Incorporating Yoga into Your Fitness Routine for Mind-Body Balance


In today’s fast-paced world, finding balance between the demands of daily life and maintaining optimal health can be challenging. As we strive to achieve physical fitness goals, it’s essential not to neglect the well-being of our minds. Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine can be a game-changer, offering holistic benefits for both the body and mind..


Image depicting a person practicing yoga amidst a busy urban setting, symbolizing balance and holistic well-being.

Finding balance in a fast-paced world through yoga in fitness routines.

The Holistic Benefits of Yoga

Physical Well-being

Yoga is renowned for its ability to enhance physical fitness and flexibility. Through a series of asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques), practitioners can improve muscle strength, endurance, and balance. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, yoga offers a low-impact yet effective way to build a strong, resilient body. Yoga is a transformative practice that fosters physical and mental well-being. Its benefits extend beyond the mat, promoting holistic health and inner peace.

Image showing a person practicing yoga poses, representing its ability to enhance fitness, flexibility, and inner peace.

Yoga’s transformative benefits for physical and mental well-being.

Mental Clarity

Beyond its physical benefits, yoga is a powerful tool for cultivating mental clarity and focus. The practice encourages mindfulness and present-moment awareness, helping individuals to quiet the chatter of the mind and find inner peace. By incorporating yoga into your routine, you can reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall mental well-being.

Emotional Balance

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Yoga provides a sanctuary for emotional healing and self-discovery. Through asanas that target specific energy centers in the body, such as the heart and solar plexus, practitioners can release emotional blockages and cultivate a sense of inner harmony. Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine can elevate your overall well-being. It offers a harmonious blend of strength, flexibility, and mindfulness.


Image depicting a serene yoga session, symbolizing emotional release and inner harmony amidst life's challenges.

Yoga as a sanctuary for emotional healing and self-discovery amidst modern life.

How to Get Started with Yoga

Find the Right Style

With a multitude of yoga styles available, it’s important to find one that resonates with your individual needs and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to the dynamic flow of Vinyasa or the meditative stillness of Yin, there’s a style of yoga for everyone. Experiment with different classes and instructors until you find the perfect fit.

Set Realistic Goals

As with any fitness endeavor, setting realistic goals is key to long-term success. Start by incorporating yoga into your routine a few times per week, gradually increasing frequency as you build strength and confidence. Rather than focusing solely on physical achievements, embrace the journey of self-discovery and personal growth that yoga offers.

Prioritize Consistency

Consistency is the cornerstone of a successful yoga practice. Carve out dedicated time in your schedule for yoga sessions, treating them with the same level of importance as any other commitment. Whether it’s a sunrise flow to kickstart your day or a restorative practice before bed, prioritize consistency to reap the full benefits of yoga.

Image showing a person practicing yoga daily, emphasizing the importance of consistency for wellness

Prioritize consistency in your yoga practice for optimal results.


Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine is a powerful way to achieve mind-body balance in today’s hectic world. By embracing the holistic benefits of yoga, you can enhance physical strength, cultivate mental clarity, and foster emotional well-being. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, the journey of self-discovery awaits on the mat.

Navigating the Complex Intersection of Addiction and Mental Health


Navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health requires a nuanced understanding of both conditions. This article delves into the intricate relationship between addiction and mental health, offering insights, strategies, and support for individuals and their loved ones grappling with these challenges.

Image depicting a tangled web, symbolizing the intricate relationship between addiction and mental health

Navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health requires understanding and support.

Understanding Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction and mental health disorders often coexist, creating a complex web of challenges for those affected. Individuals struggling with addiction may turn to substances or behaviors as a way to cope with underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or trauma.

The Link Between Substance Use and Mental Health

Substance use can exacerbate existing mental health symptoms or trigger new ones. For example, alcohol and drugs may temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety or depression, but prolonged use can worsen these conditions over time.

Image showing alcohol and pills, representing substances exacerbating mental health conditions when abused.

Substance use can worsen mental health symptoms over time.

Seeking Support and Treatment

Navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health begins with seeking professional support. Comprehensive treatment programs that address both addiction and mental health simultaneously offer the best chance for long-term recovery.

Holistic Approaches to Recovery

Recovery from addiction and mental health challenges is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Holistic approaches that encompass physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being can provide a foundation for sustainable recovery.


Image of a person meditating in nature, representing holistic approaches to recovery encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Recovery from addiction and mental health challenges requires personalized, holistic approaches.

Supporting Loved Ones

Supporting a loved one struggling with addiction and mental health issues can be emotionally challenging. Educating oneself about these conditions, practicing empathy, and setting healthy boundaries are essential steps in offering meaningful support.

Breaking the Stigma

Stigma surrounding addiction and mental health can be a significant barrier to seeking help. By promoting open dialogue, challenging stereotypes, and advocating for policy change, we can work together to break down these barriers and foster a culture of understanding and acceptance.

Navigating the Complex Intersection of Addiction and Mental Health: A Personal Journey

Sharing personal stories of navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health can provide hope and inspiration to others facing similar challenges. By destigmatizing these experiences, individuals can find strength in community and support. Navigating the complex terrain of addiction and mental health is an arduous journey, often fraught with obstacles and setbacks. Yet, amidst the darkness, there exists a glimmer of hope in the form of community support. By coming together, individuals affected by these issues can lean on one another for guidance, empathy, and encouragement.


How common is co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders?

Co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, are more common than many realize. Studies suggest that up to 50% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health condition.

What are some signs that addiction and mental health issues may be linked?

Signs that addiction and mental health issues may be linked include using substances as a way to cope with emotional distress, experiencing worsening mental health symptoms with substance use, and difficulty functioning in daily life due to both addiction and mental health challenges.

What treatment options are available for co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders?

Treatment options for co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders may include therapy, medication management, support groups, and holistic approaches such as mindfulness and meditation. Comprehensive treatment programs that address both conditions simultaneously offer the best chance for recovery.

How can I support a loved one struggling with addiction and mental health issues?

Supporting a loved one struggling with addiction and mental health issues involves listening without judgment, offering encouragement and empathy, and helping them access professional support and treatment resources.

Is recovery from co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders possible?

Yes, recovery from co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders is possible with the right support, treatment, and dedication. By addressing both conditions simultaneously and adopting a holistic approach to recovery, individuals can reclaim their lives and achieve lasting wellness.

Where can I find more information and support for navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health?

There are many resources available for individuals and families navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health, including support groups, hotlines, online forums, and treatment centers. Seeking help is the first step towards healing and recovery.


Navigating the complex intersection of addiction and mental health requires compassion, understanding, and a commitment to holistic wellness. By addressing both addiction and mental health simultaneously, individuals can embark on a journey of healing, growth, and recovery.

How to Set and Achieve Realistic Fitness Goals


Setting and achieving realistic fitness goals is essential for long-term success in your health and wellness journey. Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or improve overall fitness, having a clear roadmap can make all the difference. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore actionable strategies for setting and achieving realistic fitness goals.

 Illustration of a person holding a roadmap, symbolizing the importance of having clear goals in achieving fitness success.

“Navigating Your Fitness Journey: Setting Realistic Goals

Understanding Realistic Fitness Goals

Define Your Objectives

Before diving into goal setting, take some time to reflect on your overarching objectives. What do you hope to accomplish with your fitness journey? Whether it’s running a marathon, fitting into your favorite jeans, or simply feeling more energized, clarity on your  fitness goal objectives will guide your goal-setting process.

Consider Your Current Fitness Level

It’s crucial to set goals that are attainable based on your current fitness level. Be honest with yourself about where you’re starting from and what you’re capable of achieving your fitness goal . Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration and burnout, whereas setting realistic goals sets you up for sustainable progress.

 Illustration of a person assessing their fitness level and setting realistic goals, representing the importance of honesty and sustainability in goal-setting.

Setting Attainable Fitness Goals: Honesty and Sustainability

Setting SMART Goals


When setting fitness goals, be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve your fitness result . Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,” specify how much weight you aim to lose and by when. Specific goals provide clarity and direction, making it easier to create actionable plans.


Effective fitness goals are measurable, allowing you to track your progress over time. This could involve tracking metrics such as body weight, body fat percentage, or performance indicators like running pace or weight lifted. Measurable goals enable you to celebrate milestones and adjust your approach as needed.


While it’s important to challenge yourself, goals should still be achievable within a reasonable timeframe. Consider factors such as your schedule, lifestyle, and any potential barriers to success. Setting goals that are within reach increases motivation and confidence in your ability to succeed and achieve your goals .


Ensure that your fitness goals align with your broader objectives and values. Ask yourself why each goal matters to you and how it contributes to your overall well-being. Goals that are personally meaningful are more likely to inspire commitment and resilience when faced with challenges.


Give yourself a deadline for achieving each fitness goal to create a sense of urgency and accountability. Whether it’s weeks, months, or years, having a timeframe in mind provides a sense of structure and helps you stay focused on your priorities.

 Illustration of a calendar with fitness goals marked with deadlines, symbolizing the importance of setting timeframes for accountability and focus.

“Setting Deadlines for Fitness Goals: Adding Structure and Accountability

Strategies for Achieving Fitness Goals

Break It Down

Large goals can feel overwhelming, so break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Focus on one step at a time, celebrating each milestone along the way. Breaking goals into smaller chunks makes them less daunting and increases your likelihood of success.

Create a Plan

Develop a detailed plan outlining the actions you need to take to achieve your goals. This could include workout schedules, meal plans, and strategies for overcoming obstacles. Having a clear plan in place increases accountability and ensures that you’re consistently working towards your objectives.

 Illustration of a person writing down their workout schedule and meal plans, symbolizing the importance of a detailed plan in achieving fitness goals.

Mapping Your Fitness Journey: Creating a Detailed Action Plan”

Stay Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to achieving fitness goals. Make exercise and healthy eating a priority in your daily routine, even on days when motivation is lacking. Remember that progress is made through small, consistent efforts over time.

Track Your Progress

Before diving into goal setting, take some time to reflect on your overarching objectives. What do you hope to accomplish with your fitness journey? Whether it’s running a marathon, fitting into your favorite jeans, or simply feeling more energized, clarity on your objectives will guide your goal-setting process.


 A person sitting in thought, contemplating their fitness objectives, symbolizing the importance of reflection in the goal-setting process.

Reflecting on Fitness Objectives: Setting the Stage for Goal Setting”


Setting and achieving realistic fitness goals is a journey that requires dedication, patience, and perseverance. By understanding your objectives, setting SMART goals, and implementing actionable strategies, you can make significant strides towards improving your health and well-being. Remember that progress may not always be linear, but with determination and consistency, you can achieve your fitness aspirations

Breaking the Stigma: Destigmatizing Addiction and Fostering Compassionate Support


Addiction, a complex and multifaceted issue, has long been accompanied by stigma and misunderstanding. This article delves into the critical importance of breaking down these barriers, fostering compassion, and providing meaningful support for individuals facing addiction challenges. By addressing the stigma head-on and promoting a culture of empathy, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for those in need.


A person extending a helping hand to another, symbolizing support and empathy in overcoming addiction challenges.

Breaking Down Barriers: Combating Addiction Stigma and Fostering Empathy

Understanding Addiction

Addiction, often misunderstood as a moral failing or lack of willpower, is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s function and behavior. It’s crucial to recognize addiction as a medical condition, not a choice, and understand the underlying factors contributing to its development.


 Image of a brain with highlighted areas, symbolizing the neurological impact of addiction as a chronic disease.

Shifting Perspectives: Understanding Addiction as a Chronic Disease

Recognizing the Impact of Stigma

Stigma surrounding addiction can have devastating effects, leading to discrimination, social isolation, and reluctance to seek help. By acknowledging and addressing these negative perceptions, we can create a more supportive and understanding community for individuals in recovery.

Challenging Misconceptions

Breaking the stigma requires challenging common misconceptions about addiction. By educating ourselves and others about the science behind addiction, we can dispel myths and promote empathy and understanding.Discover proven treatment methods to combat addiction and break the stigma surrounding it.

Promoting Compassionate Support

Fostering compassionate support involves creating a safe and judgment-free space for individuals to seek help and support. This can be achieved through community outreach, peer support programs, and access to evidence-based treatment options.

: Illustration of diverse individuals gathered in a circle, symbolizing the supportive and judgment-free environment fostered for those seeking help with addiction challenges.

“Building Bridges: Creating Safe Spaces for Addiction Support”

Empowering Individuals in Recovery

Empowering individuals in recovery involves providing them with the resources, tools, and support they need to navigate their journey to wellness successfully. This includes access to counseling, peer support groups, and holistic treatment approaches.

Building Community Resilience

Building community resilience involves mobilizing resources and support networks to address the root causes of addiction and create a more supportive environment for all members of society.

: Image of diverse hands joining together, symbolizing the collective effort to address the root causes of addiction and create resilience within communities.

“Strengthening Communities: Mobilizing Support for Addiction Prevention

Leveraging Technology for Support

Technology can play a significant role in breaking the stigma surrounding addiction by providing innovative solutions for outreach, education, and support. From online counseling platforms to virtual support groups, technology offers new avenues for connecting individuals with the help they need.


 Image showing various technological devices and icons representing online counseling, virtual support groups, and educational resources, highlighting the role of technology in addressing addiction stigma.

“Tech Solutions: Breaking Addiction Stigma Through Innovation”

Advocating for Policy Change

Advocating for policy change is crucial for addressing the systemic issues that contribute to addiction stigma. By advocating for policies that promote access to treatment, reduce barriers to recovery, and support harm reduction initiatives, we can create a more equitable and supportive society for all.


Breaking the stigma surrounding addiction and fostering compassionate support is a collective effort that requires education, empathy, and action. By challenging misconceptions, promoting understanding, and advocating for policy change, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals facing addiction challenges.


How does stigma impact individuals with addiction?

Stigma can lead to social isolation, discrimination, and reluctance to seek help, exacerbating the challenges faced by individuals with addiction.

What are some common misconceptions about addiction?

Common misconceptions about addiction include viewing it as a moral failing or a lack of willpower rather than recognizing it as a complex medical condition.

How can communities support individuals in recovery?

Communities can support individuals in recovery by providing access to resources, promoting understanding, and fostering a supportive environment free from judgment.

What role can technology play in addressing addiction stigma?

Technology can facilitate access to support services, education, and treatment options, breaking down barriers and reaching individuals who may not have access to traditional support networks.

How can advocacy efforts help reduce addiction stigma?

Advocacy efforts can help raise awareness, promote policy change, and challenge discriminatory practices, creating a more supportive and inclusive society for individuals facing addiction challenges.

Where can individuals find help for addiction?

Individuals can find help for addiction through local treatment centers, support groups, hotlines, and online resources dedicated to addiction recovery.

Understanding the Significance of Addressing Drug and Alcohol Addiction Amidst the Pandemic


In these unprecedented times marked by the global pandemic, it’s imperative to delve into the critical issue of drug and alcohol addiction. As we navigate through the challenges brought forth by the pandemic, it’s crucial to understand the profound impact it has had on individuals battling addiction.

 "An illustration depicting the profound impact of the global pandemic on individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction."

“Illustration representing the impact of the global pandemic on drug and alcohol addiction

The Escalation of Substance Abuse During the Pandemic

The pandemic has unleashed a wave of uncertainty and stress across the globe, leading to a surge in substance abuse cases. With heightened levels of anxiety, social isolation, and economic instability, many individuals have turned to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. The accessibility of these substances, coupled with the lack of traditional support systems, has exacerbated the issue, resulting in a concerning escalation of addiction rates.. The accessibility of these substances, coupled with the lack of traditional support systems, has exacerbated the issue, resulting in a concerning escalation of addiction rates.

Mental Health Implications

The correlation between mental health and substance abuse cannot be overstated, particularly in the context of the pandemic. The prolonged periods of isolation, fear of illness, and economic strain have taken a toll on mental well-being, prompting individuals to seek solace in addictive behaviors. Addressing addiction is intrinsically linked to addressing mental health concerns, as they often coexist and exacerbate one another.

"An illustration showing the interconnectedness of mental health and substance abuse, exacerbated by the challenges of the pandemic.

“Illustration depicting the intricate relationship between mental health and substance abuse during the pandemic.”

Overburdening Healthcare Systems

The strain placed on healthcare systems due to the pandemic has further compounded the challenges associated with addiction treatment. Limited resources, overwhelmed medical facilities, and a shift in priorities towards managing COVID-19 cases have hindered access to essential addiction services. As a result, many individuals struggling with addiction have been left without adequate support, exacerbating their condition and perpetuating a cycle of dependency.Limited resources, overwhelmed medical facilities, and a shift in priorities towards managing COVID-19 cases have hindered access to essential addiction services. As a result, many individuals struggling with addiction have been left without adequate support, exacerbating their condition and perpetuating a cycle of dependency.

"An illustration depicting the challenges faced by individuals struggling with addiction due to limited resources and overwhelmed medical facilities during the pandemic.

Illustration representing the impact of the pandemic on access to addiction services and support.”

Importance of Raising Awareness

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, it’s imperative to shine a spotlight on the issue of addiction and advocate for increased awareness and support. By fostering a culture of understanding and empathy, we can break the stigma surrounding addiction and encourage individuals to seek help without fear of judgment or discrimination. Education plays a pivotal role in this process, empowering communities to recognize the signs of addiction and provide appropriate support and resources.

The Role of Support Systems

Building robust support systems is essential in addressing addiction during these challenging times. From family and friends to healthcare professionals and support groups, individuals battling addiction need a strong network of support to navigate their recovery journey. By fostering connections and providing a safe space for open dialogue, we can create an environment conducive to healing and growth.

"An illustration depicting a network of supportive individuals, including family, friends, healthcare professionals, and support groups, aiding in the journey of addiction recovery.

Illustration highlighting the importance of support systems in addiction recovery.”

Leveraging Technology for Treatment

Innovative technological solutions have emerged as valuable tools in the fight against addiction amidst the pandemic. Telemedicine, online support groups, and virtual therapy sessions offer accessible and convenient avenues for individuals to seek help and receive support from the comfort of their homes. Embracing these advancements enables us to bridge the gap in addiction treatment and reach individuals who may otherwise be unable to access traditional services.


In conclusion, addressing drug and alcohol addiction amidst the pandemic is of utmost importance. By acknowledging the unique challenges posed by these unprecedented times and adopting a multifaceted approach that encompasses awareness, support, and innovation, we can make significant strides in combating addiction and promoting holistic well-being.

Understanding the Most Common Opioids: What You Need to Know


In the wake of a worsening opioid epidemic, awareness about the most common opioids is alarmingly low among Americans, as revealed by a recent survey. This article aims to shed light on the crucial information individuals should know about these opioids to protect themselves from potential harm.

An illustration showing different opioid medications commonly used for pain relief, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine."

Illustration depicting various opioid medications used for pain relief, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

The Importance of Identifying Opioids

Recognizing the Risks

Understanding the types of opioids prescribed is crucial for individuals’ safety. Failure to identify opioids in prescriptions can lead to unawareness of associated risks and side effects, including the potentially fatal opioid-induced respiratory depression.

Lack of Awareness Increases Risks

Without knowledge of opioid prescriptions, individuals may inadvertently consume them alongside alcohol, intensifying the risk of adverse effects and overdose .Without proper understanding of opioid prescriptions, individuals may accidentally consume them alongside alcohol, increasing the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects and overdose. Opioids can amplify the risks associated with alcohol consumption when combined.

"An illustration depicting the risks of unintentionally consuming opioids alongside alcohol, leading to increased adverse effects and overdose."

“Illustration representing the dangers of mixing opioid prescriptions with alcohol.”

Survey Findings

Low Awareness Levels

The survey, conducted by health technology company DrFirst, revealed startling statistics. Only one in five participants could name five out of the seven most commonly prescribed opioids .Opioids, in this context, refer to a class of drugs primarily used for pain relief, including medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

The Seven Most Common Opioids

  • Tramadol
  • Hydromorphone
  • Morphine sulfate
  • Methadone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone

Expert Insights

The Importance of Education

Family medicine physician and pain management expert Robert Agnello, DO, emphasizes the severity of the consequences associated with opioid misuse due to lack of awareness. Recognizing opioids in prescriptions is vital to mitigating risks and preventing overdoses.

Psychological Impact

Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation360, stresses the significance of understanding opioids’ effects on judgment and insight. Lack of awareness can exacerbate substance abuse struggles, highlighting the importance of education and prevention efforts.


"A photo of Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation360, discussing the significance of awareness regarding the effects of opioids on judgment and insight."

“Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., emphasizes the importance of understanding the effects of opioids on judgment and insight.”

What You Need to Know About Opioid Medications

Understanding Effects on the Body

Opioids exert profound effects on the body, including pain relief and potential euphoria. However, they also carry significant risks, such as respiratory depression, addiction, and overdose.

Impact on Judgment and Insight

Opioids can impair cognitive functions, affecting judgment and decision-making abilities. It’s crucial for individuals to recognize these effects to make informed choices regarding their health and well-being.


In light of the opioid epidemic, it’s imperative for individuals to familiarize themselves with common opioids to safeguard against potential risks and adverse effects. Education and awareness play pivotal roles in addressing opioid misuse and promoting safer healthcare practices.


1. What are the most commonly prescribed opioids?

The most common opioids include Tramadol, Hydromorphone, Morphine sulfate, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone.

2. Why is it essential to identify opioids in prescriptions?

Identifying opioids helps individuals understand associated risks and side effects, enabling them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

3. What are the potential risks of opioid misuse?

Opioid misuse can lead to addiction, respiratory depression, overdose, and even death, underscoring the importance of awareness and education.

4. How do opioids affect cognitive functions?

Opioids can impair judgment, insight, and decision-making abilities, highlighting the need for caution when using these medications.

5. What steps can individuals take to protect themselves from opioid-related harm?

Seeking education about opioids, consulting healthcare providers about prescriptions, and avoiding alcohol consumption with opioid use are essential steps in minimizing risks associated with these medications.


The 5 Best Ways to Help Hurting People

Just remember, your words matter much less than your presence. The following are 5 ways to be present with hurting people. Follow them, and you have a great chance at connecting with others and making them feel loved and valued.

1. Say nothing at all. Sitting in silence with someone is incredibly hard. When we see others in pain, it reminds us of our own pain. And when we are reminded of our own pain, we want to get rid of that pain. At this point, we have two options. First, we can throw out a couple of one liners like “God has a plan…” or “Everything will be OK!” Saying “comforting” things like this to hurting people kills two birds with one stone. Not only does it shut your loved ones down and stops them from sharing, but it also stops you from having to face your own brokenness. These prescriptive comments scream, “Hey! You shouldn’t be feeling the way you do right now…or at least not for very long, because everything will be all right eventually and God is doing something you don’t know about!” Both might be true, but not necessarily helpful in the moment.

Another option is to remain silent. By doing so you send the message, “I am here with you and love you enough to absorb your pain and mine at the same time…” And make no mistake…as you silently sit across from someone who is weeping out every last tear in their body in agony, you are absorbing an excruciatingly large amount of pain. You may feel an intense desire to encourage, protect, rescue or to pull them out of the pit they are in. But do something different this time. Climb down into that pit with them and lay down for a while. Get your clothes dirty. Be present. Be silent.

2. Use physical touch. Making physical contact can be extremely powerful, especially with our hurting children. Many times our children experience horrific ridicule and pressure at school. They may act like they don’t want to be loved on and hugged, but deep down…they really do. Hugging, patting, or rubbing an arm sends the message that your child is lovable, acceptable and worthy.

Attention dads with daughters: please know that your little girls desperately want to feel beautiful. They are bombarded by magazines, TV shows and movies that create an illusion of beauty that they will never be able to live up to. If you don’t make them feel beautiful, they will eventually find someone who does.

They will long for male attention and acquire it in any way they can-through seductive dressing, inappropriate pictures on Facebook, or flirtatious behavior at school. And that kind of attention is never good attention. Communicate verbally and through appropriate physical touch that your daughter is a princess and deserves to be treated that way…

3. Get curious. After being present with someone, ask what they might uniquely need from you. Ask for input on how you can help. Often, hurting people won’t know in the moment what they need from you or perhaps won’t want to burden you. Be persistent and keep asking. Be ready to help in any way you can.

4. Be confused. My patients have repeatedly told me that what has been most helpful in our therapy has not been some amazing bit of wisdom or advice that I have shared, but rather the comfort that comes from knowing that I am confused, alone and broken with them. I have cried with some and I have expressed frustration at our confusion with others. When you are confused with someone, they can actually feel less alone. It can be maddening to feel like you are the only one who doesn’t have things figured out. Sometimes it may seem like everyone around you has life figured out except you. Love your hurting friends by being confused with your hurting friends.

5. Random acts of compassion. The movie “50/50” chronicles the journey of a young man named Adam who suddenly discovers he has terminal cancer and will die soon. His goofy and sometimes clueless best friend attempts to walk through the painful treatment process with him. Sadly, just about everyone near Adam leaves him. Near the end, as the cancer begins to take over his body, he becomes painfully convinced his best friend has been using him and cares nothing for him. He makes a surprise visit to his best friend’s apartment to cut ties. Before doing so, he visits his friend’s bathroom and makes a surprising discovery. Adam notices a book that has been read through multiple times, highlighted and worn out. With tears welling in his eyes, Adam notices that the book was about how to care for and love your friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. Adam had been unaware that his best friend had been spending countless hours thinking about Adam and diligently studying how to care for him in the only way he knew how. As the two embraced, it meant the world to Adam to know that his friend had silently suffered with him and invested large amounts of time and care in him.

It’s easy to send a text or an email. It is much more meaningful to put time and effort into a heartfelt gesture. Get creative. Write a poem or a letter. Make a homemade gift or do something that actually takes time to do. Plan a day for you and your loved one. And sometimes…the best gift you can give is the one they never see…

There are no magical phrases that we can say to alleviate others’ pain. But we can be present with them and be broken with them. And being broken with loved ones in pain is the most important part of the healing process.

Written By: Doug Chisholm, LPC