Sensitive Person Quiz

Posted on July 7, 2012. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Men, Women | Tags: |

Instructions: Answer each question according to the way you personally feel. Check the box if it is at least somewhat true for you; leave unchecked if it is not very true or not at all true for you.

I am easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input.
I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment.
Other people’s moods affect me.
I tend to be very sensitive to pain.
I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days,into bed or into a darkened room or any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation.
I am particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
I am easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells,coarse fabrics,or sirens close by.
I have a rich,complex inner life.
I am made uncomfortable by loud noises.
I am deeply moved by the arts or music.
My nervous system sometimes feels so frazzled that I just have to go off by myself.
I am conscientious.
I startle easily.
I get rattled when I have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lighting or the seating).
I am annoyed when people try to get me to do too many things at once.
I try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things.
I make a point to avoid violent movies and TV shows.
I become unpleasantly aroused when a lot is going on around me.
Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me,disrupting my concentration or mood.
Changes in my life shake me up.
I notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art.
I find it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once.
I make it a high priority to arrange my life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations.
I am bothered by intense stimuli, like loud noises or chaotic scenes.
When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous or shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise.
When I was a child, my parents or teachers seemed to see me as sensitive or shy.

Copyright, Elaine N. Aron, 1996

If you answered more than fourteen of the questions as true of yourself, you are probably highly sensitive. But no psychological test is so accurate that an individual should base his or her life on it. We psychologists try to develop good questions, then decide on the cut off based on the average response.

If fewer questions are true of you, but extremely true, that might also justify calling you highly sensitive.

For more information on how to deal with a high level of sensitivity, please contact True Potential Counseling for a consultation.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Angry Quiz

Posted on July 5, 2012. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , |

Instructions: The items below refer to how you have behaved during the past year. Please indicate whether each question is TRUE or FALSE as a description of you during the past year.

NOTE: If you suspect that you have an anger management problem you should seek help from a health professional regardless of how you score on this screening test.

1. I don’t show my anger about everything that makes me mad, but when I do – look out.
True False

2. I still get angry when I think of the bad things people did to me in the past.
True False

3. Waiting in line, or waiting for other people, really annoys me.
True False

4. I fly off the handle easily.
True False

5. I often find myself having heated arguments with the people who are closest to me.
True False

6. I sometimes lie awake at night and think about the things that upset me during the day.
True False

7. When someone says or does something that upsets me, I don’t usually say anything at the time, but later spend a lot of time thinking up cutting replies I could and should have made.
True False

8. I find it very hard to forgive someone who has done me wrong.
True False

9. I get angry with myself when I lost control of my emotions.
True False

10. People really irritate me when they don’t behave the way they should, or when they act like they don’t have the good sense of a head of lettuce.
True False

11. If I get really upset about something, I have a tendency to feel sick later, either with a weak spell, headache, upset stomach, or diarrhea.
True False

12. People I’ve trusted have often let me down, leaving me feeling angry or betrayed.
True False

13. When things don’t go my way, I get depressed.
True False

14. I am apt to take frustration so badly that I cannot put it out of my mind.
True False

15. I’ve been so angry at times I couldn’t remember things I said or did.
True False

16. After arguing with someone, I hate myself.
True False

17. I’ve had trouble on the job because of my temper.
True False

18. When riled up, I often blurt out things I later regret saying.
True False

19. Some people are afraid of my bad temper.
True False

20. When I get angry, frustrated or hurt, I comfort myself by eating or using alcohol or other drugs.
True False

21. When someone hurts or frustrates me, I want to get even.
True False

22. I’ve gotten so angry at times that I’ve become physically violent, hitting other people or breaking things.
True False

23. At times, I’ve felt angry enough to kill.
True False

24. Sometimes I feel so hurt and alone I feel like committing suicide.
True False

25. I’m a really angry person, and I know I need help learning to control my temper and angry feelings because it has already caused me a lot of problems.
True False

From: Of Course You’re Angry: A Guide to Dealing with the Emotions of Substance Abuse by Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden, Copyright 1985, 1997 by Hazelden Foundation. Reprinted by permission of Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN.

