Inside Out Grilled Cheese
When you are craving something ooey-gooey and comforting, this elevated reinvention of the classic grilled cheese does the trick. For true comfort, pair it with homemade tomato soup topped with pumpernickel croutons and basil chiffonade. This sandwich can be personalized with your favorite fillings or simply stick to cheese. Likewise, switch to whole wheat bread for a more healthful treat.
How Do You Measure Success?
Most workers report high levels of job-related stress that impacts productivity and leads to anxiety, sleep loss and depression.
Our culture commonly defines success as having money and power, which perpetuates a lifestyle in which people drive themselves too hard and neglect sleep, family and mental health. Eventually, we suffer the physical and mental consequences of our life choices for very little reward.
If we supported whole happiness and whole success, we would enjoy a happier, healthier, more productive population. This works within ourselves, too.
How we measure our own success impacts our mental health. If we equate success with money or material goods, every time we perceive a want, we perceive a corresponding failure. When we look past the important aspects of our lives like health, happiness and friendship, we fail to maintain the healthy habits that nourish mental health.
How do you define success? Are there any aspects of your life that suffer as a result? The first annual Third Metric Conference proposed a new diagram of success that includes an equal importance for areas like sleep, wisdom, health, friendship, passion and family.
When we nourish the whole of our lives, we become wholly happy. By giving attention to all of our needs rather than neglecting ourselves, we open ourselves to joy, passion, and the true meaning of success.
Why You Should Travel This Summer
The heat of summer is the traditional time to take vacation – the sun is shining, the weather is (hopefully) fair, kids are on vacation and a majority of the world is celebrating the long days and warm nights.
Summer vacation is more than just a celebration and a time to recharge. It can also be helpful for mental health recovery and continued wellness.
When we leave our homes to go on vacation, we enjoy freedom from daily routines like dishwashing, laundry, cooking, gardening, and work. But being in a new place far from home also changes our perceptions. We are open to new and different experiences when we travel, things we might not necessarily be exposed to in our usual environments. We are open to new modes of transportation, new languages and new skills. New skills and perspectives can be used when we return home. They freshen our routines and give us new avenues for solving issues as they arise.
Similarly, when we are on vacation, we distance ourselves from our problems. That is not to say that vacation should be used as an escape not to deal with problems. But studies show that a physical distance gives us the opportunity to think more creatively and calmly about solutions.
This is one reason that Brookhaven Retreat is so successful at treating women with mood disorders, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and substance abuse. Women who enter its residential treatment program are more open to treatment solutions, and gain new perspectives and skills that can be used to process issues and emotionally regulate. Women gain the distance from their daily lives necessary to examine and recover from illness.
Distance from daily routine allows women to relax and grow both at Brookhaven Retreat and on vacation. Traveling is an important opportunity to self-develop and create a happier life.
The NSA Spying Scandal
The press, government and international community have become consumed with Edward Snowden’s information leak and continued escape from U.S. authorities. The question of whether his act was heroic or treasonous, and whether he should be given up or protected is hotly debated.
At the center of this issue are secrets. Everyone has them: governments, chefs, children and ourselves all keep some kinds of secrets. Yet for women with mental health issues, secrets and lies perpetuate illness.
Women suffering from trauma, depression and substance abuse often rely on secrets and lies to ease pain and manage difficult emotions. They lie to themselves and to others around them about their condition, and say they are fine as they sink deeper into despair.
Yet without honesty, women cannot examine their lives and achieve wellness. Women’s lives can easily become managed by their secrets. Only by facing the truth of their situation can women process and learn the emotional coping tools necessary to become well.
Brookhaven Retreat’s program guides women as they face their mental health issues and discover their unique selves. Confidence and self-esteem empower women to stabilize mood and regulate behavioral and emotional responses. These regulating skills depend on a woman’s ability to perceive her own truth, without which there can be no healing.
Avoiding the daily little lies we maintain prevents a habit of secrets. Cultivate a transparency with yourself and others, and you will enjoy wellness nourished by self-honesty.
Have you ever thought about how far technology has come since you were a kid? Sometimes, when I am in a frenzy because I’ve left my cell phone in the car, or I have forgotten to lay out hamburger meat to thaw, or the dryer didn’t get turned on, I forget how extremely lucky (if you call it luck) I am to have all the advancement in technology that I do!
