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Social Anxiety: Causes, Affects, & Tools to Cope

We all deal with degrees of social discomfort at times. Fear of judgment and feelings of self consciousness are felt by many in social situations. Giving a presentation or meeting new people may cause us to have sweaty palms and the common “butterflies in the stomach”.

Social anxiety disorder however, presents a stress that is more than shyness, possibly causing one to avoid social contact entirely. It can be experienced in various ways, such a as fear of being judged, feeling embarrassed or humiliated, or fear of offending someone.  Symptoms include stomach trouble, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, and dizziness to name a few.

What are the Causes? 

Genetics are likely part of it. For example, if a close family member has social anxiety or social phobia, you are more likely to experience it as well.

An over active amygdala may also play a part, as this is the part of the brain controlling fear response.  History of bullying, teasing, or abuse can be linked to social anxiety.

What Affect does it have on Your Life? 

Avoiding social situations affects personal relationships, preventing one from fully living and enjoying their life. It may lead to depression, low self-esteem, negative thought patterns, and poor social skills.

What are some Tools to Cope?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can provide positive changes to thought processes and patterns of behavior. A trained professional can help one work through social anxiety in practical ways. Support with building self-esteem and positive self image are some of the benefits of therapy.

Aromatherapy is another tool to reduce social anxiety. Essential oils can be used to provide feelings of confidence and promote a calming effect. Vanilla, lavender, and orange have shown to soothe nervousness and stress. Using pure, therapeutic grade oils will provide the best results.

Exercise and diet are also essential to promoting harmony between the mind and body, helping reduce anxiety by boosting endorphins and releasing toxins.

Makin Wellness is happy in providing support to anyone dealing with social anxiety or social phobia. Our trained professionals will provide holistic options and therapies to promote healing for the mind and body. Contact us today for a free 15 minute consultation!

 

Anxiety: Types, Treatments, and Tools to Cope

“In any given moment, we have two options: To step forward into growth, or to step back into safety. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

We all experience times when we feel stressed, worried, anxious, or nervous. We worry about family responsibilities, finances, health, work, and other obligations. As we discussed in our previous post, there are a variety of holistic options for anxiety relief. However, we must first identify the source of our anxieties and its severity in order to take steps in correcting it. Recognizing the root cause is the first step toward positive change and healthier ways of managing stress and anxiety.

Types of Anxiety

The most common types of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic disorder. Anxiety is also present in other conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Symptoms of more than one type of anxiety are commonly experienced. It’s vital to seek support as early as possible before anxiety begins to take over your life. Talking to a trained professional can provide resources and tools to cope.

Anxiety overload may show itself in the form of irritability, anger, inability to concentrate, stomach problems, panic attacks, muscle tension, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, and sleep disturbances.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is anxiety and worry affecting my quality of life?
  • Is the dread and fear I’m experiencing robbing me of joyful moments?
  • Am I feeling stuck with the belief that drugs are my only option, or that I have no other option than to live this way?

Everyone has a tipping point with various triggers that bring about anxiety. Taking inventory of ourselves and having self-awareness gives better opportunity to manage stress and anxiety. Be mindful of your day to day habits. Keeping a log or journal at times you’re feeling worried or anxious can help sort out your thoughts, allowing you to take more control over the situation. Understanding the trigger, or root cause of your anxiety will better equip you in being able to manage it.

Remaining in a perpetual state of anxiety is detrimental to physical and emotional wellness. Finding a professional trained in holistic treatment methods can provide safe, effective options for managing anxiety.

Treatments and Tools to Cope

Whether you suffer from a mild anxiety or more chronic form, you may be inclined to think the only option is anxiety medication. Prescribed medication may be necessary for a period of time for some people. However, clinical studies have shown various herbal remedies and botanicals to significantly decrease anxiety. Lavender oil is even being used to calm patients in hospice care.

According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, Echinacea extract showed significant relief of anxiety in only three days. While this isn’t considered a cure all, it may provide natural relief, without the side effects of prescription drugs. And, it is always recommended to talk with your doctor when making any changes to your wellness routine.

