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Posts Tagged ‘what to do for stress’

Getting the Most From Therapy: Sleep Better

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Coming to therapy is a big decision. Individuals come to therapy for personal marriage, and family issues. Therapy works because of the relationship between you and your counselor. She will help you achieve insight by showing you roadblocks holding you back, and thinking errors keeping you stuck.

Whether you are coming to therapy for yourself, your marriage, or a family member, you will get the most out of your time and money if you commit to work both during your sessions and on your own. Take time to make small changes and talk to your therapist if you are not getting the results you want. While there are no guarantees, therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. Here are some week-by-week tips for getting the most from your therapy:

Week 1
Start cutting back on caffeine and get a journal. Cut simple sugars from your diet. Take a walk outdoors. Make an appointment for a physical.

Week 2
Cut caffeine from your diet and add something healthy. Each day walk outdoors and write something in your journal you are thankful for.

Week 3
Start a bedtime routine. One hour before bedtime take a warm bath or shower. Thirty minutes before cut out TV and computer. Five minutes before breathe and relax.

Week 4
Help someone in need. Give your time at a soup kitchen, meals on wheels, or a thrift shop.

Want more detail? Check out or 30 day transformation. It’s a FREE download here.

Alcohol Addiction Help during the Holidays: Attending an Addiction Support Group, Seeing an Addiction Therapist

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The holidays are a special time of year when people take time to focus on others, give thanks for what they have, and give to those in need. While it is easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities those in recovery from addiction understand the importance of self-care. Developing a holiday recovery plan will help individuals avoid relapse by ensuring recovery activities are scheduled into each day.
A holiday recovery plan is all about dealing with additional stress, balancing the extra activities involved with the holidays, and managing ‘high risk’ situations. The first step in any good holiday recovery plan would be to check the calendar for upcoming events. Make sure high-risk situations like family gatherings or office parties are limited both in number and time spent participating. Likewise schedule more recovery activities such as AA or NA group meetings, exercising, meditating, or professional counseling sessions.
Even the best-laid plans are not perfect so urges to use are normal. Family, memories, parties, finances, crowds, and even the additional commercials advertising alcohol may trigger urges to use. When managing urges, it is important for individuals to remember how easily inappropriate reactions to high-risk situations can turn into a relapse. Completing a daily inventory at the end of each day can help you stay on track. Reflecting each evening on thoughts, feelings, urges, reactions, and actions can help you gain awareness, knowledge, and skills needed for a continued successful recovery. Even evaluating the triggers that lead to past holiday relapses can provide valuable information about navigating this year’s holiday calendar.
Those with addiction can successfully navigate the holidays by starting with a holiday recovery plan. By carefully planning recovery activities, reducing high-risk situations, and being mindful of ‘what works’ you can have a relapse-fee holiday!

 

How to Stop Anxiety Attacks and How to Control Anxiety Through Natural Anxiety Relief

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Anxiety can be frustrating, devitalizing, and even paralyzing. For the individual that struggles with sustained anxiety, it is actually a bugger. My hat goes off to those who is able to get up everyday and do what they have to do while managing to keep the anxiety in check. For those among us who fight with anxiety, it’s important to be aware of how to control anxiety so it doesn’t control you.

An anxiety management plan needs to be multifaceted. Individuals seeking to create such a plan must analyze medical causes, an advantage of utilizing care, and possibly medication management with a psychiatric professional when necessary. In the meantime, I’ve listed 2 natural anxiety relief practices that can help.

First, focus on the moment. Disconcerting thoughts usually take us into the future and cause us to worry about what could happen. Teaching yourself to focus on the here and now will lower anxiety by shifting your perception into the present and decreasing the ruminating thoughts about situations out of control. Try it! As you eat, become aware of what you are eating and how it tastes. As you work, feel the weight of the pen in your hand or your back against your chair.

A second practice is to break down a project or goal into tiny steps. Those with foreboding sometimes get overwhelmed when facing a cut off point. In this case, the goal feels so great that procrastination happens due to the uneasiness. To cope, try this: write down one thing you would like to attain. Now set down the steps wanted to complete it. Take each “main” step and break it down into one or two smaller steps. Keep the list with you and as you complete each small step, check it off. Let yourself be conscious of your success for that moment and be ecstatic that you’re heading towards your goal.

Anxiety can be a real game-stopper. To those fo you with nervousness, these two practices can be a game-changer so you’ll know how to stop anxiety attacks in the future. Try either or both today!

The Very Best You

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Everyone has buddies and relatives whom we love. Not only do we care deeply about them, we think a lot about what we will be able to give them. These emotions and thoughts are crucial! There’s a point, nevertheless, when giving might be negative.

The best thing you can give your loved ones is the very best you. What does that suggest? It means that you learn about yourself, how you are feeling in different situations, how your family of origin affected you for good (or not so good), how you deal with conflict, and what your wishes are. When you find out about yourself you begin to change. You can discover you are becoming as important as your mother or father. Maybe you never learned to request what you need and now you’re getting depressed due to resentment. You might even discover your intense wrath is a cover-up for your hurt. The result is that you may be good at going through the motions of giving, but the internal attitude is not so charitable because it consequently diminishes the value of your good works, thus leaving you feeling sad and alone inside. But it does not have to stay that way.

Consider Wayne* and Sandy*. Wayne and Sandy came to see me because Sandy was depressed and Wayne didn’t think he could handle it any more. As we conversed, Sandy discovered that in 27 years of marriage, she never asked for what she needed. She thought that her role as wife and mom was to only do for others!

Wayne spotted that, while he was fond of having Sandy take care of him and the children, he had become self-absorbed and disconnected from Sandy. As they gained understanding of themselves and one another, Sandy started listening to her feelings and wishes and Wayne started listening and responding. Sandy’s depression lifted and Wayne found out he was married to an interesting woman!

This is what I mean by becoming the very best you. Start today: invest in yourself, learn to love yourself, and begin making the changes you need so you can love yourself more. When you learn to love yourself more and love yourself first, everything falls into place. So the gift you can give is the gift of loving yourself. Everybody will be happy with that as a gift!

 

* Wayne and Sandy are pseudonyms and represent a host of couples who have received solutions in their marriage for matters surrounding this kind of issue.

Sue Watkins is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Sue can be found at www.SueWatkins.net.

 

How Classroom Routines for Children Provide Security in their Daily Education

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

This is the first of a four-part series that examines the importance of rituals in our lives. This article will examine the daily rituals that we all take for granted, as we often fail to recognize their role in keeping us grounded. It is important to know “routine” definition. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, or a fixed program. These daily rituals are particularly significant as children start school, when parents adjust schedules to accommodate the changes from a more flexible summer routine to the more demanding requirements of a daily education program.

Our schools are very rich in the usage of rituals. The day begins with morning announcements, the children have certain times and routines for classes, recess, lunch, etc. Have you ever observed routines for children throughout their day at school, including the classroom routines? They know exactly what to anticipate the moment they walk in the door. There is a place for their backpacks, jackets, supplies. They know when they are supposed to take out materials from their desks, open books, etc. In order for rituals to be effective, they have to be meaningful, so the rituals in the schools and classrooms provide a security for the children as they become comfortable knowing what to expect. Have you ever listened to a child explain that they had a substitute teacher? You can tell from the child’s voice that the routine was different. Have you ever heard a child explain that they had music that day rather than PE? It is significant for them, because it is a change in what they expected.

As schools create daily rituals for children, it is also crucial for parents to use rituals in the home to provide that same sense of “grounding.’ Getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time, reading books together, doing homework at specified times, etc. Children want and need that security that rituals provide them.
Surprise yourself and make a list of all the daily rituals that you have provided for your family.

Next month we will examine those rituals that families create for special occasions such as birthdays.

Getting Ready for School

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

About this time of year the talk amongst parents of school age children turns to bedtime rituals, earth-friendly lunch containers, and shopping for school supplies. Not to be outdone, we at achievebalance.org decided to dedicate an article to the top 10 ways parents can smooth the transition from summer to fall. Supporting your child from a youth mental health standpoint is all about making sure your child is equipped with knowing the ropes Here is the top ten countdown for mentally getting ready for school this fall:

10. If you are transitioning your child to a new school, take time to visit the campus and ask for a tour.

9. Find out what kind of food is served in the cafeteria and allowed for snacks. Many schools have a policy against nuts and foods of minimal value (FMV).

8. Call the bus facility if your child is a bus rider to see what the commute time is in the morning and afternoon. Help your child prepare if the commute is long and the weather is extreme.

7. Create your list of emergency contacts. Schools always ask for them and its good for your child to know who may pick them up if you can’t. Teach your child never to go with anyone who is not on this list.

6. Donate to the local backpack/school supply drive while you are picking up your own supplies.

5. Talk to other parents about age-appropriate bedtimes. Everyone doesn’t have to be the same but it will be much easier to get your kids to go to bed on time if everyone in their group of friends has close to the same bedtime.

4. Check the school handbook before you go clothes shopping. Most schools without uniforms have rules about school clothes.

3. Get your child’s input on school lunch ideas.

2. If your child is having anxiety about the start of school or has trouble separating from you, check your own attitude and make sure you don’t seem fearful too.

1. Celebrate the end of summer and the start of school by doing something fun! Make it a new tradition you and your child can look forward to.

Parent, child, school…success!

Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D. is owner and CEO of achievebalance.org found in The Woodlands TX.

Coping Strategies for Stress: The Consequences of Stress and How to Overcome Stress

Monday, May 14th, 2012

I’d like you to imagine an adorable two year old. Now imagine that two year old poking your arm because she wants a cookie. Think to yourself, ‘it’s not so bad, she’ll stop soon,’ or something like that. The poking goes on and on for days. Then weeks. Then years.

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Most of us would manage the little darling’s behavior right away. Whether she got a cookie or a time out, I bet you wouldn’t just allow her to keep poking you!

Stress, like the terrible twos, can’t just be ignored. When you don’t take an active role in managing your stress, the hormones secreted in conjunction with the stress reaction never really subside. While the exact link between stress and illness isn’t always clear, we can say with confidence that stress is a factor in many common illnesses.

What are the consequences of stress and its impact on a body? The first things you might notice are the physical symptoms. You experience stomach aches, your shoulders are tight, or you have more migraine headaches. Perhaps you’re tired all the time, you have trouble sleeping, your appetite changes, or you’re just not as active as you used to be. You might even have unexplained pain.

Whether you are ‘marrying someone or burying someone’ your body interprets any change as stress. The goal is not to eliminate stress, but rather to develop coping strategies for stress manage and cope with the stress that is an inevitable part of life, and avoid stressors like toxic relationships and work environments. If you are having trouble with how to overcome stress or how to eliminate stress from your life, and you are already noticing the physical and emotional changes, it may be time to ask for help.

Some good resources are the Mayo Clinic’s guide to coping with work stress http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coping-with-stress/SR00030 and the Centers for Disease Control’s guide to coping with stress due to violence and injury http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html.

Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D. is owner and CEO of achievebalance.org found in The Woodlands TX. 

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