Category Archives for Mindfulness

Women and Depression ~ Pittsburgh

Depression is a serious medical condition that can range from mild to severe and is associated with feelings of melancholy, loss of pleasure, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. It is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. How though, can you tell if you’re just feeling sad, or if it’s something more? Depression is more than sad feelings once in a while. It’s when feeling “down” doesn’t go away after a few days, likely interfering with daily activities and interpersonal relationships. It can last weeks, months, or even years. Other signs and symptoms include aches and pains, headaches, cramps, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. More than 19 million people experience depression each year, with the majority being women. Women and depression seem to go hand in hand since women are twice as likely as men to experience depression.  Why is this? Consider the following contributing factors. women and depression

Contributing Factors

There are psychological, genetic, social, and hormonal factors that can all play a part in depression in women. Women experience many hormonal changes throughout their lifetime which can effect mood (see previous post on “Women & Mental Health”). The many roles women take on can also contribute to an imbalance between the mind and body, causing increased stress levels, which may lead to depression if left unchecked.

Hormonal imbalance is usually associated with pregnancy and menopause, but can also be caused by toxins in the body. The foods we eat, the toxins we absorb, and overall stress levels affect body toxicity and hormone balance. Mental and physical health is affected by these toxins. Talking to your doctor or health care provider can rule out other factors, such as medications and medical conditions, like viruses and thyroid issues, that can cause the same symptoms as depression.

Social factors such as work related stress, family responsibilities, societal expectations, and increased rates of sexual abuse and poverty may also contribute to depression in women. Loss of a loved one, loss of  a job, financial struggles, and marital issues are other factors affecting emotional well-being. In the previous post it was mentioned that women are more likely to rehash events in their minds and discuss concerns with others, whereas men are less likely to openly talk about their problems as much. Revisiting negative emotions too often can be harmful due to excessive stress hormones being released. A build up of these hormones can become toxic to the body, both physically and psychologically.

Types of Depression

Women can experience different types of depression in relation to their individual circumstances. Major depression is a severe type of depression where a woman may experience difficulty enjoying things she used to, trouble performing daily tasks, and may have issues with engaging in normal social relationships. It may be accompanied with low self-esteem.

Postpartum depression (PPD) otherwise known as the “baby blues” is typically experienced after pregnancy. Due to a change in hormones and changing responsibilities, a woman may experience postpartum depression.

Persistent depressive disorder  (PDD) is a milder form of depression that extends for a longer period of time, usually lasting a couple years. It can cause difficulty functioning at home and with women being at higher risk for developing it. Brain chemicals like serotonin may be part of the cause as well persistent life stress.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a type of depression around the time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. A woman may experience severe mood swings, anxiety, and negative thoughts, which usually takes place a week before menstruation. women and depression

Prevention

Healthy family relationships and a strong support system through friends and community is of vital importance in prevention. Even women who are prone to depression can find increased resilience and positive coping skills with the proper amount of support and resources.

Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is an absolute must. Taking a 20 minute walk outside can greatly help to improve mood. Please contact us if you are interested in support with lifestyle and diet changes for a free initial consultation with our Holistic Health Coach!

When offering emotional support to someone, it is important to not dismiss their feelings. Instead, show understanding and patience, and encourage them to seek the necessary help, reminding them that with time and treatment they can feel better!

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression and would like professional support, please contact us for a free initial consultation today to begin your journey to healing with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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.

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Professional Women & Mental Health

Professional women hold more roles than meets the eye. Mother. Wife. Caretaker. Laundress. Cook. Housekeeper. Nurse. Car detailer. Teacher. Counselor. And the list goes on. Women wear many hats indeed. Whether a parent or not, women take on many tasks unrelated to work. Adding a part time or full time job to parenting will leave you feeling like a juggler in no time. It’s been said that, “A woman’s work is never done.” Work life balance can become a particular challenge for women. This is especially true if caring for children along with elderly parents. women

Women not only struggle to balance work and family life, they also have additional pressure to prove they’re as good as men in the workplace. According to theguardian.com, due to cultural and societal traditions and expectations, women may face discrimination and harassment. Women’s mental health and well-being may also be affected by lower income, lower status, insufficient benefits, or childcare concerns. While mental health is important for overall health in men and women, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are shown to be higher in women than men.

