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5 Ways the Internet Is Helping You Fight Against Anxiety

5 Ways the Internet Is Helping You Fight Against Anxiety

If you often feel anxious and tend to worry about one thing after another, we’ve got good news. Recent studies suggest the Internet can be a useful tool for those combating anxiety and depression. Now, instead of feeling guilty for the time you spend in cyberspace, you can feel reassured there are actually benefits that come with some of you online activities.

Benefits for Seniors and Teens

Recent research has discovered that seniors in particular can benefit from going online. The series of studies, conducted between 2002 and 2008, found that “16 percent of people who didn’t use the Internet reported suffering from depression, while only nine percent of those who did stated the same.”

For isolated populations, like seniors, being able to reach out and connect with other people without having to drive or even leave the house, is a godsend.

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Another group found to benefit from time spent online is teenagers. Research conducted by a team at the University of Sydney showed that adolescents benefit more from anxiety and depression treatment that is a combination of online self-help tools and in-person counselling.

How the Internet Can Help

Before you quit your current anti-anxiety regimen and jump therapeutically online, it’s important to understand exactly how your time online may help you fight your anxious ways.

1. Access to Support Regardless of Mobility

One of the biggest ways the Internet makes a positive impact on anxiety and depression is by offering an easily accessible way for people with mobility challenges to interact with the world. For those who have trouble getting around, can’t drive, or live far from friends and family, the Internet provides a chance to stay in touch and even cultivate new relationships that would be impossible otherwise.

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2. Online Support Groups

If you’re facing a specific challenge, it’s likely there’s an online support group full of others who understand what you’re going through. Online support groups are a great resource for people to share struggles, receive encouragement, and offer support to others. In a world where it’s so easy to feel alone, an online support group can provide community and comfort.

You can find groups through forums specifically designed to be a safe place for people suffering from anxiety, depression, or even physical maladies. Look for discussions and groups that focus on the positive and celebrate the successes of the members.

3. Social Networks

Facebook isn’t just for bragging about your grand-kids or keeping up with high school classmates. It can also be a great place to find support and encouragement when you’re feeling down. Although some have reported feeling worse about their life after looking at all the awesome things happening in other people’s lives, social networks, like Facebook or Twitter, are also known for garnering huge, positive responses to people in need.

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In fact, there’s a new social network underway that will cater to people fighting depression and anxiety. The site will give users a way to work through their issues using cognitive behavioral therapy principles to help turn negative patterns of thinking into more productive ways of viewing the world.

4. There’s an App for That

Believe it or not, there are several apps that target anxiety and depression—and the best part is you can use them on the go. Worry Watch is an app that helps you manage anxiety through journaling. Users write down their worries and then review them later to see what the actual outcome was. The practice helps put worries in perspective and minimize their frequency.

Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to help with anxiety. Apps like Headspace and Calm provide guided meditations and reminders that help users slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.

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5. Anonymity

Other than the cost, one of the biggest reasons people don’t seek help for anxiety and depression is because they are embarrassed. It’s hard to admit we need help and even harder to ask for it. Online tools and resources that offer self-assessments, self-help tools, and therapeutic exercises can be a less intimidating way to get the help you need. For people who feel uncomfortable reaching out in person, the more anonymous online setting can be the perfect way to find help.

It’s nice to know there are new unexpected ways to deal with bouts of anxious feelings—in addition to any doctor prescribed medications, of course. And the ease, accessibility, and 24/7 availability of online help is a great way to stop worrying and start enjoying more of your life.

Featured photo credit: Rob via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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