Laughter Is The Best Medicine

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” has been spoken for years and even though there may not have been a whole lot of science behind it long ago, there is now. Laughter is one of the most healing therapeutic tools that we all have access to.

Laughing especially an “old fashioned belly laugh” or “laughing until you cry” can cause the release of endorphins from the brain into the blood stream. Endorphins act as pain and stress reducers in the body. They are often referred to as a natural analgesic. Endorphins are released during exercise, when you eat chocolate, and when you laugh.

Some studies have shown that laughter decreases the stress producing hormones of the body including cortisol (a stress hormone very prevalent in women), epinephrine (which increases anxiety reactions), and decreases the effects of some dopamine repressing acids. Other studies have shown that laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity, thereby causing a decrease in depression symptoms.

If you have ever laughed so much that it made you cry or your face muscles or stomach muscles hurt and then right after noticed how you feel – it is almost an anesthetic type of euphoria. I know for myself laughing like this has made me feel completely relaxed afterwards almost as if I had exercised for 30 minutes. It was the same effect on my mind and my body.

Opportunities for laughter can be found all around us. The Internet is quite a resource for finding things that make us laugh in pictures and videos. Movies offer another resource of laughter. Books another. And personal interactions provide some of the best opportunities to laugh.

Laughter truly can be therapy and this book offers some insight into how laughter can help.

Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny

Until next time,
Deborah

Advertisements

Color Yourself Calm

Coloring as therapy has grown exponentially in the last few years. Coloring books, pencils, markers, and coloring apps are some of the best selling products currently. Everyone is jumping on the coloring bandwagon, but what are the benefits of coloring on mental health? Depending on whether you are an adult or a child they can differ slightly, but some of the benefits exist for both groups.

Let’s start with the benefits for children and coloring. They are not all mental health related, but they all build skills and provide tools that help with both mental health and learning. Ten benefits for kids are: Improving motor skills, prepares them for school and school work environment, stimulates creativity, contributes to better handwriting, color awareness and the nuances of colors, improved focus and hand to eye coordination, structure and spacial awareness, improved confidence and self-esteem, and stress relief. Coloring with kids offers a wide range of learning, motor, and mental health benefits. Coloring can be used to help children learn focus and to calm down when frustrated. Coloring can be used to express feelings. Remember it doesn’t have to stay in any lines or shapes to be helpful. The actual act of coloring in any manner – even angry coloring – is beneficial.

For adults, the benefits are mainly related to mental health, but even adults, especially the elderly can benefit from the motor skills benefits of coloring. Some of the benefits for adults and coloring are: Coloring produces a meditative state in the brain, Stress and anxiety levels can be reduced, Negative thoughts are replaced as you create positivity through coloring, being focused on the present activity creates mindfulness, if you color without an app unplugging from technology allows for less screen dependence, you don’t have to be an artist to color, it expands the creative parts of your brain, and it is something you can do anywhere. Since it is portable you can have it with you where ever you are and whenever emotional issues arise. You can use it to gain mindfulness. Meditation mantras or affirmations in your mind while coloring boost positivity and increase the meditative state.

Coloring is not about being perfect, always inside the lines, or needing to look a specific way. Coloring can be completely abstract. It can be messy. It can be quick or very slow. It can be whatever you need and however you want to do it. The focus should be just that – focus. The coloring allows you to focus – your mind, your emotions, your energy in a specific area instead of having these things be out of control. Transfer thoughts, emotions, energy through your arm into your hands and onto the coloring surface. Visualize this happening as you color. If your thoughts and emotions wander, notice it, let it go, and bring your focus back to the coloring. Mindful meditation through art therapy with coloring.

Here are a few coloring books to get you started:

Happy coloring!

Until next time,
Deborah

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT

Mindful Motivation

mindfulmotivation

We all need a little motivation at times. Everyone has days that they struggle to be positive. Things that are difficult come to us all. In those times, it is sometimes helpful to have a little mindful motivation to use as positive affirmations to get us through the hard times. I hope that you find some helpful mindful motivation here today.

I hope you found some mindful motivation for your day here. If you feel you could use some other skills and tools for mindfully motivating yourself, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. You can schedule an appointment by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Until next time,
Deborah

Boundaries

Many of the problems humans suffer are as a result of unhealthy boundaries. These unhealthy boundaries start when we are very young by the way we allow others to treat us and make us feel. We are made to feel inadequate, or less than, by other people. We are in unhealthy situations where we are expected to be caretakers of others because our caretakers cannot function appropriately. We are made to feel as though we should be doormats for other people’s feelings, unresolved anger and trauma, or piled upon with heaping doses of guilt that are not ours to carry.

Regardless of how we come to allow people to treat us, we then start to believe this is how we should function in every relationship. We will always act as a doormat or a caretaker or that our needs mean nothing or our feelings are unimportant or we have to avoid making other people mad to avoid conflict or abuse. There can be many, many ways that we allow unhealthy boundaries and they can be very difficult to overcome.

How then do we move away from unhealthy boundaries? First, we must believe that we deserve to be treated better and that having boundaries is necessary. Second, we must love ourselves enough to implement boundaries regardless of how it makes others feel. Third, we must be willing to hold the line every time. Fourth, we must be prepared that the people we care about most will be the ones who push back the hardest when we enforce our boundaries.

If we have spent our entire lives allowing people to treat us in certain ways and expect that we will behave in certain ways when they do, we cannot expect that they will not be upset when we no longer comply. They will be very upset. They will take it personally. They will become angry with us. They will push back and want to reinforce that you have no boundaries. It will be very difficult to maintain the line. But if you are to be happy, to love yourself, to embrace what you deserve, you must hold the line.

We must start to draw our boundaries one event, one relationship at a time. We must find our voice to say no. We must express our feelings without anger yet filled with the truth. We must reinforce to ourselves daily, sometimes by the second, what we deserve, how we want to be treated, and that we love ourselves enough to have our relationships with others changed or abandoned.

Where do you need to start holding the line in your life?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule a FREE initial consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Circles

Allowing what other people think, do, and say to affect your life. This is something that almost everyone I’ve ever talked to does. Their perception of their lives of their very beliefs about who they are exist because they have allowed someone in their circles to affect them.

We all have circles of people in our lives. From the most inner to the almost unseen. In the most inner, most people have immediate family, a spouse or significant other, parents, children. The next circle is other family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. The next would be close friends, the very close, which is generally a smaller number of people. The next circle is other friends, not close, but still friends. The next would be people you might call friends, but they are just really people you know and this might include co-workers or classmates or bosses or teachers. The next circle are people you don’t really know but they know people you do know, satellites I call them. The next circle are people you see regularly like the person who makes your latte, or at the register at the grocery store. The next is people you don’t know at all, strangers. If we allow it, any one of the people in these circles can affect the way we view ourselves.

With the inner most circle it can be very difficult to not allow what they do, say or think to affect our lives. We spend a great deal of time with them, we have emotional bonds with them, we very often are seeking their approval. It can be very difficult to believe differently about ourselves if the person we care for most, such as our mothers or our children, tell us we are not good enough or they don’t really love us. But it is not impossible, with understanding and work.

As the circle grows wider, we can let others who mean far, far less in our lives have the same kind of impact on us. A stranger making a comment in the grocery store line can be enough for us to allow ourselves to believe what they are saying is true. But why do we allow the thoughts of all of these circles to matter to us?

Who in your circles actually has any real control over who you are and what you do? Who decides what grades you get? Who decides what job you apply for? Who decides what you eat? Who decides where you live? Who decides anything that you do or how you do it? If it is always someone else, why do you allow that? If it is you, why does anything anyone else say, do or think matter?

What other people do, think, or say matters because we allow it to matter. What do you allow to matter in your life, in your mind, in your heart?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (adolescent girls and women) for counseling. To schedule a FREE Initial Consultation call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Growing

Growing is hard. It is hard work. It often exacts a hard toll on relationships. It is hard for many people to do because of the fear of losing people. It is hard for others to understand. Growing is hard.

When we begin to change who we are at our core, we find that the change begins to affect everything around us. How we see ourselves in our relationships with others is one of the first things to change. If these relationships have been contributing to our pain, or sadness, or anxiety, when we change we no longer want these relationships in our lives. Sometimes, these relationships are with people we are very close to – family and friends, even spouses/significant others and children. When we begin to value ourselves, we expect that others should value us as well. When they do not or are unable to, we move away from those relationships and it is very, very hard in many cases.

We may feel tremendous fear at these changes. We have lived in these ways with these people for many years. It is all we know. It provides a sort of dark comfort, but at least we know what it is. If we move away, change, we have to build new relationships, with many unknowns. That is very scary to us. The familiar is easier. Even if we repeat the same destructive relationship patterns over and over, it is familiar.

There is also the hardness of the love we do have for people in these relationships. That love is damaged, it is unhealthy, it is not helping us, but it is still what we know as love. We can share years with these people, share memories, share life experiences, we can feel obligated to stay in these relationships because they are our “family.” But many times it is these relationships that further our damage, our negative self-image, our pain. It is very hard to let them go or change them to include boundaries that empower us to be happier, healthier, stronger.

Changing these relationships many times affects others around us and that is also hard. If it is a spouse or significant other who is the parent of your children or step-parent, removing them from your life also changes things for the children. We may stay in these relationships to avoid that very thing. But we continue to inflict our pain, sadness, negative self-image on our children, which in turn can damage them. Change is hard, but in the end it can be better for everyone involved.

Many people will start to make change, but when it becomes too hard or causes too much fear, they give up. If only they can push through that, they will find that the other side is brighter and better.

Growing is hard, but it is not impossible and you can do it.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you would like help to grow and change, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 for a FREE initial consultation or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Reborn

reborn

The definition of reborn is a rebirth, regenerated, revived, born again. Many times through the process of therapy, people can feel reborn. They can feel as if they have had a rebirth. They can feel as if they have been regenerated or revived. In letting their past come into the light, then die (in the processing of it and removing it’s power over them), they are reborn.

In therapy, I use a visual of how each of us starts out when we are born. We are complete and without holes (or damage). We have not experienced the things which will affect what we think and how we feel. As we experience these things, we develop holes (or damage) and we become unstable. If we do not process this damage, we have more and more of it resulting in more and more holes. With enough holes, we become unstable and fall apart into pieces of ourselves. The pieces fall all over the place and are not easy to find and pick back up. However, with therapy, work, and processing, they can be picked up and put back together. And we can be reborn, as we were with our holes (damage) repaired.

With each piece that is picked up, brought into the light, acknowledged, processed, and then let die. Each time we do that, we are reborn. Bit by bit, we regain who we were before all the holes. We become again who we truly are or were and are again. But it is not without work and going through the trauma of your past. You cannot let die that which you will not acknowledge.

Being reborn, just like Spring, signifies letting go of that which has died off over the winter and replacing it with new life. We can experience the very same thing in our mental health, which translates to our physical health. What we let live in the brain represents in the body. Every trauma, every emotion associated with the trauma becomes present in our physical bodies as pain, sickness, disease. When we are reborn in our emotions, we are regenerated in our body. We experience a rebirth each time our trauma and our emotions no longer dictate our thoughts and choices.

Just as Spring and the season of Easter, we can be regenerated, be revived. We can be reborn.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation, please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com