by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 21, 2021 Certified Nutritionist, dietician, dietitian, dietitian nutritionist, dietitian nutritionist near me, food for anxiety, food for depression, food for mood, healthy eating, healthy food, nutrition, Nutrition Counseling, Nutritionist, registered dietitian, registered licensed dietitian0 comments
There are no magic foods for boosting your mood. But when Registered Dietitian Kali Alrutz works with patients at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, she often begins by telling them that a healthy diet can really help support their mental health, as well as their physical health.
Kidsburgh asked Alrutz for advice on how Pittsburgh families can use healthy food and drink to help manage stress. Here are her tips:
- Choose good proteins: Many people get their protein from meat, Alrutz says, and that can be good — especially if you’re choosing leaner meats like chicken. But our brains get a boost from fish and also from nuts, because these foods offer healthy fats including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties, and “help our moods, help our brains function and think more clearly.” Along with eating fresh or roasted nuts, she also recommends buying nuts in bulk and blending them to make your own nut butters. Beans of all kinds are also great choices.
- Make better snacks: Leafy greens are great for brain health. If your kids aren’t big fans of cooked greens or salads, try making homemade kale chips. Lots of easy recipes are available online — simply spread kale on a roasting pan and sprinkle with a bit of salt or any spices your family likes, then roast at low heat until kale leaves are crunchy. You can also make great brain-healthy snacks with chickpeas (also known as garbanzos). Dry them with a paper towel, then toss them with just a bit of oil and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any seasonings you like, then roast them in the oven at 425 degrees until crispy, about 30 minutes. “These types of foods will give you tons of fiber,” Alrutz says. They’re great protein sources that are low in saturated fats and “high in your poly- and mono-unsaturated fats that are very good for your brain.”
- Stay hydrated: When we get dehydrated, it impacts our brain function and mood regulation. But if we drink plenty of water, research shows that we can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety. Rather than relying on sweetened soft drinks, make water a central part of your day. And take time to notice if you’re feeling thirsty.
- Keep sugar limited: Although sugar can make us feel better in the short run, “regulating your blood sugar levels is another really important idea,” she says. “Your insulin resistance also has an effect on your stress levels.” Eating sugary foods can temporarily drive blood sugar levels up, but invariably those levels will drop. That affects adults and kids physically and mentally. “With low blood sugar, you might become a little bit more irritable or you might not be able to concentrate,” and that can impact overall stress levels in a household.
- Try new foods and new recipes: “Variety is really important,” Alrutz says, “because every food that we consume provides us with a different vitamin or a different mineral or some type of benefit to our system.” Beyond restricting your vitamin intake, eating the same foods all the time can get boring, making mealtime feel even more like a chore and adding stress. So try looking online for healthy recipes that will be easy to make and appealing to you and your kids. Bonus: If kids get to choose new recipes and help shop for ingredients, that can help get them excited about cooking and make mealtime less stressful for the whole family.
- Eat consciously: So often people grab a meal on the run. Or we’re busy working or doing something else while eating. Alrutz says that if we slow down even for a few minutes and notice our meal, we’ll feel better physically and mentally. “A lot of people tend to overlook mealtimes because it kind of takes a backseat. We have busy lives, right? We have a lot going on. But, you know, we need the fuel. We need that energy to make sure that we’re mentally stable and managing our stress levels.”
Kali is looking forward to helping you achieve your goals. Whether it is something you have been wanting to do for a while, or recently decided to seek professional assistance, she is here for you. With personalized nutrition therapy, guidance, and support to help you throughout your journey to better health and overall wellness, Kali will be there every step of the way to help you succeed.
Kali provides in-person therapy in our South Hills location. If you’re interested in working with Kali, you can reach us at 412-322-2129 or email us at email@example.com to get started. Or contact us here.
This story was originally published by Kidsburgh.org, the nonprofit news website where families in the Pittsburgh region can discover local resources and expert advice on raising healthy, thriving children in southwestern PA. You can sign up for their free newsletter here.Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 20, 2021 help for anxiety, how to meditate, kinds of meditation, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, stress management, wellness0 comments
There are a plethora of meditation styles available which can support your overall wellness goals. With such an array of meditation styles, you may wonder which form would be most helpful for you to reduce stress or induce your next nirvana. Since each meditation style require different skills and mindsets, read on to see which one might be right for you.
- Walking Meditation. Walking meditation allows the act of taking a foot step to become the very act of meditation itself. This form of meditation is especially helpful for someone who wants the benefits of practicing focused awareness without being seated and cross legged for too long. Walking meditation can also allow the practitioner to focus with curiosity on their surroundings and ask open ended questions as they meander upon the grass or carpet around them.
- Zen Meditation. Zen is likely the form of meditation you most commonly think of when imagining traditional meditation, here the practitioner sits with their eyes closed and allows any thoughts that come to them to simply drift away. The goal is the focus on the sound and sensation of the breath floating in and out of the nostrils.
- Mantra Meditation. For mantra meditation you might be seated or standing, posture is less important that the act of practicing focused awareness on a sequence of words or phrases. This is most traditionally done in Sanskrit but in new age and mindfulness traditions there are many English adaptations of empowering phrases. The words and integrating them into consciousness or offering them to a beloved deity is the goal of this form of meditation.
- Chakra Meditation. A chakra is a Meridien or an energy line/lines that run in the body. Chakras intersect with the meridiens and fuel them. There are 7 chakras which run along the spine and through the head. By doing a meditation that visualizes each of them, any points of energy blocks can be opened and healed. Chakra meditation often involves a visualization.
- Guided Imagery. Guided imagery is done by listening to a speaker or recording take the participant through a story like script that can inspire or address some underlying mental health needs usually with a positive psychology angle. Sometimes guided imagery also incorporates a focus on breathing.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing Meditation. Diaphragmatic breathing meditation focuses on breathing deeply into the belly to activate the calming abilities of the body. By using this slow abdominal breathing style, the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated and you can reduce the symptoms of stress and hyperarousal. This is something you can do anytime and anywhere to instantly stimulate your vagus nerve and lower stress responses associated with “fight-or-flight” mechanisms.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This is an active meditation with a somatic focus that is helpful in dispersing high levels of physical tension. In this style of mediation you will focus on squeezing and releasing different areas of the body and then relaxing them. The more that we tighten our muscles the more that we are able to relax upon release.
- Loving Kindness Meditation. Loving kindness is a heart meditation which helps the meditator to offer forgiveness and love to any person in their life or to themselves. You might visualize love or tenderness coming from your heart or mouth and sending it out into others in the world.
Insight Timer is a great free app that offers many different options. Pick a meditation style, try it out and see how it feels. If it’s not working for you, simply try another one.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 18, 2021 comfortable relationship, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, healthy relationships, relationship, relationship conflict, relationship resolutions0 comments
Relationship Advice for Couples
At the start of a relationship, it’s perfectly normal and natural to feel nerves. You are still trying to present the best version of yourselves. Over time though and as the relationship progresses, it’s vital to learn how to feel comfortable in your relationship. A lack of comfort with your partner can prevent you from growing as a couple and can possibly lead to problems in the future. If you’re looking for relationship advice for couples, read on for 8 ways to make your relationship more comfortable.
- Have a disagreement! Most of us in the clinical world agree that it takes at least 2 years for a person to trust enough to become really honest about their past, present, and futures. If you haven’t disagreed with your partner, you don’t really have a relationship, it’s an acquaintanceship.
- Don’t tell your friends, family, about your relationship issues, talk to your partner about what you feel. While everyone at times uses others as a sounding board, if you turn to others more than your partner to vent, you are likely robbing your relationship of important life blood.
- State your needs not your criticisms. People fear stating a position in a relationship because they don’t know how to be constructive and supportive so they instead fiend silence and then explode or repress their true selves until the relationship deteriorates. When we tell our partner what we need, we allow our partner and the relationship an opportunity to grow and nothing is more comfortable than a relationship that is evolving.
- Make time for yourself that doesn’t involve your partner. Keep your friends and solo activities. If you don’t have some, you will likely over rely on your partner for social support and approach your relationship from a perspective of need instead of strength. We can’t have a comfortable relationship if we can’t stand on our own.
- Be vulnerable. Share your insecurities. Were you bullied as a kid? Went through an over weight stage or worked through stuttering? Say it! If this is your person, you must take small risks of sharing your vulnerable aspects, this is how trust is built by making small disclosures over time!
- Tell them what you enjoy in the bedroom. Sexually intimacy is founded on trust and honesty. Share what turns you on and off. Indicating your pleasure to your partner is paramount to enjoying a healthy sexual relationship.
- Share your dreams. What is your 5 year plan? Sharing this with your partner is a great way to grow closer together, or not. Especially if this is a newer relationship each of you can talk honestly about the direction in which you see your life going.
- What are your boundaries or no go zones? These can be emotional, physical, interpersonal. Boundaries are unique for each of us. Some common ones include how you will interact with others, whether your relationship will be monogamous, frequency of communication. Boundaries teach others how we need to be loved and they define where one person ends and other begins.
These tips were provided by Stephanie Wijkstrom, licensed marriage counselor and founder of the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh. Want more relationship help? Check out Stephanie’s book, Creating Relationship Wellness: An Introduction to the Techniques of Mindfulness for Healthy Relationships.Interested in More Relationship Advice for Couples?Learn More