At some point, most of us have found ourselves spiraled down into a pit of stress, wondering how we got there in the first place. And at this point, most of us have asked ourselves, “What’s the point of stress? Why am I even stressing out? What’s the point!?” While stress can be very unpleasant at times, it actually serves a major purpose in our lives, and is one factor that has helped humans survive throughout the centuries.
Stress: we all know what it feels like. In fact, most of us experience stress throughout our daily lives. When we think of stress, most of us consider it to be a bad thing. I mean, who wants to be stressed? However, there are two primary types of stress, one negative and often damaging, and the other is actually beneficial! Keep reading to learn more.
How to Make Your Own Mindfulness Jar
As we learned in a previous blog, mindfulness is a practice that is beneficial to all of us. However, many of us have a hard time committing to mindfulness and finding a way to incorporate mindfulness practice into our everyday lives. Below is a guide for creating a mindfulness jar, which is a great tool for people of all ages to improve their mindfulness skills. Keep reading to learn how to make your own!
What is a Mindfulness Jar?
Mindfulness jars are containers filled with primarily water a glitter. They are tools to help all of us improve our mindfulness, and are also very effective in helping us calm down when we feel ourselves getting worked up. They are simple, portable, and can be used by anyone. Mindfulness jars are not only great for children as an introduction to mindfulness, but also for teens and adults!
How to Make a Mindfulness Jar
You will need the following supplies:
A container (you can use a mason jar or opt for a plastic container, such as a Voss water bottle)
Warm or hot water
Glitter (preferably three different colors)
Hot glue (optional)
1. Add clear glue to the container
The more glue you use, the longer it will take for the glitter to settle down. The standard amount is enough glue to fill the bottom of the container.
2. Add in your glitter
Ideally, you will have three different colors of glitter to add. The three colors symbolize our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We’ll talk about this more a little later.
3. Fill it up with water
Fill the container to the very top with water. Warm or hot water works best to incorporate the glue.
4. Seal the top with hot glue
This is optional, but it is usually a safe bet to ensure that the contents of the jar stay in the jar (especially with children). Place hot glue around the brim of the container, put on the top, and tighten it closed.
5. Add on any special instructions or sayings
Also optional, but now you can decorate your mindfulness jar with anything that may be special to you. This can include instructions to remind you of what the mindfulness jar represents, or it can include your favorite quote, or a picture of something that you enjoy. Have fun with making this your own! (Just make sure that the decorations don’t cover the entire bottle)
You have successfully made a mindfulness jar!
How Do You Use a Mindfulness Jar?
So now you have a mindfulness jar, here’s how to use it.
Look at the container when it is still. All of the glitter is at the bottom and the remainder of the container is clear. That is like our mind when we are calm, we are able to think clearly and we aren’t weighed down.
Now give the container a big shake and see the glitter swirl around. This is like our mind when we get worked up. Whether it be when we become stressed, anxious, angry, or anything else, our mind gets cloudy and things feel chaotic.
Look at the glitter. The three colors symbolically represent our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These three are intertwined and all affect one another. When we start to feel bad, these three are out of whack. Take this time to think about each.
Ask yourself the following:
What kind of thoughts are going through my head?
What emotion(s) am I feeling right now?
How am I behaving?
What am I doing physically? (Tense? Clenching fists? Shaking? Crying?)
Now take deep breaths and watch as the glitter settles back to the bottom. Once everything settles down, ask yourself those questions again. Are you feeling any different than when you began?
Childhood is a time of running, jumping, and exploring the world! Naturally, children seem to have endless stores of energy and would much rather run around than sit and pay attention to something. But where is the line drawn between a kid being a kid and a child who has ADHD? Keep reading to find out.
Parenting--one of the most rewarding, and one of the most stressful, jobs that someone can take on. As a parent, you want to be there for your child, and able to take on every obstacle that comes your way. But how often do you take care of yourself? It can become easy to forget about self-care as a parent, but failing to care for your needs can be damaging in the long run. So, what are ways to manage stress as a parent?
The Truth About Postpartum Depression
Ten little fingers and ten little toes. You couldn’t have imagined something so perfect. Everyone around you is so excited about your new baby and so are you! But something’s not right. You’re starting to feel off. You know you should feel happy, but you’ve been finding yourself feeling really down, could it be postpartum depression?
What is Postpartum Depression?
Having a child comes with major changes, both physically and mentally. Not only is your body adapting to the changes, your mind is also dealing with how to adjust to this new role as a parent, deal with sleep deprivation, and manage everything else that follows parenting. While it is an incredibly exciting time for many new parents, having a child can also come with unexpected stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Postpartum depression is very common, affecting over three million mothers each year. Postpartum depression usually begins within a few weeks of giving birth, and can last a year or longer. Despite many beliefs, postpartum depression does not discriminate. While there are risk factors and protective factors, postpartum depression can affect anyone.
What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?
People experiencing postpartum depression usually experience the following:
Difficulty attaching to the baby
Increased isolation from loved ones
Changes in sleep, appetite
Loss of interest in activities
Fear, hopelessness, feelings of unworthiness
Thoughts of hurting or killing oneself and/or their baby
What is the Difference Between Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues?
Many people are familiar with the term ‘the baby blues’. Baby blues are feelings of mild sadness, anxiety, mood swings, and feelings of being overwhelmed that accompany many new mothers, typically starting within a few days of childbirth. Unlike postpartum depression, the baby blues usually subside within one to two weeks and are far more mild than postpartum depression.
Can You Treat Postpartum Depression?
The answer is yes, postpartum depression can be managed and treated. Postpartum depression is often treated through therapy, which allows mothers a space to talk openly about their feelings and determine ways to cope with changes and feel better. Antidepressants can also be a useful tool to be used in conjunction with therapy for women experiencing postpartum depression. Lastly, maintaining strong social connections with loved ones and prioritizing rest and self-care can be deeply helpful for any new mother experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is real, and it is a serious mental health condition. If left untreated, postpartum depression could ultimately lead to the loss of life for a new mother or her child. If you or someone you know may be experiencing postpartum depression, please reach out and get connected to someone to help support you through this time.
Watch the video below to see Chrissy Teigen and another mother opening up about their experiences with postpartum depression.
Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month is a time for all of us to put extra energy into our awareness and education surrounding mental health, and support ourselves and those around us who deal with mental health issues.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is being in a state mental wellbeing. Just like our physical health, our mental health requires continuous effort, upkeep, and attention. Mental health is also a concern for all of us, not just those of us who deal with mental disorders. For all of us to feel our best and be our healthiest, mental health needs to be a priority.
How Common is Mental Illness?
1 in 5 people will experience mental illness at some point in our lives, that represents 20 percent of people. In addition to that, all of us face serious stressors and events in our lives that affect our mental health. With that, mental illness is very common, and likely all of us will need some type of support for maintaining our mental health at some point in our lives.
Is There a Stigma Around Mental Health?
Mental health and mental health issues have had stigmas attached to them for a long time. While things are improving, many people are still not comfortable talking about mental health or any kind of mental health concern.
This is clearly seen when you think of how readily people talk about physical ailments (like a cold or a broken bone), but far fewer people are so ready to speak about their mental health issues (like anxiety or depression). This stigma can make it really difficult for people to acknowledge that they need help and to actually seek out the support they need. (We will cover stigma more in a future blog).
How Do We Increase Mental Health Awareness?
Our first step toward increasing mental health awareness is to start talking about it. Mental health is something that should be a part of our daily life, and should be something that is openly spoken about. Starting the conversation will begin to show that everyone needs to prioritize mental health and that all of us can, and probably will, struggle with our own mental health concerns at some point in our lives.
Things You Can Do to Get Involved
Start the conversation about mental health with friends and family
Share the Mental Health Awareness Ribbon or the WhyCare Logo on your social media platforms
Educate yourself on mental illnesses and learn to recognize when someone may need support
Keep crisis resources on hand, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline number (800)950-NAMI and the Crisis Text Line (text 741-741).
Reach out to a trained clinician to talk to if you or someone you know needs support
Want more information or need someone to talk to? Click the link below to get connected with our practice.
What is the Key to A Good Life?
Psychiatrist, Robert Waldinger gave a TedTalk in 2015 on one of the longest standing studies, that has important implications for our lives. Keep reading to find out the key to living a healthy, happy life.
The Most Important Goals in Life
To start, take a second to think about what you consider to be the most important goals you have for your life. In a survey conducted on millennials, the two most common goals that surfaces were the following:
To get rich
To become famous
Do those goals fall in line with what you had in mind? In a society that emphasizes work and productivity, many of us may think that acquiring fame and fortune will inherently bring us happiness. The truth? Not necessarily.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development
Robert Waldinger is the current Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is one of the longest running studies, having been going for over 75 years at the time of the TedTalk. This massive research project studied two groups of males: one group from Harvard, and one group from some of the most troubled neighborhoods in Boston.
The researchers contacted these men once every two years, having them fill out questionnaires and surveys, collecting medical information, and interviewing the men, their spouses, and their family members. As time went on, the study began to uncover a surprising finding...
The Key to a Happy Life
The main finding of this entire study? The researchers found that the men all went very different paths in life. Some climbed the social ladder, some fell. Some succeeded, some did not. But the men who lived into their eighties and beyond all had one similar factor--positive social connection.
As quoted by Robert Waldinger: “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
To continue on this point, Waldinger highlighted that, when looking back at the research, people who had the highest satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Throughout the research, it is clear that quality social connection and close relationships is significantly tied to happier, healthier, and longer lives.
The Danger of Loneliness
Another key finding of the study is that loneliness is incredibly dangerous to our health. The study found that people who felt more isolated than they wanted to be were less happy, experienced health declines earlier in life, experienced greater declines in brain functioning earlier in life, and lived shorter lives overall.
This finding is scary, considering that the fact that 1 in 5 Americans report feeling lonely at any given point in time.
How Do We Apply These Findings to Our Own Lives?
The main takeaway of the Harvard Study of Adult Development is this-- the amount of money we earn or fame we achieve is not the key to being happy. Rather, the quality of our social connections and the relationships we have with the people around us are one of the most important predictors of our health throughout our life. So, take some time to step away from your phone screen and spend the extra few minutes connecting with those closest to you. You’ll be happy you did.
To watch the full TedTalk, check out the video here:
What to Look for in a Child Therapist
You’ve decided to seek out therapy for your child. As a loving parent, you want to feel comfortable with the therapist you choose, knowing that your child is in good hands. What are some things you should look for when finding a therapist for your child?
Things to Look for in a Child Therapist:
When looking for a therapist for your child, it is always good to find out the therapists specialty--both in age range and issues they work with most frequently. Finding someone who specializes in working with children similar in age and concern to your child is an important first step.
Finding a therapist who is not only well-versed, but also compassionate about the work they do is vital. Does the therapist seem interested in the work they do? Is working with children something they are passionate about?
3. Fun spirit
Kids are kids! Therapy with children shouldn’t be like pulling teeth. While work has to be done, more progress can be made when your child is able to have fun in the process.
You want to make sure that both you and your child are comfortable with the therapist you choose. Take your time in your search. If you need help getting started with finding a child therapist, check out this blog here. It is very important for you to feel comfortable with your child going to see them, and for your child to feel comfortable going to sessions!
These are just a few things to look for when choosing a therapist who is right for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our practice to get connected today!
How to Find a Therapist for Your Child
The search is on to find a therapist for your child. The only problem--you have no idea where to start. Deciding to look for a therapist for your child is one thing, but actually going through the process of finding a therapist is a whole other process. Where do you start and what things should you ask about?
Here are some tips for finding the right therapist for your child:
1. Do a quick search
If you don’t have anyone in mind, either Google search for a child therapist in your area, or head over to Psychology Today. This will let you look into several clinicians in your area and get a bit of background on them.
2. Find out their area of specialty
Reach out to the clinician or practice to get more information about their area of specialty and if they have a certain age range that they work with most often. Many therapists have an age-range that they specialize in (children, teens, young adults, etc.), which is good information to know! Also check out what mental concerns they specialize in. Finding someone who is knowledgeable with both the age group of your child and the issues they are experiencing is the first step toward finding a good match.
3. Chat with them
Many therapists offer free phone consultations. Here at our practice, all of our clinicians offer free 15 minute phone consultations. If you are still unsure about whether a certain therapist is a good fit, take advantage of the phone consultation. Having a quick chat is a great way to get a better understanding of the therapist’s style and whether they will be a good fit for what your child needs.
4. See how their process works
Ask the client liaison or clinician about how sessions work. Does the clinician see parents in a session prior to seeing the child? Are sessions combined? Does the clinician see the child only without the parents? Chat about the options and figure out what you and your child are most comfortable with. If you have any questions or concerns, just ask.
5. Get extra information
Finding someone who connects with your child is the first priority. However, don’t forget to ask about the other information as well. Get an idea of availability, price range, location of their office, and session times. Consistency is key for success in therapy, so make sure that whoever you schedule for your child is someone that you will be able to continue seeing on a regular basis.
Those are some basic tips to help you through the process of finding a therapist for your child. We know that the process can feel overwhelming at times. If you are ever looking for more information or have any questions, feel free to reach out to us and get connected to our client liaison!
What are Coping Skills?
Coping skills is a term thrown around frequently, especially among the therapeutic community. What are coping skills and how do we use them?
What are coping skills?
Coping skills cover a variety of things that we can do to help ourselves through a variety of feelings, emotions, and mental states. This includes: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and more.
Coping skills vary widely, as they are very unique to each person. With this being said, one person’s go-to coping skill may not be helpful at all to someone else.
What are examples of coping skills?
However, there are some very common coping skills that are popular among a lot of people. These include:
Taking deep breaths
Taking deep breaths and counting to ten are an easy and convenient coping skill, as we are able to access it anytime, anywhere. Focusing on our breathing and making an effort to take slow, deep breaths helps us to slow down and center ourselves.
Listening to music
Ever gotten in the car and blasted your favorite songs after a bad day? That is an example of using a coping skill! Many of us connect to the emotions of the song that we are listening to and in time, we are able to unwind with our favorite jam.
Talking to a close friend, loved one, or other trusted person
Sometimes, we need to just vent. Connecting with someone who we trust and letting out some steam is a great way to help ourselves through a situation and to gain more clarity on the issue at hand.
When would we use coping skills?
Coping skills can, and should, be used throughout daily life. Whether you had a stressful day or a major life event, coping skills help us to stay grounded, in the moment, and able to deal with whatever comes our way.
How to find out what coping skills work for you:
The process of discovering the coping skills that work best for you is a personal process that sometimes takes a bit of trial and error. To start, think about the things that you usually do first after a long and stressful day. Do you read? Write? Exercise? Eat a bar of chocolate? Find out what it is that you usually do and then decide whether it is a helpful thing to do or something that is not so helpful.
From there, continue down the list and brainstorm things that you think can help you. Write these down and try each one out the next time you are feeling down. Star the ones that help you the most and scrap the ones that aren’t helpful. As time goes on, this ongoing list is something that you’ll be able to keep on hand to use whenever you need it.