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Do Cold Showers Reduce Anxiety? And What Does Science Say About Cold Baths?

cold water and anxiety

cold water and anxiety image from kwisepsychology.com

Taking cold showers every day in the morning is one of the best habits I developed in 2015.

Any person who went to a public school in my country may argue with me and say, “but it is a norm to take a cold shower in the morning and the evening while you are a high school student?” yes it is a norm but after school, I  promised myself to never again. Furthermore, it was one of the many punishments.

Initially, it was hard to start like it is for any other worthwhile habit, but I can admit the results are worth it. I recognize that no one knows about tomorrow but it is also very important to take care of your body. You know, there is no space for that.

And thanks to this habit, my confidence is much higher than before, am more alert than I used to be, I sleep a lot much better except when I consume a lot of sugars (that is a topic for another day), not to mention my skin which is much clear.

Probably if I got a time machine, I would tell that to my younger self, “Don’t stop taking cold showers after high school.”

But I can still do something with the experience I have so far with cold showers. I can explore the relationship between anxiety and cold showers in relation to the scientific studies and research done in the past relating the two topics.

Below are the opinions and thoughts of the contributors here at kwisepsychology.com, and science regarding cold showers and anxiety.

Exposure to cold showers reduces stress

In the area of mental health and mental health studies, stress and anxiety are birds of the same feather.

Your stress levels tend to rise when you are anxious, and the vice versa is true.

But wait, what is one of the ways to improve your anxiety levels? Simply by becoming less stressed.

In a study constituting 12 males where the stress levels are monitored through the cortisol and Chromogranin levels in the saliva, they reduced significantly after having a cold bath.

Of course, reducing stressors and becoming less stressed is not as easy as it may sound, but exposure to cold water has been shown to reduce stress from the past research done on the same.

Cold baths activate the sympathetic nervous system

Am pretty sure that those with basic knowledge of the nervous system will agree with me on this; activation of the nervous system by cold water increases the levels of the feel-good hormone (Beta-endorphin) and Noradrenaline.

These two hormones inhibit anxious behaviors in animals.

Cold showers and sleep

depositphotos.com

image from: depositphotos.com

For many years; almost all my years of my existence, I have suffered from sleeping difficulties. And for this, I can assure you that sleep is one of the most underrated weapons to brace yourself when fighting mental health issues. Sleep is fundamental to wellness and well-being.

I can trade all my earthly possessions to nights of good sleep.

Enough sleep for a night assures you more happiness, more energy, and a clear mind for the activities of the next day.

The days that I have had good sleep I look forward to the next day; I feel better, happy, great, and also I can enjoy my meals and time with friends and family.

The opposite of this is also very true.

The days that I don’t get enough sleep, I often feel like crap and very anxious over small issues; at work or social places.

One of the hormones that make an individual have difficulties to sleep is the cortisol when they are high. Cold showers are therefore great for your sleep as they lower cortisol levels.

Normally, the cortisol levels should be down in the evenings, but due to lifestyles, this is not the case for most of us. You can therefore try cold showers in the evening to increase the quality of your sleep.

Cold baths help you boost confidence

Forget about alcohol, cold showers are the real liquid confidence booster. This is mainly due to the dopamine pathway stimulation from exposure to cold water.

Dopamine is a strong neurotransmitter; it gives that ‘feel good’ feeling when you achieve set goals or something that you have always wanted to achieve.

Cold showers cause the dopamine levels to increase making you feel the sense of accomplishment. This alone boosts your confidence making your anxiety to be suppressed.

Cold baths help in fighting fear

Most people with anxiety complain of the fear of the unknown; social anxiety? When you are confused about how a conversation would end or having a stage flight in fear of how the audience will react.

All these are very normal and should not worry you that much. At least with time and practice, they come to an end.

So what is my argument here? Cold showers are quite scary at the beginning, and to some people, they are equal to a nightmare. But with time, you get used to this fear and overcome it, you end up enjoying cold baths.

My point is, by practicing having cold showers; you will train your brain that the outcome is not as bad as you have it in your head.

Conclusion

You will agree with me that anxiety sucks!

And this is not the complete cure for anxiety, at least not absolute cure.

But at least it adds up to your tools of fighting and coping with anxiety.

Cheers!

Shareh

HOW DO YOU COPE WITH HURT?

“Just remember to focus your energy and time on something constructive; building yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and most important MENTALLY!”

Shareh Wanjau

When you are hurt, it is much easier for you to fall into a norm of allowing the person who hurt you to dominate your thoughts and actions. You are likely to notice the decisions you are making are because of this person. I know this because it happened to me too when I had not learned how to cope with hurt.

Unfortunately, we are hurt by people we care about, love, and trust the most. Hurt can come from different traits; manipulative, untrustworthy, abusive friends, partners, or even parents. If you have been trying your best to break this cycle, then here are some of the tips that may be of help to you.

How To Cope With Hurt

How to cope with hurt

Kwisepsychology.com How to cope with hurt

1. Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is necessary and should be your first step to coping with any form of hurt. This helps you consciously move forward from emotional baggage is pulling you down. It does not translate to ignoring the situation or forgetting about it, no. it is more of consciously acknowledging the actions and events, and making the decision of moving forward to prevent the past baggage from drawing you back. It does not mean that the one forgiving is weak or is the one in the wrong, but it helps you to let go hurt and anger that a particular event may have caused.

Here is an affirmation you have to always remember when forgiving, ‘I am well aware that this person did hurt me. I know what this made me feel. I am not in a position to change what happened. I am not in a position to control how this person might behave in now or in the future but I will not be bogged down one more time. I will focus on me and I refuse to let this person rob my joy in the coming days.’

2. Don’t expect an apology.

This is where most of us go wrong, expecting too much from people. It’s true that an apology is the least to expect and some people do acknowledge their mistake and end up apologizing, however, it’s offending if it becomes a repeat. And also feels like an empty apology and even more annoying if done more than once. This takes me back in my younger days with my brothers; of which one was and, still is quiet and quick to anger while the other one was always the one causing trouble. Of course one of them would get annoyed and hit the other and mom would scold the hitter and ask him to apologize, later my brother would make faces when mom looks away. You know why? Because he wanted to offend and the apology was never genuine in the first place.  

Kwisepsychology.com quotes

Kwisepsychology.com quotes

And this is how most people are; they will always apologize for the guilt of being caught and want to improve their relations and the situation. yes, there are people who genuinely recognize what they have done is wrong and end up giving genuine apologies, though you can always tell the difference between a sincere apology and a fake one. However, when you don’t expect an apology from people, you can never be hurt because you expect anything, good or bad, and this way you get to be in charge of your own happiness.

3. Understand that happiness comes from within.

Kwisepsychology.com quotes

If you follow our posts, by now you should understand the emphasis I put on being in charge of your own happiness, your mental and physical, and mental health. You can make a list of the things you find joy in doing, and focus on them. They can be focusing on your career, education, documenting your story in a book, new hobbies, or whatever else that you may be interested in. Just remember to focus your energy and time on something constructive; building yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and most important MENTALLY!. As your brain is the focal point of all the other elements.

4. Come into terms with the fact that whatever is going on with them is all about them.

This also means that whatever is happening to you is about you, but wait; this does not mean that the people hurting you should be disrespectful. It means that you should identify the role of these people in your life, the reason they are in your life, and address that. You should be able to cut the ties from toxic relationships; may it be family or friendship. You are the one who knows how deep the hurt is, but not them. The safest thing to do is shutting doors from the hurtful people and protecting yourself. Look at it this way, if you have a shield and I attempt to throw a knife at you, would it stab you? Probably not.  

5. Understand your self-worth.

This should have been at the top, but all are relevant tips. If you don’t know your value, then any value is okay with you, and you have to respect yourself to earn respect from others. You have to understand that you are the pilot of your own life; you get to decide who is worth your time and who is not. Don’t get me wrong here, when I say you have to decide, I mean it. Just because someone is family does not mean you will be stuck together till the end of times.

