What is Emotional Dysregulation?

Every single one of us experiences and feel strong emotions, and we all use less-than-ideal ways of managing those emotions at one time or another. Being able to regulate your feelings and organize them in an appropriate and effective manner is called emotional regulation.

Emotional regulation can look like:
● Regular exercise
● Talking about your feelings with friends
● Meditation and mindfulness
● Therapy

Overall, listening to what your body and mind need and then doing it!
Emotional Dysregulation is just the opposite; it is “an inability to regularly use healthy strategies to diffuse or moderate negative emotions” (Rolston & LLoyd-Richardson, Cornell Research).

When we are unable to regulate our emotions and use healthy strategies, we turn to unhealthy strategies to help ease these emotions. Emotional dysregulation is what most often leads to self harm and suicidal ideation.

General signs of emotional dysregulation are:
● Abusing alchohol/other substances
● Avoiding or withdrawing from difficult situations
● Excessive social media use to the point of ignoring other responsibilities
● Aggression, verbally or physically
● Eating excessively

What can you do to practice emotional regulation rather than dysregulation?
It is vital that we pay attention to the thought-emotion-behavior patterns in ourselves to understand what triggers our strong emotions, as well as when it is more difficult for us to regulate the emotions. Certain scenarios can trigger a specific behavior such as eating junk food, scrolling social media, or drinking – but if we don’t connect the triggers to the thoughts, feelings, and then behaviors, we can’t effectively pinpoint the dysfunction. Taking the time to track our triggers (anytime a strong emotion is induced like anxiety, anger, sadness, etc), the emotions it evokes, and then finally the action we take because of it (or the action we want to take) can allow us to reroute the emotional dysregulation to a path that is healthier and more effective in coping.

Take the time today to start tracking your triggers, and you will find that changing the way you cope with difficult feelings can be done, and can be freeing.

For more information, visit

Managing Stress

What is Stress?
Stress refers to a psychological perception of a threat and our body’s response to it

What is the Body’s Response to Stress?
When our brain perceives that a situation is threatening, our sympathetic nervous system is automatically activated to prepare our body to deal with it. When this happens, our body releases cortisol and adrenaline, which causes our heart rate to increase, our blood vessels to constrict, our breathing to quicken, our pupils to dilate, etc. (American Psychological Association, 2018).

After our brain determines that the perceived threat is gone, our parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which allows our body to relax and recover (American Psychological Association,
2018). While the sympathetic nervous system can help keep us safe from a perceived threat, it can also drain our body and put us at an increased risk of developing many health problems when it is constantly being activated (American Psychological Association, 2018).

So, Should Stress Be Avoided?
Stress is unavoidable and can help us better meet challenges. Therefore, instead of trying to run
from it, we should learn effective ways to manage it. Five recommended ways to do this include:

  1. Perceive your stress as something that is helping you meet your challenge rather than something that is bad for you: according to Stanford psychologist and renowned researcher Dr. Kelly McGonigal, studies show that perceiving our stress positively
    increases courage, decreases anxiety, and keeps our blood vessels relaxed during the stress response rather than constricted (TEDx Talks, 2014). So, next time you experience
    stress, try thinking to yourself “This feeling is helping me rise to this challenge” rather than “I hate this feeling. It is hurting me and my body.”
  2. Seek social support and help others: according to Dr. McGonigal, seeking out social support and helping others cause our body to release oxytocin (TEDx Talks, 2014).
    Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, keeps our blood vessels relaxed during the stress response, and helps our heart cells heal from the damage caused
    by the stress response (TEDx Talks, 2014).
  3. Spend time in nature: studies have found that spending time in nature decreases stress (Yao et al., 2021) and improves cognitive performance by relieving mental fatigue (Stevenson et al., 2018).
  4. Embrace uncertainty: studies show that feelings of uncertainty and ambiguity increase stress (Bardeen et al., 2016). According to psychologist and renowned researcher, Dr. Elissa Epel, while anticipating the worst may seem like an effective way to better prepare for it, it is harmful to our health and does not result in a better response than not anticipating it (Suttle, 2023). We can learn to tolerate uncertainty by practicing mindfulness meditation, which helps us to stay focused on the present rather than ruminating about the uncertain future (Suttle, 2023).
  1. Seek professional help: a licensed mental health professional can provide us with specific tools to manage our stress that are effective for our unique circumstances. Mental health professionals can also provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment, which can help us change unproductive thought patterns that are stress-inducing to more productive and soothing ones.

