Take notes of how you are feeling, when you are felling it and the environment you were in when you first noticed it. Keeping good records is a great way to identify triggers that set off your symptoms. Keeping a journal is good. Not only can it help you see patterns, but it can also help you to address them better and overcomeing the future.
One of the best parts of journaling is that it’s something you can do at home, when it’s convenient for you, without needing a lot of time, resources, or skill. There’s more to keeping a journal than just getting your thoughts down on paper, though.
Research shows that daily journaling can help improve your mental health and get your life back on track, whether you’re struggling with relationships, future goals, how to stay organized, or even in the ways you communicate with a partner, your children, your coworkers, your friends, your parents, or anyone in your life.
What Does Journaling Do for Your Mental Health?
Expressing yourself creatively, like when you write in a journal, is great for relieving stress and focusing on the things in life that aren’t serving you. You can use a journal to develop or practice healthy habits, set and work toward goals, or manage your mental health and improve anxiety, stress, or depression. Even just a few minutes a day can make a world of difference to your mental well-being.
There are many reasons why people commit to journaling. The process of writing is inherently therapeutic. It can help you organize your thoughts, express yourself, and process and deal with your emotions — both good and bad — in a positive, healthy way.
Other benefits of journaling can include:
- Reducing stress
- Identifying and tracking goals
- Achieving those goals
- Tracking problems so you can recognize triggers
- Finding inspiration
- Improving self-confidence
- Overcoming fears
- Identifying and addressing negative thoughts and behaviors
- Starting a habit of using self-talk and creating mantras
Best of luck,Much Love!
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
Journey on, My Friends.
The holiday season can trigger depression for a number a reasons. You may not be able to make it home for the holidays, or you may be in a rough financial situation. If you’re going through a difficult time, it can be tough to see others with extra joy in their lives.
The most common symptom of the holiday blues is amplified depression. This is true of people who may or may not being dealing with depression already.
You may be experiencing a bout of seasonal depression if you feel like simple activities are more difficult than normal. This includes getting out of bed, making dinner, and taking a walk.
Other symptoms of the blues include:
- feeling more tired than usual
- losing interest in things that used to bring you joy
- having trouble concentrating
Here are nine ways to deal with the holiday blues:
- Limit alcohol – Limit your alcohol intake, and try not to keep it readily available around your house. If you’re attending a party and you know alcohol will be accessible, limit yourself to one or two drinks. Drinking to excess can affect your mood and amplify any negative feelings that you may have.
- Get plenty of sleep – Try to go to bed at a specific time each night. Being well-rested can improve your mood and help you feel ready to take on the day.
- Learn to say “no” – Over-scheduling and not making time for yourself can lead to emotional breakdowns. Learn how to say “no,” and stay firm on your decision.
- Be open to new traditions – You may have an image of what you think the holiday should consist of, and this may not be what’s actually happening. Instead of holding on to what the holiday should have been, allow new traditions to unfold.
- Get support when mourning a loved one – If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be especially tough. Although it can be tempting to isolate yourself and grieve, it can be beneficial to spend time with your friends and family. They can support you through this difficult time.
- Spend time with your loved ones – Instead of spending the holidays alone at home, get your friends or family together for a dinner party at your place. The more the merrier! You can spruce things up with lively decorations and add welcoming floral arrangements to your living spaces.
- Exercise regularly – Plug in your headphones and pop out for a walk around the block a couple of times a day. A quick 10-minute walk will get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins.
- Do something fun to get over a recent breakup – It can be difficult to be alone when you’re nursing an aching heart. Instead of sitting at home, fill up your calendar with activities.
- Avoid overeating – Before heading out to social events, fill up on veggies. You can even fill up a small sandwich bag and snack in the car. Holiday outings can often lead to overeating, which can affect your mood and overall well-being.
The holidays can be an especially difficult time for older adults. If you’re unable to be with friends or family this holiday, look for volunteer opportunities that allow you to be around others. Some non-profits will even come pick you up if you’re unable to drive.
If you’re still feeling depressed after the holidays are over, you may be dealing with more than just a case of the holiday blues. You should speak with your doctor or therapist about your symptoms. They can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our skilled therapists, give us a call today! 217.508.8080
Today, is a day to take a step back and realize how much GOOD is in your life. Many things we take for granted each day. We are blessed living where we do. I wanted to tell everyone we, at Neuro Harmony, wish you the best Turkey day ever! Enjoy your family, friends, pets, food, parades and FOOTBALL!
A lot of us have found ourselves in situations in life where we find ourselves needing a hand up. Sometimes when this happens we have no way of repaying those who stepped in and picked us up. So what, then, should we do?
The answer is in helping out the next person. PAY IT FORWARD!
By paying it forward, you can make quite an important difference in this world. Not only will you brighten another person’s mood, but you will also set a chain reaction in motion. If you pay it forward to three people, who again pay it forward to three others themselves, the entire planet could be transformed. Affecting change doesn’t take much. You don’t have to be rich, powerful or influential.
The cool thing here to remember is that you don't even need to know the person you are helping out/doing good for!
Doing a good deed to an unsuspecting stranger is a beautifully selfless act. Not only will it remind them that this world is full of selflessness, generosity, and kindness. It will also encourage the benefactor to be kinder and more compassionate to others.
You don't need much to do this... just remember these few items:
- Look out for the opportunities. Life will provide you with numerous opportunities to pay it forward. You only have to be attentive.
- Be willing to help complete strangers. There may not always be an opportunity to do your family or friends a good deed. But you can always help those who are in need, even if they are complete strangers.
- Give freely without expecting anything in return. Many people will ask you how they can reimburse you for your kindness. You can introduce these people to the idea of paying it forward. Tell them that you don’t expect anything in return, but that you would greatly appreciate it if they could pay the good deed forward.
- Even small acts count. It doesn’t matter so much how much you give. All that matters is that you are willing to give and to spread the word.
The more you do it, the better you might feel yourself, too.
You might not change the entire world, but for one person, you could change theirs.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
Journey on, my friends...
Over generations, We have built Men up to be "manly" and not show or express feelings. We still to this day (even in 2022) tell guys, "just get over it" or something like "suck it up". It is often looked upon as a sign of weakness...
We need to end the stigma that it is not okay to seek help. We need to end the stigma that we shouldn't talk about our feelings.
Men deal with things differently than women, but ultimately still have to process things through the mind. When we process negatives, this can make us hurt more than we realize,causing mental trauma. When left unchecked, this can lead to hurt and anger. Men often lash out and take on maladaptive behaviors (high-risk behaviors including substance abuse, gambling and other forms of addiction) to cope with said traumas, rather than seek someone to talk to. Over time, this can even lead to suicidal thoughts.
Instead of getting bitter, let's get better. It's hard work trying to switch those letters, though.
It takes A LOT of courage to ask for help... but in doing so, you aren't admitting weakness. You are actually saying you are strong enough to admit you can't do it alone, and you need a hand back up to fight another day.
So when is it time to ask for help?
Some warning signs:
(This is not a complete list, but these are some of the major ones)
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness.
- Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite.
- Major change in sexual function/desire.
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge.
- Increased worry or feeling stressed.
- Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Sadness or hopelessness.
- Suicidal thoughts.
A lot of men fall prey to the false idea that they should be “tough enough” to fix all their problems on their own. They worry that by showing vulnerability, even in the case of physical illness, they may lose their authority with others.
As a result, They may believe they can fix this problem quickly and move on to the next — and they may be in denial that there is a problem at all.
Addressing this, and helping men work past it, requires first ending the stigma of asking for help.
We must foster more transparency around mental health issues, No one is immune to stress. Talking with others about how it is affecting you can foster empathy, camaraderie, and support — all of which fight against the feelings of isolation on which addiction and mental health issues can thrive.
Let's do better... so that we can all get better!
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
Journey on, my friends....
Pets are family. They are not just an object that you own.
Something I am preparing for is the loss of my long time furry best friend, Wiggles. He has been diagnosed with Cushing's disease. I am still learning about it, but, I'm being told that I will have, at best, 2 more years with my baby boy. This news was a tough pill to swallow. Wiggles came into my life little over 10 years ago. I was CFO for a small trucking company, and one of drivers came back from California with this dog. He was very matted up and not looking really great. The driver was going to have him as an outside dog on the farm. My issue was that winters here in Illinois are brutal at times and a little 12 lb. Malti-poo wouldn't do so well. Several weeks went by and Wiggles tried to get in my car every time I attempted to leave. This dog and I had a connection from the moment we met. I talked with the new owner and he gave him up to me. He was already named Wiggles when I got him, and I saw no reason to change it, because that tail is ALWAYS going! Little boy has been by my side for the past 10 years, and I am trying to mentally prepare for the day I have to say goodbye.We estimate him being about 11-12 years old, so my time is limited regardless, but it doesn't make this any easier.
I am reminded, yet again, that we are all living on borrowed time.
None of this is ours. We just use it while we are here, and we take none of it with us when we die.
I guess the most important lesson life teaches is simply this:
Love one another. Love deep. Love strong. Love hard.
Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my world with you.
Much Love, and as always, Journey on, my friends!
Some quick info on Cushing's before I leave here:
Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is a serious health condition in dogs that occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol (cortisone) in the animal's body. Excess cortisol can put a dog at risk of several serious conditions and illnesses, from kidney damage to diabetes, and will be life-threatening.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.
While it is important that we show others love and support all year, we typically show a little extra in the final 2 months of the year.
Let's kick off November with a BANG!
Show a little extra kindness today!
Hold the door open for someone.
Take the shopping cart back to the store.
Pick up trash off the ground and place it in a proper disposal area.
Help someone who is struggling (whatever that looks like, as it takes on many different forms).
Pay it forward. Has someone done something extra for you as an act of kindness, and you can't pay them back? Simply pay it forward... step up and do something good for someone else in need.
If you SEE something, DO something. Don't be the bystander that allows an injustice to occur if you could have prevented it.
This is also....
Hunger Awareness Month
Even in the wealthiest communities, there are people who need help with access to healthy food. You have an opportunity to publicly give products, raise funds, or promote the work of your local food pantry. Even an hour of your time can make an impact!
November is National Gratitude Month
Celebrating the month can be done in several ways.
- Start a gratitude journal. Write about someone or something you’re thankful for every day. You’ll find your appreciation for those around you grows deeper and fonder the longer you keep it. When you read back on what you’ve written, you’ll be able to reflect on the relationships and their accomplishments.
- Share your gratitude with others. Letting someone know you’re grateful for their care, service, or friendship often lifts their spirits or lifts a burden.
- Show your appreciation by giving back to your community, neighborhood, or favorite organization.
Use #NationalGratitudeMonth to post on social media.
Chuck and The Neuro Harmony Team
Journey on my friends....
So, if you know me at all, you know I do my best to avoid uncomfortable situations, but today, I feel compelled to talk about a final chapter for some... Suicide.
Taking one's own life. There are very strong feelings about this on both sides, and to be very honest I see valid points on both ends of the spectrum here.
This year alone, I have had 3 friends pass from a drug overdose, all listed as suicide as the cause of death. It's not easy for those who get "left behind" to deal with the loss of loved one, especially when you wonder if there is something more you could have said or done to prevent it.
Truth be told, I have personally had 4 attempts on my own life. I am not proud to say that, but it is truth.
I personally don't think those who do succeed wanted to die. I think they just wanted the pain and torment in their minds, bodies and souls to end.
All I know for sure is that everyone is fighting a battle of some sort that most know nothing about. Be kind. Check on your family and friends, often... especially the "happy ones". Robin Williams (Actor/Comedian) took his own life, and if you look back on his life, he always seemed so happy, and he did so many great things for others. You just don't know what kind of demons people are fighting against on the daily.
If you need help, or need someone to talk to, call or text the suicide hotline! 988
At Neuro Harmony, We are also here and want to help you to work through your negative thoughts.
YOU have value. YOUR feelings are valid! Fight...keep fighting. You are needed here!
Journey on, my friends...
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
So, you have been seeing a counselor and taking new medications... You are feeling like a million bucks right now. I couldn't be happier for you, but, please allow me to let you in on a little secret...
There are 3 reasons you are feeling great!
- Hard work/Determination
- Talking out your issues with a Counselor
If you completely stop seeing your counselor, you need to find someone you trust to continue to talk with about your hurts, habits and hangups. If you think you are feeling well enough to stop taking your medications, reach out to you prescribing doctor and talk about this before you stop taking the medications all together. Work with them in a healthy way to taper yourself down.
I'm on NO WAY saying you haven't worked hard to get to where you are, so, please don't take it that way. I am just saying that you had a little assistance along the way... and I can only speak from my personal past experiences here, but I have seen it time and time again. We get to this point and we stop everything that helped us up to now. A month down the road (longer for some, shorter for most) we find ourselves back to where we started, possibly even worse than before.
Remind yourself why you got help to begin with. Remember your WHY?
Weigh your options and do what you believe is best for yourself. I hate seeing anyone relapse for any reason, especially if it is avoidable.
Thank you for coming to my "Ted Talk"... Which will forever be known now as a "Chuckles Chat"
Journey on, My friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Staff
This has been a tough year here at Neuro Harmony for many of our clinicians. Several have lost loved ones.
I can relate, as I too, have lost many people in my life over my almost 45 years here on this Earth. I think we all have our own ways of dealing with (or avoiding doing so) the death of a loved one.
Speaking from my own experiences, I can tell you that NOT dealing with your feelings or seeking help for what you are going through doesn't work out well. You carry it well... briefly. Than it gets heavier and heavier until you just have to deal with it. I lost my mother to cancer when I was just 10. Just 15 months later, I came home from school one day in the spring to find my dad dead in the living room. Death is hard to process at any age, but when you are that young, it forces you to grow up a lot faster in some areas than you should. I've lived the majority of my life in a deep and serious depressed state, even though I hide it well. I am a great actor and show the world what I feel they need to see. Another, much more famous person that did well at making the world happy while struggling with inner demons... Robin Williams. Think about how happy he always seemed. He took his own life. I guess, what I am getting at is that life is hard already...don't make it harder than it needs to be when there are people who truly care and want to help. It doesn't have to be a mental health professional, it can be a best friend, another member of your family... whatever it may look like for you, I URGE you, PLEASE GET THE HELP!!!
When it comes to the death of a parent, there is no such thing as “getting over it.” No matter what type of relationship you had with them, or what kind of parent they were. It profoundly and permanently alters us — mentally, physically, and emotionally — for the rest of our lives. Just know, there will be "bad" or "rough" days for the remainder of your life. It often can come out of nowhere, last a day or two and not come out again for years.
There are generally speaking, 4 stages of grief:
Denial: This can’t be happening.
