What’s Mental Health?

Mental health is a term that is so commonly used, but is rarely ever defined. It includes our entire emotional, psychological and social selves. Our mental health influences how we feel, think and behave. It also affects the was we cope with stress, understand others and make decisions. Mental health is imperative at all stages of our lives, from when we were kids til adulthood.Mental Health New Kensington

Throughout the course of your life,  mental health issues may have contributed to how you thought, your mood and could have caused some problems. There are countless factors that contribute to mental health problems, such as:Mental Health New Kensington

  • Biological factors like your genetics and brain chemistry
  • Life experiences like trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health

Although mental health issues are common, the good news is that help is readily available. Many people with mental health problems can get better and some could even heal entirely.Mental Health New Kensington

So what are some warning signs?

Perhaps you aren’t sure if someone you love is struggling with mental health concerns. Experiencing one or more of the following symptoms or behaviors could be a warning sign:Mental Health New Kensington

      1. Anhedonia or lack of pleasure from activities that used to make them feel happy
      2. Eating way too much or little
      3. Sleeping way too much or little
      4. Feeling numb
      5. Unexplained aches and pains that doctors would call psychosomatic symptoms
      6. Feelings of helplessness or hoplessness
      7. Smoking, drinking, shopping, gambling or getting high as a means of escaping problems
      8. Feeling absentminded, confused, worried or angry
      9. Intense mood swings
      10. Yelling or arguing with loves ones
      11. Persistent memories or thoughts you can’t get out your head
      12. Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
      13. Considering harming yourself or someone else
      14. Struggling to do day to day tasks




What about mental health & wellness?

Someone who is on their mental health journey and implements changes in their life can overcome many obstacles and past issues. Those that have positive mental health & wellness are characterized by the following traits:

      • They are self-actualized and reach their full potential
      • Successfully cope with life
      • More productive at work
      • Contribute to their loved ones and even communities

How could I maintain mental wellness once I get there?

This is something you and your therapist would decide collaboratively, as this looks different for every person. Some general ways of maintaining mental wellness include:Mental Health New Kensington

      • Thinking positively
      • Exercising
      • Helping others
      • Getting proper sleep
      • Building and using coping skills
      • Seeking out and maintaining professional help

—-

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .Mental Health New Kensington

 

 

 

 

 



10 Signs You Might Have Anxiety

Everyone experiences some level of anxiety or nervousness throughout life. This could happen when you are speaking in public, going through some financial tough times or other stressful situations. However, for some people this anxiety happens so often that it starts to unfortunately take over their lives.

You might be wondering now how to discern whether your anxiety is part of everyday life or if it’s a disorder. It is not easy to identify  and requires a skilled therapist’s assistance. Anxiety can present itself in many different ways… panic attacks, fears and social phobias are just a few examples. Distinguishing between a diagnosis and more everyday anxiety is not clear cut. Below are 10 of the most common signs of anxiety. If you are experiencing these frequently, be sure to call us for a free consultation so we can help you.

1.) Intense worrying

The crux of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, of which is the most general type of anxiety, is being to concerned about everyday things. These could be big or small… but what exactly qualifies as too much worrying?

GAD consists of persistent and extremely anxious thoughts that last throughout days, weeks and months. This is so intense that it starts to interfere with your day to day life and also comes along with other symptoms like fatigue or even high blood pressure.

Its important to also keep in mind that if your stress is causing you a lot of suffering and dysfunction, it is more likely to be anxiety.



2.) Problems sleeping

Having a tough time falling and staying asleep can be associated with many different medical conditions, both physical and mental. During more nerve provoking events, like a big presentation for work or meeting can also interrupt your sleeping patterns.

However, if you are finding yourself laying awake during night, tossing and turning relentless or being agitated it could be a warning sign for an anxiety disorder. About 50% of people with generalized anxiety experience some type of sleep disturbance and issues.

One other thing that can signify anxiety is waking up feeling extremely jittery and with your mind racing. You might try to calm yourself down, but that is tricky to do right in the morning.

3.) Illogical or irrational fears

There are different types of anxiety that aren’t generalized, but rather extremely specific. Certain situations or things , like places, animals or heights can be outrageously overwhelming for some. If the the fear is vastly out of proportion to the realistic amount of risk that is involvement, there is more than likely a phobia present. Phobias are a specific type of anxiety disorder.

