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Mental Health and Negative Thinking – Thoughts from a Brooklyn Psychologist

Mental Health and Negative Thinking – Thoughts from a Brooklyn Psychologist

Most of us have at least a general understanding of mental health. We understand that we can develop conditions like anxiety and depression that cause us to feel worried, sad, stressed, and overwhelmed. We also tend to recognize that these symptoms are not something we easily control, and often benefit from treatment from an experienced NYC psychologist.

But, despite this general understanding of mental health, not all of us can fully process the idea that our thoughts and feelings when we struggle with anxiety and depression may not be genuine – and that the way that we process the world with a mental health condition is affected by these same conditions.

How Mental Health Creates Negative Thinking, Hopelessness

We tend to believe that the way we feel and the way we think are logical and genuine. Even when we struggle with a condition like depression, we still tend to feel like the way that we experience things is how they *are*.

We can see this show up in many different ways:

  • Neutral Interactions – When we experience an emotionally neutral interaction, such as ordering a coffee from a coffee shop, those with mental health struggles may process it as a negative event. We may feel like it was unenjoyable, or part of a bad day, or a negative experience, even if nothing specifically negative occurred.
  • Limited Tolerance – With our stress levels high, we have very little capacity for discomforts of any kind, which can lead us to feeling easily annoyed, irritable or stressed. Yet we do not always realize that our stress levels are high, so that intolerance feels like a general annoyance with others.
  • Fewer Positive Experiences – When you have mental health struggles, the things you enjoy are unlikely to feel as enjoyable, while the things you don’t enjoy feel even worse. If you look back on a day of ½ enjoyable, ½ unenjoyable activities, the day is going to feel like a bad day simply because the enjoyable activities were not able to be enjoyed as often.

But perhaps the most problematic symptom is that depression and anxiety are conditions that feed themselves.

For example, a symptom of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. What this means is that, if a person tries to treat their depression, they are naturally and organically going to feel like the treatment will not work – because the depression causes them to process it as hopeless. That hopelessness feels so genuine, that even a person that knows they have depression may not associate it with their mental health.

The way that psychology affects how we think and how we process the world is fascinating, yet it also means that struggling with a mental health condition can affect us in ways we do not always realize or understand.

Treating Thoughts Can Change Mental Health

All of this is about recognizing that the way that we think isn’t just our personality, our character, or our natural emotions and thought processes. Sometimes, the way that we think and the way we feel is affected by our mental health.

Yet, perhaps what is most fascinating about mental health, in general, is that it’s possible to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions by systematically altering how we see our thoughts and behaviors. Just as depression can cause you to think negatively, so too can learning to think positively help cure depression. It is one of the many ways that mental health is fascinating, and also why anyone struggling with their mental health should consider seeing a therapist for support.

Learn more about our psychotherapy services at Flourish Psychology, today.

Brooklyn Therapist: 5 Unexpected Ways We Can Make a Difference

Brooklyn Therapist: 5 Unexpected Ways We Can Make a Difference

Many of our patients come to therapy with a cursory understanding of what therapy is and what it can do. You have a struggle, such as anxiety or depression, and your therapist uses evidence-based practices (like CBT) to help you cope with stress, change your thought patterns, alter behaviors, and better understand yourself.

We at Flourish Psychology are always happy to talk to you about therapy: what it is, why you might benefit, and how we can help. But today, we wanted to talk about some of the benefits of therapy that you may not expect. These are benefits that often extend beyond therapy, and are a consequence – both intended and unintended – of seeing your very own Brooklyn therapist.

