The months leading into the transition to a new year often include holiday gatherings, travel, deadlines, expectations, and stress. This time can also bring celebration, “friendsgivings”, traditions, creativity, a sense of community, laughter, anticipation, and joy. When adding these on top of a loss, multiple losses, or cumulative losses, one could see how this season overloads our grief experience.
There has been much research on the positive effects of expressing gratitude – from keeping anxious and depressive thoughts at bay to helping us catch better z’s. It may even keep us happy as it blankets our brains in mood-boosting chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. With all of these benefits, imagine what could happen if we kept those feelings of gratitude going past November 24 AND evolved them into self-compassion! We could better prepare ourselves for the stress of the holidays, help us prioritize what’s really important, and keep our mental health front and center.
As we gather with friends and family for the holiday season, current events will likely be a topic of conversation with differing opinions involved. Now more than ever it’s critical that we possess the tools to have difficult but healthy conversations with people in our lives. Learn how you can manage your responses to stressful situations, including setting healthy boundaries, in order to respond to potentially conflictual conversations with intention and respect for both yourself and others.
The holiday season ushers in a time of gratitude and giving. We reflect on what we’re thankful for, what the year has held, and what’s coming in the near and distant future. This practice of gratitude is timely and seasonal – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few reasons why we should consider extending this season of gratefulness year-round, and three ways you can start today.
This Veteran’s Day, we thank and honor all who have selflessly served to protect our country and defend our freedom. We also take this time to recognize and highlight the unique stressors affecting service members and their families. Pre-deployment training and preparation, deployment, as well as reintegration can affect not only the service member, but his/her spouse and family. Knowing how to support yourself and your loved ones can seem daunting, but we are here to help.
One of the most frustrating parts of navigating anxiety is that the more determined you are to control it, the worse it seems to get. As counterintuitive as it seems, trying to stamp out your anxiety could leave you stuck in that endless loop rather than offering you relief. So maybe it’s time to try something new. Maybe it’s time to unlock the door and invite your anxiety in for a chat.
As a parent, realizing that your child is experiencing bullying and harassment from their peers is a difficult and painful experience, and often one that leaves you feeling helpless. After all, you can’t be with your child every second of the day or control the behavior of others. But, there are ways that you can support your child, as well as empower them to stand up for themselves and others who are being bullied.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects 2-3% of the population across their lifetime. The disorder is characterized by a pattern of unwanted thoughts or fears (obsessions) that cause an individual to perform a set of repetitive behaviors (compulsions). OCD can interfere with a person’s daily activities and lead to significant distress. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of OCD can help individuals understand what they’re experiencing and whether to seek out professional treatment.
October is a time for change – the air gets chilly, we unpack our sweaters, and we start looking ahead to the holidays. It is also a good time to take a pause and think about our well-being both mentally and physically. Is there anything that needs our attention? Are there habits or behaviors we should adjust to ensure we’re healthy and thriving? This October, Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day, and World Mental Health Day all dovetail to promote the importance of mental health screenings while also reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions.
The teenage years are often met with a rollercoaster of emotions. Between hormones, school stress, and social pressures, this time can be a perfect storm for the development of mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression. And with a new school year back in full swing, many teens may be struggling to juggle a variety of emotions, alongside their academic and extracurricular obligations. Fortunately, teens don’t have to navigate this rocky journey alone. With the help of family, friends, and therapy, teenagers can find ways to manage and cope with anxiety.
Suicide was among the top nine leading causes of death in 2020 in the U.S., so it’s critical that we talk openly about it to help those impacted by suicide, and to prevent future incidents. Since everyone processes emotions and situations differently, the ways in which suicidal thoughts show up in a person can vary greatly. Being able to spot some of the ways that suicidal thoughts present themselves is the first step in prevention and getting a loved one the help they need.
At Sunstone Counseling, one of our core tenets is to continually give back to the counseling profession. Through our graduate counseling and social work practicum/internship program, we strive to alleviate some of the barriers that individuals in the surrounding communities may face when seeking services. These barriers include but are not limited to: lack of insurance, lack of flexibility, financial limitations, and the lack of convenience. Sunstone’s graduate interns offer services at reduced rates, with flexible hours, and in multiple locations.