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Cultivating Mindfulness in Daily Life

Have you heard about the concept of mindfulness? It involves being aware of the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that you’re experiencing at any given time (this is commonly referred to as “present moment awareness”). Practicing mindfulness offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Enhanced cognitive abilities
  • Slowed brain aging
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved sleep
  • Pain management
  • Improved quality of life for individuals with chronic conditions

Practicing Mindfulness Every Day

Many people meditate by focusing on their breath—pay attention to how it feels as you inhale and exhale, and whenever you notice that your mind has wandered, acknowledge the distraction as a passing thought and then refocus your attention on your breathing. When you first begin practicing mindfulness, you may be able to do this for only a few minutes, but your sessions will likely get longer over time.

You can incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily life by practicing present moment awareness when you’re:

  • Eating a meal
  • Taking a walk
  • Commuting to and from work
  • Coloring
  • Gardening
  • Showering
  • Lying in bed

If you’re having trouble, you may want to consider downloading an app that will guide you through the meditation process. Or, set some alarms on your phone that will remind you to meditate at certain times throughout the day.

Start Practicing Mindfulness

If you’d like to know more about mindfulness techniques and the benefits of present-moment awareness, contact us today. We’ll be happy to schedule a therapy session at a date and time that works for you.

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Understanding Panic Disorder

If you’ve had at least four panic attacks and you regularly worry that you’ll experience another one, you may have panic disorder. In some cases, this type of anxiety can make it difficult for people to leave their home, since they may worry about when and where their next panic attack will occur.

What Does a Panic Attack Feel Like?

Panic attacks cause someone to feel an overwhelming sense of fear. During one of these attacks, you may experience:

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Numbness
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • A pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • A choking sensation
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Fear of losing control, going crazy, or dying
  • A sensation of being disconnected or unreal

While some panic attacks subside within just a few minutes, others last for more than an hour. Depending on the frequency, duration, and severity of panic attacks, panic disorder can sometimes become disabling, preventing someone from holding a job and engaging in other regular activities.

How Is Panic Disorder Treated?

Treatment for panic disorder varies from one person to another, and a trained provider can recommend the approach that’s most appropriate for your specific needs. With that said, panic disorder treatment often involves:

  • Taking medication (e.g., anti-anxiety medication or antidepressant medication)
  • Attending counseling
  • Learning coping skills and relaxation techniques

Offering Help With Anxiety Disorders

Our team has extensive experience treating various types of anxiety, including panic disorder, so if you need assistance, contact us today. We’ll be glad to schedule a therapy session at a date and time of your choosing. We look forward to helping you take the first step toward managing your anxiety.

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Understanding CBT: What It Is & How It Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on identifying inaccurate or negative thinking, viewing difficult situations more clearly, and responding to those situations more effectively. CBT can be administered on an individual basis or in a group setting, and in some cases, it may be combined with another form of treatment (for example, medication). When compared to many other types of therapy, CBT often requires fewer sessions.

What Can CBT Be Used to Treat?

CBT has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance use disorders

With that said, CBT isn’t just useful for individuals with mental illnesses—it can benefit anyone who’s dealing with a stressful situation. For example, CBT can also be used to help people cope with loss, resolve conflicts, and improve their communication skills.

Does CBT Sound Like the Right Choice for You?

If you think you could benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, contact us today. Our friendly team can tell you more about our practice and how we incorporate CBT into our therapy sessions. And if we seem like a good fit for your needs, we can schedule a therapy appointment at a date and time that fits into your schedule. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you work toward your treatment goals.

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5 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

Do you find yourself setting New Year’s resolutions each year, only to forget about them months, weeks, or even days later? If so, you’re not alone. According to statistics published by Forbes, the average resolution lasts only 3.74 months. In fact, so many people abandon their resolutions that January 17 has been declared by many sources as “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day.”

If you want to stay committed to your New Year’s resolutions this year, you may want to consider setting more realistic goals. Rather than attempting lofty resolutions that will require you to overhaul your entire life, decide to slowly incorporate smaller habits and routines. For example:

  1. If you want to start exercising more, resolve to take walks three or four times a week (rather than saying you’ll hit the gym every day).
  2. If you want to get more organized, resolve to clean each room one by one (rather than tackling your whole house all at once).
  3. If you want to save money, resolve to eat out only once or twice a week (rather than saying that you’ll cut out restaurants entirely).
  4. If you want to read more, resolve to finish one book each month (rather than one each week).
  5. If you want to get more sleep, resolve to start going to bed a half hour earlier each evening (rather than saying you’ll go to bed at 9 p.m. every night).

Notably, action-oriented resolutions tend to be more successful than avoidance-oriented resolutions. So, if your goal is to eat healthier this year, you may want to resolve to cook one new nutritious meal each week rather than saying that you’re going to stop eating sweets.

Bonus Resolution: Start Attending Therapy

Everyone can benefit from speaking to a therapist, so if you don’t already attend therapy, now’s the perfect time to start doing so. The therapists on our team can help you identify areas where you may have room for improvement, show you how to set realistic goals, and guide you toward achieving those objectives. Contact us today to schedule your first therapy session.

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How to Navigate Infertility

Films and television shows would have us believe that conceiving a child is the easiest thing in the world. For some this may be true. But for many couples, getting pregnant seems almost impossible.

And so we seek the help and guidance from fertility specialists, convinced modern technology will help us create the family we’ve been dreaming of. We begin treatments with the hope that one of them will finally take.

Along the way, we feel a multitude of emotions, from shame and guilt to fear and sadness. Oh, and let’s not forget the unmitigated mental exhaustion.

If you are going through your own infertility journey and can relate to all of this, here are some tips to help you navigate:

You’re Not Alone

If all of your friends are having babies, your relatives have had babies, and it seems like the whole world (but you) is having babies, understand that you are not alone. In fact, according to the CDC, one in eight couples in America struggles to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy.

Do Your Homework

Before beginning infertility treatments, be sure you do some solid research. You want to look for not only a clinic with a track record of live birth outcomes that is attached to excellent labs, you also want to find a doctor that you connect with and feel comfortable with. Ask your OBGYN to connect you with someone. You may also want to ask around your group of friends to find a personal recommendation.

Self-Care

The healthier you are, the better your chances of becoming pregnant. It’s easy to let stress build-up, and then give in to those comfort food cravings. But now is the time to take optimal care of your mind, body and spirit. Eat whole foods, drink plenty of filtered water and get plenty of rest. Stay away from toxic people and situations and prioritize your well-being.

You may also find it helpful to speak with a therapist who can help you navigate the powerful emotions you and your partner are feeling. I help couples who are struggling with infertility stay positive and mentally healthy. I’d love to help you, too.

SOURCES:

https://www.premamawellness.com/blogs/blog/what-i-learned-to-expect-from-not-expecting-6-tips-on-how-to-navigate-infertility-and-find-community

Even Miracles Take a Little Time: How to Navigate Infertility the Smart Way

How to Navigate the Emotions of Infertility

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5 Ways to Stop Panic Attacks

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know firsthand the name is apropos. Within seconds you can go from feeling quite well and “ordinary” to experiencing absolute dread and fear. And often with no obvious trigger. It’s a horrible way to live.

But you don’t have to live feeling like a helpless victim of these attacks. Here are some powerful ways you can stop panic attacks in their tracks:

1. Recognize What’s Happening

If, in the moment, you can recognize that you are having a panic attack and not a heart attack, you can begin to instantly calm yourself at the realization this is temporary. It will pass and you will be okay. And once you gain a little bit of calm, you can employ further techniques.

2. Deep Breathing

Hyperventilating is a common symptoms of a panic attack. Breathing in an erratic pattern tends to make the attack intensify.

Conversely, deep breathing can reduce the symptoms of a panic attack and bring you back to a state of calm. Breathing slowly and deeply signals to the rest of your body that the “threat” is gone and you can get out of “fight or flight” mode.

3. Close Your Eyes

Some people can become triggered by things in their environment. If this happens to you and you find yourself in a fast-paced environment with too much stimuli becoming overwhelmed, close your eyes while taking some deep, slow, full breaths.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Panic attacks tend to cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality. Mindfulness meditation is powerful because it can help you stay fully present in the here and now. In addition, the practice of meditation has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety.

5. Get Help

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other mental health treatments have been shown to help people suffering with panic attacks. CBT sessions can happen in private, in groups, and even online.

If you are interested in exploring treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’m here to help and answer any questions you may have.

SOURCES:

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321510

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack-5202930

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How Counseling Can Help With Big Life Changes

They say there are only two things in life you can count on: death and taxes. I would add a third: changes. Every person goes through changes in life. And some of those changes can be significant.

Whether you are graduating, starting a new job, moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, you may find dealing with change to be stressful. But there is good news. Counseling can absolutely help you navigate these big life changes so you can make the absolute best decision for you.

Here are some ways counseling can help with big life changes:

Managing Expectations

There’s the change itself, and then there’s what we expect life to be during and after the change. Often we can feel stress when reality does not align with our expectations of reality. Counseling can help you manage your expectations so that the transition is peaceful and realistic.

A Positive Framework

Change means one door closes as another one opens. But many people put all of their focus and attention on that closing door. Focusing on an ending can make us feel depressed and anxious.

A counselor can help you focus on the new opportunities ahead of you. This can improve your state of mind, which will ultimately help you make the most of the current situation.

Self-Care

For many of us, change means burning the candle at both ends and not taking care of ourselves. Counseling can remind us (as many times as needed) that we need to make our physical and mental health a priority during this transition.

Now that you see some of the ways counseling can help you through the biggest changes in your life, it’s time to find a counselor who can help you find insight and fresh perspective. If you’d like to explore counseling further, please reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

SOURCES:

https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/six-ways-counselors-can-help-clients-dealing-with-major-change/

http://creativeresolutionsinc.com/2021/07/20/how-counseling-can-help-you-through-life-changes/

Adjusting to Big Life Changes

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How Narcissistic Parents Affect Mental Health in Children

For many children, childhood is a time of wonder, play, and discovery. These children have parents who give them the safety and security to explore the world around them and grow to reach their full potential. 

But some children have one or more parents who lack the right skills or behavior to allow their children to feel safe, secure, and unconditionally loved. Those children who are raised by someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often experience prolonged trauma, and the effects of this trauma can linger into adulthood.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

When we hear the word narcissist, we often think of certain politicians or celebrities who are known for their boastful and arrogant behavior. And while these traits are definitely annoying, narcissism is far more complex and destructive to those in the relationship with the narcissist, particularly children.

The main characteristics of narcissism are a lack of empathy and the inability to recognize the emotional needs of others. Narcissistic parents also tend to view their offspring as competition while simultaneously denying them independent personhood. 

Some other key characteristics of narcissistic parents include:

  • Codependency
  • Inflexible
  • Liars
  • Manipulators
  • Superficial
  • Self-involved
  • Superior

How Does a Narcissistic Parent Affect a Child’s Mental Health?

The following are some common ways kids, and adult children of narcissists, feel about themselves and life in general:

Low Self-Worth

You grow up feeling unseen and unheard. Your emotional needs never really mattered.

Codependency

Narcissistic parents make sure it’s ALWAYS about them. Children grow up feeling 100% responsible for making sure their parent’s needs (financial, emotional, and otherwise) are taken care of. They do not learn how to form healthy boundaries, only how to please others.

Crippling Self-Doubt

Narcissists are liars and manipulators. They will “gaslight” their children into believing a false reality. As a result, children grow up with crippling self-doubt, never believing they can trust their own feelings.

If you believe one or both of your parents was a narcissist and you are suffering from any of these aftereffects, you CAN heal. Working with a therapist who specializes in recovery from narcissistic abuse can put you on the path to self-love, self-compassion, and greater joy and intimacy with others.

If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.

RESOURCES:

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What is Mindful Eating?

In recent decades, mindfulness meditation has taken the West by storm. As a result, more and more people are experiencing less stress and more fulfillment in their life by “staying in the moment.” Well, mindfulness can be applied to any area of your life, including eating!

You may have heard of mindful eating before and assumed it had something to do with eating more slowly and chewing your food longer. And while these two considerations are part of the practice, they only scratch the surface.

Guidelines for Mindful Eating

You may be wondering why you should even begin to explore mindful eating. Well, the main reason is that the practice can help you to lose weight and easily maintain a healthy weight. This of course helps you to prevent the development of certain chronic diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Health benefits aside, mindful eating also puts a lot of joy in your life. Most people no longer savor their meals but instead wolf them down while mindlessly watching TV or surfing the Internet. Mindful eating reminds you to savor your food and, in reality, savor every moment of this delicious life!

If you’re interested in mindful eating, here are some guidelines to help get you started:

  • Refrain from eating because “it’s time” or because you are feeling intense emotions. Instead, become aware of hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions on when to eat.
  • Be mindful when creating a shopping list, choosing those items that have real health value.
  • Start with a small portion, you can always have second helpings if needed. But you may be surprised how often those second helpings aren’t needed when you eat slowly.
  • Enjoy each bite of your food. Taste all the flavors and feel the different textures of your food. Eating this way not only adds joy and sensuality to your life, but it helps you to eat more slowly so you don’t overeat.

Mindful eating makes dieting a thing of the past and empowers people to make better food choices through common sense and enjoying the experience of eating. I encourage you to give mindful eating a try and see if it can’t benefit your health and overall well-being.

SOURCES:

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3 Ways Teens Can Benefit from Therapy

Not many of us remember our teenage years as walks in the park. That’s because this time in our life is punctuated by uncertainties, social pressure, and a surge of hormones. Because of this perfect storm, many teens act out, which can cause a lot of chaos and disruption in the home and family.

Here are 3 reasons why teens can benefit from therapy:

Self-Worth Issues

Most teens have a certain level of self-worth issues growing through this awkward phase. But there are those teens that really suffer from low self-esteem. Therapy can help adolescence build their self-esteem.

Stress

Dealing with school, friendships, work, choosing a college… are all major stressors in a young person’s life. And many teens find it hard to speak with their parents. Therapy offers teens a way to communicate and let go of some steam and pressure that is building up.

Grief and Loss

There should be a rule that no young person should suffer the loss of a close friend or family member. Sadly, many teens do experience loss and the grief that accompanies it. This can be incredibly difficult for the teen and their parents to navigate. A therapist has been trained to know exactly how to guide a young person through the stages of grief.

Anxiety Disorders

It’s perfectly normal for teens to feel worried and anxious at times. But some teens experience such severe anxiety, it negatively impacts their life, schoolwork and relationships. Therapy can help teens learn to manage their symptoms.

Substance Abuse Issues

Unfortunately, many teens learn to cope with the intensity of life by using drugs and alcohol. A therapist can assess a teen’s substance use and determine the best course of action.

These are just some of the benefits teens can gain from working with a therapist. If you or a loved one would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.

SOURCES: