Signs Of Emotional Abuse And How To Help


Emotional and mental abuse are serious issues that can be noticed by some signs, whereas other forms of abuse can be more challenging to see or understand. From the outside looking in, they can be obvious, but to a person that is in the situation may miss or be unaware of the abuse. Let’s break down what emotional and mental abuse is. Emotional and psychological abuse is when a person controls, isolates, or scares someone else to control the relationship/situation. The form of abuse can be in statements, threats, or actions that are a pattern or regularity to the behavior. Learning these signs can help people identify if they are in an abusive situation/relationship and seek out the help that they may need. Some people may feel like they can deal with the abuse or try to justify it by saying that it is “not as bad” as physical abuse. Still, emotional abuse has its long term effects on mental abuse and could be a sign that physical abuse will follow.

Where can it happen
Abusive people usually abuse those who are close to them. For example, a partner, a business partner or close team member, a parent, a caretaker, or even a close friend they rely on. The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse states that emotional and mental abuse can be subtle. The victim may not even notice that they are being manipulated. Emotional abuse can be in many different forms, depending on what the abusive person is attempting to do. 

Controlling behavior can be a red flag in any relationship and can include:

  • Making demands or orders and expecting them to be done
  • Making all decisions, even canceling another’s plans without asking
  • Continually monitoring another person’s whereabouts
  • Insisting on regular calls, text, or pictures detailing where the person is, and even showing up to those places to make sure they are not lying
  • Requiring immediate responses from calls or texts
  • Exerting financial control over the other person, such as keeping all accounts in their name or only giving the other person a allowance
  • Spying by going through the other person’s phone, checking their internet search history, or looking through their messages with others
  • Having a rule in place demanding the person’s passwords for access to their social medias, phone, and email at any time
  • Treating the other person like a child by telling them what to eat, what to wear, or where they can go
  • Yelling, frequently using it as a scare tactic and can be a way for an abusive person to let the other person who is in control
  • Using the other persons fears and manipulate their fears to control them
  • Withholding affection as a punishment. Abusers may withhold affection or make the other person feel they are undeserving of love
  • Giving excessive gifts with the implication that the gifts may disappear at any time or to remind the victim of what they could lose if they leave the relationship

Abusive people might try to make the other person feel shame for their shortcomings or feel like they are much worse for the shortcomings. There are multiple forms this may show including:

  • Lectures: The abusive person may give lectures about the other person’s behavior in such a way that it makes them feel inferior.
  • Outbursts: This involves aspects of control as well. Not doing what the abusive person wants can result in an outburst of angry behavior from them in order to both take control and make the other person feel shame for “not listening”.
  • Lies: Abusive people may blatantly lie, giving them false opinions from their friends about their “bad” behavior.
  • Walkouts: Abusive people may leave a situation rather than resolve it in the middle of a disagreement at home. For example, making remarks on how the other person is “crazy” and put all the blame on the other person to make them feel ashamed.
  • Trivializing: If the other person wishes to talk about their issues, the abusive person may criticize them for even having issues or telling them that they are making a big deal for no reason.

Blame usually stems from the abusive person’s sense of insecurity by blaming others, and they do not have to recognize their shortcomings. This can be shown in many ways, such as:

  • Jealousy: Jealousy can be an abusive tactic. The abusive person may regularly confront the others for talking to or “flirting with” other people. The abuser may accuse the other person of cheating on them regularly.
  • Playing the victim: The abusive person may try to turn the tables on the other person by blaming them for the issues that the abuser has not yet dealt with and even accuse them of being the abusive one in the relationship.
  • Egging the person on: The abusive person typically knows how to get under the other person’s skin to make them angry. They may irritate them until the other person becomes upset, blaming them for even getting upset.

