Easy Ways to Improve Your Daily Mental Health

on Monday, 23 April 2018.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Daily Mental Health

Mental illness is not uncommon in the United States, with an estimated 43.8 million adults – or 18.5 percent of the adult U.S. population – experiencing a mental health issue each year. Because of the prevalence of mental illnesses, it’s important to take steps to care for your daily mental health.

 

However, even if you do not personally suffer from a mental health issue, you still should make an effort to care for your daily mental health to help prevent issues from arising. And, of course, if you do suffer from a mental health issue, improving your daily mental health can help relieve the issues you face.

 

There are various ways to improve your daily mental health, and truthfully, the best ways vary from person to person. Many people will have to try multiple methods of improving their mental health before they find the most effective way.

 

One way to improve your daily mental health is to take care of your body. A healthy body decreases your chances of developing a mental issue. Eating healthy, exercising frequently and getting enough sleep are all ways to take care of your body.

 

Other ways of improving your mental health concern how you work. Multitasking has been linked to an increase in stress, and procrastinating has been linked to an increase in anxiety. To keep your mental health grounded as you work, create schedules (and stick to them), only focus on one task at a time and never wait until the last minute to complete anything.

 

You should also find ways to take a break from work. Responsibilities such as your education, career and even family can require a lot of energy from you and leave you feeling drained and exhausted. Find times for you to have “me-time” where you focus on yourself and relax from your daily stress triggers.

 

Lastly, limit your technology use. Too much time spent with technology, such as televisions, computers and smartphones, can overstimulate your brain and leave you exhausted. Just like you need to find time for yourself, you also need to find time to take a break from technology – even if it’s just for a few hours each week – so your brain can have a break.

 

Improving your daily mental health is something that every person should do. When you have good mental health, you are more likely to live a positive and healthy life. Though it can take some time to find the right methods for you to improve your daily mental health, it is worth it to keep trying.

 

 

 

Mental Health Issues as We Age

on Tuesday, 17 April 2018.

Mental Health Issues as We Age

Mental health issues do not discriminate, and they can affect anybody of any age. That being said, certain mental health issues are more prevalent in certain age groups. And this holds true for the elderly – defined as the generation that is 60 and older – who are more prone to certain mental health issues than the general population.

According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of the elderly population suffers from some sort of mental illness. The most common illnesses seen in this age group are dementia (a disorder defined by a decline in memory, thinking and everyday behavior) and depression, followed by anxiety and then, substance abuse issues.

Signs of a mental health issue in an elderly individual include persistent sadness, social isolation, constant fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, memory loss, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained body aches, issues maintaining their appearance or struggles in working with numbers.

Some of the triggers for a mental illness in an elderly individual include a serious illness (such as cancer), a physical disability, the loss of a loved one, a change of environment (such as moving into an assisted living facility) or a poor diet.

Overcoming a mental health illness as we age is similar to overcoming a mental illness in all other age groups. The person with the issue should seek help from a professional. Unfortunately, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that only one in three elderly individuals who have a mental illness actually seek professional help for it.

Ways to help prevent the elderly from developing mental illnesses include ensuring that they have freedom and security, quality housing and social support. However, if an elderly individual still ends up experiencing a mental illness, it is important to help them find treatment.

Rising Mental Health Issues Among College Students

on Tuesday, 10 April 2018.

Rising Mental Health Issues Among College Students

Mental health issues are rising in college students across the nation. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of college students experience mental health issues. And the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Collegiate Mental Health reports that the number of college students seeking treatment for mental health issues rose by 50 percent between 2015 and 2016.

College is a prime time for mental health issues to surface due to the stress students face and the fact that many of them are away from their families for the first time. The most common mental issues that college students face are depression, substance abuse, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, panic attacks, eating disorders, sleep disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Though the issues facing college students are diverse and numerous, common behaviors that indicate an underlying mental illness include poor performance in class, exhibiting a constant state of sadness and social isolation.

The most important step college students with mental health issues can take is to speak with someone about their issues. This can be a parent or guardian or even a trusted friend.

Next, college students should seek help for their issues. Colleges often have numerous mental health resources on their campuses, such as counselors. These counselors can help students to diagnose and devise treatment plans for their issues.

Though getting treatment is the best way to overcome a mental illness, other ways to cope with mental illnesses include eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. By taking care of their bodies and their health, college students can better deal with a mental health issue.

College students must remember that mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed about. Many college students experience issues because of the stressful environment of higher education. If you are a college student and you think you have a mental health issue, you need to seek help. Finding treatment is the best way to overcome your mental health issues.

How Mental Health Issues Affect Women

on Thursday, 05 April 2018.

How Mental Health Issues Affect Women

Though mental health issues can affect both men and women, there are differences in how the issues affect the different genders. Certain mental health issues affect women more prevalently, and women may also be affected in different ways than men.

One of the most noticeable differences concerns depression. Women are more likely to suffer from depression and be diagnosed with the illness than men. According to prevention.com, between 10 and 15 percent of women will experience depression at some point in their lives, which is twice the number of men. Reasons for the discrepancy include hormones and the significant biological shifts that women undergo during the lifetimes.

Women also experience depression differently than men. While men with depression often externalize their negative feelings by exhibiting anger, irritation and aggression, women often internalize their depression, leading to feelings of constant sadness and guilt.

Women also experience anxiety at higher rates than men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are two times as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men. The same goes for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; women are twice as likely to suffer from it than men. Some experts attribute the gap to the fact that women are more likely to experience sexual abuse and assault, which are triggers that can lead to PTSD.

Lastly, eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are more common in women. The reason for this prevalence is society’s culture of pressuring women to fit into certain beauty standards, which includes the standard that women should have a thin body.

Though people of both genders can experience mental health issues, it is important to understand that women experience these issues at different rates and in different ways than men. Acknowledging the differences can help mental health providers to better diagnose and treat women, while also allowing women who experience mental health issues to better understand and recognize their conditions.

Stress after Traumatic Events

on Wednesday, 21 March 2018.

Stress after Traumatic Events

Lingering stress after traumatic events is most commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Though PTSD is most often associated with veterans returning home from wars, anybody can suffer from the mental illness.

 

Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include things like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a car accident or a major illness. Any event that causes severe trauma to a person (which could be physical or emotional trauma) can cause PTSD in that person.

 

PTSD is characterized by persistent stress that lasts more than a month following the traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks and nightmares, as well as avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic experience. For example, a person suffering from PTSD from a devastating hurricane may avoid being outside when it rains.

 

Other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, feeling tense, being startled easily and loss of interest in fun activities. Ultimately, what makes PTSD different from normal stress following a traumatic experience is that the person has a difficult time functioning and they experience a disruption in their daily lives.

 

Overcoming PTSD requires a diagnosis and treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Mental health professionals can help treat the illness through medications and/or therapy.

 

It is important to note that not all stress after trauma is considered PTSD. Most people experience stress after traumatic events, but it goes away in a reasonable amount of time and does not develop into PTSD.

 

This normal stress does not require treatment from a mental health professional. Ways to cope with normal stress after a traumatic event include asking for support from family and friends, talking about the experience with trusted individuals, practicing self-care and acknowledging your emotions.

 

Stress after traumatic events is normal, and there are ways to overcome it. But, if you find that the stress is not going away and is negatively impacting your daily life, then you may suffer from PTSD. PTSD can be difficult to cope with, but with treatment, it can be overcome.

Depression in Teenagers

on Wednesday, 14 March 2018.

Depression in Teenagers

Teenagers will often experience periods of time when they feel sad or “down,” but when these feelings are persistent, they may be suffering from depression.  According to Colombia University and the City University of New York, depression rates among teenagers rose from 8.7 to 12.7 percent between 2005 and 2015.

Though anyone can experience depression, the teenage years come with a unique set of challenges that can amplify the mental illness. Teens are often faced with school, social and family pressures, as well as hormonal changes due to puberty. 

Signs of depression in teens are numerous and can include persistent feelings of sadness, loss of energy or appetite, social isolation, low self-esteem, angry behavior, poor grades in school, self-harm, suicidal feelings or drug and alcohol abuse.

If you are a teen and you feel as though you have depression, there are things you can do to help your situation. Try to make new friends or join a new club or sport. Doing so can increase your self-esteem, keep you busy (so you cannot dwell on the negative feelings), and prevent you from becoming isolated.

However, if your depression persists and does not improve, then you should talk to an adult that you trust. A trusted adult can help you choose your best course of action. Therapy is a good option because a therapist can help you understand the underlying reasons why you are depressed, and he or she can help you create a specific course of action to address it.

Depression in teens is on the rise, so it is important to be aware of the signs and to know what to look for. Ignoring it will not make it go away, and untreated depression can have severe consequences, including suicide. If you are a teen who is depressed, remember that there are resources available for you.

How to Improve your Self-Confidence

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How to Improve your Self-Confidence

You may think of self-confidence issues as something that teenagers deal with. You picture lonely teenagers in high school, struggling with self-confidence as they try to fit in with the cool kids. But the truth is, anyone can have issues with their self-confidence, including adults.

 

Self-confidence issues can make you feel sad and hopeless. People with poor self-confidence often hold themselves back in life because they are too afraid to take on risks or challenges. Ultimately, self-confidence issues can lead to an unhappy, unfulfilling life.

 

If you have poor self-confidence, there are steps you can take to build up your confidence. Firstly, think more positively. When you have poor self-confidence, you often feel down on yourself and have a negative feeling in regards to your life. To overcome this, focus on what is good in your life. What are the positive traits that you have? What are your greatest accomplishments? Thinking more positively about your life will help you to feel more confident.

 

Next, try to figure out what makes you feel bad about yourself. Maybe it is another person who makes snide comments about you, or it could even be a place or activity. Whatever it is, try to avoid it. Cutting the things that make you feel bad about yourself out of your life will make a huge difference.

 

Also, find a task to do, and stick with it until it is complete. This can be something as simple as making a new recipe for dinner, to something more elaborate such as planting a new garden. When you challenge yourself to do something and you carry through and complete it, you feel better about yourself because you know you can set goals and reach them.

 

Lastly, take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well. Reduce the stress in your life, and try to present yourself in a way that will make you feel confident. A put-together appearance and a healthy body can go a long way toward making you feel better about yourself.

 

Poor self-confidence can hold you back, but there are ways to overcome it. Take control of your life today, and become the self-confident person you were meant to be.

 

How to Handle a Break-Up

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How to Handle a Break-Up

Bad break-ups are often the focus of comedies in Hollywood. However, there are people who truly struggle with getting over a break-up with a significant other, and it can be a serious issue. Some people feel depressed or angry after a break-up, and others feel completely heartbroken or even sick. Whereas some people bounce back, others have a much more difficult time getting over it.

If you are in the midst of a break-up, and you find yourself having a hard time letting go, you must find ways to handle it better. Firstly, don’t suppress the feelings you have. It may seem as though ignoring your feelings is the way to go, but ignoring them will prevent you from moving on. Acknowledge how you feel, so you can better deal with the break-up.

Also, think positively. After a break-up, it is easy to despair and feel as though something is wrong with you, but these feelings are what is causing you to have a difficult time letting go. Instead, think of what is positive in your life. It could be your job or a talent that you have. It also could be other people in your life.

In addition, do not try to contact your ex. Doing so will just bring back all the feelings of negativity. Truthfully, if your ex broke up with you, it probably means that he or she does not want you in his/her life anymore. So, why try to go back to someone who doesn’t want you around? Instead, focus on the people who do want you in their lives – such as your friends and family – and spend more time with them. Spending time with the people who love you can help you feel better following a break-up.

It is also important to take care of yourself. You may want to stay home all day, watching movies and indulging in ice cream to make yourself feel better, but these unhealthy habits will take a toll on your body and make you feel worse in the long run. Eat healthy, get enough rest, and exercise. Take time to go out (instead of confining yourself in your home) and do the things that you love, such as going to the movies or doing yoga. Taking good care of yourself will help you to bounce back.

A break-up may feel like a trying time in your life, but it does not have to keep you down for too long. Ultimately, the decisions you make and the things you do after a break-up will determine how quickly you move past it.

Are you a Parent Who is Constantly Fighting with Your Teen?

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

Are you a Parent Who is Constantly Fighting with Your Teen?

The teenage years can be a tumultuous time for you and your teenager. As soon as the teenage years hit, it may seem as though your child has changed overnight. They are irritable, angry and rebellious. The hormones, social pressures and school can all contribute to these changes in your child.

Parents often speak about how the most difficult part of the teenage years is the constant fighting they have with their child. It may seem as though you are fighting about everything with your teen – from what they are wearing to their grades at school. You want to provide guidance to your teen and to prevent them from going down the wrong path. And your teenager wants to become more independent, which means, essentially, that they want you to leave them alone. The situation is prime for conflict.

If you are constantly fighting with your teen, one thing you can do is try to see the situation from their point of view. You were a teenager once; you may be able to understand where they are coming from and why they are angry.

Secondly, always try to deescalate the situation. If your teen is yelling, yelling back will just make the fight worse. Remain calm and try to speak to your teen rationally. Ask them what they really want. Sometimes, a fight can veer off course to include other issues that have nothing to do with the original fight. Getting the situation back on track will help end the conflict early.

Thirdly, try to compromise. Maybe your teen wants to stay out with friends until 3 a.m. when their curfew is at 10 p.m. Your first response may be a definite “no,” but giving this answer is likely to lead to a big fight. Instead, try to compromise. Maybe let them stay out until midnight, or tell them that they will be allowed to stay out that late in a few years.

Lastly, know what to do after a fight. Once the conflict is over, you may have trouble talking with your child (who probably does not want to speak with you). Let your teen cool off, and give them time and space. Eventually, you can try to correct things with your teen.

Fighting with your child is never pleasant, but it is a normal occurrence during the teenage years. With patience and a willingness to work with your teen, you should be able to deescalate confrontations and make them a little less unpleasant.

Managing a Midlife Crisis

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

Managing a Midlife Crisis

Midlife crisis is a common term, but do you know what it actually refers to? A midlife crisis can be described as a difficult life period that often occurs in a person’s 40s and 50s. It is a crisis in which a person faces challenging emotions and feelings as they reach middle age.

Signs of a midlife crisis can vary from person to person. Some people feel a sense of negativity in regards to their life, in which they have little hope for the future or believe that their best years are behind them.

Other people begin to feel bored with their lives and take drastic measures to make their lives more exciting, such as abruptly changing their career, spending money on lavish purchases or even having an affair.

Some people become obsessed with their appearances and take drastic measures – such as plastic surgery – to preserve their youth. Still others may even give up on their looks, deciding not to care about their physical appearance whatsoever.

If you exhibit any of these signs, then you may be experiencing a midlife crisis. Though there is no cure for it, there are steps you can take to cope.

First, focus on the good stuff in your life. You may be having second thoughts about your career and what you have not accomplished thus far, but you need to focus on what you do have. Sure, maybe you still haven’t traveled to South America or Europe, but you still have a loving family with possibly a leadership role at your workplace. Focusing on the good will help to suppress the difficult feelings you are experiencing.

Second, use this time period as a chance to reflect. Maybe you are beginning to realize that you have not accomplished some things that you always wanted to accomplish. And this midlife crisis should be your wakeup call that you need to work toward accomplishing those things.  

A midlife crisis is never easy, but it does not mean that something is wrong with your life. With time, thought and reflection, this challenging period of your life will pass, and you may even come out of it with a greater appreciation for what you do have.

How a Blended Family Affects the Kids

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How a Blended Family Affects the Kids

Blended families – or families that contain children from a previous relationship of at least one of the partners – are becoming increasingly common. According to the Pew Research Center in 2015, about 16 percent of children in the United States are now living in blended families.

 

A blended family creates a set of challenges that are not often seen in traditional families. Particularly, blended families can create challenges for the kids involved. When you create a family that is a blend of different families, it is only natural that a child may have a difficult time adjusting as they gain new stepsiblings and new stepparents.

 

One challenge is that a child may see their new stepsiblings as rivals. Children see that their parent now has to devote part of their attention to the new stepsiblings – attention that was previously devoted just to them – and they become jealous and resentful. This is why it is important, as a parent in a blended family, to carve out time to spend solely with your biological children. It helps them to remember that they are still special.

 

Children also may have a hard time accepting or connecting with their new stepparent. This is normal, and it is best to just give them time. Experts say that it takes two to five years before a blended family is truly functional. Remember that the children did not choose to become a part of a blended family; the parents made that choice. Give them time to adjust to the dynamics of the new family.

 

When it comes to stepparents, children also may find it difficult to accept discipline from their new stepparent. In reality, in the early days of a blended family, it should fall to the biological parent to be chief disciplinarian of their children with the stepparent helping out. As time goes on, it should be easier for the children to accept discipline from the stepparent.

 

Blended families come with their own unique challenges, and the kids in them are often the ones who have the most difficult time. But, with time and patience, a blended family can come together and be just as loving as a traditional family.

Managing Guilt

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

Managing Guilt

Guilt, as defined by Psychology Today, is a feeling of emotion that tells you that you may have or will cause harm to another person. Harm, in these situations, can be emotional or physical.

Guilt is a common emotion that everyone will experience at some time. Most people can experience a total of five hours of the feeling each week, according to studies.

However, guilt can have negative consequences. The emotion can cause you to have difficulties concentrating and difficulties completing work. The feeling of guilt can consume your life to the point where you are unable to enjoy yourself or function properly.

In order to prevent the emotion from consuming you, the first thing you need to do is identify the source of the guilt. What is really causing the guilty feelings? Once you identify the source of the emotion, you can pinpoint what you can do to “fix” those feelings.

For example, maybe you are feeling guilty because you made a joke that hurt your friend’s feelings. Or maybe you feel guilty because you are not spending enough time with your family. In the first case, apologizing to your friend can rectify those guilty feelings. And in the second case, you can find ways to set aside more time to spend with your family members. Identifying the source helps you to create a solution.

Next, move on from the guilt. If you have made amends, there is no need to keep dwelling on the negative feelings. However, you still should learn from the experience. Referring to the cases mentioned above, the first case could teach you that you need to think hard before you make a joke, and the second case could teach you that you need to manage your time better.

Guilt is a normal emotion, but it has the potential to negatively impact your life. Learning to manage the emotion is crucial to prevent it from spiraling out of control. 

 

How to recognize drug and alcohol abuse in teens

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How to recognize drug and alcohol abuse in teens

Many people in their teenage years try drugs and alcohol. Most often, they try the substances to fit in, to do something exciting, to seem more like an adult or because they like how it makes them feel.

 

Teenagers are more susceptible to drug and alcohol experimentation because of the development of their brains. During the teenage years, the brain’s pleasure centers develop faster than the decision-making parts of the brain. Simply put, teenagers are more likely to take part in riskier activities because their brains have not fully developed to understand the risks.

 

Unfortunately, occasional instances of using drugs and alcohol can blossom into addictions and abuse. Substance abuse can be defined as experiencing uncontrollable cravings for psychoactive substances such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

 

Teens who come from families with drug and alcohol problems are at an increased risk of experiencing the same issues. The risk also increases in teens who have poor relationships with their parents and with teens who experience low self-esteem and mental health issues.

