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Forgive & Forget? How to Let Go of Your Past and Forgive Yourself

 

You keep reliving it even though it was years ago. You wake up from a dead sleep, play the whole thing in your head and cringe. Why did you say that? What were you thinking? You shouldn’t beat yourself up over the past, but if you do, you’re certainly not alone.

Four in five women suffer from low self-esteem, the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report found. Low self-confidence can spill over into other areas of your life, causing nine out of ten women who suffer from it to avoid important activities such as socializing with friends when they don’t feel like they look good. This can breed anxiety and anger, making it difficult to forgive those perceived as contributing to your emotional distress. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to break this cycle. Here are five ways to and let go of past baggage that’s holding you back.

How to Let Go of Your Past

Accept How Your Values Have Changed Since the Past

One of the hardest parts of learning to forgive can be forgiving yourself. Often, we blame ourselves for our past, making it hard to forgive ourselves, which affects our ability to forgive others. Americans generally find it easier to forgive others than themselves, with 53 percent willing to seek help forgiving others, while only 43 percent are willing to seek help forgiving themselves, according to Fetzer Institute research.

One thing that can make forgiving yourself easier is realizing that your values have changed since the incident that hurt you. You probably thought and behaved very differently at that time in your life than you do now. Say, for example, you did something dumb and regrettable after drinking too much at a college party. Rather than beating yourself up over the mistake that happened years ago, learn from it. Faced with the same choice now, you’d likely do things differently. Accept that you’re a different, more mature person now and you don’t need to continue feeling the same way you felt then. If you have trouble reaching this point on your own, consider talking to a therapist who can help you work through past issues and give you advice on how to let go of the past and be happy.

Realize You Did the Best You Could at the Time

Another reason you may be blaming yourself for the past is that you feel like it’s your fault you didn’t do things differently. This may be blaming yourself for things that were beyond your control. It’s easy to look back and say “I should have done this or I could have said that.” Realizing that the way you behaved in the past was shaped by your life experiences at that time can be helpful. Give yourself some credit, and some leeway to make mistakes and grow up. It’s not always a graceful process. You probably did the best you could with the experiences and resources you had available then, which may have been limited. You may be evaluating yourself based on what you know now, without taking into account that you didn’t know as much back then. Don’t beat yourself up over things you didn’t have the experience to handle.

Turn Your Biggest Regrets into a Positive To-Do List

Dwelling on regrets from your past — about things that were done to you or things that you did — can trap you in a cycle of anxiety and anger or other negative emotions. But you can transform these negatives into positive motivation by using your regrets as learning opportunities. Make a list of some things you wish would have turned out differently. Use this to generate a to-do list of goals you’d like to accomplish. For example:

  • If you wished you’d treated your past significant other better, make it a conscious priority with your next (or current) one.
  • If you lost your cool when your best friend told you about something you didn’t agree with, make a point of listening first, rather than talking, in all conversations.
  • If one bar tends to turn into four and a night of poor decisions, make a commitment to leave at a certain time. “One more drink” is almost always a bad idea.

Learn how to let go of the past and move forward. What a privilege to use your past experiences — good and bad — to make your future a more positive experience for you and those around you.

Accept That Your Life’s Experiences Have Made You Who You Are Today

To forgive past wrongs, it can help to accept that good or bad, your past experiences have made you who you are today. These experience have shaped both your positive and negative character traits. You can’t change the past, but you can move forward based on who you are now. By knowing how to let go of the past and live in the present,  you’ll learn to accept your present self and use your past learning experiences to continue improving yourself from this point on.

Cut Yourself Some Slack: Mistakes Happen

A perfectionist attitude can contribute to low self-confidence and anger toward ourselves and others. If we expect ourselves to be perfect, we can never live up to our own standards and will have a hard time forgiving ourselves. It will also make it hard for us to accept and forgive others. Reminding yourself occasionally that no one is perfect can help you cut yourself some slack and relieve some anxiety.

Forgiving yourself isn’t an easy feat. It requires acceptance you did your best with the information you had at the time. It involves breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and learn how to forgive and let go. It means you have to cut yourself some slack and let go of the pain you don’t need to carry around. It’s hard work but is what you must do to grow.

If you need additional help to work through these issues, consider scheduling an appointment with a licensed therapist. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that lets you schedule appointments from any location using your phone or a webcam. To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact us here.

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Find Your Inner Hero with a Mind, Body & Soul Connection

 

Navigating through life isn’t always a straight route of health and happiness. Life twists and turns… and veers off course more than you might like. Sometimes you may find yourself lost, stumbling onto a path of self-destruction or dysfunction. Or maybe you’re traversing through tough terrain with the wrong equipment. But every woman has a hero who can save her and get her back on track. It may just take a little work to discover that this hero is — herself.

