When Does Exercise Become an Addiction?

woman staring in mirror at gym holding weights, gym addiction

Many of my high school days concluded with an exhausting volleyball or lacrosse practice. By the time I had finished a full day of classes and a two-hour practice, I was beyond ready for a high-calorie dinner and good night’s sleep. After I finished hours of homework, of course.

After a while, however, I began to notice one of my classmates hit the gym for more time on the treadmill either before or after these long practices. At first, I wished I somehow had that same motivation, the same drive. Soon though I realized how problematic the behavior could be.

Today, as we celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, it’s important to recognize that exercise can actually become unhealthy. Continue reading When Does Exercise Become an Addiction?

How to Make Every Space a Safe Space

calm sunroom safe space

In a world filled with judgment and stigma, having a place — physical or virtual — for when you need to open up and ask for help is paramount for your mental health. A safe space, a meeting ground for you when you need assistance, or need to be alone, for others who need the same. It’s a simple concept with a big impact.

In my own experience, I’ve found having a safe space to be hugely important. There’s something powerful about not having to apologize for being who you are, what you’re experiencing or what you’ve done. When you feel loved and confident instead of regretful and defensive, you feel less afraid. And when you feel less afraid, you are capable of processing and working towards change more freely.

What this space looks like can vary, but it can be something as simple as a group of people who hold similar values and provide each other with a supportive, respectful environment. One of my strongest safe spaces is a text chain with my best friends from high school — girls I can be myself around and open up to entirely, knowing I’m being listened to and will be loved regardless of what I say or feel. Continue reading How to Make Every Space a Safe Space

10 Low-Cost Ways to Spend a Mental Health Day

women in line for the ice cream truck

When summer rolls around, it’s tempting to think the sun showers and beach days will wash away any mental health maintenance struggles. But for many, the warm weather brings new challenges like baring self-harm scars, dealing with body image issues, managing high expectations to have the perfect summer, coping with a lack of structure, and carrying the financial burdens of the heavy travel season. Continue reading 10 Low-Cost Ways to Spend a Mental Health Day

I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

Sign that says reserved for yoga

I would not be the person I am today without yoga.

When I first started practicing yoga, it was one of the only things I did just for me. I cherished every minute of it. Not being responsible for anyone or anything but my own well-being felt like a luxury. “Yoga is a great form of self-care,” Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D. LPCC-S, and Ohio-based Talkspace therapist said. Having been an overachiever my entire life, the idea of self-care was brand new to me. Yoga felt like the perfect combination of doing something that felt productive while also giving my brain a much-needed break.

“One thing that I really love about yoga is the emphasis on mindfulness (i.e. being fully present and focused on the moment),” O’Neill added. “In my work with clients, I often incorporate those same mindfulness principles into the counseling sessions.” Continue reading I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

How Mindfulness Therapy Can Improve Your Mental Health

Woman sitting looking at mountains

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 18% of adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder. As mental illness reaches epidemic proportions, innovative solutions and effective treatment options are required.

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in dealing with various mental health challenges and symptoms. Beyond breathing exercises, mindfulness means being fully aware of the facets of the body and mind. This helps in assessing intrusive thoughts and emotional reactions.
Continue reading How Mindfulness Therapy Can Improve Your Mental Health

A New Type of Meditation to Reduce Anxiety

asian man listening music iphone

Originally a tool for our ancestors’ survival, anxiety is not as handy as it used to be, what with the shortage of predatory animals inhabiting the same space as us. As an anxiety sufferer of almost 17 years, I can hardly recall a time when I wasn’t nervous or scared of something. I developed it at the age of five. But when I was that young, I didn’t even understand what it was.

It wasn’t until I took a psychology class in high school that I became fascinated with mental health. I realized I had anxiety, depression, and a laundry list of other issues. But over the last year or so, I’ve spent a lot of my time researching and practicing ways to better cope with and even quell these illnesses.

Compared to all other means of getting my anxiety to chill out, meditation has been the most effective and beneficial to my overall well-being. When we see the word “meditation,” we sometimes picture a monk in lotus pose perched atop a rock on a mountain. While that would be considered meditating, that’s not the only way to go about it. Meditating, at its core, is an act of quieting the mind. It can be on a mountain or in your living room. Continue reading A New Type of Meditation to Reduce Anxiety

Finding Inner Peace with Mindfulness and the 5 Senses

woman tea meditation

Mindfulness is the power of living in the moment, embracing your current circumstances without judgement or pretense. To be mindful is to be a conscious observer.

Mindfulness is a big trend, not only in popular culture, but in contemporary therapy. Many counselors tout this westernized version of traditional Eastern practices as a way to promote relaxation and reduce stress in clients. It’s become a popular training topic for clinicians because there is evidence that it helps reduce anxiety and depression.

As a therapist, I often incorporate mindfulness-based cognitive strategies in my work to help clients deal with stressful jobs and lives. In my practice I’ve found it to be especially effective at battling anxiety and perfectionism. It can be a challenge, however, to incorporate mindfulness in your daily routine if you’re not used to slowing down and paying conscious attention. Continue reading Finding Inner Peace with Mindfulness and the 5 Senses

The Scientific Power of Meditation – Decoded

The Scientific Power of Meditation - Decoded

Practicing meditation “means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.”
You hear that it’s good for you on the news, on the radio, and from every health enthusiast you speak to, but do you understand how meditation works – like scientifically? If not, you’re in luck, because the guys at ASAPscience – you know, the ones we told you about last Friday? – have done it again! In a concise, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining manner, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown take you through the science of mediation in exactly 3 very informative minutes. And you should totally watch it!  Continue reading The Scientific Power of Meditation – Decoded

5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday

5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday

After Time magazine declared the “Mindful Revolution” in 2014, the momentum and allure of mindfulness practice has only grown.

– by Ben Epstein, Ph.D / Talkspace Therapist

No longer confined to yoga classrooms and meditation retreats, mindfulness has entered the “mainstream” – from the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies to the chambers of the United States Congress. Recent developments in mindfulness research, published in The Lancet journal, indicate that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) offers a similar level of protection against depressive relapses as antidepressants.

Continue reading 5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday