Saving Money

The Habits of People Who Are Good With Money

Here is a great article I came across, enjoy.

If you are the kind of person who struggles to manage your finances, it might be tempting to imagine that some people are just born with a magic ability to be good with money. The fact is, those people are no different to you – they still had to learn good habits. It may be that they got off to a decent start with the example set by their parents, but they still had to carry out the two steps of habit formation: learning and repeatedly putting into practice.

The good news is that anyone can create new habits at any time. Scientists say it takes somewhere between one and two months to establish a new habit.

Here are some of those healthy money habits used by financially savvy people that you too can learn and start to put in action right now:

Create a budget – and stick to it!

There are all sorts of ways of setting a budget – don’t get bogged down. Choose the type of budget you think will work best for you and make sure you use it religiously. A monthly budget is probably the easiest route to follow and is most likely to fit in with your existing regular outgoings and income payments (if you are employed).

Your budget is the number one most effective tool in your financial armory, a powerful weapon against getting into money trouble. So don’t think of it in terms as a restriction – it will actually help free you to live the sort of life you want.

Cement budget-making as a habit in your life by putting the date for making a new one into your diary and making sure you sit down and do it. If you have a partner, it is important to agree to do your household budget together so you are both on the same page when it comes to spending, saving and paying off debts.

Track your spending

How often have you got to the end of the working month and wondered where on earth all your money went? Well, now is the time to find out.

The easiest way to do this is to write down every single penny you spend – this might sound tedious but it is by far the best way of facing up to what is really going on. Nearly everybody is surprised – often even shocked – by exactly where their money is going when they see it all set out in front of them. Often we spend on autopilot without even really registering what we are doing, particularly with today’s quick and easy payment systems such as contactless and automatic apps.

Make it a habit to carry a small notebook with you where you write down everything you are spending. There are also apps you can use to keep track, if you prefer. This way you will be fully aware of where you stand and you will be able to put on the brakes long before you start to head for trouble.

You can also feed this new knowledge back into your budget-making process, enabling you to set more realistic targets.

Spend less than you earn

Sounds obvious, right? But plenty of us don’t stick to this basic rule. Some experts say this is the most important principle to live by if you are going to become financially successful.

Hopefully you will already have set your personal budget and that should have given you a clear idea of what you can afford to spend within your given timescale.

If you consistently spend less than you earn, it frees up money to make bigger payments on your debts, which should be your priority. Over time, your debts will reduce, freeing up even more money to make even bigger debt repayments and eventually dramatically reducing your monthly outgoings for good.

Use your budget to plan to reduce expenditure so you are consistently spending less than you earn and use ‘extra’ income, such as bonuses or gifts, to pay off more debt.

Cook at home

We all know how easy it is, particularly after a hard day at work, to go out to eat or send for a takeaway. But even if you only do this once or twice a week, it quickly adds up. Cooking at home more often is a win/win situation – not only will it save you cash, it is much healthier.

Making you own meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming and you don’t need to be a master chef. There are masses of resources out there – take advantage of free online recipes and search for ideas for cost-effective, simple menus.

Planning your meals – including breakfast and lunch – for the whole week will save you time and money. It is too easy to overspend if you are buying food on the fly every day. Set a grocery budget, write a shopping list and keep to it.

Cooking at home most of the time means that when you do go out to a restaurant or order that blow-out takeaway, it truly feels like the special treat it should be.

Question your spending

Take the impulsivity out of spending by applying the 48-hour rule. We’ve all been there – bought something expensive on a whim, only to get home and realize we don’t even really want it.

The 48-hour rule applies to spending above a certain level – you decide the limit, e.g. over £50, £100 or £200 – and give yourself two clear days to decide whether you really want the item. If you walk away from the store, you are unlikely to go back if it was an impulse decision – if it turns out to be something you really do want or need, it won’t be a hardship to go back after 48 hours. If you have a partner, agree between you to stick to the same limit – no more regrets!

Start saving for future expenditure

Plan now for expenses you know will be coming up, such as Christmas, holidays, servicing the car or wedding gifts. Write down how much you think you will need to spend, break it into small amounts and then put the money aside each month. Ring-fencing finances ahead of time makes life much less stressful.

Reframe what spending means to you

Many of us turn to spending for comfort. If we’ve had a rotten day at work or argued with our partner, it can feel soothing to treat ourselves to ‘something nice’: a packet of sweets, new clothes, an armful of glossy magazines or an expensive bottle of wine. This might work for a bit, but the fact is these things are not truly nourishing and the resulting blow to your bank balance, if done repeatedly, is actually likely to make you feel worse in the long run.

