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3362 Big Pine Trail, Suite A, Champaign, Illinois 61822

We all know what it's like to feel anxious. The butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, headaches, or tightness in the chest are natural to experience when our adrenaline is elevating. And while symptoms of anxiety feel uncontrollable or erratic at times, understanding them is the first step in managing anxiety-and that's where meditation comes in.

Through meditation, we learn to change our relationship with the narratives anxiety wants us to believe. With a new perspective, you're also more likely to experience the following six benefits:

  1. Reduces stress. Stress reduction is one of the most popular reasons people try meditation. When we experience stress, the body releases a variety of stress hormones-one of them being cortisol. This hormone causes the adverse effects of increased stress, which ultimately disrupt sleep, promote symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure, and contribute to fatigue and the inability to think clearly. According to research, meditation has been extremely effective in decreasing these effects.
  2. Enhances self-awareness. Generally speaking, all meditations work to improve self-awareness.  Some forms of meditation help you develop a stronger sense of self while others recognize any unhelpful or negative thoughts. The idea is that as you gain awareness of these thoughts, you can change how you respond to them and, ultimately, decrease any anxiety they create.
  3. Lengthens attention span. Meditation can be compared to lifting weights for your physical health. If you consider the mind as a mental muscle, meditation works to strengthen it by increasing your attention's endurance. Numerous studies have proven its effectiveness, revealing how regularly practiced meditation allows people to perform better on visual tasks. What's more, some experts say that meditation can even reverse brain patterns that lead to mind-wandering, worrying, and ruminating thoughts. 
  4. Promotes kindness. Some kinds of meditation, such as Loving-Kindness Meditation, promote positive feelings towards yourself and others. When you nurture feelings of unconditional positive regard and kindness towards yourself, you encourage emotions such as love, joy, and cheerfulness- all while reducing self-criticism. Over time, your ability to empathize with others allows you to experience the same within yourself.
  5. Supports emotional health. The benefits of meditation extend to your emotional health. As attention and mood improve, studies have shown that those who meditate also tend to be less affected by negative or adverse stimuli. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a type of psychotherapy that many people with anxiety benefit from utilizing, as it has been shown to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. 
  6. Improves sleep. Sleep is crucial to our health. If you struggle with anxiety, you know just how anxious thoughts can disrupt sleep, and if you don't get enough of it, it's easier to feel stressed and anxious. Meditation allows you to cope with anxiety-provoking thoughts while releasing tension to promote a peaceful, relaxed state before bedtime. 

The bottom line

Although meditation is an accessible tool that anyone can utilize, it's no quick fix. If you have severe anxiety, it's essential to reach out to a mental health professional. They'll work with you to determine how you can implement meditation into your treatment for the best possible outcome. 

Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a therapeutic approach that has helped thousands of couples. Throughout four decades of research, psychologist and researcher John Gottman discovered certain behaviors in couples who have successful marriages and those who are divorced or separated. As a result of Gottman's detailed research, the Gottman Method is one of the most commonly utilized approaches in couples counseling today. 

What To Expect

The Gottman Method is individually personalized for every couple. The process typically includes the following:

Assessment. You'll start the process with a session including you and your partner, followed by individual interviews with each person. Couples complete assessments or questionnaires and then receive individualized feedback on their relationship.

Therapeutic Framework. The couple and therapist determine the regularity and duration of the sessions.

Therapeutic Interventions. Evidence-based interventions are designed and intended to help couples restore their relationships in three primary areas:

  • Friendship and intimacy
  • Managing conflict effectively
  • The concept of shared meaning

Together, they learn how to foster an environment of empathy and understanding with one another to promote positive change. 

Goals and Principles of the Gottman Method

The Gottman Method's primary goals aim to disarm conflicting or unhealthy verbal communication, deepen intimacy, establish respect, affection, empathy, and understanding between partners. A counselor will educate a couple on the Sound Relationship House theory, which works to achieve these goals while focusing on the day-to-day interactions. The concept consists of the following nine elements:

 

  • Building love maps
  • Sharing fondness and admiration
  • Turning towards one another
  • The positive perspective 
  • Managing conflict and problem-solving
  • Making life dreams come true
  • Creating shared meaning
  • Trust
  • Commitment

 

The Gottman Method of Couples Counseling guides couples in learning how to build their own sound relationship house. By creating new habits and replacing old ones, this approach holds a strong belief that any couple can learn and implement successful couples' practices. 

Who Can Benefit from the Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method is devised to support all couples, regardless of race, sexual orientation, culture, or socioeconomic status. 

Some of the concerns that may be addressed in therapy include:

  • A high amount of conflict or arguments
  • Poor or non-existent communication
  • Emotional distance or avoidance
  • Specific problems such as sexual challenges, infidelity, finances, and parenting.

According to The Gottman Institute, even couples with an average amount of conflict may benefit from this approach. Trained therapists who specialize in the Gottman Method aim to help couples build stronger relationships and healthier coping methods with issues as they arise.

If you're considering couples therapy, be sure to find a therapist who specializes in the approach. They’ll empower you and your partner to resolve and manage difficulties while providing you with the tools you need for success.

 

You put module content for it

Addiction is a complex, destructive condition that shouldn't be taken lightly.  For years, addiction was thought of as an uncontrollable habit of alcohol or drug use. More recently, it's been expanded to include behavioral issues-like gambling, shopping, exercise, and eating. Fortunately, treatment is available, and receiving care early on is key to a successful recovery. 

Although each person experiences addiction differently, warning signs are easier to recognize if you know what to look for. 8 common signs of addiction include:

  • Cravings. People suffering from addiction typically experience intense cravings or urges for the drug as their addiction progresses. They may feel out of control regarding how much they use or spend an excessive amount of time and energy finding their drug of choice. 

  • Tolerance. As the body adapts to the drug and larger and larger doses are necessary to achieve the desired effects, changes in eating habits, sleep, appearance, finances, and personality become noticeable

  • Withdrawal symptoms. When someone abruptly stops or reduces their drug usage, they almost immediately experience physical or mental symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms may fluctuate depending on the drug of choice, but generally, addicts become irritable, restless, and highly defensive during these periods. 

  • Unable to handle everyday responsibilities. Calling off work or missing school due to sleeping in or abruptly feeling unwell are classic signs of addiction. Forgetting to pay bills or neglecting personal hygiene can indicate addiction if multiple examples are present. 

  • Developing unhealthy friendships. Changes in relationships occur alongside withdrawal from a person’s usual activities. A person may befriend others who share similar habits or have individuals coming in and out of their lives. 

  • Loss of interest. Someone may neglect or lose interest in the activities they once enjoyed. They'll also often lose touch with those they would spend time doing said activities with and replace them with a substance or others that engage in similar addictive behaviors.

  • Isolation. As a result of a loss of interest, a person may withdraw and isolate themselves, keeping their drug use a secret from loved ones. They may stop participating in activities they used to enjoy, which is frequently one of the signs noticed by others before themselves. This could be in fear of judgment or shame.

  • Continuance of drug use despite negative consequences. Frequently, this is the point where family and friends see a problem developing, and the person suffering from addiction grows defensive or resentful when confronted. Consequences can cause strain in relationships or even loss of friendships, separation or divorce, health issues, loss of a job, amongst others. Regardless, the person continues to use.

Identifying the signs of addiction is the first step towards recovery. If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling, one of the best responses is to talk to a qualified counselor about how to get help. With appropriate treatment, people with addictions can go on to live happy, healthy lives. 

Playing video games has become a popular hobby, and it’s even become a competitive sport around the world. With over 100 million Americans spending hours getting lost in virtual worlds, many concerns and questions continue to rise. 

So how many hours of gaming is too much?

Although there isn't a definitive answer, the amount of time spent gaming isn't as relevant as how much it interferes with daily activities and responsibilities. The issue may be a fine line between “when” rather than “how much.

When it becomes too much-gaming addiction

Similar to other behavioral addictions, video game addiction is controversial. 

Although it isn’t included in the DSM-5, Internet Gaming Disorder is listed as a condition for further study. The criteria used to diagnose IGD include experiencing at least 5 of the following 9 criteria over 12 months:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when gaming isn't available
  • Gaming preoccupation
  • Tolerance or an increased amount of time needed to feel satisfied
  • Irritability when not playing games
  • Loss of interest in other activities such as school or work
  • Downplaying use or lying about the amount of time spent playing games
  • Loss of sleep
  • Gaming as a way of relieving  anxiety or negative moods
  • Jeopardized or loss of a relationship, job, or other opportunities due to gaming

Research has shown that between 0.3% and 1.0% of Americans might have an internet gaming disorder. Although more studies are needed to establish validity, gaming has been associated with sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and circadian rhythm disorders. 

The amount of exposure to extreme violence often found in video games has also been a cause of concern. It desensitizes teens and young adults to it and can result in emotional problems or even acting upon similar acts of violence. Recognizing video game addiction as an official diagnosis would allow support services to be integrated into recovery programs and provide proper staff training. 

Gaming in moderation

While excessive use of video games can become problematic, it's essential to recognize some of the advantages, such as:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Potential to develop positive social skills
  • Problem-solving or critical thinking abilities

On the other hand, most of the adverse effects of gaming can be improved, if not avoided. Limiting the number of screentime and engaging in healthier alternatives like exercise or spending time with friends is crucial to achieving a healthy balance. 

Education is an essential key to injury prevention. Although it's not commonly addressed, gamers would benefit from knowing how to protect physical aspects like their hands, elbows, eyes, emotional states, and sleep habits. Simple solutions can include implementing breaks, stretching, choosing healthier snacks, or addressing any signs of physical pain can address injuries before developing into something more significant.

A healthy balance 

Overall, video games can be fun and social when integrated into a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of sleep, exercise, and good nutrition, rather than letting the game become your life. If you or someone you know are struggling, please seek help from a trained professional for help, guidance, and support.

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

Contact Information

Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

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Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!