The secret to feeling better and happier is to improve your mental health. Make it a top priority to care for your well-being. No matter what comes your way, be sure that you know how to handle it the right manner. The process of working on the improvement of your mental health is challenging. You have to set your mind on how to make it happen. Below are some of the tricks on how to achieve this ultimate goal:
The two common eating disorders known to men are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
“Bulimia is characterized by two main behaviors- binging and purging. Purging is an attempt to rid the body of calories. Those who purge through vomiting often do it immediately after a binge, but sometimes a significant amount of time can lapse between binging and purging,” says Dana Harron, PsyD.
“General risk factors include low mood, a history of physical and sexual trauma, general family problems, and a parent with a psychiatric disorder. These all appear to increase one’s risk for later mental health problems, including eating disorders,” Dr. Stacey C. Cahn, PhD talks about anorexia.
Several reasons or causes could lead to these disorders. At this point, it is essential to take note that these two illnesses are grave and must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, several people are not aware that there is so much more to being anorexic or bulimic. The truth is that these are considered as mental health sicknesses, which must be dealt with severely.
Being overweight is not just a physical problem. It involves our emotions as well. With the varieties of food right now, not to mention the convenience, it is indeed challenging not to gain weight! Delicious food makes us forget about the risks we are facing. Being overweight or obese is correlated with other medical health issues like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Nowadays, having a whole family is such a blessing! Not everyone gets to be with both mom and dad under the same roof for quite a long time. Divorce is prevalent regardless of having children. Some parents, on the other hand, may experience difficulties in dealing with their children, especially teens. It is indeed challenging to strengthen the bond of the family.
Dr. Jaclyn Shlisky PsyD says “Focus more on how your children make progress by comparing them to themselves—if they are progressing each day, each week, each month, that’s what really matters. Every day try to find a small win.”
Factors Affecting Family Relationship:
Everyone in the family has a responsibility outside the house. The father needs to go to work to provide for the family, and some mothers do too. The children have to go to school, and babies and toddlers have to stay at home with the nannies or sometimes left in the daycare.
We don’t realize that we spend half of our time with other people and not our family. We spend nine hours in the office, one to two hours traveling from and to home, which leaves 13 hours. One hour is for dinner and another hour for homework and other tasks. Now, your time for your family is down to 11, but you need to rest and sleep too. That’s another eight hours less. So you only have three hours spare to spend.
What Are You Going To Do With That Remaining Three Hours?
- Think of a family activity where all members can join.
- Create a space to gather after everyone has finished their tasks.
- Make sure to say goodnight before everyone goes to bed.
“When I am with my children, whether for an hour or a full day, I am responsive to their cues and needs; I provide undivided attention whenever possible to set them up for success,” according to Francyne Zeltser, PsyD.
With the advancement of technology today, communication is made easy. We get to talk to and communicate with our colleagues, classmates, friends, and other people far away from us. It may sound like it’s a big leap, but it also has a significant disadvantage. It takes away our time for the people who should be getting the most of it.
After you arrive home, do you still make time to catch up with everyone, or do you go straight to the computer or check your phone to see how the rest of the world is doing?
What should you do to enhance communication within the family?
- Ask everyone how their day went.
- Tell your family how your day went.
- Help children with their homework.
- Spend an hour talking about anything with the family.
- Spend an hour talking with your spouse before going to bed.
- Love And Respect
Love and respect should always be present any day. Although the people in our family are in our hearts, it is essential that it is not just words. We should be making an effort to show them in action.
How Do Children Show Their Parents Love And Respect?
- Help them with the chores.
- Ask them if everything’s okay at work.
- Offer to give a back or foot massage.
- Offer to make some tea.
How Do Parents Show Their Children Love And Respect?
- Ask them how their day was.
- Ask if they need anything at school.
- Ask about anything you think interests your children.
- Stop everything you’re doing once your children start to open up.
- Don’t nag or yell at your children.
These three factors are vital in any relationship, and our relationship with our family is essential in our overall perspective and attitude towards life. It is the key to a peaceful and positive mindset. We must put our family at the top of our priorities because no matter how they love us, taking them for granted is unwise. We often do it because we think that they’re going to stick around no matter what. But the family is the beginning and center of all our relationships. It is through them that we learn significant values and morals in life. “Teach your kids kindness and empathy,” according to Christopher Willard, PsyD. That is why how we are with our family reflects how we are as a person.
Eating disorders manifest physically, but they are mainly mental health issues addressed through a psychological approach. When a person is suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder, it takes over the emotions, and a person tends to focus on food. It usually comes from a person’s difficulties, relationship challenges, social and physical concerns that give too much stress.
“OCD is chronic”, as stated by experienced psychologist Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Because OCD is a complex mental condition, finding help may pose some difficulties. Not all mental health professionals are capable and well- trained to understand and treat OCD. And this has been a significant challenge for many patients and families.
The American Psychological Association recommends starting the treatment with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). It is a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy where the person is exposed to objects, thoughts, or situations that are known to start the obsessions and gradually taught how to manage and overcome them.
The following are helpful tips on how to make sure that someone finds the right therapist who knows OCD and its treatment well.
- Ask what kind of treatment method will be used for OCD. The right therapist will be able to answer you right away that you will need cognitive-behavior therapy particularly exposure and response prevention. “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps the patient explore and understand alternative ways of thinking and challenging their beliefs through behavioural exercises”, Dr Victoria Bream, a clinical psychologist explains. There should be no other methods or psychological treatments that shall be mentioned aside from the ones being mentioned.
- Ask what is involved in CBT and how it is going to be like. The answer you should be getting is that it includes the ability to face and overcome your fears and stopping from performing rituals. If the therapist assures you of being relaxed, hypnotized, able to perform thought stopping and biofeedback, be cautious and start to look for other therapists that can answer the question accurately.
- It is essential that a therapist has formal and thorough training with the use of CBT. Ask for their credentialing certificates.
- Experience-wise, the therapist had treated 5-10 persons with OCD with the use of CBT before you. “Before starting treatment, you can ask the psychologist or other therapist if they practice CBT in general and these specialized methods in particular, and whether they provide practice assignments between sessions—a good sign,” stated clinical psychologist Robert A. Lavine Ph.D.
- Confidence should be the language of competency. Your therapist should display confidence in explaining the treatment program particularly the process of CBT in getting good results.
- When asked about the time frame of the treatment, your therapist must provide you a CBT program that will run within about 20 meetings. Much longer than this may require other activities that the therapist will incorporate into the sessions.
- Find a therapist who is not conscious of his time spent on the therapy sessions, instead sets priority with your treatment process.
- Will allow you to bring in some resources self-help materials to see where you are with working on your condition.
Sometimes, psychiatrists can prescribe drugs to help with anxiety symptoms like increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and panic attacks. The psychiatrist will also be giving some anti-depressants if required. A referral to the psychiatrist may need if the symptoms are too much and can compromise the present medical state of the person.
Finding the right therapist to help you with your mental health disorder should not be taken for granted. Aside from financial reasons, your time and effort are also considered as you continue to look for positive ways in dealing with your mental health state. This must be addressed, and one strategy is to obtain accurate and safe treatment modalities from a legitimate and highly specialized mental health provider that will make your money worth and your psychological health state improve.
Imagine your day to start like this:
- Consuming at least an hour of your day (or even longer) just to make sure that the lights are off by repetitively checking on them.
- Rubbing alcohol onto your hands almost every minute to get rid of germs (so you thought).
- Taking several shower or bath times in a day, feeling that you are all dirty and need cleaning.
- Rotating a plate seven times before taking the first bite of your meal.
All the above are representations of a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). “Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD can be characterized by repetitive, unnecessary activities, or compulsions (like lining up dishes over and over so they look “perfect.”)” according to clinical psychologist Robert A. Lavine Ph.D. A person with OCD finds no pleasure in doing things repeatedly, an only momentary relief from the anxiety that occurs. In fact, they hate their behavior but cannot do otherwise. The moment they stop the routine, anxiety heightens.
What causes it?
Having an unknown etiology, OCD can be caused by several factors such as genetics, brain structure anomaly and brain malfunctioning that may trigger anxiety-producing compulsive behavior. The behavior can also result from a social environment where the person experiences trauma. Strict parental control is the most well-known theory of OCD occurring during the toddler years of the child. Freud explained that power and autonomy govern this age. Toddlers love to experience being in control of the situation. At the same time, this age is predominant in the toilet training period. When parents are strict concerning their elimination process, Freud conceptualized an adult life full of stringent choices and OCD behavior.
It is diagnosed by about age 19 and is seen most in boys than girls. Late diagnosis can also happen at the age of 35 years old.
What to do?
People will notice at first that the person is very clean or meticulous about organizing things. However, the sense of over cleanliness and compulsion to perform specific activities that do not even fit the present situation can be considered pathological and psychologically unstable.
If behaviors start to affect relationships, work, and school activities, it is essential to see a mental health professional obtain a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, OCD can be treated using medication and psychotherapy or both.
“The response to treatment of patients with OCD is also varied and, I think, unpredictable,” according to psychiatrist Fredric Neuman M.D. Counseling can be a great help in overcoming OCD, as this may involve working through a therapy program to control obsession and associated rituals that marks the disorder. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) aims to relieve intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors by disentangling anxiety from reality and fact. This therapy will teach a person with OCD how to think, behave, and react to the situations that cause distress without the burden of intrusive thoughts and compulsion to do specific tasks. The benefits of counseling and psychotherapy for OCD are as follows:
- It helps the person understand their condition – the leading causes of OCD, and why they are behaving as such.
