BLOG

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. We continue to struggle to keep case numbers and the mortality rate under control. Fortunately, we have seen some progress thanks to vaccination efforts and improvements in treatment. Both are allowing people to return to something resembling normalcy within small friend groups and family units, but there may be a few complications you weren’t quite expecting. Let’s look at dealing with social anxiety after quarantine.

Dealing with Social Anxiety After Quarantine

Increased social anxiety is a common byproduct of the necessary quarantine and social distancing measures taken over the past two years. That may not be very comforting, but at least it means that feeling a little more nervous in social settings is a completely normal reaction. With a little focus and some cognitive behavioral therapy in LA you can learn to cope with your anxiety as you rebuild your social confidence.

Assessing Your Needs

There exist a few markers commonly associated with social anxiety. You may feel worried or panicked that you lack the ability to interact with other people. You may constantly feel like other people are judging you or like no one likes you. When it comes to people with social anxiety, these feelings almost always prove out of sync with reality. But they can have real physiological effects.

Physiological symptoms of social anxiety may include nausea, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, or dizziness. In extreme cases, people with social anxiety may experience a panic attack in a highly stimulating or stressful environment. Some people handle these symptoms by avoiding social situations whenever possible. Others are more likely to attempt to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Neither is actually a positive solution.

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re probably dealing with some level of social anxiety. It’s a very common struggle, and experiencing it says nothing about you. All it means is that you might need some professional help to take control over your social experiences if you want to build your confidence and your personal network. For many people, the hardest part proves getting started.

Finding and Beginning Therapy

There exist a lot of different methods for dealing with social anxiety. And finding what works best for you does not always prove easy. Cognitive behavior therapy is often the first step for people with social anxiety because it is directly targeted to teach you how to challenge your own negative thoughts. When you start social anxiety treatment in Los Angeles, your therapist will help you break down the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions triggering your anxiety.

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach

Once you’ve helped to identify your particular pattern, your therapist can help you to address them one at a time. As a part of cognitive-behavioral therapy, you will learn to identify and question thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Specifically, ones that lead to you feeling anxious in social settings. With the help of your therapist, you will gradually learn that your fears prove generally exaggerations. However, your therapist will also teach you coping mechanisms to help deal with moments when they aren’t.

The truth is that we all occasionally find ourselves in social situations that are actually negative. Learning to deal with those moments in a proactive method. It allos the opportunity to move on and learn from the experience, much better than allowing it to stoke your fear. Fortunately, cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to give you the tools to make more positive responses possible.

It is an established fact that poor sleep patterns can and do contribute to worsening mental health conditions. Although we still don’t fully understand the role that sleep plays in our lives, all of the evidence suggests that our biological systems require regular, restful sleep to continue functioning properly. Let’s look at the importance of sleep for mental health.

Importance of Sleep for Mental Health

Unfortunately, many of the same mental health concerns linked to poor sleep, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a variety of panic disorders, also list sleep disturbances and insomnia as common side effects. The result is that many people who struggle with mental health disorders end up stuck in a vicious cycle that only aggravates their condition while physically wearing them down.

Recognizing the Problem

Life takes us all for a spin at times. Sometimes you don’t even quite know why you’re struggling so hard because you feel your life is relatively easy compared with others. Regardless of the reason, you need to give yourself permission to not be okay. That’s how you begin the process of getting the treatment you need to be your best self.

Monitoring your sleep patterns is one of the easiest ways to identify a real problem versus a simple bad day. If you’re regularly taking more than a half-hour to fall asleep, waking up throughout the night, or waking up feeling tired then there’s a good chance that you are not getting the restful sleep you need to maintain your body and your brain. This is a clear sign that you need professional sleep therapy with Soundly Sleeping.

Taking Steps to Improve Sleep

Of course, no course of medical treatment can be completely successful without the cooperation of the patient. You’ll have to do some of your own work to ensure that your cognitive behavioral therapy in Los Angeles is as effective as possible. Fortunately, all it really takes is a few minor lifestyle changes to improve your sleep hygiene and prepare yourself for success. Here are a few tricks to try out yourself.