Financially smart people don’t do this. Start to create healthier self-care habits. Remind yourself how awful you feel when you overspend, and commit to not going there. Instead think ahead about other ways of getting some comfort. Phone a friend, go for a run, workout, promise yourself an evening just for you with a long bath and a good book – basically anything that makes you feel good, but doesn’t cost much. You’ll save money and have better emotional health too.

The Habits of People Who Are Good With Money

Adult Coloring Book

How Adult Coloring Books Help with Anxiety and Stress

Wonderland: A Gorgeous Adult Coloring Book

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of brilliant inventions, imaginative creations, and creative solutions to problems. I’m always blown away by the human mind and what it is capable of. Adult coloring books are one of the most inventive and downright “clever” solutions of our time. They allow free expression while giving you an outlet for creativity.  What’s more, people swear by them for dealing with both stress and anxiety.

There are a flood of adult coloring books on the market, which is, if you ask me, a wonderful thing. The fact that there are so many give you the chance to find the ones that resonate most with you and your personal interests.

They also pretty much ensure that you never have to color the same picture twice…. ever!

The adult coloring book shown here, Wonderland, is one of my personal favorites. The pictures are so absolutely wonderful, looking at them makes me smile each and every time. The drawings are also intricate enough to allow you to spend plenty of time on each page. The adult coloring books with larger, simple pictures kind of defeat the point. It’s the whole process of spending time coloring the small details that allows you to relax and focus on something other than your bad day at work, your stress level, or the anxiety nagging at you in the background.

Follow the White Rabbit into this imaginative adult coloring book inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings by acclaimed artist Amily Shen.

Meet the Cheshire Cat, attend the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts in this evocative tale that invites you into a strange and beautiful new world of coloring.

Using Adult Coloring Books for Stress Relief

Why are adult coloring books like Wonderland so effective for dealing with stress? They provide you a simple, brief amount of escapism that isn’t remotely negative or harmful.

In fact, allowing yourself to create something beautiful is actually beneficial. So you’re helping yourself by…. well… helping yourself!

You could delve into a lot of complex reasons WHY adult coloring books help you cope with stress, but I think the simplest way to describe it is this: They take your mind away from things that are weighing it down and give it a break.

Breaks aren’t just good, they’re glorious. And necessary.

If you have certain, set times when you enjoy your adult coloring books, not only is it an escape from stress at that moment, it gives you something to look forward to all day.  Having something to look forward to is one of the best ways to cope with stress.  Even during a particularly hectic day, your mind says, “It will be better later!”

Most people enjoy coloring in these books in the evening and notice they have the extra benefit of helping them drift off to sleep. It’s a lot easier to sleep when you’ve unloaded extra stress and burdens. Light sleep is the best sleep.

Using Adult Coloring Books to Cope with Anxiety

Many people who deal with anxiety say that it feels a lot like “pent up energy” – as though parts of your body are on high alert, expecting something… anxious for something. We’ve all experienced anxious moments, haven’t we? That’s why we’re able to sympathize with those who live in what seems like a perpetual state of an anxious moment.

While adult coloring books have the biggest reputation for helping with stress, I think a huge advantage of these books lies in how they can help individuals cope with anxiety.  Sitting down with a great adult coloring book gives that anxious, nervous energy an outlet. It’s as though you can corral all of that energy and give it something to do.

This is one beautiful and highly enjoyable adult coloring book and I’ll let you in on a little, not so well-kept secret: They’re impossibly fun for everyone….

If you regularly feel stress or simply have occasional stressful days.
Whether you deal with anxiety on an almost daily basis or simply feel anxious because of work or health-related issues.
Even if you are a rare bird who seldom ever feels stress or anxiety, you will love expressing yourself and getting in touch with your creative, artistic side again. Sadly, most of us abandon this side of ourselves when we graduate. Adult coloring books help bring back creativity, along with all of its rich benefits.

I highly recommend Wonderland – you will absolutely love every single page.

~ Joi (“Joy”)

P.S. If you use small-tipped markers instead of coloring pencils, you’ll achieve much more vibrant pictures!

Adult Coloring Book Review: “Wonderland”

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy for a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you toss and turn all night or possibly even have trouble drifting off to sleep altogether? Do you wake up in the morning groggy and discombobulated due to poor rest? If so, you can continue this pattern, turn to dangerous pharmaceuticals or begin utilizing aromatherapy.

Obviously, using essential oils for an aromatherapy treatment is the best choice on the list. You surely do not want to continue having restless nights and the side effects of sleep aid pharmaceuticals are quite concerning if you read the warnings. While you need to follow directions regarding safe use of essential oils, they are far safer when used properly than drugs.

Lavender – The flowers and the essential oils distilled from this plant are a wonderful choice for those suffering from anxiety and stress. The sedating effects are also ideal for those plagued with sleep troubles. An added bonus to having this essential oil in your medicine bag is the skin healing properties when applied to burns, bites and acne breakouts.

