Building A Better Body Image – 5 Things Every Late Teen Should Know

Body image is a priority for all, but carries an even greater significance for young adults. Not only does looking good make us feel good. It additionally has a huge impact on the way others view us, which further influences self-confidence and other features.

There’s no better time to start your positive body transformation. After all, it’s easier to make those changes while you’re still young. But before you do, it’s imperative that you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to gain great results. Here’s everything you need to know.

Negative influences will take their toll. This is the stage of your life where you may be more likely to fall into the traps of alcohol consumption. There’s nothing wrong with a night out on the town, however, trading some of those beverages for mocktails can bring huge rewards. They are still fun in social settings but don’t come with the consequences of alcohol.

Your body can use a boost during those early stages. If you want to gain a better body, there’s a strong chance that you have made past mistakes. An organic detox tea can aid your general well being to leave you feeling healthier than ever. This is the perfect foundation for building a successful workout and healthy eating plan too. Apart from anything else, those two breaks for a cuppa give you a great chance to reflect and plan things.

Motivation is everything. If working out feels like a chore, you will not keep it up for the long haul. Therefore, finding ways to stay motivated throughout your workouts is key. Whether it’s in the gym or on the track, this will have a telling impact on the efficiency of those activities. Most importantly, though, you need to ensure that skipped sessions don’t become a regular feature. When this happens, progress will be slowed. Consequently, that will send the likelihood of giving up through the roof.

The human body changes with age. Puberty affects everyone differently. Therefore, you may just need to accept that the body you had during your early teens simply isn’t possible. Learn to love the skin you’re in by focusing on achieving the best possible version of you. Ultimately, if you can achieve this goal, then the opinions of anybody else become redundant. If that doesn’t allow you to become the happy and healthy person, what will?

It’s not all about your body. In truth, your facial features will always be the key to feeling your best. While girls will want to perfect their makeup rituals, boys just need to focus on good grooming. Clothing is an equally important element as your fashion choices are what bring the style and look to life. Whether you create your own personal appearance or borrow ideas from celebs doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, though, ensuring that those outfits fit is crucial.

Late Teen Talk: How To Rediscover Your Way In Life After A Period Of Feeling Lost

The years after leaving school are very exciting, and can provide some of the best of the moments of your life. On the other hand, the uncertainties can also serve up a whole host of problems. This can leave many people feeling a little unsure of where they are heading. If you’ve fallen into this cycle of nothingness, finding a quick return to the right pathway is key.

No two people are identical, and you will need to find your own pathway. But here are four of the most common issues, along with what you can do to overcome those hurdles.

 

Taking Control Of Your Health

Those early years of independence are full of temptations. From excessive drinking to smoking and unhealthy eating, they can bring a variety of health issues. If you’re feeling unsatisfied and unhappy with your current situation, there’s a good chance that your image and health are the chief reasons.

Whether it’s joining a gym, drinking in a more balanced way, or paying attention to mental health doesn’t matter. Ensure that you are doing enough for your immediate and long-term needs. When you see positive outcomes here, it will influence other aspects too.

Finding A Career Path

For many youngsters, the attraction of getting any paid job is hard to ignore in those early moments after school graduation. Paying your way in life is a wonderful thing while those roles can provide great life experiences too. However, it isn’t uncommon to realize that you want more.

It’s never too late to resume your education. Community college offers a great opportunity to gain the qualifications needed for a career in your desired field. Moreover, the flexibility means that you can still attend to those other life goals and responsibilities. Knowing that you’re moving in the right direction will make the future a lot brighter.

Surrounding Yourself With The Right People

Human interaction will always be a pivotal aspect of your life. It’s natural to lose contact with friends during those post-school years. As long as you maintain contact with the people that matter most, you’ll be just fine. This is a time where relationships often end too, dealing with them in a positive way is key. Otherwise, the negative fallout could disrupt your progress for years.

Nothing is quite as important as your family, though. Repairing broken relationships can take time, but it will make life for more wholesome. That clarity can then spearhead your journey towards other goals too.

 

Building A Happy Home Life

Happiness begins at home. For some people in the 18-24 category, that means living with parents. For others, that will mean finding an affordable apartment or house share. Either way, ensuring that you feel comfortable here is key. Because if you can’t smile in your own home, where can you?

Being responsible enough to maintain good relationships with household members makes life easier. Meanwhile, learning to complete basic DIY chores can have a telling influence. A happy home is a human fundamental. Achieve success here, and you’ll instantly feel that your world feels more secure.

