Beyond The Stigma: Seeking Counseling

The Stigma On Mental Health

More than ever, there is an uproar of advocates for mental health globally. It is said that one out of four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. We have grown so far from criticizing it as a make-up illness to accepting it more and more as an actual health condition. How to break the stigma when it comes to mental health?

 

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What Harms Your Mental Health Faster – A Counselor’s Guide To A Healthy Well-Being

Perhaps you understand that there are things you should do to take care of your overall wellness. But everyone knows that the process is not that simple. Sometimes, you have to endure some of the worse mental, emotional, physical struggles only to develop your overall well-being. But don’t you know that even if you think you already made healthy lifestyle changes, you can still get trapped with a mental health problem? That is because of the bad habits you do that you thought are okay. So with that, allow this article to name a few of the harmful things you do without realizing how damaging these habits can be to your overall development.

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You Stick To The Past

You know this already. Sticking to the past has a lot to do with the replays of conversations, responses, events, and traumatizing scenes in your head. It is where you find yourself dwelling over things that were long gone. It is detrimental because it makes you feel guilty for not reacting or doing things that can salvage that particular situation. But there is nothing you can do. You can’t bring back the time. So if you think you made a wrong decision in that previous situation, then move on and learn from it. Stop ruminating about those stressful situations because eventually, it will only drag you down to worse mental and emotional suffering levels.

You Seek Reassurance 

Another thing that can ruin your disposition is your habit of constantly seeking reassurance. In some instances, it is okay as long as you don’t rely too much on luck and still strive hard to make everything better. However, when you keep asking yourself if you are doing things right, you probably do not know what you are doing. You are not confident enough to handle situations independently, and you are not learning through experience either. Your excessive reassurance-seeking shows a potential role of emotional and mental vulnerability, which are factors for developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

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You Believe You’re Alone

You definitely harm your mental health faster when you think that you have no support system during difficult times. Of course, not everyone is going to be there for you, and not everyone is willing to stick with you through your struggles. But you are not alone. If you keep these unwanted thoughts in your head, you are putting a lot of stress on your overall well-being. And if you feel like you are struggling with life issues, do yourself a favor and find the right people you can surround yourself with who genuinely care for you.

You Maintain A Fixed Mindset

It is okay to have a specific mindset that you want to believe. If that is something that can help you get through with your daily stressors, utilize it. If your current responses to negative emotions can determine the level of your depressive symptoms, then that mindset can be good for you. But if you think about certainties and don’t accept change, that can be a problem. A fixed mindset can trap you negatively by not allowing you to push your limits and focus on improvement. That particular mentality ruins your overall wellness faster than you think because it hinders you from learning and motivating yourself.

You Set Unrealistic Expectations

It is okay to have ideals because those are things that you can hold onto when you lose track of your goals. However, if those ideals of yours stick with unattainable perfection, then that can be an issue. Your high expectations can lead to disappointments, and facing them can become too emotionally and mentally exhausting. It can make you lose trust in everything and affect your motivation, self-acceptance, and confidence. When you constantly fall short of your unrealistic expectations will eventually lead to the progression of a pessimistic approach in your life.

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You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

You might say that this one is a bit cliché. But this statement serves as a constant reminder of taking care of your overall wellness. Not getting enough sleep is way too harmful to your mental health. It can ruin your well-being slowly but surely. It can increase symptoms of mental illnesses, including conditions such as anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorder. Sleep deprivation impacts your mood, negatively impacts your daily activities, and decreases your cognitive function. In unfortunate instances, it can cause serious potential problems associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, heart failure, or stroke.

Takeaway

Learn to identify your mental and emotional pitfalls. Remember that it will be your first step towards your emotional and mental health improvements. Always remember to develop a healthy mindset, embrace challenges, learn from failures, and persevere through setbacks. Look out for negative habits affecting your overall wellness and find ways to alter them as much as you can.

Counselor-Approved Healthy Habits

Do you know that it will take at least 21 days before a habit gets formed? Unfortunately, despite your eagerness to get immediate results, your mind and body will not cooperate. So why not go through the process instead of resisting the struggle? You need to realize that bad days are temporary, and failure is inevitable. But to be able to be in control, you need to establish a healthy relationship with the changes around you. So here are some of the healthy habits you can practice.

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Learn To Cook Your Food – One healthy habit that you should try incorporating is cooking your food. That is because being friends with the kitchen has a lot of benefits. You will not only eat healthy meals every day, but you will also learn to avoid emptying your pocket from constantly purchasing fast food meals. Aside from that, you will be able to budget your savings accordingly by only purchasing enough food and groceries that you can store in your fridge. Cooking your own food is less intimidating, especially when you already know what to do.

Get Your Body Moving – The busier your life becomes, the more you excuse yourself from exercising. But when you try and make fitness activities part of your habit, you will soon manage to develop a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to go and register to the gym only to get that exercise you need. Because even a 20-minute walk or jog outside can make a huge difference in your overall health, it would be beneficial to regularly practice working on your body to help improve your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Take A Bathe Regularly – Daily taking a bath is a habit that you should do. Bathing helps in removing the dead skin cells from your body and keeps you clean. It improves your physical health as it allows better functions of your muscles, joints, and bones. Be mindful that the hotness or coldness of the water matters. Note that cold water increases circulation, allowing blood to run into deeper tissues to help maintain ideal body temperature. On the other hand, hot or warm water relaxes the body and better prepares your brain and body for a good night’s sleep.

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Set A Consistent Time For Sleep – Another way you can improve your way of living is by setting a consistent time for sleep. Of course, you can be guilty of getting busy every night with some things, or you love binge-watching some movies, or maybe you spend too much time on your mobile device. You might think that these things are harmless, but there are damaging effects to that routine. It can make you prone to serious medical issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Therefore, try to establish a sleeping routine to regulate your sleeping cycle.

Get Hydrated – Filling the body with enough water is a practice that you should always mind. It may be bland, tasteless, and boring, but water has many health benefits compared to any self-claimed energy drink. If you genuinely want to make it different, you can still be creative in drinking it. You can add some fresh slices of lemon, cucumber, orange, or any other fruit slices. Drinking enough water can give your body enough vitamins and minerals. So next time you need to drink some soda, grab a glass of water instead.

Make A List Of Your Priorities – It would be beneficial to create a list of your priorities to stay focused on the things you need to strive for. Keep track of your progress by using a planner or a journal. You need to embrace a resilient mindset that can motivate you to move towards the desired accomplishments. Also, it would help if you can limit your list to the things that you can complete each day. That way, you won’t have to multitask and end up getting stuck with lots of unfinished tasks.

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Take Time To Declutter – You do not have to go all the way through your stuff just to be able to declutter things around you. It is essential to establish a clean home or workspace that can make you feel comfortable and happy. Allow your place to have that positive vibe that can boost your productivity. Ensure that your surroundings are organized to avoid stress and anxiety. Do a little bit of decluttering or cleaning each week and throw or keep away the things you no longer need. You can try and look into a minimalistic lifestyle.

Practice Meditation – Your list of healthy habits wouldn’t be complete without meditation. Since there are tons of negative energy surrounding you every day, you need to find time to establish a positive outlook in life despite uncertainties. With that, you need to practice meditation where you can focus on your breathing. It will help clear your thoughts and feelings and bring you to a stable mental and emotional state.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Depression And Anxiety Symptoms

Have you ever asked yourself if you are aware of your mental health condition? Do you think you are emotionally and mentally stable just because you find yourself happy and always interacting socially? For sure, you are uncertain as to what your psychological health is dealing with right now. With all the stressors in your life that you can’t seem to bear, anxiety and depression are all you can blame. But are those entirely the reason for your despair?

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Honestly, mental health issues are not all the same. There are instances that you think you are okay, but you are not. That despite convincing yourself that you are emotionally and mentally strong, there is something inside that screams out for help. Understandably, your feelings are valid. Mental health battles are not easy, and sometimes, you just got to lie to yourself for you to be able to find the right focus in keeping your overall well-being in place.

In case you find it hard to understand what you are going through, allow these answered frequently asked questions to guide you.

What are the symptoms of severe anxiety? 

Warning signs of anxiety vary from one person to another. However, despite the different levels, the general symptoms still include feelings of nervousness and restlessness. There is also an increased heart rate, feeling weak or tired, sweating, trembling, breathing rapidly, and having a sense of impending danger. There is often panic and troubled concentration due to overthinking about anything other than the current unnecessary worry.

But be mindful that these anxiety symptoms are not exclusive to anxiety only. Some of these warning signs can be associated with other mental health conditions. Thus, you need to take note of the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety. If you are still confused, seek professional help right away.

 Can anxiety cause physical symptoms? 

Yes. Even if anxiety is a mental health issue, it can still cause some physical symptoms, including stomachaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, tingling in the hands and feet, jitteriness, chest pressure, choking sensation, and the list goes on. It is vital to note all of the warning signs and not ignore the physical symptoms to seek medical assistance immediately.

 Can anxiety affect your mind? 

Yes, of course. Anxiety is a mental condition that targets the brain. Therefore, its main damages start with it. Long-term cases of anxiety and panic attacks cause the brain to release an abundant amount of stress hormones regularly. This particular process increases the frequency of negative symptoms, such as dizziness and headaches. Symptoms also include fatigue, fear, dreadfulness, nausea, trembling, and poor concentration.

If ever you are anxious, do not feel afraid. Fortunately, there are mild anxiety levels that you can easily get rid of by taking extra care of yourself. Some of the coping methods you can use are deep breathing exercises and meditation. But of course, these are not permanent solutions. You still need a piece of professional advice if your anxiety becomes too much to handle.

 Is anxiety or depression a disability? 

Yes. Severe depression and anxiety disorders are considered psychiatric disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. That is because some of the symptoms of these mental health conditions are severely debilitating. In some unfortunate cases, some psychological distress is linked to an increased risk of self-harm and death, even at relatively low levels. Depression and anxiety can make an individual avoid school, work, family get-togethers, and other social situations that somehow trigger or worsen mental health symptoms.

 How long can the physical symptoms of anxiety last? 

Anxiety often relates to a specific situation that an individual had to deal with. Usually, it tends to build up and continue for quite some time. With anxiety, a person gets preoccupied with bodily functions such as rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, headaches, stomach aches, minor physical abnormalities in the skin, etc. Usually, these symptoms peak after 10 minutes and usually lessen after 30 minutes to an hour. However, some individuals suffer from effects quite longer.

 How can you reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety? 

To reduce physical symptoms of anxiety, you need to start considering self-care as your top priority. You have to be physically active and move your body if you can. You do not need to undergo extreme exercises, for that matter. Simple house chores, a minute walk outside the park, and a couple of lifting will do. Also, avoid sleeping late and get enough sleep all night. It helps the mind and body regenerate much-needed strength. Try relaxation techniques too. Practice deep breathing and mindfulness meditation.

 What having anxiety feels like? 

Anxiety disorder can cause a lot of different feelings. Various symptoms characterize it, and the most common one is excessive and intrusive worrying. This particular worry disrupts an individual’s daily functioning as he engages in negative feelings of restlessness, agitation, fatigue, irritability, tense muscles, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping.

However, as common as these symptoms may sound, some people deal with anxiety differently. You need to pay attention to your triggers to avoid making assumptions about your mental health condition.

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 How do I overcome anxiety attacks? 

There are many ways to overcome anxiety attacks. However, it is important to realize that not because some methods work perfect for others, it does not mean it guarantees the same result for you. But still, you can try some of it, including deep breathing, meditation, hydration, and well-enough sleep. It would be best if you recognized your anxiety attack symptoms so you can shift your focus. Always stay positive so you can picture yourself away from the condition.

But if your anxiety symptoms persist, call your healthcare provider right away. Do not wait for your anxiety symptoms to take over your life. Make sure you are fully aware of the possibility of losing control over your emotional and mental health. Engage in social intervention, therapy, or medication if you have to.

 What are the three stages of the stress response? 

Mental health problems promote a rollercoaster of reactions, triggers, coping mechanisms, and recovery. These things rely on the three stages of the stress response. Hans Selye, the founder of stress theory, identified these stages as an alarm or the reaction phase that refers to the initial physical symptoms one experiences when under stress. Next is the resistance or the preliminary shock of a stressful event, which subjects to have a fight-or-flight response. Last is the exhaustion or the long periods of struggle with the stress that drains the emotional, physical, and mental aspects.

 What are the common emotional signs of stress? 

