Blog Post Thursday

Minimalism: Finding Joy by Embracing Simplicity

In a world that often encourages accumulation and excess, the concept of minimalism stands out as a refreshing way of life. Minimalism is not merely about decluttering physical spaces; it’s a mindset that can lead to greater mental clarity, reduced stress, and increased overall happiness. Let’s delve into the world of minimalism and discover how it can bring more joy into your life.

What is Minimalism?

At its core, minimalism is the intentional practice of living with less. It involves simplifying your surroundings, commitments, and possessions to focus on what truly matters. Minimalists strive to eliminate the unnecessary, making room for what adds value and meaning to their lives.

The Benefits of Minimalism:

  1. Clarity and Focus: By removing distractions and excess, minimalism enables you to focus on your priorities and goals with greater clarity.
  2. Reduced Stress: A clutter-free environment translates to a clutter-free mind. When you’re surrounded by fewer possessions, you experience less stress and mental noise.
  3. Enhanced Creativity: A simplified space encourages creativity to flourish, as you’re not weighed down by the chaos of clutter.
  4. Improved Finances: Cutting back on unnecessary purchases saves money and encourages thoughtful spending on items that truly align with your values.
  5. Mindful Consumption: Minimalism promotes conscious consumption. You become more aware of what you bring into your life and how it impacts you and the environment.

Getting Started with Simplicity:

  1. Declutter Gradually: Start small by tackling one area at a time, whether it’s your closet, bookshelf, or kitchen. Ask yourself if each item brings you joy or serves a practical purpose.
  2. Prioritize Experiences: Shift your focus from accumulating possessions to accumulating experiences. Invest in activities that create memories and enrich your life.
  3. Practice Gratitude: Recognize the value in what you already have. Gratitude fosters contentment and reduces the desire for excessive consumption.
  4. Digital Decluttering: Extend minimalism to your digital life by organizing your files, unsubscribing from unnecessary emails, and curating your online content.
  5. Mindful Purchasing: Before making a purchase, pause and reflect on whether the item aligns with your values and genuinely enhances your life.

Minimalism and Mental Health:

Minimalism’s influence goes beyond physical spaces. It extends to your mental well-being by promoting mindfulness, reducing decision fatigue, and encouraging a sense of freedom from the burden of excess.

In a world inundated with materialism, embracing simplicity can be a transformative journey. By focusing on what truly brings you joy, you can find greater fulfillment, reduced stress, and a renewed appreciation for the simple pleasures in life. Remember, minimalism is a personal journey, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Start small, stay patient, and savor the sense of freedom that comes with simplifying and decluttering your life.

Ready to embark on your own minimalism journey? Start by evaluating your surroundings and making mindful choices. Embrace the beauty of simplicity, and you might just find that less truly is more.

Blue Elephant Counseling News

GIVEAWAY Alert! Win 3 Months of FREE Online Counseling! Nebraska!

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Life can throw some tough challenges our way, and seeking support is a sign of strength. Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, relationships, or simply need someone to talk to, our team is here to guide you on your journey towards healing and growth.

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Blue Elephant Counseling News

Blue Elephant Counseling Awarded $432,000 to Expand Online Mental Health Counseling Services Across Nebraska

Blue Elephant Counseling, a mental health counseling agency based in Dannebrog, Nebraska, has been awarded $432,000 in funding from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska via the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding will be used to expand online mental health counseling services across the state of Nebraska, providing greater access to mental health care for individuals who may have previously faced barriers to accessing services.

This project is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 funding for State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) and is being administered by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) by way of an award totaling $432,000. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, BHECN, UNMC, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit BHECN’S ARPA website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health care, with increased stress, anxiety, and isolation affecting individuals across the country. However, accessing mental health care services has not always been easy, particularly for those in rural areas or who have limited access to transportation.

By expanding online mental health counseling services, Blue Elephant Counseling hopes to break down these barriers and make mental health care more accessible to those who need it most. The funding will allow the agency to increase the number of licensed mental health counselors on staff and provide training to existing staff members to improve their ability to deliver high-quality mental health care services online.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding to expand our online mental health counseling services across Nebraska,” said Blue Elephant Counseling Founder and Clinical Director, Katie Donahoo. “Our mission has always been to make mental health care accessible to everyone, regardless of their location or background. This funding will allow us to reach more people in need and provide them with the high-quality care they deserve.”

Expanding online mental health counseling services will also allow Blue Elephant Counseling to better serve individuals who may be hesitant to seek traditional in-person counseling services due to social stigma or concerns about privacy. Online counseling provides a safe and confidential way for individuals to receive mental health care services in the comfort of their own homes.

Blue Elephant Counseling has been providing mental health counseling services to individuals and families online and across Nebraska since 2021. The agency’s team of licensed mental health counselors provides individual, couples, and family counseling services, as well as specialized counseling services for children and adolescents.

With the expansion of online mental health counseling services across the state of Nebraska, Blue Elephant Counseling hopes to provide greater access to mental health care services and help more individuals and families lead healthy, fulfilling lives.


What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Katie Donahoo

Love hormones are chemical compounds that are released in the brain when we experience feelings of love, attachment, and bonding. These hormones play a significant role in shaping our mental health and overall well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the science behind love hormones and how they impact our mental health.

The first love hormone that we will discuss is oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” because it is released in high levels during moments of physical and emotional intimacy. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and is released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland.

Oxytocin has many functions in the body, including inducing contractions during childbirth and lactation. However, oxytocin is also involved in the formation of social bonds and attachment. When we experience moments of physical and emotional intimacy, such as cuddling, hugging, and holding hands, our bodies release oxytocin, which helps us feel closer to our loved ones.

Oxytocin has also been linked to feelings of love, trust, and attachment. Studies have shown that when oxytocin levels are high, people are more likely to trust others and feel closer to them. Oxytocin has also been found to reduce anxiety and stress, making it a crucial hormone for maintaining mental health.

Another love hormone that plays a significant role in mental health is vasopressin. Like oxytocin, vasopressin is produced in the hypothalamus and is released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland. Vasopressin is involved in several functions in the body, including the regulation of blood pressure and the control of water balance.

Vasopressin is also involved in social bonding and attachment. Studies have shown that when we experience moments of physical and emotional intimacy, our bodies release vasopressin, which helps us feel closer to our loved ones. Vasopressin has also been linked to feelings of love and attachment, and it has been found to reduce anxiety and stress.

In addition to oxytocin and vasopressin, there are several other love hormones that play a role in mental health. One of these hormones is dopamine, which is involved in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. Dopamine is released when we experience pleasure or joy, and it has been linked to feelings of love and attachment.

Another hormone that is involved in mental health is serotonin, which is involved in mood regulation. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety, while high levels of serotonin have been found to improve mood and reduce stress.

Love hormones can have a significant impact on our mental health and overall well-being. When we experience feelings of love, attachment, and bonding, our bodies release love hormones, which can help us feel closer to our loved ones and reduce anxiety and stress. However, when we experience feelings of loneliness and isolation, our bodies may not release as much of these hormones, which can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

There are several ways that we can increase the production of love hormones in our bodies. Some of these include engaging in physical and emotional intimacy with our loved ones, exercising, and practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

One way to increase the production of oxytocin is through physical touch, such as cuddling, hugging, and holding hands. Studies have shown that physical touch can increase oxytocin levels and reduce stress and anxiety.

Exercise is another way to increase the production of love hormones. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, which are chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins have been found to improve mood and reduce stress.

If you are struggling with relationships or feeling less than loved reach out to a mental health profession. Help is available.

Coping skills

Take 5

Photo by Ari Alqadri on

By Katie Donahoo

Coping skills are the things you do help yourself manage and regulate your emotions in a moment of overwhelm or dis-regulation. Coping skills can be anything from taking a deep breath, coloring, or doing a physical activity. Often, coping skills are some of the first things individuals learn when coming into counseling. Many people do not know how to regulate their emotions and this can be what brings them into counseling in the first place. Not all coping skills are created equal and not all skills work effectively for all people.

The Take 5 is a version of a grounding technique I learned long ago. Grounding techniques are coping strategies that help to alleviate anxiety, panic, and overwhelm by utilizing the 5 senses. This strategy takes less than 5 minutes to complete and can be easily remembered by assigning one of your senses to each of your 5 fingers. By utilizing each of your senses you bring yourself to a physical and mental state of relaxation. Give it a try.

Sight: Take a moment to look around you. Find 5 objects and state out loud the name and color of 5 objects. For Example – green grass, brown chair, orange leaf, blue house, red shirt.

Sound: Close your eyes and tune into your sense of hearing. Listen closely. Can you name 5 sounds you hear? For Example: a car driving by, foot steps, ticking clock, male/female voice, papers rustling.

Touch: Walk around the space you are in and find 5 various objects that you can touch. Pick up each object and speak the description of how the object feels in your hands. For Example: velvety pillow, rough rock, smooth and cold table top, waxy leaves on a plant, the heaviness of a blanket. Alternatively you could tune into your body and identify things you feel touching your body in this moment. For Example: wrist watch, back against a chair, rings on your fingers, shoes on your feet, waistband of your clothing, etc.

Smell: Look closely at your surroundings. Can you find 5 things to smell? Quick tip; they do NOT have to smell good. For Example: lotion, chapstick, room spray, your shoe, the trash can, etc.

Taste: While difficult in some settings finding 5 different tastes can be very helpful. Challenge yourself with this one. For Example: describe the taste in your mouth before tasting anything else, gum, candy, chap stick on your lips, soda, tea, coffee, water, salt, sugar, etc.

Did you try it? How do you feel? Pretty silly I’d imagine if you weren’t experiencing any anxiety when you tried it. As with most skills, the effective use of coping strategies increases with practice. The more frequently you check in with yourself and utilize a skill the better you will be able to implement it during a time of great need. Challenge yourself to have some of the harder to find items required for this kind of strategy with you in the places where you experience the most anxiety: school, work, in your car.

If you struggle with recurrent panic attacks please seek professional help in managing your symptoms. Severe anxiety and panic attacks can be extremely disruptive to life function. Help is out there. Help is here. Reach out to Blue Elephant Counseling by registering for a free consultation today.