MENTAL HEALTH Archives - Feel Better
How to survive a breakup – Don’t break after a heartbreak
Category: MENTAL HEALTH,Motivation,Recommended,Self improvement Author: Feel Better Date: 3 weeks ago Comments: 0
how to survive a breakup

There’s nothing like a broken heart that makes a person do things out of character. Breakups are painful, they bring deep grief, and make a distorted image of the relationship in our brain. However, not everything is so black. You just need to know how to survive a breakup and not break after a broken heart.

This article explains what breakups do to our brain and how to overcome it and come out even stronger. You will see some practical ideas and advice for going through a heartbreak.

How to survive a breakup – Defining the breakup

“Heartbroken” is a widely used term. For example, people say that “their heart got broken after the match”, but the pain they felt doesn’t even come close to romantic heartbreak. There’s nothing like a broken heart making someone do crazy stuff they normally wouldn’t do. You’ve probably heard tons of stories about people doing desperate things after they’ve gone through a breakup. For example, becoming stalkers or texting the ex like insane. Those are all grief responses and it’s actually to be expected considering what happens in the brain in such situations.

According to studies that used MRI scans of people who recently went through a breakup, when we relive our breakup, we have the same brain activity as addicts when they need a “fix” during a withdrawal. Thus, the desperate actions in hope that we will get a grain of that “love” we had before.

What does a breakup do to our brain?

how to survive a breakup

When we go through a breakup, our brain is no longer in charge and the heart takes over. This makes us lose control over our decisions. The thing is, our brain can’t tell the difference between physical and emotional pain. For our brain, pain is a pain. Therefore, by making you relive your relationship over and over, your brain hopes that you will learn from your mistakes so that you don’t go through that pain again. It’s like the instincts you get after burning yourself on hot things. Your brain will show you mental images of the good times because they hurt the most. And it wants to make sure you don’t forget the pain and not make the same mistakes. But, in order to regain control of your life, you need to learn how to override those natural brain responses.

How to fix a broken heart?

In order to fix a broken heart, you need to correct the distorted image of the relationship your brain keeps serving you. You can do that by making a list of all the bad things you went through while being in that relationship. This will counterbalance the “sweet pain” circle your brain trapped you in.

You need to set your goals clearly – Getting your ex out of your system and getting rid of the pain that comes with memories. Unfortunately, our brain works the opposite way and it will fight you by making you think about the sweet moments. You have to resist those thoughts and avoid “stalking” your ex on social media and looking at old pictures.

Other problems you might stumble upon are all the reminders of the past relationship that are everywhere. Your home, your mutual friends, the restaurants, certain spots in the city, those are all the reminders that you don’t need right now.

That’s why you have to be persistent in avoiding everything that reminds you of your ex. It is not easy but with commitment and being careful where you go and who you see, it is possible. In addition, it’s extremely important to talk to your friends, though keep in mind that you shouldn’t burden just one person with your emotional pain but “spread” it over one or two more friends.

  • Most importantly, if you want to survive a breakup, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Who were you before you met that person?
  • Who do you want to be now?
  • What aspects of yourself did you have to change for that relationship?
  • Which parts of yourself do you want to recover?

Once you have these answers, it will be clearer what you want from your life and moving on will come naturally.

Final thoughts

Once you start feeling a little better, don’t let your guard down because your heart and mind can be sneaky sometimes. Keep reminding yourself of the negative aspects of your former relationship. Work hard on filling in the gaps the relationship left in your life with positive things such as going out with friends or new hobbies.

Furthermore, replace your ex with friends when you want to watch “that TV show” you watched together. Or, when you were working out outside together. Just don’t give up on activities that you did together because you want them to be “your” activities now, not “the stuff we did together”.

Finally, think about what you’ve learned from this breakup. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about relationships in general? You will be surprised how much we can learn from our mistakes. we just need to allow ourselves to listen to reason. Once you manage that, you will come out much stronger than before. And you definitely won’t make the same mistakes again.

 


What is major depressive disorder?
Category: MENTAL HEALTH,Recommended Author: Feel Better Date: 3 weeks ago Comments: 0
What is major depressive disorder

For us humans, sadness comes as a natural part of ourselves. It’s normal for people to feel depressed and sad when going through a rough part of their lives. It’s not easy going through stressful events such as a divorce or loss of a loved one. But in most cases, these feelings go away shortly. However, people who have an intense and persistent feeling of sadness for longer time periods might suffer from MDD. What is major depressive disorder, or MDD?

This disorder is also characterized as a significant medical condition and is referred to as clinical depression. And it affects many areas of life and various physical functions such as sleep and appetite, as well as behavior and mood. Those who suffer from this disorder have trouble performing everyday activities, lose interest in their favorite activities, and sometimes feel like life isn’t worth living.

Unfortunately, there are people who don’t know that this disorder can be treated, and live like that every day. Most of those people would have gone better if they had psychotherapy, proper medications, or other successful symptom management methods.

What are the symptoms of major depressive disorder?

What is major depressive disorder

MDD diagnosis is based on the symptoms that affect behavior patterns and feelings. People who suspect having MDD are usually either asked certain questions or they have to fill out a questionnaire to determine if they have symptoms.

In order for someone to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, the symptom criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have to be met. According to this manual’s criteria, 5 or more of the following symptoms have to be met and they have to be experienced at least once a day for a period of more than 2 weeks:

  • Feeling of sadness or irritability most of the day, almost every day
  • Less interest in most activities once enjoyed
  • Sudden gain or loss of weight or changes in appetite
  • Trouble falling asleep or the need to sleep more than usual
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Lack of energy and the feeling of unusual tiredness
  • Feeling of worthlessness or guiltiness, often about things that wouldn’t normally cause such feelings
  • Difficulty with making decisions, thinking, or concentrating
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Causes of major depressive disorder

The science doesn’t have an answer to the causes of a major depressive disorder. However, factors such as a combination of stress and genes create brain chemistry that changes the balance of hormones. This contributes to the development of MDD.

  • There are also other triggers:
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Hypothyroidism or cancer
  • Particular types of medications, steroids included

Major depressive disorder treatment

The usual treatment for major depressive disorder includes psychotherapy and medication. But certain lifestyle changes help ease certain symptoms as well. On the other hand, those with severe disorders or thoughts of harming themselves may need to stay in for hospital treatment. Additionally, an outpatient treatment program is needed if MDD symptoms don’t improve after psychotherapy and medication.

Medication

Often start treatment for MDD, prescribed by care providers are antidepressant medications, in most cases, it’s SSRIs (short for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These antidepressants help inhibit the breakdown of serotonin in the brain. The result is higher amounts of this neurotransmitter, thus a happier state of mind.

Psychotherapy

Talk therapy, psychological therapy, or simply psychotherapy is an effective treatment for major depressive disorder. Psychotherapy includes meeting with a therapist on a regular basis is and talking about the condition and issues. This helps with:

  • Adjusting to a crisis or stressful events
  • Replacing negative behaviors and beliefs with healthy, positive ones
  • Improving communication skills
  • Find better ways for coping with challenges and solving problems
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Regaining control of life and sense of satisfaction

Lifestyle changes

Medication and talk therapy do most of the healing job, but positive changes in lifestyle help improve the major depressive disorder symptoms as well. When it comes to these changes, it comes down to:

  • Eating right
  • Getting plenty of exercises
  • Sleeping well

And that’s it!


Nature and mental health issues – Is there a link?
Category: Blog,MENTAL HEALTH Author: Feel Better Date: 1 month ago Comments: 0
Happy couple embracing at sunset in the nature

Doctors have long ago determined that regular outings in the good old Mature Nature is a major boost for one’s health. If you are a parent, then you know how your kids feel better and have fewer problems with asthma, obesity, as well as an improved immune system and sleeping patterns. But is there a link between nature and mental health issues? Does nature help with those problems as well? It seems that there is a link because a plethora of scientific researches and articles that talk about this link have emerged in the last decade.

All these studies point to the same fact – nature has a tremendous impact on our mental health and people with mental issues should spend as much time in nature as possible. Therefore, we ask you to forget about the size of your home and think more about the size of your yard or if you are closer to the forest instead of the concrete jungle.

Nature and mental health issues – Why is it important to go out regularly?

Nature and mental health issues

For now, most of the researches and studies that are looking for a link between nature and mental health are focused on kids. And, every single one of those studies shows that the more time kids spend in the great outdoors, the happier and healthier they are. On the other hand, kids that don’t spend much time outside, tend to suffer both physically and mentally.

A certain study that was conducted on almost million kids showed that kids who don’t have access to nature, or green spaces at least, have a 55% higher chance of suffering from a psychiatric illness later in their lives. In addition, there are even studies that suggest that do spend plenty of time in nature have a lower risk of suffering from ADHD.

The reality?

Despite all the studies and proofs from these studies, one fact remains the same – As technology evolves and as our lifestyle becomes faster and faster, both kids and adults spend less and less time in the outdoors. We tend to spend more time in front of the TV or computer or Smartphones, 3 times more time than being outside to be precise. Thus, the percentage of mental health issues goes up every year.

Does it work for adults?

Just as for the kids, the same goes for adults as well. The less time you spend in nature, the more stress “eats” you out. Also, the higher are the chances of suffering from mental health issues. A simple thing such as a walk through a forest could benefit your mental health tremendously. While you walk in nature, your stress hormone levels, such as cortisol, become lower. Likewise, nature is one of the best buffers against stress and it’s damaging effects, and, for example, high blood pressure is just one of them. In addition, the more you spend time in the great outdoors, the lower are your chances of suffering from depression and anxiety.

Furthermore, we also have to mention that there’s a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and mental health. And there’s also a link between the lack of nature and poorer areas.

So what can You do?

The answer is simple, get out and spend time in nature as much as possible. Makes sure that your kids spend a few hours in the park or woods every single day. Only this way can you make sure that the stress in you is counteracted by the healing powers of nature. In the unfortunate event that your city lacks green areas, talk to your neighbors, write a petition to your local council and ask for more parks and green areas. You never know, your words might get through to someone who can help all of you build a greener, healthier surrounding, and future.


Psychological Benefits of Pets
Category: Blog,MENTAL HEALTH,Recommended Author: Feel Better Date: 2 months ago Comments: 0
psychological benefits of pets

There’s more and more research evidence that points out the psychological benefits of pets for people with mental health problems. For example, a study about people living with PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression, revealed that pets offer a deep sense of “ontological security” — which means, stability, continuity, and meaning in a person’s life.

There’s also a study that described how CDC encouraged parents to get their children a pet. They claim that having a dog helps with anxiety issues with kids as well as with the lowering of BMI. Now, when Dr. Helen Louise Brooks, from the University of Liverpool, did thorough research of the mentioned studies, she discovered that pets benefit people with serious mental health issues.

Psychological Benefits of Pets as a Therapy

Dr. Brooks discovered that having dogs, cats, hamsters, or even goldfish as a therapy for a mental health issue brings huge benefits. Animals help people, especially when dealing with mental health problems, with a distraction from the symptoms and with managing emotions.

How do Pets Help Us Mentally?

Pets provide unconditional support and love and help with easing distress, worry, and loneliness. They give us acceptance without judgment and give unconditional support, which many people with mental health issues don’t get from their family or friends. Furthermore, some study participants claim that pets make them go outside and live a more social and physically active life. This especially goes for dogs as they encourage social interaction as well as improve community ties.

