Tag Archives forcounseling

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!

 

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

Trauma-Informed Care

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown, Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

How to Communicate Effectively in Relationships

Communication is essential in a relationship because it can either hinder the relationship or make the relationship stronger. However, most people actually do not know how to communicate effectively. A lot of people confuse communication for chatting or just simply getting ideas across. In fact, communication in relationships is about connecting, letting your significant other know that you care, forming a stronger bond and fulfilling each others physical and psychological needs. (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/) communication

Before talking about tips on how to build a satisfying relationship between you and your partner, let’s first take a look at what unhealthy communication looks like: full of negative thoughts and difficult emotion; bad listening skills; lack of understanding of what is going on in your partner’s life. And these poor communication skills can lead to break down of intimacy and trust. It usually happens when all the passion between each other has gone away and you start to pick at their mistakes, which you likely already know. Some harmful communication also happens when you expect your partner to change and they are hoping the same as well. However, these are all better than zero communication. Silence kills whatever relationships it wants, because how can you know what your partner is thinking about when you are not even trying to talk to him or her? https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve communication

 

So, how can you foster healthy communication in your relationship? Here is some advice: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201501/6-surprising-ways-communicate-better-your-partner

 

➜ Let your partner know that you care about what he or she has to say, which means that you have to put your whole mind into the conversation and listen actively. Listening actively is more than listening with concentration, it actually means interacting and clarifying without acting rude or judgemental.

 

➜ Make sure both sides get a chance to talk. You want to make sure you are not the one who dominates the conversation. Trying to find a balance between talking and listening can ensure a healthy relationship.

 

➜ Share some common memories. Study has showed that couples actually feel closer to each other when they are talking about their common experiences. So, talk about some pleasant or lovey moments you have with you partner and enjoy that moment.

 

➜Give your partner more appreciation, value, and love. Tell them they look pretty and compliment some nice little things they have done for you. Who does not like being respected and praised? But do not overdo it, otherwise you may lose trust from your partner and be labeled as a hypocrite.

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve

 

➜ Pay attention to your pitch and volume. High pitch sounds anxious and immature and loud volume may scare your partner away, especially in an argument. So, next time, try to talk calmly and be mindful of your pitch and volume.

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/ communication

 

➜ Touch. A study conducted by Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence (2010) have found that touching can make people feel being loved and wanted and bring more positive outcomes. That is to say, while communicating with your partner, having some physical contact can sometimes ease the argument and send positive signals.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-name-love/201405/why-lovers-touch-is-so-powerful

 

Finally, let me end this with a quote from Shannon L. Alder: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”

communication

Xinyu (Lydia) Lu

Professional Women & Mental Health

Professional women hold more roles than meets the eye. Mother. Wife. Caretaker. Laundress. Cook. Housekeeper. Nurse. Car detailer. Teacher. Counselor. And the list goes on. Women wear many hats indeed. Whether a parent or not, women take on many tasks unrelated to work. Adding a part time or full time job to parenting will leave you feeling like a juggler in no time. It’s been said that, “A woman’s work is never done.” Work life balance can become a particular challenge for women. This is especially true if caring for children along with elderly parents. women

Women not only struggle to balance work and family life, they also have additional pressure to prove they’re as good as men in the workplace. According to theguardian.com, due to cultural and societal traditions and expectations, women may face discrimination and harassment. Women’s mental health and well-being may also be affected by lower income, lower status, insufficient benefits, or childcare concerns. While mental health is important for overall health in men and women, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are shown to be higher in women than men.

A long day of work is physically and mentally draining for anyone. With the extra pressures women encounter, it’s no wonder they’re left feeling drained by the end of the day. There are other issues that are specific to women and their mental health. Things like physical changes and the way women process events compared to men are important when considering how their mental health is affected. women

Physical Changes

Women experience many physical changes throughout life, which has a large impact on their mental health. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause are all contributing factors that affect a woman’s mental health. The changes a woman’s body goes through may cause many discomforts. Pregnancy or other hormonal changes may cause things such as headaches, tiredness, mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty focusing. Fatigue and stress may increase these symptoms. Finding ways to balance hormones is key to minimizing these health concerns, as hormonal issues can affect physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also shown to be common in young women due to societal pressures such as body image. This not only may cause a number of serious physical problems, but can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

The Way Women Process Emotions

Women have been shown to dwell on stressful events and remember details more vividly than men. This may be due to the fact that women’s limbic systems are larger than men’s. It makes sense that women are known to be more in touch with and expressive of emotions, since the limbic system is the center for emotional responsiveness, motivation, memory, formation and integration, and olfaction (sense of smell). It’s the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory, causing us to connect a certain smell with a past memory.

The limbic system is closely connected to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. This prefrontal-limbic connection is said to be strengthened by practicing mindfulness. These particular systems are of clinical relevance to a psychotherapist; therefore a professional counselor can be helpful in providing support through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.

Due to having a larger limbic system, women may spend more time discussing a stressful event in more detail, thinking about it longer, and quite possibly making it more difficult to let go of negative emotions due to revisiting emotional memories more than males. According to psychologytoday.com, females are said to “absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males.” Meaning, women sense information from all five senses of what is going on around them, while also retaining that information more than males.

What Can Be Done to Support Women’s Mental Health in the Workplace?

Managers and other leaders can take some of the pressure off by being open about the issue of mental health. Hence, creating a culture where it is acceptable to communicate openly about it and provide resources to find the needed help. Employees who feel comfortable talking about it are less likely to wait until they are in a mental health crisis.

Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health, having it checked regularly. Corporate health programs help employees by assessing and finding resources to support mental health; thus benefitting both the organization and the well-being of employees. women

Tips to Minimize Anxiety and Stress to Restore Mind-Body Balance:

  • Share responsibilities – Whether at work or home, delegate some responsibility where you’re able to. It can help to lighten your load and ease some stress.
  • Make connections with like-minded, supportive individuals – Positive minded people help to relieve stress while making circumstances seem less challenging.
  • Tune in to and be true to yourself – Taking time to do the things you enjoy with friends and family can improve self-esteem, helping you to tune into yourself and be your best self.
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep is vital to performing at your best and is essential for mental health. It is best to wind down an hour before bedtime, turning of all electronics. Perhaps try reading a good book with a cup of chamomile tea. Lavender oil can also be used to promote restful sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Avoid too much caffeine or sugar during the day and close to bedtime, as these can increase anxious feelings. Eating nutrient dense foods will keep your physical and mental health more in balance.
  • Get outdoors/Exercise – Making it a priority to get outside each day for 20-30 minutes. Take a short mid-day break or go for a walk. Sunlight provides vitamin D, supporting physical and mental health.

If you are having difficulty managing work-life balance and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation  with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

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

 

Chiropractic Care For Wellbeing

Overviewchiropractic care

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

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

Benefits

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

What to Expect

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

412 Performance Chiropractic

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

About Makin Wellness :

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

chiropractic care

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

Mindful Eating to Improve Mental Health

There are various sources of stress whether it be work related, relational issues, health concerns, or other daily worries. Things like exercise and time outside are encouraged as a way to positively affect our mood and reduce stress. When it comes to our eating habits, we often hear about particular foods linked to increased energy levels and improved physical health. What about mental health though? What does our mood have to do with our food? Surely, it’s unlikely to hear someone say, “My food is really stressing me out.” But it turns out, the old saying “you are what you eat” is ringing true in more ways than one. Consider further evidence of the link between food and its affects on mental health. Mindful eating

An expecting mother will carefully choose what she eats to ensure her developing baby is getting needed nutrients and “brain food” for the brain of her developing fetus. According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, “Antioxidants protect the baby’s brain tissue from damage” (S. Kuzemchak, 2018). Dark leafy greens, blueberries, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables provide the most antioxidants. Like a developing fetus, our brains need antioxidants for protection from free radicals – waste produced when the body uses oxygen, which can cause damage to the cells. Eating nutrient rich foods containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain, while protecting it from damaging free radicals, or oxidative damage. Poor nutrition is taxing to the immune system putting one at risk for free radical damage, premature aging, among other health risks.Mindful eating

