These Are The 10 Happiest And Unhappiest Countries In The World In 2019

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The 2019 World Happiness Report has been released, and it reveals the countries whose residents say they are the happiest and least happy. The 10 happiest countries are:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Norway
  4. Iceland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. New Zealand
  9. Canada
  10. Austria

And the 10 least happy countries are (with 1 being the least happy):

  1. South Sudan
  2. Central African Republic
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Tanzania
  5. Rwanda
  6. Yemen
  7. Malawi
  8. Syria
  9. Botswana
  10. Haiti

The United States placed 19th on the list of happiest countries—down one spot from last year. The world happiness report ranks 156 ranks countries based on a three-year average of surveys taken by Gallup. Factors survey participants are asked to consider include their country’s GDP, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption, and recent emotions, reports Bloomberg. Another factor in the rankings is the effect technology is having on people’s happiness. It found that teens who spent more time with digital devices were less happy.

The major bummer about this year’s list? When you factor in population growth, world happiness has fallen in recent years, the report’s authors found. “The world is a rapidly changing place. How communities interact with each other whether in schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, or on social media has profound effects on world happiness,” said professor John Helliwell, co-editor of the 2019 report.

Going Her Own Way: Adventure and Solo Woman Travel

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I’ve had an adventurous spirit for as long as I can remember.

My first solo trip was at 19 years old, when I boarded a plane for Honolulu, Hawaii, to celebrate the end of high school. I booked a stay at the YWCA and spent my days exploring the beaches and haunts of spring breaks past: International Village, Duke’s Lane, the Waikiki strip.

It was a memorable adventure because I was free. Free to wander, lie on the beach, check out the shops at the Ala Moana Center and watch Dallas with the ladies back at the Y. That trip was the beginning of many incredible solo adventures to come.

photoClaudia Laroye

Adventure means different things to different people. Adventure can be jumping out of an airplane and sky-diving, but it can also be camping in the backcountry or taking that first solo trip to Honolulu.

Though you may not be ready for hard adventure yet (or ever—I’m not planning on jumping out of a plane anytime soon), adventure is in the eye of the beholder. It’s about going beyond your comfort zone and embracing the spirit of adventure, as much as the actual adventure itself. And you’re in good company.

photoClaudia Laroye

The rise in female solo and adventure trips is a major travel trend that has taken off recently. The Conference Board of Canada and Allianz Global Assistance Canada published statistics showing that in the winter season 2018/2019, just over eight per cent of respondents intending to travel were women travelling on their own. That’s nearly double the number from eight years ago.

It’s not just the new crop of Generation Z travellers. It’s moms, wives and women over the age of 50.  Women are embracing adventurous solo travel as never before as an extension of freedom, and in the spirit of internal and external exploration.

Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone can be an adventure, and that’s where the fun lies. But preparation is key to ensuring a safe and memorable adventure. This applies to all solo travellers, but travelling while female comes with its own set of challenges. Proper planning has ensured that my solo adventures have remained free of major pitfalls and disasters. These practical tips may help you do the same.

 

Tips for Solo Women Adventure Travellers

photoClaudia Laroye

Know the Risks

Being familiar with the risks of an adventure activity or destination is important. Activities like skiing and zip lining have inherent risks, but we sign waivers declaring that we’re going to do them anyway.

There’s a thrill in trying an activity for the first time or overcoming a fear of heights, tight spaces or other phobias. Once you’ve conquered one fear, you may be emboldened by a new confidence to continue on that path.

As far as destinations go, be informed. Certain countries and cities may contain more risks than others, and that risk can change over time. Check the Government of Canada’s websites for up-to-date health information and travel advisories when assessing your destination choices.

 

Plan Ahead

Book your accommodations in advance so you know where you’ll be sleeping each night. Plan your transportation and walking routes as much as possible so you know where you’re going and when you’ll get there. Try to arrive before dark, particularly in a new and unfamiliar destination.

photounsplash

Travel Light

I’m a big fan of travelling light and only use carry-on luggage. Backpacks are great depending on trip style and duration.  The less you carry, the more you can manage on your own and keep a free hand. Wear clothing with concealed pockets and consider using a money belt or neck pouch. Stash copies of passports in your suitcase and keep your luggage locked.

 

Travel Smart

I’m positive that my spidey senses increased when I became a mother, and I use that vigilance when travelling to ensure my own well-being. Stay on higher floors in hotels, wear minimal jewelry and take extra precautions at night. Being aware of your surroundings is important. Listen to your gut.

 

Communicate

It’s easier than ever to keep in contact with loved ones and friends. Even if you want to stay off-grid, check in every once in a while. Register with the Canadian consulate so they can reach you in case of emergency. Connect with other women travellers and the local women’s community to share travel advice, or cabs, meals and even hotel rooms.

photoClaudia Laroye

Ride a camel in the desert? Check. Climb a 60-metre ice tower? Check. Kayak through a mangrove forest? Check. My taste for adventure has only increased as I’ve gotten older. I want to try new things, and I don’t care what people think anymore (a happy side benefit of aging?).

I hope you’ll embrace your own spirit of adventure and plan a solo adventure soon.

 

 

PS. Do you want to live a more adventurous life?

Claudia is an Ambassador of the ‘Live the Adventure’ Club Gear Box.

Every four months, we send over 4,000 explorers across North America a subscription box filled with exciting, new and seasonal gear.

photoClaudia Laroye

Join the ‘Live the Adventure’ Club today!

How to Stay for Free Anywhere in the World

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Thanks to the plummeting prices of long-haul plane tickets, traveling is easier and cheaper than ever before. That said, the second biggest expenditure when heading to a new place is, of course, a place to stay. Airbnb may have revolutionized the way we travel, with homey accommodations available at a fraction of the price of a hotel room, but those costs still add up.

Luckily for the impecunious among us, it’s totally possible to stay around the world for free, and I don’t mean just by crashing on a friend’s couch or pitching a tent behind a McDonald’s. A number of house-sitting services have popped up in recent years, pairing travelers in need of a cozy bed (or sweeping ocean view) with homeowners in need of a guardian for their pets and plants.

Travel the globe

This system has worked extremely well for people like like Gabrielle Yetter, who, along with her husband, spent around four years house-sitting around the world. The two had been living in Cambodia, but decided upon leaving that they wanted to keep traveling. They signed up for the site TrustedHousesitters, which they thought “might be a good way of just putting out feelers to find out what kind of opportunities there were for house sitting,” Yetter said.

Gabrielle Yetter with her charges in Ireland
Image: Gabrielle Yetter

Turns out, the opportunities were limitless. They made their first foray into house-sitting in England, where Yetter’s family lives, and from there, just decided to keep going. Their travels took them everywhere from New Zealand to Italy to Nicaragua, an experience Yetter said was pretty much as good as it sounds. “The whole idea was to go places. We didn’t have anything to tie us down or to hold us back,” she said. “Basically, we just thought this would be a great way to see the world.”

Things to consider before you go

While house-sitting can be pretty ideal, keep in mind that it can also be quite competitive—after all, there are a lot of other people out there looking to stay in that spectacular cliffside Moorish mansion on the Irish coast. To maximize your options, you’ll want to not only look at house-sitting opportunities, but pet-sitting ones as well, since that’s where the majority of listings are

Yetter suggests making a very thorough profile that really speaks to how well you’re going to care for someone’s prized crocuses or, more importantly, their beloved cats and dogs. Are you a pet owner yourself? Have you volunteered or worked with animals? Don’t be shy about singing your own praises in your profile.

“It’s really about the person wanting you to take care of the pet. It’s not about them wanting you to take care of the house,” Yetter said. She added that it’s also a good idea to use profile photos of yourself with animals, which “you would think is self-explanatory, but not everybody does.”

The view in France
Photo: TrustedHousesitters

Yetter also recommends that when a listing comes through that you want, jump on it immediately. “The place that we went to in Cyprus? They said they had 67 people apply for it,” she said. She tends to have a form response ready to go that she can quickly customize when a listing pops up that she wants. And in that response, “you don’t just say hello, I want to come and house sit for you because I liked the look of your animal,” she clarified. You want to point out why you, specifically, would make the optimal sitter, preferably pointing to concrete examples citing your successes—maybe you’ve owned a home (and it didn’t burn down!) had a pet (and it lived a long and happy life!), or are already experienced at taking care of people’s homes and animals while they’re away.