Additional Benefits of Therapy

  1. Healthier Breathing – Anxiety and stress can trigger the activation of your fight or flight system. This system speeds up your heart rate and causes you to breathe faster, leading to hyperventilation. People that hyperventilate often may find themselves developing bad breathing habits that cause them to tire more quickly, experience weakness, or feel unwell. By addressing the anxiety, some people find that their breathing seems to be under control as well. 
  2. Better Sex and Intimacy – There is, of course, far more to a person’s ability to enjoy intimacy than mental health alone. We work with many patients that struggle with intimacy, libido, and other conditions. But while curing anxiety or depression does not always make someone more capable as a lover, it does tend to increase a person’s own personal enjoyment, as they are less distracted by negative thoughts and better able to focus on the present.
  3. More Morning Energy – People with anxiety and depression often complain about feeling low energy in the morning, or more tired at night. Part of that is because these conditions are very draining. But another reason for these feelings is that people with mental health challenges tend to have less restful sleeps, so they’re drowsier in the morning. 
  4. Less Flatulence/Bloating – Your mental health has an effect on the gut, and the symptoms of many mental health disorders can do so as well. Stress can affect gut flora, making it more difficult to process food. Sleeping and breathing better both reduce bloating and gas. Anxiety and depression slow down digestion. Managing your mental health means reducing these discomforts.
  5. Noticing More Around You – When a person struggles with their mental health, they are often “in their own brain.” That can make it difficult to pay attention to the world around them. A person that sees a Brooklyn therapist and has their anxiety and depression under control is able to process more information. This means they can often see more of what’s going on, enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature, and even hear sounds they may not have heard before.

Learn More – Come See Our Therapists at Flourish Psychology

These only touch on some of the potential benefits of seeing a therapist in NYC, and while they may not hold true for everyone, one thing that we like to emphasize here at Flourish Psychology is that therapy is so much more than just “managing anxiety” or “reducing depression.” It has life-altering benefits in ways both big and small.

If you’re interested in getting started, please call Flourish Psychology, today.

Stress and Infertility in NYC – How Stress About Infertility May Affect the Ability to Get Pregnant

Stress and Infertility in NYC – How Stress About Infertility May Affect the Ability to Get Pregnant

There are many factors that affect a person’s fertility – from age, to biology, to diet, exercise, health, and even luck. Couples that are having issues with infertility may also find themselves struggling in silence, concerned about whether they are going to be able to conceive, and feeling as though they are under immense pressure to get pregnant soon.

We are here to talk to you about infertility in NYC, and help you process your struggles and figure out how to best move forward as an individual and as a couple. But today, we want to talk about the effects of stress on fertility – and how, in some cases, your own stress over the process may be impacting your ability to conceive.

The Effects of Stress On Pregnancy

We all experience stress. It’s also not uncommon to feel stress and anxiety if you and your partner have had difficulty conceiving. Problems can arise, however, when a person is feeling intense pressure to conceive – where their stress and anxiety about the process is overwhelming, and they’re having difficulty coping with it.

The relationship between stress and fertility is a complicated one. But studies have shown that patients that are under a significant amount of stress do tend to have a more difficult time conceiving:

  • Stress affects the menstrual cycle, affecting ovulation date.
  • Stress affects the ability of the egg to stick in the uterine wall.
  • Stress affects sleep quality, which can affect fertility.
  • Stress affects libido, which can cause couples to not be as intimate during ovulation.

This does not mean that stress itself is to blame for infertility, as stress is unlikely to be the only cause. But severe stress does have the potential to affect a person’s ability to get pregnant in different ways. If you’re struggling with severe stress caused by infertility, it is possible that your stress levels could also be leading to further infertility issues.

Therapy for Infertility – What the Science Says

While the science is mixed on how much stress creates infertility, research has shown that reducing stress levels through psychotherapy has the potential to improve fertility. Fertility is complicated, and therapy alone may not be enough to create the change that you and your body needs. But research has shown that it can help and, if you still struggle to conceive, therapy for infertility can help you move forward with the next step in the process. 

If you’ve been struggling with infertility in Brooklyn, NYC, or anywhere in New York State, contact Flourish Psychology today and let’s talk about the therapy and support we can provide.

