6 Ways to Manage Anxiety

anxiety

When anxiety or a panic attack hits, your heart rate spikes. Your breathing becomes shallow. You may start to sweat or shake. You might worry that your next breath will be your last. Or perhaps, you live with a constant low-grade fear of the future. If you’re one of the more than 40 million Americans who live with an anxiety disorder, these feelings are familiar.

What Is Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting Americans today. The intrusive and irrational fears disrupt your attendance at work and school. It can stop you from developing relationships with colleagues and friends. Anxiety causes uncomfortable physical side effects ranging from headaches and sweating to severe digestive problems.

There are many different types of anxiety disorder including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder is the most widespread form of anxiety. It causes intense fears about everyday situations such as completing chores or the health of your family.

Panic disorder causes panic attacks, in which sudden bouts of extreme fear emerge with a variety of physical symptoms including heart palpitations, rapid respiration, shaking, sweating, and crying.

Social anxiety disorder is also very common, causing irrational fears of rejection and humiliation in social settings. Your fears prevent you from comfortable social interactions with strangers, work colleagues, and even friends and family members.

Managing Anxiety

Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. Working with one of the licensed and compassionate therapists at North Brooklyn Therapy can help you learn to recognize your anxious thoughts and feelings, and adjust your behavioral responses. For example, many patients benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you develop the skills to identify anxious and fearful emotions and control your response to those feelings. You may also benefit from practicing mindfulness, a meditative practice that helps you stay focused on the present moment instead of worrying about the future.

In addition to working with a therapist, you can take steps at home to manage your symptoms and enhance your quality of life.

6 Tips to Manage Anxiety

Cut out caffeine

As much as you love your morning — let’s be honest, any time of day — cup of coffee, caffeine is a stimulant that can amplify your anxiety symptoms. While herbal tea is no substitute for a strong cuppa joe, hot drinks like peppermint tea can provide a caffeine-free boost to get you through your 3pm slump and chamomile tea is known for its relaxing properties.

Aromatherapy

Speaking of mint or chamomile, you could also diffuse relaxing scents. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and bergamot can help you relax while citrus and mint oils can lift your overall mood. Diffusers use steam to send the relaxing fragrances through your home. Alternatively, if you want to benefit from aromatherapy at work or outside of your home, you could wear a diffuser pendant or bracelet. You also can mix essential oils with carrier oils and apply them to your skin.

Get moving

Exercise burns off negative feelings and calories. If you find that your thoughts are racing out of control, even 20 minutes of exercise could help calm your mind. Exercise releases endorphins — your feel good hormones — which can help calm your mind and make you feel more positive overall.

Color

Adult coloring books are more popular than ever. When you focus on coloring in intricate designs or working on any craft-based hobby, your mind enters a relaxed state that’s very similar to meditation. This distracts you from your intrusive anxious thoughts and worries. So if coloring isn’t for you, try knitting, needlepoint, or whatever arts or crafts project appeals to you.

Breathe deeply

Everyone says to just breathe, and while it’s a cliche, take time out to take a few deep breaths and focus on filling and expanding your lungs before fully exhaling the used up air. You could imagine exhaling your negative thoughts and feelings.

Reflect and take action

Sometimes fears are founded in reality, but you need to take time to think about your feelings and determine if there is a legitimate reason. For example, if you know that the company you work for is downsizing, you may be right to feel nervous. But, when your fears are founded, you can usually take action to relieve or resolve the issue, such as searching for a new job if you know that your current position could be at risk.

If anxiety is disrupting your life, help is available. Call North Brooklyn Therapy to schedule an appointment with one of the compassionate licensed therapists today.

Do You Have the Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It’s cold, dark, and dreary out there. You probably want to stay in bed where you’re cozy and warm with Netflix to keep you company. But if you’re losing interest in your hobbies and don’t seem to have any motivation or energy, you may be dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression triggered by the lack of sunlight during the winter.

What is SAD?

SAD is a type of cyclic depression that follows the seasons. As the days get shorter, darker, and colder each autumn, you get less sunlight. A lack of natural light not only increases your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you feel sleepy but also interferes with your serotonin production. Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals responsible for regulates your mood.   

If you have SAD, you probably have noticed that you tend to get depressed when the season changes every year. Women are more likely than men to experience SAD, and the condition is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 18-30.

