Category Archives: Once Upon a Line

Eating While Distracted?


You know that distracted driving is dangerous, but what about eating when your thoughts are elsewhere? A new study explains why you’re likely to snack more while you’re watching TV. Intrigued? I was too!

Researchers at the University of Sussex studied the impact of perceptually demanding tasks like watching TV or playing video games. They found that subjects whose attention was engaged in another activity ate 45% more chips. This supports the theory that your brain has a limited supply of attention, so it focuses on what seems most important. As a result, you keep on eating because you miss the fullness cues that your body is trying to send you.

Read this before another bag of chips or cookies disappears while you’re binge-watching or talking on the phone. Paying closer attention to your eating will help you to maintain your weight and cut down on junk food.

How to Recognize When You’re Full
Feeling full depends on chemical changes in your body that take about 20 minutes for
your brain to register. That sated feeling is designed to last for several hours, but
many common habits can undermine the process. Keep the following in mind:

  • Understand cravings. Distinguish between hunger and appetite. Physical
    hunger builds up gradually and subsides after eating. Emotional appetite and
    cravings come on suddenly and may be more persistent.
  • Slow down. Sitting down and dining at a relaxed pace gives your brain a chance
    to know you’re full. Chew thoroughly and savor each bite.
  • Avoid crash diets. Cycles of fasting and splurging confuse your body. Find a
    balanced regimen that you can stick with for the long term.

Other Tips for Non-Distracted Eating
Recognizing fullness cues will help you to make healthier food choices. Take a look at some additional strategies for paying more attention to what you’reeating:

  • Plan ahead. Creating daily or weekly menus may help. Use an online calculator
    to figure out how many calories you need, so you can stay in the middle ground
    between ravenous hunger and a post-Thanksgiving-style food coma.
  • Focus on fiber. Unprocessed foods rich in fiber enhance your overall health
    and satisfy you with fewer calories. Fill up on vegetables, fruits, and whole
    grains. High protein foods have a similar effect, so include them in each meal
    and snack instead of waiting for dinner.
  • Drink water. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Have a glass before and
    during meals and anytime a craving pops up. Once your stomach feels full, it will
    be easier to resist temptation.
  • Shop wisely. Speaking of temptation, keep junk food out of the house. Use a
    shopping list when you buy groceries. Stick to the outer aisles where you’re less
    likely to run into snack cakes and crackers
  • Manage stress. Create a soothing environment, especially during mealtimes.
    Talk about pleasant subjects or play soft music
  • Work out. Physical activity helps you listen to your body and regulate hunger. It
    also burns extra calories. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic
    exercise each week. I remain fuller longer, when I use a pre workout before hitting the gym.
  • Try again. Changing your eating habits takes practice. Be patient if you slip up.
    You’ll recover faster if you stay calm and learn from the experience.
  • Talk with your doctor. Your diet plays a major role in your physical and mental
    health. If you have trouble managing your hunger or other concerns about your
    eating habits, discuss them with your doctor or a registered dietician
  • Paying attention . Your food and how much you’re eating can transform your
    relationship with food and protect your health. Put the screens away during
    mealtimes and pay attention to what’s on your plate. You’ll learn to listen to your
    body and enjoy your food more.

How helpful are these tips to fight distraction eating? I have slowly been incorporating them into my own lifestyle. It’s slow, but I am moving faster than those not doing anything. As usual, this advise is not a one size fits all, always consult with your medical and mental health providers for support.

To Your Success,
Juan

Binge Eating and Activating Your Neocortex


Urges to binge come in the form of overwhelming desires to eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. They are characterized by a sense of loss of control, excessive food consumption, and often followed by disappointment and shame.

One doesn’t have to have a binge eating disorder or any eating disorder, per se, to be exposed to such urges.  As mentioned before, many people who’ve gone through a period of restrictive dieting experience at least one strong urge to binge. These powerful compulsions aren’t easy to resist. That’s why many of us, at some point in our diet, end up reaching for forbidden foods in larger amounts than what’s reasonable.

This is how we pave our road to ruin and give way to the well-known yo-yo effect. As food consumption is an integral part of our daily lives, we don’t have the luxury to stay away from it, like in the case of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances and behaviors.Food can’t be eliminated from our lives, but our thinking and acting around food can, indeed, be managed and optimized. 

How can we rise above our durable desire to indulge in food that doesn’t serve us well in the long-term? What can support us in staying faithful to our initial intention for healthy nutrition? How can we make food choices that we won’t regret later?

The Neocortex 

The answer is already within you. To be more precise, it is located in the most recently developed region of your human brain called the neocortex. This part of your brain, especially the prefrontal section, is responsible for:

  • Planning and moderating complex behavior (including social behavior)
  • Goal setting
  • Expression of your personality
  • Decision making

Your true self resides in this part of your brain. This is the self that doesn’t quickly lose control when exposed to animalistic desires such as an urge to binge. How can we call on our neocortex when we want to make conscious food choices? 

Follow these steps: 

  1. Consider your urge to be irrational. Before you take this step, ensure that you are consuming enough food. If you’re restricting your nourishment and starving yourself, then your urge to eat is a legit physiological need that should be met.
    • If you’re eating enough and still have desires to indulge in fattening foods, consider that desire as brain junk. This act will lift you up to the level of your true-self.
  1. Divert your attention. What you focus on tends to grow. If you find yourself trying to fight your obsessive thoughts, they will only increase in strength and occupy even more of your precious mindspace. What works better is to shift your focus to something more productive, self-care for example.
    • Once you allow yourself to engage in a pleasant or meaningful activity, your neocortex will get engaged, and the grip of your urge will lessen until it leaves you entirely. 
  1. Reach out to others. Food can often be used for comfort. Many of us choose to deal with our emotional turmoil by indulging in short-lived pleasures provided by sugary, fattening treats. To keep this from happening, reach out to family, friends, or even strangers. Experience comfort from human connection.
    • In doing so, you’re activating the part of your neocortex that regulates social behavior. Once you rise to this level of consciousness, your cravings will crumble down, letting you carry on with your day. 

These tips are designed for those who have a relatively healthy relationship with food and experience occasional urges to binge. If you suffer from an eating disorder, you’ll find your best results in consulting professional support and recovery assistance.

To Your Success,
Juan

Understanding Binge Eating and It’s Treatment


Photo: Yay Images

For several months, Chindeep has looked at the various Anxiety and Mood disorders, as part of the mental health series, the focus now shifts to eating disorders., the most prevalent eating disorder in the USA.

The I don’t know about you, but I gained about 15-20 pounds in the past two years. Pre pandemic, I was out and about in the community, walking between 10-20k steps per day, fit as ever. Sitting at home, dying from boredom, it became impossible to control my cravings. Did I binge eat? Hell Yeah. More than once? You betcha. Disgusted, I looked inward. Binge-eating involves more than simply overeating, it is a mental health related related disorder, associated with inappropriate eating habits and challenging emotions. 

Binge-Eating Defined
Binge-eating is a medical and psychological condition during which a person eats large amounts of food over short periods of time. Regardless of the signals their bodies send that they’re full, those who binge, to continue eat amounts of food that surpass normal portions. Binge-eating involves more than just eating a double portion of a favorite food. Those who binge might eat 2 cheeseburgers, followed by a half gallon of ice cream, and a box of cookies. 

Typical Thinking Patterns
One who binge-eats engages in unhealthy thinking patterns, which drive them to over-eat. They might feel powerless to arrest aggressive eating behaviors. Even though you might believe a person would feel too ashamed to binge-eat, the fact is that shame can actually emotionally fuel a binge-eating episode. 

Experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as self-loathing and shame is a hallmark symptom of someone who’s dealing with binge-eating. Many people who struggle with binging also have distorted body images. They might believe they’re obese when actually they’re within normal weight standards or only mildly overweight. 

On the other hand, a person who binge-eats could also weigh considerably more than the weight charts recommend for her height and age.  Although the condition does occur in males, it occurs more often in females. Recognize that people who binge can discover optimism and confidence to live successful lives in recovery.

Effective Treatments for Binge-Eating at a glance

  1. Self-help groups. As an example, Overeaters Anonymous can provide wonderful, understanding emotional support for people who struggle.
  2. Individual cognitive therapy. For those who require more professional help, attending individual therapy sessions can make a huge difference. Cognitive therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who works to confront the individual’s distorted body image, unhealthy thinking patterns, and feelings of shame.  Encouraging the person who binge-eats to surround herself with understanding, supportive family and friends is another way a therapist motivates someone in recovery.
  1. Family therapy. If the person who’s dealing with binging is a teen, family therapy in addition to individual therapy can be a life-saver. Difficult family relationships can be confronted and addressed. Everyone learns to relate in healthier ways, which can serve to reduce binging behavior.
  1. Intensive day treatment. In the event you require more intensive treatment than individual, family therapy, and self-help group attendance, intensive day treatment may be an option. These programs provide 2 to 6 hours of professional treatment for binge-eating 3 or more days a week, at an eating disorder treatment center. 
  1. Inpatient treatment stay. This milieu therapy provides a 100% supportive physical and emotional environment around the clock to ensure binge-eating behaviors subside and healthy eating habits increase. Outpatient follow-up treatment to provide much-needed support will be necessary as you transition back into your home environment.

Binge-eating is a medical/psychological condition that involves eating large amounts of food and experiencing emotional turmoil. People can and do overcome the challenging behaviors and feelings associated with binge-eating to embrace healthy, fulfilling lives. 

The key to recovery is recognizing when there is a problem, receiving effective treatment, while gaining caring support of friends and family members, to live a well-deserved, rewarding life. 

To Your Success,
Juan

YOU MATTER!


For the past several months, I tried to shine light on some of the well known mental health disorders. I thought it best to take a break, and use June to remind all of us, that YOU MATTER. I’m a bit behind in my posts, having just returned from an epic adventure in Morocco. And what an adventure it was. Put this place on your list 🙂

Back to the matter at hand! Back in January, I blogged about the ability to set goals. Regardless of where you are in life, I hope you have goals. Achieving them, requires mustering up the courage to take responsibility for your life. That involves putting yourself first. You are simply making it a priority to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. 

Creating the life that you desire is no one else’s responsibility but yours. You cannot do that if you keep getting in the way of yourself by thinking and caring too much about others. No doubt, caring for the needs of others is a natural human instinct, but it should never be to your detriment.  

Many people are oblivious to the realization, they are the architects of their fortunes. They like to believe that putting the needs of others, before their own, follows a universal moral code of conduct that you must adhere to, the failure of which makes them less human or less fortunate in life.

There are various reasons why people believe that putting the needs of others ahead of their own is the best and only way to live. They may think people will stop liking them, or that being a tireless caregiver gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Some sincerely feel responsible for others, or worse, they don’t feel worthy of making themselves a priority. 

Whichever one of the above categories you may find yourself in, the good news is that you can reset your thinking. Sadly, many people today suffer from thoughts of negating their own needs for the benefit of others. It is, however, essential to know that this thinking is false. You need to unshackle yourself, to successfully take charge of your life and fully accomplish your goals.

Rather than confining your thoughts to the preconceived notion of scary consequence that would supposedly befall on you if you put yourself first, it is much more reassuring to focus on the numerous benefits guaranteed by putting yourself first. The importance of this is tied to many wholesome benefits some of which include:

  • Being more productive
  • Being happier and more joyful
  • Having more energy
  • Receiving more respect from others
  • Improved relationships
  • Experiencing less fear
  • Suffering from less stress
  • Feeling less resentment
  • Experiencing less depressed

These are the key areas where you stand to benefit if you learn to put yourself first. In the next several weeks, we will look at various healthy ways to put yourself first to gain the wonderful benefits which await you.. Next up, eleven clear strategies to get you started!

Until the next post,

To Your Success,
Juan

A Parents Guide To Disciplining a Child With ADHD



Positive parenting has helped many families to achieve greater harmony, and this approach may be especially important for parents raising a child with ADHD. A recent study confirms that cutting back on yelling and spanking can lead tobiological changes that make it easier for a child to regulate their emotions and behavior. 

Researchers at Ohio State University studied family relations among preschool
children with ADHD and their parents. They found that parents who received as little
as 10 to 20 weeks of coaching showed significant improvement in positive parenting
skills. As harsh interactions decreased, their children demonstrated less abnormal heart
activity and greater impulse control. ADHD is challenging, but you can learn to discipline more effectively.

Consider these ideas that will help you to create a calmer and happier home life for you and your child.

Encouraging Positive Behavior:
Prevention is more effective than discipline. Create conditions that make it easier for your child to use their strengths and follow house rules.

  1. Understand ADHD. Your child may be highly creative and energetic. On the
    other hand, they probably struggle with some things like listening attentively
    and planning ahead. Consider joining support groups if you need to
  1. Enjoy one-on-one time. Your child is less likely to act out if they feel secure and
    loved. Try to arrange at least one-half hour a day when you do something
    pleasant together. 
  2. Offer rewards. Give your child an extra incentive to comply with your
    expectations. Offer praise or small gifts when they complete their homework
    and cooperate with their siblings. If they have trouble waiting a week or more
    to get their prize, let them earn points throughout the day.

      4. Be specific. Make it easier for your child to do what you want by spelling out
           each step involved. Instead of asking them to clean their room, ask them to pick
           their toys up off the floor and put their clothes in a laundry hamper.

  1. Use visuals and sounds. Many children with ADHD understand images and
    sounds better than words. Clarify your instructions with other cues. Set a timer
    that will buzz when homework time is up. Hang a poster in the bathroom with
    pictures of a child brushing their teeth and putting on pajamas.

Maintaining Effective Discipline:
Of course, there will sometimes be lapses. Be prepared to discipline in a way that
works better than nagging or criticizing.

  1. Focus on learning. Discipline means training rather than punishment. When
    your child slips up, show them what they need to do in order to succeed the
    next time.
  2. Limit time outs. Sitting completely still may be overwhelming for some children
    with ADHD. If you use time outs, keep them brief, and consider giving them credit if they manage to keep their mouths shut.
  1. Establish priorities. Trying to resolve too many issues at once can backfire.
    Deal with one subject at a time. Give your child a chance to fix one situation
    before you tackle the next.

  2. Stay calm. Children with ADHD may be even more sensitive than the average
    child when it comes to being influenced by a parent’s mood. If you can remain
    composed even when your child hits a classmate or keeps losing their glasses,
    you’ll be in a better position to work together towards lasting solutions.

Parenting a child with ADHD is similar to parenting any child, but it usually requires
more effort and patience. You and your child can have a loving relationship if you
believe in their abilities and understand their needs. Stay positive and reach out for the support you need.

Which of these strategies have worked for you in the past? Which ones will you now be implementing? As always, please consult with your family physician, in this case a Pediatrician for advice and guidance suited to your unique circumstances.

Until the best post,

Best,
Juan 

Hybrid Work Guide For Adults with ADHD


More than two years ago, most of us experienced the sudden shift to remote and hybrid work. Undoubtedly, it has been a rocky road for many working adults. The challenge can be even greater if you have ADHD.

You were probably happy to say goodbye to your daily morning commute. On the other hand, you may now be dealing with new concerns like Zoom fatigue and feeling less connected. Your old routines have disappeared, and it’s difficult to concentrate.

How can you work productively and protect your mental health while you’re doing your job at home? Here is a short guide to hybrid work for adults with ADHD. I know, I know..where was this guide two years ago, when I needed it?!

Tips for Video Conferencing

Daily traffic rose 535% on Zoom in 2020. The increase in video conferencing is even greater when you take into account many companies use multiple platforms. Becoming comfortable with new ways of communicating is essential.

  1. Move around. Being on camera reduces your mobility, so you wind up feeling more restless. Walking around the room occasionally and sitting on a stability ball will help use up some energy.
  2. Stand back. The constant eye contact during video calls can be overstimulating. Stand or sit further away from your screen to increase your personal space. Watching yourself can be tiring too, so most platforms have options to turn off the self-view.
  3. Look away. Relieve mental and physical strain by shifting your gaze away from the screen periodically. Glance up or fix your eyes on an object in the distance.
  4. Use audio only. Be selective about turning your camera on. Assess your company’s rules and culture first to avoid causing any friction.
  5. Schedule breaks. Video calls can make a desk job even more sedentary. Pause at least once an hour to stretch and take deep breaths.

Tips for Other Hybrid Work Issues

When your boss and coworkers are miles away, it’s up to you to stay organized and motivated. Try these tips for developing coping strategies that will help you focus:
  1. Take your medication. Many adults diagnosed with ADHD take medication as part of their treatment plan. Follow your doctor’s recommendations to help control your symptoms even if you’re staying home more.
  2. Plan your day. Structuring your time makes it easier to regulate yourself. Set reasonable expectations and block out enough hours for your top priorities.
  3. Designate a workspace. Putting boundaries between your personal and professional responsibilities will help you avoid distractions. Turn a spare room into an office or tend to business in one corner of your dining room table.
  4. Clear away clutter. Messy surroundings lead to greater anxiety and wasted time. Clean up after yourself and get rid of possessions you no longer use.
  5. Add storage. Visit office supply and home furnishing websites to shop for organizing solutions. Maybe you’d rather use baskets than filing cabinets.
  6. Post reminders. Find ways to prompt your memory. Hang a chalkboard above your desk. Put sticky notes on your refrigerator door and bathroom mirror. Set alarms on your phone to remind you to go to meetings or move on to your next task.
  7. Find a partner. Do you miss the social support you had at the office? Ask a coworker or friend to help you stay on track. Check in with them each morning or lunch hour.
  8. End your day. You might forget to shut down when you live and work in the same place. Maintain balance by sticking to a reasonable quitting time. 

For adults with ADHD, adjusting to hybrid work requires some thought and effort. However, there are advantages too. You may have more flexibility to structure your job in a way that reduces stress and allows you to make the most of your personal strengths.

Until the next post-How To Study When You Have ADHD,

Best,

Juan

 

Dealing With ADHD At Work


 

Does your boss keep giving you the same feedback? You need to follow instructions and pay more attention to details. These could be signs that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

More than 8 million adults struggle with ADHD. If you’re one of them, you may have trouble keeping track of multiple projects or even showing up for work on time. The symptoms can vary widely in intensity, and many cases go undiagnosed. 

While ADHD can make getting and keeping a job more difficult, there are coping strategies and other resources that can help. Let’s get it!

ADHD in the Workplace:

  1. Limit distractions. A quiet environment will help you focus. If you don’t have access to a private office, maybe you can work in a conference room or turn your desk to the wall. Minimize interruptions too, like checking phone messages and email.
  2. Clear away clutter. Is your phone buried under piles of paper? Tidying up will save time looking for lost items and reduce anxiety.
  3. Plan your schedule. Managing time can be tough when you have ADHD. Use an app or a paper appointment diary to block out time for activities and meetings. Check your to do list during the day to ensure that you stay on track.
  4. Create reminders. You can also use technology or post-it notes to jog your memory. Set an alarm for staff meetings and write yourself messages about filling out timesheets and sending your boss a birthday card.
  5. Move around. Relieve restlessness by taking breaks. Go for a walk at lunch. Make phone calls standing up.
  6. Change roles. Maybe you can develop a career geared toward your personality. Many adults with ADHD flourish as entrepreneurs, using their creativity and energy.
  7. Boost your self-esteem. While you’re finding your path, remember ADHD can be frustrating. It can also cause misunderstandings with your colleagues. Build your confidence by taking care of your health and advocating for yourself.

