1. Making a Commitment to Your Positive Mental Health

    October 15, 2013

    Making a Commitment to Your Positive Mental Health

    by Kari Lloyd

     

    No matter what your current life circumstances are, it is essential to maintain your mental health. After all, many of mental health problems can be caused by issues from your past, and this makes it imperative to consciously take steps to improve your overall sense of well-being. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to gain control over your mental health, and placing an emphasis on these techniques will make it much easier to remain positive during every aspect of your life.

    Six Tips for Improving Your Mental Health

    1) Counseling – Everyone needs to talk about their problems, and it is not always beneficial enough to discuss everything with a friend. Instead, you can utilize the services of a trained counselor to work through all of your issues in a safe environment. As an added bonus, a counselor can introduce you to coping techniques that will make it easier to deal with all of the aspects of your daily life that cause you to feel stressed out or depressed.

    2) Exercise – One of the best ways to achieve and maintain a more upbeat outlook on life is to exercise on a regular basis. Although it can be difficult to get motivated to work out if you are feeling depressed, you will quickly begin to experience the positive mental benefits that accompany even the most simplistic exercise routine. Therefore, even if you do not feel up to it, you should force yourself to take a walk at least three or four times a week in order to help regulate your mood.

    3) Socialize – Anyone who has ever dealt with depression knows how easy it is to lose touch with your friends and loved ones. However, allowing yourself to become socially disconnected is a huge mistake that will only exacerbate your depression. In order to avoid this problem, you should make social commitments at least once a week to ensure that you get out of the house on a regular basis.

    4) Express Yourself Creatively – Whether you are interested in drawing, writing, making music or scrapbooking, you should definitely enable yourself to release your emotions through a creative outlet. This will give you a positive way to channel your negative emotions, and it will also help you improve your self-esteem.

     

    5) Make a Promise To Yourself – You might have heard of couples making promises to care and support each other with rings, so why not make the same commitment to yourself? A promise ring or small token can motivate to remember that you’re important to and keep you focused when you feel you’re going off the tracks.

    6) Join a Support Group – If you are dealing with a specific issue such as a serious illness or abuse, you should consider joining a support group. This will give you another opportunity to express your feelings in a safe environment, and it can also be very comforting to speak with other people who have had the same experiences.

    As long as you remain committed to improving your mental health, you should begin seeing positive results relatively quickly. Keep in mind that you are still going to have ups and downs, but you should be able to manage them more effectively by giving yourself at least one proven outlet for dealing with your feelings.

     

    Author Bio: Writer and blogger Kari Lloyd has been contributing to online and offline publications for nearly 10 years. Having dealt with depression throughout her life, she recently made a commitment to her mental health with a promise ring and uses it to remind herself to always keep a positive attitude.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22498741@N02/2425844539

     


  2. Escaping Depression: A Middle Class Kid’s Guide

    October 11, 2013

    dealing with depression

    by Tyler Fleck

     

    I feel like a ton of people have this kind of story, the success story that is supposed to be uplifting, and drag how many readers out of a dark hole just on the merit of its ideals and noble notions. But, though I truly hope this can help, this is more of a story of how I dealt with a very dark time in my life, rather than a cure all. I hold no illusions of grandeur, no misappropriated ideals of myself—I know I’m no psychologist or therapist—but, I do know what worked for me, and maybe it can help some of you who might be dealing with a similar issue to work through it. At the least, perhaps it can give you another angle to work from. Anyways, here’s my story of how I was able to defeat depression.

    Background

    When I was younger, I went through a period of time where I felt literally nothing can go right. My friends had all moved away—save a loyal few—I couldn’t catch a break in the dating world, and my family life was crumbling as my favorite relatives left one by one, and my parents divorced. Waking up in the mornings was harder and harder every day, and it came to a point—after one of my best friends and mentors died in a car crash—that I started feeling like the darkness was never going to end.

    I felt depressed, lonely, and sometimes I just wondered what the point was. It was hard, to say the least.

    And yet, at the time, I had this strange dichotomy underscoring my life. It wasn’t really apparent at the time, but I was doing well in school, the bullies—who had marred my life before this difficult time—had all moved on to different targets (or different schools) and I still had those aforementioned loyal friends who always seemed to be there for me, even when we had our differences. But, still, I had my problems, and I had to deal with them, which I did in the only way I knew how—by throwing myself into my passions.

    Escaping the Darkness

    I remember, as a younger kid, when things got really bad, I would retreat into my books and my video games to get away from it all. With all the news as of late, many of you might think that’s wrong, that this would just open up a path for me to become some psycho serial-killer; but, for me, I truly needed the escape. Video games and movies and books gave me a whole separate land to go to that I could be king. Nothing was truly impossible, and I had a chance to get out of my head for a while, and just enjoy life. It’s strange to hear, but I think these fantasy lands actually gave me a strange sort of self-confidence; it was just easier to be me while I was playing/reading, and that transferred into the real world after a while. Even more importantly, I started gaining new friends just through common interests in these medias, which really helped me throughout Jr. High and High school, the period of time when I was rebuilding my life.

