Is Social Media Bad for Your Mental Health?

March 23, 2020

Social media use can increase depression and loneliness, according to a recent study. So, if you have been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why, it may have something to do with your social media habits. It’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people […]

Is Social Media Bad for Your Mental Health?

March 23, 2020

Social media use can increase depression and loneliness, according to a recent study. So, if you have been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why, it may have something to do with your social media habits.

It’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people whose lives seem “picture-perfect” all of the time. Also, social media can make you feel like you’ve been with friends, but you really haven’t connected to anyone. The “alone in a crowd” type feeling can make you feel more lonely than just hanging out by yourself. Research is showing a definitive link between spending time on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Take a Social Media Detox

I encourage my clients to take a social media break every now and then, when they start feeling anxious or depressed in reaction to checking social media. It helps to gain a more positive sense of reality. They often report back to me that the detox offered some amazing and unexpected benefits such as:

Improved Self-Esteem

When you take a break from comparing yourself to other people, you can start to look at how great you and your own life really are. You can focus on what you have, not what you don’t.

New Interests and Hobbies

When you spend less time trying to get that social approval from of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, and ‘upvotes’, you suddenly find you have a lot of time on your hands for other things. Most people realize that feedback from things in the real world is much more satisfying than “perceived popularity” in cyberspace.

Improves Your Mood

More time really visiting one-to-one or in small groups helps us feel more grounded and connected to people. This can drastically improve our mood and sense of well-being. Reach out to a friend and schedule a call or get together to help boost your mood!

Better Sleep

Many people are on their mobile phone in bed, checking their social media accounts. The blue light from these devices disrupts our sleep patterns and our emotional reactions can also get us riled up. Try giving yourself an hour or two before bed to wind down with no devices. Try reading a book or watching a show on a TV across the room to avoid the blue light interference.

Able to Enjoy the Moment More

Try using those extra few minutes to try daily mindfulness. By being present in our lives, we feel an increased sense of peace and joy. That’s priceless.

So, how do you perform a social media detox?

Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Temporarily deactivate your accounts. Don’t worry, you can reactivate them again in the future should you choose.
  2. Remove all Social Media Apps and notification pathways from your devices.
  3. Use a web filtering tool to block social media sites. (Why tempt yourself?)
  4. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms and have other activities ready to replace the void.

If you are having difficulty letting go or notice that your anxiety and depression are worse than you realized, therapy can help. Call me today to schedule a free consultation.

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

December 23, 2019

What does it mean to have healthy self-esteem? Is it feeling good about how you look? Or accomplishing something big in your life? The reality is, having healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself faults and all. Good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual, able to face life’s challenges head-on […]

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

December 23, 2019

What does it mean to have healthy self-esteem? Is it feeling good about how you look? Or accomplishing something big in your life?

The reality is, having healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself faults and all. Good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual, able to face life’s challenges head-on and someone who suffers from depression and anxiety and is often overwhelmed with life.

If you have struggled with self-esteem issues, there are some things you can do to free yourself:

Face the REAL Reality

Are you someone that generalizes your lack of self-esteem? By that I mean, do you make generalities about yourself such as, “I’m an idiot,” “I’m not pretty enough or smart enough?” The truth is, we all act like idiots from time-to-time, and most human beings on this planet can find someone who is smarter and more attractive than they are.

If you’re going to work on your self-esteem, you need to first recognize that you often lie to yourself with these generalities. It may be a very convincing lie from your point of view, but it’s still a lie.

To become familiar with reality, make a list of 10 of your strengths and 10 weaknesses. If you have a hard time coming up with your strengths, think about what others have said about you: you’re a good listener, you are thoughtful, you cook a mean burger.

When you’re done making this list, you’ll see there are plenty of things you are really good at. Of course, you have weaknesses too.  Look at that list again. Which weaknesses do you want to work on changing over time? Which are things that are really fine, but you are putting unreasonable expectations on yourself? Which weaknesses are things that are both vulnerabilities and strengths depending on the situation? Like being sensitive, it can be a source of pain and also a great opportunity for connection and creativity.

Forget About Perfection

Perfection doesn’t exist. Now you may think all of those Hollywood A-listers that are on the cover of magazines are the epitome of perfection, but even they are air-brushed, photoshopped, and have a team of people following them around so their hair is never out of place.

Stop spending your energy trying to have the perfect face, body, bank account, career, children or relationships. None of that exists. Focus your energy on achieving attainable goals like finishing a project, making time for an important relationship, and enjoying your hobbies.

