Tag: mental health


How to Transform Your Fears

Fear is a part of everyday life. Read that again. Fear is part of everyday life. It’s always lurking around, threatening us, horrifying us, on bad days crippling us, and on good days simply annoying us. There are the mega fears—both real and imaginary: that someone is following you when you walk alone at night or that you might be killed by a terrorist the next time you go to the mall or a movie. More common are little nagging fears that keep you awake at night, eat away at you, and prevent you from experiencing the day around you. How do we work through all of these sources of anxiety?

Personally, I haven’t found one all-purpose answer. But, what seems to ring true for most situations is that you have to challenge yourself to do things that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. For me, this approach helps me wake up, calm down, and extend myself. In the past ten years, I’ve noticed that physically challenging tasks are the ones that cause the most visceral fear reactions for me: seeing my fears, my seeming limitations, and questioning how I can go beyond what I think I can do.

So, I recommend the uncomfortable as a way to learn to work with fear. It can be a physical challenge, as described above, or leaning into a relationship or an uncomfortable interpersonal space. As the Stranger in The Big Lebowski says, “Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes, well, he eats you. “ You don’t always win, in other words, but you learn as much from the mistakes as from the triumphs. And fear will always give you more chances on the path of life.

3 Steps to Transform Your Fears

To help get cozier with the uncomfortable, and even the downright fear-inducing parts of life, try this:

  1. Approach your fears with a bit of tough love. The tough part is that you don’t give up on yourself or the task at hand at the first sign of difficulty. Unless you have hit a life-threatening precipice, you can press on a little—even if it’s a tiny little step forward. Like the children’s story of The Little Engine that Could, tell yourself: I think I can, I think I can. Then take another step and see how it goes.
  2. Appreciate that you have shown up. The love part of tough love is that you have won by just showing up. So be kind to yourself. You may not conquer your fear, but you make some inroads forward. Celebrate that, and next time press on a little further.
  3. Meditate and observe your fearsMindfulness meditation provides a safe space in which your fears can arise. See them come and go, breathe them out, breathe them in. The more familiar they become, the less power they have to control you. At some point, you may even be able to sit with your fears and smile at them.

How Important is a STEM Education?

STEM education is more critical than ever. We are only at the beginning of the digital age. This has made science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education more important than ever. Early STEM education can promote ongoing academic success. Children who learn STEM concepts throughout their education are better prepared to meet increasingly technology-focused professional requirements.

STEM concepts help children develop new ways of thinking, encouraging curiosity and analysis. Establishing these at an early age when young minds are most workable, establishes lifelong thinking skills. Early age is typically infancy through third grade. 

STEM also helps children with other fields of study. Research has shown a link exists between science instruction and improvement in literacy, language learning, and executive functioning. Students who engage with STEM subjects gain skills that better prepare them for technology-focused roles. When teaching young children STEM education, it is not dependent on digital technology. For example, block play, gardening, and puzzles are examples of STEM education. Even visits to museums can be considered STEM education. 

Parents who are aware of the benefits of a STEM curriculum are more likely to be supportive of STEM education. They are also more likely to encourage activities at home that develop STEM concepts. The belief that STEM is for older students has contributed to younger grades not being funded as much as higher grade levels. People need to start introducing STEM to kids at a young age. 

A study by researchers at the University of California Irvine found that early math skills were the most consistently predictive measure of future academic success among kindergarten to fifth-grade students.

Research supported by the National Science Foundation concludes that young children benefit from learning STEM subjects, which include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, because these disciplines play a fundamental role in setting the foundations for future learning.

STEM and Language Development

STEM education and activities are thought to play a key role in the acquisition of language skills. For example, when kids read books about technology or science, it can spark curiosity in them. And what they’ve read may prompt children to plan and carry out an investigation to test a hypothesis, which is a crucial aspect of a scientific investigation.

Children would then be encouraged to discuss their hypotheses and results with each other. This then develops literacy and comprehension skills.

