Sunday, May 31, 2015

Anxiety Giving You the Blues?

As we know anxiety can be burdensome and quite draining. The symptoms often leave you feeling overwhelmed and powerless, which has you believing that there is no relief from its control. Well guess what? There is relief and a way to gain control of your life. The first step to regaining control of your life is to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide you with some tools that will help you cope with your symptoms. Also, they will help to restore balance in your life by identifying the negative reoccurring thoughts that is causing you to behave in a way that is interfering in your daily life. Don’t forget to also make an appointment with your physician or a psychiatrist. Medication may be prescribed to reduce your symptoms of anxiety. You can also make some dietary and lifestyle changes to help alleviate the symptoms. Reduce consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee, cola, chocolate and energy drinks. If you follow these steps, you are on your way to living a worry free life!

Submitted by:

Vashonte James, MSW, LCSW

Monday, May 25, 2015

Achieving Happiness to Fight Stress III

Studies on positive mood show a number of relevant findings:

*Men who scored in the top third range of optimism had 50% less heart attacks than men who scored in the bottom third
*2 or more traumatic events raised the risk of breast cancer by 62%
*Optimism in women reduced the risk of breast cancer by 25%
*Men who were high in worry where over twice as likely to develope type 2 diabetes
*Optimistic insurance salesmaen out sold their counterparts 21% the first year, 57& the second year and the gap continued to grow
* Physicians who had positive mood were more accurate and faster at making diagnoses

What's the take away? Positive mood improves health, well-being and overall functioning. So how happy are you? Here is a scale by Pavot and Deiner (1993) that measures well-being, a measure of happiness.  Be sure to cover up the scoring key below so that your answers are unbiased.

Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree with. Using the 1 - 7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by placing the appropriate number on the line preceding that item. Please be open and honest in your responding.

  • 7 - Strongly agree
  • 6 - Agree
  • 5 - Slightly agree
  • 4 - Neither agree nor disagree
  • 3 - Slightly disagree
  • 2 - Disagree
  • 1 - Strongly disagree
____ In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
____ The conditions of my life are excellent.
____ I am satisfied with my life.
____ So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
____ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.
      • 31 - 35 Extremely satisfied
      • 26 - 30 Satisfied
      • 21 - 25 Slightly satisfied
      • 20        Neutral
      • 15 - 19 Slightly dissatisfied
      • 10 - 14 Dissatisfied
      •  5 -  9   Extremely dissatisfied
The most common response range is Satisfied.  The ideal range is Extremely satisfied and is achieved by about 25% of people. No matter what you score, there is alway room for improvement. For specific activities to increase happiness, please refer to my previous blogs on creating happiness November 2014 and February 2015. 

Submitted by:
Holly O. Houston, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Life Related Stress

It seems that just when our life circumstances start flowing smoothly, something happens to interrupt that flow and causes major stress in our lives. From minor obstacles like car repairs or mild illness to major struggles like the loss of a job, serious illness of a family member, or children doing poorly in school, we have natural ups and downs in our lives. It can seem that these stressors are insurmountable at times and if we allowed it to happen, our worry about such things could consume every aspect of our life. Fortunately, although we may not be able to control or change all of the stressors we experience, we do have total control over how we choose to react to them.

·      Consider this a temporary situation. Do not assume that the situation, whatever it may be, will become a permanent issue. Even if it is likely to be something that will be present for the long-term, this particular stage of the problem is temporary.

·      Do not become so focused on the future and its uncertainty that you forget to consider and appreciate the present. Focus on the here and now.

·      Identify what you are able to control and change, and change it. Problem solve where you are able to give yourself a greater sense of control over the outcome of the situation.

·      Accept that you cannot change or control everything about the situation. Be aware of your limitations and ask for help when needed.

·      Have faith. Believing in a higher power, whatever that may be, can allow you to have faith and know that the situation will resolve in the manner that is best for you. Not necessarily with what you want, but with what you need.

Kelly Renzi, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist