Let's start with a quote from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
When I think of that quote, I think of mindfulness, being in the present moment, and enjoying the here and now. We live in a fast-paced world where we may struggle to take the time to really notice what is around us, how we are feeling, and what we are experiencing in the here and now.
One way to connect with the present moment and be mindful is to practice this technique for 5 minutes a day. This technique is commonly used for panic attacks and other forms of severe anxiety, but it can also be used in everyday stressful situations, as well as to simply take a moment to breathe, relax and enjoy the moment. Breathe slowly and deeply while you try this technique...
Catherine Cirulli, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist/PsychSavvy™ Founder
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2020 is almost here! I feel like I remember gearing up for the year 2000 like it was yesterday, but here we are, about to enter a new decade and the year 2020!
We've all heard the typical advice about how to set goals for the new year - write them down, track your progress, don't give up! While I encourage you to do those things too, in this email I am going to provide you with the next level of achieving goals so they REALLY happen. If you're serious about making a change, achieving a goal, and optimizing your life this year, then these tips are for you!
#1 Get an accountability partner. Find a friend or family member who can check-in with you on your goals, and offer to do the same for them. Come up with a regular check-in day and time, like once a week. At that time, you'll ask each other about progress towards goals. Their job is not to make you do anything, rather the act of having someone else to be accountable to actually increases your chances of success.
Let’s face it, the holidays can be challenging. Even the most “functional” families still have their issues, clashing personalities, and differences of opinions. But of course the holidays can also be a wonderful time of relaxation and family bonding. So, whether you’re spending the holidays with family, friends, or on your own, this article has something for you!
Try to make this holiday season the best one yet with these 5 ways to survive, and even thrive, this holiday season.
The 5 Stages of Change can help you establish where you are and where you want to be.
Think about your answer to this question: What change do you want to make to better your life?
It may be a goal to exercise more, be more productive at work, have a better relationship with your spouse, lose weight, quit smoking, reduce alcohol, meditate more, reduce stress, eat better, etc. Think about your goal and where you fall in terms of the 5 Stages of Change outlined below:
#1 Precontemplation- As the word indicates, at this stage the person is not planning to change the behavior, may not see a reason to change, and has no interest in changing. They may see the cons of change as outweighing the pros. For example, a person may have a problem with alcohol, but they don’t yet identify it as a problem, nor do they have any plans to change their drinking habits.
#2 Contemplation- People may still feel ambivalent at this stage, but they are beginning...
Feeling guilty can be miserable! It can impact sleep, mood, relationships, productivity and more. Finding a way to overcome guilt is also so important for overall happiness.
So, what is guilt? Guilt is a feeling of being bothered by an action one regrets. It seems that guilt can range from mild to extreme, and the degree to which someone feels guilty is multifaceted. It is based on the situation, past experiences, who is involved, the reaction of others, one’s own sense of self, and so forth. Feelings of guilt can impact one’s happiness as well as relationships with others.
Interestingly, there are some upsides to guilt. For example, guilt can motivate us to do good, to have empathy, and to work hard. The problem is, sometimes guilt can spiral out of control and lead to quite negative thoughts. Feelings of guilt can lead some people to feel like they are bad or unlovable. So while guilt can be motivating, research shows that it’s not the...
Exercise can help reduce symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Reap the mental health benefits of exercise!
Here are 10 tips to help get you started with exercise - if you're already exercising regularly, these tips can help keep you motivated!
I realize that ability levels, time constraints, and interests regarding exercise vary, so I've tried to include something for everyone. Of this list, pick your top 3-5 favorite to help you get your exercise to an optimal level:
Exercise first thing in the morning. There are a few reasons why this works best- you have the most energy in the morning and if, you wait until the afternoon or evening, you might not get around to it. Something else will come up that distracts you from the plan of exercise. Sometimes gyms are less crowded before the workday than after. Exercising in the morning is actually something I started doing recently and it makes a huge difference! You also start your day with an...
Research shows that mild to moderate depression can be treated with exercise, and the benefits are often equal to taking antidepressant medications. Sure, taking a pill may seem quicker and easier, but exercise not only alleviates the symptoms of depression, it also gives you many other health benefits (both mental AND physical), and none of the side-effects that can come with medication. (Note: If you are taking antidepressant medication- or any medication prescribed by your doctor- please talk to your doctor before making changes).
There are several reasons why exercise helps with depression, including the release of endorphins in the brain, and the promotion of neural growth. Seems like some great reasons to hit the gym to me!
Exercise is also an amazing treatment for anxiety. Have you ever noticed that a couple of hours after vigorous exercise, you feel more relaxed but also alert? In other words, exercise calms the nerves without making you tired. Just as...
Many people get their morning boost from a cup or two of coffee. I’m one of those people, so I get it! But what can you do in the afternoon to get a boost, that won't interrupt your ability to sleep later?
Let me start by saying that coffee, and other caffeinated beverages, are often responsible for keeping us awake at night. Sometimes clients will report to me that they have trouble falling asleep, and when we discuss caffeine, they’ll say something like this: “That’s not the problem, I don’t drink coffee after 3 PM.”
For a lot of people, though, 3 PM is too late to have your last sip of coffee. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s important for you to know that coffee after 12 or 1 PM, may keep you up at night. This is because it can take 8 hours (give or take) for caffeine to leave your system, so not consuming caffeine in the afternoon is super important to getting a good night’s sleep. Remember,...
What I'm about to explain is simply amazing, motivating, and essential for every person to know!
First, ever had that feeling when you are anxious and you get butterflies in your stomach? This is a great example of the very direct connection between the mind and body.
So here's the coolest thing... The mind has been proven to heal the body. This is because the body is always responding to the way the mind is thinking and feeling. In fact, the immune cells that fight disease are triggered by multiple neurotransmitters in the brain. So your brain can send your cells messages to help you heal!
The implications of this are fascinating to me. Could this mean that focusing your mind on healing a certain area of your body could actually increase the immune response to that area and help it heal? This would certainly make sense! And some research supports this too. In fact, this helps explain why some people experience improvements from placebo...
First, let me explain the stress response. When we feel a sense of threat, a stress response is activated. The problem is, if we are continuously under stress (or continuously perceiving many things as stressful/threatening), we start experiencing a stress response more easily, and often inaccurately. If you know anyone who is highly irritable or quick to become tense, they may be experiencing high levels of perceived stress, and therefore their stress response is easily triggered.
This is where mindfulness comes in. If you practice mindfulness on a regular basis (5-20 minutes a day), your baseline level of stress is lower, and the inaccurate stress response becomes more difficult to trigger. This is a good thing! Don’t worry, when a real threat presents itself, you’ll still respond appropriately. (BTW, specific information about what mindfulness is, and how to achieve it, was addressed in my last email. If you deleted...
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