American Psychological Association. (2018, November 1). Stress effects on the body.
Bardeen, J. R., Fergus, T. A., & Orcutt, H. K. (2016). Examining the specific dimensions of
distress tolerance that prospectively predict perceived stress. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy,
1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2016.1233454
Psychology Today. (n.d.). Stress. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from
Stevenson, M. P., Schilhab, T., & Bentsen, P. (2018). Attention restoration theory II: A
systematic review to clarify attention processes affected by exposure to natural
environments. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 21(4), 227–268.
Suttle, J. (2023, February 15). Seven Ways to Have a Healthier Relationship With Stress. The
Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
TEDx Talks. (2014). How to make stress your friend. YouTube.
Yao, W., Zhang, X., & Gong, Q. (2021). The effect of exposure to the natural environment on
stress reduction: A meta-analysis. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 57, 126932.

Keeping Passion Alive in our Long-Term Romantic Relationships

By Lindsay Cowdin

At the beginning of new relationships, we are typically flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of reward, energy, exhilaration, and motivation (Slater, 2006). This dopamine flood is the reason why our heart pumps when our new lover walks into
the room, why we are happy to stay up all night talking with them, and why sexual attraction is strongest at the beginning of the relationship (Slater, 2006).

However, as the relationship becomes familiar, these feelings fade due to hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation is the idea that as something becomes familiar, its ability to increase our excitement and feelings of reward fade (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Although hedonic adaptation is inevitable for all couples, there are things we can do to challenge it and experience more passion in our long-term romantic relationships. We can do this by filling our romantic relationships with a variety of novel
activities that we and our partners can enjoy together (Slater, 2006).

We can do this by:
 Mixing up date night – be creative!
 Trying a new and exciting activity together
 Leaving love notes in surprising places for your partner to find
 Taking a spontaneous trip together
 Having spontaneous sex
 Learning something new together

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we can apply this idea by doing something out of the ordinary for the holiday to increase passion in our relationships. For instance, if you typically go out for dinner every year, try making a nice dinner together from home. Additionally, instead
of giving your loved one a dozen roses, try hiding each rose with love notes attached to them in different places where your lover will find them throughout the day. Another idea includes staying the night at a hotel in a city where you and your lover have never stayed before. The
ideas are endless! The key point is to avoid the ordinary and mix things up with activities that are new, exciting, and fun for both you and your partner.

Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness. Review of General
Psychology, 9(2), 111–131. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111
Slater, L. (2006, February). Love. National Geographic, 209(2), 32–49.

Healthy Social Media Use

By Lindsay Cowdin

According to Pew Research, 71% of Facebook users and 59% of Instagram users report that they visit their social media site once to several times per day (Atske & Anderson, 2022). Clearly, social media has become central to many of our lives, but is this a good thing?
According to Dar Meshi, a research professor at Michigan State University, we are compelled by social media because we have evolved to find social connections rewarding (Gupta, 2022).

Therefore, this technology provides us with a new way to experience social rewards, such as support and connections (Gupta, 2022). For instance, being active on social media allows us to
connect with many people we may have otherwise lost contact with. This can help decrease feelings of loneliness, which studies have found is highly detrimental to our mental and physical
health (CDC, 2021).

Additionally, we can receive social support by receiving “likes” and
comments on our posts. Receiving compliments and support from others has been found to activate the reward center of our brain, which creates feelings of pleasure, reward, and energy (Gupta, 2022).

Despite these benefits, there are a few dangers of social media that users should be aware of. For instance, Professor Dar Meshi found that social comparisons are a large driver of social media
use (Gupta, 2022). According to social comparison theory, we compare ourselves to others in domains such as attractiveness, success, wealth, popularity, and more to determine our worth (Psychology Today, n.d.). These comparisons are linked to poor mental health, such as
depression, anxiety, and lower life satisfaction (Gupta, 2022).

Unfortunately, social media provides us with a way to compare ourselves to a large number of people (Gupta, 2022). Additionally, people typically only post the best parts of themselves and their lives. Therefore,
social media may be setting us up for unfair comparisons on a large scale. Social media can also lead to problematic social media use, which resembles an addiction (Gupta, 2022). This can result in preoccupation (i.e., constantly thinking about social media), mood modification (i.e.,
going onto social media to change your mood), tolerance (i.e., needing more and more social media to feel its rewards), conflict (i.e., social media causing problems in your personal and work life), withdrawal (i.e., experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit social media
use) and relapse (i.e., relapsing when trying to quit social media use) (Gupta, 2022).