In addition to depression symptoms such as intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness, lost interest in previously enjoyed activities, and disturbed sleep, SAD also causes:

  • Low energy and motivation
  • Sleeping too much
  • Overeating and weight gain
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Social hibernation

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned about SAD or depression, contact North Brooklyn Therapy for help today.

Tips for managing your mood in the winter

Whether you’re dealing the winter blues or SAD, you can take steps to boost your mood, even in the darkest months of the year.

Stay active

Getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can help regulate your move. Whether you get out for a walk at lunchtime — which can also help you get a little sunlight — ride your bike to and from work, or even attend an exercise class with a friend, moving your body every day provides plenty of physical and mental health benefits.

Eat your veggies

Eating a healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet is good for you all year long. However, since you’re more likely to crave carbs and comfort foods during the winter, filling up with fruits and vegetables ensures you get the nutrients you need for optimal physical and mental health without excessive calories. You should also watch your alcohol consumption, as it’s a depressant that can make your SAD symptoms worse.

Spend time with friends

You might not want to venture outside, but social interactions are a great way to boost your moods. If it’s too cold to go out, invite some friends over to watch a movie or play a board game. Talking and laughing with friends can make the weather irrelevant.

Set manageable tasks

It’s important to feel like you’re accomplishing tasks. Setting a job or goal for each day, whether it’s work-related or something you need to do at home gives you a sense of purpose and achievement. However, don’t overload yourself. Having too much on your plate can be overwhelming and ultimately demotivating.

Get up at the same time every day

When it comes to getting up in the morning, don’t battle with your snooze button and let the dark win. A sunrise-simulating alarm clock can gradually brighten your room for 20-30 minutes before you need to wake up, which wakes you naturally and helps you feel refreshed.

Get professional help

Depression and SAD are serious mental health issues that can negatively impact all aspects of your life. If you’ve been feeling depressed or hopeless for two weeks or more, you may need help dealing with your emotions. At North Brooklyn Therapy, the compassionate and experienced therapists can help you explore your feelings and develop strategies to deal with depression and SAD.

Is forgiveness necessary to heal from an abusive relationship?

Many people believe forgiveness is a necessary step in the healing process. It’s part of our culture and religion, and it’s often encouraged by mental health specialists as well.

But what happens when forgiving someone becomes the equivalent of giving them permission to hurt you again?

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the reasons why forgiveness isn’t necessary to for you to move on and what type of forgiveness can bring peace of mind.

Misused forgiveness

In many cases of child abuse, forgiveness and hope that abusers will change keeps the dysfunctional family intact.

We’re taught to forgive and move on, especially when it comes to our family members. But anger is sometimes needed for victims of abuse to distance themselves from their abusers.

In later stages of healing, forgiveness is possible but can easily be used against the victim too. Just because we forgive doesn’t mean we should accept or try to dimish the abuse done to us. We’re just giving ourselves the peace of mind and the liberty to discard an emotional burden.

Why simply “moving on” won’t do

Depending on what type of abuse we’re talking about, moving on can mean simply shunning someone from our lives or confronting the abuser by contacting the authorities.

It’s not wise for someone who has been physically abused to just move away and risk being followed or harassed again. Authorities need to get involved, and ignoring the situation leads to more harm.

What is forgiveness?

When we forgive, we extend an invitation of reconciliation to someone.

In many cases, the people who wronged us won’t accept the offer. Worse, they’ll pretend their hurtful words and actions weren’t toxic at all.

Forgiveness is more about getting rid of the emotional burden of bitterness than about making peace with the abuser.

However, making peace with our own bitterness doesn’t mean diminishing the harm done to us and pretending it never happened. It just means we’re no longer locked in the same mental state about what happened in the past.

Final Thoughts

Forgiveness isn’t a necessary step to healing, though letting go of the bitterness can help. In some cases, pushing forgiveness on victims of abuse is downright insulting to their suffering. If you’re unsure about what to do regarding your past or current abusive relationships, or how you should deal with abusive situations, feel free to contact us.

Healing From An Abusive Relationship

Many people believe forgiveness is a necessary step in the healing process. It’s part of our culture and religion, and it’s often encouraged by mental health specialists as well.

But what happens when forgiving someone becomes the equivalent of giving them permission to hurt you again?

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the reasons why forgiveness isn’t necessary to for you to move on and what type of forgiveness can bring peace of mind.

