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







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/



7 Benefits of Meditation Backed By Science




There are so many amazing benefits of meditation. Not only does it make you feel good in the moment while meditating, but it also actually changes the way your brain operates, and scientific research has proven it.

You’ve probably heard about all of the elite athletes, business leaders, and other successful people talking about the power of meditation. Here are 7 benefits, backed by science, to help you better understand how a daily meditation practice can improve your life.

 

1. Lowers Stress

“Meditation has been proven to decrease mood disturbances and stress symptoms in both male and female patients…” Read the entire study here

2. Reduces pain

“After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest.” Read the entire study here

 




3. Increases brain grey matter (which helps process information)

“Meditation practice has been shown not only to benefit higher-order cognitive functions but also to alter brain activity. ” Read the entire study here

 

4. Improves happiness

“A short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways.” Read the entire study here



 

5. Improves body awareness

“Results indicated a linear relationship in coherence, with meditators having highest levels… We conclude that the coherence between subjective and cardiac aspects of emotion is greater in those who have specialized training that promotes greater body awareness.” Read entire study here

 




6. Enhanced focus and attention

“Brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.” Read the entire study here

 

7. Improves handling of difficult emotions

“Meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact aggregated declines in cortical structure.” Read entire study here

Break Your Bad Mood With These Quick Tips

Nobody likes to be in a bad mood, but sometimes we inevitably slip into one and it negatively impacts our entire outlook for the day. The good news is that there are simple ways that we can get ourselves out of the bad mood funk and into a more positive mindset!

The first key is to recognize that you are in a bad mood, then you are primed and can follow these 8 tips to get yourself out of it!

 

Listen to music


We all have those songs that remind us of a happy time every time we listen to them. Turn it on, soak it in, and let the music put you back into a positive mindset.


 

Get outside

Nature has a way of calming us and letting us step back from ourselves and into the bigger picture of life. Science has shown that being in nature can help lower blood pressure and your heart rate, a great way to offset a bad mood and turn into a good one!


 

Have a good laugh


Laughter will not only cheer you up instantly, but can also decrease any anxiety you may be having (often a driver to put us in a bad mood). Pull up your favorite funny clip on Youtube, think about a funny memory, or phone a friend that always makes you laugh.


 

Meditate


Taking even just a few minutes to sit in silence while focusing on the breath can quickly take you out of your bad mood funk. Deep diaphragmatic breaths have a way of calming us and can help you lower anxiety.



 

Play with a pet


They don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” for nothing. Pets won’t judge you for being in a bad mood, and at the same time can help you instantly feel happier.


 

Express gratitude

Thinking about the things that you are thankful for in life is an amazing way to flip your mood. Even better, write them down as a “gratitude list” then revisit whenever you’re in a bad mood.


 

Get present

Bad moods can often be attributed to worry about the future and stress about the past. By bringing yourself to the present moment (the time that really only matters anyway) you can “hack” your mind into a more positive state.



Move around


The body and mind are intimately connected, so use that to your advantage. When your mind is failing you with a bad mood, move around your body (jumping jacks, jog in place, shadow box, etc) to release those positive endorphins and put you into a good one!

8 Physical Symptoms of Depression You Need to Know

Think depression is all in the head? Well, think again. Depression is much more than just feeling sad and it actually may manifest itself in many different physical ways that you may not be aware of.

Read below to learn 8 physical symptoms of depression:

1. Headaches

There are many different types of headaches that range in severity and cause. A “tension headache” is a type of headache that is often seen with depression, which is normally a mild throbbing pain extending across the forehead.

2. Fatigue

Feeling lethargic and having low energy is often a hallmark physical symptom of depression. If you have noticed a dip in your energy level, it is a good idea to check in with how your mood has been.

3. Nausea

Have you ever heard of the stomach being referred to as the “second brain?” The stomach is often referred to as the second brain because it is very much connected to the brain, meaning the brain can influence how the stomach feels – so feeling depressed can literally make you feel sick to your stomach. 

4. Constipation and/or diarrhea

As discussed above, the mind and stomach are very much connected which can lead to not only nausea, but also becoming constipated or having diarrhea.

Professional experience: In practice, I’ve had many patients who’ve had problems with constipation and/or diarrhea and once I put them on antidepressants the symptoms completely went away – pretty amazing to see!

5. Loss of appetite

A sudden loss of appetite is a very common symptom that comes with depression.

