We live in a culture that glamorizes self-improvement. Even if we aren’t looking for self-improvement or self-help tips, they are there. Slapped across the pages and covers of articles, books, and magazines, we see alluring titles that aim to trap us in by feeding us advice on how we can fix our problems or “fix” ourselves, and we eat those tips right up.
The issue with glorifying self-improvement all of the time is that it can make us feel like we aren’t good enough. So, we continuously choose self-improvement over-self care, as if becoming the best possible version of ourselves guarantees happiness. But being better or doing more doesn’t guarantee happiness in life.
“One significant issue with placing too much focus on self- improvement is that it can become an obsession,” said Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
What happens when you read “how-tos” is that your brain translates them into “if-thens.” For instance, we start saying things to ourselves like, “if I lose 10 pounds, I would be so much happier” or “if I start making more money, my life would be so much better.” The very basis of self-improvement makes us forget that enjoying life is a journey or a process, not a deadline or a destination.
Another problem with constant self-improvement is that it can become a form of avoidance. The self-improvement industry has a way of helping you acknowledge your problems (like that you can’t stick to your diet or stop fighting with your significant other.) But the “real” problem lies at the root of the problem, which is often underlying feelings of shame or self-doubt.
Self-improvement is like trying to cover up an issue with a shiny goal, and striving towards that or merely reading about it makes you feel like you’ve solved the problem or accomplished something.
Finally, if you want to know what reinforces these feelings of shame and inadequacy, it’s also self-improvement. Our unrealistic expectations reinforce these feelings by enabling us to suppress them because we tend to focus on replacing
something about ourselves rather than improving it. Self-improvement can make us feel worse, leading to our constant need for comparison - whether that’s comparing ourselves to someone else or someone we want to be.
So what’s the solution to true self-improvement? Self-care.
Through self-care, we can learn more about who we are to discover what actually makes us happy and feel good. We can face and manage our feelings and realize that it’s okay to choose to slow down over continuous effort. There is nothing
wrong with goal-setting or building upon your qualities to be a kinder or more organized person. Still, it becomes problematic for our mental health and wellbeing if we keep choosing self-improvement over self-care. Self-improvement is like dedicating time to do things that will make you feel like you matter. Self-care, on the other hand, is taking time to remember that you already do.
So many of us go about our daily lives without ever really giving thought to the fact that we are breathing. Sure, we associate and acknowledge breathing as a critical function that keeps us alive but breathing serves another significant purpose. Our breath is a dynamic and powerful tool when we choose to become more aware of it.
“When we breathe more consciously, our breath does much more than merely keep us alive - it enables us to live healthier, longer, and fuller lives,” says Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
Here are few ways mindful breathing can improve your mood.
Mindfulness is what keeps us grounded and focused when we find ourselves in conversation with our minds. For some, this mind chatter happens more than they wish it would; for others, it happens more than they even notice.
When you take time to pause and focus on your breathing with awareness, in turn, it brings more attention to your thoughts. A daily practice of conscious breathing is essentially a mindfulness practice, wherein we must first tune into our thoughts before we can control them. All too often, our busy minds cause us to become stuck on unhelpful thoughts that we believe to be true.
Our negative thought processes impact us to such a degree that we begin to believe we are our thoughts. By tuning into the breath, we tune into ourselves, and this newfound awareness enables us to be more conscientious of acknowledging the thoughts that serve our best interest and letting go of the rest.
Fosters A Sense of Calm
When it comes to anxiety and stress, you likely know that the more you experience either of these, the more difficult it can become to control. Stress and anxiety can cause a spike in heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, and to make matters worse, these uncomfortable physical symptoms can exacerbate these unwelcome feelings.
Focusing on your breathing can bring you out of this heightened state of alertness. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, in particular, activates your parasympathetic nervous system. The calming messages your mind receives signal your body to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and, in turn, calm your mind.
