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Mental health awareness monthMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to focusing on destigmatizing mental health and raising awareness that mental health affects everyone. Why is this important? Because we are only one degree away from someone who suffers from a mental health illness or challenge.

JFS spent the month sharing various resources and tips on social media. If you missed any of the resources we shared on our Facebook or Instagram pages, we’ve gathered them below PLUS MORE for easy reference.

Our goal is that one of these will resonate with you and move you toward improving your mental wellness.

 

Book Suggestions:

Book cover of What Happened to You?

“What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing” by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry: Our CEO, Talli Dolge, said, “I recommend this book for everyone. It has a piece that will resonate for anyone regardless of age, race or gender. It explains the importance of asking the questions ‘what happened to you?’ instead of ‘what is wrong with you?’ The beauty of the way it is written will engage the reader from the first paragraph. This a mental health awareness month must read!” Learn more about the book in this New York Times article.
“Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” by Dr. Kristin Neff: Many mental health professionals are moving away from emphasizing the importance of self-esteem and instead focusing on self-compassion. Dr. Neff’s book not only talks about why this is important, but also provides exercises and an action plan for how to become more self-
compassionate when it comes to dealing with emotionally debilitating struggles such as parenting, weight loss, and more.

“The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts” by Lee Baur:  “Drawing on information ranging from new advances in brain technology to pervasive social taboos, Dr. Baer explores the root causes of bad thoughts, why they can spiral out of control, and how to recognize the crucial difference between harmless and dangerous bad thoughts.”

“The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World” by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr: This book invites you to gauge how attached you are to your point of view. Ruiz explores the ways in which we attach ourselves inappropriately to beliefs and the world. The levels of attachment discussed are:

  • Authentic Self
  • Preference
  • Identification
  • Internalization
  • Fanaticism
“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande: One of our licensed social workers recommended this best-selling book about end of life and how modern medicine has altered it. The New York Review of Books w
rote: “Beautifully written . . . In his newest and best book, Gawande has provided us with a moving and clear-eyed look at aging and death in our society, and at the harms we do in turning it into a medical problem, rather than a human one.”
“Permission to Feel: Unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves, and our society thrive” by Marc Brackett, Ph.D.: “This book is groundbreaking, eye opening, practical, and perhaps even life changing. Weaving together powerful stories and provocative research, Marc Brackett brilliantly conveys how social and emotional skills can improve the quality of our lives, relationships, and work. With compassion, humor, and wisdom Brackett shares perspectives that challenge us all to be better people.”―Roger Weissberg, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago; Chief Knowledge Officer, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
“The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel A. van der Kolk: One of the leading experts on trauma, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk discusses recent scientific advances to show how trauma shapes the body and mind.  “Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society.” (Alexander McFarlane, director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies)
“Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Spencer Johnson: This timeless parable gets us thinking about changes in our lives and how fear might be holding us back. Bonus part? It is a quick read.

“Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting” by Dr. John Gottman: Raising children in this modern world can be difficult. How do you teach your children to practice self-control and self-awareness? “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting: by Dr. John Gottman explores this question and so much more.

“The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships” by Harriet Lerner: From the back cover of the book: “While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches both women and men to identify the true sources of anger and to use it as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.”

 

Tips

Tip #1: Research proves that multi-tasking is not healthy nor is it more productive. Therefore, opt for self-care: Disconnect for an hour and ENJOY lunch. I feel when I do this, I return to my desk like I was truly AWAY. You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness this past year as a form of self-care. If you’re wondering how to get started or an example of what it means, here is a suggestion from one of our therapists:

“When I have back-to-back meetings I like to take at least 3 minutes in between the meetings to practice mindfulness. I set my cell phone alarm for 3 minutes and will begin with closing my eyes and concentrate on my breathing. Inhaling through my nose, and exhaling through my mouth, on repeat for the allotted time. I find it is enough to rebalance and refocus myself in order to be ready and engage with more clarity during the next meeting.”

A woman practicing mindfulness

Tip #2:
You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness this past year as a form of self-care. If you’re wondering how to get started or an example of what it means, here is a suggestion from one of our therapists:
“When I have back-to-back meetings I like to take at least 3 minutes in between the meetings to practice mindfulness. I set my cell phone alarm for 3 minutes and will begin with closing my eyes and concentrate on my breathing. Inhaling through my nose, and exhaling through my mouth, on repeat for the allotted time. I find it is enough to rebalance and refocus myself in order to be ready and engage with more clarity during the next meeting.”

Apps for Your Phone

Virtual Hope Box: Download the Virtual Hope Box app on your smart phone as a supplement to behavioral health therapy. “One of the key approaches in treating people who are depressed and thinking about suicide is to help them come up with reasons to go on living, and one of the ways that mental health specialists have traditionally done this is to work with their patients to create a hope box—a collection of various items that remind the patients that their lives are meaningful and worth living.” Learn more>

Insight Timer: This popular meditation app has 100,000 free meditation and music tracks to help with relaxation, stress, and anxiety.
Calm: Known as “the World’s Happiest App,” Calm helps with sleep, meditation, and relaxation.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of the Jewish Family Service of San Antonio blog are for general use or informational purposed only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The use of any information contained on this site is solely at your own risk. If you would like to speak in detail with a licensed therapist, please email referrals@jfs-sa.org.

If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or your doctor right away.