Anxiety Reading: How About a Little Neurotica?

Neurotica

I don’t know about you, but I occasionally experience a pang of anxiety when it comes to sexual intimacy.

Silly thoughts invade my mind, and I stay up late entertaining all of the comical and terribly embarrassing scenarios of what could possibly go wrong. There are lots. Even now, after 13 incredible years with my partner I can still get a little self-conscious, though I do find my inability to relax during those moments fairly amusing. Yes, I can get a little neurotic. Continue reading Anxiety Reading: How About a Little Neurotica?

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

8 Tips For Dating in Your 30s

9 Tips For Surviving Dating in Your 30s

I know what you’re thinking, “ANOTHER blog post about dating? There’s so much advice already out there!” Stay with me though.

– by Angie Dion, LMFT / Talkspace Therapist

As a 30-something relational therapist who is currently single and dating, I regularly read about relationships in books, research articles and blog posts. After selectively taking the advice I’ve come across, I came up with the following nine tips for surviving dating in your 30s. Think of it as a gift from one singleton to another.

Continue reading 8 Tips For Dating in Your 30s

Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces

Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces

The following is intended for readers 18+

Sexual assault can shatter a person’s world into a million pieces – therapy can help put them back together.

There are many different types of sexual assault, which may or may not include physical contact. One of the most important but difficult things victims have to comprehend is that they cannot hold themselves accountable for the vile actions of other people. Just ask any therapist. Continue reading Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces

5 Ways to Manage Stress While Raising A Child With Autism

5 Ways to Manage Stress While Raising A Child With Autism

Once we accept the diagnosis and learn to manage our own stress, raising a child with autism can be a uniquely rewarding experience.
Most parents will tell you that their children stole their hearts the very second they were born. It’s the nature of love and parenthood. We’re biologically programmed to take care of our offspring from the moment they take their first breath to the very instant we take our last one, and an autism diagnosis seldomly changes that. Still, being told that your child has autism could be a very difficult fact to accept, but by utilizing diverse coping strategies you can learn to navigate the sometimes-turbulent waters of autism for smoother sailing later on. Continue reading 5 Ways to Manage Stress While Raising A Child With Autism

Talkspace Pedi-Pop Up Event Takes Over Gramercy!

Talkspace Pedi-Pop Up Event Takes Over Gramercy!

Last Friday, Talkspace took over the swanky Cleo Spa and Salon in NYC’s Gramercy District for its highly anticipated Inner Beauty Pedi-Pop Up Event!
During the free inner-and-outer beauty session, guests were encouraged to mingle, network, and get their feet pampered by Cleo’s skillful experts while chatting away with our professional Talkspace therapists. The affair went off without a hitch, even the weather cleared up for the afternoon despite the gloomy forecast and overcast morning. Continue reading Talkspace Pedi-Pop Up Event Takes Over Gramercy!

How Stress Affects Our Bodies

How Stress Affects Our Bodies

We’ve all been told that stress is bad for our bodies, but how many of us actually know why that’s the case? While ignorance may be bliss in certain cases, it’s beneficial for us to learn a little bit more about the impact of stress on our general health and well-being. Its effects might surprise you.

The Biology Behind Stress

Stress is part of our overall survival mechanism. It’s how we react to psychological or physical threats. In the presence of danger, regardless of whether it’s real or imagined, our nervous systems kick our bodies into defense mode, activating a stress response commonly referred to as the “fight-or-flight” reflex.

The main goal of the stress response is to help us rise up to the challenges at hand. A normal stress response makes us sharper, quicker, and a lot more alert than usual. We sort of become superhuman, like Spider Man. But because we’re not faced with danger all of the time, a prolonged stress response can actually cause health issues.

Biological Effects of Stress on the Body

When we experience chronic stress or find ourselves in the presence of danger, our brains prep our key body systems for emergency action:

  • The nervous and endocrine systems respond by flooding our bodies with stress hormones. Two of these hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, suppress our immune systems and speed up our heart rates.
  • Our musculoskeletal systems force our muscles to contract. This is good if we want to outrun a bear, but it can trigger a tension headache or other types of physical discomfort.
  • Our respiratory systems cause rapid breathing to ensure our muscles have enough oxygen to function as we escape. It can, however, lead to hyperventilation that could cause the onset of a panic attack.
  • Our cardiovascular systems dilate our blood vessels, which in turn can lead to inflammation of the coronary arteries. In extreme cases, this could trigger a heart attack.
  • Our gastrointestinal systems provoke food cravings for fatty or sugary foods. Although they temporarily boost our energy levels, they irritate our stomachs and bowels in the long run.

Because stress affects our minds, bodies and behaviors differently, our ability to tolerate prolonged stress or short bursts also varies. Stress and resiliency expert, Jenny C. Evans, explained how prolonged exposure to stress can rewire our brains, leaving us prone to anxiety and depression. She notes that it also negatively affects our memory, learning ability, and impulsive behavior. It’s important to state that the longer our bodies remain stressed, the harder it is to get them back to neutral – a state that science and medicine folk refer to as homeostasis.

What Can We Do To Prevent Stress from Wreaking Havoc on Our Bodies?

According to Melinda Smith and Robert Segal of HelpGuide.org, we can all practice the four A’s of stress management:

  1. Avoid unnecessary stress by identifying our triggers and keeping them at a distance.
  2. Alter our situations by trying to deal with problems as they come instead of internalizing them.
  3. Adapt to the stressors by reframing how we think about them.
  4. Accept what is beyond our control.

Of course, we can also try to cope with stress by meditating in a room full of adorable kittens. Nonetheless, seeking guidance from a licensed therapist is by far the most effective tool we have for dealing with stress and protecting our minds as well as our bodies from its harmful effects.

The Future of Online Therapy

The Future of Online Therapy

The future of online therapy is full of incredible possibilities that can potentially transform numerous aspects of the world’s social structure. Imagine if we could utilize it to reform the organization of rehabilitation programs in juvenile centers from the ground up; change how counseling services are administered to the growing number of refugees around the world; or provide support to people suffering from impulse control or manic depression. While we are only getting to understand the positive impact of online therapy on an individual level, as it becomes more mainstream and less stigmatized, it can ultimately evolve into a game-changing tool capable of redrawing how health and social welfare programs are run on a global scale. Continue reading The Future of Online Therapy

Valentine’s Day for Singles

Valentine’s Day for Singles

Valentine’s Day. For single people in America (who would like to be in romantic relationships), this can be one of the most excruciating days of the year. Everywhere you look, happy couples will be there: delivering gifts to each other at work, crowding your favorite restaurant, and taking over your Instagram feed. You’ve barely recovered from the holidays with your family, where you likely spent a good amount of time answering questions about your love life, and WHAM. Here comes Valentine’s Day to add insult to injury.

It can be hard to get through with your sanity intact. So first, let’s talk about how to handle it; then, let’s talk about how to avoid having this same conversation next year. Continue reading Valentine’s Day for Singles

Everything You Need to Know About Couples Therapy

man and woman in therapy with couples therapist

We all know romantic relationships are hard work. Like cars, they require regular maintenance to keep them running well. If there is a problem, it’s best to have it repaired right away to avoid further complications down the road.

Often we can do some of the basic maintenance and repairs ourselves. Other times, despite our best efforts, we need to rely on a professional to take a look and give us a hand.

Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About Couples Therapy