Tag Archives: New York

How To Relax During a Pandemic

I never thought that I would write a post with the above title. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the world is changing in ways many of us never imagined.

I’m writing to you from New York City. Today is April 5, 2020 and we have been informed, by the powers that be, that the virus is more powerful this week. In other words, the apex that is frequently discussed, is supposedly close. That means that this week is especially dangerous and we are supposed to stay indoors. It also means that life may be less dangerous, sooner, rather than later. There is very little that is definitive right now. We are living in a world of great unkowns and we are trying make sense of it all.

I read an article by Robert London, MD, on MdEdge.com, entitled, “Is COVID-19 leading to a mental illness pandemic? Here is a link to the article.”

Dr. London discusses the anxiety and uncertainly that many people are feeling right now. He writes that we are, “witnessing a national epidemic of trauma. Specifically, what we have here is a clinical picture of PTSD.” I appreciate Dr. London writing about PTSD and that many, if not all of us, will experience some form of it.

Dr. London reminds us that most people will experience mild to moderate symptoms. It is important to remember that most of us will be fine. Along with that, it is significant to note that there will also be many deaths.

New York City is quiet. I can hear birds and sirens but mostly, I don’t hear anything. Although silence can be calming, it’s rare in the city. When I notice the silence, I also notice my reactions. They range from feeling grateful to feeling disorientated. When I remember why the city is quiet, I feel grief and fear and then I feel calm and grateful again.

Dr. London writes, “Treatment is mainly supportive, and some medication trials are being explored. However, we can empower people by helping them to develop skills aimed at increasing the ability to relax and focus on more positive aspects of life to break the chain of the stress and tension of anxiety as well as control the PTSD.” He offers three tecniques to offer people ways to relax.

The first involves counting, the second invloves imagery and the third involves actively creating two images and focusing on the one that is most calming.

There are a number of other resources available during this challenging time. There are guided meditations, on line yoga and exercise classes, music to listen to, people to call for talk therapy, greater access to religious and political leaders, easier ways to virtualy connect with friends and family, and many more ways to connect with others and ourselves.

This is a scary time and it is one that will change us forever. We will lose people and we will be reunited with others. It is so important to find ways to ground oneself. That might mean, creating a schedule every day or checking in with loved ones or making sure to exercise or meditate regularly. Do whatever works for you. If you need additional assistance, please reach out to me. I’m here.

The 5 Most Common Changes My Clients Report When Using Neurofeedback

What is the best part of NeurOptimal® neurofeedback training? Noticing the changes that occur sooner than expected. Before I give you examples of the changes, I want to explain to you what neurofeedback is and how it works. To quote from New York Neurofeedback’s website:

neurohands“Your brain is the most complex system on the Earth, and it is masterful at organizing itself on your behalf. NeurOptimal® uses the EEG — information about the electrical activity in your brain — to train your CNS (the brain and spinal cord) to be at its best, taking advantage of its powerful ability to organize and normalize itself. Because your brain does this in the way that is uniquely right for you, it’s not being pushed or pulled in a provider chosen direction, making the process virtually side effect free.”

What are some of the changes that you strive for? Do you want to have more patience; do you want to spend money less impulsively? Well with neurofeedback, you can have:

1. Better Sleep 

Better sleepDo you have difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up several times during the night? Having a neurofeedback training session can help you to sleep better. My clients tell me that if they do neurofeedback, that night, they are going to sleep better and feel more rested and refreshed the next day.   These changes are likely to become their new normal.

2. More Patience with Others

patience-1Have you lost patience with your spouse or your children? Do you have difficulty “reining in” your temper? Over time, you will notice that you aren’t as quick to snap at others. You may even begin to listen to the conversations that drove you crazy. You may not look forward to the conversations or enjoy them, but you are able to tolerate them and remain present to the people in your life.

3. Less Impulsive Behavior   

impulsiveDo you spend too much money on things that you don’t need? Do you eat/drink too much? Do you engage in dangerous behavior? Sometimes having anxiety or depression can be so overwhelming that in order to calm those feelings, we take in other things. In many cases, it’s done with shopping/food/drink/sex/drugs. When we train the brain to be more present with neurofeedback, we are allowing the CNS to re-normalize itself and not need something from the outside to help us deal with the issues going on inside.

4. A Calmer Disposition  

Calm 2Have you noticed that people are less apt to ask for your opinion or that they’re afraid to bring up prickly topics in order to avoid having another argument with you? If you’ve noticed this avoidant behavior from people in your life and you don’t want them to feel intimidated by you, perhaps you want to find out what’s making you lose your cool. Neurofeedback can help you feel calmer and less angry. After several sessions, you may even notice what triggers you. After more sessions, you may be able to halt your usual reaction and just let it pass. Eventually, you may also notice that the things that used to make you angry, no longer will to the extent that they did before training.

5. Better concentration

golf-concentrationDo you have difficulty sitting down in order to read a book or finish a work/school assignment? Have you been told that you’re “all over the place?” Have you been diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD? If you’ve tried meditation and/or medication and neither works (or you don’t want to take medicine), have you talked with your therapist about alternatives? Much like a mirror that promotes self-correction, NeurOptimal® monitors your brain waves and then provides “feedback” to your central nervous system about what it has just done. When the software detects turbulence in your brain wave pattern, it sends an audible signal (a brief interruption to the music) that encourages the brain to “reset” and self-correct. The work that your CNS is doing will help you to have better focus and help you feel more confident.

This is only a short list of the many amazing changes you will find with neurofeedback . If you have any questions about NeurOptimal® neurofeedback or would like to set up an appointment, call me at: (917) 746-0197 or email me.

The Day After the Boston Marathon

Today is the day after the terrible explosion that occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This morning, I ran into a friend who took a spinning class at the gym. She mentioned that the instructor kept telling the class to “make it to the finish line.” Maybe I was thinking like a therapist or maybe I became a therapist because I think like one; I asked her how that made her feel. My friend said, “he was just in the zone, trying to encourage everyone to keep going no matter how difficult it was.” I noticed that she didn’t say how it made her feel only why he said what he said.

I feel for the runners who trained so hard for this most difficult of marathons. In order to even be considered as an applicant to the Boston Marathon, runners must prove how quickly they ran the New images-2York Marathon. In other words, these runners are some of the best in the world. Most of them tried to reach the finish line but not all of them did. Some who were able to reach it, left terribly hurt.

I also saw something wonderful. Along with all of the terrifying images, were people running towards the hurt and wounded athletes and spectators. I noticed camaraderie, support and concern for one another. I noticed human kindness along with two terrible acts of violence.

Helping handsAs I was taking a look at one of the social network sites, I read a wonderful quote by Fred Rogers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” We saw many helpers yesterday and I imagine, that help continues today and will continue for a long time.

When we don’t see the helpers during tragedies, it may be a sign that we are depressed. Being able to discuss and feel one’s fears and concerns can be difficult. Speaking with a therapist or counselor can help. I would be honored to help you deal with your fears and concerns. If I were not the right fit for you, I would still encourage you to speak with someone who could help you. Yesterday’s events were tragic. How we move on from them today is the next step. If you’re considering psychotherapy, I encourage you to contact me or go to my resources page to find someone in whom you can trust.

Despite your own tragedies and those from yesterday (in this country and abroad), I also encourage you reach your own finish line and to be proud of that accomplishment.

Finish Line