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Ryan Linda

Therapist's Corner...
Decreasing Adrenal Fatigue

    After many years of daily stress, one can end up with ADRENAL FATIGUE!!!! “Egads!” you say. “What’s that?” “Whatever it is my doctor can fix it, right?” “There’s a pill for that, right?” Well, actually, “no” and “no.” Your doctor can’t fix it and there is no pill.
     So what is this Adrenal Fatigue thing, how does it feel, how does it look, and what happens. Well, it starts slowly when we are young. It starts when we have just a bit of worry, or anxiety over something little. Something like a test at school, or a gymnastics event performance. Really, anything. We just worry like everyone else, and then we get older.
     When we are older we have different kinds of worries. We might get stressed about plans for our wedding or when to have our first child. But those are just worries like everyone else, right?
     Then we get older and we worry about our kids success at school, a new job we have, maybe our spouse drinking too much, or money. But all our friends have these worries also, right?
     Then we get older and we feel the stress of kids graduating and going off to college. Did we save enough? Did we save anything? Will our kids do well in life? Is your mother or father getting older, and did they save enough money? Who will take care of them when they are older? Is your friend mad at you? Did your siblings all move away?
     Then we get older and we notice we are tired more often, but still we have to work, pay the bills, worry about that vacation we really wish we could take, and wish our job paid more. Sometimes it’s just the busy running here and there every day. Day after day after day. All our friends are in the same boat, right? Everyone has those worries.
     We complain to our friends that we always feel stressed. We are tired, but still don’t sleep well at night. We put on more weight than we ever thought we would. We LOVE that soft drink, or ice cream far too often. But anyone who had a couple of babies gains weight, right? Or anyone who has to work as hard as we do put on a few extra pounds by eating well over the weekend, right? We deserve those little rewards.
     Somewhere along the line we notice that we have joined the ranks of those taking a pill or two for some sort of thing like high blood pressure, depression, or anxiety, or even some heart disease. We find that when we are stressed we don’t think as clearly, or we are not as good at making decisions. Sometimes we yell at those we love; sometimes it seems like it is a habit. At times it is almost like we have a lack of coordination. It might seem like our heart is beating too fast some times.
     Well, it turns out that emotions like frustration, anger, anxiety, or worry can cause the signals going down the two parts of the autonomic nervous system to get out of sync with each other. Big word, I know, but it really just means that we have our internal foot on our brake at the very same time we have it on the accelerator. So it is kind of like having a little drip, drip, drip of cortisol or adrenaline going all the time. For most of us we have had that drip going since we were quite young. Maybe even grade school. You know, just always worried about what is going to happen next.
     Eventually all that drip, drip, dripping causes the adrenal glands that sit on top of your kidneys to get fatigued. Yep, that’s Adrenal Fatigue. That adrenaline is supposed to be there and it is supposed to assist us when we are in BIG trouble, like when your child runs out into the street and you get a surge of adrenaline to act quickly and get him out of the street. But if it is there ALL the time those glands wear out. That, my friends, comes from a life time of stress and worry. Well, not really, it comes from a lifetime of not MANAGING our stress and worry. We all have worries, and we all have stresses. BUT we should be taking care of our eating, our exercise, and our emotions so that we don’t have that drip, drip, dripping all the time. If we learn to handle our emotions better and stop the dripping of cortisol or adrenaline, we can begin to take care of those adrenal glands better. If we really pay attention to our physical, mental, and emotional bodies, we can even slow down the dripping, or stop it for periods of time. It is even possible for our adrenal gland to recover somewhat. Great! Right?
     But it is YOU who has to do the work. Your doctor can give you the pills to deal with the problems the dripping has caused, like a high blood pressure pill, but only you can change your life style. One of the things you can learn to do is to sit quietly for 5 minutes a day and just put your awareness around you heart. Put you hand over your heart, and pretend you can breathe through the area around you heart. Finally, think of a time you felt really happy and contented inside. Bring that feeling back and sit with it for those 5 minutes. Isn’t that easy? With consistency over a period of time, you can change how you feel, how you sleep, how you react to others. AND you can stop the drain on your adrenals.

For more information on this go to www.heartmath.org

~ Linda Ryan, Therapist

 

