Most poor mental performances in athletics are tied to doubt, distraction, and hesitation. Overriding these demons and “I can’t” thinking is vital. The first step is to know our typical reaction to threat (our primal competitive response). Do you fight, flee, or freeze? Competing successfully requires learning to override the emotional drama associated with high stakes competition and then knowing why you can believe in your ability to win. Primal competitive responses are strongly tied to our genetics as well as our upbringing. Many of us have parents who tend to step in when things get tough in our lives and help us handle the pressure. Others have parents who push us to learn to step up and find solutions for ourselves. These coping styles as well as genetic factors determine our reactions to threatening situations. But no matter what our typical reaction to confrontation may be, all of us must be able to override it and get some attitude in challenging competition. Genetics and home environments do affect how we respond to difficulties, but those factors are just that, factors. If we’re able to override panic and negative thinking and take control of our emotional reactions, our primal competitive response is irrelevant. Through honest self-reflection and determining our primal competitive responses like fight, flight, or freeze, use of new language, and consistent mental rehearsal, all of us can improve our reactions to the spotlight. We can have more confidence under pressure, be more fearsome and more respected competitors. Competitors melting down are in a mind state that is dominated by thoughts of embarrassment, inadequacy, and failure. Negative “what if” scenarios of things that could go wrong take hold and can result in utter despair. To successfully battle intense pressure and override doubt we must learn to answer the “why can I believe” question with tangible, positive descriptors of times when you were in the zone and executing at a high level. Also changing our self-talk to something like “I’m not afraid of the spotlight, I have a great game, and this team is going down, so watch this!”
Effective performances are about doing what you want to do on the playing field/court. It’s not about trying – it’s about doing. When you don’t believe, you hesitate and end up out of position, making a bad pass, or throwing up an air ball. It’s a cause and effect relationship. If a martial arts student hesitates while trying to break five boards, he will break his knuckles. A warrior doesn’t try to defeat the dragon – he slays it one maneuver at a time. No matter what, a competitor must command unflinching confidence that obliterates doubt and destroys hesitation. Period. Once we begin to discover our real competitive selves, we can start to welcome the butterflies, the doubt, the apprehension and the nerves. Doubt and intimidation will surface at the worst possible times. Being able to welcome and deal with emotional turbulence during critical moments is what makes a competitor clutch. Clutch competitors have the skills and core belief to look intimidation square in the face, smile and say, “Oh yeah, watch this!”
So. You’re going through a fresh break up. And you really don’t want to lose your partner. Every part of you wants to try and figure out how to get them back. You feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing is working. She still wants to end the relationship. He still isn’t returning your calls. Then, you have a brilliant idea. You’ll text her! You’ll say something so good, so genuine, SO tough that he’ll come running back to you. You pull out your phone, (well, let’s be honest your phone was already out as it has been chained to your hand since the break up), and you tap out a little something like this:
hey. just wanted to say I hope ur happy. U just lost someone who would’ve loved you 4ever. I’m over it so don’t even worry about me. Go do you. Let me know if you wanna be friends. Bye.
Here’s the thing. That passive-aggressive approach really doesn’t get you want you want. Even if for whatever reason that, oh-so-artfully worded, message triggers something in your partner that motivates some sort of reconciliation, the makeup process is going to be cloaked in negativity, fear, and flat out confusion. Let’s look back at the message to see what you really accomplished: you lied, you were mean, you told someone to do the opposite of what you want them to do, and you asked for something really don’t want. You weren’t over him. You didn’t want to be just friends. And you definitely didn’t want her to “go do her,” which might involve meeting someone new, who isn’t you.
What did you mean? Maybe something like this:
Hi. I’ve been thinking about you and I miss you. I heard you when you said you wanted to end the relationship and I will respect that. I am still interested in working on this relationship. If you are, too, please let me know.
Why would this work better?
It’s the truth. And it’s easy to understand since no part of the message is incongruent or contradictory.You can’t control other people. You can only control yourself. No matter what clever, underhanded message you send, none of it will be powerful or cheeky enough to force someone to want you back. This welcomes the person to make his own choice.You’re not mean. And being mean doesn’t make you look tougher, it makes you look like a jerk.You don’t want your partner to move on without you. You might say you’re over him or her to appear like a winner. To let them know they didn’t wound you. At the end of the day, what you really want is to be in the relationship, not to win a nonexistent game of who is more emotionally robotic.Attempting to manipulate your partner into loving you again is a pretty bad fresh start. Let’s say you get back together with your partner and the reconciliation spawns relationship 2.0. How did you and your partner get back together? “Oh, I threatened her. I said if she didn’t enter a relationship with me, she would never be loved by anyone better ever again. And then I said my goodbyes.” How romantic.
Ask yourself: what do you want? Once you decide, say what you mean, be clear, be direct, and be honest. The person you’re talking to will do what they want either way, since you have no control over their actions, feelings, and thoughts. So what do you have to lose?
More and more, it feels like waiting is no longer an option. Can’t get a reservation to your favorite restaurant? Uber Eats has you covered. No need to wait until next Thursday to watch the next episode of your favorite television show. Now you can binge watch the whole season in eight hours. Expensive furniture? Put it on the credit card.
Our brains are designed to be a delicate balance between logical processing and emotional response. At times, one of these two can get off balance and take over the steering wheel in our decision making. When it comes to anticipation, our emotional response can become overactive. We may experience excitement that can quickly turn into anxiety. The thought, “I can’t wait to buy that new game”, can quickly turn in to, “What if that new game gets sold out, and I never get to play it?”. When I was wedding dress shopping, I remember the saleswoman saying, “If you don’t buy it today, we may sell it before you come in tomorrow for it.” As someone who has a baseline of feeling anxious, that statement was enough to sell me on buying a $1,200 dress within five minutes. (It may have cost more than $1,200, but just in case my fiancé is reading this, we’ll say that was the amount). The stronger the emotional urge, the less logical processing we resort to. This leads to more impulsive behaviors and acting on our emotional urges.
While we may feel good when we click the “Buy Now” button on our Amazon accounts, the short-term gratification does not equal long-term fulfillment or satisfaction. Instead, we may be left feeling empty. The well-known Stanford study looked at how a child’s ability to wait was related to level of happiness by using marshmallows. Each child was given one marshmallow. They were told they could eat the marshmallow now or wait fifteen minutes and get a second marshmallow. Naturally, many children were not able to hold off on eating that first marshmallow. When they did a follow-up on the children who participated in the study, they discovered the children who were able to wait for the second marshmallow did better in school, and were healthier and happier overall. Due to desiring instant gratification, many times we feel restless and impatient rather than being able to just be and enjoy the moment.
Luckily, we can start practicing waiting and gain back more feelings of anticipation and enjoying the wait. Here are some easy ways to practice anticipation every day:
Start making vacation plans for six months to a year in advance. Research dream destinations, figure out a budget, and consider new excursions to try.
Leave an item in your cart for at least 24 hours before deciding to buy. It is amazing how much money we can save by pausing before spending.
Mail a letter to someone or start writing to a pen pal.
Set one night each week to watch one episode of your favorite show.
Make a Birthday list or Holiday list for what you would like to buy instead of ordering as soon as you think of it.
Have a date night with your significant other or close friend one day a week or biweekly.
Through adding more delayed gratification, we can get back to not feeling as rushed and enjoy time for what it is. We can start enjoying the feeling of anticipation once again. Maybe we’ll even get two marshmallows out of it if we wait long enough.
Loneliness. It’s something we don’t tend to talk about and less rarely admit. There is even such a stigma around it that some people are more inclined to admit they are depressed than lonely. But loneliness is very common and can hit anyone, at any time, and at any age. It is not something specific to the elderly or housebound, as indicated by a rapid rise in loneliness amongst younger generations. Sadly, because loneliness is a pretty taboo subject we often don’t realise just how normal it is and many people are going through it. If we are lonely, we often tend to believe we are the only ones. However, a 2018 survey conducted by health insurer Cigna, in conjunction with the University of California LA, found over half of Americans consider themselves lonely. Unfortunately, the more connected we’ve become, the lonelier and more isolated we are getting.
Loneliness can be such a difficult even painful emotion. It can be experienced by different people in different ways but has been described as a persistent feeling of sadness, isolation, numbness, rejection and even a “black abyss”. The fact that loneliness is considered a painful emotion is no coincidence given it has been found to effect the same region of the brain as physical pain. (Eisenberg, Leiberman and Williams, 2003). Being lonely is a very different experience to being alone or having some downtime. Researchers define loneliness as “perceived isolation”. “Perceived” as you can be surrounded by others, even so-called friends, and yet feel isolated, disconnected or emotionally unsupported. Alternatively, one can just have just one or two loyal confidentants that they see on an infrequent basic and not feel lonely. The emotional pain of loneliness is thought to have been a protective function evolutionarily. Just as hunger, thirst and physical pain stimulate us to take action, feelings of loneliness prompted us to congregate in groups or tribes which increased our chances of survival.
Most people will feel lonely at different times in their lives. Transient loneliness is normal. I certainly remember feeling lonely as a new mum and in recent years I have definitely experienced bouts of loneliness upon moving from new country to new country for my husband’s work. But it is chronic loneliness that is the killer, quite literally. Research suggests it is as toxic to our health as obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015). 15! Loneliness also increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015), as well as, increasing the risk of high blood pressure (Hawkley, et al., 2010), heart disease and stroke (Valtorta et al., 2016). The link between depression and loneliness is also strong. It is a kind of “chicken-or-egg” type dilemma. Extreme loneliness can lead to depression, but then depressed individuals tend to socially withdraw and isolate themselves further, resulting in loneliness.
Loneliness is not fun. Whether it presents as a transient dull ache, or as a more chronic emotional pain triggered by feelings of isolation, here are a few suggestions you might try:
-Start by setting small goals to connect e.g. enquiring about a local club or organisation based on a hobby you enjoy.
-Remember it is not just about quantity. It is the the quality of our social interactions that really count.
-Cast your net wide when looking for friends. You never know where you might find a new treasured friend. Be on the lookout for people with similar hobbies, interests, values and attitudes as you.
-If you find a potential friendship commit time and energy into developing it. Nurture any existing relationships. Remember: friendships, like marriages, take work.
-To move beyond the superficial level in new friendships don’t be afraid to show a little bit of yourself. Let others in. Be authentic.
-Demonstrate genuine curiosity in others and their lives. People like feeling heard and receiving attention. They are also much more likely to return the favour. This outward focus on others will also help take your mind of your own suffering for a while.
-Always say “yes” to invitations to connect. Always show up when meeting other people. Protracted loneliness can really knock our self-esteem, confidence and energy levels. Ignore thoughts of doubt or self-criticism and gently but firmly push yourself to get out there.
-Keep trying! If a bid, or multiple bids, for friendship don’t work, do not give up. Accept some people just connect better than others. Don’t take it personally and move on.
-Strike up a short conversation with the people you see on a regular basis e.g. your mail carrier, crossing guard or barrista. Just this simple human contact can help with feelings of isolation. It will also help you practice your social skills and focus outside yourself.
-Limit your time on social media. Online friends, no matter how many hundreds you have, can’t replace real face to face friendships. The highly choreographed , superficial online lives of others can make us feel inadequate. If you have any local online friends, reach out and meet up with them instead.
- Don’t be hard, on yourself. Show yourself self-compassion. Loneliness is hard. But don’t wallow or indulge in self-pity. Congratulate yourself for taking small steps towards connecting with others.
-Treat yourself as a good friend. Go on solo dates or adventures. Get to know yourself.
-Practice acceptance. Use mindfulness to let go of unhelpful thoughts as, “nobody likes me” or “I’ll never make friends”.
-Consider doing community service or volunteer work. You might bump into a potential friend, but at the very least shifting your focus onto others, rather than being as introspective will help you feel better.
-Find a meaningful project and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly. Research has shown meaning and purpose as essential ingredients to human happiness. Dedicating your time and energy to something you consider personally important can generate positive emotions and feelings of flow (an enjoyable state of full immersion and engagement). This could help offset some of the pain of loneliness.
-Never give up! Your “tribe” is out there somewhere. Keep looking.
-Talk to a professional. If persistent loneliness is having a detrimental effect on your physical, mental and emotional well-being consider talking to one of the highly qualified and empathetic counselors or coaches at Sam Nabil Counseling Services. We are here to help.
Is your marriage experiencing issues? You may need online marriage counseling. Here are the benefits.
Keyword(s): online marriage counseling
Did you know that the inability to solve conflict is one of the top ten causes of divorce?
There are many issues that can come up throughout a marriage, from understanding who you both are as individuals,to kids, to finances, life is constantly throwing married couples curveballs.
While there are many reasons couples choose to split, there is truly only one reason marriages last: a determined effort to make it work, no matter what.
This is where online marriage counseling can come in handy, as it allows couples to work through their problems in an unintimidating way.
Additionally, there are several other benefits to marriage counseling in an online environment that can help you and your significant other hold true to your vows.
Read on for eight key benefits to marriage counseling online for your family.
#1 It's More Comfortable
It can be uncomfortable for many couples to meet face to face with a counselor, especially if they do not have much experience with them.
Through this level of comfort, more barriers can be broken down, especially for shyer, more private individuals.
As well, you still get the benefits of an unbias professional to help you two work through your issues.
#2 Enjoy the Lower Price
The price of normal marriage counseling can be significantly higher than online marriage counseling, which allows more couples to benefit from it.
This way, you can get the most out of the counseling experience without having to spend more than you can afford.
Plus, you may be able to access more counseling options in the online environment, so you can shop around for one you love.
#3 It's More Available
Online marriage counseling is often available 24/7, depending on the website that is offering it, making it easier to access for many couples.
This way, you do not have to fit an entire week or more of issues into a single, one-hour session.
You can quickly reach a counselor when you need it the most. Moreover, these sites have plenty of other useful services for you to use.
#4 Partners May Prefer it
Unfortunately, there is usually one partner who wishes to go to counseling and one who does not.
The partner that those not really want to go to counseling may be more apt to do it if it easier for them.
As well, this prevents them from many excuses that could apply to traditional approaches such as not having the time or money.
The additional benefits of comfort and privacy can also help encourage them to participate in counseling with you.
#5 There are Group Sessions
Group sessions can be immensely healing for particular problems and can help you two have a support system that understands what you are going through.
These sessions also allow couples to compare their situations to others, and empathize with one another.
Additionally, group sessions can be useful in coming back regularly, as you develop relationships with others.
#6 Protect Your Privacy
It can be embarrassing to visit a counselors office, and you may fear seeing someone that you know.
An online environment can prevent this level of anxiety, as no one other than the three of you needs to know about it.
Moreover, you won't have to worry about explaining where you are going to your employer or friends, as you can easily schedule the appointment beyond regular office hours.
Stopping the fear of judgment can be ideal for a couples healing process, as it allows you both to focus on what truly matters: your relationship.
#7 Safe on Travel Time
There is no longer a need to travel in order to get to an appointment. No time off of work, no need to drive, no need to make arrangements for the kids.
Simply log onto your computer for an online marriage counseling appointment, and the rest is up to you.
In the time that you save, you can focus more on any homework you and your spouse have, or simply enjoy the time together.
Best yet, you don't have to dress up or prepare beyond any tasks related to the counseling itself. Wear your comfiest clothes, grab a calming cup of tea, and be prepared to slowly healwith your significant other.
#8 Great for Long-Distance Pairs
The strain that long-distance can put on a relationship is difficult to navigate in and of itself, but it is also much harder to access effective counseling.
