Understand Your Teen

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By Crystal Hubbell, LPCC-S


I first want to say that even after five children, I don’t think I am an expert, but after 8 years of therapy, 5 children and being a teen myself, I feel I do have some insight to what they are feeling and going through. Maybe that is why I like working with teens so much. If you ask my children, they hated talking to me, they said I used therapy terms on them such as, “tell me about”, “so you are saying” and “you must be feeling”. My children didn’t like this, but they are useful phrases for my office and teens that visit me.

First, when I was a teen, I did not get along with my folks. I was part of a blended family and of course, nothing was ever fair. I fought with my mother, my step siblings, my father and his wife, my stepfather. I felt I had no friends, did terrible in school, was chronically depressed, and even wanted to end my life and thought about suicide often. I had an eating disorder, hated myself, low self esteem and felt nobody understood me. I had suffered several instances of sexual trauma, sexual abuse and bullying from others and thought I was the stupidest person on earth.  So, when a parent said things like “ snap out of it”, “when I was your age….” “you are so negative”…I knew they didn’t get it or understand.

With my own children, I remembered this and tried to be there for them, and then I found myself saying the same things, “Why are you so negative?”, “Life is short”, “smile”, “life isn’t that bad”.  I tried to empathize with them and tried to let them know I understood, but like my parents, I really didn’t. I made assumptions that I knew, I closed myself off to their emotional needs thinking their experiences were just as mine were.  What I didn’t realize until I started counseling teens, was that every year teen experiences change, new things exist, challenges change, people change and life changes. The things I experienced are much different than the things my children experience.  Every year my kids were teens, they each experienced it differently. Not only are the experiences different, each personality is affected differently.

I started to really have an extreme love for teens in my counseling office. I started to really bond with them quickly and my empathy grew for this age group. Now when I see teens, I get it, and I understand things I never even understood with my own children. Parents ask me all the time, “are they bipolar” “will they ever go back to normal” “is he/she different than everyone else”. Most of the time I can say, “No, they aren’t bipolar, they are just experiencing emotions through their personality in their lifetime issues”

Why are things so hard? I don’t know if things are harder than they were when I was a teen, but because we aren’t a teen in this hard time, we can’t understand things or compare them to when we were teens. We must be able to bend our beliefs and knowledge to include the issues that are of today into what the teen is experiencing. When a teen says, “You just don’t get it” or “You don’t understand” chances are, you are comparing their life to your own, and you really don’t get it.

What can you do? Below are a few things to try to help build a stronger connection with your teen.

  1. Try to sit and listen and not say anything, just listen. Things you can say to show you are listening are; “I hear you saying”, “tell me more”, “it sounds tough”

  2. Do you not use the word “Why”? This word makes kids feel stupid. They assume you don’t trust them, and you think they have made a bad mistake and there is no turning back. Instead say something like, “Help me understand” or “what can I do to help?”

  3. Don’t judge.  It is possible your teen is experiencing something you have no idea about. Again, ask, “help me understand”.

  4. Seek professional help from a good counselor.  There is nothing wrong with seeking a therapist, they may have different insight that you do and offer some skills for the family that is helpful during the teen’s life. Getting counseling doesn’t make you weak, it means you are strong. Almost all our therapist here have gotten therapy at some point in their lives.

  5. Have patience, this too will pass. Your teen is developing into a young lady or young man and you have an opportunity to put your fingerprint on their life. Being patient with their mood swings, crazy ideas and strange issues, makes it easier for them to need and trust you later. This is the time for YOU to be the hero and let them be them.

Quest for Happiness

By Crystal Hubbell, LPCC-S

In many of my quests to embrace what life has to offer, I have learned how to do some awesome things that create a sense of happiness and contentment. Just a few things I love doing and have learned to do that bring me more happiness are; weekend cooking, crockpot cooking for a month, budgeting, organization hacks, Chicken keeping, vacation planning, budget parties and party planning.  However, I get the most enjoyment and happiness from the following things; Gratitude journaling, giving my time or money and being mindful.

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GRATITUDE JOURNALING

Gratitude journaling is not a recent invention, it has been around many years with many adaptations. A gratitude journal isn’t just a happy recording of a day like thanksgiving, it is a record of things you really appreciate in life and you appreciate them being in your life so much you write them down. It is a creative way to bring more positivity into your life instead of focusing on what is not good, or things that have not gone as planned. 

For instance, when irritating things happen to us, sometimes that one event taints our whole day because we talk about it for hours. “Can you believe this, I took my car to the shop and the woman was so rude, she told me my warranty expired yesterday and they can’t replace the tire for free. She practically yelled at me. I am telling everyone how that company treated me.” This one comment will make the rest of the day seem horrible, awful and remove the potential of seeing anything good the rest of the day or even week. 

The gratitude part that could be recorded would sound something like this. “ I got a nail in my tire and took to the shop to get fixed. The lady seemed like she was having a bad day, so I asked if she was feeling ok. She replied it was a hectic day and then informed me my warranty had expired. I told her that was ok and asked if there were any deals on tires and she talked about one deal that I could take advantage of. I thanked her and told her about some good restaurants in the area for a good lunch, so she could take a break. She was appreciative that I was so nice.  I felt happy I could brighten her day. My tire was fixed in an hour and I got a 30% discount when she rang me out”  In my journal, I write about how grateful I was that I could get my tire fixed and that I was able to get a discount, I write how thankful I was to be able to cheer someone up and say a little prayer for them to have better days. I shared in my journal how happy I was that I didn’t have an accident on the bad tire and hurt myself or someone else”  Being thankful becomes so much more when we choose to view our circumstances from a positive point of view rather than focusing on the bad things that happen. I often feel so much better realizing the good things, rather than wallowing in the bad.

Here is a template; https://conquer.today/gratitude-journal-template/

GIVING TIME OR MONEY

I believe that when I give some of my money or time to a person in need, it brings me great happiness. I am still not sure why this is.

Patrick Svedin writes “In a 2008 study, subjects were asked to rate their happiness and given an envelope containing either $5 or $20. The participants were randomly assigned to either spend the money on themselves or on someone else by the end of the day. (Dunn, 2008)

“Those who spent the money on someone else reported happier moods than those who spent the money on themselves. A separate group was asked to predict outcomes of the experiment and most believed those who spent money on themselves would be happier. Not only were they wrong, they were significantly wrong. The research suggests “thinking about money may propel individuals toward using their financial resources to benefit themselves but spending money on others can provide a more effective route in increasing one’s own happiness.” Ed Diener, E. S. (1993)

So, are we confused about the idea that spending money on ourselves brings us more happiness? We do get that great rush of energy when why buy great new things, but it doesn’t last long.

“Studies have shown when an individual’s basic needs are met, the amount of income as it relates to our happiness is weak, Haltiwanger, J. (2014)”. In his 2008 book Gross National Happiness, best-selling author Arthur C. Brooks says research reveals if you were to increase your wealth with about $100,000, you would increase your happiness level by two percentage points.

“This suggests that other strategies (such as working on spiritual or family life, or volunteering for charity) might be more cost-effective than simply striving to get more money,” he writes. Brooks, A. (2008).

I know from my experience, when I give a little money or time to someone else or a charity or a friend in need, I feel amazing, whole, encouraged and happy that I was able to help. True wealth is not acquired through earthly possessions, but by leading a fulfilling life. (Haltiwanger, 2014)There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you have made a palpable difference in the lives of other people.

Giving to others might take money out of your wallet, but it could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You never know how far a dollar might go. A tiny stone can create a massive ripple when thrown into water at the right moment.

BEING MINDFUL

Being Mindful is a relatively new activity in my life. Within the last 10 years, I have learned to understand what it means to be mindful. Learning the art of mindfulness keeps me from engaging in otherwise unhelpful activities that cause a significant amount of distress in my life. I have learned that being in the present moment, I relieve myself of the responsibility of being a worrier, and a negative influence on those around me.

Being mindful is all about this very moment in time. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but this moment. I find when I am worried about finances, or something I said a while ago, I take a moment to reflect on this very second. Breathing slowly and taking in the appreciation of the moment. Gretchen Rubin states in her book; (The Happiness Project) “The days are long, but the years fly by” This is so true. When my kids were young, I remember dreading the daily grind, the bottles, diapers, fighting, screaming, late night feedings and sickness. Now my children are all adults, and I miss their cute baby faces and wish for a day to see them as little munchkins again. I embrace every moment now and I stop myself from thinking about all my regrets, lost moments and faded memories. I see them now, I enjoy this second now, as it will be gone too in a jiffy. 

Being mindful brings peace to a long day, softness and understanding to frustration and knowing to the unknowing. When I take time to be mindful, taking away all my distractions, I get happier. It just happens. I enjoy life more, I am more content and appreciative.