You have the power and resilience to overcome any battle. You can heal your wounds. Shine and prosper. But it’s an interconnection of the mind, body and soul that creates this power. Positive intentions, treating the body well and being in tune with yourself all support your ability to stay strong and thrive among the chaos. The following provides insight on this trifecta of wellness, so you can uncover ways to grow your mind-body-soul connection, bring balance to your life, and unleash your inner hero.

The Mind, Body, and Soul Connection

Mind

“Our thoughts are just as powerful as our words,” says Lauren Unger, certified holistic health coach and Mind Body Green contributor. “What we think, we become.” If your thoughts and perceptions are negative and judgmental, then your world will suddenly seem against you. If you judge and think poorly of yourself, you have become your own worst enemy. Over time, this way of thinking becomes so habitual that it becomes your reality. As you start to regularly see the world through a negative lens, your mental health can start to break. Then stress, disorder or worries of daily life fill these cracks creating a harmful foundation. Once you invite emotional states like anxiety and depression into your life, your physical health becomes at risk, from toxic eating to loss of sleep. But you can cope with mental stressors like anxiety and depression by caring for your mind with gentleness. Meditate, go outdoors, cook a homemade meal or journal to soothe your head.

One way to take the wheel to drive your life toward good mental health (rather than idly watch life go by from the passenger’s seat) is to live with intention. First, let your mind wander. This place of aimlessness can actually provide direction, leading you to self-discovery. To live intentionally, ask:

  • Where do you choose to expend your energy?
  • What types of relationships do you want to grow?
  • Who do you want near your heart?
  • How will you respond to challenge, stress or anxiety?
  • What truly matters to you?

Answers to these questions can provide a blueprint for better mental wellness. The mind is powerful. It just takes practice and the will to eliminate threats and construct thoughts that help you live your best life.

Body

Just like we need to care for our mind, to care for our body, we need to do the reverse as well. Nurture your mind by nourishing your body. In cognitive terms, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School puts it like this: What you put into your body affects your brain’s structure, function and mood. For example, refined sugars worsen symptoms of mood disorders and depression. Sinking your teeth into that cupcake will give you a high, but your mood will quickly plummet. Nutrient-filled fuel (like nuts, salmon, leafy greens and berries) will enhance your mental health more steadily.

It’s also important to nourish your body with endorphins. Get your heart rate up and exercise to fire off those feel-good hormones. The American Psychological Association refers to this as the “exercise effect:” moving the muscles benefits mental health, says Jennifer Carter, PhD. There’s an undeniable link between your mood and exercise. You feel good and energized after a workout, and more active people are less depressed in the long run. It also serves as a meaningful activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Explore different ways to move that you enjoy. Find a challenge in training for a half marathon. Experience confidence or calmness through yoga. Build both mental and physical strength by weight training — or use hiking as an opportunity for social connection with others who love the outdoors. Fitness isn’t one size fits all.

Soul

Seeking vitality and wholeness completes the trio of wellness. It’s just as important to enliven your spirit with meaning and purpose as it is to care for your mind and honor your body. A thriving soul creates soundness and harmony. But it takes work to reach spiritual health, and it may be the most neglected area of self-care. Reflection, values and beliefs, compassion and empathy, acting for the welfare of others and living with grace among any adversity cultivate spiritual health. A fulfilled soul supports the ability to cope with mental distress, as well as shape our bodies into a strong, well-functioning structure.

Nourishing the soul can start by learning to let go. Free your mind of negative clutter to make room for peace, comfort and hope. Look deep within to discover purpose, which can relieve stress over the small things and foster self-worth. If you can see something great in yourself and greater than yourself, everyday problems and fears may pale in comparison to more meaningful aspects of life important to you. Seek supportive relationships that bring out your best self. Embrace gratitude and forgiveness. Chase change and opportunity. Be open to new people and experiences. Giving more attention to these emotional states will heal and grow your soul.

You Don’t Have to Journey Alone

Despite a diet overhaul or some soul searching, sometimes talking to a professional helps strengthen the mind-body-soul connection the most, which results in a healthy and better mind, body, and soul or spirit. A therapist can help you navigate your journey toward intention and mindfulness. Therapy serves as a tool for seeing food as nutrition, and not as a coping mechanism. Therapy can provide accountability for treating your body well with movement and activity. You can find a partner in exploring your spiritual core.

Take action on your health mentally, physically and spiritually! With professional support from ThriveTalk, you can find your inner superhero. Talk to a therapist today to help you on how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance your mind, body, and soul.

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As You Seek Grief Counseling, Recognize the 6 Needs of All Mourners

 

There’s no rule book for grieving. When someone you love passes, you may feel a wide range of emotions anger, sadness, shock, guilt even if the death was expected. Everybody mourns in their own way and go through the 7 stages of grief or the 5 stages of grief.

There are, however, certain things we all need to mourn in a healthy fashion. As you undergo grief counseling to cope with the loss of a loved one, keep in mind these six basic needs of all mourners, according to the Center for Loss & Life Transition:

Grief Counseling: Six Basic Needs of Mourners

1. Acknowledge the Reality of the Death

This means you understand that your loved one will never physically walk this earth again.

You don’t have to swallow this one whole, though. It’s OK to take it piecemeal; grieving is a process, not an event. The best way to meet this need is to talk about the pain of the death when it hits you, as often as you need to. This can be with a bereavement counselor or a friend, family member or partner. Journaling about your feelings also helps you acknowledge the reality of the death.

2. Embrace the Pain of Loss

Few people welcome pain and suffering with open arms, and you don’t have to. Simply open your head and your heart to the idea that grief is painful, and understand that it will hurt. Some days will be worse than others, but you embrace the idea that you must feel painful feelings as part of the process.

3. Remember the Person Who Died

Yes, you should tell stories about your loved one. Yes, you should keep pictures up. Death doesn’t wipe away your relationship with the person who passed, and these precious memories will be how you honor that relationship. Well-meaning people might tell you that you need to “move on” and not talk about your loss, but that’s not true. Keep their memory alive.

4. Develop a New Self-identity

People understand themselves in relation to the world around them — and the people who inhabit that world along with them. When a loved one passes, things (and roles) inside that world must be rearranged to account for the change that has taken place. Perhaps you were a wife, and now you are a widow, or maybe you were a daughter whose parent has now passed. Be patient with yourself as you reconstruct your self-identity. It will take time to get comfortable with your new role in life, but it will happen.

5. Search for Meaning and Purpose

Most people question the meaning and purpose of life after someone close to them dies. This is normal. You may find yourself asking any of the following questions:

  • How could a benevolent God let this happen?
  • Is there an afterlife? Is my loved one there?
  • What’s the point of going on?

Confronting your spirituality and doubting your belief system is a normal part of grief. As you go through this process, bring up these thoughts and feelings to your grief counselor, spiritual adviser or a trusted friend.

6. Receive Ongoing Support from Others

Not only is it OK to lean on others during this time, you should. Humans weren’t meant to live in a vacuum. We need the love and support of others to make it through trying times. Don’t be afraid to let others know what you need and how they can support you. People want to help. Recognize that this need for support will last longer than a couple weeks. You can start by searching for local grief support groups online.

Life is never the same after a loved one dies, and as sad as that fact is, that is how it should be. You will adjust to your new normal, but it will take time. Be patient and loving with yourself. As you navigate your grief, reach out to a certified grief counselor at Thrive Talk. Online therapy can help you in dealing with grief and loss.

If you feel that grief or depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Understanding Your Grief During the Healing Process

 

Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim. Vicki Harrison

Moving like the ocean is one way to describe grief, which is such a small word for such indescribable, overpowering emotions. Experiencing grief isn’t as simple as feeling sorrow or sadness. It’s a rollercoaster of a journey. Grief can be caused by a death or loss of something or someone. Recognizing the five stages of grief can help you navigate this journey, from shock and blame to despair and hopefulness.

Understanding Grief: 5 Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief (also known as the Kübler-Ross model) were developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and introduced in her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. This model identifies grief as a series of emotions. This series, or the five stages below, serve as tools to help you comprehend your feelings, says David Kessler who co-authored two books with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, including “On Grief and Grieving.” Understanding yourself in these stages helps you gain knowledge about your grieving process and start to heal, learning how to cope with loss and death.

Denial

One way to respond to the initial shock of devastating news is to fall into denial. The numbness and disbelief become survival and defense mechanisms. This stage is protective, giving time for you to take in information at your pace while starting to make sense of it.

  • Internal dialogue: “This can’t be happening.” “He’s going to be fine.” “This isn’t real.”

Anger

Anger arises once the news sinks in; it’s a natural response in the grieving process and can be directed at a loved one, God, the world and yourself, says Dr. Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist and bestselling author. Beneath anger is pain, even guilt. But it’s an emotion that can provide strength, structure and can feel better than nothing at all.

  • Internal dialogue: “How could this happen to me?” “This isn’t fair!” “There is no God.”

Bargaining

You may move into thinking that you’ll do anything to change a death or the fate of the loved one. This stage is full of “If only…” “what if…” responses, shares Kessler. You may fantasize about going back in time to create a different outcome or wonder what you could have done differently. It’s a process of trying to negotiate the elimination of pain.

  • Internal dialogue: “I’ll do anything to make her better.” “I promise to be a better person to make her come back.”

Depression

Now intense sadness hits—or even an emptiness of feelings—as grief reaches a deeper level. Everything seems worthless and daily tasks can feel like huge burdens. Friends and family can’t help and life seems meaningless. You’re opening yourself up to mourning, a critical step in the healing process.

  • Internal dialogue: “What’s the point?” “Why should I bother with anything?” “Nothing matters.”

