Change Your Bad Habits In A Few Simple Steps

 

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Did you know that you have the power to change your bad habits at any point? You don’t need to wait until the New Year to make positive life changes. However, changing your bad habits is a lot easier said than done. If you’re struggling with changing a bad habit, here’s how to make things a little easier.

 

Get Defined

It’s easy to say, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to exercise more” but neither of those is very defined. What is it that you need to do differently in order to ensure that you’re successful in losing weight or exercising? Defining your goals will help them not only seem more manageable but more achievable as well. Saying, “I will exercise for 1 hour 3x a week” is better than just saying you want to start exercising.

 

Find Your “Why”

Changing a bad habit isn’t easy because often times there are a lot of emotional attachments and underlying causes of the habit. Perhaps you drink too much because you’ve been stressed at work. Maybe you haven’t been eating right because you’re having relationship issues. Find out why you’re engaging in this bad habit. From there you will be able to feel more connected to your goal of breaking the habit because you know why you want to break it. You want to feel better, look better, be better, do better, etc.

 

Be Patient

Whether you’ve had this habit for a month, a year, or 5 years, you’re not going to automatically change overnight. Change is a process and a journey. Change can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t totally quit the habit cold turkey or if it’s been 6 months and you have a slip-up. You’re not perfect and neither is your journey. Give yourself some credit.

 

Celebrate Your Successes

Acknowledge your successes! Breaking a habit is not for the weak. So even the smallest win is worth celebrating. Find healthy ways to treat yourself that fall in line with your new values. Get a massage, see that movie you’ve been wanting to see, go offline for a day and enjoy the world. Whatever you do, just make sure you reward yourself.

 

Habits develop for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we use a habit to cope with stress, sometimes we use a habit to make life seem easier. As difficult as change may seem and be, it is possible. If you’re struggling to make positive life changes, maybe we can help. Call us today to schedule an appointment and find out how counseling can help you create the change you wish to see in your life.

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Jump Starting Your Motivation

 

 

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Getting motivated to do the things we want to do and the things we need to do is sometimes more difficult than whatever task we have at hand. Many people struggle with not only getting motivated but staying motivated. There’s a number of reasons why our motivation seems to dry up when we need it most. Fatigue, not knowing where to start, finding excuses, and fear of judgement are all motivation killers. Then it seems like we beat ourselves up for not being motivated. If you’re constantly getting stuck because of lack of motivation, here’s how to jump start your motivation!

 

1. Go Public

You can’t always be responsible for holding your self accountable for achieving certain goals. Which is why going public with your goals can help you stay accountable. As scary as it may be to let other people in on your goals, it can help you stay focused and motivated to see the goal through till the end.

 

2. Remember Your Why

Why did you start this goal? Why do you want this goal? Remembering your why can help you stay motivated to finish. Your why needs to be for you and not for someone else. Your why is your higher cause, your vision. The why helps you seek a new level of meaning and figure out the mechanics of completing the goal.

 

3. Set a 15-Minute Timer

Sometimes our goals fall to the wayside because we let chores like laundry, dishes, taxes, errands, etc. pile up. Set a 15-minute timer daily and see how much you can get done. De-clutter your desk, put your laundry away, sanitize your bathroom. Whatever it is that you need to get done and can get done in those 15 minutes will boost your confidence and motivation to keep taking your day on.

 

4. Use the Buddy System

The buddy system is great because you have someone else holding you accountable and depending on you to do what you said you would. Using the buddy system allows you to set a system of check-ins and check-ups to see how both of you are moving forward. Using a buddy can help you both stay motivated and on track to success.

 

The biggest assumption people make is that you’ll just one day wake up and feel motivated! Unfortunately, motivation is something that you have to work on and practice daily. Utilizing one or more of these strategies can help make staying motivated seem easier. If you’re still struggling with staying motivated to complete daily tasks, even tasks like showering, brushing your teeth, or taking care of yourself, give us a call. We can help identify where and why your motivation has fallen off and help you set up a system of checks and balances to get your self back on track.

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When To Let A Friendship Go

 

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Friendship is such a special part of life. To have good friends is really what makes life worth living sometimes. Friends are supposed to brighten your life, make you laugh, bring you joy, and share all the special, fun, and even ugly parts of life. But what happens when a friendship starts to become toxic? With so many good memories together, it can feel even worse than heartbreak to end a friendship. So how do you know when to let a friendship go?

 

They Put You Down

Friends are supposed to build you up not put you down. This can be hard to detect when it’s happening. It can start off as just joking around. But it can also be a friend who doesn’t celebrate your successes, diminishes your accomplishments, and speaks poorly about you behind your back to other people.

 

They Only Contact You When They Need Something

A healthy friendship is all about give and take. If your friend is doing all the taking and you’re doing all the giving, something’s not right. This can come in the form of only reaching out to you when they need something from you. It can also be when they somehow manage to turn every conversation to being about them. Additionally, it can be when they act too busy to be bothered with you.

 

They Only Want to be Miserable

Everyone has highs and lows in life and for some people, those lows last longer than others. That’s okay. However, some people just seem to never want to be happy and misery loves company. As hard as it may be to feel like you’re leaving your friend during their time of need, sometimes you have to cut them off. It’s okay to draw a line and set boundaries when it comes to friends who seem to only want to complain and be miserable.

 

Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. Which is why it can hurt so bad when you realize that a friend isn’t really good for you anymore. If a friendship is leaving you feeling depleted, lonely, and feeling bad about yourself it’s time to let that relationship.

The difficult part is that making friends isn’t always that easy. Between work, family, and other obligations it can seem impossible to make friends. Putting yourself out there after you’ve been burned by a bad friendship is hard. If you’re struggling to create meaningful connections with others, give us a call. We can help you build confidence and learn how to identify and create solid, meaningful friendships with others.

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What To Remember If You’re Having Thoughts Of Suicide

 

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In light of recent news of the iconic 90s fashion designer Kate Spade’s passing, it’s time to open up the floor to discuss suicide. It doesn’t matter what your age, background, socio-economic status, or race is. Suicidal thoughts and ideations can impact people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Even the wealthiest among us are still susceptible to suicidal thoughts, unfortunately. Suicidal thoughts can include depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even eating disorders. All of which are temporary and can be managed and fixed. The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone and help is always just phone call, a text message, or a click away. If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or suicidal ideations here’s what you need to remember.

 

1. This Crisis is Temporary– Suicide is Not

Understand that whatever crisis you’re going through is temporary. Suicide is a permanent solution. Even though, at times, it may feel like this feeling will never end, know that it will. It’s so easy to get caught up in whatever crisis is happening at the moment and fail to see the better days ahead. But good things do happen and they will. Unexpected, positive events will occur, the tides will change, and you will feel better. Better days are ahead.

 

2. Not Everything Is as It Seems

With social media, it’s hard to not envy other people and their lives. You’ve got friends jetting off to foreign islands, classmates getting promotions and raises, and professional travelers and hobbyists. Everyone seems to have it all together except for you, right? Wrong. Everyone experiences bad days, hard times, and gets the blues. Social media is so highly curated and you rarely, if ever, get to see the hard days people have. Just because it seems like someone has it all, doesn’t mean they feel good. They’re human just like you are.

 

3. There are Reasons to Live

It might not seem like it in the pit of it but there are a million and one reasons to live. If you’re struggling to find a reason, make a list. Even though it may not seem like it, for whatever reason, your friends, family, co-workers, will all miss you. You have no idea the actual depth and impact you have on people’s lives. How you’ve touched so many people and didn’t even know it. Making a list of things that make you feel good or that you would miss if you were gone will help you remember why you need to keep going.

Suicide is never the answer. If you’re experiencing suicidal ideations or thoughts please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, issues with substance abuse or issues with food, please give us a call. Our counselors can help you manage your symptoms and get control of your life again. You don’t have to be alone with your heavy thoughts. We can help.

 

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4 Ways You Can Be Kinder To Yourself

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Developing a kind inner voice isn’t always easy. Especially when you’re used to your inner voice being your biggest critic. The things we say to ourselves are things that we would never say to a stranger or best friend because we hold ourselves to such a high standard. Listening to this inner voice constantly critique your every move can cause a host of issues like anxiety or depression. If you’re experiencing a power struggle between yourself and your inner critic, here are 4 ways you can practice kindness towards yourself.

 

1. Forgive Yourself

We’re all just doing the best we can with the knowledge that we have. This means that sometimes we may experience loss, heartbreak, or disappointment and later down the road kick ourselves for having not known any better. However, life is about learning lessons. Forgiving yourself isn’t about making excuses for yourself, it’s about showing compassion for yourself and recognizing that even you make mistakes sometimes. Take the losses and turn them into lifelong lessons.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself

In the digital age it’s so easy to compare yourself to friends, family, and even strangers online you’ll likely never meet. Remember that social media is carefully curated to showcase the best of the best in someone’s life. Do you share photos of yourself crying yourself to sleep or eating cold takeout over the sink? No! So, don’t feel bad when you’re having a rough day and someone is sharing a photo of them from the Maldives. The best remedy is to just unfollow the people that trigger your desire to compare your lifestyle to theirs.

 

3. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now. Everyone is into it. So, you might be confused as to what it is. It’s not just some New Age mumbo-jumbo. Mindfulness has serious and scientific evidence that it can benefit you when you’re experiencing a negative self-talk spiral. Observing your thoughts rather than categorizing them as “good” or “bad” can help to prevent you from falling into a shame spiral. Just remember, these thoughts will pass.

 

4. Talk to Yourself like You Would Your Friends

If you spoke to your friends in the same manner that you speak to yourself would those people still be your friends? Probably not. So why do you think it’s okay to talk to yourself like that? If you’re still struggling to disengage from the negative self-talk, try writing the thoughts down and create an argument. You’ll be quick to discover that many of your negative thoughts have little to no evidence.

 

Practicing compassion and kindness towards yourself will benefit all areas of your life. If you’re still struggling with your negative self-talk, don’t beat yourself up. Give us a call and we can help you work out a way to develop more positive self-talk. You don’t have to fight these thoughts alone. We can help.

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The Physical Effects Of Grief

 

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Grief is an intense feeling of sadness. You can experience grief from the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or divorce. Certain life stressors can reignite past feelings of grief. The important thing to remember is that there’s no wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves in the way that they need to in order to cope and move on. Many people don’t associate grief with physical effects. However, grief impacts more than just your mental and emotional state. In fact, it can have an immense impact on your physical body. Here are some of the ways in which grief can manifest physically within you.

 

1. Lowered Immunity

It’s not uncommon for those who are experiencing heavy grief to come down with the flu or a cold. In adults, grief can lower the immune system. As a result, you can become more susceptible to illnesses or diseases. As hard as it may be, eating right, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting light exercise can help you ward off illnesses.

 

2. Body Aches and Pains

Aches and pains are one of the most common physical symptoms of grief. Grief can cause pain in the joints, in the neck and back, as well as give you headaches. The pain is caused by an overwhelming around of stress hormones flooding your body.

 

3. Sleep Problems

Another very common symptom of grief is feeling fatigued or having issues with sleeping too much or too little. When you’re feeling overwhelmingly sad or anxious, it’s very common to either sleep too much or avoid sleep altogether. Fortunately, this is usually a temporary side effect. However, it can become a common occurrence. Which is why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re having issues with sleeping.

 

Managing Grief

Establishing a healthy, daily routine can help you effectively manage your grief in a positive manner. Regular exercise can help with aches and pains, boost your mood, and help to alleviate sleeping issues. Nourishing your body when it’s hungry with healthy foods will help prevent digestive issues.

 

One of the most important things to remember when you’re grieving is to remember that you are not alone. You don’t have to carry this weight by yourself. Reach out to friends and family and let them know that you need a little extra support. There is strength in vulnerability.

 

If you’re struggling to manage your grief and need a little extra support, please don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call. We can help you talk through your grief and work out a daily plan to help you manage your responsibilities while you heal. You never have to be alone.