See our previous post for more natural, holistic options for coping with anxiety. Exercise, eating well, and getting plenty of rest are essential tools to managing anxiety and overall wellness. If you are interested in more natural treatment for stress or anxiety, contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. 

Holistic Remedies for Anxiety

Anxiety, stress, worry, and fear are all too common in today’s world. In our hurried lives we’re all looking for a quick fix to stress and anxiety. Finding calm in the chaos is a much more holistic process, though. It takes looking inward with an honest self-evaluation. Being mindful, self-aware, and present with ourselves is the first step in finding healthy approaches to reducing anxiety. The more in tune we are with ourselves, the more ability we have to promote healing.

“Holistic medicine gently works on correcting an underlying condition, and requires a high level of participation on the part of the patient.” – David Crow 

In our last post, we defined wellness as “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” This is therefore a day-to-day effort that often requires breaking old habits, and moving outside of our comfort zones. As we open ourselves to change and become more adaptable, we move into growth and become better versions of ourselves. anxiety

Fear of the unknown may cause us anxiety, making us move back into comfort, in turn making change more difficult. Techniques to promote positive thinking are especially helpful in taking action toward positive change, allowing us to move out of our comfort zones.

In some instances, other health conditions such as food sensitivities, or an overactive thyroid, may be the culprit of anxiety disorders. Excess sugar and caffeine is something else to consider. Finding the root cause will provide the resources and tools necessary to gain control over anxiety, before it gains control over you. anxiety

While anxiety medications may provide temporary relief, it is like a band-aid versus getting to the root cause, and does not come without side effects. To bring balance to the mind and body, daily wellness habits need to be incorporated.

Consider the following holistic remedies for anxiety relief:

  • Deep Breathing – Deep belly breathing is a quick way to reduce cortisol and promote a calming sensation to the mind and body. Diaphramatic breathing is a relaxation technique shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

 

  • Walk Barefoot – A term called “earthing” is a natural technique used to reduce anxiety by stimulating the mind and body. It may improve sleep by improving circadian rhythms, improve mood and energy, boost immunity, and reduce stress. In warmer months, take a walk outside in the grass, breath deep, and feel the healing effects of nature!

anxiety

  • Eat Whole Foods – Fueling our mind and body with nutrient dense foods provides the needed vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep our bodies functioning at its best. A whole-foods plant based diet has shown to be the optimum diet for wellness, vitality and longevity. Eating a variety of fresh foods is best.

 

  • Exercise – Exercise is one of the best tools for wellness. Walking outside and exercising in nature has even more added benefits with oxygen from fresh air, greenscapes raising serotonin levels, and sun exposure increasing vitamin D levels.

 

  • AromatherapyEssential oils are the lifeblood of plants, steam distilled from leaves, stems, and flowers. They provide support to each body system, helping to relieve stress, boost immunity, and promote restful sleep. Inhaling lavender has shown to produce a calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety. Bergamot may help reduce the stress response, along with chamomile. Lavender and chamomile have long been used as a sleep aid – calming the mind and helping you let go of worries. Contact us at Makin Wellness for your very own custom blend of therapeutic grade essential oils! Incorporating massage with essential oils is the perfect way to relieve tension!

anxiety

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) CBT is a form of talk therapy that may be used by a mental health counselor to promote positive thought processes. It focuses on improving emotional regulation and developing coping skills. This technique helps find new approaches to problems, helping boost happiness and positivity.

 

  • Cannabidiol OilCannabidiol or CBD, has shown to reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoative, meaning it does not get the user “high,” rather it promotes a feeling of calm and focus. Ayurvedic medicine believes CBD to be most beneficial with the combination of other herbs. A naturopathic doctor can recommend what would work best with your unique wellness goals and circumstances. NuLeaf Naturals is an all natural, organic brand made in Colorado.

