Jul 25th

Minnesota’s Crisis Connection

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

Two separate headlines in the Star Tribune within 3 days of each other pointed out the mental health crisis here in Minnesota. It echoes the larger issue of the mental illness crisis currently in our country. Two separate headlines in the Star Tribune within 3 days of each other pointed out the mental health crisis here in Minnesota. It echoes the larger issue of the mental illness crisis currently in our country.

The July 10th issue of the Star Tribune had an article:  “Minnesota mental health crisis hot line closing Friday.” The July 14th  edition of the paper reversed the news. “Crisis Connection hotline rescued, at least temporarily.”

Why is this news important and why should we care? You will and should, if you or anyone you know has ever struggled with mental illness, this is very disturbing. Mental illness can include those brief moments where it seems that there is no solution except despair and hopelessness. A human voice can mean the difference between despair and hope.

Crisis Connection provided that human element for almost 50 years. The phone lines were manned by trained volunteers who answered the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They provided immediate short-term counseling, referrals to clinics and helped callers develop a plan to get them to a better physical and emotional place of safety. There were approximately 20,000 calls handled annually. (Minnesota mental health crisis hot line closing Friday, Star Tribune, Chris Serres, July 10,2017)

It is a single mental health line that covered the entire state of Minnesota. Each county is obligated to provide mental health crisis lines but access can be confusing to someone in crisis. The Crisis Connection phone number is a constant after-hours resource listed on clinic and therapist’s answering machines as well as website crisis resources.

The issue was and continues to be funding. Canvas Health who offers other critical services in Minnesota including a range of adult programs, services to children and families, housing, transportation, chemical health and other psychological services was being drained by the financial output for Crisis Connection. The calls were too many and the funding sources were too little.

The temporary safety net is coming from a federal grant for suicide prevention. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH will provide $139,000 which will keep Crisis Connection operating through September. (Crisis Connection hotline rescued, at least temporarily, Matt Sepic, July 14, 2017) An announcement on the Canvas Health website on July 14 said that other funds had been secured which will allow Canvas Health to remain open through the spring of 2018 (www.canvashealth.org). The crisis of Crisis Connection is now averted—for now.

Crisis Connection will now continue operating. Our collective attention would be well served to be aware of the mental health situation in Minnesota. I think of the possibility of knowing even one of those 20,000 callers.

“We are incredibly grateful to MDH and its leadership, as well as other funders, for recognizing the importance of this critical public service to the people of Minnesota,” said Matt Eastwood, Canvas Health CEO. “Because of their willingness to step forward to help keep these crisis lines open, lives will be saved.”

Please keep remembering the importance of this public service resource.

• 24-hour Crisis Connection (612) 379-6363
www.canvashealth.org

Jul 11th

Purposeful Parenting

By Jennifer Tagg, MA, LMFT

Calli Institute Blog-Mom exercising with baby in stroller“Beware the Sleep Deprived Mom” A friend gave me a mug with this inscription on it after the birth of my first child. Foreshadowing?? Yes. The other day as I was feeling particularly ornery and not bringing my best self to the table, my children suggested I should be drinking out of this mug. Touche.

I share this vignette as I write this blog in the hopes of coming from a place of authenticity and vulnerability–vulnerability, not defined as weakness, but as a place of courage which transforms our relationships (Daring Greatly, 2012). Perhaps this also becomes an excellent approach toward parenting: coming from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. As parents, we are connected on some level by the truth that the endeavor of raising children is humbling, exhausting, and utterly . . . joyful. And we are likely seeking not only survival of this process but also the experience of creating someone/ something meaningful all the same. I think that as parents, we can create greater value in our experience and in our children’s experiences by approaching our interactions with intention and mindfulness. This awareness transcends beyond our engagements with our children and also encompasses our sense of self. These strike me as fundamental starting points to approach the idea of purposeful parenting.

Let’s talk about the value of self care in the role of purposeful parenting. My “intention” is to start with this as a building block around how we parent (and so it doesn’t get skipped toward the end). Now, for anyone challenging this notion with the idea that you don’t have time for self care, consider the following:

Self care creates a ripple effect of positive energy. As we take care of ourselves, we create, renew, and restore our own energy reserves. As a result we have more to give to our children, families, and relationships. Think of the analogy of the instructions given by the flight attendant to first place your oxygen mask on before assisting those around you. Same rules apply here.

Self care allows us to model healthy practices for our children. Self care shows our children how we work to regulate our emotions. We validate how easy it is to become overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, etc. and that we are capable of managing our behaviors and feelings. In addition, we give our children tools and show them how to use those tools responsibly. One of the best gifts we can give our children is the awareness that we are not perfect. We don’t set them up to think they need to be perfect and we teach them how to be resilient in those learning moments.

Self care need not be limited to the self. Let me expand on this idea. I encourage the idea of self care to include those areas that bring a sense of wellness to the self. This could include things done alone, but may very well include time spent with others or time doing those things that will leave you feeling rejuvenated. In other words, self care could involve time with your children if that is what is needed to fill you up at that moment.

As you increase awareness of self, you increase the ability to be aware of what may be driving your child. This awareness lends itself to being purposeful in our parenting. Consider these ideas:

All behavior has a purpose even if it’s unknown to the individual. Being purposeful in our parenting involves our ability to be curious and consider factors that may be influencing dynamics taking place for our kids. It gives you an edge as a parent to consider the bio/ psycho/ social dynamics and engage from a mindful place. For example, looking at what may be driving a behavior (Is my child hungry, stressed, or trying to establish independence?) will impact our intervention in that moment.

The way we engage with our children has impact on the outcome of that interaction. If you want your child to feel loved and secure, you engage in a way that is nurturing. If you want your child to be responsible, you give them responsibilities to practice. The list goes on. If we consider what we want the outcome to be, we shape our own intervention in that moment. We probably wouldn’t intentionally seek an outcome that leaves our children feeling ridiculed or shamed; if we approach our interactions with an awareness of what we want to happen, we naturally move toward that desired outcome. The main idea here is that when you bring your intention and purpose to the parenting arena, you increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.

Even the best intentions won’t lead to the perfect outcome. Give yourself grace as a parent. Remember, this role is not about achieving perfection. It may be about catching ourselves in those “sleep deprived mom” moments and pausing to consider a redo on a situation that is going haywire. If we can create value and act with intention in the most trying of moments, we can know that our vulnerability will have paid off and our parenting has achieved its purpose.

Happy Parenting.

Jul 3rd

Happy Fourth of July!

By The Calli Institute

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July from The Calli Institute!

Happy Fourth of July

Jun 27th

School’s Out for the Summer!

By Tessa Gittleman, Mental Health Professional

Calli_Blog-Image_School's-Out_6.22.17

If you’re a parent, summer break is likely to stir up two oppositional feelings for you. On one hand, there’s the nostalgia of summer vacation; memories of barbecues, pool parties, summer camps, or even iconic movie scenes from Grease or Stand by Me, leave us feeling excited. We can remember what it feels like to have the final bell of the school year ring.

On the other hand, there’s the reality of summer vacation. There are never enough vacation days to spend as a family, or enough time to get all the projects done we swore we would get to this summer, or enough money to do all the things we want.

The discrepancy between how we recall summer and how we experience summer is totally normal. Yet, year after year, we are surprised when we grow more anxious than relaxed over the course of the break. Here are some helpful tips our team has put together to help any family manage the good and the bad that summer has to offer:


  1. Maintain—or create—some kind of structure.

Families are like any other system: they need structure. Plan ahead, not just with camps and trips, but also for the projects you know you need to get done. Schedule time to do self-care, spend one-on-one time with each of your children, and your partner. You will never be able to be all things to all people, so do the best you can to be exactly what you need.


  1. Give yourself, and your child, some time to adjust.

No one likes change. Especially when that change goes from something structured, such as the school year, to something dynamic. We all need gradual exposure to create and sustain a new normal. Be patient with yourself, and your children, until the new routine is simply the new normal.


  1. Work with your children.

Each child has unique interests, wants, and needs. Find ways to leverage their interests to create a plan. Have someone that loves cars? Take them to a Hastings for a Cruise-In, let them detail your car, or help them start a detailing service in your neighborhood. Have a child that loves art? Take them to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, or an art fair, or see if they want to start selling their jewelry designs on Etsy. Here are some other budget-friendly resources:

  1. Franklin Arts Center, Brainerd
  2. Spam Museum, Austin
  3. Movies and Music in the parks around the Twin Cities
  4. Check out your local library for free arts and culture events
  5. Go to Rush ticketing at your local theater for more affordable rates on the same great shows (ex: Guthrie, Children’s Theater)



Other great resources for you to explore:

  1. Family Fun Twin Cities
  2. CityPages’ Freeloader Friday
  3. ExploreMN
  4. Twin Cities Frugal Mom
  5. CBS Local Guides


  1. Have a backup plan.

Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Well, it seems to apply disproportionally to the summertime. To manage the uncertainty, before summer even starts, have your kids write down a few “rainy day” ideas, and throw them into a jar. Rotate which of your children get to pull a suggestion out of the jar, and go with the idea that gets picked.


  1. Find support!

Summer might be notorious for meltdowns, but this break doesn’t have to lead to a breakdown. Find other parents to coordinate and connect with. Ask family and friends to help with the kids so you can recharge your batteries before burning out. At the very least, find someone to talk to who can help you manage and normalize the summertime struggle.

And don’t wait too long… before you know it, the new school year will be here!

Jun 13th

Don’t Call It What It Is – Men and Depression

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

Men-and-Depression_Calli-Institute

I received my first tutorial about men and depression when I was living in the Pittsburgh area and working as a therapist. This was early 1990’s. I had a male client who had presented for “stress” and problems with colleagues and family members. He was mid 40’s and working in the banking industry. I don’t remember which session it was but I can still hear the bellowed response when I suggested to him that he might be depressed.

I’m not DEPRESSED……I am STRESSED”.

I didn’t challenge him but suggested to him that he consult his primary care doctor for something to help “relieve” his stress. A week later he proudly comes back and tells me that he has been given something for stress. What was it? An antidepressant. I started to observe the ways men talked about their moods, feelings and mental health.

Working in the Pittsburgh area meant that football and the Pittsburgh Steelers were a huge part of everyday life. When I saw an article about Terry Bradshaw and his admission that he had been treated for depression, I ran off copy after copy. If Terry Bradshaw, pro football Hall of Famer, winner of 4 Super Bowls could talk about his depression I believed that other men could also. Sometimes they can.

Two men in the field of psychology have written about the myth of male depression through their own acknowledged experience with depression: their own and that of their fathers. Terrence Real wrote I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, which came out in paperback in 1998.

Dr. Archibald D Hart, clinical psychologist and Dean Emeritus at Fuller Theological Seminary wrote Unmasking Male Depression: Recognizing the Root Cause to Many Problem Behaviors Such as Anger, Resentment, Abusiveness, Silence, Addictions and Sexual Compulsiveness which was published in 2001.

Do men get depressed? Yes they do. It doesn’t appear in many of the same ways that depression is reported or experienced by females. It is more likely to surface with complaints about sleep difficulties, loss of interest in things like work, family, or sex. Men will report fatigue, stomach pain, or headaches, difficulties with concentration and overeating or under eating. They are more likely to demonstrate irritability, rage, and volatility in relationships and work situations.

While women internalize their pain and blame themselves, men externalize their own inner pain by blaming others or by engaging in more high-risk adrenaline type behaviors including an increase in alcohol, sexual compulsivity, working out, excessive work behaviors etc. Being busy, removed or distant can be a mask that hides depression.

Men will have thoughts about suicide or suicide attempts. According to a 2015 report published by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and based on statistics taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Males are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than females
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age-white men in particular

Men are “supposed” to shoulder things and not show vulnerability. Admitting to depression is exposing your flank to the enemy or “being a wimp”. There is a tremendous amount of shame for men to talk about their inner despair. Beliefs about masculinity perpetuate the myth that men are not supposed to express vulnerability. Those myths can kill, and they do.

Depression can be beaten if men are brave enough to seek help. Being a man doesn’t have to just mean being physically strong, impervious to pain and a rock. Sometimes strength is like being a willow tree, strong enough to bend.

Resources:
NIMH www.menanddepression.nimh.nih.gov

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real

Unmasking Male Depression:Recognizing the Root Cause to Many Problem Behaviors Such as Anger,Resentment, Abusiveness,Silence,Addictions and Sexual Compulsiveness by Dr. Archibald D Hart

May 30th

Postpartum Depression

By Tessa Gittleman, Mental Health Professional

Calli-Institute-Blog-post-Mother-and-childWith Mother’s Day now behind us, and National Mental Health Awareness Month coming to an end, we thought these two nationally observed events intersected at a critical junction. Postpartum depression (also known as: PPD, postnatal depression), impacts an average of 1 in 7 women. Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Hayden Panettiere have been reducing the stigma surrounding PPD by refusing to keep their stories silenced. With increasing awareness of the issue happening in the main stream, we’d thought we’d shed some light on the most common myths we see in our office.

Common Misconceptions About Postpartum Depression

1. Women with PPD cry all the time
a. Yes, some new mothers cry a lot, but there is no “one way” to experience the symptoms of PPD. Other, lesser known symptoms include (but are not limited to): irritability, guilt/shame, lack of interest in your baby or partner, avoidance, changes to sleep or eating, trouble concentrating, severe mood swings, rumination, obsessions, and thoughts of hopelessness. In some rare cases, postpartum psychosis occurs. The psychosis is like a bout of mania, and is very serious. If you start to feel like you’re hallucinating or having delusions, paranoia, refuse to eat, can’t think clearly, or have thoughts of hurting someone, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

2. PPD occurs in the first few months after giving birth
a. The onset of PPD can occur anywhere from two weeks to a year after giving birth. If symptoms last for more than two weeks, there is a good chance you’re suffering from more than just the “Baby Blues.”

3. Women with PPD are bad moms
a. News reports and Lifetime movies like to feature the “Bad Moms.” PPD gets lumped-in with other biological, psychological, or contextual problems because it makes for an entertaining story. Yes, PPD can have a lasting impact on the individual and their relationships. However, many survivors say it actually made them a better parent. Not only did they learn to overcome and communicate, they also found strength in recognizing there was even a problem to begin with.
b. You can be a great parent without being a great infant parent. Just as others wish to fast-forward through the adolescent stage of development, some can’t wait to hear what their little bundle of joy thinks, wants, and needs. Some people enjoy the maternity leave, diaper changes, and midnight feeds. Others are bored and unhappy without their work or outside connections. Just because you don’t love every minute of the infancy stage doesn’t mean you won’t grow into your uniquely perfect parent-child relationship.

4. PPD only impacts moms
a. For dad’s, Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) is very real. According to Kim & Swain (2007), the prevalence of PPND ranges from 1.2-11.9% globally. These rates have a sharp increase (24-50%) when compounded by a partner’s PPD.
b. Any kind of disorder, even when resolved quickly, can impact our relationships with partners, parents, children, and even friends. When someone can’t get their basic needs met, it can be hard to meet the needs of others.

5. PPD will go away on its own
a. After childbirth, women experience a dramatic drop in estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid functioning. Research shows that seeking help early on facilitates recovery. Common interventions include (but are not limited to): individual therapy, group therapy, and prescription medication.

It is easy to get caught up in what we think being a new parent “should be.” Unfortunately, that can result in an isolating reality. If think you, or someone you know, might be suffering from PPD, please know you are not alone. Whether it’s a friend or family member, clergy or clinician, partner or professional, please reach out.

Kim, P., & Swain, J. E. (2007). Sad Dads: Paternal Postpartum Depression. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 4(2), 35–47.

_______________________________________________________________

Tessa Gittleman, M.A. of Marriage and Family Therapy, swore growing up that she would never, ever be a therapist. Having been a consumer of bad therapy, Tessa didn’t see the point in going to talk to anyone who inevitably held his or her own opinion, or her parent’s opinion, higher than her own. She hated the feeling of being talked down to, or of someone else’s truth being forced upon her.

Instead, she graduated from Boston University with a promising career in food media. Having held an internship with Andrew Zimmern, and working in kitchens across the Twin Cities, Tessa learned how to make food a therapeutic experience. That was, of course, until food tried to kill her. If you’ve ever seen Will Smith in the movie Hitch, you’ll understand.