All the while fears can be emotionally draining, they actually are not apparent at all times. For instance, your fear might nor come to light until you experience a specific situation and learn that you are particular of handling your fear. For instance , a person with a fear of height can go for years without having  a problem, but then suddenly their kid wants to ride a roller-coaster or ferris wheel and they realize they are in need of treatment.

4.) Intense muscle tension

Chronic muscle tension, whether it is clenching your jaw or flexing your muscles, usually is a sign of anxiety. This can be so persistent that those who have struggled with anxiety for years eventually stop noticing the tension.

More frequent exercise can assist with reducing muscle tension, however the tension may also increase if an injury happens. Be careful in the gym and consider having a workout partner or even trainer to help you work out safely.

5.) Gastrointestinal problems

It is true that anxiety starts in the mind, but many times it manifests itself in the body through physical symptoms when the anxiety is not handled. Chronic digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues are common conditions for those who struggle with anxiety. IBS is not always directly linked with anxiety , but the two do commonly occur together and tend to make both experiences worse. Our human gut is very sensitive to mental stress and distress and vice versa.


6.) Intense self-consciousness

Social anxiety does not always mean talking to a crowd filled with people or getting a lot of attention. Most of the time, the anxiety is triggered by everyday events , like starting up conversation at a party or eating out with your colleagues or friends.

In those types of events, people with social anxiety disorder often feel like everyone is starting at them. Blushing, nausea, sweating and trembling can take place. Their symptoms can be so disruptive that they find it difficult to meet new people, maintain healthy relationships and grow at work or in school .

7.)Panic attacks

Panic attacks are scary. Imagine an intense and sudden overwhelming feeling of sheer terror and helplessness that lasts for several minutes, with breathing proms, a pounding heart , tingling or numb hands, chest pain and feeling hot or cold.

People who experience panic attacks repeatedly may be diagnosed with  panic disorder. Many times, those who struggle with panic attacks live in fear about when their attack will happen and will avoid certain places and triggers for their anxiety.

8.) Flashbacks

Flashbacks are not only experienced by those with PTSD. Relieving a traumatic event, sudden death, violence or accident, all can be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD and anxiety do share some common features . Actually until recently, PTSD was categorized as a certain type o anxiety disorder.

Flashbacks can occur with anxiety too. According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, some people with social anxiety experience vivid flashbacks or experiences that they find very stress provoking. For instance, if someone struggles with public speaking and finds that to be humiliating, they have have a flashback to a time where they presented to their class and some of their classmates laughed at them.


9.) Compulsions

For someone to be diagnosed with OCD , or obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person intrusive thoughts must be accompanied with compulsive behaviors , whether it is mental or physical. Obsessive thinking and behavior starts to become a disorder when you feel the need to complete the ritual, or behavior, in order to get on with your life. One example would be needing to have the volume at 15 and feeling extremely uncomfortable and anxious until the volume is at 15 , even if it is at 14.

10.) Perfectionism

The obsessive thought of perfectionism tends to go hand in hand with anxiety disorders. If you start noticing that you are constantly critiquing yourself or being nervous about making errors or not living up to your high standards, you may have an anxiety disorder. Perfectionism tends to happen more often in obsessive-compulsive disorders .

If you think you are struggling with anxiety, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

—-

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premiere therapy and coaching center located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . 

 

 

 

 

 



Seasonal Depression in Pittsburgh

About 3 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression occurs during the same season every year. You might have feel feeling depressed the past two winters, but cheered up during the warmer months. Or you may have felt down during the summer.

Everyone could get seasonal depression, but it tends to be much more common in :

  • People who have families who have SAD
  • Women
  • Individuals between 15 and 55 years old
  • Individuals who live in an areas where winter daylight time is very short

 

No mental health experts are exactly sure of what specifically causes SAD, but many think lack of sunlight is a big trigger. This lack of light could mess up your circadian rhythms or cause problems with serotonin which is the chemical that affects your mood.

The lack of sunlight in Pittsburgh is extreme compared to many other cities across the US. We also tend to be cloudy which blocks out a lot of sunlight. That combined with the recent freezing temperatures has kept a lot of people inside and not taking absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Actually, about 10% of adults living in the United States have a Vitamin D deficiency.

You might be wondering if you have seasonal depression or SAD. Here are the symptoms:

  • Feeling grumpy, sad , nervous of having mood swings
  • Anhedonia or lack of pleasure in things you normally love
  • Eating much more or less than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleeping a lot more than you normally do, but still feeling slugging
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is so important to look at SAD in a holistic manner before getting diagnosed. In addition to therapy, it’s crucial to see your doctor so she or he can run blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may be making you feel blue. One of these common ones is hypothyroidism or low thyroid. At Makin Wellness, we could do the mental heath assessment .

