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Reflection and Year in Review Helps Build Robust Mental Health

Reflection and Year in Review Helps Build Robust Mental Health

One of the most powerful tools for personal growth is the act of reflection. To reflect on the course of our day is a practice that can help develop gratitude. As well as a sensitivity to how the energy that surrounds us shapes our interactions with those we encounter. Keep in mind, however, the difference between reflection and dwelling. To reflect is to take note of the positive actions and perhaps negative reactions, in order to make adjustments and be open to necessary changes. To dwell and ruminate keeps you stuck in the past. Reflection is a spring board to a better and stronger sense of self if we remain open to the intuitive messages that emerge. 

As we reach this time of year, the busy pace of the holidays and the change of season can take up most of our mental and emotional energy. There are many pressures on us to keep up our regular routines and carve out extra time for family, friends, and social engagements. There are also challenges that many of us face with seasonal changes that affect mood and physical health. The holidays can be especially difficult and isolating for some. And in a Covid-era holiday season, there are even greater stressors to contend with. 

That is why this year it is especially important to reflect on the positive highlights of the year, as well as to give thought to the hardships that have impacted you throughout. There is much to be grateful for, and there is much to grieve and process as well. With an unprecedented loss of life, and continuing hardship that weighs on our personal health and stretches our comfort zone, we need to take steps to bolster our wellbeing from a holistic stance.  

A powerful way to begin to reflect on the year, as we bring it to a close, is to think about the five aspects of our wellbeing, the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and energetic layers of our Self. These interrelated spheres of our Self have their unique lines of connection that need to be fostered differently.

Ask yourself, how do you feel about each of these layers right now? Reflecting on each of these aspects separately, gauge how the year has shaped you by writing down specific highlights of the year that positively and negatively impacted you. Write something that speaks to each layer of your being. You can break it down by month or by season. If you journal, reread some of your entries to help you remember. Or looking through your planner, reflect on important dates that you have highlighted. 

Write down one or two statements that help you reflect on what worked well for you, and what you would have liked to have done differently. Our hardships help build resilience if we can face them without judgment. We can learn more from what we don’t want to continue to be part of our life, which is sometimes easier to identify than focusing on what we do want. 

An effective piece to include in your practice is to consider who has provided a source of support for each of these layers of your being. Who has provided support in each area of your life in specific moments? Be sure to thank them directly for their role. Think about the support you have provided for someone else throughout the year. That is a solid source of love and gratitude to carry into the new year and to bolster your own self-love.

As difficult as it may be, ask yourself, how have you fallen short on your commitment to yourself and to those who look to you for support. What area of your life are you leaving unfulfilled? Do you have a spiritual outlook and practice that allows you to connect with the sublime? Do you have a hobby or activity that helps energize you at your core? How do you recharge physically, mentally and emotionally? If you are unsure of how to answer these questions, then a good place to begin is to focus on one thing that you can do to bolster each of these aspects of your Self.

For example, if you do not have a hobby or practice that fills you up on an energetic level, write down one thing that you want to begin to incorporate into your daily practice. Without judgement, remind yourself that what matters is you realized that you need to make a change. Enlist a friend or family member to share that practice with so that you begin to build a community of support.

As you reflect on the past year and identify successes and areas to bolster in your life, you begin the process of setting realistic goals that will help continue to strengthen those ties that build up your spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and energetic being. With a clearer sense of what did and did not work, write down a statement or two that with kindness releases you of the burden of judgement. Identify a couple obstacles, if you can, that perhaps kept you from making other choices. What would you choose to do differently? What worked well? Give yourself credit for the positive review. And look ahead.

Finally, think about how you can help those around you, what kind of support can you offer a loved one that can bolster your emotional connection with others. Giving is a source of strength that helps us grow in various ways.

For ideas on how to begin this important process of reflection, I suggest you read through this article, 63 Thought-provoking Year-end Review Questions To Ask Yourself and choose a handful of questions to focus on. Ask yourself a number of these questions in light of the five aspects of your Self. 

Ketamine Health Centers, provides alternative treatments and a holistic approach to mental health to help you address the challenges that confront you. Together we can address the mental health crisis that many face. With awareness, compassion and cutting-edge treatments we can help close the gap and begin the healing process that we all hope to achieve in the year to come. Contact us today to learn how we can help you establish robust mental health through a holistic growth perspective for 2022. Cheers to a healthy holiday season! 