Acceptance

This stage is where you start to accept that the loss or forthcoming death is a reality. Here is a new norm that requires readjustment. It’s an evolution into a new life. You can see the light to move forward and embrace the forever change. William Worden’s “tasks of mourning” adds that overcoming or coping with grief follows an active decision to adapt to a new environment (not only accept).

  • Internal dialogue: “I’m ready to reconnect with friends and family and create new relationships.” “It’s time to move on.” “I’m going to be OK.”

Find the Support You Need

Although this model is widely accepted, grief symptoms aren’t linear or uniform. Health Guidance, wellness publication, explains that there is great variation with grief — individuals may experience stages repeatedly or skip ones. For some individuals may regress or even become lifelong grievers who can never come to terms with their loss. Our hope is that by sharing this model, you may engage in a process of introspection and eventually reach a hopeful place of moving on.

If you need help in your recovery or how to deal with grief, schedule a teletherapy appointment with ThriveTalk. Certified therapists will provide support and strategies to help you manage your grieving process. For more information call +1 (833) 348-6684. We’ll connect you with a counseling professional via video conferencing, so you can conveniently receive treatment in your own home, where you feel most comfortable or to fit within your busy schedule.

 

If you feel that the stages of grief are negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

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Keep Your Job When You’re Struggling with Severe Depression

 

If you suffer from clinical depression when you’re on the job, you know how tough it can be to keep things together on the outside when you feel like you’re falling apart on the inside.

Feeling depressed can also contribute to negative feelings about work, leading to excessive complaining, lack of cooperation, morale problems and absenteeism. Left unchecked, this can threaten your job and livelihood, making you more depressed and promoting a vicious downward spiral.

Fortunately, there are solutions or effective ways to deal with depression. Many people suffer from the same struggle you’re experiencing, with 1 in 20 workers experiencing depression, affecting at least 10 million people, often between the ages of 25 and 44, according to ValueOptions. The good news is that 80 percent of people struggling at work with depression can be treated quickly and effectively — but only if you recognize the problem and take appropriate steps. Here are a few strategies you can use to manage severe depression so that you stay productive and don’t lose your job.

Visit an EAP Counselor

Employers know that your mood can affect your productivity, so many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place where you can schedule a visit with an EAP counselor. You can proactively seek EAP counseling by consulting information from your employee handbook or talking to your supervisor or human resources department. Your supervisor may also reach out to you and suggest an EAP counseling appointment if they notice changes in your mood or behavior that make them concerned, although your supervisor can’t diagnose whether you’re clinically depressed.

Schedule a Meeting with a Teletherapist

What if you’re too busy to visit a counselor? One alternative is to schedule an online therapy session at a time that’s convenient for you. Teletherapy allows you to talk to a counselor from a location of your choosing at a time that fits your schedule, which is a viable option for those who simply do not have time or means to make it to a therapist’s physical office. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that connects busy people with competent, certified therapists who can provide online therapy via video conference.

Take Mental Health Breaks

Taking a break can be a way to help manage depression, says U.S. News & World Report patient advice reporter Lisa Esposito. Depending on your condition, simply getting up from your desk periodically to walk to the bathroom may be sufficient, or if you have a major depressive disorder, you may need to take some recuperative time off to avoid a breakdown, get your bearings back or pursue therapy.

Check your employer’s policy to see how much sick time you may be entitled to. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, certain workers are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, with a requirement that their group health benefits be maintained during their absence. See the Department of Labor’s website for more details.

Know Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers your depression can help you avoid and respond to situations that are likely to stress you out or that indicate you’re struggling with depression. For instance, you may find yourself engaging in negative self-talk when you’re in a depressed mood. Or you may find yourself spending time crying in the bathroom as a coping mechanism. Keeping track of your triggers can help you stay alert so you can avoid trigger situations or seek help when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Seek a professional to help you on how to deal with depression at work.

Get Appropriate Treatment

Sometimes you can’t deal with depression on your own, especially if you have a major depressive disorder. In some cases, therapy alone may be enough to help you. In other cases, you may need medication. Don’t be afraid of trying therapy or medication due to stigmas associated with it. If it helps you restore your peace of mind and keep your job, it’s worth it.

Use these proactive strategies to keep your mood manageable so that you can stay productive while battling depression. Visit ThriveTalk.com or call (619) 630 7045 to get the help you need today.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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Anxiety Disorders & You: How They Affect Your Life & How to Get Help

 

It may begin with a sense of dread that you just can’t shake.

You might be irritable, anxious and fearful. All you do is worry. You cancel plans with your girlfriends. You can’t sleep.

And it’s not going away.

If this sounds like you, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. This article examines what an anxiety disorder is, how it can affect the sufferer’s life and where to get help.

Anxiety Disorder Definition

Everyone feels anxious from time to time; that is a normal part of life. An anxiety order is different. People with an anxiety disorder suffer fear or anxiety that is disproportionate to the situation, interfering with their ability to function in everyday life. People with an anxiety disorder find that it affects their work, relationships and socializing.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million Americans age 18 and older, according to the  Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The good news is there are numerous effective treatment for anxiety disorders available — if you ask for help.

