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When You Should Seek Couples Counselling

When You Should Seek Couples Counselling

When we fall in love the last thing on our minds is future pain. The beginning of love is nothing but joy and, quite thick, rose tinted glasses. Everything about our partner is wonderful, nothing seems annoying, it is all just “practically perfect, in every way”, as Mary Poppins would say.

But, unfortunately, everything changes with time, including the way we view people. The one we love is not immune to this, sadly. Those tiny habits you liked about your partner as their “cute quirk” in the past might begin to grate on you in the present. Things you used to agree on can now lead to arguments, as you, or your partner, might have changed views on the subject. You may feel you have grown while your partner has stayed the same and is becoming boring. Or the reverse; your partner has changed so much you barely recognise him or her. Maybe you feel as if you’ve grown apart. All this could lead to not feeling happy or satisfied in your relationship anymore.

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Obviously this could be resolved simply by talking to one another, but often this is where the problem begins: you or your partner may be scared of admitting to problems. Or you just don’t know how to start the conversation. You might have tried to bring up the problem, but things came out wrong or were misunderstood, leading to an argument and continuous strain in the relationship. Then there are people who are just letting problems and stress build between one another, until inevitably they grow apart to such a degree that separation seems to be the only option. Or maybe you are arguing about hundreds of little things instead of discussing the one thing that matters, this too often leads to the mutual decision of ending the relationship.

Separation might seem like a convenient option when troubles have been building for a long time. But what if, deep down inside, you still love your partner and you want to make it work but just don’t know how? There must be some way to avoid losing your love, right? Yes indeed; there are things that can be done, but you will need to be open to accepting outside help from a stranger. Not just any stranger, obviously, but someone, trained in dealing with problems like yours. This person, a counsellor, could help you talk about your problems in a new and fresh environment.

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Relationship Counselling, also known as Couples Counselling or Marriage Guidance, is one of the more well known forms of counselling. This mainly because TV shows often use it as some sort of jokey plot devise. Using couples counselling like this has sadly led to many people being wary of taking this step, as they fear it will be how they saw it portrayed on their favourite funny TV show. This is a shame, as these couples are missing out on valuable help.

Contrary to the TV shows: you will NOT be told what to do, or receive some hippy-dippy therapy. Instead you will finally sit down with your partner and reflect on the past and present, while looking towards the future. Couples Counselling it the best way of getting couples to open up to each other, listen and to help them understand where the true problems lay. The counsellor is there to guide, to raise awareness to issues that get ignored in the heat of the moment and to keep the conversation going. Counsellors do not take decisions for you, they do not take sides, they are there for the both of you as it is the relationship that is the priority, not the individual.

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The biggest fear of talking to a partner can be that of opening up about your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Understandable: you live with a person every day and they already know so much, what more do you want or need to share? Often your loved one doesn’t know as much as you think, and things simply hover in the air unsaid, causing friction and unnecessary misunderstandings. Gentle guidance from a trained counsellor can help you to speak words you have been afraid to say. Letting go of so much anxiety and fear in front of a partner can give quite the boost to a relationship, so a deeper understanding is build.

So let’s return to our question: When should you seek Couples Counselling?

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Is there a right time to seek help? You might wonder. The right time to seek help is when it feels right to you. If you feel you need help, then you need help. Don’t worry if a problem may be “too little”. A small problem is never small if it stands in the way of your happiness.. You might also worry whether or not a problem is not really a “couples problem”. But in fact: anything that stands between two partners IS a couples problem.

Of course taking Couples Counselling does not guarantee that the two of you will actually stay together. But even if you don’t it will always be beneficial: The conversations will help the both of you realise where you went wrong and help make the break up easier. You will end your relationship with everything out in the open: no questions, no lingering “what ifs” or loose ends. You will find it easier to separate on good terms and stay friendly. This will also benefit children, if they are in the picture.

So, no matter how you look at it: there is always a benefit to taking Couples Counselling. You will end up feeling stronger as a couple, as a person or both. Don’t wait until a “small” problem becomes a big one. You are in this relationship right now and deserve to spend time together in love, not sadness.

Featured photo credit: uiowa.edu via counseling.studentlife.uiowa.edu

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Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

3. You could suffer from excess weight

When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

8. You could end up eating more processed food

Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

 

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