Most of the time the abuser’s actions or words serve no purpose other than to humiliate the other person. This behavior can look like:

  • Blatant name calling: The abuser may blatantly call the other stupid or “an idiot”, or other hurtful names and if confronted they may try to pass it off as sarcasm.
  • Joking or Sarcasm: Sometimes abusive people disguise their derogatory remarks as sarcasm. If the other person gets offended, the abuser may make fun of them for “lacking a sense of humor”.
  • Harmful Nicknames: Nicknames or pet names may be normal in relationships, but a name that is hurtful is unacceptable.
  • Public Displays: Abusive people may openly pick fights and make fun of the other person in public and blame the other person for becoming angry.
  • Patronizing: This can include talking down to another person for trying to learn something new or make the other person feel like they are not “on their level”.
  • Insults on Appearance: An abusive person may insult the other’s appearance around other people.
  • Cheating: The abuser may cheat on their partners in order to hurt or humiliate them or to show that they are “highly desirable”.

Abusive people seem to make situations chaotic for no good reasons than to keep the other person in check. This kind of behavior can look like:

  • Drastic mood swings like being very affectionate to full of rage and breaking things
  • Emotional Outbursts
  • Starting arguments for no reason
  • Self-contradiction such as kaming statements that contradicts the one they just said
  • Gaslighting such as denying facts or making the other feel like they do not remember the situation correctly
  • Acting two faced such as being charming in public but the complete opposite the minute they get home

Abusive people act in many ways in order to make the other person feel isolated from others including:

  • Telling another person they cannot spend time with friends or family
  • Hiding the person’s car keys
  • Stealing, hiding, or even destroying the other person’s cell phone or computer
  • Making fun or belittling the person’s friends or family resulting the other person to feel bad for spending time with them
  • Taking up all of the person’s free time
  • Locking the person in a room or the house

What can you do to help?
It would help if you encouraged anyone you know that feels they are in immediate danger of physical harm to call 911. If anyone is seeing signs of emotional abuse but is not in immediate danger, encourage them to seek out help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers anonymous support by phone, text, or even online chat. The hotline is available 24/7 and can help people find shelter as well as other services. If a person is feeling uncomfortable reaching out to get assistance, they can reach out to a family member or a trusted friend that could help them feel supported and less isolated. Taking steps away from an emotionally abusive situation is essential for the other person to take back control over their own life. This can include:

  • Setting boundaries with the abusive person and standing up to them in any degree necessary in order to get the abuse to stop. In some cases it could include ending the relationship or cutting ties with a partner and never speaking to them again.
  • Changing priorities: abusive people manipulate the other person’s sense of sympathy to the point they are neglecting themselves while taking care of the abuser and putting an end to this habit is important in order to put their own priorities first.
  • Get professional help: Seeking professional help like therapy and support groups can help strengthen the person’s resolve and believe that they are not alone in recovering from the abuse.
  • Exit plan: Anyone who feels that they are in an emotionally abusive situation should have a plan for getting out of the situation when the time comes and working with those that love and support them can help their plan feel stronger and get the person to take action when the time is right.

Therapy On A Budget

Mental health is different from having a cold or the flu, which means it can take some time to heal. Some studies have shown that it can take 5-10 sessions, and people will see their counselors weekly. Therapy is a commitment, and depending on your insurance coverage, it can be expensive. Unfortunately, having health insurance does not guarantee that you will not have to pay upfront for therapy. Plans with high deductibles will not cover the medical costs until deductibles have been met. Until then, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your appointments. 

Most therapists charge between $75-$150 per session, depending on the area you live in. In expensive cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, it can cost up to $200 per session. Here are a couple of cost-effective services available to help you get started.

  • Sliding Scale Therapists

Sliding Scale Therapists can include psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers who will adjust their hourly fee to help make therapy more affordable for the client. These types of therapists are a good option if you have to pay out-of-pocket for counseling or if your insurance provider does not offer referrals to specialists. All mental health providers are trained to help treat anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders, but not all of them specialize in addressing issues like postpartum depression, complicated grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You could use Psychology Today and to search for sliding scale therapists who practice in your area. Most of these therapists’ rates are determined by the provider and can range from $75-$160 per session. You can look for mental health professionals on a searchable database that is a more affordable option. Most of them charge between $30-$80 per session on Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

  • Free Or Low-Income Mental Health Services

For those that do not have health insurance and can not afford to pay out-of-pocket for mental healthcare, low-fee, or free community mental health clinics can be a good option. They are staffed by psychotherapists and psychologists but are often able to expand their services by the use of student psychologists, student mental health counselors, and student social workers that are supervised by licensed professionals. Their services are typically at no cost or at a highly reduced rate, and they offer services like individual and family counseling, medication management, and drug addiction counseling. You can find a clinic in your local area by contacting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine or visit

  • Therapy Apps

Apps like Talkspace and Betterhelp let you connect with therapists online or by text. Busy business and healthcare professionals, new moms, and students usually find teletherapy appealing because they can talk to a therapist from anywhere. Before signing up for online therapy, you will complete a mental health questionnaire, and based on the results, you get matched with a psychotherapist. Similar to in-person treatment, fees for online therapy will vary. Talkspace fees can be as low as $49 per week, while Betterhelp charges between $35-$80 per week. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that online therapy may be as helpful as in-person sessions, but this type of care isn’t for everyone. They caution those with more serious mental health concerns like schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance use disorder often need more care and attention then remote treatments. There are also mental health apps like Calm, Headspace, and Expectful that can help teach you daily habits of meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises, which can help reduce stress. 

  • Local Support Groups

Those who are experiencing eating disorders, postpartum depression, alcohol and substance use disorders, and coping with grief or loss can benefit from attending a local support group. Support groups can connect you with others who are going through similar experiences and allows you to ask others for their opinions. It can also be healing to hear others share their stories to show you that you are not alone. This can be especially useful for those coping with illnesses like cancer or supporting loved ones with chronic health conditions or mental illness. Open-ended groups like new mom support circles can allow you to share at any time during the session. Structured groups, especially those that teach people a set of life skills like mindfulness, may follow a curriculum each week. Mental Health America has a list of different types of specialized support groups on their webpage. You can also get a list from hospital social workers for support groups in your community. Costs for support groups will vary, but groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are free of charge.

  • Crisis And Suicide Prevention Hotlines

Mental Health emergencies include suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and domestic violence and require immediate psychiatric care and attention. There are hotlines are staffed by trained volunteers and professionals who provide emotional support and can connect you with resources that you need. If you think someone is in immediate risk of self-harm or hurting someone else please call 911 or your local emergency number, stay with the person until help arrives, remove any weapons, medication, or other things that may cause harm, and listen but do not judge, argue, threaten, or yell. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. 

The Best Mental Health Podcasts

Here is a list of the best podcasts to listen to this upcoming year according to

“The Nod”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

“The Nod” is a podcast that shares stories and experiences of African Americans that “do not get told anywhere else.” It is hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings and regularly has emotional, vulnerable conversations to show that is it okay to struggle with conflicts of being who you want to be versus who society expects you to be. The topics range from histories of hip-hop trends to emotional impacts of famous writers on generations of young writers and professionals.

“Throwing Shade”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Google Play.
First aired in 2019 – present

The podcast tackles political and cultural issues that women, minorities, and the LGBT communities face in general. It is hosted by Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi and aims to make you feel okay to think of yourself as part of a bigger movement and affirming that your thought and feelings matter while making you laugh along the way.

“Cafeteria Christian”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher
First aired in 2018 – present

This podcast is useful if you want to educate yourself in the bible or if you want to live your life based on your values. It is hosted by Nora and Natalie which they started the podcast to let people know that it is okay not to be a “perfect” Christian and for you to be able to opening talk about your struggles in balancing what you need with what your Christian faith asks of you.

“Therapy for Black Girls”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

This podcast was founded by a clinical psychologist by the name of Joy Harden Bradford and offers mental health resources and advice for personal and professional development for African American women and beyond. It is a great podcast if you are looking for advice from a professional or are interested in the science of the mind. She also helps demystify therapy and the stigma around it with her doctorate-level background in counseling psychology from the University of Georgia.

“Mental Illness Happy Hour”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

Paul Gilmartin hosts it in hopes of helping people feel more comfortable to talk about mental or emotional traumatic events that happen in their lives. He interviews a wide range of noted figures and celebrities about their experiences with mental illness or trauma. A couple of examples are “tackling the link between sexual assault and PTSD with attorneys, to uncovering how being raised by a parent with an alcohol addiction can affect you in unnoticeable ways,” according to

“WTF with Marc Maron”
4.5 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2015 – present

It is hosted by Comedian Marc Maron who is well known for his interviews with some of the world’s most famous people like former U.S. President Barack Obama and Kristen Bell. He is very open about his anxiety and trauma experiences during his upbringing and the emotional turmoil that many of his guests have experienced.

“Code Switch”
4.5 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher
First aired in 2016 – present

There is still a large variety of common topics that can be scary or exhausting to talk about, like race, gender, ethnicity, identity, and more. It is hosted by quite a few of different journalists from diverse backgrounds and can help you better understand how society can be your mental health’s worst enemy, and that understanding it can help you feel stronger in resisting it.

“The Happiness Lab”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2019 – present

Happiness can seem impossible sometimes and can be especially true when things you work hard for don’t bring you the satisfaction you expected. Hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University, she wants to show you that your happiness is in your control according to a link between human behavior and emotions from scientific research. Her main goal is to make you a little happier by teaching you to take ownership of your mind and how it works.

“2 Dope Queens”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Google Play.
First aired in 2016 – present

It is hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, two comedians who have turned their life-long friendship in witty banter and a popular comedy show. There is no such thing as an off-limits topic to them or their variety of celebrity guests. Sometimes a good laugh can make you feel better.

“The Hilarious World of Depression”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2016 – present

Depression is one of the most stigmatized and common mental health conditions. Hosted by John Moe, who hopes you will find peace or help in one of his many interviews with public figures like Darryl Mccdaniels from Run-DMC and Peter Sagal. It can help those who are currently struggling with depression or knows someone with depression. It has a variety of real stories about people’s ups and downs with clinical depression and makes you think about how it can look different on everyone as well as give you some useful tips and tools to use for coping.

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7 Days Of Mental Health Challenge

Rates of depression, loneliness, and anxiety are rising, and tending to our mental health is essential. The key is to start small. Some studies show that setting small goals can be a useful way to take on new challenges. Whether it is adjusting our behaviors, getting more sleep, spending time with friends, taking a break from your phone, or journaling, they can all help better our emotional well-being. Try doing each of these for the next seven days. The goal is to feel more comfortable and to add them to your daily routine.

Day 1: Get To Bed One Hour Earlier
Some tips to get to bed early are:

  1. Refrain from watching TV or playing online games in bed.
  2. Shut off your phone for the night and keep it outside of your room. If it acts as an alarm, try to purchase an old-fashioned alarm clock.
  3. Keep the bedroom between 60-67 degrees.
  4. Turn off bright lights

Day 2: Try Some Mindful Meditation
There are smartphone apps like Headspace or Calm that offer mini-guided meditations. Take a look at this article about the different types of meditation there are. Choose the one that is right for you. 

Day 3: Take Some Time To Self-Reflect
Use these 3 thought-provoking questions to start off.

  1. How does fear show up in my life? How does it hold me back?
  2. What is one way I could be a better friend or partner?
  3. What is one of my biggest regrets? How can I let it go?
  4. Try talking to yourself in third person.

Day 4: Go For A Walk
Adding walking into your daily routine can have benefits. Even just a short 20 minute walk can help

  • Calm your nervous system
  • Reduce stress
  • trigger your brain to release “feel good” endorphins

Day 5: Try Your Hand At Journaling
Some Psychologists say that writing about your thoughts, worries, and deepest feelings can help clear your minds. Some journaling prompts you can use are

  1. One thing I’m grateful for today…
  2. Today I felt stressed when….but (something) helped me feel better.
  3. I vow to take care of myself today by doing…
  4. Right now, I’m holding onto this worry….Here is how I will let it go….
  5. One random act of kindness I vow to do this week is….

Day 6: Limit Your Screen Time
Taking a break from technology can reset your brain and increase your well-being. Doing activities like meditating, going for a walk, and journaling can help with this as well. Turning your phone off during dinner or while you are out with friends are other ways you can try to reduce that time.

Day 7: Practice Self-Compassion
These are just a couple of things you can incorporate self-compassion into your routine. Remember, throughout this process that you are not alone in feeling that way.

