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Your Anxiety May Be Affecting Our Ecosystem

Your Anxiety May Be Affecting Our Ecosystem

A recent study in Sweden found that traces of an anti-anxiety medicine affect fish behavior

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Social interactions aren’t the only thing your anxiety is affecting. A recent study in Sweden found that a pharmaceutical drug used to treat anxiety in humans could be affecting our ecosystems.

Scientists found that fish that carried traces of the drug Oxazepam in their system were less social, more active or bold, and ate faster. Because hints of the drug are often found in waste due to it often being flushed, excreted, or discarded, the study was conducted to determine the effects the drug had on the species, most specifically Wild European perch, living in waterways near waste plants.

The study is significant because it raises the question of what impact pharmaceutical drugs have on our environment, but many scientists are hesitant to place a heavy emphasis on its results due to the nature in which it was conducted. Because higher levels of Oxazepam than what are normally found in waterways were used for the study, there’s a hazy line of relevancy between the results of the study and how it actually pans out in the real world.

"It's one thing to expose animals in a tank — where they're captive and can't move away from the exposure — to where you're in a large stream or water body and they can actually move around and get away from that," says ecotoxicologist Daniel Schlenksays of the University of California, Riverside.


Is Your Anxiety Turning You Into a Control Freak?

When you suffer from anxiety it can seem like nothing is under your control. The more fearful you feel of not being in control, the more you try to structure your world to feel safe. Perhaps you had previous experience with feeling powerless and you never wish to feel that way again. One way you may deal with feeling anxiety is to overcompensate by exerting great control over your current environment including the people around you. The people in your life may call you a "control freak" and resent your attempts to create structure and order. Yet when you don't exert your control you feel great anxiety.

So what can be done? Chances are that if you have been labeled as a control freak by others, you may see no reason to change your ways because this is how you manage some of your anxiety. You may not even be conscious that you are doing it. Hopefully this post will help you to become aware if you do have this issue or will promote understanding if you have someone in your life that is controlling.

Three Hypothetical Cases

Hypothetical Case Number One: Mary had a rough childhood where she was the victim of sexual abuse from a neighbor. Her family did not believe her when she talked about the abuse and so she lived in both shame and fear. Years later she did marry and had two children, a boy and a girl. She allowed the boy great freedom but Mary could not allow the same freedoms to her daughter. She would not permit her daughter to go anywhere alone. She did not allow her daughter to go to any after school activities, nor did she allow her to go on sleepovers. Every activity or outing was carefully monitored. The daughter, unaware of her mother's past, simply grew more and more resentful of her mother's control. In her teen years the daughter became rebellious, causing Mary to feel extreme anxiety.

Hypothetical Case Number Two: George grew up in the inner city with parents who struggled to keep afloat financially. His father worked a couple of menial labor jobs and one was being the janitor at George's school. George was embarrassed by this and didn't let any of the other kids know that his dad was the janitor. His mother struggled as well and found jobs where she could at the grocery store or beauty parlor washing hair. She would come home and tell George that things wouldn't be this way if only his dad would have gone to school. George took this to heart and got good grades. He won a scholarship and went to an Ivy League college. But he always felt inferior somehow. He felt he had to prove himself that much more.

After college, he married and had children. George pushed the children early on and made sure that they got into the best schools and academic programs. Starting in elementary school, the children did three hours of homework every night which was monitored by George. The children had no time for fun because George was using every bit of their time to prepare them for school. As the children became resentful, George reasoned that he was simply giving his kids the best chance for a good future.

Hypothetical Case Number Three: Cindy met the love of her life in high school and they married early on. Things were very happy until the day her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Although Cindy researched and tried to do everything to save her husband, he died anyway. Cindy was devastated by his death and felt guilty that she didn't do enough even though everyone around her and including doctors told her that there was nothing anybody could do. Cindy married again ten years later. Her new husband was aware of her first marriage and what happened, but had no idea of the extent of Cindy's unresolved grief and feelings of guilt.

When her new husband would show any signs of illness, including a cold, Cindy would grow very anxious. She would deal with the situation by constantly hovering over him, asking if he was okay and providing far too much care, like taking him to the doctor when he really didn't need to go. Her super vigilance over his health was becoming a terrible strain on their relationship. It came to the point where her new husband feared telling her any time he was sick and hid his symptoms when he was ill. This secrecy made Cindy that much more anxious.

I am sure we have all seen such hypothetical examples being played out in real life. The mother who tries to control her daughter's eating habits battled an eating disorder when she was a teen. The little girl who was picked on by bullies grows up to be a boss who micromanages her employees. The nurse who cannot stop smoking is bossy and controlling with her patients.

How to change controlling behavior

If you are feeling the need to overly control your environment and others, your anxiety may be an influential factor.

The first step is to be aware that you are doing it. Listen to loved ones, friends, and co-workers who tell you that you are crossing the boundaries of exerting your personal control. When you are overly controlling with others, the result is almost always resentment and rebellion and frayed relationships. In order to prevent such damage, it is imperative to make some changes.

Here are some ways to make a change:

Listen to others if they tell you that you are being overly controlling.

Figure out the possible cause of your behavior. What is causing you to fear not being in control over certain situations? What do you predict is the worst case scenario for letting go of some of that control?

Talk to someone (a trusted friend, a counselor, or a therapist) about your fears and anxiety.

Remember that micromanaging or attempting to overly control situations in your life which arouse fear is not likely to work in the end. At some point you will have to deal with your fear head on and take risks. Progress is when you accept your powerlessness over some situations and life events. It is ironic that when you do reach that point of acceptance and letting go of what you cannot control, you will feel more powerful and in control.

These articles were written by a longtime HealthCentral community member who shared valuable insights from her experience living with multiple chronic health conditions. She used the pen name "Merely Me."


Your Anxiety May Be Affecting Our Ecosystem - Recipes

This repository contains some use cases of workflows with Actions Ecosystem's GitHub Actions.

Actions Ecosystem's actions are designed to do one thing well as Unix Philosophy. That's why it's further better to use an action with other actions.

Let's say we want a workflow that lints source code and send the result to Slack channel. In this case, we prefer to use a lint action and a Slack action , rather than a lint and Slack action . This is because if we use a lint and Slack action and want a workflow that tests source code and send the result to Slack channel then we need to develop the same Slack notification logic again. We prefer to use GitHub Actions' output parameters that work as pipelines between actions. And also, even if you prefer to use an action not in Actions Ecosystem in your workflow, some of Actions Ecosystem's actions help you as a part of your workflow.

If you're not so familiar with GitHub Actions, first of all you may want to read GitHub Actions Documentation.

If you're interested in the latest ones, explore .github/workflows in Actions Ecosystem's repositories.

Automate updating a Git tag with semver and creating a GitHub release

This workflow automates updating a Git tag and creating a GitHub release with only adding a release label and optionally a release note after a pull request has been merged.

    gets a pull request merged with the base branch. gets a semver update level from a release label. fetches the latest Git tag in the repository. bumps up the Git tag previously fetched based on the semver update level at the step 1.
  1. [Optional]actions-ecosystem/action-regex-match extracts a release note from the pull request body. pushes the bumped Git tag with the pull request reference as a message. creates a GitHub release with the Git tag and the release note when the semver update level is major or minor.
  2. [Optional]actions-ecosystem/action-create-comment creates a comment that reports the new GitHub release.

For further details, see each action document.

This workflow tells you what version will be released with the pull request.

Add suitable labels to a issue based on the information

This workflow adds a help wanted label to an issue whose title matches the regex help|not work .

Propagate mentions from GitHub to Slack

Lint the title of a pull request

This workflow lints the title of a pull request.

Automatically assign the user who creates an issue or a pull request


How Stress Affects Your Health

You're going to have some stress in your life -- we all do, and it's normal. One of the best things you can do for your health is manage that stress, even when you can’t control the source of it.

Some stress can be good. It can be a challenge that keeps us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. But too much stress can make us sick. And it can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases, research shows.

If you're constantly under stress, you can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, and problems with sex and sleep.

Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.

It's not just the stress itself that's the problem. It's how you respond to it.

For instance, if you smoke, use drugs, overeat, gamble, spend too much, or have risky sex, that's going to cause more problems.

If you think that the way you’re handling life's stress is taking a toll on your physical health, talk to your doctor so you can start making changes that will be good for your body and your mind.


11 Ways to Make Sure Anxiety Doesn’t Ruin Your Vacation

After months of planning, saving money and reading travel articles, it&rsquos finally time for your big vacation. You should be really excited, but instead you&rsquore really anxious. Though you try not to let it get in the way of your vacation prep, it&rsquos hard to ignore. So why does this happen? And how can we avoid it? SheKnows spoke to mental health experts to find out.

