5 Ways to Beat Nighttime Anxiety

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the most challenging times of the day for people with anxiety is the time right before bed. After a long, stressful day, a person with anxiety may struggle to decompress, which can often lead to sleepless nights, which only contributes to the anxiety and stress felt the following days. Finding ways to relax before bed is the key to getting to bed in a timely manner. Here are a few ways to combat nighttime anxiety and fully relax before bed time.

1. Stretching – We hold so much tension in our bodies, especially at the end of a long, stressful day. Doing some simple, light stretches can help release some of this tension, which will help the body relax overall. Many people with anxiety also have issues with soreness and even bruxism (teeth grinding), so getting some stretches in before bed helps to prevent both of these things so you can wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, not sore!

2. Meditation – Meditating before bed helps you find peace and quiet in your mind so you can drift off to sleep with ease. Find some peace and quiet in your own home and meditate for a little while before going to bed. If quiet is hard to come by in your home, lie down and listen to a guided meditation through headphones. You can find many free guided meditations on YouTube to help you get ready to drift off to sleep. Try this one!

3. Essential Oil Diffuser – Many studies have shown the benefits of using essential oils for those struggling anxiety, depression, physical pain, stress, and more! There are particular oils that have been proven to benefit anxiety in particular. These include lavender, rose, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, vetiver, and frankincense. Choose your favorite scent, put it in an oil diffuser, and turn it on when you are beginning your relaxing process before bed. Find essential oils and diffusers on Amazon.

4. Coloring – Adult coloring books have become the newest trend, however, did you know that they can help improve anxiety and sleep? Coloring is a relaxing, soothing activity that help with a number of mental and emotional issues. Focusing on coloring actually turns down the brain’s response to stress. Additionally, it is an activity before bedtime that does not require you to sit in front of a screen. Watching TV, playing on a cell phone, and other activities where one must stare at a screen have actually been proven to deter people’s ability to fall asleep. However, coloring still keeps a person actively engaged while also relaxing the mind.

5. Journaling – Many people know the feeling of lying awake in bed at night ruminating on all of the problems of the day, month, and/or year. However, writing a journal entry right before bed time gives us a chance to let out all our anxieties, worries, and fears. We can put the journal away right before bed along with all of these stressful emotions so that we can fall asleep easier, having already expressed the emotions that would normally be in our minds when we’re trying to sleep.

 

If you struggle with anxiety, stress-management, or sleep issues, schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Ross to develop a wellness plan unique to your needs. Call 781-444-9115 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Grief and Neurofeedback: Coping with Loss

ID-10055137One of the most difficult life experiences every person will encounter is coping with the death of a loved one. Death triggers emotional grief that may be so intense and consuming that even the thought of living life normally seems absolutely impossible. There is no right way to grieve, and everyone grieves in their own unique ways. While it is perfectly natural to be sad after losing a loved one, many times grief can lead to depression or make already existing anxiety and/or depression substantially worse.

Not everyone who grieves will become depressed as a result, however grief can be a major trigger, particularly for those who are more prone to depression or have a history of depression. Everyone experiences varied symptoms of grief, however many of these symptoms are similar to those of depression, including debilitating sadness, changes in sleep habits, appetite loss or gain, and losing interest in activities once enjoyed. Grief typically affects people in waves with symptoms fluctuating through time and eventually lessening. However, when grief becomes so intense that is starts interfering with a person’s ability to live their life normally for an extended period following a death, treatment may be necessary.

Symptoms of grief should improve over time, and not worsen. If a person experiences any of the following symptoms after a loved one passes away and these symptoms only worsen over time, this person may be suffering from grief-induced depression:

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Constantly thinking/longing for the loved one who passed
  • Difficulty focusing on anything other than sad thoughts
  • Difficulty accepting loss
  • Difficulty remembering good times/positive memories of loved one
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling as though life has no meaning
  • Difficulty completing normal, every day tasks
  • Becoming unable to take care of oneself physically
  • Difficulty trusting others, even those once trusted

Neurofeedback works to calm the brain to help improve functioning. When the brain is functioning more calmly, the person feels less overwhelmed and more capable of functioning normally in their every day lives.

In addition to neurofeedback, therapy is also recommended for people struggling to accept the loss of a loved one. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross to develop a plan unique to your situation.

7 Signs Your Partner Has Depression

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the United States today, depression is considered a common mental health issue affecting more than 15 million people. Although a person might think depression is easy to spot with obvious symptoms, identifying the signs as they are presented can be difficult considering how subtle the nature of depression symptoms can be. This is especially true when it comes to identifying symptoms of a life partner. Do any of the below symptoms of depression sound familiar regarding your life partner?

1. Changes in physical care – Have you been noticing that your partner has not been showering as frequently as they have in the past? Has your partner either gained or lost weight without intentionally trying? Symptoms can also be different depending on gender. For example, men have a tendency to start shaving less frequently and women have a tendency to wear less make up than usual. People struggling with depression will often put less effort into their daily getting ready routine.

2. Lack of motivation – In addition to your partner putting less effort into getting up and dressed, has it become difficult to get your partner out of the house, even if doing activities that they used to enjoy? Has your partner suddenly begun a pattern of lateness? Would your partner rather hang around the house all day? People suffering from depression lose normal motivation, do not see value in doing things they once loved, and would prefer to be within the comfort of their own home, leading us to the next few points.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3. Fatigue – Your partner does not seem to have the same zest for life as shown by the lack of motivation. Does your partner seem more tired all the time? Have you noticed changes in their sleeping patterns, whether it be sleeping much more than usual or much less? If a person is struggling with depression, exhaustion can be expected because being depressed utilizes much more energy than people realize on a day to day basis. If a person is depressed, doing normal, every day activities takes much more effort. The person needs to fight through fatigue and lack of motivation to even perform the simplest tasks.

4. Isolation – Has your partner stopped spending time with their friends or family? Does your partner flake when it comes to social engagements? People struggling with depression often find socializing to be extremely draining because of the fatigue an lack of motivation. Instead, those who are depressed are known to retreat to a place of solitude and isolation to avoid these situations that they once enjoyed.

5. Escapist behavior – Has your partner started exhibiting escapist behavior? This can be observed in many different ways. Has your partner started drinking more than they had in the past? Does your partner sit for hours in front of the tv or seem completely consumed by video games? This is considered escapist behavior because a person can use these behaviors to avoid facing their problems.

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Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Emotional reaction changes – Have you noticed changes in your partner’s patience? Is it difficult to speak to them because you are afraid of their overreaction? On the other hand, does your partner’s reactions seem emotionally devoid? Does your partner not seem to react with any emotionality to any of the things you say to them? Changes in emotional reactivity indicate depression as a distinct possibility.

7. Changes in intimacy – Have the levels of intimacy changed in your relationship? Does your partner seem disinterested in sex or are they physically incapable of having sex presently? Depression initiates in the brain, which is where sexual stimulation initiates. If the brain is not functioning properly, a person may feel physically and emotionally disconnected, making intimacy challenging for both partners.

If your partner has been exhibiting signs of depression, speak with them in an understanding, compassionate way. Many sufferers might feel shame that they are experiencing depression, so remind them there is no shame in needing help dealing with depression.

To develop a wellness plan specific to the needs of your partner, our director Dr. Jolene Ross offers free consultations. Click here to contact Dr. Ross.

Click here to read “10 Types of Depression” 

Click here to read “8 Natural Solutions for Depression”

Panic Attacks and Neurofeedback

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While it is normal to feel anxiety during certain stressful life situations, anxiety disorders affect a person on a daily basis, causing anxiety and fear when there may not be an obvious cause or reason. Panic disorder refers to someone who’s fear response is not functioning the way it normally should, causing physiological symptoms accompanied by intense anxiety.

One of the most notable symptoms of panic disorder is the panic attack, a sudden, overwhelming rush of panic and fear that causes physical responses as well as uncontrolled emotional distress leaving the sufferer confused, fearful, and powerless. While panic attacks vary in symptoms and length, panic attacks usually come on quickly and last an average of ten minutes. Sometimes, panic attacks have a direct, obvious cause while other panic attacks seem to be triggered out of the blue, leaving the sufferer confused in addition to fearful as they occur. Panic attacks can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s daily functioning as the person does not know when the next attack will strike, leaving them feeling powerless to their own mind and body.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Symptoms of panic attacks may include:

– Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

– Increased heart rate

– Dizziness

– Shaking/trembling

– Hypersensitivity to being touched

– Hypersensitivity to noise

– Sweating

– Crying

– Immense fear/dread

 

Panic disorder is often caused by abnormalities in brain function, which triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response at unnecessary moments. This can be caused by traumatic life events that have changed the brain’s strategy of coping or simply due to a genetic predisposition. Stressful life events, such as sudden death of a loved one, can also trigger panic attacks, which have the potential to recur and evolve into panic disorder. Additionally, substance abuse can interfere with the brain’s ability to process stress and anxiety.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Neurofeedback targets the parts of the brain at the cause of this reaction in an effort to retrain the brain to function more efficiently so the “fight or flight” response is not triggered. The brain learns how to cope with anxiety and fear appropriately during neurofeedback sessions resulting in an overall decrease in anxiety, mood improvement, and increase in daily function.

Neurofeedback can help you calm the struggle so you can live with reduced emotional distress caused by panic disorder. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Symptoms of ODD

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, is a behavioral disorder in children that can be difficult to identify for many parents. Children may be strong-willed or emotional without actually having ODD because it can be normal for children to behave in ways that oppose their parental figures. Though signs typically develop during preschool, there are times when ODD may develop later and cause significant issues related to family, school, work, and socialization.

To be diagnosed with ODD, at least four symptoms must occur from the following categories:

  • Moodiness, both angry and/or irritable
    • Losing temper
    • Easily annoyed by others
    • Resentful
  • Defiant behaviors and argumentative speech
    • Arguing with authority figures
    • Deliberately defying rules or requests by authority
    • Purposely annoys people
    • Places blame on others for their own mistakes
  • Vindictive behaviors
    • Spitefulness (must be recorded happening at least twice within a six month period)

These symptoms must occur with at least one other person who is not a sibling, causing significant problems at school, home, or other places frequented by the child. These symptoms must last for at least six months and have no relation to other mental health issues, such as depression. In some cases, symptoms are first seen occurring in the home and in time begin happening in other settings. Mild ODD means the symptoms occurring in only one setting. Moderate ODD occurs in two settings and severe in three or more.

Neurofeedback naturally trains the brain to function calmly and more efficiently. Those with oppositional defiant disorder will experience direct improvements in mood, which will decrease oppositional, impulsive, and/or aggressive behavior. Patients may also notice academic improvement in school as a result of neurofeedback because of these improvements combined with improved executive functions such as attention, focus, and memory. Learn more about how neurofeedback can help your child’s individual, unique case by scheduling a free consultation with our Dr. Jolene Ross. Click here to contact our office.