NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Tag : mindfulness

Decrease stress, prioritize mental health, and get the most out of time off.

Sarasota FL psychology manage stress with time off

It’s not easy to take time off work especially when we are under stress to perform. Taking time off can be extra hard when it’s for mental health.

In past few years, there has been increasing awareness and chatter about taking mental health days. Near the end of May, Nadia Whittome, one of the youngest members of Britain’s Parliament, reveled she had been diagnosed with PTSD, and was going to take several weeks off under the guidance of her mental health provider.

On her website she wrote, “Through being open about my own mental health struggle, I hope that others will also feel able to talk about theirs.”

Whittome is not alone in her choice to take time away from demands to tend to her mental health needs. Teachers and healthcare workers are leaving their positions reporting burnout from the covid-19 stress.

There seems to be a wave of optimism with COVID-19 restrictions being lifted. However, there may be a second wave of COVID-19 related mental health challenges yet to come. Some of these challenges are related to post COVID adjustments. Other aspects are likely related to the prolonged experience of anxiety, depression, stress and isolation countless Americans faced over the past year.

Given the nations prolonged exposure to stress and trauma it is not surprising that many people are choosing to take time off from work. Research has supported that taking time off has some significant benefits including less stress when returning to work and a decrease in stress while taking time off.

According to a 2020 report from the Commonwealth Fund, Americans suffered more mental health consequences from the Covid-19 crisis than people in nine other high-income countries. Thirty-three percent of respondents reported experiencing stress, anxiety or major sadness that was difficult to cope with alone. These are feelings that shouldn’t be ignored. Unfortunately, taking time off of work isn’t an option for everyone, however as a nation we would likely benefit if more were granted more opportunities to prioritize mental wellbeing over personal productivity.

Make sure you check in with feelings

Taking on work tasks can use up a lot of our time in a week. Taking time off can leave some significant voids in the schedule. These voids provide an opportunity to check in with ourselves and see what if any feelings or thoughts bubble up to fill the voids. Without planned effort we can accidently fill all of the voids out of reflex. Sitting with sadness, grief, anger, fear, depression ect. can be uncomfortable however, I am going to suggest these feelings can be the jump on point to heal and grow again in life. It is pretty normal to want to avoid discomfort when taking time off. However, moving into this paradox, where we welcome what bubbles up and process it during times of break can provide a significant long term reduction in discomfort. The saying “there is never a good time” to feel these feelings probably rings true here. I mean, you finally get time off work, and I am suggesting we can benefit from looking out for bad feelings can feel so counter intuitive. However, I am suggesting that doing just this can be very powerful.

Have a plan for reentry

keep the stress off returning to work with Dr. Davenport Sarasota, FL Psychologist

It is easy to hit the ground running when we return to work, things to get caught up on, and we can easily return to the same patterns. Taking some time to define new healthy behaviors can be a powerful way to continue change. It is suggested to make one behavioral change at a time. Take 2 weeks to implement each behavior. Once it is set add another one. For example, when returning to work it is easy to have a desk lunch while getting caught up on tasks and projects. However, a more adaptive behavior would be to leave the office to be outside and clear your mind or going to lunch with colleagues.

Grateful soothes Stress

In the current era this one can sound a bit burnt out. However, practicing gratitude has been found to correlate to improved relationship and happiness in those around us. After this stressful year with COVID-19, we have so much to potentially feel grateful for.

Even the suffering of the past year could be seen as a opportunity to see where we need to take better care of our own mental health. If we do not take care of ourselves, we will not be able to do our best on other tasks. Again the paradox here, some times working less lets us do more. We have to be able to take a long term approach to see the benefit. When we are stressed we are not as able to play things out as well in the long term. A great example of this is the message on air planes: “if you are traveling with small children please put your oxygen mask on first.” In the short run this can seem selfish even counter intuitive to parenting. However, if you do not put your mask on first, you will not be be able to do your best to help to others.

If you or someone you love is dealing with too much stress or having mental health difficulties call Dr. Davenport today for counseling and therapy services in Sarasota, FL 941-321-1971.

Meditation may help treat anxiety

Meditation can help treat anxiety

Meditation and mindfulness meditation in particular  have been trending in popular culture in recent years and have been found to be beneficial in treating anxiety. There is a fair amount of existing research  that suggests  meditation  changes the way  our brain functions  and our brain structure.

Research recently discussed through media outlet Forbes looked at a small sample size  of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)  nearly 20,000,000 people will have  symptoms consistent with this diagnosis at some point in their lifetimes. a unique aspect of this study  was that participants were applied to a mindfulness  stress reduction treatment  or a stress management education course.  The hope was that this would eliminate  some of the placebo affect in previous studies on mindfulness meditation  that offered a treatment and nontreatment group only. initial findings from the study suggests that individuals who engaged in the mindfulness stress reduction treatment had significantly lower levels of stress markers ACTH, IL-6 and TNF-α.

There have been a number of findings consistent with the potential benefit of mindfulness meditation  for treating anxiety. A 2009 study on Anxiety, from Harvard, looked at the connection between stress reduction and changes in brain structure. This study suggested that an eight week trial of meditation can change the structure of the amygdala, a part of our brain that responds  to stress and arousal. These changes to the amygdala  were found to correlate  with one’s  perception of reduced stress. Slightly different but in a similar vein a 2013 meta-analysis from Johns Hopkins suggested  that meditation was linked significantly with reduced anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Information presented in this  entry is not intended  to treat or diagnose any medical or mental health disorder.  In addition, the techniques referenced in this article are likely to be most beneficial  when implemented under the guidance of a trained professional.

Is your desk cluttered? If it is your mind might feel that way too.

A lot of times we hold on to belonging so we can be prepared or have what we need when we needed. Frequently these external items can become symbolic representations of things that are happening inside of us.when we reform our space physically it can also bring significant mental changes.

American Psychological Science has found that a tidy desk can support generosity and  healthy eating.

“Most of us are operating in a state of chronic stress; we’re always on,” David W. Ballard, Psy.D., the assistant executive director for the American Psychological Association‘s Center for Organizational Excellence previously told HuffPost Healthy Living. Adopting a sense of tidiness is how some people are “able to really stay focused and stay organized do things to manage their stress effectively,” he said.

Here are a few tips to work our way through…

1) Expect that things are likely to feel worse on the short run. When we take on change or face what we have been avoiding we tend to feel feelings associated why we avoided in the first place.

2) Keep focus on both the long term goal (cleaning or getting de-cluttered) and the short-term (working toward making change). If our feet are moving toward our goal we can say we are making progress even if we did not accomplish a complete goal as expected.

3) Look for the positive. Ask yourself “what does this add to my life?… do I need to keep it to feel better?” Keep things that bring joy.

post image

Mindfulness, antiaging, fountain of youth?

In recent years mindfulness has become a hot topic in popular culture. Meditation, the book- The Power of Now, Marcia Linehan’s dialectical behavioral therapy for borderline personality disorder, yoga, and even martial arts all have common threads of hope for increased health and aim to focus on the present moment and our experiences in it. This is described by some as mindfulness.

In addition, recent research in neuroscience suggests that focusing our senses in the present moment while using frontal lobe function ( executive planning, impulse control, “playing the tape through” to see if the outcome is something we would like ) places us in the best position to be resilient in life. These functions also mitigate the impact of dopamine which research also suggests contributes to impulsive, compulsive, or abusive behaviors ( eating disorders, gambling, substance use problems, addiction to gaming, ect). While some dopamine can be a positive thing, we have found that it’s sustained-release augments  frontal lobe slowdown which can manifest as impulsivity, and activities and thoughts frequently seen with addiction, anxiety, depression, and adhd. 

Dr. Davenport works at Charles R Davenport Psy.D. LLC with offices in Venice in Sarasota Florida providing counseling and therapy services for adults and children struggling the situations similar to the ones discussed here.

Check out this recent article on how meditation may protect the brain from aging.

Home | Resources | Psychology Blog | New Patient Forms


1224 Ridgewood Ave

Venice Officeon


1608 Oak St

Sarasota Officeon Google+

941-321-1971 Fax: 941-866-0936

Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm
5 out of 5 stars on (6 surveys)

Dr. Charles R. Davenport is a Licensed Psychologist
Copyright 2020
Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy