holiday stress

How to Reduce Stress Over Christmas and Holidays

The holiday season…

Cold weather ✓

Snow ✓

2013 coming to an end ✓

Deadlines approaching ✓

More family time ✓

More commitments ✓

Season of giving ✓

…as you know, the list keeps running. Most of our lives encompass some of these things right now. In my practice, I’m finding that there’s an increased level of stress and anxiety in people’s lives. Why does holiday stress happen?

Holiday Season and Stress

Research from the American Heart Association (2004) contends that this time of year there’s an increase in emotional stress about the holidays. Having to interact with family we may, or may not want to associate with, feeling the pressure of having to absorb financial pressures such as purchasing gifts, traveling, and/or entertaining. Also around this time of year, people are more likely to indulge in foods and beverages they may not usually consume. Consequently, if it interrupts normal healthy patterns, feelings of guilt or regret creep in.

5 tips for avoiding holiday stress:

  • Pick and choose your holiday activities
  • Ask for help
  • Say no when necessary
  • Everything in moderation
  • Set realistic expectations for the season

Try to relax and lower your expectations from yourself and from your family. You may find yourself enjoying holidays more than you expected.

 

References

Kloner, R. (2004). The “Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” Phenomenon. American Heart Association. Retrieved from: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/110/25/3744.short

 

Jennifer Lawrence and Social Anxiety

Making headlines today was the release that Jennifer Lawrence, from X-Men and more recently, the Hunger Games, suffered from Social Anxiety. Although our society is becoming more understanding of mental health issues, stigma still exists. When it comes to discussing mental health issues and getting treatment, there is still not enough openness regarding this topic. Using medicinal marijuana as a treatment for anxiety has historically been a taboo topic. In recent times people are becoming more outspoken and thankfully places like ilcbd.com are helping people overcome their conditions.

For a celebrity like Jennifer Lawrence, to publicly share her challenges is inspiring for us all. It helps to reduce stigma and increases awareness about mental well-being. At the moment there are many ways someone could choose to treat their anxiety, from therapy to CBD Oil. Many people who don’t suffer from anxiety often question why people go to therapy and question What are the benefits of using CBD because they don’t understand the effects of anxiety.

Social Anxiety and It’s Prevalence

According to Statistics Canada, social anxiety, is one of the most common anxiety disorders. Social anxiety is

“a disorder characterized by a fear of situations in which there is potential for embarrassment or humiliation in front of others. There are generally two subtypes of social phobia: one involves a fear of speaking in front of people, whether it be public speaking or simply talking with a person of authority; the other subtype involves more generalized anxiety and complex fears, such as eating in public or using public washrooms, and in these cases individuals may experience anxiety around anyone other than family”.

In Canada, anywhere between 8-13% of Canadian’s will be influenced by social anxiety. The disorder is more common in women than men. Also, there appears to be an environmental and familial link to the disorder.

Jennifer Lawrence’s story of facing her fear of social scrutiny head-on teaches us all one important thing. Facing the things that cause us anxiety is the best form of treatment. Hence, the best example is exposure therapy combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

If you’d like to inquire about social anxiety treatment in Mississauga or Bradford Ontario at Real Life Counselling, don’t hesitate to call us at 289-231-8479.

Reference

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2012004/sections/sectionb-eng.htm#a3

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20756991,00.html

I’m excited. I’M excited. I’M EXCITED!

The year was 2005.

I was in my last year of my Bachelor’s program, meticulously spending hours checking my research data and putting the final touches on my thesis defense. Night after night, I found myself ruminating over having to present in front of my professors, not to mention mine in front of my peers. Ever since I could remember, public presentations, regardless of size or length, caused me grief. I mean, not your typical 11th hour jitters, but…blushing, shaking, nauseous stomach, cold sweats – you name it, I had it.

So, the day had come. I was to defend my thesis. Although most of the day felt like a blur, a few moments still stick with me. The first was feedback from one of my peers as we were standing in the halls practicing our scripts. I shared with my friends how nervous I was, feeling unable to control the physical and emotional reactions happening in my body. My friend, Susan*, turned to me and said, “…instead of telling yourself you’re nervous and scared, why don’t you say you’re excited!”. I listening, and thought to myself – “heck, I have nothing to lose!” So, minutes before my hour of fame, I said, “I’m excited”, “I’M excited”, “I’M EXCITED!”. I think after the 3rd excited, I was starting to feel it. The reaction kicked in! Then, before I knew it, I was done.

I think that’s the second part of my memories of my thesis. My accomplishment. I “felt the fear but did it anyway”. There’s no better feeling then working through a tough obstacle. Or, overcoming a fear.

I encourage you to feel inspired, to reach out for help if you need it, and to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (as Susan Jeffers would say).

 

Enthusiastically,

Ashley J. Kreze

introvert

Are You an Introvert?

If you find yourself tired after being in social situations for extended periods of time, you might be an introvert. It is the type of personality that gets drained by social encounters. Rather, they find energy in solitude, opposed to extroverts, who feel energized by getting into social situations and avoid being alone.

Many misconstrue shyness with introversion, which can go together but don’t have to.  Yes, introverts can be shy people who find it hard to socialize, but many introverts are getting into social situations easily; they just prefer not to.

Unfortunately, today’s society is designed for extroverts, which we can see in almost every system throughout our lives, from schools to workplaces. Almost the whole system discourages introverts to behave in their natural way. Further, society is demanding socialness and talkativeness all the time. It became a norm if you want to succeed in modern days. However, it’s not all that pessimistic as it can sound at first.

Being an Introvert Is Your Power

According to author Susan Cain, introverts are deep thinkers who contributed most of the great ideas to this world. Thus, encouraging introverts by accepting them as they are is crucial if we want to continue having revolutionary ideas and great decisions in our society.

Can you relate to this video?

There’s something special about finding quiet, alone time. Letting go of all the demands, noise, and expectations we place on ourselves, and society expects, is something totally OK to do. Finally, it’s something necessary from time to time.

Take the next 10 minutes and enjoy the solitude.

good-marriage

Nine Psychological Tasks for a Good Marriage

Research on what makes a marriage work shows that people in a good marriage have completed these psychological “tasks”:

1. Emotional Independence from Primary Family

Separated emotionally from the family you grew up in; not to the point of estrangement, but enough so that your identity is separate from that of your parents and siblings.

2. “Together” Space and “Me” Space

Build togetherness based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time set boundaries to protect each partner’s autonomy.

3. Sex

Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship. Work together to protect it from the intrusions of the workplace and family obligations.

4. Staying a Happy Couple With Children

For couples with children, embrace your roles as parents and absorb the impact of a baby’s entrance into the marriage. Learn to continue the work of protecting the privacy of you and your spouse as a couple.

5. Together Through the Good and Through the Bad

Confront and master the inevitable crises of life together. Learn to cooperate when times are hard instead of blaming each other.

6. Your Marriage is Your Safe Place

Maintain the strength of the marital bond in the face of adversity. Marriage should be a safe haven in which partners are able to express their differences, anger, and conflict.

7. Laugh

Use humor and laughter to keep things in perspective and to avoid boredom and isolation.

8. Support

Nurture and comfort each other, satisfying each partner’s needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support.

9. Keep the Spark

Keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love, while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time.