South Denver Psychotherapy: The Importance of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Part 2: Sleep.

There are those who have had a certain proclivity towards anxiety or depression from a very young age, and is something they must work with in their day to day—no matter how “good” things in their life may seem. In other cases, the effect of depression or anxiety can be more acute or situational.

Whatever the case may be—there are things one can do to mitigate the severity of the symptoms that may accompany these physiological imbalances. Of the many things one can do, sleep, diet and exercise are incredibly important in the balancing of mood.

This particular blog is part 2 of a 3-part series, and will focus on sleep.

The Benefits of Sleep

Modern day society does not properly validate the importance of sleep. Many people think of it as an unimportant nuisance that they must do, but will do as little as humanly possible, and say things like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  

However, sleep is incredibly important to all functions of the mind, body, and spirit, not to mention emotional and mental well-being. When sleeping, amongst other things, your brain recharges, your cells repair themselves, and your body releases hormones that are necessary for daily functioning, including awareness, alertness, processing, and so much more.

Babies require 16 hour per day/night, ages 3-18 years require about 10 hours a night, and those who are age 19 to 55 still require 8 hours a night to experience truly good, deep sleep. It is only once people are over the age of 65 would a 6-hour night be “enough.”

So, keeping this in mind—if you are not getting a regular 8 hour night, you may be in major sleep deficit. You may feel foggy-brained, sluggish, irritable, and possibly anxious, stressed and/or depressed. People do not realize just how much sleep impacts their mood and ability to perceive life in a positive light.

That said—it may be that you wish you could get 8 hours, and suffer from sleep problems. In this case, you may need to do more regular exercise (see part 1 of this blog) in order to regulate your hormones and tire yourself out. Also, meditation before bed can be helpful in calming your mind and body. There are also vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements that can help to regulate and encourage sleep.

As we have already mentioned in this mental health care blog, sleep is just one of many ways to work with balancing your mental health. There is no one action of self-care that will “solve” all of your problems—you can perfect your diet, increase your daily exercise, and be getting plenty of sleep—and still struggle immensely.

With that said—it may be that counseling is a support that may be needed in addition to these other elements of improved mind and body health. It may be that your problems and worries are making your mind run wild and is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.

And, if this is the case—South Denver Psychotherapy is here to support you.

South Denver Psychotherapy offers counseling for women, counseling for men, relationship communication issues, teen counseling services, and more. Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to schedule an appointment, or check out our website for more information.

South Denver Psychotherapy: The Importance of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Part 1: Exercise.

There are those who have had a certain proclivity towards anxiety or depression from a very young age, and is something they must work with in their day to day—no matter how “good” things in their life may seem. In other cases, the effect of depression or anxiety can be more acute or situational.

Whatever the case may be—there are things one can do to mitigate the severity of the symptoms that may accompany these physiological imbalances. Of the many things one can do, sleep, diet and exercise are incredibly important in the balancing of mood.

This particular blog is part 1 of a 3-part series, and will focus on exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise

The movement and circulation alone will improve your mental state, and depending on how much exercise you can commit to each day/week, the aerobic effects as well as the endorphins will elevate your mood on a regular basis. Ideally, at least 3-4 times per week will make this type of routine most effective and balancing.

Frequency and Intensity

Exercise does not have to mean becoming an ultra-marathoner or creating an exercise routine that turns your daily schedule upside down—it can be something as simple as a 1-3 mile walk, a 30-minute jog, a 45-minute hike if you have nice hikes nearby, or a bike ride for 20-30 minutes (though if you can do more, great!) Ideally, while starting a new exercise routine can be a challenge at first, it should be something you can/will enjoy—if not at first, then, eventually.

Setting Realistic Goals

Regardless of how much you wind up exercising, start with a goal that is do-able, so you will be sure to stick with it. And of course, it needs to fit in with your other obligations like work etc—so, find a way to fit this into your daily routine. If you find yourself saying “but I don’t have time”, you may be surprised—often taking the break to exercise will make you more productive and less stressed in the other things that you have to do that day, thus it can be a time saver in the end. Or, if it means waking up a bit earlier to fit your exercise in—you may find that while it can be challenging to wake up earlier than usual, that inevitably your day will be better, and you will be glad you did, feeling more awake, alert and calm.