Anger: Why did this happen? Who is to blame?
Depression: I can’t bear this; I’m too sad to do anything.
Acceptance: I acknowledge that this has happened, and I cannot change it.
I just want everyone to know that you don't have to face your grief alone. Family, friends, professional mental health clinicians... there is always someone there for you. Reach out, get help... also, understand that your feelings are VALID. It is okay to feel anything and everything... and some days you will be numb and feel nothing at all. It is okay not to be okay.
If you just can't deal and you have no one to talk to that you trust, you still have options:
If it's an emergency, Call 911 immediately.
If you or a loved one needs someone to talk to, we are here! Call the office and make an appointment today! 217.508.8080. Holly will gladly pair you up with one of our skilled professionals.
Call or text the National Suicide hotline if you need someone at any time of the day. Call/Text: 988.
I will leave you with this: You are seen, you are loved and you are NOT alone.
Journey on my friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Staff.
How often do you find yourself trapped inside your own head?
It can be a very dangerous place to find yourself at times. I am someone who struggles with this almost on a daily basis. I am finding ways to try to channel that energy and those thoughts in a different manner. Keeping a blog/Journal. Music. Long Car rides with the music blaring. Taking a walk with my dog... the possibilities are endless, really.
Some times, it gets to be too much. When that happens, and we feel we can't handle things by ourselves, or that there is nothing left to fight for, remember, YOU are priceless. There is only ONE of you. You are loved. You are cared for. You are needed. YOU HAVE VALUE!!!!!!!
Reach out. Get the help you need. It's there. I promise.
I can only speak of my own experiences, for me, I can tell you that the mind will lie to you. It will make you believe no one cares. That you are all alone.
It's not true!
I am a great actor in the "greatest performance" that we call life. I have mastered showing people just what I want them to see over the years. I am slowly backing off of that. I am becoming more vulnerable and opening up more. I am finding more people truly care than I ever realized by this.
So, I guess what I am getting at today, is that you don't need to suffer in silence! Open up and let others help! It takes a lot of courage to admit you are not okay.
And, it's DEFINITELY okay not to be okay. What is not okay is feeling like you have to do it all on your own.
Reach out! We are here to help!
Welcome to another edition of the Neuro Notes.
Today, I am stepping a little bit outside my normal realm and talking about Vitamin D and just how important it is to a person's mental well-being.
To begin, what is Vitamin D?
According to Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. That's because your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and Neuro protective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.
How does the body use it?
- Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health but for proper brain development and functioning.
- Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, seasonal affective disorder, and schizophrenia in adults.
There are 2 general types of OTC (Over the Counter) supplemental Vitamin D. These are D2 and D3. These can be obtained at about any retail store or pharmacy.
According to Psychiatric times:
“Produced in the body when the body is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D has been hailed as the “sunshine” vitamin with many therapeutic attributes. Lack of sunlight has been linked with mood disorders-especially seasonal affective disorder. Therefore, there is a good rationale for investigating the association between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of depression”.
While we are still learning much about the human mind and body, it is becoming quite clear that Vitamins, such as Vitamin D play a huge role overall in our mental and physical well-being.
NOTE: This blog post is for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to treat or diagnose a health issue.
For deeper and reliable health information visit:
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
- National Osteoporosis Foundation
Journey on, my friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Staff.
We all deal with stress everyday on one level or another.
Some things are easier to overcome than others,and some stress is actually good. Overall, though Stress is hard on the mind, body and soul.
So let's look at the Acronym: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.
This will give you something to think on while in a stressful situation!
F: Focus! -- Pay attention to body signals. Clear your mind, and focus on ONE thought that brings you peace.
R: Recognize Triggers! (I touched on this last week, and said it would pop up again). -- Teach your brain to know the difference between a true emergency and a minor inconvenience.
E: Emotional Self-Check! -- Identify reactive emotions (Anger, Fear, Sadness) and balance them with main emotions (Calmness and confidence).
E: Evaluate Thoughts! -- Learning to overcome reactive thoughts/emotions and replacing them with main ones that represent what you believe in.
D: Define Goals! -- (Possibly the greatest thing a human can do for themselves in this life) -- Restore Hope by tapping into your goals that your true values, rather than just a quick fix.
O: Options! There are always options. Look hard and find the best one for you in the current situation that will allow you to not compromise your true self.
M: Making a contribution! -- Recognize how YOU make the world a better place when you are in control of your thought processes!!!
Freedom from Stress isn't always going to be possible, but when you actively pursue it, you will find you have more control in things than you once believed you ever could have had.
That's it for now. I hope that this was useful to you on some level!
Journey on, My friends.
Chuck and the NH Staff.
**Special thanks to Advanced Trauma Solutions for information used in the proceeding blog.**
In this life, one must adapt to changes that are often times outside of your control. What is in your control is HOW you react to said changes.This will be huge in the way things ultimately play out following a significant change. ALWAYS look at all sides and possible outcomes before making a rash decision that you might regret at a later time. Journey On, My Friends... Chuck
We are sometimes, FASHIONABLY late to the party... We have FINALLY joined Twitter! Give us a follow! @Neuroharmony 22
We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Spacehey (a newer site that is just like myspace was back in the day).
After my car accident last week, I have been doing a lot of walking places, as I am not allowed to drive currently. Today, as I was walking through the HUGE metropolis of Casey, IL. I met a really cool chick with a tragic story, but one that desperately needs to be told. Jeannette Krupp is the founder of Stay Strong Krupp. Please take a moment to go hear about her journey, and her brother's tragic death. Mental health and substance abuse are things we need to TALK more about and end the stigma. There is no shame in getting help.In fact, it takes a LOT of COURAGE to admit there is a need for help at all.
Please go visit...
Today, I am going to briefly talk about something that has become a KEY word in society, yet has always been there. It just hasn't always been widely discussed. In politics and religion especially, the term "being triggered" is thrown around more than a football on a Sunday during the NFL season.
So let's talk about how we become triggered and how we respond when it happens...
When we are triggered, we get backed into a mentally tight space. We hit the fight or flight response.
What causes the trigger? It can be a variety of things.
A small inconvenience. (Just a lot of little things not going right, a bad driver on the interstate/highway you come upon... you get the idea)
A large or tragic event. (Death of a loved one, loss of a job, sick/injured child or spouse, Divorce and so many more...)
People with views not inline with your own. (Self explanatory).
Triggers differ from person to person, but they all come from something or someone who strikes a nerve. The pattern is ALWAYS the same. An event happens,and the mind reacts.
The good news is, we have a choice in how we respond.
We don't have to react. We can bite our tongues and be the bigger person.
We also, can do the exact opposite and fight back with anger.
The third reaction, is to have an open dialogue/conversation about the topic. (My personal fave)
I'm not saying any of these reactions are wrong, I am just saying pick your battles.
I Just wanted to make you think a little on a hump day!
Journey on, my friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
I hope this finds you well.
This past week has been rather trying for me personally. I was involved in a car accident on Wednesday. I spent the better part of the day in the ER at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, IN. For those who don't know, I have been fighting a major health battle for the past 6 years. At times, it causes me to lose consciousness.This time, I experienced this while driving. I blacked out, and the next thing I remember is that I had been hit by another car, spun around and facing the wrong way on a side street. The lady who hit me, fled the scene (She had a child in her back seat, so, I hope everyone was okay) and there was never an official police report made, as the THPD never came, even after 911 was called by witnesses. My car has minor damage, and I wasn't hurt to the point where I needed to be kept for observation or worse. I have a case of whiplash, and this has just added to my daily struggles. My doctors have recommended I stop driving for the immediate future. Not ideal, but, I understand it. (That said, I will be doing only telehealth or phone call therapy for the next few weeks.I will be reaching out to all my clients individually in the next day or so.)
