Stress: Effects of Stress

Image result for stressed brain

Stress: Effects of Stress

By: Vanessa Munera

When people talk about stress, what exactly is it? Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. With stress the body reacts to these changes with emotional, physical, and mental responses. Stress could either be presented as a positive or negative outcome in people’s daily lives.

According to Bernstein “Stress can occur in a variety of forms” (2016). Some stress can result in short events such as an argument with a loved one. Furthermore, other stress can manifest due to reoccurring conditions; for example, a demanding job, financial problems, and/ or long term illness. When reoccurring conditions cause stress to be both intense and sustained over a long period of time, it can be considered as “chronic” or “toxic” stress”. While all stress triggers physiological reactions, chronic stress is indeed to be considered a problematic issue that creates significant harm to the brain and the functioning of the body. In fact, “stress continues to be a major American health issue”.

If you have experienced a stressful event, a certain area of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions as a command center in the brain, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that person has the energy to fight or flee”. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response because it provides the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. Some of the affects from the “fight or flight” response are increased heart rate, deeper intake of oxygen, heightened senses, and the rush of adrenaline – also known as epinephrine, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. Finally a hormone known as cortisol is released to help restore the energy that was lost during the response. When stress is no longer present, your cortisol levels to go back to normal as if nothing happened. In addition cortisol helps regulate metabolism and immune responses.

When dealing with chronic stress, cortisol levels are at a constant high, which eventually causes health problems. Although cortisol is a natural and healthy hormone in the body, constant high levels of it can be bad for your brain. High levels of this hormone can wear down the brain’s ability to function properly. As stated in the article, “it can disrupt synapse regulation, resulting in the loss of sociability and the avoidance of interactions with others” (Bernstein, 2016). In addition, chronic stress can kill brain cells and cause the brain to shrink in size. It has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for memory and learning. Besides chronic stress having effects on the brain, it causes effects to the human body. This type of stress can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, it can affect other systems in the body and cause them to stop working properly. This includes digestive, excretory and reproductive structures and exacerbates already existing illness. Fighting and managing chronic stress can be difficult; however it is not too late to learn how to manage it. Toxic stress can negatively affect the brain but the brain and body can recover from these effects.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic stress and are seeking stress management, please do not hesitate to seek help by contacting  Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain/

 

Healthy Communication Skills

By: Toni Wright

Oftentimes when we’re communicating it’s just to respond and we’re not actually actively listening. Communication needs to not only be about active listening, but about listening to understand and comprehend. There are numerous ways to improve one’s communication skills with others, whether it is familial, platonic, or romantic.

1) Speak face to face – Texting is not beneficial when it comes to trying to communicate effectively. Pick a time where both parties are able to meet face to face. This way both parties are directly focused on one another and things are less likely to get misconstrued as they might through text.

2) Use “I” statements – When issues occur using “I” statements help the person feel less attacked. An alternative to saying, “YOU made me angry when…” is “I was feeling angry when THIS happened.”

3) Don’t interrupt or try to redirect the conversation to your worries – For instance, “If you think your day was bad, let me tell you about mine.” Actively listening and waiting to speak is not the same thing. One cannot actively listen and also think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is done speaking. The speaker will be able to tell that you are not giving them your full attention.

4) Look for compromise – Instead of focusing on who’s right or wrong or “winning” an argument try to settle in a place where both parties are happy. Whether it’s through compromise or finding an entirely new solution, it is important that both parties feel that they are getting what they want.

5) If you need help reach out for it – Sometimes communicating isn’t easy and during conflict it may be even more difficult to try and stay respectful or if the conflict doesn’t seem to be improving with solely just the two parties involved, it may be beneficial to see a therapist. Therapy can help one find new strategies to use when communicating that can be used to avoid future conflict.

If you or someone you know has trouble communicating and/or resolving conflict, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/effective-relationship-communication-skills/bb

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/effective-communication.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-conflict-in-relationships-communication-tips-3144967

Image Source: https://www.marriage.com/advice/communication/communication-with-partner/

 

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

By: Julia Keys

Did you know that the way one develops an attachment to their mother as an infant has a profound effect on their adult relationships? Attachment styles were first studied in detail by the developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in her experiment called “the strange situation”. In the strange situation, Ainsworth had a mother and a child play together for about three minutes and then the mother left the room. Next, a stranger would enter the room and play with the child for about three minutes and then they would leave. Finally, the child’s mother would re-enter the room and resume playing with their child. Ainsworth was most interested in observing the child’s behavior when their mother re-entered the room.

Upon careful examination, Ainsworth found three distinct patterns of behavior in infants when their mothers re-entered the room. If the child was upset, but then easily soothed by their mother upon re-entry, Ainsworth deemed them as having a secure attachment style. If the child was indifferent to their mother upon re-entry, Ainsworth would label them with an insecure avoidant attachment style. Finally, if the infant shows conflicting behavior upon the mother’s re-entry such as clinginess and then subsequent rejections of affection, Ainsworth would say they had an insecure ambivalent attachment style. Insecure ambivalent children are unpredictable in terms of their parental reactivity.

Ainsworth hypothesized that children’s reactions were a result of how their parents responded to their needs. Hypothetically, infants with secure attachment styles have their basic needs met consistently by their parents. This leads the secure infant to show a healthy dependence on their parents. Infants with an insecure avoidant attachment have their needs minimally met by their parents, which leads them to be independent and self-soothing. Infants with insecure ambivalent attachment styles have their needs met inconsistently from their caregivers, which results in confusion and conflicting behaviors.

So how does this “strange situation” relate to people later on in life? Researchers have found that attachment styles follow infants into adulthood and impact their behavior in relationships. While the behavior infants exhibited in the experiment relied on whether or not basic needs such as food, water, or comfort were met, attachments styles in adults tend to manifest themselves in more complicated ways.  Secure adults tend to have healthy and satisfying relationships where they can receive and offer support as needed.  Avoidant adults seek independence in relationships and oftentimes can appear a bit callous to their own emotions. Avoidant adults aren’t likely to offer support to their partners because they rarely depend on it themselves. Finally, ambivalent adults fear being either too close or too far from their partner, causing them to feel confused by their feelings and act in unpredictable ways in the relationship.

Although attachment styles are habits that people have probably been practicing subconsciously for all their lives, they are not permanent. Individual or couples therapy can help those struggling with their own emotions or communication skills.

If you or someone you know is struggling in a relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201307/how-your-attachment-style-impacts-your-relationship

Source for Picture:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=DF3FB2F4C4A9AF591D1BF6EA44071E6C780F6937&thid=OIP.P_BQQ_87MEADJ_8AobvpHQHaE8&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fcarehere.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F07%2Fcouple_walking.jpg&exph=1280&expw=1920&q=couple+on+a+walk&selectedindex=6&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

Narcissism

Narcissism 

Narcissism

By: Julia Keys

It is common in today’s world to call someone who is very clean “OCD”, or someone who is very active “ADHD”, or someone who is overly confident a “narcissist”.  What many people do not know is that narcissism is not an adjective to describe someone’s personality, but a real psychiatric diagnosis. The DSM IV identifies narcissism as a personality disorder. Personality disorders are characterized by a set of rigid traits, thoughts, and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible. Narcissistic personality disorder or (NPD) is characterized by an overinflated sense of self, preoccupation with personal success, and apathy for other’s emotions.

Signs of narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty.
  • Belief that one is unusually special or unique
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Strong sense of entitlement
  • Exploitative of others
  • Lacks empathy
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them
  • Frequent display of arrogant or haughty behavior

Although people with NPD display an arrogant and larger-than-life picture to the outside world, they can also suffer from low self-esteem internally. The constant need for approval and obsession with success can be stressful because in reality, one will never gain approval from everyone and one will never achieve everything they want.  Trouble with interpersonal relationships often results from the exploitative and apathetic behaviors that people with NPD believe will help them achieve their goals.

People with NPD can look like the perfect partner upon first meeting. They are often charismatic and appear to be very put together. However, being in a relationship with a person with NPD can be complicated and stressful. People with NPD lie frequently to get what they want, which can cause a breach of trust in a serious relationship. People with NPD rarely apologize because they lack the empathy to understand the point of view of their partners. Additionally, people with NPD think that they are perfect and will dismiss others who have opinions contrary to theirs. Although people with NPD can be extremely difficult to live with, they can still be a loved one that you care about.

If you or someone you love has narcissistic personality disorder and is struggling with the symptoms, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ 

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-games/201905/five-narcissistic-traits-harm-intimate-partner

Source for Picture:

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1391&bih=654&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=UenvXLaCJeWJggeP6ZHYAw&q=narcissus+myth&oq=narcissus+&gs_l=img.1.1.0j0i67l3j0j0i67l2j0j0i67l2.620.620..2327…0.0..0.69.69.1……0….1..gws-wiz-img.eaqpLt3PV-c#imgrc=fUnycKFz1Mb7jM:&spf=1559226710308

Learning How to Face Rejection

rejection

By: Tamar Asayan

Everyone has experienced rejection whether it was not getting the job you wanted, your friends not inviting you somewhere and posting about it online, or even having someone not like you back. Rejection is the loss of something you may have once had or wanted. It is similar to abandonment because it leaves you feeling less than and unwanted. Unfortunately, rejection is something that cannot be avoided and it is a part of life that everyone will have to experience. No matter how small or big the rejection you experience is, it is always going to hurt you and leave an emotional wound. Not only does rejection cause emotional pain, but it also damages someone’s self-esteem and effects one’s mood resulting in frustration and anger. An article, “Why Rejection Hurts So Much-and What to do About it” states, “The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal pain” (Winch). If you are feeling the pain of being rejected here are some ways to cope and overcome it in healthier ways.

