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Multitasking: Could it be Hurting your Mental Health?

When an interviewer asks what a person’s greatest strength is, one possible answer is that they are able to multitask. Most people believe they can effectively multitask but they are actually doing more harm to themselves than good. When someone is being very productive and completing multiple things at once, they normally are actually just very good at working on one thing at a time very quickly, as only 2.5% of the population can actually multitask with any skill.

 

Instead of being twice as productive, the multitasker is less likely to produce high-quality work and leads to more confusion. Researchers believe that rather than being on a higher level than a mono-tasker, multitaskers are actually rewiring their brains and making it more difficult for them to concentrate on one thing at a time.

 

In our modern world, technology has given everyone the illusion of being a multitasker because we’re able to work on multiple screens at the same time. When you’re at home, you could be writing a report with the television on, and also be checking your phone periodically. The distractions of the television and phone will limit the quality of the report you’re trying to complete and also will take you longer than without them. It can even be dangerous to multitask, as texting and driving have been known to be a dangerous example of multitasking that can result in injury and even death.

 

While at work, one of the biggest distractions and illusions of multitasking is email. Typically, a person will check their email at several points throughout the day so they can respond quickly and stay on top of their tasks. Unfortunately, checking email frequently can lead to an unproductive day and research also shows that this constant habit could be decreasing your IQ. The best way to counteract this effect is by limiting the number of times throughout the day that you check your email and taking more control of your day.

 

Aside from being unproductive, attempting to multitask can make it more difficult for you to get back on track with your work and focusing throughout the day. Although it may seem like a great way to take charge and be in control of your day, taking on several projects or tasks will actually lead to a less productive day.

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Getting Mental Health Treatment For Your Child

Mental illness can be frightening, take many different forms (anxiety, depression, mood disorders) and debilitating in anyone. However, when such maladies impact children, the consequences can be far more serious. That said, by identifying potential mental health issues, parents can execute the steps necessary to eliminate or alleviate these problems and help their children regain a sense of normalcy.

 

Symptoms Of Mental Illness In Children

As can be the case with adults, manifestations of mental illness might not always be discernible. Moreover, specific symptoms can be specific to different mental disorders. However, sometimes visible symptoms might appear and can include extreme mood changes (high one minute, low the next), nervousness, behavioral changes, relationship problems, cognitive difficulties (like concentration and memory struggles), appetite changes, decline in academic performance unexplained weight loss and other physical symptoms not related to a specific ailment and substance abuse issues.

 

Therapeutic Measures Parents Can Execute

Obtain A Professional Opinion

Obviously, the preceding manifestations could be related to countless other health issues. In some instances, such matters might simply be related to the natural aging process. Mental illness must be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. Research has shown that many mental illnesses in children go undetected for extended durations. Therefore, an earlier diagnosis could render the specific concluded ailment easier to remedy.

 

Establish The Most Appropriate Treatment Options

Specific therapeutic protocols will depend upon several factors including the child’s age, the specific diagnosed condition and ailment’s severity. That said, parents and doctors can work together to determine the best possible treatment option. Specific remedial endeavors include:

 

Medications

In certain cases, therapeutic drugs can be used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression and mood disorders.

 

Counseling

In mild to fairly moderate instances of mental illness, counseling might be the preferred therapy. Counseling sessions are overseen by mental health professionals and are designed to identify potential triggers. Additionally, such sessions can be offered on an individual basis or in conjunction with the child in question’s family.

 

Psychotherapy

Also labeled “talk therapy,” this form of treatment is also overseen by a mental health professional and is performed as a means of enabling the youth in question to talk about their feelings and potentially identify issues that precipitate episodes of their illness. 

 

How To Break The Cycle Of Busyness – And Why You Want To

In the modern world, busyness seems to have become a badge of honor if not an outright status symbol. Americans are getting less sleep than ever before, and yet actually need to work fewer hours than at any other time in history. In spite of that, we are stressed out, tired and burning the candle at both ends all just to remain busy. Here are three ways to break the busyness cycle and actually start enjoying life more. 

 

Schedule Your Downtime and Stick To It

If you had an important meeting, you would probably write it down in a planner. You can schedule the other things that are important to you the same way. This can mean scheduling exactly what time you turn your phone off in the evening and what time you turn it on in the morning. It can mean scheduling leisure activities like reading or taking a bath or even spending time together as a family. The more rigid or packed your schedule is, the less likely you are to find the time to do something that isn’t scheduled. So schedule time for your personal care, health, maintenance and well-being. 

 

Taking a Break is “Doing Something”

As Americans, we often feel pressure to be “doing something” with every minute of our day. When people issue invitations, we seem to feel guilty about turning them down unless we are already booked with other plans. In truth, however, when we schedule personal time for reading, journaling, taking a bath or spending time with family, then you can honestly say you have other plans. 

 

Budget Your Time

Setting a financial budget is a critical part of sound money management, so budgeting your time is a critical part of time management. This can include budgeting how much time you spend working, how much time you spend volunteering or working on school projects with or for your children or even how much time you spend with your spouse. The importance of budgeting your time is the same as that of budgeting your money. Budgeting helps you to see exactly where all of your time is going and to ensure that you are spending more time on the things that really matter and less time on things that don’t.

 

Things Not to Say to Someone Who Self-Harms

Caring for someone who self-harms is a path that takes many routes. Like driving a winding road near the ocean, it is a necessary journey fraught with dangerous cliffs and curves. People who harm themselves tend to be deeply sensitive to the nuances of others’ emotions. They are highly intelligent, enormously creative, and probing thinkers who tend to be quite in tune with those around them. Avoid stating these phrases or any variation thereof, if you want to foster a healthy relationship with them

 

How Could You Do This to Me?

Typically, this statement comes from a family member who believes they are close enough to the individual. It serves no purpose and has no value aside from allowing the speaker to act like a martyr. Do not attempt to use phrases like this to guilt a self-harmer into doing things your way. Not only will it fail, no one will listen to much you have to say in the future.

 

You Seem So Normal!

Our culture so often sets its own definition of normalcy. What seemed normal 50 years ago is light years away from reality today. You might believe you grew up in a normal family, however, your normal family most likely appears odd to someone from another era or culture. If attempting to make a self-harmer feel better, rest assured this statement does not. It only acts as a reminder of how someone who self-harms does not fit into society’s norms.

 

You Are Just Craving Attention. You Are Not A Teenager Anymore.

This statement can completely undermine the serious issues that surround self-harm. Mental health challenges occur at any age. Someone who self-harms is perfectly aware of their age, and whether they are 25 or 55 it remains a constant in their lives. Furthermore, the last thing anyone who self-harms wants is attention. Not only is attention something they do not want, but they go to considerable lengths to hide their private pain.

 

Can’t You Just Stop?

The person saying this has no clue what life is like for the person who self-harms. This statement assumes that the individual is wanting to continue this pattern when often, it is outside of their control. It also serves to make the individual who self-harms feel shamed, weak, and often encourages staying in that state. Mental health problems are rooted in a chemical imbalance in the brain, just like physical ailments are chemical imbalances in the body.

 

If you care about someone who self-harms, it never hurts to listen more than you talk.

Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit nhcc.us or call 718-845-2620.

 

 

 

Finding Unique Treatment Options for Those Without Insurance

Without health insurance, it can be hard to find or afford the mental health treatment that you deserve. Luckily, there are many different options that you can pursue if you are without insurance. It is essential that you are getting the treatment that you deserve and here are some ways that you could find what you need.

Prescription Help
One of the harder things to get without insurance are any medications that you may need. Thankfully there are services available that are meant to help those who need medications get them if they do not have the finances or insurance to do so. NeedyMeds is one such service. NeedyMeds is a non-profit that helps patients without adequate resources get the medications they need without having to pay full price. They also help connect these people with services that can help them such as free clinics. Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps match patients who are eligible for various assistance programs. They also help connect them to low-cost clinics when the patient needs them.

Private Therapists
If you are willing to talk with your personal or another therapist, you may find that they are generally willing to take on clients on a sliding scale. Many times therapists are eager to work with you and your budget to come to a solution that will work for both of you. Some therapists also employ interns who often work at a lower rate. There are also educational clinics available that could help you get the treatment you need at a lower cost.

Mobile Counseling
Recently, many apps have emerged that provide access to licensed therapists from your phone! These can be more accessible and low-cost options not only to those without insurance but to lose who are nervous about seeing a therapist in the first place. Apps like BetterHelp match you with a licensed therapist that you can talk with for a lower cost and on a more flexible schedule.

Additional Resources
Besides everything above, there are free clinics available that provide services to those who cannot afford a private therapist or do not have insurance. Another option is to look into a free or low-cost health insurance plan. Many of the programs are available to those who are under a certain income limit. This same principle applies to Medicaid as well. There are many options to get the treatment you need even without insurance.

Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit nhcc.us or call 718-845-2620.

 

Winter is Coming: Preparing for Seasonal Affective Disorders

For many, the cold of winter has started to move in. Winter may bring along the joy of Christmas, snow and endless hot chocolate but for millions of Americans it also brings along varying degrees of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a seasonal disorder that is characterized by depression, low energy, lethargy, concentration issues and even changes in appetite.

The Winter Blues are generally caused by a drop in serotonin, usually caused by lack of sunlight, which is the brain chemical that affects our mood. Low melatonin, another brain chemical that influences sleep patterns and mood, may also be a cause.

SAD becomes most prevalent in the late fall and early winter, though it may strike in the summer for some. If you think you are at risk for experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder this winter, here are some tips for preparing for it.

Light Therapy
Standard treatment for SAD is light therapy or phototherapy. There are special light boxes that are designed to provide your body with imitation sunlight when it is not available outside. Some light boxes are equipped with alarm clock functions, that will allow them to slowly light up as your wake up time approaches, giving you the illusion that the sun is waking you up.

Keep an Active Lifestyle
Don’t stop moving just because it is cold! Yes, bears get to hibernate in the winter, but it may not be the best for your mental health. If you anticipate that you will suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder this winter, plan consistent exercise that you can engage in to stay active. Try to plan your activity around when the sun is most likely to be out, such as around your lunchtime at work.

Plan A Vacation
For those whose SAD may be a little bit more extreme, it may be good to change some lifestyle habits, such as when you take your vacation. Shifting your vacation schedule to accommodate for the winter time can help provide you with a reprieve from gloomy weather. Plan a sun-soaked vacation for January or February when the winter has hit its peak. This can help provide you with a break from the gray and cold weather and rejuvenate your body as well.

Manage Your Stress Levels
As it is any time of year, it is essential to manage your stress levels during the winter. Keeping your stress low can be helpful when you feel more sluggish as is likely to happen with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Try to be proactive in setting your workload up for the week or season to accommodate for the weather and how you are feeling.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is not uncommon, and you are not alone! Be sure to talk with your doctor or therapist if you think your SAD is severe and needs medical treatment, such as antidepressants.

Films That Accurately Portray Mental Health

movie - herrick lipton

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 4 people around the world will be affected by a mental health or neurological disorder in their lifetime. Despite this, there still remains a lot of stigma and misconceptions surrounding the topic. Media has the ability to lessen that stigma and cut through those misconceptions by bringing awareness to the issue and depicting struggles with mental health in a way that is sincere and thoughtful. With that in mind, here are 5 films that did a wonderful job in accurately portraying mental health.

The Skeleton Twins (2012)

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are better known for their comedic chops, being alumni from the long-running sketch comedy variety show Saturday Night Live. But in the drama The Skeleton Twins, the two play twins who are reunited after 10 years apart after a suicide attempt lands Milo (Hader) in the hospital. While there are laughs to be had, the film also offers a heartfelt and candid look at depression as the brother and sister re-learn to accept each other and who they are as individuals.

Inside Out (2015)

Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures have a history of producing animated films that present mature themes in a way that is palatable for kids and adults alike. Inside Out continues that tradition. While mental health disorders themselves aren’t discussed, the story explores the literal emotions of a young girl named Riley as they learn to work to together to help her deal with her family’s move to San Francisco. Puberty can be a confusing and turbulent time in our lives, and it’s good to have a movie that presents the struggles that youth face as well.

Ordinary People (1980)

A classic that won 4 Oscars, including for Best Picture and Best Director, Robert Redford’s drama Ordinary People represents a turning point for the portrayal of psychotherapy in the film. It stars Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton as an affluent Chicago family trying to carry on after the accidental death of their son/brother. The film tackles difficult topics like PTSD and survivor’s guilt, as well as the stigma around seeking psychiatric treatment.

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Another winner of 4 Oscars, Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind follows the life of John Forbes Nash Jr, as played by Russel Crow. Nash was a real-life mathematician and Nobel Laureate. He also lived with paranoid schizophrenia, and the film beautifully captures how dealing with paranoia and delusions affected his life and career.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

This critically-acclaimed film from David O. Russell stars Bradley Cooper as Pat Solatano, a man recently released from a mental health hospital and forced to move back with his parents. Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany Maxwell, a young woman grieving after the death of her husband. The two meet and agree to help each other: Pat by being Tiffany’s ballroom dance partner, and Tiffany by helping Pat get his wife back after his untreated bipolar disorder drove her away. Silver Linings Playbook presents the rollercoaster of emotion that often comes with dealing with bipolar disorder, and it does it in a way that feels real and compelling.

Offensive Statements You Should Never Say to a Person With a Disability

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The term disability is a broad one, encompassing a range of things from mild to severe, intellectual to physical. Some disabilities are obvious, while others may not necessarily be apparent. According to the U.S. Census bureau, there are nearly 12 million people with disabilities in the workforce. So, whether one is aware or not, the chances are good that he or she has, or will, encounter a person with a disability on the job. With that in mind, it is important to understand that certain statements or questions, regardless of the intention behind them, are universally perceived as offensive to those with disabilities.

 

“What happened?”

Humans are curious creatures, by nature, and it is understandable that one might be interested in knowing the background of a person’s disability. Asking “what happened?” or “Were you born this way?”, which may seem like nothing more than a conversation starter to the one asking, is never appropriate upon first meeting. It is purely the right of people to maintain the level of privacy they are comfortable with, and to share, or not, on their own terms. Putting them on the spot is invasive and offensive.

 

“I forget you’re disabled”

Generally speaking, this statement is made with the best of intentions. Likely, the person saying it is trying to communicate that he or she values their disabled coworker as a person. However, Within the disabled community, there is debate as to whether this is a positive statement or not, tied to the varying ways persons with disabilities identify with their own disability. Since it is controversial, it’s best simply to avoid saying it.

 

“How do you…?”

There’s no doubt that for a person with a disability, accomplishing many of the everyday tasks the rest of the population takes for granted, involves challenges and accommodations. It is understandable that there is a level of curiosity around how he or she is able to do things. Asking overly personal questions (e.g., “How do you use the bathroom?”) is simply rude and intrusive.

 

There is an expected protocol for one’s behavior within a professional setting. The above questions and statements are never acceptable to broach in the context of the workplace. Of course, should a professional relationship evolve into a personal one, with a greater level of shared intimacy, the subjects mentioned might not remain taboo forever. But, as a general rule, they are best to avoid in the workplace.