How Family Therapy Can Improve Your Family’s Mental Health

Believe it or not, family therapy is one of the most effective support treatments for an individual. Statistics show that a person’s recovery rate with mental health problems increases in this kind of setting. At the same time, it also provides a steady level of happiness, which contributes to lower chances of relapse. 

What Is Family Therapy?

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Family therapy refers to an interpersonal strategy dedicated to addressing family issues and overall mental health. The primary goal of this approach is to solve individual problems by revolving around the concept of family. Basically, it explores how one affects the other within that said unit. 

Some of the issues where family therapy can help are the following: 

  • Dealing with the death of a family member
  • Preparing for remarriage
  • Coping with a mental health problem of a family
  • Addressing behavioral issues of a family member
  • Preparing oneself and the family on the possibility of divorce
  • Discussing parenting issues
  • Overcoming substance abuse and addiction

The difference between family therapy and the other types of therapy is the perspective and scope applied to examine behaviors and interactions. It treats every problem and issue as interconnected. Therefore, instead of treating something as an individual concern, it addresses these problems collectively. 

Family therapy aims to solve all problems by involving every member who is a part of the treatment. 

What Are The Benefits Of Family Therapy?

  • Include Family Members In The Whole Recovery Process
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For those in the process of recovering from drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other addiction problems, family therapy is an excellent opportunity to get the support of your family. This approach will help your family members understand your situation. It will give them a brief idea of what the risks and triggers are so they’ll be able to assist you along the way. 

  • Teaches How To Better Communicate Feelings

One of the roles of a family therapist is to guide specific individuals into revealing what they’re feeling. They’re not there to tell you what to say or dictate what they think you’re feeling. Instead, their primary role is to teach their patients how to communicate their emotions better. 

The good thing with family therapy is that other family members can encourage each other to be open. If they have the same attitude, it will be easier for them to solve their problems together. 

  • Tackles The Reason Behind Each Illness

One of the main reasons why individuals fail to understand the wholeness of their conditions is that they do not know its root causes. Given that they don’t know the ins and outs, it’s difficult for them to navigate. They don’t know where to begin and how they can address these problems.

With family therapy, these people will get to understand how their issues work. The presence of their family members will be a big help just in case they get lost along the way. Once a family member understands what they’re going through, it will be easier to support and guide them in the comfort of their home. 

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  • Helps Understand Behavior Patterns

One of the models of family therapy revolves around the concept of understanding behavior patterns. This is what they call the systemic approach. The primary goal of this process is to determine both the conscious and subconscious factors leading to an individual’s behavior. It will also guide them in understanding the different behavior patterns. 

In this approach, the family therapist will act as the neutral party. He or she will play a passive role by asking questions to the clients one at a time. Keep in mind that the therapist will never tell them the causes of these behaviors. Instead, they are there to guide their patients into speculating and deducing what factors contribute to such actions. 

This model also maximizes the power of family. It explores the family’s power structures and focuses the discussion on the hierarchy of the unit. Here, the system emphasizes the importance of the role of parents. The therapists’ responsibility is to ask the parents to study their power roles in the house and as the family’s leaders. They will then need to strategize on how they’ll use this power to work together with their children. 

Keep in mind that this method does not promote having too much power. Instead, it revolves around the idea of using authority to guide the whole family. 

The Importance Of The Role Of Every Family Member

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For a therapy session to be successful, it is essential for every family member involved to cooperate. Keep in mind that each member doesn’t have to be involved. If the issues are only between the parents, there is no need to include the children unless these marital problems start affecting the mental health of the child. 

While this model promotes individual recoveries, the role of each one matters. The critical factor here is the support and love within the family. Those are two of the primary reasons why family therapy is one of the most effective therapy sessions out there.

Moving From In-Home Counseling To Online Therapy For Your Family

Therapy sessions function differently for everyone. It used to be that the ideal scenario for individuals undergoing therapy is through home visits, wherein clients can avoid the public eye and enjoy the comfort of their own houses as they receive counseling. But as technology catches up with the times, experts are acknowledging the different ways that mental health services can be delivered.

What are the benefits of in-home counseling? While outpatient therapy is the most common mode of treatment for people mildly suffering from mental health disorders, intensive in-home counseling is also an alternative usually provided to at-risk children and youth. The purpose of such a comprehensive service is to facilitate the use of community resources within the family while maintaining the home environment.

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“Family therapy perceives an individual’s symptoms as occurring in the larger context of the family,” says Dr. Michael Herkov, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Dr. Herkov adds, “For instance, a depressive adolescent’s symptoms might be connected to her parents’ marital issues. But if a therapist only consulted the depressed teen, then they might not have shared the greater family problems that could have been a vital part of their depression.”

How To Find The Right In-Home Counselor

The job of a mental health counselor is to help people manage their mental and emotional disorders. While a handful of different professions offer therapy, it is best to adhere to licensed professionals with advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, social work, and counseling. Here are some hints to consider when finding the right counselor:

  1. Call or email the therapist and inquire about their practice. The counselor must be accessible and up-to-date with technology and critical scientific knowledge related to the symptoms.
  2. Search online for reviews and referrals. It wouldn’t hurt to ask in mental health forums and groups about their experiences with the particular therapist. But be wary of fake testimonials by anonymous accounts that sound too good to be true.
  3. Find out how much it costs and how long each session is likely to take. Preparing the logistics involved in making such a huge decision is key to developing a transparent relationship and good rapport with the counselor.
  4. List all expectations. While the chances of one therapist ticking all the boxes on the list of desired attributes are dismal, it’s still helpful to figure out their priorities when addressing mental health symptoms.

Marriage and family therapists specialize in working with children and couples to resolve conflicts and overcome behavioral challenges typically perceived as relevant to the home. Family therapy often touches on improving parenting and communication skills, which allows therapists to observe interactions between family members naturally. Such approaches help identify what kind of treatment approach is suitable.

In the United States, more than 6 million people see a family therapist every year, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Furthermore, a 2013 study showed that 57 percent of families engaged in online therapy were successful compared to 42 percent of those who used traditional face-to-face counseling. Is it possible to transition from a home-based therapy to a virtual approach?

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History Of Online Therapy

Since the 2000s, online therapy services have grown popular and widespread, even though it received some backlash due to its unverified business model eliminating doctor-presided sessions a few years prior. Today, anyone can receive professional mental health services online in place of traditional face-to-face counseling.

Some people prefer it because it is accessible, more affordable, and just as effective. Online therapy focuses on emotional health and well-being. Indubitably, online counseling has both advantages and disadvantages from the lens of therapists and clients alike. Here are a few examples:

Advantages Of Online Counseling

    • Increased accessibility. Those people suffering from symptoms and are new to therapy can proceed to an online approach before they commit. Because of the internet, people from remote geographical locations can also experience the benefits of treatment without the necessary traveling. It also supports people who may have physical limitations and mobility weaknesses.
    • Reduce stigma. Therapy helps to treat symptoms related to social anxiety. People who find it hard to leave their homes due to fear of other people, or getting judged because of stigmatization, may find it more comfortable to conduct the session online.

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Disadvantages Of Online Counseling

  • Impersonal. Virtual connections cannot offer the human interaction that is crucial in the therapist’s office. Text-based communication is open to misinterpretation, especially if the foundations of the relationship are not firmly established. Hence, online counseling may reduce the sense of trust and commitment necessary when providing support.
  • Opportunity bias. Online counseling is available to those with internet access. Hence, therapists are limited to providing their services to those with resources and leaving out underserved populations that may need them.

Regardless of the situation, numerous studies have shown that online therapy can help support treatment plans, whether for an individual or a family unit.

For adult families, online counseling also helps when each member may be living in different states or countries, and therefore find it impossible to be in the same place. Fortunately, counselors have adapted their practices to accommodate such situations, holding people safe, albeit in a virtual space.

 

 

How To Stay Sane During A Pandemic?

Ever since the pandemic has broken out, I have been chilling at home with my dog. I know that the reason why we need to do all this is unpleasant, but my experience so far has been excellent. For instance, I work from home, so I need not get up early to beat the morning rush. I have been eating healthier now than in the last few years, too. I never knew that I would be able to do it anytime soon.

Despite my positive experience with home quarantine, though, I am aware that not a lot of people echo my thoughts. Some of my friends are running out of ideas to entertain themselves or their kids. Others are beginning to get depressed by the isolation, to the point that they want to break the rules.

Although I will never do the latter, I somewhat understand such sentiments. Even my 50-year-old dad, who is used to going to work five times a week, spends his afternoon sweeping the fallen leaves in our backyard. If the pile is not too high on that day, Mom has told me that he shakes the tree. More leaves will then fall, and he can do the chore a little longer. It sounds crazy but also very relatable.

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If you feel like you’re about to lose your mind, here are some tips to stay sane while waiting for the quarantine to end.

Pick A Hobby That You Can Do For A Long Time

Your first line of defense against boredom is an activity that will allow you to pass the time without needing to check the clock. In my case, that is working on puzzles. A friend gave me a 2000-piece puzzle last year that I did not get to open because of my busy schedule. Now that I have nothing to do at home, I have had the opportunity to put the pieces together for days. I have enjoyed every minute that I spent on it.

In your case, it can be anything that you can do indoors. E.g., baking, painting, wood carving, or even LEGO building. The key is to choose an activity that you won’t be able to finish in a few hours. This way, you have something to look forward to the next day.

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Stop Thinking About Coronavirus Too Much

Coronavirus is the sole reason why many countries need to issue a lockdown. It is the main topic of every news, whether it is in text or visual form. Even the royalty-free image sources mostly have pandemic-related photos.

No matter how much COVID-19 information is available on every platform, I suggest that you turn your cheek away sometimes. It is one thing to get updates about the outbreak, but it is also another thing to obsess over it. Your life will be much better off if you think of other things besides that, such as what’s for lunch today or what movie you can watch with your friends next.

Sign Up To An Online Counseling Platform

I know how some people have shown doubts about the effectiveness of online counseling over the years. A few of them say that it’s a fluke; others are quick to assume that it’s an outright scam. However, now that you cannot even meet your therapist in person, online counseling may be the best way to keep your sanity during these uncertain times.

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The primary benefit of signing up for an online counseling platform is that mental health professionals are available 24/7. You may be dealing with a panic attack at 3 A.M., for instance, and someone will reply to you if you call or text them. Help is highly unlikely to come from a conventional therapist in this scenario, though.

 

Let’s all focus on surviving this pandemic with a healthy body and mind. Cheers!

How To Overcome The Stigma Of Counseling

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The 2018 Ohio Counselors Conference had a 3-day convention emphasizing the importance of counseling in a variety of issues we are facing today. As mental health issues became more prevalent, the prevention of stigma on counseling needs promotion. But how can we overcome the stigma of counseling and allow ourselves to acknowledge that we might need help from coping with our struggles without the fear of being shamed? 

Counseling is a beneficial tool that can provide people with coping skills and a safe place to process their emotions and feelings. Despite all the efforts to end the shaming on seeking mental health support by promoting its benefits, there is still a stigma that deters people from giving counseling a try. This stigma, however, shouldn’t stop you from prioritizing your health and find ways to attain clarity in your life. No one should stop you from being happy. Here are some ways to help you overcome the stigma of seeking counseling.  

Understand that seeking help is a sign of strength

People don’t always admit that they’re struggling. It’s a culture that we must end because it will only hurt us in the long run. All people need help, and seeking a way to find a solution to your distress is a courageous thing to do. It would be best if you were congratulating yourself for finally having the strength to address your problems. 

If you have depression and other mental health disorders, you must silence the stigma of seeking help that surrounds you. As with a man who acquired a leg injury, he would go to a doctor, wouldn’t he? 

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You are not “crazy.”

The stereotypes placed on people with mental illness by popular culture limits people to understand what counseling is. Counseling is a process that includes reflection, exploring choices, and finding ways to cope with mental or emotional stressors. You are not crazy for seeking contentment and happiness in your life. Everyone’s journey is different, so is yours; you’re not “crazy” for trying a different route.

Know that you are not alone.

Isolating yourself because you think you’re the only one going through the problem you’re facing is harmful and is untrue. Many people are hesitant to discuss their struggles, but it is common to seek professional help. Everyone goes through something at some point. So, do know that you’re not alone in your fight.  

Can Relationship Counseling Save You And Your Partner?

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Tom and I have been together for five years now, and for the first two years, we had struggles with adjusting to each other’s personalities, arguing over who’s going to do what, and fighting about whether or not we should plan on moving on to the next level – whatever that level was. We’ve consulted with psychologist and psychiatrist friends, and they’ve told us that we were just in the first stages of our relationship and we should set aside our worries and anxieties and focus on compensating and giving way. Now in our fifth year, we are happier than ever. Want to know why? Read on.

 

Fact is, couples must work hard for their relationship to work. When you get past the basic infatuation-attraction phase and step up towards the living together phase, it is usual for partners to forget how they started and why they are together in the first place. When this happens, you begin to lay back and eventually, the romance disappears as quickly as you expect it to. It’s not a great phase at all.

 

Of course, some couples may think that because the romance is fading, there is nothing left fighting for and the battle has been lost. Perhaps you are right. But before giving up, and if there’s tiny hope of love and affection there, don’t you think you ought to stay a while and give your partner a chance of rekindling the love? After all, he used to be someone you committed your life and love to.

 

Why Do Relationships Crash?

Relationships fail for many reasons. Some partners cheat with one-night stands or discreet affairs; others squander the joint bank account with gambling and other forms of recreation. Finding the right partner helps, no matter how cliché that sounds. It doesn’t matter if you find that partner at Tinder or following the steps of a fortuneteller to know if your latest date is the one you’ve been waited for. What’s important is that you both share the same principles and treat each other with respect, love, and compassion.

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Your relationship will weather the storm if you are kind to each other. Unfortunately, not all individuals have the capacity to be emotionally in touch with themselves and to communicate efficiently so that they are equipped to solve the problems that come in their way. For these individuals, relationship counseling is one of the best solutions. Are you one of these individuals who need a counselor’s help? That depends. According to Chris Corbett, PsyD, “Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn.”

 

According to several studies, most partners try to be together for six years despite their struggles before they reach out to a mental health professional. I think that’s quite a long time. You’d have been through a lot of depressing days and sleepless nights. Before you know it, your relationship has gone way down that you can’t even pull it up an inch.

 

Commitment Takes Two

“Therapy can also promote positive changes in mood, insight and empathy and facilitate healthy relationships.” Said Robin D. Stone, LMHC. Relationship therapy works only if both partners are dedicated to fixing the relationship. When one partner says yes to counseling but his right foot is out of the door, and he has someone in mind other than his official partner, then definitely the counseling would be a waste of time. The therapist will eventually end the session and suggest that you don’t go back because nothing can be done to save the relationship.

 

Learning From The Counselor

On the other hand, if both partners are dead serious about saving the relationship and are hopeful that they can work it out, then the relationship counselor can help in a lot of ways. Initially, she can help you open up about your problems and differences, and both of you can be assured of safety and confidentiality. Then she provides you with powerful tools that you’ll need to fix your problems.

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In most relationships, the primary problem is the lack of communication and openness. Not arguing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a good place. It can also mean that you’re not open enough to tell each other of your faults or confident enough to say how you feel. Arguing helps resolve issues and vent out the frustrations that you have of each other. It’s much better to argue about who is doing the chores this weekend rather than let the resentment linger for months.

“Love is the root of what brings each and every one of us to therapy—the need to understand love, the hunger and desperation to find love and experience love, the desire to love and the desire to be loved,” says Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC.

If you think that you and your partner are in bad shape right now, try seeking the help of a relationship counselor. Push yourselves further and try reaching out to a professional if you feel the love and you want the love to stay forever.

