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Mental Health

THIRA Health / Mental Health

Daylight Savings Brings Shorter Days – Here’s How To Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, it’s easy to get tired of the darkness and colder weather. It’s entirely possible that your mood can be affected too - afterall, we all rely on sunlight and Vitamin D to maintain high levels of energy and positivity. For people who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder getting through the colder months can be especially difficult. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that relates to changes in seasons. Its onset happens in the fall or early winter, and ends around springtime, with possible symptoms including fatigue, moodiness and disorganized sleeping patterns. Those people who are prone to depression are especially at risk for SAD. As such, the team...

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15 Apps to Start Your Self-Help Journey

In light of Mental Health Awareness month, the team at THIRA would like to provide you with all possible resources to help cope with mental health challenges. Such resources can come in many forms, such as individual therapy sessions, support groups, and even health and wellness programs. However, we understand that in-person therapy (and therapy as a whole) may not be an option for everyone. In today’s digital world finding resources and answers for mental health challenges has become easier - as has to take that first step towards getting help. In light of this, we would like to recommend a few apps to help you get started on your self-help journey, improve your daily routines and practice DBT-based mindfulness skills in the comfort of your...

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Empty Nest Syndrome

It’s that time of the year: high school students making their college decisions, moving out and starting their independent lives away from home. Many parents may start to experience the Empty Nest Syndrome - that feeling of sadness and loss when their children grow and up and “leave the nest.” Despite the name, Empty Nest Syndrome is not a diagnosis and does not require clinical treatment. It is simply a name that characterizes what so many parents experience at this point in their lives. Empty Nest syndrome may occur in both males and females, although it’s most common among full-time parents, parents who have difficulty dealing with separation and change, parents who are also dealing with a change or their own, and finally, those who...

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Understanding Hunger: Decoding Important Messages from your Body

By Emily Fitch, Resident Dietician    Food is among the greatest, simplest pleasures of being human. Every piece of food we digest offers our bodies something different, and personally understanding our relationship to food is the first step in building health and mental well-being. For example, upon tasting something naturally delicious—like an apple—the human tongue sends immediate sensory reward signals to the brain, and within 15 minutes the apple’s carbohydrates are converted to blood glucose that gives our body a burst of energy and endorphins. Apples are rich in a variety of phytonutrients (plant chemicals), and studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Food is a fundamental fuel for our personal and collective mind,...

How to Spot a Fad Diet — A Few Red Flags to Watch For

The characteristics of a fad diet are built around the intense, contagious enthusiasm for a niche weight-loss strategy, and the general promise of a faster and easier pathway to results. These crazes seem to emerge without scientific credibility or precedent, and are most often accompanied by the toned abdomen of a popular, fast-talking swami. Unfortunately and predictably, the individuals who are most easily victimized by the false pretenses of a fad diet are those concerned with so dramatically altering their physical appearance that they resemble another person—and to make matters worse, they want a shortcut for doing so. The language of dieting diversions is meant to exacerbate these feelings of insecurity and inaction, and to prey upon the confusion felt by an unsupported individual in need...

Healthy Brain Checklist: Different Ways to Feed Your Mind

Despite the fact that the hardest working part of the body is the brain, one is far more likely to hear commentary about nourishing only the visible parts of the body. Informed with new research, it’s clear that what we put into our guts—personally and collectively—has more influence on our brainpower and social wellness than previously thought possible. And while it’s admittedly harder to observe the gains of a well-fed brain than it is to appreciate the physical earmarks of time spent in the gym, nutrition is the key to getting the most from our work, our work-outs, and our brains in general. Here are four simple habits for building your brain up each day, and a friendly reminder that you’re a mental and physical by-product...

How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Blends Acceptance and Change

By Dr. Kathryn Korslund Although most therapists are aware of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in some way, shape, or form, few non-practitioners understand what, exactly, is implied by the approach’s “dialectics.” Generally speaking, the notion of a “dialectical” process suggests compromising, blending together, or creating something entirely new; transforming black and white into grey, so to speak. In the context of DBT, however, dialectics involves a push for coexistence, an effort to hold two ostensibly opposing forces next to each other without compromising either’s integrity while searching for synthesis; weaving a black-and-white plaid, so to speak. In fact, the practice of DBT itself emerged from Dr. Marsha Linehan’s attempts to reconcile acceptance- and change-based therapies without losing the effective elements of either. Change vs. Acceptance Change based treatments have...

Maintaining A Balanced Fitness Program in 2018

By Dr. Mehri Moore, M.D. We’d like to take a brief moment to discuss the at-times aggressive, counter-productive resolutions that so often accompany the New Year (“new year, new me”) which can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Instead of feeling pressure to hit the gym, we here at THIRA Health encourage you to focus on holistic self-care in your quest to get healthy ––and considering that 80 percent of Americans with a gym membership don’t use it––the importance of a balanced and sustainable approach to fitness becomes more clear. Here are some simple ideas for promoting a new year of personal wellness: Benefits of Outdoor Exercise Fresh air has been shown to improve blood pressure, heart rate, and strengthen the immune and digestive systems. A balanced exercise routine...

Challenging the “New Year, New You” Message

By Dr. Mehri Moore, M.D. Around this time of year, it’s nearly impossible to escape messaging relating to revitalization or renewal. Gyms are offering discounted memberships, talk show hosts are discussing how to craft the perfect set of New Year’s resolutions, and media outlets of every stripe are running “Best of 20__” or “Year in Review” segments — and telling you what to look forward to in the coming year — on a nightly basis. It’s hardly a mystery why people get swept up in this “new year, new you” thinking, but it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider whether this approach to a fresh calendrical cycle is the right one. Celebrations of Renewal across Cultures This way of thinking is neither new nor, in a broad...

4 Ways to Handle Transition-Related Stress

By Dr. Mehri Moore, M.D. “The only thing constant is change,” the adage goes. And yet, this ubiquity notwithstanding, dealing with the unpredictability of life is one of the more difficult challenges people encounter. The fact of the matter is, change is hard. The personal and emotional vacancies carved out by shifts in one’s relationships — to one’s work, to one’s loved ones, to oneself — can be remarkably unsettling, as changes both positive and negative often fundamentally redefine an individual’s identity. Whether a change is planned (taking a new job, moving to a new city, getting married, having children), unplanned (being broken up with, getting fired, losing a loved one), or, in a sense, inevitable (watching children go off to college, retiring, becoming more physically feeble...