Saturday, November 28, 2020

Gratitude

Gratitude is the act of being thankful for something that we have and showing appreciation for it.  This year has been a difficult year for everyone as we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and at times we find ourselves frustrated and upset at our situations.  As we start into this holiday season we start thinking of things that we are thankful for which can help uplift us.  Having gratitude can help improve our mental health drastically in several different ways.  When we show gratitude it can help improve our moods, make us feel more optimistic, improve relationships, and practice physical health.

                When we express gratitude on a regular basis we tend to start having more positive thoughts and it improves our outlook on life.  Having a positive thought process can help us manage symptoms, such as depression, better.  When we start feeling more positive we then start to be more optimistic in everyday activities in life that help us feel better about ourselves.  When a person is feeling better about himself or herself, they start to interact with others more, which can help improve relationships that are healthy and strong.  In addition, when we start to interact with others and are feeling better about ourselves we will start to take care of ourselves better by improving our physical activity such as eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis. 

                Sometimes it is hard to start recognizing what we are thankful for and showing that gratitude, so it is important to start to make it a habit. A person can do that by first writing down everything they are thankful for and at the end of each day write down something new that they are thankful for that happened during that day.  There are also times during a day when we will feel upset or frustrated, but during those times it is important to stop and think of something that we are thankful for. This will help us reset our thought process and have us thinking more positively.  Another way to start a habit is when eating meals with family or loved ones go around the table and name one thing they are thankful for.  This will not only help people improve their positive mind set but it will help improve relationships and bonds.  One way to show gratitude is by writing a note to someone that you are thankful for and letting him or her know that you are thankful for them.   

                Showing gratitude can help improve our lives in many different ways and during these trying times it is important to be able to stay positive and help uplift ourselves and others.


David Homer, LCSW

Monday, October 26, 2020

Five Steps of Emotion Coaching

 

Parenting is an ongoing learning experience. Parents try to do their best and at times we as parents feel that we have no more tools in the toolbox and we are lost at what to do next. Dr. Gottman did some research on parenting and he identified a parenting style he calls emotion coaching. Emotion coaching has five steps for a parent to coach a child through their emotions and how to handle them. The five steps are:

1. Be aware of your child’s emotion

2. Recognize your child’s expression of emotion as a perfect moment for teaching

3. Listen with empathy and validate your child’s feelings

4. Help your child learn to label their emotions with words

5. Set limits when you are helping your child to solve problems or deal with upsetting situations appropriately.

If a parent can use this emotion coaching tool, they will teach their children how to identify and cope with their own feelings, improve self-confidence of the child and the child performs better is social and academic situations, according to the research that Dr. Gottman has completed.  Below is a diagram showing the emotion coaching steps.


Tiffany Hayner, LMSW


Monday, August 10, 2020

Quick Tips for the School Year

 

With the new school year starting soon many are wondering how school is going to go this year. Some schools are limiting how often students go to school and others are offering solely online for those who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school.

Here are some quick tips to help with children regardless if your child(ren) are doing solely online or doing part time online.

·         -- Set up an area that is solely for your child to do their school work. Keep the distractions as minimal as you can. 

·         -- Figure out a schedule that works best with the requirements from the school and your family’s schedule.

·        -- Limit their screen time with games, etc. until they have completed their school work to the best of their ability.

·         -- Get in contact with your school to see if there are alternatives if you notice your child is struggling as they work to complete their assignments online.

·         -- Find ways for your child to still be able to socially connect with friends, such as being able to FaceTime them or be able to send messages. Many clients that I worked with missed the social connection most when they were having to schooling online only.

·         -- Create a list of activities that they can do on their own or you do it as a family where they are able to get out do something that allows them to get their physical energy out.

Carmen Stites, LPC

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Changes


     The year 2020 will go down in infamy as the year of change. If we would have walked into a store in 2019 and everyone was wearing masks we would have wondered where we were. Many parts of normal life are now cancelled. This includes: Athletic events, school, church, cultural events, and everyday normal activities. This may leave us feeling out of control and panicked. How do we handle this? Should we be scared? What do I have control over?
     Well, here are a few things that we cannot control and what we do have control over in a time when change is so drastic and constant. I cannot control: If others follow the rules of social distancing, the actions of others, predicting what will happen, other people’s motives, the amount of toilet paper in the store, how long this will last, and how others will react. I can control: My positive attitude, turning off the news, finding fun things to do at home, how I follow guidelines to stay safe, limiting my social media, my social distancing, and my kindness and grace. 
     Mindfulness can also be a very powerful tool for us to use. It helps to ground us in the moment and not get too overwhelmed with the future. Again, we cannot control the future but we can control our reaction and how we choose to move forward in the future. 

April Moedl, LCSW

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Stress and Mental Health


Stress is very hard on our bodies. It has been shown that stress can increase digestive issues, headaches, chronic pain, acne, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, libido changes, and can increase the chance of the onset of depression. We have definitely had many reasons to feel increased stress in 2020 so far. I hope that the following skills (usually taught as a beginning part of EMDR therapy) can help to manage and lower distress if needed.
Skill #1 – Calm Place
            To begin this skill you will need to use your imagination. You will be creating a calm and peaceful place in your mind that you can go to anytime. This will help increase feelings of peace, calm, comfort, and relaxation. Close your eyes and use your hands or toes to tap back and forth from side to side (left to right). Think about a place that is real or imagined. This place can be any place you want to be but please make sure it is not connected to any negative, sad, or stressful feelings. Then bring it to life in your mind. Do this by using all of you senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel (tactile and emotionally) there. After you have shaped this peaceful place in your mind and feel as if you are there, give it a name or identify a statement that goes with it. For example- peaceful sunset or I am strong and loved, etc. This statement will help to bring the image up more easily the next time. Practice this once a day for a few weeks and connect to the calming feelings that come with it. After practicing this, you will be able to do this better and better and can use it anytime or anywhere to help you increase your feelings of peace and calm.
Skill #2 – Create a Resource Team
            To begin this skill you can identify several people, animals, spiritual figures, or fictional characters that you feel have very nurturing, comforting, loving, wise, and/or protective qualities. Each figure can have each quality or more than one. Create another place in your mind separate from or even in your calm place. The goal is for each team member to individually or as a whole to be easily accessed as needed.
          Close your eyes and think of each team member one at a time.  When you begin to feel the quality that the first team member brings you, begin to tap from left to right. (On your knees with your hands or with your feet on the floor). Do the tapping several times until the feeling is strong. Do this with each figure that you have identified to be on your team. Then do it with all of the figures as a whole. Practice this once a day also for a few weeks. This will give you a great resource team to access as needed when you want or need to feel safe, comforted, nurtured, confident, and find answers to problems you do not feel you can solve. With the help of the resource team you can decrease stress, manage stressful situations, and lower anxiety.

Note: The tapping is very a very helpful tool used in EMDR. Notice if after you have been tapping if your anxiety increases. If anxiety happens to increase, please do not use the tapping with the exercises. Just do them without this step.


Sue Rosenbaum, LCSW

Monday, January 13, 2020

Self Care


Now that the holidays are over and we can slow down a little. The New Year often brings New Year’s Resolutions with it. Now would be a good time to start some self-care. But what is self-care? Self-care has become a trendy term that is thrown around all the time. Many people believe that self-care includes getting pedicures, manicures, hot baths, massages and facials. All of these things are nice and who doesn’t want to be pampered? However, is that really self-care?

 The things listed above can be included in self-care but I think that self-care is much deeper than that. Self-care includes taking care of our mental, emotional and physical self. Things like planning, making budgets and living within our means are included in self-care. I believe that we also need to include things like journaling, getting enough sleep, drinking water, listening to music that we enjoy, exercise and going outside in our self-care toolbox. Self-care should be something that you plan on doing for yourself because you enjoy it. Self-care should not be another box to check off the to do list. It is important to note that self-care is not being selfish. In her article, This is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths and Chocolate Cake, Brianna Wiest states “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from”. 

Setting the goal of incorporating self-care into our lives can start out small. We do not have to make large changes in our lives to get benefits from those changes. Try adding one new self-care skill to your day and practice this for a week, then try adding another small self-care skill to your week.


Tiffany Hayner, LMSW      

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Building Shame Resilience During the Holidays


          As we find ourselves deep in holiday plans, shopping, wrapping and decorating, we may at times be overwhelmed with the idealized images of the perfect holiday blasted at us from all directions. We unfortunately can easily feel a sense of shame when our own lives don’t seem to conform to those images. Rather than filling us with joy, the holiday season can feel like a humiliating experience. No one deliberately shames us. No one intends us to feel bad about ourselves. But when we’re not with our families or we find ourselves alone, we often feel ashamed all the same. This type of shame lies beneath the depression that can afflict many of us at this time of year.


     BrenĂ© Brown has described the perfectionistic ideals and expectations imposed upon us by society, and how the inevitable failure to reach those ideals instills a sense of shame; with all those happily-ever-after Christmas movies, Hallmark sentimentality, and carols about joy and love and family, our culture likewise imposes a set of expectations for how your own holiday season ought to “look.” During the holiday season, this sense of shame can easily be intensified by well-meaning colleagues or acquaintances who ask where you’re spending your holidays. Disconnection and a feeling that one does not “belong” will always stir up shame. Rather than go into hiding, as many of us tend to do, we instead can work to build up shame resilience. Building shame resilience can be especially important during this time of year. 

     Brene’ Brown suggests four ways:
1. Recognize shame when we feel it. Once you know what trips you up and mires you in feelings of shame, you can begin to manage the triggers and learn healthier responses.
2. Recognize our social and cultural expectations and how we react to shame.
3. Connections—make meaningful empathetic and compassionate connections with others. There are many ways to belong. There are many opportunities to volunteer and connect with other people. Getting outside yourself and giving to the needy will not only lessen your sense of holiday shame but brings the added bonus of building your shame resilience.
4. Share it—speak about that which is most shameful to us—shame cannot survive exposure. 
Unfortunately shame is not something that we can just get rid of. Shame resilience is an ongoing practice.