Reduces Anxiety And Encourages Better Emotional Regulation
One way to understand the difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to something happening in the present moment. In contrast, anxiety is typically indicative of a mental state that is stuck in either the past or the future. In other words, we often experience anxiety due to dwelling on things that have already happened or worrying about things that may not happen at all. Your breath can bring you into the present moment when you turn your attention to it, directing your focus away from your worrisome and anxious thoughts.
Have you ever noticed how nice it feels to release a long exhale or sigh? This is a natural bodily response that we do to relieve our anxiety or stress, and some of us might do this at the end of a long day without even realizing it; others do it without realizing this is what the breath is meant to do. So, imagine the world of benefits you could tap into by simply becoming more aware of your breath.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help improve the way you feel but sometimes they aren’t enough. There are many effective treatments for those who suffer from difficult and persistent cases of depression and anxiety. You don’t have to ‘push through’ another day. Our team provides compassionate care from your home through our telehealth services. We also offer TMS Therapy for treatment-resistant depression and other mental illnesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support today!
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives now almost a year after the first lockdown orders in California. Many of us continue to face challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and emotionally damaging. Rising concerns about mental health sweep headlines as isolation and loneliness, two well-known psychological effects of COVID-19, continue to take a toll on the way people feel. Now, there's a new battle some COVID-19 survivors are facing in the aftermath of the disease that causes lingering anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, depression, accompanied by painful flashbacks.
The Trauma Surrounding COVID-19
Battling a potentially fatal illness can be a traumatic event. We've seen this many times before in cancer patients and others who battle life-threatening illnesses. Although many people in the US have recovered from COVID-19, those who make it to the other side can be left with emotional scars from their battle.
New research suggests that up to a third of those who fought COVID-19 and recovered are now battling symptoms of PTSD.
“This is a good reminder that PTSD isn't reserved only for veterans and soldiers, but anyone who has experienced some form of severe life trauma," said Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
Many COVID-19 survivors experience symptoms that align with PTSD such as:
• Flashbacks (reliving the trauma)
• Feeling tense or "on edge"
• Struggling with intrusive thoughts
• Being easily startled
• Losing interest in enjoyable activities
• Having physical sensations like sweating or trembling
PTSD & Depression Treatment in Long Beach, CA
Good moods, bad moods, happiness, sadness— they're all a part of life, and they come and go, especially during these unprecedented times. However, if your mood gets in the way of living your life, or if you seem stuck and unable to move forward, you may have depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you or someone you know struggles with symptoms of PTSD, depression, or any other mental health disorder during these difficult times, reach out for support. Our team at Pacific Mind Health specializes in a variety of therapeutic approaches depending on the patient's history, challenges, and personality. We're here for you as well continue to move forward. Don't hesitate to reach out for support!
We’ve all been there before...
You set a goal to motivate yourself and one thing leads to the next. Your job, the kids, baseball practice, the pandemic…where does the time go?! It’s so easy to put your health and wellness on the back burner these days.
Lately, have you found yourself giving more than you take? We know that trying to balance multiple roles in this “new normal” is stressful and sometimes overwhelming. It’s so easy to forget about the importance of caring and loving yourself during these challenging times even though it’s more important than ever!
Self-love is NOT about being selfish.
It’s not about “getting what you want” or overindulging.
Self-love is not selfish… it’s a requirement.
When we are kind to ourselves , that kindness often emulates around us. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a perfect time to focus on the power of self-love!
Here are some ways you can appreciate and take care of yourself each day to help boost your mood.
Set Healthy Boundaries
You really can’t practice self-love properly if you are constantly giving to others and running on empty. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no’ sometimes! Learning how to politely say ‘no’ can help you preserve your time and energy. Healthy boundaries help you avoid overcommitting so you can remain healthy, refreshed, and happy!
Let Go Of Perfectionism
Give up on the dangerous idea of perfectionism especially during a global pandemic! Choose acceptance instead. Some days, good enough is enough. Embrace your imperfections because someone else may see the beauty in your flaws. Love yourself for who you are! Don’t worry about meeting anyone else’s standards. As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself!
