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Articles tagged with: mental health

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Making Your New Year’s Resolution List

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Making Your New Year’s Resolution List
Published Thursday, 04 January 2018

Welcome 2018!

The beginning of every year presents a time to look back and reflect upon how we spent the last year as well as look ahead to determine how we want to spend the year to come. One classic way this meditation manifests itself is in the form of a New Year's Resolution list. 

New Year’s Resolutions date back to the Babylonians, who are said to be the first to make these yearly goals. However, they did not celebrate the new year on January 1st as we do; 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians celebrated the new year in the spring with the planting of crops.

The tradition was also held by the Romans, though Julius Caesar changed the new year to January 1st. The month of January was named for the Roman god Janus, who was said to look back on the previous year with one face, and forward to the coming year with his other. The Romans would make promises to Janus for better behavior in the coming year.

In modern society, New Year’s Resolutions can be considered somewhat of a joke. They tend to be something at which we collectively fail. You’ll see lots of new gym memberships in January, and the treadmills are packed through the month, and then somewhere in February, things fall off.

It doesn’t have to be that way! The new year is a fresh start, and you can avoid mistakes that make your New Year’s resolutions harder to keep. Here are three tips to help you stick to your resolutions.

1. Don’t: Be too Broad— Do: Be specific!

We all have general goals for ourselves in the new year. We want to eat healthy, exercise more, save money, etc. However, broad goals are way too hard to keep, and we need to be more specific in what we want to achieve. Beach Body's blog talks about making sure your goal passes the SMART test:

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Attainable
  • R: Realistic
  • T: Timely

If your goal is to eat healthier, specifically focus on a meal you want to make healthy. How can you measure what makes that meal healthier for you? Will you have to get up an hour earlier to cook what you want, and is that attainable and realistic? Will you be able to achieve this goal in a timely manner? Looking at your resolution on a more specific platform will help you to keep it and make a lifestyle change.

2. Don’t: Be Negative— Do: Be positive!

The way you word your goals is important. If your goal has to do with your finances, don’t say “Stop being bad with money”. Instead, your goal should be, “Improve amount of money saved,” or “Exercise control in spending habits.” If you’re focusing on the negative aspects of yourself, you will eventually tire of the process of trying to improve. Constantly analyzing yourself in a negative light will likely discourage change, rather than encourage it.

Words are incredibly powerful in the outside world but also within ourselves. Focus on what you want to have happen in the new year instead of focusing on what you don’t want to repeat. In order to make a change you need to see yourself as capable of doing so.

3. Don’t: Forget to Track Your Progress — Do: Track it!

Forgetting to track your progress on your goal is a crucial mistake you should avoid. If your goal is to exercise 3 times a week, having a calendar to mark of the days you go to the gym will allow you to see success daily, weekly, and monthly.

An organized calendar also allows you to see what days work best for your schedule to get to the gym, and to see where you might falter in your goal. If you have a big meeting at the end of the week, it could be better to get your gym time in on the weekend before or after your meeting.

Checking things off a list, marking off dates on a calendar, even putting stars in boxes, is a highly satisfying way of keeping track of your goals and helping to stay motivated all throughout the year.

Whatever the time of year, improving the quality of your life is always an important goal. At South Orange Chiropractic Center we can work with you to help you get out of pain and live your life to the fullest. Contact our team today to make an appointment so we can help you achieve those resolutions this year!

10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holiday Season

10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holiday Season
Published Thursday, 07 December 2017

Tis the season to be jolly!

But what happens when you’re not? The holidays can be a difficult time for many people...and that’s perfectly normal! Maybe it’s family stress. Maybe the season brings a reminder of someone you loved and lost. Maybe you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

Whatever the cause, it’s not your responsibility to be spreading joy and cheer constantly. You’re not Santa Claus! Use this time to practice self-care and make sure you have the most pleasant holiday experience for yourself.

  1. Learn to say “no”. If you find yourself buried in invitations from friends and family, take a step back and make some decisions. Don’t stress about committing to every single social engagement that comes your way, just enjoy the ones you are able to attend!
  1. Dive into volunteer work. Oftentimes, doing something good for others also provides a big boost to your own mood and happiness. Take a shift at your local soup kitchen or pay a visit to a nearby retirement home or children’s hospital.  
  1. Discover your own version of hygge. Whatever makes you feel cozy, embrace it! Sit in front of the fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Wrap yourself in the most comfortable sweater you own and cuddle with your pet. Find your snuggery!
  1. Get one-on-one time with your loved ones. After the excitement of the holiday season dies down, you may find that you did not get the chance to spend as much quality time with some relatives as you would’ve liked. Make time to chat with a cousin you haven’t seen in years or listen to another one of your favorite uncle’s war stories.
  1. Practice active gratitude. Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of year to be grateful for the good things in your life. Studies have found that those who cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” report improved physical and emotional health!
  1. Exercise! A long run or a kickboxing class not only keeps your body healthy, it can also provide an excellent form of stress relief. Practice yoga and meditation to really strengthen that mind-body connection!
  1. Take a long shower or bath. There are few experiences as relaxing as taking a long, hot bath after a particularly stressful day. Let the warm water relax your muscles, and finally try out that bath bomb you bought months ago. Read a book or listen to music, and forget about your family for a while.
  1. Try light therapy. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that can affect anyone. As the season changes from fall to winter, you may experience symptoms such as a loss of energy or motivation, difficulty sleeping, or frequent depressed thoughts. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan if you believe it might be more than a case of the "winter blues".
  1. Protect your alone time. When your family inevitably starts to drive you crazy, take some time away from it all. Go for a walk outside or enjoy your favorite Christmas movie on Netflix. Recharge and let go of any stress before you rejoin the festivities.
  1. Get your creative juices flowing. Decorate cookies, perfect your present wrapping techniques, or get an early start on that New Year’s resolution to journal every day! Do whatever activity clears your mind and allows you to relax.

Related Articles: 

Holiday Depression

Holiday Stress: 6 Ways To Deal With Difficult Family Members During The Holidays

How to Practice Self-Care When You're Home For the Holidays

 

Running for Your Body and Your Mind

Running for Your Body and Your Mind
Published Tuesday, 29 August 2017

There’s plenty of research and evidence that demonstrates the physical benefits of running. This exercise helps people stay fit, lose weight, and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. A common myth states that running can hurt the knees, but even science has shown that the opposite is true! Running actually strengthens the bones and joints. A recent study out of B.Y.U. demonstrated that in participants with healthy knees, “a single half-hour of running changes the interior of the knee, reducing inflammation and lessening levels of a marker of arthritis”.

More Than Just a Runner’s High

While the physical benefits of this common exercise are clear, many don’t realize what great effects running can have on your mind. Any long-time runner will testify to experiencing a “runner’s high”, where the body receives a rush of hormones called endocannabinoids which make you feel good after a run. But there’s more that running can do for your mental health than this short-term high.

  • A 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that teenagers who ran for 30 minutes once a week for three weeks reported better sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day.
  • More recently, neuroscience researchers have discovered new neurons are produced daily in animals’ brains, and that vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, helped to double the amount of new neurons produced in the brains of mice.
  • These new brain cells appear primarily in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking and emotions. This reaction may explain why many people feel that running helps them to clear their heads, relieve stress and anxiety, and make important life decisions.
  • While these findings suggest that running could help increase new neuron production the people’s brains, the scientists also note the importance of keeping those brain cells alive through concentrated mental activity, such as meditation.
  • A study conducted by Rutgers University showed that mental and physical training, or MAP Training, which combines 30 minutes of meditation and 30 minutes of running or other aerobic exercise, helped to decrease self-reported depressive symptoms in groups with major depressive disorder.

Letting Your Mind Run Free…or Not!

Many think of running as a good way to daydream or lose yourself in your own thoughts. In Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, writes, “I just run. I run in void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void.”

However, the time you spend running can also become a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindful running can help you perform better by transforming negative, self-doubting thoughts into ones of positive determination. Also, by being mindful of your body after a run, noticing what aches and pains you have or knowing if you need to hydrate more, you’ll be able to recover faster from the exercise. There are some simple steps you can take to practice mindfulness during your run, including syncing up your stride and your breath, but if you need a little help, there are some mindfulness apps to get you started!

But whether you’re letting your thoughts wander into the void or counting breaths and steps, running is a great workout for your body and your mind. Put on those dusty sneakers today and move toward an overall healthier you!

Taking Care of Yourself with Mental Health Days

Taking Care of Yourself
Published Tuesday, 01 August 2017

In late June, Madalyn Parker, a web developer working at the company Olark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, decided to take a few mental health days away from the job. The surprising part: she actually told her boss exactly why she would be missing work. Even more surprising, the company CEO, Ben Congleton was completely supportive of her decision.

It would probably be safe to assume that most people have taken a mental health day or two or five in their lives. Again, it would be safe to assume that most people don’t tell their bosses this. They call in sick or come up with another excuse that is not as stigmatized as admitting you need some time to take care of your mind. Clare Miller, director of the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a division of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation says, “We know from literature that there is a huge amount of calling in sick because of mental health issues.”

Mental Health and the American Workplace

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in 2014 about 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health problem, and 1 in 25 American adults had a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
  • Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 18% of American adults.
  • In 2013, 1 in 6 Americans reported taking psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants or sedatives.
  • A 2016 study by the American Psychological Association, found that only 44% of American workers believe that “the climate in their organization supports employee well-being.” 1 in 3 of those workers also reported being chronically stressed at work.
  • Ninety percent of employers now offer employee assistance programs that deal with mental health issues. Charles Lattarulo, the head of American Express’ Healthy Minds campaign told CBS News, “Our global mental health strategy is the belief that we can reduce stigma, that we can make this a safe place to have a mental illness. We embed mental health into the fabric of our culture.”

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Many different factors contribute to mental illnesses, including biological (physical illness, brain chemistry), social (trauma, abuse), and genetic (family history of mental illness) issues. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health urges employers to “Encourage employees to seek care when they need it by educating the workforce that mental illnesses are real, are medical illnesses rather than conditions of weak character or willpower, and can be effectively treated. Short- and long-term psychological treatment has been shown to improve work abilities in people with anxiety disorders.”

While the stigma around mental health is gradually lessening, many of the responses to Parker’s now-viral tweet demonstrate that society still has a long way to go when it comes to understanding and treating mental health and self-care.

Self-Care and Wellness

Depending on your situation, there are many ways to start taking care of yourself if you are suffering from a mental illness. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two often are dependent on each other. Organizations like Mental Health America and GoodTherapy.org offer many examples of self-care, including eating right, exercising regularly, meditating, attending therapy, and connecting often with good friends. Even maintaining good posture has been shown to improve the moods of those suffering from mild to moderate depression!

Physical health is only one facet of your overall well-being. In order to be your best self, it is necessary to take care of your mind as well as your body, and tweets like Madalyn Parker’s show that society is starting to understand how important self-care is to lead a happy and productive life.

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