Think of when you let a cut up apple sit out. It becomes brown from oxidation. That is exactly what we don’t want to happen to our brains. Just as we fuel our vehicles to keep them properly running, we want to fuel our brains. Choosing high quality fuel will produce the best results. Speaking of apples and brains, eating “an apple a day” may actually help “keep the doctor away” since it contains powerful and beneficial antioxidants. A study at Cornell found apples to protect brain cells against oxidative stress, since they contain high levels of quercetin (G, Stemilt. 2016). It is recommended to eat the entire apple, including the skin, to reap all of the benefits. So why not try out the old saying and give your brain a boost by eating an apple a day!Mindful eating

In seeing the positive effects healthy eating has on our brains, naturally we have to question “how does food actually affect our mood?” Often times we are looking for a quick fix in this fast paced world when it comes to meal time. With fast food restaurants being readily available, it has become even easier to grab something to eat without really considering nutritional benefits. Our enteric nervous system (ENS) which directly controls our gastrointestinal system is said to be our “second brain,” with 95% of serotonin being produced in the intestinal tract. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain (E, Selhub, 2018). Since our GI tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, it makes sense that our digestive system guides our emotions. Researchers believe that serotonin (also called “the happiness hormone”) imbalance influences mood which may influence anxiety and depression. Production of neurotransmitters like serotonin is highly influenced by the good bacteria in our gut. Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in this regard.

Finding ways to balance serotonin and other neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, is key to maintaining wellness and improving mental health. One essential way is to be mindful of what foods we’re eating since it directly effects the health of our GI tract, which is so closely linked to our emotions. The process our body goes through when breaking down foods and using them for fuel is a very extensive one. Thus, eating high quality foods is vital to getting the best quality of fuel for our bodies. Below are some tips to boost serotonin, which in turn reduces stress and improves overall well-being.Mindful eating

Tips for improving serotonin levels to improve mental health:Mindful eating

• Take good quality probiotics – Probiotics are the good bacteria found in the gut, which can increase serotonin levels. Dr. David Williams explains the     benefits of probiotics and the connection between gut health and mental health at drdavidwilliams.com. He is known as a pioneer in the field of           probiotics.
• Exercise – Exercise is known for releasing endorphins, but did you know taking a walk or exercising for just 20 minutes can boost serotonin levels? A     little fresh air and sunlight can do wonders.
• Practice Mindfulness – taking time to be present prevents anxious thoughts, allowing one to enjoy the moment and make more meaningful                  connections with others. This includes being mindful of what we’re eating, thinking, and saying.
• Positive affirmations – We are what we think. Positive thinking improves our overall state of mind, promoting harmony between the mind and body.    “I am” statements gives greater opportunity for positive outcomes through a more positive outlook and approach.
• Eat nutrient dense foods – Healthier (mindful) eating habits provides benefits to the brain, which effects our mood and mental health. High quality      foods will give you a higher quality of life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Remember, don’t drink your calories with thinks like soda or other      drinks with high sugar content.
• Eliminate or reduce sugar intake – Too much sugar is taxing to the body. Try replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like fresh fruit or trail          mix.
• Get a massage – Massage is a perfect way to remove toxins, promote restful sleep, and relieve stress. Essential oils like lavender can be used to aid      in relaxation during massage, which has also been shown to increase serotonin levels. Treat yourself to a little relaxation. It just might do you a lot        of good!
• Get enough rest – Adequate sleep helps reduce stress and produce serotonin, which improves mood and helps control appetite (healthy eating +        restful sleep = improved serotonin levels and improved mental health!)

Practicing these tips can help bring your mind and body into greater balance, improving mental health and overall wellness. If you would like additional support please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists & coaches!

About Makin Wellness :

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

mindful eating Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, B.A.

Anxiety Management in High Stress Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Makin Wellness: 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Entrepreneurial Addiction

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

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

Criteria:Entrepreneurial Addiction

Entrepreneurship addiction manifests itself in six behaviors:

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

How Does This Happen?Entrepreneurial Addiction

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

How Can We Fix It?

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

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

About Makin Wellness :

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

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

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