- Develops self-awareness and fully understand one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that sustain the cycle of OCD.
- Increase insight into what triggers the reaction and enhance self-esteem.
- Develops efficient and positive coping strategies to replace compulsive behaviors.
There is no better way of overcoming OCD than seeking mental health consultations. “If you feel completely lost, then one good first step is to learn more about the disorder” – Monnica T Williams Ph.D. When one recognizes the problem at hand, the treatment process will just be easy, and early recovery can be an assurance.
Currently, media play a significant part in influencing how the youth of today thinks and reacts to their environment’s circumstances and society’s idealism and demands.
Whenteenagevulnerability is at an all-time high, that’s when the parents have to swoop in to guide and support their children especially when being exposed to sensitive, violent, or troubling media content. Behaviors of teenagers and adolescents are primarily influenced by what they see played on their widescreen tubes. Therefore, parents should be more adamant about being consistently vigilant in monitoring what their children watch on television.
The Negative Side of Media
Behind an innocent façade of entertainment, there lie the different risky materials that teenagers are persistently consuming that are causing adverse altercations to their mindset and behavior. “Too much time spent scrolling through social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression,” according to Katie Hurley, LCSW.
How is media negatively affecting your kid’s behavior?
- Unrealistic Body Image Perception
As your children grow older, they are on the verge of realizing who they are and what they’re worth and one aspect of growing up is having someone to idolize when it comes to a healthy body image. Although body image acceptance is influenced by numerous factors like family, peers, fashion, and culture, one element stands out, and that’s media – whether mainstream media or social media. Advertising can also damage the youth’s perception of what an “acceptable” body image should be.
Somehow, media is presenting unrealistic, body types quite so often that children think if their bodies do not conform to these media expectations, there is something askew regarding their bodies, and society will never accept them.
- Violent And Abusive Programming
Violence and abuse have long been the theme of the majority of television shows since the media was born. Kids who witness and are exposed to violent and abusive media material are more likely to think that hitting people, especially women, is a typical thing to do. Therefore, unsupervised viewing of violent and abusive shows can severely influence your kids’ behavior, making them more aggressive, less empathetic, or more anxious about their environment.
- Unhealthy Habits
Drugs, gambling, smoking, and drinking alcohol are just some of the unhealthy habits that can be picked up from watching television. Adolescents who have little to no understanding of these bad habits will easily adapt one or two of these vices thinking that since it’s shown on TV, it’s something “cool.”
Proper Guidance Is Vital
Banning your children from watching inappropriate television content can be difficult because exposure is inevitable especially with the availability of online media that can be accessed 24/7, with or without paying any fees. Therefore, it would be better to guide your adolescents on the pros and cons of media so that their minds would have a better understanding of inappropriate and destructive content. “Don’t walk in the door after work in the middle of a conversation,” Dr.Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist, advises. Adequate guidance is essential, and this is done by:
- Monitoring What Your Child Watches
Parents are usually unaware of what their children watch whether on the tube or online. Kids these days are cunning and smart when it comes to hiding what they view, but that doesn’t mean that the parents couldn’t control media content. After all, they still have the upper hand inside the house so they can quickly set rules and limits.
2. Positively Discussing Confusing Content
Though it’s not an easy conversation to carry out, talking about obscene or vulgar material that was just shown by the media will help your child understand the lesson behind the show. For example, if your child is watching a show that presents bullying, sexuality, and friendships, you can discuss the principles and morals that the show wants to convey positively.
Media influence does not stop when the show is over. Negative or positive behavior almost always begins the moment the credits roll and the brain starts figuring out the meaning of what was observed. For this reason, it is crucial for parents to be prepared in providing explanations to positively shape their children’s minds into coping with whatever media content they encounter. “Adolescence and the early twenties in particular are the years in which you are acutely aware of the contrasts between who you appear to be and who you think you are,” says Dr. Donna Wick, a clinical and developmental psychologist.
“Despite how common miscarriage is, women often experience the loss in silence,” said Alicia Del Prado Ph.D., a licensed counseling psychologist. When sadness can no longer describe the feeling of losing a baby, miscarriage can lead women to a more complex part of grieving – depression. Devastation is a more likely match to explain how the loss of a child feels appropriately. Nevertheless, the suffering that one feels after a stillbirth or miscarriage is normal.
But, when does one draw the line between sadness in grieving and depression? How far can melancholia go to be considered pathologic and be the primary cause for concern?
When Sadness Becomes Depression
Miscarriage is defined as the unexpected, abrupt loss of a pregnancy that did not reach the 20th week. Majority of miscarriages happen during the first trimester due to the following reasons:
- Genetic or chromosomal issues
- Health conditions experienced by the mother like diabetes or infections like STD
- Hormonal problems involving the adrenal or thyroid glands
- Autoimmune disorders
The loss that is associated with the spontaneous, unwanted abortion is so devastating to couples, especially to women that it usually leads to depression.
Questions That Prompt Counseling
The moment you feel like diving into a bottomless, dark pit with no hopes of a reprieve, it usually is a cause for concern. There are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself if you are pondering about airing your grievances to a therapist.
- Am I Displaying Depressive Symptoms?
To know if you have signs of clinical depression, reflect on the following factors:
- Constant feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, and hopelessness
- Changes in sleep pattern and appetite
- Less or no interest in activities once enjoyed
- Agitation and difficulty concentrating
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide
- When Did The Miscarriage Happen?
Grief and depression are said to have similar signs and symptoms. For women who have experienced recent miscarriages, the overwhelming feeling stays with you for a period but eventually, they can cope and move on with their feelings of despair. Depression, on the other hand, is more pathological and lasts for months which can go on for years.
- Is Your Relationship Compromised?
Constant bickering and arguing after miscarriage is a sign that you and your partner are undergoing severe emotional turmoil that requires therapeutic intervention. “First we must acknowledge that some anger is a valid, necessary, appropriate and unavoidable human emotion,” wrote Stephen A. Diamond, PhD. Problems that have erupted after the loss of pregnancy and has persisted overtime may severely affect your relationship.
- Do You Have The Urge To Seek Professional Help?
If so, then you should immediately schedule a meeting with your therapist. Not only are your mental and physical health at risk, but emotional strife can also jeopardize a meaningful relationship. When you feel like everyone’s opinions are no longer working out for you, it’s best to get advice from an expert.
Moving Forward With Counseling
Recovering from depression that is primarily caused by miscarriage can take time to heal. But with a capable support system coupled with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and other forms of treatment, results can be promising. By sticking to the therapeutic plan, eating healthy meals, getting adequate sleep, and exercising, depressive symptoms can eventually be alleviated.
Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW, wrote, “[W]hen a woman endures the pain of disconnection from her baby, or fails to meet the expectations dictated by her critical mother, or can’t face her own reflection in the mirror because she has lost touch with the soul within—it’s hard for her to know where to turn.”
It is also important to emphasize that miscarriages not only affect the mother alone; remember, couples are most affected by the loss of a child. Therefore, counseling is highly beneficial for couples who are going through a rough time dealing with their depression.
[Dealing With Unexpected Life Transitions]
According to Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W., “Ready or not, we all go through numerous transitions in our lives – living high school to go to college or work, changing jobs, getting married, having children.” Looking back when there were fewer demands to womanhood, being a mother at a young age was ideal. Women were allowed and expected to have a child as soon as she was physically able. But those were the days! Today, our society has expanded the context of being a woman that it has come to the point where the expectations are becoming too much to handle.
According to Avery Neal, M.A., L.P.C., “Many women do not know how to cope with change, and depending on the severity or amount of trauma the change has inflicted, women can face a difficult and painful time.”
Let me tell you a story about a certain Miss who now struggles to be a “Mrs.”
Miss was a careless young adult who had the world in the palm of her hand. She dreamed and made it into reality until one day, she fell in love, or so she thought. At the back of her mind, there was always the curiosity of how life would be if you’re living it with and for someone.
More than nine months later, Miss became Mrs. She married a knight in shining armor and lived her fairytale, but then again, so she thought. She didn’t realize that her changing of her surname was the start of her nightmares. Mr is not a knight in shining armor saving the damsel in distress, but the frog who’ll never turn into a prince no matter how many times you kiss him.
Five years later, they now have three beautiful kids. Mrs. is a picture of strength that no matter the odds, she remained faithful and firm. Little did people know that with those five years, she was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially abused! So much for a happy ending.
She was being beaten with little to no reason but just the fact that Mr is evil! She was drained and always left to feel worthless. She was empty- there was no space for growth anymore. All she was good for was assuring the wellbeing of her family. But who would look after her? She was alone in a room that’s crowded with her soul crushed with no faith to save her. And how can it be that she was forsaken to worry about the future of her children?
It isn’t the life that she thought she’d have when she decided to become Mrs., but she can’t turn back now. She needs to gather more strength than she ever had in the last five years. She needs to overcome her challenges to become whole again for her sake and the sake of her children.
There is no such thing as too late when it comes to living. “It’s good to know about these perspectives on life transitions, because they show us that there’s nothing inherently bad about change,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. It’s about taking each downfall as an opportunity to rise, and as we may think that we’re alone, there are people out there who care more than we know. Don’t be a sad story. You have the power to turn your world upside down. It is about recognizing your mistakes, the people who caused you pain and your part in making it happen. But don’t stop there! Move forward and acknowledge help from people who love you! You owe them the courage to love and respect yourself again.