10 Ways Children of Mentally Ill Parents Can Break The Cycle

mom holding child smiling

Many of us grew up with parents who battled mental illness, whether we realized it during childhood or not. Anxiety and depression are common mental illnesses our parents may have struggled with, which are often passed from one generation to the next. Your parent may also have dealt with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or addiction — all of which have a strong genetic link.

Maybe your parent or parents treated their mental illness and were able to live a healthy life while modeling healthy coping skills. Still, simply being exposed to mental illness is a risk factor for developing a mental illness of your own. If your parents did not treat their mental illness, you may have been exposed to abuse, trauma, or worse.

If you grew up with mentally ill parents, it may seem that pain, suffering, or developing a mental illness of your own is your destiny, and there is no clear path for breaking the cycle — but that just isn’t true. Recovering from a difficult childhood is possible and there are many steps you can take to live a vibrant, healthy, happy life, despite being raised by mentally ill parents. Continue reading 10 Ways Children of Mentally Ill Parents Can Break The Cycle

4 Effects Your Parents’ Relationship Has On You

children holding hands with their parents

Your parents are, more likely than not, the first people you ever interact with in your life. They set your standard for everything — ranging from what values you develop to what your interests are — especially, what your relationships with others look like (both romantically and platonically).

Before you start dating, begin to think about starting to date, or even see characters dating in your favorite TV shows and movies, the first relationship you probably see is the one between your parents. This tells you a lot about what you later deem “normal” or “not normal” between romantic partners. In friendships, you may find yourself drawn to people who remind you of your parents for various reasons. Continue reading 4 Effects Your Parents’ Relationship Has On You

What If You Don’t Share The Same Beliefs As Your Family

family discussing at dinner table

As the holiday season approaches, and plans are made to visit extended family, you may be imagining — and dreading — some of those tough dinner-table discussions that inevitably happen. These days, our country is more divided than ever, and almost all of us have a family member (or 5!) who holds very different beliefs than we do.

There is always someone who is going to disagree with us on politics or religion — someone who has radically different ethical standards, or who has many opinionated and unwelcome beliefs about how we spend our money, the life choices that we make, or how we parent our kids.

Some of those people may be close relatives whose relationships are important to us, which makes these potentially impassioned discussions all the more weighty.

We have all been there, but it’s easy for these conversations to go downhill fast. Some of us have even temporarily or permanently severed ties with family members over these contentious issues. Continue reading What If You Don’t Share The Same Beliefs As Your Family

What Does It Mean To Be Emotionally Intelligent?

emotionally intelligent women hugging

Know someone who just can’t seem to understand anyone else’s point of view? Maybe they struggle to realize why people feel a certain way, or just can never read a room — well, they might have low emotional intelligence.

Attempting to understand why you feel a certain way can be challenging when the answer isn’t immediately apparent. While the skill comes more naturally to some than others, the ability to know and understand yourself on a deeper level is referred to as emotional intelligence (EI).

Emotional intelligence goes beyond just knowing your own emotions, but also involves having a higher awareness of the emotions of those around you and your ability to empathize with someone else’s situation. Continue reading What Does It Mean To Be Emotionally Intelligent?

How to Foster a Mentally Healthy Office Culture

happy workers in office

Americans spend over 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetimes, so it’s not shocking that work environment plays a role in employees’ mental health. Careers can impact burnout, stress, and feeling overwhelmed in your day-to-day life. Some even consider walking away from their careers in order to protect their mental health.

Whether you’re a manager, an executive, or part of a team, there are ways — both big and small — you can help to improve the overall culture of your office, which can have a big impact on both productivity and morale. Continue reading How to Foster a Mentally Healthy Office Culture

How to Manage Employees Without Harming Their Mental Health

manger giving instructions kindly to employee

We have all been stressed at work at one time or another. If you are someone who manages direct reports or a team, it is important to be cognizant of their emotional well-being while still ensuring they perform well in their role.

Whether an employee has a diagnosed mental health issue or not, it is necessary to support their mental health by promoting a supportive and inclusive environment. A healthy work environment can be great for mental health, however, a poor work environment can perpetuate existing anxiety or create unnecessary stress. It can even cause depression or burnout.

Let’s take a look at ways you can support your team while creating a healthy work environment and still effectively managing their performance. Continue reading How to Manage Employees Without Harming Their Mental Health

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

How To Deal With Controlling People

hand controlling person

“No, this restaurant is better.”

“Why would you go that way? My way is faster.”

“I told you to tell me before you use the credit card.”

“You didn’t tell me you had plans with friends this weekend.”

Some of these statements may sound familiar. The trouble with controlling relationships is that they seem normal at first. Maybe that restaurant really is better or that route really is faster.

But when the corrections come at every turn, when your friend, partner, or even your supervisor questions every decision you make and dictates every action you take, you might be dealing with a controlling person. Continue reading How To Deal With Controlling People

When Does Emotional Attachment Become Unhealthy?

hands reaching for each other

Everyone feels some sort of attachment to people, things, or places. After all, if you have something good in your life, it makes sense that you might feel resistant to losing that person or thing. However, excessive emotional attachment is unhealthy when it begins to disrupt your life.

In the case of relationships, unhealthy emotional attachments can disrupt your partner’s life as well. The line between healthy and unhealthy attachments can be hard to figure out, however, especially if you don’t have a precedent for healthy relationships. If you have been in an abusive relationship before, it may be hard to adjust to a normal, healthy balance with your partner. Continue reading When Does Emotional Attachment Become Unhealthy?