Counseling

How Your Immune System is Affected by Your Well-Being

What do you mean when you talk about boosting your immune system? Let’s take an educated guess at some of the answers: Make changes to your eating habits Exercise daily and stay active Maintain regular sleep patterns Wash your hands often Perhaps you even include answers pertaining to supplements, alternative treatments like acupuncture, and fasting How many of you would focus on your emotions and your psychological well-being? Some of the big emotional stressors that impact our emotional health: Loss of job/switching careers Going to University or career training Financial hardship Moving/relocation Marriage/moving in together Starting a family Starting a new relationship Relationship stresses or abuse Workplace stresses or abuse Separation or divorce Death of a loved one Change of any kind contributes to some level of stress, even good changes Or just dashed expectations of self and what you had hoped was possible   Any or all of these usually cause anxiety and stress. In turn, our body responds and reacts. How extreme that reaction varies widely but it is not something to ever take likely. At the very least,   when life upsets us, we lose some psychological balance. But there doesn’t have to be a clear and present danger to throw off our balance. If anxiety causes us to perceive a threat, our bodies cannot tell the difference. If there’s a chance of danger—real or not—our “fight or flight” response kicks in. Among other things, this means: Our brain diverts more blood to our muscles to facilitate a physical response In order to gain more energy, we experience an increase in heart rate, fats, blood pressure, and blood sugars Our muscles tense up, thus providing more speed and strength Even our blood clotting [...]

By |2017-11-16T22:52:16+00:00November 16th, 2017|Coaching, Counseling|0 Comments

Caring Ways to Fight in a Relationship

Yes, happy couples fight. Fighting all the time is a red flag. Not fighting at all is also a red flag. But what about those who don’t fight often but when they do, it gets ugly in a hurry? There are caring ways to fight. That may sound contradictory but conflict is a necessary part of life. It’s unavoidable. How we deal with it is the negotiable aspect. Do we fly off the handle or become passive-aggressive or turn it into a contest? There are so many ways to fight unproductively. However, it is quite possible to create a foundation upon which confrontation is not tantamount to war. 6 Caring Ways to Fight in a Relationship Check the power dynamics Whether we admit or not—whether we like it or not—there are factors that give some of us an unfair advantage. Gender, age, size, etc.—these dynamics can shape a confrontation. Check yourself and your partner. Communicate about imbalances in advance. Lay the groundwork for productive fighting. Fight fair No matter how mad you are or how frustrated you get, your words and actions have ramifications. One can make a case that it’s never acceptable to fall back on name-calling and low blows. But this is your partner. It’s not someone who stole your parking space. Under no circumstances should your language become abusive or your behavior threatening. Accept that you can and often are wrong It’s fine to feel strongly about things. Sometimes it’s necessary. But again, never forget who it is you’re fighting with. This isn’t a barroom debate about football teams. In relationship arguments, nuance reigns supreme. You can be right and wrong at the same time. Don’t stubbornly hold a point just to [...]

By |2017-12-01T15:31:40+00:00November 6th, 2017|Counseling|0 Comments

Communication Styles and How to Create a Bridge Between Them

No, this isn’t a tech comparison between texts, tweets, and PMs. Sure, that’s one way to assess communication preferences. Some like the phone. Others only text. Many choose e-mail. But those are more about delivery than style. Communication styles say a lot about how each of us choose to share information. Of course, these styles can sometimes blur into each other. However, there are some clear lines to be discussed and well communicated. What types of communication styles are there? Here are some broad but common categories: Affiliative/Indirect Think of this style as collaborative. The affiliative communicator is comfortable sharing power. In the case of couples, they will almost always get their partner’s input before making a decision. Some characteristics of an affiliative/indirect communicator include: A desire to work out problems collectively Does not want or appreciate direct challenges A bluntly stated disagreement may be perceived as hostile May take disagreements personally Will remain quiet until all sides have presented their case When interacting with an affiliative/indirect communicator, you may have to do some work to fully grasp their intentions. In their quest to avoid tension or confrontation, they’ll start with “maybe” before stating a clear “no.” Competitive/Direct This communication style is the flip side of the affiliative communicator. A competitive communicator isn’t necessarily “competing” but they’re unafraid to challenge those around them and/or make decisions on their own. The competitive/direct communicator is: Willing to dominate discussions Ready to get right to the point Comfortable with immediately speaking up when faced with disagreeable topic A direction giver and decision maker At their best when working within a clear power structure Appreciative of bluntness, honesty, and short answers As you might imagine, the competitive/direct communicator uses [...]

By |2017-10-20T21:16:23+00:00October 20th, 2017|Coaching, Counseling|0 Comments

Why Power Struggles Happen & How You Survive Them to Reach the Peaceful Co-Creative Stage

Three words you just don’t want to see lined up in a row: relationship power struggle. Perfect balance may not be always attainable. In fact, it’s never attainable! But when your relationship becomes an ongoing tug of war, dysfunction sets in quickly. From there, peaceful co-creation is a pipe dream. A major factor in such situations is the power imbalance. Our culture, in general, favors some while others struggle. This dynamic does not vanish just because two people fall in love. What dynamics can cause a power imbalance? 1. Age Age-gap relationships are tricky on many levels but one aspect remains under-examined: ageism. In general, the younger partner is taken less seriously. Even the older partner may contribute to this reality thanks to long term conditioning. 2. Sex/gender We live in a male-dominant society. Women face far more hardship and oppression than men. The results of this imbalance play out in more ways than we can list here. 3. Race We also live in a white-dominant society. Mixed race couples must remain very diligent to not fall prey to the insidious traps of racism. Again, cultural conditioning can often trump intent. Never take it for granted that you can keep learning. 4. Finances Money issues have the potential to poison any relationship. When one partner earns substantially more than the others, resentment is always lurking. Such an imbalance is also a recipe for controlling behavior. This topic requires your full focus and attention. 5. Education Education differences also have the potential to create a difference in perceptions, acceptance, and the way couples discuss, explore differences and resolve any differences or conflicts.   6. Communication Talking Styles Different communication talking styles help to create misunderstandings and [...]

By |2017-08-30T23:59:54+00:00September 5th, 2017|Counseling|0 Comments

The Basics of Effective Communication Skills

What passes for effective communication skills has changed dramatically. Or has it? Sure, the methods have become increasingly high tech. This means more than a few communication tweaks. But the basic guidelines remain the same. However, the basic guidelines remain the same. The Basics of Effective Communication Skills 1. Active listening Listening is more than waiting for your turn to speak. To listen actively is to incorporate the following practices: Concentration Focus Your full attention An intention to respond with understanding 2. Body language This is one of the most underrated aspects of communication. It can be as simple as sustaining eye contact or making interest noises. The idea is to show the speaker you’re listening. Also, a welcoming and open posture makes the speaker feel more comfortable. 3. Asking questions (without interrupting) It’s very important to connect to those with whom you’re communicating. But don’t forget- timing matters. 4. Desire Effective communication skills start with desire. We have to want them and want to do what it takes to improve them. Like anything else, that means commitment and practice. The Benefits of Effective Communication Skills 1. Less misunderstanding Yes, this sounds obvious but it bears discussion. How many disagreements and arguments are caused by poor communication? To say “most” would be an understatement. 2. Deeper and closer relationships Communication is a process. A relationship is a process. When they develop together, the results can be very enriching. 3. Less anxiety How often have you wondered and worried about being misunderstood? Do you blame yourself when conflicts happen? Give it your all while listening and speaking. This won’t guarantee agreement. But it can ease your mind and help you develop your skills further. 4. Financial [...]

By |2017-08-24T18:51:17+00:00July 18th, 2017|Brain Training, Coaching, Counseling|0 Comments

Hypnosis Overcomes Negative Subconscious Programming!

hypnosis   What are your current beliefs? To help answer that question, consider the following topics and feelings: Health Relationships Money Happiness Success Fear Love What do you believe about each of them? Better question: How did your childhood shape your beliefs? For most of us, our subconscious programming occurred before we were 10 years old. Most of us haven’t explored or worked on this reality. Such beliefs may still be in charge of our lives. This is because our subconscious mind is pretty much who we are. Before we move forward, let’s discuss a few terms. The Subconscious Mind Our subconscious programming is to us what an operating system is to a computer. Among many, many other things, our subconscious mind contains our: Beliefs Habits Memories Control over our bodies To put it as simply as possible, our subconscious programming creates about 95 percent of our personality. Hypnosis At one time or another, most of us have swung something in front of a friend’s face and declared: “You are feeling very sleepy,” pretending to bring him or her under our control. In reality, people undergoing hypnotherapy are in full control of their own behavior. They will not do anything they would normally be unwilling to do. Hypnotherapy is a method designed to change our subconscious programming. Over time, it can help patients create new reactions, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Four decades of research has found these techniques to be safe and effective. They are used to treat a very wide range of issues and conditions. Here is a small sampling:\ headaches and other common sources of pain addressing addictions, e.g. smoking support during childbirth increasing concentration and focus reducing depression and trauma [...]

By |2017-06-28T23:00:50+00:00June 27th, 2017|Counseling, Hypnotherapy|0 Comments

Boost Your Brain Power! How to Train your Brain for Optimal Function and Balance

This mission can begin with some basic self-care suggestions: 1. Aim for regular sleep patterns Optimal brain function is impossible without enough sleep. This is as fundamental as it gets! If you don’t already have a regular sleep routine, make it a major priority. 2. Get active Of course, this means routine exercise. But it definitely does not stop there. Being active relates to more than your daily workout. Consider your lifestyle. Do any of the following apply? • You work a desk job • “Couch potato” describes your free time • Your cell phone posture is hunched or slumped • Long periods of driving or commuting are common Many of these circumstances lead to sedentary lives. Our brains are not pleased. 3. Create healthy eating habits There seems to be a new diet fad every week. But through it all, some truths endure. What and how we eat plays a major role in brain function. If you’re unsure about the quality of your diet, consult a nutritionist or dietician. Your brain must be nourished well to serve you well. 4. Find ways to manage the stress in your life It becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate when you’re stressed out. Developing relaxation techniques is a huge step towards brain power. Common stress-reducing options include: • Yoga • Breathing exercises • Tai chi • Meditation Once you’ve got your self-care basics established, it’s time to get creative! 6 Ways to Train your Brain for Optimal Function and Balance 1. Scale back on usage of tech devices Continual staring at tiny screens can dull your brain’s functionality. Exercise your imagination and diversify your brain activity. Enjoy your brain’s power. Delegate less  to machines. 2. Have deep and [...]

By |2017-06-28T23:05:03+00:00June 13th, 2017|Counseling|0 Comments

Subconscious Sabotage? How to Change Unhealthy Relationship Patterns!

No one wants to be in a dysfunctional relationship. Or do they? Unhealthy relationship patterns are so easy to fall into. It may almost feel like we welcome them, even subconsciously go out of our way to create them. Then, they can feel impossible to change. Let’s identify some of the ways we undermine the nuts and bolts of a healthy relationship and get a clearer idea of what's happening, and how we subconsciously sabotage our close connections. Avoidance What do you avoid? Pain, conflict, change? Avoiding relationship challenges results in repressed emotions. From there, it can be a slippery slope towards strife. Communication problems These problems may include the following: Silent treatment Passive aggression Yelling and blaming Dishonesty When unresolved communication issues take root, they can slowly destroy trust and a sense of safety in your relationship. Lack of self-esteem Is your inner critic telling you lies like these? "You’re not good enough." "He (or she) is losing interest in you." "You don’t make enough money." If you lose faith in yourself, your closest connections will suffer. Jealousy Nothing erodes the foundation of trust, intimacy, and relationship growth like insecurity, jealousy, and controlling behavior. Codependency When the line between compatibility and codependency is blurred, your relationship may become strained. 7 Ways to Change Unhealthy Relationship Patterns Communicate When you first met, could you finish each other’s sentences? Are the sentences between you now just one or two words long? One of you must take a stand and address your communication. Make a date to talk about how well you are or are not talking. You probably understand by now that healthy communication does not happen by accident. It requires work. Always make time to [...]

By |2017-06-14T02:15:02+00:00June 6th, 2017|Counseling|0 Comments

When Hope is Hard to Come By… Brain Training for Depression

Everyone feels sad at one time or another. This feeling may even linger for quite a while. Clinical depression, however, is much more. It’s not a temporary experience. It is a diagnosable condition that impacts as many as 15 million people. That’s almost 7 percent of adults, at any given time. Overall, roughly one in five adults suffers from depression at some point. And this number continues to rise. Common Depression Symptoms Physical changes may include: Drastic change in sleeping habits Sudden increase or decrease in appetite Low energy, frequent fatigue Unexplained pain (particularly headaches and back pain) Emotional issues may include: Bursts of extreme anger A sense of emptiness or hopeless Overwhelming sadness Easily becoming agitated Lack of concentration Memory loss Recurring thoughts of death Thinking and talking about suicide   There is also something called “Walking Smiling Depression”, where the individual disconnects from sadness, grief or depression and appears to be emotionally balanced to others while disconnecting from their feelings and perhaps making unhealthy choices. Current Treatments for Depression We’ve learned so much about the brain and its many conditions. Over the years, effective treatment options have been discovered and are evolving. These include medications, talk therapy, and a combination of both. Some common medications (e.g. Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft) have become household names. As for therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment choice. Results are often quite positive. However, as much as 30 percent of patients suffering from depression do not respond to these treatments. That's where brain training comes in. What is Brain Training? In simple terms, brain training for depression treatment involves the following: Positive Imagery or Self-Hypnosis Neurofeedback In a recent study, people with depression were asked [...]

By |2017-06-14T02:15:15+00:00May 30th, 2017|Brain Training, Counseling|0 Comments

Wired for Worry?  How You can “Rewire” Your Brain to a Healthy Default Setting!

Most of us know the parables about looking back on a long life. An elderly person or someone on their deathbed is asked about regrets. Invariably, each person wishes they had worried less and lived less burdened. Yet, when the story's done, we keep worrying. It’s even become cliché to talk about how few of our worries ever come true. Ironically, this cycle may promote more worry. We worry. Nothing happens. Our brain may wire itself to believe that worrying prevented the crisis. We may tell ourselves that worrying keeps us prepared or shows others that we care. Some of us may see it as a form of motivation. There are plenty of worry stories but we tend to ignore the ones about worry making us sick. Too much worry can cause: Physical issues like ulcers, poor digestion, hives, high blood pressure, and more. Emotional issues like anxiety, depression, etc. But since worry is inevitable, we’re left in a bind. We must find healthy ways to channel it or it will overwhelm us. It’s time to rewire your brain Our brains evolved to keep us safe and alive. Thus, it’s no surprise that worry comes naturally. Healthy worry, of course, is not the issue. But try telling that to your brain. It evolved in the Stone Age. Now, we’re navigating the Space Age. This means attempts to “rewire" your brain are tricky. Tricky, but definitely not impossible. With diligence and focus and maybe a little guidance, you can change our emotional default setting. 5 Ways You Can “Rewire” Your Brain to a Healthy Default Setting 1. Learn acceptance We are wired to worry. Therefore, we will worry. Step one is acceptance of this fact. A [...]

By |2017-06-14T02:15:26+00:00May 23rd, 2017|Brain Training, Counseling|0 Comments