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5 Reasons Why You Should Give Back

5 Reasons Why You Should Give Back

Everyone knows that giving back is a nice thing to do because it is an act of selflessness that helps the community. We also know that giving feels good, even when it is done in small ways, such as dropping some change in a collection cup or tipping a little extra at a restaurant. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that giving back can actually benefit both parties. Studies show that giving back can improve one’s overall health. It can also help increase one’s gratitude, promote social connection, advance one’s political career, and provide a sense of fulfillment.

5 Reasons Giving Back Can Help You

#1. In studies, giving back to the community has been proven to help improve both one’s mental and physical health. When you are having a meaningful connection with another person, you’re going to be letting go of the stress that may have been building up without you even knowing. This can help you feel lighter and can alleviate symptoms of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Giving back has also been linked to a hormone called oxytocin, which is associated with happiness, warmth, and euphoria. When you help someone else, you might experience symptoms related to oxytocin release for more than an hour afterward.

Giving back to the community can be beneficial to one’s physical health for several reasons. When someone is in a better state of mind, they will be more likely to make positive decisions regarding their health, whether that be through fitness or nutrition. Additionally, someone who regularly gives back will likely be staying more active, which can decrease their risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and other diseases related to an overly sedentary lifestyle.

#2. Giving back is a great way to remember to practice gratitude. Everyone has their own set of problems, and it can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-pity. However, when you give to the less fortunate, you are likely going to see that you have it better off than many people. Working with people who struggle to afford basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter can remind you to be grateful for the more simple things in life. Working with someone who is sick, disabled, or terminally ill can make you grateful to be healthy, able-bodied, and alive. The more grateful an individual is, the more resilient they will be to stress, and the more likely they will be to experience strong mental health.

#3. When you give back to others, you’re going to be making strong, positive social connections, which can make you feel more connected to the community and can lead to long-lasting friendships. The friends you make along the way might even be able to support you in different ways in the future.

#4. While it might not be the main reason you choose to give back, helping others can actually help you career-wise in the future. Not only does volunteer work look great on a college application or resume, but the networking you do along the way may be able to help you score a job in the future.

#5. Do you ever feel as if you’re lacking purpose or don’t really know what your place is in the world? When you give back, you will experience a sense of fulfillment. It will remind you that you are an important member of the community and are capable of making positive changes in the world. This in turn can increase your sense of self-esteem.

Some Ideas of Ways to Give Back

Do you want to give back but don’t know where to start? Start thinking about what you are passionate about and go from there. Here are some ideas that may be a good fit for you:

  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter or donate some supplies that they need
  • Visit somebody in a nursing home that has no family left
  • Write a letter to a soldier thanking them for their service
  • Help serve a meal at a local soup kitchen
  • Donate canned goods and other supplies to a food pantry
  • Go through your closet and donate clothes you no longer wear to a homeless shelter
  • Help sponsor a family over the holidays
  • Donate school supplies that can be used by children who can’t afford any

Remember, you don’t necessarily need to donate lots of your time or money to still experience the benefits of giving back. Start small and don’t take on more than you can realistically manage and you will experience amazing results.

While giving back to the community is a selfless act, it can benefit both parties. When you help someone else, you experience a multitude of positive results, including better mental and physical health, a greater sense of gratitude for what you have, strong social connections, networking that can lead to professional growth, and a greater sense of self-purpose and fulfillment. Giving back doesn’t only make you feel good and helps strengthen the community, but it is a way of focusing on something positive and learning that you can make a positive difference in the world when you set your mind to it. Some examples of ways to give back include helping out at a soup kitchen, volunteering at an animal shelter, or donating food to those in need. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, our team at Achieve Concierge can help. Call (858) 221-0344 today to learn more. 

Managing Academic Stress in College

In 2020, approximately 20 million students were projected to be enrolled in colleges across the United States. The transition from high school to college that new cohorts of students go through every year can be an overwhelming change, filled with new faces, ideas, and experiences. Although there are many great things about college, such as increasing your chances of obtaining a stable, well-paying job, considerable stress is commonplace. 

 

Finding time to adjust and enjoy this new phase of your life can feel impossible, especially if your curriculum is jam-packed with readings, assignments, and exams. Some students need to work part-time to make ends meet, while others are struggling to get by with a mental health challenge. The good news is that there are many strategies and tools at your disposal to manage stress during your academic studies.

