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Vancouver’s Hidden Mental Health Oases

Every once in a while, a break is essential. Social breaks are always fun but more often than not, all you may need is to catch a breath by yourself. It is a good self-care practice to take a break for your mental health. Here is a list of our favourite places (in no particular order) in the Greater Vancouver region. They are transit-accessible and pocket-friendly locations to visit oneself. 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park

Based in the heart of Vancouver, QE park is about 10 minutes walking from Oakridge-41st or the King Edward Sky train on the Canada line. Queen Elizabeth Park boasts of the Bloedel Birds Conservatory and is also the highest lookout point in Vancouver. The range of activities you can do here is well-suited for the needs of anyone trying to take a breather for their mental health. Among sports arenas there is a dog park, rose gardens, a community swimming pool and more.

 

Lost Lagoon

Around the bend from Second Beach, the inner trail leads to this secluded waterbody. With the sky and trees reflecting on the water, it creates the perfect mirage of serenity. The stunning scenery is sure to make you feel calm and that calmness is great for your mental health. Accessible to most buses at a walking distance of 10 minutes, it is a great place for a quiet evening picnic.

 

Third Beach and Stanley Park Seawall

Probably the longest of the walks on this list, at a slow pace you’d be following the seawall for about 45 minutes to an hour easily. Walking is a great way to recharge your mental health. Since this beach is accessible only by car or foot, it is probably one of the most secluded in the downtown core. Summer sees different activities and energy here, however, otherwise, it is mostly secluded. 

The only downside or probably an upside for those looking for some me-time is that if it’s 45 minutes to get there from English Bay, it is going to take the same amount of time to get back. You could also always take a walk around the entire Stanley Park seawall if you need a solid amount of time to think and are up for the walk. A walk for your mental health can still leave you physically exhausted and drained! Mid-way you won’t find transportation back, so only go the distance if you would like to do the walk back or all the way around. 

You can choose to rent a bike and bike the entire seawall in an hour too. Biking is a form of exercising and hence a great way to get that serotonin in, perfect for a mental health getaway day trip or evening.

 

Lonsdale Quay

On the other side of downtown, after a 12-minute ride on the seabus, you can get to North Vancouver. A few steps away from the seabus terminus in the North, this quay boasts an indoor marketplace with local stores and a pier. The breathtaking view of the Vancouver skyline can never disappoint and is a must-visit if you haven’t already. A long pier, quaint cafes and outdoor seating make it a great way to observe the sun setting on the city, great for a mental health break. 

 

trout Lake

A 10 minutes walk from either Commercial-Broadway or Nanaimo station on the Expo line will lead you to this oasis located centrally in Vancouver. This space boasts of a dog park and a long walkway wrapped around the lake area along with a verdant park. There are little to no benches around and most food places are a 10 minutes walk away. So pack a small picnic and lay down on the grass here to spend a day by yourself. The centralness of this lake make it the perfect place for a mid-day mental health break. 

 

University of British Columbia (UBC)

UBC is a site to visit in this city, even if you don’t study here. Boasting a good mix of spaces both indoors and outdoors, it is perfect for any weather. Our favourites here are the student union building or the Nest, the bookstore, the rose garden, Wreck beach, the monuments of the time machine and the echo chamber, the Museum of Anthropology and the library. Bustling with life all the time, many of these social spaces may be busy. A walk around though will help you find a quiet spot to relax in solitude and get the mental health break you went there for.

UBC is directly connected by the 99 B-line on Broadway, R4 at Joyce and Oakridge, 49 at Metrotown and Langara-49th, and 14 from Waterfront, among a host of buses from other places.

 

Granville Island

If you’ve lived in the Greater Vancouver area, this is one island you’ve probably already visited. Juxtaposed with cityscapes and the artsy vibe of the district, you cannot go wrong taking a break for your mental health here. While the main public market closes around 6 pm, restaurants in the area are open until later. The long walk from Granville island to Olympic Village station or even Science World station is refreshing. Since it’s a bay area, the winds aren’t as strong, however being a water-side walk, it can still be colder than some of the other suggestions on this list. 

 

Lafarge Lake

Located at an end of the Millenium Line at the stop called Lafarge Lake Douglas, this spot is a tad bit more remote than the others. From downtown, it could take you over an hour to get to by transit. But are the breathtaking sceneries worth the trip up to there for your mental health rejuvenation? Absolutely!  

 

Ambleside Park

A favourite of West Vancouver, Ambleside is good for a long walk. Parts of Stanley Park, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver islands form the scenery from here. Because of the location, it is usually secluded. The walk-way is similar to the one between Sunset bach and English bay with lesser crowd and lesser bustle in the background. A great location to soak in the peace of the ocean breeze for your mental health. 

 

Burnaby Lake

Another popular spot in the city is Burnaby Lake. A 20 minutes walk from the Millenium line station Lake City Way or accessible via busses from Metrotown and more. Nearby is the Burnaby Museum too and one can find a bunch of quaint restaurants to grab some lunch at as well. 

 

Burnaby mountain

Better accessible by car or a mini hike from the bus stops, Burnaby mountain features great look-outs of the Lower Mainland and parts of North Vancouver from the height it is at. Picturesque Indian totem remains and a birds-eye view of the city make it an interesting spot for a mental health recharge break.

 

New West Minster Quay

Much like the North Vancouver Quay, the New West Quay this is a hop skip and jump away from New Westminster Sky train station. The market adjoins a water-facing walkway making for a serene evening walk and a great place for a mental health break.

 

White Rock

Another one of the spots that are further away than we would like it to be, is the White Rock pier. It is a great place for a getaway-contemplation-kind-of-evening to oneself mood and perfect to charge your mental health battery.

White Rock

Deep Cove

One of our personal favourites, but probably the least accessible from our list here is Deep Cove. Based towards the east of North Vancouver, this is usually reachable via buses from downtown Vancouver. However, the frequency of these buses differ. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the bay is enclosed with a view of mountains flanking its sides. Famous for kayaking, paddle-boarding and boating, the serenity is worth soaking in on a calm water activity for your mental health. While the location itself is known for its natural beauty, it also has some cute coffee shops and cafes. There are a couple of nature trails one can explore here too.

Deep Cove

Coal Harbour and Gastown

While the cobbled streets of Gastown are great to soak in the historic feel of the city, walk straight out and you’d come to the contrast of it with sky-high cityscapes. As far as Gastown goes, you may not want to be on this side of town too late by yourself as most coffee shops close by 4 pm. Both locations are accessible via the skytrain at Waterfront station. 

 

We did not forget all the beaches! The city has so many to offer and you can take your pick based on your favourites. The best part about the Greater Vancouver Region is its many natural wonders, one can escape to. Be it hikes or lakes. So make the most of this and get out for a break.!

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Through the looking glass of Invisible disabilities

With the holiday season just beginning, there couldn’t be a better reason to talk about invisible disabilities. Meeting with family, connecting with old friends, and spending time with loved ones… socializing for the season is an activity. For some, it can be the busiest time of the year with the social calendar blocked out. While reconnecting with people is a fun activity, we need to be aware that over time things change, and so do people. Invisible disabilities can take over the lifestyle of a person, and it may not be apparent. Some may be living with the conditions all their life without knowing, and some may develop conditions over time. Either way, compassion, and understanding are called for regardless of the situation.

From personality disorders to chronic pain, ADHD, autism, bulimia, migraines, and more…the hidden health problem is a mountain of an issue. Invisible disabilities like cognitive impairments PTSD, depression, and anxiety may develop at any time and have grave impacts. Not all can be helped with a parking spot or with a sticker on their car.

It is difficult to know if someone faces invisible disabilities; however, it is not impossible to see new or peculiar habits of the person. Usually labeled wrongly, these issues get hidden under the rug for being ‘nothing.’ 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with invisible disabilities. Those living with a hidden physical disability, or a mental challenge are still able to be active in their hobbies, work, and in sports. On the other hand, some struggle just to get through their day at work or school, and some cannot function at all.

 

A Solution:

Neurofeedback & TMS: Neurofeedback and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) are two relatively new technologies used to address the symptoms of invisible disabilities among a host of other disabilities and mental illnesses. Coupled with counseling, nutrition, and medicines if needed, both of these treatments are long-lasting and provide gradual relief to the situation. Neurofeedback and TMS are simple and non-invasive brain technology solutions that can alleviate many of these invisible disabilities. Neurofeedback is regularly used to treat ADHD, anxiety, Autism and PTSD, migraines, and recovery from traumatic brain injuries, whereas TMS is commonly used as a treatment of choice for depression, OCD, chronic pain, and substance abuse.

 

At Elumind, we first do a QEEG brain map that assesses the parts of your brain impacted due to invisible disabilities. We then offer a Therapeutic Assessment, where your life history is assessed. We then use this information to recommend treatment plans along with other ancillary support that may be needed.

This holiday season, you can give yourself or a loved one the gift of healing through therapy by sponsoring sessions. Contact us today and book a free phone appointment: https://elumind.ca/book-your-free-phone-consultation

 

 

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Self-Weaning: Identifying the problem and self-help

For someone having a substance abuse problem, recognizing it is hard. At its core, it leads to the abnormal functioning of the brain. Exposure to trauma and negative responses over time creates faulty patterns. It is common to rely on substances when trying to escape severe trauma as it is an escape from reality. As the brain is a muscle, faulty behaviors are also learned, and new neural pathways (shortcuts) are built. This makes it more natural and easier to subscribe to these newly formed patterns over time.

 

Self-Weaning: Identifying the problem and self-help

Substance abuse over time, drains one’s energy but in the short-term release dopamine, the happy hormone. This activates pleasure and reward that, in turn, becomes motivation to keep using substances because of the way it makes one feel. A craving for this feeling develops over time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself. A simple yes or no will help you identify if you have a substance abuse problem or not.

  • Have your many attempts to stop your use of substances not worked out?
  • Do you find it difficult to concentrate on tasks after the substances have worn off?
  • Do you find yourself requiring more and more amounts of intoxicants to reach the same desired effects?
  • Are you increasingly reliant on substances to make you feel normal?
  • Do you prefer the substance and would choose it over other social interactions?
  • Did substance use start off as a social activity and now become a personal treat/choice?
  • Do you make more efforts to acquire the substances?
  • Does acquiring substances and paying for them interfere with your ability to pay bills and other essential resources?
  • Activities you once enjoyed, are they now replaced with time you spend alone and usually engaged in using this substance?
  • Do you find triggers in your everyday environment that make you crave the use of this substance or make you escape from its usage?
  • Do you have any physical reactions such as loss of appetite, irritability, headaches, drowsiness, chills or sweats, nausea, or other withdrawal from the substance?

A yes, to any question above says that there is a scope for improvement. Yes to multiple questions suggest that external intervention is essential.

 

Dealing with Denial

It is not uncommon for someone dealing with substance abuse to not accept the fact that it is a problem even after people repeatedly point it out. Over time, the substance is chosen over the interaction with these people, only leading to a further rabbit hole of consumption. If you are noticing changed behaviors and want to get out of them, you can start by making small changes that are significant to you, such as cleaning up or addressing one habit that you think could use the change.

The key is being consistent at one improvement versus attempting multiple things and reaching the same stage again. Substance use has a yoyo effect. It is very easy to find yourself in a position that you started out in over and over again. This gives you a sense of lack of progress, and for the effort, you’ve been putting in, even a sense of loss. In turn, discourages you from taking any actions and makes relapsing easier. A steady and timed reduction of substances is an option that one can regulate without much external help.

 

Asking for help

You may not want the sympathy and attention from your loved ones and may not want to involve them in the early stages of your recovery to skip the drama. Having your problem labeled or not won’t change its impacts, its reliance, the fact that it needs weaning off, and the fact that you need help and support. You may have to involve close ones later, especially if they were a cause or if ties were stressed. 

Keeping them out of the process is justified if it helps you be involved in the process more wholly. Relying on another friend or person, however, to assist you may not be the right approach. Substance use and abuse are not easy themes to deal with, and it requires institutional intervention. Finding the right institution and help is much like finding a hobby. You can try it a couple of times and see if it is the right fit for you before committing. This process may take weeks, if not months. A place that makes you feel secure is important. Proximity, vibe, and affordability are some important factors when selecting an institution, clinic, or support group.

 

Neurofeedback: A solution

Unlike common approaches, neurofeedback is an evidence-based and non-invasive modality. In cases of substance abuse, the best way is to go through the process of weaning off that is required before getting into the treatment. One may even need medication to aid the situation and weaning off from substances as well while doing Neurofeedback. Before beginning with treatment, a brain map is done. This non-invasive mapping of your brain is able to suggest the areas that are changed by trauma and substance use. Neurofeedback is the process of rewiring your brain pathways. It is non-invasive and uses your responses to situations to create better neuroplasticity. Followed by Neurofeedback, the brain map is done again to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and substantiate the results of the treatment with evidence. It is recommended to do neurofeedback with counselling. At Elumind, we provide a compressive, supportive, and integrated environment for treatments allowing the marriage of neurofeedback and counselling all under one roof.

Recovery is a long, drawn process and requires many cogs in the wheel to support a person in this journey.

 

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Can’t afford your treatment cost; We have a solution!

Credit Medical is private lender providing affordable loans for treatments generally not covered by insurance providers. They provide funding for non-medical and non-invasive treatment. As for Elumind, funding received from them can cover Neurofeedback treatments, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatments, QEEG Brain Mapping, Functional Medicine and more. These treatments address a host of conditions like that of Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Memory and Sleep Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),  Traumatic Brain Injuries and more. 

 

How to apply?

Credit Medical offers fully-open Personal Term Loans of up to $20,000, with repayment terms of up to 60 months. If you are considering borrowing only a portion of the treatment amount, Credit Medical can finance a minimum of $1000, and send payment directly to your physician, usually between 1 and 4 weeks prior to your procedure.

To apply for Credit Medical financing:

Fill out the online application form, or call Credit Medical at 1-800-270-9290 and one of their representatives can help you fill out a free application. No down payments or collateral are necessary for your loan. All you will need is an established credit history in good standing. Moreover, the interest rates established at the beginning are fixed throughout the full term of your loan. If you do not have a credit history, your co-borrower’s credit history is eligible for approval, and they would also assume liability for the loan. You need to apply for your loan before your co-borrower submits a co-borrower application.

Once your application is pre-approved, we will require valid, government-issued photo ID, proof of income and employment, and verification of banking information to support your application. During the application process, you will be asked to connect your banking information, or in some cases to send a Void cheque to Credit Medical. Your account will be automatically debited in equal and affordable amounts, according to the terms of your loan. Your loan can be pre-approved before you book a date for your treatment. 

Financing with Credit Medical doesn’t tie up your credit, giving you the freedom to spend as your normally would. The loans have fixed terms and payment amounts unlike credit cards that have compound interest. All Credit Medical loans are fully open, and can be paid out at any time before the end of term without any penalties. 

Learn more about Credit Financial and the procedures they cover here: https://creditmedical.com/procedures

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6 reliable tips for beating Back-to-School Anxiety

As a parent, the back-to-school week can be a lot! One has to plan and prepare in advance. Set things in order and ensure that your child follows through with all the plans you may have to prepare. Add to that dealing with your child’s anxiety about returning to school. Setting things up in a schedule after a long summer break can be stressful. Below are some quick tips on ensuring you are equipped to address your child’s back-to-school anxiety.

 

Basic fisrt.

Your child may not feel prepared for everything they must face in school. This is a common cause of anxiety. How can you prepare? If you haven’t already set a schedule, work on ensuring your child is eating and sleeping right, following through with their homework, and can wake up on time. Anxiety causes undue stress in common areas of life and can disrupt eating and sleeping patterns. Disturbed habits reduce one’s ability to cope. Moreover, balancing new priorities and interests needs to be gradually introduced into your child’s life as an influx can be overwhelming, causing more stress and anxiety. Keep off introducing new routines or activities until your child has settled into their school schedule and can balance the priorities at hand.

 

Look to the positive side

Children require positive reinforcement and constant reassurance without being confrontational. Praising your child for small wins, such as waking up on time, getting through the day, etc., is valuable. You can also use positive reinforcements regarding rewards or a points system. You may also choose to focus on the positive aspects and subtly ignore the negative ones. Asking your child about the highlights of their day is a great start on getting them to them positively and undermining the stressor that causes anxiety.

 

Your reaction as a Parent

When your child is not ready to let you go, and you get late for work, that is when it gets real. Pacifying your child’s anxiety and encouraging the idea that they do not need to go to school if they throw a tantrum reinforces your child’s behavior. Children are resilient and tend to cope soon enough. Undermining the ability of your child to manage anxiety is doing them more harm than good. You do not want to reinforce the idea that getting away from a stressful situation in the long run is okay. Returning to school and fixing this behavior becomes a long-drawn process!

Parent and Child

 

Create a safe space for the child to share their fears

Your child may feel anxious due to the presence of a bully or out of imaginary fears of not fitting in or fear of not doing well in class. When your child shares their worries, your reaction can make or break their trust in you. Creating a space for them to confide in you is essential. Instead of appeasing them by dismissing the issue, address their anxiety head-on by asking them to brainstorm with you for a solution and offering them real coping techniques for when they may face the situation. When your child can see a plan to deal with a problem that triggers anxiety, they will most likely deal with the actual or imagined situation better. You can also role-play with your child. Let them play the role of the stressor, and you could model the ideal reaction.

 

Avoidance of school due to physical symptoms of pain

Anxiety can cause physical pain. In prolonged cases, the intervention of a mental health professional may be necessary to understand the underlying causes. Overwhelming resistance can be diagnosed with severe underlying conditions like OCD, learning disorders, and more. It is required to consult a pediatrician to ensure the child is not going through anything more painful than the anxiety itself.

 

Find the support system at the school

Most schools have a robust administration system equipped to deal with anxiety on the return of students; however, many schools use an approach of not interfering until a situation of a more severe nature occurs. As a parent, it is essential to establish a network of supporters from teachers, counsellors, nurses, etc., who can look for signs of struggle while in school. It could be essential to mention any health issues, family issues, personality traits, and your child’s interests to ensure they can discretely address a problem. They can help your child by talking to them or distracting them with tasks, among other simple tools for keeping your child’s anxiety in check during school hours.

Every behavior can be accepted, trained, reinforced, and stopped based on the routes one may take to formulate, adjust, or eliminate them. Social anxiety is common in children when they return to school. As accurate as the problem, abundant and practical are the solutions.

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Adjustment Difficulties in Adolescents and Metal Health

Coping with stressful events can be challenging. While some find their rhythm and balance, it can lead to adjustment disorders for many others. People experiencing the same or similar stressors do not respond in the same way. Your development and social skills factor into how you cope. Hence, there is no way to tell if someone may or may not develop an adjustment disorder. Psychological illness doesn’t discriminate in age and can occur anytime. However, adolescents are more prone to being affected by it. As daunting as this seems as a parent, through counselling, medication, therapy, and Neurofeedback, on being identified at an appropriate time, these adjustment disorders are highly treatable.

 

Causes

Stressful events often lead to the development of adjustment disorders. While you may not be aware of a stressful event for the adolescent, it doesn’t mean the absence of such a trigger incident. What may not appear as stressful to an adult may gravely impact an adolescent undergoing hormonal changes, among other physical evolutions at their age. Moving homes, shifting schools, bullying incidents, having been in an accident or having witnessed an accident, having a close family member die, having to see parents argue or divorce or the birth of a sibling may often lead to confusion for the adolescent. Unequipped to deal with that situation, the adolescent may begin displaying various symptoms of adjustment disorders. These are primarily behavioral and can be followed by physiological, social, and cognitive dysfunctions.

The behavioral symptoms may include acting out, dropping academic performance or failing tests, lacking interest in activities the adolescent or teenager once enjoyed, self-harming behaviors, and substance use, among other non-typical habits. Physical symptoms may include stomach aches, headaches, chest pains, among other aches, disturbed patterns of sleep, or disinterest in eating. Coupled with social and cognitive symptoms like social isolation, fear of public speaking, anxiousness, or forgetfulness are signs of adjustment difficulties. After the onset of a traumatic event, these signs can start developing in conjunction or appear slowly and consistently.

Persistent two weeks of such behavior is alarming, and one should ideally seek a consultation from a family physician or a pediatrician. It could take about a course of three to six months to develop. Early recognition and address are the best hope for a cure.

Not every adolescent undergoing adjustments may face such difficulties or have a certifiable mental condition. Adolescents may display problems, but they may not be at an alarming level. Their behavior must not be considered a normal response to what they may face. This ‘considered normal’ needs to come from a mental health practitioner, not you, a concerned parent, or a family member. Then they may require treatment. It is essential to get a thorough diagnosis done to ensure the treatment is the right course of action.

 

Course of Treatment

In times of significant change, one can be precautious and set up checks and balances before it happens. This could be a behavioral intervention to equip the adolescent with better communication, impulse control, problem-solving, and stress management skills. For younger adolescents, it is recommended that the parents go through training to ensure they can assist the adolescent. To enlist their support, it is necessary to be open with the school authorities.

 

Counselling

Group therapy, family counselling, and individual counselling can help a teen cope. The parent should also It may be a long-drawn process based on the adolescent’s personality and how much they are willing to let the process help them.

 

Medication

Early regulatory medication can aid the intervention and ensure stability immediately for an adolescent. A display of anxiety, self-harm, and substance use behaviors may make medicine an essential part of the treatment. 

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A course enabling a person to understand their thoughts and feelings towards the world around them and how it impacts their behavior. Identifying patterns in thoughts and behavior and then working to change and improve their responses over time.

