Self-Care Why Do We Struggle With It?

self-care

I often speak and write about the significance of self-care in maintaining our overall well-being and achieving success in various aspects of life. However, despite this awareness, many of us don’t find the additional time to prioritize self-care, so it remains a challenging task. Keep reading to find out why self-care is a struggle and how to work it into your routine.

Feeling Shame

Many people struggle to prioritize self-care in their lives due to a fundamental belief that they are not deserving of it. This lack of self-worth stems from a poor self-image, where individuals fail to recognize their own value and importance. Shame itself is too large a topic for us to fully explore in this article.

However, it is crucial to understand that everyone deserves self-care, regardless of their circumstances or perceived shortcomings. By actively working on improving your self-image and reminding yourself of your inherent worth, you can overcome this barrier and find it easier to carve out time for self-care amidst the demands of a busy life. Remember, self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity for overall well-being and happiness.

You Don’t Make the Effort

It can be difficult for some people to prioritize self-care due to negative self-image or poor time management. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to address these aspects. You might find it is easier to engage in self-care by putting it directly into your schedule.

You Don’t Know What Self-Care is

These days, people say “treat yourself,” but it’s crucial to understand that it’s not the same as self-care. You should only treat yourself after a specific activity, not all the time. Take “treating yourself” as having a snack or staying up late on Saturday night, and “self-care” as making sure you eat healthy and get enough sleep every day.

You Are Tired

People have a hard time with self-care because they’re just so tired. Without adequate self-care, this problem will perpetuate, causing you to feel progressively more fatigued. If this is difficult for you, focus on self-care and rest, so you’ll be ready for future sessions without feeling tired.

Bottom line, there are many reasons why you might be struggling with self-care. It’s important to understand why you’re having trouble with self-care so you can find a solution. Without self-care, you will continue to be tired and stressed.

What can we do to overcome these struggles to live a balanced life which includes self-care?

Actionable Steps

  1. Incorporate Regular Physical Activity:Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, each day. By being physically active on a regular basis, you can boost your energy, uplift your mood, and decrease stress, which can prevent feelings of tiredness and low energy. Even a short walk can invigorate your body and mind, making it easier to tackle daily tasks with enthusiasm.
  2. Prioritize Quality Sleep:Establish a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.Quality sleep is crucial for mental and physical rejuvenation. A regular sleep schedule helps regulate your body’s internal clock, ensuring you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day with vigor.
  3. Eat Balanced, Nutrient-Rich Meals:Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, while avoiding excessive sugar and refined carbs.A nutrient-dense diet provides sustained energy and prevents the sluggishness associated with poor nutrition. By fueling your body with the right foods, you enhance your overall well-being and maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.

Integrate these steps into your daily routine to improve your energy, motivation, and well-being. Remember, small, consistent changes can lead to substantial improvements in your daily life.

If you’re ready to work on your self-care please call the office:  240-587-7854 or email us:  booking@lifesjourneyblog.com and we’ll guide you to a healing self-care.

Boost Happiness and Well-Being with Daily Routines

happiness

Happiness is not universal; it varies from person to person. Our unique life experiences, values, and other factors shape our definitions of happiness.

A variety of factors influences our individual definitions of happiness, including our personal life experiences, values, and other unique aspects of our lives. These factors play a significant role in shaping our understanding and perception of what brings us joy and fulfillment. 

Our life experiences, whether positive or negative, contribute to our understanding of happiness and inform our preferences and desires. Each person’s journey is distinct, and as a result, our understanding of happiness is deeply personal and subjective. It is through the interplay of these various factors that we develop our unique perspectives on what it means to be happy. 

Regardless of the personal definition, everyone wants to be happy. Who wouldn’t prefer joy and contentment over stress and a frustrating lack of fulfillment? Here are a few routines you can practice daily to boost your emotional wellness and give you more joy. 

Love Yourself Because You Deserve It 

Practice self-care. Take care of yourself. Develop daily routines that make you appreciate who you are. Smile when you look in the mirror. You are the only person exactly like you that will ever exist, and that’s something to appreciate. Start embracing daily self-love practices to celebrate the unique and wonderful person you are. 

Exercise for 10 Minutes 

An intense 10-minute exercise session can boost your mental and physical well-being in several ways. Devote 10 minutes in the morning to physical activity with moderate to vigorous intensity. Do the same thing in the evening. You will benefit from less stress and more positive emotions because of the cocktail of feel-good hormones and chemicals that exercise produces. 

Discover Your Happiness Cheat Codes

Some video games have cheat codes that help you succeed. If you can’t get past a particular level, you enter the cheat code and are victorious. You have cheat codes of happiness in your life. To discover them, record your daily experiences. 

Write them down in a small notebook or on your phone. Record any event that provides you with emotions like joy and contentment. Then, turn to those experiences in the future for a reliable dose of happiness. 

Start Each Day with Intention 

Starting the day with intention contributes significantly to greater happiness and fulfillment. When you begin your day with purpose and clear objectives, you set a positive tone for the hours ahead. Whether setting meaningful goals, expressing gratitude, or simply visualizing a successful and harmonious day, this intentional approach helps you focus on what truly matters. It allows you to make conscious choices that align with your values and aspirations, ultimately leading to a more purposeful and satisfying life.  

Practicing these emotional well-being boosters every day can lead to a significant increase in happiness and contentment. By incorporating these simple yet effective strategies into your daily routine, you are actively taking steps towards enhancing your emotional well-being and experiencing a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness in life. So why wait? Start implementing these practices today and unlock a happier, more fulfilling life filled with happiness.

We can help guide you in finding a daily pattern of happiness through life coaching. Call the office 240-587-7854 or email us: info@lifesjourneyblog.com.

Your Inner Peace Path: Essential Practices for a Calmer Mind

inner peace

inner peace

Inner peace, a state of serenity and calm, can be achieved through practices such as mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation, which focus the mind on the present and foster feelings of love and kindness towards oneself and others. Regular physical activity, including yoga or tai chi, not only enhances mood but also contributes significantly to this tranquil state by reducing stress and increasing self-awareness.

On the journey towards achieving inner peace, one must also consider the importance of a regular sleep schedule, the nurturing of strong social connections, and the practice of gratitude, all of which play a crucial role in cultivating happiness and a sense of calm. Engaging in activities that bring joy, alongside effective time management and seeking professional help when necessary, are essential steps in navigating the path to inner peace.

Understanding Inner Peace

The Nature and Importance of Inner Peace

Inner peace is fundamentally a state where emotional and mental serenity prevails, free from disturbing thoughts, allowing individuals to control their moods and reactions effectively. It transcends mere passivity or indifference; it is an active state of profound presence and engagement with life’s challenges. This state is not exclusive to those dedicated to spiritual or religious practices; it is accessible to anyone, regardless of their lifestyle or occupation.

Misconceptions and Realities

There is a common misconception that inner peace involves disengagement from the world and ignoring personal or external issues. Contrarily, true inner peace involves a deep engagement with the world, maintaining a balance that fosters internal harmony and stability. It is about embracing life’s experiences, acknowledging and addressing suffering, not through indifference but through a mindful and balanced approach.

Inner Peace as a Tool for Life

Achieving inner peace allows individuals to cope with any event or situation, aiding in managing anxieties and fears healthily. It enhances focus, patience, tolerance, and the quality of sleep, and it significantly improves relationships and overall happiness. Techniques such as Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness, and other forms of mental and physical training like yoga and tai chi have been shown to foster this peace.

Benefits Beyond Calm

The pursuit of inner peace offers extensive benefits; it improves physical and mental health, increases emotional intelligence, and enhances one’s ability to enjoy life and maintain energy. It equips individuals with the tools to handle stress healthily and appreciate the present moment, fostering a sense of contentment and well-being that transcends ordinary happiness and situational joys.

Strategies for Achieving Inner Peace

Daily Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace

Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques

  1. Begin with a daily meditation routine, setting aside 10-20 minutes to focus on your breath or a specific mantra.
  2. Incorporate mindfulness throughout your day by engaging in activities like mindful eating, walking, or journaling to enhance present-moment awareness.
  3. Explore various forms of meditation such as guided, mantra, or loving-kindness to find what best suits your needs.
  4. Practice body scan meditation to release tension and notice bodily sensations from head to toe.

Physical and Mental Health

  1. Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days, choosing enjoyable activities like yoga or cycling.
  2. Ensure a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting processed foods and sugar.
  3. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  4. Regular practice of the 4-7-8 breathing technique can help manage stress and induce relaxation.

Social and Emotional Well-being

  1. Spend quality time with friends and family or connect with community groups that share your interests.
  2. Practice gratitude daily by reflecting on what you are thankful for or maintaining a gratitude journal.
  3. Engage in self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times.
  4. Commit to regular self-reflection to gain deeper insights into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Environmental and Lifestyle Adjustments

  1. Reduce exposure to stressors by setting boundaries with stressful relationships and limiting social media use.
  2. Surround yourself with nature and elements like plants and water sounds to create a calming environment.
  3. Participate in creative activities to keep your mind engaged and express your artistic side.
  4. Practice random acts of kindness to cultivate happiness and a deeper sense of community.

These strategies, when consistently applied, can help individuals navigate their journey towards inner peace, enhancing overall well-being and happiness.

Overcoming Obstacles to Inner Peace

Internal Challenges

1. Emotional and Mental Barriers

Unresolved inner emotions such as anger, jealousy, and high self-created pressure can significantly obstruct the path to inner peace. These emotions often stem from past experiences or unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves and others. Addressing these feelings through professional help or mindfulness practices can lead to better emotional management and inner calm.

2. Psychological Factors

The need for others’ approval, fears about the future, and perfectionist tendencies are common internal factors that disrupt inner peace. These issues can lead to a constant state of dissatisfaction and anxiety, making it difficult to achieve a serene mindset.

External Challenges

1. Societal Pressures

External factors such as a fixed mindset or rigid opinions can also pose significant barriers to achieving inner peace. These often manifest as a resistance to new ideas or an inability to adapt to change, which can create internal conflict and stress.

2. Overcoming Mindfulness Challenges

To effectively overcome challenges related to mindfulness, it is crucial to start with shorter meditation sessions and gradually increase their duration. Patience, practice, and adapting techniques to fit personal needs help in building a sustainable practice. Gently redirecting attention during meditation and exploring any resistance to mindfulness can also enhance the practice.

Strategies to Overcome Obstacles

1. Non-Attachment and Reduction of Over-Caring

Practicing non-attachment and reducing the intensity of care can help manage over-caring, which is often linked to anxiety and anger management issues. By focusing less on controlling every outcome, individuals can experience a significant reduction in stress and an increase in peace.

2. Addressing Fear and Global Concerns

Fears related to global issues like nuclear war or ethical concerns such as harming living beings need to be acknowledged but also put into perspective. Focusing on actionable steps at an individual level can reduce feelings of helplessness and promote a more peaceful state of mind.

By understanding and addressing these internal and external factors, individuals can make significant strides towards achieving and maintaining inner peace, enhancing their overall well-being and happiness.

Conclusion

Embarking on the journey towards inner peace involves embracing practices like mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and incorporating physical activity into daily routines. These strategies not only fortify mental and emotional well-being but also enhance one’s ability to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience. The transformative power of these practices lies in their ability to foster profound presence, increase self-awareness, and cultivate a state of serenity that strengthens one’s resolve against external pressures and internal turmoil. By consistently applying these methods, individuals genuinely embark on a path that leads to increased contentment, better relationships, and an overall sense of happiness in life.

The pursuit of inner peace is a dynamic journey that benefits immensely from guidance and support. As individuals navigate the complexities of achieving this tranquil state, it becomes essential to recognize when to seek professional assistance.

To further this endeavor, reaching out for expert advice can significantly enhance one’s journey. Call our office ‪(240-587-7854‬) so we can help guide you along your path of inner peace. By embracing the techniques outlined and considering the implications of inner peace on physical and mental health, individuals can unlock a profound sense of well-being that permeates every aspect of life, thus actualizing their highest potential for peace and happiness.

How To Create A News Consumption Strategy For Mental Peace (version 2)

peace

The Francis Scott Key Bridge Tragedy

Tragedies are an unfortunate part of human life. They have happened since humankind can remember. The difference today versus years ago is the proliferation of global data and awareness of every event everywhere in the world. Are our emotions even capable of coping with the volume of tragedies happening around the globe? Are we over loading our senses with too much tragedy?

Yesterday, March 26, 2024, a bridge spanning the Patapsco River in Baltimore City Maryland, USA collapsed after being struck by a disabled cargo vessel. The bridge, known as the Francis Scott Key Bridge, completely fell into the frigid water, taking with it a group of construction workers filling potholes on the roadway.

I mention this particular tragedy, one of many which occured on March 26 worldwide, since I spent 20 years of my adult life living in the Baltimore metro area. I’ve driven across the bridge, flown over the bridge, and even sailed under it. Those experiences don’t make me unique or special as many people can say the same. But for me, and many of those with similar experiences, this tragedy is not just a news story.

In 2022, ironically in March, I published an article entitled: “How To Create A News Consumption Strategy For Mental Peace”. In light of the Francis Scott Key Bridge tragedy I am reposting that article from 2022 below. If you’re so inclined, also check out my article “Being Hopeful For Mental Peace: Is it possible in Times of Crisis?“.


Inner peace and contentment are possible, no matter what happens in the world around us. Of course, we can’t control everything that goes on, but we can control our own reactions and how we let the news affect us.

Now more than ever, you need to stay informed about what is happening in the world. The news never stops, so you might be exposed to it constantly, whether you are watching a 24-hour news channel, receiving notifications on your phone, or scrolling through Twitter.

When you click on a shocking headline, there is always something new and scary to increase your anxiety, ramp up your stress, and inflame your anger. The toll the constant barrage of news updates has on your mental health is significant.

It is essential to stay informed, but don’t let the news consume us. Instead, find ways to stay positive and focus on the good things in our lives. For example, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about, do things we enjoy, and be kind to others.

news comsumption strategy, world map, tragedy

We can’t change the world, but we can make a difference in our own corner of it. When reading a news article, take time to recall the information you just read. Write a note about what you just learned and how it is relevant to your daily life.

Yes, it is possible to have inner peace and contentment

To have inner peace and contentment, developing a personal news consumption strategy is vital. Here are a few tips to help get started:

1. Determine what is important to you and focus on the news that matters most.

2. Limit the amount of news you consume each day.

3. Be selective about the sources you rely on.

4. Take some time to reflect on the news you’ve consumed.

5. Be mindful of how the news affects your mood and emotions.

6. Make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Developing a personal news consumption strategy can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the end. Here are some tips for developing a personal news consumption strategy:

1. Decide what news sources you want to rely on and stick to them. This will help you develop a sense of trust in the information you’re getting and make it easier to verify the accuracy of stories.

2. Set aside time each day to read/watch the news. This will help you stay informed without feeling pulled in every direction and allow you to focus on individual stories.

3. Balance your news consumption with other activities. This will help you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

4. Take breaks from the news. This will help you avoid getting stuck in a news cycle and allow you to come back to stories with a fresh viewpoint.

Figuring out your primary sources for news is the first step in creating a personal news consumption strategy. Once you know where to find the news you’re interested in, you can start to think about how much time you want to spend on it each day. It’s essential to be realistic about how much time you have and set boundaries.

You don’t have to consume the news in the same way everyone else does. Instead, you can develop your own strategy that works for you and helps you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

The goal of developing a personal news consumption strategy is to identify the most important topics to you and find the most reliable sources of information for those topics. Remember that not all sources of information are created equal. Some sources are biased, while others are simply inaccurate. Therefore, it is vital to find sources that you can trust to make informed decisions about the issues that are important to you.

Constant news exposure can have adverse effects on our mental health – it’s crucial to find a balance between staying informed and healthy. Make sure to take breaks from the news, and don’t forget to take care of yourself!

If you wish to speak with me regarding stress or anxiety from the news, contact my office at (240) 587-7854‬, click here to book a session.

Why Are We Lying to Therapist: Understanding the Dynamics

lying to therapist

Click here to have the article read to you

Did you know that a study found over 90% of therapy clients are lying to therapist at least once? We often craft narratives that stray from the truth, masking our insecurities, or diminishing our struggles. Such dishonesty might seem benign, yet it hampers the very core of therapeutic work designed for our personal growth. While we may shield ourselves with these half-truths out of fear of judgment or embarrassment, understanding and confronting this dynamic is crucial for genuine healing.

In this article, we explore the delicate threads that entwine our words with secrecy in the therapy room. We’ll examine the common reasons why we might find ourselves saying “I lied to my therapist,” delving into the complexities of shame, the urge to please, and the instinct to avoid pain. Recognizing the role of trust in the therapeutic relationship is fundamental, and throughout this article, we aim to empower you with the courage to embrace truth-telling for a more fulfilling therapeutic experience.

Lying to Therapist

When we step into the therapy room, we carry with us the weight of our stories, the ones we tell ourselves and the ones we share. Yet, the fear of judgment is a towering barrier for many of us, often leading to moments where we find ourselves lying to our therapist. This fear can manifest in various ways:

  • Hiding Behind Falsehoods: It’s not uncommon to pretend to agree with the therapist’s suggestions or to deny our insecurities. We might even minimize our suffering, trying to present a more composed version of ourselves. This act of self-censorship stems from a fear of being criticized or feeling embarrassed.
  • Coping Mechanisms: For some of us, lying is a familiar coping mechanism. It’s a way to maintain a positive self-image or manage transference and countertransference issues, where feelings towards the therapist or vice versa influence our willingness to be truthful.
  • Building Trust: Trust and rapport are cornerstones of the therapeutic relationship. If they are lacking, we might withhold information or lie as a defense mechanism. It’s crucial to remember that therapists are trained to help, not judge. Admitting a lie can be a significant step towards building a stronger connection with your therapist.

    Addressing the fear of judgment requires courage and a commitment to honesty, even when it feels uncomfortable. If a technique doesn’t resonate with you, it’s important to be forthright with your therapist. And if the fear of opening up persists, it may be time to consider finding a new therapist with whom you can build a more trusting relationship.

Shame and Vulnerability

In our journey of self-discovery and healing, we often encounter the heavy cloak of shame that can lead to vulnerability in the therapeutic setting. This shame, a potent and sometimes paralyzing emotion, can significantly increase the likelihood of llying to your therapist. It weaves a complex web where outright lies, secrets, or even lies of omission become a shield against exposing our deepest insecurities and perceived flaws.

Here are some insights into the dynamics of shame and vulnerability in therapy:

  • Types of Dishonesty: Clients may resort to various forms of dishonesty, such as minimizing facts, offering half-truths, exaggerations, or white lies. These actions are often driven by a fear of judgment, embarrassment, or the instinct to avoid confronting difficult emotions.
  • Confidentiality and Repercussions: A common misconception is that being open in therapy could lead to negative repercussions. However, therapist-client confidentiality is designed to protect the things shared in therapy, creating a safe space for honesty and growth.
  • The Impact of Lying: While it may seem like a protective mechanism, lying to a therapist can undermine the therapeutic relationship and hinder progress. It’s important to foster an environment where clients feel safe to be vulnerable and truthful.

    To counteract the effects of shame, developing self-compassion is crucial. It allows clients to accept their experiences without self-judgment, promoting honesty in therapy sessions. Counselors play a pivotal role by understanding the impact of shame and guiding clients towards acceptance and self-compassion, which are essential for a truthful and healing therapeutic relationship.

Desire to Please the Therapist

In our quest for self-improvement and healing, we sometimes find ourselves wanting to present our best selves, even to those who are there to help us without judgment. This desire can lead us to say things that aren’t entirely true, as we navigate the vulnerable space of a therapist’s office. Here’s a closer look at why the need to please might lead us to be less than honest, and how we can move past this to foster a more effective therapeutic relationship.

  • Seeking Approval: We may find ourselves lying to our therapist to avoid disapproval or to gain their approval. This could be due to an ingrained need to protect our ego, avoid conflict, or simply a misunderstanding of the therapeutic process.
  • Addressing the Issue: To overcome the urge to please, we can:
    • Acknowledge our shame and pinpoint where it surfaces in our body.
    • Practice self-compassion to quiet these feelings of inadequacy.
    • Embrace the courage to speak our truth, even when it feels daunting.
    • Provide our therapists with honest feedback, which can foster closeness and make it easier to maintain honesty moving forward.
  • Understanding the Consequences: It’s important to recognize that deception, even with good intentions, can have dire consequences. In high-risk populations, such as those who have experienced trauma or those dealing with suicidal ideation, not sharing the full picture can mean missing critical information necessary for survival. Therapists are equipped to handle these truths and are there to build a trusting, honest relationship with their clients, ensuring they receive the support they need.

Avoiding Painful Emotions

Avoiding painful emotions is a common reason we might find ourselves lying to our therapist. It’s a protective mechanism, shielding us from having to confront the discomfort that comes with vulnerability. Yet, this avoidance can lead to a host of negative outcomes, such as:

  1. Missed Opportunities for Growth: By not fully disclosing our feelings or the intensity of our experiences, we miss the chance to delve deep into the root of our issues, stalling our personal development.
  2. Strained Therapeutic Relationship: Therapists rely on honesty to provide effective guidance. When we say things like “I’m fine” or “I’ve never experienced that before,” we prevent them from understanding our true state, which can strain the relationship.
  3. Prolonged Suffering: “I’m taking my medication as prescribed” might seem like a harmless lie, but it can lead to prolonged suffering by preventing necessary adjustments in our treatment plan.

    Research indicates that a staggering 93% of people lie at least once during therapy. The lies can range from small omissions to significant fabrications, such as hiding romantic feelings towards the therapist. While therapists may not always detect these falsehoods, the lies can lead to hindered personal growth and less authentic relationships, both within and outside the therapy room.

    To foster a more effective therapeutic process, it’s important to:

  • Cultivate Open Communication: Be honest about your feelings and fears. This honesty not only helps your therapist to assist you more effectively but also encourages you to practice open communication in other areas of your life.
  • Build a Comfortable Relationship: Take the time to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and who listens to you, as this is foundational for developing trust and being vulnerable in therapy.
  • Reflect on the Purpose of Therapy: Remember that therapy is a space for healing and growth, not for judgment or punishment. Embracing this can help reduce the impulse to hide behind lies.

    By addressing the reasons behind our dishonesty and working towards a more truthful dialogue, we pave the way for more authentic relationships and a more fulfilling life.

Misunderstanding Therapy’s Purpose

In our therapeutic journeys, we sometimes find ourselves grappling with the true purpose of therapy, which can inadvertently lead us to be less than truthful. A fundamental misunderstanding of why we’re there—to foster self-awareness and growth—can result in a range of deceptive behaviors. Here’s a closer look at the dynamics at play:

  • Navigating the Therapeutic Relationship: Many of us may not fully understand that the cornerstone of therapy is a candid relationship with our therapist. When we misunderstand therapy’s purpose, we might minimize our problems or withhold certain truths, not realizing that this hinders our progress.
  • The Spectrum of Deception: The act of lying to a therapist can manifest in various ways, including:
    • Minimizing issues to appear more stable or in control.
    • Omitting details that we fear may lead to judgment or discomfort.
    • Altering the narrative to avoid revealing our true selves due to fear of punishment, a desire for autonomy, or for secondary gains like sympathy or extended sessions.
  • Subtle Cues of Dishonesty: Therapists are trained to pick up on subtle indications of deception, such as changes in voice pitch or speech rate, which can signal that a client might not be fully forthcoming. Recognizing these signs can help therapists address the underlying issues that lead to dishonesty.

    To foster an environment of trust and openness, it’s crucial to set a tone of tolerance and workability within the therapeutic space. Managing lying in therapy involves complex, individualized decisions—but the goal remains the same: to nurture a relationship where honesty is the foundation, allowing for true healing and growth. This approach not only benefits the therapeutic process but also sets a precedent for how we interact in our personal relationships outside of therapy.

Lack of Trust in The Therapeutic Relationship

In the delicate fabric of the therapeutic relationship, trust is the thread that holds everything together. When this trust is compromised, particularly by deceit from the therapist, the effects can be detrimental. Here’s why honesty is paramount in therapy and how clients can navigate trust issues:

  • Therapist’s Honesty: Therapists must uphold a standard of honesty, being truthful, and consistent in their interactions. Evasion or deflection can quickly erode the trust that is essential for progress in therapy. If you, as a client, sense any dishonesty, it’s imperative to address these trust issues openly to resolve them and maintain the integrity of your therapeutic journey.
  • Navigating Power Dynamics: The power differential in the therapist-client relationship means that any lying by therapists is not only disrespectful but manipulative. It takes advantage of a client’s vulnerability. If you find yourself questioning your therapist’s honesty or feel that lying is a deal-breaker, it may be time to seek a new therapist who aligns better with your values of openness and integrity.
  • Clients’ Self-Protection: Often, clients lie as a coping strategy to shield themselves from shame. Therapists should work to help clients understand their reasons for lying and suggest experiments for more flexible interaction. It’s about creating a space where clients can discuss their dishonesty without fear of rejection, understanding that lying doesn’t destroy therapy—itis the therapy. It’s a chance to learn new ways of interacting and to experience the unconditional care that they are often seeking.

Conclusion

Over the course of this article, we’ve unveiled the complex motivations that can lead individuals to conceal the full truth within the therapeutic setting. From the fear of judgment and the pressure to please, to the avoidance of painful emotions and a lack of trust, each factor plays a crucial role in the intricate dance of honesty and deceit. These dynamics not only hinder the therapeutic process but also impede our own potential for growth and self-discovery.

Acknowledging these barriers is the first step toward cultivating a therapeutic environment steeped in trust and openness. As we move forward, let us strive to embrace vulnerability and truth-telling within our sessions. Such courage lays the groundwork for genuine healing and paves the way for a more profound understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

If you’re ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more about my practice or call/text me directly at 240-587-7854.

Optimism: Develop Your Positive Outlook to Achieve Your Goals

optimism

As an optimist, I’ve always believed in the power of positive thinking. It’s not just about seeing the glass as half full, but about embracing an optimistic language that can truly transform your attitude and outlook on life. In this article, we’ll delve into the understanding of optimism and its impact, the benefits of being an optimistic person, techniques for maintaining an optimistic outlook, scientific insights into optimism, and practical tips for incorporating optimism into your life. By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to infuse your life with the magic of optimistic language.

Understanding Optimism and Its Impact

Optimism is more than just a disposition; it’s a way of life. It’s about approaching life with a positive outlook, even in the face of challenges and setbacks. Being an optimistic person means believing that good things will happen, even when faced with adversity. It’s not about ignoring the negative, but about choosing to focus on the positive and believing in the potential for a better outcome. In a previous article I focused on optimism in light of all the negative news. Read that article here.

The impact of optimism on our lives is profound. Studies have shown that optimistic individuals tend to have better physical and mental health, stronger relationships, and greater overall well-being. When we embrace an optimistic mindset, we’re better equipped to navigate life’s ups and downs with resilience and grace. It’s not just about feeling good in the moment; it’s about setting the stage for a brighter and more fulfilling future.

The Power of Optimistic Language

Language is a powerful tool, and the words we use have the ability to shape our thoughts and experiences. Optimistic language goes beyond just positive affirmations; it’s about framing our experiences and interactions in a way that empowers and uplifts us. By consciously choosing optimistic language, we can reframe our thoughts and beliefs, leading to a more positive and hopeful outlook on life.

When we speak with optimistic language, we’re not just influencing our own mindset, but also the mindset of those around us. Our words have the power to inspire and encourage others, creating a ripple effect of positivity and hope. Whether we’re communicating with friends, family, or colleagues, the language we use can have a profound impact on the energy and atmosphere of our interactions.

Benefits of Being an Optimistic Person

Embracing optimism comes with a wide range of benefits that extend far beyond just feeling good in the moment. Optimistic individuals tend to experience lower levels of stress, better physical health, and improved overall well-being. When we approach life with a positive outlook, we’re better able to cope with challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and maintain a sense of hope and resilience.

In addition to the physical and mental health benefits, optimism also has a profound impact on our relationships and social interactions. Optimistic individuals tend to be more approachable, empathetic, and supportive, leading to deeper and more fulfilling connections with others. By embodying optimism, we not only enhance our own lives but also contribute to a more positive and uplifting social environment.

Cultivating an Optimistic Mindset

Cultivating an optimistic mindset is a journey that requires intention and practice. It starts with a conscious decision to approach life with a positive outlook and a belief in the potential for good things to unfold. One powerful way to cultivate an optimistic mindset is through the practice of gratitude. By focusing on the things we’re grateful for, we can shift our perspective and train our minds to see the beauty and abundance in our lives.

Another key aspect of cultivating an optimistic mindset is learning to reframe challenges as opportunities for growth. Instead of seeing obstacles as roadblocks, we can choose to view them as stepping stones that lead us toward greater resilience and wisdom. By reframing our experiences in this way, we can infuse our lives with a sense of hope and possibility, even in the face of adversity.

Optimistic Language in Daily Communication

Incorporating optimistic language into our daily communication is a powerful way to infuse our interactions with positivity and hope. Whether we’re speaking with friends, family, colleagues, or even strangers, the words we use have the power to uplift and inspire. One simple yet potent technique for incorporating optimistic language is through the use of affirmations.

Affirmations are positive statements that we can repeat to ourselves to reinforce optimistic beliefs and attitudes. By integrating affirmations into our daily routine, we can reprogram our subconscious mind and create a more optimistic and empowering inner dialogue. Whether it’s “I am capable of overcoming any challenge” or “I attract positivity and abundance into my life,” affirmations can be a potent tool for shaping our mindset and language.

Techniques for Maintaining an Optimistic Outlook

Maintaining an optimistic outlook is not always easy, especially in the face of adversity and uncertainty. However, there are several techniques that we can use to cultivate and sustain optimism in our lives. One powerful technique is the practice of visualization. By visualizing our desired outcomes and experiences, we can create a sense of hope and possibility that fuels our optimism.

Another effective technique for maintaining an optimistic outlook is the practice of mindfulness. By staying present in the moment and cultivating awareness of our thoughts and emotions, we can prevent negativity from taking root and maintain a sense of optimism even in challenging circumstances. Mindfulness allows us to observe our thoughts without judgment and choose a more optimistic and empowering perspective.

Scientific Insights into Optimism

The power of optimism isn’t just a philosophical concept; it’s backed by scientific research and evidence. Studies have shown that optimism is associated with better physical health, including a reduced risk of chronic diseases and a faster recovery from illness. Optimistic individuals also tend to exhibit lower levels of stress and anxiety, leading to improved mental health and well-being.

From a neuroscientific perspective, optimism has been linked to changes in brain function and structure. Studies have demonstrated that optimistic individuals show greater activity in brain regions associated with reward processing and emotional regulation. This suggests that optimism is not just a state of mind but also a neurologically ingrained trait that shapes our perceptions and experiences.

Embracing Optimism in Challenging Situations

While it’s easy to embrace optimism when things are going well, the true test of optimism lies in how we approach challenging situations. When faced with adversity, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and discouraged, but it’s in these moments that optimism can be the most powerful. Embracing optimism in challenging situations doesn’t mean denying the reality of the circumstances; it’s about choosing to focus on the potential for positive outcomes and solutions.

One effective way to embrace optimism in challenging situations is through the practice of reframing. By reframing our thoughts and beliefs, we can shift our perspective and find new opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of seeing obstacles as insurmountable barriers, we can choose to view them as temporary setbacks that can be overcome with resilience and creativity. Embracing optimism in challenging situations empowers us to face adversity with courage and grace.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Optimism into Your Life

Incorporating optimism into your life is a journey that requires commitment and practice. One practical tip for incorporating optimism is to start a gratitude journal. Taking a few moments each day to write down the things you’re grateful for can shift your focus toward the positive aspects of your life and cultivate a sense of optimism and abundance.