STEM Encourages Independent and Collaborative Learning

As the report highlights, STEM education allows children to develop their communication and problem-solving skills. When kids are actively encouraged to talk and write about their ideas and observations, this helps their problem-solving skills tremendously. This enables young children to develop concepts through investigative and explorative means.

Young children benefit from a STEM education because they are typically naturally curious and want to explore and make sense of the things around them. Young children who are non-native. English speakers can also benefit from a STEM education because they can participate in scientific explorations that do not demand an extensive vocabulary.

STEM in Practice

This report recommends that children should be introduced to these subjects before kindergarten. Teachers should then dedicate enough time to give students quality STEM learning until the third grade, at least. Teachers should establish and promote STEM ways of thinking. Also, there should be opportunities to read, write, and discuss those subjects in detail. Teaching kids STEM early, allows them to make connections between their everyday life and STEM disciplines. It also gives the children transferable skills to other subjects.

Learning Through Self Discovery

There are a few things parents can do to ensure their children are being exposed to STEM at home. They can do this by encouraging independent thinking by making connections between their experiences at school and home.

An easy and efficient way to do this is to simply ask a child what they learned in their science class that day or week. This will help them to consolidate that learning experience as they explain and discuss the topic. If you want to take it one step further, parents can encourage their children to undertake a mini project relating to the topic at home. This encourages independent thinking. This shows the kid that STEM is not only learned at school and may spark their curiosity even more.

Make sure your children are introduced to the benefits of STEM education at school and at home!  


The Art of Treating Trauma

There are different types of therapy when treating trauma. PTSD therapy has three main goals, improve your symptoms, teach you skills to deal with it, and restore your self-esteem. Most PTSD therapies fall under the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your life.

Here are a few different types of therapy you can get for trauma

Cognitive processing therapy

At first, you will talk about the traumatic event with your therapist and how your thoughts relating to it have impacted your life. Then, you will write in detail what happened. This allows you to examine how you think about your trauma. It also helps you figure out new ways on how to deal with it.

Prolonged exposure therapy

This is for people who have been avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event. PE will help you confront them.

Your therapist will teach you breathing techniques to ease your anxiety when you think about what happened early in the sessions. You will then make a list of the things you have been avoiding and then learn how to face each one. In another session, you will explain the traumatic experience to your therapist again, then go home and listen to a recording of yourself.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

With this therapy, you may not have to tell your therapist about your experience. Instead, you concentrate on it while you watch or listen to something they’re doing. They could be something like moving a hand or flashing a light.  The goal of this is to think of something positive which you remember from your trauma.

Stress Inoculation Training

SIT is a type of CBT. You can do it alone or in a group. You will not have to go into detail about what happened. The goal is to change how you deal with stress from the event.  

There are massage and breathing techniques that you may learn. There are other ways to stop negative thoughts by relaxing your mind and body.

Treating trauma truly is an art, and The Houston Foundation Inc. is here to help. Reach out to us for more information.


Depression and its Outcome

Depression is a common illness worldwide. More than 264 million people are impacted by depression. It is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. More women are impacted by depression than men, and it can lead to suicide.

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, depression can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events such as, unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma, are more likely to develop depression.

Between 76 to 85% of low and middle-income countries receive no treatment for their depression. There are many barriers. Some of them are lack of resources, lack of trained healthcare providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders.

There are effective treatments for moderate and severe depression. Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication.

Around 450 million people worldwide have mental or psychosocial problems, but most of those who turn to health services for help will not be correctly diagnosed or will not get the right treatment.1 

You are not alone and many people are going through the same thing. there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we are here to help you get there. The Houston Foundation Inc. knows exactly what we need to do to help people who are facing depression or any kind of trauma. We are dedicated to helping underserved communities be built up.

Depression’s outcome can be good, and you can get through this with the right resources.  


Anxiety: Putting it in it’s Place

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. The first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech may cause most people to feel fearful and nervous.
But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.