Get to Know Your Authentic Self

We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others that we don’t really take the time to get to know ourselves. Beyond strengths and weaknesses, who are you as a person? What makes you happy or excites you? What hobbies do you enjoy? What kind of friend are you?

The more you know about yourself, the more chances that you’ll find things out you really like.

If you would like to speak to someone about your self-esteem issues, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

September 23, 2019

When we talk about our mental health, we’re not just talking about dysfunction or a clinical diagnosis. Your mental health refers to your overall psychological wellbeing. We can all benefit from caring for our mental health, just like our physical health. Life is full of unique challenges and stresses, and a healthy mental state can help […]

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

September 23, 2019

When we talk about our mental health, we’re not just talking about dysfunction or a clinical diagnosis. Your mental health refers to your overall psychological wellbeing. We can all benefit from caring for our mental health, just like our physical health. Life is full of unique challenges and stresses, and a healthy mental state can help you take challenges in stride and reduce your suffering.

1. Positive Affirmations

Repeating an affirmation can help you focus on the positive and create a mental outlook that will be a driving force in your life. Use a search engine to look up “positive affirmations” and you’ll find several ideas of words and phrases. Look for one that resonates with you and things you struggle with. You can also try searching for something more specific, such as “positive affirmations for women” or “positive affirmations to improve self-esteem”.

Try repeating your phrase or phrases during meditation, either out loud or in your mind. You can also repeat your phrase to yourself throughout your day for a gentle perspective shift and internal mental health support. This practice can help you shift out of a pattern of negative self-talk and negative focus, which will greatly improve your overall mental health.

2. Gratitude

Practicing gratitude will also shift your attention to the positive aspects of your life. By focusing on what’s good, you’ll start to notice and appreciate more positive aspects of your life. Gratitude is more than just a feeling; it’s a choice to prioritize and value the good in your life. By choosing to be grateful, you also reduce the focus on negative thoughts.

3. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is a vital part of positive mental and physical health. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will help you maintain stable blood sugar. This creates a consistent level of energy that won’t leave you feeling tired or sluggish or give you the temporary “sugar high” and crash.  Eating healthy supports a stable mood and will also provide a mental boost because you’ll feel good about your healthy food choices.

4. Sunshine

Sunshine is a great way to boost your mood. Put on some comfortable walking shoes and take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood or a local park or even sit outside for a few minutes on your lunch break. Exposure to sunlight will help your brain release serotonin which will boost your mood, and help you feel more calm and focused.

5. Get Some Sleep

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When you’re well-rested, you’re naturally energized and have a stable base from which to maneuver the day’s ups and downs. Regular sleep also boosts your immune system as well as your cognitive and mental health.

By making some healthy additions to your daily routines, you can develop regular habits that will improve your overall mental well-being.

If you need some help getting into a good self-care routine or dealing with anxiety or depression, therapy can help. Contact me today to set up a consultation session in my office or by secure video to discuss getting started.

10 Signs You Might Be a “Highly Sensitive Person”

July 8, 2019

Do you hate hearing, “you’re just too sensitive?” Well, maybe you are more sensitive than the average person, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing and you are not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population fit in to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) category. In fact, […]

10 Signs You Might Be a “Highly Sensitive Person”

July 8, 2019

Do you hate hearing, “you’re just too sensitive?” Well, maybe you are more sensitive than the average person, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing and you are not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population fit in to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) category. In fact, scientists now believe there is a gene behind this trait.

What does it mean to be highly sensitive? The HSP is generally defined as someone with “acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.” So, really sensitive to everything inside and out.

Being highly sensitive can make many “normal” life situations feel awkward and uncomfortable at times. However, there are some real perks to0, so make sure you read the whole post!

Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person

If you are curious whether you may be part of the population that is highly sensitive, here are 10 signs to look for:

  1. You are quick to feel negative emotions, such as sadness and anxiety.
  2. You often feel physical symptoms with your emotions, such as headaches and muscle tension.
  3. You become overwhelmed with sensory stimuli such as sound, light and smells.
  4. The energy of the crowd easily overwhelms you and you feel tired after social outings.
  5. You become very emotional over the injustices of the world. (For example, you cry or become angry at the thought of children or animals being harmed).
  6. You often worry what others think of you.
  7. You often take things personally.
  8. You have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
  9. You’re often tempted to avoid most social situations and prefer to stay home alone.
  10. You startle easily to loud noises.

Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

As I mentioned earlier, while being a HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed at times, there are some definite perks to being highly sensitive. For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You’ll notice subtle shades of color and texture and feel immense pleasure at the complexities of your sensory experience with food and art.

You’re also someone people like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs, and emotions. This natural empathy, makes HSPs make great teachers, managers, and leaders.

HSPs are also incredibly creative. Many artists, musicians, and famous actors are highly sensitive people who have gifted the world with their talent and insight into what it means to be human.

As you can see, if you can cope with the difficult aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can reap some pretty great rewards.

If you or someone you love suspects they are a HSP and would like to explore treatment options to manage the challenges, please contact me to set up a consultation.

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

May 20, 2019

After months of waiting, the birth of a child can bring joy and wonder into a family’s life. Unfortunately, for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. […]

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

May 20, 2019

After months of waiting, the birth of a child can bring joy and wonder into a family’s life. Unfortunately, for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. It can also happen after a miscarriage and stillbirth as well. When it occurs, this affliction can also make it very difficult for a mother to bond with and care for her new baby.

It is important to not confuse the “baby blues” with postpartum depression.  The “baby blues” are common in the first few weeks after childbirth and include crying and feeling a bit overwhelmed, but not at the level that interfere with care and bonding. The symptoms of postpartum depression however, are more severe and can last for several months.

If left untreated, women experiencing postpartum depression are in danger of hurting their baby and themselves.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please speak with your doctor who can help you get connected with a licensed therapist and prescribe medication if needed. These symptoms are not a normal part of childbirth and you do not have to suffer silently.

Extreme Anxiety or Worry

It is normal for new mothers to be nervous. After all, taking care of a newborn baby is a huge responsibility. However, when these fears become irrational and increase in severity over time, this can be a sign of PPD. Here are some examples of this extreme worry: a mother who refuses to leave the house because she is convinced she and her child will get into a car accident or a mother who is terrified to bathe her baby because she believes her baby will drown.

Changes to Sleeping or Eating Habits

Changes in eating or sleeping habits are often warning signs of emotional distress. For new mothers, eating very little or far more than usual is a red flag and an assessment for PPD is warranted.

Also, new mothers are usually exhausted and should sleep when given the opportunity to rest. If you or someone you love is a new mother that is having difficulty sleeping, this can also be a sign of PPD.

Feelings of Rage

New mothers who have PPD may find themselves with feelings of chronic irritability and even rage. If you are experiencing or seeing a sudden shift towards unusually angry or aggressive behavior this could be a sign that something more may be going on and should be assessed.

Mothers experiencing PPD need a lot of support. This means asking not just how the baby is, but how she is and really listening to the answer. It also means helping take care of the baby so the new mother can rest and get the help she needs.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

4 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Relieve Depression & Anxiety

May 6, 2019

The human mind is powerful. Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? So, when the majority of these thoughts are negative, that means that you are telling yourself that everything sucks, over and over again throughout the day. This recurrent, frequent negative thinking is a hallmark of […]

4 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Relieve Depression & Anxiety

May 6, 2019

The human mind is powerful. Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? So, when the majority of these thoughts are negative, that means that you are telling yourself that everything sucks, over and over again throughout the day.

This recurrent, frequent negative thinking is a hallmark of depression. Anxious thinking is similar, but more focused on what could go wrong or how you might have already messed up. Depressive thinking tends to be more hopeless, while anxious thinking is more fear based. Most people are not even aware of the degree that this is happening. It just feels like life – everything and everyone including you – just suck.

This is why it is so important for those suffering from depression and anxiety to become aware of their thought patterns. If not checked, negative thinking becomes a habit, one that has the potential to completely shape your life, and not in a good way.

Change How You Think

Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all linked and by changing one, you can cause change in them all. So, one of the most powerful ways people can lift themselves out of the darkness is to change their thinking patterns. Cognitive therapy helps you see the thought-processing errors, like focusing on the worst case scenario, that contribute to a depressed and/or anxious mood.

By changing how you think, you automatically change how you feel. Once you become aware that you can change your thinking, you have a sense of choice that can benefit your mental health. I know, this sounds about as easy as changing a tire in the rain with nothing more than a hardboiled egg and a paper clip, but it can be done.

