Archive Monthly Archives: October 2017

4 Ways Children Change Your Behaviors

Autumn can feel like a roller coaster climbing the big hill: school starting, hours shifting at work, and decisions about upcoming holidays influence our behavior patterns long before we see the first snowflake decorations in the stores. Whether you find yourself up at 6 am for a child’s sports practice, choosing dinner by drive through in-between after-school activities and homework, or taking a Friday night breath of relief that you’ve all made it through another week… While you think you are shaping your youngsters’ impressionable minds, they are also shaping yours.



1: Accomplishing versus Accommodating

Chances are, the amount of time and energy it takes you to run to the grocery store, pick up clothes at the dry cleaner and make a deposit at the bank looks very different based on whether you bring a child with you on errands or not. On your own, you probably follow the list you wrote at home, you shop only the aisles where items on your list are located. You drive through the cleaners and the ATM, all the while listening to a podcast or your favorite music. With children, we sample green juice or spend time in the chip aisle. We hand off parts of the list for them to source, and queue through the non-candy lines if possible. Sticky fingers can’t touch the dry cleaning, so reminders are made – “hands off!” and why drive through the ATM when going in means suckers and popcorn!

2: Language

The language you might use at work or with the neighbors is probably very different from the language you use with your kids. It’s not just about cursing or being suggestive, most adults instinctively shorten their sentences and stick to single, concrete topics instead of generalities around children. Adults are also more likely to use absolutes with kids: ie: “always wear sunscreen at the lake” or “dogs don’t like fireworks”. When chatting with other adults, most of our conversation is framed through our own experiences or is quantified with words like “occasionally”, or “I’ve heard that…”.


3: Time Together Talking

Many parents use travel time to check in with their child, see what’s going on in their world. They are checking in too: your kids use the space to ask questions about everything from politics to culture to the re-negotiation of house rules.  In the act of framing your thoughts to the audience of your child, how you feel about the subject solidifies. We might have had amorphous ideas about voting rights or the artist formerly known as Prince, but by sharing them out loud to a curious audience, we commit to a set of beliefs that might otherwise stayed fluid in our minds.

4: Why Walk When You Can Skip?

Even in Austin, it’s rare to see an adult skip through a pile of raked leaves instead of walking on set pathways. But because kids inherently search for the most fun way to do anything, they race the cart back to the cart return, they climb over garden walls instead of walk through the openings, they try on crazy hats, stuff their cheeks with grapes… prompting their parents to follow suit sometimes.

So the next time you walk past a mirror and find glitter adorns your knees or unlock your phone to a candid of your family sticking out tongues from sunburnt faces, ask yourself… who’s shaping who?

 

Emily Forsythe, MA; LPC-Intern
Psychotherapist

Emily is a therapist with Flourish Counseling and Mental Wellness Center in Lakeway; she has 4 kids, and holds her families’ record of never making the ‘yuck face’ while drinking green juice. Click here to check out her blog!

 

 



Emotional Quantum Leap

When we want to improve or change our emotions, it is very important to keep in mind that “quantum leaping” is not a possibility. The emotional ride from Depression to Joy involves many other emotions that you could experience in between. The secret is finding what emotion you are experiencing on this scale now and then then changing your thoughts so you start to feel better a bit at a time. Here is the Emotional Guidance Scale:

1.Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2.Passion
3.Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4.Positive Expectation/Belief
5.Optimism
6.Hopefulness
7.Contentment
8.Boredom
9.Pessimism
10.Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelmed
12.Disappointment
13.Doubt
14.Worry
15.Blame
16.Discouragement
17.Anger
18.Revenge
19.Hatred/Rage
20.Jealousy
21.Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22.Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness


 

Notice how fear, grief , depression, despair and powerlessness are the bottom of this scale. The good news is that if these are emotions you are feeling often, there is nowhere to go besides up on this scale!

You may also notice how anger is higher up on the scale than depression is. Many times when people are working on their depression or powerlessness, they start to feel better and eventually experience anger. Anger doesn’t tend to bother the person who is angry , but rather the people that are predominately around them… so they get pressured into feeling depressed again , as when people are depressed they aren’t yelling and upsetting others. Anger is actually much more empowering . Think about a time when you were depressed and then a time when you were angry; doesn’t it feel much better to be pissed off then down? The trick with anger is to experience it and then work on moving your way up the emotional scale towards discouragement and blame.

How can I move up on this emotional scale? Having a professional counselor is really helpful with this. Talking with someone who can help you move up this scale and process your emotions can work wonders for you.

Let us know what your thoughts are about this scale and if you have used this before! Like this post and be sure to share it on Facebook!


5 Celebrities Who Overcame Their Depression

Exotic cars, adoring fans, traveling and being known everywhere you go… although this to many sounds like the dream, it does  not always means that the person living this type of lifestyle is happy. Studies actually show that having notoriety or fame could actually increase your chance of mental illness. Below we have some stories of celebrities that were able to overcome their depression .


 

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Academy Awards 04

The former Disney Star turned pop icon has been on the cover of many magazines and released music that landed her at the tops of the charts. She  has shared that despite all of her success there were times when her depression would paralyze her. She revealed in an interview with Elle that she has been struggling with self esteem problems and was seeking therapy to help her with depression. She later shared that every one can benefit from therapy and that she was not opposed to having medication to  help with treatment.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey 2010

Jim Carrey has been very open about his struggles with depression and addiction.  Jim told CBS in 2004 that he was on Prozac “for a long time”. His spirituality and appreciation helped him get out of the “low level of despair”. He shared that he was able to get off of his medication and that he does not drink alcohol or do drugs since “life is too beautiful”.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry - USS Kearsarge b

Halle shared with Parade magazine that when her and her ex husband David Justice got separated , she fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. She struggled with low self esteem and depression when the marriage ended. “My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable.” She then later went to say that she has been in therapy for 30 years


Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and her disco stick - The MONSTER BALL 2010

Gaga shared with Teen Vogue “I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do”.She has been extremely open with her experiences of mental illness and being a survivor of sexual assault.  She shared how there is no shame in seeking help and that there is no need to hide our issues.  She stated that depression medication is part of her self care routine and that “it isn’t for everyone”. What has helped her is a combination of treatment and taking some time for herself.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson 2013

Dwayne Johnson was interviewed by Oprah in 2015 regarding how his depression helped lead him to have amazing things happen in his career. He was 23 years old when he was not selected for the NFL,  cut by the Canadian football League and sent to go back to the US. “I found that with depression one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it,” he says. “I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.'” This moment inspired him to become a professional wrestler insead and helped launch a new chapter in his life.

 

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Shrink

“Shrink” is a video series that was recently released that features celebrities sharing what they have learned from therapy in under two minutes. The first season features stars like Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham.  The videos are intriguing , short and candid… if you are interested in seeing all the videos click here ! Leave your comments, like this post if you want more blogs that feature videos like this and sign up for our newsletter so you can be notified when we have new posts !

 

 


World Mental Health Awareness

Happy World Mental Health Awareness Day! This day was created by the World Health Organization to help raise awareness regarding mental health internationally . This is the third year and every year comes with a new theme. 2018’s theme is mental health and older adults.

According to WHO, today is a day for clinicians who practice in this field to talk about their work and what needs to be done in order to make mental health care accessible for people around the world.

One of the biggest barriers I hear about for mental health treatment is the stigma and reducing the negative connotation around seeking help. Things, however, are starting to change.  Our popular media outlets are sharing more content around therapy that really normalizes the process. There is even a new series called “Shrink” that interviews celebrities about their healing that occurred in session.

“It’s changed my life. I have a therapist that I owe so much of the best of me to,” Sarah Silverman shared in her inerview, noting since shes’ been invovled in therapy sporadically since childhood. “It can give you so much if you’re open to it … This has worked for me.”

If we have a broken bone, we can go to the doctor and seek treatment. If we have a broken heart , we can go to a therapist and seek treatment as well. There is no need for stigma regarding therapy anymore. Leave your comments below, share and like this article to support this fantastic cause!


 

Delilah & The Reality of Teen Depression

As I was checking my Facebook this morning, I came across the disheartening news that Delilah’s son Zachariah  passed away as a result of suicide. He was on the autism spectrum and had been struggling with depression for years. Although he was involved in therapy and had lots of love from his large family, it unfortunately was not enough to alleviate his sadness within his heart.

Delilah and her family are not alone in this matter; the reality of the matter is that teen depression is extremely common and can put severe strains on the family.  Seeking help is imperative and being consistent with treatment can reduce stress on everyone as well. When a teenager is depressed, it not only affects them individually but everyone he or she is involved with (imagine the ripple effect).  Family counseling can also be beneficial for the healing of the child’s caretakers and siblings. Having a safe space to share and process this can help people move forward and can help the family as a whole.

Psychoeducation plays a role in this too. Learning about teen depression and what signs to look for is important. If you are able to identify early warning signs or symptoms and seek treatment sooner, you are more likely to see change occur. Think of momentum ; it is much easier to stop a car when it is going 3 MPH rather than one that speeding at 100 MPH.

Teenage depression has been on the rise  in the United States for a while now, so it is important that we have earlier interventions to start reducing this and our teen suicide rate.

 

 

 

 

How To : Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to reduce your anxiety, stress levels and reduce your blood pressure . It’s interesting to note that this is the way our bodies were designed to breathe and that infants do this naturally! If you happen to see a baby laying on their back, you’ll see that their belly moves up and down.

Here’s a great and short video that clearly demonstrates how to do this ; check it out!