Social Anxiety and the Holidays

Social Anxiety and the Holidays

Social Anxiety Disorder affects roughly 12% of the population in the United States, according to the NIH, the National Institutes of Health. And roughly 20% of individuals diagnosed with SAD experience addiction and other negative coping methods. The impacts of the current pandemic has certainly led to increased anxiety for all individuals regarding our social interactions. Statistics compiled in the coming years will most likely reflect the impact of Covid-19 and whether more individuals with a predisposition to the mental disorder find themselves on that spectrum. 

Generally, the holiday season requires more social interactions as we gather together to celebrate with family, friends and co-workers throughout the closing months of the year. This year we will likely see a reversal of that trend, however, as the lack of social interactions due to the pandemic will increase sentiments of loneliness, sadness and anxiety tied to our lack of agency. Still, individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder face a different set of factors. Therapists would do well to discuss how the changes in how we interact virtually has either increased or alleviated the anxiety that their patients experience. A Zoom meet-up could be more anxiety provoking for some. But it can be more manageable than face to face interactions for others given the ability to participate without being seen.  

Despite how different this holiday season may be, the close of the year brings many types of holiday events that pose challenges. Yet, there are steps that you can take to minimize feelings of anxiety if you are among the thousands of individuals that have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. 

Step 1 – Prepare yourself ahead of time. If you know the type of group setting that you will encounter, whether it be a holiday gathering or a family dinner for example, try to prepare yourself for the types of interactions that you might experience. If you know that there will be a large group of attendees, perhaps limit your time at the event or arrive early so that there are fewer people to greet initially. Enlisting the help of a friend or family member who you trust, beforehand, can help provide a buffer from uncomfortable interactions or be a source of comfort.

Step 2 – Control your breathing. Be aware of how a specific interaction may raise your anxiety level and take a break to calm yourself through controlled breathing exercises and positive self-talk. Practicing various forms of muscle relaxation and breathing techniques can help release tension and keep you calm.

Step 3 – Take the focus off of yourself. A source of social anxiety is the fear of judgement and risk of humiliation. If you can take the focus away from your negative thoughts and instead listen to others more intently while in conversation, then you can put more energy into asking questions that help you stay focused on what they are saying rather than on your own thoughts of what others might be thinking. This can help minimize misreading body language or misinterpreting what someone has said.

Ketamine Health Centers seeks to provide relief for individuals who suffer from anxiety of all types. Whether due to increased social anxiety or the depression that may set in due to the lack thereof, Ketamine infusion therapy has a proven record of effectively reducing anxiety overall.

Numerous studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that Ketamine infusion therapy is far more effective at treating anxiety than more traditional methods of talk therapy or psychopharmacological approaches. As stated often, a multifaceted approach to treatment is always more effective. Contact us this holiday season to learn more about the many services we provide that offer relief for anxiety and other mental health disorders that tend to intensify during this time of year. Our clinics throughout Florida provide telemed services to help us interact with you despite the challenges posed this year. We are committed to providing exceptional service and care.

Effective Communication Matters For Improved Relationships

Effective Communication Matters For Improved Relationships

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Do you ever find it hard to get through a conversation with someone? It may feel as if the lines of communication were jumbled, leaving you puzzled. No one is at fault if communication modes are not understood and making a conscious effort to improve those interactions is possible. It helps to be aware of the various dynamics that can play out when interacting with others.

There are diverse and unique communication styles. As individuals, we approach one another from a different point of reference based on every stage and every encounter of life. These approaches are a result of how our consciousness moves us through the world, creating analytical, intuitive, functional, and personal communicators, to name a few. 

The greatest challenge in any relationship comes down to communication. The difficulties of people relating to one another are universal, and not restricted to interpersonal relationships. All encounters that are filtered through our personal experiences, shaped by our social, and cultural variations, make us unique. This individuality complicates our modes of interaction, increasing the need for improved communication channels. 

Clear communication and mutual respect are the cornerstones of any healthy relationship. Often, we are unaware of these varied differences between relationships, which can strain our professional and personal lives. 

  • Business relationships require open lines of communication, respect, and trust. Based on the setting and the mode of communication, the tone of the conversation may need to be revised and adjusted to ensure the successful transmission of your message. From personal interactions and formal written correspondences, effective communicators are able to build relationships, share ideas, delegate tasks, and manage their workload productively. Set personal goals, be intentional in your nonverbal language, and strive for simplicity when working to improve communication in business relationships.
  • Friendships and family relations require varying levels of vulnerability, which can only be established through clear modes of communication. Making a daily effort to become a better listener and improve talking skills can avoid stifling connections. 

These key features need to be fostered throughout our development into adulthood. In today’s social climate, honing our communication skills are central to a balanced approach to healthy living. Consider the challenges that we face at various stages of our development regarding how we communicate our needs and desires to others. Now, these difficulties can be compounded by language barriers, personality traits, and mental health conditions that may delay many aspects of clear communication.

Despite the challenges that all relationships face, it is possible to enjoy a healthy dynamic with others, even as one manages a significant mental health illness. The key, which becomes crucially important within the dynamics of mental disorders, is to establish clear boundaries. This ensures that all parties have a clear understanding of those boundaries through unimpeded lines of communication, a two-way process. From reflective listening with the goal of understanding to effective expression ensuring messages do not turn into background noise, communication is crucial to ensure sentiments are heard and feelings are understood. 

It is helpful to understand more specifically how a particular illness may complicate communication. It may not be possible for an individual experiencing mental illness to articulate their range of emotions, or to do so in a manner that makes full sense for the person they are trying to communicate with. Language in these instances falls short and perspectives are not clear. Often communication is affected by our emotions and motivations, but by using concise sentences and allowing proper processing time – the information is less likely to get jumbled with the already existing thoughts. 

Ketamine Health Centers recommends using the LEAP system when collaborating with someone with mental illness: 

  • Listen to understand.
  • Empathize with how the person feels. 
  • Agree on goals for both parties. 
  • Partner to work towards those goals.  

Additionally, a mental health professional can help you or loved ones find effective ways to learn or establish new modes of communication within relationships facing mental health challenges. Ketamine Health Centers’ team of counselors and medical professionals offer a wide array of mental health solutions and treatments to assist individuals facing a variety of communication-based challenges. Schedule a free consultation at any of our based clinics today. We are available via virtual, phone, or in-person visits. Our leading mental health team across Florida and Mexico can help you establish clear goals with specific options for alternative modes of treatment. Contact our team today – we are ready when you are. 

Despacito

Despacito

We are entering that lull brought on by the intense heat of midsummer that forces you to slow your Self down; to breathe more deeply, more intentionally to break through the malaise. Despacito (slowly) and purposefully, let’s take a moment to reflect on the way in which our rhythms, that of our bodies and of our days, respond to energy around us. This time of year it is important to eat more fresh, cold fruits and dishes that juxtapose against the slow simmer of a summer day. Especially with the ever so hectic rhythm of our daily lives, which take us away from moments of reflection and calm that refresh our mind and spirit. A cold fruit drink to spring our bodies back from the slump of the heat, embracing the coolness as it coats us, is one way to re-energize our body.

So too can we help our minds refocus on the present when we let go of our preoccupations with the what-ifs of our past. For some of us, finding the peaceful calm to enjoy life’s present moment can be a greater challenge. It eludes us, or moves over us too quickly to positively harness it to our psychic needs. Often times we simply do not hear the rhythm of our spirit loudly enough to know what those needs are. Establishing a space to hear our bodies and minds speak our spiritual truth is a lifelong process. Creating that meditative rhythm takes time and practice. But it is by virtue of surpassing that threshold that one reaches a state of embodiment, when our mind, body and soul begin to align and create a synergistic energy within us. One that provides new perspective of our Self and our surroundings. That meditative state can come from many pleasurable activities beyond what you think of when meditation is mentioned. It’s not just the cross-legged yogi stance. Meditative walking, walking with a focus on one’s breathing and body rhythm is a great way to enjoy nature and harness additional health benefits. Music and art therapies bring the mind into focus, aligning our energies with expressive modes of being. Eating slowing, with purpose, mindfully enjoying each texture, sensing each flavor, brings a new pleasure to what can be a mundane activity. Despacito, slowly enjoying the small pleasures of life with mindful intention reenergizes us.

Still for others, additional help may be needed to open up our synapses to the anticipation of pleasure, and Ketamine infusion treatment can help. A press release put out by the National Institute of Health a few years ago highlights the promising treatment that Ketamine infusion provides for individuals who suffer from anhedonia (the loss of the ability to look forward to pleasurable activities). Ketamine infusions help by boosting activity inthe dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and related circuitry. Creating that space for meditative and pleasure-seeking activities is possible for individuals facing depression, PTSD and other mental health challenges. Please contact one of our offices today for a free consultation to learn how Ketamine infusion, and other treatments offered at Ketamine Health Centers, can help you or your loved one.