Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

  • The Unexpected Effects of Crafting on Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

    Are you or a loved one mired down in depression and/or anxiety.  Maybe you find yourself struggling just to get through your everyday activities because your mind is overwhelmed with the negative thoughts that often accompany depression and anxiety. 

    Traditional treatment plans often include medication and psychological counseling.  You may; however, also want to think outside the box and add crafting to your treatment plan.  I’m not saying stop your medication and counseling, but adding in a creative outlet may offer many additional benefits.

    Did you know that research suggests that crafting can be more than just a creative outlet or a way to pass the time?  Research shows that crafting can lead to increased happiness, improved mood, and reduced anxiety.  

    According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, and it’s been found that nearly one-half of people diagnosed with depression also have an anxiety disorder diagnosis.  

    The Influence of Art Making on Anxiety: A Pilot Study” indicates that even a small amount of time spent working on art can significantly reduce someone’s anxiety.  Another study suggests that creating art allows people to forget about their circumstances for a little bit allowing them to focus on positives in their lives.  Focusing on a craft project can also have effects similar to meditation.

    Often we choose to do nothing when we’re depressed and/or anxious because we think napping or doing nothing will make things better.  Sometimes we need the quiet, but more often than not during those dark times we tend to let the depressive thoughts and worry stew in our heads resulting in deeper depression.  Creating can provide the distraction needed to give your brain a break.

    Repetitive crafts like knitting, crocheting, painting, or coloring can distract you from anxiety and its triggers.  These crafts actually engage your brain and can give you a sense of self-accomplishment.  It doesn’t matter if you produce the most amazing piece of art or not.  It’s the process of creating the art that provides the benefits not the quality of the finished product.

    So, what do you think?  Are you willing to give crafting a try and reap the emotional and psychological benefits? 

  • Into the Storm

    Into the Night

    Are you facing a battle right now and it seems like there’s no way out?  Maybe you’re battling the demons in your head who are telling you that you aren’t good enough, and you’re a failure. Could it be that your marriage is in trouble or you’re facing financial hardships?  Maybe your friends and family seem to have turned their backs on you. Perhaps your teen is struggling with depression and anxiety.  You want to help them, but all you can do is pray, support, love them, and get them the care they need. 

    There are so many struggles humans face day in and day out.  It’s hard not to compare ourselves to the seemingly “perfect” lives that other people portray on social media.  Guess what!  NEWSFLASH… NONE OF US ARE PERFECT, and that’s okay.  

    Those seemingly perfect families all have their own struggles.  Avoid the comparison trap. You will get sucked in and find yourself mired down and feeling like you don’t measure up.  If you need to unfollow those people on social media, go for it.  They don’t have to know they aren’t showing up in your newsfeed anymore, but you may have to do it for your own mental health.

    What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of the storm, whatever the struggle may be… 

    To whom or what do you turn?  Do you ball up in a corner and cry sinking into your own deep depression?  Or do you suck it up and know you must take care of yourself (even if it means you need medication or a glass of wine to help get you through the day). Finding a professional to talk to helps as well. 

    I’ve been having my own struggles the last few months, and this is a great reminder to lean more on God, my close circle of friends, and husband. I am thankful for my amazing husband and God’s blessings on our life.  I don’t want to imagine going through these last few months without them.  

    I’ll be honest, this past Christmas season was not the same for me. Yes, I was thankful for the celebration of the true meaning of Christmas, but it was a struggle to be excited and enjoy the decorations and festivities. 

    I often wonder what I could do differently, so that I can make changes and improvements.  I know in my heart that I’m not a failure as a mom even though sometimes I feel like it. I wish I could fix this for him.  But… he has to acknowledge his own inner struggles and want to get out of the pit he is in.  I can only be there to lovingly support him and provide him with the tools needed to dig his way out.

    When all seems to be going wrong and you’re like a ship lost at sea in the middle of a stormy night, remember the ONE who calms the storm.  Remember that storms don’t last forever, even when the circumstances are out of our control.

    Psalm 107:28-29 reads “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.  He calmed the storm to a whisper, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

  • Living Fearlessly

    Living Fearlessly

    There are tons of verses in the Bible that talk about Fear.

    Specifically, Isaiah 41:10 reads… “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    How many of us live our day-to-day lives anxious about not only big life decisions, but also little things?  Are you worried about anything and everything from paying your bills to being anxious about medical procedures? Maybe it's something like being afraid of what people are going to think of you? Maybe it's being afraid of going “LIVE” on Facebook? Are you in a transitional phase of life? Trying to decide what next step you need to take? Are you going to take a huge, scary step and decide to start a new career?

    Decisions can be hard and a source of great stress for many of us.

    This sign was part of a presentation by Chalk Couture's CEO at our Leadership weekend in Salt Lake City.  As Kristine spoke, this sign specifically spoke to me.  To be completely honest, it brought literal tears to my eyes. Only 5 words, but powerful if we put them into practice.

    So many of us are not living to our full potential because of this 4 lettered word… FEAR.  Fear is often paralyzing and can prevent you from thriving and being your confident, successful self.

    Here are a few things that can help you overcome fear.

    1. Quit worrying about what everyone else thinks of you.  Be YOU! You are uniquely and wonderfully made.
    2. Know that we all get embarrassed.  Sure it can be disconcerting for people to witness our hot mess selves, but it can also be freeing. When you make make a mistake, look silly, or fumble around don't get embarrassed.  Know that other people will see you as relatable. They will see you as a real person with similar struggles they may be going through.
    3. Let go of the fear of failure.  We all make mistakes.  Accept this fact and know that failure is part of the journey to success. Don't give up too soon!

    I don't know about you, but I decided to live my life FEARLESSLY because #1) I know that God is in control of my life and HE is right there with me every step of the way and #2) I am sick and tired of letting fear of the unknown hold me back from reaching my full potential.

    Yes, this is something I will have to actively practice, but I KNOW that by actively practicing this I will see personal growth and success like I've never seen before.

    What about you?  What steps are you going to take to “Start Living Your Life Fearlessly?”