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Leaning into the Holidays with Love and Intention

Leaning into the Holidays with Love and Intention

Each one of us curious humans has a unique take on the world. We are connected by invisible threads of culture and history that allow us to cultivate collective experiences, yet, even within families with shared traditions, the lived experiences vary from heart to heart. The meanings crafted by these threads create a life story for each of us. Some stories are light some years, some are quite heavy, while others remind us of the magic of the holiday season. Our stories can be honored in the telling and given space to evolve with time, crafting new traditions and ways of connecting with our community. But there is no denying that the holidays are stressful!

There is a sense of ‘holiday anxiety’ that surfaces because of so many factors, but often is driven by the need to share space with other people. There is the added stress of types of social anxiety that can feel overwhelming at this time of year when our traditions (both work-related and family expectations around the holidays) can create tension for us. 

For some, the anxiety comes in the form of disconnection. For example, when life circumstances keep you from your loved ones, as with military families, people traveling for work, or financial struggles which can feel extra burdensome for all, but especially if it keeps you from traveling to be with loved ones. Or for persons grieving the loss of a loved one, the disconnection or disruption to traditions that were once grounding may feel untenable as a life story that was once integral no longer is. 

Leaning in with love to provide a connection for those seeking fellowship in various ways within the community is a gift to people who may otherwise feel isolated. Many individuals, however, may experience holiday anxiety that is related to sensing more triggers or occurrences of social anxiety. Some examples are painful discomfort in a large social gathering, performing in front of an audience, interacting in an intimate, vulnerable setting such as public speaking for a fundraising engagement, or just eating or drinking in public. Many of these triggers are rooted in ‘being watched. Or feel we need to be ‘on’ to make a good impression, sometimes to more “important” people.

Social anxiety, as we generally think about it, is something we all experience in our interactions with other people for any number of reasons. However, even in cases of extreme shyness, we each usually find a way to work through these uncomfortable experiences, no matter how unpleasant at first. But social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, goes beyond the at-times painful experience of speaking in front of a crowd or meeting strangers or mingling with people who carry more privilege and power than you.  

Social anxiety can be paralyzing and disruptive if you find the need to rearrange your daily life in order to avoid painfully uncomfortable situations. For someone who experiences social phobia, the holidays represent a particularly difficult time to manage because oftentimes multiple triggers present themselves throughout the course of an evening, for example at a work holiday function. There are therapeutic techniques to help address these aspects of social anxiety that you can discuss with a trained professional if you experience intense anxiety around social situations. Our trained staff at Ketamine Health Centers can provide various treatment options to explore.

I want to highlight another type of social anxiety that is rather invisible and yet can result in deep feelings related to self-worth. There are anxieties and uncomfortable feelings that may arise out of the relationship structure that exists in many community drives and gatherings during a time of generous giving. There are people in a position of privilege and power sometimes providing resources and fellowship opportunities to share with less fortunate communities. And even with the best intentions, the tensions present in generous giving may lead to feelings of helplessness or possibly shame for individuals receiving support during these challenging times. Again, leaning in with love and expressing intentions clearly with respect and grace is perhaps the best way to approach these moments. It is heartwarming to see the magic of the holidays and the power of giving that overcomes so many, to help share in the wealth of the human spirit. Yet, it is a vulnerable place to be in as the one to receive. Giving with grace might be providing a space to receive from a place of strength, which validates our humanity.

We can practice shining that light of love every day for the power it provides us to move forward with our personal growth and social development. And within that spirit of giving, we can extend open arms to our differences, opening a space to honor each of us as a unique individual each with a personal relationship with the sacred. 

“Foreign” family traditions may be another source of social anxiety for some individuals who must navigate different cultures after marriage (and remember each family creates a culture, so family traditions will be foreign to a spouse sharing the same cultural heritage). Embrace new traditions from a place of loving intention to support one another, rather than as an acceptance or rejection of any underlying spiritual worldview the tradition stems from. Be curious.

 Overall, when we approach differences that may seem more pronounced during the holiday season, with love and respect, we enrich our lives by adding to the flavor of our experiences. We can create welcoming spaces through our own energy output to help generate a little (or a generous amount of) holiday magic each day, inviting ease and calm with intention, as we join together and celebrate.

Wish you happy holidays!

 

Shining a Light on Depression: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Shining a Light on Depression: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Ketamine Health Centers facilitates a holistic approach to the mental health landscape, offering alternative paths to healing by highlighting an integrative (whole person) development of the Self. We provide support and cutting-edge treatment for mental illness and a wide range of mental health challenges. This space helps support ways to expand overall wellness and modes of creating a healthy daily life. A doorway really, through which to explore a variety of methods of engagement with yourself and the larger world that can help bring balance or create fulfillment through insight and increased self-awareness. 

As a team, we help you establish effective ways to incorporate wellness practices for emotional and mental strength as a preventative measure against mental illness. We broaden the therapeutic landscape of mental healthcare by offering cutting-edge treatment options for depression, PTSD, chronic pain, migraines, and other debilitating conditions, and deepen it by together exploring our mindscapes from ideas to practice, and ultimately to community building through personal growth. Provided with the necessary professional support when needed, you will find that you can live your best life, even amidst the hardships that you face. 

In October, we focus on the importance of mental health screening as a preventative measure to curb mental illness, addressing the rapid rise of depression and anxiety in our society. We also nationally promote awareness to destigmatize mental illness in general, by designating Mental Illness Awareness Week in early October, 2nd-8th.  

I encourage you to visit NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, for ideas on how to get involved this month. Contact your local health department for ways to support activities in your community that promotes mental illness awareness and prevention. Or simply reach out to a neighbor, coworker, or family member for a friendly, loving “checking-in” visit. Reach out to a trusted friend if you need some “pick-me-up” energy to get you through a difficult time.

A helpful place to begin a review of resources to screen for depression is the National Library of Medicine. This page begins with a breakdown of the most common types of depression illnesses, with signs to indicate who would benefit from depression screening, as well as details of what to expect during a screening (which should include a physical exam to identify – and possibly rule out – physiological issues). 

Reach out to your primary care physician, or contact Ketamine Health Centers (1-833-542-3040) to schedule a screening if you experience one (or a combination of) these symptoms: 

  • Loss of interest or lack of pleasure in daily living or in any number of activities
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Quick to anger, flashes of frustration, or increased irritability
  • Trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and lack of energy or restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Losing or gaining a lot of weight

Reach out immediately to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm. 

So many varieties of activities can help in the prevention of depression. Just about any activity done outside in a peaceful, or nature-rich environment can provide a holistic energy boost, with activities undertaken in water providing even more deeply felt healing properties. Movement-based activities such as swimming, walking, dancing, or any sport or cardio work will release endorphins and increase serotonin levels at the physiological level, and provide joy and connection within us (radiating out as well) at the energetic level. These activities help connect us with the vibrational ground that supports us. Some activities, such as walking barefoot on the beach, or other types of direct connection with the earth, can literally energize us from the ground up.

Creating any form of art, or specific art or music therapy can engage you deeply and on a spiritual and sublime level that resonates through your whole being and provides a healing flow state. These deeply felt moments of creativity and expression help us reach heights of our human condition that are ineffable and deeply moving, as ways to craft meaning and purpose.

Building momentum within us and around us creates a cognitive and emotional state that helps establish that overall feeling of connection that signals our mental wellness. Engaging in group activities brings you in direct connection with other individuals and can create a much-needed sense of community and engagement with others. These relationships form the basis of friendships that provide support and social ties that buoy us during stormy weather. Of course, these activities are important for the mitigation of depression as well.

A recent suggestion to help us connect with our surroundings more intimately is the practice of field sketching, which can bring fulfillment to an otherwise detached mode of living if there is often a screen mediating our reality. I love this idea, and I see it as a holistic practice to bring perspective and grounding to one’s life. This practice forces you to slow down and take in your space at a more detailed level of seeing, hearing, feeling, and provides a window into new perspectives that then ask of you to move in these spaces with greater awareness, and hopefully with more intentionality. I plan to add this practice, and more art therapy in general, to my depression prevention toolbox. I too have had to learn to manage my depression (an illness that runs in my family) throughout my entire life. Finding new techniques helps the long-term process of building resilience and working through the inevitable hard times.

Reflective work has been an important aspect of my self-development. At moments in life you may find it necessary to let go of ideas crafted in your past in order to move forward with your future self. That requires a certain amount of internal dialogue that is a necessary part of Self-development. I share a light read on the heavy topic of ‘the midlife crisis’. A period in one’s life when depression may creep in and find unique and often destabilizing expressions!

Alternative treatments for depression exist that potentially provide immediate relief of symptoms, especially for individuals who have tried a combination of life-style changes, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication and experience little to no relief. Depression is a complex illness that requires a wide range of treatment approaches. Ketamine infusion therapy provides a lifeline for individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Learn more about this cutting-edge therapeutic method available at Ketamine Health Centers throughout Florida and Mexico. Schedule your mental health screening today. Together we can shine a light on depression and help lift you or a loved one out of darkness. 

Holistic Pathways Pave the Way for Mental Health

Holistic Pathways Pave the Way for Mental Health

Mental health news made the “front pages” recently, spurred on by a study claiming to debunk the ‘serotonin theory of depression. An important, although misleading conversation then took shape, specifically around the treatment of depression, which afflicts about 5% of the adult population worldwide. We want to sharpen the focus of this important conversation by pinpointing an aspect of current research on cutting-edge treatments that will help curb the dramatic increase in mood disorders, such as depression if properly integrated into a holistic model of mental well-being. 

The authors of the study (which was first published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and then made widely available as a popular review on nature.com) analyzed decades of research on the role of serotonin in depression and determined there was no causal connection between the two. News and media outlets quickly circulated the headline and ultimately helped stir conversation surrounding the complex, multifactorial nature of depression, as many experts weighed in. 

Reactions from the media, and many individuals I spoke with after the headlines spread across seemingly every outlet – together with the cascading critiques – reveal that while most experts in the field of mental health do not prescribe a singular ‘chemical imbalance theory of mood disorders, a large segment of the general public tends to believe this account. Most likely given the marketing strategy at the turn of the century used to promote SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) as a magic-bullet cure for depression. The study says more about our societal inclination to rely on quick fixes than it helps to bring clarity to the complexities of mood disorders. As we well know, there is no singular source for depression given the dynamic interplay of the biopsychosocial factors that can lead to it, not to mention the genetic features of major depressive disorder that potentially remain latent until triggered by particular life events. 

Several individuals sent me messages and Instagram shares referencing different aspects of the ongoing conversation surrounding the serotonin theory of depression. A few colleagues, some of whom take these prescribed antidepressants, asked for my opinion, not before denouncing the use of SSRIs in some cases. My initial reaction mirrored that of many experts in the field raising the strongest critique, that the treatment of depression requires a multifaceted approach to the whole person, the biopsychosocial layers of being (I include the bioenergetic field that connects us to the world’s most intimately). Sadly, there have been short-sighted psychiatrists, especially a generation ago, taking a shortcut to mental health by focusing primarily on the neurological pathways of pathology, motivated by the hope of finding a targeted approach to mental health treatment, but at times in a vacuum of care. Yet, neither can we sidestep the fact that these medications work in many cases. Thankfully, integrative health falls within the larger nexus of mental health today compared to twenty years ago, but it has always been the cornerstone of psychodynamic theories and body-centered therapies. An article critical of the review points to this view above by rejecting the authors’ singular focus on serotonin.

Depression requires an integrative approach to health, wellness, and worldview that often requires lifestyle changes in order to align one’s take on life with how one lives out that life. A pill cannot do all of that for us, however, SSRIs work for a portion of the population for a reason. This does not negate the fact that most individuals require several tools and psychodynamic treatment methods (and spiritual alignment through traditions, fellowship with others, and direct connection with the natural environment) to address both the symptoms and the causes of mood disorders. Ultimately, SSRIs are prescribed to help an individual artificially induce what lifestyle changes (through movement) can often help establish on their own when undertaken with sufficient support addressing all layers of being. There are, of course, many instances when additional support is required. Medication for mood disorders is an important tool (SSRIs are only one type of antidepressant medication), hopefully, a temporary one, to help create kinetic energy that provides the internal motivation to move and grow and explore one’s environment with a sense of purpose. These medications can be efficacious as tools to help one move past the inertia that keeps one stuck. But they do not work, even in tandem with other treatment methods, for some individuals diagnosed with “treatment-resistant” depression. 

Most antidepressant medications were designed decades ago. Unfortunately, in arguing that a chemical imbalance of serotonin levels is not proven to play a causal role in depression, the review somewhat undermines the growing scientific evidence that does point to the role that neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine have in our mood regulation. Current knowledge of the neurophysiology of our brain and the relational structure of our minds and bodies to our environment in all its layered complexity is more sophisticated. Today’s technology, and more so with what’s coming online in the future, allow for more targeted approaches to mental health than ever before, paving future pathways to mental wellness.

By pinpointing more concretely the interrelated nature of our physiology and the importance of a dynamical approach to treatment for holistic mental health, we are poised to create a patient-tailored treatment for specific mental health disorders. Research groups directed by anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, for example, look at ways to create disorder-specific treatments as we expand research into neuroimaging; including a study using transcranial ultrasound (TUS) to alleviate chronic pain. Another review of a study on Ketamine infusion therapy provides promising research on the causal connection between Ketamine (which directly targets the overarching glutamate neurotransmitter) and the monoamine neurotransmitter serotonin. The study shows Ketamine directly increases the number of serotonin 1B receptors, possibly a mechanism to explain its fast-acting results in individuals diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. The review provides a research path forward it seems, by raising the need to better understand the intricate dynamics and role of neurotransmitters in the regulation of mood and motivation, and the overarching interplay between the excitatory Glutamate and inhibitory GABA neurotransmitters that constrain the neuropathways, of which serotonin is a “downstream” component. More importantly, though, we will continue to learn how to manipulate our various systems through a variety of modalities, and different ways of bringing into kinetic balance the layers of our whole self, ultimately creating the epigenetic changes that can lead to sustained wellbeing. 

The foundational principles that guide Ketamine Health Centers are that of a holistic approach to wellness that strengthens overall well-being. We provide alternative therapies such as Ketamine infusion therapyTMS treatment, and the still important component of talk therapy (with Ketamine assisted psychotherapy) to treat mood disorders. We emphasize the wellness spectrum as a preventative scope of mental health, precisely because of the many sources of mental illness that may be more stress related or connected to life events. However, the holistic and integrative approach to mental health is also a critical aspect of mental disorder treatment to address the needs of the whole self as a supportive ground for deeper therapeutic work. Ketamine Health Centers will guide you in creating your path to wellness.

Mitigating Migraines with Alternative Treatment Methods

Mitigating Migraines with Alternative Treatment Methods

Stress in America is at an all-time high as we grapple with changes in how we live that have an impact on our minds and bodies. There are new and shifting cultural and environmental landscapes that are challenging us and stretching our resources too thinly. Mental health has reached a public health crisis as we contend with an increase in stress and a rise in physical and mental illness, while we face a shortage of mental health providers able to take on new patients. We will continue to live with high levels of stress as we readjust to a post-pandemic life, as well as contend with the economic fallout of COVID-19, and climate change, that will continue to reshape the contours of our environment. So too, the lack of access to mental healthcare providers, and in some rural areas a lack of access to healthcare altogether, will continue to ripple through society in the years to come. 

Providing alternative, cutting-edge treatment in mental health is imperative with the increase in stress and traumas in our communities. Ketamine Health Centers has positioned itself to address these pressures by combining proven psychotherapeutic methods alongside alternative treatment options that provide more immediate relief to a wide range of mental and physical health challenges. We now offer a new treatment for migraine relief.

Headaches (in particular tension headaches) are associated with stress and many of the negative trends that are on the rise such as excessive screen time, as well as lack of restorative sleep. Although a literature review shows that more studies are needed to work through the causal connections between stress and headaches (migraines in particular), there appears to be a more direct connection between high-stress events and the chronic migraines, the transition of infrequent, episodic migraines to chronic or frequently experienced levels. 

Migraines are often comorbid with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Migraines affect 35 million Americans and about 10% of the world population experience migraines or other headache disorders. Migraines remain second among the world’s causes of disability, and first among young women, leading to lost productivity and decreased quality of life for billions of individuals. The discrepancy for women regarding health outcomes is not surprising given the realities that women face no matter where in the world they find themselves. Healthcare (at the research, prevention, and care levels) and economic instability, alongside a changing climate, affect women disproportionately around the globe.

The impact of stress-related headache disorders disproportionately impacts women around the globe as well. COVID and the economic fallout due to job loss with loss of access to child care have impacted women most heavily. The potential for increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression will be felt throughout many homes, for years as we contend with a loss of over 1 million women in the US labor force alone. The blurring of work and home life that still affects so many today is generally more burdensome for working mothers. But all individuals facing these conditions face increasing stress, and fewer opportunities for self-care and tension release, potentially inducing a predisposition to mental health disorders. Additionally, the UN has detailed over the decades the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, in particular poor women around the world. Access to healthcare also affects women disproportionately, even in the US, as a Kaiser Women’s Health Survey details. Still, the deleterious effects of migraines affect all demographics. 

 Ketamine Health Centers, dedicated to providing cutting-edge treatment for today’s mental health challenges, offers several alternative approaches to treat migraine and headache disorders. A new migraine relief method using Botox (botulinum toxin) is an effective FDA-approved treatment for chronic migraines, in many cases providing up to three months of preventative relief. A tailored Botox treatment can reduce the frequency of episodes by 50-80%. Learn more about the process and qualifications for treatment.

Ketamine infusion therapy is another alternative treatment option known to help mitigate headaches and helps reduce migraine severity, especially when accompanied by other mental health disorders alleviated by ketamine treatment and psychotherapy. Experiencing relief of symptoms of depression and anxiety can lead to preventative relief of migraines. An additional approach to headache and migraine relief offered through our clinics is through our partnership with Alive providing specialty infusion treatments for acute (abortive) migraine relief. 

Contact us today to learn more about these various cutting-edge treatment methods that can provide you with immediate and lasting migraine relief.

Managing Mental Illness with a Healthy State of Mind

Managing Mental Illness with a Healthy State of Mind

We welcome a different rhythm in this new year as we begin to create a sense of normalcy and establish new routines. While we continue to adjust how we live in order to contend with renewed waves of contagion and an endemic state of affairs, it is essential that we learn to navigate even the most difficult experiences with grace, compassion and resilience. We can find strength in the knowledge that creating a life of mental health is attainable while managing chronic stress or even mental illness. 

 Mental health is defined as a state of mind, a perspective if you will, that allows for a thriving and fulfilling development of oneself. It does not mean the absence of mental illness, crisis or challenges that we all face at some point in our path in life. Rather, mental health allows us to respond with compassion and create a sense of calm in the face of adversity, built on resilience to navigate the bumpy roads that inevitably emerge. 

The first step in developing a thriving state of mental health is to be kind to yourself, to allow yourself the space and the time to reflect on various aspects of life, recognizing without judgement that we all have shortcomings to address. But naturally, mental illness or diagnosed mental disorders make this process more challenging, and yet even more necessary. There are numerous resources in your community that can provide the necessary support to develop coping skills that will create a thriving state of mind. Just as there are many simple tools that you are most likely already aware of that will help establish robust mental health.

I will briefly touch on ten aspects that you can focus on more in-depth to develop resilience, which is the ground that will carry you forward during the most tumultuous moments you may encounter. Resilience is the key to establishing emotional strength and creating happiness for oneself even in the face of adversity. Remember that all things do pass, and so too will that perfect storm when you begin to thrive mentally, physically and emotionally.

1 – Shift your negative thinking patterns: We all fall into negative thinking patterns such as all-or-nothing statements or jumping to conclusions assuming the worst. The key is to become aware of these emotional pitfalls and to label them. This allows for non-judgmental shifts in how we think so that we can change how we feel.

2 – Engage positive emotions: Hobbies and activities that bring us joy can generate positive emotions that engage our energetic and neurological states of wellbeing. We can also create positive associations by listening to music, sitting in a natural setting or looking at images or photographs that evoke joy. When we feel sad or anxious, it is best to re-center with a pleasurable connection to someone or something.

3 – Develop relaxation coping skills: Meditation and breathing techniques help us slow down and create the necessary space to listen to our bodies. The more practiced we become, the less reactive we respond in moments of stress. Relaxation techniques are the key to building resilience. There are so many meditation methods available to us, some are passive, some involve movement. Explore different meditation and breathing techniques to discover what resonates with you.

4 – Create moments of reflective thinking: When we begin to develop the skills to calm our mind and body, we create the stillness necessary to listen to our intuition. Journaling is one way to look at our thoughts and actions without judgement. Within this reflective space we can begin to adjust subtle changes in how we approach ourselves and others. The process of reflection, and then adjusting, allows us to become our better self. 

5 – Strengthen your community connections: We are not an island unto ourselves. We are social beings and we need the connections that relationships afford us. Altruistic behavior, helping others, is the cornerstone to creating happiness within. The act of connecting with other individuals, especially those who move us into a space of growth. In particular, when we move out of our comfort zone we begin to expand our notion of caring. It can even be as simple as smiling at those you pass you, spreading your love. 

6 – Create a sense of purpose: An important factor in living a fulfilling life is to create a sense of purpose. For some, talents help move us in that direction. However, most of us won’t simply discover it, we need to create our purpose in life. We create it by deciphering what moves us, what brings us joy, what generates that energetic recharge that allows us to thrive. Sharing our passions helps build that web of community.

7 – Find your happy place: Sometimes the choices we make in our relationships or career paths increase our level of stress, despite the love we share or the satisfaction we receive. Life is never easy nor always pleasant. Recharging our spirit and energetic connections to the world is essential to staying balanced and maintaining strong mental health. Explore the myriad activities and spaces available to you to create those necessary moments of recharge at an energetic, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level. Nature and water sources can provide profound renewal and happiness.

8 – Establish a course of action: Physical health is a primary source of energy renewal necessary to develop a thriving state of mind. Stay active, stay engaged. The physical and energetic strengths we develop translate into mental and emotional benefits. Ask a friend to join you or connect with a community member action on your own.

9 – Help others less fortunate: Extending your helping hand to another individual is a powerful way to create community and find that we can be a source of light for someone, even when we feel less than brilliant. Helping others less fortunate than ourselves allows us to shift our perspective and feel gratitude despite the pain of adversity and tragedy.

10 – Communicate with a mental health professional: Reach out to a trained professional who can provide more in-depth guidance and targeted techniques to face mental health challenges. Wellness practices are essential for proper self-care and building resilience. However, some individuals will need professional support in order to establish that thriving mental health. 

Ketamine Health Centers offers highly effective alternative therapeutic methods to address some of the most challenging mental health conditions, such as suicide ideation, treatment resistant depression and chronic pain. Our goal is to help you establish mental health while navigating the added stressors of mental illness or chronic pain. Contact us today to learn how we can be of service to you and your family. Wishing you a thriving year ahead!

Set an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to Balance Mental Health this Holiday Season

Set an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to Balance Mental Health this Holiday Season

Entering the second holiday season with Covid brings a new set of challenges for how we balance our mental and emotional health, considering yet another adjustment to our changing public health landscape. This year feels more purposeful in our month of giving as we enter the Thanksgiving season with the aim of healing and regaining some ground under our feet.

The fact that there are two lived realities to contend with complicates matters. Individuals who are vaccinated and are planning gatherings with friends and family are in a different position to navigate the holidays than individuals who have chosen, for their personal reasons, to remain unvaccinated. This aspect of the endemic phase of Covid-19 is something we will continue to grapple with as we celebrate and move into the new year. While the lived realities of how we go about our daily lives may differ depending on our physical safety measures, there are mental health and emotional steps that we can all practice. By focusing on several modes of love-in-action this season we can also increase our resilience amidst stress and tragedy, while building community ties that are essential for our personal and social welfare. 

Creating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ as a guiding principle is a powerful tool to bolster our mental, emotional and spiritual health, which feeds back into the community building aspect of our personal growth – fostering meaning, happiness and enriching relationships. 

Acts of kindness build a community web of support and help raise our happiness meter.
This month of giving begins with Veterans day, an important day to give thanks for the enormous sacrifices that military families carry for us. As well as Giving Tuesday campaigns for raising awareness and financial support for the multitude of programs that aim to help those in need. A focus on gratitude this month shines bright within us as we strengthen our community through loving actions, big and small, that also increase our own sense of well-being through happiness and connection that comes from spreading kindness. We have seen people step-up in creative ways to support each other in times of crisis. The pandemic has brought out our better angels in many corners of the world. An article in Frontiers in Psychology points to several “silver linings [which] revealed sources of strength that included finding a sense of community, closeness, gratitude, and a belief that the pandemic may spur positive social change.” Acts of kindness generate the greatest amount of emotional healing and community connection. 

Love and gratitude towards acquaintances, neighbors and passersby in our life, can also come through simple acts, such as smiling at everyone you pass by throughout your busy day. Thanksgiving week is not simply time to be with family. Especially for those who are not traveling this year but want to have a fellowship gathering for the holiday, consider a small Friendsgiving feast. It would be healing to spend the holidays amongst whatever sense of community is available to you within the safety measures that you are comfortable with. Perhaps setting up an outdoor neighborhood potluck to connect individuals who would otherwise celebrate alone. Or consider supporting the most vulnerable in your area through sharing your talents or simply your time and presence, if you are able to safely. Through these actions that help us build our support systems beyond that of friends and family units, we begin to see the role of community in a new light. Now these terms, love and gratitude, are so broad they have room for myriad forms of relationships that enhance our well-being, especially when we extend that love to ourselves. Self-love is an important aspect of being able to give love to others in a healthy manner. And for individuals who are struggling with depression, the connection with self-love is often lacking. This study views gratitude and well-being in a psychotherapeutic setting. But self-love encompasses a broader concept, as well, as we look at wellness from the perspective of self-care.

Self-care in the context of balancing our mental health during the holidays means giving ourselves the time we need to relax, recharge to manage the hectic schedule of work demands, family life and holiday preparations. Fitting in moderate exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting proper sleep and carving out time for leisure activities such as reading, sitting by the fire, giving long hugs, taking long walks, reflecting during quiet moments or filling up on music and dancing whenever possible, are all important aspects of self-care. There are countless outlets that can provide you a recharge. Laughter is a wonderful remedy, of course, but not everyone is in a festive mood. It’s OK that you do not feel OK. You are not alone. Too many of us are experiencing grief.

Seek professional help if you need support to manage grief at this time. Contact 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-279-8255 if you need immediate assistance.
For a free consultation to learn about various cutting edge mental health treatments for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and other mental health challenges contact one of our professional staff at 1-833-542-3030 or https://ketaminehealthcenters.com

Mending hearts and managing grief when faced with an empty seat at the table makes the holidays especially difficult. If you are not experiencing loss, help those around you with your presence, simply offering silent support is what is most needed. You can help someone find solace by finding a unique way of remembrance this holiday season. Below are a few examples of how to pay tribute to a loved one that encourages a personal touch.

  1. Build a Centerpiece.
  2. Set a Place at the Table for Them.
  3. Attend a Service of Remembrance.
  4. Create a Memory Table.
  5. Share the Memories You’re Thankful For.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly as we enter a season of reverence, is remembering our spiritual connection to traditions and ancestors. The essence of traditions in our social makeup is the source of universal love and our larger communal web of humanity, experienced uniquely and intimately with our families. Our personal experience of these traditions gives us a direct connection to our ancestors, our motherland, and oftentimes elucidates our place in nature. Create those nature-focused moments in our downtime, or an electronic-free day to create quiet space that helps us balance holiday demands with deeper meaning-making experiences. This is a perfect year to begin new traditions that harness energy stemming from new perspectives taking shape during the pandemic. Holidays always represent a mix of memory-making and energy-draining scenarios. It is important to read our emotions and give ourselves the permission to escape it all with our quiet moments of stillness that rejuvenate and reconnect us with a deeper sense of self. That quiet moment in front of a fire, or at dusk immersed in the beauty of a sunset, can provide the energetic refueling necessary to come back to your surroundings with grounded focus and openness. A spiritual connection to traditions or sacred space can provide a similar energetic recharge when we immerse all our senses and let the joy of the season fill our spirit. Peaceful holidays from Ketamine Health Centers!

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