Tips for Improving Self-Esteem

Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Many individuals struggle with low self-esteem. When low self-esteem becomes a long term problem, it can negatively affect one’s mental health. Self-esteem is often built from the experience’s in one’s life. However, there are many ways to improve your self-esteem. Those with high self-esteem tend to be less vulnerable to the ups and downs of life, and less commonly have anxiety or depression. Improved self-esteem can offer many benefits and help you live a more positive life.

The following list consists of five tips for improving your self-esteem.

Use Positive Affirmations

Use positive affirmations to recognize your successes as well as to believe in your ability to reach your goals. The way that we talk to and treat ourselves matters. Many people greatly benefit from using positive affirmations to help boost their self-esteem.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

People commonly think negatively about themselves. Whether it comes in the form of self-doubt, anger, or anything in-between, it can be harmful to view yourself this way. When you find yourself thinking negatively, try to challenge these thoughts. Many times, you will realize that these negative thoughts are in fact far from the truth. Try your best to replace negative or harmful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking.

Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has strengths, but not everyone realizes them. Take time to recognize your strengths and develop them. Knowing what your strengths are can boost your self-esteem and help you combat feelings of doubt.

Set Limits and Learn to Say “No”

Sometimes in the pursuit to please others, we over burden ourselves. Recognize your limits, and own wants and needs. It is okay to say “no” to others in order to protect your own mental health. 

Build Positive Relationships

Our self-esteem is often influenced by those around us. If you are surrounded by negative people, it can be hard to view yourself in a positive way. Focus on developing healthy relationships that build you up, rather than bring you down.

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Pride Month: Pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ RIghts Movement

To start this pride month, we would like to recognize pioneers of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Without the work of these incredible activists, the movement would not be where it is today. By recognizing the activists who paved the way, we can both honor them and learn from them. Together we can continue working towards creating a world that is safe and welcome to all.

Marsha P. Johnson

Johnson, who was a transgender African-American woman, was on the forefront of the rebellion at Stonewall. She is known for her incredible perseverance as she advocated for her rights and those of the LGBTQIA+ community. She often put her own safety in jeopardy to spread her message. Her legacy will forever live on and inspire others.

Frank Kameny

Kameny is know for being one of the earliest gay rights activists. He was fired from his job with the U.S. government because of his sexuality, and began protesting this inequality. He also hlped in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to no longer view homosexuality as mental disorder in 1973.

Keith Haring

Many recognize Haring’s name due to his renowned art career. His art, however, held significant meaning behind it. Much of his art was aimed at spreading awareness about AIDs and drug use. For these reasons, he is regarded as an important figure in LGBTQIA+ history.

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker

McConnell and Baker were one of the first couples to push for their right to marry. Although their story began far before, their advocacy helped lead to the 2015 decision by the Supreme Court ruling that is was constitutional for same-sex couples to marry.

Audre Lorde

Lorde described herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Her writings focused on civil rights and the complex relationship between race and sexual orientation. The messages she shared still resonate for many today, as they have helped create an understanding of the human experience. 

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This list only provides a small fraction of those who have helped promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. The movement is where it is today thanks to hundreds of thousands of individuals. 

Check back throughout this June to learn more about the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement, as well as about current leaders, resources, and more.

 

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes extreme mood swings. Those with bipolar disorder will experience episodes of mania and depression. The disorder’s symptoms can affect one’s mood, energy levels, and ability to think clearly.

Mood swing episodes typically occur rarely, but can occur multiple times in a year. In between episodes, some individuals may not experience any symptoms.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three types of bipolar disorder, each with their own defining characteristics. 

  • Bipolar I Disorder: defined by severe manic episodes lasting at least seven days, as well as depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks
  • Bipolar II Disorder: defined by pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes, but not manic episodes as severe as with Bipolar I
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: defined by periods of depressive and hypomanic symptoms lasting for at least two years, however, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode

SYMPTOMS

People having a manic episode may:

  • Feel jumpy or wired
  • Be distractible 
  • Have decreased need for sleep
  • Talk fast or more than usual
  • Have heightened self-confidence
  • Think they can do many things at once
  • Engage in risky activities
  • Feel “up” or related
  • Feel irritable
  • Experience a loss of appetite

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel slowed down
  • Feel sad or hopeless
  • Have trouble sleeping or be sleeping too much\
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Be forgetful
  • Talk slowly
  • Have little or no interest in activities that are normally enjoyable
  • Feel empty

Treatment

Treatment can often provide individuals relief from symptoms. Plans may vary but commonly include a combination of:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder for many. This type of therapy aims to help individuals identify and change negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Medication
    • Some medications may help decrease the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Many people work with their health care provider to try a few medications before deciding which is best for them. 
    • The medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, second-generation antipsychotics, and antidepressants. In addition, medications used for sleep or to decrease anxiety may be prescribed.

