the difference between sympathy and empathy

People tend to talk about empathy and sympathy interchangeably. However, while similar, they actually aren’t the same thing. If this is new news to you or the differences aren’t clear to you, we’ll clear it up! It’s only human to respond to and support someone who confides in us while suffering or distressed. Sometimes it’s unclear what we should say or do to help them in that very moment. Here's the difference between sympathy and empathy.

 

Sympathy is when we feel for someone or a situation this person is going through. By feeling for someone or their situation, we’re saying we understand it. Sympathy develops with age and maturity. It also doesn’t require a sense of connection or emotional knowledge, it’s more based on mental representation. Someone’s experience could be completely foreign to you, but yet you could see their struggle.

 

Empathy is when we feel with someone - literally. We see this when a newborn baby cries in the hospital and it triggers the rest to cry. An study using MRIs showed that part of the brain connected to people feeling physical pain were activated when participants were shown photographs of physically painful experiences with hands and feet. None of these photos showed faces either. Another study has shown that physical and emotional pain actually use the same neural circuitry. Empathy is an innate capacity, however, it may not be fully developed in everyone. For example narcissists lack empathy entirely.

 

Here are some examples of things we say that seem empathetic but actually aren’t:

 

“I know exactly what you are feeling. I’ve been there, done that.”

One key rule to remember, if the first words out of your mouth begin with “I,” then you’re not being empathetic because you’re making it about you. You’re intentions may come from the right place, but it’s marginalizing the uniqueness of someone’s experience.

 

“It could always be worse.”

Even though you want to open someone’s perspective, it’s not an effective time to do so. What you’re doing is telling someone who’s in pain that what their feeling isn’t that bad. It doesn’t matter to them in the moment because pain is pain. Just listen.

 

“Try to stay positive. Maybe it was meant to be.”

Again, this may seem uplifting and a way to open someone’s perspective, but doesn’t work. People need the time to process the emotions that come with tough times. At some point, on their own, they will see that perspective. But in the moment, their pain is their present reality.

 

“Don’t you think it’s time to move on?”

There’s no way anyone can set a time limit or scheduler on someone’s pain. The person suffering is the only one who can decide when they’re ready to move on or not. This is their process. You just listen and be there along the way. It’s not wallowing or choosing to suffer, it’s a healing process.

 

If you or someone you know needs to feel empathy but isn’t getting it from their support support system, please contact Crownview Medical Group to connect with a medical professional who can provide advice and empathize.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tech-support/201511/4-things-empath-never-says-and-you-shouldnt-either

 


signs you might be addicted to exercise

Of course we all know the many health benefits of breaking a sweat and getting a good amount of exercise. However, like many things, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. So how do you know exactly how much is too much? That seems to be unclear to many people in terms of exercise because it’s very easy to not get enough. Too much exercise can actually cause more harm to our physical and mental health than good. This is the dark side to any addiction. So how do we can the signs before the damage is already done? Here are some signs that you might be addicted to exercise.  

 

  1. Exercise becomes top priority:

 

Making sure you’re moving your body and getting your blood pumping should definitely be one of your top priorities, but not your main priority. When you’re canceling your plans to get in a workout, that’s not a good sign. You should reconsider your motives for working out, because there could be other unhealthy factors that push you to hit the gym.

 

Relationships and connections in our lives are important. Whether we’re neglecting them for exercise or exercising because of them, the focus should be on working on that social aspect in your life.

 

  1. Exercising because of what you ate:

 

When you’re trying to burn more calories to compensate for something you ate, that’s an unhealthy relationship with exercise. There are other contributing factors to weight other than food. All foods can be a part of a healthy diet in moderation. If we view food equally, then there would be no compensating for particular things. The real problem is indulging excessively.

 

  1. Pushing yourself regardless of exhaustion, injury, or illness:

 

People motivate themselves and each other a little too far. “Push it, push it! Don’t give up! Don’t quit just because you’re tired!” When you’re feeling fatigued or ill, this is your body telling you to stop, it’s had enough. These are cues to stop what we’re doing to rest and recover. Otherwise, we’re pushing ourselves further into a more damaging zone. Rest is important to exercise because that’s when the body repairs and replenishes itself - so take this time!

 

If you think you or someone you love might be addicted to exercise, please contact Crownview Medical Group to speak with a medical professional who can give you advice and look into the deeper motivations that push you push yourself harder.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindful-musings/201510/3-signs-your-relationship-exercise-is-unhealthy


How yoga and mindfulness can fight addiction

We all know that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness have been clinically proven to help with conditions such as anxiety and depression, but what about addiction? Yes, in fact they do help addiction and substance dependency. How so? Here are 5 ways they help fight addiction:

 

Reduce stress and anxiety - yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be a trigger for many addicts to turn towards their substance abuse. By becoming more mindful, we’re able to better observe and be aware of stressful or challenging situations without the need for an immediate reaction. We are more aware of our emotions and how we navigate them, which lessens the pressure we put on ourselves.

 

Boost attention and awareness - These practices focus on self reflection. Being aware of ourselves can help us to better understand our patterns of behavior, including our triggers for relapse. Often times being aware is all we need to detach from the control of our substance use. We become used to recognizing uncomfortable feelings without reacting negatively because of them.

 

Lessens the cravings - Sometimes the cravings themselves are the strongest of challenges for most people. How can we say no to something we feel like we physically need? When we are mindful of our cravings as exactly that - cravings - we can lessen the control by remembering and acknowledging that we are only having urges, our bodies don’t need it. It’s like craving junk foods.

 

Better mood - Being in a negative bad mood increases our chances of relapsing. This is because when we don’t want to live in that mental space, we reach out to something in efforts to feel better. The different breathing patterns in yoga exercises help to improve our mood and regulate our emotions. Meditation and being mindful also have the same effects when we focus on our breath - taking in deep slow breaths.

 

Shifting our attitude - Being mindful and aware helps us to be nonjudgmental, especially towards the present moment. This shifts our attitude into a more positive, detached, and healing perspective. We learn to accept ourselves, others, and situations without victimizing, blaming, or criticizing ourselves. This expands our compassion for ourselves and the world we live in.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get connected with a specialized medical professional who can offer advice and assistance. Crownview Medical Group also offers in and outpatient programs focusing on addiction and recovery.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-survival/201509/5-ways-yoga-and-mindfulness-fight-addictions


Living happily through meaning

We often chase a life of happiness, but really, happiness is just an emotion felt in the here and now. And like all other emotions, happiness can fade away. When people talk about whether they feel good or bad, it’s always determined by their level of happiness. However, meaning is enduring and long lasting, that’s what we should be chasing and determining our feelings around - meaning. Living a meaningful life is better than a happy life. The chase for happiness has become a rather selfish behavior, while trying to live a life of meaning extends us outside of ourselves to connect with people and life around us.

