7 Steps to Mental Clarity

7 Simple Steps to Improve Mental Clarity and Focus

 

Okay, so you put your car keys in the freezer. You picked up a banana instead of your phone to call your mom. It happens. But when you call your child by your cat’s name or drive to the grocery store instead of your office, it may be time to clear your head.

When you’re busy, mental clarity can seem like a rare commodity. You have so many things to do in such a brief period. Your brain tries to organize tasks, meetings, birthdays, dinner plans, chores, and much more.

Before long, a haze sets in, covering the many items on your brain’s “to-do list”.

The brain starts to feel foggy. You begin forgetting important names and dates. You enter a room and realize you can’t remember why you’re there. You lack focus and it feels harder and harder to concentrate on specific duties.

This brain fog can make it harder for you to learn new things, whether in your professional or personal life.

There is good news, however. You can take specific steps to relieve a foggy mind and achieve mental clarity. A good first step is to make sure your symptoms are not an undiagnosed medical issue.

Get a Medical Check-Up

A lack of mental clarity can be a result of an undiagnosed medical concern. It’s important for you to receive a complete check-up from a medical doctor who can evaluate your symptoms.

Attention deficit disorder has been associated with brain fog in some patients. This can be caused by low levels of dopamine. Not getting enough water and protein can contribute to what some call the “ADHD brain”.

People who suffer from anxiety and depression have reported having a lack of mental clarity.

Brain injuries, brain tumors, diabetes, Lyme disease, lupus, and numerous other medical conditions could be the cause of your symptoms. Ruling out these medical conditions can allow you to move to other possible sources.

Not using substances that can alter the brain in any way is key to mental clarity.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

The side effects of drug and alcohol abuse include the inability to have clear thoughts or make good decisions. Substances can also affect the hippocampus region of the brain that is responsible for your memory. Meaning, they can impair your ability to recall information.

Withdrawal from alcohol and drugs can induce brain fog as well. While the body is attempting to rid itself of these toxins, your brain is trying to get you to reuse the substances. This can create confusion.

Drugs and alcohol can even prevent you from having a good night’s sleep. Which is unfortunate since there is a great deal of evidence showing the importance of sleep for not only mental clarity but for overall wellness.

Get Good Sleep

A lack of sleep can make you feel groggy and unable to focus or concentrate. Over time, sleep deprivation can affect memory, health, and mood.

The kind of sleep you need to achieve mental clarity involves turning off all noise and distractions, including light from a television or computer. Make sure the temperature where you sleep is comfortable, not too hot or cold. Without interruption, sleep for at least seven hours.

Getting good sleep allows your brain time to restore and heal the rest of your body. It makes you feel refreshed and capable of tackling important projects.

Write Down What’s on Your Mind

The brain likes to store information, that’s what it does. Sometimes the information it stores is not necessary. it is better to get this information out of your brain so you can think more clearly. To-do lists, shopping lists, birthdays, phone numbers and any other information that can be written on a piece of paper, should be.

Store this information in a desk drawer, not in your brain. You will then be able to focus on the important things in your life.

De-Stress

Stress is one of the biggest causes of brain fog. Stress is bad for your whole body. The sooner you can learn to de-stress, the better.

Meditation, yoga, acupressure, acupuncture and exercise are some of the best ways to gain mental clarity. They help you focus on the connection between your mind, body, and spirit. This connection is imperative to achieving positive mental health and clarity.

Clean and Organize

A cluttered mind can sometimes represent a cluttered home or office. Our surroundings can represent our lifestyles. If our house looks like a tornado moved in, most likely, our mind feels the same way.

Take time to clean your spaces of importance. Clean your desk and office. Clean your home. Organize closets and work files. Making your environment feel good can make you feel good.

Keeping your environment free of clutter can allow you the ability to pay closer attention to your own needs, mentally and physically. Learn how to become psychologically healthier through organization and cleanliness.

Listen to Your Body

It is easy to ignore signals from your body when you are leading a hectic lifestyle. You may skip meals or eat snack foods throughout the entire day. You may drink a lot of soda but rarely any water. You may even be hurting in some areas of your body but refuse to take the time to see a doctor.

By not listening to your body’s signals, you are not doing yourself any favors. The body needs to be properly nourished, fueled with water and cared for regularly. Failure to do so will result in damage to your body. Eventually, this can affect your mental health as well.

When your body is trying to get your attention, you are easily distracted. It is hard to stay focused due to the constant nagging of your body asking for help.

Mental clarity is a very realistic goal to have. You can reach this goal by replacing negative habits with positive ones. If you are not sleeping well, make changes so that you can rest the right way. If you are smoking or abusing substances, take steps to stop.

It is up to you to implement tactics that will release the feeling of a foggy brain. Become stress-free, make yourself a priority and begin living with mental clarity.

 

When Self-Hatred Looks Like Self-Love

When Self-Hatred Looks Like Self-Love

To anyone reading the title – yes, the difference in definition between self-love and self-hatred is basically the difference between day and night, as they’re antonyms. But it’s not the definition that I’m talking about today – it’s how an outside perception of these two things can be misguided, or distorted.

It’s easy to mistake confidence for self-love or to expect someone realistic to be self-loathing somehow because they don’t stretch past their boundaries or limits. The truth is that love and hatred can be expressed in diverse ways, and we can confuse one for the other – especially when regarding ourselves. We live in a world where outward perception is highly valued and criticized, and where we receive a bombardment of opinions regarding our appearance, choices, and lifestyles – regardless of whether we wanted them or not.

It can be hard to withstand all those opinions and statements and still come out at the end with a concrete understanding of how we ourselves feel about who we are. Our opinions can get jumbled, distorted and changed by others, and we feel the need to defend ourselves, or even violently exert our confidence in a way that screams insecurity. That high self-esteem of ours then looks more like an attempt at validation, and a deeper self-loathing.

To better understand the delicate nature of self-perception, and the best way to look at oneself without feeling forced to conform to others, we’ll need to take a few steps back and look at the self in a more comprehensive way.

We Are a Mirror

We often talk about individuality and finding a way to express yourself for who you are, with the freedom of doing so without being pressured by others, but the truth is that “others” are the very source of how we define ourselves.

It is through other people that we find out who we are, and just how our understanding of the world is shaped.

You see, no one comes into this world understanding how things work. Not a single baby is born with a full understanding of social constructs and relationships and hierarchy and the rules of engagement and simple interaction. We learn these things, and we improve our ability to communicate and mold how we act after the actions and, partially, the personalities of our role models whoever they may be.

We also test ourselves and push the limits of what is and isn’t acceptable to find out how far we’d go, and how far we’re allowed to go regarding different aspects of being a normal human being.

Without others to reflect off of, the development of the human psyche might just be incomplete. In other words, what others think of us is in fact important. It may be critical in the establishment of our self.

Why Some Take Criticism More Harshly Than Others

But there is a healthy and unhealthy approach to everything, and the same goes for just how much we let others influence who we are. At a specific point in life, we begin to shape an idea of who we are based on what we’re comfortable with, what we want from ourselves, and where we see ourselves in our sphere of influence.

We begin to develop responsibilities and dependencies that define us, we find a purpose in life we want to pursue. Something, whatever it may be, gives our life “meaning”. And as we pursue that, we seek the nurturing and compassion of others towards our direction in life to let us know we’re doing “the right thing”.

When that time has come, we’ve officially grown up and discovered who we are. That doesn’t mean who we are becomes an immovable pillar of cement that can’t and shouldn’t be changed with time to adapt to different scenarios – but it also is no longer the malleable concept that your “self” might’ve been in your teen years, when you were still experimenting with who you are.

Understanding this is important because it helps us clarify that, in a way, validation is normal. Seeking validation, in fact, is important. It helps us cement an understanding of who we are, and when we seek the approval of others in our youth, this is to make sure that we become someone who matters to others and fits into the “tribe”, or general social fabric of the community.

But if we’re someone who isn’t bound by the community, then it’s harder to establish our purpose around the wishes of those around us. Instead, we might adapt the concept to a much wider sense of “community”, seeking to fit into a global image by pursuing some other passion that gives us a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Instead of defining ourselves by concepts like family, we might see ourselves as someone who helps others realize their dreams in business, or as entertainers on a global scale.

So, it’s perfectly normal that, when that self is attacked by others, our first instinct is to be defensive. When someone doesn’t like us, our first instinct is to try and understand why and to justify who we are in a way that makes us happy and perhaps even conforms to their worldview. But in a world where so many millions of different people have wildly different opinions over every facet of life, it’s impossible to please everyone with who we are – and we’ll always come across people who dislike us for one reason or another, be it because of who we are or because of a deeper personal issue they possess.

And once we grow used to that sort of criticism and secure with our understanding of who we are and what we want, we can ignore the intrusive questions and pointed accusations of others who don’t like something about us.

But some people don’t grow used to it. They don’t have the ability to see past other people’s criticisms because they relate to the criticism more than they relate to themselves. They have an idea of who they want to be, but they aren’t sure that’s who they are, and they have a deeper self-image that is built around doubt and self-loathing than the outward projection of confidence they use to mask their inner worries.

And when criticism is lobbed at them, they become defensive and aggressive again and again because of that insecurity, and the need to constantly validate themselves through little pursuits of vanity or self-embellishment.

On the outside, these may be confident, beautiful people with a powerful self-image. But upon deeper inspection, we find little elements of overcompensation and insecurity, anger and self-doubt. And that’s not to be ridiculed, or attacked – because the only way that person can go from feeling lost and undefined to finding actual happiness with who they are is through the very same thing that is so crucial in creating a confident and healthy self-image in teens becoming adults: compassion.

Confidence Isn’t Self-Love

It’s true that, in a way, people who love who they are and are happy with their lives are also more confident in their abilities. More accurately, they know what they can and can’t do, and they have a better definition of their boundaries and limitations without being angered by them. They are, as we all say, content.

Expressing an outward confidence in who you are, to the point of becoming oppressive and defensive, isn’t self-love. It’s an example of inner turmoil. As some say, a high self-esteem may not actually mean you’re going places in life. There is such a thing as having too high an opinion of oneself, mostly as a symptom of truly seeing ourselves as much smaller than we might be.

It’s confusing, for sure, but rather simple to trace to a point of origin – at some point, people who are unsure of themselves and force a fabricated image of who they are to cover up how they really feel about themselves may have been deeply hurt or constantly criticized earlier in life. They may have lost the chance to feel accepted or secure in who they want to be because everyone around them were against it. And they lash out, frustrated with themselves and others. They may cover it up to mask the pain.

In some cases, this may be a part of a personality disorder like narcissism (although not all narcissism includes self-doubt). In other cases, a person might have deep-seated feelings of anxiety and even depression, while employing an outward persona of confidence to distract from those feelings. Or, they may have no symptoms of actual mental illness and are simply troubled and insecure.

Let’s go back to the earlier assertion: people with insecurities and issues regarding self and self-loathing, regardless of how they choose to reflect that to the outside world, can find healing through compassion.

Compassion Against Hatred

We’ve talked about how we often develop a sense of self-based on others. We’ve talked about how who we are is tied to how useful we feel to others. And we’ve talked about how people who take issue with who they are haven’t had the chance to cement their place in society or purpose in life due to constant rejection, at first from outside and then within themselves. Like self-love, the origins of their self-hatred may very well have begun through others.

And it’s first through others, and then through themselves that people dealing with issues of insecurity can find happiness. Compassion is key in this – compassion is the ability to feel concerned for the suffering of others. But it’s more than that because it’s also the ability to understand how someone else is feeling. Being compassionate is about empathy. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing their perspective on things, rather than berating them for how they feel about something without even trying to understand the context of their situation or their mindset because they are, according to you, going about this “the wrong way”.

Compassion isn’t about molding to someone’s negativity and letting them wallow in their self-loathing. Just because it means “suffering together”, doesn’t mean it extends to promoting pity. Instead, compassion is about telling someone that it’s okay to feel the way they do, both in terms of sadness and happiness. It’s okay to feel rejected and hurt, and it’s okay to feel passionate about something that you may have been ridiculed for in the past. It’s okay to pursue your dreams. It’s okay to be who you want to be, because we accept you in our community, and value you as a person.

We All Need Love

The easiest way to relate to this bit of knowledge is by calling upon an adage: no man is an island. We thrive not in isolation, but together. We may seek each other out in different ways, where some people prefer the company of many and other people prefer just a small selection of friends, but we all need each other to feel like we belong. Individuality and developing a sense of self is important for a healthy psyche, but we also need to recognize that that still depends on others.

Because as human beings, we’re not actually inherently selfish creatures like we constantly tell each other we are. Our human nature isn’t “I’ve got mine, so you can go screw yourself” – it’s to look out for those who matter to us. It’s just an unfortunate fact that we’re currently conditioned to be critical and skeptical of others because of the way our society is molded, but true happiness comes from learning to accept others and ourselves.

By expressing compassion towards others, we can help them heal from rejection, and the unneeded criticisms levied at them by others who may have sought to put them down or destroy their feelings.

Of course, there will always be things we can’t emphasize with, like hatred and destruction. We can’t feel compassion for someone who wants to hurt others and discriminate, and we can’t emphasize with a person who feels it is their duty to spread separation and hate.

But very few people want to do that, down to their core. Most people want to be happy and be with others who feel happy for them, and they seek happiness in countless ways, through art or philanthropy or the pursuit of knowledge. And we need to support and be positive about people seeking to be who they are, rather than put them down and foster more negativity.

The Most Common Mental Disorders

The Most Common Mental Disorders

The human mind is incredibly complex, and although it’s something we’ve been thinking about and studying for thousands of years, we’re pretty much nowhere near really figuring out how we work. We still discover new things about ourselves on a regular basis, from understanding how intelligence develops and what factors determine personality to figure out what is and isn’t normal human behavior, and how a healthy mind can best avoid becoming ill.

For the world of psychology, the big responsibility is figuring out how to solve the problems of the human mind – its mental disorders. There are many mental disorders and symptoms, and all of them range from mild to ruinous in severity and capacity. Some mental disorders make it difficult to remember things and may make us a little more irritable, or prone to a loss of temper. They might kill our mood or send us into swings of irrational emotion. Others toy with our mind, putting things in our world that aren’t really there, letting us hear and feel things that don’t exist.

The modern human mind is an evolutionary development that took millions of years and truly materialized a few dozen thousand years ago, and we’re still doing our homework on it – and will be for a very long time.

When it comes to these common mental disorders and the progress we’ve made in studying them and discovering as much about them as possible, it’s humbling to see how much of the progress we’ve made towards diagnosing and helping people with these disorders is rather recent. We just don’t know much and are constantly learning more. But what we do know can help a lot of people put their experiences into context, and help them improve and even thrive under dire conditions.

Keep in mind that while these are basic explanations of what we know about our worst mental enemies, every single one of these descriptions is written to inform you on the basics of mental illness, and not act as diagnostic tools. Only a professional can help you definitively figure out if you’re struggling with your mental health.

Substance Abuse and Dependence

These are actually two separate categories according to the DSM, but it helps to explain them together due to their obviously exclusive relationship. Abuse doesn’t really mean dependence according to modern addiction literature, and the matter is a difference between the physical issue of a dependence on whatever drug of choice someone has and the abuse of a drug for the purpose of self-medication.

To be clearer, substance abuse is defined by modern psychiatric standards as a maladaptive behavior. That’s when you’ve got a problem, and your solution for coping with said problem – like an abnormal amount of stress – is to do something that might seem to help you in the short-term but will cause you an even greater amount of stress and potential damage in the future. The simplest analogy is shooting you in the foot to stop a headache, although a far more realistic example is drinking alcohol to relieve stress after work – night after night after night.

When a drug is used for over a year for the explicit purpose of coping with stress or other problems, and you’re escalating in reckless behavior (like drinking on the job), you’re probably eligible for a professional diagnosis of abuse.

Dependence is something else. That’s when your body develops a physical resistance or tolerance to a drug, and you take incrementally larger amounts of it to make up for the fact. Eventually, this drives you to a point where trying to stop causes you to go into withdrawal, a painful and sometimes deadly experience if not done properly and with medical attention.

The two are intricately related and often occur together, but not everyone suffering from addiction can be diagnosed with both. Dependence is treated through the highly studied medical art of rehab – clients basically get medical assistance in weaning their body off a drug, and then they get psychiatric assistance to beat their addiction. Some people get off drugs completely on their own, but it’s never an easy experience.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a contender for the top of the list in terms of the world’s most common mental illness. It’s an incredibly diverse diagnosis, with disorders ranging from extremely mild to highly severe. All the world’s phobias are encompassed within the anxiety spectrum, together with specific diagnoses like social anxiety, and the more general anxiety disorder.

To put it in simpler terms, anxiety is fear. That’s really the best way to describe it. An anxiety disorder is an extraordinary or unnatural fear of something or several things in life, manifesting in different ways. Social anxiety disorders, for example, are the fear and worry that you might embarrass yourself, or that you’re incapable of presenting yourself in public without a massive blunder. It can be mild or so bad that you develop an obsessive compulsive disorder, the urge to utilize compulsive and obsessive behavior to distract yourself or save yourself from a certain fear.

Like any mental illness, anxiety can be inherent, or it can develop. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is usually diagnosed after an incredibly traumatic or series of traumatic events causes you to break down into a state of anxiety, making the event a painful scar in your life. Over 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety in a year, the most common example being social anxiety. This isn’t to be confused with shyness or introversion, both of which are normal human behavior – rather, it’s the fear or total irrational aversion to certain forms of human contact.

Depression

More than 15 million Americans struggle with major depression, and several million more struggles with depressive symptoms, falling somewhere along the depression spectrum. Another term for the depression spectrum is mood disorders, a collection of different disorders related to depression and depressive symptoms, from manic depression to cyclothymia. The basic idea is that a mood disorder is one where your regular ups and downs are replaced by severe ups and downs, or just a lot of really bad downs.

Depression isn’t just feeling sad, or having a down-time emotionally. We naturally experience quite a few of the symptoms of a depression while mourning and grieving the loss of a loved one, or while coping with a sad event that might’ve severely affected us. Yet our natural inclination is to live through that depressive period, then recover and move on. It might make us a little solemn or sad to think about it, but it’s over.

Major depression may develop because of a traumatic event, or completely on its own, and major depression is diagnosed by exhibiting several depressive symptoms for much longer than is normal.

A depression can pass on its own, or become a lifelong problem. Depression isn’t a joke or just a matter of feeling sad – severe depression includes regular thoughts of hopelessness and suicide and instances of self-harm. Depression is the leading cause of disability among young people, stripping people of the will to live and the motivation to work. And it’s a growing problem among our youth.

Treating depression isn’t easy. Not only can it take a long time to make progress through therapy and medication, but those struggling with depression quite often also struggle with anxiety or another mental disorder. Common symptoms, as a result, are an incredibly low self-esteem and trouble in social situations, ranging from extreme shyness to fear of contact.

Another common form of depression is manic depression, which was formerly known as bipolar disorder. While it’s a separate diagnosis from major depression, both occur on the depressive spectrum. Manic depression is best described as a severe depression with manic episodes – these are basically episodes of extreme elation and a hyper confidence that often inspires recklessness.

Among the roughly 5.7 million Americans struggling with manic depression, the experience is generalized as swinging between severe sadness and euphoria, but a manic state can often translate into abject fear and paranoia rather than happiness. It’s important to understand that – it’s not really accurate to describe manic depression as a mix of happy and sad, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Mania and happiness aren’t the same things – mania is a state of mental hyperactivity, the opposite of a depressive phase, where instead of a lack of motivation you find yourself motivated towards anything. However, this is also highlighted by over activity and delusions of grandeur, which can make for a scary combination. Even in less severe cases, such a cyclothymia – a much milder manic depression – neither the depressive nor manic symptoms are typically appreciated.

Eating Disorders

Last on this list and a fairly commonly diagnosed set of disorders are eating disorders. Typically, when we think about an eating disorder, we picture bulimia or anorexia. However, binge eating is also an incredibly potent issue among Americans and a driving factor in other mental disorders and general health issues.

An eating disorder is any mental disorder characterized by severe irregularities with the way a person eats food and handles their weight. Extreme fluctuations in weight gain and weight loss, as well as periods of starvation or binge-eating, are signs of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are highly treatable, if diagnosed properly and addressed with the proper medication and treatment for the job.

About 30 million Americans have an eating disorder, a drastic percentage of which are female, minorities and/or transgender. While over half of the diagnosed cases of bulimia in the country are at least partially genetically caused, stress is a massive factor in the development of an eating disorder. Like substance abuse, sometimes it’s a matter of maladaptive behavior – short-term reward, long-term damage. This is especially true for cases of a binge eating disorder, where roughly half of all cases is diagnosed alongside either anxiety, depression, or both.

The statistics are alarming, both for anorexia/bulimia and binge eating. Other less common eating disorders such as restrictive food intake and diabulimia are also taking their toll on the American population – and our general solution is support and therapy. Medication does less in cases of an eating disorder than it might for other disorders, perhaps due to the complex nature of how an eating disorder develops.

When it’s not genetic, eating disorders may be related to a low self-esteem and major body issues, including a powerful feeling of self-consciousness regarding personal weight, and body dysmorphia – an anxiety disorder that causes someone to see themselves in a highly negative and different light from reality, from feeling inadequate in size and weight to considering a minor personal imperfection as a highly visible flaw.

Treating Our Mental Illnesses

Mental illness is a highly individual manner, where every case has its own nuances and unique circumstances that make diagnosis and treatment challenging. Sometimes, we like to make sweeping allegations and simplistic statements about certain disorders to help simplify the complex, but that only hurts the credibility of psychology. It’s a lot more realistic to think about these disorders as categories of related symptoms, many of which are closely related and tie into a problem solved by a specific set of therapies and medication.

There are some generalities that can be said about mental disorders, though. For one, a mental disorder is never guaranteed. People can go through untold amounts of trauma and not develop PTSD. Some people still develop high levels of anxiety without having experienced trauma or abuse.

While one breakup might’ve been enough to set off a depression, that doesn’t mean the next one will do the same for the same person. There are too many factors and too many variables to give a perfect explanation of how any individual case of mental illness came to pass – the best we can do is help you understand why you might’ve been affected, and what options you have towards getting better.

Things get even more complicated when you realize that many of these disorders – such as anxiety, depression, and bulimia – act together, making a clear diagnosis tough to call. It’s important not to get too hung up on labels – what we call things doesn’t ultimately matter when we focus on tackling an individual’s problem as a whole.

Applying Positive Psychology for Long-Lasting Healing

Applying Positive Psychology for Long-Lasting Healing

Positivity as a form of mental health treatment has become prominent with the rise in understanding how thinking, feeling and behavior are related, and how the three can help each other achieve a different state of mind.

For example, in cases of major depression, positive psychology can be a long-term treatment tool to improve the symptoms of depression, including boosting a client’s self-esteem, eliminating self-destructive behavior and maladaptive coping mechanisms, and ultimately suppressing or overwhelming negative thoughts and moods.

It’s not as immediately effective as medication but is rather seen as a sort of tool meant to exploit the brain’s ability to shape our reality by continuously repeating positive thoughts and actions until they become a part of us and improve our mental well-being.

At least, that’s the rough long and short of it. As I said, applied positive psychology is a college course in many places and there are online mini-libraries dedicated to the topic. So, for our intents and purposes, it’ll be much easier to just touch upon what you need to know to get the most out of the concept in your everyday life, regardless of whether you’re affected by a mental illness, or if you know someone who is.

As I said, applied positive psychology is a college course in many places and there are online mini-libraries dedicated to the topic. So, for our intents and purposes, it’ll be much easier to just touch upon what you need to know to get the most out of the concept in your everyday life, regardless of whether you’re affected by a mental illness, or if you know someone who is.

What is Positive Psychology?

As mentioned, positive psychology is the practice of using positive thinking and actions to improve a depressed or negative patient’s mental well-being. Positive psychology has two basic approaches or points: the first is the understanding, identification, and elimination of negative pathological thinking. The second is the implementation of positive thinking to combat said negativity.

For reference, pathological thinking is emotional or compulsive thinking – logical thinking is its counterpart, and is often a big part of positive psychology. By convincing ourselves logically that the reality of a situation is much less grim than we make it out to be, we can contradict our pathological thoughts with concrete evidence of positivity, and reinforce our own positivity over negativity. That way we beat out pathological negativity, or “chronic despair”.

By convincing ourselves logically that the reality of a situation is much less grim than we make it out to be, we can contradict our pathological thoughts with concrete evidence of positivity, and reinforce our own positivity over negativity. That way we beat out pathological negativity, or “chronic despair”.

Hopelessness and despair are big aspects of depression and other mental illnesses. When you’re languishing in the combined symptoms and stigma of your mental diagnosis, it can be hard to be anything but grim. Positive psychology has thus developed as a symptom of therapeutic tools, practices and philosophies to change a person’s mindset to reintroduce hope, and combat irrational negativity.

When you’re languishing in the combined symptoms and stigma of your mental diagnosis, it can be hard to be anything but grim. Positive psychology has thus developed as a symptom of therapeutic tools, practices and philosophies to change a person’s mindset to reintroduce hope, and combat irrational negativity.

The Difference Between Being Positive and Always Being Positive

Because of the popularity of positive thinking and positivity as a major part of a person’s well-being, there has been a lot of criticism around positive psychology as being a form of self-delusion, often for the sake of perceived happiness in truly desperate situations. It has also been considered a snake oil tactic.

It has also been considered a snake oil tactic.

There are people out there who peddle positivity as the end-all-be-all panacea to any situation – even a perfectly fine situation. This is a false understanding of how positivity should be applied on a psychological level. You see, it’s perfectly fine to be sad. It’s fine to be pessimistic at times. It’s fine to be angry, and discontent with where you are in life. You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

This is a false understanding of how positivity should be applied on a psychological level. You see, it’s perfectly fine to be sad. It’s fine to be pessimistic at times. It’s fine to be angry, and discontent with where you are in life. You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

Positive psychology is about overwhelming negative pathological thinking. It’s about introducing hope in hopelessness. It’s about giving you the mental fortitude to get out of a desperate situation – it’s not about making you happy with a bad place in life, or about robbing you of the ability to resist and get angry. Positive thinking is also about improving your own self-esteem – which only promotes the healthy application of frustration and resistance to manipulation.

It’s about introducing hope in hopelessness. It’s about giving you the mental fortitude to get out of a desperate situation – it’s not about making you happy with a bad place in life, or about robbing you of the ability to resist and get angry. Positive thinking is also about improving your own self-esteem – which only promotes the healthy application of frustration and resistance to manipulation.

Being positive in the light of a tragedy doesn’t mean robbing yourself of the chance to grieve. It’s about keeping yourself from spiraling into a depression because of the loss of a loved one or significant figure.

It’s about keeping yourself from spiraling into a depression because of the loss of a loved one or significant figure.

There are many cases where nuance and context are very important when considering applied positivity – and a lot of people out there “peddling” positivity as means to build their social media profile or sell branded merchandise are rather ham-fisted in their “teaching method”. This is where professional psychology becomes important, especially in the application of positivity as an actual treatment for mental illness.

The lessons in positive psychology are relevant to everyone, but only in a deeply personal way. Not every part of positive psychology and optimism will resonate with you, and that’s fine. The last thing a philosophy around positivity should do is force itself upon you, or ask you to do the forcing.

Not every part of positive psychology and optimism will resonate with you, and that’s fine. The last thing a philosophy around positivity should do is force itself upon you, or ask you to do the forcing.

How Your Mindset Affects Lasting Healing

“Lasting healing” sounds a bit New Age, and that’s understandable. But this has nothing to do with carrying around crystals for better chakra balance – lasting healing is exactly what it says it is, long-term improvement in mental health.

But this has nothing to do with carrying around crystals for better chakra balance – lasting healing is exactly what it says it is, long-term improvement in mental health.

Lasting healing happens in many ways, typically personal ways. To be more specific, an addict may derive lasting healing through group therapy by depositing their fears and worries in a circle of trust, while hearing the thoughts and motivating stories of others. From that, they derive the strength to stay sober. That’s a form of lasting healing from substance use.

To be more specific, an addict may derive lasting healing through group therapy by depositing their fears and worries in a circle of trust, while hearing the thoughts and motivating stories of others. From that, they derive the strength to stay sober. That’s a form of lasting healing from substance use.

For depression, lasting healing might come through physical therapy and lifestyle changes. Lasting healing is not achieved through short-term solutions like medication, detoxification or treatment camps. These are solutions meant to build a foundation upon which lasting healing can be achieved. The distinction is important.

Lasting healing is not achieved through short-term solutions like medication, detoxification or treatment camps. These are solutions meant to build a foundation upon which lasting healing can be achieved. The distinction is important.

Positive psychology is conducive to lasting healing. It’s a branch of psychology dedicated to long-term change in mindset and thinking, and as such, it’s something that isn’t just dependent on outside factors like therapy but can be perpetuated through personal habits and discipline. And as we know, long-term beats short-term. Positive psychology will give someone with mental health issues the tools and type of thinking needed to eventually overcome the diagnosis without a dependence on treatments.

It’s a branch of psychology dedicated to long-term change in mindset and thinking, and as such, it’s something that isn’t just dependent on outside factors like therapy but can be perpetuated through personal habits and discipline. And as we know, long-term beats short-term. Positive psychology will give someone with mental health issues the tools and type of thinking needed to eventually overcome the diagnosis without a dependence on treatments.

This is because of the obvious conclusion that your mindset affects your mind. Even if you suffer a disorder, caused by something like genetics, chronic stress or an excessive absorption of serotonin, the way you think and the way you act affects the way you feel, and changes who you are. It can be something as simple as doing a little exercising at home and changing your posture, or as extensive as doing hypnotherapy, changing your career path or going through a huge personal transformation.

Even if you suffer a disorder, caused by something like genetics, chronic stress or an excessive absorption of serotonin, the way you think and the way you act affects the way you feel, and changes who you are. It can be something as simple as doing a little exercising at home and changing your posture, or as extensive as doing hypnotherapy, changing your career path or going through a huge personal transformation.

It can also involve positive language, empathic assertiveness, and little lingual exercises that change how you communicate with others, and in turn, changes the way you use language – a powerful tool for changing yourself. Positivity in psychology as a genuine means for long-term management of mental illness and improvement in various mental conditions has only really been a stance in the world of psychiatry for a few decades, specifically when Martin Seligman became President of the APA in the late 90s.

Happiness and positivity as a tool for mental health aren’t just useful when tackling the difficulties of mental diagnoses and disorders, though. It can be a helpful tool to anyone.

What We Can All Learn from Positive Psychology

Positive psychology isn’t just a treatment or a cure – it’s a preventative measure as well. See it as a form of herbal medicine – not just does it speed up the healing process, but involving it in your diet means you’re probably not going to be getting as sick as often.

See it as a form of herbal medicine – not just does it speed up the healing process, but involving it in your diet means you’re probably not going to be getting as sick as often.

In the same vein, positive psychology can be applied to anyone to make use of its benefits. Remember – it’s not about always being positive, or always being happy, or about deceiving yourself into feeling a certain way about something when you really don’t feel that way. When you apply positive psychology to yourself, however, it carries a different name: optimism.

Remember – it’s not about always being positive, or always being happy, or about deceiving yourself into feeling a certain way about something when you really don’t feel that way. When you apply positive psychology to yourself, however, it carries a different name: optimism.

The practice of applied positive psychology in an official scientific sense is a collection of different treatment tools and philosophies that involve the application of positive thinking to help clients deal with their condition and diagnosis. It’s about applying positivity to overpower the unnatural amounts of negativity produced by the symptoms of a mental illness.

It’s about applying positivity to overpower the unnatural amounts of negativity produced by the symptoms of a mental illness.

Optimism, however, can help us do better at work, become better time managers, and feel much more passionate about everything we do. Optimism doesn’t just do wonders in helping you create a new outlook – it allows you to fuel the need and motivation to improve your life, and improve where you are in life. Optimism isn’t complacency or delusion. With optimism, we can derive the mental strength needed to push through failure and disappointment and keep striving for a better job, a better home, a better setting for our family, and better health.

Optimism doesn’t just do wonders in helping you create a new outlook – it allows you to fuel the need and motivation to improve your life, and improve where you are in life. Optimism isn’t complacency or delusion. With optimism, we can derive the mental strength needed to push through failure and disappointment and keep striving for a better job, a better home, a better setting for our family, and better health.

Optimism can also be a great way to know when enough is enough. You can achieve security and happiness with where you are without wanting an excessive amount of everything, or anything.

You can achieve security and happiness with where you are without wanting an excessive amount of everything, or anything.

Think of optimism as better confidence in your abilities and your situation – through that way of thinking, you can earn your way through life with improved charisma and performance, and avoid despair when the going gets tough.

Positivity affects social abilities, confidence, personality, and in turn can affect you physically by reducing stress, encouraging exercise and better consumption habits, and discourage unnecessary risk-taking, dishonesty, manipulation or even addiction. It can also greatly improve your abilities at work, by improving your concentration, removing the distractions of worry and fear, and replacing them with mindfulness and a non-excessive self-consciousness that allows you to just slip into a mindset conducive to getting things done.

It can also greatly improve your abilities at work, by improving your concentration, removing the distractions of worry and fear, and replacing them with mindfulness and a non-excessive self-consciousness that allows you to just slip into a mindset conducive to getting things done.

That doesn’t mean there is no room for pessimism as a way to achieve positive results (through “defensive worrying”, for example). But on the topic of positivity, it can be applied in a non-clinical sense.

On a community’s level, positive psychology is essential for a thriving community. Through it, people can feel more comfortable within their role in society, they’ll be more open to helping each other, and to accepting positive changes in the community for the sake of everyone in it.

Through it, people can feel more comfortable within their role in society, they’ll be more open to helping each other, and to accepting positive changes in the community for the sake of everyone in it.

However, just hearing about positivity as a means to feel not just better about what you have, but helping you get to where you want to go and achieve self-growth, isn’t enough.

Here are a couple ways positive psychology is applied clinically, as well as how you can apply positive psychology in your own life.

Applying Positive Psychology

Clinically, positive psychology is present in several different treatments. Positive intervention and talk therapy are two very significant examples.

Positive intervention and talk therapy are two very significant examples.

Intervention involves helping a client realize their unhappiness and instilling in them the resolve to turn things around, and the hope necessary to get started in doing so. Positive intervention isn’t meant to make someone feel worse about who they are but instead is meant to give them something to look forward to a goal for the future. Examples of positive intervention could be in helping someone get the motivation they need to adopt healthy habits and quit an addiction or overcome their trauma by accepting and focusing on PTSD treatment.

Examples of positive intervention could be in helping someone get the motivation they need to adopt healthy habits and quit an addiction or overcome their trauma by accepting and focusing on PTSD treatment.

Positive interventions are events wherein a trained psychologist will use their understanding of positive psychology to help a client realize on their own that they need to do something, and help point them in the right direction.

Talk therapy, on the other hand, is also known as psychotherapy and involves various forms of conversation between a client and their therapist, typically as a means of overcoming pathological thinking and replacing maladaptive habits with healthier, smarter coping mechanisms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very common and popular form of talk therapy, and it’s also a form of applied positive clinical psychology. Through CBT, thoughts of hopelessness are replaced and new, positive perspectives are created, fostering the kind of mental state needed to overpower a mental disorder.

Applying positive psychology in a non-clinical setting as part of a form of self-treatment to get to flourishing as a person involves the same principles, but a different approach. Instead of seeking therapy, you can immediately benefit from applied positive psychology by audibly giving thanks and expressing gratitude, by complimenting others and focusing on your own strengths, and by being more open-minded towards the idea of kindness, rather than shutting down any attempt towards charity.

It’s also about knowing where the limits of healthy anger stop – it’s about being able to vent frustration in a way that doesn’t end up hurting you, and it’s about knowing when it’s time to forgive, and when forgiveness is not an option.

As mentioned previously, applying positivity in your own life is deeply personal, and you yourself choose how to approach being positive.

5 BEST WAYS TO BREAK UP AND MAKE UP

5 Best Ways to Make Up and Break Up

He cheated on you.

She fights with your mom.

He stole from you.

The reasons to break up seem unlimited and can drive you just about as crazy as your friends do who are trying to get you to break up, or make up, with another person. They even have their own thoughts about how you should break up (drop her like a hot potato) or make up (fly her to Paris for the night).

Don’t listen to them. You are the one in charge of whether or not you break up or make up with anyone else and how you do it. Don’t be influenced by people who probably don’t know how to have a healthy relationship themselves. If your friends are single, don’t take relationship advice from them. That’s like taking financial advice from a person going through bankruptcy. It just doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand, it is a great idea to get relationship advice from an actual expert. They can help you make a decision using the best ways to break up or make up with a person. A professional can teach you ways to break up and make up that will benefit your mental health the most, as well as your partner’s.

There are some key ingredients to successful breakups that can also help you when trying to get back together with someone too. Showing commitment, compassion, ownership, being prepared, and showing love to you are beneficial ways to make sure your breakup or make up take place in a mature, psychologically healthy manner.

Show Commitment

Showing commitment in a breakup or make up situation means to make your choice, align that choice with your beliefs and values of doing the right thing, make a promise to keep that commitment and then follow through with your promise. Whether you are breaking up or making up, you have to show commitment. You can’t start out strong and then half way in change your mind. Be prepared to follow your decision through all the way. If you are not ready to follow through, you are not ready to commit to the break up or make up.

Being committed to a break up means you are ready to be separated from that person, physically and emotionally. You can’t break up and then go hang out at a fast food joint like you are best friends. Breakup means to break up, to no longer stay together. It is not healthy to try and be friends with the person you were just in love with a week ago.

People need to process a breakup, the loss of someone they cared for. Allowing people to go through this process is the best way you can commit to a breakup. It is the best way for both of you to move on. This process is often associated with the stages of grief: sadness, anger, everything is okay, longing, fear, and acceptance. Some people may even seem in denial at first, not accepting that the breakup is happening. After this phase people tend to become sad or angry about the decision and emotions start to roller coaster, with one day they feel fine and the next day they pine over the way things once were. People can also become afraid of being alone or never being able to find a new relationship and then eventually a person will move on and accept the breakup.

It is so important to commit to a breakup if you decide to end the relationship. Starting and stopping the grief process for you or your partner is not healthy. It turns into a game being played with your emotions and basically delays the inevitable.

Being committed to making up with your partner involves a lot of serious questions. The answers to all of these questions needs to be yes, you are ready.

  1. Can you be loyal to this person forever? If you can’t see yourself with this person forever (even if your feelings end of changing down the road due to unforeseen circumstances, right now in this moment you need to be able to see yourself with them forever). Be honest with yourself in answering this. If you know for a fact you will want to break up again in a month or two, do not make up.
  2. Are you able to be completely honest with your partner? If you find yourself trying to be someone other than yourself just to please your partner, do not make up. If your partner does not accept you and all of your flaws, do not make up.
  3. Is your partner able to be completely honest with you or are they afraid to tell you things they feel may make you angry? Do you catch your partner in lies? If so, do not make up. You will not be able to endure this for long.
  4. Do you love spending time with each other? Or do you fight a lot? All relationships involve fighting. But healthy relationships argue in healthy ways. There is no physical or verbal abuse involved. If you and your partner fight every day or every other day, do not make up.
  5. Do you trust one another? This is easy, if there is no trust then do not make up, at least not until the trust is rebuilt, which can be a long time in some cases.

Show Compassion

Compassion is defined as your feelings, thoughts and behaviors that show you care for someone who may be hurting.

Breaking up with someone is hard to do but if done with compassion then both of you can leave the relationship with dignity. It is not cool to break up with someone through texts, emails or other social media. Showing compassion means showing up for the breakup.

Rules to follow when breaking up compassionately include saying goodbye with kindness, explaining how you are no longer a good fit for each other, avoid blaming, seeking forgiveness of yourself and your partner to free yourself emotionally, staying kind even if they want to fight, and working on loving yourself.

If you are trying to get back together with someone, compassion is just as important. You need to both communicate the real reasons for breaking up in the first place. Then spend just as much time communicating your reasons for making up. Focus on each other’s feelings and do what it takes to change so that those same feelings are not hurt again. Make sure you are both comfortable and working towards the same goals. Do not force another person back into a relationship. It is also important to keep your dignity. Compassion does not resemble begging or pleading or threats.

Show Ownership

Taking ownership does not mean automatically blaming yourself for the fall of the relationship. Taking ownership simply means you are accepting responsibility for the things you did to contribute to the relationship or the demise of the relationship.

Self-blame is damaging. It can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. To take ownership in a breakup you can recognize the behaviors you had that made it hard for the relationship to continue. Showing ownership also shows your maturity. An immature person would put all of the blame on the other person or make up a million silly excuses as to why it is time to part ways. A mature person says things like, “I am not able to be there for you emotionally.” It really does take two people to make up and two people to breakup. Know your role in each.

There are many ways you can take ownership when making up with a loved one so the future you have together is more stable and based in a mutual responsibility. The first thing you can do is focus on your own happiness rather than solely on trying to make the other person happy. Don’t allow your partner to behave badly by acting if it is okay. Don’t ever make excuses for someone else’s bad behavior, or for your bad behavior. Listen to your inner voice that is usually pretty honest. If it is telling you this is not the right person for you, pay attention.

Show You Are Prepared

Being prepared for a breakup means to make sure you want to actually break up. Some tips to help you decide include: asking yourself if you are just angry or do you think you can work it out? Did you communicate your needs to your partner and give them the chance to meet them? Will you regret ending the relationship? Is this just part of a game you are playing? Have you given the relationship your all?

Be prepared to communicate well during a breakup and a makeup. Be prepared to admit if your reasons for breaking up are silly or just excuses for something bigger. Also be prepared to ask these same questions when making up with your partner. Be prepared to admit your fears, you may be able to work through these just by talking about them. Be prepared to address your doubts and your ambivalence with your partner. Talking about these issues could very well be the talk that mends your relationship.

Be prepared to write a letter to your partner expressing your emotions if you feel you won’t be able to communicate them verbally. Writing the perfect letter of love, even if you are breaking up, is vital for both of you to avoid any psychologically damaging messages. Writing a letter will also give you both something tangible you can refer to after the breakup or make up, something you can bring out at a later date to reflect on when other issues arise.

Show Love

Whether you decide to breakup or make up with your partner, the best thing you can do is to make sure you love yourself the right way. There are many ways to love you through any type of relationship status. You must need to be able to be you, not a fake you who pretends to be someone else when your partner is around. You have to be able to show your true self at all times and be proud of that self. It is also important you be able to spend time with yourself. Being needy and dependent will not help any relationship, whether it is a current relationship or a future relationship. Treat yourself kindly, take care of your body and mind through activities that are supportive of good mental health.

Other specific tasks you can do to love yourself is to set boundaries and start saying no to activities that do not benefit you emotionally. You can also become mindful of what your body needs to be healthy. Pamper yourself with massages or facials or other types of relaxing treatments. Take yourself on dates and treat yourself to the things you want but always put off. Make sure you are putting yourself at the top of your priority list.

Be sure not to love yourself so much you become a narcissist. That’s no good for anyone in an intimate relationship. Someone with a narcissist personality feels grandiose, entitled and like they are more important than the other person. The narcissist has similar qualities to a bully and when in a personal relationship with someone like this, you will start to feel abused rather than appreciated.

Unless you are in danger of being harmed, keep in mind that you don’t have to make a decision immediately as to whether you want to breakup or makeup. Take the appropriate amount of time to make a good decision. You may find after a few days you don’t feel the same way. This is a very important decision; give yourself the proper time to think about your reasons, to think about how each of you will be affected, and to think about your plan of action. Do everything you can so that when you commit to your decision, you have confidence about your decision and are left with little doubt.

Whatever your decision, be proud of yourself for taking these extra steps to make sure your breakup or make up is done the right way!

Also published on Vantage Point

5 Herbs that Treat Anxiety and Depression

5 Herbs that Treat Anxiety and Depression

There are many synthetic medicines on the market today that treat anxiety and depression.  Doctors are quick to prescribe these medicines and we as consumers, are quick to take them because anxiety and depression can be so overwhelming.

Anxiety can make a person feel out of control and keep them in a constant state of worry, even if there is nothing to worry about.  Out of the blue it can hit you, your brain telling you to worry or have fear, for no reason.  You try to control the thoughts of worry but it is a useless attempt.  Anxiety then takes over and can hinder your social activities, your work life and can even make you scared to leave your comfort zone.

Depression can cause a person to have sadness and lack the motivation to leave the house or worse, even get out of bed.  When depression sets in you can find yourself isolated and crying for no reason other than you feel like you have an extreme case of the blues.  Depression can take away your appetite, your desire to be social, and your desire to engage in life.

If you have experienced either of these then you know how debilitating they can be.  But you do not have to live with these disorders anymore.  There are many ways to successfully treat anxiety and depression, with medicines and with therapeutic techniques.  Another way to treat these disorders is through a combination of anxiety treatment or depression treatment along with the use of medicinal herbs.  Yes, there are herbs that can be grown naturally or purchased that can help you escape anxiety and depression and live a happy and mentally healthy life.

Scientific American reports that people are turning to more natural medicines due to the high cost of prescriptions, the side effects associated with prescribed medicines, and the fact that the prescribed medications do not work the same for every person.  Medicinal herbs such as lavender, saffron, passion flower, ginseng and chamomile are being researched and are showing they can have a positive impact on someone struggling with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.  While it sounds simple, using medicinal herbs is not a quick fix but over time, can positively impact your mental health.

Lavender

Lavender sachets, soaps, sprays, and oils can be found in big box stores as well as online and in specialty stores.  There are even essential oil companies that have created multi-level marketing programs to promote oils such as lavender and its benefits.  The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health states lavender has a long history in the Mediterranean and has become very popular in the United States in the last decade or longer.  It has many positive side effects such as boosting mood and relieving anxiety.

The Natural Medicine Journal reports lavender can be beneficial in treating both anxiety and depression.  There have been numerous research studies with findings of lavender being very effective in improving mental health.  Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine concluded through three separate studies that lavender had a great impact on those with anxiety when used orally or through odors.

Dr. Galloway explains how to use lavender oil and why it is important in the use of decreasing anxiety in this video. The University of Maryland Medical Center provides further information on lavender and how to use it, claiming the essential oils from lavender are taken from the flowers and can be used orally, topically or through smell.

So whether it is taken orally through liquid droplets or supplements, or sprayed on the body, or rubbed in like lotion, or even stuffed in a sachet and put under your pillow, you can be assured that lavender will have a calming effect on you and when used regularly can enhance your overall well-being.

Saffron

Saffron, the herb, comes from the plant saffron crocus and the cost of this spice is compared to that of gold. It is quite expensive and highly sought after. Watch how it is made in this video where they travel to Morocco to see just what goes into cultivating saffron.  Many reports state that saffron is a very expensive herb, often used as a sweetener, but because it is still hard to cultivate, the price to purchase it can be higher.  It can take 75,000 saffron bulbs to make just one pound of saffron spice.

The results of different studies have proven that saffron is effective in treating mental health disorders.  Healthline reports on studies that test the herb Saffron to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.  It was found that when compared to a placebo group, the saffron users reported fewer symptoms. University Health News claims saffron can be just as effective as Prozac, a commonly prescribed medication for depression and to back this claim up, The Psych Congress Network shared results of one study that showed saffron was equally effective as prescribed medicines in treating depression.

To be happy, people have to increase levels of serotonin in the brain.  Plants such as saffron contain serotonin.  So it only makes sense to use plants containing serotonin to increase serotonin levels in the brain.  It has often been said to eat salad at night because lettuce leaves have a calming effect.  The serotonin connection may be present here as well.  Similar to other herbs, saffron can be taken in a supplement or liquid form or used in perfumes.

Chamomile

Because anxiety and depression can come from being overstressed, it is important to implement herbal remedies to counteract our body’s reaction to stress. Chamomile is suggested as one of the best ways to fight stress. Chamomile is defined as being one of the most ancient herbs used to treat medical issues due to its many terpanoids and flavonoids which can aid in healing.

Everyday Roots suggests depression and anxiety can go hand in hand with not getting enough sleep or not getting the right kind of sleep.  Chamomile can help significantly with getting proper sleep. Using chamomile tea can be a great way to ingest chamomile and allow the body to slowly adjust to its calming effects.  Apparently, chamomile works on the same brain receptors as does an anti-anxiety synthetic drug often prescribed to you by a doctor.  However, chamomile is much safer to use than the synthetic drugs, with less side effects and less addictive traits.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also recommends the use of chamomile for relaxation and offers a recipe of one ounce of chamomile to every two or three cups of water.  It can be used internally or externally.

Passion Flower

Passion flower has been known to have an almost hypnotic like effect on some people.  When taken properly, it can calm a person and allow them to get a deep sleep so their mind can rest.  It is best when taken as a tea.  Calm Clinic explains that passion flower decreases anxiety due to having a large number of chrysin and benzoflavone flavonoids, which are the chemicals that can affect our bodies and create the relaxing feeling.

Extra Happiness gives us a better look at passion flower and its sedative like traits.  Passion flower can work for a range of disorders including narcotic withdrawal, anxiety, panic attacks, pain relief, mood swings and even menstrual cramps.

Dr. Andrew Weil states passion flower can calm you down without giving you total sedation.  He urges us to try passion flower for anxiety before trying any synthetic drugs.  However, he also notes that if you are pregnant or on a blood thinner, it is important not to take any herbs or medicines without the approval of a medical doctor.

People today are super busy and over-stressed with work and personal responsibilities.  Passion flower will allow your mind to relax so that you are not constantly thinking about what you have to do tomorrow at work or at home.  It allows your mind to be calm so you can get a good sleep so your entire body can rest and heal.

Ginseng

Medical News Today describes ginseng as having a fleshy root that can enhance many medical functions within the body.  It is noted that American and Asian Ginseng are the types of plants that are beneficial, whereas Siberian ginseng is not actually ginseng.  Be careful when you are purchasing this herb.  Make sure you are getting a genuine product.

This product will be more expensive than other herbs but can’t be well worth the payment when realizing its medicinal benefits.  Ginseng takes about six years to mature and cultivating it before six years will decrease its medicinal power.  There are people who will pay a lot of money for good ginseng and this herb has caused many fights among landowners who find poachers scouring their land for ginseng.  It is a rare crop to find due to the specifics of the area in which it grows is not common and has to be just right.  For instance, they have to have shade on the side of a mountain near a water source.  There are other specifics like this which makes it even more difficult for a person to grow their own ginseng from seed.  Finding ginseng plants on your property can be like finding gold to some, like hitting the jackpot.

Dr. Edward Group at the Global Healing Center states ginseng has been used for hundreds of years by the Chinese as a form of medicine due to its ability to increase energy levels and improve a person’s state of mind. Be Brain Fit reports many ways ginseng can improve mental health:

  • Boosts energy
  • Improves sex drive
  • Can ease withdrawal symptoms from cigarettes or drugs
  • Boosts mood and mental well-being

Adaptogens claims ginseng can alleviate many forms of depression, whether it is menopausal depression or more generalized depression.  Mental health is just one way ginseng can help the body. Ginseng uses are varied and can benefit many ailments including diabetes, endocrine system, cholesterol levels, and combats stress and fatigue.  When any of these bodily systems are not functioning properly, depression and anxiety can follow.  Therefore it is important to make sure all functions within your system are working as they are supposed to.

Conclusion

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression or both, please seek help.  Whether it is from your family doctor or an alternative medicine specialist, seek help.  There are so many other people out there who are experiencing the same emotions you are experiencing.  After finding the right person to work with you on healing, know your options.  It is easy to just start taking the first pill prescribed by the doctor.  However, the side effects and withdrawal symptoms that come with this pill are not so easy to handle.  Why not try the safest method first and if it doesn’t work, then move on to trying prescribed medications.

Herbs have been used for centuries in the United States, Asia and all around the world.  Not many synthetic medicines have reputations as good as natural herbs.  Herbs such as lavender, saffron, chamomile, ginseng and passion flower have documented research to support their benefits.  Each one of these herbs can be linked to improved mental health.

There is always a new and better synthetic drug coming out to replace the last “best” medicine.  While using natural herbs to enhance you mental health may take a regular routine and a little more time, it is well worth the effort.  Herbs used in conjunction with other coping techniques have been proven time and again to be very effective when fighting anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders can be conquered so that you can have a healthy life full of happiness.  Using alternative herbs can help you appreciate the journey to becoming happy.  Using herbs allows you to be more in control of what you put into your body, your own dosage, your own feelings and actions.  Ultimately, getting control back over our own lives seems to be what we are seeking in the first place.

 This article was original published on Vantage Point Recovery.