Are you among the millions of people that have lost work since a state of emergency was declared last month? Employment numbers keep rising across the country. And those numbers don’t account for those whose applications for unemployment remain in limbo.
There is an understandable financial strain; the impact of which is palpable. Calls to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) increased 891% compared to this same time last year.
But what is it about this experience of scarcity that triggers so much stress?
Abraham Maslow theorized these basic physiological needs for human survival:
- The need for health
- The need for food and water
- The need for shelter
- The need for sleep
- The need for clothing
Maslow teaches that BEFORE you have a chance of feeling “safe” and “secure,” your physical needs MUST be met. This is why we cope with ACTUAL scarcity by prioritizing basic needs.
With that in mind, here are a list of local resources that can help with basic needs during this crisis:
Emergency Food Assistance:
Housing & Utility Assistance
If changes to your personal pocketbook aren’t enough, news reports trickle in day by day, hour by hour, reminding us of the faltering state of our economy.
ABOUT SCARCITY MENTALITY
What happens if your financial situation is indeed secure, but you don’t feel secure? Maybe you begin to take precautions as if you were under financial threat. Maybe you hoard food, ration the toilet paper, and cut back on expenses. Perhaps you bolster your savings. Or maybe you just feel anxious when spending money, as if that fear will prevent you from overdoing it.
Scarcity mentality is defined by a sense that there is never enough. It impacts our thought life, our feelings of fear and caution, and drives us to action.
Impact of Childhood Experiences
Many of those that experience scarcity mentality (but are otherwise financially secure in the present) have had past experiences of insufficiency.
- Past experiences with homelessness, hunger, or poverty
- Difficulties affording basic needs
- Sense that there’s “not enough” to cover the “wants” of life (For Example: the cost of engaging in sports or music lessons)
- Sometimes subtle messages that there isn’t enough to go around (“clean your plate so nothing goes to waste” or “we need that to last all week”).
Those past experiences fuel a belief system that predicts future instability in order to protect against a similar lack of resources.
If you are experiencing scarcity mentality, a counselor can help by:
- Helping you process past experiences feeding your current distress (which may be stored in your brain as a ‘trauma’ memory)
- Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you shift out of negative thought patterns
- Teaching you skills (such as thought defusion) that help you ‘let go’ of unhelpful intrusive worries.
- Coaching you on how to use (and take a break from) ruminating thoughts.
- Giving you a toolbox of other skills for lowering overall anxiety, including:
- And many other skills, depending on the theoretical orientation of the therapist
At Star Meadow Counseling, we know there are people who may be unable to pay for therapy as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This is why our graduate student counselor is currently offering pro bono services to those impacted by the crisis. She has immediate openings for telehealth and is ready to help!
Are you one of those people who has never quite felt like an introvert but are definitely not an extrovert? Have you read descriptions of either personality and thought, “Mmmm, close, but not quite?” If so, you might be what is called an extroverted introvert (EI).
Extroverted introverts, also called “outgoing introverts”, “ambiverts,” or “social introverts” have qualities of both personalities. They are not entirely loners but don’t necessarily enjoy spending time with large groups of people.
Most people are, in fact, somewhere in the middle of the extrovert/introvert spectrum, sharing qualities of both introversion and extroversion. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of an extroverted introvert.
You are Sensitive to Your Surroundings
How you feel can be directly linked to your environment. What kind of music is playing, how many people are there, and the overall noise level can affect you greatly. If you’re an EI, you will either feel energized or drained depending on your surroundings.
You Have a Love/Hate Relationship with People in General
There is a part of you that truly enjoys meeting new people and hearing their personal stories. Then there is the other part of you that loathes the idea of spending every second of the day with other people. You like people, but you can only take them in small doses.
You’re Both Outgoing and Introspective
You’ve been known to hold your own in witty small talk and can make a room full of people chuckle. But when alone, you are generally thinking about the meaning of life and other huge topics. You like to have fun, but if you’re honest, you prefer to be left alone to think things through.
You take A While to Warm Up Around Others
You’re more like a cat than a dog. While you can be outgoing and find other’s company enjoyable on occasion, you’re not going to feel comfortable around strangers right off the bat. It takes you awhile to warm up to new people and situations before you are truly comfortable enough to let loose and be yourself.
No One Believes You’re an Introvert
Whenever the topic comes up and you tell your friends and relatives that you’re actually an introvert, no one believes you.
If this sounds like you, welcome to the club. Many artists, writers and other creative types often identify as extroverted introverts so you are in good company!
For better or worse. Those words seem easy to say at the time, but when worse gets really bad, many couples are ready to throw in the towel. Here are some things to consider that might indicate that your relationship is ready for a tune-up.
The Stigma of Counseling
It can be hard to make the decision to go to couples counseling because it means you have to face your problems and admit you and your partner are on shaky ground. That can be incredibly scary to admit. It’s not dissimilar to thinking something may be wrong with your health, but you’re too scared to face the music and so you ignore the issue until it gets way too big.