 

Chit Chatting with Bryce Gheisar

Written by:  Jill Sheets

Picture source: Keith Munyan

Each interview is a blessing to me.  I love what I do. Recently, I got to do an interview with 12-year-old actor Bryce Gheisar. This talented young man started acting at the age of 8.  Continue to read on and learn more about him, his movies and shows and what his future goals are.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting?

B: I’m 12. I was born in Plano, Texas. I got into acting when I was 8. I’ve always loved performing. After going to my first acting class, I thought it was really cool. I have always loved watching movies, and how movies come together. I actually paid for half of my first acting class. I would like to start back up in classes soon. I am going to go to some classes in July.

 

R: Tell us about the movie “Wonder” and your character Julian.

B: I actually read the book when I was in third grade. I remember really loving the story. It’s such a heartwarming story. It is about a boy that has a facial difference. A lot of people make fun of him and he has to overcome it. I play Julian the main bully. Julian is very selfish, and he really doesn’t think about other people. He really hurts others, but it doesn’t register with him how badly he is hurting them.  I give him a really tough time, and he overcomes that, and makes friends. He soon triumphs and makes a tons of friends at school.

 

R: What was the audition process like?

B: It is a funny story actually. I auditioned for this movie two years ago for the part of Augie when I was 8, and then I auditioned a second time two years later for the part of Jack Will, and they wanted me to audition for Julian. They really liked me as Julian, and I got the part. I was so excited to get to this part because I loved this book back in third grade.

 

R: Tell us about “Into the Who Knows!” and about your character Thomas.

B: It is a story about a kid named Thomas who is stuck in his imaginary world. He has an imaginary friend named Felix who is a fox. He has a hard time making real friends. His parents want him to grow up so they send him to summer camp. They want him to make friends, but he decides to go across the lake to a place called the Who Knows. His imagination ends up takes him on a roller coaster of adventures.

 

R: You play Ethan in “A Dog’s Purpose.” Tell us about the movie and your character.

B:  It’s about a dog that goes through multiple lives with different families. He learns through his different lives how to save people and how to love them as well. He saves all his owners by being their best friends, and being there for him. I play Ethan; an all American boy who is going through some rough times with his parents. His dad is an alcoholic, and his mom is worrying about his dad, and I really just need a best friend. It’s a great story about how I become best friends with my dog, and how he is there for me.

 

R: Do you have any up and coming projects that you would like to talk about?

B: I am on break right now. We just finished the second season of Walk the Prank. We are waiting to see if the third season will be picked up, so really excited for that.  I am enjoying my off time in Texas. I am also auditioning here and there for upcoming roles. I will be back to work in a couple months.

 

R: If they were to remake your favorite movie, which one would it be?  What character would you play and who would you like to play opposite of you?

B: Harry Potter is one of my favorites, I would want to play Harry. I have a good friend Matthew McCann. We have grown up in acting together, and we went to classes all the time together in Texas. It would be awesome if we could be in a project together. I would want him to play Ron. That would be fun.

 

R: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

B: My mom always tells me “If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door” I have always loved that quote because it goes so well with acting. I went through tons of auditions, and this quote helped me get through them all.

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence?

B:  My dad because he is so hardworking, I like the stories he tells me about how he used to get up very early and practice Tae Kwon Do. He worked hard and practiced all the time to become the best he could be at it.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

B: It has always been my dream to win an Academy Award, because I feel like that’s when you know you have worked really hard and you are successful actor.

 

R: Do you have any charities or causes that are close to your heart?  If so, tell us about them?

B: I am a part of Dallas Pets Alive. They are a no kill organization. They foster dogs until they can find a home for them. In Austin, you are not allowed to euthanize any dogs. Dallas is working to make the county a completely kill free zone. I am the organization’s first ambassador. I help out with raising money for them. I really want to do anything I can for animals and animals organizations. I also want to help out with children’s organizations more. In the upcoming months, I am going to be helping out at a local children’s hospital.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

B: One time when I was at Sky Zone and this little girl asked me if I was a billionaire.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

B: 1.My favorite food is pasta. 2. I was born in Plano, Texas 3. I enjoy doing all kinds or art and drawing. 4. Ever since I was younger I enjoyed doing martial arts. I am about to start an MMA class. 5. I quit competitive gymnastics to start acting full time, but I was doing for gymnastics for 4 years.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites?  If so, which ones and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official website and/ or YouTube page?

