Many of us have very sedentary lives. We sit in an office, sit at home, and sit in a car. Many of us also try to squeeze in some exercise to offset all this time spent sitting. Research shows that regular exercise is just as good for us mentally as it is physically. Incorporating mindfulness into regular exercise can further boost the positive effects.
Over the last decade mindfulness has become a huge buzzword in everything from exercise, to therapy, to corporate workplaces. But what is mindfulness exactly and how can you get started practicing it? Mindfulness is simply being focused on the present moment. It is simple awareness or “getting present.” It is acknowledging both the internal (thoughts, emotions, body sensation) and external (sounds, smells, visuals) environments. Mindfulness isn’t a big mystery or a 2 hour long meditation session (but it can be!), it is just simply being present.
Due to new books and films like Boy Erased (written by Arkansas native Garrard Conley) and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, there has been a recent increase in the discussion around LGBTQ conversion therapy. Conversion therapy essentially tries to “de-gay” a person by changing their sexual orientation. In the past this has included “ex-gay” camps, electroconvulsive therapy, and administering shocks when aroused among other extreme measures. Today, most conversion therapy uses behavioral techniques much like cognitive behavioral therapy to attempt to change behavior or deny the expression of sexual feelings. In other words, it can look like regular therapy.
In my previous post on anger I talked about how anger is just one of many emotions, and that it is actually healthy to be able to express, process and reflect on all of your emotions, including anger. With that said, here are five tips to help you manage your anger in a healthier way.
1. Remind yourself that anger is normal and is usually alerting us to something that is off. We have a tendency to classify emotions as “good” and “bad” but all emotions are normal and healthy. After all, you cannot really control how you feel, right? You can, however, control how you want to respond to emotions. It may be more helpful to classify anger as an “unpleasant” emotion and when you feel anger you can decide how you want to respond to this feeling. Anger often tells us that something is not right. We may feel hurt or taken advantage of or perhaps an injustice has been done. Anger is a signal that something is not right. Listen to this and try to respond in a healthy manner.
Many people think that LGBTQ identities and religion don’t mix but this is very far from the truth! Sure, many dogmatic religions can cause significant trauma to LGBTQ individuals with non-welcoming beliefs. However, there are many safe spiritual spaces for LGBTQ people.
Everyone gets angry. Humans feel the full spectrum of emotions and anger is one part of this. Anger is a signal that something is not quite matching up to your expectations. It can also come from feeling threatened and feeling hurt. Men, or people identifying with a masculine identify, feel all emotions but often only feel comfortable expressing anger. This is for a variety of reasons. First, boys are often taught to “be tough” or “just deal with it” when they express emotion other than anger. This conditions them to associate any other emotion with weakness. Anger is also a “surface level emotion” meaning that anger is often expressed first when we feel other emotions like sadness. Men may not want to fully process the underlying emotions so anger is fueled and expressed. Our society in general associated emotionality with femininity and men can be afraid to appear “feminine” by discussing emotions.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Benefits of a LBGTQ Therapist and 3 Tips for Coming Out because LGBTQ individuals experience specific mental health issues, especially in more rural areas. Today I would like to expound. These issues are often related to minority stress (stress that comes from being a member of a minority community). For example, the prejudice and stigma that LGBTQ individuals often face can lead to higher suicide rates and increased substance use. LGBTQ individual are about 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts. Twenty to thirty percent of LGBTQ individuals are likely to abuse substances to deal with anxiety and depression compared to nine percent of the rest of the population. These are significant numbers and we need to do all we can to address the specific issues facing LGBTQ individuals. It is also helpful to remember that many LGBTQ individual experience anxiety and depression (and other issues) not related to their sexuality or gender.
Hey everyone! My name is Sean. I am a therapist here at Wellspring and I just wanted to introduce myself and do a little video on three tips for coming out as gay/LGBTQ in the South. I grew up gay in the south and I know what it's like to be in an area that's not so accepting of who we really are. And this is one of the reasons that I became a therapist; so it's very important to me.
Being gay is tough. Especially here in the conservative south with limited access to resources and gay-affirming community groups. People identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, or anything other than cisgender heterosexual face community-specific stressors on top of normal day to day stress. This is called “minority stress” and plenty of research has shown that this can cause increased mental health issues. One way to alleviate this is to seek not only a LGBTQ-affirming therapist, but a therapist who also identifies as LGBTQ.