Wellness Wednesday – Mental health advice for new and into the new year – WKBW-TV

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Dr. Nicole Ferguson says you are not alone, this experience you are having is pretty much universal.  Wherever you go people are dealing with this virus in some capacity.  The stressing part of dealing with unpleasant experience is that we feel like we are alone.  But in this case, everyone is going through the same or similar experience so take advantage of the fact that we are not alone there are other people going through a similar experience and we should be supportive of each other during this time.
The fact that we are going through so many so many challenges, means that we should kind of  show ourselves grace.  She says she often tells her clients to show themselves grace and what that means is not to put so much pressure and expectations on yourself.  Dr. Nicole says the challenges that we are facing right now, just with COVID is enough, so sometimes success is going to look different from day to day.  Sometimes you are going to be at work, you are going to do extremely well, you’re going to go to the gym after work, everything is going to go according how you like it and other days success means just getting out of the bed and getting the kids on the bus. Our brains are at its emotional cap and we kind of need to just focus on the challenges that are present.  If it brings some level of comfort to bring in these challenges for the new year then I would kind of tell people to do what feels best for them but if you need to slow it down that is equally important.
When we do feel the anxiety rise what can do in that moment to help us be mindful and present? Dr. Nicole says she teaches her clients is a technique called grounding and it is basically mindfulness and it does help us to stay present and in tune with our body and we are basically in a fight or flight response right now.  She says so our bodies are telling us there is a threat and we are responding physiologically to that threat. The difference, she says, is this threat is pretty much ongoing, so our bodies are in constant fight or flight mode and we have to kind of switch that off or try to at least.  She says grounding is helpful in that it helps us to kind of engage in the moment and switch off that fight or flight.   For grounding, Dr. Nicole says she tells her clients to find five things you can see, four things that they can touch, three things you can hear, two things that you can smell and one thing they can remember tasting that day and that kind of distracts them from whatever is going on at the moment, they are just focusing on disengaging the senses.  She says she also modifies it by asking them to look around the room and find things in the room that are the color pink or the color green and it is hard to focus on what is stressing you out and all the things in the room that are green at the same time.
Dr. Nicole Ferguson is the author of Unstoppable Joy.  For more information visit unstoppablejoybook.com
Dr. Nicole Ferguson is available for in person or virtual counseling sessions through Attollo Mental Health Services in Amherst.  Call 716.406.7473 to schedule an appointment.
You can also follow Dr. Nicole Ferguson on Facebook @doctornicoleferguson


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