6. Increased appetite

Just as some individuals may experience a decrease in appetite with depression, many others will experience an increased appetite. The increased appetite is also normally for carb heavy, indulgent foods because carbs make you feel good – carbs help to increase serotonin which is the feel good hormone in your body.

7. Muscle stiffness

Muscle stiffness is a very common physical symptom that accompanies depression. If you’ve been feeling more stiff than usual, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself and how your mood has been.

8. Increased pain

Depression may make your body more sensitive to pain. The most common areas for pain are the back, neck, and/or shoulders – main areas where we tend to hold stress and tension.

Main takeaways…

It is important to check in with yourself from time to time, especially if you’ve started to notice one or more of the above symptoms.

 

10 Things Mindful People Do Daily




With all of the distraction and anxiety in our world today, it’s those people that walk around above it all and smiling throughout their day that have it right. Those people are often living a life full of mindfulness…

To help you reach that amazing state, below are the 10 things that mindful people incorporate into their daily life to stay calm, focused, and centered throughout their day.

 

1. They are aware of their breathing

By checking in on your breath you have a direct line into your overall state. Short breaths in your upper chest area may indicate anxiety or stress, while deep diaphragmatic breaths show off a sense of calm and relaxation. Calm breath equals a calm mind.



 

2. They focus on the task at hand

While the popular belief is that multi-tasking is the way to go, mindful people know that focusing on a single task and doing it great is the best use of their attention. Multi-tasking can lead to anxiety as our brain is running all over the place and never focused and calm.



 

3. They embrace nature

Getting outside and “bathing” in nature is one of the simplest ways to improve your headspace. Research has shown that being outdoors can even boost your energy and relieve stress.



4. They meditate daily

Having a consistent meditation practice has been shown to boost your well-being, improve focus, and reduce stress. Whether it’s in the morning before you start your day, during lunch break, or when you have time in the evening, finding even just 5 minutes a day to meditate will prove to be incredibly beneficial in helping you become more mindful.

*Try MeditateBot in Messenger for free meditations*



5. They pay attention to their eating

Often referred to as “mindful eating”, the art of paying attention to what you are eating during meals and savoring each bite. Listening to your body while you eat is an amazing way to tell if you are full and avoid overeating.




6. They laugh at themselves

Being able to take a step back from a situation you may be stressing over and laughing at how caught up you are in it is an amazing super power! Life presents ups and downs, but being able to take in situations and just laugh and be cheerful will take you a long way.



 

7. They free their minds

Knowing when to let your mind run free and be creative is an important part of being mindful. The funny thing about becoming mindful and being able to harness your attention at will, is that you have the power to turn your focus on and off whenever you want!



 

8. They turn simple tasks into mindful moments

By paying attention to daily activities, you can bring mindfulness into the even smallest of daily tasks. From brushing your teeth to unloading the dishwasher, mindfulness opportunities are presented in many forms, not just meditation.




9. They use social media proactively

With all of the angst against how social media distracts us, mindful people know that it can be also used to be beneficial to our lives. Whether it’s checking in on an old friend, following a mindfulness quotes account, or reading a blog post on positivity, there are many ways that social media can make you more mindful.



10. They control their reactions

We understand that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. The most mindful people can take a step back, assess, then choose the best path forward.




 

Top Tips To Prevent Holiday Stress




The holidays can be a very joyous time of year, filled with parties, friends and family. That being said, the holiday season can also bring about a lot of stress.

Read below to learn the top tips to prevent and reduce stress during the holiday season:




Don’t procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, especially when it comes to the holidays. Don’t leave everything until the last moment because that is a guaranteed way to put yourself in a place of panic. 

Have a plan

Having a plan is how you can prevent yourself from procrastinating. Make a list of everything you need to get done and designate different days to get everything checked off your list. Making a plan early on helps to prevent stress and anxiety later.



Identify the triggers

Understand what the triggers are that make you feel stressed during the holidays. Is it shopping for gifts? Having to cook for a large group? Travel? When you understand what your stress triggers are, you can better plan to make them less stressful.

Sweat it out

Holidays are an extremely busy time, which is why exercise is so important this time of year. Exercise gives you energy, helps you sleep better, and helps to lower stress hormones in your body.



Cut down on sugar and carbs

The holidays are full of tempting desserts and high carb meals. Eating foods high in sugar and carbs causes a rollercoaster in your blood sugar levels, which leads to stress in your body, moodiness and hangry.



