How Can I Address My Eating Disorder?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
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managing an eating disorder

Eating disorders are personal. More than anything, individuals challenged with eating disorders need the love and support of those closest to them – family members, friends and helping healthcare professionals.

Anyone who has faced an eating disorder understands that it’s far more than the constant challenge to indulge in unhealthy eating practices. Rather, eating disorders are a complicated manifestation of powerful thoughts and emotions, especially self-destructive, overly critical thoughts. Negative perceptions about one’s height, weight, features and body image are some of the causes that fuel eating disorders, but other mental health issues such as trauma, anxiety or depression may also play a factor. Individuals challenged with eating disorders use food as an outlet to deal with these emotions.

Though engaging in disordered eating behaviors can help an individual temporarily feel relief from the emotions they’re facing, it’s far from a permanent fix and it’s far from the right way to address a disorder. That’s why it’s so important that anyone faced with an eating disorder takes the time to appropriately address the situation, before allowing disordered eating habits to compromise the way you see yourself and others.

Let’s get to it: here are 4 proven tips to help you manage an eating disorder on a daily basis:

1. Don’t assume you can manage your eating disorder on your own.

It bears repeating: don’t assume you can effectively manage your eating disorder on your own. Instead, take the time to engage treatment modalities from licensed counselors who can teach daily disorder management skills through engaging therapy techniques that help restore self-confidence and productivity. If you’re ready to take the first step toward managing your eating disorder, we’re ready to help.

2. Stay positive.

It sounds simple, and it is: stay positive. Some days, you’ll find that it’s not all that difficult to manage your eating disorder. Other days, eating disorders can present a much bigger challenge. Battles against eating disorders aren’t won or lost in a day. No matter how you respond to these ongoing challenges on a daily basis, it’s important that anyone struggling with an eating disorder stays positive.

More than a boost for your morale, staying positive keeps self-criticism from further compromising your sense of self-confidence. In fact, criticism won’t do anything for your confidence or self-respect at any point. Instead, criticizing yourself at any point during a struggle against an eating disorder will only make a difficult situation worse. Stay positive, and don’t be afraid to take time and affirm your own decisions.

3. Get outside and get involved.

So often, eating disorders prevent individuals from enjoying life’s activities. Whether it’s a family reunion or a night out with friends, it’s so important that individuals struggling with eating disorders maintain social activities. Stay out of your own head, and surround yourself with friends and family members, in safe social environments, who will help build you up and support you in your struggles.

This also means that you might end up in situations you’ve successfully avoided. Social environments might require you to face certain triggers or encounter specific foods that are typically a part of your indulgence or avoidance. Before you open yourself to these possibilities, it’s a great idea to gauge your tolerance for trigger foods or situations, and to find an individual in attendance who understands your struggles.

4. Set a vision, and stick to it.

No matter where you find yourself in your fight against an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to set goals and stick to them. Maybe your goal is a week, or a month, without indulging in disordered eating behaviors. Maybe your goal is to reintroduce yourself socially, after taking time to deal with personal conflicts. Maybe your goal is to manage your eating disorder to the point that you can reintroduce old activities back into your daily routine.

No matter your vision for the future, set it and stick to it. And make sure to celebrate the little victories along the way! So often, individuals who struggle with eating disorders are quick to criticize struggles, but much more reluctant to celebrate successes. Take the time to credit yourself with a job well done when it’s deserved. Progress often begins with an optimistic outlook.

Managing an eating disorder starts with day one

When it comes to managing an eating disorder, the most difficult step is the first one. Acknowledging that you need help dealing with an eating disorder is the first step toward returning to the happy, healthy life you want.

Unfortunately, so many individuals never reach out to obtain the help they need. Pyramid Online Counseling makes it easy to get help for your eating disorder, with online counselors standing by to provide the therapy you need. Browse counselor profiles, choose the therapist that’s best for you and schedule your appointment today!

How to Manage Addiction and Substance Use

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use  
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Managing addiction and substance use

Substance use and addiction can arise from a large number of influences – prolonged stress or anxiety, behavioral health issues, life events, relationship problems, even health strains. No matter the difficulty that has given rise to substance use, addiction comes typically when individuals begin self-medicating with unhealthy drugs and/or alcohol.

It’s important to note that no matter your challenges, you are more than your substance use. If you’re looking to manage some aspect of your life – a relationship, difficulty or challenge – know that productive alternatives to substance use can help return you to the healthy, happy life you’re looking to live. 

Substance use – the damaging use of alcohol, prescription and other drugs, cigarettes, inhalants and any other harmful substance – can contribute to damaging life patterns and developed addiction. We’ve outlined 4 tips that can help you effectively manage addiction or substance use.

1. Get the help you know you need.

Even though admitting we need help managing life’s challenges is the most difficult step in the process, it also marks the beginning of a journey away from addiction and substance use and toward recovery and sustained freedom. During this time, it’s always a great idea to surround yourself with family and friends, especially individuals who empathize with your journey and current needs, or who have successfully made the same journey to freedom you’re embarking on now.

However, it’s also important to seek help from certified healthcare providers along the way, therapists qualified to help you like they’ve helped so many others. Browse counselor profiles today, to find and schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor through Pyramid Online Counseling’s secure online platform. You’ll receive top-tier care from counselors standing by to help.

2. Find opportunities to practice mindfulness.

It’s likely one of the first interactions you’ll have with your Pyramid Online Counseling therapist: you’ll learn how to practice mindfulness. In fact, mindfulness therapy – a powerful form of psychotherapy that prioritizes meditation, breathing techniques and a concentrated focus on how breathing and thoughts affect feelings and actions – is critical in helping you distance yourself from substance use practices. Founded on principles of attention, self-acceptance and a focus on inhalation and exhalation during small periods of time, mindfulness helps you identify how your thoughts contribute to actions. If you can reverse-engineer your own thought process to determine where and when your thoughts lead you into substance use, you’ll be one step closer to eliminating addiction altogether (with the ongoing help of your professional counselor).

3. Replace destructive behaviors with productive activities.

You’ll find that it’s not enough to limit substance use to eliminate addiction in your life; in order to make positive life changes permanent, those destructive behaviors should be replaced with positive ones. Identify the times during your day when you typically fall into substance use, and make sure you have productive activities planned to deliberately overlap.

You’ll also need to be prepared for life’s stressful moments or triggers, which would normally cause you to use harmful substances. Have alternative, productive activities standing by to appropriately deal with emotions in an engaging, non-harmful way. This replacement process is made entirely easier with help from your licensed therapist, who can help streamline the process with appropriate encouragement, positive coping techniques and suggested activities that can easily take the place of substance use and the addiction that follows.

4. Take time to celebrate life’s victories.

This one might sound obvious, and we hope it is: take time to celebrate the little victories every day. Maybe you’ve noticed that you avoided falling into substance use, despite encountering a trigger. Maybe you found that today you successfully replaced an addictive tendency with an alternative, productive activity. 

Too often, we’re quick to punish ourselves for the moments in life where we fall short of our own goals, or of our counselor’s goals for us. However, when we make progress, we’re more reluctant to recognize it. Whether it’s reaching a major recovery milestone or a daily win, make sure that you take the time to appropriately celebrate.

We can point you in the right direction

When it comes to managing addiction and substance use, it’s critically important that you take the time to consult professional therapy help. Pyramid Online Counseling is here to help, with an extensive network of counselors standing by to help you take life’s challenges head on. Browse counselor profiles, find the right therapist for you, and receive licensed online counseling for substance use and addiction in the comfort of your own home.  Contact us to schedule your appointment today.

How Can I Manage Feelings of Grief and Loss?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Grief & Loss  
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Managing feelings of grief and loss

Grieving is a normal process, one without a template or a timeline. There’s no one way that we grieve, no one way that we experience and cope with feelings of loss. Those emotions might be fleeting, recurring or constant. Loss, and the grief that ensues, is a personal reaction to an event; grief is an integral part of the healing process, and often requires the support of friends or family members.

Handling grief means first understanding where it comes from. A great many factors may influence the nature, duration and intensity of the loss and grief you feel, including personal religious or spiritual beliefs, behavioral health issues, personal disposition, disabilities, familial traditions and more. As a result, it’s important that before you take the time you need to address feelings or loss or grief, you first identify their source, and the factors in your own life that might be contributing to everything you’re experiencing.

We’ve taken the time to identify 4 ways you can address the feelings or loss or grief you’re experiencing in your own life.

1. Connect with the help you need.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your grieving process is making the assumption that you can handle the process entirely on your own. Isolation is your own worst enemy during this time. Instead, look to surround yourself with the help you need when you’re experiencing sustained feelings or grief or loss. Help from licensed counselors and therapists can be transformative during this stage of life.

Rather than seek to minimize your experiences or undersell what you’ve gone through, therapists will help guide you through all of the appropriate steps that grief allows, ultimately helping you return to your daily routine while embracing the positive benefits of a normative, healing grief and loss process.

Connect today with a licensed online counselor, who can help you address specific feelings of loss and/or grief. Browse through counselor profiles today, to find the right provider to help you navigate this difficult time.

2. Practice a daily routine.

Grief can often derail our sense of routine. And while we absolutely need to dedicate time during our day to the grieving process – much of grief is healthy, natural and necessary – excessive grief or misplaced grief can easily compromise productivity and ultimately self-confidence in our own identity.

That’s why maintaining a daily routine amid feelings of grief and loss is so critically important to overall health and wellness. Look to keep your daily routine as regular as possible, and don’t be afraid to schedule life’s simplest events – wake up time, meals, daily activities and bedtime – with consistency. Doing so will not only help you frame your daily tasks, it will also help you better identify the purpose for your day’s tasks, from taking a walk (mental clarity) to washing the dishes (cleanliness) to speaking with family members (appropriate consolation).

3. Surround yourself with friends and family members who understand and/or empathize with your emotions.

Taking the time to surround yourself with individuals who truly understand what you’re going through is also so important whenever you’re experiencing loss or grief. If you’ve lost a family member, neighbor or pet, individuals with shared relationships with that person or animal will help you benefit from shared experience. Seek out friends or family members who have experienced similar loss or sadness, and ask them not only for their love but for their insight, into how they best addressed their emotions during that difficult time.

Surrounding yourself with family members and friends also means that it’s easier to be yourself during this time. You won’t need to “put on a mask” around the people who love you the most. There’s no need to pretend or to undersell the experience. Friends and family members you love will help you prioritize your own grieving process, especially if they also share in your sadness or loss.

4. Give yourself permission to grieve and feel loss.

Often a forgotten permission when we experience grief and loss, letting yourself actually grieve is critical to any healing that is to take place. We need to give ourselves permission to grieve, to feel loss, to let those emotions hit close to home. We often need to give ourselves permission to cry, to fully embrace that loss and experience the emotions for what they are.

Giving yourself permission to grieve also means allowing others to see you grieving. Not only will those promote intimacy between any individuals sharing in your grief, it will also help others to give themselves the same permission.

How to best address grief and loss

At any age, for a wide variety of reasons, we experience feelings of grief and loss. And it’s critical that when we experience these emotions that we understand how to properly deal with them. Our counselors don’t impose timelines or hold you to unrealistic expectations; rather, through mindfulness and appropriate behavioral therapy we help you appropriately respond to grief. Grieving and experiencing loss always require support from friends and family but also from licensed therapists who understand what you’re experiencing and how to professionally help. Schedule your appointment with one of our certified Pyramid Online counselors today, and learn to take back a productive, fulfilling life.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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daughter hugging mother participating in dialectical behavioral therapy

It’s no secret that life is a series of challenges and victories alike. From one day to the next, we’ll experience the highs and the lows that life sends our way. Even though we often cannot control much of what happens to us on a daily basis, we always have a hand in how we respond. In fact, it’s often our emotional response to life’s issues and successes that play more of a role in determining who we become.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) helps patients learn to manage emotional response to life’s events, oftentimes events that elicit feelings of trauma, depression, grief or loss. To help mitigate conflict and promote positive emotional responses to life’s conflicts, dialectical behavioral therapy offers patients therapeutic modalities that improve focus and emotional management.

If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety or co-occurring disorders, DBT can help you better regulate feelings before they manifest into destructive actions or tendencies. Specifically, DBT can help you manage emotional response in four distinct ways:

1. Adopt mindfulness therapy

Mindfulness might be the most important facet of dialectical behavioral therapy, in that it calls for a developed understanding of what is happening around you. Mindfulness therapy is simple: it helps clients focus on the current moment, what they’re currently feeling and experiencing, and how those thoughts and feelings ultimately contribute to the actions we take.

One major aspect of mindfulness requires that we slow down and take in each moment as it happens. Mindfulness therapy helps reorganize the thought process, eliminating automatic negative conclusions and promoting clear thinking, regardless of the day’s events or issues.

2. Learn distress tolerance

When it comes to distress tolerance, it’s all about acceptance: acceptance of yourself, your emotions and your current situation. Mindfulness therapy and other treatment modalities can actively help you promote healthy thoughts and productive habits; distress tolerance ensures that no matter where you are on your therapy journey, you can come to accept and love yourself.

Distress tolerance hinges on 4 distinct skills:

  1. Self-distraction
  2. Learning to improve the current moment
  3. Balancing positives/negatives of improper distress management
  4. Self-calming

Independent from therapy modalities that help you address life’s challenges, distress tolerance forces you to take time and accept yourself for who you are in the moment. You are more than the sum of your challenges or the disorders you face; instead, you are an individual who should feel proud of your progress to date, who should feel optimistic about your future.

3. Develop interpersonal effectiveness

Your opinions are meant to be more than felt and experienced; they are meant to be shared. That’s exactly what interpersonal effectiveness helps you do: share your thoughts and opinions in the context of a relationship, without compromising your mental or emotional state or your relationship itself. In a productive, straightforward manner, interpersonal effectiveness helps you uphold your end of familial, fraternal or romantic relationships.

Just as a relationship can come to a halt if only one party makes a habit of regular communication, a relationship flourishes when both parties agree to open, honest conversation. Learning to effectively communicate in any relationship also means being ready to listen to other individuals, and to process and understand their thoughts and opinions with equal importance to your own.

4. Practice emotional regulation

Finally, emotional regulation helps you process strong feelings in a rational manner. In fact, the first step when it comes to ultimately changing your emotions is to identify them and understand their triggers. Before you allow thoughts or emotions, positive or negative, to influence your actions, emotional regulation can provide you with the tools you need to positively identify and control what you’re feeling.

Emotional regulation begins with recognizing familiar emotions, especially emotions which you know have contributed to destructive actions in the past. Instead, after identifying your emotions as you feel them, emotional regulation helps you to reduce emotional vulnerability and cope with any negative thoughts and feelings before they manifest into experience.

Manage emotions and improve relationships through DBT

Dialectical behavioral therapy is your first step toward improved emotional management. Learn to better regulate emotion, improve communication in relationships and increase mindfulness, all while improving self-confidence through distress tolerance. Schedule an appointment with a licensed online counselor today through Pyramid Online Counseling, to take steps toward a more stable emotional state. Speak with your healthcare provider today to determine how online counseling can serve as a viable solution to help you manage life’s challenges.

Do I Need Help for My Depression?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
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Depression

Should I get help for my depression? Here’s how to find out.

There’s never a bad time to receive the treatment you need for depression. Especially if you’re finding that symptoms of your depression are getting in the way of your productivity, compromising your self-confidence or crippling your initiative to live the life you want to live, understand that it’s time to find the help you need.

Specific signs can indicate that it’s time to get the help you need with the depression you might be struggling with. We’ve outlined a few clear indicators that your depression could be causing a rift between you and the kind of life you want to be living. Look for these clear indications that it’s time you put depression in its place and find the help you need from licensed medical professionals.

You no longer feel the same passion for the things you love to do.

Perhaps you love watching old films, or reading mystery novels, or taking casual walks outdoors. If you’re finding that you no longer register the same love for the activities that you enjoy the most, that’s a clear indication that depression could be taking a toll on your mental health.

Whether you’re passionate about pets or poetry, noting any difference in your level of interest is oftentimes a clear sign that it’s time to get the help you need for the depression you’re facing.

Your sleep habits are changing.

Changes in your sleep patterns is one of the main symptoms of depression. As depression begins to take its toll on your everyday life, sleep habits can easily change as a result. Especially if you find that temporary sleep issues become more permanent over time, it could be that depression is disturbing your otherwise regular sleep patterns. Whether you find yourself oversleeping, undersleeping or simply waking every few hours without being able to maintain a complete sleep cycle, changing sleep habits can mean it’s time to get help for your emerging or maturing depression.

You’ve noticed feelings of guilt or shame.

Feelings of worthlessness are very commonly experienced in tandem with depression. In fact, feelings of shame and sustained guilt are two of the chief symptoms of depression that indicate that a person could benefit from the help of licensed therapists or counselors. If you find yourself feeling worthless or guilty without any legitimate reason, or if you notice that guilt doesn’t subside after a normal period of time, you could be experiencing depression symptoms.

Thoughts that you’re not good enough, not strong enough or not worthy are not grounded in reality; rather, they are indications that you’re struggling with a depression that is affecting your thoughts and sense of self-worth.

You’ve lost your appetite and experienced changes in eating habits.

Similar to perceived changes in sleeping habits, you may have also noted changes in your regular eating habits. Over time, depression can affect adherence to healthy diets, as well as commitment to portion control. Changes in eating habits can also mean a decrease in appetite. Especially if you notice that you don’t appreciate the same foods, or that your lack of appetite reflects a lack of passion for life in general, it’s past time to get the help you need in managing the challenges that come with depression.

You’ve experienced thoughts of self-harm, suicidality or homicidality.

If you’re fighting thoughts of self-harm, suicide or homicidality, find the help you need for your depression immediately. Even though it may be difficult to take that first step, to admit to yourself, to others and to your medical provider that you need help, it’s a life-saving act that prioritizes your own health and well-being. Do not keep these thoughts to yourself, as they often manifest into painful, harmful actions. Rather, take the time to admit to your own challenges, and seek the help you need to overcome depression one positive step at a time.

Finding the help you need to manage your depression

Whether you’ve experienced changes in your appetite or your sleeping habits, shifts in your mood or disposition, or even alcohol or drug abuse as a result of your depression symptoms, today could mark the day you reach out for the help you need. The first step – admitting you need help in managing your depression – is the most difficult, but it also marks progress toward the happy, healthy life you love.

At Pyramid Online Counseling, we understand how important it is for you to receive the help you need for the depression symptoms you’re experiencing. Our licensed counselors can provide the right combination of counseling and medication, all at times most convenient for you. Schedule your online counseling appointment today through our secure, online counseling platform, and take the first steps toward conquering depression through Pyramid Online Counseling.