In addition, pets help people with keeping a strong sense of existential meaning, self-worth, and identity. One study participant said “When depressed, I become suicidal. One thing that stopped me from killing myself was wondering what the rabbits are doing at the moment. And the next thought was – I can’t kill myself, what will the rabbits do if they are alone, who will take care of them?”

Another participant said that when (in his case a dog) the pet comes to his bed ad night, you can see that it’s a mutual need kind of deal as it needs you as much as you need him.

Idea – Pets included in patient care plans?

In the end, you have to agree with us that pets have a valuable contribution to our mental health. So, the question is – Why aren’t pets still incorporated into individual care plans of patients? This would also offer an opportunity to involve patients in their own mental health service by discussing what works best for them. Think about what you just read and let us know in the comments.


5 Habits of Happy People
Category: Blog,MENTAL HEALTH,Recommended,Self improvement Author: Feel Better Date: 2 months ago Comments: 0

Is the question “Am I really happy?” bothering you? Do you think that you could be happier? Do you have a problem with defining when you are actually happy and when not? Here are 5 habits of happy people so that you definitely know the next time you are happy and relax and enjoy the moment!

 

Living in the Moment

habits of happy people

The modern way of living makes us running at lightspeed with our pants on fire. Therefore, there’s little or no time to actually enjoy the moment when an opportunity arises. Sure, you probably have a walk to clear your mind or sit in the park, but even then, are you actually enjoying the moment or creating a new list of things you have to do when you get back home?

Happy people tend to enjoy their moments of happiness. There’s nothing bad in, for example, relaxing and savoring moments when you feel relaxed, without thinking about the problems. They won’t run away, no one else will solve them for you, so why not indulge yourself, put them aside for a moment and truly be happy, even if it’s just for a moment.

 

Being Resilient and Flexible

 

The definition of being resilient is being able to get back on your feet and successfully continue where you left off after a setback. Can you say “That’s me!”? Not many can, unfortunately. But, happy people can! When people are happy, when their plans go downhill, they are capable of not focusing on the bad and stopping in their tracks.

On the contrary, happy people get even more motivated to reach the goal they set even if the whole world is against them. Okay, maybe they won’t get back in the track right away, but planning when to come back is better than drowning yourself in sorrow because your plan misfired, right?

 

Staying Calm

When people lessen their stress level by managing to stay calm, they automatically feel better and are happier about themselves. Simple as that! Sure, it takes a lot of self-control to keep it verbal, not physical, and to keep a calm tone than to burst into flames.

Just think about it, were you ever in a situation where you lost your nerve and said or did something you regretted later? Did you think “I could have handled this differently and remained calm…” Well, just remember this next time stress makes you want to erupt and trust us, you will be much happier.

Being Good to Yourself

Do you know how airline companies tell you to “In case of emergency, please put the oxygen mask on yourself then help the person next to you do the same thing.” These drills are not designed just like that, they are well planned and there’s a reason why they are the way they are. The point of the story is – You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.

Therefore, if you want to be happy, you have to learn how to be good to yourself. Only after you are happy, you can make people around you happy as well. With this in mind, the next time you want to treat yourself with something that makes you happy, go for it! Don’t put your happiness down because you think others come first. Sure, in many cases they do (kids, loved ones, family). If you keep neglecting your happiness, in the long run, it will be bad for both you and the ones that you care for.

 

Doing Nothing is Also One of the Habits of Happy People

First of all, let’s not confuse Doing nothing with being lazy! There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to do nothing from time to time. Do you feel tired and want to spend the day in your PJs? Just binge-watching your favorite show? Go for it! Just don’t turn it into a habit because it will turn into laziness instead of allowing yourself to recharge your batteries.

Did you know that in Japan, the higher your responsibilities are at work, the bigger your garden is? They realized that huge amounts of stress are bad for productivity and overall happiness, so their garden is their place of Zen and a place where you go to do nothing except sit, relax, and enjoy the view. Therefore, you see what we mean when we say – Doing nothing from time to time hugely affects your happiness and is one of the habits of happy people.


How to Encourage Your Child to Talk About its Emotions
Category: Blog,MENTAL HEALTH,Motivation,Recommended Author: Feel Better Date: 3 months ago Comments: 0
How to Encourage Your Child to Talk About its Emotions

When a child learns how to positively express its feelings, it develops effective emotion management skills. Here are a few useful tips that will show you how to encourage your child to talk about its emotions.

How to Encourage Your Child to Talk About its Emotions – Kids also have feelings like adults

How to Encourage Your Child to Talk About its Emotions

Whether you realize it or not, your child also has the same emotions as you do. They also get jealous, nervous, excited, frustrated, embarrassed, angry, worried, frightened, and sad. But they don’t possess the tools to cope with these emotions as their vocabulary isn’t as developed as ours. Therefore, they express their emotions in their own ways.

By their own ways, we mean body language, play, and overall behavior. That’s why kids sometimes act out in problematic, inappropriate, or physical ways.

As soon as they are born, kids learn how to identify, manage, and express their emotions. This learning process starts with the people who are closest to them (parents, siblings, grandparents). Meaning that you as a parent, play an extremely important role in your child’s emotional development. By emotional development, we mean learning how to cope with their emotions in a constructive and positive way.

Learning how to cope with emotions in childhood leads to positive behaviors and attitudes as a grownup

A child that knows how to cope with and express its feelings in a positive way is more likely to:

  • Become supportive and empathic with others
  • Advance in school and career later
  • Have stable and positive relationships
  • Be mentally healthy
  • Have fewer problems with bad behavior
  • Gain coping and resilience skills
  • Be more confident, capable, and competent
  • Gain a positive sense of itself

Your role in your child’s emotional skills development

How to Encourage Your Child to Talk About its Emotions

Here are a few useful tips on helping your child learn how to express its emotions:

Pay attention to cues

When they are young, it’s hard to identify what your child is feeling. That’s why you need to pay attention to listen to what your child is saying, how it’s behaving, and the body language its displaying. This will help you in figuring out what your child is feeling so that you can help it manage and express those emotions in a healthy way.

There’s a feeling behind every behavior

Keep in mind that behind every behavior your child displays, there’s a certain feeling. Once you know which emotion is behind the behavior, you can help with teaching your child to express it in a proper way.

Naming the feelings

It is important to teach your child how to name each emotion. By knowing how to name an emotion, your child expands its emotional vocabulary and finds talking about it much easier. This helps them in identifying their emotions and channeling them in a healthy way.

Recognizing emotions in others

Teach your child how to identify emotions in other people. You can talk with your child about what it thinks a certain person (whether a real person or a cartoon character) is feeling right now. This is a great way to make your child relaxed and open to discussing feelings and learning to recognize other people’s feelings, based on facial expressions.

Turning yourself into a role model

Children learn emotions and how to cope with them by observing their parents and people close to them. Therefore, you are the one that has to set an example and show your child what it’s feeling in certain situations and how to channel those emotions.

Praising your child to encourage positive behavior

When your child talks about its feelings or expresses them in a healthy manner, you should praise it. This way, you will let your child know that it’s normal to have feelings and talk about them, as well as encourage it to repeat that positive expression.

How to encourage your child to talk about its emotions and express its feelings in a positive way

When kids are frustrated or angry, they usually throw toys. Also, they find it hard to settle down after they’ve had an exciting day. This is a great opportunity for you to teach your child how to express its emotions in a healthy and positive manner. Here are some useful tips for coping with their emotions:

  • Teach your child to take deep breaths when angry or frustrated
  • Let it know that it’s okay to ask for support or help
  • It’s okay to take a break if something isn’t going their way
  • Sometimes doing certain things means finding more ways to solve the problem, not just one
  • Problems can be solved with words
  • Don’t act out, say what you feel
  • Grownups understand what’s happening
  • Asking for a cuddle or a hug when feeling bad is always okay

You play an important role in your child’s emotional development

The first step in teaching your child in managing its emotions is helping in identifying the feelings. A child that is capable of identifying, understanding, and coping with a wide range of emotions, is more likely to have a healthy mental state and better overall wellbeing as a grownup. If you need some help in knowing how to encourage your child to talk about its emotions, feel free to ask us, we will gladly help.


The Effects of Stress on Your Memory
Category: Blog,MENTAL HEALTH,Recommended Author: Feel Better Date: 3 months ago Comments: 0
effects of stress on your memory

Memory and stress work and don’t work well together, depending on the situation. This relationship is all but just black and white. For example, small doses of stress can help you in remembering or “pulling out some memory, information or facts. However, huge doses of stress will not be helpful at all when it comes to memory. So, what are the effects of stress on your memory?

A good example of this stress/memory relationship is studying for the test. Students are more motivated when they are slightly stressed out, therefore, information is stored in memory better. On the other hand, if you are freaking out (high dose of stress) you won’t be able to remember anything you learned just a few days ago. When exposed to constant stress, in time, our memory structure in brain changes. To understand this, we actually need to explain how memories are created and “pulled out” when we need them.

With each sensory experience, the part of the brain that is in charge of processing emotions (amygdala) influences the part that is in charge of processing memories (hippocampus). This way, hippocampus knows to store this emotionally charged memory. As you might have realized by yourself by now, both negative and positive, emotionally charged events in our lives turn into strong memories. And, later, when we want to pull out those memories, the prefrontal cortex takes charge of the “computing” part. This is a never-ending circle, directly affected by stress.

Memory and Chronic Stress

effects of stress on your memory

When we are under enormous stress, like when our lives are in danger, the amygdala sends a high amount of warning hormones (circulating stress hormones) through our whole body. Therefore, both the body and the nervous system are in a state where we are ready to either attack or run.

When this doesn’t happen too often, memory processing is not in danger. However, studies showed that when constantly exposed to highly stressful situations (soldiers fighting in a war) people suffer from hippocampus shrinking. This means that the ability to process and store memories drastically degrades.

Furthermore, in such highly stressful situations, the amygdala also blocks the prefrontal cortex activity. This is actually not a bad thing when you are in danger because your body is more prepared to defend itself and survive than to have the ability to listen to reason and process higher thoughts.

However, most of us are not in constant life-threatening situations, and we don’t need our muscles filled up with oxygen and glucose, and ready to attack. This is not useful, for example, for a school test or a job interview, right?

Also, stress-activated body, in the long run, only brings normal life functioning inability, and damages our memory storing brain structures.

Hippocampus and Trauma

effects of stress on your memory

Certain studies have shown that being exposed to trauma, leads to a low volume of both hippocampus and amygdala. The study used coal miners, more specifically, miners involved in life-threatening situations, such as unplanned explosions.

The results showed that those miners suffered from PTSD. In addition, their amygdala and hippocampus volumes were significantly lower than those of miners that didn’t suffer such traumas. This directly shows that chronic stress and trauma reduce the brains capability of storing and pulling out memories.

Is There a Solution that Will Save Your Memory?

As a matter of fact, there might be a solution! Our brain actually has the ability to change as we live. Also, certain studies that have shown that the effects of stress on your memory can be reversed. One study showed that with the use of antidepressant therapy, and increment of serotonin levels in our brain, leads to reversing the damage done to the hippocampus, thus reversing the inability to store memories.

What can You do on Your Own to Reduce the Effects of Stress on Your Memory?

Well, the first step would be reducing the levels of stress. Avoid situations that cause constant stress and both your body. Soon, the part of the brain that is in charge of keeping the memory intact will heal. You will start feeling better and you will start storing and pulling out memories much easier. In addition, options you can likewise consider include regular exercising, psychotherapy, support groups, and doctor-prescribed medication.

 


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