Cultivating Calm

Mindfulness has become a popular approach in mental health counselling. Stemming from Eastern philosophies and spirituality, practitioners have adapted and secularized therapeutic aspects of deep focus, stillness, reflective introspection, and purposeful breathing.

The evolution of Mindful practice first began in heart attack recovery, pain management and rehab services, and now in mental health.

A calm lake is priceless imagery.

There are several relaxation videos and recordings that teach mindfulness techniques. In simple terms, you learn to really pay attention to what you are doing every moment of the day.

Mindfulness practices help you to be more aware of what you do and feel each day. It helps to draw you from states of distraction or busyness that can contribute to stress and overwork. It also helps you to connect to activities that cause you stress and what to do differently.

Some people infuse a prayerful element to mindfulness practice, rather than using affirmations or triggering words. There is a lot of evidence that cultivating a sense of calm each day heals the heart and your overall wellness.

Yoga is another simple way to grow your awareness between your movement and breath, as well as stress and any lingering aches and pains in your body. It helps you to notice damage caused by repetitive motions at work, lifting heavy objects, workload issues or emotional problems.

Mindfulness used in mental health counselling is not a spiritual practice. You are not expected to pray or learn a new religion. Instead, mindfulness strategies will help you to be more aware of the way you go about the business of your day and how it impacts you.

Speak up if you feel weird or awkward in your psychotherapy session. Feel confident to express that you have your own spiritual practice or religion and that you are interested in therapeutic mindfulness strategies only.

Mindful eating and now mindful alcohol-use are growing in popularity as harm reducing activities. Are you aware of the amount of beer or wine you are consuming or do you fail to count or notice how many drinks you have had before feeling unwell?

A skilled clinician can help you become more mindful of your habits, words, and behaviours that are automatic to you, yet harmful to your health in the long run. Enjoy the benefits that stem from lower blood pressure, diaphragmatic breathing, and alert mental acuity. This investment to your wellness is guaranteed!

#mindfulness #counselling #wellness #psychotherapy

New Year, New Decade, New You – 2020

Aurora Festival of Lights in Toronto, Ontario

One of the main reasons societies celebrate “endings and beginnings” each year is the hope to begin anew. It is a time when people review the past year and decade reflectively.

You may have lost family members and friends due to illnesses, misunderstandings, divorces, or tragedies. At the same time, your life may have been blessed with family weddings, the birth of children, new degrees, credentials, diplomas, promotions, or a new job or business!

Everyone in society shares in the passing of the old year and the hope of the new year in common. New Year’s day is a statutory holiday for everyone to remember how fortunate you are to begin anew.

You may find yourself wishing you had reacted to something differently. You may also find yourself seeking to make amends with people you may have hurt or offended. The road you take in the New Year is completely up to you.

Starting slowly and honestly to review what aspects of your life you wish to improve, change, sustain, or maintain this year as the foundation to the next decade is an excellent way to move forward in your life.

Some people benefit from making a list of goals, ideas, resolutions, or plans for the next year. You may also expand your list to include a 3-5 year plan. Having an overall structure or framework for you to organize immediate and future goals is healthy and critical to success.

None of us experience success in isolation. Ensuring that you cultivate healthy and happy family relationships is essential to feelings of fulfillment, gratitude, health, and wellness.

In this past decade, North American societies have learned to talk openly about mental illness and the years of silent suffering caused by the social stigma created by misinformation and bias.

Know the signs of mental illness and be there when your friends need you most. Forgive yourself if you have missed the needs of others due to petty distraction or busy-ness.

Gone are the days of historic institutionalization where people lost self-determination and freedom due to episodes of depression, mania, anxiety, or psychosis. Canadians have come a long way due to the bravery of individuals such as Margaret Trudeau, Clara Hughes, Princes William & Harry, and Michael Babcock.

The constitution has also caught up accordingly and people with mental disabilities are protected equally under the law – even in the workplace and academia.

Your mental health and wellness is far too important to be misunderstood or mistreated. More service is needed, so you can find expert support at school or work without barriers.

Connect with a Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist today who will truly remind you about your rights to be Well!

#NewYear #Let’sTalk #Heal #Wellness #KnowYourRights

Is marriage a Sacred Bond?

Marriage is a commitment like no other

All politics aside, marriage is a commitment between two people that requires nurturing, time, and care like no other. Often pushed to the edge of everyday living, it is quite miraculous when two people are able to remain together committed in and to marriage over the long term. What is the secret to a “happy” marriage many people ask? How is it possible that the two of you are still going along so well together – after all this time?

Of course as a therapist, I have firsthand experiences working with many people over the years who encounter serious and unexpected events in their marriages. Many times, perhaps too often, marriages do fall apart due to neglect, distraction, and perhaps, ingratitude. Mostly, marriages end when new relationships have been given permission to begin. In other words, people will often stay in very unhappy unions until they open their heart to another caring ear, wandering eye, or helping hand. Sadly, some relationships grow apart emotionally, physically and spiritually. It may feel easier to move forward with someone new instead of continuing to try with a partner who no longer meets your needs for love, affection, fun, personal growth, intellectual advancement, and sexual fulfillment.

There are many important dimensions to a happy and healthy marriage. These areas of personal wellness become increasingly apparent when married couples decide to have children together and to grow a family. The presence of children certainly changes things! Priorities, timelines, behaviours, sacrifices, everyday duties, and responsibilities grow and change in relation to the beautiful and blessed gift that children bring to married couples in love. Brought forth into this world through a healthy marital bed, children dramatically change the lives of couples in the most uplifting and happy ways. As two people age together, and have the blessed experience of becoming grandparents, the “tough” days seem irrelevant cast in the light of hope that new life promises to bring.

I am definitely not qualified to discern whether marriage is in fact a sacred union. But, when I meet two married people who demonstrate deep love, affection, and respect for one another – the glow of something more powerful and larger than even the couple can explain seems very real to me. There is no doubt in my mind that marriage is truly a sacred bond between two people in love. A bond so deep, powerful, and beautiful that it can last a lifetime. Deciding to hold a traditional marriage ceremony that seeks a holy blessing can only help in our world riddled with loneliness, sadness, and despair.

How do you congratulate newly married couples, parents, and grandparents? What are some of the important ways you deliberately nurture your marriage and honour the power of your holy union everyday? Do you think your marriage will last? What proof do you have? Make it your daily habit to remind yourself about how lucky you are to have a lifelong companion with whom you share laughter, joy, sex, and just ordinary stuff!

BE THINK AND DO WELLNESS