outdoor

Outdoor Therapy?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Depression, Happiness, Health, Mindfulness, Stress | No Comments

Have you ever heard of therapy that is conducted in the great outdoors? We have a beautiful practice here in the Biltmore, but sometimes the temperatures here in Arizona are so scorching we are happy to be inside where it is cool.

However, there has been more and more practices and counselors who are taking their craft outdoors. There have been many studies on the affects of how getting outside and being outdoors can positively impact our lives. The mere fact of just being outdoors have shown to decrease stress levels, soothe mental illness, and increase physical activity. A lot of time spent in the outdoors is spent connecting with others, so the social interaction can be a positive thing in an individuals life as well.

There is a certain sense of calm when we are outside, especially when we are in a space that is green, clean, and quiet. This type of environment can really give us a platform to reconnect with ourselves, be in the moment, and appreciate what is around us that we often forget about when we are running through our busy lives.

There are therapy programs and groups that are held in outdoor environments, like camping in the woods, hiking groups, and even one on one counseling sessions done in a park. The results have shown that these types of activities can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can be increasingly inflammatory and damaging to our health and our minds. Lowering cortisol can help improve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and anxiety. Often people feel healthier, and stronger after they’ve done something outside. So it’s no wonder taking the calming feeling of just being outdoors, coupled with am individual counseling session or in a group can be successful.

There is an article over at American Psychological Association about how psychologists are using wilderness as a therapeutic tool. Check out that article here. There is also a wonderful article written by Frederick Reimers on Outside Online that explores the topic. We would love to know what you think?

Would you sign up for a therapy session done outside?

Does being outdoors make you happier?

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

#psychlopedia – Sleep Deprivation

By | #psychlopedia, Biltmore, Blog, Health, Mental Health, Sleep Deprivation, Stress | No Comments

Happy Monday! Or depending on how you slept last night, perhaps it is a not so happy Monday. If you aren’t the type of person who keeps the same sleep schedule through out your weekend, or you suffer from sleep problems, Monday mornings can be rough. If you are chronically suffering from lack of sleep, you might be experiencing affects of Sleep Deprivation.

Sleep Deprivation:

-is the condition of not getting or having enough sleep. This can be a long term condition, or a short term condition. It is something that affects your emotional, physical, and cognitive processes. And the longer it occurs, the worse the symptoms and affects have on your body and brain.

-it can also cause weight gain, or weight loss. It can lead to mind cloudiness, clumsiness, inability to concentrate and excessive sleepiness.

 

So if you’re reaching for that extra cup of coffee this Monday morning, ask yourself if your sleeping habits are healthy? What could you be doing to improve them, and thus improving your overall health?

Exercise and Depression

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Depression, Happiness, Health, Mental Health, Stress | No Comments

We have been talking about the positive impacts of eating healthy, physical activity, exercise, and sleep patterns lately. It seems like everywhere you turn, you see something promoting the plethora of benefits of exercising for mental health. Here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling, our staff outside of work engages in many different kinds of activities to help our emotions and moods. We have Clinicians who do Zumba, some do circuit training and Crossfit, others do yoga and pilates. No matter what activity we try to do, we know the immense benefits it can have on us as individuals and as coworkers.

Depression specifically has been linked to possible heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. And adding just 30 minutes of exercise into your day can help combat these health risks. It can lower blood pressure, boost your mood, create community and much more. Don’t worry if you have never exercised before, start with a walk around your neighborhood or a bike ride to your local coffee shop. Physical activity doesn’t have to take place in a gym to get the full benefits to lift your mood and help depression. The most important thing is to get your body moving, and do what makes YOU happy. When we engage in activities that make us happier, we are more likely to continue to do them and create a healthy pattern in putting our mental and physical health first!

Word cloud with different adjectives that describe what happens when we're sleep deprived

What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Health, Mental Health, Sleep Deprivation, Stress | No Comments

Sleep deprivation. We’ve all been there. During the week it seems like we are a zombie, slowly going through the motions until the weekend where we hope to catch up on sleep. It seems like in our society today, we are constantly on the go and don’t put sleep as a priority in our lives. Or simply cannot put it as a priority. We might have insomnia, or sleep apnea, or just plain lack of time to get the necessary amount of sleep in.

Sleep is a biological necessity. We need sleep to repair tissues, strengthen muscles, and synthesize hormones. There are a vast array of studies that differ in exactly how much sleep we need to function at our best. But most can agree on adults needing 7-9 hours of good, quality, uninterrupted sleep. So what happens when we sleep less than that, on a recurring basis?

At first the signs of sleep deprivation might not seem so extreme. We may experience fatigue, moodiness, and loss of ability to concentrate.  As if that isn’t bad enough, the more sleep we lose the worse our symptoms become. Our body temperatures decrease, and we have an increase in our appetite often causing us to choose foods that aren’t the healthiest. We might experience poor judgement, and our vision or language might start to be impaired. In the worst signs of sleep deprivation, we can experience hallucinations, severe lethargy, and be at risk for many health conditions like heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Specifically psychologically speaking, sleep can wreak havoc on our emotions. We can experience cognitive lapses, and our ability to process information is significantly slowed. We feel cloudy, and angry, and are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

If you are hoping to catch up on sleep during the weekends, studies show that it isn’t enough to combat the loss of sleep during the week. In short, you cannot just “make up” sleep that you’ve already lost. The best way we can function as humans, is to get consistent sleep every single night. We will talk about the best ways to ensure we are getting enough sleep on a later blog post, but for now, what kinds of things do you experience with lack of sleep? Not convinced? Take a look at Sherie Bourg Carters article on Psychology Today about 10 Frightening Costs of Sleep Loss.

 

Healthy Foods

10 Foods to Boost Your Mood

By | Biltmore, Blog, Health, Mental Health, Stress | No Comments

For April, we are focusing on how physical activity, the foods we eat, and how a more holistic approach to our mental health can be beneficial. People often over look the powerful impact food has on our minds as well as our over all health. Are there certain foods that boost our moods and have a positive effect on the way our mental health functions?

There are studies that show those who consume a poor diet, could be at more risk for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. How can what we eat have a play in our mental health? When we eat foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, our brain’s neurotransmitters and tissues help each other communicate more smoothly.

The foods we eat also directly affect our gut bacteria, and decrease inflammation in the body that can directly influence brain and cognition function. Certain vitamins and minerals can help boost our moods, like foods high in health Omega 3 fats. People who are low in the nutrient Zinc might find themselves more prone to depression and stress as Zinc is said to help combat the body’s response to stress.

The bottom line, choosing healthy options is an all around plus for your physical and mental wellbeing. What foods are at the top of the healthy mood inducing list? Head on over to Psychology Today and read more about Marlynn Wei’s article on Top 10 Foods for a Better mood. Those Top 10 are:

  1. Leafy Greens and Broccoli
  2. Mussels and Oysters
  3. Fish and Fish Oil
  4. Walnuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts
  5. Berries
  6. Lentils, Beans, and Chickpeas
  7. Dark Chocolate, raw cacao nibs or powder
  8. Pumpkin Seeds
  9. Fermented Foods
  10. Turmeric