Category Archives for Wellness

Depression in College Students ~ Pittsburgh

Depression in College Students

The prevalence of mental health concerns in college students has been steadily rising, with depression, suicide, eating disorders, and anxiety as the most common. According to the American Psychological Association (2013), about 33% of college students in the previous year had felt that depression inhibited their daily functioning, and there are so many potential reasons for this: the increase in pressure and responsibility, lack of adequate support, first-time separation from one’s family, and stress and anxiety concerning academic performance, finances, and what life will be like after college. Further, there are certain genetic, hormonal, and seasonal factors that may induce depressive symptoms or make a person more at risk for acquiring it. depression

Signs & Symptoms

There is no one-size-fits-all picture of what depression looks like. Just as any other mental health disorder, it varies by individual, but there are things you can look for, in yourselves and those around you, that may indicate that a person is struggling with depression. These symptoms typically affect the physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects of individuals who live with depression, as it is an all-encompassing disorder.

Generally, people with depression may experience feelings of hopelessness, guilt, irritability, and sadness, with decreased interest in the things they formerly enjoyed and diminished attention to their hygiene and appearance. Depression can lead to changes in appetite and weight as well and can interfere with the ability to sleep. Moreover, it can lead to the excessive use of things like gambling, the internet, alcohol, and other substances. In fact, individuals “with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to suffer also from a drug use disorder,” and are more likely to experience internet addiction than the general population (Katikalapudi et al., 2012; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2008). Some of the most common cognitive symptoms of depression are forgetting things, difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, and slower reaction time (Tartakovsky). depression

Any combination of these symptoms can pose problems for an individual’s daily functioning. Specifically, in college students, depression may lead to behaviors such as isolating themselves, skipping class, neglecting responsibilities, and binge-drinking.

Steps You Can Take

As a friend, colleague, or professor of a student that may be experiencing depression, it is important for you to be sensitive to and supportive of that individual. Recognize that the things they are going through are likely not in their control, and encourage them to reach out to a mental health professional. One of the worst things you can do is minimize what they are going through and criticize them for the effects it is having in their life.

If you, yourself feel that you are experiencing depressive symptoms, it is good to process what you are feeling with someone else, though it can be hard to talk about. It may be helpful to turn to a trusted friend, family member, or professor at first, but if your symptoms are impeding your ability to function, getting in contact with a counselor or therapist will be the most effective way to work through your emotions and develop healthy coping skills. depression

If you are suffering with depression, please schedule a free consultation today 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 . MStress Management Pittsburgh

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.
psychologyofabelief
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.

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

 —

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sustaining Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Sustaining Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

College can be a time of immense change and personal growth. There, you find your passions, get inspired, and figure out who you are and who you want to be. Conversely, it is a time of immense pressure as well. With college comes the advent of new challenges and responsibilities. Often, you are dealing with relationships, academics, finances, and careers on a level you have not yet experienced, which can be a lot to handle. These and other factors can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness in the college student. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, affecting an estimated 1 in 5 young adults. This makes college one of the most important times to be conscious of your mental state and build a foundation for healthy coping skills.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

What You Can Do on Your Own

Incorporating your physical, mental, and emotional needs into your daily routine is crucial, and doing so with an individualized perspective is the most effective way. Especially when crafting your schedule, keep your needs and limitations in mind. Designate regular times for meals and breaks, and find recreational activities that bring you calmness and excitement to give yourself joy and relaxation throughout the week.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Further, healthy coping skills such as meditation and breathing exercises can be used at a moment’s notice to help you calm down in stressful situations, and creative outlets, like painting, cooking, and journaling, can help you through feelings of low mood. In addition, surround yourself with people you trust who understand the things you are going through. Having social support in college provides a buffer to the stress you may be facing.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Lastly, research has long supported ties between physical and mental health, so try not to neglect your body. Give yourself sufficient sleep, healthy food, and exercise to promote optimal functioning all-around. This will have positive effects for your physical health, emotional well-being, and academic performance as well.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

University Resources

Though every college is different, it is likely that your institution provides resources to aid your transition and overall experience. These may take the form of traditional means like pamphlets, support groups, and mental health centers, but they may also include more contemporary ideas like hosting therapy dogs. It is important to familiarize yourself with what your specific institution has to offer so that in particularly challenging times, you know what your options are.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

If you are feeling overwhelmed , please schedule a free consultation now to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

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!

 —

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!

 —

 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



What’s Mental Health?

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

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

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

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

So what are some warning signs?

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

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




What about mental health & wellness?

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

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

How could I maintain mental wellness once I get there?

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

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

—-

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

About Makin Wellness

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

 

 

 

 

 



Psychological Benefits of Exercise

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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