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Embracing Winter for a Happier, Healthier Season

Note from Hannah: This is a guest post by Darcy Forrest, who practices acupuncture and Chinese Medicine right here in Southern Maine.  Winter….. Most people from the Northeast hate it. It’s cold, baron, icy, and brown. Bringing out the trash becomes a slight form of torture, and the thought of getting out of the shower at 6am haunts you as you watch your last show on TV before bed. Then there is the shoveling, the scraping, the dog begging to go out when the thermometer reads 9 degrees…the numb toes, the dry skin, the icy hands, and the overstuffed winter coat that makes you feel like you’re stuck in bubble wrap. Ohhhhh, winter. Why do we loathe thee? I spent a few years in Tucson, Arizona, where the winter is not a winter, and snow literally means a city wide     . . . read more

Surviving the Holidays with Your Family

Ever wonder if you are the only one who walks through the door of a family gathering and reverts to behaviors and mannerisms that have been mostly dormant for decades? I can fully assure you that it is extremely common, if not universal. I hear this complaint in my office (okay plenty in my private life too). It usually sounds like this, “I don’t know what it is but when I get together with my family, it’s like I’m a 13-year-old all over again.” Needless to say, this is a huge topic around the holidays when there is a high concentration of extended family togetherness. Why is this? My observation is that it can be a number of factors that make you prone to this situation. For some people, it is that their families have out-of-date stories about them. Or     . . . read more

Surviving the Holidays Even When You Don’t Feel Festive

If life has been difficult, the holidays can be especially trying. For people who have been laid off of work, are struggling financially, dealing with a loss, or struggling with life changes, trying to find cheer during the holiday season is tough. The truth is that not every holiday season can be completely joyous. Grief, stress, anxiety and depression do not stop for the Christmas season. If anything, these feelings tend to intensify. We tend to compare the current holiday season with ones from the past. Much unhappiness comes from making these types of comparisons. Things change year to year. We will never re-create the exact same memories or situations. This does not represent a failure or a sign that things will never feel better. It is just a natural process of change. Most of us will not have abundance,     . . . read more

A Season for Gratitude

Thanksgiving sneaks up fast, at least it always does for me. This year I’m determined to give it more attention. That’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of gratitude and how it can be vitally important in promoting wellness and fighting both anxiety and depression. Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for exploring the idea of gratitude and how it can improve our lives. How we perceive the world has a dramatic impact on our mood. This is the foundation of many types of therapy, most famously Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The philosophy is: change how you think and you’ll change how you feel. One of the big challenges is that most Americans live very deficit-focused lives. I would assert that we have been trained to over-focus on information that is critical and negative. We see what we     . . . read more

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