Improve Your Mental Health Naturally

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Whether it is anxiety, depression, or addiction, whatever you are going through, there are ways to cope with it. You can rely on clinical treatments administered by a psychologist, therapist, or counselor. You can also manage to do something yourself by changing your habits and improving your lifestyle as well. You can even maintain your diet, incorporate physical activities often, and visit places once in a while to get a new perspective. The ways to help and sustain your mental health are endless. You need to look for the ones that suit your convenience and life choices. But it is also essential to note that different methods work with different people. So as you try these methods, make sure you tailor them to whatever that works for you.

Ways To Do It

Listen To Depressing Music

Yes, it is kind of weird to engage yourself in depressing music. It is counterintuitive, and there are chances that it will make you even sadder. However, the idea behind the practice is therapeutic. That instead of bottling up and suppressing emotions, listening to depressing music helps you express them. There is a significant healing effect in it, especially if it reaches the point where it makes you want to cry. Crying itself is not what you have to take in, but rather the boost of mood after the emotional crisis.

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Take A Break From Social Media

It’s easy to point a finger to social media as it continues to affect every people’s mental health. You know its primary goal is to connect people across the world. However, most of the times, it also makes you feel lonely. That’s because depression takes its toll on the platform. According to Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, “We don’t always know causation in psychology — especially without being able to measure something for a long time — but there are a lot of correlational studies that are pointing to social media and digital phone use.” Social media somehow encourages you to engage in a kind of life that bases on outside reality. There’s this internal comparison taking place whenever you see other people’s highlight reels. Therefore, having a break from social media helps you achieve digital detoxification. Just take a day or a few hours away from it so you can start reconnecting to yourself.

Gratitude Journaling

“Instead of spiraling downward into increasing anxiety and depression, we’re able to stop that spiral and respond in a more appropriate fashion,” says Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC. Gratitude journaling is not that revolutionary. However, the process contributes to achieving improved mental health because there’s the knowing of what to do. There’s the practice of putting things in place especially when there’s integration in your life. It’s not time-consuming. You only got to write a few sentences of specific things you are grateful for. Not only it does help in fighting anxiety and depression; it also retrains your brain to focus on things that matter most. There’s this focus on the goodness and learning of how you view the world.

Re-label And Refocus

Any challenges when it comes to mental health, you often work on ways to escape the effects of the mental illness. Sometimes you go binging, eating, smoking, drinking, or anything that you temporarily need to surpass the condition. In unfortunate cases, these are typical behaviors that trigger a destructive cycle. With this, relabeling and refocusing thoughts and actions become handy. Because when it comes to mental health, the last thing you would want to do is to best deal with it naturally. Therefore you need to determine the factors that cause your mental illness. From there, label them from highest to lowest priority. Once you already set up an order, focus on resolving issues one by one.

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Shifting Perspective

When you are anxious, stressed, and depressed, the focus of mental health appears inward. It traps you in a loop where you will experience hardships in healthily dealing with things. But when you shift your attention outside yourself, significant improvements happen. Whether it is doing services for others, it creates a powerful positive effect on your emotional and mental aspects. There is no need to do extravagant action because even the little thing you do for people can go a long way. It will also make you appreciate yourself as well. Audra J Lee LMFT advises, “take a mental health day, take time off from work and refuel & recharge, whatever that looks like for you personally.”

Handling things your own is difficult, but there’s no reason for you not to try. You will grow and learn as you go on with your life. Yes, there are bumps on the road. But as long as you aim for the betterment of your mental health, things will naturally go your way.

Acupuncture – Is It Effective In Treating Mental Health Issues?

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Depression is a real mental health problem. Specialists and experts in the field, with some people who are affected by the issues, are raising awareness and finding ways to cure their depression or anxiety without medication. Seeking psychiatric help and medication costs a lot. Not to mention, these pills may have side effects on some patients. Maybe it’s time to look at other methods to cure depression and other mental health issues.

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Stress Versus Anxiety: How To Tell The Difference

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Anxiety and stress have this very slim difference. People who are not in the medical field would have a hard time differentiating between the two. However, if you study both thoroughly, you would easily tell which is which, or which disorder a person is suffering from – stress or anxiety. (For both, therapy online can help with coping and management.)

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How I Realized That I Needed To See A Therapist

Everybody has their issues. Most of us can manage them well enough to get by day-to-day. However, some of us need an extra push. I found myself struggling for years before I realized that I needed a professional to help me out. Here are signs I saw that showed I needed to see a therapist.