    Friends and Therapy

    But, with all this said, I don’t want to promote escapism as the only way to fix your problems. I loved playing video games, reading, and throwing myself into projects that would take my mind off of everything else, but that was only part of what I did to save my mental health. I talked to the people close to me (though there weren’t many), pried the minds of whoever would listen (of which there were even fewer), and did the same for others who needed it. Yeah, at the end of the day, those conversations only lasted a few minutes—and sometimes I would go weeks without anyone to talk about where I was in life—but, those few, fleeting moments of true human connection kept me feeling happy, alive even. It was in those moments that I knew I wasn’t completely alone, and I clung to those as hard as I could. I allowed them to drag me out of the dark place I lived in, and it got me where I am today; a perfectly functioning, outgoing individual.

    I also gained a major appreciation for therapy out of this period of time, as I found a wonderful therapist—a family friend—who was really able to connect to me on an emotional level, and kind of help me through all the bad parts of my life. Honestly, I was really lucky in finding someone who could, in conjunction with my friends, help me see the things that I wasn’t seeing, which I now think is probably the hardest part of getting out of a depressed state. It really was so difficult to appreciate the better parts of my life, when everything else seemed so bad. This is kind of why I have such a high appreciation for therapy now, and is precisely why I it makes me happy to see therapy becoming a much more integral part of our society. I really think that, though it doesn’t work for everyone, just having someone to talk to is the key to getting around the darkness in your life, and a therapist gives you that person if you don’t really have anyone else.

    No Regrets

    The strange thing is, I don’t look back on those moments of darkness and wish they never happened—not anymore at least. I mean, I have no doubt life would have been better then without them, and who knows, maybe it would be better now. But, I honestly feel stronger now because of it. I can see my weaknesses for what they were, and I can push myself as far away from them as possible, which has garnered me a rather large social circle, and an even closer relationship with my friends and family, who stuck with me through thick and thin.

    I know that my story probably isn’t as sad, or as hardship-filled, as many who share here on this blog; but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who do have it good, who have loving friends and family and yet cannot see how great things are because of an unnamed inner turmoil. This story is for you, because sometimes it’s hardest to see that light when it’s everywhere but right in front of you. Just take it from me, someone who has also gone through what you have; you just have to look around a bit to find it.

    Author Bio: Tyler Fleck is a multi-purpose blogger who truly supports the therapeutic industry with all his heart. This is precisely why he wrote this article, to get this stuff out of his head and onto paper, as well as to help support a company whose goal really is quite noble, TurnKey Therapy. So, if you are a therapist looking for a way to connect with more clients, check out TurnKey’s website and their home therapy software. It truly is making a difference in the therapy industry.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/94194086

     


  3. Understanding Personality Disorders

    October 3, 2013

    by Jessica Galbraith

     

    Personality disorders are widely misunderstood by the general public. Although an estimated 10% of people have some type of personality disorder (Mental Health Foundation), the negative stigma that is attached to them makes diagnosing and follow-up treatment difficult. There are ten major types of personality disorders, which cover a wide range of personality spectrum.

     

    Getting diagnosed can be a challenge in itself, and usually includes psychological testing by a registered psychologist or psychiatrist, extensive interviews, and meeting strict criteria specified by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Let us explore what exactly constitutes a personality disorder, the diagnostic process, and the treatment options available to those who have been diagnosed.

    Getting diagnosed with a personality disorder can be scary, but also brings relief.

     

    What is a personality disorder?

    Each of us has our own unique personality which determines how we behave, process, and feel. We each react to situations differently, from social engagements to trauma. As we go through life, we learn to cope with these experiences. For someone with a personality disorder, this becomes much more difficult. They may feel isolated, misunderstood, and have a generally hard time in every aspect of life. The illness affects their relationships and how they process their feelings.

     

     

    What types of personality disorders are there?

     

    There are ten officially recognized personality disorders, which are categorized into three groups.

    •  Suspicious Disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
    •  Emotional and Impulsive Disorders: anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder
    •  Anxious Disorders: avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder

     

    Depression and anxiety are often present with a personality disorder, however the severity can range from mild to unmanageable. In addition, many sufferers deal with issues such as self-harm, eating disorders, panic attacks, and substance abuse.

      on the edge of suicide

    90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable personality disorder.

     

    Diagnosing and Treatment

    Getting diagnosed is often the biggest issue in mental health. Most people don’t seek help until they are forced to by family or friends, or until their illness escalates into a serious situation. Once a healthcare professional is able to assess what the person is dealing with, they will check if they meet enough criteria to be officially diagnosed with a disorder. A large majority of people who suffer from a mental health disorder, meet the criteria for two or even three others. There is usually multiple interviews to determine if the issues are constant or only related to a recent life changing event such as a divorce or loss. Once it has been established that they are dealing with a personality disorder, a treatment plan is devised. For many years, the general consensus was that there was no cure for mental illness. This is changing rapidly however, as research and mental illness education is becoming more accepted and prevalent. Those who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, more often than not, face a lifetime struggle trying to find a balance through medication and therapy. The goal is usually to manage the disorder as much as possible rather than fix it. Medication can help side issues such as anxiety and depression, and psychotherapy is effective in addressing feelings and concerns as they arise.

