Tag: declutter the mind

Finding Peace Among the Chaos: Strategies for Mental Well-Being in NYC

New York City, with its dazzling skyline and relentless pace, offers an exhilarating backdrop for life’s adventures. However, the very elements that make NYC iconic can also pose unique challenges to mental well-being. The constant hustle, coupled with the city’s high cost of living and competitive environment, can lead to stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. As a psychotherapy private practice based in the heart of this bustling metropolis, we understand the complexities of maintaining mental health in such a dynamic setting. In this post, we’ll explore strategies for building resilience and fostering a sense of inner peace amidst the city’s ceaseless rhythm.

Nurturing Connections

In a city of millions, it’s paradoxical yet common to feel alone. Cultivating meaningful relationships is crucial for emotional support and can act as a buffer against the stressors of city life. Whether it’s joining local community groups, engaging in social activities that align with your interests, or simply making an effort to connect more deeply with friends or colleagues, building your social network can provide a sense of belonging and support.

Finding Nature’s Respite

New York City is dotted with green oases that offer a tranquil escape from urban intensity. Regular visits to parks like Central Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or the lesser-known havens in your neighborhood can provide a necessary breather and reconnect you with the calming influence of nature. Engaging in mindful practices like meditation or yoga in these natural settings can amplify the restorative effects.

Establishing Work-Life Boundaries

The city’s work-centric culture often blurs the lines between professional and personal life, leading to burnout. Establishing clear boundaries is essential for mental health. This might mean setting strict working hours, unplugging from digital devices post-work, or dedicating time to hobbies and interests outside of your job. Remember, productivity also includes taking care of your mental and emotional well-being.

Embracing Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Practicing mindfulness can help anchor you in the present moment, reducing the overwhelm that comes from the city’s fast pace. Pair this with self-compassion, especially during tougher times, to foster resilience. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend, acknowledging that it’s okay to not always have everything figured out.

Seeking Professional Support

Sometimes, the most effective strategy is to seek guidance from mental health professionals who can provide personalized coping strategies and therapeutic interventions. Whether it’s through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or other modalities, professional support can be a cornerstone in building a healthier, more resilient self.

In conclusion, while NYC’s vibrant energy is invigorating, it’s vital to prioritize mental health amidst the hustle. By nurturing connections, seeking nature’s solace, setting clear boundaries, practicing mindfulness, and perhaps most importantly, seeking professional support when needed, we can navigate the complexities of city life with resilience and grace. Remember, taking care of your mental health is not just about surviving in the city but thriving in it.

Written by: Kat Heidelberger, LMSW

5 Techniques to Conquer Anxiety and Realign with Joy

There is no denying the intensity of the moment. The constant barrage of stimulation from all directions can be astounding, and it is very easy to be consumed by overwhelming anxiety. Here are 5 ways to pause and address your anxiety, so that you can restore calm and refocus on joy:

  1. STOP! Check in with yourself. Often we are so used to living with some level of anxiety and overwhelm that we aren’t fully conscious of it. We just know that we feel off. Sometimes our anxiety is very pronounced and we are quite aware of its presence. Yet, there are many times that our anxiety is less obvious and sort of lingering close by, causing us to feel discomfort. Pausing for a moment to check in with ourselves and explicitly asking, “what exactly am I anxious about?” can help us get to the root of our discomfort. 
  1. Establish the core emotion underneath the anxiety. There are 7 core emotions: sadness, fear, anger, disgust, joy, excitement and sexual excitement.  Anxiety is considered a secondary emotion that is often a response to feeling a core emotion. Sometimes our brains will use anxiety to protect us from feeling an emotion we find threatening. For example, experiencing anxiety because you are angry. Even positive experiences can cause us to feel anxious. For instance, being anxious after getting a new job due to fears about having to deliver. Whenever we feel uneasy because of anxiety, it’s best that we dig deeper and address what is really going on for us. 
  1. Go in. Sometimes getting to that core emotion requires an extended analysis of our inner world. Being inundated all day, every day with notifications, ads, news, messaging and so on can create a lot of mental noise for us. Meditation is one way that we can pause and tune into ourselves. Journaling is also an effective way to be with and observe our thoughts. Both journaling and meditation are great ways to slow down and notice those thoughts that have us on edge. Noticing the narratives on autoplay in our mind gives us a chance to confront them and perhaps get rid of them. Journaling and meditation can help us become aware of the stories we live with. This awareness makes it easier to notice things like when our inner saboteur is talking to us. We can then tell it ‘beat it’ quicker.
  1. Get out. On the other hand, it may be helpful to get out of our heads by connecting with another person. Therapy is one of the most effective ways to get back into the real world. Being with someone we feel safe and comfortable with can be very soothing. Speaking to someone else is a great way to get away from “the committee” in your mind. The committee being the various threatening thoughts and voices whirling around in our heads, often spewing antagonistic messages and/or bad advice. 
  1. Work it out. Exercise can be great for reducing our anxiety. Working out releases feel-good endorphins in our brain. Having a gym membership in conjunction with seeing a therapist can enhance our overall sense of well being. A great gym with a good group fitness schedule offers many options for us to find the class that puts us in a state of flow. Being in a flow state allows us to be in the moment and puts space between our minds and those nagging thoughts. 

Combining meditation, fitness, and therapy creates a wellness regimen that is holistic. The anxiety produced by these uncertain times doesn’t stand a chance against a complete mental, physical, and spiritual self care regimen. Just remember that the first step to rejuvenation is to pause and stop anxiety in its tracks. 

Written by Antonio Thomas, MSW

How to Cope with Climate Change Anxiety

With Canadian wildfires causing smoke-filled skies in NYC—it’s no wonder many of us are experiencing anxiety around our changing world. Whether we have experienced these events first hand or our screens were filled with images of them, as we process particularly extreme climate change events, it is completely understandable to feel a level of fear or anxiety. Here are some things that can help:  

First, recognize that you are not alone if you are experiencing some version of these feelings. 

Climate change is happening globally and we are all being impacted, but we all have different methods of dealing with these monumental events and changes we are witnessing. It’s important to find safe people with which you can process your feelings. This will help you feel less isolated in your experience, and gain new perspectives on how those around you are coping. 

Secondly, take action! 

With such an expansive global issue, it is easy to feel like there is nothing you can do within your own power to help. However, there are many changes we can make on an individual and local level to be a part of the effort for sustainability. This could look like reducing waste on a daily basis, or joining a local advocacy group. This will break the larger issue into smaller pieces, allowing you to focus on what is within your control and lessening the feelings of powerlessness. 

Third, unplug. 

While it is important to stay informed, it is also easy to feel consumed by climate change related events on the news. This constant exposure can heighten your anxiety and leave you in a state of fight-or-flight. Try creating time limits for yourself on consuming this type of media, or schedule breaks to center yourself. 

Last, remember to always take care of yourself. 

When our focus is on such a collective issue, it’s easy to forget to check in with yourself. Listen to the way your thoughts and emotions are responding to our changing environment, and find ways to practice self care and cultivate joy on a daily basis. 

If this resonates with you, you are not alone! Reach out to one of our expert therapists to help manage these difficult feelings and find relief today.

Written by Laura Dupper

Refresh Your Routine: Simple Changes You Can Make to Boost Your Mental Health

Adding even more steps to your routine when your schedule is already slammed might seem antithetical to addressing your mental health. After all, when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed and you have a million things to take care of, why not save time by cutting out self-care? Spending even 15 minutes a day incorporating mental health hygiene into your routine can make drastic improvements to the rest of your day; it might even help you identify extra time and space that you didn’t realize you had. It can be difficult to remember to prioritize yourself, especially when things get busy. Here are a few simple changes you can make to boost your mental health hygiene:

  1. Hydrate: dehydration has been shown to negatively impact cognitive function. Being intentional about rehydrating first thing in the morning and throughout the day can improve cognition, low mood, irritability and confusion.
  1. Check in with yourself: whether it’s meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, yoga, or a mindfulness app – take 10 minutes out of your day to slow down and check in with yourself. Creating a space that is designed to prioritize YOU can reduce feelings of stress and burnout.
  1. Take inventory: make a list of your strengths, your supports, the things you’re proud of, etc. and keep it somewhere handy so you can pull it up whenever you might need a helpful reminder of the internal and external resources you already have available to you. 
  1. Get some sunlight: This isn’t easily accessible for everyone. But research has shown that sunlight increases serotonin and boosts your mood, helping you to feel calmer and more focused. If you don’t live in a place that gets a lot of sun, consider investing in a SAD lamp.
  1. Cut back on social media: there have been countless studies detailing the adverse effects of social media on mental health. Some studies show that more time on social media increases the risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness and low self-confidence. It’s easy to get sucked into doom scrolling, but limiting the amount of time you spend on social media apps can help boost your mental health – ironically, there’s an app for that.
  1. Take a walk: it’s easy to get sucked into a busy work day and find that hours have passed without you having ever gotten up from your desk, or making it outside. Walking has been shown to help manage and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you’re having a stressful moment at work, taking a walk removes you from the situation long enough to widen your perspective. 
  1. Turn your phone off at night: The National Sleep Foundation says that people should stop watching television or using screens for at least 30 minutes before bed. Read more about the importance of sleep here

Yes, these simple changes can help you get on track to addressing your mental health, but sunlight and a hot girl walk aren’t going to solve the deeper issues. If you’re feeling continually down, burnt out, anxious, or overwhelmed, give yourself permission to seek additional support – whatever that looks like for you.

By Kenna Alemania

Decluttering Your Mind: Tips for Letting Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Our minds have a way of filling up quickly. New stressors build upon old ones, and soon after that, our brains can feel like quicksand that swallows negative thoughts and emotions into one big pit. We often have the urge to push negative thoughts or emotions away, letting them fall into the depths of the quicksand. These thoughts can clutter up your brain, leaving less room for relaxation and calm. 

Cue in the IMPROVE skill from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) which comes from the distress tolerance toolkit. All skills are grounded in mindfulness to approach each moment presently. IMPROVE is intended to reframe the immediate moment when we are feeling overwhelmed by replacing the moment with more positive acts. As with most DBT skills, IMPROVE is an acronym for Imagery, Meaning, Prayer, Relaxation, One, Vacation, and Encouragement. 


Close your eyes, start taking deep breaths, and begin to imagine a scene or place that makes you feel safe. This could be the beach, a forest, or even your childhood bedroom. Get really detailed in the imagery so it feels like you are in this place. If this is your childhood bedroom, imagine the posters on your wall, the smell of your cherished body spray, or the feeling of the furry rug you had on the floor. Envelop your senses in the space you chose to imagine. The goal is to IMPROVE the moment with your safe place. 


Improve your moment with meaning by thinking about your purpose. How do you make meaning of this moment in your life? Sometimes we get lost in our daily activities and it can feel like we are on autopilot. Stop to think about the meaning or purpose behind your day to day routine.


Sometimes giving up our control to a higher power can offer us space to declutter our thoughts and emotions. This doesn’t have to tie to religion or spirituality. We can pray to anything and ask for strength during tough moments. Prayer can also be a time of self-reflection. 


Think about your preferred methods of relaxation. Improve the moment by doing an activity or reserving time for yourself. Take a hot bath (and, yes, include the bubbles), or schedule a massage. Reserve some time to watch your favorite show or sit in the park to observe your surroundings. 


Focus on one thing in the moment in front of you. What is one thing you can improve at this moment? Can you change your environment? Look at your surroundings and see if there is something that is causing your thoughts or emotions to wander. 


Plan a vacation from adulting. Improve the moment by going to the beach, taking a walk in nature, or visiting friends or family. Take a break from the decision-making and truly enjoy the moment. 


Self-encouragement can IMPROVE the moment because it comes from within. Repeat positive affirmations that motivate and empower you. It can be helpful to have a list of affirmations in your phone to reflect back on. If our negative thoughts or emotions come from the past, saying, “My past does reflect on the person I am today,” or “Those are thoughts from my past and do not hold truth today” can provide us mental space. If these thoughts are about the future, saying, “I am focusing my energy on the now” or “I am living presently and taking it day by day” will refocus you on the present moment. 

Next time you are having negative thoughts or emotions just remember to IMPROVE the moment. It is okay to have negative thoughts or emotions, but when we are feeling cluttered we can take time to acknowledge where our thoughts are coming from, and learn to reframe the moments from there.

Written by Emma Novick, LMSW



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