My Emotions Were All Over The Place

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I didn’t immediately realize that my emotions were all over the place. After all, it’s difficult to notice things about yourself immediately unless someone points it out. But when I did, I saw that it was difficult for me to manage my feelings. When I was angry, I was furious and impatient. When I was sad, I didn’t get out of bed until I was late for work.

I realize what Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC used to say, “You’re considering therapy because something doesn’t feel right. You want relief, healing, or increased insight.” I sought help to be able to take control of my emotions better. This commitment meant having to deal with sadness and anger healthily. We don’t have to feel happy all the time – that’s unnatural. We have to learn how to express negative emotions in a way that doesn’t hurt others or ourselves.

I Lost Interest In My Hobbies

When it came to hobbies I loved, I can tell you that I had a long list of them. I played sports, went to the movies, read books daily, and wasn’t so bad when it came to video games either. However, I slowly lost interest in these activities over time. I didn’t pick up the controller anymore, barely got through a couple of pages of a book, and stopped going outside to play.

Somehow, my favorite past times didn’t feel the same. They didn’t give me the feeling of joy as they used to. I first thought that I was only too caught up with work to enjoy them properly. Sometimes, I felt that I outgrew some of my hobbies.

But when I started seeing a therapist, these feelings improved. I picked up a book and got to finish it. I went to see movies with friends again. It wasn’t that these things didn’t make me happy anymore. I had problems that I needed to deal with first so that I could accept the joy that my hobbies bring.

I Had Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms


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Everyone one of us has a way of coping with stress or sadness. Some of us like to go out with friends and or take some time off to ourselves. And then there are those people who turn to harmful activities to deal with what life throws at them. Jennifer Bradley, Psy.D., HSPP, Clinical Psychologist  once said, “When we are imbalanced, we develop various types of difficulties, including psychological and/or physical symptoms, and we begin to use ineffective or damaging coping mechanisms.” I agree!

My unhealthy coping mechanism was spending and avoiding the problems I had. Alcohol also seemed to be a constant in my life at some point. When I felt like I had a bad day at work, I’d tell myself that I deserved a drink or a new pair of shoes. These would cheer me up for a while, but I was ultimately running away from the issue.

Thankfully, seeing a therapist helped me find healthier ways of dealing with problems. Clearing my head with meditation and exercise was better than numbing it with alcohol. Learning to be brave enough to confront the problem also kept me from overspending and compulsive purchases.

Bad Days Turned Into Weeks

It started as a rough day at work. Then this problem turned into a bad week. From there, I found that I was having a tough couple of weeks – yes, plural – in general. We all know that it’s normal to go through a rough patch. But when you see that it’s been difficult for a long time now, it may be time to ask for professional help.

My Friends And Family Pointed It Out

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Many of us like to keep our problems to ourselves. You want to know that you can keep things under control, right? But as someone else starts to notice, you know it’s a big problem.

At some point, my best friend and I were hanging out when she pointed out that she was concerned for me. This comment surprised me as I thought I was handling my issues well enough for others not to notice. My best friend told me she saw me becoming moodier and picking up a few harmful habits such as drinking. This experience was a wake-up call that I needed to do something – see a therapist. “Finding a therapist is the first step in helping to crawl out from under depression.” Susan Block, LMFT said. Well, she was right.

Summary

It’s important to point out that our experiences are different from one another. I sought professional help because I found myself struggling in many ways. These issues included not being able to manage my emotions, losing interest in my hobbies, drinking, overspending, and being generally unhappy for weeks.

It took one friend to point it out for me to realize that I needed to see a therapist. I see now what a good move it was to do so as I’ve set myself on the road to getting better. Thanks to the help I’m getting, I can work on regaining control over all aspects of my life.

Fighting Stress And Insomnia In Bustling New York

 

 

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We all have problems with sleep at some point in our lives. This is especially difficult when you live or move into a city as bustling and busy as New York. Life is much hectic, and people are more pressured to catch up with the day – no matter what jobs they do. Some of us can’t handle sleepless nights on our own, and we turn to therapists to help us thrive and survive through the day.

Below are some of the common questions that you and I frequently ask when are among those who are battling stress and insomnia in the city that never sleeps.

 

Question #1. I have a pretty stressful job, coupled with episodic periods of insomnia. Is there a link between these two?

Yes, there must be. Although not all sleep disorders are caused by stress, those who are under a significant amount of stress can have insomnia. For insomnia linked to stress, finding solutions to get rid of the stress usually gets rid or alleviates the sleeplessness. When you’re stressed, it’s quite hard to fall asleep and stay asleep as well. Ironically, stress can cause hyperarousal, and this further disrupts the sleep and wakefulness balance.

Question #2. Are there signs that my insomnia is due to stress?

A vital identifier that can help determine the answer to this question is knowing when insomnia started. Did it begin when you were worried over something work or family-related? Is it constant or does it come and go? Also, it would be helpful to be clear about what stress means to you. For instance, maybe you’re an anxious type of person whether you’re in a lot of stress or not. Perhaps you frequently have trouble relaxing at the end of the day. Or you feel depressed most of the time. If your ‘blues’ are constant, then you might be having a mood disorder, which is a different kind of problem in and of itself. I remember what Ben Martin, Psy.D used to say in an interview, “Get a reasonable amount of sleep (around 8 hours) nightly. If you are suffering from insomnia, seek treatment, since chronic insomnia is thought to be a risk factor for depression.”

 

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Question #3. What can I do to get rid of my insomnia?

Whether the cause of your insomnia is situational or any other reason, it is essential that you find a way to alleviate or get rid of it. One of the healthy ways to do that is through a behavioral program that guides one to achieve moments of relaxation. You can do this by following some natural methods.

  • First, set a bedtime and wake-up time for yourself, depending on the hours of sleep that you are recently getting. If you’re for only four hours every night, then set the time for four hours. Eventually, you can increase this number incrementally, for instance, by 20 minutes every night. The concept is to include the nighttime awakenings and slowly increase the number of hours that you sleep during the night.
  • Find a routine or a habit that could wind you down at the end of your day. An insomniac will need to tire himself down and slow his brain activity so that sleep can take over. Perhaps you can start winding down 3 hours before your bedtime schedule. Do this by stopping all work, not accepting phone calls at the set time, and relaxing with a good book while lying in bed. You can watch television as well, but after an hour, listening to music would be more preferable. “Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Other calming and stress-reducing activities include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, Tai chi and yoga,” Marla W. Deibler, PsyD also notes.
  • Fix your bedroom in such a way that you feel comfortable, relaxed, and peaceful. People who have insomnia often feel tense and anxious because they know that they’ll be sleepless throughout the night. Try pastels for your sheets and pillowcases to relax the eyes, and set a few scented candles on the bedside table to lighten the mood. Keep in mind that your bedroom is a place of solace and relaxation. Leave the unpleasantness outside and bring the good vibes in.

Question #4. What is the most vital thing I should know about insomnia?

“Patients who experience continued insomnia are less likely to respond to medication and psychotherapy treatment than those without sleep problems.” Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT  said. Many people who have insomnia say that they know they have it, but they just can’t do anything about it. However, insomnia can have a tremendously negative impact on someone’s life – his family, work, and his relationships – and it must be attended to. If you have insomnia, or you know someone who does, the initial step to curing or alleviating it is through appropriate diagnosis. Once it is confirmed, you can start doing something about it on your own, like finding natural ways to cure it.

 

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If for some reason, you can’t deal with it on your own, you can always ask help from sleep professionals who are trained to assist you in your journey towards getting rid of your sleeplessness – in New York or anywhere else in the world you may be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Going Back To The Family Home Helped Me Overcome Depression

Looking back to my college days, living a few hours away from my immediate family was not easy, even though I was staying at my aunt’s house at the time. The people there were nice to me, but I did not feel quite close to them. I would mostly stay in my room, either studying or talking to my then secret boyfriend.

Before the last semester started in the university, though, my life began to fall apart. My relationship ended up not working out, and I could not tell another soul about it. I realized while doing my thesis as well that it was not the path I wanted to take, but it felt like I would disappoint my parents if I told them that. So, I had to stay quiet and act as if nothing’s wrong.

 

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According to Dr. Mitch Keil, clinical psychologist, “Mental health is complex, and it would be a lot easier if we were like cars.” The problem was, the more I thought of my situation, the lesser times I left my bedroom. Sometimes I would remain awake for several nights; other times, I would sleep for 14 hours straight. It became common for me back then not to eat for a few days too because I was always exhausted and my body was in pain. I also stopped going to the university, giving random excuses whenever my friends or professors asked for my whereabouts. The decision to open up to my younger sister about my situation only came when I started having suicidal thoughts, which scared me so much.