 

What makes drug and alcohol abuse in teens so alarming is that it affects the brain during the key developmental years. The teenage years are critical years for developing a healthy brain for adulthood, and substance abuse can cause brain damage. Negative effects include memory problems, damaged connections inside the brain and missed learning opportunities.

 

If you are a parent or guardian who is concerned that your teen may be abusing substances, you need to know what to look for. Signs include red eyes, fatigue, poor attendance or performance in school and new friends who seem to have little interest in school or family.

 

If you discover an issue with your teen, the first step is to speak with them about it. Help them to understand why their habits are a problem and let them know that you still support them. Avoid having an angry reaction; this will just result in a negative response from your teen.

 

You also need to have your teenager see a doctor or a counselor. They can decide what the best course of action is to stop the drug and alcohol abuse. Above all, when you recognize substance abuse in your teenager, you need to take action quickly.

Are You Isolating Yourself?

on Wednesday, 13 December 2017.

Are You Isolating Yourself?

Isolation can be described as distancing yourself from others. Isolation, in psychology, does not refer to distancing yourself in the physical sense – that is solitude. Rather, isolation refers to being separated from others in the social or emotional sense.

Social isolation is when a person lacks social relationships. A person chooses to distance themselves, socially, from others, which leads to an absence of friends and acquaintances and little contact with other people. Though spending some time away from other people can be a positive thing, especially if you are an introvert, spending too much time by yourself can have negative consequences, such as depression and low self-esteem.

People who suffer from social isolation often suffer from emotional isolation, as well. Emotional isolation refers to when a person does not have a close partner with whom they can confide and share their feelings with. Emotionally isolated people do not express their feelings or emotions, and they have issues communicating with other people. They often feel numb and as if no one understands them.

To overcome social or emotional isolation, you need to discover what is the root cause of the isolation. A person may choose to isolate themselves due to trust issues, past abuse, mental illnesses, major life changes or bad experiences in previous social or emotional relationships.

Therapy can help a person overcome their social or emotional isolation. A therapist can help you to understand why you suffer from social or emotional isolation and how you can overcome it. In therapy, you will learn how to handle the fear or apprehension you experience when connecting with other people, and you will learn social skills that will help you to form social and emotional relationships. A therapist will even serve as a person with whom you can socially and emotionally connect with.

Stress Over the Holidays

on Monday, 04 December 2017.

Stress Over the Holidays

Though the holidays are often associated with relaxation, leisure and joy, they also can be a cause of stress. Holiday stress is a very real thing and with the winter holidays now approaching, you may already be feeling the tension.

Why do the holidays cause so much stress in people’s lives? The answer may lie in the fact that people often have higher expectations for the holidays than they do for other times of the year. People expect the holidays to be joyous occasions filled with activities and family time.

The holidays often require careful planning, which is another source of stress, and people often feel pressure to buy expensive gifts, which can cause stress over money.

If you are concerned that the upcoming holiday season will be stressful for you, there are steps you can take to prevent stress.

First, understand if your holiday expectations are even realistic. If you set unreasonably high expectations for yourself for the holiday season and you, more than likely, fall short of them, you will end up feeling disappointment and despair. Evaluate your expectations and make sure that they are reasonable. And if you fall short, don’t despair; take joy in the expectations that you did meet.

When planning for the holidays, you can avoid stress by setting a spending limit (and sticking to it), creating to-do lists, sharing the responsibilities with other people and not taking on too many tasks.

But, it’s not just the planning that causes stress; the events and festivities of the holidays also can be sources of stress. During the holidays, remember to leave time for yourself and take reprieves from the group activities. Too much time with others can overwhelm you and cause you to forget about your own needs.

The holidays can be a fun time, so make sure you are taking the necessary steps to enjoy them to the fullest. Take care of yourself and look forward to the positive aspects of the season and the opportunity to connect with others.  

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