Balance is important

While exercising every day can have great benefit, be sure to always give yourself at least one rest day per week, if not two. Ideally, exercise should be an enhancement to your day to day, and not something to create more stress for you.

Also, tune in with your body and make sure you are not overdoing it. There is a fine line between pushing past your comfort zone and pushing yourself too hard. All the while, be gentle with yourself even if pushing yourself in a new routine.

As we have already mentioned in this mental health care blog, exercise is just one of many ways to work with balancing your mental health. There is no one action of self-care that will “solve” all of your problems—you can perfect your diet, increase your daily exercise, and be getting plenty of sleep—and still struggle immensely.

It may be that counseling is a support that may be needed in addition to these other elements of improved body health. And, if this is the case—South Denver Psychotherapy is here to support you. South Denver Psychotherapy offers counseling for women, counseling for men, relationship communication issues, teen counseling services, and more. Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to schedule an appointment, or check out our website for more information.

South Denver Psychotherapy: Peace of Mind Means Peaceful Sleep.

A huge piece of mental health is proper sleep each night—sometimes people don’t realize just how much their lack of sleep is impacting how they feel each and every day. It is actually possible to feel depressed or anxious when one has not had proper sleep, and especially over the long term.

If you are stressed out and your mind is going, sleep can be quite elusive. When one’s mind and heart are preoccupied, sleep can become out of reach for some, and then the problem can turn into a vicious cycle—no sleep means poor mental health, and poor mental health means not enough, not restorative sleep.

Here is a short list of small ways that can make a big difference for your ability to calm and relax your nervous system, mind and body that may lead to improved sleep and better mental health:

1. Movement.

Some form of movement or exercise each day (with an occasional day off when total rest is needed). This does not require going to the gym for a major workout, or doing a huge hike or bike ride—even going for a walk in the morning, afternoon, or before bed will make a difference for moving your energy, letting your mind process the events of the day and calming down your nervous system.

2. Going Horizontal

Try finding 15-20 minutes each afternoon between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to lay down, “go horizontal,” close your eyes, and just let your whole nervous system shut down. Let your mind and body exist in total silence and without interruption or distraction. This is “Adrenal Recovery Time” and is the optimal time of day to rest, and will give you maximum return on your energy—you will find that after this lay down, you are rejuvenated to continue what you have to do that day, when only just before laying down, you found yourself fatigued with brain fog, not sure if you could “push through.” Listen to your body and notice when it is in need of a break—it will pay off in the long run. If you can only get 5 minutes in, then do that—whatever you can do will help.

3. Meditate.

Meditate at least once a day for anywhere from 5-20 minutes. If you only have time for five minutes, that is fine—you might be amazed at what a big difference five minutes can make. Some have found that meditating first thing in the morning is especially helpful so you can start your day from a place of being more centered, and also right before bed is a good way to calm the mind down before sleep. Experiment and see what works for you. You may struggle at first to integrate this new activity into your routine, but over time you may find yourself lengthening the time of your sit, and missing it if you don’t sit that day.

4. Therapy 

All of these things will no doubt be helpful to calming down your mind and body. And at times, you may find that it is not enough—it may be that talk-therapy is in order—there are some things that are too challenging to process on our own. And the things that weigh us down during the day are often what are keeping us up at night, and preventing us from getting a good night’s sleep.

Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to set up an appointment—you may find that this type of emotional support may be just the thing you need to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking.

One of the most common fears is the fear of speaking in public. Believe it or not, people tend to be more afraid of public speaking than they are of death! As comedian Jerry Seinfeld once put it, “To the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than having to do the eulogy.”

Why is this the case?

Researchers hypothesize that fear of public speaking might be evolutionary. In the early days of human life, living as part of group was essential to survival. Any rejection from the group almost always resulted in death. When it comes to public speaking, it is believed that on a deep level, people are afraid of being rejected by their audience.

If public speaking makes you anxious, you’re not alone—and you can blame your ancestors for your fear of public speaking. In any case, there are lots of techniques you can practice to help you overcome your fear of public speaking. Some of these techniques are discussed below.

  1. Reframe Negative Thoughts. In anticipation of presenting, people tend to fear the worst. For example, you might ask yourself, “What if I mess up?” or “What if they hate me?” Whenever you find yourself thinking one of these negative thoughts, try replacing it with a positive one. For example, you could instead ask yourself, “What if I impress them? What if I do a phenomenal job?”
  2. Practice As If You’re the Worst. You may know the material inside out, which might mean that you skip practicing or practice very quickly. If this is the case, your presentation may not be as sharp once you get on stage, and you might get nervous once you have all those eyes staring at you. It is helpful to actually rehearse what you’re going to say out loud, perhaps even multiple times, to encode the material in your long-term memory.
  3. Memorize the Sequence of Your Presentation. This helps you build your credibility. Have some note cards with you, but don’t write out your speech word for word. This will make you appear stiff and unnatural, and if you happen to mess up, you might feel even more flustered. Memorizing the general roadmap of your presentation rather than the exact words will make you appear more confident.
  4. Don’t Think of Your Presentation as a “Performance.” Instead, try thinking of it as a series of person-to-person conversations. This will help alleviate some of the anxiety.
  5. Pause and Take Deep Breaths. When you’re nervous, your breath is fast and rapid. Your audience will be able to detect your nerves from your quick and shallow breathing. On the other hand, your audience will perceive you as in control if your breathing is slow and measured. Take some deep breaths before getting on the stage. And remember to pause and breathe between points.
  6. Be Mindful of Your Posture. Returning to the topic of evolution, research shows that holding your body in expansive poses—such as standing with your legs in a wider stance, opening your chest, and uncrossing your arms—increases the level of testosterone in your body, even after only two minutes. Testosterone is linked to feelings of empowerment. Expansive poses can therefore trick you into feeling more confident. Before going on stage, you can practice some of these expansive poses, and while you’re on stage, try to be as open as possible.

South Denver Psychotherapy offers public speaking training. If you suffer from fear of public speaking and are looking for soe extra public speaking coaching, you can attend one of our public speaking workshops. Contact South Denver Psychotherapy for more information.

 

Sources:

  1. Martinuzi, Bruna. 11 Ways to Finally Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking. Open Forum.

2. Zandan, Noah. Why Do We Fear Public Speaking? Quantified Communications.

South Denver Psychotherapy: Helping Kids Cope with Divorce.

In the United States, around 50% of marriages end in divorce. Regardless of the reasons for a divorce, it can be a traumatic experience for all parties involved.

This experience becomes infinitely more complicated when children are involved.

How children cope with divorce depends on several factors, including age, personality, and the reasons for the divorce. In most cases, children may initially react with anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, or confusion. However, parents can play a role in creating an environment to help their children cope in a healthy manner. Suggestions to help kids deal with divorce are discussed below.

How you explain the situation to your kids should be appropriate to their age. If possible, both parents should be present when breaking the news. It is important that the kids know that the divorce is not their fault, and that even though the parents will be separated, they will always love their kids. It is normal for the kids to have questions. Try to be as honest as possible to help them understand the situation. That said, it is best to avoid blaming the other parent in front of the children.

Explain to the kids that you are there for them if they want to talk. Validate their feelings and ask them if there’s anything you can do to make the transition easier for them. Children may be concerned about how their daily routines will be affected. If possible, try to minimize disruptions to their routine.

Children feed off of the energy of their parents. It is therefore important to take care of yourself throughout this process. Taking care of yourself will also ensure that your kids will get the best possible care. It is best to avoid fighting or discussing legal issues in front of the kids.

Divorce is never easy, but you are not alone. If you are in the Denver area and would like to explore divorce counseling or any other type of psychotherapy services for yourself or your children, contact South Denver Psychotherapy today.

Source:

KidsHealth. Helping Your Child Through a Divorce.