There is a broad range of types of anxiety disorders, but the two of the most common ones are generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. People with generalized anxiety disorder face feelings of fear, anxiety and worry for months. Symptoms include an inability to control their worry and fear, becoming easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability and sleep disruption. Symptoms may get worse over time.
  • Social anxiety disorder. People with social anxiety disorder have a significant and debilitating fear of social or performance situations. They feel incredibly anxious at the idea of being around other people, are overly concerned about feeling embarrassed or rejected by them, and may feel nauseous around other people. They go to great lengths to avoid such situations.

Anxiety Disorders Affect Every Area of Your Life

Relationships, personal success, professional success — having a generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder touches every area of life. You may find:

  • Dating is difficult. The fear of being judged and rejected is so big; it makes it seem not worth it — not to mention the physical shaking, stammering and sweating of the first date.
  • Romantic relationships are difficult. Is he cheating on you? Is he mad at you? Is he going to leave you? You sense your fears are unreasonable, but you can’t control them… and he’s growing frustrated with you.
  • Family and friendships are difficult. It’s difficult to make friends, or you worry that the friendships you do have are on the brink of disintegration. The fear of judgment and rejection is so nerve-wracking, you find yourself declining social invitations.
  • Work is difficult. You’re struggling to deal with everyday work issues, such as setting and meeting deadlines, managing staff, contributing to meetings and public speaking. You may even be losing out on promotions and other career opportunities. 

Treatment Options

According to the Mayo Clinic, therapy and medication are the two main treatment options. A combination of the two can significantly control symptoms and help you get back to leading a full and joyful life but be patient while you find the right combination. It may take a bit of trial and error. Don’t give up. Millions of people have successfully treated generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder; you can, too!

Taking Action

If you recognize yourself in any of the above, please don’t suffer alone any longer. Reach out to a professional counselor. Thrivetalk provides online therapy that helps you learn new coping mechanisms, manage your anxiety and get through this difficult time.

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Understanding a Connection Between Mental Illness & Family History

 

Many with a mental illness may feel like they need to silence their suffering. The stigma attached to conditions like major depression or bipolar disorder can suppress people into hiding their pain or continuing to live a debilitating life in secret. But organizations like The Mighty, To Write Love On Her Arms and Mental Kilter are bringing a sense of normalcy to mental disorders, supporting people facing mental health challenges.

Connecting with these types of organizations, along with seeking medication, therapy or a deeper understanding of a mental disorder, can help you (or help you support a loved one). The following sheds light on the topic of mental illness and family history. By learning more about mental illness and factors beyond your control that may have cultivated it, you can start working toward managing your disorder step-by-step and stigma-free. Connection, information, and knowledge are empowering in the context of your mental health.

Multifactorial Disordersman covering his face with his hands who has a mental illness which is depression

Mental disorders are known as multifactorial inheritance disorders. This means a combination of multiple genes, acting alongside environmental factors, can cause a genetic disorder, including behavioral, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. Genetics Home Reference also explains that although disorders do cluster in families, there is no definitive pattern of inheritance. In other words, a person with a strong family history of mental illness may be at high risk for developing one, but it’s not concrete. Uncertain specific factors and varying genetic contributions make it difficult to clearly identify if a person inherits a disorder. You could have a high functioning depression, for example, whereas a sibling has a mild case or no symptoms of depression at all.

Environmental Effects

As a multifactorial disorder, mental illness arises due to environmental circumstances (in addition to genetics). Factors like trauma, emotional harm, substance abuse and even experiencing stress in the womb can make a person susceptible to a mental disorder. A paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information identifies research that a woman’s psychological distress while pregnant can affect fetal behavior and child development. Studies show that maternal anxiety and depression, for example, can cause an increased risk for neuro-developmental and mental disorders in children. Moreover, science journalist Annie Murphy Paul, during an interview with Scientific American, refers to a theory speculating that the effects of the stress hormone cortisol can increase the likelihood that anxiety and depression in a woman cause the baby’s development of mental illness.

5 Psychiatric Disorders Sharing Common Genetic Factors

The National Institutes of Health points to the idea that psychiatric disorders can indeed run in families, as well as share genes and similarities biologically. These five illnesses include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.

Types of Mental Illness That Share Common Genetic Factors

  • Autism – Autism is a mental condition that usually develops during early childhood. It is considered as a highly heritable psychiatric disorder in which 1 out of 166 people has this neurodevelopmental disorder. Studies show that there is an 80 percent chance where the other twin will have this mental illness when one identical twin has it.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – This mental disorder is commonly diagnosed in children that affects teens as well in which progresses into adulthood. The symptoms may differ from person to person but the most common are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. This condition likely runs in the family where the genes acquired from the parents are one of the major determinants of having this condition.
  • Bipolar Disorder – Individuals with this type of brain disorder, have a condition wherein their serotonin and dopamine do not function properly which causes mood swings and unusual changes in energy and activity levels. This condition may be hard to diagnose but there are signs and symptoms that will help identify the disorder. Researchers believe that genetic predisposition is present in this condition where abnormalities are found on specific genes.
  • Major Depression – Major depression is also known as the major depressive disorder (MDD). A person with major depression has a constant feeling of sadness and find it difficult to carry out daily activities such as eating and sleeping. Studies show that at least 10 percent of individuals in the US are diagnosed with depression of which around 50 percent of the cause is due to genetic predisposition. In this case, if a person has a history of depression in their family, that person will more likely have a high risk of developing major depression in comparison with an average person.
  • Schizophrenia – Schizophrenia generally develops in early adulthood or late adolescence and have symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. It is more likely that one of the causes of this mental disorder and a primary determining factor is genetics or heredity. Individuals who have blood relatives with schizophrenia tend to acquire this chronic brain disorder themselves.

If your family has a history with one of these five illnesses, then you may be pre-dispositioned to developing one as well. Mental Health America provides a list warning signs that can indicate a mental illness, along with coping strategies, that you can refer to if you’re concerned you have symptoms. Lifestyle habits like healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management and emotional support services can also help reduce symptoms of mental disorder and your risk of developing a mental illness.

Seeking Counseling & Exploring Mental Illness Furtherwoman in a psychologist's office who is dealing with a mental illness

Mental illness is complex, resulting from interacting genetic and environmental components; determining high or low risk isn’t clear-cut. But speaking with a certified therapist can help you with any mental illness-related concerns such as:

  • Managing an already diagnosed mental illness
  • Any concerning emotional or mental problems
  • Fear you may develop one because of your family history
  • Fear you may pass on a disorder because of your family history
  • Living with someone with mental health problems, helping a loved one in need

If you need to connect with a professional to share worries or ask questions, schedule an appointment with ThriveTalk. ThriveTalk specializes in tele-therapy services provided by certified therapists who can conveniently and remotely treat and counsel via video conference.

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Internet Addiction. Unplug Once a Week. It’s Good for You.

 

Internet addiction is epidemic in today’s society, and it’s bad for your physical and mental health. The average American adult now spends more than 10 hours a day staring at a screen whether mobile devices, gaming, working or watching TV — based on Nielsen audience report about internet addiction statistics.

All this time online can take a toll on your mind and body. Here are seven reasons why unplugging from the Internet at least once a week is good for your mental and physical health.

Benefits of Unplugging from the Internet

It Builds Self-Control

When you’re constantly going online for socializing, videos or gaming, it can become a compulsive behavior pattern. You can tell your technology is starting to control you when you start to feel anxious whenever you’re away from your smartphone, you feel a need to drop everything to answer a text alert, or you spend all your free time gaming, which are signs of technology addiction. Disrupting this compulsive behavior can help you develop self-control, says Entrepreneur.

It Lets Your Brain Relax

teens using smartphones who are addicted to the internet are forming a circle

Constantly staring at a screen bombards your brain with visual and auditory stimulation. This keeps your nervous system from relaxing, which is unnatural and builds stress. Thirty-eight percent of millennials feel stressed from technology overload, a Cornerstone OnDemand study found. Spending less time on the computer will help you calm your mind.

It Improves Your Mental Health

The stress of constant online stimulation can strain your mind as well as your nerves. You can start to feel fatigued, anxious, irritable or even aggressive. If you’re online constantly because of work, you may start to resent your employer. Recognizing this, French workers have successfully lobbied for a right to have hours on evenings and weekends when staff is not allowed to send or respond to emails.

It Allows You to Be More Present

Constantly interrupting what you’re doing to answer texts or catch up on games keeps you in a state of distraction. This can hurt your ability to concentrate on important tasks, as well as your ability to relax, enjoy life and socialize with others. Unplugging periodically can help you learn to be more present to yourself and to others around you.

It Frees You to Pursue Your Life Goals

women giving high five to each other learned how to stop being addicted to internet

Being preoccupied with the Internet can distract you from important priorities such as long-term life and career goals. Disconnecting can give you time to reconnect with your top priorities. Or take on a new hobby. Get rid of habits that make you unhappy, and focus on achieving your goals.

It Promotes Family Bonding Time

Being online constantly robs you of precious moments you could spend bonding with your family. Scheduling periodic downtime on evenings and weekends give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. You can use this time to focus on each other and on offline activities you can enjoy together.

It Deters Obesity

Spending too much time online can hurt your physical health by promoting obesity. Harvard research has already established a correlation between too much TV viewing and obesity, and research suggests a similar correlation between obesity and computer, video game and internet use. Unplugging can give you a chance to get in some exercise and improve your health.

The negative physical and mental consequences of too much internet and gaming time are numerous, and the benefits of taking a break from online activity are compelling. Unplugging from the internet can be a struggle at first, but it will help you develop self-regulation and meet your goals.

