Are Depression and Anxiety Hereditary?
Have you ever taken a good hard look at someone in your family and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if that's where I get my nervous tendencies from?"
Many people with depression or anxiety experience that double-take kind of moment at some point in life, where they begin to connect the dots - at least the supposed dots.
You likely already know that depression and anxiety are both mental illnesses, but the question is, do they run in families…like diabetes and heart conditions can? Also, if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, does it mean you will get them too?
What the research says…
In recent years, doctors have been trying to understand whether these mental health conditions can be passed down from parent to child. Studies of twins suggest that anxiety and depression may be inherent in nature. Identical twins have the same set of genes, while fraternal twins share only half their gene pool, which can explain why identical twins are more likely to both have anxiety or depression than fraternal twins.
Despite what we now understand about the hereditary nature of depression and anxiety, doctors don't know which gene(s) cause these conditions, making it difficult to explain how they are passed down through genes. That said, different combinations of genes can make you more likely to develop anxiety or depression
What About Other Factors?
Of course, genetics isn't the only plausible explanation for what causes depression or anxiety or their links within a family. Your personal experiences, lifestyle, and environment can also play significant roles, as they do in most other medical conditions.
This makes sense when we consider how in cases where someone develops one of these conditions before age 20, it is most likely due to their genetic risk. On the other hand, those who develop depression or anxiety later in life are more likely to have developed it from these other factors.
All that said, families tend to share many of these same factors, so it's tricky to know for sure the full extent that any factor - genetic or environmental - plays in these conditions.
How To Spot Anxiety & Depression
At what point does anxiety become a condition? For many people, mild anxiety or stress is a regular part of their lives. But for others, these feelings might become overwhelming and interfere with daily activities.
Someone with an anxiety disorder will typically experience more frequent rapid breathing and heart rate, trouble sleeping, digestive and stomach issues, and persistent worries.
Similarly, depression can also vary in severity from person to person. Some people may only experience depressive episodes occasionally, while others may feel depressed most days. A few common signs of depression include feeling tired most of the time, having trouble concentrating on day-to-day tasks, sudden weight changes, and feeling hopeless or angry.
What To Do If You Exhibit These Symptoms
Do any of these signs sound familiar? If you're experiencing a number of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it might be time to let your doctor know, especially if either condition runs in your family.
You might not be able to prevent depression or anxiety, let alone predict it, but you can be proactive. Whether or not a mental health condition runs in your family, there are always healthy habits you can build now to keep it from worsening including reaching out for support.
Move Forward In Wellness This Year!
A new year is underway filled with opportunities. This year, make a commitment to finding renewed wellness at Pacific Mind Health. We’re here to help you move forward in clarity, renewed focus, and happiness this year and beyond. Let’s find the right treatment that can help you break free of the symptoms that are holding you back in life.
The holidays can be a wonderful time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones. For many, the nature of the season - the color scheme, the music, and all gatherings - all contribute to a sense of love and joy. For those struggling with depression, it can trigger a deeper sense of emotional pain and isolation.
Some say seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is to blame. While this disorder is a real type of depression that should not be discounted, not everyone who experiences increased depression around the holidays suffers from SAD.
Others point to increased stress around the holidays due to exorbitant expectations of how "perfectly happy" we should all feel during this festive time of year. A more modern view asserts that mass and social media posts depicting perfect moments - such as a magical snowfall on Christmas Eve - can make us more depressed than before viewing them.
Still, what triggers increased depression around the holidays is typically more complicated than one singular answer; rather, the causes of heightened depression around the holidays likely lie in some mix of these factors, along with several others.
The Excesses of the Holiday Season: Eating and Drinking
Unfortunately, the foods we typically indulge in during the holiday season are high-calorie and loaded with sugars and fats. They often lack the nutrients that our bodies need to function at their best. For this reason, it can be difficult for a person who struggles with depression to feel their best when they eat poorly during the holiday season.