Upon consulting a psychiatrist and receiving the diagnosis that I indeed acquired a severe form of depression, I felt the need to return to my family home. It happened to be the best resolution because going back to my roots allowed me to:

 

Face My Fears

My biggest worry before even stepping into the house was, “How could I inform my parents that I quit school due to depression?” While some moms and dads might understand readily, my folks were a bit the old-school type. They did not believe that mental disorders exist; they assumed that anyone who’d come out with it might merely be saying it to gain attention. Of course, despite knowing that, I had no choice but to tell them the doctor’s diagnosis.

 

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To my surprise, however, my parents did not scold or disown me for being depressed. Mom was the one who wanted to know all the why’s and how’s. As for my dad, the sole thing he said before hugging me was, “I don’t want to visit any daughter of mine in a mental hospital, so you should do what makes you happy.” That comment, to be honest, reassured me that I could get through my situation with my senses intact.

 

Have A Strong Support System

Perhaps because I was great at acting chill before I went back home, even my aunt and other housemates had no clue about my depression while I was there. They only found out after I moved in with my parents again, and they were sorry for not noticing that I did not leave their place for two months at all.

 

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If I’m honest, though, I have no hard feelings towards them. It was not anyone’s fault; I hid my symptoms as best as I could because I did not want anyone to think that I was a failure. Nevertheless, when the news broke out within the entire family, I received a lot of calls from cousins, aunts, and uncles who all told me that they would always be there for me. It showed me that dealing with the depression won’t be as hard as I imagined because I had – and still have – a strong support system that I could count on anytime. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist says.

 

Final Thoughts

Fast forward to five years since the day that I talked about my condition – is the depression gone already? There is genuinely no scientific method that can say I am entirely free from the disorder. Still, I have not felt any inclination to do something morbid to myself or stay cooped up in my room in a long while now. I am happy most of the time; I get to write this blog and other similar stuff, which is what I have always wanted to do. My parents may dream of hanging my college diploma on the wall of the house someday, but they both agree that the decision to go back to university is up to me this time.

 

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“Depression is different from passing sadness or temporary frustration with life’s issues. There are number of common signs for depression and they tend to be persistent.” Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC said. And so far, life has been so good to me. I have a family that cares for my welfare regardless of my flaws. There’s no need to face my issues alone because they volunteer to help no matter what it may be.

Nonetheless, if you have depression and you don’t know how to deal with it, just be with your loved ones too. Though they may not have an idea of how to help you immediately, the mere fact that they want to support you may soothe your hopeless self.  Give it a try to get rid of your troubles soon. Good luck!

How To Make Your Diet Beneficial For Your Mental Health

From time to time, you may get reminded by folks around you to watch what you eat. “Trust me, you don’t want to be a candidate for the Biggest Loser,” some might say. Others reason out that “gaining weight allows fats to hide your best features.”

Only the physical changes are what these concerned individuals talk about, however. That is extremely unhelpful and may force others like you to go against the mold that people seem to try to put you in. Instead of feeling encouraged to go on a diet, therefore, it may drive you to show them that your attractiveness won’t diminish even when you’re overweight.

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Now, will your perspective differ once you realize that your mental health gets affected by the kinds of foods you consume? You read that correctly – what you eat can be a factor when it comes to how your brain will function. If you always devour stuff with low nutritional value, chances are, you turn up with health problems that may depress you or cause you to lose confidence. According to Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD. “Depression symptoms come out through excessively drinking alcohol, seeking out an affair outside of the relationship, becoming aggressive, or withdrawing from those you love. Similarly, physical symptoms like backaches or low sexual desire are less recognized as depression because they’re externalized.”

Assuming you don’t want your mental state to suffer due to your food choices, these are the things you should do:

1. Mix Up Your Selection

One of the issues that folks have about healthy eating is that they feel like it will only work once they get the same meals every day. Remember “Depression rates are higher among those with a Vitamin D deficiency. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have the most naturally occurring Vitamin D.” Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT once said. For instance, green smoothie in the morning, baked cauliflower in the afternoon, and grilled salmon during supper. The truth, though, is that you can find other healthy dishes to mix up with the usual stuff. That may keep you from getting fed up with the diet and ordering an all-meat pizza, double cheeseburger, and milkshake for yourself.

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2. Try Different Recipes

Considering you are not a master chef and you still are feeling your way around the kitchen, it is advisable to look for various recipes for a single dish. The reason is that it is not often easy to tell whether the first set of instructions has the best ingredients. If they are not too expensive, they are available all the time at the local market.

By getting ahold of more than one recipe, you can ensure that the food you’ll make is the healthiest version of all. Hence, whether it’s lasagna or a rice meal, you won’t feel guilty about finishing the plate.