Don’t let life pass you by chasing the next best thing. Live in the moment and appreciate the ups with the downs. If the past is dragging you down, let it go! A positive outlook can help you view your mistakes and obstacles are opportunities to learn and grow.
“When we practice mindfulness, it helps calm racing thoughts by tuning into what
Try to find small ways to practice mindfulness each day with deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques that can help you move forward in clarity.
Self-Love Means Making Your Mental Health A Priority
You wouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help if you had a heart condition or diabetes. The same should be try when it comes to your mental health. Don’t let the stigma surrounding mental health keep you from getting the help that you need to thrive!
We’re here to help you feel better! You don’t just have to ‘push through’ feelings of depression and anxiety. We believe that treating mental illness in a modern society requires innovation and compassion, flexibility and focus. Pacific Mind Health integrates evidence-based treatments into a customized health plan that optimizes mental health
outcomes. One of our goals is to minimize medication overuse and dependence.
Happy New Year!
The year 2020 is now officially behind us however its impact will linger for a very long time. Most of us are totally drained from the hardships and challenges of last year. Unfortunately, 2021 didn’t come with a ‘magic switch’. Many people are still facing challenges and hardships as we begin a new calendar year.
It’s OK if you are welcoming this year with uncertainty. The good news is you can make the decision to move forward with renewed energy and motivation. You have the power to change your mindset to change the way you feel! Let's
explore a few simple habits you can change to help you reenergize and motivate your mindset for 2021.
Improve Time Management Skills
Time management is often overlooked, but it is the key to renewing your energy and motivation. Time management is one of the most important factors of productivity but having focus is KEY! Start by evaluating how you actually spend your time.
Are you spending too much time on tasks that don’t contribute to productivity?
Can you identify specific “time sucks” that hijack your attention and zap your focus?
Once you understand how you are actually spending your time, you can use it better.
Be mindful of “decision fatigue”. Princeton and Stanford have both done studies on the
subject and the results point to making important decisions during the first half of your day. Start
by tackling the most important things on your ‘to-do’ list to boost your sense of accomplishment
so you’re feeling motivated for the rest of the day.
Lighten Your Load
Do not overcommit! Sometimes, it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to please everyone. Saying ‘NO” can be hard but you can lighten your load by setting healthy boundaries. Overcommitment, both professionally and personally, can increase stress," said Joshua Flatow, MD.
As you clear up your schedule by making better use of your time, don't forget to prioritize your mental health. We all need a break from time to time. Plan to take a mindful moment by reserving 10 minutes to focus on the moment at hand. When we practice mindfulness, it helps calm racing thoughts by tuning into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than reliving the past or imagining the future
Fitness goals are popular New Year’s Resolutions but committing to a healthier lifestyle is a better way of viewing self-improvement. Working from home and inactivity can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting at a desk for hours and hours can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic.
You don’t have to train for a marathon to be healthy. Go outside even if it’s just for a few moments. Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood. Newton’s first law of motion an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.
The new year is just beginning and you have the opportunity to make the most of it! Make a resolution to improve the way you feel. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, we’re here to help. Our compassionate team is here to walk with you by providing convent care from home through our telepsychiatry services. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
New Year’s resolutions often signify all of the things we want to do in the new year: Eat a healthier diet. Exercise more. Start a new hobby. All great goals to have in mind but, now more than ever, it’s important to make your mental wellness a priority in 2021. This year as you’re making a resolution list, don’t forget to incorporate some of these mood-boosting practices that can improve your mental wellness and help you thrive in the new year.
Stop The Mindless Scroll
Social Media can be fun, distracting, and somewhat addicting. It can help you keep in touch with your friends which has been a blessing during these challenging times. However, being intentional with your use of social media is an important part of mental wellness.
Instead of using social media when you are bored, search the platforms with purpose. Social media often has a way of pulling you into a mindless scroll that can be a waste of time and energy. Sometimes headlines, opinions, and posts from your neighbor can be triggering and impact the way you feel. So, when using social media, be specific in your intentions. Whether it’s contacting a friend or checking out yournaunt’s holiday photos, be mindful as you are navigating news feeds.
