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Omoh Ibizugbe

Graduate in Communications and Media Studies Major & Print and Digital Publishing & Design Minor. 

Living in Vancouver, BC.

I love all things writing and I'm at a point where I am ready to share my imaginations and a few samples of my work, happy viewing!

Does Depression or Anxiety Keep You Up at Night

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. These disorders may also be characterized by the overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is the most commonly reported of all sleep disorders. Insomnia can be triggered by your behaviours and sleep patterns. Unhealthy lifestyles and sleep habits can create insomnia on their own (without any underlying psychiatric or medical problem), or they can make insomnia caused by another problem worse. The agony of insomnia affects about 10 to 35 percent of us. Once sleep loss starts, it becomes a psychological and physical battle. One study conducted by Dag Neckelmann, MD, PhD, of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway and based on sleep data collected from 25,130 adults over a 10-year period found significant associations between the long-term course of chronic insomnia and the development of anxiety disorders and depression. Sleep disorders are characterized by abnormal sleep patterns that interfere with physical, mental, and emotional functioning. Stress or anxiety, in turn, can cause sleeplessness at night and a variety of other problems, and having an anxiety disorder exacerbates the problem. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep lets your body and mind hibernate and prepare for the next day or night depending on how you plan your day. Remember to always de-stress and give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of life and do what makes you happy. Sources: Lara Schuster Effland. (2017). Depression and Sleep Problems: How to Improve Without Medication. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from: https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/depression-and-sleep-problems-how-improve-without Duke Health Blog. (2013). A Vicious Cycle: Insomnia, Anxiety, and Depression. Retrieved from: https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/vicious-cycle-insomnia-anxiety-and-depression Tanya J. Peterson. (2018). Tips for When Depression or Anxiety Keeps You Up at Night. Retrieved from: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-health-newsletter/tips-for-when-depression-or-anxiety-keeps-you-up-at-night#story

Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder

Have the shorter, cooler days set a dark chill on your mood? There is a possibility that you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also commonly recognized by its acronym, SAD. SAD is a form of depression linked with seasonal changes, usually striking individuals during the period between late fall and winter and, in a few cases, during the summertime. Although scientists haven’t yet been able to pinpoint exactly what leads to SAD, it is believed that a lower level of sunlight and its impact on us is largely to blame. Reduced sunlight is known to cut our serotonin and Vitamin D levels, both of which are important to mood, as well as disrupt melatonin levels in our body thereby affecting sleep. As well, the shorter, darker days disturb our body’s biological clock which helps conduct several bodily functions as well as tells us when to eat and sleep. These fluctuations in our body can lead to a number of SAD symptoms, including feelings of sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep (i.e. feeling sleepy during the day or not being able to sleep well), and loss of interest in activities that one would generally enjoy. There is no doubt that these symptoms can be very unpleasant and frustrating to experience, however, the good news is that we can take various steps to alleviate symptoms of SAD. Here is a list of some of the things that you can try if you are suffering from the winter blues. - Exercise and eat healthy. As tempting as it might feel to hibernate and devour boxes full of holiday sweets and drink multiple cups of eggnog and hot chocolate, remember that what you eat and how you treat your body will have a direct impact on how you feel. Make sure that you are eating enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein as well as maintaining a regular exercise regimen. - Take in as much natural light as possible. Spend some time outside as often as possible and allow natural light inside your home and office spaces as much as possible. Spending more time outside, especially when the sun is out, can help up your Vitamin D and serotonin levels. - Use Light Therapy. Light therapy involves sitting close to a special light therapy box (can be purchased at many stores) for about 20 to 30 minutes every day, usually within the first hour of waking up. The light from the lightbox exposes you to bright light in a similar manner to sunlight and is considered to be quite effective in treating SAD. - Practice self-care. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Spend some time doing meaningful and enjoyable activities with your family, friends, and pets. Practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness are also beneficial for improving mood and lowering stress and anxiety. - Consult your doctor and/or a mental health professional. If you experience any SAD symptoms for several days at a time, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will also let you know whether or not light therapy might be suitable for you. In moderate to severe cases, the doctor may recommend counselling or prescribe medication. Sources: Orlov, A. (2014, December 6). 9 Ways to Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com Seasonal Affective Disorder. (2017, October 25). Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org

The importance of giving thanks all year long

While many individuals may not celebrate Thanksgiving in its traditional manner or celebrate it at all, it may not be such a bad idea to think about what this holiday means. While Thanksgiving in Canada originally began to celebrate the harvest season, the concept of giving thanks is one that is shared across many cultures and countries across the world. For many people, the act or habit of expressing gratitude is not something that is restricted to one day, but it is rather a part of everyday life. Several studies even show that a regular practice of gratitude can be quite powerful and beneficial for our health. Gratitude is said to help boost both physical and mental health. Many studies show that individuals who practise gratitude in some form sleep better, experience less stress, are happier, and even experience improvement in heart health. One study showed that individuals who did weekly exercises of practising gratitude were more committed to regular exercise and therefore acted in ways that were ultimately healthier for them. Those who focus more on being grateful for what they have rather than complaining about what they lack also experience fewer feelings of jealousy and frustration. In addition, expressing thanks to family members, friends, and even co-workers is said to improve relationships and encourage positive feelings about each other. So, how do we practice gratitude on a regular basis? While thinking about what you have to be thankful for and expressing it to others is one place to start, here are some other ideas for how you can bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into your daily life: Start a gratitude journal. Write down at least 1 thing (or more) that you experienced during the day that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as playing with your dog or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. The idea is to not always look for something “massive” or extremely important to be thankful for. As you do this exercise on a regular basis, you may notice that you often find joy in the simplest things that take place every day. Do this exercise daily. Write a thank-you note to someone. The note or letter can be about something specific that they did for you or just a general letter of appreciation. Think about something that you are happy or thankful for first thing in the morning. This can help set the stage for a successful and joyful day. Take a picture of something that you saw or experienced that made you happy. Then, whenever you find yourself feeling a little glum, you can browse through those pictures for a quick pick-me-up. Sources: Andrews, L. W. (2017). 5 simple alternatives to keeping a gratitude diary. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com. Miller, M. C. (2012). In praise of gratitude. Retrieved from www.health.harvard.edu. Morin, A. (2015). 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com.

Music and Anxiety

Everyone has a favourite genre of music they listen to for various reasons. Even if you can’t carry a tune for the sake of your favourite artists, you still sing out loud when you hear that one song that reminds you of your happier days, which has a major effect on one’s mood. Sound and music therapies have been used in the past as a popular way of relaxing and for improving one’s health. It has been long mentioned that the Indigenous people have used music to enhance well-being, induce relaxation, and restore one's health. Music therapy has become a vastly growing field. Music Therapy is performed with a professional that has been trained in music, psychology, and medicine. A trained therapist uses a program to help a person cope with anxiety, stress, traumatic events and other health issues. Music Therapists are people who have deep knowledge and understanding of how music can create an emotional response to relax, calm and heal people. They also combine that knowledge in music with a deeper understanding of the different musical styles that can help people get through a challenging time or guide you into meditation. Looking for additional ways to cope with anxiety is never a bad idea; different things trigger one’s anxiety. That’s the same way different methods can be used to deal with anxiety. A recent paper out of Harvard and Stanford found health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza. Hence the emphasis on body and mind rest to restore a physical and mental balance. If you want your body and mind to stay healthy, you have to prioritize giving them all the rest you can. Music is one of the easiest ways to take some of the pressure off of all things that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious. Some Songs To Get You Going: 1. Weightless by Marconi Union. This song was specifically designed to induce this highly relaxed state. Created by Marconi Union, the musicians teamed up with sound therapists to carefully arrange harmonies, rhythms and bass lines, which in turn slow a listener’s heart rate and blood pressure, while also lowering stress hormones like cortisol. The Creation of the Ultimate Anti-Stress Music Researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K. wanted to know what kind of music induces the greatest state of relaxation. The study involved having participants try to solve difficult puzzles, which inherently triggered a certain degree of stress, while connected to sensors. At the same time, participants listened to a range of songs as researchers measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing. What they found is that one song “Weightless” calmed the players involved by 65%. Note: this could work for some and not others. 2. True Colors by Cyndi Lauper 3. Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 4. I won't give up by Jason Mraz 5. Superheroes by The Script 6. 1-800-273-8255 by Logic, Alessia Cara, and DJ Khalid 7. Livin on a prayer by Bon Jovi 8. Gravity by John Mayer 9. “Try” by Colbie Caillat 10. Watermark by Enya 11. Walking on sunshine by Katrina & The Waves 12. Happy by Pharrell 13. Oceans by Hillsong 14. I feel Good by James Brown 15. Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars Sources: Harvard Health Publishing: "How music can help you heal" (2016). Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-music-can-help-you-heal

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