WHAT TO TALK ABOUT IN THERAPY
There is no agenda on what you should or shouldn’t disclose in therapy. Therapy is a safe space for you to share your thoughts and go down the journey of self-exploration. Here is a list of some possible topics to discuss during your therapy sessions:
⁃talk about how it feels to be in a therapy session
⁃ask about the process of therapy
⁃discuss anything that seems to be bothering you or causing a conflict
⁃how to open up to others
⁃past therapy experience
⁃why you are in therapy
⁃need for a referral
⁃ask the therapist what you can talk about
⁃there is no “correct” topic to talk about in therapy
Noticeable patterns in your behaviors or thoughts:
⁃read from your journal or notes
⁃how you are feeling in the present
⁃family, friends, partners, work, etc.
⁃good and bad relationships
⁃current or past relationships
⁃talk about your past
⁃life changes and transitions
What you have been avoiding:
⁃thoughts you pushed to the back burner
-How you currently deal with your feelings and emotions outside of therapy
-Goals for therapy
-Income and monetary situations
-Positive situations in your life
-Values, morals, things you care deeply for/about
Therapy can allow you to learn about your past, accept your present, and prepare for your future. Utilize the opportunity in front of you to talk about anything on your mind and you may be surprised by how much you learn throughout the process.
There are many symptoms that may indicate you are having a panic attack. Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to:
3. shortness of breath or hyperventilating
6. ringing in your ears
7. chest pain
8. tingling in your extremities
A panic attack occurs when your body goes into the flight or fight mode. When this happens, your body tries to take in more oxygen. This causes you to breathe quicker, release adrenaline, which in turn causes your heart to beat faster and your muscles tense up. A panic attack can be caused by many factors, such as stress, physical exercise, anxiety, excessive caffeine intake, or a sudden change in your environment. However, these are not the only causes of panic attacks.
Anxiety, stress, and panic attacks can often be connected to one another. It is important to note that panic attacks are a sign of anxiety, not stress. However, stress can cause anxiety. Therefore, the three are all connected in a circle where they affect each other.
There are a variety of ways in which someone can cope with panic attacks. Below are 5 suggestions:
1. Psychotherapy, more specifically cognitive behavioral therapy
3. Reminding yourself that while it is uncomfortable, it is temporary and will pass. The panic attack can be scary but is not life threatening.
4. Focus your energy on something outside your body. For example, count back from 100, sing the lyrics to your favorite song, or feel the grass in your fingers.
5. Engage in mediation and deep breathing to calm your body.
You should consult with a doctor when the panic attacks are negatively affecting your ability to function. It would be time to see a doctor if you cannot go to work, if you cannot leave your house, or if you cannot perform your daily functions without extreme panic and fear.
HOW DO PETS SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH?
As society continues to evolve and as lives change, more people are experiencing mental health crises. Amid the pandemic, remote working, loss of loved ones, and increased cost of living, the life we once knew is gone and in the past. Therefore, the question many of us may ask ourselves is, “what can we do to make it better?” A very simple answer would be adding the love of an animal to your home. Animals have a superhuman way of making life better. Below, you will find 5 of the ways in which animals can enrich your life and strengthen your mental health:
1. Pets can reduce a sense of loneliness. The companionship of having someone to sit next to and talk to can increase feelings of happiness, calmness, and overall positive thinking.
2. Having a pet has been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Specifically, owning a pet can also increase your serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine levels, which can be connected to both anxious and depressive feelings.
3. Pets give you a reason to be active. This can be demonstrated by walking your dog, playing with your cat, or chasing after your bunny. Pets need activity and can bring those active actions out of us at the same time.
4. Science suggests pet ownership can reduce blood pressure and lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. When one is physically healthy, they will feel better mentally too!
5. Pets help you to be more present in the moment. They are unable to focus on the past or worry about the future. All an animal can focus on is what is happening at that moment in time. This can teach you to be more mindful and live in the here and now.