Tag Archive for: therapy

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of open attention on the present. When we are mindful, we carefully observe our thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Mindfulness can also be a healthy way to identify and manage hidden emotions that may be causing problems in our personal and professional relationships.

It means living in the moment and awakening to our current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness is frequently used in meditation and certain kinds of therapy.

It has many positive benefits, including lowering stress levels, reducing harmful ruminating, improving our overall health, and protecting against depression and anxiety. There is even research suggesting that mindfulness can help people cope better with rejection and social isolation.

Mindfulness comes from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition of Vipassana meditation. Vipassana can be translated as ‘insight,’ a clear awareness of exactly what is happening as it happens.

Through the process of mindfulness, we slowly become aware of what we really are beneath the surface. We wake up to what life really is. Life has a much deeper texture if we bother to look and if we look at it utilizing mindfulness.

Vipassana is a form of mental training that will teach you to experience the world in an entirely new way. You will learn for the first time what is truly happening to you, around you, and within you. It is a process of self-discovery, a participatory investigation in which you observe your own experiences while participating in them as they occur.

Click here to learn more about mindfulness.

Am I Depressed?

Clinical depression can manifest as feeling sad and depressed for weeks or months on end—not just a passing depressed mood for a day or two. This feeling is most often accompanied by a sense of hopelessness, a lack of energy, and taking little or no pleasure in things that once gave you joy in the past.

Depression symptoms take many forms, and no two people’s experiences are exactly alike. A person who has clinical depression may not seem sad to others. They may instead complain about how they just “can’t get moving,” or are feeling completely unmotivated to do just about anything.

Clinical depression is different from normal sadness—like when you lose a loved one or experience a relationship breakup—as it usually consumes a person in their day-to-day living. It doesn’t stop after just a day or two—it will continue for weeks on end, interfering with social, occupational, or other life functions.

The symptoms of depression include the majority of the following signs, experienced nearly every day over the course of two or more weeks:

  • a persistent feeling of loneliness or sadness
  • lack of energy
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • difficulties with sleeping (too much or too little)
  • difficulties with eating (too much or too little)
  • difficulties with concentration or attention
  • loss of interest in enjoyable activities or socializing
  • feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • and/or thoughts of death or suicide

Most people who are feeling depressed don’t experience every symptom, and the presentation of symptoms varies in degree and intensity from person to person. If you feel you may be experiencing depression, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

Do I have ‘Normal’ Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a general, unpleasant feeling of apprehension. You feel restless and you may have physical reactions such as a headache, sweating, heart palpitations, chest tightness, and upset stomach. When is anxiety normal and when is it an anxiety disorder?

There are a number of human experiences that cause normal anxiety. Life offers us many anxiety-provoking experiences. As we journey through life, there are many important life events, both good and bad, that cause varying amounts of anxiety.

These events can include things such as, taking a school exam, getting married, becoming a parent, getting divorced, changing jobs, taking a vacation, coping with illness and many others. These can all be sources of normal anxiety.

The discomfort anxiety brings in all of these situations is considered normal and even beneficial. Anxiety about an upcoming test may cause you to work harder in preparing for the exam. The anxiety you feel when walking through a dark and deserted parking lot to your car will cause you to be alert and cautious of your surroundings.

While it’s pretty clear to see that anxiety is normal and even beneficial, for many people it becomes a problem. The main difference between normal anxiety and maladaptive anxiety is between the source and the intensity of the experience.

Normal anxiety is intermittent and is expected based on certain events or situations. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, tends to be chronic, irrational and interferes with many life functions. Avoidance behavior, incessant worry, and concentration and memory problems may all stem from an anxiety disorder. These symptoms may be so intense that they cause family, work, and social difficulties.

The components of maladaptive anxiety include the physical responses to the anxiety (such as heart palpitations and stomach upset), distorted thoughts that become a source of excessive worry and behavioral changes affecting the usual way one lives life and interacts with others.

The definition of generalized anxiety disorder is “The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least six months and is clearly excessive,” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition published by the American Psychiatric Association.