Another practical tip for incorporating optimism is to surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals. The company we keep has a profound impact on our mindset and outlook, so surrounding yourself with optimistic and uplifting people can fuel your own sense of optimism. Seek out friends, mentors, and colleagues who embody the kind of optimism you aspire to cultivate in your own life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, optimism is not just a state of mind; it’s a way of life that has the power to transform our attitudes and experiences. By embracing optimistic language, cultivating an optimistic mindset, and incorporating practical techniques into our daily lives, we can infuse our existence with hope, resilience, and joy. As you embark on your journey toward embracing optimism, remember that it’s not about denying the reality of challenges, but about choosing to focus on the potential for growth and positive outcomes. Speak your way to a brighter day, and watch as the magic of optimistic language transforms your attitude and enriches your life.

Are you ready to embrace the power of optimistic language and start your journey toward a brighter, more fulfilling life? Click here to speak with Chris

Being Hopeful For Mental Peace: Is it possible in Times of Crisis?

mental peace times of crisis

How to CARE and COPE at the same time?

Mental peace is something that everyone wants. Unfortunately, it seems that we don’t always get it. In times of crisis, we tend to become anxious or depressed. What can we do to achieve mental peace?

Optimism is what I strive for in life. However, I think I end somewhere in the middle between optimism and pessimism. This middle space I call “realism”. Overall, I’m basically fine with being a realist because it keeps me grounded. The problem with being a realist, though, is that there is little space left for making changes to the events in the universe as the realist deals only with the given reality; he can’t deal with any other reality.

Optimists see potential to change things for the better, while the realist simply sees what is.

As I write this my area of the world is concerned with the effects of the coronavirus, rising inflation, supply chain issues, and record-high gas prices. Of course, most of the world’s general attention is focused on Russia and Ukraine. How that conflict will ultimately affect the rest of the world is only an educated guess. Hence our lack of mental peace as we struggle through these times of crisis.

The more I hear and read the news, the stronger is my desire to escape from it all! But there’s nowhere to go! In a previous article, I wrote about how to work on a healthy news consumption strategy, that’s a start for obtaining mental peace. Wanting to escape from these times of crisis is the realist in me talking. My sense of realism has no regard for coping with or changing my current reality, only in fleeing from the crisis so as not to have to deal with it at all.

As I continue to feel the need to flee these times of crisis, the realist in me leans more toward the pessimist as I realize, deep inside of my thoughts, that there is no escape. There is nowhere for me to physically flee, and the more I feel trapped the more anxious and stressed I become. Amidst the barrage of news and opinions, my inner struggle spirals the more I hear of despair, economic worries, and violence in our world.

The optimist in me wants to join the inner thoughts and conversation with my inner-realist. (As I previously said, I do try my best to be an optimist.) But even if the realist allows such a dialogue, what might it sound like? In light of the tensions in the world, what can my inner-optimist say without sounding either naive or like a quote from a greeting card?

How can we be realistic AND optimistic?

The optimist views the world from the mindset that every challenge can be overcome, and believes mental peace and joy always prevail, even in times of crisis. Optimism motivates us to strive to overcome even if we can’t imagine a positive outcome. Deep within our thoughts we know, without a doubt, that without at least trying, a future full of hope will never be realized.

The joint inner dialog of the optimist with the realist must take into account the difficult realities we face while avoiding naive “answers.” What we need is hope fulfilled through practical, effective action.

My inner optimist, in its desire to make a change instead of fleeing, reminds me to turn to my spiritual life. And I suggest the same for you, the reader. It doesn’t matter the nature of your religion, or the lack thereof, but what does make a mental peace shift is the knowledge and belief of something/someone greater than myself. “Religion and belief are now seen by many researchers and clinicians as an important way to cope with trauma and distress thanks to research over the last three decades.” (Source: apa.org)

A Spiritual Viewpoint

That research identified positive and negative forms of religious coping as well as evidence that how people experience and express their faith has implications for their well-being and health. “People who made more use of positive religious coping methods had better outcomes than those who struggled with God, their faith, or other people about sacred matters” (apa.org Dr. Kenneth Pargament, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green State University)

In a compilation book of reflections written for the 9/11 attacks in the USA titled “Franciscan Voices on 9/11”, we find this quote which I use to this day:

“In despair, we give up on our relationship with God. Doubt, on the other hand, is a sign that our faith is alive and kicking; it is part of the rhythm of faith itself. Lament is not a failure of faith, but an act of faith. We cry out directly to God because deep down we know our relationship with God counts; it counts to us and it counts to God. Even if we do not experience the closeness, we believe God does care. Even if God seems not to hear, we believe God is always within shouting distance. In the Scriptures, God does not say, “Do not fear, I will take away all the pain and struggle.” Rather, we hear, “You have no need to fear since I am with you””

7 ways to help face times of crisis in the world as both an optimist AND a realist

1. Remember, you’re not alone.

The daunting task of coping with times of crisis is not ours to struggle with alone. Seek out others who feel the same as you and, instead of complaining or despairing, work together on practical local solutions to the crisis.

2. Know that you are not a victim.

A victim is a person who suffers as a result of events happening to them that they can’t control. You may say that according to that definition we are victims of what’s happening in the world. But, if we change our perspective on how we define “world”, not meaning the entire globe, rather, defining my world as consisting of my local community, we can create reasonable expectations. Creating reasonable expectations allows us to actually do something to affect change locally. For example, it is unreasonable to make our personal goal that of world peace. However, creating a peaceful home, work, or local community is a reasonable personal goal.

3. Empower yourself and others.

Educate yourself about the struggles we’re facing (from multiple sources and points of view) and solutions tried in the past. Learn what worked in the past and what didn’t work. Figure out why it didn’t work and what you can do differently now to make positive change more likely. Seek out and obtain the resources needed to carry out your goal.

Our ability to work with others to find a solution to shared problems removes the label of “victim,” replacing it with “survivor.” Although we need to educate ourselves about the issues, it’s also important to keep a balance, allowing for some news-free periods.

4. Reclaim your power.

Once we realize that we are not powerless, our desire to implement change brings about renewed strength and optimism. Recognize the power and strength that you individually have, and that we as a group have, and find creative ways of using your power for the common good.

Do not let the power itself take over. Even if we feel invincible, in reality, we won’t always make the proper decisions. Learning from our mistakes is a sign of strength, for the knowledge gained from the mistake will help you to avoid that, or similar mistakes, in the future.

5. Focus your effort and your energy.

As I previously mentioned, our power and abilities are limited, so wisely focus your time and energy on those tasks which can be completed, and not on tasks you know are impossible for you to complete. No one person, or one group, can do everything.

6. Show empathy for others.

As we learn about the issues affecting our world, we begin to realize that many of our problems originate with people not understanding each other. We tend to view the world from our own perspective and only validate our own history, failing to recognize that those with whom we may disagree also view their world from their perspective and history.

Finding solutions to problems presupposes that all parties agree on the nature of the problem. Empathy, placing ourselves in the shoes of another, provides us a deeper understanding of the concerns of others. By viewing the world through their perspective, we become better informed and thereby better prepared to find and carry out real solutions. Empathy does not mean agreeing with another’s opinion. It simply means you see their perspective as they view it.

7. Don’t forget self-care.

The realist in me recognizes that to accomplish all of this, I will end up draining and wearing myself out. But in the union of the realist with the optimist, I recognize the need for self-care. Take time for yourself; keep up bonds with your family and friends; find activities or hobbies which do not relate to the work at hand; spend time in meditation and quiet to focus yourself.

Obviously, I do not propose these steps as absolute solutions to the current times of crisis of the world. But I do offer them as guides to keep us grounded in reality and keep us hopeful and passionate enough to experience mental peace make a lasting difference.

{loadmoduleid 140}

How To Create A News Consumption Strategy For Mental Peace

news consumption

Inner peace and contentment are possible, no matter what happens in the world around us. Of course, we can’t control everything that goes on, but we can control our own reactions and how we let the news affect us.

Now more than ever, you need to stay informed about what is happening in the world. The news never stops, so you might be exposed to it constantly, whether you are watching a 24-hour news channel, receiving notifications on your phone, or scrolling through Twitter.

When you click on a shocking headline, there is always something new and scary to increase your anxiety, ramp up your stress, and inflame your anger. The toll the constant barrage of news updates has on your mental health is significant.

It is essential to stay informed, but don’t let the news consume us. Instead, find ways to stay positive and focus on the good things in our lives. For example, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about, do things we enjoy, and be kind to others.

We can’t change the world, but we can make a difference in our own corner of it. When reading a news article, take time to recall the information you just read. Write a note about what you just learned and how it is relevant to your daily life.

 

Yes, it is possible to have inner peace and contentment

 

To have inner peace and contentment, developing a personal news consumption strategy is vital. Here are a few tips to help get started:

1. Determine what is important to you and focus on the news that matters most.

2. Limit the amount of news you consume each day.

3. Be selective about the sources you rely on.

4. Take some time to reflect on the news you’ve consumed.

5. Be mindful of how the news affects your mood and emotions.

6. Make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Developing a personal news consumption strategy can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

Tips for developing a personal news consumption strategy

1. Decide what news sources you want to rely on and stick to them. This will help you develop a sense of trust in the information you’re getting and make it easier to verify the accuracy of stories.

2. Set aside time each day to read/watch the news. This will help you stay informed without feeling pulled in every direction and allow you to focus on individual stories.

3. Balance your news consumption with other activities. This will help you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

4. Take breaks from the news. This will help you avoid getting stuck in a news cycle and allow you to come back to stories with a fresh viewpoint. 

Figuring out your primary sources for news is the first step in creating a personal news consumption strategy. Once you know where to find the news you’re interested in, you can start to think about how much time you want to spend on it each day. It’s essential to be realistic about how much time you have and set boundaries.

 

You don’t have to consume the news in the same way everyone else does. Instead, you can develop your own strategy that works for you and helps you stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

 

The goal of developing a personal news consumption strategy is to identify the most important topics to you and find the most reliable sources of information for those topics. Remember that not all sources of information are created equal. Some sources are biased, while others are simply inaccurate. Therefore, it is vital to find sources that you can trust to make informed decisions about the issues that are important to you.  

Constant news exposure can have adverse effects on our mental health – it’s crucial to find a balance between staying informed and healthy. Make sure to take breaks from the news, and don’t forget to take care of yourself! 

{loadmoduleid 140}

How To Find Peace Of Mind During The Holiday Season

holiday season find peace of mind

There’s no denying that the holidays can be stressful, taking away our peace of mind. Whether it’s family gatherings, shopping for gifts, or planning parties, there are plenty of things to worry about. This article covers the ways that you can find peace of mind during this busy holiday season.

This is the time of the year when I reflect upon my own childhood memories; memories filled with awe and wonder as the child-me viewed the world as a magical place. Unfortunately, this time of the year is also one of increased holiday season stress due to all the activities we feel we need to attend and accomplish. Our wish to make this time of the year “perfect” increases our expectations, many of them unreasonable, causing us to stress and lose peace of mind in our planning efforts.

Childhood Idyllic Perfection

As a child, I fondly recall watching the animated Christmas specials and reading all the Christmas books I could find. Those stories not only have positive endings, but most of them also depict perfection. In these stories families gather and get along with each other, the house is majestically decorated, the dining room table is set to rival the fanciest of restaurants. My favorite American painter, Norman Rockwell, painted scenes of American life; some showing pain and suffering, others idyllic life scenes. Rockwell’s holiday paintings are among my favorite as they depict a fictional world I wish existed, although knowing that a perfect world will never exist.

This longing of mine for an idyllic perfection of the holiday season, unlike the desire and longing of many other people, is part of the cause of our holiday season stress and lack of peace of mind. This view of a perfect holiday season is formed when we tend to focus our attention on the memories of the past, coupled with fictional idealisms of the holiday, producing a desire to re-create what never was, nor most likely ever will be. The holidays, as we perceived them in childhood, cannot now be reproduced through our adult perceptions, nor can we expect to create an experience depicted in the controlled environments of scripts, actors, and a stage.

The issue many of us encounter during the holiday season is one of the unrealistic expectations which creates the holiday season stress that takes away our peace. Trying to re-create a “perfection” that actually never existed means that we will fall short in our attempts. Not achieving our expectations is self interpreted as failure.

Find Peace of Mind Living In The Moment

We have control over our feelings only as experienced in the current moment. We need not lose the experience of what is happening at the moment by living in either the past or the future. Experience the present moment for what it is. As I recall my childhood memories of the holidays, I try to keep them focused in light of my experience of the current moment.

Don’t let an expectation of perfection cloud the beauty and the feelings of the moment. Enjoy the recollection of your memories without doing anything. Instead, live the moment without expectation and you will find that the holiday season stress for perfection will fade.

Tips To Find Peace Of Mind

During this holiday season, here are the steps I encourage you to work on to keep yourself as stress-free as possible:

· Refocus your expectations: Take time to reflect on your expectations, considering what is realistic and what is not realistic. For example, we may want a house decorated as we’ve seen in advertisements, but, no matter how hard we try it never looks as it does in the pictures. If you reframe your expectation and perception, you would recognize that you haven’t failed, actually, you created something unique, something that reflects you, not an ad.

· Change your perception: Changing the way we perceive ourselves will change our perception of our world. Therefore, changing our view of this time of the year will change our expectations and so reduce our stress. For example, if you are hosting family, and the reality is that your uncle always makes a fool of himself at these family gatherings, keep your perspective focused on that reality, not on how you wish he would act. Plan for what you can in expectation of your uncle’s shenanigans, for when your uncle acts as he always acts, don’t let it stress you; he is only doing as expected of him to do (at least he’s consistent).

· Learn from your past: It’s important to spend time reflecting on our past, honoring the memories for what they are, and sharing them with current family and friends. Our past has shaped who we are today. Use the lessons of the past to create a present moment of peace of mind. The purpose of the past is not to be recreated in the present, but to be incorporated with the present. Take what was positive for you in the past and use that in the present. What wasn’t positive for you in the past, modify it now in the present for it to be positive. Our past was not perfect; don’t expect the present to be perfect either.

· Simplify your life: Easier said than done, I know. But if you think about it, our material goods, although useful, can be a source of our stress when our focus emphasizes “things”. Living simply means keeping a proper focus, or perspective, on what is truly important in our life. Keep your expectations and perceptions rooted in who you are, not on who you think you should be.

During this holiday season, take the time to enjoy the wonders, joy, and magic of the season. Keep your perspective and expectations reasonable to reduce your holiday stress. Most importantly, focus on what is truly important to you!

{loadmoduleid 140}

How To Help Others Find Peace Of Mind While Coping With The Holiday Season Blues

holiday season find peace of mind

“If one were to devise an experimental set of circumstances which would test the integrity of an individual’s mood control, one would invent the year-end holiday season.” Jonathan Himmelhoch (Psychiatrist, Western Psychiatric Institute, and Clinic)

If you are feeling down during the holiday season, there’s no need to worry. There are ways to cope with the holiday blues without having to resort to unhealthy habits. In this article, I’ll give you some helpful tips on how to get through the holiday season and find peace of mind.


Stress Depression and the Holiday Season

The holiday season blues are real, and according to at least one study, about half of us experience the holiday season blues (the survey reached 786 adults, 18 years or older Fall of 2006). But some people can’t find peace of mind so suffer the holiday season blues because they entered the holiday season already feeling sad, depressed, anxious, etc. The seemingly joyous time of the year enhances their depression and anxiety. As a result, many people feel more sad, depressed, anxious during this time than at any other time of the year.

What causes these feelings? Is it something in our genes that makes us susceptible to the holiday season blues? Or is it something we do, like spending too much money on gifts for family and friends? Are there ways to avoid getting into the holiday season blues?

I don’t think there is any other time of the year, which evokes such strong emotions as does this time of the year. For some of us, we are excited, joyous, filled with wonder and anticipation! We visit family and friends, host parties and gatherings, spreading joy everywhere we go! But yet some of us feel quite the opposite this time of the year. I think of those who recently lost a loved one, are suffering from physical or mental health issues, are separated from loved ones, and even estranged from the family. There are those whose past experience of the holidays wasn’t pleasant, and those who feel trapped in life situations.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” While these song lyrics may be accurate for some, they’re not necessarily right for everyone. I’m not writing this to bring down the mood, but what I am saying is that we need to be mindful of people around us who may be suffering while we celebrate. Some of my current clients are dreading these next few weeks, while other clients are looking forward to a new beginning!

Embrace Peace of Mind to Combat Holiday Season Blues

Regardless of how we feel about the holiday season, this time of the year finds many of us feeling the burden for perfection, and so a lack of peace of mind. As joyous as we may be, the expectations for a “Rockwell Christmas” haunt even the best of us.
While we still have our day-to-day tasks to complete, we must also decorate, buy gifts, and attend social functions. These expectations, especially if we feel obligated, can cause stress and anxiety even in those who enjoy the holiday season. Now imagine the stress and anxiety felt by those who are merely trying to cope with life itself, let alone the added expectation of the season.

How To Help Others Find Peace Of Mind While Coping With The Holiday Season Blues

What can we do to help someone who is suffering from finding peace of mind during this holiday season?

· Create awareness within yourself and your children that not everyone feels joyous this time of the year. This awareness is not meant to place a burden on us but as a recognition of the reality of others.

· Create an environment where all people feel open to honestly sharing their feelings. While attending or planning parties and gatherings don’t encourage everyone to participate. Be respectful of those who are having a difficult time participating. Try to plan activities that would allow a person to participate in the degree to which they feel comfortable.

· Be mindful that your expectations of what makes up a holiday celebration may not be the expectations of others. Allow yourself the flexibility to be open to the traditions of others as well as to how others may be feeling. For example, if you are organizing the family dinner, take into account any family members who have had a challenging year. Allow them space or the time to speak, or not speak, if they wish. Be aware that their showing up may have been a difficult task in and of itself.

· If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, or otherwise emotionally struggling, be a supportive friend. Allow time in your holiday schedule to be present to them, even if words aren’t spoken. Never underestimate the positive effect and healing quality of presence. If possible and appropriate, encourage them to join you at small gatherings and surround them with people who have their best interests at heart. Isolation, especially during the holidays, is not healthy.

· Encourage them to do activities focused on taking care of themselves and their emotional health, regardless of the expectations placed upon them by themselves or others. Help them to understand that It doesn’t make you a selfish person when you prioritize yourself, it is actually essential toward your well-being.

· Take time from the busyness of this season to be an active listener to those who wish to share their feelings. Encouraging and allowing others to share how they feel may be the most helpful thing you can do for them. If they are reluctant to share, lovingly help them by letting them know that you will listen without judgment regardless of what they wish to talk about and share.

During this holiday season, as many of us join together with our families and friends, let’s be grateful and joyous in our traditions and fellowship. But let’s not forget those who are emotionally suffering during the holiday season. Being respectful, understanding, and lovingly present is the best holiday gift a person can receive.

{loadmoduleid 140}