Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

A client I will call “Joy” came to see me and related that she had been excited about a new job but quickly found herself with increased responsibilities and a need to do training of other employees. The first time she met with the employees she was horrified when her heart started pounding, her mouth was dry, her hands shook and she had difficulty presenting the material. Joy related she had wanted to run from the room, felt “frightened” and like a “failure” and couldn’t understand her reaction to the situation – this had never happened to her before! Joy didn’t tell anyone what had happened and began to avoid situations where she might have to speak to groups of people which impacted her ability to do her job.

Joy thought avoiding the situation would be the “solution”.

Unfortunately Joy began to experience these “attacks” at different times and in different places. Once she was sitting in her living room watching a favourite television show when her heart began to beat erratically, she became short of breath and nauseated. After this experience Joy became concerned with her health and wondered if she was having a heart problems. A trip to her doctor confirmed she was physically healthy and counselling was suggested to deal with her “symptoms of anxiety”.

Through counselling Joy gained understanding of how her body was reacting to stress, learned breathing techniques, an awareness of how she “bottled things up” and her tendency to “want to be all things to all people”. Joy became more comfortable talking about herself, began to gain awareness of her thinking patterns that were making her vulnerable to anxiety and made a goal of a daily walk and a weekend restorative yoga class.

At the conclusion of her counselling sessions Joy related that although mild symptoms occur from time to time she now has better self-awareness and is able locate “pitfalls” to diminish her anxiety and functions in most settings “really well”.

do you find your heart is pounding even when you are sitting still or lying in bed?

do you feel nauseated even when you first wake up?

do you have feelings of fear and panic and don’t know why?

are you avoiding people, places or situations?

are you unable to make even simple decisions?

do you lack follow through?

do you or others think you level of worry is excessive?

Most of all do you have poor relationships with others due to being uncomfortable around people or places?

these are all signs of ANXIETY and can be treated through counselling.

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Enough already – all of us need to quit torturing ourselves about our weight!

  • Write a list of things you like about your physical self – eyes, hair, smile etc.
  • Write a list of non-physical traits you have that are positive – honest, kind, hardworking, funny etc
  • Keep the list on your fridge and read them every day
  • Look at nature – trees, leaves, rocks, flowers, mountains, clouds…and notice imperfections and differences – there is no perfection
  • Exercise
  • Wear clothes that compliment your figure – quit waiting to fit into those “skinny” clothes
  • Stay away from fashion magazines and/or remember how much air brushing goes into the pictures
  • Do nice things for your body – massage, manicure, bubble bath, lotions, dancing
  • Stop checking the scale all the time
  • Stop talking about your weight!
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Be honest and identify what you can and can’t change with your body
  • Develop your mind
  • Strive to be “healthy” rather than being on the weight loss treadmill
  • Learn to use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)to learn to stop negative thoughts about yourself
  • Have friends that have healthy relationships with food, weight and their bodies
  • Identify your important life values and work to achieve and enjoy them

These helpful tips paraphrased from “Examiner.com 10/11”

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Recently during a “stay-cation” I started to mentally plan for an upcoming family gathering and noticed that my usual worry and anxiety did not kick in. I had an epiphany at that moment – “I am way more relaxed when I am relaxed!”

My ability to make decisions from a relaxed state caused me to be able to sort out what thinking was helpful and what was unhelpful and make “relaxed” decisions from that place.

– How I felt (relaxed and positive) was influencing how I was looking at what was going to happen next

– Worry wasn’t creating more worry

Sounds simple but often our thinking creates a greater spiral of worry and anxiety that impedes our ability to make decisions and affects our interactions with others.

What is helpful to promote thinking that does not promote greater stress? And what can we do to calm our thinking?

