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anxiety

By Rachel O Neill

I was first diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder when I was 19 but really I’d been suffering from it for as long as I could remember. I thought it was normal to get obsessed with studying for exams and to cry if I got 85 out of 100 instead of 90. I thought it was completely normal to have your brain scream things at you that you would never dream of saying to another person. I thought it was normal to be sad all the time. In reality, getting my diagnosis was my first step to admitting that my normality wasn’t everyone else's.

I was prescribed antidepressants and started seeing a therapist. I was of the belief that I could cure myself by talking to someone and taking my pills. I didn’t understand that anxiety and depression need to be managed rather than cured. So I took myself out of therapy and weaned myself off my meds, convinced that I was fine. I would go on to have a breakdown a year later and would go back to therapy for nearly 15 months.

I’m very open about my struggles and my problems but that doesn’t make it easy to tell people about them. You don’t want to appear weak or vulnerable and most of all, you don’t want to be treated differently to anyone else. You just want to be seen as a colleague that works hard and does their best regardless. 

Telling my manager about my problems was hard. It’s something you have to prepare for. You rehearse in your head what you’ll say and how they might react. In reality, I had nothing to worry about. My manager was very understanding about my problems and has been incredibly supportive in managing workloads when I need it.

Our work lives are more hectic than they used to be. Ever-changing deadlines, longer commutes and increased pressure means that employees can often feel like they have nobody to talk to. I wanted to do something about it and was lucky enough to be  given the opportunity to help The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) and The Advertising Benevolent Society (TABS) launch SMASH, a campaign around their new employee assistance programme.

The programme which is run by Spectrum and offers 24/7 support for a range of different issues including mental health support, financial advice, legal advice and career advice. 

 SMASH is the first wellbeing programme of its kind for the advertising industry in Ireland and the programme will provide a variety of mental health supports and practical services, exclusively to IAPI’s two thousand members. The SMASH programme is funded by TABS, The Advertising Benevolent Society.

IAPI members, through the SMASH programme, will be able to avail of six professional consultation sessions on eight different concerns. The programme of up to 48 professional consultations will cover financial, legal, consumer, health, parenting and career advice as well as mediation and life coaching.

It’s a really good programme and I’m so proud to be involved in the launch because I believe that every employee should have access to it. 

More and more of us are taking days off work for mental health reasons. We don’t always say it’s mental health because there is still a stigma attached to taking time off for it. But with an EAP like Spectrum available, we can feel more comfortable in recognising and tackling our problems before they turn into a major crisis.

For those of us like me, who have been managing their conditions for longer, it’s comforting to know that there is a resource there for you if you need it. 

My mental health problems haven’t gone away. They are conditions that I have to manage closely. I’ve been on antidepressants for the last 18 months and I see a therapist regularly too. Even in doing all that, I can still struggle to get out of bed or to see my friends regularly, making my head a lonely place to be.

That being said, I’m optimistic that things always have the potential to get better and being able to share my story with my colleagues has shown that. Hopefully with a little more talk and a lot more action, more organisations will follow in IAPI’s footsteps and support their employees as much as they can.

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It has long been claimed that flowers have a therapeutic effect on those who surround themselves with them, but science had yet to truly back it up.

Research conducted by the American Society For Horticulture Science has recently revealed that fresh flowers can have the ability to ease feelings of anxiety, and even physical pain. 

The study evaluated whether or not plants have an influence on surgical patients, and we're pretty surprised by these results. 90 participants were split into rooms with plants or without, and those with foliage feelings have different outcomes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@more_floral_events) on

According to the research, those who were exposed to flowers had lower heart rates and blood pressure, decreased ratings of fatigue, anxiety and pain, and harboured more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms.

It's now suggested that flowers should be 'complementary medicine' for recovering patients. It's time to click your fingers and insist that a crowd of men throw a bouquet at you every few minutes…for health reasons.

Flowers are often the go-to gift for celebrating milestones, or for offering messages of hope or condolences. Good old science has just given us the opportunity to buy our own blooms, for self-care.

According to a study published in Complementary Therapies In Medicine, bouquets of flowers can reduce our stress levels.

The researchers gave college-age women a fresh vase of roses for their accommodation, and the subjects felt more relaxed than they did before. Whether it's psycho-somatic, or true therapy, it seems to work.

It seems like an easy breezy way to experience multiple health benefits while keeping your home aesthetically lush. Apparently, indoor plants and gardening come with health advantages similar to gym workouts.

