Category Archives for Wellness

Mental Health and Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 About Makin WellnessFounded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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

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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!



The Secret Recipe To Become Healthy

Fad Diets

Training Programs

Diet Pills

And the list goes on…

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


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

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

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

Your recipe to success:

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

Follow the Super-Mom Movement

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

Eddie Larios

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

 

 



His & Hers Honest Reviews: Pittsburgh Fresh

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

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

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

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

 

 

We ordered a couple different meals including:

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




Let’s get right to the review:

 

Creamy sundried tomato chicken with pasta & mustard greens

His perspective

CONS:

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

PROS:

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

Her perspective

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

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

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



Emotional Quantum Leap

When we want to improve or change our emotions, it is very important to keep in mind that “quantum leaping” is not a possibility. The emotional ride from Depression to Joy involves many other emotions that you could experience in between. The secret is finding what emotion you are experiencing on this scale now and then then changing your thoughts so you start to feel better a bit at a time. Here is the Emotional Guidance Scale:

1.Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2.Passion
3.Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4.Positive Expectation/Belief
5.Optimism
6.Hopefulness
7.Contentment
8.Boredom
9.Pessimism
10.Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelmed
12.Disappointment
13.Doubt
14.Worry
15.Blame
16.Discouragement
17.Anger
18.Revenge
19.Hatred/Rage
20.Jealousy
21.Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22.Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness


 

Notice how fear, grief , depression, despair and powerlessness are the bottom of this scale. The good news is that if these are emotions you are feeling often, there is nowhere to go besides up on this scale!

You may also notice how anger is higher up on the scale than depression is. Many times when people are working on their depression or powerlessness, they start to feel better and eventually experience anger. Anger doesn’t tend to bother the person who is angry , but rather the people that are predominately around them… so they get pressured into feeling depressed again , as when people are depressed they aren’t yelling and upsetting others. Anger is actually much more empowering . Think about a time when you were depressed and then a time when you were angry; doesn’t it feel much better to be pissed off then down? The trick with anger is to experience it and then work on moving your way up the emotional scale towards discouragement and blame.

How can I move up on this emotional scale? Having a professional counselor is really helpful with this. Talking with someone who can help you move up this scale and process your emotions can work wonders for you.

Let us know what your thoughts are about this scale and if you have used this before! Like this post and be sure to share it on Facebook!


How To : Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to reduce your anxiety, stress levels and reduce your blood pressure . It’s interesting to note that this is the way our bodies were designed to breathe and that infants do this naturally! If you happen to see a baby laying on their back, you’ll see that their belly moves up and down.

Here’s a great and short video that clearly demonstrates how to do this ; check it out!

The Psychology of Belief

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



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

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


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

Photo Cred : Bulletin For The Study Of Religion