Alcohol is another substance that many people tend to overindulge in around the holidays. While many of us have no problem enjoying a glass of wine or a beer on Christmas Eve, others use alcohol to escape from feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness that often come up during this time of year. Yet, these "quick fixes" tend to cause more emotional – not to mention physical – strain.
It's no surprise that money can add stress during the holidays. Many people struggle financially due to spending more on holiday gifts for friends and family members and expensive travel costs. Protect your mental health this year by not overdoing it and creating another burden of financial stress.
People who live alone or have less frequent contact with family members are more likely to feel lonely during the holidays. Those who have lost loved ones may experience other triggers, such as their first Christmas without that person.
It's not uncommon for people to feel disappointed and stressed out if their holiday expectations fail to match up with reality. Sometimes traditions change over the years, or things suddenly arise and throw a wrench in our plans.
Facing unmet expectations during the holidays can be frustrating and painful, particularly when comparing our experiences to those around us. We might feel like something is wrong or missing in our lives when others seem so happy and "put together" during the holidays. This combination of feelings often results in sadness, loneliness, and anxiety.
Don't let unrealistic ideals add more burdens to your already taxing holiday season. Instead, try focusing on what's right in your own life and be grateful for the good things you do have.
If you are struggling with heightened depression symptoms, it is important to be proactive about your mental health during this time. Seek out support from loved ones, professionals, or online support groups. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to have the "perfect" holiday season, and remember that your mental health is more important than any holiday celebration. We're here for you!
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and everyone is talking about gratitude. In some ways, gratitude becomes a bit of a buzzword during this time of year. But, all commercialism aside, there are scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Cultivating an 'Attitude of Gratitude’ can boost your mood, improve relationships, help you sleep better, and bring you more joy in life.
But pure gratitude is so much more than just saying ‘thanks’. It’s about genuine appreciation for the goodness around you. So, where do you start? How do you tap into the benefits of gratitude and create a more fulfilling life?
A great way to begin your gratitude journey is by making gratitude a daily practice instead of a seasonal tradition. Here are a few tips from our Pacific Mind Health Team that can help you reap the vast benefits of living a grateful life year round.
Start A Gratitude Journal
This is an actual step you can take today and you don’t need to spend $50 on a fancy gratitude journal; a pen and paper will do just fine! Consider making a little space for a new journal on your work desk or nightstand or making room in the weekly spread of a journal you already use. You could even accomplish this practice on sticky notes if
you wanted to! What matters most isn’t when, where, or even how much you write, but how you go about it.
Writing one to three times per week in your gratitude journal is ideal. Although there is nothing wrong with a daily journaling practice, maintaining some level of spontaneity can help grow your capacity to acknowledge things that happened in the day that you didn’t expect. In other words, you can experience stronger feelings of gratitude when you savor some of life’s surprises - big or small.
That said, the most critical element of gratitude journaling is specificity. So if your goal is to write down one thing you are grateful for, don’t just write down your best friend. Instead, write how much you appreciate their “just checking in” text today because they hadn’t heard from you in a while. Get personal and detailed if you want to truly recognize the impact of someone or something positive in your life.
Acknowledge The Negative, Too
If there were never a cloud in the sky, we would all take the sun for granted at some point. But thanks to the rain, each time we experience the sunshine that follows, we have even more of a reason to smile.
If we want to appreciate something positive in our lives now, it helps to acknowledge the negative that came before it. You might have something or someone in your life right now that you know you should feel grateful for — the only problem is you’re having trouble feeling it.
For instance, maybe you left a job that wasn’t meant for you, and you want to feel more excited to wake up for the job you have now. Your new job might not be perfect, but what do you appreciate about it compared to the one you had? Are you glad you’ve gone from a toxic environment to a friendly one? Are you thankful for the more flexible hours or pay?
When you cultivate gratitude, think about your life or situation regarding how far you’ve come or what’s better today.
There are several ways to practice mindfulness, yet one underlying reason why it works so well. If you want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, cultivate more awareness.
To do this, you can practice mindfulness meditation, bringing your attention to the present as you sit, allowing your feelings and thoughts to come without judgment or trying to change them. The goal of mindfulness is that the more present you become in life, the easier it will become to spot the goodness around you and appreciate it.
With mindfulness practice, you can go from cooking dinner on autopilot per usual into being attentive to the way you chop your vegetables, to feeling grateful for their vibrant colors and textures — how blessed you are to get to fuel your body so well.
Reach Out For Support This Holiday Season
If there’s one thing that a regular gratitude practice can show us, it’s that the little things in our lives aren’t so little after all. So as you embark on this gratitude practice, whatever you do, be patient. The benefits can take time to notice.
We also know that depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and other common mental health disorders can make finding gratitude difficult. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t take a break just because the holidays are here. In fact, the holidays can make grief and depression an even heavier burden to carry. If you or someone you love is suffering, reach out for support. There is hope beyond medication with TMS Therapy!
Imagine for a moment a small pea-sized pebble in your shoe. It's likely something we've all experienced at some point in life. You can feel it press against the bottom of your foot, but you push on, waiting for a good stopping point so you can remove it. It's so irritating and it's causing you to walk slowly- or even stand still. Finally, you remove your shoe and shake out the pebble for complete relief.
Why did you take so long to shake the pebble out of your shoe?
Why did you allow yourself to be tormented by such a small thing?
The little things in life can weigh you down and hold you back. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the pebbles that are present within your life. Maybe you've been feeling off, sluggish, or more depressed lately. To obtain and maintain improved physical and mental wellness, you have to identify the root of the problem. Here are a few ways our team at Pacific Mind Health can help you prioritize the way you feel and stop ignoring the things preventing you from thriving in life.
Customized Plans For Individualized Care
Life is hectic these days! It's so easy to live life on autopilot, simply going through the motions and ignoring that pebble in your shoe. But if you want to obtain optimal mental health, you have to identify the problem and treat it.
We know there's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treating depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Care is different for everyone because we're all unique. Our thorough diagnostic evaluations will help identify the best treatment choices for you and increase the likelihood the treatment will be successful.
Some people have tried 3 or 4 medications without relief and are searching for solutions through TMS Therapy. Others are looking to enhance their mental wellness by trying Hypnotherapy or CBT. Wherever you are on your journey to optimal mental wellness, we can create a customized plan to enhance your well-being and help improve the way you feel.
Evidence-Based Treatment Options
Treating mental illness in a modern society requires innovation and compassion, flexibility and focus. Like we said before, we know life is hectic. Maybe you’ve been putting your mental health on the back burner or chalking up your bad mood to stress at work. It’s time to move forward- and feel better!
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.
Our skilled licensed psychotherapists offer a variety of therapy modalities best suited for your needs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Meditation therapy, Supportive Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Exposure Therapy.
We Embrace Innovation, Science, and Modern Technology
We genuinely care about our patients and strive to help them achieve their best health possible. Our comprehensive programs, tests, and therapies arm us with an innovative psychiatric toolbox that helps create customized care plans to achieve optimal wellness.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is one of the tools we use to help patients break through difficult cases of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders. It’s a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment for Major Depressive Disorder. TMS Therapy uses magnetic stimulation to reinvigorate areas of the brain that have been affected by depression essentially turning those areas ‘on’ again. It’s a reawakening that helps lift the heavy veil of depression.
Let's Explore What's Holding You Back In Life
Whether you have a small pebble in your flip flop after a day at the beach or an entire pile of rocks at the bottom of your tightly-laced boot, we're here to help you move forward. Let's shake all of the things holding you back in life and find ways to move forward in improved mental wellness.
Remember, depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a complex medical condition that can be crippling for those who suffer. Our compassionate team is here to walk with you through your struggles to get on the path to renewed wellness. Give our team a call today!
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!
A New Battle: PTSD In COVID-19 Survivors
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
How to Feel Better by The Holidays
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