 

Recognizing ‘Normal’ Stress & Anxiety 

 

Although most people might think that stress is a bad thing, it is completely natural. It can even help you. By forcing you to become alert and focused in the event of a threat, you will be prepared to respond readily. For example, maybe you’ve felt stress due to an upcoming exam, but it pushed you to organize your schedule and carve out ample time to study.

 

Stress tends to last for short periods, and you can normally pinpoint what’s causing it (like that upcoming exam). Anxiety results from stress and can linger for longer periods. Determining the exact cause can be tricky. Symptoms of both conditions can be similar and may include increased heart rate, perspiration, and breathing, anxious thoughts, and irritability, feeling overwhelmed, tense, and restless, and general unhappiness coupled with a sense of dread.

 

It is important to monitor your stress and anxiety levels to ensure that your mental health is not beginning to deteriorate. Anxiety and depression are common disorders in the United States and these can severely impact your academic performance. If you continue to have daily disturbances due to stress and anxiety despite your best attempts to alleviate it through coping mechanisms, it may be time to get some help. Here are some red flags to be aware of:  

 

  • Excessive anxiety that undermines the completion of daily tasks  
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope or escape 
  • Having irrational fears and intrusive thoughts
  • Significant changes in sleeping, eating, or personal hygiene habits
  • Having a prolonged low mood and feeling out of control
  • Self-harming, thinking about self-harming or suicide 

 

The Importance of Working-Memory 

 

Stress is a natural part of the college experience. However, it is a leading cause of poor performance among students. Stressful academic situations can “reduce the working memory available to attend to a task’s information processing requirements and to control its execution.” This is important because working memory allows a student to focus on the immediate task at hand, like retaining a sequence of events while trying to understand the main idea of a story.

 

Another example could be completing several steps of mental arithmetic necessary to solve the problem at large. In other words, working memory allows a person to keep a small amount of information in mind to be used at a moment’s notice. Although it might not seem that important, it is central to being able to plan, comprehend, reason, and problem-solve. Therefore, anything that disrupts this process (i.e., stress) can hinder the production of high-quality work and your ability to score high on an exam. In stress-filled environments, the brain’s working memory is in a game of tug-o-war between task execution and performance-related worries. 

 

Take Advantage of Campus Resources

 

Some stress may indeed be unavoidable, but getting a handle on it and ensuring you know how to deal with it healthily and consistently is essential to your mental health and grades. Most colleges and universities have numerous resources on-campus that are available to students free of charge. Check out your school’s mental health and psychiatric services, which may include options like prescribed medications and individual, group, art, and music therapies. You’ll have the opportunity to express your concerns, get creative, build inter-and intrapersonal skills, and develop healthy strategies for dealing with academic stress.

 

 Finding time to be active and social is also essential to your physical and mental well-being, so find out about your school’s gym, sports teams, clubs, cultural events, and volunteer opportunities. A final piece of advice is to get organized. Taking a little time to plan your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly schedule can make a world of difference when it comes to stress during the college experience. This will help you not only gain a sense of control over your life but also keep you on track to achieving your goals. Importantly, you’ll never miss a deadline again!

 

Millions of American students enroll in college each year.  A world of new faces, opinions, lifestyles, and ideas await them as they make their transition. The experience can be frightening, exciting, and adjusting can be downright challenging. As students embark on this new academic chapter, they will discover the great opportunities college has to offer, as well as the intense stress that comes along with it. Stress and anxiety are unavoidable aspects of the human experience. It helps us respond to threats and pushes us to get work done. Nonetheless, school can become so overwhelming that it impairs academic performance and mental health. Although there are often resources on campuses to help manage these stressors, some students need more support. If you or your child is struggling during this important time of their life, Achieve Concierge is here to help. Our flexible and same-day services are perfect for students’ hectic schedules. Schedule a consultation with us today: (858) 221-0344

ocd

How is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Different from Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes a person to experience uncontrollable and recurring thoughts or behaviors, even when they know they are excessive. While some thoughts and behaviors related to OCD are anxiety-induced, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes a person to worry without engaging in obsessive or compulsive behaviors to cope.

The main differences between OCD and GAD depend on three criteria: the content of anxiety, the adhesiveness of thoughts, and if compulsive behavior is involved. OCD and GAD can significantly interfere with a person’s daily responsibilities, work or school performance, and relationships. 

How OCD Can Affect a Person’s Life

When a person who suffers from OCD tries to stop their obsessive behavior or compulsions, feelings of distress and anxiety can increase, heightening the urge to perform the obsession or compulsive behavior, which amplifies anxiety. The impulsive feelings keep coming back and can lead to more ritualistic behavior. According to the Mayo Clinic, “OCD, usually considered a lifelong disorder, can have mild to moderate symptoms or be so severe and time-consuming that it becomes disabling.”

Some obsessive symptoms can include:

  • Fear of germs
  • Urge to have things orderly and neat
  • Aggressive and unwanted thoughts
  • Intense stress when objects are not orderly or facing a certain way
  • Strong desire to follow a strict routine or ritual
  • Need to check and re-check, such as locking doors or turning off stove
  • Excessive hand washing or cleaning

OCD symptoms can worsen with increased stress. An individual with OCD might turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve symptoms, increasing the risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD). 

What Causes OCD?

OCD leads to repeated, continuous, and redundant thoughts, urges, or intrusive images and causes anguish or anxiety. Symptoms vary in severity and can begin in early childhood. Routines and rituals are normal and can help stabilize a child’s expectations and worldview; however, when a child has OCD, obsessive thoughts and compulsive habits become severe and interfere with daily activities, relationships, and typical development.

The exact cause of OCD is unknown; however, OCD tends to run in families; it can be caused by genetics. In some cases, streptococcal, a type of bacteria, can lead to infections and may trigger OCD or make it worse. 

OCD is a brain problem that results from not having enough serotonin in the brain. Individuals who were emotionally, physically, or sexually abused or experienced other trauma are susceptible to OCD. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges and substance use disorders are also linked to OCD.

How GAD Can Affect a Person’s Life

Anxiety is normal. It helps us get out of harm’s way and prepare for important events. It warns us when we need to take action. However, if you have persistent, irrational, and overwhelming anxiety that interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

People with GAD experience persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worries that go on every day, possibly all day. They feel it’s beyond their control. People with GAD also often expect the worst, even when there is no reason for any concern. Their worrying occurs on more days than not for at least six months and often concerns health, family, money, or work. The exaggerated, unrelenting worrying interferes with everyday living. Physical symptoms often accompany it and include restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. However, despite the anxiety, those who suffer from GAD do not engage in obsessive and compulsive behavior. 

GAD can affect all areas of life, including social, work, school, and family. According to a national survey conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, seven out of ten people with GAD agreed their chronic anxiety impacted their relations with spouses or significant others. Two-thirds also reported that GAD harmed their friendships.

What Causes GAD?

The exact cause for GAD is unknown. Scientists believe that biological factors, family background, and life experiences are all involved. Stress can also play a factor in developing GAD. Even the stress of positive events, such as buying a new house, can trigger symptoms in those predisposed to the disorder. 

Treatment for OCD and GAD

A doctor may prescribe medication, or the patient may need a combination of different types of psychotherapy, medication, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to effectively treat OCD symptoms. OCD can co-occur with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and SUD. 

At Achieve Concierge, our clinicians may recommend a combination of CBT, mindfulness exercises, medications, and other therapies to treat GAD. In doing so, we help our patients discover the best ways to manage their anxiety symptoms.

 

A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle can help ease symptoms of anxiety and OCD-related compulsions and fear. OCD and GAD can interfere with work or school performance, interrupt relationships, and negatively impact home life. OCD and GAD are treatable, and most people benefit from medication, psychotherapy, and CBT. Our compassionate medical staff at Achieve Concierge is dedicated to the best option for your needs. At Achieve Concierge, we offer treatment to help you manage obsessive thoughts and compulsions. We offer same-day appointments in person and telemedicine appointments if you prefer to stay at home due to COVID-19 protocols. We take a holistic approach to treatment and believe in treating you as a whole person. Our members experience a continuum of care that addresses not only healing for the mind but the body and spirit as well. We want to help you determine the best course of action to treat your OCD or GAD symptoms. To discover more about our services, call us at (858) 221-0344.