We like this, we like this A LOT.

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In the beginning, there were a lot of bad mental health days but then things started to get better.

I started to manage my anxiety and the clouds of negative thoughts slowly started to clear in my mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

I thought my anxiety was gone. I naively thought I was ‘cured’. I was too ignorant to realise that mental health disorders don’t just magically vanish. They’re something you have to manage for life.

My anxiety reappeared in May, 2018, on one of the hardest days of my life. The memory of this day is one that will never leave my mind, I remember it all too well.

I was curled up in bed, engulfed in my copy of The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill when I heard a strange noise from the room next to mine.

Was someone snoring or coughing? I wasn’t quite sure, but my gut told me to check what it was.

I opened the door to find my mam turned over on her side in bed, but she wasn’t asleep. She was having what we later discovered was a seizure.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

She was shaking uncontrollably, foaming at the mouth, making this horrid gurgling noise because her brain had shut down and her body was struggling to breathe.

I held her grey, lifeless body in my arms and just yelled and yelled until my dad and sister came upstairs to find us. We shouted at the paramedics to hurry up and get here because as I clung onto my mam, I genuinely thought she was dead, we all did.

I sat in the James’s Hospital A&E for thirteen hours, waiting, hoping and praying my mam was okay. And she was.

The doctors explained to us that mam had a seizure, but have yet to find the cause, but they upped her medication, schedule constant appointments and are pretty pleased with how she is doing at the moment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

Mam is happy and healthy, but ever since that harrowing day I have been a ball of anxiety. The trauma of nearly losing her triggered my anxiety and let it attack when I was at my most vulnerable and I must admit I haven’t been able to manage it as well as I used to.

I am jumpy at home whenever I hear an unusual noise. I wake up in the middle of the night to make sure mam is okay. Dozens of thoughts whizzing through my mind: Is she breathing? Has she taken her medication? Will she be okay when I’m at work?

My parents tell me there’s nothing to worry about, but my brain disagrees. It’s full of panic and dread every single day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

The heart palpitations are back. The rapid breathing is back. The negative thinking is back. And I have accepted that.

I learned how to live with anxiety before and I know I can do it again.

There are days when I let my anxiety take over because I simply don’t have the energy to fight it, but one thing I’ll always remind myself of is that I am stronger than it, even on those days when I just want to give up.

I have accepted my anxiety. I have accepted the bad days, the panic attacks and the constant worrying, but I never let myself forget that this too shall pass.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature you can contact Pieta House 24/7 Helpline 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans Helpline 116 123.

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Whether you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or depression, dealing with the symptoms of a mental health issue is a daily struggle. 

Trying to keep your stress levels down can be a challenge in itself, especially when much of it comes our normal daily routines. 

Here's some of the most common habits that could contribute to low mood levels. 

Drinking too much caffeine

Whether it's your go-to morning coffee or a relaxing cup of tea in the evening, a lot of us rely on caffeine to get us through the day.

However, it might be time to cut-back on the flat whites as studies have shown a link between excessive caffeine intake and depression, moodiness and anxiety.

Try replacing one cup a day with a caffeine free alternative. Your energy levels may still benefit from the placebo effect, but you'll be doing your mental health a huge favour.

Avoiding exercise

The amount of physical activity we get each day can have a huge impact on our mood.

Research has suggested that regular exercise could even ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Start small. Set aside 20 minutes a day for a brisk walk and you'll be amazed at how quickly your mood will improve.

Constantly checking social media 

Comparing yourself to others on social media is a slippery slope that rarely leads anywhere good.

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that all your school mates are living extraordinary lives, but guess what, they're not .

Sure, maybe Sarah from the Gaelteacht is off raising baby elephants in Thailand for a month, but just remember that social media posts of just the 'highlight reel' of other people's lives.

Staying indoors

Underexposure to natural daylight can wreak havoc on our mental health.

Apart from the natural calming effect nature has on our minds, vitamin D, which is only produced when the body is exposed to sunlight, has been shown to protection against depression.

Overloading on carbs

Simple carbohydrates such as sugary, processed foods are broken down rapidly, providing the body with a quick source of energy.

Eating these types of foods on a regular basis can result in mood swings caused by fluctuating blood sugars.

Instead, try eating more complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and legumes.

Working too hard

This one is a bit of a no-brainer.

It's important to take a step back from your working life in order to focus on yourself.