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • To learn more about bipolar disorder, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read a further overview of bipolar disorder, the following resources are suggested:

Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects the way that one thinks, feels, and makes decisions. The disorder may cause the individual to “lose touch” with reality, which can lead to serious distress and impairment in daily life.

Schizophrenia affects less than 1% of the population, making it not nearly as common as other mental health disorders. Onset of the disorder usually occurs in one’s twenties, but may occur later or even slightly before. 

Although schizophrenia is a serious and complex illness, treatment has been proven beneficial for many.

SYmptoms

The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia vary by person, but they commonly include:

  • Delusions cause false beliefs that are not based on reality. Common delusions include feeling like oneself is being harassed or harmed by others. 
  • Hallucinations usually involve seeing or hearing something that does not exist. However, hallucinations can affect any sense. The hallucinations are typically vivid and indistinguishable from reality.
  • Disorganized thinking can often be heard through disorganized speech. One may have a hard time answering questions and communicating effectively.
  • Abnormal behavior may occur and can cause anything from “child-like” silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behavior symptoms may also include excessive movement, unusual posture, and catatonia.

Treatment

Many symptoms of schizophrenia can often be relieved or lessened through treatment. In addition, treatment can help improve one’s ability to function in day-to-day life. A health care provider can create a treatment plan suited to you and your specific needs. Treatment plans may include a combination of:

  • Medication
    • Antipsychotics are the most commonly used medications to treat schizophrenia. They can help decrease symptoms and improve functioning. With antipsychotics, and any medication, it is important to take note and tell your doctor of any side effects you may experience.
    • Antipsychotics are usually taken daily in a pill or liquid form. Some antipsychotic medications may also be given monthly through an injection.  
  • Psychosocial Treatments
    • Psychosocial treatments can help one manage symptoms and combat everyday challenges. These treatments are often in addition to medication. Specific psychosocial treatments include, but are not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills training, assertive community treatment, and family therapy.

Crisis Help

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 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Learn More

Mental Health and Romantic Relationships

The connection between mental health and romantic relationships may seem daunting. However, having a mental illness should not stop you from being able to have a happy and healthy romantic relationship. Mental illnesses are common, but still many people with mental health conditions find nurturing, supportive relationships. 

Navigating a romantic relationship while working on your mental health may bring challenges. Nonetheless, with communication and patience you can create a beautiful romantic relationship regardless of your mental health condition. It is important to recognize that your mental illness does not define you.

Starting a New Relationship

Many individuals with mental illnesses feel reluctant to start a new relationship. This is largely due to the stigma around mental health. In addition, one may feel hesitant to start a new relationship due to doubts about themselves. However, this fear can be eased with the help of treatment. 

When seeking a new relationship, it is important to first think about what you want in a partner. Find others who share your values and show them your strengths. Finding a relationship can take time, so do not get discouraged. With patience you will find the right person for you, regardless of your health history.

Talking to your Partner About Mental Health

Many people who are already in a romantic relationship find it difficult to talk to their partner about their mental health. However, as a relationship becomes long-term, it can be beneficial to share about yourself. By being open with your partner, they can better support you and your needs. 

If you are feeling afraid to open the dialogue about mental health with your partner, focus on all the qualities and parts of your personality that they love. It can be helpful to remind yourself of this. Sharing your mental health challenges also will give your partner insight into your strengths. Creating an open conversation can help your partner get to know you better and also may encourage them to share. 

Your partner may respond to learning about your mental illness with uncertainty or curiosity. If you are comfortable, invite these questions and answer them with honesty. Your partner may have been caught off guard, but their questions don’t mean that they don’t accept you.

If your partner does react to your mental illness negatively, that is okay too. It is better to know your partner’s true feelings about mental health conditions than living in secret. If they cannot accept you with your mental illness, then they are likely not the person for you. You deserve to be loved fully regardless of any illness.