 

Makin Wellness is happy in providing an individualized and customizable approach to support optimal wellness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Nutritional Counseling, Aromatherapy, and stress management techniques are just a few of the ways we help our clients heal and become happy again. Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation and begin your wellness journey today! wellness

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. anxiety

Holistic Wellness

Wellness is defined as “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” The latter part of that statement is the key. Optimal wellness is not only the absence of disease, but a proactive approach that must be actively pursued, day-to-day. As life is ever-changing, adaptability is necessary to sustainable wellness. Healthy eating and exercise are often thought of as the foundations of wellness, yet there are other vital components when thinking holistically. wellness

Holistic wellness encompasses the whole person, recognizing that we are multifaceted as humans. A holistic approach gives consideration to lifestyle, diet, and the mind-body connection. It is an individualized, customizable, symptoms-based approach, which identifies the root cause through evidence-based techniques. Interventions such as diet and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, aromatherapy, and supplement recommendations are some techniques used to promote optimal wellness.

“The mind and body are inextricably connected, with our thoughts and emotions exerting a powerful influence on our health.”

– Dr. Bradley Nelson

The National Wellness Institute identifies 6 dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Consider how these six dimensions intertwine and contribute to overall wellness.

Emotional wellness involves acceptance over denial of feelings, and optimism over pessimism.

Occupational wellness relates to making contributions using ones unique gifts, skills, and talents that is both rewarding and in line with personal values.

Physical wellness is a self-awareness of ones body, taking responsibility to care for oneself, recognizing the benefits exercise and healthy eating habits have on mind and body. wellness

Social wellness encourages personal contribution to the environment and community. It gives emphasis to actively enhancing personal relationships, through better communication, healthy living spaces, and consideration for the welfare of others to promote a state of harmony instead of conflict.

Intellectual wellness holds the notion that it is better to expand our minds through intellectual and creative pursuits instead of unproductive and self-satisfied.

Spiritual wellness gives recognition to the search for meaning and purpose as humans. This includes developing deep appreciation for the depth of life and nature. As your actions become more in line with your beliefs and values, that is when spiritual wellness occurs. wellness

These six dimensions provide a model of wellness, promoting a sustainable, adaptable approach to wellness. As we are mindful and self-aware of our minds and bodies, we become better advocates for our own wellness. Ultimately, we are responsible for our health and well-being.

Wellness is not an achieved state, rather, it is a journey of continual growth. Holistic wellness is not only what we are eating, but what we are thinking, doing, and saying. Life experiences provide opportunity to learn new things, expanding our minds, giving new perspective, and helping us see things outside of ourselves.

Spending time in nature and making meaningful connections with others helps us form a healthier worldview, giving us greater meaning and purpose. To be well is a daily effort. Self-care, healthy eating habits, exercise, and time with loved ones, are all essential to maintaining a state of wellness.

Makin Wellness is happy in providing an individualized and customizable approach to support optimal wellness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Nutritional Counseling, aromatherapy, and stress management techniques are just a few of the ways we help our clients heal and become happy again. Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation and begin your wellness journey today! wellness

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.  wellness

wellness

Communication & Love

Love is communicated in various ways. Through the written and spoken word, gift giving, acts of kindness, and by spending quality time together.  Healthy communication helps us form loving, meaningful connections with others. These kinds of connections are of utmost importance in happiness and feelings of fulfillment. Love is a basic human need, so how can we communicate with love?

Unhealthy communication brings about misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Name calling, yelling, and hurtful speech are all forms of unhealthy communication. Instead of creating loving bonds, this kind of communication can leave feelings of hurt and resentment. Rather than creating a safe space for open and loving communication, it creates an environment of hostility, drawing a wedge between people. Continuous hurtful, and even harmful communication such as this can have lasting negative effects on the mind and body communication

In the emotional part of the brain, known as the limbic system, the amygdala is directly linked to the emotional response to stimuli.  Arousal, memory, fear, emotional response, and hormonal secretions, are all part of the function of the amygdala. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released in situations of elevated stress.

According to psychologytoday.com,  “The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease.” We therefore want to do our best to reduce excess stress!

We may confront multiple situations each day that  create feelings of anxiety and frustration, at home and at work. Communication can either make or break a relationship, creating discord or unity. In times of differing opinion, how can we respond versus react? How can we approach these instances in a way that promotes loving communication?

