When was the last time you really cried?

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It may start with a sharp lump in your throat, followed by a little wobble of your chin. Next your eyes are feeling moist and you’re blinking hard in an effort to hold back the tears. But your effort to not cry makes your chin wobble even more, and the next thing you know the tears are flowing, the lump in your throat is melting, and your nose is running. You are now in full sob mode. You grab the box of Kleenex and succumb to the weeping.

When was the last time you had a good cry? If you are not in a chronically depressed mood, crying once in a while can be very cathartic and healing so it’s actually better for your health to allow yourself to cry.

Are you sometimes in the mood to watch a sad movie or listen to some sad music? Do you wonder why you are seeking out opportunities to feel sad?  Movies and music can help us get in touch with the sadness within ourselves, allow ourselves to feel it, and then let some of that sadness go. The calm after the storm can then set in, and we often feel that the sadness is diminished and that there is now room in our minds and bodies for happier emotions.

Neuroscientist and tear researcher Dr. William H. Frey IIhas spent over 15 years studying crying and tears. Some interesting facts about crying that his research uncovered are:

  • 85% of women and 73% of men felt less sad and angry after crying.
  • On average, women cry 47 times a year, men cry 7 times a year. (WOW!)
  • Crying bouts last 6 minutes on average.
  • Crying has been found to lower blood pressure and pulse rate immediately following therapy sessions during which patients cried and raged.

To make the most of a good cry and really reap the benefits, it is important to remember that you have to be kind and compassionate with yourself after the crying jag. If you beat yourself up about crying, feel guilty, or use negative self-talk and tell yourself things like “I’m such a loser for crying” or “Guys shouldn’t cry”, you will undo all the healing that your sobfest can bring you.

So, go ahead and cry it out. And then you can proudly say to yourself “Well done! That was a good cry and I feel a lot better now!”

By Polly Guetta

 

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When Caring becomes too much…

The MDABC recognizes that many people who are caring for loved ones with mental health concerns are struggling themselves. Confusion about where to go for help and support, exhaustion from dealing with the loved one, and feelings of powerlessness in the face of the illness can compound to leave people feeling unable to cope. Sometimes, when it all becomes too much, caregiver burnout can develop.

Some signs that you may be experiencing caregiver burnout include:mom and daughter

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
  • Changes in appetite, weight, or both
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Getting sick more often
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications
  • Irritability

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important that you try to get the help and support that you need to cope and feel better. It is also essential that you take steps to make self-care a priority in your life in order to prevent burnout.

We invite you to join us at the Counselling and Wellness Centre at MDABC on June 24th for a free lecture on caregiver burnout. You can click on the image below to go directly to the Eventbrite Registration page. caregiver burnout (1) 

MDABC Photo Contest is in Full Swing!

It’s been one week since we launched our contest at gogophotocontest.com/mdabc, and we are off to a great start. We’ve had a phenomenal response and a lot of amazing photos have been submitted. We still have a long way to go if we want to meet our fundraising goal by June 10th when the contest closes so make sure that you submit your photos, donate to vote, and tell everyone you know about this contest! Our top three fundraising photos will win brand new i-pads and have their photos included on an MDABC annual wall calendar. Here are the three photos that are currently in the lead for the top spot:

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Changes, Renewal, Transformation by Michael
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Summer on the West Coast by Tim
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Yamnuska by Ashleigh

 

 

Get Involved in MDABC’s First Ever Photo Contest Fundraiser!

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enjoy taking photos of the beautiful things that nature offers us everyday. So, why not grab your camera or phone, take a few shots and submit one or two to our new fundraising photo contest? And then don’t forget to ask  everyone you know to DONATE to VOTE. All donations will go to mental health programs and services offered by the MDABC in BC. And of course, you could win one of three brand new I-pads donated by www.openbox.ca.  Click on the poster below to go directly to the contest page.

MDABC's First Ever Photo Contest Fundraiser

Why Mindfulness?

Why are more and more people drawn to the practice of mindfulness? We see thatstones mindfulness centres, groups, and classes are popping up everywhere…is this just a trend that will soon fizzle out?

In fact, mindfulness has been practiced for centuries and although it may have recently seen a  surging in popularity in the West, it is certainly not a flash-in-the-pan Wellness trend. People who practice mindfulness find that they feel happier, more content, and more relaxed. Studies have shown that this practice can also help you to increase your self-compassion and your compassion for your fellow beings. This compassion can often lead to more altruistic behavior which creates a better society for everyone.