From time to time, it is necessary for a couple to live apart for a short while. In the event that either spouse craves a professional opinion in this time, an online marriage counselor is ideal.
Traditional counselors can sometimes handle a long-distance pair, but they are not specially trained to do so.
This is why a fully-online counselor is easiest, as they know exactly how to best talk with both of you, even while you are far away.
Online Marriage Counseling
There are so many benefits that online counseling can offer to couples in almost any situation.
Counseling is one of the most proactive decisions you can make as a couple in order to strengthen your relationship, as well as work through recurrent problems.
The act of talking out your feelings and thoughts with a mediator and your partner together can be immensely helpful in the long-term, allowing you both to go forward with the tools to continue the progress.
If you are struggling with constant conflict with your partner, it is best not to wait for it to get worse. The best thing to do is act now, and begin working on mending the problem areas.
One of the worst things we can do for the well-being of a relationship is pretend that we know exactly how to make it work. Under that illusion, we’re likely to conclude that our partners are unable or unwilling to do what we “know” would make our relationships succeed.
In reality, there’s no way that any of us could know how to make modern intimate relationships work. Biology has not prepared us for love’s special challenges in our rapidly changing culture. Tradition is hopelessly outdated—the old socialized roles and norms have broken down almost completely, especially with the advent of social media. And pop-psychology gives little more than platitudes or oversimplified and contradictory advice or “communication techniques” that are so unnatural, you’ll just end up resenting each other for failing to do them consistently.
Let’s here and now relieve ourselves of the awful burden of having to defend an ego that’s unrealistically inflated when it comes to love relationships. Let's all admit that we all don't know jack when it comes to truly making a modern intimate relationship work.
Now that you no longer have to defend egotistical preconceptions of how relationships should be, you’re free to learn how to love the unique person with whom you want to share your life. The most loving thing you can say to your partner is: "Teach me how to love you, and I will teach you how to love me.”
The simple suggestion below will almost certainly improve your relationship.
Ask your partner: What can I do to make you feel loved? Write down the response. (Example: Surprise me now and then by cooking dinner.)
Assuming that your partner responds with something you can do, say: This will make it easier for me to do what will make you feel loved. (Example: Show me that you’re pleased when I cook dinner.) In the reptilian brain under stress, we actually make it hard for our partners to love us, just like toddlers, though adorable most of the time, are a bit harder to love during a temper tantrum.
Compile a list of things your partner would like you to do to make him or her feel loved, along with what your partner can do to make it easier for you to do those things.
Tell your partner: I feel loved when you... (Example: Greet me with a hug when I come home.) How can I make it easier for you to do this? Write your partner’s response. (Example: Show appreciation when you hug me.) Compile a list of things you would like your partner to do to make you feel loved and what you can do to make it easier for him/her to do those things.
If your relationship has been dominated by the Reptilian/Toddler brain (where all of your arguments can be reduced to the toddler’s favorite two words, “Mine!” or “No!”), the level of automatic reactivity between you won’t disappear overnight. It takes about twenty-one days of practice to develop Adult brain habits of improving, appreciating, connecting, and protecting whenever you feel the urge to blame, deny, or avoid.
Your best chance of getting the relationship you both want is for each of you to commit to choosing to Listen and Love, regardless of whether you feel that your partner is changing. This will give you room to recover from lapses while developing new habits. Again remember: Love is a Choice that we have to make everyday. Choose to Listen to your partner when they tell you how they preferred to be loved.
We all have goals – to be the best parent or sales person, to find the perfect mate, or have the best grade point average, etc. For us to manage our anxiety and get out of our own way, a positive, accurate mantra is a mighty force to have on our side.
I’m not talking about your “meditation mantra” here, but the mantra that is your inner monologue. We all have one, right? We all need a good, positive, and accurate inner monologue to keep us calm and to help us reinforce positive feelings within ourselves. Who else will help us foster our capability to be our best selves in the pressure cooker moments of life? Some of us have supportive people in our lives who try, but at the end of the day what we tell ourselves in the critical moments always seems to trump everything else we hear. Why? Because what we tell ourselves over and over tends to become our BELIEF. And in case you haven’t heard folks, what we believe pretty much drives everything.
Take for example, a major league baseball player whose gone twenty at-bats without a hit (five games). All of the fans watching could see the frustration mounting with each unsuccessful cut of his bat. He’d flip the barrel of the bat into his hand and walk back to the dugout with his head low. He was a mass of frustration and resentment. When the team mental skills coach asked him what he was saying to himself as he went into the batter’s box, he thought for a second and replied, “Here we go again…. Please don’t do it.”
The coach then asked him, “so when you’re hitting well what are you saying?” The player replied, “Nothing really…. I mean, I’m saying something like, I’m the man!”
The coach then says, “Right! I know you’re half joking, but that’s right! Why are you the man? Seriously?”
“Well, they say the ball comes off my bat insanely fast…. I hit with a ton of power. I’ve gone 3 for 4 a bunch of times up here [in the big leagues], so I know I can do it.”
“Exactly. You and I both know you can do it. You just need to remind yourself of that before you go up to hit. If you let your recent results tell you what you should think and not all of the stuff that happened before it, you won’t show your best stuff.”
The player thought for a moment and said, “You’re right. I know I’m here for a reason.”
The result of this exchange was that the player changed his self-talk from “Oh boy, here we go again” to the mantra of “I know I’m here for a reason.” This mantra channeled all of the evidence that was already in supply from his history into how and why he would eventually have success. Every time after that, while walking up to the on-deck box, the hitter repeated his mantra “Here for a reason”. Every time he missed a pitch, he would step out of the box and repeat the mantra again, “Here for a reason.” This change resulted in a string of base hits after his long drought.
So think about what your mantra sounds like when you step up to the big moments in your life or career. When you’re out with your dream date for the first time, when you’re about to give that big presentation at work, go for that job interview, or take that big exam – what are you telling yourself? Make your mantra an accurate, positive statement of what you got you there. It is amazing how something that seems so simple and straightforward has such a strong power to help better your life.
In a time when you can be anywhere else, choose here. Be in the moment, present with who you are with. With a few touches to our phone, we can feel as though we are in the heart of Barcelona, walking through the streets of Las Ramblas, even though we are actually sitting at a diner in downtown Cincinnati across from a few friends who are also nose deep in their own searching. I get it. I’m a millennial. Technology has been handed to us, but it isn’t just the “young kids” who get absorbed and distracted by this way of life- it’s everyone.
I recently saw someone post on social media (oh, the irony) about what “vintage love” looked like and how it was perceived as “seemingly simple, beautiful and true.” As I scrolled through the images of these portrayals of love, I understood. The pictures truly exuded those feelings. They were raw, pure, and engaging. People were present with one another. They looked at each other in the eyes, went on adventures together, and didn’t have to focus on capturing the perfect shot for Instagram. I’m not mocking it. Trust me, I’m along for the social media ride as well. I’m not going to suggest for you to just put down your phone. However, maybe we can find a better balance. We can’t ignore the blessings of technology that have allowed us to connect to a place in Barcelona we may never visit, but we also can’t lose sight of the value behind what we perceive as “vintage love;” the connection, passion, and mindfulness.
Let yourself fall in love with the unplugged present, while also being aware of and involved in the technologies of today. Adjust your day-to-day lifestyle to fit both. I believe the easiest way to accomplish this is with intention. When we are intentional, we create a level of determination that holds us accountable. Healthy communication, transparency, and creating realistic, attainable goals are a few of the focus areas that promote this positive growth.
It is so incredibly easy to allow our relationships, romantic or platonic, to take second place to our interactions on the web. When everyone and everything begins to matter more, our relationships can begin to suffer the consequences. If this is an area you would like help with, whether individually or as a couple, I gladly offer my therapeutic services. Visit samnabilcounseling.com to book an appointment!
Holistic Counseling Holistic Counseling is an approach which helps clients to heal by taking the entire human being and their life experiences into consideration for assessment and treatment purposes. In other words, where traditional counseling methods consider the psychological ramifications of issues and behaviors; holistic counseling assesses and treats from physical and spiritual contexts--as well as a psychological or mental ones. Holistic psychotherapy focuses on the relationship between mind, body, and spirit, attempting to understand and address the ways issues in one aspect of a person can lead to concerns in other areas. Those pursuing holistic therapy may, with the support of a qualified mental health professional, become better attuned to their entire awareness, which can often promote greater acceptance of the self. Holistic therapy theory holds that a person's consciousness is not housed in any one part of the person but is instead an integration of the mind, body, and spirit. Practitioners of holistic psychotherapy, who believe viewing each person as a whole being is an essential first step in providing care, typically collaborate with those in therapy to help them gain awareness of the connections between their emotions, thoughts, physical experiences, and spiritual understandings. Therapists can help individuals realize each of these components work together in harmony to support typical daily function. This deeper understanding of the whole self can often lend itself to greater self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-acceptance.
Many holistic professionals believe that the body as a whole can really control how a person feels on a more mental level. Something like depression or anxiety may be related to a predetermined mental health issue, but it may be able to be effectively controlled and managed by using more physical treatment options. These treatments can vary but often include:
What a person eats may very well be affecting how they feel and what they may be lacking can have an effect as well. Many holistic professionals will take a detailed look at what a patient is consuming on a daily basis and ask them to cut out things like alcohol, refined sugars, and processed foods. These things can increase a person’s anxiety and depression very quickly.
The body’s overall alignment may affect mental health, according to some professionals. Things like chiropractic care or ongoing yoga practices can help align the body and keep it in sync physically and mentally.
There are new treatments being used like sensory deprivation chambers, saltwater chambers and so on that help heal the body and help it function optimally to promote healthy mental health. Keeping the body functioning at its best will help a person feel good physically and mentally. These two things function very hand in hand.
Another aspect of this holistic care is addressing the spiritual side of life. The holistic counselor acknowledges that the human spirit is intricately involved in the healing of the total person—mind, body and soul. A person who doesn’t have any concept or beliefs in the afterlife or beyond this realm of thinking often experiences things like depression or anxiety. They don’t always feel they have a greater purpose and this can cause a patient to spiral out of control. When a practitioner incorporates spirituality into a treatment plan, this can help a person heal from past experiences and it can give them a better sense of self. Holistic therapy can be used to address any number of challenges, in a diverse range of individuals. A holistic approach may be beneficial in the treatment of:
DepressionAnxietyConcerns related to mood regulationSomatic ailmentsStressTrauma such as abuse and sexual assault
The ideas behind holistic therapy are frequently used in areas of preventative therapy, which are also known as wellness practices. Within the realm of prevention, holistic therapy takes the form of numerous alternative practices such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy. In addition, a wellness-focused therapist will generally work with people to strike a balance in taking care of their mind, body, and spirit. This often involves encouraging people to take part in physical activities, explore their spirituality (for those who express a spiritual nature), or remain connected to their loved ones through positive communication styles.
Research suggests that holistic techniques used to reduce stress, anxiety and depression are being utilized by patients and clients more than ever; subsequently replacing what used to be the exclusive purview of pharmaceutical remedies. Even the United States military has showed a marked increase in the use of methods such as hypnosis, relaxation exercise, meditation, spiritual healing and energy healing--according to a study done by the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Virginia.
Service members of the United States (U.S.) military have encountered countless battles and wars throughout history. Veterans, regardless if they are currently active, have been exposed to a world most civilians are incapable of understanding. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest continued U.S. military operations since the Vietnam era, resulting in more than 6,600 deaths and 48,000 injuries.
Many veterans describe their experiences as positive and rewarding, recounting their ability to readjust into civilian life with minimal difficulties. Unfortunately, there are a number of veterans who do not share the same experience. Some veterans return to civilian life with various health conditions and find readjusting to life at home, reconnecting with the people around them, finding employment, or returning to school is a relentless struggle.
Some of the intrapersonal psychological issues service members face are in regards to how they are trained. They are trained in critical survival skills for a war zone (e.g., being on guard and aware of their environment at all times) and some veterans struggled with their reintegration because of those ingrained skills. For example, a veteran may confuse an item on the street with an explosive or a neighbor could slam their door and they may think it was a bomb. Unfamiliar objects in the street or unexpected loud sounds may conjure up the warzone for veterans. Thus, the survival skills that were highly valued in the warzone can be maladaptive at home and can lead to mental health concerns. A soldier reintegrating into the civilian world may feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, when she realized the world she knew and understood no longer existed. These personal thoughts are significant when thinking of how veterans are perceiving the new world around them and how they fit into it.
During their time serving, veterans typically experience close social support from fellow soldiers. When returning to civilian life, they may not find the same social support from their new workplace- this may lead to divides or conflicts. A soldier spoke of the reintegration into her civilian job as challenging due to the slow-pace and boredom she experienced. She spoke about how while deployed, she was functioning at a high level, always wondering what could happen, but when she went back to her previous job she felt very little job satisfaction and failed to feel the same camaraderie. While serving, this veteran’s work was fast-paced and involved connectedness and a shared purpose amongst her fellow service members. Her civilian job did not reach that same level of pace or connection. Going from a high-intensity working environment to a low-intensity working environment negatively affected her satisfaction within her job.
While deployed, veterans may feel separated from their civilian friends and family. However, once they are home, they can also feel separated from the close friends they gained during their service. This continuous sense of disconnection from social networks causes psychological distance from the meaningful places and people in veterans’ lives. Some veterans have described their post-deployment social support as difficult and often a solitary journey. Research has shown that veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are much more likely to report marital, parental, and family adjustment problems than veterans without PTSD. These interpersonal, social aspects are significant in how well veterans reintegrate into civilian life.
A large number of veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and many have shown symptoms of PTSD, depression, and substance misuse or abuse. Unfortunately, these service members often have more than one health condition. The most common comorbid health disorders are PTSD, substance use disorders, depression, and symptoms associated to mild TBI. In 2010, almost 300 veterans committed suicide, and about half of those suicides were veterans who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Tools & Resources. The frequency of these issues has led individuals to search for possible solutions. Research has shown that expressive writing is an effective tool for veterans- allowing them to freely explore their deepest thoughts and feelings. While this may allow for veterans to express themselves deeply, it is important for mental health professionals to be aware of the possibility of these strong negative emotions in order for them to help these individuals work through them. Exposure therapy is another tool often used to help veterans with mental health concerns. It is an intervention strategy commonly used in cognitive behavioral therapy to help people confront their fears. Prolonged exposure is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations- which is strongly recommended for the treatment of PTSD.
Although veterans may want to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma they experienced, doing so reinforces their fear. By facing what is being avoided, they can decrease symptoms of PTSD by actively learning that the trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided. Another area that has been looked at is the green-jobs training program. The Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC) green-jobs training program is a 10-month educational program that provides academic and vocational training to veterans who are thinking about pursuing environmental careers or green jobs. Research has found improvements in two measures: social functioning and ability to perform daily tasks.
(Sources: Koenig, C. J., Maguen, S., Monroy, J. D., Mayott, L., & Seal, K. H. (2014). Facilitating culture-centered communication between health care providers and veterans transitioning from military deployment to civilian life. Patient Education & Counseling.; Mankowski, M., Haskell, S. G., Brandt, C., & Mattocks, K. M. (2015). Social support throughout the deployment cycle for women veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Work in Health Care.; Returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of readjustment needs of veterans, service members, and their families. (2014). Military Medicine.)
Dealing with the readjustment into civilian life can be challenging. Whether you would like help with this transition or are interested in learning more about this topic, talking to a trained professional can help.