Month: January 2018

Practice Being Alone with Your Thoughts

Being alone with your thoughts on a regular basis can improve your mental health. By being alone with your thoughts, you allow yourself to process things that require healing. Just like when you sleep, your body needs time to repair the damage done to your body throughout the day. Similarly, your emotions need time to repair the inevitable damage that was done. Part of this healing requires that you stay awake.

Many people dread being alone with their thoughts, so much so, that they cannot bear a moment without distractions such as phones, spinners, computers, video games, and television. Ruth Baer Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky and an author of The Happiness Practicing Workbook, explains the importance of being alone with your thoughts. She posits that it can lead you to a greater state of mindfulness. Being able to process your emotions on a regular basis frees your mind from being over occupied with thoughts and ruminations that you continuously push aside and refuse to think about.

Additionally, being alone with your thoughts allows you to practice your emotional intelligence; you become more in tune with what your body is feeling and why. With practice, you will only increase your vocabulary of feelings you may be experiencing. Enough work makes it easier to take control of your emotions since you know what they are, where they came from, and what about them acts as triggers for you.

It’s time to meet yourself again. Get to know the journey you traveled. Hear your own story, the hurt that may be hard to face but has ultimately played a role in how you became yourself. Avoiding those thoughts and memories is only distancing from yourself. I bet you will find a lot more compassion for yourself and the actions you have made in the past. Be proud of who you are and the life you had; do not hide from the person you truly are. As hard as it may feel at first, it is worth every bit of time and effort you invest in your wellbeing, especially your mental health.

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfully-happy/201408/alone-your-thoughts

 

Eating Disorder Complexity

Eating disorders are constantly a favorite topic of mental health specialists. Despite decades of research, the public does not seem to really understand how eating disorders develop or why. To this I say there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that experts do not have a single answer or definitive, solid solutions. The good news is that we know enough to be able to help people regain control of their behavior and move on to living full, happy, and lives free from the clutches of these incredibly disruptive and dangerous disorders.

Eating disorders are very complex to say the least. There are many different types of eating disorders. Some eating disorders are easier to spot in loved ones, while others are not as noticeable. This can leave loved ones to suffer unnoticed for years, resulting in irreparable damage to their bodies. It is critical to familiarize yourself with the most common eating disorders to be able to spot the behaviors in your loved ones that require immediate help.

  • Bulimia Nervosa – Binge eating followed by behaviors that result in avoiding weight gain. A couple examples: vomiting right after eating or working out excessively.
  • Anorexia Nervosa– When someone excessively restricts food consumption, resulting in clinically significant weight loss. Often those with Anorexia resort to hiding food to make it appear as though they have eaten it and to not have to explain their behavior to their families.
  • Pica – Eating things not meant for consumption, such as pencil erasers, plastic, etc.
  • Purging Disorder- engaging in unhealthy or excessive weight loss behaviors through vomiting or taking laxatives without the presence of binge eating.

Because we all wear masks to hide our most sensitive struggles, sometimes it is hard to see what someone is going through. Dr. Shahram Heshmat, Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield, explains in his most recent book Eating Behavior and Obesity: Behavioral Economics Strategies for Health Professionals, that eating disorders stem from a lack of positive attachment styles. The over/under eating comes from a need to have control over one’s own body in a life where everything appears in a state of loss or lack of control.

An eating disorder can happen to anyone: your parent, friend, partner or child – no one is immune. This is why understanding the signs of a masked eating disorder is crucial. Help save someone’s life by keeping yourself and those around you informed.

 

 

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201707/what-causes-someone-develop-eating-disorder

 

The Ultimate Gift: Forgiveness

While the official season of gift giving has passed, one can continue to consider giving other gifts, especially the kind that aren’t in wrapping paper. Have you ever thought of forgiveness as the first major gift of the year? Dr. Tara Well, a Psychology professor at Barnard College of Columbia University and author of The Clarity explains thatForgiveness ultimately means freeing ourselves from feelings of anger, resentment, and victimization, and ending with clarity about our values.” Dr. Well shares three steps you need to take to achieve the closure that comes with the gift of forgiveness.

  1. Claim your Anger. It is important to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Sometimes anger is an alarm that notifies us of our need for space from a certain person. This is acceptable and healthy, because it creates enough space for you to process necessary thoughts and feelings. Suppressing feelings and pretending like everything is alright can lead to health complications.
  2. What did you learn? Well explains that in her research, she found that when people focus on asking “Why?” something happens over and over again it actually makes them feel worse and makes them become more resistant to forgiveness. However, when people begin to ask themselves, “What did you learn?”, it sets you up for “letting go” of what happened and allows moving forward without hate and resentment.
  3. Clarify your values. It’s important to know yourself and your values. If you know what you truly value, you can make sure others know what the requirements are to not break your trust. Next time you are in a situation where your forgiveness is needed, evaluate what value was broken and how you can communicate your values to others with greater clarity.

Holding grudges, hate, or resentment can take a toll on your mind, your body, and your soul. So why not give yourself the gift of forgiveness in 2018. Understand what has made you angry, learn from it, and move on. Forgive others, not only for their benefit but for yours; you are the one carrying around the hurt. Now go on and get to work; forgiveness takes a bit of time.

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-clarity/201711/forgiveness-is-gift-clarity-yourself