The deeper and slower you breathe, the calmer you’ll feel.
- Breathe while walking: To overcome stressed and shallow breathing patterns, try to synchronize it with movement, specifically walking. Take 2 steps with your inhale and 2-4 steps with your exhale. If this is too fast for you, make it 4 steps during your inhale and 4-8 steps during your exhale. Focusing on the rhythm will also help you to let go of worries and rumination.
The best thing about breathwork is that you can do it anywhere and anytime: while commuting, before sleeping, even at your desk. People take cigarette breaks all the time, so you can take a breathing break.
Hit The Breathing Gym! 💪🏽
Let’s try it out right now, with one of the Navy SEALS most used breathing exercises, box breathing! Breathe along with the video below or download the free Earkick app and look for “box breathing” in the content section. You can
- adjust the speed and repetitions of the exercise
- pause it anytime
- follow it visually, via audio, via touch -whatever suits your situation best.
The preset time is 1 minute and you will start to feel calmer within that minute.
How to practice box breathing 🔲
- Open the exercise in the Earkick app or set a timer for 1-5 minutes
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat or on the floor with a straight spine
- Close your eyes and exhale to start the exercise
⬆️ Inhale for a count of four.
➡️ Hold your breath for a count of four.
⬇️ Exhale for a count of four.
⬅️ Hold for a count of four.
- Repeat until the alarm sounds or the exercise in the app ends
Ready to use breathing, the powerful weapon 🏹 in your healthcare arsenal? Head over to the app store and download Earkick to help you train your superpower!
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 focuses on loneliness. This has clearly been a growing area of concern since the coronavirus pandemic hit. And it’s not just adults affected; children and young adults are suffering as well. Yet they’re often misunderstood and don’t feel heard by a parent, caregiver or teacher.
8.5% of US children aged 2-17 are diagnosed with anxiety
between 2018-2019 with a greater proportion of these being young girls according to the US Health Resources and Services Administration.
Tech for good
Technology is an intrinsic part of most of our daily lives so it’s time to make it work harder for us to enable our wellbeing. We can empower ourselves and our young people to take some control over how we are using our phones and how we can benefit our daily lives. You can have real-time, personal support, available in your pocket.
Designed with the ease of use, safety and privacy of children and young adults to use on Apple store here.
Earkick is the world’s first anxiety tracker placing you in the driving seat of your pathway to happiness. You input your own data in the way that feels more natural to you via talking or typing.
Start your wellness journey today! earkick.com
The wonderful writer C.S. Lewis famously said: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”
The magic you feel when you connect with a friend is special and needs to be nurtured.
Mental Health Foundation recommends some advice for caring for your friends:
“The most valuable support you can provide is just being there to talk and listen. Making time to call, text, visit or invite someone over can make a big difference.”
Mental health problems can be misunderstood. Simply acknowledging your friend’s problem, accepting them and treating them with compassion is important.
Choosing good friends is vital for supporting each other through tough times as well as good ones.
If you know someone going through challenging times, get in touch with them today. Send a quick Snapchat or text and let them know you care about them.
Or if you know they like to keep certain cards close to their chest, perhaps you can recommend they start a mood journal. You can do this for free on Earkick. It’s the mental health sidekick which lets you voice-note or video straight into your phone – even easier than typing.
It’s available for early users on Apple store here.
Earkick is the world’s first mental health-tracker placing you in the driving seat of your pathway to happiness. You input your own data in the way that feels more natural to you via talking or typing.
Start your wellness journey today! earkick.com
Are you aged 16-30? Are you at school, university or working? Do you feel worried, stressed or anxious? Perhaps you are feeling lonely and don’t want to tell anyone yet. This week as we raise awareness of mental health we invite you to recognise the symptoms and try a new way to do something about it.
Your feelings are valid and you are not alone. “One in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year” says Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, a leading mental health charity. If you are often feeling nervous, panicky, overwhelmed, out of control or finding it difficult to concentrate, it may be time to get support.
How do you know if you are anxious?
You can begin to feel anxious from a range of causes and it can create a variety of feelings both physiologically and psychologically. Sometimes anxiety can present itself physically, such as a low appetite or stomach cramps, having a dry mouth, feeling faint or trembling or hot, or even your heart beating faster than usual.
Perhaps you focus on the future instead of the present, or suffer from a lack of being at peace with yourself or not being happy with where you are now. Fears and constant worrying can impact your mental health. If any of these symptoms are affecting your daily life you can talk to your mental health professional who can suggest treatments. You can also start some self-care: read this short post about what you need to ask yourself about anxiety.
Take the first step towards improving your wellbeing
Recognising that you need help is a good start to helping manage your anxiety. Getting help early gives you the best chance to make a difference to improve your mental health long term. There are some great resources available from the likes of Mind, The Mental Health Foundation and Young Minds. More on what self care means for you here.
You will undoubtedly read many posts about how to improve your wellbeing. From being in nature, to regular exercise and a healthy diet. Have you tried improving your sleep patterns but not sure how? Or want to track mood swings but don’t fancy a diary?
This week, we would like you to trust us and choose our conscious content to help you find your happiness. Stop doom scrolling and take a moment out of your day to be mindful. Taking time to breathe consciously is proven to help reset your flight, fright or freeze response.
Today we invite you calm down with us as we lead you through a 60 second practice:
- Select the soundscape – we chose a meditation with Ocean Dream – music of the sea and waves.
- We then selected a 1 minute calm down breathing exercise.
- There is soft haptic feedback so you can close your eyes as you are guided through the breath stages of inhale for 4, hold for 1, out for 8.
- Repeat 6 cycles.
- Notice how you feel.
- If you would like to continue, select repeat or click done to finish.
- If you would like to unlock more breathwork and natural sounds to accompany your day, download the free Earkick app and log it as completing a goal for today.
Your new mental health sidekick!
Earkick gives you the space to log your mental health goals and to check in with your feelings once a day this week.Then on Sunday we will round up with a reflection. We are going to share personal stories and helpful tips so follow us on Instagram and Twitter to get the latest.
Because you are not alone, and millions of us experience anxiety, we have developed an app to help you track how you feel. It will help you to reflect on what makes you feel anxious and what leads to feeling happy. It’s completely anonymous; your data is yours. We don’t have any ads in the app. And it’s free of charge for early members! Download the app and get started right away.
Here’s what’s in for you:
1. You have real time insights into your mental health in your pocket ✨
2. It’s your ultra private phone journal 🔐 which keeps you on track through your wellness journey
3. You can empower yourself to feel better through guided sessions and short breathing exercises – which you can do anywhere – in your safe space or on the move.. Your app knows when you need help based on the info you have given and provides simple, personalised and effective actions in real time
Don’t just listen to us. We have hundreds of users who have shared their experiences (which we always anonymise, of course.)
Get your mental health sidekick on the Apple store for free here.
Earkick is the world’s first anxiety tracker placing you in the driving seat of your pathway to happiness. You input your own data in the way that feels more natural to you via talking or typing. Start your wellness journey today! earkick.com