Don't Compare Yourself To Others
Speaking of social media, part of mindful scrolling includes not comparing yourself to others. Remember that you are only seeing the ‘highlights reel’ of someone’s life on social media…not the entire story. Unrealistic standards of perfection caused by social media can have a big impact on your personal body image and self-perception. It could trigger feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, depression, and isolation making it hard to see your own beauty and strengths.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, try focusing on the good things you have in life. When we focus on other people, we lose time that we could otherwise invest in ourselves. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others in 2021! Instead, invest your energy into creating and caring for yourself and those worth pouring into. Create your
own ‘highlights reel’ that’s rooted in gratitude and growth.
Don't Put Yourself Last
Loving and caring for others is a wonderful part of life. However, as the new year approaches, consider making yourself a higher priority. “Caregivers and parents spend so much time pouring their time, love, and resources into others that they forget to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Flatow. “Make self-care a priority in 2021 by doing little
things each day to recharge and renew.”
Go for a walk. Meditate. Start a gratitude journal. Exercise. The list of self-care ideas goes on and on. Whatever self-care looks like for you, be sure to commit in the new year. Show up for yourself to help reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Whatever your resolution for 2021, remember to be kind to yourself. The past year has been challenging for so many. You can welcome the new year with a renewed sense of hope and well-being when you set positive goals.
If you or someone you love is struggling, please know that our compassionate team is here to walk with you. Our telepsychiatry services offer convenient care from the comfort and safety of home so you can start out 2021 on the right foot. Give our team a call today.
“What if I can’t do it?”
“What will people think?”
“What if something bad happens?”
Unwanted, intrusive thoughts can cause great distress for those who suffer from anxiety. They can feel so real...so threatening. When those feelings of unease and worry arise, many people get wrapped up in them and struggle to push them away.
Have you noticed that when you dwell on potential outcomes, your anxious thoughts accumulate? The more you get stuck on the “what ifs,” the more this way of thinking becomes habitual and harder to break. If this sounds like you, do not lose hope because stopping anxious thoughts can be as simple as creating them, and here is how:
Process Your Thoughts
“Your thoughts have come around for a reason, so allow them to be heard”, said Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health. “Process and evaluate your thoughts instead of challenging them,” he said.
In some cases, it is important to identify specific emotional triggers and associations, but in the case of anxious thinking, it is typically best to just let go.
Letting go does not mean suppressing thoughts or ignoring them; in fact, to let them go, you must first allow your thoughts to come as they are. Then you must work through them- why do I doubt myself this way? Why am I still stuck on what has already happened?
Finally, consider if these thoughts are serving your best interest or fostering positivity. You have done the hard work of acceptance and processing already; here is where you get to decide which thoughts you do not have room for.
Put Fears Into Perspective
What do you fear right here and right now?
What is weighing heavy on your mind?
Just as you would welcome your thoughts, welcome your fears. Sit with each one for a moment and consider the potential outcomes. If you have an uncomfortable conversation with someone you love, will you still be okay? If you do
not finish an assignment on time, will you still be okay? In the small chance that your answer to this question is anything but yes, then keep seeking perspective, focus on what variables you can change, and relinquish control over those which you cannot.
If you catch your anxious thoughts asking all of these “what if” questions, perhaps it is time to consider a new question: what if you allowed yourself to be present? By being present in the moment, your anxious thoughts will fall by the
wayside since the what-ifs do not exist in the present.
Through this mental state, you can practice the same idea of welcoming thoughts and letting them go; the difference is that mindfulness is what helps you notice that these thoughts are occurring in the first place. During mindfulness, you
will concentrate on either the breath or an object and simply become aware.
Mindfulness is not your time to sit, think, and process; mindfulness challenges you to welcome thoughts, let go of them, then return right back to what it is you were focusing on. Mindfulness gives you a calm, accepting, and non-judgmental place to return to when you notice you have drifted away with your thoughts.
