Healthy Aging: Psychological Resilience 10 Practices to “Keep Your Head in the Game” of Life!

10 Practices to “Keep Your Head in the Game” of Life! | Healthy Aging Series: Part 12

I’m on a Southwest flight 31. Headed to Chicago and then to Cancun, Mexico. Vacation mode. With my wife. We work hard at helping others. We give a lot of ourselves. Often, times we see a lot of pain and suffering. I see broken families. I see men and women in despair, and yes, I see hopelessness. All of this takes a toll on us on us. That’s what life does.

Life Can Be Messy 

Throughout our lives we experience the loss of  jobs, of first loves, or the loss of money in the stock market. We live through the stress of a spiteful supervisor, the stress of an irrational neighbor, the stress of living in a partisan country. We carry the burden of wayward children and grandchildren, the burden of an ailing partner, the burden of a dying parent. We endure the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams, unrequited love, and undeserved betrayals. Life can be a mess.  How prepared are you for those messes, the mental and emotional upheaval‘s? How psychologically resilient are you? How quickly do you rebound from the disappointments, from the unexpected adversities, and from unwanted changes?

What is Psychological Resiliency?

I have written in an earlier blog about resiliency. In some ways it helps to understand that physical resiliency is the opposite of physical vulnerability or physical fragility. Psychological vulnerability and  fragility are similar in many ways. Psychological resiliency acts as a buffer between us and our adversity and helps preserve our emotional balance or what some call homeostasis. Why is this important and what can we do about it?

Psychological resiliency is important because of the body-mind connection. If we are fragile psychologically or physically it affects our mental resiliency. People that are physically frail often suffer emotionally and psychologically  and vice versa.

If psychological resiliency is that important,  how does one become more psychologically resilient? How does one develop emotional stamina, mental strengthen and endurance? The mindfulness community teaches the phrase “What we practice grows stronger. The AA community refers to the 12 steps and encourages its members to practice the principles in all their affairs.

Becoming and maintaining our psychological resilience takes practice.

In the same way that you need good nutrition and exercise for physical resilience, you need good mental nutrition and mental exercise for psychological resiliency. Becoming resilient and maintaining our  psychological resilience takes practice. Much like you need good nutrition and exercise for physical resilience you need good mental nutrition and mental exercise to grow your psychological resilience. It’s all about diet and exercise

Living My Life by Slogans (Practices)

I have based much of my own psychological resiliency on slogans and  mottos that reflect resiliency practices. What follows are a number of those slogans that I encourage you to practice. 

1. You have to adjust to the things that won’t adjust to you. I believe this means living life on life’s terms. There are a lot of stressors and things that happened to us throughout our years and our expectations of life, and these events can create a reactivity to the stressor that takes its toll on us both mentally and physically. Excepting the things that we cannot change is part of the process of developing resiliency.

2.  Easy does it. I have learned to not push so hard when pursuing my wants and needs. As a therapist I’ve learned that working with families involves being a change agent. I use the Easy-Does-It approach when is work with families. This means taking it slow and not pushing so hard for change.

3. The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If there is any guiding principle in life that I use, it’s the practice of treating others the way that I want to be treated. Practicing this principle eliminates conflict in relationships.

4. Memento Mori: “Remember that you will die.” I think about dying every day. There’s a lot to be said about this. Stoics believed that life only has meaning in light of dying. Resiliency grows as you make the most of each day, and that comes as we appreciate the meaning of each day.

5. “I treat everyone like my peer.” A few years ago I was watching an interview with Norman Lear, the creator of “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” At the time he was 93 and his interviewer asked him how it was that he seemed so youthful. His response was, “I treat everyone like my peer.“ There are practices that can alleviate resistance and difficulty in relationships. This is a practice that helps people or puts people at ease when they are with us and allows us to create it environment for them and promotes your resiliency.

6. Do the Next Best Thing. Life can present us with difficult decisions to make in the future. We fast forward at times into our future and think about all the things that we might face. We become overwhelmed by what “might be.” Doing the next best things means focusing on the here and now and dealing only with the problems that you face now. The future can rob you of your serenity and contribute to your loss of resiliency.

7. Build a Repertoire of Positive Sentiment. I go places with my wife to build a repertoire of positive sentiment. I hike for the same reason. I backpack for the same reason. I read and listen to new music for the same reason. I spend time with my sons and granddaughters for the same reason. This repertoire is a protect bubble that protects you from the hardships of life.

8. Balance Giving and Receiving. I know you’ve heard the slogan: It’s better to give than receive. This is BS. You must be a receiver for someone to be a giver. I love giving, but only being a giver ensures that you will become cynical and burned out. Learn to be a receiver.

9. Balance Work with Play. If you are going to be resilient you must play. You must have fun. You must be a little boy or little girl and play in the mud and make mudpies. You must make playdough cookies. You must laugh. You must tickle and be tickled. 

10. Spend Time Alone in Your Head: -reflecting -creating -using active imagination. There is the saying in the religious world, “Let go and let God!” I prefer, “Let go and let the wonderful, hidden thoughts that you’ve repressed and suppressed express themselves in those quiet moments that you spend by yourself.” I often do this while hiking by myself in the Jefferson Memorial Forest. I also suggest one of the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork parks. Reflect on the day. Reflect on the year. I love thinking back on the old year each New Year’s Day. Not all the memories are good but reflecting in them is necessary. 

These are my life-affirming practices. What are yours? What’s working for you? What gets you through the hustle and bustle of life? What helps you decompress from the stressors in life? What you practice is growing stronger.

This is part twelve in the Healthy Aging Series, written by Mark Neese, LCSW, BCBA. To see more entries in this series, click here.

ROMMIE’S THOUGHTS ON ECKHART TOLLE’S THE POWER OF NOW

Rommie’s Thoughts on Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now

Where is your mind? Right now. In this moment. What is on your mind?

Imagine picking up whatever is on your mind and setting it outside the door. It will be fine sitting there. Now, look up. What do you see? What do you hear? Notice I did not ask what you feel.

I’m outside. I hear a soft rustle of leaves. A robin’s song. A buzz. The subtleties of a distant jet.  This is the Now. There are no problems in the Now. Life just is. This is the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle (ET), author of The Power of Now. Every moment of every day is what it is, as if we had chosen it that way, good or bad—and even “good” or “bad” are just concepts of the mind. The things we judge. The things we react to. The things that we empower to literally suck the life energy out of us as if the problem shouldn’t be what it is.  As if we shouldn’t accept life as it is just now. As if we shouldn’t accept, that in large portion, we have likely created whatever “problem” we are reacting to. If we accept the “problem”, what will happen?  We will become conscious. ET’s philosophy is to become aware, conscious, awake to what is. Accept what is as if you had chosen it. Then observe the transformation. The evolution of consciousness, of acceptance, of peace.

Our egos love to react.

Our egos love to argue, to fuss, complain, and demand that life be “better” as if the ebb and flow of life should be something other than what it is. 

I’m here to challenge you to give the “Now” a chance.

It takes practice to live, speak, and enjoy the Now, which is really all anyone has.  Becoming conscious of one’s self, one’s ego, one’s identification with mind is the first step towards acceptance, towards peace. ET teaches to observe your thoughts but don’t believe them. Think about when you quarreled with someone last. If you’re honest about your role in the non-peace, it likely comes from a place of fear. A fear of being wrong. A fear of “losing”. Losing what? And even if you “lose”, what does that mean about you, if anything? Can you accept the circumstances without judging them?

Which brings me to resistance. Can you accept the circumstances without resistance?

ET teaches that suffering does not come from the circumstances but our resistance to them. Again, whatever the circumstances are, this is the way it’s supposed to be. Our response, not reactivity, is to embrace whatever “is”. Whatever the circumstances are is the way the circumstances are supposed to be…or they wouldn’t be that way.  It is our reaction or response that determine whether or not we suffer.

Surrender to what is.

ET teaches that “surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to what is rather than opposing the flow of life.” When you stop resisting what is, when you surrender, the past and future cease to have power. 

But what if someone wrongs me? Does acceptance and surrender mean I allow others to mistreat me?  Does surrender mean give up? Give in? Enable disrespect?  What if I have disrespected another person?  Do I accept that, do I surrender to that? ET teaches that “resentment and pain arise from the false sense of self we’ve created for ourselves and others.”  That our grievances are reactions to the artificial egos of others. He teaches how to bring non judgment and equanimity when others overstep our boundaries. He also teaches how to forgive our past selves and what to do when the pain of memories hijack our emotions. Holding on to old wounds is one of the surest signs that we are caught in the egotistic thinking of the false self. However, ET shows us the way to let go and embrace the liberation that living in the present moment, the Now, brings us.

Make the present moment the primary focus of your life.

Rommie OshriehRommie Oshrieh is Co-Founder/Owner of Sage Support Services and True North Counseling.

She serves as Executive Director of Sage and has served as a Case Manager/Supervisor for individuals with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities for the past 15 years. 

Adding Self-Care to Our Social Media Habit by Zoe Avery

Adding Self-Care to Our Social Media Habit

Written by student intern Zoe Avery. Zoe is currently attending University of Louisville for Couples and Family therapy and has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Murray State University. Learn more about her work on our staff page

As a child of the internet world, raised to be “tech savvy” and inundated with all of the fun (but not actually fun at all) side effects of a technology centered society, I’ve often sought out ways to be intentional about my social media usage. If not transforming all of my accounts to purely self help, providing myself with breaks from the usual and sometimes harmful aspects seen online. By taking time to intentionally curate a safe space on my social media, I’ve worked a level of self care within these various social accounts that I just can’t seem to delete.

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself While Still Using Social Media

Adding/following friends that add positivity to your feed.

For most of us it feels fairly unrealistic to delete all social media. This being said, we can still incorporate self transformation or just a mental break into our following list. Whether this is a directly therapeutic account, religious, spiritual, or just an account that posts kittens in different sized buckets, these can be helpful in grounding us during our internet usage. 

Limiting Our Own Usage.

Yes, most of us are adults, free to do as we please, but we are never too old to benefit from a little structure. By limiting our social media usage, we can be mindful of the amount of information we are absorbing from the internet and refocus our mental space on other interests. To make this more fun or easy, you can use a friend as an accountability partner, or download an app that records your time spent on various platforms so you can’t say you lost track of time! This tip rebukes the all or nothing mindset that is typically discussed around social media, and allows us to have a little bit of social media time as a treat (because we deserve it)!

Creating Our Own Safe Space.

Remember that social media can be whatever we want it to be, so make yours safe. Set firm boundaries, be authentic, and take care of yourself. Do what you need to feel safe and held within the community you create on your pages. Whether this includes having private accounts, being selective with friends/followers, not posting at all, posting everyday, use social media in a way that pours into you instead of draining you. 

My Personal Respite on Instagram

I’d like to highlight some of my favorite therapist accounts on instagram, who offer me useful and positive information daily:

@therapyforwomen

 @michaelshahan_therapy

@nedratawwab 

#Therapy TikTok: A Substitute For Actual Therapy?

By Rachel Eichberger, True North Counseling MSCFT Intern

I’ve been there- scrolling away and all of the sudden I find myself on an unexpected side of TikTok – that algorithm is getting a little too good. Eventually, after several likes and follows I realize that I found #Therapy TikTok. While there is some encouraging, validating, and even eye-opening content it makes me wonder- could people view this as a substitute for actual therapy? Since “#mentalhealth has 15.3 billion views and #therapistsoftiktok has 318 million” it is fair to assume that consumers are latching onto the de-stigmatization of mental health and potentially considering the content as guidance1. A study completed in 2022 gathered data on TikTok mental health content specific to ADHD and exposed some stirring evidence. Of “100 videos, 52% were classified as misleading and non-healthcare providers uploaded the majority of these videos”2.

While educational and inspirational content can leave consumers feeling supported, it is clear that TikTok is not an appropriate or effective substitute for therapy. A USA Today article highlighting the benefits and downside of #Therapy TikTok quoted therapist Jamie Mahler stating “TikTok can’t be therapy because therapy involves individualized care. The therapist creates the entire treatment plan around the client as an individual. It also is held to ethical standards and confidentiality in an interpersonal exchange”1.

So, should I even spend time on #Therapy TikTok? I would say, yes! The upside of this content is that users can find a welcoming environment to explore concepts and consider trying therapy. Ideally, this would provide connections to qualified providers and open doors to users who truly need the individualized care that psychotherapy provides. As with all of social media- consider the source before believing content as truth and enjoy those daily validations!

1. Dastagir, A. E. (2021, September 3). Mental health TikTok is powerful. But is it therapy?. USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/09/03/tiktok-mental-health-content-has-exploded-but-therapy/5694716001/

2. Yeung, A., Ng, E., & Abi-Jaoude, E. (2022). Tiktok and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a cross-sectional study of social media content quality. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 7067437221082854, 7067437221082854–7067437221082854. https://doi.org/10.1177/07067437221082854

headline anxiety

How to Deal with Headline Anxiety in an Uncertain Time

By Rachel Eichberger, True North Counseling MSCFT Intern

It is two years into a global pandemic and you look down at your smartphone and see the following news alert- “Russia invades Ukraine”. As the days progress, our news outlets, social media, and daily conversations have become centered on a traumatic conflict that is being continuously covered and even live streamed. You can feel yourself getting swept up in the fear, pain, and shock but just cannot seem to stop consuming more and more details.

Why is this? Why do we find ourselves glued to horrific scenes yet feeling our own stress increasing with each story?

“Headline Stress Disorder,” also referred to as “Headline Anxiety,” was coined by Steven Stosny, Ph.D, a Maryland therapist, in response to heightened stress brought on by “continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media and alternative facts feel(ing) like missile explosions in a siege without end”1. Although headline stress disorder is not an actual clinical diagnosis, “research has shown that the sentiment of news articles can evoke emotional responses from readers on a daily basis with specific evidence for increased anxiety and depression in response to coverage”2.

There are ways to stay informed and remain empathetic while keeping ourselves in a relatively calm state. Here are some tips from the National Alliance on Mental Health to remember when placing boundaries around your news consumption:

  • Be mindful of your news consumption by shortening the time you scroll through news.
  • Limit your news to only one or two reliable sources.
  • Practice acceptance and understand, the news will not answer all your questions.
  • Learn about preventative and precautionary measures from reliable sources.
  • Stay connected to friends and family.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
  • Take social media breaks.
  • Understand that it is normal to be somewhat concerned by this, but try to not let fear drive your anxiety to an unhealthy level.

For some, a feeling of helplessness may become overwhelming and one way to address this emotion is with action. There are reliable organizations you can donate to listed here. In addition to adjusting your own boundaries with news, the kiddos in your life may have questions and concerns, too. NPR Life Kit has an excellent podcast, “What to say to kids when the news is scary.” Remember, many tips that we can use to reassure our children can also be used as a comfort for us grown-ups, too.

1. Stosny, S. (2017, February 6). He once called it ‘election stress disorder.’ Now the therapist says we’re suffering from this. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/02/06/suffering-from-headline-stress-disorder-since-trumps-win-youre-definitely-not-alone/
2. Lekkas, D., Gyorda, J. A., Price, G. D., Wortzman, Z., & Jacobson, N. C. (2022). Using the covid-19 pandemic to assess the influence of news affect on online mental health-related search behavior across the united states: integrated sentiment analysis and the circumplex model of affect. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(1), 32731. https://doi.org/10.2196/32731
3. National Alliance on Mental Health Maryland. Ways To Avoid Headline Anxiety. http://namimd.org/coronavirus_resources/ways_to_avoid_headline_anxiety

 

 

procrastination

What is “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?”

Here is a guest blog from one of our current practicum students, Abigail Overstreet. Abigail is in the MSSW/MSCFT dual degree program at the University of Louisville Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work.

The phrase “bedtime procrastination” is first credited to this 2014 study from the Netherlands. The addition of “revenge” seems to have first started appearing on Chinese internet sites in 2016, according to Health.com. Since then, the term revenge bedtime procrastination has found its way onto social media platforms, especially after writer Daphne K. Lee publicly tweeted, “Learned a very relatable term today: “報復性熬夜” (revenge bedtime procrastination), a phenomenon in which people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours.”

Although delaying sleep to finish ‘just one more episode and/or chapter’ is a very human experience, the repeated procrastination of sleep to meet some interpersonal need is most often found in overworked people. Populations that are predisposed to this habit are parents of young children, students, caregivers, or professionals with poor work/life balance. In some cases, the habit of revenge bedtime procrastination formed during a busy season of life and has continued even though the need for it has passed.

What to Do

-Take an honest inventory of your daily activities and see where your minutes are being allotted. Those ten-minute social media scroll breaks add up—one of the easiest ways to tally your phone usage is to activate your phone’s ability to monitor your screen time.

-Learn to be present in the current activity and space. When you’re at work—do work, when you’re home, be fully engaged with your family and your leisure time. Obviously with the pandemic, this separation of physical space has become easier said than done, but if it is possible, devote a singular space or consistent set of hours to your work and then step away. Stop devoting today’s mental energy to tomorrow’s tasks.

-Stop setting yourself up for failure and recognize your limits–even Clark Kent only published one newspaper a day.

-Seek out respite services or rely on your support network to get some critical ‘me-time’ while caregiving or parenting.

-Speak to a counselor/therapist about time management and sleep hygiene strategies if you’re still struggling. We at True North Counseling are here to assist you.

burnout

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking The Stress Cycle

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

“The problem is not that we aren’t trying. The problem isn’t even that we don’t know how. The problem is the world has turned “wellness” into yet another goal everyone “should” strive for, but only people with time and money and nannies and yachts and Oprah’s phone number can actually achieve.”

Sometimes a book comes along at the exact right time in your life. Sometimes, that’s a book you probably should have read three degrees ago. This book is exactly that for me. It provided a brand-new way of looking at stress in my life by separating stress from stressors. They write:

Dealing with your stress is a separate process from dealing with the things that cause your stress. To deal with your stress, you have to complete the cycle…Stressors are what activate the stress response in your body. They can be anything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine could do you harm. There are external stressors: work, money, family, time, cultural norms and expectations, experiences of discrimination, and so on. And there are less tangible, internal stressors: self-criticism, body image, identity, memories, and The Future. In different ways and to different degrees, all of these things may be interpreted by your body as potential threats.”

A failure to go through and resolve the stress cycle can result in burnout, which was “first coined as a technical term by Herbert Freudenberger in 1975. ‘Burnout’ was defined by three components: 1. emotional exhaustion—the fatigue that comes from caring too much, for too long; 2. depersonalization—the depletion of empathy, caring, and compassion; and 3. decreased sense of accomplishment—an unconquerable sense of futility: feeling that nothing you do makes any difference.”

If we’ve known about burnout for so long, how is it that we’re just now figuring out how to fix it?

This is not quite a rhetorical question. The answer is: Because it’s hard. If everyone knew how to combat burnout, we would all be doing it! (And the monetized “experience of self-care” that’s sold by the capitalist machine will go away, but that’s for another time…) Part of the problem is that we’ve been looking at stress the wrong way. “The good news is that stress is not the problem. The problem is that the strategies that deal with stressors have almost no relationship to the strategies that deal with the physiological reactions our bodies have to those stressors. To be “well” is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and calm, but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety and calm, and out again. Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you.”

To get un-stuck, the Nagoskis’ write, we must move. Run, dance, kickbox, tense and release muscles, and, most importantly, breathe. The book has other great tips, as well as a way to plan out all of the options you have for completing the stress cycle.

So the real question is: How are you completing the stress cycle today?

Brain Fog & The Body-Mind Connection

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Brain Fog & The Body-Mind Connection

I’m sitting in a Starbucks this morning in Woodland Park, Colorado. There is snow on the ground and I can’t see Pike’s Peak because of the fog. Winter lasts forever here!

I’ve been reading books on Thyroid health because I’ve been experiencing another type of fog: Brain Fog. As it turns out, my thyroid has been under producing Thyroxine and brain fog is associated with Hypothyroidism.

There is a lot of new thinking about hypothyroidism. Anthony William, in his book, “Thyroid Healing,” suggests that an under-functioning thyroid is one of many symptoms caused by the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). These other symptoms include: problems with sleep, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and brain fog or mental fatigue, just to name a few. William also warns that people can also experience an increase in anxiety and depression as a result of EBV reactivation.

Most of us have the EBV in our bodies, but it remains dormant most if not all of our lives. An environmental stressor can reactivate it. He suggests that something as simple as having an old filling replaced or exposure to mold can bring it out of dormancy.

I don’t bring this up to jump into the debate about hypothyroidism, but rather to reassert my belief that “our bodies and minds are so closely connected that they catch each other’s diseases.”

Seeking Treatment

As a clinician who sees people that are struggling each day with anxiety, depression, mental and physical fatigue, I take it very serious to help them consider that these issues could have a physical basis. I insist that they consult a health professional.

I’ve been experiencing “Brain Fog.” It’s possibly being caused by a virus that was reactivated sometime in the past 6 months. Knowing this means that it’s “not in my head,” or “burnout,” or “something wrong with my thinking, such as sabotaging thoughts,” but rather, it’s a virus or low thyroxine production affecting my body.

This means that I can do something about it. I can help my thyroid heal and combat the EBV. It will always be there but hopefully back into dormancy. “Healing Thyroid” offers several nutritional strategies to accomplish this. And of course, exercise, fresh air and the forests will provide the rest.

