Welcome to Better Vibes Therapy - Psycho-Education
Unlocking the mysteries of the human mind and gaining insight into mental health is a personal journey, and you've arrived at a place dedicated to your understanding. At Better Vibes, we believe that knowledge is a powerful tool for self-awareness and personal growth, and we want to share our knowledge with you.
Our "Psycho-Education" page is designed to provide you with a resource for expanding your knowledge in these vital areas. Whether you're looking to enhance your own mental well-being, satisfy your curiosity, or simply gain a deeper understanding, you're in the right place. We will do our best to keep this page updated with information each week. Thank you for visiting. I hope when you leave, you have gained.
The House Guest
Kudos Dear Millennials: I am a representative from Generation X, and I am here to tell you that we are so proud of you and all you have achieved. By making the choices that you've made, you have changed the trajectory of societal norms and expectations, showing resilience and adaptability in a rapidly evolving world. What makes us most proud is that you've given credence to a healthy mindset. You invest so much time living your healthy lifestyle. You go to the gym, you eat the right things, and the majority of you don't take part in adding toxins to your bodies. It's hard to believe that during the '60s and '70s, people were allowed to smoke cigarettes in the movie theatre, on an airplane, and in a restaurant—no more. You have advocated for your lungs, and you should be proud. You are keeping the carbs at bay, and you sweat out the rest at the gym. Kudos to you. Many of you are parents now, and what wonderful parents you are. You keep the children on the right path. You prioritize their health, education, and the importance of accountability. I’ve seen your schedules. How do you do it all? You are superheroes. You take good care of your children and your home, work extra hours at your job, are involved with the children’s extracurricular activities, and still seem to make it to the gym. You really walk the walk, and I revere you. We, the hippy residuals, lost our focus a bit. Maybe it was the extrinsic influences, if you know what I mean. We advocated for social justice, spirituality, and freedom, and it was never about one of us; it was about all of us, but our health got put on the bottom of our to-do list. You have that under control, and I hope you are proud of yourselves. The Guest I have one concern; if you don’t mind, I’d like to share it with you. I am concerned about a house guest you have invited to live in your home. You’ve become too comfortable with your guest, and I think it is time for them to leave. I’m only informing you of this because I believe that you and your children have become brainwashed, and you are all in danger. Have you noticed the tension between you all? You’ve become dependent, competing over who spends the most time with the guest, and when your guest is not there, you feel lost. You seem bored, lonely, lazy and feel worthless without the guest. With open arms, you encourage it to stay, but I caution you. Where are my manners? Your guest has a name, and I should use it. In the future, I will address your guest by its formal name, Stress. Stress is not only welcome in your homes and your relationships; it spends quality time with the kids. In all seriousness, your house guest is the most dangerous toxin of all - it can potentially destroy all that you have achieved. I am surprised that you embrace this toxin with such a healthy mindset. Did you know there is a correlation between stress and many major medical problems and mental health disorders? I am so glad that you are listening. No worries, I will help you evict this pest. How Did the Guest Get in? In the 60s and 70s, we experienced a great deal of stress. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated; the Vietnam War was going on and was televised on the news daily. Social injustice caused rioting and tension everywhere. We definitely had stress, but the difference between now and then is that stress did not have us, and it was not a measure of social status or a person’s worth. Too much stress was a sign that it was time to slow down, gather everyone up, get into the car, and head out for a long family ride. We did our best to keep it out of our homes, families, and bodies. Although I cannot remember hearing the word “cope” when I was younger, I believe that long family drives, playing outside from dawn to dusk, learning hobbies from our parents, and exploring and discovering nature taught us how to cope in just about any situation. We also knew that money, material things, and food were resources meant to sustain our lives. They weren’t the central focus of our existence. Today, in the "grind" culture, stress has become a fixture in our lives and our homes. Many people would feel lost without it. We’ve become a society of super-human beings. Those who do not measure up are considered lazy, deviant, or uncaring. A person’s worth is often measured by how much they can accomplish and how busy they are. Multi-tasking is no longer an art; it has become a requirement. Even children are forced to multitask just to be able to keep up. Most family conversations are used as a time for quality assurance - to ensure everyone is doing their part to keep up. Have you noticed that an average second-grade child gets up at dawn, spends six or seven hours in school, goes home (or extended care), does homework for two hours, does chores, eats dinner, showers, goes to bed, and returns to the grind in the morning? I should mention that many children come to therapy for anxiety, panic disorder, and worse. Three Groups To name a few, this year alone, I have treated people for panic disorder, anxiety, relationship problems, overthinking, sleep deprivation, conflict in the home, weight issues, depression, substance abuse, and so much more. An interesting observation is that all of these people fell into one of three groups: The “grinders,” the people who somehow missed the “grind” shift but aspired to learn how to become a “grinder.” Most of these clients suffer from depression, low self-esteem, chronic worry, anxiety, and guilt. The other group doesn’t often come to therapy for symptom management; they come for self-growth. These people, I will call the grateful ones. They are the people who take from life what they need and expect nothing more. They see challenges as temporary, and they are community oriented. They support each other and maintain a positive and grateful perspective on life. Your Choice Stress wreaks havoc in the lives of so many. It strains relationships, careers, and our health. When we feel stressed, we might snap at our loved ones or not be as patient as we'd like. We may have very little time for those we love, and the quality of time we do have is filled with tension. It can make us feel disconnected even when we're physically present. It can significantly hamper our ability to focus and be productive and creative at work. It can zap our motivation and enthusiasm, keeping us in constant tension. Stress has been correlated with many major illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, auto-immune-related issues, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal diseases, and more. Need I say more? I suspect many of you already know this, but realizing a problem exists and knowing how to solve the problem are ideas that are far removed from each other. In my Intervention Guide, I provide evidence-based interventions that you and your family members can use to kick the beast out of your home and out of your life. For now, you can begin by challenging your priorities. My mother once said, “You will never see a U-haul behind a hearse.” That was her way of teaching me about the difference between socially constructed beliefs and reality. That big, beautiful house and that fancy car you bought. I bet both impressed the others and gave you an enormous sense of accomplishment. The image that you wanted everyone to see was received. However, that only lasts for a very short time. The payments and maintenance will last for decades. Be sure that you find a balance between living your life and working to live. Finally, there is great healing power in gratitude. I don’t think that your brain can handle gratitude and a negative thoughts at the same time. Hmm, I’ll have to try it. Anyway, the truth is that we will always face challenges in life. Your current response to challenge is a result of many things, but mainly, it is a learned behavior, and just as you learned this way of responding, you can learn a new, healthier way. I continue to feel proud of how much you have accomplished. You are beautiful and strong, and I know this creep called Stress is no challenge for you. I encourage you to slam on the brakes, exhale, reevaluate your life, and shift your focus toward intentionally manifesting joy and peace of mind, with all sincerity and best regards - Gen X.