Misused forgiveness

In many cases of child abuse, forgiveness and hope that abusers will change keeps the dysfunctional family intact.

We’re taught to forgive and move on, especially when it comes to our family members. But anger is sometimes needed for victims of abuse to distance themselves from their abusers.

In later stages of healing, forgiveness is possible but can easily be used against the victim too. Just because we forgive doesn’t mean we should accept or try to diminish the abuse done to us. We’re just giving ourselves the peace of mind and the liberty to discard an emotional burden.

Why simply “moving on” won’t do

Depending on what type of abuse we’re talking about, moving on can mean simply shunning someone from our lives or confronting the abuser by contacting the authorities.

It’s not wise for someone who has been physically abused to just move away and risk being followed or harassed again. Authorities need to get involved, and ignoring the situation leads to more harm.

What is forgiveness?

When we forgive, we extend an invitation of reconciliation to someone.

In many cases, the people who wronged us won’t accept the offer. Worse, they’ll pretend their hurtful words and actions weren’t toxic at all.

Forgiveness is more about getting rid of the emotional burden of bitterness than about making peace with the abuser.

However, making peace with our own bitterness doesn’t mean diminishing the harm done to us and pretending it never happened. It just means we’re no longer locked in the same mental state about what happened in the past.

Final Thoughts

Forgiveness isn’t a necessary step to healing, though letting go of the bitterness can help. In some cases, pushing forgiveness on victims of abuse is downright insulting to their suffering. If you’re unsure about what to do regarding your past or current abusive relationships, or how you should deal with abusive situations, feel free to contact us.

Is your career making you unhappy?

Here are a few clues on how you can solve it.

Money alone doesn’t make us happy. But at the same time, is it realistic to expect for our careers to make us feel accomplished and satisfied all the time? What happens when we’re new at something and, while we’re keen to learn, we’re by no means masters of the craft?

There’s always discomfort in growth, and in order to become better at something, you need to be critical of yourself enough to see what can be improved and confident enough to take the necessary steps to improve it.

In this blog post, we’re looking at some of the ways you can find out what suits your abilities and how you can build a successful career.

1. Introversion vs extroversion in the workplace

Before you study for a certain degree or start a job, you have to determine where you are on the introversion/extroversion scale.

For example, does your dream job involve networking most of the time? Then it might be best suited for extroverts. Or is your career success determined by individual work instead?

Another aspect you should ask yourself is how will your abilities be used. For example, if you decide to work in real estate, being talkative, comfortable around others, and friendly may earn you a paycheck each month. But if you’re a bit reserved and introspective, you’re the wrong person in the wrong place.

2. Raw talent doesn’t make you successful—hard work does!

If you look at the daily routines of one of the most successful and talented people in the world, you quickly notice a pattern. They aren’t just born that way, but they’ve developed over the years due to consistent hard work. Romanticizing even creative work can lead to always waiting for inspiration to strike you when in fact even writing or composing a song takes a skill that can be learned and sharpened over the years.

Nobody wakes up one day and suddenly writes a best-selling book. Behind the “aha” moment, there are years of hard work involved.

3. Be aware of things you cannot change

In the workplace, it’s not just ability that helps you climb the ladder but also how your superiors see you. It may come down to whether you’re well-liked by them, or if the company constantly invests in their people.

There are many factors that you can’t control. Focus on the things you can control, such as your work ethic or the people you surround yourself with. If you believe you aren’t appreciated at your current workplace, there’s no reason for you to stick around and wait for things to change.

Wrapping up

Finding the right career path is tough. After all, there’s so much to choose from, but what’s worse, all of the information we’re exposed to is superficial. Even though we know how much a lawyer makes and how he makes a living, we’re rarely told what qualities a lawyer has to cultivate and what mundane tasks need to be done every day to ensure the success of their business.

If you’re unsure about how your personality plays a role in the career path that will make you feel satisfied, feel free to contact us.

3 Reasons Why People Overspend To Feel Better

spending money and depression

With 80% of Americans in debt, living beyond our means seems to be a national sport.

But how does this impact our long-term financial security? And what happens when we can no longer catch up?

 Many of us end up ordering fast food or overspending on cars and clothing, which gives us temporary joy but can lead to long-term consequences.

 In this short article, we’ll take a look at the 3 reasons why people overspend and how it’s often linked to our emotions and self-esteem.

