Strategies to calm the anxious brain.

Negative thoughts can bring you down. This is part of a series looking at micro skills – changes that employees can make to improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Read about the 2017 winners of the award at tgam.ca/workplaceaward. Does your mind sometimes create thoughts – ones that make you anxious or worried – that you’d rather not have? When our unconscious…

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The Depression Mask

The depression mask. What I would define as a defence mechanism because if you looked like you felt, no one would ever want to be around you. Depression has levels that is hard for people who don’t have it to understand. It makes me angry when I come across comments calling people like Chester selfish. To me, it’s a suicide is a failure of society to protect individuals for for letting them down to feel like this was the only viable option. Depression IS a disease. Sometimes medication can help and sometimes they don’t similar to any other sickness. The…

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For some students, the transition to university can be hard on mental health.

In a few weeks, more than two million students will step onto postsecondary campuses across Canada, roughly one-quarter of them in Toronto. It’s both an exhilarating and terrifying time for young people full of big hopes and even larger expectations. Many thrive and revel in their new-found independence. But others struggle and too often they struggle silently, because they’re afraid – or ashamed – to tell their parents, friends, or teachers that they’re anxious, depressed, or deeply unhappy. Seven years ago, Eric Windeler launched Jack.org to educate young people and their families on how best to advocate for their own…

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Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.

Mental wellness does not just impact us as individuals, it impacts our whole society. If we all took steps to take care of our emotions and care for ourselves in this way the world would be a lot healthier. Emotionally injured people hurt others and as I have gotten older I have learned how important it is to take time to heal. “When people started practicing personal hygiene, life expectancy improved by almost 50% in a few decades”, mental hygiene can have a similar impact. Fighting loneliness, equipping yourself with tools to handle failure, and protecting your self-esteem can make…

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Trying To Understand ‘What Made Maddy Run’.

Madison Holleran ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. She was popular and beautiful — and raised in a big, supportive family in a New Jersey suburb. “By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined — according to everyone around her — to do amazing things with her life,” says sportswriter Kate Fagan. And from the outside, Madison appeared to be thriving in college, too. But inside, she was struggling with anxiety and depression. Then, in the middle of her freshman year, Madison ended her life by jumping from…

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Tragic case of Robert Chu shows plight of Canadian medical school grads.

After he was passed over twice for a medical residency program, after he quizzed university officials and career counsellors about the reasons for his rejection, after exploring his legal options and shortly before ending his life, Robert Chu wrote a letter. It was precise, but penned with passion. It showed the persistence the 25-year-old medical school graduate had demonstrated throughout his accomplished life. But he also expressed his despair at what he believed is a flawed system used to match medical school graduates to residency programs — the final, obligatory stage in a doctor’s training. Each year, a growing number…

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Let’s Talk About It.

Empathy. Congruence. Unconditional positive regard. Addressing Katherine and Katy as their identities. Reflection of feeling and content. Putting aside my ideas of Katy Perry for an hour, this is a beautiful example of the humanistic counseling model. I don’t think I can emphasize how much talk therapy helped me when I was at my lowest point. The questions that were asked, the revelations I came to, and the tools I was given to help me move forward. I agree with Kathryn in that social media has made it incredibly hard to be real with one another. We all hide behind…

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The Numbers Game.

I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I graduated from Western! To be honest, I debated whether I should share these pictures because on some level I do feel self-conscious despite the pictures not necessarily being representative of how I look now. I added 5 pictures to showcase how far i’ve come in 4 short years mentally, physically, and emotionally, with the first picture being where I started from. There is a picture for each of the past four years. I know regardless of how I look in those pictures, it doesn’t take away from my character, my…

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Never Miss a Day.

Many of you know I’ve never been a runner but most of you also probably don’t know one of the main reasons why I run is how I am choosing to take control of my battles with depression. This summer I want to reclaim running. I strayed away from running for many years for fear that the negative thoughts would be triggered. Thoughts like I was too slow, too fat, too tired, or thoughts that I just wasn’t made to run. But since i’ve started running, nothing beats the sound of my feet pounding on the pavement, the sun hitting my…

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Self-Love is the Most Important Kind of Love.

This morning I woke up feeling down and sad about the actions of someone else.  So today, I decided to try something different. I made a list of all the great things about myself as a personal reminder that I don’t deserve to feel down because of someone else’s actions. I am kind to others I am generous and helpful I make people laugh I brighten moods I am caring I am empathetic I can sense people’s moods I am thoughtful I am helpful I step up to the plate when no one else does and take the blame so…

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Life’s Changing Tides.

Naturally, life is a bumpy ride. In the flash of an instant, it can go from being downright cruel to magnificent the next, but then it can hand you days where you feel like you are permanently wrecked. But, I am a firm believer in the fact that the universe will never hand us things that we won’t be able to get through. For that anytime I was knocked down by a wave, I came right back up stronger than I was before I went down with the tides.  But it will suck you through a tsunami of tears, of…

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Why I Wish I Didn’t Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

TW: Suicide I recently finished watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix, and part of me wishes I didn’t watch it at all. Not because it’s a bad show, but because it hit just a little too close to home. The show provides a glimpse into the life and ultimate suicide of Hannah Baker, a fictional American teenager struggling to navigate high school amidst the rampant sexism and bullying that unfortunately shapes much of her experience. As the show unfolds, the audience, alongside Hannah’s friends, family and peers, learn the reasons Hannah ultimately decided to end her life. I finished “13…

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The 5 percent solution for depression.

Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors: Who would pass up the opportunity of saying that mouthful on a regular basis? Well, okay, anybody who isn’t a biochemistry nerd would. But in case you don’t know, it’s a class of drug that throws some light in the amazing ways in which the brain works…and helps anyone immobilized by a clinical depression start to function like a normal person. Now, I’m a yoga teacher, and yoga teachers are known for pushing holistic solutions, not psychotropic drugs. But what if you suffered from a crippling depression because the chemicals your brain cells use to communicate…

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UBC president Santa Ono opens up about his struggle with mental health.

University of British Columbia’s president opened up for the first time Tuesday about his struggle with mental health and how he twice tried to take his own life. Santa Ono spoke at the Healthy Minds: Healthy Campuses Summit and highlighted UBC’s commitment to providing mental health support to students, faculty, and staff. He said he decided to share his own struggle with depression in hopes people who are experiencing mental health issues would feel less alone. About one in seven young people in B.C. will experience mental health illness at some point, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the…

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It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Sometimes.

I feel much sorrow for the family and friends of the young man that took his life this week. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and even though I never met this individual I know the pain and emptiness that filled him. The cascade we put on pretending we’re happy and strong, because that’s what society expects. High functioning individuals. But deep down we’re empty. sad, and so very tired. Suicide isn’t something that just happens, it’s a conscious choice because of outside failures to help them before then. With schools and job fields getting more competitive, it’s not…

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