How Healthy Relationships Contribute To Mental Wellness

Couple looking happy and snuggling in a field | Couples therapy in Raleigh, NC and marriage counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC | online therapists in North Carolina can help at Foundations Family Therapy

This week is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Week and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is helping spread awareness with their theme, ‘The Power of Connection.’ This is a wonderful theme considering we connect as humans through meaningful relationships.

Connection at a deeper level in a healthy relationship plays a huge role in your ability to thrive in life for many reasons.

Healthy relationships provide support and connection.

They build over time which helps people grow stronger together. They provide security and stability which can give us a great sense of purpose in life. True relationships help build our wellbeing by acting as a safe haven for our thoughts and feelings. As a result, a good relationships helps us know we are understood. This helps us to open up about both positive and negative experiences in life.

Relationships also inspire compassion.

Good relationships generate feelings of compassion and empathy. We learn to care deeply for those we love. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, then you know it’s a two-way street. It’s great to have someone to confide in but it’s equally important to listen. Your compassion in a relationship can help your loved one find optimism and relief.

Happiness is another great benefit of being in a solid relationship.

Science actually tells us that giving freely creates joy! Studies show that giving is one of they keys to happiness. In fact, when you give your time, energy and love to someone you care deeply about, you’ll feel happy and fulfilled in return. Your happiness will help you function well and, chances are, it might even spread to others in your life.

Of course not all relationships are healthy and happy. Some experience rough patches that need a little guidance. We are all imperfect individuals coming together trying to connect, engage, and balance multiple goals, dreams, and demands.

What we really crave in a healthy relationship is connection, support, love, and acceptance. Let a member of our team help you start thriving in life and the relationships that matter most. Give us a call today!

How To Manage Stress As A Mom

Woman sitting with her baby. Family Counseling in Fuquay Varina, NC 27526 is available to Foundations Family Therapy in Raleigh, NC 27606. You can also get online therapy in North Carolina!

Labor Day has come and gone marking the end of summer 2018. Many families are jumping back into the “busy season” with school, sporting events, practices and more! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the obligations moms seem to face. Here are some tips from Elizabeth Edwards, LMFT, for all of the stressed out moms who might feel overwhelmed this time of year.

Get your Priorities Straight

In therapy, I often ask women to think about all the different roles they are in. I then challenge women to commit to roles only they can fill. That means your role as wife and mother are top priorities because only you can fill that role. PTA president, snack captain at soccer, and a host of other roles that you fill, could be filled by someone else.

Another thing to consider is maybe you are taking the spot of someone who WANTS to fill that role. There could be a man or woman who is less stressed than you or has a passion for being team mom or church volunteer. Wouldn’t it be a shame if they really wanted that role and you were taking the opportunity from them?

The next task that I encourage women to do is make a list of priorities and the jobs that they entail. For example, maybe your priorities are your faith, your marriage, your children, and your job (in that order). Beside each priority write what that would look like. Maybe I write “have a daily quiet time”, “pray”, “commit to going to church and a small group”.

Next, I might write “make time for my husband” and “have at least 15 minutes a day of meaningful conversation with him”, etc. You do this for each priority area. When you finish that, think about anything else you are doing that does not fall under those top priorities. Then rate those by importance/priority. These are the things that are secondary in your life. Usually, these are those roles that others could fill if needed. Having this visual list of priorities can help you say no to things that do not fall under your crucial categories.

Remember, when you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. Being a mom is a tough job, but it’s always worth it. Reprioritizing your roles and tasks can help you feel a better sense of control over your life, instead of feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel.

If you’re struggling with your role, feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I would love to walk with you during this journey. Contact me to setup a time for us to meet and to start defeating those lies in your head. And remember mamas, you are loved, you are valuable, and you are enough.

Elizabeth Edwards, LMFTA is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Foundations Family Therapy in Fuquay Varina, where she specializes in helping women, moms and parents struggling with anxiety, post partum depression and infertility.

Mental Health and Substance Use

Substance abuse, drug overdoses and celebrity suicides seem to be common news headlines these days. It’s so heartbreaking reading about these tragedies knowing that help, hope and healing exist. Perhaps there is some light that comes from such darkness. These tragedies help put the spotlight on mental health, substance abuse and the stigma associated with getting help.

The relationship between mental illness and substance abuse is very strong. In fact, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) reported that, of these people struggling with dual disorders, the majority—55.8%— don’t receive any treatment for either disorder. A mere 7.4% get treatment for both issues. It’s time to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Self medicating with drugs and alcohol can lead to further depression, anxiety, and paranoia amongst other conditions. People who have high risk factors like genetics and childhood trauma are sometimes pushed into substance abuse to no fault of their own.

The vicious cycle of addiction, abuse, and self-medication will lead to a downward spiral that often effects all aspects of one’s life. At Foundations Family Therapy, we can help you or a loved one learn to gain freedom from your struggles. Our hope-focused therapists are here to help walk with you in a judgement-free, healing environment. Shannon Haney-Jenkins works with adults, couples and families who are struggling with substance use, medical diagnosis or past trauma.

If you struggle with alcohol or other substances, and it’s interfering with your life, call us. We’re here for you!

5 Surprisingly Easy Tips for Better Mental Wellness

Student or Lonely Teen in Grief Therapy in Raleigh, NC | Foundations Family Therapy in Fuquay Varina, NC and in online therapy in North Carolina

There’s no shortage of information out there on ways to take care of your physical health, but many often overlook the importance of mental wellness. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Here are 5 easy tips you can incorporate into your daily routine for better mental wellness.

Take care of your body.

Physical and mental wellness go hand-in-hand. There are so many proven ways exercise helps promote overall wellness. Aim for even a short walk each day. Eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated and incorporate some form of physical activity into your daily routine.

Set realistic goals.

Perfectionism is dangerous and unhealthy. It’s OK to aim high and have goals in life but don’t overdo it! Pushing yourself too hard (physically and mentally) can lead to burnout. Realistic goals will help you feel a great sense of achievement which is wonderful for your confidence and wellbeing.

Build a good support system.

Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Strong family and/or social connections are often a great system of support. Be open and discuss your thoughts, feelings and goals with your group so they can be there for you in good times and in bad.

Manage stress.

Let’s face it, stress is a normal part of life. It’s all about how you manage it. Develop a variety of calming techniques. We recommend meditation and practicing mindfulness. Try to take mental breaks throughout the day to reflect on the present moment and combat anxiety.

Above all, seek help.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million, or 18.5 percent — experiences mental illness in a given year. It’s time to end the stigma surrounding mental health and work to normalize the conversation. It’s OK to seek help for stress, anxiety, depression, relationship problems etc.

At Foundations Family Therapy, we’re here to walk along side of you in the struggle, to help you connect, grow, and change. We provide superior services using evidence based practices. Let us help you be your best self today!

How Family Therapy Reconnects Families

In life, our foundations are deeply rooted within family. Whether it’s made of blood relatives or adoptive parents, our families influence every aspect of our lives. From physical to emotional development, our family affects who we are and who we become as we grow. There’s so much we learn from our family like rituals, traditions- even vocabulary. We also learn how to love and interact with others from these important first relationships.

Unfortunately, sometimes these relationships face tough times. Nearly all families deal with struggles and dysfunction at some point. Family therapy helps families identify goals and overcome challenges. We can help families identify patterns that aren’t working and develop new ones that work better in a comfortable and supportive environment. Family therapy allows each member to understand their part in the healing process as well as the views of other members. Many who participate in family therapy leave feeling like their relationships will be healthier moving forward. It’s specifically successful in treating the following issues:

  • Sibling Conflicts
  • Parenting Disputes
  • Depression
  • Chronic Illness of a Family Member
  • Family Trauma
  • Miscommunication
  • Substance Abuse/Eating Disorders of a Family Member
  • Divorce

Above all, family therapy requires the special skill set of a licensed and experienced professional. Let one of our professional help you and your family get on the road to renewed and reconnected relationships.

How Yoga Helps Heal Trauma

When people think of trauma, they think of something that happened some time ago. The truth is, trauma is something that settles and continues to grow within when left untreated. If you’ve been traumatized, it’s likely you have a complicated relationship with your body and emotions. Yoga can help restore your relationship with your body, emotions and inner self. Here’s how yoga’s therapeutic and restorative benefits can help start the healing process.

Yoga helps you develop a loving relationship with your body. Yoga is really about developing a deeper sense of oneself. When used to treat trauma, it can help some regain control of their bodies. Its stretching and stabilizing motions help build strength both physically and mentally. As your body becomes strong, so does your inner strength. Many people are able to emerge from tragedy and life a fulfilling life because of yoga.

Our Foundations Center for Trauma Recovery offers holistic wrap-around services like yoga for trauma as part of the healing process. Yoga is a tool you can use to deal with emotional scars. It creates a heightened sense of body awareness, embodiment, and empowerment. These are powerful outcomes for trauma survivors! It’s important to remember that trauma-sensitive yoga is different from other types of yoga because it puts an emphasis on making people feel safe while giving them choices about how to execute their poses and control their bodies.

We’re taking sign ups for our August 2018 groups of yoga-sensitive trauma. If you are someone you know is interested, contact Sharon at 919-285-4802 today for more information.

How Self-Love Can Change Your Life

Believe it or not, self-love is NOT about being selfish. It’s not about “getting what you want” or over indulging. Self-love is in fact not selfish… it’s actually completely necessary. It’s about taking the time to care and love ourselves for who we are. Self-love is simply about gaining power and control of our happiness. When we act from a place of kindness toward ourselves, the kindness often emulates around us. Here are some ways you can appreciate and take care of yourself each day.

Practice Forgiveness. Give up on the dangerous idea of perfectionism and choose acceptance instead. Embrace your imperfections. Someone else may see beauty in your flaws. Love yourself for who you are and don’t worry about meeting anyone else’s standards. As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself!

Be Mindful. Live in the moment. Don’t let life pass you by! Sometimes, you have to leave the past in the past. If you develop a positive outlook, you can view your mistakes and obstacles are opportunities to learn and grow.

Express Your Creativity. Self-expression is essential to happiness. Often times, we can unleash our happiness when we tap into our creative side. Once you discover your passion in life, don’t be afraid to express yourself.

Get Outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the world around you. Get outside and enjoy nature. Even a 5-minute walk each day can refresh your mind and greatly boost your mood. It is scientifically proven that the sun provides Vitamin D which can also elevate your mood…just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Say No. You really can’t practice self-love properly if you are constantly giving to others. Remember that it’s OK to say no sometimes. Learn how to set boundaries and be mindful of your personal space. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Above all, don’t let others define your happiness. Create your own path in life. We can help!

3 Ways to Rediscover Happiness in Everyday Life

It’s no secret that happiness is one of life’s most cherished goals! As a society, the answer to the question “What do you want most in life?” is often happiness. In fact, some people spend their entire lives in pursuit of happiness but never find it. The truth is, we all have the ability to make our own happiness. Here are a few tips on how you can cultivate your own happiness…

Build strong relationships. Healthy relationships play a huge role in happiness. Strong relationships provide stability, joy and support when you need it the most. Also, relationships help provide a sense of nourishment that’s hard to rival! Focus on the positive relationships in your life that help you move forward. Don’t put walls up to keep paint away…that will only suffocate your happiness.

Be mindful. Staying present and focused is an essential part of happiness. Things like daily stress and anxiety are often products of racing thoughts and downward spirals. They focus on what we are doing wrong and, often times, this type of negativity overshadows one’s ability to find true happiness. Instead, be mindful! Live in the moment. Find the good in the world around you each day even when it’s not easy.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude. There’s always something to be thankful for! Somedays, it’s easier to recognize those things than others. Gratitude is a mindset that draws joy. Recognizing small moments of joy and fulfillment each day can help build a solid foundation for happiness.

Above all, happiness should be a natural part of our being and daily flow but at Foundations Family Therapy, we understand that’s not always the case. Our team of board-certified counselors are here to help you along life’s journey. We can help your entire family rediscover happiness and strengthen your relationships so true joy can emerge