Posts Tagged Dialectical behavior therapy

Can’t Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids


Can’t Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids

by Rick Nauert PhD

Cant Sleep? Little Research Supports Use of Herbal Sleep Aids Experts say that approximately one in three Americans suffers from chronic sleep deprivation and another 10-15 percent of the population has chronic insomnia.

But a recent review has found little evidence that herbal sleep aids are effective.

Health practitioners know that sleep disorders can profoundly affect a person’s whole life and have been linked to a range of diseases, including obesity, depression, anxiety, and inflammatory disorders.

Often over-the-counter or herbal sleep aids are used to induce sleep, but surprisingly, very little research has been done to study their efficacy.

This topic is discussed in an article found in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.

People need many hours of sound, restorative sleep every night to maintain an optimal state of physiological and psychological health. However, many factors can disrupt sleep schedules and compromise the quality of sleep.

In the review article, researchers conducted a search of the Internet and electronic databases to identify literature on herbal remedies that are commonly used to manage insomnia.

They found allopathic solutions of valerian, hops, kava-kava, chamomile, and St. John’s wort have all been suggested as sleep aids.

Unfortunately, few scientific studies had been published on the therapeutic potential and safety of these herbal remedies and, when a study has been performed, the results were either inconclusive or contradictory.

The authors concluded that, considering the benefits that a natural management strategy could offer patients with insomnia, additional research is required to assess the effectiveness and safety of herbal remedies as therapeutic agents.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert

Herbal medication photo by shutterstock.

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mind less eating


A food psychologist has found that people overeat unconsciously, due to numerous factors. Studies show that larger plates result in larger servings. Also, watching television while eating leads to people eating 40 percent more food.

America is a nation of over-eaters. But according to one food expert, the reason we eat too much is all in our heads.

Busy lifestyles cause many people to over-eat without noticing. A problem Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, calls “mindless eating.”

“We’re a nation of mindless eaters. We do so many things during the day that when it comes to food we can just nibble and nibble and nibble, and eat and eat and eat.” Dr. Wansink said.

Dr. Wansink says the mind is to blame for over eating, not always the stomach. And just choosing a different plate could stop over indulgence.

“Our studies show the bigger the plate is, the more people serve, typically to the level of about 25 to 28 percent more,” Dr. Wansink said.

Six ounces of pasta on an eight-inch plate, looks normal. But that same serving on a bigger plate barely looks like an appetizer — causing many people to dish out more. “The best way to mindlessly eat less is to get rid of your large plates, or get rid of your large serving bowls,” Dr. Wansink said.

Distracted television viewers also don’t pay attention to what’s in front of them. Studies show over 40 percent more food is eaten while watching TV.

“We often end up eating more because we simply eat to the pace of the program, or we eat until the program is over.” Dr. Wansink said.

Brian has made a career watching how people behave around food. His best advice? Don’t be fooled by hidden dangers of food and packaging.

BACKGROUND: Brian Wansink is a food psychologist at Cornell University who focuses on the how and why people eat. For instance, he can tell you if you get more beer from a tall skinny glass or a short fat glass. His Food and Brand Lab tries to help people eat more nutritiously and to help control how much they eat. An additional focus is on increasing the acceptance of soy foods and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. He oversees a series of test kitchens, restaurants and cooperating grocery stores to understand how consumers “choose and use” foods.

SIZE (AND SHAPE) MATTERS: Wansink and his colleagues conducted two studies of 167 people demonstrating that both children and adults pour and consume more juice when given a short, wide glass compared to those given a tall, narrow glass – although they believed the opposite to be true. Those with the short wide glasses poured 76% more juice than those with the tall slender glasses. The bias is caused by a visual illusion known as the vertical-horizontal illusion: we tend to focus on heights instead of widths, so we are more likely to over-pour into wide glasses while thinking we poured very little because of the shorter height.

FAT-FREE ISN’T CALORIE-FREE: Wansink has also found that people will eat more of a snack – even one they don’t like very much – if it is labeled “low fat.” IN fact, low-fat cookies, for example, only have about 30% fewer calories than regular cookies, while low-fat granola only has 12% fewer calories. In one study, people given low-fat granola ate 35% more – 192 extra calories – than those who thought they were eating regular granola. The low-fat label leads people to mindlessly overeat a product, while believing they are being “health-conscious.” Wansink’s advice: if you’re going to indulge, eat something you truly enjoy – just eat half as much of it.

SEE WHAT YOU EAT: The human stomach isn’t designed to keep accurate track of how much we have eaten. In fact, it takes about 20 minutes after we eat before our stomachs register that we are “full.” Visual cues are critical to controlling our much we eat, according to Wansink. Students participating in an all-you-can-eat chicken wing buffet ate continually if their tables were continually cleared, because they couldn’t see how many they’d already consumed. Here’s a handy tip for your next buffet: people who put everything on their plate before they sit down to eat – including dessert – eat about 14% less than people who take smaller amounts and go back for seconds or thirds. He also advises people not to eat snacks out of the box; put it into a separate dish and leave the box in the kitchen. You will eat less if you can see how much you’ve already eaten.

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In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to Take move out.


In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to Take

by YourTango Experts

In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to TakeThis guest article from YourTango was written by Julie Orlov.

If you’ve ever been in a controlling relationship, you know how easy it is to get caught in its web. It usually starts out with a simple suggestion like, “Do you think that outfit is the best you can do for the banquet tonight?” or “I think you’re better off ordering the salad,” or “You should get a real job and stop all that nonsense about making it as an artist.”

At first, you take their suggestions as a reflection of their love and concern for you. After all, their comments are not that far off base, and you certainly don’t want to appear unappreciative or defensive. At this stage of the relationship, you want to please your mate, not alienate him or her. It’s more important to appear receptive and understanding of your partner’s opinions than to challenge them.

Some time goes by. You now notice that your significant other’s opinions of you continue to be critical. Only now, there is an emotional undertone that suggests if you don’t abide by his opinion, he will be angry, punitive and emotionally manipulative.

The scariest times come when you believe the threats of rejection and abandonment.

 

The cycle has repeated itself in such a way that somehow, you’ve become sucked in and are believing the rhetoric. Or, at the very least, you’ve been trying to manage the critical outbursts. You’re now so consumed with keeping your partner’s emotional judgments at bay that you have trouble considering if his demands have crossed over into an abusive and inappropriate arena. Your judgment is clouded.1

You continue to ask yourself, Is it me or him? You feel anxious around him, believing that somehow you can make things right again; you want to feel the love you did when the two of you first got together. Deep down, your biggest fear is that his opinions of you are right … that there really is something wrong with you, and you just may not be lovable the way you are.

The bad news? You are now caught in the web. The good news? There is a way out. It is so important to understand what control is really all about. Let me show you the way.

Why Do People Want to Control Others?

Here’s what a person’s controlling behaviors are generally all about:

  • Their own sense of helplessness and powerlessness
  • Getting someone else (like you) to make them feel okay
  • Wanting to hand-off their own anxieties so they don’t have to deal with them themselves
  • Ensuring that you will never abandon or reject them
  • Projecting their deepest fears of being inadequate and unlovable

A person’s controlling behaviors are virtually never about you.

Take Control Back

Here are five steps to getting out from under a person’s control:

1. Get your power back.

The quickest way to do this is to be willing to walk away from the relationship if need be. This enables you to move forward with the next steps from a place of power, not a place of fear.

2. Set limits on his criticism and emotional outbursts.

Let your partner know that you are open to hearing his concerns about your actions and how they impact him, but will no longer engage in conversations that attack who you are as a person.

3. Consider your partner’s concerns.

What are you willing to do for him? What is completely off the table? Make sure you align these requests with your personal well-being and integrity. Don’t agree to do things simply in order to keep the peace or save the relationship, especially if deep down you know it isn’t right for you.

4. Be clear and honest with yourself first, then your partner.

Consider your values, goals and needs. Make sure your decisions are in alignment with your highest self, needs and all. Let him know what you can and can’t do for him. Whatever you do, do not be intimidated. Have a powerful “no” and make it clear that he will need to accept the “no.” If he can’t, then it may be best for the two of you to part ways.

5. Find people and experiences that celebrate who you are.

Find ways to reconnect with the powerful person you truly are, i.e. someone that would never tolerate being treated in such a manner. Engage and connect with other people that support and love you for exactly who you are.

At the end of the day, only you can decide if his controlling behavior is something you are willing to live with or not. Relationships should be something that supports your growth, not something that diminishes it. Love celebrates who you are; it does not put you down. You deserve to have a powerful and loving relationship. So start with yourself. Love yourself enough to take the first step in reclaiming you.

Most couples deal with issues of control; it is a common tension that arises from time to time. However, if you and a loved one are struggling with how to deal with control issues constructively, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. I want you to have the best possible outcome when it comes to strengthening your relationships.

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Do You Need Permission To Succeed?


As a recent private practice consultation group that I was leading came to an end, we took a few minutes to celebrate the growth and successes of each group member. I asked what each group would take away from their consultation group.  One therapist turned to me and said, “Thank you for giving me the permission to succeed.”

