Category Archives for Mindfulness

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



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!

The Psychology of Belief

Many people do not realize how powerful our core beliefs are. Our life is molded around our beliefs. Take some time to consider what your beliefs are and if they are working for you. Are your beliefs logical or are they illogical? Positive or negative? Do you believe you are a winner or a failure?



Beliefs can be changed through spaced repeition; now, you may be wondering what the heck that is! Spaced repeition is hearing or thinking a message consistently for a duration of time. If you have a belief that  you are stupid because your dad told you that often when you were a child , the way you change that is the same way it occurred ; by thinking and saying ” I am smart”.

The best way to do this is by thinking new , positive messages instead. Your beliefs will change faster when there is strong emotion behind your new belief. Be sure to word your belief in the positive . An example would be by thinking  ” I am a winner” rather than “I am not a loser”. Make sure you are replacing your beliefs with messages that you believe. If the jump from “I am stupid” to “I am smart” is too out of reach, tell yourself something that is easier for you to believe such as “I am smarter than I think”.


Writing, hearing, saying and thinking these new powerful thoughts will eventually turn into beliefs. Consider getting a notebook and devote time daily to writing and rewriting what you would like to have as new beliefs… it is only a matter of time before they change!

Photo Cred : Bulletin For The Study Of Religion



Natural Insomnia Relief for Children

Do your child ever have a hard time sleeping? Do your kids ever toss and turn or take a long time to fall asleep?I have an amazing meditation linked below that will help your kid ease their mind. This uses very specific tones that will put their brain in differing states and will calm them down . The “Fabulous Dreams” meditation also contains powerful and positive affirmations that could boost their confidence as well! Share your experience with this below if you tried it out!

 

The BEST essential oils for stress reduction

Aromatherapy can be very helpful for stress reduction , but there are so many oils and combinations out there that it can be extremely confusing to know what to use! We love using essential oils and encourage our clients to try it out as well.

Below are some of the best essential oils for the reduction of stress:

      1. Lavender 
      2. Rose 
      3. Chamomile
      4. Ylang Ylang
      5. Patchouli

You can purchase the scents you are most drawn to by clicking here and selecting “retail customer”.  We will do a blog post coming soon about different ways you can use essentials oils! Feel free to bring your oils with you to your next counseling session. Comment below about your experience with essential oils .

Quiet your mind

Do you ever stay awake at night, tossing and turning due to worries and seemingly relentless thoughts? We ALL have been there , when all we want to do is quiet our minds and relax… but this is much easier said than done. Very few of us are able to do it through deep breathing alone ; many others can benefit from using a tool to get to this state. My dear mentor & friend Paul Santisi is the world’s leader in meditations and self development. His meditations are unlike any other I have ever come across, and believe me when I say that I have tried many! My favorite meditation for clearing your mind is called Mind Silence , and you can check it out for free here or download it to your phone here.  This is one I recommend to my clients struggling with anxiety and racing thoughts; I have only received positive feedback about this. I recall my one client raving on and on about how relaxed he felt after the first time he tried Paul’s meditation . He later went on to  incorporate meditation into his daily routine to help keep him sober. Try it out and leave your experience with how you felt in the comments below!