B: @Brycegheisar for all social media. I would like to have a website soon, but not yet.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

B: Tune into season 2 of “Walk the Prank.” Go check out “Wonder,” coming into theaters on November 17, and go get “A Dog’s Purpose” on DVD. Thank you so much for all of your support.

 

R: Bryce, thank you for the interview.  It was an honor.  Have a great day.

How To Stay In Control Of Your Cash

When you’re just starting out in the world of work and education, you’ve got a big shot at life. No matter your circumstances, your relationship with money will define your future, your level of stability and security, and of course – the rest of your life. We’re sorry to say, but money really does make the world go round, and you could lock yourself out of a future and enter a world of financial insecurity if you are not careful with cash. If money makes the world go round, you can easily find yourself lost in that same cycle.

The good news though? You’re young, and you’re just starting out, and you have the internet. This means you’ve got time, opportunities and knowledge on your side (if you choose to read up and learn, that is). This means that you can avoid making financial mistakes and that you can – for the most part – develop a healthy relationship with money quite easily. The key? It’s to never let your spending outweigh your earnings. Doing that and spending with reckless abandon? It’s an easy path into pointless debt. It’s an easy path to financial misery.

People will get into debt. When you take a loan or finance place to fund a car purchase after passing your test, you’ll be in debt to the provider of the finance. When you get your mortgage, you’re in debt with the lender. When you take out a loan to fund a business venture, you’ll be in debt. This, for the most part, can be seen as good debt. It’s debt that is acquired for a purpose. What’s bad debt? Well it has a different definition in business, but to us, it’s that debt you acquire with high-interest values because you can’t hold yourself back from spending. It’s payday loans; it is credit cards.

Debt is a real danger and for a number of reasons. Debt, of any size will affect our credit rating. This can affect the future of a young person quite drastically. It can mean that you are rejected from having a mobile phone contract. It can mean that your mortgage is turned down. It can seriously affect any future decisions you choose to make. Debt also creates emotional stress and worry. Debt isn’t the end of the story, we all get into debt – it’s how we pay it off that matters.

Being in debt isn’t a bad thing – it is when we choose to live in debt that things turn nasty. There are always methods to paying off debts and anyone that you owe will rather that some attempt at paying can be made. When you are in debt, you will always have options like student loan forgiveness. Getting stressed about being in debt can quickly lead to one avoiding paying their way out of debt.

To stay in control of your cash, you need to manage debt and manage your spend. This can be hard for youngsters – because they are explicitly targeted by those who seek to profit from debt. However, control of cash is an invaluable skill for anyone.

Life Experiences That Will Make You A Better Adult

When you look at successful people – be it success in their careers, their relationships, or just a general serenity in their lives – it’s easy to wonder how they managed it. For many young people, the idea of adulthood is something that is terrifying. We may crave the ability to make our own way in the world, but who wants to saddle themselves with the responsibilities of what’s colloquially referred to as “adulting”?

It therefore makes sense to aim to be one of those people who seems to have got this whole life business sorted out. The question is – how did they get there?

There is a common thought in philosophy that we are all the product of our experiences. It is the things we live – rather than the basics that we are born with – that make our life what it is. There are things we can learn as we experience them; things we can do to prompt our minds’ to travel in the right direction. If you go through one of these experiences in your formative years, then it might just make a huge difference to how that adult life you both revere and fear comes to pass.

1) Travel

Traveling is not without its perils. It can be tiring, worrying, or just seem like a lot of effort. However, there is something about expanding your horizons that alters the way you see things when you come back home.

The experience you need to glean from traveling is not going to come from the seven-day beach holidays you may be accustomed to. Consider more “earthed” experiences like backpacking or taking part in mission trips for youth groups – something that gives you more of a chance of a genuine connection with the places you see, and the people you meet.

It’s also a good idea to travel away from the normal tourist traps. Experience a different part of the world, not the polished “for tourists” areas that have a ring of inauthenticity.

 

2) Go To Therapy

If you don’t have a particular problem, then the idea of therapy might seem like a strange one. However, sometimes the most productive therapeutic sessions come about when the patient doesn’t think they have anything to say – but it turns out, there’s a river of thoughts they need to dissect and discuss.

Therapy doesn’t have to be about fixing a problem. It can be about helping you on your journey in the best way possible. It provides a neutral perspective on the things you experience and can help you get the most out of them, as well as helping you over any of the blips on the road.