The common signs of stress include apathy, lack of feeling, emotion, energy, or interest in something. It also includes the feeling of always on edge, being emotional, and always full of doubts. Usually, it promotes difficulty in making decisions, difficulty keeping things on track, always agitated and angry. Stress can make someone feel like they are in a constant emotional and mental struggle to find time to think through and even sleep. Often, there is too much going on with the person’s head, and his eating habits change suddenly.

 What drug calms you down? 

The most common drug that helps calm you down is Benzodiazepines. These are also called sedatives, minor tranquilizers, or hypnotics. Experts widely prescribed these psychoactive drugs due to their calming effects. Among these are Librium, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan

Again, please do not take these medications without a doctor’s prescription. Be mindful that anything you take without proper assistance can be harmful to your health.

 What vitamins help with anxiety? 

The best evidence-based vitamins that help with anxiety include valerian root, omega-3, L-Theanine, multivitamins, vitamin B complex, vitamin D, and magnesium. But note that it would be better to consult your doctor for safety purposes before taking any of these vitamins.

 Can you beat anxiety without medication? 

Yes. There are so many ways that you can beat anxiety without medication. Usually, overcoming nervousness and worry is simply a matter of changing your thoughts, behavior, and lifestyle. But if you must, you need to consider speaking with a doctor or health professional if your symptoms don’t improve or worsen.

 What helps anxiety naturally? 

The perfect ways to reduce anxiety naturally should start with getting physically active. Regular exercise is beneficial for overall health, so it should be taken seriously. It is vital to take some time to rest and sleep at least 8 hours a day to help with rejuvenation. Incorporate a healthy diet and hydrate the body with enough water. Consider also deep breathing and mindfulness meditation.

 Can a lack of vitamin D cause anxiety?

In some studies, vitamin D causes anxiety. Vitamin D insufficiency may relate to higher mental health problems as Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health for suitable brain functioning and development.

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Insight

Work and do your best to achieve a full emotional and mental recovery. Do not mind the slipups. As long as you can refocus and get back on track, you can assure that your well-being can achieve the better health you deserve.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Exercise For Depression

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One in ten people in America struggles with depression, and their way of coping is mostly through antidepressant medication to treat or manage the illness. However, it is a known fact that tablets and pills are not the absolute solutions. Studies have shown that exercise is a very potent solution as well. Some people who have maintained a regular exercise regimen claim that exercise works as effectively as antidepressant medications. However, it is not sufficient enough for someone with intense depressive symptoms.

Initiating exercise stimulates a biological flow of events that leads to several health benefits, including improved sleep quality, protection against diabetes and heart diseases, and reduced blood pressure. High-level exercises release endorphins, feel-good chemicals, throughout the whole body, consequently leading to a ‘high’ that people usually feel when they run or ride the bike. For most people, though, prefer to do low-intensity exercises that are prolonged and sustained. This type of activity stimulates the surge of proteins known as growth or neurotrophic factors and causes the nerve cells to develop and create more synapses. Ultimately, brain function improves, further improving one’s overall well-being.

However, when a person is depressed, neuroscientists observed that some part of the brain, especially the part that aids in mood regulation, is relatively smaller.

 

Getting Started

Depression presents physically through sleep deprivation, decreased energy, body pains, increased perception of pain, and changes in appetite, all of which may lead to decreased motivation to exercise. It is difficult to begin, and depression is not easy to destroy, but moving a little bit will definitely help you start a better routine. You can start with walking or dancing five to ten minutes a day. Soon after, your five minutes of activity will progress to 20 and then 30.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about depression and other things that can help alleviate it.

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What is the number 1 cause of depression?

There are actually many causes of depression. These include substances that the individual may be taking (drugs, medications, alcohol), other medical illnesses, severe stressful events, and genetic predisposition can definitely impact how brain regulation goes about.

How can I lift my mood?

Here are some simple ways to help improve your mood:

  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Organize your home.
  • Have a good laugh with friends.
  • Walk around the neighborhood or the park.
  • Think about the good things that have happened in your life.
  • Permit yourself to vent.
  • Give a hug to someone you care about.

What is the most serious form of depression?

PDD or persistent depressive disorder is a type of depression that exists for two years and over. It is also known as chronic depression or dysthymia. Persistent depression may not seem as severe as major depression, although it could still damage relationships and make everyday activities difficult.

What increases the risk of depression?

