Health

Is Technology Holding You Back from Enjoying Life?

Do you find yourself always reaching for that phone, tablet, computer? Constantly checking what others are doing on Facebook, maybe even feelings of envy arise, as you scroll through someone’s photos showing them to be gloriously happy and you sit and think to yourself, how have you got this lonely and removed from life?

For a start, please don’t think or believe that peoples portrayal of their lives is accurate. We see the happy and highlighted moments of people’s lives – not the realities of the mundaneness of the day or the arguments we get into. 

It’s an illusion. People can create a false picture of themselves to be happy all the time, because, who wants to air their dirty laundry via the internet. What’s important to remember is, happiness is always going to be a temporary state. If we were happy all the time, we wouldn’t be able to learn gratitude. Life is peaks and flows and sometimes we are angry and disappointed and low and depressed, and that’s okay. All feelings are valid and it’s what we ALL go through on a daily basis, whether people choose to admit it or not.

Modern society seems to crave closeness and connection, but also wants the protective barrier of the   computer screen. We are a nation that seems closer than ever, but also worlds apart. I can have some deep and interesting conversations via Facebook and that leaves me temporarily satisfied, but then I sit down in front of the TV alone. We have lost the art of real conversation. Connectedness.

We tend to neglect meeting each other face to face these days. Most of our communication is actually subtle body language, so no wonder we feel separated and alone, because we are. If you think about it, in text, we can edit ourselves. In reality we have to show ourself in all its raw messiness and that creates anxiety for some. It’s created a nation of people far too aware of ‘image’ and less aware of real experiences and real connection.

Are you the one always making plans but people either cancel or you do. And you still spend all night on Facebook chatting to each other? We have become self conscious and worried. Someone has to break the cycle. We are losing ourselves and each other. It’s like we crave authentic exchanges, but don’t know how to have authentic exchanges any more.

Put that phone down, go and sit in a cafe and have a latte. Take a book if you feel anxious. You might be surprised that others may want to interact. Find local groups to join, exercise classes etc. It may feel strange at first, but you will find others are also there alone and chat will naturally come. Don’t edit yourself. Don’t plan what you should say. Just be in the moment and you will find being entirely present in that moment will make you feel more alive than any Facebook chat could.

Dan Millman – Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Where are you? Here
What time is it? Now
What are you? This momen

What’s your relationship with food?

Do you find yourself skipping meals? Are you an emotional eater? These are interesting questions to ask yourself. Food isn’t like Alcohol or Drugs whereby we can choose to have them in our lives or not. Food is something that everyone has to have a relationship with. It’s determining what that relationship is.

Some people use food as a way to figuratively stuff down emotions. It feels much better to eat those feelings because expressing them may not feel safe to you. You may feel once you open that metaphorical can of worms, there is no going back and you even worry it would all get so overwhelming to the point you wouldn’t be able to function or work. And lets face it, everyone needs to pay those bills. It feels much better to repress and carry on. You get stuck in this ‘keep going’ mode.

What people don’t see is that repressing an emotion, just makes the emotions build up and that’s where it becomes unbearable and feels out of control. That’s how you sink lower in despair. Simply learning to feel your feelings more, instead of trying to get away from them, will help you move ‘through’ that emotion and it will have less control and power over you. Once the emotion is felt, you can move on quickly. It can kind of dissipate. The more you hold onto something, the more problematic it can get.

Another form of relationship with food, that I feel is slightly misunderstood, are the people that won’t allow themselves to be nourished by food. They may feel they need to withhold food until a task is done, like it’s a reward, rather than something that’s essential to life. It often gets misconstrued for someone who is uncomfortable with their body, but, a lot of the time, withholding food is usually a way to feel in control, when everything in life seems out of control. Food issues are, for the most part, not about food. It’s about the underlying issue you are trying to get away from, escape from. In either instance, if you learn to create more control in other areas of your life, you will feel less of a need to control your food intake. And even better you can learn to actually enjoy food. 

Mental Health Concerns for Millennials

Millennials are a stressed generation. They are working more hours, making less than older generations and have mountains of student loan debt. Stress not only hurts their emotional and mental wellbeing, but it is also damaging their sex lives.

Mental Health

Millennials are reported to have higher rates of anxiety and depression than any generation before them. This can be attributed to a growing conversation around mental health which has prompted them to come forward with their struggles. Regardless, living with a mental health condition can present challenges when it comes to intimacy and sex. Depression and anxiety can leave us with a lack of interest in sex and intimacy, and having a low libido is often a side-effect of antidepressants. Managing mental health is vital to one’s health. If you are feeling depressed or anxiety, seek help from your doctor and mental health professionals.

Chronic Stress

Working 45+ hours a week, having a side business, and maintaining a social life can leave anyone feeling drained. Many 20 and 30 somethings are working hard to build their business while sacrificing their love life. Nothing is sexier than someone with ambition, but that bubble bursts when a significant other forgets about their partner. Work-life balance is an important thing and something everyone benefits from. On average, employees who take time off and have boundaries around not answering phone calls and email off work hours tend to be happier. And when you are happier and less stressed, it allows you to connect with your partner.

Hormone Imbalance

Testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can all impact our sex lives. Having happy and balanced hormones is essential for keeping our sex drive up. When we have an increase of stress in our lives, our cortisol levels rise and directly affect our hormones in a negative way, impacting our sex drive. Managing stress will help to keep your hormones balanced. Meditation, exercise and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with limited processed foods will help maintain your hormones. With the demands of work, time for family and friends, it’s no wonder millennials are having less sex on average. These overworked, underpaid 20 and 30 somethings are feeling the reality of a changing world. At the same time, it is important for millennials to remember sex and intimacy are an important part, of well...being human.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and keeping your mental and physical health in check will help to make your sex life more enjoyable!

Is it 'Anxiety' that's Bothering You?

Most people can relate to the feeling we call anxiety: your heart races, your palms feel sweaty, your thoughts may be frantic or repetitive. As a response to stress, these feelings are normal and not necessarily harmful. In fact, anxiety is a useful reaction to danger, triggering our internal “alarm system” and preparing us to either confront or escape a threat.  

Anxiety may also come in the form of worries. We all worry. Worries are thoughts about what may happen in the future. Worries are the warnings our mind sends us that something bad might happen, so we’d better prepare.

Anxious feelings and worries can serve a useful purpose. Anxiety can motivate us to prepare for dangers or challenges. Worries help us to identify potential problems and proactively seek solutions. But for some people, these feelings of worry and anxiety are overwhelming or do not subside once the problem is resolved. When anxiety prevents you from living life the way you want, or when worries become obsessive intrusions, it is time to seek help.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in our country. It is estimated that 40 million adult Americans, or 18% of the population, suffer from anxiety disorders[1]. The term “anxiety disorder” encompasses several types of conditions, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias. Closely related disorders and ones that often occur alongside anxiety include obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and depression. 

The good news is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Getting help for anxiety that is out of control or impacting your life is a sign of strength, not weakness. A good counselor, like those at Sun Point Wellness Center, can help evaluate the causes and impact of your anxiety and will help you to develop strategies for coping and regaining control.

 It is normal to be nervous about starting therapy. Particularly for people who struggle with anxiety, talking about your most private feelings with a stranger may seem overwhelming and frightening. Your therapist understands this, and will work together with you to make the experience as comfortable and stress free as possible. Making the decision to see a therapist is an empowering first step to changing your life, and you should feel proud of yourself for making this commitment.

Signs that it is time to seek help:

     You are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

     You’ve become unable to concentrate, have a short temper, or are irritable

     Your anxiety is interfering with your work or relationships

     You feel anxious or worried most of the time for no obvious reason, or even after the stressful event has passed

     You have physical symptoms, such as headaches, tension, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue or chest pain, that are not explained by another medical condition

     You are using alcohol or drugs to cope or mask your symptoms

     You find yourself worrying obsessively and feeling constant impending dread

     You have withdrawn from social relationships and/or activities you once enjoyed

     You feel like you’ve tried everything, but you just can’t climb out of this hole

If you or a loved one needs help with anxiety, contact us at Sun Point Wellness Center, or find a therapist near you.

[1] https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Let's Talk About Depression

October is Depression Awareness Month and at Sun Point Wellness Center we welcome all who wish to discuss or share their experiences with depression. With this piece, we aim to help raise awareness of depression and the common signs that a person who suffers from depression may experience. 

Signs of Depression

Understanding depression and the impact it has on the lives of many people around world is necessary in order to reduce and prevent the ill-effects depression can have on someone’s life. Below are some common signs that you or someone you know and love may experience if suffering from depression. While each sign in isolation is not a guarantee the person in question is suffering from depression, experiencing all or multiple signs below at the same time can be a very clear indicator of depression. 

Lack of enthusiasm. An initial sign of depression is a lack of enthusiasm or pleasure from activities and hobbies that were once enjoyed. This includes sports, sex, socializing and many other activities. Although occasional subside in enthusiasm can be normal, especially if you are having a bad day or period. Frequent or a permanent lack of interest, especially if the reason is unknown, in activities once enjoyed is possible symptom of depression. 

Negative outlook. Another sign that someone may be experiencing depression is if they have a considerably negative perspective on life. Especially if it interferes or prevents them from being happy. Usual examples of this are feelings of worthlessness, feeling undeserving of happiness or frequently feeling guilty even when nothing has been done to negatively impact someone else. 

While it can be hard to discern if what someone is feeling is depression or if they are just having a bad day, a good way to tell the difference is by the frequency of these negative feelings. If the potential suffer is feeling worthless or guilty on a daily basis, it is most likely an indicator of depression. 

Disquietude. Being easily irritated, feeling restless and having difficulty concentrating are all potential signs someone suffering from depression may exhibit. Common consequences of this are: insomnia - struggling or failing to sleep, especially without medication; anxiety - regularly feeling nervous, fear or distress to point it becomes inhibitive; and distraction - being unable to focus to the point it prevents decision making and comprehension of relatively routine tasks. 

Overcoming Depression

Depression is significantly mentally and physically draining and can inhibit someone from enjoying life and being happy. It can also lead to severe consequences including mental and physical health complications and an overall degraded wellbeing. In some extreme cases, it can also lead to suicide. 

Preventing depression is better than trying to cure it. However, we understand this is not an easy task and this advice does not help existing suffers of depression. Some general advice on to reduce depressive episodes includes: 

Avoiding distressing environments. Everyone should avoid or reduce the amount of times they are exposed to distressing environments. Environments such as ones that can result in feeling unsafe, scared or endangered are textbook examples.

Reach out. It is important to remain connected to friends, family and supportive members of the community. For example, make it routine to regularly call relatives and arrange to meet with friends for outings. Do not forget the power of face-to-face socializing. While calling and texting are great ways to communicate conveniently, in-person meeting are invaluable for a healthy social lifestyle. 

Exercise. Keeping active and moving helps everyone physically and mentally. It helps boost moods and serves as a positive distraction from worries someone may be have. 

Find Enjoyable Activities. It is very effective to partake in activities that boost moods, whether it is listening to music, decorating or going on a road trip. Everyone should try and incorporate ways to elevate their mood and remain positive. 

If you are already suffering from depression or concerned that you may be developing symptoms of depression, we strongly advise you seek appropriate professional support. Here at Sun Point Wellness Center, we provide professional and effective therapy sessions that are dedicated to helping individuals suffering from depression or those concerned they may have depression. Enquire at our Silver Spring, Maryland office for advice or to arrange a session.