Welcome to THE DIFY Wellness & MFT Counseling blog

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute professional medical advice. Please consult with a qualified mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Rebuilding Trust After Cheating (click to open)

The aftermath of cheating leaves a gaping hole in a relationship, filled with pain, anger, and shattered trust. Rebuilding that trust may seem impossible, but with honesty, effort, and genuine commitment, it is possible to emerge stronger. However, it's a marathon, not a sprint, requiring patience, open communication, and professional guidance if needed.

The Road to Redemption: For the partner who betrayed trust, the journey begins with taking full responsibility. Apologies are essential, but true remorse requires action. This means complete transparency, ending all contact with the other person, and actively demonstrating a commitment to change. Seeking individual therapy to address underlying issues contributing to the betrayal can also be crucial.

For the betrayed partner, healing starts with acknowledging your emotions. Bottling up anger or sadness will only hinder progress. Talk to a trusted friend, therapist, or support group. Remember, your feelings are valid.

Laying the Groundwork: Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of rebuilding trust. Both partners must be willing to share their thoughts, feelings and needs openly and honestly, even if it's uncomfortable. Active listening, without judgment or interruption, is vital.

Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent effort. Small, concrete steps like increased communication, spending quality time together, and honoring commitments can gradually rebuild the foundation. Don't expect instant results, and be prepared for setbacks.

Boundaries and Transparency: Setting clear and mutually agreed-upon boundaries around communication, social media, and physical interactions can provide a sense of security and safety. Additionally, maintaining transparency, like sharing passwords or locations, can help rebuild trust gradually.

Professional Support: Couples therapy can be an invaluable resource in navigating the complex emotions and communication challenges faced during this process. A therapist can provide neutral guidance, facilitate healthy communication, and offer tools and strategies for rebuilding trust and intimacy.

Remember: The decision to stay and rebuild is a personal one. It requires immense courage, vulnerability, and commitment from both partners. If you choose to try, approach it with realistic expectations, open communication, and a willingness to put in the hard work.

What is Bipolar?  (click to open)

Navigating the Rollercoaster: Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Imagine life as a roller coaster, but instead of smooth climbs and thrilling descents, you experience extreme highs and lows that seem unpredictable and out of control. This is the reality for many individuals living with bipolar disorder, a complex mental health condition marked by intense shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels.

Beyond "Manic Depression":

For decades, bipolar disorder was known as "manic depression," emphasizing only the extreme highs (mania) and neglecting the equally challenging depressive episodes. However, the condition encompasses a spectrum of experiences, including hypomania (a milder form of mania) and mixed states where manic and depressive symptoms occur simultaneously.

Understanding the Mood Swings:

Mania can manifest as euphoric feelings, racing thoughts, increased talkativeness, decreased need for sleep, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Conversely, depression brings overwhelming sadness, loss of interest, fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide. These episodes can last for days, weeks, or even months, significantly impacting personal and professional life.

Types of Bipolar Disorder:

Causes and Treatment:

While the exact cause of bipolar disorder remains unknown, a combination of genetic and environmental factors is likely at play. Fortunately, effective treatments exist, including medication, psychotherapy (particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy), and lifestyle changes like maintaining a regular sleep schedule and avoiding stress triggers.

Living with Hope:

Bipolar disorder can be a challenging journey, but it's crucial to remember that it's not a life sentence. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling lives.

Here are some key takeaways:

Additional Resources:

If you or someone you know is experiencing mood swings or suspecting bipolar disorder, please reach out to a mental health professional for help and support. Remember, you are not alone.

ADHD and Social Anxiety  (click to open)

Feeling Overwhelmed and Misunderstood? You're Not Alone: Managing ADHD and Social Anxiety

Do you ever feel like your brain operates on fast-forward while the world seems on pause? Does the thought of social gatherings fill you with a mix of excitement and crippling anxiety? If so, you might be juggling the dynamic duo of ADHD and social anxiety.

Understanding the Connection:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions worldwide, characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. While commonly diagnosed in childhood, it often persists into adulthood. Social anxiety, on the other hand, is the intense fear of social situations due to the perceived scrutiny of others. This can lead to avoidance, isolation, and significant distress.

Interestingly, research suggests a strong link between these two conditions. People with ADHD are more likely to experience social anxiety, and vice versa. This overlap can create a complex set of challenges, leaving individuals feeling misunderstood and overwhelmed.

Breaking the Cycle:

The good news is that both ADHD and social anxiety are treatable! Here are some key strategies:

Remember: You are not defined by your diagnoses. With the right support and proactive strategies, you can learn to manage your ADHD and social anxiety, build fulfilling relationships, and thrive in all areas of life.

Additional Resources:

Don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for personalized guidance and support.

Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Take the first step towards a happier and more fulfilling life!

Binge Eating  (click to open)

Binge eating is characterized by the consumption of large quantities of food in a short period, often accompanied by a sense of loss of control and significant distress. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States and can have profound psychological and physical consequences. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my approach to understanding and treating binge eating is multifaceted, drawing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),

 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis.

From a CBT standpoint, binge eating is seen as an interplay between negative self-perceptions, dysfunctional thoughts about food and body image, and maladaptive eating behaviors. 

Individuals may binge eat in response to emotional distress, using food as a coping mechanism to manage uncomfortable feelings (Grilo et al., 2011). CBT aims to help individuals identify and challenge these negative thought patterns, develop healthier coping strategies, and implement behavioral changes to establish regular eating patterns.

DBT, which emphasizes emotion regulation and mindfulness, is particularly effective for individuals who binge eat in response to intense emotional states. By learning DBT skills, clients can gain greater control over their impulses, become more mindful of their eating habits, and tolerate distress without turning to food for emotional comfort (Safer et al., 2010).

Humanistic therapy approaches binge eating by fostering a non-judgmental, empathetic environment where clients can explore their relationship with food and their bodies. This modality emphasizes self-acceptance and personal growth, encouraging individuals to find intrinsic motivation for change and to understand the emotional needs they attempt to meet through binge eating.

Psychoanalysis delves into the unconscious motivations and early life experiences that may contribute to binge eating behaviors. It posits that unresolved conflicts and internalized feelings can manifest in disordered eating as a way to manage anxiety or other psychological issues. Through psychoanalytic therapy, clients can uncover and work through these deeper emotional underpinnings, leading to more sustainable change.

Binge eating is not just about food; it is often a symptom of underlying emotional turmoil. It can be associated with feelings of shame, guilt, or loneliness, and it frequently co-occurs with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. The act of binge eating can lead to a vicious cycle where the individual eats to suppress negative emotions, but the act of binge eating itself causes more negative emotions, thus perpetuating the cycle.

In treatment, it is essential to address the complex emotional landscape that accompanies binge eating. This involves working with clients to improve their self-esteem, build healthier coping mechanisms, and repair their relationship with food. Additionally, addressing the dynamics within the family system is crucial, as family members can play a supportive role in the recovery process.

The consequences of binge eating extend beyond the psychological impact; it can also lead to severe health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is critical to approach treatment holistically, often collaborating with dietitians, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care.

In conclusion, binge eating is a multifactorial disorder that requires an integrated therapeutic approach. Through CBT, DBT, Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis, therapists can help clients address the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and unconscious factors contributing to binge eating, facilitating a path toward recovery and a healthier relationship with food and self.


Grilo, C. M., Masheb, R. M., & Wilson, G. T. (2011). A randomized controlled comparison of guided self-help cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral weight loss for binge eating disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49(11), 729-735. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2011.07.007

Safer, D. L., Telch, C. F., & Chen, E. Y. (2010). Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia. Guilford Press.

Dreams (click to open)

Dreams can be a window into the subconscious, a reflection of our waking thoughts and emotions, or simply a byproduct of our brain's nightly processing. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I draw from various therapeutic modalities to help clients explore the meanings of their dreams and how they relate to their lived experiences and mental health.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) does not typically focus on dream interpretation; instead, it examines how beliefs and attitudes during waking life influence emotions and behaviors. However, in the context of dreams, CBT can be used to address distressing dreams or nightmares that might be impacting sleep quality and contributing to anxiety or depressive symptoms during the day. For instance, through CBT, clients can learn to rewrite the narratives of nightmares while awake, reducing their emotional impact (Krakow & Zadra, 2010).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), rooted in mindfulness, encourages clients to observe and describe their thoughts nonjudgmentally—this can be applied to dreams. DBT's distress tolerance and emotion regulation skills can help clients manage any intense feelings that dreams might evoke and can guide them to find meaning or messages in their dreams that relate to their emotional state.

Humanistic therapy approaches dream interpretation as a personal and subjective experience. It encourages clients to reflect on their dreams as expressions of their authentic selves and to explore the feelings and insights that emerge from them. Dreams can be seen as a form of self-communication—a way of understanding inner conflicts, desires, and self-actualization.

Psychoanalysis, however, places significant emphasis on the meaning of dreams. Freudian theory posits that dreams are a manifestation of unconscious desires and conflicts. Dreams are a way to express repressed thoughts symbolically (Freud, 1900). Jungian analysis extends this idea, viewing dreams as messages to the dreamer about ignored or unknown parts of the self. By examining the symbols and themes in dreams, psychoanalysis can uncover insights into the individual's psyche, potentially revealing hidden emotional issues or internal conflicts.

In my practice, when clients ask, "What does my dream mean?" I approach the question by integrating these perspectives. The potential for a dream to be a meaningful narrative that reflects their current life situations, emotional well-being, and relational dynamics. We explore the content of the dream and any associated emotions, looking for patterns or themes that may relate to their waking life. We also consider the physiological and psychological functions of dreaming, such as memory consolidation and emotional regulation.

The goal is not necessarily to find a definitive "meaning" for a dream but to use the dream as a starting point for understanding the client's inner world. Dreams can act as catalysts for discussion in therapy sessions, offering avenues to explore feelings and thoughts that the client may not be fully conscious of during their waking life.

In conclusion, while the question "What does my dream mean?" can be complex, it opens up a rich opportunity for exploration in therapy. Whether a dream reflects daily stress, unresolved conflict, or a more profound emotional undercurrent, understanding it requires a nuanced and personalized approach.

Through CBT, DBT, Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis, we can offer clients a comprehensive framework to explore their dreams and what they might signify about their mental and emotional state.


Freud, S. (1900). The Interpretation of Dreams. Sigmund Freud.

Krakow, B., & Zadra, A. (2010). Imagery rehearsal therapy: principles and practice. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 5(2), 289-298. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsmc.2010.01.004

Sleep Hygiene (click to open)

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I approach the topic of good sleep hygiene within the broader context of overall well-being. Sleep is fundamental to physical health, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning. Good sleep hygiene refers to the practices that contribute to quality and restorative sleep, essential in maintaining mental health and enhancing the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis.

CBT, mainly when specialized for insomnia (CBT-I), provides a structured approach to improving sleep hygiene. It emphasizes the importance of establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a bedtime routine that signals to the brain that it's time to wind down (Harvard Medical School, 2019). This might include reading, taking a warm bath, or meditative practices. CBT also addresses cognitive processes that can interfere with sleep, such as worrying or ruminating in bed, and helps clients develop strategies to manage these thoughts.

