November 14, 2018

Mindfulness During the Holiday Season

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

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“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.

June 25, 2018

Begin Again

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, relationships, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 9:04 am by kellyfdennis

 

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Every day is a new day. I wish you joy and contentment, peace and tranquility in this brand new week. Ask for help when you need it, help others when you can. Look for the good in people and show them the good in you. Be Well and Have a Wonderful Week!

June 14, 2018

Families are Affected by PTSD, Too.

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Post Traumatic Stress, Well-being tagged , , , , , , , at 8:35 am by kellyfdennis

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Family members of a person with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) may experience the following:

Sympathy

You may feel sorry for your loved one’s suffering. This may help your loved one know that you sympathize with him or her. However, be careful that you are not treating him or her like a permanently disabled person. With help, he or she can feel better.

Negative feelings

PTSD can make someone seem like a different person. If you believe your family member no longer has the traits you loved, it may be hard to feel good about them. The best way to avoid negative feelings is to educate yourself about PTSD. Even if your loved one refuses treatment, you will probably benefit from some support.

Avoidance

Avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD. Those with PTSD avoid situations and reminders of their trauma. As a family member, you may be avoiding the same things as your loved one. Or, you may be afraid of his or her reaction to certain cues. One possible solution is to do some social activities, but let your family member stay home if he or she wishes. However, he or she might be so afraid for your safety that you also can’t go out. If so, seek professional help.

Depression

This is common among family members when the person with PTSD causes feelings of pain or loss. When PTSD lasts for a long time, you may begin to lose hope that your family will ever “get back to normal.”

Anger and guilt

If you feel responsible for your family member’s happiness, you might feel guilty when you can’t make a difference. You could also be angry if he or she can’t keep a job or drinks too much, or because he or she is angry or irritable. You and your loved one must get past this anger and guilt by understanding that the feelings are no one’s fault.

Health problems

Everyone’s bad habits, such as drinking, smoking, and not exercising, can get worse when trying to cope with their family member’s PTSD symptoms. You may also develop other health problems when you’re constantly worried, angry, or depressed.

Summary

Family members may feel hurt, alienated, or discouraged because your loved one has not been able to overcome the effects of the trauma. Family members frequently devote themselves totally to those they care for and, in the process, neglect their own needs.

Social support is extremely important for preventing and helping with PTSD. It is important for family members to take care of themselves; both for their own good and to help the person dealing with PTSD. (posts.va.gov)

June 12, 2018

Coping with the Symptoms of PTSD

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, Post Traumatic Stress, Well-being tagged , , , , , , at 8:15 am by kellyfdennis

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Here are some direct ways to cope with these specific PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) symptoms, your doctor or therapist will help you with these:(ptsd.va.gov)

Unwanted distressing memories, images, or thoughts

  • Remind yourself that they are just that, memories.
  • Remind yourself that it’s natural to have some memories of the trauma(s).
  • Talk about them to someone you trust.
  • Remember that, although reminders of trauma can feel overwhelming, they often lessen with time.

Sudden feelings of anxiety or panic

Traumatic stress reactions often include feeling your heart pounding and feeling lightheaded or spacey. This is usually caused by rapid breathing. If this happens, remember that:

  • These reactions are not dangerous. If you had them while exercising, they most likely would not worry you.
  • These feelings often come with scary thoughts that are not true. For example, you may think, “I’m going to die,” “I’m having a heart attack,” or “I will lose control.” It is the scary thoughts that make these reactions so upsetting.
  • Slowing down your breathing may help.
  • The sensations will pass soon and then you can go on with what you were doing.

Each time you respond in these positive ways to your anxiety or panic, you will be working toward making it happen less often. Practice will make it easier to cope.

Feeling like the trauma is happening again (flashbacks)

  • Keep your eyes open. Look around you and notice where you are.
  • Talk to yourself. Remind yourself where you are, what year you’re in, and that you are safe. The trauma happened in the past, and you are in the present.
  • Get up and move around. Have a drink of water and wash your hands.
  • Call someone you trust and tell them what is happening.
  • Remind yourself that this is a common response after trauma.
  • Tell your counselor or doctor about the flashback(s).

Dreams and nightmares related to the trauma

  • If you wake up from a nightmare in a panic, remind yourself that you are reacting to a dream. Having the dream is why you are in a panic, not because there is real danger now.
  • You may want to get up out of bed, regroup, and orient yourself to the here and now.
  • Engage in a pleasant, calming activity. For example, listen to some soothing music.
  • Talk to someone if possible.
  • Talk to your doctor about your nightmares. Certain medicines can be helpful.

Difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Keep to a regular bedtime schedule.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for the few hours just before going to bed.
  • Avoid using your sleeping area for anything other than sleeping or sex.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. These harm your ability to sleep.
  • Do not lie in bed thinking or worrying. Get up and enjoy something soothing or pleasant. Read a calming book, drink a glass of warm milk or herbal tea, or do a quiet hobby.

Irritability, anger, and rage

  • Take a time out to cool off or think things over. Walk away from the situation.
  • Get in the habit of exercise daily. Exercise reduces body tension and relieves stress.
  • Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases your stress and can cause health problems.
  • Talk to your counselor or doctor about your anger. Take classes in how to manage anger.
  • If you blow up at family members or friends, find time as soon as you can to talk to them about it. Let them know how you feel and what you are doing to cope with your reactions.

Difficulty concentrating or staying focused

  • Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what it is you need to learn or do.
  • Write things down. Making “to do” lists may be helpful.
  • Break tasks down into small do-able chunks.
  • Plan a realistic number of events or tasks for each day.
  • You may be depressed. Many people who are depressed have trouble concentrating. Again, this is something you can discuss with your counselor, doctor, or someone close to you.

Trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions

  • Remember that this is a common reaction to trauma. You are not doing this on purpose. You should not feel guilty for something you do not want to happen and cannot control.
  • Make sure to keep taking part in activities that you enjoy or used to enjoy. Even if you don’t think you will enjoy something, once you get into it, you may well start having feelings of pleasure.
  • Take steps to let your loved ones know that you care. You can express your caring in little ways: write a card, leave a small gift, or phone someone and say hello.

May 23, 2018

Still Mental Health Awareness Month!

Posted in Mindfulness, relationships, Well-being tagged , , , at 8:14 am by kellyfdennis

3194-min

Wednesdays are about wellness in the workplace: WorkplaceWednesday. (Mental Health America)

Nowadays so many jobs (although not all of them) involve sitting at a computer, behind a desk—which can make it hard to establish relationships with co-workers, and even harder to incorporate physical activity into your day.

Give your eyes (and your back, and your whole body for that matter) a break from the screen. Today I want you to take a walk on your break. If you need some peace and quiet, take a stroll by yourself. If you feel like company, ask a co-worker to join you.

How far did you walk?

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

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December 14, 2017

Talk Less, Listen More

Posted in Communication tagged , , , , , at 3:48 pm by kellyfdennis

CatunderTreeSome people are very guarded and quiet in their communciation style, almost as if they are afraid of being found out somehow. Others talk incessantly, desperately attempting to be heard and validated. Then there are those folks that seem to blame everything wrong in their lives on others, or those people who don’t really listen, but are quick to offer unsolicited advice. None of these approaches to communicating is effective.

Let me ask you something: What if you felt at ease and comfortable being your true, authentic self in your relationships with others? What do you think would happen if you felt safe to share your thoughts and feelings with others and they felt safe enough to do the same with you? When we practice effective, satisfying communication, we are rewarded with relationships filled with more love, intimacy, understanding, and trust.

Communication is so much more than just a way of talking or getting one’s opinion out in the air. Essentially, communication means transferring ideas, thoughts, desires, feelings from the privacy of one’s own mind to a common place where other people can share them and receive them. Words, body language, facial expression, tonality, and style are all a part of effective communication.

The elements of effective communication are easy to list, but can be challenging to implement:

-Use “I feel_________, when you____________, because__________.”

-Steer clear of “always”, and “never”.

-Pay attention to what your body is doing while you are talking or listening.

-Check your tone.

-Don’t keep things bottled up and then try to effectively communicate when the volcano finally erupts.

-Listen whithout judgement and without thinking about what you will say next.

-Put aside your need to be “right”.

-Use reflection: “What I hear you saying is______. Am I hearing you correctly?”

-Communciate in a way that will make sense to your recipient. For example, communication is different when you are talking to your 10 year old son versus your 40 year old coworker (or at least is should be!).

Communication is complex and wonderful and is certainly relationship enriching when done well. The above list really just scratches the surface, but it’s enough to get you started. Be curious about learning to be heard and understood, and learning to hear and understand.

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

 

stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

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