Jennifer Ambrose, a yoga teacher and writer who has house-sat nearly a dozen house times, agreed that personalizing responses to listings is essential. “I’ve heard some homeowners say that when they put up a posting, they get letters that they can just tell are a copy-and-paste form letter,” she said. This method is not only ineffective, but it actually doesn’t serve sitters, either, since a careful reading of a homeowner’s post is the best way to ensure that there aren’t any surprises when you actually arrive to the property.

Neither Yetter nor Ambrose had any negative experiences to report—aside from an unfortunate incident in Tucson in which a dog for which Ambrose was sitting got bit by a rattlesnake. (Don’t worry, she got the dog to the vet and everything turned out fine!) But both emphasized that it’s important to feel comfortable with a homeowner before showing up. Make sure they have prior reviews, and that their profile is thoroughly fleshed-out, including detailed photos. Oftentimes, a homeowner will request a Skype session to get a better sense of who, exactly, will be living in their home. But if they don’t, sitters can also request one themselves.

“Asking as many questions as possible when you’re having the phone conversation or email conversation with somebody is really important, because then there aren’t as many surprises,” Yetter said.

Now that you know what to expect when you take your first house sitting assignment, it’s time to take a look at some of the most popular services out there.

TrustedHousesitters

A listing in San Francisco, California
Image: TrustedHousesitters

TrustedHousesitters is the biggest name in house-sitting, which means it’s got by far the most options for potential house- and pet-sitters. While the highest concentration of homes is across the UK, the US and Australia, there are also listings in places like Cape Town, South Africa and Chiang Mai, Thailand. The site gets up to 300 new listings each month, and a notification service alerting sitters to new assignments makes it easy to jump on a good catch the moment it’s available.

TrustedHousesitters charges both homeowners and sitters an annual fee of $119, which makes it steeper than other sites by a fairly wide margin. But it also delivers the most options, meaning that once you start to build a reputation on the site, you’ll have a competitive advantage when it comes to traveling anywhere across the globe.

MindMyHouse

A listing in Argentina
Image: MindMyHouse

MindMyHouse is perhaps the second most popular option for house-sitting. While it only has a fraction of the listings boasted by TrustedHousesitters, at $20 per year for sitters, it’s also much cheaper. The low fee, paired with the site’s good reputation, makes MindMyHouse a great option for people just looking to dip their toes into the house-sitting waters without having to make a larger financial commitment upfront.

Nomador

A listing in Marbella, Spain
Image: Nomador

Nomador has a heavy Europe-focus, particularly in France, where it started. But since its launch in 2014, it’s definitely become a global service. Nomador is $89 per year for both sitters and homeowners, though it does offer a “Discovery Option” that lets you try out the platform before you commit.

The company’s ethos places heavy emphasis on building connections and creating community, so in that spirit, Nomador also has a cool stopover feature that allows homeowners to offer accommodations to sitters for a night or two if they’re on their way somewhere else. Think Couchsurfing, but…not!

HouseCarers

A listing in Fes, Morocco
Image: HouseCarers

Australia-based HouseCarers has been in the house-sitting game since 2000, making it the longest running service out there. In that time, it has amassed a sizable number of available sits, primarily in Australia, New Zealand and North America. It runs $50 per year, but with around 300 new house sits popping up per month, HouseCarers offers an excellent cross-section of affordability and available opportunities.

Expat Facebook Groups

Though not a house-sitting service itself, Facebook is home to a number of expat Facebook groups in nearly every city where there are expats. In addition to social gatherings, advice and items for sale, members of these Facebook groups regularly post house-sitting opportunities. (In some popular expat spots, there are actually pages dedicated exclusively to house-sitting.) It’s worth searching around if you are interested in house-sitting in a certain place but don’t want to pay a fee or otherwise go through a service. 

8 Bizarre Sleep Habits Around The World

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Research via the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on emotion. But in some countries, it’s totally accepted to take a 20-30 minute nap during the day – even if it means going outside. Here we find how some sleep habits in different cultures can be so fascinating (and tempting!)

In Norway, it’s completely normal to see children outside in temperatures as low as -5, as parents believe it’s good for their health. Not to mention, in Botswana you aren’t expected to go to bed in the evening, with the country’s natives only sleeping when they genuinely feel tired – regardless of the time of day. 

Following the findings that loss of sleep could be costing the UK £40bn a year, is it time to make a change to our sleeping habits? To find out, Brother UK investigated eight sleeping customs from around the world, and explored how they could have a positive impact on performance and mood.

China – Bring your bedroom to work

In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock.

sleep chinese market

Japan – Inemuri

Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness or a poor attitude, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of “inemuri”, or “sleeping whilst present”. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work.

Spain – Siesta

Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This practice might be under threat, however, with new business laws introduced in 2016 limiting how late employees can work, and effectively reducing the time they have to squeeze in an afternoon nap.

Italy – Riposo

Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have “riposo”. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Frustratingly for tourists, this means that many attractions are closed throughout the day. Unfortunately, the non-stop pace of modern industry means that fewer and fewer office workers are able to benefit from a midday snooze.

Norway – Napping outside

Take a stroll through Oslo, Helsinki or another Nordic town, and you might well see some infants taking a nap in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry – they haven’t been abandoned; sleeping outdoors in the daytime is actually believed to be very good for their health. Could local office workers take some inspiration to increase their productivity? 

sleep park bench

Indonesia – Fear sleep

Stresses of work getting you down? The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ might be the solution. Locally referred to as “todoet poeles” – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss walks in might not be the best solution, but regular naps could well help avoid work-related worry.

Botswana – Sleeping on your own schedule

You should sleep when it’s dark, correct? Not quite. At least, not in Botswana. The country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. With an increased uptake of flexi-time, rise in self-chosen hours and growth of contract-based work, could businesses be embracing the way of the Kung sooner than we think?

woman sleeping

USA – Silicon Valley sleepers

Though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh.

These sleep habits prove one thing – there’s nothing quite like the miracle of catching up on those zzzs!

These Are The 10 Healthiest Countries In The World

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SEVILLE BY JOE LIN

A cursory check of the factors utilized by Bloomberg’s Healthiest Country Index, make it hard to be bemused by America not quite making the cut.  Obesity, tobacco use and life expectancy were just some of the contributory things that officially crowned Spain as the healthiest country in the world.The U.S. came in at 35th, down one spot from 2017. Here were the other top contenders:

The Top 10 healthiest nations

    1. Spain
    2. Italy
    3. Iceland
    4. Japan
    5. Switzerlan
    6. Sweden
    7. Australia
    8. Singapore
    9. Norway
    10. Israel

This comes as little surprise, considering how much of a new life the Mediterranean diet experienced this year. In addition to the already documented benefits to heart healthweight loss, and cognitive decline prevention,  Ladders recently reported on the effect the diet has on mental health and cancer prevention. The study found that incidences of cancer are much lower in Mediterranean counties compared to the U.S.

Among European countries, Spain has the highest life expectancy at birth. The fact that primary care is both focused on preventive measures and typically administered by public providers is suspected to play a part in steadily declining instances of cardiovascular disease and fatal cancer diagnosis. The medical Journal Lancet predicts Spain’s life expectancy to rise to 85.8 years by the year 2040.

So why didn’t the U.S. make the cut? Life expectancy has dropped quite a bit due to an increase in “deaths of despair” (defined as suicides, drug and alcohol overdoses, and diseases from chronic alcoholism.) Plus the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that close to 40% of American adults are obese.

Check out the rest of the rankings below.

Roughly 93.3 million adults are currently obese in America, which costs us some serious penalty points. Moreover, our emphasis on treating and diagnosing as opposed to preemptive tactics has negatively impacted our mortality rates.

Italy, which ranked just below Spain, on balance adheres to very similar dietary traditions. Lots of fruits, vegetables, poultry, grains, with very little red meat. A large bulk of the items mentioned have been independently linked to lower fatality rates for many chronic illnesses.

Iceland which previously ranked number two, secured the third spot this year. Still, clean water, low levels of smoking and a great healthcare system, soars its health index score to 91.21.

Japan was named the healthiest Asian nation, coming in at number four overall. The country boasts an obesity rate of 3.5% and is ranked 48th in cancer rates.  Smaller portions and a national obsession with walking certainly didn’t hurt.

Switzerland, which rounds at the top five, can likely thank the disparity of fast food chains, markets that don’t remain open for twenty-four hours and a general shunning of the concept of snacking.

The Happiest Places on Earth

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he latest World Happiness Report puts the United States in 18th place, behind all the Scandinavian countries, Costa Rica, Canada, and others. The report, issued annually by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, looks at income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. Another happiness list from National Geographic puts Boulder, Colorado in first place because of its high levels of civic engagement, walkability, and healthful food options. Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones sits down with Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, and journalist Steve Clemons to talk about the relationship between place and happiness.

“Aspen Ideas to Go” is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or find an archive of episodes hereThe views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.

The World’s Healthiest Countries, Ranked

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Spain just surpassed Italy as the world’s healthiest nation. That’s according to this year’s edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 countries based on factors that contribute to overall health.

Six of the top 10 countries were in Europe, with Italy ranking second. In contrast, the United States didn’t even break into the top 30, ranking at number 35, one notch worse than last year.

The top 10 healthiest nations, according to the report, were:

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Iceland
  4. Japan
  5. Switzerland
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. Singapore
  9. Norway
  10. Israel

To come up with the rankings, Bloomberg researchers graded nations based on several factors including life expectancy, while giving penalties for health risks such as obesity and tobacco use. Environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation were also taken into account.

The results mirror other research that came out last fall looking at future life expectancies in 195 countries and territories around the world. In that study, published in the international medical journal The Lancet, Spain also ranked first, with a projected life expectancy of 85.8 years by 2040. The United States ranked 64th.

Experts say the eating habits of the Mediterranean diet may provide clues for why Spain and Italy enjoy such good health. This heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados.

A number of studies have shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’s disease and cancer. One study published in British Journal of Nutrition found that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 25 percent lower chance of death from any cause.

People in Spain also benefit from a national health system focused on preventative care, according to a review by The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, which praised its “principles of universality, free access, equity and financial fairness.”

One of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so poorly compared to other developed nations is the obesity epidemic, which shows little sign of letting up. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate nearly 40 percent of American adults — equivalent to 93.3 million people — are obese.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has also been driven down in recent years due to so-called deaths of despair, including suicide and drug overdoses. For the first time, Americans were even more likely to die from opioid overdoses than car accidents.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 27 of the 30 unhealthiest nations in the Bloomberg rankings. Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen were also in the bottom 30.

Love throughout History and across Lifetimes

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Love throughout History and across Lifetimes
Photo by Louri Goussev | https://flic.kr/p/72KkXM

It can be very hard, especially for a Westerner, to imagine spiritual wisdom and carnal pleasure peacefully coexisting (blame it on our Puritan roots). This Valentine’s Day, learn about the rich, beautiful, and sensual poetry of ancient India—and be prepared to rethink the separation of faith and love.

Researchers Describe How People With Anxiety Perceive the World Differently

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Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe that those claiming to have mental illnesses just make them up and it’s “all in their head.” However, a new study in the journal Current Biology might finally put the stigma to rest. Researchers found that people who have anxiety perceive the world differently because of differences in their brain. Therefore, the sufferer doesn’t choose to have anxiety; it just happens to them based on genetics and past experiences.

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel discovered that it boils down to the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change and form new connections based on exposure to different stimuli. This will determine how a person reacts to that stimuli. In their study, researchers found that people diagnosed with anxiety can’t distinguish between safe and threatening stimuli as well as people who do not have anxiety.

Scientists found that those suffering from anxiety had lasting plasticity in their brains long after coming into contact with a stimulus, meaning that the brain couldn’t differentiate between new, non-threatening situations and familiar ones. The inability to distinguish between the two stimuli, in turn, causes anxiety. Anxious people tend to put all experiences in one category, in other words, due to their inability to distinguish between safe and unsafe situations.

Researchers noted that people with anxiety cannot control this reaction to stimuli since it’s due to a fundamental difference in their brain.

THE STUDY

For the study, the participants were trained to associate three specific sounds with one of three outcomes: money loss, money gain, or no consequence. In the next part of the study, participants listened to approximately 15 tones and researchers asked if they had heard them before or not.

To “win” the tone-identifying game, participants would have to differentiate between the old and new sounds, and not overgeneralize them. The study authors found that anxious participants had a higher likelihood than non-anxious individuals of confusing the new sounds with the old ones.

This didn’t happen due to a learning disability or hearing problem, but rather a misperception in the tones they heard. They simply linked the sounds associated with money loss or gain to the new sounds, resulting in confusion.

Researchers also found that, during the exercise, people with anxiety showed differences in the amygdala, a part of the brain that governs our response to fear. According to the authors, the results of the study may explain why some people develop anxiety disorders and others don’t.

“Anxiety traits can be completely normal, and even beneficial evolutionarily. Yet an emotional event, even minor sometimes, can induce brain changes that might lead to full-blown anxiety,” lead researcher Rony Paz said.

The new research provides further proof that no one asks for mental illness, and people shouldn’t have to apologize for having them. Mounting evidence shows that mental illnesses have genetic and psychological causes, and that those suffering have dramatic differences in their brains.

Despite all the research continuing to show the mechanics behind mental illness, the stigma is still very much alive. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 25 percent of people with a mental health disorder feel like others understand what they go through on a daily basis.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER WAYS PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY LOOK AT THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY:

  1. SOCIAL SITUATIONS SEEM DAUNTING.

People with anxiety disorders tend to have a hard time with social cues and might misinterpret facial expressions or body language. Here are just a few ways that people with anxiety perceive social situations differently:

  • They might think that people are talking about them behind their back (even if they aren’t).
  • They may have a difficult time reading facial expressions.
  • Starting and keeping a conversation going may seem impossible.
  • Social situations can feel downright draining.
  • They will judge themselves too harshly most of the time. You might hear them say things like, “I’m not funny/smart/interesting enough to hang out with these people.”
  • They may avoid social outings as a result.
  1. THEY ENJOY STAYING INDOORS ALONE RATHER THAN BEING OUT WITH FRIENDS.

For a lot of people with anxiety, the world can feel overwhelming. With so many people to see and places to go, the choices seem endless. For people without anxiety, this fact might seem exciting. However, those with the disorder would rather keep their choices slim and stay inside. Too much stimuli can quickly overwhelm someone suffering from anxiety, especially if they also identify as an introvert.

Many people with anxiety greatly benefit from a calm environment. A relaxing night curled up on the couch with some hot tea and a good book will often suffice.

  1. THEY OFTEN FEEL LIKE THEY CAN’T RELAX.

For someone with anxiety, it can feel like having energy locked up in your body with nowhere to go. This pent-up energy can wreak havoc on the body, causing symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweaty palms and feet, stuttering, and difficulty focusing. Exercise and/or meditation can help a lot of people, but others benefit from therapy as well.

People without anxiety might come home from work and shut their brains off from the day behind them, but the mind of the anxious never stops. People with anxiety may feel like their brain controls them, and often look forward to bedtime when they can finally catch a break.

  1. THEY FEAR THAT PEOPLE HAVE BAD INTENTIONS.

Those with anxiety often have a hard time trusting people. Even for those without social anxiety, starting and maintaining friendships doesn’t happen easily for anxiety sufferers. Some of them might feel like people have bad intentions for them and will take advantage of them if they get too close. Their brains are always on the lookout for the next threat, and this includes people as well.

If they do have friends, it will take a long time for them to feel comfortable getting close to them.

  1. THEY HAVE AN OBSESSION WITH BEING PERFECT.

People with anxiety have a tendency to hold themselves and others to impossible standards. They are vulnerable to both internal and external pressures and will try endlessly to achieve perfection. Of course, some stress and anxiety can help us achieve goals, but too much can cause our plans to backfire. If an anxious person doesn’t reach their goal, they might give up entirely. Or they may fail to see their own limits and push themselves past their comfort zone.

Perfectionism is a dangerous characteristic of anxiety; though it might seem harmless, it can cause people to develop distorted and obsessive thinking patterns. Those with anxiety have a hard time accepting defeat and will stop at nothing to reach their self-imposed goals.

  1. EVERYTHING IS STRESSFUL.

Because people with anxiety have an overactive fear response, they may react as if the world hangs in the balance of a decision they’ve been asked to make. In other words, they may seem highly frazzled or stressed out when doing something as simple as talking; they’re just reacting based on their perception of the world. Since those with anxiety have a hard time relaxing, the world can seem overwhelming with all of the stimuli and triggers.

anxiety

Loud sounds, bright lights, or chaotic environments might stress out some people with anxiety. Others might respond negatively to conversations, while the decision of what to eat might trigger someone else. In other words, people with anxiety already feel on edge, so the slightest thing might set them off. They have a very thin emotional skin, if you will, so they can get wounded quite easily.

  1. THEY NEVER FEEL GOOD ENOUGH.

No matter if it’s their job, relationship, friends, or a social event, they never feel good enough for the life they lead. They will be overly critical of their job performance and might constantly feel like they’re being scrutinized by their coworkers. They might feel like they’re failing their partner due to self-perceived flaws and a distorted self-image. Friendships may seem unstable due to feeling inadequate in their social life.

In the eyes of someone with anxiety, what they do and say will never measure up. They’re on a constant quest for perfection. This incessant need to become better might stem from a verbally abusive parent or bullies at school. Likewise, similar experiences may have molded their image of themselves. No matter where the feeling comes from, people with anxiety have a hard time changing their view of themselves. They tend to have a negative self-image, and likely need more encouragement and support due to this.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For those with anxiety disorders, daily life can feel like hell on Earth. They have to try to make it through the day with their brains on overdrive. Additionally, they must constantly defend themselves to people who have no idea what they deal with. We hope this article shed some light on the battles that people with anxiety disorders face. The world needs a better understanding of this potentially debilitating disorder.

8 Bizarre Sleep Habits From Around The World

Author Article

Would you sleep on the job?

Are your sleep habits ruining your daily life? It might be worth taking a nap on the job!

To celebrate World Sleep Day on March 15, Brother UK has taken an in-depth look at the most bizarre sleep habits from countries around the world to see if they could have an impact on productivity.

Research via the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on emotion. Could naps of 20-30 minutes make for a more productive workforce, and have a positive impact on mood, concentration and attention?

Struggling to sleep? READ: How to sleep better – simple ways to get a good night’s rest

Sleep habits

1. China – Bring your bedroom to work

In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock.

2. Japan – Inemuri

Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of “inemuri”, or “sleeping whilst present”. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work.

Sleep habits

3. Spain – Siesta

Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This practice might be under threat, however, with new business laws introduced in 2016 limiting how late employees can work, and effectively reducing the time they have to squeeze in an afternoon nap.

4. Italy – Riposo

Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have “riposo”. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Get us to Italy now! Frustratingly for tourists, this means that many attractions are closed throughout the day.

5. Norway – Napping outside

Take a stroll through Oslo, Helsinki or another Nordic town, and you might well see some infants taking a nap in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry – they haven’t been abandoned; sleeping outdoors in the daytime is actually believed to be very good for their health.

Sleep habits

6. Indonesia – Fear sleep

Stresses of work getting you down? The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ might be the solution. Locally referred to as “todoet poeles” – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss walks in might not be the best solution, but regular naps could well help avoid work-related worry.

7. Botswana – Sleeping on your own schedule

You should sleep when it’s dark, correct? Not quite. At least, not in Botswana. The country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. With an increased uptake of flexi-time, rise in self-chosen hours and growth of contract-based work, could businesses be embracing the way of the Kung sooner than we think?

Sleep habits

8. USA – Silicon Valley sleepers

Though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh.

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