 

3) Learn For The Sake Of Learning

As a young adult, you might feel you have had your fill of learning. Up until this point, your life has been about mandatory attendance and learning about subjects you might have no interest in.

As an adult, it’s hugely beneficial to be curious and want to continue to learn. The brilliant part of this is that you can choose your subject. It could just be falling into a Wikipedia clickhole and discovering a new passion, but always keep your mind open to new information to get the best out of life.

 

Growing Pains

Are you feeling conflicted at the moment? Like you don’t understand yourself anymore?  One minute you seem to be happy and calm, the next you are blowing off in an angry rage?  Maybe you have fallen out with a friend recently and you aren’t sure what you have done.  

Growing up is so tough.  When you become a parent you tend to get lost in how tough parenting is and forget what it was like to be going through so many hormonal changes, experiencing your first heart breaks, the pressure to work hard at school.  Adults can pretty quickly dismiss the issues you are going through and can make you feel that something which matters to you is really small.  

They don’t mean it, it’s just that they have so many issues going on that in their mind, having a friend who has fallen out with you, is really not a big deal.  Compared with having to pay for the house, or losing your job.  The problem is though is that it is all relative.  You don’t have to deal with the problems your parents do, your time will come, so currently the problems you are experiencing matter as much to you, as the problems your parents face.  So don’t feel guilty, or that your problems and worries don’t matter.  Because they do.  Don’t be angry at your parents either, they don’t mean to forget what it was like being a teen.

So how can you help yourself through your teenage years?  Firstly there are some mind blowing self development books which you can read.  These could help you become more aware of who you are and help you to focus your mind on problem solving.  Which is going to help you a lot over the next few years.  Of course The Bible is the best self development book out there! There are other ways though, to get through your issues and help make peace with yourself.  So let’s take a look at a few.

Firstly, the sisterhood is really important.  Your female friends understand exactly what you are going through on a day to day basis.  No matter how good the boys are, they just won’t get the hormones.  Sorry girls.  The sisterhood is also important because you understand what it is like to feel most of the emotions other girls are going through.  You get that no matter what anyone says, you feel too fat or too skinny.  You know what it is like to stand in the dressing room and feel worried about getting changed.  You know how hard it is to walk past the confident girls, because even if you are seen as one of them, you aren’t really.  Not all the time.  

Stand by your fellow females.  Don’t judge them or make fun of them.  You need to build them up so if you see another girl struggling, go to her aid.  Don’t bully other girls and if you see another girl being bullied, stand up.  Always.  Do not be afraid.  Too many girls turn the other way because they don’t want to get involved.  Do get involved.  

Don’t ignore the boys though, yes we need to stick together but that shouldn’t mean standing up against men.  It means working with them.  We have a slightly easier time of it that boys because girls tend to talk their feelings over more.  So get with the boys and help them talk a little more too.  You will discover a lot more about yourself when you hear a boy talking about girls.  You might even realize what it is that matters to boys.  Because it certainly isn’t the things you worry about.

Understand your parents and talk to them.  You want their respect and honesty, so give them yours.  Yes, ok parents can be pretty uncool when it comes to some matters but the truth is, they have been through almost every single emotion you are going through.  It might be tough to bring up your innermost thoughts with your mum, but trust us, she is going to drop everything to help you.  You might have to be a little persistent.  Sometimes parents need to be really stopped and told “this is important” before they really acknowledge it.  Parents have buzzwords which will get their attention.  Such as ‘help’ and ‘I’m scared’ or ‘I really need you’ these phrases are unignorable by most moms and dads.  So think of them like a computer that needs programming. Say the right words and they will listen.

Whatever you are feeling, talking is always the best way forward.  So do it.  Talk and keep talking.

Own Your Education!

Oh to be young again! You are probably fed up with adults telling you that these are the best years of your life.  However, the truth is they kind of are.  

Ok, so it’s easy for us to forget how hard it is growing up and learning so much stuff.  As you hit mid teens you feel like you know so much yet are talked to with such little respect, or maybe you want to control your destiny a little more but feel like you are being held back.  Whilst it is incredibly hard to respect that your teachers and parents may know best and are tasked with the huge responsibility of ensuring you are educated, healthy and safe, you do have to trust in your adult peers to do just that.  However there are many ways you can take control.  So let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure you are on the path you want to walk.

Education is probably going to be the biggest part of your life until you are around 24 years old.  Once you finish school you will have far more choices on which lessons you take, how you study and where you study.  Until then you kind of have to let your parents and teachers guide you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t throw a few ideas into the pot too.

Perhaps you are desperate to learn more about Europe.  Who can blame you?  As we get older it becomes harder for us to take time out and travel.  You may get the opportunity to do this if you take a gap year, however with more and more people looking for work and stiffer competition than ever before, you might be better off skipping your gap year and working through.  So, this is where you need to start thinking a little outside the box.

Your school will do many different types of school trips throughout the year.  Some of these will be local and during school time, others might be far away and eat into your vacation time.  There is a lot of planning involved, so don’t take these trips for granted, however, maybe you could do some planning of your own.

If there is enough interest in your idea and it fits with the projects your school has set for you, then there is no reason you couldn’t present your idea to your school principal.  In fact, if you can nail out a fantastic pitch, writing all the reasons you think you should go there, researching companies who may be able to take on the organisation and you have a list of pupils who would be up for heading out, you might just impress your tutors so much they ace your plan.

There are some great ideas for the ultimate school trip online, you don’t have to be a teacher to research the idea or to get in touch with the companies to discover all the information.  In fact it is going to help your pitch if you have already spoken to a company who can provide a full package and got all the info.  

Being able to answer all the questions your teachers are going to throw at you, will stand you ten steps ahead of them.  Think about why the trip would benefit your education and if you can link one trip to be positive across 4 or 5 subjects this will work in your favour.  You might be going because you are fascinated by the art, but don’t forget a few days looking at art and architecture will also involve history, geography and cuisine.  So you can link it through to make it a really great, multi subject trip.

Of course there are other ways you can take control of your education too.  Whilst it can seem a little dorky to become a school president it is actually the opposite of that.  Being a school president means you have a say in how your education works.  So it will really play in your favour and give you that respect you have been craving.  You will finally have a voice, so you need to use it for good (no evil geniuses here please)

We have a great guide for getting to the oval office of your class.

Firstly, you are going to find it easier to get ahead if you are involved from your freshman year and continuing that involvement every year.  You will need to participate in sports, volunteer to work on homecoming floats, decorate the gym for dances, and basically get to know the other students at your school besides your core group of friends. Make everybody know your name. If your school offers a class associated with the student body, sign up. This is all great networking experience for later life too, so by embarking on a campaign now you may be giving yourself the extra edge as you head to your first job. If everyone knows your name and you have been friendly and fun, when the time comes to run for class president, you’ll be remembered in the voting booth for your involvement and dedication to the school.

The best way to begin your campaign is to be the first to start campaigning.  Get out there and talk to people as soon as the political season opens.  Keep talking.  Be direct and ask people for signatures.  Don’t just get the ones you are required, get as many as you can.  Hitting it hard and fast means you can ingrain your name and your commitment in your fellow students.  Especially if you have taken the time to get to know what they want.  Give them a voice too.

You don’t have to be a teacher’s pet but it is going to pay if you build a rapport with a couple of teachers.  Keep your grades high too.  You need the respect of the faculty as well as your classmates.  It isn’t uncommon for the faculty members to provide recommendations for office eligibility.  Your teachers will also want students in office who recognize their own interest in the campus because it is you that will be called up to represent your school in front of committees or the district office.  If you have a high quality of work and respect with teachers then they will have the faith in you to represent them best.  Which is a great way of showing you are trusted and respected by the adults who have your future in their hands.  

Listening to your classmates is vital.  Ask them what they want you to accomplish.  If it is realistic then pursue it.  You need the masses to showcase your intentions within your campaign speech so if it touches a note with enough people, you are going to get a great reception.  

Believe in what you say you plan to do in your campaign platform. If you say, for instance, that you plan to begin new traditions, believe in your goal. Don’t repeat what you think your classmates want to hear. Instead, commit yourself to public service. At the same time, think “outside the box.” Come up with your own creative goals for the school.  But don’t make unrealistic campaign promises.  Taking hump day off of school might sound ace in your head, but it isn’t going to happen and will make you lose credibility.  

So when the actual president runs for power they won’t get far if they spend the whole time cracking jokes, however in high school politics you earn points for being funny.  When faced with questions on the campaign trail the best answers are those where you make the students laugh but address the issue, too.  The same goes for speeches. Throw in a joke or two, you know the score, young people love to laugh.  So go for that.  Leave the dullsville speeches to everyone else.

Taking control of your education is possible, you just need to do it in the right way.  So stop pushing the wrong buttons.  Get your head down, think about what it is you want and find a way to take control.

Teachers and parents love to see us putting all the passion we have to good use.  If we are wasting it at home chasing unrealistic goals then we end up being met with resistance.  However if you can put your thoughts down on paper and create a reasoned and grown up proposal you will find you are met with respect and, ultimately, trust.  You might not win every pitch you put out there, but at least you will win the respect of the people who are in charge.

If you can nurture these skills now, you will have a far more rounded future.  Know which battles are worth fighting and which are not.  Then dedicate yourself and push through with your ideas.  

You don’t have much control over your life, so make it count where you do.

 

Rolling In It: How Students Can Make A Fortune

Prospects for students aren’t so great these days. If you’re doing an art degree, the chances are that you won’t see a return on your investment. There are now so many students taking so many degrees that the value of having a degree is going down. In fact, going to college may soon be seen as a net negative by employers, especially if they think that you could have been spending your time building skills in the workplace.

Because of this sorry state of affairs, many students are wondering whether they should take a different career path to get the lives they want. Should they waste their time competing against hordes of other university graduates in round after round of interviews with dozens of employers who claim to be in the Times Top 100 list? Or should they just go out into the market, find a problem that people want solving, and start their own business?

According to the data, it appears that more and more people are doing the latter. They want the freedom to be able to dictate the direction of their own lives, and so they’re choosing to ditch traditional career paths and find something new that will make them money.

The question for students, however, is: what can they do today to boost their chances of entrepreneurial success in the future?

Get Access To People

In business, knowing the right people is more important than having lots of cash. If you’re a student at university right now, it’s a good idea to start developing the relationships and networks you’ll need to succeed in the future. By meeting and listening to other people in the business world, you’ll find the information and the support you need for starting out by yourself.

Large companies also offer support for students looking to start up their own businesses. Companies like Ellis Whittam offer advice on how to approach employment law. And Google has launched their “Google Campus” initiative, providing young entrepreneurs access to their facilities to building their businesses, often for free.

There’s also something called General Assembly, a hub which has many education programs and networking events for students to attend.

Look For Funding

Although access to people is important, you’ll also need quite a bit of funding to get started. Startup Loans is a scheme run by the Dragon James Caan along with Lord Young. The idea is to provide students with the capital they need to put their ideas into practice. Caan says that he shows students on the scheme how to put together a team of people and grow a brand.

Another organization called Student Upstarts is also aimed at helping students get started. It was set up by Christian Jakenfelds and Matthew Stafford. The idea is to invest fixed sums of money for a share of the equity in the company. The criteria are simple. The applicant must be a student, and they must have graduated in the last twelve months.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the best way to learn a business is to just do it.

Health Anxiety 101: The Anxiety Disorder You’ve Never Heard Of

The vast majority of mental health conditions trigger before the age of 25. While some – such as schizophrenia – can manifest later in life, for most, they emerge towards the end of their teens.

This is problematic. It’s a time of life that is generally disruptive anyway, as teenagers try and figure out what they want from the world. Then they have to deal with the onset of what can often be a vicious mental health condition. This is, in no small part, why eating disorders are so prevalent among girls and young women.

You are likely familiar with the names of the most prevalent mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. However, there is a subset of the anxiety disorder category that is becoming more prevalent – Health Anxiety.

What Is Health Anxiety?

Health Anxiety is separate from the infamous hypochondria; when someone imagines themselves to be ill for attention. With Health Anxiety, the sufferer imagines themselves to be ill – but they don’t want attention. They don’t want to be ill; they’re terrified by the mere prospect. It is not malingering in the traditional sense; it’s a constant, all-consuming fear of illness, doctors, hospitals and medical tests.

Something as simple as a trip to the opticians is difficult for someone with Health Anxiety. They suffer fear that has physical manifestations, such as sweaty palms, shortness of breath and lightheadedness.

Those with Health Anxiety also tend to be consumed by a fear that they have a terrible illness. At this point, there are two subsets of the subset itself:

1) Reassurance Seekers. The reassurance seekers tend to visit their doctor often with a new perceived symptom, in desperate need of reassurance they are not suffering from a terrifying disease. They have more medical tests than normal. They will Google symptoms they experience in an attempt to alleviate the intrusive thoughts that they have no control over.