 

 

 

The 2015 Connecticut Counseling Association Spring Conference

 

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Counseling is one of the most popular treatments used by many people who are suffering from mental health-related issues. When I attended the 2015 Connecticut Counseling Association Spring Conference a few years ago, I realized that many people are suffering from their mental illnesses and psychological disorders. Because of this, the services of counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists have become in demand in different parts of the world.

 

If you believe that you need to go through counseling on your own or with your loved one, it is essential that you consider the different characteristics that every excellent counselor must have. You cannot become be careless in choosing the professional who will help you understand what you are going through. Take note that you need to find someone who possesses the necessary skills that can make professional engagement more productive and meaningful.

 

Here are the top characteristics that a good counselor needs to have:

 

  • Empathy – He must be sensitive enough to know and understand the needs of his clients. He should have the capacity to think the way one of his clients does.
  • Communicates Well – Take note that effective communication is essential to make the counseling sessions work. He must be someone who can easily relate to what you are saying. At the same time, he should not interrupt you when you are talking.
  • Trustworthy – He must be the type of professional that you can trust and feel comfortable with. Keep in mind that you cannot lie to a counselor; otherwise, his professional help would prove futile. Look for someone who is guaranteed to be trustworthy.

 

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If you want to get better and become a better version of yourself, we highly recommend that you start looking for a counselor as soon as possible. Start as soon as you can!

 

 

Why We Should Celebrate Occasions Like The 2015 Kentucky Depression And Suicide Awareness Month

Whenever you talk about celebrating occasions like the 2015 Kentucky Depression and Suicide Awareness Month, people tend to share different views about it. Some are like, “Oh, yes, we should do it to inform our neighbors about the seriousness of such issues.” However, there are also others who seem – for lack of better word – too narrow-minded to realize its importance. They tend to say, “No, that will only give folks more ideas on how to end their lives” or “It’s an extremely dark topic; let’s focus on other stuff.”

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The thing is, we should never let such an occasion pass by without doing anything, especially if it’s for raising awareness about depression and suicide. These are two interconnected problems that plague the whole wide world and kill both kids and adults. Making this celebration a huge deal in your community entails that:

No One Will Stay Naive About Mental And Behavioral Disorders

A significant issue with individuals whose thoughts seem to be a little off is that they immediately think that they look at the situation in black and white. Meaning, it’s either they are crazy, or they are not. If you contemplate about it, though, mental and behavioral disorders tend to appear in gray. There’s nothing consistent about them, and healing depends on the patients themselves. Because of that, it matters to conduct an awareness campaign related to psychological illnesses annually.

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Troubled People Will Know That Others Care About Their Well-Being

When a person feels depressed or is already considering ending their suffering at once, you should understand that they are deeper down the depression lane than you expect. Their parents, siblings or friends can’t get through to them; they hardly believe that life is still worth living. Nevertheless, if there’s a month-long celebration prepared for them, it may encourage these troubled individuals to fight their condition.

 

Now, who will not want to celebrate the Depression and Suicide Awareness Month if it means that you can potentially save lives through it?

Tips To Improve Mental Health For Your Family

As a parent, you need to make it a top priority to ensure that everyone in your family has stable mental health. Everything you do must not only be geared in helping each one become successful in their individual lives but also to improve one’s mental health. Keep in mind that if the contrary happens, there is a high possibility that your loved one may become stressed, depressed or anxious. For sure, you do not want this to happen. As such, it is imperative on your part to follow these easy strategies to reach this ultimate goal.

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Exercise

Motivate your family members to engage in regular physical activities on a regular basis. Fortunately, you do not need to do it every single day. Just let everyone know that they can exercise according to his own pace. It is important to remind each member about this, especially the kids so that there will be no pressure at all. According to a recent study, exercise can improve one’s mood. The reason behind this is the release of dopamine aka “happy hormones.”

Eat Nutritiously

As much as possible do everything you can to train every member in the household to enjoy healthy food choices over the unhealthy ones. Go for food items that are less in fats and cholesterol. Aside from this, never encourage your family to follow a fad diet because it can be dangerous to one’s health. What is essential is for you to find out the top food items that will give the highest nutrients for your loved ones. Take note that your brain and body need the right nutrients to keep it going. “Eat a healthful diet, that is low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Specific dietary factors that may be beneficial in depression are the B-complex vitamins (found in whole grains) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in cold-water fish, fish oil, and flax seeds),” says ADAA member Stephanie Kriesberg, PsyD.

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Communicate Well

You must see to it that you have a good relationship with your partner and the children. Never forget to make them feel how special they are in your life. Most importantly, appreciate their presence every single day so that your family will grow to become closer to one another, Teach everyone to communicate properly so that each of you will feel comfortable in discussing personal issues or problems in school and work. Communication is the key to a better living arrangement.

Sleep Early

Train your family members to go to sleep at the same time every night. It is not an easy or simple thing to do, especially if you are still new to it. However, all your efforts will go to waste because a well-slept individual means a better person the following day. On the other hand, a person who did not get sufficient sleep for a night has a high tendency to act cranky on the next morning. The technique here is to turn off all gadgets and devices before going to sleep so that there will be no distractions. According to Staci Lee Schnell, MS,CS,LMFT, “Patients who experience continued insomnia are less likely to respond to medication and psychotherapy treatment than those without sleep problems.”

Make Time

Invest in spending quality time with your family. Do not exchange them for overtime at work or a weekend conference for business. While such events may be essential, you must still find a way to hang out with your loved ones. Despite your hectic schedule, you must exert tons of effort to make time for them. An excellent example of this is going out of town for a weekend or visiting the beach on a cold Saturday afternoon. Plan a fun activity according to your personality.

 

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Be Thankful

One of the things that you must also look into is practicing gratitude at home. Teach your kids how to be thankful for all the blessings that they have received. Introduce your children to the concept of the law of attraction to ensure that they can practice it while they are young. Believing in this universal law will not only improve your family members’ mental health but also pave a road to success.

Trust One Another

Another smart way of accomplishing the goal mentioned above is to develop a culture of trust in the home. Everyone needs to know that he can confide to anyone in the family. He can get a guarantee that whatever he will tell to the latter will not be revealed to others. Fortunately, there are several free exercises available online that can guide you on how to achieve this objective.

 Seek Professional Help

At this point, you have to understand the reality that there is a possibility that your child is the one who is already suffering from a mental health issue. Stop denying to yourself about this problem, as it will only make matters worse. The smart thing that you have to do is to find the right psychiatrist or counselor who can handle the case. Now is not the time to think of what other people might say. Put your family’s welfare as a top ty at all times. “There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression,” says Chris Corbett, PsyD.

Improve your family’s mental health by following the tips mentioned above. Take it slow until you become a mater of it.

 

Keeping Our Mental Health In Check

It is challenging to maintain wellness nowadays as it is hard to distinguish which are beneficial and which are harmful to our health. For instance, the society tells us to work hard to obtain stability, that if we do our best in our jobs, we will have abundance. However, too much work could cause us to be sick.

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Continue reading “Keeping Our Mental Health In Check”

Coping With Depression During Pregnancy

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Are you one of those soon-to-be-moms who had a bout of misery and panic attack when you found out you were pregnant? Did you ever feel guilty for being so unhappy about the supposedly good news? Then this article is for you. Let us find out the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ of pregnancy depression and how we can deal with them.

When you realize that your physical exhaustion has been too much lately, or you want to sleep more often than expected, or that you feel terrified thinking about what might happen to you and the baby, you may be experiencing prenatal depression. But be assured that you are not alone. Studies have shown that one out of ten expecting women suffer from depression at some point of their pregnancy. Generally, there is an overflow of hormones during pregnancy which may be coupled with feelings of anxiety, irritability, and chronic sadness. These emotions make pregnant women susceptible to depression, an illness that needs to be addressed.

Continue reading “Coping With Depression During Pregnancy”