Ways to Practice Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Ways to Practice Gratitude this Thanksgiving

There are many ways to practice gratitude this Thanksgiving, and throughout the year. By expressing gratitude you can help boost the spirits of others, as well as your own.

By focusing on what you are thankful for, you are shifting your mind to see things in a more positive light. This shift in mindset can help lower your stress and allow you to focus on finding happiness in day-to-day life.

There are many ways that you can express gratitude, and the methods that you choose can be determined through personal preference. To help get you started, we have provided the following tips for expressing gratitude and spreading happiness.

Ways to Practice Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Expressing Gratitude Towards Others

Everyone faces stress and internal struggles. For many, their day can be brightened through receiving gratitude and recognition for their efforts. Even the simplest acts of gratitude towards others have the possibility to make their day.

To help express gratitude towards others, we suggest:

  • Start by sharing your thankfulness for them. In situations big or small, expressing how thankful you are for another or their help can go a long way.
  • Actively listen to others and what they have to say. By being present and giving someone your full attention, you can help them feel important and cared for. Through caring and listening to what others have to say, you can help them see your gratitude towards them.
  • Recognize strengths in others and what they have to offer. Everyone offers a unique set of talents, knowledge, and skills. Many people often feel like their strengths are overlooked. You can help boost someone’s mood and confidence by providing them this recognition.
  • Celebrate the success of others and their accomplishments. Success brings most people happiness, but this joy can be increased by sharing it with others. When someone you know accomplishes something they were working towards, express to them the pride and happiness you feel for them.
  • Surprise others who you are grateful for with a gift, act of kindness, or touching words. By doing this, you can help them feel appreciated and see the gratitude you feel towards them.

Ways to Practice Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Expressing Gratitude Towards Yourself

It is important to take time to express gratitude towards yourself. Although expressing gratitude towards others can help boost your own mood, recognize that you also deserve to be appreciated. There are many things that you can be grateful for within yourself.

To help express gratitude towards yourself, we suggest:

  • Focus on your strengths and how you have built them. Often, we begin to look past the time and work that went into building our strengths and skills. Recognize your strengths and how you developed them, and be grateful for how they allow you to be your best self.
  • Enjoy the simple things and the happiness they bring you. Your joy may come from spending time on your hobby, hanging out with your friends, having a good meal, or anything else. Give yourself appreciation for creating your own happiness by engaging in what you love.
  • Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. There are many times when we may feel that we don’t have enough, or are not enough. Whether things are tangible or intangible, recognize what you do have in life and the value it brings you.
  • Recognize your efforts and see their value. Your efforts and hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed. Give yourself recognition for your efforts, and gratitude for all that you do. 
  • Embrace who you are without hesitation. There is no better person to be than yourself. Focus on the value that each person can bring to the world by having their own unique personality and set of skills. By being yourself, you also bring that value. Allow yourself to feel gratitude for being your own self.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is recognized this year on November 19th. The day honors those we have lost to suicide, and supports those who are suffering from the loss of a friend or family member. Events and resources provided on the day aim to help survivors of suicide loss find understanding, hope, and connection with others. 

AFSP Events for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 

There are many events this year for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. At these events, survivors of suicide loss have the chance to come together to connection, share hope, and find understanding through their shared experience.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has provided a list of registered upcoming events. See the links below for the schedule of events and to learn more.

Resources for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Books for Suicide Loss Survivors, a list offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/books-for-loss-survivors

 

Documentaries for Suicide Loss Survivors, a list offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/international-survivors-of-suicide-loss-day-documentaries

 

NAMI, “Suicide Survivors: The Ties That Bind Us”: https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/Suicide-Survivors-The-Ties-That-Bind-Us

  • In this article, a personal story is shared of one who lost their soulmate to suicide. The story aims to combat the stigma around talking about suicide, and show how beneficial connecting with others can be while grieving. 

 

NAMI, “A Plea From A Survivor Of Suicide Loss”: https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/A-Plea-From-a-Survivor-of-Suicide-Loss

  • In this NAMI personal story, the author writes about the pain of mourning after losing a loved one to suicide. She notes of the importance of suicide prevention resources, but also resources dedicated to helping those experiencing loss due to suicide.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: https://988lifeline.org/

For those wishing to speak on the phone, call 988.

 

  • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

 

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • The Trevor Project offers a 24/7 call and text line for those who are struggling and need to speak with a counselor right away. In addition, they also offer many informational articles and resources related to LGBTQIA+ mental health.

 

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

For those wishing to speak on the phone, call 988 and press 1.

  • If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, call to reach caring, qualified VA responders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): https://nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month-(SPAM)

  • NAMI offers information and resources on a variety of mental health topics, including suicide. 

 

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention

  • NIMH provides individuals with information on mental illnesses as well as suicide prevention.

