The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World

The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Imagine the following scenario: You are sitting in a restaurant with your best friend. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen each other and you have been looking forward to reconnecting. Instead of doing exactly that, you are both on Facebook, liking and sharing posts that have nothing to do with what’s happening between you right then and there. When you leave dinner, you realize that you still miss your friend, but you’re not sure why. Furthermore, it dawns on you that recently, you’ve been feeling a bit disconnected from all of your friends, and it makes you terribly sad. Continue reading The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World

Journey of A Young Therapist: Finding the Path Through the Rubble

Finding the Path Through the Rubble_ Journey of A Young Therapist

“To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.” – Gail Sheehy

– by Angela Gunn, LCSW / Talkspace Therapist 

The devastation from Nepal’s recent earthquake naturally stirred compassion within me, but also a strong emotional reaction of a different kind. It compelled me to share my own story of self-destruction and healing with you – a chronicling of events that ultimately led me to become a therapist. While I can’t imagine what the Nepalese people are going through right now, I would like to remind the rest of us that our personal turmoil and painful experiences are still valid and worthy of being heard. And so, I am going to share mine with you now. Continue reading Journey of A Young Therapist: Finding the Path Through the Rubble

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