Post Election Stress and How to Cope

It is an important time in history for the United States of America and for the rest of OUR planet. There are a wide variety of reactions to this emotionally galvanizing election. People that have never needed to seek psychological counseling are experiencing varying degrees of adjustment disorder with depressed or anxious mood and an exacerbation of preexisting mental health challenges – more so than any other election since I have been in practice. I also realize that many people are feeling ok or even happy after the election and typically you are not the ones that are going to be seeking out my professional counsel or reading this blog post.

I was about to share the most fearful quotes I have heard as well as quotes from those that are joyous with the election results. I decided not to. I do not want to trigger a cascade of emotions that will leave you feeling worse after you read this post.

Instead I am going to give you post-election tips that will help now and always.

1) Limit your exposure to media of all types.

I am not saying “avoid”, I am saying “limit”. Choose quality over quantity. Do your research on who owns the news stations or social media platforms you choose to watch, engage with or listen to. Remember, there is bias in all forms of media. Teach your children and teens this too. You can help your children by discussing the way information is presented, “That is an unkind way of saying that.” Or… “That was clear and concise and delivered in an informative way.”

We can use examples from the media to point out life lessons in character development with our children.

Solution: Consider taking “Media mental health breaks.”

2) At family gatherings remember that discussing politics can be polarizing.

I cannot tell you how many people have been discussing in their therapy session their utter dread and fear of holiday dinner discussions this year. Some people are avoiding relatives and friends that did not vote for the same candidate. Others know that they will possibly endure discussions that are unpleasant and could get rather aggressive.

Solution: Set boundaries of what is ok to talk about with your loved ones during your holiday get together and future events. Find common ground with your friends and family on unifying topics. If you find the discussion disturbing you are allowed to speak up, agree to disagree, or choose to remove your self from the situation.

3) Use your strong emotions about the election to take action.

I was in New York just after the election and was at the Statue of Liberty. I literally had tears as I was thinking, feeling and experiencing the history of OUR great country. Lady Liberty reflects the ideals of opportunity, democracy, human rights, peace and liberty for ALL.

Solution: Every day we can choose to engage in peaceful activities that reflect our passion for what the U.S.A. stands for. Get involved in our communities. Engage in charitable acts. Do not sit still. Take action. We all have an amazing amount of power to contribute to make our country and our planet a better place!

 
 

With reverence for ALL

Dr. Denise

Gratitude Heals

With the holidays approaching it is a time for all of us to get together with loved ones, to enjoy good food and laughter, to celebrate our deepest convictions, and to be charitable to others. It is also a time to stop, to pause and to reflect on what we are grateful for.

Do you have a word or phrase that comes to mind that reflects feelings of gratitude or thankful thoughts?

Write it down. Think about keeping a daily journal of thanks. It is important to make note of your heartfelt thoughts.

WE all have an amazing ability to influence our health and wellbeing everyday by choosing to participate in our own happiness. Remember: gratitude is a vibration that heals.

Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?”

You can start your day with reflections of gratitude. Make it a habit to include thankful thoughts into your mindset. The expression or intention of gratitude can elevate your mood and act as a natural antidepressant. Why? When we take the time to be grateful neural circuits are activated that trigger the increased production of dopamine and serotonin to various regions of the brain.

The Indiana University researchers led by Prathik Kini looked at the neuroscience of gratitude through a simulated, “Pay it forward exercise.” The researchers found via brain imaging that the more money a participant gave away, the stronger the feelings of gratitude they reported feeling, the more activity they exhibited in a range of brain areas in the frontal, parietal, and occipital regions. There is seminal neuroscience research that has been done at Indiana University and at USC that defines areas of the brain that correlate with gratitude and other complex emotions.

We are living at an exciting time in history with important intellectual collaborations being made between spiritual leaders, neuroscientists, quantum physicists, physicians and other luminaries in honor of mental health. The paradigm progression is fostering a greater understanding of the power of OUR thoughts and the true nature of our “MIND.”

As an Adult and Child board certified psychiatrist I can say that a discussion of the importance of gratitude and wellbeing is part of every mental health thrive plan. Starting every day with reflections of gratitude is good for you 365 days a year.

Tips to remember:

  • It is never too early or too late to start your practice of gratitude.
  • Neuroscience supports that thinking grateful thoughts activates “feel good” neural pathways in the brain that can help to improve your mood.
  • A practice of gratitude can change your mindset and help life long improved mental health.

I want to thank All of you for your support of raising the awareness of the importance of mental health! There is no health without mental health.

I am wishing you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

With love and gratitude-

Dr. Denise

The Importance of RelaxSing

I just returned from New York City after attending a performance on 11/14/16 at Carnegie Hall called, “Relax-sing” by Michel Pascal. I am still smiling after experiencing his musical performance that parallels his work that he does as a meditation teacher and as an author of his book, “Meditation for Daily Stress: 10 Practices for Immediate Wellbeing” to be released April 2017. Michel has co-authored a book with the Dalai Lama, written 16 spiritual books in France and produced a 1000 plays around the world about Saint Mother Teresa. With all of these past accomplishments he speaks that his nearest and dearest to his heart dream is starting his meditation teaching programs for at risk populations in Los Angeles and in New York City, the Amity Foundation and Stay’n Out respectively.

I found my self joining in and singing the song “Smile” with Michel Pascal, Carole Serrat and Laurent Stopnicki.

Do you know how much fun that was? I can now say I sang on stage at Carnegie Hall-ha!

Thank you, Michel!

Dr. Denise

Healthy Thoughts, Words & Actions

Our children are paying attention to the media, the news and to “US.” We are their role models. Their developing minds do not miss a beat. Every negative word, idea, or action is imprinted in their minds. So is every positive phrase, inspirational thought or act of kindness.

