Blog Post Thursday

How To Know If You’re Depressed

We all go through periods of feeling down, sad, and unmotivated. But how do you know if you’re depressed or just going through a normal mood? Let’s talk about it. Here are 5 signs that may indicate you are experiencing depression:

How to know if you’re depressed?

According to the World Health Organization approximately 280 million people in the world have depression. Here are 5 signs you are depressed:

1. Low Mood:

When people are depressed, they often undergo a noticeable change in their mood. You may find that friends and family start to express concern, asking if you’re okay. They might even mention that you haven’t been quite yourself lately. If you’ve been grappling with persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability, it’s possible that you are dealing with depression.

2. Decreased Interest or Pleasure:

Depression frequently leads to a loss of interest in activities that were once a source of joy. If you find yourself no longer enthusiastic about your usual hobbies or are consistently turning down activities you would typically enjoy, it might be a sign of depression.

3. Sleep Changes:

When a person experiences depression there is often a noticeable change in their sleeping pattern. Sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep are a sign of depression. If you have been experiencing the previous signs of depression and notice your sleep pattern being disrupted you could be depressed.

4. Low Energy:

Depression can drain a person’s energy levels, making even basic daily tasks seem challenging. Something as routine as taking a shower or eating a meal can become difficult. If you’re finding it hard to muster the energy for normal activities, this could be a sign of depression.

5. Trouble Thinking Clearly

People who are depressed often experience difficulties with cognitive tasks. A decrease in their ability to think clearly and concentrate can make decision-making more complex. If you’ve been struggling with a foggy or distracted mind, it could be indicative of depression symptoms.

Depression takes a profound toll on a person, affecting them physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you resonate with these signs and suspect you may be depressed, it’s crucial to reach out for support and professional guidance to help you through this challenging period. Depression is a treatable condition, and seeking help is a significant step toward healing and recovery.

The professionals at Blue Elephant Counseling understand the profound challenges that come with struggling with depression, and they are here to provide a compassionate and supportive hand to guide you through this difficult journey. With a wealth of experience and expertise in mental health, they offer a safe and non-judgmental space for you to express your feelings and concerns. Through evidence-based therapeutic approaches, they can help you identify the underlying causes of your depression, develop coping strategies, and work towards a brighter, more emotionally balanced future. Through individual therapy and a tailored treatment plan, the team at Blue Elephant Counseling is dedicated to assisting you in your path to recovery and emotional well-being. You don’t have to face depression alone, and their caring professionals are ready to provide the guidance and support you need.

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Blog, Blog Post Thursday

The Science of Gratitude: How Thankfulness Can Transform Your Life

A joyful woman stands with her arms out wide, embodying the sense of freedom and happiness that practicing gratitude can bring into one's life
Photo by Oleksandr P on

Gratitude isn’t just a warm, fuzzy feeling—it’s a scientifically proven key to better mental and physical health. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the science of gratitude, the research behind gratitude, and explore how regularly expressing thankfulness can be a transformative force in your life. Get ready to discover the tangible benefits of practicing gratitude and why it’s more than just a November trend.

1. The Psychology of Gratitude Gratitude is Deeply Rooted in Science.

Gratitude is not merely a polite social gesture; it’s a profound psychological concept that has been extensively studied. Let’s explore the two psychological theories that explain why gratitude is so powerful: positive psychology and self-determination theory.

Positive Psychology and Gratitude:

Positive psychology is a field that focuses on the study of positive emotions, strengths, and factors that contribute to a fulfilling life. The Science of Gratitude plays a central role in positive psychology for several reasons:

  • Positive Emotions: Gratitude is inherently tied to positive emotions. When we express gratitude, we experience feelings of happiness, joy, and contentment. This is why practicing gratitude can lead to an overall improvement in one’s emotional well-being.
  • Strengths and Virtues: In positive psychology, gratitude is considered one of the 24 character strengths and virtues. It’s seen as a moral and social strength that contributes to the well-being of both individuals and society as a whole.
  • Resilience: Gratitude increases resilience in the face of adversity. When people practice gratitude, they are better equipped to cope with stress and challenging situations, making them more psychologically resilient.

Self-Determination Theory and Gratitude:

Self-determination theory is another psychological framework that sheds light on the importance of gratitude:

  • Basic Psychological Needs: This theory posits that individuals have three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Practicing gratitude satisfies the need for relatedness. When we express gratitude, we acknowledge and strengthen our social connections, fulfilling one of these fundamental needs.
  • Intrinsic Motivation: Gratitude can also enhance intrinsic motivation, which is the motivation to engage in activities for the inherent enjoyment rather than external rewards. Additionally, people who feel appreciated and valued through expressions of gratitude are more likely to engage in tasks willingly and wholeheartedly.

2. The Brain on Gratitude: Understanding the Neurological Impact of Gratitude

Release of “Feel-Good” Neurotransmitters:

When you express gratitude, whether through actions, thoughts, or words, your brain responds by releasing several “feel-good” neurotransmitters, including:

  • Dopamine: Dopamine is referred to as the “reward neurotransmitter.” It is released when you experience pleasure and reward. Expressing gratitude activates the brain’s reward center, leading to a surge in dopamine. This not only makes you feel happier but also motivates you to repeat the behavior that triggered the release of dopamine.
  • Serotonin: Gratitude is closely linked to an increase in serotonin production. This neurotransmitter plays a key role in regulating mood, contributing to feelings of well-being and happiness. Higher serotonin levels can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Oxytocin: Known as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone,” oxytocin is released when we connect with others through acts of kindness, gratitude, and social bonding. It strengthens social relationships and promotes trust, empathy, and connection with others.

Rewiring the Brain for Increased Happiness:

Gratitude doesn’t just stop at releasing these “feel-good” neurotransmitters; it also rewires your brain for increased happiness over time. Here’s how this rewiring process works:

  • Neuroplasticity: The brain has a remarkable ability to reorganize itself and create new neural pathways. When you regularly practice gratitude, you stimulate neuroplasticity, forging new connections in the brain associated with happiness and positive emotions.
  • Shifting Perspective: Gratitude encourages you to shift your perspective. Instead of focusing on what’s lacking or negative, you begin to pay more attention to the positive aspects of your life. This shift in mindset contributes to a more optimistic outlook on life.

Why This Matters for Your Mental Health:

Understanding the neurological effects of gratitude is crucial because it directly impacts your mental health and well-being:

  • Reduction in Stress: Gratitude helps regulate the stress response in the brain. As you experience increased levels of dopamine and serotonin, your body becomes better equipped to manage stress, reducing its harmful effects on your mental health.
  • Improved Mood: The release of “feel-good” neurotransmitters contributes to an improved mood. This can be especially beneficial for individuals experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, as it offers a natural way to enhance their emotional well-being.
  • Resilience and Coping: With a more resilient brain and a heightened sense of well-being, you’re better prepared to cope with life’s challenges and setbacks. Gratitude equips you with the mental fortitude to bounce back from adversity.

3. The Science of Gratitude on Physical Health Benefits

The Science of Gratitude shows far-reaching physical health benefits. Let’s delve into how gratitude can effectively lower stress, boost the immune system, and promote better sleep.

Lowering Stress:

  • Cortisol Reduction: Gratitude has been linked to a reduction in cortisol levels, which is the body’s primary stress hormone. Practicing gratitude lowers cortisol levels and reduces perceived stress.
  • Improved Stress Coping: Expressing gratitude fosters a more positive and optimistic outlook, helping individuals better cope with stressful situations. Gratitude can increase resilience and the ability to handle stress more effectively.

Boosting the Immune System:

  • Immune Response Enhancement: Gratitude can enhance the body’s immune response. People who regularly expressed gratitude exhibit stronger immune systems, with higher levels of antibodies and increased white blood cell counts.
  • Inflammatory Reduction: Chronic stress can lead to inflammation, which is linked to various health issues. Gratitude has been found to reduce inflammation. Some research indicates individuals who practiced gratitude had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers.

Promoting Better Sleep:

  • Sleep Quality Improvement: Gratitude has a positive impact on sleep quality. Studies show that individuals who kept a gratitude journal experienced better sleep, falling asleep more quickly, staying asleep longer, and feeling more refreshed upon waking.
  • Reduction in Sleep Disturbances: Gratitude practices have also been associated with a decrease in sleep disturbances.

Gratitude isn’t just a vague notion of being thankful; it’s a powerful tool with concrete, measurable benefits. By understanding the science behind gratitude, you can harness its potential to transform your life and well-being year-round, not just during the month of November. Start your journey toward a happier and healthier you today by signing up for online counselling or digital coaching from Blue Elephant Counseling

Blog Post Thursday

Goal Setting and Mental Health: Strategies for a Fulfilling Life

In the journey of life, connecting goal setting and mental health is like charting a course for your ship. Just as a skilled captain navigates through storms and calm waters to reach a destination, ‘goal setting and mental health’ empowers you to steer through challenges and triumphs toward a brighter future. Goal setting and mental health aren’t just about achieving external accomplishments; they’re a powerful tool for enhancing your mental well-being. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the profound connection between goal setting and mental health, and explore strategies for harnessing this synergy to lead a more fulfilling life.

The Link Between Goal Setting and Mental Health

Setting and striving for goals is an integral part of human nature. It provides us with a clear purpose and direction, giving us a reason to wake up every morning with renewed energy. When we have a purpose, we’re more likely to experience a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Working toward meaningful goals fuels motivation. The progress we make, even in small steps, triggers the brain’s reward system, releasing feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This positivity can counteract feelings of stress and anxiety. Achieving goals, whether big or small, boosts self-esteem and self-confidence. Each success serves as a reminder of our capabilities, helping to combat self-doubt and negative self-talk. The journey toward goals isn’t always smooth. Challenges and setbacks are inevitable. However, navigating through these obstacles fosters resilience, teaching us to adapt, persevere, and learn from our experiences.

Enhanced Sense of Purpose:

Goals provide us with a clear purpose and direction, giving us a reason to wake up every morning with renewed energy. When we have a purpose, we’re more likely to experience a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Increased Motivation:

Working toward meaningful goals fuels motivation. The progress we make, even in small steps, triggers the brain’s reward system, releasing feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This positivity can counteract feelings of stress and anxiety.

Boosted Self-Esteem:

Achieving goals, whether big or small, boosts self-esteem and self-confidence. Each success serves as a reminder of our capabilities, helping to combat self-doubt and negative self-talk.

Resilience Building:

The journey toward goals isn’t always smooth. Challenges and setbacks are inevitable. However, navigating through these obstacles fosters resilience, teaching us to adapt, persevere, and learn from our experiences.

Strategies for Effective Goal Setting:

While the benefits of goal setting are clear, achieving them requires careful planning and strategic implementation. Here are some key strategies to make your goal-setting journey successful and mentally enriching:

Set SMART Goals:

Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). This framework clarifies your goals and makes them more attainable.

Break Down Goals:

Large goals can be overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Celebrate each milestone you achieve along the way.

Focus on Intrinsic Goals:

While external achievements are important, prioritize goals that align with your values and passions. These intrinsic goals tend to have a more profound and lasting impact on mental well-being.

Practice Self-Compassion:

Be kind to yourself if you encounter setbacks or delays. Self-compassion encourages a healthier perspective on challenges and reduces negative self-judgment.

Visualize Success:

Create a vivid mental image of your success. Visualization can enhance motivation and help you stay committed to your goals.

Seek Support:

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or even professional counselors. Blue Elephant Counseling is here to support you on your journey. Sharing your goals can provide accountability and encouragement.

Goal setting is more than just a tool for achievement; it’s a pathway to improved mental health and overall well-being. As you set your sights on the future, remember that the journey itself is just as important as the destination. By setting meaningful goals, embracing challenges, and celebrating your successes, you’re cultivating resilience, self-esteem, and a greater sense of purpose. So, chart your course, navigate through the waves of life, and discover the transformative power of goal setting on your mental health journey.