Why vacations can trigger our anxiety

First of all, traveling doesn&rsquot make everyone anxious, but if you fall into that category, you know that the constant nervousness can take some of the fun out of your trip. One reason for this is because traveling takes you out of your everyday environment, and therefore, your comfort zone.

New and different is anxiety provoking for some people and relished by others. &ldquoIf you are a creature of habit, vacations may be stressful,&rdquo Allison G. Johnsen, licensed clinical professional counselor and manager of behavioral health at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital tells SheKnows. &ldquoOne is not as in control of one&rsquos surroundings when in new and different situations.&rdquo

In addition to that, all of the unknowns that are part of travel &mdash and some of what makes it exciting &mdash can cause anxiety and discomfort for some people, Courtney Glashow, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and owner of Anchor Therapy in Hoboken, NJ, tells SheKnows.

&ldquoTraveling comes with stressors such as delayed flights, forgotten items, lost items, feeling lost with directions, not liking your sleeping arrangements, not liking food where you’re at, and so on,&rdquo she explains. &ldquoThere are many things that could go wrong or cause stress.&rdquo

Strategies for dealing with travel anxiety

The key is how you handle these stressful situations. Fortunately, we have some expert tips.

Understand that bad things can happen anywhere

Rather than overthinking all the things that could go wrong on your vacation before it even happens, it’s better to feel excited about it and look forward to the trip, Glashow says. &ldquoIf something does go wrong or is stressful during the vacation, then you will be able to handle it as it arises,&rdquo she explains. &ldquoBut there’s no point in worrying about something that literally has not happened, and may never even happen.&rdquo

Do not have unrealistic expectations

Nothing can ruin a trip &mdash or anything, really &mdash quite like unrealistic expectations, Johnsen says. This is especially true when traveling with kids. &ldquoThe kids will not be even close to perfect just because they are on vacation and neither will you,&rdquo she explains. &ldquoBe forgiving of them &mdash new situations bring different behaviors. Be forgiving of yourself.&rdquo

Kids cry and that&rsquos normal

It can be very stressful if you&rsquore dealing with a child &mdash especially a baby &mdash who won&rsquot stop crying. But Johnsen says that you should try not to worry about everyone else being disturbed.

&ldquoDon’t entertain or feed thoughts like &lsquoeveryone is thinking I am not a good parent because I can&rsquot control my kid.&rsquo Firmly tell yourself to stop it if you find yourself thinking like this,&rdquo she explains. Instead, remind yourself that babies cry and it&rsquos perfectly normal. Having said that, prepare to bring whatever you need to soothe the baby, Johnsen says. You may also want to try to get an aisle seat on an airplane so you can walk around with your child during a flight.

Keep your kids on a schedule as much as possible

If traveling makes you anxious because you&rsquore out of your comfort zone, think of what it&rsquos like for children. For example, make sure you’re able to feed them as close to the normal scheduled times as possible to keep a routine, Glashow says. She also recommends trying to take a flight during a usual nap time, packing plenty of snacks and making sure your kids are drinking enough water.

Plan, but don&rsquot over-plan

It&rsquos nice to have an idea of what you&rsquore going to do on vacation, but don&rsquot overdo it, Johnsen says. She also recommends not pushing yourself too hard trying to cram too many things in your trip. Worrying about not squeezing everything on your itinerary in can be a source of anxiety.

&ldquoThink in terms of &lsquoflexible structure,’&rdquo Elaine Taylor-Klaus, parent educator, coach for complex kids and CEO, ImpactADHD tells SheKnows. &ldquoOn the one hand, you want to plan enough so that there is comfort. But on the other hand, don&rsquot over-plan every moment of every day. Allow for structure, and some time to be flexible and change things up.&rdquo

Unplug from work

Avoid thinking or talking about work to the greatest extent possible, Johnsen advises. This also means turning off automatic access to your work email and cell phone, and letting your colleagues know that you will be unavailable except in emergency situations. &ldquoBroaden that to not even bringing up negative topics while traveling,&rdquo she adds.

Try to relax

One of the best ways that you can overcome panic and bouts of anxiety when you&rsquore traveling is to take deep breaths or use breathing exercises to calm down, Melson says. &ldquoThis will help quiet down your spiraling thoughts and improve your mood,&rdquo she explains. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, talking or processing the anxiety with supportive friends or family members.

