Category Archives for Stress

Trauma-Informed Care

Imagine that you are a counselor, and one day a patient comes to you complaining that he always has nightmares. However, when he is telling you about his stories, he seems to be pretty calm which makes you wonder if he is making these up or not. Then you take a look at his medical record and find that he had an abusive family when he was young. In this way, his calm may be a way to avoid past trauma or just simply to protect his inner feelings (camouflage). You would not know this if you do not understand his past trauma. Therefore, it is significant for counselors to understand patient’ background to gain a better understanding of their behavior. trauma

 

Trauma is nothing rare. It is estimated that 70% of the US population has experienced some forms of trauma once in their lives. Different people may have different understandings or definitions of trauma. Usually trauma poses severe physical or psychological threats to the person. It can even be life threatening. Some people may go on to develop the disorder which we call Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Some common types of trauma are: rape, life threatening incidents, etc.

http://www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false

 

It is important to understand that when people have trauma experiences, especially in childhood, they may not react the same way as we expect. Therefore, it is important for health professionals to learn about trauma-informed care to better understand patients’ needs. Trauma-informed care is essentially saying when counselors meet new clients, they need to learn about his or her history, especially past trauma so that they will better understand his or her behavior and will then use appropriate coping techniques. According to “Shelter from the Storm: Trauma-Informed Care in Homelessness Services Settings”, trauma informed care refers “generally to a philosophical/ cultural stance that integrates awareness and understanding of trauma, there is no consensus on a definition that clearly explains the nature of TIC.” trauma

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/shelter_from_storm.pdf

 

A lot of trauma has a root in childhood experiences. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (According to Psychology today, it measures “associations between childhood trauma, stress, and maltreatment and health and well-being later in life”) scores were found to be highly correlated with a lot of aspects affecting well-being like work performance, emotion control, health and risky behaviors. A higher score is also significantly linked to a person’s health in later life, including heart diseases, cancer etc. Trauma experiences can affect every day functioning, sensation and cognition as well. However, different people may have different copying reactions to specific situation, so when assessing a patient overall well-being, we cannot just compare it to other people’s reaction as trauma is usually biologically based (Some people are more fragile than others).

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

 

Right now, coping strategies for trauma are still poorly understood. In order to understand a person as a whole, we need to understand these victims, otherwise we may interpret their behaviors wrongly. Past trauma affects us not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. Thus, we need to put more efforts into educating people about trauma-informed care to avoid re-victimization and to best help the patient. Research has also pointed out that education is “the first and most important step in making services more trauma informed”.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/wcdvs-lessons.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false trauma

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. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

Medical Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

Although marijuana is still categorized as an illicit drug and its applications have been limited, people are now becoming more interested towards its medical benefits. While some states have allowed the use of medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), some states are still waiting for further research to give a more definite answer. New Mexico was the first state to add PTSD as a condition for the use of medical marijuana. A two-year study done with 80 patients from New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has shown that medical marijuana is associated with alleviating symptoms in some patients according to the Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV. More states are showing a more optimistic view towards medical marijuana. Last November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo legislated use of medical marijuana for people with PTSD. He said on Veterans Day (A lot of veterans suffer from PTSD) that he will provide any treatment he can for people who are suffering from PTSD. Medical marijuana is now available in New York for other serious illnesses as well, such as HIV and cancer. Representative Sen. Irene Aguilar also said that “PTSD is one of those things we really don’t have great medical treatment for and often people are left on multiple medications with side effects.” medical marijuana

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-trauma/201712/medical-marijuana-ptsd

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://hightimes.com/health/cannabis-help-ptsd-patients/

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cuomo-signs-medical-marijuana-ptsd-veterans-day-article-1.3626193

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2013.873843?needAccess=trueMore

 

A lot of veterans have supported the study of marijuana and legalization of medicinal cannabis. Elvis Alonzo, who served in the Marine Corps for three years and police department for thirteen years, suffered from severe mental breakdown. He believed that marijuana helped him calm down and sleep better. DeFino, a former soldier with severe injury, switched between different treatment options before he finally found medical marijuana. He said: “I’m able to live a healthy life, sick free, almost pain free and a quality of life to where I’m not thinking about killing myself all the time, it’s really nice to be able to have good medicine in your hands.” He is now growing cannabis at his home, which is approved under Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws. medical marijuana

