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Importance of allowing our children to "Relax, Breath & Just Be

Permanent Linkby Looking_to_help on Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:24 am

Parents love keeping their kid's busy. It seems it has become a new interwoven fabric in today's parenting. On Monday; its karate, then play rehearsal, Tuesday; piano lessons, therapy, after school homework help, Wed; clarinet lessons, social group club, Thur;....Well this pattern continues right on into the weekend, where they have basketball-soccer-softball games, stop at grandma's house, over indulgence on X-box (3-4 hours of screen time), followed by another 3-4 hours of IPAD time, and before you know it, the weekend is over, and back to Monday madness....again!! With all that, there seems to be no time to even relax, breath or just be. Well "relax, breath and just be" will be the theme here, as it is highly important and beneficial to give our kids a break sometime, and teach them the importance of doing so, and not always having to be busy!

It seems many Kids these days, of all ages, are just way over-anxious, restless, worried or on- edge. Well no wonder they are, when their parents are also over-anxious -worried & on-edge. Parent's with overloaded, high stress work schedules, working more hours than ever to support their families; news media saying its unsafe for your child to play outside unsupervised! Also the contagion factor, as it might seem that "Every parent is pushing their child into competing with one another, whether its to get into that top college, the lead role in the school musical or the star of the team in an organized sport". This can beg the question, "Am I bad parent if I don't sign my child up for enough extra-curricular activities? All the other parents are doing it!". There is of course a fine line between healthy competition and creating a generally over-anxious child. Too many of these extra-curricular activities and the child barely even has time to do their homework. That, or homework is rushed in between activities, winds up incomplete or the child stays up later/wakes up earlier to complete all of it, which often impacts their sleep! While there most certainly are a lot of stressors that come with being a parent & keeping your child safe, it is often these very stressors/worries that are learned from &/or transmitted directly from the parent to the child. Also aside from impacting children emotionally, too much stress can also cause health problems (Even in children), eating disorders, impact their grades, academics and lead to many difficulties down the road.

There have been various studies citing such some of these stressors/pressures put on children, Including a 1997, University of Michigan study that has indicated: "American kids' lives have become increasingly structured." Also the Chicago tribune has stated that, "Since 1981, free time has dropped, while time spent doing homework and playing organized sports has jumped." Clearly, this has been ongoing, for quite some time. The growing number of children who compete in year-round sports at elite levels even prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to warn that "such intense training can injure developing bodies -- and psyches."

There are of course many benefits of taking a break, just slowing down and simply put, not being as busy. Numerous health studies have indicated that Its good for our stress level, blood pressure and overall health- physical well being. It is also a great way to build a stronger bond-relationship with your child.

Some great ways to slow down, breath & just be, would be to take a nap or just lie down and relax after a long day of school. A middle of the day nap can also do the trick. These can help improve focusing-concentration, as well. Also meditation or Yoga have been shown by many studies to be extremely helpful in promoting relaxation, reducing stress-anxiety. Or simply put, just breathing. Focusing on a relaxing, peaceful thought and taking slow, deep breaths can also be helpful. Or instead of doing structured...

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Last edited by Ada on Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Internet's impact on our Emotional well being!

Permanent Linkby Looking_to_help on Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:18 am

Don't get me wrong, I love the internet! I use it for many things, from paying bills, booking vacations, social media, to watching my favorite movies/TV shows and downloading music...Don't we all? Well maybe that is precisely the problem!! We have become "dependent" on the internet, which is magnified if you are under 30 years old, however even those in their 40s-80s and beyond, can be impacted!

Lets face it, the internet is it's "own world", so it is easy to lose site of our "real world" when we are constantly connected to it. Add to the fact that we can now carry the internet wherever we go in the palm of our hands via our smart phones, means it is always connected to us, as well. So is this "constant connection" to the internet good for us psychologically? While there are many great benefits of the internet & technology, here are some reasons in my opinion, why the internet can also be unhealthy or even dangerous for our mind & emotional well being (Agree or disagree as you may!):

1-) Feelings of Helplessness & Loss of independence: Losing many of our skills, even simple ones: Simply put, we become lazy!! When we rely on one driving force to run our life, we loose many of the skills & 'know how' to do even basic things. Things that the internet now does for us, have become obsolete. This can even include little things, for instance, "how to write a check and mail it in to said biller." There are people that struggle with this now, after years of online bill paying! Also what on earth is a "travel agent" or a "Record-music-cd store"? Do they even exist anymore? Take technology away from someone who is dependent on it, and they are virtually helpless, almost enough to cause an Anxiety attack!! The person does not know or remember how to live their life without the internet or technology, which creates this profound helplessness!

2-) Instant gratification impacts our anxiety: When we are always connected to the internet, sometimes we live from message to message. "Bing" goes the message notifier on facebook, we have a new "comment", "like" or "message". This greatly impacts our "self esteem" (For the moment)... If we do not get that message or response quick enough, we might start feeling nervous-worried, anxious, "on edge" and figity. Looking at our phone, every minute, to check and double check that we did not miss that message! Once we get it, that pleasurable rush races back to us, boosting our mood, calming us down and temporarily relieving our anxiety, until the next time....The next time? This cycle can often repeat itself relentlessly, dozens of times a day, taking us on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions, throughout the day...All because of a message!

3-) Cyber bullying: For children, teens and yes, even adults, cyber bullying is a reality and a growing problem, almost at epidemic level! Anderson Cooper has chronicled the problem very well, on his CNN show. For kids who face bullying and teasing in school, now often are followed home, virtually, by the bullies. They can be bullied on social media, sent threatening emails, or instant messages. Just putting up with this bullying in school can be enough to cause an Anxiety disorder or serious depression. However, having to deal with it at school AND at home, can make the anxiety & depression significantly worse. For a child who is supposed to feel safe and secure at home, now has this basic security taken away from them, when they are cyber bullied.

4-) People do not socialize in person as much: Why socialize in person, when we can do it in the comfort of our own home? When we got facebook, twitter, Skype...Have a virtual date via skype? Or better yet, taking all you college classes online, and totally give up that college real-world social experience! People often make their friends on online forum-message...

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WHY DO THE HOLIDAYS BRING ON DEPRESSION & SADNESS?

Permanent Linkby Looking_to_help on Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:09 am

WHY DO THE HOLIDAYS BRING ON DEPRESSION & SADNESS?

For many the holiday season brings joy, cheer, positive energy and families together.
It is a season of giving, and cherishing those we love & care about... And for some, its about pretending to cherish those we really can't stand the rest of the year! For some holiday season isn't all that fun at all. For this group of people, its anything but "the most wonderful time of year"... The holidays can often bring about mood issues, anxiety, stress and depression. It can trigger anger/frustration and often bring out the grinch in some. For others it triggers drinking, or other substance use- relapse or even suicide attempts....

So why is that?

1-Loneliness: Being lonely on the holiday is the #1 reason for holiday depression. Not everybody has a family, or at least a close one. Not everyone has friendships, or at least supportive ones. Seeing "everybody else" bond with their family and friends can be very agonizing and depressing for those who wish they had what they perceive "everybody else has". Of course, they feel they are the only ones who feel alone, so that makes them feel even worse. Of course this is not true, many people feel like this, which is why depression & drinking rates are so high, during the holidays.

2-Grief/loss re triggered: Losing somebody either through death or breaking up/separating is one of the most difficult and devastating things a person can go through. The Holiday’s can often re trigger those feelings of loss and grief, even losses that are NOT so recent. You might be reminded of holiday memories you had with the person, who is no longer here. This can make holidays very difficult.

3-Drinking: Alcohol use is much more likely during the holiday season. Its at the holiday parties, holiday dinners, gatherings, you name it, its almost embedded into the holiday culture! Simply put: The more drinking, the more depression, since alcohol is a natural depressant, the more you drink, the more likely it is to cause depression or low mood. People are also triggered to drink more during the holidays, due to feeling lonely or depressed. This further increases these feelings and so the person will drink more to feel less...This creates that vicious cycle.

4-Fantasy Vs Reality: Many adults often feel like children again during this time of year, and children have that natural sense of fantasy and imagination. For them, the holidays can be a magical time of the year, with snow, Santa, elves and a magical winter wonderland. It is kind of a drag to realize that none of this really exists (Well, snow does!). However, coming out from that "fantasy holiday world" as we'll call it, and crashing back down into the realities of the holiday season, such as: Christmas shopping, the stress & pressure of the holiday season, traffic-gridlock on the roads, and the reality check that maybe their life is just kind of ordinary or even boring (compared to this fantasy holiday world). Also, maybe they're not all that happy with their own life to begin with. This can be very depressing and plain sad for some.

5-Less day light: This can also have an affect on your mood. December is the month with the shortest days and least amount of daylight. Simply put, less hours of daylight disrupt the body’s internal clock, as well as drops the serotonin levels, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects the mood, and also disrupts other hormones, all of which can cause depression.

6-Too much stress: Cooking, cleaning, shopping, entertaining guests, worrying about pleasing the guests, traffic and traveling are all big sources of holiday stress & anxiety. The stress can often lead to depression or can accompany it. The person might cope by drinking and/or use substances, which of course furthers the person’s low mood and depression. So yes, stress is a huge risk factor for Depression & low mood. It is emotionally draining on a ...

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"The Entitled Generation"

Permanent Linkby Looking_to_help on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:06 pm

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The "Entitled" generation.

Ahh, The "Entitled" generation, so exactly which generation could we possibly be referring to? Aren't we all a little entitled in our own way? Nope, one generation is more entitled, than others, and it might not even be their fault, per se. That is: The Millennial Generation, AKA Generation Y. Its the generation that just listens to their Ipod blaring thru their head phones, tuning out the rest of the world...It was also the "kids" born between the 1980s & early 2000s, although this is open to debate. Regardless of when exactly they were born, much has been said about this generation lately. From Time Magazine cover stories, to other bloggers and blurbs on CNN, this generation has been getting a lot of media attention.

How many of you have heard kids say "I am awesome" or refer to themselves as a Prince or princess? Or maybe they say "I am the coolest" Or "I am the best friend you will ever have"

Often thought of as the "Me, me, me!!" generation, of self obsessed/selfish, egotistical, entitled youth, who love having things their way. They strongly believe that they are unique, special (Because their mommy always told them they were a prince or princess), don't want to wait for anything and are overly ambitious, feeling that they are better or above everyone else.

These are stereotypes we might have heard a lot of about this generation. So is it true?
Well first off, let me just say that this IS a generalization, meaning it cannot be assumed that every Millennial is like this. There is never a 100% or absolute with any group of people. Also, It should be noted, I am also from this generation, yet I have tried to take a step back, to observe from the outside, both from a personal and professional point of view, while at the same time, I also have a first hand "insiders" experience, being part of this generation myself, so this all adds-contributes to my opinion....Not to side track about myself, but felt it was important to put it out there.

So where do these feelings of entitlement, specialness, and sense of over- uniqueness come from? The answer to that is the Parents...and that would be primarily the baby boomer generation & Generation X.

1-) These parents have told their kids that they are special, above all others....Ever heard a parent say "I have the smartest kids?" Or "My kids are the best!"....Of course every parent thinks their kids are the best, this is natural, but to constantly reinforce that in their kid can be damaging....Also parents tell their kids they can accomplish and achieve anything they put their mind too, often without explaining to them that they need to work their way up the ladder in life, in order to achieve. As good intentioned and well meaning as these parents believe they are, these kids leave their parents nest with a delusional sense of self entitlement instilled in them. Often times they have a major mental crash, when they learn the hard way that the world is a rough place, and they are just another number in the system and are not seen as very unique or special at all. Often they are "put in their place", which can be very mentally and emotionally damaging to their delusional sense of self.

2-) These parents might have also engaged in Over-parenting, which is of course reinforced by the media, creating this false sense that "everyone is a predator, out to harm their kid" and they and their close circle of friends & community are the only good ones. Lets call this the child's "safety comfort zone". This causes an issue when the child gets older and they have to socialize, network or meet people outside of their "safety comfort zone". Issues of not trusting, feeling that they are better or more special than others, come into play here, and often the kid stays in a "familiar, close...

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