Our thoughts and actions shape our health and wellbeing on a cellular level.

Think of thoughts, words and actions as “MIND FUEL.” When I say “MIND” I am not limiting it to an individual’s brain. I am referring to our “Collective Mindset” as a human race.

We are living at a time in history where we have the science of quantum physics coupled with an understanding of neuroscience that supports the nonlocal influence and energy exchange from a distance of thoughts, intentions and actions.

Our words and actions carry a vibration. Everything is an energy exchange. Do you know how powerful that is?

Here are some mental health tips for all of “US” to remember and to teach our children:

  • Choose your words carefully in conversations and on social media.
  • Limit your exposure to toxic people, news, and social media.
  • Strive to be a role model to your peers and to OUR children.
  • Apologize if you speak in an unkind or unfair manner.
  • Acts of service and deeds of charity promote wellbeing.
  • Encourage your children to make eye contact and smile when greeting each other.
  • Find your mindfulness mantra throughout the day to stay on your “A” game.

Dr. Denise

For more tips check out: Mental Health and How to Thrive

Thank You!

With the holiday season upon all of “US,” I thought I would hit pause, take a deep breath and say thank you to all of you. I mean it. Your support of raising awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing leaves me with a smile as I write this. I can only begin to express the exponential gratitude I have for ALL of you. Your likes on Facebook, your follows on Twitter, your shares of my blog posts and podcasts and your comments have left me with great hope for a society that realizes that there is no health without mental health!

The launch of this Dr. Denise content-driven site was on April 1st, 2016 with the intention of reaching the masses by providing you with mental health tips, tools and information that could help you or a loved one on how to thrive. I am truly blown away with the amount of people I have met this year on Twitter and Facebook that are kindred spirits that want to do their part by sharing their knowledge, expertise and their desire to help one another. If you see me write “US”, “WE” or “ALL” in capitals in my tweets or blog posts it is in honor of “OUR” collective energy that we all share when we are interacting with one another.

Do you realize how powerful each thought, word, idea, intention or action that we share with one another has in our every day wellbeing?

Very powerful. Starting each day with gratitude carries a vibration that is good for our mental health. I cannot emphasize that enough. You all mean a lot to me and I wanted to let you know that each and every day you are in my thoughts of gratitude.

With love and reverence-

Dr. Denise

Spiritual Blah Blah Blah

I’ve got your attention – right?

This title is not to be disrespectful of spiritual practices, it is to draw attention to the fact that many people talk about spirituality yet there is often a disconnect from the beginning practices to the action oriented end points – what a friend of mine calls, “Spiritual Blah Blah Blah.” That friend is Michel Pascal, author, meditation teacher, singer, producer, photographer and humanitarian.

Recently, I spent time getting to know Michel Pascal in person at one of his outdoor meditation spots in Los Angeles where we discussed our shared vision of the concept of integrative wellbeing or as he likes to call it “Emergency Wellbeing.” We both feel that it is an exciting time to be here on planet Earth as humanity is realizing how important it is for ALL of US as a collective to engage in acts of kindness (large or small) towards one another and to honor our environment.

Most of US are walking the walk by practicing acts of service and don’t even know that is a practice of being spiritual (being kind and humane.)

Do you smile at a stranger walking down the street? If someone is stranded on the side of a road would you stop to see if they were ok? Do you recycle whenever you can? Are you passionate about raising money for your community or another cause in the World? Do you send loving thoughts to yourself, your family, your friends, and the world? When you speak with someone do you make eye contact and listen intently?

I can list many more acts of kindness, acts of service, and thoughts of love that WE all do and might not even realize the healing POWER of our intentions and actions.

The unseen energy of love in every moment in every day makes a difference!

That is why in most of my blog posts, podcasts and conversations the concept of practicing a “mindful life” is part of the discussion. Practicing yoga, setting aside time for your practice of meditation are incredible wellness tools yet an integrated set of tools for your mind in your daily stress can keep you in your “thrive awareness zone” throughout your day.

On my show this week, Michel Pascal and I discussed the concept of practicing meditation and mindfulness is our every day stress. Michel is passionate about the revolutionary concept of training your brain to handle every day stress. To listen to our discussion on the practice of mindfulness in every day life go to http://www.drdenisemd.com/2016/11/podcast-michel-pascal/

Michel’s book “Meditation for Daily Stress:10 Practices for Immediate Well-Being” will be released in April of 2017! Go to michelpascal.tv to preorder your copy and for more insights and tools for emergency wellbeing.

Remember:

  1. When individuals thrive WE all thrive.
  2. Mindset is everything.

For more tips and tools you can order: Mental Health and How to Thrive.

It was an honor to interview Michel!

Dr. Denise

Author, artist, teacher, literacy advocate Chris Helene Bridge discusses the importance of literacy for wellbeing.


Chris Helene Bridge is an award winning author, artist, teacher, and literacy advocate. She deeply believes that literacy determines success for the future of our children and our communities. Chris partners with several organizations including the Barbara Bush Foundation, the Houston Area Urban League, and with Books Between Kids to distribute her books to thousands of children.

Great Day Houston – “God Gave Us Wings”

What an honor to be featured as a medical expert on Deborah Duncan’s Great Day Houston “God Gave Us Wings” episode on 4/4/17 with best selling author Connie Rankin and the inspirational ladies featured in the book.

(Photo clockwise from top left: Donna Cole, Denise McDermott M.D., Connie Rankin, Deborah Duncan, Ileana Leija, Sue Pistone)