Score Interpretation
10 or more, or any of the last 4 questions True Anger Management Problem: Help Required
5 – 9 Normal Anger Management Skills: Clinical Help May be Useful
0 – 4 Better than Normal Anger Management Skills

Scores on this test are not meant as a diagnosis tool! You should not take this score to represent a mental disorder diagnosis or any type of behavioral healthcare treatment recommendation. Always consult with a trained mental health professional if you are experiencing feelings, thoughts or difficulties that cause you or people you love to be concerned. Seek immediate treatment from a licensed mental health professional or physician within your community if you are having thoughts about killing yourself or someone else!

For more information on resolving anger issues, please contact True Potential Counseling to schedule an appointment.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Daily Routine for Stress Relief

Posted on July 3, 2012. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Men, Women | Tags: , , , |

According to Ayurveda Philosophy there is a simple and easy stress reduction routine you can use daily to feel a deeper sense of peace and relaxation.  The full routine takes approximately 1 hour to complete and it is recommended to do the full sequence in the morning.  However, if necessary can be broken up into smaller portions throughout the day.  The routine goes as follows:

1)  Start everyday with a large glass of warm water.

2) Wash your face.

3) Brush your teeth and scrape your tongue.

4) Yoga Routine: Do the following poses while breathing in through your nose and with your mouth closed exhale from your throat making an ocean-like sound.  Breathing this way will allow you to fully exhale all the carbon dioxide and receive fresh oxygenated air with each breath.  The combination of movement and deep breath allows the central nervous system to relax and calm down fully.

2 minutes in child pose

2 minutes in downward dog




30 seconds each arm doing the threading the needle pose

2 minutes in the sphinx pose




Then child’s pose again for 2 minutes

Then downward dog again for 2 minutes

Mountain pose for 1 minute

1 minute warrior pose both sides





1 minute rag doll pose

2 minutes bridge pose




2 minutes knees hug

2 minutes corpse pose




5)  Alternate Nostril Breathing exercises for 5 minutes: Please see the video for details.

6) Meditation exercise for 5 minutes:  Please see the video for details.

7) Walk with a Nasal Breath outside for 10 minutes:  Same breathing routine while doing yoga.  See above.

8) Massage body with oil for 5 minutes: Massage the body starting with the feet and then up your  legs.  Next massage your hands and your arms in the direction of your heart center.  Then your scalp, face and neck in the direction of your heart center.  Next your shoulders, back, stomach and heart.

9)  Take a Shower: Wash the body using the same routine as the body massage with each stoke moving in the direction of the heart center.

10) Eat Breakfast:  Sit down and eat your meal slowly.  Savor each bite while drinking a warm cup of water or tea.

For more tips on managing stress or learning relaxation techniques you can contact True Potential Counseling for more details.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

6 Tips To Effective Decision Making

Posted on April 23, 2012. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Tool | Tags: , , , , , , |

Have you ever been at a crossroads in your life where you feel overwhelmed and confused about which direction to take, don’t know what to do next or are filled with uncertainty about which path will take you to where you want to go?

If you are like many other men and women who are struggling with indecision, you may find yourself ruminating back and forth between various options.  You may feel internal or external pressure to make “the right decision” which causes you to delay the decision, make an impulsive one, or avoid the decision all together.  You may feel stuck in a vicious and unproductive cycle of anxiety and self-doubt.

When we are feeling anxious we become more indecisive and doubt ourselves more, consequentially, when we second guess ourselves and put off decisions we become more anxious…and so the cycle goes round and round endlessly.  Until we start breaking the cycle, by managing our anxiety effectively, trusting ourselves and helpful allies, and taking action, we will be lost in the internal labyrinth of our mind.  You can get out of the maze by following this helpful plan to gain clarity, self-confidence and begin taking calculated risks.

1.  Create A Pro And Con List– On a piece of paper draw a vertical line down the middle of the page and a horizontal line across the middle of the page, thus creating 4 separate boxes.  In the top left hand box you will write Pros and in the top right hand box you will write Cons.  You will do the same for the boxes below.

Next you will write a list of the pros and cons for one option and the pros and cons for the alternative option.  For example, if you are considering quitting your job, you would write a list of the pros and cons for staying in the job and the pros and cons to quitting the job.  Or if you are considering starting a romantic relationship, you would write a list of the pros and cons to committing to the relationship and the pros and cons to being single.  This will allow you to get a clear and rational picture rather than an emotional and one.

2.  Connect with Your Inner Wisdom- Each of us has an emotional aspect that chooses pleasure over pain and avoids hassles and discomfort.  We tend to unconsciously prioritize short-term rewards rather than long-term objectives requiring effort.  Despite our conscious desire and best intentions of striving for what we want to accomplish we sabotage ourselves.  Because our rational state of mind is linear, ridged, organized and structured we can use our logic to benefit us or to beat ourselves up.  To get out of this emotional and mental roller-coaster ride, we can shift into a wise state of mind by answering reasonable questions, challenging distorted thinking patterns, regulating our emotions, or connecting with our body sensations and intuition.  Some common questions we can ask ourselves is: What can I do now?  What can I learn from this? What do you gain from delaying taking action now?  What do you gain by following through now?  This allows us to become wise about what to do rather than overly critical or emotional.

3.  Develop Skills:  Sometimes we may need to learn skills to keep us in the present moment or skills to manage our emotions effectively.  Other times we may need to develop the skills to regulate our thoughts, tolerate distress or be effective in our interpersonal relationships in a conscious manner.  If we tend to be more emotional we need to incorporate skills more rational in nature and vice versa.  Since some of these skills were not learned in childhood or we have forgotten to use them consciously in our day to day life, integrating of these skills into our automatic responses can alleviate a lot of stress and help us to cope with the challenges we face.

4.  Identify the Internal and External Trigger that make you Feel Overwhelmed:  Each of us have our personal triggers that cause us distress or upset.  An important step to effectively manage triggers it to become aware of what bothers you.  Next you can do a behavioral chain analysis that can assist you in incorporating alternative behaviors or skills that help you get through the challenges and stressors that life inevitably has to offer.

5.  Rejecting the Need for Certainty- When you believe that every decision has a “right answer” then every small decision can lead to over-analysis and thus paralysis.  If you remind yourself that you cannot have certainty and that you don’t need it, you can begin to harness your intuition and develop self-confidence and inner trust by making choices despite not knowing the precise outcome.

Remember there are many roads leading to Rome and that every problem has a variety of answers.  Sometimes the best choice is choosing the best option available at the time and moving forward knowing that you can handle and face whatever lies ahead of you.  Otherwise delaying the process may cause you unnecessary stress and rumination and cause you to waste time and energy.  Although we may believe that not making a decision may protect us, it can also end up hurting us and result in negative consequences.

6.  Be Satisfied with your Decision– When making decisions, individuals are either “maximizers” or “satisficers.”   “Maximizers” consider every possible option, and “satisficers” look until they find an option that is good enough.

When we are “maximizers” we look at the array of possibilities that lie before us and we focus on all the missed opportunities we are saying no to instead of focusing on the one choice we are saying yes to.  By doing we brainstorm a variety of options but also fixate more on what was given up than what was gained.   When we are “satisfiers” we lower our expectations and narrow our focus on which options are good enough.  As a result “satisfiers” are more settled and happier individuals.

Often times considering every option is almost never necessary, and should be reserved for the most important life decisions. Instead of maximizing options, we can maximize our happiness by proactively choosing the option that is good enough and being satisfied with the best choices available at the time.

For more information on how to effectively make decisions or feel internal peace with the challenges that lie ahead of you one-on-one attention can benefit you and alleviate your distress.  You can get additional guidance and assistance by contacting True Potential Counseling today.  If you found this article helpful please forward this blog post onto your friends, family and loved ones.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Distorted Thinking Patterns

Posted on April 17, 2012. Filed under: Children and Adolescents, Health, Lifestyle, Relationship | Tags: , , , , |

How and what we think influence the feelings we have about ourselves, our relationships and the world around us.  Sometimes our natural thinking tendencies are positive; however, if our habitual thinking patterns are distorted or pessimistic in nature it can damage not only our own mental well-being but also the relationships around us.

Often times our style of thinking is so automatic we are not even consciously aware our toxic thought process.  By learning to recognize our automatic thoughts, eliminate thought distortions and replace them with realistic and balanced thoughts we can begin to create a more enjoyable and rewarding life.

Automatic Thought and Our Body

Our physiological system is wired for survival; therefore, whether we are experiencing a real threat OR an imagined threat the amygdala in our brain sends a smoke alarm signal to the body that our survival and livelihood is in danger; and either need to “fight or flee” the situation.

For example, if the amygdala receives the following message “being in this traffic is killing me and if I do not arrive to my meeting in the next 5 minutes I will lose my job” the brain believes that your livelihood is being threatened and the body automatically becomes activated.

Our cognitive thought process is so automatic and unconscious that we are not able to identify them unless we engage our orbital frontal cortex (OFC).  Our OFT allows us to make decision by rationally disputing and evaluating our circumstances.  By becoming conscious of our distorted thinking patterns, we can begin challenging these emotional thoughts and transform them from panic to serenity.

Distorted Thinking Patterns

Here’s the 10 distorted thinking patterns according to Dr. Burns.  Burns writes:

  • All-Or-Nothing Thinking – You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  • Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  • Mental Filter – You pick out a single negative defeat and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water.
  • Disqualifying the positive – You dismiss positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
  • Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
    A. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.
    B. The fortune teller error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
  • Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization– You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”
  • Emotional Reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.
  • Should Statements – You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
  • Labeling and Mislabeling – This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a goddam louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  • Personalization – You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Now What’s the Game Plan?

When you notice yourself having a physiological reaction (i.e. heart palpitation, shortness of breath, headache, etc.) or an emotional reaction (i.e. feeling sad, angry or anxious) identify what you are telling yourself.  It is most likely your pattern of thought fall into one of these distorted thinking categories above.

Identify the common distorted thinking patterns you gravitate towards and begin to challenge them.  You can challenge your automatic thoughts and replacing them with more balanced and realistic ones by practicing the following exercise 5 Simple Steps to Thinking Positive.  By doing so you will gradually create a balanced and optimistic thought process that empowers you and improves the quality of both your internal and external world.

If you found this post helpful, please forward it onto your network of friends and family.  For more information on how you can receive one-on-one assistance in changing your negative thought patterns to more balanced and realistic patterns of thought you can contact me at True Potential Counseling.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

5 Tips To Changing Impulsive Behaviors

Posted on March 17, 2012. Filed under: Dating, Health, Lifestyle, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

There are a variety of problematic and impulsive behaviors that exist: 1) explosive anger or rage, 2) binging and purging, 3) excessive drinking, smoking or using drugs, 4) gambling, 5) workaholism, 6) self-harming or violent gestures, 7) reckless sexual escapades, and 8) infidelity…just to name a few.  These behaviors may have become so automatic or habitual, you have little insight or awareness about the thoughts, feelings, body sensations, triggers and vulnerabilities that are involved in your impulsive or problematic behavior.

In my years of clinical practice, a common theme mentioned by my clients is feeling disconnected from themselves both leading up to the impulsive behavior and especially when they are at the peak of emotional intensity; the insight and regret only kicks in after the damage has already been done.  The tools in this post will not only help you gain better insight about your problematic behavior, but also help you replace old behaviors with skills and effective behaviors that leave you feeling empowered and satisfied.

1.  Identify Your Behavior and Triggers- Start by identifying the behavior or urge that you would like to address.  Next brainstorm triggers that lead you to the behavior.  Triggers may include: people, places, situations, smells, events and times just to name a few.  Take some time to journal and list your major triggers that prompt you to eventually act impulsively.

2.  Reduce Your Vulnerabilities- Although there are various types of vulnerabilities that lay the groundwork for problematic behaviors, the basic vulnerability factors are being (H)ungry, (A)ngry, (L)onely, or (T)ired.  A helpful anachronism is HALT (a.k.a. STOP).  You can be used it to remind you to address these issues by taking proactive steps towards decreasing or eliminating these vulnerability factors.

3.  List The Consequences Of The Problem Behavior- Next list both the positive consequences that reinforce the behavior and the negative consequences of the problematic behavior.

4.  Skills Used and Required- Journal the skills you have already used and the additional skills that would be important for you to develop to help you utilize alternative strategies to the problematic behavior.  Some skills include: mindfulness, emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance skills, thought regulation, interpersonal effectiveness skills, relaxation techniques, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills, etc.

5.  Behavior Analysis In Chronological Order-  This is the last and most important step.  It is recommended you give yourself 20-30 minutes to do this exercise so you can really become conscientiously aware of all the details involved in your behavioral cycle.

To begin choose a specific and recent example in which the problematic behavior occurred.  On a piece of paper write the problematic behavior at the top of the page and then draw a line vertically down the middle of the page.

On the left side of the page you will write write down in chronological order every (T)hought, (F)eeling, (E)vent, (BS) Body Sensations and (B)ehaviors leading up to the problematic behavior, during the problematic behavior and post-behavior.  You want this play-by-play to be as detailed as possible so you truly get a full snapshot of all the internal and external aspects that are involved in your impulsive behavior.

After you have completed the actual chain of events on the left hand side of the page, you will then write on the right hand side alternative thoughts, skills, tools, coping mechanisms, and effective behaviors you could incorporate the next time some of these similar thoughts, feelings, body sensations, behaviors and events occur.

For example, if you tend to have problems with anger your behavior analysis may look something like this…

(E) I woke up late                         Practice Time Management Skills

(B) I was rushing                           Take time to relax and meditate 5 min.

(BS) My heart was racing               Breathing exercise

(BS) Shortness of breath

(T) “I am so irresponsible”              “I am learning & will plan better.”

(E) mad, irritable, anxious                Image a happy or calm place in my mind

(B) don’t eat breakfast and leave      Prepare a healthy snack the night before

(BS) tension in my shoulders

(E) stuck in traffic

(BS) tight fists                              Progressive muscle relaxation

(T) “People are so rude”              State the facts to become objective

(E) rage, anger                              Opposite emotion exercise

(B) Yell explosively as someone   Journal about what is upsetting me


If you found these suggestions helpful please comment below and share with fellow bloggers how these steps improved your outcome.  Or if you know of someone who would also benefit from reading this post please share this blog with them.  For more information on how to learn skills, you can join our upcoming Skills Training Group, by contacting True Potential Counseling.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

5 Keys To Decreasing Depression

Posted on March 12, 2012. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Men, Women | Tags: , , , |

Living with depression can be very debilitating.  Common symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Poor Appetite or Overeating
  • Insomnia Hypersomnia
  • Low Energy or Fatigue
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Poor Concentration or Difficulty Making Decisions
  • Feelings of Hopelessness

By incorporating the following suggestions into your daily routine, you will not only start investing in your emotional and physical well-being, but also begin to empower and re-energize yourself so you can live the life you desire.  The following are 5 simple techniques that if practiced consistently on a daily basis can both improve your mood and decrease the intensity of depressive symptoms.

1.  Daily Meditation– Meditating just 5-15 minutes daily has been found to have significant health benefits and is an effective method to manage anxiety, decrease stress, improve mood, regulate hormones, and stabilize blood pressure just to name a few.  Mindfulness meditation specifically is a practice where you learn to be presently aware non-judgmentally by creating distance from your thoughts and feelings so you can have a more objective way of looking at yourself, the world or a situation.

2. Getting Adequate Sleep– Giving your body the rest and relaxation it needs after a long day of activity is vital to your emotional, physical and mental well-being.  Typically adequate sleep consists of 8 hours of optimal sleep efficiency.  Optimal sleep efficiency is when it takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes to fall asleep, sleeping throughout the night uninterrupted for 8 hours and waking up at your desired wake up time.

3. Eating Regularly From All Basic Food Groups- Regular eating is about getting adequate nutrition in your diet.  Eating proteins, carbohydrates high in fiber, a variety of fruits and veggies, eating vegetables that cover all the colors of the rainbow and eating nutritious nuts.  In addition, drinking enough water, taking a multivitamin and regular intake of fish oil high in omega-3 is recommended.

If maintaining adequate blood sugar and energy levels is necessary, it is recommended to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.  For example, eating a substantial breakfast, then a snack of yogurt or nuts, a balanced lunch, then a fruit or veggie snack, dinner and then a light snack of hummus and carrots 1-2 hours before bedtime.

4. Exercising-  Getting 40 minutes of exercise at a moderate intensity 3-5 x per week has many psychological and emotional benefits.  Common mood-boosting chemicals include: endorphins and serotonin levels.  Exercise has also been know to improve self-esteem, enhanced mood, improve memory and mental functioning, and decreased stress levels.

5. Learning Cognitive Behavioral Skills or Dialectical Behavioral Skills– By being proactive and regularly learning and practicing CBT or DBT skills you will learn new and effective ways of managing your fluctuating moods.  These skills include: mindfulness skills, thought regulation skills, emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance skills and interpersonal effectiveness skills.

For more information on how to develop these skills and learn how to incorporate them into your life on a regular basis, contact True Potential Counseling for more information today.  By taking steps to improving your mood today you will begin laying the foundation for a healthy future.


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

5 Tips to Getting Over the Wintertime Blues

Posted on December 21, 2011. Filed under: Health, Lifestyle, Men, Women | Tags: , , , |

Although winter time is the hibernation period of the year, staying indoors too much or too often can lead to mild symptoms of depression.  Staying warm and cozy at home can be a great way to relax, rejuvenate and recharge your batteries, however, if you don’t get you body moving, don’t connect with others, or don’t get some sunshine you might start feeling down and unmotivated.  As a preventative measure the following 5 tips can help get you out of a funk and into feeling bright and energized again.

1. Go To Bed Early (Before 10pm) And Wake Up Early (Before 8am)- Too much sleep can leave you feeling lethargic and too little can leave you feeling depleted.  Everyone’s internal system is different, so test out different sleeping routines to see what works best for you.  Discovering the ideal amount of sleep you need based on your body type and lifestyle, will be a major lifesaver.

2. Turn On The Light– First thing in the morning open up the window and let some sunlight in, preferably natural sunlight.  However, if you live in a region of the world where natural sunlight is rare, artificial light will do.  Expose to light in the morning sends an important signal to our brain that nighttime is over and the day has begun.  This can literally and figuratively add a ray of sunshine to the start of your day.

3. Get Moving– Do some light yoga or go to the gym and exercise for at least 30 minutes in the morning.  Getting your body going allows you to loosen your muscles and get your joints hydrated during the cold winter months. Also taking your time to meditate and become presently aware is very important in enhancing well-being.

4. Take A Refreshing Shower– This can get you ready for a fresh new day during those cold winter months by warming up your bones and getting your circulation going.

5. Get SocialGetting connected with other people, either in your neighborhood or meeting up with a friend, can really lift your spirits and add some joy to your day.

I’d also love to hear from you.  Please comment below and share your suggestions for preventing the wintertime blues.  For more information, you can also visit my website at

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

3 Tips For Parents Dealing With Difficult Kids

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: Children and Adolescents, Health, Parenting Tips, Relationship | Tags: , , , |

First it is important to evaluate what issues are going on at home or at school that may be triggering your child’s problematic behavior.  For example, if there is discord or arguing at home or if your child is being teased or bullied at school you child’s behavior may be his/her way of expressing his/her grief and frustration about his/her life circumstance.  Moreover, your child may be trying to regain a sense of control by rebelling against you as the authority figure.   Although you can be sensitive and compassionate to your child’s pain, keep in mind that these are two separate issues and should be addressed separately. Below I offer 3 tips that can help you regain your authority as a parent and provide you with some practical ways to deal with your child’s difficult behavior.

1. Ask yourself, “What Do I Want My Child To Learn?”: Your role as a parent is very similar to the role of a teacher.  When dealing with your child’s difficult behavior, it is important to think about what you want to teach your child whenever you want to get a message across to them.  For instance, if they are struggling with getting their homework in on time, teaching them organizational skills or time management skills would be helpful.

2.  Setting Limits- Setting boundaries with your child does not mean that you are being uncaring, but rather are being practical and realistic about what is and what is not possible. As a parent do you ever fall into the emotional trap of guilt, fear, frustration or reactivity? If so, you are not alone.  A simple way to avoid getting caught up in the emotional parenting trap is by focusing on your child’s behavior, rather than on the emotional state of the moment.  This will provide you with a compass on how to maneuver through the situation, because you will no longer be getting caught up in the power struggles, the emotional drama, or the internal guilt trip that clouds your judgment, but rather will be able to address the real problem; your child’s disruptive behavior at home. Also be aware of your child’s ability to turn one parent against the other and prevent this from happening by remaining a united parental team.

3.  Establish New Rules- You teach your child how to treat you. You child is behaving negatively because they have the perception and attitude that you as the parent have lost control.  You can begin reclaiming your role as the parent and your sense of control by clearly establishing new rules in the household and defining what behaviors are unacceptable.  Then outline the consequences that will ensue as a result of his/her behavior and FOLLOW THROUGH on those consequences. This part if very important.  If you want your child to begin taking you seriously, you too need to be serious and follow-through on the consequences that you establish.  If not, the same behavior will continue to occur, leaving you powerless and a hostage in your own home.  The choice is yours.

Please feel free to comment below on how these tips were beneficial and share techniques you have used that have been successful.  For more information please visit my website at

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Culture Shock

Posted on November 17, 2011. Filed under: Communication, Expat, Health, Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , , |

Arriving to an unfamiliar country can be a daunting and scary experience especially if we feel isolated or do not speak the language.  Typically when we are in a situation outside of our comfort zone, we tend to withdraw, isolate and focus on the grief and loss of our friends, careers and familiar culture back home.  It takes a great amount of courage to step outside of our comfort zone and experience a lifestyle different from our own.  The phases of adaptation consists of the following: the honeymoon phase, culture shock, recovery, culture shock, recovery, culture shock, and then breaking through to adjustment.

A foreigner can can continually fluctuate from each of these phases over the course of 1 month to 3+ years.  Some symptoms you may experience if you are having difficulty adjusting is feeling depressed, anxious, withdrawing, becoming angry or reactive, overeating, under eating, loneliness, having difficulty in your relationships with your spouse or your children, feeling restless or sleeping all the time or abusing substances like alcohol.  If you are in need of emotional support or are interested in getting on the fast track on alleviating your distress around adaptation and assimilation please contact me at  I am located in Europe and provide individual and couple’s counseling to expats in Milan, Italy and online counseling to English speakers overseas and in the USA.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...