The other day we were talking about hurt from close people and a friend gave a story of the brother and referred to him as a ‘toxic sibling’ he also said the family is at peace when he is from a distant. Though whenever he needs help they are always ready to help him out, he brings tears when he is close. I quote her, “you see he has always been a narcissist and everything he thinks it’s about him. There is one time he tried to change and no one knew that he was faking; he got so close to mom and turned her against everyone else close to her in the family. He is not a bad person; he is a father, a brother, an employer. These days he never tries to change and he respects the boundaries, what is worse is that he never recognizes his mistakes at any given time.”

6. Know that when people hurt you, they do their damage and move on with life.

In most cases, the hurt person curls up in their cocoons of hurt and mixed feelings forgetting that life moves on after that. During the period of hurt, your actions and withdrawal may be hurting other people who care about you. Hurt does not last forever, and life has to continue after you are hurt, so be cheerful, forgive, and strive to be happy. It’s a beautiful world.

 

 

How Do You Explain To Your Children The Ambiguous Loss Of Part Of The School Year?

The psychologists proved ways to help your children understand ambiguous loss of any kind

Rituals have been that we look forward to the moments when we come together with families and friends in celebration of life’s’ accomplishments, to mark the beginning of new commitments, or even to say goodbye to our loved ones or our new norms. We are experts when it comes to throwing our caps in the air during graduation ceremonies, dancing at wedding parties, or even shed tone of tears during funerals.

However, in 2020 things are kind of taking a different toll all together; graduations, classes, meetings, and other forms of gatherings all taking place on a virtual. To some, it is more intense since the education is in a pose mode, end of grade/class parties have also been canceled.

Well, by now you might be asking yourself, why I chose the term ‘ambiguous loss’. This is a term coined by the University of Minnesota, Pauline Boss, to describe a substantial loss that is not recoverable. Some of these scenarios are loss of a loved one, missing one warrior in action in times of war. Ambiguous loss is also fit to describe what we are going through at the moment from all over the world. We all like to have a higher degree of certainty that we are lacking at the moment.

Being awarded your certificate in 2020 will not feel the same as it has been in the past years. With almost all the countries having closed schools from kindergarten to the tertiary level, and the passing over to the next level being virtual, students will not have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends as it has been the norm. this is not the case to the majority of countries and especially the less developed including my own, Kenya. Education is at standstill and students, parents’, and teachers have to wait a while longer before they are sure of getting back to school.

But, how can families help in supporting children in response to the confusion of these endings? The team at kwisepsychology.com has come up with some of the best suggestions:

 

1. Discuss The Ambiguity Involved At The Moment With Your Family

To cope with the ambiguous loss, it is wise to get to recognize that it is not possible to be in control of the situation or that we are not in a position to change what is already happening. When we understand this, we can easily adapt to the new norm of having to live virtually with people that have always been around us; extended families, friends or even teachers although being physically absent. We can all acknowledge that we are missing a whole bunch of the obvious things but at the same time embrace the new way of living.

It is more difficult for children to contemplate this ambiguity as compared to most adults. Families can help children by discussing and acknowledging the range of emotions they are experiencing during this time and touching in detail on possible outcomes. This includes the sense of loss that may come and give them hope for a better thing to come in the future.

 

2. Actively Engage Your Child In Decision Making

Often, we leave our children with a limited voice with the happenings with their lies. However, with all that is happening, we can allow them to help make decisions on their own regarding what to do with their free time during this period. This includes whom to talk to, how to organize their schoolwork at home, among others.

Take time to work with your child and understand some of the decisions that they can make on their own, take time to understand their strengths and their weaknesses. This is very important especially in moments of vulnerability where they will be in a position of focusing on what they can do.

 

3. Explore Prospects For Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is always associated with improved well-being, happiness, mental health, and stronger relationships. Parents can, therefore, come up with things that kids will be grateful for, even amid the pandemic and other unpredictable loss of time that may occur. As a parent, you can present light moments such as FaceTime with a school friend, and also showing gratitude towards others.

 

4. Approach Your Children And Yourself With Love

There are no written rules or blueprints on how to manage during this period. However, an easy-going touch of compassion and support is one of the best ways to improve your connections and build a sense of value and worth to those around you and especially the children.

 

As hard and painful as the times are, the beauty of 2020 is that we are all in this together. Due to this shared experience, we can look up to ourselves as well as others and build communities both inside and outside our homes to help us through during this time. May it be emotional, spiritual, or material support. We are all in this together.

 

6 Best Healthy Ways To Kill Boredom In Lock-Down and Quarantine

As social beings we are, being locked up in our homes is definitely an anxiety building block to most of us. As social interactions and physical interactions become limited to family and close friends, we often find ourselves overthinking and complicating things than they already are. Besides, loneliness is more common and especially if you are alone in lock down and the days and nights only gets tougher. We cannot ignore the boredom that accompanies the loneliness in both lock don and quarantine when you are alone or with your family.

However, it is wise to take a minute or two and reflect on how we really feel to be in a position to work on these feelings and improve to better. The team at kwisepsychology.com has gathered some activities that you can do alone or with your family to ease the boredom. Always remember the more you stay engaged, the more you will feel alive and hence less bored.

1. Move your body

Exercises benefits you both physically and psychologically, and there is a wide range of ways to exercise, whether alone or with family. You only have to pick your favorite.

Photo Credit NMG

Here are some of the fun work outs;

  • Search for Zumba sessions on YouTube. There is a variety of Zumba vloggers and videos in the internet and you will only have to pick the one you find interesting. Zumba is fun and enjoyable… you only feel a little tired later.
  • Take a belly dancing sessions from the internet. It will certainly make you feel good, boost your self-esteem and feel more desirable afterwards. Also, there is no shortage of belly dancing lessons from the internet.
  • Take morning runs or jogs this ensures that your day kicks off in an active mode. You can also take mid-day or evening walks away from the busy streets and appreciate it.
  • Search for yoga and meditation sessions from the internet and make it a routine. You can always put aside few minutes from your norm and practice yoga and meditation.

2. Learn to cook with your heart

Enjoy learning and trying new recipes and don’t be afraid to fail. You can enjoy this even when you are not a natural or a professional cuisine chef. The joy in this comes naturally more so when you love good food, who does not enjoy good foods anyway? Have you tried Mexican tortilla soup? Or waking up to the aroma of Kenyan samosa for breakfast?

You have been missing much in life, and it’s high time you try some of these fine dishes having crafted from the scratch.

3. Enroll for short online courses

There are different platforms that you can register or enroll to credible online courses that will improve your social skills, career, life skills or even basic technical skills such as designing or coding.

Some of these platforms offer free courses and all you have to give is your time and commitment to the, and within few days to weeks you have mastered a new skill. Learning a new skill is a healthy way of killing time and also enriching your skills, you can also pay a small fee to get a certificate thus enriching your resume.

4. Learn new languages

Do you want to tour the world without the need of a translator when the pandemic is over? Then all you need to do is search for an app and start learning a new language or register for an online class. Leaning a new language will not only help you kill your time, it will also add to the list of your skills and your resume. You can choose one or two of the UN languages.

5. Explore your artistic side

One of the famous quotes in art by Pablo Picasso claims “that every child is an artist, but the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Therefore you don’t need to be a professional artist to produce an original piece of art.

All you need is to devote your time to creating. Art allows us to find ourselves and lose yourself at the same time- thus it is not the final result that counts but the process of arriving to the final piece which has a therapeutic effect to your mind and helps in stress and boredom therapy.

When drawing, coloring or painting, you will express your feelings to the process which is the definition of therapy.

6. Save the world by fighting boredom

Your free time, your energy, skills and motivation is what the world needs during the crisis. The world need saving in many ways and your skills and ideas is exactly what the world needs.

You can save the universe in your way and remotely from your house. Some of the ways that one can save the world are;-

  • spread mental health awareness
  • sensitize people on social problems such as domestic violence, cyber bullying online
  • spread kindness, fight condemn immorality
  • educate other people on your best skills
  • take part in a volunteer program
  • start a support initiative etc.