Happiness is...

What people believe forms what they achieve. (1) What you believe shapes what you achieve. We create our own reality. Because we create our own reality, we can change it.

One of the most difficult truths to swallow is: I can change … that we do not have to remain as we have always been.

YES. You CAN change.

Believing that we can change puts us in control of our lives. It elevates us. It makes us better regardless of the “arena” (i.e. work, school, home, neighborhood) we are in. Seeing that we can change frees us to act, to keep making decisions. Our vision is clear – we can see how our actions have a direct effect on outcomes in our lives. We have greater control over our stress. We are happier, more motivated and more successful. (2)

Many messages in life are subtly whispering in our ear that we are stuck – you are what you are, you’ll never changeyou can’t lose the weightyou’ll never conquer your anger...

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One of the MOST overlooked mental health habits...

...is getting enough sleep at night.

Skimping on your Zzzz’s can leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable and opens the door to negative thinking. Insomnia messes with our brain, making it difficult for us to regulate our emotions and think clearly. A good night’s rest on the other hand, builds emotional and mental resilience.

Clinicians now view sleep deprivation as a factor leading to poor mental health, rather than just a symptom of it. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for things like anxiety and depression (1) - two mental health concerns that are on the rise.  

The effects of inadequate sleep can be felt by all ages – children, the middle-aged, seniors, etc. According to the American Journal Pediatrics, “Adolescents who get less sleep than they need are at higher risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and car crashes. Evidence also links short sleep duration with obesity and a weakened immune system." (2)

Other...

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6 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

mental health well-being Feb 01, 2019

It’s February and that time of year when things start to drag. There are no more holidays to look forward to (except Valentine’s Day and that doesn’t really count when you are single). It is dark and cold outside. Sunshine and summer seem forever away. Taxes are beginning to hang over our heads. The list goes on...

With the things that are and are not happening during this time of year, it can be difficult to keep our mood up. With that in mind, here are 6 ways to help you combat the Winter Blues:

  1. Go for natural light. When you wake up in the morning open your blinds and curtains. Natural light can influence the production of vitamin D and melatonin in our body which not only affect our mood, but also how tired we feel.
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural mood-booster. It releases those feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Beyond boosting your mood, exercise can also build your self-confidence and provide that good...
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How to Stress Yourself Out

Sometimes we do things to ourselves.

Are you adding extra (and unnecessary) stress to your life in the following ways?

  1. Ignoring your strengths (or refusing to recognize them) and focusing on your failures. If you are ignoring your strengths, you are turning away from the good things you have to offer the world! If you focus on your weakness and failures without seeing your strengths you will not feel as motivated to work through and rise above your setbacks. This adds stress with constant feelings of hopelessness and discouragement. 
  2. Multi-tasking. When you multi-task you burn yourself out, feel overwhelmed and make slower progress. You'll often feel bad you did not give your child/spouse/friend/co-worker your full attention (e.g. when they were telling you something important to them). You’ll regret that project you did not do your best on because you were too busy trying to “maximize” your time,...
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3 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Gratitude

mental health self-care Nov 20, 2018

In our busy lives we often look for solutions to balance, reduce stress, and focus better. Expressing gratitude in one’s life helps improve overall well-being. Although it is sometimes hard to believe taking the time each day to be grateful can be worth the time, gratitude improves your outlook on life, health and happiness.

Outlook on Life

Being grateful helps us be more optimistic. A study done by Dr. Roberts A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E McCullough of the University of Miami had participants write a few sentences for ten weeks focusing on different topics. The first group wrote about things they were grateful for that occurred during the week. The second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had bugged them during the week. The third group wrote about what events had affected them during the week with no focus on positive or negative. At the end of the study those in group one were more optimistic and overall felt better about...

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As Dangerous as Smoking Up to 15 Cigarettes a Day

mental health well-being Oct 11, 2018

Investing in your social network is one of the greatest investments you can make for your health.

Your social network leads to greater well-being and less stress. It’s also an antidote for depression and aids in high performance.

Social networks don’t only reduce your stress and anxiety, but they also reduce your loneliness. Both actual and perceived loneliness are associated with a greater risk for early death.*

Research from Brigham Young University professors Timothy Smith and Julianne Holt-Lunstad reveals that loneliness and “a lack of social connection can be as dangerous to your health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

Professor Timothy Smith (counseling psychology professor) said “Overall, people understand that some factors predict death, but what they haven’t understood is that social factors are even more predictive of death than things like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels. People find this surprising but...

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Exercise as Medicine for Depression

exercise mental health May 30, 2018

Did you know that 1 in 10 US adults struggle with depression? The most common way to treat depression is with antidepressant medication. Although some individuals’ depression must be treated with antidepressant medications, research shows that exercise is also an effective form of treatment.

Neurotrophic Growth Factors

When we exercise, our body releases the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are released during high-intensity exercise and are responsible for the “runner’s high” feeling. However, endorphins are not the main chemical released that helps us fight depression. 

For many of us the greatest benefit for depression in terms of chemical releases from our body comes through low-intensity exercise sustained over time. According to Harvard, “that kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes...

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Positive Self-Affirmations

mental health self-care Jan 24, 2018
 

Have you ever wanted to obtain greater optimism and gratitude in your life? Changing the connections in your brain can help you develop optimism and gratitude. You can accomplish this through a simple and short exercise. 

Have you ever heard of positive affirmations or positive self-talk? That is a key component of this exercise. Let me explain what those positive affirmations are...

A positive affirmation is a statement in the present tense about ourselves, or something we want to be true about ourselves, or even about a situation in our lives. We respond to how we regard ourselves and also situations in our lives. This exercise is designed to focus on the positive and change the connections or thinking we have about how we regard ourselves and those situations in our lives. 

Let me give you a few example of some positive affirmations:

  • I am patient.
  • I am a patient mother.
  • I love my job.
  • I give great presentations full of enthusiasm and...
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