Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Your mental health has a great impact on your ability to form and maintain relationships, whether it be with a spouse, parent, child, or friend.
Here are five tips tips on building  and maintaining healthy relationships:

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, we lose the ability to celebrate our victories by often focusing only on our faults and failures. Always make an attempt to look at the bigger picture, including the things you are doing well in!

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2)  Accept and celebrate differencesOne of the biggest challenges we experience in relationships is that we are all different. Coming from different backgrounds and being exposed to different things in life, sometimes can lead us to expectations that people will think like we do and, in this way, it is so much easier to create a rapport. Life would be so much easier if everyone totally understood where we were coming from. However, it would also be very dull if we were all the same and, while we may find it initially easier, the novelty of sameness soon would wear off. So accepting and celebrating that we are all different is a great starting point.

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3) Express Yourself. Express your feelings; I cannot stress this enough! Keeping your feelings inside (whether good or bad) is never a great idea. Talk it out, release your thoughts, worries, and concerns. Holding your emotions in will eventually cause bad feelings to accumulate and further damage your relationships. Communication occurs when someone understands you, not just when you speak. One of the biggest dangers with communication is that we can work on the assumption that the other person has understood the message we are trying to get across. Developing effective communication skills is vital in maintaining relationships that are important to us.

 

4) Develop empathy.  Empathy and understanding build a connection between people. It is a state of perceiving and relating to another person’s feelings and needs without blaming, giving advice or trying to fix the situation.

5) Sometimes, being present is all that is required. Being present in the time you give to people is also important, so that, when you are with someone, make every attempt to truly be with them and not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. This may also require stepping away from technology and putting our phones aside.clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-45842

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Does the mothering role need public endorsement?

On May 9th 1914, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, declared the second Sunday of May as a national holiday as, “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

So this poses the question, should we not express love and reverence for our mothers on any other day of the year?

For those who have a genuine relationship with their mothers, a day that is solely dedicated to force expression is not necessary. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day has become like almost every other holiday in the US-commercialized. Similar to Valentine’s Day when driving down the road you can find makeshift flower stands at every corner, and just like Valentine’s Day is this not just another day set aside to do something we should be doing every day. To honor those who mean the world to us, and to thank them for all their love and support.

to complicate matters further…

Although mothers are ideally depicted as loving and nurturing this unfortunately is not always the case. There are also those who do not have any connection with their mom, whether it be due abuse, abandonment or neglect but are made to feel judged for not wanting to celebrate at all.

The entire day is a celebration of women who are able to bear children, however this excludes women who have not given birth or are unable to, and may cause them to feel as though they have failed as a woman. In the 21st century, womanhood should not rely solely on childbirth. The fact that a woman may not want to or is unable to have children should not classify her as inferior.

Additionally, the pain of one who have lost a mother is unimaginable. Consider this,  a friend who lost her mother a few years back and every Mother’s Day she becomes isolative and withdrawn. She does not go to work, church and tries to avoid coming outside altogether as the pain of seeing everyone celebrating this holiday, or worst being asked what did she “do” for her mother on that day is a stab at an already deep wound.

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This post is not to bash those who celebrate Mother’s Day, but while celebrating I think we should make a conscious effort of being aware that for many, this is a difficult day. Most of us know someone who has lost a mom, a child or are battling with infertility. A small gesture, a text, a call to acknowledge the pain that they may be facing on this very special day will go a long way.

The family unit is a complex matter that reaches far deeper than the pursuit of big business for profit. Life is too short to wait for one commercial day.

Hold those you love close and celebrate every day, as tomorrow is promised to no one, and only fools rely solely on tomorrow.

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What do you guys think? Has Mother’s Day become too commercialized? Do you know someone who suffers a great deal on that day? Comment below.

Don’t suffer alone

As a woman of color and a mental health professional, one of the topics that is near and dear to my heart is the prevalence of mental illness in the African American community. May is mental health awareness month and after reading a very touching piece by a fellow blogger on how he is dealing with recent diagnosis of schizophrenia, I was moved to write a post on the subject.

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In the African American community there are many misconceptions when it comes to mental illness. The topic of mental illness is often seen as a taboo and most don’t speak on the topic at all. Many believe that a mental health condition is a personal weakness or some even a punishment from God. This leads to many being reluctant to discuss mental health problem or even seek treatment because of the shame and stigma that comes along with a psychiatric diagnosis.