There are many therapeutic strategies that work (aside from vacations) that can be used in our daily lives that help to calm our thinking such as; relaxation and breathing techniques, physical exercise, creative expression, mindfulness, challenging thinking patterns, life balance, talking! etc…

For more information contact;

Barb Larkin, Counselling Services
604-785-4359
barblarkin@shaw.ca

Call or email for more information

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Do you believe the symptoms of anxiety are “real”. “I am nauseated – I must be sick!” “I have a thought I am going to get in an accident if I drive – this must mean I better not drive today” “I feel frightened – this must mean something bad is going to happen to me or someone else”

Are you avoiding activities, places, situations, people where you experience anxiety symptoms- avoidance will not cure your anxiety, symptoms will usually continue to surface elsewhere and mental health will worsen

Not taking stock of your level of stress and encorportating healthier lifestyle changes- What is going on in your life that you have control over vs what you need to let go of? How are your relationships and level of conflict? Are you able to be assertive and set comfortable boundaries in your life?

Get help if you think you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. For more information contact;
Barb Larkin, Counselling Services
604-785-4359
barblarkin@ shaw.ca

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(The following is from the publication Gentle Care: Changing the Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease in a Positive Way, Moyra Jones, 1999)

Guilt is…

The Clash sing “Should I stay or should I go?”  and for many of us we can relate to the back and forth that can occur in our thinking when we are faced with a decision to be made.

Why is it so hard to make decisions sometimes?

When we are overwhelmed we may be looking at decision-making from a fear based perspective “what will I lose” rather than from the possibilities that can occur through change.

Often decisions we reach will be of a black and white nature – stay or go – and has elements of fear which may keep thinking we are “safe” from the unknown while keeping us stuck in a current situation.

Within the song by the Clash the lyrics suggest that the “other” should decide if the relationship should continue, another way we often avoid making our own decisions – let others do it for us.

Separating interests from actual issues involved in the decisions is important and can be challenging; what are we holding on to?  what are our fears about the decision to be made?  Are we unable to make a decision because we think “others” will condemn us?  How will our decisions affect the self and others?  Is our thinking realistic?

It is helpful to talk to a friend, supportive person or therapist to help unravel our decision-making and look at situations we are facing from a broader perspective.

Self care in the way of breathing, relaxation technique, mindfulness,  talking to supportive others and walking in nature can be helpful to quiet our thinking and help us open our mind to possibilities.

Get help if you are unable to make the simplest of decisions – a clear symptom of stress and possible depression and one that should not be ignored.

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How to quiet our thinking…

Loved the ideas expressed in the Vancouver Sun, Oct. 6/12, Arts & Life D3

“Once we stop distracting the brain with everyday worries…ideas that are constantly fired at us…come into our awareness”

Yet how do we do this?

The key is to quiet the left side of the brain – the more logical, analytical and objective, to allow the right side -more intuitive, thoughtful and subjective to do its magic and help us be more open and creative with solutions!

Quiet time is a must and you need 10-20 minutes per day to help your brain function well,  the points mentioned in the article based on a study at Temple University included the need on a daily basis to;

Be alone

Get silent – turn off external stimulis – phones etc -*Unless you are using a guided imagery, mindfulness or other cd/recording

Sit up – very important as it can be very tempting to lay down and sleep often takes over

Ground your body – think of your feet attached to the ground, your buttocks firm on the chair, arms resting at sides

Breathe– in though the nose, down to the belly, out through the mouth,  focus on breath when your mind wanders bring it back to the breath

After 10-20 minutes open your eyes and stretch, check in with your body and brain

There are good youtube downloads that are helpful to clear the mind using Guided Imagery/Mindfulness Technique; A walk in the country, Connect to higher self, Mindfulness meditation body scan and many others.  CD’s can be purchased that promote meditative mindfulness – check the voice and quality first before you buy.

A wonderful yoga to download from youtube that my sister located is Esther Eckhart – I love her Bedtime Yoga.  The great part about youtube is the downloads are free although the quality can be patchy.

For more information or a counselling appointment I can be contacted at 604-785-4359 or email barblarkin@shaw.ca

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