1. Overspending is linked to a low self-esteem

Many of us fall into the trap of trying to be like everyone else, or better if possible. That means a better car and a better house, and it may also mean getting a loan.

But in many cases, this behavior is linked to not feeling valuable enough unless you possess certain things, as if your worth is directly correlated with how much you own.

This behavior can easily destroy your life if you don’t find other ways to look at yourself in a favorable light, because there’s no end to how much deep insecurities can make us spend.

2. Mental accounting is painful

The truth is that looking at our bank statements each month and maintaining a budget can be a daily reminder that we aren’t that well-off.

In many cases, however, this can be the opposite. We may not let ourselves spend that much, and in the long-term, we’ll have more financial security than someone who is chasing instant gratification.

You have to keep in mind that most people feel the same as you do when looking at bank statements. It’s far easier to ignore it, but enduring the pain of acknowledging that you need to make some budget cuts will save you a lot of hassle later in life.

3. We feel that we need to reward ourselves after doing great work

Most of us work hard for the money we make, and, yes, we do deserve a treat once in a while. But if you work hard every month, does that mean that you have to treat yourself each month as well?

This behavior can easily snowball into overspending on expensive clothing, meals, and electronics as a way to make yourself feel better for working hard. The trick is to find ways to reward yourself that cost less or are free.

Do you love exquisite meals? Learn to cook them yourself.  

Are you a voracious reader? Go to the library instead of taking trips to the bookstore.

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 If you want to find out more about what triggers overspending and how you can control it, feel free to contact us with your questions.

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3 unexpected ways to bring more purpose to your life

purpose

 

Waking up every morning and not knowing where your life is headed, or not knowing where it should be headed, is frightening. We all crave purpose, and when we don’t have it, our entire existence seems to appear meaningless and unimportant to us.

In this article, you’ll find some of the unexpected ways you can discover your purpose.

1. What values, traits, or actions does your ideal self live by?

We all have this ideal self we aspire to become, and when the disparity between who we are in the present and who we want to become is too big, low-self esteem creeps in.

In some cases, the ideal self is overly inflated. To avoid this, business owners use the acronym S.M.A.R.T for setting achievable goals as opposed to unrealistic standards that might cause them to fall flat on their faces.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aspire to reach your ideal, especially if your goals are realistic. By attempting to get to know your ideal self better, you can get a sense of what’s important to you and what’s purposeful.

For example, if your ideal self would spend more time helping those in need or building a business around helping others thrive, what may bring you long-term satisfaction is dedicating more time to serving underprivileged communities.

2. Experiment with different courses of action

Taking action can help you feel more purposeful and confident in your own strengths once you realize you can do something of value.

But that’s not all. You may think a certain career path or form of activism will be rewarding, but there’s only one way to find out if it suits you: by trying it.

Many people end up switching careers, going to college after their 30’s, or experimenting with new lifestyles to find what makes them feel accomplished and purposeful.

3. Ask yourself what’s wrong with the world and attempt to change it

Many of us live in frustration due to external factors. In some cases, it could be the negative people around us, unfair legislation, poverty, or censorship.

No matter what bothers you, always keep in mind that in order to change others, you have to change yourself first.

Wrapping up

A sense of purpose makes us feel happy and fulfilled, but sometimes it’s hard to look inside ourselves and find out what career path suits us best, where we should invest most of our time, and what our true values and motivations are.

If you struggle with finding purpose, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for advice and counseling.

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When Stress Is Just Too Much

stress

 

Do you often feel overwhelmed by work, family issues or health problems?

Believe it or not, over 8 million Americans suffer from serious psychological stress. This can lead to other stress-related illnesses, such as hypertension and elevated blood sugar levels.

To help you out, let’s look at 6 creative ways you can cope with daily stress.

1. Read a fantasy book

If you’re in a situation that seems inescapable at the moment, why not use the power of fantasy to get away from your daily burdens?

Many fantasy books have the power of showing us beautiful, unimaginable worlds and creatures. But they also contain characters that show unexpected resilience and inner strength, traits that inspire many of us.

2. Take a walk

Taking a walk not only relieves stress by helping your body soak up Vitamin D from the sun or get much-needed exercise, but it has another function as well: it keeps you away from unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as binge eating, smoking, etc.

3. Watch your favorite TV show or series

If you have the time, why not watch one of your favorite tv shows or series?

It can relax you, and who knows, maybe the plotline will offer a new perspective on how you can look at your current situation.

