VistaBlog

Let’s Empower Self-Empathy

Cultivating self-empathy can be a transformative practice. Here are powerful tips to help you nurture and empower self-empathy:

Treat Yourself with Kindness

Imagine the kindness you extend to others—now, direct that same compassion towards yourself. Recognize your worth and treat yourself with the same gentleness and understanding you offer friends and loved ones.

Practice Self-Compassion During Hard Times

During difficult times, it’s natural to experience feelings of blame and shame. Instead, practice self-compassion. Acknowledge your struggles without judgment and offer yourself the same comfort you would give a friend facing similar challenges.

Set Respectful Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are essential for maintaining self-empathy. Learn to recognize and set boundaries with behavior that doesn’t serve your well-being. Respecting your limits is a powerful act of self-love.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

Give yourself permission to be around supportive, positive people. Their encouragement and positivity can significantly influence your self-perception and help you cultivate a more empathetic relationship with yourself.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Be happy with yourself when you do things well. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating your successes fosters a positive self-image and reinforces your ability to empathize with yourself.

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The Impact of War on Children

By: Betsy Pownall

Prolonged exposure to war, living in areas of high conflict, and forced migration create a high risk for children in their mental and physical health. Many children are thrown into a state of “toxic stress” which could impact them for life if left untreated. Here are some ways children are affected:

Anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity: many children in war zones have lost their homes, been displaced from their neighborhoods, and have had to leave their friends and families. Children where this has occurred face high rates of depression and anxiety. Areas where there are repeated attacks will lead to children living in constant fear which leaves them profoundly worried for their safety and the safety of those around them.

Emotional Withdrawal: when exposed to a high degree of conflict, children may become desensitized and emotionally numb. They may imitate the aggressive behavior they witness, and consider violence as normal. Their ability to create and sustain relationships can be negatively impacted.

Aggression: children growing up with violence and armed conflict in their environment, may show aggression and withdrawal. They may start fighting and bullying other children.

Psychosomatic Symptoms: living in areas of high conflict may exhibit high levels of stress in children’s bodies, such as headaches, chest aches, difficulty breathing, and, at times, loss of movement in their arms and legs. Many children will have difficulty speaking, may begin stuttering, and some may experience partial amnesia.

Self-Harm: if a child sees no way out, they may try to escape their surroundings by using drugs, alcohol, self-harm, and suicide.

It is important to keep in mind that children are responding in a healthy way to a dangerous, pathological situation and that there can be wide differences in how children respond to the same thing. 

Interventions for children of violence need to provide basic needs such as safety, security, shelter, and continuity of care by a family member or loved one. 

As a child’s basic needs are met, psychological first aid should focus on reducing the post-trauma distress. Eight core actions need to be taken: contact and engagement, safety and comfort, stabilization, information gathering, practical assistance, connection with social supports, information on coping support, and connection with collaborative services. 

Building back ‘the normal’ within the abnormal is important, such as instituting a schedule and daily routine, schooling if possible, opportunities to play and socialize, and providing opportunities to express themselves and process emotions and memories. Supporting children also means supporting parents so they can care for their children. Studies have shown that parents tend to show less warmth and more harshness toward their children when they have been exposed to war. Helping parents maintain warm relationships with their children might foster healthy adjustment in their children.

War and military aggression violate children’s basic human rights, can have a huge impact on their development, and their physical and mental health, and can have long-term consequences. The experience of war and conflict for children runs diametrically opposed to their developmental needs and their right to grow up in a safe, predictable environment. 

Healing from chronic stress does not, generally, happen naturally. It will be the work of the community, the government, and the world to help children exposed to violence and war.

References: 

“5 Ways Conflict Impacts Children’s Mental Health”; Save the Children.

Catani, C. Mental Health of Children Living in War Zones: a risk and protection perspective. World Psychiatry, 2018 Feb; 17(1) 104-105.

Bürgin, D., Anagnostopoulos, D, ESCAP, Vitiello, B, et al. Impact of War and Forced Displacement on children’s mental health — multilevel, needs-oriented, and trauma-informed approaches. Eur. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2022; 31(6) 845-853.


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Mental Health Resources

By: Claire Butcher

Mental health is a fundamental aspect in our well-being – influencing our functioning, relationships, and how we interact with the world. Whether it’s large-scale stressors or interpersonal struggles causing distress, it’s important to have the resources to help us manage difficult moments.  Below you will find some helpful organizations to help you through specific challenges. 

Important to note – these resources are not replacements for emergency services. If you or a loved one require immediate mental health care, please contact 911 and clarify there is a psychiatric emergency, or go to your nearest emergency room/psychiatric urgent care. Differentiating between a mental health crisis and an emergency.

National Hotlines:

Suicide and Crisis Hotlines 

  • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
    • Call or text 988
    • For TTY users: dial 711 then 988
    • Spanish options for texting and chatting online
  • Friends for Survival – grief help for those who have lost someone to suicide
    • Call 916-392-0664
    • Offer monthly group meetings for support

Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault 

Substance Use 

Anxiety

Youth Lines

Veterans

Seniors – Oregon only

LGBTQIA+

Racial Prejudice/Oppression

  • Racial Equity Support Line – support for those suffering from emotional impacts of racism
    • Call 503-575-3764
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm 

Oregon-Based Crisis Resources:

Eugene

  • CAHOOTS – mobile crisis in-person intervention team (available 24/7)
    • CAHOOTS Eugene: 541-682-5111
    • CAHOOTS Springfield: 541-726-3714
  • WhiteBird Clinic Crisis Line: 541-687-4000
  • Looking Glass Crisis Line – for parents of youth in crisis
    • (541) 689-3111

Portland

  • Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888
  • Clackamas County Crisis Line: 503-655-8585
  • Project Respond – triage portal for mobile crisis in-person response
    • 503-988-4888

Bend

  • Deschutes County 24-Hour Crisis Line: 541-322-7500 ext. #9
  • Deschutes County Stabilization Center:
    • Walk-in Appointments located at 63311 NE Jamison Street in Bend
    • Non-emergency Office Line: 541-585-7210
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Mental Health in Aging / Older Adults

By: Tanya Kramer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s population is aging fast.

  • In 2020, there were 1 billion people who are 60 years or older
  • In 2030, it is believe that this number will increase to 1.4 billion
  • By 2050, it is believed that this number will increase to 2.1 billion
  • The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 to 2050 (hitting over 425 million people)

There are many benefits to having a large aging population, since these individuals often give back to their family and community through volunteering and acts of service. However, many of these individuals may need additional support due to mental health conditions or physical/medical limitations. 

Mental health in aging adults is a Public Health Issue that must be addressed. This article will focus on the following topics around mental health for aging populations:

  • What external factors impact mental health as someone ages?
  • What are the key mental health concerns?
  • What are suggestions for the aging population and those that love them to improve quality of life?
  • Resources for the Aging Population and their Caregivers

   What external factors impact mental health as someone ages?

  • Bereavement / Grief – losing loved ones occurs more often
  • Serious illness
  • Drop in income
  • Reduced sense of purpose
  • Being impacted by “ageism”
  • Physical limitations / chronic illnesses / pain
  • Abuse (physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, or financial)
  • Lack of access to support
  • Loneliness / Social Isolation
  • Needing long term care

  Key Mental Health Concerns:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide (Global Health Estimates show around a quarter of deaths by suicide occur by those age 60 or older)
  • Dementia / Alzheimer’s Disease / Cognitive Decline
  • Personality Disorders that already exist are susceptible to worsening with age

  Suggestions for the Aging Population:

  • Physical / Social environments that support well-being
  • Environments that enable people to do what is important to them (despite losses in capacity)
  • Safe person to discuss emotions – “How are you feeling right now?”
  • Stress management skills and resources
  • Financial planning to support long lives
  • Resources to access needs such as groceries, medical appointments, and important events
  • Social and Emotional Support (Family, Friends, caregivers, Therapists, Community, etc.)
  • Experiencing Life Satisfaction as a Whole
  • Maintain a Routine including a balanced diet, movement/exercise / yoga, and activities that bring joy

Identifying Gratitude / Moments of Delight / Thankful Statements:

  • Physically active to the extent the body can
  • Reduction of harmful things such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs
  • Accessing health and social programs to keep individuals engaged in their community
  • Social connections
  • Meaningful social activities
  • Counseling and Support Groups for aging experiences
  • Social Skills Training
  • Occupational Therapy as needed when adapting to new limitations
  • Creative Art outlets or groups
  • Educational opportunities / Stay active intellectually by learning new things
  • Improve sleep by setting and maintaining good sleep habits
  • Volunteering for programs
  • Leisure / Fun activities
  • Support for carers of aging individuals
  • Medication management for mental health
  • County Resources often have an Aging and Disability Department that can connect individuals to resources in their community…and these services are often free
  • Get help in a Crisis….You do not need to navigate this alone.

