Gratitude has been proven by research to significantly decrease anxiety and depression. Individuals who spend time thinking about the positive elements of their lives report feeling happier and more motivated. So, as the Thanksgiving season approaches, what can you be thankful for? Be sure to look around at not only the significant relationships and events in your life, but also the little details that actually do make a difference, even if they may seem insignificant. We all have things to be grateful for, even if it’s just the gift of waking up every day and experiencing life. Sometimes, we just have to shift our focus in order to see it.
Writing a list or keeping a journal of daily events that cause you to be grateful is a helpful exercise. Additionally, be sure to tell your friends, family, coworkers and others what you appreciate about them. Don’t forget, you can be grateful for yourself as well! Express gratitude towards yourself for who you are and things that you have accomplished. Each of these exercises will more than likely serve to lighten your mood and increase your hope about the future.
Is your plan is place? An earlier post gave a few what not to’s for your resolutions this year (NY Resolutions: A Counselor’s Perspective). Here are a couple of suggestions for resolutions that work for you. Don’t worry if you haven’t developed a well-defined resolution or set of resolutions. Now is the perfect time.
Be specific. Broad generalizations are not your friends. Set specific, measurable goals with a specific verifiable, objectives along the way. If today is day one of your new program, you should do something today toward your goal and feel good about it.
Give yourself two months. What you are trying to do is replace a disorganized, unfocused, or unhealthy habit with the habit of your choice. Research indicates that you need to practice a new behavior about 60 times before it becomes a habit. If you are talking about an everyday discipline, that means you’ll need about two months to turn a new behavior (cleaning the kitchen every night before bed, walking every morning, not smoking on the way to work, not placing clothing on the floor of your closet) into an established habit.
Reward yourself along the way. Feel good starting day one. Recognize that the change you are seeking is already underway. Imagine how good you’ll feel at day 60. Think about it. How you get there starts on day one and continues for every day thereafter. Think about spreading that good feeling of accomplishment out, from day one to day sixty and every day in between.
Pinnacle Counseling would like to formally welcome the newest additions to our staff, Torie Sullivan, a Mental Health and Relationship Counselor, and Kalli Hendren, Administrative Assistant.
We are thrilled to have them join our team! They are featured on the main page of our website (http://pinnaclecounselingnwa.com/pinnacle-counseling) and more about them is located under the “Our Counselors” tab. We look forward to sharing the talents of these incredible women with our clients.
Any party involved in a conversation has the opportunity to not listen. Sometimes, it’s obvious when your partner is not listening. Individuals engaged in the following behaviors are not actively listening: reading the paper, browsing the Internet, texting, channel surfing, wearing headphones, playing video games. Sometimes people pretend to listen. Just because a loved one is pretending to listen does not mean that you also have to pretend that he or she is listening.
You may be the most effective communicator on the planet — a Gandhi-level communicator, a Martin Luther King Junior-level communicator — but if you are talking to a post, you are talking to a post. If the person you are talking to is not listening you are mostly talking to yourself.
Save your breath. Ask for you partner’s full attention. When you have it you’ll know. Then proceed.
Can you imagine living in a society that was virtually free of depression? Certain societies such as the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea and the American Amish populations both essentially have zero depression rates. Depression has become a byproduct of our modernized, industrialized, and urbanized lives. While we have become accustomed to a highly technologically evolved society with the gadgets, gizmos, and comforts we love, we are also seemingly on a never-ending treadmill of overworking, under-sleeping, and hyper-stressing in order to live the “American Dream”.
By incorporating several simple lifestyle changes into your everyday living can help you minimize the effects of stress and depression. Common variables practiced by the Kaluli and Amish people include: eating an omega-3 rich diet, getting ample sleep every night, regular daily exercise, getting plenty of natural sunlight, being involved in some type of social activity with social connections, and practicing meaningful tasks all help these populations divert attention from your own negative thought processes that can lead to depression.
When we communicate verbally, we are using symbols to convey meaning. If I tell someone that my car is red, there is a high probability that (if they are listening) they will understand what I am trying to communicate. Because he or she probably has a very clear understanding of what the word red and car represent. People don’t argue often about whether something is red or not. Or whether it is raining or not. These type of concrete statements rarely the source of confusion or disagreement.
Emotions, on the other hand, can be slippery. Here is a small example using a common emotion: fear.
I am afraid of big, barking dogs.
Simple statement. The meaning should be clear. A deeper examination of two test cases, however, demonstrates that when emotions are the content of the message communication is rarely black and white (or red). The same statement communicated by two different people can have radically different meanings.
Person A: I am afraid of big, barking dogs. Person A is does not like loud noises in general. Neither does he like dogs. He thinks they are filthy creatures who track mud everywhere they go. Barking dogs are a combination of two things this person doesn’t like. Loud noises make him nervous and bigger dogs bark louder.
Person B: I am afraid of big, barking dogs. Person B was attacked by a neighbor’s dog as a child. He had to go to the hospital to treat the injuries and still has scars on his arms. He vividly remembers being told that the dog was friendly, all bark and no bite. He feels tightness in his chest when he is close to larger dogs.
Same statement. Completely different meanings. It is the responsibility of both the speaker and the listener to ensure emotional statements are understood.