Getting Help

It is important to seek professional health if you are struggling with your mental health. A mental health provider can help create a treatment plan that is right for you. They also can often provide guidance to navigating romantic relationships with a mental illness. 

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Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is recognized each May. The month aims to celebrate the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), as well as encourage education about the diversity of our community.

The term “AAPI” encompasses a vast range of ethnicities, nationalities, and identities. AAPI communities consist of over 50 ethnic groups. 7.4% of the United States identifies as AAPI, according to NAMI.

Community identity can serve as a protective factor for many. However, AAPI individuals may face additional challenges and pressure to assimilate. This is often due to the stigma around diversity. 

Our hope is that together, we can create a space that is open to learning and welcome to all.

Barriers to Mental Health Care

Approximately 15% of AAPI individuals reported experiencing a mental illness in the past year, according to a study by Emory and Henry College. For many, getting the help they need is not always easy. There are many systematic barriers that can prevent people from receiving proper health care. In addition, studies by NAMI have shown that many AAPI individuals fear the stigma and shame that might be associated with receiving mental health care. Another factor that can create a barrier for treatment is language. There is a high demand for health care providers fluent in languages other than English, but the availability of providers can not keep up. All of these factors, and many more can create difficulties for AAPI individuals seeking health care.

Resources

There is a movement towards creating safe and inclusive spaces for all in health care. Many organizations aim to bridge the gap and create equality in health. We recommend visiting the following links to learn more about Asian American Pacific Islander culture, struggles, and resources.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been recognized each May. The national movement aims to spread awareness about mental health through information, advocacy, and more.

This year’s theme is “Together for Mental Health.” Millions of individuals are faced with mental health struggles. Together we can help others get the care that they need and deserve.

Mental Health by the Numbers

Many individuals struggle with their mental health. This is important to recognize because it can help you understand that you are not alone. Regardless of the stigma, it is common to face challenges with your mental health. The following statistics by NAMI showcase the presence of mental conditions in the United States.

  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 15 U.S adults experienced both a substance use disorder and mental illness in 2020
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Causes and RIsk Factors

There are many causes and risk factors for mental health conditions. Although there is no one clear most mental illnesses, experts agree that the following may increase one’s risk factor:

  • Trauma can cause long-term changes in the way that one thinks and make them more vulnerable to many mental health conditions.
  • Genetics can increase the risk of many mental health conditions, as many tend to run in families.
  • Other medical conditions can contribute to mental illness. Many physical and mental health conditions can increase one’s risk for other illnesses.

Self Care for Mental Health

It may not be a cure all, but many individuals find that their mental health improves with self care. Self care can include a variety of things, but it is important to figure out what is best for you. Some ways you can practice self care are to:

  • Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated
  • Ensure you are getting enough sleep
  • Get active, even if in small amounts
  • Find a relaxing activity
  • Set goals
  • Focus on the positive in your life

When to Seek Help

It is important to seek professional health if your mental health struggles persist. If your symptoms last more than two weeks, we strongly recommend speaking with your health care provider. Together, you and your provider can create a plan for you to get the treatment that you need.

Crisis Help

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 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Learn More

The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

Although they may share similarities, there are significant differences between stress and anxiety. Stress is a physical and mental response to an external cause, such as work, money, and more. Anxiety is a reaction to stress, and can be experienced even if there are currently no stressors. When anxiety persists, it can cause health interferences and increase one’s risk of developing a mental health disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder or depression.

It is important to know the difference between stress and anxiety so that you can better understand what you may be feeling. The following highlights key differences and similarities between stress and anxiety.

Stress


There are many situations that may invoke feelings of stress. Many experience stress related to school, work, money, family matters, and more. A key factor of stress is that it tends to be caused by external factors. Since stress is typically a reactionary response, it often subsides when the situation is resolved.

Stress can be beneficial at times. For some, stress can work as a motivating factor to help them complete an assignment or respond quickly. 

Overtime, the weight of stress can adversely affect one’s mental and physical health. To help avoid built up stress we recommend:

  • Creating lists and prioritizing tasks
  • Setting manageable goals
  • Engaging in activities that bring you joy
  • Speaking with a healthcare provider if feelings of stress persist

Anxiety


One may experience anxiety as a reaction to stress. Generally, it is internal factors that cause anxiety. Anxiety can cause feelings of uneasiness, dread, fear, and more. It also often causes physical symptoms such as restlessness, rapid heartrate, nausea, and sweating. 

Many people may experience feelings of anxiety from time to time. However, if anxiety continues overtime, it may be a sign of a mental health disorder. For this reason, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing persistent anxiety.

In addition to speaking with a healthcare provider about specific treatment for anxiety, we recommend the following to help reduce symptoms:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Set goals
  • Take time for yourself

Learn More

There are important similarities and differences between stress and anxiety. To learn more, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider. To read more about stress and anxiety, we recommend the following resources:

NIMH “I’m So Stressed Out”: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/so-stressed-out-fact-sheet

NIMH Anxiety Disorders: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders

APA: https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/anxiety-difference

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Self Care for Mind and Body

Self Care for Your Mind and Body

By practicing self care for your mind and body, you are setting yourself up for overall wellness. There is a direct relationship between the health of one’s mind and body. By understanding the connection between physical and mental health, you can take the steps you need to achieve both.

There are many methods of practicing self care. Everyone’s needs are different so it is important to find what works for you. The following consists of ideas to help you get started on your self care journey.

Prioritize and Set Goals

Thinking about all that you need to get done can often cause stress. Take time to prioritize your to-do list and decide what can wait. For complicated tasks, you can make them feel more manageable by breaking them down into smaller parts. At the end of the day, try to reflect on the goals that you achieved. 

Practice Gratitude

Take time to think about what you are grateful for in life. You may also find it helpful to write these things down, that way you can reflect back on them. By bringing focus to the joys in life, we spend less time thinking about the negatives and often feel happier.

Get Physical

Exercise can be greatly beneficial to the health of your body and mind. Even in small amounts, exercise can improve your health. Try to make exercise enjoyable by finding a form of physical activity that you enjoy. This will help you stay motivated and consistent with your activity. 

Improve Your Nutrition and Hydrate

A balanced diet and proper hydration can help improve your overall health. With improved nutrition, you may find yourself feeling more energized and focused throughout the day.

As nutritional needs vary, we encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider to help you create a plan tailored to you.

Stay Connected with Others

Reach out to friends and family for support. Connecting with others can help you build a sense of belonging and improve your mental health.

Know Your Limits

Recognize your limits and learn to say “no” when necessary. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to shake the feeling. Remind yourself that it okay to take a step back for the sake of your own health.

Make Time For Yourself

Prioritize taking time to make yourself happy. This may be done in many ways, such as by reading a book, playing a game, or by doing anything else that might make you happy. Taking time to engage in something that you enjoy can help relieve stress and motivate you to reach your other goals.

Learn More

There is no “one way” to practice self care for your mind and body. Rather, there are many steps you can take towards improving your overall health. It is important to find what works best for you.

To learn more about self care, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

To read more about how to practice self care for your mind and body we recommend the following links:

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201812/self-care-12-ways-take-better-care-yourself

NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

NAMI “Self Care Inventory”: https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/Extranet-Education/HF15AR6SelfCare.pdf

Transgender Resources

Transgender Resources

There are many resources available for those who are transgender, but finding those resources can often be difficult. Information related to mental and physical health care is essential for all people and their diverse needs. One of the main specialties at NW Mind-Body Wellness is  transgender health. Our team takes a “whole-person” approach when it comes to health care in order to offer the best treatment. 

To set up an appointment or learn more, please fill out a contact form through the following link and we will get back to you shortly.

Contact Us: https://nwmind-bodywellness.com/contact-us/

In addition, we suggest the following resources related to transgender health and awareness.

 

National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)

The NCTE focuses on transgender equality across the United States. They offer statistics, information on human rights, and more.

Visit at: https://transequality.org/

Gender SPectrum

Gender Spectrum offers resources for transgender individuals, family members, and educators. Their goal is to help people learn and connect through gender inclusive environments.

Visit at: https://www.genderspectrum.org/

GLADD

GLADD has been a top resource for LGBTQIA+ individuals for over 30 years. They aim to spark cultural change and create a world open to love and acceptance. 

Visit at: https://www.glaad.org/

Trans Youth Equality Foundation 

The Trans Youth Equality Foundation offers education and advocacy for transgender youth and their families. In addition, they host events and have books to further teach individuals.

Visit at: http://www.transyouthequality.org/

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project provides direct help for transgender and other LGBTQIA+ individuals who are struggling. Both call and text options are available 24/7 for those in need. The Trevor Project also offers learning resources and other support. 

Visit at: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/