 

We see something interesting with negative events that happen in our lives. While they decrease our happiness, they increase the meaning in life. Emotional and traumatic events can build character if we rise up with resilience, deepening our life experience. Also, if we have a purpose in life, moving towards those goals adds more meaning to our lives. Yes, that too has potential to add stress but it helps us to focus on what we’re doing in the present.

 

Of course, we need to find a balance between happiness and meaning. We can’t turn into workaholics in efforts to stay present and be proud of our achievements. That’s not the best approach to making our lives more meaningful. And yet, we can’t get so down on life when we aren’t experiencing constant happiness.

 

A great way to boost your life’s meaningfulness, is to keep a gratitude journal. Take time every day to write down what you’re thankful for in life and why. For some, starting can be difficult or maybe you write about the same things each time. If that’s the case, look at the simplest smallest things in your life. Like your breath, being thankful to have a natural automatic breath. Being thankful that your body just does it for you, you don’t have to think about it, allowing you to think and do other things with your life. Starting small can open your heart and mind to so many other things, it’ll catch on like wildfire. Then you will catch yourself not being able to stop - which is actually extremely amazing!

 

The key is to find meaning in the present. Don’t be hung up on the past or future, stay in the present. Yes, we can find meaning in lessons learned in retrospect but we shouldn’t dwell. And yes, we should have goals for the future that give us something to work towards now, but don’t live in and for the future. Appreciate all that is happening now in your life, find new things to be grateful for each day, and you’ll find yourself living such a meaningful life. And when life is great, how could you not be happy about it?

 

If you’re struggling to be happy and find meaning in your life, please contact Crownview Medical Group to connect with a specialized medical professional who will help you to live the life you were meant to live - a happy meaningful one.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-time-cure/201509/living-meaningful-life


Look at stress as a good thing

Yes, stress can wreak havoc in our lives - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Stress can cause diseases, illness, and even in some cases death. We all know we’d rather not stress than live our lives full of anxiety. But let’s take a moment to rethink the way we look at stress. There are ways that stress can be beneficial when we think about our reaction to fight or flight. Stress is what conditions us to know when haul through it or to completely ditch the situation. However, there are most responses to stress than just fight or flight.

 

There was a study asking a group of people “How much stress did you experience in the last year? Do you believe that stress is harmful to your health?” Eight years later, the researchers checked back in with the participants to see how stress impacted rates of mortality. Interestingly enough, they found that participants with high levels of stress were more likely to die, BUT ONLY if they also believed that stress was harmful to their health. Alternatively, those who experienced high levels of stress who DID NOT believe that it was harmful to their health, actually had the lowest risk of death of any group in the study.

 

So basically, if we acknowledge the existence of stress but don’t believe it has an affect on us, we are able to live with stress positively. This mindset helps us to become more resilient and actually helps us to better manage stress. For example, “Hotel room attendants who adopted the mindset that their work was exercise showed significant reduction in blood pressure, weight, BMI and hip to waist ratio.” They had the mindset to approach stress differently, taking the situation for what it is and not getting worked up over it.

 

Here’s how we too can change our mindset. First, we need to acknowledge stress when we experience it and notice how it impacts us. Second, recognize that stress is a response to something you care about. Try to connect to that positive motivation behind stress. And lastly, make use of the the energy that stress gives us, turn it to something more productive. By adopting a mindset that believes stress helps, we can lessen depression and anxiety, achieve higher levels of energy and work performance, and life satisfaction.

 

If you are struggling to cope with stress or manage your emotions, please contact Crownview Medical Group to connect with a specialized medical professional who can help you to adopt this mindset and help you live the life you are meant to be living - one of optimum potential, happiness, and productivity.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201509/the-new-science-stress-what-you-need-know

Crum, A. (2012). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response.  Dissertation, Yale University.

Crum, A.J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013).  Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 716-733.

 


how we lose our confidence

Often times we are in our way of success, happiness, and fulfillment. If we were able to recognize how we do just that, we would be able to make adjustments. And yes, we are capable of making adjustments because of our brain’s neuroplasticity. This means, by changing the way we think and behave, we’re able to change the brain’s neurons and the pathways between them. Here are some ways we hold ourselves back by killing our own confidence.

 

Always feeling guilty - Research has shown that there is only one type of guilt that is actually good, but just one. And that’s the guilt that we feel when we did that is harmful to someone else. Whether it’s betraying someone or doing something hurtful. That guilt motivates us to stop doing things that are hurtful, this helps us particularly with our relationships and self esteem. However, other types of guilt are actually counterproductive, such as: guilt about not doing enough for someone else when you’ve already done a lot, guilt about having more money or better relationships than others in your life, or guilt about being jealous of a friend who just had a baby. To move on from the guilt, realize your thoughts don’t hurt others, only your actions.

 

Feeling like a failure - Having a failure mindset can actually turn into a self fulfilling prophecy. We already view ourselves as a failure, so we’ll just end up getting in our own way. When we are trapped in this mindset, we fail to see our achievements or maybe even minimize them. What we need to do is overcome that failure mindset by realizing it is there and that we don’t have to believe it. Every new opportunity that comes our way is a fresh new start and a chance to learn from past mistakes.

 

Being a perfectionist - Being our own biggest critic is usually damaging. Nothing we ever do will be good enough for our high standards. We second guess ourselves, procrastinate, feel constantly overwhelmed, and sometimes don’t even want to try if we already doubt ourselves. Perfectionists are more prone to anxiety and depression as well as other physical conditions. We only like ourselves when we do well, and get so down on ourselves when we don’t. Perfectionist may feel like frauds and live in constant fear of being exposed. Stop thinking of what “should” have happened and give yourself more credit.

 

Living with regret - This is when we’re in a state of mind of blaming ourselves for an unfavorable outcome and wishing we made another choice. Regret, like guilt, can be helpful in life at times, but there’s also a dark side that holds us back. When we regret a choice we’ve made and replay that stress over and over again in our heads, we’re constantly releasing stress chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol. Practicing mindfulness to keep on attention on the present moment can help with this.

 

Comparing yourself negatively to others - When we compare ourselves to others, we’re making judgments on ourselves based off someone else. When people seem better off than us - money, achievements, looks, etc. - we see ourselves in a lesser light. However, sometimes we feel better about ourselves when comparing with someone else who might not have as much going on in their lives. But truly, we don’t really know what’s going on with someone else. So we’re comparing our insides with someone’s outsides.

 

People pleasing - This is when we want other people to like us. We overvalue the opinion of others as well. People pleasing is a misuse of empathy. Just because we know what others are feelings doesn’t mean it’s our responsibility to make them feel better. And the approval and acceptance of others shouldn’t determine our actions towards them. People pleasing can cause us to sacrifice who we are and take us away from pursuing our own goals. This can also backfire by leading to big disappointments and resentment when others mistreat us.

 

If you’re struggling with any of these issues that are holding you back in life, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get connected with a medical professional who will you live life at your optimum potential.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201509/the-6-mental-health-habits-kill-your-confidence


Holistic therapies that will improve your life

We all want to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. The good news is, we can all achieve that life. Sometimes when we’re not in the greatest of moods, it can be a struggle to get up and do something that will make us happier. However, happiness can’t and won’t always happen by chance, but it can happen by choice. Here are 8 simple holistic therapies to put us in a good mood and help us maintain a steadily happier lifestyle.

 

Meditation - We hear a lot about medication calming feelings of anxiety and depression (just to name a few). Not only does it calm and soothe us, but it rewires our brain functioning for better decision making and reduces symptoms. It’s free and takes several minutes sitting in a quiet environment. Doing this will simple - yet challenging when we’re in a bad mood - practice will make huge improvements for our mental and emotional wellbeing.

 

Mindfulness - This can be confusing for some people because it’s very similar to meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment. So meditation could be a way to pull us into the present moment and increase our self awareness. Mindfulness can also be achieved by doing other tasks that require us to focus our attention on one thing. It’s being able to concentrate without experiencing wandering thoughts.

 

Yoga - This practice also involves both meditation and mindfulness in combination with physical movements and stretching. We’re focused on our body with a clear mind. We practice patience, awareness, and how to gently push ourselves towards progression and growth.

 

Acupuncture - It’s based off the belief that there’s energy pathways throughout our bodies and when they are blocked or imbalanced they can lead to disease. Acupuncture is the insertion of needles at various points in the body to unblock and balance these pathways so energy can flow smoothly. Acupuncture has been proven to help aid with pain, allergies, and mental clarity.

 

Chiropractic - When our bodies are misaligned, it can affect us not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Our spine is associated with so many things, and we want to make sure we are properly aligned so we can move and work with ease.

 

Nutrition - What we put into our bodies can either fuel us or drag us down. Nutrition helps the body function properly and is meant to heal us. With the rise of food allergies and sensitivities, many people are experiencing emotional instability and anxiety due to their bodies reactions. This is also something to consider if suddenly experiencing anxiety and depression.

 

Psychotherapy - Talk to someone. Get things off your chest. We all can benefit from another perspective. Talking with someone can help us understand ourselves, make sense of things, and realize other things we wouldn’t have on our own.

 

If you’d like to improve the quality of your life - living happier, healthier, and more productively - please contact Crownview Medical Group to get connected with a specialized medical professional who can help you reach your goals and live the life you deserve to live.

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ending-addiction-good/201508/these-8-holistic-therapies-will-literally-change-your-life


Living with constipated grief

We all know someone who complains too much. There always seems to be something that’s not right happening around them or they have such strong feelings about everything and everyone around them. Or maybe we’re the complainers ourselves!

 

Excessive complaining can be associated with constipated grief. Bottled up pain and emotions from past traumas and losses that pile up inside. Often times it’s all too painful to touch or hidden, so people end up pointing out every other disturbance or unsettling thing in their lives. The pain can be so deeply packed, it’s hard to find, but it’s clogging them up.

 

Complaining can be a way to get attention or feel empathy while pushing people away. And a person is oblivious to all of it. Complainers aren’t the only ones struggling with constipated grief. It all depends on how we’re all coping with it. Some people turn to substance abuse and sink into addiction. Others may isolate themselves and feel an inability to connect with other people. Holding in all that emotion can also lead to serious depression and, in worst case scenario, suicide.

 

So how to things get so bottled up? Well here’s something to think about...When someone is going through a hard time or experienced a loss, we usually respond by saying things like “it’s ok” or “look at the bright side.” And while this is all great, we’re communicating that feeling cheerful and positive is the only acceptable way to feel. Then comes the “ok, im fine” phase, when we suck someone sucks it all in and prepares to move on through life. This is where the bottling begins. We cap it before it was completely released.

 

The best way to grieve is to do it. Let the person cry. Let them be vulnerable and weak. And let them know it’s okay for them to be that way. People always try to suck it up and toughen up. And they have no idea how counterproductive that is. Grieving takes time, lots of it. It’s different from person to person and very situational.

 

People also don’t want to feel like they’re being a burden. Or that maybe it’s been long enough and they should move on. That’s not right. The best way to move on is to heal first. Because if people move on prematurely, they will carry that grief with them for the rest of their days. As a friend we need to be supportive, empathetic, and compassionate. We also have to remember to allow ourselves to have time to grieve as well.

 

If you or a loved one struggles with constipated grief or need guidance in healthy ways to grieve, please contact Crownview Medical Group and talk with a medical professional who is trained to give you the best advice. We care about each person living life as their optimum self and getting the most of life!

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/counseling-keys/201506/releasing-constipated-grief

 


Anxiety around your kids

Coping with anxiety isn’t anything close to a walk in the park. Especially in the heat of the moment. It gets better with practice and awareness. However, when you have kids around, it’s a whole different ball game. Kids can cause a lot of stress and anxiety as well, but when you’re stressed out about other things around your kids, that’s still tough.

 

Of course, life happens right? You stress out and try your best to cope in a healthy proper manner. You would definitely want to instill these life practices in your kids in hopes to raise an amazing human being that’s an upgraded version of yourself. However, easier said than done right?

 

You can teach your children how to react and behave in stressful kid situations, but do you follow through with those lessons? Are you setting an example on how to deal with anxiety and life?

 

Although, an actual anxiety attack and anxiety disorders are much more serious. If you’re experiencing heavy anxiety, it’s best to seek support from a medical professional. Medication is not always necessary, you can learn coping methods and lifestyle changes as well.

 

Children are very susceptible to your stress levels. You don’t want your child blaming themselves for making you upset. Children tend to jump to those conclusions. You also don’t want to teach them negative responses to life challenges. You want to set a positive example when it comes to managing stress. The best thing you could do if things are getting too hot for you, is to talk it out with your kids. Tell them what’s going on, that you’re stressed, and it’s not their fault. You could say something like “I’m sorry I seem upset, I’m just a little stressed out right now. But it’s not your fault. Let’s talk about how we can improve our morning routine so we are all working together.” This way, they understand how you’re feeling and how to be resilient and learn from life. Sometimes asking them what they would do is a good way to remove yourself from a situation. It is also a good way to get an innocent response that could surprise you with enlightening cuteness.

 

You can also channel your energy through outlets with your children. For example:

  • go out for a walk
  • play outdoors
  • do something creative - paint, write, draw
  • play a game - board game, sport, video game

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with stress and anxiety, or need help managing stress around children, please contact Crownview Medical Group to speak with a medical professional who can help make life easier.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ending-addiction-good/201507/keep-your-anxiety-harming-your-kids

 


Loneliness and mental health disorders

Human contact is extremely important to our wellbeing. Our life experience depends on a lot on human interaction in some way or another. Without it, we are subjected to isolated loneliness. We’re not meant to survive on our own. We need each other, we need to be connected.

 

Feeling lonely can send us in a dark spiral. Sometimes we can get stuck in wedge of feeling lonely but not wanting to socialize at the same time. Almost like we would rather stay in our loneliness. There’s a definite correlation between loneliness and mental disorders. There’s the common notion that someone is depressed because they have a mental disorder; however, there are mental disorders that are actually caused by or exacerbated by loneliness. This does not mean all mental disorders are caused by loneliness. It can also still be a symptom in other conditions.

 

Depression and loneliness is not a surprising combination. The two are commonly seen hand in hand. However, a study has shown that loneliness is actually a better predictor than depression itself. Feelings of loneliness show up way sooner than actual symptoms of depression.

 

Social anxiety is another one. What’s interesting is that people with social anxiety are seen to have very good social skills; in fact, better than some people without social anxiety. So their chosen isolation and avoidance is not because of their inability to socialize, but rather the fear of messing things up. This creates a cycle of isolation and fear of isolation.

 

Addiction and loneliness do not go well together. If an addict was already feeling lonely before the substance abuse, it strengthens the addiction because it becomes a way to feel the connection they were lacking in the first place. This is a vicious relationship, because an addict becomes more bonded to the substance rather than a meaningful healthy connection to someone else.

 

Hoarding also has a correlation with loneliness. People feel a strong relationship to things they collect. So strong, they can’t let go. There is a sense of emptiness or loss within, which they try to fill by filling up their surroundings with things. Usually the first step to moving past hoarding behaviors is to look at those empty feelings and loneliness.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of loneliness and/or symptoms of a mental disorder, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for some helpful advice. We are trained to provide individualized treatment and therapy for mental health and wellbeing.

 

Sources:

http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/cacioppo/pa2010cht.pdf

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-art-closeness/201507/4-mental-health-disorders-may-thrive-loneliness


Becoming more resilient

Resilience is always very interesting. The same thing can happen to a group of people and some will be able to bounce back while others have a more difficult time. Some individuals seem to be born more resilient than others, although it’s not a confirmed fact whether our level of resilience is determined by nature or nurture. However, it can be learned.

 

There’s a certain way of thinking that comes with survival. It’s been compared to thinking strategies used by city planners. They’re able to make decisions for the sake of survival and improvement based on past history, ultimately trying to prevent challenges. Basically, the people or places are exposed to adverse situations or intense challenges, they learn how it affects us which teaches us how to handle it. For example, 911 heightened our airport security or how areas subjected to hurricanes teach preparation.

 

It’s almost like the more often we experience adversity, the more we’re able to handle it as well as act preventively rather than responsively. This is also a trait common in those who seem more resilient - they’re more preventative than responsive, they learn. Learning how to cope with adversity is a good thing and it comes with experience.
When we’re more resilient and can cope with adversity, it helps us manage stress. When some of us can’t seem to bounce back from something, it really weighs us down. The stress becomes stronger, which is very unhealthy and damaging to our wellbeing.

 

Our spiritual and cultural backgrounds can also influence resilience. Believing in something that helps us to make sense of adversity can detach us from situations and give us that healthy distance to learn without being dragged down.

 

Here are some suggestions from Diana Raab Ph.D. to become more resilient:

  • Being flexible and realizing that change is a part of life
  • Making realistic plans
  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Keeping channels of communication open with yourself and others
  • Reminding yourself of strategies that have helped you cope in the past
  • Being mindful of methods of self-discovery
  • Engaging in journaling to record your feelings
  • Finding a way to manage stress and impulses
  • Making important connections
  • Being decisive
  • Using creative-visualization techniques

 

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome a hard time, please reach out and contact Crownview Medical Group to get some advice from a trained medical professional. We care about each and every person living life as to their fullest potential and getting the optimum life experience.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201507/how-become-more-resilient

 


Our future outlook and depression

Depression is pretty demanding. It leaks into every part of our lives, affecting our thoughts, opinions, behaviors, and feelings. So when we look into the future and it seems quite dim, it’s most likely caused by our depressed state of being. However, a new study turns this around. In fact, it looks into people feeling depressed and uninspired by their lives/future. So, rather than our future seeming depressive because of our state of mind, they’re saying we’re depressed from looking into the future. In other words, the way we see our future-self affects our mental health today! Wow!

 

This is how it works: if we are able to see possibility in our future, we naturally aim towards that aspiration and find paths in our lives that will get us there. This is creates a type of magnetic propelling movement. For those of us who struggle to see possibility in our futures, there’s a sense of lack or hopelessness in important dimensions of our lives. For example, a career, a relationship, a purpose, or an achievement. That explains why someone would feel stagnant and stuck in rut. If you’re already depressed, this will make you feel more weighed down. This also can make someone depressed if they weren't already. However, just by seeing possibilities in our future, we’re able to get ourselves out of that depressive rut as well!

 

So a pessimistic outlook on life isn’t always a symptom of depression, but our outlook can also be a cause of depression.

 

Researchers have also found that three particular outlooks on the future can cause depression (which makes sense):

 

  • Poor generation of possible futures
  • Poor evaluation of possible future
  • Negative beliefs about the future

 

Prospection as a cause of depression is something that should be looked at more. If we can influence prospection, we can lighten depression and help people move towards a brighter future full of limitless possibilities!

 

If you or a loved one struggles with depression or a negative outlook on life, please reach out for some advice. Contact Crownview Medical Group and get in touch with a medical professional who can help you live your life at its optimum potential.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-resilience/201507/why-your-view-the-future-can-make-you-depressed

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjc.12087/abstract


Personality challenges and how they affect us and others

The fact that we are all so unique with such complex combinations of personalities make us incredibly fascinating. We are all pieced together by an idiosyncratic fusion of strengths and weaknesses. But are they really weaknesses? Or are they just personality traits that can make life more challenging depending on the situation? Because sometimes, traits can be positive in one way and more challenging in others.

 

Basic human qualities are the way in which we relate to ourselves, others, and the world around us. And maybe some of our traits become exaggerated and/or distorted, making things challenging for ourselves and others around us. These challenges can lead to other problems like addiction, dependency, or chronic pain, as well as taking affecting our mental and emotional wellbeing. We could exert degrees of insecurities, defensiveness, anger, self centeredness, impatience, etc. when our personality challenges are exaggerated.

 

Of course, this puts us in an unhappy state emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. It can also be problematic and difficult for others to handle which turn around back on us. When they react to our personality challenges in a negative way, the situation only becomes worse for everyone.

 

So what do we do? How do we make sure our personality challenges don’t bother others as well as ourselves?

 

The solution is a rather spiritual principle of using an antidote. When we feel judgement rising within us, then switch your mindset to have more compassion for yourself and others. If you’re feeling resentment towards someone, find it in yourself to forgive them. Not just forget about what happened and move on, but let go of the emotional attachment to it. “As John Friel, PhD has described it, forgiveness is the willingness to give up all hope for a better past.” If you’re feeling prone to anger, practice acceptance. “Anger is a reaction to an upsetting occurrence or perceived mistreatment in the present. Acceptance doesn’t mean we like the situation. It means we have consciously chosen to not continue to expend time and energy fighting against it.”

 

This is how we reframe situations to consciously navigate our personality traits. To control and live with them at their best and worst. If you, or a someone you know, is struggling with personality challenges and maintaining a healthy emotional and mental well-being, or struggle with handling social situations, please reach out and contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for some advice.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/some-assembly-required/201506/do-parts-how-you-are-bother-you-or-others

 


Get more creative and walk

Don’t you hate when you hit a creative block? It feels like your brain isn’t working and you can’t seem to pull an idea out of your head. How can you come up with new innovative ideas when nothing comes to mind?

 

We already know that the mind and body are connected in many ways; this isn’t new information. But what does that have to do with generating creative thoughts and ideas? Well, there’s something about moving your body that gets your mind moving as well. By the title of this post, you already caught the hint, we’re talking about walking here.

 

This explains why Steve Jobs was known to hold walking meetings. Same goes for Mark Zuckerberg who has been spotted holding meetings on foot. There’s something progressive and productive about walking and thinking of new ideas, concepts, and solutions.

 

A study done by Stanford University researchers have proven that walking increases creative ideation by 60% - that’s awesome! Such an easy and simple addition to your day can get your mind overflowing with cleverness. The interesting thing about this study is that while it proved walking to help with divergent thinking, it also showed that it worsens focused thinking compared to sitting, “for instance, given the words "cottage, Swiss and cake," the correct answer is ‘cheese.’” It only drastically improved divergent thinking of new innovative ideas.

 

The study looked at a combination of scenarios with people performing mental tasks while walking versus sitting. To determine if productivity is due to motion in an outdoor environment, combinations of walking outdoors and sitting outdoors while being pushed in a wheelchair were also observed. The study also looked at people walking on a treadmill facing a blank white wall compared to sitting down facing a blank white wall. The mental tasks included coming up with complex analogies, “for example, for the prompt "a robbed safe," a response of "a soldier suffering from PTSD" captures the sense of loss, violation and dysfunction. "An empty wallet" does not.” They also had to think of alternative uses for a given object, “for example, a "tire" could not be used as a pinkie ring.”

 

Not saying everything you need to do needs to be in motion, it doesn’t work for all types of thinking - just divergent thinking and generating creative and innovative ideas. So when you have a creative block, take a walk outside and get those juices flowing!

 

Get more creative and walk!

 

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xlm-a0036577.pdf

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/april/walking-vs-sitting-042414.html

 

 


Life begins outside your comfort zone

We have all heard the common saying, life begins outside your comfort zone, at least once in our lives. We post and read these quotes all over social media as a motivational push, but do we really listen to it? Are we really paying attention to our comfort zones and how we are or aren’t stepping out of them? A lot of times they’re nice reminders but we’re not following through with that state of mind.

 

When we look at situations like obesity and food addiction, that person’s comfort zone is self destructive and dangerous for their health. They will never free themselves from the bondage of cravings and counterproductive self soothing if they continue to think and react the same way they have been all this time. Because what we’ve done to get us to the point we’re at and keep us there is different from what we need to do help us move forward. Binge eating and feeling depressed will never help anyone to lose weight and get healthy. There needs to be a switch in lifestyle and attitude in order to start doing things differently. Otherwise, we limit ourselves within that comfort zone and to what feels safe.

 

We need to step out of our comfort zones and allow ourselves to progress.

 

By stepping out of our comfort zones, we’re able to experience so much more than we thought. Our lives become so much larger than they were. We gain more confidence because we prove our own capabilities to ourselves. We learn so much more about ourselves and our place in the world around us. We’re empowered by the freedom and control we have over our lives, nothing can hold us back.

 

We can lose the weight, get that promotion, move to that city, fall in love, be true to ourselves, anything! We can do whatever we want as long as we take the initiative to do it! This can be easier said then done. Sometimes the best advice is the hardest to hear, the ones we don’t want to admit to. However, those are usually the reality checks we need. The only reason why they are hard for us to hear or admit to is because those very words/solutions are outside our comfort zone.

 

Ask yourself what would be the hardest advice you could hear about your situation. What would be the tough love thing someone could tell you? What you tell someone you love? Mull over those answers...do they reveal anything to you? Maybe an insecurity? Maybe a reality check? See the positive reasoning behind them and step out! If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe something like “don’t eat as much” might be something you need to reevalute. Yes that might be rude and harsh, but think about it, it’s reality.

 

If you feel like there are things deeper within you that are holding you back from stepping out of your comfort zone or understanding those reality checks, there’s nothing wrong with that. Please contact us and reach out to a medical professional for some advice at Crownview Medical Group.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-weight-ing-game/201506/how-being-knocked-out-our-comfort-zones-can-be-beneficial

 


The deep dark hole of depression

Let’s look at depression as a hole. Those of us who experience waves of depression or sink deep into it for a while, are familiar with this feeling of being in a hole. Sometimes we can be in this hole for just a brief moment before we get out, while other times we are hopelessly stuck deep down in it. We know this hole is dark, lonely, scary, and makes us feel small and useless. Clearly, we’re all aware that this is an unhealthy place to be in; especially when we’re wandering blindly in that hole.

 

All depending on the individual, for some, something big or small could trip them up; all it takes is a failed project, breakup, rejection, or some kind of loss to send them down a doomed spiral. This is dangerous for those who struggle to get themselves out. The resilient ones are able to find the light and climb out before it’s too late. Others can be stuck down there for what seems like their entire lives. No one should be living this way, everyone deserves to live in the light and out of the darkness.

 

So how do we do that? The dark hole of depression is inevitable, we’re only human. That is absolutely true. Life will always manage to knock us down, but the difference is, will we get back up again or not? It is important - and rather healthy - to acknowledge that the hole of depression is there, it’s a real thing, it exists. However, we don’t have to live in it. We can acknowledge the moments we’re in it then get out.

 

Again, so how we do that also? Well, the answer to our prayers is action! We start to do the things we would do when we’re not depressed or what we want to do. Even if we’re not in the mood for it, that will follow with action. Sometimes we wait for motivation before we take action. However, motivation and action are a tag team no matter which comes first. So if we wait for motivation before we take action, we could be opening the possibility of waiting forever. So just jump and take action! The motions of being active, focused, and productive will actually motivate you. And that motivation in itself will pull you out of the hole of depression.

 

We’re not perfect. We can’t always dodge the hole, but we won’t live in it. We will be proactive in getting ourselves back into the light and live life to the fullest!

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact a medical professional for advice and therapy. Crownview Medical Group has trained medical professionals who specialize in working together to help you live life to your optimum potential.

 

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-addiction-connection/201506/the-deep-dark-hole-depression

 


Addiction turns loved ones into strangers

It’s heartbreaking to see a loved one struggle through difficult times; especially when it’s with addiction. Addiction rewires a person’s brain functioning to the point we no longer recognize them. They will start to behave and react differently than we’re used to. It seems as if the person we knew is no longer with us anymore, that a whole new person has taken over them. Addiction turns our loved ones into strangers.

Aside from dealing with the fact they’re behavior has taken a 180 flip, we have to deal with the emotions that result from that. When family members or loved ones start steal from us, cheat us, and use us to get what they need for drugs, we experience a feeling of betrayal and disregard. How could they do that to me? How could they not even care about how their actions hurt me?

The truth of the matter is that drugs and alcohol alter parts of the brain that are also associated with empathy. So when their priorities, desires, and motivations are rewired, so is their capacity to empathize. When it seems like they don’t care about you, it’s because they actually don’t. This is the toughest struggle; living with loved ones who seem like strangers that could care less about you. We need to remember it’s not really them. The person we know and love is still in there. They’re just overshadowed by this dark control over them.

So what’s the solution for this? You need to empathize with them. The person you know is still in there, even if they seem like a total stranger. Addicts are open to treatment and sobriety when they become aware of how their loved ones feel. Even if we can’t fix them, we can influence them. If you’re able to empathize with them, you will reach their soul deep down and refocus their ability to empathize with you as their loved one whom they no longer want to hurt.

This is a lot easier said than done and takes a lot of patience and understanding. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please contact a medical professional for advice and treatment options. Even if you need advice on what to do or how to respond to a loved one struggling with addiction, please reach out. Crownview Medical Group has trained medical professionals specializing in a interventions, addiction programs, and individualized case management.

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201505/how-addiction-makes-strangers-those-we-love


Achieve more by working less

You know those moments when you’re supposed to be focused and working, but you’re just feeling so lazy, unmotivated, and/or burnt out? We’re all familiar with these spells, but believe it or not, we should actually listen to these prompts. Yes, when you’re feeling unmotivated or distracted, that’s your mind telling you to take a break. And you should! Isn’t that some good news?

 

Society has been operating on the robotic routine and belief that more hours spent working equals more productivity. However, studies are popping up disproving that myth and actually revealing that productivity increases when we work less. Even more good news!

 

Typical “less is more” situation. Basically, when we work longer hours and feel burnt out, it’s because we actually are. When we continue to trudge through the hours while burnt out, we’re actually spending more time doing something we could do quicker if our brains were alert and focused. When we are charged and ready, we are capable of zipping through our work. As we start to slump down, that’s when we need to take a break and do something fun or relaxing to take our minds off our to-do lists and recharge. This helps us to recharge and refocus, which will give us the boost we need to increase productivity.

 

Here are some tips to recharge and refocus aka slacking off strategically:

  • Give yourself recesses! Adults need mental breaks too. Don’t bore yourself focusing on one thing all day.
  • Reawaken your mind by taking a break to listen to music, read a book, watch a short video.
  • Go for a walk outside, get in nature. Let the sun stimulate your senses.
  • Eat something! Doesn’t snacking make everyone happy? If you need more than a snack, then of course refuel with a meal. So what if you ate lunch twice!
  • Socialize. Spend some time with other people. Get a good laugh, learn something, bond, get closer to someone. Just interact! It’s good for you.
  • Daydream. Studies show that zoning out is the precursor to boosted focus.

 

These are just some suggestions. As long as you’re taking breaks, do whatever it is you want to do. Keyword: want. Not need. That’s your time for you. Whatever you’re in the mood for, allow yourself to do it.

 

Of course don’t overdo it and waste your time. There’s a difference between a break and just absolute slacking off. We’re not just not-working. Remember this is “strategic slacking off.” You’re doing to recharge for improved performance, quality over quantity. Achieve more by working less!

 

Be your best you and work at your fullest potential. Don’t burn yourself out by the hours.

 

If you're struggling to cope with work, stress, and feel like you have a lot on your plate, contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group who can talk you through it. Stress has a big influence on physical and mental wellness.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/raising-happiness/201505/8-ways-achieve-more-working-less

 


Struggling to overcome childhood trauma

Childhood trauma isn’t an easy thing to live with nor move on from. Some people may come out very resilient, while many struggle to heal deep rooted pain. Often times, childhood trauma isn’t recognized until later in life, which might make it harder for some to deal with. There’s also the chance of someone being unaware that they may be suffering from childhood trauma because they consider it “normal.” It’s often difficult for a person to realize the source of their pain.

 

A study looking at hundreds of adolescents over time has revealed that “80% of individuals who had been abused as children met the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21.” There’s also a correlation between a troubled childhood and substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol become a vice to numb the pain, burry issues, or even feel something. Research found that two-thirds of patients in substance abuse treatments have histories of childhood abuse - physically, emotionally, or sexually.

 

So why is it difficult to overcome childhood trauma?

  • Sometimes it takes time to realize the source - some people don’t even realize their childhood was traumatic until later in life when they are exposed to healthier families, start raising their own children, or observe their own reactions. They spend most of their years thinking it’s normal.
  • Other issues might overshadow trauma - for example, looking at an alcoholic, we see someone who struggles with substance abuse. However, the true problem is they are masking a deeper trauma from their childhood.
  • Biologically damaged - trauma at a young age has the potential to alter brain structure. This makes children prone to developing issues such as anxiety and depression.
  • Don’t want to remember it - sometimes remembering the details of the past is too much for people to do. They would rather suppress it and ignore it rather than deal with it.
  • No closure - unfortunately, it could be hard to get closure when the person responsible for the trauma doesn’t accept responsibility of the pain.
  • Answers from other rather than self - some people find the answers to their issues through other people rather than healing from within. These people also tend to be approval-seekers.
  • Closed off - often, the pain is so deep, they just close off to feeling anything. To them, not caring and being numb is better than feeling the pain.
  • Voices inside their head - sadly, when a child grows up feeling unworthy or has any other negative feelings, they grow up believing it. They criticize themselves and never feel good enough, struggling with self esteem issues.

 

If you or someone you know struggles with childhood trauma, please seek advice from a medical professional. Contact a doctor at Crownview Medical Group who can further assist you live your life to it’s fullest potential and heal from deep within.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201505/8-reasons-its-so-hard-overcome-tough-childhood

 


Can fitspo be unhealthy?

With the uprise of social media dominating our free time, we see the growth in popular “fitspiration” also known as “fitspo.” Accounts of fitness and diet gurus with hundreds of thousands of followers - even millions in some cases - flood the cyberverse with images of their fit bods and workout routines. These are claimed to motivational, encouraging people to get off their couches and burn some fat. This sounds like a good thing right? And maybe it is? At least the intentions are good.

 

However, this seemingly positive motivation can actually do more harm than good. Not to say it’s bad for everyone, it probably gets some people out to the gym. However, it trails an unhealthy effect.

 

“There is no research that confirms fitspo’s role in helping people maintain a healthy, sustainable level of physical activity.” In fact, many people start to feel self conscious and make comparisons that just make them feel worse about themselves. It’s a reminder of “what you should be” versus “what you’re not.” It’s defining health goals as having zero percent body fat rather than maintaining healthy internal functioning.

 

Those who get sucked into fitspo feel insecure, self criticize, and struggle with feeling good enough. Clearly, these accounts of fitness gurus or a gallery of fit people are very popular for a reason. People like looking at them, regardless if it’s out of attraction or “motivation.” For those who struggle with self hate, looking at these images can become an addictive behavior that sends them in a downward spiral of dissatisfaction.

 

They repeatedly see what they want to be and what they’re not, plummeting their self esteem. So why do they keep doing it? Well, for motivation. They want to be motivated, but their stuck in a daydream of what they aren’t. This is the same for those who actually do get motivated from these pictures. Their results are slow and maybe they just have a different body frame that won’t give them the look they want. That can be discouraging as well. Then there are those who feel like they will never be good enough or measure up to those standards no matter how much weight they lose.

 

It’s interesting how fitspo can either result in exercise addiction or make someone depressed. Both unhealthy outcomes that stem from something intended to be positively motivating.

 

If you’re suffering from addiction or struggle with self esteem, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group. We are located in San Diego, California. We specialize in addiction and therapy.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-truth-about-exercise-addiction/201505/is-fitspiration-bad-you

 


self pity

Mental strength and the dangers of self pity

mental strength
Feeling sorry for yourself is one of the quickest ways to weaken your mental strength. Mentally strong people don’t sulk in self pity. In fact, you won’t hear them saying “Why did it have to happen to me?” or “It’s just unfair.” When we give into self pity, we’re giving up on ourselves, “I can’t deal with this.”

Feeling sorry for yourself opens a portal that sends you down a rabbit hole of no hope. This negative influence only makes the world seem gloomier and puts us in a suffering position. This is no fun at all. So then why do we do it? Maybe because it’s easier to just give up, blame the situation around us, and have a lonely pity party. However, some people invite others into their pity party. Of course this is unhealthy for yourself and your relationships.

Follow this list of things mentally strong people don’t do, by author Amy Morin:

  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself - create a gratitude journal or perform kind acts of service. Focusing your attention outside yourself will help take your mind off the reasons why you feel sorry for yourself.
  • Don’t give away your power - don’t be easily offended by criticism or spend a lot of time complaining about other people. The solution to this is to forgive people and let go of a grudge.
  • Don’t shy away from change - if you’re justifying a bad habit or have anxiety of making a bad decision? Then manage negative thoughts and weigh the pros and cons about making a change.
  • Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control - do you hope other people would change? Are you told you’re a control freak? Focus on influencing people rather than changing them and identify their strengths.
  • Don’t worry about pleasing everyone - are you a pushover or worry of how other people feel? Identify and live according to your personal values and take time deciding when to say yes or no.
  • Don’t fear taking calculated risks - struggle to make important decisions in your life or spend time daydreaming of things you’d like to do but don’t? Balance emotion with logic and remember you can’t do anything extraordinary without taking calculated risks.
  • Don’t dwell on the past - struggle with major regrets or feel the best times of your life are behind you? Make peace with your past and reflect on your past so you can learn from it.
  • Don’t make the same mistakes over and over - do you get mad at yourself because you can’t get rid of bad habits? Do you find yourself stuck in the same place when you can’t reach your goal? Create a written plan and practice self discipline.
  • Don’t resent other people’s success - do you compare your wealth or status with other people? Do you feel like you deserve more recognition than you actually get? Focus on your strengths and celebrate other people's accomplishments.
  • Don’t give up after your first failure - do you make excuses when you fail? Do you only participate in things you know you’re going to excel? Focus on sharpening your skills and use failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Don’t fear alone time - are you uncomfortable with silence? Do you think spending time with yourself is boring? Schedule a date with yourself and practice meditation.
  • Don’t think the world owes them anything - do you feel like you were born to be successful? Do you feel like you're an expert at everything? Behave like a team player and focus on giving rather than taking.
  • Don’t expect immediate results - do you have trouble sticking to your goals? Do you want everything done now? Remember that progress isn’t always obvious and pace yourself for the long haul.

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Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201505/mentally-strong-people-don-t-feel-sorry-themselves


A look into internet addiction

The internet is a great resource for learning, breaking physical barriers, and connecting with others from anywhere. There’s no doubt that technology is the way of the future. Our personal mobile devices even provide internet wherever we go because it’s become such a daily necessity and luxury we can’t live without. Yes, the existence of the internet has made our lives more convenient, but do we take it too far? Do we depend on it more than we should be? Has it become a compulsive behavior to always go online? Are we addicted to the internet? Possibly! It’s an actual thing! In 2014, the DSM handbook of psychological disorders included internet addiction as a potential disorder needing further investigation.

There are people who can’t seem to control their internet use. They resemble physiological, neurological and behavioural signs of addiction. In 2014, the DSM (the psychologist’s handbook that details all the known psychological disorders) was updated, which proposed Internet addiction as a potential disorder that required further investigation.

So what are users addicted to, the internet itself or what their activity on the internet? We can see additions to online pornograpy, gambling, social networking, and video gaming. This would be considered an addiction to the online activity; however, limitless web surfing can be addictive within itself with blogs, Youtube, and researching our every question.

There are several studies looking into internet addictions and its effect on the brain. Studies show there’s a no link between the actual excessive use of the internet with reduced brain volume. However, those who displayed symptoms of addiction and an inability to control their internet use actually had less brain matter volume in the right frontal pole - an area of the brain associated with poor decision-making, addictive behavior, and willpower. Some people can actually be prewired to be have internet addictions.

Having instant access and responses are very pleasurable and unlike reality. This satisfaction could also be addicting. A lot of this internet and social media hook has a lot to do with the technology age we live in today, it’s become a way of life. Always reaching for our devices and jumping online, there’s a connection to our inability to be alone with our own thoughts and self entertainment. It’s become a process of constant interaction, whether it’s used positively or negatively, some of us depend on it. This in itself is addicting to some.

If you or someone you know might be struggling with addiction of any kind, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get some advice from a trained medical professional who can talk you through it. Addiction can hold us back from being our optimum self.

Source:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-change/201504/is-surfing-the-internet-addictive


Thrill seeking and addictions

Whatever we’re addicted to, it sends us surging on a high into euphoria. Of course this thrill spike makes us feel good, which is why we get hooked. It’s that feeling we crave. But why do we crave it? Is it because we aren’t getting these spikes from our everyday lives without it? Is that the only we experience these types of highs? Or do we just prefer these types of highs because it doesn’t measure up to the everyday high?

This isn’t far from true. We could be genetically prewired not to be stimulated by everyday pleasures which lead us to seek the thrill outside ourselves. There’s a dopamine receptor known as D2 receptor. When the d2 receptor population isn’t normal, we see problems with areas like attention, motor control, motivation, and addiction.

D2 receptors are developed while we’re in still in the womb. However, the DRD2 gene which is responsible for growing these receptors has a variant (allele A1) that cause a reduction in the number of D2 receptors. Allele A1 gets passed down to offspring who usually end up struggling with addiction. This explains how addiction seems to run in families. Of course, our life experiences and our ability to cope still have an influence addictive behaviors and our life choices.

Those with fewer D2 receptors tend to be less excited about achieving goals in life or being able to find the thrill in everyday life. Their reward system doesn’t give them much of a buzz. These people fill that void with hyper-exciting rewards or highs from drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.. They feel unenthused with life and the addictions is a way to engage with life. So in other words, addiction is more of a side effect to having fewer D2 receptors.

If this resonates with you and you relate to it or know someone who might relate to it, please reach out to a medical professional. If you are in the southern california area, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for advice on healthy approaches to finding the thrills in life.

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201308/when-the-thrill-is-gone-reward-deficiency-syndrome


Addiction as an hourglass

Dr. Marc Lewis has shared interesting insight about the lives of addicts resembling a general hourglass shape. How so? Well to start off, each addict starts off with their own unique background. Each person has their own blend of families, hometowns, childhood upbringing, education, personalities, etc.. This wide range of life elements that contribute to someone’s life experience would be represented in the hourglass’s wide upper half. This is what determines everyone’s individuality and unique lives.

When addiction begins to take hold of a person, their life begins to narrow. All addicts share this in common, whether it’s alcohol, cocaine, or even food or pornography. The dynamics that broadened their lives start fading out and life narrows in on their addiction. The anxieties, depression, and lack of excitement in their lives are now sugar coated by their addiction. However, that sour coating will eventually lead to more anxieties and struggles. Now everything seems to revolve around their addiction. This becomes life.

Once they start to feel fed up with that life and how it makes them feel, realizing they’ve become a slave to their addiction, the glass begins to widen again. This is symbolized by the wide lower half of the glass. Their life experience starts to open up, including more varying factors. Addicts are no longer focused one thing, they’re allowing themselves to experience and be influenced by so much more. This is recovery; they’re restoring the dynamics in their lives, reviving their uniqueness, and discovering creativity.

This experience is something most addicts can relate to. However, there are those who never reach the widened bottom of the glass. This is difficult for loved ones to witness and experience. It’s hoped for all addicts to reach that widened lower half, but if you or a loved one is struggling within the narrow middle of the glass, please consider reaching out for help from a medical professional. Some people need a little help getting there.

If you’re located in the southern California region, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for advice and treatment. Crownview Medical Group specializes in Individual Case Management and Addiction treatments.

Source:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201210/the-hourglass-shape-addiction


Cravings Explained

Sometimes cravings can be so strong! It’s not always easy to resist. In fact, some people seem to be so strong in controlling their cravings while others struggle and eventually give in. Why is that? Why do we crave in the first place? Some people have said the root of cravings are feelings of incompleteness. In other words, needing to fill a void. Others have said it is triggered by psychological or emotional pain, craving something to make you feel better.

Well listen, both are true. Giving into cravings deliver a satisfying “fill” which may relieve pain and bring happiness and completeness. The truth is, we’ve been doing this since day one as infants. As babies, we cry and crave for our mothers and her breast milk. We know we need something outside ourselves to feel whole, satisfied, comforted, and secure. So when we give into cravings at eat foods, drink alcohol, take drugs, we are reminded of these comforting “whole” feelings. As humans, we live with frequent desire.

Here’s a look at the science behind cravings. Our brains have an area of the brain that is responsible for all our motor plans, waiting and competing for us to act upon them. This is normal and helps to maintain psychological flexibility. So here comes dopamine. Dopamine suppresses our weaker plans and augments the strongest of plans in this part of the brain. What it’s doing is narrowing the competition and zooming in on one plan. Now our brain went from all sorts of potential actions to only one goal. Now our motivation is focused on that one thing only!

We can’t forget about cues. Cues have a way of triggering more dopamine which strengthens that narrowing process. And this is why we might get an extreme immediate craving for cookies upon smelling the fresh baked aroma. We also have internal cues as well; our memories can also trigger more dopamine.

Of course, the cravings get stronger as keep pumping out dopamine by giving into each craving. Our brain is literally being programmed to crave more and intensify the urgency. As we chase cravings, they continue to chase us, and now we’re trapped running in circles. So the more we give in, we are building the promise of relief.

It’s hard to resist cravings, and only gets harder the more we give in. Being aware of how cravings work helps us to understand what’s going on and lessens the spell it casts upon us.

Of course, our bodies physically can become dependent and addicted to substances which also trigger cravings. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for advice and treatment.

Source:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201202/the-science-craving