Resources for the Aging Population and their Caregivers:

University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center – PEARLS Toolkit 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Resources for Older Adults 

Emotional Well Being Videos 

Mass General Brigham McLean – Everything You Need to Know About Older Adult Mental Health 

Family Caregiver Alliance 



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World Meditation Day

Enjoy a journey of self-discovery and serenity this World Meditation Day, May 21, from Noon to 1 p.m. PST. 

Join Jen Champion in gentle movements and guided meditation to develop gratitude and peace of mind. We will have an overview of the anatomy of breathing and work with our breath as a pathway to turn our minds inward  and practice sustaining a meditative state. Together, we will embrace the power of collective

Meditation, illuminating our lives, communities, and the world.  Local guests, please arrive 15 minutes early to get settled. If you arrive on time or late, please enter quietly and sit where you are comfortable.

Vista Wellness Center, 1531 Pearl Street, Eugene, OR

Topic: World Meditation Day Zoom Meeting

Time: May 21, 2024, 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87815211431?pwd=dWNWUUFZVG8yYyt1ZmZyYzhZdGpBQT09#success

Meeting ID: 878 1521 1431

Passcode: meditate



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Surviving Mother’s Day After Loss

Whether your loss is recent or many years ago, navigating this holiday without your mom can be emotional. 

However, there are ways to honor her memory and find comfort in the midst of grief.

Appreciate the good things in life that would make your mom happy: 

Take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your life that would bring joy to your mom. Whether it’s achieving a personal goal, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing a passion, find solace in knowing that these are the things that would make her proud.

Reach out to your siblings: 

If you have siblings, consider reaching out to them on Mother’s Day. Sharing memories of your mom and supporting each other can help strengthen your bond and provide comfort during this difficult time. 

Celebrate the other moms in your life: 

While Mother’s Day may be a reminder of your own loss, it can also be an opportunity to celebrate the other moms in your life. Whether it’s your grandmother, aunt, or friend, take the time to show them appreciation and love. 

Ask questions about her: 

Take this opportunity to learn more about your mom. Ask family members to share stories, memories, and details about her life. This can help you feel closer to her and create a deeper understanding of who she was. 

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The Many Benefits of Slowing Down

It’s easy to get caught up in the constant motion and demands that surround us. However, taking the time to slow down and create space for stillness can have a profound impact on our personal growth and well-being. 

Create Space For Stillness: Finding moments of stillness can be incredibly powerful. Whether it’s through meditation, mindfulness practices, or simply taking a walk in nature, creating space for stillness allows you to quiet the mind and reconnect with yourself. 

Prioritize Self-Care: Self-care is often the first thing to go when life gets busy, but it’s also one of the most important aspects of personal growth. Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally is essential for overall well-being. 

Set Boundaries: Learning to set boundaries is crucial for personal growth. It’s okay to say no to things that don’t align with your values or priorities. Setting boundaries allows you to protect your time and energy, ensuring that you’re focusing on the things that truly matter to you.

Simplify Your Schedule: Our lives are often filled with endless commitments and obligations, leaving little time for rest and reflection. Simplifying your schedule by cutting back on non-essential activities can help you create more space for the things that truly matter to you. By prioritizing your time and energy, you can focus on what’s most important and avoid burnout.

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A Guide to Finding Presence in Everyday Moments

Being present and mindful can significantly improve our overall well-being. Here are five ways to step out of autopilot and into your life:

Finding presence in the mundane:

Even the most mundane tasks, like washing dishes or folding laundry, can be an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Instead of rushing through these tasks, try to focus on the sensations and movements involved. Notice the warmth of the water, the texture of the fabric, or the rhythm of your breath. By bringing your attention to the present moment, you can turn these everyday activities into mindful practices.