So where am I going with this?
Short answer... No matter how bad things may be for you... you still have value to others. Even if you can't (or won't) see it. YOU MATTER. You have purpose. Someone's life is better because you exist. Never discount your worth if someone else doesn't see it. I owe a lot to a guy named Dakota from that day. He went ABOVE and Beyond to make sure I was okay.
So what do you bring to the table?
Much more than you realize!
Head up! Fight on!
Journey on, my friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony team
I have talked on this a little in the past, and it will be an on going theme throughout this blog....
Most of today's society has an addiction to something. This isn't always obvious, and a lot of the time, they are things that society deems as "OKAY" in most situations. Generally speaking, these are fair assessments... however too much of a good thing can also be bad. A few examples of these things might be Food addiction, sex addiction, exercise addiction, body modification addiction... I can keep going but you get the idea. It's not always Nicotine, Alcohol and other illegal substances. It is not always gambling. There are other cases in which we get addicted to self-sabotage... but that is another blog in and of it's self for another time.
So, let's break down types of addiction. Generally speaking, there are 4 types.
So, then, How do I know if I am actually addicted?
Signs can be, but are not limited to:
- Lack of control to not indulge
- Inability to stay away from behaviors, despite KNOWING the "high" is temporary and can lead to further issues and feelings of guilt.
- Decreased joy in being involved in social situations that you once loved.
- No concern for anyone or anything around that might be in the way of the Maladaptive behaviors. (What are Maladaptive thoughts and behaviors?Maladaptive behaviors are actions that prevent people from adapting, adjusting, or participating in different aspects of life. Such actions are intended to help relieve or avoid stress, but they are often disruptive and may contribute to increased distress, discomfort, and anxiety over time.)Quick Note: I use the terms Maladaptive behavior and addiction interchangeably. --Ultimately, they are meant to be the same.At any rate, I truly believe we all have something we struggle with to this end. Can you identify yours? How does it effect you? Just some food for thought today....Much Love...and as always,Journey on my friends.Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
I would like to share with you, what the Semicolon represents...
STAY; Tomorrow needs you!
A semicolon is used when a sentence could have ended... but DIDN'T!!! Your Story is NOT over yet. Fight on. You are loved. You are needed. You have value.
My personal wrist tattoo.
This is my personal reminder.
In my 44 years here on the Earth, I have made several attempts to end it all. I've been pulled from the brink several times, and I fight on. Just know you are not alone, and help is always available, 24/7!!! Text or call 988.
Journey on, My Friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team.
So, You are living with someone who faces challenges that you don't understand, and you struggle to help...
I get it.
I truly do.
I'm on the opposite side of that coin in my personal life.
I struggle with several mental illness diagnosis. I will never hide that from anyone, and I always willing to discuss my journey and what I've learned along the way. I'm an open book... feel free to ask.
My wife, however, is as "normal" as they come. No past trauma. No depression. No anxiety. She struggles to understand how I feel or what I'm thinking. We see the world through much different lenses. She is learning though, that she can't "fix" me and that I can't just "get past things" or just "snap out of it".
Some keys to success for helping your loved ones who struggle...
1. Listen with intent to do just that, Listen. More times than not, we just want someone to talk to so we can personally try to make sense of the hurricane of irrational thoughts in our heads.
2. Be present. Show up. Love us for who we are, not who you wish we were.
3. Understand you can't "fix" us, but you make a huge difference by just not giving up on us and give us a positive in life when we try to fill our days with Maladaptive behaviors such as substance abuse.
4. The final thing, is remembering we aren't always clear on what we need, because we often don't know ourselves.
That's it for now. This is a deep subject, and is one that is very dear to my heart. More to follow as we move forward.
Journey on, my Friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony Team
If you are somehow not aware, the year is 2022.
A lot of us (myself included) live a significant portion of our lives online for the world to see. Since its launch in October 2003, Facebook (then known as FaceMash) has taken over, and ultimately been the golden standard for online communities.
Its platform reaches almost all levels of society today, FB currently has over 2.93 BILLION active users. Yes, Billion with a B. That is mind blowing!!! While this is not necessarily a bad thing for most people, there are some who are suffering more because of social media.
So, how to overcome it?
The answer seems black and white, right?!?!?
Just walk away?
In the digital age, that is not so simple. So, then, setting personal social media boundaries for ourselves might be logical.
You might have the same look on your face right now that a friend of mine did last week when I had suggested this exact same thing to him... followed by a "Um, Chuck? How do I do that?"
As with anything, realize these truths:
Too much of a good thing is never good.
Anything can be addictive or unhealthy. For some people, social media use reaches a level where it has many of the characteristics of addiction to the point that users are mentally preoccupied with it—they forego other life experiences to use it. You might find yourself in a comparison trap. By trying to be bigger and better "keeping up with the Jones's".
Here are a few suggestions for you to maybe gain a little of your mindfulness back:
- Screen Free Sunday. Self-explanatory. Stay off your phone, tablet, or laptops (except for emergencies).
- When you are with a friend, loved one, or colleague, turn the screen off or turn it where you cannot see/hear it. Be present where you are. (I STRUGGLE here hardcore.)
- Don't answer email from your phone. Wait until you are at a desk or office setting.
- Set App limits ----
These instructions are for the iPhone specifically, but I am sure Android is similar. These features allow you to limit the time you spend on specified apps (social media, email, etc.) and you are notified when your limit is up.
Go to: Settings > Screen Time > “Down Time” and “App Limits”
I've My social media apps set to 2.5 hours. This little trick saves me from the mindless scrolling.
My down time is scheduled from 10 PM to 7 AM. You can still technically use your phone, but you get a reminder notification that it is down time to help keep yourself accountable
- Do a purge!!! Unfollow accounts that do not provide anything positive, encouraging, or inspirational. Social media is a place for community, not a place to make you feel bad about yourself or business.
And if you cannot unfollow (Maybe, it’s someone you know personally, and it would be uncomfortable), then you can also just mute the account, so you are simply not seeing his/her/their posts.
That is all I have for today. Just trying to help you find ways to make life "better" for yourself along the way.
As always, Journey on my friends.
Chuck and the Neuro Harmony team
It is a novel concept.
One that is difficult for a lot of us, who have self-perceived body image issues.
This is a deeper issue than most people realize!!!!
A few possibilities:
Body Dysmorphic Disorder: This is a disorder of “imagined ugliness.” What individuals with this disorder see in the mirror is a grossly distorted view of what they actually look like. Often, these individuals will spend hours examining, attempting to conceal, or obsessing over their perceived flaws. Some people spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to improve their bodies. (Does Michael Jackson ring a bell, anyone? Not trying to offend here, I promise. He was just the first celebrity to pop in my head.)
Anorexia Nervosa: This disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of gaining weight and these individuals perceive their bodies as larger or “fat” even though they are grossly underweight.
Bulimia Nervosa: Individuals with this disorder are also very dissatisfied with their bodies and have extreme concern with body weight and shape.
Depression: In many instances, individuals with depression often have a distorted view of themselves and believe they are less attractive than they really are.
So, how do we overcome?!?!
It is important to combat negative body image because it can lead to depression, shyness, social anxiety, and self-consciousness in intimate relationships. Negative body image may also lead to an eating disorder. It is time that we stop judging our bodies harshly and learn to appreciate our inner being, soul, and spirit. A few ways to improve:
- Affirm that your body is perfect just the way it is.
- Think of your body as a tool. Create an inventory of all the things you can do with it.
- Walk with your head high with pride and confidence in yourself as a person, not a size.
- Create a list of people you admire who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Was their appearance important to their success and accomplishments?
- Do not let your size keep you from doing things you enjoy.
- Replace the time you spend criticizing your appearance with more positive, satisfying pursuits.
- Let your inner beauty and individuality shine.
- Think back to a time in your life when you liked and enjoyed your body. Get in touch with those feelings now.
- Be your body’s ally and advocate, not its enemy.
- Beauty is not just skin-deep. It reflects your whole self. Love and enjoy the person inside.
Ask yourself this question... Do you want what you say about yourself to be true? If the answer is no, Stop saying it to yourself. You are not what your negative thoughts make you believe that you are.
Journey on, My friends.
Trauma has a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect it. We rarely see it coming and never know what the after effect will be. There are several life events that can cause post-traumatic stress disorder such as death, war, and abuse of any kind. Life can take unexpected twists and turns, and it is impossible to expect that we will be the same person we were before the traumatic event. Questions may go through our minds like:
- How do I feel safe after trauma?
- Will I ever feel better?
- Why did this happen?
- Are there ways to effectively cope?
When something like this happens, it can be difficult to understand and process what’s happened. Coping after a traumatic event can be difficult and confusing. In addition, finding healthy coping strategies can be even more challenging. At Neuro Harmony, we are here to help you through the coping process, as well as assist you in finding coping strategies for trauma.
What Does Processing Trauma Feel Like?
Processing trauma feels like you are fighting an uphill battle. You must dig deep within yourself to discover the source of your trauma and find a healthy coping mechanism in order to move past the traumatic event. Oftentimes the initial reaction to processing trauma can include symptoms such as exhaustion, anxiety, sadness, numbness and many others. Experts say that everyone has different experiences when processing trauma, and that it is normal for survivors to feel numb, depressed or agitated. Those processing their trauma are more sensitive and delicate as they are more prone to seek alternatives such as drugs or self-harm as their coping strategies for their trauma.
What Happens When You Process Trauma?
Trauma can be extremely detrimental to one’s mental health. When processing trauma you must ensure you are using healthy coping mechanisms and are finding the best way to cope with your traumatic event. When you process your trauma, you must deal with all the potential triggers from your trauma as well as deal with the traumatic event itself. This process can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that are difficult to get rid of.
How Do You Learn to Cope After a Traumatic Event?
It is impossible to come up with concrete steps, that everyone who experiences trauma can adhere to, but there are some time-tested skills and thought-provoking statements we can consider, such as:
- Accept that you are going to be different as a result of this traumatic event.
- Identify things that are good about the change resulting from the trauma.
- Identify the undesirable things regarding the change from the traumatic event. From this list, consider how you can work with these changes, work around them, or even reframe them as a growth opportunity.
- Realize that any emotion you experience is normal. If things start to feel out of the norm, seek professional help.
- Move forward realizing that it is normal to have waves of emotion continue to pound at and around you. These waves of emotion will generally lessen in intensity and frequency as time goes on. However, from time to time, some intense waves may come at you seemingly out of nowhere. This is normal.
While this isn’t an all-encompassing list, it is a great place to start when trying to decipher and understand how a traumatic event is affecting you. Once you’ve acknowledged these statements and began to think about them, it’s time to start working on healthy coping strategies.
How to deal with triggers from trauma?
When an individual experiences a traumatic event, they are more susceptible to being triggered by a situation or environment. When being triggered in this way, survivors may feel helpless, betrayal and fear. These are all normal feelings when being triggered by a traumatic event. One of the best ways to deal and cope with traumatic events is through therapy. At Neuro Harmony, there are highly trained therapists ready to support you and assist you in your recovery from a traumatic event.
Healthy Coping Strategies for Trauma:
There are many, many coping strategies you can utilize and it’s important to investigate this in order to find which are best for you. This list is designed to be a starting point, not the only strategies to consider. Here are the top five coping strategies we have seen success in:
- Develop a toolbox of deep breathing, relaxation skills, and meditation skills. A favorite of ours is circular breathing. This is where you take a slow breath in and as you are doing this count to five in your mind. At the top of your breath, hold it for 5 seconds as you count to five in your mind. Then slowly let your breath out, again counting to five as you do this. Lastly, at the bottom of your breath, before you breathe in again, hold it for the same 5 seconds. This is where you start all over again. Try this for a couple of cycles.
- Re-engage in a hobby or activity you have not done in a while.
- Find a new activity, sport, or hobby that you can participate in.
- Make a list of people you trust that you can call when you are not doing well. Help them understand you just need them to be a listening post or sounding board for you.
- Search on the web for people who have experienced similar trauma and have seemingly come out on the other side. Listen to their stories, see what they did that helped, and if you could implement one of their skills.
As you begin finding the right coping mechanisms for yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that these should be healthy strategies.
While, Unhealthy coping strategies are easy to utilize, but that doesn’t mean they should be.
Unhealthy Coping Strategies for Trauma
- Overeating – This is a very common coping method but is an unhealthy strategy. Using food to cope can cause an unhealthy relationship with food, as well as weight issues.
- Using Drugs or Drinking Alcohol – Another very common strategy, this can have detrimental consequences. If drinking alcohol or using drugs gets out of control, you may need to seek addiction treatment.
- Oversleeping – While getting enough sleep is vital to your health, too much sleep can be a problem. If you’re using sleep to avoid your problems, this is the sign of an unhealthy coping mechanism.
- Overspending – Retail therapy is not therapy at all. This can be another way of avoiding your problems and ends up causing more trouble. Spending more than you should can add another stressor and make existing problems worse.
- Avoidance – Arguably the most common unhealthy coping strategy, most people feel if they just avoid the problem altogether it will somehow be resolved. Utilizing healthy coping strategies will help you recognize and understand your trauma much faster and with positive, lasting results.
Why do we use unhealthy coping mechanisms?
Survivors often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms because they are easy. Substances like drugs and alcohol are easily available to them and can be a distraction from coping with a traumatic event. By using unhealthy coping mechanisms, you are only temporarily redirecting your pain and distracting yourself from the truth. It is hard to face the truth of a traumatic event. Many people are unable to face traumatic events themselves, so they use unhealthy methods to keep themselves distracted.
Coping After a Traumatic Event: When to Seek Help
If your functioning seems to be decreasing and you have bouts or outbursts of extreme anger, you may want to reach out for help. When triggers cause you to re-experience the trauma or if you start to have nightmares about the trauma, you again may want to reach out for help. If your mood, sleep, appetite, relationships, school, or job performance seems to be slipping, it would be wise to reach out to a professional for help through trauma therapy. If you feel any thoughts of suicide or a desire to hurt someone else, immediately seek help. Just remember, Every person and every trauma is unique.
At Neuro Harmony, we understand this and do not take a one-size-fits-all approach with our trauma therapy program. Our reputable trauma and PTSD treatment center consists of highly trained therapists and clinicians that have experience in helping people cope and recover from various forms of trauma.
For any questions you may have, please give us a call and we’d be happy to help.
How long does it take to recover from emotional trauma?
There is no set recovery time when it comes to dealing with and coping with emotional trauma. Without help, emotional trauma may never be fully resolved. However, if you receive assistance from Neuro Harmony, our therapists can work with you to understand and resolve your emotional trauma. While this is no short journey to embark upon, our therapists are ready to be your support through your process.
Life is a struggle... read this on the extremely difficult days. Give yourself a little Grace...
Suicide is a permanent thing. Life is hard, and it is at times seemingly too much to handle. We would like to remind you that YOU have purpose. YOU have value. YOUR feelings are valid, and we want to make sure you know that suicide is NOT the answer. Reach out! Get help. You are worth it!!!!
Help is available 24/7. Call or text the National Suicide hotline 988.
Neuro Harmony is here to help you get through the tough times or regular life stressors as well! Call us today! 217.50.8080 to schedule an appointment!
Hard questions often times don't have easy answers. Today's topic fits that mold.
We will discuss how or when loneliness becomes isolation. Let’s start with defining these words. (From Merriam-Webster)
Loneliness ~ (Noun):
- Being without company (lone)
- Cut off from others (solitary)
- Not visited by other human beings (desolate)
- Sad from being alone (Lonesome)
Isolation ~ (Verb) is defined as:
- To set apart from others (Quarantine)
- To select from among others (Solitary)
Some people use the words “isolation” and “loneliness” interchangeably, but this does not reflect the true meaning of each term. Isolation may lead to loneliness, and in some cases, loneliness may exacerbate isolation. Both have been found to occur with other mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
Knowing how loneliness and isolation are distinct and related can help people who struggle with them best address and work through these issues. Here are a few things to know about handling loneliness and social isolation in your life.
Isolation specifically may be characterized by:
- Staying home most or all of the time
- Refusing interpersonal interaction
- Avoiding social situations
But is loneliness really increasing, or is it a condition that humans have always experienced at various times of life? In other words, are we becoming lonelier or just more inclined to recognize and talk about the problem? Talking is good and takes a lot of courage to do sometimes.
WHEN ISOLATION AND LONELINESS ARE SYMPTOMS
Sometimes loneliness and/or isolation present as primary symptoms of a mental health issue.
For example, if someone suddenly begins to pull away from friends and family, this could indicate that a number of potential issues. They could have depression or an eating disorder, or they may be affected by an abusive relationship. Isolation may be a first sign of many mental health issues, so identifying the unique context of each situation is key in order to understand it.
Loneliness and isolation can be symptoms of the following mental health issues, among others:
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
- Borderline personality
RISK FACTORS FOR ISOLATION AND LONELINESS
Just as with any other issue, some people may be more susceptible to isolation and loneliness than others, although anyone can become isolated or feel lonely. People who have recently had traumatic life changes, who live in tumultuous home environments, or who have witnessed, or experienced domestic violence or abuse may be more prone to both loneliness and isolation.
For example, a person who’s recently been divorced and has moved to a new neighborhood may feel the absence of their former partner and community, causing them to be lonely. Additionally, an elderly person whose spouse has died may be isolated in their day-to-day life, which may lead to loneliness and poor health.
People who live in abusive homes may isolate themselves because the shame of their environment makes them think they can’t talk with others about their life. They may also feel intensely lonely if they become worried no one will be able to relate to their life experiences.
If you’re feeling lonely or experience isolation for long periods of time, it may help to reach out to a licensed mental health professional who can offer support as you work through those struggles. Not addressing prolonged loneliness and isolation can negatively impact your physical and mental well-being.
If there is a deeper mental health issue causing your feelings of loneliness or isolation, a therapist can help treat that issue and put you on the path to your best self.
Remember that you are not alone and there is never shame in asking for help. Reach out! Call 217.508.8080, We would love to help improve your life today.
Illinois EMDR (New website coming soon!)
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this word?
Those are easily the first two most think of when asked about what addiction is. While those answers are spot on, they just touch the surface to a topic that is almost as deep as the oceans are wet.
It’s a nasty word, Addiction. If we are being honest, we all have at least one, if not many. Most aren’t even something we think about on a regular basis, and many of us don’t even realize we have an addiction at all.
To start, let’s look at how the word is defined:
- a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behaviors, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence: the state of being addicted.
- a strong inclination to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly.
Similar words that can be used are, but not limited to: Dependency, craving, habit, weakness, compulsion, fixation, and enslavement.
(Note: This is the first of what will be a multipart blog about addiction. In the future entries, I will link back to the previous ones, so they are easier to reference.)
Today, I am focusing primarily on behavioral addiction.
The term "behavioral addiction" refers to a compulsion to engage in an activity that leads to reward, that is, something that desirable or appealing. Often, the reward comes with some sort of adverse consequence. We want to feel good. We look for things that bring us a quick "high" or utopian feeling. Most of these things don’t last for a long period of time, so we go back and do them over and over as we are looking to duplicate the feel-good moment, we had previously experienced.
Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to illicit drugs, alcohol, food, sexual activities, and gambling.
So, this then poses a question of: Are behavioral addictions serious?
Simple answer: Yes!
According to the US National Library of Medicine, behavioral addictions, “resemble substance abuse addictions,” in reference to the impact on the brain and their response to treatment. Individuals often struggle to resist urges or temptations to reduce or stop behaviors that may be addictive to them, elicit arousal before completing them, and bring pleasure while doing them. Areas of concern can include the feelings of guilt or embarrassment after completing the activity. This is similar in individuals abusing harmful chemicals. Individuals abusing substances have extreme difficulty resisting the urge or temptation to use the drug and may feel pleasure from using the drug. Consequently, he or she may feel shame after completing the activity and may lie about it or hide it. This not only has negative effects on the individual involved in the addiction, but those they are around, love and care about as well.
Signs of behavioral addictions can be different for everyone, but often look the same. These occur when someone needs a large amount or constant exposure to the stimuli and pursue it.
Those with a behavioral addiction will constantly seek the thrill or rush of endorphins by frequent and increased activity. Secondly, behavioral addictions become serious if the individual cannot control or stop the activity. Signs of behavioral addiction include, but are not limited to:
- Experiencing "cravings" for doing the activity.
- Needing more and more exposure to experience the highs one feels while doing the activity.
- Doing more risky activities, taking more risks to seek the thrill.
- The inability to stop or control behavior.
- Feeling shame or embarrassment from doing these activities.
- The inability to stop the behavior, despite knowing the negative impacts on the body and mind.
- Using the behavior and justifying it to deal with trauma or poor mental health rather than getting professional help.
Other addictions, such as gambling and or a compulsive shopping addiction can have financial consequences. Something that starts small can put people into bankruptcy due to extreme credit card debt used to fund the addiction.
Phone, internet, and video game addictions often can get in the way of close relationships in the real world. People often become distracted using these things as an "escape" from reality. They can be used to ‘treat’ loneliness, stress or to fill other voids.
Chances are, at one point or another in your life, you have tried to make another person happy.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can be a sign of dealing with unresolved trauma. How so? Let me explain.
When we are children and growing up, we have needs. Being protected and provided for are at the forefront. For some of us, though, we grew up in a less than ideal environment. An unsafe, unstable, or abusive environment that gave us stress and suffering. To feel safer, we learned to please those (or at least attempt to) closest to us, our parents, siblings, or other authority figures in our lives.
