mental health tips

Green Tea and Blueberry Supplement Improves Cognition

A supplement that is composed of blueberry and green tea was shown to modestly improve cognitive processing speed in older, cognitively healthy adults. This finding is “noteworthy” since “most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging, and successful performance on these tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and […]

Feb 19, 2014
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Precautions for Alzheimer’s Patients in Cold Weather

With record low cold temperatures sweeping across the nation, it is important for caregivers to understand certain care tips for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Most individuals experience weather related challenges in the winter, but those with Alzheimer’s can by more severe. Here are a few tips on how Alzheimer’s patients can handle cold temperatures, […]

Jan 22, 2014
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Parent Behaviors Linked to Kids’ Anxiety, Depression

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Young people whose parents tend to fight with each other or are too involved in their kids’ lives are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, according to a new comprehensive review of past studies.

Kids tend to first experience depression or anxiety between ages 12 and 18, the authors write. They reviewed 181 papers published on potential links between how parents behave and which young people experience either disorder.

It’s impossible to say how important parenting is relative to other factors that might influence depression and anxiety, like bullying at school, study author Marie Yap said, but “it is clear from the wider body of research that by virtue of their role and presence in children’s lives . . . parents have an incredibly important role, both directly and indirectly.”

In the new analysis, stronger links were seen between parenting and depression, including sad moods and decreased interest in activities, as compared to anxiety.

Keeping constant track of kids’ whereabouts while giving them an autonomous say in family decisions were parent behaviors associated with lower levels of depression.

Parents who were harsher, fought more, were over-involved or generally “aversive” had kids who more often experienced both depression and anxiety, according to the review in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“In our meta-analysis, (aversiveness) includes harshness, meanness, sarcasm, hostility, criticism, punishment and shaming or rejecting behaviors by the parent towards the teenager, as well as parent-teen conflict,” Yap said.

Identifying the exact parental factors linked to depression and anxiety could help prevention efforts, she said. However, the researchers noted that there are many factors involved in the development of anxiety and depression that can’t change.

Important messages from this study are that parents should try to be supportive, warm and open with their kids, give them clear guidelines and boundaries, but at the same time allow them freedom to learn from their own mistakes and not to over-control them.

“But the most important message for parents, perhaps by way of a caveat, is this: Don’t blame yourselves when things go wrong,” Yap said. “Such research evidence should be used to inform and empower parents in enhancing their children’s mental health, not to use for blaming them.”



Dec 19, 2013
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When to Call a Doctor about OCD

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of mental illness that causes a person to have repeated unwanted thoughts. In order to get rid of the thoughts, the person will do the same tasks over and over. If you suspect that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is important to seek treatment right away. Treatment will improve your quality of life, as well as the lives of your loved ones. Getting early treatment of OCD can help to reduce your symptoms and reduce the disruption the illness can create in your life. While there are many health professionals that can help to treat or monitor OCD, you may want to see a health professional who has had specific training in OCD management. Health professionals who can diagnose, treat, or monitor the progress of OCD include:

  • Family Medicine Doctor
  • Psychiatrist
  • Internist
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Other health professions who are able to provide ongoing counseling and support of OCD but can’t prescribe medicines include:

  • Psychologist
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Social Worker

It is very important to reach out to your doctor is you think you have OCD. They will be able to help you set treatment plans in motion and help you to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.



Dec 02, 2013
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8 Decisions That Will Make You Happier and Healthier

We can create health and happiness by choice. Those choices are made in how we think and respond to the things we cannot control. The decisions outlined below can lead to a happier and healthier life, no matter what may come our way.

  1. I am going to be nicer to myself. Negative, self-blaming thoughts bring us down. Stop trying to label yourself and simply accept who you are. Always treat yourself with the same kindness, respect and compassion you would show a friend.
  2. I am going to find out what I love to do and do it. We spend time in jobs and other situations that we just do not like. It is important to find the things that bring us joy and spend our time doing them. Think about what you wanted to be when you were young, about your perfect job and about the skills and talents you want to utilize.
  3. I can be strong on my own and leave a bad relationship. Many people stay in a relationship in order to be happy, complete and whole. Being happy on your own first and then having a relationship is a much better alternative. When we turn to another person for our sole source of security, we are not in love, we are addicted. When you are strong and whole, you always have the freedom to leave.
  4. I am willing to give up the belief I can control what happens and will let go of the outcome. Don’t waste your energy on trying to control everything. Let things go and become unattached to the outcome. We have little control over what others think, how they feel or how they act. We have no idea what will happen in the next month or week or day.
  5. I will identify and face my fears. The biggest reason we don’t change is due to fear. It stops us from doing what we want. Whatever the fear may be, own it, replace it with positive self-talk and move forward despite it.
  6. I am going to see failures, mistakes, traumatic events and shortcomings as an opportunity to learn and grow. There is a saying that there is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to learn. Failure can be a message, a signal that you’re off track and heading in a wrong direction. It is in our weaknesses that we become creative, innovative problem solvers.
  7. I will live my un-lived life and do something bold. It is never too late to do anything in your life. Sometimes you just have to go for it and stop making excuses. No matter the age you can accomplish activities that you always dreamed about.
  8. I am going to give up the need to be perfect and define success differently. There is no way we can be perfect.  We need to define our worth and our success differently by giving things our best shot, having an impact on the world, or being able to use our skills and talents.