There are great apps for your phone that can assist in mindful learning. Try some of these on the list: Breathe, Calm, Relaxing Music, The Mindfulness App, Mindfulness Coach, Pacifica, Happify

By John Kabat Zinn


References

Brooks, A. (2008). Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America and How We Can Get More of It. Basic Books.

Dunn, E. A. (2008, March 21). Spending Monday on Others Promotes Happiness. Science, 1687-1688. Retrieved from Science.

Ed Diener, E. S. (1993). The Relationship Between Income and Subjective Well Being: Relative or Absolute? Social Indicators Research, 195-223.

Ed Diener, E. S. (n.d.). Their Relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or Absolute?

Haltiwanger, J. (2014, December 14). The Science of Generosity: Why Giving Makes You So Happy. Retrieved from Elite Daily: https://www.elitedaily.com/life/science-generosity-feels-good-give/890500

Rubin, G. (2009). The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning ... Harper Collins.

 

 

 

 

Failing for Success

By Crystal Hubbell, LPCC-S

 

I see many clients whose biggest issue stems from failure. This doesn’t surprise me, as I try to avoid failures in my own life too, as they are seemingly more painful than I would like to experience. When talking to my clients, I have deducted that for most of them, failure is something that they would like to avoid or experience if possible. In many of the clients experiencing failure; they personify the feelings into “they are a failure”. I have also experienced these feelings myself. I began to wonder, why when we experience a failure in an area, we become failures? So, in my research to help client’s not feel like failures, I have found some helpful tips to help us all realize that failure isn’t about failing, it is about success and the process of failure makes us a better person. Here is how it works.

In 2008 started a business called Road to Zion Books. This business was very successful, in the beginning. The money was pouring in, we had a great client base, great website, good webstore and it was working great. Then it wasn’t. It was broke, and it didn’t work, and it took us two years of being in denial before we went bankrupt and lost our business, home and everything. I failed. It was extremely painful, horrible and my poor kids lost their home too. I felt like a failure, I was a failure by all the definitions I knew of. But was I really a failure?

We often too many times think that we are what we do. If we fail at something, we ARE failures. I had to process this for some time, do some research into people who have failed, listen to my clients to come up with what I am about to tell you.  I am a person, I am made up of more than my failures and failure is a process to our ultimate goals for success.

Think about  Bill Gates. At age 17 he and his childhood friend started a business called Traf-O-Data. When showing a supervisor his product, it failed to perform. The business failed to get off the ground. If Bill Gates had thought of himself as a failure, and he gave up, where would he be today (Worker, N.D.).

I am sure you can think of failures in your own life that brought you closer to something you wanted or were striving for. Therefor, I have put together 3 reasons we should embrace failures.

1). Failure is our great teacher. When we fail, it is connected deeply to intense emotions. We are not likely to forget the failure and the accompanying lessons we learned.  I learned not to take my business for granted, I learned that I need to do research for a well-run business. I learned that you can’t always depend on others to do things the way you want, and I also learned that I had too high expectations. These lessons have served me well in my other businesses which are being run successfully.

2). Failure is a word, an action, it is not who you are. Many times, we get caught up in labels and for those with low self-esteem, you are looking for excuses to put yourself down. I ate too much, therefore I am fat, I failed, so I am a failure, I didn’t sleep last night, I am an insomniac, I missed the note in the song, therefore I am a lousy singer.  These are all mistruths.  I like the quote, it is not our mistakes that define who we are; it is how we recover from those mistakes (Bennett, B., https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bo_bennett_167552).

3) Failure inspires and motivates us. Yes, we can choose to be discouraged by failure, but why not be inspired by the knowledge that failure provides to us. The inspiration helps us make appropriate changes to our lives, character and growth to get closer to our goals. Failure is an opportunity to make things work. "A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do to endure the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying." B.F. Skinner

Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Living an examined life is important; it’s what inspires growth! We should always reflect on our goals, our priorities, our relationships and the way that we treat others. This kind of self-awareness is what helps us reaches our highest potential. However, as someone who is constantly examining my own life, I have also found that there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way pushes us on. It allows us to celebrate our successes but also gives way for improvement. The wrong way, however, can leave us feeling full of guilt, remorse and regret at the things we have said and done in the past. It is in these moments where learning to forgive ourselves becomes vital (Willis-McNeely, 2013).

