3 Ways Weather Is Affecting Your Mental Health

mental healthWhile many of us are fully aware of how weather has the ability to affect our physical health, the majority of people today are completely ignorant of the affects weather can have on our mental health. Rain or shine, hot or cold, tornado or hurricane- weather can have a dominating effect on the way we feel and translate the world around us.

According to a 2014 climate change study, “climate change and related weather events and environmental changes can profoundly impact psychological well-being and mental health.” (1) To help you learn just how weather may be impacting you beyond just the physical, here are 3 ways weather may be affecting your mental health.

1. Stress.  If you have been the victim of a natural disaster, you may be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But you don’t have to be the outcome of a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake to feel the increased stress they can cause on ones’ life. Simply living in a region prone to more drastic weather can easily send your stress levels through the roof.

2. Anxiety and depression.  When it comes to mental health, anxiety and depression are key areas to be potentially hit by weather’s impact. Results in a 2012 study comparing temperature and humidity vs mental health emergency room visits suggested an increased use of emergency departments for mental and psychosocial problems the higher the temperature. (2) Many of these visits were due to anxiety, depression, anxiousness, and even stress.While warmer temperatures and pleasant weather can reap positive effects like higher mood and improved memory at first, over a short period of time these positive effects evolve into more of the negative effects discussed above. Likewise, many love the first hot summer day. They enjoy soaking up the sun by spending time outdoors in the heatwave. But if that heatwave continues over an entire week, most people would begin yearning for relief.

3. Addictions and suicide. Unfortunately, weather can affect people on an even higher scale, aiding in addictions and suicides among the population. According to a study conducted on the effects of sunshine on suicide rates, “…sunshine, via interactions with serotonin neurotransmission, may trigger increased impulsivity and promote suicidal acts.” (3)  The ongoing combination of stress, anxiety, and depression may put those already more susceptible to mental illnesses at a higher risk for developing addictions and even committing suicide.

We are all well aware of the physical affects weather can have on both people and the world around us but it’s important to also shed light on the mental health impact of weather. Oftentimes, being proactive in mentally preparing for changes in weather can be just as beneficial as stocking up on bottled water and flashlights. By choosing a region with weather trends you can better anticipate and mentally prepare for, you can help brace yourself for weather’s negative impact on stress, anxiety and depression, addictions, and suicide both physically and mentally.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

###

Sources:

  1. Climate Change: The Next Challenge for Public Mental Health?, Weather effects mental health quote, 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25137107
  2. Relationship Between Ambient Temperature and Humidity and Visits to Mental Health Emergency Departments in Quebec, Study findings for connection between heat and mental health emergency visits, 2012, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23117515
  3. Effects of Sunshine On Suicide Rates, Sunshine and suicide rates quote, 2012, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21821241

 

 

 

2 Terrible Truths about Stress Today

So, stress is up! We all know that high stress levels are on the rise all across the nation but what’s the real truth about stress today? Why is it impacting everyone we know- both the young and the old, and why does its negativity reign supreme?

StressOutAccording to the key findings of the American Psychological Association (APA), there are 2 terrible truths about stress today (1). To help you better understand these truths and in return your own personal stress, here’s more.

1. Self-care is not a priority. Only forty percent of Americans rate their health as very good or excellent, leaving the remaining sixty percent with less than adequate self-rated health, as stated by the APA. (2) The first terrible truth about stress in America is a lack of self-care. It’s simply not a priority. Instead of managing stress in healthy ways by staying active, eating nutritional meals, and making our personal health a priority we opt to indulge in unhealthy behaviors like drugs and alcohol, over or under eating, and being lazy when it comes to regular exercise.

The APA continues to provide a list of startling facts including, “two-fifths of Americans reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods due to stress.” (3) The terribly sad truth is that we, as Americans are taking part in a viciously repetitive cycle. We choose to eat unhealthy, not be active, and overall not make self-care a priority which in return creates stress in our life. And what do we do because we are feeling stressed? We continue to eat unhealthy, not be active, and not make self-care a priority. Yikes!

2. Lack of willpower is the problem. The second truth in our one-two-punch against stress is the lack of willpower. The APA cites the lack of willpower as being the biggest barrier to adopting healthier behavior and continues to inform us that survey respondents are mistakenly relying on an inner strength to make necessary health changes (4). Similar to standing in front of an empty refrigerator with the door wide open waiting for something delicious to appear, you too should stop waiting for some inner strength to emerge against unhealthy choices.

Willpower is a choice you make, not something that all of a sudden happens within you. Combatting the stress in your life requires better health choices through nutrition and exercise and both of those choices take a strong will power. Don’t be afraid to awaken yours.

Stress is up because self-care and willpower are down. The 2 terrible truths, the first being that Americans are not prioritizing self-care through eating healthy and being active and the second, that Americans have a lack of willpower are society’s downfall when it comes to combatting stress. Want to beat the stress in your personal life? It’s as simple as prioritizing your health and having the willpower to stick to those healthy choices.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

###

 

Sources:

  1. Stressed In America, 2 Terrible truths, 2011, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america.aspx
  2. Stressed In America, Americans rate personal health stats, 2011, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america.aspx
  3. Stressed In America, Unhealthy eating due to stress stats, 2011, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america.aspx
  4. Stressed In America, Lack of willpower facts, 2011, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america.aspx

 

Will Consistency Help Treat Bipolar Disorder?

consistencyIt is common for people to have emotional highs and lows caused by everyday stress.  However, there are some people who suffer from a severe mental illness known as bipolar disorder in which sudden shifts in mood and energy may be seen on a regular basis (1).  These mood swings can negatively affect a person’s home life as well as his career if they are not controlled as well as possible.  However, as with most mental illnesses, having a consistent routine can ease the symptoms and make the disorder easier to handle.  There are 3 areas of consistency that should be met.

1. Be consistent in your treatment. There are many treatments that can be used for bipolar disorder.  Some people are capable of coping with it on their own while others may need the help of a therapist or need to take medication to provide a balance (1).  No matter which one you choose, however, it is important to be consistent in your treatment.

For example, once you find a good therapist, stick with him so that you become comfortable talking to him.  Once you find a medicinal regimen that is providing relief, continue taking the same type and amount; switching medicines can also mean suffering from different side effects.  Constantly looking for new doctors or trying new medicines is going to cause even more stress for a person with bipolar disorder.

2. Be consistent in your daily routine. A person who knows what to expect on a daily basis will be able to cope better with bipolar disorder, according to the American Psychological Association. (2).  A daily and weekly routine should consist of schedules for many things, such as work, school, errands, exercise, sleep, relaxation, etc.

For example, try to eat each meal and snack around the same time each day, and choose your foods wisely to keep your body and mind regulated.  Even if that means taking a break at work to replenish your body, it is important to stay consistent.  As part of your routine, you can even do your best to control how much time is spent with certain people.  Having a routine of daily activities will prevent unexpected circumstances, which can easily trigger a reaction in someone with bipolar disorder.

3. Be consistent in your sleep. Getting enough sleep has been shown to provide relief from many physical and mental ailments, and the same is true with bipolar disorder.  Sleep deprivation can increase the effects of bipolar disease in many ways.

First, the overall quality of life is lessened, which can cause more depression and stress.  Second, sleep deprivation can increase the chances of a relapse in a person who has the disorder under control.  Third, cognitive functions are greatly affected by a person’s sleep habits, and this is especially true in those that suffer from a mental illness.  If you are having trouble getting enough sleep, you can make adjustments to your diet and physical activity and see if that helps (3).

