Are You Serious! I can be normal….? STRESS!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HelpPRO brings you the final in our Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl suggests lifestyle choices we control.

Stress is one of the primary 'triggers' for people who deal with mental health issues.  If our lives were stress free we may not have the preponderance of mental health challenges we face.  Understanding and managing stress is key to managing mental health issues.

The Mayo Clinic has a great tool to help you understand and learn more about your stress triggers.   Normal, everyday stress may help motivate us to find a good job, support our families, eat healthy, and exercise.  However, everyday stress often builds up and turns into chronic stress which feeds mental health symptoms.  Make a list of the top 10 issues you face right now. 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. 

Circle the issues above that are external exasperations. Check those issues that are within your control.

Are any of your top 10 issues internal irritations?  Please list them below.

The good news is we have the ability to control our thoughts when we manage our mental health issues by caring for ourselves both physically and emotionally and taking medication (where appropriate). The bad news is our fears, attitudes and expectations have been our companions for a long time and it is not easy to change.

Here are some simple stress relievers to help you manage stress more effectively.

Yoga

Meditation

Music

Art

Sports/Exercise

Deep Breathing

Spending time with friends and loved ones

Hobbies

Learn more about stress relievers here and relax your way to positive mental and emotional health!

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.

Are You Serious! I can be normal? GO GREEN!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 19, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a smile to boost your mood.  This week …….. GO GREEN!

Studies show living close to green areas like parks and gardens is good for your mental health. Just having a green plant in your house or workplace can reduce stress.  Those with ADHD who get outside to exercise or work concentrate and focus better.

Going green may improve your mental health in ways that have long lasting effects on your life.  Simply surrounding yourself with green can reduce anxiety and stress, lessen depression and lead to more happiness overall.

Go green! Be happy! Feel Good! 

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.

 

Tags:

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

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? SMILE!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, February 13, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a pet to boost your mood.  This week …….. a smile! Cool

Do you want to be happier - SMILE!  Smiling can truly change the way you feel. No need to  quote research or provide reasoning or justification. Just smile. Try it for yourself.

When you feel down - browse pictures you like, particularly ones that make you smile. Then smile. It may not last, but it may be the nudge you need to engage in a pleasant activity to improve your mood. 

When you are angry - smile. Then keep smiling. It is hard to be angry or frustrated with a smile on your face.   Fake it until you make it with a smile! 

When you feel tired and apathetic - smile. It may provide the gateway to pleasant dreams or induce a serene and tranquil state on days you may not have what it takes to get a lot done.

Smile ... It is contagious. Not only will smiling lift your spirits, it will lift the spirits of those around 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.

Tags:

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

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Pets Are a Mood Booster!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, February 6, 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 Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP (http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap/) and NAMI (http://www.nami.org) instructor. 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.

Last week we talked about food affecting your mood. Remember Vitamin D? Plenty of sunshine can improve your mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D in combination with K vitamins to improve your mood (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx).

Vitamin D and a pet that likes to be outdoors is a sure recipe to boost your mood and lift your spirits.  We recommend owning a pet, however, only if you are stable and healthy enough. Pets require a lot of care.  Alternatively, you can walk or spend time with a friends’ pet. Are you ready for a pet?  http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html      Keep in mind puppies and kittens are much more work than older dogs and cats.  There are many older pets in shelters that need homes.  These articles present considerations to help you decide to own a pet or not.  Owning a pet is a huge commitment. Your life as well as your pets’ is at stake. 

http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/puppies-vs-senior-dog-adoption/

http://savingcaesar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/rebellious-rescue-or-pesky-puppy.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/yournewdog/Before-You-Adopt

A fish tank is much lower maintenance option for a pet. Ever wonder why you see fish tanks in doctor’s offices?  Fish have a calming effect on mood, but even fish require food and attention.  http://www.examiner.com/article/aquarium-therapy-and adhd  http://aquariumdesignindia.com/residential-aquarium

One of the biggest benefits to my two puppies, Patty  and Selma is that one is a lap dog who likes to snugglewhile the other is active and a constant reminder to get up and out and enjoy the sunshine!  I work from home and sit in my office with Patty stretched out on my lap.  Selma on the other hand tugs on mysleeve or arm several times a day to remind me to get out and enjoy the sun.  I go out for 5-10 minutes,even in the bitter cold and rain to play ball with Selma who does not understand bad weather.Even when I am not in the mood to boost my mood – each animal is a mood booster -- either a calming spirit or motivation to get up and move and enjoy Mother Nature, whether I am in the mood or not!  Both provide that nudge I need to feel good. 

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.

Tags: , ,

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

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.

Tags: , ,

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

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