Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Signs of an Evil Person

evilperson

Signs of an Evil Person

 

The Evil 8 and the Nefarious 15

 

 

Evil 8 (signs)

1.) Arrogant Entitlement

2.) Lack of Empathy

3.) No Remorse

4.) Irresponsible/Self-Destructive

5.) Thrive on Drama

6.) Brag about Outsmarting

7.) Short-Term Relationships

8.) Fantasy World/Delusional

 

Nefarious 15 (More Signs)

1.) Infiltrate your life

2.) Create Conspiratorial Conflict

3.) Depend on Approval

4.) Build a file

5.) Misdirect and Obfuscate (Obfuscation (or beclouding) is the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret.)

6.) Blame Others

7.) Lie

8.) Frauds/Cheaters

9.) Isolate Victims

10.) Abuse Authority

11.) Press Hot buttons

12.) Revisionist of History

13.) Two-faced/Gossip

14.) Paranoid

15.) Passive-Aggressive

 

This list explains the similarities between narcissists/ sociopaths/ psychopaths

I agree with this list and sadly, it explains the similarities between all those who have abused/harmed possibly you and others.

 

It is wisdom to not ignore potential issues in people.

It is wisdom to sit back and watch their behaviour over time, to discern who they are and what their motivations are.

 

Do Not Give People the Benefit of the Doubt!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr M Williams PhD Psych

312-972-9355

Dr Phil McGraw

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

Advertisements
Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

panicattacks

Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can strike some of us more than most, but we all go through it sooner or later. Working to beat a deadline, pay a bill, especially in this economic recession paying attention to your mental health is important!

Some natural remedies for anxiety and panic attacks include supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids and SAMe. You can also use techniques like meditation or yoga. These alternative techniques have already changed the lives of many of the 40 million Americans afflicted by anxiety and panic attacks, which needless to say can be very disruptive in your life.

 

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is one type of anxiety order, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In this day and age I think most of us have experienced this. People suffering from panic attacks don’t experience the type of anxiety everyone feels from time to time though, necessarily. People who have actual panic attacks are dealing with a mental illness. There are physical symptoms to panic attacks, and not just mental, these include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and chest pain which many experience as feeling like a heart attack. Some may even think they are dying; these attacks arrive suddenly and unpredictably.

 

Natural Remedies

You can treat panic attacks naturally by learning mind and body relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, eating more omega-3 fatty acids, and also fights depression and anxiety, and you can try SAMe, a supplement that replaces what is lost as we age, which looks as the most promising natural remedy for panic attacks.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Walnuts and Flaxseed)

We’ve all been told (hopefully) that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for cardiovascular health. This natural remedy is also great for anxiety disorders. In fact in places of the world where people eat a lot of Omega-3 rich foods (such as fish), we find less anxiety orders and depression. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Flaxseed, and Walnuts! Try adding one or more of them to your diet!

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

It’s been proven that natural relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation, will be of great benefit to anybody troubled by anxiety orders, and they will improve energy, concentration, and mood. By learning to calm and balance your mind and emotions your heartbeat will benefit and you will suffer from less panic attacks.

SAMe

SAMe is a long name, (S-adenosylmethionine) and what it is is a molecule within our bodies, but as we age, less is produced. In theory this can help treat depression holistically with very few side effects. A downside is that it is expensive and may interact badly with certain other medications. As always ask before taking anything.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.

Health and Wellness Asssociates

Dr M Williams

Archived

312-972-Well  (9355)

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

How to Take A Mental Health Day

how to take amental health day

How to Take a Mental Health Day

Sometimes, you just need a break. Some folks call this a “mental health day,” but I like to keep things in a positive light (and out of respect for those who do have legitimate mental health diseases), so let’s rename this concept a self care day. A day dedicated to you.
Regardless of what you call it, though, taking a timeout is pretty essential, and in today’s culture, we can easily overdo it. In general, downtime is looked upon as lazy, or not really necessary. Things are changing, but it’s up to us as individuals to know when we need a break, and to make space to take it. How to Take a Mental Health Day

Here’s a quick guide on how to take a self care day.
Clear Your Schedule, Un-apologetically
The main requirement of a self care day is to ditch the scheduled appointments. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t mind a few less calendar appointments in their life.
If your appointments are with other people or recurring obligations, you don’t need to explain that you’re taking some self care time if you don’t feel it is helpful. In my opinion, if you’re just honest — sorry, something personal’s come up, I need to reschedule — then no harm, no foul.
I do mean clear everything possible; if you have children, find someone who can help you out.
Downshift
Now that you’ve cleared some space, downshift. A self care day is not “a day I catch up on errands and clean the house.” The laundry can wait. Weed the garden tomorrow. Do not wash the dishes in the sink unless you truly enjoy washing dishes. Nope. This is a day for you.
Start it out with activities specifically geared towards downshifting. Some examples/ideas to get you thinking: Something warm to drink, light some candles, run a hot bath, take a nap, stretch, meditate. What does slowing down mean to you?
Treat Yourself
I think the perfect self care day requires a little treat of some kind. Treating yourself means different things to different people, so do not think you need to be getting pedicures and eating dark chocolate. Choose things that really feel like a treat to you (think “guilty indulgences” without the guilt): pancakes, a walk, a swim in the pool, hug a tree, take an online yoga class.
Of course, if treating yourself feels like just reading in bed or laying on the couch and watching a fun movie on Netflix, so be it.
Pause to Reflect at the End of the Day
At the end of a self care day, I think it’s important to take a few moments to just reflect on the day and your experience. Perhaps you want to promise yourself that you will take a time out again when needed — maybe put it on the calendar now? Maybe you realized that one of your favorite treats you can be incorporated into you daily ritual instead. If nothing else, share some gratitude with yourself and give yourself a nice pat on the back for taking good care of yourself.

Remember: no matter how many responsibilities you have, your primary responsibility is to take care of YOU, so that you can show up fully to those other pieces in your life.
Please share with your family and loved ones.

Health and Wellness Associates
Archived
312-972-well ( 9355 )

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angelique.rose.50

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Symptoms

ptsd

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Symptoms

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to an extremely stressful or life-threatening event — involving death, the threat of death or serious injury — with resulting intense fear, helplessness or horror. If you experience these symptoms for a duration of more than a month, you could be suffering from PTSD.

 

Persistently Re-Experiencing the Event Having recurring dreams about the event or having persistent and distressing recollections of the event. Feeling and acting as if the trauma was reoccurring — hallucinations or flashbacks — and experiencing distress when exposed to cues. For example, Dr. Phil’s guest, Shelia, was attacked at gunpoint in her house, so when she is at home, she often replays the event in her mind.

 

Avoiding Stimuli Associated with the Trauma Making efforts to avoid thoughts, conversations, people, places and activities associated with the trauma, and avoiding activities, places or people that arouse recollections of the trauma. Shelia makes every effort to avoid being inside her house. She often spends long periods of time at the mall and sits in her car outside her home so she doesn’t have to go inside.

 

Numbing of General Responsiveness Pulling back and having a diminished interest in activities that are significant, and suffering low energy. Feeling detached or estranged from others. Displaying a restricted range of affect — unable to have loving feelings, or don’t want to become excited and happy or let scared emotions out.

 

Increased Arousal Symptoms Not Present before the Trauma Being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Developing a heightened irritability and/or having angry outbursts. Becoming hypervigilant — behaviors you did not experience before the event.

 

Disturbance Impairs Other Areas of Functioning Experiencing significant impairment in social or occupational activities or any other important areas of functioning. Shelia has a difficult time working, because loud noises easily startle her.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any area of healthcare please call us.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr. M Williams

312-972-Well

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Top Five Warning Signs That Your Young Adult Might be in Trouble

top-five-warning-signs

Top Five Warning Signs that

Your Child/ Young Adult is in Trouble

 

What causes people to make choices that could destroy their future, and why do they give

in to peer pressure? Could your child be headed down a dangerous path? Heed the

following warning signs:

 #1 warning sign: Isolates from the family.

 

If your once social child/ adult  starts spending an inordinate amount of time away

from home or locked in his or her room, this is a red flag. If your child/young adult  starts withdrawing from you or your spouse, there’s a reason. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to identify what’s behind the change.

 

 

 

 

#2 warning sign: An extreme shift in mood.

 

Is your child/ young adult  garrulous and friendly one moment, then taciturn and angry the

next? Don’t just chalk it up to growing pains.  he or she may be hanging out with the wrong crowd,

or experiencing changes — hormonally, neurologically or socially.

One thing to do is not to let it just go, because they get bigger, they get stronger,

they get more rebellious. It’s never too late.

 

 #3 warning sign: He or she starts abusing drugs or alcohol.

 

Young adults often start experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol unbeknownst to their folks.

If you suspect your child is using drugs, know the signs to look for.

 

 #4 warning sign: Family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.

 

There clearly is a higher incidence with teens if they’ve had this history in their family.

Maybe it’s genetic; maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just that the modeling is there.

 

 #5 warning sign: Taking risks.

 

Don’t chalk your young adult truancy, vandalism or petty theft up to boys being boys, or kids never grow up. When your family member just seems to throw caution to the wind, not care about consequences — all around bad sign, It indicates a number of things, one of which is that they don’t have the ability to connect their choices with their consequences.

 

Other

warning signs to look out for:

 

Declining grades, using street or drug language, a diminished interest in hobbies and a

lack of appreciation for family values.

 

You can’t be in denial about what’s going on. Don’t kid yourself that these bad

things just happen to other people’s kids. Know what’s going on with your

child. Make sure they understand the consequences of their actions.

Make sure they’re living consistent with the values you hold so important.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

P Carrothers- PM

 

312-972- WELL  (9355)

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cultivate Self Compassion

selfcompassion

 

Cultivate Self Compassion

 

Life-changing strategies can help you be kinder to yourself.

 

 

Self-compassion not only helps you be kinder to yourself, but it also gives you the power to be kinder to the world around you.

 

These benefits have been empirically validated by Kristin Neff, PhD, one of the world’s foremost researchers on self-compassion. She established it as a field of study almost a decade ago, during her postdoctoral work at the University of Denver. In her book, Self-Compassion, Neff walks us through the scientific research underpinning the whys and hows of cultivating self-compassion. The volume is packed with both theoretical and practical goodness.

 

Neff’s basic argument is that self-compassion is made up of three components:

 

  • Self-kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves. Beating ourselves up is not helpful.
  • Common humanity. We’re not alone. It’s important to see that our suffering is part of a shared human experience.
  • Mindfulness. We want to observe our experience. We can learn to hold it in “balanced” awareness without trying to push our pain away or make it a bigger deal than it is.

Now let’s take a look at each of these elements in more detail.

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

“Self-kindness, by definition, means that we stop the constant self-judgment and disparaging internal commentary that most of us have come to see as normal. It requires us to understand our foibles and failures instead of condemning them. It entails clearly seeing the extent to which we harm ourselves through relentless self-criticism, and ending our internal war,” Neff writes.

 

“But self-kindness involves more than merely stopping self-judgment,” she adds. “It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, ‘This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?’ With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”

 

I love the image of treating ourselves the same way we would treat a dear friend or family member. By slowing down and allowing ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, we actively comfort ourselves.

 

The first step is to stop the internal heckling. Quit beating yourself up with thoughts like Why am I such an idiot? or, I can’t believe I did or said that. Instead, replace that heckling with phrases like I feel my pain right now. This is tough. How can I best take care of myself right now?

 

In short, be nice to yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but learning to do it can lead to huge breakthroughs in your life.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

 

Once we’re in the practice of being kind to ourselves, we can work on the second fundamental element of self-compassion: recognizing the common human experience.

 

Neff argues that seeing our common humanity “helps to distinguish self-compassion from mere self-acceptance or self-love.

 

“Although self-acceptance and self-love are important, they are incomplete by themselves. They leave out an essential factor — other people. Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer with,’ which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering.

 

“The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect. Why else would we say ‘It’s only human’ to comfort someone who has made a mistake? Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is.”

 

In our hyper-individualistic, hyper-comparative society, it’s easy to always try to outdo everyone and feel disconnected — either better or worse than those around us. But what if, instead, we slowed down and appreciated our sameness? Doing so gives us the ability to see the threads of our common humanity. It leads us to recognize that we all struggle and can connect to one another through our shared triumphs and failures.

 

FACE UP TO REALITY WITH MINDFULNESS

 

One way to stay connected to our own experience and to cultivate our connection to the experiences of others is by practicing mindfulness.

 

For Neff, “mindfulness refers to the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment. Facing up to reality, in other words. The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate — and therefore effective — manner.”

 

Like many wise teachers, Neff reminds us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. How we respond to pain determines our level of suffering. Resisting pain by trying to wish away whatever is happening — whether it’s something mundane, like traffic on the way to work, or something more significant, like a serious illness or death of a loved one — only causes our suffering to grow.

 

“Our emotional suffering is caused by our desire for things to be other than they are,” Neff explains. “Once something has occurred in reality, there is nothing you can do to change that reality in the present moment. This is how things are. You can choose to accept this fact or not, but reality will remain the same either way.”

 

Mindfulness is one tool we can develop to appropriately relate to reality.

 

TAKE NOTE

Neff’s “noting practice” is one of my all-time favorite tips for building mindfulness. She writes that “the idea is to make a soft mental note whenever a particular thought, emotion, or sensation arises. This helps us to become more consciously aware of what we’re experiencing.”

 

Noting is a simple way to create awareness, and I love to use it during my own meditation sessions. For example, when I observe my mind wandering off into strategizing or planning, I softly say the word “strategy” to myself  and then bring my attention back to my breath.

 

Give it a try and see if noting helps you become more conscious of your life experience.

 

Using the three components of self-compassion improves our chances of reaching our goals and living the profoundly beautiful and fulfilling life we all deserve.

 

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-Well

 

 

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Emotional Eating

emotioanleating

Emotional Eating
Eating habits and “The battle for the mind!”
The emotional process of eating Eating can be a highly emotional process. Food does more than just fill our stomachs. If you take more notice of what you are eating, why you are eating it and what you are feeling it may surprise you. While eating to satisfy hunger is a normal function, emotional eating can be a self defeating and destructive force in someone’s life.
Emotional eating is to eat for a reason other than hunger.
Emotional eating moods can include: stress, distress, depression, happiness, boredom, anxiety, sadness, agitation, avoidance, compulsion, tired, weak, sleepy, frustration, disappointment, adversity, failure.
University studies have been done do see what foods people eat to match what mood they are in. People tend to eat popcorn, pizza or steak when they are happy, ice cream, cookies and cake when they are sad, and potato chips when they are bored. Studies also show that depressed people tend to eat twice as much at a snack session than happy people, linking depression to obesity.
Comfort foods are eaten either to achieve a feeling or maintain a feeling. They can even be an addictive response providing endorphins and exogenous opioids to the brain.
Programed to eat with emotions We are programmed early in life to attach different emotions with different food. When a child is sad what do we give them? Cookies or candy? So the pattern for comfort through food is often set up early and re-enforced throughout life. We program our kids to respond to foods at an early age. Punishment can be equated to hunger when the punishment is forcing a child to miss a meal because of bad behavior. Rewards of sweets for good behavior can set up patterns for emotional eating also.
Five differences between emotional eating and normal hunger:
University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center web site:
1. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually.
2. When you are eating to fill a void that isn’t related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your need. When you eat because you are actually hungry, you’re open to options.
3. Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait.
4. Even when you are full, if you’re eating to satisfy an emotional need, you’re more likely to keep eating. When you’re eating because you’re hungry, you’re more likely to stop when you’re full.
5. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt; eating when you are physically hungry does not.
According to the University of MD 75% of all overeating is due to emotions.
The brain connection to eating Your gut is densely lined with neuro-peptides and receptors that exchange emotional information. The pancreas alone releases 20 emotionally laden peptides. These emotionally charged peptides regulate assimilation and storage of nutrients. They also help transmit information about being full or hungry to the brain.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten interferes with leptin, which is a hormone that does several things in the body. Leptin signals the brain that the tummy is full; it signals fat cells to break up; and leptin also normalizes pain receptors in the spinal column. An imbalance in leptin levels alone can cause overeating, interfere with the fat burning process and actually cause fibromyalgia pain.
Fungi and bacteria reside in the colon and produce over 80% of the body’s neuro chemicals. Gut bacteria have been proven to influence everything you do. This would of course include emotional eating. The human body contains 10 times more bacteria than human cells and should maintain 90% good, friendly bacteria to function optimally. Bacteria and fungi control the environment of the body by slowing down digestion and rewarding or punishing you for things you eat.
Eating healthy tips
Eat when you are hungry and not when you are sad or angry. Never eat because of an emotional feeling you are trying to bury. This can make your food toxic and interfere with normal digestive function by speeding up or slowing down digestion. Emotional eating can cause your body to crave carbohydrates and saturated fats and lead to an inordinate storage of fats.
Toxic thoughts lead to toxic emotions, which lead to a toxic body!
Reduce carb intake, especially the refined carbs that are also called “comfort foods.” Comfort foods release feel-good neuro chemicals to the body and brain. However, this comfort is short-lived and ends up in a downward spiral. Carbs are also not good food for thinking. Refined carbs cause spikes and eventual shortfalls in blood glucose. Eat proteins and not refined carbs before a big test or when you really need to be sharp and alert. Carbs dull the thinking process and blanket the peptides we talked about earlier.
Neurological function begins with digestion!
Your thoughts can careen out of control without a good supply of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) which are found in abundance in fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Chronic EFA deficiency is implicated in the growing prevalence of brain disorders (i.e. Tourettes, ADD/ADHD, autism, depression, hyperactivity, inattentiveness and other disorders), as well as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
When you feel hungry, try drinking some water to see if the sensation goes away. If it is indeed hunger, then you have a good start on your digestion with the water you just imbibed! Without water, your digestion is adversely affected and your brain cannot function properly.
Eat slow and relaxed. This will give you more time to chew the food, mix it with enzymes from the saliva and improve your overall digestion. When you eat slower the brain has more time to keep up with the peptide signals that tell you when you have eaten enough.
Establish new habits when the urge for comfort foods comes up. Do positive activities that organize the brain, like taking a brisk walk with the arms swinging, jumping jacks or bicycling. Doing complex math problem or spelling words backwards, counting backwards and skip-counting can help logics take control when you are emotional.
Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for supper.
It comes down to a battle for the mind. Eat for the purpose of supporting a healthy body and mind. Eating for emotional fulfillment leaves you where you started emotionally, and maybe a bit too full.
Please share with family and loved ones. Call for an appointment with us to discuss your personal healthcare plan.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived – Stellpflug
312-972-WELL
Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Gratitude and Health Benefits

gratefulfor

How wonderful it is to have one day a year dedicated to gratitude and thankfulness! Many of us are well aware of the spiritual benefits of cultivating gratitude in our lives, but it turns out that these benefits can even extend to physical health!

 

Gratitude Reduces Stress

 

It is no secret that stress has a negative impact on health, but research is finding that an “attitude of gratitude” can be a successful antidote to external stressors. As this article points out:

 

Grateful people — those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind — have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health, according to Emmons’ research on gratitude. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations”.

 

Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness has also been linked to better immune function, better ability to relax, and even decreased rates of disease.

 

The Paradox of Gratitude

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking “if only I had ___ I’d be happy,” or “If only I didn’t have to deal with ___ I’d be happy,” but this is a vicious cycle…

 

As Shawn Anchor points out in the TED talk, gratitude and happiness are the first step, not the end result. Making the choice to be happy and have gratitude is not only healthy, but it can improve our performance and ability as well.

 

Why is Negativity So Easy?

 

It sounds so simple to just be grateful, but it turns out that there are biological reasons this process doesn’t come so easily.

 

Sure, by all measures, if you are reading this on a computer, your living conditions are better than those in a large majority of the world. You probably got to eat today, likely even food you chose and enjoyed, and you probably have adequate clothing. We probably have friends, and a social support system, and family members we can talk to regularly.

 

Yet, it is easy to dwell on the financial problems, or the one negative comment on a blog post (*ahem*) or the one thing we wish we could fix about our bodies.

 

This makes sense from a biological standpoint, but makes gratitude difficult. We are wired to pay attention to pay attention to things that could be potentially negative or harmful as a survival instinct, but in a world of constant input from the internet and social media, this instinct can backfire.

 

Making Gratitude A Habit

 

Thankfully,  cultivating a grateful attitude is possible, and it can be one of the easiest things you do for your health! As this article suggests, a few simple changes can help make gratitude a habit:

 

A Daily List– One thing I do daily is to make a list of a few things that I am especially grateful for that particular day. Whether little things like my garden or the dishwasher to big things like my children and wonderful husband, I’ve found that this does help to keep the focus on the many blessings in my life. When done first thing in the morning, this sets the tone for the day and helps me stay positive and cheerful.

Gratitude Letters– Once in a while, I try to write a letters to friends and family members thanking them for their influence in my life and detailing the reasons I am grateful for them.

Acts of Kindness– Doing a small, un-noticed, good deed each day can help boost the natural tendency to be grateful and look for the good in any situation.

As Martha Washington said:

 

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

 

So, if you are grateful for anything today, please share it below in the comments! Five things I’m very grateful for today are:

 

My family

My friends

A good night’s sleep

Access to healthy food

You! I feel so blessed to get to “meet” all of the wonderful people who stop by and leave comments!

What are you are grateful for today?

 

Health and Wellness Associates

A. Killarney

Archived

312-972-WELL

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Finding Joy and Balance During the Holidays

joy

25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays

 

Feeling down during the holidays can be tough, especially since you seem so out of step with the world. Everyone else seems to be beaming, ruddy-cheeked, bursting with holiday spirit. You’re feeling wretched and exhausted.

 

But here’s something to cheer you up the next time you’re stuck in a room of revelers at a holiday party: Plenty of them are probably unhappy, too.

 

“I think a lot of people would say that the holidays are the worst time of the year,” says Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “They’re just straight up miserable, and that’s not only for people with clinical depression.”

 

So if the family gatherings, the endless parties, and the shopping get you down, you’re hardly alone. But people with depression — or who have had depression in the past — need to be especially careful when coping with holiday stress. While it might take some conscious effort on your part, you can reduce stress — and maybe even find some holiday joy, too. Here are some tips.

 

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Emotions

 

  1. Keep your expectations modest. Don’t get hung up on what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel. If you’re comparing your holidays to some abstract greeting card ideal, they’ll always come up short. So don’t worry about holiday spirit and take the holidays as they come.

 

  1. Do something different. This year, does the prospect of the usual routine fill you with holiday dread rather than holiday joy? If so, don’t surrender to it. Try something different. Have Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Spend Christmas day at the movie theater. Get your family to agree to skip gifts and instead donate the money to a charity.

 

  1. Lean on your support system. If you’ve been depressed, you need a network of close friends and family to turn to when things get tough, says David Shern, PhD, president and CEO of Mental Health America in Alexandria, Va. So during the holidays, take time to get together with your support team regularly — or at least keep in touch by phone to keep yourself centered.

 

  1. Don’t assume the worst. “I think some people go into the holidays with expectations so low that it makes them more depressed,” says Duckworth. So don’t start the holiday season anticipating disaster. If you try to take the holidays as they come and limit your expectations — both good and bad — you may enjoy them more.

 

  1. Forget the unimportant stuff. Don’t run yourself ragged just to live up to holiday tradition. So what if you don’t get the lights on the roof this year? So what if you don’t get the special Christmas mugs from the crawl space? Give yourself a break. Worrying about such trivial stuff will not add to your holiday spirit.

 

  1. Volunteer. Sure, you may feel stressed out and booked up already. But consider taking time to help people who have less than you. Try volunteering at a soup kitchen or working for a toy drive. “You could really find some comfort from it,” says Duckworth, “knowing that you’re making a small dent in the lives of people who have so little.”

 

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Family

  1. Head off problems. Think about what people or situations trigger your holiday stress and figure out ways to avoid them. If seeing your uncle stresses you out, skip his New Year’s party and just stop by for a quick hello on New Year’s Day. Instead of staying in your bleak, childhood bedroom at your stepfather’s house, check into a nearby hotel. You really have more control than you think.

 

  1. Ask for help — but be specific. See if your spouse will lug out the decorations. Ask your sister to help you cook — or host the holiday dinner itself. Invite a friend along on shopping trips. People may be more willing to help out than you expect; they just need some guidance from you on what to do.

 

  1. Don’t worry about things beyond your control. So your uncle and your dad get into a fight every holiday dinner and it makes you miserable. But remember your limits. You can’t control them. But you can control your own reaction to the situation.

 

  1. Make new family traditions. People often feel compelled to keep family holiday traditions alive long past the point that anyone’s actually enjoying them. Don’t keep them going for their own sake. “Start a new holiday tradition instead,” says Gloria Pope, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in Chicago. “Create one that’s more meaningful to you personally.”

 

  1. Find positive ways to remember loved ones. Holidays may remind you of the loved ones who aren’t around anymore. But instead of just feeling glum, do something active to celebrate their memory. For instance, go out with your sisters to your mom’s favorite restaurant and give her a toast.

 

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Parties

 

  1. Don’t overbook. “The holidays last for weeks and weeks,” says Pope. “People really need to pace themselves or they’ll get overwhelmed.” So don’t say yes to every invitation willy-nilly. Think about which parties and you can fit in — and which ones you really want to attend.

 

  1. Don’t stay longer than you want. Going to a party doesn’t obligate you to stay until the bitter end. Instead, just drop by for a few minutes, say hello, and explain you have other engagements. The hosts will understand that it’s a busy time of year and appreciate your effort. Knowing you have a plan to leave can really ease your anxiety.
  2. Have a partner for the party. If the prospect of an office party is causing holiday stress, talk to a friend and arrange to arrive — and leave — together. You may feel much better knowing you have an ally and a plan of escape.

 

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Shopping

 

  1. Forget about the perfect gift. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, now is not the time to fret about finding the absolute best gift ever for your great aunt or your mailman. Remember: everybody likes a gift certificate.

 

  1. Shop online. Save yourself the inconvenience, the crowds, and the horrors of the mall parking lot by doing the bulk of your shopping online.

 

  1. Stick to a budget. The cost of holiday shopping mounts quickly and can make people feel out of control and anxious. So draw up a budget long before you actually start your shopping and stick to it.

 

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Self-Care

 

  1. Stay on schedule. As much as you possibly can, try to stick with your normal routine during the holidays. Don’t stay too late at parties. Don’t pull an all-nighter wrapping presents. Disrupting your schedule and losing out on sleep can make your mood deteriorate.

 

  1. Exercise. While you may not feel like you have the time to exercise during the holidays, the benefits are worth it. “We know that exercise has a pretty strong anti-anxiety, anti-depression effect,” says Duckworth. You can work physical activity into your errands. When you’re shopping, take a few extra laps around the mall. Walk your Christmas cards to the post office instead of driving.

 

  1. Eat sensibly. When you’re facing a dozen holiday parties and family gatherings between now and New Year’s, it’s hard to stay committed to a sensible diet. But try. Eating healthy may keep you feeling better — physically and emotionally. On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you go overboard on the cookie platter in the break room. It’s not a big deal. Just get back on track the next day.

 

  1. Don’t rely on holiday spirits (or other substances.) “The holidays are a time of heavy drinking,” says Duckworth. “It’s a common strategy for getting over anxiety about holiday parties or having the boss as your Secret Santa.” Remember that alcohol is itself a depressant and abusing it will leave you feeling worse. It also may not be safe for people taking antidepressant medication, says Pope.

 

  1. Try a sun lamp. As the daylight grows shorter, lots of people find their mood gets gloomier. While some have diagnosed seasonal affective disorder (SAD), even people who don’t may still have a seasonal aspect to their depression. Talk to your doctor about trying a sun lamp. It could improve your mood.

 

  1. If you take medication, don’t miss doses. In the hustle of the holidays, it’s easy to slack off and miss medication, says Pope. Don’t let that happen. Make sure that you’re up-to-date on your refills, too.

 

  1. If you see a therapist, have extra meetings. To stay grounded, plan ahead and schedule some extra sessions during the holiday season. Or you could ask about the possibility of doing quick phone check-ins.

 

  1. Give yourself a break. “The holidays can make some people dwell on their imperfections, their mistakes, the things they’re not proud of,” says Duckworth . But try to cut yourself some slack. “This is not an easy time of year for a lot of people,” Duckworth says. “Be gentle with yourself.”It is the season of kindness and forgiveness, after all. Save some of it for yourself.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

  1. Morgan Griffin

Louise Ghang

312-972-Well

Lifestyle

Six Step to Improve Emotional Wellness

destress

Modern science now realizes that our thoughts directly affect our inner chemistry. Negative thinking fills us with cortisol and adrenalin that diminish our immune and digestive systems and deplete our health over time. Positive thinking, on the other hand, creates neuropeptides such as oxytocin and serotonin that support our health. In an over-stimulated culture dominated by mass media, however, we’ve lost control of our thoughts. As a result our minds chatter like wild monkeys and we are perpetually stressed out. And stress is a killer. Stress leads to poor choices in all aspects of our lives and also is the main contributor to depression and anxiety disorders. It takes devotion and practice to shift from negativity to more positive and affirming thinking, but it pays off. Being mindful of what environments you choose to be in and what you expose your consciousness to is essential for emotional balance and wellness. I invite you to explore six simple steps to improve your emotional wellness today.

Turn Off the Tube: TV invades your consciousness and fries your mind. Click it off. Instead, read an inspiring book, listen to soft music, or choose a creative endeavor that you’ve been longing to try.

Turn on Nature: Get out in nature more often. Her rhythms are soothing and healing. Try to catch some sunrises and sunsets. Go to a beach, a bay, a park, or take a gentle hike in the mountains. This is how you feed your mind nourishing, natural food.

Avoid Crowd and Loud: Take a break from noisy, crowded environments. They only clutter and cloud your mind.

Release Dramas: Try letting go of all the opinions, judgments, and dramas that swirl around in your mind. They don’t change much of anything, but they do stress you out.

Find Stillness and Silence: Teach yourself to “just be.” Sit for five minutes every day and follow your breath. Notice how it makes you feel.

Affirm Yourself: Tell yourself you are calm and relaxed again and again. Believe in your capacity to take charge of your emotional life, feed your mind nourishing thoughts, and heal.