What is mindfulness?Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
Focus on the present moment
Try not to think about anything that went on in the past or that might be coming up in future
Purposefully concentrate on what’s happening around them
Try not to be judgemental about anything they notice, or label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’
We spend so much time thinking over stuff that has happened in the past, or worrying about things that may happen in the future, that often we actually forget to appreciate or enjoy the moment. Mindfulness is a way of bringing us back to experience life as it happens. When you’re mindful, it:
Helps clear your head
Helps you be more aware of yourself, your body and the environment
Helps to slow down your thoughts
Slows down your nervous system
Helps you to concentrate
Helps you relax
Can help you cope with stress
You might find this useful if:
You’re not sure what it means to be mindful
You’d like to be more mindful
You’re interested in tips to improve your mental and physical wellbeing
Who is mindfulness for?Mindfulness is something that everyone can develop, and it’s something that everyone can try. It’s been practiced for thousands of years, with origins in Eastern philosophy, and over the past 40 years, it has been taken up in western societies. People can increase their mindfulness in everyday life, through activities like meditation and yoga, or even by simply paying more attention during regular activities like walking, driving or something as basic as brushing your teeth. Why build mindfulness?There is a lot of evidence on the many benefits of mindfulness; it can:
Help to relieve stress
Help to improve sleep
Help manage depression and/or anxiety
Help you to be less angry or moody
Help you learn more easily
Help you to solve problems more easily
Make you happier
Help you to be more emotionally stable
Improve your breathing
Reduce your heart rate
Improve your circulation
Improve your immunity, or
Help you to cope with pain.
(original source - PsychologyToday)
The Brains of Anxious People May Perceive the World Differently(source: Metal Floss) A new study shows that people with generalized anxiety disorder unconsciously label harmless things as threats, which may serve to further their anxiety. These findings were published last week in the journal Current Biology. Psychologists recognize several forms of clinical anxiety. The most common is generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, in which people frequently feel very worried or anxious even when it seems like there’s nothing to worry about. Some studies have suggested that anxiety disorders may stem from a process called overgeneralization. In overgeneralization, the brain lumps both safe and unsafe things together and labels them all unsafe. For this reason, the researchers also call this the “better safe than sorry” approach. Our brains naturally pay more attention to negative or threatening information in our environments. If anxious people perceive more threats in the world around them, it would make a lot of sense for them to be worried. AdvertisementTo find out if overgeneralization was involved, researchers recruited 28 people diagnosed with GAD and 16 people without anxiety and brought them into the lab. The experiment had two parts: training and testing. In the training section, study participants learned to differentiate between three different sounds. Each sound was tied to a different outcome; pressing a key could lead to winning money (the “positive” tone), losing money (the “negative” tone), or nothing (the “neutral” tone). In the second phase of the experiment, researchers played 15 different sounds for the participants and asked them to press a key when they heard a sound they recognized from the training phase. If they guessed right, they’d win money, but if they guessed wrong, the researchers would take some of their money back. Because of the risk of losing money, the best strategy for everyone would be a conservative one—not pressing the button much at all based on the assumption that most of the tones were new. But anxious participants were trigger-happy, believing they’d heard many of the unfamiliar tones before. The experience of winning and losing money in training had made a strong emotional impression on them, which led them to overgeneralize new information as relevant. The researchers also administered brain scans during the testing phase. They found notable differences between anxious and non-anxious brains. While they were focused on parsing new information, anxious people showed more activation in several parts of the brain, including the amygdala, a region associated with fear and worry. "We show that in patients with anxiety, emotional experience induces plasticity in brain circuits that lasts after the experience is over," senior co-author Rony Paz said in a press release. "Such plastic changes occur in primary circuits that later mediate the response to new stimuli, resulting in an inability to discriminate between the originally experienced stimulus and a new similar stimulus. Therefore, anxiety patients respond emotionally to such new stimuli as well, resulting in anxiety even in apparently irrelevant new situations. Importantly, they cannot control this, as it is a perceptual inability to discriminate." Paz noted that in dangerous circumstances, the hyper-vigilance associated with anxiety might be a good thing. The problem is that most circumstances aren’t dangerous. "Anxiety traits can be completely normal, and even beneficial evolutionarily," he says. "Yet an emotional event, even minor sometimes, can induce brain changes that might lead to full-blown anxiety."
