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13/Feb/2018

hearts

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, and the holiday seasoning winding down, I found myself reflecting on the important people in my life, and how we choose to celebrate these people.  When we think of birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other important holidays, what do we think of?  For me, the first thing that pops into my mind is gifts.  Chocolates and flowers for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, expensive presents, gift cards, and even money for other important occasions.  But is this how we really want to celebrate the most important people in our lives?

While gift-giving can be a great way to show a loved one that you’ve been thinking about them, spending quality time with loved ones is also extremely important.  A study outlined by NPR in a December article suggested that people felt most loved during times of interaction rather than when receiving gifts.  However, during busy holiday times, such as in December, people often feel additional stress at having to rush to spend time with people close to them.

During these times of high stress, such as Christmas, we often lose sight of being present.  We become consumed with worries about making it to every family gathering, getting the right gifts, and planning out every detail of our holidays that we may forget to stop and enjoy the moment.  Christmas may be over for this year, but we can still practice being more present with our loved ones.  Take some time to breathe and ground yourself before attending that birthday party or anniversary dinner – leave the stress from work and home where they belong, and practice being in the moment.

Instead of focusing on gifts for your upcoming anniversary or birthday, why not begin a tradition that involves spending time with one another, or going on an adventure every year?  Maybe you and you partner decide that every year on your anniversary you will try a new restaurant in a different city, or that every Christmas you will plan your annual trip together.  Try shifting your focus from giving and receiving material items, to making new memories and living a fulfilled life.

holding-hands

All in all, I think we sometimes lose sight of why we take time out of our busy lives to see the people who are important to us.  We want them to feel loved and appreciated, and know that they are important to us.  So maybe try something new – make some great memories that will last a lifetime with the people that are most important in your life.

jenny-thomson

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/09/568834440/what-s-better-than-expensive-presents-the-gift-of-presence 


26/Jan/2018

To start off the New Year, I thought writing about finding self-compassion for oneself could be quite beneficial.  When creating resolutions we often think about health and perhaps setting a goal for going to the gym more or eating better.  I think in addition to this, learning to find self- compassion could create a huge positive impact on your life and well-being.

I am sure, just like me, there are times when you can be quite hard on yourself and judgmental.   I have often discussed with clients that it is not uncommon for us to speak negatively internally to ourselves and that we find our brain saying things that we would probably never even say to a perfect stranger or even someone we dislike.

So much inner turmoil can stem from criticizing ourselves.  As humans, we all go through difficult times and we can be easily hooked by re-hashing these events by questioning what we could have done or should have done or what we did wrong.

Finding self-compassion is about feeling loved, accepted and appreciated.  Learning that deep down we are okay and recognizing that no matter what is happening in our lives we deserve love, happiness and appreciation.  Through finding and building self-compassion we can also be working on creating a tool for ourselves to utilize when we are suffering or experiencing distress, and it can be that supportive voice that helps us find beauty and meaning.

A simple way to look at self-compassion is the opposite of being self-critical.  Practicing noticing this difference when life is going well, and when it is hard, is very important.  Self-compassion takes time to build, but awareness and practice of using a self-compassionate attitude can give you an internal source of emotional regulation and resilience.  It can help you to be more connected with the present and the beauty of life.

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The following is a simple mindfulness practice you can start today to begin working on cultivating self-compassion:

Arrange yourself in a comfortable position, eyes opened or closed.  You might place your hands on your heart or lap.

You are going to start by thinking about different objects – it can be a person, animal or anything else – until you find one that brings up natural and uncomplicated feelings of warmth and love.

Now continue to concentrate on this object you feel love towards.  Let the image of it, in your mind, become clearer.  Do you notice any relaxation, tension, or lightness?  Just note that.

Now try saying the following phrases to the object you are picturing.  Feel free to change the phrases:

  • May you be happy
  • May you be healthy
  • May you be safe
  • May you be loved

Repeat these phrases a few times and allow the positive feelings in your body to be as strong as they want to be (continue for about 5 minutes).

Now picture that person saying the following phrases to you:

  • May you be happy
  • May you be healthy
  • May you be safe
  • May you be loved

Picture the person saying these phrases a few times and allow the positive feelings in your body be as strong as they want to be (continue this for about 5 minutes).

kathryn-camacho1

Sourced from The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook by Tim Desmond



Every day, we are faced with difficult thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable.  Whether it’s sadness, fear, shame, guilt, or anxiety, these feelings can take on a life of their own and feel overpowering.  Soon enough, we may start to have other unpleasant feelings as a result of our struggle with the initial feeling.  For example, we may feel frustration over the fact we are anxious, or guilt over the fact we are sad. That’s the problem with many of our feelings – the more that we struggle with having the feeling, the more the feeling takes hold of us.

What if there was an alternative?  What if there’s a chance that these feelings are here because there is something that is meaningful, something that is so important we hurt because of it?

If struggling with the feelings isn’t working, the only other alternative we have is to create space to allow them to be present.  Give this a try:

Take a few breaths.  Notice how it feels when you breathe, and how the air feels as it flows in through your nose when you inhale, and how it feels when it exits when you exhale.  Notice the speed of your breath, and how your rib cage moves slightly up as you inhale, and falls again when you exhale.  Now see if you can locate the difficult feeling.  Is it in your stomach?  In your chest?  In your heart? Your head?  Notice where you feel it.  Notice how big it feels – does it feel large and heavy, like it’s weighing you down?  Does it feel small?  Notice if it feels like it has any movement – is it pulsing, or vibrating?  Is it still?  If it had a colour, what colour would it be?  What kind of texture would it have – would it be smooth, or spikey?  See if you can create a picture of a creature for this feeling using these qualities. 

You don’t have to like the creature or want it there, but see if you can allow it to just hang out.  As ugly or undesirable as this creature may be, it is telling you that something is important.  We hurt where we care, and this creature’s presence is a sign that something is very important to you.  In other words, struggling with the creature is only struggling with an essential part of yourself.  What’s more, struggling with the creature ties up energy and resources that you could be using to do things that bring you closer to the life you want.

creatures

So, next time you see the creature, see if you can hold it lightly.  See if you can soften a little around it, and provide yourself with self-compassion like what you would feel for a friend experiencing the same thing.  Notice that you are always larger than the creature.  And maybe, it is okay to have this little creature along for the ride with you after all.

kayleen-willemsen1


23/Aug/2017

I’m sure we have all had those moments of craving something sweet or salty or savoury.  It feels like nothing would pleasure us more than satisfying that urge to indulge in what we may be craving in that moment.  Whether it’s a reward, a treat for ourselves, or a way of coping when we may be feeling stressed or down, it’s often quite a powerful sensation and urge that may at times be difficult to simply ignore.

The problem with cravings is if we buy into them too often, they can take over our daily diet.  The more we engage in those cravings, the more likely you are to find that you start to gain weight, realize you aren’t eating the nutritious diet you should be, and then secondary problems with mood, like guilt or shame, may arise.

Due to mindfulness’ popularity and our curiosity about the benefits it can provide, it did not surprise me to find that research has been undertaken to see the advantages it can provide to many areas of our life, including eating.  Through my own research I have found information relating to the benefits of mindfulness in not only effectively reducing food cravings, but also helping to lose weight and find space from troublesome thoughts.

“The results showed that participants in the experimental group reported significantly lower cravings for food after the intervention compared to the control group.  The findings are discussed in terms of possible mechanisms like prevention of goal frustration, disengagement of obsessive thinking and reduction of automatic relations between urge and reaction” (Alberts et al., 2010).

Check out this full article, to see all the details about what researchers have to say about using mindfulness to decrease food cravings.

Because of our expertise in Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as you may have noticed from previous posts, we have created an ACT for Mindful Eating course to help you work through eating related challenges, including cravings!  For more information about our ACT for Mindful Eating course that starts this September, please contact Michelle Urbanc at 905-317-8890 or by email at info@jmarlinandassociates.com today!

kathryn-camacho1

Alberts, H. et al.  (2010, March 23).  Coping with food cravings.  Investigating the potential of a mindfulness-based intervention.  Appetite, 2010 (199). DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.05.044


2/Aug/2017

eating-chocolate

Binge eating.  If you are or every have been a binge eater, I’m sure that simply reading the phrase elicits different feelings inside of you.  And if you’ve struggled with binge eating, I’m sure you’ve also tried many different diet and self-talk strategies to try and curb your eating; “My diet is going to start tomorrow”, “I need to get my money’s worth from this buffet!”, “Five more cookies and I’m done!” Sound familiar?  I could probably write a 15 page essay on all of the things I’ve ever said and done to curb my eating habits!

The problem with binge eating is that it doesn’t just end with food.  Researchers Hannah Woolhouse, Ann Knowles and Naomi Crafti (2012) explain that women who binge eat have an increased likelihood that they will suffer from low self-esteem, poor body image, interpersonal problems, depression and anxiety.  What their research and many others reveal, is that if we have a complicated relationship with our eating habits, we often have a complicated relationship with ourselves as well.

buffet-black-and-white

Woolhouse, Knowles and Crafti were interested in determining if mindfulness (the practice of being present or aware of what’s happening, free from judgement) could help women in controlling their binge eating habits.  They conducted a study where 30 women (ages 18-52) who regularly binge eat participated in a Mindful Eating Group (MEG) for 3 hours a day, for 10 weeks (Woolhouse, Knowles & Crafti, 2012, p. 324).  The women participated in mindfulness practice (such as formal and informal meditation and mindful or attentional eating), as well as CBT elements (including meal planning and food monitoring) (Woolhouse, Knowles & Crafti, 2012, p. 324).

A 3 month follow-up at the conclusion of the program found that participants who reported binge eating twice a week or more dropped from 80% to 14% (Woolhouse, Knowles & Crafti, 2012, p. 328).  Of all of the mindfulness practices introduced, mindful eating was reported to have the biggest impact on their habits, including slowing down chewing, paying attention to flavours and stomach fullness, and likes and dislikes of “binge foods” (Woolhouse, Knowles & Crafti, 2012, p. 329, 331).  There were also significant improvements in over-eating and dieting behaviours, and body image dissatisfaction (Woolhouse, Knowles & Crafti, 2012, p. 324).

The takeaway is that mindfulness has the potential to transform our relationship with food as well as with ourselves.  Improving our relationship with both food and ourselves can improve our eating habits and our overall mental health.  While more research is needed in regards to mindfulness-based intervention, early research shows that this growing practice is worth giving it a shot.

If you’re looking for some simple ways to become more mindful while eating, check out our “Tip Tuesdays” on Twitter @JMAssociatesInc, or on Instagram @jmarlinandassociates.  If you’re interested in learning more about identifying unhelpful eating patterns, body image and more comprehensive mindfulness strategies, enroll in our evidence-based mindful eating program (ACT for Mindful Eating) by sending us an email at info@jmarlinandassociates.com.

renee-raymond

Reference: Woolhouse, H., Knowles, A. & Crafti, N.  (2012).  Adding Mindfulness to CBT Programs for Binge Eating: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation, Eating Disorders, 20:4, 321-339, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2012.691791


30/Jun/2017

Imagine this scene – you just left the dinner table and are headed for the TV room.  No sooner do you sit down than you feel an “urge to eat”.  You wander into the kitchen and search your cupboards, fridge and freezer hoping that you will encounter something that you feel like eating and not just boring fruits and veggies.  You wander back to the TV room with chips or ice cream or cookies or………….  And then you hear those words – “Didn’t you JUST eat?”

Many of us have had this experience and have probably even wondered “how could I possibly feel hungry so soon after eating?”  The answer is quite simple.  You were NOT hungry.  Instead you had an URGE TO EAT.  The triggers for an urge to eat are not internal but external.  They exist in your environment at home, at work, at the restaurant, at the cottage – in fact, everywhere that you eat.  Dr. Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, refers to this as the “See-Food Diet” – you eat what you see.

smaller-plates-wansink-van-ittersum-2014

Wansink’s premise is to re-engineer our environment and eating habits so that we can eat enjoyably and mindfully without guilt and weight gain.  His mantra is: the best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.  This is good news because you can actually make some very small, easy changes that will result in you eating and weighing less in the future.  You can make changes that will help protect you against mindless eating.

Here are 10 simple changes for you to try in your home.

  1. You are likely to eat what you can see. Clear your kitchen counter of snacks, cereal boxes, pop, etc.
  2. We tend to eat more in cluttered, chaotic kitchens. Spend some time decluttering your kitchen and moving things out of sight.
  3. When you open the fridge door you are most likely to choose something to eat from the top or middle shelf. Use your crisper bins to store the foods that you find most appealing and move the fruits and veggies to the top shelf.
  4. When you eat in many locations in your home such as the dining room, the kitchen, the bedroom, the den, the office, etc., you “condition” yourself to have an urge to eat in all of those locations. Establish one place in your home where ALL of your eating will take place.  You can eat what you want, but it must be in that location.
  5. The larger the plate, the more you will eat. Swap your 14 inch plates for a 10 or 12 inch plate and you will eat less and lose weight.
  6. When you buy groceries in bulk, you will eat most of it in the first week and then less from that point on. Either buy smaller portions, even if the cost is slightly higher, or repackage foods when you get home from the store and put them in a less accessible place.
  7. The more hassle it is to eat, the less we eat. Store the foods that tempt you the most in locations that require more effort for you to access such as a room in the basement or a fridge in the garage.
  8. When food is served from bowls sitting on the dining table, we eat more. Serve your plate at the kitchen counter.  Even better, store the leftover food in the fridge before you sit down to eat.
  9. Wrap leftovers in tinfoil rather than transparent wrap. No see – no eat!!!
  10. Change “eating scripts” from weight gain scripts to weight loss scripts: re-script dinner – start last, pace with the slowest eater, leave some food on your plate, decide how much to eat before the meal.

Practice the Power of Three:  Choose 3 easy changes that you can mindlessly make, without a lot of sacrifice.  If you choose 3 ways to save 100 calories per day, you can lose 30 pounds this year, and develop healthy diet habits.

janet-marlin1


1/Jun/2017

I am sure I am not alone in ever wishing away the next few tough days at work or getting an unpleasant appointment or test over with, dreaming of the weekend. I LOVE WEEKENDS, I get to go where I want, take my time doing so, and enjoy ample time with my loved ones.

But, as my use of mindfulness and other aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has increased over recent years, I have also found myself reflecting on the importance of soaking up each day or rather each moment, instead of trying to rush through week days to arrive at my very short lasting weekend.

Incorporating fulfilling and important tasks into your daily life is so important– including on week days! Seeing as though 5 out of 7 days of the week (that’s 71% of our time) are week days I’d say using those days to do things that are important to you and bring you closer to the life you want is crucial. Otherwise, we can all end up spending the majority of our time rushing through life and missing out on a full life.

For example, this week I have made it my mission to do something that aligns with what is important to me every single day.  Here is my schedule:

Monday: Call my Mom and plan a dinner date for next week

Tuesday: Go to the park with my Husband and dog in the evening

Wednesday: Go out to lunch with a group from work

Thursday: Write in my journal on my break at work

Friday: Go to the gym in the morning

So my challenge to you is to try to not just live for the weekend. Yes, weekends are a great break for many of us, but I encourage you to make the best of your time during the week too. Not only spending time at work but with the other hours you have to spend with your loved ones, taking your time and doing things that bring fulfillment to your life.

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kathryn-camacho1


11/May/2017

closet

It’s that time of the year again – the weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, flowers are beginning to bloom – and we’re beginning to notice all of the clutter in our homes.  I don’t know about you, but I know that when my home, garage, shed, or car is cluttered, I feel like my mind is cluttered!  I find myself becoming distracted much more easily and can’t concentrate when the house is a mess.

Spring is a great time to clean out your home and garage in order to prepare for summer barbeques, get-togethers, and longer days spent outdoors.  But it can be a daunting task, especially if it’s a while since the last time you cleaned.  In order to help get the process done as quickly and painlessly as possible, you can follow some of the following tips:

1. Make a List

Not sure where to start?  Try going room to room, and making a list of everything that needs to be done.  Alternatively, create categories and organize your tasks that way.  For example, you could have a list of different things you have to organize versus things you have to clean.  It may also be helpful to include the estimated amount of time it may take to complete each task.  See the example below for ideas:

table

2. Break it Down

Large tasks can seem really intimidating and you may find yourself thinking “I’ll never get that finished”.  Try breaking down a large task, such as organizing the garage, into smaller steps.  This way, instead of worrying about the long-term, daunting task of having a beautifully organized garage, you can instead focus on small tasks one at a time.  For example, you may want to start with one corner of the garage, or begin by organizing your tools and then move onto storage boxes, and from there clean up the kids’ toys.

3. Schedule Your Time

Scheduling in time to do any sort of unpleasant task helps to ensure that we complete the task – we are much more likely, for example, to go to the gym if we schedule it in our calendars than if we do not[1].  Spring cleaning is no different!  Take your list of tasks that you want to complete, and schedule them into your calendar around work, leisure, and family activities in order to help keep yourself accountable and to have a plan.

garage

4. Be Mindful

Spring cleaning can be frustrating, exhausting, and an overall unpleasant experience.  It’s important that we keep in mind all of the reasons you may have to be doing spring cleaning in the first place.  In order to help keep our values at the forefront of our minds, practicing mindfulness can be really helpful.  Mindfulness helps ground you in the present so that you can get back in touch with your values and remind yourself why you’re doing all of this.  Click here for some quick mindfulness practices you can teach yourself.

5. Do What Works for You

All of the above tips can be really helpful for ensuring that your spring cleaning goes smoothly and efficiently.  However, everyone is different, and some of these items may not work well for you.  It is important to plan your spring cleaning in a way that is going to be most beneficial for you.  For example, you may like to get things done all at once, so scheduling your cleaning for a weekend and completing it in two days may be the best way to get it done.  For others, it may make more sense to do a little bit each day, and that’s okay!  Set yourself up for success!

jenny-thomson

[1] See: Coffman, S.J. et al. (2007) Extreme Non-Response in Cognitive Therapy:  Can Behavioural Activation Succeed where Cognitive Therapy Fails?  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Volume 75, No. 4, Pages 531-541 and Dobson, K.S. et al. (2008) Randomized Trial of Behavioural Activation, Cognitive Therapy, and Antidepressant Medicine in the Prevention of Relapse and Recurrence in Major Depression, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Volume 76, No. 3, Pages 468-477.


21/Apr/2017

Over my Easter weekend with family, this word – mindfulness – came up a few times.  It became a hot conversation topic and sparked curiosity and interest within all of us, particularly with those that do not have much experience with it, or do not fully know what it is.

‘Mindfulness’ has been a big buzz word for the past little while now, but after our family conversation over the weekend, it became clear to me that not everyone really knows what it is, or the purpose of it.

Some were arguing that it was a technique used to relax and clear the mind, while others argued that it was a strategy to improve concentration on whatever you are doing.  While neither of these are entirely wrong, they are also not entirely accurate.  Some felt that it was more effortful to be consciously mindful than to just move through the day as one normally would, and others felt that it was something that could only be done if time was set aside each day to dedicate to the practice of it.  Again, neither points are globally wrong, although neither are fully correct either.

I realized through our conversations, that mindfulness is not a clear cut idea that everyone and anyone would come to understand from just one simple definition, although the practice of it can truly be simple once you understand its purpose.

why-the-dog-is-happier

So then what IS mindfulness anyway?

The way I would define mindfulness is that it consists of openly, fully, and non-judgementally experiencing all there is to experience in any given moment, both internally and externally.  Mindfulness is about connecting with your senses and being present in the here and now,  It is about acknowledging, accepting, and ‘ sitting with’ whatever thoughts, feelings, emotions, judgements, physical sensations, or other internal or external content that shows up for you, without trying to change it.  It is also about learning how to see each of the pieces of your experience as equal parts of your moment-to-moment existence in that you are not labelling or attaching any form of judgment to them as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

While many believe that mindfulness is a relaxation technique, relaxation is not exactly the aim of mindfulness, although can often be a ‘side effect’.  When we are being mindful, we are not trying to clear our minds and think of ‘nothing’, we are actually doing quite the opposite – noticing and acknowledging everything that is showing up in our mind.  The difference between being mindful and being in full concentration of something may be that when you are in full concentration you have likely attached yourself in some way to what it is you are focusing on, whereas with mindfulness the goal is to stay detached from the content of your mind and to allow it to come and go as it will.

I can fully understand why some may feel that mindfulness takes effort, and that is because it is not how we have evolved to go about life.  Living the busy lives that we all live often leads us to living life in what we like to call ‘auto-pilot’ without fully noticing and appreciating our experiences.  For example, perhaps while enjoying a relaxing, soothing massage, we are thinking about the work we have to get done that evening, or thinking about what we will make for dinner.  Or while out for dinner with friends, we may be scrolling through our cell phones to see what we have missed on social media, or to check whether we have any ‘urgent’ emails to respond to.  So yes, being mindful does not always come easy to us, which is why it is important to practice it every day.

There are two kinds of mindfulness:  (1) Formal mindfulness, and (2) Informal mindfulness.  Formal mindfulness requires setting aside time to practice mindfulness.  This would include choosing a particular mindfulness technique such as breath awareness, and setting aside a specific amount of time dedicated only to that.  Informal mindfulness can be paired with any of your day-to-day activities.  Some great examples of when you can practice informal mindfulness include while washing dishes, while brushing your teeth, or while taking a hot shower.  These are things that we tend to do on a daily basis, but may not be fully present in the experiences involved with each of these activities since they are so routine to us.

Practicing mindfulness can be challenging at first, but the more one practices, the more likely they are to notice that they are becoming more mindful in their daily lives without even trying and without any added effort.

I encourage you all to start off by setting aside 10 minutes per day to practice formal mindfulness, and I encourage you to incorporate informal mindfulness into as many of your daily activities as you can.  Like I said, the more you practice, the more likely you are to naturally be more mindful within your daily life.


Here is an example of a quick formal mindfulness strategy that you can try as you start out:

This is a simple exercise to center yourself and connect with your environment.  Practice it throughout the day, especially any time you find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts and feelings.

  1. Take ten slow, deep breaths.  Focus on breathing out as slowly as possible until the lungs are completely empty—and then allow them to refill by themselves.
  2. Notice the sensations of your lungs emptying.  Notice them refilling.  Notice your rib cage rising and falling.  Notice the gentle rise and fall of your shoulders.
  3. See if you can let your thoughts come and go as if they’re just passing cars, driving past outside your
  4. Expand your awareness: simultaneously notice your breathing and your body.  Then

look around the room and notice what you can see, hear, smell, touch, and feel.

Here is an example of how you can be informally mindful while doing an activity, such as washing the dishes:

Notice the temperature of the water, notice the texture of each of the dishes, notice the weight of the dishes, notice the smell of the soap, notice how the sponge feels, notice how your hands feel when they are full of soap versus when they are not, notice the sounds associated with washing the dishes.

See if you can optimize your engagement and appreciation of all that is involved within your daily activities by being mindful as you carry them out.


Good luck, and please feel free to share some of your thoughts and comments with us as you progress through your journey mindfully.

jessica-rickus1



walking-across-the-street

Let’s face it, many of us fall victim to spending a lot of time on our phones or tablets.  We use them to stay connected through social media, pay our bills, or talk to someone on the other side of the world, but have you ever considered how all of this technology can help you to stay healthy?  It’s true, there are lots of apps out there that can help nudge or coach you to be physically healthy, but have you ever considered what apps can help with your mental and emotional health?

As the prevalence of mental health difficulties continues to grow, more and more apps are being developed to help keep you healthy in mind, body, and soul.  Below are some of JMAs favourites to help you check into your mental health on the go.


calm-logoCalm:

Calm offers gentle sounds to help block out external distraction and allow your mindfulness practice to take you to your happy place.  The app and website use different themes from which the user can choose and then offers a variety of free meditations to help reduce anxiety, improve your sleep, and focus on your breath, to name a few.  This app is sure to help you de-stress.  Check out their website https://www.calm.com or download the app (compatible for both Apple and Android).

headspace-logoHead Space:

It’s like a gym for your mind.  Headspace was one of the first wellness apps to target mental health.  It is another great app for those new to the art of mindfulness and meditation.  The app offers a 10 level ‘course’ where the user is encouraged to practice the 10 minute classes daily to get into the habit of a daily practice.  Visit the site, or download the app (compatible for both Apple and Android) https://www.headspace.com/.

 

stop-breath-think-logoStop Breath Think:

This all-encompassing lifestyle app is the perfect blend of mindfulness, meditation, and compassion building that is both user friendly and fun to use.  Use it to de-stress and manage anxiety symptoms or just check-in with yourself.  Explore the recommended meditations based on your current thoughts and emotions and track how your mood changes and see if you can find yourself in a more grounded state.  Check them out online, http://www.stopbreathethink.org or try out their app, compatible for Android and Apple products.

 

happier-logoHappier:

If you are looking to start out with mindfulness, but find meditative practices to be a challenge, Happier might be the app you are looking for. This app will assist you to become present and positive through your day.  Receive inspiring quotes, take a meditative break, or share some positive moments in your day with the Happier community.  Happier can also double as a gratitude journal, allowing you to record some positive moments from your day and become more resilient to negative thinking. Find it online: https://www.happier.com, or try the app and celebrate the good around you (compatible for both Apple and Android).

 

breat2relax-logo

Breath2Relax:

This app acts as a portable stress management tool that offers instruction for diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing.  This breathing technique can help to decrease the ‘fight-or-flight’ response in the body as well as stabilize mood.  The user can monitor their stress levels using touch screen technology.  Download the app on your Apple or Android device, and learn how to manage your stress with your breath.

 

optimism-logoOptimism:

This app is a great compliment to your in-office counselling, as it helps you to be mindful of your emotions and chart your moods.  The app assists you in detecting patterns in mood and helps you to identify triggers that allow you to create a customizable wellness plan to improve coping strategies. The only downfall is that this app is only compatible with Apple products.

 

act-coach-logoACT Coach:

ACT Coach is best used in conjunction with you face-to-face therapy.  The app offers tools to identify personal values and to assist the user to take actions to move towards them.  Log coping strategies or practice mindfulness, this free app will compliment your work with your therapist and help you live a values driven life.  This app is compatible for both Android and Apple products.

 


Whether you check out one, or all of the above apps, it is important to remember not every app will appeal to everyone.  There are lots more on-the-go resources out there that might be a better fit for you.  If you find one you love, be sure to let us know.

stephanie-corras


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J Marlin and Associates Inc. offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services to help individuals increase their sense of vitality, well-being, and fulfillment.

Head Office1100 Burloak Drive, Suite 602 Burlington, ON L7L 6B2

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