Finding presence in stillness/waiting:

Waiting in line or sitting in traffic can be frustrating, but it can also be an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Instead of reaching for your phone or letting your mind wander, try to focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of each inhale and exhale. You can also use this time to observe your surroundings, noticing the sights, sounds, and smells around you. By bringing your attention to the present moment, you can turn waiting into a peaceful and grounding experience.

Finding presence in busyness:

When our schedules are packed, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. However, even in the midst of busyness, it’s possible to find moments of mindfulness. Try to focus on one task at a time, giving it your full attention. Notice the sensations involved in each activity, whether it’s typing on a keyboard or chopping vegetables. By approaching each task with mindfulness, you can cultivate a sense of calm and focus amidst the chaos.

Finding presence in interaction:

In our digital age, face-to-face interactions are becoming increasingly rare. When you’re engaging with others, whether it’s a friend, family member, or colleague, try to be fully present. Put away your phone and focus on the conversation at hand. Notice the other person’s body language and facial expressions. By giving your full attention to the interaction, you can deepen your connections and cultivate meaningful relationships.

Finding presence in the senses:

Our senses can be powerful anchors to the present moment. Take a moment to tune into each of your senses, noticing what you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. You can do this anywhere, whether you’re outside in nature or inside your own home. By bringing your attention to your senses, you can connect more deeply with the world around you and experience each moment more fully.

By incorporating these five strategies into your daily routine, you can cultivate mindfulness and presence, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.



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Kierkegaard’s Guide: Essential Rules to Living a More Meaningful Life

In our search for a fulfilling life, we often seek out external factors like success, relationships, and material possessions. While these can certainly contribute to our happiness, true fulfillment often comes from within. 

Cultivate Self-Awareness and Introspection:

Understanding yourself is key to finding fulfillment. Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and desires. Journaling, meditation, or therapy can help you gain insights into your true self and what drives you.

Embrace Uncertainty and Ambiguity:

Life is unpredictable, and embracing the unknown can lead to growth and fulfillment. Instead of fearing change, see it as an opportunity for learning and new experiences. Embracing uncertainty can open doors to new possibilities and help you live more authentically.

Take Responsibility for Your Life and Choices:

Owning your actions and decisions empowers you to create the life you desire. Instead of blaming external circumstances, take charge of your life and make choices that align with your values and goals. This sense of agency can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Finding fulfillment in life is a journey that requires self-awareness, acceptance, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. By cultivating these qualities, you can lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life, regardless of external circumstances.



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Earth Day and Other April Celebrations

Spring Renewal and Earth Day Celebration at the Vista Wellness Center
Monday, April 22, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Yoga sessions begin every hour starting at 11:30 am.
Mindfulness activities, seed exchange, and herbal refreshments.
RSVP with Jen Champion at jchampion@vistapsych.com
This is a community event.

Portland April 2024 Events

It’s Arab American National Heritage Month!  Expand your experience with celebrating this culture through food and art this month.

During the month of April you can check out the playwright of Nassim Soleimanpour, NASSIM. It takes an interesting twist of daily additions of non-scripted theatrical experiment to portray how, “Language can both unite us and divide us.”  

https://www.pcs.org/nassim

Sobrang Sarap (Filipino Food Month) from April 1-30. Explore the taste of Filipino cuisine with the different participating vendors this April! Enjoy creating a food crawl out of the list of 15 participating restaurants.

https://www.sarap-pdx.com/ 

Trillium Festival on Saturday, April 6. It celebrates education about the season of renewal in the forest.

https://www.tryonfriends.org/calendar/trillium-festival-1

Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Festival on Sunday, April 14 from 12pm-3pm.

https://www.facebook.com/events/263904000098948

Fertile Grounds Festival April 12-21 which celebrates new and local artists in performance arts

https://fertilegroundpdx.org/

Earth Day Cleanup with SOLVE from April 13-22. Volunteer between these dates across Portland to keep it green.

https://www.solveoregon.org/oregon-spring

Earth Day at Forest Park on Saturday, April 20 starting at 9am (Free, Volunteer clean up)

https://forestparkconservancy.galaxydigital.com/need/index

New Year in the Park on Saturday, April 27. Celebrating SE ASIAN New Year including countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Check out the outdoor event for performances and the highlighted cultural food vendors.

https://www.newyearinthepark.com/

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