Can Emotions Affect Physical Health?

Date: October 8th, 2019

Filed under: Mental Health

The idea that your mental state is interconnected with your physical state has become well-known in recent years, so it may come as no surprise that emotions can indeed have an impact on physical health. If you regularly experience stress, anxiety, or depression, it’s possible that it’s taking a toll on your body as well as your mind.

Symptoms

Some of the more common physical difficulties associated with mental health include:

Headaches or back/neck pain Upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea Change in appetite, weight gain, or weight loss Palpitations or high blood pressure Fatigue or insomnia Sweating, lightheadedness, dry mouth, or shortness of breath

Although these are some of the more common ailments, please note that this is not a comprehensive list. You may experience other physical symptoms connected with your mental health. Conversely, these types of symptoms can have a variety of different causes, and may have more to do with lifestyle elements other than emotion.

Treatment

So how do you tell if problems with your physical health stem from the condition of your mind? This can be a tricky area. It’s important to let your doctor know if you think your emotions are causing you to experience physical health difficulties. They can help rule out other causes and treat your symptoms so you can feel better physically while you come up with more long-term solutions.

If you believe that your mental state is causing physical problems or making it difficult to live life to the fullest, contact our office to make an appointment with one of therapists or counselors. They can help you to address the emotional concerns that may be an underlying cause of some of your physical symptoms. As you learn effective ways to cope with stress, calm anxiety, and lighten the burden of depression, you may find that both your mind and body benefit from the treatment.

Tips to Improve Nonverbal Communication

Date: September 20th, 2019

Filed under: Tips

Communication is about more than the words you speak. Nonverbal communication is an important tool, and when properly used, can help you to communicate more effectively and invite others to be open with you. Use these tips as a starting point to improve your nonverbal communication.

Eye Contact

Making eye contact when someone is speaking lets them know you’re listening. And when you’re the one doing the talking, establishing eye contact shows confidence and allows you to better gauge the reaction of the other person to what you’re saying.

There’s no need to maintain an unbroken stare: looking away briefly can show that you’re giving careful thought to what’s been said, or are considering what to say next. But using eye contact to show interest and maintain connection can help others to open up to you.

Facial Expressions

Our facial expressions convey emotion in a powerful way. Unless it’s inappropriate for the situation, smile when you engage someone in conversation to help them feel that they’re welcome to share their own thoughts and feelings with you.

Your expression can go a long way to showing someone that you care about what they’re saying, even without words. Be sure to pay attention to what your face is saying when you’re in a conversation, so that you’re conveying engagement and receptiveness.

Body Language

Body language may be the most significant form of nonverbal communication. Focus on your posture and movements to make sure your body is reinforcing the message you put into words. Stand or sit up straight to convey confidence, lean slightly towards the person you’re speaking with to show interest, and face the person you’re talking to so you can both engage fully in the conversation.

Improving nonverbal communication takes concentration and effort, but by focusing on one thing at a time you can improve your interpersonal skills, convey the message you want to get across, and be a better listener for others. Remember, good nonverbal communication is a skill that takes practice, but it’s a skill that is worth developing.

Fall and Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder

Date: September 10th, 2019

Filed under: Mental Health

As we move into the fall and winter months, you may find rainy days and gray skies weighing you down. An estimated 10 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) each year, with most people feeling the symptoms starting in late fall and lasting through winter. If you think you may be one of them, read on to learn more and find out how you can get your mood back on track.

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression linked to changes in the seasons. While the exact causes of SAD are unknown, it’s possible that the changes in seasons (such as length of day and amount of natural light) disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm and change its levels of important chemicals like serotonin and melatonin. While these changes cause nothing more than “winter blues” in some people, in others they can trigger depression.

How do I know if I have SAD?

The symptoms of fall and winter SAD may include oversleeping, changes in appetite and weight gain, and lack of energy. If, with the arrival of cold weather, you feel depressed most days, no longer take an interest in things you normally enjoy, have a hard time concentrating, and/or feel hopeless or worthless, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder.

What can I do if I have SAD?

SAD is a treatable condition and can be improved through light therapy, talk therapy, medication, or a combination thereof. Treatments like these can help you maintain a positive and balanced mood throughout the changing seasons. If you think you may be experiencing SAD, contact us to make an appointment with a member of our team. Our experienced therapists can work with you to help you take back control of your life, manage the symptoms of your condition, and feel happy all year round.

Back to School Tips for College Students

Date: August 19th, 2019

Filed under: Tips

Summer is almost over and it’s time to hit the books. Follow these back to school tips for college students to make sure you’re prepared for the new school year emotionally as well as academically.

Create a Troubleshooting Plan

Feeling homesick, anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed is very common among college students. Even if you don’t think you’re likely to deal with these things, create a plan for what to do if these types of problems come up. Make sure you have contact numbers for family and friends who can help you cope with difficulties, find out where your school counseling center is, and come up with a list of things you can do to help yourself feel better.

Make Connections

One of the best ways to stave off homesickness and combat feelings of anxiety or depression is to have a strong social network. Introduce yourself to classmates, attend campus events, get involved in a student organization or club, and get to know your roommates. Keeping busy and spending fun time with friends can help you to feel less isolated and give you a sense of belonging.

Stay Healthy

There’s no question that the rigorous schedule of college life can make it tough to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and find time to exercise, but your school experience will be much better if you do. Pack healthy snacks and a water bottle in your backpack, and stick to a bedtime schedule that gives you at least seven hours of sleep each night. It’s also easier to exercise regularly if you have a buddy, so use those social connections you’ve made to find a workout partner.

Seek Help When You Need It

Stay in touch with your emotions. If you’re struggling, there are many resources available to help you manage the stresses of college life. Contact your school’s counseling center, or talk to one of our team of licensed therapists and counselors. Your well-being is important to us, and we can help you find a school/life balance that will allow you to be your best self—academically and emotionally.

Attachment Styles Series (Part 4) -- Developing a Secure Attachment Style in Children

Date: August 7th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

We all want what’s best for our children. As a parent, one of the most important and lasting things you can do for your child is to help them develop a secure attachment style. This not only contributes to a happy childhood, but lays the foundation for healthy, fulfilling relationships throughout their entire lives.

Understand and Respond to Your Child’s Cues

In childhood, a secure attachment style starts with a child feeling confident that their needs will be met. Pay attention to your child’s cues. These types of communications, although often nonverbal, can provide a wealth of information about what your child is thinking and feeling. By learning to understand your child’s emotional state, you can respond appropriately and give them what they need, whether that’s food, a nap, hugs, or some quiet time.

Create Positive Interactions with Your Child

Establish a relationship of trust with your child by connecting with them in positive ways. You can demonstrate this by listening when they talk to you, making eye contact, smiling, and playing together. It doesn’t require a huge investment of time to help your child feel loved and valued. Try talking to your child in the car on the way to school, or setting aside 10 minutes for playtime before you have to fix dinner.

Make Yourself Available to Your Child

During a child’s early years, their parent acts as a home base. Children use this base as a center from which to explore, and a safe place they can return to. Help your child know that they can come to you no matter what they’re experiencing. Show that you’re interested by asking them how their day was, celebrating good things that happened to them, and helping them work through distressing emotions.

Remember, You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

As you parent, remember that you don’t have to be perfect to help your child develop a secure attachment style. Be as consistent as you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Show your child how good relationships work by apologizing and repairing trust after a mistake, and allow them to do the same. And if you feel that you need some help, don’t hesitate to ask. Our team is here as a resource for you as you help your child develop a secure attachment style.

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