Tessa was forced to take time off to complete her “Tour de Mayo,” traveling from Rochester to Scottsdale to meet with different doctors. Eventually, the medical team was able to identify a rare set of medical conditions that better explained what her therapists had mislabeled all those years ago. Once she got a handle on her health, and found out what good therapy could feel like, Tessa shifted her focus to helping others avoid the terrible experiences she had growing up.

Tessa’s professional experiences with mental health have been vast over the last five years. From group homes for severe mental illness to working with incarcerated populations, Tessa found she was most passionate about her work with adolescents. Tessa spent the 2016-2017 school year at Edison High School, where she provided individual, family, and group therapy to students of North Minneapolis.

Tessa is excited to join the team just in time for the new school year! She describes her style as: funny, transparent, and collaborative. When Tessa is not at work, you might find her cooking (the new foods she can safely consume), walking her puppy, Teddy Bear, or hanging out with her chosen family.

 

May 16th

National Women’s Health Week

By The Calli Institute

nwhw_infographic-mental-healthThe 18th Annual National Women’s Health Week is May 14-20, 2017. Beginning every year on Mother’s Day and led by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, the week brings awareness to a very important topic. It’s not uncommon for women to spend most of their time and energy taking care of the people around them, and therefore neglect or disregard their own needs. The goal of Women’s Health Week is to empower women to prioritize their own health and wellbeing and to take action for improvement.

Here are some recommended steps women can take during Women’s Health Week – or any time during the year:

 

  • Schedule a well-woman check-up or preventive screenings. Stay up-to-date on vaccinations and review your prescription or over-the-counter medication usage.
  • Understand your family health history and assess your risk for certain conditions, especially cancer.
  • Get moving with at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
  • Choose healthy food options. If overweight or obese, commit to reach and maintain a healthy weight with a doctor-approved weight loss and fitness plan.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, or texting while driving.
  • Pay attention to your mental health.

 

Mental Health Matters

Each year, one in five women experiences a mental health issue such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or eating disorder. Mental health is a critical component of overall health, and the connection between mental health and physical health cannot be emphasized enough. It’s important to get enough sleep and manage stress in healthy ways. Take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy.

Learn more about the connection between stress and your health.

Contact a mental health professional if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Calli Institute offers individual therapy services to address a vast number of mental health and wellbeing issues, many of which affect physical health.

No matter your age or your current health level, it’s never too late to take steps toward a healthier you. Take time during this year’s National Women’s Health Week to focus on yourself and prioritize your health. Contact Calli Institute today to see how we can help.

 

 

May 2nd

The Challenge of Children’s Mental Health

By Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW

Childrens_Mental_Health_Awareness_Calli_Institute_Maple_Grove_MNI grew up in an era (the 50’s and 60’s) when mental health was not discussed at all, let alone considered as something that children had. Children could have separation anxiety; nervous stomachs, concentration problems or were labeled as “sensitive”, “angry” or “different”.

Adolescence was supposed to be somewhat difficult and the behaviors we now see as potential symptoms of mood, anxiety, or thought disorders were not viewed through the lens of mental health. Behaviors were seen as problems not as symptoms of underlying issues. The pediatrician was often the only first line of mental health assessment.

Children and teens can and do experience intense emotions. It is normal to feel sad or anxious about school, family, and friendships. Body changes, hormonal changes, physiological changes can contribute to fluctuating moods. Mental health disorders are different in the persistence, duration, and intensity of the symptoms.

Research has indicated that most mental health disorders follow a developmental course and some signs can be seen before adulthood. Many adults who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, social anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder showed signs before they were 24 years old (National Institute of Mental Health).

The American Psychological Association (APA) website noted:
“An estimated 15 million of our nation’s young children can currently be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Many more are at risk of developing a disorder due to risk factors in their biology or genetics; within their families, schools and communities; and among their peers”.

Life for our children is very different than it was decades ago. The complexion of families has changed. It is not unusual for children to be dealing with the transition of parental divorce, changes in schools, and home, physical or mental changes in loved ones and economic changes.

Technology and the explosion of social media sites mean that our children might be spending more time with friends on a screen rather than in face-to-face contact. Loneliness and isolation do not make good companions. Notice if your child or loved one seems to be spending more time alone.

What should Parents or Caregivers look for?

• Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
• Self-injurious, risky behavior, getting into fights, wanting to hurt others
• Suicidal thoughts, comments about being better off dead, suicide attempts
• Showing extremes in behavior, i.e. sleeping, eating,
• Extremes in dieting, exercise, use of laxatives, extreme focus on food, calories
• Intense worries or fears that interfere with daily functioning
• Use of drugs or alcohol
• Drastic changes in behavior, personality
• ANY BEHAVIOR THAT CAUSES CONCERN

Don’t be afraid to be direct if you have concerns.
• I’m worried about you.
• How are you feeling about ___________?
• Can we talk about this or would you feel more comfortable talking to someone else?
• Can you tell me if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others?
• I have seen changes in you that worry me. (Be direct, loving and specific)
• I might not understand but I want to listen to you.

Some online resources include:
www.mentalhealth.gov
www.healthychildren.org
www.nationalinstituteofmentalhealth.org
www.bringchange2mind.org

Talk to each other, talk to your child or the child in your life.

Apr 25th

An Extraordinary Gift

By The Calli Institute

 

April is National Autism Awareness Month, a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, acceptance, and inclusion. Tens of thousands of individuals in our country face an autism diagnosis each year, and while autism itself is widespread, public awareness is not.

In celebration of the 2017 National Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to share the video below. Faith Jegede Cole is a British writer, speaker, and researcher who currently lives in Washington, D.C. She spreads awareness and understanding of the increasingly common autism diagnosis by speaking about her experiences growing up with two autistic brothers.

In this talk from the April 2012 TED Talent Search at TED London, Jegede introduces her extraordinary brothers – Remi, who is 22, does not speak, and loves unconditionally; and 16-year-old Samuel, a handsome boy with an impeccable, detailed memory. While each is very different from the other, both have been diagnosed with autism. And while the world may view her brothers as not ordinary, Jegede sees that her brothers are extraordinary. She reminds the audience that everyone has a gift, that everyone is extraordinary, and challenges us to use that potential for greatness.

 


 

For more information on National Autism Awareness Month, visit the Autism Society.

Apr 11th

Stress Awareness Month

By The Calli Institute

Stress-Awareness-MonthApril is Stress Awareness Month. We’ve all experienced stress at one time or another – it’s a natural, normal response to life’s demanding situations. What is stressful to one person may not bother another in the least, and stress can manifest itself in many ways. Stress impacts individuals differently. Effects of stress vary in intensity and can be physical, physiological, or psychological.

Stress can cause of a number of issues, including the following:

 

  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Health problems, frequent or chronic illnesses, high blood pressure, or headaches
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Irritability, anger, or mood swings
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
  • Appetite changes

Since 1992, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country have joined forces during the month of April to increase public awareness about the topics of stress and stress management. During Stress Awareness Month, additional attention is given to available resources and materials for reducing and managing stress.

Experts agree that it’s important to understand what causes you stress so that you are effectively able to manage it. Recognizing which people, places, or situations trigger higher stress levels is critical. Once you’ve identified which situations cause you to respond in a way that can be identified as stress, you’re able to employ activities and routines to decrease or eliminate the negative effects of the event.

For example, if you know that public speaking causes stress, you can take extra steps to prepare for a public speaking event, such as practicing in front of a small audience. Or you could meditate just before the event begins.

Not all stress is bad, and it’s important to know the difference between negative stress and positive stress. There can be benefits to experiencing stress, including bursts of energy, increased productivity, and motivation to complete projects or work toward goals.

In addition, it’s important to celebrate your successes with stress management. Perhaps you’ve started a new routine of daily meditation, yoga or other exercise, or other relaxation techniques to help decrease your stress levels. It’s also critical to remember not to be too hard on yourself. Setting realistic goals and having realistic expectations is also an important part of stress management.

We will all have certain levels of stress in our lives. Take some time during Stress Awareness Month to examine the role that stress plays in your life and what steps you can take to better manage it.

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