Author Archives: Bruno Ngjeliu

About Bruno Ngjeliu

Bruno is an undergraduate student at York University, who is completing his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and minoring in Philosophy. He is friendly and outgoing and is very excited to share information that will help people learn more about various issues.

Anxiety Disorders Part 1

Anxiety-wordsThere are many different types of disorders that affect individuals every day. Amongst them all, the most common mental illness that affects 12% of the Canadian population is anxiety. Anxiety is a chronic condition that is considered to be an extreme and insistent sense of fear, worry, nervousness and trepidation. Anxiety is experienced in six different disorders: Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, which may or may not consist of Agoraphobia (defined as an extreme or irrational fear of crowded or public places), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Separation Anxiety. In this first section we will cover Social Anxiety and PTSD and in an upcoming section the most common treatments for anxiety disorders will be discussed.

Social Anxiety Disorder

This disorder affects about 15 million adults and refers to the fear in which an individual is put in a social situation in which they anticipate embarrassment, judgement, rejection, or have a fear of offending others. The onset of Social Anxiety Disorder is approximately at the age of 13 and tends to worsen over time. Individuals dealing with such a disorder may have a hard time talking to people and making/keeping friends, they constantly worry about social events for days’ prior, tend to stay away from crowded places and can even experience sweating and trembling while communicating with others.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This disorder entails an exposure to a traumatic experience that can include death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Living with this disorder means that you may be re-living the event by having nightmares, flashbacks or uncontrollable thoughts. Individuals who experience this disorder tend to stay away from items or everyday activities that remind them of the traumatic event. It makes individuals suffering from this very “on edge” and nervous all the time. It also exposes them to feeling irritable, having a hard time concentrating, and developing sleeping problems. Other individuals feel like they are dreaming or that nothing is real as well as having difficulty expressing their feelings and emotions.

By: Bruno Ngjeliu


How To Achieve Your Best Self!

Happy-WomanWith an increase in technology, fundamental social skills are on the decline. There are, however, steps we can take which will pave a path to a better living standard. I am a huge advocate for the following eight steps, steps which contribute to an individual becoming the best possible version of themselves.

1. The first and most important step is to have PASSION and LOVE in your life. You need to be surrounded by individuals who love you and want nothing but the best for you. People who want to see you succeed because they truly know how special of a person you are. Passion, as much as it is about receiving love, is just as much about giving it. It’s about finding that job that you always wanted, that hobby you can no longer live without, that reason to fight for something that you truly care for. Passion allows you to make and achieve your goals, whether they are academic or personal (including things such as travel, career or fitness. The popularly quoted Beatles’ song “all you need is love” targets ad expresses this idea perfectly. Keep the people you love close because they are the ones who will support you in your life journeys.

2. HARD WORK is something that is consistently taught from a young age. If you want to succeed you need to work hard with regards to all aspects of your life. You need to work hard in order to discover and maintain a type of life that you are always going to be proud of. Imagine yourself in five years, ten years and fifteen years: you have to picture where the finish line is for that long journey of hard work. Always think of the positive outcomes that will come.

3. HUMILITY is an important quality to practice throughout your success. Through your hard work in achieving your goals you inevitably will face challenges. The ability to recognize the hardships of your journey is satisfying and is a great alternative to the resulting mistreatment of others while exhibiting an entitled personality. It is important to be grateful for what you have and offer your help in areas you specialize in to those who need it.

4. We all get stuck in places of sadness, anger and frustration. Life is all about overcoming obstacles. Life is filled with pushing through the obstacles which present themselves in front of our goals. ENDRANCE through these times is an attribute which will allow one to successfully get through these rough times, leaving one feeling satisfied in the end. Endurance is not only physical. IT is important to endure through both spiritual and mental obstacles as well as the physical.

5. Another way of getting out of that dark place is coming up with new, bright ideas about how to overcome an obstacle. Harvey Spectre, a television character on the Toronto-filmed series “Suites” reiterates the concept that we always have a choice. One of his lines, which I find most relatable is “What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You do what they say or they shoot you? Neither. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or you call their bluff. Or you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other things.” It is important to keep in mind that there is never just one way to do, succeed, or achieve something. If you ever find yourself stuck in a situation, try taking another perspective and approach the situation with a new angle.

