It is widely understood that what happens inside your brain influences what happens to your body, and consciously cultivating a positive outlook on life is no different. Looking on the bright side isn’t always easy, but there are some practical reasons why you should (and can) adopt an optimistic perspective.
Physical fitness gets a lot of attention, and for good reason — good physical health can prevent conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, and help you maintain a long, independent life. But often neglected is mental fitness — having a healthy and strong mind to allow you to handle the challenges and opportunities that life puts in front of you.
A common thought is that the absence of a mental health disorder means that a person is mentally fit and emotionally well, but according to Rachel O’Neill, a licensed professional clinical counselor, that’s a dangerous misconception. “An individual can certainly experience periods of stress, discomfort, sadness, or anxiety without necessarily meeting criteria for a mental health disorder,” she said. “Mental wellness is a process, and just like physical health, it’s an ongoing process to maintain mental and emotional wellness.”
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
Almost all of us have times that we have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Others may experience restless, choppy, wakeful sleep cycles. Many of us probably tell ourselves — and others — that we have “insomnia.”
But according to clinicians, for insomnia to be considered a chronic problem, it must significantly impact our lives, and it must be present at least 3 days a week for 3 months. In fact — and unfortunately — many of us actually fit this criteria, with as much as 30% of adults experiencing intermittent insomnia, and 10% experiencing it chronically.
Many insomnia sufferers don’t seek treatment, and others find the commonly doled out treatment ideas to be unsuccessful. But sleep-deprivation is something that can impact our lives in significant ways, exacerbating our physical and mental health, as well as our ability to perform basic tasks safely and efficiently.
It happens to everyone: something makes you feel so terrible, so embarrassed and ashamed — and you feel you will never be able to live it down. Sometimes you may not even have done anything, but someone condescended to you, wrote a clipped email or called you out on your behavior in a way that led to your feeling hopeless or wanting to hide.
Often it feels like no matter what you do in the midst of shame, you can’t move past that feeling, and you start thinking about other ways that you have disappointed or embarrassed yourself or others. This is called a shame spiral.
I’ve been a light sleeper since birth, but deep into my 20s, I’ve found myself confronting a new problem: nights spent staring at the ceiling waiting desperately for sleep. A series of big life changes — a new marriage, home, job, and puppy — turned my once-calm mind into a spinning series of worries and to-do lists.
In fact, I swore my brain grew wilder and more active after nightfall.
I’m not alone. Restless nights spent struggling to sleep are an age-old problem. The earliest cavemen probably tossed on their rocks, and even the richest among us lay exhausted (yet awake) on their 100% cotton sheets. But when a few nights of restlessness become a never-ending half-slumber, insomnia can wreak havoc on the human body — and the brain. Continue reading How to Calm Your Mind When You Can’t Sleep
What would you do if you were in a relationship with someone who constantly criticized, second-guessed or belittled all of your choices, behaviors and decisions?
Hopefully, you would leave immediately, or at least take major issue with being the victim of emotional abuse.
But what if … that critical person was you?
If you Google the phrase “how to be happy,” you’ll be met with about 207 million answers.
There’s the recent study that examined how much money a person needs to make to lead the happiest and most satisfied life possible ($95,000/year for overall satisfaction, and $60-75,000 for day-to-day happiness). There’s a quiz on how to be happier at work, infinite mommy blogs detailing how to find personal happiness as a mom, wellness publications offering unconventional ways to boost happiness, religious content exploring what happiness looks like as a Christian … you get the point. Everyone has something to say about what it means to be happy. As a result, happiness feels almost like a myth.
If you’re familiar with 1999 pop punk hit “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit, then you’re familiar with the phenomenon of self-sabotage. If you’re not, allow me to give you a modern rock lesson and an excellent example of a self-sabotaging protagonist…
Sex is wonderful under the right circumstances, but it can turn into something not-so-great and unhealthy when it becomes a way of acting out, or a coping mechanism for other, deeper issues.
Especially when your mental health isn’t on it’s A-game, your sex life can get out of whack.
Here are some less than ideal decisions around sex one can make … and how to avoid them.