A long day of work is physically and mentally draining for anyone. With the extra pressures women encounter, it’s no wonder they’re left feeling drained by the end of the day. There are other issues that are specific to women and their mental health. Things like physical changes and the way women process events compared to men are important when considering how their mental health is affected. women

Physical Changes

Women experience many physical changes throughout life, which has a large impact on their mental health. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause are all contributing factors that affect a woman’s mental health. The changes a woman’s body goes through may cause many discomforts. Pregnancy or other hormonal changes may cause things such as headaches, tiredness, mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty focusing. Fatigue and stress may increase these symptoms. Finding ways to balance hormones is key to minimizing these health concerns, as hormonal issues can affect physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also shown to be common in young women due to societal pressures such as body image. This not only may cause a number of serious physical problems, but can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

The Way Women Process Emotions

Women have been shown to dwell on stressful events and remember details more vividly than men. This may be due to the fact that women’s limbic systems are larger than men’s. It makes sense that women are known to be more in touch with and expressive of emotions, since the limbic system is the center for emotional responsiveness, motivation, memory, formation and integration, and olfaction (sense of smell). It’s the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory, causing us to connect a certain smell with a past memory.

The limbic system is closely connected to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. This prefrontal-limbic connection is said to be strengthened by practicing mindfulness. These particular systems are of clinical relevance to a psychotherapist; therefore a professional counselor can be helpful in providing support through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.

Due to having a larger limbic system, women may spend more time discussing a stressful event in more detail, thinking about it longer, and quite possibly making it more difficult to let go of negative emotions due to revisiting emotional memories more than males. According to psychologytoday.com, females are said to “absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males.” Meaning, women sense information from all five senses of what is going on around them, while also retaining that information more than males.

What Can Be Done to Support Women’s Mental Health in the Workplace?

Managers and other leaders can take some of the pressure off by being open about the issue of mental health. Hence, creating a culture where it is acceptable to communicate openly about it and provide resources to find the needed help. Employees who feel comfortable talking about it are less likely to wait until they are in a mental health crisis.

Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health, having it checked regularly. Corporate health programs help employees by assessing and finding resources to support mental health; thus benefitting both the organization and the well-being of employees. women

Tips to Minimize Anxiety and Stress to Restore Mind-Body Balance:

  • Share responsibilities – Whether at work or home, delegate some responsibility where you’re able to. It can help to lighten your load and ease some stress.
  • Make connections with like-minded, supportive individuals – Positive minded people help to relieve stress while making circumstances seem less challenging.
  • Tune in to and be true to yourself – Taking time to do the things you enjoy with friends and family can improve self-esteem, helping you to tune into yourself and be your best self.
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep is vital to performing at your best and is essential for mental health. It is best to wind down an hour before bedtime, turning of all electronics. Perhaps try reading a good book with a cup of chamomile tea. Lavender oil can also be used to promote restful sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Avoid too much caffeine or sugar during the day and close to bedtime, as these can increase anxious feelings. Eating nutrient dense foods will keep your physical and mental health more in balance.
  • Get outdoors/Exercise – Making it a priority to get outside each day for 20-30 minutes. Take a short mid-day break or go for a walk. Sunlight provides vitamin D, supporting physical and mental health.

If you are having difficulty managing work-life balance and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation  with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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.

 

Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep and Mental Health

According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million adults have a sleep disorder. Among the most common are insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome, but simply the absence of a diagnosed disorder does not imply that an individual is experiencing healthy and regular sleep patterns.

Effects of Inadequate Sleep

Because our sleep needs change with age, people require different amounts of sleep at different points in their lives. Generally, children aged 6 through 12 require 9-12 hours of sleep, teenagers require 8-10 hours, and adults require 7-9 hours. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016) report that over a third of adults in the United States are not receiving adequate sleep on a regular basis. sleepandmentalhealth

Sleep deprivation has implications for your entire well-being. Cognitively, it inhibits your ability to act quickly, concentrate, and remember things. Physically, it increases your risk of conditions and diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Further, one study found that sleep deprived individuals (those receiving five hours of sleep per night or less) had higher rates of mortality by approximately 15% (University of Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine, 2007). Finally, sleep largely influences our mood and psychological functioning. Conversely, those aspects impact your sleep as well. Lack of sleep can put you at a higher risk of developing anxiety or mood disorders, and increases negative feelings such as anger, sadness, distress, and exhaustion (Dinges D. et al., 1997; Neckelmann, D. et al., 2007. Consider the following tips to improve sleep and mental health.

Things Anyone Can Do to Improve Sleep

  • Maintain a consistent routine – Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same times each day, including weekends. This will regulate your circadian rhythm, helping your body become accustomed to regular sleeping and waking times.
  • Limit cell-phone and computer use before bed – Research shows that the light emitted from our electronic devices reduces the production of melatonin, one of our natural hormones that tells your body that it’s time to sleep.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine – Particularly in the afternoon and early evening, exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality. One study found that 150 minutes of exercise each week improved participants sleep quality by 65%, leading to less feelings of tiredness throughout the day (Loprinzi & Cardinal, 2011)
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol – Although drinking may make you feel like you’re sleeping more soundly, it prohibits REM sleep, which decreases the amount of restorative sleep you get. In short, you may fall asleep faster, but you will likely wake up still feeling tired.
  • Journal – If you find yourself up at night with racing thoughts, find ways to process those thoughts during the day to allow yourself calmness when it’s time to rest.
  • Yoga and Meditation – Amongst improvements in stress reduction, body awareness, and mindfulness, practicing yoga and meditation has been shown to help many people with insomnia, including pregnant women, cancer patients, and the elderly.
  • Contact a therapist – Sometimes, sleep problems can lead to or stem from other issues, so it’s important to involve a professional if you are having a significant amount of trouble sleeping. Some professionals use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help restructure your though processes and maintain better sleep hygiene.

If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation  with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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 .

sleepandmentalhealth

What We Believe, We Become

The very interesting thing about believing certain things, is that it takes almost constant reminding that you believe those things as you’re just living your life. I’ve read books several times that echo the belief that what you think is what will become. I’ve listened to speakers say it. I’ve said to people. I’ve written it. I know that it’s true but what happens when we’re believing and thinking for something we wish to see materialize in our lives and that thing is looking just as distant as when we first realized we wanted it? What do we do when we’ve toiled, pedaled, ached and ached again as we’ve journeyed toward a certain something that we’ve long-desired, and yet seem to be further away than closer to? psychologyofabeli

What do we do in that desperation-moment of letting go or continuing on? What do we do when we hear the thing we’ve been holding onto and our stomach turns? Tears fill our eyes because we’re more than doubting the validity of the belief? “As you think, so you will become.” Well how long do I have to sit in that thought, because my car is being repossessed. My wife and kids are looking at me with something less than loving eyes. Even if I finally achieved what I continually have been thinking I’ll become, will I even want it at this point? Faith… faith has long left me…

Well… that’s just how it feels…

But aren’t the things we feel truth?

There is a truth that lies deeper than that which you feel. Buried beneath tears, fear and doubt there lies an unbreakable, unmovable, and immutable truth. The truth is simply, you’re not meant to be forever lost to the realm of hopelessness. You’re also not meant to be forever dazzled by the realm of jubilation. Our universe is perfectly balanced. The presence of fear and fearless, hope and hopeless exist together. As for the life to come, well hopefully that’s the one filled entirely with perfect jubilation that won’t make us insane.
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If you’re interested in discovering ways to turn your thoughts into more positive ones, contact us at makinwellness.com. We can help you find new perspective while developing coping skills. Schedule your free consulation today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Craven iammarkcraven.com

Mindful Eating to Improve Mental Health

There are various sources of stress whether it be work related, relational issues, health concerns, or other daily worries. Things like exercise and time outside are encouraged as a way to positively affect our mood and reduce stress. When it comes to our eating habits, we often hear about particular foods linked to increased energy levels and improved physical health. What about mental health though? What does our mood have to do with our food? Surely, it’s unlikely to hear someone say, “My food is really stressing me out.” But it turns out, the old saying “you are what you eat” is ringing true in more ways than one. Consider further evidence of the link between food and its affects on mental health. Mindful eating

An expecting mother will carefully choose what she eats to ensure her developing baby is getting needed nutrients and “brain food” for the brain of her developing fetus. According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, “Antioxidants protect the baby’s brain tissue from damage” (S. Kuzemchak, 2018). Dark leafy greens, blueberries, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables provide the most antioxidants. Like a developing fetus, our brains need antioxidants for protection from free radicals – waste produced when the body uses oxygen, which can cause damage to the cells. Eating nutrient rich foods containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain, while protecting it from damaging free radicals, or oxidative damage. Poor nutrition is taxing to the immune system putting one at risk for free radical damage, premature aging, among other health risks.Mindful eating

Think of when you let a cut up apple sit out. It becomes brown from oxidation. That is exactly what we don’t want to happen to our brains. Just as we fuel our vehicles to keep them properly running, we want to fuel our brains. Choosing high quality fuel will produce the best results. Speaking of apples and brains, eating “an apple a day” may actually help “keep the doctor away” since it contains powerful and beneficial antioxidants. A study at Cornell found apples to protect brain cells against oxidative stress, since they contain high levels of quercetin (G, Stemilt. 2016). It is recommended to eat the entire apple, including the skin, to reap all of the benefits. So why not try out the old saying and give your brain a boost by eating an apple a day!Mindful eating

In seeing the positive effects healthy eating has on our brains, naturally we have to question “how does food actually affect our mood?” Often times we are looking for a quick fix in this fast paced world when it comes to meal time. With fast food restaurants being readily available, it has become even easier to grab something to eat without really considering nutritional benefits. Our enteric nervous system (ENS) which directly controls our gastrointestinal system is said to be our “second brain,” with 95% of serotonin being produced in the intestinal tract. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain (E, Selhub, 2018). Since our GI tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, it makes sense that our digestive system guides our emotions. Researchers believe that serotonin (also called “the happiness hormone”) imbalance influences mood which may influence anxiety and depression. Production of neurotransmitters like serotonin is highly influenced by the good bacteria in our gut. Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in this regard.

Finding ways to balance serotonin and other neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, is key to maintaining wellness and improving mental health. One essential way is to be mindful of what foods we’re eating since it directly effects the health of our GI tract, which is so closely linked to our emotions. The process our body goes through when breaking down foods and using them for fuel is a very extensive one. Thus, eating high quality foods is vital to getting the best quality of fuel for our bodies. Below are some tips to boost serotonin, which in turn reduces stress and improves overall well-being.Mindful eating

Tips for improving serotonin levels to improve mental health:Mindful eating

• Take good quality probiotics – Probiotics are the good bacteria found in the gut, which can increase serotonin levels. Dr. David Williams explains the     benefits of probiotics and the connection between gut health and mental health at drdavidwilliams.com. He is known as a pioneer in the field of           probiotics.
• Exercise – Exercise is known for releasing endorphins, but did you know taking a walk or exercising for just 20 minutes can boost serotonin levels? A     little fresh air and sunlight can do wonders.
• Practice Mindfulness – taking time to be present prevents anxious thoughts, allowing one to enjoy the moment and make more meaningful                  connections with others. This includes being mindful of what we’re eating, thinking, and saying.
• Positive affirmations – We are what we think. Positive thinking improves our overall state of mind, promoting harmony between the mind and body.    “I am” statements gives greater opportunity for positive outcomes through a more positive outlook and approach.
• Eat nutrient dense foods – Healthier (mindful) eating habits provides benefits to the brain, which effects our mood and mental health. High quality      foods will give you a higher quality of life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Remember, don’t drink your calories with thinks like soda or other      drinks with high sugar content.
• Eliminate or reduce sugar intake – Too much sugar is taxing to the body. Try replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like fresh fruit or trail          mix.
• Get a massage – Massage is a perfect way to remove toxins, promote restful sleep, and relieve stress. Essential oils like lavender can be used to aid      in relaxation during massage, which has also been shown to increase serotonin levels. Treat yourself to a little relaxation. It just might do you a lot        of good!
• Get enough rest – Adequate sleep helps reduce stress and produce serotonin, which improves mood and helps control appetite (healthy eating +        restful sleep = improved serotonin levels and improved mental health!)

Practicing these tips can help bring your mind and body into greater balance, improving mental health and overall wellness. If you would like additional support please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists & coaches!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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, relationship counseling & more . mindful eating

mindful eating Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, B.A.

Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety has a way of affecting the body and mind. It sends our thoughts into spirals of worry that may never even come true. Our body tells us there is trouble as our heart rate quickens, palms sweat, and it gets hard to breathe, sometimes in the absence of threat. Further, nervous thoughts race through our minds hindering focus and sleep. These common symptoms of anxiety are extremely uncomfortable and can interfere with our daily lives.Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

Anxious thoughts can stem from many different areas of life, such as stress faced at home, school, or work; worries about finances, relationships, or illness; or traumatic experiences we have been through in the past, in combination with our genetic makeup. It can manifest itself in many different forms. Among the most common are panic attacks, specific phobias, obsessions, compulsions, and social and generalized anxiety disorders. These types each have unique criteria, and their symptoms can affect your mental state, physical body, and cognitive abilities.Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

In the Moment:

When encountering symptoms of anxiety, it is important to treat yourself with acceptance and kindness. Understand that your anxiety is not something to be ashamed of but something to work through. Try to meet your racing thoughts with reason and reassurance. Sometimes, we have a habit of being too harsh with ourselves, so it helps to remember to talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend.Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy
You can pair these changes in mindset with deep, controlled breathing exercises to calm down your physical symptoms. This technique is effective because slowing down your breathing calls on the parasympathetic nervous system, which has the job of “undoing” the fight-or-flight response we often feel in the face of stressful situations.Anxiety

When to Get Help:

If your anxiety is intense, persistent, or enduring, or if it regularly causes you distress or hinders your day-to-day activities, reach out to a counselor for support. During your time with them, they can help you recognize the situations that trigger your anxiety and come up with skills and techniques you can use to remedy your symptoms whenever they may occur.Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

Different Forms of Therapy and Treatment:

Bear in mind that today’s therapy takes on many different forms. You can take part in group sessions, individual therapy, and even e-therapies via phone calls, emails, and text messages, thanks to advances in technology, so assess your own needs and preferences when deciding which route to take.
One of the most common and effective methods of treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), allows people to maintain control and self-confidence in their practice. CBT operates on the assumption that people react not to the situations they are in but their perceptions of those situations, so it works to adjust the often-automatic negative thoughts that pop up when we’re in stressful situations, thus leading to positive changes in how we feel. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), most people who are treated with cognitive behavioral therapy see progress in 12 to 16 weeks, though this varies by individual.Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

Conversely, behavior therapy focuses on changing your behaviors in order to produce changes in thought processes. A natural way that people approach anxiety is to avoid the situations that trigger it, but the problem with this is that it reinforces the fear you feel and limits your chance of overcoming it. Exposure therapy is a behavioral method used by therapists to help clients overcome anxiety through facing their fears. In a practice called systematic desensitization, you can confront your fears in gradual stages while learning relaxation techniques to lessen your physical response to them. This has been found most effective in people dealing with specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Group psychotherapy has also been very effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. People dealing with the same types of feelings can come together and offer one another support and suggestions under the supervision of a therapist. Benefits include destigmatizing and normalizing the way you feel and providing a platform for sharing experiences and techniques.

In conclusion, anxiety can sometimes feel overpowering as it takes a toll on you physically and emotionally, but there are many diverse ways to treat and overcome it. Use compassion as you deal with your symptoms and remind yourself that over 40 million adults in the United States are facing anxiety disorders too, and you are in no way alone (adaa.org).Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

If you are feeling overwhelmed due to symptoms of anxiety, please schedule a free consultation now to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Pittsburgh Anxiety Therapy

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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 . MStress Management Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Stress Management Pittsburgh and Mental Health

Everyday demands of life present various sources of stress. These include issues related to work-life balance, worries about money, health, family, and media overload. Stress is the bodies natural response to a potential threat or demand, causing a release of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. In emergency situations, the stress response can save your life by heightening concentration and keeping you on your toes. Thus, stress can be beneficial to some degree, helping with motivation and productivity. Beyond a certain level though, stress can be damaging to the body. If it is left uncontrolled, it can lead to chronic affects on your health. The key then, is to find healthy ways to manage stress.stress management Pittsburgh

Chronic stress has been shown to have negative affects on both physical and mental health. It can affect mood, decision making skills, energy level, among other issues. In turn, this can interfere with productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life.  Stress Management Pittsburgh

Here are some physical and mental symptoms of stress:Stress Management Pittsburgh

⦁ Digestive issues/weakened immune system
⦁ Lack of motivation or focus
⦁ Obsessiveness and worry
⦁ Forgetfulness/tiredness/sleep problems Stress Management Pittsburgh

The way we respond to stress is like a habit. The more often we activate our emergency stress system, the easier it is to trigger it. Consider a study on the affects of chronic stress on the brain performed at UC Berkelely. It was discovered that people with chronic stress had more white matter in some areas of the brain. This white matter is called white because of a “white, fatty sheath of myelin coating that insulates nerves and accelerates transmission of signals between cells” (Maldonado, M. 2014). According to PsychCentral.com, chronic stress causes more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons. This disrupts the balance in the brain, causing communication in the brain cells to lose its normal timing, which could lead to problems. Thus, it is essential to recognize triggers of stress and ways to manage it. Please see effective techniques below for stress management.

Tips to manage stress effectively:

  • adequate rest is essential to feeling less stressed and emotionally balanced
  • eat a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, high quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • practice relaxation techniques & mindfulness
  • make meaningful connections with others
  • engage in regular exercise

In conclusion, stress management is vital in keeping the mind and body in balance. Early intervention can be monumental to prevent the development of mental health concerns.  You can download our free Stress Busting Protocol today hereStress Management Pittsburgh

If you are struggling with stress, please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

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About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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 . MStress Management Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Mental Health and Nutrition

As a grade school student, I used to compare my pack lunch with my classmates. They had gummy bears, M&Ms, Nutella sandwich and a fruit juice. If I’m lucky, I would have M&Ms, too. But on most days, I had an apple, rice, vegetables and a bottle of water. Just why I had vegetables and not Nutella I had never understood in those early days. All I knew was, I often wished I got the same stuff for lunch as my classmates did.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Years later, I can only thank that my parents didn’t feed me too much sugar.

I have only started to understand why when I came of age and realized how too much sugar is toxic to the body and to one’s behavior. And now that I’m a therapist, I am totally against feeding people too much of it as it’s one of the biggest culprits of several behavioral problems seen in people, especially children. I’ve seen this myself in one of my youngest clients. Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Colby, he’s 10. He goes to a school for kids with special needs. He has autism.  Similar to  most  kids  with  autism, he  can be unpredictable at times. But it was during lunch breaks that he acted out and became a bit of a problem. This happened almost regularly. The teachers, his parents, they couldn’t explain how he’s particularly distracted and hyper during lunch and not at other times. A young boy sitting next to him wailed all of sudden as Colby squeezed all of his fruit juice onto the boy’s lunch box because Colby didn’t want anyone sitting close to him. He showed hostility and irritability. Sometimes, even throwing his food to other kids.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh
I observed him closely. What could have triggered such reckless behavior?
I sought for traces of what could have happened before he went into wild tantrums. Nothing significant except when I caught what his lunch box was composed of. He had gummies, a pack of fruit juice and a sandwich. I inspected the sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly with white bread. I was dismayed.

To a child without a pre-existing condition like him, the effect of sugar may not be as instant as it was for him. Other kids would simply get into a hyper mode. But because of his autism coupled with large intake of sugary food, he was charged easily and his behavioral reaction manifested into violence.

I did an experiment. I told his parents to change what he normally ate for lunch. He started eating whole grain sandwiches, some fruits and water. Some may think packed fruit juices are good because they are made with fruits. Unless you haven’t heard of artificial flavoring and sweeteners, you  should  know that  these  packed  fruit  juices  are  loaded  with  sugar  and  other  unnatural ingredients. Why feed your children with them?

As Colby stayed away from sweets, some improvements were seen. He became more comfortable being surrounded by other kids while having lunch. He stopped throwing food to other kids. Just like me, he and his classmates compared what they got for lunch. When they found out they’ve got the same fruit, they enjoyed eating the fruit more.

Sugar is as addictive, if not more than, as cocaine. It’s highly toxic and present in most processed food. The food that went through a machine are not the ones our body needs especially for children whose mental and physical attributes are just developing. What our body needs are those grown from the earth. However, even those we believe are natural may not be ideal for our health if they’re a GMO or genetically modified organism. If you compare your lunch box today to your grandparents’, no doubt they’ve had more nutritious food than what we’re having today. As they say, the apple you’re eating today is less nutritious than the apple your grandparents had.