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Of this plant’s 120+ active compounds, researchers have generally focused on two of them, tetrahydrocannabinol (primary psychoactive ingredient) and cannabidiol (potential medical benefits). Tetrahydrocannabinol works by binding to specific receptors on brain cells which can ease pain, boost mood, and improve sleeping. Some scientists also believe that it can reduce anxiety by interacting with the amygdala, which is responsible for emotion regulation. A clinical trial performed in Canada demonstrated that Tetrahydrocannabinol lowered the intensity and frequency of nightmares in 30 people out of the 42 patients studied. However, other studies have shown that different doses produce difference effects. Usually, lower doses might be beneficial while higher doses might be harmful.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

We still do not know too much about the other major focused ingredient cannabidiol. Marcel Bonn-Miller, a psychiatry and psychology professor from University of Pennsylvania thinks cannabidiol is more beneficial than Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when it comes to treating PTSD. He also mentions that people tend to buy products with a high level of Tetrahydrocannabinol, which may actually worsen the symptoms in the long term.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Some veterans are putting their hope on medical marijuana. A 41-year-old veteran Blanchard from Louisiana described his life as follows: “I’d like to be able to just go and enjoy a meal with my family at a restaurant. I have difficulty with that with all the noises, all the movement. I get real anxious really quick.” He really wanted to try medical marijuana as some of his friends from other states considered it incredibly helpful. Louisiana is now making some progress with medical marijuana as well, and marijuana oil (the only thing Louisiana law approves) will become available to patients by the end of this year. medical marijuana

https://www.ktbs.com/news/arklatex-indepth/blanchard-veteran-eyes-medical-marijuana-to-ease-ptsd/article_92238d8c-848a-11e8-9fd3-13fe985ab851.html

 

DISPENSE Magazine seeks to enhance the conversation between patients and medical professionals about medical cannabis. Begining in Autumn 2018, the print magazine will be available in Pennsylvania medical cannabis dispensary lobbies and in the waiting rooms of cannabis-friendly physicians. In print, on podcasts, and at live events, DISPENSE delivers the latest news, medical information and research related to cannabis, Serving as the voice of the Medical Cannabis Society, it is a trusted source of factual and helpful medical news and information.

 

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. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

 

 

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

Stress Management

We all have experienced stress in our lives. It not only affects us physically, for example, when we are stressed, we can feel an increased heart and breathing rate, but also psychologically—It can make us listless, disorganized and anxious.

 

So, what is stress?

 

Stanford University professor and Neuroendocrinologist,Robert Sapolsky, puts it this way: “a stressor is anything in the outside world that knocks you out of homeostatic balance.”

 

Different people handle stress differently, so different people define stress in a different way, as you can tell, the meaning of stress can be really subjective. https://healthypsych.com/stress-management-101/

 

A certain level of stress can be beneficial. It enhances our awareness and ensures that our body is readily prepared to face danger. “Fight or flight” is one of our body’s response to danger which basically means that our body is getting ready to either depart as quickly as possible or stay and fight. It is essential to survival and we all have this mechanism since we born. stress

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php/

 

Some amount of stress can also motivate us to achieve the goal we want. However, a lot of people now are not in a normal level of stress. According to American Psychology association, in 2015, in the U.S., average stress levels grew from 4.9 in 2016 to 5.1 on a 10-point stress scale. Additionally, there is a big jump in the number of people who have experienced “extreme stress”. 24% of people claim that they have suffered from “extreme stress” in 2014, while in 2013, this number was only 18%.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stress-levels-in-the-u-s-continue-to-increase/

 

We all know that excessive amount of stress can affect our health negatively, but how exactly it is going to affect our body. Let us take a closer look through this diagram.

https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

 

As you can tell, stress can affect nearly every part of our body ranging from central nervous systems to digestive systems. What makes it worse is that stress is everywhere in our lives: work, relationships, or even just when you are daydreaming. Therefore, it is crucial that we have some coping skills in mind so that when stressors come, we are able to manage it. stress

 

Here are some coping tips.

 

— Exercise. Exercise is the number one recommended coping mechanisms by health care professions. Even though it is understandable that when you are stressed, all you want to do is lying down and do nothing. Nevertheless, exercise is indeed a good stress releaser. When you exercise, your body will release a chemical called endorphin which kills pain and induces a positive feeling. And you do not have to engage in very intense exercise, small exercise like walking a dog can make a difference.

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

 

—Talk. When you are connecting with people, you feel like being understood and supported and this feeling will calm you down and make you feel relaxed. What’s more, you do not necessarily have to talk to someone you know or you do not even need to talk about the things that are bothering you. For example, you can sign up for a volunteer work, and the simple fact that you are making new friends and engaging in new conversation will make you feel much better. stress

 

—Adjust. Adjusting yourself to a way that makes you feel comfortable and in control. Starting to say “no” to things that will push you beyond your limit. Avoiding people and things that make you feel stressed. These are unnecessary stresses that can haunt you for a long time. Keep in mind that you are the one who needs to make sure that you are having a balanced lifestyle.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

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 .

Contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn highly effective stress relieving techniques!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

Women With Addiction

Women tend to be thought of as less likely than men to develop addiction. The gender gap is closing though, with statistics showing 4.5 million women having issues with substance abuse, 3.5 million misusing prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly using illicit drugs. According to the CDC, women are more likely to have chronic pain and be prescribed painkillers at higher doses, becoming more dependent than men. Why is there an increase in addiction in women? Consider some of the triggers.addiction

Triggers

Triggers of addiction in women include chronic inflammatory pain like fibromyalgia, stress, exposure to trauma, interpersonal violence, low self-esteem, and social pressures. Women are at high risk for developing PTSD due to traumatic life events, such as sexual abuse and physical attacks, and unfortunately may turn to drugs in seeking relief from this emotional trauma.

Previous blog posts on depression and mental health noted the way women process emotions differently, partly due to brain chemistry. Women are more likely than men to revisit negative emotions and replay events in their mind. In efforts to manage intolerable emotions, women may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Consider another factor related to addiction in women and the important role of hormones. addiction

Hormonal Influence

Hormone imbalance affects motivation, energy, and stress levels. According to drugabuse.com, a study done at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai showed higher estrogen intensifies the brains dopamine reward pathway, creating increased pleasurable feelings. When a woman has higher estrogen and takes a drug, more enjoyment is experienced. Thus, the high is associated with greater enjoyment.

Progesterone – the hormone that prepares the body for pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle – has shown to lower drug seeking behaviors. When progesterone levels fall estrogen becomes the dominant hormone, making a woman more susceptible to drug abuse. Researchers noted when people struggling with addiction are given progesterone, the hormone plays a therapeutic role in reducing smoking and cocaine use. addiction

Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone” is a powerful hormone known to promote maternal and stress reducing behaviors. Oxytocin is released as a nursing mother bonds with her baby and during intercourse. It has also been shown to be released during hugging, helping to decrease stress hormones. In healthy relationships, oxytocin promotes bonding and trust. Therefore, in efforts to recover from addiction, healthy loving relationships are essential. Studies suggest oxytocin therapy may be helpful in reducing drug-seeking behavior and preventing relapse.

Social Pressures

Women are encouraged to be maternal, professional, in control, feminine, and conform to idealized beauty standards. Influences of social media, with terms like “mommy needs wine” or “mommy juice” is celebrated as a way to cope with the stress of motherhood.

Instead of turning to alcohol for relief, choosing nutritious meals, making time for exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones will boost mental health, help to balance hormones, and improve overall wellness. The comparison trap social media presents is dangerous for anyone battling addiction. In seeking to find ways to cope, it is vital for women to feel loved through a positive support system.

Steps to Recovery

Acknowledgement – Recognizing and acknowledging there is a problem is the first important step to recovery.

Consideration – Considering the impact addiction has on your life, friends, and family is necessary in taking action.

Exploring Recovery Options – Consulting with friends and family can help provide needed support to move in the direction best suited to your individual needs.

Early Recovery – Learning coping skills and making changes are essential in this stage. Having a support group and other resources will help prevent relapse.

Long-term Recovery – In this stage of recovery, addicts have overcome a great deal. It is important to keep in mind that it takes a continuous life long effort to guard against relapse. Keeping a strong support system and being alert to triggers is paramount. It is a journey that requires a total transformation of mind, body, and spirit.

addiction

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists. We can help you find the resources and support you need in your journey to recovery!

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 .

 

 

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.

 

Chiropractic Care For Wellbeing

Overviewchiropractic care

An important part of pursuing and achieving wholeness and well-being is being in tune with your physical health, and chiropractic care is one way that many people use to seek physical healing. According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the body’s own restorative powers without the use of drugs or surgery.chiropractic care

It is common for people to turn to chiropractic care when experiencing neck and back pain, but many people are beginning to see this type of treatment as preventative instead of solely corrective. Going to see of Doctor of Chiropractic, particularly in the absence of pain, can help you stay more informed in the state that your body is in and find issues earlier than if you wait for symptoms of pain. chiropractic care

Benefits

There are many advantages to chiropractic care in addition to reduced back pain that you may not be aware of, such as improvements in digestion, blood pressure, energy, posture, and the functioning of your immune system. Other conditions that sometimes improve in response to chiropractic care include acid reflux, anxiety and depression, attention disorders, insomnia, stress, and restless leg syndrome.

What to Expect

Your first clinical exam, which may be preceded by an interview, will likely cover many of the same aspects as a general physical, such as your and your family’s medical history, and your pulse, blood pressure, and reflexes (Spine Health, 2013). Then, the doctor will assess your reflexes, range of motions, and muscles, as well as other tests specifically related to your concerns.

412 Performance Chiropractic

412 PC offers a variety of treatments, including Active Release Technique (ART), massage therapy, nutritional and enzyme therapy, and mechanical traction, which are all explained on their website. Their welcoming demeanor and holistic approach have led to physical and emotional improvements in their clients as they focus their efforts on helping you regain your health, prevent future issues, and improve your quality of life.

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 .

chiropractic care

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.

Anxiety Management in High Stress Jobs

Stress on the job is a real thing. Of course, some amount of stress referred to as eustress (good stress) is actually helpful in increasing motivation and focus. Distress though, (bad stress) can be debilitating.  Anxiety may result from an overabundance of stress, presenting difficulty in day-to-day functioning. Life’s daily demands cause some amount of stress to each and every one of us. However, both men and women report their job as being one of the top causes of stress. Job-related stress that becomes on-going and consistent can potentially cause more serious mental and physical health concerns. Aside from anxiety and depression, physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, and sleep disturbances can also be due to stress. Truth be told, stress (in continuous/persistent amounts) kills!Anxiety stress therapy

Things like heavy workload, long hours, and lack of clear direction are some of the reasons behind stress in the workplace. Other contributing factors include bullying, harassment, weak and ineffective management, over-management or micromanaging, and poor working environment. Lack of communication on the job may result in misunderstandings, being yet another source of added pressure. While you likely desire to give your best as an employee or business owner, undue stress may hinder your performance. Productivity and efficiency may also be stifled, leaving you feeling even more stressed and unfulfilled, and unable to reach your full potential.Anxiety stress therapy

Finding ways to reduce stress on the job is key to performing at your best. Not only is it important to job performance, but also to your personal life. If anxiety is taking a toll on your job, it will soon spill over into personal relationships and your overall well-being. To avoid a snowball effect, stress reduction techniques can help get you feeling back in control and able to better manage sources of stress. The following techniques can pave the way to more peaceful working conditions, giving you the skills you need to succeed and minimize daily stressors.Anxiety stress therapy

Effective Ways to Reduce Stress in the Workplace:Anxiety stress therapy

  • Time management – Managing and prioritizing your time helps you complete the most to least important tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Delegate responsibility if necessary.
  • Communication skills – Talking with colleagues one-on-one can help to ease tension, by both listening and being heard, helping to bridge the gap between any misunderstandings while possibly gaining a new perspective.
  • Leadership skills – Taking time to communicate and consult with other employees, offering incentives, clarifying expectations, and showing appreciation are all ways to lessen stress and promote teamwork.
  • Relaxation techniques/exercise – Morning exercise is a great way to boost energy, giving you a head start for the day. 30 minutes of activity is recommended – walking, running, dancing, etc. helps soothe the nervous system. Taking short 20 minute breaks throughout the day helps to reset and recharge the mind and body. If stress is rising at work, take a short walk outside to regain a feeling of balance.
  • Choose healthier, nutritious meals – Stress can make us want to turn to comfort food like pastries or french fries, but nutrient dense options will provide you more energy, improve mood, and reduce stress. Minimize sugar and refined carbs, as they can actually worsen stress. Omega 3’s like walnuts, salmon, and flaxseed are great options for boosting mood. Lastly, avoid too much caffeine, making sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep – Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep with a consistent wake up time and bed time, even on the weekends if possible. Sleep is essential for concentration and focus, problem solving skills, creativity, and productivity.
  • Deep breathing – Inhale for 6 seconds, then slowly exhale for another 6. Repeat this exercise 6 times in one minute. This is a simple, yet significant way to calm the mind, giving you a greater self-awareness and better decision making skills.
  • Mindfulness/self-care – Taking time to do the things you enjoy encourages presence in the moment, bringing harmony to the mind and body, increasing self-awareness, and helping you see when you may be nearing your breaking point.

Choosing healthy coping mechanisms like the above mentioned techniques is always the best antidote to stress. At times though, stress may feel beyond our control. Seeking support from a trusted friend or family member can help in finding ways to cope, possibly providing a more positive outlook on your circumstances. Talking with a supervisor, or utilizing an employee assistance program (EAP) may provide additional resources for stress management. If you feel like your thoughts and emotions are spiraling out of control though, don’t despair. An experienced mental health professional can help you work through any concerns or difficulties you may be having.