Therefore, people-pleasing can be seen as a trauma response, an adaptive coping mechanism that serves a tremendously important reason: to help us deal with situations our well-being or even survival depends on.
The problem? Even now as adults many of us still unconsciously engage in this behavioral pattern, when we don’t really need to. People-pleasing has become our second nature, and, whether we realize it or not, it is negatively affecting our lives.
Before we look at how the negatives of this pattern affect us, let's look at common habits of people pleasers. Here are a few, but there are many, many more:
- Saying “Yes” at almost all times, even when you want to say no.
- Constantly apologizing, even when you are not at fault.
- Suppressing anger, sadness, or other emotions in fear of hurting or upsetting others.
- Wanting to appear “perfect” in the eyes of others.
- Avoiding conflict, at almost all costs.
- Flattering other people, even those they don’t like.
- Worrying about what other’s think of them, to a fault.
- Not expressing real and genuine thoughts.
- Trying to help others, all the time. Even when help is not needed, asked for or wanted.
- Being afraid of making themselves look like a fool.
- Feeling hurt when someone criticizes them for something they did or said.
- Being overly vigilant of other people.
- Not distancing themselves from abusers.
- Feeling unworthy of love and respect.
- Letting other’s direct them how to live their lives.
- Believing everyone knows better than them.
- Showing compassion to everyone, except themselves.
It’s safe to say that these are not healthy behaviors for us. They are, bottom-line, detrimental to us and the relationships we have with others. Here are a few negatives these behaviors can have on us:
- Physical Illness
People pleasers will do about anything they can to make others happy, often, at the sake of their own happiness. They suppress their own true emotions. They might want to cry in sadness, scream in anger… but they don’t. They put on a “fake smile” and go about life as if there is nothing wrong. Whatever it takes to avoid conflict.
They might want to say “no” and step away from a relationship, but they instead choose to comply and stay with someone who’s abusing them. As a result of this ongoing emotional suppression, people pleasers experience chronic stress, which can lead to fatigue as well as mental and physical illnesses. In addition, because people pleasers are fixated on controlling people and situations, they tend to experience a lot of anxiety, as well as disappointment when things don’t turn out the way they wish.
When we ignore our gut feelings, and do what is better for everyone else, we are betraying ourselves. When we dismiss our own feelings, thoughts, and values, we ultimately reject our true inner peace. When we’re constantly trying to please others, we usually end up finding that they take us for granted, which can make us feel unappreciated. Resentment is often the result.
These things can lead to big problems. You might find that most, if not all, relationships you are in become one sided and quite dysfunctional. While their behavior is not meant to be malicious at all, people pleasers are, for lack of a better term, liars. They don’t lie to hurt others, but to protect themselves from rejection. They are like chameleons, changing their appearance to adapt to their environment, so that no one gets to know their true colors; at least, in the beginning of a relationship. This often results in communication problems, and once the truth comes out, it can lead to serious interpersonal conflict. Another reason why people pleasers end up finding themselves in messed up relationships is that, due to their lack of assertiveness and weak interpersonal boundaries, they tend to attract narcissists and bullies into their lives. But because of the manipulative tactics of the latter, they might still feel accepted, loved, and wanted, which is often what keeps them stuck in toxic relationships.
People pleasers often experience a lack of freedom, joy, meaning or purpose. For the most part, they are living in a way that prevents them from being authentic. They find it extremely hard to let go, enjoy themselves, pursue their dreams, or just speak out their mind and heart, for they are constantly concerned about what others think of them. As a result, they feel that their lives lack joy, freedom, meaning and purpose. Because of that, they tend to experience a sense of emptiness within, which they often mistakenly try to fill by pleasing others instead of taking care of their own needs.
So, now that we might have a slight understanding of people pleasing tendencies, how do we attempt to stop them and change our thought patterns?
Become conscious of your thoughts and behaviors.
We all want to make others happy. The key here, though, is why are we doing it?
Don’t blame yourself for wanting to be liked, needed, or accepted.
These are all basic human desires. Just be aware of what you are sacrificing to achieve them.
Always listen to your gut feeling.
Our intuition is usually accurate and is designed to keep us safe. Take time to understand what you are really wanting/feeling. Spend time with thoughts and feelings and then communicate them with others.
Respond, don’t react.
People pleasers often react out of habit, saying and doing things they don’t really want to. To break that habit, you need to learn to pause, reflect on your needs, and respond according to each situation. For example, if someone asks you to do them a favor, take a few moments to consider whether you want to or not, instead of immediately saying “yes” out of habit.
Seems easy enough, right? Remember, you are lying to everyone, including yourself when you are constantly people pleasing. Hence, our relationships remain fake and skin-deep. So, I will ask you: Do you want people to like you for being someone you are not? Wouldn’t it be better if you could connect with people who like and accept you as you are? By realizing the importance of honesty in forming genuine, intimate relationships, you’ll start opening up more to others, and see your relationships becoming much more satisfying.
Finally, SET BOUNDARIES!!!!
This will look different for each of us. Know what you need to be reasonably happy, and don’t allow other people to cross your boundaries.
Hello and Welcome to Neuro Harmony’s Blog!! We are glad you are here and looking for assistance. Stepping out to find help takes a lot of courage!
Beginning today, the hope is that this page will be updated weekly, if not a couple times each week going forward. The blog will contain stories, thoughts, self-improvement ideas and coping mechanisms.
We will discuss a wide variety of mental health topics. Feedback is always welcome! Good, bad, or indifferent. We cannot improve if we don’t take time to consider all points of views. What topics would you like for us to address here? Let us know!
Grief and Loss
At some point in life, we all experience a loss. None of us are immune to this. A loved one, a pregnancy, a pet, a relationship, an object that meant something to us on a psychological level…. Other experiences of loss may be due to children leaving home, infertility and separation from friends and family. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.
Grief is expressed in many ways, and it can affect every part of your life, your emotions, thoughts and actions, beliefs, physical health, your sense of self and identity, and your relationships with others. Grief can leave you feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable, or numb.
We all are human, but none of us experience things the same. The thing about grief, is that there is NO time frame for healing. Putting ourselves in a box and going by “standards” set by others, is not only a bad idea, but never works and ultimately can bring more trauma as we feel something is wrong with us for still feeling bad or down. What one person may be able to work through in a few days, week or months can take other’s years or a lifetime. Some never fully get past the loss, but can cope with it, with help from a support system in their life.
Getting through loss
This is a process that will take time and effort. Some days will be harder than others to deal with. Don’t define the success of a day based on past good days. Some days, getting out of bed is a victory. While we all find our own ways to grieve, it is important to not go it alone. Having a good support system, or at least one person whom you can talk to is paramount.
Things you can do to help yourself
Ask for help!!! Most other people don’t realize you need assistance. There is no shame in reaching out for help, and this is a very courageous thing to do!
Talk with loved ones about your feelings.
Join a support group.
Don’t neglect your physical needs. Exercise, get plenty of sleep, eat well, stay hydrated. Grieving is exhausting.
Manage stress. Ask a friend or colleague for assistance with chores and or commitments.
Do things you enjoy, even if you are not feeling like it. You will be glad you did.
How to help others
Ask how they are doing. Each day can be different for someone grieving. Take time to listen and try to understand what they are going through. Most of the time, they do not need advice, but just someone to listen and be there.
Talk about everyday life, too. Their loss doesn’t need to be the only focus. Help bring back some happier thoughts into the conversation.