  1. Think of something that is stressing you out.
  2. Notice the thoughts,feelings, and bodily sesations that come up as you ponder that stress.
  3. Acknowledge your suffering.
  4. Place your hand on your heart and extend kindness by saying:
  • May I give myself the compassion I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I forgive myself
  • May I be strong
  • May I be patient

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Things to know about EMDR Therapy

EMDR stands for Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is a technique that some psychotherapists use to treat people experiencing psychological distress and is recommended for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

EMDR was developed in the late 1980s by an American psychologist named Francine Shapiro. Practitioners initially used this technique to treat people with traumatic memories, but it is now used to help treat a variety of issues, including:

  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression

During a standard EMDR treatment session, the client’s will recall traumatic experiences while moving their eyes back and forth while the therapist directs the eye movement. The main focus is to allow people to process and integrate their traumatic memories into their standard memories to remember times of distress while being distracted, which in turn can be less upsetting. The aim of the process is that over time, the exposure to those memories should reduce their effects. EMDR is similar in some respects to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is another type of PTSD treatment that involves remembering or discussing traumatic events and identifying and altering those thoughts. 

How it works
The theory behind EMDR is that traumatic memories can make changes in the brain and can stop the brain from processing information properly, which causes anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Experts believe that remembering traumatic experiences while doing rapid eye movements can allow the brain to process those memories correctly and integrate them into the person’s life in a healthy way. EMDR therapy consists of eight phases.

Phase 1: Client history and treatment planning
The therapist will evaluate the client’s case and their ability to tolerate the exposure to their distressing memories. They will also formulate a treatment plan based on the client’s symptoms and behaviors that are needing modifying.

Phase 2: Preparation
The therapist will lay the groundwork for the treatment by establishing a therapeutic relationship with the client and educating them on the process of EMDR. They will teach the client self-control techniques that are used to cope with distressing memories that arise.

Phase 3: Assessment
This phase will consist of the therapist identifying the traumatic memories that the client needs to address. The client will choose an image to represent each memory and noting the negative beliefs and physical sensations for each of those memories. They will then identify a positive thought to replace negative beliefs.

Phase 4: Desensitization
Desensitization involves reducing the client’s disturbing reactions to traumatic memories, including physical sensations they have when thinking about it. This could include rapid heart rate, sweating, or stomach problems. The therapist will facilitate desensitization by directing the client’s eye movement while they focus on traumatic events.

Phase 5: Installation
This stage focuses on installing positive thoughts that the client identified in phase 3.

Phase 6: Body Scan
Body scanning is a meditative technique in which a person scans their body from head to toe to notice physical sensations that are occurring. The therapist will target those physical sensations for further processing.

Phase 7: Closure
At the end of each session, the therapist will stabilize the client by using the self-control techniques that were discussed in phase 2. The therapist will then explain what the client can expect between sessions and will ask the client to keep a record of any negative experiences that occur so they can be targeted at the next meeting.

Phase 8: Reevaluation
The final stage will consist of a review regarding the effectiveness of the treatment so far. The therapist and client will identify any additional traumatic effects that need to be targeted.

Benefits of EMDR
Most research done on EMDR, they look at the benefits for people with PTSD and other trauma-related symptoms. Studies also suggested that EMDR may also treat symptoms that accompany traumatic experiences like self-harm, stress, and anger. Some people will choose to have other treatment options alongside EMDR therapy. Other issues EMDR may be beneficial to treat, and practitioners have used it to address issues including:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Chronic Pain and Phantom Pain
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Panic Attacks
  • Psychotic Symptoms
  • Self-Esteem Issues
  • Stress-Induced Flare-Ups of Skin Problems
  • Psychotic Symptoms
  • Chronic Pain

In some studies that have been done, as many as 90% of trauma survivors appeared to have no PTSD symptoms after three sessions, and some showed positive outcomes for the majority of participants after 6-12 sessions. It has also been indicated that EMDR may be useful for other mental health issues such as psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues. As with any treatment, EMDR can cause side effects such as an increase in distressing memories, heightened emotions, or physical sensations during sessions, lightheadedness, and vivid dreams, but will typically resolve as treatment continues. Any side effects should be reported to the therapist performing the EMDR session. 

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What Is Survivors Guilt?

Survivor’s guilt is when someone has feelings of guilt because they survived a life-threatening event, but others did not. It is common to react this way to a traumatic event and is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also occur in relation to a loss of life. They may question why they were able to escape death while others lost their lives and wonder whether there was something they could have done to prevent the traumatic event or save a life. Survivor’s guilt used to be its own diagnosis, but mental health professionals now consider it to be a significant symptom of PTSD. People who may suffer from survivors guilt may include:

  • War Veterans
  • First Responders
  • Holocaust Survivors
  • 9/11 Survivors
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Crash Survivors
  • Natural Disaster Survivors
  • Witnesses to a traumatic event
  • Family members of those who have developed a fatal hereditary condition
  • People who have lost a family member to suicide
  • Parents who outlive their child

Common symptoms
People who survive traumatic events may experience one or more of the following:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Obsessive thoughts about the event
  • Irritability and Anger
  • Feelings of helplessness and disconnection
  • Fear and Confusion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or Stomachaches
  • Social Isolation
  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • Perceive the world as unfair and unsafe

Not everyone who experiences traumatic events will develop survivor’s guilt. Some factors can increase the risk and the severity of PTSD symptoms, including survivor’s guilt.

  • A history of trauma (childhood abuse)
  • Having other mental health issues (such as anxiety or depression)
  • A family history of psychiatric problems
  • Lack of support from friends or family
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Their belief that they can predict or prevent an outcome
  • Their role in causing negative outcomes
  • Wrongdoing on their part

Some people with survivor’s guilt and other PTSD symptoms can recover without treatment within the first year following the traumatic event. However, one-third of them will continue to have PTSD symptoms for three years or longer. Here are some tips for coping with survivor’s guilt.

Accept and allow the feelings

Even though survivor’s guilt is not always rational, it is a common response to trauma. Accepting and allowing the feelings that surface, taking time to process the guilt, grief, fear, and loss that accompany the event can all help. If the feelings are overwhelming or do not begin to get more manageable over time, it is essential to seek out help.

Connect with others
Sharing your feelings with family and/or friends is a way to connect. If your loved ones do not understand your feelings, look for a support group. Face-to-face support groups and online communities can allow survivors to connect, express themselves, and ask questions.

Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness can be beneficial for those who have experienced trauma, especially during a flashback or during intense and painful emotions. Grounding techniques, such as having them focus on breathing, feeling nearby fabrics, and noticing inside and outside sounds, can help them become mindful.

Practice Self-Care
Loss and potential loss of life is frightening and overwhelming. Survivors can benefit from doing one or more of these activities such as:

  • Taking baths
  • Reading
  • Resting
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Creating art
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Trying aromatherapy

It is also important for you to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.

Do something good for others
People who survive a traumatic event may feel better if they try to help others. They can do this by educating people about their experience, volunteering at a local charity, donating blood, making a charitable donation, lending support to others, or sending a care package to someone.

If you or your loved one continues to experience intense guilt, flashbacks, disturbing dreams, and other symptoms of PTSD, you should consider getting professional help by talking to a doctor or psychotherapist who specialized in trauma. Therapy is the primary treatment type for PTSD, but some more severe cases may also require medication. Traumatic events can increase the risk of suicide. If you or your loved one have thoughts of death, suicide, or have attempted suicide, you should seek immediate attention.

How To Stop Binge Eating And What To Do To Get Back On Track

Binge eating is when someone eats large amounts of food in a short time. Someone who does binge eat may not be able to control the type or amount of food that is consumed and can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and depression. Those who binge eat at least once a week for three months may have a binge eating disorder and is one of the most common types of eating disorders in the United States. It can also be a sign of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Here are a few tips on how to stop and what to do to get back on track.

Avoid Dieting
Following a diet plan could lead to feelings of deprivation. The act of sudden and significantly cutting calories from your body can cause it to go in to starvation mode and could lead to episodes of binge eating. Fasting can increase the risk of binge eating and bulimia. Focus on filling up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocados. Some people would benefit from the 80:20 approach to eating. This involves consuming healthy foods, 80% of the time, and enjoying treats the other 20%.

