Words From Linda for the New Year

Linda is a therapist with over 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She works as a therapist in Hudson, WI at Collaborative Counseling & Psychology, LLC. She can be reached at linda@collaborativemn.com or 715-808-7200.

Words from Linda……

Auld Lang Syne. The familiar song poses the question, ”Should old acquaintance be forgot?” I sometimes look at behavior and habits as long loved and stroked friends. These “friends” are points of view, reactions, and feelings that recur again and again.

These habits can feel friendly because they are familiar, comfortable, even when the result is destructive and self-defeating.  Patterns in relationships with others and with yourself  can bring you down, weighing on you with pressure and darkness.

Consider shifting your point of view, losing your old “acquaintances” for this year.  Develop faith in yourself, and a belief that things will work out for you, that change is possible.

It’s tough to be patient and hopeful when all seems lost.  By being still, listening to your heart, you are able to focus on new intentions, new ways of interacting with yourself and others, and the way will seem clear, lighter, and full of promise.  Some people refer to these changes and mental shifts as RESOLUTIONS.

So it’s okay to leave old acquaintances behind if they are indeed, blocking you from the opportunity to live your best life, the life you deserve.

Searching for Happiness by Linda Butler

So happy! That’s what one of my Facebook friends posted one day. I couldn’t help but wonder…okay, what? She never elaborated.

Linda is a therapist with over 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She works as a therapist in Hudson, WI at Collaborative Counseling & Psychology, LLC. She can be reached at linda@collaborativemn.com or 715-808-7200.

Have you ever had moments of complete happiness? I have. It is so elusive, fleeting and simple. Just as quickly, our mood can change, the happiness gone.

It seems that oftentimes it isn’t connected to an event. That would be just too simple. But instead it’s a feeling of peace, contentment, and the joy of being alive.

Clients are asked to state their counseling goals in writing when entering therapy. Just to be happy, is frequently a goal. It’s my job to operationally define that for them, clarify their expectations for themselves, for others and for the universe. Sometimes it’s figuring out what is in our control and what isn’t, how to take better care of ourselves, or how to recover from a devastating experience. Some of us have chronic conditions and problems that make it hard to be optimistic about life.

In “The Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin reports that current research shows that “genetics account for 50 percent of the tendency toward happiness; life circumstances such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, health, occupation and religious affiliation account for 10-20 percent; and the remainder is a product of how a person thinks and acts.”

As a therapist, this research reinforces for me the idea that people can boost their own happiness just by how they think about themselves and their life. Counseling is an opportunity for guidance and support through those critical decisions that determine your experience in life.

So the comment “So happy!” may have more to do with my friend’s perception of reality than an actual event…might be worth thinking about!

What fills you up?

In life there are so many things that zap our energy. Often we become so busy just trying to get things done that we end up forgetting to fill up the engine. Here I am speaking of doing things that give you energy, instead of take it away.

Often we forget to take time to take care of ourselves when there is so much to be done to take care of everyone and everything else. Today I am challenging you to think about what you can do to fill yourself up with energy.

Mental Energy Enhancers

  • Reading a book or listening to a book on tape
  • Spending time with friends and family who are positive
  • Managing your money well
  • Keeping your home, office and care neat and clean
  • Face old conflict and find ways to resolve them
  • Be aware not to become over-scheduled; leave some breathing room and do not overbook yourself

Physical Energy Enhancers

  • Nutritious diet
  • Doing things at your own pace rather than how someone else dictates them
  • Relaxation activities (such as yoga, meditation, massage)
  • A warm bath
  • Lay in the sun for 10-15 minutes
  • Hugs

Spiritual Energy Enhancers

  • Say only what you believe to be the truth (speak your truth without blame or judgment)
  • Do each thing with love
  • Practice being grateful
  • Focus on what you have instead of what you do not
  • Spend time in nature
  • Listen to and follow your inner guidance
  • Say no to things that go against your beliefs

There are many ways for you to refuel your energy levels to help support you in living a vibrant life. If you want help learning to fill yourself up consider seeking counseling.

Click here to learn more.

Change – Both hard and possible.

Change is hard. As almost all people know, it can be really hard to change! When we think about ways to move towards change, some ideas work well and others not so much. Here is a list of routes to change from least effective to most effective (according to Ann Betz, coach and poet).

Some ways we try to make changes:

Ignore the problem – pretend everything is okay, push the feeling aside…

  • This is NOT effective

Control the environment – make sure you don’t encounter stress

  • Helps a little but most stressors are unavoidable at some point

Name your emotion – short venting

  • It’s great to name the emotion, however we still haven’t gotten to problem solving.

Put attention on what’s important – explore what fulfills you

  • Here we get clear on our intent for ourselves and for our lives, this is important groundwork for the next steps!

Reframing – learn to look at things from a new angle

  • Now we are able to look at problems with a bit more objectivity and find new, healthier ways of thinking.

Mindfulness – learn to be in the here and now, get present

Often with depression, anxiety and other issues we are living in the past or the future. Learning to be mindful involves staying present to what’s going on right now. Until we learn to stay present, change can be hard to come by.

Think about the above routes to change and how you can move yourself towards the bottom few ideas. Using these tools will certainly move you closer to the change you desire to help you in grow.

Individual therapy is one way you can get the support you need to make the changes you aspire for. http://collaborativemn.com/individual-therapy/

Increase your child’s confidence.

Many parents ask “how can I make sure my children are confident and successful?”. At the core of a confident person is the belief that “I am able”, “I can do this” or “I am good”. One of the keys to raising confident children is to help children to develop a sense of self-efficacy.

In simple terms, you build self-efficacy through accomplishing things and doing things on your own. To help build this, never do for a child what they can do for themselves. Never is a strong word but if you err closer to never than always you are teaching your child that they can do for themselves, they are capable and they can figure their own problems out.

Children are always making decisions that shape their personality. Decisions become beliefs. Children are making decisions about:

  • Who they are (good or bad, capable or not capable)
  • What the world is like (safe or threatening)
  • What they need to do to survive or to thrive (based on decisions above)

My challenge to you: Try to draw out children’s own sense of resourcefulness. Encourage them to take risks and try things on their own so they can build up a reserve of confidence from all of their successes!

If you have concerns about your child’s self esteem play therapy with a trained professional can help you and your child learn to foster positive self esteem.

Reasons for conflict.

Everyone has conflict in life. It is natural for us to have some conflict and arguments with others. Do you ever find yourself struggling to identify the root of a conflict?

Angeles Arrien, author of “The Four Fold Way” suggests 3 reasons for conflict:

  1. Not saying what we mean
  2. Not doing what we say
  3. Not saying what is so when it is so

Here are some ideas for each of the reasons for conflict above I recommend you consider when working to solve conflict you may be having.

Not saying what we mean

  • Speak your truth! Get clear on your intention; ask yourself “what is my goal here?” Once you have that figured out work to speak your truth without blame or judgment.

Not doing what we say

  • If you commit to something, honor those commitments or communicate changes that may occur. When you don’t follow through on what you say you do, you damage the relationship. Trust or lack thereof can cause immeasurable damage to any relationship. Be a person of your word.

Not saying what is so when it is so

  • Don’t hold back truths out of fear. Get clear on your goal/intent and say what is so with love and care. When we communicate concerns or issues, we cast light on them and without light it can be hard to find the way out of any problem.

For more information on “The Four Fold Way” and ideas for how to apply the principles to your life, check out our Relationship and Personal Growth page.