More Help for ADHD:

  1. Tell your boss. ADHD is a condition recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may be able to arrange accommodations to make your work life more comfortable and productive.
  2. Consider disability benefits. If your symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. Working with a lawyer can help you understand the process.
  3. Talk with your doctor. It’s important to get diagnosed if you think you may have ADHD. Your physician can recommend an appropriate treatment plan and helpful lifestyle changes.
  4. Consider medication. ADHD can often be managed with a combination of therapy and drugs. Your doctor may prescribe stimulants, as well antidepressants. If you’re unable to take stimulants, there are alternatives.
  5. Join a support group. As much as your family and friends try to help you, you may still want to talk with others who have similar symptoms and experiences. Organizations like Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) can help you find self-help groups online and in your community.
  6. Find a coach. What if you need some assistance with implementing what you learn? Working with a coach who specializes in ADHD can help you master new lifestyle skills.

Some very successful business leaders and celebrities have used their ADHD to their advantage, and so can you. Think of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, Micheal Phelps the GOAT Olympic Swimming Champ,  or Gymnastics Great Simone Biles. Find a career that suits your strengths and ask for help when you need it.

Until the next post – A Hybrid Work Guide for Adults with ADHD,

Best,

Juan

 

The Simplest Ways to Practice Self Care When You Have PTSD


Anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder knows how debilitating it can be. While many people with PTSD require professional treatment, there is still a lot you can do on your own to mitigate your symptoms and move toward good mental health. It can’t hurt to give a few strategies a try.

  1. Engage your creative mind. Studies have shown that engaging in creative activities can help with PTSD. Using your brain to create something new is a powerful process that requires using your brain in unusual ways. This seems to be soothing to those with PTSD. Consider these suggestions
    • Painting
    • Drawing
    • Sculpture
    • Inventing
    • Composing music
    • Creative writing
    • These are just a few examples.
  2. Communicate your needs with your social circle. If you don’t like to be touched, let people know. That’s better than sitting home alone to ensure that no one touches you. If you want to avoid certain topics, speak up, no one can read minds. Letting others know your limits will reduce your anxiety as well as that of everyone else in your social circle.
  3. Relax your body regularly. A relaxed body will help your mind to relax, too. There are many ways to do this, such as self-hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, sauna, hot tub, and guided meditation. Experiment and find the most effective and convenient way to relax your body each day.
  4. Consider acquiring a service animal. For some people, there’s nothing more relaxing than a dog or other type of animal. They don’t pity you, ask annoying questions, or judge you in any way. They just love you. Anyone, whether they have PTSD or not, could benefit from the right pet.
  5. Meditate. Meditation is a powerful treatment for PTSD for several reasons: It teaches you how to focus, how your mind works, and allows you to explore thoughts and ideas in a controlled and distraction-free environment. Meditation requires practice, but it’s a very simple process. 
  6. Be present. When dealing with a flashback or highly disturbing thoughts, stay present with your environment. Focus on where you are. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Feel? Keep your mind in the present moment. This is also a useful tool for staying focused. When your attention wanders, bring it back to your environment.
  7. Avoid ruminating. Rumination is just a bad habit in general. Instead of sitting around thinking about the past, future, or other made up scenarios, get busy and do something instead. Get out of the house. Mop the kitchen. Mow the grass. Watch a movie. The activity doesn’t matter, as long as you keep your mind active and avoid thinking excessively.
  8. Find the right therapist. Find a therapist that has a lot of experience in dealing with PTSD. It’s very important you are comfortable with him/her.  Some therapists might have the right skills and experience but be a poor fit. Consider interviewing a few therapists to find the right fit. Many mental health professionals provide free consultations. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious matter, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take outside of a clinical setting to speed your healing. Meditation, taking part in creative activities, staying busy, and setting limits are just a few of the ways you can make life easier for yourself.

Get professional help, if necessary, but take responsibility to do what you can to help yourself.

To Your Success,
Juan

Tips To Master Anger and PTSD Management


You would probably name fear and anxiety, as symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, anger is another common sign. Knowing what to expect can help you or a loved one to get the help you need.

There are many reasons why PTSD may make you feel angry. It can be a reaction to past events, or it can be tied to your current circumstances, if you feel misunderstood and frustrated. You may be angry at others or yourself. You may also use anger to cover up other feelings. While anger is natural, it can interfere with your happiness and relationships. It’s important to learn how to manage your emotions, so you can feel more comfortable and in control.

Anger Management Techniques You Can Use:
External events may sometimes be beyond your control, but you can choose how to react. Changing your thinking and behavior can help you to feel calmer and cope with your emotions.

  1. STAY ACTIVE. Regular exercise reduces stress. Lifting weights or taking a walk outdoors may also provide relief, if you’re starting to feel irritated.
  1. REST AND RELAX. Your body and mind need time to heal. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night and find relaxation practices that work for you, like listening to music.
  1. REACH OUT. Talk about your feelings with family and friends you trust. Let them know how they can help you.
  1. SLOW DOWN. Anger can make you say things you’ll regret later. Count to ten or spend some quiet time alone. It will be easier to react constructively if you give yourself a chance to cool down.
  1. KNOW YOUR TRIGGERSDo traffic jams or uncooperative coworkers make you see red? Plan ahead for challenging situations. Soothe yourself with a cup of tea and rehearse different ways to respond.
  1. THINK POSITIVE. Look on the bright side. Notice the pleasant things that happen each day. Watch the sunrise, and play with your children. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.  Use kind and encouraging words.Suppressing anger can backfire, but sincere humor helps. Find something funny to say about slow wifi and noisy neighbors.

Other options to consider:

  1. TRY CBT. Are you concerned about how long and expensive therapy might be? Many experts agree that cognitive behavioral therapy is preferable for PTSD, and it usually requires only a few months to reduce anger and anxiety.
  1. JOIN A GROUP. You may also benefit from talking with others who have had similar experiences. Ask your primary physician or therapist for a referral, or call a local hospital to ask about what support groups are available in your area.
  1. KEEP A JOURNAL. Writing about your feelings can help provide clarity. You can keep your journal private or share it with your therapist.
  1. MAKE ART. Creative activities are another way to deal with strong emotions. Working with an art therapist can give you more insights and an opportunity to discuss what’s on your mind.
  1. CONSIDER MEDICATIONYour therapist may recommend medication to help you manage anger, at least temporarily

Developing compassion for yourself and getting the treatment you need can help you to manage anger and other symptoms of PTSD.  Let it be the first step in helping you to lead the happy and fulfilling life you deserve.

To Your Success,
Juan

Simple Guidance on PTSD, Behavior, and Relationships


People with PTSD are more likely to engage in risky or destructive behavior. If PTSD is triggered by trauma, doing something that might lead to additional trauma, is difficult to understand. It’s a common belief people with PTSD turn to these behaviors as a way to escape the symptoms of PTSD, especially intrusion. Those who use drugs or alcohol may be using them as a coping mechanism, to avoid thinking about their original trauma. It may also be a way to assuage guilt or shame associated with the trauma. 

Types of risky behavior may include:

  • Gambling
  • Drinking
  • Drunk driving
  • Aggression
  • Drugs
  • Unsafe sex with strangers
  • Extreme sports without regard for self-protection

This self-destructive behavior may diminish symptoms of PTSD momentarily, but ultimately the stress of these choices prolongs PTSD symptoms, and make the disorder worse. Dr. Naomi Sadeh, an Assistant Professor the National Center Boston VA/Boston University, is quoted saying: “for individuals with PTSD, exposure to new stressful events will often prolong their symptoms and can even make them worse. So these findings suggest that treatment providers should ask trauma-exposed veterans about reckless behavior to make sure they are not engaging in harmful behaviors that could make their PTSD symptoms worse”. When it comes to treating PTSD, a therapist will try to address any risky behaviors, to help reduce the risk of continued trauma. 

PTSD AND RELATIONSHIPS
It’s no secret that PTSD can strain relationships, particularly with a spouse or partner. There have been many cases of strong marriages unable to withstand the effects of severe PTSD. Though both may want to maintain the relationship, there are times the issues care extremely difficult to resolve

In 2019, Meagan Drillinger wrote a piece for Healthline called “6 Things I Learned From Dating Someone With PTSD.” In the article she explained, “For three years, I was in a relationship with a man who experienced PTSD symptoms daily. My ex, D., was a decorated combat veteran who served in Afghanistan three times. The toll it took on his soul was heartbreaking.”

She went on to say: “being the partner of someone who has PTSD can be challenging — and frustrating — for many reasons. You want to take away their pain, but you’re also dealing with your own guilt at needing to care for yourself, too. You want to have all the answers, but you often have to come to grips with the reality that this is a condition that can’t be loved out of someone”.

If you are in a relationship with someone who has PTSD, you can’t heal them with support. You can make their road easier, but your loved one should seek professional help, to get the tools and resources they desperately need.

Things that you can do that might help ease their burden and lessen the strain in your relationship:

  1. Understand that PTSD is real. Perhaps one of the first steps in helping someone with PTSD, is acknowledging it’s a real disorder that produces real symptoms. Though mental disorders are difficult to understand or relate to for those who are not experiencing them, to people with the disorder, it is very real and very debilitating.
  2. Give them room not to talk. Talking about a traumatic event might help someone who has PTSD, but that doesn’t mean they’re always willing or able to discuss the details of their trauma.
    • Their resistance to talking about the traumatic event is not a sign of being unloving or untrusting, it’s more likely because they want to avoid thinking about the event. Bringing it up often is more likely to cause them to pull away and become uncommunicative.
    • Gently encourage them to talk about it when it seems appropriate but allow them to be the one to discuss it when they’re ready.
  3. Work with a routine. A routine is a good way to help establish order in your home for a person suffering from PTSD. Doing this can give a person with PTSD a sense of security and stability and provide comfort in a world that feels chaotic and out of control.The schedule you use will be different than someone else’s, but it may include exercise, meditation or prayer, planned mealtimes, and daily chores.
  4. Learn more about PTSD. Educating yourself on PTSD will be one of your biggest strengths for helping a loved one, and help you cope with the reality. You can do this by reading, watching videos, talking with other people who have PTSD, or discussing it with a therapist.
  5. Understand that caregiver burden is real. Taking care of someone struggling mentally or physically can be extremely stressful and draining.This experience is commonly perceived as a chronic stressor, and caregivers often experience negative psychological, behavioral, and physiological effects on their daily lives and health.

Every moment of every day can’t be consumed with PTSD. Take time to do things that you love and enjoy. You can also try finding a support group, or community of people dealing with the same thing. To help lighten this load, if you’re a caregiver, it’s a good idea to take time for yourself.

In closing, if you are a caregiver, seek loved ones in your life and allow them to be part of your greater support network. Outside help is essential for helping you and your loved one cope.  Although some may feel there’s a stigma getting professional help, this viewpoint is becoming less common, as people open up about mental health issues. There is no shame in it. 

To Your Success,
Juan