So, turn off the work e-mails and go visit an old friend or family member – you'll be shocked at how relaxed you'll feel afterwards.

 

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Pieta House are calling on clubs, companies and individuals to do something that makes them “FeelGood” and create a positive atmosphere inside and outside the workplace this October to raise vital funds for the charity. Last year over 200 participants took part in ‘FeelGood with Pieta’. Participants raised funds and created awareness by organising yoga classes, lunchtime walks, with some people going the extra mile and tackling the 500km Camino Walk across Spain and France, all in support of ‘FeelGood with Pieta’.

The funds raised for ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ have a direct impact on the service users, as they help ensure the doors remain open and the services provided by Pieta House remain free. ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ ambassadors and well-known household names for the campaign include chef, Derry Clarke, international rugby players, Jack McGrath and Hannah Tyrell, and actor, Moe Dunford.

‘FeelGood with Pieta’ ambassador Derry Clarke, said; “I am delighted to be taking part in ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ again this October. It’s all about taking the time and reminding yourself how good you can feel, reaching out to others and enjoying time together.”

This year, ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ is expanding its outreach across two weeks from October 14 to 27 to encourage people to create and register their own style of event, by doing something that makes them “FeelGood”. Pieta have outlined three pillars to use as inspiration for ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ events:  

Connect – Focus on making time to re-connect with friends and family. Alternatively, make an effort to meet new people in your community/workplace. Organise a coffee morning in aid of Pieta House and invest time in building on existing relationships or creating new ones. 

Be Active – Get yourself moving. Go for a run with a friend, get out of the office for an hour and enjoy a lunchtime yoga class. Getting active doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Something as a simple as a lunchtime walk or organising a steps challenge amongst peers is a certain way to create healthy competition and get a daily dose of exercise, while having fun!

Feel Good – Organise an event that will help you and friends feel good. Host a movie night with close friends, suggest a ‘Raffle an annual leave day’ competition to your boss. Hold an event that will instil positivity and a feeling of contentment amongst colleagues and friends. 

Speaking about the fundraising initiative, Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta House, said; “The ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ campaign is an amazing opportunity for people to get active and take small steps towards improving their own mental health as well as raising vital funds for Pieta House to keep our doors open and services free for all. ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ is about taking the time to reconnect with friends, work colleagues or family members in a fun and uplifting way. We are extremely grateful for all donations and hope that the ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ initiative will encourage people to get out, have fun and spread awareness for an important cause.”

EY Ireland, which fundraises for Pieta House on a year-round basis, believes that employee wellbeing is crucial to the health and happiness of any workplace. Following the launch of the campaign, Ian Collins, EY’s Health & Vitality Partner Sponsor since 2018 said: “At EY, we place the health and wellbeing of our employees at the centre of our business. They are our greatest asset and we are committed to continually striving to improve their experience as employees so that their physical, mental and emotional needs are factored into everything that we do, and each of the supports that we provide.”

Since 2006, over 48,000 people have been through the Pieta House doors in a state of crisis, and with over 80% of funding coming from the public, support is vital to help continue this lifesaving work. 

Pieta House, which started as a small, Dublin-based charity in 2006 with just one centre with four staff, has now expanded to 15 centres employing over 270 therapists and administrative staff nationwide. From day one, all of the services it provides have been offered completely free of charge.

For more information and for tips on how to host your event, and turn it into a fundraiser, go to www.feelgoodwithpieta.ie .

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We pity the girl who sits in the cafe on her own, nursing a cup of coffee with nobody but herself for company, but news flash- people enjoy spending time on their own and it’s time for us to break down the stigma surrounding it.

As kids, we were fooled into thinking our self-worth was measured based on how many friends we had. You were a nerd if you spent lunchtime by yourself. You were sneered at when you were picked last for the basketball team. You were viewed as ‘unpopular’ if you celebrated your 14th birthday with five friends.

It is time for society to stop looking down on the guy who goes to the cinema by himself and give up addressing people as ‘loners’.

An army of wonderful people have shared why they love being on their own to help me beat this ridiculous notion.

Anna Keat said: “For a 19-year-old, I'm an extremely avid knitter and given how I also have anxiety, time to myself plus something as rhythmic as knitting really gets my head back in check.”

“I moved abroad and only had a handful of friends when I first moved over so I started doing some things alone and I found it SO peaceful. Not having to rely on others is a blessing at times,” said Shauna Kiely.

