Mental Emotional Health Activities and Resources

Overview

Activities to explore mental and emotional health.

Activity 1 - Two Week Goal Activity

Activity 2 - What's your Character's Mental Health? Determine the mental health of a character in a story or series.

Activity 3 - Who am I? Create a personal shield or coat of arms that describes who you are.

Activity 4 - Affects on health, risks and promoting health and wellness

Activity 5 - Cross word puzzle for key words in word bank

Activity 6 - Create a plan for a healthy mental and emotional life

Activity 7 - Review

Resources

Word bank

Key Ideas

    • Recognize your feelings as emotionally related
    • Defense Mechanisms
    • Recognize your feelings as emotionally related
    • Procedure to Manage Fear
    • Procedure to Manage Guilt
    • Procedure to Manage Anger
    • Procedure to Manage and Deal with Stressful Situations

 

Two Week Goal Activity (1)

Purpose - To set and achieve a goal for a period of two weeks.
Select something you may have previously consider doing or something new.

Examples:

Goals are usually achieved with a process like this four step procedure.

Four step procedure for setting and achieving goals

  1. Focus on getting started
  2. Select a goal
  3. Select a plan or process to achieve it and implement it.
  4. Monitor and adjust

Explanation and suggestions for
Four step procedure for setting and achieving goals

  1. Focus on the situation and recognize a need for change. Think of how it will help you, how it may help others, how you will feel after you accomplish it, and then the hardest part is just getting started. So go...
  2. Select a goal
    • State the goal clearly. What will be done when it is achieved.
      • I walk / jog 20 laps or twenty minutes each day.
      • I will read a book of my choice at least 30 minutes each day.
      • I will do 15 push-ups after each TV program I watch.
    • Check to see if the goal is realistic and attainable.
      • Have I done this before?
      • Are you trying to do too much for two weeks. For example: If you can only do 15 push-ups now, then start with 16, instead of 30. Then increase by 1 each day so you can do 3o at the end.
  1. Select effective strategies. Write a procedure for your plan to implement and achieve your goal.
    • Write your procedure for achieving the goal. Include suggested time to start and how to record your progress.
      • I will go to the rec center at __:___and walk and jog on the track 20 laps or for twenty minutes each day after school and on week ends in the early afternoon.
      • I will choose a book and read for at least 30 minutes each evening. I will sit on a chair in a quiet place (living room, den, kitchen ...) from 8:00 - 8:30 each night.
  2. Monitor, evaluate, and reflect how to monitor the progress of the procedure to achieve the goal and how to adjust if necessary.
    • I will record what I do each day, think about my achievement, and get psyched for tomorrow.

My goal setting notes

Goal

 

 

 

Procedure

 

 

 

How to monitor, evaluate, and reflect on the goal, plan, and implementation

 

 

 

Week one

 

 

Summary for week one

 

 

Week two

 

 

Summary for week two

 

 

What's your Character's Mental Health? (2)

Determine the mental health of a character in a book or other media source.

Select a character from a media source: movie, tv, video, graphic novel, comic book, or other. Use information about the character and describe the character's mental emotion health for each of the five characteristics. Summarize by describing how the characteristics combine for the character's good and not so good mental health.

For suggestions see the Mental and emotional health categories and examples, in the Resources. Also can view an analysis of the mental and emotional health of characters: Amy Cahill & Dan Cahill from 39 Clues, Book One: The Maze of Bones. by Rick Riordan.

Characteristics bubbles

Summary

 

Who Am I? (3)

Who am I? One way to describe who you are is to create a personal shield or coat of arms. Below is a procedure to create a Personal Shield or Coat of Arms.

Personal Shield or Coat of Arms

Ideas to consider to represent you:

  1. One idea that describes you. Include a word, a symbol, or a picture that represents that idea in a panel of the shield. A historically example included on may coat or arms is a lion for braver or king like.
  2. Something you like or like to do. Include symbols or pictures for each activity. Consider activities to include: physical, mental, and social activities.
  3. Something you are working at to become better. Write it or put a symbol to represent it in a panel.
  4. A symbol to represent a social or political cause you have believed in or would advocate for in your lifetime.
  5. Select words you would like people to use to describe you, and write or symbolize them in one panel of the shield. Examples: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, caring, fair, responsible, respectful, and a good citizen.
  6. Identify a major fantasy of what you yearn to do or would do if you had no restrictions. Draw a picture or note to represent it.
  7. Something to represent what has or could cause a positive big change in your way of living.
  8. Draw or symbolize the most important person in your life.
  9. Anything else you believe is important or want to be known as or for.

Pattern on next page

 

 

 

Coat of arms outline

 

 

Affects on health, risks and promoting health and wellness (4)

Use the information from the activity - Who am I? to analyze your mental and emotional health by writing something about you or something you know that is related to each of the five characteristics...

 

Mental and emotional health - is the ability to accept yourself and others as you express and manage emotions from the demands and challenges of everyday life in positive ways.

  1. Sense of belonging - comfortable communicating with family members, peers, friends, teachers, and others who support you.

 

 

  1. Sense of purpose - have things you value and desire and are able to set and achieve goals in pursuit of that purpose.

 

 

  1. Positive outlook - See the good and believe success is achievable.

 

 

  1. Self-efficacy - believe you are capable and able to achieve success.

 

 

  1. Healthy self-esteem - you value, respect, and feel confident about yourself.

 

Mental and Emotional Health Vocabulary CrossWord puzzle using key words in the word bank (5)

Cross word puzzle for key words

 

Create a plan for healthy mental and emotional life (6)

Include ideas in ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all ) areas:

 

Self-esteem and self-efficacy

 

 

 

Manage emotions

 

 

 

Manage and reduce stress

 

 

 

Increase immunity

 

 

 

Cope with loss and grief

 

 

 

Deal with anxiety and depression

 

 

 

 

Resources: Word bank and Key Ideas

Word Bank

Alienation is a feeling of being isolated and separated from people.

Anorexia nervosa is a mental and physical disorder characterized by loss of weight brought on by an unrealistic fear of weight gain, self-starvation, and conspicuous distortion of body image. Health is compromised and may be fatal. Latin definition means - nervous inability to eat.

Anxiety is the condition of feeling uneasy or worried about what might happen.

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental disorder. It is the emotional feelings caused by real or imagined fears which are difficult to control and can cause a person to withdraw from activity, seek isolation, and develop physical illness, headaches, high blood pressure, and stomach disorders.

Apathy is the feeling associate with the loss of hope, lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

Behavioral therapy is treatment behavioral problems with the focuses on changing behavior with reinforcement (reward, punishment, time-out).

Bulimia nervosa is a mental and physical disorder characterized by consumption of large amounts of food (binge) and ridding of the food and calories (purge) by fasting, excessive exercise, vomiting, or using laxatives. The behavior often serves to reduce stress and relieve anxiety created by concern with weight and self-image. It is often accompanied by depression, is serious and sometimes life-threatening.

Character is the qualities that describe how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.

Chronic stress is indicated by continued elevated amounts of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood stream which has negative effects on the health of the body and its immune system. It is caused by conditions that are beyond a person's control.

Cluster suicides is a term used to describe a series of suicides that happen in a short period of time in the same geographical area.

Competence is the skill and ability to do something.

Conduct disorders is when behavior interferes with the rights of others or basic rules of conduct. For example stealing, lying, aggression, violence, truancy, arson, or vandalism.

Constructive criticism is non-hostile comments that suggest a problem, assist in resolving it, and encourage positive change.

Coping is dealing successfully with changes in life.

Counselor is a professional trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.

Cutting disorder is cutting the body for pleasure.

Defense mechanisms are mental processes used to protect us from strong feelings and stressful emotions.

Depression is a mental state or prolonged feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, despair, apathy, and discouragement. Different than grief, which is caused by a real personal loss.

Drug therapy is the use of drugs to treat medical disorders.

Drug addiction therapy is discussion and interventions with professionals intended to guide and help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug use.

Emotions are signals that effect how you feel and can consciously an unconsciously cause body reactions and behaviors.

Empathy is the ability to imagine and understand how someone else feels.

Family therapy is when family members meets with a professional therapist to learn how to communicate better, understand each other, and seek solutions for problems in positive ways that bring the family together rather than tear them apart.

Gambling disorder is continual gambling with excessive losses.

Group therapy is when a group of people with a similar situation or problem meet regularly with a professional therapist to discuss ways to cope and live happy and productive lives.

Hormones are chemicals produced by your glands that regulate bodily actions and cell behaviors.

Hostility is the intentional use of unfriendly or offensive behaviors.

Integrity is sticking to core ethical values.

Kleptomania is unplanned stealing of stuff.

Mental disorders are illnesses of the mind that affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people and prevents them from leading happy, healthful, and productive lives.

Mood disorders are illness with emotional extremes that interfere with everyday life. They include depression, bipolar, or manic-depressive.

Mourning is the act of showing sorrow, regret, and grief when someone dies.

Neurologist a doctor who specializes in the the brain, nerves, and nervous system.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is when a person is persistently (obsessive) driven (compulsive) by anxiety or fear to repeat a behavior over and over. Fear of germs, wash hands or use sanitizers...

Panic disorder is a sudden unexplained feeling of fear and terror. It can cause shaking, increased heart beat, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Perception the process of becoming aware of information with your senses (eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue)

Personal identity is a person's sense of them self as a unique individual.

Personality is a complex set of characteristics that make a person unique.

Phobia is an irrational fear of something specific such as snakes, height, or social occasions.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can happen after experiencing a terrifying event symptoms such as flashbacks, reliving the event, nightmares, guilt, reduced involvement with others, lack of emotional feelings, sleeplessness, problems focusing and concentrating, hyper alertness, and exaggerated startle response.

Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the mental disorders and can prescribe mediation.

Psychosomatic response is a physical reaction that results from a mental factor such as mental conflict or stress not from a physical illness or injury. Headache, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, teeth gnashing...

Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental disorders with an ongoing discussion to find a cause and solution for a problem rather than by medical means alone.

Pyromania is setting fires for pleasure.

Resilient ability to adapt and recover from disappointment, set-backs, crisis, or other goal blocking situations.

Role model is a person whose success and behavior is emulated.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder where a person has delusions, hallucinations, or other loses of contact with reality.

School Psychologist is a professional who specializes in the study of emotional, mental, and social, aspects of school aged students and the effects they have on student learning and behavior.

Self-actualization is being able to achieve success

Self-efficacy is the belief in your ability to learn, change, accomplish success or failure

Self-esteem is the value, respect, and confidence you have for yourself.

Compulsive shopping is spending money to buy stuff that is not needed or not being able to pay for what is bought.

Stages of grief are the reactions a person may have when they experience a loss. They may be in a particular order or not. See five stages of loss and grief below.

Stress is the reaction of the body and mind to everyday opportunities, challenges, and demands.

Stressor is something that cause stress.

Stigma is a mark or feeling of shame or disapproval that results from being isolated, shunned, or rejected by others.

Suicide is the intentional taking of one's own life.

Traumatic event is a sudden and shocking situation that overwhelms all normal coping strategies that provided confidence and security. Accidents, natural disasters, violent assaults, suicides.

 

Key Ideas

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  1. Physical needs,
  2. Safety needs,
  3. Belonging & love,
  4. Esteem and feeling of being recognized, and
  5. Striving for self-actualization or to reach one's best physical, social, and emotional ability.

 

image Mazlow's Hierarchy

 

Mental and emotional health categories with examples

Mental and emotional health - is the ability to accept yourself and others as you express and manage emotions from the demands and challenges of everyday life in positive ways, which can be classified into five categories.

  1. Sense of belonging - comfortable communicating with family members, peers, friends, teachers, and others who support you.
    • Being social
    • Respect and advocate for self and others
    • Communicate well with others
    • Stand up for self and others
    • Good social skills
  2. Sense of purpose - have things you value and desire and are able to set and achieve goals in pursuit of that purpose.
    • Meaning and purpose for life
    • Set and achieve goals
    • Use refusal skill when presented with alternate goals counter to your personal goals
  3. Positive outlook - See the good and believe success is achievable.
    • Being positive. Have happy and positive feelings
  4. Self-sufficient or self-efficacy - believe you are capable and able to achieve success.
    • Competence - having the ability and skill to achieve success
    • Critical thinking and make good decisions
    • Use self-talk to motivate and achieve
    • Take care of yourself - sleep, eat healthy with good nutrition, exercise, water, personal hygiene, bath, dental care, hair care.
    • Avoid high risk behaviors
    • Maintain appropriate weight
    • Manage conflict
    • Manage stress
    • Anger and self-control
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Health & dental check-ups
    • Moderate use of caffeine
    • Don't use tobacco, & other drug use
  1. Healthy self-esteem - you value, respect, and feel confident about yourself.
    • Self-esteem - how much you value, respect, and feel confident about yourself.

 

How to Increase
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Develop a Positive Identity

Self-esteem is the value, respect, and confidence you have for yourself.

Ideas related to positive self-esteem

Ideas for positive identify

 

Procedures to Manage Emotions

Recognize your feelings as emotionally related

Procedure to Manage Fear

  1. Recognize the emotion as fear.
  2. Figure out what is causing the fear.
  3. Decide if the situation is legitimate and what if any cautions need to be taken.
  4. Remember fear can be healthy... Fear causes us to run out of a burning building.
  5. Identify what might be done to deal with situations that cause the fear. Most often more familiarity with the situation is helpful, but this requires having to face the fear by studying its attributes or stepping into situations, simulating them and practicing how to deal with them. For example fear of tests can be overcome by working on practice tests to gain skill and confidence. Fear of animals can be overcome by working with someone that is skilled with animals and having them introduce people to a particular animal in a safe and nonthreatening way.
  6. Create a plan to face and over come your fear.
  7. Share it with someone you trust.
  8. Implement the plan
  9. Evaluate

Procedure to Manage Guilt

  1. Recognize the emotion as guilt.
  2. Figure out what is causing the guilt.
  3. Decide if the situation is legitimate and if you are really responsible.
  4. Decide if the best action is to forget about it, admit a mistake, apologize, promise to be more thoughtful or careful in the future, or other course of action.
  5. If you accept responsibility, create a plan to communicate your responsibility, remorse and any future actions as appropriate.
  6. Share it with someone you trust.
  7. Implement the plan
  8. Evaluate

Procedure to Manage Anger

  1. Recognize the emotion as anger.
  2. Figure out what is causing the anger.
  3. Take action to calm down. Breath, say calming words, relax your muscles, walk away, listen to relaxing music, go for a walk, exercise, jog, write in a journal, play an instrument, seek help.
  4. Decide if the situation is legitimate and if you are really responsible.
  5. Decide if the best action is to forget about it, admit it was your responsibility for becoming angry. You may have over reacted, taken the situation differently than what was meant, or other miscommunication. Decide if an apology is necessary, or a promise to be more thoughtful or careful in the future, or other course of action.
  6. If you accept responsibility, create a plan to communicate your responsibility, remorse and any future actions as appropriate.
  7. Share it with someone you trust.
  8. Implement the plan
  9. Evaluate

Procedure to Manage and Deal with Stressful Situations

  1. Recognize feelings and emotions which are stress related. See below: Bodily responses to alarm, stress, and chronic stress
  2. Figure out what is causing the stress.
  3. Remember stress can have both positive and negative results and can be reduced by taking charge, changing or accept perceptions, communication, laughter, exercise is also important to reduce the harmful effects of stress and blow off steam, relaxation techniques .... For more information see Ways to Manage and Reduce stress
  4. Devise a plan to deal with stress. See ideas below on Ways to Manage and Reduce stress for ideas.
  5. Share it with someone you trust.
  6. Implement the plan
  7. Evaluate

 

Teen Stressors

1. School:

2. Family & Parents:

3. Peer group & social

4. Life skill

5. Physical and mental/ emotional

 

Bodily Responses to alarm, stress, and chronic stress

When threatened, startled, or alarmed your body immediately starts a series of internal changes, referred to as a fight-or-flight response.

This response is triggered when the sensory cortex interprets an alarm situation and the hippocampus fits the situation into a context of time, place and past memories.

Sensing a dangerous situation, the hypothalamus, amygdala, and thalamus, as part of the nervous system, work together to communicate to the bloodstream with a release of a hormones (hypothalamic tropic factors) that causes the pituitary gland to secrete hormones that stimulate the adrenal gland (in the kidneys) to produce a blast of hormones, including the famed, adrenaline (also known as epinephrine, which causes constriction of blood vessels and use of glycogen) and norepinephrine (regulates blood vessel tension and use of glycogen). These hormones act as messages that flow through the blood stream to tell the body to do something fast: like get ready to fight, run away, or hide.

The flood of hormones will increase heart rate and constrict blood vessels for blood circulation, increase breathing for oxygen, raise glucose and lipids levels in the blood for energy, dilate the pupils for better observation, raise hairs on your body, increase secretion of sweat and saliva, and start carbohydrate metabolism to prepare the muscles for exertion. Muscles start to tense and shake and release their stored up ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy and strength, which explains the stories we have all heard about people performing amazing feats of strength, or how they have continued to operate after being shot, stabbed, or maimed.

Of course, after a heroic feat the body will have undergone a massive use of energy and resources and require serious recovery time referred to as a rest and digest response.

While most people don't experience situations that bring on full blown alarming fight-or-flight responses they do experience situations of stress, anxiety, and fear, which cause the releases of these hormones, in lesser amounts, into the bloodstream. A certain amount of each hormone is necessary for good health, however, if the amount of one isn't in the range necessary for that healthy balance, then it can cause negative effects and disease. This condition is chronic stress and continued elevated amounts of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood stream is an indicator of chronic stress which has negative effects on the health of the body and its immune system.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress affects the hippocampus (involved with memory), amygdala (involved with emotional stability), and pre-frontal cortex (PFC - involved with attention, planning, and follow-through).

A faulty hippocampus means you might not remember that the guy at bat likes to hit down the right field line, so you forget to cover the line when you're playing right field. A sub-par amygdala means you might go ballistic when a call doesn't go your way, and you get ejected from the game. When your PFC (pre-frontal cortex) is drained, you tend to lose focus and zone out, so you loose focus and can't meet expectations.

Chronic stress also weakens your body's immune system, making it more likely that you get colds, flu bugs and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Stress can be controlled with relaxation techniques like deep-breathing and meditation to pump up your brainpower and your athletic performance.

 

Ways to Manage and Reduce stress

See also Procedure for stressful situations

Our distant ancestors evolved three options, fight, flight, or hide, to deal with threats in their environments. Today, stress, results from situations that may not be life threatening, but are interpreted with these outdated emotional system. While these three options may work when dealing with wild animals, they are not the best choices for all the threatening situations that arise in today's world.

However, they are options; and they may instinctively come to mind in stressful situations, but for most situations there are most likely better choices. Other choices besides 1. fight, 2. flee, 3. hide (fight-or-flight) offer better choices that lead toward rest, digest, and recovery ...

  1. Take charge and accept the situation or look at it as a problem to be solved, an oppportunity for change or a learning situation. Don't be afraid to manage the situation by reducing the task or the level of perform. Don't let perfection be the driving force. Listen to TED Talk
    Emotions create feelings. Stress is related to feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, distracted, impatient, scared, and worried. However, once these negative feelings and their causes are recognized, they can be reduced and replaced when a person uses take charge actions and gains control of the situation. By being resilient and challenging themselves to accept the situation and move forward, or to accept it as a problem that can be solved. A situation or problem that can be looked on with wonder and amazement as a new adventure to explore. An exploration, that with sufficient effort and strategies will provide discoveries of new ideas and alternative ways to accept and turn problems into opportunities.
  2. Use self-talk for encouragement with all of the strategies. I know I can do this. I have done this before. This is new and will be exciting and a great opportunity.
  3. Change or accept another person's perceptions as okay.
    Change from seeing the situation as undesirable to seeing it as an opportunity.
    Example: Change
    Rather than seeing having to give a speech as a stressful situation to be avoided; see it as an opportunity to help others learn something you feel is important for them to know.
    Example: Accept
    A child can accept the parent's point of view that they see putting restrictions on a child as necessary to reduce the stress they feel caused from their perceptions of the dangers the child will face when they leave home and how to reduce those dangers.
    A parent can accept the child's point of view to reduce the stress the child feels by their perceptions of the restrictions as their parents not trusting them, that they think they are irresponsible, or lack maturity. This stress can be increased or decreased depending on how they feel about their peers interpretation of the restrictions. By accepting both points of view the parent and child can communicate their concerns and devise a plan that is less stressful for both.
  4. Communication - Stress can be reduced or increased between people or groups of people with and without communication. For example, in situation #5: both parent and child must discuss their stressors through open communication and demonstrate to each other they are capable and can be responsible to choose appropriate behaviors. When both do so, they will increase the trust each has for the other and reduce stress. Conversations to assist behavior change can be helpful.
  5. Time management - planning and scheduling your time, refusing to accept tasks or activities the will cause stress by saying no. Planning ahead so people are prepared and know what to expect is one of the best ways to reduce stress (plan for test, practice for sporting events...).
  6. Laughter and smiling - reduce cortisol, adrenaline, and increase Endorphins, and reduce blood pressure. It also is said to make you look great, feel great, and appear more competent. TED talk
  7. Exercise is also important to reduce the harmful effects of stress and blow off steam. See more information on exercise, hormones, and stress below. See also information on setting goals and planning a physical activity program
  8. Relaxation techniques.
    • Listen to relaxing music.
    • Take a hot bath with Epsom salts before bed.
    • Use essential oils, like lavender.
    • Message. Swedish massage increases the level of oxygen in the blood, decreases muscle toxins, improves circulation and flexibility while easing tension. A study published in The New York Times, found a Swedish massage decreases cortisol, increased lymphocytes, white blood cells that may help fight colds and the flu. A foot massage (aka foot reflexology) - when cortisol levels are up, you can be certain too much energy has gone into your head.
    • Make a list of all the things you are grateful for Oprah Winfrey calls it her gratitude journal.
    • Meditate. 1. The act or process of spending time in quiet thought. 2. Spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation. Source Merriam-Webster. Mindful relaxation that defines purpose, goals, acceptance, love, or other positive emotions that can reduce cortisol levels and hence stress.
  9. Sleep
    • Get eight hours of sleep
    • Follow a nightly routine
    • Be consistent about the time you go to bed and get up.
    • Unplug from electronic devices. Especially in the evening to sleep better.
    • Read
    • Dim the lights. If your eyes are exposed to light your pineal gland (in your brain) will not secrete melatonin needed for a good night's sleep.
  1. Volunteer - Caring creates resilience.
  2. Diet - see nutrition information
    • Eat protein rich seeds and other high quality proteins you digest well. Research shows lower protein levels will chronically increase cortisol levels.
    • Quality unrefined fats - Omega 3 fatty acids lowers cortisol and the inflammation it causes.
    • Research and find herbs like Tulsi or Holy Basil that lowers elevated cortisol and regulate blood sugar.
    • Minerals are necessary for the adrenal glands to provide you with energy. A varied diet will provide these.
    • Limit caffeine (adults to 4 cups or less), stop caffeine after 2 PM, best to use caffeine before exercising.
  3. Combine ideas from above. Take charge, use self-talk, accept the situation, communicate with yourself, exercise, and relax. Develop a procedure that will allow you to move parts of your body from your head to your toes or your toes to your head. For example you could sit or stand. If sitting, lean back and extend your arms and legs, stretch them and slowly rotate arms and legs. Then add wiggling of your fingers and toes. Then you might sway your body forward and back or right to left stretching muscles from the top of your body, to your arms, then your abdomen, legs, ankles, and toes. You could create a similar procedure for standing.
    If you don't think you are getting enough circulation you could wiggle your fingers on each hand in a waving pattern and begin touching them quickly one at a time on the top your head, like rain drops falling on the top of your head. Then slowly move the tapping around the top of you head, around on your sinuses, cheeks, jaw, chin, neck, shoulders, collar bone, arms, sides, stomach, hips, thighs, legs ankles and feet. As you do so you can keep swaying to stretch your muscles.
    Also while you are doing the stretching and rain drops remember to breathe slowly and deeply, holding it for awhile and exhaling slowly.
    Then you can add self-talk by saying something like:
    Even though I was expecting to .... and will not get to ...
    I accept it.
    I love and accept myself.
    I accept how I feel about it.
    I am calm and relaxed about it.
    This anxiety in my body is ... and it feels ... and
    However, I will control it.
    I love and accept myself.
    I release all the anxieties I feel.
    I acknowledging it and rather than spend so much time denying it or wishing it wouldn't happen as ...
    I allow it...
    I allow myself to release the fear and anxiety it creates.
    I know what it feels like to feel calm.
    I feel the calm returning as I allow myself to move on.
    Think calm relaxing thoughts and continue one more cycle of you relaxation exercise routine.

 

Exercise, hormones, and stress

Introduction

We all know that exercise is healthy. That it helps retain and build muscles, endurance, reduces stress, and improves over all emotional well being. However, how does exercise affect stress and well being?

Researchers know a lot about the different kinds of hormones in the blood stream and how they affect the body. They also know how exercise affects their production, see information on hormones below. However, they are just beginning to piece all this information together to understand a bigger picture.

Currently we know exercise increases circulation through out the body and that better circulation will improve the transportation of materials throughout the body. Mostly when people think of transporting things around their bodies they think of what we eat and drink: nutrients (protein, sugar, fat, and carb molecules) vitamins, water, amino acids, and so on. Secondly, they will include transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Then, they think of toxins, antibodies, bacteria, and hormones.

While the transportation of all of these is important, it is the transportation of hormones that communicate between the physical body and the brain's neurological functions that regulate stress. A stressful event will cause the secretion of adrenaline and increase the levels of adrenaline in the blood stream within two to three minutes of the stressful event being encountered. When the stressful situation ends, the adrenal glands stop producing adrenaline. Therefore, the idea that it is possible to not let yourself be stressed has merit if a person can stop being alarmed by a situation before two to three minutes time or as soon as possible.

There are many ways to achieve this, see above ways to manage and reduce stress. These different strategies that move toward rest, digest, and recovery ... can be explained in three general ways:

  1. A strategy can increase or decrease the amount of a particular hormone in the body (strategies that increase positive thoughts, laugher, and meditation increase hormones that cause enjoyment and good feelings. Absorbing or dwelling on fear and worry increase hormones that cause aggression, withdrawal, and avoidance. Sleep, rest, or time without stimulation will decrease effects and water may also.
  2. A strategy can change the transportation rate (faster or slower) of materials being moved around the body, particularly hormones, to and from different places (exercise and rest effect hormone production which effects blood circulation and breathing and what is transported).
  3. A strategy can also affect transportation by changing the size and tension of blood vessels and the viscosity of the blood. (exercise, hormones, medication, and water).

Better communication provides more neurochemicals in a timely manner for better brain - body communication. This improves health as the body is better able to function by sending, receiving, and responding to signals, such as stress. With enough energy and sufficient nutrients available the body will regulate, repair, and grow efficiently (homeostasis). To regulate stress the neurological functions communicate with the cardiovascular system which communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system and they all communicate back for repeated neurological functions in a continuous cycle. Therefore, communication may be the true value of exercise. The less we exercise the less efficient our bodies are in responding to changes, particularly stress.

Hormones and other substances related to stress, rest, and recovery

 

Immunity and exercise

How exercise increases immunity:

 

Caffeine and hormones

 

Coping with loss and grief

Five Stages of grief or loss

Example: cell phone loss.

  1. Denial or shock difficult to believe or refuse to believe the loss has happened.
    You drop your cell phone and turn it on. It doesn't come on. You turn it off and try it again. And again... You deny or refuse to believe it won't start.
  2. Anger, depression, pain, guilt, reflection, remorse
    Ah!!! I should have put it in my pocket... stupid, stupid, argh.... I should have ... Stupid me... Why don't I think better? Why am I lazy? Dumb...
  3. Bargaining make this not happen and ...
    Come on turn on and I will take better care of you....
    Maybe if I shake it ...
  4. Depression and loneliness
    Argh! What am I going to do. I can't live with out a cell phone.
    I won't be able to text my friends.
    I will lose them and be alone.... What the ...
  5. The upward turn, reconstruction, acceptance, and hope
    OK. It's dead. Guess that is why I got the insurance. Or
    OK it's dead. I don't want to go without one so I will need to deal with my parents.
    They will be mad and tell me I am irresponsible, but it really was an accident. Accident or not... Ah! I need to face the music.
    OK. that was bad, but it had to be done. I will survive and go on.
    I am at peace now and am ready to move on.

Acceptance of loss and grief is not a trivial thing. In fact, we all go through this process anytime whenever something happens we don't expect or want to happen. A shirt we want to wear and find it is in the washing machine so we have to go with out it. A carton of milk that is sour. A toy breaks. We mess up on a project and have to throw it away and start over. Not getting a score or grade we expect. Not making the starting team. Someone sits where we were going to sit. A friend moves to a new town. A friend doesn't want to be friends any more. The loss of a pet. The loss of a loved one.

Grief is sorrow caused by a death; and mourning is the process of showing grief or sorrow. The process is an experience of pain for the loss, search for a reason of the loss, and a determination to move on.

Focusing on things that can't be changed can only continue to add to the pain. It is helpful to think of the positives:

 

Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

There is an incremental relationship between feelings of:
excited anticipation - concern - nervousness - stress - anxiety - depression.

It is important to understand this incremental relationship is likely the result of the same neurological emotional functions only varying in the degree of neurochemicals and hormones communication in the body. This supports the need to achieve and maintain a healthy balance between the mind and body for good mental health. Achieving this by managing stress and anxiety before becoming unhealthy.

Anxiety is the condition of feeling uneasy or worried about what might happen.

Anxiety disorder is the emotional feelings caused by real or imagined fears which are difficult to control and can cause a person to withdraw from activity, seek isolation, and develop physical illness, headaches, high blood pressure, and stomach disorders. It is the most common mental disorder.

Feelings of self-consciousness, worry, insecurity, and fear are common when they are infrequent and can be overcome by continuing with a normal life.

However, having muscle tension, continual distractions, not being able to focus, loss of appetite, headache, stomach ache, and not being able to sleep can be associated with an anxiety disorder and if the feelings are prolonged and become feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, despair, apathy, and discouragement, then it may be depression or an anxiety disorder.

Possible Causes

Not having the lower levels of Maslow's needs met contribute to poor physical, social, and psychological health, which prolonged can cause anxiety and depression. Heredity can contribute by inheriting genes that contribute to higher of lower levels of hormone production than necessary for healthy functioning. This will contribute to internal psychological causes which will interact with external contributions like traumatic experiences, violent neighborhoods, poverty, family relationships, peer relationships, school, and other environmental factors in unhealthy ways.

Management techniques

Methods and strategies used to manage, and reduce stress can be used to reduce anxiety, occasional stress, and mild depression. While chronic stress and depression needs professional medical help.

Methods and strategies that are helpful increase positive thinking and help people to focus and concentrate so they can be productive. Success and productivity that creates feelings of happiness, pleasure, joy, interest, caring, power, and self-fulfillment. Instead of sadness, apathy, irritability, and anger.

Methods that create positive behaviors of self-efficacy, caring, worth, and achievement rather than, neglect of personal needs, not exercising, neglect basic hygiene needs, eating too much or not enough, not sleeping or lying around all the time.

Anxieties include phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, kleptomania, cutting, pyromania, excessive gambling, compulsive shopping.

If a person isn't having success by trying to manage their anxiety and depression, they need to get professional help.

 

Suicide Prevention and Getting Help

Suicide is the intentional taking of one's own life. It is the second or third leading cause of death for teens and young adults, according to various sources.

Anticipatory excitement - concern - nervousness - stress - chronic stress - anxiety - angst - depression - suicidal thoughts

The relationship of these feelings is important as they seem related and stress and depression are related to suicide. Stress and depression exist in various degrees and ways before a suicide attempt. There are warning, however, they are unique to individuals and not everyone who is suicidal will experience depression or display all the warning signs.

Warning signs

Helping

Getting help

 

Accurate and quality information is needed to make good decisions.

To be healthy that includes: understanding what is human, the body, it's anatomy, functions of life, growth, and development well enough to care for your self and others to attain and maintain healthy bodies: physical, emotional, mental, and social. To do so one must be able to describe, analyze, predict, and compare how different variables, learning, nutrition diet, exercise, sleep, choice of behaviors, genetics, injuries, health status, illness, safety, natural disasters, risks, will impact people in different situations or conditions.