Are You Doing Self-Care All Wrong?

June 3, 2020

We all know that we should be doing self-care, but what does that really mean? Is it something that makes us feel better now or something that should help someday if we just keep at it? For many, the concept of self-care is still a bit mysterious, if not downright confusing. What Is Self-Care? Self-care […]

Are You Doing Self-Care All Wrong?

June 3, 2020

We all know that we should be doing self-care, but what does that really mean? Is it something that makes us feel better now or something that should help someday if we just keep at it? For many, the concept of self-care is still a bit mysterious, if not downright confusing.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is a practice and a commitment that we make to ourselves. It is any activity we do deliberately to support our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Not only does self-care improve our health and life, but it can also improve the relationships we have with others.

Some examples of self-care might be:

  • Creating healthy habits
  • Eating well
  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Spending quality time with loved ones
  • Making time to enjoy a hobby
  • Learning something new

Self-care can be work and not always easy to start. In this way, self-care is a bit like acting as your own good parent, encouraging you to do what’s good for you, even if it’s not what you want to do.

What Self-Care Isn’t

Self-care isn’t necessarily about making yourself feel better at the moment. Let’s look at some examples:

Person A has had a very bad day. They practice proper self-care and, when they get home, they change clothes, go for a 3-mile run, then cook a healthy dinner that refuels their body.

Person B has also had a very bad day and practices phony self-care. On their way home, person B stops at the store and gets a 6-pack of beer and a gallon of ice cream, then spends the entire night on the sofa drinking and eating poorly in an attempt to make the bad day go away.

This phony style of self-care is about feeling better at the moment, but not helping yourself in the long run. It is not being a good parent to yourself, but acting from your more immature impulses. If the parent insists you eat your veggies because they are good for you, the child will eat only candy bars when the parent isn’t looking.

Self-care is about making decisions based on what is good for you, not what you FEEL like doing at the moment. Try asking yourself what will support my overall health – physical, mental, and emotional? Instead of the immediate gratification question: what do I want to do?

Self-care should also not be confused with pampering. While there is nothing wrong with getting massages and pedicures, these again tend to be quick fixes we give ourselves to make ourselves feel better in the moment. However, massaging your feet nightly with a nice lotion could be self-care that helps ease your tired feet and makes you feel cared for.

At the end of the day, self-care is a commitment to yourself to live, grow, and evolve in healthy ways. It means making choices that will lead to your best self and greatest potential. If you are having difficulty feeling worthy of self-care or figuring out what is getting in your way of developing healthy routines, therapy can help you get past these blocks.

SOURCES:

Tips for Coping with Social Isolation and Reducing Anxiety

May 20, 2020

Humans thrive in environments with social contact and don’t do well in isolation. That’s why solitary confinement is used as a punishment in state penitentiaries. It causes the prisoners great mental anguish. Many of us have had a taste of what it feels like to be in solitary or small group confinement over the last couple […]

Tips for Coping with Social Isolation and Reducing Anxiety

May 20, 2020

Humans thrive in environments with social contact and don’t do well in isolation. That’s why solitary confinement is used as a punishment in state penitentiaries. It causes the prisoners great mental anguish.

Many of us have had a taste of what it feels like to be in solitary or small group confinement over the last couple of months. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdown measures to slow its spread, have been hard for many of us mentally and emotionally.

We don’t know how long this crisis will last and that uncertainty is adding to our distress. We don’t have control over the virus, or what our governments do, but we do have control over ourselves and what we focus on. With this in mind, here are some tips for coping with social isolation, for however long it goes on.

Isolate Yourself from the Media

Too much news can overwhelm you and increase anxiety. With a situation that is developing and so many differing points of view,  it can cause confusion and panic to engage with too much media. Try to limit yourself to looking briefly at the headlines and personally relevant information, but stay away from the temptation to leave the news on all day or check-in repeatedly. There are much better and healthier places to put your attention and energy.

Get Creative

Being isolated can get very boring very quickly, so it’s important that you try and get creative with your time. This could mean doing a home beautification project like painting the living room and rearranging the furniture. Learning a new skill or language and maybe making it a group project with your partner or a family member. It could mean experimenting with an old recipe, trying some new dance moves, or making up a game with your kids. Just have fun and think outside the box!

Reconnect

Now is a great time to reconnect with friends and loved ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. Technology like Skype and Facetime makes it incredibly easy to chat with friends and family anywhere in the world. Try not to overthink it, just reach out. Very likely your friend could use the social contact now too.

Stay Active

A lot of the anxiety we may feel comes from the fact we aren’t moving our bodies as much as we usually do. It’s important to stay physically active during this time. If you can do so safely, try to get outside and get some sun too. Go for a walk or ride your bike. Not only is exercise good for us physically, but activity releases endorphins that make us feel good mentally and emotionally as well.

Meditate

The world is a chaotic place right now and it seems we are being hit with negativity from all sides. Your internal chatter may also be very negative right now. It’s important to make time each day for some quiet in all this chaos. Meditation is a great way to find that quiet.

If you’ve never meditated before, that’s okay. Just give it a try. It isn’t about being a great meditator, it’s just about finding a little calm in the storm.

One of the easiest ways to meditate is through a listening meditation. Find a space in your house where you can be alone and get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out… and simply listen to the ambient sounds.

What do you hear? The buzzing of a light? A fly? Your dog’s collar rattling down the hall? Expand your hearing to see what else can you hear outside your house. Birds? Lawnmowers? Traffic?

Simply breathe and listen letting your mind bounce from sound to sound for 5-10 minutes. When you listen intently, you can’t think at the same time, so enjoy the mental quiet. If you notice that you slip and get caught up in your thoughts again, just refocus on the sounds and find the calm again.

If you find that the social isolation is really beginning to trouble you and you’d like to speak with someone, please contact me to schedule a consultation. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

SOURCES:

Why More Men Should See a Therapist

April 20, 2020

Women more likely who seek therapy, typically making up almost two-thirds of therapy patients. However, multiple studies have shown that men may benefit even more from the therapy process. If we can just get them to start. Many men don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings. They might […]

Why More Men Should See a Therapist

April 20, 2020

Women more likely who seek therapy, typically making up almost two-thirds of therapy patients. However, multiple studies have shown that men may benefit even more from the therapy process. If we can just get them to start.

Many men don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings. They might feel therapy is too touchy-feely and not masculine process. I want to encourage men to push past their discomfort and seek therapy anyway because it can really help in so many areas of their life.

Here are some of the reasons why more men should see a therapist:

Men Often Struggle with Their Identity

Many men today struggle with what it means to be a man. Decades ago, the definition was more clearly defined, but nowadays a man can get completely lost. Should they be masculine or is masculinity somehow toxic? Should they show their emotions or will it make them look weak? Should they protect women or is that somehow belittling women?

Clear role models can be hard to find these days. Many men don’t want to be like their fathers, but where else can they look. Some men look to media and advertising to find clues about who they should be, and this can be just as confusing and damaging as it is for women.

Therapy can be a space where men can learn to define themselves on their own terms.

Gain Understanding and Tools for Your Relationships

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? It sure can feel that way! In their day-to-day interactions, men tend to act more from their thoughts and women more from their emotions. Neither is right or wrong, it is simply how we are wired and socialized.

Since many men tend to struggle to express their feelings and communicate in a way the women in their lives can relate to, these relationships can suffer as a result.

Therapy can help men safely explore their own feelings and learn how to relate in a language women understand.

Become the Best Version of You

Seeing a therapist doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with you. Often therapy can be a way to explore who you are, what you want, and how to reach your goals. In other words, therapy can be a means by which you become the best version of yourself. If you hit the gym x times per week to get into the best physical shape of your life, why not hit the therapist’s office each week to get into the best mental and emotional shape of your life and be a total package?

Get Help for Substance Abuse

Studies have shown that men are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and depression in their life. Therapy can show you how to cope without the need for these substances.

Lower Your Suicide Risk

There has been a disturbing rise in instances of suicide among older American men. This is most likely a result of men not believing they have the right to seek help. When you’ve got to be the strong one all the time and fix other people’s problems, seeking outside help simply is not an option.

But it IS an option. Men need to get help with their issues so they don’t turn to suicide.

Help with Fatherhood

As I mentioned earlier, many men grew up without proper role models. Then they find themselves as a father, unable to cope with the challenges and responsibilities. Therapy allows men to discover who they want to be for their children and come up with a game plan to develop this side of themselves.