Anxiety stress therapy
If you are a in a high stress job & are looking for relief , please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Anxiety stress therapy

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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 .Anxiety stress therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Entrepreneurial Addiction

The mental and emotional hardships that accompany entrepreneurship can be hard to imagine from the outside. We see entrepreneurs as creatives, innovators, and go-getters, but sometimes we neglect to recognize the other side of the coin – the long hours, self-doubt, isolation, and increased rates of mental health struggles. Researchers sampled 242 entrepreneurs and found that of them 49% (compared to 32% of the comparison group) reported having one or more mental health conditions (Freeman, Johnson, Staudenmaier, & Zisser, 2015). Further, the entrepreneurs of the sample had higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. Entrepreneurial Addiction

Frighteningly, researchers have drawn parallels between the behaviors of entrepreneurs and addicts, suggesting that “workaholism” is not just a word to be thrown around. This has led to the coinage of the term entrepreneurship addiction, which can be defined as “excessive or compulsive engagement in entrepreneurial activities that results in a variety of social, emotional, and/or physiological problems,” that increases in intensity (Spivack & McKelvie, 2017).  Entrepreneurial Addiction

Criteria:Entrepreneurial Addiction

Entrepreneurship addiction manifests itself in six behaviors:

    1. Obsessive thoughts – This is when thoughts surrounding your entrepreneurial activities seep into the other aspects of your life and you cannot shut them off. Obsessive thoughts may be good for results and productivity, but they can hamper attention and growth to other areas, such as hobbies, relationships, sleep, diet & exercise, and setting time aside to relax and recharge for the next day
    2. Withdrawal/engagement cycles – You may be in a state of withdrawal if being away from work causes you negative feelings. A good businessperson worries about their ventures, naturally, as there is so much on the line, but if you find yourself feeling angry, anxious, or depressed when away from your work or wishing you were doing entrepreneurial activities while participating in other things, you may be experiencing this symptom.
    3. Self-worth – Many people feel satisfaction and validation through accomplishments in their work, but it becomes problematic when your sense of self-worth is completely hinged upon entrepreneurial activities. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and poor self-image, particularly when facing the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
    4. Tolerance – Dramatic increases in time or resources spent in entrepreneurial ventures are strong indicators of tolerance. Sometimes, this means having more responsibility in the projects you are taking on; other times it involves embarking on more new projects as a whole. The essence of this trait is that it takes more and more for you to feel satisfied with your business and how much you put into it.
    5. Neglect – When your entrepreneurship consumes your thoughts and energy, you are likely to begin neglecting other areas of life. Specifically, disengaging with friends and activities you formerly enjoyed can hint at a possible addiction to work. This, like the other symptoms, is commonly seen in people with substance abuse and is one of the first indicators of an addiction.Entrepreneurial Addiction
    6. Negative outcomes – Consequently, an unhealthy amount of work-involvement can lead to deleterious mental, emotional, relational, and physical effects. Common ones include less time spent with loved ones, stress-related damage to the immune system, decreased amounts of sleep, poor nutritional habits, and feelings of guilt or anxiety.

How Does This Happen?Entrepreneurial Addiction

The demanding hours required to work full-time as an entrepreneur can lead to overwhelming amounts of pressure and neglect of the self and others. There is so much being asked of you, and at times it can feel as if you are doing everything alone. The amount of work that must be done, the unique difficulties you face in doing it, and the risks involved can be a toll-taking combination, leading to high levels of stress, overwhelming workloads, and, subsequently, feelings of being burnt out.Entrepreneurial Addiction

How Can We Fix It?

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is paramount. This means making a conscious effort to provide yourself with what you need, such as adequate sleep, nutritious meals, and time for loved ones and recreational passions. Be reasonable in your goal-setting and try to keep work restrained to certain hours, buildings, or rooms of the house if you work from home. It is easy to commit to what feels like a thousand different things and realize afterwards you have stretched yourself too thin. To combat this, be organized, honest, and decisive. Keeping a planner is a great way to stay on top of all the things you are responsible for and being honest with yourself and your colleagues about your capabilities is the only way to keep that list from growing too long. Further, learn to say no when that is the best thing for you.Entrepreneurial Addiction

If your work responsibilities are taking a toll on your mental health, causing you significant distress, or interfering with other aspects of your life, please schedule a free consultation now to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Entrepreneurial addiction

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