Mindful Living and Change in Mindset

By Laura Rice, MS of Paper Cranes Healthcare

We are bombarded with strategies to enhance our health, parent our children, lose weight, help sleep, improve our relationships, develop spirituality, achieve success, make money, simplify life, reduce stress, train our pets, enhance our memory, become more tech savvy, enjoy life, prepare for retirement, travel more, engage in service, cook healthy, travel the world, complete our bucket list AND then… “Do It Yourself”(DIY) it all. To be completely honest, just thinking about the plethora of recommendations is overwhelming.

We can not do it all, nor could we or should we. Choose what is important to YOU and simplify the focus on it with enjoyment, curiosity, and a growth mindset. The growth mindset engages your mind in learning the challenge with the expectations of just that “learning something and trying something” not perfecting. The sign that we are setting ourselves up for defeat is when we tell ourselves “we should or we must” . This is a type of cognitive distortion that provides negativity to our thoughts and feelings. We may feel guilt, defeat, inadequacy, anger or sadness. Do these thoughts and emotions serve you? They do not, and they will steal the energy away from your motivation and contentment of your goals and the small steps towards those goals.

If you want to sleep better, focus on going to bed at a set time tonight and waking at a particular time in the morning. Add a beneficial bedtime routine such as reading instead of the tv or ipad. These are small steps, but when you accomplish the small steps each day before you know it the larger goal is more attainable.

If you want to improve your relationships, what can you do today? Text a friend. Initiate plans. Spend time conversing over meals. Take time to enjoy time together with no distractions. Listen and share with each other.

If you want to DIY your life… there is Pinterest… but focus on 1 area or task at a time to find success.

A Little Progress Each Day, Adds up to Big Results!

For any help with achieving your goals, the counselors at Paper Cranes Healthcare are here for you. Laura is one of three highly trained counselors who welcome a conversation with you. Call (480)704-3474 to schedule today.

Guiding and Loving our Teens

By: Laura Rice, MS

January 2, 2018

“You can not stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”- Jon Kabat-Zinn

Let’s start off with a basic need: SLEEP. Teens do require more sleep. They require about 9 hours per night. Helping our teens prioritize this can help with all areas of their life as well as their moods. During their sleep time, the critical hormones to maturation and growth are released.

Secondly, let’s talk about their amazing NEUROLOGICAL development. The teenage years are known for a time of heightened risk-taking, poor impulse control, and self-consciousness.  This should not be viewed negatively. These behaviors are a simple result of increased neurological development. The area of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, planning, appropriate behavior, social interactions and self-awareness goes through significant development during the teenage years. There is strengthening of used synapses and elimination of unused synapses. Basically, “use it or lose it”. Teens need the ability to problem solve, make decisions, socialize and learn about who they are while parents provide guidance, support,  strict boundaries, and consequences.

Thirdly, daily LOVE of them. Spend time with them. Dinner, lunch, tv time, shopping time, car drive, household chores together and anything else in which you can be present with your teen.  Be present, not intrusive. Provide a family of unconditional love and support gives teens a safe foundation during turbulent times. When you are in the wrong, apologize and take responsibility. Accept their apologies and let them know how much they are loved despite their mistakes at times. Show them respect to enhance feelings of happiness and safety at home.  

Lastly, MODEL the positive behaviors that you want to instill in them to carry over into adulthood. They look to the adults in their lives for how to behave and to make choices about their own lives. The more positive influences surrounding them, the better. A common goal among parents is to raise young adults to be healthy, well-balanced, caring individuals who makes positive choices and has self-confidence. This does not happen overnight. It takes proactive steps and daily attention to our children even during the teenage years.

“Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers not thunder.” -Rumi

PaperCranes Healthcare offers a Teen Stress Management Group at our Queen Creek office. Feel free to call 480-704-3474 or click here to register today.


