How to End Mental Illness Stigma- Awareness and Education

Who would have thought that an actor from the Sopranos TV series, Joey Pantoliano “Joey Pants” would be a leader in the area of mental health education and awareness and one of the most significant figures that I’m aware of in the crusade to de-stigmatize all forms of mental illness. Well through his documentary, “No Kidding, Me Too” he has started the NKM2 movement that has also involved a remarkable group of individuals from all walks of life as well as other celebrities.

 

The NKM2 web site is very impressive as well as the actual documentary.  There are some segments that you can view for free on Youtube.  It’s an entertaining and fascinating look at a range of individuals, some mental health professionals, who have experienced mental health issues of some form.  It’s about hope, confidence and the knowledge that it’s all something that can be dealt with.  Also, the documentary, as well as the whole, NKM2 organization provides information and direction on new research and resources.  And by the way, Joey Pantoliano himself reveals his own struggle with a mood disorder and ADHD.

It’s a great movement and as Joey Pants says “Infotainment!”

Photo credit: No Kidding, Me Too .ORG

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The Best Canadian Vacation Destinations to DeStress and Push Some Limits (More to come)

There are so many places in the world that are great destinations for finding space, relaxation and, if you want, excitement and adventure.  When someone takes a journey either near or far and finds a space for themselves and come back with great memories of the experience, it is time very well spent – especially if you were able actively relax, enjoy your time or even feel that you’ve achieved something new and interesting .  Here’s 2 of my initial entries in this category.

  1. Newfoundland – Virtually all of the Province of Newfound, Canada is a place of peace , tranquility and adventure.  The province has a great online site.  There is a city on the East Coast, Corner Brook as well as the Capital on the East Coast of the province.  One of my favourite spots is just outside the City of St. John’s called Cape Spear.  This beautiful Cape is a majestic piece of the land that is actually the most Eastern part of North America.  The amazing experience is going there for a sunrise (I have) so you can be the actual first person in North America to see the sun on that day. 
  2. Osheaga – On literally another note anthem, Osheaga is the annual summer Alternative Music Festival held over three days in Montreal, Canada.  I include this because it’s opportunity to simply get lost and involved in a musical, cultural and social phenomenon.  The catch is that you are doing it with about 100, 000 other people.  Sure, you’re not standing on shore with no one around for miles – just the opposite.  But there is something I it if Alternative Music is your thing – there’s actually a wide range of music in this genre.  The people are nice, there is an air of freedom and fun.  There’s even a kind of “Burning Man (Nevada Desert), feel to the place.  

I’d be interested in hearing about your getaways and experiences.

photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Dept. of Tourism

The Best Way to Deal with Stress and Anxiety: Some Important Parts of Your Approach

The important part of the title is “your approach”.  Just like your own finger print, your stress is unique and the approach to deal with stress and anxiety is as individual as you.

  1. Thinking is an important aspect of any approach to daily stress or anxiety.  The style of our thought patterns often plays a role in how we deal with challenges such as stressors or symptoms of anxiety.  One of the Best approaches is seen in the Centre for Positive Psychology that is directed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania.

2. Physical Activity remains an important part of any approach to the management of daily stress and symptoms of anxiety.  There is quite a lot of research to support the benefits of regular exercise for mental and physical health.  Especially exercise that you enjoy.  I previously reviewed an article posted by the American Psychological Association.

 

Your Approach to Taking Care of Yourself is as Unique as your Fingerprint

 

3. Getting Help   . Help can come in the form of a good book that you find to have the information that you need , such as Kabot-Zinn’s Full Catastrophie Living or a therapist who is trained in the area in which you need help.  Psychologists and other mental health professionals, especially in private practices, are able to list the areas of specialty in their public listings.  You can also see what organizations and licensing bodies they are affiliated with.   If you feel that you need the assistance of a professional – it’s important to get someone suitable for you.  Most will even answer questions before you make a commitment to refer yourself.

These are some key features that I recommend considering.. I’m interested in your views.

5 Key Strategies for Stress Management that are Essential

living life to the fullist

Even though the list can be endless, I think that the following 5 components of tacking your stress are essential for any plan!

1 . ENJOY the activities that you are using to deal with your stress.

The American Heart Association has outlined the importance of actually incorporating enjoyable and pleasurable activities into your stress management plan.  Doing things that you simply don’t enjoy does not work

2. Include Physical Exercise in you Stress and Anxiety Management.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends physical exercise as part of any approach to management and control of stress, Anxiety and mood problems.  This includes everything from walking, Yoga, running and the list goes on.  Cardiovascular exercise is simply a great thing!  However, know your limits and take your time if you are new to this or not in good condition initially.

3. Deal with Stress at Work.

Work stress, whether it’s issues with other people or just the type or amount of work you do is absolute crucial to get under some control.  Work stress is the source of pressure and angst for many and can be a bad and detrimental addition to an already stressed life. The American Psychological Association has a division called the Psychologically Healthy Workplace and has a lot of great resources and guidelines for both employees and companies.

4. Learn Assertiveness and Self Respect  

This link to the Mayo Clinic has a great article on the relationship of Assertive to improved stress management and communication.  It’s all about feeling better about you.

5. Avoid the overuse of substances or artificial way to Reduce Stress .

Using substances like alcohol, drugs or ingestion of food and drinks such as cola or coffee can become an ineffective way – as well as problematic- to deal with stress.  Simply put – It’s important to watch this aspect of your life and not make your “go to’s” a problem area for you.  A relaxing coffee, tea, meal or other things like this can be a great part of your day.  The National Library of Medicine has an interesting article on stress and vulnerability to addiction that is linked here.

Please add your comments and tips .  This is just part of a plan for stress and anxiety management that can be effective.

Fitness and #Exercise – Still one of the Best Medicines

An entry published in recent years by the American Psychological Association is entitled “The exercise effect”.  Kristen Weir outlines the often standard belief in the mental health world that exercise is not only good for mental and physical well being but that it should be part of the treatment for psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.  There is evidence that a person can feel the positive effects of exercise within “minutes”.  Numerous people have stories about their own routines of walking or running that contribute to positive mood and stress reduction.

 

However there are many who don’t really enjoy exercise and certainly don’t want to step foot in a gym.  That’s their style and personal preference – like anything else.  So then the challenge becomes – What does work for you if you want to get your body in a fitness routine or work toward conditioning and overall fitness.  It’s important for each person to find their own niche.  Not everyone wants to ride a bike, not everyone enjoys a walk or run in the park.

 

What we do know is that exercise in many forms has advantages when done properly  – in line with a person’s age, condition and background.  So perhaps the task is to determine what is right for you.

Mindfulness The perfect Example of Your Own way to manage stress

Mindfulness, first made really popular by John Kabot-Zinn (sp) the author of “Full Catastrophe Living”, wanted people to be able to be present in their own experience of stress, joy, excitement and just simply the human experience.  We now have a wide variety of “Mindful” approaches to stress anxiety and life management.  Ultimately it’s the experience of living a moment in the fullest and hopefully feeling positive, aware and good.

We can all be our own experts on developing an approach that is unique and effective for each of us.  The other day I was caught in a moment where I watched some spring chickadees at my bird feeder as I pulled into my driveway.  A few minutes passed as I watched them fly to and from the protection of a nearby bush.  I really didn’t think about it as mindfulness at the time but I was not thinking about anything else for those few minutes except the two small creatures and the beauty of the scene (cue the music).  Anyway, that a mindful experience.

 

I’d be interested to hear about the experiences of others.IMG_0367

live-Stress : Manage Stress and Anxiety

The live-Stress program is a program and approach to the management of Stress and Anxiety for better mental health.  This site is administered by D.Perry who is the author of the live-Stress Relaxation CD.  The program will be available on this site.  Also Dean Perry is available on Amazon and iTunes if you search for his relaxation and Positive Memory Building Exercise.

The live-Stress program is mainly a progressive muscle relaxation program that is guided by the author with a relaxing and positive cues and background music.  There is a track on the CD that is called a “positive memory building exercise”.  The exercise is a type of mindfulness session that asks you to recall some positive, stress free and maybe relaxing events or scenes in your life in order to build your own coping and body/mind calming event that you can draw on at any time.  People have found the cd and overall approach to be helpful and effective.

A link to buy the CD is also going to be posted here.  In the meantime you can ask to purchase the CD for $20 US (shipping included) by cantacting dapperry@gmail.com.

 

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Breaking News -The #CNN Effect “Too much of the news?”

With our current world situations being accessible through or phone, laptop, desktop, tablet and television, we are surrounded by news and information 24/7 …. if we choose.  There is certainly a need for most of us to be informed on events – especially those that have a direct impact on our lives.  However, there is a risk of over exposure to a media that has always a way of making us feel that there is “breaking news” that we simply cannot miss.  Sure, there is such great value in journalists who make it their job to have information that is timely and accurate – that what stations like CNN or FOX do best and they do it very well.  However, sometimes it can be a daunting overflow of information that can lead to some anxiety and stress – especially to those who are prone to worrying about world events.  It might be useful to simply turn the news feed “off” sometimes.  It’s also nice to see some of these aforementioned channels offering travel, lifestyle and health shows – maybe they are truly trying to be responsible with their media.

What do you think?DSCN0067

Spring brings Hope and Some New Strategies

With Spring in the air, it’s a time when most people have had enough of winter and are ready for some new – mainly spring and summer.  The restrictions of the winter months are starting to loosen up.  It’s a time when one can perhaps start to be more active and maybe a bit adventurous with some outings and new challenges.  If walking or running is your thing, it might be helpful to add a mindfulness aspect to it by actually looking around and experiencing the world around you.  This also helps to bring the focus outward rather than inward.  Ironically it “is all about you” but your focus can actually be on the singing of the birds or the rising or setting sun.DSCN1903