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Author: Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards Mental Health Counseling / Articles posted by Heather Edwards

Control vs Concern during quarantine

Right now, things feel out of control. And when things feel out of control, a sense of fear and helplessness can take over your thoughts.  You become the metaphorical rat in a maze searching for a way out, or around, the dreaded worst-case-scenario. This can be paralyzing from a psychological perspective.  But what if there are things you can influence right now? What if there was a way to discern the difference between your concerns and your control or influence?  When the two get muddled together, you lose the distinction between what you can actually change, and what you can't. Then you swan dive into the rabbit hole of hopelessness and isolation. Many people are struggling with control during quarantine.  Control leads to self efficacy, feeling proactive, and grounded. So,...

COVID-19

COVID-19: Seeking a silver lining

COVID-19 is frightening. Most of us are wondering what COVID-19 will mean for our future. Not knowing what to expect is stressful. In fact, the three largest contributors to stress are: 1. uncertainty; 2. lack of information; and 3. lack of control. I’d say the Coronavirus has checked all three boxes. Many people are struggling with boundaries, privacy, and managing emotions while quarantining at home. Negotiating space, finding ”me time” for self care, and sitting with the uncomfortable feelings challenge even the best coping strategies.  So, let’s get back to basics. There’s no magic bullet but perhaps the closest thing is gratitude. Take a breath, get grounded in the now, and connect with your core values. Look around you and notice how many have manifested in your...

Lust and Love: 3 fire starters

  Valentine’s Day inspires love, lust, and for some… disdain. If you fall into the latter group, this blog’s for you.  What if your flames of passion have dwindled to a cold, damp, smoldering ash? Or the only “action” you’re getting is a cycle of conflict and avoidance? Or worse, you’re still fumbling blindly seeking the match to ignite the fire that won’t light up.  Love and lust are action words. In other words, a verb. And a verb is defined as, “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, ...

trauma, emdr, therapy

Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives

Dear trauma, I don’t need you anymore. You served a purpose and kept me safe in the face of danger. But now you’re getting in my way. I got this. Yours truly. When trauma happens, your central nervous system reacts in one of 4 ways to protect you:  Fight - physically defending yourself  Flight - running away Freeze - if I don’t move, they won’t see me - think deer in headlights Faint - playing dead It’s involuntary and automatic. It’s your body‘s way of protecting you in the moment. So, thank your body for doing that - and let it know you’re safe now. In the case of PTSD and limiting beliefs, it’s not enough to know you’re safe. Your body's protective mechanisms get frozen in time...

Ex Updates: Ace a messy breakup

Audrey Noble reached out for advice on what to do when you're concerned about a friend's ex following a breakup. This article was posted on Tinder Swipe Life. 5 Ex Updates You Shouldn’t Tell Your Friend About — And The Only One You Absolutely Should “[A lot of] it has to do with the nature of the breakup,” says online dating expert and celebrity matchmaker Carmelia Ray. Breaking up is hard to do — and we’re not just talking about for the two people involved. What are friends on both sides supposed to do? Unless your pal’s ex was a trash human being, chances are high that you formed at least somewhat of a friendship with them. This leaves you to determine how many and what updates to share with...

2020 Vision: 29 life-balance tips

Make 2020 a breakthrough year. Stress, fatigue, and overwhelm can keep your head spinning and your to-do list growing. Get off the hamster wheel in 2020 and begin taking corrective action. It’s counterintuitive but, it all starts with slowing down. Make 2020 the year of YOU. Follow these simple tips to hit the reset button. Build clarity, energy, and focus...

Suicide Prevention: How to get help

I was recently interviewed by a freelance writer for an article about suicide prevention for a dating website. When it goes live, I will post it here. For now, I’m sharing some important information about how to help someone who might be in danger. Have you noticed posts on social media that sound threatening? Or have you heard vague references to self harm? If so, take action. Definitely tell someone. This could be a cry for help. You can talk to your friend if you think it would be helpful or family members and friends who could reach out to them. Don’t gossip or blow it off. Take it seriously. This could be a life or death situation. Be prepared with phone numbers to crisis counseling services...

mindful holidays

Holiday Magic: Mindful strategies

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, sometimes. If you take a mindful look at the way you approach the holidays, you'll find that you actually have a mixture of feelings - like joy and sorrow, pleasure and stress, boredom and excitement, for instance. The holidays can be bittersweet, especially for those who have lost someone they love. They are stressful for those forced to mingle with family members they don’t admire. And they are lonely for those who are alone. It’s a time ripe with celebration, gratitude, and giving. And it’s a time of wishing and grieving.  So whatever your circumstances, how do you surf the waves of emotion that arise during the holidays? Mindful practices can keep you rooted in your truth, feeling ground, and present,...

Mind Tricks: Conquer your fear

Mind tricks, a.k.a. cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), EMDR distancing techniques, chunking, and meditation practices saved me at Huayna Picchu.    Little did I know, I would be frozen with fear upon arrival at Machu Picchu. With each step along the Inca trail, I held onto the mountainside to prevent being sucked into the valley 8000 feet below. My legs felt shaky, my breath was shallow, and my head was dizzy. Welcome to acrophobia, the fear of heights.  When my guide suggested I would be hiking the big black pointy mountain, Huayna Picchu the next day, I was stunned. Huayna Picchu is a 9000 foot mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu. The part we would hike is a 1000 foot vertical climb in less than one mile. It’s named...

tattoo trauma

Tattoos for healing?

Tattoos date back to neo-Paleolithic times, serving purposes both for good and for bad. They have been used to record history, brand prisoners and slaves, express self-identity, and reclaim control over one’s own body. For many today, clients are claiming trauma recovery benefits. This intriguing Psychology Today guest blog by Heather Edwards combines insight about what tattoos can mean to folks, along with an interview with an artist in the craft, Paul Booth.  The notion of a mark on oneself is as ancient as the Mark of Cain, after murdering his brother, Abel in the Book of Genesis.  Nathaniel Hawthorn’s Puritan-era “Scarlet Letter” may not have been a tattoo–it was sown to one’s clothing–but it did mark the community’s condemnation of an adulterer. Not surprisingly, there is another side to...