In a lot of cases, depression and substance abuse go hand in hand. Alcohol and drugs may cause chemical alterations in the brain that increase the risk for developing depression. Self-medicating with alcohol and drugs could also result in depression.

What are the 9 causes of depression?

The most commonly known causes of depression include:

  • Family and other personal conflicts
  • Loss or death of a loved one
  • Physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse
  • Particularly medications that may cause depressive side effects
  • Personal issues
  • Serious medical conditions
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Major life events

What gender is more likely to be depressed?

Females have almost twice the likelihood of developing depression compared to males. On the other hand, depression can happen at any age.

How does depression affect synapse?

Clinical experiments reveal that depression is linked to decreased brain areas that control cognition and mood, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. A reduced neuronal synapse is also seen in these areas.

Does depression count as a disability?

Depression is recognized as a psychiatric disability according to the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a particular mood disorder that has been known to disrupt one’s daily tasks, which may include one’s capacity to work. Depression often becomes too extreme that a person cannot go to work anymore.

What does a mental breakdown look like?

The phrase ‘nervous breakdown’ is occasionally used by people to refer to a stressful event by which a person is temporarily not capable of functioning normally in his daily life. It is typically believed to happen when life’s demands get emotionally and physically daunting.

Do you cry during a mental breakdown?

Yes, people who suffer from mental breakdown usually cry when they feel helpless. They also feel depressed and detached and may present with emotional outbursts of overwhelming anger.

Is it normal to cry for no reason?

Crying is completely normal, although you may want to control your crying, or it may be why you develop a health condition. If you can’t stop crying, you might need to talk to someone you trust or a mental health professional. You could have a medical issue that requires treatment.

What are 5 emotional signs of stress?

The five signs that you see in a person who is emotionally stressed are as follows:

  • He presents with personality changes.
  • He isolates or withdraws himself from other people.
  • He seems overwhelmed and hopeless about his situation.
  • He ceases to take care of himself and neglects personal hygiene. He may also engage in unsafe behavior.
  • He is often anxious, moody, irritated, or angry.

How do I heal myself mentally?

If you want to heal yourself mentally, try these:

  • Care for your body and mind. This definitely helps maintain or improve your physical and mental health.
  • Value yourself. Be kind to yourself and practice self-respect. Do not criticize yourself too much.
  • Go with those who can influence you positively.
  • Learn strategies that would help you manage your everyday stresses.
  • Create realistic goals for yourself.
  • Quiet your heart and mind by learning how to meditate.
  • Do something inspiring today.

What’s good for mental health?

There are simple ways to maintain or improve your mental health. These include:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Talking about your feelings to someone you trust
  • Drinking moderately
  • Seeking help when you need one
  • Taking a break from the workplace and other stressful situations
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends
  • Doing something that you’re great at

 

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When depression or anxiety strikes, exercise, along with the other activities mentioned above, might be the last option for you. But when you have enough confidence and determination, all these can indeed make a lot of difference.

Exercise aids in improving and preventing several health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Studies on anxiety, depression, and exercise have revealed that exercise’s physical and psychological benefits also help enhance mood and decrease anxiety levels.

The connections between anxiety, depression, and exercise are not completely clear, but engaging in training and other vigorous physical activity can most certainly alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms and enhance one’s perception of himself. Exercise also helps prevent anxiety and depression from relapsing once you are feeling better.

 

 

 

Positive Effects Of Cycling For Families

 

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Children love to go biking. It’s fun to do, and it gives them the freedom to move about. As parents, you don’t need to wait for your kids to grow up before you buy them a bike. Decide with your spouse that you can enjoy the benefits of cycling not only for your children but also for you and the rest of the family as well.

It has been a known fact that there are many, many benefits of going biking, both mentally and physically. Many families go biking for fun but little did they know that it is an excellent way to bond, be active, and stay healthy with the whole family. You’ll just need to invest in a durable bicycle.

Benefits Of Cycling For The Family

Riding the bike with the family comes with a lot of benefits. It improves adults’ and children’s health. Medical professionals recommend cycling as much as every day if possible, as making it a hobby will prevent you from having diabetes, mental disorder, obesity, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions. Cycling increases the body’s metabolism and aids in keeping a significant amount of weight off. It also improves muscle tone, particularly in the thigh, bottom, and core muscles. You can attain the fit and healthy look that you had when you used to hit the gym. Cycling must not only be for the immediate family, but you can always bring your grandma and grandpa as well.

Parent-Child Connection

Instead of spending hours in the living watching television or using your smartphones, it would be much more fulfilling if the entire family goes outdoors and takes a leisurely ride around the neighborhood. Go biking together or join cycling competitions. Or better yet, sponsor a biking competition in your community. This would offer your community members the chance to be healthy and happy. You will also get to create wonderful memories together with all members of the family. For the kids, this is beneficial for their mental, physical, and emotional health, decreasing their anxiety and stress levels and keeping depression at bay.

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Kids Interact With Their Environment

Most kids always love to stay outdoors, which is good for them. They get fresh air and vitamins from the natural sun. This also helps their sleep, which in turn aids in their growth. Biking enables your kids to spend time outdoors, especially when the weather is sunny or cloudy.

Cycling Helps Reduce Stress

The connections that you have with your kids when you bike together decreases the pressure that could be increasing among the members of the family, particularly between the parents and the teenagers. Going biking around the neighborhood with the children is a great way to ease the increasing tension in each of the family members. While you’re at it, you might as well drop by the houses of your kids’ friends and get to know them. The more you bond with them, the more you learn who your kids are. This also helps improve communication.

Sufficient Play Time Is Recommended

According to pediatricians and other medical professionals, kids should be encouraged to have physical activity for at least one hour daily. Doing this helps them increase their energy and improve their performance in school. It is also beneficial for them to be introduced to physical and healthy activities when they are younger.

It Can Save You Money

Biking with the family is one of the most convenient ways to get some exercise incorporated into your everyday routine. Why? Because riding a bike can be a form of transportation. Deciding to bike to your destination rather than taking the bus or taxi saves you a lot of money. You can let your children bike two or three days a week, and you can do the same when you go to work. You’re hitting two birds on one stone – you get to save, and you get to do some low-impact exercise. It’s cheaper than enrolling in a monthly gym or dance class. Just invest in a good quality bike, and you’re good to go after that – no need to pay monthly fees.

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Feeling Of Freedom

A bike is the first form of transport that your child will likely own. This will somehow give him a sense of newfound freedom that will test your authority as parents. Going biking introduces your kids to something new, but it must come with supervision, particularly regarding how they deal with this freedom. Soon, they will establish a unique connection with their bikes. Remember to keep track of their whereabouts, as these bikes will be their way of going outside and meeting new friends.

Conclusion

So when is the best time for your children to start biking? Start them young. And be with them in their cycling journey. You’re making wonderful memories with your children while staying fit and healthy as a whole family as well.

 

 

 

Real Talk: When You Eat Junk Foods, Your Mental Health Suffers

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When I was young, I was always upset with my Mom for not letting me eat junk foods. The kids at school often had chips or juice boxes for lunch, while I usually had a ham-and-egg sandwich, baby carrots, and freshly squeezed orange juice or water. When she gave me $10 once, and she found out that I blew it all on chocolates and fries. Because of that, I was not allowed to bring extra money to school. 

When I became a teenager, I thought that Mom would give me a little freedom when it came to the foods I ate. After all, most middle or high school students could hang out with their friends at parks and eat whatever they wanted together. Unfortunately, my mother encouraged my friends to visit our house whenever they wanted and prepared homemade meals every time. She even lured them by installing a makeshift theater and gaming center at home.

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I had been told my entire life that I was lucky for having a mother who wanted to cook everything from scratch. It was incredible how her meals often tasted well. A friend even said, “It would be lucky to see my Ma in the kitchen once a week. She typically ordered pizza for lunch or dinner.” Despite all that, I felt like my friend was the lucky one because she was free to eat any junk food in the world.

While looking for possible colleges before my high school graduation, Mom tried to coax me to apply at NYU, which was closest to our home. It meant that I wouldn’t need to live with strangers at a dorm and that I could still eat healthy meals three times a day. If you followed my train of thoughts from the beginning, you would know that my answer to that was a resounding no. Despite Mom’s discouragement, I worked hard on my application for UCLA, which was on the other side of the coast. When I got in, I could not express how excited I was; I merely packed my bags and counted the days until our flight to LA.

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A Life Filled With Junk Foods

Mom spent an entire week in California when I moved before the semester started. It was not because she could not part with me – her only child – but because she wanted to scour LA for restaurants with healthy food selections. My mother dragged me to every shop that she found on Yelp and even got their delivery numbers so that I would not have an excuse to eat unhealthily.

Despite Mom’s efforts, though, I kept my fingers crossed behind my back when she made me promise to eat at those restaurants. As soon as I saw her going to the airport, I went to the first fast-food joint that I found on the way back to my dorm: McDonald’s.

At McDonald’s, I must have looked like a little kid who learned that Christmas came early because I could not stop grinning while waiting on the line to reach the cashier. It was the first time that I went to a fast-food chain for the record, so I was genuinely excited. When the cashier asked what I wanted to order, I said, “Give me one of everything please.”

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I did not care if my entire order occupied two tables; I paid no attention to the weird looks that other customers gave me. They probably wondered how a petite girl like me could finish everything. The truth was, I couldn’t. After eating a couple of burgers and what felt like a bucket of fries, I was almost already in a food coma. I savored every greasy bit that I could stuff in my mouth and had the rest of the food packed. Then, I worked my way through the chicken, spaghetti, ice cream, and more burgers for lunch, snacks, and dinner that day.

Did I act like a glutton? Yes. Though I didn’t eat that much again, I continued to eat junk foods every day for two semesters.

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How Junk Foods Affected My Mental Health

I thought that my love affair with fast foods would be everlasting, to be honest. It was my guilty pleasure, and Mom did not suspect a thing. However, after a couple of months of living like that, I started to gain weight

My clothes did not fit anymore, so I wore sweatpants and hoodies whenever I went out. My self-esteem began to decrease because of that, but I had no energy to try losing the excess fat. So, I buried my depression under burgers and fried chicken and pizzas. 

When I went home for the holidays, I could not hide the reality from Mom anymore. She scolded me for not listening to her, of course, but she forgave me and cooked healthy meals for me again. I also decided to transfer to NYU so that my mental health could hopefully become stable.

Therapists Agree: Social Media Offers Mental Health Benefits Too

Are you one of those adults who discourage children from being on the web far too young?

It’s okay if that’s how you honestly feel. Kids tend to play online games and watch so many YouTube videos these days. In the process, studying, doing homework, and even eating come last in their priority list.

Despite that, you should not barricade them entirely from the internet as well. Doing so can crush their interest in creating social media accounts in the future, thinking that only folks who have nothing better to do in life have them. This idea is not merely far from the truth, you know, but it also deprives youngsters of gaining its mental health benefits.

“The prevalence of social media has created many new and daunting challenges, and parents have a  key role in educating and supporting their children as they navigate them,” according to Janet Rosenzweig.

Find out below why therapists agree with the use of social networking sites to some extent.

 

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  1. It’s Effortless To Seek Support Online

When you have anxiety or depression, whether it’s diagnosed or not, your relationships with your loved ones are possibly suffering. You refuse to let them see you in that state; thus, it has become your goal to avoid them all the time. If someone invites you for lunch or dinner, you say no. Even when you’re at home, and family members are calling you out, you only leave your room when they’re gone, or you can no longer quench your hunger.

Considering you’re still not ready to receive support from people within your inner circle, then social media can get you closer than ever to strangers who can do that. They are usually the folks who battled a similar illness or whose beloved is dealing with the same problems that you have. Hence, they’ll be able to offer guidance until you can move past the disorder. “Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use while redirecting from problematic use,” said senior author Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D.

  1. You’ll Have An Outlet For Your Thoughts, Dark Or Not

One thing that’s difficult to do in the real world when you are full of emotions is to go on the street and shout there until your voice becomes hoarse. That will undeniably cause passersby to call the police and ask them to take you away from the scene. Worse, they may even sensationalize it and have you admitted to a mental hospital for a specified period.

It’s best to keep in mind that freedom of speech has its limitations too. The only platform where you can speak up about your feelings, no matter how dark they are, is a social networking site. You have control over your account there, so you may post texts, photos, or video clips there as much as you please. The type of content that the administrators will allow isn’t restrictive either – another plus that’s hard to achieve elsewhere.

