How to tell if your child or teen is addicted to screen time or gaming

Gaming and screen time addiction behaviours can manifest differently in children and teens, but here are some common signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Preoccupation with Screens: Children or teens addicted to gaming or excessive screen time may constantly think about screens, eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to play games or engage with digital devices. They may exhibit restlessness or become irritable when unable to access screens.

  2. Loss of Interest in Other Activities: One significant indicator of addiction is a noticeable decline in interest or participation in activities that were once enjoyed, such as sports, hobbies, or social interactions. Screen time takes precedence over other aspects of their lives.

  3. Difficulty Controlling Usage: Children or teens addicted to screens may have difficulty controlling the amount of time spent on gaming or digital devices. They may struggle with adhering to agreed-upon screen-time limits and may feel compelled to continue using screens despite negative consequences.

  4. Neglected Responsibilities: Addiction to gaming and screen time can lead to neglect of academic responsibilities, chores, or personal hygiene. Falling grades, incomplete assignments, and poor performance in other areas of life may be observed.

  5. Withdrawal Symptoms: When access to screens is restricted or taken away, children or teens with addiction tendencies may exhibit withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in substance-related addictions. These symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and even depression.

  6. Escalation of Usage: Addiction often leads to an escalation in screen time and gaming behavior. Children or teens may require increasing amounts of time to achieve the desired level of satisfaction or stimulation. They may also engage in secretive behavior to hide the extent of their screen time from parents or caregivers.

  7. Interference with Sleep: Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Children or teens addicted to screens may experience difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep due to overstimulation from gaming or digital activities.

  8. Social Isolation: Excessive screen time can lead to social isolation. Children or teens may withdraw from social interactions, preferring to spend their time alone with screens rather than engaging with peers or participating in family activities.

It’s important to note that these behaviors alone may not indicate addiction, as occasional and controlled screen time is a part of modern life. However, if these behaviours are persistent, intense, and significantly impact various aspects of a child’s life, it may be a sign of an addiction issue.

If you suspect that a child or teen may be struggling with gaming or screen time addiction, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from healthcare providers, therapists, or counselors who specialize in behavioral addictions or child psychology.

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5 Empowering Ways to Cultivate Lasting Self-Esteem

Building Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the foundation of our mental and emotional well-being. It impacts our relationships, achievements, and overall happiness. Building and nurturing self-esteem is an ongoing process that requires attention, practice, and self-compassion. In this blog post, we will explore five unique and empowering ways to build self-esteem that can help you develop a stronger sense of self and thrive in all areas of life.

  1. Embrace Self-Compassion:

Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. It involves acknowledging your imperfections and failures without harsh self-judgment. Cultivating self-compassion allows you to develop a healthy relationship with yourself and counter negative self-talk. Remember to offer yourself the same compassion and empathy you would offer a dear friend in challenging times.

Action Steps:

  • Practice self-talk: Replace self-critical thoughts with self-compassionate and supportive statements.
  • Engage in self-care: Prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies.
  • Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals for guidance and encouragement.

 

  1. Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Achievements:

Setting realistic goals and celebrating your accomplishments, big or small, is vital for building self-esteem. When you set achievable goals and actively work towards them, you develop a sense of competence and self-worth. Acknowledging and celebrating your achievements reinforces positive self-perception and motivates you to continue growing.

Action Steps:

  • Identify your values and aspirations: Reflect on your passions and interests to set meaningful goals aligned with your values.
  • Break goals into manageable steps: Divide larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks to maintain motivation and track progress.
  • Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and reward yourself for reaching milestones, even if they seem minor. Treat yourself to something you enjoy or engage in a meaningful self-affirmation ritual.

 

  1. Practice Self-Expression:

Self-expression allows you to authentically communicate your thoughts, emotions, and creativity. Engaging in activities that facilitate self-expression can boost self-esteem by fostering a deeper connection with your true self and amplifying your unique voice.

Action Steps:

  • Journaling: Write freely and openly about your experiences, feelings, and dreams. Journaling promotes self-reflection, clarity, and self-awareness.
  • Artistic outlets: Explore various creative outlets, such as painting, singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, to express yourself without fear of judgment.
  • Public speaking or joining a club: Practice articulating your thoughts and opinions in a supportive environment, like a public speaking club or a hobby-based group.

 

  1. Cultivate Resilience:

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, challenges, and failures. Developing resilience is crucial for building self-esteem because it allows you to view difficulties as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as reflections of personal worth.

Action Steps:

  • Reframe setbacks: Instead of dwelling on failure, view setbacks as valuable lessons and opportunities for personal development.
  • Practice self-reflection: Reflect on your strengths and areas for growth, and focus on continuous improvement rather than perfection.
  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who encourage you to persevere during challenging times.

 

  1. Engage in Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations:

The way we talk to ourselves significantly influences our self-esteem. By replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations, you can shift your mindset and build a more positive self-perception.

Action Steps:

  • Identify negative self-talk patterns: Pay attention to the negative thoughts that arise throughout the day. Challenge and replace them with positive, realistic statements.

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Seven Areas of Post Traumatic Growth Possible After Trauma Integration

Post traumatic growth, Sad woman becomes happy and free. People letting go of fears, sadness, grief and pain concept.

Experiencing trauma can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences a person can go through. But it can also be a source of profound wisdom and growth. Here are some key insights and lessons that people often learn from their experiences of trauma:

1. Resilience: Many people who have survived trauma discover that they possess a remarkable inner strength and resilience. They may find that they are able to endure and overcome challenges that they once thought were insurmountable.

2. Compassion: Surviving trauma can also deepen a person’s capacity for empathy and compassion. Having experienced pain and suffering themselves, they may be more attuned to the struggles of others and more able to offer understanding and support.

3. Gratitude: Trauma can also teach people to appreciate the good things in life more deeply. Having faced the darkness, they may have a newfound appreciation for the light, and a greater sense of gratitude for the blessings in their lives.

4. Perspective: Trauma can also provide a unique perspective on life. It can help people see what is truly important, and let go of the things that are not. It can also give them a deeper understanding of the fragility of life, and a greater sense of urgency to live each day to the fullest.

5. Courage: Surviving trauma often requires great courage, and many people find that their experiences have helped them develop greater bravery and resilience in the face of adversity.

6. Self-awareness: Trauma can also be a catalyst for self-reflection and self-awareness. People who have survived trauma may gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and their deepest desires and fears.

7. Healing: Finally, trauma can be a catalyst for profound healing and transformation. People who have experienced trauma may be forced to confront their deepest wounds and work through them in order to heal. This can lead to a greater sense of peace, fulfillment, and purpose in life.

In conclusion, while trauma is undoubtedly a difficult and painful experience, it can also be a source of profound wisdom and growth. Survivors of trauma often discover inner strength, compassion, gratitude, perspective, courage, self-awareness, and healing that they might not have otherwise found. By embracing these insights, survivors can move forward with greater resilience, empathy, and purpose in life.

A trauma therapist can play a vital role in helping someone heal from trauma and achieve post-traumatic growth. By creating a safe and supportive environment, helping to regulate emotions, developing coping strategies, addressing negative beliefs and attitudes, encouraging growth, facilitating somatic therapies, and supporting a trauma-informed lifestyle, a trauma therapist can help a person move forward from trauma with greater resilience, purpose, and fulfillment.

 

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Depression

Girl with depression sitting alone on the floor in the dark room. Black and white photo

An Holistic Approach to Depression

Depression is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can manifest in a variety of symptoms, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. It can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and changes in appetite. Depression can interfere with a person’s daily life, including their ability to work, study, and maintain relationships.

Depression can have a range of causes, including genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It can be triggered by life events such as loss, trauma, or stress, or it can develop gradually without a clear cause. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background, and it is one of the most common mental health disorders.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. While traditional treatments for depression often focus on medication and talk therapy, a holistic approach recognizes that depression is often a result of imbalances in multiple areas of a person’s life.With appropriate treatment, most people with depression can recover and lead fulfilling lives.

At our holistic wellness center, we take a comprehensive approach to understanding and treating depression. In addition to traditional therapies, we also offer a range of holistic treatments such as nutrition for mental health, counselling, exercise, and stress management techniques to help address the root causes of depression.

We believe that by addressing the whole person, we can help individuals achieve lasting recovery from depression and improve their overall well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, we encourage you to reach out for support. Our team of trained professionals is here to help you find the path to healing and happiness.

Examples of Holistic Treatments for Depression

There are several holistic treatments that may be effective in the treatment of depression. These treatments aim to address the whole person and may involve a range of physical, emotional, and spiritual interventions. Some examples of holistic treatments for depression include:

  1. Exercise and movement: Regular physical activity can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. This may include activities such as walking, yoga, or tai chi.

  2. Nutrition: A healthy diet can support overall well-being and may help to alleviate symptoms of depression. This may involve incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into the diet, and reducing the intake of processed and sugary foods.

  3. Stress management techniques: Chronic stress can contribute to the development of depression. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help to reduce stress and improve mood.

  4. Acupuncture or Acupressure: This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves the insertion of thin needles into or applying pressure to specific points on the body to promote healing and balance. Some research suggests that acupuncture may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression.

  5. Massage therapy: Massage can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which may be beneficial for those with depression.

It’s important to note that while these holistic treatments may be helpful, they should not be used as a substitute for evidence-based treatments such as medication and therapy. It is always best to work with a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.

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Anxiety

Trauma counselling image

What is Anxiety?

“All anxiety derives from intolerance for uncertainty, which leads to two coping mechanisms: worry or avoidance. Worry is doubt about future events. Avoidance is distracting ourselves from the unpleasant sensation of anxiety. Anxiety can be both a temporary state and a personality trait. Generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry about everyday issues.”

Brene Brown Atlas of the Heart

Experiencing the occasional feeling of anxiety is a very normal part of life. Life is often uncertain and if we think in certain ways we can feel anxious which will then cause us to behave in ways we wouldn’t if we were not feeling anxious.See the image below for an example of this.

Some people with anxiety disorders  experience excessive, intense and persistent worry, fear and even dread about everyday situations. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it interferes with everyday life. Anxiety disorders include repeated episodes of feeling intense anxiety, worry and fear and can turn into feelings of dread and terror that reach a peak within minutes of the initial cause (panic attacks). The cause can often be a mystery. Some people can pick the event, or thought that started the anxiety developing but often anxiety becomes a false alarm that triggers before we are even aware there is anything wrong.

Feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily living and can be difficult to control. We often experience a state of fight, flight or freeze which can feel out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time.

Anxiety may cause you to avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Anxiety symptoms may start in childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood.

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

Generalized anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Specific phobias

Separation anxiety disorder.

People often have more than one anxiety disorder. Anxiety can result from a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism that may need treatment.

 

Symptoms of Anxiety

Some Holistic Treatment Options for Anxiety

Holistic treatments for anxiety may include interventions that address the physical, emotional, and social aspects of the condition. These treatments may include:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety.

  2. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and learn to respond to them in a more balanced way.

  3. Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are chemicals that improve mood.

  4. Nutrition: A healthy diet can help support overall well-being, including mental health.

  5. Social support: Connecting with others, whether through therapy, support groups, or social activities, can help individuals feel less isolated and improve their overall well-being.

  6. Somatic Exercises: Somatic exercises are activities that can help reduce anxiety by focusing on the body and the sensations it experiences. Activities may include mindfulness movement, Progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or tai chi or breathing exercises.

It is important to speak with a mental health professional or qualified instructor before starting somatic work. They can help you determine the best exercises for your individual needs and guide you in proper form and technique.

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