Set a Clear Sleep Schedule

Most of us love to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends. It’s an incredibly cathartic rebellion against the rest of the week, but it isn’t actually good for us. Regardless of how adventurous you are, the truth is that your body is a creature of routine. You are far more likely to fall asleep easily if you go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day.

Avoid Electronic Devices for an Hour Before Bed

Our brains are hardwired to associate light with wakefulness. Blue light in particular appears to tell our brains it’s daytime, so our handy little smartphones are a major problem for restful sleep. In order to give your brain the chance it needs to cool its jets, use the hour before bed to take a break from digital screens.

Try Melatonin

As a non-habit sleep aid, melatonin is useful for a lot of people. Our bodies naturally produce melatonin as the day progresses. As those levels rise, we begin to feel its effects, causing us to feel increasingly tired as the evening wears on. If you’re working on a computer or using your smartphone in the evening, your levels will stay artificially low. Using a melatonin supplement can be helpful in that capacity. However, you should consult with your doctor before using melatonin if you are on other medications just to be safe.

Getting Better with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

At Cognitive Behavioral Associates, the goal is to treat the whole person. We work by recognizing potential triggers for behaviors that negatively affect your everyday life. Therapy centers around implementing a few lifestyle changes and working with your therapists. Doing this, CBT can help you to reclaim your mental health and treat the coexisting sleep disorders that are aggravating your condition.

At its best social media allows a global community of users to share ideas as well as their daily lives. Unfortunately, the same apps that have formed the basis for social movements are also known for promoting content that negatively affects user’s sense of self-worth. The most notable example of this is the growing expanse of data showing a correlation between social media usage and negative body image. It’s never healthy to compare yourself to an artfully curated version of someone else’s life. Still, some research even indicates that social media could be contributing to increased demand for body dysmorphia treatment. Let’s look at how social media affects body image.

How Social Media Affects Body Image

Social media influencers often promote perfect versions of their lives. They look perfect in every image, and they seem to be constantly engaged in some exciting new adventure. Many people view their content as inspirational, but there are a few things you might not realize about their content.

There Are Thousands of Images You Don’t See

For every image you see on Instagram or Facebook, dozens never made it to your screen. Social media influencers spend hours taking photographs to get that perfect shot that seems so effortless as you scroll by. In fact, an article by HuffPost showed that social media influencers literally take between 20 and 200 photographs to get the shot they want.

They Aren’t 100% Real

There are plenty of influencers who don’t use Photoshop to pull in their waist, fill out their curves, hide acne, or create the appearance of muscles. Sadly, there are also plenty that do. On top of that two out of every three Americans admit they alter their photographs in some way prior to posting. It may just be a filter, contrast, or a color pop, but it is not reality.

They Create Loads of Content in Relatively Short Periods of Time

This is true to an extent for most social media influencers, but the most extreme cases are definitely bodybuilders and other fitspo influencers. The content you see them releasing on a daily basis is rarely a reflection of their day-to-day life. It is far more common for fitspo influencers to spend hours swapping outfits and locations during that one week they were finally able to achieve a six-pack. For most people, that body build is simply not sustainable long term. The same can be said for social media influencers who seem to always be in new and exciting places.

Lighting and Angles Are Everything

From their makeup to their bodies, lighting and angles make a huge difference in the way influencers look on social media versus real life. They have made a living finding out how to show themselves in the best possible light. The truth is you may not recognize them if you saw them out on the street where they don’t have a ring light and a camera at the perfect height. Unfortunately, that can be hard to recognize if you’re trying to compare your real physical appearance to their curated online appearance.

Using Social Media in a Positive Manner

The vast majority of social media influencers are not trying to cause you harm. They’re projecting a version of themselves that gives them the attention they desire. That behavior is completely separate from you and should not be the basis of any comparison. The good news is that you can still enjoy their content as long as you keep reality in mind.

There are also wonderful, supportive groups on the internet that can help you to appreciate the beauty of your body. However, if you are struggling with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, seek help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in LA can help you to question the negative thoughts driving your condition and promote a healthier mindset.