Ask them how else you might be able to help. Cooking them a meal or two, taking them shopping, going for a walk with them. Just a few simple ideas.
Encourage them to seek professional help if they don’t seem to improve over time.
Thank you for taking a moment to read today!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with loss and feeling suicidal, call or text the National Suicide helpline at 988.
May 11, 2020
Mar 27, 2020
Telehealth is a way of working with your therapist through an internet connection; but you will still see your therapist and your therapist will see you for your session. While there may be obstacles that might keep you from physically coming into the office especially during this time of Corona Virus, we can still meet with you through telehealth. At Neuro Harmony, our therapists Sarah Malak and Alexis Dearing, have even evolved to be able to use "play therapy" via telehealth. Your child's therapist will contact you with how that might work with you and your child and how you might be a participant during your child's therapy session.
How does telehealth work? Your clinician will send you an email link that you use to connect with them either on your phone, on an Ipad, on the computer or on a laptop. Your telehealth session will be as confidential as if you were in the Neuro Harmony office with your therapist. This way of connecting still allows you to meet with your therapist "virtually" at the same time as your usual session would be scheduled. A telehealth session will last the same amount of time, about 53 minutes. Your therapist will help you to get connected online with them and feel safe and comfortable during your session that it is a confidential way of having a session.
Does my insurance cover telehealth? Because of the CoVid pandemic, insurance has changed many obstacles to billing for telehealth. March 19, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order expanding telehealth services across the state as part of the continued effort to mitigate the CoVid19 crisis. Most insurances now cover telehealth services by any form even by telephone. Billing for telehealth is simple; we will bill your insurance just as if you were in our office having a session. You pay your normal copay or coinsurance for your session.
Is telehealth confidential? Neuro Harmony uses a HIPAA compliant platform that is confidential and approved by insurances. However, keep in mind that insurance has loosened their requirements for getting therapy to our clients. Neuro Harmony therapists will still contact you via email or phone to make sure you can get connected with our HIPAA compliant software. It will be easier than ever to have a session with your therapist.
Dec 17, 2018
Sophie doesn't always love getting dressed up, but she usually loves getting her picture taken. She loves coming to work no matter whether she is dressed in holiday colors or not!
Oct 28, 2018
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- Do I have biofeedback or neuro feedback benefits?
- Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
- What is my co-pay amount for each visit?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
Oct 1, 2018
- Eat chocolate - Dark chocolate, that is. While overindulging may not be the best for your waistline, adding a little dark chocolate to your diet does have its health benefits. Dark chocolate causes your brain to release dopamine, a chemical that improves overall brain function and improves your memory.
- Eat fish - While this one may not excite you as much as the previous “eat chocolate” recommendation, studies suggest that a diet rich in fish – especially fatty fish like salmon - can improve brain function.
- Exercise your peripheral vision - Yes, eyes can learn. Scientists have found that acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the peripheral nervous system, is crucial to focus and memory. By practicing peripheral vision exercises, you can reinvigorate the release of acetylcholine in your brain and improve your memory function.
To practice, try this exercise the next time you’re sitting some place outside of your house, such as a restaurant, a bench at the mall, or the local park. With a pen and paper handy, stare straight ahead for several seconds and don’t move your eyes. Mentally note everything you can see without moving your eyes. When you believe you’ve taken note of everything, take out your pen and paper and write down everything you saw. Then, try the exercise again and see if you can add to your list.
- Play ball - Remember how much you loved to play ball as a kid? Well, you might want to take it up again. Throwing a ball up in the air and catching it, or better yet, trying your hand at juggling, can improve your hand-eye coordination and carries widespread brain health benefits.
- Exercise - Surely you’ve heard of the health benefits of exercise…but did you know there are health benefits for your brain too? Exercise brings with it benefits for the hippocampus, an important brain structure for learning and memory function. Exercise can even help your brain create new cells…so get that body moving!
- Rest up - Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to brain function. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep have more trouble learning new information than those who are well rested. Moreover, sleeping well after learning something new helps your brain store that information and recall it at a later date. So for your long-term memory’s sake, catch your Z’s every night.
- Turn down the volume - As we age, our hearing ages with us, causing us to sometimes struggle to hear conversations. But you can train your ears to become sharper. The next time you’re watching TV, try turning it down a little from the volume at which you normally have it set. Concentrate and see if you can follow just as well as you did at the louder volume. Keep turning it down notch by notch, listening closely to hear the increasingly softer tones. By training your ears to listen more intently to lower volumes, you’ll find it easier to catch every word of day to day conversations.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle - While they may seem mundane, jigsaw puzzles are actually great for your brain. Choose one that is on the difficult side – at least 500 pieces. Then, on a rainy afternoon or whenever the mood strikes, set out to conquer your puzzle. Jigsaw puzzles require fine visual judgments about where pieces belong and entail mentally “rotating” the pieces, manipulating them in your hands, and shifting your attention from the small piece to the “big picture.” Besides, it’s rewarding to see your puzzle become a whole work of art. Congratulate yourself on a job well done!
- Make your hobbies harder - Do you already have a favorite pastime? From cooking to crossword puzzles, there are always things you can do to challenge yourself, pushing you outside your “comfort zone” by taking on something a bit more difficult than you’re used to. By putting higher demands on your brain, you will have to concentrate harder and put more effort into the activity at hand, re-engaging your brain’s learning ability.
- Walk on a rocky road - Before you ask, “Huh?” let us explain. Scientists believe that walking on uneven surfaces like cobblestones improves the vestibular system of the inner ear, which plays a central role in balance and equilibrium. Walking on a rocky road challenges the vestibular system in ways that improve its function, which translates into better balance.
- Visit a museum - Enjoy art? Natural history, perhaps? Take a guided tour of a museum or other interesting spot in your area. Pay careful attention to what the museum guide says and when you get home, try to recall what you learned and write down everything you remember. Besides getting some cultural enrichment, this activity engages your brain’s ability to receive and remember information, helping to improve cognitive function.
- Learn to play guitar - Or any instrument for that matter. And if learning to play an instrument has been on your to-do list for some time, some proven brain fitness benefits give you all the more reason to pick it up. Playing an instrument helps you exercise many interrelated dimensions of brain function, including listening, control of refined movements, and translation of written notes (sight) to music (movement and sound). So dust off that harmonica (or piano, flute, banjo, etc) and make some music.
- Use your other hand - Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, you probably find yourself doing day to day activities such as eating and combing your hair with your dominant hand. But try mixing it up a bit. Brushing your teeth is a good place to start. Try brushing your teeth with your subordinate hand (so your left if you’re right-handed) and keep practicing until you master it. While you may find it difficult at first, practicing an activity such as this can drive your brain to make positive changes. Think of millions of neurons learning new tricks as you finally establish better control of that other hand!
- Memorize a song - Think of a song you like but one that you don’t know the words to. Make it a point to buy the CD/MP3/etc if you don’t already have it and listen to it as many times as it takes to write down all the lyrics. Then sing along - (if you’ve got stage fright, feel free to do this part when no one’s around). Once you’re able to sing the song word for word without the recording playing in the background, move on to the next song!
Hopefully you find this brain exercise fun, but there is also some science behind it. By carefully listening to the song, your brain releases acetylcholine, a chemical that aids in understanding, thinking, and memory function. So whether it’s in the shower or at karaoke night, go ahead and sing your heart out. Your brain will thank you.
Adapted in part or in whole from the Hartford Insurance Company on Brain Fitness.