November 17th, 2009

Overcoming Substance Abuse New York City and Beyond

Substance abuse does not only happen to a certain type of person. Contrary to what is portrayed on television and on the big screen, there is no stereotypical substance abuser. Substance abuse, including drug, alcohol and pain medication addiction can happen to people of all ages, of all races, of all classes, of all professions, of all walks of life. Regardless of whether you live in the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Mid-Town, Chelsea, or anywhere in between, substance abuse could very easily be affecting you, or someone you love. Every single substance abuse case is different and thus it is not fair or correct to automatically assume the reasons for substance abuse. In fact, the only constant in substance abuse cases is the pain and suffering it can cause not only the user, but also those close to him or her. Statements such as he had a hard childhood; she’s going through a difficult time; he’s got an addictive personality may help some people come to terms with substance abuse but it most certainly won’t be enough to end the pain, frustration, guilt, confusion, anger and fear that comes with battling addiction. The road to recovery is an uphill journey; however, with the right professional counseling, network of support and dedication to success, you can not only take on this mountainous battle, but you can make it out of the fog and to the top of your life.

Substance abuse in New York is more common than you may think. Sure, you may have seen the alcoholics battling in the streets but you probably did not think twice about it. Many cases of substance abuse happen behind closed doors. Furthermore, many people who battle substance abuse do not even realize they have a problem. Others want to get help but are unsure where to turn. However, the harsh reality is that one in four US deaths can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use. There are 100,000 deaths each year from excessive alcohol abuse and another 16,000 deaths due to illicit drug use. These numbers are scary to say the least.

Three Factors to Consider when Battling against Substance Abuse

There is no right way. Many people will react positively to certain medication substitutes while others might be able to beat their problem by entering a rehabilitation facility. Others find it is best to discuss their concerns with a professional therapist and try to figure out what is behind the addiction. There are three things you must consider when battling substance abuse or when helping someone with an addiction.

  1. Willingness is a Must – telling yourself that you want to change is one of the hardest things to do but it is also the first step in the right direction. Many people are unwilling to admit they have a problem or believe that the addiction is bigger than them and thus, they continue down the path to self destruction. There is no perfect time to admit to having a problem and there is no perfect time to accept that changes must be made. This is an individual journey.
  2. Abuse can stem from other Problems – in many instances, substance abuse stems from an underlying problem. Overcoming death, relationship problems, career-related stress, depression, anxiety, self esteem issues or family grievances can all impact your decision to turn to drugs or alcohol. Many people are unsure of why they turn to a substance for relief while others know the case but are unable to dig into this painful experience. It’s important to remember that substance abuse is not your fault and there are ways to overcome this problem.
  3. The Right Support can make all the Difference – most people cannot battle substance abuse on their own. Even if your problem occurs mostly behind closed doors, it is best to have someone to talk to about your problem. If you or someone you love is battling from substance abuse in New York City, consider speaking to a trained counselor in the field of addiction and abuse. A professional therapist can help you overcome your problem but there are other options as well. Friends, family, support groups and even online forums can help you see that you are not alone and that you can beat this problem and move on with your life. There are millions of people across the United States fighting their own personal battle with addiction; however, there are millions of others who have overcome these demons.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to battling substance abuse is that there is help out there. You are not alone. And if you choose to accept this help – and pursue a different life – things can get better. You do not have to keep living the way you have always lived. However, it is up to you to accept the challenge.


November 14th, 2009

Four Steps to Overcoming Relationship Problems

Problems with your relationship can be one of the most stressful things to deal with. Your home is your sanctuary and when there is trouble brewing, then you may start avoiding the one place you used to love coming home to. There are a number of things that can cause a strain in relationships – financial issues, past relationships, work-related complications, sexual (or lack thereof) tension, family and friend interferences and different life goals can all negatively impact a relationship.

Almost every couple has problems in their relationship at some point or another. The question is – should you work it out or call it quits? This will depend on a number of factors and will vary in every relationship. However, here are four things you need to try this month before calling it quits and giving up on the life that you have built together.

  1. Do Something to let him/her Know you Care – the little things make all the difference so this week, instead of going about your day avoiding the issues at home, think of ways you can help alleviate these stresses. Send a goofy text message; pick up some flowers on the way home; offer back rubs. These small gestures may put a smile on your partner’s face and help strengthen that breaking bond.
  2. Eat one Meal a Day Together – in almost all relationships, eating every meal together is impossible. You have work; you have prior commitments; you have a life. However, scheduling a sit down dinner every night is a great way to reconnect and recharge as a single unit. Discuss your day, share stories, comment on movies, admit your frustrations and feats – open your mouth and talk. Working late? Then get up early and have breakfast together.
  3. Plan a Mini Break – okay, so it is not reasonable to simply pack up for the month and take a second honeymoon to Paris but think about scheduling a night away this month. Go somewhere just the two of you and think nothing but romance. Red wine and chocolate covered strawberries in a hot tub perhaps? A luxurious spa package and horse carriage ride through Central Park maybe? Wake up after a blissful night together and enjoy a champagne breakfast on your private balcony. A mini break will not only allow you to recharge your individual batteries, but will strengthen your bond as a team and, with any luck, remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
  4. Make a Date – it sounds so trivial but one of the main reasons relationships crumble is simply because they get too stale and your lives become too busy. If you are both constantly on the go and notice that the only time you are actually in the same room is either to fight, or to sleep, then it’s time to step away from this routine and make some time for good ol’ fashion date night. New York City is filled with beautiful places for the perfect ‘date’ night. Even a simple stroll around Union Square, an evening of romantic cocktails in Upper East Side or a Saturday spent shopping in Chelsea can help you build on your relationship. Have a few ground rules for date night. Topics that usually bring on fights are off-limits; there will be no cell phones or other interruptions; and, like all romantic date nights, your evening must end in the perfect kiss.

When Enough is Enough

In certain instances, there are simply no other avenues to turn to. If your relationship is coming to an end, then you most likely are feeling a whirlwind of emotions – extreme sadness, failure, anger, confusion, guilt. You might find waking up every morning to an empty bed completely depressing or finding a new apartment to live in completely overwhelming. You might feel a ball of rage in the pit of your stomach every time you think of your ex-partner or you might break down into a fit of tears at the thought of what you had, and what is now gone. You might be envious of other couples who walk hand in hand through Manhattan or you may feel bitter and resentful when hearing engagement announcements and seeing wedding photos in the New York Times. These are completely natural emotions to be experiencing after a particularly tough break up. However, if you are finding that these emotions are ruling your life and negatively impacting all aspects then it might be time seek professional assistance in overcoming these emotions.

A New York City relationship counselor can help you come to terms with the past and close the book on that aspect of your life. Sure, you will miss your partner and you will most likely always feel strongly towards him or her, but you also need to know that things happen for a reason and that there is life after the end of a relationship. Overcoming the emotional strains of a relationship will not happen overnight but talking about it with a trained counselor is one of the best steps you can make to moving on. A psychotherapist can help you overcome your sadness/hatred/guilt about a relationship ending and prove that a new life is actually just beginning.

November 13th, 2009

Twenty Five Tips for Personal Improvement in NYC

We’ve all heard the cliché – life is what you make of it – however, how can you ensure you are making the most out of your life? Most of us, at some point or another, will feel down on ourselves and our achievements. We may feel like we are not fulfilling our life goals and that time is simply passing us by with nothing to show for it. If you are caught in this emotional low, then you need to take a step back and focus on personal improvement.

Personal improvement is the best way to lift your spirits, re-evaluate your life direction and increase your chance of success in everything you do. Personal improvement involves improving your self worth from within- by doing this you are taking the first step to a happier you. The best thing about personal improvement is that it does not take much to improve your self worth. In fact, personal improvement can come simply from getting up a few minutes early, joining a class or enjoying the beautiful New York City views from a new angle. Outlined below are some simple yet effective personal improvement tips that will ensure you are living your life in Manhattan to its full potential each and every day:

Family and Relationships Personal Improvement

  1. Be single and mingle. If you are on the hunt for Mr or Mrs Right, then you need to put yourself out there. Join classes, see sports games, visit galleries and do what you love to do. Eventually you will find someone else who shares these similar passions.
  2. Respect yourself and members of the opposite sex will do the same. I love the phrase: We teach others how we should be treated. What message are you sending on how you should be treated?
  3. Plan trips together, as a couple. For those in a relationship, invest in a yearly vacation for just the two of you. This can be a two week Caribbean adventure or simply a weekend away to the country. Take this time to re-connect as a unit.
  4. Choose family activities you all can enjoy rather than spending the weekends doing separate activities
  5. Always make time for a family meal per day which will allow you to communicate and connect with your loved ones.
  6. Share the responsibilities instead of assuming that someone else will do it. Have both parents cook dinners, do the laundry and be on diaper duty.

Career and Financial Personal Improvement

  1. Assess your skills and thrills and work towards these goals in your career.
  2. Constantly ask questions, which can build communication in the work force and promote a sense of control in your job.
  3. Step away from distractions, including certain co-workers, social networking sites and text messages.
  4. Find your peak work time and take advantage of this. When do you do your best work? For many of us, it is during the morning while others are most productive right before the end of the day. Schedule your harder tasks around these energy boosts.
  5. Track your finances by using a monthly budgeting spreadsheet or compute program. Track what is coming in and what is going out to make sure you stay out of the red.
  6. Be aware of unsecured debt such as your credit card bill. The interest rates on most credit cards are enough to put anyone in dire financial stress. Save the credit card for emergencies or pay it off as best as you can each month.
  7. Research for deals. With the internet, it is easier than ever to do a quick comparison of the different mortgage, car insurance, electricity, phone plans and other rates to make sure you are not paying more than necessary.

Health and Fitness Personal Improvement Tips

  1. Eat breakfast; after all, it’s not called the ‘most important meal of the day’ for nothing.
  2. Take some time to relax each morning. Get up twenty minutes earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee on your balcony. Watch the sun rise over Mid-Town and appreciate the day ahead.
  3. Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day. Even something as small as a 30 minute stroll around your West Village neighbourhood will improve your health
  4. Take up stretching, yoga or Pilates to relax muscles and relieve stress.

Body, Mind and Soul Personal Improvement Tips

  1. If you have the time, volunteer. Giving something back to your NYC community can improve your sense of self worth
  2. Accept mistakes as they happen by developing tolerance and patience. With this comes inner peace.
  3. Keep a journal of your thoughts, fears, worries and problems. Writing your thoughts down can help melt away the stress.
  4. Expect the unexpected. Instead of trying to always control everything around you, understand that there are some things you cannot control. Traffic jams in Manhattan will happen. Just take a deep breath and let nature take its course.
  5. Activate your brain. After they have finished high school and college many people will stop reading and writing on a regular basis. Grab a crossword puzzle or Sudoku to re-activate your mind
  6. Find 20 for you – every day, try to find 20 minutes of ‘me’ time where you can reflect on your day.
  7. Forgive and forget the past. If there is something in the past, such as a poor relationship, holding you back, try to let it go. With time those uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, resentment and rage will fade away as well.
  8. Consider counseling – if there are certain aspects of your life that you simply cannot gain control of, then you might want to speak to someone trained in the area. Many people will turn to a professional NYC psychologist or therapist to help them find the inner strength to reach these personal improvement goals. If you are having trouble finding your self worth and overcoming the obstacles dragging you down, then perhaps a trained counselor can help you find your inner strength to move forward.
November 11th, 2009

Manhattan Divorce Counseling: Advice in Battling the Emotional Roller Coaster of Divorce and Achieving Stability

You’ve read the statistics; you’ve heeded the warnings; you’ve seen the distress it can cause; but you never thought it would happen to you. When you signed the marriage certificate and said your vows you never thought divorce would be an option that you and your spouse would have to consider. But now it not only is an option- it is the only one that makes sense.

Divorce is not something anyone signs up for but it is sometimes the only thing left to do in a marriage. It’s important to remember that just because your marriage has failed does not mean it was a mistake in the first place. Marriage was part of a learning experience and a big part of your life. Even if the marriage ended in a complicated divorce, you will still have certain blissful memories of a time when everything was perfect.

Practical Matters of Divorce

There are certain steps you need to take when it comes to battling through divorce that must be done. First of all, you will need to contact a divorce lawyer to establish the legal and financial well-being of both parties. You will need to check over your finances and split up any items you share. This may include custody of the children, family support, division or property and division of assets.

You will also need to move out and, eventually, move on. Most divorce proceedings will have one partner moving out of the house. If this is you, then it’s time to start looking for a new house or a new NYC neighbourhood. You also need to move on with your single life as best as possible. Try to focus on the things you loved to do before the divorce- going to the gym, catching up with friends, seeing movies, hosting dinner parties. Do not let the divorce infect all areas of your life. Work to establish structure.

Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. Divorce can feel like your entire world has collapsed and leave you raw with several complex emotions. Your self esteem may suffer; you may feel like you have failed; you may be resentful and angry, especially when seeing happy couples on the New York City streets; you may look towards bad habits in order to help you overcome this pain. Instead of turning to a bottle of wine (or three or four), try these divorce counselling tips for moving on with your life after your marriage comes to an end.

Stability after Divorce

One of the best ways to achieve a level of stability after divorce is to rely on others for emotional support. Many people who are overcoming a divorce have a hard time letting go of the pain and frustration that comes along with it. Look to those around you to help you out. It might be best to avoid couple dinner parties and smug married couple friends during this tough time and instead turn to those who have gone through the same situation. Group support and even online forums may be able to provide you with some assistance. A divorce counselor can offer you professional help in battling your emotional pain. Sometimes the fastest way to forgive and move on is simply to talk it out. Your friends, your family and your Manhattan divorce counselor are all there to listen.

Another great way to get through your divorce is to focus on the ‘u’ instead of the ‘us.’ For years you have probably been part of the ‘we’ team and it can often be hard to get back into the individual mind frame. You don’t have to worry about sides of the bed or cooking without a certain food that your spouse hated. You don’t have to put up with bad movies because it’s not your turn to pick the movie. And, you don’t have to spend those Saturday evenings at your in-laws for dinner anymore. Instead, you are free to focus on you, you and more you!

So what do you want to do?

This can actually be a hard question to answer, especially when your mind is so used to doing things as a team. Try to think back to the things you loved before you got married and write a list of all the things you’ve wanted to do but never had the time for. You can now rearrange your schedule so that you are kept busy with things that make you happy. Perhaps you could redecorate your apartment or join a gym. Perhaps you can now take that cooking class, that pottery class or that vacation to Mexico with your friends. Or, perhaps you can simply enjoy a casual walk around your neighborhood or glass of wine with friends after a long day of work without worrying about the looming fight awaiting you at home.

When a marriage ends, regardless of the length of the marriage or the outcome of the divorce, it can leave your physically, mentally and emotionally drained. However, with the right counseling, support groups and inner strength, you will be ready to tackle your divorce and move ahead with your life with civility, grace and acceptance and an open mind.

November 9th, 2009

Coping with Job Loss in a Tough New York City Market

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the current unemployment rate across the United States is 9.8%. New York currently has an unemployment rate of 8.9% which means nearly 1 in 10 New Yorkers are looking for work. Job loss can lead to several problems in your life including financial strain, emotional strain and mental strain. You may have trouble providing for your family, paying the mortgage and keeping food on the table. You may be suffering from pending foreclosure, looming credit card debt and credit report complications. You may have some reserves about accepting welfare and feel guilty about the situation. You may lack self esteem and confidence to get back out in the job market, especially with the competition for work so incredibly fierce. Whatever is going through your mind, coping with job loss is not an easy thing. You need to re-arrange your life and re-adjust your mental mind frame to start again, which can be especially hard in today’s current economic situation.

Coping with job loss has been ranked as one of the most stressful situations in one’s life, up there with divorce, moving, and dealing with a death in the family. There are a number of terms for job loss including being laid off, downsized, getting dismissed, receiving your pink slip – but the implications and the emotional reactions are the same – complete disappointment. Regardless of the reason you have been laid off, you are most likely going to feel like you have done something wrong and that you were not good enough; this can lead to serious self esteem issues. As we all know, searching for a new job can be a challenge to say the least and one of the most important things when on the hunt for a new career is to remain confident and positive.

Tips to Coping with Job Loss

Below are four tips for coping in New York City. Keep in mind that everyone has a different way of handling job loss – these suggestions may be able to help but it is up to you to make the first move forward.

  • Take time for yourself – this is probably the last thing you want to do, especially if you are currently feeling like a failure for losing your job. However, it’s important that you let go of damaging thoughts and focus on regaining the positives in your life. Think back to another time when you have had to deal with a problem – what did you do then to get out of the slump? Perhaps a walk around Central Park would clear your mind? Or maybe a long bath would help ease your fears of the future?
  • Turn to friends, family and professional help for support – you may feel like the only thing you want to do right now is curl up on the couch and sleep but now, more than ever, you need to open your door and let your support group in. Meet up in Manhattan for a cup of coffee and to vent your anger and frustration. Take in a lunch date in the Upper East Side with your parents and ask them for some advice. Or, consider speaking to a professional NYC career counselor about the situation. He can help you come to terms with what happened and focus on moving forward. He can also help you assess your strengths, weaknesses and career goals to make sure you are on the right path. Regardless of whether you belong in an office on Wall Street or in an excavator on the streets of the Upper East Side, a New York City counselor can help you see your job loss in the best of light.
  • Focus on your Finances – when coping with job loss, it’s important to assess your finances before going any further. You will need to make a spreadsheet and most likely cut down on some of those luxuries in life. You also might need to speak to your lending company about changing your payment rates. Job loss is a common problem not only in New York City, but around the United States. Most lending companies are willing to work with you while you get your career back on track. You just need to be honest about the situation.
  • Get Down to Work – once you are feeling emotionally ready to tackle the next chapter of your life, it is time to start the job search. You should consider looking for a job a full-time career. Devote 40 hours a week to perfecting your resume, searching for work, making follow up calls and scheduling appointments. If you treat the hunt for a job like full time work, then it will be easier to remain motivated at the task at hand. If you are having trouble staying focused during the day, consider using a day planner to split up the different tasks you need to do. Writing down your day will keep you busy and less likely to sleep in, watch daytime television and mope around the house.

When coping with NYC job loss, it can be tempting to simply shut out the loud noises and crawl into your own bubble. But this is not going to put food on the table and it is also not going to help you achieve your career goals. Just because your job has come simply means that another chapter in your career has opened up. Consider this positive fact when on the hunt for that next perfect position.

October 22nd, 2009

Beyond Freud – What is Means to be a Psychotherapist and Where to Find the Best Psychotherapists New York

There is no denying that Sigmund Freud is one of the most well known names in psychotherapy. He has coined several terms that have made it into the common vernacular including the “Oedipus complex”, the “ego” and the “collective unconscious.” However, psychotherapy has roots that go past Freud and beyond. In fact, psychotherapy, also known as the ‘talking cure’ is one of the best ways to overcome your problems and talk your way to a solution, especially in the fast paced world of today.

Understanding the 21st Century of Psychotherapy in New York

Let’s start with the basics- what exactly, is psychotherapy and how can a NYC psychotherapist help with your problems? A psychotherapist is a trained professional who interacts with patients to help them overcome certain problems. It is through psychotherapy that a patient is able to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors to project a positive outlook on their life and their situation. Every psychotherapy session is different and all psychotherapists have a different approach to helping their patients. While some prefer to provide individual treatments, others will offer group sessions. While some prefer the office environment, others will choose a more natural location.

Psychotherapy will look into your problems through your words. Talking is one of the most natural and expressive forms of communication and thus it makes sense to use this as the base of psychotherapy. However, talking one on one is not the only method of psychotherapy in New York. Biofeedback, interactive group therapy, meditation, relaxation training, self-help groups, psychodynamic therapy and behavioral therapy are all forms of psychotherapy as well. Today’s world has moved beyond the basic in psychotherapy, away from the Freudian concepts and off the mundane couch.

So before you prep your mind for an hour on the couch, make sure you are actually getting the most effective treatment from your psychotherapy session.

The Best Psychotherapist New York

New Yorkers know how many options there are out there these days. Even a simple task like going to a movie requires several decisions – which theatre, which movie, which movie treat, which drink. When it comes to choosing the best psychotherapist in New York, you are also faced with a lot of options. In the end, the choice is completely up to you. You may choose to go with someone who a friend recommends or someone who has an office close to your home or you may choose to go with a New York City psychotherapist that offers an experience that is outside of the box.

When choosing the best psychotherapist in New York City, make sure you always check the credentials and licensing. Psychotherapists can be trained psychiatrists, registered nurses, clinical social workers, marriage therapists, family therapists or psychiatric nurses, but, without the government state license, these occupational titles do not matter.

Consider choosing a psychotherapist that focuses on your area of suffering. For many of us this is not something we can actually pinpoint, but if you know your troubles stem from anxiety, depression, divorce, career or addiction problems, then finding a trained professional in these fields will help you out.

Finally, the best NYC psychotherapist for you is the one that you connect with. You will need to feel a sense of complete openness and trust when it comes to your therapy session.

Although you may feel like holding back for the first little while, each session you should slowly be able to shed those problems off your back. If you are still not sure about taking the plunge and seeing a psychotherapist about your problems, then there are other options to letting go of what’s troubling you. A good chatting session with someone you love can help you talk through your troubles. Make a pot of coffee and invite over your best friend. If this isn’t an option, taking a walk around the city will also clear up your perspective. There is nothing more liberating than breathing in that cool fresh air and enjoying the fall breeze.

However if you are looking for more than just your average coffee and gab session, if you want that level of confidence that friendship chats simply can’t provide and if you need some professional advice, a trained mental health professional is one that can help you open up.

When you leave a psychotherapy session you should feel a sense of relief and refreshment; you should not feel more confused or more closed off from the world. Finding this sense of relief and sense of freedom is not something that will happen overnight; however, slowly and surely, these issues will peal away
and reveal a happier and healthier you.

October 22nd, 2009

Psychology NYC Self Help Tips for a Better Tomorrow and a Brighter Fall Season

Have you been down in the dumps lately? Perhaps work has been stressing you out or perhaps you have recently gone through a separation or divorce. Perhaps the start of the cold weather has not only dropped the temperature but also your spirits. Whatever is going through your head, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. With the festive season just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to dig deep and discover a new lease on life.

It’s the Little Things That Count

If you are struggling with keeping your head up and battling against the early stages of depression, then it can be helpful to start small and work up. At the start of each day this week, write down three things that you are looking forward to. These can be abstract ideas or even small little positives that can help you with the day. For example, perhaps you are looking forward to taking your work boots off at the end of the day or feeling the hot water once you jump in the shower tonight. Or, perhaps you are looking forward to a drink with a friend after work or a special treat for lunch. These may seem like minor, insignificant little pluses but, when you add these up, it can make any day seem a lot better (even the ones that are filled with tedious board meetings). Keep in mind that if your depression or low points are getting to be too hard to handle, then there is another option for improvement. A trained psychologist in NYC will be able to offer you the professional advice and service that can make the difference.

If you are struggling to overcome a big change in your life that has hurt you emotionally, then it can be helpful to dig down to the surface of the problem. Sure, this can be a challenging experience, but it can be rewarding to see the positives that have come out of the situation. The start of every end is a new beginning. You just need to see through this darkness.

If you are having trouble with self confidence or self esteem issues, you need to do something that you love to do and that makes you feel proud. Poor self esteem can lead to stress issues, health issues, guilt issues and social issues. It can be easy to tell yourself that you are beautiful, but it can be hard to force your mind to believe it. So, instead, express it through art. This weekend pick up a large frame from a craft shop and get to work building a collage of all the things in your life that make you happy and proud. Includes photographs with friends, awards from your past, nice emails from co-workers, famous inspirational quotes, silly trinkets and family vacation reminders. If you have children, make sure you include their smiling faces in your collage. Going through your past and pulling out some of those funny, silly and proud moments can help build your confidence. Once your project is finished, display it somewhere in your house where you will see it on a daily basis. You won’t be able to help but smile every day you walk past the collage and are reminded of just how great your life really is, and how much you have achieved.

The Big Things Keep Piling Up… when to Opt for NYC Psychology

It’s important to understand that these little tips may help lift your spirits but if you are suffering and struggling to cope with the many stresses of life here in NYC, your best options may be to see a psychologist or therapist. It is one of the best ways to overcome your obstacles and move forward in life. There are a variety of different treatment options and methods available, many of which are covered through your medical insurance. A psychologist in New York City will help clear your head of those Manhattan stresses so you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul for the fall season.

Sure, the sun is gone, the leaves are changing color and the cold air is making itself known but this does not mean you need to match your mood to the weather. Work to stay positive all year around and always remember that if you need a hand, a New York City psychologist is only a phone call away.

October 12th, 2009

Beyond Blue: Combating Depression in New York

New York City is the city that never sleeps. There is literally a bright light of activities everywhere you go. From visiting museums and bistros during the day to attending Broadway plays and nightclubs after dark, New York City shines no matter what. However, for those who are battling depression, New York can seem like a dark hole. You may not be able to see the beauty, the nature, the culture and the entertainment that lives and breathes around every corner; you may instead be swept up in a sea of sadness.

We all feel down once in a while. However, there is a big difference between having the blues and suffering from depression. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if your sadness is a cause for concern. It’s important to understand the difference between having a bad day and being depressed. A bad day can occur out of nowhere and leave you feeling emotionally drained. A rude comment at work, a fight with your spouse or a big credit card bill can all lead to feelings of sadness, exhaustion, failure and anger. It is when you cannot control these emotions and they start to take over your life that you may be suffering from depression. Depression can take on many forms which is why it can be so hard to self diagnose. While some who are dealing with depression in New York revert to their own little world, ignoring friends and colleagues and shutting the gate to society, others who suffer from depression may seem completely normal on the inside but turn into a wreck behind closed doors. There is no ‘right’ way to be depressed. You may feel withdrawn, useless, helpless, hopeless, lonely, anxious, nervous, tired, guilty or angry. You may feel the need to sleep 12 hours a day, or not sleep at all; you may lose your appetite, or have trouble controlling your eating habits; you may become a community recluse or an overly social party animal. Because of the multitude of confusion behind depression, there is really no way one way to prevent or cure this disorder.

The first thing you need to do when it comes to overcoming depression in New York City or elsewhere is to confide in a professional. Depression is not something that anyone should suffer through alone and, although there is no magic pill to eliminate depression, there are proven methods to treat and understand this serious disorder. Besides seeing a professional New York psychologist, therapist or other mental health professional you can also make some minor adjustments in your life to elevate your mood and work towards a happier tomorrow.

Gain a New Perspective: looking for a great way to combat those blues and rejuvenate your body? Try taking a hike. New York is filled with great outdoor hikes the Hudson Highlands and the Black Mountain Loop. Trekking up a hill can elevate your senses, your mood and your overall well being. Furthermore, a view from the top may give you a different perspective on your life.

Enjoy the Sunlight: sufferers of depression in New York City will often lock themselves inside. Rejecting society will not only cause you to sink even lower, but it can also limit your intake of sunlight, an important source of vitamin D and a proven alleviator of the blues. Resist the urge to stay behind closed doors all week. Walk instead of hiding on the subway; spend your lunch break outdoors; and soak up that warm glow.

Write it Out: sometimes it can help to write down your thoughts. You do not have to start a daily diary but using a journal to speak your mind can often help you relax and unload. If you are feeling down, try typing your thoughts out and see where it gets you. Many people swear that writing down their fears and concerns actually leads to a solution. Although this may not be the case when suffering from clinical depression, writing down your thoughts can relieve some of that anxiety and tension that is bringing you down.

Stay away from the Negatives: there are so many positive things about life in New York; however, there are also many negative influences surrounding our lives and this negativity can be contagious. Certain people, certain activities and certain events may trigger disappointment, fear, frustration, guilt, anxiety and negativity. Try to identify these things and then avoid them if possible. Look to positive people to be around and happy places to spend your time. After all, positive thoughts lead to positive results. Getting rid of the negatives in your life will help detoxify your body and lead to a more positive outlook.

Depression in New York is a leading concern for many people. Unfortunately, there is no black and white line when it comes to depression. In fact, depression comes in many shades of grey which is why it is so important to accept the help you need. New Yorkers have enough to worry about without depression bringing them down as well. If you believe you are suffering beyond the blues, then look for support from a trained professional. Shedding some light on depression in New York will lead to a brighter understanding of this dark disorder.

October 12th, 2009

No Worries in the Big Apple: How to Handle New York Anxiety

New York City is considered one of the busiest cities in the nation. In fact, New York is a worldwide epicentre when it comes to business, tourism and culture. New Yorkers know how the stress of work, home, school and relationships can add up in a New York minute. Job concerns, financial hardship, family troubles and marital issues can all leave you feeling completely drained and out of control. And the result of this build up of problems can often be anxiety. However, is there any way to combat against this New York anxiety apart from locking the doors, closing the shutters and removing yourself from the busy streets of society? Although a mini vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the city can often help with this stress, it is not the solution if you are suffering from chronic anxiety. Instead of running away from your worries, you need to confront them head on.

Anxiety in New York is not something that should be taken lightly. Many people who suffer from anxiety have trouble relaxing and adapting to their surroundings. Anxiety is a crippling feeling that can lead to tension, discomfort and fear. Often those who suffer from anxiety do not even know what they are worried about- they simply cannot stop. In a city that never sleeps, like New York, this constant worrying can lead to problems in the office, in the social environment and in their home. Furthermore, an anxiety disorder can lead to other psychological problems including depression and insomnia.

One of the best ways to get a grip on anxiety in New York City is to see a psychologist, therapist or other mental health professional. There are several treatment plans available including counseling and medication that will not only help you get past this anxiety, but also help you to understand it. Apart from seeing a psychologist or therapist about your anxiety issues, here are four other tips to dealing with anxiety in New York.

  1. Find your Relaxation Therapy – many people who suffer from anxiety will turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to alleviate these worries and temporarily block out the fear. This is not your best bet as the effects are temporary and can be harmful to your body. Instead, look for relaxation methods that go past the surface and into the mind. Deep breathing and yoga are two great methods of relaxation. Not ready to meditate? Finding an extra 30 minute a day to take a bath; cleansing your mind, body and soul can help with anxiety in New York.
  2. Walk away your Worries – New York is filled with people coming and going, speed walking to the subway, sprinting for a taxi and pushing their way to the sales on Fifth Avenue. However, when you stop trying to get somewhere and simply walk for the simple pleasure of walking, time can slow down and your worries can melt away. Walking and other moderate exercise is a great way to be alone with your thoughts while releasing endorphins and uplifting your mood. Hiking, bike riding and swimming are other great ways to enjoy the New York nature while relieving the tension built up inside.
  3. Find the Time for Friends – although many people who suffer from anxiety do so in silence, it can be beneficial to speak your mind when it comes to your worries. Talking to a family member or friend can be a great anxiety-reliever. Furthermore, they may be able to offer advice or provide anecdotes that can help you with your problems. If meeting for a social drink at a crowded New York restaurant is not your thing, then enjoy a cup of coffee at a more quiet setting or in the comfort of your own home.
  4. Live in Moderation – you may not even realize it, but your current lifestyle might be giving you anxiety. If you are lacking the proper dietary needs, sleep and exercise, then your body may be rebelling by causing you to stress out. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and aim for seven hours of sleep a night. Furthermore, 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can spark new life from within. Anything in excess can also trigger anxiety among other disorders. The major culprits include caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods. Although you do not need to eliminate these completely from your lifestyle, make sure you consume in moderation. It can be hard to determine whether your worrying is warranted or if it is a sign of a serious anxiety disorder. If your anxiety is constantly causing problems at home or at work and negatively impacting your life then it is best to see a professional therapist who can help you recognize your cause for concerns and work towards a solution.
September 26th, 2009

Finding the Best Psychologist in New York City for Your Needs

We all want the best. For most of us, the idea of ‘the best’ is something that has been ingrained deep into our heads from a very early age. We strive to be ‘the best’ in school, in sports, at home and at work. So, why should we demand anything different when it comes to a New York City psychologist? We all deserve the best in the business. So, how can you determine whether you are getting the best psychologist in New York City? The question of the best all comes down to the individual. When getting advice from friends about therapy, your mate may suggest you see Dr. Smith because “he’s the best.” But is he the best for you? And how can you really know for sure? In order to determine this, you need to look at the following three factors:

First and foremost, what type of therapy are you looking for? While some therapists will prefer the standard analysis and lay you down on their couch, others will choose to speak to you in a more casual environment. Think about the talks you have had with your friends and family- what makes you feel best? Do you prefer to vent on the telephone while someone occasionally says “uh uh”? Do you prefer to express yourself through letters or email? Or perhaps your best talks have occurred during cocktail hour, coffee breaks or long walks on the beach with loved ones. It’s important to look into your individual relaxation style. Many people avoid therapy sessions because they think it will be too Freudian; however, there are methods of therapy that step outside the box and off the couch. Perhaps these would be more suited towards your lifestyle and your goals.

Second of all, ask yourself what type of person you feel comfortable talking to. Are you looking for a friend or a father figure to help you with your problems? Do you want someone who uses a passive or active approach? Do you want someone who is direct and confronting or someone who allows you to do all the talking (and discovering)? The best therapist for you is one that you feel comfortable with. Sensitive types often prefer a more passive approach to therapy while go-getters often want someone who can push them to their limit.

And finally, take an in depth look at what’s bringing you to therapy in the first place. Do you feel like your life is lacking something but are not sure what it is? Or do you have a specific problem and need to talk to an expert on the matter? Many people will choose therapy as a way to tackle certain problems related to a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. Others are looking for help with their weight loss journey or overcoming grief from a death or divorce. Others still are battling addiction or self-esteem issues. Whatever the case, the best New York City psychologist is one who knows your problem inside out and has proven methods of overcoming these issues. When choosing the best Manhattan psychologist for you, ask about their previous experience working with your condition. If you are unsure about what’s really upsetting you, then look for someone with experience in all aspects of therapy.

In addition to finding the best therapist in Manhattan, you need to do your daily homework. Here are a few simple starters to self improvement. Start with these three tips this week and see the difference the little changes in life can make:

Get up twenty minutes early: start your day off right and find some time in the morning to actually enjoy the day. Enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise. Take a few extra minutes in the shower or take a fifteen minute walk around the block. Most people start their day off on the wrong foot- either late or in a rush. By getting up a little earlier, you are eliminating that morning stress and enjoying a little ‘me’ time before tackling another day.

Keep (and follow) a schedule: having a set plan can help you accomplish more. Whether you have a jammed packed day ahead of you, or are simply looking for ways to pass the time, knowing what you need to do (and when) is the best way to keep control of your tasks and make the day run smoother. Take every chore, whether it is around the house or at the office, one step at a time.

Do something completely new: today is the day that you finally take that step and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Sign up for cooking class, schedule an appointment to go sky diving or buy a book to learn a new language. It may seem a little silly at first, but learning something new will keep your mind active and improve your sense of self worth.

Keep in mind that the best psychologist in New York City is not necessarily the most educated, the most experienced and the most talked about on television; the best psychologist in New York City is the one that helps you assess your problems and then works towards breaking through these barriers. When looking for the ‘best’, always look within yourself before you look to the Yellow Pages.

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