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4 Signs It’s Time To Seek Therapy

 

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There’s still a lot of stigma around seeking therapy. Fortunately, many people are feeling more comfortable about being open about therapy and therefore making it easier for others to admit when they need to seek therapy. Life happens to all of us and sometimes it feels a lot heavier to carry than normal. Even with a strong support group of friends and family, it’s still possible to need therapy. If you’re struggling with trying to decide whether or not therapy could help you, here are four signs.

 

1. Not feeling like yourself

If you’re feeling sad, angry, or otherwise hopeless for an extended period of time can be a sign that therapy would be beneficial. Things, like eating more or less than normal, over-sleeping or not sleeping enough, are other signs as well. If these feelings are making it difficult to enjoy your life or if you’re losing interest in things that you once enjoyed, therapy will help you gain some control back.

 

2. Abusing drugs, alcohol, or food to cope

Turning to any substance can be an indicator that you need additional help. If you feel that you’re unable to control these impulses to use drugs, alcohol, food, or sex to cope with, then therapy can help. Therapy can help you develop or fine-tune your coping skills.

 

3. You’re experiencing a major life change

From a big move to a major career transition or a loss in your life can cause you uncontrollable sadness. The grief process is long and a bit arduous and you don’t have to do it alone. Therapy can help you talk things out, identify positive coping methods, and help you get out of your head and get back on your feet. The support of an expert can do wonder in comparison to that of your friends or family.

 

4. You no longer enjoy the things you used to

This is one of the major indicators of depression. If you’ve stopped doing things you enjoy or finding joy in the things that you do, you may need a counselor. This is a major red flag that something is amiss in your life. An expert counselor can help you identify the root issue and point you to positive coping methods.

 

Therapy and counseling is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone experiences traumas, loss, changes, and more in life and not all of those are easy to carry alone. Our counselors can help you learn positive coping methods, as well as learn to identify sooner when you’re slipping into a negative headspace. Whether you’ve been considering therapy for awhile or not, give us a call today to schedule an appointment. Your first appointment

 

Whether you’ve been considering therapy for awhile or not, give us a call today to schedule an appointment. Your first appointment can help you talk out and identify what is going on in your life and where the root cause of the feeling “off” is coming from.

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4 Misconceptions About Therapy

 

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For those who aren’t familiar with therapy firsthand, media platforms like television shows and movies are usually where people can get an insight into how therapy works. Of course, just like anything television and movies might portray a sliver of what real life is like, however, it’s not always the way things actually are. Just because art is imitating life doesn’t mean it’s a correct imitation. Because of these fictitious portrayals, many people are scared or turned off by the idea of therapy. So, let’s look at the top 4 misconceptions television and movies portray therapy.

 

Lie #1. Therapists Can’t be Trusted to Keep Your Secrets

This is completely false. Your therapist is ethically bound to keep what you say in each session confidential. The only exception to this rule is if you are threatening to harm yourself or others. You can rest assured that all of your sessions are kept private and a quality, ethical therapist will know to keep your information you share private.

 

Lie #2: Therapists are Off the Wall and Odd

In a lot of tv shows, therapists are portrayed as these kind of quirky, off-the-wall individuals. When in fact, real-life therapists are quite the opposite. They’re normal, everyday people who want to help you feel better about your life. Just like anyone else, they have interests and quirks. However, they’re not these totally off-the-wall people.

 

Lie #3: Therapists Will Fix All of Your Problems

This is one of the biggest misconceptions, whether you’ve seen therapy portrayed in film or television. A good therapist will help you find your own answers and solutions to your problems. They can only help guide you to the right solutions, they can’t fix it completely for you. Therapy is about 50/50 work. You have to be willing to put in the work to fix the problem.

 

Lie #4: Therapists are On-Call Crisis Managers

Yes, some therapists will give you access to a line that allows you to call or text them outside of a session. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re on-call 24/7 to help you. In a lot of tv shows and films, it appears that you can reach out to your therapist whenever. While this may be possible, this doesn’t mean that they’re required to answer or help you immediately at that moment. If it is a serious emergency, they will recommend you call the hospital.

 

There are a lot of different correct and very wrong portrayals of therapy in the media. Fortunately, now you’re aware of some common misconceptions. Being aware of these misconceptions prior to coming into therapy can help you really make the most out of each session. If you’re thinking about seeing a counselor or a therapist but are worried about some portrayals you’ve seen in the media, give us a call. Our team of highly trained and skilled, compassionate counselors can help you get your life back on track and get your confidence back. Schedule an appointment today.

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What to Do When You Get The Worries

 

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We all worry. We worry about what’s for dinner, how we’ll get home on time, we worry about our jobs, and we worry about things we probably shouldn’t even worry about. The point is, we worry. Everyone does it. There’s no way to stop worry from creeping up on us, however, there are ways to keep worry from taking over our lives and ruining our days.

Get Active

The best way to relieve anxiety and worry is to move! Go for a walk, take a dance class, workout, or just dance around your room. Whatever you choose to do, the point is, you need to get moving! To get back to your normal state of being, you have to burn off some of that extra energy you have. Not only is exercise good for getting rid of worrisome thoughts, it’s also just good for your overall health. This is a win-win!

Relax

Okay, this is usually the last thing you want to be told when feeling worried, but hear this out. Sometimes you can’t get active for a number of reasons, so the next best thing to do is relax. Take a bath. Put on your favorite feel-good film. Do a face mask or go get your nails done, a massage, anything that’s going to put you in a relaxing headspace. If you’re at work and you can’t move or relax. Pop in your headphones, put on your favorite bop and have a dance party in your head. No one can stop you from imagining!

 

Get Logical

A lot of our worries are pretty illogical. What if this happens? What if that happens? “This” and “that” usually things that could probably never happen. But does that stop us from worrying about them? No! The best way to relieve worry is to get logical. Sit your self down and ask, “does this worry even make sense?” Perhaps it does in another dimension or in another timeline, but we live in this dimension and this timeline, so no, it does not make sense. So, with that said, you can go down your list of “this” and “that” worries and cross them off one by one.

 

Worrying is a totally natural response that everyone deals with on a day to day basis to a varying degree. For some people relieving worry is as simple as playing your favorite song, however, for others, worrying is a bit more crippling. If you’re struggling with dealing with worry in a healthy way, please don’t hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment. Our team can help you find healthy ways to manage and alleviate your worries. Call and schedule an appointment today.

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Finding the Right Individual Therapist for You

individual therapy

 

Individual therapy is such a personal and often intimate experience. The things spoken in therapy have sometimes never even left those four walls before. Because of this private sharing experience, it can be intimidating for many. Choosing the right therapist for you can actually take several tries. It’s imperative that you feel comfortable with someone that you plan to share your most private details and innermost thoughts. Here are some tips on finding the right individual therapist for you.

 

Know That it Might Take a Few Tries

It’s totally normal to not find the therapist right for you on the first try. Even if they are the right one it might not feel “right” immediately. It’s okay to try out a few different ones until you find one you’re comfortable with. Remember, this is a person that you will be sharing a lot of intimate personal details with so you want to feel as comfortable as possible.

 

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

Typically, most therapists will have several specific areas of expertise. Some specialize in depression and anxiety while others specialize in addiction or eating disorders. Even though every case is different and unique, It’s okay to ask your therapist if they have experience dealing with what your in for. This way you can find out if they’re going to be able to help you in the ways that you need them to.

 

Use your Intuition

Sometimes, for whatever reason, our gut tells us a situation or a person is not good. In all cases, but especially for therapy, you need to listen to it. Many therapists have photos of themselves online so you can screen them before you see them. If for some reason you get a strange feeling then don’t seek their help. Again, this is a person you will be sharing a lot of intimate details with and you’ll want to feel as safe and comfortable as possible.

 

Individual therapy is an amazing and transformative experience. Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or major life changes, it can help provide  you with the tools necessary to face these challenges. With individual therapy you can find your inner strength and learn how to healthily and effectively handle life. If you are considering therapy but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, call us today to schedule a consultation. Together we can determine if it’s the right move for you.

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