Jan. 2022 | Vol. 2
Official newsletter of Synergy Strive Coaching & The Psychiatric Practice of Steven M. Gordon & Associates
What's In This Issue:
- New Year, New You?
- The Chain of Human Dignity
- Tips for managing Seasonal Affective Disorder
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Welcome back to our second edition of Thrive! The beginning of the new year always provides ample opportunities for reflection of where we are in our lives, and where we still want to go.
In this issue, we tackle how to make progress with your resolutions, the impact of negative self-talk, and tips for managing a common seasonal mental health condition.
As always, our clinicians are eager to help you or your loved ones with any mental health challenges so you can live your best life!
Self Dignity: Self deprecating thoughts like “ I’m fat,” “I’m worthless,” or “I can’t do anything right,” may seem like momentary responses to pain or frustration we are currently experiencing. When those thoughts start reflecting or projecting in our behaviors, whether it's through words we say about ourselves or others, or when we turn them into self-destructive behaviors such as overeating, drinking, drugs, or spending, they may gratify or meet an emotional need for a short moment of time, but have profound long-term effects. Often, we believe we can do these things in disguise where those around us don't notice the consequences of our self-destructive habits. This may give us a rush of a high, but ultimately deepens our self hatred .
The outside world can see us as successful, outgoing, and powerful, yet inside we feel lonely, miserable, and ultimately, emotionally out of control. This is when we need to get outside our intrinsic self-degrading ruminating thought cycles that can ultimately not only hurt ourselves and our dignity, but can also damage our self-esteem as well as hurt the relationships of those around us.
It is time to stop using a vice that will ultimately cause destruction to our emotional, relational, and physical health! Reach out for help today!
Seasonal Affective Disorder
written by Dr. Samantha A. Rogers, DNP, PMHNP-BC
New Year, new you?
Written by Sherry Proctor
When it comes to resolutions or goals of any kind, it’s not enough to resolve to “quit smoking,” “lose weight,” or “exercise more.” While we might sincerely want to change, these resolutions lack the parameters that have been shown to be helpful in achieving goals. Our brains require more energy than any other organ, accounting for up to 20% of the body’s total haul. As such, the brain looks for ways to be energy efficient. As our brains grow, we form neural pathways, a series of connected neurons that send signals from one part of the brain to another. Think of these neural pathways as a cleared and well-worn path through the woods. These are habits formed through repetition of thinking, feeling, and acting, and they often allow the brain to be more energy efficient - kind of like driving on “auto pilot.” These are how our habits, both good and bad, are formed. When we want to affect change, we are asking our brains to create new neural pathways, and that takes effort, much like clearing a new path through a forest.
The most well known goal-setting technique is S.M.A.R.T. This acronym us the parameters to realistically measure their progress against a specific goal. To improve your chances of achieving your goals, the S.M.A.R.T technique require that goals meet the following criteria:
S - Specific.
M - Measurable
A - Attainable/Assignable
R - Realistic
T - Time-Bound
A resolution could be something vague like “exercise more.” Setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal might sound something more like this:
“Perform a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, swimming, biking, etc) 4 times per week and 30 minutes of resistance training 3 times per week for a minimum of 30 days.”
Setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal does not always mean that you will achieve your goal because, well, life happens. It does however, give you an opportunity to track your progress toward that goal. Even if you fall short of the mark, you should be able to determine what obstacles may have prevented you from achieving it, and you can adjust your next goal accordingly. If you have a lofty goal (such as running a marathon), it may be best to break it into smaller goals (start with a 5K).
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
Even when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, we often fail to meet them for one simple reason: we are rooted in a fixed mindset, telling ourselves that we do not possess the talent (strength, determination, intelligence, confidence, etc) to achieve that goal. We may start out strong, but as soon as we come across adversity (illness, injury, fear, finances, etc), we tell ourselves the goal is now impossible. Those who espouse a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed through hard work, strategy, and feedback from others. People who adopt a growth mindset anticipate adversity, and use those setbacks as an opportunity to grow. Keep in mind that no one has a growth mindset all the time (remember the brain is looking to conserve energy.) It is something that has to be practiced and developed over time.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and working on a growth mindset are just two ways we can effect change in our lives, but no lasting change can occur without a willingness to change what we believe, often about ourselves. Sometimes, it’s those little changes in verbiage, whether we write them down or say them out loud, that make all the difference. It’s the difference between saying you’re trying to lose weight, or trying to quit smoking, and already identifying yourself as someone who workouts daily, or someone who doesn’t smoke. Once you identify yourself as the type of person you want to be, you are then able to hold yourself accountable to the doing what that type of person does. There’s quite a bit of truth to the saying “you are what you do every day.”
If you're looking to make some changes in your life, adopting a growth mindset, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, and creating new belief systems are some of the ways that we can finally resolve to becoming the best versions of ourselves. Happy New Year!
Meet our team!
Our practice is growing! We now have 8 clinicians available for both therapy and medication management.
Steven M Gordon, PMHCNS/NP-BC, Owner
Jennifer Jones, Director
Dr. Samantha A. Rogers, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Dr. Elsa DeLeonardo, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Derek Walcker, PMHNP-BC
Yvonne Swann, PMHNP-BC
Kristen Nagl, PMHNP-BC
Dr. Amanda Eblin, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Kim Braden, PMHNP-BC
Sherry Proctor, Social Media & Patient Services Manager
Danielle DiTomasso, Patient Services Coordinator
Personal Perspectives on Mental Health
Written by a Synergy Strive patient
When I experienced a delusional manic episode at 26, I was faced with a decision. I had the choice of accepting my bipolar diagnosis and moving forward with treatment, or denying that anything was wrong and simply forcing myself to exist as an anxious, depressed, delusional mess until I died. That’s how it felt, at least. So I chose survival. Adaptation. Medication. Therapy. Guidance. Understanding. It wasn’t a hard decision.
To call my life since my diagnosis a roller coaster would be an understatement, but, when the pandemic hit, I noticed something. I had felt like I was in survival mode for years, just trying to be alive from day to day. Suddenly, everyone was right there with me. People were dying. People were scared. Things changed so quickly that people did not know what to do.
Masks. Social distancing Stay at home orders. Sanitation. Vaccines. Boosters. We were given answers and guidance. It wasn’t easy, though. It was confusing. There was conflicting information. There was misinformation. It was a lot. Too much. People wanted things to just go back to the way they were, but things didn’t.
I get upset. I’m an essential worker in a medical field. I have patients who downright refuse to accept that it is time for humanity to adapt. All they can focus on is returning to their old routines. They should be looking at life and it’s new challenges and asking how best to adjust.
It’s life or death. Survive.
We are the most adaptable species on Earth. We can do anything. This is a moment for all of us. A time for change. For improvement. It won’t get better if we stick to old traditions. We can’t long for the past. The old ways of the world are archaic and dated. We can be better for it, though. We can improve on the past as we move forward with life. We just need to keep living. Adapting. Surviving. No matter what. Choose the path that leads to another day.