Getting Started – How to Find a NYC Therapist You Connect With

Getting Started – How to Find a NYC Therapist You Connect With

Your mental health is important. Psychotherapy, when provided by experienced therapists, is one of the best available techniques for improving your mental health. Using evidence-based practices that have been extensively researched by universities all over the world, therapy is the most effective tool we have for addressing a person’s psychological challenges.

But while studies have shown that therapy modalities – like CBT – offer outstanding results, similar studies have also shown that a significant part of the success of therapy comes from finding a therapist in NYC that you are comfortable with – one that you trust to address your needs, and that feels like they connect with you on a deeper level.

Finding *Your* Therapist 

Before we talk about how to find a therapist that fits your needs, let’s first examine the most common reasons that someone quits therapy. These are:

  • They do not get along with their therapist.
  • They do not trust their therapist.
  • They are unwilling to open up to the therapist.
  • They do not feel they are improving enough.
  • They disagree with the therapist about the problem and how to address it.

In addition, what we’ve noticed is that many people that felt they didn’t “get anything from therapy” contacted only one therapist, didn’t feel like it helped, and then gave up on the field altogether.

Your relationship with your therapist is just that: a relationship. If you don’t feel that “spark” with your therapist, then not only will it be harder to receive the help you need – you’ll also find that the therapy will be less likely to work. Therapy’s success relies on finding a therapist that is right for you.

What You SHOULD Do to Find A Therapist 

The first thing to note is that you’re never stuck with a therapist. You can try one out for a few sessions, see if there is a connection, and find a new one. While no one likes change – especially not when it comes to mental health – you get to choose when to commit, and only when you’ve found someone that you truly feel is right for you should you commit to the process.

You should also consider asking them important questions that affect how comfortable you’ll be with their services:

  • What approaches to therapy do you use?
  • Are you comfortable working with someone of my background?
  • What process will you use to help me reach my goals?
  • How long do you expect therapy to last?
  • What are your typical clients like?

While this list of questions can serve as a guide, you should also ask any questions that concern you, or curiosities you have. Therapy is more effective the more you feel comfortable with the person providing the therapy, and – if you have an intake appointment, like we offer here at Flourish Psychology in Brooklyn – you should ask any questions that you need to feel comfortable.

Therapy Will Challenge You – Find Your Therapist First

Once you’ve found a therapist you feel connected to, that’s when you will want to commit to giving the process a chance. Therapy will occasionally challenge you. It is effective, but it requires vulnerability, honestly, and openness. There might be situations where your therapist says something to you that you do not want to hear, and the last thing you want to do is try to find a new therapist that tells you only what you want them to say.

That’s why the best thing you can do for yourself is to find a NYC therapist that you connect with first, so that when you are ready to commit to them, you know that you’ve chosen them for a reason. You’ll know that they have your interests in mind, and that they are giving you an evidence based treatment that they believe will help you the most.

If you’d like to learn more about our therapists, contact Flourish Psychology today for your intake appointment, and let’s see if we’re a good fit for you. 

Therapy for Celebrities, High-Achievers, and CEOs is Important

Therapy for Celebrities, High-Achievers, and CEOs is Important

Sometimes when we think of therapy, we only think of diagnoses related to mental health concerns. We forget that people’s careers and lifestyles that have been afforded to them can also take a toll on mental health. The high stress related to “keeping up” can cause burnout, stress, exhaustion, and failed attempts to self-medicate.

Here are 5 reasons celebrities, high-achievers, and CEOs should seek therapy:

1. COPING WITH IMMENSE PRESSURE

Whether you are a celebrity or running a business or country, there is immense pressure for you to perform. Expectations are high and the spotlight is bright. You may be attempting to balance work, a social life, family obligations, and a never-ending flow of tasks to complete. From the outside, it may appear that you perform like you are “at the top of your game” but internally you may feel overwhelmed. Isolation and stress might also take its toll on your mental health.

You may hold your feelings of stress in because those around you are the ones applying the pressure. Therapy can help due to the discrete nature of the work. It can be a confidential and non-judgmental space to help you manage this pressure. After working with a therapist you will notice a decrease in stress and anxiety. You will also notice an improvement in feeling more “free” and relieved of pressures.

2. CRITICS’ JUDGMENTs are hurtful

If you are a celebrity, business leader, athlete, or politician you may not be viewed as a holistic person with real struggles. Less empathy might be afforded to you as a wealthy or successful person as well. People in your life or outside critics might wrongly believe that money solves all problems. Additionally, the judgment and scrutiny from social media, people who don’t agree with your opinions, or competitors may lead you to feel off. Anxiety, a lack of self-esteem, and burnout are common experiences if you are constantly trying to fend off negative feedback.

Therapy can help you cope with the distress of these negative influences. Therapy is a space to process these struggles and overcome them so they don’t block success or happiness. You will learn tools that go beyond people’s advice to just “block out the noise.” You will feel more confident and equipped to overcome the negative voices.

3. self-medicating doesn’t work

You might find yourself attempting to solve your high-pressure demands through self-medicating. Alcohol, uppers, sedatives, and other substances might be abused to keep you afloat. The use of these substances in a constant cycle may seem like the only way to cope. Moreover, the environment you are in might normalize the never-ending use of substances to help you “take the edge off,” perform when tired, sleep when anxious, or have fun when out.

You might notice most people in your life cope with the use of substances. Or, you might feel alone in this struggle because all of the pressure tends to fall on you. Either way, therapy can help you escape this cycle and can help you feel a sense of freedom from the adverse consequences of substance use.

4. perfectionistic tendencies

As a high performer in your area, you are likely grateful for the skills, intelligence, and unique gifts that equipped you to achieve this level of success. You might also notice that your perfectionism sometimes acts as your biggest critic and it might now allow you to have fun and enjoy breaks. You may need more balance through decreasing self-judgment around your appearance, your performance, or your leadership abilities.

You may also feel like an imposter at times and question how you made it to this level of celebrity or status. Being too hard on yourself in all areas of your life can hold you back from enjoying your talents and career. Therapy can help you catch your negative inner critic and allow you to feel free from self-induced judgment while still supporting you to meet your goals and continue to achieve them.

5. relationships are suffering

Those who are closest to you might feel the effects of what you are going through. Relationships are hard to maintain when you are under constant pressure or scrutiny. You may feel misunderstood by others or you may feel you can’t open up and trust others easily. You may notice you are easily irritated or you have a “short fuse” with those closest to you. Perhaps those you love have tried to help or perhaps they contribute to a toxic cycle that is holding you back. The therapy relationship can help normalize these experiences and help you connect better with others so you can enjoy the people again who matter most to you.

the importance of discreet confidential therapy for celebrities and high-powered individuals.

It is likely you have experienced situations in which your privacy isn’t consistently maintained even when promised. Others might have broken trust or privacy agreements for their own gain and it could be hard to imagine there is a space where true confidentially is possible. Therapy is that space.

Therapy is one of the only spaces where confidentiality is legally and ethically maintained. You can use your therapy sessions to enjoy time for your wellness where you are not judged or placed on a pedestal. Your therapy relationship can be a space to divulge stressors and fears. It can also be a place to feel human and safe where there are no pressures or expectations to perform. Your therapy would consider your unique story that brought you to this place in life, but it won’t overshadow your needs as a person with struggles.

At Flourish Psychology we are skilled in therapy for celebrities, leaders, and other high-profile individuals. We ensure you feel safe and that your mental health is taken care of. We offer flexible scheduling and specialize in the various concerns that might hold you back from happiness, peace, or more success. We understand that your identity consists of multitudes; you are not just your career or position/title. We also offer a concierge service should this level of help be needed. Please feel free to reach out to us and schedule an appointment. We offer consultations as well to ensure we are the best fit for your goals and needs.

Why Mental Health Is Important for men

Why Mental Health Is Important for men

According to Mental Health America, 6 million men suffer from depression every year. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s findings on mental health in 2017 also indicates that men die by suicide at a higher rate than women every year. In fact, suicide and depression rank as the leading causes of death for men.

When a man is mentally ill, the effects can be devastating. Besides the threat of taking his life, he might also try harmful coping strategies like drugs and alcohol, which may cause physical health diseases like liver problems, brain damage, and premature death. Every year, 62,000 men die due to alcohol-related causes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Because most men who are mentally ill don’t look for help, many cases of mental illnesses in men remain undiagnosed. For the family members and loved ones of such a man, relating with him can be emotionally draining, exhausting, and painful.

However, this doesn’t mean that a mental illness diagnosis provides soothing relief. Many times, it also attracts stress and anxiety for his loved ones. They must learn to communicate in a supportive way while dedicating time to getting him adequate support. Despite this, a diagnosis is still the start of the journey towards healing.

What is Mental health?

When a man’s emotional, psychological, or social life hits bottom and begins to spiral out of his control, it’s appropriate to assume that he needs support with his mental health.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC),” Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

Seeking support for mental health challenges doesn’t indicate a lack of will or laziness. In many ways, mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses. Just as more exposure to bacteria doesn’t cure a cold, listening to more adrenaline-pumping speeches won’t heal a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Common Types of Mental Health Challenges Men Face

 1. Depression. This condition keeps men feeling low and drained, emotionally and psychologically. When undiagnosed and untreated, depression might trigger worse outcomes like feelings of suicide.

2. Anxiety Disorder. This condition is synonymous with uncontrollable feelings of fear, an emotion that society teaches men to conceal or bury. Yet, many still struggle with different variations of anxiety – social anxiety disorder (SAD) which causes intense fear in social situations, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition characterized by the desire to repeat a series of habits to feel safe.

3. Substance Abuse or Dependence. Sometimes, substance abuse is portrayed in culture and media as “a normal way for men to deal with pain and frustration.” But using drugs or any substance unhealthily is a symptom of deeper mental health issues.

4. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), PTSD is “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma… Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger.”

Warning Signs that a Man Is Mentally Ill

  • An obsessive desire to use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with trauma.
  • A persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or self-hate.
  • Having high levels of irritability and anger.
  • Inability to recover from trauma.
  • Constantly thinking about suicide.
  • High levels of social anxiety.

What Men With Mental Health Challenges Should Do

  1. Consult a mental health therapist. A professional will tell if the symptoms you’re facing indicate a mental illness and what steps you should take afterward.
  2. Join a support group consisting of members who have experienced mental illness. Depending on your schedule, location and preference, these groups can be in-person or virtual. Your group members can help you stand firm in a society where mental illness is stigmatized.
  3. Open up to friends who are knowledgeable about mental health and want the best for you.
  4. Build a network of friends and acquaintances whose expectations of masculinity don’t match toxic masculine norms and patriarchal standards.
  5. Start living a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, avoid unhealthy food and get the recommended amount of sleep. Avoid the company of toxic people and trolls, both online and in person. 

helping others

When a loved one’s illness is diagnosed as a mental condition, it’s normal to feel worried. But there’s a bright light – recovery is possible if there’s adequate support. Here’s how to help:

  1. Learn more about mental health. After a few minutes of studying, from blogs like this or through a therapist, you’ll be able to impact their lives more positively.
  2. Be observant. Watch out for mood changes.
  3. If possible, offer to help them find a therapist and support groups.
  4. Be positive at all times. Many who struggle with mental illnesses already have feelings of anxiety and sadness. Avoid saying or doing anything that can dampen their mood.
  5. Stay healthy. You can’t offer much help if you’re not emotionally or psychologically healthy.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it may be time to reach out for help. Contact us to schedule your first session.