How can we use social media in a way that allows us to enjoy the benefits while avoiding the dangers? According to Professor Dar Meshi, those who use social media excessively and passively (i.e., overly scrolling through social media without making posts) experience the most psychological distress (Gupta, 2022). However, those who use it in moderation and actively (i.e., making posts periodically while avoiding excessive scrolling) receive the most benefits (Gupta,2022).

Therefore, we do not need to avoid social media altogether to avoid its dangers. Instead, we can moderate our use, become active users, and recognize the risk of unfair social comparisons. By doing so, we can more fully enjoy the social connections and support that social
media can provide to our lives.

Atske, S., Anderson, M. (2022, May 11). Social Media Use in 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2023,
from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, April 29). Loneliness and Social Isolation
Linked to Serious Health Conditions. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from
Gupta, S., (Host). (2022, May 11). Social Media and our Brains with CNN’s Chasing Life [Audio
podcast episode]. In The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos. Pushkin Industries.
Psychology Today. (n.d.). Social Comparison Theory. Sussex Publishers. Retrieved January 26,
2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/social-comparison-theory

What Are Body-Image Issues, and How Do I Fix Them?

By: Sarah Thorn


Did you know that according to a study, 86% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies in some way (Hirschmann & Munter, 1995)? Body-image issues plague girls and women of all ages. Having a negative body-image causes low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In this post, we will discuss what body-image issues look like, where it stems from, and how to help change our deeply held negative beliefs about our bodies.

What is Body-Image?

According to psychologist Amy Launder, there are four parts of body image:

  • The way you visually perceive your body 
  • The way you feel about how you look
  • The thoughts and beliefs you hold about your body 
  • And the things you do related to the way you look (diets, photoshop, tanning, etc.)


What Does Negative Body-Image Look Like?

If you believe that your worth, happiness, and success is based on whether you look “good”, you are likely struggling with body-image issues. Often, women hold the belief that if they lose the weight, or get the nose job, or get the hair-extensions, they will finally be happy – only to discover they are just as unfulfilled as they were before. When we are seeking intrinsic happiness and fulfillment in extrinsic things (such as how we look), we will never find it. Many eating disorders are formed by striving to feel valued and worthy by looking a certain way and going to extremes to try to achieve their goals. 

Where Do Body-Image Issues Come From?

We are constantly bombarded with ads, images, and videos that are all centered on outer appearance. What clothes to buy, what serums to use on our skin, what hair products famous models are using, and on and on and on… Not only that, but we have filters, photoshop, plastic surgery, makeup contouring, and so on. Why wouldn’t a woman struggle with the way they look when they are constantly being told what to do to look better?

How Can I Change My Body-Image from Negative to Positive?

It is difficult to ignore all the societal messages we receive every day, that essentially tell us through their advertising that we are not good enough. However, it is possible to relearn what self-worth means, and to change our negative core beliefs about ourselves to positive. Listed below are eight things we can do to re-create our body-image beliefs:

  • Appreciate all that your body can do
  • Keep a top-ten list of all the things you like about yourself 
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is NOT skin-deep.
  • Become a critical viewer of social media and media messages
  • Remember that your body is NOT an object, but an instrument 
  • Remember that your body is good, regardless of how it looks 
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable, and help you feel confident
  • Surround yourself with positive people


It is all too common to base our worth on our outer appearance, but luckily, we have the power to change what we believe. Every second of every day is a new opportunity to start shifting our mindset from external validation to internal. Practice self-compassion and give yourself patience as you embark on changing your views about your physical appearance. You are so much more than a body!

Holiday Tips Catered to Your Attachment Style

Holiday Tips Catered to Your Attachment Style, Good Things Utah Segment

By: Ashley & Laurin, CEOs


What is“Attachment”?

We all have an innate desire to connect with others and feel a sense of belonging, we first begin to learn how to attach at birth from our two primary caregivers. This is essentially what sets the tone of how you manage and engage in relationships through adulthood.

What is an “Attachment Style”?

There are four basic styles of attachment: Secure (this is the goal), Anxious (clingy, needy), Avoidant (surface connection), Disorganized (I need you but don’t come too close).

Holiday Tips for Anxious Attachment:

  • Maintain sense of self
    • People Pleasing habits may get in the way of wanting others’ approval, instead doing activities you love to maintain a sense of self.
  • Practice Personal Boundaries
    • Controlled detachment to allow yourself to enjoy the emotional aspects of the holidays while not trying to control the outcome

Holiday Tips for Avoidant Attachment:

  • Look for and focus on the elements you love about the holidays
    • Try not to overthink about the hesitations you may have about one thing or another, rather look forward to an individual you are excited to see, the festive foods, or the quirky holiday music.
  • Plan social engagement/conversations.
    • If you know who will be attending the event, plan things you would like to know about them and have follow up questions, closing questions and perhaps some ways to excuse yourself (learn to organically lead and close conversations)
  • Reward yourself with alone time
    • You may feel overwhelmed after socializing so much so plan to relax after you event and that may help you in feeling more motivated to go

Holiday Tips for Disorganized Attachment:

  • Start small!
    • Plan to meet up with family before a bigger event, connect with someone you are comfortable with first at the party
  • Remember to not accept your fears about what may happen as fact
    • Try to see yourself in a positive light, Fear: “I will be so awkward, nobody will want to talk to me”. Challenge the Fear: “People have talked to me at these events in the past, there is no reason why this time will be different.”.
  • You do not have to do it all, Protect Your Mental Health
    • Use your best judgment to know if a certain event will be beneficial to you (and your family), it does not matter the pressure or guilt you may be receiving from others- make you a priority. 

To learn more about these things, how to better apply them, or how to apply these tips and tricks to help your kids and grandkids visit our website and read more on our blog.

We also offer in person and telehealth appointments to help individuals, couples and families to achieve their goals.

Overcoming Holiday Burnout

Overcoming Holiday Burnout

By: Kyra Littledike, CSW, Logan Office Therapist

Do the holidays not seem to be as magical as they once were? Do you feel more dread than joy as you watch the holiday decorations and festivities make their re-appearance?

It is no secret that the holiday season can be both a happy and overwhelming time for everyone. However, they can be more overwhelming and difficult for those who are struggling with symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and grief.

In preparation for the 2022 holiday season, we want to give you five tips to help you avoid holiday burnout so you can be more present and engaged with the ones you love.

Tip #1: You Can Say No

It is important to be realistic in the expectations you have for yourself and others in periods of increased stress. The holidays can demand more time and money than we may really have to offer. Though it is uncomfortable, it is okay to say no and set limits on what you can/are willing to do. It is okay if you cannot realistically attend the three holiday parties you were invited to or buy a present for every house in your neighborhood.

Tip #2: Take Breaks

Having more on your holiday to-do list and a jam-packed schedule full of holiday activities naturally steals away from downtime. Be intentional about scheduling some breaks, even if it is just to watch your favorite Christmas movie.

Time with family also increases during the holiday season. While this is a fun time to reconnect with those we may not see often, it can result in conflict and boundary violations. When anxiety or frustration may start to rise, take a ten-to-fifteen-minute break or walk outside to regulate.

Tip #3: Create/Maintain Traditions

Family and personal traditions bring a lot of excitement and meaning to the holiday season. Prioritizing meaningful traditions can help you in building connections and bring you closer to the ones you love. Choose to create and maintain traditions that spark joy and excitement within you. They will likely create memories that you will lovingly reflect on even when the season is over.

Tip #4: Take Care of Yourself

As the stress of the holiday season increases, self-care can quickly decrease. Staying emotionally regulated and completing the tasks and demands of the season are going to feel impossible if you are not fully rested, providing your body with the nutrition it needs, and staying hydrated. Even taking time to exercise thirty minutes a day, can help in improving mood, increasing motivation, and decreasing potential holiday weight gain.

Tip #5: Ask for Help

The holidays are more enjoyable when surrounded by the ones you love. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask those around you for help. We do not have to do things alone and often there is someone that is ready and willing to help; we just have to ask. The professionals at Connections Family Wellness are also here to help you in managing your holiday blues.

For additional information, you can contact us at (801) 871-5118.

We wish you a happy holiday season!

Grief Yoga: Moving Through Loss with Love

Hosted By Connections Family Wellness’ therapist, Grief Yoga® certified teacher, and sound healer Angie Shultz

Transforming Grief into Empowerment a healing experience using movement, breath, and sound. Why talking about grief may not be enough to heal it
Grief lives in the body. No matter how many times you tell yourself all the “right” things in your head, you may still feel loss lurking in your chest, the pit of your stomach, and the knots in your shoulders. The emotion stored in your tissues can keep you awake at night, disrupt your moods, and hijack your relationships. Movement can mobilize that energy and transmute it, allowing you to heal.

What if I’m not very athletic?

Grief Yoga® is for people of all ages and fitness levels. The goal isn’t to turn you into a pretzel or build physical strength and endurance. Instead, the focus is on emotional transformation. The movements can be done either from a chair or a yoga mat.

What can I expect at a Grief Yoga® class?

It’s not your typical yoga class! Grief Yoga® draws from many different traditions, including hatha, yin, kundalini, laughter yoga, and dance your yoga, and combines them in a way unlike any of the original forms. Every class is the opportunity for a deep emotional journey. We will use movement breath and sound to connect to your feelings of loss, witness and express them, and then shift into feelings of connection and peace.
Every class ends with a relaxing crystal bowl sound bath.
What is a sound bath?
There is no water involved! A sound bath is a form of healing in which crystal bowls of various sizes are played by an experienced practitioner. The patterns of vibration promote relaxation and stress reduction.

When are classes available?
Three and four-session packages of grief yoga are offered at regular intervals at ConnectionsFamily Wellness 965 S 100 W Suite 106 Logan, Utah. Call for the next start date. (801) 871-5118.
Offered by Angie Schultz, CSW, RYT-200, Grief Yoga® certified teacher, and sound healer

Midweek Mindfulness at Connection Family Wellness

Hosted by Connections Family Wellness’ therapist and mindfulness expert Angie Shultz

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by hassles and obligations? Do your stress levels keep inching up as the week goes on? Do you sometimes find yourself checking out, or going through life on autopilot, just to get through the day? What if there were an easy, inexpensive way to check back in? To feel fully engaged with the people around you? To start really savoring your own life? Midweek Mindfulness at Connections Family Wellness could be just what you are looking for.

Is This Class for Me?

So, what does a mindfulness class look like? Midweek Mindfulness at Connections Family Wellness is a fun blend of practical techniques like guided meditation and conscious movement that bring you back in tune with yourself. Most class sessions also include a crystal bowl sound bath. It’s a great way to reset when the busy week has you feeling scattered or uncentered.

Why Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the state of being fully connected with your own inner and outer experiences. Because it helps with brain function and therefore productivity, many Fortune 500 companies have begun offering mindfulness-based trainings to their executives. Since it works equally well at helping reduce feelings of
stress, anxiety, and depression, it’s also a cornerstone of many popular approaches to mental health therapy. But the biggest pull of mindfulness practice for most people is that it helps them to feel more present, grounded, and joyful. It’s a practice for those who want to feel fully human.

What Else Can Mindfulness Help With?

Mindfulness has been shown in research to help improve sleep, reduce chronic pain, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve mood. It has been shown to help reduce aggressive behavior and increase compassion levels. It can even improve your ability to focus, enhance brain functioning, and increase the volume of gray matter in your brain. So be careful! Getting started with a mindfulness practice at Connections Family Wellness might just inspire you to bring mindfulness into your daily life, and that could have big results.

How do I Get Started?

Spaces are limited. Call 801 871 5118 to reserve your spot. Each session is only $10. Classes are held Wednesdays from 9:15-10:15 at the Connections Family Wellness Logan office: 10654 South River Heights Drive, Suite 106.
Offered by Angie Schultz, CSW, RYT-200.

Teen Self-Esteem Group

Hosted By Connections Family Wellness’ therapist & teen expert Kyra Littledike

Learning to navigate life as a teen is hard and oftentimes confusing. Among the many difficulties teens face, low self-esteem is one of the most common and devastating. Struggles with self-esteem may leave teens feeling inadequate, misunderstood, and lonely. However, your journey to a healthier self-esteem does not have to be taken alone and can begin today! 

Connections Family Wellness is excited to help you in taking steps to boost your self-esteem this summer with our 8-week self-esteem group. Join us weekly as we complete many activities to strengthen participants’ confidence in boundary setting, assertiveness, positive self-talk, and self-care. Group participants will also work with group therapist on identifying and discussing the many internal and external influences that impact our self-esteem daily with emphasis on social media use.

Becoming a happier, healthier, more confident version of yourself is possible! Please call (801) 871-5118 to register and we look forward to seeing you at 6:00 PM