Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Choose Your Food. Choose Your Mood!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, Cheryl Johnson. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

It’s no secret food affects your mood.  Skip a meal and you feel sluggish and may get a headache.  But can food actually make you more positive and upbeat?  There is growing evidence certain foods can improve your mood.  Food is not a cure or a substitute for medication for diagnosed mood disorders, but it can serve as another tool to keep your perspective bright.  Here are some simple suggestions, but if you do research on your own, there is a wealth of information on foods to improve your mood.

Carbs – those evil carbs that make you gain weight and are not healthy.  Not necessarily.  Good carbs contribute to serotonin production, the calming, feel good brain chemical that can help alleviate depression.  (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – fish, flaxseed and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 and also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  Fish is a good mood food!  Personally I like walnuts, but moderation is important.  Walnuts can contribute to weight gain, another factor that may contribute to a sour mood. (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Vitamin D – Plenty of sunshine can improve mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D.  But keep in mind that without K vitamins – vitamin D has limited effect on mood.  (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx)

Chocolate and Caffeine – The milk chocolate many of us love only has minimal impact on mood.  The best chocolate for mood is more than 50% cocoa and the higher the better.  Cocoa rich chocolate is an acquired taste so give it a chance and enjoy the added benefit of a calmer and more relaxed mood.  (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/27/chocolate-and-mood-disorders/)  And what about caffeine?  Moderation is best.  Caffeine may affect sleep and lack of sleep can affect mood, but a cup or two of coffee will not hurt and may help perk you up and focus to get your work done contributing to a good mood…. 

Take time to learn more at the links provided (or any others) or talk to your doctor and nutritionist. 

Focus on good mood food! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

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Mental Health | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities | Mood

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Cope with and rise above mental health challenges

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am not a therapist, but I am a certified WRAP and NAMI instructor and I teach people with mental health issues and their families how to not only cope with, but rise above the challenges that people with mental health issues face. 

My interest in mental health is from a strong family history of people who have either been diagnosed with mental health issues or those who clearly exhibit behaviors consistent with a diagnosis, but do not believe they have issues. 

Those who have sought out treatment (both medical and therapeutic) definitely cope with life on a much higher level than those who have not. You are probably all too familiar with the reasons people choose or refuse to get care. 

What I can testify to is that those who consistently monitor their behavior and track it to their lifestyle habits are acutely aware of how important our lifestyle choices are to living a ‘normal’ life. 

So how do you accomplish this?  Stay tuned…. Each week into February we will explore together tips and suggestions  to supplement the care you are currently receiving to make sure you manage your condition instead of it managing you!

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

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marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Unfolding the "Magic" of Therapy

by Sherry Katz Tuesday, January 7, 2014

While often people acknowledge professional therapy creates gains in self-awareness, more confidence handling relationships, and improved ability to manage stress, how these results are achieved appears mysterious. 

What key factors in the conversation happen during a therapy session,  which inspire confidence and awareness in the patient, which were previously either weak or lacking?

 

From years of clinical practice, I summarize the way a therapist listens and responds to a patient, as “bi-lateral listening”. A therapist who helps you reach desired change, listens with both their mind and their heart. 

 

Hearing past the words, gives your therapist a read on your emotions.  If someone tells a story that includes major life shifts, and is matter of fact while doing so, a therapist may ask a question that lifts these shy emotions into the therapeutic dialogue. By giving more attention to emotions and identifying and elaborating on them during a therapy session, the patient learns how to know and explain their feelings.

 

The flip side usage of bi-lateral listening is if a patient during a session talks almost exclusively about their feelings and has little understanding of when feelings arise and how they are effecting both the patient and people in the patient’s life. In this case a therapist most likely would hear the emotions and speak to the cognitive processing of the patient. Your therapist may ask questions that help you collect information and theorize on how you are responding to the ways you express yourself.

 

As you and your therapist repeat this basic listening process during your therapy sessions, you’ll notice greater balance in your own approach and dialogues in your everyday repertoire with others. What starts developing and strengthening is your awareness of the vastness and complexity of your emotions and thoughts, and your ability to moderate when to express your emotions and when to express your thoughts. You may surprise yourself one day with how naturally you articulate feelings in situations you did not know you had any!

 

You may notice as well, yourself taking a new path in conversation rather than a debilitating emotional rerun. This will be your magical moment of recognizing the rewards of working with a professional talk therapist.

 

Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ.  Comments and questions are welcome. 

www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com

 

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