Make a packing list

Prepare for your vacation by making a packing list well before you leave, and pack ahead except for last-minute items, Johnsen says. &ldquoRemember that whatever you forgot, you can probably pick up when you get there,&rdquo she adds. Of course, this isn&rsquot necessarily the case if you&rsquore going backpacking in remote areas, but you&rsquoll likely be fine in other situations.

Go on the trip with a healthy plan

Before traveling, make sure you get enough sleep and exercise. Also, creating a healthy diet plan can help you deal with travel anxiety, Charley Melson, licensed professional clinical counselor and the executive director at Praxis by Landmark Recovery tells SheKnows. Plan to exercise while you&rsquore away and eat as healthily as possible. &ldquoThe most important thing is to not fall victim to unhealthy habits and coping methods such as alcohol or drug use, which will only work to exacerbate the problem and make it worse,&rdquo Melson explains.

Talk yourself through it

If you’re anxious about traveling, remind yourself (or your kids), that you have done this before and gotten through it, Glashow says. Talk yourself &mdash and your kids &mdash through the steps of your travel: What it looks like going through security, what you’ll do as you wait for your flight or train, what you’ll do if it is delayed or cancelled, and what to expect from the car, train or plane ride.

&ldquoWalking through these expected steps will help ease your own &mdash or your kids’ &mdash anxiety,&rdquo Glashow explains. &ldquoBecause you are walking through the steps and you always end safely at your destination &mdash whether it’s on time or delayed &mdash you will be OK and that’s the most important to remind yourself.&rdquo

Bring something relaxing or distracting

If you know you&rsquore going to be anxious, make sure you bring something that will help relax and/or distract you, Glashow recommends. &ldquoThis could be music, a guided meditation you enjoy, a podcast that helps distract you, a good movie or TV show to watch while traveling, a comfort blanket or pillow from home, a stuffed animal, or anything that will provide comfort, remind you that you’re safe, and help distract your anxious thoughts,&rdquo she explains.

So before you head off on your next trip, plan ahead (but not too much) and understand that things most likely won&rsquot go perfectly, but at least you&rsquoll be ready for it.


What Lifestyle Changes are Recommended for Anxiety and Depression?

Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression and anxiety, and they are an essential component of an integrated approach to treatment. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone can help depression or relieve anxiety, so it makes sense to start with them right away. But if you are suffering from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, also seek professional help right away. And if you don’t see relief from symptoms of mild depression in a few months, likewise seek professional help.

Lifestyle changes that can help include the following.

Exercise

Exercise is the most important place to start. Numerous well-designed studies have found exercise to be effective in elevating mood and reducing symptoms of depression. As for anxiety, many research studies have also found an improvement in anxiety symptoms with increased physical activity, especially mindful movement, such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong.

Exercise stimulates the body to produce serotonin and endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) that help depression. But that only partially explains the positive impacts of exercise on depression.

Participating in an exercise program can:

✔ Increase self-esteem

✔ Create a sense of empowerment

✔ Enhance social connections and relationships

All of these things have a positive impact on a depressed or anxious individual.

Start a walking program

Walking just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce your risk for major chronic diseases, including anxiety and depression. Read these tips to get started.

Use the following ideas to start your own walking program.

  • Wear the pedometer for a few days and see how many steps you average.
  • Set a daily goal and work (or walk) up to it. A good goal is to increase your average daily steps gradually so that you get used to the increased distance. Recommendations vary on how fast to increase steps. Anywhere from 500-2,000 steps a week is reasonable.
  • Record your daily steps in a log or notebook.

There are many ways to increase your daily steps:

  • Choose a more distant parking place
  • Take the stairs
  • Walk over to a friend's dorm room or a colleague's office instead of using the phone or e-mail
  • Walk the dog
  • Walk with a friend each day

Find ways to walk even during the winter months or other inclement weather.

  • Walking in the malls
  • Local school track or fitness center
  • 3-5min "walk breaks" during study time/work/etc

If you experience pain or discomfort, check with your primary care provider.

Remember, it takes about six months to "lock-in" a new behavior. Think of your walking program as a permanent change in your behavior. If you maintain your walking program for a minimum of six months, you are much more likely to maintain this change long-term.

The brain is one of the most metabolically active parts of the body and needs a steady stream of nutrients to function. A poor diet may not provide the nutrients necessary to produce neurotransmitters and may provoke symptoms of anxiety or depression.

    Eat a healthy diet. Fill your plate with fresh, whole foods drink plenty of water get enough calcium and keep trans fats low to follow in step with current dietary guidelines.
  1. Take care of your gut. Taking supplemental probiotics with two or more live cultures (for example lactobacillus and bifidobacerium) and eating fermented foods, such as yogurt and miso, help support a healthy digestive system.
  2. Cut the sweetened beverages. Sweetened tea, soda, and fruit punch may contribute to depression. A recent study found that people who drink four or more cups or cans of soda every day are 30% more likely to be depressed than people who did not drink soda. The same study reported that those who drank unsweetened coffee each day (either regular or decaf) reported less depression than non-coffee drinkers.
  3. Try going decaf. Because other studies show that long-term use of caffeine has been linked with anxiety, decaffeinated coffee may be the best choice for some. If you are a regular caffeine user, cutting back gradually will be best tolerated.

Alcohol

Depressed populations have more problems with alcohol use even though alcohol itself is a depressant. Alcohol use may be a way that individuals ‘self-medicate,’ trying to numb the pain of their depression.

People suffering from depression should stop drinking alcohol. If alcohol abuse underlies the depression, it is critical that it be addressed directly.

Sleep

Poor sleep has a strong effect on mood, in part because the neurotransmitters needed to support mood are replenished with sleep. Thus we need restorative sleep to maintain a balanced brain and help alleviate depression and anxiety.

Manage insomnia naturallyPeople who don’t get adequate sleep, in length or quality, each night are more likely to develop major depression than those who sleep through the night. In addition, research shows that sleep-deprived people have a much stronger tendency to classify neutral images as “negative,” so that even everyday items can seem more menacing and contribute to anxiety.

Make getting the amount of good quality sleep you need a priority.

Thoughts and Emotions

Negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can upset the body's hormone balance and deplete the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness or calm, as well as have a damaging impact on the immune system and other parts of our body.

Certain types of mental training, such as meditation or positive thinking, can affect our perceptions of the world and make us feel calmer, more resilient, and happier. Other researchers have identified many other helpful attitudes—such as forgiveness, gratitude, and kindness—that can help alleviate depression and anxiety. These can be developed with practice.

Change your emotional response

We tend to believe that our emotions are part of who we are and can’t be changed. Research has shown that this isn’t so. Emotions can be changed by:

  1. Altering the situation (e.g., leaving a depleting job)
  2. Shifting our attention (e.g., noticing the beauty of the day instead of the traffic)
  3. Re-framing our perspective (e.g., “that person is under stress,” rather than “he doesn’t like me”)

Stress Reduction

Too much stress exacerbates depression and anxiety. Learning strategies to help minimize the negative impact of stress can bring about a sense of control and calm, even in the face of stressors.

Three ways to beat stress

  1. Identify what creates stress for you and see if you can make changes in your life to reduce these stressors.
  2. Learn relaxation techniques to help reduce your reaction to stressors, and cultivate intentional, helpful responses.
  3. Cultivate resilience so that you can best handle life stressors that are not avoidable.

Social Support

Strong relationships and social support networks reduce isolation and loneliness, both key risk factors for depression. While anxiety can sometimes cause us to avoid other people and become isolated, reaching out to friends and family can actually help us deal with anxiety by offering support and helping us make realistic assessments of threats. Here are some tips to stay connected:

  • Keep in regular contact with friends and family.
  • Consider joining a class or group.
  • Get social support from volunteering (and feel the satisfaction of helping others!)
  • Bond with a pet. Physically, having a loved one (two or four-legged) close calms us and reduces the fight or flight risk.

Purpose

Extensive research has found that people with a strong sense of purpose are better able to handle the ups and downs of life. Purpose can offer a psychological buffer against obstacles—thus, a person with a strong sense of purpose remains satisfied with life even while experiencing a difficult day. According to researcher Barbara Fredrickson, this kind of long-term resilience can lead to less worry and greater happiness over time.

Spirituality also helps people meet challenges and continue. Having a strong spiritual outlook may help you find meaning in life’s difficult circumstances.

Invest in Purpose

✔ Spend time reflecting each day on your values, and intentionally act on them.

✔ Use your personal gifts and talents to benefit others (e.g., make your niece laugh with your unique sense of humor).