     

    Common Misconceptions

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there on mental illness. One of the most common is that personality disorders are not treatable. While treatment is never expected to ‘fix’ the person, it does make life manageable; many people live normal lives with families, jobs, and a functional day-to-day. Another common myth is that mental illness isn’t a real condition. This of course, just isn’t the case. Mental illness is as real as any physical illness and has been linked to genetics and other neurological factors. Mental illness is also commonly believed to be a weakness in a person, and that it is something they should be able to snap out of. These types of misconceptions do tremendous harm to those who suffer with personality disorders. It can deter them in seeking help and creates feelings of shame.

     

    The misconceptions about mental illness are immense, but education initiatives are slowly making their mark.  As the general public becomes more informed, hopefully the myths and stigmas attached to mental illness will fade. There is still very limited research on the long-term benefits of various treatment options, but more and more research is being done. The future for those who suffer with mental illness has never looked better; but there is still a long way to go.

     

     

    Author Bio: Jessica Galbraith is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics. In addition to freelance writing she is involved in social media recruiting.

    Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytudut/5180391961 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3685379062/

     

     

     


  4. How To Recover From a Failed Relationship

    September 23, 2013

    lost love

    by Connie Jameson

    While looking for our one perfect love, we usually run across a few loves that only seem to be “the one and only”. And then we say goodbye to our illusions, which on the other hand usually helps us make the decision of breaking up with our partner.

     

    No matter whether the decision of separation comes from you or your partner, the recovery from a failed relationship is never easy. Living though this period sometimes takes a lot of time and in order to learn how to bear the whole process more easily, you need to have in mind some of the specialists’ advices that will help you turn back to your “normal” way of life sooner.

     

    Separate like grown-ups

     

    Save yourself the insults, arguments, unwanted arguments and infidelity. Be honest with yourself and your ex-partner and try to separate as friends.

     

    Remember that you won’t feel better if you start blaming your partner for everything that happened between you two, because it is very likely to get the same amount of insults and this usually means that things will get ugly.

     

    If you are married and you have made the serious decision of getting divorced, make it as quickly as you can – the sooner all divorce procedures end up, the faster you will be able to start your new life.

     

    Do not idealize your ex

     

    Often, some people who were walked out on, are inclined to create an idealistic image of the person who is no longer in their life and start blaming themselves for losing the Perfect One. Don’t do that. This way you will only create a non-existing image that you will not be willing to let go easily. Try to face the fact that everybody has their flaws. The same applies to your ex.

     

    Leave the home you have shared with your ex

     

    Try to do the same with all the places where you have been together. Do not put some salt in your own wounds and stop visiting your favourite places, trying to remember the good old days. Change your home, choose another restaurant where you can go in the Friday nights and keep yourself away from all the places that are able to recall the pain back.

     

    Find yourself a new hobby

     

    Start working out, or visit the local theatre more often, start going out with some friends, etc. In other words – start doing everything that you have wanted to do when you had a relationship. Watching romantic movies is strictly prohibited, you can see why, right?

     

    Prepare yourself for the changes in your life

     

    When it’s a fact, the separation and the failed relationship is hanging over your head like a sword, and you think that the pain will never go away. That is not the right approach. Try thinking of all the positive things in your life that are yet to follow. It is time to make changes.

     

    Do not make hasty decisions and start a new relationship very soon

     

    Some people rush into a new relationship right after they have broken up with someone just because they are scared of staying alone. Do not become one of these people.

     

    Wait for a while in order to put your feelings in order before letting yourself fall in love again. Have some rest in order to give yourself the opportunity of taking another person into your life. And the most important thing – when that happens sooner or later, do not compare the new person with your ex spouse. This is not healthy for your new relationship.

     

    Take advantage of the separation

     

    Make some conclusions from this painful separation. Analyze your mistakes, as well as the mistakes of your ex. Of course, don’t forget to point out your advantages. In other words – become a better person and starts loving yourself the way you are.

     

     

     

     

    Author Bio: Connie Jameson’ big love is love and health. She is really keen on and loves to reads. Her current job at Shiny deep clean makes her even more sensitive. In her spare time she loves to take walks in the nature.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotorita/2587226758

     


  5. How To Find Peace When Struggling With Mood Swings

    September 21, 2013

    mood swings

    by Katie Lewiz

     

    Do you feel swinging between strong emotions? Like you go for a ride, not knowing whether you’re happy or sad, suddenly losing your positive mood to an irritated one? This article is for people who experience continuous emotional swings, unsure why their mood behaves this way while the outside world still remains the same. Typically, women at their pre-menstrual stage or pregnancy period undergo a melancholy of swings which would be exhausting and a frequent malady which can be reduced by continuous effort and proper guidance. Apart from that, teenagers, people suffering from bipolar disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, or anyone who come across stress or pain falls in this unwell state of mood swings.

    Mind – Where Your Swings Originates

    Do you know your mind travels faster than any other media in this whole universe? The complex and greatest processing unit, mind, receives information from five senses and any of it could alter the mood. Let me put down an example here; someone close to you have passed away sometime back and you happened to hear the person’s voice through a record from your friend’s phone recently. This could tear your mental state badly and start to struggle inside with unpleasant thoughts which are possibly not able to solve and ultimately end up in a depressed mood.

