Effects of Parental Conflict and Divorce on Children

Divorce and Children

As a marriage dissolves, many parents ask whether they should stay together for the kids? Other parents find divorce is their only option.

In addition, parents worry about the future of their living situation and the uncertainty of the custody arrangement. Parents also worry about how the children will adjust to the divorce.

The psychological effects of divorce on children depend on the individual child. While divorce is stressful for all children, some kids rebound faster than others.

The first year of divorce is usually the most difficult for parents and children. Studies show that children struggle the most during the first year or two after the divorce and experience distress, anger, anxiety, and disbelief.

Many kids make a reasonable adjustment to the divorce. They get used to changes in their daily routines and grow comfortable with their living arrangements. Others, however, never really seem to go back to normal. Children who never fully adjust may experience ongoing, even lifelong problems after their parents’ divorce.

The fact is that divorce creates emotional turmoil for the entire family, but the situation can be scary, confusing, and frustrating for kids. For example, young children often find it difficult to understand why they must go between two homes. Even worse, they may believe that their parents no longer love them. One common misconception that children have is that the divorce is their fault. As a result, they may fear misbehaving or assume they did something wrong, causing their parents to divorce. Youngsters often

At a tumultuous time in their lives, regardless of parental problems, teenagers may become quite angry about divorce and the changes it creates. They may blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage, or they may resent one or both parents for the upheaval in the family.

Of course, each situation is unique. For example, a child may feel relieved by the separation in extreme circumstances if a divorce means fewer arguments and less stress. But, on the other hand, another stressor that can present itself is parents refusing to reach an accommodation for the sake of the children and teenagers. That stressor is parental alienation. The following blog post will discuss parental alienation.

Divorce usually means children lose daily contact with one parent, most often fathers. Decreased communication affects the parent-child bond, and researchers have found many children feel less close to their fathers after divorce. Divorce also affects a child’s relationship with the custodial parent, most often mothers. In addition, primary caregivers often report higher stress levels associated with single parenting.

For some children, parental separation isn’t the most challenging part. Instead, the accompanying stressors make divorce the most difficult. Changing schools, moving to a new home, and living with a single parent who feels a little more frazzled are just a few of the additional stressors that make divorce difficult.

Financial hardships are also frequent after divorce. Many families have to move to smaller homes or change neighborhoods, and they often have fewer material resources.

Mental Health Problems

Divorce may increase the risk of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Regardless of age, gender, and culture, children of divorced parents experience increased psychological problems.

Divorce often triggers an adverse change in behavior in children that sometimes resolves within a few months. However, there is evidence that depression and anxiety rates are higher in children from divorced parents. The emotional problems of kids whose parents divorce can demonstrate behavior problems, including conduct disorders, delinquency, and impulsive behavior, more than kids from two-parent families. Besides increased behavior problems, children may also share more conflict with peers after a divorce.

Parents need to help kids adjust to the divorce situation. For example, adults who experienced divorce during childhood may have more relationship difficulties. In addition, parents play a significant role in how children adjust to a divorce.

Seek Professional Help

Intense conflict between parents increases children’s distress. Overt hostility, such as screaming and threatening one another, causes behavior problems in children. But minor tension may also increase a child’s distress. People who struggle to co-parent with their ex-spouse seek professional help.

Parents Must Avoid Putting Kids in the Middle. Asking kids to choose which parent they like best or messages to other parents isn’t appropriate. Kids who find themselves caught in the middle are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. On the other hand, positive communication, parental warmth, and low levels of conflict help children adjust to divorce better. In addition, a healthy parent-child relationship helps kids develop higher self-esteem and better academic performance following divorce.

 Finally, when parents pay close attention to what teens are doing and who they spend their time with, adolescents are less likely to exhibit behavior problems following a divorce. That means a reduced chance of using substances and fewer academic problems.

Surviving the Colorado Wild Fire

Coping with Disaster

It was Friday, New Year’s Eve morning, December 31, 2021. The sun was shining, but the wind was gusting. I was walking my dog when I noticed a cloud of smoke in the distance. I thought nothing of it because it appeared to be a grass fire. After my dog completed her business, we headed back to my condo. It was astonishing how fast the smoke covered the neighborhood. As I sat at my desk, I noticed my eyes became irritated, and the smell of smoke filled the apartment. When I looked out my window, it shocked me to see black smoke throughout the entire neighborhood. Soon, there was a pounding at my door. The police politely but firmly ordered me out of the condo when I opened it. My neighbors were also in the corridor. All of us went back inside to gather a few things, and we left the condominium complex. 

These same neighbors drove us to Erie, away from the fires and smoke. We were on the way to my daughter’s house as they did the same. As we drove, we somberly viewed the dark smoke and flames. All of us were grateful to have escaped what turned out to be a major disaster.

We learned later that the county lost 1,000 homes were in flames. So miraculously, only two fatalities resulted from something that could easily take thousands of lives. However, the shock and trauma were unbearable.

I lived with my daughter- and son-in-law for four days and was ready to go home. 

The drive home was more shocking than the escape from the thick smoke. As we passed neighborhoods close to the condominium where I live, what came into clear view were entire neighborhoods burned down to the ground. In many places, there was nothing left standing. Just four days ago, beautiful, suburban homes occupied the spaces where, now, there was nothing but ash. I could not help but think, which has the feel and look of war. The only element missing from the total disaster was bombs and gunshots.

Miraculously, only two people died in the raging fire. Of course, any death is a tragedy, but it could have been worse.

In addition to the loss of life and homes, people lost valuables irreplaceable. Among these are family heirlooms, diaries written by grandparents and great-grandparents, and invaluable photographs, among many others.

When I arrived home, more than a little shaken from all that happened, I immediately understood that I was fortunate. My condominium community, with its two buildings and many apartments, was intact. The corridors had the smell of smoke, as did my unit. However, there was no destruction of my apartment and possessions. More than that, my family escaped with their houses spared and their lives intact.

Everyone I have spoken to about this wildfire states, almost uniformly, that the past year has been dreadful and has left all of us in a state of shock. Among those shocking things are the pandemic, political instability that threatens our democracy and freedom, economic volatility partly caused by the Coronavirus, and the vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths because of this disease that remains ongoing. As part of this calamity, we must include the need to isolate ourselves in our homes to halt the spread of the disease.

Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help all of us cope with feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Recovering emotionally from disaster

*From The American Psychological Association, 2013

Disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, transportation accidents, or wildfires are typically sudden and overwhelming. Many people have no outwardly visible signs of physical injury, but there can be an emotional toll. It is common for people who have experienced disaster to have strong emotional reactions. Understanding responses to distressing events can help you cope effectively with your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and help you along the path to recovery.

What are common reactions and responses to disaster?

Following a disaster, people frequently feel stunned, disoriented, or unable to integrate distressing information. However, once these initial reactions subside, people can experience a variety of thoughts and behaviors. 

Typical responses can be:

  • Intense or unpredictable feelings. You may be anxious, overwhelmed, or grief-stricken. You may also feel more irritable or moody than usual.
  • Changes to thoughts and behavior patterns. You might have repeated and vivid memories of the event. These memories may occur for no apparent reason and may lead to physical reactions such as a rapid heartbeat or sweating. It may not be easy to concentrate or decide. Sleep and eating patterns also can be disrupted. Some people may overeat and oversleep, while others experience a loss of sleep and appetite.
  • Sensitivity to environmental factors. Sirens, loud noises, burning smells, or other environmental sensations may stimulate memories of the disaster, creating heightened anxiety. These “triggers” may accompany fears that the stressful event may repeat. 
  • Strained interpersonal relationships. Increased conflict, such as frequent disagreements with family members and coworkers, can occur. You might also become withdrawn, isolated, or disengaged from your usual social activities.
  • Stress-related physical symptoms. Headaches, nausea, and chest pain may occur and require medical attention. Disaster could affect preexisting medical conditions-

related stress.

How do I cope?

Fortunately, research shows that most people are resilient and can bounce back from tragedy. It is common for people to experience stress in the immediate aftermath. Still, most people can resume functioning as before the disaster within a few months. It is important to remember that resilience and recovery are the norms, not prolonged distress.

