How to Prevent a Panic Attack

panic attack

If you’ve ever experienced a Panic Attack, you know they are absolutely terrifying.  It’s not unusual for people to end up in the Emergency Room because they think they are dying.  Panic attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks and strokes because they are so debilitating.  They can cause people to miss out on life because they occur out of the blue, and are incapacitating.  According to Anxiety.org around 2-3% of the population in the United States suffer from Panic Attacks annually (roughly 6 to 10 million people a year). This week, I’m going to talk about how to prevent Panic Attacks, and I also hope to give you some tools to utilize.  If you or someone you care about...

Read More

Why Your “Good” Kid is at Risk for Teen Depression

teen depression

I work with a lot of teen Depression.  It’s not unusual for a client’s parent to be upset when their teenager is diagnosed with mental health issues.  It’s common for them to say “But my kid is a good kid”.  The problem is, depression and anxiety (and other mental health issues) do not discriminate.  Your teen could be the best kid, and they could still struggle. Today my hope is to obliterate the stigma that good kids don’t struggle with mental health issues.  Because they definitely do.  I want to talk about the pressures put on kids today, and how that also impacts their emotional well-being.  And maybe how we can work together to help prevent mental health issues and...

Read More

What to do when it’s Hard to Make Friends

Friends

Let’s face it—it was soooooo much easier to make friends when we were little.  Our friendships back then were usually based on convenience.  For example, your friends were probably in your class at school, lived in your neighborhood, or went to your church.  We had instant access to our friends every day at school or at home.  We didn’t have to seek friends out. Even if you didn’t have a friend close by, all you had to do was say “hi” to someone on the playground, and you were instantly friends, even if only for the next 20 minutes.  Children approach friendships with innocence.  They haven’t been hurt, back-stabbed, or betrayed by friends.  They don’t understand quite yet that friendships...

Read More

15 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

gratitude

Life can be hard, and it can be very easy to focus on everything that goes wrong.  Sometimes it is a choice to be positive and to focus on the blessings we have.  Practicing gratitude is an everyday decision to focus on the little things, and not take them for granted.  Gratitude is "the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful".  It’s reminding ourselves that despite everything that may be going wrong, there are many things going right. Gratitude has many health benefits, including providing help for Depression and Anxiety.  When you focus on the positive and being grateful, your brain produces feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.  Practicing gratitude also teaches you to reframe negative thoughts into positive...

Read More

What is Anxiety? Part 2

anxiety

Last week, I introduced you to what Anxiety can look and feel like.  Anxiety manifests in physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.  If you missed last week’s blog, click here to read it. Anxiety convinces an individual that fixating on an event will help them feel control over it.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of my favorite books about Anxiety is “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow.  Dillow writes “Waiting for the ‘What Ifs’ of life, for what might happen, causes the sturdiest of hearts to be anxious.” This week, I will be talking about where Anxiety comes from, and treatment options that are available.  Anxiety can look and feel different to each person.  Please keep in...

Read More

What is Anxiety? Part 1

anxiety

Over the next 2 weeks at Journey to Joy, I will be discussing Anxiety: What it is, what it feels like, the impacts, causes, and treatment.  It’s very common for people to experience Anxiety, but not realize that it is actually Anxiety.  Often they refer to it as “anticipation”, “nervousness”, or just “stress”.  Anxiety can differ from person to person, but there are a few symptoms that are always consistent. According to the DSM-5, which is the diagnostic tool that mental health professionals use, certain criteria must be present for a clinical diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  The criteria include: Excessive worry about a variety of topics, activities, or events for 6 months or more. The worry is difficult to...

Read More

Is Fear Driving Your Life?

fear

Fear is a natural emotion given to us to help us survive.  However, it can also be taken to an extreme, where it dictates your life and interferes with your functioning.  Fear can become dysfunctional and harmful when it comes from trauma, cognitive distortions, mental illness, shame, an unhealthy upbringing, or perfectionism. Fear is both a positive and negative emotion.  It’s positive in that it sends a “Danger! Alert!” warning to our brains when something seems off.  Its purpose is to keep us alive.  Sometimes we will experience a gut feeling or intuition that tells us something is wrong, even if we don’t have all of the information. Fear is also a negative emotion, in that it holds us back. ...

Read More

Anxiety about the First Counseling Appointment: What You Need to Know

counseling

It’s common to have anxiety and nervousness about your first counseling appointment.  Even if you’ve been to counseling before and you’re restarting again, there are still a lot of unknowns.  My goal is that this blog will help alleviate some of the anxiety, as well as answer some questions you may have. What can I expect when I walk through the door? My hope is that the moment you walk in the door, you instantly feel relaxed and can unwind.  Our waiting room is quiet, relaxing, and spa-like.  Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and find a magazine or book to read.  Your therapist will be out to greet you shortly. Please come prepared Make sure you’ve brought the...

Read More