Treatment

There are multiple ways to help treat seasonal depression. Light therapy can be used, but counseling is one of the most effective ways of treating SAD. Cognitive behavioral therapy at Makin Wellness can help you learn more about seasonal depression , how to manage your symptoms and ways to prevent future episodes. Medication can also be prescribed and taken to help alleviate some or your symptoms. Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Effexor and Wellbutrin are most commonly prescribed for SAD.  Vitamin D supplements or foods rich in Vitamin D like yogurt, salmon, shitake mushrooms and freshly squeezed OJ can help combat any potential Vitamin D deficiencies you could have. Be sure to talk with your doctor and therapist about any side effects from your medication and check with your MD about Vit D supplementation .

If you are struggling with seasonal depression, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

 

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

 

 

 

 

 



Do This To Become More Confident

Do you find yourself struggling to be comfortable in your skin? Are there times when you feel inadequate or not worthy? Perhaps you have an important event or meeting coming up and feel like you need to present yourself in the best way possible .

Research has shown that body language plays a big role in confidence . In the video below, Amy goes into more details about this and shares how you can improve your confidence by doing certain poses and adapting your body language to fit the role you want .

Amy delves into what high power and low power poses are and how they affect your brain chemistry. An interesting fact is that the “wonder woman pose” is considered to be an extremely high power stance!

Makin Wellness is proud to announce that we have the Exclusive Confidence Boost Coaching program .  If you are looking to increase your confidence, call us today  at (412)-532-1249 to reserve your complimentary consultation! pittsburgh life coach pittsburgh coaching pittsburgh confidence confidence coach

 

—-

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction ,  relationship counseling and more.


Psychological Benefits of Exercise

As many of you already know, exercise so important for the body and your health. But did you know that exercise has fantastic benefits psychologically as well? Many of you are familiar with that that incredible feeling you get immediately when you’re done exercising.

 

That experience is your brain oozing dopamine. Dopamine is the feel good chemical that your brain produces and releases during sex, exercise, eating and other enjoyable activities. This differs from person to person. For instance, one who enjoys hiking will release lots of dopamine , where is someone who doesn’t enjoy it will not be releasing that chemical.

 

One who is really stressed out or depressed is probably not releasing enough dopamine. Exercise is one of the easiest and fastest ways of releasing dopamine and feeling better. Other things you can do to help to improve your mood are laughing, playing with a love the pet, or even thinking about anything that’s pleasurable for you. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happy , so be sure to exercise consistently in order to experience that release of dopamine often.

 

Exercising is also an amazing way to reduce your stress as well. Many people who are stressed out or angry find a great relief and working out and channel that energy into their work out. This is a great way to release a lot of negative emotion. If you experience a lot of stress or anxiety, consider making exercise a part of your self-care routine.

 

So now you know that working out can help you feel happier and reduces stress. Another great benefit from exercising is increased confidence. You can hit up Gold’s gym before or after a session at Makin Wellness if you are looking for a gym Downtown! If you are interested in personal training, AMP fitness has extremely talented trainers. You don’t need a research study to show that those who exercise more often tend to be more confident . Stay consistent with working out will increase your confidence is well!



The Secret Recipe To Become Healthy

Fad Diets

Training Programs

Diet Pills

And the list goes on…

We live in a world filled with information, or “fluff,” that we don’t know where to begin. More specifically, in the fitness industry, you have all these “gurus” begging you to follow their social media pages, follow their advice, when really, all they have are abs.


My secret to any successful fitness journey? Know your “why” and never lose sight of it. Your “why” is the reason you want to lose 10-15lbs, the reason you want to increase your strength. Your “why” is going to keep you motivated and add more value to your journey than a fad diet, or the latest and greatest training program.

Most recently, I’ve created an online fitness community for moms. Mom’s who not only want to transform physically, but want to use the power of their results to mold into the best role model, or Super-Mom, they deserve to be.

Teaching these women there’s more to life than a strict regimen is key. Sure, the right information matters, but so does the right mindset with a “why.” I mean, is there anything more motivating than having energy for your kids, or making sure you live long enough to run around with your grandchildren?

Your recipe to success:

  • Have a support group you can relate to
  • Find a structure that has your best interest in mind, but more importantly, one you can adhere to
  • Be consistent
  • Remember your “why”

Follow the Super-Mom Movement

  • Free 8-Week Online Coaching Program – Transform into the super mom you deserve to be. Click HERE to learn more

Eddie Larios

Specializing in helping busy moms unveil their inner and physical strengths to become the strongest, and most confident, role models amongst their loved ones.

 

 



Real Life Quotes From People Who Overcame Their Depression

Depression is one of those topics that no one wants to talk about. It is that something that eats away at your being , one minute at a time. It can be debilitating and make you feel completely and utterly hopeless. How does it look like when someone is able to successfully overcome their depression? We asked some people that did this and are sharing their experiences below!


“It was a daily battle”

This is going to be something that you work at every day. When you start to notice yourself getting pulled to the “dark side”, it is important to push yourself towards your end goal instead. Refer to the emotional guidance scale and how you are always aiming at moving up on that guide. You are going to have bad days and you are going to have better days. The process is not a straight ride up to the top, but rather a roller coaster ride with a blend of emotions. It is also important to keep in mind that change takes time; do not expect or wish for instant changes or a cure to happen at the snap of your fingers.

“I finally addressed everything I was trying to hide”

Many times our past traumas and fear can get buried underneath our conscious mind into our subconscious. Everyone is different, so these will manifest in different ways, but for many it shows up as deeply embedded depression. Once you talk about the things you tried to forget or what most bothers you, you can feel very relieved. You start to process what occurred and find ways to move forward. Not only can this help alleviate depression, but it empowers you as well. You can later use these skills you learn in session in other areas in your life.



“I lost weight”.

It can be surprising how many people will literally eat their emotions. This is something that I see practically everyday and can be an easy habit to get into .Many will stuff their emotions with double stuffed oreos and other foods that not only increase your waistline, but decrease your mental health as well. In Depression to Joy , I talk about the importance of talking about depression and finding ways of moving forward. Once people pinpoint what it is that makes them feel the need to eat when upset, they are then able to focus on building new coping skills and feeling better.

 
pittsburgh depression treatment

Let us know what you thought of this blog post in the comments below and let us know what you want us to blog about! Thank you and have a great day!




pittsburgh depression treatment

 

 

 

Arbonne Essentials Protein Shake Mix Review

So I have tried so many different types of protein powders. Whey, soy, weight gainers, egg protein … you name it. However, I never tried a protein that was vegan before, so when I learned about Arbonne’s protein being derived from peas, rice and cranberries I was skeptical to say the least.  My initial thought was that this is going to taste like cardboard. I was definitely proven wrong.


 

Before I did this review , I personally completely stopped having protein powder after my workouts because of how toxic some of the ingredients are in there. I now resort to natural sources of protein, such as chicken breast, almonds and beans because I was not able to find a high quality natural protein powder. The first thing I checked out was the ingredient list ; it’s short and contains organic or non-gmo ingredients. I also appreciated how stevia leaf was used, rather than a splenda or aspartame (both of which are not good for your physical and mental health). However, I did notice how there is a lot of sugar in these…. about 9 grams per serving  , which is slightly less than a green apple . They also contain maltodextrin , which is used as a thickening agent. Their other ingredients such as xanthan gum , guar gum and gum acacia can bother those with a sensitive GI tract. It personally did not bother my stomach and when I asked Arbonne about this , they shared that , according to their development  team , there is a minimal amount of gum and is not enough to cause harm.

 

According to Arbonne, some key ingredients and benefits are:

  • Essential amino acids help support muscle repair and protein synthesis
  • Low allergen potential achieved by avoiding common allergens such as soy and whey (which are present and many protein shakes)
  • 20 grams of natural vegan protein promotes satiety and is easily digestible


 

Chocolate

When I first opened the package, I was surprised at how delicious this smelled. It has a strong sweet chocolate scent. It smells like a dessert , not a protein mix.  I mixed 2 scoops with 9 ounces of cold water. The instructions say to “shake vigorously” ; I interpret this as “break out the blender”.

 

Upon tasting it, I noticed there initially is extremely minimal salt flavor, followed by a rich decadent  cocoa. The biggest note I tasted was the chocolate.  It tasted very similar to a hot chocolate … but cold. I’m sure if this was blended with hot water it would be a great post workout treat. The texture was pretty smooth overall, but I did notice some slight grittiness in the protein. If you added additional water or blended it longer that could help  smooth out the texture . The shake was just  the right about of sweetness. If you have a sweet tooth , freeze and blend ½ of a ripe banana with the protein. That will transform this into a “milkshake”.


