Understanding Insomnia

Do you struggle to fall asleep despite feeling exhausted? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night, tossing-and-turning for hours, unable to fall back asleep? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Although occasional sleep problems are experienced by almost everyone, recent studies suggest that 40% of Canadians experience frequent sleep problems. This is not surprising given the pressures of modern society which include jam-packed work schedules and constant access to work via email and remote access. Faced-paced lifestyles have become the norm in our society, and they leave less time for us to relax and unwind. Sleep however requires us to disconnect and disengage from the world around us, and daily stresses can significantly interfere with this process.

Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious but treatable mental health condition. As the name implies, this disorder is characterized by both obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive and disturbing thoughts that one has over and over again, even though they try to stop or suppress them. Obsessions often lead to anxiety, distress, or discomfort. Compulsions are an attempt to alleviate the negative emotions brought on by the obsessions. For example, as this video explains, compulsions such as repetitive hand washing in response to a fear of contamination can take up many hours a day, and be quite debilitating.

How to Stay Motivated to Exercise Beyond New Year’s Eve

season for setting new goals is upon us, and I thought I would take this opportunity to share some information on motivation. Many people choose to set New Year’s Resolutions focused on exercise, but most of these resolutions do not lead to lasting behaviour change. Part of the reason for the lack of follow-through is likely due to the motivations behind these goals. According to Self-Determination Theory, motivation occurs on a continuum, with activities that are driven by rewards or punishments occurring on one end of the continuum (external motivations), and activities driven by enjoyment or interest occurring at the other end of the continuum (intrinsic motivations).

From Fighting off Bears to Sitting in Traffic: How to Cope with Modern Stressors

Stress is not new. Stress gets a bad rap these days, but in fact, there are some really good reasons why we experience stress. Let’s imagine a hypothetical person with no stress response. We will call him Bob.   Now, Bob has made the mistake of going out for a walk in the woods without packing his stress response. Unfortunately for Bob, he happens right across the path of a bear. Without the instantaneous physiological reactions we often associate with stress kicking in and triggering him to take action (fight back or run away) Bob will have to resort to lengthier cognitive processes to decide what to do in this situation. Sadly for Bob, the thinking, reasoning, and judgment that come in handy for so many other tasks are just not fast enough for this job. Bob learned the hard way that a stress response is adaptive, and could have kept him safe.