Consider some practical ways to diffuse a situation when emotions are running high:

  • Deep Breathing – When confronting a difficult circumstance, take a few minutes to breathe deep to reduce cortisol levels. Breathe slowly for six seconds through the nose, and another six seconds out through the mouth. Try this 6 times, while sitting down.
  •  Take a Walk – Walking can promote the release of endorphins, helping to clear the mind. Having a clear head before confronting a stressful situation will ease the tension a bit.
  • Listen – Allowing the other person to express feelings and concerns freely will avoid misunderstandings, helping the other person to feel heard. Listening without interrupting shows respect and concern.
  • Talk Over a Meal –  A nourishing meal can be comforting, allowing for a peaceful environment. Feeling “hangry” will only exasperate the situation.
  • Diffuse Essential Oils  Literally diffuse the situation.  The use of therapeutic grade essential oils, like Young Living essential oils, can promote a calming atmosphere. Lavender, vanilla, and orange has shown to lift the mood and soothe stress.

Healthy communication can bridge the gap between misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Taking time to listen and speak with love and intention will allow for mutual respect and feelings of care. Love covers a multitude of sins!

At times, a mediator is necessary when trying to come to a resolution. If you’d like support with healthy communication techniques, call now for a free consultation!

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intentional Self-Love

“For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” – Ephesians 5:28, 29

Mindful. Intentional. Self-love. Self-care. Why is there so much emphasis being placed on these notions? Is society lacking in these areas? Would you say we are nourishing and cherishing ourselves? Consider the rates of anxiety and depression, among countless other ailments. If we were to take an honest look at our diet and lifestyle, could we say we are adequately loving and caring for ourselves?

In previous posts, we touched on intentional living, intentional meal planning, and intentional love – all with the intent of finding ways to be more intentional in the new year. While this is the last post of the series on being intentional, it is by no means the least. Intentional self-love provides a foundation for being intentional in other areas of your life.

Self-love is a word we hear often. Like self-care, self-love is showing regard for one’s own well-being. To avoid misconceptions, let’s take a moment to give a bit of clarity to the term. Unlike being conceited, self-love does not show excessive regard for oneself, or disregard for the feelings of others. Taking time for self-care and self-love does not mean only caring for oneself. Instead, it is being mindful and intentional with the ways you are caring for yourself, and in turn having more to offer to others. self love

Consider the way a child is cared for. A loving parent will provide a balanced meal, promote good hygiene, and be sure their child gets adequate sleep. These habits instilled in childhood sets the precedent for how the child will care for themself in adulthood.

As adults though, everyday demands and daily stresses often crowd out time for self-care habits. Women in particular tend to neglect themselves as caretakers and primary caregivers in the household. How can we give our best to others if we ourselves are depleted? How can we be more intentional with self-love and self-care? self love

Nourishing our minds and bodies is more than just a healthy diet. It is what we’re watching, what we’re listening to, what we’re reading, and who we’re spending time with. The people we are spending time with will have the largest impact on our lives. Taking an honest look at our daily habits, and how we’re spending our time is the first step in creating healthier routines for self-love and self-care.

Personal growth does not happen by accident. It has to be intentional. Being the best version of ourselves takes work. Taking time to write your values, the things you enjoy, and what matters most to you will help you set daily intentions. As you are mindful and intentional in caring for your mind and body, you encourage self-love and self healing. This will have a ripple effect, giving you a means to pour into the lives of others and add value to their lives. self love

5 Tips to Encourage Self-Love: self love

  • Practice Self-Care – Be sure to exercise, eat nourishing foods, and get plenty of sleep. Take time to do things you enjoy doing. This will help to lift your mood, increase energy, and reduce stress.
  • Practice Gratitude – What we give attention to, we give energy to. Write things you are grateful for each morning to begin your day with a positive mindset.
  • Practice Tapping (EFT or TFT) – Tapping therapy is used to release negative energy that gets stored in the body. It is a powerful tool used to reduce phobias, anxiety, and fear, helping you reach your full potential.
  • Practice Being Mindful – Being present, and in the moment without judgement avoids overthinking and improves self-esteem.

We hope you have found this series of being intentional a useful guide in helping you be the best version of yourself! To receive further support, contact us today at Makin Wellness for a free 15 minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. 

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Intentional Love: Loving Less Out of Habit

“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Cor. 16:18

This month we’re focusing on what it means to be intentional. Intentional living. Intentional meal planning, and most importantly, intentional love. As we contemplate goals for how we want our year to unfold, it helps to reflect on whether we’re living out of intention, or out of habit. While familiar habits are easier and feel more comfortable, it may not give us the results we desire. intentional love

Living with intention helps us make positive changes, so we can live happier lives with less anxiety. When making lifestyle changes, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Am I living in line with my values?”
  • “Will this bring me closer to my goals?”
  • “Is this creating more or less demands on my time and energy?”

So what about “loving” with intention? How can we love less out of habit?

Intentional love takes a little introspection, or time to look inward. This helps to see personal contributions you’re making in your relationships. Being mindful also helps us be more present and aware of personal needs and the needs of others. Whether it’s an intimate relationship, friendship, or parental role, love requires emotional awareness. It’s like making a bank deposit. When we make positive emotional deposits through kind words and actions, we add value to the quality of our relationships. Communication plays a key role in this. Listening and freely expressing cares and concerns is essential in strengthening the bonds of love. How can we do this in today’s hurried world?intentional love

Making Meaningful Connections

With social media taking over today, we are lacking meaningful connections more than ever. Social media may provide some authentic friendships, yet cannot replace the benefit of real life interactions. Studies have shown face-to-face communication to be essential for human happiness, and social interaction as the key to longevity. As humans we are not meant to be isolated. Our well-being depends on social interaction.  intentional love

One benefit of face-to-face interaction is the release of neurotransmitters. Simply giving someone a hand shake can release oxytocin (the love hormone), increasing your level of trust, reducing cortisol levels, and in turn lowering stress. Facebook may connect us to some degree, but it cannot provide the benefits of real life face-to-face connections. Therefore, to foster loving relationships, we must make intentional interactions. Take time out to meet a friend for coffee, or plan a date night. In all relationships, making meaningful connections is paramount to sustaining love. intentio

Unfortunately, our attention toward one another is limited due to the constant interruptions from electronic distractions. The world has become too busy for its own good. We are left feeling detached and being taken further from the one thing that keeps us grounded, human connection. John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman created the Gottman Institute to promote and support meaningful relationships between couples and families.

According to the Gottman Method, “the foundation for every good relationship is friendship.” It only makes sense then that we give our time and attention to our loved ones like we would when getting to know a friend. To know and understand one another, we must spend quality time together. We must intentionally pay attention.

Happy couples know each other well. They get to know one another by spending time together, so each person can hear and be heard. Self-love is an essential aspect to this. Only by fully knowing and accepting yourself can you fully and openly allow someone to see you, and you see them. The relationship you have with yourself will dictate your relationships with others. Taking time out for self-care to get to know yourself will help you to feel whole individually, and better able to give your best to others. We give our best when we feel our best!

Consider ways to make more meaningful connections, encouraging intentional love in your relationships.

Tips for Loving with Intention:

  • Be Mindful – To be mindful is to be fully present. Presence with a loved one is the best present you can give! Face-to-face interaction promotes the release of oxytocin (the love hormone), fostering more meaningful connections and reducing stress.

 

  • Prioritize Health – To give our best to others, we need to prioritize our own well-being, making health priority. Self-care will help you feel your best, so you’ll have enough energy to give to others.

 

  • Maintain Manners – Speaking with kindness goes a long way in maintaining loving relationships. Simply saying “please” and “thank you” shows concern and appreciation for your loved ones,

 

  • Set Boundaries – Time is precious. Make it a habit to set down your phone and turn off notifications during meal times, and carve out quality time to be with loved ones. Listening with your full attention will help your loved one to feel heard and more cared for, while helping to avoid misunderstandings.

 

  • Set Intentions – Write out the way you would like to see your relationships. Questions like, “If we could be our best, what would we be thinking?… Saying?…And doing?” These kinds of questions will allow you to live out your intentions more fully.

 

Here at Makin Wellness we offer a holistic approach with consideration to the whole person, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Our services include professional counseling, life coaching, and nutritional counseling with the use of aromatherapy to promote harmony between mind and body. Contact us today if you are looking for support with being more intentional in your relationships!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. 

 

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Natural Remedies to Beat the “Winter Blues”

Winter is the time of year we love to keep cozy, spend time with family and friends, and eat lots of good food. For some though, it can be a time of increased sadness. Comfort food is more often consumed along with decreased physical activity, which can lead to low mood and energy, increasing the risk of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) affects more than half a million Americans each year and is a recognized form of clinical depression, commonly referred to as the “winter blues” or “winter depression.” Stressful life events, family history, or other emotional issues may contribute to S.A.D. Women are more commonly reported to have S.A.D. However, it may occur with anyone, regardless of age or gender. winter blues

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Recognizing the symptoms is the first step in seeking the proper treatment. Symptoms can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe, usually occurring between the months of September and April. People generally experience more severe symptoms between the months of December and February.

Symptoms typically include:

  • Negative thoughts and feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Increased food cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social isolation
  • Sleep disturbances

 

Scientists believe vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight may be one of the causes of S.A.D. This is because of vitamin D deficiency preventing a part of the brain, known as the hypothalamus, from working properly. In turn, the disruption in the function of the hypothalamus leads to an imbalance in circadian rhythms. When circadian rhythms are out of balance, melatonin and serotonin levels can be affected.

People with S.A.D have been noted as having higher levels of melatonin, causing sleep disturbances and fatigue. Serotonin (the happy hormone) levels may decrease due to this lack of sleep, causing mood disturbances. So, what are some ways we can combat this? Consider the following natural remedies.

Natural Remedies to Beat the “Winter Blues” (or S.A.D) winter blues

  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise increases the brains feel-good chemicals, reducing feelings of depression. Studies have shown walking just 20-30 minutes can boost your mood and energy!
  • Get some Vitamin D – Taking a vitamin D supplement can help boost mood and immunity. A doctor or nutritionist can recommend a proper dose.
  • Sleep – Rest is vital to emotional health. Avoid excess sugar and caffeine to promote restful sleep. Try going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
  • Get Outside –Take advantage when the sun does decide to peek through during winter months. Bundle up and ask a friend to go on a short walk or hike. It can do wonders for your mood overall wellness!
  • Talk It Out – Discussing your feelings with a trained counselor can help you overcome feelings of sadness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is recommended to promote positive thinking and behaviors. It can help you approach situations differently, turning your BLUE thoughts into TRUE thoughts.
  • Practice Self-Care – Spend time doing something you enjoy. Treat yourself to a massage. Finding ways to relax and be more mindful reduces stress, helping boost mood.
  • Healthy Eating – Comfort foods are easy to reach for when feeling sad. Sweets and excess carbs may produce good feelings short-term. Unfortunately, this can turn into a downward spiral, causing low mood and an imbalance in hormone levels. Leafy greens, protein, and healthy carbohydrates can help boost mood and energy, reducing symptoms of depression. Talking with a nutritionist can help guide you through a meal plan to fit with your personal lifestyle.

If you’re interested in further support with mood, diet, and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic, integrative approach to therapy and nutritional counseling. Encompassing mind, body, and spirit, we give consideration to the whole person. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation ! winter blues

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017, Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.  M

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Mindful Eating Over The Holiday Season

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces someone, they will bloom like a flower.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

What is mindfulness? To be mindful is to be focused, having an awareness of yourself, others, and your surroundings. It is enjoying the moment. Our thoughts may shift momentarily to the past or future, but with mindfulness we are able to bring our focus back to the present. In being mindful, we give consideration to the present needs of ourselves and others, helping promote a peaceful environment. Thus, we can have more meaningful connections with others. It’s also helpful in making the most of our time. 

Time off of work. Time spent with loved ones. Time to rest. Time to EAT! It’s that time of year when we’re especially thinking of how we’re going to be spending our time, what leisure activities we’ll be engaging in, and of course, what we’re going to be eating. With it being the holiday season, grocery stores offer an array of sweets and meal ideas. How can you know which ones to choose? Mindful eating

Whether you’ll be cooking or enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor, being mindful of your food choices will make for a healthier, happier time off of work and a more enjoyable time spent with loved ones. After all, who wants to be stuck with an upset stomach from overindulging, instead of enjoying time off? So what does mindful eating entail?

Like mindfulness, mindful eating involves an awareness and being in tune with yourself, your body, and how you’re feeling. Taking account of how you’re feeling enables better decision making when it comes to food choices. Having an awareness and being in tune with your body helps to avoid eating on autopilot.  Instead of eating out of habit, it’s eating out of choice. Moving our minds to the present helps us make better choices, since we surely can’t make choices in the past or future.

In being present and mindful, we can stay in tune with our feelings. Take note of when you’re feeling hungry and when you’re feeling full. Honor your hunger by eating when you feeling hungry, and stopping when you feel full. Consider the following simple tips and tools you can use in eating more mindfully. Mindful eating

Mindful Eating Tips:

  • Drink two cups of water before a meal – Often we feel hungry when we’re dehydrated. By drinking water before a meal, it’s likely to consume 90 less calories.
  • Sit down to eat – Take time to eat slowly, enjoying each bite. Chew 20-30 time to support healthy digestion
  • Everything in moderation – A favorite philosophy of mine is to “eat what you want as long as you eat what you should first.” Limiting portion size allows you to enjoy different foods without depriving yourself. Filling up on fruits and veggies, and eating smaller servings of carbs and starches ensures you’re getting your nutrient dense foods.
  • Three Phase Eating – Three phase eating includes three courses. Eating veggie and fruit dishes in the first course, followed by starchy vegetables and grain dishes in the second course, helps avoid filling up on excess calories by getting nutrient dense foods in first. In the third course, eat anything else you would like! (in moderation of course) This is referred to as “crowding out,” meaning to fill up your plate with the good stuff (aka nutrient dense), so there won’t be much space for anything else (aka junk foods).

Following these simple tips promotes healthy digestion and overall wellness, helping you have a more enjoyable time over your holiday. We hope you have lots of time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate while making meaningful connections with others during your time off! Mindful eating

If you’re interested in further support with diet and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic approach to nutritional counseling, encompassing mind, body, and spirit, giving consideration to the whole person. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation and start your wellness journey today!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.  Mindful eating

Times of Tragedy ~ Supporting Others Through Acts of Kindness

The recent tragedy in our own city of Pittsburgh at The Tree of Life Synagogue has left so many of us speechless, with deep feelings of sadness and loss. This senseless act of violence has shook and impacted people far beyond our city. We are left asking why. Why has this happened? What would provoke someone to do such a horrific act of violence? Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness leave many feeling even more defeated. What can we do now?

Through this difficult time, seeking and offering support is especially necessary. While we are deeply impacted by this terribly negative, tragic event, we can come together as a city, making a positive impact on the lives of others. Small acts of kindness, through words and deeds can leave a large impact, providing the support that is so needed. No one ever needs to grieve alone! kindness

Cruel and inhumane acts stem from a lack of love. But love always trumps hate. Love is a perfect bond of union. Fred Rogers left an incredible legacy in this regard. He believed in the importance of community and the power of relationships. He encouraged others to be accepting of others, although having differences. Meaningful connections with others helps promote love and a sense of being cared for, which is especially helpful through times of tragedy.

In tragic times, Rogers offered these words of comfort and wisdom:

“When I was a young boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

Often, it can be difficult to find the right words when offering comfort in times of tragedy. Compassion and empathy is always a good place to start with the myriad of emotions a person can experience through loss. Sometimes a listening ear is all that’s needed. Simple acts of kindness, like offering a meal or helping in other practical ways can help immensely. kindness

We can all have a positive impact in our cities and our homes, by contributing to an emotional environment of kindness and generosity versus an environment of hostility and criticism. kindness

“Kindness is the noblest weapon to conquer with” – Thomas Fuller

Makin Wellness is glad to offer trauma and crisis counseling to those impacted by the tragedy that took place at The Tree of Life Synagogue. Our deepest condolences go out to all those involved and impacted by this tragedy. Please contact us for more information or if you would like to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. b