Posts

Criticism

Sometimes when others criticize us, especially those close to us, or those in power over us, it is as if a fire alarm goes off in our brains. It can put you on the defensive very quickly. What if you could change this clanging into something that actually made you more productive? What if you could soften the sound to some gentle chimes that made you say, hmmm, what about this has me paying so much attention?

This is a matter of asking yourself the right questions. It is a way to receive criticism that you can teach yourself, instead of responding like it’s a three alarm fire. Here’s a few questions to get you started. But first a personal story.

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tame anxiety

I don’t actually place too much stock in New Year’s resolutions. In the past when I have, they are usually too big or not sustainable, and by January 31, I’m like meh. This sucks and I don’t want to do it any more. So then I let the unmet goals go until the angst over not getting enough exercise or being unable to wear the clothes that are two sizes past creep up and make me feel defeated again. This is the hamster wheel of my own anxiety spinning around in my head. It can turn into a bad case of the “What ifs” if I don’t follow my own advice. You know, doctor, heal thyself. So I make sure set goals I can achieve, I get competent help, and I pay attention to self care. All of that allows me to do what I do best, which is to help you tame your anxiety. But if you are feeling a little shy about seeking help, or unsure of what to expect in therapy, please let me demystify it for you. Read more

sunk cost fallacy

What the heck is the sunk cost fallacy? We worry about things we’ve already lost. Humans have evolved to worry about scarcity. It is how we stayed alive. But now, it has evolved into the idea of always getting our money’s worth. 

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inner critic

What do I mean by your inner bully? Simply put, it is self criticism. And why would you want to put a cork in that beast? And furthermore, why bother, since no doubt you think being self critical is a valuable habit that will improve your performance and keep you safe. The paradox is that the self criticism will stop you from doing something that you fear failing at, or that might result in a painful consequence like rejection.

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social worker, psychologists, or psychiatrists

Definitions are in order for these three designations: social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist. How else will you know the answer to ‘Who ya gonna call?’ Recently the local newspaper had a front page article in the “Your Health” section called “No Room On the Couch.” I was quite happy to see this coverage, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. And I am going to say right up front there are no easy answers to this problem. The mental health profession can be draining and not particularly financially rewarding compared with other medical endeavors, but the job is unique in its reward system. By that I mean it is always interesting and challenging, and the joy received from seeing an individual make connections that lead them to live better lives is hard to describe. I get to see the lights go on! So, on to definitions, and how to decide who to call for what.

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rumination

People who know me understand how I define anxiety. One version is rumination. This is when you are focused on the past, on memories about something that occurred. Perhaps it was a conversation that went wrong, or you are worried about someone’s opinion of you in those circumstances. Or it is this…

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hypnosis

I get a lot of requests for hypnosis, so today I want to share my personal philosophy about its therapeutic use. Generally, it is best used for an activity or thought you have no conscious control over. In other words, it just happens. Examples include cravings, insomnia, migraines, and panic. It has been used successfully in treating IBS, pain control, and  boosting the immune system during chemotherapy. I consider it to be one type of intervention best used in conjunction with an understanding of other emotional and behavioral issues you might be experiencing. Here is a picture of what it is not: a magic wand.

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anxiety triggers

When clients tell me they are just anxious and don’t know why, especially when they awaken with a certain physical dread of the day, it is sometimes tough to help them understand that they have fallen into an anxiety habit. I’m not talking about PTSD or trauma induced anxiety, I am referring to a sort of low level thrum, almost like a slight electrical current that runs through their body, that can be easily heightened when a trigger occurs. Your mind takes you there faster than a speeding train! What kind of anxiety triggers you ask? Read more

spam

You’ve got mail! Yes, but it is really mail or is it spam? Let’s think about how you evaluate that for a minute.

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loneliness

Did you know there is a difference between being alone and loneliness? Lots of people enjoy being alone and even need alone time to recharge their batteries. They don’t feel alone when they are by themselves engaged in an activity, from simply ‘being’ to being deeply engrossed in a hobby or pastime. They likely get into a kind of pleasant flow that makes the passage of time seem impossibly fast. The difference is that loneliness is a feeling, one of perception. You can feel lonely inside of a marriage or partnership, and you can feel lonely when surrounded by friends and acquaintances.

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