Tag Archive: stress

Is It Depression or Something Else?


Many celebrities are talking about the positive mental health movement. They want to take away the stigma of mental health challenges and encourage everyone to be more proactive. While I was thinking about today’s post, I came across a story on a popular TV show that dealt with depression…. only the lady didn’t have depression. In fact, she had pancreatic cancer! Her psychiatrist was seeing her for other reasons, noticed the change, and encouraged a follow-up with her doctor.

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a blog I highly recommend from Health Ambition that foods that contribute to depression.

Depression is serious on its own, but sometimes there are underlining medical issues that need to be considered (or ruled out) before anyone starts treatment for depression. We tend not to think about underlining medical causes for depression because, well – we tend to be busy people with varied stressors within our lives. Depression can happen or we can be hiding it for years, or we don’t want to deal with the stigma of seeing a mental health professional and then we decide to simply “live with it”.

I’m here to tell you, today, that simply “living with it” isn’t a good option because you deserve to address your happiness – or, in rare cases, an underlining medical condition!

I am GIVING AWAY online therapy consultations. I can help you discover what the online therapy benefits are and you get to test-drive my services and see if we are a good match. To learn more about me, my programs, and read my free blog- please click here: http://thejoyofliving.co/programs/

Fidget Spinning

Fidget Spinner

Have you noticed when you get anxious wanting to find a diversion that lets your mind keep going and that keeps you semi-occupied at the same time? I think that’s why solitaire is so popular – it’s kind of mindless and at the same time, engaging.  It helps us use up some of the nervous energy we generate when we’re stressed or heading into overwhelm.

What’s happening on Facebook and in anxiety support groups is the introduction of toys called Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes.  These gadgets are supposed to help people calm down through diversion – because playing with these gadgets requires a certain amount of focus and attention. Even if a person doesn’t manage to calm down, they may at least contain their anxiety by engaging in Fidget Spinning.

Fidget spinners are three pronged devices that can be hand-held, with a centre bearing that, when pressed, makes the spinner spin. Sounds incredibly simple, and it is; so simple, in fact, that there are disputes among many inventors who simultaneously came up with these toys – virtually all in response to their own need to control stress.

Even though they’ve been around for a few years, they really only gained in popularity when kids started using them and trading them. That’s when teachers began to notice both their benefits and problems. Yes, they served as a distraction, reducing anxiety, but they also became an addictive pastime – much like solitaire.  Solitaire isn’t addictive if what we’re doing engages us; but give us endless lists of things to do that are gruelling, and solitaire becomes incredibly attractive.  Just so with Fidget Spinners – to the point that schools are considering banning them.

The interesting questing for me is: How can these and similar devices be used to help someone through stress, and when are they simply adding to the problem?  I believe the answer to both parts of this question lie in what it is that’s causing the stress.  If it’s something important to us and we’re nervous about the end result, then distracting that kind of nervousness with something like a fidget spinner seems like a good thing.  If, however, we are engaged in tasks that don’t inspire and that generate in us a sense of powerlessness – like, for me, having to sit through hours of algebra – forced to do something I have no interest in just because someone else thinks I should do it.  In that case, eventually the spinner is gong to take over, and it isn’t such a good thing.

In my own life, I play solitaire when I watch TV; sometimes what I’m watching is engaging and worthwhile for me; and sometimes it’s interspersed with what I don’t love – like violence. It’s easy to block out the violence if I have something like solitaire to turn to.

Fidget spinners may be new, but the idea isn’t. Think of worry beads, or balling up Kleenex and endlessly rolling it between thumb and finger, or chewing gum, or knitting.  The list is probably as long as you want to make it. Bottom line: fidget spinning may prove more useful in highlighting a pre-existing problem than in solving one.  Either way, it’s worth considering.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

The Four Stages of Communication & Stress

When we work together, I tend to consider using the principles of Gestalt communication to help you identify what environmental factors are causing stress.  By isolating the background noise of everyday life, we can apply effective communication tools to zero in on stress triggers. By doing this, I can help you come to realize how to positively deal with each present moment and stress.fighting

First, I focus on inclusion as a part of our communication.  Without judging or offering immediate advice, I will work to provide an environment of safety.  I put myself in your shoes and try to understand your experience. I’m not looking for what led up to the events or what your past has to do with the events. I’m not even looking to make a decision on who is right or wrong in stressful situations. By using inclusion communication, I will work with you to guide me into an understanding of your experience and perception during a stressful event. By understanding your point of view, I can better help you come to terms with the self-awareness aspect of your stress response.

I also work on using the inclusion commutative experience to offer how I see your stress triggers and the impact your reactions are having on both the mental and physical component of your being. I will not manipulate situations to have you draw healthy conclusions. Instead, my job is to encourage you to regulate your stress triggers in different environments.

The interpersonal experience is a good communication tool that I use when working with patients, especially when dealing with stress triggers.  Our interaction and examination of circumstances, along with the dialogue that follows, is very important to developing strong coping exercises when future stressful situations arise.  And, finally, we work on “lived” communication. This is a way for us to address issues through the use of non-verbal communication, either by movement or energy work.  Some people prefer drumming, dancing, art, writing – there are many ways to accomplish this goal.

By working within the four stages of communication to address your stress, we can develop a sense of who you really are during moments of tension. By working together with a back-and-forth dialogue, you’re a part of guiding your own healing process. It’s a self-discovery journey that I am always happy to guide!

Have more questions? Let’s talk.  Contact me today.