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The Mental Health Connection - February 2024

BACK TO YOU: The Gift of Meditation


As you continue into 2024, what is one thing you can do every day to give back to yourself?  The answer to this question will vary drastically.  


The one action step I’d like to propose you do is…..meditate every day.


Meditation has been shown over and over again to help people better manage stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and high blood pressure; just to name a few benefits.  I recently read an article in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, which reviewed their findings done by Harvard Researchers. Through MRI scans, they discovered that people who meditated an average of 28 minutes a day actually thickened their gray matter in areas of attention, decision making and working memory after just 8 weeks!  That is astounding! 


It is a tall order to meditate almost a half hour every day.  So where can you start? If this is your first time meditating, simply start by closing your eyes in a quiet room / outdoor area, and place your hands on your stomach or in your lap.  Just simply breathe in and out, focusing your attention on your breath.  Manage all distracting thoughts by acknowledging them, seeing them drifting away and return your focus to your breathing. Try this for 2 minutes.  Congratulations, you are meditating! 


Do this a few times throughout your day; take 2 minutes to close your eyes, connect to your breath, manage distracting thoughts and you will soon be experiencing the benefits of meditation: reducing tension, having improved moods and making us more resilient to the demands of life.


Be well,


Stephanie Shaffer, LCSW  


Stephanie brings hope, inspiration and motivation to the world through speaking and writing.  You can find her upcoming Podcast: “Broken. Adjust. Heal.” on your favorite podcast platform later this month! You can also find her on social media @iamstephshaffer  


Mental Health Labels: To Label Ourselves with Mental Health Disorders or Not?


Self-labeling in mental health has sparked debate. Individuals face the choice of whether to label themselves with mental health disorders. This explores the pros and cons of self-labeling and offers guidance on this complex issue.


The Good:


  • Validation and Understanding: Self-labeling provides validation and understanding for those with mental health issues, acknowledging they're not alone.

  • Access to Resources: It eases access to tailored resources, support groups, and treatments.

  • Advocacy and Awareness: Empowers advocacy for mental health awareness, reducing stigma.

  • Self-Awareness: Facilitates self-awareness and self-acceptance, aiding symptom management.


The Bad:


  • Stigmatization: May lead to stigma and discrimination, affecting relationships.

  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Can reinforce negative beliefs and expectations.

  • Misdiagnosis: Self-diagnosis may lead to inaccuracy, professional evaluation is vital.

  • Limiting Potential: Over-identifying may restrict personal growth.


How to Approach Self-Labeling:


  • Seek Professional Assessment: Consult mental health professionals for accurate diagnosis.

  • Focus on Symptoms, Not Labels: Understand symptoms, triggers, and coping mechanisms.

  • Embrace Self-Compassion: Recognize mental health conditions without defining your identity.

  • Connect with Support Networks: Engage with supportive communities.

  • Educate and Advocate: Use your experiences to promote awareness and understanding.


Conclusion:


Self-labeling in mental health is personal. Balancing self-identification's benefits and downsides with professional evaluation, symptom recognition, self-compassion, and community support is key. Ultimately, choose what empowers your well-being.


This Month's Tip


Morning Feelings Chart: A Path to Emotional Wellness


In our quest for improved mental health, we'd like to introduce a simple yet profoundly impactful practice: morning feelings sharing. Start your day by choosing an emotion from the Hoffman Institute's Feelings and Sensations Chart – you can even put it on your fridge! This practice enables you to connect with your emotions, nurturing self-awareness and emotional growth.By consistently sharing your morning feelings, you'll cultivate a deeper understanding of your emotional landscape. With time, you may discover that you no longer require the chart as a guide, as your ability to navigate your emotions becomes more intuitive. This small yet powerful daily ritual has the potential to usher in significant positive changes in your mental well-being.Take a step towards enhanced emotional clarity and self-discovery by embracing the practice of morning feelings sharing. It's a brief investment of your time that can yield remarkable emotional dividends.


Resources


Crisis Text Line:

Website: https://www.crisistextline.org/Crisis Text Line is a nationwide service that provides free, confidential crisis support via text messaging. Mental health professionals can recommend this resource to their patients in crisis. Trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 to provide immediate support, and they can help individuals experiencing emotional distress connect with local mental health services if needed. It usually takes less than five minutes to connect you with a Crisis Counselor.


Music & Memory:

Website: https://musicandmemory.org/Music & Memory is a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of personalized music to improve the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders. While this resource may be particularly relevant for healthcare professionals working with dementia patients, it can also be a unique and effective way to enhance the emotional well-being of individuals of all ages through the therapeutic use of music.

Partner with us. Are you a psychologist, LCSW, LMFT or NP? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.

Events


Black History Month

See here for more information.


Teen Dating Violence Awareness Events

See here for more information.


Safer Internet Day

February 6, 2024

See here for more information.


International Day of Self-Love

February 13, 2024

See here for more information.


Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 17, 2024

See here for more information.


Eating Disorders Awareness Week

February 26, 2024 - March 3, 2024

See here for more information Do you have something to share? We’d love to hear about your successes and accomplishments! Contact us at newsletter@helptherapy.com.


Partner With Us


Are you a psychologist, LCSW, LMFT or NP?


We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.

 

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