2) Avoiders. Avoiders are the exact opposite. They will not visit a medical professional if it can be avoided; they avoid anything on TV to do with medicine. This can often be to the detriment of their own health. They will, for example, miss routine eye tests for fear of what may come of them.

 

What Is Health Anxiety?

Health Anxiety is now being recognized as a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is best characterized in a nutshell as:

“A person suffers intrusive thoughts they cannot control. They then take actions to alleviate the disturbing thoughts and calm anxious feelings.”

In the standard OCD, those actions are the recognizable symptoms such as hand-washing. For people with Health Anxiety, their actions are likely to be visiting a medical professional or researching symptoms of diseases.

Why Can’t Health Anxiety Sufferers Just Get Over It?

The nature of intrusive thoughts is that they are intrusive; they are not invited. Health Anxiety is caused by brain chemistry being awry, the same way all mental illnesses are. Someone with Health Anxiety can no more “get over it” than a person with a broken leg can just walk on it. The cause is physical – the term “mental illness” is something of a misnomer.

A typical cycle of Health Anxiety goes as follows:

1) The initial trigger, such as navel pain, kicks off this cycle.

2) They seek reassurance from a doctor or leave the problem long enough for it to resolve itself.

3) They satisfy the initial trigger with the above; the pain disperses (or has a benign cause such as IBS, which is rectified) and they resume normal activity.

4) They are then triggered with an entirely new symptom, and the cycle begins again.

The length of the cycle depends on the individual concerned; it may take days, or it may be weeks. The whole while, they are anxious, distressed and terrified. It’s not something they have any control over – no one would invite these things.

How Is It Treated?

Treatments for OCD have some efficacy against Health Anxiety, but many sufferers have to formulate an individual plan that works for them. Options include:

Medication

SSRI drugs commonly used to treat depression can help alleviate mild symptoms. Earlier generic tricyclics such as Clomipramine can be helpful in more severe cases.

Talking Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is most often utilized for Health Anxiety, with varying degrees of success.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have Health Anxiety?

Talk to a doctor and explain your symptoms. Diagnosis can be tricky; you may find a doctor saying you are just malingering. You have to be careful to explain the anxiety and upset your thoughts are causing you. And never be afraid to get a second opinion. Health Anxiety is becoming more commonly recognized, so don’t miss out on the chance for assistance.

 

Worried About A Friend: How You Can Help

Whether at school or in college, sometimes we can notice changes in our friends which over time can cause us to worry.

Maybe they are a little quieter than usual in class.  Or you have noticed them looking distracted.  Whilst often it can be nothing more than a simple phase or maybe they are just a little tired after a few late nights, it could be there is something more serious that they need to talk about or, with their health.

The most important thing is to respect their privacy.  If they have trouble at home they may not want to talk about it, and that is their choice.  However the first thing you should do is quietly mention to them that you have noticed there is something wrong.  Wait to see how they react.  If they stay quiet then put your hand on their arm and reassure them that you are always available.  Let them know that you aren’t going to keep going on about it, but you will always listen.

If your friend feels ready to share then you need to be prepared just to listen.  Often talking a problem through can lift a lot of the pressure.  They may ask you for advice and on smaller issues like school stress or boyfriend troubles, you can give some best friend pep talks.  However on larger, more complicated problems at home or within themselves, the best advice is to always speak to an adult.  Either someone in school or at a local youth or support centre.  Offer to go with your friend and be there every step of the way.  It may be most appropriate for her to tell her parents how she feels.  If that is the case, offer her guidance and if she is really worried, maybe suggest she talks to your parents and gets their advice.  Do not give any advice fuelled by your own emotion, you could influence a decision that may not be taking into consideration the varying subtleties of the situation.

Occasionally it is health worries that cause our concern for friends.  If your pal is reluctant to talk you could get some advice from a doctor app.  Your friend may be showing symptoms of something serious such as diabetes or an eating disorder.  If this is the case, talk to her and let her know you are really worried.  Offer to go with her to the doctor and help her talk to an adult.  

We go through a lot of emotional and physical changes as we grow into young adults and it can be hard to admit these or share experiences with other people.  Whilst you cannot force anyone to take care of themselves or unload their worries, you can ensure you are always available and ready to listen and although privacy is vital, you may be able to get advice from your parents on how to help.

Girls need to stick together and then stay together when they are women.  Never judge and always support.  Those are the basic rules of friendship.