Five Websites To Calm Your Anxiety

Five Websites To Calm Your Anxiety

These are more than just your average "chill-music" playlist.
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It's that time of year for students when midterms, benchmarks, and other important exams begin to rear their ugly heads. These times can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, and oftentimes people don't know how to process or control these emotions and end up spiraling into a dangerous pit of idleness. Students will know they're just freaking out over a test and won't want to talk to a friend or parent about it. They'll tell themselves it's not a real problem, they're just nervous! Others may want to talk, but can't seem to find the words, or even the courage to say those words. In my experience anxiety is always best cured on one's own. It may be different for your experience, but here are some websites I've found that may help deal with stress in a more private manner.

1) Player 2

Player 2 is a personalized, unique experience in which you can talk out your problems with someone else--except that someone else is also you. By inputting information about the specific cause of your anxiety, the website will help you process your feelings, validate your emotions and help you figure out what you can do to feel better. It's more pointed towards anger or anxiety because of another person, but it can be applicable to multiple situations. The website also features an "escape" button in case the experience isn't helping or makes you uncomfortable. An added bonus is the automatic removal of site analytics, so your input is 100% anonymous and is deleted at the end of your game.

2) Stress Analyst

This is similar to Player 2 in that it is a guided, personalized experience intended to talk you down from your extreme emotions. However, here you are offered a list of options, rather than having to type in your specific problem. Stress Analyst offers a more scientific outlook on anxiety--not necessarily in an educational way, but explains why you feel the way you do (most often the "fight or flight" response) rather than validating it. It also helps you figure out if you can do anything about your situation and, if so, what you can do. This website is a bit more mechanical and less atmospheric than Player 2, but is still quite effective.

3) Weave Silk

You've never been on the internet if you've never heard of Weave Silk. A beautiful, interactive online art maker, you can choose a color and throw your mouse any which way and end up creating something amazing. Thank the power of symmetry. It's not intended for stress, per se, but it has calming music and is a hypnotizing distraction that is sure to let your brain rest for at least a little while. Not to mention it's really fun. You can even download the pictures you create and share them over social media. A relaxing, simple way to create something beautiful.

4) Incredibox

I'll admit this is something I played with a lot in high school. You're given your own little acapella group of seven men and you can set them however you like to make some interesting music. There's even a puzzle portion in which, if you can find the right combos, can unlock some extra content. It's a good way to distract yourself for fifteen minutes while you're absorbed into endless combinations of beat, melody, and harmony.

5) Flower Reaction


This is an incredibly fun game focusing on chain reactions. Your goal is to bloom as many flowers as possible by blooming one and creating a reaction across your screen. It's got calming music, a beautiful aesthetic, and is just genuinely fun. I caught myself playing this for over half an hour, despite its simple mechanics. It's relatively easy, too, so you won't be feeling much pressure to accomplish your goal. If you need to relax for a bit or just blow some time, Flower Reaction is the perfect place to get you into zen mode.


Cover Image Credit: http://blog.lookbetteronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Relax.jpg

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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