DBT incorporates mindfulness and distress tolerance skills, which can be vital for those whose sleep is disrupted by anxiety or overwhelming emotions. Mindfulness techniques can help disengage from the day's stressors and settle into a restful state conducive to sleep. Distress tolerance tools can be used if one wakes up in the middle of the night, enabling a return to sleep without exacerbating wakefulness through stress and anxiety.

From a Humanistic perspective, good sleep hygiene is about aligning one's lifestyle with one's natural rhythms and needs. It encourages self-care and listening to the body's signals for rest. Humanistic therapy validates the client's experiences of sleep difficulties and empowers them to create a sleep environment and routine that reflects their preferences and values.

Psychoanalysis can provide insight into unconscious conflicts or anxieties that may manifest as sleep disturbances. Exploring dreams and the underlying content of sleep-related anxieties can be part of a comprehensive strategy to improve sleep. For instance, addressing unresolved issues that may lead to nightmares can contribute to better sleep quality.

Good sleep hygiene practices include maintaining a cool, quiet, and comfortable environment. Limiting exposure to screens and blue light before bedtime is recommended due to their potential to disrupt the circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin production, which can delay sleep onset (Gruber & Cassoff, 2014). Nutrition also plays a role; avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and heavy meals before bedtime can prevent sleep disturbances.

Regular physical activity is beneficial but should be done reasonably, as it can be stimulating. Conversely, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or gentle yoga can promote sleepiness.

In my therapeutic practice, we often explore how relationship dynamics and family stressors impact sleep. Conversations and interventions may involve setting boundaries around bedtime or addressing co-sleeping arrangements that interfere with sleep.

In conclusion, good sleep hygiene is a multifaceted and personalized behavior promoting restful and restorative sleep. As a therapist, I help clients integrate these practices within the context of their therapeutic goals, recognizing that sleep is an integral part of the healing process and overall mental health.


Gruber, R., & Cassoff, J. (2014). The interplay between sleep and emotion regulation: conceptual framework empirical evidence and future directions. Current Psychiatry Reports, 16(11), 500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-014-0500-x

Harvard Medical School. (2019). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Can Prolong Your Sleep. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-insomnia-can-prolong-your-sleep-2019012415808

Anxiety and the Brain (click to open)

Anxiety is not just a state of mind; it is a physiological condition that has profound effects on the brain. Understanding the interplay between anxiety and brain function is crucial in therapeutic practices. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I approach anxiety treatment by integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis to provide a comprehensive framework for healing.

Anxiety triggers a cascade of changes in the brain, primarily activating the amygdala, the brain's alarm system, and the hippocampus, which is associated with memory (Shin & Liberzon, 2010). When the amygdala senses a threat—real or perceived—it responds by releasing stress hormones like cortisol, preparing the body for a fight-or-flight response. This evolutionary mechanism is beneficial in actual danger, but with anxiety disorders, this response can become a maladaptive, chronic reaction to everyday stressors or internal fears.

From a CBT perspective, anxiety can lead to a feedback loop of negative thinking. The prefrontal cortex, responsible for higher-level cognitive functions, becomes overactive with worry, leading to catastrophic thinking patterns. CBT works by identifying and restructuring these negative thoughts and beliefs, aiming to alter the maladaptive neural pathways that have been reinforced by repeated anxious thoughts (Beck, 2011).

DBT incorporates mindfulness and emotion regulation strategies to mitigate the overactivation of the stress response system. Through DBT, clients learn to recognize the bodily sensations and thoughts associated with anxiety and develop skills to calm the nervous system, thus affecting the brain's response to anxiety-provoking stimuli.

Humanistic therapy contributes to our understanding by emphasizing the subjective experience of anxiety. It posits that anxiety can stem from a disconnection from one's true self or incongruence in self-perception. By providing a supportive environment where clients can explore their authentic feelings and thoughts without judgment, we can address the emotional turmoil that contributes to their anxiety.

Psychoanalysis delves into the unconscious mind's role in anxiety. It suggests that unresolved conflicts and repressed emotions can manifest as anxiety symptoms. Psychoanalytic therapy can help alleviate the brain's overstimulation due to unresolved internal conflicts by bringing these unconscious processes to awareness.

Anxiety's impact on the brain is not just limited to emotional dysregulation; it can also affect cognitive functions. Chronic anxiety has been shown to impair the brain's ability to make decisions and can lead to a reduction in the brain's plasticity, affecting learning and adaptation (Arnsten, 2009).

In the therapeutic setting, understanding the neural underpinnings of anxiety allows for targeted interventions that address both the psychological and physiological aspects of the condition. By combining the cognitive restructuring of CBT, the mindfulness and emotional regulation of DBT, the empathetic and client-centered approach of humanistic therapy, and the depth of psychoanalysis, therapists can offer holistic and effective treatment for anxiety.

In conclusion, anxiety has a significant impact on brain function, affecting areas involved in stress response, cognition, and emotional regulation. A comprehensive therapeutic approach that considers the multifaceted nature of anxiety can facilitate not only psychological but also neurological recovery, helping clients reshape their brains toward healthier functioning and resilience.


Arnsten, A. F. T. (2009). Stress signaling pathways impair prefrontal cortex structure and function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 410–422. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2648

Shin, L. M., & Liberzon, I. (2010). The neurocircuitry of fear, stress, and anxiety disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(1), 169–191. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2009.83

Body Dysmorphia (click to open)

Body Dysmorphia, also known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), is a mental health condition characterized by an obsessive focus on perceived flaws in one's physical appearance, which are often unnoticeable to others. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my approach to understanding and treating BDD is rooted in integrating various therapeutic models, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Humanistic therapy, and Psychoanalysis.

From a CBT perspective, Body Dysmorphia is viewed through the lens of distorted thinking patterns. Individuals with BDD often engage in negative self-talk and catastrophic predictions about their appearance, leading to significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. CBT aims to help individuals identify and challenge these cognitive distortions, replacing them with more balanced and constructive thought processes.

In CBT, we work with clients to address the behaviors that reinforce BDD, such as excessive mirror checking, grooming, or seeking reassurance. By gradually confronting and reducing these behaviors, clients can decrease the intensity of their preoccupations and the anxiety associated with them.

DBT complements CBT by emphasizing emotional regulation and mindfulness. Clients with BDD frequently experience intense emotions and may resort to maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or self-harm. DBT helps clients develop skills to tolerate distress, regulate emotions, and remain present, reducing the impulsive actions that can accompany BDD.

The humanistic approach in therapy provides a compassionate framework for clients to explore their feelings about their bodies. It centers on empathy, unconditional positive regard, and authenticity in the therapeutic relationship. This environment allows clients to delve into their experiences without fear of judgment, fostering self-acceptance and a more compassionate self-view.

Psychoanalysis contributes a deeper exploration of the unconscious factors that may contribute to BDD. It posits that unresolved conflicts, often stemming from early life experiences, may manifest as preoccupations with body image. Through psychoanalytic therapy, clients can uncover the historical roots of their distress, understand the symbolic meanings of their body concerns, and work through underlying emotional pain.

Body Dysmorphia often coexists with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depression, or eating disorders. It can lead to social isolation, relationship difficulties, and a diminished quality of life. The obsessive nature of the disorder can compel individuals to seek numerous cosmetic procedures, which typically do not lead to relief from their concerns.

As a therapist, it is crucial to approach BDD with a holistic and individualized treatment plan. This may involve psychoeducation about the disorder, helping clients develop healthier body image perspectives, and building a toolkit of strategies to manage symptoms. Family therapy can also be beneficial, as family members often play a pivotal role in supporting the individual through their treatment journey.

In treating BDD, validating the client's experience is essential while gently guiding them toward a reality-based perception of their body. The goal is to help clients lead a fulfilling life, where self-worth is not solely determined by physical appearance but by a more integrative sense of self encompassing various aspects of their identity and capabilities.

In conclusion, Body Dysmorphia is a complex disorder that requires a nuanced and multifaceted therapeutic approach. By blending CBT, DBT, Humanistic principles, and Psychoanalytic insights, therapists can provide comprehensive treatment that addresses the cognitive, emotional, and deep-seated psychological aspects of BDD, ultimately leading to recovery and a more positive body image.

Adolescent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (click to open)

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my approach to treating Adolescent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves a multifaceted therapeutic model that incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), humanistic principles, and psychoanalytic techniques to foster comprehensive care and management of symptoms.

ADHD, prevalent among adolescents, often manifests in behaviors that require constant attention and can challenge one's ability to maintain a stable demeanor. While potentially disruptive, these behaviors can be effectively managed and mitigated through a combination of therapeutic strategies to improve cognitive and behavioral patterns.

CBT is a cornerstone in addressing the cognitive distortions and maladaptive behaviors associated with ADHD. It facilitates the development of skills to enhance concentration, reduce impulsivity, and improve social interactions. Through both individual and group settings, including family therapy, CBT empowers adolescents and their parents to transform negative habits and behaviors by understanding and reconfiguring thought processes that lead to ADHD symptoms.

DBT complements CBT by providing adolescents with tools for emotion regulation and distress tolerance, which is particularly useful in managing the intense emotions and impulsiveness that can accompany ADHD. Mindfulness practices within DBT are invaluable for increasing self-awareness and fostering a more present-focused approach to challenges.

The humanistic perspective is integral to my practice, emphasizing an empathetic and non-judgmental therapeutic environment. This approach validates the adolescent's experiences, promoting self-acceptance and bolstering self-esteem, which ADHD often impacts.

Psychoanalytic therapy offers a deeper exploration of the unconscious factors that may underlie ADHD behaviors, including family dynamics and past traumas. This insight-oriented therapy seeks to uncover and work through underlying psychological influences that contribute to the presentation of ADHD.

In managing ADHD during the receptive stage of adolescence, it is crucial to engage in a therapeutic process that is adaptable to the unique needs of the individual. The availability of diverse therapeutic options ensures we can tailor our approach to best support the adolescent's development and well-being.

In conclusion, ADHD in adolescence is a complex condition that benefits from a thorough and specialized approach. The integration of CBT, DBT, humanistic principles, and psychoanalytic therapy offers a robust framework for addressing the challenges of ADHD, paving the way for improved functioning and growth.


Amel, A. K., Amel, S. K., & Erfan, A. (2018). Effectiveness of parent-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, obesity, and self-esteem of overweight children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Advanced Biomedical Research, 7(73), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.4103/abr.abr_170_17

Yoga and Mental Health? (click to open)

Nowadays, many people have turned to yoga as their preferred exercise method – and the reason for that is pretty apparent! It is one of the best practices you can incorporate into your daily life. Once you start practicing yoga regularly, you will reap its benefits immediately!


Besides the physical benefits of being more active, slim, healthy, and happy, you will also start noticing a handful of psychological benefits! If you are thinking about starting your venture of practicing yoga and want to know how it can do wonders for your mental health, we have gathered some helpful information just for you.


Reduce stress and anxiety – first and foremost, if you are looking for a healthy outlet that can help you cope with the stress and anxiety of everyday life, doing yoga is a great starting point. Practicing this mindfulness exercise for 20 minutes, half an hour, or one hour can help you cope and eliminate all the negative energy that has passed through you during the day, helping you achieve inner peace. Developing a regular habit will also improve how you cope with stressful situations as they arise, and learn how to avoid them affecting your mood.


