1. How to keep up with life’s challenges

    September 5, 2014

    How to keep up with life's challenges

    Life is complicated and it only seems to get more demanding every day. What can you do when you’re already doing your best and, despite your great physical and mental effort you are always behind? You are stressed and disappointed to see your goals in life not being met and unfinished tasks just keep piling up. Many of us are perfectionists, but under constant stress your perfectionism transforms into “neurotic perfectionism”, which results in mental disorders such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and even personality disorders.

    So what’s the answer? To learn how to be efficient with your time and to get your mind set on fulfilling your goals. Here are few tips that may help.

    Overwhelmed? Delegate or Prioritize.

    When is it too much? It seems like we all need to be super-humans these days. It’s not exactly a crime to admit it is too much and humanly impossible to get it done. Management experts often say that the key management skill is to delegate! So, does everything really need to be on your shoulders and only up to you? One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned professionally is that no one is irreplaceable. It’s a great humility lesson. If someone else can do it, then there’s no need to try and be wonder-woman or super-man! (And most likely fail at it, adding more frustration and more stress to your life). And when you cannot delegate (or in addition to delegation), prioritize. Create a list that assigns priorities to your tasks and goals. Sounds obvious? Sure, but very few of us do it and this simple approach can work miracles.

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  2. Depression Treatment and Relapse

    January 17, 2014

    Depression Treatment and Relapse

    Depression, much like any other mental illness, responds well to certain treatments and not so well to others.  This is true for both: therapy and medications, an anti-depression or anti-anxiety medication may work for one person but fail for another. There is also the possibility of a relapse to the negative feelings, especially if the treatment plan is not followed.   There has been a recent study that discusses adolescents and the likelihood for a relapse with “depressive” feelings, and it discusses various approaches as a means of intervention. Among the examples are:

    1. Switching to another medication, such as anti-depressants Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, or Prozac
    2. A cognitive behavior therapy approach, which places emphasis on problem solving and behavioral change management.
    3. A switch to Venlafaxine as well as engaging in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)

    The variations of treatment approaches for depression fall under the criteria of therapy and medicine essentially. More importantly, the common symptoms that are addressed happen to be the management of stress and strengthening of problem-solving skills.  The challenge of depression isn’t so much treating it, but how long it has to be treated, and that is something that is vastly misunderstood by many.

    To consider depression a temporary problem is to lack a true understanding to the condition. To claim that the feelings diminish and gradually become easier to control is a realistic observation, but depression never fully goes away, at least for some.  Individuals learn to have a better grasp of control over it, and this control allows them to manage the symptoms of their condition.  When an individual learns exactly what depression is for them, and learns how to manage it, the effect it can have on their life is a sense of control and renewed happiness.

    Relapses with Depression are not Relapses

     

    As mentioned above, a relapse with depression isn’t necessarily a relapse. It is usually inefficient management of stress, and the need to realign with proper coping techniques. When you think of the word relapse, you think of an addiction or a habit that is put to rest, and then resurfaces during a difficult time. Depression is a feeling, not a habit, and the due to this classification it has to be handled as such.

    The approach of chemical balance through various medicine techniques is one way of trying to balance the feeling from a scientific point of view, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But from the perspective of thought and problem solving, depression is learning the most effective way to manage stress and deal with the stressors that drive the feeling of despair.

    Depression is something that needs to be constantly monitored in regard to situations or circumstances that create the feeling of depression. It is a life-long challenge that is never essentially “perfected”, but it is managed in a strategic way that keeps the discomfort at a minimum. To fall back into a feeling of depression is simply a situation that needs to be revised in regard to coping skills.  An effective approach toward managing depression understands that it is a lifelong condition, not something that falls under the confines of resurfacing as what science labels a “relapse”.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dskley/9484448937/


  3. How To Detect If You Are Headed For A Mental Breakdown?

    January 10, 2014

    Are Headed For A Mental Breakdown?

    Do you feel so stressed and full of anxiety that you think you are headed for a mental breakdown? Have you gone through a horrific situation lately and due to this you are extremely fatigued, emotional, worn down, and ready to break down?

     

    If so, you are probably on your way to a breakdown.  Those that experience a mental breakdown don’t normally get there quickly. It is usually a process of stress induced situations and negative emotions that tend to take over one’s life.

     

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that among 26.2 percent of American adults, who are diagnosed with mental health disorders, almost 70% suffer from an anxiety disorder. They actually wonder if perhaps a vast majority of Americans are on the verge of a nation-wide breakdown.

     

    People respond to stressors differently, so while one person may have a lot of stress and tend to manage it, others may not be able to handle it as well and it can put them on a path to a breakdown. For example, sales is a demanding career field and can throw a lot of stress one’s way.  One person may be well able to let go of that stress on a daily basis. Maybe this person is doing daily meditation and yoga or other exercises to relieve the stress buildup.  Another person may not be able to handle it as well and as that stress load builds up, he may begin to feel extreme anxiety, agitation, fear, and have mood changes.  The stress build up can lead him to become confused, angry, withdrawn, act out, or a host of other symptoms can occur.  In the worst case scenario, the latter may tend to display psychotic behaviors, thus detaching somewhat from reality and having a complete breakdown.

     

    Mental breakdown symptoms

     

    If you are experiencing more than three out the following symptoms, you may be headed for a mental breakdown and ought to consider seeing a counselor for professional help.

     

    Mood changes.  If you are experiencing mood changes frequently, you could be headed for a breakdown. If you are normally happy go lucky, but are not miserable many days, there is something underneath the surface causing the mood changes, which very well could be stress or emotional distress.

     

    Many tears. If you find yourself crying a lot and that is not like you, you may be struggling with some heavy emotions and stress. Crying is actually a good way to relieve stress and negative emotions, but if you are crying a lot more than normal, you could be on your way to a mental breakdown.

     

    Using alcohol/drugs. If you have been feeling a lot of pain, stress, frustration, etc. and opt to use alcohol and/or drugs to cope, you could be on the road to a mental breakdown. All such substances do is stuff all of that negativity deeper down into your consciousness, which will not heal or cure it.  Not only could you be headed for a breakdown, but also a life of addiction and negative consequences.

     

    Apathetic. If you were once full of life and vitality and lately you just don’t care about anything or anyone, your mental state is suffering.  If you don’t enjoy the things you used to or simply can’t focus on anything, you could be headed for a mental breakdown.

     

    Dietary changes.  Those that are headed for a mental breakdown could either be eating way too much or not eating enough.  Stress and racing thoughts can cause a person to not feel hungry and cause digestive problems even when he or she eats.

     

    Shaking.  When the nerves are on high alert, the body reacts physically.  If your hands are shaking or your body feels shaky in general, your thoughts and mind could be anxiously controlling your life.

     

    Sick all the time.  Hypochondriacs always feel like something is attacking their bodies or they imagine they have come down with every sort of illness.  Chronic stress can certainly wear the body down and illness can become a result. If you feel sick all the time, see someone in regards to whether or not you are headed for a breakdown.

     

    Depression. Chances are if you are majorly depressed most of the time, you are headed for a mental breakdown. You could be ridden with guilt, shame, or chronic grief that continues to bring you down and down. If you feel as such, please seek professional help.

     

    If you can resonate with some of these symptoms, it may be time to seek a healthcare provider that can help you, as you may need to navigate through this time with someone who has experience helping others with the same issue.  Understand that mental breakdowns are not necessarily a bad thing; they are simply stepping stones to dealing with some unresolved issues in your life and making some necessary changes in order for you to live a happy and healthy life.

     Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbg_photos/2768320831/


  4. Learn How To Defeat Stress

    October 5, 2013

    defeat stress by Sam Cleveland

    Stress can get incredibly burdensome. It can affect both your productivity and health. This is why it pays to take control of frustrating situations by training yourself. With good coping skills, you can surely take on seemingly unbearable challenges of the day. Below are practical tips for you to handle pressure, and enjoy more out of life.
     