 

Brain Mapping

This would probably be the most effective way to confirm an adjustment disorder in an adolescent. A brain map basically scans areas of the brain and shows indications of traumatic events. Through an assessment and putting together other crucial information, one could map that to behaviors and patterns. One may choose a course of action based on its results.

Neurofeedback

Before the option for Neurofeedback, it is recommended to do a Brain Map. Done by private health clinics, Neurofeedback may be a longer process, but as opposed to most other ways of treating adjustment disorders, this doesn’t simply address, treat or medicate symptoms. Usually done with little to no medication and may be supplemented by counselling, Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that uses feedback to self-regulate the brain. Done by attaching sensors onto a person’s head, Neurofeedback is a brain training activity that addresses the root cause of changed neuro responses and behaviors. This ensures that, in the long run, your adolescent can make better decisions and choices for themselves rather than having to rely on medication and counselling. In some cases, ongoing counselling and medication may be recommended to ensure customized and specific solutions as the best course of action. The best part about Neurofeedback treatment is that at the end of the recommended number of sessions, one can do a brain map and look for marked differences.

Adjustment disorders take about six months to pass and are easily treated when one reaches out for help. Consistent signs over six months may indicate further entrenchment of distorted behaviors, meaning it could be another or more severe illness altogether. You can do a free 15-minute phone consultation with Elumind to express your doubts about your child and set up an appointment to do a diagnostic consultation.

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Looking for a fresh start and a mental peace? Here are 10 Self-Help Books for you

In the journey to finding mental peace, you aren’t alone. Time and again, people from all over the world have looked at places far and near. Crossed oceans, hiked mountains, and traveled to places unimaginable, looking for answers. Or that’s some of the things we see in the movies. Either way, it doesn’t make the quest any less noble, no matter how far you go to seek answers. 

Some answers lie hidden in plain sight. Here are ten self-help books to help you get started in small ways on your journey towards mental peace.

 

How to stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Worrying incessantly can affect the quality of your life. How many times have you thought of the what-ifs? This constant state of worrying can overwhelm everyday situations, disturbing your mental peace. When you are in a state of being overwhelmed, optimal functioning is out of the question. This can impact your mood; it can even cause physical symptoms of this stress manifesting in aches and pains, among other signs. The book takes the reader through step-by-step processes in getting to the root cause and analyzing factors that impact your mental peace while also coming up with coping strategies. It is filled with examples that draw from real-life incidents of others.

 

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

The story follows two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two little people, Hem and Haw, looking for cheese in the maze of their existence. The cheese is a metaphor for people looking for happiness and mental peace. After the cheese is found, one day, finding the cheese reserves empty, the question arises if one should stay in denial or leave behind the fear and look for a new cheese reserve. While Sniff and Scurry find their path, over time, Hem realizes that choosing to look for fresh cheese freed him from fear. This was his journey to mental peace and contentment. He left a trail for his friend to follow. This allowed Haw to find the cheese in his own time. Indicating how letting go of factors outside you also channels your mental peace.

 

Atomic Habits by James Clear

You wouldn’t be able to make good, consistent habits if you didn’t realize what you were doing wrong with your current practices. James Clear dives into why people’s everyday habits do not work. He pushes people to think of systems and how they work or fail. It is easier to fall to the functioning of our systems than to rise to work towards our goals. This book will help reshape life in small and tangible ways to achieve consistent results and restore your mental peace and control over life.

 

The 7 Habits of highly Effective People by Franklin Covey

Covey takes us through the seven habits to make everyday life different. Being proactive, having a goal, and knowing your priorities are some of the essential lessons he begins with. He talks about creating high trust relationships, seeking to understand others’ perspectives and needs, collaborating, and increasing your motivation, among other important factors that aid in your mental control and peace to help you lead the life you want.

 

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

An eye-opener, pun intended, this book has changed the way one can perceive their surroundings. It explores how we make choices in the blink of an eye and how we think without even thinking. Gladwell unveils how the best decision makers aren’t those who deliberate and over-scrutinize but those who’ve perfected the art of filtering overwhelming amounts of variables. 

 

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This classic book has taught many to succeed in their social situations. Social situations can be stressful. Reclaim your mental peace and calm as some of the precious lessons taught in this book are how to win over people and make changes without instigating resentment. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving F*ck by Mark Manson

This refreshing dose of reality is not for the faint-hearted. Taking away all the coddling and the medals for simply showing up, he argues that mental peace cannot be achieved by the faint-hearted. 

This book talks about raw facts of facing things as they are. Manson argues how we do not need to make lemonade with all the lemons. Instead, we should learn to stomach the lemons better. He argues that facing fears, facing uncertainties, and facing your faults are the only ways to develop courage, responsibility, curiosity, mental peace, etc. There are only that many things one can care about, and it is vital to make that distinction early on.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Another brilliant book by the author of Blink, Gladwell, explores how one can become an expert in any skill they’ve invested at least 10,000 hours in. One can achieve mental peace when one invests enough time to master a skill. Gladwell explores the life of Bill Gates, Joseph Flom, and the Beatles, among other famous personalities, to excavate the secrets of their success. He also draws on his personal experiences.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Quite contrary to the Subtle Art book, this one draws on positivity. The four easy ways to success, Peale says, are to work and pray, think and believe. He talks about how having faith is a good thing, yet having faith in the outcome of your actions is the most tangible and realistic thing. He advocates relieving the mind from worry through practical tips and methods to achieve mental peace.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Kondo makes you question how you want to live your life. Concentrating on step-by-step and real-time methods to clear out your life, literally. Her methods of de-cluttering physical objects and how it impacts mental peace. She propagates that to achieve mental clarity, one’s space should also be clear and is an essential lesson for anyone trying to relook at aspects of their life for rejuvenation.

