What is Anxiety?

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Drawing inspiration from the Bell’s Let’s Talk event this year (2017) I am compelled to revitalize the Millennial Perspective blog from its grass roots. Though I’ve been on hiatus doing a range of things from writing for publications to school and travel, I’ve learned many things. Things I believe will enhance the Millennial Perspective and ultimately help people through a blog series about what started the blog, Anxiety.

 

What is Anxiety?

 

Anxiety is a controversial topic for it is subjective. It affects everyone in different ways. Though you and I may find overlapping similarities in our Anxiety, it is never truly the same experience. Though we cannot always understand what each other is going through, a common theme amongs those in the mental health community is to always say “I’m here for you.” Over the years I’ve seen Anxiety in many shapes and sizes, and there’s no one clear, textbook example of it. Anxiety can be the little girl not wanting to go out to parties because she feels uncomfortable in crowds and the peer pressure that is associated with them. Anxiety is also the teenage boy too scared to try new things because of what might happen. Anxiety affects us all in many different ways, and there’s still no clear solution, or a cure to what ails us.

Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences Anxiety at times. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when you miss a bus, or before a job interview. It’s a system in our body that helps us perform our best or avoid danger. The definition of Anxiety is: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Put into such simple terms it can seem an afterthought to those that don’t experience Anxiety. Often people dismiss it, saying “It’s all in your head.” Those people have not experienced a panic attack. Though Anxiety is an imbalance in our brains, it is not a made up phenomenon that can just be thought away.

One constant of Anxiety is a fear of the unknown. Through overthinking, what could happen becomes what will happen. Anxiety is pessimistically perceiving an event in the future whether it’s a task, a conversation, traffic, a crowd, it is predicting the future through a worst case scenario filter. The most rewarding part of this often crippling fear is that when you can put the fear aside and do something you feel anxious about, you often benefit through positive life changing experiences. This, however, does not make the next time any easier unless it was a common fear you overcame such as acrophobia, arachnophobia, galeophobia, etc.

 

What does Anxiety mean to me?

Anxiety is heavily triggered by unpredictability, but Anxiety itself is unpredictable. This is why Anxiety about Anxiety will trigger panic attacks due to an endless cycle. It is a constant internal barrier to overcome. People with Anxiety constantly overthink situations and doubt their ability to carry through their responsibilities. Meeting new people is often very hard, not due to shyness, but from the fear of crowds. First impressions are very important but if you’re someone with Anxiety, you can affect others which makes them uncomfortable, tarnishing someone’s view of you possibly forever. This is why crowds so often frighten people that suffer from Anxiety. Things that normally stress people out such as money, school, work, etc. affect people with Anxiety to another level and if you don’t make it work to your advantage, it can really go downhill. Communication is key but is it always easy to identify what’s causing the Anxiety? People ask how they can help you but if you can’t identify the problem then how can you find a solution?

On a personal note, Anxiety runs in my family. I’ve been afforded the luxury of having the elders pass on knowledge about Anxiety and what to do if you’re diagnosed, what coping mechanisms are effective and who to talk to when I can’t handle it. Several years ago I saw several doctors to get on a proper balance of medication and self-awareness due to a string of panic attacks really scaring me. I learnt that breathing through the stomach in deep, slow breathes required more thought than I had expected. When we’re born as babies, we breathe that way naturally and over time we start to breathe more through our chest. This actually results in a shortness of breath.

After learning several techniques on how to tame Anxiety and calm myself from panic attacks, I felt I only needed see my family doctor, Dr. Kanagaratnam, who’s amazing. Much of my remedy for Anxiety is less medical and more mindfulness as I started practicing meditation which is very therapeutic. All the methods I’ve used to tame my Anxiety will be shared throughout this blog series as I hope I can help others the way others have helped me.

 

What’s next?

Whether the series is successful or not, I have several blogs planned on Anxiety through my experiences and observations since initially writing about it. I plan to discuss further what it is, as it is a very complex topic. I also intend to discuss the triggers of Anxiety, the fight vs flight instinct, Self-Awareness with Anxiety, how to help others with Anxiety, Travel Anxiety, City Anxiety, Anxiety about making plans, how others can effect those with Anxiety, and several more. Hopefully through the series and discussing ways I have overcome Anxiety, I can help others do the same.

Belize, the Central America Paradise

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Paradise on Earth? You Better Belize It

“We want you to feel at home in Belize”

"We can't go out and explore the world, so we want the world to come here"

“We can’t go out and explore the world, so we want the world to come here”

In what is said to be record rainfall this year in Belize, California is ready to declare a state of emergency from their driest year in recent history. Belize is a third world country, so yes, it’s going to have high theft areas of crime. Thankfully, there are just as many safe havens full of the nicest people of any high traffic tourist area. The people of Belize are limited in traveling only across near borders. Without a visa, the furthest they can go north is Mexico, and thus they depend on the tourism industry to meet people from around the world. Ambergris Caye is the place a lot of the mainland people move  because of the serenity of the island. It sure feels like paradise when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing off the shore. They may be seeing record rainfall, but the sun is still shining hard every day periodically between what I know from living on the west coast as pineapple express weather.

Most people know Belize through the hit television show Breaking Bad mentioning it as an analogy for murdering someone. Luckily, my trip to Belize didn’t have such a drastic ending. People either catch this reference, don’t have any idea what or where Belize is, or have been to Belize themselves and know of the paradise with a lack of infrastructure. This emerging getaway has seen many people including Harrison Ford and Madonna come and go. It’s undeveloped compared to that of the Myan Riviera, or Cancun, which is perfect for baby boomers looking for nostalgia. Beach bars blast Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones while people bet on horseshoes or eat at the adjacent barbeque. The amount of diversity is astounding and everyone is eager to mingle with each other tourists and locals alike.

Sunday beach party at the Crazy Canucks Bar

Sunday beach party at the Crazy Canucks Bar

This island was compared to paradise from all the locals I encountered, people from the mainland who saved for years to come to the emerging island get away, American Army vets looking for a place to retire. The Ambergris Caye is located off the east coast of the mainland of Belize, only a fifteen minute plane ride away.  This small island is only a mile wide, allowing you to see the sea on both the east and west coast simultaneously. The crystal blue waters include a river through the island resulting in a lagoon as well as the vast beautiful turquois ocean, the Caribbean Sea. The beach is composed of coral reef sediment sprouting from the second largest reef in the world just off the coast of the island, if you focus on the horizon you can see where the waves crash upon the summit of the reef to ease the waters heading into the Caye. Many citizens of San Pedros own boats and other aquatic craft to navigate the local area efficiently as well as go to the mainland for food, supplies, etc. Most bars are on the beach, some even featuring jet –ski access. The popular clubs of San Pedros are located in the high traffic tourist area, and the locals will be keep you partying there all night if you let them. The most popular club on the island is called “Jaguars” featuring an awesome entrance that’s intriguingly welcoming as you enter the mouth of a Jaguar next to the city center clock tower.

"Jaguars is the place to go" - Yaneli Young

“Jaguars is the place to go” – Yaneli Young

At home in Canada, a dollar doesn’t go very far anymore. In fact, unless you go to a dollar store or settle for subpar quality, you can’t even get a soda for a dollar anymore. Ironically enough, most dollar stores are even bumping their rates to $1.25. But in Belize, your dollar goes a bit further into the realm of minor refreshments and beyond. Your American dollar is worth double in Belize, and though this may sound appealing, there is a price we the tourists pay, then another price for the locals that can’t afford as much. In some cases locals will trade things with each other, such as fishermen trading for produce. This allows for some old fashioned bartering with the right establishments. In souvenir shops, for example, where cheesy shirts say “You Better Belize It!” or “UnBelizeable” which is eye candy to tourists, but not necessarily appealing if the price tag exceeds the novelty.

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014

In Mexico or Jamaica, you might come across people desperately trying to convince you to enter their establishment or buy some product in an attempt to make ends meet. While I always felt uncomfortable being led into random, sometimes sketchy places, you won’t encounter much of that in San Pedros. People here are not pushy. They may ask if you would like to have dinner at their restaurant but they leave you alone at no. If you show interest, they might show you the menu before directing you into the establishment, still allowing you to decide for yourself. Most of the time, people greet you in the streets and ask you how you are enjoying Belize. They don’t necessarily want your money, they’re genuinely glad to meet you and are always willing to strike up a conversation to a passerby.

Better than front-row seats, this is our slice of beach feet away from the front door

Better than front-row seats, this is our slice of beach feet away from the front door

Belize has a struggling economy, due to the world economic struggle and their attempts and enticing more people to come to Belize thwarted by the fact that money is going into the wrong areas of town, funding seems to get lost in translation. Despite the rap that parts of the mainland have cases of crime, one thing is for certain, the people of Belize, at least the people of the Ambergris Caye, are welcoming people that are very kind. There is no stigma of keeping to yourself so as not to defend the wrong people like in North America. This spreads the feeling of community, a feeling that even just as a tourist that you’re a part of something bigger and better when you can just walk up to anyone on the street and strike up a conversation, provided you speak enough English or Spanish. That kind of thing doesn’t happen here without being branded as out of the ordinary, despite the fact that humans were made to be communal beings. That all got lost in translation in a lot of places it seems, but you better believe that it hasn’t happened here in Belize.

My best friend in Belize, a young lady I will never forget.

My best friend in Belize, a young lady I will never forget.

Google Glasses Idea

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Adding on to what I had posted earlier, let us look back to the technology world.

Last night I was brainstorming of ways to push google+ into the future, and I thought of the Google Glasses.

https://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts

For those that don’t know about this project, please click the link above, because this is what I will be discussing specifically.

What I thought of was allowing the user interface to support streaming to those that desire, and stream it right onto their google+ accounts. How awesome would it be if your parents were on vacation in Italy or something, and wanted to stream you a tour of a particular site, say, The Colosseum, they could live stream it to share across Google+. This idea would be interesting as well if it also allowed for live streaming of criminal activity for example. Maybe the police would utilize this for a swift punishment tool. To launch the glasses they could, for example, have sites in Time Square and across other major cities where video from their respective location was bouncing around to all of these other places, and vise versa. They could even experiment with the cloud, the potential is limitless. These glasses allow some really interesting connectivity. The likes of which we have never seen. In a world where accessibility and communication is key, these glasses can be that key.

Food for thought.