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

Are You Carrying Stress in Your Body?

Can I feel my feet?

Do you find you are getting ill quite frequently, getting aches and pains, or feeling weary? Are you always catching that cold or virus? Do you just put it down to stress or that you are too busy and don’t rest enough? It could be more complex than simply a low immune system or the periodic stresses and strains of life. It could be stored or repressed emotions coming out in physical symptoms.

Peter Levine* a renowned psychologist concentrated on the subject of trauma and discovered something called somatic experiencing. He noticed by focusing on the sensations of the body, it can help realize emotions that were hidden and repressed.

Have you ever sat down and experienced a guided meditation?

It always starts with some form of ‘Body Scan,’ focusing on each part of the body and allowing yourself to feel any sensations that arise. A sensation could be noticing that headache you didn’t even know was there. Feeling painin the curve of your lower back. Feeling like your knees are weak. Noticing your hands are trembling. Can you feel your feet on the ground?

The next stage in meditation is focusing on the breath.  Do you take small shallow breaths or nice big breaths? The answers can be very revealing. Simply focusing on the body may help you understand why certain ailments pop up. Is it really a cold or a virus or a sore throat, or am I stopping myself from expressing something.

A lot of people may suffer somatic experiences due to a traumatizing event or events, but what is traumatizing to one, may not be to another, so this traumatic experience doesn’t have to be catastrophic in nature. It could have been something so subtle that resulted in affecting you long term. You may not even realize it was such a significant event in your life. By focusing the mind on sensations in the body, it really bring insight into your emotional state at the time.

Studies show that suppression of any kind of toxic negative emotions increases stress hormone cortisol levels, which directly suppresses immune system function. This may explain why you feel ill often. An example of a toxic emotion could be anger. Sometimes we feel anger needs to be repressed as we find it volatile or hurtful in nature, or we may feel afraid of our own anger. But, it doesn’t have to be viewed as a destructive emotion at all. If we can allow ourselves to talk through emotions in a safe environment and be able to express anger and it be okay, it can have a massive effect on our wellbeing and health.

There will always be stresses and strains in life, but it’s the suppression that makes us feel we can’t cope with any more challenges. It feels compounded, like we are laying more negativity over existing negativity or burden, so of course we feel heavy and want to just hide or curl up in a ball. Who can be our best when we feel so ill all the time? If we learn to peel back those layers and unburden ourselves of the baggage, we will feel more ready to deal with anything else that comes our way. If you learn to express things and let them go as they arise, it can help you feel lighter, brighter, healthier and happier. And who doesn’t want to be healthier and happier?

*Peter Levine,  "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma"

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Therapy Session

We all have limited time and money that we can spend in therapy - so how can we maximize the time in sessions that we have?  Therapy can be an effective and reliable tool to cultivate a state of mental and emotional well-being. Having someone objectively listen to your problems on an occasional basis can make you feel understood and help you to cultivate more self-awareness. However, in order to truly benefit from the experience of therapy one has to play an active role in order to make the best of each session.   Here are some tips to help you achieve just that:

  • Journaling: Keep a journal where you write down anything that feels significant to you such as any breakthroughs or milestones you’ve experienced during the week. Communicating this information to your therapist will make him/her more efficient at helping you to achieve your  goals.

  • Set Goals: Think about what you’d like to achieve at the end of each session. Take the initiative to reflect on issues that you’d like to discuss during the session and express your desired outcomes to your therapist beforehand.  

  • Try Not to Over Think: Try not to overanalyze your thoughts and emotions prior to the session. Instead of mulling over negative emotions rather to use the tools given to you in therapy to objectively  reflect on situations rather than allowing them to overwhelm you. This’ll help you to enter the session feeling at ease with yourself.

  • Stay Positive: Cultivate good habits to keep you in a positive state of mind. For example take a walk or go for a jog outside at least once a day. Connecting with nature or being in a calm environment can make you feel more centered and prepared for the issues to be discussed. Being calm can also help you to feel more open and vulnerable enough to make progressive breakthroughs in therapy.

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  • Be punctual and arrive on time.  This will allow you to the most out of every minute of your therapy session. 

  • Be Open: Be vulnerable and honest with your therapist during the session.  Candor can go a long way towards reaching significant breakthroughs and transformations.

Lastly, remember that you don’t need to know everything prior to the session so don’t put too much pressure on yourself or place  unnecessary expectations on the outcome. Flow with the process of the session and use these tools to keep yourself on track when you’re in the outside world. If you have activities/goals between sessions, try using these recommended techniques used in therapy to help you experience ongoing progress.

Feel like you're not getting enough out of therapy?  Tell you're therapist - explore what might be going on - and which sessions have been the most productive and why others have not been as 'breakthrough' as others.

Preparing For Your First Therapy Session (During the Holiday Season)

“Tis the season to be jolly...patient, relaxed and stress-free…”

Vacation is the time of year that we should all be enjoying a well-deserved break from our frenetic lives, however, the holiday season can lend itself to a lot of unexpected stress.   

This serves as the perfect opportunity to seek someone to assist you in processing stress with family, along with any emotions that are not serving you well.  Finding a licensed therapist near you, such as the Sun Point Wellness Center located in Silver Spring, Maryland, could be one of the most constructive and fulfilling gift you could give yourself this year.

Choosing and seeing a Counselor for the first time, can be a daunting exercise - it can be an overwhelming process with many different approaches and theoretical directions that guide professionals.  

This article will list a few ways in which you can prepare for your first session and set you at ease regarding the process.

We all expect to return to work feeling refreshed and ready for the new year, but in reality, this time of year can cause us to feel negative, agitated or depressed. 

Quite naturally this state of being can result from anything such as:

  • Spending hard-earned finances on groceries in order to feed expectant guests, but the nagging burden of rising costs and restraining budgets weigh heavily on us

  • Being strong for all those around us as we silently mourn the first holiday season without a life-long partner, sibling, child or friend

  • Well meaning in-laws, parents or visitors innocently offering ‘constructive’ criticism regarding our lifestyles

All of these seemingly ‘insignificant’ causes can lead to a great amount of internalized and toxic emotion.  Keeping this pent-up and not having space to process these emotions with a professional therapist can lead to feelings of isolation and puts great strain on relationships.

Taking a moment to catch one’s breath or a private half-hour resting on your bed just doesn’t seem to be sufficient and the need to express this whirlwind of emotion becomes almost unbearable.

Sun Point Wellness Center (situated in Silver Spring, Maryland) creates the idyllic environment for the exploration of your feelings.  Not only are our Licensed Therapists non-judgmental, but they are available and empathetic to address any issues on your mind.  Each therapist on our team has a specialized approach who will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan. Firmly founded in a holistic approach, every one of the Therapists at Sun Point, believes in YOU and your ability to attain a fulfilled life within each highly confidential session.

The Counselors are highly skilled to make you feel right at home. Even if it’s your first time.  They are sympathetic to your situation and aimed at helping you grown on a psychological as well as inter-personal level.

Being prepared will allow you to get the very best out of your first session, as well as let you feel a lot more relaxed.

Top 3 Tips for Preparing for your First Session:

  1. Read through the Sun Point Wellness Centre website to see which therapist will be consulting with you.  A familiar face and environment will decrease your anxiety.  

  2. Familiarize yourself with the route to the office.  There is metered parking available at the Fenton Street Village Garage, as well as street parking.  Please plan to arrive 10-minutes early for your first session to fill out intake paperwork

  3. Prepare a list of questions or concerns before the first session - this will enable you to remember all that you intend finding out and/or expressing and addressing in later sessions.  Please give thought to what changes you want to see in your life from the counseling process.

Finally… Imagine your first stress-free vacation that you can really enjoy!  Sun Point Wellness Center can assist you in achieving this - a place where you can leave all your worries and troubles in the hands of a qualified, caring and encouraging Therapist.