Here are some tips on how you can begin to change your negative thoughts:

Keep Track of Your Thoughts

Many people are unaware or in denial about their thought patterns. They think that they see the world as it really is and don’t want to believe they are overly negative or pessimistic. Learning to watch you inner dialogue and catch your thoughts will help you to see your own mental patterns. Mindfulness can be very helpful for this. This practice teaches you to learn how to be in the present moment and see your thoughts as part of what is occurring, but not your whole reality.

As you watch your thoughts, be particularly mindful of making generalizations from one specific event. “I made a mistake, so I am terrible at my job.” Also, black and white thinking can be particularly harmful. “Judy canceled on me, so she is not a good friend.” It assumes people are all good or all bad and they are much more complicated than that!

Try journalling your negative thoughts to help you see patterns and assess frequency.

Identify Triggers

Once you learn to observe your thoughts, you can start to pinpoint the triggers for them. Your journal will come in handy here, because they will help you see how certain types of events that set off a chain of negative thoughts. Triggers can be internal or external like assuming that you are being rejected or ignored or hearing an unkind remark said about or to you.

Positive Conversion

Since the human thinking process is habitual, you can create good thinking habits too. To do this you’ve got to start converting negative thoughts into positive ones. It will be hard at first, and you will most likely feel as if you’re lying to yourself and pretending to be a glass-half-full Pollyanna.

This is a good time for the old adage, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it.” Though thinking positively may feel foreign to you and like a waste of your time, you are re-training your brain to think (and feel) good.

Every time you catch a negative thought, recognize it as negative, and reframe it to a positive opposite thought. For example:

Negative thought: “I’ll never get this report done on time.”

Positive Switch: “I’m making great progress and being careful to always check my work.”

To get the hang of how to do this, go through your negativity journal and create a separate column in which you will write the positive alternative of your many negative thoughts.

If you feel too dark and down to complete these exercises, a trained therapist can support you in starting to shift your thinking.  If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and/or anxiety and are interested in exploring treatment options, please contact me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

April 15, 2019

Self-care is important, but while anyone can tell you should do it, only you can do it. The first step is recognizing that you deserve to be cared for, just as you do for others. So, how do you do this? By noticing the need for self-care by looking at the ways in which you are […]

5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

April 15, 2019

Self-care is important, but while anyone can tell you should do it, only you can do it. The first step is recognizing that you deserve to be cared for, just as you do for others.

So, how do you do this? By noticing the need for self-care by looking at the ways in which you are currently not taking very good care of yourself.

Here are 5 signs you aren’t practicing enough self-care. If any seem familiar, it is time to make more time for yourself:

1. You Get Sick More Often

When we don’t take proper care of ourselves, it shows in our overall health. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can lead to an overworked immune system, which in turn makes you vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.

2. Increased Moodiness

What happens when a child does not get the care and attention they deserve? They begin to act out in order to get any attention. In much the same way, a lack of self-care and treating yourself as unimportant, can lead to increased irritability. This in turn, can result in negative effects in personal and professional relationships.

3. Unpleasant Physical Symptoms

What can start out as unpleasant (and even scary) physical symptoms, can be a sign of poor self-care. Symptoms may include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, headaches, and fainting spells. All of these symptoms should be taken seriously and checked out by your healthcare provider immediately. However, if a physical illness isn’t found, you need to look at your overall physical and emotional self-care for the remedy.

4. A Feeling of Isolation

When you feel you can’t take the time or don’t deserve to care for yourself, you naturally cut back on enjoying other aspects of your life. Socializing and connecting with friends and family can end up getting pushed out of the priority list too. This can lead to a detachment of others and a sense of isolation.

5. Depression

Feelings of worthlessness can snowball into feelings of hopelessness and depression. If you have noticed yourself slipping farther and farther into a depression, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you recognize where the darkness has come from, and how to break through back into the light.

If you or a loved one is experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, or would simply like some help practicing self-care, please contact me. I would be more than happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression and Suicide

April 1, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 8% of American teens will attempt suicide each year. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 to 24. In fact, it is believed that more teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, pneumonia, birth defects, AIDS, influenza and heart disease combined. According to […]

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression and Suicide

April 1, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 8% of American teens will attempt suicide each year. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 to 24. In fact, it is believed that more teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, pneumonia, birth defects, AIDS, influenza and heart disease combined.

According to studies, teens who have presented with a mood disorder or who abuse drugs are at the greatest risk of attempting suicide. While research suggests girls attempt suicide more often, boys more often die from it.

Unfortunately, there is still much stigma surrounding depression and suicide. This leads to kids often keeping their emotional pain to themselves instead of asking for help.

