The Journey to Wellness & Balance Counseling Services, Ltd.

Counseling and Mental Health Articles for Your Wellness!

Grounding Techniques Can Be Helpful During Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear. They can be frightening and upsetting and are accompanied by overwhelming and distressing thoughts and intense physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, sweating and shaking or trembling. Many feel that they are detached from reality during these episodes.

One technique that can be helpful during panic attacks as well as PTSD flashbacks is known as the 5-4-3-2-1 coping or grounding technique.  Grounding is a diversion that can help reduce your symptoms. It can help you get out of your head as your thoughts race and get you to connect to the present. When we are grounded we feel calm, centered and in the moment. This 5 step grounding technique is simple to do and can give some immediate relief.

First, before using the grounding technique, it is important to focus on your breathing as this is the quickest way to move toward getting calmer. To start breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds and breathe out through your mouth slowly for 4 seconds. Try to do at least 5-6 rounds of this breathing but you can certainly do more.

Once you have slowed your breath you can use the 5 steps:

5: Observe Five things you can see. Maybe it’s a picture on the wall, a cup or a pen. State 5 things you can see.

4: Observe Four things you can touch. It can be your hair, your shirt or a piece of furniture. State 4 things you can feel/touch.

3: Observe Three sounds you hear. It should be something outside of yourself not your own thoughts. Perhaps you can hear the clock ticking, a car driving by or birds chirping. State 3 things you hear.

2: Observe Two things you can smell. This may be hard depending on the environment you are in. If there is not something right there to sniff you may need to move around to find something to smell. Maybe there is a lotion close by or some soap or you can walk outside to smell something in nature. State 2 things you smell.

1: Observe One thing you can taste. What tastes do you notice in your mouth? Perhaps gum or the coffee you had earlier. Focus on this as the last step.

It may be helpful to practice this technique at various times even when you are not anxious so that you feel familiar with it and will easily come to mind when you need it the most.

Traits of a Healthy Marriage

We have all heard that “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.” Arguments over the divorce rate continue to be an ongoing debate. Some studies suggest that the divorce rate in the U.S. is declining and that the rates are somewhere between 40-50%. Regardless of the statistics, there clearly are many people struggling to find a way to make marriage work. It may seem that the odds for a successful marriage are not in our favor however with resolve and commitment it is possible to have a long and healthy marriage.

Here are 6 traits of a good marriage

  • Accept your partner as they are.  Entering a marriage expecting you can change your spouse is a recipe for disaster.
  •  Put your relationship first.  When making big decisions consider how it will affect your partner. You are part of a team now. Don’t make choices that will put undue stress on the relationship.
  • Be kind and respectful in your relationship. You won’t always agree with your spouse and at times you will get angry but you can still remain considerate of the other’s feelings. You can focus on criticizing and hurting your partner or you can be kind in expressing your hurt and anger. Kindness is always a quicker path to resolution.
  • Don’t keep secrets. You can’t build trust with a partner when secrets are being kept and once trust is lost it’s hard to rebuild.
  •  Consider “divorce” a dirty word. Couples who frequently refer to divorce are more focused on their exit strategy and lack the commitment they need to heal and strengthen their marriage.
  • Live in the present. You can’t change anything that has happened in the past. It’s important to be forgiving and accepting in order to move forward. Couples who continually dredge up old hurts get stuck in their anger and resentment.

Forming Healthy Habits

It happens every new year. We feel the need to make those resolutions for ourselves because it’s a new year. What better time to make those changes that we did not accomplish last year.  We resolve to lose those 20 pounds; we will exercise 5 times a week; we will finally organize that out of control closet. There seems to be messages everywhere to push us in that direction. Tips and guidelines in magazines and news programs. Not to mention all the sales and deals on exercise equipment, gym memberships and storage containers you see every January. What could go wrong?

The reality is that for many of us we start our resolutions with the best intentions but our efforts tend to fizzle out by February. There are different reasons why we struggle to establish these new habits.

  • We make too many resolutions at one time. Trying to make too many changes at once will become too difficult and overwhelming.
  • We set goals that are not realistic. Are you really going to be able to go to the gym 6 days a week when you work full time and have a family?
  • We adopt someone else’s resolution instead of our own. Are you resolving to lose weight because your spouse is pressuring you? Are you using ultra- thin models as your standard?
  • We depend on outside solutions like a gym membership without doing anything to prepare our inside- our brain. We don’t consider how we will psychologically handle the stress and discomfort that comes with change.

Here are some steps that may make your journey to healthier habits a little easier.

  • Focus on small changes. Tasks are always easier when you break them down. Replacing a daily snack with something healthy is not as hard as revamping your entire diet. You can then move on to other small changes.
  • Consider your timing. Do not try to make changes during times of stress and disorder in your life. The day you get fired is not a good time to quit smoking.
  • Focus on the behavior not the result. Often we give up when we haven’t lost the pounds we expected to but if we continue with these healthier behaviors we will see results in time. It’s a matter of making lifestyle changes not looking for a quick fix.
  • Find a partner. It can help to work with someone who can be your cheerleader and help keep you accountable.
  • Change your environment. It will be harder to eat well with a pantry full of junk food. Turn off your devices or put them away if they are interfering with your efforts. Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Set realistic goals. You may never be able to wear a size 4 or run a marathon but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your health or lifestyle in significant ways.
  • Give yourself time. We hear that it takes 21 days for a habit to form but that might not be true for everyone. Accept that things will get easier but we have to be willing to give it time.

If you take small steps and keep your expectations realistic you are on the right path to form healthy habits.

Impact of Bullying and Mental Health 

http://www.livescience.com/50641-bullying-child-maltreatment-mental-health.html?adbid=593142679199821825&adbpl=tw&adbpr=15428397&short_code=2w2ot

Improving Communication in Your Marriage

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

In this year approximately one in five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or post- traumatic stress disorder.

To bring awareness and reduce the shame and stigma that surrounds these illnesses, President Obama has proclaimed May 2015 to be National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015.

What are the Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness? Having a combination of symptoms (not just one symptom) indicates that someone might be showing signs of a mental health condition.

Pay attention to these symptoms when they last longer than a few weeks.

  • Problems with concentration, memory or ability to think clearly.
  • Feeling overly worried.
  • Changes in eating such as loss of appetite or overeating.
  • Unable to complete school or work tasks.
  • Feeling sad, hopeless or worthless.
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Irritability and/or restlessness.
  • Changes in energy levels or sleep patterns.
  • Sex drive changes.
  • Extreme mood changes.

Many mental health illnesses can be effectively treated with one or a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There are day programs or partial hospital programs and in more serious cases inpatient hospital programs. There are a variety of professionals that can provide psychotherapy or counseling services. These include psychologists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) and licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC). These professionals must adhere to strict rules of confidentiality to protect client’s privacy.

Many gain support and valuable information from support groups. For more information on support groups visit National Alliance on Mental Health www.nami.org  or Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance www.dbsalliance.org

Talk with your doctor or mental health professional about your mental health concerns. If you or someone close to you has thoughts or a plan of killing one’s self or someone else seek immediate attention by calling 911 or going to your nearest emergency room.

Promising Alzheimer’s Treatment

http://www.sciencealert.com/new-alzheimer-s-treatment-fully-restores-memory-function

Decreasing Stress in 2015

http://blog.gaiam.com/the-1-thing-you-can-do-to-decrease-stress-in-the-new-year/

Video on the Impact of Cyberbulling

http://www.psypost.org/2014/11/video-explains-real-effects-cyberbullying-29158

Screening for Mental Health :: Depression Statistics

Screening for Mental Health :: Depression Statistics.

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