Life Coach... Isn’t It Just Another Name For Counselling or Psychotherapy? On the contrary, life coaching is about empowering people to make improvements in their life. They may already be highly successful in both their personal life and career and just wish to improve upon some areas that they feel need working on. Life coaching is more about finding solutions to questions an individual has about their life as opposed to trying to solve problems. It’s about enabling others to fulfil their potential by working one-on-one with them both over the phone and in person.
Personal Qualities Needed to Become a Life Coach As yet, there are no strict regulations to stop anybody from setting themselves up as a life coach, although there have been several different diplomas introduced and without undertaking a course and having some level of experience of life in general, you’re not likely to succeed in this area unless you have experience of communicating with people in all walks of life, at all levels and can offer opinions that are valid and which are respected. You do need to be a ‘people person’ and to have an unquenchable curiosity for what makes people tick. You need to be sensitive and open-minded and have the ability to ask thought-provoking questions of your clients without being intrusive and have the ability to tell clients the truth and suggest ways forward without being critical. An ability to listen and to build a trusting rapport is paramount as is your desire to help people to reach their fullest potential and to strive towards making a positive difference in their lives. You also need to fully respect client confidentiality as you could be dealing with some very sensitive and personal issues and you need to be able to think intuitively.
What Kind of Setting Might a Personal Coach Work In? Most personal coaches work as self-employed or freelance consultants and for those who only coach over the telephone, it’s one of a growing number of careers that can be done purely from home, although most personal coaches will usually have some clients who they meet in person too. Although many are general coaches, others specialize in particular areas. Some may work with clients who are trying to focus on achieving financial success, others might be in specific careers where they need to be able to motivate others and need some tips on how to achieve that whilst other personal coaches may be working with people whose personal lives aren’t going in the direction they want them too and a personal coach might be sought to help with matters such as improving relationships, attracting friends and partners, increasing self-belief etc.
How to Choose a Mental Health Counselor (By Sarah Densmore, Consumer Health Writer) Choosing a therapist can seem like a daunting task. You’re already overwhelmed by life’s challenges. How do you find a Counselor with the right temperament, training, and therapeutic focus to help you figure out healthy ways to overcome your particular problems? Luckily, there are plenty of referral sources you can turn to and common sense questions you can ask that will make it easier to choose the right mental health professional for you. Before seeking referral for mental health helpAsk yourself what kind of problem you need help with. Are you or a family member abusing drugs, food, or alcohol? Are you having trouble communicating with your mate, parents, or children? Are you being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused? Are you having difficulty coping with changes at work? Do you feel depressed and that your life lacks meaning? Being able to describe the issues you’re facing will help you find an appropriate therapist. Many Counselors focus their practice on a particular problem, such as substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual or domestic violence, family dynamics, mood disorders, and so on. Some target their practice to certain populations, including adolescents, the elderly, gays, or lesbians. Also, think about whether you would be more comfortable talking with a man or woman, or a therapist who shares your ethnic, racial or religious background. When you're ready to find a therapistGenerally, there are two ways you can be referred to a therapist:
By person: If you feel comfortable reaching out to your family doctor or a religious leader at your church, you can briefly explain the challenges you’re facing and ask the person to refer you to someone who has experience in helping people with your type of problem. Or, if you know someone who has been helped by counseling, ask for the therapist’s phone number and set up an appointment.
By organization: If you have insurance through your employer, you may have mental health coverage either as part of your health insurance or through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If so, you can contact the coverage provider for a referral to an approved therapist. If obtaining a referral through employer coverage isn’t an option, there are many organizations which provide state-by-state mental health provider listings, including:
You should get the names and phone numbers of three therapists so you can interview and compare. When you call to set-up a screening appointment, find out if the therapist will charge for the meeting. Many of them won’t. Initial questions to ask a potential therapistYour first meeting with a mental health therapist is both a fact check and a gut check. Depending on what information you obtained during the referral search, you’ll want to ask the following questions:
What mental health licenses and degrees do you hold?