“I always love spending time with myself. For a myriad of reasons (not too draining, don’t have to make conversation, won’t panic about the way I behaved later on) but mostly because I’m the only person who won’t let me down,” Grace Latter shared.

“I found myself living alone suddenly after a relationship breakdown and was terrified but I had the time of my life!  I learnt to be happy in my own company & as a result I know myself so well now. We should all be our own one true love!” Penny revealed.

Victoria Teasdale, professional stress consultant and coach explained why we need to accept the fact that some people simply prefer time alone.

“Humans are made up of our own unique genetic code. When you realise that there are approximately 3 billion base pairs in the genome and that each of us can house variations of them that are infinitely unique, it’s about time that the word ‘normal’ is dropped from the vocabulary used to describe people.”

She explained: “While there is a benefit for us to be social, oxytocin release, problem-solving etc, some of us simply aren’t designed to be social people.”

“As a society, we do not teach people how to define their individuality.  In fact, it's better for corporations if we all aspire to be the same, we're easier to market to that way.

“What you're doing by saying 'it's unhealthy not to socialise' is pinning everyone as the same, discounting the fact that there's a LOT of variation in people who don't fall into the 'abnormal enough to be labelled' category."

So, what can we do to make a positive change? “What is needed is a shift towards teaching people how to discover their unique identities, their strengths, struggles, quirks and needs.

"To allow them to express themselves however they see fit. And if that means sitting at home with a book on a Friday night… That's ok by me!”

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We all do it. Remember that absolutely mortifying thing you did seven years ago in school that you can't seem to shake off?

The anxiety of saying "you're welcome" instead of "thank you" when someone holds the door open for you, the sheer sweat-worthy fear of falling down (or up) the stairs on your bus, you name it, and we've worried about it.

We've always assumed that our furry little friends simply don't have these worries, but now SCIENCE (gasp) has disproved this, and we're shook. 

grim reaper wtf GIF by Studio Flox

The Royal Society scientific journal has published a study which supports the result that doggos struggle to nod off if they have anything troubling them, meaning that we're not as different as we think.

All that time that you lay in your bed, pondering that terrible moment when you asked your friend how their grand-dad up the North is getting on in his nursing home, and they reply that they are, in fact, deceased, leaving you stewing in shame.

The time in work that you were wandering around with your knickers tucked into the back of your skirt, the time you threw up at the local disco after one Blue WKD, even the time you said "keep the change" to the lad in Spar, and it was only a five cent coin.

cute puppy GIF

Doggies apparently sit up and ponder their embarrassments and worries too, maybe they get anxiety about the lack of 'good boy' praise which they received that day.

"Does my human still love me?" They think, as they rest their head on their paws, with a slow, violin concerto playing in the background.

scared dog GIF

"What if they actually don't like cleaning up my poop?"

"What if they send me to the pound and I get embroiled in the local gang war between the Pug Thugs and the Rottweiler Pilers?"

They stare glumly out of the rain-splattered window, tossing and turning following a negative experience at the dog walking park that day.

scared insomnia GIF

The study stated that dogs tend to fall asleep much faster following a negative day, presumably to escape from the terrible consequences of the day.

We still think of the horrendously awkward things we were doing in 2005, forever looking up at the blank ceiling searching for answers…

Feature image: Pets4Homes

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Nearly two-in-five third-level students are experiencing serious levels of anxiety and depression as a result of stress, a new survey has revealed.

The newly published 'Report on Student Mental Health in Third-Level Education' was compiled by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), with the support of the HSE Mental Health and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Almost one-third of students have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, with the results painting a worrying picture of the extent of pressures and struggles on the shoulders of Irish students.

The statistics examined the occurrence of mental health distress and ill health among third-level students and the availability and use of mental health support service for young people.

Multiple factors influence depression and anxiety, and women were found to be more likely to suffer anxiety than men. Non-binary students had the highest levels of severe anxiety.

The survey, which was conducted in 2018, was open to students in every college, North and in the Republic, and most of the respondents were undergraduates aged between 18 and 24-years-old.

74 percent of participants were female, and experiences varied largely depending on the type of college attended, the area of study and whether it was inside or outside of Dublin.

One in five of those surveyed identified as LGBTQ+ and just over 1 percent identified as transgender. 38 percent are experiencing extremely severe levels of anxiety, alarmingly.

