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A Season for Gratitude

Thanksgiving sneaks up fast, at least it always does for me. This year I’m determined to give it more attention. That’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of gratitude and how it can be vitally important in promoting wellness and fighting both anxiety and depression. Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for exploring the idea of gratitude and how it can improve our lives. How we perceive the world has a dramatic impact on our mood. This is the foundation of many types of therapy, most famously Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The philosophy is: change how you think and you’ll change how you feel. One of the big challenges is that most Americans live very deficit-focused lives. I would assert that we have been trained to over-focus on information that is critical and negative. We see what we     . . . read more

Starting Therapy Without Getting Spooked

Starting something new is almost universally scary, at least a little. Therapy is no exception. In fact, everyday I come to appreciate more and more how truly brave it is to make the decision to meet with a stranger for the first time to potentially discuss the most personal of matters. There just aren’t many forums for this type of talk in our society.  Frankly, there is not much encouragement to talk about deep and potentially unflattering emotional material in the “real world.” And yet, what I (and hopefully my clients too) have come to realize is that it is an absolute necessity to talk about hard stuff in a constructive way. Letting it circle our brains over and over again is generally what a lot of us do. That’s less than effective. All that spinning leaves us awake at     . . . read more

Easy Stress Relievers

Stress is a very normal part of our everyday lives. Probably everyone except especially pampered pets are subjected to some amount of stress. So becoming skilled at finding ways to knock it down a notch or two is incredibly important. We all know that chronic stress is terrible for our physical and emotional health. In the interest of your health, I’ve brainstormed some fun and easy ways to cope more effectively. Please share your ideas as well! Notice topics of interest and allow yourself some time to nurture these interests. It could be reading crime mysteries, watching documentaries on ancient cultures, or bird-watching. Having something that’s just for you because you like it is healthy! Laugh. I don’t care if you have to YouTube a funny video of a talking dog. Find something to laugh at and you’ll feel better     . . . read more

Emotional “Weight Lifting”

There’s a new gym near where I live. I’m feeling inspired by watching the very fit people walking in and out. Lately, I’ve considered hiring a personal trainer to help me out. I want to sleep better, have more energy, and be a little stronger. These seem like reasonable goals, right? A very astute person said to me recently that therapy is like personal training: its something you do to be more fit and well, not something you do because you are unwell or somehow lacking. I think this is a great comparison. It’s perfectly wise to hire a professional to help with your physical fitness. It’s similarly prudent to hire a professional to improve your emotional and interpersonal well being. Yes, there is some hard work involved, but with support and encouragement improvement is very attainable. Fall is a     . . . read more