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There are many services to choose from when dealing with mental health

Golden Star - 5/10/2018

The beginning of this week marked Mental Health Week in B.C., and in Golden there are many options to help people on their way to building and maintaining a healthy mind.

Mental health is as important as physical health, explained University of Calgary adjunct professor and research consultant Stephanie Knaak.

For the last five years, she has been working closely with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and has developed a lot of experience and understanding of stigma, and how to combat it.

The way she likes to think about mental health is that it is part of a continuum, and everybody moves back and forth along the guide of what is mentally healthy, and what isn't.

"Through the course of our lifetime, we can move back and forth on this continuum," she said. "It's not a black and white thing. There's lots of shades of grey along that continuum. Mental health is really about building up those resiliency skills, so that when we are faced with where we find ourselves more toward the illness side of the continuum, that we have those supports and resources."

There are many options for taking care of mental health in Golden.

Some people may find their first stop at their doctor's office, or through traditional counselling and therapy, and some people might find themselves looking into meditation or holistic approaches to build their toolkit for resiliency.

Laura Shaw began her private mindfulness coaching practice in 2015, and has studied and engaged in different aspects of spirituality and meditation over the last 20 years.

"There are ways to support mental health in ways that we don't normally hear about," Shaw explained. "I think for me, the most noticeable thing was a deepening of stability and resiliency, and a groundedness, and able to just have a deeper ground to stand on, so when things come up in life, the tendency to have these knee jerk reactions, there's just a bit more of a capacity for a more intelligent and comprehensive response."

Practising meditation has given Shaw the toolkit to be able to take a moment before reacting to a situation, and has helped her to become more aware of her own emotions and those around her.

"You can see where it's leading you. And instead, just to have the capacity to explore what it is, and meet it directly, and then you can respond. That space is the world of difference," she said.

Shaw has also developed mindful meditation courses for physicians, parents, and the general public.

She worked with a group of physicians last year, helping them learn how to cope with compassion fatigue, and how to keep offering themselves when their emotional energy is being depleted.

As a clinical hypnotherapist, Shaw is able to facilitate the client's awareness, and the possibility of accessing deeper, more conscious truths.

She works a lot with people who are feeling anxious or depressed, who recognize and want to release fear, become fully at peace with themselves, and a myriad of other topics and feelings people would like to learn about themselves, build on, or overcome.

"I think there's so many ways that we just accept a level of anxiety or depression, or feeling stuck, or feeling flat, and we think that's OK," she explained. "A lot of the time it's almost like that's even what's expected, and we have to just pull through. A lot of the time, it's not fine. People are in a lot of pain."

Shaw offers a variety of private coaching and courses through her practice. She teaches awakening and self compassion, offering classes that are lead with yoga teachers, and courses on awakening the fearless heart, mindfulness for physicians, for parenting, and much more.

To find out all about what Shaw covers in her practice, go to www.laurapshaw.com.

 
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