I want you to know that all of this is supplementing the care from my doctor. I am taking medication to supplement the loss of Thyroxine, and she is monitoring my blood work closely.

It will be a team effort.

Tuesday Thoughts: The Importance of Community

For several years now, I’ve been a supervisor of pre-licensed social workers and marriage & family therapists working on their two years of post-graduate training. Over the past year or so, I’ve realized that there often arises a theme for the supervision I do each week. This past week’s theme was community.

Community connections keep us mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.  Often, when people hear community, they think of the neighborhood they live in, or perhaps their immediate family. However, community, like success, is how you define it. Humans are relational creatures. Even the most introverted among us benefits—psychologically, physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually—from being connected to a community.

This becomes infinitely clear when a person is separated from community. My first year of teaching was spent in the middle of nowhere (Maine) where I was teaching writing, doing improvisational comedy, and cooking, all while living as a house parent with twelve 8 and 9 year-old girls. While there was another house parent, she and I had opposite shifts. As it was a summer program for children at high levels of performing arts expertise, almost all of the students came from very affluent backgrounds. There were very few students of the same, or even a similar, religious and cultural background as me. I remember crying in the director’s office, feeling very alone and separate in my ‘different-ness.’ It was in that moment that I realized how important community is.

In building or discovering your own community, consider how you might connect on multiple levels:

  • Intellectual: Can you join a book club or discussion group? Your local library or independent book shop may serve as a resource.
  • Physical: There are hundreds of recreational leagues for adults all over most major cities. Maybe you want to play a sport you played growing up. Maybe this is the time to try something completely different! (Your local YMCA is a good starting place.) Even if you’re not a “class person,” consider attending group exercise classes at your gym, or look for Groupons to try a completely new activity.
  • Spiritual and/or Religious: Most faith communities have “newcomers groups,” where you can meet many like-minded people. If you’re not inclined toward organized religion, Meetup.org has lots of groups that seek to explore philosophy.
  • Hobbies: Again, this is a great opportunity to seek out local businesses, which often have groups based on their products. Yarn shops often have knitting groups; outdoor gear shops often have hikes, etc.
  • Volunteering: Volunteermatch.org has a great search engine that can match you with your interests, availability, and amount of time you have available. Through volunteering, you can find people with similar interests. Even if you don’t cultivate a connection outside of the volunteer experience, volunteering gives you an ongoing community.

How will you connect with your community this week?

Jennifer Kendrick

AAMFT Approved Supervisor
Kentucky Board Approved MFT Supervisor

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Clinical Social Worker in KY
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in IN
cell: 502.203.9197

Escape. Explore. Connect.

I do a lot of walking in parks. This past week I noticed the signs at Joe Creason Park had the following tag at the end: Escape. Explore. Connect. What good advice. People seem more stressed today than ever before. Relationships seem more complicated. We’re connected to social media, the news networks, podcasts, and our smartphones to the point that most of us are mentally exhausted. We worry about our kids, our finances or jobs, whether or not to vaccinate our kids (the answer, of course, is yes, yes, yes, get your children vaccinated) and we worry about our health and mortality.

If any of this applies to you, here is my prescription:  Escape. Explore. Connect. Sometimes, it’s that simple. I tell people all the time that one of the benefits of getting out and exploring the forests and parks is the feeling that time slows down. It happens to me all the time. I spend 3 or 4 hours hiking and it seems like I’ve been out for a day. An overnight backpacking trip feels like a full weekend.

Time slows down when you Escape, Explore, Connect.

Lately, I’ve been in the forests exploring for geodes. I am fascinated with them. I love to bring them home and crack them open to discover the quartz crystals inside. Sometimes they’re solid quartz. They are all beautiful. Some are the size of walnuts and some the size of baseballs. What I’ve discovered is that they took hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years to form. Air bubbles developed underground and were slowly filled with crystals by quarts-saturated water. There are lots of ways to connect with the forest and this is one of them. I’m out there in the creek beds exploring and escaping. I am carried away to a time millions of years ago. Escape. Explore. Connect.

This spring, I hope to begin collecting, drying and mounting plants and their flowers. Escape. Explore. Connect.

This March, we are going to host a family-friendly hike in the Jefferson Memorial Forest. It will be the first Saturday of Spring, March 23, 2019. It will be your chance to get some Nature Therapy and to Escape. Explore. Connect.