4. Clean your room

For some people, cleaning, especially with music in the background, is quite relaxing. Plus, you get a mild exercise session out of it, not to mention the fact that you’ll be proud of how clean and neat your place looks after you finish!

5. Share your thoughts with others

It could a friend, family, or your partner.

Even if you don’t have someone you trust at the moment, you can still find someone willing to listen to your sorrows, especially if you have an internet connection.

Free services such as Talk With a Stranger are a great way to have a conversation while staying anonymous.

6. Don’t acknowledge every negative thought that passes through your mind

Mindfulness a practice that teaches you how to passively observe your inner critic without getting trapped in a cycle of going back into the past and reliving traumatic situations or anticipating a grey future.

Wrapping up

Chronic stress can lead to many life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you feel like every day is more of a burden, and that finding enjoyment seems like an impossible task, perhaps you could use some help from a specialist who can teach you how to eliminate the stress from its roots.

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How Journaling Can Help You

 

Journaling has been used for a long time by therapists as a method of identifying mood shifts and the context in which they occur. It’s also helpful for figuring out what situations drive negative thinking.

 However, journaling isn’t just a way for us to systematically record our thoughts in an attempt to understand ourselves. It’s also a safe way to vent.

A loyal friend

Like everyone else, you may have periods in your life when you feel alone and you have nobody to listen to your problems. A diary is a great way to vent and share your thoughts, even when you don’t have people close to you who understand and appreciate you.

 

Writing in a diary will help you experience relief while keeping your secrets and thoughts safe from the eyes of the world.

Track how you’ve changed and make note of your progress

We all change over the years. And one of the best ways to look at where you were a few years or even months ago is by re-reading your diary.

 

Keeping a diary can reveal so much about how certain events in our lives change our mindset and actions. These are changes that otherwise happen so slowly that we would otherwise not notice them.

 

But a few journal entries might shed some light on how your personality and thinking patterns have changed over time and where you’ve taken steps in the right direction.

Helps you achieve your goals

Goals and desires that are written down are more likely to come true. This happens because when you write them down, you externalize them. Your dreams and goals suddenly become closer to you. And having them in a diary works as a reminder that will motivate you to work harder to reach them.

 

Many entrepreneurs use journaling for this purpose alone. They write their daily and weekly goals down along with the actions that need to be taken in order to achieve them.

Wrapping up

Keeping a journal is perhaps one of the oldest ways of coping with depression, loneliness, and anxiety. And it’s no wonder it’s so effective. When you write your thoughts down, you detach yourself from them.

 

If you have difficulties socializing with your peers, making friends, or coping with depression, journaling can help. However, so can seeking professional help. Reach out to us with the troubles you face in your life to find out how we can help.

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4 Healthy Daily Habits

healthy daily habits

 

In this article, we’re looking at 4 healthy habits that add meaning to your life and make you feel proud of yourself, no matter where you are in your daily journey.

1. Have a routine

Routines make us feel grounded and give us a sense of direction. Plus, the more we work on something consistently, the better we get at it.

 

But this doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, especially in the beginning. Ask yourself what are a few simple actions you can take on a daily basis to make your life better. And then ask yourself if you’re willing to do them.

 

It can be as simple as cleaning your room or brushing the teeth more often.

2. Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be all sweat and pain. Walking is a form of exercise as well. Getting outside of the house and being exposed to the sun also has a positive impact on our well-being, due to vitamin D.

Not to mention, exercise gets rid of fatigue and strengthens the immune system.

3. Eat well

The role of diet is often underestimated in relation to mental health. But there are many studies that show a link between diet and mood.

 

Also, inflammatory foods have a negative on the brain. Specialists go as far as talking about the link between a diet high in sugar and certain forms of dementia.

4. Write down your goals

The first step to reaching our destination is being on the right road. Writing down our goals helps us get a better idea of where we’re going.

 

Some goals seem scary to write down because we’re afraid they may never come true. But in order to make progress, we have to confront our deepest desires, no matter how foolish they seem. In the end, our wants shed some light on who we want to be.

Wrapping Up

Not having much to look forward to doesn’t necessarily mean we’re depressed. We all go through tough phases in our lives when we aren’t stimulated enough by our environment.

 

However, if you still struggle with being content with your life or finding meaning, you may benefit from talking with a specialist about the things you can do to improve your day-to-day experience.

 

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