Keep depression at bay – another coping strategy for keeping your mental health in check is using yoga to keep the feeling of depression away. Yoga has proven to be a much better option than any other treatment or medication. It does not have any side effects that can harm you. You will notice the difference during your well-deserved self-care time.


Improve the quality of your sleep – if you feel like your mental health starts posing an issue to your overall sleep quality, then it’s time to involve some healthy habits in your day-to-day life. Long working hours, poor dietary plans, and the stress of daily responsibilities can disturb your slumber and make you feel weaker and less focused. Of course, yoga is here to get you back on track! You can use this practice as a coping strategy to improve your sleep quality so you can relax and enjoy your nights peacefully.


Promote healthy habits – but the incredible benefits of yoga are not limited to mental wellness only. Regular practice can lead you to make other lifestyle changes to improve your general well-being. Regular yoga practice can increase your likelihood of choosing healthier foods. It may also motivate you to start different types of physical activity, such as going to a gym or practicing sports.


Aside from these advantages, this ancient technique may also prove beneficial in people who are actively trying to lose weight, quit their unhealthy smoking habit, or who lack persistence in managing certain chronic diseases.


These are just a few ways how yoga positively affects your mental wellness. Start practicing yoga; it could improve overall mental health.

How Does Exercise Affect Your Mental Health? (click to open)

Regarding exercise, society often focuses only on the physical benefits it offers, overlooking the benefits it also provides your mental health. However, with the ability to improve both physical and mental health, exercise becomes a powerful tool for enhancing and supporting multiple aspects of your well-being.

The Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

Since many factors affect mental health, it makes sense that there are also various ways to address these concerns, with exercise being one of them. Not only that, but exercise improves mental health through more than one modality, with some of these approaches include:  

Reducing Loneliness

Exercise can be quite a social event, which can help those experiencing loneliness. 


Loneliness significantly impacts mental health, with reports showing that loneliness is associated with higher rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Loneliness is so detrimental to psychological and physical health that it is considered a significant health concern and can increase someone’s risk of severe medical conditions. 


Knowing this, the ability of exercise, especially group exercise classes, to allow like-minded people to gather together can help lessen loneliness and, thus, improve your health.


Releasing Chemicals

Chemicals are not always seen in a good light, but certain chemicals in the body called neurotransmitters are very important for your mental health, and the body releases them when exercising. These neurotransmitters include endorphins and endocannabinoids, which work together to give that mood boost that is common after exercising. 


Reducing Stress

Stress can significantly impact mental health, but exercise offers an outlet for relieving stress and tension, which makes it a powerful treatment for those with anxiety. Additionally, exercise offers those with anxiety something to focus on, which allows them to get out of their head for a little bit, interrupting the worries that might otherwise consume their thoughts.


Treating Mental Health Conditions

In some cases, exercise even has the potential to treat certain mental health conditions, with studies showing that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as medication does. This is because, beyond the release of endorphins that exercise produces, it also promotes longer-term effects in the brain, such as reduced inflammation, neural growth, and new activity patterns that encourage calmness and well-being. These changes can alter how the brain works, which can help with mental health conditions.


In addition to treating mental health conditions, exercise can also help those who manage their mental health prevent relapse, allowing them to continue living their life with good mental health.


Find Help for Your Mental Health

Beyond offering a distraction from whatever concern is plaguing you and bringing down your mental health, exercise also provides the ability to increase mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, combat loneliness, and alter pathways in the brain. All of these actions combine to produce immense mental health benefits.


While exercise is a powerful tool for improving mental health, not all mental health issues can be entirely managed and dissipated through exercise. Exercise can go a long way in helping, but you may need a therapist, such as Troy Mickle at DIFY Wellness, to help bridge that final gap and, indeed, find relief from your mental health condition.



What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? (click to open)

The word ADHD gets thrown around often, especially on TikTok. The algorithm has everyone thinking that we all have ADHD or, at least, some symptoms of this disorder.

ADHD is a neurotypical disorder commonly diagnosed in school-aged children due mainly to classroom disruptions, but in recent years adults are getting diagnosed later in life. It’s estimated that 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD1. Data also shows that it is more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls, but more research shows that girls present ADHD differently.

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it typically presents in a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that makes daily life difficult for those diagnosed.

You may ask yourself: What happened to attention deficit disorder (ADD)? Well, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5)—the diagnostic tool that most, if not all, mental health professionals use in their practices—removed the ADD diagnosis in 1994 and put everything under the umbrella of ADHD.

The DSM-5 now includes three subtypes of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominately hyperactive-impulsive, or combined type2.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

To be diagnosed with ADHD, an individual needs to be assessed by their pediatrician, family doctor, or mental health professional. There is no lab test to figure out if someone has ADHD. There are some self-report quizzes and tests online, but seeing a doctor is best for an actual diagnosis.

The DSM-5 breaks down ADHD symptoms into two categories: inattentive type and hyperactive/impulsive. To get an official diagnosis, symptoms and behavior must be present for over six months and persist in two settings (e.g., home or school).

If individuals are less than seventeen years old, six or more symptoms must be present; if individuals are over seventeen, then only five or more symptoms are needed for diagnosis3.

Here is some the criteria used when making an ADHD diagnosis:

Inattentive Type Symptoms

Hyperactive/Impulsive Type Symptoms

To be classed predominately inattentive, an individual will meet almost all inattentive criteria and no hyperactive/impulsive criterion. The opposite is true for the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type, and individuals will present with more hyperactive/impulsive criteria than inattentive. To meet the requirements for the combined type, individuals will meet both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive criteria3.

Adult ADHD

About 10 million adults have ADHD, but it usually shows up and is associated with depression and other mood disorders, and sometimes substance abuse. Often, adults with ADHD go underdiagnosed.

Here are some symptoms that can be seen in individuals with adult ADHD4:

Adults who discover they have ADHD later in life often were undiagnosed children or had such a mild case that parents and teachers overlooked it. A doctor or mental health professional may use standardized behavior rating scales or an ADHD checklist to make their diagnosis. These standardized tests will examine working memory, executive functioning, and visual, spatial, and reasoning skills.

Even with more adults discovering they have ADHD, many don’t know it. Some adults chalk it up to being disorganized or lazy or having a poor memory5.

ADHD in Girls and Women

Most ADHD research has focused on young boys and men, but a recent study has been coming out showing that girls and women present with ADHD very differently than their male counterparts. ADHD usually goes underdiagnosed or undiagnosed in females due to the inattentive type being more common.

Often girls with ADHD get diagnosed as adults. Research finds that girls internalize many symptoms that affect their sense of self and life management skills. Girls and women with ADHD often have chronic feelings of inadequacy and shame that are difficult to discuss.

This makes the outward expression of ADHD very subtle and can easily be misinterpreted as shy, introverted, and perfectionistic. Future research needs to explore why ADHD takes a more significant psychological toll on women and how it may be linked to internalized symptoms, hormone fluctuations, and the weight of societal pressures6.

Treatment & Medication

There are a few different approaches to treatment that can be effective for ADHD. These include one or more types of therapy and medication. If a parent is seeking treatment for their child, practitioners will often offer behavioral measures for them to use.

Medication is an essential component of treatment and is best discussed with a doctor. There are two types of classifications of ADHD medications: stimulant and non-stimulant medication.

Stimulant Medication

This class of medication is most prescribed to children and adults. They work by increasing the production of dopamine and norepinephrine—two important neurotransmitters affected by ADHD.

Where this type of medication would stimulate a neurotypical individual, they have a calming effect on people with ADHD. Stimulants help reduce hyperactivity and improve attention, concentration, and focus.

Common drug names are Adderall, Focalin, Concerta, and Ritalin.

Non-stimulant Medication

This class of medication is second in line when stimulant medication is ineffective or causes unwanted side effects. They work at increasing the availability of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps attention and memory.

In addition to medication, several types of therapy are beneficial in managing ADHD symptoms.

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a way to manage symptoms by coping with feelings, finding a way to better approach relationships with friends and family, and exploring behavior patterns.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is another very effective modality of therapy that is goal oriented. It aims to facilitate behavior change and negative thinking patterns and replace them with skills to manage ADHD symptoms. CBT helps improve time management and procrastination while managing irrational thought patterns that keep individuals from staying on task7.  



What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? (click to open)

A notable role in mental health is played by syndromes (sets of symptoms) grouped under the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), named after the Latin terms obsessio and compulsio. In a broad sense, the core of obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition in which the clinical picture is dominated by thoughts that arise against the patient's wishes but with an awareness of their morbidity (Chamberlain et al., 2021). Despite understanding the unnaturalness and illogical nature of the obsessions and states, the clients are powerless in their attempts to overcome them. Obsessive urges or ideas are recognized as alien to the personality but as if coming from within. Compulsive behaviors may be the performance of rituals designed to alleviate anxiety. Attempts to push away uninvited thoughts or urges may lead to a severe internal struggle accompanied by intense fear. Such attempts only worsen the patient's condition and increase distress. Eventually, to alleviate the stress, the patient engages in increasingly compulsive behaviors. 

OCD is often focused on specific themes - for example, an excessive fear of being infected by germs. To alleviate the anxiety of infection, you may obsessively wash your hands until your skin chafes. There are several theories about the causes of OCD. First, the biological approach suggests that OCD may result from changes in your body's natural chemistry or brain functions. The genetic theory states that OCD may have a genetic component, but the specific genes responsible for causing the disorder have yet to be identified. Finally, the learning theory states that compulsive fears and compulsive behavior can be learned by observing family members or gradually developed over time (Chamberlain et al., 2021). OCD usually starts in adolescence or young adulthood but can also manifest in childhood. Symptoms typically begin slowly and tend to change in severity throughout life. The types of obsessions and experiences may change over time and intensify during times of stress. OCD is usually seen as a lifelong disorder, and over the years, can have symptoms ranging from mild to almost disabling. It includes both obsessive and compulsive manifestations, but only one condition may predominate. 

The client may not realize that their obsessions and compulsive behaviors are excessive or unreasonable, but they are time-consuming and interfere with daily life and social relationships. Obsessive symptoms include recurrent, persistent, and unwanted thoughts, urges, or compulsive images and cause anxiety or distress (Chamberlain et al., 2021). Usually, the patient either tries to ignore them or get rid of the ideas through compulsive ritualistic activities. The most common types of obsessive behavior are fear of getting dirty, persistent mistrust, insecurity about everything, rigid organization of one's space and objects, and an increased craving for order. 

Compulsivity in OCD manifests itself in pathological cyclical behaviors that supposedly help reduce anxiety, but they provide only temporary relief. The most common types of compulsive behavior are frantic washing, cleaning, checking and rechecking the same things, counting, recounting, and compulsive mathematical activities in mind. The problems resulting from obsessive-compulsive disorder are most often related to social life:

One of the main goals of treating OCD, is to assist the client in managing the symptoms, thus improving their daily quality of life. 



Chamberlain, S. R., Solly, J. E., Hook, R. W., Vaghi, M. M., & Robbins, T.W. (2021). Cognitive Inflexibility in OCD and Related Disorders. In: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/7854_2020_198

Why Are Good Sleeping Habits Important for Your Mental and Physical Health? (click to open)

Life has become so busy that most of us don't have much time for sleep in our schedule. We work from day to night and then sleep the bare minimum, only to start the cycle again. In all this hustle, we have forgotten the importance of sleep and how good sleeping habits can affect our physical and mental health. Getting adequate downtime is of utmost importance for our health, and if you have a poor sleeping schedule, it will reflect in your performance.

Good sleeping habits mean sleeping the recommended duration every night and having a fixed morning and nighttime routine. It is advisable to sleep at least 8 hours every night and sleep at the same time every night, even on your day off. There are numerous benefits associated with a good sleeping routine, and you will see beneficial effects on your mental and physical health. Let’s have a look at some of them:

Heart Health

When we sleep at night, our blood pressure goes down, and our vessels relax, which reduces the workload on the heart. This way, a good night's sleep helps to reduce heart diseases and stroke, whereas a lack of sleep is actually associated with an increased risk of heart problems. Sleep is also crucial to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Increases Immunity

The midnight snooze is the perfect time for the body to repair and rejuvenate, and this extends to the immune system as well. Sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system, and research suggests that getting high-quality sleep increases the body’s immune response to foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. In contrast, people who suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from immunity problems.

Helps to Reduce Weight

Getting inadequate sleep at night is a significant risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Our appetite is controlled by leptin and ghrelin hormones, which are responsible for promoting satiety and regulating the appetite. A lack of sleep throws these hormones off-balance, resulting in weight problems. Sleeping for at least 8 hours every night is recommended if you're trying to lose weight, as it helps keep these hormones in check.

Improved Memory

When we sleep, our brain gets a chance to assimilate and connect all the information it absorbed through the day. This process is critical as it helps you recall and remember things. Getting a whole night's sleep is essential for brain functions, and your memory will improve with good sleeping habits.

Reduces Stress

Throughout the day, the body goes through multiple experiences that cause the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause you to feel stressed out and anxious during the day. It is vital to get adequate sleep as sleep reduces the production of stress hormones and relaxes your body. When you sleep for an entire night, you will wake up stress-free and relaxed, ready to face the next day!

How Does Depression Affect You Physically? (click to open)

Depression is a widespread mental health problem that affects up to 7% of the US population. Depression is most often associated with psychological symptoms, including low mood, feeling sad and hopeless, or a loss of interest in everyday activities. If the symptoms persist for a few weeks, it may be a sign of a major depressive disorder that requires treatment.


Common symptoms like sadness, irritability, or guilt are easy to recognize and may prompt an individual to seek help from a medical professional. However, most people don't know that depression can also manifest as physical symptoms that are not as easy to pick. Some people don't feel depressed, yet they often experience physical problems like difficulty sleeping or weight loss. This presentation of depression is more common in men who are less likely to present with the cognitive effects.


Let's have a look at how depression affects you physically.


Trouble sleeping


Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep is a classic physical symptom of depression. You may experience increased sleep latency, which basically means you will be rolling on the bed for hours without falling asleep. If you finally succeed in falling asleep, you may wake up multiple times during the night due to poor sleep quality. On the other extreme is hypersomnia, which means that a person with depression will feel tired even after adequate sleep and will want to sleep more during the day, resulting in dozing off and daytime naps. Both these conditions can have a toll on your physical well-being, and you may feel tired and irritated throughout the day. 


Low energy


Fatigue is a common physical manifestation of depression, and it can affect the quality of life. While it's normal to experience the usual off-day where you feel sluggish and tired, having low energy levels throughout the week may be a sign of depression. Most people with depression will prefer to stay in bed and watch TV all day long rather than getting up and doing something productive. This low energy affects all aspects of life and reduces one's ability to concentrate on the important stuff. If you are experiencing fatigue with other symptoms of depression like hopelessness or guilt, it may be time to consult a doctor.


Reduced pain tolerance


If you are suffering from depression, your pain tolerance may be reduced from average. It is common for someone with depression to have body aches and joint pain without other cognitive symptoms. There is no concrete link between pain and depression, and scientists are still trying to understand the relation between these two, but there are some theories. Depression is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine. The same hormones may cause a disturbance in pain pathways leading to the chronic body ache usually seen in depression.


Disturbed eating patterns


Depression disturbs the appetite significantly, and you may experience one of the two extremes, just like sleep. Either your appetite will reduce to the point that you aren't interested in food anymore, or you'll get food cravings throughout the day. Neither of these is good for your health and will cause a negative impact on your weight and general health. It is best to consult a doctor if you lose weight rapidly as it may cause heart and kidney problems.


Decreased Sexual Drive


It is fairly common for someone with depression to have a disturbed sexual life, and often it is due to the physical inability to get aroused. Depression may affect the sex drive, reduce sexual pleasure or reduce the ability to have orgasms altogether. This has a detrimental effect on relationships and may cause a rift between partners. Therefore, it is important to recognize this physical sign of depression. 


Reduced immunity


Depression is a state in which the brain neurotransmitters are messed up, which increases the inflammatory signals all over the body. This inflammatory response affects the immune system and reduces the body's ability to fight off harmful invaders, which may cause you to get sick more often. Another reason depression reduces immunity may be linked to a lack of self-care. Depressed people often stop eating healthy and ignore exercise and physical well-being, which affects the immune system.


Gut problems


Depression is often linked to a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, and while most people may pass them off as something else, it is important to recognize if your gut problems are linked with depression. Abdominal cramps and pain are the most common, and if this pain gets worse with stress, it may be a sign of depression. Other problems like bloating, nausea, or reduced appetite may also be seen. These symptoms may be caused by the inflammatory signals which irritate the gut, and they are often mistaken as inflammatory bowel syndrome. The problems may also be caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines, as these good bacteria are essential for a healthy gut.




Headaches are a common occurrence for most people and having a headache once in a while is not an alarming sign. However, if you notice an increase in the frequency of headaches, or if you have one every day, it may be depression affecting you physically. While depression headaches aren't as excruciating as a migraine, they still hinder your daily activities. They usually manifest as a throbbing pain behind the eyes and are more common in men. You can take an over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain, but the headache usually comes back until you get the root cause treated.

Depression is a debilitating condition that may present in more than one way. Some people show apparent symptoms of depression, while others may be smiling and laughing yet battling the problem while alone. Not everyone exhibits the classic signs associated with depression, and recognizing the physical symptoms is just as important as the mental ones. If you or your loved one is experiencing such problems, it is a good idea to share the problem with family and friends so that everyone can get the help they need!

Depression and the Heart (click to open)

Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the world. Globally it is prevalent in more than 26 percent of adults. Feeling sad, gloomy, down in the dumps, or anxious sometimes is a normal part of our lives. But when these feelings last for more than two weeks, then they could be the symptoms of depression. It's estimated that almost 17 million adults experience depression each year in America.


Although depression is a mental health condition, it affects our physical health and well-being. If depression is left untreated, then it can interrupt your day-to-day life and cause additional complications.


Despite affecting our brain, depression can significantly affect our hearts.

Depression and heart disease are the companions of each other. People with depression are four times more likely to suffer from heart disease than people with no history of depression. A study conducted by researchers in Montreal, Canada, found that heart patients who were depressed were four times more likely to die in the next six months than those who were not depressed.


People with depression face a heightened risk of heart disease. Depression and stress are closely related. Depression makes it harder for the person to take the medications to carry out the treatment. A person suffering from depression will have a high quantity of stress hormones in the body. Those hormones will speed the heart rate and make blood vessels narrower. Narrow blood vessels will increase blood pressure. This will put your body in a prolonged state of emergency. Over time, this will lead to heart disease.


The recurrence of cardiovascular problems is linked more closely to depression than other risk factors like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Some researchers even found that most heart patients with depression do not receive appropriate treatment. Primary care physicians and cardiologists often miss the diagnosis of depression, and even if they do, they often do not treat it adequately.


Multiple studies are indicating that depression can cause heart disease. Psychological distress can rapidly increase heart rate, blood pressure, and faster blood clotting, along with elevated insulin and cholesterol level.


Due to increased heart rate and blood pressure, the heart has to work more, and this can damage heart muscles, ultimately leading to heart failure.


Faster blood clotting and a high level of cholesterol will start the process of atherosclerosis. This could result in blockage of the arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart. This could also result in a heart attack and heart failure.


One thing is for sure depression can be severe and have adverse effects on our health. Not only can it affect our brain, but it can also affect our heart. If you ever feel you are depressed, seek your doctor's advice and set up a session with a mental health provider.

Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents (click to open)

For the past several decades, scholars in LGBT studies have made significant progress in understanding the interpersonal relationships of LGBT people with their gender. However, it is crucial to be aware that transgender and non-binary people often tend to experience some form of gender dysphoria. According to Zucker et al. (2016), gender dysphoria is a disorder that describes a person’s dissatisfaction with their biological sex. Gender dysphoria usually develops during puberty when a child begins to recognize their first and secondary sexual characteristics. During this stressful gender identity period, parents should seek out information and support for their children to learn how to support their children and help them better understand why they feel the way they do.

Not all transgender and non-binary people have gender dysphoria; however, the parent must communicate with their child if the latter experiences the symptoms. Kaltiala-Heino et al. (2018) report that 0.17% to 1.3% of adolescents are transgender. One way to support young adults that identify as non-binary or transgender is to give them mental health care and understand how to begin their transition correctly. Butler et al. (2018) advise that medical professionals who provide physical health care must consult with their psychosocial colleagues to understand how to deal with the distressed queer youth. It is a crucial step to estimate other stressful indicators non-related to gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoric disorder causes extreme discomfort that severely affects a person’s relationship with self-image and might even lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression. De Vries et al. (2016) suggest that “fostering greater acceptance of a variation in gender expression” reduces the “co-occurring psychopathology in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria” (p. 586). In addition, the parent’s involvement and care significantly relieve the hardships of the child who might experience pressure from peers, which usually results in one’s alienation from others.

In conclusion, it is crucial to perform up-to-date care for children with gender dysphoria because it is a severe condition that can negatively affect daily life and the emotional stability of children. Gender questioning is a frequent and expected behavior for any child; therefore, it becomes difficult to estimate the exact prevalence of gender dysphoric disorder. However, supporting a child during puberty, combining both professional physical and mental healthcare, will make the transition easier for every party involved.


Butler, G., De Graaf, N., Wren, B., & Carmichael, P. (2018). Assessment and support of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 103(7), 631-636. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2018-314992

de Vries, A. L., Steensma, T. D., Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., VanderLaan, D. P., & Zucker, K. J. (2016). Poor peer relations predict parent-and self-reported behavioral and emotional problems of adolescents with gender dysphoria: A cross-national, cross-clinic comparative analysis. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(6), 579-588. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-015-0764-7

Kaltiala-Heino, R., Bergman, H., Työläjärvi, M., & Frisén, L. (2018). Gender dysphoria in adolescence: Current perspectives. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, 9, 31-41. https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S135432

Zucker, K. J., Lawrence, A. A., & Kreukels, B. P. (2016). Gender dysphoria in adults. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 217-247. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-093034