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Starting Over After Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging experiences a person can have. Coming out of a relationship in which this kind of abuse was prevalent requires patience, support, and time to heal. Often, moving on seems easier said than done. 

However, life, on the other side can be beyond rewarding, and starting over, while scary, can sometimes be the best thing. If you are starting over after domestic violence, here are some tips to reclaim your life. 

Establish Safety Protocols

Escaping from domestic violence is sometimes easier said than done. In some instances, the perpetrator will let you go and move on. In other cases, they will continue to pursue the relationship. 

The first step to moving on is establishing protocols to protect yourself. It might include alerting friends and family members to the change in your relationship status, filing any necessary protection orders, and navigating whatever resources are available to you to keep yourself safe. 

Find Support Wherever You Can

Some opt for therapy, while others find they do best in a group setting, like a support group. Still, others opt to talk to people in their lives or others who have been through similar experiences. 

Whatever works for you in terms of support, do it. There is no one way to move on with your life after escaping from domestic violence. Choose the option that best suits your situation and your life and commit to it. The emotional and mental trauma that can remain after domestic violence can be insidious, so support can help you to heal. 

Give Yourself Choices

Domestic violence is often based on control. Victims typically have few, if any, choices on just about anything. So, as much as you can, give yourself options. Learn how to think independently of your trauma. It will also help you learn more about what you want out of life and what you like. 

You may find delight in making even the smallest of choices, from what ice cream to eat at night to what shirt you want to wear in the morning. Celebrate the fact that you’ve reclaimed your life to the point where you can make decisions without fear of reprisal.  

Figure Out What Brings You Joy – And Do It

If you have lived through domestic violence, chances are your former partner did whatever they could to stand between you and joy. Therefore, moving on means reclaiming your happiness. That starts by finding out what brings you joy and doing it!

Perhaps before the relationship you had a hobby or wanted to try something new – but your partner prevented you from pursuing those dreams.

Everything and anything is on the table. 

Consider new ways to live your life out loud that you perhaps had not considered before and go for it. Moving on after such a traumatic experience means finding ways to bring yourself as much joy as you can find. 

Rebuild Relationships

Perpetrators of domestic violence often invest a great deal of time in isolating those that they victimize. You may be reluctant to pick back up on those relationships, but one of the best ways to move on with your life is to take back that power. 

If you were separated from your family members or friends, give them a call. Let them know as much or as little as you are comfortable sharing. Rebuilding relationships will provide you another outlet and also ensures that you have even more support as you move forward in your life.

You might be surprised to find how supportive they are when they find out more about your story. Don’t assume that the people in your life won’t be understanding; if they love you, they will be there for you. 

Set boundaries as you rebuild relationships and make it clear that you are healing. Ask for space to do that and avoid relationships that might represent setbacks or cause you to feel worse about yourself. Re-connecting is an integral part of moving forward and learning more about what you will or won’t tolerate from any relationship, romantic or otherwise. 

Cultivate a Positive Inner Voice

Chances are, while you were dealing with domestic violence, you either quieted your inner voice or suffered a great deal of negative self-talk. There is no greater time to change that than now. Moving on with your life means being much nicer to yourself.

Do all of the things you wished someone would do for you while you were in the relationship:

  • Compliment yourself in the mirror every day.
  • Wear your favorite clothing and tell yourself how pretty you look.
  • Congratulate yourself on how well you are doing.
  • Celebrate every single milestone, no matter how big or small.
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself.

The more you cultivate a positive inner voice, the more capable you will be in creating a life worth living.

Take it Slow

Healing is not a linear path, and you may find that it takes time to move on with your life after the trauma of domestic violence. While there is an entire life waiting for you, there is no need to rush into it. 

You have to learn to become comfortable with yourself again. It is especially true if you were in an abusive relationship for a lengthy period. It may be all you know, and it may take some time for you to learn how to live outside of that trauma again.

So, make a move today and contact one of our knowledgable professionals here at our Mental Health and Psychiatric Facility. We will be here waiting to assist you at Solara Mental Health Clinic

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How to Curb a Busy Mind: The Ultimate Meditation Guide

It’s estimated that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day.

This being an average, it means that some of us will have fewer thoughts. Some of us will have many more.

If you find that your mind is becoming overactive, it can cause a lot of stress. A busy mind can leave us unable to fully switch off or relax, which isn’t good for our health.

If this sounds like you, then read on as we look at some simple but effective ways to curb a busy mind.

What Is a Busy Mind?

A busy mind can be a mixture of thoughts, worries and anxieties, emotions, doubts, and other thought patterns.

We all have these types of thoughts on a daily basis, but when the sheer number of these thoughts begins to get too much, then you’re suffering from a busy mind. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things, but when you start overthinking and aren’t able to control the number of thoughts you’re having, then you might want to consider ways to curb your busy mind.

How to Curb a Busy Mind

There are some simple but effective exercises you can try which can help to calm your busy mind. By incorporating these exercises into your daily life, you can begin to calm your mind and remove the stress that a busy mind can cause.

The Power of Pause

The modern world moves at a relentless pace, and it can feel like it’s not going to stop to give you a chance to catch your breath. Even if the world doesn’t pause for a second, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Take a moment to pause and focus your attention on your senses, allowing you to refresh and renew yourself without any other concerns. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a body scan.

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap
  • If you can, close your eyes
  • Bring your attention to your feet and feel the sensations as they interact with the floor
  • Bring your attention to your legs and how they feel against whatever you are sitting on
  • Now bring your attention to your chest and focus on your breathing, noticing the rise and fall
  • Bring your attention to your arms and hands, noticing any sensations within them
  • Open your eyes and feel how a short pause has made you feel refreshed and renewed

If you find your busy mind starts to think about other things during this exercise, don’t allow this to cause tension within you. Just acknowledge what has happened and redirect your attention to your body.

The power of the pause doesn’t have to involve taking a long break from your day. Try to incorporate short pauses into your daily life to slow things down a little. You could take a short pause:

  • After completing your current task and before moving on to the next
  • If you are interrupted, before dealing with the interruption
  • If your phone rings or you get a message or email, take a short pause before checking your phone

By building these small pauses into your day, you break up the relentless pace of daily life and allow yourself room to breathe.

Mindful Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you suddenly realize you didn’t take in a single thing they said? Sometimes our minds are racing so much we fail to give attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening involves bringing your full attention to the conversation you are having. Follow these steps:

  • Stop whatever else you are doing and focus solely on the conversation
  • Take a breath to give yourself time to process what you hear
  • Focus only on the content of what is being said rather than how it makes you feel
  • Ask yourself if you understand what has been said and if not, ask for clarification
  • Reflect back on what you have been told to confirm your understanding

It can be harder to practice mindful listening when you’re on the phone rather than face to face. During phone calls:

  • Put down anything you are holding so you’re not tempted to fiddle
  • If it helps, close your eyes so that you’re not distracted by anything in your field of view
  • Try to sit as still as possible to remove any distracting physical sensations

Connecting With Your Senses

A busy mind usually stems from thinking or worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. A simple but effective way to pause those thoughts is to focus on the present moment.

One way to do that is to connect with your senses and bring your attention to what you are feeling in the here and now. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to take time out to do so; you can perform this exercise whilst going about your day. For example:

  • When you’re eating, focus your attention on the sensations in your mouth and on your tongue
  • When you’re getting dressed in the morning, bring your attention to the feeling of your clothes against your skin
  • If you’re in bed at night, listen to the sounds in your room and outside
  • If you’re driving, notice the sensations of your hands on the steering wheel
  • If you’re out walking, notice the different smells around you

By bringing your attention to the present moment, you stop your brain from worrying about the past or the future, giving your busy mind a break and allowing yourself to reset and recharge.

Are You Looking to Curb a Busy Mind?

If you’re struggling to curb a busy mind and you find that these techniques aren’t sufficient to make a difference, then we’re to help.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, from mood and anxiety disorders to trauma and personality disorders. We have the highest success rate of any comparable program based on published scientific outcome statistics. We also offer luxurious off-site housing right next door to our treatment center so that you can move seamlessly between your appointments and your accommodation.

We’re here to help; contact us today.

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Learn the Difference: Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

Recognizing the symptoms and causes of a panic attack vs anxiety attack is a crucial step to releasing yourself from the grip of the attack.

One difference is that panic attacks may begin suddenly, while anxiety attacks escalate more gradually. Still, every person experiences panic and anxiety in different ways.

Once you can better differentiate between the two experiences, it might also be beneficial to share this information with a loved one. Then, they can better support you when you’re having a panic attack or anxiety attack.

Learning more about how your body responds to stress and trauma means you can begin to develop a deeper relationship with yourself. If you want to more fully understand your body, your mind, and your triggers, keep reading.

What’s a Panic Attack

When your autonomic nervous system takes charge of your body, it’s perceiving a threat to your person and reacting in the only ways it knows how.

This can also be referred to as your fight or flight response (which also includes the freeze and fawn responses).

Your body is bracing for impact, even if that potential danger is a conversation or a fear of elevators, and not a predator or hurricane. That being said, this stress is still genuine, even if the potential trigger doesn’t seem like it should be a “big deal.”

Panic attacks can arrive quickly. Sometimes there are no warning signs, and the physical symptoms can feel overwhelming.

In addition, panic attacks are typically more short-lived and subside in around 10 minutes. This may not be the case for all panic attacks, but it is a general estimation.

What’s an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks can more frequently or easily be connected to a specific trigger.

For example, if you’re anticipating stress about a business meeting, that pre-event stress can cause an anxiety attack.

The level of overwhelm can vary for anxiety attacks. But the symptoms are more likely to linger in your body for minutes or hours after recovering from the attack.

These symptoms may grow and subside multiple times throughout the experience, as well.

Frequent anxiety attacks can be a result of other mental health conditions or phobias. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), claustrophobia, and other memories of trauma can cause extreme anxiety.

All the Symptoms

The symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety attacks are similar. So, it’s understandable why it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the two.

But there are a few symptoms that might be able to help you identify which experience you’re having, and potentially why it might be happening.

Panic Attack Symptoms

Some panic attack symptoms include chest pain, nausea, sweating, and dizziness.

While an anxiety attack could exhibit similar symptoms, a panic attack can also include feeling a loss of control. This feeling can be accompanied by a fear that you will die, or mentally dissociating from yourself or your surroundings.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Symptoms of an anxiety attack might also involve irritability, numbness in your arms or legs, and shortness of breath.

Anxiety attacks are currently included in the DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But, some other symptoms attributed to anxiety attacks are extreme worry and distress, and restlessness.

Possible Triggers

What causes panic attacks and anxiety attacks could be any singular event or a combination of stressors.

An upcoming work project or social gathering could trigger an anxiety attack. Recalling past trauma or being in a toxic relationship could cause a panic attack. Or, the resulting reaction could be vice versa.

What You Can Do

While you can’t necessarily control when or how a panic attack or anxiety attack occurs, there are some things you can do to reduce your stress.

Over time, you can learn to recognize and accept your emotional and physiological responses.

At Home

There are some holistic relaxation practices you can incorporate into your routines and reactions at home to help with anxiety and panic. Some of these include breathing patterns and other mindfulness efforts.

Learning to relax and destress isn’t something that happens in a day or two. It is a regular practice of returning to the present moment.

You have to learn to recognize that your body’s response to danger isn’t founded in any physical threat to your well-being.

In other words, your stress is still real and valid. But the threat your mind perceives will not actually physically harm you in that moment of overwhelming stress.

Practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling can also help bring your body back to reality and reset your mind’s perspective.

Lifestyle Changes

While practicing yoga and coloring are effective methods to relax, they can only help so much.

If showing up at your job every day is a constant source of stress, or your three cups of coffee are more for comfort than for increasing productivity, you might need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Huge stressors like your job, your relationship, and your eating habits can be significant triggers for panic attacks or anxiety attacks. Altering your lifestyle is imperative to reduce your body’s overwhelming responses to stress.