What kinds of mental health issues does your practice focus on?
How long have you been practicing?
What type of therapy to you think will be of most help to me in my particular situation and why?
About how long do you think I’ll be in treatment?
What are your fees?
What types of payment do you accept and when is payment expected?
If you accept insurance, what kind?
Will you bill my insurance company or do I pay up front?
As the meeting is ending, ask yourself if you and the therapist have a comfortable, natural rapport. Do you feel you can confide your most personal problems and they will be handled professionally and respectfully? If not, move on to the next referral.
(Source - For Dummies)
Gary M Fink, MA Therapist and Life Coach Receives 2015 Best Businesses of Portland Award Portland Award Program Honors the Achievement Portland, October 21, 2015 — Gary M Fink, MA has been selected for the 2015 Best Businesses of Portland Award in the Life Coach, Counseling and Mental Health Therapy category by the Best Businesses of Portland Award Program. Each year, the Best Businesses of Portland Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Portland area a great place to live, work and play. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Best Businesses of Portland Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Portland Award Program and data provided by third parties. About the Best Businesses of Portland Award Program The Best Businesses of Portland Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Portland area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. The Best Businesses of Portland Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
Some Additional Reasons for Therapy
Why go to therapy? The Huffington Post recently published an article titled “8 Signs You Should See a Therapist.”(link is external)Huff Po (the specific author isn’t clear) points out that “while one in five American adults suffer from some form of mental illness, only about 46-65 percent with moderate-to-severe impairment are in treatment.” They noted that some problems that don’t qualify as severe mental illness can benefit from treatment and illuminated the symptoms that may warrant psychotherapy:
Everything you feel is intense
You’ve suffered a trauma and you can’t stop thinking about it
You have unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a run down immune system
You’re using a substance to cope
You’re getting bad feedback at work
You feel disconnected from previously beloved activities
Your relationships are strained
Your friends have told you they’re concerned
If you’re experiencing anything on that list, therapy may be a good choice for you.
What the Economy Gets When Colleges Invest in Mental HealthIn response to rising rates of depression among students and increased demand for therapy, many American universities have been ramping up their mental-health services. These colleges surely want to take care of their students, but it has other benefits too: Mental-health disorders can hinder educational outcomes, lowering grades, delaying students’ graduations, and causing students to drop out.
So, as with a lot of other things involving higher education, some colleges are finding that investing in mental-health services isn’t just a caring thing to do, but something that brings society-wide benefits. A new report from the RAND Corporation suggests that these investments can pay dividends long after graduation by limiting mental-health disorders’ negative effects while students are still in college, which increases their average lifetime earnings.
The study looked at a mental-health initiative in California called the California Mental Health Services Authority, or CalMHSA, which was launched in 2011. CalMHSA currently allots public funding for mental-disorder intervention programs to 10 University of California campuses, 23 California State University schools, and 112 state community colleges. CalMHSA’s annual investments total about $8.7 million (not a huge amount on the scale of campus-wide health service budgets) and according to RAND’s analysis of CalMHSA’s survey data, they led to a 13.2 percent increase in the number of students receiving treatment at California’s public colleges—which by RAND’s estimates led to an additional 329 students graduating.
One study by the Federal Reserve of San Francisco found that over the course of a lifetime, people a four-year college degree earn about $830,000 more than those without one. Using that estimate, the RAND study predicts that the gains from these additional 329 graduates work out to $56 million of “societal benefit,” in the form of the lifetime earnings of those graduates.
The RAND researchers hope that a cost-benefit analysis like this can help put mental-health investments into perspective. “[I]t is important that we understand that investing in student mental health not only can get more students into care, but that society benefits financially through increased wages and tax revenues,” said Scott Ashwood, the study’s lead author and an associate policy researcher at RAND, in a press release.