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When Magic was not enough

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The Power of three will set you free.

And you thought they can magically brush all their cares away? Three witches destined for magic greatness, the Charmed ones as they are popularly known, drew great TV following with their supernatural-effects among the dedicated TV viewers. Prudence “Prue” Halliwell (Shannen Doherty), the eldest sister who had the power of telekinesis; Piper Halliwell, the witch who has the power to freeze molecules; and Phoebe Halliwell, the youngest and rebellious sister who has the power of premonition – these three blood-bound witches became the most powerful witches of all time. Enduring for eight long seasons, these three magically captured the hearts of televiewers with the whisk of the hands and catchy incantations.

However, even with their apparent control over their powers, these cool and modern-day witches have constantly faced, lost to, but, eventually managed to get over with daily wiccan stresses. In one episode, Piper cried a river because the Elders, supreme protectors of good, had to take her husband away from her. Even as she experienced what seemed like an anxiety disorder, she vowed with all her witchly powers that she will one day get her husband back.

Leo (Brian Krause), Piper’s husband also had his share of panic, or anxiety attacks. He discovered that his son Chris, was killed by their trusted friend Gideon – who was also an Elder. He wreaked havoc as he hurled thunder from his arms and shot it across the room. These manifestations of anxiety attacks was due to his overwhelming grief over his son’s early demise.

Another turning point of the Charmed Life series was when their eldest sister Prue died because time was manipulated by the Source (highest demon). The remaining witches grew skeptical about their destiny and found themselves on the verge of breaking point. Good thing is, the power of three was reconstituted with the advent of their half-sister Paige. Paige Matthews, was the daughter of Paricia Halliwell, the Charmed Trio’s mother. However, Piper, the closest to Prue, gave Paige a hard time because she did not let go of Prue’s memory. With her grief and anxiety attacks, she became a creature called “Fury”, a curse that almost made her destroy her own sister. In the end, she did managed to bring her emotions across to the right place – Prue’s grave.

Even though blessed with wiccan powers, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige, constantly struggled with different emotions that no spell can totally dispel. But the good things is, as always perceived in the TV series – their most trusted power over mind boggling trivialities and blood thirsty enemies are not their wiccan gifts. Their answer is their sisterly bond — which also became their best anxiety relief. Sisterhood, not their inherent powers, was their best anxiety relief and power against all that the underworld can hurl at them. In the end, after years of wiccan supremacy, the Charmed Ones managed to keep their family legacy, which was written in their book, The Book of Shadows.

So, let’s take it from the Charmed Ones – family ties, not any magic, is the best cure for any anxiety.

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Erik: The Man Behind The Phantom

In the literary world, there are few villains and monsters as sympathetic and as “human” as Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. The man behind the monster has been labeled as the villain of Gaston Leroux’s novel just as often as he has been named a misunderstood protagonist. He was the ghost that haunted the halls of the Opera Populaire, terrorizing the diva Carlotta and several other performers who were housed there, as they clashed with his artistic sensibilities. In almost all incarnations of the character outside of the novel, there is almost always only a small measure of sympathy accorded to the deformed and persecuted Erik. The focus had always been on the horrifying visage he presents before the public, and less on “Angel of Music” persona he bore when he trained the young ingénue, Christine Daae.

However, behind the mask was, ultimately, a man. Erik was not the overwhelming force of evil that people had portrayed him to be. Indeed, along with many of his contemporaries, Erik shared traits and attributes that were all too human. He needed to feel loved by the ones he believed he loved… he craved for recognition for his achievements… and desperately needed to interact with the world without having to strike terror in the hearts of those who see him. In this way, he echoes earlier figures of horror, such as Quasimodo of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the Frankenstein’s Monster from “Frankenstein.” His quest to love and to be loved, as well as his aristocratic demeanor, also mirror the nobler qualities of an earlier literary figure, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the end, like all of the above literary icons, Erik was more than the “Phantom of the Opera.” Erik was, underneath the mask, a human being, albeit one with a number of issues, including social anxiety and paranoia. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical, despite having taken a number of liberties with the story, has lyrics that echo the various complex emotions that Erik had to endure in his lifetime.

