Psychiatrist, Psychologist – What’s the Difference?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of both psychiatrists and psychologists, but what’s the difference and when should you see one over the other? Read below to learn the top differences between these two professions.

Psychiatrist

What type of degree: A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor, specifically an M.D. or D.O. They do a four-year residency program in addition to four years of medical school.

What they do: Diagnose psychiatric conditions and provide prescriptions and medication management.

What they don’t do: It is important to note that many (if not most) psychiatrists do not provide therapy.

When to see a psychiatrist: You need medication to manage your mental health.

Psychologist

What type of degree: A psychologist has a PhD in psychology or a PsyD (Psychology Doctorate). In addition to this advanced degree which typically takes 4-7 years, they have at least a one year internship after.

What they do: A psychologist commonly treats patients with talk therapy, which basically means they talk to you to work through problems. 

What they don’t do: A psychologist (**in most states and circumstances) can not prescribe medication, which is a key distinction from a psychiatrist.

                 **Note: There are a handful of states that do allow psychologists to prescribe a limited number of medications, with additional training. There are also certain circumstances where psychologists can prescribe, such as in the military.

When to see a psychologist: You need to see a therapist and don’t necessarily need medication, or you are currently being prescribed psychiatric medication and need to see a therapist additionally.

Main takeaways..

In general, you’ll want to see a psychologist if you need to talk to someone to work through mental health issues, and you’d want to see a psychiatrist if you need medication to manage mental health conditions.

Symptoms of Stress You Need to Know




Stress is normally thought of as just being in your head, but it can also cause very real physical symptoms. Many times we experience these physical symptoms and don’t realize that they are directly correlated with elevated stress levels.

Read below to learn symptoms of stress you may not be aware of:




Digestive upset

Digestive issues, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and/or nausea are highly correlated with elevated stress levels. The gut-mind connection is very strong and interconnected, which is why digestive issues are often suggestive of an overly stressed state.

Tension headache

A tension headache tends to be described as feeling like a tight band is across the head on both sides and/or behind the eyes. This type of headache comes on when you are in an overly stressed state. 

Eyes twitching

If you notice one or both eyes twitching, this may be indicative of stress.

Skin rash

Did you know that you can even get a rash from being overly stressed?! Your skin is the largest organ of your body and the nature of your skin is often a good indicator of what is going on inside. A rash triggered from stress may feel itchy and red.

Good to know: Shingles (aka herpes zoster) is a very painful rash that can be triggered from a highly stressed state.

Tight muscles

Pain in the neck? Tight muscles are often a direct results of too much stress. Typical places we hold stress in our bodies include the neck, back, and hips. 



Insomnia

Stress can literally keep you up at night – it can make it hard to fall asleep and/or to fall back asleep. Lack of sleep can then lead to an even more stressed state – talk about a vicious cycle! 

Main Takeaways

There are many physical symptoms of stress, if you experience one or more of the above it’s a good idea to take a look at how you are feeling and if elevated stress is in your life.

References and further reading

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/tension-type-headache/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167#:~:text=Many%20issues%20that%20impact%20your,can%20lead%20to%20chronic%20insomnia.

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/stress-and-insomnia







5 Ways Meditation Decreases Stress and Anxiety




You’ve probably heard that meditation is great for stress relief,  but why is that exactly? Below lists five ways that meditation helps to decrease stress and ease anxiety.



1. Improves deep breathing

Deep breathing (aka diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing) allows for optimal oxygen exchange, which in turn can help to slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax, which in turn gets relayed to the rest of your body.

2. Improves sleep

Sleep is an extremely important factor for keeping stress levels low and for an even mood. However, at bedtime, when we finally are ready to be still and stop thinking, the mind has a tendency to wander relentlessly. Meditation can help to rest the mind and bring the awareness back to the present, which in turn also helps to relax the body for sleep. 



3. Helps you to live in the moment

Meditation focuses your attention to the present, and helps to bring your awareness back to what you are doing right now. That means less worrying about the future or worrying about things you need to do later.

4. Changes the way you think

Meditation doesn’t just distract you from stressful thoughts, but instead it helps you to think through those stressful situations and better understand how to manage them.



5. Helps your mind prepare for stressful events in the future

Taking a few minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness before a stressful event can ease anxiety associated with the event. For example, taking a few minutes of meditation and deep breathing before an important presentation can calm and focus your mind.

Main Takeaways

Meditation is a great tool for easing and preventing stress and anxiety. Taking just a few minutes a day to meditate can greatly impact your mindset and help you to live a healthier and happier life.

References and further reading

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-meditation-helps-with-depression

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

 



What is acupressure and why should you do it?







What is acupressure?

Acupressure is the application of firm pressure to specific points of the body to relieve tight muscles, increase circulation, and boost endorphins.  It stems from traditional Chinese medicine and is based on the belief that the body is interconnected  by different channels of energy, called Qi, and if one or more of these channels get blocked, illness and pain develops. Acupressure is the practice of breaking up these energy blockages, thereby allowing for energy to flow freely again. Some of the most common ailments treated with acupressure include pain, stress, insomnia, fatigue, and digestive conditions.

How to perform acupressure

The great thing about acupressure is that you can do it yourself! Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Using the pads of one or more fingers, apply firm pressure in a rotating motion to the specific acupressure points (see below) for 4-5 seconds.

Common acupressure points

Feng chi (aka: GB20 or Gallbladder 20)

Location: On the side of the head below the ear bone, where the head meets the neck

May help with: Headache, low energy

Tai Chong (aka: LV3 or Liver 3)

Location: On top of the foot, between the big toe and second toe, about two fingerbreadths down

May help with: Stress, low back pain

Nei Guan (aka: P6 or Pericardium 6)

Location: Inner forearm, about 3-4 fingerbreadths down from the wrist, centrally located between two tendons

May help with: Upset stomach, headache

Zhong Zhu (aka: TE3 or Triple Energizer 3)

Location: Top side of the hand, space between the 4th and 5th knuckles

May help with: Headache, upper back pain, neck pain

He Gu (aka: LI4 or Large Intestine 6)

Location: Between the base of the index finger and the thumb

May help with: Facial pain, neck pain, stress, headache

End notes

One of the great things about acupressure is that you can do it from anywhere – including from the comfort of your own home! If you suffer from one or more of the ailments above, give acupressure a try!




References and further reading

https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-and-common-acupressure-points/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574337/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5388088/



Top 10 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness




Mindfulness means living in the present moment, taking in your surroundings, and not thinking about tomorrow or what happened yesterday. Being mindful will absolutely maximize the quality of your life, and we personally strive to be more mindful everyday.

Here are our top 10 reasons to practice mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress, including our body’s innate “fight or flight” response.





2. Mindfulness reduces addictive and compulsive tendencies.





3. Practicing mindfulness during a workout greatly improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the exercise.





4. Practicing mindfulness at work increases productivity and efficiency, meaning you can get more done in a shorter amount of time!





5. Mindfulness increases confidence at work and in your social life.





6. Mindfulness leads to clearer thinking to make better decisions.





7. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve relationships with your significant other, friends, family, and at work.





8. Mindfulness improves your memory by increasing attention and focus.





9. Mindfulness prevents overeating and snacking and helps to get you to your ideal weight.





10. Practicing mindfulness increases overall energy and decreases fatigue.





 

Top 7 Ways To Prevent and Reduce Stress

Everyone has experienced some stress at some point in time – it’s part of life. That being said, there are definitely ways to prevent stress, or at the very least reduce your stress response.

Read below to learn 7 ways to prevent and reduce stress:

 

1. Understand where it is coming from

The first step to preventing stress is understanding what things or situations make you feel stressed. Once you understand where the stress is coming from, you can better plan to prevent the stress in the future.

Put it into action: Keep a journal or even a note section on your phone where you can jot down times you get stressed. This is the best way to be mindful of what causes the stress and how you can prevent it in the future.

2. Have a plan

Sometimes a stressor can hit you without you anticipating it (which is most of the time stress hits!) so it can be helpful to have a stress relief plan.

Put it into action: A go-to stress reliever could be to go and get some exercise, call a friend, or watch your favorite show.

3. Don’t procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. It’s really not helping you at all to constantly be putting something off because eventually you’ll have to do it! And it just makes you more stressed out when you think about how you have to do it. Plus the longer you procrastinate, the more stressful it becomes!

Put it into action: Make a point of getting tasks done on time and not putting things off until the very last minute.

4. Meditate daily

Think of meditation as a time to relax your mind and body, a time to remain in the present and not be worrying about the past or future.

Put it into action: Even just 5 minutes of sitting quietly by yourself can be beneficial for handling stress that may arise later in the day.

5. Exercise daily

Exercise can help to lower stress hormones in the body, while at the same time boost the feel good hormones.

Put it into action: If you anticipate a more stressful day ahead, make a point of getting some exercise in the morning. This way you start the day on a positive note with a boost of endorphins and a decrease in stress hormones.

6. Decrease your carbs and sugar

Eating foods high in sugar causes a rollercoaster in your blood sugar levels, which leads to moodiness and hunger later. 

Put it into action: Make a point of cutting back on sugar (guidelines recommend under 20 grams per day) and increase your healthy fat and protein intake.

7. Practice yoga

Yoga is basically a merge of meditation and exercise – it’s the best! Yoga is all about bringing concentration to your breath with movement and keeping your mind on the present moment.

Put it into action: Find a local yoga studio and try a class!

Main takeaways…

Know that stress will happen, but stress can be much more manageable if you have tools to help you get through the stressful situation.

About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.