Lara Symonds

Mind your Mindfulness!

IMG_0923 - CopyOver the past decade, there has been a veritable tidal wave of books, speakers, products, and media on the subject of mindfulness. Literature, both popular and psychological, is literally abuzz about mindfulness. And while this may turn some away as smacking of faddishness, mindfulness has actually been around for literally thousands of years and is embraced as a central ...

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Holiday Self-Care

How to survive the holidays without tearing your hair out.

So, it’s getting to be that time of year again—lights are beginning to appear on houses, tinny carols are getting piped through store sound systems, and everywhere there is a feeling of….anxiety? For many of us, the holidays are a fine stew of mixed emotions: often stress, anxiety, dread, loneliness, as well as grief. Hardly the Holiday Spirit, in a culture of mandated holiday spirit, but the (sometimes not so) hidden ...

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Emotional Eating

Sometimes You Just Want to Eat Something That’s the Size of Your Head

“I don’t eat all day long, and then, when I get home, I just pull up a chair in front of the fridge and start shoveling it in.” “I just forget to eat.” “I would rather die than have to give up sugar.” “I use food as a weapon against myself.” “They can’t make me eat.” “Sometimes you just want to eat something that’s the size of your ...

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This is Your Brain On Exercise

So, I’m waiting for Jill (not her real name), my 3 p.m. client to arrive, and she does—fifteen minutes late and hitting the ground running. She’s talking very quickly, and fidgeting like mad with some fidget toys that I keep on the coffee table in my office. Jill tells me that her anxiety has gone through the roof over the past three weeks since we last talked.  So, we start exploring what might have caused her “relapse.”  (What I call ...

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The Rat Race

Back when I first starting practicing therapy (and here I date myself), I had a paper appointment book for all my appointments. I didn’t have a website, and it likely wouldn’t have occurred to most, if not all of my clients at the time, to have looked for me on the web, anyway. The Yellow Pages was how most people found services “back in the day.”  I remember, too, when I got my first “PDA” and was recording appointments and ...

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The Morning After Blues

Looking through song lyrics trying to come up with a good title for today’s posting on alcohol as a trigger, all I keep finding are lyrics that glorify getting drunk and how alcohol is an antidote to all life’s pains. The only references to how alcohol really makes you feel are the morning after hangover songs. In truth, however, the hangover is pretty minor compared to the long term effects alcohol has on your overall mental health.

It is interesting to ...

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Hungry Like the Wolf

In Alcoholics Anonymous, there’s an acronym they use to remind people when they might be most susceptible to relapse and it’s called HALT. HALT stands for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.” You don’t have to be an alcoholic to be negatively impacted by HALT, in fact, I would go so far as to say that most of us are negatively impacted by HALT. Yesterday, I covered why “tired” sets you up for disaster, and today I’ll be addressing “hungry” and our ...

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Trigger –not just for Roy Rogers anymore–

“Trigger” is a word we’ve thrown about quite a bit in our lingo, which tends to leach any real meaning from the word anymore, so that we end up thinking we know what it means… but not really. “He had a hair-trigger anger problem”…”that movie really triggered me…”…”pull the trigger…” …”he’s really trigger happy…” you get the idea.

So what do I mean when I say “trigger?” Well, a “trigger” in psych lingo is when someone or something or event sparks ...

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Welcome to My Blog – What’s On Your Tool Belt

Hello and welcome to my new blog, “What’s on Your Tool Belt,”—a Holistic Guide to Excellent Mental Health.  This blog is for any and everyone who is either struggling, tired of struggling, and/or just wants an extra nudge in the direction of feeling better mentally and physically. Kudos to you for taking the time to read this, as you are part of a growing, but still minority of people who are actively taking charge of their mental health and seeking ...

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