This face that earned
A mother’s fear and loathing
A mask my first
Unfeeling scrap of clothing

From an early age, Erik instilled fear and anxiety in the people around him because of his deformed face. The interpretations and versions of the story vary in the details, but in the original novel, he was described to have looked like a living corpse. From Leroux’s description, one could deduce that his face was deformed such that it appeared more like a skull than a normal face. His mother, feeling overwhelming fear and anxiety over her son’s monstrous appearance, eventually abandoned him. He managed to make an early living in a carnival, where he inspired mockery rather than fear and anxiety. That mockery would eventually evolve into a total dislike of society and people in general, morphing into a twisted form of social anxiety.

Paper faces on parade…
Hide your face,
So the world
Will never find you!

His social anxiety forced him into seclusion, though he was not completely without contact with the outside world. He gained a good handle on architecture and engineering, building palaces for two prominent rulers, while also serving as an assassin for one of them. His fear of society led him to go to great lengths to remain unseen and hidden in the shadows. With his mask, he was able to conceal his disfigured features to those whom he chose to reveal his presence. He also attained a high sense of appreciation for music, which turned out to be a natural talent for him. Indeed, it was this natural aptitude for performing and composing music that would eventually lead him to seek out Christine, which he probably saw as an outlet for his status anxiety.

Those who have seen your face
Draw back in fear
I am the mask you wear…
It’s me they hear.

It is easy to speculate that Erik’s initial reasons for training Christine stemmed from his desire to overcome his status anxiety. As he discovered his talent for music, it is possible that he developed the idea to showcase his talent to the world at large, and let them see how much musical brilliance can be produced by someone who was scorned by society. He wanted to use her as his mouthpiece, his “avatar” to the world and society above his shadowy lair. However, even a man that has lived a life alien to concepts such as love and devotion can be made to feel them, in much the same way as Frankenstein’s Monster and Quasimodo did in their respective stories. In a way, his pursuit and desire for the love of Christine was his own twisted way of achieving a sense of emotional healing.

Pitiful creature of darkness
What kind of life have you known?
God give me courage to show you
You are not alone

There is little argument on whether or not Erik loved Christine, albeit he expressed that love in a rather twisted manner. Despite the emotional healing that came with training Christine in music, he still behaved very much like the figure of darkness that everyone perceived him to be. This is likely because, despite having felt more human emotions, emotional healing cannot instantly undo a lifetime of psychological damage. His mind was, unfortunately, still damaged and incapable of seeing his actions as anything more than things done out of necessity, unaware of how monstrous his tactics would seem to others. In the end, his music was not able to remove the terror that came with his persona as the Phantom of the Opera.


Here’s Help To Alleviate Your Issues With Anxiety

Anxiety may seem like it has an impact on every aspect of your being, but that doesn’t have to be so. There are many people who suffered from anxiety but have learned to deal with it. The useful advice and tips in this guide will help you in controlling your symptoms related to anxiety and give you your life back.

To help you alleviate the problems with anxiety, get plenty of exercise each day to settle down your nerves. Exercise creates endorphins, which increase positive feelings and keep you from thinking of negative things. Additionally, experts recommend physical activity to maintain your general health and well-being.

Anxiety can disrupt your breathing patterns and learning breathing exercises will help you maintain control. Count to ten in your mind as you breathe in, and allow the air to fill your lungs. For better results, try to choose a quiet spot in practice controlled breathing.

If negative news deeply affects you, then it might be time to put down the newspaper. If current events are important to you, take a quick glance at the headlines or ask a friend to catch you up. Avoid spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing about negative world or local events.

Laughter really can be the best medicine when you find you are feeling anxious. Funny movies, shows, books and even friends make for great therapy.

Start keeping a daily journal. Many people have allowed stress to build up within their thoughts. When you release these thoughts via written form into a personal journal, it allows your brain to think about present events rather than past or future occurrences which trigger anxiety.

