5 Daily Self-Care Exercises for Survivors of Abuse

Unfortunately, being a survivor of trauma or abuse is exceedingly common. According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S. annually. And according to the Center for Disease Control’s 2017 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 4 adult women and approximately 1 in 7 adult men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

While it is challenging to be a survivor of abuse, the journey to a place of peace and acceptance can be an empowering one. No matter if the abuse you endured was recent or long ago, a daily self-care regimen will help you cope with what still affects you today.

1. Quality Sleep

Ensuring you have adequate sleep on a nightly basis is an essential component of maintaining optimum physical, mental, and emotional health. Fundamentally, your body needs regular rest to operate properly. A good night’s sleep will uplift your mood and energy, improve your memory and help keep stress levels at a minimum.

2. Meditate

Setting aside just five to ten minutes a day for some quiet reflection can help boost your immune system, manage stress, help you focus, and boost your mood, to name just a few of the many health benefits. Find an easy or beginner meditation to follow with a Google search, smartphone app, or the free meditation exercises available on YouTube.

3. Exercise

Finding some forms of enjoyable exercise will help you feel more energized. Exercise is also a great physical outlet to release pent-up emotions you likely have as a result of your abuse or trauma. Try taking up walking, jogging, yoga or anything you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do anything wholly unpleasant or push yourself too hard; exercise is an act of self-care, not a punishment.

4. Positive Affirmations

It’s all too common for abuse survivors to feel shame about it and blame themselves; for that reason, it’s important to program yourself with positive thoughts and beliefs. You can tell yourself, for example: “I am valuable,” “I am worthy,” “I am capable,” “I am strong,” “I am intelligent.” Pinpoint negative self-talk and counter those thoughts with positive affirmations.

5. Support

Engage your support system by calling a friend or family member, joining a support group and/or finding a therapist. If your support system is lacking, use a smartphone app or the Meetup website to find a local, like-minded group and make some new friends. Sharing your struggles with people who understand and care about your well-being is an important aspect of your healing journey.

Are you a survivor of trauma or abuse? A licensed mental health professional can help you so you don’t have to go through this alone. Give our office a call today so we can set up a time to talk.

818-835-0779 services offered in Granada Hills CA

SOURCES

How to Fit Romance Back into Your Scheduled Sex Life

It’s the natural course of things in any romantic relationship: as time passes, the “newness” and “butterflies” gives way to routine. You always know what to expect from your partner, and you’ve heard all their stories. While your love for your partner has grown and matured along with you and your relationship, it’s not uncommon for what was once a fiery passion to have fizzled out over the years.

All areas of a relationship takes work, and romance in your relationship is no exception. If you’re looking for ways to stoke the fire of romance with your spouse or significant other, below are some tips that can help.

Listen More

It’s always more difficult to hear than to be heard. You might feel like you know everything there is to know about your partner, but people change. Make an effort to ask more questions, and really listen to your partner’s responses with interest. Ask them how their day was, probe them about their interests, and talk to them as you would if you were getting to know a new friend.

Touch Often

Research has shown that physical touch is a form of non-verbal communication that satisfies the desire for a physical connection. A lack of physical touch is often construed as a lack of physical affection, which can greatly decrease relationship satisfaction. Show your partner affection by making an effort to touch your partner’s skin through a hug, a touch of their arm, hand or back. Hold hands and kiss more often.

Try New Activities Together

No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, there are bound to be things you’ve wanted to do together that you haven’t gotten around to. Or perhaps there are things you’d love to try that you never thought of before, if only you could discover them. Whether it’s joining a hiking group, trying a new wine bar, or exploring your sexual fantasies, enjoying new and different activities together is sure to help bring back the spark that may be missing from your relationship.

Revisit the Past

Take a weekend trip to your honeymoon spot, revisit the place where you had your first date, where you got engaged or your old stomping grounds. Revisiting familiar places when you were just getting to know each other will help remind you both of the how’s and why’s of your love story.

Keep in mind that relationships are never perfect, and that it’s natural to have ups and downs with your partner. If you’re going through a difficult time, know that things can improve. With love, trust, and hard work, you can get your relationship with your partner back on the upswing.

Are you and your partner struggling in your relationship? A licensed therapist specializing in marital and couple’s counseling can help you both work on improving your relationship. Call my office today so we can schedule a time to talk. 818-835-0779

How Joining a Local Sports Club Could Support Your Mental Health

For many of us, college was absolutely the best time in our lives. The freedom and friendships made those four years incredibly special. But college isn’t all sparkles and unicorns. For others, college is a completely different and often negative experience. As fun as it can be, it’s also incredibly stressful, especially when it comes time to take an exam. The bigger and more important the exam is, the more we tend to suffer from anxiety, and the less likely we are to do our best. If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, then use the following tips and exercises to help lower your anxiety before the next big exam you take: 1. Breathe Deeply When we feel fear, our body can go into an adrenaline-fueled panic mode. This chemical and physical reaction is how our ancestors survived numerous threats. But in this state, our minds do not function properly. In fact, they often go completely blank. When we take slow, deep breaths, we help our bodies go from the survival response to a relaxed response. This helps the blood flow back into our brain and helps us focus on the task at hand. 2. Change Your Perspective Most of us think of tests as something designed specifically to trick us. The truth is, if you have studied and are totally prepared, then the test is actually an opportunity for you to show off how much you know. The other truth is your professors WANT you to pass. When you pass, they look good. So stop going into the exam with a negative attitude and go in feeling confident and knowing your teachers want you to do well. 3. Start Strong To set the right tone for the test, scan it to find those questions you are 100% sure about and answer those first. This will help you feel confident and put your mind into a free-flow thinking state. 4. Be Realistic What is your history of taking exams? Have you generally done well in the past? Are you a good student that makes an effort? If so, remind yourself of these facts. It’s easy to have dramatic and unrealistic ideas floating around in your head right before an exam. Thoughts like, “I’m gonna fail and then I won’t pass the class and I won’t get my degree and will end up working at Starbucks the rest of my life if I’m lucky.” This likely won’t happen so don’t make an already stressful situation worse by being unrealistic. 5. Exercise Exercise the morning before your exam. This will not only release built-up tension in your muscles (make sure to stretch after your workout), but it will also release “feel-good” endorphins that will put you in a better frame of mind. If you would like some extra help handling the stressors of academic life, please reach out to me today to schedule an appointment.

Whether you like to play soccer, basketball, or softball, joining a sports club is a great way to stay fit and make new friends. Not to mention, a sports club membership can also support your mental health beyond these benefits.

While exercise is known to improve cardio health and help you build strong muscles and bones, exercise can also alleviate symptoms of depression in the following ways.

Endorphins

You have probably heard of endorphins. They are the “feel-good” chemicals your body releases after exercise, among other times. These neurochemicals have been shown to help boost mood and give us a sense of well-being.

Increased Energy

One of the most common symptoms of depression is fatigue or a lack of energy. A person may feel tired and sluggish all the time, even unable to get out of bed. This can exacerbate the depression because there is now guilt and low self-esteem associated with not accomplishing enough.

Exercise rejuvenates the body and gives it energy to combat any fatigue you may have been feeling.

Improves Your Identity

When we commit to an exercise plan, we feel good about ourselves. According to James Blumenthal, a neuroscientist at Duke University who specializes in depression, “One of the positive psychological benefits of systematic exercise is the development of a sense of personal mastery and positive self–regard, which we believe is likely to play some role in the depression–reducing effects of exercise.

Why Joining a Sports Club is Better Than Joining a Gym

How many of us at some point in our life have bought a gym membership and then not gone to the gym? Plenty!

The great thing about joining a sports club is that it is incredibly fun and social, so we are more motivated to participate. This is the key when it comes to reaping the mental health benefits of exercise – sticking to it!

If you have been suffering with symptoms of depression and have been thinking about joining your local sports club, I encourage you to do so. Ask around town to see what groups may be available. You can also do a quick Google search to turn up clubs in your local area.

If you would like to explore treatment options for your depression, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/exercise-to-improve-your-mental-health/
https://psychcentral.com/blog/another-reason-why-exercise-benefits-your-mental-health/

Sources: https://psychcentral.com/lib/9-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-right-here-right-now/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201502/test-anxiety-quick-tips https://www.onlineschoolscenter.com/20-effective-ways-to-calm-your-nerves-before-an-exam/

5 Exercises & Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big Exam


5 Exercises & Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big Exam

Posted byAdministratorJuly 18, 2019Leave a commenton 5 Exercises & Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big ExamEdit5 Exercises & Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big Exam

For many of us, college was absolutely the best time in our lives. The freedom and friendships made those four years incredibly special. But college isn’t all sparkles and unicorns. For others, college is a completely different and often negative experience.

As fun as it can be, it’s also incredibly stressful, especially when it comes time to take an exam. The bigger and more important the exam is, the more we tend to suffer from anxiety, and the less likely we are to do our best.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, then use the following tips and exercises to help lower your anxiety before the next big exam you take:

1. Breathe Deeply

When we feel fear, our body can go into an adrenaline-fueled panic mode. This chemical and physical reaction is how our ancestors survived numerous threats. But in this state, our minds do not function properly. In fact, they often go completely blank.

When we take slow, deep breaths, we help our bodies go from the survival response to a relaxed response. This helps the blood flow back into our brain and helps us focus on the task at hand.

2. Change Your Perspective

Most of us think of tests as something designed specifically to trick us. The truth is, if you have studied and are totally prepared, then the test is actually an opportunity for you to show off how much you know.

The other truth is your professors WANT you to pass. When you pass, they look good. So stop going into the exam with a negative attitude and go in feeling confident and knowing your teachers want you to do well.

3. Start Strong

To set the right tone for the test, scan it to find those questions you are 100% sure about and answer those first. This will help you feel confident and put your mind into a free-flow thinking state.

4. Be Realistic

What is your history of taking exams? Have you generally done well in the past? Are you a good student that makes an effort? If so, remind yourself of these facts. It’s easy to have dramatic and unrealistic ideas floating around in your head right before an exam. Thoughts like, “I’m gonna fail and then I won’t pass the class and I won’t get my degree and will end up working at Starbucks the rest of my life if I’m lucky.”

This likely won’t happen so don’t make an already stressful situation worse by being unrealistic.

5. Exercise

Exercise the morning before your exam. This will not only release built-up tension in your muscles (make sure to stretch after your workout), but it will also release “feel-good” endorphins that will put you in a better frame of mind.

If you would like some extra help handling the stressors of academic life, please reach out to me today to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/9-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-right-here-right-now/https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201502/test-anxiety-quick-tips

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