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 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