 

Further Help & Learn More

To learn more about coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

For those seeking more suicide prevention resources, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, please get help right away. Call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24/7) at 988.

How to Create a Better Day

How to Create a Better Day

There are many ways that you can make the most out of your day and find happiness. By making time for simple things that you enjoy, you can help combat the stressors of daily life.

How to create a better day varies by the individual and their own personal preferences. However, there are simple ways to improve your day that many people find helpful. The following list consists of these tips to help get you started on having happier and more fulfilling days.

Wake Up a Few Minutes Early

By waking up a few minutes earlier than you need to, you are giving yourself time to fully wakeup and adjust. In addition to giving your body and mind a chance to wakeup, you also can help avoid feeling rushed in the morning. 

Make Note of the Things You Need to Do

Making note of the things you need to accomplish during the day can help you better plan and manage your schedule. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when you have many things you need to do throughout the day. By writing these needs down, you can better plan and manage your time, as well as ensure you won’t forget anything. 

 

Spread Kindness

Spreading joy and kindness to others can not only help make their day better, but also yours. Many people find that by being kind to others, they feel better about themselves as well as see the world in a more positive light.

Create a Positive Attitude

By telling yourself that today will be a great day, you will often have a better day. Creating a positive attitude can help you face the day with a better mindset, making you more productive and resistant to stress.

Take a Break

With a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time for yourself. However, it is important to allow yourself time to take breaks throughout the day to recharge. Even if only for short periods of time, take opportunities during the day to give yourself a break.

Learn More and Get Help

  • To learn more about how to create a better day, or if you are struggling to find happiness, we suggest speaking with your healthcare provider or therapist. With their help, you can create a plan tailored to your individual needs.

Celebrating Veterans Day

Celebrating Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a time to honor and pay our respects to all those who have served. The sacrifices made by members of the United States military have granted us the freedoms we have today. For many veterans, this sacrifice has caused lasting effects on their mental health. On this day, and throughout the year, we encourage our community to help support veterans and their health.

In order to best support those who served, it is important to learn and understand what they may struggle with. To help spread education, we have compiled the following list of resources on veterans’ mental health, as well as the history of Veterans Day.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Veterans Day History”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has provided an extensive history of how Veterans Day started, and how it has grown over the years. Although the meaning behind Veterans Day may seem simple, its full origin story offers a look into how truly meaningful the day is.

In addition to the history overview, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also offers many resources for veterans’ health, finances, and more on their website.

Visit their website at: https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Veteran Mental Health: Not All Wounds are Visible”

In this article by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), readers are provided a real look into the mental health issues that many veterans may face. They bring light to the fact that many veterans face wounds internally, and oftentimes in silence.

Visit their website at: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/From-the-CEO/November-2021/Veteran-Mental-Health-Not-All-Wounds-are-Visible

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Veterans and Active Duty”

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a webpage dedicated to veterans and active duty service members. They offer statistics and insights into the many mental health struggles that may be faced by those who have served, or who are currently serving.

Visit their website at: https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Veterans-Active-Duty

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line offers 24/7, confidential crisis assistance for veterans and their loved ones. To those struggling, visit the following link or call the number below.

Visit their website at: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 988, and press 1

Improving Your Sleep

Sleep is essential to the health of the mind and body. Many individuals struggle to get enough quality sleep due to a variety of factors. Luckily, you can start improving your sleep by implementing a few simple tips into your routine. 

The following consists of tips to help you start improving your sleep.

Know How Much Sleep You Need

Knowing how much sleep your body needs is a great place to start when looking to improve your sleep. Although individuals’ specific needs vary slightly, the CDC has established guidelines for how many hours of sleep people should be getting each night. 

Guidelines by the CDC, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Sleep Research Society recommend:

  • Teens (ages 13-18) get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 19-60) get 7 or more hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 61-64) get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 65 or older) get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to getting enough sleep each night. It can be much easier to fall asleep and wake up when you stick to a consistent schedule. Try your best to also follow this schedule, or close to it, on weekends to help your body stick to its routine.

Avoid Large Meals, Caffeine, and Alcohol Before Bed

Eating a large meal before bed can make it hard to fall asleep as your body is trying to digest what you just consumed. While most people know not to drink caffeine right before bed, it is important to realize that even caffeine consumed hours earlier can still cause sleep troubles. Many people have an alcoholic drink before bed, as it can induce drowsiness. However, alcohol often decreases the quality of peoples’ sleep. For these reasons, it is best to avoid eating large meals and drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

Take Time to Relax

Taking time to relax can help you fall asleep faster and also sleep better. Before trying to sleep, take some time to put aside any stressors and allow yourself to relax. Writing a list of things you need to do or want to remember the next day can help you set stress aside for the night. After doing that, make time for a relaxing activity that you enjoy.

Enhance Your Sleeping Environment

There are many ways that you can improve your bedroom or sleeping environment. A few ways that you can do this include keeping your room dark, having comfortable bedding, and keeping the temperature cool. By creating a comfortable place to sleep in, you will likely have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.

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National Native American Heritage Month

National Native American Heritage Month

National Native American Heritage Month is recognized each November. Its purpose is to celebrate the diverse and rich cultures, traditions, history, and societal contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). 

Although Indigenous peoples make up a significant portion of the United States population, much of their histories and cultures have been put aside.

As we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, we encourage you to learn more about the Indigenous peoples of the United States. To help you learn more about the history of American Indians and Alaska Natives, we have provided the following list of informative resources.

U.S. Department of Interior, “Indian Affairs”

The U.S. Department of Interior’s webpage dedicated to American Indians and Alaska Natives provides various information on education, justice, economic development, and policies. They offer resources to help Native Americans find careers, pay for school, and much more.

In addition to the knowledge and resources offered, they allow for a more personal experience by letting individuals track their ancestry.

Visit their website at: https://www.bia.gov/

U.S. Census Bureau, “Facts for Features: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”

The United States Census Bureau provides statistics on a variety of topics, including many pertaining to Native Americans. These statistics offer a look into population, education inequality, tribe distribution, and more. 

Visit their website at: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2021/aian-month.html

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian offers individuals to see real pieces of Native history in Washington, DC and New York, NY. In addition, their website provides education through text and pictures for viewers at home. On their website, resources are also listed for those in need of help finding education, a career, and more.

Visit their website at: https://americanindian.si.edu/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers many informative articles and resources for those struggling with their mental health. They offer specific resources for Indigenous peoples, as well as education on the history and culture of Natives. Their “general resource” list is comprehensive, and offers a bit of everything relating to Native American heritage.

Visit their website at: https://www.samhsa.gov/tribal-ttac/resources

Types of Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

Despite some common misconceptions, the various types of eating disorders are about more than “just food.” Eating disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause serious emotional and physical symptoms. These complex mental health conditions can take over one’s life and cause harmful health complications. Luckily, with treatment many individuals can find relief from symptoms.

Members of our team at NW Mind-Body Wellness have specialized training in the treatment of eating disorders. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or fear you might be, we encourage you to fill out one of ourcontact forms to set up an appointment.

The following consists of information on different types of eating disorders, including common symptoms.

Anorexia Nervosa

Individuals with anorexia avoid, severely restrict, or only eat small amounts of food. Those with anorexia are often underweight, but may still seem themselves as overweight. If left untreated, anorexia may cause very dangerous health complications due to low nutrition intake.

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Extremely restricted eating
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Relentless pursuit to lose weight
  • Distorted body image

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa causes individuals to engage in a recurrent cycle of binge eating and then may attempt to force themselves to vomit, abuse laxatives, or excessively exercise to “compensate” for the excess calories. This disorder can begin to control many aspects of one’s life, as well as cause serious health effects.

Symptoms bulimia nervosa include:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • Feeling a lack of control
  • Preoccupation with one’s own body shape and weight
  • Using laxatives after eating when they’re not needed
  • Forced vomiting in fear of gaining weight
  • Excessive exercise to prevent weight gain

Binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States according to NEDA. Individuals with this condition experience recurrent episodes in which they feel a loss of control over their eating. Unlike with bulimia nervosa, those with BED do not purge or try to compensate in other ways for the calories consumed. As a result of the condition, many individuals with binge-eating disorder are overweight.

Symptoms binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating large amounts of food within a specific time period (i.e. 1 hour)
  • Feeling a lack of control during binge episodes
  • Eating when full
  • Feeling ashamed, guilty, or distressed about eating
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment or judgement

Treatment

Treatment for the most common types of eating disorders has been proven to be effective for many. There are various ways to treat eating disorders, but treatment plans commonly include a combination of:

  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medication

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National First Responders Day

National First Responders Day

National First Responders Day is recognized annually and aims to honor the bravery of those who put their health and lives on the line daily for others. First responders include law enforcement officials, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and more. All of these individuals sacrifice a piece of themselves in an effort to help others in our country. 

Many first responders face daily stressors that can negatively impact their mental health. In a journal article by Jeff Thompson and Jacqueline M. Drew, a strong link between mental health disorders and first responders was found. Their studies showed first responders experience significantly higher rates than the general population of anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),  alcohol and substance abuse, sleep disorders, and suicide.

Being a first responder might not only put one’s physical safety at risk, but their mental health as well. Due to this, it is important that as a community we provide resources and support to those at risk.

In the following we have outlined ways that first responders can take care of their mental health, as well as resources for those who might be struggling.

Practice Self Care

Many first responders often neglect to take care of themselves, as they likely put the needs of others before their own. However, it is important to realize that self care is not a selfish act. By taking care of yourself, you will in turn be able to take better care of those who you are serving. 

Self care can include a variety of things such as exercise, taking time for your hobbies, getting enough sleep, and more. Make time to learn about various self care practices and try to incorporate them into your routine.

Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down

Taking time to slow down and give your mind a chance to rest can help you give yourself a “reset” in the midst of your responsibilities. Learn to recognize that it is okay to rest, and that it is important to both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Remind Yourself of Your Purpose

While facing stressors, you might experience some moments that are more challenging than others. In these times it can be helpful to remind yourself of why you chose the career you are in. Reminding yourself of your purpose and desire to serve can help you overcome some of the stressors you might face. 

Crisis Lifeline

If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988

National Suicide Prevention Week

Learn More

To learn more about taking care of your mental health, we recommend contacting your health care provider. 

To read more about National First Responders Day and first responder health in general, the following resources are suggested:

NAMI “Frontline Wellness”: https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Frontline-Professionals

NAMI “Every First Responder Deserves Solace”: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/March-2022/Every-First-Responder-Deserves-Solace

NAMI “As a First Responder, Your Health and Well-Being Are Key”: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Frontline-Wellness/2020/As-a-First-Responder-Your-Health-and-Well-Being-Are-Key

Practicing Self Care

Practicing Self care

By practicing self care, you can help better your overall health. Your physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, and both can be improved through self care. Even small actions of taking care of yourself can have a big impact on your wellbeing. 

There are many ways to practice self care. It is important to find what strategies work best for you and your needs.

Get Enough Sleep

Make getting enough sleep a priority. The CDC recommends that adults aged 18 to 60 get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. By sticking to a sleeping schedule, many find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Try to keep up with your sleep schedule even during your off days. 

Exercise

By incorporating physical activity into your routine, you can improve your physical and mental health. Try to find forms of activity that you enjoy so that you will have an easier time finding the motivation to exercise. It is important to note that every bit of exercise counts, and even in small amounts it can be very beneficial. 

 

Meditation

Meditation can help clear one’s mind and create a sense of balance. There are various methods of meditation, many of which may take some practice before their true benefit can be realized. Like all self-care, it is important to note that everyone has their own preference on what type of meditation they find most beneficial. 

Discover a New Hobby

Many individuals find having a hobby to be a great way to destress and focus on what they enjoy. Some may find it hard to find a hobby that they like. For those looking to find a new hobby, consider trying local classes or doing a simple Google search of hobbies that may align with your interests.

Make time for Relaxation

It is important to make time in your day to unwind and relax. By relaxing, you can give your mind and body time to rest. There are things that you might find relaxing, including reading, taking a bath, listening to music, and more. However you like to relax, it is important to make time for it to help you recharge and let your mind find peace.

Connect With Others

Connecting with friends and/or family can serve as a form of self care. When dealing with the stressors of life, some may find themselves feeling distant from others. Reach out to those you love for connection and support.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you are experiencing severe symptoms that last for more than two weeks, it is suggested that you seek further professional help. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Inability to perform daily activities or keep up with responsibilities
  • Difficulties concentrating 
  • Loss of interest in things or activities you typically find enjoyable
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
  • Appetite changes resulting in unwanted weight loss or gain

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Mental Health in Oregon

Many struggle with their mental health in Oregon, as well as the rest of the country and world. Due to the prevalence of mental illness, it is important to spread awareness and education throughout the community.

Many mental health conditions were heightened by COVID-19 and how the world has changed due to it. With an increased number of individuals experiencing mental illnesses, now more than ever we must provide education and hope to those who are struggling.

The following information aims to help you understand the prevalence of mental health struggles in Oregon, as well as local resources.

Mental Health in Oregon  by the Numbers

For those struggling with a mental illness, you are not alone. It is important to understand the prevalence of mental health conditions, and the suicidal thoughts that might follow.

The following statistics on mental illness have been found by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for Oregon and the United States as a whole.

(Statistics published in 2021)

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year
  • 731,000 adults in Oregon have a mental health condition
  • 42% of adults in Oregon reported symptoms of anxiety or depression (February 2021)
  • 55,000 Oregonians age 12–17 have depression
  • 844 lives were lost to suicide in the last year in Oregon
  • 1,576,668 people in Oregon live in a community that does not have enough mental health professionals

Mental Health Resources in Oregon

Although the commonly fastest and most effective way to get mental health care is to see a healthcare provider through your insurance, not everyone has access to this resource. Oregon offers various resources for mental health that are open to all residents.

The following resources are provided by the Oregon State Government.

Crisis Lifeline

If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988

National Suicide Prevention Week

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES