plants helping with stress
Oct 19 2020

Feeling Stressed or Trapped Indoors? Try Nurturing Some Plants

Stay-at-home restrictions have come to define most people’s stories for 2020. COVID-19 has created numerous global health crises, not the least of which impacts underlying mental health conditions. Without an end in sight to social distancing, taking care of plants can provide respite for mounting mental health concerns as well as many other benefits.  First…

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Coping Mechanisms for First Responders
Nov 09 2020

Healthy Coping Mechanisms for First Responders

As a first responder, every day on the job can be fraught with stressors. Over time, repeated exposure to potentially traumatic situations can have a lasting impact on your mental health and well-being. While it is your job to be on the frontline helping others, it is just as important to help yourself. Developing healthy…

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Police
Dec 11 2020

Neurofeedback: Training The Brain to Achieve Homeostasis

As technology progresses, so too does our ability to help others in need. As a first responder, you may have had first-hand experience utilizing a new piece of technology or equipment that has helped you help others. Neurofeedback aims to do just that: help others heal. With advances in brainwave monitoring equipment and computer software,…

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Paramedic team
Dec 21 2020

Navigating the Dangerous Winter Months

Winter weather almost always brings about dangerous conditions. Most of us may have the choice to avoid hazardous highways and stay inside during bad weather. The same is not always true for first responders who are often attending to emergencies on the most treacherous roads or fighting fires caused by home heating elements as the…

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Jackets
Dec 30 2020

Creating and Keeping Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

After the flurry and liveliness of holiday festivities comes a time for quiet reflection, as many look back on this past year and prepare for the next. This desire to continue improving oneself as we make our New Year’s resolutions is a healthy intention. It is admirable to make goals for ourselves continually, but when…

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clapping after a session
Dec 28 2020

Community Involvement in Addiction Recovery

Being involved in a community while going through recovery from addiction is just as significant as the community being involved in helping those in recovery. The purpose of community is to bring people together in advocacy and support of each other to overcome challenges. Enjoying each other’s company also provides a sense of belonging, connection,…

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Guilt
Dec 10 2020

What Is Survivor’s Guilt? How Can First Responders Cope?

Feeling lucky to be alive is an emotion many of us might not associate with guilt. Some may not even realize they are wrestling with it, or they struggle to recognize that the weight they are carrying alongside grief is a sense of guilt. This feeling can manifest itself after someone experiences a loss or…

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Young female EMS
Dec 20 2020

How Does The Body Remember Trauma?

Re-experiencing past trauma as physical symptoms that manifest in the body can be alarming. When someone experiences physical symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS), the body does not remember the event as something in the past. These symptoms can intrude visual, auditory, and other bodily functions causing the body and mind to feel as though they…

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trauma tent
Dec 29 2020

Feeling Emotionally Drained? Here’s What You Can Do.

When we are entirely focused on an important task at hand, in order to get it done effectively and efficiently, there is often little room for addressing our emotions. At the scene of an accident, first responders are expected to push aside their feelings immediately and provide both physical and emotional support to those in…

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addiction after injury
Mar 03 2020

Addiction After Injury

People begin abusing substances for a wide variety of reasons, many involving trauma or unexpected stress.  Experiencing an injury can upset your life in several ways, leading to difficulties in your work and at home.  Additionally, an injury adds the challenge of severe pain to your circumstances, while also providing you with access to extremely…

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Compassion
Jan 11 2021

How Does Compassion Fatigue Affect First Responders?

A first responder’s work can be rewarding, but over time, it can also take its toll on an individual and lead to emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion can result from high emotional involvement, such as working with traumatized individuals in the community without adequate support. The term “compassion fatigue” (CF) was initially defined and researched by…

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Female
Jan 20 2021

What Mental Health Concerns Do Women in the Fire Service Face?

Firefighters play a vital role in providing emergency services, rescue services, and fire suppression services. They support communities as a significant public health safety-net. They are among the first to respond to emergencies of all kinds. Along with the rewarding aspects of the job, high levels of stress, and toxic exposures put firefighters at an…

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How Alcohol Makes Stress Worse
Feb 20 2020

How Alcohol Makes Stress Worse

Alcohol is both blatantly and subtly presented as a solution for stress and anxiety in our culture. Watch any television show or movie and you are likely to see a character struggling over some inner turmoil or relationship issue with a drink in their hand.  A more concrete example might be found in your workplace,…

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Paramedics
Jan 10 2021

COVID-19, Its Psychological Effects on First Responders, and How to Cope

With the new year comes new hope. However, many people are still dealing with the lasting psychological effects of the pandemic. Various mental health issues can affect the first responder community due to the overwhelming amount of stress accompanying the intensity of their work. Some of these issues may include post-traumatic stress (PTS), depression, sleep…

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5 Active Forms of Meditation for Those Who Can’t Sit Still
Feb 27 2020

5 Active Forms of Meditation for Those Who Can’t Sit Still

The data regarding meditation is everywhere you look these days. Decades of research have proven that meditating a little bit each day can have profound effects on your mental and physical health. Meditation decreases stress, improves focus, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, boosts the immune system, helps manage pain, and even reduces cravings for…

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Changes to Expect After One Year Without Alcohol
Jan 30 2020

Changes to Expect After One Year Without Alcohol

For those with an addiction to alcohol, quitting drinking can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of their life. While there is a vast array of benefits that come with quitting, it can be challenging to envision a sober future in the early days of recovery. For this reason, many people choose…

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meditation tips for recovery
Dec 24 2019

4 Techniques for Reducing Stress Through Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness and meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.  Mindfulness techniques have been shown to have a wide array of physical and mental health benefits, in addition to the spiritual connection many people experience while utilizing this ancient wisdom.  One of the most powerful and immediate benefits…

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depersonalization
Dec 16 2019

What is Depersonalization?

An anxiety or panic attack can be a frightening and surreal experience, and the exact symptoms tend to vary between individuals, and even between episodes.  One of the most common but most difficult to explain symptoms of a panic attack is depersonalization, also sometimes referred to as derealization. While the experience is slightly different for…

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manage stress in recovery
Dec 20 2019

6 Ways to Manage Stress in Recovery

Life requires us to find ways to cope with unpleasant feelings and circumstances, and managing stress is no exception.  During active addiction, you likely turned to substance abuse anytime you found yourself becoming stressed or overwhelmed.  Unfortunately, using substances to ignore your responsibilities or ease anxiety always backfires, and substance abuse ultimately contributes to stress…

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sober living
Dec 19 2019

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Mental Health?

For most people, even a small amount of sleep loss can have a huge impact on their mood and ability to focus throughout the day.  Some people, however, are subjected to more significant sleep deprivation, whether it be due to the demands of their job or a health condition like insomnia.  Sleep deprivation can present…

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cognitive behavioral therapy
Dec 23 2019

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

If you have ever looked into therapy for yourself or someone you love, you have likely come across the term cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.  CBT is a common psychotherapy technique that is used to treat a wide array of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Even those who have not…

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How a Healthy Diet Can Help Manage Depressive Symptoms
Apr 03 2020

How a Healthy Diet Can Help Manage Depressive Symptoms

Depression is a major risk factor for addiction and relapse. One study found that among people with major depressive disorder, 16.5 percent developed alcohol use disorders and 18 percent developed drug use disorders at some point in their lives — significantly higher than average. If you’re recovering from a substance use disorder, managing co-occurring depression…

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addiction recovery
Dec 02 2019

8 Surprising Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a mental illness that is commonly associated with overwhelming sadness and an inability to experience joy.  While these symptoms may be true for some people, many people with depression experience far more subtle symptoms that may be difficult to recognize as signs of a mental illness.  Overcoming depression often requires professional mental health…

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secondary trauma
Dec 03 2019

What is Secondary Traumatization?

In the mental health world, the term “trauma” is used to describe any experience that creates emotional or mental distress to the extent that it becomes difficult to function in some or all facets of life.  We are currently in the midst of a profound cultural shift that is beginning to acknowledge the many-layered effects…

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compassion fatigue
Dec 09 2019

What is Compassion Fatigue?

For first responders, compassion is simply a part of the job.  Individuals drawn to careers such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and emergency medical personnel are usually seeking a way to be of service to their community, and tend to find satisfaction in helping others.  While this kind of work can be incredibly rewarding, it…

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recovery from addiction
Dec 11 2019

What’s the Difference Between an Anxiety Attack and a Panic Attack?

The terms “anxiety attack” and “panic attack” are often used interchangeably, but in reality, these are two different events that may mean different things for your mental health.  Both anxiety and panic are responses of the sympathetic nervous system to a perceived threat, and are often described as the flight-or-fight response. While there are many…

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how to identify triggers
Dec 12 2019

Identifying and Coping with Triggers in Recovery

Addiction is a physical disease, but it also involves many complex psychological factors.  These factors are a large part of the reason addiction is so hard to overcome, and psychological work is usually necessary to achieve lasting recovery.  During and after treatment for addiction, individuals with substance use disorders need to identify emotional and physical…

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addiction treatment
Nov 11 2019

Common Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment

While everyone with addiction is living through different circumstances, there is a common thread in the excuses for avoiding addiction treatment. These justifications only harm the addicted individual and those they love by putting off care that could dramatically improve the lives of everyone involved. Understanding many of these common phrases and identifying them in…

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