Mental Health

World Brain Day 2018

Today is World Brain Day, where the world looks at how pollution affects the health of the brain and promote research into the diseases that may occur as a result of exposure to the pollutants. This year’s theme is “Clean air for brain health”.  Air pollutants are something that for the most part we have no control over.  But what we do have control over is how we care for our brain on a daily basis.  I would like to suggest that this self-care is one of the best ways that you can be proactive in giving your body and brain the advantage to whatever stressors you may be experiencing.


Mindfulness: Most people have heard of this term but have either have their own version of what it is or really don’t know much about it.  To put it simply, mindfulness is an intentional attitude in how you stay in the present moment.  It is when you notice the things around you and going on inside of you without judging them nor pushing them away.  Mindfulness takes practice and some people become frustrated because they don’t think it is helping them thus give us early.  I tell my clients that it is a skill that takes practice but is worth sticking with. It is something that every age can do and helpful with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. There are some good apps available that may help you get started.  As well, I can recommend other options for you to learn this practice.


Sleep:I am not going to suggest your optimum amount of sleep that you need each night but it is suggested that adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  To know if you are getting enough sleep, try to pay attention to your mood, energy and health.  Like a diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health. I also specialize in sleep disturbances and may be able to help you improve your sleep.  There is lots of good information on


Diet and exerciseare the two other areas that I want to mention.  Most people are not aware that diet and exercise are directly related to brain health and mental health.  I often tell my clients that their overall health affects their mental health.  You can’t really separate your body’s health and your mental health, as you are whole being, body and mind.  If you struggle in either or both of these areas, there are many reputable organizations and people that can help you get started on a healthy eating plan and regular exercise program suited for you.


These four areas are very important for your self-care.  I help many of my clients work toward self-care in these areas along with other areas in their life.  Take care of you!  It is the only body and mind you have and you are responsible for it.  If you need help in any of these areas or struggle with other area in your life, I would be glad to help you work through them.


Written by Bonnie Adams, MA, CCC, RP

Bonnie Adams - Counsellor





Mental Health, Nutrition

Winter got you feeling down?

Top 5 Tips to Feel Great this Winter

Winter can be tough for a lot of people, but for those already dealing with anxiety and depression, it can be just one more obstacle. Although we have been experiencing spring-like weather, this winter is not quite over. Right now, everyone I know is escaping to the sunny south to soak up some well needed vitamin D. If you’re not one of those people (myself included), it is even more important to focus on your health and give your body what it needs to feel great this winter.

I must admit, I’ve never been a big fan of winter and have always experienced some type of “Winter Blues”. By the time January and February rolls around, I feel sluggish, unmotivated, lazy, and sad, for what seems like no reason at all. Luckily, I have noticed a massive difference in the last couple of years and have turned into a bit of a winter lover. Who would have thought?!? After thinking for years that I just wasn’t a “winter person”, I’ve now learned how to enjoy the snow and feel great in winter. Let me share my tips to help you feel the same!


Take Vitamin D EVERY DAY!!!

I cannot stress this enough! Taking vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) every day in the winter has made a MASSIVE difference for me – more balanced moods and a stronger immune system! Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because it is actually manufactured in the human skin when in contact with the ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays. Wintertime, clouds, smog, and darkly pigmented skin reduce the body’s production of this vitamin and according to recent research, we need far more vitamin D than originally thought. Vitamin D regulates bone formation (especially important in menopausal women), prevents tooth decay and gum problems, has been shown to reduce the incidence of colds, and has been used in the treatment of diabetes, visual problems, allergies, sciatica pain, and skin problems. It also boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine (your FEEL-GOOD hormones) in the brain!

I highly recommend Physica Energetics Solray D Liposome spray, which you can find at Stonetown Chiropractic & Wellness Centre. It tastes great, and the liposomes technology greatly increase absorption and assimilation.

Get outside EVERY DAY.

It’s nature’s therapy. Outside time will boost your immune system and help you escape the indoor germs and bacteria, will help you get more exercise and will provide some vitamin D. There have been many days where all I want to do is curl up with a blanket on the couch, rather than face the cold outdoors. Despite this, I know how much time I am spending indoors and how important the fresh air is for my health. I also know that once I get outside and get moving I will have no regrets, as I always feel more energized and revitalized. Bundle up, and get outdoors, even if it’s for a short time. Sometimes five minutes is all it takes to get the mood-boosting effect.

Exercise is your best option for feeling great in winter and overall well-being. It will help to boost your immune system and will leaving you feeling more confident! We tend to have more downtime in the winter so it is even more important to make stretching and movement a part of your daily routine. I have been enjoying regular yoga and Pilates’ classes lately, as it makes me feel stronger and more flexible. If you don’t feel like travelling to attend a class, there are many, many awesome & free classes online – my personal fav is Boho Beautiful on YouTube. There are many classes to choose from, from beginner to advanced, and with varying lengths so you can enjoy this practice from your own home.

4. Decrease Simple Carbohydrates in your Diet.

Simple carbs equals severe fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. These fluctuations will leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and constantly craving more carbs and sugar. Replace simple carbs (white bread, white sugar, white rice, refined & processed foods) with complex carbs (sweet potatoes, parsnips, squash, lentils, legumes, whole grains – quinoa, wild & brown rice, millet, buckwheat, whole oats, rye) to stabilize your blood sugar levels and you will find your moods balanced, your energy levels up, and your cravings down.

5. Increase your Omega-3 intake.

Omega-3s are one of the essential fatty acids that we must consume in food. They can fight depression and anxiety by maintaining healthy levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin (your feel-good hormones), and reduce inflammation, including stiffness and joint pain. Most Canadians do not consume enough omega-3 fats and often consume way more omega-6s. An improper balance often leads to even more inflammation. To take advantage of the extraordinary benefits of omega-3s, consume these foods on a regular basis: cold water fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, cod, and haddock, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. If you find it difficult to incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis, an omega-3 supplement would be a great alternative!

Boosting your immune system and supporting your body to fight germs will result in less sickness, and an overall better winter experience. This winter’s flu epidemic shows the need for this focus.

So get out there, get active, eat right, and enjoy the cold!

Feel Great in Winter!

Cara Wicke - Holistic Nutritionist

Written by Cara Wicke

Registered Holistic Nutritionist & BioEnergetics Practitioner

Mental Health Support
Mental Health

5 Communication Skills Every Couple Should Develop

It’s very common for couples to pursue counselling when communication issues begin to dominate their relationship. Does it ever feel like you and your partner keep missing each other on something? Or like your partner just doesn’t seem to get you anymore? Perhaps you feel you’ve been very clear about your perspective and it’s your partner’s problem that they just can’t seem to understand the issues from your point of view.

Blaming each other for what’s not working, although tempting, will not get you the satisfaction you so desperately desire. Whether you are struggling to navigate a difficult situation together or daily arguments have become the norm, everyone can benefit from improved communication. Here are five tips to help you get on a better track toward mutual understanding and a deeper connection:

1. Find an opportune time to talk calmly about the issues.

Preserving time to check in with each other can help you be more productive. Arrange a time in the near future when you are both likely to be calm and comfortable. Perhaps you find that morning tends to work best, or Sunday afternoon when you’re in a more relaxed mood. You may need to adjust your schedule slightly so you have some extra time.

Too often, couples attempt to discuss an issue as it’s unfolding. While this may work some of the time, giving each other a heads-up to discuss something more in-depth may help you feel more relaxed and open with your partner. Take a moment to express your need and then follow up with a suggestion for a more opportune time. This communicates respect and consideration, which helps to promote an atmosphere of goodwill between two people.

2. Understand and communicate your partner’s perspective.

Listening can be tough, especially when the other person is saying something that triggers a defensive response in you. Remind yourself that you will also have a turn; right now it’s important to tune in and not interrupt. Make eye contact and be fully present with your partner. You can demonstrate being present by focusing exclusively on the conversation and what’s being said. It might be helpful to view the discussion as involving two subjective perspectives rather than one person being “right” or “wrong.”

If you’re not clear on something, ask a thoughtful question or two to make sure you really understand. You might even say, “Am I getting that right?” or, “I want to make sure I understand; tell me if I’m hearing you correctly …” Take turns talking and listening to each other. Spending just 10 minutes focused on the other person sharing their perspective can make a significant difference. If you find things are escalating, take a 5-minute break and come back.

3. Be mindful of your language and tone.

It can be so easy to miss an important message when we don’t like the tone in which something is being said. Take inventory. When you feel the urge to become accusatory or to begin a statement with “You always …” stop yourself. Ask yourself what you’re feeling in this moment. Taking a minute to slow down before responding can help you say what you truly feel instead of becoming defensive or blaming. Perhaps you might try: “Talking about this always seems to lead us down a destructive path. I’d like to get to a better place with it, but I’m just not sure how.” This kind of statement might help to open up a more constructive dialogue.

If you find a particular topic is especially difficult, it may help to share your feelings surrounding the issue. For example, you might say, “I’d really like to talk about (the issue) with you, but I’m feeling anxious about it because I know this is an area we tend to struggle with.” Sometimes this sort of statement can relieve the pressure to get it right the first time. Be patient with yourself; with time and practice, communication with your partner can become more productive.

4. Think in terms of what you can give, not just what you can take.

While it’s certainly true good relationships involve both give and take, when both partners are focused on giving, they strengthen their ability to negotiate conflict more effectively. With some increased awareness, you can shift a problematic dynamic. Tune into your words and actions more carefully. Is there something you can say or do differently to yield different results? When we are kind, we send a caring message to our partner, and when we feel cared for, we can operate from a place of generosity and love.

What positive and unique qualities do you bring to your relationship? What makes you feel happy to provide to your partner? How can you contribute positively to the situation?

5. Notice and say out loud what you appreciate about your partner.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued. It can be easy to fall into a thinking pattern of: “I feel like I do so much, but no one notices.” When we take the time to openly appreciate someone else’s positive qualities and good deeds, we foster an atmosphere of emotional generosity. Notice something about your partner that you feel grateful for? Share it! Be on the lookout for what you can appreciate and say it. Often, we tend to focus on what we don’t have or what’s not working in relationships. This critical shift in perspective to a focus on the positive can make all the difference. You might find your partner begins to share their appreciation for how awesome you are as well.

Taking the time to understand your partner’s perspective and to reflect back that you truly “get it” can have a significant impact on the quality of your relationship. The next time you find yourself a little stuck, try out the tips above to help you move toward a deeper, more satisfying connection.

© Copyright 2017 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jennifer J. Uhrlass, LMFT, therapist in New York City, New York

For a local Certified Counsellor or Registered Psychotherapist, please contact Bonnie Adams at Stonetown Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in St. Marys Ontario.

Bonnie Adams - Counsellor