Coping With Stress and Anxiety in the Modern World

Stress. Something each individual inevitably falls victim to throughout their career. For some its presence is so strongly felt that it eventually begins to take control of their life. Every decision they make dominated by their increased levels of cortisol. Stress is like that bully on the playground you might have dealt with in school as a child or a coarse coworker in the workplace. As a teenager growing up in today's world I've dealt with both so I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about. For now let's address whatever form of stress you experience as Billy and figure out a way to defeat him together. 

"When the hypothalamus identifies a stressor, such as your history teacher announcing a pop quiz, it instructs the pituitary gland to secrete cortisol."

In order to intercept Billy its important to learn just how he operates. Your nervous system can be compared to a busy highway. Information is constantly being received, processed, and transmitted. When the hypothalamus identifies a stressor, such as your history teacher announcing a pop quiz, it instructs the pituitary gland to secrete cortisol. This command is passed on to the adrenal glands (which produce stress hormones) via the bloodstream. The aforementioned process is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or HPA axis for short. 

Cortisol is distributed with the use of receptors, which are located almost everywhere in our bodies. It has to bind to the receptors in order to get the job done efficiently. It retreats back to the adrenal glands after your receptors have determined that enough has been released. This act is known as negative feedback. 

Cortisol is also required to complete regular body functions on a daily basis. Our cortisol levels peak early in the morning and slowly decline over the course of the day. While we're sleeping cortisol levels begin to rise again in time for the morning. This is the natural rhythm our bodies follow. Our circadian rhythm. 

Now if you've skimmed over everything else in this post about now would be the time to start paying attention. Here's where the somewhat useful information comes in. Always keep in mind that if you feel overwhelmed by all the deadlines you have to meet, errands you need to run, or are one of the millions of people in the world that suffer from some manifestation of anxiety, its okay to seek help. Whether what helps you is talking to a confidant about your tumultuous day or meditating; both of which I will go into further detail about soon enough. Carrying all the world's problems on your shoulders won't result in anything but poor mental health and chronic back pain. 

According to a study conducted by Dr. Richard House, a British psychologist, young adults check their phone an average of 85 times a day. Now of course when the majority of young adults pick up their device its to use social media. Something about a notification lighting up our phone screens is irresistible. We need to know why Becky texted us. Does she want to hang out? What does her new haircut look like? Does she think we need a haircut? Its common culture. A force of habit. 

I won't delve into whether social media is beneficial or socially stunting and comment on millennials and our 'addiction' to technology. I will, however, say that if we're checking our phones that often we might as well download apps that help us as individuals. Meditation has lots of potential  but its not everyone's cup of tea. So, for the modern spirit, here are ten apps that can help you cope with everyday stress and anxiety. 


The Worry Box: Free

This app enables you to lock all your worries away into a password protected box. It'll also help you decide if your problems are uncontrollable or controllable and how you can think of those problems in a more positive light, or solve them, respectively. Unfortunately for iPhone users this app is only available to Android at the moment. I think that a worry box is a very cool concept though so I encourage you to make your own out of a shoe box or whatever you have lying around. Stash it away in your closet and you have the same                                                             effect. Excuse me as I make several. 

                                                        Get it on Google Play


Anxiety Reliever: Free for download with the ability to 
upgrade to premium for a $5.99 monthly fee/ $2.99 per audio session

Anxiety Reliever works for multiple forms of anxiety and helps with negative thoughts as well. The app provides multiple tips to deal with anxiety, a tracker, a breathe tool, supportive messages, and audio sessions. All in all the app can be compared to that one friend who you always run back to for advice. Its like a warm hug. Unless you don't like hugs.                                                           Available for both Android and iPhone.
                                                        Get it on Google Play                        Download on the App Store

 Acupressure: Heal Yourself:$2.79

 For those of you unfamiliar with the practice of Acupressure    its a massage technique that focuses on your body's pressure  points, thus alleviating stress. The above app uses detailed      instructions as well as comprehensive images to teach users    how to massage themselves.  Available for both Android and  iPhone.

Get it on Google Play                        Download on the App Store

 Sleep Time: Free

 If you're anything like me and are constantly tired no matter  how many hours of sleep you get this app is a must have. It  analyzes the way you sleep and displays it in a chart for you,  wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase (unlike your alarm  clock), and has multiple soundscapes. Nothing like falling  asleep to the sound of the ocean. Available for both Android  and iPhone. 

 Get it on Google Play                       Download on the App Store


       Worry Watch: $1.99
       Writing in a journal was never this much fun nor nearly half          as effective. Your entries are all password protected and only          accessible to you. The app helps you differentiate between              necessary and unnecessary worry. It organizes each entry by          date and once the date has passed it asks you whether                      the outcome was as bad as you had worried. It then                          converts your outcomes into a pie chart.         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Download on the App Store

6.                                                     Happify: Free to Download
       This app combines mindfulness, positive psychology, and              cognitive behavioral therapy to combat negativity. What a              mouthful. The result? A happier you. And according to the              app's website it really does deliver. '86% of frequent users get        happier in 2 months'. Available for both iPhone and                          Android. 

       Get it on Google Play                       Download on the App Store


     Headspace: Free to Download
     Now here's one you might have already heard of. There's              definitely been some buzz surrounding this app and for                good reason. It makes meditation more accessible and shows      users many different ways to do it with hundreds of sessions        available to members. If you don't want to shell out the                  money or make that kind of commitment just yet the app is          free to download and offers ten sessions. Available for both          iPhone and Android. 

                                                         Get it on Google Play                       Download in the App Store              

                                                       Mindshift: Free
  Made with teenagers' needs in mind Mindshift focuses on         what causes anxiety in certain age groups and why. Users         rave that using the app is like speaking to a therapist. It             inspires users to face their anxiety rather than hide from it.     Isn't that what we all aspire to be able to do? Available for       both iPhone and Android.

  Get it on Google Play                      Download on the App Store

9.                                                       Colorfy: Free
   Who says colouring is only for children? Unleash your inner    artiste and download Colorfy to practice mindfulness while    creating a masterpiece. The organic shapes will help put            your mind at ease as well as induce major nostalgia.                  Available for both iPhone and Android.

  Get it on Google Play                      Download on the App Store

10.                                                   7cups: Free
 Last but not least is 7cups which provides you with                    emotional support from trained active listeners. These              people really do know how to respond to your problems with  anything but generic solutions. They're available 24/7 and        can also chat with you over text. Want an app that caters to      you and only you? This is the one. Available for both                  iPhone and Android.
 Get it on Google Play                       Download on the App Store

I sincerely hope you were able to find at least one app that works for you. If you weren't then don't sign off as I will be diving headfirst into many more stress relieving techniques over the next couple of weeks. 


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