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According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological stressors than non-whites, yet despite this, young adult African Americans, especially those with higher levels of education, are less likely to seek mental health services than their white counterparts. The top four reasons for failure to seek treatment included:

Socioeconomic Status: In the US where health insurance is closely tied to employment, the high rate of unemployment in the African American communities coincides with a high rate of individuals who are uninsured or under insured thus leading to lack of diagnosis and treatment.

Distrust: Many African American professionals, especially those who climbing up their respective professional ladders, are often faced with institutionalized racism and often are compelled to be strong. In the corporate world, many African Americans face social isolation and often and they feel that they can’t trust anyone or share anything and must go it alone.

Lack of African American Mental Health Professionals: In 2015, only 3.7% of members in the American Psychiatric Association and 1.5% of members in the American Psychological Association were identified as African American. A person’s beliefs, norms, values and language plays a vital role in their health, including mental health. Cultural competence is a doctor’s ability to recognize and understand the role culture plays in their patient’s treatment outcome and to adapt to this reality to meet your needs. Cultural incompetence can lead to insensitive mental health provider and greater mistrust from the patients.

Most African Americans rely on faith, family and social communities for emotional support rather than turning to health care professionals, even at the point where medical or therapeutic treatment may be necessary.

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Faith and spirituality can play a vital role in your mental health recovery process but should not be the only option. Spiritual leaders and other members of your community can provide much needed support. However be aware that spiritual communities can also become a source of emotional distress and even the origin of the social stigmas if members of this community are uneducated on mental health.sad 5

Don’t let fear of what others may think prevent you or a loved one from getting better. One in five Americans are living with a mental illness. You are not alone. Help is just a click away. People often don’t get the mental health help they need because they don’t know where to start. Use these resources to find the help you, your friends, or family need.

 mental health screening tools. 

http://ok2talk.org/ 

Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1

http://www.militaryonesource.mil/transition?content_id=267534
In Crisis? Call 1-800-273-TALK

The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists offers numerous resources for LGBT people who are experiencing mental health conditions, including a directory of LGBT-friendly therapists.

Text “NAMI” to 741741

It’s important that those living with mental illness know that they are not alone, and sharing your personal experiences can also help with your personal recovery. Have a story that you’re comfortable telling? Share below.

Reference: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Diverse-Communities/African-Americans#sthash.znJFsuO3.dpuf

Copyright © 2017 by travelingsistaz.  All rights reserved.

Edited by Kevin Khan RPAC

Stress resilience: How to bounce back

Living in one of the busiest cities in the world it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it was not until I succumbed to my daily stress and literally crashed and burned that I realized how much stress that I was really under. Stress can be positive, as it can be motivating and encourage us to reach our full potential. This post is about the other stress, the one that leaves us fatigued, irritable, with poor concentration and in long term wreak havoc in our bodies.

Chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, headaches and anxiety/depression.

Here are five things that are an absolute must in order to reduce your stress.

 

Identify the cause

The first step in managing the stress is to identify the root. Take note on your thoughts throughout the day. Take note on what and who causes negative changes in your mood and thought process.

 

2.  Set up a routine

 

Reduce the number of decisions you need to make by using routines. If there’s something you need to do every day, do it at the same time every day. Have a routine for preparing for your next morning the night before. For example picking out your clothes the night before, or even deciding on what you are going to have for breakfast will make your morning smoother, and give you an extra few minutes on shut eye.

3. Build stronger relationships

Believe or not our relationships can be a major source of stress. Having negative, hostile relationships can also lead to depression/anxiety. Stress leads to increase cortisol a hormone responsible for glucose production which is then converted into fat. Having positive and close relationships with friends and family that you are able to reach out to will help alleviate your burden. They may be able to offer practical assistance and support, useful ideas or just a fresh perspective as you begin to tackle whatever’s causing your stress.

4. Take time out

Set aside at least 4hrs a week for yourself. Whether you are a busy mom a provider in a busy psychiatric emergency room such as myself, it is imperative that you have time set aside just for you. How you spend that time is up to and can range from sleep, spa, manicure or diving into a good book. Research shows that activities like yoga and relaxation exercises not only help reduce stress, but also boost immune functioning.

5. Know when to Get help

Sometimes, these may not be enough. If after taking time out for yourself, long vacations, you are still feeling stressed, sad, irritable, unable to concentrate, or experiencing insomnia it may be necessary to contact a mental health professional who can help you learn how to manage stress effectively. He or she can help you identify situations or behaviors that contribute to your chronic stress and then develop a treatment plan in helping you manage your stress. There is absolutely nothing wrong with consulting with a professional.

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Copyright © 2017 by travelingsistaz.  All rights reserved.

Edited by Kevin Khan RPAC