Regularly working out may help binge eating because it causes the body to release endorphins that boost your mood. A better mood can reduce any risk of emotional eating relating to stress, sadness, or anger.

Identify and address triggers
People may binge eat in response to loneliness, boredom, sadness, or other things. Figuring out what may trigger your binge eating could help you avoid or manage those triggers. Some people keep a food journal of what they eat and what they are feeling at that time.

Reduce Stress
Stress can be a common trigger for binge eating. Research shows that stress reduces a person’s awareness of their hunger cues. You can manage your stress by eliminating stressors by practicing meditation, deep breathing techniques, exercise regularly, practice yoga or tai chi, get enough sleep, or use alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, or aromatherapy.

Do not skip meals
Not only can your blood sugar levels can drop from skipping meals, but can also prompt your body to crave a quick boost of sugar. Eating those foods can raise your blood sugar levels and crash again quickly, causing a cycle. To avoid things like this from happening, you should plan regular meals and snacks. Studies show that eating three meals and two or three planned snacks can lower the frequency of binge eating episodes.

Try Mindfulness
Fourteen studies have shown that mindfulness meditation effectively reduces binge and emotional eating. Eating slowly will allow your body to be able to recognize your hunger cues, and you are less likely to overeat because your body will notice when you are full.

Remove Temptations
Having access to sugary and processed foods making the foods readily available. Replacing those foods with healthy options instead will help you make better choices on what to eat when you are hungry. If you are out and about good snack options to take with you are fresh fruit, no sugar added protein bars, small amounts of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.

Do not confuse thirst and hunger
Try drinking a glass of water if you start to feel hungry before you eat anything. If the feeling goes away, you may have just been thirsty. If you still feel hungry, then you should eat a balanced meal or snack. Research has shown that drinking 500 milliliters of water before every meal reduces the number of calories that you eat by 13%.

Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential to regulate hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep can increase stress and mood, which can trigger binge eating and can contribute to obesity by increasing food intake, decreasing energy throughout the day, and affecting hormones that regulate appetite. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours every night.

Keeping a routine can help you get back on track and keep you moving forward after a binge. Some people will brush their teeth, signaling an end to overeating. Treatments for binge eating disorders can include psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Therapy typically helps address the emotions and issues that underline the eating disorder and could help you identify your triggers. Individuals who suspect that they may have a binge eating disorder should speak to their doctor. They can vary from mild to severe and can be a short term issue or can last for years.

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Can A Smile Really Make A Difference?

There’s a good reason why some people will tell you to turn that frown upside down, even though that is not always what we want to hear. Studies have shown that just the act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system, and could even prolong your life. You might be thinking, happiness is what makes us smile, not the other way around, but as Dr. Isha Gupta, a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine explained, a smile causes a chemical reaction in the brain and releases hormones including dopamine and serotonin. “Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness, and serotonin is associated with reduced stress.” Low levels of both of them are associated with depression.

So actually, smiling can trick your brain into believing your happy, which can bring on actual feelings of happiness. Dr. Murray Frossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist, states that studies have shown “over and over” again that depression can weaken your immune system, and happiness can have the opposite effect, boosting your body’s resistance. An interesting study performed by a group at the University of Cerdiff in Wales found that people who had botox injections so they could not frown were happier on average than those who frown. A study done at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lowers heart rate in tense situations.

Smiling is contagious, much like yawning. It is because we have mirror neurons when we see actions according to Dr. Eva Ritzo, a psychiatrist and the co-author of “The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful.” Some people have started smiling when they can feel like they are beginning to feel stressed out, smiling does help. For instance, when they are in traffic while driving, they are uncomfortable due to a headache, during a workout, at themselves in a mirror, and when they are tired saying it makes them feel calmer. Of course, smiling does not always do the trick, and it should never take the place of other forms of therapy that may be necessary depending on the situation, but it is worth the try.

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Welcome Jennifer!

Jennifer Buehler

We are very excited to welcome Jennifer Buehler to the AFC Family! She is be based out of Overland Park, Kansas. She is a licensed specialist clinical social worker and clinical addiction counselor. She has been providing counseling in private practice for over ten years. Fifteen years prior to transitioning into private practice, she worked for organizations, hospitals, and treatment centers. While there, she specialized in teens, young adults, and families with anxiety, acute behavioral health, and addiction recovery.

“I will help you connect with your inner power, guidance, and intuition, heal from traumatic life experiences, rewire distorted thinking, and ultimately discover inner peace. I will be there to support you, guide you, and help you reach the goals you desire and live in your full potential.”

If you live around the Overland Park, Kansas and are interested in setting up an appointment to see Jennifer please call our office at 316-636-2888.

10 Ways To Do To Start Your Day Off Better

Do you ever feel like your day was rushed since you woke up? Snoozing your alarm, skipping breakfast, and rushing yourself out of the door can make the rest of your day feel chaotic. That is because the tone of your morning will determine the tone of the rest of your day, so planning ahead of time can help cut down on the crazy mornings. Here are 10 morning habits that can help you start your day off right.

  1. Stay unplugged from Tech
    If you usually check your smartphone the moment you wake up for messages or work email, you will cause yourself to start off in a reactive mindset instead of a proactive one. Try detaching yourself from your technology for the first hour of your day so you can begin your day with present-moment awareness and start your day in a place of inner peace and control.
  2. Hydrate
    Drinking a glass of water in the morning is not only an excellent way to hydrate your body, but adding lemon to a warm glass of water helps remove toxins from your digestive, provides a good source of vitamin C, freshens your breath, supports weight loss, and stimulates metabolism and digestion.
  3. Practice Optimism and Gratitude
    Before you get out of bed, give yourself a few minutes to smile, and practice gratitude. When you smile, it signals your brain to release the “feel-good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin) that help lift your mood, relax your body, and lower your heart rate. As you are smiling, think about all the things you are grateful for. Studies show that this helps reduce stress hormones and improves overall mood.
  4. Make Your Bed
    It may seem redundant and a waste of time because you will use your bed again at night, but making your bed is a simple action you can take in the morning and starts off your day feeling accomplished.
  5. Meditate
    Some type of meditation can help ground you and train your mind and emotions which then influences how you react to challenges throughout the day. Here is a simple meditation you can do in the morning:
  • Get in to a comfortable seated position and set a timer for five minutes.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • Inhale through your nose for four counts, retain for four counts, and exhale through your nose for eight counts.
  • Every time you notice your mind wandering, gently guide it back to focus on your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, release your counting, but stay seated with your eyes closed for a moment.
  • Set an intention for your day and visualize yourself meeting this intention.
  • Open your eyes, draw your arms up to the sky for a stretch, and then move on with your day, carrying the calm energy and intention with you.
  1. Exercise
    It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. Whether it is a yoga routine, a walk with your pet, a quick set of sit-ups and push-ups, or hitting the gym, starting your day with movement energizes the body and mind. It doesn’t have to be complicated, long, or intense, having some physical activity in the morning helps get your blood flowing and keep any mental chatter quiet.
  2. Put Yourself Together
    Putting time and effort into your appearance helps build self-Putting time and effort into your appearance helps build self-confidence, and it is one less thing you have to worry about throughout your day. This includes a shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, floss, comb your hair, apply lotion, dress to impress, any other sort of hygiene/grooming habits that make you feel good about yourself. It could also include picking out your clothes the night before.
  3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
    When you take time to eat a healthy breakfast including lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains you will have more energy throughout the day and be able to focus and concentrate better.
  4. Have a “To-Do” List Ready to Conquer
    Write down a to-do list for the next day. Prioritize it so your list only has 3 to 5 items on it with the most important things first. Writing them down instead of keeping them on your mind helps clear any mental chatter throughout the day.
  5. Get Enough Sleep
    To have any healthy morning habits, it is a good idea to get a well-rested sleep to have a well-rested body and mind for the upcoming day. The way you feel while you are awake has some to do with your sleep habits. If you are feeling groggy, irritable, or exhausted, you may not be getting enough sleep.

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