I have never really thought about my private practice consulting services as giving colleagues “permission to succeed,” but it seemed to fit. I asked myself, “Where did I get the permission to succeed?”

As I thought about it, I realized that my dad had modeled for me personal and professional success. As a child, I watched his music career flourish, how much he was energized through self-expression, and how he was motivated to inspire others through his work. My Dad’s modeling taught me that I, too, could create a professional life where I could express myself, be creative when faced with challenges, and inspire to make positive change.

I grew up believing that everyone had permission to have an amazing, creative and fulfilling life. I think that’s partly what inspired this blog. I want you to create a thriving private mental health practice that fills you with joy, that works for your life, and that reflects who you are.

When I saw my Dad a few weeks ago, on Father’s Day, I made a point of thanking him for giving me permission to succeed. I let him know that I really valued that gift that he’d given to me — the belief that I could find success and personal fulfillment in my professional life.

Do you need permission to succeed in your private practice?

Permission granted.

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6 Steps to Finding New Love


6 Steps to Finding New Love

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

6 Steps to Finding New Love If your relationship has ended, you might be nervous about dipping your feet in the dating pool. Or you might worry that you’ll never find love again. Maybe you’ve even assumed that you’re just unlucky when it comes to love.

Relationship and family therapist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, often hears people say they’ve lost hope. But she wants individuals to know that it’s absolutely possible to find a fulfilling partnership. For instance, in her 25-year study of 373 married couples, Orbuch found that 71 percent of divorced singles found love again.

Also, love has very little to do with luck. In fact, “there is a method to the love madness,” said Orbuch, who’s also author of the recently published book Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.

She believes in working from the inside out. Before pursuing a new relationship, Orbuch stresses the importance of working on your own beliefs, emotions, behaviors and sense of self. She helps readers do just that in Finding Love Again, along with offering tips on everything from first dates to building a strong relationship.

Below, Orbuch discussed her six steps for seeking and finding a great relationship.

 

1. Adjust your expectations.

“Forget everything you know about relationships,” Orbuch said. That’s because you might be holding onto certain relationship myths and unrealistic expectations, which can set you up for failure and frustration, she said. (Frustration also can eat away at your happiness, according to Orbuch.)

For instance, it’s unrealistic to think that your partner will automatically know what you want and need — even after many years of marriage, Orbuch said. In the beginning, people simply don’t know each other that well, while over the years, people naturally change, and so do their wants and needs. (Remember that no one is a mind reader. If you want or need something, Orbuch said, you have to ask for it.)

Another common myth is that there’s a specific amount of time you have to wait before you start dating. However, according to Orbuch, there’s no scientific evidence to substantiate a certain timeframe. “Everyone is different.” Some people are ready to date right after a relationship ends, while others need more time to heal, she said.

2. Start with a clean slate.

In her study, Orbuch found that divorced singles who didn’t feel anything for their ex were more likely to find love. “In order to find love again, you need to emotionally separate or detach from previous or past relationships,” she said.

Remaining emotionally attached to the past prevents you from being fully present — and trusting someone else — and keeps you trapped in a cycle of negativity, she said. Everyone has emotional baggage. The key is to make sure that your baggage isn’t too heavy, she said.

For instance, in the book, Orbuch includes a helpful quiz with questions such as: Do you still keep photos of your ex, compare others to them or visit their social media sites?

According to Orbuch, one way to become emotionally neutral is to release your emotions in healthy ways, such as engaging in physical activities and social events; volunteering; writing an honest letter to your ex (that you never send); and getting creative with activities such as painting, gardening and playing music. What also helps is to share your story with loved ones and seek their support, she said.

3. Shake up your routine.

Orbuch suggested making one small and simple change and committing to it for 21 days. In her study, she found that divorced singles who cut their work hours by at least one hour a day were more likely to find love. Changing your routine can open up new opportunities to meet people and even revise how you see yourself, according to Orbuch.

4. Discover the real you.

After your relationship ends, “you need to step back and re-examine you,” Orbuch said. Before you can determine if you’re compatible with someone, you need to know who you really are, she said.

Your past relationship probably shaped your personality and preferences in some way. You no doubt compromised, changed and accepted certain traits, she said.

As Orbuch writes in her book, “Singles who find a long-lasting, successful partnership have one trait in common: they put the focus on who they are and what they want, rather than worrying about what others will think.”

To find out who you are, define your key life values. What matters most to you? For instance, how important is faith, your job or your health?

Orbuch also suggested making a list of the qualities you’d like in your partner — and to be specific. For instance, as she writes in the book, by “funny,” do you mean you’d like your partner to have a dry sense of humor or tell jokes or something else entirely? Getting specific helps you reflect and consider the true qualities you’d like in a mate — and not waste your time, she writes.

5. Start dating.

Again, it’s important to be hopeful. The divorced singles in Orbuch’s study who were hopeful were much more likely to find love.

In the beginning of your relationship, you want to “disclose or share parts of yourself gradually,” Orbuch said. Don’t spill your guts right away. This might seem obvious, but many people do just that: They reveal everythingimmediately because they assume that if their date or partner doesn’t like what they hear, then it’s “Too bad,” and they’re on to the next person, she said.

But a lot of information is overwhelming for anyone, especially when it’s about topics like your ex, kids and finances, she said.

Don’t try to sell yourself, either, Orbuch said. Dating isn’t about winning someone’s approval; it’s about about finding out if you’re compatible.

6. Determine if you’re in the right relationship, and keep it strong.

When evaluating your relationship, Orbuch suggests considering the following: Do you think in terms of “we” or “I”? Do you trust each other? Do you share similar values? Do you handle conflict effectively?

To keep your relationship strong, “empty your pet peeves pail frequently,” she said. Small annoyances add up — and can damage your relationship — so talk to your partner about what bothers you.

Also, “make sure that you recognize and affirm each other frequently over time,” she said. It’s all too easy to put your relationship on the back burner when other people and tasks require your immediate attention, such as your kids, parents, jobs, health and finances, she said. But just a sweet phrase or small behavior can go a long way.

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How to Manage Emotions More Effectively


How to Manage Emotions More Effectively

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

How to Manage Emotions More EffectivelyFor many people, emotions are a scary thing. Part of the problem is that we just don’t know what to do with them, according to Darlene Mininni, Ph.D, MPH, author of The Emotional Toolkit.

So we turn to the only strategies we do know. If you’re a man, you might distract yourself by playing video games, tinkering with your tools or drinking alcohol, she said. If you’re a woman, you might shop or eat.

Turning to these tools occasionally is OK, Mininni said. Making them part of your regular coping repertoire, however, is problematic.

Emotions are valuable, and offer a bounty of benefits. Once we’re able to process and cope with them effectively, we can learn a lot about ourselves and our needs, Mininni said. Emotions send us important messages and help us connect with others and accomplish great things, she said.

 

Using unhealthy strategies can sabotage our relationships, job and even our health, Mininni said. In fact, people who handle stress effectively have healthier immune systems, don’t get sick as often and age up to 16 years more slowly than people who don’t.1

What is an Emotion?

There’s actually no consensus on what an emotion is, Mininni said. She defines emotions as a “full-body experience,” an interplay between our thoughts and physical sensations.

As an illustration, Mininni created the following simple formula:

Thoughts + Body Sensations = Emotion

For instance, a kind of giddy happiness and anxiety have the same sensations, such as tight muscles and a pounding heart. What determines whether we feel happy or anxious are our thoughts.

Decoding Emotions

Mininni created a valuable step-by-step process to help people identify and manage their emotions. The first step is to figure out what you’re feeling – and you just need to choose from four main emotions.

Mininni said that all emotions fall into these categories: anxiety, sadness, anger and happiness. With anxiety, she said, your mind lights up with “What ifs?” What if I lose my job? What if I don’t meet someone? What if I fail my test?

You have thoughts of the future and everything that can go wrong, she said. Your physical sensations include a racing heart, tight muscles and clenched jaw.

With sadness, you have negative thoughts about the past. You feel tired and heavy; you might cry and have trouble concentrating, she said.

With anger, your thoughts are focused on how you or your values have been attacked, she said. The physical sensations are similar to anxiety, including a racing heart and tightness in the body.

With happiness, your thoughts are focused on what you’ve gained. Maybe you landed a great job, found a nice apartment or received a compliment. Physically, you feel light or calm, and you might laugh and smile, she said.

The next step is to identify the message of your emotion. To do so, ask yourself these questions, according to Mininni:

  • Anxiety: What am I afraid of?
  • Sadness: What have I lost?
  • Anger: How have I or my values been attacked?
  • Happiness: What have I gained?

Coping with Emotions

Once you’ve identified the emotion and its message, the last step is to take action. Ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to solve the situation, Mininni said. If there is, consider what you can do.

For instance, if you’re upset that you can’t find a good job, maybe you can have friends review your resume or hire a professional resume writer. Maybe you can sharpen your interview skills or extend your search a few zip codes.

If there’s nothing you can do, determine how you can cope with the emotion, she said. Mininni suggested meditating, getting social supportwriting, exercising and seeking therapy.

Think of these strategies as an emotional toolkit. You simply reach into your kit, and pick out the healthy tool you need, Mininni said. In fact, you can create an actual tote, and pack it with comforting items such as sneakers, your journal, funny films, favorite books and a list of people you’d like to call when you’re upset.

The strategies that work best will vary with each person, depending on your personality, physiology and other individual factors, Mininni said. For some people, running works wonders in alleviating anxiety. For others, meditation is better.

Emotions may seem confusing and threatening but applying the above practical and clear-cut approach reveals emotions for what they really are: useful, informative and far from murky.

 

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How to Get Over a Breakup


How to Get Over a Breakup

By NATHAN FEILES

Relationship breakups are tough. They are emotionally exhausting, and can be incapacitating at times. For some who begin to dwell in regret and sadness, breakups can even spiral into depression. Even the breakups that make the most logical sense are still emotionally painful. And in fact, it is the emotional — not logical — part of ourselves that causes us to dwell in these relationships that we may logically know are not healthy for us.

While a grieving period is expected after a breakup, as breakups are a form of loss, it can be easy to get caught in an emotionally harmful pattern if we don’t actively push ourselves forward in our lives.

So how do we emotionally get through a breakup and also move forward in an emotionally healthy manner?

7 Tips for Getting Over a Breakup

1. Make plans.

How to Get Over a Breakup

Social interaction is one of the keys to moving forward after a breakup. Isolation often leads to being consumed by emotions and thoughts that exacerbate our sadness and upset. Schedule plans in advance to see friends or family at least a few times during the week and weekends, especially if you live alone, and be sure to follow through with them. If you feel you don’t want to be around anyone, which can be common after a breakup, this is the time to act opposite of the urge. Push yourself to interact with people and prevent a pattern of loneliness and depression.

2. Be aware of the rebound.

Breakups often are a time of intense emotional vulnerability. We are seeking stability. When we feel we can’t internally create it, it is quite possible to engage in unhealthy new relationships that cover up healthy relationship grieving.

While at first the replacement relationship brings a sense of euphoria, the unresolved emotions from the previous relationship often return, creating a more complicated and confusing emotional environment. If you find yourself falling into a new and exciting relationship too soon, you could be experiencing a rebound.

3. Participate in hobbies.

Hobbies are a positive way to keep from dwelling in sadness and forming negative patterns. Whether it’s doing a puzzle, going to museums, gardening, bowling, reading, or whatever it is you enjoy doing, allow yourself to create time and space for them. Be sure to include social hobbies as well as individual ones.

4. Keep up daily self-care routines.

It is also important to remember to take care of your daily needs when dealing with a breakup. Go to the gym, jog, swim, walk, cook, etc. Some may feel less motivated to grocery shop, prepare meals, eat, or shower after a breakup. These may require some extra effort at times, but push yourself to continue your daily routines as before.

5. Don’t overwork.

Some might say that throwing yourself into work is a great distraction from a breakup. However, overworking often is an emotionally avoidant behavior. Overworking may allow us to avoid sadness or loneliness because we are busy; however, it creates an imbalance in our lives as well as a negative pattern that can be tough to break. (Decreasing the work to regain more personal time later becomes difficult.) Work as you would normally work, and reserve those other hours in the day for self-care, hobbies, and social plans that you’ll hopefully be continuing or increasing into your week.

6. Set a daily time limit for grieving.

Each person grieves a loss differently. There is no actual time limit for grieving. However, there is a difference between healthy grieving and dwelling in regret and sorrow. Some could spend months consumed by guilt and sadness if we allow ourselves to.

As we move forward, it is still important to acknowledge our pain and other emotions we may feel as the result of a significant breakup. Set a time each day that you will allow yourself to reflect, feel, and process your relationship loss. Setting a timer is helpful for this. I would recommend no more than 20-30 minutes a day, and have an activity scheduled to immediately follow this time.

7. Seek professional help.

Some people feel ashamed and embarrassed that a breakup is consuming or impacting them, especially when the ex-partner is considered “not worth it.” But breakups are painful! We put time, effort, hope, emotion, and much more into our relationships.

Seeing a therapist to process the residual emotions and thoughts is a healthy way to deal with a breakup, especially if you’re feeling guilt, regret or starting to dwell in sadness.Breakups are rarely going to be easy; however, with healthy tools and motivation, we can heal.

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