September 24, 2019

Stress Headaches

Posted in Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , at 8:00 am by kellyfdennis

person people woman hand

One question that I often get asked is “Can stress cause headaches?” Yes! Distress can cause activation of the primitive part of our brains, the one responsible for the flight, fight, freeze response. When this part of the brain is activated, chemicals begin coursing through our bodies, readying us to react. These chemicals have various functions, but one is muscle contraction or tension. The body’s stress response, when chronically activated, can cause insomnia, prolonged muscle tension, tightening or “holding” of the muscles (do you find yourself clenching your jaw when stressed?). All of these reactions can cause headaches.

The good news is that mindfulness meditation can help you to pay more attention to your bodily reactions. If you are aware that you’re tensing, you can actively breathe and relaxing. If you become aware that you are ruminating, you can learn to actively stay in the present moment (rumination is a common cause of insomnia). Check out my website for information about upcoming mindfulness meditation workshops, classes, and retreats! Tension headaches can become a thing of the past!

July 16, 2019

Mindfulness Meditation to Reduce Stress

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 11:49 am by kellyfdennis

landscape photography of white mountain*

Saturday, August 17, 2019 from 9:00 am-10:45 am. Location: Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA 17551

This workshop is designed to introduce and practice the concepts of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation strategies in a purposeful way in order to facilitate the integration of mindfulness into your daily life.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.” As we learn to create intentional present moment awareness, we begin to see changes in our lives that reduce stress. We learn to relate to our difficulties in life with more openness, compassion, and acceptance.

Mindfulness Meditation practices will include: Attention and awareness, Mindfulness of breath and body, Sensory mindfulness, Mindful movement

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 8 people. This workshop is suitable for all levels of mindfulness meditation experience.

Cost: $50.00 Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the facilitator. Please contact Kelly to sign up or for further information: (717) 951-0266 or kelly@kellyfdennis.com

*Photo by Julius Silver on Pexels.com

November 28, 2018

Managing Stress With Self Compassion

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 9:55 am by kellyfdennis

cornandcloudssideSaturday, January 19, 2018 9-11am

Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA

In mindfulness meditation, individuals strive to cultivate a greater awareness of the present moment. By increasing their mindfulness, participants in this stress management workshop aim to reduce their overall arousal and emotional reactivity and to gain a deeper sense of calm.

This workshop also adds the component of self compassion in the management of stress. Self compassion is being aware in the present moment when we are experiencing moments of fear, confusion, inadequacy and other similar stressors, and responding to those feelings with kindness and understanding.  This practice helps in letting self-instilled stressors go, and brings you kindly to focus on the present moments. Highly recommended for those that tend to lose self-focus to past and future possible stressors.

In this workshop you will learn/experience:

-How to make stress your ally

-What is lovingkindness and participate in a lovingkindness meditation

-Breathing Space Meditation

-Gratitude, the antidote for stress

-How to cultivate self appreciation

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 15 people. The sessions are open to all ages, backgrounds, and religions.

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the Facilitator. Contact Kelly@kellyfdennis.com to reserve your space

Cost: $75.00

 

November 14, 2018

Mindfulness During the Holiday Season

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 4:09 pm by kellyfdennis

yellow bokeh photo

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn. As we learn to create purposeful present moment awareness we begin to see the changing of things in our lives that cause us stress. We learn to relate to our difficulties in life with more openness, compassion, and acceptance. Holidays can be stressful, if not difficult times for many people.

With this holiday season comes a chance for to slow down and reflect on what makes this season so special. When we choose to respond to situations with gratitude and notice the areas available for true connection with others, we can find peace under the chaos. When we practice mindfulness to the conversations we have with others in the moment it helps us connect to that which fills our hearts and minds with thanks.

In this time of festivities, shopping, gifting, we can be reminded there are ways to practice mindfulness. Slowing down during this time to appreciate the hands that have made the food, the time and effort to take to make the items we purchase, the people that are interconnected to us in the process. (newmindfullife.com)

I invite you in this season, and in our current state of our nation, to take the time to be present to others.  Give a moment of gratitude in your heart to the goodness that everyone is trying their best to offer in interaction, and see if a deeper more meaningful connection can arise to support your well-being and another’s well-being.

May you, your family, and friends live with peace and ease.

November 5, 2018

Mindful Self-Compassion Workshop

Posted in Compassion, identity, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 7:32 am by kellyfdennis

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(Each of these workshops is different from the previous one)

Saturday, December 1, 2018 9-11am @ Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Suite A, Millersville, PA

This 2-hour workshop will help you learn the skills of self-compassion so you can respond to difficult times in your life with kindness and care.

You will learn how to:

  • Practice self-compassion and kindness in your daily life
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Support yourself during those times when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate.
  • Appreciate yourself

A large and growing body of research, much of it conducted by Dr. Kristen Neff, suggests that self-compassion reduces anxiety and depression, enables us to develop healthy habits, and more satisfying personal relationships, makes us more resilient in the face of challenges, and improves overall wellbeing.

Facilitator: Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC: Contact Kelly to sign up, space is limited.

Kelly@kellyfdennis.com

Cost: $75.00

October 24, 2018

Mindful Self-Compassion Workshop

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 9:14 am by kellyfdennis

 

art beach beautiful clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Saturday, December 1, 2018 9-11am

Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Suite A, Millersville, PA

This 2-hour workshop will help you learn the skills of self-compassion so you can respond to difficult times in your life with kindness and care.

Self-compassion is the heart of mindfulness. Self-compassion skills help us be kind and caring toward ourselves rather than being critical and judgmental. It allows us feel connected to others when we suffer, rather than feeling isolated and alone. Unlike self-esteem, the good feelings of self-compassion do not depend on being special and better than other people; instead, they come from caring about ourselves and recognizing that we all go through difficult times and it’s only human to get distressed on occasion.

You will learn how to:

  • Practice self-compassion and kindness in your daily life
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease
  • Support yourself during those times when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate.
  • Learn how to appreciate yourself

A large and growing body of research, much of it conducted by Dr. Kristen Neff, suggests that self-compassion reduces anxiety and depression, enables us to develop healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships, makes us more resilient in the face of challenges, and improves overall wellbeing.

Facilitator: Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC; Contact Kelly to sign up, space is limited. Kelly@kellyfdennis.com

Cost: $75.00

October 20, 2018

Update: self Compassion Workshop

Posted in Mindfulness, Self Image, Well-being tagged , , , , , , , at 11:35 am by kellyfdennis

aquatic bloom blooming blossomPhoto by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The first Self compassion workshop was well received. Thanks to those who attended. Self compassion is such an important topic right now, but it can be misunderstood. I think the research done by Kristin Neff and colleagues has brought to light that we will experience less depression, anxiety, stress, and a decrease in many negative behaviors if we learn to talk to and treat ourselves as we would a good friend (that’s self compassion).

Join me on my journey to offer a series of workshops on this topic. Each workshop will be unique, so even if you’ve attended one, you will benefit from the others as well.

Next up: Intro to mindfulness meditation: 11/3/18 & 11/10/18.

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.

October 2, 2018

Health Psychology

Posted in Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , at 11:54 am by kellyfdennis

body of water dawn dock dusk

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

(From the “Whatispsychology” website):

Health psychology can be defined as the study of how biological, environmental, psychological and sociocultural factors influence health, healthcare and illness.

Instead of adopting a strictly biological view of illness, health psychologists recognize that many forms of illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, and cancer, are triggered and/or exacerbated by psychological and social factors. They therefore embrace a biopsychosocial view of illness – biological factors include inherited conditions, personality characteristics and physiological make-up; psychological factors involve one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours;  and social factors may include one’s level of social support as well as family and cultural values.

October is health psychology month. I’ll be sending articles your way about the intersection of illness and psychology. The mind-body connection is strong!

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