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Gratitude Is the Best Weapon to Fight FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Even during the best of times, many of us daydream about being somewhere else, doing something that’s more fun or more exciting than whatever we’re doing right now. Then came the pandemic, which put everyone’s plans on hold. People aren’t working, traveling, or living normal lives.

For those of us who have been sheltering at home, away from our normal circles, social media has become one of the only ways to connect with others. Many of us can spend a few minutes scrolling through our friends’ feeds, enjoying seeing what they’re up to. But if you suffer from FOMO, seeing pictures of your friends hanging out, traveling, and looking like they’re having fun, it can trigger a sense of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety.

FOMO Has Been Around a Long Time

A marketing professor coined the phrase “fear of missing out” in the 1990s, but the concept has been around much longer than that. It’s why Cinderella wanted to go to the ball. FOMO is what advertisers use to get us to buy or use certain products. They try to convince us that our lives will be less interesting without what they’re selling.

Social media has made things worse. People with FOMO spend time scrolling through their friends’ social media feeds to see them doing things they wish they were doing. It can lead to jealousy and low self-esteem. Over time, it affects how you view reality: no matter what you have, it just isn’t enough.

It is important to remember that most people post their best times and highlights on social media. Reminding yourself that you’re seeing a heavily edited and “airbrushed” version of reality may help you cope.

FOMO and Mental Health

Girl Looking Through the Window

Some people dismiss FOMO and shrug it off. But for others, continued comparison of what others have, or are doing, can also lead to mental health issues like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Jealousy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Compulsive behavior

Fighting FOMO

Notebook With Grateful for in Handwritten Text

No one has to suffer from FOMO. You have the power to work through those feelings, even in a pandemic.

Limit Your Social Media

Bubbles And Notifications of Social Media

Staying off social media is the best, but the most challenging coping mechanism for some. And it’s even more difficult now that it’s not safe to see people in person.

You can also take these other steps:

  1. Set a time limit. It’s important to take breaks instead of refreshing and scrolling through your feed endlessly.

  2. Don’t just scroll through people’s lives. Interact with your friends.

  3. Find accounts that are inspirational, positive, or related to your life goals and follow those.

Change your thinking — This can be done with some practice

  1. Practice gratitude. Taking steps to be more grateful, like starting a gratitude journal, is one of the best ways to practice self-care. Over time, you can realign your thinking.

  2. Practice mindfulness. Think of safe activities that can bring you joy during the pandemic and take steps to do them.

  3. It’s all relative. The pandemic has forced us to do things we’re not used to for nearly a year. But that year is a short period when compared to how long we’ve lived and how much longer we have to live.

  4. Focus on your goals. Think about everything you want to accomplish, how you plan to achieve them, and take the first step. Remember, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Talk to Someone

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Hearing a voice or seeing someone on the other side of the screen can make a world of difference when we’re feeling down. It can be a friend, a family member, or someone you trust.

AltaMed is Here for You

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We understand how difficult things are right now. The stressors surrounding us don’t have to be faced alone. AltaMed has licensed clinical social workers who speak English and Spanish and they’re trained to help you cope with life’s stressors and get you through a rough time. To learn more about our services, call us today at (855) 425-1777.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders: Know the Different Types and Symptoms

The past few months have been challenging. As a result, many of us, including children, parents, and seniors, are experiencing feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

Occasional anxiety over recent events, on top of additional personal stress, is normal. However, the feelings of anxiety caused by an anxiety disorder, do not go away and can worsen over time. These feelings of anxiety can interfere with your daily life and may be difficult to control.

Knowing the difference between normal fears or worries and anxiety disorders is important and can help you recognize them and seek treatment.

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Worried Man

Each type of anxiety disorder has its own unique symptoms:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

A person with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) has frequent or constant feelings of worry and anxiety about issues, such as health, work, social interactions, or everyday situations. These feelings can cause problems in areas of your life such as school, work, and social interactions. In some cases, people with GAD have experienced these feelings since childhood or adolescence, while in other cases, they may have been triggered by temporary stress.

Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling irritable
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tense muscles
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks are periods of intense fear that can occur suddenly. Over time, they can be triggered by certain situations. A person with panic disorder has repeated and unexpected panic attacks, and often worries about when the next attack will happen.

During a panic attack, some people may experience:

  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Feelings of being out of control
  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heart rate
  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking

Phobia-related Disorders

A phobia is an intense fear caused by a specific object or situation. Common phobias include flying and heights, but people can develop phobias regarding almost anything. People with phobias feel fear that is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by that situation or object. People with a phobia may:

  • Experience an irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
  • Endure unavoidable objects and situations with intense anxiety or dread
  • Experience immediate, intense anxiety upon encountering the feared object or situation
  • Take steps to avoid the feared object or situation

Know the Risk Factors

Anxiety Symptoms in the Hands

The risk factors for each type of anxiety disorder can vary, but some general risk factors for all types of anxiety disorders can include:

  • A family or genetic history of anxiety or other mental illnesses
  • Consumption of caffeine or medications (such as certain steroids or over-the-counter cold remedies) that can produce anxiety-like effects
  • Exposure to stressful and negative events in early childhood or adulthood
  • Health conditions, such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias

Actions You Can Take

Video Call on Mobile Phone

While you can’t predict what will cause anxiety disorders to develop, you can take the following steps to help reduce the impact of symptoms if you are anxious:

  • Avoid alcohol or drug use since it can cause or worsen anxiety.
  • Make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep, since poor sleep quality, insomnia, or sleep deprivation may increase your risks.
  • Our social interactions have been limited during the last few months but talking with friends over the phone and doing things that you enjoy while staying safe may help reduce your worries.
  • Seek help early if you are experiencing symptoms that don’t go away.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you should work with your doctor to choose the best treatment for you. In addition to psychotherapy or medication, there are other ways that you may benefit from when dealing with an anxiety disorder.

  • Support groups. A support group alone is not a substitute for therapy. But, in conjunction with other treatment, joining a support group and sharing your experiences with others could benefit you.
  • Meditation and techniques to manage stress. These can help people with anxiety disorders calm themselves and enhance the effects of therapy.

We Are Here to Support You

Doctor and Patient

Your mental health is important. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing occasional anxiety or an anxiety disorder, you can call AltaMed Behavioral Health Services directly at (855) 425-1777. We are here for you, and together we can find the answers you need.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

Sad Woman

Grief, Sadness, and Your Mental Health

California has recently announced plans to safely reopen businesses, schools, stores, and churches. However, it will still be a long time before we recover from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if we’ve stayed healthy, many of us are dealing with great uncertainty and have suffered great losses – the death of a loved one, losing a job, or having to give up a lifestyle we loved. And for many of us, the current state of our country, the treatment of its Black citizens, and the differences in health care access for Latino and Black communities during this crisis has added to what is already a difficult and frightening situation. With all of these factors, many of us may be experiencing sadness and grief. Over time, these painful emotions can come to the surface and affect our ability to live a normal life.

So, how do we manage and transition into a healthy state of mind? Learning how to recognize these emotions and understand what purpose they serve can help you get through it.

A Healthy Life Depends on a Healthy Mind

Senior Man Looking Out the Window

Your mental health matters and must be a priority in your life: it’s essential to acknowledge that taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.

Mental health issues don’t just make us feel bad, emotionally. They can lead to physical problems, such as fatigue, insomnia, headaches, nausea, pain, and even lasting issues like high blood pressure. While you may want to run away from, bury, or ignore painful emotions, acknowledging them and making an effort to deal with them can make a huge difference in recovering a healthy balanced life.

Get to Know the Difference Between Grief and Sadness

Man With Sorrow and Sadness

We all know how it feels to be sad – sadness is a very natural emotion, and it is usually in response to some event in our lives. Believe it or not, feeling sad can be positive. Sadness can help us heal while we are going through difficult times. Unfortunately, if sadness lasts for too long, it can lead to depression.

Like sadness, grief is a natural reaction to the loss of someone or something significant to us. But unlike sadness, grief isn’t one particular feeling: grief can make you feel sad, angry, powerless, bitter, anxious, or even numb. Grief can even take over your brain and lead to thoughts that can make you feel uncomfortable. Too much grief can be overwhelming, and it can lead to depression or physical problems.

How to Start Healing

Grief and Sadness in Couple

Grieving is an individual process, and it can take some time before you feel like you’re back to normal. While grieving, there are a few things you can do to help yourself and recover:

Taking care of your physical health will reflect on your emotions: Adding simple, healthy habits such as drinking more water, eating healthier, working out, or trying to get more sleep at night can have a positive effect on your mood.

Try to live your life: it’s important to remember the things you used to do, and what made you happy. Even if you don’t feel good, going for a walk, reading a good book, or watching your favorite movie may bring you some joy. Allow yourself to be happy.

Find support from your family and friends: even though grieving is a personal process, seek understanding and companionship from someone close to you, especially if you are feeling lonely. Don’t be afraid of sharing your feelings and connecting with others.

Be patient with the process: There’s no time-table for grief. For some people, grief can last a long time, especially if it is due to the death of someone close. In fact, you may never get completely over it: hearing a song or remembering the anniversary of an event can make your grief more intense, even if you thought you were over it. But over time, the pain lessens. It may take years before the pain of grief goes away completely.

Go to therapy: Sometimes, grief can affect your ability to live a healthy life, and you may need extra support from a professional. Talk to your doctor or find a therapist if:

  • Your grief prevents you from doing normal, daily activities, such as going to work, keeping your house in order, or caring for yourself
  • You socially withdraw from people in your life
  • You feel like life isn’t worth living
  • You think about hurting yourself

A therapist can help you deal with your emotions and teach you ways to cope until you are feeling better.

Help is Always Available

Grief Sadness Hands

If you are having a hard time with your grief, you don’t know how to cope with sadness, or you feel like you may be depressed, we can help. Reach out to our Behavioral Health team at (855) 425-1777. We are here for you, and we want you to grow healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel like you could be a harm to yourself or others, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

Gratitude Is the Best Weapon to Fight FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)