May 15, 2019

Depression

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 1:53 pm by kellyfdennis

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair*

Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely,and scared. These feelings are normal reactions to life’s stressors. Most people feel low and sad at times. After a good cry or talking with a friend, we usually feel better.

However, in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with depression, the manifestations of the low mood are much more severe and they tend to persist. Crying does not help and talking with a friend is hard because one tends to feel alienated, because others can’t seem to understand why they can’t just “snap out of it.”

Major Depressive Disorder is a debilitating illness. Those suffering describe feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, despair, isolation and lonliness. One of the most difficult parts of treating depression is the negative cycle in which sufferers engage. Feelings of low self worth, negativity, and hopelessness beget more of the same thoughts and the cycle sends the person into despair.

Fortunately, when the individual learns to distance themselves from the cycle of negative thinking, he/she can begin to see a glimpse of light and hope. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Meditation are awesome tools to help begin the process of distancing.

Check out my YouTube video for a Cognitive therapy-based mindfulness mediation designed to help you begin to learn the process of not engaging with every negative thought.

Be well and have a wonderful day!

*Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

October 4, 2018

Psychology and Headaches

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Well-being tagged , , , at 6:00 am by kellyfdennis

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Doctors have long noted a link between stress and headaches. Stress can be related to headache in three ways. Stress can directly set off the biological events underlying headache. Stress can intensify an existing headache. The prolonged presence of a headache can itself begin to exert a psychological toll (or stress) on the individual. The person becomes “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”. Depression and anxiety sometimes occur in people with headaches of long-standing, unremitting origin. (see the full ABCT article here.)

Behavior Therapy Treatment Approaches

The behavior therapist first assists the patient in studying factors that might bring on, maintain, or worsen headaches. The patient may be asked to keep track of these factors each day. This is done with a “headache diary.” The patient also rates pain, frequency, severity, and duration. The information is helpful in judging progress during treatment. Three behavior therapy tech- niques have been developed for use with headache patients: biofeedback ther- apy, relaxation training, and stress coping training.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback teaches patients how to control the bodily processes that bring about headache. For example, in the treatment of tension headache, sensors are attached to the affected muscles (on the skin surface) so that the patient is provided ongoing information, or “feedback,” about activity in the monitored muscles. Armed with this information, the patient strives to lower the muscle activity to a more acceptable level. This is a way of alleviating pain. Biofeedback therapy for migraine involves teaching patients one of two ways to control the body. One way is through control of hand surface temperature. This provides a good index of nervous-system arousal and blood flow. Another way is through monitoring blood flow in the temple area. This is a common site of migraine.

Relaxation Skills

Relaxation also teaches control of one’s body. A common relaxation method is to do a series of exercises. The exercises involve tensing and releasing muscles. This helps the patient to feel relaxed. Biofeedback works with specific bodily response systems. Relaxation works on the entire body.

Stress Coping

Stress coping training provides patients with a general set of problem solv- ing or coping skills. These can be used to manage a wide range of situations

associated with headache. This treatment uses various cognitive and behav- ioral treatment methods. These keep stress factors more manageable. Patients may be taught how to become less reactive emotionally. They may be taught to interpret potentially upsetting situations more objectively. They are taught to manage time, interpersonal situations, and the like. They are also taught to react better to the psychological distress that can result from chron- ic headache itself. Often the behavior therapist will combine all of these methods.

September 4, 2018

A Community Discussion About Depression

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , at 11:28 am by kellyfdennis

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Depression is a disorder that can strike anyone at any age. It strikes across all barriers, making its sufferers miserable and robbing them of joy and satisfaction. Join Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC and Millersville Community Church for a discussion of the various types of depression and how to deal with them. Kelly is a Licensed Professional Counselor with an office in Millersville, PA. She has experience in helping individuals and families work through mental health issues including, eating disorders, anxiety, & depression.

Kelly uses an approach that combines genetic, cognitive, social, and cultural factors in assessing behavior. Participants will learn about various forms of depression, including Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder. During our time together, we’ll learn how to moderate the effects of depression through mindfulness meditation, loving kindness, cognitive therapy, and breathing.

Relief from depression begins with understanding its causes and resulting behaviors. Equip yourself to cope with depression, either in yourself or in someone you care about. Our workshop will convene at Grace Campus on Saturday, September 29 at 9 am. Gather for a light breakfast in the Family Life Center before making your way to the Sanctuary for Kelly’s presentation. The workshop should wrap up around 11:00am. Admission is free, but we are asking that you register in advance by contacting Bruce Heydt at bruceheydt@gracemillersville.org, or by calling 717-872-4571.

August 12, 2018

Why Am I Still So Depressed?

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 2:55 pm by kellyfdennis

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Major Depressive disorder has been identified by the World Health Organization as the most debilitating illness worldwide. There are many therapies, medicines, treatments and it still remains the most debilitating illness. One reason for this is that it seems that depression is subjectively experienced differently by each person it affects. One form of treatment that touches on most of the aspects of depression is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (MBCT).
MBCT:
•Combines cognitive behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies in order to help individuals better understand and manage their thoughts and emotions in order to achieve relief from feelings of distress.
•Helps clients learn how to recognize their sense of being and see themselves as separate from their thoughts (inner critic) and moods. This disconnect can allow people to become liberated from thought patterns in which the same negative messages may be replayed over and over.
•During MBCT, I help the person acknowledge that even though these thoughts feel like “truths” in those  moments of feeling low, in fact they are just the symptoms of depression.
•Becoming aware, through mindfulness, that the thoughts are “just the depression voice talking” allows them to step back from the thoughts and decide how seriously they need to take them.
•Perhaps, learning to just notice them, acknowledge them, and let them go.
Schedule an appointment today to talk about using this therapy to help you to feel better!

