One of the most empowering messages to come out of neuroscience is that our very thoughts and and where we place attention changes the physical structure of the brain (Donald Altman, MA, LPC). More importantly, the significance of self-directed neuroplasticity (Jeffrey Schwartz) offers hope to those who feel stuck. It means the power to change old behaviors and rewire the brain is possible through focused attention. This process is what alters and rewires brain circuitry, which then changes how we will behave in the future.
Latest talk: “Freedom from Fear-Based Beliefs” ~ www.tarabrach.com.
“My prayer to god every day is ‘Remove the veils so I might see what is really happening here and not be intoxicated by my stories and my fears.’” – Elizabeth Lesser
Exposure to Unrealistic Figures is Driving Eating Disorders in Young People
Although it is often said that eating disorders typically begin during the teenage years and early adulthood, an increasing number of under 12s are now receiving treatment for disordered eating, with figures for admissions increasing more than 100% in less than a decade. It seems that young girls’ exposure to unrealistic figures may at least partly explain the rise in anorexia and bulimia among tweens, with the ever popular Barbie doll providing a worrying role model. Although, Barbie’s vital statistics are unnatural and unachievable, this is not appreciated by young girls who try to emulate her figure.
Equally, older girls are bombarded with images of ultra slim models in glossy fashion magazines, which are far from the average woman’s figure and a lot of the time they are significantly underweight. When teens see these pictures they believe this is how they should look, but don’t necessarily take into account that the images in front of them have been photoshopped. Television shows also promote unrealistic expectations for body image, with the vast majority of female characters at or below weight recommendations, which only a third of the population achieves naturally. Finally, young women contemplating weight loss who access pro-anorexia websights, where eating disorders are promoted as a lifestyle choice, are exposed to material that can have a damaging impact on their eating behaviors.
While treatment is available for eating disorders, prevention is always preferable. To protect young children and women from low self-esteem, which can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, it is essential to raise awareness of how distorted the female figures presented to us are. Steps to Recovery highlights this in the following article and also considers the link between eating disorders and substance abuse: http://www.stepstorecovery.com/starving-yourself-to-achieve-the-impossible-figure-of-barbie/
Depression is a pervasive mental illness that can occur for many reasons. The recent suicide of Robin Williams has catapulted discussions of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses back to the forefront of people’s minds. Of course, it is preferable that depression can be discussed without the unfortunate death of a notable figure prompting it; still, his death has given us an opportunity to take another look at depression and provide education to those who are less familiar with its effects.
Depression can affect anyone of any social status
Many people were shocked by Robin William’s death, and one reason given is that he was rich and famous — doesn’t that mean he had it all? Because he had money and was successful, many wonder why he could have been sad.
No one is immune to depression, and certainly not the wealthy. Many people believe money is the answer and that the absence of have financial woes will ensure happiness. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and study after study has found that unless you are living underneath the threshold for poverty, money doesn’t have any affect on one’s happiness or well-being.
Rehabilitation and therapy may not work immediately
Seeking therapy for depression is a great first step in addressing your problems. Understanding you have depression and need help with it is a massive undertaking that many people resist acknowledging. It is important to note that depression is a serious illness and not all types of therapy or antidepressants work. Some people need to explore different avenues before they find the treatment that works for them..
It is also important to note that depression isn’t something that goes away quickly. When working with a psychologist for depression and/or other related issues, it often takes time before symptom relief occurs. This can be discouraging to those who are suffering, but persistent, consistent effort in therapy can yield positive changes, it just may take longer than one would like.
Even if you believe that therapy is not for you and that talking about your problems won’t change anything, there are hormonal and biochemical benefits associated with therapy. A meaningful therapeutic connection and a secure attachment reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as other markers in the body that are associated with depression and anxiety.
Support from others may not change depressed thoughts/feelings
This fact can be tough to understand, but sometimes depressed people may attempt to take their own lives despite their popularity or open love from others.
Conditions like depression and anxiety can be so severe that the afflicted person may not consider how their actions can impact their loved ones, family or friends. Managing anxiety and depression can be quite difficult and the patient can feel hopeless or worthless if they can’t overcome those conditions on their own. They are impaired socially, occupationally, psychologically, and emotionally. In other words, they might not be thinking in their “right mind” at the time.
People who are experiencing such a severe amount of suffering can have difficulty believing that they will ever feel any better and may see death as the only way to put an end to their pain. Often, its not that the individual doesn’t think about their loved ones, but instead believes that they are such a burden, that family and friends will truly be better off when they are gone.
It is so important to acknowledge those who have been left behind by mental illness that ends in suicide. It’s hard to understand and maybe even hard not to personalize, but know that people who commit suicide don’t do it to hurt the ones they love or to abandon them. They do it to escape pain and permanence and irreversibility aren’t part of a thought process clouded by suffering and extreme mental anguish.
As a Santa Barbara therapist, I work with people who struggle with the above and assist them in identifying and understanding their conflicting feelings and their origins, while also emphasizing and facilitating how to change their relationship with those feelings.
If you feel sad, stressed or out of control, keep in mind that therapy for anxiety, depression, food addictions and any other problems you may have can greatly improve your life and the way you approach suffering and negativity. Being a Santa Barbara psychologist — I provide counseling for anxiety and other issues, drawing from psychodynamic theory and the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Utilizing these two theories in conjunction with one another targets the underlying, often unconscious issues that manifest as symptoms or problematic behavior, while also providing hands on, immediate tools to address distressing symptoms.
Pain is inevitable, but you can live a valuable life even in the presence of those feelings.
About MySantaBarbaraTherapy.com: If you are looking for a psychologist for depression, anxiety, or any other mental health concern consider making an appointment with Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke. The Santa Barbara Therapist also provides therapy for patients struggling with eating disorders, alcoholism, and other addiction related problems. Her office is located at 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 10P in Santa Barbara. Visit the website at https://www.mysantabarbaratherapy.com to download a complimentary PDF, the “Top 10 Ways to Cope With Depression and Anxiety.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive updates, tips, and information on sustaining good mental health. Appointments may be made online or by calling 818-518-6775.
Happy Halloween from us to you! We are as excited as you are about the good times that the fall season brings with it. From scary ghost stories and frightening good times, to great memories made with friends, there is plenty to enjoy this time of year, even if you struggle with anxiety disorders and/or other stressors and fears in your life.
If you are someone who is easily stressed or is prone to high anxiety, it may feel overwhelming to add yet another thing, like a costume party or taking your kids trick-or-treating. A helpful way to overcome the fear of social events or resistance to more obligations is to remember the things you enjoy most about the Halloween season.
Take the jack-o-lantern, for example:
People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The tradition started as a way for people to deal with fears and memories and the things they do not understand about the world around them. Legend says that a man known as “Stingy Jack” managed to trick the devil one night and held him as a prisoner for some time. Jack eventually freed the devil, with the promise that the devil would not bother him for the coming year and that he would not lay claim to his soul when he died. Years later, when Jack died, he was not allowed into heaven because of his shady dealings when he was alive. The Devil, upset that Jack had played a trick on him and held him captive, decided to honor his promise and did not take Jack to Hell. He gave Jack a single coal from the pit of hell, which he placed into a carved out gourd that served as a lantern. Jack roamed the earth from that day on, a lost and wandering soul. The Irish people began to refer to him as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.” The carving of pumpkins is used to symbolize the lantern Jack carries and serves as a way to keep him away, thus protecting homes and families. So when you see jack-o-lanterns at that costume party this year, you can amaze everyone with your knowledge; it can be a nice ice-breaker story too!
Dealing With Social Stress at Halloween Events
It is common knowledge that public speaking is the number one fear for most people, even surpassing the fear of death. It is not just the speakers and hosts at Halloween parties and events who will come face-to-face withsocial anxieties. Simply attending functions where social interaction is unavoidable or expected can be terrifying for people with anxiety, phobias and fears. So, what can you do to lessen the social stress in your life? Here are a few practical and easy things you can incorporate this season to help make things more bearable and enjoyable:
- When you get invited to that costume party, trick-or-treat circuit, or other social event, RSVP immediately. Don’t compound your stress and anxiety trying to decide if you can compose yourself and attend – just RSVP and start preparing yourself for the event.
- Before the day or night of the event, avoid all temptation to self-medicate with alcohol or any sort of medication beyond what you normally use for your day to day activities. You don’t need to rely on these things to have fun and enjoy yourself.
- Focus on the positive things rather than the negative as you get ready. Block out all negative images to lessen anticipation anxiety.
- Ask questions to keep the focus off yourself. Ask the other guest about themselves and keep the focus on things other than yourself.
- Never over imbibe. Do not get drunk or lose control – it may make you feel more relaxed but it opens you up to more problems. Keep yourself in control at all times.
- Assume that others at the party or event are also a little nervous meeting new people – you are not alone. Remember, the more socializing you do, the easier it gets. You get better at it and it will begin to feel more natural.
Fun Facts About Halloween
Here are some fun facts about Halloween that can make you the winner of any Halloween trivia game:
- The origination of Halloween in its earliest form was inspired by Samhain, an Irish Celtic festival held at the end of harvest season each year to mark the harvest.
- Brooms came to be associated with witches because older women who were often accused of being witches were too poor to afford a horse so they used walking sticks – and this was later updated to be a broom to give them a way to get around.
- Black cats became popular for Halloween and were associated with witches and bad luck because they came to be seen as the guardian and protectors of a witch’s powers.
- Halloween marks the tragic death of the famous magician Harry Houdini, who passed away after being punched in the stomach numerous times on Halloween night.
Fun Halloween Q & A
Q: What types of drinks are common at Halloween parties?
A: The drink selection will depend on whether it is a kids or adult party. Punch and such are common at all parties, but there will likely be alcohol at an adult party.
Q: What is the most famous Halloween candy?
A: The most famous candy for this time of year is candy corn.
Q: What are some popular games to play during a Halloween party?
A: You can find game such as bobbing for apples, eating contests, costume parties, dancing, and many other fun activities at most parties.
Halloween Fun in Santa Barbara
Halloween offers a full day of fun for adults and children, especially in Santa Barbara. Here are some of the Halloween events that are planned:
- Boocara Halloween Event
- Friday, October 31, 2014 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm PDT
- Halloween Blowout w/ DJ Johnny Blaze
- Friday, October 31, 2014 from 8:00pm to 11:45pm PDT
- VooDoo Lounge 3rd Annual Canary Rooftop Halloween Dance Party
- Friday, October 31, 2014 from 9:00pm to 1:00am PDT
- Blind Tiger’s Safari Halloween Excursion
- Friday, October 31, 2014 from 9:00pm to 1:30am PDT
About MySantaBarbaraTherapy.com: Known as The Santa Barbara Therapist, Dr. Adina McGarr-Knabke is a licensed clinical psychologist. She provides treatment for eating disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, depression and self-injurious behaviors, as well as counseling for stress from her office located at 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 10P in Santa Barbara. Visit the website and Facebook page or call (818) 518-6775 for more information.
Membership and Affiliations:
International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP)
#1. Pain is part of growing.
Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.
Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
#2. Everything in life is temporary.
Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal. After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever. It won’t. Nothing lasts forever. (Read The Last Lecture.)
So if things are good right now, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. You get a second chance, every second. You just have to take it and make the best of it.
#3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing.
Those who complain the most, accomplish the least. It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it. If you believe in something, keep trying. Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future. Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter. Take action instead. Let what you’ve learned improve how you live. Make a change and never look back.
And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.
#4. Your scars are symbols of your strength.
Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of. Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.
Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars. See your scars as a sign of “YES! I MADE IT! I survived and I have my scars to prove it! And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”
#5. Every little struggle is a step forward.
In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.
And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
#6. Other people’s negativity is not your problem.
Be positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others try to bring you down. It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus. When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you. They do things because of them.
Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough. Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it. So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.
All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.
#7. What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.
True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead. There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them. You can’t force things to happen. You can only drive yourself crazy trying. At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.
In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be. (Read A New Earth.)
#8. The best thing you can do is to keep going.
Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.
Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.
Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:
Source: Marc and Angel the authors of 1000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently.