Author Archive

It’s the “time of giving” again this year! When you are looking at organizations to help this holiday season, please keep Mended Hearts in mind, we are a locally ran, non profit Therapeutic Riding and Counseling Center who has been helping families, adults, and children for over 15 years! Our needy families need your support or you can sponsor one of our therapy animals. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

 

Christmas and Mental Health

Christmas can be a challenging time for our stress levels and it’s even harder for those of us with mental ill-health.

So many things that are part of our routines and we take for granted become disrupted by the change of pace in our lives.

Leaving all your preparations for Christmas until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress, but planning ahead can save you time and money. Making lists for jobs to do, presents to buy and groceries you’ll need helps to organise your thoughts, prevents you forgetting something (or someone) and makes it easier to stick to a budget.

Shopping online can save you even more money, as well as avoiding the stress and crowds of the Christmas shopping season. Give as you live provides a price comparison search and donates money to charity when you shop at no extra cost to you, so you can save money on your Christmas shopping and support a good cause at the same time! Some online stores will even deliver as late as Christmas Eve and many offer Click and Collect services. If the expense of Christmas is causing you anxiety, you may find this advice from Money Saving Expert useful.

Alcohol

The celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year often involves social drinking and although the consumption of alcohol might make you feel more relaxed, it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behavior. By not exceeding the recommended number of safe units, you will be better able to sustain good mental and physical well being.

Food

The festive period has become synonymous with over-indulgence, which in turn prompts a pressing desire for many of us to lose weight in the New Year. Where possible, maintain a good balance of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and omega 3 sources throughout the year in order to be in good physical condition and have sufficient energy. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.

Exercise

Physical activity releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, which help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. By undertaking simple tasks such as cycling to work, walking in the park, or joining in with Christmas games, you can benefit from experiencing reduced anxiety, decreased depression and improved self-esteem. In addition, recent research has indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.

Five ways to stay active over the Christmas period
  1. Go ice-skating! At this time of year there are a number of outdoor ice-rinks around various locations to enjoy.
  2. Go for a winter walk! It is a less strenuous form of exercise than going for a hard-core session in the gym.
  3. Prefer to be indoors? Why not dance to some festive tunes. A fun way to burn off the Christmas turkey!
  4. Take advantage of the Christmas weather. If it snows perhaps build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
  5. Do activities as a family. Over indulgence is hard to avoid around Christmas so why not decide to go for a winter walk with all the family after dinner.

Get involved

The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication has been shown to improve our mental and physical well being as this interaction produces the hormone, oxytocin, which can benefit our immune system, heart health and cognitive function. You could arrange a shared experience as a gift for a friend or loved one such as a cookery lesson or cinema outing. If you’re travelling to visit family or friends for Christmas booking travel in advance can often be much cheaper. If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a charity or local community organisation can provide that same human contact, as well as help provide essential support and encouragement for others in need. These interactions can easily be sustained throughout the coming year and need not just be for Christmas.

Stay in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face-to-face, but that’s not always possible. Give them a call, drop them a note or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open – it’s good for you!

If you’re feeling out of touch with some people, Christmas can be a good opportunity to reconnect with a card, email or phone call. Talking can be a good way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head.

If something is worrying you, whether it’s work, family problems or other feelings, just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. It works both ways: if you open up, it might encourage others to do the same and get something off their mind.

Try to relax

Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time as we prepare to entertain family and friends, worry about cooking a delicious Christmas dinner, and fit in some last minute present shopping. These feelings of being under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

By exercising more regularly or practicing mindfulness – a combination of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques – you can help to both alleviate the symptoms of your stress and gain more control when coping with difficult situations. Christmas presents aside, implementing a new exercise regime or signing up for a course in mindfulness – such as our online course in mindfulness-based stress reduction – could be your best investment for a more relaxed Christmas and New Year. You may also find our relaxation podcasts useful.

Do good

Helping others is good for your own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, improve your mood, increase self-esteem and happiness and even benefit your physical health.

Christmas is a good opportunity to volunteer for a charity or local community organisation and provide essential support and encouragement for others in need. You can find lots of suggestions of how to make doing good part of your life in our pocket guide.

Sleep

Despite many of us having time off work during Christmas and the New Year, our sleep patterns can be disturbed between catching up with friends and family and partying late in to the night. There is mounting evidence on the link between sleep and mental wellbeing, meaning improvements in the quality of your sleep could result in improvements to your overall mental health.

There are several steps you can take towards achieving a better night’s sleep: attempting to get back in to your regular sleep routine as soon as possible after the party period, consuming less alcohol during the festivities, implementing regular exercise into your weekly routine, and taking measures to alleviate your stress. You might find our sleep and relaxation podcast useful and you can find lots more useful advice in our Sleep Well pocket guide.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/c/christmas-and-mental-health

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The shorter days and colder weather of winter can make anyone feel down, especially if you live a long way from the equator. The reduced light, warmth, and color of winter can leave you feeling melancholy, irritable, or tired. But if these feelings recur each year, make it tough to function during the winter months, and then subside in spring or early summer, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal depression can affect your health, your relationships, and your everyday activities. But no matter how hopeless you feel, there are things you can do to keep your mood and life stable throughout the year.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in winter. Otherwise known as seasonal depression, SAD can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy levels, taking a toll on all aspects of your life from your relationships and social life to work, school, and your sense of self-worth. You may feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. While a less common form of the disorder causes depression during the summer months, SAD usually begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and remains until the brighter days of spring or early summer.

SAD affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people, while a milder form of winter blues may affect as many 10 to 20 percent of people. Since the amount of winter daylight you receive changes the farther you are from the equator, SAD is most common in people who live at least 30 degrees latitude north or south (north of places such as Jacksonville, Florida, Austin, Texas, Cairo, Egypt, and Hangzhou, China, or south of Perth, Australia, Durban, South Africa, and Cordoba, Argentina). No matter where you live, though, or how dark and cold the winters, the good news is that, like other forms of depression, SAD is treatable. The more you understand about seasonal depression, the better equipped you’ll be to manage or even prevent the condition.

The signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are the same as those for major depression. SAD is distinguished from depression by the remission of symptoms in the spring and summer months (or winter and fall in the case of summer SAD).

As with depression, the severity of SAD symptoms can vary from person to person—often depending on genetic vulnerability and geographic location. For many, the symptoms usually begin mildly at the start of fall and get progressively worse through the darkest days of winter. Then, by spring or early summer, the symptoms lift until you’re in remission and feel normal and healthy again.

Seasonal depression can make it hard to motivate yourself to make changes, but there are plenty of steps you can take to help yourself feel better. Recovery takes time but you’ll likely feel a little better each day. By adopting healthy habits and scheduling fun and relaxation into your day, you can help lift the cloud of seasonal affective disorder and keep it from coming back.

Tip #1: Get as much natural sunlight as possible—it’s free!

Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun without wearing sunglasses (but never stare directly at the sun).

  • Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside if you can stay warm enough.
  • Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
  • Some people find that painting walls in lighter colors or using daylight simulation bulbs helps to combat winter SAD.

Tip #2: Exercise regularly—it can be as effective as medication

Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, especially if you’re able to exercise outside in natural daylight.

  • Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
  • Exercise can also help to improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem.
  • Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days. Even something as simple as walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and the animal, as well as a great way to get outdoors and interact with other people.

Tip #3: Reach out to family and friends—and let them help

Close relationships are vital in reducing isolation and helping you manage SAD. Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. It may feel more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will boost your mood. Even if you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect or start new relationships.

  • Call or email an old friend to meet for coffee. Or reach out to someone new—a work colleague or neighbor, for example. Most of us feel awkward about reaching out, but be the one to break the ice.
  • Join a support group for depression. Sometimes, just talking about what you’re going through can help you feel better. Being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation and provide inspiration to make positive changes.
  • Meet new people with a common interest by taking a class, joining a club, or enrolling in a special interest group that meets on a regular basis. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that’s fun for you.
  • Volunteer your time. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself, expand your social network, and overcome SAD.

Tip #4: Eat the right diet

Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.

  • While the symptoms of SAD can make you crave sugary foods and simple carbohydrates, such as pasta and white bread, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Foods such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, and bananas can boost your feel-good serotonin levels without the subsequent sugar crash.
  • Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats—such as oily fish, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—can also improve your mood and may even boost the effectiveness of antidepressant medication.

Tip #5: Take steps to deal with stress—by making time for fun

Whatever the time of year, too much stress can exacerbate or even trigger depression. Figure out the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload or unsupportive relationships, and make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.

  • Practicing daily relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, reduce negative emotions such as anger and fear, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Having fun is a great stress buster, so make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be painting, playing the piano, working on your car, or simply hanging out with friends.

The mainstay of winter SAD treatment is light therapy, otherwise known as phototherapy. Light therapy aims to replace the missing daylight of winter by exposing you to bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Daily exposure can suppress the brain’s secretion of melatonin to help you feel more awake and alert, less drowsy and melancholy.

Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of SAD cases. However, the timing and length of exposure needed can vary according to your symptoms and circadian rhythm, so you’ll need guidance from your doctor or mental health professional to find the right dosage. Your doctor or therapist can also help you choose a light therapy product that’s both effective and safe. (While tanning beds generate sufficient light, they should never be used to treat SAD as the UV rays they produce can be harmful to the skin and eyes.)

Light therapy has to be continued daily throughout the winter months to be effective. Starting light therapy before the onset of symptoms in the fall may even help prevent seasonal affective disorder.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm

 

Merry Christmas from all the therapy critters at Mended Hearts!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of our clients, friends, and families and thank you for your business and a wonderful year from all of us here at Mended Hearts!

Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and Mental Health

As we approach Thanksgiving, a widely celebrated day dedicated to remembering and acknowledging the goodness in our lives, we should stop to reflect on how this process of giving thanks for our blessings can positively impact the lives of our patients.

Over the last decade, there has been an increase in research dedicated to better understanding the effects of gratitude on health and relationships — and the results are astonishing. The simple act of expressing gratitude on a consistent basis has been shown to positively impact key areas in a person’s life including: relationships and connectedness, emotional well-being, and physical health.

First, gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. In the process of expressing a thankful appreciation for those tangible and intangible things received, very often people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside of themselves.

And as a result, gratitude can help people to become more social and develop deeper and healthier relationships, which in turn can improve their emotional health. In fact, positive social experiences and higher levels of social integration and support are associated with improved coping ability in all ages.1

Furthermore, gratitude can foster spirituality: Transcendence and openness to exploring a relationship with a higher power or value, which oftentimes, involves both a process of deriving meaning, purpose, and direction in one’s life. And the bulk of the literature on spirituality and mental health suggests that the relationship between the two is a positive one; from decreasing depression and anxiety to helping people cope with substance abuse.

Gratitude can also improve a person’s emotional well-being. Robert A. Emmons, PhD, of the University of California, Davis, has done much of the research on gratitude. He suggests 4 significant areas where gratitude can have a positive effect on emotion.

First, gratitude magnifies positive emotions by helping us to appreciate the value in something; thus gaining more benefit from it. Second, it blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, and regret — emotions that can destroy happiness. Third, gratitude fosters resiliency. And lastly, gratitude promotes self-worth.

Finally, gratitude can have positive effects on physical health. There is robust literature suggesting that gratitude can make us healthier. Studies suggest that people who express gratitude often have fewer physical symptoms, less pain, and more energy and vitality. Grateful people also tend to be more likely to participate in activities that promote physical health such as exercise and regular routine doctor visits.

http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/practice-management/thanksgiving-grateful-emotions-health-relationships-goodness-spirituality/article/455974/

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational—but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove 20 times to make sure it’s really turned off, or wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw.

Obsessions are involuntary thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind. You don’t want to have these ideas, but you can’t stop them. Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are often disturbing and distracting.

Compulsions are behaviors or rituals that you feel driven to act out again and again. Usually, compulsions are performed in an attempt to make obsessions go away.

For example, if you’re afraid of contamination, you might develop elaborate cleaning rituals. However, the relief never lasts. In fact, the obsessive thoughts usually come back stronger. And the compulsive rituals and behaviors often end up causing anxiety themselves as they become more demanding and time-consuming. This is the vicious cycle of OCD.

Most people with OCD fall into one of the following categories:

  • Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
  • Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
  • Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen, or they will be punished.
  • Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
  • Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.

Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include:

  • Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
  • Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
  • Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
  • Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
  • Fear of losing or not having things you might need
  • Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right”
  • Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky

Common compulsive behaviors in OCD include:

  • Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches
  • Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety
  • Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning
  • Ordering or arranging things “just so”
  • Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear
  • Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers or empty food containers

If you have OCD, there are many ways you can help yourself. One of the most powerful strategies is to eliminate the compulsive behaviors and rituals that keep your obsessions going.  It might seem smart to avoid the situations that trigger your obsessive thoughts, but the more you avoid them, the scarier they feel. Instead, expose yourself to your OCD triggers, then try to resist or delay the urge to complete your relief-seeking compulsive ritual. If resistance gets to be too hard, try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your ritual. Each time you expose yourself to your trigger, your anxiety should lessen and you’ll start to realize that you have more control (and less to fear) than you think.

When you’re experiencing OCD thoughts and urges, try shifting your attention to something else.

  • You could exercise, jog, walk, listen to music, read, surf the web, play a video game, make a phone call, or knit. The important thing is to do something you enjoy for at least 15 minutes, in order to delay your response to the obsessive thought or compulsion.
  • At the end of the delaying period, reassess the urge. In many cases, the urge will no longer be quite as intense. Try delaying for a longer period. The longer you can delay the urge, the more it will likely change.     https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

 

 

 

 

How to Fight Depression on Halloween

Depression on Halloween?  You might be wondering, “Who’s depressed on Halloween?”  That’s a good question. The answer: Many people are depressed on Halloween.

The truth is that during the holidays (pick your holiday), many people struggle with depression.  The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.7% of the U.S. adult population will experience some form of depression each year.

Depression can be caused by life experiences, such as postpartum, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the death of a loved one.  Countless factors of varying degrees can contribute to the onset of depression, as well.

One key factor that plagues those who suffer from depression is loneliness.  If you anticipate being alone this Halloween, here are 7 great ways to fight those familiar feelings of depression: decorate for the holiday, decorating your living space can be a lot of fun.  Getting up and doing something physical will also release endorphins, which are the hormones that help fight stress and pain. They also make us feel better and more energetic, dress up or get in costume, pretend to be someone (or something) else for a day. Come on, it’s Halloween. Be a kid again. Lose yourself in this fun tradition, welcome Trick-or-Treaters let the excitement and wonderment of trick-or-treaters rub off on you, invite a guest share the experience with a friend or co-worker.  Eat dinner. Watch a scary movie.  Make a memory that you’ll reflect on for years to come, dress your pet. If you are a pet owner who gets a kick out of a dachshund in a hot dog costume, then get Fido dressed and take him for a walk.  Pets are great at soothing our emotions and altering our feelings. They also create healthy opportunities for us to interact with others, go where the people are. If you haven’t made party plans with anyone, chances are you’ll spend the night alone.  Make plans to be where people are.  Malls, parks and other public places often attract interesting and entertaining Halloween activity, and play it safe. This isn’t the night for making spontaneous or irrational decisions. Try new things, but never put yourself in compromising or potentially dangerous situations.  Have fun, not regrets.

Believe that you can have a great time this Halloween, even if you plan to spend it alone.  Make a plan and commit to it – no dropping out at the last minute.  And don’t be disappointed if things don’t go as planned.  You’re not a failure if things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would . . . and have a Happy Halloween!

  http://thriveworks.com/blog/7-ways-fight-depression-on-halloween/

What to Do When a Child Endures Racial Bullying in School

Racial bullying in school should be taken as seriously, if not more so, than other forms of mistreatment children endure at the hands of peers. Parents don’t have to sit idly by while a bully chips away at their child’s self-esteem. By learning to identify bullying, who’s at risk and how it can be stopped, parents can take action.

What Is Bullying?

Want to end race-based bullying? First, it’s necessary to outline exactly what bullying is.

Bullying may consist of physical violence, such as punching, shoving and hitting; or verbal assaults, such as spreading gossip about a classmate, calling the classmate names or teasing the classmate. In the electronic age, bullying also manifests in mean-spirited emails, text messages or instant messages.

Additionally, bullying may involve excluding a classmate from group activities or ignoring the classmate. Sophisticated bullies are another matter entirely. Instead of abusing a person directly, they enlist their friends to gang up on a classmate for them.

Studies on bullying indicate that 15 to 25 percent of U.S. students are bullied frequently. What’s shocking is that both bullies and their targets suffer from the practice. Students who bully have a higher chance of dropping out of school, abusing substances and committing crimes than others. On the flip side, up to 160,000 targets of bullies skip school annually to avoid abuse.

 Who’s at Risk?

Make good grades or have a cute boyfriend? A bully may target you. That’s because bullies pick on those they envy as well as those who don’t fit in. Because students of color in predominantly white schools stand out in the crowd, they make convenient targets for bullies. It requires little imagination for a bully to insult a classmate because of race.

 A racist bully may leave racially tinged graffiti on school grounds or verbally single out a minority student’s skin color, hair texture, eye shape and other distinguishing features.

Hit 1996 film “The Craft” has a storyline in which a white character named Laura racially harasses an African American classmate named Rochelle. In one scene, Laura and Rochelle are in the locker room after gym class, and Laura says, “Oh, God, look, there is a pubic hair in my brush. Oh, no wait, wait, that’s just one of Rochelle’s little nappy hairs.”

When Rochelle asks Laura why she relentlessly teases her, Laura responds, “Because I don’t like Negroids. Sorry.”

Rochelle is clearly hurt by the remark and her performance in gym class suffers because of Laura’s constant teasing. Targets of bullies not only suffer academically but may have trouble sleeping and eating. Their moods may change markedly as well.

As the only black student in an exclusive Catholic high school, Rochelle finds herself in a clique of other misfits, including a new girl from out of town with magical powers. To stop the racist bullying, Rochelle enlists the help of the new girl to make Laura’s hair fall out. Too bad magical spells can’t stop bullying in real life.

Standing Up to Bullying

How do you stop bullying? Ending it will likely require action from parents, students and schools, alike. By talking with children, parents can pinpoint when bullying is most likely to happen and act to prevent their children from being targeted at such times. For instance, if a student is bullied before or after school, parents can arrange to have the child driven to school or picked up afterwards to prevent the child from being alone with a bully.

Parents may also enroll their children in an assertiveness training course to give them tools to stand up to bullies. If a child is subjected to physical violence by a bully, parents may provide self-defense lessons as well. Reaching out to the family of a bully may also stop the abuse. However, one of the reasons children bully is because they witness bullying at home or have chaotic home lives.

The bully may be picking on minority classmates because of racist attitudes they’ve been exposed to by family members. Given this, the bully’s family may be of little help in ending the abuse.

Parents may also opt to discuss the bullying with school officials and enlist the help of administrators and teachers to end the mistreatment. As violence on school campus increasingly makes headlines, schools take bullying more seriously now than ever. When reaching out to school officials, let them know that you want your child’s role in having the bully punished to be a secret. Because bullies often up their abuse when found out, it’s important that their targets are protected from acts of retaliation.

Does your child attend public school? Academic institutions that receive federal funds are mandated to prevent students from exposure to racially hostile environments. Should a school fail to take action to thwart racist bullying, parents have the option of filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, which investigates such matters.

OCR typically resolves such complaints by requiring schools to adopt anti-harassment policies and procedures, train staff and students and address the incidents in question, according to its website. To boot, schools and teachers can reduce the likelihood that racist bullying will occur by pairing students of different races together on projects, holding diversity workshops and encouraging students of all races to sit in the cafeteria together.

Damage Control

Racist bullying may give children a complex about their ethnic background. To counteract the messages of a racist bully, help children feel good about their racial heritage. Celebrate important cultural events, put up images of individuals from diverse backgrounds around the home and allow children to socialize with peers from diverse backgrounds. Expose them to literature, film and music in which people from their ethnic group figure prominently.

 https://www.thoughtco.com/addressing-racial-bullying-in-school-2834778

ADHD and Self Esteem

The term ‘Self esteem’ means to respect and have positive opinion of yourself. Your self esteem is entwined with your self confidence and sense of self worth. Unfortunately, adults with ADHD tend to have low levels of self esteem.
Here is a list of 15 things that having low self-esteem can result in: anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression, problems in relationships, underachievement, drug and alcohol abuse, procrastination, lack of assertiveness, body image problems, making decisions, unable to ‘own’ your achievements, feel helpless with no control of their life, feel undeserving of being happy, and blaming others.
Our self esteem begins to form during our childhood. The reason so many ADHD adults have-low self esteem is because their behaviour is different from the ‘norm’. Your high energy, impulsivity, perhaps poor social skills, was likely to receive negative
messages from the adults in your life. Rather than receiving lots of positive reinforcement that creates a healthy self esteem, you received negative comments which causes low self esteem. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how low your self esteem is, you can start to improve yours right now.

Here are five tips:

1) Replace your negative self talk with positive. After years of getting negative feedback you internalise it. The negative chatter in your head can be very debilitating and result in anxiety, constant worrying, and a sense of hopelessness. When you catch yourself saying something negative, counteract that with something positive or neutralise it. For example, ‘I can never do anything right’ remind yourself of some of the things you have accomplished. Or, ‘I still haven’t tidied my desk’ to ‘I haven’t tided my desk yet’
2) Set yourself up for success. Break your big goals into small very do-able actions. When you achieve them, give yourself a few minutes to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment and congratulate yourself.
3) Give yourself daily rewards. After achieving a task or tasks reward yourself. Make the mental connection that you are having this reward because you did____ task. This gives you positive enforcement. The rewards don’t need to be complex, watching a movie, seeing a friend, listening to a new CD are all great examples.
4) Take a realistic inventory of yourself and your life. Are there things that are bothering you? Are you a little over weight, do you wish you have a tidy and clean house? If yes, then get proactive and make those changes.
5) Break out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares and excites you. Go on a trip on your own, speak in public, do a parachute jump. Whenever you break out of your comfort zone, you grow and develop and your self esteem increases.
While most of these suggestions are based on actions and ‘doing,’  you are already an awesome person. When your self esteem is low, it’s hard taking that on board. So trust me on this one, you are a magnificent human being.