If you feel you are at risk of having excessive internet use and starts to question yourself, “Am I addicted to the internet?”, then this is the right time to find ways on how to prevent internet addiction. Below are some tips on how to restrain yourself from spending too much time on the internet and save yourself from the addiction.

How to Avoid Internet Addiction

1. Acknowledge that you may be addicted to the internet.
You need to admit first to yourself that you are at risk of being addicted online. Once you acknowledge your internet dependency, it will be easy for you to get help. Start by finding support groups that will help you in dealing with problems associated with the use of the internet.

2. Set a specific time when using the internet.
When you use your computer, make sure that you set a definite time on how many hours you should spend in surfing the net. In this way, you can regulate your computer use and do the things that are more important.

3. Distract yourself from the computer.
Call your friends and spend more time with them. Going out with your friends for at least 3 hours a day will help you divert your attention from using the internet. Also, you can gain better mental health by socializing. Research shows that interacting with other people improves your mood and weakens the feelings of depression.

4. Find a hobby that doesn’t involve using the internet.
There are a lot of things you can do without the internet. You can take a yoga or cooking class, get involved with local events in your community, or go for a run with friends. By doing these activities, it will help you take a break from the internet.

5. Create a to-do list and stick to it.
Internet activities distract you from doing your obligations which results in procrastination. You should put your obligations first and do the things that need to be done. Only allow yourself to do fun-focused internet activities after you are done accomplishing your obligations.

The internet allows you to have endless social interaction and keeps you entertained in ways that reality doesn’t seem to be interesting. If you want to steer away from the hooks of internet addiction, incorporate the tips mentioned in your day-to-day life to help you avoid compulsive internet use.

If you’re concerned you may have an internet addiction or your child is showing signs of gaming addiction, consider scheduling an online therapy session with a qualified counselor who can help you manage your problem. You can schedule an online therapy appointment with ThriveTalk.

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Porn Addiction is Sex Addiction: 6 Signs That You Need Help

 

Women’s relationships with porn have typically been contentious; it can be misunderstood and feel like a threat to women in relationships. Pornography has evolved though and is now practically considered mainstream media, especially internet porn. It’s free, easily accessible, anonymous and unlimited. Porn is not only less taboo than it’s been in decades previous, but it’s openly enjoyed by women too.

Porn-ormalcy for Women

Amanda de Cadenet, a contributing editor for Marie Claire, explored the porn culture among women in her two-year documentary project on the subject. In her study of more than 3,000 women, 31 percent watched porn every week or so, 90 percent watched internet porn and of those women who watched porn with their partner, 54 percent also watched alone and often.

Exposing women’s desires to watch porn can feel liberating and a way to embrace modern-day female sexuality. But if women are increasingly enjoying porn (and frequently), then subsequently women are also susceptible to developing pornography addiction just like men, a common type of sex addiction.

6 Red Flags of Porn Addiction

Medical Daily defines porn as problematic “when it starts to interfere with your everyday life.” Project Know, an online resource dedicated to treating addiction, identifies this form of sex addiction as a “behavioral addiction” with an insatiable compulsion to view explicit content. You may crave it, hide it, think nonstop about it and feel your life revolves around it. Your consumption of the material has reached an unhealthy level if you experience any of the following signs. These red flags indicate that you may be developing a pornography addiction in need of professional counseling and online therapy.

1. Increasingly Withdrawn

For addicts, watching porn is a secret. You may feel guilty or ashamed; your self-esteem declines. Porn may start to consume you to the point that you become isolated — seeking more and more porn over spending time with loved ones, and then finding it harder to find pleasure in everyday life. This can lead to anxiety disorder and depression, which intensifies a disconnection from others.

Example: You decline social events to stay at home alone with your laptop and feel bad about it.

2. Choose the Internet Over Anyone/Anything Else (Including Sleep)

Your partner, friends and family have questioned the amount of time you spend online. You can’t seem to satiate your cravings and continue to increase your screen time. The obsession to watch becomes all-encompassing and your only priority.

Example: You wake up in the middle of the night to get your fix. The sun comes up and you still can’t stop.

3. Emotionally Unavailable

Addicts are so fixated on watching porn that there’s no attention left for relationships. With porn as the focus of your life, you may become emotionally absent and disinterested in anything but the next moment you can access the internet.

Example: You’re on a date night at a movie and can’t stop counting down the minutes until you can get home to your ritual.

4. Lack of Interest in Sex & Low Sexual Attraction

Porn becomes your hobby, passion, best friend and now, new lover. Watching porn stars on screen is more sexually gratifying than real sex. Porn addicts may also become critical of their partner’s body or appearance, explains Hypersexual Disorders, which causes their sexual attraction to nose-dive. As your sex drive lowers, so does your partner’s self-esteem.

Example: You and your partner’s sex frequency becomes a heated topic. You’re barely aroused and just go through the motions during sex.

5. Sexually Incompatible

Over time, you explore more explicit types of porn to meet your needs. You may find that “traditional” porn is no longer pleasurable as you cross over into other more extreme pornographic areas. This translates poorly into your (non-existent) sex life.

Example: You prefer outrageous sexual fantasies over real-life intimacy. Your partner becomes a stranger.

6. Lying & Deceit

Your porn obsession really starts to spiral out of control when you catch yourself lying — about watching it, how often and why you’re distant. Not only is your relationship dissolving, but your honesty is disintegrating too. Feeling defensive or afraid that your partner will ask you to stop can lead to this habitual lying.

Example: You leave late for work or come home early to watch porn. You lie about your work schedule and that your job is on the line.

Recovery is Possible

Recovery from sex addiction is possible. The first step is to restore your relationship and gain control over your pornography addiction — and your life — is to truly want to. Next, open up to your partner and be honest that your strong urges overcome any attempt to stop. Project Know provides a list of statements, and if you agree with any of these, then treatment may be necessary. Ask your partner to become your support system as you seek online therapy at ThriveTalk.com. Remote counseling is a convenient way to connect with a certified therapist. Make an appointment and start your journey to recovery.

If you feel that a porn addiction is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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The 9 Types of Depression

 

Most people feel sad and alone from time to time; it is part of the human condition. Humans feel thingsand we often react to life’s stressors by feeling sad or withdrawn. But depression is different. Depression is a debilitating mental illness affecting more than 16.1 million American adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. There are nine types of depression, but all are marked by extreme sadness and persistent feelings of hopelessness, guilt, exhaustion and/or irritability. People who are depressed lose interest in life and in their daily activities, often wondering if “any of this is worth it.”

Women are almost twice as likely to experience depression, according to a recent report by the Mayo Clinic. It’s not 100 percent sure why depression affects more women than men — it’s likely due to a combination of factors, such as a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression, hormonal changes, and various sociocultural explanations. 

If you’re feeling like you may be suffering from depression, you are not alone. Help is available. Learn about the various types of depression, and then reach out for help.

The Nine Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

When someone experiences persistent and deep feelings of sadness for at least two weeks, then they may have a major depressive disorder (also referred to as “clinical depression”). Common symptoms of this type of depression include a change in appetite (overeating/undereating), change in sleep schedule (insomnia/excessive sleep), excessive crying, inability to concentrate, and of course, intense feelings of sadness.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Also known as “dysthymia,” persistent depressive disorder is a type of chronic depression that can be difficult to diagnose. Dysthymia symptoms are not as severe as with major depressive disorder. If you have a pervasive, low-level depression that lasts for two years or longer, you may have a persistent depressive disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

People with the seasonal affective disorder experience the classic signs of depression at the same time every year. Most people with SAD feel symptoms come on in the fall and continue through the winter months. Symptoms include fatigue, sadness and social isolation. Light therapy (also known as phototherapy treatment) can help alleviate this type of depression.

Bipolar Disorder

This used to be more commonly referred to as “manic-depressive illness.” Someone suffering from bipolar disorder experiences unusual and large shifts in mood and energy levels. They cycle through manic and depressive periods; in a manic episode, they may have lots of energy, experience racing thoughts and engage in risky behaviors such as having reckless sex. In a depressive episode, they will experience the classic symptoms of depression, including feeling sad and hopeless and having little energy for daily activities.

Psychotic Depression

Also known as “major depressive disorder with psychotic features,” this is a form of major depressive disorder accompanied by psychotic symptoms. Someone with psychotic depression experiences the same feelings of sadness and hopelessness found in major depression as well as delusions and hallucinations.

Postpartum Depression

This isn’t the “baby blues” (mood swings, crying spells) that many women have in the two weeks after giving birth postpartum depression is a more severe, long-lasting form of depression. In addition to experiencing the symptoms of major depression, women with postpartum depression may have trouble bonding with their baby or doubt their ability to care for it. They may also think about harming themselves or their baby.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. All the common PMS symptoms may be present along with extreme sadness, irritability or anger. The symptoms of PMDD almost always resolve with the onset of menstruation.

Situational Depression

This is a short-term form of depression that comes about following a traumatic event — loss of a loved one, job loss, divorce, etc. Also referred to as “adjustment disorder,” someone suffering from situational depression will feel sad, afraid or hopeless. As you adjust to your new normal, situational depression usually goes away.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression can occur in people with major depression or persistent depression. It’s a subtype of these types of depression marked by several specific symptoms, including increased appetite/weight gain, fatigue, moods that temporarily lift in reaction to good news, extremely sensitivity to rejection and headaches.

Please Reach Out

If you feel you may be suffering from one of the above types of depression, take heart. You don’t have to suffer alone, and recovery is possible. Start by scheduling a time to chat with a professional counselor at ThriveTalk.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.