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From the monthly archives: April 2013

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'April 2013'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Stop going to the hardware store for bread


So I have to admit – this is not an original thought- the phrase “Stop going to the hardware store for bread” actually comes from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step program. However, it is a favorite saying of mine, and is applicable to just about all of my clients who come in for counseling.

So what exactly does this mean and how do we translate it into improving your mental health?

Take a moment to imagine this scenario. You are starving, really in need of some food.  The closest store to you is Home Depot.  You imagine yourself walking in and being handed the most delicious loaf of bread you have ever seen. You purchase it, tear a piece off, eat it and feel content and satisfied. 

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The Importance of Self-Care

If I asked you what you have done to take care of yourself today – what would your answer be? My guess is you would be hard pressed to come up something. 

As adults, we are often put in charge of caring for others –for our children, for other family members, for friends, for co-workers, for pets...and for many of us it is part of our paid job. 

When clients come into counseling, for whatever reason – depression, anxiety, lack of fulfillment in interpersonal relationships, we ALWAYS look at their self-care. Ninety-five percent of the time they are neglecting themselves – and any self-care they do engage in is shrouded in guilt.

I want you to listen to this. SELF CARE IS VITAL FOR YOUR WELLBEING. If you are not creating time and space to nurture yourself you will not be able to reach your own health goals – mental or physical, and eventually you will no longer be able to care for others in the way you want to.

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Does your artwork make you smile?

It is amazing how often I’ll go to client’s homes and they do not love what surrounds them!  In fact, sometimes the artwork discussion leads to frustration about the piece. “Aunt Mary gave us that for our anniversary and we just HAD to hang it!” Even one client said that his ex-wife gave him the painting that hangs above his and his new wife’s bed! (And boy did THAT create an entire dialog!)

Take a moment and go to your entry door and go sit where you spend a lot of time. What do you see? What artwork and objects draw your attention? How do you feel?

You should feel uplifted and supported. If you feel drained, frustrated, sad, or angry, see why you feel that way. If it’s related to the artwork, then remove them immediately and replace with something that will make you feel good!

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VALIDATE your way to happiness.

To help my clients reach optimal mental health I am almost always working with them to learn how to validate their feelings. Validation simply means accepting, honoring, and valuing how you feel.  This is essential to mental well-being; if you do not validate a feeling you cannot move on from it.

Let’s look at the issue of stress and time management. Many of my clients come in to my office thinking there is something wrong with them because they are overwhelmed with the work-family balance. There self-talk looks like this “I don’t know what is wrong with me, I must just be an awful parent, I feel so overwhelmed and I know I shouldn’t, many people are so much worse off than me…”.

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