Category Archives: Wellness

Anxious woman sitting on a sidewalk, intently looking at her cell phone, illustrating the concept of Nomophobia.

Dissecting Nomophobia and Mental Health

Have you ever felt that tiny heart attack when you can’t find your phone in your bag, or when the battery icon turns red? Welcome to the club of Nomophobia – yes, that’s an actual term now. It stands for “no-mobile-phone phobia.” It sounds like something out of a modern-day Dickens novel. But this is where we are, glued to our little screens as if they were life support.

Nomophobia Symptoms

First, let’s diagnose the problem. Do you feel anxious, restless, or downright panicky when you’re away from your phone? Does the thought of being unreachable or missing out on social media updates make you sweat more than a hot yoga class? If your phone is your security blanket, and losing it feels like losing a part of yourself, you might be experiencing Nomophobia.

It’s Okay, We’re All a Bit Weird Here

We’re living in an age where being phone-less feels like being stranded on a deserted island. When we leave our phone at home, we end up spending the whole day twitching like a squirrel on espresso.

But what if this clingy relationship with our phones is more than just a bad habit? What if it’s entwined with other anxieties and disorders? Here are some ways that nomophobia could overlap with various mental health issues.

Nomophobia and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are like that background noise that never quite goes away. Add Nomophobia to the mix, and it’s like turning up the volume on a bad song. If you’re already prone to anxiety, the constant need for digital reassurance can be like fuel to a fire. Every buzz could be a potential crisis, or worse, no buzzes could mean you’re being ignored or there’s an apocalypse happening and you’re the last to know.

Nomophobia and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

For those with OCD tendencies, the phone becomes a ritual. Check the news, scroll through social media, check the news again—it’s a loop that feels impossible to break. It’s like having a mental itch you can’t stop scratching. The fear of missing out (FOMO) or the need for constant updates can turn your phone into a digital pacifier.

Depression and Phones

Let’s talk about depression. It’s that heaviest of blanket that makes it hard to get out of bed. In the paradoxical world of depression, your phone can be both a window and a prison. It connects you to the world, but also amplifies the feeling of isolation. Seeing others’ curated lives can make your own world look grey. Nomophobia adds to this by making you fear disconnection, even when connection feels painful. Here are more ways social media affects our mental health.

Nomophobia and Social Anxiety

For those with social anxiety, the phone can be a safe harbor. It’s a way to be present without the terror of actual interaction. But this harbor can turn into a trap. The fear of real-life interactions grows, and the phone becomes a crutch you can’t put down. Nomophobia in this case is the fear of losing your shield against the world.

More Than Just Turning Off Your Phone

Treating this tangle of Nomophobia and other mental health issues isn’t as simple as going on a digital detox (though it’s not a bad start). It’s about addressing the underlying issues. Therapy, support groups, mindfulness—these are your tools. And humor, let’s not forget humor. Sometimes, you have to laugh at the absurdity of being held hostage by a device that fits in your hand.

Nomophobia Treatment

Treating Nomophobia doesn’t mean throwing your phone into the ocean. It’s about finding balance. Start by setting boundaries—maybe declare one meal a day as a phone-free zone. Watch how the world doesn’t end when you don’t instantly respond to a text.

Mindfulness and meditation can also help. Sit quietly for a few minutes each day, just breathing and being. Notice how your thoughts are like hyperactive puppies, and gently guide them back when they start running towards thoughts of your phone.

If all else fails, humor is a great medicine. Laugh at the absurdity of feeling attached to a tiny, beeping gadget. Write a break-up letter to your phone. Go wild—creativity is your ally.

It’s a Journey

Remember, dealing with Nomophobia is a process. You’ll have good days and bad days, like with any addiction. Yes, addiction—let’s call a spade a spade. But with patience, humor, and a few mindful practices, you can learn to see your phone as just a tool, not a lifeline.