References

 

Bennett, B. (2018). Brainy Quote. Retrieved from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bo_bennett_167552

Image. (2012). Retrieved from: http://www.200maction.com/wdr-from-failing-to-success/

Willis-McNeely, E. (2013, June 14). You Are Not Your Mistakes. Retrieved from Darling,: https://darlingmagazine.org/you-are-not-your-mistakes/

Worker, W. (n.d.). 48 Famous Failures Who Will Inspire You To Achieve. Retrieved from Wonderlust Worker: https://www.wanderlustworker.com/48-famous-failures-who-will-inspire-you-to-achieve/

Is it a Meltdown or a Tantrum?

Written by: Dr. Penelope Chavez-Frigon, Psy. D.

I recently completed a seminar on Autism, specifically on evaluating and managing meltdowns.  I found it very interesting that far too many people, including professions interchange the terms meltdowns and tantrums.  They are actually vastly different.  So, I pose two questions: Can a meltdown turn in to a tantrum? And can a tantrum turn into a meltdown?  The answers are no and yes, respectively.  What are the main differences between the two? 

A meltdown is completely out of a person’s control and is not something voluntary.  A person (particularly an individual with autism) cannot control a meltdown.  Once a meltdown happens, it has to run its complete course.  Cognitive functioning/cognitive awareness is completely lost during a meltdown.  It is not purposeful, it is not seeking to manipulate a situation, the individual is not trying to get something out of it.  It is not behavioral and behavioral modification is not going to work.  There are generally visual cues and often reasons for a meltdown.  Maybe the individual has a sensory overload.  Possibly there is a surprise or a change in a routine.  Maybe the person encounters a problem and has no clue how to solve it.  For an individual about to experience a meltdown, it may very well feel like the end of the world is about to happen.  The person who is experiencing the meltdown is experiencing a primitive fight or flight reaction.  Given this, unless there is an imminent safety concern, it is best not to attempt to restrain to restrict physical moment.    After the meltdown has finished and the individual has been able to calm down, you will see genuine remorse and possible shame.  Namely, the individual may ask questions such as, do you still love me?, will you still be my friend?, are you mad at me?

A tantrum is completely within the realm of control.  It is behaviorally motivated and in fact, it is a learned behavior.  The individual who is having a tantrum is seeking out something.  There is an end goal, namely to get what they want.  There is no significant cognitive impairment during a tantrum.  The individual tantruming knows what he/she is doing and will continue to tantrum until their desire is satisfied or their tantrum is behaviorally modified.  At the end of the tantrum, it is not likely that the individual in question will express genuine remorse.  I posed the question, above, “can a tantrum turn into a meltdown?”  Why is the answer, yes?  Well an individual could start out having a tantrum because he/she wants something, but then cognitive functioning is lost, or the individually becomes neurologically overwhelmed and then a meltdown starts. 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Lipsky (2018) Autism Spectrum Meltdowns: Effective Interventions for Sensory, Executive Functioning, and Social-Emotional Communication. (digital seminar)

Mirror Images

By Crystal Hubbell, LPCC-S

I attended a training this past week on how to “Rewire the Anxious Brain” by Heidi Schreiber-Pan, PH.D, LCPC. I had heard much of the information in a previous training by Dan Siegel. But what I  forgot was a study of "Mirror Neurons" where the neurons in the brain show activation of mirroring qualities such as eye contact and sound. Have you ever played that game with your friends or siblings, where you try to make the other one laugh while keeping a straight face? It is really hard not to laugh.  This being said, depression is also contagious or mirrored as well.  As you will see in the following video, mirror neurons also respond to touch.  Visit Dr. Christine Neff’s website selfcompassion.org for some great ideas for self-compassion and touch.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

By Crystal Hubbell, LPCC-S

 “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln

 

I have lived a while now, 50+ years. I have some experience and several years of counseling myself. However, I wasn’t always happy. In fact, it would have seemed I enjoyed my sadness. When I was young, maybe even a child, I experienced shame, hate and even some physical and emotional abuses. It isn’t that I didn’t want to be happy, but I just wasn’t, I was sad, unhappy, and even mad.

People with happy brains have their parents to thank, to a certain extent, not only for happy genes, but also for loving childhoods. Studies have shown that angry or critical parents can alter a child's happiness level until it's set around age 16. But can adults adjust their own feelings of happiness (Mendelsohn, 2018)?

In our current society, researchers have found medications such as anti-depressants do what? Not make us happy, but to make us less sad. With the recent studies in Positive Psychology, we are finding methods to change the way our brain thinks to help promote more happiness in our lives.

University of California-Riverside psychology professor Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her new book, "The How of Happiness," argues that as much as 40 percent of our happiness "is left for the intentional activities that we can choose to engage in -- the things that we do and think every day of our lives." (How happy are you? CLICK HERE to see where you fall on Lyubomirisky's Subjective Happiness Scale (Mendelsohn, 2018).

Now I have learned that despite some of the negative things I experienced when younger, I could change my brain and be happier. I was a complainer, very unhappy, always unsettled, worried, anxious, waiting for something bad to happen pretty much describes my every day till around age 40. I began making subtle changes in my life along with changing the way I view things, my response to things and my choice to be happy about things.

Consider this list of 12 Intentional Actions to Choose Happiness Today. Embrace one new action item… practice all of them… or simply use them as inspiration to discover your own. (Baker, 2015)

1.      Count your blessings. Happy people choose to focus on the positive aspects of life rather than the negative. They set their minds on specific reasons to be grateful. They express it when possible. And they quickly discover there is always, something to be grateful for.

2.      Carry a smile. A smile is a wonderful beautifier. Our facial expression can influence our brain in just the same way our brains influence our face. In other words, you can program yourself to experience happiness by choosing to smile.

3.      Speak daily affirmation into your life. Affirmations are positive thoughts accompanied with affirmative beliefs and personal statements of truth. Affirmations used daily can release stress, build confidence, and improve outlook.

4.      Wake up on your terms. Most of us have alarm clocks programmed because of the expectations of others: a workplace, a school, or a waking child. That’s probably not going to change. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose control over our mornings in the process. Wake up just a little bit early and establish empowering, meaningful, morning routine. Start each day on your terms.

5.      Hold back a complaint. The next time you want to lash out in verbal complaint towards a person, a situation, or yourself, don’t. Instead, humbly keep it to yourself. You’ll likely diffuse an unhealthy, unhappy environment. But more than that, you’ll experience joy by choosing peace in a difficult situation.

6.      Practice one life-improving discipline.  Embrace and practice at least one act of self-discipline each day. This could be exercise, budgeting, or guided-learning… whatever your life needs today to continue growing. Find it. Practice it. Celebrate it.

7.      Use your strengths. Each of us have natural talents, strengths, and abilities. And when we use them effectively, we feel alive and comfortable in our skin. They help us find joy in our being and happiness in our design. So, embrace your strengths and choose to operate within your giftedness each day.

8.      Accomplish one important task. Choose one important task that you can accomplish each day. And find joy in your contribution.

 9.      Eat a healthy meal/snack. One simple action to choose happiness today is to eat healthy foods. Your physical body will thank you… and so will your emotional well-being.

 10. Treat others well.  Treat everyone you meet with kindness, patience, and grace. The Golden Rule is a powerful standard. It benefits the receiver. But also brings growing satisfaction in yourself as you seek to treat others as you would like to be treated

 11. Meditate. Find time alone in solitude. So, take time to make time and use meditation to search inward, connect spiritually, and improve your happiness today.

 12. Search for benefit in your pain.  When you encounter pain, remind yourself again that the trials may be difficult, but they will pass. And search deep to find meaning in the pain. Choose to look for the benefits that can be found in your trial. At the very least, perseverance is being built. And most likely, an ability to comfort others in their pain is also being developed.

Go today. Choose joy and be happy. That will make two of us.

 

 

References:

            MENDELSOHN, M. (2018). Pursuit of Happiness: Your Behavior. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4115033&page=1 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

           Baker, J. (2015). 12 Intentional Actions to Choose Happiness Today. [Online] Available at: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/choose-happy/

Can the End of Daylight Savings Time Affect Mood?

By Dr. Penelope Chavez-Frigon

We have all heard the saying, Fall Back and Spring Forward to remember how to change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time.  Does changing the clocks have any effect on mood?  When we change the clocks in the fall (fall back) we get an extra hour of sleep for one Sunday, but night time seems to come very early the next evening.  Although it may not appear to be too dark in the mornings anymore, it starts getting dark as early as 6pm.  What does that do for our mood, if anything?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is now labeled in DSM-5 as Major Depressive Disorder with seasonal pattern.  This means that for some people who do not display any significant symptoms of depression during the majority of the year, the winter months bring symptoms of depression including increase fatigue, lack of motivation, feeling of worthlessness, feelings of hopelessness, increased problems in attention and concentration.  Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2014) found the prevalence rate for SAD to range from 1.4% in Florida to 9.9% in Alaska.   The closer a location is to the equator, the more sunlight it will have through the winter months. 

