There’s no question we’ve faced a multitude of challenges in 2020. There’s been a global pandemic, a down economy, racial and social injustice and more. All the stress can build up and wreak havoc on our mental well-being. As important as our physical health is, taking care of our mental health is equally important. To discuss this topic, we invited Dr. Carleah East to the podcast, founder and CEO of Smile and Associates, to share her wisdom and advice on mental health. She is a clinical psychotherapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Supervisor, and professor of psychology. She shares about emotional addiction and how to overcome it.
Listen in as Amanda gets all the details from Dr. Carleah East!
We put together an overview of Amanda’s interview below. For full details, be sure to listen to the podcast!
With the onslaught of everything that has happened this year, there is a greater need to address challenges of mental health. We’ve always had underlying issues and daily stressors, but when COVID hit, we no longer had the distractions/coping mechanisms we had before.
We’ve always had basic distractions that we may not have even noticed prior to COVID – those little things that happen throughout our day that become a part of how we handle stressors on a regular basis. For some, it might be going to the gym, getting together with family, social interactions at work, and countless others. These experiences help keep us sane without us even recognizing it. But when the pandemic took hold, these fundamental freedoms were taken out of the equation. It forced emotional struggles and impacts to rise to the surface and the forefront of our mind because the usual distractions no longer were available.
With these challenges staring us in the face, we’re encouraged to confront head on how we are feeling and start to view talking about mental health as a strength, NOT a weakness. Especially considering the global perspective that we are ALL experiencing the same thing – a worldwide pandemic. This aspect of community is allowing us to have more conversations about mental health and lessen the stigma surrounding it.
How the brain’s chemistry impacts physical health:
There’s no doubt we accommodate our lives physically, but we have to do the same mentally. Think about it: If we have pain, we go to the doctor. If our feet hurt, we wear more supportive shoes. If we have a headache, we take medication. It’s the same with mental health. If we have a lingering thought or challenge we feel stuck on, we need to let it out and take action!
In terms of physical health: exercise can be a great option to help with mental health, but it needs to be used in conjunction with other coping mechanisms. There has to be a balance between your mental sect for the body to respond effectively to the workout. There’s a space for exercise, but if your mind is not on point, your body will continue to hold onto the stress and you will not reap the full benefits of the workout because your body is not in focus.
This is why meditation is great. It doesn’t have to be the stereotypical meditation practice that may first come to mind. Meditation is simply about MINDFULNESS – about being aware of your senses and being fully present. You can practice meditation in your car, in a closet at work, or any quiet space to yourself.
Taking a holistic approach to mental health:
At Smile and Associates, Dr. Carleah East and her team take a holistic approach to mental health. They don’t just talk about therapeutic strategies, they also instill other health and wellness aspects to mental health. For example, clients are encouraged to focus on nutrition, relationships, physical activity, supplements, and even the use of essential oils. She educates clients on these aspects so they can truly live their best and healthiest lives, physically AND mentally as it is all connected.
She emphasizes the importance of recognizing habits and offering real life modalities to deal with those habits. With a thorough understanding of this connection, you’re able to use the tools in that moment to help maintain your peace and presence, starting from within.
Dr. Carleah’s book: “The Hangover: Overcoming Emotional Addiction.”
Emotional addiction is when you become emotionally tied to a relationship or aspects of that relationship. There are things that make us feel good, like physical touch, intimacy, and positive experiences. And there are also lows like arguments, disagreements, and hurtful experiences. Emotional addiction is when you get used to the time of recovery. Once we make up or rectify what wronged us, we’re on an emotional high. Then something else happens and we experience another low. We continue this unhealthy pattern and, eventually, our body becomes used to this pattern. That’s when we have the negative effects – we become content with the rollercoaster of highs and lows, and our bodies start looking forward to and craving the highs.
This book gives you steps to become emotionally sober and helps you to feel empowered in who you are. It also helps you understand why you’re stuck in the same relationship patterns, and how to navigate and heal those areas. Dr. Carleah provides strategies, tips and assignments to be more mindful.
She leaves us with one tip to take action today: Reframe a negative situation and look at it from a positive perspective. Instead of using the word struggle, use the word challenge. Struggle makes us automatically feel defeated in the things we’re facing on a regular basis. Whereas challenge gives us a boost of encouragement and motivation that we CAN overcome what we’re facing.
It’s time to reframe the way we see some of the hurdles and fears. Instead of seeing them as struggles, view them as challenges to find ways to succeed and begin to overcome!
To take a deep dive into all 12 steps, you can pick up a copy of The Hangover on Dr. Carleigh’s website https://smilepsychology.com/.
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