If your phone feels like an extra limb and you’re nodding along to everything you’ve read, it’s time for a chat. Call us at Lido Wellness Center: 949-541-8466. Located in Newport Beach, we offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that understands the tightrope walk of modern life and mental health. It’s not about giving up your phone; it’s about finding balance.

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Man and woman sitting closely, depicting the complex emotional connection associated with trauma bonding.

Trauma Bonding: The Invisible Chains of Pain

We humans are capable of a lot of contradictions. Our experiences of love, pain, mistakes, and redemption all come with varying degrees of the full spectrum of life. Sometimes those contradictions are difficult to explain, let alone understand. When we are drawn again and again into our toxic relationships, causing pain after pain, there is a chance you are experiencing trauma bonding.

Understanding Trauma Bonding

Trauma bonding isn’t your usual high school crush or a fleeting romantic phase. It’s an intense, emotional connection developed with someone who alternates between kindness and mistreatment. Said plainly, it’s when someone forms a strong emotional connection with another person who treats them badly or hurts them.

They might get mixed signals of kindness and mistreatment or joy and pain, but ultimately it’s like being stuck in a relationship you know is bad for you, but you can’t seem to leave.

Interesting statistics have surfaced about this concept:

  • According to a study conducted by the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, around 18% of women in domestically violent relationships have reported significant symptoms of trauma bonding.
  • Another study from the Journal of Traumatic Stress indicates that individuals in trauma-bonded relationships are three times more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even PTSD.

Why Do We Trauma Bond?

At a basic psychological level, trauma bonding occurs due to a powerful mixture of intermittent reinforcement, paired with the human need for connection. People are wired to bond with those around them; it’s a survival mechanism. And when you’re shown love, even if it’s sprinkled with doses of mistreatment, the brain releases a cocktail of chemicals, like oxytocin and dopamine. These feel-good chemicals can confuse the mind, making the bad times seem not so bad, especially when a kind gesture follows them.

Add to that the principle of intermittent reinforcement—a cycle of unpredictable rewards and punishments. Within the unpredictability, every positive gesture, even if it’s rare, feels like a jackpot win at a casino, making the person crave more. This unpredictability, combined with our inherent need to make sense of our environment, can trap a person in a loop, always seeking the reward of a kind moment, no matter how fleeting.

Signs of Trauma Bonding

If we’re honest, most of us have seen our share of unhealthy relationships. We allow a little too much in certain circumstances. And some of this can be okay in life’s complexity. But how do you recognize if it’s too much? What if you’re experiencing trauma bonding? Here are some potential signs:


  • Intense emotional connection: Despite the emotional or physical abuse, there’s an unexplainable pull towards the abuser.
  • Justifying abusive behavior: The victim often makes excuses for the perpetrator’s behavior.
  • Isolation: Victims gradually distance themselves from friends and family, usually under the influence of the abuser.
  • Inconsistent affection: The abuser alternates between abusive behavior and kind gestures, creating a powerful loop of reinforcement.
  • Denial: The victim may not acknowledge the extent of the mistreatment or even deny it altogether.

It’s this kaleidoscope of emotions, of intense highs and lows, that makes trauma bonding such a complex and enthralling trap.

Breaking the Bonds of Trauma

Trauma bonding is not a disorder, more like a complex psychological response that arises when individuals form deep attachments in abusive or harmful situations. Often, this bonding leads individuals to stay in toxic relationships, even when onlookers believe it’s clear they should leave.

We must always understand that individuals caught in the grip of trauma bonding are navigating a challenging emotional terrain. It’s a manifestation of the human drive for connection and safety. As such, no one should feel shame for seeking solace and connection, even if it emerges from challenging circumstances.

We all navigate our storms in unique ways, and understanding, rather than judgment, paves the path to healing. 

Seeking professional help, through therapy or counseling, can serve as a vital lifeline for many. It provides a sacred sanctuary where one can unravel the intricate web of emotions and delve into the depths of understanding. Through this process, victims can address and make sense of the roots of trauma bonding.

And remember, healing isn’t just about confronting the external but also about nurturing the internal. Through acts of self-care, be it meditation, journaling, or indulging in passions, we can fortify our self-worth and muster the strength needed to truly break free.

Trauma bonding isn’t just about the clutches of an abusive relationship. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit, the undying hope that dwells within us, urging us to break free and find love and light.

Seek Healing at Lido Wellness Center

If you or someone you love is ensnared in the chains of trauma bonding, there’s hope and help available. At Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach, compassionate professionals are ready to guide you towards healing and freedom. Don’t wait. Call 949-541-8466 today.

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A woman's hand gently covers her face, the image gradually fading into blur, symbolizing the disorientation and confusion often associated with experiencing gaslighting.

What Is Gaslighting

As we move through the sometimes-chaotic waters of life, we must never lose our bearings or the ground of our reality. But we may find ourselves vulnerable to manipulation when it comes to interpersonal relationships. These tactics could even call into question our very perception of reality.

This subtle form of psychological abuse known as “gaslighting” has infiltrated our everyday language, yet its profound impact on individuals and relationships is far from innocuous.

The practice of gaslighting is a destructive psychological game. So let’s look at the arenas where gaslighting usually manifests—from personal relationships to the workplace.

What Is Gaslighting?

The term “gaslighting” gets used a lot these days in social media and on TV. But it’s not just another trend. Gaslighting is an actual form of psychological abuse. If someone gaslights you, they feed you false information to make you question your perception of reality. Being gaslit can feel maddening, but with some insight, you can learn to recognize it and respond in an empowering way.

Am I Being Gaslighted?

Gaslighting is most often experienced in relationships.

Here’s a potential scenario: You return home to find your favorite book drenched in coffee on the kitchen counter. You ask your roommate about the mishap.

They look at you, calm as ever, and insist that you left your book by your coffee mug this morning. However, you distinctly remember leaving it on your bedside table. Your roommate may be dismissive; they mention how distracted you’ve been lately. “Are you sure you didn’t bring it to the kitchen?” they ask.

As you clean up the mess, you feel a flicker of self-doubt. Did you bring the book into the kitchen and forget about it?

Want to know “what is gaslighting”? This is it. It’s a subtle manipulation that makes you question your memory and understanding of reality. In such scenarios, it’s important to trust your perceptions and seek support when necessary.

Key Characteristics of Gaslighting

Gaslighting can look a few different ways:

  • Denial: The person denies doing something you were previously very confident they did. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Diverting: The person shifts the blame to you or a problem that they think youcreated.
  • Countering: The person uses phrases like “Are you sure?” or “You’re not remembering that correctly.”

Gaslighting, Relationships, and Mental Health

If you are being gaslit, feeling anxious, worthless, and out of control is normal. You may withdraw from others and question your reality, just as the gaslighter intended.

Gaslighting is a form of abuse in relationships. It’s an attempt to gain control over you. A relationship where this is happening is not a healthy one. You may feel trapped or like you cannot leave. But you can – and often, that is the best choice.

Recognizing Gaslighting

Recognizing what is gaslighting and addressing it can be challenging, but it’s possible. It begins with being attentive to your feelings. If you often question your memory or reality, particularly around a specific person, you might be experiencing gaslighting.

A typical tactic of a gaslighter is to deny events or conversations that you clearly remember. They might make you question the accuracy of your memories by saying things like “That never happened” or “You’re imagining things.”

Another sign is their tendency to deflect or shift blame. If you’re sure they did something wrong, yet somehow you apologize, it’s time to question what’s truly happening.

Responding to Gaslighting

Responding to gaslighting starts with trusting your feelings and perceptions. When your memory is clear, and your instincts alert you to a discrepancy, give yourself permission to believe in your experience.

Practicing assertiveness can also be helpful. A simple response like “I remember things differently” can prevent you from getting entangled in a futile argument and affirm your trust in your memory.

Additionally, reach out to your support network or someone from the Lido Wellness team. External perspectives and validation can provide a more objective view and equip you with strategies to cope with gaslighting.

Remember, you have the right to your reality. You don’t need to accept someone else’s interpretation of it. Standing up for your perception and seeking help when needed is essential.

Gaslighting is indeed a hurtful, abusive, and manipulative tactic. However, by equipping ourselves with understanding and insight, we can recognize the signs, resist its impact, and ultimately, choose healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

If you want to talk to someone about gaslighting or understand how you can gain deeper insight into your wellness journey, call Lido Wellness Center in Newport Beach today.

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Mental Health and Nutrition in Newport Beach

Mental Health and Nutrition

Have you ever heard of our gut being our ‘second brain?” We have what’s called the Gut-brain connection. It’s so powerful that just thinking about eating can change our stomach acid and release juices in preparation for food. The cons of this powerful connection is how poor mental health affects the gut. The sayings “my stomach is in knots” or “I have butterflies in my stomach” are ways we describe the physical effects of anxiety. Having anxiety actually increases our stomach acid and wreaks havoc on digestion. Mental health and nutrition go hand-in-hand.

Mental Health and Nutrition

Mental Health and Nutrition Connection

The brain and gastrointestinal tract are connected with the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our “rest and digest” state. Having food in our stomach will activate this state. However, when a person is in a stressed state, caused by either physical or emotional stress, their parasympathetic function shuts off and turns on the sympathetic function, known as “fight or flight”. When we eat food while our body is in the sympathetic function, digestion is virtually turned off. This leads to slow gastric emptying and storing energy rather than using it. A person with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition, may have the sympathetic function turned on, more often than not. The best thing to do before eating if you are in an anxious state, is a few mindful exercises, like the ones I have listed below. 


Serotonin is a hormone and chemical messenger that helps us feel calm, reduces anxiety, helps us sleep and also with GI mobility. 90% of serotonin is actually produced in the gut and we produce the precursors for serotonin and dopamine through amino acids (food!).


Tyrosine is the precursor for dopamine. High tyrosine foods include beef, pork, fish, chicken, tofu, milk, cheese, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.


Tryptophan is the precursor for serotonin. High tryptophan foods include chicken, turkey, red meat, pork, tofu, fish, beans, milk, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and eggs. Making sure you are getting a wide variety of foods in your diet will help with your serotonin and dopamine production.

Nutrition and Mental Health Together

Nutrition plays such a huge role in mental health because they feed off each other (pun intended!) If our anxiety and depression is low, our stomach acid is being regulated and we are able to enter the parasympathetic function when eating. Thus, having the ability to digest properly and utilize all of the consumed energy for our metabolic function.

If our anxiety and depression is high, not only will we not be digesting properly, but we will also be craving foods higher in carbohydrates for a quick serotonin release. This could lead into disordered eating behaviors such as eating when we are not hungry and not in tune with our hunger/fullness cues. 

Balanced nutrition is the goal for everyone. A simple way I like to help people get on track with balanced eating, is educating on macronutrients vs micronutrients. There are 3 macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

There are a ton of micronutrients so we will just call these our fruits and vegetables. At each meal, there should be a representative from each category of macronutrient and at least one fruit or vegetable. For example: in a burger, the bun is the carbohydrate, the patty is the protein, the spread or sauce is the fat, and the lettuce/onion/tomato is the micro nutrient. So yes, a burger is a balanced meal!

Mindfulness exercises before eating:

  1. Sit straight up in a chair with feet firmly planted on the ground
  2. Complete a few rounds of breathing techniques such as boxed breathing. Here’s a how.
  3. Check in with your hunger/fullness and anxiety
  4. Repeat some affirmations



Hanna McAlister, RDN

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