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Household noises

Household noises
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The hum of fluorescent lights, a refrigerator motor winding up, a doorbell, or even a dog barking next door can prompt anxiety – though you might not be aware of it. “Notice those things that bother you and work to cut them down or out. Fluorescent lights can be turned off and replaced with softer – or brighter – lights, whichever reduces your anxiety. If the doorbell gives you goosebumps or uneasiness, says Schroeder, he recommends a door bell that alerts your phone, instead of chiming, when someone’s at the door.”

The bathroom scales

The bathroom scales
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Few people look forward to getting on the scales but for some, it can be a tremendous source of shame, says Schroeder. The numbers on the scales may dictate your day in a negative way without you being conscious of it. “I often suggest that clients get rid of their scales; the most important thing is how they feel and how their clothes feel when they wear them.” If your waistline is causing you concern, here are some diets you should avoid.

Smell

Smell
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Scent can rouse a strong emotional reaction. Sometimes they are calming or pleasant; other times, they’re jarring. According to a 2018 study, people with anxiety have a better sense of smell when it comes to detecting a hazardous threat. Allen recalls a client who could smell burnt popcorn three days after it was made. That correlates with research findings indicating that, during a state of anxiety, there is a stronger connection between the emotional and sensory parts of the brain in response to negative odours. Here are some household odours that signal danger – and should never be ignored.

Telecommuting

Telecommuting
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With everyone working from home these days, separating your home life from work is tremendously important, says Allen. “When we see items that remind of us work, it can be an instant trigger for work thoughts and anxiety,” he says. His solution – find a way to create a meaningful separation of the two. “Simple things like closing the door to your home office when the workday is done or having a different user account on your laptop for personal and work time. Or remove your work email app from your phone. This at least can help to create a boundary in your mind,” says Allen.

A messy room

A messy room
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“Decluttering can also be beneficial – clutter reminds us of how busy we are,” says Allen. This can be a double whammy because while the clutter makes you anxious, so can the thought of getting rid of things. “To make a room more calming, you might need the help of a friend. Friends can help with something that may be very challenging for you because the objects won’t hold the same sentimental value.” They can bring objectivity to the process, he says. Read how taking on a Less is More approach, left Helen O’Neill feeling more confident and happy.

Pets

Pets
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It’s hard to believe, but pets can be a sneaky trigger for anxiety. “If you have a cat that decides it likes to walk on your face or a dog that snores when he sleeps, you might think about sleeping alone in your bedroom and giving your pet a designated spot to sleep in.” Future pet parents take note – choose an animal that fits your lifestyle. “If walks or runs help regulate anxiety, then consider getting a more active dog. If being introverted is the best way to handle anxiety then a less active dog or cat would be a better fit,” Allen says. If you’re anxious about the mess your cat or dog creates, these cleaning hacks will help.

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team