Nov 05, 2013
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Small Steps to Take Today to Improve Bipolar Disorder

With its mood swings, shifting energy levels, sleep difficulties and anxiety, bipolar disorder can feel extremely overwhelming. Managing bipolar and its symptoms can feel never-ending; however, by taking small, feasible steps every day, you can start to feel better and get better. Here are a few strategies to help manage your bipolar disorder:

  • Seek Professional Help: If you are not receiving any treatment for your bipolar disorder, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Medication is crucial for managing bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy is also important for helping you to better understand your symptoms and learning effective coping skills.
  • Take Medication as Prescribed: When taking medication, make sure to follow your doctor’s precise instructions. Never discontinue your medication on your own. It can worsen your symptoms and trigger an episode. If you are struggling with side effects or other concerns, speak with your doctor. You have every right to voice your questions and concerns and doing so will help you find the most effective treatment for you.
  • Organize Your Medication: To make it easy for you to take your medication, prefill a few pillboxes at a time and keep them in different places such as your car, purse and kitchen. This way you will always have your medication at-hand in convenient spots.
  • Create a Bedtime Routine: Sleep is critical for those with bipolar disorder. Sleep deprivation is also one of the most common triggers for a manic episode. Having a regular sleep schedule is very important for people with bipolar disorder and this should be followed meticulously.
  • Chart Your Symptoms: Keep a daily chart of your mood, sleep, irritability, anxiety, exercise and other important symptoms and/or habits. This can be a helpful way to prevent or lessen a mood episode and will provide you with information about your personal symptoms and how they manifest. It can also help you to spot patterns.
  • Focus on the Present: “Focusing on the present, rather than allowing yourself to get stuck in thoughts of the past and future…help to reduce the emotional pain in your life,” according to Sheri Van Dijk, a psychotherapist. It can also help you to notice racing thoughts and take healthy action more quickly. One way for you to pay attention to the present is by focusing on your breath. “Notice when your attention wanders, bring it back to the breath, and accept whatever comes into your awareness.”



Nov 04, 2013
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How I Recovered My Social Skills after Schizophrenia

For many people living with schizophrenia, the most frustrating aspect is the inability to tell whether or not the things you are thinking are actually taking place in reality. Simply put, when someone has schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, interacting with the world in a meaningful and socially cognitive way is more than difficult.

Michael Hendrick has lived with schizophrenia for about eight years and has been symptomatically stable for years; however, during this time he has experienced a few periods of uncertainty. Shortly after being diagnosed, he felt socially “dead”. He didn’t even complete everyday tasks such as entering a grocery store.

For Michael, part of his experience socializing with others has been the analysis that happens both during and after any interaction. After every interaction, even those as minor as greeting the pizza delivery guy or the gas station attendant, could go on for hours or even days.

After struggling with his schizophrenia, Michael learned about a formal technique of therapy called Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) to help his behaviors. CET is a recovery phase intervention for symptomatically stable persons with severe mental illness who remain socially and vocationally disabled. The Center for Cognition and Recovery says CET works by helping individuals develop and enhance the mental capacities for social interactions by using a combination of training in attention, memory and problem solving.



Oct 31, 2013
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7 Things You Should Know About Depression

With Mental Health Awareness Week just passing, it is crucial to understand depression, one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Learn the answers to these pressing depression questions from

What are some signs that I may be depressed?

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and/or making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

When should I talk to my doctor?

When the symptoms hinder everyday life, you should seek help. A person who suffers from a major depressive episode has a depressed mood or loss of interest in daily activities consistently for at least two weeks and experiences five or more of the symptoms listed above. It is important to see a doctor sooner rather than later because depression can get worse without treatment.

Can diet impact mental health?

Absolutely. What you put into your body can give you a boost in mood or worsen it. Brain foods contain omega 2 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and amino acids. Fatty fish or walnuts are a great source of the fatty acids, which affect brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. You can acquire the recommended daily dose of B vitamins by eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Eating the right carbohydrates and staying away from refined sugar and processed foods will keep your blood glucose levels from spiking which should aid in relief from depression. Try eating complex carbohydrates such as those in whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

How can depression affect other aspects of my overall health?

Depression can have numerous physical symptoms: joint aches, backache, digestive problems, chest pain, and/or headaches. Left unaddressed, these symptoms may worsen the depression, complicate treatment, and lead to chronic pain.

What tips do you have for feeling better on a day-to-day basis with depression?

Exercise is crucial. Additionally, practicing mindfulness and staying in the present moment are the most beneficial forms of meditation to address depression. Everyone should get adequate sleep. If you have mood patterns you should take note of it in a journal.

What lifestyle adjustments can be made to help better manage depression?

Avoid alcohol as much as possible and limit caffeine. Having a daily routine and bed time can greatly improve your mood. Surround yourself with other people and make sure you reach out for support if you’re ever feeling down whether that be through a friendship, support group, therapy, or an online forum.

I have a loved one with depression. How can I help?

Educate yourself. Try not to judge nor preach. Put away your own health philosophies. Contribute resources that might help your loved one: books, websites, articles, support groups or forums. Listen and simply be there. As much as you can, offer hope. That’s the most powerful tool in combatting depression.



Oct 29, 2013
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How To Keep Job-Assoicated Grumpiness To A Minimum

After being asked, “How was your day?” you might be tempted in the moment, to unload all of your workday woes onto the inquirer. This kind of reaction is a product of stress, the toll of a long day of ups and downs and your mindless response to these fluctuations. However, as Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor of Psychology says, “Stress isn’t an event. Stress is the view you take of events.”

There are several things you can do to reframe the inevitable twists and turns of a day:

Start the day with a realistic (and positive) frame of mind.

Your day is bound to fluctuate from good and bad. The way you feel at the end of the day is going to largely depend on how you frame your day from the moment you wake up. You need to start framing your day as something where some things will fall your way and some not. This means having realistic level-headed expectations.


More than likely, there’s been a moment at your desk today when you’ve forgotten to breathe. An alarming email came through your inbox, and in a moment of panic, you neglected to exhale. Practicing some conscious, deep breathing can lower your stress levels, blood pressure, and keep anxiety at bay. In turn, you’ll come home less anxious.

Ritualize your transition from work to off-duty.

This might not work for everyone, but some people benefit from more consciously recognizing they’re not working. For some, it might be changing from dress shoes to sneakers. For others, it might be loosening hair ties and throwing on a baseball cap. These action-based rituals make coming home and letting go of work stress more manageable.

Make a conscious decision about what you do bring home.

As much as we’d like our work and work day to have a synchronistic end, this isn’t often the case. In these instances, it’s best to make a decision about how to manage your overflow. Ask yourself if it is smarter to take the work home or spend some time at the office finishing up. If you’ll be more productive with an extra hour under your belt at the office, maybe that’s the best decision for you.

Be responsive, not reactive.

Once you see other peoples’ behavior from their perspective, don’t attach negative labels to the person. Being mindful means not judging the actions of others as one intentionally aimed to affect you. This enlightened perspective will better equip you to handle those ups and downs of the day.

Don’t just keep a tally of your disappointments.

While more positive than negative events may occur throughout the day, the negative ones are the ones we grasp to. Make a point to document your wins. This might mean writing down the good and the bad, which could stand as perspective-actualizing reminders. For everything that you tell your loved one about what bugged you, you should include one thing you’re happy about.



Oct 15, 2013
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10 Misconceptions about Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects over 24 million people worldwide. Schizophrenia has also proved to be a complex illness, and there are a lot of myths that are out there. These 24 million people can live a healthy life if they properly treat their illness. To further educate yourself about the illness, here are ten common misconceptions that you may be surprised about.

  • People with Schizophrenia are out of control and very dangerous
  • Every person living with the illness is extremely paranoid
  • Schizophrenia is synonymous to Multiple Personality Disorder
  • People with Schizophrenia cannot be productive or successful in their lives
  • Schizophrenia is only genetic
  • People suffering from the illness can never live a normal life
  • Every person with Schizophrenia should be hospitalized
  • Schizophrenia develops very quickly
  • Medications for people with the illness make them stoic and unemotional
  • Schizophrenia is a major character flaw

It is imperative to educate yourself on these common fallacies because you should not assume these things about people with the illness, as it could hurt their feelings.

For more information on Schizophrenia awareness, please visit:



Oct 09, 2013
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