  1. Reaching People With The Same Issues Seems Easy

Finally, when you want to talk to others regarding the symptoms you’re noticing on yourself, you won’t have to visit counseling clinics or community centers now. There are survivors of certain illnesses who generate a public page on Facebook that anyone can visit anytime. Others commune in websites, which you can also go to for advice and recommendations.

 

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Just like any invention on the planet, social media channels are highly useful to humanity. The developers created them, after all, as a way for individuals to connect with each other. It isn’t the websites’ fault if some folks go overboard and stay online 24/7. Hence, no one should claim that they only bring harm to users. According to Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., “Social media is a space where we can connect socially and engage in kind and helpful behavior—activities that have been shown to boost health and well-being.”

Consequently, in case your need for mental health support exceeds the virtual realm, then feel free to know here if you should go to a therapist or psychologist: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/what-is-the-difference-between-a-therapist-and-a-psychologist/.

Ultimately, you can benefit from social media and other online platforms if you need to talk to a therapist for your mental health concerns. You just need to subscribe to the BetterHelp app and then you are given the opportunity to get connected to a qualified and experienced counselor that can provide you with credible information about a specific issue that you are bothered or worried about. They offer various types of therapy, each carefully discussed and dealt with to help you reduce the stresses that you face during these times. Learn more about what their clients say about BetterHelp by clicking here. Good luck on your way towards a stress-free life!

 

 

Healthy Lifestyle While On Lockdown

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What is healthy eating? If you search online and read about it on Google, you will see that healthy eating is about following the food pyramid and all the other servings per meal specified therein. Some include calorie counting or eating fewer carbohydrates. These are all great guides, to begin with, but to be honest, healthy eating means cutting down junk foods, those foods with preservatives, fast food menu, sugar and sweets in excess, and processed foods. One must also limit eating red meat and start eating fish instead. Carbohydrates are very important too, and so, do not take it for granted.

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Unhealthy Habits To Avoid During Coronavirus Pandemic

Understandably, with all the negative things you are facing due to the pandemic nowadays, you are well aware of the stress levels you have. Despite your effort in managing your physical, emotional, and mental health, you still can’t seem to work on it entirely. With that, instead of changing for the better, you get stuck on purposely making some habits that you know damages your health. Here are some of the few negative things you probably do.

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Not Eating Healthy Foods – It would be very convenient to use the global health situation to excuse yourself from eating the right food. You might say that due to the financial strain, it is difficult for you to have nutritious meals on the table. Honestly, it is a factor. But thinking about the whole situation and how eating healthy foods are receiving a lot of emphases right now, perhaps you can always make some changes to that. And as much as you are capable of eating a lot of foods you like during this time, you should avoid overeating sweets and junk foods. But don’t get it wrong and think that you need to avoid eating for that case. If there is no available food, consider eating something that can pump up your energy because not eating anything is no different from eating unhealthy ones.

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Not Getting Enough Sleep – Of course, you feel anxious and terrified about this whole pandemic situation. However, it is not enough reason to not have enough sleep. If you think about it, the lockdown situation not only encourages you to change your routines but also allows you to take rest. Perhaps it is not easy, and the struggle for everybody is different. But that is more reason for you to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. It would be best if you allowed yourself to fix itself because the more you deprive yourself of sleep, the more your mind and body will be less capable of handling this situation.

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Not Doing Enough Physical Exercise – This whole health crisis limits you to do a lot of things. You can’t go outside and do the things you usually do. However, it should not stop you from maintaining a healthy body since it is one of the essentials of preventing yourself from getting infected. You have all the time and improvised resources around you to practice fitness and health. It is not going to be a burden since a 10 to 15-minute workout will already make a difference. If you do not like to follow certain routines, you can work on other things that require physical activity. You can clean the house, build a home-improvement project, work on a DIY task, and so on. The ideas are endless.

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Not Socializing With People

Yes, as much as you want to practice social distancing, you need to find ways to socialize even if in a different way. Not only socializing with other people will keep your mental and emotional health intact, but it will also save you from boredom and isolation. Do not let this situation limits you from getting close to your friends and loved ones despite the physical distancing protocol. Consider texting, chatting, or calling them from time to time to get updated on their lives. Maintain a healthy relationship with people because that is one of the things that can save your sanity during this uncertain time.

Indeed, since there is no cure yet to this Coronavirus, you will have to deal with your life changes for quite an extended period. Therefore, be sure to avoid harmful habits.