Very simply, mindfulness can be defined in this way:

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose,
in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”   Jon Kabat-Zinn

Kabat-Zinn is a famous Buddhist monk and teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and many of the strategies and exercises that counsellors use when they teach mindfulness are based on his teachings.

If you would like to learn more about the practice of mindfulness and how it can help you to recover from anxiety and depression, we invite you to consider registering for MDABC’s Spring 2016 Mindfulness Course. Click here to start the application process.

mindfulness group april

MDABC Will be at the 2016 Vancouver Wellness Show!

Save the Date!

The MDABC is excited to announce that we will be at the Vancouver Wellness Show on February 12th, 13th and 14th so if you are in the area make sure you stop by and visit our booth. We will have tons of mental health information to give out and an interactive activity to keep you busy! (More details on the activity to come in a future post).

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Valentina Chichiniova, MA, CCC

In addition to our booth, MDABC Counselor Valentina Chichiniovia will be presenting a “Mindful Relationships” seminar on the Living Well Stage at 5:15 pm on February 11th.

The Wellness Show is in its 20th year and attracts over 30,000 guests each year.  There is definitely something for everyone at this event -you can check out seminars, demos, displays, samples, and raffles. There will be everything from Acupunture to Zumba! For more information about the 2016 Wellness Show and tickets go to www.thewellnessshow.com .

mindful relationships

 

Everybody needs a little help thinking positively…

The MDABC has created a new “positive thoughts” poster for you to print and share – click here to download the PDF.

positive thoughts

Meet You-Jeong (Alexis) Choi – One of MDABC’s Wonderful Volunteers

                          Alexis

How did you come to be a volunteer at the MDABC?

I studied psychology at school and was quite eager to find and be in an environment that would be related to my degree. That’s when my friend posted a volunteer opportunity at MDA on Facebook. I thought volunteering here would provide me with some ideas for my future career. Then, when I came in for the training, everyone at MDA was very encouraging and supportive, so I decided to stick around.

 What kind of volunteer work have you done at MDABC?

I am one of the Office Greeters, which means we greet patients when they walk in, give them some forms to fill out, and hand over information packages. We do our best to make the first impression of MDA as warm/comfortable as possible, because it is! We also help out with simple, yet time-consuming tasks, e.g. data entry, data clean-up, filing, answering emails, putting things together in bags or envelopes, to take load off already busy staffs, or at least try. I also train new volunteers if the time works and sometimes act as a liaison with other greeters if need be. Other than that, I am responsible for taking care of plants in the office, too. 

What do you find most rewarding about doing this work?

Aside from volunteering, my work is in a one-to-one setting. So although it’s minimal, interacting with “people” at MDA is interesting enough for me. Getting hands on various small tasks prevent me from getting bored or feeling unproductive so that’s good, too. But above all, the staffs here are awesome. They are fun and very encouraging. If any greeter’s task is overwhelming, the staff will give you time until you’re ready. Once you show willingness, they will help you get prepared and will give a lot of tips and full support. Small things can be scary for someone at times but they really help you through it. So, to answer the question, the most rewarding aspect would be just being here. I learn a lot from them, from minor office tasks to treating people with respect and kindness.

What kind of programs would you like to see offered in the future?

As someone working with children and youth, I would like to see more programs or support for this age group, possibly in a variety of settings or locations. It is hard for them to find programs that are accessible enough and I want them to be able to get as much support as possible before they have to get more independent.

What are three things that you do to feel happy and well?

Anything to get my mind off work, basically. I want to have a clear distinction between life and work. So I like doing anything where I wouldn’t have to think too much. I like to drive and listen to loud music, or both at the same time. I also enjoy going for a walk with my dog in between work to get some fresh air.

A Welcoming Space

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Valentina Chichiniova is the lead Canadian Certified Counsellor practicing individual and family counselling at The Counselling and Wellness Centre at MDABC. She has been with the Counselling and Wellness Centre since we opened our new offices in April 2015. Over the course of the summer, Valentina began decorating her counselling office with the goal of making it a cozy, inviting, and optimistic space. When we asked Valentina why she was taking the time to decorate the room, she replied: “I want it to feel homey, comfortable, and safe. The more comfortable and homey the environment, the easier it is to share about yourself and your life.”

To book an appointment for individual, couples, or family counselling with Valentina, click here to complete an intake form. Once we receive the form, our office staff will contact you directly.