Mindfulness: There’s an App for That

Mindfulness: It can help easy your stress and anxiety. Ask Keith Miller & Associates how. | Washington DC psychotherapyThere’s no better way to ease the stress and anxiety that wreaks havoc on your daily life than with a little mindfulness and meditation. But shutting out the distraction, noise, and interruptions can be difficult, and it’s for that reason that smart software developers everywhere have — you guessed it — developed an array of meditation and mindfulness apps that range from free, to just a few dollars to help you gain a little inner peace, wherever you are.

There’s a mindfulness app for that.

In fact, there are a few we’ve tried on for size:

Headspace

Headspace is so much more than an app; it’s meditation made simple, an easy way to treat your head right. Using proven meditation and mindfulness techniques, Headspace will help you train your brain to lead a healthier, happier, more enjoyable life. The Headspace app experience starts with a quick body scan and a guided, mindfulness coaching session with the company’s founder: “Don’t force your breath, your body already knows how to breathe.”

The Mindfulness App

The Mindfulness App from MindApps can help reduce your stress and increase your wellbeing — in just 20 minutes today. Great for everyone, including beginners and experienced practitioners of meditation and mindfulness, The Mindfulness App is easy to use. Just choose between different types of guided meditations, or meditate in silence, and enjoy the scientifically proven health benefits that come along with the practice of mindfulness.

Stop, Breathe & Think

We’re big proponents of practicing mindfulness here at our psychotherapy practice in Washington, DC, and there simply aren’t enough good things to say about this particular meditation companion app. It’s all in the name of the product, really. Stop. Breathe. And think. The free app features a varied sampling of mindfulness exercises, ranging from short to long: Got just five minutes to clear your head? Or want to tune the world out for an hour? Stop, Breathe & Think is your go-to.

What exactly is mindfulness?

These apps sound great, and all — but they won’t help you if you aren’t sure what mindfulness is, or why it’s surging in popularity as a helpful practice for fitness and mental health resiliency.

Mindfulness is scientifically defined as “state, process and practice of remembering to observe moment-to-moment experience with openness and without automatic patterns of previously conditioned thoughts, emotions or behaviors.” It’s been shown to offer a variety of health benefits, including improved sleep, decreased anxiety, and turning on genetic markers of immune-system functioning .

More than anything, mindfulness is a practice — a habit — that allows you to experience more of life in its fullest. To learn more about mindfulness and meditation, and how its practice can improve the quality of your life, contact Keith Miller & Associates (with offices in Washington, DC & Bethesda, Maryland) for an appointment today.

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Call 202-629-1949

Stress Might Be Affecting Your Creativity

Teen taking test with DC Psychological ServicesAll day, every day:

It seems like we’re all stressed about something. Maybe it’s money, or your health, or your parents’ health, or your kids’ behavior, or an unresolved conflict with a coworker at your high-pressure Washington DC job.

Whatever it is, it’s there. Stress.

It occupies your mind all day. Stress.

It keeps you up at night. Stress.

It’s affecting your creativity. Stress.

Yes, really.

The burden of stress you bear may be affecting your creativity in ways you don’t even realize. Stress, and exposure to prolonged negativity can thwart your ability to effectively utilize that creative, problem-solving muscle: Your brain. Stress can also affect your productivity at work, which just leads to more stress.

More stress means less creativity; less creativity means lowered productivity.

Lowered productivity means more stress.

You’re starting to get my point here, yes?

The good news is this:

There are ways to minimize stress, and maximize creativity.

But before we can get to that, first we have to talk about how, physically, that pesky thing known as stress takes its toll on our bodies, on our psyches, and on our creativity.

take our anxiety quizStress is a totally natural reaction to a threat, or something perceived to be dangerous; this ‘fight or flight’ response causes the body to be flooded with the hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which in turn inhibit the brain’s ability to function as it does otherwise. Creativity is depleted, and we soon find it difficult to locate the most logical solution to the issue at hand.

It’s a cycle, and a vicious one. When stress disrupts the creative, and logical functions of our brains, we become tunnel-visioned; and when we become tunnel-visioned, we become fixated on one specific element or stressor:

“If I had just done this, he wouldn’t have done that.”

“If I change this, everything will be better.”

I’m here to tell you that that’s not really going to solve anything.

Whatever the issues at the root of your stress, chances are it hasn’t been caused by one mistake; something’s just not working. Get out of that undo-redo loop.

Work to minimize the effects of stress.

Take a deep breath.

It really can be that simple.

Becoming more conscious of the way you breathe will prove to be helpful in your fight against stress. Meditate, and be mindful. Take up a yoga practice. Adopt these, and other healthy lifestyle habits. You’ll soon find yourself equipped to minimize your stress while maximizing creativity.

You can also schedule an appointment with one of our anxiety and stress therapists to talk further about reducing anxiety and stress in your life.

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Call 202-629-1949

Engage in Mindfulness in Washington DC. Disengage from Stress & Anxiety.

HappinessWhen someone mentions ‘the city that never sleeps’, you think of New York City, right? Of course you do. A nickname coined, and made famous by the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York (and with a little help from Frank Sinatra), it’s one that could just as easily be used to describe, well, the world these days. Everywhere I turn, there are lights flashing, and sounds sounding; and everyone is rushing.

It’s really no wonder more and more Americans are struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. But I’m here to tell you there is a way out.

You can surmount these feelings of angst, and it may be easier than you think.

How?

Exchange mindlessness for mindfulness in Washington DC.

Mindfulness is, as defined by the expert on the matter — the American Mindfulness Research Association — the “state, process and practice of remembering to observe moment-to-moment experience with openness and without automatic patterns of previously conditioned thoughts, emotions or behaviors.”

The practice, or process of achieving mindfulness usually involves meditation, and has been shown to offer a variety of health benefits, including improved sleep and decreased anxiety. But mindfulness is a practice. To reap the rewards, you must set aside time every day; forgo a bit of productivity and practice being mindful, not mindless.

Press the pause button.

When I mentioned forgoing productivity, you twitched a little, didn’t you? We’re all so busy, and so busy trying to be so productive, we’re largely forgotten what it means to just be… still.

Mindfulness doesn’t require hours of your time to be beneficial. In fact, the best piece of advice I can give you is this: Start small. Set aside a few minutes at the start of every day to reflect on the bigger picture that is your life, and to be grateful, and calm.

Eat mindfully.

It’s true what you hear, that foods high in fat and sugar can have a negative impact on your emotions and well-being. When you choose to eat healthy instead, you’ll have chosen to power your mind, as well as your body.

Healthy eating is a start, but it’s eating mindfully is about more than food:

Turn the television off; put your laptop away, skip the trip to the Beauty Salon. Think instead about the meal in front of you, and the flavors. Savor each bite, and truly give thanks to the food, and all who took care to bring it to your plate.

Be mindful of others.

The practice of mindfulness may be a solitary, introspective one, but as you embrace the stillness and the calm, know that time spent improving your inner self will also improve the way you interact with those around you.

Think of the ones you love; thank the ones you love; help, and give to the ones you love. And soon you’ll find yourself refreshed, newly engaged, and mindful.

Keith Miller Counseling can help you be more mindful in Washington DC.

Contact Keith Miller Counseling & Associates today, and let’s discuss how psychotherapy in Washington DC can help unburden you from stress, anxiety, and depression, and feel more mindful in the process.

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Call 202-629-1949

Rediscover Your Passion for Life: Consider Psychotherapy in Washington DC

Montgomery County Mental Health

For months now, you’ve just not felt like yourself. Everyday activities have become a struggle, and your loved ones have started to comment on how it seems you’re lacking that joie de vivre — that exuberant passion for life you’ve always had.

You’re not sure what’s wrong, and you’re not sure how to make it better.

May I suggest you consider counseling?

Therapy can help. The wisdom and guidance of a professional psychotherapist in Washington DC can help you onto a path of self-discovery, and toward more effective methods of dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety.

Anyone suffering from, or anyone who thinks they might be struggling with moods that feel out of balance or unwanted behaviors can benefit from seeking professional help. Unfortunately, however, a lot of people harbor misconceptions regarding counseling — and you’re just not sure if psychotherapy in DC is right for you.

Let me be the first to tell you:

It is.

Psychotherapy in DC is right for you.

That being said:

Psychotherapy in DC is not… just common sense.

As a professional psychotherapist in Washington DC, this is an argument I hear a lot. “Therapy is pointless because all therapists do is rehash common knowledge.” Sure, many of the concepts we discuss during psychotherapy sessions at Keith Miller Counseling & Associates make sense: They’re meant to. But they’re not common. Because they’re specific to you.

Psychotherapy is a safe place — your place to work with a trained expert who’s focused only on you; and whose mission is to understand, and help you reach your goals.

Psychotherapy in DC does not… make you weak.

Here’s another big one. A lot of people believe that admitting to and seeking the help of a therapistis a sign of having a character flaw or is a sign of weakness. Neither of these assumptions are true. In fact, the opposite is true.

Having the mental fortitude to recognize that you can, and should be a better, stronger, more confident version of yourself is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Psychotherapy may be… necessary even when you have great friends.

Your best friend has a great shoulder for crying on. Her love and support is undeniable, and you can talk to her about anything. Your relationship with your Washington DC psychotherapist will be different, for a number of reasons.

First:

Therapists are trained professionals, and devoted years of their lives to learning and practicing how to diagnose and treat cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues.

Second:

Relationships are give and take; you’ll talk about you for a while, and then your friend will want to talk about herself. The expert, licensed psychotherapists at Keith Miller Counseling & Associates (in Washington, DC & Bethesda, Maryland) devote 100 percent of their time and energy to you.

And hey, you know what they say:

What happens in psychotherapy… stays in psychotherapy.

Contact Keith Miller Counseling & Associates today, and let’s discuss how psychotherapy in Washington DC can help unburden you from stress, anxiety, and depression and let you feel more joy in life.

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Call 202-629-1949

How to Deal with Stressful Relationships?

Stressful RelationshipThese days, most people experience stress due to their relationships. Relationship stress can be caused due to various reasons like arguments, abuse, shouting and criticism. Sometimes, you can experience stress due to a crisis like illness, affair, death of a beloved one and family problems. Relationships can be particularly tricky people who face criticism and rejection from the society as well as family members. It is during these situations that DC family counselingsessions might help you a great deal. Continue reading “How to Deal with Stressful Relationships?”