Mobile Payments: Making Life Easy And Stress Free For Consumers

Undoubtedly, digital centralization has had a significant impact on our daily lives. It has certainly changed the way we discover new things, watch television and videos, and keep track of our physical and mental health. Darn, the way we communicate with our tennis and football heroes have become digital as well!

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Recently, the way we purchase commodities and pay our bills have changed too, with the advent of mobile payment technology. As per the Nielsen’s second quarter 2017 Mobile Wallet Report, the percentage of consumers that utilize mobile methods has gone up to a whopping 50%. 

 

Mobile Wallet User Statistics

 

So who uses the modern wallet? Well, both men and women do – about 47 and 53 percent, respectively. The bigger part of the pie goes to the 18-34-year-old age range, making up 55% of the whole population. Status-wise, paying digitally is popular to people from different income levels – apparently more seen in those who earn above $100,000. 

 

Benefits Of Using Mobile Payments

 

By far, consumers have turned to a variety of methods to pay for their bills, debts, and purchases. Paypal, MasterCard Pay Pass, and Google Wallet are a few of the popular companies that offer digital money transactions. 

 

With that said, can consumers attest that this method of payment has made life easier? Has it helped reduce stress and enabled them to finally have more time for more significant activities? That would be a yes!

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Here are some advantages mentioned by consumers that utilized mobile payments.

 

 

  • Convenience. That would be on top of the list, undoubtedly. When you’re given the opportunity to pay from the comfort of your home – or at a restaurant or while vacationing in Phuket – that’s convenience. 

 

 

You can probably take an hour or two of the time that you’d spend dressing up and going out just to pay for your electricity and phone bills, or going to the bank to withdraw so you can purchase something at the mall. For on-the-go businessmen and entrepreneurs, paying online or through phone is a surefire winner. 

 

 

  • You Save A Lot When You Don’t Pay Through Your Credit Card. Yes, you do. Paying through your credit card adds 3.5% more than what you actually pay for – for anything! Some companies do have payment fees, but not one asks for something as high as 3.5%. There are even a few who don’t actually let you pay transaction fees. And to a growing family who is struggling to make ends meet, little to no fees goes a long way. 

 

 

 

  • You Feel More Secure Not Having To Bring Big Cash. By utilizing mobile payments, the stress and worry of losing money from theft or just plain recklessness is eliminated. You no longer have to carry a bulky wallet on your way to the bank to make payments.There is lesser risk when you don’t have cash on hand. Moreover, unlike using your credit card to pay, you don’t need to enter a lot of information, making you a potential target for hacking. A click from your phone, and lo and behold, you’re done!

 

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According to an article from BetterHelp, money worries are among the most common causes of stress. In fact, this site offers great online counseling advice about finances, if you feel like you need guidance on these things.

 

Overall, mobile methods of payment have so far proven to not only save time and money, but it has also given us the opportunity to discover easier ways and means to make our life easier and more convenient. No matter which group you belong – whether you are a consumer or a retailer – paying from the modern wallet is definitely a win-win situation. 

Social Anxiety: How It Affects Intimacy

Do you fear being judged by others to the point that you avoid social gatherings and meeting new people? 

 

Social anxiety is when you feel that all eyes are on you and fearing that they are negatively judging you.  Such thinking leads to you feeling inadequate, inferior, self-conscious, embarrassed, and depressed.  

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“This is what it boils down to and it extrapolates to any social situation, It can be specific to certain social situations, it can be generalized to all social situations, but the anxiety is about judgement, and ultimately not being approved of and not being liked.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist explained. When you are frequently experiencing this irrational anxiousness when in a social situation, but better when alone, social anxiety could be your problem.  

 

Social Anxiety Is A Mental Health Issue

Many people around the world suffer from trauma brought by social anxiety or social phobia.  These feelings can become intense and persistent, making it hard for you to do your everyday tasks, like communicating with people at work or school.  

 

Social anxiety is a disorder that often begins in young people who are extremely shy.  “People with social anxiety disorder experience anxiety when faced with social situations. They do not believe their anxiety is related to an illness or disease, yet have little control over their fear of social interactions.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC said. Research suggests that about 7% of Americans are affected by social anxiety disorder (SAD). When social anxiety is not adequately addressed, it can prevent you from reaching your full potential and achieve the happiness you desire.  

 

Social Anxiety Can Get In The Way Of Your Meeting The Opposite Sex

Social anxiety could even interfere with your dating because you fear that others will think of you as stupid or boring, and you fear that you will just be humiliated and rejected.  

 

Just the idea of you going on a date will make you worry even weeks or days before it happens.  During the day of your meeting, you may feel your heart pounding,and you may also feel dizzy and sick.  The fear is so intensethat you cannot control it, not even drinking glasses of water can take away the tension you feel.  Lack of confidence might be too obvious which could lead to you eventually getting rejected. 

 

As a result, it could get in the way of you going on another date. 

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Signs And Symptoms That You Have Social Anxiety Disorder

When having to be on a date or be around other people, a person with a social anxiety disorder tends to: 

 

  • Blush, sweat, have a rapid heart rate, tremble, feel his mind is going blank
  • Feel sick in the stomach or nauseous
  • Make little eye contact, talk with an overly soft voice, and often find a hard time speaking although he wished he could
  • Feels very self-conscious, embarrassed, and awkward
  • Fear that he is being judged

 

Living with the very sooften nagging thoughts in your mind about how not good enough you areaffect the way you treat those people close to you and even those people you wanted to be in your life.  

 

How Social Anxiety Affects Your Intimacy

“Anxiety is the pit in your stomach that you feel the night before a big exam or it can be those shaky legs you experience just before giving a presentation.” As explained by Melissa Berschauer LMFT. The way you get along with people around you can be impacted by your anxious thoughts or phobias just like any other aspect of your life.  Becoming intimate with someone you like can be complicated by the voice inside you creating negative thoughts and worries.  

 

“Does she like me?”

 

“Does she like what I’m doing?”

 

“What if she rejects me?”

 

“What if she’s not satisfied?”

 

These are some thoughts that add to your anxiety and even makes you doubt yourself more.  

 

Your doubts and fears not only affect your first date, but even sexual satisfaction is also said to be affected by your negativity.  Being unable to communicate your feelings effectively and fears of being intimate with your partner aresupposed to have something to do with sexual gratification.  

 

A study has shown that social anxiety is associated with fear of intimacy and has lower satisfaction when it comes to sexual relations and relationship.  Therefore, people with social anxiety may have more difficulties in maintaining an intimate relationship.  

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Those people with SAD who are already in a romantic relationship should work on increasing their intimate communication with their partner.  

 

If you are someone with a loved one who has social anxiety, and you think his fears and doubts are interfering with your relationship, it will be useful to talk to your partner about this in an open manner. It is time you should be thinking of seeking help to assist your partner in overcoming his fears of getting close to you and enjoying an intimate moment together.   

3 Stages Of Love According To A Study

People can get their hearts shattered into a billion little pieces more than once, yet only a few become cynical when it comes to love. For the ones who still believe that a prince or princess is out there for them, the experience does nothing but make them feel stronger. Hence, they are often not weary of starting a relationship with someone new.

In reality, though, how does love flourish in one’s heart?

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Various sources can offer you at least five stages of falling in love. That makes sense since you can genuinely feel as if butterflies are fluttering in your stomach the first few times you meet an extraordinary man or woman. Nonetheless, it is easier to understandonce you reduce the number to three.

 

  1. Lust

Yes, sexual desire comes before love. Although it may seem debatable to a hopeless romantic fellow and believe the opposite, well, that is the truth. 

The logic is that a human brain naturally releases hormones – estrogen or testosterone – throughout the body. How these chemicals work is that they allow someone to feel more womanly or manly, respectively, than ever. Eventually, their longing to do the horizontal tango with another person in the room increases.

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  1. Attraction

Acting upon your primal instincts to pursue another human being opens doors for attraction. This second stage entails that you are one step closer to falling in love. Moreover, according to research, three compounds spike up when you feel attracted to someone.

Dopamine is unsurprisingly one of them. It is a mood-enhancing chemical and some folks who badly need it get their daily dose from drugs. When the attraction is present, though, dopamine becomes generated, especially when you are looking at your crush’s image.

Adrenaline rush takes place as well if there is magnetism between two people. The sensation tends to numb your other feelings, to the point that you turn into a better version of yourself. The meanie becomes a goodie; the fatigued becomes energetic. 

Serotonin completes the trio, of course. This compound is the reason why your mind often drifts towards the individual who fascinates you. One study even found that 65 percent of your day gets consumed by that thought.

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  1. Attachment

Once you give in to the two stages above, that is when you’ll be able to bond in more ways than one. You may talk until the morning comes. You may start matching your schedules so that you have much time for each other. Of course, sex is on the table too.

Relationships, in fact, rely on sexual intimacy because of a couple of chemicals that orgasm and post-sex experience bring forth. Those are oxytocin and vasopressin, respectively. Together, they let couples interpret one another’s non-verbal cues for a more harmonious union.

 

Love is undoubtedly among the many things that puzzle scientists. For sure, they can name some chemical compounds and reactions occurring in the brain that may lead up to it. However, the entire process remains a beautiful mystery up to this moment, with or without the stages of love being revealed to people.  

How To Make Somebody Fall In Love With You Without Magic

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Do you know that some people resort to voodoo to make their love interest fall for them in real life? If they cannot concoct a potion or perform the right prayers on their own, these individuals don’t mind getting the services of witches or other practitioners of the craft.

This action genuinely bothers many as it ideally breaks the natural progression of love, but you have to put yourself in those folks’ shoes to understand why they choose that path. Is it due to obsession, for instance? Are they so desperate to feel loved?

In truth, you do not need magic to make someone fall in love with you. Try the science-backed tips below, and the person you are dreaming of may soon be yours.

 

  1. Reveal One’s True Nature

One thing that both men and women pray for is not to embarrass themselves in front of their date. You might wish for the same too since people often say that first impression last. Despite that, you may want to relax a little and let your strengths and weaknesses shine, according to the researchers from the Harvard Business School.

Their investigation shows that a person feels drawn more to someone who is unafraid to reveal his or her real personality immediately. It will seem as if you are indeedopening up to your date, and they cannot help but admire your unabashed character.

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  1. Lock Gazes Often

No matter how shy you may be to look at your crush in the eyes, a study claims that doing so is necessary to make him or her fall for you.

It sounds too good to be true, but the windows to your soul can honestly convey what your lips cannot utter. Sometimes that works better than speaking much because not everyone knows how to put their feelings into words. 

The minutes you spend doing it undoubtedly matters as well. The longer you stare into each other’s eyes, the more you’ll feel drawn to one another, regardless of the setting.

 

  1. Say “Thank You”

Gratefulness does not just have an impact on the individual who receives it. There is a publication which reveals that the mere act of saying “thank you” for someone’s sweet gesture, irrespective of how big or small it is, boosts your emotional connection. Everything you do together afterward may seem extra fulfilling, and it is like nothing can stop your relationship from blossoming. 

 

Bonus: OptFor Hot Drinks

This pro tip may not be applicable in case yougo on dates in the middle of summer. Despite that, you should know that some studies indicate that your body temperature affects your behavior towards other people. For this reason, the person you are going out with may start feeling attraction to you once you offer him or her hot beverages.

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Falling in love with someone special can bring so much happiness in a person’s life. The thought of seeing that significant fellow again may energize you and allow you to think of a brighter future. What’s left to do now is ensuring that your feelings are mutual.

Good luck!

Ways To Attain A Long And Lasting Relationship Based On Research

Confessing love to someone is a piece of cake in comparison with proving that you can have a long and lasting relationship with that person. You might meet obstacles in the form of temptations and detractors, and their primary goal is to destroy whatever good thing you have going at the moment. In case an awful experience turned you into a cynic, your attitude may challenge your bond as well.

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Luckily, some scientists have gone out of their way to figure out the means to attain a forever kind of relationship. Such studies advise you to:

  1. Think Before You Speak

“Harsh words are just as damaging whether they come from someone else or whether they come from you,”  says licensed psychologist Cindy T. Graham, PhD. Talking to your better half without any consideration for their feelings is an ingredient for a disastrous union. It is already a rude behavior when you are only speaking with a stranger you may never see again. However, it is highly unacceptable once you attack the individual you ought to spend the rest of your life with verbally.

You are one blessed fellow in case the husband or wife forgives you for doing so. If you happen to be in a relationship with a strong-headed person, though, he or she will likely split with you the first time you talk smack in front of them. Thus, practice thinking before speaking.

 

  1. Take Notice Of The Things/People Your Partner Cares About

“Couples often feel that they know and understand their partner, and are compatible on most issues. However, this is a mistake.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explained. Based on a research published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy in 2013, the happy couples are those who care for the things or folks that their significant other cherish. E.g., family, BFFs, pets, job, et cetera. 

That fact is undeniable since it is quite impossible to stay with someone who merely has interest in you and not the various aspects of your life. After all, before you even met, those matters were already a part of you. Their lack of attention to stuff you care about may be an indication that you are far from being meant to be. So to counter that thought, it is a must to exhibit awareness of your spouse’s existing relationships and vice versa.

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  1. Divide The Household Chores Equally

The relationship advice that women receive from their parents these days is diverse from what the ladies got in the past. Back then, they used to say, “Learn how to cook and clean well so that you will become a great wife.” Now, the females tend to hear, “Marry a guy who will not treat you as if you are a maid. We did not send you to school to end up in that situation.”

Perhaps the recent guidance stuck in plenty of women’s minds, which is why there’s more peace in a married couple’s home when the husband and wife split the chores between them. No one resents anyone for being lazy or not helping enough because each person has a set of responsibilities to tackle. The surveys directed by the Pew Research Center last 1990 and 2007 confirmed that idea.

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“Become aware of your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Mindfulness is the main goal here, and bottling up emotions won’t do any good.” Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC said. So with that, you love your partner too much, and you want to be in a long and lasting relationship with him or her. Everyone gets it, of course. Nonetheless, your chances of beating the odds may only increase once you incorporate the said tips in your lives.

Good luck!

 

Relationship 101: Science-Backed Predictors Of Divorce

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Love, according to a hit song from the 70s, can keep you and your beloved together. 

For sure, there is no reason not to believe that since such an inexplicable feeling can do wonders for any relationship. It can heal wounds along with time; it can soften even a stone-hearted person’s heart. However, “Couples often feel that they know and understand their partner, and are compatible on most issues. However, this is a mistake.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC also added.

Regardless of that, love is admittedly not enough basis for a couple to stay married to each other. To prove that point, here are some predictors of divorce.

  1. You Tied The Knot Too Young Or Quite Late

Marrying someone in your teens is not the most practical decision. Apart from not having the financial means to look after the family that you will create, you may still be subconsciously not ready for the life ahead of you. It can get worse once you work and start meeting other people.

Likewise, getting hitched past the age of 32 increases your risk of becoming a divorcee later. The idea is that if you waited that long, your primary reason for marrying is to have a child or a lifetime companion perhaps. Thus, you might enter the matrimony without thinking much whether that individual is the one for you or not. “Divorce is not something that should never be entered into lightly. It means an end to that relationship and the breakup of a family, which can be greatly traumatizing to the children of that marriage.” Jennifer Baxt, LMFT, LMHC explained.

  1. Your Roles Got Switched

Women fought against gender discrimination for years. They want to be able to work alongside men, get paid according to their competencies, and have an opportunity to rise through the ranks as their male counterparts. Despite that, gaining that kind of equality does not entail that husbands should stay at home and let the wives become the sole provider of the family.

Once the roles switch, though, and a woman sees that the man cannot even be helpful around the household, the former’s reverence for the latter may dissipate slowly. After a year or so of experiencing that scenario, one may eventually file for divorce.

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  1. The Criticisms Are Going Overboard

Attacking the love of your life in a verbal manner is another ground for separation. You can exchange silly jokes with your better half from time to time, yet it is an entirely different story if you genuinely believe that there is something wrong with your spouse and do not mind continually informing him or her about it.

On your partner’s end, they may try to appease you or change for you at first. However, in case the jabs at their character come too often, it is likely that they will call it quits soon enough rather than take further criticisms from you.

  1. Infidelity Took Place

“We all know that both sexes are guilty of infidelity and that blame for a broken relationship is not the fault of a gender, but there are several aspects of male infidelity that are more attributable to men then women.” Katrina Bilhimer, Ma, LMHC said. The marriage already hangs by a thread when you decide to have an extramarital affair. Although you may try to conceal it or claim that the third party came on strong at you, that cannot hide the fact that you cheated on your husband or wife.

Considering your spouse forgives you for doing so, it is not a guarantee that he or she will forget your infidelity. The better half may find your actions suspicious quite often, to the point that they want to know the passwords to your accounts, your daily agenda, and what-not. It is only a matter of time before you or your significant other gives up on that situation.

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Marriage cannot survive with love alone. Plenty of challenges will test you as a couple. If one of you does not participate or is too weak to do so, your relationship will indeed end in divorce.

 

How To Have A Peaceful Marriage According To Science

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When watching a live feed of someone accepting a marriage proposal, you may only see the joy that spreads on the couples’ faces. What may not be visible at that moment is their silent wish for this impending union to never end up in divorce.

In reality, you do not have to leave that to fate and hope for the best. It is possible to have the best relationship – the type that will make others envious of your marriage – if you stick to the science-backed tips below.

  1. Amp Up Your Good Memories Together

To avoid being anywhere near separation, you need to harbor more amazing memories as a couple than the dull ones. 

“Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.”  Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC once said. A perfect ratio to think of, based on research, is 5:1. In other words, for every single recollection of a fight or a botched date, you should have five great moments to remember. You cannot ever let the balance become 3:3 because that will bring you closer than ever to the divorce court. 

  1. Avoid Burning External Connections

When you had the wedding ceremony, the most important people in your lives before you met each other must have been there. E.g., your family, friends, and colleagues at work. Post-marriage, you should remain in touch with them to prevent exhausting your significant other mentally and emotionally, or vice versa. Take note that “Relationships in and of themselves do not create mental illness.” However, he adds, “When we suffer in our relationships, it can be difficult to move forward from past hurt and trauma.” Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC explained.

This advice may (obviously) not work for individuals who have control issues. It entails, after all, that you may get around 99% of your spouse’s attention, while the remaining 1% goes to their other relationships. However, in case you are willing to move past the possessiveness, there’s no way you cannot find peace in your marriage.

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  1. Try New Activities Together

Studies also suggest that you can protect your union better by planning and embarking on an exciting adventure with each other often. 

The logic behind it is that love will continue to spark in your hearts whenever you try new things together. It builds up the number of great memories you’ll be able to tap into during the critical periods in your relationship, not to mention the fresh experiences that may advertently cause you to look back to your many firsts together.

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  1. Do Not Depend On Your Spouse To Make You Happy

Research and TV shows can tell you that having a perfect husband or wife is not enough to guarantee that you will feel happy throughout your marriage. They may try their mightiest to improve your emotions, but their attempts will inevitably fail if you cannot find satisfaction within yourself. Andrea F. Polard, PsyD used to say, “Authentic happiness is relating to the entire universe. When someone relates and leaves nothing out, you can see it in the face and posture. There is a presence about a truly happy person, a look that says “Yes,” to oneself, to others, and to the world.”

The thing is that you have to know what happiness feels like before you even decide to get married. Or, at least, be open to changes. Otherwise, your negativity may affect your spouse, and there will always be chaos in your household.

 

  1. Have More Things In Common

Your union will turn out well once you share plenty of characteristics. For example, you may both be wise spenders or natural food lovers. You might also have a vast interest in expanding your family and making life comfortable for your future kids. 

In case your goals or attitudes do not match, then you have two things to ask yourself. 1) Am I okay with fine-tuning my objectives to make them more suitable for my partner’s goals? 2) Will I regret it if I do that?

Answering ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the question respectively can undoubtedly lead to a happy marriage.

What Kinds Of Apps Complement The Work Of A Psychiatrist?

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Having a suspicion that you have a mental illness calls for a visit to a psychiatric clinic. It is not advisable to shrug it off, assuming that it is a fluke or that you know yourself better than any psychiatrist. You cannot claim the former freely until you get a diagnosis. As for the latter, the mental health professional has years of hands-on experience,so he must be an expert in the field.

“Experience and credentials are important, but it’s usually the personality of a therapist and the therapeutic rapport that develops between teen and therapist that is the most important factor of all.” – Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW

Touching base with a psychiatrist, however, does not mean you should entirely rely on the treatments they facilitate. There is often a slight margin of error, especially if you consider the truth that most psychiatric disorders remain irreversible. Thus, you are welcome to complement the work of your psychiatrist with a mobile application.

What kinds of apps should you concentrate on, pray tell?

Cognitive-Improving

For a lot of mental disorders, the problem comes down to the fact that the person has a bad habit of thinking negatively about life in general. The usual ideas stay along the lines of “I can never find happiness” or “I can’t get better,” and that’s honestly unhealthy. “The worst thing we can do is say to ourselves, ‘I can’t handle it,’ while the best thing we can say is, ‘I may not like it, but I can handle it.” Says Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist.

The apps you need, therefore, are the ones that can improve your thoughts. They don’t run short of tips and tricks on how to cope with specific issues. You can also utilize them to train your mind to go towards the positive direction all the time.

Symptoms Tracker

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Are you searching for an application that allows you to monitor your progress? Well, developers created symptom-tracking apps mostly for that reason. But “If a person is actually in need of therapy, these can be a great supplement, but they cannot take the place of engaging with someone who can offer individualized interpretations and insights that an app cannot provide.” Tanisha Ranger, PsyD explains.

There is ideally one downloadable application for each mental illness, e.g., depression, anxiety, autism, ADD/ADHD, etc. Whenever a symptom appears, you can consult that app to understand whether it’s something that will go away by itself or if you have to seek immediate assistance already. 

 

Self-Help

You may also want to look into self-help apps – the perfect tools for handling various psychological issues. In case you require help in tracking your breathing or sleeping pattern, overcoming anxiety, or journaling your episodes, you will find an application for that.

What’s cool about such apps is that most of them are free to download. It is an absolute plus, especially since receiving help for your mental health isn’t cheap.

Mental Support

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Last but surely not the least, some apps let you speak with a psychiatrist online. These are virtual counseling platformsthat make great complementary help as people do not have to wait for the next day or drive for hundreds of miles to see a mental health physician. Multiple psychiatrists are on duty 24/7 as well; thus, you won’t run out of advisers to talk to if need be.

 

Dealing with a psychological disorder is more bearable now than ever, although long-term cure is still unavailable for many illnesses. The information about the symptoms of every disease is extensive and typically free on the internet. When you need mental help, there is at least a single psychiatrist to talk to nearby. If you don’t wish to or can’t go back to the clinic often for treatment, some apps may complement the effort that the professional invests toward your recovery.

Find the application(s) that will suit your mental health needs today based on the categories above. Good luck! 

 

What Online Therapy Can Or Cannot Do

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The internet is one of humanity’s most marvelouscreations that most people cannot live without now. It allows faster and better communication with loved ones across the globe. It lets you share amazing photos and videos on the web for everyone to view and like. Furthermore, it is a useful tool for folks who seek counseling virtually.

Online therapy is the name given to that service. A collection of licensed therapists typically stay in a counseling platform and offer psychotherapy to people who register for it. “Online therapy is also known as teletherapy, online counseling, distance therapy, internet therapy, e-therapy, telehealth, telebehavioral health, email therapy, text therapy, phone counseling.” Sena Moran, LMHC wrote

The thing is, this electronic treatment is not applicable to every individual with a mental health issue out there. Find out what online therapy can or cannot do below.

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It Can:

Offer Convenience

Some folks with troubled minds cannot go to therapy due to their location, disability, or busy schedule. When you sign up for online counseling, however, you can consult a therapist during your free time and without leaving your home. You may select how you wish to communicate with them as well, e.g., through texting, video conferencing, voice calling, etc. But you have to note that “Online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than digital therapy can provide. And some clinicians may find certain telehealth modalities difficult,” says clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD.

Educate People Regarding Mental Health

It is standard practice for virtual counseling platforms as well to provide articles about mental health on the website. People can access and read them whenever there’s a disorder they want to know about in that instant. “Suffering has complicated factors that interface including: physical, psychological, social, emotional and neurological.” Karen Doll, Psy.D., L.P. said. Those who go to a conventional therapist won’t experience that unless they crack the actual psychiatry books open.

 

Come At Modest Rates

Online therapy is an economical choice for individuals who want to speak with a counselor yet don’t have the financial means to meet one in person. In case you have to pay up to 200 dollars for traditional counseling, internet psychotherapy costs no more than 100 dollars.

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It Cannot:

Get Covered By Medical Insurance

Only a few insurance companies include mental health to the medical services they can cover for a person. Most don’t do so since treating and diagnosis a psychiatric disorder can cost a fortune. However, virtual counseling remains unseen as a real treatment; that’s why it is still not a part of any insurance package.

Guarantee 100% Discretion

Privacy is perhaps the ultimate thing that online therapy platforms cannotsecureentirely. For sure, they have genius tech folks in the company, but the fact that people need to key in their personal and bank details to avail the service means the information is already accessible on the web. If a more resourceful hacker decides to attack their system, there’s a 50:50 chance that they may succeed.

 

Assure Real-Time Counseling Often

Since online therapists deal with dozens or hundreds of individuals on a daily basis, they may not be able to be therefor you immediately. If calls don’t work, you may leave your concerns in a text or e-mail. Then the waiting period for their response can go from hours to several weeks. 

 

Overall, online therapy is an incredible medical advancement that can change lives for the better. It is available in most countries, so there’s no reason for mental health patients to continue battling their disease on their own. 

What You Eat May Be Damaging Your Brain

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Recent studies have been conducted on whether what you eat affects your mental health. Although specific details are still under research, the evidence points to diet as a major factor in the health of your brain. It makes sense. John M. Grohol, Psy.D. used to say, “A balanced diet that includes lots of fiber helps keep your gut system running efficiently by helping to support a more diverse gut microbiome.”

 

Although we tend to think of the mind and mental health as separate from the body and physical health, your brain is an organ, and it requires appropriate nutrition just like any other part of your body. New research suggests that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) may be a treatment for a range of diet-related mental health issues. Find out how what you eat may be damaging your brain and how SCD may help.

Can diet be substituted for medicine?

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Mental health researchers like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride are looking into ways to treat mental health disorders ranging from depression to OCD to schizophrenia with diet interventions instead of drugs. That being said, the research is not complete, and not all cases can be treated with diet alone. But changing the way you eat may be able to reduce your symptoms, make your medications work more effectively, and possibly reduce or eliminate your dependency upon medications. But Julia Hogan, LCPC emphasizes that “It’s important to underscore here the importance of monitoring your mental health and knowing how different medications and lifestyle changes can impact your mental health.”

 

Diet has already been researched as a factor or treatment in cases of autism and ADHD, and in many cases a healthy diet has a bigger impact on overall health than any prescribed drug. Aside from poor diet affecting your brain function, existing mental health issues can also lead you to eat a less healthy diet. 

 

Depression and anxiety are both linked to weight gain and unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking. And that makes diet both a cause and an effect of your brain’s state of health. Because of this, conventional medicine may be able to help you overcome your poor eating habits and eventually wean off the medication.

What you eat affects how you feel

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You’ve probably heard of emotional eating. It’s a person’s tendency to eat more food and often eat less healthy food when they are in a bad mood or stressed out. But bad eating habits are not just a reaction to your mood. Food choices can actually make a difference in your mood and how you feel, and it’s not just energy levels that are affected. “Certain foods are linked to mental health issues such as increased symptoms of depression and decreased self-esteem.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC said.

 

Research shows that a diet high in sugar and processed foods can be a factor in the development of depression. People who have eaten a poor diet over the long-term are much more likely to develop depression than those who eat a healthy diet made up of whole, natural foods. Unfortunately, depression can make you feel lethargic and fatigued, and a natural response to that feeling is to seek out sugar for quick energy. Turning to more sugary, processed foods only exacerbates the situation.

 

Many people find sweet foods pleasurable. The problem is that some turn to sugar addiction as their primary form of pleasure instead of seeking to fix the other issues that are causing sadness, frustration, or depression. Instead of feeding the symptoms, a better option is to seek out a professional therapist who can help you form a plan for treating your mental health issues and building a happier life.

 

You can also help your depression symptoms with other natural treatments that combat the effects of stress. Exercise is a known mood booster because it releases endorphins in your body. Instead of turning to food, you can take an exercise break to feel better. With the right mindset, exercise is a pleasure that improves your day rather than a chore that you dread.

 

Here’s another interesting fact about how food intake affects how you feel. According to Eva Selhub, MD, 95% of the serotonin your body makes is produced in the digestive system. Serotonin regulates sleep and moods. 

 

Serotonin production is influenced by the good bacteria in your gut. Those bacteria thrive in an environment where they are fed by lots of natural foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as fermented foods. Eating a standard Western diet with processed grains, sugars, and oils, on the other hand, invites harmful bacteria to take up residence in your gut and override the good bacteria you need for a healthy mood.

Diet is a potential intervention for mental health problems

More mental health professionals are beginning to understand and question the role diet has for their patients. In fact, the field of nutritional psychiatry is growing, and more doctors are embracing the idea that they should be asking about their patient’s eating patterns, something that psychiatrists have not been trained for traditionally. But even those doctors specializing in mental health, who did not learn about the role of diet in medical school, are now seeing the truth of this new research.

 

The bottom line is that your brain requires a specific type of fuel and nutrients, just like your body does. And you don’t have to make it complicated. What is good for your heart, muscles, and digestive system is good for your brain too. When you eat foods that agree with your body and mind, you feel better overall and have more energy.

Foods that damage your brain

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So which foods should you be avoiding when it comes to brain health and balanced moods? Stay away from the items on this list of foods that can damage your brain:

 

 

  • Packaged snack cakes, pies, and cookies. Many of these foods are made with trans fats and other preservatives in order to prolong their shelf lives. Although this prevents the food from rotting or becoming moldy, it takes a toll on your health. Trans fats have been shown to increase inflammation and raise cholesterol levels, which decreases blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

 

 

Additionally, these foods come loaded with sugar. Just like other cells in your body, brain cells do not respond well to spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin overload, which can impair memory. If you want a baked treat or dessert, you’re better off going with something freshly made in order to avoid dangerous trans fats. And limit these to occasional indulgences to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

 

 

  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and other high-mercury seafood. Mercury is known to cause damage to memory and other brain functions. Eating too much food that contains this toxin causes it to build up in your body over time, potentially leading to mental health disorders. Unfortunately, much seafood is contaminated. 

 

 

That being said, eating seafood that is lower in mercury is actually really good for your mental health. Many fish contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to boost brain health. Salmon and light tuna are good options. And mussels also contain omega 3, as well as high levels of b-vitamins, which promote good memory and brain health.

 

 

  • Salty snacks. Foods that are high sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which restricts blood flow to the brain. In fact, studies show that the best way to fight dementia is with regular exercise that increases blood flow to the brain. 

 

 

Healthy foods high in potassium will balance your sodium levels, helping to maintain optimal blood circulation as well. All vegetables and fruits are good sources of potassium. Eating whole, natural foods every day can help protect mental health.

 

Where the specific carbohydrate diet comes in

Now that you know how closely the gut influences your mind, you can understand where the specific carbohydrate diet comes into play with mental health. When the digestive system is not in order, the effects can disrupt your mental function as well. 

 

The SCD restricts a wide range of carbohydrates, similar to other low-carbohydrate diets. But the end goal of the SCD is not weight loss. It is a diet designed to improve gastrointestinal health for individuals with digestive issues. Among the foods that are eliminated are grains, dairy (with the exception of hard cheese and well-fermented plain yogurt), and added sugar. They are on the restricted list because they can potentially cause inflammation in the digestive system.

 

The reason these foods are suspected of causing inflammation is the way in which they break down into sugars that are easily digested by bacteria. If your gut does not contain enough of the appropriate enzymes to break down the food, bacteria production increases beyond a healthy level.

 

The SCD doesn’t necessarily have to be adhered to strictly forever in order to maintain a healthy gut, and thereby healthy mental state. Once your symptoms subside, you can try adding some restricted foods back into your diet slowly and waiting to see if you have any symptoms. There may be certain foods that are on the list to avoid that you tolerate well, and some foods on the allowed list may need to be eliminated if you have a specific intolerance or sensitivity.

 

The tie between gastrointestinal bacteria and mental health

So how exactly could the SCD or other dietary changes improve your mental health? The truth is that a healthy diet is the number one controllable variable in the health of your entire body, and that includes your brain. Moods and mental health are very much a function of the health of your physical brain. Of course, that doesn’t mean that diet is the only factor, but it is important.

 

A strong connection has been found between gastrointestinal bacteria (or your microbiome), mood, and mental function. According to David Perlmutter, MD, “your microbiome also affects your mood, your libido, and even your perceptions of the world and the clarity of your thoughts.” In fact, a large nerve runs from your brain stem to your gut, allowing the digestive system to send neurotransmitters, like serotonin, directly to your brain.

 

And that is exactly why diet matters. What you are producing in your gut is being sent to your brain. The gut-brain connection is why many anxiety and depression sufferers experience greater symptom relief from dietary changes than from anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications. Keep in mind that even if you choose to seek relief from anxiety or depression through dietary changes, it’s smart to also get counseling from a professional therapist while you are experiencing these symptoms.

Foods that promote a healthy gut

The type of food that is most easily used by harmful bacteria is sugar. That is why too many sugary or starchy foods can create an overabundance of bacteria that disrupts your digestive system rather than keeping it functioning smoothly. As already discussed, excessive sugar intake is also linked to worsening moods and depression symptoms. Sugar intake also has a strong link to increased anxiety.

 

To turn around the health of your gut, and find relief from unexpected mood shifts and other mental health issues in the process, try changing out cakes, cookies, muffins, candy, packaged snack bars, and bread for the following foods:

 

 

  • Almonds or almond butter. These foods are filled with healthy fats that keep you feeling full without spiking blood sugar. Limit your nut intake to one serving per day to prevent gas and diarrhea that can occur from eating too much of these foods.
  • Avocados. Another healthy fat food, avocados can help keep you from snacking on sugar and carbohydrates because you will remain full longer.
  • Non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables should be a major component of your diet. Because they are a low-calorie food, they probably won’t make up the majority of your calories, even if they make up the bulk of your diet. Broccoli and cauliflower are good options that are easier to digest when steamed. You should also eat some raw vegetables like celery and leafy greens.
  • Non-sugary fruits. Many foods that we consider vegetables are botanically fruits. These include cucumber, squash, and tomatoes. Non-sugary fruits can be used in meals, salads, and as snacks.
  • Occasionally starchy vegetables. Vegetables with a lot of carbohydrates or natural sugar are also healthy food choices. They just shouldn’t be eaten in quantities as large as non-starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes and carrots are part of this group.
  • Occasionally sweet fruits. The natural sugar in fruit comes packaged with water, fiber, and lots of nutrients. That being said, even natural sugar can be a digestive disruptor and a cause of brain fog and mood shifts. It’s well-known that too much fruit can lead to diarrhea. But having one or two small servings of fruit each day should be fine for most people.

 

It turns out that the foods that are best for your body are also best for your brain. Sticking with whole, natural foods and striking a balance between carbohydrates, protein, and fat is the key to a healthy gut and mental state. Your brain is an important organ. Take care of it easily by following a healthy diet.