8 Tips for Making a Good Apology

8 Tips for Making a Good Apology

If you struggle with substance use issues, you may find yourself having to make more apologies than the average person. Not only do drugs and alcohol impair your judgment, making you more prone to reckless behavior and accidents, but addiction can undermine your personal values and harm your relationships in a thousand different ways. When you do decide to get sober, part of that process will include patching up relationships, making apologies, and making amends. If you have some apologies to make, here are some tips for doing it right.

Apologize for the Right Reason

The right intention can make all the difference in an apology. There is really only one correct reason for apologizing to someone, which is that you feel genuine remorse for hurting them in some way. Don’t apologize because you need money or a place to stay or whatever else. That’s the most transparent sort of fake apology. It’s not even a good idea to ask for a favor after an apology. Even if you do feel genuine remorse, asking a favor right away undermines the sincerity of your apology. If you do apologize from a place of genuine remorse, it will show and your apology will be more effective.

Describe What You’re Apologizing For

What people typically want from an apology is validation and recognition. When you victimize someone, you’re implying that their needs don’t matter. One way you can make up for that is to demonstrate some understanding of why your actions hurt them. Briefly describe what you did and why it hurt them. For example, you might say something like, “I’m sorry I didn’t pick you up at the airport as I had promised. I realize it must have been a huge inconvenience and you may have felt like I forgot about you or that I just didn’t care.” Your description should demonstrate both awareness and empathy. Being able to accurately identify what you did wrong and why makes the other person feel like you might at least be capable of avoiding similar behavior in the future.

Explicitly Apologize

It’s important to actually say the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” We often cave under the pressure of sincere communication. Sometimes the person who deserves an apology and really wants to hear it will even let you off the hook without an explicit apology if you make your intention clear. However, apologies aren’t supposed to be easy so make sure you say the actual words.

Make Amends If Possible

Apologies are good but making amends is better. That’s one reason one of the 12 steps is making amends and not just apologizing. While an apology is the decent thing to do, and sometimes the best thing you can do, it’s still just words. Making amends actually requires some kind of sacrifice on your part in order to make things right. It might be a sacrifice in terms of money, effort, or time.

Not only does this mitigate some of the damage you’ve done, but it also demonstrates your sincerity, and sharing in the consequences indicates that you are less likely to repeat your behavior. If making amends to the person you harmed is not possible or not advisable, think of ways you can make amends more broadly, perhaps by donating time or money to a worthy cause.

Give Assurance It Won’t Happen Again

When it comes to moving forward in a relationship, the other person mainly wants to know if you are going to hurt them again. Trust takes a while to repair. Some of the tips above, like stating exactly what you did and why it was wrong, and making amends go some way toward reassuring the person you won’t repeat your behavior. Promising that it won’t happen again is also nice. You may want to give some more concrete assurances as well, such as telling them you’ve entered addiction treatment, started attending 12-Step meetings, starting seeing a therapist, and so on. Depending on the situation, you might propose specific consequences for repeating your behavior.

Ask Forgiveness

When you’ve apologized and given your assurances, ask forgiveness. Explicitly say, “Will you forgive me?” When you victimize someone, you take away their agency and asking forgiveness is a way of giving a little bit back. You’re letting them know that you need something from them and they can decide to give it to you or not. In other words, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable as a way of evening the score.

The catch is that you can’t make them forgive you. You have to live with whatever they decide to do. They may also not be able to forgive you right away. Be patient, they may change their mind if you show genuine signs of change.

Don’t Ruin It With Explanations

It’s hard to admit you were wrong and leave it at that. Whatever it was that you did, you know there were specific circumstances, that you’re not really such a bad person, and so on. You want to defend your actions in such a way that you don’t feel terrible about yourself. However, an apology isn’t about you; it’s about them. We all know that nothing happens in a vacuum and there were extenuating circumstances and everything else but all they care about is that you hurt them. So make your apology and resist the urge to add a “but” or “it’s just that” to the end.

Don’t Force an Apology on Someone

Finally, don’t force an apology on someone who doesn’t want it. An apology is for making the other person feel better, not for making you feel better. If someone doesn’t want to hear from you, respect that.

Apologies are never easy but they’re often the right thing to do. The key is to express genuine remorse while being specific about your offense and how it affected the other person. Taking responsibility for your actions shows a fundamental change in attitude from addictive behavior and making some assurance it won’t happen again sets the groundwork for rebuilding trust.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that recovery from addiction is about far more than quitting drugs and alcohol; it’s about living a life of connection, integrity, and joy. We treat the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, and we emphasize the importance of community in recovery. To learn more, call us today at 833-801-5483.


Cooking

Why Cooking Is a Great Recovery Skill

There are many important skills to learn when recovering from a substance use disorder. Many of these are directly related to getting sober and staying sober. These include skills like distress tolerance, emotional regulation, setting boundaries, clear communication, and behavioral strategies. There are also life skills that are more peripheral to recovery but equally important for staying sober long-term. These include skills like finding a safe place to live, finding a job, managing your finances, managing stress, and so on. Cooking is a life skill and a recovery skill that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Here’s why.

Cooking your own meals is healthier.