    Mood swings can be certain stimulus, which can either be known or probably unclear which shifts your current thought, and it could mostly arise from recollecting events you have tried ignoring. Maybe you are aware that people to cope up their swings, take company of alcohol, drugs, pills to compress their temperament. It is known that millions of Americans depend on pills to control their moods. In a study, during 2011 drug companies sold antidepressants, antipsychotics (to battle mental disorders like ADD, bipolar disorder) worth $11 billion, which was later increased to $18 billion. Unfortunate to say, millions around the globe struggle with swings leading to ill-advised decisions like unnatural quitting from job, packing up business, squabbling with spouse, which doesn’t deserve any pill.

     Not Aware Of Your Swings? Symptoms To Note

    Let me begin with good news, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Mood swings, tag as a weird change of mind or an uncontrolled state where you become totally frustrated, sensitive to all feelings. As mentioned above, more than 75% of women undergo emotional instability during menstruation or menopause period. Here are the common symptoms noted during mood swings.

    • Frustration
    • Irritation
    • Insomnia
    • Inability to think
    • Depression
    • Fatigue
    • Stressed out

    Let the cause of mood swing be any, like menopausal emotional imbalance, hormonal fluctuations, depression, stress, pregnancy, clinical disorders, and so on, the ultimate question is, are you finding peace during this roller-coaster struggles ( a more apt term for bipolar suffers)? Though traditional treatment procedures are effective, with narcotic drugs focusing on serotonin levels (actual mood stimulators in brain), finding peace during these episodes are more significant. Are you ready to open yourself and understand how you can knock out these adversities before it feeds you totally?

    Let’s recollect the struggles and get more practical on how to deal it peacefully.

    Know Your Episodes

    According to NIMH, people with bipolar disorder undergo intense swings of mood which can be over-excited or explosive. During depressive swing they go down badly and become hopeless, and once the mood episodes are known, eventually the person could control over the hypersensitive nature. Bipolar mood swings are not as easy to cope as we say, unless proper effort is put by the person. For example, depressive episode makes the person feel empty and anxious. So recognizing the mood, try to curtail the sad state by involving in activities like reading a positive book, talking out with your friend, running for errands, do some gardening, hence slowly awakening yourself that nothing has actually changed except your mood being unnecessarily sad. If you feel the emotions are way intense to control, it is well advised to get needed help from the physician than fantasizing in your own world. A regular check-up or a talk with your counsellor or psychiatrist will help you as well the psychiatrist to explore the swings and provide with new therapies.

    Make Yourself Comfortable

    It is obvious that we depend on some source during our struggles or hard times to feel comfortable. First, build acceptance in yourself, experience your negatives and positives, as when you start digging deep, you will understand how in reality you can control the changing moods. This could lay stones of hope, courage and seek help to battle the affliction. It is required that you build up a healthy relation with a person who could understand your swings and manage your feelings, thereby pulling you out from the life’s difficult condition.

    Avoid Polarised Thinking

    This is a mental state where the person imagine world is either black or white. For example, if you are not the CEO of a big-fat company you feel total failure; if you didn’t have a good credit rating, you are a scrawny wimp. These kinds of polarised belief demotivate and affect one’s healthy living. Think aloud, AM I A COMPUTER OR ELECTRONIC DEVICE? The answer is 100% NO. Enlighten yourself that, I AM A HUMAN. If you are low in your credit rating, no one could come and kill or screw your life, and daresay you are hunting for a good blow and will achieve it the coming days; if you are not the CEO of the company, of course you are worth a team lead in a reputed firm, when many with higher qualification are not.

    Cogitate No News Is Bad

    Have you at least once thought pondering too much on a situation could finally bring you despair? It is obvious that too much thinking can spoil the goodness in a person, giving way to rumbling clouds of anxiety and worry. Okay, let’s say, a situation like you worked your tail off for a firm and bounced by your CEO, since you don’t know the cause, don’t fill your mind with tumult, instead console yourself saying it’s time for you to step out of the firm as they took much from you, whereas polishing you stronger and sharper for another company which waits for your skills.

    Exercises Beat Mood Struggles

    Equip your routine chart with exercises, yoga and meditation. Throw yourself to a nearby gym, charge your muscles and cut off the bad moods with high confidence. Regular exercise build more bone density, control the overwhelming feeling of unpleasant swings, stress and stabilise your mood much better than you think. If you are ready to practice some moderate exercises daily, around 15 minutes, you would definitely see the change from the earlier disturbing swings. Start adding exercises to your chart!

    No More False Interpretations

    False interpretations arise mostly by externalising from the outside source. It mostly happens like during your swings, the interpretations you build by externalisation could go wrong. For example, if your lover says, you look so lean – alas you start to fight with her thinking she is enough with you and wish for a smart guy. Here the actual reason is, poor girl, she was affected by your health where you took the external matters alone. Don’t make your mood more irritating by unnecessary deceptions.

    Fix Right Foods And Drink Less

    You are here to regulate your mood. So do you believe certain food can affect your mood? Change in serotonin levels alters one’s mood. You obviously know the fact that mood booster chemicals, serotonin is significant to modulate moods. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, wheat, pastas, peas, legumes, peanuts can increase serotonin levels, curbing mood swings. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, sprouts, help in proper liver function, maintain hormonal balance of oestrogen helping you way out of mood swings. Legumes are good for regulating oestrogen, a healthy way to reduce mood swing in women during menstrual cycle. It is good to stay wards away from alcoholic drinks or cocktails, though the booze could charge your nerves for the time being, soon you would get the symptoms kicked up high.

    Cleanse Your Negative Thoughts

    Beading up negative thoughts is the fodder for depressive swings. As you stumble upon a negative thought, purge it out with positive notes. For example, put up a Must-Do-Lists, it maybe not gentle as I say, let it be the exam you were trying for 5-7 years, but once you clear off the clutter of emotional worries and poor self-esteem; you would wonder how brilliantly you have crossed the hurdle which once you thought would never accomplish.

    Have belief in yourself? It is nothing impossible, be patient and start plowing on your swings. Keep in mind, it’s pretty natural everyone get swings, the only worry is how long you ponder on those or is it taking your full energy to come out of the petty matter. Let it be any method you adopt, beware, it’s your mind and you are mastering on the emotions.

     

    Author Bio: Katie Lewiz, a professional blogger, she loves writing on health, fitness, nutrition, technology and medicine, emotional well-being and whatever that provokes a health enthusiast. Off time, she finds herself enjoying nature and its delights and has a long-term obsession with photography.

    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51615623@N08/5036658861


  6. Happiness and Better Health

    September 5, 2013

    Happiness Leads to Better Health

    Lately, physicians, researchers, and even economists have embarked on a journey to unveil the secrets of achieving better health. What could be deciphered from the secrets of nature is that happiness leads to better health. Well, modern research just validates what was established ages ago by sages.

    What exactly is happiness?

     

    Happiness as a concept is fairly subjective and dynamic. It often revolves around various vague aspects and so there are innumerable definitions of happiness. What has been derived from myriad definitions is that happiness is a felling of elation that protects you from stress and ill-thoughts, instilling the spirit with joy and jubilation.

    Many scholars categorize happiness as a sense of inner peace, comfort, an positive attitude that paves way for a healthier, more balanced and a long lasting life. If you are a religious person than, according to saints and spiritual teachers, happiness is a feeling of gratitude towards God for showering his blessings on our poor souls.

    Hundreds of writers, poets, and intellectuals have used their pen to describe what happiness means to them – I personally like this one:

    “Under the deep blue sea

    It’s always better my darling

    Down the wetter lines

    Take me further O my Lord – So I can either find you or happiness!”

    Does happiness really affect our health?

     

    Amusingly so, most of really happy and cheerful people comes across as exceptionally healthy for their age. Once in a blue moon we get news of our distant relative (Uncle Cheerful – almost every one of us have one) suffering from cardiac arrest.

    Statistics show that happiness is correlated with better health for individuals, communities, and even countries. So what could be the secret? Is it inner peace and comfort? Is it a positive attitude to the outside world? Is it positive thinking? Happy people certainly have less negative thoughts that cause negative emotions. It is well known from medical studies that these negative emotions ruin our psychological and physical health. As per medical researchers, happiness is the surest way to stimulate the release of anti-stress hormones and improve your immune system.

    Research studies by the Harvard’s School of Public Health in Boston and University College in London correlate happiness with longevity and show that optimistic and happy people live longer and healthier years.

    Secrets of happiness

     

    What does it take to be happy in your life? Not much, just follow these golden rules and let happiness come to you.
    1. Find Positive in everything around you
    Positive Psychology teaches us to focus on positive aspects of our life. Every moment we have a choice of focusing on positives or on negatives… this choice is yours. Positive thinking and positive attitude to others is a key to happiness.

     

    2. Eat the diet of happiness

     

    Scientist and dietitians recommend one key ingredient for your diet: Essential fatty acids or EFAs. These acids are the building blocks for your brain and deficiency causes anxiety, depression, and even dementia. EFA supplements and a diet rich in Olive oil, fish, and seasonal fruits and vegetables is essential to keep you in a positive mood.

     

    3. Sleep to heaven

     

    Sleep sets the tone and mood for the following day. Sleep is shown to be the most important factor for your mental health. Statistics prove that those who sleep well can find their joy even in the garden of hell. The insomnia or inability to sleep causes devastating impact in the life of people.

     

    4. Live and Let live

     

    The ultimate mantra to instill loads of bliss and joy within yourself and others is through adherence with the policy of ‘live and let live.’  It is a contagious policy and profits one and all for an entire life.

     

    Can we measure happiness?

     

    Assessment of happiness is subjective and depends on what you consider a happiness scale.  There is no particular criterion other than the glow on your face.

    The indicators of happiness are life satisfaction, health, community engagement. Person need some basic wealth to be happy, yet high income doesn’t really increase the level of happiness.

    The level of happiness could be measured based on surveys. In 1972, Bhutan introduced a Gross National Happiness (GNH) scale, a parameter which is closely monitored by government and considered very important to the development of their economy.

     

    Author Bio: Mike Chapman a happiness expert & fitness consultant with 5+ years of experience working in clinics and gyms and dealing with health, pain and injuries. He is delivering talks on happiness and writing articles telling people how happiness can benefit their lives and the environment.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/7824209576

     


  7. Carl Jung’s Contributions to Psychology

    September 3, 2013

    Carl Jung, Psychologist

    by Adrienne Erin

     

    Carl Jung’s contributions to the field of psychology still impact how psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health workers perform their work today. Born on July 26, 1875 in Switzerland, Jung was the only son of a Protestant minister and his wife and, ultimately, the only surviving child out of four children. He described his childhood as lonely and spent most of his time observing people to try to understand their behavior. Though a number of his family were clergymen, Jung decided not to travel that path. Instead, he chased his intellectual pursuits at the University of Basel.

     

    Education

     

    Jung attended the university from 1895 and studied subjects ranging from archaeology, biology, paleontology, zoology and, of course, medicine. He became an assistant physician in 1900 and obtained his MD in 1902 from the University of Zurich. In his dissertation entitled “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomenon”, he first presented his ideas on the wholeness of the psyche. Over his lifetime, he wrote approximately 200 papers and several books. He is considered one of the most prominent thinkers in the field of modern psychology.

     

    Word Association, Freud and Divergent Views

     

    Jung’s first research study was conducted in 1904 on word association. At this time, he coined the term “complex,” which refers to repressed psychic content. The term is still widely used today. As Jung continued his studies and wrote a number of papers, he confirmed many of Freud’s ideas. In 1906 at the age of thirty, Jung sent Freud a copy of his papers on word association, and this sparked a friendship and collaboration between the two.

     

    They met in 1907 and worked together for seven years until the relationship turned sour due to Jung’s divergent ideas on what drives a man to act. Freud felt that men (and women) are driven by sexual impulses while Jung believed libido is not an exclusive diver in formation of human personality, while not denying the role of libido, he felt that there are other factors such as the fear of death and collective unconscious. After Jung published “Psychology and the Unconscious,” which argued against some of Freud’s ideas, the two did not speak again. At this time, Jung lost a number of friends and professional acquaintances. Still, his time with Freud had a major impact on his later theories and fostered his fascination with the unconscious mind. In 1921, he published his book “Psychological Types,” which further distinguished his ideas from those of Freud.

     

    Psyche: The Conscious and Unconscious Mind

     

    One purpose of Jung’s research was to study the analogies between the contents of the conscious in Western man as compared to the cults, myths and rituals of more primitive societies. His theory of symbols was based on his idea that symbols are the key to understanding human nature. He found that humans used similar symbols across cultures and throughout time.

     

    Jung proposed that the psyche exists in three parts: the ego (conscious mind), personal unconscious and collective unconscious. The personal unconscious involves knowledge and concepts that we have acquired during our lifetime but have forgotten or repressed. Collective unconscious refers to the collection of “memories” that are common to all mankind. Jung coined the term individuation process to describe the full integration of the conscious and unconscious mind, which is essential to becoming a whole and fully developed person.

     

    Archetypes

     

    These ideas concerning the psyche further formed his work on archetypes, which are the innate predispositions we have to experience and symbolize certain situations in a distinct way. (For example, finding a mate, having children and confronting death have elicited similar behaviors and symbols across cultures and over time). These archetypes are found in all mythological and religious systems. Jung also introduced an archetype of Self, which he defined as “archetype of archetypes”. In his book “The stages of life” he introduced concept of individuation as the most fundamental concept defining person’s meaning of life – through individuation, which usually takes place in the second half of life, one finds his purpose in life and realizes Self archetype. Jung also introduced core archetypal components affecting development of human personality and social life. These archetypal components are ego, persona, shadow, anima, and animus.

     

    Introversion and Extroversion

     

    The terms introvert and extrovert also made their appearance in our everyday vernacular thanks to Jung. He termed an introvert as one who is withdrawn and more interested in ideas over people. Introverts prefer quiet isolated environment and take pleasure in solitary activities. Extroverts are more socially-oriented people who are stimulated by other people and outside world. While Jung and Jungians popularized terms introvert and extrovert, the concept was originated by French psychologist Alfred Binet, who called “knowledge we have of our inner world, our thoughts, our feelings” an introspection and “orientation of our knowledge toward the exterior world as opposed to knowledge of ourselves” an externospection.

    Jung linked introversion and extraversion with four psychological functions such as thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation to create 8 categories for psychological types. He claimed that every person has one dominant psychological type (e.g. extravert thinking) that manifests in her persona and one secondary type (e.g. introvert feeling) that manifests in her shadow personality.

     

    The Significance of Dreams

     

    Jungian therapy deals with dreams and fantasies. Dreams, Jung believed, compensate for the neglected parts of personality, specifically for secondary personality type associated with shadow and hidden in the unconscious. His autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” offers deeper insight into his own dreams and the importance he feels they play in our personal development. He also believed that we could ultimately understand humanity through our dreams, art, myths and philosophy.

     

    Jung’s contributions can be found in many psychological disciplines today, with his influence far-reaching.

     

    Author Bio: Adrienne Erin is a writer interested in health, wellness, and well-being. She enjoys researching the ways psychological ideas have real implications in therapy and rehab centers. Follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin to see more of her work.


  8. How to Beat Depression… with Diet

    August 24, 2013

    beat depression

    Depression is a common problem though its severity and symptoms do vary. Unlike occasional sadness that we all feel from time to time, depression is a chronic issue that claims around 850,000 lives each year. There are different types of depression including:

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – A disorder that only affects people at certain times of he year, most notably around the winter months with a kind of ‘cabin fever,’ where you may find yourself feeling more sad than normal.

     

    Postpartum Depression – A type of depression that occurs within women that have recently given birth. This form of depression can be a result of powerful emotions that can lead to psychotic episodes.

     

    Bipolar Disorder – This affects 3 out of every 100 adults and can occur when the chemicals in your brain are not balanced.

     

    How to spot the signs of depression?

     

    There are ways to spot if you or a loved one are depressed, here are a few of the telltale signs:

     

    • Constantly feeling sad, irritable or tense
    • Lack of interest in the usual hobbies
    • A lack of energy
    • Changes in appetite, with either weight loss or gain
    • A change in sleeping patterns
    • A lack of concentration
    • Feelings of worthlessness
    • Thoughts of suicide and death

     

    If you experience any of these thoughts for an extended period of time then it is important that you  talk to clinical psychologist or psychotherapist, if left untreated depression gets much worse. Remember that depression is not always just a state of mind, often there are other factors too including hormone or chemical imbalances. I know that there is a social stigma surrounding depression and that it may feel easier to bottle up your feelings but this will not help in the long run.

     

    Could your diet help?

     

    Although depression is not always caused by one issue your diet can help you to take a step in the right direction. A lack of certain vitamins, nutrients and fatty acids can contribute to depression so it is important that you try to eat a healthy balanced diet, while avoiding any unnatural and processed food choices.

    Here are a few food options that could help to improve your mood:

     

    An omelet

    Eggs contain important B vitamins that have been shown to help lessen the severity of depression. Vitamins B-6 and B-12 are particularly important as they can improve neural function, meaning your moods can be improved.

    Eggs also contain protein so can help keep you full for longer and can stabilize blood sugar levels meaning you wont experience those sugar highs and lows associated with high sugar foods.

     

    Nuts and seeds

    Both nuts and seeds contain magnesium that can naturally increase your production of serotonin, a chemical that helps you to feel good. They are the perfect alternative to traditional snacks as long as you stick to the unsalted and unsweetened versions.

     

    Cold water fish

    Cold water fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel are full of omega-3 fatty acids that can help increase the amount of grey matter in your brain. These fatty acids are an essential material for our brain. Those with severe depression have been noted as having less grey matter than others. Again fish is a good source of protein, so the usual benefits of protein can be experienced. It is unlikely that you can enough enough fish to get sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, you will likely need to take supplements as well. In case of depression you need supplements with high EPA-to-DHA ratio.

     

    Ancient grains

    Grains such as quinoa and barley are less likely to be processed and refined with sugar so will not be digested as quickly as those refined with wheat flour and sugar. This will stop any blood sugar spikes and subsequent drop that can result in fatigue, food cravings and mood swings.

     

    Green tea

    In most green tea varieties you will find the amino acid L-theanine that has been shown in EEG tests to stimulate alpha brain waves, which can help to improve your focus and have a calming effect on your body.

     

    In conclusion

     

    Depression is a serious condition and if you suffer from it then you should speak to a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist. A healthy diet can help, but it can only supplement psychotherapy.

     

    Author Bio: Jac Jenkins is a stay at home Mom passionate about health and fitness. She writes about diets such as the Fasting Diet at her own blog.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abstrato/418493178


  9. Having A Mental Illness and Being Positive?

    August 22, 2013

      mental illness - positive thinking

    I hate “think positive” websites because most of them have no clue what it feels to have a mental illness. They give you this overly sweet message – just change this and that and you will be happy and achieve nirvana… Yet, I like Jeff’s blog – the message here is “bitter-sweet”, it doesn’t feel “fake positive” if you know what I mean…  Here, I decided to focus on the positive in my life, so let’s give it a shot:

    1. Finding out who your true friends are. Nothing makes people run away faster than the mention of a mental illness. At the beginning everyone sticks around but as time progresses the number gets smaller and smaller until your real friends are left.

    2. Finding out what your truly capable of. I never knew how much inner strength or will power I truly had until I became sick. After going to your absolute bottom and somehow finding the strength to still fight you find out who you truly are at the core level.

    3. Finding out what is important. At one point I had the middle class dream of a nice paycheck and a house with a white picket fence. After the depression tornado took everything away I learned the only thing that really matters are the people in your life for they can never be replaced.

    4. The ability to start over. After the mental illness beast has finally left your world you are awarded a second chance of choosing on what kind of life you want to live a luxury the “normal” people cannot pull off very easily.

    5. The power of knowing. For a very long time I seem to be wandering around in the dark with no visible purpose in my life and I could never figure out why. When the day came and the realization that I was mentally ill a boulder was lifted off of my shoulder for now I had an answer and knew exactly what I had to do to fix it. The purpose of my life is simple and that is to enjoy life as we only get one crack at it.

    To be completely honest here I am rather amazed that I was able to think of five reasons to be positive and I am sure there is a lot more, but the meds are working a little bit too well tonight so my brain appears to be running in slow motion.

