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30 jul

Who Am I? How Depression Affects Identity

Jope2When you think of an identity thief, you probably envision an anonymous person stockpiling your social security number, credit card numbers and other identifying information. Unfortunately, there’s another identity thief to contend with: Depression.

Just like a human identity thief, depression doesn’t care who you are. Both thieves simply want to take everything they can from you.

The person you are and the traits you possess can be altered dramatically when depression wreaks havoc. In my own experience, I went from being a fairly confident person to someone with no self esteem or interests. The energy I once had to do the things I enjoyed was gone. In fact, simply existing was too exhausting at times. I felt like a stranger to myself.

Depression, the identity thief, ruins your concentration. Your views are clouded and instead of seeing the world through a realistic lens, your thoughts are skewed. You question your value, appearance and purpose. Depression has taken what it came for: Your identity.

The difference between a traditional identity thief and depression is the length of time it takes for your identity to be stolen. A few keystrokes and that faceless person now possesses your bank account number. Depression can take awhile to settle in, but eventually the plans you made or the hopes you had are swept away. Over time, little by little, depression stopped me from doing the things that defined who I was so I had to ask “Who have I become?”

“I’m naturally a worrier and anxious…”

Pre-depression, I was always a worrier with an anxious streak – even on my happiest days. Those personality traits have always been part of my identity, but of course, depression didn’t steal those from me. It only made them worse.

Healing from these changes is not unlike getting your financial identity back, it takes patience. You must actively reclaim your confidence and other facets tied to your identity.

The first step is to challenge your thinking.

Here’s an example: You’re depressed because you think you’re failing at your job. You tell yourself you’ll be fired any day now. Challenge these thoughts with facts. Remind yourself that you received a stellar review from your boss. Think back on the successful projects you’ve been involved in.

Permanent or Temporary?

Whether depression and identity are eternally entwined is up for debate. Hopefully, the loss of identity is temporary, but depression as a piece of your personal story is permanent.

Based on my own experience, I’m aware there’s always a chance I could face this illness again despite being healthy for some time now. I’ll probably always have to be more vigilant about recognizing certain triggers and behaviors. The permanent (and happy) part? Having a much clearer sense of what keeps me healthy.

Jennifer Jope is the author of www.thebrainpain.wordpress.com, where she documents her own struggles with depression, including what she learned in a behavioral health program. Her health writing has appeared in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter and Body1.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jen Jope on July 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments

09 mar

The Self-Sabotaging Behavior of Denial

WEJMDMost people have a variety of self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from manifesting the life that they want. The first step in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors is to first recognize them. One of the most powerful self-sabotaging behaviors is denial.

Denial is a defense mechanism that discharges anxiety and emotional discomfort. By denying there’s a problem we don’t have to feel bad about the fact that there’s a problem. Unfortunately this doesn’t solve anything or make our lives better. It just sweeps our problems under the rug. They’re still there. Still gnawing at us and still getting in our way.

One example is the area of health. If we have a bump and we are afraid to go to a doctor to find out that it might be something really bad we deny that it is a problem. Unfortunately when it becomes the elephant in the room, something we no longer can deny, it becomes a problem much more difficult to resolve than had we acknowledged it and faced it when it first appeared.

One form of denial is denying that our behaviors are actually self sabotaging. For example, when we are late for an appointment we might tell ourselves that it’s not going to matter, that the excuse we give will be accepted and that there won’t be any negative consequences. But this usually isn’t true. When we are late for appointments or don’t call people back in a timely fashion, as another example, people may be gracious about it but they probably are registering some degree of irritation, disappointment, feeling disrespected or undervalued. And this may over time lead to passive aggressive behavior on their part or them not doing something to assist us in the future when we ask them for help.

BLAMING OTHERS AND SEEING OURSELVES AS VICTIMS

Shakespeare once wrote “the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but ourselves that we are underlings.” So one form of denial would be thinking that the fault lies outside of ourselves and that we are victims of a hostile, chaotic universe out of our control, as opposed to us being the prime movers of our fate.

This is a very powerful form of denial, blaming other people and circumstances for our difficulties. For example when we tailgate and get into a car accident we have a tendency to call it an accident when it is actually the result of our poor judgment and we tend to blame the car in front of us for stopping abruptly.

This is very common to blame others and not take responsibility for our actions. Oftentimes when couples fight, one partner will blame the other partner, stating that “you made me angry, you made me throw the toaster against the wall, you made me scream at you, you made me hit you, if you hadn’t antagonized me, if you hadn’t pushed my buttons, if you hadn’t called me that name, if you hadn’t provoked me, then I wouldn’t have behaved that way.” Denial in this case is the denial of ownership. It doesn’t matter if we are provoked. We have a choice to behave correctly and honorably or not and if we don’t, and don’t admit it then we are in denial.

Denial is very common with alcoholics and addicts. “If I just have one drink it won’t really matter, I’ll be able to handle it, it won’t escalate into a serious problem.” Alcoholics and addicts tell themselves this despite having a history of one drink or one drug hit escalating into a serious problem.

Another form of denial in regard to alcohol and drugs is that people oftentimes convince themselves that other people don’t know when they are high. This is usually never the case. Most people can tell when other people are under the influence.

We are in denial when we abuse other people and tell ourselves that they’ll get over it, they’re not going to leave us. Usually, sooner or later, they do, and when they do there is often too much water under the bridge, too much built up resentment and anger for the relationship to be repaired.

We are in denial when we keep on putting off proper diet and exercise. The denial part is not that we are denying these are important things to do but that it won’t one day catch up with us and put us in the grave prematurely. We deny the long-term consequences of our actions.

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER

When someone tells us something we don’t want to hear or deal with, we find ways to attack them and invalidate them so that we don’t have to acknowledge that they’ve made a good point. We might tell them that “you do it too.” And so this allows us to deny the importance of us getting our own house in order regardless of how other people behave.

In relationships when we tell our partner that “I don’t have any problem. I don’t need anger management. You’re the one with the problem not me. You’re the one who needs therapy not me,” this is denial in spades and is a sure fire predictor of a relationship that will never heal and will most likely one day disintegrate. This is another example of shooting the messenger.

Another form of denial is called “contempt prior to investigation” which means we prejudge and reject an idea without first evaluating it to determine if it might have validity. “That’s not going to work.” “It’s a waste of time.” These are dogmatic denials that have no basis in reality because we actually haven’t looked at the data.

Another form of denial is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Some people refer to this as insanity.

When we are told something that is true that we don’t want to hear or deal with and we seek out people who will yes us and support our position, this is denial. Just because we can find a bunch of people who tell us we’re right doesn’t mean we’re right.

“I’m only kidding” is a form of denial. When we say something to somebody that is hurtful and they react negatively, we backpedal and claim that “I was only kidding.” Sometimes it’s not denial, we know that we weren’t kidding and that we were making a harsh point, but oftentimes we con ourselves into believing that we really were only kidding, we were only teasing, we meant no real harm and that the person was being overly sensitive. This prevents us from looking at our behavior objectively and correcting it.

LIVING IN THE PAST

Living in the past and not seeing the handwriting on the wall is a form of denial. Whether or not you think marijuana should be legalized and whether or not you think gay marriage should be legalized, the handwriting on the wall is that these things will one day universally come to pass and to deny this and fight this is really a huge waste of time, energy and resources that could best be spent elsewhere.

Another form of denial is denying that forgiveness, acceptance, and love have the power to move mountains. Most people believe that anger and aggression are the way to solve problems. In the short run this may seem to be the case but in the long run they are not. Love is a miraculous force that can transform. When two people are fighting with each other, if one person can rise above the battlefield and express true unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and love, it oftentimes can discharge all the negativity and restore peace in the relationship.

Most people think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. They don’t believe that the meek shall inherit the earth. This is denial. Forgiveness is a reflection of great strength and personal power. Survival of the fittest will one day prove to be survival not of the physically fittest but of the spiritually fittest: those who choose not to fight and instead insist upon finding peaceful resolutions.

The premise of my book Forgive To Win! is that we sabotage ourselves with denial and in other ways as well because at an unconscious level we are filled with guilt, shame and self-loathing; at an unconscious level we believe we are undeserving and unworthy of happiness, health and success, and that our subconscious mind, believing what we believe about ourselves at an unconscious level, believing that we deserve punishment and not reward, manifests in the real world that “truth” by causing us to do things that get in our way and generate failure.

So — if self-sabotage and denial are the result of guilt, shame and self-loathing, then the way to end self sabotage and denial is to love ourselves and forgive ourselves. The way to love ourselves and forgive ourselves is to love others, forgive others and be of service to others. The more we do this, the more we send the message to our subconscious mind that we are good, loving beings who deserve happiness and success, the more the subconscious mind shifts its purpose. It stops whispering negative messages in our ears, it stops encouraging us to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, and it helps us to attract positive people and circumstances in our lives that will be rewarding rather than punishing.

The Forgiveness Diet is a structured program of daily exercises and behaviors to help achieve the goal of ending self sabotage.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on March 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

18 feb

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Jope2“Should is a learned response.”

Those words were once said to me by a sage advisor (read: counselor). Until then, it never dawned on me that feeling obligated to others and myself wasn’t some lucky trait I was born with; it was something I picked up along the way.

When Should is Good … and Bad

There are varying degrees of “should.” Certain things are taught to us from an early age and make us decent people and functioning members of society, such as sharing and having compassion for others.

We also learn that some obligations simply need to be fulfilled.

“I should go to the dentist.”

Yes. Yes, you should.

But then the notion of “should” gets murky and we place unnecessary guilt on ourselves and become anguished by huge self-inflicted obligations. Not so great for our mental health.

As life marches forward, we learn that we “should” do something because society says so, all our friends are doing it or the pressure from family is too much. We learn that we’re supposed to be a certain way in order to be successful professionally and personally.

  • “I should socialize more.”
  • “I should go back to school.”
  • “I should have a baby.”

But what if you don’t actually want to do what you feel obligated to do? The minute we make statements like the ones above, we’re taking ourselves to task. We’re scolding ourselves when we didn’t do anything wrong. We beat ourselves up and damage our self esteem in the process.

You shouldn’t have to apologize for how you feel. Think about it: If you don’t enjoy going out very much because you’re an introvert, what’s your crime? There isn’t one.

Women seem particularly prone to saying they “feel bad” if they fight against the “should.” We think we owe someone something, but I think my counselor said it best:

“Says who?”

Let’s be clear: This isn’t an argument in favor of throwing your hands up and never listening to your “should” again. Sometimes things need to get done. Instead, it’s time to evaluate how it affects your mental well-being. Every time the word is uttered, do you feel guilty, worthless or like a failure?

Believe it or not, it’s not always obvious why we feel compelled to do things we don’t want to, but our mind and spirit suffer anyway. Understanding the root cause can be immensely liberating. Is it fear, habit or something else leading you down this path?

Jennifer Jope is the author of www.thebrainpain.wordpress.com, where she documents her own struggles with depression, including what she learned in a behavioral health program. Her other health writing has appeared in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter and Body1.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jen Jope on February 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments

18 feb

Why Sales Isn’t Dead and What’s Keeping It Alive

RobertCordrayIt’s easy to argue that the days of cold calling, door-to-door-salesman and the traditional sales funnel are coming to a close because they largely are. The traditional salesperson has lost a good amount of advantage, as the consumer has gained access to greater information about products and instant access to buy virtually anything he or she can think of via the Internet. While these particular sales methods may be dying, that doesn’t mean that the sales industry is declining as well. In fact, as the industry adapts to this new customer-centric environment, sales will continue to thrive by using new tactics and tools. Here’s a look at some of them.

Demand Creation

The problem with cold calling is that the sales team ends up spending a huge percentage of their time talking to the wrong person or talking to the right person who isn’t ready to buy. This takes a toll on the salesperson as well as the customer who may be turned off by a salesperson pushing a product they aren’t ready to talk about. Instead, companies are turning to demand creation in order to build up their reputation and form relationships with their entire consumer market. By doing this, when the customer is ready to buy, they come to the sales team rather than the other way around. Accomplishing this requires a multi-faceted approach that involves search marketing, public relations efforts, content marketing and presenting at industry events.

From Funnel to Lifecycle

The traditional sales funnel worked well for closing sales and moving on to the next customer, but in today’s competitive market ending a relationship with the customer after the sell is a surefire way to alienate your customers. Instead, the sales funnel should be converted into a continuous lifecycle where the customer continues to be engaged after the sell. The salesperson should develop a plan for how they can continue to proactively provide additional value to the customer through relevant and personalized conversations. If done right, this ongoing relationship will lead to additional purchases of upgrades, add-ons or new products and services.

Tools to Stay Organized

Obviously completing sales as described above will require keeping much more detailed records about potential customers and current customers in order to keep content relevant. This is where technology such as CRM from Salesforce become important. These tools can keep all of the information in one place where it is easily accessible by the entire sales team increasing efficiency and reducing costly customer service mistakes.

While certain sales methods are certainly declining, the sales industry will continue to remain relevant as long as sales teams continue to adapt how they approach sells and develop leads. In many respects, these changes are beneficial for both sides as the customers are no longer pressured into buying products they don’t need and the sales team spends more time with consumers who are truly interested in buying.


If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on February 18th, 2014 in Career, Finances, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , ,

19 dec

6 Ways to Find a New Primary Care Doctor

RobertCordrayOne of the most important decisions you can make for yourself and your family has to do with choosing the right doctor. As such, it’s not a decision to be made lightly. After all, there’s so much riding on the decision and so many different factors to consider that many people would rather put off the choice for as long as possible. However, many people have absolutely no idea where they should even be looking to find a new doctor. These people may often settle on the first doctor that they find, completely unaware that other options are available. So, in an effort to give these people (and anyone else who might be interested) a better chance at finding a doctor that is perfect for their situations, here are six different ways to find a new doctor beyond wandering into the first office you come across.

1. Ask the people you trust

If your friends, extended family, or other loved-ones that live in your area are satisfied with their doctors, then ask around and see if you can get any good references. You might end up simplifying the entire process if you can get a great referral right off the bat.

2. Check online reviews

If you’re not getting anywhere with the people you know, extend your search outwards to include reviews from people you don’t know. The internet is a great tool when it comes to finding the right doctor, in part because you can use it to find sites that post patient reviews and ratings of doctors. They’re generally easy to use—simply provide your location and what kind of doctor you’re looking for (“primary care doctor in phoenix,” for example), and see what kind of returns you get. Alternately, you can search for reviews on specific doctors and see what previous patients have to say. ZocDoc, Patientfusion and Yelp are good places to look for reviews on your local doctors.

3. Use a hospital referral service

If you want to know where to find a good doctor, you might as well go straight to the source. The hospital is absolutely chock-full of people who know more about medicine than you do, so checking to see if they offer a doctor referral service makes perfect sense. If they do, the hospital will be able to put you in contact with a doctor that is not only well qualified and highly rated, but is also nearby. If your hospital doesn’t offer a doctor referral service, then consider asking the staff for personal recommendations.

4. Request a list of covered doctors from your insurance provider

You’d have to involve your insurance provider in your decision eventually, so you may as well just start with them. Your insurance company will be able to give you a list of which doctors are covered. Once you have a few names, you can do a little research and look for reviews.

5. Ask your current doctor

If you’re going to be moving and need to find a good doctor in a new area, consider asking your current doctor if he or she knows and could recommend anyone. There’s a good chance that your current doctor may have a trusted colleague or friend to which you could be referred. Even if your doctor doesn’t have anyone in mind, he or she might still be willing to do some checking around for you in order to find someone who will meet your needs.

6. Check the phonebook

This probably shouldn’t be the first place you look, but if none of your other attempts at finding the right doctor have panned out, then the phonebook (or its internet-based equivalent) can at least give you another path to follow. Just be sure that you do all of the necessary follow-up research once you find a few promising names. After all, just because a doctor has an advertisement in the yellow pages, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the right choice. Only use the yellow pages as a starting point, and follow up with a more thorough investigation afterwards.

Finding a doctor can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With a little effort and lot’s of patience, you’ll be able to locate the right primary care doctor for you and your family. Let’s just hope that you don’t have to move again any time soon…

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on December 19th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments

05 dec

Three Financial Surprises in a Divorce Case

JaredDiamond

Divorce is one of the most significant financial challenges that some people may ever face. Many people anticipate some of the major financial costs involved in a divorce, such as alimony payments and child support payments. There are a number of other economic costs that many times are either underestimated or totally unaccounted for.

James Evans, a divorce attorney in Austin, spends a great deal of his time preparing clients for all the financial impacts of a divorce. “Many people appreciate the short-term hard costs, the ones that show up on your bank statement in the first three or four months,” he says. “But there are some other costs that are lost in the shuffle, probably because divorce is such an emotional and financial shock.” Mr. Evans tries to schedule at least one appointment with every client at which money matters are the sole item on the agenda. “A lot of what I try to do is create awareness, as well as remind my clients to plan ahead,” concludes Austin-based divorce attorney, James Evans.

Legal fees

Many people do not realize how quickly legal fees can mount up. Mediation can be an important way to slash both the length of time in the case’s life-cycle and the actual dollar costs: one study found that mediation may reduce time by up to 860 days and the actual bill by up to $9,500.00. Think for a moment about all the things you can do with that much time and that much money.

The cost savings is directly proportional to the mediator’s success rate. When mediating a divorce, try to use an attorney-mediator with experience in family law if at all possible.

Credit score

Although divorce itself is a legal proceeding which has no impact on your credit score, the financial impact of divorce on a credit score can be significant:

  • Many people do not understand that the divorce only transfers legal title of the property in question. Assume that Mike and Jenny bought a house together during the marriage; they are co-borrowers on the note. Jenny may have received legal title to the house, but Mike remains on the note. If Jenny falls behind on the payments, the bank may very well come after Mike for the delinquent amount.
  • Other spouses understand this dynamic all too well, and use it as a weapon against an ex-spouse. If Mike was angry at Jenny for whatever reason, Mike may stop making payments on a joint credit account to ruin Jenny’s credit rating.

Consider re-financing joint debt to remove an ex-spouse’s name from the note, both to avoid future liability for the other person’s missed payments and shield yourself against a vindictive ex-spouse. If refinancing is not an option, remember that you have the right to add an explanation to any negative item on your credit report. Explain that the negative reference is due to a divorce and that you are an innocent victim in the matter.

Asset depreciation

A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow, and some people fail to properly account for this maxim in a divorce property settlement. The tradeoff between spousal support payments and equity in a capital asset is a good example. Rental property that is worth $100,000 today may be worth substantially less in five or ten years, because inflation erodes the equity, so spousal support payments should be high enough to compensate for the difference.

By identifying and reacting to financial realities before they become financial problems, transition to single life can be much easier financially.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jared Diamond on December 5th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments

24 oct

Furthering Your Career

RobertCordrayWe’ve all been stuck at a dead end job. You go to work, but you don’t like it and you don’t think that it can take you anywhere else in life, right? The problem is that many of us are scared to quit and enter a job market that is shaky at best. Something’s gotta change, and it doesn’t look like you’re leaving your job, anytime soon. It appears that the best way to attack things is to try to climb somehow. But how? There are a few different ways. Let’s investigate:

Go back to school

School is a hassle, I know. It’s expensive, out of the way and you’re oftentimes forced to rely on unreliable people to get things done for you. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement. By furthering your education, you’re opening up career paths that you might not even know about. You’re also forcing your company’s hand to either promote you or give you a raise, both of which are better than your current situation. Ask your boss if they’ll pay for your schooling. You can even opt to audit a class at a local community college and just learn a new skill or opt for some courseware and teach yourself a new skill set in your spare time. Who knows, you might even pick up a new hobby!

Do your best

As cliché as it is, doing the best that you can do at your current position is never a bad option. Maybe the lack of options has you feeling down, and maybe your production level hasn’t been up to snuff. If you perform the best that you can at your current level over a period of time, something is bound to open up. The company might be growing and looking to promote from within, or maybe an executive is looking to retire or move to another company. Either way, if you’re always doing your best, you’ll be noticed and your name will come up as a potential hire for the position. You’ll also need to make sure that your job is being noticed. Sometimes you may be overlooked, but if you are doing a good job, tell your boss. They’re bound to recognize you somehow.

Express interest in a promotion

Doing your best and making sure that you’re being noticed is a good thing, but sometimes it’s not enough. Tell your bosses that you love the company. Tell them that you would like to grow in the company and that you’ll do whatever it takes. You may think that you’re making it obvious by your outstanding work, but sometimes it’s nice to give your superiors a verbal notification too. They’re smart people, but they can’t read your mind. Work hard, tell them that you want to grow, and things will work out.

Be outgoing

Succeeding in your job likely involves being good with people. If you’re outgoing and nice to everyone, people are bound to like you. Being a good people person is a good skill to have in and out of the office. Whether you’re asking a worker to accomplish a task or selling something to a client, having a way with words and treating people in a nice fashion can get you far in life.

Ask questions

Learn something new from your coworkers and bosses. Ask them to teach you a new skill or something about their position. The more you learn about the company, the more valuable you become to them. It also shows your company’s executives that you’re willing to expand your skill set and learn new things. All of that is very valuable and necessary in order to get a raise or a promotion.

Don’t get discouraged at your current job. There are ways that you can get around your dead end job. Work hard, study up on the company and your position, and execute it to the best of your ability. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to business success.


If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on October 24th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments

26 sep

Stressed Out? What’s in Your Coping Toolbox?

MaricleMariclePost25SeptHow Do You Cope with Stress?

Something my clients talk about a lot is how to cope with stress and anxiety. What does “coping” really mean? Coping is simply what we do, think, or feel that helps us deal with our feelings, without getting too overwhelmed. You already have a number of these skills that you use all the time, whether you think about it or not.

People who cope well with stress and change have a large “toolbox” of skills. Examples of skills might include:

• Telling yourself, “It’s not worth it,” instead of getting into an argument
• Seeking the positive in difficult situations (See a more detailed post here)
• Journaling
• Talking to a friend about your troubles
• Taking a walk to “cool off”

I like to think about having a coping toolbox. My toolbox is comprised of skills in two overlapping categories: self-care and coping skills.

Self-Care: Self-care is the time I dedicate to myself daily, whether alone or with someone else, in order to meet my basic needs, relax and have fun, or enrich or benefit myself in some way. I like to think about self-care as “useful selfishness.” Without taking care of myself, I have nothing to give.

Coping Skills: Coping skills are the techniques I use in the moment to relieve stress, anger, fear, or anxiety.

Taking Care of Myself

When I let my own self-care fall down on my priority list, it shows. I feel grumpy, snappy, and not my usual happy self. Self-care for me includes: running and exercise, talking with my husband, social time with friends and family, being goofy with my kids, making art or music, spending time with my dogs, cooking, and getting enough sleep.

Adequate coping skills also help me stay on an even-keel. Talking directly with someone about what is bothering me, looking for solutions to my problem, reframing a difficult situation in terms of the benefits it brings, running, making art, and journaling all help me deal with very difficult feelings.

Usually though, coping well with stress requires more than just good self-care or one good coping skill. We are complex and dynamic beings, and so our responses to our problems need to be too. Any one skill will probably help me feel a minimum of about 10% better, so I need to use a combination of good self-care and coping skills to cope effectively.

What’s in your toolbox?
Which tools work the best for you? Do you take a shower, go for a drive, dance, build things, or vent? What’s a sure sign that you are letting go of your self-care? Share your insights in the comments section. Thanks for reading and be well.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not a substitute for professional psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content provided by Maricle Counseling and Amy Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is intended for general information purposes only. Never disregard professional medical or psychological advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you read here.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Amy Maricle on September 26th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

13 jun

Addiction Stages of Change

RobertCordrayChanging any behavior doesn’t happen overnight, and drug addiction is certainly no exception. On the road to change, people tend to go through several different stages, and the length of time spent in each of these stages varies for everyone.

The Stages of Change Model was first developed in the late 1970’s by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente at the University of Rhode Island. It describes five stages of readiness and provides a framework to better understand the change process. Success in recovery from addiction hinges upon interventions tailored to match a person’s readiness for change and their ability to effectively move through each of the five stages. Interventions that do not match the person’s readiness are more likely to damage rapport, create resistance and impede change.

The cognitive and behavioral stages of change are:

  1. Pre-Contemplative
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance
  6. Relapse (not a part of change, but commonly occurs during the change process)

Pre-Contemplative

People in this stage are not aware of any need to change. Pressuring someone in this stage to seek help will likely push them further away, as they are generally not interested in any type of help and often become defensive when approached by any outside efforts or pressure to get them to quit. If you are trying to help a friend or family member become aware of their problem, start with a positive approach where you help them try to see the consequences of what they are doing. Take a self-inventory to assess whether anything you are doing is enabling the person to continue their behavior.

Contemplative

In this second stage of change, people begin to become more aware of the consequences of their behavior and wonder if they should deal with it. Often a person will feel quite ambivalent about this decision. Likely, the person may have experienced consequences of their behavior such as a DUI, problems at work or home or health concerns that have prompted them to weigh the pros and cons of their choices. When a person has entered this stage, try to reinforce the cons of continuing with drugs and the pros of sobriety.

Preparation

A person in this third stage of change may have made statements such as, “I’ve got to do something about this. I can’t go on living this way.” They are ready to research their options and find out what can help and how to make the life changes they desire. Taking time for research at this point is critical in the change process because it allows a person to learn about various methods or clinics and begin to accept all that will be required of them as they move towards cessation and recovery.

Action

At this fourth stage, a person has begun dealing with their addiction by fulfilling a treatment plan and doing things such as attending regular professional treatment or participating in AA meetings. A person in this stage needs the patience and support of those around them more than ever, as they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms and emotional effects from giving up the thing that has been most important to them up until this point. If you are in this stage, set short-term goals and seek continuous support.

Maintenance

In this fifth stage, a person has dealt with the initial challenges of change and should acquire skills and set new rules in their life to avoid relapse. It is important for people in this stage to remind themselves of how far they have come and how their change has impacted their own life as well as the lives around them. Continued support at this stage is just as important to help avoid relapse.

Relapse

Because relapse is so common among drug addicts, many professionals include relapse as a possible part of the stages of change. It is easy for a person in recovery to fall back into old ways because staying sober is a learning process. If someone has experienced relapse, remind them of their hard work and the positive changes they have made in their life.

Regardless of what stage of change a person is in, those suffering from addiction problems can seek help through different types of treatment or long term drug rehab to help them through their own personal process of change.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on June 13th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

30 may

5 Tips to Help in the Battle for Sobriety

RobertCordrayThe decision to go to an alcohol rehabilitation center is the most important thing an alcoholic can do to set the foundation for a more successful future. Everyone has heard of the guy (or girl) that is constantly going in and out of long term drug rehab. Alcoholism is a disease, but it can be cured if the person with the problem takes the right attitude and approach into their rehabilitation. Here are five tips that can help successfully beat the addiction:

Approach recovery day-by-day, step-by-step. Every recovering alcoholic needs to have the desire to stay sober forever, but if this is their only concrete goal they will probably be overwhelmed. The better approach is to start small, with incremental and measurable goals. For example, on day one of rehab make the goal that you won’t drink the entire day or the entire week, depending on your current drinking habits. Stay positive, even when you relapse and immediately focus on hitting another rehabilitation benchmark.
Enlist the help of a support network. During rehab the support network can be developed among others that are also in rehab, as well as the counselors, therapists and other support personnel at the rehab center. After leaving the rehab center this support network becomes even more important. Enlist the help of friends and family and those in the twelve-step meeting. If all else fails a drug and alcohol abuse hotline can also offer support.

Bring an item of inspiration or comfort with you. Overcoming an addiction is difficult. It is amazing the emotional support that an item full of sentimental value or something that is particularly can be. This could be a picture of family or possibly a picture of a beautiful place in the world that the person can visit once the addiction is overcome. A favorite book or movie or even article of clothing can also work well.
Do not expect to be perfect, a recovering addict won’t always have the same desire or attitude. It does not matter how much they want to become sober, occasionally everybody falters emotionally.

When this happens the idea of indulging may sometimes seem like the only desirable thing in the world. Do not worry. These thoughts are normal and these cravings can be overcome. This is why a strong support network and personal items of comfort are so essential. Remember the presence of a craving does not mean it has to be acted upon.
Network. Network. Network. Before leaving the alcohol rehab center they should make sure to get local referrals so that treatment can continue. Depending on which therapies work best, like acupuncture or acupressure, they should get the telephone number or addresses of places that offer those services so that when a craving hits they will know exactly where to go for stress relief. They should also get a referral for a local therapist, twelve-step group and any other group that will be needed to build a strong support network. Another option is to live in a sober living home, which is a place that recently released recovering alcoholics can go for mutual support.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 30th, 2013 in Health, Uncategorized | No comments