Addiction can take a serious toll on your health. For example, excessive drinking can damage your gastrointestinal tract, making it hard for your body to absorb nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition. It also damages your cardiovascular system, leading to a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Drinking also increases your risk of liver disease and several kinds of cancer including mouth, esophageal, stomach, liver, breast, and colon cancers. Many substances, including alcohol, can weaken your immune system, increase your risk of other unhealthy habits, and damage your overall health. In short, if you’re just starting to recover from addiction, your health may be precarious.

One of the best things you can do for your health—after you stop using drugs and alcohol—is to start eating healthier. That means eating more nutritious whole foods and less processed junk. A number of studies have found that people tend to eat healthier when they cook more of their own meals at home. For example, one study of more than 11,000 people found that people who ate more home-cooked meals ate significantly more fruits and vegetables and had healthier body-mass indexes and lower body fat percentages. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561571/] This improves your cardiovascular health, and reduces your risk of other problems like diabetes and cancer. When you cook your own meals, you are more likely to eat whole foods. Additionally, you are more aware of how much sugar, salt, and fat go into each meal.

Healthier eating is good for your mental health.

While the physical health benefits of cooking for yourself are considerable, the mental health benefits will be even more important for some people. Depression is a significant risk factor for addiction and relapse, and a number of studies have now linked diet and depression, as well. One meta-analysis examined data from more than 45,000 participants and found that “dietary interventions significantly reduced depressive symptoms.” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6455094/] The diets with the best effects are similar to the “Mediterranean diet,” which is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, and fish, while being very low in sugar, refined flour, processed meats, and fried foods. It is thought that this kind of eating helps reduce inflammation in the body and brain. Recent research suggests that inflammation may play a major role in some forms of depression, so keeping inflammation under control with a healthy diet may reduce your risk of depressive episodes.

Cooking is cognitively demanding.

People recovering from substance use issues often complain of cognitive impairment during the first few months and even up to a year. There are a number of reasons for this. Part of it is just your brain readjusting to the absence of drugs and alcohol, which sometimes results in emotional numbness, poor concentration, lack of motivation, irritability, and depression. Part of this may also be caused by structural changes in your brain, which weaken parts of your prefrontal cortex responsible for attention and self-control. Basically, your brain has trouble remaining interested in anything besides drugs and alcohol, so you have trouble focusing on—or enjoying—other things.

Like your muscles, your brain gets stronger the more you use it, and cooking can be a great way to start getting your brain back in shape. It combines a number of high-level cognitive skills, like planning, timing, and attention with low-level cognitive skills, such as taste, smell, and touch. Cooking can be either very simple, like cooking a pot of rice or frying some eggs, or it can be complex, like cooking an elaborate meal for friends.

The more complex it gets, the more it challenges your ability to multitask and think on your feet. You have to think about the best way to use your time and estimate how long various tasks will take to ensure all the food is ready at about the same time. While all of this can be demanding, it is also typically more fun and engaging than other ways you might challenge your brain. What’s more, since you’ll be eating the end result, you have a built-in incentive to focus and try to do a good job.

Cooking is socially engaging.

Finally, cooking is a great way to get people together. Social connection is one of the most important parts of a strong recovery, whether it’s connection to a sober network or to supportive family and friends. Cooking is a great way to strengthen that connection. Even just being a competent cook will make you more popular and give you an excuse to invite people over. Home-cooked meals are often more intimate and enjoyable and you have complete control over what goes into them, and you can avoid certain obstacles you may encounter while eating out: no party at the next table sharing several bottles of wine, no dishes with surprise alcohol in the sauce, and so on.

Recovering from addiction isn’t just about abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but rather about finding a better way to live. Learning to cook helps you stay healthier mentally and physically and can be part of a larger move toward a healthier lifestyle. It’s also just a useful skill to have, since it can benefit you for the rest of your life. At Enlightened Solutions, our approach to addiction recovery is both individualized and holistic. To learn more about our treatment options, call us today at 833-801-LIVE or explore our website.


Why Transitional Care Matters for Addiction Recovery

Why Transitional Care Matters for Addiction Recovery

Completing a quality addiction treatment program is a great start to recovery. You get away from the stress and bad influences of your regular life, you work with a therapist, you get a chance to recover your health, and you establish new habits in a supportive environment.

You can accomplish quite a bit in a relatively short time during an intensive program. However, it’s also important to have a smooth transition back to regular life.

The protective, supportive environment of inpatient treatment is great for healing but it doesn’t much resemble real life. Too often, people who do well during treatment have trouble once they leave.

An estimated 40 to 60 percent of people who get treatment for a substance use disorder relapse within the first year of completing treatment. Transitional care can help you get back to your normal life with less risk of relapse. Here are some common ways people get tripped up and how to get past them.

 

Support 

 

Perhaps the biggest difference between being in treatment and being home is the lack of support. When you’re in inpatient treatment, everyone around you is either trying to help you stay sober or trying to stay sober themselves.

The staff works hard to make sure there are no drugs or alcohol in the facility, that you’re relatively comfortable, that you have the emotional support you need, and that you’re living a relatively healthy lifestyle. 

 

When you get home, things may be much different. The people around you may not know how to support you. Unlike treatment staff and other people in recovery, they may not really understand what addiction and recovery are like.

Since people in recovery are often encouraged to distance themselves from friends who drink and use drugs, they often feel lonely at first. You may not feel like you have someone you can talk to when things get hard. 

 

For most people, the best way to cope with this lower level of support will be to attend mutual aid meetings, such as a 12-Step group. It’s fairly common for people to attend meetings every day—at least for a while—after leaving treatment.

Another good option, especially for people who have had difficulty transitioning in the past, is to step down to a lower level of care. So, for example, if you have just completed a month of inpatient treatment, you might enter an intensive outpatient program so you can start getting back to normal life while retaining much of the continuity and support of treatment.

 

Structure

 

One thing you can’t help but notice in inpatient treatment is that everything happens on schedule. There’s a time you get up, times for meals, times for therapy, times for activities, and so on.

While this certainly makes it easier to coordinate everyone’s activity, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. When you have a healthy routine, it’s easier to make healthy choices. You are more likely to get enough quality sleep, eat at regular times, exercise, and do other things that promote recovery. 

 

Unfortunately, a month in treatment is typically not long enough to make this routine stick. Research indicates that it takes an average of two months—and often much longer—to make a new behavior automatic.

By the end of the month, you may be pretty used to your regular schedule and so you may suddenly feel pretty adrift when you go home and no one cares what time you get up or do anything else.

 

One thing you can do is to preserve your treatment routine as much as possible. Although it may not be automatic yet, it should be relatively easy if you make a deliberate effort.

Having some firm commitments, such as daily 12-Step meetings or intensive outpatient sessions will also help give some structure to your days. If you’re worried about being at loose ends after leaving inpatient treatment, one option is to enter a sober-living environment.

You will live with other sober people and have less structure than inpatient treatment but more structure than living at home. Typically, residents have a curfew, are required to work or look for work, are assigned chores, and participate in 12-Step meetings.

 

Applying Skills to Real Life

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that there is a huge difference between applying cognitive and behavioral strategies in a safe, controlled environment like inpatient treatment and applying them out in the world when there are real stakes. The hypotheticals and past situations you deal with in treatment aren’t always the same as the challenges you face in real life.

Real life is endlessly inventive when it comes to creating problems and you will inevitably have to face some challenges you didn’t prepare for. 

 

Some of the solutions already mentioned will certainly help with this. Attending 12-Step meetings, participating in intensive outpatient treatment, and living in a sober residence all give you opportunities to discuss new problems with people who have been there.

Many treatment programs also offer follow-up counseling for just this purpose. 

 

Another good idea is to get a therapist who you can see regularly. Most people with substance use disorders have co-occurring mental health issues, such as major depression, anxiety disorders, and others that typically require ongoing, or at least intermittent, support.

A therapist with experience treating addiction and co-occurring disorders can help you manage any mental health issues while also applying your recovery skills to whatever challenges you’re currently facing. 

 

Going from the structured, supportive environment of inpatient treatment to the chaotic indifference of real life is too often overwhelming for people new to recovery. Recovering from addiction is a long process that entails mastering new skills, thinking in different ways, and making healthy lifestyle changes, all of which takes time and support. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that treatment is just the beginning of recovery and we support our clients with follow-up care, including sober living options. For more information, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


5 Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating

5 Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating

Rumination is a repetitive pattern of thinking about something negative, either something from your past or something you’re worried might happen later. Rumination is a way of being mentally stuck.

All your energy goes into these repetitive thoughts. Not only does rumination distract you from more useful things but it also tends to make you depressed and anxious. 

 

According to the American Psychological Association, many studies have linked rumination to depression, including one study of more than 1,300 people, which found that ruminators were four times as likely as non-ruminators to develop major depression. Rumination is a bad habit in itself and if you are recovering from a substance use disorder, rumination can be a major liability.

An episode of anxiety or major depression is often a prelude to relapse. Therefore, if you are prone to rumination, it’s a good idea to do something about it as soon as possible. Here are some tips for stopping rumination.

 

Notice When You Ruminate

 

The first step is to notice when you’re ruminating. Part of what makes it so difficult to stop is that we get swept up in our thoughts and we don’t even notice it’s happening. When you do catch yourself ruminating, it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up.

Your first reflex might be to think something like, “Idiot! Knock that off!” What you want to do instead is pat yourself on the back for noticing that you were ruminating. “Oh, there I go again, but great job noticing!” You want to positively reinforce the act of catching rumination rather than punish yourself for ruminating. 

 

Once you do catch yourself ruminating, pay attention to the circumstances. There is typically a trigger; see if you can figure out what it is.

Our brains are highly associative so something as innocuous as a phrase in a news article might remind you of something embarrassing you did as a child and before you know it, you’ve been staring at the same article for 20 minutes, replaying that humiliating moment that no one else on the planet remembers. Just being aware of these rumination triggers can help keep you from getting stuck in a rut. 

 

Distract Yourself or Change Your Situation

 

As noted above, rumination is often triggered by specific situations. If you notice that’s the case, one thing you can do is just change your environment, at least temporarily. This gets you out of the ruminating frame of mind.

The sooner you do this, the easier it is to break the rumination cycle. Another similar strategy is to distract yourself. In other words, instead of changing your surroundings, change your focus.

Since rumination typically makes it hard to concentrate, it’s best to distract yourself with something engaging. Playing a video game, having a conversation with a friend, going for a walk, or listening to music are often effective distractions.

 

Practice Mindfulness

 

In a way, mindfulness is the opposite of distracting yourself. Instead of trying to break the cycle of rumination, you allow it to happen and you observe it nonjudgmentally. See what you can notice about your rumination.

What are you ruminating about? What part keeps repeating? Why is your mind so attached to that part? What emotions arise as you ruminate? Where do you feel those emotions in your body? 

 

You will probably notice some patterns very quickly. For example, you may notice that you feel strongly attached to your rumination and why you try to think about something else, it sort of pulls you back.

Why is that? Is there some sense in which you enjoy ruminating? Mindfully exploring your rumination can give you a lot of insight. It works best if you have a regular mindfulness meditation practice. Even 20 or 30 minutes a day will help you relax and gain insight into your thought processes.

 

Write It Down

 

One thing you may discover about rumination, if you watch it mindfully, is that you feel, deep down, like you’re solving a very important problem. So, for example, you said something embarrassing at work and your brain wants to replay the situation to figure out what happened and how you could have handled the situation better.

That’s actually pretty helpful. However, this often turns into replaying an embarrassing incident over and over, which is not helpful.

One reason a rumination tends to repeat is that you don’t want to forget the bit that you’ve worked through. Unfortunately, that means you never make much progress in solving the problem. 

 

One way to break out of the trap is to write down what you’re ruminating about. This brings your rumination into your conscious awareness—as noted above—and it gives your brain permission to stop rehearsing it.

Your very important problem is now safely down on paper and you can either continue thinking it through logically, on paper, or you can think about something else. 

 

Take Steps Toward Solving the Problem.

 

If you do continue writing about a problem, it may help you break the cycle of rumination. As noted, rumination is the desire to solve a problem run amok.

If you are able to state the problem clearly and perhaps take concrete steps toward solving it, you will immediately worry about it less. You don’t have to solve the whole problem at once; you really only need a clear idea of the first step and a workable plan for following through.

 

Rumination, like any bad habit, takes time and patience to quit, but it’s well worth the effort. Awareness and attention are the keys.

It’s also helpful to remember that your brain is trying to do something useful. Once you better understand how rumination works, in general, and for you specifically, it’s easier to get out of the trap.

 At Enlightened Solutions, we use a variety of holistic methods, including evidence-based therapeutic methods, yoga, mindfulness, and others, to help our clients cope with challenging emotions and lead more fulfilling lives. For more information, call us at 833-801-LIVE.


Orthorexia Nervosa- Fear of Eating Unhealthy

Orthorexia Nervosa- Fear of Eating Unhealthy

It is always good to want to eat healthily. But, it is never good to be obsessed with healthy eating. By knowing the signs of Orthorexia Nervosa, you can prevent this unhealthy addiction and learn to still eat healthy without any negative feelings associated with it.

How Orthorexia Nervosa is Different From Other Eating Disorders

Eating disorders that we know of like anorexia or bulimia is about quantity. Orthorexia Nervosa is about quality. Losing weight is normally not the objective when you develop this particular eating disorder. This is when you have an obsession with eating foods that have the highest “purity” or the most healthy. This eating disorder was made aware when Jordan Younger, a successful blogger, spoke about how her obsession with healthy eating led her to suffer malnutrition. While Orthorexia Nervosa is recognized in the medical community, it still is not associated with the American Psychiatric Association or the DSM-5. 

The Causes of Orthorexia

It may have started where you wanted to go on a diet to improve your health, only to let your healthy eating habits grow out of control. Obsessive-compulsive disorders, as well as former or current eating disorders, can be factors for Orthorexia Nervosa. It can also be if you have a tendency towards perfectionism, high anxiety, or a need for control. You may also feel pressure to be healthy for your career where picking the right foods becomes a necessity. It can be jobs like healthcare workers, musicians, ballet dancers, and athletes. 

The Two Stages of Orthorexia Nervosa

The first stage of Orthorexia Nervosa is your obsessive thoughts of healthy eating. You feel emotional stress in relation to certain food choices. This can mean having compulsive thoughts on dietary choices that you believe will make you the most healthy. You do not want to break any part of your diet or you may experience anxiety, shame, fear of developing a disease, feeling impure, or how you will perceive your physical health. If you keep up with these dietary restrictions, it can lead to leaving out entire food groups as well as cleanses, fasts, or both.

The second stage of Orthorexia Nervosa is when this eating disorder prevents normal functioning. You could experience malnutrition, severe weight loss, and other complications. You could also have trouble functioning socially where your friends are not fond of your obsessive eating habits or academically where you do not have the energy to do your work. You could also feel like the way you see yourself all depends on how well you do on your diet. For example, eating one piece of candy can already make you feel like you are doing a lousy job at feeling healthy instead of thinking of everything in moderation.

Physical Effects

It is important to realize that true health is eating all of the essential food groups. A shortage of essential nutrients can lead to malnutrition, anemia, or a slow heart rate. You could also experience electrolyte and hormonal imbalances, metabolic acidosis, and bad bone health. Do not underestimate any of these health problems and see a doctor for them before your life is threatened by this eating disorder.

Emotional Effects

If a person with Orthorexia Nervosa has their eating habits disrupted, it can lead them to extreme frustration. You could end up feeling guilty and hating yourself if you deviate from the diet. One deviation can lead you to say to yourself you will not eat anything the next day or go on a cleansing. A large amount of your time is spent deciding on which foods are “pure” enough for you. You could be concerned about pesticides in vegetables, dairy with hormones, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Besides eating, you could also be spending your time researching, weighing, or measuring food or planning future meals. 

Social Effects

Orthorexia Nervosa can cause your friends to withdraw from you if you are spending all of your time talking about what foods you plan on eating, searching for the calories and ingredients more than eating, or are thinking out what to put in their food diary. Your friends will feel like you are not focusing on them. You may also feel like you can only eat at certain times and cannot take part in activities that involve food like going out to eat or dinner parties. You will feel like the food there does not fit into your dietary restrictions and choose to miss out on it completely. You could also be isolating yourself from people because you know that what you are doing is not safe and you do not want the judgment.

Treatment For Orthorexia Nervosa

If you do not treat Orthorexia Nervosa soon, you could be suffering from irreversible damage to your body. You first need to identify that you have it. This is the hardest part because people with any eating disorder fail to recognize it under something bad happens to them. Once you realize that you fit into the symptoms of this eating disorder, you should seek help from a doctor, nutritionist, and psychologist. There is also exposure therapy, behavior modification therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques. Lastly, it is important to do your own research about necessary food habits everyone should have to be healthy to avoid any false beliefs. Being in control of Orthorexia Nervosa can allow you to enjoy food again as well as your life. 

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Foods That Help with Anxiety

Foods That Help with Anxiety

You may have heard of that popular expression, “You are what you eat.” The stomach and the brain have a connection where if our bodies are not given essential nutrients, this can have an effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that impacts our mental health. By being wise about what foods you are incorporating into your diet, you will be able to see a difference in your anxiety.

Asparagus

Asparagus has a great amount of the ingredient folate which has a tendency to boost your mood. Instead of having fries as your side dish, try having asparagus instead that you can saute, grill, or steam. You can also have asparagus as a snack that you can dip into salsa, hummus, or salsa.

Avocado

Avocados are filled with vitamin B6 which can help the body make serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. Deficiencies in these vitamins have a tendency to increase anxiety. Other than vitamin B6, avocados also have healthy fats that can help lessen anxiety. Instead of eating ice cream for dessert, you can have an avocado treat where you blend avocado with a ripe banana, vanilla extract, almond milk, and sweetener. Once you freeze it for a few hours, you will have a mood-boosting dessert. You can also add avocado to salads instead of fatty dressings and omelets instead of cheeses. 

Blueberries

Blueberries have antioxidants and vitamin C that will help repair and protect our cells. These fruits can help prevent and reduce anxiety for those who have it. Instead of having desserts that are high in sugar, which can throw off a healthy bacterial balance in the stomach, have a bowl of blueberries. 

Turkey

Turkey is filled with tryptophan which the body uses to produce serotonin to regulate sleep and mood. This nutrient can also help reduce feelings of anxiety. Instead of eating fried foods, which introduce unhealthy fats that can worsen your mental health, add turkey to quinoa or brown rice with veggies to provide good nutrients and nice sleep. 

Almonds

Almonds are filled with magnesium which increases serotonin in the brain. 12 almonds have 75mg of magnesium which is 19% of your daily recommended amount. Instead of having cookies for dessert, which are filled with unhealthy trans-fats and sugars that disrupt good bacteria, have nuts instead to promote stomach health. If you really need something sweet, you can throw in some dark chocolate chips into your mix. 

Yogurt

Fermented probiotic foods have a tendency to lessen social anxiety and fix damaged nerve tissue in the brain that leads to anxiety. Probiotics is a friendly bacteria that live in the GI tract and defends against harmful pathogens and microbes. Plain Greek yogurt has 100 million probiotic cultures per gram or 25 billion in a cup. Instead of having milk with your cereal, have milk with it instead. If you have a genetic risk of developing social anxiety, yogurt can be the best thing for you to include in your diet. If you do not care for yogurt, you can have sauerkraut or pickles in your sandwich for lunch which also has probiotics. Instead of having parmesan with your pasta or soups, sprinkle miso on top of it.

Kale

Having lower antioxidants in your system can lead to increased anxiety symptoms. Dark, leafy greens like kale are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin E to boost antioxidant levels and support the best brain function. Instead of lettuce in your salad or your sandwiches, use kale instead. If you feel like kale is too bitter for you, add it to an omelet, soup, or smoothie. 

Salmon

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which help with anxiety. Having enough beneficial fats will support a healthy brain and stomach connection. Salmon helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you feel tense. Studies have also shown that fatty acids can reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell dysfunction that can lead to developing mental health disorders. One study in PubMed showed that men who ate Atlantic salmon three times a week for five months had less anxiety than those who ate chicken, beef, or pork. They also had an improved heart rate. Instead of having a big, juicy steak for dinner, substitute that with seafood. You can try adding different spices to your salmon like salt and pepper, garlic, rosemary, etc. 

Tumeric

Tumeric contains curcumin, which is a compound that promotes brain health and prevents anxiety. This compound also has a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent damage to brain cells. This could be because curcumin reduces inflammatory markers like cytokines which are responsible for anxiety development. Curcumin can also increase blood antioxidant levels which are low in those with anxiety. Tumeric is easy to add in meals as it has minimal flavor. You can add it in smoothies, curries, and casserole dishes.

Dark Chocolate

We may be quick to go for milk chocolate because of its sweet flavor. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, can do more for your anxiety as it contains flavonols which are oxidants good for brain function. Flavonols improve blood flow to the brain and can help adapt to stressful situations. Eating dark chocolate can also increase serotonin which can reduce the stress that leads to anxiety. By incorporating any of these stress-reducing foods into your diet, your anxiety levels should decrease and you will feel a whole lot better.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-Step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Picking Yourself After Unemployment Grief

Picking Yourself After Unemployment Grief

It can be very stressful to lose your job. You feel like hope is lost and you will never find another job again. Even though the stress of unemployment can seem overwhelming, it is important to keep your head up high and never give up trying to better your life in order to take care of your mental health.

The Stress of Job Loss

Losing your job means that you lost how to make a living and support yourself and your family. Jobs give us structure and meaning in our lives where we use our positions at work to define ourselves and gives us something to do every day. Losing a job can mean you have lost your professional identity, self-esteem, daily routine, and sense of security. This can cause you to put yourself in a deep depression where you do not even bother applying to other jobs in fear that you will suffer rejection or lose that particular job as well. The reality is that you need to support yourself and staying in a depressive state will not help you in your grief. Making daily efforts to get hired will prove to yourself you are strong.

Change Your Negative Thoughts

Instead of thinking of losing your job as the end of the world, just see it as a temporary setback. The greatest people in the history books have had obstacles and setbacks to overcome, but they did not rise back up by giving up. All you can do is learn from experience and try again. Think about something new that you are looking for that you wish you had at your previous employment. You can also express your feelings differently. That means instead of wasting yourself away with drugs and alcohol, write your thoughts down in a journal to look at your situation in a realistic light and write a plan down on what you need to do to find your next job.

Talk to Someone

Normally when someone loses their job, they tend to stay away from their friends and family. They feel embarrassed to have to tell them that their job did not work out and that they are back to square one. Remember that everyone has been in your shoes before when it comes to job searching. It can be a long and tedious process, but it will be worth it when you finally get to your dream job. If you are afraid that your loved ones will be criticizing your job hunting tactics and push their opinions onto you on what you should do, just tell them you just want a listener. Judgment is not going to help you find a job faster, but knowing someone is willing to give their time to listen to you without any interruptions will make a lot of difference. Just open up to someone that you trust so that you are not keeping your feelings inside with no one to know about them.

Build Relationships

Expanding your social life can be beneficial in looking for a new job. You can do this by joining a class or a club where you can meet people who have connections. There are job hunting clubs where people exchange business cards with each other, support each other in their unemployment grief, and offer solutions. Volunteering is another great way to help you get out into the community and make connections. You may discover through your volunteering that you have skills you did not know you had that can be added to your resume like being a leader, organized, attentive, quick thinking, etc.

Stay Positive

You may have been used to having the same routine when you had a group where you wake up at this certain time and come home at this certain time. The truth is that you still can except instead of waking up to go to work, wake up to begin your job search. You can go to the library or a cafe to be in a different environment than your home. Make a job searching plan of where you plan on job searching such as online job boards, newspapers, businesses to call, etc. Whenever you are feeling down, look at the part of your resume where you have listed your skills. This should make you feel good about yourself having skills that many others do not have that make you appealing to businesses. 

It is important to think about what you can control. You cannot control whether or not an employer calls you back or likes your application. All you can do is keep applying instead of waiting for an email or by the phone to hear back from that one company. Do not stop applying. The worst that can happen to you is that you hear back from a lot of companies and you have choices to make about where you want to work. Think if there are any new skills that you can learn, fix your resume or cover letter, or look back at the business cards you have collected and figure out who you can call. Telling yourself that you are going to give up finding a job will not help you find a job. The important thing you can do to ensure that you are no longer depressed about unemployment is doing everything you can to find a job and making positive connections along the way.

 

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12-Step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


The Effects of Sleeping Less Than Eight Hours

The Effects of Sleeping Less Than Eight Hours

It is very common for people to undermine how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. While we may be able to survive on just a few hours of sleep a night, it does not mean that we will be able to get by life like that. By learning about the health consequences of not getting a good night’s sleep every night, this will encourage you to make it a goal to sleep seven to eight hours a night.