✔ Pay attention to what brings about a sense of “flow,” or a pleasant and healthy absorption that makes you lose all sense of time—it is probably related to your calling in life.

Disclaimer: The information in this website page is not to be used in place of medical treatment by a health or mental health provider.

Carek, P.J., Laibstain, S.E., Carek, S.M. Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 41(1), 15-28.

Cooney, G.M., Dwan, K., Greig, C.A., Lawlor, D.A., Rimer, J., Waugh, F.R., McMurdo, M., Mead, G.E. (2013). Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Sept 12 9: CD004366.

Emmons, Henry MD. (2010) The Chemistry of Calm. A Powerful, Drug-Free Plan to Quiet Your Fears and Overcome Your Anxiety. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Emmons, Henry MD. (2006) The Chemistry of Joy: A Three Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom. New York: Simon and Schuster. www.partnersinresilience.com

Emmons, H., Bourgerie, S., Denton, C., Kacher, S., (2012) The Chemistry of Joy Workbook:Overcoming Depression Using the Best of Brain Science, Nutrition, and The Psychology of Mindfulness.

Frederickson, B. (2009). Positivity. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Guo, X., Park, Y., Freedman, N.D., Sinha, R., Hollenbeck, A.R., Blair, A., Chen, H. (2014). Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults. PLoS One 9(4): e94715.

Herring, M.P., O'Connor, P.J., Dishman, R.K. (2010). The effect of exercise training on anxiety symptoms among patients: A systematic review. Archives of Internal Medicine 170(4), 321-331.

Jaremka, L.M., Fagundes, C.P., Glaser, R., Bennett, J.M., Malarkey, W.B., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (2012). Loneliness predicts pain, depression, and fatigue: Understanding the role of immune dysregulation. Psychoneuroendocrinology pii: S0306-4530(12)00403-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.016. [Epub ahead of print].

Jayakody, K., Gunadasa, S., Hosker, C. (2014). Exercise for anxiety disorders: A systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine 48(3) 187-96.

Rethorst, C.D., Trivedi, M.H. (2013). Evidence-based recommendations for the prescription of exercise for major depressive disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Practice 19(3), 204-12.

Rethorst, C.D., Wipfli, B.M., Landers, D.M. (2009). The antidepressive effects of exercise: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Sports Medicine 39(6), 491-511.

Sarris, J., Moylan, S., Camfield, D.A., Pase, M.P., Mischoulon, D., Berk, M. (2012). Complementary medicine, exercise, meditation, diet, and lifestyle modification for anxiety disorders: a review of current evidence. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative medicine Epub August 27. doi: 10.1155/2012/809653.

Tempesta, D., Couyoumdjian, A., Curcio, G., Moroni, F., Marzano, C., De Gennaro, L., Ferrara, M. (2010). Lack of sleep affects the evaluation of emotional stimuli. Brain Research Bulletin 82(1-2), 104-8.


Air Pollution

Whether it&aposs the travel required to transport food, packaging used to contain those foods, or waste produced along the way, many aspects of food production contribute greenhouse gas emissions.

Bleached Coral Reefs

One of the most detrimental effects of air pollution and harmful gases is rising global temperatures. "The ocean has absorbed more than 90 percent of the extra heat caused by our greenhouse gas emissions, causing the temperature of the ocean to rise," says Ryan Bigelow, senior program manager for Monterey Bay Aquarium&aposs Seafood Watch Program. "This has led to coral bleaching, more toxic algae blooms, and disruptions to the marine food web." Bigleow says that nearly half of the world&aposs coral reefs today have already disappeared. "Unfortunately, these are vital for supporting biodiversity and thousands of marine species, as well as the seafood industry."

The seafood industry is already in a fragile state due to bycatch (when fish or other marine species are caught unintentionally when a fisherman is targeting a different species or size of fish) and overfishing of endangered species caused by commercial fisheries. This means the supply of fish will continue to diminish beyond the rate that they&aposre able to replenish.

What you can do: When shopping for seafood, refer to the Seafood Watch for sustainable recommendations to help reduce your purchase&aposs impact on the environment. 

Increased Food Miles

Food miles refer to the distance of transporting food—such as by plane, boat, or truck—multiplied by the quantity of food transported by mass. Research shows that about 0.2 percent of food miles come from air travel, nearly 60 percent come from boat travel, and approximately 31 percent are by road. However, due to the limited capacity of air-freighted products per trip compared to land or water travel, studies indicate that transporting food by air emits 50 times as many greenhouse gases as transporting the same amount by sea, five times as much as by road. Typically, foods with a short shelf life that are produced internationally are air-freighted due to their perishable nature, increasing their carbon footprint by mass for the product exponentially.

What you can do: Some ways to reduce food miles are shopping locally at farmers&apos markets, eating seasonal products while they are actually in season, grocery shopping less frequently, and even growing your fruits and veggies in your backyard or a community garden. Grocery delivery companies, such as Imperfect Foods, adapt their business models to help reduce food miles. They do so by "batching customers and neighborhoods together to reduce miles traveled, and purposefully shipping by neighborhood one day a week to deliver groceries to [an] entire community in one trip," says Madeline Rotman, head of sustainability for Imperfect Foods. 

Food Waste

Another highly impactful contributor to climate change comes from food waste. According to the World Resources Institute, an astounding one-quarter of the calories the world produces are thrown away, spoiled in supply chains, and wasted by retailers, restaurants, and consumers. According to a study by Poore and Nemecek (2018), this means that about 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste alone.

To stop the abundance of food waste, companies like Imperfect Foods "work with farmers and producers to purchase perfectly delicious and nutritious food that may not meet conventional grocer&aposs aesthetic standards and would have gone to waste," explains Rotman. The company "rescues items that would&aposve otherwise fallen through the cracks of our food system," she says. Last year, as a result of reduced travel and mass gatherings throughout the pandemic, airlines and other public entertainment centers had surpluses of products they would have quickly sold through otherwise. "We were able to repurpose, for example, snack trays and movie theater popcorn and deliver them to consumers, eliminating unnecessary waste. In 2020, our food sourcing strategy saved over 50 million pounds of food," she says. 

What you can do: Food waste often occurs without intention, like innocuous household practices like food storage or disposal done incorrectly. To help mitigate the impact of food waste and reducing the quantity that makes its way to greenhouse gas-emitting hubs (like landfills), composting can help provide a solution. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), composting reduces methane emissions, eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, promotes higher yield of crops, enhances water retention in soil, among many other benefits. Composts at every Imperfect Foods&apos fulfillment centers helped "divert over 75 percent of our waste from landfills" in 2020, Rotman says.  

Increased Methane Emissions

Another critical issue contributing to the greenhouse effect on our planet is methane emission from livestock digestion. Though not as prominent as carbon dioxide, methane is far more detrimental and potent. According to the EPA and the American Farm Bureau Federation, methane emissions account for about 10 percent of all greenhouse gases. According to Andrew Walmsley, Congressional relations director at the American Farm Bureau Federation, "methane digesters not only help better manage the nutrients coming out of our animals, but can also create renewable energy, renewable natural gas, and renewable electricity." He notes that the bureau is a "strong proponent of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. The use of biofuels has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 71 million metric tons, which is equivalent to taking 17 million cars off the roadways."

What you can do: Consider reducing your beef consumption by even one meal per week. A study held in France found that swapping out beef for pork saved 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that would have come from beef. Poultry has an even smaller climate footprint than pork.


Ways Anxiety Impairs Communication

Every type of anxiety has the potential to impair communication. Some may find their anxiety only affects them in social situations while others may find it affects them all the time.

There is no single issue that impairs communication when you have anxiety. Rather, there is a host of potential issues that can make it difficult to communicate. Some examples include:

  • Distracted Thinking One of the main issues caused by anxiety may be distracted thinking. You may find yourself anxiously thinking about numerous things, find yourself overly focused on the way you feel, or find yourself stuck on a particular thought. Regardless of what the issue is, distracted thinking makes it very hard to listen and hold a conversation, and your ability to communicate is impaired as a result.
  • Overthinking From Nervousness Being nervous can create problems with overthinking. When you're nervous while talking to someone else, it's not uncommon to overthink each and every word you're about to say in an effort to make sure that you say the right thing. But when you are rethinking everything you are about to say, it disrupts the natural flow of conversation.
  • Tongue Stumbling Anxiety can make natural movements feel unnatural or bizarre. A great example is stumbling over your tongue. Generally, your tongue moves exactly as it needs to in order to make the sounds and letters you want to make. But when you have anxiety, it's not uncommon for some automatic body movements to become less automatic because your brain focuses on that action. This can make it harder to move your tongue correctly, leading you to stumble over your words.
  • Lightheadedness/Trouble Thinking/Loss of Reality In some cases of extreme anxiety – most notably with panic attacks – there are several issues that can impair thinking. Anxiety can essentially overload your brain. It can cause a loss of reality which makes it nearly impossible to hear or think coherent thoughts. It can also cause lightheadedness and trouble thinking. In these cases, the impaired thinking often doesn't resolve itself until the panic attack has subsided and disrupted breathing gets back under your control.
  • Trouble Listening Finally, when you are focused on your anxiety it can cause trouble with listening and understanding what the other person is saying. This is often due to the distracted thinking, as mentioned above. Becoming anxiously focused on the person’s facial expressions or nonverbal communication can impact your ability to listen and pay attention to what they are saying. Anxiety about the content of the person's message may lead you to focus too much on any one particular word or phrase which can cause you to miss out on the other content that is necessary to respond correctly.

While all types of anxiety can impair communication, different issues may come up based on the type of anxiety you experience.


The Psychology Behind Cleaning

There&rsquos some science behind the connection between cleaning and decreased anxiety, as well. A small study published in the journal Mindfulness found that participants who engaged in mindfully washing the dishes &mdash meaning they took a moment to inhale the scent of the soap and to allow their skin to absorb the warmth of the water &mdash reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in "mental inspiration."

Temporary anxiety can lead to cleaning more meticulously, according to a 2015 study from University of Connecticut. Researchers theorized that people gravitate toward repetitive behaviors (such as cleaning) during times of stress. Why? It&rsquos all about control.

"We want to be able to do something when we get anxious, and what we really want is to be in control and take action," says Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Hack Your Anxiety: How to Make Anxiety Work for You, in Life, Love, and All That You Do. "While there are times we have to accept some situations in life, we do not have to accept an untidy home."

She further explains that "healthy anxiety" (anxiety that is not debilitating or stands in the way of one&rsquos daily responsibilities) is a normal emotion that can be beneficial. "It grabs our attention to the things we care about the most,&rdquo Dr. Clark continues. "It's energy being generated without an outlet. Anxiety can cause a lot of angst and unsettled feelings, yet it&rsquos supposed to be motivating."

In fact, she discusses the healing powers of cleaning with her patients. "When we look at our environment, we take it all in visually," she says. "If we&rsquore already dealing with a lot in our mind and now we&rsquore looking at a lot [of dust or stuff] in our home or office space, it can make us feel stuck and bogged down."


How to Prevent (and Reverse) Cavities Naturally

1. Go Paleo


Not only does following a Paleo diet significantly reduce the amount of phytic acid you eat, but it’s also full of healthy fats and minerals needed for gum health, by recommending foods such as bone broth, leafy greens, and grass-fed meats.

2. Use Mineralizing Toothpaste

Mineralizing toothpastes can help replenish minerals in tooth enamel and further prevent tooth decay. You can make your own mineralizing toothpaste at home with coconut oil, trace minerals from a trace mineral dropper (from a natural food source, such as phytoplankton), baking soda and food grade essential oils.

3. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for natural detoxification, which helps remove harmful bacteria in the mouth. Oil pulling is said to draw out toxins and bacteria from your teeth and gums, and prevents these toxins from entering your GI tract which benefits the rest of your body as well (13). By eliminating oral bacteria, oil pulling can also help prevent bad breath and may
also help whiten teeth.

Oil pulling is simple and easy: all you need is a tablespoon of coconut oil. As soon as you wake up (before brushing your teeth), swish the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes. You may want to do this while you shower or get ready.

Be careful not to swallow the oil because it will absorb the bad bacteria in your mouth (and the last place you want that bacteria to end up is in your stomach). Once you’re done swishing the oil, spit out the mixture in the toilet or sink, rinse, and follow with your usual brushing and flossing routine. You can do this every morning for best results.

The Bottom Line: Keep your teeth healthy by removing phytic acid from your diet, use a mineral toothpaste and try oil pulling.

About Brandi Black

Brandi Black is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the creator of Feel Best Naked, a health blog for women who want to clear up their skin, lose the muffin top and make the bloat disappear. After years of experiencing (and then healing) her own unbalanced hormones, she's now obsessed with helping other women feel spectacular in their own skin with natural remedies for hormone balance.