Good Sleeping Habits are Important for Mental Health

For most people, getting a good night’s rest is essential for mental health and wellness. When we talk about good “self-care,” taking care of our bodies is important, and sleep is a big part of that. Feeling rested and energized puts us at our best and can help us bring our best self to the table in dealing with stressors and conflicts during our day. Poor quality sleep or not enough sleep can impair our ability to think clearly or feel more calm and rational when coping with life’s daily challenges.

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The Importance of Defining Our Own Experience

Sometimes in life there are certain experiences or feelings that we might struggle with. At their worst, these challenges might paralyze us from within, or over time we might realize how deeply traumatizing something that happened to us truly was, or how stuck we are.

Finding the right words to describe our experiences can often help us unlock what feels like a locked door inside. Without words, our feelings or memories may become trapped in nameless sensations or images that make it difficult to share with others and get better. Our bodies might contort or stiffen in old familiar patterns, causing chronic pain, fatigue or headaches, with no outlet for relief. If something happened long ago, perhaps our child selves cannot find the right words, and our adult selves struggle to bridge this gap between present reactions and past experiences.

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What happens during an EMDR therapy session?

In my therapy practice in Chicago, a fair number of my clients express interest in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, or E.M.D.R. for short. They may have heard about this therapy technique, which specifically targets traumatic experiences. Although counseling can also help clients resolve trauma, EMDR is more systematic in its’ approach. If you’d like to read more about what EMDR is, you might want to check out the page on my website dedicated to this subject. I also include links to the EMDR Institute’s page, for even more information.

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Letting Go

This anonymous piece of writing about letting go has been a source of inspiration for many folks who struggle with co-dependency. Read on….

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring. It means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off. It’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, that the outcome is not in my hands.

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I find this quote about success very inspiring…

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better; whether by a health child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

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Cognitive Distortions

“Cognitive distortions” refer to the ways in which thought patterns distort when a person is under stress. A therapist can help you identify specific thought distortions that might occur when you are under external stress (such as during an argument with a loved one), or under internal stress (such as coping with anxiety or depression). This is an important component to what is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The “cognitive” part of this kind of therapy will help you learn about your thought patterns, and over time learn how you can change these patterns to begin to feel better. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (or CBT for short) is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, panic disorder, anxiety attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. It can also be used to improve stress management and help couples resolve conflicts more effectively.

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