June 7, 2018

“The Guest House”

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 9:06 am by kellyfdennis

brown brick building surrounded by plants

Photo by Simon Sikorski on Pexels.com

I love this poem by Coleman Barks:

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice. Meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

From Barks and Moyne.94

May 29, 2018

Food for Thought

Posted in Well-being tagged , , , , at 8:27 am by kellyfdennis

food healthy vegetables potatoes

Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

You’ve probably heard the sayings, “You are what you eat,” or, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Today’s TastyTuesday (Mental Health America) challenge will be to look at the types of foods we are used to eating.

Certain foods provide the nutrition your brain and body need to function at their best. Diets that incorporate omega 3 fatty acids, b vitamins, folic acid, vitamin D, prebiotics and probiotics help improve mood, reduce inflammation, and reduce signs of depression; while diets high in processed, sugary, and fatty foods do the opposite. How’s your diet shape up for your mental well being?

May 17, 2018

Counseling May Help

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Communication, Compassion, Eating Disorders, identity, Mindfulness, Online Counseling, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 8:39 am by kellyfdennis

discover a new day ad

 

 

 

 

Engle Printing & Publishing designed the ad.

January 11, 2018

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Posted in Well-being tagged , , , , , at 2:56 pm by kellyfdennis

Discover a New Day logo smallUnderstanding a light box

 A light therapy box mimics outdoor light. Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD.

Generally, the light box should:

  • Provide an exposure to 10,000 lux of light
  • Emit as little UV light as possible
 Typical recommendations include using the light box:
  • Within the first hour of waking up in the morning
  • For about 20 to 30 minutes
  • At a distance of about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from the face
  • With eyes open, but not looking directly at the light

Light boxes are designed to be safe and effective, but they aren’t approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for SAD treatment, so it’s important to understand your options.

You can buy a light box without a prescription. Your doctor may recommend a specific light box, but most health insurance plans do not cover the cost.

Here are some questions to think about when buying a light box for seasonal affective disorder:
  • Is it made specifically to treat SAD? If not, it may not help your depression. Some light therapy lamps are designed for skin disorders — not for SAD. Lamps used for skin disorders primarily emit ultraviolet (UV) light and could damage your eyes if used incorrectly. Light boxes used to treat SAD should filter out most or all UV light.
  • How bright is it? Light boxes produce different intensities of light. Brighter boxes will require less time to use each day, compared with dimmer boxes, to achieve the same effect. Typically the recommended intensity of light is 10,000 lux.
  • How much UV light does it release? Light boxes for SAD should be designed to filter out most or all UV light. Contact the manufacturer for safety information if you have questions.
  • Can it cause eye damage? Some light boxes include features designed to protect the eyes. Make sure the light box filters out most or all UV light to avoid damaging your eyes. Ask your eye doctor for advice on choosing a light box if you have eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts or eye damage from diabetes.
  • Is it the style you need? Light boxes come in different shapes and sizes, with varied features. Some look like upright lamps, while others are small and rectangular. The effectiveness of a light box depends on daily use, so buy one that’s convenient for you.
  • Can you put it in the right location? Think about where you’ll want to place your light box and what you might do during its use, such as reading. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, so you receive the right amount of light at the proper distance. (From Mayo-Clinic)
Talk to your health care professional about light box options and recommendations, so you get one that’s best suited to your needs.

December 11, 2017

5 Steps to Improve Mental Wellbeing.

Posted in Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , at 6:09 pm by kellyfdennis

MandalaColoringEvidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing.

If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.

What is mental wellbeing?

Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, says: “Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole.

“Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too. So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.

“Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult,” says Professor Stewart-Brown. “But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”

It can help to think about “being well” as something you do, rather than something you are. The more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.

“No-one can give wellbeing to you. It’s you who has to take action,” says Professor Stewart-Brown.

Five steps to mental wellbeing

Below are five things that, according to research, can really help to boost our mental wellbeing:

  • Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.    From: www.nhs.uk

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

April 22, 2014

Depression: Know the Signs

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:16 am by kellyfdennis

From Mental Health America, visit www. mentalhealthamerica.net.

ImageEveryone gets down from time to time, but sometimes it’s more than just “the blues.” Sometimes, it can be clinical depression.

Clinical depression affects more than 19 million Americans each year. It is a real illness that can be treated effectively. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the people who have this illness seek treatment. Too many people believe that it is a “normal” part of life and that they can treat it themselves. Left untreated, depression poses a huge burden on employees and employers. It causes unnecessary suffering and disruption in one’s life and work, and costs about $44 billion a year in lost workdays, decreased productivity and other losses.

Know the Signs

The signs and symptoms of clinical depression are:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in once- enjoyable activities, including sex
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating at work or at school, or difficulty remembering things or
    making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you experience five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, you could have clinical depression.

See a doctor or qualified mental health professional for help, right away.

If you are know someone who exhibits any of these symptoms and has frequent unexcused absences, discuss the situation with the individual, but do not try to diagnose the problem. Suggest that the individual seek help from his or her doctor or, if they have one at work, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Make sure the person knows that seeking help is the healthy thing to do. What are other ways to keep yourself healthy? The ten tools to keep yourself mentally healthy: 1)connect with others; 2)think positively; 3)get physically active; 4)help others; 5)get enough sleep; 6)create joy and satisfaction in your life; 7)eat well; 8)take care of your spirit; 9)deal better with hard times; 9)get counseling when you need it.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

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Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

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