Routines and consistency are beneficial to everyone, but this is particularly true for those with bipolar disorder.  If you are struggling to control your symptoms, sticking to a routine may be just what you need.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

###

Sources:
1. What is Bipolar Disorder? Definition and treatments, 2015, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
2. Consistent Routines May Ease Bipolar Disorder, Importance of daily routines, 2008, http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb08/consistent.aspx
3. Sleep Disturbance in Bipolar Disorder, Importance of sleep, 2009, http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb08/consistent.aspx

When Anger is a Positive

There are many misconceptions about the emotion of anger. One of those misconceptions is that anger is a negative thing and that being happy is its opposite. Another misconception is that, when people become angry, violence will most likely ensue. While these thoughts are sometimes true, they are also missing the other aspect of anger – the positive side.anger management

There is a way to display anger in a proper manner that is actually helpful rather than hurtful. While constructive anger has no exact definition since it varies from one situation to another, there are some common elements (1).

  • Constructive anger is controlled. Instead of immediately expressing anger when first instigated, take time to think about the situation and determine whether your anger is appropriate (2). Thinking about your response first will help you avoid destructive anger.
  • Constructive anger is justified. Do you actually have a reason to be as angry as you feel, or could you be overreacting to the situation? Did you do anything that could have contributed to the problem? Is the level of anger you feel proportional to the situation? Considering these questions will help you avoid regretting your anger later.
  • Constructive anger is shared (3). If you are expressing your anger and the object of your anger isn’t even present, you are wasting your breath and most likely just working yourself up. If you have a legitimate reason to be angry, it should be discussed face to face with the person. In addition, the other person should be given a chance to explain, share his perspective, and eventually apologize without being attacked further.

anger managementNot only can constructive anger help an immediate relationship or situation, it can have positive effects on the future as well. Studies have shown the repressed anger is more likely to result in violence than immediately expressed anger (3). The following are a few of the positive aspects of anger.

  • Resolves. Constructive anger results in a situation being resolved, which in turn strengthens the relationship rather than hurting it.
  • Motivates. Anger is an excellent motivator. If you feel wronged about something, it can motivate you to do something about it. This can work to your advantage in the workplace, politics, health and fitness, etc. (1)
  • Helps. Constructive anger can help you learn something about yourself and the other party that you may have never known before. It has been said that, in conflict, you will see a person’s true colors. This is true for others as well as yourself. In a relationship, learning these intimate details about each other can bring you even closer together (3).

Although anger can be difficult to control, especially for people who have long-term anger issues, anger can be used constructively to benefit you and your relationships rather than harm them.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

###

Sources:

  1. When Anger’s a Plus, Aspects of constructive anger, 2003, http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar03/whenanger.aspx
  2. Anger – How It Affects People, Characteristics of constructive anger, 2014, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Anger_how_it_affects_people
  3. The Upside of Anger, Benefits of constructive anger, 2015, http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/03/the-upside-of-anger-6-psychological-benefits-of-getting-mad.php

Expectation vs. Performance

performanceThe Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “expectation” as “a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen”; It defines “performance” as “the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request; something accomplished.” We have expectations in every aspect of life: for our kids, our marriages, our careers. In some areas, we set our own expectations; in others, they are set for us.

Our performance shows whether or not we fulfilled those expectations. For example, if you are asked to write a report by a specific deadline, you will be expected to fulfill this. The level of your performance may be determined by the quality of the report as well as your timeliness and accuracy. In general, if we meet all of the expectations we create for ourselves or are given, we might consider ourselves “successful.”

Expectation Mindset

expectationsThe expectations that you set for yourself and your life can be determined by your overall attitude. If you are an optimistic person, you will most likely have high expectations regarding the outcome of your life, career, and family. You imagine everyone at his best. If you are a pessimist, you might have low expectations or have doubts that you can fulfill expectations in those areas, reasoning that you will be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better than expected but prepared if it does not. These views are not necessarily wrong or right, just different.

Expectation Level

  1. High Expectations. Setting high expectations for yourself or for others can provide great motivation to perform. In sports, if a coach puts great trust in you and expects you to be a team leader, you will be very motivated to prove to him that you are capable of doing so. At work, setting high expectations makes you work harder to achieve that goal. However, setting your sights too high can be detrimental to your success. If the bar is set too high and you are not able to reach it, you may feel disappointment or inadequacy. You might feel embarrassed if you do not perform the way that you were expected to.
  2. Low Expectations. If your expectations are too low, the performance might be too easy. If there is no challenge, then there may be nothing to work for. Instead of having a drive to succeed, you may get comfortable in your position and reach a plateau.
  3. Realistic Expectations. Set expectations for yourself and others that you know will be motivational and require hard work but that will also be achievable. This will give you something to work for and then provide great satisfaction when you accomplish it.

Expectation Failure

We have all failed at something or fallen short of the expectations. Instead of letting this get you down or giving up, use it as motivation to improve or change what is needed to perform the way you are expected to.

Whether your performance succeeds your expectations or not, it’s important to keep in mind success is reached through trial and error. In all aspects of your performance, try-try-again!

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

###

Sources:

  1. Expectation, Definition, 2015, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectation
  2. Performance, Definition, 2015, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/performance
  3. High Hopes and Happy Homes, Mindset of Expectations, 2004, http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep04/highhopes.aspx

 

dr_haggerty

Mack Haggerty, Psy.D., LCPC

dr_haggertyDr. Mack Haggerty has an extensive and varied background in human behavior and clinical intervention and assessment.  He obtained his master’s degree in counseling while on active duty in the United States Navy at Naval Station Charleston, South Carolina in 1990.  Since then, he has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and obtained his Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.  Dr. Haggerty completed his internship with the Central Arkansas Veteran’s Healthcare System in Little Rock, Arkansas.Dr. Haggerty’s specialties and professional interests include the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders – including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – depressive disorders, anger management, ethical issues in clinical psychology, veteran’s issues, couples’ therapy, autism spectrum disorder, childhood fluency disorders, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Dr. Haggerty utilizes a variety of treatment modalities to help his clients, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, rational-emotive therapy, motivational counseling, and client-centered interventions.  His sense of humor and pragmatic style are designed to put his clients at ease and utilize their perhaps unknown resources.

A lifelong aviation and classic vintage automobile enthusiast, Dr. Haggerty resides in the Northwest Suburbs with his wife and twin boys.

Mark Parisi

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical PsychologistDr. Mark Parisi is Licensed as a Clinical Psychologist In Illinois and Florida.

He earned his Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1991. Dr. Parisi went on to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology In 1995.

He is also certified as a Professional Mediator through the Association of Conflict Resolution Institute. Dr. Parisi finished his internship and residency while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1995 – 1998 and specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychology, Community Mental Health, and Traumatic Stress Disorders.  He deployed overseas to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, in 1997 with the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army as part of Task Force 2-87.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his active duty military service in 1998. Dr. Parisi has worked post-residency since 1998 and opened his practice in the Chicagoland area back in 2000.

He has served as a consultant to schools and businesses on a wide variety of mental health topics.  As a child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has worked as a child advocate, as a consultant for Head Start, and as a pediatric evaluation and treatment expert.  He has highly specialized training in disruptive behavior disorders of childhood under Drs. Russell Barkley and Robert Brooks.

At his clinic, Dr. Parisi maintains a broad-based practice serving children as young as three years old and adults well into their golden years.  He provides individual, group, family, and couples’ therapy utilizing a Cognitive-Behavioral / Solution-Focused treatment style.  In his work as an I/O Psychologist, Dr. Parisi has performed personnel selection and job analysis for both military and civilian agencies.

In addition to his work as child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has a sub-specialty in geriatrics and has worked tirelessly as a champion for mental health issues among the elderly and chronic mentally ill.  He serves as a consultant to several area nursing homes and long term care facilities and designs state-of-the-art programs tailored to the unique needs of skilled nursing facilities around Metro Chicagoland.

Dr. Parisi grew up in Park Ridge.  He is married and lives with his family in Skokie where he enjoys family time, attending movies and plays, reading, hiking, and running.  Dr. Parisi is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Skokie Valley Rotary Club.  He presently serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserves and is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.