Vanilla

I am not a vanilla protein person by any means. Most vanilla protein I’ve tried tastes artificial to me. This one has a pretty decent flavor compared to the other ones I have had before. The smell isn’t as powerful as the chocolate, and the consistency is much smoother and less gritty as well. I ended up adding 1 tsp of raw hemp seeds, 2 tsps of organic peanut butter and cinnamon. This makes the shake tastes much more like peanut butter rather than vanilla. This is  great option for those , like myself, who love PB protein but dislike how many additional chemicals are added for that flavor. I was once told to never get peanut butter flavored protein because a lot of additives are added in order to get that taste without adding fat.

 

They were not kidding when they said that this is easily digestible. It did not bother my stomach at all . I also noticed that I had more energy after I drank this , probably due to the ginseng root powder that’s in the blend.

 

Pros:

  • Vegan
  • Amazing smell
  • Rich chocolate flavor
  • Increased energy
  • Easily digestible
  • Smooth consistency (vanilla)

 

Cons:

  • Decent  but minimal vanilla taste
  • Slight initial taste of salt (chocolate)
  • Higher price point compared to other proteins
  • Slight gritty texture (chocolate)
  • Sugar

 

The final verdict:

Depends on your lifestyle

I personally like it! I appreciate how much energy I had after drinking this and how clean the majority of the ingredients are. Many protein powders have a ton of ingredients and lots of chemicals in them, so it was great trying a more natural protein powder that did not. I liked how rich the chocolate was and how easily transformable the vanilla protein was.

 
holistic therapy

If you are a very clean eater and want to avoid the sugar and gums in this , try out the Daily Essential Daily Protein Boost. Overall, you are definitely getting a much higher quality protein and even though it costs more than most protein powders, I think the price is justified. If you would like to try this out for yourself, click here.

 

What wellness product are do you want us to try out next? Leave your response in the comments below and be sure to share this post with your friends !


His & Hers Honest Reviews: Pittsburgh Fresh

FTC : Pittsburgh Fresh sent us the meals. We do not get commission from the discount and they did not pay us for this review.

Nutrition is one of the things I’m constantly blogging or talking about it. It is so important to not only you body, but mental health as well. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to mood swings and disease which are both things that we do not want. Many times when we make the commitment of eating healthier or losing weight we can easily get sucked back into our unhealthy habits because of the following:

    • Takes too much time to prepare and cook
    • You hate cooking
    • It doesn’t taste good
    • Too expensive

The good news is that a meal prep company can help you out with that .  Pittsburgh Fresh is a chef created meal delivery service that creates delicious and healthy meals. They even label each meal with their macros. We  placed our order and it was delivered about 4 days later. You can either have it delivered  to your home for six bucks or pick it up from a variety of locations across Pittsburgh.

 

 

We ordered a couple different meals including:

  • Buffalo chicken pasta with mashed potatoes
  • Beef black bean burger served with oven roasted carrots(with mashed potato)
  • Creamy sundried tomato chicken with mustard green(with spinach tomato pasta)
  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Vegan burger with baked carrots




Let’s get right to the review:

 

Creamy sundried tomato chicken with pasta & mustard greens

His perspective

CONS:

  • Could benefit from cooking the chicken a bit longer
  • Container would be better if it were BPA free
  • Could benefit from using more spices

PROS:

  • High quality of chicken and vegetables
  • Nice sized portions
  • Easily able to track your calories or macros throughout day

Her perspective

CONS:
  • Wish there were more vegetarian options
  • Avoid microwaving the food if possible as microwave ovens radiate your food
PROS:
  • Great packaging ! I accidently dropped two containers filled with food and the container did not come open
  • Liked the nutritional info on every container
  • Good quality food
  • Nice selection of meals
  • A lot of food per meal

Overall, we enjoyed our meals. Our absolute favorite was the vegan burger. It had so much flavor and the quinoa was delectable. We were both surprised at how good it tasted! Our second favorite was chicken was the sundried tomato chicken and mustard greens. We will definitely be ordering again. We also wanted to thank Pittsburgh Fresh for sending us the meals and offering our community a discount !

Wanna try it out? Enter MAKINWELLNESS15 before the end of November during check out to receive 15% off !
Have you tried out Pittsburgh Fresh or any other health food delivery services? Share your experiences and thoughts below !



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!