  1. Acknowledge the pain and grief of loss
  • When you are rejected, you may feel embarrassed and don’t know how to exactly cope with it. You may repress your feelings and ignore the fact that you are in pain.
  • In order to accept rejection, you must accept the pain of what you are going through. Whether it is crying, going to therapy, exercising, or even journaling, it is important to relieve and express the emotions faced when being rejected.
  1. Don’t blame yourself
  • Most of the time you don’t understand why you have been rejected and naturally you place the blame on yourself.
  • The reason you believe you are at fault is because early in life you may have been taught to believe that you are not enough.
  • Do not take responsibility for what is out of your control.
  1. Put yourself out there
  • Rejection is part of the process which leads to success. Do not take it personally, it’s part of life.
  • Putting yourself out there can make you less sensitive to rejection; the more you are rejected the less it hurt us.
  1. Build your resiliency
  • To be resilient is to be able to recover or come back from a stressful or traumatizing event.
  • Resiliency can be learned by doing some of the following:
    • Having an open mind
    • Seeking solutions
    • Learning from an experience
    • Seeking support
    • Knowing your worth and strengths
    • Self-care

If you or someone you know is feeling rejected or dealing with rejection, call now to make an appointment to speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or Manhattan, NY offices at or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-overcome-rejection-like-a-champ/

https://ideas.ted.com/why-rejection-hurts-so-much-and-what-to-do-about-it/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2019/02/4-strategies-to-cope-with-the-pain-of rejection/

Image: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1327598/Why-rejection-good-you.html

Confrontation Vs. Feedback

Confrontation Vs. Feedback

By Toniann Seals

At some point in your life you will face a confrontational situation. A few scenarios include telling a friend about your feelings, letting a coworker know that their work is incorrect and explaining to a peer that a decision they made was not okay. How you approach these situations matter.

Confrontation (Negative):

  • Problem oriented
  • Unwelcoming
  • Assertive
  • Aggressive
  • Belittling

Feedback (Positive):

  • Solution oriented
  • Inviting
  • Understanding
  • Guiding
  • Uplifting

The way you handle a situation will affect both you and the one receiving the information. A great way to face a problem is by always having a solution readily available to suggest. It shows that you care and want to make the situation better.

If you or someone you know is having a difficult time dealing with confrontation speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Image:

https://canada.businesschief.com/marketing/796/The-Dreaded-Social-Media-Confrontation

Listening: Three Ways to Become a Better Listener

listening

By: Tamar Asayan

All anyone ever wants is to be listened to when they are going through a difficult time in their life. An act as simple as listening can be the biggest help anyone can ask for. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do because listeners have a habit of relating issues back to themselves. The aim of listening is not to try to fix them or tell them what to do; instead it is to show them that you care and feel for them as they are struggling. Oftentimes, it is better to not relate issues back to yourself. People feel the need to be listened to because they want to make sure their thoughts are rational, and do not want to overthink. When we listen it reassures the person that we care and that they are not alone.

Three easy steps to becoming a better listener is to listen, understand, and respond appropriately.

  1. Listen
    • Pay attention to not only what the speaker is saying but body language as well.
    • Do not interrupt the speaker.
  2. Understand
    • This is the time to process everything the person has told you so you know how to respond appropriately.
    • Ask questions; the best types of questions to ask are open ended and reflective questions.
    • This allows the speaker to open up even more and explain what they are going through.
  3. Response
    • Address the speaker’s points.
    • Restate what they have told you.
    • Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This can come off rude, and interrupts your time to listen and for them to speak. Interrupting and assuming what the speaker is feeling will make them think you do not want to listen.

Sources:

https://blog.udemy.com/importance-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-generosity-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/become-a-better-listener-active-listening/

Image: http://throwthediceandplaynice.com/2017/12/listening-up-in-2018.html

If you or someone you know may be having trouble with communication speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Assertiveness and Anxiety: How Expressing Yourself Can Lead to a Happier Self

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Communication is key” is a phrase we are all familiar with, yet many struggle with actually acting on it. The most effective form of communication is through assertiveness, which involves expressing one’s views in a straightforward manner, and in standing up for one’s needs while still being considerate of others. This differs from aggressiveness in that it does not involve being outwardly emotional or insulting to others, and differs from passivity in that the individual clearly states their feelings and desires. Being assertive involves open communication, which can be difficult to engage in, especially for people struggling with anxiety. However, through practicing and learning assertiveness, people with anxiety can actually feel less worry and more confident in themselves.

Anxiety describes the uncomfortable feelings of turmoil and dread that one might have in anticipation that results in physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and rumination. For many who struggle with anxiety, the thought of being assertive with others makes them anxious. They often worry that being assertive will come off as being mean, creating conflict, and being inconsiderate. Therefore, many choose passive communication, and never voice their views or feelings. This worsens their state of worry, as they are not properly understood by those around them and can easily be taken advantage of. They are often misunderstood which increases their worry. Others often take advantage of them because of their meek manner and visible anxiety.

Contrary to what those with anxiety believe, assertiveness can actually help them feel better. Often times, those with anxiety create situations in their mind about everything that will go wrong if they voice themselves to another person. However, such a form of open communication can create a better understanding between two people. It allows the person with anxiety to be properly understood, to dispel the fearful thoughts in their head, and become more confident in themselves and their views.

How can people with anxiety begin working towards being more assertive? By stating their views using “I,” individuals can avoid putting blame on others by expressing their own opinions. In addition, reminding themselves that their fears are not rational and that it is their anxiety talking to them can help them become increasingly comfortable with being assertive. Finally, practice makes perfect – keep trying and speak up!

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Couples Counseling: The Benefits

By Stephanie Osuba

According to PsychCentral.com, there are many reasons why people chose to participate in couples therapy, as well as many reasons they don’t. The common reason couples usually don’t consider counseling is out of embarrassment or the stigma that surrounds the intimate details of one’s personal relationship. The stigma dictates that only people who are in a very broken state in their relationship can benefit from couples counseling. However, no relationship is perfect and sometimes even the most socially competent of us need the help of a professional. Psychologists can help couples identify key problems in the relationship in a structured way that acknowledges the feelings of both parties. Although it’s never easy to reopen past wounds, it is the only way to push through to a place of understanding with a partner. Sessions can also determine whether the relationship needs some fine-tuning, a complete rebuilding, or a separation of ways.

Here are some benefits of couples counseling:

  • Improved communication skills
  • Increase in emotional and physical connection
  • Life plan development
  • Resolving conflicts in a structured way
  • Building a healthy relationship ­– ultimately leading to individual growth as well

Common issues couples hope to resolve in therapy: infidelity, poor communication, financial issues, parenting or co-parenting, work and career, emotional and physical intimacy, separation or divorce, abuse, grief and loss, and life transitions.

If you or someone you know appears to be having marital problems, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Communication Differences Between Genders

 

By: Dianna Gomez

Where would the world be without communication? Whether it be conscious or unconscious, we communicate in one way or another with those around us every minute of every day. We communicate in the work place, in relationships, with our friends and family – sometimes even when passing by strangers walking down the street. You would think that with the amount of communicating we do as a human species on a daily basis, we would have it all down to a “ T ” by now but that is far from the truth. Every once in a while we experience miscommunication and other frustrations related to interacting with the people around us. In order to improve the quality of communication in one’s own life, it is important to begin by understanding the different methods of communication between each gender. There are so many fundamental differences regarding the way in which men and women behave and think when it comes to communication. On average, women tend to speak more than men and when each gender is communicating, they do so for different reasons and from different perspectives.

Here is a list of these differences:

  1. Reasons For Talking
  • Men believe that communication should always have a clear purpose. Whether there is a problem in need of a solution or a specific question needing an answer, men use communication to get to the bottom of any topic of conversation in the most efficient way possible. On the other hand, a woman views communication as a way to discover how she may feel about something. Women like to lay all the potential pros and cons out on the table and discuss each more thoroughly. When it comes to relationships, communication is a way in which women increase intimacy with their significant others. They share their thoughts to rid themselves of any negative feelings they may be having.

2. How Much Should Be Said

  • Similarly to the first point, men always put productivity and efficiency at the very top of their lists. When telling a story, men only share the details that are absolutely necessary to get to the point. Women tend to share as much detail as possible, even if it isn’t necessarily needed. This is often times why men may interrupt women half way through an explanation when they have already received the point that is ultimately trying to be made.

3. What Does It Mean To “Listen?

  • When a woman first initiates a conversation with a man, she assumes they are doing so to obtain some type of advice or assistance. They automatically think to themselves “what can we actually do about this?” From the woman’s perspective, having the conversation all on it’s own is a way of finding a solution to any problem. Women just want to feel like they are being heard and understood, and if they feel this is happening any problem will already feel partially solved.

Communication is so important in every aspect of our lives. Especially when it comes to having relationships with significant others, if these fundamental differences aren’t already understood, there will be many disagreements and arguments about things that there wouldn’t be otherwise. Regardless of what gender you are, the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated when communicating with the opposite sex, take a step back and try to see the situation from their point of view. If this is done over a long enough period of time, you will find that life will soon go a lot smoother in all areas of your life.

 

If you or anybody you know may be having trouble with communication or may be having relationship problems they can’t seem to resolve, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit us at http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.