Mental Health Issues

Having a short amount of sleep every night can lead to you having depressive and anxiety symptoms. Not having enough sleep every night increases your risk of engaging in risky behaviors like substance abuse and social isolation. This makes your head not clear and not having the energy to doing things that you love to do. To prevent feeling this way, you should make a journal of how much sleep you get every night and tracking down your mental whenever you wake up and how your day is going. Once you determine how much sleep you need, set alarm clocks for when to fall asleep. Remember, it takes fifteen minutes to fall asleep. By improving your sleep, your mind will grow stronger and your mental illness symptoms will further lessen.

Being Dehydrated

Nurse practitioner and spokesperson for Better Sleep Council Ellen Wermter says that the less you sleep, the more dehydrated you are compared to those who get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the release of hormones that regulate dehydration. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for kidney disease in which the kidneys play an important role in hydration. Not drinking enough water can lead to eye strain, fogginess, and an impact on skin health effects. The more water you drink can also lead to better health for your kidneys. When you are constantly depriving yourself of sleep, your skin has less elasticity and collagen. If you are someone who does not get enough sleep during the day, drink plenty of water during the day. This can mean making sure that you have a water bottle by your nightstand or a cup with a lid that you can bring with you to bed so that you do not have to get up to get a drink. 

Inflammation

Another problem with not getting enough sleep is that your body enters an inflammatory state that makes your body prone to mutation, growth, and the metastasis of your body’s cells. This can mean deal with body changes like hair loss and swollen ankles. If you experience inflammation for a long period of time, this can be very dangerous for your body in that you can be at an increased risk at developing cancer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor will suggest that you try to get plenty of sleep to avoid these symptoms growing worse.

Relationship Problems

Not getting enough sleep can cause a strain with your romantic partner. The less time you spend sleeping, you could be spending the rest of your day in a bad mood. You could be constantly feeling on edge where everything your partner does becomes an annoyance and a cause for a fight. It can also be stressful to have your partner have to sleep in bed alone without their partner there to keep them company in the night. It is best to try to go to sleep at the same time. If you notice your partner is in a better mood than you are during the day, it could be because they sleep for a longer amount of time than you. Your partner can encourage you to come into bed to help you avoid sleep deprivation.

Strained Brain Function

It could be possible that you are having trouble focusing whether it is in school, at work, or in your own household. This could mean that you were trying so hard to shut your eyes and go to sleep, but it just was not happening. Cognition can play a factor in sleep deprivation such as with memory, learning, information processing, decision-making, and judgment impairment. For example, if someone who is sleep-deprived is driving and a pedestrian walks in front of their car, it will take the driver a longer time to process that a pedestrian is in front of their car. What they are seeing is slowing down the driver’s overtired brain. In order to avoid this state of not being able to pay attention on a daily basis, you should eat a melatonin-rich snack like walnuts and cucumbers to help you sleep more easily. 

Weak Immune System

When you are sleeping, you are not only growing but you are also repairing your body and replenishing it. If you are not sleeping enough, that means that your immune system is not fully repairing itself. This can mean that you have a higher chance of getting an infection and your body will create fewer antibodies to fight viruses like the flu. You could be having a hard time sleeping because your bedroom is too cold. Wear an eye mask to block any light from distracting you and wear warm, fuzzy socks to keep your feet warm. Sleeping is very important for the body and the mind. By sleeping for seven to eight hours a night, you will wake up feeling happy and full of energy. 

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions has been a recovery center using evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Reasons People Develop Disordered Eating

Reasons People Develop Disordered Eating

It can be hard to understand why someone would purge their food or not eat. People may see what they are doing as a choice when it is really a mental health disorder. By understanding the reasons why people develop eating disorders, we will be able to recognize the signs more easily.

Society

According to Power of Positivity, one of the reasons people develop an eating disorder is when people try to fit in with society’s expectations. The world teaches us that we cannot be overweight and be considered beautiful, but to look skinny to get anywhere in careers, make friends, and gain respect. It can especially be hard when movies, television shows, and magazines show us women that are called beautiful and sexy, but not too many that we see attract the gaze of those they are romantically attracted to are overweight.

Instead of thinking about how important it is to be healthy, they focus more on how we should look toned with no flab anywhere. Because being fat is considered to be a condition no one wants to be in, we are taught to be afraid of food. More people in Hollywood, as well as models, should bring more awareness about being comfortable in your own skin no matter what shape you are.

Where You Live

It is also possible to feel self-conscious about yourself because of the area that you live in. You may work in a place where people are physically fit. You may feel like you have to keep up with everyone in the office so that you do not stick out like a sore thumb. By developing bulimia, you may feel that this is a faster way to lose weight to keep up with everyone. When people binge, they love how food tastes so they taste the food to experience it, but then dispose of it so that it is like it was never eaten. It is also possible that you could have been raised in an environment where you were belittled by your parents or an older sibling because of your shape. By avoiding food, you may think that it will be harder for them to continue belittling you if you look the way they expect you to look.

Sports

There can be a lot of pressure in playing sports. You are pressured to be a certain weight so that you can perform better for games, races, and dance performances. There are people who will starve themselves thinking they will athletically perform better. It can be very hard when they see others they compete against or the build of famous athletes thinking that they need to look just like them to win their games. Athletes need to be aware that more than anything, the best way they can perform in their sport is to be healthy and have the energy and strength to win for their team.

Bullying

There are people who take down others who do not look like them to feel better about themselves. This does not have to be in school, but can be at work as well. It can also feel uncomfortable if your office goes to get dinner and sees you eating more than them, making them think it is okay to make jokes at your expense. If someone is picked on a lot, they may feel like the only way they can avoid this torture is by changing the way they look. Instead of letting these negative taunts affect you, you should stand up to them and be your own person instead of who everyone else wants you to be.

Genetics

Eating disorders can be passed down to children just like with other diseases or mental health conditions. Just like when you look at families that have all obese family members, the same can go with those who use not eating or purging in their daily routine. Power of Positivity also says that chromosomes have been linked to eating disorders like anorexia. Twins are also said to have a higher chance of developing an eating disorder compared to other kinds of siblings.

Low Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can play a big part in developing an eating disorder. You may have been in a relationship where your partner left you for someone younger. You feel like you need to compete for that partner or for someone else to be attracted to you. You may be telling yourself that you are just trying to lose a few pounds until it becomes trying to lose too much that you need medical attention. Understanding your worth and seeing the beauty in you through treatment will help you get through your eating disorder.

Poor Coping Skills

It is possible to develop an eating disorder because you have problems dealing with what normally stresses you out. Because life feels so uncontrollable, you feel that the only way to get that control back is by deciding what goes or, in this case, what does not go in your mouth. There is no room for judgment when someone has an eating disorder as it is as much of a cry for help as breaking your arm. It cannot be ignored. By paying attention to the signs of an eating disorder and knowing these possible reasons, you can look into treatment to learn how to like yourself and view your body as beautiful.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


How to Say No to Alcohol

How to Say No to Alcohol

It may be hard to say no when someone offers you a drink at a party. You may feel obligated to accept the drink because you do not want to be rude or stick out if you are the only one at the party who is not drinking. By saying no to a drink, you will feel confident about yourself that you have control over a substance that is tempting for others to have despite the negative consequences it may bring.

Say You Are Driving

If you got to a party or a social gathering by driving yourself, you do not want to risk feel tipsy while behind the wheel. If a host offers you a drink, let them know that you need to be in good health to drive yourself home. You can also volunteer to be a designated driver to a friend who is going with you to this social gathering so that you do not have to feel pressured to drink and can just enjoy time with your friends without alcohol. If the host is still pressuring you to drink despite you telling them about your responsibilities as a designated driving, it shows that they do not care about your safety and are not worth talking to. Even if the host tells you that you will be safe as long as you stay under the limit, you will still be impaired and it is not worth endangering your life.

Say You Just Finished a Drink

If the host or a friend offers you to have another drink after you have just finished your first, let them know that you already had one drink and you do not want one anymore. This will show that you do not want to be a compulsive drinker and that you do not want to overdo it. Others may be inspired to follow suit if you show that you want to be in control of your alcohol consumption. It may be possible that you will have a friend further persuade you to drink more by telling you that if you had one drink, you can have another. The truth is that all that friend is proving is that they are a compulsive and pushy drinker themselves and who you should not be like. Not everyone wants to have another drink after they have just had one as everyone knows how much their body can handle. Sometimes, one drink can hit you like a ton of bricks. If you tell someone you will feel sick if you have another, they should respect your judgment and not push.

Say You Have Had Enough for Tonight

If you want to be in control of your drinking and set a limit based on your blood alcohol concentration, then tell the host or friend that you have had enough for tonight. If you keep this up each time you are with your friends, they will start to understand what your limit is and not bother you about it. If you are trying to quit drinking, medical professionals tell you not to quit cold turkey or you will experience serious withdrawal symptoms. Let your friends know that you are at a certain limit as you are continuing to cut back until it is safe to stop drinking alcohol completely. You have a right to control your limit and it should not hurt others to stand by this responsible decision.

Say You Want a Clear Head

Drinking tends to give you groggy thoughts if done in excess. Alcohol can take hours to be removed from your system which will make you still be intoxicated the next morning. Let your host or friend know that you do not want to drink because you want to keep a clear head. You can let them know that you have to work early tomorrow and want to be in good health by the time you wake up. There is also nothing wrong with telling them that you do not want to experience the unpleasantness of a hangover. This is a great way of letting others know that you refuse to let alcohol control your day to day life. If you are a student, let them know that you cannot drink too much today because you have a test tomorrow morning that you want to be in the right mindframe to take or that you plan on having a cram session the next morning.

Say You Are Taking Medication That Cannot Be Mixed with Alcohol

A host or a friend will not pressure you to drink if you let them know you are taking medication that can be conflicted with alcohol. The combination of over-the-counter medication and alcohol can have a deadly effect. Alcohol can also mask the effects that the medication is supposed to give you. For example, if you drink alcohol and take antidepressants, the antidepressants will not help with your anxiety or depression which will make you feel even more depressed or anxious.

Say You Do Not Drink

To put it simply, let your friend or host know that you do not drink. It is possible that you may be demanded an explanation, but that does not mean that you have to give one. By having the courage to refuse a drink from someone, you have a better chance of being healthy and enjoying yourself without worrying about the after effects.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.