Try to slowly cut back on your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Incorporate physical movement into each day. If you want to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles, join a support group.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

It may be confusing to determine the differences between a panic attack vs anxiety attack. Ultimately, your main job is to take care of yourself and recognize how your body is responding to extreme stress.

If you resonated with this information, make sure you have all the information you need before you make any significant life decisions. If you’d like to seek out more in-depth personal care, check out our programs here.

7 Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety Most People Don’t Notice

Anxiety hurts. 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making them the most common mental illness in the United States.

Few people would imagine just how prevalent anxiety is. Mental illness isn’t a physical disease. It doesn’t show up on the body. It resides in the mind, which can make it hard to recognize.

High-functioning anxiety is especially difficult to see. Many people who have it are successful people. Yet, it can be crippling.

Learn to recognize the signs of high-functioning anxiety, and you can learn how to manage it. Here are seven signs of what it’s like.

1. Being an Overachiever

It’s important to set goals and take strides toward them. But people with high-functioning anxiety may set too many high goals.

People with high-functioning anxiety may not stop working. They don’t take vacations, and they stay late at the office. Once they achieve a goal, they set a new one and start working on it.

A person may never feel satisfied with their work. Their coworkers and boss may regard them very positively. But all that matters to the overachiever is the next goal to hit.

It’s hard to recognize when someone is an overachiever. Overachievers meet deadlines and present a professional appearance. Many overachievers have full and active social lives.

But they can’t stop working. Their anxiety compels them to keep going, beyond a point that is healthy.

2. Being a Perfectionist

A little anxiety can serve as a mental check. It can help a person recognize the mistakes they have made and correct them. But too much anxiety can prompt a person to be too cautious.

Someone with high-functioning anxiety stresses out over every detail. They may revise a written work many times over. They may check-in with employees many times a day, exercising too much control.

They may become afraid of failure. If they make one small mistake, they view themselves as having failed.

People with high-functioning anxiety can become focused on results, neglecting the process of creating work. The people around them usually see them as good workers. But the truth is they are pushing themselves too hard.

3. Apologizing for Insignificant Things

A related behavior to perfectionism is over-apologizing. Many bosses forgive or correct small mistakes. But to someone with anxiety, no mistake is too small.

Many people with high-functioning anxiety apologize for something that isn’t their fault. They take responsibility for someone else’s mistake. They take responsibility for an accident that was outside their control.

Apologizing for small things may lead someone to take on more work. They want to correct a mistake, so they redo their work or ask for another task. This can cause a person to feel stretched too thin.

4. Inability to Say “No”

The fear of failure leads many people to associate failure with the smallest things. When they say “no” to someone, they think they are failing in that person’s eyes. As such, many people with high-functioning anxiety don’t say “no.”

Like apologizing, this can lead people to overexert themselves. They take on more work than they should. They stay later to work, exhausting themselves.

The inability to say “no” can lead to trouble in social areas. A person may commit themselves to a relationship that isn’t good for them. They may give too much to their partner and not ask for anything in return.

5. Overthinking

Some tasks deserve more thought than others. Someone with high-functioning anxiety may apply the same level of thought to all tasks.

Someone gives a 100-word assignment the same priority as a 500-word one. They apply sophisticated techniques that aren’t warranted.

This causes the person to exhaust themselves. It can also hurt their work process. They may turn in assignments too late because they spend so much time thinking it over.

A person can even overthink their physical and mental health. They may become a hypochondriac, convinced that they have significant health problems. They may diagnose themselves with generalized anxiety when they have another condition.

6. Too Little Sleep

The most common physical symptom of high-functioning anxiety is too little sleep. A person spends the night at the office, rather than going to bed.

When they do go to bed, their mind is racing. They keep overthinking things, and they can’t fall asleep.

They may wake up in the middle of the night, consumed in thought. They may also wake up early so they can get work done.

7. Coping With Drugs or Alcohol

People with high-functioning anxiety may use drugs to work longer. Drugs can provide a rush that gives them more energy. They may become dependent on drugs or alcohol for feelings of happiness or pleasure.

Some people may recognize that their behavior isn’t healthy. But they don’t seek professional help. They turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their problems.

Daily Coping Tips for High-Functioning Anxiety

There are many treatment options for people with high-functioning anxiety. If anything in your mental or physical health troubles you, go to a doctor immediately.

You can receive a formal diagnosis of generalized, high-functioning, and/or social anxiety. Your doctor can point to any medical conditions that cause your anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients to identify negative thoughts. They practice new skills, learning to set attainable goals. They monitor themselves, developing problem-solving strategies to meet challenges.

Psychodynamic therapy allows patients to examine their own lives. They determine the roots and triggers of their anxiety. They learn management methods and grow to have a sense of peace in their lives.

Commit to spending fifteen minutes every day on your mental health. Practice sleep hygiene, sticking to a regular schedule.

When you notice a negative thought, counter it with something realistic. Practice deep breathing and muscle stretching to control your tension.

Go and Get the Help You Deserve

High-functioning anxiety can be complicated and isolating. But you can get help. Recognize some common signs, and you can start improving your mental health.

The most common signs are being an overachiever and a perfectionist. Apologizing for insignificant things and being unable to say “no” are also common.

Many people overthink things, causing them to lose sleep. Some turn to alcohol and drugs to help them work longer or to cope.
You have worth. Find some help that can maximize your worth.

Solara Mental Health is San Diego’s leading mental health clinic. Contact us today, or call us at 844-263-4882.

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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)? How Well Does it Work to Treat Depression and Anxiety?

speaking with mental health professional about treatment

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Depression and anxiety have a new treatment option, and it is becoming more widely used all across the United States. What is transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS?

How well does TMS work?
Does it sound too “science fiction-ey”?

More than 16 million adults in the United States experienced a major depressive episode between 2017 and 2018, and with medical science advancing as rapidly as it is, it’s no wonder that new technologies and therapies are beginning to take the stage as options to conventional mental health treatment plans.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS is a magnetic stimulation technique intended to target nerves in your brain that affect your mental health. More specifically, the magnetic field, delivered through a special device you wear on or over your head, stimulates the brain cells known to affect mood. The levels of magnetic energy used are in low amounts, at an individual’s unique brain frequency.

Most TMS sessions take 20 to 60 minutes, and don’t require any time to recover afterward. About four to six weeks into treatment (daily, five days a week) is when most patients start noticing significant results, and after that initial treatment, patients only need to go on an “as needed” basis. Regardless of the fact that it’s not meant to be a permanent cure, patients who undergo TMS therapy feel much better overall for several months up to a full year afterward.

Many lifelong depression and anxiety patients who have undergone TMS treatments for at least a month to six weeks will tell you that they begin seeing positive results immediately after each treatment.

TMS was approved in 2008 to treat depression and in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved TMS therapy to treat some migraine conditions. In the fall of 2018 the FDA went on to approve TMS to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and studies are currently underway to see if it can be a viable treatment for other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some aspects of TMS appear to simulate what some medications do, e.g., the release of dopamine that happens after a TMS session is similar (but not exactly the same) to what a medication can do.

But TMS can restore functionality, and that’s the important thing. Patients who undergo TMS treatment report “feeling normal” again, compared to patients on psychotropic medications who feel “different” than they do normally, because of some of the medication’s side effects.

What’s so Great About TMS?

TMS is part of a newer generation of developing technologies informed by neuroscience and easier to use than current technologies. It could very well be a look at the future of mental health care: it’s non-invasive, immediately effective after the first month to six weeks of treatment for long periods of time, and it’s especially effective for those with more severe depression and anxiety.

After the brief treatment, patients can get back to being engaged with their lives immediately, with a more positive outlook, and all the energy they need to do all the things they normally do. Further research shows that even just a few minutes of TMS daily can make a significant improvement in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

TMS side effects are few and they are mild. Common side effects include minor headaches, lightheadedness, and some scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. Some facial muscle spasms, and tingling or twitching of these muscles has also been reported during treatment sessions

What’s the Difference Between TMS and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

TMS has shown itself to be a viable alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for patients who are resistant to conventional mental illness treatments.

There are some key differences between TMS and ECT treatments:

  • ECT requires anesthesia and typically a hospital stay while TMS does not.
  • ECT brings with it the risk of memory loss and cognitive confusion. Patients undergoing TMS have not manifested these side effects.
  • ECT is designed to create a brief seizure in the patient as a part of the treatment session. TMS does not utilize seizures as a way to treat patients.

TMS Accessibility?

If you’ve tried several types of antidepressants or other standard depression treatment, and have not received relief from your symptoms, you may want to discuss TMS with your mental health care professional. Ask him or her about the benefits and risks, and if TMS could be a good addition to your treatment.

TMS currently has one downside: the cost. It costs up to $10,000 to 15,000 for the initial four-to-six-week treatment. Though TMS has been approved by the FDA to treat depression and anxiety after trying one antidepressant medication that proved unsuccessful at controlling depressive/anxiety symptoms, many insurance companies won’t cover the treatment until after a patient has tried at least four different antidepressants. Double check with your insurance company to see if your coverage will cover TMS treatments if you are considering. It is still less expensive than ECT.

As always, maintain your sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques as you normally would, even if you do undergo TMS treatment, as it will not be effective if you are not taking care of yourself.

Have you heard about TMS? Post a comment below. . .We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Are you struggling with mental health issues? Mental health is very manageable. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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The Best Reasons to Let Jasmine Plants and Their Essential Oils Help with Your Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks

jasmine flowers can help you with your depression, anxiety, and overall mental health

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Scientists have concluded that the scent of jasmine has such therapeutic benefits that it could possibly end up being used as a medication alternative for depression, stress, anxiety, sleep, and other disorders. 

Is jasmine (or any other plant) really capable of helping boost your mood and relieve anxiety?

It’s common knowledge that one benefit of having plants indoors is that they help improve air quality by circulating oxygen freely. Less well known is the fact that, as simple as it seems, there are several plants that can actually alleviate several mental illness symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Your brain needs a sufficient supply of oxygen to function properly. Scientific research has already shown direct relationships between stress and tainted oxygen levels. When toxins exist in the indoor air spike, so do levels of stress/anxiety, which can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, otherwise known as depression.

Has anyone ever told you that when you start feeling stressed, or feel a panic attack coming on, to take a break and walk around the block for a few minutes to “clear your head”? By the way, it really does work!

It should come as a “no-brainer,” then, that one of your first lines of defense against stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression is to keep the air clean in your environment.

And if you’ve never smelled jasmine, know that the scent rising off of the petals is delightfully sweet and inviting. No wonder that jasmine’s scent is found in more than 83 percent of all women’s fragrances and in about one-third of all men’s.

JASMINE FOR ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS AND DEPRESSION

Jasmine oil is derived from the white/yellow jasmine flower (often listed as Jasminum officinale), and therefore sports a pleasant, flowery scent. It has been used for centuries in Asia as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, emotional distress, low libido, and insomnia. The word Jasmine has evolved from the Persian yasmin, meaning “a gift from God” due to the patently strong aroma created by the jasmine flower.

Researchers have shown that jasmine essential oil and plant aromas can sedate lab mice quite quickly. When exposed to the fragrance of jasmine, normally active mice will cease all movement and activity and “just chill” in a corner of their cages.

Jasmine’s scent directly impacts a brain/central nervous system chemical known as GABA, which results in the calming of the nerves, a soothing of anxiety/mild depression, and the facilitating of rest. This GABA effect was bolstered by more than five times when exposed to jasmine fragrance, to be more precise, overshadowing the same effect caused by other scents. Jasmine was also shown to be more effective than anti-anxiety meds and sleeping pills in promoting quality sleep. One study indicated that the disbursement of jasmine fragrance into a roomful of sleeping test subjects noticeably led to less tossing and turning and heightened sleep efficiency, even without additional sleep time.

Scientists went on to say that this demonstrated link between jasmine aroma and relaxed mood may be among the strongest arguments in support of the viability of aromatherapy as a mental health treatment method.

JASMINE ESSENTIAL OIL FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Scientific studies show some other benefits of indulging in the scent of jasmine:

  • Almost instantaneous soothing of nervous tension; alleviates spasms
  • Promotes feelings of contentment and happiness
  • Boosts cognitive performance, concentration, and alertness, even in the late afternoon hours when most people are beginning to slow down and “fade out” for the day
  • Balance of mood swings, blood pressure, PMS symptoms, hormones, menopause/hot flashes, and libido
  • Defuses aggression
  • Boosts vigor/vitality
  • Can lower blood pressure
  • Long-term treatment for insomnia
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Combats bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Alleviates coughing
  • Skin care; including reduction of visibility of scarring/scar tissue

How do you use jasmine oil?

What are the best ways to apply and enjoy the benefits of jasmine oil/plants? Here are a few:

  • You can inhale the jasmine fragrance through your nose or apply it directly to the skin. Even just a few drops will have a noticeable effect before long. How soothing is it? Some research has referred to the jasmine scent as being “as good as valium at calming the nerves without the side effects.”
  • Don’t worry about combining it with a carrier oil. Use it undiluted for the best results.
  • You can, however combine it with other essential oils, as well as with lotions, coconut oil, and for a variety of other household/personal uses. Try it as a massage oil or in candles/soaps.
  • Combine with other essential oils (e.g., citrus oil, vanilla, lavender, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, and others).
  • Apply a few drops to a washcloth (with or without lavender oil) and toss in the dryer with your clothes. Voila! Your own homemade dryer sheets that will soften your clothes, make them smell great, and boost your mood!

Keep in mind that while jasmine plants/oils can help alleviate depressive/anxiety-driven symptoms, they are no substitute for proper therapy with someone properly trained and licensed to help you with any serious cases of mental disorder. Consult with a mental health professional.

WHAT DO YOU USE FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ALLEVIATION?? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Are you struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Both are treatable, and their treatment usually leads to an improved sense of overall wellness and better sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

CBD Oil and Anxiety (Is it Legal? Are There Side Effects? And is it Safe?)

CBD Oil and Anxiety
(Is it Legal? Are There Side Effects? And is it Safe?)

With all the increasing public discussion of the topic, you may have wondered: Does CBD oil help with anxiety disorders and panic attacks? Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural cannabis plant extract rich in cannabinoids (a.k.a. plant-specific chemicals), that bind to certain receptors in the human brain when consumed. The most commonly known cannabinoid is, of course, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is only one of many cannabinoids and is famous for causing people to feel “high” after smoking marijuana.

Cannabidiol, on the other hand, binds to brain receptors like other cannabinoids, but without causing a “high,” and there are many who argue in favor of more mainstream use of CBD oil, arguing that it features many health benefits, that it can improve mental health, and even slow the spread of cancer in the body.

CBD oil is an oil like any other, that can be used for cooking, for adding just a few drops to a beverage, or even for direct consumption. Anyone who tells you it is healthy to smoke CBD oil may be high themselves, as there is no research to back that claim up.

About 20 percent of the population in the United States (that’s one in five) suffers from some form of anxiety or other. If this includes you, you may already be on the lookout for the best ways to calm down and relax.

How does CBD oil work?

Cannabinoids are the “feelin’ good” molecules released by your body when you are relaxed, feeling secure, or in the middle of something that causes you to be happy (e.g. going to bed the night before a long weekend, feeling validated by the positive comments from co-workers about a project you worked hard on and take pride in, etc.). Other times your body releases cannabinoids (the main cannabinoid molecule is known as anandamide) include times when you get enough sleep and awake feeling rested, or when you exercise.

This dynamic of your body releasing cannabinoids helps keep your body and mind in optimal balance. The release of cannabinoids helps your stomach and gastrointestinal system run well, reduces inflammation, and helps you maintain a good mood. There is research that shows that cannabinoids from CBD can stop the deterioration of anandamide in your body, and this means more ongoing “feel goods.”

Is CBD oil legal? 

CBD oil, extracted from hemp, is legal all over the U.S., so it can be consumed without the accompanying legal concerns that come with marijuana use.

Does CBD oil make you high?

CBD oil will not give you a high. Supplemental CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant known as hemp, which is closely related to marijuana. But CBD oil is virtually devoid of THC (which WILL get you high). There are trace amounts of THC in CBD oil, but not nearly enough to cause any psychoactive effects. CBD oil has actually been shown to offset the effects of THC use, including the reduction of paranoia, reduction in appetite spike, and mitigating weight gain.  CBD oil relaxes the body, relieves pain, and does not suppress breathing centers the way opioids do, which eliminates any concerns regarding overdose.

The main thing CBD oil does is help you relax, reduce anxiety, and it can even help you sleep better.

Can the use of CBD oil make you test positive in a drug test?

As previously mentioned, CBD has hardly any THC worth noting, so there is slim to no chance it will make you test positive for THC in a drug test. When in doubt, it’s better to consult with your employer regarding CBD oil use before taking any drug tests.

Is CBD effective to treat anxiety?

Research on animals and humans has shown that CBD may help lower feelings of isolation, reduce effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), relieve symptoms of autism, panic attacks, and even depression. CBD oil also seems capable of calming the brain and supporting the hippocampus (area of the brain that affects memory and healthy emotion processing).

Conditions that CBD oil has been shown in research to ease include social anxiety, psychosis, negative effects of antipsychotic medications, all without more serious side effects such as paranoia, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and spike in appetite. It is also being studied to see if it can help with childhood epilepsy.

Is CBD oil safe?

CBD seems to be safe to use*. In fact, the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has asserted that CBD oil is safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of CBD oil to treat children for epilepsy. It is worth noting that caution should be taken when approaching CBD use, as it is not regulated, nor has extensive research been done.

Keep in mind that, because of the way your liver works, CBD oil may affect the way other drugs affect your body. Be sure to check with your physician or mental health professional before you use CBD. This is NOT a substance you want to self-medicate on, especially if you have sensitive health conditions or if you’re taking other prescription medications.

How much CBD oil should I take?

It’s recommended to start with about 15mg of CBD oil once or twice daily with food.  CBD gummies and beverages may have already started flooding the shelves in the area where you live, but it’s likely that they are made with lower grade CBD. It is important to purchase CBD oil produced by reputable companies.

It’s never a good idea to take supplements for anxiety without making appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes, including stress relief practices like meditation, to get the full benefit out of them.

*Note: Solara Mental Health makes no official endorsement of CBD oil.

What do you use to relax? Leave a comment below!

Have you considered trying out CBD oil to help treat depression and/or anxiety? If so, do so responsibly by consulting with a professional, rather than self-medicate. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

 

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Water, Depression, and Anxiety

Can drinking water help my depression and anxiety

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can drinking plenty of water help alleviate depression and anxiety?

Several approaches can be taken to help manage mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Common approaches to managing mental health include: counseling, medications, removing stressors from your life, exercising consistently, getting enough sleep, proper diet, meditation, yoga, etc. The list goes on.

There is one simple remedy that’s been right in front of you all along, that you may not have picked up on yet: Helping your depression and/or anxiety by staying adequately hydrated throughout the day.

Every system in the human body counts on water to function, and the brain is no exception. In fact, about 75 percent of brain tissue is water. Research has linked dehydration to depression and anxiety, because mental health is driven primarily by your brain’s activity. Long story short, dehydration causes brain functioning to slow down and not function properly. It is important to think of water as a nutrient your brain needs.

How dehydration contributes to depression

Depression is a complex mental illness that has many moving parts in the inter-functionalities between your brain and body. Though it would be overly simplistic to say that dehydration is a direct cause for all types of depression, dehydration and depression are causally connected in many ways; in fact, one resulting symptom of chronic dehydration actually turns out to be depression.

Dehydration causes depression in at least three ways:

Dehydration Saps Your Brain’s Energy. Dehydration impedes energy production in your brain. Many of your brain’s functions require this type of energy become inefficient and can even shut down. The resulting mood disorders that result from this type of dysfunction can be categorized with depression.

Social stresses such as anxiety, fear, insecurity, ongoing emotional problems, etc., including depression can be tied to not consuming enough water to the point that your brain’s tissue is affected.

Dehydration impedes your brain’s serotonin production. Depression is frequently related to subpar levels of serotonin, which is a critical neurotransmitter that heavily affects your mood. Serotonin is created from the amino acid tryptophan, but sufficient water is needed.

Dehydration can also negatively impact other amino acids, resulting in feelings of dejection, inadequacy, anxiety, and irritability.

Dehydration increases stress in your body. Stress is one of the most prominent contributing factors to depression, along with a sense of powerlessness and inability to cope with stressors.

Dehydration is the number one cause of stress in your body. In fact, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle: dehydration can cause stress, and stress can cause dehydration. When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands produce extra cortisol, the stress hormone, and under chronic stress, your adrenal glands can become exhausted, and resulting in lower electrolyte levels.

Drinking sufficient water can help reduce the negative psychological and physiological impacts of stress.

Dehydration and anxiety

As with depression, dehydration rarely causes anxiety as a cause by itself, but not drinking adequate water puts you at risk for increased anxiety symptoms now, and possibly the development of higher anxiety levels in the future. In short, dehydration causes stress, and when your body is stressed, you experience depression and anxiety as a result. Therefore, you want to ensure you are properly hydrated daily, especially if you are naturally anxiety-prone.

Water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely as a result of addressing dehydration’s effects on the body and brain. Drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Even if you’re not experiencing anxiety, drinking sufficient water can create feelings of relaxation.

Dehydration and panic attacks

Panic attacks are common results of high anxiety caused by dehydration. Panic attacks typically have physical triggers, and one of those triggers is dehydration. When dehydration occurs, if you’re prone to panic attacks, you can easily begin to panic, even to the point of feeling like you’re dying.

When dehydrated, you expose yourself to many of the symptoms that trigger panic attacks, such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling faint/lightheaded

While keeping yourself hydrated may not stop the panic attacks, they may become less frequent, or at least some of the triggers may be diminished.

How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?

Some dehydration signals are pretty obvious, but not all. Signs of dehydration you may or may not have been aware of include:

  • Increased hunger. Hunger and thirst signals come from the same part of the brain, so it’s no surprise that they might be confused. Hunger, even when you know you’ve eaten enough, probably means you need to drink some water, not eat more.
  • Dryness. Dehydration is reflected in common signs of dryness, including dry, itchy skin, dry mouth, chapped lips, etc.
  • Headache. Lack of water facilitates a shortage of oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in a headache.
  • Fatigue and weak/cramped muscles. Muscle weakness, spasms, cramping, etc., are common signs of dehydration.
  • Bad breath. Bad breath usually means you need some water to refresh yourself. Dehydration induces dry mouth, which means you’re not producing enough saliva to help your mouth fight off odorous bacteria.
  • Rapid heartbeat, rapid/shallow breathing, fever, cloudy thinking. These can be signals of severe dehydration, and you may need to seek medical attention.

How much water should you be drinking every day?

Your ideal daily water intake depends on your gender, stress levels, weight, climate, exercise levels, whether or not you’re sick, etc. But a rule of thumb is 11.5 cups (92 oz.) of water per day for women, and 15.5 cups (124 oz.) for men. If you have a hard time stomaching plain water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Avoid beverages as much as possible that contain sodium, as sodium dehydrates you: soda/diet soda, energy drinks, etc.

You should ramp up your fluid intake accordingly if one or more of the following apply to your situation:

  • Engaging in long, intense workout sessions
  • Illnesses with fever, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Hot or humid climate
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding mothers
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Dieting

You can verify how hydrated you are based on the color of your urine. If you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will be a very clear/pale yellow color. If you’re dehydrated, your urine will be a dark yellow or tan color.  If it’s a dark yellow color and of a thick/syrupy consistency, that means you’re very dehydrated. Drink some water!

Conclusion

Keeping yourself adequately hydrated is not a cure-all for depression or anxiety. You will definitely want to seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

But getting in the habit of drinking enough water daily will definitely help alleviate many of the causes and symptoms of mood volatility. Think of it as a viable part of the foundation of your long-term mental health management plan.

Are you struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Both are treatable, and their treatment usually leads to an improved sense of overall wellness and better sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

7 Foods You Need to Avoid to Help Your Depression or Anxiety

7 foods you need to avoid to help with your depression or anxiety

Image courtesy of USAF

What foods and beverages will make your depression and/or anxiety worse? Perhaps a better question would be, “What doesn’t make us more depressed or anxious these days?” Right?

But perhaps taking a less cynical and more rational approach is best. To further explore how your diet affects your mood and functionality, consider the fact that the food you eat nourishes and strengthens your body. It must therefore have a direct impact on your body, including your brain.  And as your brain regulates your body’s functions, including your mood, part of your mental health management would necessarily have to involve dietary considerations.

There is much research indicating that individuals who maintain a diet with less inflammatory foods and beverages also maintain lower risks of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, many, if not most of the foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD) will cause inflammation. Healthier eating regimens include vitamins, antioxidants, high-grade proteins, and healthy fats.

The most common offenders include:

  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Vegetable oils

That’s a list given in broad terms, but let’s go through a more specific list of foods and drinks that cause depression and why.

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid processed foods as much as possible. If you frequently consume fried foods, processed meats, refined cereals, pastries, high-fat dairy, candy, etc., you’re likely to be making your depression and anxiety worse. Stick with as much fish, fruits, vegetables, whole fiber-rich grains to help stabilize your mood more consistently.

Here they are: Some foods to avoid to help your depression and anxiety.
Note this list is not exhaustive.

  1. Sugary and Diet Soft Drinks. This list includes soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, Kool-Aid, etc. What’s so bad about them?
  • Soda Pop/Kool-Aid: This is a no-brainer to avoid. All sugar, and no nutrition. Sugar is very addictive, and plays with your brain’s incentive/reward system, which leads to depressive moods when you don’t have the sugar your body and brain crave. A better alternative if you’re craving a sugary soda drink would be seltzer water with just a splash of fruit juice. Too much caffeine often found in soda pop and diet soda can make anxiety worse, too. Try seltzer water with a splash of lime, cranberry, or orange juice. Or simply keep yourself hydrated with enough water your body needs. Your cravings for soda will go away.
  • Diet Soda: If you get rid of the sugar, you should be fine, right? Not exactly. A common artificial soft drink sweetener, aspartame, has been directly linked to depression. With diet drinks you won’t experience the energy/post-sugar crash, but diet soda can still get you depressed, perhaps even more than regular soda can. Your brain thinks it’s getting the sugar it’s craving, but it’s not, so it gets depressed.
  • Fruit Juice: Fruits not only contain healthy vitamins our bodies need, they also contain natural fiber that helps you feel full while slowing down how your blood absorbs energy. No fiber means just vitamin-packed sugar water that gets your blood up, followed by a post-sugar crash. Again, your body thinks it’s getting something it wants or needs, but is being left wanting. If you like fruit, eat it whole, and if you’re thirsty, try plenty of water, or seltzer + a splash of  your favorite fruit juice.
  • Energy Drinks: Energy drinks can cause abnormal heart palpitations, disrupted sleep, and heightened anxiety because of the caffeine and vitamin stimulants found in them (A common energy-boosting ingredient, guarana, has lots of caffeine). And don’t forget all the sugar or artificial sweeteners found in energy drinks. Water is your best bet to satisfy thirst, , while a piece of fruit nicely takes the edge off of a sugar craving.
  1. Alcohol. This one should go without saying, since alcohol is classified as a depressant. In addition to the high levels of sugar in alcohol, small quantities of it alone can disrupt your sleep, which can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and then later, depression. Too much sleep, which may result from overdrinking and then having to “sleep it off” the next day, can cause even more mood disorders, too. If you do drink, keeping your alcohol intake to moderate levels (One drink maximum for women, two drinks at most for men) can be a good way to relax, feel less anxious in social situations, and can help regulate the cholesterol in your blood.
  2. Frosting. Again with the sugar talk, right? Yes, but also keep in mind that typical cake/cookie frostings contain around 2 grams of trans fats (the bad fats) per serving. Trans fats, also known as partially-hydrogenated oils, are classified as GMOs, and have also been linked to depression. They are common in pizza dough, fried foods, crackers, cookies, donuts, cake, etc. Limit your fats to the good ones, like those found in nuts, avocado, fish, and olive oil. They actually lift your mood.
  3. White bread. Highly-processed white flour found in many white breads (also refined pastas, white rice, cereal, white sugar) quickly converts to blood sugar after consumption, much like from sugary drinks. This causes spikes and crashes in energy levels, leading to anxiety and depression. Why not try home made whole wheat bread?
  4. Light dressings. You might know that some store-bought dressings and marinades come loaded with sugar, usually listed as high-fructose corn syrup on the ingredients list. But many “light” dressings are sweetened with aspartame, much like diet soda, and are therefore also linked to depression/anxiety. Try making your own salad dressing using nothing but fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Ketchup/Soy Sauce. Ketchup contains high levels of sugar, while “light” ketchup contains artificial sweeteners. Soy sauce, typically associated with healthy-sounding foods like veggie stir fry and such, contains a lot of gluten, which can heighten anxiety and depression, and make you feel sluggish. Try making your own tomato salsa (and for a bit of a kick, add a dash of cayenne pepper to taste), and low-gluten soy sauce.
  6. Coffee. This is a controversial one to bring up, perhaps, but think of all the caffeine in coffee, known to disrupt our sleep, make us jittery and anxious, and let’s not even talk about the post-caffeine crashes. Caffeine levels can be gradually phased out of your diet, to avoid caffeine withdrawals and headaches. Cold water in the morning can wake you up just as well as coffee can. If you must have your coffee, try decaf.

Dietary changes can certainly improve your overall mood consistently, but sometimes depression and/or anxiety can be too much to handle on your own. Depression and anxiety are both treatable, and their treatment usually leads to better sleep and improved overall wellness. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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Journaling to Help Depression and Anxiety

Journaling can help depression and anxiety

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can journaling help depression and anxiety? You may have heard others talk about or counsel you to just take up a daily journaling habit to help you organize your thoughts, express gratitude in order to appease depressed feelings, or even just to give you a sense of accomplishment each day.

But you’re skeptical. How can something as simple as writing down your thoughts help you work through mental health issues. We’re going to walk through how it works, why it works, and why you should be journaling to help you “sort things out.” You’ll even get some of what is referred to as “depression journaling/writing prompts,” to help you get started.

What is depression/anxiety journaling?

A conservative estimate of 350 million people throughout the world deal with mental illness, or about 5 percent of the entire world’s population.

In contrast, in the United States, that percentage is significantly higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in five people in the U.S. struggles with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, or some other mental affliction, though experts could say with the utmost confidence that the actual number is probably higher, due to underreporting.

How do many people who struggle with mental illness cope? Many of them employ journaling! If you’re not familiar with the practice, you might be wondering “Exactly what is depression journaling?” Depression is a daily (or it can be be-weekly, or even weekly) practice of getting your thoughts, ruminations, feelings down on paper. It can involve gripes, it can involve gratitude. It can be completely random, or more structured and systematic–whatever works best for you.

How journaling helps depression and anxiety

How does depression/anxiety journaling work? Not only can it help calm depressive and anxiety-driven symptoms, it can also help reduce stress, manage anxiety, help you routinely organize, prioritize, sift through exactly what’s bothering you, and it can bring new perspective, insights, and clarity you hadn’t considered.

Let’s take a closer look at how journaling helps.

Take the wheel
Sometimes brooding over things can feel overwhelming, and without any kind of outlet. Writing it all down can bring order to a seeming loss of control, and can make it seem more manageable.

It can make your concerns feel less daunting, and can make you feel more grounded and in control.  Talk about taking more proactive control of your mental health management.

It can help you feel better almost instantly, especially as you form a consistent habit of doing it, and can help you recognize when you’re down in the dumps enough that you need to talk to someone about it rather than keep it bottled in.

Enhanced awareness

 Have you ever thought that perhaps you feel like a stranger to yourself?

Journaling during depression and/or anxiety in real time as it comes to mind pulls your feelings and thoughts out into the light where they can be reviewed and considered. You may even surprise yourself with what surfaces, like realizing that something is making you apprehensive that you never noticed until writing it down.

Something else: Your journal may be very cathartic if you keep it private and to yourself, and it can also be something that you share with your counselor, to help you keep your inner musings documented and organized.  This can help improve the effectiveness of your therapy as your counselor helps you sort out what’s most important in terms of your goals, and helps you progress forward.

Finding patterns

Consistently writing about your conscious thinking and what you notice about what’s going on with you internally can help you keep track of recurring symptoms, and can help you identify those things that trigger your anxiety and depression.

Maybe symptoms spike at a certain time of day, or when you’re stressed at work, or when a certain topic of conversation comes up in your significant relationship. Knowing and recognizing your triggers is at least half the battle when it comes to avoiding them as you move forward.

As you journal, you may also more readily be able to recognize your own personal progress, and can help you gain insights into how you’re perceiving things differently (hopefully for the better!)  Reviewing past entries is almost like having an outsider’s perspective into your own world view. Are you feeling better? Worse? More or less the same?

Journaling can help you recognize when and where you might need more help and perspective, and can also help you find reassurance in the progress you’re making on your own path.

A different perspective

Journaling to beat depression and/or anxiety is a solid way to feed yourself positive self-affirmation.

Writing about the things you’re grateful for (gratitude journaling) and about the things you like about yourself and that you and others see in yourself (affirmation journaling) is a consistently beneficial way to reinforce and enjoy all the positive in your life.

Keeping happy memories at the forefront of your mind by far overpowers all the negative thinking that all too often surfaces, and helps you recondition your mind to always be looking for the positive, rather than relish in the less savory.

Journaling prompts for depression and anxiety

How about some journaling prompts to get you started?

  1. When you look in the mirror, who do you see?
  2. If you could meet and speak to your 8-year-old self, what would you say? Write about mentoring a younger version of yourself.
  3. Summarize for yourself all the lessons you’ve learned about life. Share them with a younger version of yourself (see previous), and offer encouragement to yourself.
  4. What song lyrics, or movie quotes, or poems have served as a guiding light to you and why?
  5. What’s your favorite holiday, and why?
  6. Make 10 promises to yourself and write about them
  7. What is one time when you felt on top of the world? How did you feel about achieving a goal? Give that version of yourself a superhero name, and write all about it for future reference.
  8. What are some pressing questions that have been on your mind recently? Talk yourself through them to some sort of satisfactory answer.
  9. What’s the first thing you think about every morning upon awakening, and what’s the last thing that crosses your mind before you drift off to sleep?
  10. What is causing you pain and anxiety right now? Write about it and see if you can’t find a way to find some comfort and healing.

What prompts can you come up with? How would you like to know yourself better? Write about it!

Some final journaling tips

Journaling is never going to be perfect, and it’s going to take a while to get into the habit of doing it and to start recognizing the positive effects it’s having.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you adjust to this new way of looking at and documenting your innermost feelings and thoughts and how you process them.

  • Free write without judgment (less editing, more writing)
  • Be consistent (about 20 minutes every day, or at least once a week)
  • Keep your writing notes handy (on your nightstand, in your backpack, in your car, etc.)
  • Get in the habit of always looking for the positive

Does journaling sound like it might interest you? Give it a try! If you are struggling with mental illness or low self-esteem, start organizing your thoughts, however awkward it may feel at first. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.