When I was a teen, my parents lived next door to my grandparents. The distance between the two homes was less than a city block. The path between them, enveloped in trees and tall grass, was forged by frequent walks of family members. Some evenings, I chose to spend the dinner hour with my grandparents and then head home after dinner. Sometimes, I’d stay and talk to Grandpa, and it would be dark outside by the time I left. One evening, after dinner and after the sun went down, I realized that it was time to get home. As I ventured on the familiar path between my parents’ and grandparents’ homes, my footsteps echoing in the darkness, I heard a noise pierce through the silence. At first, I guessed that the noise was probably the rustling of leaves or the cat, but with each step I took, and as each second passed, my interpretation of the noise shifted dramatically. Soon, a blurred image began to emerge in my mind. With each thought, the image became clearer and suddenly, I felt a rushing sensation of fear flooding my entire body. With every step, my heart pounded faster, my breathing became labored, and my body trembled. Panic set in. Before I knew it, in my mind, following behind me was a giant lurking stranger, and it was coming for me. Fueled by the power of fight or flight, my gate had increased from a leisurely stroll to a full-blown sprint. I ran faster and faster. I ran so fast that I literally fell into my parent’s back door, startling them as well. I struggled to catch my breath and compose myself so that I could explain the source of my terror to my parents. It was then, at that moment, that I realized that I was not alone. Standing behind me, about three feet closer to the floor, with an innocent look on her face, was Pyewacket, our family cat. My experience, although in retrospect was pretty funny, is an example of how our thoughts have the potential to cause us distress even when the stressor is imagined. Much like a rabbit, my mind, fueled by perceived danger, traveled down into a mental pathway that grew darker and darker. As I traveled further down into the hole, my assumption became my reality. I could no longer rely on my senses. I could not see. My brain responded by shooting the necessary chemicals to my body supplying me with the ability to run. A thought that I attached to a mere sound developed into a belief that, in my mind, became reality. Except it never actually happened. I had no evidence that there was a giant stalking stranger behind me. Have you ever found yourself headed down the rabbit hole by your thoughts, driven by assumptions rather than facts? Let’s take a moment to travel down the hole with Candace. Bob and Candace have been dating for about six months. Every day at the same time, usually around six p.m., Bob calls Candace to tell her where he will go after work. Today, Bob did not call. Candace decides to wait for his call in case he is in a meeting at work and cannot reach her. This is very unlikely, but she attempts to focus her perspective on this for the moment. However, as minutes stretch into an agonizing half-hour, a shift occurs. An emotion starts to take root - anger. It brews within her, a bubbling sensation she can't ignore. As she ascends deeper into the hole, vivid images begin to emerge in her mind. Images of Bob sitting in a bar chatting with another woman. With every passing minute, her imagination adds layers of detail, making the encounter increasingly more intimate with each thought. Before knowing what happened to her, she has fallen deep into the rabbit hole. In her mind, she's already scripted the argument, the breakup, and the end of her relationship with Bob. The phone finally rings. It is Bob. He explains that he has spent the last hour looking for his lost phone. Embracing her new mental narrative, Candace bitterly responds to Bob with accusations of infidelity. Bob, injured by the allegations and lack of trust, angrily ends the relationship, leaves, and does not return. Candace's story is a stark reminder of the power our thoughts can hold over us, steering us down unexpected paths where reality and imagination blur. It underscores the importance of communication, introspection, and humility. I mention humility here because introspection, the ability to observe our thoughts and emotions, is extremely valuable, but what is perhaps even more valuable is a person’s openness to change, accepting that our thought process may need a bit of adjusting. Most of the time, we are not even aware of our thinking errors because they have become automatic thoughts, also known as conditioned responses. They can be insidious, but you’ll know they are there because you don’t feel so good. Try to think of a recent or past situation when you traveled down a rabbit hole. Can you recall any errors in your thinking at that time? Imagine how alternative thoughts may have changed the outcome of that situation. What leads each of us down into rabbit holes can vary because we all have had unique experiences in life. However, our assumptions are most often triggered by fear. Candace, for example, may have had an experience of infidelity, and her fear of repeating the experience may have been what led her down the hole. However, even in this situation, if Candace had challenged her assumptions and shifted her focus, the outcome would have been different. For me, it is hopeless. If I were to repeat the walk today, many decades later, I would most likely end up sprinting into my parents' back door and laughing about it later – and we did laugh about it.