    Find the Source of Your Stress

     
    First, you need to know why, how, and when you feel pressured, so you’ll have a better perspective of yourself.  This can be difficult as there are many factors which disgruntle you. For other situations, the reasons for stress may not be obvious.

    To avoid the confusion, you need to be more attentive on your daily tasks. You may realize how certain deadlines can always put you on the edge. Perhaps heavily reading through documents make you feel drained. A good way to find the sources of your stress is to make a journal. You can plot the days when you mostly experience straining activities, and which times are more relaxed.

    By identifying the culprit scenarios, you can find ways to avoid or control them. If your keyboard is not easy to use, you can have it replaced. When it seems you have too much task to work on, discuss it with your supervisor. In time, you will see the pattern of your stress levels. When you understand how you react in given situations, you can find a way to lighten your load.
     

    Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

     

    Sleep recharges your body after a whole day’s work. Try get to less of it, and you’ll end up feeling lousy the day after. It also doesn’t help if you’re constantly stressed out with irregular sleeping habits. You end up feeling tired and when it’s time for you to finally rest, you’ll have more difficulty to snooze.

    It’s best to sleep for six to eight hours a day. This is the optimum amount of time for your body to rest through the night. You should also rest early, so you won’t feel pressured of dozing off within a scheduled time. If you are having a hard time to get sleepy, try doing a breathing exercise. This helps you lessen the tension in your body as well as the stress hormones in your body are lowered.
     

    Visit a Health Retreat

     

    Most people experience lifestyle tensions due to pollution, noise, and other urban environmental factors. You can to recharge your body by taking a trip to a health retreat centre. This venue is not just a resort for you to go to on vacation. It’s specifically made to make sure you establish a healthy state of mind.

    Most health retreats consist of specialised facilities such as day spas, heated pools, and dance studios for yoga sessions. They can even be located in mountainous areas, so visitors could engage in mountain trekking, hiking, or other physically enriching activities. Health retreats also serve nutrient-packed dishes. All in all, the activities, facilities, and food selections help to detoxify your body. When you get home, you’ll be more ready to fight another batch of stress-related challenges.
     

    Organize your life

     

    Clutter in your office, home, and even your car can mentally influence you. It shows disorder, and these would make you feel even more stressed out. You’ll end up thinking of a schedule to get your place in order. You might often feel out of focus in your daily work task because of the mess. Important items such as the keys to your car might be lost in the shuffle. Organising your desk, the rooms of your house, and everything else you see in your life can benefit you. It can give you a clear mental state which aids you to combat stress.

    To have a healthy state of mind, remember to be active and organize. You should also consider a trip outside the city to help you in lowering your stress levels.

     

    Author Bio: Sam Cleveland writes for a number of websites like Living Valley Springs – an Australian health retreat company. As a nature-lover he often takes time travelling or camping at least once a month. Nature can give you freedom and a priceless beauty.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/730400293


  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. Using Yoga and Art to Recover From Trauma

    September 13, 2013

    Yoga and Art for recovery

    by Dr. Jesse Viner

     

    Traumatic events alter the way we function.  Physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally, we operate differently after trauma spikes.  Our bodies hold onto stress, with symptoms like fatigue, high blood pressure, or insomnia as augmented levels of stress hormones, including cortisol and norepinephrine, pulsate through our nervous systems.  We may withdraw from friends and family or displace feelings of anger, guilt, or shame onto those which we hold closest as we struggle in conversation and connection.  Our minds, entangled in distress, hardly focus on daily responsibilities like work, school, or family.  Worry, sadness, or fear consumes our thought patterns.  When trauma hits, we consciously need to focus on restoring balance physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. With reliance on yoga and art as tools for healing, physical, social, emotional, and mental recovery from trauma is possible.