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Activity, Blog

30 Day Gratitude Challenge: Mental Well-Being in November

November is a time of transition and reflection, making it the perfect month to embark on a gratitude challenge. In this 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, we will explore the transformative power of gratitude, discover its positive impact on mental health, and provide you with a structured plan to enhance your overall well-being. Join us as we kickstart a habit of thankfulness that can change your life.

1. The Science of Gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just about saying “thank you” – it’s a profound psychological concept with real-life benefits. See next weeks blog post on The Science of Gratitude to learn about the physical and mental health benefits of gratitude.

2. 30 Daily Gratitude Prompts

Some days, finding something to be grateful for might be a breeze, while other days, it’s more challenging. We’ll provide a list of 30 daily gratitude prompts and ideas to ensure you never run out of things to be thankful for.

  1. Something or someone in your life that makes you smile every day.
  2. A memorable moment from your childhood that brings you joy.
  3. A skill or talent you possess that you’re grateful for.
  4. A place you love to visit that brings you peace.
  5. A family member who has supported you unconditionally.
  6. A close friend who has been there for you through thick and thin.
  7. A teacher or mentor who made a positive impact on your life.
  8. A favorite book or movie that has enriched your life.
  9. A specific accomplishment or achievement you’re proud of.
  10. A meal or food item that always satisfies your cravings.
  11. The beauty of nature, whether it’s a sunrise, sunset, or a starry night.
  12. A piece of art or music that speaks to your soul.
  13. A personal quality or characteristic that you admire in yourself.
  14. A recent act of kindness someone performed for you.
  15. A piece of advice or wisdom that has guided you through life.
  16. A pet or animal that brings joy to your daily routine.
  17. A moment when you felt particularly loved and appreciated.
  18. A cozy, comfortable place in your home where you find solace.
  19. A technological advancement that has improved your life.
  20. A trip or vacation that left you with cherished memories.
  21. A favorite hobby or activity that brings you fulfillment.
  22. A health-related aspect you’re grateful for, such as your well-being or fitness.
  23. A warm and supportive community you’re a part of.
  24. A personal challenge or obstacle that made you stronger.
  25. A season of the year that you look forward to and appreciate.
  26. A past mistake or failure that taught you valuable lessons.
  27. A heartfelt letter or message from a loved one.
  28. A positive change or transformation you’ve experienced.
  29. A beautiful quality or characteristic in someone you admire.
  30. The opportunities that the future holds for personal growth and new experiences.

3. Accountability and Sharing Your 30 Day Gratitude Challenge and Progress

Sharing your gratitude journey with others can be a powerful motivator. We’ll explore 8 benefits of accountability partners, sharing your gratitude lists, and fostering a sense of community.

1. Increased Consistency:

  • When you have an accountability partner, you’re more likely to stay consistent with your gratitude practice. Knowing that someone else is on this journey with you encourages daily participation.

2. Mutual Support:

  • Additionally, accountability partners can provide emotional support and encouragement. Sharing your gratitude lists with each other fosters a sense of camaraderie and motivation.

3. Different Perspectives:

  • Your partner may have unique perspectives and experiences to share. This broadens your own gratitude horizons, helping you appreciate things you might not have noticed otherwise.

4. Strengthened Relationships:

  • Sharing your gratitude lists can strengthen relationships, be it with a partner, friend, or family member. It’s an intimate way to connect and express appreciation for one another.

5. Collective Growth:

  • In a gratitude community, individuals inspire and motivate each other. The collective growth of the community enhances the overall well-being of its members.

6. Shared Wisdom:

  • A community is a repository of shared wisdom and insights. Members can offer tips, prompts, and techniques to enrich each other’s gratitude practice.

7. Accountability on a Larger Scale:

  • A community holds you accountable on a larger scale, reinforcing the commitment to gratitude. It’s not just about a personal journey; it’s about the shared experience.

8. Celebrating Together:

  • In a community, achievements and milestones are celebrated collectively. This can boost motivation and positivity.

4. Overcoming Obstacles During 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Life can get busy, and there may be days when you struggle to find time for your gratitude practice. We’ll discuss common obstacles and strategies to overcome them, so you can stay committed to the challenge.

Lack of time: Set a specific time for your gratitude practice each day, even if it’s just a few minutes. This consistency makes it a habit.

Forgetfulness: Use reminders or alarms on your phone to prompt your daily practice. You can also place your gratitude journal or app in a visible location.

Negative Thinking: When facing negativity, force yourself to find at least one positive thing to write down. It can be a simple pleasure like a warm cup of tea or a friendly smile.

Overwhelm: Keep it simple. Don’t feel pressured to write lengthy entries. Even a single sentence of gratitude can be impactful.

Missed Days: Accept that missed days happen to everyone. Don’t give up; simply resume your practice the next day without self-judgment.

Negative Influences: Surround yourself with people who support your gratitude journey. Share your experiences and seek encouragement from like-minded friends or family members.

5. Transformative Effects of 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

The real magic happens when you stick with the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. By committing to this 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, you’ll be on your way to a happier, more mentally resilient you. Embrace November as a time of growth, reflection, and gratitude, and watch as the positive effects ripple through all areas of your life.

Online Counseling or Coaching for Your Well Being

In the spirit of our 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, we encourage you to continue your journey toward enhanced well-being and personal growth. Remember, seeking support on your path to a more fulfilled life is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you find that you need additional guidance or support, Blue Elephant Counseling is here for you.

Our team of compassionate professionals offers online counseling and coaching services to help you navigate life’s challenges, cultivate gratitude, and find your inner resilience. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to explore further ways to boost your mental well-being, achieve your goals, and maintain a gratitude practice that lasts beyond these 30 days. Your journey toward a happier, healthier you is just a click or call away. Contact us today to embark on a new chapter of well-being and growth.

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Blog Post Thursday

Mental Health Challenges: Navigating Anxiety for Lasting Serenity

In the realm of mental health, anxiety stands as a formidable mental health challenge that millions of individuals encounter. This blog post seeks to shed light on this multifaceted concern and provide practical insights to promote lasting serenity. Whether you’ve faced anxiety personally or know someone who has, understanding the nuances of this condition is crucial for offering support and guidance.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety encompasses more than everyday nerves or pre-event jitters; it embodies a persistent, excessive, and often irrational fear that can disrupt daily life. Ranging from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder to panic disorder and specific phobias, anxiety disorders are diverse. Physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweaty palms, and trembling, or the ceaseless chatter of worrisome thoughts, can manifest in various ways. The severity and triggers of anxiety can vary widely, making it a complex condition.

The Intricacies of Anxiety

Anxiety weaves a complex web of symptoms and challenges. Identifying the triggers of anxiety and breaking free from irrational fears and negative thought patterns can be a daunting task. The perpetual cycle of ‘what if’ scenarios, relentless self-doubt, and the fear of the unknown can ensnare individuals in this intricate web.

The Quest for Calm

While anxiety may be a complex maze, there are strategies and tools that can guide individuals through mental health challenges and towards a path of calm and serenity:

  1. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness allows individuals to ground themselves in the present moment. Techniques like meditation and deep breathing can quiet the mind and diminish anxious thoughts.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT stands as a highly effective therapeutic approach for managing anxiety. It empowers individuals to recognize and reframe negative thought patterns, replacing them with more positive and rational ones. Schedule your fist therapy session today at:
  3. Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise serves as a potent stress reducer. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Even a short walk can make a significant difference in mitigating anxiety.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Diet, sleep, and self-care are integral factors. A balanced diet, adequate sleep, and a well-established routine can significantly impact anxiety levels.
  5. Lean on Your Support Network: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Sharing your feelings and experiences with trusted individuals can provide vital emotional support and guidance.
  6. Consider Medication: In some cases, medication prescribed by a mental health professional may be necessary. Medication can help regulate brain chemistry and alleviate severe anxiety symptoms.

Escaping Mental Health Challenges

Every individual’s journey through the anxiety maze is unique. Recognize that you’re not alone in this struggle with mental health challenges, and support is readily available. Seek professional guidance when necessary and be patient with yourself. Progress may be gradual, but every step forward brings you closer to escaping the anxiety web.

