Posts tagged #anxiety

Coloring Pages to Reduce Anxiety

Coloring is one of those activities that has become a lost art that some people think is only for children. Well, it's not. Coloring can relax you by making you focus on one thing only (one that is not a life issue), breathe normally, and let your imagination soar. All of these aspects will create a calm and relaxing environment, and in the end, you will have a beautiful piece of art you created from your personal struggles and strengths; or just for fun! 

Here are some articles about coloring and mindfulness:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/10/07/colouring-books-for-adults-stress_n_5944298.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-newest-hobby-every-adult-needs-to-try_55d396cae4b07addcb446b12

Here are some links to awesome coloring pages! 

http://www.printmandala.com

http://www.coloringpagesforadult.com/coloring_pages/landscapes.php

Here is a book to try if you don't want to download and print: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mindfulness-Coloring-Book-Anti-Stress/dp/1615192824

Enjoy some samples below from printmandala.com and let your creative juices flow and let your mind be free! :) 

Gianna Russo-Mitma, M.S., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

(702) 706-1811

giannarm.mft@gmail.com

 


Let It Go

Let me preface this by saying, although I love Frozen and “Let It Go”, I promise you that this post will not be Frozen-themed…

Letting go is one of the hardest things to get through in life and in therapy. Sometimes we feel like the pain will never go away. People say that time heals all wounds, and while time helps, processing thoughts and emotions will also help. 

A couple of years ago, my colleagues and I wrote and published a paper on letting go and transitioning into a new journey in life, entitled “Commemorating the Past and Embracing the Future.” The paper was about an intervention that we created to allow people to make an easier and smoother transition into the next stage of life, whatever that may be. The activity is writing an obituary/eulogy, and then writing a birth announcement.

This also allows us to be the author of our own stories. We allow ourselves to have self-trust that we can get through tough situations, accept them, fix what we can, leave what we cannot, and move on to better things ahead. It also allows us to plan our goals, discovering that we know ourselves better than anyone else, and journeys are unique to every person. 

As the article states, this activity is for: 1) gaining closure; 2) putting behind negative aspects of your story; and 3) acknowledging positive aspects of your story and using those to propel forward. 

Some ideas on what to write both an Obituary/Eulogy and Birth Announcement for include: graduation, wedding, divorce, end of a friendship, moving away to a new place, kids moving out, leaving an old job, starting a new job, retirement, having children, and so much more. 

I made an easy Fill-in-the-Blank sheet for both the obituary/eulogy and the birth announcement. It’s like Therapy Mad Libs! Try it out! (See Template links below). 

Your journey is your own, and it is what you make of it. It takes everyone different amounts of time and effort to let go, move on, and start again. Good luck, you can do it! 

 

You can see the full abstract (or article) here:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08975353.2015.1002741#abstract 

 

Gianna Russo-Mitma, M.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

(702) 706-1811 - Practicing in Portland, OR

giannarm.mft@gmail.com

 

Obituary/Eulogy Template HERE

Birth Announcement Template HERE

Image from Google

Image from Google

Sit. Shake. Heal.

In doing research for this blog post, I found many studies supporting that pets are a huge part of the healing process, physically and emotionally. Pets can help lower our blood pressure, thus reducing heart disease risk as well as decreasing stress levels. While it is important to take your prescribed medications, it also seems that puppies are a cuter solution than the emergency room. (Obviously, you should still go to the emergency room for emergencies!)

Many people that have pets and treat them as family feel a sense of purpose and belonging. This allows humans to feel like life is worth living, and to your pet, you are their entire world. Pets will love you unconditionally, not only because you feed them and give them shelter, but because you care about them and show love for them. 

When we surround ourselves with happy and positive people or animals, we become happier and healthier from our surroundings. Dogs have historically been brought in after crisis and after traumatic events (i.e. school shootings and natural disasters) in order to keep people calm and thinking positive. Recently, universities have been hiring companies to bring puppies into study halls to help students reduce their anxiety and regain emotional stability during finals week. 

As humans, touch is a very important language that we all speak. We forget sometimes the power of a hug, a cuddle, or even just a pat on the back. Even just sitting and petting your dog will improve your psychological state, and they love it, too! Additionally, be active with your pets. In Portland, it’s easy to take them places and include them in our hobbies. Car rides? They love those! Hiking? They need to release energy, too! Errands? They love new smells, and most places (without food) will allow your pet inside! 

Most of this post has been about dogs, but any pet that you love will help you! Cats, bunnies, birds, snakes, anything! Obviously puppies and adult dogs are generally more willing to jump all over you and go to public places; but maybe you have a cat like that, too. Whatever pet you have and love, make them a part of your family, daily life, and mental well-being. 

One last thing: It is completely normal to talk to your pet. Sometimes we don’t want to divulge all of our secrets to friends and family, and maybe your therapy session isn’t for a few days. Your pet will never judge you and will always love you unconditionally. Whether you talk to them about the weather, your job, or something deep and personal, they will just sit there and wag their tail because they see that their human is talking to them. Honestly, I talk to my dog throughout the day! 

I always bring my dog, Guinness, to sessions (unless people are allergic or fearful of animals). He is a calming presence and is always happy to receive love and affection from anyone who walks in the door. With a smiling face and wagging tail, clients’ faces light up and it seems that they immediately feel less stress.

Adopt here, and many other places around Portland and Oregon: http://www.oregonhumane.org 

 

Gianna Russo-Mitma, M.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

(702) 706-1811 - Practicing in Portland, OR

giannarm.mft@gmail.com

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Heat, Heat, Go Away, Come Again...... Never

Living here in Portland, we rejoice in the summertime! The rain and gray skies are FINALLY gone; we can go outside and enjoy the lovely summer air. We can also gain the Vitamin D from the sun that we have been missing for nearly 9 months. That summer sun and warm air feels so good. Summer makes it easier to drive, hike, go to the beach, camp, take vacations, eat on patios, and so much more! 

It all sounds so delightful! But then, we realize, global warming is real and the regular 80 degree summers turn into 95 and 100 degree summer days. We then retreat to indoors, where we have already been September through May. Sure, there were only about 2 weeks this year where the heat was almost unbearable (and AC units sold out daily at places like Home Depot and Fred Meyer). Yet that feeling of “I just want to sit on my couch in a bathing suit, in front of the AC, and do nothing”  felt like it was more intense this summer. 

Many people in the Pacific Northwest are diagnosed every year with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This is due to the winter air, rainy weather, less sunshine, and shorter days. People may start to see their moods becoming more depressed and this can affect relationships, jobs, and more. Usually, summer is not the typical time to be diagnosed with SAD. 

However, I am originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, where temperatures of upwards to 115 degrees (or more) are pretty devastating, and unfortunately, pretty normal. People become depressed, angry, and irritable; they don’t want to leave their house or see friends and family because it feels so hot to do almost anything. Even getting into the car is an achievement because the inside of a car is about an average of 45 degrees hotter. The metal seatbelt will inevitably burn you, and the AC takes longer than expected to actually get cool. I believe that diagnosing Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer is very real. 

While Portland may not have temperatures over 105 degrees, and while you, yourself, may not have the diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder, summer is still difficult. This last month has been much hotter than usual, according to many weather data reports and the obvious happening of global warming. 

Many of us get very frustrated and angry in the heat. Here are some ideas to keep your emotions and behaviors in check:

  • Breathing exercises and cooling off body temperature before going outside 
  • Recognizing when you are hot and trying to cool off before conversations with anyone
  • Use I statements (I am hot, I feel frustrated, I hate this weather, I need ice)
  • Taking a time out and finding somewhere cool to cool off (no pun intended) 
  • Ask yourself, “Am I mad at this person/event? Or am I just really hot and annoyed that I am hot and annoyed?”

Maybe you're thinking, I don't feel anger or depression in the heat, but my coping skills are unavailable because going outside and practicing my hobbies is too difficult. Try some of these ideas: 

  • If you like sports, try indoor sports, and always stay even more hydrated in summer
  • Take a class - indoor classes such as art and music (Tualatin summer camps for kids, also!)
  • Stay indoors to explore - the movie or stage theater, the library, museums, etc. 
  • Take it to the beach! There are tons of lakes, rivers, and coastal space around and outside of Portland! The Columbia River, Trillium Lake, and the Coast! 
  • Try some new recipes that include cold food, cold drinks, or frozen ingredients

What are some ideas you have to cool off your anger or your body? 

Counseling for depression and anxiety, whether it be due to summer or not, can help anyone and everyone! Please contact me if you liked what you read here and would like to set up a consultation and appointments. Good luck, you can do it!

*** Please always remember to NEVER leave kids or animals in hot cars! Cracked windows do NOT help. Always take them with you!

 

Gianna Russo-Mitma, M.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

(702) 706-1811 - Practicing in Portland, OR

giannarm.mft@gmail.com