“But, Sara, what am I going to feed myself and family if some apples are not safe for them to eat?”

These days, more and more people are seeing the growing problem of sugar and GMOs. It is in most food you can find in the grocery store. But as more people are becoming aware of the problem, so are the stores that sell organic food. They are a bit more expensive, that is true. They, however, are not as expensive as hospital bills and medication; this is preventive health care.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

  • If you’ve been eating sugary stuff bought from the grocery store, stop immediately and switch to healthier options such as cooking something for them and adding a fruit instead. Stop drinking processed fruit juices from the grocery store.
  • Consider making your own fresh fruit and vegetable juices at home. They are concentrated nutrition that is easily digestible. Plus, they taste incredible!
  • As you switch to healthier options, you may still be inclined to buying non-organic food because the organic ones are more expensive and less available. It should be okay for as long as you put away the sugary stuff that are really just non-food. You can always soak your non-organic produce with water and apple cider vinegar to help remove any pesticide or waxy residue.
  • Slowly, as  you find cheaper  organic alternatives, get that into the  diet of your family including yourself as a parent so that your children understand that it is what the family eats so it is what he should also eat.
  • If growing your own edible plants is something you can do, then better do so. This way, you can be sure what your family is eating are authentically organic.
  • Finally, if adults can develop health and psychological problems due to having too much sugar in their diet and poor nutrition in general, imagine how the same will affect children whose body and mind are still developing. They’re not yet at the right age to choose what is right for them. Then you as adult should choose the “right” food that is beneficial to their development physically, spiritually and mentally. Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

If you or a family member is struggling with their mental health, schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

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 About Makin WellnessFounded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers 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 . Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Generalized Anxiety Disoder

GAD Overview & Symptoms Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is marked by 6 or more months of consistent, chronic worry and tension. Many people with this worry about disaster and could be extremely concerned about different things like money, family, health , career or other situations. People with GAD struggled to control their worries and may worry much more than what seems appropriate . There are times as well when they worry for no or small reasons. Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh

A GAD diagnosis happens when someone has a hard time controlling their worrying for at least 6 months and has 3 or more symptoms. The biggest difference between GAD & worry is that worrying tends to relate to only one specific stressed and lasts a much shorter period of time.

GAD is very common in North America, as it affect approximately 6.8 million adults! This accounts for 3.1% of the US’s entire population. Twice as many females are affected by this than male. GAD can occur to anyone and the highest risk of having it is between childhood and middle age years. No experts know where GAD comes from, but many believe there’s a link to genetics and negative life experiences.

Those who have GAD struggle to end the worry cycle and may believe it is out of their hands. Many times, they understand that they worry more than they should , but cannot stop thinking about whats concerning them. Often times ,they believe that if they worry about a situation, that it could prevent it from happening so stopping the worry could be a risk.

Many people with GAD manifest physical symptoms as well. The most common are gastrointestinal issues, headaches and increased blood pressure. It is possible to have a fulfilling life with GAD, be employed and have a significant other.  There can be times when they turn down fantastic opportunities such as traveling and social events due to their disorder. If the person struggles with severe GAD, they could have the most difficult time doing even the simplest daily activities, such as getting to work.


 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment GAD pittsburgh

There are many different treatment options available for someone who has GAD. At Makin Wellness, we use CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, as it has been thoroughly researched and targets certain thoughts, symptoms and behaviors in order to make lasting change. CBT is an evidence based practice, which means that it is scientifically proven to be effective. Adults and kids who are treated with CBT show positive outcomes. Mindfulness is also important to implement with any type of anxiety disorder as that helps the client focus on the present , rather than worry about the futures.

Medication can also be an effective tool if the client prefers to go that route. Normally for GAD, an SSRI , or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is prescribed. SSRI’s help to increase serotonin levels in the brain , which helps balance out your mood. These can be very effective for people with GAD , are non-addictive and usually only have minimal side effects. Common SSRIs are Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and Zoloft.

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques are very important to incorporate into treatment. Guided meditations, yoga, exercise, spending time outside and other enjoyable activities that encourage you to be present in the moment can greatly assist with reducing GAD.

GAD could occur along with another disorder, such as addiction or depression and is very common. Co morbid disorders would also be treated appropriately with the right and effective options.

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

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 . Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh