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Does Sunlight Help with Anxiety?

Scientists have been studying the connection between anxiety and sunlight, finding in many cases, that sunlight levels are linked to anxiety and possibly panic disorder. While there have already been links found between sunlight levels and depression, the inclusion of anxiety in research might allow people to discover more strategies to reduce anxiety levels.

There are no definitive links so far, but researchers are still finding a connection. When people’s serotonin levels drop, this is a major factor in depression and seasonal affective disorder, which can happen when individuals don’t get enough sunlight. However, while there’s less of a connection between sunlight and anxiety, there is still a connection.

According to studies, there doesn’t appear to be a direct cause-and-effect relationship between sunlight levels and anxiety, people can and do experience increased anxiety and panic in response to less sun exposure.

How Does Sunlight Increase Serotonin?

Sunlight and darkness each trigger the release of hormones in the brain. Sunlight triggers serotonin and darkness triggers melatonin. The hormone serotonin is associated with improved mood and helping one feel focused and calm. The effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that enters your body through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin. Without enough exposure to the sun, your serotonin levels can dip. Lower levels of serotonin can pose a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

Physical & Mental Benefits of Sunlight

Sunlight offers a lot of benefits to the human body, including mental health benefits. It increases serotonin production as well as Vitamin D levels. Each of these plays a significant role in proper health and functioning, including mental health.

However, there is a potential additional benefit to sunlight for people who experience anxiety—it’s possible the sun reduces anxiety because it influences how we live our lives. When the sun is out, we tend to be more active, potentially spending more time in nature. These activities boost well-being and reduce anxiety.

In order to reduce your anxiety, you might want to consider incorporating some nature into your plans for a lower-stress, higher-quality life. Go outside every hour or so to enjoy the sun. If you have the chance to go on a short hike, do so. While research is still being done to shed light on the connection between sunlight levels and anxiety, there is enough evidence to show sunlight does give us some mental health advantages.

If you’re having problems with anxiety, talk to one of our Chico mental health professionalsTherapeutic Solutions can provide you or a loved one with professional and compassionate behavioral health services. We have 20 years of combined experienced in helping people cope with their mental health issues, and we are well-equipped to deliver the comprehensive care and treatment you need. Let us see what we can do for you in an appointment.

Call us at (530) 899-3150 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today. If you’d like to refer a patient, you can do so online here. We look forward to speaking with you!

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What Is Parts-Therapy?

Parts-therapy/parts work therapy is the concept that our personality is composed of a number of various parts from our subconscious. The goal of parts-therapy is to help people have all the parts of the self ready to show up when needed. This treatment is particularly useful for someone who has experienced unresolved trauma. More therapists around the world are discovering the benefits of parts-therapy for helping clients overcome personal barriers. Parts therapy can also help resolve internal conflicts, even after a client fails to respond to traditional techniques. The patient-centered approach uses the patient’s own ability to resolve their inner conflicts.

How Does Parts-Therapy Work?

Some people are fortunate enough to have the traits they wish to tap into from time to time. For others, accessing their desired personality is extremely difficult. Parts-therapy helps us develop the parts we do not have yet. A parts-therapy facilitator acts as a mediator to help clients resolve their inner conflicts. The facilitator communicates directly with the parts of the subconscious involved in a person’s inner conflict. The facilitator then employs mediation to help resolve the inner conflict, hopefully achieving the desired result by:

  • Identifying the part
  • Establishing rapport with the part
  • Calling out the part
  • Thanking the part for emerging
  • Discovering the part’s purpose
  • Calling out to other appropriate parts
  • Negotiating and mediating an agreement between the parts
  • Integrating the parts together

This approach empowers patients because it’s based on the idea that the power to change resides within the client. The facilitator’s job is to remain as objective as possible during therapy. This method helps people constructively discover their inner power. Improved self-esteem is often a side benefit for many people who try parts-therapy.

For more information about parts-therapy, contact our team of Chico mental health professionals at Therapeutic Solutions. We’re here to help you live life in balance.

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Understanding Transgenerational Trauma

Some life events are so difficult and overwhelming that they seem unbearable to the sufferer. That burden is often carried in part by family members, friends, and loved ones. But what about the next generation? Some believe that the effects of trauma can be transferred between generations, such as a parent to a child—even if that child didn’t necessarily experience the traumatic event firsthand.

While scientists are still navigating this terrain, it is clear that there is some weight to the idea of transgenerational trauma. This trauma can be passed through unconscious cues or observed changes in behavior. Anxiety may fall from one generation to the next through stories told, events discussed, and even treatment of a child by a parent or grandparent due to trauma.

The Handing Down of Neurotic Traits

Schools of psychology regularly look at the connection between trauma in a parent and the passing down of neurotic traits. In the post-Holocaust era, the first prominent literature emerged on this topic. Described as the Holocaust syndrome, reports were made on the transmission of trauma from the Holocaust to the second generation. While further development needs to be made in this area, this major event shed more light on the issue.

For example, Israeli soldiers who were second-generation Holocaust survivors were studied closely after the Lebanese war. It was found that this second generation had a more protracted course of PTSD, potentially pointing to a strong vulnerability due to transgenerational trauma.

Studies on this matter were recognized by the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). The Special Interest Area Group on Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resiliency was also founded to further research this potential connection.

Do “Traumatized” Parents Lead to “Traumatized” Children?

Large numbers of clinical practice studies have shown that patients who have suffered PTSD are emotionally limited, preoccupied, or “traumatized,” which can translate to a child’s development. For example, a parent’s symptoms such as traumatic reliving, emotional numbing, and other traumatic responses can limit a child from developing a sense of safety and security, a sense of identity, and even autonomy. The parent’s high levels of anxiety can easily interfere with the child’s own development, causing a sort of generational passing of trauma.

When trauma is transferred from the first generation of “trauma survivors” to the second or third generation, it can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult for that next generation to navigate. Many individuals may not immediately identify the source of their anxiety or stress disorders, making transgenerational trauma an often frustrating and confusing condition to manage.

Therapeutic Solutions offers behavioral health solutions designed to help patients deal with anxiety, depression, and other transgenerational trauma symptoms. Learn more about our programs through our website or by calling us at (530) 899-3150.

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Codependency & Self Care

Codependency is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” In a codependent relationship, one or both parties may be dependent on the other for fulfillment, happiness, self-worth, and even their very sense of identity.

Some potential signs of a codependent relationship include:

  • Support for a partner that compromises the other partner’s personal health and well-being
  • Ignoring harmful or dangerous behaviors in the other partner
  • Inability to be happy or fulfilled in other areas of life without the partner
  • Feedback from close friends suggesting extreme dependency on the other partner
  • Profound anxiety within the relationship
  • Attempts either to change the partner or to change him / herself to meet the partner’s preferences and desires

One of the signs of codependency is a lack of self care. Some codependents may even feel guilty when they take care of themselves or take measures to promote their own well-being. As a caretaker, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of codependency and to remember the importance of self care. Many caretakers are particularly susceptible to codependency and may neglect their own well-being as a result.

Are You at Risk of Codependency?

In a sense, codependency is not unlike addiction, except rather than a dangerous drug or other substance, the individual is addicted to the presence, involvement, and approval of a specific person. Some people may be more likely to develop codependent relationships.

Codependents may share some or all of the following personality / character traits:

  • Perfectionism
  • Lack of ability to set reasonable boundaries
  • Lack of self-worth
  • A tendency to be a “people pleaser”
  • Poor communication skills
  • Fear of being alone
  • Focus on what other people think
  • Denial of the reality of a codependent relationship
  • Denial of personal needs and feelings
  • Obsessive personality
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Caretaking

Recovering from Codependency

Some ways to begin the recovery process:

  • Read about codependency
  • Talk with a professional
  • Relax and reduce stress
  • Attend a 12 Step meeting such as Codependents Anonymous
  • Begin to pursue and develop your own hobbies and interests
  • Focus on accepting yourself
  • Practice being honest about your needs and feelings

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; abandon the idea that you need to be completely independent and self-reliant. Remind yourself that it is important to take care of yourself and to have fun. More than that, you need to remember that you are only responsible for your own choices and behaviors.

Codependency is ultimately unhealthy and dangerous. Not only does it hurt you, but it can also be harmful to your relationship, demonstrating a lack of respect for the autonomy of your loved one. Remember that taking care of yourself not only gives you a better life, but it also enables you to be a better caretaker. You do not have to be solely responsible for your loved one’s happiness. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own.

For more information about our behavioral health services designed to help clients regain life balance and independence, call Therapeutic Solutions in today at (530) 899-3150.