6. SELF IMPOROVMENT is a key act in achieving new goals and overcoming new obstacles. You need to be able to grow mentally in order to think of new ideas and to be able to push your self.

7. Another major step is RESPECT. The Western World has a golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. However, this does not implement the assumption that how people treat you is how they’d like to be treated. Someone’s disrespectful behaviour towards you does not constitute disrespectful behaviour from you towards them.

8. The final step is PERSISTENCE. You need be tough and never give up. The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary. You need to keep working hard and never look back because the only way that you are going is up. Never take anything for granted and never make the same mistakes, but most importantly try not to mind the negative people and what they have to say. The greatest fear in the world is found within the opinions of others. You are no longer a part of a herd of sheep the moment you become unafraid of your herd; you have now become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.

By: Bruno Ngjeliu 


Sleep: why is it important and how much of it do we need?

SleepingHow many times have you found yourself rushing to work because, yet again, you decided to hit that snooze button? Sleep is the most important thing that your body and mind require. Getting enough sleep every day is very beneficial to your mental and physical health, which will improve your quality of life significantly. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), sleep helps with growth and development of the brain and mind. While sleeping, your brain forms new pathways in order to help you learn new information and remember information that you learned throughout the day, a process called “consolidation”. With regards to your physical health, NHLI, also states that deep sleep triggers the body to release hormones that promote normal growth in children and teens. These hormones also boost muscle mass, help repair cells and muscle tissue in children, teens, and adults, and are involved in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels.

But what exactly happens during sleep? According to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), sleep has five stages. During stage one, you can easily be awaken and you experience slight muscle contractions. Your brain slows down during the second stage, allowing a release of alpha and beta waves, which help your body temperature to drop, meanwhile your breathing and heart rate remain constant. While in stage three and four you enter deep sleep. At this time, your brain waves change from alpha and beta to slower theta and delta waves; your blood pressure drops and your breathing slows. In the fifth and final stage of sleep you enter a stage of rapid eye movement or REM. These rapid movements signify a state of dreaming, during which you are in your deepest sleep. Alongside the rapid eye movements, your heart rate also increases. Sleep induces the release of several chemicals or hormones into your brain. During the sleep cycle, a number of chemicals are released, such as: serotonin (which affects your mood, emotions and appetite), norepinephrine (which affects response, breathing and metabolism) and adenosine (which builds up in your blood to keep you awake during the day and causes you to be sleepy at night).

There has been much argument about how much sleep one needs, and according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), newborns (0-3 months) need 14-17 hours,  infants (4-11 months) need 12-15 hours, toddlers (1-2 years of age) need 11-14 hours, preschoolers (3-5 years of age) need 10-13 hours,  school age children (6-13 years of age) need 9-11 hours, teens (14-17 years of age) need 8-10 hours, adults (18-64 years of age) need 7-9 hours, and finally, elders (65+ years of age) need 7-8 hours. When you do not receive enough sleep, you become sleep deficient. According to NHLBI, sleep deficiency increases the risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, as well as increases the risk of obesity. People who are sleep deprived will have trouble making decisions, solving problems, and controlling emotions and behaviour. A lack of sleep may also lead to micro sleep, which refers to a brief moment of sleep that occurs while you are awake. An example of such would be if you are driving for a long time and do not remember part of the trip.

However, there are ways to fix your sleep patterns. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), you should keep a regular sleep schedule (i.e., going to bed and waking up at the same time every day), avoid napping during the day, get out of bed if you can’t sleep, avoid caffeine four to six hours before bed, avoid alcohol and smoking close to bedtime, minimize noise and blue light (i.e., light that comes from electronics), make sure room temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, and exercise daily. Keeping these tips in mind can help you achieve and maintain a good and healthy sleep-wake schedule.

By: Bruno Ngjeliu


The Benefits of Nature

Nature-BrainWhen was the last time you had the chance to go for a hike, a bike ride, or a picnic? Nowadays we are so caught up with technology, that people prefer to stay inside than go out and be active. Nature is beautiful, calming, and has amazing health benefits such as providing us with warm sunlight and fresh clean air. According to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, when living closer to nature your body and mind will be healthier.

One way of living closer to nature is to allow yourself a minimum exposure to natural sunlight, which provides our body with natural vitamin D. Some reasons as to why Vitamin D is so important is that it helps prevent cancer, hormonal problems, obesity, inflammation, and it contributes to the human body having a strong immune system. Sunlight also contributes in helping set the body’s internal clock. The internal clock is something that everyone has which indicate to us when to eat, sleep, as well as regulates and controls hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day.

Nature also provides us with fresh air which is a major benefit to one’s health. A health benefit would be that it helps your digestive system work more effectively. It also improves your blood pressure and heart rate. According to scientific research, when living in an environment that has dirty or polluted air, your body has to work twice as hard to receive the same amount of oxygen it requires than in a clean air environment. Fresh air helps clean the airway of your lungs so that they can dilate more fully, which in return cleans your lungs and makes them work more effectively. Just like sunlight, fresh air also strengthens your immune system. Our bodies operate by using our white blood cells to fight and kill bad bacterium. However for these white blood cells to work at their maximum capacity, they need clean oxygen.

Fresh air also increases serotonin levels in your body, a natural chemical which is known to be directly linked to the elevation of emotion such as the feeling of happiness. Serotonin is a chemical that is linked to constricting smooth muscles, regulating cyclic body processes and contributes to wellbeing and happiness.  The more oxygen inhaled the more your body produces serotonin Finally, fresh air results in a boost in energy and can enhance your mental performance and abilities. Your brain needs approximately twenty percent of your body’s oxygen. Inhaling cleaner oxygen will enhance clarity and improve concentration.

So next you time you have the weekend free, Toronto provides many amazing places for you to get back in touch with nature. You can visit some of the following places: Ashbridge’s Bay Park, Bluffer’s Park, Centre Island (which is very popular), Rouge Park, Evergreen Brick Works, High Park, Downsview Park, Riverdale Park, Riverdale Farm, Toronto Music Garden, Crothers Woods and Kortight Centre for Conservation.

By: Bruno Ngjeliu


Dealing With Stress

Nobody thought of bringing a headache pill to the party?Being a full time student while working three jobs I experience stress on a daily basis, whether school, familial or work induced stress, or even simply the stress caused by the strive to reach personal goals. Stress affects several aspects of one’s self, which can negatively influence both one’s physical and mental health. Stress is manifested in an array of bodily responses, as a reaction to disruptions or adjustments. Thus, when these changes are made it upsets an individual’s mental and physical abilities, often manifesting itself into several different symptoms. Some symptoms may be physical, such as: headaches, insomnia, viruses, aches and pains, tense muscles, loss of appetite, and even a loss of sexual ability, while other symptoms may be mental such as emotional instability (i.e., experiencing anger, guilt, and hopelessness). But how do you deal with stress? Everyone deals with stress differently and some methods are not very healthy. Some may become dependent on substances (i.e. alcohol or cigarette’s) and some may simply isolate themselves.

Despite the endless list of negative effects and outcomes of stress, there are a number of strategies to minimize becoming overwhelmed. Personally, I try to make a weekly check list of what needs to be completed so that I can map out my time. This is satisfactory because it allows me to feel like I have achieved something through hard work and commitment. It is very important to have a plan set in place when dealing with stress. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) encourages people to eat healthy well balanced meals throughout the day. They also suggest that physical activity, regulated sleep habits (i.e., getting the proper amount of sleep), and taking breaks when needed are positive stress relievers. They also encourage speaking to someone about your stress, whether that be to your friends, family or to a professional. I personally find that I get more stressed when I do not have someone to talk to, and it is during these times that my stress-induced thoughts keep me up at night.

Exercise is also key when dealing with stress. Two of my favourite exercises to relieve stress include both boxing and yoga. On the one hand, boxing exerts a satisfactory release of energy, which allows for the relief of anger and stress. This ultimately results in feeling calmer. Conversely, the calming properties of yoga through stillness and meditation allow for the gathering of thoughts and elimination of stress and worries for a period of time. It is important to focus on your wellbeing (both mentally and physically) when you are feeling stressed. So next time you are feeling stressed, try going to your local boxing gym and hit the punching bag, or follow a yoga tutorial on YouTube and begin your day with some relaxing, thought-gathering meditation to help set up your stress-reduced day!

By: Bruno Ngjeliu


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