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8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

Hope Zvara Blog 8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss

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Hair loss affects close to one-third of the world’s population. Many factors trigger hair loss, from hormonal changes to certain medical conditions. Take, for example, baldness, which is very common in men, although some women experience it. It can be a gradual hair loss process but sudden for others, leaving them with patches of baldness on their head. 

Note that hair loss is a natural process. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about a few follicles falling off. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to stop unwanted hair loss.

Consider Using Prescription Medications

There are certain clinically approved medications like finasteride and minoxidil that help with hair loss. Finasteride works by inhibiting dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone from causing follicle shrinkage, leading to hair fall out. 

Also, it promotes improved hair growth and regrowth. You should start seeing some noticeable hair growth results within three to six weeks of using this medicine.

Apart from finasteride, minoxidil increases blood flow and the fast uptake of nutrients to the hair follicles, thus encouraging hair regrowth.

Increase Your Nutrients Intake

It could be that your sudden hair loss associates with nutritional deficiencies. If that is the case, your hair loss treatments could be as simple as eating foods rich in iron, copper, zinc, and protein might work wonders for you. 

Also, vitamin D deficiency could be another reason for your hair loss. In fact, you should consider using multivitamin supplements. However, you need to talk to a physician if you have any other health issues before using supplements.

Many supplements link to hair growth, such as biotin, rich in vitamin H or B7, and Ginseng that contains phytochemicals that promote hair growth. Having a doctor’s prescription on the type of supplement to take helps avoid any allergic reaction.

Better Hair Care

If you’re experiencing hair loss, anti-DHT shampoos are your best option because they help combat it. Hair shampoos with 1-2% ketoconazole ingredient block conversion of testosterone to DHT thus, preventing hair loss. 

Also, it would help if you avoided hairstyles that cause a strain on your hair. Importantly, let your hair air dry to eliminate any irritation to the scalp. Please, don’t use heat stylers that lead to damage or breakage of the hair shaft regularly.

Remember, chemical treatments such as hair color or perms cause damages to your hair and scalp. If you must color your hair, choose products that don’t contain peroxide, ammonia, or para-phenylenediamine (PPD).

8 Practical Tips On How To Stop Unwanted Hair Loss Hope Zvara BlogImage Credit

Make Use of Laser Comb

Similar to finasteride treatment, laser combs are currently the only FDA-approved way of stopping hair loss. A study that included a couple of men who had patterns of hair fallout showed increased hair growth after several weeks of applying a laser comb across the scalp at least three times a week.

The study didn’t explain how the laser treatment works, but it recommended that using the lasers at lower power has a healing outcome on hair follicles. 

You can combine the laser comb with a scalp massage. Massaging your scalp daily for four minutes stimulates blood flow to the head hence increasing hair growth.

Avoid Hot Showers

Hot water tends to strip your hair of essential oils meant to protect it from damage due to dryness and inflammation. Hot water might not link directly to hair loss, but scalp inflammation caused by too much heat leads to miniaturization of the hair follicles and hair thinning.

Alternatively, warm or cold water helps close up your cuticles and pores in the scalp, therefore, sealing in the hair moisture to increase hair growth.

Stay Hydrated, Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Naturally, the biggest percentage of your body contains water. That goes without saying that the hair shaft, too, requires water for increased hair growth. Taking a minimum of four glasses of water every day keeps the hair follicles hydrated enough for healthy hair growth.

Sadly, your hair loss might be due to excessive alcohol consumption. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake gives your hair a chance to grow. Like alcohol intake, smoking reduces blood flow to the scalp, leading to decreased hair growth and an increased risk of baldness.

Go for a Transplant

In case you’ve tried all of the above hair loss prevention and treatments, and nothing seems to work yet, a hair transplant might be your best bet. The specialist acquires hair follicles from a donor then grafts them onto your scalp. The hair follicles donated should come from head regions like the back and sides since those areas are DHT-resistant.

There are other new ways of carrying out hair transplants, like using hair stem cells that accelerate hair growth. What makes this method more appealing is the fact that it allows for repeated transplantations if necessary.

De-stress

Once your hair grows back, you should understand how to keep it looking healthy. Stress is a significant contributor to decreased hair growth. De-stressing yourself plays a part in ensuring increased hair growth. 

You can fight stress through meditative exercises like yoga and meditation, which help with hormonal balance and stress elimination. They’re also a form of self-care, suitable for your general wellbeing.

You can also engage in active activities like physical exercises every day. These exercises can include walking, swimming, or bike riding for 30 minutes a day.

Conclusion

Hair loss is inevitable at a certain point in your life, especially from pattern baldness. Above are several options to choose from if you’re looking to avoid hair loss or regrow your hair. The effectiveness of each method varies from one person to another. Some see positive results with just a few adjustments like switching to a better diet and so on.

Others might need to go an extra mile, like the use of hair treatment medications. However, no matter the option you choose, always ensure that you practice better hair care to avoid future hair loss. 

Additionally, check with a trichologist if you’re planning on trying any hair growth method or supplementation. It’s advisable to visit a dermatologist or trichologist if you have a severe hair fall as well. You might be having a more serious health issue other than hair loss. Don’t ignore any unusual hair loss because you need proper guidance on achieving healthy hair goals.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Take A Breath

Mental Health Awareness Month: Take A Breath

Take a breath….

Breathing is one of those things we all do, yet we rarely think about it; when a system like the respiratory works without us having to think about it or make it happen, it’s called “involuntary.” The respiratory system has the unique ability to work all on its own without our help, unlike the muscular system, which works voluntarily.

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a perfect time to tune in and tap into how powerful our breath actually is.

When we breathe, we get this precious gift called life. We can survive 21 days without food, seven days without water but can only go one to three minutes without oxygen. And at the 60-second mark, brain cells are already dying. Yet after 20 years of teaching yoga to others, there is one thing I have come to find, many do not like to breathe. I would often notice few would appreciate the art of breathing practices (pranayama) in yoga. You could see people start to fidget, become distracted, and even get annoyed at the idea that they weren’t “doing anything” during their yoga class. Yet without the ability to breathe, nothing on the yoga mat would even be possible. 

Meditation Bundle Hope Zvara

Breathing is a tool. Those that learn to harness the device and tap into its vast abilities to improve, help and even heal the body get to reap the benefits of increased vitality, health, and happiness. But time and time again, I have observed others choose pills, alcohol, and even violence to manage what we all call stress or our emotions rather than tap into this tool we are all born with and have access to us at any given time. 

Stress can alter just about any system in the body if we allow it to. 

Stress management sign mother trucker yoga blog

Stress can:

  • Raise our blood pressure
  • Increase our heart rate
  • Increase our body temperature
  • Leave us in physical pain
  • Can decrease our immune system
  • Give us stomach discomfort
  • Make it difficult to sleep
  • Can affect your libido 
  • Tense your muscles 
  • Cause weight gain 
  • Burden your nervous system
  • Leave shallow breathing

When is the last time you felt the effects of any of the above and thought you should practice deep breathing? 

When my oldest son was small, and he’d get stressed out, the first thing I would have him do is deep breathing. Three deep breaths, I’d say, and we’d do them together. He’s now nearly a teenager, and I have observed him repeatedly defaulting to deep breathing when he is stressed, angry, frustrated, or can’t sleep. He automatically uses this incredible tool we all walk around with every day but rarely tap use voluntarily. 

The average American breathes with less than 18% of their lung capacity. That’s what I like to call clavicle breathing. It’s no wonder we are a stressed-out, upset, unhealthy out of touch society. I say these are the very things I have felt before yoga and learning how to tap into my breathing. And the same things I think when I’m not in my body, using my breathing, and feeling grounded in my skin. 

How do we breathe?

The average person takes about ten breaths per minute; that’s an average of 22,000-24,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing. And when we breathe, we inhale necessary oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and toxins that our body wants to remove. When we breathe, our lungs expand and take in air, and our diaphragm lowers and expands as well, taking in oxygen to then be distributed out to the millions of cells throughout our body that need that fresh oxygen to live. 

Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist, says, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Yet how many people can say with certainty that they use them, work them, build them like their bicep regularly? There is a saying, “use it or lose it,” and it fits here with our breathing. 

 A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

And, also nearly every system in the body is connected to our respiratory system or breathing. 

  • Our metabolism increases when we practice deep breathing.
  • Our autonomic nervous system regulates when we deep breathe.
  • Our digestion can settle and improve when deep breathing.
  • Our muscles relax and get total oxygen, helping them not to cramp.
  • Our lymphatic systems become stimulated, hand and hand, with our immune system, both stimulated when we breathe.
  • Our body is fully oxygenated when we deep breathe.

And one of our deep breathing’s most impressive features is that it stimulates our vegas nerve. 

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen through multiple organs, including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. It controls the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which contains your relaxation response. Most people never breathe deep enough to stimulate this impressive nerve. We need the vagus nerve to be alive and working because the vagus nerve controls your mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response. Stimulating your vagus nerve can help to regulate many functions in your body.

Vagus nerve stimulation has been linked to treating epilepsy, improving digestive conditions, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety disorders. The journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reported in 2018 that the poor function of the vagus nerve could lead to mood and anxiety disorders. But most importantly, when you stimulate the vagus nerve, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. All of this can happen when you learn to breathe more deeply and more often. 

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! BREATHING IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where does your breathing fall?

Clavicle Breathers: Those that breathe only into the upper chest, throat, and shoulders. These breathers often have lifted shoulders and a tense neck. 

Chest Breathers: Those that breathe into the center of the chest. 

Abdominal Breathers: Those that breathe deep into the belly and feel their lungs and abdomen expand freely. 

We have forgotten our unique ability to help and heal ourselves. When you were a baby, no one had to tell you how to breathe, yet there you were, breathing so deeply that your entire torso was expanding and contracting every breath you took. I have listened and watched my children as infants, and now adolescents get upset and even cry only to default to their breathing to calm them down. It’s in you; you have done it; you have just forgotten how to do it. 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique:

  1. Sitting tall or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart/chest. 
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth and hear your breath move out of your body. 
  3. Inhale through your nose and move your breath deeply into your lower hand (belly) and feel it expand. Continue to move your breath up to notice your upper hand (chest) rise. 
  4. Exhale slowly move the air out, feeling your belly collapse and your chest lower (in any order). 
  5. Soften your jaw and relax your body, focus on fully emptying your belly when you exhale and fully expanding when you inhale. 
  6. Work yourself up towards a count of four counts on the inhale and eight on the exhale. 
  7. Repeat this for two to five minutes. 
  8. Anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. 
  9. Allow yourself to hear your breath each time you inhale and exhale. 

How to do deep abdominal breathing

Continue this practice daily in the morning to wake up, when you are feeling stressed, waiting in traffic (minus the hands-on your body), or before you go to sleep to help you relax. 

You have tools to help you breathe, relax, fall asleep. The real question is, are you using them? 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Benefits:

 Various deep abdominal breathing forms have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including increased blood flow and improved blood pressure. Deep breathing is also a helpful tool for relaxation and sleep. Taking deep breaths can also help you manage stress and improve cognitive function like brain fog and lack of focus and concentration.

If every tool you are reaching for is outside of yourself, let me ask you, have you tried the tools you were born with? The tools you were given and are the very tools that make this life possible? The tool I am talking about is your breathing. 

Try This:

For one week, practice deep abdominal breathing at least one time a day. Work to practice it at the same time each day. Set the alarm on your phone or in your calendar and make it a priority. All too often, we say something doesn’t work or help, and we have never really tried it, let alone given it the attention required to see results. 

After seven days, come back and let us know how you did. What changed, what you noticed or found. 

Now take a deep breath and start living! 

Resources:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_focusing_on_the_breath_does_to_your_brain

https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

https://www.healthline.com/health/facts-about-stress#25.-Past-experiences-can-cause-stress-later-in-life

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.n

https://www.consumerreports.org/mental-health/ways-to-manage-stress/ih.gov/29593576/
5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

Practice makes perfect. And I’m talking posture!

Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.

How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?

No. Amazing posture.

Perfect posture.

Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self-esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.

Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.

But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness, and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.

Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.

So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your body’s health and alignment but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture

1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose

  • Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
  • Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
  • INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
  • Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently lookup.

Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.

Mountain Pose

2. Shoulder Blade Runner

  • Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to gently face up (no hyperextension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
  • Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
  • Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.

Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.

Shoulder Blade Runner

3. Turkey Neck Stretch

  • Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
  • Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
  • Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
  • Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
  • Now close your mouth and imagine you have an underbite and push the bottom jaw upward.
  • Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
  • Gently bring the head back to center.

Turkey Neck Stretch

4. Melting Wheel

Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).

Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting, and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counterbalance by hinging forward.

Melting Wheel

5. Rolling Forward Fold

Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.

In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees, and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.

Rolling Forward Fold

Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.

For more moves just like these check out my ONLINE MOVEMENT STUDIO

>>>> $9.99 a month for UNLIMITED ACCESS to moves that make sense! <<<< 

I want to know: Which move do you like most? 

 

4 Habits of Determined People

4 Habits of Determined People

4 Habits of Determined People

I am a very determined person. But there is a part of me that still holds onto this “learned behavior” of freezing when things get hard.

It’s not that I would “give up,” but rather, I would freeze.

I wouldn’t know what to do next. The fear of failure or worst making the wrong decision and others being disappointed would paralyze me. Others being “unhappy.”

Last week I was talking to my mentor and telling him about a decision I need to make. And he immediately looked at me and said:

“Hope…you are not responsible for other people’s happiness”.

No, follow up statement. No nothing. I felt the irony of that statement: when he said it, he wasn’t worried if it would make me happy or not. He said it because it was the truth.

For years I had it ? ALL WRONG. ?

I put so much of my energy into ensuring others would be happy. In return, I was killing myself, exhausting myself, to the point I was becoming bitter.

I would be temporarily happy because of my doings… But it never lasted. I would soon need another fix. I could never win.

See, I had being kind and helping others mixed up with making others happy

I use to think that the only way to make others happy was to put them as a priority over myself. To give them everything they ask for. To self-sacrifice, put me at the bottom. Do the “poor me” dance.

This learned behavior was slowly killing me just as fast as my eating disorder was.

Over the last several years, I have been working diligently on cutting the cord of this person’s pleasing disease.

Determined Blog Post Hope Zvara

Here is what I know to be true…

❣️I believe we are all put here on this Earth for a God-given reason.

❣️We all have gifts, talents, and paths.

❣️We all are meant to shine, no one brighter than the next.

❣️But it is up to us as to how we choose to shine-dim our light or turn it up super bright.

My people-pleasing disease was strangling my natural determination superpower. I was driven, focused, and always wanting to do my best. But every time I would get the car running to accomplish BIG things, my people-pleasing disease would step in and sabotage my success. Over the years, I have learned how to effectively harness the skill sets and mindset to drive to my destination with less distraction.

Four Attributes of Determined People:

  1. Most successful people are great at delaying gratification. In the words of Beluga from Willy Wonka, “Daddy, please, I want it now.” And we all know what happened to Beluga. Part of my recovery was learning to sit with ill feelings and emotions. And learning they will pass. Right now, my parents are selling their house, and for my father, this is a roller coaster of emotions because when things don’t happen immediately, he just wants to make rash decisions. Dropping the price dramatically, thinks no one wants it… on and on. He just wants it over. But remember those feelings you are feeling are just feelings, and they will pass. Breathe my friends, and if you can delay that gratification for a bit longer, you may be surprised what you get in the end. 
  2. Most successful people are great at withstanding temptationI see this as several things. Are you trying to lose weight? That chip looks so good at 9:30 pm, doesn’t it? You have a deadline that would skyrocket your business, but you are organizing your office. You want a new job but have yet to do anything that would push you towards that goal outside of Netflix and Chill. My point is this; the temptation is just that-temptation. It’s enhancing immediate gratification for having it later. There is a form of resilience being cultivated when you say no so you can say yes then. You can do it!
  3. Most successful people are great at overcoming fear to do what they need to do. Most of my life, I have had a fear of rejection. Small, large, it doesn’t matter. And overcoming this has been a lot like going to the gym. If you want to develop a specific muscle or muscle group, your best work it and do things that are hard to strengthen that muscle then and, as a result, get better at them. So in my business, I have learned just to do it (thanks Nike). And if I lay out who I need to call the next day and put it in my calendar like an appointment and then just do it before I can overthink and my emotions wiggle their way in, success is within arms reach for me. The result, I’m less anxious around this and have taught myself that rejection is made up and that no’s only lead me to the yes’s waiting for me on the other side. 
  4. Most successful people don’t set priorities; they do the things they decide are most important. What is important to you? It’s hard to figure this out without setting goals. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? When we see the destination (no matter how crazy it might sound), knowing this will help you figure out what is essential. I see these things as choices. We all can make choices. What are you choosing to do? Are those choices aligned with what you say you want? 

 

Remember this: Do not ever feel bad for how bright your light is.

And if it makes someone else unhappy, that is for them to fix—not you. But equally as much, learn to be happy when others have a win. In the end, this simple practice will almost always return to you as a win as well. Determined is not just to reach your goal. It’s also to support others when they reach theirs. 

Let me ask you this: Who do you know that is doing amazing things? Who do you do that worked hard for something and got it? Who do you know that has achieved a win, goal, or accomplishment. Now it may be something you have been working your butt off to achieve, and they got there first. Remember that you do not know their past details for detail and do not know their future. But you can choose to be a part of that win by celebrating it with them. Who knows maybe they will inspire or share what they did to get there with you simply because you supported them. 

Full disclosure, I did not grow up in a home where this was a regular practice. When others achieved things around us, there were not supportive cheers; there were usually negativity and sarcasm: jealousy and an unwillingness to step up and be a part of the celebration. Now things change, I’ve changed and refuse to be a part of that type of mindset. And have also come to realize that we only know what we know, and how we behave is sometimes a protection mechanism from pain or rejection. (PS I love all my family, but this is a reality that I think we all can learn from).  

It occurred to me a few years ago that when I try to “make others happy,” I am taking away from them the opportunity to cultivate the necessary skills, talents, and pathways they need to find happiness on their own and keep it.

That it is not for me to judge if they have to go through discomfort, challenge, even rejection to get there, that is their path.

?That conversation reminded me that even though I have come so far, I still have some work.

?That conversation reminded me that I could spend my time trying to make others happy or find myself and be a light showing others how to cultivate it.

?That conversation reminded me that happiness is not something you can “give” people; it is something you can lead others to find themselves.

Today I want to encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself, “what makes YOU happy”?

And before any lame excuses pop into that conversation, ask yourself, “what is the reason you aren’t doing that”?

Reaching your goals hope zvara blog post

In keeping my focus and staying determined in my life, I try to do two things daily:

1. Set goals. Long term goals and short term goals. This helps me stay on track and also evaluate time suck activities-like jealousy and envy, scrolling Facebook to no end, and “organizing.”

2. Staying Grateful. Every night before my kids go to bed, our entire family (me, my husband, and our three kids) pray together, and after we say prayers, we go around and say a prayer for someone and what we can be grateful for. Doing this as a family has brought us closer together, and being able to get a glimpse of what my kids see and then share is impressive. When you go to bed at night, what you are thinking about is what your subconscious meditates on. So if it’s hate, jealousy, lack, and frustration, then that is what you are embedding, not your brain, body, and beliefs—such a simple act with such a powerful result. 

So my reminder today is simple: you are not responsible for another’s happiness.

Instead…

❣️Be a mentor and show others how to cultivate happiness.

❣️Be a mentor and assist others in creating the skills to discover happiness.

❣️Be a mentor, and do the things that make you happy.

Because what good is another’s happiness if you can’t enjoy it with them???

Your happiness has nothing to do with them… and everything to do with Y.O.U

 

Check out some of Hope’s other blogs that focus on goals and the art of being determined:

5 Steps to Take Ownership Back Over Your Life

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/8-habits-of-people-with-exceptional-determination-and-willpower.html

Mental Health and Parenting: What No One is Talking About

Mental Health and Parenting: What No One is Talking About

Did you know that May is #MentalHealthMonth?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. #MentalHealthMonth was created to increase public awareness of mental health conditions and to break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses. 

Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people don’t like to, or are afraid to, talk about them. However, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Everyone experiences the ups and downs of mental health and there is nothing wrong with seeking help to manage it. 

My Fears

As a mom of three and someone who has battled mental health challenges most of her life, my greatest concern upon having children was that my children would struggle with their mental health in the same ways that I did. However, I believe that my own struggles actually made me a better parent. I was more aware and attuned to the needs of my children and never once did I hesitate to seek help when I thought they needed it. 

So, what can we do, as parents, to help improve the overall mental well-being of our children?

1. COMMUNICATE

Communication is the key. Good communication with children involves listening well and talking in ways that encourage your child to listen to you. Communicate the super uncomfortable and challenging things, too. Being open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear, and anxiety will help you and your child to navigate potentially tricky situations in the future. 

2. RECOGNIZE THE NEED FOR HELP

This may seem silly or even stupid to some reading this. As a parent who has struggled with this most of her life, I just don’t get why seeking aid in this way for your child or children is still a “last resort”, or for some, not even an option.

My oldest is very emotional. Last year, he was caught teasing and talking under his breath during class to a few of his classmates about how they looked. When I confronted my son and talked to him about why he was doing what he was doing, in all honesty, he told me that he wasn’t that sorry for some of it. I knew right then and there  was something bigger going on. Not in regards to the relationship with these other children, but within himself.  My son needed someone else to talk to and it was my job to find someone else who could give him perspective and insight beyond that of my husband and myself. 

3. SEEK HELP

That summer, I arranged for my son to see a counselor. We called his sessions “his class with Michael”. During that time, a few parents and family members questioned my decision to seek outside help for my son. They often said, “Why are you doing that? He’s fine”. But, I knew he wasn’t. I saw a young boy struggling to process how he felt. I saw myself in him.

Seeking help was the best thing I could have ever done for my son as his mom. It gave us a place to communicate with our son and it gave my son a place to communicate openly without judgment. Michael played a HUGE role in my son’s confidence, understanding, and processing of emotions. Most importantly, Michael was a huge game-changer for my son and his future.  He now has insight and coping strategies that will serve him his entire life. An insight I wish I would have had at his age. If I would have, then, maybe, my story would have been a bit different.

4. DON’T JUDGE

For many parents, at the first sign that their child appears to be sick, there is no concern or questioning on getting them medicine to help them feel better. So why aren’t we looking at our children’s mental health, their mental well-being, in the same light as their physical well-being?

I urge you all, parent or not, to put all your personal issues aside and see your kids as they are. To attend to them in the best possible way that has nothing to do with you. Seeking help is not a bad thing. Would you ever look down on someone for seeking treatment for a medical ailment? More than likely, no. So, I urge you to do the same for you and your child’s well-being, especially when it comes to their mental health and wellness.

So, I ask you, during #MentalHealthMonth–what does your child need? As someone who has struggled most of her life with mental health and wellness concerns, I can tell you that having a therapist has been one of the best things I have done for myself and it made all the difference for my son, too.

If you are interested in learning more, check out these great resources on Amazon.

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