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Self-Acceptance

Part of being a skilled therapist is asking good, thought provoking questions. Today I have a few questions for you. How much time do you spend focusing on the things you do not like about yourself? How many of those things do you not like because other people told you to change them, or that they are a flaw? What do you think might happen if you embraced those characteristics and traits? How would your life change? What would you do with all that extra energy?

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Are your supplements helpful or harmful?

 It would be WONDERFUL if we could get all of the nutrition we need directly from our food. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Why? 

First, our farming practices have depleted the soil leaving our food with lower levels of nutrition. (Did you know that in order to get the same nutrition from a peach from the 1950s, you would need to eat 53 of today’s peaches?) 

 

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How can you easily feng shui your front entry?

 

Remember that bit about first impressions? We get an impression of person or a space in the blink of an eye. What would be the impression of your home from someone visiting your home for the first time? How would they feel approaching and then entering your home? Would they be stumbling over shoes, garbage, piles of mail and catalogs?

In feng shui, this area is known as the “Mouth of Chi” or primary portal for energy to enter your home. If you have clutter there it creates stagnant chi and attracts poor feng shui into your home, lessening your chances for....

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Talk your way to happiness!


Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder that could record my client’s inner voice. If I played it back to them they would likely be horrified at how mean they are to themselves. These are some of the things we would hear: “You are so stupid, why did you do that?” “Every other mother is better than me; I am the worst mother ever.” “I can never do anything right.” “I am weak, I am broken, I am a burden to others.” “I am crazy.” “I need to get over myself.” “I can’t do that, I could never be successful.” “What they did is so much better than what I did.” “What is wrong with me?”

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To Control or Not To Control

 

I find many of my clients struggling with the issue of control, specifically the anxiety that surrounds so many of us when we are not in control. Do you ever find yourself spending countless hours worrying and stressing over another person’s behavior, what people think of you, how a decision you want to make for yourself will be perceived by others, what may or may not happen tomorrow, what did or did not happen yesterday?

You are not alone. It is common, normal and something that you can change if this pattern is not bringing you happiness.

The key to optimal mental health is to begin to recognize when you are expending energy on things you cannot control (other people) and to shift that energy towards the things you can control (your health). This is the tricky part – You have to do this while honoring your feelings about the things you cannot control (see my post on validation for more info on this).

Here is a simple exercise to get you started. Think of it as bit of spring cleani.....

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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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Listen to your body - it knows best!

Your body is the one thing that is with you all of the time. It tells you what it needs and it tells you when it is being adversely affected.  The question is: Are you listening?  Many of us seem to think of our bodies as separate entities rather than a real part of ourselves. It is almost as if we are all just mind. The disconnect between our body and our mind can sometimes have us miss many of the clues our bodies give us. So, make it a point right now to begin reconnecting your mind to your body. Become more conscious and more aware of your body. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, and feel every part of your body using your mind not your hands. Notice how each of your toes feel. Notice how each of your fingers feel. Notice each vertebra, each vein, each organ of your body, and even each part of your brain. Just take notice.  Notice the places that feel light and those that feel heavy. Notice the places that are in need of your help and notice the ones that are thankful for the help you ...

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