Find someone that you can talk to about your feelings. Keeping your feelings and thoughts to yourself is only going to make you feel much worse. The first step to cutting down on your anxiety and feeling better about yourself is often to share your feelings with someone you can trust.

When you are combating anxiety, getting proper sleep is key. Not getting enough sleep leads to a number of physical and mental problems, including anxiety. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily, depending on the individual.

Sometimes, those who feel the most stress or anxiety are simply not allowing themselves enough opportunities to relax sufficiently. Block out some daily time to just relax. Do things like taking hot baths, reading a good book and maybe enjoying a warm cup of decaffeinated tea. Your anxiety will fade away over time when you institute a daily 20 minute relaxation period.

Exercise can alter brain chemistry. Lack of serotonin can lead to anxiety, but regular exercise can increase serotonin levels. Going for a jog, taking a dance class, or pumping iron at your gym all stimulate your brain, increasing its production of the natural relaxants serotonin and dopamine. This not only will lessen anxiety levels, but it helps with depression too.

Be sure there is someone you’re talking to about any of your problems in life. There is nothing more important to an anxiety sufferer than a good support system. Talking about anxiety not only helps you to better understand it but also to control it.

Spend some time writing down everything that makes you feel stressed. You should put the things that you can change on one side, and the ones that you cannot on the other. Learn to accept the triggers you can’t avoid and to avoid the ones you can.

Watch a favorite comedy or read an amusing book if you feel stress coming on. By watching one of your favorite comedy movies, you’ll have the chance to laugh and have a more positive outlook toward things. You’ll be less apt to worry or be anxious about something that was bothering you earlier.

Discovering the roots of anxiety helps to deal with it. For instance, think about whether your job is causing you to experience more stress. If you are, you may need to speak with your boss about a different project. You can rid yourself of anxiety if you know what causes it.

Take up yoga with friends and reduce ongoing anxious feelings. Learning yoga can help you rid yourself of anxiety by having you use all of you energy to do what is physically required. This will help you achieve a physical balance, and that could help you feel rejuvenated.

Take some time for yourself if you suffer from anxiety. You will not find relief from anxiety or stress if you don’t take time out from daily pressures. Take an hour each day to just read or watch TV.

Consider treating yourself to a massage. Indeed, a massage. Massage is helpful for those suffering from anxiety, as it works to distract them from their concerns and get a fresh perspective. Anxiety often causes muscle cramps and may give you physical discomfort.

Figure out how to meditate. When you meditate you can get rid of anxiety. Anyone can learn how to meditate. Different types of meditation work for different people. If sitting still causes you to feel anxious, then try active meditation. Keep trying new forms of meditation until you identify the specific variation that brings you the optimum level of relief from anxious feelings.

People with heart issues don’t have issues discussing this with a medical pro. If you have an anxiety disorder, do not be afraid to ask a medical professional for help. Anxiety is a condition, and severe anxiety requires medical attention.

A lot of people are aware that exercise is great for lessening anxiety levels, but most aren’t sure what exercises are good to do. Walking and running are both great forms of exercise. They do not require special equipment or a gym membership and they can be quite enjoyable.

It may sound too simple, but try to just distract yourself from anxiety. Sit down with a good book or challenge your mind with a crossword puzzle rather than focusing even more on your problems with a self-help book. Surround yourself with people whenever you can. By distracting yourself from your anxiety, you will be better able to relieve your symptoms.

Anxiety often feels eternal, but this article has shown that that isn’t the reality. The helpful information in this article can help you work toward recovery. Why would you want to wait to get started?

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Alternative Ways To Fight Stress

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Stress relief is something that everybody needs to get regularly, no matter how much they complain that they don’t have the time. Especially if they complain that they don’t have the time! There are a thousand and one ways to get stress relief, with some of them being considered to be “tried and true” methods. However, there are some problems with these old methods, particularly because the old methods may or may not work that well with people who have “new” mindsets. While making someone listen to Mozart may not be a cause for complaint, it may not work that well in relieving his stress either, particularly if classical music isn’t really suited to his tastes. For people with that sort of personality, perhaps the best stress relief is one that might be considered a little…unconventional.

There are, of course, “conventional” stress relief techniques. These are the ones that people have used for centuries on end, and will likely outlast even the societal factors causing the stress and anxiety in the first place. These methods include the aforementioned music, though some more modern genres are better at causing stress and anxiety, rather than relieving them. Another typically suggested one would be exercise, which not only serves as good stress relief, but also has a few other benefits on a person’s physical well-being. Some types of tea, with jasmine, oolong, and green tea being most commonly mentioned, are also said to be a good way of achieving stress relief, as they calm both the mind and body. However, as previously stated, these may not work on some people. So, what are the unconventional methods of stress relief?

Well, chief among them is physical violence. Sometimes, the best way to let go of all your stress and anxiety is to hit something — and hitting it over and over again, if necessary. This does not mean that you should go around hitting people at the slightest sign of frustration. This is often suggested as a means of finding release from one’s negative emotions, letting go of the stress they cause at the same time. Since it would be unwise and potentially problematic to lash out against people, it is best to lash out against objects such as pillows, stress balls, and the occasional lump of clay. Items such as these can take a tremendous amount of punishment, allowing someone with a lot of stress and anxiety to work through his problems physically, without risking harm to himself or anyone else.

Another alternative comes from the advent of modern Internet technology and trends: blogging. Blogging, which is basically a journal or diary that is available on the Internet for the general public to read, can really help someone with stress relief in the workplace. It allows a degree of anonymity that can’t be found anywhere else, giving the person the freedom to write whatever comes to mind, even if what comes to mind happens to be criticisms of management’s latest blunder or your direct supervisor’s tendency to show off his incompetence. An added benefit is that the blogger can look back into his past entries and hopefully be able to do a little self-analysis at a later date.

The final unconventional method of stress relief is derived from the German word schadenfreude, which means “happiness at the misery of others.” The final oddball stress relief method is to watch reality TV. It doesn’t particularly matter what show you watch, as long as someone’s being made miserable or there’s some serious drama going on. How many of us have had a horrible day, only to feel just a bit better after watching Simon Cowell rip into some aspiring recording artist on “American Idol”? Watching that poor contestant get his hopes and dreams dashed, in a sadistic manner, uplifts your own mood and makes your day just a little bit better. Some people listen to the police frequency of the radio for the same reason. Hearing about other people’s dismal lives makes their own lives seem better by comparison.

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Tips to Finding the Perfect Therapist

When you have an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek help in order to overcome your anxiety. Anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among other things. Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders, and the only way to overcome these things is to find help from a professional. While your medical doctor may be able to treat you, another important person in your life should be your therapist. Make sure you find the best therapist possible to treat your condition by using the following tips.

First, look for a therapist that is recommended by others. The best form of advertising is word of mouth, because you can be sure that the therapist is skilled and has helped others in the past. You can ask your doctor for recommendations, but others suffering from anxiety disorders will probably be able to tell you even more about therapists in the area. You can contact other patients with anxiety disorder by going to support groups, which are often offered at your local community center or hospital.

Another great tip for finding the perfect therapist is to look for someone specifically advocating the kind of treatment that interests you. For example, if you want to talk about your problems and try to understand your thought process and reasoning behind your anxiety, a therapist specializing in cognitive therapy will probably work best for you. If you want to overcome a specific phobia, a therapist interested in desensitization may work best instead. There are a number of different kinds of treatments, and if you have a specific kind in mind, be sure to find a therapist advocating that kind of treatment.

Lastly, when looking for a therapist consider more than personality-consider convenience. Although you of course want a therapist who is easy to talk to and friendly, you should also take into consideration how many patients he or she sees, because this will indicate the amount to time available to be spent on you. Also look at the distance from his or her office to your home and consider a therapist who is willing to meet your specific needs.

Every therapist is different, so someone who works well for another patient may not be the best choice for you. If you are unhappy with your therapist for any reason, remember that you can leave to look for a new therapist at any time. For the most stable treatment, find a therapist you like and stay with that therapist until you feel as though you have overcome your disorder.