So, what can you as a parent of a teenager do to keep your child safe and healthy?

Talk to Your Teen

Many parents believe that trying to speak with their kids about their feelings will only push them farther away. This is plain wrong. In reality, teenagers need their parents to check in with them to know that they are safe and loved.

It’s best to check in with your child on a regular basis. Ask general questions about what’s going on in their life and more specific questions about how they are feeling and coping. When the time feels right, make sure to ask clearly if they have ever had thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is also good to ask if any of their friends have talked about or attempted suicide. Also, be aware of any suicides at your child’s school, as that increases the risk of other teens attempting.

Validate Their Feelings

Once you’ve begun this sensitive conversation with your teen, it’s important to actively listen and validate your child’s feelings. You want to keep the conversation going as long as needed to really understand what is going on with your child. Try to stay calm and show a genuine interest to understand. You need to convey that you are a) hearing what they’re telling you and b) recognizing the importance of it. Focus on listening without judgement. This is your chance to gather information about your child’s inner world to help keep them safe.

Clarify the Situation

If your teen confides they are having thoughts of suicide, it’s incredibly important that you remain calm and ask questions that will help you clarify the situation. You will want to determine the nature of these thoughts and the level of danger to your child. Here are some examples of what you might find out.

Passive suicidal comments like,”I just want it all to stop” or “I just can’t take it anymore,” generally indicate your child is feeling overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to cope. You can help your child by offering increased supports. This may include spending more time with them, helping them work through a stressful situation, and offering to get them set up with a therapist to work on increasing their coping skills.

Other times, suicidal comments can be a means of getting something they need, like attention, or getting out of a situation that is causing them pain. With these comments, it is important to let your child know that you hear the need and try to redirect them to asking in a less extreme manner. Still asses for plan and intent, just in case you misread.

If your child does have a plan and indicates that they want to carry it out or that they don’t know if they can stop themselves, you need to get more help quickly. This is the time to take your child to the hospital or call for an ambulance. This is when it is most important to err on the side of caution and take your child’s warnings very seriously. Even if it turns out to be an extreme cry for help and not a serious threat, your child will know that you are listening and care. They will also get an intense dose of coping skills training at the hospital.

Seek Professional Guidance

Any talk of suicide is a serious matter and requires professional guidance by a trained therapist. It’s important not to force your teen into any treatment plan unless you feel that they are at immediate risk. Some of their depression might stem from the sense of lack of control they feel in their life, so it’s important you let them have a voice in the direction of treatment. That said, they might feel overwhelmed by trying to work out all of the details on their own, so try to find a balance. For instance, you might research therapists (be sure to call and make sure they are accepting new patients) and then show your teen the websites of your top 3 choices and ask them who they would be like to meet with.

It can also be helpful for parents to seek out treatment for themselves to work through your feelings and learn how to support your child through this difficult time.

I work with both teens and parents. Please feel free to contact me to discuss treatment for you or your child.

Why Meditation Works Well with Faith

January 21, 2019

A decade ago, few people were talking about meditation, let alone practicing it. Now, meditation is becoming wildly popular in the United States. Books, YouTube channels, and smartphone apps are dedicated to the study of it, and everyone from college students to senior citizens are reaping some pretty great benefits (I’ll get to those in […]

Why Meditation Works Well with Faith

January 21, 2019

A decade ago, few people were talking about meditation, let alone practicing it. Now, meditation is becoming wildly popular in the United States. Books, YouTube channels, and smartphone apps are dedicated to the study of it, and everyone from college students to senior citizens are reaping some pretty great benefits (I’ll get to those in a minute).

Of course, there are still some people who are unsure if meditation is right for them. Some are concerned meditation is a form of religion, and worry it will be in conflict with their current faith. However, the practice of meditation is not inherently religious anymore than yoga or Tai Chi are.

Perhaps Deepak Chopra explains it best when he says, “Meditation is, first of all, part of every spiritual tradition…in the world. There are breathing meditations in every tradition. There are body-awareness meditations in every tradition. And there are variations of mantra meditation. It has nothing to do with belief or ideology or doctrine. It’s a simple mental technique to go to the source of thought.”

Mindfulness meditation is simply the practice of training your mind to be present in the moment. You don’t judge or analyze the moment, you simply are present and aware in the moment.