     

    Physical recovery

     

    An abundance of information, detailing yoga’s positive effects for physical health, highlights improvements in flexibility, strength, and endurance.  In addition, to the obvious, outward facing benefits, like a toned body, yoga acts as a catalyst, internally.  Movements that involve twists, like Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Revolved Side Angle Pose, massage internal organs, allowing for increased blood flow, hormone production, and waste detoxification.  By incorporating daily yoga to combat physical affects of trauma, systems like the nervous system and the endocrine system, resume healthy functioning and restore balance to physical wellness.

    Art improves physical health by allowing for stimulated brain activity.  The brain creates internal paths and forms connections by means of synapses.  Art can be different every time it is attempted, which in turn stimulates synapses to be formed, creating new paths within the central nervous system.  After trauma has occurred, stress can deplete the activity of synapses.  By adding art to recover from trauma, brain stimulation can be restored and the central nervous system will have an easier time coping with stress.

     

    Social and emotional recovery

     

    Our fullest potential to function emotionally and in social situations, stems from a healthy self esteem.  Self esteem suffers greatly as a result of trauma when bullying or victimization occurs. When self esteem lowers, so does our ability to set boundaries with others, accept differences, and handle social conflicts.

    Practicing yoga or art rebuilds self esteem.  Both yoga and art offer creative outlets to explore different mediums, letting us unveil personal strengths and interests or revitalize forgotten talents.

    Yoga practices vary greatly.  From the hot intensity of competitive Bikram yoga to the relaxed, gentle movements of restorative practice, people can find a pace that meets their comfort level. Experimenting with different classes is an excellent way to find a connection in the yoga community, learn new poses, and master mindful meditation. Self esteem may improve as one grows in their personal practice, mastering difficult poses like Dancer Pose or Warrior III.

    Mediums of art differ greatly as well, with options for self discovery. Painting, drawing, sculpting, taking photographs, and playing music helps healing from trauma.  Art allows expression of feelings, without the pressure of putting words to our perception.  Art supplies us with the safety of working through the impact of trauma by broadcasting our feelings through creative measures.  Completing complex tasks, like painting a picture or capturing a stunning visual on film, we feel a sense of accomplishment, thus raising our self esteem.

    By unlocking personal strengths and interests in yoga or art, our sense of self is nurtured.  With a healthy amount of self esteem, we set boundaries, accept differences, and handle social conflict with ease.

     

    Mental recovery

     

    The hardest part of recovering from trauma may be getting your mind back on a healthy track.  Pining over the details forces us to relieve the hurt while restricting us from moving forward.  Practicing yoga or art regularly essentially nourishes our minds with healthy concentrations.  We take control of our thoughts as we turn to our mats or canvasses, giving our minds the mental break we truly deserve.  Choices exist after trauma. Opt for supportive measures like yoga or art to promote the healing process.

     

     

    Dr. Jesse Viner Author Bio: Dr. Jesse Viner, founder of Yellowbrick, is a recognized expert in the treatment of eating disorders, difficulties resulting from trauma and abuse, and bipolar disorder, Dr. Viner has three decades of experience applying the knowledge of psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the challenge of creating meaningful and pragmatically effective treatment programs. Dr. Viner has served as Director of Adult Psychiatry Inpatient Services for Northwestern University Medical School; Medical Director of Four Winds Chicago and Director of University Behavioral Health. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Viner is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

    Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiberartgirl/7174488544/

     

     


  7. 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/

     

     


  8. How to Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Manage Chronic Headache

    August 9, 2013

    Chronic Headache

    by Julian Kahn

     

    If you suffer from chronic headaches and nothing you have tried is capable of relieving the pain, you should consider dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT was developed by a psychologist Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s to treat various mental health disorders such as borderline personality disorder.

     

    The Theory Behind Dialectical Behavior Therapy

     

    Dialectical behavior therapy was originally developed as a type of cognitive behavior therapy. However, due to the nature of its principles and strategies, DBT is quite effective in treating chronic physical pain as well.

    This is mainly due to the fact that physical and emotional pains are closely related. While a physical problem can create emotional pain, emotional problems can also encourage the development of physical pain. With that said, it is believed that by accepting reality as it is rather than what we wish it to be, we can effectively turn our focus elsewhere and thus, relieve or reduce our pain.

     

    Four Components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

     

    Dialectical behavior therapy consists of both individual and group therapy sessions that focus on four essential skills. These skills, as described below, are the main components of DBT, and within each one of them are several lessons that can help you manage chronic pain.

    • Mindfulness: The essential part of all skills taught in skills groups are the core mindfulness skills. What these skills basically teach you is that you have a choice of where to focus your thoughts. While you can choose to focus on the negative aspects of life, you can also choose to focus on the positives.

    These skills also teach you that anything that is happening to you is only fleeting, and you are not powerless. You can make use of mindful awareness to keep yourself in the present without worrying about the future. Furthermore, when you practice mindful awareness, you can better prepare yourself for many of the other essential skills.

    • Interpersonal effectiveness: Interpersonal effectiveness training is quite similar to classes that teach assertiveness and problem-solving skills. During this part of therapy, you will learn effective strategies to handle conflicts, to find out what others want and to say no.

    Actually, many people are aware of these skills and know what others should do in various situations, but they are incapable of implementing these skills on their own. However, during this module, you will learn such useful lessons as how to make requests and how and when to say no without damaging the relationship you have with the person(s) in question.

    • Distress tolerance: While some treatment programs focus on changing stressful events and situations, DBT teaches distress tolerance and acceptance. You will learn how to accept the stress you are experiencing without letting it damage how you feel.

    One way to accomplish this is through distraction. In other words, participate in an enjoyable activity that will take your mind off of your pain. Another way to distract yourself from stress is through self-soothing activities. These activities can include relaxation exercises, soaking in a bubble bath or getting a massage.

    • Emotion regulation: If you can learn to control your emotions, you can often keep yourself virtually stress-free. With that said, this module teaches you how to identify your emotions, identify any obstacles to changing them and how to change them by focusing on increasing positive emotions.

     

    These are the main lessons of DBT that can help you manage your chronic headaches. Controlling your physical and emotional pains is largely possible once you have the right tools.

     


    Author Bio: Julian Kahn works at the Migraine Relief Center. They perform migraine surgical treatments that reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.

    Image Source/Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2235473537

     


  9. Say Goodbye to Stress for Good

    August 1, 2013

    stressed out

    Stress is a killer. It is something that grows and grows inside you and without the proper attention it can lead to all sorts of problems including serious health conditions. Stress isn’t good for anyone but it is hard to escape from so what can you do to make sure it doesn’t take over your life?

    Managing Your Stress

    It’s impossible not to get stressed from time to time. Even the smallest things can raise the blood pressure and release the stress hormone, known as cortisol, into your system.  This is a natural process and there is no getting away from it but you can help yourself manage the effects of stress and refocus your brain to deal with things in new, less harmful ways.

    Mediation isn’t Only for Hippies

    You have to relax but many people choose to do this in front of the television which isn’t ideal. You need to use a different technique that involves some pure peace and quiet so your mind is able to fully relax without any stimulation from the outside world.

    Meditation is the perfect relaxation technique to learn – it’s free and you can do it at any time of the night or day. Get comfortable, there’s no need to get into the lotus position, just sit or lie down and try to control your thoughts. You should aim to keep your attention in the present and focus on your breathing. When thoughts about your family, job or your to do list enter your mind chase them away and come back to the present moment. Start mediating for about five minutes per day and keep practicing – in time you will be able to do this for longer periods.

    Say Goodbye to Pointless Stress

    If you find an activity that you do stressful and it isn’t essential why should you keep doing it? If you hate your job start looking for a new one, you aren’t tied into your job so why sit and suffer? You could go to college, take on a new career, stop running a local club or visiting the same old bar that isn’t quite what it used to be. Change can be a very good thing.

    Do Some Exercise

    Exercise is fantastic for busting stress, improving your energy levels and increases your happiness too. When you exercise you release happy hormones called endorphins. You can exercise in any way you are comfortable with, talking walks, going for jogs, signing up to the gym or following work out videos and tutorials online.

    Make Your Home Your Sanctuary

    You must have at least one room in your home where you feel instantly relaxed. The space you choose should be a room that is free from mess or clutter and doesn’t have any little bits of DIY that need doing. Redecorate the space you choose, add your favourite belongings such as art work, a day bed or reclining sofas and finish off the little jobs so the room is perfect. Use this space to read or enjoy your hobbies or to simply sit and look out of the window.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini

     


  10. Natural Ways to Overcome Anxiety and Depression

    July 30, 2013

    Anxiety and depression

    Anxiety and depression are often a result of situations that are out of control: things like injuries, illness, job loss, relationship changes and moving. However, most anxiety and depression can be dealt with naturally instead of through drugs. In fact, natural ways to cope will typically provide faster relief from your distress than medications will. Especially for situational anxiety and depression, embrace these ways to help feel better that go beyond the standard advice of eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and exercising.

     

    Go Against Your Instincts

     

    Feelings of anxiety and depression often cause individuals to retreat from others and from social situations. However, that is the worst thing you can do and will often exacerbate symptoms. Instead, force yourself to get out of the house and spend time with people you usually enjoy. The adage “laughter is the best medicine” really is true when it comes to anxiety and depression. Time spent with friends and favorite family members will likely help you turn the corner and feel much better.

     

    Make and Achieve Goals

     

    A feeling of worthlessness is often a hallmark of depression and anxiety. You can curtail these feelings and help make yourself feel better by simply doing. Take the time to set small achievable, measurable goals. Working on meeting these goals can help take your mind off negative thoughts. The feeling of accomplishment you get with each goal you meet is a step on the ladder to feeling better.

     

    Do Onto Others

     

    When you are down or anxious, one of the best bets to improve your mood is to help others. Find a place to volunteer, cook a meal for someone else, help an expectant or new mother or even just knit, sew or build something for someone else. The action of helping another person provides a rewarding sense of contentment that is unmatched. The increased self-worth you will feel will help you move out of the gloom much more quickly.

     

    Rely on Your Higher Power

     

    Regardless of the religion or belief system, most people have a higher power that they look to. Often, focusing on your spiritual life will bring you a kind of contentment and relief from anxiety and depression that cannot be found in other places. Spend time praying or meditating to refocus your thoughts.

     

    Try a Little Avoidance

     

    Depression and anxiety often mean you are wrapped up in your own thoughts. Getting a break from the course of your own thinking will greatly help you. An easy solution is to settle in with a favorite TV show, preferably one that is upbeat and will keep you from thinking about the issues that are contributing to your depression and anxiety. This mental health break will usually provide you with the space needed to start to feel better.

     

    Try Some Big Picture Thinking

     

    Putting your present situation into perspective can greatly help when it comes to feeling better. That means considering the situation you are in and how its duration compares to your life. In the grand scheme of things, is it worth it affecting you this way? What will you learn from this situation and how will it help you in the long run? Is it worth the angst you are living with?

     

    Reach Out for Support

     

    There is nothing like the empathy you get from someone in the same place or someone who has recently moved past the same kinds of feelings of depression and anxiety. Get the support you need from established support groups for people fighting these issues. You can often find local groups online, but will also find an abundance of virtual support groups that can be even more helpful. Online support groups for depression and anxiety are there for you 24/7, and you can access them from your own home by simply going on the Internet. Get the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone else is in the same place as you.

    In addition to all these natural ways to beat anxiety and depression, focus on healthy daily routines, including getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly and eating healthily, especially foods known to improve mood such as milk, eggs, salmon, chocolate and those containing vitamin C. By combining a variety of these techniques, you are sure to find the relief you are seeking.

     

    Author Bio: Alex is a marketing coordinator for DIRECTV for Business corporation located in North Florida. In her spare time she offers tips and advice to help those who are battling anxiety and depression.

    Image Credit: Helga Weber