Beyond having to admit you and your partner have problems, there’s also the discomfort of not being familiar with therapy. It can definitely feel a bit mysterious and scary sitting down with a total stranger and sharing personal information about your relationship.
For these reasons, far too many couples let their marriage issues sit on the back burner, percolating. But the better option is to nip an issue in the bud as soon as it rears its ugly head.
To save you some confusion, here are some of the most common relationship issues that typically require some time in couples counseling.
Whenever there is a major breach of trust, such as an extramarital affair, there is usually a need for couples counseling. A therapist can help you both rebuild the foundation of trust.
More Frequent Arguments
To each relationship, a little rain must fall. But when you start having frequent torrential downpours, it’s time to ask for help. An increase in fighting and intensity of fighting often means significant problems under the surface.
If you and your partner aren’t talking at all about important matters, this too can erode a relationship. Feelings of resentment can build up and be difficult to address if left to fester for too long.
You’ve Experienced a Devastating Event
Life throws us events in our lives that are hard to rebound from. Whether it’s a financial loss or the loss of a loved one, as in the loss of a child, the trauma can change the way you and your partner relate to one another.
These are just a few of the reasons you and your partner should consider exploring couples counseling. It’s always better to seek help than try and go it alone.
If you are interested in treatment options, please be in touch with us. We have a licensed marriage and family therapist now accepting new clients.
According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, over 47,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2017. In the same year, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts.
Knowing the signs of suicide is the primary step in preventing someone you know and love from successfully taking their own life.
The Warning Signs of Suicide
Many individuals who are contemplating ending their own life experience and express feelings of hopelessness.
Other Strong Emotions
Suicidal people may also experience and express excessive anger and rage and talk about seeking some kind of revenge.
People who are thinking about ending their own life start showing signs of risky behavior. Since their lives are not valuable in their own eyes, they may engage in certain behaviors, not caring about the consequences. This can be drinking and driving, experimenting with hard drug use, and spending time in unsafe parts of town.
Have you noticed your loved one withdrawing from friends and family and isolating themselves more?
Suicidal individuals often experience great anxiety that causes them to suffer from insomnia. Has your loved one been complaining of not sleeping? Are they taking medication for sleep issues?
The above are warning signs that your loved one may be experiencing a deep depression that needs attention.
The following are three signs that your loved one needs some help IMMEDIATELY:
They’ve Come Right Out and Said It
Your loved one has actually verbalized a desire to harm themselves or kill themselves.
You’ve Discovered A Plan
You have somehow come to know that your loved one is actively planning their suicide by stocking pills or getting their hands on a weapon.
They Have Become Obsessed with Death
Many suicidal people, especially teenagers, begin talking or writing more and more about death or suicide in a positive light.
How You Can Help
Talking to someone you love about suicide can feel uncomfortable. You may be worried that by merely talking about it, you will somehow inspire the act. This just isn’t so. Just opening up to someone who is supportive and non-judgmental can assist them in recognizing their need to get some help from a trained therapist.
Offer to help them make a call to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
For immediate help, please call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential. The Clark County Crisis line is also available 24/7: 1-800-626-8137.
From a young age, most of us are taught how to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. But rarely are we told to show the same consideration to ourselves. This becomes even more true for individuals brought up in hyper-critical or neglectful homes.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion refers to how we can relate to the self with kindness. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. In actuality, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love.
But what does it really mean to be kind with ourselves?
- Self-compassion is a discipline (especially if it doesn’t come naturally). It requires daily efforts to mindfully notice moments when we are being overly judgmental or harsh and saying “STOP!”
- It requires showing the self the same amount of courteous respect that we might give other people. For example, you wouldn’t call other people “a failure;” it might be too harsh to use that language on yourself.
- Self-compassion requires the use of empathy skills. This assumes you can 1) Name what you are feeling; and 2) Describe the good and valid reason this feeling is happening.
Why is this important? Because self-compassion helps us see ourselves more clearly and neutrally. It allows us to maintain a healthy self-esteem, recognizing that though we may sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people.
Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self-care and psychological well-being. Those who practice self-compassion also tend to have better connections with others, are happier with their own lives, and have a higher satisfaction with life overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety and depression.
Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.
How to Practice Self-Compassion
Treat Yourself as You Would a Small Child
You would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way you do yourself. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness and kindness.
Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have scripts or programs running in our minds 24/7. These scripts and programs are running our lives, insisting we have certain behaviors and make certain decisions.
Some of these scripts are the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are. They’ve been running since we were kids. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more mindful of your own mind.
When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself WHO is feeling that? Is it the compassionate self or the program running? If it’s the program, thank the program for what it has done and release it.
Good Will vs Good Feelings
Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life.
These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you’d like to explore more options or talk to someone about your feelings of self-rejection and judgement, please get in touch with us. We have therapists on our team that might be able to help.