Do you engage with news and/or social media on a regular basis? If so, have you ever noticed yourself feeling angry or anxious after watching, reading or listening to the news? Or have you ever noticed yourself feeling inadequate, depressed or outraged after scrolling through your social media feed? If so, you are not alone.
Understanding, patience and kindness. These are three simple modes of relating to ourselves and others that can be especially valuable in stressful times. Unfortunately, stressful times are also when these virtues can be most difficult to conjure up.
Increasing our ability to be mindful throughout our day-to-day lives is extremely beneficial. Research into mindfulness has shown that there are many benefits that can result from a regular mindfulness practice. These include reductions in stress, anxiety and depression, among others. One way to understand how mindfulness is helpful is to learn about how it can change our relationship with our thoughts.
A stressor refers to something in the environment that evokes an internal stress response. This environmental stressor could be something that poses a threat or challenge to your health, family, finances, schedule, or routine. When a stress response shows up it can be acute and intense or chronic. Your personal stress response is a dynamic process influenced by many variables including; coping style, support system, previous exposure to the stressor, underlying mental health concerns, personality traits, and cultural or systemic pressures.
What do you think of when you imagine a boundary? A gentle stream meandering through two fields; a fortress wall guarded by armed soldiers? A boundary at its most basic can be described as a dividing line. When we consider boundaries in relationships it can feel more unclear. When I experience feelings of discomfort, resentment, or guilt, they provide a clue that a boundary has been crossed, even if I didn’t realize it was there.
What do you do in life when you’ve tried all “the things” – the strategies, the suggestions, the desperate measures – but nothing seems to work. I feel like I face this challenge daily in parenting (more often than not), at least with my oldest child. I’ve read all the books, scoured all the journal articles, talked to all the experts (wait, aren’t I an “expert”?), and still I come up short. When all else fails, and I feel close to ready to rip my hair out, here are my fail-safe, back-to-basics approaches:
As we all ease forward towards reduced COVID restrictions, we are re-learning how to reconnect in so many ways. This process can be more difficult than we might have anticipated, which is why we chose it as our theme for this newsletter.
On the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week, the theme is Emotional Literacy. This includes the skills of naming, expressing, and coping with our emotions (the ones we like and the ones we don’t), and their importance for our overall mental health.
This quarterly newsletter is all about resiliency. In these unprecedented times, we are finding that it is increasingly important to build resiliency and to ensure that we are taking care of both our physical and mental health. If you would like to learn more, click on the link www.uics/newsletter and select February 2021.