CHVBV Psychology Tip Sheets

Women and Menopause

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Although some women have difficulty coping with menopausal symptoms, the truth is that most women welcome this life transition and experience little or no problem with the bodily changes associated with menopause. If the physical symptoms become a problem, women can deal with them in several ways. Some women will choose to use hormone replacement therapy to address the symptoms and reduce the risk of heart disease and Osteoporosis. Many women refuse to take drugs of any kind because of a personal lifestyle choice or because they are in a high-risk group for breast cancer. There are many safe, natural alternatives for women who choose not to use the more traditional hormone replacement therapy. The most natural alternative is to get plenty of exercise, eat well-balanced healthy foods, take vitamin or food supplements, and effectively manage the emotional stress in your life. There are some excellent books available on natural…

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When Using the Computer Becomes a Problem

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The computer is a tool that can make much of our life’s work and communication easier and faster. Computers are everywhere – in the workplace, at home, and in our phones, pockets, and briefcases. Unfortunately, computer use can also have a dark side and can be the vehicle for a wide range of personal and social problems. Generally speaking, a person may have difficulty with the responsible use of computers if he/she has difficulty with impulse control or exhibits other compulsive behaviors or addictions. In addition, a person may have difficulty with the responsible use of computers if he/she lacks social skills or is otherwise socially isolated. It’s important to be clear that the computer is not the problem. Each of us is responsible for our individual behavior and for maintaining a healthy balance in our life. A problem exists when an individual has lost control over his/her behavior and…

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When Sleep is a Problem

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We have to sleep almost every day of our lives to regenerate our bodies and our minds. When getting a good night’s sleep becomes a problem, it can have a negative affect in every area of your life including your health and well-being, your productivity at work and at home, and your relationships with others. Sleep problems take many forms and can include difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently, waking and not being able to go back to sleep, nightmares, or restless sleep and waking feeling exhausted. While there are times when sleep difficulties have solely a medical cause, most sleep problems are related to emotional issues or poor sleeping habits that have developed over time. Problems such as excessive worrying, rumination, anxiety, depression, and stress are usually the cause of sleeping difficulties. It is important to discuss your sleeping problems with your medical doctor to begin to explore the cause…

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TREATMENT APPROACHES FOR POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (from: Effective Treatments for PTSD; Foa, Keane, Friedman, 2000)

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Psychological Debriefing: Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (Mitchell, 1983) and other models of Psychological Debriefing are interventions designed to reduce initial distress and to prevent the development of psychological symptoms following traumatic events. The goal of psychological debriefing is to promote cognitive/emotional processing through the expression and normalization of reactions and preparation for possible future experiences. The process of psychological debriefing may also identify those individuals who would benefit from more extended and formal treatment. The focus of psychological debriefing is on present reactions rather than on earlier experiences that may contribute to individual responses. Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive/behavioral therapy is based on information-processing and social-cognitive theories. Sensory input is subject to both conscious and non-conscious processing. Dual representation theory (Brewin, Dalgleish and Joseph, 1996) suggests that there are two types of emotional reactions to trauma. One type of emotional reaction is conditioned during the event (e.g. fear, anger) and is activated with re-experienced…

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Stress Reduction Techniques

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EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT STRESS · Understand the benefits, dangers, process and effects of stress. · Identify your major sources of stress, both internal and external. · Anticipate stressful periods in your life and plan ahead if possible. · Develop stress management techniques and practice them on a regular basis, even when your are not experiencing noticeable stress. · Learn to identify the opportunities for learning and personal growth inherent in periods of increased stress. · Learn to self-monitor on an ongoing basis to recognize your own level of stress and to be aware of when your stress level is comfortable, too low or too high. DEVELOP A HEALTHY BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE · Have a good balance in your life in the following areas: family, close personal relationships, social activities, career pursuits, educational/intellectual pursuits, emotional expression, leisure activities, managing finances, physical health activities, self development and introspection, and spiritual development.·…

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Stress Exhaustion Symptoms

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Physical Symptoms · Change in appetite: excessive eating, anorexia, eating excessive amount of unhealthy food · Frequent headaches · Clenching/grinding of teeth · Tension: muscle aches, lower back or neck and shoulder pain · Indigestion, stomach pain, diarrhea/constipation · Fatigue · Disturbed sleep: nightmares/insomnia/frequent waking/early waking/restless sleeping · Weight change: loss or gain · Lowered sex drive · Pounding heart, chest pains or tightness · Unexplained skin rash · Restlessness · Nervous gestures or physical agitation · Being more accident prone · Increased drug/alcohol use Emotional Symptoms · Increased anxiety · Increased frustration with others · Loss of patience · The “blues” · Mood swings · Increased irritability/anger · Emotional outbursts: crying spells, anger · Feeling that “no one cares” · Depression · Nervous laughter · Excessive worrying · Being easily discouraged · Loss of confidence · Feeling little joy · Feeling hopeless Mental Symptoms · Poor concentration · Loss…

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RELAX! – Your Life Depends On It

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Being able to relax is one of the most important skills you can learn. Most people are familiar with the term “fight or flight” which is a part of the stress response. This is a description of how the body and mind react to imminent danger. The brain triggers the adrenaline system to drive us to take action to deal with a perceived threat. Our breathing increases to take in more oxygen, our heart rate increases, and unnecessary bodily functions shut down. All of our important senses and survival instincts are heightened. The stress response helps us to rise to many challenges. The problem is that the stress response can begin to be provoked by non life-threatening events like day to day conflicts, money problems, relationship issues, time pressures, and work overload. In other words, the trouble starts when the adrenaline system gets switched on and stays switched on. There…

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Psychological Health

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PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLNESS IS: · Knowing yourself: knowing what your real needs are and how to get them met · Expressing yourself assertively, and not passively or aggressively · Keeping your body healthy by ensuring adequate nutrition, exercise, rest and physical awareness of when your body is out of balance · Engaging in an ongoing process of exploring and clarifying your values · Having the courage to live with integrity: acting in accordance with you deepest values · Being engaged in projects or work that is meaningful to you and reflects your innermost values · Knowing how to create and cultivate emotionally intimate and satisfying relationships with others · Responding to challenges in life as opportunities to learn and grow in strength and maturity, rather than feeling like a victim who is beset by life’s problems · Actively working to create the life you want, rather than just reacting to what…

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Pandemic: Paranoia or Preparedness?

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Fear is part of life and we are lucky that it exists. Fear warns us of dangers and gives us a much needed adrenaline boost to be able to take physical action in a crisis. Fear also tells us when we are in a potentially dangerous situation that we may wish to avoid. Our evolutionary response to fear is “fight, flight, freeze or faint” and we can even see it in nature such as talking about “the deer in the headlights”. However, what about the mass marketing of fear for media ratings? There is a difference between preparedness for a crisis, or potential crisis, and feelings that we have become helpless victims. According to many media sources all teenagers are on drugs, in gangs and have weapons, to only give one ridiculous example of how we tend to emphasize and sensationalize the negative. And of course we all remembered how…

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The Pain and the Power of Trauma

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Traumatic events, both on an individual or a global scale are becoming an all too familiar part of our daily lives. Most people will experience a traumatic event in the course of their life and many will experience more than one traumatic event. Trauma and its aftermath extend in an ever-widening circle with varying degrees of impact. Lives can be destroyed by trauma but they can also be positively transformed. With or without help, people can endure, they can prevail, and they can overcome the effects of experiencing trauma. Following a traumatic event, people can even be grateful for their experience and enjoy the benefit of a richer and more rewarding life. Surprisingly, during the traumatic event itself, most people don’t become overwhelmed or paralyzed by intense fear or shock. Many people behave quite adaptively and appropriately. They calculate their avenues of escape, they reach out to help others, they…

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