There are several steps people can take to build emotional well-being and gain a sense of control following a disaster, including:

  •  Survivors need time to adjust and expect that this will be a difficult time in the lives of survivors. Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced and try to be patient with changes in your emotional state.
  • Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathize with your situation. Social support is a crucial component of disaster recovery. Family and friends can be vital resources. You can find support and common ground from those who’ve also survived the disaster. You may also want to reach out to others not involved who may provide more significant support and objectivity.
  • Communicate your experience. People need to express what they feel in whatever ways they feel comfortable, such as talking with family or close friends, keeping a diary, or engaging in a creative activity.
  • Find a local support group led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. Support groups are frequently available for survivors. Group discussion can help survivors realize they are not alone in their reactions and emotions. Support group meetings can be beneficial for people with limited personal support systems.
  • Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If you experience ongoing difficulties with sleep, you may find some relief through relaxation techniques. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can be a numbing diversion that could detract from and delay active coping and moving forward from the disaster.
  • Establish or reestablish routines. Routines can include eating meals regularly, sleeping and waking regularly, or following an exercise program. Build positive ways to have something to look forward to during these distressing times, like pursuing a hobby, walking through an attractive park or neighborhood, or reading a good book.
  • Avoid making major life decisions. Switching careers or jobs and other essential decisions tend to be highly stressful and even harder to take on when someone is recovering from a disaster.

When to seek professional help?

Persistent feelings of distress or hopelessness and you feel like you can barely get through your daily responsibilities and activities, consult with a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist. Psychologists have the training to help people address emotional reactions to disasters such as disbelief, stress, anxiety, and grief and make a plan for moving forward. 

What if There’s No Such Thing as Closure?

The New York Times · by Meg Bernhard · December 15, 2021

The basis of this blog is on a New York Times article by writer Meg Bernhard, and a correspondence between myself and my dear friend. My friend is referring to the death of my wife, Pat. We were married for fifty years, and friends assured me that I would heal with time. But, on the contrary, I continue to feel a deep sense of loss. I have a lasting sense of loss of my beloved wife. Then I came across a New York Times article, “What if there is no such thing as closure?

The basis of this article is on Social Scientist Pauline Boss and her book, “Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live With Unresolved Grief.”

Pauline Boss from the New York Times Article:

” Boss studied and provided therapy to the family members of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as the relatives of people whose bodies were not recovered after natural disasters or in the collapse of the original World Trade Center on 9/11. Theirs were losses without “conclusion,” in the traditional sense of the term, the experience of paradox — a simultaneous absence and presence — that eluded resolution. Can you mourn someone whose body is present, even if the mind isn’t? Or whose death is unconfirmed? Can you grieve a foreclosed future?

The concept, Boss maintains, is inclusive, encompassing a range of moderate to severe losses that we might not perceive as such. Moreover, it can take many forms, often quotidian: an alcoholic parent who, when intoxicated, becomes a different person; a divorced partner, with whom your relationship is ruptured but not erased; a loved one with whom you’ve lost contact through immigration; or a child you’ve given up for adoption. 

These experiences are an accumulation of heartbreaks that we cannot always recognize.”

A dialogue between my friend and me:

“Pat died. You lost her as a companion. You lost her as someone who shored you up.You lost your marriage, your married way of life. Your entire way of life changed, and continues to changein various ways, and each change is an ambiguous loss.”

“And, what I get from the article, is that it’s that way for all of us. What did I lose when Joan(his estranged wife) moved to Oklahoma? My life changed irreparably. What have you and I each lost (and each other person on the planet) with the pandemic that will never return as it was before? What have I lost since developing chronic arthritis pain impacting walking? Lost with Laura’s(his daughter) horrible illness and surgery, though gratefully, seeming to be moving towards a full recovery, but scarred by the ordeal?”

“When I was 11, we moved from the house and neighborhood I’d known since birth. I cried for a year. What did you lose when you moved in with your grandparents?”

“We’re “adapting” to loss all of our lives.”

The basis of this blog is on a New York Times article and a correspondence between myself and my dear friend. My friend is referring to the death of my wife, Pat. We were married for fifty years, and friends assured me that I would heal with time. But, on the contrary, I continue to feel a deep sense of loss. I have a lasting sense of loss of my beloved wife. Then I came across a New York Times article, “What if there is no such thing as closure?

The basis of this article is on Social Scientist Pauline Boss and her book, “Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live With Unresolved Grief.”

Pauline Boss from the New York Times Article:

” Boss studied and provided therapy to the family members of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as the relatives of people whose bodies were not recovered after natural disasters or in the collapse of the original World Trade Center on 9/11. Theirs were losses without “conclusion,” in the traditional sense of the term, the experience of paradox — a simultaneous absence and presence — that eluded resolution. Can you mourn someone whose body is present, even if the mind isn’t? Or whose death is unconfirmed? Can you grieve a foreclosed future?

The concept, Boss maintains, is inclusive, encompassing a range of moderate to severe losses that we might not perceive as such. Moreover, it can take many forms, often quotidian: an alcoholic parent who, when intoxicated, becomes a different person; a divorced partner, with whom your relationship is ruptured but not erased; a loved one with whom you’ve lost contact through immigration; or a child you’ve given up for adoption. 

These experiences are an accumulation of heartbreaks that we cannot always recognize.”

A dialogue between my friend and me:

“Pat died. You lost her as a companion. You lost her as someone who shored you up.You lost your marriage, your married way of life. Your entire way of life changed, and continues to changein various ways, and each change is an ambiguous loss.”

“And, what I get from the article, is that it’s that way for all of us. What did I lose when Joan(his estranged wife) moved to Oklahoma? My life changed irreparably. What have you and I each lost (and each other person on the planet) with the pandemic that will never return as it was before? What have I lost since developing chronic arthritis pain impacting walking? Lost with Laura’s(his daughter) horrible illness and surgery, though gratefully, seeming to be moving towards a full recovery, but scarred by the ordeal?”

“When I was 11, we moved from the house and neighborhood I’d known since birth. I cried for a year. What did you lose when you moved in with your grandparents?”

“We’re “adapting” to loss all of our lives.”

The basis of this blog is on a New York Times article and a correspondence between myself and my dear friend. My friend is referring to the death of my wife, Pat. We were married for fifty years, and friends assured me that I would heal with time. But, on the contrary, I continue to feel a deep sense of loss. I have a lasting sense of loss of my beloved wife. Then I came across a New York Times article, “What if there is no such thing as closure?

The basis of this article is on Social Scientist Pauline Boss and her book, “Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live With Unresolved Grief.”

Pauline Boss from the New York Times Article:

” Boss studied and provided therapy to the family members of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as the relatives of people whose bodies were not recovered after natural disasters or in the collapse of the original World Trade Center on 9/11. Theirs were losses without “conclusion,” in the traditional sense of the term, the experience of paradox — a simultaneous absence and presence — that eluded resolution. Can you mourn someone whose body is present, even if the mind isn’t? Or whose death is unconfirmed? Can you grieve a foreclosed future?

The concept, Boss maintains, is inclusive, encompassing a range of moderate to severe losses that we might not perceive as such. Moreover, it can take many forms, often quotidian: an alcoholic parent who, when intoxicated, becomes a different person; a divorced partner, with whom your relationship is ruptured but not erased; a loved one with whom you’ve lost contact through immigration; or a child you’ve given up for adoption. 

These experiences are an accumulation of heartbreaks that we cannot always recognize.”

A dialogue between my friend and me:

“Pat died. You lost her as a companion. You lost her as someone who shored you up.You lost your marriage, your married way of life. Your entire way of life changed, and continues to changein various ways, and each change is an ambiguous loss.”

“And, what I get from the article, is that it’s that way for all of us. What did I lose when Joan(his estranged wife) moved to Oklahoma? My life changed irreparably. What have you and I each lost (and each other person on the planet) with the pandemic that will never return as it was before? What have I lost since developing chronic arthritis pain impacting walking? Lost with Laura’s(his daughter) horrible illness and surgery, though gratefully, seeming to be moving towards a full recovery, but scarred by the ordeal?”

“When I was 11, we moved from the house and neighborhood I’d known since birth. I cried for a year. What did you lose when you moved in with your grandparents?”

“We’re “adapting” to loss all of our lives.”

Abuse and It’s Types

Recent reports show significant increases in domestic violence and drug and alcohol use. In addition, the stress and anxiety created by the Pandemic are taking a heavy toll on mental health. This article describes the types of abuse. Further reports will explain abuse’s impact on people, including trauma and its consequences for mental and medical health. Finally, there will be an article reporting the therapies that help best for survivors of abuse.

What is Abuse?

Abuse occurs when people mistreat or misuse other people, showing no concern for their integrity or innate worth as individuals, and in a manner that degrades their well-being. Abusers frequently are interested in controlling their victims. They use abusive behaviors to manipulate their victims into submission or compliance with their will.

Physical and sexual abuse greatly exacerbate the risk of substance use disorders. Abuse has particularly far-reaching effects when it occurs during childhood. 

Types of Abuse

  • Verbal: They may verbally abuse them by calling them names, telling them they are stupid, have no worth, or will not amount to anything on their own.
  • Physical: They may become physically violent, inflicting pain, bruises, broken bones, and other physical wounds (visible and hidden both).
  • Sexual: They may rape or sexually assault their victims.
  • Negligence: Alternatively, they may neglect dependent victims, disavowing any responsibilities they may have towards those victims and causing damage through lack of action rather than through a harmful, manipulative action itself.

Abuse is a commonplace event in modern times, taking on many different forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, occurring in many different contexts, including the home (domestic violence, spouse rape, incest), the workplace (sexual harassment), and in institutional (elder abuse, bullying) and religious and community (hate crime) settings. It touches victims across the lifespan, from children through elders. Abuse is a severe social and cultural problem affecting everyone, whether as a victim of abuse, a perpetrator, a friend or confidant of an abused person looking for ways to be helpful, or simply as someone who is angry about injustice and wants to work for positive change.

If you are currently being abused or abused in the past, you should know that you do not suffer alone. Right now, millions of people worldwide struggle to maintain dignity, safety, and self-worth in the face of ongoing abuse. In addition, millions more people work to recover from wounds they have sustained during past abuse. 

You should also know that help is available for abuse victims, although it is not always easy to access. Community abuse resources (such as domestic violence shelters), mental health professionals, law enforcement, various other organizations, websites, and printed resources can provide instruction and assistance for people who need help removing themselves from abusive situations.

Victims of abuse often deal with severe psychological and physical consequences of being abused. There are various forms of counseling, psychotherapy, medical, and self-help resources available for people who have been used and want assistance and support for managing problems and issues they have developed due to being abused. 

Such post-abuse issues are sometimes called ‘abuse sequela’ by health professionals. While no therapy is capable of erasing the effects of abuse, such resources can provide meaningful assistance in helping to minimize the adverse effects of abuse. 

Types of Psychotherapy

Types of Psychotherapy

These are the main types of psychotherapy described by the American Psychiatric Association.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are harmful or ineffective, replacing them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors. It can help a person focus on current problems and solve them. However, it often involves practicing new skills in the “real world.”

CBT can help treat various disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma-related disorders, and eating disorders. For example, CBT can help a person with depression recognize and change negative thought patterns or behaviors contributing to the depression.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a short-term form of treatment. It helps patients understand underlying interpersonal issues that are troublesome, like unresolved grief, changes in social or work roles, conflicts with significant others, and problems relating to others. In addition, it can help people learn healthy ways to express emotions and methods to improve communication and how they relate to others. It is most often used to treat depression.

Dialectical behavior therapy is a specific type of CBT that helps regulate emotions. It is frequently helpful in treating people with chronic suicidal thoughts and borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and PTSD. It teaches new skills to help people take personal responsibility to change unhealthy or disruptive behavior. It involves both individual and group therapy.

Psychodynamic therapy views the idea that behavior and mental well-being go back to childhood experiences and inappropriate repetitive thoughts or unconscious feelings (outside of the person’s awareness). Therefore, a person works with the therapist to improve self-awareness and change old patterns to take charge of their lives more fully.

Improving Your Mental Health

Improving Your Mental Health

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health

The Coronavirus Pandemic is a challenge for everyone. More people than ever are reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue caused by having to cope with the pandemic. Therefore, this essay is important.

Modern society has drastically shifted to a faster-paced and more productive environment. While we have made a lot of progress in many aspects of life, preserving and improving mental health is becoming increasingly crucial to progress.

With the increase in pace and productivity comes a radical rise in high stress and mentally taxing work and social environments, causing a steadily decreasing mental health epidemic. Unfortunately, humans can only last so long in an emotionally taxing environment. To keep up with the demands of daily life, mental health professionals have poured countless hours into finding ways people can improve their mental health amidst the chaos.

While not all aspects of our mental health are under our control, psychologists have pinpointed a few simple and healthy things you can do to improve your mental health!

  1. Set positive goals

When struggling with your mental health, it’s easy to focus only on the negatives and what you’re not doing rather than the positives and what you have achieved in life, making you feel hopeless, and taking time to sit down and set positive and realistic goals is essential to finding the motivation to get up every morning and work towards making progress in your daily life and emotional wellbeing.

Setting positive and realistically attainable goals is a great way to improve your mental health by helping you visualize and achieve tasks throughout your daily life. You want to start with baby steps that will help you get on track to making more progress in the future and give you a much-needed mood boost in the present with a healthy sense of achievement.

Write out a quick and easy list of chores, tasks, and errands that you can work to complete throughout the day. These things can be as simple as making your bed or cleaning up or more involved, like finishing a project you’ve been putting off. Making realistic but straightforward goals helps you stay active and helps your brain swing into a routine and function again.

Using the seemingly endless list of chores and responsibilities to get you motivated and give yourself something to strive for is a great way to improve your mental health and be productive doing it! Establish healthy habits.

Improving your mental health takes a lot of time and effort, so a large part of making good progress is implementing healthy habits that promote wellbeing and growth. Everyone has good and bad habits. When addressing emotional problems and concerns, it is essential that you also take a step back and address the practices in your life.

Breaking bad habits can be a complex process, but it is necessary to make healthy progress. Take the time to think through the things in your life that are counterproductive or possibly harmful to your mental wellbeing. It will most likely take a significant amount of effort, time, and motivation to break the more ingrained bad habits. Still, you may cut out some others easily. Cutting out the bad habits will help you make room for healthier activities.

After removing some bad habits, be sure to implement more healthy and productive practices and activities that promote positive thoughts and actions in your life. It may be hard to stick to them at first, but staying consistent and working hard will pay off in the end.

Make it a point to exercise your brain each day. Maybe you enjoy a morning crossword puzzle. Perhaps reading a book before bed helps you wind down. But, even if you feel you don’t have time, taking a few minutes and playing online brain games or completing a quick virtual puzzle is easy to fit into a busy schedule.

Busting some bad habits and taking steps to make healthier ones is another great way to improve your mental health!

  1. Get active

Physical health is just as important as mental health. It has a considerable part to play in improving emotional wellbeing. Changing your diet, getting plenty of physical activity, keeping up to date with medical concerns, and being vigilant about what you put into your body are crucial to changing your mental wellbeing.

One of the essential parts of a healthy body and mind is a healthy diet. Human brains function the best when well-nourished with a healthy amount of calories, vitamins, and nutrients to fuel the body and keep the blood pumping—eating nutrient-packed meals within a sustainable and healthy calorie amount. Hydrating and cutting back on over-processed foods is a great way to improve your diet and overall wellbeing.

Another part of good physical wellbeing is exercise and good physical activity. Sneaking in some active workouts on top of staying active throughout the day will help you keep your body functioning the way it needs to, as well as give yourself a much-needed mood boost.

Medical problems and concerns can cause an enormous amount of stress, so taking the proper steps to tackle your physical problems helps you improve your physical wellbeing, make you feel more control over your life and wellbeing, and take some stress off your mind.

  1. Build a support group

Struggling with your mental health can make you feel you’re all alone in the world. However, everyone struggles with emotions and mental wellbeing in their life, so finding a solid support group of friends or family who may have had similar experiences is a great way to find comfort and support in your time of need.

While everyone experiences things differently, sharing your feelings and stories about your mental struggles is a great way to relate to one another and support each other through hard times. Even though your friends can’t fix your problems for you, they can always listen. 

Seeking the comfort and support of friends and family when the going gets rough is another excellent way to improve your mental health!

  1. Seek professional help

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things are just too much for you to handle, and it’s time to call in professional help. Knowing when to seek help and support from a mental health professional is crucial to understanding your mental wellbeing and making positive changes for the future.

Some highly trained professionals in the field in tackling mental health problems will spot things you didn’t notice and coach you through changing your daily life. They can also give you a more secret place to vent where you can open up about all the dirty details without being judged or your business being the center of gossip.

See a therapist in the mental health field to help you take some burdens off of your shoulders and help you make progress in improving your mental health!

  1. Make progress

Struggling with your mental health is an emotionally exhausting and challenging process full of uncertainty and pain along the way. However, taking the proper steps to make healthy, positive changes in your daily life is one of the best ways to improve your mental health.

Finally, it is essential to remind the reader to take precautions when using these five suggestions.

Coping Strategies for Anxiety and Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Are you feeling irritable and short-tempered and getting into arguments at home? So many people are experiencing nervousness and restlessness? So many are finding it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep? You are not alone.

There are many things about which people are feeling stressed, anxious, and worried. For example, Coronavirus and social unrest are causing worry and fear. Also, many have lost jobs and their salaries. One of the most challenging things that many must deal with is that it isolates them at home—having to be indoors, whether alone or even with family, is extremely difficult. I’m hearing from many people who feel irritable, angry, sensitive, anxious, and depressed. What can people do to help themselves deal better with these problems?

Here or some suggestions for coping during this difficult time:

  • While wearing masks, go out for walks, whether alone, with family, or with friends. In doing so, it is essential to remember to maintain Social distancing.
  • Avoiding alcohol is extremely important. The reports are that many people are drinking as a way of self-medicating their problems. Rather than working as self-medication, drinking worsens the problems. It creates irritability and the tendency to get into arguments at home.
  • Social interaction is essential. The frustration is that the Coronavirus makes it difficult to socialize. While wearing masks and maintaining social distance, it is not only possible to mix but necessary. In my psychotherapy practice, I encourage people to chat as much as possible while maintaining safety.
  • Exercise is important. I know of one person who reported that they walk around their house as much as possible, including going upstairs and downstairs.
  • Owning a dog can help. People who own dogs understand they must be what walked. Two crucial goals or achieved for those who have the dog. One important goal is getting out of the house and walking, allowing for some exercise. Besides, I always remind my clients that it’s impossible to be isolated when you own a dog. Neighbors, children, and anyone will greet and pet the dog. That is often the beginning of a friendly chat.
  • One of the best medicines in the world, for most situations, is his humor. That is why I recommend watching funny television programs. These movies are comic and email humorous cartoons to family and friends. There is nothing like making jokes, laughing, smiling, having a sense of humor, or being suitable for the body and good for the soul.
  • Listening to music is one of the most soothing it will axing things a person can do.
  • I strongly recommend meditation. There is a beautiful app named CALM. Download this app to your cell phone. By either sitting or lying down and listening to some meditations is hugely relieving. The reflections are guided or purely musical and, depending on your choice, can last from 5 to 30 minutes.
  • Under stress, many people breathe in a more shallow way without realizing it’s happening. Instead, it’s essential to take a full breath, count to five, let it out, and repeat two or three times. You can feel the body relax.
  • Additional strategies include avoiding watching the news.
  • Stretch to relax muscle tension—deep muscle relaxation techniques.
  • Nature helps a great deal, such as walking in the local park.
  • Avoid turning to alcohol to self-medicate. That only worsens all the symptoms mentioned, including domestic violence and child abuse.

People are experiencing feeling shut into their homes as frustrating. There is evidence that this has resulted in increased alcohol consumptions, domestic violence, and child abuse. It is essential to turn to psychotherapy for this and all the other reasons mentioned if the different strategies do not work.

It may seem silly, but it’s also important to smile. What is an old song, “smile and the entire world smiles with you.” It is accurate, and evidence points to the fact that smiling helps us feel better. 

The Holidays Can be Stressful

Why do many people experience the holiday season with unpleasantness and discomfort? The answers are complex. It’s important to point out that many people experience stress, anxiety, and depression during the holiday season. The holidays begin around Halloween and extend to Thanksgiving and come to completion at Christmas and New Year.

So, why do the Holidays become a problem for some people?

People who feel lonely during the year are likely to feel it more keenly when families are together and celebrating. Among those who can experience an increase in loneliness are those elderly people who have lost many loved ones and whose children and grandchildren live far away. Many people feel the loss with a renewed keenness at this time of the year because of all the memories that are inevitably stirred up.

Family life is often stressful and getting together with parents and other family members can provoke or renew old feuds. Instead of being a time of joy, it becomes a time of resentment and conflict.

There are usually expectations, such as buying gifts. However, the problem that often emerges has to do with what gifts are most appropriate and most wanted by relatives, friends, and extended family members.

There is a lot of stress associated with this time of year because dinners have to be prepared and that means a lot of cooking. Decorating houses in ways that look festive can be difficult.

Are Things Really This Bad During the Holidays?

The answer to the above question is not necessarily. For example, it is not true that the suicide rate goes up before, during, or after the holidays. In addition, the holiday season does not create or cause depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Rather, those with mental illnesses may feel it more keenly at this time. Social isolation, loneliness, and depression are miserable ways to feel, but those are problems that did not start with the holiday.

Some Coping Mechanisms:

I think it’s important not to have high expectations about family behavior when everyone gets together. A realistic approach will cause much less disappointment afterward.

Do not refuse to take part if neighbors invite you over because they recognize that you are alone. Even if you struggle with social phobia, it is better to accept than to refuse. Of course, in this age of the Covid Pandemic, it is essential to reduce potential exposure to people who might carry the virus.

During the entire year, it’s important to not drown sorrows in alcohol. All that does is increase depression. This is equally true of illicit drugs.

Lots of exercises are really important. It’s always important to consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen. The connection between exercise and improved mood and function is a proven fact.

Finally, it’s important to not over-eat just because it’s holiday time. That doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t indulge a bit, but it’s important to not overdo it to those who are already seriously over-weight, have diabetes, heart conditions, or other health problems.

Toxic Families Who Scapegoat:

Parental Abuse

We think of bullying as something that happens in the school yard amongst kids who are being mean and abusive to one another. However, over the many years of my practice, I have come across cases in which the client presented with the problem and complaint that they felt picked on and excluded from their family of origin. They were anxious and depressed over this problem, although they had their own families with husbands or wives, children, careers and friends. Yet, they were experiencing life as though they were children living in their parental home.

Incredible as it might seem, there are families that scapegoat a loved one even into and including adulthood. For a variety of reasons, we will explore one member becomes the target of accusations, blame, criticism and ostracism. While it’s happening, family members are totally unaware of what they are doing and would deny it if confronted with their behavior. Often, scapegoating begins in childhood and continues into and throughout adulthood.

Why would a family choose a loved one to bully and scapegoat? The answer has a lot to do with the concept of scapegoating and the purpose it serves. Scapegoating is often a way for families to hide problems that they cannot face. In the examples of cases I have worked with, one or both parents behaved abusively to their children. In adulthood, scapegoating became a way for adult children to hide the fact of family history of abuse by blaming everything on one member who seemed vulnerable for attack. The scapegoat targeted by the sibling who was always the favorite of the family. In that way, the less favored sibling becomes the repository of everything that is wrong in the family.

A parent with Borderline Personality or Narcissistic Personality Disorder can vent their own frustrations, aggression, and hatred against one child by uniting the others who think that this one sibling is guilty of everything. In this scenario, the parent goads the other children to pick on the one. None of these stops in adulthood. Of course, the child whose personality is most like the personality disordered patient is targeted because that parent sees in the child everything they hate about themselves. Here, too, this pattern continues into adulthood.

The question that scapegoats face is what they can do to deal with the problem? While one would might think this should not be a problem for an adult, the fact is that these people become depressed, anxious, withdrawn and even, in the worst cases, suicidal. There is no way to underestimate the fears, self hatred and desperation these people come to fee. It is common for them to believe what the family tells them so that they accept all the blame and finger pointing at them although it’s untrue.

Commonly used strategies used by the scapegoat usually end in failure and even worse. I have seen situations where the scapegoat argues pleads their innocence before the family only to find themselves further blamed and persecuted. The sad fact is that rational discussion is impossible. So, what is a person to do?

Over the years, I have recommended family therapy for this situation. Given the nature of the family dynamics involved, none of the families have been willing to attend, not even for the sake of their loved one. Sometimes, the only other alternative in a few desperate cases is to walk away from the family of origin by severing all ties.

This is not a decision that is easily made, especially when it involves mothers and fathers. However, because these same parents constantly express cruelty to their adult children with unfortunate emotional consequences, there is nothing else to do. It’s important to remember that the reason for severing all ties is the preservation of one’s emotional health. It’s also important to remember that these scapegoated family members often have their own families that are warm, loving, and successful.

The bottom line is that making someone the scapegoat is abuse, whether that person is a child or adult.