I mean really, should I get upset over forgetting my cell phone? Do you remember when you still had to make phone calls from payphones that cost a quarter or fifty cents? Then of course if you were traveling, you had to determine if you wanted to call collect or direct with a phone card! Now on a whim of notice anyone can pick up their cell phones and call China and pay no more than their monthly bill. No more depositing change to get five more minutes of talk time.
Then of course you think about inventions like the microwave oven. I don’t consider myself old, but I can remember when those first came out. My parents bought one, which seemed to cost them an arm and a leg at the time, and it was almost as big as a small television. But now they come standard in any home. And if one has to be replaced, you can run down to your local department store and buy a new one for less than $100.
I think two of the neatest evolvements of my time have been the television and the camcorder. Again, I don’t consider myself old, but I can remember having turn dial TVs that sat inside of a large piece of furniture called a console cabinet. We had only four or five stations to watch and not all of them were in color. Now we have flat screen TVs that are as slim and light as a picture frame, and can hang on the wall. The “smart technology” is so advanced that if you take your eyes off of the screen it will cause it to pause in the middle of the show you are watching. And the channel selection is unreal! My kids never have to fight over what to watch because there are so many channels dedicated to their age group. It is hard for my boys to understand when my father talks about being a boy and listening to the radio shows like the Lone Ranger or Big Bad Bart.
Camcorders hold the same amazement for me. There have been such improvements in this field! My parents had a 8mm recorder that didn’t pick up sound, and we would have “family movie night” every now and then. We would watch a Christmas film from five years back and think how good the grainy quality was. When we would get finished my dad would have to rewrap the film around the reel for storage. Now every cell phone or mp3 player is equipped with a built in recorder. And the images produced are such high quality you would think you were at the movie theater when you watch them. There is no need to drag out a white sheet or open up a portable screen or move the couch over to use the white wall as a projection screen. And the difference in size is amazing! When I got to high school my parents bought a new camcorder that was the size of a small shoebox. It held a VCR tape that was as big as some books! Now you reach into your back pocket and turn your phone or mp3 player on and the screen can light up with home movies.
I think advancement is great, but can also be bad in other ways. The more television channels that are offered or the more creative and interactive video games become the less interested kids are in going outside and playing tag or red rover. Now instead of pushing each other on the swing set, they cluster up and watch Youtube videos!
I wonder what kind of stories my kids will be able to tell their kids when they are older. I have so many great memories, but they usually include activities that my kids are not interested in or are considered outdated. It use to be such a treat to be able to go out to eat on Sunday after church, and now most kids eat fast food 3 – 4 nights a week. I feel like my kids could be missing out on some really crucial opportunities that should shape their value systems and help them develop into productive, caring individuals.
I know I don’t want us to go back to living in the dark ages. I mean I enjoy the air conditioning, and cute cars, but there are some areas I think we are getting technologically overloaded on. The Internet, while it has its perks when shopping, seems to make everything more accessible. Increased accessibility makes us vulnerable to anxiety and depression as we are exposed to so much information every day, and I am not so sure it is a positive.
The Battle Over DNA
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that human DNA cannot be patented. DNA is created by nature and is as unique as we are, as individual as our fingerprints.
Each woman is equally unique and has her own mental health needs. This is why Brookhaven Retreat creates individual treatment options for women. Trauma, anxiety and emotional breakage have different origins and manifestations in different women. Likewise, there are many emotional, physical, environmental and societal stimuli that trigger depression and other mental health issues, and women have different histories and lifestyles that require an individual approach.
Because of this, no two women have the same needs from a residential treatment program. A unique nutrition plan, focus on sleep hygiene, group therapy classes, reading material, regulation skills and level of family involvement may be assigned to different women depending on their issues and needs.
Everyone benefits when we recognize our uniqueness and the individuality of our needs. Preventing DNA from being patented will allow greater access to genetic testing and freedom to research genes.
When we bow to the individualism of each person and respect the uniqueness of our identities, we can work on a tailored plan for wellness. Everyone benefits from such a deeper and more meaningful approach.
Superman: Man of Steel
The Man of Steel movie has reinvented the origins of Superman and quickly risen to the top of box office charts.
Even those who aren’t fans of DC Comics or who have no particular affinity for superhero movies can thoroughly enjoy Superman. Viewers’ imaginations run away with all they could accomplish if only they had super strength, flight, super speed and x-ray vision.
Powers like that, we think, could make all our problems go away. We all want our own superhero-like abilities to fix our issues and make our world a better place. But even Superman, as powerful as he is, has his own issues.
We have our daily stress, anxiety and depression that can significantly impact our path to wellness and success. Superman has kryptonite. His one weakness, kryptonite, has repeatedly been used to prevent him from functioning as protector of earth.
What is your kryptonite? For all of us, there are things that can cause anxiety, depression or other emotional issues. For some, these issues are triggered by stress. For others, by anger, crowds or travel. We should all have an action plan for dealing with our weakness. Knowing how to deal with these situations when they arise is part of any solid plan for long-term wellness.
Superman’s strong will and unflagging determination support his commitment to protect what is important to him. A determined attitude and a toolkit of skills will also support mental health.
Practice mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills whenever possible. Prep a kit of items to help distract and self-soothe if needed. With enough preparedness, you can be your own superman and protect your long-term wellness.
Sunflower Seed Bread
This hearty, nutty bread makes a wonderful breakfast or accompaniment to lunch or dinner. Because it is a quick bread, you don’t have to fuss with rising times! Try it with your favorite jam, almond butter, honey, or simply with butter.
The Job Market
Mental health and employment is a convoluted topic. Anxiety, depression and other issues can jeopardize job performance. A National Health Interview Survey reported that individuals with mental health issues have higher unemployment rates than those without, regardless of education levels. This adds a layer of financial difficulty that can further aggravate emotional instability and threaten job security.
On the other hand, a stressful job can create a negative emotional environment that precipitates the development of mental health issues. A stressful or chaotic environment, irregular hours or toxic coworkers can all potentially endanger wellness.
Residential treatment offers women the chance to reevaluate their careers. As a woman self-discovers during treatment, she finds the things that give her life meaning, joy and fulfillment. As women become more aware of their talents and skills, they explore how these talents might fit into their lives after discharge.
If a woman’s current career leaves her feeling unfulfilled or is not supportive of her mental health goals, she may need to change direction. Other times, she may require further education or training to become financially independent.
The self-confidence and self-esteem built up during treatment enables women to develop their talents or education and not only create a life worth living but dreams worth pursuing.
Inspired with passion and emotional wellness, women have the drive, strength and awareness to make their dreams a reality. This drive is instrumental in finding a perfect career fit. When women love what they do, they fare better in a poor economy but also have the skills to cope and restart should they need to.
What we do with our lives impacts our mental health and vice versa. Choosing healthy pursuits that feed our joy nourishes a healthy emotional state that makes every day a joy to greet.
Everything Depends on the Bees
The disappearance of bees has been a hot topic in the news. What would our breakfasts look like without honeybees? What would our supermarkets look like? Everything depends on the bees.
Without bees, 52 percent of our produce choices would disappear. The USDA estimates that one-third of all of our food and beverage items are made possible by pollination. Without bees, okra, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, watermelons, cucumbers, figs, soybeans, apples, avocados, pears, berries, nuts of all kinds and so many others could vanish from our markets.
Bees are such small things with such a huge impact on our lives, yet poor nutrition, parasites and pesticides endanger billions each year.
Mental health is our emotional honeybee. We rarely pay close attention to it, yet it is the glue that holds everything together. It is sensitive to things like stress, sleep, nutrition and environment.
Without commitment to creating a healthy whole, our mental health can rapidly decline so that everything seems to start crumbling. Our sleep quality affects our nutrition, emotions and physical health. Likewise, nutrition choices affect sleep, emotions and physical wellbeing. Each aspect of our lives can support or harm our mental health.
Do you pay attention to the smallest things that can affect your mental health?
Each of our choices – the shows we watch, music we listen to, art we enjoy, hobbies we practice, time we spend outdoors – can strengthen mental health to ensure continued joy and wellness.
Try it. This week, place some beautiful flowers on your desk, commit to making your favorite meal, take a long soak in the tub, avoid caffeine and cut out a single source of stress. Try one of these things each day and see what kind of impact it has on your emotional wellness.