30 percent of people are reporting suffering from depression and 17 percent are experiencing stress. Almost one-third reported that they had a formal mental health difficulty which was diagnosed.

One of the most distressing points is that 21 percent of participants did not have someone to talk to about personal and emotional difficulties. Free on-campus counselling is imperative for students.

Students were found to use on and off-campus services to aid their mental health, and the student union made 35 percent of students aware of support services. 

The study had a large response of 3,340 students, but the findings may not be a full picture of the student population.

Employment during college was also found to affect students' ability to socialise with their classmates, and those involved in activities outside of coursework had improved mental health.

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick in Trinity College Dublin said students had provided a vast amount of vital data which would be used to improve mental health services at third level for everyone.

Numerous institutions were found to be problematic in terms of the quality of care offered to students, and a quality assurance tool must be made to ensure consistency between institutions.

Transitioning from secondary school to college is a huge step for all students, and comes at a time when they are most at risk of developing mental health difficulties.

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Pregnant reality star Marnie Simpson has opened up about her "major anxiety" surrounding cellulite,

The 27-year-old ex-Geordie Shore star has documented her "daunting" pregnancy journey with her 3.5 million social media followers, and got candid about the tough changes which her body has faced.

Admitting she felt "uncomfortable" about her stretch marks, the mum-to-be poses frequently in front of mirrors to show off her burgeoning baby bump.

Image: Instagram/@marns

Marnie said that the changes to her gorgeous physique have been "challenging" to experience.

In a long Instagram post, she wrote: "Can't believe I'm almost there, pregnancy has been a experience. Watching my body change has been challenging to say the least.

"Not going to lie, I've started to develop some stretch marks and water retention leaving me with a hell more cellulite than usual which is daunting, but I know it's going to be so worth it regardless when I see my baby boy."

The reality star was honest about her "major anxiety" over giving birth and facing motherhood for the first time, but she wants to keep "social media real" for her fans.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@marns) on

"No pregnancy is perfect, I've felt insecure, tired, hormonal, and overall c**p but social media only sees the ups, never the downs! Which is frustrating but I wanna keep it real for all the other mammas out there!

"I'm also suffering with major anxiety daily about the birth and the aftermath, especially with all my previous bladder trouble I'm just so scared of the unknown," she continued.

"I'm so grateful for all the messages I get daily it literally keeps me going and calms me down to know there is so many of us all feeling the same. We got this girlies."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@marns) on

Mum-to-be Marnie has been speaking out about all the aspects of pregnancy alongside her boyfriend, 24-year-old Casey Johnson.

The happy couple starred in the new Geordie Shore series: OG, which will follow Marnie as she swaps her party girl lifestyle for parenthood.

Marnie is expecting to give birth in September to a baby boy, and we're sure her followers will be kept in the loop.

Feature image: Instagram/@marns

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WW, formerly known as WeightWatchers, launched a diet and nutrition app marketed at children and adolescents this week and have faced immense backlash since.

Kurbo by WW is a free programme that claims to help eight-year-olds to 17-year-olds "build healthy habits", and lose weight through personalised coaching and food tracking.

The app's "traffic light" diet approach categorises foods as red, yellow and green (red being the most process, sugar-filled, yellow being lean protein and pasta and green being fruit and veg).

Kurbo by WW was developed at Stanford University, and WW have defended their programme by stating the app is backed by safe scientific studies. 

CEO of WW, Mindy Grossman, said; "To change the health trajectory of the world, we have a tremendous opportunity, but also a responsibility, to help kids, teens and families adopt healthy habits."

Many critics of the app insist that encouraging kids and teenagers to diet can perpetuate an unhealthy and dangerous mindset.

Fatphobic cultural messaging around dieting has led to a massive issue surrounding eating disorders and mental health among youth.

In an article published in Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics in 2015, researchers found that because adolescence is such an important time for body image development, 12-to-18-year-olds with a negative perception of their body or weight are more likely to develop eating disorders or dysfunctional exercise habits.

Of course, obesity can be linked to numerous health concerns but disordered eating and mental health conditions among adolescent is reportedly more likely to pose a dangerous risk than paediatric obesity.

35-to-37 percent of adolescent girls in the US alone report using unhealthy weight loss measures, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. These methods include fasting, smoking, taking laxatives and 'skinny teas', skipping meals and even vomiting.

One-in-three adolescents in the UK alone reported experiencing mental health issues, according to a troubling survey by the charity Action for Children. 

More than 12 percent of adolescents in the US are affected by depression every year. 

Many people on social media were furious about the Kurbo by WW app. Jameela Jamil, an activist and actress who runs the iWeigh campaign for body positivity, tweeted her disgust at the news.

“Are we kidding? Breeding obsession with weight and calories and food at the age of…8?" she wrote. "I was 11 when my obsession started, due to being put on a diet for being the heaviest girl in the class. I became afraid of food. It ruined my teens and twenties.”

Petitions have already been created against the app, with the hashtag #LoveNotDiets trending to urge parents to use love rather than diets to help their nutritional habits.

Childhood obesity is still an incredibly serious public health challenge of the 21st century, and the app attempts to reduce a child's sugar intake. There is nothing wrong with promoting healthy foods and exercising for physical and mental health benefits. 

However, many parents feel that instilling a diet-centered mindset among young people who are already vulnerable could be a dangerous mistake. Targeting the mental health crisis could be a more productive way forward.

Feature image: Instagram/@coachdavidflowers

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We all know at least one person who goes into full panic mode during a flight if the slightest bit of turbulence occurs. If you don't know anyone in your friend group, it's probably you…

Nervous flyers are pretty common, considering you're putting your entire trust in two people you've never met before in a cockpit.

The actual process of flying can cause huge amounts of discomfort, be it from the taking off aspect, the turbulence during or the landing. One flight attendant has revealed the best seat for anxious flyers;

"If you’re a nervous flyer or feel uneasy with turbulence, then sit as close to the front of the plane as possible. If you like turbulence and feeling everything then sit near the back of the plane," the former flight attendant named Matt, told The Mirror.

The ex-Easy Jet employee also revealed which seats have the most leg room, which we're fairly sure everyone already knows but nevertheless. It's nice to have an actual flight attendant's word for it.

"If you like extra legroom, the first row or emergency exit rows are good but be prepared to not have anything on the floor where you’re sat as you’re only allowed stuff in the overhead lockers. The floor has to be clear in case an emergency evacuation is needed."

The pilot is likely to avoid any turbulence from the front of the plane, so if you sit near the cockpit you'll probably avoid the experience too.

The front row or an emergency exit row is the ideal spot for those long-legged people (we're envious of you). If you're getting sweaty palms at the thought of the plane shaking, definitely don't sit at the back.

The back of the plane is the worst place to be anyway, seeing as the bathrooms are usually mid-way up the plane or at the front. You've got to have priorities, so book the front seat and pay the fee if you need comfort.

first class GIF

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A smartphone app has been designed to manage negative emotions and periods of anxiety in order to reduce self-harm in young people, new data has revealed.

BlueIce is a prescribed app and is created to be used alongside face-to-face therapies, overseen by medical professionals.

Clinical psychologist Professor Paul Stallard, of the University of Bath, developed the app in conjunction with patient groups.

A number of papers published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research emphasise that the app could help tackle self-harm in young people.

Head of psychological therapies for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Prof Stallard, claims the idea for BlueIce came about as a result of his work with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

“Many of the young people I was working with were self-harming but nearly all had their mobile phone close by,” he said.

“Our young people’s participation group at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust thought that a smartphone app could be a way of helping at times of distress, and with their input we produced BlueIce," he continued

“It helps the young person to monitor and manage their unpleasant emotions and to find alternative ways of coping," Prof Stallard added.

“Feedback from young users has been overwhelmingly positive, and there’s a huge potential for it to make a difference to young lives across the UK and internationally.”

BlueIce refers to low mood and ICE (in case of emergency) and is now included on the NHS Apps Library, which holds apps which have undergone technical and clinical reviews.

The app has a mood wheel for young people to keep track of their mood every day, adding notes on their current emotions and actions

The user is immediately routed to a mood-lifting section if a low mood is reported, which has activities designed to reduce distress.

Options include ideas from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and personalised mindfulness guides, images and music.

BlueIce can also take users to emergency contacts like Childline and the 111 service.

Professor Stallard assessed the influence of using the app for three months on a group of 40 young people aged between 12 and 17.

He discovered that 73 percent of those involved either stopped self-harming or reduced it as a result of the app.

BlueIce is currently being used by CAMHS services in Bath, North East Somserset, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

It's also being evaluated in a randomised controlled trial undertaken across Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.

Professor Stallard will start a trial in September to analyse whether BlueIce reduces the number of young people taken to A&E.

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