International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.Part of International Women’s Day is celebrating the social achievements of women. How does this apply to you?

  • You are juggling multiple roles
  • You are the social glue for your family
  • You provide social support to those who need it
  • You significantly contribute to your household
  • You are balancing work (this includes you, mothers) and home life

Let’s celebrate this day together. I propose that we find one activity today that we enjoy, but have neglected, and do it for ourselves. Today, I set aside my work and household chores and took a 20 minute stroll around the neighborhood.

What will you do today to celebrate you?


The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness Book Review

I recently picked up this informative book, “The Mindful Way Through Depression.” My clinical supervisor, who specializes in mindfulness psychotherapy has been mentioning the authors Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn for some time to me.

I work mostly from the cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) modality, but I have been interested in stress-reduction methods that incorporate deep breathing, a complement to CBT. This book focuses on the intersection of cognitive therapy and guided meditation. Although written for the general public, this is also a good read for practitioners interested in broadening techniques used for reducing symptoms of depression with clients.

I plan to work through the 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program outlined in the book. The authors recommend that you do not undergo the program if you are actively experiencing a major depressive episode, so be sure to read the book before beginning the program.

Be well!

Characteristics of Happy People

What makes happy people, happy? According to David Myers, there are several key factors that happy people share. Happy people tend to:

  • Have high self-esteem
  • Be extroverted
  • Be decisive
  • Have close relationships with family and friends
  • Delay immediate gratification
  • Be religious
  • Be forgiving
  • Have an optimistic explanatory style

How do you measure up to these characteristics?

If you think you fall short on identifying with any or all of these factors, you can begin to increase your levels of happiness. I suggest selecting one, maybe two, factors to begin improving or incorporating into your life.

I would love to hear which of these characteristics you select, or are working on as you pave your road to happiness.

How Do You Relieve Tension?

What do you do when you’re feeling stressed out?

It’s important to have a list of options you can choose from. Here are a couple of ideas to add to your tension relieving tricks.

  • Deep breathing (You can find directions here)
  • Taking a 15-20 minute walk
  • Meditating
  • Making a daily list with realistic goals or errands
  • Writing
  • Call a friend
  • Play with your child
  • Take a hot bath
  • Listen to music
  • Get a massage
  • Pet your pet (You can read a previous post on this here)

What are some other healthy strategies you use to relieve tension?

Pets: Good Health, Good Living

How does your pet(s) enhance your overall health and well-being?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), highlights some of the health benefits of having pets. Pet companionship helps to reduce:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

The benefits of a pet companion go beyond health. According to studies, pets improve our mental health as well.  In fact, the simple act of stroking your pet is a healthy coping strategy for buffering against stress, and can help reduce levels of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Pets help bring structure, routine, and purpose to our lives. In some cases, pets curb feelings of loneliness, and can increase opportunities for socialization. Remember the movie Must Love Dogs?

The next time you feel stressed, pet your cat, or take your dog for a walk. By taking care of your pet, you will take care of yourself too.

What Parents Should Know About Risky Teen Behaviors

Last week, I talked about the spike in conflict that typically occurs between parents and teens. This increased conflict is a characteristic of the Storm and Stress of adolescence. You can read that post here.

Another hallmark characteristic of teenage Storm and Stress includes participating in risky behaviors. According to US News, there are several risky behaviors teens are engaging in, and parents should be on the lookout for.

  • Abusing ADHD drugs such as Adderal
  • Abusing the pain relief drug OxyContin
  • Alcohol and illicit drug use
  • Riding in a car with intoxicated driver

Parents can curb these through open communication, monitoring, and supervising their teenager’s activities. Monitoring equates to “keeping tabs.” How do you monitor? By asking these kinds of questions:

  • Who are you hanging out with/ meeting up with later?
  • Where are you going?

On the other hand, supervision is the direct observation of your teen. Some ideas to create supervised activities include:

  • Setting up a game room or TV room for your teen to invite friends over
  • Create a profile on Facebook so you can observe online interactions

Teenagers are susceptible to thinking they are invincible. As a parent, you need to set rules and limits to protect your teen’s health and well-being.

Stress Reduction: Basic Deep Breathing

Did you know that relaxation and tension are relatively incompatible sensations?

A quick an easy way to reduce stress is through deep breathing.

The next time you are feeling stressed, try this 3-step process:

  • Inhale through your nose bringing the air deep into your chest
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth

Repeat these steps several times. Practice deep breathing in your car, on a walk, or when you find yourself in the midst of a heated discussion.