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LUSH Collection and Storage

LUSH Collection and Storage

LUSH Collection and Storage. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Hello Friends!  I had a request to do a Lush storage video and decided to do also a collection video to make it a more interesting two-fer.  I know some people like to use their Lush items as decor in bathrooms in vase-like containers.  This can look very pretty.  A caveat to that is being careful of using more than one kind of bath item in that way.  The scents can get melded together as they absorb each others’ aroma.  They can also get a bit messy if the items begin to crumble (unless you don’t care, then go ahead and throw caution to the wind!  After all, these are just bath products we’re talking about).  So if you are interested in seeing my current (ish, I recorded this in October) Lush collection, click on the video below.  Many of the items were purchsed during the December 26 buy 1 get 1 free sale.  As always, thanks for reading/watching!

Check out my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/somethingtoconsider1

Instagram: somethingtoconsider

Recent Videos:

Vlog: where i’ve been http://youtu.be/aku3xEJvpW0

Holiday sets worth checking out http://youtu.be/SSzE_soC0SM

Toxic makeup best and worst: Revlon review http://youtu.be/CntkMh1m8lk

Giveaway rules and details:
1. must subscribe to my channel
2. thumbs up this video
3. if you are under 18 years old, please ask your parents’ permission to give out your address/receive a package
4. leave 1 comment (ex. favorite lush items, future videos you would like to see, etc.)
5. make sure your activity is public so I can see you’ve done the above
For Additional Entries:
-follow me on instagram, leave a comment on a post with “enter me”
-follow my blog, leave a comment on a post with “enter me”
-favorite this video & let me know you’ve done so
-giveaway will be open until the end of Christmas day, December 25 11:59pm EST
-giveaway is international
-i will message the winner and list here the week after Christmas (if winner does not reply after 1 week a new winner will be chosen)
-winner will be chosen using a random number generator
Good luck and thanks for participating!

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10

*This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way (I wish! :p).  Items can be purchased at www.lush.com

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Toxic Makeup Best & Worst: Revlon review

How toxic are Revlon products?  Pic by www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

How toxic are Revlon products? Pic by http://www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Since my last toxic makeup review was on a high-end brand (Urban Decay-to read it, click here), I thought I would review a popular drugstore brand next.  Below is a quick rundown of some of Revlon’s best and worst rated makeup products.  The ratings were obtained from the Skin Deep database by the Environmental Working Group (which can be found at www.ewg.org/skindeep).  The rating scale is simple, ranging from 0-10 with 10 being the most toxic product score.  As always, please keep in mind that formulations in cosmetics are constantly changing.  Consequently, I encourage looking up product ratings before you buy them either on Skin Deep or www.goodguide.com (which also includes the company’s eco and social responsibility ratings).  While Revlon has quite a few low-toxin products (168 out of the 1022 current products rated), overall most of their products were in the moderate or high toxin range.  For the sake of brevity I did not list all 1022 products, but here are various examples of Revlon’s products and their ratings, starting from the worst scores.

10: Hair color.  Do you really want this absorbed into your head?

9: Colorstay Mineral Blush in Roseberry, Colorstay Blemish Concealer, Silky Powder Bronzer in Sunkissed Bronze, Age Defying Makeup Foundation with Botafirm for Dry Skin

8: Certain Moondrops crème lipsticks

7: Some Super Lustrous Lip Glosses (ex. shade Nude Lustre 040), Photoready Powder, ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

6: New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup, Nail Care Liquid Quick Dry, Cream Blush in certain shades (ex. shade Rosy Glow)

5: Nearly Naked Makeup (ex. shade Warm Beige), PhotoReady BB Cream Skin Perfector, Illuminance Creme Eye Shadow (ex. shade 725 Va Va Va Bloom), Just Bitten Lip Stain & Balm (ex. shade Dawn),  ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick (ex. shade Flashing Lights), Colorstay for Normal/Dry Skin Makeup with SoftFlex (ex. shade Sand Beige), ColorStay Liner For Lips

4: Matte Eye Shadow (ex. shade Vintage Lace), Colorstay 12-Hour Eye Shadow quads in certain shades, Luxurious Color Eye Line (ex. shade Black Velvet), Lip Butters (many hearts may be breaking over this, these are so popular!)

3: Certain shades of  PhotoReady Concealer Makeup, PhotoReady Cream Blush (ex. shade Coral Reef), PhotoReady Mousse Makeup in certain shades, ColorStay Whipped Creme Makeup in certain shades, Colorstay Aqua Mineral Finishing Powder-Translucent,  ColorStay 16-Hour Eye Shadow Quad (ex. shade Bombshell), Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream Makeup, and nail polishes scored at least 3, at most 9

2: Super Lustrous Lipstick in many but not all shades, here’s a few: Sky Pink, Wine with Everything, Violet Frenzy, Peach Me, Smoky Rose, Coffee Bean, Apricot Fantasy, Sassy Mauve, Just Enough Buff, Cherries in the Snow; Photoready Kajal Intense Eye Liner & Brightener (ex. shade Purple Reign), Grow Luscious Waterproof Mascara, Custom Eyes Duo Shadow & Liner Palette (ex. shade Naturally Glamorous 020), Custom Eyes Mascara (ex. shade Blackened Brown 003), ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in many but not all shades, here’s a few: Nude, Perfect Peony, Premier Pink, Prized Plum, Stellar Sunrise, and more; PhotoReady Eye Primer & Brightener, PhotoReady Makeup foundation (all shades)

1: ColorBurst Lipstick in the following shades: True Red 090, Rosy Nude 065, Fuschia 030

0: Remover for Lash Adhesive, Color Allure Nails, Medium nail glue

Please note I did not include products considered by Skin Deep to have an old formula (more than 3 years old), and also that not all shades of the same product will have the same score.  Approx. 16.4% of the products I viewed were low toxin, which is honestly more than I thought there would be.  But Revlon can certainly do better!  Poor scores resulted from toxic ingredients such as multiple parabens (linked to reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption), BHA (linked to cancer, organ toxicity, hormone disruption), methyl methacrylate (linked to developmental toxicity, for example, fetal exposure in utero, breastfeeding infants, direct application exposure while still developing), and many more.  Good Guide (www.goodguide.com), which rates product health, social, and environmental responsibility 0-10 (but with 10 being the best, no-toxin score) gives Revlon the following overall ratings: Health 1.9 (extremely poor), Environmental 3.9 (poor), and Social 3.9 (poor).  Visit their website for more information.

Do what you wish with this material.  Perhaps it will spur you on to changing your Revlon purchasing habits.  If you feel inclined to take further action, there is a form letter on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website that you cane-mail to Revlon asking them to remove harmful chemicals from their products.  They also have more information on the kinds of toxic ingredients in Revlon products as well as their linked health concerns (and much more).  Here is the page: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5500/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=15670

What did you think of Revlon’s ratings?  Were you surprised?  Please leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions, and requests for other brand reviews.  Be good to one another and thanks for reading.

Resources/For More Information:

www.ewg.org/skindeep

www.goodguide.com

www.safecosmetics.org

Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan

“Be kind and compassionate to one another,” Ephesians 4:32

The video featuring some of the products mentioned:

LUSH Halloween Bath Items 2013

As Halloween rolls around again, LUSH has released some new limited edition goodies to celebrate the season.  While they did not bring back Pumpkin soap or the Jacko bath bomb (such a bummer!), they have cooked up a new bubble bar and 2 new bath bombs that you are sure to enjoy if you are a fellow lushie.

Pumkin Bubble Bar is an adorable sudsy treat designed to fill your tub with the scent of ylang ylang oil and orange flower absolute.  Pumkin is no spelling error as it was designed as a counterpart to the Mother’s Day Mumkin bubble bar.  This 3.5 oz product is good for multiple baths, depending on the amount of suds you want, the size of your bathtub, and whether or not your tub has jets.  Plus it’s just plain cute!  And it shares its scent with Figs and Leaves soap-one of my favorites.

pumkin

Pumkin bubble bar, photo by LUSH

Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb is a much spicier product chock-full of black pepper and patchouli.  I did not pick this one up because I ordered online and this seemed like a gamble (I am not a bug patchouli fan).  But this sounds like a good one for those who enjoy a small, warm scented ballistic.

misrule

Misrule bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Soot Ball Bath Bomb is derived from the soot gremlins of the Japanese animated film Spirited Away.  I love this scent because it is simultaneously sweet and savory.  Frankincense, tonka absolute, and burnt caramel make an excellent combination for relaxation on a chilly October evening!  Don’t let the color fool you; instead of turning your bath water black as it may seem, this little guy turns your water a beautiful gold.  Unfortunately this item is not available on the Lush North America website, but you can order it from across the pond at https://www.lush.co.uk/product/6354/Soot-Ball

Soot ball bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Soot ball bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Lush is also promoting some of their Halloween-themed permanent items such as the Dragon’s Egg bath bomb and Buffy body butter, among many others.  Limited edition Halloween items usually launch in North America in mid-October.  They launch much earlier in the UK (September).  I find this strange as they could potentially sell more items by releasing them earlier.  And why wouldn’t they sell Soot Ball here?  Nevertheless, I will put these items to good use as I always take more baths in autumn and winter.

Did you pick any of these up?  What do you think about Lush’s decision not to bring back previous Halloween limited edition items?  Leave a comment below, and as always thanks for reading.

My video featuring these items:

“But those who put their hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 31

MAC Centre of Attention Review / Swatches: Divine Night Holiday MSF

MAC Center of Attention MSF. Divine Night Holiday Collection 2013. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Center of Attention MSF. Divine Night Holiday Collection 2013. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Cosmetics has now launched their Divine Night Holiday color collection in the US.  In this collection are three highlighting mineralize skinfinish powders.  I picked up Centre of Attention (I’m so proud of my restraint!) and thought I would share my thoughts on whether or not this $33 beauty item is worth the dough.

This MSF is priced at $33 rather than the usual $30 due to the limited edition packaging.  This includes lettering on the box as well as the pot in gold instead of the usual white.  Is that really worth an extra $3?  I’m not so sure.  The design of the mineralize skinfinish itself is also unique as the usual veining was foregone.  The base color is a soft peachy pink that is finely milled.  Inside is a square filled with a 14-karat gold glitter.

The color payoff of this MSF is rather disappointing.  I found both colors to be quite sheer, with the gold being a bit more prominent.  Since the pink is so light and sheer I would think it is better suited for paler, cool-toned skin.  At first it reminded me of MAC’s Play It Proper, but when swatched side by side PIP is much more pigmented and more of a true pink without the peachy pull.  CoA is very powdery.  The yellow gold applies much like a pressed pigment.  It is very chunky glitter, and while I applied it to the tops of my cheeks it most certainly did not stay there.  After a couple of hours the gold glitter was literally all over my face (perhaps my oily skin has something to do with that).  I found it applied a bit better when using a wet brush and placed on my lids over a creamy eyeshadow base.  Because the gold is so coarse and gritty, when swatching the two colors together it is much more pronounced.  Maybe that is why I did not find the color of mixing the two to be very appealing (and they really didn’t blend).   As you can see in the pictures and video below, swatching one or two layers of the product was hardly noticeable on my light skin.  I considered adding more layers to the swatches but that seemed misleading.  What you see in these pics is truly what you get.

Now before I sound completely doom and gloom, I would say that the peachy pink base color is beautiful and provides a very subtle, flattering sheen.  If you do not have a pinky highlight then this might be worth the money for that alone.  As for the gold, I can’t say that it is all bad just because it didn’t suit my skin tone and larger pores.  If you can pull off very large, yellow gold then you may love this product.

I definitely recommend trying this product in person before buying if at all possible.  Overall I did not find Centre of Attention to be impressive, which is shocking as I have an unnatural love for MAC’s skinfinishes and beauty powders.  I wanted to love it!  But there are much better permanent MSF’s, and the next great limited edition collection is always just around the corner.

For live swatches watch the short video below.  What did you think of this product and the collection as a whole?  Do you disagree and absolutely love it?  Leave me a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

Products are available at MAC stores, counters, and on-line at www.maccosmetics.com

This product was purchased with my own money.  All opinions are my own.

“Search me, O god, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

MAC Centre of Attention MSF in Packaging. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Centre of Attention MSF in Packaging. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Centre of Attention MSF Divine Night. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Centre of Attention MSF Divine Night. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Centre of Attention MSF Divine Night. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.comMAC Center of Attention MSF Divine Night. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

MAC Centre of Attention MSF Divine Night. Photo by somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Pink 1 layer swatch

Pink 1 layer swatch

Pink 2 layers

Pink 2 layers

Top: MAC Play it Proper, Bottom: COA (pink)

Top: MAC Play it Proper, Bottom: COA (pink)

Top: CoA Gold, Bottom: Pink

Top: CoA Gold, Bottom: Pink

CoA gold and pink swirled together

Top to Bottom: CoA gold and pink swirled together, gold, pink

Product Review: Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer and Refining Finishing Powder

Juice Beauty Tinted Moisturizer. Refining Powder, Bare Minerals Flawless Face Brush by www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Juice Beauty Tinted Moisturizer. Refining Powder, Bare Minerals Flawless Face Brush by http://www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Up for your consideration are the Tinted Mineral Moisturizer and Refining Finishing Powder by Juice Beauty. I spotted these in Ulta awhile back, and since I’m always on the hunt for effective low-toxin products, I thought I would give theses a shot. Here’s a bit of background on Juice Beauty in case you are unfamiliar.
Founded in California, their goal was to create healthy and effectual personal care products. They have created antioxidant and vitamin-rich, organic, juice-based formulas that strive to be more effective than their high toxin-counterparts. Using juice as a base eliminates the need for petroleum derivatives that many other companies use, which suffocate the skin and frequently contain harmful chemicals. Juice Beauty is a certified organic brand, so you can purchase their genuinely natural ingredients with confidence. But enough chat about the company. How well do the products actually work?
The Gist
The tinted moisturizer has an SPF of 30, which is a bonus so no added sunscreen is necessary. Obviously the ingredients are a major plus. Not that all of my makeup is completely natural/organic, but I prefer anything that goes all over my entire face to be as natural and low-toxin as possible. It is very moisturizing, and since I am an oily girl, I do not use any supplementary moisturizer with it. This leaves the skin with a very dewy finish. For dry skin this is great; however, if like me you are more slippery, I would recommend using the refining powder to set it. The loose powder is very light and leaves the skin with a very natural finish (as in the middle ground between dry and oily). It does not look cakey, and for me it seems to last all day, even in the summer. Not everyone cares for loose powders, but they do not bother me if they perform well. I noticed it settled a bit into my smile lines throughout the day but not terribly. I saw no noticeable difference with how it looked when I used a primer underneath or not. The refining powder scores a 2 (low toxin) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. The tinted moisturizer scores a 2 in the shade ivory, 3 in sand and tan (which puts them just into the moderate range). For more information on what these ratings mean, visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
Application
For the tinted moisturizer, I dot it all over my face with clean fingers and then massage into the skin. I usually then go over it with my Bare Minerals precision face brush just to even it out. I apply the refining powder with the Bare Minerals flawless face brush, tapping off any excess product into the cap.
Overall
If you’ve been burned by tinted moisturizers that lack any semblance of coverage, this will not disappoint you. However, if you are in search of a full coverage product, this (or any tinted moisturizer for that matter) is not the item for you. While the price point is a bit steep (the tinted moisturizer retails for $29 for 2 oz of product; the refining powder goes for $22 for .28 oz), you get plenty of product. Could the health score of the tinted moisturizer be better? Of course (in the darker shades that is). So if you are really uncomfortable using anything other than low-toxin products, you will want to pass on this. Overall I think you get what you pay for: high quality, natural products that do pretty much what they say they do. And if you purchase them from Ulta and are dissatisfied, you can return them for a full refund or store credit (at least here in The States).
Have you tried them? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and skin type. Of course I purchased these with my own money and these thoughts are my own. Thanks for reading.
Info on the company found at http://www.juicebeauty.com
Skin Deep database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
Interested in seeing how these products look on the skin? Watch my YouTube video:

Toxic Makeup Best & Worst: Urban decay review

Urban Decay's logo

Urban Decay’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, Lovelies!  I’m back with another makeup brand review.  I previously reviewed E.L.F. Cosmetics (to read this review, click here).  This time we are looking at Urban Decay and spotlighting some of their best and worst health rated products.  As usual I use www.goodguide.com and www.ewg.org/skindeep to get these ratings.  Below I have listed current ratings as of this writing.  Don’t forget: product formulations are constantly changing so you may want to double check scores before purchasing.  For Good Guide (gg), 10=no toxin, 5-9=low toxin, 3-4=moderate toxin, 0-2=high toxin so the higher the number the better.  As for Skin Deep (sd), the ratings are opposite of Good Guide; 0=no toxin, 1-2=low toxin, 3-6=moderate toxin, 7-10=high toxin so the lower the number the better.  I included prices if available, but don’t fret, ebay and amazon are always loaded with discontinued makeup.  I included ratings on d/c’d products in case you have them in your stash.  Let’s highlight some of their low-toxin products first.  Urban Decay has quite a few low-toxin products.

The Best:

24/7 glide on lip pencils in all colors except Wicked (gg 7, sd 1 or 2); $19

Lip junkie lip glosses (gg5+); $19

Naked 2 eyeshadow palette of 12 shadows (all shades score well except for Blackout-gg 4; could not find score for Bootycall); $50

Most of their false lashes (gg 8); $15

Urbanglow cream highlight in the shades sin, wicked, and brown sugar (gg 8); $24

Cannonball ultra waterproof mascara (gg 8); $20

24/7 glide on eye pencils in the shades: zero, lust, perversion, ransom, rockstar, stash, demolition, underground, yayo, flipside, gunmetal, graffiti  (gg 6+, sd 2); $19 (some shades are on sale on www.sephora.com for only $6!)

Eyelash primer potion (gg 8) $20

Meltdown Make-Up Remover (gg 8); $24

Lipsticks in the following shades: gravity, trainwreck, jilted, vinyl, voodoo, wanted, buzzkill, requiem, revolution, midnight cowboy, lovechild, hot pants, rush, sellout, naked, apocalypse, peroxide, confession, and gash (gg 6+); *note: these are the old lipsticks, not to be confused with the brand new Revolution lipsticks that, to my knowledge, have not yet been rated.

Ammo eyeshadow box/palette – 10 Shades (gg 7); $34

Eyeshadow singles in the following shades: buck, darkhorse, roach, woodstock, foxy, baked, virgin, zephyr, s and m, smog, loaded, lost, tease, naked, verve, evidence, asphyxia, toasted, freelove, rockstar, blunt, bust, mildew, x, ydk, peace, flash, pistol, fishnet, bender, scratch, snakebite, busted, vanilla, mushroom, gravity, shattered, bordello, height, secret service, half baked, swf, radium, sellout, kush, snatch, suspect, last call, abc gum, psychedelic sister, acdc, twice baked, gunmetal, sin, grifter, midnight cowgirl, chopper, oil slick, stray dog, polyester bride, midnight cowboy, rodeo, midnight cowboy rides again, and the stardust eyeshadows (gg 5+); $18. *Note the older formulations of these shadows have much worse scores

Eyeshadow Primer Potion in sheer nude, eden, and greed (gg 6+); $20 (greed is on sale right now at www.sephora.com for only $10)

De-slick, All Nighter, and Dew Me setting sprays (gg 6); $14-29 depending on size

Revolver fragrance Oil (gg 6)

Guardian angel spray moisturizer SPF 8 (gg 6)

Stardust sparkling lip glosses in andromeda and space cowboy (gg 6)

Midnight cowboy body shimmer lotion (gg 5)

Rollergirl eyeshadow palette of four shadows (gg 5)

Worst:

It would take too long to list all 500 or so poorly rated products, so I’ll highlight a few.

Naked 1 palette of 12 shadows (gg 0); $50

Urban brow styling brush and setting gel  (gg 4); $20

Urbanglow Cream Highlight in the shade Moonshine (gg 4); $24

Many eyeshadow colors (too many to list), here’s an example of a few: cobra, blackout, chase, maui wowi (gg 0-4), $18

Big fatty waterproof mascaras (gg 2-4); $20

24/7 glide-on shadow pencils (gg 4); $20

The black palette (gg 4)

Loose pigments (gg 0)

Surreal skin mineral makeup and Surreal cream to powder foundations (gg 0, sd 3+); $31 and $35 respectively

De-slick mattifying face powder (sd 3); $32

Naked skin beauty balm (sd 5); $14-34 depending on size

Afterglow glide on cheek tint (gg 3-4); $24

24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (gg 0); $19

Ultraglide lip glosses and xxx shine glosses (gg 0)

These bad scores are due to ingredients such as silica, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propylene glycol, triethanolamine, and multiple parabens.  These are linked to health concerns such as cancer, organ toxicity, hormone disruption, and cellular level changes.  Overall, Urban Decay health product ratings are 2.8, their social responsibility rating is 3.2, and their environmental responsibility rating is also 3.2 (none too impressive).

So judge for yourself if Urban Decay is the right brand for you.  Most of their low-toxin products, while costly, are highly pigmented, beautiful, and have great staying power.  And remember that not all high-end makeup makes for good health quality products.

What are your thoughts on Urban Decay?  Leave a comment below.  As always, thanks for reading.

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the most high, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling for He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:9-11

References:

www.ewg.org/skindeep

www.goodguide.com

Malkin, S. (2007). Not Just a Pretty Face: The ugly side of the beauty industry. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers.

Quilty, D. (n.d.). What Is BHT And Why You Should Avoid It. In The Good Human. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from http://thegoodhuman.com/2009/09/24/what-is-bht-butylated-hydroxytoluene-and-why-you-should-avoid-it/

Overcoming the Plague of Anxiety: Finding your way back to a place of rest

Anxiety

Anxiety (Photo credit: Rima Xaros)

Of all the clients I have seen over the years, one of the most common problems people have come to counseling for anxiety.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue, affecting approximately 40 million adults each year.   To a certain degree, anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to stress.  For example, if you have a big exam coming up at school or an important presentation at work, anxiety and nervousness are natural responses.  However, if an anxiety response causes substantial emotional impairment or distress, a person may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.  For more information on anxiety and how to help ease the symptoms, keep reading.

While anxiety has many forms (listed below), this article focuses on anxiety in the general sense.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes Generalized Anxiety Disorder as extreme and frequent worry that is difficult to control and causes impairment in functioning in at least one area of a person’s life (that is not caused by a medical issue or substance use).  Symptoms can include feeling edgy, cranky, and drained; having difficulty focusing, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping.  Remember that each individual is different so anxiety may not look exactly the same from person to person.  This can be exhausting to deal with for ourselves and our loved ones.  In addition to the mental and emotional response to anxiety and stress, our bodies also have a physiological response to stress and anxiety.

Naturally, our bodies respond to stress by trying to avoid or eliminate the stressor.  The hypothalamus kicks into gear.  The pupils dilate, the adrenal glands drive cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine throughout the body, the heart rate and blood pressure jump, our bodies burn stored fat for energy and constrict blood vessels in certain parts of the body.  This readies us to respond to and survive the threat by fighting, fleeing, or freezing (i.e. the fight-or-flight response).  While these automatic functions in the body are invaluable in protecting us from threats, anxiety can enable them by even a perceived threat.

If we get stuck in an anxious mindset, anything can become a perceived threat.  This can leave our body in survival mode around the clock, when it is only meant to turn on in an emergency.  Operating on this mode all the time can actually have toxic effects.  No wonder you are having difficulty concentrating and sleeping with all of this going on inside your body!  But how can a person get off the anxiety roundabout?  We have to engage our minds and bodies for the solution.

  • It all starts in the mind.  Ask yourself when the anxiety first started.  What was happening at that time?  What were you responding to?  Sometimes anxiety is (and other mental health issues are) a result of something we’ve been ignoring within ourselves that is trying to get out.  We can only stuff it down for so long before it manifests itself.  Identify how you respond to the trigger emotionally, physically, and mentally.  What are your thought responses to stress?  For example, if a teacher or an employer asks to speak to you privately after a presentation, are you assuming that what they have to say is negative?  Jot the answers to these questions down.  Take your time.  If you are having a difficult time answering some of these questions just relax and give yourself a break; you may have to revisit these questions repeatedly, and that is completely normal.  Now that you have identified the stressors and your initial responses, let’s get your body under control.
  • When you feel the anxiety start to creep in, the first thing to do is maintain a low heart rate.  Take slow, deep breaths.   Under stress our bodies want to huff and puff; these shallow intakes can encourage the stress response in your brain.  By maintaining your breath you can cut off the anxiety hormones at the pass.  Relax any muscles that may have tensed.  Try some progressive muscle relaxation; you may be surprised at how many of your muscle groups have been activated.  Participate in regular exercise.  When we sweat it releases many of the toxins in our bodies and leaves our brains and bodies in a much more restful state.  One of the most effective ways to relax the mind and body is through prayer and meditation.  Studies show how powerful these are, as people who identify themselves as religious are less likely to become anxious and depressed.  In one study, 20 out of 22 participants who practiced prayer or meditation to reduce moderate to severe anxiety showed marked improvement after three months.  When we pray and meditate, we use the most advanced part of our brains that is responsible for thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.  These functions are dampened by anxiety from the activation of more primal instincts for survival.  Let’s not underestimate the power of our Lord.  He designed us this way for a purpose.
  • Now back to our thoughts.  Once the anxious thoughts have been identified, challenge and replace them along with any fearful self-talk; exchange them for empowered, positive ones.  Analyze how likely the feared event is to occur.  You see, our fears are like a plant.  They start with one seed, and then we water it by continuing to think and speak fearful thoughts which, many times, are unrealistic.  What can you do to control the outcome of the dreaded situation?  Remind yourself that you are not as helpless as you may feel.  Identify how you might respond to the feared outcome in order to return to a normal level of functioning.  And try to stay in the present moment.  Anxiety is usually brought on by thoughts of the dead past or the imaginary future.  Most of the time we are safe and should not have to feel worried.  This can be incredibly difficult at first, but patiently keep returning your focus to the here and now.  However, if there is a question of physical safety in your life, contact a helping professional to assist you in getting you to a safe place or situation as soon as possible.
  • Have a loved one or close friend to talk with about the anxiety.  Sometimes another person can give us a fresh perspective on how probable a feared event is.  They can also hold us accountable to our coping strategies.  If possible, this person should not have an anxiety problem as anxiety can be contagious; if we are in close proximity to an anxious person, our brain picks up on their elevated heart rate and will send a signal to the body that something is wrong.  This can stimulate an anxious response within us.  Also, exposing ourselves to anxiety-provoking material can do this: reading crime novels, watching disturbing movies or television, etc.

Again, we are all unique so some techniques may work better for you than others.  It can take time to overcome anxiety, so celebrate every small victory you have.  The good news is that anxiety is very treatable.  Continue to educate yourself on the causes, symptoms, and solutions of and to anxiety with many available books on the subject.  If your anxiety is serious, get in touch with a good counselor or licensed therapist.  Trained professionals have many additional resources and treatment exercises to help you reclaim control over your thoughts and feelings.  I am confident you will find freedom from the plague of anxiety and find your way back to a place of rest.

If you would like to see an article about other specific types of anxiety or anxiety in children/adolescents, or for questions, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

“If any of you are having trouble, pray.” James 5:13

“Cast all of your anxiety on God because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Anxiety types or disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Panic attacks and Panic Disorder

Phobias (ex. Agoraphobia)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Resources: A great workbook to check out is The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

References
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth ed., Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Anxiety, Prayer, and Spirituality: Clinical evidence to the power of prayer and faith as an antidote to emotional diseases. (2007). In Holistic Online. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www.holisticonline.com/Remedies/Anxiety/anx_prayer.htm

Facts and Statistics. (2010). In Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Howard, P. J. (2006). The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday application from mind-brain research (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: Bard Press.

Jongsma, A. E., & Peterson, L. (2006). The Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment Planner (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012, June 30). Anxiety: Symptoms. In Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anxiety/DS01187/DSECTION=symptoms

Nevid, J. S., Rathus, S. A., & Greene, B. (2006). Abnormal Psychology in a Changing World (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Statistics: Any anxiety disorder among adults. (2013). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYANX_ADULT.shtml

My video on this topic: