How A Counselor Can Help You Get Through Tough Times

Have you ever felt so down, and nothing you do eases the heavy feeling? Tough times are a part of life as we experience problems and challenges. Sometimes, it takes more than support and positivity to get you through. When times get tough, it is okay to ask for help.

Asking for help can be difficult for some people, especially if you feel like a burden. However, we must remember: most are more than willing to help us get through times. Counselors are professionals who know exactly what to do to guide us back on our feet.

Counseling and Mental Health

During the past century, we have placed more and more value on our mental health. The stigma of psychologists and counselors only working with the insane is long gone. As many people face more problems each day, we aim to better understand how our mind works. This way, counselors can better grasp how we can get rid of our negative thoughts and behaviors.

When Do You Need Counseling?

Your mental health is an important component of your overall well-being. It might be difficult at first, but you must seek help when you need to. There is no need to prolong your suffering when help is readily available.  Below are some of the most common reasons people seek counseling.

  • A Major Change In Life

Some life events leave a negative impact on our lives. The pain from the past and anxiety of what the future holds are thoughts and emotions that are difficult to manage. When the events entail significant life changes, coping can become difficult. A divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a serious illness like cancer, is not easy to handle. A counselor can help you adjust to these changes.

  • A Stressful Environment

The world we live in can become a toxic place, which isn’t ideal for a healthy mental and emotional state. A stressful environment can make our life miserable. A work environment with too many demands and difficult colleagues can be tough. A home built for rest and security can cause stress, especially when conflict is present. A counselor can give you advice on how to deal with the stress your environment causes you.

  • An Unhealthy Or Abusive Relationship

Good relationships are important for support and inspiration to get through tough times. But what if the person meant to care for us is toxic or abusive? A counselor can help you get out of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Domestic conflicts, marital abuse, child abuse, or sexual problems are examples of unhealthy relationships. Sometimes, counselors might help resolve interpersonal problems and make a relationship with a loved one healthy again.

  • Being A Victim Or A Witness Of A Traumatic Situation

Various events can lead to trauma. Traumatic situations can be anything from assault, violence, or sexual abuse, to natural disasters and accidents. The mental flashbacks that make you feel fear and helplessness may have long-term damaging effects. A counselor can help you deal with the effects of trauma lingering with your second chance at life. You can still enjoy your everyday life after surviving or rising from a horrifying event.

  • An Unhealthy Defense Or Coping Strategy

We all have our ways of dealing with our problems, whether big or small. However, you will need a counselor if your coping mechanisms have unhealthy effects like alcohol dependence, smoking, drug use, oversleeping, overeating, compulsive spending, avoidance, venting, and more. This keeps us stuck in a loop of lows instead of resolving our problems. Developing a healthy coping strategy is the key to getting through tough times.

Different Kinds Of Counseling Therapies To Help You Cope

Our thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, experiences, and surroundings can shape how we cope through tough times. Regardless of the reason why we struggle, we must always strive to keep our mental faculties healthy. Some people are good at having a positive mindset in life on their own. But, there is no denying that many people need help. During difficult times, a counselor can help.

Counselors use different strategies of psychotherapy to help their clients conquer their problems. Whether you have a diagnosed mental health condition or not, a licensed counselor is capable of helping you cope. Here are a few techniques that they use to help you think better and handle issues more positively.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, emphasizes changing and improving the way you think and behave. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, CBT does not dive deep into your subconscious mind. Instead, it focuses on your automatic negative thoughts and behaviors you are used to. Through CBT, you will learn how you can bypass these automatic thoughts and practice better coping skills.

CBT is an effective strategy for certain types of medical conditions. However, there are certain challenges should you want to try CBT. For one, it can be difficult at first to recognize your negative thoughts. Also, you must commit to change for CBT to work effectively. Once you get through this gradual process, you will learn how to cope better. 

  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Interpersonal Psychotherapy, or IPT, works on the premise of a person’s emotion linked to his life events. When people have major changes in their lives, they will also experience a big change in their mood. IPT was designed at first to help people with major depression. However, IPT has also been effective in improving mood. People who are grieving, struggling, or pressured with sudden life changes are only a few examples. 

  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy

Mindfulness-based Therapy, or MBT, is grounded in mindfulness: the state of being conscious with yourself. Often, mindfulness strategies use a lot of meditations to help you become more aware of your bodies and thoughts. Doing so can help separate yourself from any negative thoughts and emotions you might have. People who experience a lot of stress in their lives can benefit a lot from MBT.

Gone are the days when asking for help is a sign of weakness. True strength lies in knowing yourself and your needs. Once you commit to fulfilling your needs and improving yourself, you’ll be a step away from your harsh experiences in life. Difficult times may seem endless, but things will be better, especially if you reach out to a counselor.

What Is Client-Centered Counseling

People think you go to counseling mainly because you struggle with your mental health. Although that may be true, there are other reasons why we would choose to seek professional help. Often, it is just because we need to talk to someone in hopes of clearing our heads without being judged.

Do you doubt this? Take it from Carl Rogers, a well-known humanistic psychologist who introduced a new approach to counseling: Client-Centered Counseling. The kind of counseling that added a new perception to therapy, patients or clients, and counselors. 

Client-Centered Counseling 

Before, the psychodynamic approach and behaviorism saw people as patients, or as someone who is sick and needs a cure. This makes it seem that the person in need of help is unfit to decide for themselves. Therefore, the counselor is the only one in power to do whatever they think necessary to the patient. This is where Carl Rogers came in to show his dismay. 

Rogers strongly believed that humans are inherently good and have a strong desire for personal growth. What they strive for is to reach the highest human development, also known as self-actualization. Because they already know what they want, they are actively participating in counseling. This is the total opposite of the term of how a ‘patient’ is viewed. Rogers then decided to change it to ‘client.’

Due to these changes, the relationship between the client and the counselor becomes equal. The person now has a say in decisions while the counselor is no longer a face of authority but an agent. 

Slowly, Rogers built the foundations of Client-Centered Counseling. In this counseling, the client knows more about themselves than the counselor could ever know. Therefore, the set-up of the therapy is the clients share stories about themselves. The counselor’s only job is to listen without judgment and interruption. The only pause that the counselor would need is to ensure that they follow the client’s words. 

By continuously checking on the client’s feelings, the counselor focuses on the client’s foreground. The client realizes their issues, reflects on themselves, and gets an idea of what they should do moving forward. This makes the client feel lighter for they first started the session. 

Three Qualities Of Client-Centered Counselor

To reach that aim of Client-Centered Counseling, Rogers emphasized that the counselor first must possess the following three qualities:

  • Empathy

The counselor must be sensitive and aware of any reactions, emotions or changes in the client as they talk. It is necessary to do so for the counselor to mirror the client. Summarizing or repeating what the client has said will make them feel understood. It will also help clear away any unnecessary thoughts that prevent the client from understanding themselves, their emotions, and others.  

  • Congruence

Empathy will not work in helping the client see clearly if the counselor is not honest. The counselor must not pretend to understand, avoid any questions or fool the client. They must also be upfront and honest about it. The counselor should answer the client and let them know what is happening and the possible reasons why. 

A counselor being honest with the client will prompt them to ask other similar questions. The goal is to have the client share more, to build trust and understanding between the two.

  • Unconditional Positive Regard

Having honesty and empathy between a counselor and a client bodes well. However, if unconditional positive regard is not present, things will fall apart. You cannot be empathetic if you do not show you care for the client. It comes off fake and will make the client pull away. It does not matter if you are honest. If the client does not feel the warmth during a session, they will put their guards up even more. 

Have you noticed how people open up more with their closest friends or families than acquaintances or strangers? It is because, with friends and family, there is already unconditional positive regard. These people feel they are worthwhile and important when they are with them. There is no judgment or rejection. They feel the warmth, the care, and the support. 

That is the kind of relationship a client and a counselor should have. However, a counselor must be wary of the boundaries. Overstep too much, and the client will feel awful about it. Interact too little and the client may not feel comfortable sharing. There must be balance if we wish to have a good result.

How Effective Client-Centered Counseling Is

The most important thing to have in client-centered counseling to be considered as success is the connection between the client and therapist. As mentioned when discussing the qualities of a therapist, if there is a fall out between the two during a session, it will be difficult for the client to open up again. If that is the case, the therapy might lead to a failure.

This is the reason why the client and the counselor must have a strong bond between them. They must also meet the other six conditions that Rogers mentions 

  • There is a good relationship between the client and counselor 
  • The client is emotionally distraught (incongruence) 
  • The counselor is honest and open about their feelings
  • The counselor gives unconditional positive regard to the client 
  • The counselor has empathy towards the client 
  • The client sees and feels the unconditional positive regard the counselor has for them. 

If these six conditions are met, then there should be a positive change in the client. 

In Conclusion 

Client-Centered Counseling emphasizes that it primarily focuses on clients who want to work on self-actualization. However, according to one study, this type of therapy is much more effective on individuals who struggle with mental health. This shows that though Client-Centered Counseling only started from one side of the population, it is inclusive of the rest as well. 

As long as you are willing to open up and share your story, Client-Centered Counseling will be helpful and will bring you so many insights about your life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Concealed Depression

You have certainly noticed how people have consistently avoided and ignored you in social gatherings. You have tried engaging in meaningful conversations with them. You have also offered them your sincerest intentions to help them.

However, no matter how good and true your personality is, people can’t seem to like you enough based on what you tell yourself. 

People not liking you may be a result of several reasons. They can dislike you based on your personality. It is not a big deal. Some people may have existing misconceptions about you.

And you do not owe them any explanation about this. Although, you may have done something enormous to offend them. Regardless, if they seem defensive, guarded, or uninterested in giving you attention, it is a clear indication of how they dislike you.

Whatever the instance is, being likable is a characteristic you can develop. Research has provided evidence that hardworking, trustworthy, and motivated are traits of a socially attractive person.

If you want to be one, you can always modify your behavior towards others. Dedicate your efforts in chasing greater things in life so that you do not have to try harder to make people like you.

Nonetheless, if you are irrationally and extremely affected about your reputation on others, there could be a lingering problem. When you are less optimistic about your perceived image and other aspects of your life, you could be experiencing concealed depression. 

Concealed or hidden depression, as the name suggests it, is more difficult to notice. You may intentionally try to hide observable signs, or you may also not recognize your symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of depression are observable to concealed depression, including:

  • Disorganized sleeping patterns,
  • Fatigue,
  • Lack of interest in hobbies,
  • Irritability,
  • Appetite changes, and 
  • Low sex drive.

However, the less obvious symptoms include forced happiness, a negative outlook in life, loss of concentration, and substance abuse.

If you are interested in concealed depression and how it can affect your health in a prolonged period, we’ve listed some frequently asked questions about it below.

Is being sad all the time bad for your health?

Yes. The suppression of your negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions for an extended period can physically translate to illnesses. It can be a form of stress caused by grief, anger, or frustrations which can be extremely bad for your mental and physical health.

Can depression give you brain damage?

Yes. Prolonged effects of depression can damage your brain permanently. Specifically, it can reduce the size of your hippocampus by approximately 10 percent. An individual who suffers from depression can have problems in remembering, recalling, and concentrating.

Is depression considered a serious mental illness?

Yes. Depression is a serious mental illness affecting your ability to function socially. Individuals who experience depressive symptoms require extensive medical treatment and great emotional support.

When left unattended, these may result in severe consequences for both the patient and their families.

What diseases are linked to depression?

There are various physical diseases linked to depression. These include heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. There are also existing pieces of evidence linking HIV and AIDs to some symptoms of depression.

Who is at higher risk of depression?

Individuals between the ages of 45 and 65 have a higher risk of acquiring major depressive disorder. Young and older people, on the other hand, have higher tendencies of having severe depression. However, depression does not discriminate.

Other factors such as race, economic background, and family history may influence the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.

Does depression lower your immune system?

Yes. Chronic or long-term depression can significantly lower your immune system. Inability to perform social functioning, which influences your physical and mental health, can increase your susceptibility to illnesses.

Nonetheless, pre-existing medical conditions may also trigger symptoms of depression.

What are the effects of long-term depression?

Chronic or long-term depression can ultimately decrease your quality of life. It can negatively impact your social functioning. More specifically, there can be complications in your work or school productivity.

Additionally, it can cause devastating effects on your friend and family relationships. Long-term depression can also increase your risk of acquiring other medical illnesses and mental health disorders.

Does depression change your face?

Chronic or long-term depression does not physically change your face but affects your skin disastrously. Experiencing depression disrupts your sleeping pattern, which causes hormonal imbalance.

Changes in hormones will leave you with difficulties in repairing and regenerating your skin cells. As a result, you will generate baggy eyes with a seemingly lifeless complexion.

What happens in the brain during the depression?

When you are depressed, there is an enlargement of your amygdala—the part of your brain responsible for regulating emotional responses. The increase in its size will ultimately affect your activity levels.

Specifically, it will cause disorganized sleeping patterns and hormonal imbalance, leaving you extremely tired and exhausted.

What is the number one cause of depression?

Depression can be triggered by not just one factor. Experts believe that it happens due to various causes, including genetic susceptibility, extremely upsetting life events, hormonal imbalances, and other medical issues.

They may simultaneously or individually influence the manifestation of depression.

What causes depression in the brain?

Depression can result from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Specifically, this involves nerve cell growth and connections. Nerve circuit dynamics influence and impact depression.

Experts believe that when areas of the brain responsible for mood regulation are compromised, there can be emotional and mental dysfunction.  

Which age group has the highest rate of depression?

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2020, the age group with the highest rate of depression in the U.S. is 18 to 29 years old.

With around 21 percent of the sample population, young adults have depressive symptoms experienced at least two weeks in 2019. This age group is followed by 45 to 64 years olds, and lastly, those who are 30 to 44 years of age.

Conclusion

Not liking yourself is difficult. Consequently, not being liked by others is even harder. When you’ve been subjected to multiple failures and disappointments, you have a greater tendency to isolate yourself.

These may be accompanied by thoughts about other people disliking or even hating you. 

Worrying about how others may perceive you is normal human behavior. As social creatures, we are wired to please the members of our group naturally—be it our family, friends, or other social circles.

However, when it becomes irrational and excessive, it can trigger a neurotic emotional response. In this case, you will succumb to self-hatred by consistently convincing yourself that people do not like your personality.

Doing this might put your brain under a lot of mental strain, resulting in psychological distress. And this is a serious matter.

Not only can it contribute to the deterioration of your mental

Frequently Asked Questions About Why People Don’t Like You

Have you ever met someone who seems to be just so magnetic? Are there individuals in your life who seem to draw in an astounding number of people without a sweat?

Do you feel envious of their natural capacity to be charismatic or attractive to a diverse population? Do not fret. If you are like most people, who are not as liked as the popular kids in the block, there is nothing to fear. 

Firstly, we must admit that it is challenging to live life without having a trusted circle of friends. Whether it be a romantic partner, a tight-knit group of best friends, or just members of your family, life would be difficult without any of those individuals.

Sure, you can get a dog, cat, or any other pet to ease your loneliness and boredom. But having actual human friends is just a different feeling altogether.

You can assess why your likeability is not as good as others. You can begin by identifying and solving some of the more common attributes that people dislike about you.

Do you try too hard to impress? Are you a very controlling or manipulative kind of person? Do you whine and criticize inappropriately or excessively?

There are just so many things you could get wrong. It would be best if you nipped these in the bud before these behaviors turn into permanent attitudes. 

Aside from the social aspect of getting people to like you, it is also essential to consider the consequences in your professional life.

Studies suggest that popular workers are more trustworthy, motivated, decisive, hardworking, and many other great adjectives.

If you value your sphere and professional track, you must take responsibility now. Initiate change within yourself to get people to like you more. 

This article will walk through a few of the most frequently asked questions about why people don’t like you. We will also discuss what you could do to reverse your circumstances. 

What does it mean when someone doesn’t like you for no reason?

Generally, there is a particular reason or set of reasons why someone may not like you. It may not be apparent to you, but someone who dislikes you has their prejudice toward you one way or another.

A leading cause could be jealousy or envy. They see something you have that they do not. Others could show hate or dislike towards you out of attention-seeking behaviors, trying to rile you up to get other people to like them more.

A lot of times, it could be due to misunderstandings or misconceptions about you. 

How do you get people to like me?

It is another question that can have so many possible answers. The main thing to do to get people to like you is to acknowledge that not everyone will.

Once you fully understand that reality, you can then begin to work on people you can sway or persuade to like you. It helps to be a very positive and authentic person.

Listening to others and asking questions are also effective strategies to show your attentiveness toward them, increasing the chances of liking you. Another tried and tested approach is to dedicate time and effort to get to know people better.

Is it OK not to like everyone?

Absolutely! You were not born in this world to please everyone. With the virtually limitless reasons why someone would dislike another, it is pointless to go out and get every individual you meet to like you.

You have to be true to yourself and develop a cheerful and authentic disposition to attract the right kinds of people in your life. Not everyone’s opinions or thoughts about you should matter.

How can you tell if someone doesn’t like you?

If you cannot accurately identify if someone does not like you, try to observe their body language. If they seem closed off, guarded, or defensive, or have eyes that are focused elsewhere as if showing they have someplace better to be, that is a critical indicator that they do not like you.

If someone refuses to listen to you or feigns attention, they might not like you so much as well. Try to observe how they respond and react to the things you say and things you do to get a good analysis of whether they dislike you.

What are the signs someone doesn’t like you?

To find out if someone does not like you, take a close look at the following signs:

  • They try to avoid you
  • They distance their name from your reputation
  • They are not honest with you
  • Their body language is defensive
  • They seem to be in a rush to do something else or be somewhere else
  • They talk about you behind your back
  • Their eyes are focused on something else when conversing with you
  • They ignore you
  • They intentionally degrade or criticize you inappropriately

Conclusion

Being liked by your friends, acquaintances, family members, and even your pets is a great feeling. A lot of people tirelessly pursue having a great reputation for being liked by everyone.

Should this always be your mindset? The answer is not all the time. You should not devote your waking hours to achieve maximum attraction from everyone you know and meet. There are greater things in life that await you.

You must also consider the psychological and emotional costs of seeking to be liked. If the resistance towards being liked by specific individuals is great, it would be more practical to cut your losses and move on with your life, whether personally or professionally.

Again, not everyone can be pleased. And there are so many reasons, apparent or hidden, that they could use to fuel their dislike towards you.

Being a likable person is a noble goal, but do not overextend yourself. There are more significant priorities to devote your time and willpower to.

Just remember to be a good, authentic, honest, and attentive individual, and the right people will stay in your life to support you and be there to cheer you on.

Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy Dogs

In recent times, using therapy dogs has been a way to provide rehabilitation to different kinds of patients. When school shootings happened in America, therapy dogs were used to get students back into class and alleviate their anxiety by going to school.

Because of the effectiveness of having therapy dogs around regarding relieving tension and stress, numerous colleges opted to have regular therapy dogs on campus.

As students go through academic stress and all the other adjustments they have to make to get accustomed to university life, therapy dogs have proven to provide a space for calmness.

When life gets tough and its seasons become stormy, we may need a dose of sunshine. A great way to get that golden ray of sun is through head-patting your local Goldie. Animals can provide unconditional support and affection.

For thousands of years, people have sought out companionship from furry friends. Pictures of cute animals have been shown to induce happy and joyous feelings within us.

As highly visual beings, visual cues affect our moods. The constant smile receiving belly rubs can provide that sense of safety and affection patients healing from trauma may need.

For more information, here are the frequently asked questions about therapy dogs:

What are the best therapy dogs?

Therapy dogs have to be mature enough to comfort their owners, so the breed is not much of an issue. As long as they learn how to be obedient and supportive, any dog can be a therapy dog. If you already have a dog of your own, you can also train them per your doctor’s instructions.

How do I train my dog to be a therapy dog?

You first have to train your dog to follow commands. Then, you have to help them develop social and communication skills. This way, they can read social cues and learn when you need comfort and affection. You can also train your dog more easily by enrolling him in AKC training classes.

What is a therapy dog used for?

Therapy dogs provide comfort and support for people experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. You will find therapy dogs in nursing homes, hospitals, retirement homes, and stressful places such as colleges and libraries.

What is the best therapy dog for depression?

While there are no specific breeds for battling depression, studies show how hunting dogs help reduce cardiovascular disease risks. Thus, golden and Labrador retrievers make excellent therapy dogs. They’re friendly, energetic, affectionate, and are trained easily.

They also love playing outdoors, which means they can help you get back to physical activities and socializing with others.

Can I train my dog myself?

Yes, you can train a dog yourself. You can start by teaching your dog the basic commands such as sit, stay, or down, among others. You can also further train your dog by building your chemistry with them through verbal and non-verbal cues.

Your dogs should learn how to stay calm when needed, especially during your check-ups. After sufficient training, you can ask your mental health provider for an ESA letter.

How long does it take to train a therapy dog?

Training for therapy dogs usually lasts a year and is much shorter than service dog training. However, the duration also depends on the dog’s personality and previous history.

The training requires them to learn how to read social cues, initiate and engage in activities, and cope with stressful situations.

How can I certify my dog as a therapy dog online?

You can get an ESA letter from therapists or doctors familiar with the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Law. You can easily search for telehealth services through referrals and ESA doctors.

Just be careful of online platforms claiming “instant approval” as other states do not recognize some of their certifications.

Do Therapy Dogs actually work?

According to studies, therapy dogs increase happy hormones while decreasing stress hormones. With their destressing effect, they also minimize cardiovascular disease risks by lowering blood pressure.

They also provide companionship, thus helping reduce loneliness in patients. If you have anxiety, depression, stress, or PTSD, your doctor may prescribe you this therapy.

Do Therapy dogs help with anxiety?

Yes, therapy dogs can help with anxiety. They help lift your mood whenever you’re down. Therapy dogs will also offer themselves for petting to help you ease your mind. With these simple acts, they can help regulate your thoughts and emotions.

Therapy dogs with service training can also help by bringing your phone or medication during panic attacks.

Can dogs sense anxiety?

Dogs are known to sense anxiety and stress. They can observe mood changes early on and comfort you before your situation escalates to a panic attack. Dogs are also known to share your feelings of stress and anxiety when exposed to such emotions chronically.

Do dogs remember people?

Dogs remember people, although not in the same way human memory works. Dogs are known to have a short-term memory, but they do have an impressive associative memory. This fact means they associate certain moments with people and feelings.

They may not know who you are precisely, but they know they love and care for you.

How do you calm a stressed dog?

You can calm down a stressed dog the same way you keep yourself relaxed. You can walk them around and engage them in physical activities. A simple touch or stroke will also help them calm down.

Music, massage, and snuggly blankets are also known to tone down their stress and anxiety.

What is the difference between a service dog and a therapy dog?

A service dog is for people with disabilities, while therapy dogs are for anyone in need of emotional support.

Service dogs are trained more extensively to help blind people walk and find things. They can also help mentally ill patients by bringing them medication or assisting them in doing their tasks.

Oppositely, therapy dogs mainly provide comfort and support by keeping you calm or accompanying you during a panic attack. Therapy dogs also have fewer privileges and pass to restaurants and malls as compared to service dogs.

How do I train my dog to be an emotional support dog?

You can train your dog to become an emotional support animal through the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program. Many dog therapy organizations require this program. However, you still need to obtain an ESA letter before your dog can be considered an emotional support dog.

If you’re training a dog yourself, make sure they can provide comfort and follow specific instructions. You can instill these skills by regularly teaching your dog thrice a day with 10-15 minutes per session.

How do I find a legitimate emotional support animal?

You can train your pet to become an ESA, or you can find a therapy animal through referrals. There is no emotional support registry for …

How A Nurturing Community Improves Your Mental Health

Mental illnesses have been prevalent in the United States, with over 46.6 million adults affected. From this group, only 42.6% have received mental health services. These statistics show how mental healthcare remains to be inaccessible for most people.

As a result, some people have sought out options to control stressful situations and avoid triggers. For some, caring for their mental health means belonging to a support group or a community.

While it is essential to seek medical care, it is also beneficial to surround yourself with a nurturing community. Before we discuss its benefits, we have to determine first what constitutes a community.

A Nurturing Community

There are many different types of community. A group of friends supporting each other can be a community, the same way that your neighborhood is, too. You can be living in different types of communities, and the best way to take advantage of this is by finding a healthy one.

According to the Center for Disease Control, healthy communities continuously improve physical and social environments to maximize their people’s potential.

With this definition, we can understand that it is not enough to surround yourself with people and call it a community. You must immerse yourself with people who nurture you for the best.

Here are some of the benefits of belonging to a healthy community.

  • Live Within A Safe Space

Within a caring environment, you get to feel a sense of belonging. You can express yourself more without the fear of judgment.

Sure there will always be criticisms as you go on a journey to self-realization. But a community who cares will give you constructive feedback instead of dragging you down with negativity.

Hearing constructive criticism from your friends will make you feel secure because you know that they mean well.

Living in a safe space also applies to its literal meaning. Staying in healthy residential communities may help lessen the chances of stress and depression.

Studies have shown how participation in organized physical activities boost your self-esteem and social skills. Try participating in weekly sports games or social meetings with your neighbors.

With a safe space, you can avoid or at least lessen the impact of stressors on your mental health. Knowing you have a safe space may also help you focus on yourself and your mental health.

  • Empower Yourself

A community may be a single solidified group, but it is still composed of individuals with personal strengths and weaknesses.

Living within a nurturing community gives you a sense of purpose. No matter how big or small your role in your group is, you know you are contributing to something larger than life.

Think of yourself as a puzzle piece to a bigger picture. Every single detail has a purpose that only it can fulfill. Without even just one piece, the outcome would be different, and the image wouldn’t have its meaning in full.

If you are still unsure of what your strengths and weaknesses are, your community can help you. You can try out skills and talents with them.

With their constructive criticisms, you will discover which skills you need to improve and what talents you’ve already perfected. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can affirm your purpose and boost your self-esteem.

  • Learn And Grow Collaboratively

Being with people with a positive mindset and a winning attitude will help you realize your goals better. You can set goals for yourself and the community. Staying with healthy people will also inspire you to create positive change, not just for yourself but also for them.

Having a healthy group of friends can also help you avoid or change unhealthy behavior. You can learn healthy coping mechanisms from them, and they can learn from you, too.

Taking steps for constant improvement will also feel easier to do with a community that encourages you to grow.

Healing is not always linear. At times, it may get hard to quantify your progress, especially when your steps are small and change is gradual. A community will be able to nurture you by giving you an external perspective. In this way, you would be able to track your progress better.

Being a part of a healthy community also requires your participation. Maintaining your relationship with your people involves both giving and taking. Remember also to play your role and help others get through their situations and achieve their set goals.

Take Action And Find A Community

With all these benefits—safe spaces, empowerment, and growth—you may feel excited about belonging to a nurturing community. Find solace in your existing circles, may it be your relatives, your friends, your neighbors, or your colleagues.

You may also search for a new community to immerse yourself in. You can start by volunteering for advocacy-driven organizations or by sparking up a new hobby or interest.

Aside from joining different groups, you can also be a part of a community through a therapist. If you struggle with mental health issues, seeking a therapist would help you control your situation.

A therapist will provide you with steps toward self-betterment and a support system to help you get through your healing process.

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Positive Effects Of Animal Therapy On College Stress 

“Some stress on a person is a normal part of everyday life. This ‘good stress’ called ‘eustress’ can help propel you forward and motivate you to achieve goals.” Aarti Gupta, PsyD, a clinical director says. Stress comes in different forms. Whether it be a self-induced one or provided by people around us, we tend to feel anxious about things which are out of our control and our comfort zones. Stress is a natural reaction of our bodies to demands or threats.  

 

 

Why Having A Pet Is Good For Your Family

Adopting a pet can bring an incredible change for your family. Whether you’re planning to adopt a dog, cat, fish, bird, or other animals, it has an overall positive impact.

And it’s not only for the humans in the family but for your adopted pet as well. Animals can keep you company through life’s ups and downs, and they will never get tired of being with you. With that, there are many ways why having a pet is excellent for your family.

Here are some benefits of keeping a family pet:

Pets Can Ease Stress And Improve Your Mood

Taking care of pets and merely being around them can give you a sense of relief from stress. Animals can do unexpected fun things that can bring a good laugh.

Moreover, sharing your space with a pet can highly improve the family’s overall mood. By taking care of a pet, you’re also making valuable memories to keep for your family.

Spending time with pets have also been shown to boost feelings of pleasure. Thus, they can offer comfort and companionship that is different from human relationships. 

Pets Can Boost Child Learning

If you have young kids, having a pet to take care of at an early age can boost their learning.

Since pets are good listeners, a child may feel more comfortable practicing sharing stories with them than another person. Knowing the breeds of pets can also allow them to enhance their learning when it comes to animals.

Taking Care Of Pets Can Teach Children About Responsibility

They develop a sense of responsibility by doing small but crucial tasks. It can be by replenishing the dog’s water bowl, cleaning the fishbowl, giving treats to the cat, and more. Hence, it also results in children getting more involved with household chores.

Furthermore, by learning and understanding the needs of a family pet, they get to practice being a good pet owner.

Pets Can Improve Your Physical Health

Training and playing with your pets can be a great physical activity. House dogs, in particular, can help with that because of their nature. You can enjoy your daily walks and playtime with your furry friend and get active together as well.

Training them and teaching them simple tricks can also be an excellent way to sweat. You’re not only improving the dog’s skills, but you can keep your family in shape as well.

Pets Are A Constant Companion

Whether at work or at home, pets are constant companions that you can rely on during difficult days. They can give you unconditional love and comfort when you feel like the world has turned its back on you.

Pets can help you or a family member process difficult emotions and bounce back from a setback.

Owning Pets Can Boost Children’s Self-Esteem

Taking care of a pet can boost children’s self-esteem and accountability. They can take pride in taking care of a smaller being even at a young age. It is in a tie with pets teaching children about responsibility.

Since dogs, for example, are naturally loving towards humans, children feel more free being themselves around them. Even when they’re alone, having a pet to play and interact with is a fantastic support system for young children.

Having A Pet Fosters Social Interactions

Aside from being good friends themselves, pets can also allow you to improve your social interactions. Pets help humans enhance their social skills by boosting owners’ self-confidence and self-esteem. 

It can start from only going around the neighborhood and striking up a conversation with neighbors who are also pet owners. By posting pictures of your pet online, you can garner reactions that can turn into meaningful interactions.

For young children, on the other hand, playing with an animal can bridge the connection between playmates. It is because children can gather up more courage to interact with another child with an animal.

Caring For A Family Pet

The majority of animals that you can keep as pets live a 15 to 20 years lifespan. Thus, you can expect that it is a long-term commitment. While having a pet is fun and beneficial, you also have to prepare for their long-term care. Here are some factors to note of before adopting a pet:

 

  • Allergies

 

First and foremost, know if specific allergies run in your family. You can talk with your doctor on how to address this. For some, they expose young children to pets early on to see if they’re child has allergies. 

 

  • Work Load

 

Assess how much you can commit to devoting your time and attention to raising and taking care of a pet. Since older family members can be busy, children help take care of family pets. It’s also great to assign tasks to each family member to know which will do each chore.

 

  • Lifestyle And Advantages

 

Think of your lifestyle and what benefits you want to gain from owning a pet. Some people lean on low-maintenance pets, while some seek comfort and active interactions with pets.

 

  • Household Age

 

Consider the age range of each family member. Some child and elderly members of the family can not match well with fragile or hyperactive pets.

 

  • Adopt Or Shop

 

Plan where and how you will get your family pet. The best path is to adopt pets from a shelter and screen the shelter for any behavioral issues. You can also buy small pets from pet stores such as hamsters, rabbits, fish, turtles, etc. 

Things To Consider When Owning A Pet

While you may own a pet for only a limited number of years, it’s a different story for them. Pets will devote their whole life being with your family. You have to have compassion,  commitment, and dedication in taking care of a pet.

Hence, if you choose to adopt a pet, make sure to be a responsible pet owner.

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How To Bond With Your Dog During Quarantine

One of the many things I have been feeling thankful for since the quarantine order came is that I was at home when it happened. My work requires me to visit different parts of the globe, you see. I usually get a house sitter who can take care of my dogs while I am away or bring them straight to the animal shelter. But now that I do not have pending projects to deal with, I get to bond with my pets again.

Here are a few bonding tips that you should try during the quarantine.

Try Grooming Your Pet On Your Own

Various news outlets recently published articles about Chris Evans giving his dog a haircut while quarantining together. At first, I thought they wanted to tell the world that Captain America found a new talent. As it turned out, though, the dog ended up with a bald spot because the actor wasn’t used to grooming animals. There were no hard feelings between the two, so it’s all good.

Now, I am not sharing this to discourage you from trying to groom your pet by yourself. It should merely serve as a reminder to do things based on your level of expertise. Say, if you have a Shih Tzu, you can shampoo their fur in the beginning. In case you feel more confident, you may put their hair in a high ponytail. Nevertheless, you should only give your dog a trim when you are sure of your skills.

Let The Dog Tag Along Wherever You Go

Pets are no different from humans, in the sense that they are capable of missing their owner. That is especially true if the latter has always been busy at work and rarely finds time to spend with the dog. Hence, you may have caught them throwing a fit in the past by peeing on the floor, chewing on your shoes, etc.

Since you are locked down, though, you should let your dog tag along wherever you go. You may mostly be at home, but you can make them happy by not shooing them away when you go to a particular room.

Teach Some New Tricks

You and your pet can have a productive bonding experience when you teach them new tricks. Doing so should not be too challenging when you have already shown them a few in the past. If you need a refresher, you can look for tutorials on video-sharing platforms.

Teaching something new to your dog may be one of the best ways to pass the quarantine. Aside from taking you away from gadgets, it will take your mind off all the terrible things happening in the outside world.

Learn From The Dog

Similarly, you can spend your days understanding your dog’s body language. This tip is especially helpful for people who have gotten a new pet from the animal shelter while quarantined. You have never been around each other much, so you likely do not know what makes them tick. If you actively try to communicate with your pet, you will undoubtedly know when they feel hungry, angry, sad, or excited.

Final Thoughts

The quarantine order has been brutal for everyone who is used to staying out of the house for more than 12 hours. It may have been a welcome change at first, but it has become a nuisance after a week or two. Despite that, there isn’t much that we can do but follow the regulation if we want to live.

You are lucky for being able to quarantine with your beloved dogs. Don’t waste the opportunity to bond with them by staying glued to your gadgets. Good luck!

3 Benefits Of Quarantine On Animals

I grew up around farm animals like cows, goats, horses, and pigs. Our family also had dogs who served as my best friends and protectors from a young age. My mom would always say that old family dog Jasmine used to sleep by my crib or play with me.

Even when I became an adult and lived on my own, I did not outgrow my love for animals. I looked for an apartment that would allow me to bring pets at home. Then, I adopted a couple of rescue dogs who I connected with as soon as I saw them.

Because of my out-of-town business trips, though, I did not have much spare time to spend with my pets. I always felt so guilty about it, especially when I would live them to the same shelter where they came from. I had no choice; I lived alone, and no one could look after them while I was away.

But I honestly felt mixed emotions when I found out one day that the governor placed the state under quarantine. Of course, I was terrified about getting coronavirus and dying before even getting married. I also felt sad due to the growing number of individuals who got COVID-19.

Admittedly, I was somewhat happy about the quarantine, too, because it meant that I could be with my animals for weeks. And this new regulation was beneficial not only for humans but also for pets. Here’s why.

More Animals Got Adopted

When the pandemic broke out, I did not feel too scared about my safety. I thought that as long as I stayed at home, I would be safe. At the time, however, I was more worried about the high number of abandoned or abused dogs that kept on piling up in shelters. That’s especially true when I Iearned that they could have coronavirus, too.

While this fact kept me up for a few nights, the silver lining was that the shelters had been emptied by people who wanted to adopt a pet. Some of them might have been lonely and needed company. Others might have felt the same way that I did, and so they went on to adopt animals. Either way, it meant that the dogs could live in a safe environment.

Owners Could Bond With The Pets

The quarantine guaranteed that people would have time to bond with their pets. I knew that from experience, given that I could not even go next door to visit my best friend. I would only get in my car and drive whenever I’d pick up the groceries and then come back a few minutes later. The rest of the day was spent hanging out with my four-legged friends.

During this quarantine, I managed to get to know my pets more, and vice versa. We would play fetch at the backyard every afternoon and then have dinner under the stars. I also taught the dogs a few basic tricks, such as rolling over and playing dead.

Lonely Animals Finally Had A Home

Despite the care that volunteers give to animals at the shelter, it is still nothing compared to having an owner. They don’t need to stay in cages 24/7, for one. They can stretch their muscles without fearing other dogs. Of course, their owner gets to pamper them.

This sense of stability is essential, especially for abandoned animals. They need to be in a peaceful space where there aren’t 20 or so dogs barking from all sides. This way, it becomes effortless for them to stop feeling lonely.

Final Thoughts

I salute all those people who have thought of fostering or adopting animals during the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you have a dog, cat, or any other animal, your affection can do wonders for their well-being. Cheers!…