If you are a man struggling with these issues or any others and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to discuss starting therapy. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

References:

How to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety Caused by COVID-19

April 8, 2020

Trying to stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic, can feel incredibly difficult at times. There are so many things to worry about these days: friends and loved one’s health, the economy, and what to even believe as this crisis unfolds. One of the most important things you can do during this stressful time is to […]

How to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety Caused by COVID-19

April 8, 2020

Trying to stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic, can feel incredibly difficult at times. There are so many things to worry about these days: friends and loved one’s health, the economy, and what to even believe as this crisis unfolds. One of the most important things you can do during this stressful time is to take care of yourself – both your physical and mental health.

Signs of Emotional Distress and 6 Ways to Cope

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but most will exhibit some of the following signs:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense emotions
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increase conflict with loved ones
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If you are experiencing significant stress right now, here are some ways you can cope:

1. Limit Media Consumption and Look for the Good

Too much news isn’t good for anyone. While we need to have some idea of what is happening in the world, our nation, and our local areas, we also need to protect ourselves from overload. Try to limit your news intake by looking at headlines and then only reading articles from trusted sources one to two times a day for maximum of 15 minutes each or watching one half-hour news program. You need the highlights, not every story. Try to look for reliable reporting that focuses on just giving the facts, not inflating the drama. It can also really help to look for a feel-good story of people helping each other after you read about the tragedy. This is a serious global crisis, but in the face of crisis, we also see how people rise up and band together to support and help each other.

2. Nurture Your Body and Spirit

While it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas eating junk food and watching TV all day, be sure to balance “vegging out” time with other self-care. If possible, get outside for some fresh air and go for a walk. If you can’t get out, try to do some indoor exercise and look out the window to feel connected to the world outside. Eating more comfort food right now is normal, but try to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet and staying hydrated. Also, try to keep to a regular schedule with plenty of sleep and then getting up and dressed to help you feel as normal as possible. Keep an eye on your alcohol or other mood-altering substance intake, because although it can be very tempting to not be present right now, you don’t want to make more problems for yourself.

3. Tap into Your Sense of Fun

If you have kids, look to them for some good old-fashioned playtime. Play hide and seek in the house or create an obstacle course in the back yard. Even if you don’t have kids, you were one once, so try and tap into your silly playful side. Watch some of your favorite funny movies or have a video hangout with your friends. Laughter really is the best medicine, so get plenty of it!

4. Support Your Local Community

Many local businesses are hurting right now. If you’re still getting a paycheck, consider buying a gift card from a local restaurant, gym, hair salon, etc. to give them revenue now and you can use the card later. Or get some take out from your favorite local restaurants. Have you seen posts to help in your local area? Making facemasks, donating CD players for nursing homes, or texting your neighbors to see if anyone is out of TP and offering to share your extra, are all ways to help. These efforts will help others and make you feel great at the same time.

5. Be a Role Model

Remember, your kids will ALWAYS look to you first to see how they should be thinking and feeling about something. Working on your self-care will help you stay calm and able reassure your kids everything will be okay -because it will be. This is the time to look for positive role models in our community and do our best to be one for our friends and family.

6. Use Your Time Constructively

For many of us, there is a silver lining in this situation in the form of extra time. Unless you are working from home and homeschooling your kids, in which case just do your best and tune out all of the extra project talk. But if you do have extra time, consider using this time wisely. Maybe you have an ever-growing list of home projects that you just never have time to tackle or a fun project that just keeps getting pushed off. Now is the time to dive in, keeping you feeling productive and engaged now, and clearing your list to make room for more fun later.

Everyone is going to have a slightly different reaction to this difficult time. If you find yourself becoming too stressed or depressed, I encourage you to reach out for help. Speaking with a therapist can help you cope with the stress and learn new coping skills to get you through. I am available for sessions through a secure video platform. Contact me today to set up a free consultation.


SOURCES:

https://www.ucihealth.org/news/2020/03/covid-19-anxiety

https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/stress_covid19.pdf

How to Talk to a Loved One About Getting Treatment for Their Mental Health

November 18, 2019

Just about every family has a “black sheep”; someone who just doesn’t quite fit in. They might be always causing trouble or maybe more of a free spirit. In some cases, the “black sheep” of the family is someone with an untreated mental health issue. If you have a loved one who you believe may […]

How to Talk to a Loved One About Getting Treatment for Their Mental Health

November 18, 2019

Just about every family has a “black sheep”; someone who just doesn’t quite fit in. They might be always causing trouble or maybe more of a free spirit. In some cases, the “black sheep” of the family is someone with an untreated mental health issue. If you have a loved one who you believe may need mental health treatment, there are things you can do to try and encourage them to seek help.

Family and Friends are First Responders

You should see yourself as a type of “first responder” or first line of support for your loved one. Teachers, employers and even medical professionals that interact with your loved one aren’t as likely to see the need mental health treatment as a close friend or family member who sees them more frequently. You are in the best position to see the need and advocate for them to get help.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early intervention is key to improving your loved one’s quality of life as quickly and easily as possible. The longer a mental illness goes untreated, the more entrenched the patterns become and the more hopeless your loved one may feel that change is possible. Intervening as early as possible will change the course of your loved one’s life, putting them on a positive trajectory.

Talking to Your Loved One

Prepare your loved one for this conversation by letting them know that you are concerned and want to talk. Let them know you are motivated by love and that it is very important. Make sure they know you are not upset with them and it’s nothing negative or scary. Set a date and time to talk and choose a neutral location where they will be most comfortable.

Keep the conversation in the context of your relationship. Make sure they know that you love them and are concerned, not rejecting or judging them. Tell them what specific concerns you have about their behavior and how it makes you feel. Instead of vague statements like “you need help”, or “you’re acting strange” give specific examples, like “it frightened me when you were yelling the other day,” or “I’m concerned because you missed work four times in the last two weeks.” Leave diagnoses to the professionals, just tell them what you are seeing and how it is concerning you.

The Goal of the Talk

Your goal in talking to your loved one is to express your concerns and to ideally get them to agree to a one-time evaluation. Offer to support them in any way that would be helpful and appropriate, like making the appointment, paying for it, and/or driving them.

Talking to someone you love about seeking mental health treatment may feel difficult and awkward, but it is important. Be prepared for them to have an angry or defensive response, and if they do, try to maintain your composure and stick to the theme of your love and concern. It may take multiple attempts to get your loved one to seek help. Don’t be nagging or harassing, but do be lovingly persistent.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

November 4, 2019

Most of us from a young age are taught to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. However, our education rarely includes the lessons to show the same consideration to ourselves. This is even more of a deficit for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes. What is Self-Compassion? Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist […]

How to Practice Self-Compassion

November 4, 2019

Most of us from a young age are taught to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. However, our education rarely includes the lessons to show the same consideration to ourselves. This is even more of a deficit for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist psychology and refers to how we can relate to ourselves with kindness and love in times of suffering. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. Actually, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love.

What does it really mean to be kind to ourselves? It means that we are mindful of being courteous, supportive, and compassionate with ourselves on a daily basis. Too many people treat themselves with harsh judgment instead of compassion.

Why is this important? Self-compassion means that we always feel like we have a friend with us. It helps us recognize our unconditional worth and value. It allows us to recognize though we may sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people.

Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self-care and psychological wellbeing. Those who practice self-compassion tend to have better connections with others and have higher life satisfaction overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety, and depression.

Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Treat Yourself as You Would a Small Child

Most of us would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way we do ourselves. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness, and kindness.

Practice Mindfulness

Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have patterns of attending to specific information that we have developed to simplify our data processing.  These scripts or programs are running in our minds 24/7 to make us efficient and productive.

Many of these scripts are fear-based. They were developed early on to try to keep us out of trouble. However, some of these scripts, like the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are, are not really helping. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more aware of your own mind.

When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself what is this feeling or thought trying to tell me or warn me about? Is this a helpful response in this moment or an old program being triggered? If it’s a program, thank the program for trying to help, let it know that you have new skills with which to face this problem, and release it.

Good Will vs Good Feelings

Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves when we are suffering; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life. Self-compassion provides comfort when you are hurting. Like rocking a colicky baby, self-compassion doesn’t make the pain go away, but it feels better to feel loved and held while we are hurting.

These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you feel that you could use more support and tools, reach out to me today to schedule a free therapy 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.

4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety on Your Coffee Break

September 3, 2019

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million people over the age of 18 in the United States. Although these disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those with anxiety seek treatment. There are many reasons why people with anxiety suffer without seeking help, however, you don’t need […]

4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety on Your Coffee Break

September 3, 2019

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million people over the age of 18 in the United States. Although these disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those with anxiety seek treatment. There are many reasons why people with anxiety suffer without seeking help, however, you don’t need to let anything stop you from starting to help yourself.

Here are some proven strategies that don’t cost a penny and take very little time. In fact, you could do any of the following strategies on your lunch or coffee break. Here are some simple ways to reduce your anxiety:

Breathe Deeply

According to a study published by the Journal of Emergency Medicine, 30% of people who go to the ER with complaints of chest pain are actually suffering from a panic attack. Why is this so common?

When we are stressed or anxious, we tend to over-breathe or under-breathe which can cause dizziness and hyperventilation. Deep breathing is a powerful way to gain control over your breath and stop a panic attack. Studies show taking slow, deep breaths soothes our nervous system and increases brain activity. This makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. Try it for yourself.

Try Listening Meditation

One way to get your mind to settle down is to meditate and one of the easiest ways to meditate is to practice listening meditation. This is exactly what it sounds like. Sit quietly, eyes closed, and begin to listen to the ambient sounds in the room. Try to keep an attitude curiosity and try to avoid judging what you hear. What do you hear? Buzzing lights? A fan? Someone cough? Birds outside? A lawnmower? Just be aware of all the sounds and try and expand that awareness to hear as much as possible. This form of meditation is fun and effective, because you cannot possibly listen, truly listen, and think at the same time.

Take a Walk

Nervous energy needs to go somewhere – it has to be burned. Taking a 15- minute walk around the block can be a great way to get rid of this energy while breathing deeply. As a bonus, your body releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins when you exercise. If you walk outside, you can get an extra boost by noticing nature elements which are also calming.

Don’t Drink Coffee

Yes, I am asking you on your coffee break to not drink coffee or soda. Caffeine and sugar can exacerbate anxiety by making us feel jittery and nervous. You are far better off sticking with water and a healthy snack.

I hope you will give these anxiety-busting strategies a try. If you feel they are not helping as much as you need and you would like to speak with someone, please contact my office to schedule a consultation.

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.

A Meditation Exercise You Can Do with Your Child

June 24, 2019

It challenging to find the time or space to meditate when parenting a young child. One solution is to have your child meditate with you. This can allow you to make time for your self care while also teaching your child valuable skills. However, you will need to make some modifications to have this be […]

A Meditation Exercise You Can Do with Your Child

June 24, 2019

It challenging to find the time or space to meditate when parenting a young child. One solution is to have your child meditate with you. This can allow you to make time for your self care while also teaching your child valuable skills. However, you will need to make some modifications to have this be a peaceful experience.

Meditating with Young Children

For children five and under, it will be difficult for them to sit still for any length of time. Even a few seconds might be the most you can expect. Adjust your expectations and try to remain flexible in your approach. Most experts agree that by six years of age, children should be able to sit still for one minute and increase by one minute per year of age. So, age six would be one minute, age seven is two minutes and so on.

Kids Will Be Kids

It’s important to be patient as you work on a meditation exercise with your child. It’s normal for children to have difficulty settling. They may not be able to keep their eyes closed, they may fidget or wiggle as they sit, and they might laugh or try to be funny because it’s awkward or difficult for them to remain still and quiet. This is completely normal, so maintain a sense of humor and take any challenges that arise in stride. It will take time to teach your child to meditate. If you’re overly strict or discipline your child too much, you will end up making this a negative interaction instead of a calming one.

Meditation Exercises for Children

You’ll want to start with a brief session and try to make it fun. I like to start with having each person hold a small river rock and close their eyes and focus on how it feels – shape, texture, differences that make each rock unique. Then open your eyes and do the same investigation with how it looks. This is a great way for children to start with mindfulness and focused attention.  This rock can also become a mindfulness object that they can use for calming when they need it.

For children, guided meditations are generally the best way to teach them to meditate. There are many guided meditations available for free online that are specifically for children. You can find them through a simple Google search or by searching on YouTube. There are also apps you can use on your phone, tablet or smart TV that are also completely free. One example is Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame, an app intended for children under five which is available for the Android and iOS. Another example is Wellbeyond Meditation for Kids for iOS.

There are also classes available at some meditation centers that are specifically for children. Do a Google search for “meditation center [city, state]”, then check their online schedule or give them a call to find out if they have meditation classes for children.

If you are you a parent looking for ways to cope with balancing your needs while caring for your child, a licensed psychologist can provide the support and guidance you need. Feel free to contact me today or check out my website at www.drjodykircher.com to learn more about my approach.