How to Stay Positive During Times of Crisis

Posted April 9, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You’ll Learn:

As you read about how to stay positive during times of crisis, you’ll learn:

  • Maintaining positive mental health amid a crisis can be difficult.
  • MHS DBT & Mental Health Services can help you learn skills to make the best of adversity.

Living through a pandemic as we’ve experienced with the coronavirus is something most people never expected to participate in. However, even when the whole world is not in crisis, and there are no masks or social distancing, day-to-day life still has its challenges. Health problems, financial worries, family and relationship trouble all have a way of cropping up. With all the negative emotions buzzing around you, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, frightened, and anything but positive. Here are some tips to stay positive in a crisis.

Choose Your Words Carefully

The ways you talk and think about yourself matters when it comes to staying positive. The words you choose to describe your situation and yourself make a difference in your self-image. For example, when facing adversity, rather than asking, “Why did this happen to me?”, think that it happened for you. When you look at difficult times as opportunities to learn, try, or experience something new, it’s easier to put a positive spin on them.

Learn From Adversity

Most of the things that people worry about never happen. However, that doesn’t stop people from feeling overwhelmed and stuck. One tactic for staying positive is to look for a way to let adversity propel you toward something more significant. Look for a way to turn it into an opportunity; sometimes, it will be more challenging than others, but it’s always worth the effort. The best news is that many very successful people believe their most outstanding achievements began when facing their most tremendous adversity.

Take Up Journaling

It may seem cliche, but writing your feelings in a journal can help bring them into greater clarity. When you understand what you’re feeling, it’s easier to maintain a positive attitude about them. Journal entries focused on gratitude are one particularly effective tool for preventing depression. Journaling also gives you something to look back on one day in the future for encouragement and a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Let People Who Love You Lift You Up

While it’s essential to understand who you are as an individual, too much time alone can lead to negative thinking. The community of friends and family who care about you wants you to be mentally healthy and well. Turn off the news, and spend more time with loved ones who bring you joy and make you laugh. Reach out to them when you feel sad or overwhelmed. Hugs can be excellent medicine, and for many people, the human touch is healing.

Know What You Can Control

Rarely is any situation entirely within your control. You can’t force friends and relatives to act the way you want, and you can’t control everything about the environment around you. Sometimes, your attitudes, thoughts, and reactions are the only things you can manage effectively. Focus on the things that you can control. It might even help make a written list of those things so you have something concrete that you can touch as a reminder of where to focus more of your energy.

Give Yourself Grace

Self-care is more than a buzzword. It’s an essential component in maintaining positive mental health when facing difficulties. Self-care comes in many forms and is different for everyone. Some people read a book, take a nap, bake cookies, or work out. Others garden or spend time with their children and grandchildren. The key is finding something that you enjoy that doesn’t cause you stress. Self-care is essential not just for your mental health but for your physical health as well. Many studies have demonstrated that the health of your immune system and how your body copes with illness are directly related to your emotional condition.

Serve Others

When you reach out to help with a project in your community or help someone you encounter through a difficult time, it’s hard to stay focused on yourself. Organizations and people always need help with something, and assisting others helps you as well. Service to each other as humans gives us a sense of purpose and reminds us that every person can do something to make the world a little better.

Understand That Bad Days Will Happen

Remind yourself that, at times, it’s okay to be sad or upset when bad things happen. Those feelings are as normal as happy feelings are, and expressing them is healthy. If crying is cathartic for you, go ahead and cry. Some people go outdoors and shout to the sky. Wearing your favorite articles of clothing is comforting for some. Finding healthy ways to express negative emotions is one of the keys to your well-being.

Unplug Regularly

Cell phones, computers, and other devices help us in many ways, but the constant exposure to the news media and other people’s lives can be overwhelming. Regularly, take a week, a day, or even just a few hours to unplug from all your electronics. Get away from social media; go outside and take a walk. Enjoy the sun and the air and think of all the things for which you are grateful. Spending time away from all the electronic connections can result in an improved mood and better overall mental health.

Practice Gratitude as a Way of Life

Gratitude is the state of being thankful. It has also been defined as a positive emotional response to receiving something from someone else. When you look for all the things you have to be grateful for each day and make an effort to thank those who contribute to those gifts, you not only bless yourself but those around you as well. When your friends, family, coworkers, and others hear that you appreciate them, you are both lifted.

Seek Help When You Need It

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to maintain a positive attitude, we find ourselves facing a depression we can’t shake. When that happens, reach out to the team at MHS DBT & Mental Health Services. We offer evidence-based therapy services for adolescents and adults dealing with a myriad of mental health challenges. Contact us today to schedule your appointment; you and your mental health are worth it!

Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The Triggers of PTSD

Posted April 9, 2021

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that occurs after a dangerous or painful event.
  • Most people who experience a traumatic event don’t develop PTSD, but those who do have significant challenges.
  • MHS DBT & Mental Health Services offers treatment services for those with PTSD triggers and symptoms.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. This mental health disorder occurs in people who have experienced a traumatic event or multiple events. PTSD is different from the body’s typical fight or flight response to something frightening or painful, either emotionally or physically. While almost everyone has some reaction to a traumatic event, the reaction is short-lived and goes away with time for most people. People with PTSD have difficulty moving out of that high-stress state, even when they are no longer in danger and the traumatic event is in the past.

Who Is at Risk for PTSD?

Anyone who experiences a traumatic event could develop PTSD symptoms. The condition occurs in adults, teens, and children. Soldiers, survivors of child abuse and domestic violence, and those who live through natural disasters are just a few of the categories of people living with PTSD. The trauma doesn’t even have to happen directly to the diagnosed person. Watching a loved one die or be harmed can lead to PTSD.

Most people who live through life events like these will not develop PTSD. No clear understanding exists of why one person does and another doesn’t experience the disorder. Genetics may play a part, as may neurobiology. However, researchers know that each person has a set of risk and resilience factors that make the individual more or less likely to develop PTSD and are more or less likely to succeed in recovery. Some of the risk factors are:

  • Experiencing multiple traumatic events
  • Being physically injured or watching someone else be hurt or killed
  • Traumatic events that occur in childhood
  • Feelings of terror and helplessness
  • The lack of a social support system after the event
  • A history of mental illness or addiction

Some of the resilience factors that may help protect against PTSD are:

  • A strong support system of friends and family
  • Willingness to attend a support group
  • Confidence in the ability to handle dangerous situations
  • Understanding positive coping strategies
  • The ability to react to fearful situations in a productive way

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of PTSD and a recovery plan require evaluation by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. To meet the clinical criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms must:

  • Last for more than one month
  • Be unrelated to any other medical conditions or substance abuse
  • Reach a level of severity that interferes with daily life, work, school, or relationships
  • Include at least one re-experiencing symptom, such as flashbacks and nightmares
  • Include at least one avoidance symptom, such as staying away from specific places, events, or thoughts
  • Include at least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as startling easier than usual or feeling constant tension
  • Include at least two cognition and mood symptoms, such as loss of interest in activities or negative feelings about the world

Some people struggle with PTSD triggers and symptoms for months, while others have chronic PTSD that seems never to go away. It’s important to remember that recovery is possible, even for those with severe cases.

What Are Some Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD can develop after any dangerous or painful event, and the pain can be physical or emotional. The sudden loss of a loved one, for example, can lead to PTSD. Most people who develop symptoms of PTSD do so within three months or so of the event. However, some sufferers may not see signs until years later. PTSD often co-occurs with other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or substance abuse.

What Are Some Treatments for PTSD?

People with PTSD triggers may benefit from medication and therapies. Just as the symptoms of the disorder vary by person, so do the effective treatments. Only qualified and experienced mental health professionals should treat PTSD, as it may require attempting various therapies to find a combination that works. Finding the right combination of drugs in the correct dosage may require careful experimentation.

Antidepressants are often used to treat PTSD. They may be effective in warding off the feelings of anger and sadness that often come with PTSD. Antidepressants may be used in conjunction with other medications for other symptoms. For example, sleep medications may help address nightmares and insomnia.

Psychotherapy involves talking with a trained professional to address mental health conditions. Sometimes the sessions are individual, and at other times, a group of people with similar issues may meet together. Therapy sessions as a treatment for PTSD usually last from six to 12 weeks but may take longer. The therapist may see value in bringing family and friends into the sessions.

Psychotherapy sessions come in different varieties. Some focus on the common PTSD triggers and symptoms, while others focus on other factors, such as social or job-related issues. While one patient may see success with a single method, others may need different therapies to see improvement. Effective strategies seek to educate the patient about the condition, teach the patient how to identify what triggers the symptoms, and manage the symptoms.

One of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for PTSD is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has decades of research to support its clinical effectiveness. At MHS DBT & Mental Health Services, our therapists use CBT to help patients examine their thoughts and feelings, their relationships with others, and how they navigate their daily lives. Patients come to understand how their thought patterns contribute to distress and behavior problems. They learn how to change those patterns.

The CBT intensive outpatient program at MHS DBT & Mental Health Services meets twice each week. We work closely with other providers, including other therapists, to meet the patient’s needs. All major insurance carriers cover the program.

Providers need to understand that, in addition to treating PTSD triggers and symptoms, some patients have multiple underlying issues to address as well. For example, domestic violence, drug use, and depression are a few concerns that may underlay the PTSD symptoms.

Where Can I Learn More?

MHS DBT & Mental Health Services offers a full range of mental health services for adults and adolescents suffering from many different mental health concerns. We provide evidence-based services, including cognitive therapy, in a supportive environment for everyone, regardless of culture, race, spirituality, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Contact us today to see how we can help you on the road to recovery.

Featured Image: Pop Tika/Shutterstock