The Little Things Count with Depression

November 7, 2017

By: Laura Rice, MS, Counselor at Paper Cranes Healthcare 

Depression is engulfing and painful. It takes away one’s joy, confidence, energy, appetite, goals, focus and logic in one strong sweep. It is a lifelong battle for some. It can be a horrific battle in response to a life altering situation for others. Some feel the depression with the seasonal changes.  Depression may be an everyday feeling of  gray clouds and a blue mood, even when there are positives in one’s life. Many seek medication and/or counseling to help them with their depression.  Some hide the depression and isolate themselves due to negative feelings or fear of negative reactions from others,  which leads to the depression worsening. There are small choices everyday that one can make to proactively handle their depression. Remember, the little things do count when fighting depression.

Each day try to implement the following into your day. Try to create habits with the following behaviors. Additionally, communicating to the supportive people in your life is a great start so they know how and when to help.

  1. Practice positive thinking by choosing a daily affirmation. Some popular affirmations for depression are “ I am Strong”, “I Love Myself Unconditionally”, and “My Challenges Bring Me Better Opportunities”.  Take time to reflect on your affirmation and repeat to yourself throughout the day. Journaling and practicing relaxation breaths with your affirmation is recommended.
  2. Take a shower and get dressed. Be mindful of the smells of the soap and the feeling of the water.
  3. Eat healthy comfort whole foods. Be mindful of the taste, smells of the food, and the way your body feels. Vitamins and Mineral supplements are shown to support one’s mood.
  4. Move your body and exercise. Taking a 5 minute walk is better than nothing.
  5. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Be mindful with your 5 senses. Practice your breathing paired with your affirmation. According to Monica N. Starkman, MD and her book The End Of Miracles, “Try and do a little every day. Whatever you can do, just walk ten steps in place if that’s all you have the energy for. Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain and improves its biology. It has a strong anti-depressant effect, so take it like a medicine.”
  6. Enjoy the morning sunlight.
  7. Allow for yourself to engage in activities that you once enjoyed. Depression takes pleasure away so if you do not enjoy music the way you previously had, it’s ok. Listen to music, play or sing music as you did in the past even if the pleasure is not there. It is important to stimulate your brain in this manner.
  8. Giving and receiving Hugs
  9. Lower your expectations of yourself on the hard days but continue pushing yourself to stick with these daily habits.

Take Care and Remember that the Little Things Do Count!

If you feel like discussing your feeling with a counselor, Paper Cranes Healthcare is here for you. Call (480)704-3474 to schedule today.

Laura is a counselor at Paper Cranes Healthcare that specializes in working with people dealing with depression and anxiety.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression: More common than you think.

September 7th, 2017

By: Laura Rice, MS, Paper Cranes Healthcare Wellness Center

“I love quotes”. They can put life into perspective pretty quickly. They can reflect your feelings quite accurately. They can help you find the strength or comfort you may need. They can provide the wisdom that you may be searching for. They can provide a necessary affirmation. They are discussion points and poetic jump-starts for our mind and heart.  Quotes can make you burst out laughing which may be the best medicine at that precise moment. I came across the following quote by Linda Wooten when I was searching for “Motherhood Quotes”. It spoke to me and I believe it is an important quote to begin this blog about the “Baby Blues”.

Being a Mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed”.

Motherhood is much more than Wooten’s quote. Every mother provides their unique, individual meaning to Motherhood, but I feel this quote depicts an extraordinary common truth among all mothers. The dark, unflattering, heart wrenching moments and possible themes of motherhood are not mentioned when a woman is expecting. Most likely, the upcoming birth is celebrated, prepared and anticipated. Postpartum, women are then left to continue the celebration while demonstrating perfect mothering and optimal self care while balancing homes, school, relationships and careers.  The birth of a baby may bring on dark, unflattering, heart wrenching moments that an individual is not prepared for,  all while dealing with hormonal changes that are substantially altering to her being. Mothers do find  new strengths and face un-encountered fears, however some days this may feel quite challenging and impossible. The challenge is overwhelming when “baby blues” or postpartum emotional changes set in.

Baby Blues typically sets in within the first 6 weeks postpartum and may last a few hours to a few weeks with sadness and weepiness. 50-80% of mothers experience the “baby blues”.  While 11-20% of mothers experience a form of postpartum depression. The presentation of postpartum depression does not look identical in all women. It may present with  anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.  As you can see, the experience of emotional struggles after a little” bundle of joy” is born is quite common, yet a majority of women report that they feel “they are the only ones suffering”.  

What can you do?

  • Talk honestly with your doctor.
  • Rely on supports that are available. For instance, “say yes to help offered and ask when you need to”
  • Get the best rest you can…….try for a good block of sleep at night and nap when your baby does. Sleep Deprivation can be your biggest enemy at this time in your life.
  • Avoid isolation…get out with your baby and enjoy some social groups or outings
  • do not compare yourself to others
  • commend your strengths and positive moments each day

If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, it is important to talk with your doctor. The support of counseling or a support group can be a vital instrument to overcoming the postpartum depression.

Paper Cranes Healthcare offers weekly Postpartum Support Groups at our Chandler and Queen Creek offices. Feel free to call 480-704-3474 or check out our website for more information:  www.papercraneshealthcare.com

Lastly, let’s finish with a quote:

“Some days I amaze myself Other days i put the laundry in the oven.”  ~Creativebrandista.com

Our Children…Social Media and Anxiety

By: Laura Rice, MS

Paper Cranes Healthcare Behavioral Health

Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”—Maya Angelou

First, I am starting this blog off with the above quote of Maya Angelou. It speaks loudly to me because it is a reminder to not be complacent. There is always something more to learn about in effort of improving an area of life, while prompting me to not dwell on the past. Social media and technology is forever changing and keeping up to speed is essential. We learn from our mistakes and there are many that can be made with social media.

Did you know that social media was used to begin a relationship with a minor in 50% of all sex crimes against a minor involving a social network site?



Secondly, I would like to apologize at the start of this wellness blog for the possibility of writing in a frustrated or angry state at some points, while discussing social media. I choose an infuriated response at times in regards to social media because I see our children being so deeply affected in a negative way. I see relationships that are crumbling as an effect of the social media obsession. My feelings of frustration and anger are not towards others. They are directed towards social media and the social apps and the continuous grasp it has over our young generation. Our children’s communication, self-esteem, social skills, attention, emotional regulation, physical health, school success, happiness, relationships, goals, sleep, behaviors and childhood in general are being negatively influenced and stunted because of social media and screen time. Yes, social media is a part of our times and our “smart” devices allow us to be smart in the subject that we choose.

Did you know that more than half of teens have given out personal information including photos and physical descriptions to a stranger online?



I recognize that fighting the innovative development of our times is not ideal, but I firmly believe that we need to be smarter than our “smartphones” when it comes to raising our children. “Raising our Children” is directed to our community and our village, not individual parents. It “Takes a Village to Raise a Child” and our community needs to do better.

Did you know that 67% of teenagers say they know how to hide their online behavior from their parents and 43% would change their online behaviors if they knew their parents were watching them?

I am getting right to the suggestions to help our children because the alarming impact speaks for itself:  the anxiety, depression, opposition, isolation, bullying, insecurities, inattentiveness, pornography, negative self-image, lack of confidence, social deficits, victimization, self-hate, self-harm and even suicide.

    • The view of social media as a privilege, rather than a necessity or the norm must be the new motto. Social media must have parameters otherwise one person can waste hours of their day, days of their week, weeks of their month, and months of their year.
    • Natural forms of socialization need to be promoted and supported. Adults must model this behavior. Talking to people face to face without the phone as a distraction. No phone zones and times such as during meals, while walking, in the car, during activities are some examples. When the phone is put away, this gives the opportunity for families and friends to connect. This gives time for other healthy activities to be enjoyed. This allows for other interests to develop.
    • Delaying the use of “smart tablets and phones”  by our children as long as possible. Then be sure to have very clear limitations and parental restrictions on the device. It is very important to be the ultimate protector of children when they do have access to a smart phone or tablet. DO NOT TRUST that the apps or sites have your child’s best interest at heart and that the Ratings are accurate.
    • Teach your child about the risks and your family’s core values in regards to social media and the use of technology. Answering “ Because I said so” is not recommended. This is a matter that needs ongoing communication and life lessons between children and their caregivers.
    • Scrolling, texting, trolling, streaming videos and playing on apps should not be the first choice to fill boredom or be the way to have a child sit quietly still. It is our duty to teach our children how to fill their time with a healthy balance of activities.
    • Setting up a daily routine for a child can provide the structure, clear expectations and healthy activities can be so influential for a child and calming for a household. Include screen time in an optimal time for your home and family.
    • Teach “Stranger Danger” rules to follow just as you would if you dropped your child off in the middle of New York City.  

Did you know that 66% of teens who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining?

If there is a concern regarding your child’s well-being and they are having behavioral difficulties, change in mood, sleep disturbance, school difficulties or social difficulties THEN the reduction in screen time may allow for them to open up about what is difficult for them. There is professional support that can assist with emotional, behavioral and social struggles.

Paper Cranes Healthcare can be of further assistance by calling 480-704-3474.

Check out www.papercraneshealthcare.com for upcoming wellness groups for children, teens and adults.





Our Unique Story Influences Our Well-Being

By: Laura Rice, MS of Paper Cranes Wellness Center

July 24, 2017

“I let go of all negativity that rests in my mind and body”-Louise Hay

Our early years are present within us each and every day, sometimes strongly and other times with subtleness.  We carry memories with us and interact with our world in a familiar way that we inevitably learned when we were just tiny humans. Children are so very impressionable and the early years are undeniably the vital time for one’s overall development. One’s social, emotional, and physical well-being is shaped from those early years. As a community, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of promoting the holistic health of our children. Taking care of our children as a community will be life changing for many, The positive outcomes will be on the child, the adult and the community itself.  Caring and kind interactions with others is a positive way to improve one’s own mood, while a community with caring, kind and supportive people is ideal.

As we all know, life is not perfect, and if it were, I would not have this career of counseling to follow and to feel passionate about. (Well, that is positive thinking on my part: focus on this career that I love in place of life being horrendous at times.) Childhood experiences can be just that: horrendous, abusive, heartbreaking, traumatic, difficult, trying, depressing, unstable, rigid, unpredictable and so much more. When trauma occurs, people are recognizing that one’s well-being can be shattered in that moment. People are identifying that the child has an opportunity to repair with the right support and relationships. People understand that one can work to overcome the trauma with help and inner resilience. However that trauma is within and will be carried within their unique story that continues to touch on their well-being.

Our story is carried with us and is showing up in ways that are surprising. It can manifest in pain, heart disease, chronic fatigue, migraines, cancer and autoimmune disease. This is where a holistic approach is most beneficial (and I am proud to say that this is the Paper Cranes healthcare way). Trauma does alter our brain functioning and places one in the “fight, flight or freeze state”. Also, research findings have identified early childhood adversity has doing the same. Early childhood adversity experiences are common and typical amongst our family and community members. Some examples may include a highly critical parent or one that humiliates you, divorced parents, the death of a family member, or having an alcoholic or depressed parent are a few examples. Research has shown that ongoing adversity indicates a continuing emotional response of “fight, flight or freeze”.  Yale Researchers have newly shown that a brain is altered within a child when stress hormones flood a child’s body and the stress response is set to “high” for life.  In effect, the risk for inflammation is high thus leading to a greater risk for physical, medical conditions.

Nurse Practitioner, Melissa Brown of Paper Cranes Healthcare has cared for many patients in her career that face anxiety and depression resulting in physical symptoms. She believes that “It is important to treat the patient as a whole by addressing the emotional and psychological well-being, so the physical symptoms can be minimized. Some symptoms can be very scary for the patient, depending on the symptoms and their intensity, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, clammy hands, numbness and tingling, headaches abdominal pain and more . Cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practice, exercise and dietary changes can help alleviate the symptoms.  Sometimes this is not enough and there are daily medication options to improve the overall emotional and physical symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. The goal is to help get through situational tough times or chronic issues for an overall improved quality of life.”

Healing begins with a holistic approach by your physician whom will recognize the need to treat your mind and body. Restoring one’s emotional health will facilitate the prevention of physical symptoms or repair the present ailments. Where should you begin if you feel that adversity or trauma has impacted your well-being:

  1. Talk with your healthcare provider and let them know that you experienced  trauma or adverse life experiences that may be causing physical symptoms.
  2. Caring for your mind involves practicing mindfulness on a daily basis.
  3. Contact a counselor to gain support with your emotional well-being while learning strategies to enhance your life.
  4. Take care of yourself with health, eating, sleeping, exercise, relationships and overall life choices.

If you are interested in Wellness,  Physical Health,  or Counseling, please contact Paper Cranes Healthcare at 480-704-3474

Informational Sources for this Blog:

Childhood Disrupted  by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness-so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?  By Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Improve your mood and day with Mindfulness

By: Laura Rice, MS of Paper Cranes Wellness Center

July 17, 2017

Mindfulness seems to be a popular buzz word today.  We hear “Being Mindful” in the media, on college campuses, in our community, on TV and sometimes out of the mouths of children. It has always been a popular statement among the yogis of our world, while being their daily practice. The practice of mindfulness has the power of enhancing your mood, daily life, focus, attention, relationships, physical health and more. UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center defines mindful awareness as “paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is . . . It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one’s inner experience.” It sounds quite easy, right? However it is not that easy with our current fast-paced, multi-tasking, always plugged -in, social media type society, we have to remind ourselves and others to “Be in the Present”.  Those basic, old-school sayings that we have heard over and over really are poignant to being mindful. “Stop and Smell the Roses”! “Stop, Look and Listen”!

Mindfulness provides the opportunity for us to accept the uncertainty in life, to nurture our own uncomfortable emotions, to connect with the people in our life, to recognize our surroundings and gifts in life. According to the research of Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, the majority of our emotions last a mere 90 seconds. Allow yourself to feel the emotion and show some care to yourself. The more we push away the natural response of our emotions, the more they will pile up and release in unhealthy ways. Acknowledging our own emotions is so important.

In each moment, really try to “tune in” to the person you are speaking to by looking at them without distractions such as your mental to do list or phone.  Look at the sky, mountains and beauty which surround us each and every day.  Take deep a breath and calm your body and mind throughout the day while focusing back on the present. Slow down and enjoy each bite of your food. Remember that everyone and everything is out of your control and in place, manage your own thoughts with positive thinking such as “ I choose to enjoy this moment or at least to make the best of this moment”.  

There are waves in life each and every day. Sometimes those waves are strong and push us down, other times they are calm and easy to float through. Each day the type of wave is uncertain. We can sit on the shore and wait for the waves but then we will be missing the wonderful moments as they calmly float by us. Or,we can enjoy the moments and live our life in the present while knowing that if the storm arrives, it too shall pass.

Here are a few ways to practice mindfulness each day. Just pick a few and practice each day, then add a few more.

  1. When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to think of  a daily motto for your day. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for 4-5 seconds then exhale slowly, while thinking about your daily motto. Repeat this breathing exercise while stretching your arms, shoulders, legs, feet, back, chest, neck ect. Focus your thoughts on only your daily motto and the way you are feeling at that exact present time.

Here are some daily mottos or make up one that is good for you: Just Breathe, I am Strong, No Worries, It’s a beautiful day, I am worth it, It will be fine.

  1. Make time for conversations and really engaging with your family, friends and others           throughout the day. Stop what you are doing and focus on the conversation. Let them know that you are really listening with your body language.
  2. Pay attention to your daily tasks and think about it thoroughly. For example, when you are cutting up an apple, think about how you obtained that apple. Think about the seed that was planted in an orchard, where that orchard may be, how it grew, the farmer that may have picked it, how it traveled to you. Try to appreciate the color, taste, smell of the apple and how it nourishes your body and satisfies your hunger.

If you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness, please contact Paper Cranes Healthcare at 480-704-3474