JMcCasslin

Therapist's Corner...
Counteracting Violence 

     Violence, hate, and bias have been parts of our world since the time of Cain and Abel (literally, or figuratively, your pick). However, if you're like me, it seems to be getting closer to home. The world, while the same size, is smaller. Places that people used to view as "far off" are now "just a flight away." Another country, another continent, another city - these things used to be easily dismissed. However, people are realizing it isn't "another" place and "other" people who are affected. It's our neighbors. We know people in those areas, or we know someone who knows people. Or it's right in our backyard.
     So what can we do about hate and violence?Hate and violence know no boundaries. They have no minimum population standards.
     But even hate and violence have weaknesses. Inclusiveness and (as cliché as it sounds) love are good places to start. These ideas take advocates, and that is where we often struggle. It takes courage to stand against the status quo. It takes courage to include others, and to look beyond gender, age, race, sexual orientation, immigration, etc., etc., to see the person. It takes courage to say "I don't know how this will affect us but we can't treat other humans like this."
     Here are several anti-violence steps outlined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit group that monitors hate groups or extremists (just in the US, mind you) and exposes their activities:
     1) Act - Apathy can be viewed as acceptance. Hate can be counteracted by acts of kindness. Don't wait until a horrible incident happens. Start early. Speak out against bullying, even name-calling. Don't let it escalate. Be creative, kind, and peaceful but not silent.
     2) Unite - Getting others involved is a good way to find support, gather ideas, pool resources, and show a stronger presence.
     3) Support the Victims - If silence implies acceptance, it implies "I don't matter" to the victim. Victims are already vulnerable, afraid, and feel alone. Reach out to them. Demonstrate comfort, protection, and support. Let victims know that they are VALUED and IMPORTANT. After all, they were just attacked simply for being who they are. Small acts of kindness speak volumes to a victim.
     4) Do Your Homework - Be informed. Know the difference between hate (criminal act) and bias (conduct, speech or expression without a criminal act) incidents. Know what you're up against. Know your legal rights. And remember, while it's easy to target groups, it's usually individuals NOT associated with a group who engage in crimes.
     5) Create Alternatives - Hate rallies (even those focused on opposing hate) and negative media only increase the problem. Find a positive way to gather people, like a unity rally or parade. Get the media to focus on positive stories.
     6) Speak Up - Being unified and informed is a great defense against hate. Attract the media with positive slogans, rallies, events. Speak out against hate, but do not lower yourself to threats or negative statements. Don't debate against them - it only gives them a public platform on which to present themselves.
     7) Lobby Leaders - Elected officials and community leaders are important tools in rallying people. Use yours but remember, they may need to overcome their own biases and you need to respect that.
     8) Look to the Future - Tolerance and learning don't stop with one incident. Individuals need to work on their own changes but don't underestimate the power of positive community changes.
     9) Teach Tolerance - Education regarding tolerance is critical. We learn our biases at an early age. This can be counteracted by teaching tolerance and acceptance in schools and community groups. Parents can be aware of their own biases and work to educate their children on accepting differences.
     10) Dig Deeper - Examine yourself for your own biases, stereotypes, and prejudices. Expand your cultural competency. Know that it begins with you.
     Hate exists. Period. Just remember, where there are 1-2 people who show hatred, there are hundreds of others who are capable of kindness and tolerance. Good people rise up against hate in larger numbers and with voices that want to be heard.

Information adapted from https://www.splcenter.org/20100216/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist

 

Lenz

From Our EAP...
Don’t Say No to a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

 “Participating in a CISD is a professional responsibility to prevent your diminished capacity as a first responder.”

      If you are a first responder, then you have heard about critical incident stress and have had critical incident stress debriefings (CISDs) made available to you after “bad calls.” Do you tend to reject these meetings or consider them an annoyance? Do you consider yourself “just fine,” so the motivation to participate is minimal? Do you “skip out” in favor of grabbing a few beers after shift in order to deal with the bad call?
     These are common reactions by first responders who refuse to attend or would rather not participate in critical incident stress debriefings.
     Critical incidents produce natural physiological stress responses that you may not think are harmful. Nevertheless, these events may produce harmful physical and psychological effects shortly after an event—or over longer periods of time—if they are not effectively managed. Critical incident stress can be viewed as an assault on the brain. A CISD uses the mechanism of group work combined with nonjudgmental presence of your peers to decrease the likelihood of harm following critical incident stress.
     A CISD is the most accepted and best-researched approach to helping first responders and victims of critical incident stress. Dismissing the need for a CISD if you are a first responder is similar to refusing treatment for a physical injury because you think you don’t need it.
     A CISD should not be declined based upon how you feel about your need for it, but rather should be considered based on the nature of the event itself. Like using proper equipment or taking steps to prevent infection from biohazards, participating in a CISD is a professional responsibility to help prevent your diminished capacity as a first responder.
Not a “Do It Yourself” Thing
     “Brushing it off” is not an effective means of managing critical incident stress. The goals of CISDs are preventative. A critical incident can contribute to mental health problems, substance abuse, depression, relationship difficulties, posttraumatic stress disorder, and even suicide. Other effects may include sleep disorders, heart problems, elevated blood pressure, or gastrointestinal problems.
“I Can’t Get Him to Talk”
     Those who fail to attend CISDs may withdraw emotionally from others around them, particularly significant others. Your ability to feel close, communicate feelings, or experience intimacy with those you love, particularly a spouse or other partner, may be seriously impeded by unmanaged and repeated experiences of critical incident stress. “He (she) never talks to me!” is a common complaint among spouses of first responders. Obviously, critical incident stress can contribute to relationship struggles.
Alcohol Use and Bad Calls
     Using alcohol alone or with peers after a critical incident is a risky activity that can interfere with your brain’s ability to effectively manage critical incident stress. The need for first responders to “be together” after a bad call is normal and the companionship is helpful, but combining this with drinking post-incident can reduce neurologic healing and increase risk for the adverse consequences arising from critical incident stress. Note: If you have a family history of alcohol use disorders or at are risk for acquiring alcoholism or drug dependence, drinking alcohol can increase your susceptibility and your risk of acquiring these illnesses.
Protect Yourself, Save More Lives
     A CISD is an effective outlet to manage thoughts, emotions, feelings, visual impact, memories, and personal beliefs or guilt about your role as a first responder to a critical incident. Close association with fellow first responders is powerful and healing, and it is what makes a CISD effective.
     Don’t wait to make up your mind about going to a CISD. Many factors may contribute to your decision to refuse, but if there were a bumper sticker slogan to sum up the importance of a CISD, it would be “Just Go.” Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. has several therapists state-certified in CISD.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Administrator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

FRGN Spotlight!!

CR 7 22 16fOn July 22, Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. held their quarterly retreat. The staff participated in a fun, team building paint project, as well as working through items on their business agenda.

**Note** This team building project can be adapted to any group and is excellent for starting conversations and learning about others in your office/business/company. Contact us for more information about bringing this or a similar team builder to your office.

 
   

 

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