     

    Andrew R.


  10. 7 Simple Tips for Getting Through Postpartum Depression

    August 17, 2013

    Postpartum Depression

    by Angela Henderson

     

    Motherhood. It’s suppose to be one of the most rewarding times in your life. A time that is filled with joy, love, excitement, but for many new mothers this is not how they feel, it’s actually the opposite. Overwhelmed, sleep deprived, confused, mother’s guilt, feeling isolated, second guessing and wondering is this what motherhood is really all about.  During pregnancy and the first year following the birth of a baby, women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety then at any other time.  With depression and anxiety impacting so many amazing women it’s important to identify what the difference between new mother baby blues vs a mood disorder is and having a few simple strategies that might help to ease into a more positive experience as a new mother.

     

    Step 1: Identify the Difference between Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression

     

    All new mothers will experience baby blues to different degrees due to new hormones kicking in and mixed with such a huge life changing moment. It’s important to note that postpartum depression may not happen right away, in fact it maybe many months after the birth or loss of a child when everything starts to peak. Click here for a detailed understanding of the difference between baby blues and postpartum depressions

     

    Step 2: See Your Family Doctor

     

    Your family doctor for the most part, is typically someone who has been in your life for at least a little while and has an understanding of who you are. The sooner you can make an appointment to see your family doctor the better. Be open and honest with your doctor about the way you’ve been feeling. Cry if you need to cry. Your doctor can discuss with you an array of different options that will best suit you. It maybe therapy, it maybe medication, it might a combination, but what ever route you take the process has slowly started on your recovery to feeling better.

     

    Step 3: Surround Yourself with Support

     

    Ruth Nonacs MD/Ph.D wrote a beautifully written book called “A Deeper Shade of Blue”, where she talks about at length the challenges around caring for babies/children in the Western world and the extreme social isolation that comes with this. She also takes it one step further and identifies that “in traditional cultures, a family would gather around the mother directly after the birth of a child, in order to help her learn how to care for her child. But nowadays most women with young children spend most of their time at home, without support and alone.”

     

    So start to surround yourself with support. Join a mother’s group. Most town/cities will have a variety of mother’s groups that you can utilize. By joining a mother’s group, you will have the chance to connect with other women who are going through a similar journey to yourself. They can support you, listen to you, talk to you and cry with you. Mother’s groups are also a wonderful way for your babies to start experiencing the world through play, socialization and new surroundings.

     

    To find a local mother’s group, speak with your family doctor, look in your local newspaper, ask family and friends or even google it.

     

    Another important factor is to ask and accept help from your family. It’s ok to ask for help; in fact it’s a strength. It can also be the small things that increase mothers feeling depressed and anxious; examples: dishes not getting done, laundry piling up, vacuuming etc. Your family will want to help, so let them. They love you and your new baby so embrace this. Ask them to cook you a meal twice a week and invite them to stay and help with the dishes laundry etc. Remember they are family and will do anything for you.

     

    Step 4: Sleep

     

    I believe sleep is the most important part of the equation to feeling better. There has been a lot of research completed around the world that talks about the correlation with depression and lack of sleep. If you don’t have sleep, its simple, your body can not and will not function. Things will start to spiral out of control the less sleep you get, which is difficult in day to day life, but even ten fold when you have a new baby and are already sleep deprived. So the saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” is truly the best advice for mothers. However, the reality of this happening can be difficult especially if you have more than one child, need to work etc.  Therefore, even if you can go to bed early even one night a week at 7:00pm you will start to feel better.

     

    Step 5: Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine

     

    The majority of us mothers are tired, have limited energy and quite frankly the last thing we want to do is to get dressed and walk out the front door. In saying that, one of the best things we can do as mothers is to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine.

     

    Besides the obvious of getting out and getting exercise, it’s the Vitamin D that is the important part. We are learning that the power of Vitamin D may prevent and even assist in treating symptoms of depression.

    To keep things simple, Vitamin D increases the serotonin levels in the human brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is imperative to maintaining a balanced mood and can even decrease your chances of feeling depressed. In addition, Vitamin D is also necessary for the body’s production of dopamine, which is a potent mood-lifting neurotransmitter, so grab your shoes, pop on your hat and slap on sunscreen and hit the sunshine.

     

    Step 6: Connect with Online Support

     

    We live in a world where technology is at our finger tips, so use the internet as a tool in taking steps to feeling better. There are so many wonderful blogs across the world that focuses on positive components of motherhood, while at the same time being real and remember you are a great mother. I would strongly recommend the following blogs to connect with Be a Fun Mum (http://beafunmum.com/), Seek Act Love (http://seekactlove.com/) and The Imperfect Mum (http://www.theimperfectmum.com.au/)

     

    Step 7: Smile

     

    Remember to smile because “every smile makes you a day younger.” ~Chinese Proverb”

     

    Author Bio:  Angela Henderson is a Clinical Social with a special interest in parental mental health.  In addition to caring for her patients, she sources and supplies toys and products for babies and children that assist them to meet early childhood developmental milestones.  Angela was educated in the United States but is now located in Australia.

    Image source/credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donhomer/1500448757/