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Foods That are Actually Linked to Better Brain Power

What are Superfoods?

We’ve all heard of “superfoods” but do certain foods actually have the power to supercharge your brain, mind, and body? Not necessarily, but there are foods that are linked to better overall brain functioning. At Elumind, we can look at your brain functioning through our QEEG Brain Mapping Technology. Because let’s be real, your brain is the most important part of your body. It is the vessel for you! Everything your body does comes from your brain, so of course, we want it to be in top shape. Let’s take a look at what Harvard Medical says are the best foods for better brainpower. 

 

Foods you can eat for better brain health:

 

1.  Green, leafy vegetables

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Research suggests these plant-based foods may help slow cognitive decline. Our favorite way to include these in our diet is by either throwing some kale and spinach into our morning smoothie (no taste whatsoever, just a nice green color!), or by shopping them up super finely and adding them to omelets, pasta, curries, or whatever else you can think of. 

2.  Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy unsaturated fats that have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid—the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, but choose varieties that are low in mercury, such as salmon, cod, and pollack. If you’re not a fan of fish, ask your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement, or choose terrestrial omega-3 sources such as flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts. We love baked salmon with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika – add a side of broccoli and your favorite card and you’re set! 

3.  Berries

 Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues, also help improve memory, research shows. A study done by researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years. This is another great food that you can throw into smoothies, add to oatmeal, cereal, or even just have as a snack at your work desk during the day. 

4. Tea and coffee

The caffeine in your morning cup of coffee or tea might offer more than just a short-term concentration boost. In a 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, participants with higher caffeine consumption scored better on tests of mental function. Caffeine might also help solidify new memories, according to other research. Our favorite way to enjoy caffeine is with a yummy matcha latte or peppermint tea. Substitute oat milk to lower the fat and calorie content and increase fiber!

5.  Walnuts

Nuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats, and one type of nut, in particular, might also improve memory. A 2015 study from UCLA linked higher walnut consumption to improved cognitive test scores. Walnuts are high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Diets rich in ALA and other omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries. That’s good for both the heart and brain. Walnuts are a great food to add on top of oatmeal, cereal, salads, or baking! 

So why eat superfoods for better brain health?

Eating healthy really does contain a host of benefits for your brain, body, and quality of life. Integrate these foods into your daily diet to support your functioning, mental health, and overall enjoyment. At Elumind we offer a variety of services to aid with your brain, body, and overall life. We want to know how you decide to work these foods into your life and have any unique recipes? Show us! We’d love to feature you on our social media pages. 

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How To Support Your Child’s Mental Health Amidst School Returns

Over a month into the 2020-21 school year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, Canada has since returned to in-person schooling whilst ensuring that precautions and guidelines are in place for the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Imagine being six years old, starting in-person schooling for the first time in months. You’re starting Grade 1. You’re excited for your first day of school in the new year. You’ll get to see all your friends and make new ones.You wake up in the morning, get ready for school and put on your mask as you leave the house. You get to school with your mask still fastened over your face, remembering to clean your hands with hand sanitizer before you enter the classroom. Only when you enter the classroom can you finally remove your mask. As the bell rings for recess, you must again put on your mask as you play outside with your friends. After school, you put on your mask and return home. There likely won’t be any after-school activities, and no playdates.That is the reality of what a regular school day will look like for your child in these COVID-19 times. As children adjust and become acclimated to this new educational environment, there are uncertainties regarding how this unique environment will affect the long-term mental health of children.So how can parents ensure the health and success of their children? How can parents ensure that their children are able to manage their mental and physical well-being? What kinds of behaviours or signs can parents look for regarding their child’s mental health?

 

How the Changes in School May Affect Students’ Social Development

School is a crucial environment for children to learn, engage, collaborate, and become educated on a variety of crucial topics that they will take with them beyond their education lives. What children learn in school, they carry with them, in most cases into adulthood when they begin to discover what they want to do with their lives.Of course, for many of you parents out there, it will be some time before they will be at that point where they must decide on their career paths so don’t reminisce about their childhoods just yet.Nonetheless, as children begin to form education and develop as humans, there is another equally important aspect of schooling that often gets overlooked. That is Social Development.

School is not only a place to receive a formal education; it is also a place where children learn necessary social clues, where they learn how to interact and engage with one another, how to play and share, how to learn accepted and undesirable behaviours, how to understand and regulate their emotions, and so on. Social development is critical to a child’s mental health as well. It enhances their lives and will be crucial come their teenage years and beyond.For these reasons, as students continue with their schooling amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that children continue to be able to receive the necessities when it comes to their social development. It is easier than ever before for children to become isolated from one another and to end up being more solitary as a result of the health regulations and precautions put in place at their schools. Ensuring that your child is receiving the proper social development will also go a long way in their long-term mental health and will decrease the likelihood of future social or mental difficulties.

 

How can you help your child with their Social Development?

One way to take a proactive approach is to engage with your child more than ever. Ask them about their day at school, if they met anyone interesting, what they did at recess. At the same time, try and spend more time with your child, interact with them whenever you can in a social (but distanced) setting, or engage with them in a variety of activities and games. As your child develops social skills at school, they can also continue to learn these skills at home. And as a parent, you can help them with that. Not only will this help your child, but it may help you as well. Playing charades or Apples to Apples with your child will likely help their mood and their understanding of the world, but it may also give you an opportunity to connect with your child more than you have. Another way is to try and maintain a lifestyle for both you and your child that resembles normal pre-pandemic life as much as possible. While this may be difficult during a pandemic, there are still things you can do to make life seem as normal as possible to your child. What you can do will depend on your province’s regulations for pandemic regulations and social distancing guidelines. Have your child join after-school programs, classes or sports, if they aren’t doing so already, and if it is safe to do so. I’m sure many of you have experienced those Saturday mornings standing in the torrential rain watching your child play soccer while you and the other parents shout and encourage them along the field. Such an experience, while it may be slightly uncomfortable for you as a parent, is invaluable for your child’s development as they learn the rules of the game and communicate with their teammates. Additionally, allow for play dates with their friends (ensuring social distancing and mask-wearing when necessary). And allow safe and monitored access to online discussion and/or online video games with their friends. Taking the initiative in making these changes and additions will likely ensure that your child is receiving the necessary social development that they may not be fully experienced at school, whilst also helping your child’s mental health, both in the short and long-term.

 

How to Know if Your Child Has Heightened Levels of Stress and Anxiety

With schools back in session, it can be a stressful time for students returning to school. In some cases, children may have been directly affected by the COVID-19 virus, and even if they haven’t, it’s quite possible that they’ve heard about it on the news, or from others around them. Children have everyday Stress and Anxiety, just as adults do. It is normal for your child to have worries or thoughts that are bothering them. That being said, the pandemic has added an additional layer of worry that is unprecedented. This added layer of anxiety is something that neither children nor parents could have prepared for. Being a child can be scary and intimidating. Think back to the scenario of imagining yourself as a six-year-old entering your first day of the school year. You feel nervous as you get on the school bus, you worry as you sit down that your mask will fall off and the police will arrest you. You may worry that your mask is ugly and that no one will want to play with you. These are potential scenarios of concerns that your child may experience under COVID-19, and such concerns could lead to heightened anxiety and stress. As mentioned by Kids Help Phone, 8 out of every 10 students were facing back-to-school anxiety in regards to returning to school. Additionally, many children were also worried about being isolated and alone while dealing with their mental health. While this may sound quite concerning, there are ways to address the fears and anxieties that your child may be facing.

 

So, what can you do?

The best way of reducing the amount of stress and exertion on your child is to talk to them. Discuss the virus with your child if you haven’t done so already. Inform and educate them. For example, if your child is worried about going to school every day, talk to them. Let them know that their school has put in several safety measures to ensure the safety of all students, staff, and faculty. Remind them of the importance of washing their hands as regularly as they can to prevent the spread of the virus. Wearing masks can be an added frustration for children, as they struggle to ensure that their mask is securely fastened while in the hallways, or as they play outside at recess or lunch. Empathize with them. Let them know that you understand that it’s not easy, but that continuing to wear masks and other safety equipment when necessary is important in combatting and maintaining the virus. A lot of what you tell your child will be about transparency. Tell them the facts and educate them. But don’t stop there. Be active and watchful with your child. Look for the signs. Is your child exhibiting changes in behavior? Are they keeping to themselves more? Are they exhibiting a decrease in appetite? Are they portraying sudden, unexpected bursts of anger?

If so, address these behaviors. Lightly talk to them and see if you can understand what is going on. If you do this, ensure that you are not probing too deeply. If your child is struggling internally, this could cause them to withdraw more. Be patient and go at their pace. All children handle stress and anxiety in different ways, and it is important to watch out for any abnormal mood changes or emotional swings. At the same time, not all students will overtly show signs that they are struggling. Talk to your child regularly, ask them about their day, who they met today, what they learned today. Simply talking to them may lead to them opening up about any problems or issues that they may be experiencing.

 

What Else Can You Do?

Much of these strategies, while they may help your child, may only scratch the surface in dealing with your child’s anxiety. In many cases, deeper analysis and support may be necessary to combat their heightened emotions and changes in their behavior. So, what other solutions are there? In addition to talking to your child and looking for the signs of heightened stress and anxiety, there are a variety of proven, clinical methods in treating your child’s heightened pandemic Anxiety.

Neurofeedback is a specialized form of brain therapy that trains your brain to become more flexible, calm and therefore resilient against anxiety. Neurofeedback allows your child to activate self-regulation so that they can manage their emotions more effectively. Biofeedback is a form of therapy that calms your nervous system by reducing its overactivity. Additionally, other treatments that we recommend in dealing with anxiety and stress for your child are different forms of counselling that can bring up the child’s anxiety and give the child the tools to deal with the effects of this anxiety. Furthermore, a resilient nervous system is one that is well-nourished and nutrition counselling can help you understand your child’s nutrition profile and how it can be managed. If you need support in helping your child with their mental health as they make their way through the school year, we at Elumind are here to help. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our client care coordinator, she would be more than happy to talk with you.

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How Your Concussed Brain Wants to Get Better and Here’s How; Less Big Macs More Walnuts

“Tell the truth! Tell the truth!” says Dr. Bennet Omalu in the film Concussion. Dr. Omalu, portrayed by Will Smith is a pathologist who, during his research, discovers the hidden truth about brain damage in relation to contact football. While it may just be a movie, Concussion is based on a true story, and Concussions are real injuries that need to be taken seriously.

 

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a form of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that results in a temporary loss of normal brain function that can include: memory loss, confusion, headaches, nausea, and other cognitive difficulties. Often a concussion is a result of a collision with the head whether that be contact with someone else or with the ground.When such trauma occurs to your skull, the brain inside your skull may become jarred or may have moved around inside your skull. This can lead to tearing of the nerves connected with the brain which can lead to a variety of cognitive and emotional difficulties, depending on the region of the brain connected with the trauma and with the severity of the injury. Depending on the severity of the trauma, the concussion can be mild, with the symptoms resolving after mere minutes, or the concussion can be severe with symptoms (including loss of consciousness) lasting months and even years after the injury. For those that continue to struggle with concussion-like symptoms for extended periods of time, a healthy diet and focused nutrition can play dividends in drastically improving your life and putting you back on track. Don’t worry! It can get better!

 

Your Brain

Your brain is the control centre of your body. Everything goes through your brain, and you would be unable to function without it. Think back to all your innermost feelings. Don’t worry, you don’t need to share them. Everything you’ve ever thought of, and everything you hadn’t thought of involves your brain processes. Even simply being able to read this blog right now is in thanks to your brain. Your brain is your friend, the one you never knew you had. Your brain does so much for and checks up on you regularly. You just can’t see it or talk to it or text it or hang out with it at the mall. Think of a city. A city is complex. In a single city, there will be thousands of roads that can take you anywhere, highways that will lead to different cities, bridges that cross between different sections of the city. Within the city itself, there will be apartments, homes, vehicles, businesses, restaurants, police stations, people, and much more. The city is held together by those who live and use it and it functions properly according to the rules of the city. Day after day goes by with the city functioning as it is supposed to, and no problems arise because of it. Now imagine what would happen if a large earthquake occurred in the city. Roads would be shattered, bridges collapsed. Chaos would fill the streets, and people would begin to panic as they attempt to find a way to restore harmony.

Such a scenario is not much different from when you get a concussion. Your brain’s balance becomes disrupted; nerves and certain areas of the brain may or may not function as they’re supposed to. When such trauma occurs, it can cause chaos within the brain. When the symptoms of a concussion do not get better or you continue to feel the symptoms weeks, months, or years after the injury, then it may be necessary to receive additional support and treatment.

 

How Can Nutrition Help With a Concussion?

We’ve all been there. You woke up in the morning. You had to wake up the kids, get them ready for school, and then hurry on your way to work. You were so busy that you didn’t have time to pack a lunch for yourself. Now it’s noon, you’re on your lunch break and you have nothing to eat. Fortunately for you, there’s a Mcdonald’s across the street. While it’s ok to have a guilty pleasure (we all have one), a healthy, nutritional diet can be critical if you’re dealing with the symptoms of a concussion. Maintaining and focusing on nutrition can significantly help your brain, and ultimately the quality of your life. Let me explain. If you’ve ever seen what a brain looks like, then you’ll know that it essentially looks like a large glob of fat with many ridges. Of course, your brain is much more complex than just some fat, and it has so many components and processes that are significant in maintaining the functionality of your body.

As mentioned by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, your brain is made up of about 70-80% fat. Your brain, while it is small in comparison to the rest of your body, actually uses up 20% of your body’s energy. That’s a huge number when considering the brain only takes up 2% of your body’s weight. So, what does this mean? Essentially, in simple terms, this means that the brain needs a lot of nutrients and protein for it to thrive and function at its best. When a brain injury such as a concussion has occurred, it is even more necessary to avoid those Big Macs and turn to a healthier diet. This means nutrition becomes critical in healing your brain and maintaining it so that it is working at full capacity.

 

What foods should you eat and which to avoid?

Since a traumatic brain injury (TBI) such as a concussion causes inflammation to the brain, it is important to reduce that inflammation. This means, of course, eating foods that will help with the inflammation. Eating foods that are rich in natural fats such as flaxseed, krill oil, avocado, walnuts, grass-fed butter, fish, and coconut oil will all help in healing brain trauma. Simultaneously, digesting foods heavy in natural fats also boost brain functioning so it’s an added bonus! Additionally, having a large diet of lots of vegetables will also help. By eating lots of vegetables, you are increasing your intake of antioxidants which has been shown to decrease cell death. Conversely, the foods that are unhealthy for a damaged brain may be more challenging to avoid. In our world today, it is much easier to find and eat foods that are heavy in carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sugar. While these types of foods may be okay to consume occasionally, such as with your infrequent Big Mac run, if you are suffering from the effects of a concussion, it can be much more important to avoid such foods. Avoid sugary snacks, simple carbs, or anything high in saturated fats. By doing so, and by moving to a healthier diet, the inflammation in your brain will surely go down, and you will find yourself with a better mindset and a healthier brain.

 

What Else Can You Do?

Besides improving your nutrition and focusing on healing the trauma to your brain, there are a few other ways of healing. One of these is with nutritional supplements or what are known as Nutraceuticals. There are a variety of nutraceuticals that can support and aid your brain and to ensure that you are receiving the necessary vitamins you need. Taking vitamins such as omega-3 fish oil pills or B vitamins can pay dividends in reducing brain inflammation. Additionally, if you want to know more about how to improve your nutrition, or to improve your lifestyle choices, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that need not be taken lightly. It’s critical that you treat your brain, as you would treat any other injury so that it can heal and so that the symptoms can be lessened or relieved. If you have any questions or want to know more about how to treat your brain, we encourage you to get in touch with our Elumind client care coordinator. She would be more than happy to chat with you and get you on the right track with receiving the proper care you need.