Of course, sometimes anxiety disorders are crippling and require treatment. If your anxiety is interfering with your daily life, contact Pacific Mind Health for quality mental health care and support. Don’t just push through another day of anxious thinking! There are many effective treatments available for relief...our team can help!
Traditions are a wonderful thing to have, especially at holiday time. Traditions keep people together and keep them looking forward to something outside of their everyday life. But have you ever had someone back out of a tradition? Or were you the one who had something come up which "ruined" the tradition? It probably felt pretty bad, right?
As wonderful as they are, traditions are associated with a certain level of pressure. The pressure to do the same thing, the pressure to be there, pressure for the lives of everyone involved to stay at a standstill for just a little while longer so
you can see to it that your tradition happens again this year. If we really think about it, traditions are like expectations. And unmet expectations are one sure way to leave you feeling blue.
A Shift In Holiday Traditions This Year
This year we all might experience a shift in traditions, which means we must adjust or let go of our expectations too. It might feel sad or challenging at first to do, but it is really for the best. No matter what happens in your life this year, especially with the holiday season approaching, you may want to expect that your traditions will undoubtedly change instead of expecting traditions. But change is good, as long as you choose to see it that way. Perhaps this year, instead of getting your hopes up over something traditions that, by nature, do not change, you welcome the change and accept the invaluable lessons this shift in traditions can bring you.
The best way to welcome change and joy this year is first by noticing the constants in your life.
“Try writing down 3 things you are grateful for to help you appreciate what you have, no matter how small,” recommend Dr. Flatow of Pacific Mind Health.
What do you have in your life right now, and can you be grateful for each one? Whether it is that giant ray of sun that always seems to shine down just after lunchtime or the fact that you, your family, and friends are still healthy after everything this year, there is always something to be grateful for.
Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude
Having an attitude of gratitude means that you choose to stay focused on the good and positive things in your life, despite how much around you is changing. It is easy to dwell on what is different this year and get in a mindset where we feel like things are falling apart.
When you practice gratitude, it becomes easier to focus on the good around you. Having a grateful mindset can help you stress less about what others have that you don’t! When you change your mindset to focus on what you do have, it’s easier to find happiness.
This year, let’s shift our traditions…
Shift our mindset…
Let's hold on to joy and not to traditions or expectations.
Fuel This Holiday Season With Hope and Gratitude
Not everything has to change this year, but where it does change, let us welcome it. Let's embrace it as an opportunity to learn the value of mindset. A gratitude mindset is not only a gift that we keep giving to ourselves every single day, but it inspires us to think about others too.
By noticing all we do have, generosity comes naturally as we find ourselves wanting others to experience the same. So, let's fuel hope with gratitude this year, for ourselves and everyone around us! If you need help getting started on your
journey to mental wellness, let’s move forward in happiness…together. Let's Connect
Quarantine, masks and gloves, working from home, homeschooling, social distancing, Zoom meetings…rinse, wash, and repeat-literally! It’s not just the change in routine, it’s the feeling of isolation.
Maybe you feel like you just need a break.
Perhaps you feel a little uneasy these days from all the uncertainty.
It’s possible that navigating these unprecedented times is really starting to take a toll on the way you feel.
There is no denying the impact that the coronavirus has had on all of us. Some have lost jobs and loved ones. Others are struggling with anxiety wondering if they will, too. No matter how you’ve been affected, so many things about life as you knew it have changed.
While you might be keeping up well with the changes and moving through the days as best you can, it’s important to tune into the way you feel. Focusing on your mental health during a time like this is critical.
Now, as the holiday season approaches, you might be thinking how nice it would be to feel better. How great it would be to make the most of this holiday season regardless of how COVID will inevitably change your traditions.
The good news is relief is possible! But it’s important to remember that mental wellness is not a race to be won, but a journey to holistic healing. At Pacific Mind Health, we have a variety a of treatment options that can help you start your mental wellness journey so you can start to feel better by the holidays.
Psychotherapy is just a general umbrella term for things like counseling, talk therapy, or psychosocial therapy so don’t let the term intimidate you! During this time, you talk about your feelings, moods, and thoughts. Psychotherapy can be incredibly beneficial if you are dealing with stress and anxiety as a result of COVID. Remember, a therapist is not only a safe person to talk to, but they can help teach you ways to cope every day, even if you only chat with them once a week.
Telepsychiatry is one of our specialities at Pacific Mind Health. We’ve been helping patients long before COVID-19 forced everyone into a virtual world. Tele psychiatry is like a house call, but better! We use video-based technology to provide psychiatric therapy from a distance. It is traditionally used for those who feel more comfortable doing therapy sessions from home. Still, the coronavirus pandemic is an excellent time to utilize this safe, socially distant form of therapy to work through any anxiety and depression.
Ketamine works because it takes over a chemical receptor in the brain. Traditionally, it has long been used as anesthetic, but has proven successful at helping aid severe depression, especially for those who did not find that traditional therapy forms helped them enough. This infusion therapy holds promise for treating a wide range of mental health issues, and results can happen after just a few treatments to provide rapid relief.
TMS or Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an insurance-covered, noninvasive treatment for alleviating depression symptoms. It uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain responsible for mood control.
While symptom relief may take a few weeks of treatment, your depression could go away completely.
“At Pacific Mind Health, we offer Express TMS which provides treatment in only 3 minutes,” said Dr. Joshua Flatow. “This effective treatment provides equal or better efficacy than traditional TMS protocols that last 30+ minutes,” he said.
Feel Better By The Holidays
When it comes to your mental health, you deserve to feel good again! Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all. Everyone is different in how they suffer, heal, progress, and cope. This is why there are so many options available for mental
wellness. It’s all about finding what works for you and sticking with that.
The bottom line is that you can feel better by the holidays! Reach out to us if you need support.
You’ve heard the proverbial phrase before, “Is the glass half-full or half - empty?” Of course, what the question is really asking is, “Are you an optimistic (half-full) or pessimistic (half-empty) type of person?” The answer isn’t always straightforward. Maybe some days you’re a ‘glass half -full’ kind of person and other days you only see it as half-empty. Thanks to COVID-19, social unrest, looming wildfires, and really the entire year of 2020, we’re all feeling a
little more ‘glass half-empty’ these days.
We’ve said it a thousand times before and we’ll say it again…
It’s OK to not be OK!
However, it is important to evaluate your mood, your mindset, and your general attitude in life. Constant negativity can fuel anxiety and depression. The good news is you have the ability to change your mindset - - it’s not set in stone! You can shift your attitude and perspective anytime you’d like.
If you feel like negativity and pessimism have caused a constant grey cloud in your life, watch out for these three negative behaviors that dampen your mood.
Does your brain go from zero to worst-case scenario in situations? Do you tend to see things as far worse than they actually are? People who catastrophize live in a mindset of ‘doom and gloom’ even when they have sufficient resources to deal with the problem at hand.
People who have a negative mindset tend to practice avoidance in order to eliminate risks - even when they are small. If you don't take a risk, you will never learn what you can manage. Often, when you continuously avoid something, it builds and builds to an unmanageable point. Sometimes the things you are avoiding are actually personal triggers and deserve further evaluation from a mental health professional.
Hanging On To Certainty
We all have routines and preferences, but when you never step outside of your comfort zone, you set yourself up for failure. A negative mindset can cause you to view things as threatening just because you don't understand them.
Clinging onto certainty can actually hold you back in life, “ said Dr. Joshua
Learn How To Accept Uncertainty
No matter how much you strive to eliminate doubt from your life, the truth is you already accept a lot of uncertainty every day. No one knows what lies ahead but we stay rooted and focused on what we can control.
Unfortunately, for someone with anxiety, irrational fears and worries can take hold day after day. It can be hard to think logically when fear is always in control. Anxiety is that general feeling of worry, unease, or nervousness regarding an imminent event or something with an outcome that’s uncertain. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, but persistent anxiety could indicate an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety isn’t something you have to live with, we can help you move forward in wellness. If your anxiety is interfering with your daily life, contact Pacific Mind Health for quality mental health care and support.
Everyone has an opinion these days. It seems like the age-old concept of politely avoiding conversations about sensitive topics (like politics and personal beliefs) has been thrown out the window. Chances are you’ve run into a negative, politically-fueled conversation at some point in your life. Now, in the wake of another presidential election in November, it’s more important than ever to know how to defuse a negative confrontation with someone you love.
Here are a few things you can do to master the art of handling negative conversations with grace while keeping your sanity…
Try To Talk In Person
For better or worse, social media has given people a convenient and widely-accessible platform to voice their opinions. Some people are very loud behind their screens - - we all know a person or two, right? When it comes to political conversations, try to have them in person.
One-on-one conversations can help eliminate distractions and misconceptions. Understanding someone’s tone is much easier to do in person. Remember to control your body language and make sure you are actively listening even if you don’t agree. If your mind is so busy shaping what you are going to say next, you aren't really listening.
Remember: People Can Be Stubborn
This is really an important concept to remember before you engage in a political conversation! You might not change someone’s mind. If that’s your goal then it’s best to opt out of the conversation entirely. An impassioned speech probably won’t change your 85-year-old grandmother’s political leanings.
Before you engage, think about what you’d like to gain from the conversation. Is it a new perspective? Are you trying to understand where the other person is coming from? Never make the goal of a politically-heated conversation be to change someone’s opposing view!
Know What To Say To Defuse The Conversation
Choosing your words wisely is an important part of defusing negativity. Think about what you say and how you say it. Stay focused on how you feel. Don’t attribute emotions to other people - that just adds fuel to the fire! Instead of saying , “You must be uncomfortable”, try “I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable.”
Here are a few helpful ways to keep the conversation going in a constructive manner:
“Thank you for your response, I appreciate your feedback.”
“What I heard you say was…”
“I wasn’t aware of this—tell me more!”
“What can we do to change the situation?”
Express How You Feel
“It’s important to stand up for what you believe. It’s equally important for you to express your feelings so you don’t suppress your emotions,” said Dr. Joshua Flatow, the lead psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health. "Suppressing your emotions, whether it's frustration, sadness, or grief, can lead to physical stress on your body over time.”
Of course, even if you follow our advice, sometimes there just aren’t the right words to defuse a negative conversation. Remember that it’s OK to walk away if a constructive conversation isn’t possible.
We understand how challenging these times are for our community. Between social unrest, looming wildfires, a global pandemic, and an upcoming presidential election, it’s no wonder you might be feeling a little uneasy these days.
It’s OK to not be OK.
We’re here to walk with you through your struggles from the comfort of home with our telepsychiatry services.
You don’t have to push through another day feeling miserable. Even though times are tough, you deserve happiness! We’re here to help you find it…
Over the past six months, the novel coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Familiar routines and schedules came to an unprecedented halt almost overnight. The uncertainty of the situation and changes in routine have caused many children – and parents – to feel stressed and anxious. Now, as we head into a new school year, it’s more important than ever to address the emotional impact of COVID-19 in children and teens.
Understanding Resiliency In Children
Mental health problems are expected to rise dramatically as a secondary effect of COVID-19. The disruptions and closures of schools and activities have only added to the mental distress children and teens are experiencing during the pandemic.
It’s important to remember that children aren’t equipped with the life experience or brain development to fully comprehend the impact of a global health crisis. Unfortunately, many people think children are uniquely resilient. There’s a misconception that they’re able to bounce back from whatever life throws their way.
“Children and teens thrive out of consistency and stability. They really struggle without routine and knowing what to expect which can lead to a lot of anxiety that may present itself in temper tantrums, isolation, and irritability. They are also incredibly attentive to the environment around them and model what they see caregivers and other adults in their life do. If we panic and do not manage our own stress during this pandemic, our children are going to follow suit,” said Veronica Calkins a psychotherapist and licensed Clinical Social Worker. “Young children and teens may be unable to verbalize distress and discomfort during these challenging times making it essential for parents to check in.”
Find What Works For YOUR Family
As we head into a new school year amid COVID-19, remember that every family is different. What works for your neighbor might not be a good fit for your family. Everyone reacts differently. Some families might make a smooth transition into new routines while others may struggle trying to balance work and home duties.
Remember that young children may be unable to verbalize their distress and discomfort. Parents and caregivers of young children should watch for signs and symptoms of anxiety that can show up as increased moodiness, irritability, clinginess, or behavioral regression.
Some children may experience intense sadness or anger, others may be withdrawn or act as if nothing has occurred. For teens, abrupt changes and social isolation can aggravate signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Parents should always communicate openly and allow teens to express their feelings. Open conversations provide empowerment for teens as they’re able to label and validate their feelings during these challenging times.
Watch Out For Signs and Symptoms of Mental Distress
Even though you can’t control the spread of a global pandemic, there are things you can do to help your family move forward in health and happiness. Try setting aside a specific time for you to talk with your children about what’s going on in the world. Provide a safe space for them to discuss their feelings.
Utilize distractions and relaxation techniques to help them adapt to the ‘new normal’. Remember that children who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders need extra support during this time. Children with depression have the tendency to isolate which is made even easier during an era of social distancing. Be sure to include your child in family activities like dinners and walks together. It’s essential to keep them engaged!
All of the stress surrounding COVID-19 can exacerbate children’s feelings and symptoms. It’s difficult for parents to distinguish between sadness and clinical depression or anxiety. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support! The mental health of your family is just as important as your physical health.
Our convenient telepsychiatry services allow you discuss the mounting pressures of parenting during COVID-19 from the comfort of your home. We understand the additional stress and anxiety you might be facing during these challenging times.
It’s OK to not be OK. Our compassionate team is here to help you start your journey to mental wellness. Contact Us Today
In the second episode of her new podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast, the former first lady revealed that she has been suffering from ‘low-grade depression” as an effect of quarantine and news about civil unrest and politics.
“There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low,” Mrs. Obama said, adding that her sleep was off.
External Stressors That Contribute to Depression
We know that depression is a complex condition. Biological, psychological, and environmental stressors all play a role in the impact of depression. Mrs. Obama opened up about the external stressors that are making her feel “off” and many of us can likely relate.
We’re living in an unprecedented time.
We’re all being asked to adjust and adapt to this ‘new normal’ caused by a global pandemic and it can really weigh you down.
The psychological effects of the pandemic are not yet fully clear. But, in May, the World Health Organization warned of a “massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months.” The anxiety, stress, isolation, and fear of COVID-19 are external stressors that can fuel bouts of anxiety and depression.
More than 1 in 3 Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Comparatively, a year ago, that figure was 1 in 10.
Clearly, the psychological impact of COVID-19 is starting to set in for many Americans and people across the world. What’s worse is that so many people suffer silently and are afraid to come forward and get help because of the stigma surrounding mental health.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Ending The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
When Michelle Obama and other prominent public figures and celebrities talk about depression, it helps normalize the conversation surrounding mental health. We’re thankful for her willingness to help put mental health in the spotlight at a time when we need it the most.
It’s important to remember that depression can bring down the best people -none of us are immune! You can’t “snap out of it”. Major depression is so much more than just feeling sad or having a bad day. No one chooses to be depressed. Depression can’t be cured with positive thoughts or a positive attitude.
Depression can zap your energy for living life.
It can wear you down and make you feel empty inside.
Depression can rob you of creativity, motivation, and happiness in life.
Even when it’s low-grade, depression can cause a lingering feeling of sadness, irritability, agitation, social withdrawal, loss of interest, and hopelessness. Unfortunately, there’s a dangerously untrue association between depression and “weakness” that’s part of the toxic stigma surrounding mental health.
Treating Depression In Our Long Beach Community