While that concept seems like hogwash to some, modern science has shown through numerous studies that meditation has many real benefits. Here are some of the top ones:

Alleviate Symptoms of Stress

Most of us are living with some amount of stress. Chronic stress can lead to a host of health issues. But meditation has been shown to lessen the effects of stress. For instance, meditation has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol. Prolonged and elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to the development of insulin resistance, hypertension, and suppressed immunity.

Manage Chronic Pain

Mindful meditation, in conjunction with yoga, has been shown to decrease pain levels and increase a sense of well-being.

Fights Depression

According to a growing body of research, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be very beneficial in reducing depressive symptoms and preventing a relapse.

A Better Night’s rest

A lack of sleep can make life feel miserable. And chronic insomnia can lead to a suppressed immune system and other health issues. Research has shown that a meditation practice can help improve the quality of sleep.

If you’ve been curious about meditation but were concerned it wouldn’t mix with your particular faith, I encourage you to give it a try. It just might change your life for the better! Contact me today to set up a free consultation session.

SOURCES

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/coping-depression/2016/04/the-benefits-of-meditation-for-depression/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-mindfulness-meditation/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/meditation-deepak-chopra_n_2600707.html

https://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/meditation/is-meditation-a-religious-practice.aspx

How to Lovingly Parent a Depressed or Anxious Child

September 24, 2018

Being a parent is the hardest job ever! However, being a parent of a child with a chronic illness can feel unbearable at times. When your child is dealing with a serious mental illness, it is very important to provide the support they need in a loving and patient manner. All parents want to do […]

How to Lovingly Parent a Depressed or Anxious Child

September 24, 2018

Being a parent is the hardest job ever! However, being a parent of a child with a chronic illness can feel unbearable at times. When your child is dealing with a serious mental illness, it is very important to provide the support they need in a loving and patient manner.

All parents want to do what’s right for their kids, but when your child is sick, physically or mentally, the desire to “get it right” becomes even more intense.

If you are the parent of a child with serious depression and/or anxiety, there isn’t one “right way” to parent them, but you can be a great support and advocate. Here are some ways you can show love and support for your child as they find their way back to health.

Accept Your New Reality

For many parents, accepting that your child has a mental illness is very difficult. It is natural to want to deny the seriousness of situation and pretend that everything is the way it was before the diagnosis. However, this attempt at self-protection can feel invalidating and shameful to your child. Accepting the reality of the situation allows you to focus on getting the right help and to treat the illness effectively, without you child feeling at fault.

Communicate Openly

Your child needs you now more than ever and to know that they can talk to you about anything, even the scary parts. Sit down with your child and tell them they can come to you at any time for any reason. Tell them that it is especially important that they reach out when their world feels dark and hopeless or overwhelming. Let them know you would never be angry at them for how they feel. When they are ready to talk, listen closely, and really hear them with an open mind and heart. You don’t need to “fix it,” rather to show that you understand and will be an ally in helping them to get better.

Help Their Body

The health of the body impacts the mind, especially when the mind is already stressed with depression and/or anxiety. Help your child’s recovery by encouraging healthy eating habits by limiting sugar, processed foods, and caffeine intake. Also, encourage them to get exercise at the level that they can handle. Start with a walk around the block or doing some light yard work as a family. Sleep is also an important foundational support. Help you child get enough rest each night by setting firm bed times with no screens in their room.

Talk to Them About Suicide

It’s a conversation no parent wants to have. Unfortunately, these days all parents need to be aware of the risk, and for the parent of a depressed or severely anxious child, the risk of suicide is an important issue to deal with head on. Start the conversation with your child by asking if they’ve ever thought about suicide. Be mindful of keeping your voice and comments non-judgemental and not overly reactive. Asking these questions in an objective way allows your child to speak candidly with you and share their true thoughts and feelings with you.

Some parents worry that bringing up suicide will increase the risk, by planting the thought in their  child’s head, but there is no risk of that. However, hearing about others committing suicide can increase the risk, so make sure to check in with your child if there is a suicide at their school or one that is getting a lot of media coverage.

Get Help

When your child is dealing with a serious depression and/or severe anxiety, they will be best helped by a team approach. You are on the front lines and can be a big support in your child’s life, but you don’t need to figure how to help them alone or carry all of the burden.  Having the guidance of a trained mental health therapist or psychologist and psychiatrist, if needed, will be very beneficial. Your pediatrician, local support groups, friends and family can all be good sources of referrals. You can also check with your insurance under the “Find a Doctor” section and research providers on-line.

If you or a loved one has a child suffering with depression or severe anxiety, you are not alone. Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss parenting support or therapy for your child.