Anxiety, though a formidable challenge, can be managed with the right strategies and support. Understanding the complexity of this condition is the initial step. Remember that you’re not alone on this journey, and there’s hope for a brighter, more serene future. Embrace the tools and strategies that resonate with you and practice self-compassion. Over time, you can navigate the intricate maze of anxiety and discover the inner peace you deserve.

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Blog Post Thursday

Healing from Trauma: A Guide to Recovery and Resilience

Trauma is a complex and deeply impactful experience that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Whether it’s the result of a single distressing event or a prolonged series of overwhelming circumstances, trauma can leave lasting emotional, psychological, and physical scars. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of trauma, understanding its effects, and exploring effective strategies for healing and recovery.

Defining Trauma

Trauma can be broadly defined as an emotional, psychological, or physical response to an event or series of events that overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. It can take many forms, including:

  1. Acute Trauma: This type of trauma results from a single, highly distressing event, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or physical assault.
  2. Chronic Trauma: Chronic trauma, also known as complex trauma, arises from prolonged exposure to distressing or abusive situations, such as ongoing domestic violence or childhood neglect.
  3. Secondary Trauma: This occurs when individuals indirectly experience trauma, often in the context of their work, such as healthcare professionals or first responders who witness traumatic events regularly.

Understanding the Impact of Trauma

Trauma can have a profound impact on every aspect of a person’s life. Here are some of the common effects of trauma:

  1. Emotional Dysregulation: Trauma can lead to intense and unpredictable emotions, including anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, and shame.
  2. Physical Symptoms: Trauma often manifests as physical symptoms, such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep disturbances.
  3. Dissociation: Some individuals experience dissociation, a feeling of being disconnected from themselves or reality, as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions.
  4. Hypervigilance: Trauma survivors may become hyper-alert and easily startled, constantly on edge to potential threats.
  5. Relationship Challenges: Trauma can strain relationships due to difficulties with trust, communication, and emotional intimacy.

Healing from Trauma

The journey to healing from trauma is highly individualized and can take time. However, there are several evidence-based strategies and approaches that can support recovery:

  1. Seek Professional Help: Trauma therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), can be highly effective in helping individuals process and heal from trauma.
  2. Build a Support Network: Connecting with supportive friends and family members can provide a crucial foundation for recovery. Support groups with others who have experienced trauma can also be beneficial.
  3. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, and mindfulness to help regulate emotions and reduce stress.
  4. Understanding Triggers: Identifying and understanding triggers—situations or stimuli that remind you of the traumatic event—can empower you to manage and reduce their impact.
  5. Practice Patience: Healing from trauma is not linear, and setbacks are normal. Be patient with yourself and acknowledge the progress you make, no matter how small.
  6. Safety and Boundaries: Establishing a sense of safety and setting healthy boundaries in your life can be crucial to rebuilding trust and security.
  7. Artistic Expression: Engaging in creative activities like art, music, or writing can help process and express complex emotions that may be difficult to verbalize.

Healing from trauma is a challenging but ultimately transformative journey. It’s important to remember that recovery is possible, and many individuals go on to lead fulfilling lives after trauma. If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, don’t hesitate to seek professional help and support. Blue Elephant Counseling has professional counselors who specialize in trauma treatment. With time, patience, and the right resources, you can reclaim your life and emerge from trauma stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Blog Post Thursday

Mastering the Art of Calming Stormy Seas: How to Stop a Panic Attack for Good!

Panic attacks can feel like a storm brewing inside you, ready to unleash its fury at any moment. The pounding heart, shortness of breath, and overwhelming sense of dread can be paralyzing. But fear not, because in this blog post, we’re going to explore five powerful strategies to help you not only recognize and stop a panic attack but also take control of your anxiety for the long haul.

1. Recognize You Are Having a Panic Attack: The first step in quelling a panic attack is to acknowledge it for what it is. Understand that it’s a temporary surge of anxiety and not a life-threatening event. Familiarize yourself with common symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and trembling. The moment you recognize these signs, you’ve already taken the first step toward regaining control.

2. Remind Yourself That It Will Pass: One of the most challenging aspects of panic attacks is feeling trapped in the moment. But remember, every storm eventually passes. Tell yourself that this too shall pass, and remind yourself of your resilience. You’ve faced panic before, and you’ll conquer it again.

3. Use Breathing Strategies: Deep breathing is a powerful tool to calm your racing heart and ease tension. Practice inhaling slowly through your nose for a count of four, then exhaling through your mouth for a count of six. Repeat this cycle several times. Focusing on your breath distracts your mind from spiraling thoughts.

4. Use Grounding Techniques: Grounding techniques can help you reconnect with reality when panic threatens to overwhelm you. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, where you identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This technique can pull you out of your panicked state and ground you in the present moment.

5. Review the Situation: Now, let’s delve deeper into reviewing the situation, especially for those who experience recurrent panic attacks.

First Time vs. Recurrent Panic Attacks: If you’re having your first panic attack, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. A doctor can assess your condition and provide guidance on medication management, which can be a valuable short-term solution for acute anxiety.

Medication Management: Medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, may be prescribed for those with recurrent panic attacks. These medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. However, they should always be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches.

Seek Counseling: Counseling can be a game-changer in managing panic attacks, especially for recurrent cases. A qualified therapist can help you identify triggers, explore underlying issues, and develop coping strategies tailored to your unique situation.

The Power of Counseling: Counseling is more than just talking about your problems; it’s about understanding them and creating a roadmap for a panic-free life. Here’s how it can be beneficial:

  • Identifying Triggers: Your therapist can help pinpoint the situations, thoughts, or memories that trigger your panic attacks.
  • Learning New Coping Strategies: Through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other therapeutic modalities, you’ll learn effective techniques to manage anxiety and panic.
  • Identifying Underlying Issues: Often, panic attacks are symptoms of deeper emotional issues. Counseling can help uncover and address these underlying concerns.

In conclusion, stopping a panic attack involves recognizing the signs, using calming techniques, and reminding yourself that it will pass. For those facing recurrent panic attacks, medication management and counseling are powerful allies in regaining control over your life. Seek professional help, and remember, you have the strength to weather any storm.

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Blog Post Thursday

Embracing Change in October: A Journey of Personal Growth

As October unfolds, nature’s transformation is a vivid reminder that change is an intrinsic part of life. Let’s delve into the theme of embracing change and personal growth, inspired by the enchanting tapestry of October.

The Changing Seasons

October’s arrival brings forth a symphony of autumnal colors. Leaves transition from vibrant green to hues of red, orange, and gold before gracefully descending to the earth. This change mirrors the natural rhythm of life, urging us to let go of what no longer serves us and make room for new experiences and opportunities.

Personal Growth

In the face of changing landscapes, we can draw inspiration for our own personal growth. Much like trees that shed their leaves to prepare for winter, we too must shed old habits, negative thought patterns, or fears that hinder our progress. October encourages us to adapt and evolve, fostering our personal transformation.

Setting Goals

October marks the transition from the year’s midpoint to its final quarter. It’s an ideal time to revisit and reevaluate the goals and resolutions set earlier in the year. Reflect on your progress, celebrate your achievements, and adjust your goals if needed. Much like the changing leaves, this season reminds us that it’s never too late to make positive changes in life.

Practicing Mindfulness

The enchantment of October inspires us to live in the present moment. Take a break from life’s hustle and bustle. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of this wonderful season. The practice of mindfulness, akin to admiring the autumn landscape, helps you remain grounded and appreciative of the here and now.

Building Resilience

Just as nature’s resilience allows it to endure the changing seasons, we too can build resilience to navigate life’s uncertainties. Embracing change may be challenging, but it offers growth opportunities. By developing resilience, we can bounce back from setbacks, adapt to new situations, and thrive in the face of change.

Embrace the change and personal growth opportunities presented by October. Discover that change is not to be feared but celebrated. This month encourages us to release the old, set new goals, practice mindfulness, and build resilience. The colors of October remind us of the beauty in change, and in the evolving chapters of our lives. Whether you’re sipping pumpkin spice lattes, strolling through falling leaves, or simply reflecting, October invites you to embrace the journey of change and personal growth.

As October’s vibrant change inspires your personal growth journey, remember that you don’t have to navigate it alone. If you’re seeking guidance and support to embrace change and build resilience, consider signing up for digital coaching or online counseling at Blue Elephant Counseling. Your path to a more fulfilling life begins with a single click.

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

Hey there, beautiful souls! 🌈 We’re thrilled to announce an incredible opportunity to prioritize your mental well-being. Enter our GIVEAWAY for a chance to WIN 3 months of FREE online counseling with our expert therapists at Blue Elephant Counseling. 🐘✨

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.

To enter:

1️⃣ Fill out the Google Form below

2️⃣ Leave a comment, sharing one thing that brings you joy.

3️⃣ Share with a friend who could use some extra positivity in their life!

Hurry, the giveaway ends September 11, 2023! Don’t miss your chance to invest in your mental wellness. Remember, you’re not alone on this path – we’re here to walk it with you. 🌱💙

#GiveawayAlert #MentalHealthMatters #OnlineCounseling #BlueElephantCounseling #SelfCare #Mindfulness #WellnessJourney


8 Signs of High Functioning Depression

High functioning depression, also known as persistent depressive disorder, and previously called dysthymia, is a form of depression that can be difficult to detect because the symptoms may not be as obvious as those of major depression.

For depression to be considered persistent you have to have been experiencing your symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 years if you are an adult and for at least 1 full year if you are a child.

So let’s get into the 8 signs that you or someone you know may be experiencing high functioning depression.

Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness — we all experience these things at one time or another but a consistent, ongoing, and hard to shake feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness could be a sign you have persistent depressive disorder.

Loss of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure — when a person experiences ongoing depression they tend to eliminate the fun and social activities from their schedules. When you struggle to function in your day to day life just getting up and going to work or school can be draining, leaving little to no interest for socializing or doing really anything you don’t have to.

Decreased energy and difficulty with motivation — functioning with depression is draining. If you have difficulty motivating yourself or coming up with the energy to do things you may be experiencing depression. And when this struggle lasts for a long time, you might be struggling with persistent depression.

Changes in sleep patterns or appetite — Eating and sleeping are everyday occurrences and vary from person to person. When considering this symptom for yourself it’s important to think about it as a CHANGE from previous functioning rather than in a numeric measurement. Increase or decreased sleep and appetite can be a symptoms of many issues unrelated to mental health so consider the situation and the length of time you have noticed the changes. When a person struggles with ongoing depression the increased or decreased use of sleep and food is acting as a coping strategy. If you notice a significant or ongoing change in sleep or eating patterns you may be suffering from persistent depression.

Difficulty concentrating or making decisions — making decisions and concentration require a large amount of mental energy. These skills are diminished when a person is struggling with ongoing depression.

Self-critical thoughts or feelings of worthlessness — negative self talk has a huge impact on our emotional health. When a person is struggling with persistent depression their ability to challenge their thinking and talk positively to themself is diminished.

Physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive problems — We call these somatic symptoms. It’s when a person is struggling with their depression so much that they have physical illness type responses. If you notice recurring stomach aches or headaches over a two year period it may be caused by persistent depression.

Difficulty managing daily responsibilities and tasks — High functioning Depression is still depression. Over time, without treatment, the person will experience a progressive decrease in their daily life functioning. Missing appointment or deadlines, missing kids special events, forgetting to pay bills, dishes and laundry piling up, and an overall struggle to manage daily life.

It’s important to note that everyone experiences these symptoms differently, and it’s possible to experience high functioning depression without experiencing all of the symptoms discussed today. If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be experiencing high functioning depression, it’s a good idea to speak with a mental health professional for an assessment.

Persistent depression is treatable and often with interventions as simple as talk therapy. There are medications that can help and I know not everyone is a fan of medication treatments. But know that there are options available and talk to your doctor if you are struggling. You can also seek counseling from a mental health provider such as myself.

Leave a comment if there is a mental health topic you would like more information about. Bye!