Go easy on the alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are often flowing during the holidays, and one too many cocktails can leave you feeling more stressed than you started. Make a point to watch your alcoholic intake during the holiday season.

Main takeaways…

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




12 Positive Affirmations for Success




Positive affirmations help to change your thinking and beliefs, in order to drive real change and positive results. It’s all about the mindset!

How to use them:
1. Take a deep breath
2. Speak or think your affirmation
3. Visualize yourself applying it to your life

Here are 12 of our favorite positive affirmations for success, enjoy!

 

1. “I live a positive life and only bring the best into my life.”




2. “Today, and every day, I choose to be happy.”




3. “My life overflows with happiness and love.”




4. “Today is full of opportunity and I open my heart to receive it.”




5. “Today, and every day, I choose to be confident.”




6. “I am completely in charge of my life.”




7. “I act daily with courage and confidence.”




8. “I open my life to the world and the world gives me love in return.”




9. “I act, think, and communicate like a true leader.”




10. “I inspire others to be their very best self.”




11. “Today, I choose to leave my old bad habits behind and take up new, more positive ones.”




12. “Everything that is happening to me now is happening for my greater good.”





 

How to Deal With Difficult People

 

No matter how you cut it, at some point throughout your days on earth you are going to come across a difficult person in which you’ll have to deal with. Even the most centered and mindful people run across these folks – truthfully,  it’s almost impossible to avoid them (hint: they’re everywhere – from the DMV to your workplace).

Below are some of our favorite techniques you can use to deal with difficult co-workers, customers, contractors, family members, and so on. Of course, you may know some of these difficult people better than others and know what tactics will work best on them – the key is to know that each of these are at your disposal (think of them like your toolkit).

 

1. Listen more than you talk

Let them vent and get out whatever it is they are angry about. Keep eye contact and nod your head to display that you are truly “hearing” what they are saying. This works two-fold – first, it demonstrates to them that you are attempting to see things from their perspective – second, it gives you time and all of the necessary information from them to respond methodically.

 

2. Don’t get defensive

I know this is a hard one because of course you want to defend where you are coming from. The key is to separate yourself from the situation and understand that it likely is not about you. Difficult people have their own issues that they are struggling with and are simply projecting them upon you in this situation. Try your best to not take it personally.

 

3. Stay calm

It’s a total waste of time to fight anger with anger. All that will do is put you two against one another and escalate the situation further. Instead, try to breathe deep into the stomach while listening to them – this will send calming signals from your brain throughout your entire body.

 

 

4. Find common ground

Ironically, the common ground you find with each other doesn’t have to have anything to do with the difficult situation at all. If you both have kids, talk about that. When we see someone we have similarities with it makes it easier to put ourselves in their shoes and see things from their perspective. You’ll find the more you demonstrate how you are similar, the quicker you’ll reach a mutually beneficially solution.

 

5. Look for win-wins

Offer up solutions that both parties will be happy with. When you work together to do this it makes it extremely difficult to argue. If everyone is cool and collected, that’s the absolute best way to deal with a difficult person – not through anger.

 

6. Try not to smile

I know this may sound odd, but if someone is exposing anger towards you and you’re just smiling back, you’re going to get them even more angry. Now, if you know the person well enough to know they enjoy humor, go ahead and try to inject some light into the conversation, but be careful and don’t always expect a smile in return.

 

7. Avoid demands

Giving a difficult person an ultimatum is fuel for their fire. You have to understand that these people often have some serious issues going on below the surface and by trying to force their hand to comply you’ll likely anger them even more. Instead of demands, try and find a mutually beneficial solution. This may mean you have to give a little, but that’s ok. Just finding a solution with a difficult person will feel like a win!

 

8. Treat yourself

Successfully handling a difficult person is one of life’s hardest tasks. So give yourself some praise (and even a treat!) when you accomplish this goal. Training the brain to know that after you deal with a difficult person or situation you’ll get a reward is a great hack to set you up for success the next time you cross one (which you inevitably will).

 

 

How to Quiet Your Monkey Mind

Do you constantly feel like you have a voice in your head (feeding you negative thoughts!)? Well the good news is that this doesn’t make you crazy, it’s actually built into our DNA to have this pesky sidekick living alongside us. This mostly unwanted friend is often referred to as our “Monkey Mind” and like any monkey – it needs to be properly tamed. If the monkey mind is not properly tamed and we attach ourselves to it, that’s when serious problems begin to arise in our lives.

Here are 6 ways that you can quiet your monkey mind and start living more in the moment…

1. Recognize that it’s there

The minute you begin to notice the thoughts arising from the monkey mind and detach yourself from them, that’s when it will begin to disappear. The monkey needs to know that you are paying attention and believing its thoughts. Starve the monkey by not paying attention to them – even laugh at them (this shouldn’t be hard because many are outrageous if you really stop to think about them).

 

2. Start journaling

Take notes on what the monkey mind is trying to tell you. Whether it’s a physical notebook or on your phone, begin to document what the monkey mind is saying and when it’s saying it. You should start to notice two patterns in – 1. What it’s saying 2. When it’s saying it (i.e. When you’re all alone). Both of these are equally important and will help you silence it over time. Additionally, take the time to write down what you are grateful for in your life (see #5) – I recommend starting each day with a 10 minute gratitude practice. 

 

3. Accept your past

The monkey mind loves bringing up the past over and over again. It likes to tell you that because something went wrong that ONE TIME, that it’s going to always happen. This is a lie that the monkey mind feeds off of and is something that will bring you down to its level. Take the time to accept that your past happened (the good and the bad) and know that it has little to no bearing on the present (and future).

 

4. Focus on your breathing

When you start to notice negative thoughts from the monkey mind intruding on your brain, divert those thoughts by instead focusing on your breathing. Take deep belly breathes in from your nose and out your mouth until those thoughts run away. If you want to take this to the next level or have never been “taught” breathing techniques, I recommend exploring yoga – you’ll begin to understand and control your breathe (along with many other benefits). 

 

5. Practice gratitude

By taking the time to think through what you are grateful for in life your monkey mind’s negative thoughts are not able to creep in. Gratitude focuses on the positive aspects of your life, which begins to rewire your brain to think more positively over time. Take 10 minutes at the start of every morning (wake up early if you say you don’t have the time) and write down 3 things that you are grateful for. That’s all. You’ll start to see the benefits on your attitude for the day almost immediately. 

 

6. Meditate 

Probably the #1 way to calm the chatter of the monkey mind is to start meditating daily. By practicing meditation, you’re telling your mind to be still – only accepting thoughts when you ask for them to come in and join. You can use this skill to counteract a negative monkey mind thought as it comes in. 

6 Ways To Stay Positive When Life Gets Hard




Sometimes life is hard. Whether it’s dealing with family issues, a tough work situation, or any other of life’s little challenges – we all face difficulties. Just because you are going through a difficult moment in your life, that doesn’t mean you still can’t maintain your positive outlook – it just means you need to try a little harder and have it top of mind. Here are 6 ways to stay positive when life gets tough.

 

1. Talk it out

Find someone you trust and talk through your worries. We tend to bottle things up and only see things from our own perspective. By talking it through with a friend or family member you can gain a new perspective and hopefully put you back in a positive direction.




 

2. Listen to music

Putting on music that you know you’ll enjoy is a simple hack to get yourself out of your own head and into a positive mindset. Instead of focusing on the potential negative outcomes, you’ll have endorphins flowing through your body and settling you into positivity.




 

3. Show gratitude

Write down 3 things that you are grateful for every morning before you start your day. After a few days (maybe sooner) you’ll realize all of the positive aspects of your life. Once in a positive mindset, you’ll be better primed to tackle your current life challenges. 




 

4. Fear set

Fear-setting, a technique often attributed to Stoic philosophy, has you think through all of the possible “bad scenarios” that could come as a result of your challenges. By doing this, you’ll realize that the worst case really isn’t that bad at all. This will also help you face the challenges head on and be more prepared for different scenarios as they arise. 




 

5. Accept what you can’t change

Radical acceptance is a practice of accepting the things that you can’t change, even if you don’t agree with them. By doing so, you’ll hack your mind to stop thinking about those things in a negative light – thus not feeding your brain with an infinite negative feedback loop!




 

6. Control what you can

Don’t waste your time worrying about the things that you can’t control, instead take that energy and put it into the areas that you can control. Being proactive as you face life’s challenges will put you into a positive mindset and guide you away from the feeling of helplessness – something we feel when life’s difficulties overwhelm us.