Sunlight is important for mood because it can affect the production of serotonin and/or the way that the brain uses serotonin.  Appropriate serotonin levels are important for a healthy, happier mood.  Lower serotonin levels are associated with an increase in depression.  What can someone do if they find they are experiencing a lower mood during winter months?  A few ways to naturally increase serotonin include 1) increase physical activity, 2) reduce sugary snacks and foods high in carbohydrates, and 3) get some sunlight when possible.  Remember to consult your physician before engaging any strenuous activity and use proper sunscreen when out in the sun. 

If you finding yourself experiencing a significant increase in depressive symptoms, please consult your primary care provider to determine if mental health treatment is indicated. 

Tips to Help You Get Through the Winter Months

By Sam Golden, LPC, MFT

This time of year can be stressful for everyone.  Whether it is searching for the perfect gift, or planning a family gathering in your home, the sources of stress can feel endless and overwhelming.  Since the things that stress you out cannot be always be avoided, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with the pressure of the holiday season.

 

1.      Breathe

·         I know this seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people forget to do it when they find themselves wrapped up in trying to get everything done. Take a moment for yourself and breathe deeply with your diaphragm.

·         The general rule of thumb for deep breathing is to exhale twice as long as you inhale. There are several apps to help you with, including Breathe2Relax and Pranayama

2.      Practice Mindfulness

·         Mindfulness is a practice that combines deep breathing while focusing on your senses. Try stopping by the candle store in the mall and taking a moment to smell the candles, while focusing on your breathing.

·         You can also practice Mindfulness in the car while you’re driving. Take slow, deep, breaths and focus on how the wheel feels underneath your fingers. If thoughts pass through your mind, acknowledge them like an item on a conveyor belt, and let it pass through your mind.

3.      Set small, realistic goals for yourself

·         Try doing something small each day to make your list a little less overwhelming. For example: buy or brainstorm a gift for someone each day or put up decorations a little bit at a time.

4.      You don’t have to be perfect

·         We sometimes put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best, or to be perfect for the holidays. This can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.

·         This ties into the last tip as well. Make reasonable goals, and know that it’s okay to not get the perfect gift, or have the perfect house.

5.      Ask for Help!

·         The holidays are a time of giving, so don’t be afraid to ask someone to GIVE you some help! You don’t have to do everything yourself.

6.      Breathe

·         Yes, I will say this again, because it’s so important. The holidays can be stressful and family members can be unpredictable. Just remember to take a moment every once in a while and take slow, deep breaths.

7.      This too shall pass

 

Stress Reduction Tips from Crystal

1) Walk away for 20 minutes from your stress. Sometimes stress is addictive and we get sucked into hanging out with it, thinking we will resolve it. However, taking a 20 minute break from thinking or working on the issue can bring new perspective and calm.

2) Try to look at things from a different point of view.  In counseling, the term is reframing. I always ask myself this question:

"What can I gain from this situation that is positive?"

For example, I have a pressing bill due and the money isn't here. I won't make enough to pay it, so I worry about it, trying to find ways to make it work. I look at the facts: I can only pay $10 on this bill, but they want it paid in full. After praying and doing all I can, I give up the worry. I look at the positive. I learn patience, I learn how to budget, I learn wisdom as I learn better ways to save my money. It isn't easy, but it helps me worry less.

3) Talk with a friend, parent, counselor, or colleague. Talking about an issue that causes worry can help put things into perspective. This helps to avoid what we call catastrophizing.

4) Schedule a worry time. Remind yourself you have 20 min of worry time every day at the same time. This helps you not worry the whole day until this time, where you get out your list and you worry about it for 20 min. We eventually try to get the worry time down to smaller amounts of time.

5) Breath in.Breath out.ig belly breaths. 5 times. Now, let your shoulders fall in relaxation. Do this when you are not anxious or worried and it gets easier to do when you are stressed. When you are stressed, you don't get enough oxygen because breathing shallows. Purposely breathing deeply in and out replenishes your supply so you can think more clearly.

6) Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the brain that make you feel happy. It is similar to drugs such as morphine.

7) Meditate. Use your own scripts, ones you find online, or in the Bible. These scripts can be recorded and played back with relaxing music. I depend on this daily. It is my go-to plan for calming myself down and it works. Here are some scripts:

http://www.innerhealthstudio.com/anxiety-relief-scripts.html