3. Downsize The Portions

Say, you cooked half a pound of spaghetti. On a regular basis, you may have the appetite to eat half of that in one sitting. However, for the benefit of your mental health – and your wallet – you should cut the entire dish in quarters so that you have food for four mealtimes.

This technique is undeniably smart, in the sense that you will eat but never feel full. It will stop you then from skipping breakfast, lunch, or dinner, which are vital to keeping your brain healthy.

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Final Thoughts

“Eat a healthful diet, that is low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Specific dietary factors that may be beneficial in depression are the B-complex vitamins (found in whole grains) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in cold-water fish, fish oil, and flax seeds),” says ADAA member Stephanie Kriesberg, PsyD. Changing your diet for the better does not merely have a positive effect on your body. Your mind will stay in a better – saner – place too since you are getting all the nutrients that your system needs at last.

Try not to put this task off any longer. Good luck!

5 Benefits Of Traveling Your Way To Overcome Grief

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For a lot of people, traveling is simply leisure. It gives us that well-deserved break as we take our time off from work or school. For some, it is a chance to get those picture-perfect shots that would feed their social media accounts. For others, it is an opportunity to spend quality time with their loved ones. While we may have various reasons for wanting to travel, have you considered it as a way towards healing?  Apparently, there is a lot more about travel than just Instagram-worthy pictures.

 

Here are five ways through which traveling helps us overcome grief:

 

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Healthy Disruption

After experiencing a loss, it becomes challenging to go back to our normal daily routine. It becomes inevitably dragging and exhausting when we have to answer the daily demands of work or school without adequately processing the pains we have experienced. Traveling disrupts our normal routine but in a healthy and helpful way. We get to break free from our regular schedules and spend as much time as we need to move forward.

“Therapy is often necessary to help those left behind understand why their loved one took this action. It can be difficult to resolve feelings of grief and anger without professional help.” – Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC

 

Fresh Perspective

“Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or not, the evidence is strong that getting outside just for a little bit can be very helpful.” That is according to Andrea Bonior, PhD, clinical psychologist. While we spend our time out there traveling, we gain a brand new perspective about life in general. It is when we literally stop and smell the flowers in the field, listen to the chirping of the birds outside, and marvel at the effortless beauty of the sunset. Traveling magnifies our line of sight and points us to the bigger world, the bigger picture beyond our problems and disappointments. It teaches us to new ways to perceive life.depressioxcvbsfgdfgfdg

 

Renewed Hope

The thing about grief is that it deceives us into thinking that this is the end. We are made to believe that there is nothing we can do to turn things around. While traveling does not necessarily change our external situation spot on, it does change what happens within us.

 

As we get to see how people’s lives continue and how the world, in general, moves on, we learn that our life hasn’t stopped at a period yet. Instead, we only pause at the semi-colon. We have a whole new sentence to create. Like what David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist used to say, “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.”

 

Sense Of Self

Maybe our recent circumstances have held us captive in attending to other people’s needs. Perhaps at some point, we have forgotten of ourselves and have overlooked how we, on our own, have coped with the difficulties that have hit us hard.

 

Traveling alone reminds us of our own need for self-love. It brings us into solitude and tranquility which empowers us to appreciate that while things do not seem easy; we have nevertheless gone a long way already. It’s time to thank ourselves for being strong enough to do that.

 

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New Start

The goal of traveling is that as it pulls us out of our current situation, it helps us process our internal issues and teaches us how to go about life after that. We gather enough courage to get back at life stronger than ever. It is the part when the best about traveling is unleashed. Finally, we can begin again. We now dare to say that a painful chapter in our life has closed and it is time to write a brand new one.

 

Traveling is beautiful because it takes you to places you haven’t seen before and it pushes you to do several things you never thought you would do if you only stayed in your comfort zone. But more than just bringing us closer to the bigger world outside of us, traveling does a more excellent job connecting us to our world within.

 

Exploring places helps us build better, stronger, and bolder versions of ourselves – no matter who we want to be. Finally, it makes us realize that in the midst of our greatest fears and inhibitions and regardless of our grief and loss, we are just as beautiful and worthy.

 

 

 

 

5 Foods That Can Beat Depression

 

Source: healthista.com

 

Did you know that depression is one of the most rampant mental health disorders in the United States? 1 out of 10 Americans are known to be suffering from this condition and worldwide, about 300 million people are burdened by this ailment. What they don’t know is that this mental health disorder can be treated. No person is to be depressed any longer unless he or she chooses to be.

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