Roman Chamomile – Be careful when purchasing this essential oil because there are other types of chamomile that are less effective for sleep and more so for other ailments. The Roman variety has a peaceful floral fragrance that blends well with lavender and some other oils.

Ylang Ylang – The floral fragrance of this oil has hints of fruit as well. It can be used alone or blended with the two previous oils. It complements them well by improving the quality of your sleep.

Marjoram – While you may think about cooking when you hear marjoram, the essential oil has benefits outside of the kitchen. This particular oil will relax your muscles while soothing your entire nervous system. The sedating effects reduce hypertension as well.

Bergamot – This cold-pressed oil can help balance your emotions. Unlike other citrus oils, it has a calming effect that can benefit your sleep-inducing efforts.

Frankincense – Many ancient cultures used frankincense, including the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. The oil contains incensole acetate, which relieves anxiety and depression. If you are having sleep troubles related to emotional disturbances in your life, frankincense is an excellent choice.

Other potentially beneficial oils for your sleep problems are valerian root, vetiver, clary sage, cistus, spikenard, rose, neroli, sandalwood and cedarwood.

High-quality essential oils can be found online and in your local health food store. Read about the various companies to find one with a good reputation and affordable prices. If a company prices all of their oils the same, it is a red flag. Some simply require more raw product to create, raising the price accordingly.

In addition to investigating the manufacturer, you should make sure you are purchasing from a reliable retailer. Read online reviews to find out about their customer service and products.

Once you have the oil or oils, you are going to use for sleep induction, you will need to decide how to incorporate them into your nightly routine. One option is to add several drops to your bath water or in the shower. When taking a shower, block the drain and drop the oils into the water, allowing the steamy medicated water to relax your mind and body. Another option is to keep a diffuser in your room. Follow the direction on the package. You can massage a diluted form of the oil into your skin or have your partner do it. The touch is soothing and can help to stimulate the absorption of oils into your system. Some of the oils on this list, such as lavender, can also work directly on tense muscle tissues when applied in this manner.

Keep track of which oils and methods are most effective for helping you to get the rest you deserve at the end of each day. You will soon have the right combination incorporated into your nightly routine. Then, good sleep is yours for the taking!

A Wonderful Guide to Aromatherapy for a Good Night’s Sleep

Anxiety

Overcome Anxiety at Bedtime & Get a Better Night’s Rest

How to Overcome Anxiety at Bedtime and Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Did you know that May is Better Sleep Month? I didn’t realize it until speaking with someone from Casper. Casper is the most awarded mattress of the century. They were even named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2015.

Think they know a thing or two about the importance of sleep? I’d say so.  As Arianna Huffington pointed out in Casper’s Sleep Symposium, “Many of us are so used to being tired all the time that we think that is the new norm. If you go to Google and type in ‘Why am I…’ Do you know what is the most common autocomplete? ‘Why am I so tired?’”

There are various sleep problems that keep us from getting a restful, healing night’s sleep. We’re going to look at a few of them as we close out May. The one I wanted to tackle first it Anxiety.

Why? Because, judging from the e-mail I receive, it’s one of the biggest sleep problems people are experiencing.

We know the basics when it comes to “setting the stage” for a great night’s sleep:

Comfortable mattress, pillows, sheets, and covers.
Comfortable sleepwear.
Keeping your bedroom dark. Our mind, naturally, associated darkness with sleep and light with being awake. This is part of the reason iPads and other devices are such a bad idea at bedtime. Your eyes “register” the light and your brain receives the wrong signal.
Comfortable room temperature. Experts suggest that 65 degrees is the best temperature for sleep.
Turning off all electronic devices at least 10 minutes before lying down… and (even more importantly) keeping them off!

The problem with anxiety, however, is the fact that its victim can set the stage and still not fall asleep or stay asleep. The reason is they can’t turn off their mind as easily as they can turn off the lights. The light and devices go off, the brain stays on… very much on.

The good news is this is not how the story ends. Not from a long shot. Below are tips that will, I hope, help you get a better night’s sleep if you suffer from any type of anxiety.

Start Thinking About Bedtime at Least Two Hours Before You Hit the Sheets

This may seem kind of odd, but stick with me, it’s actually vital. It’s all about unwinding – or to be more exact – winding down.  If you’re in the habit of watching dramas, action movies, ballgames, or (yikes!) the evening news right before bedtime, you aren’t setting the stage for restful sleep.  I’m not suggesting you give these up… not at all. As a baseball fanatic, I’d just dare anyone to try to get between me and my ballgames!

I understand, nighttime television viewing is a wonderful way to relax after a long day. What I’m suggesting is this – construct a “bridge” between the high-energy tv viewing and bedtime. Depending upon your personal level of anxiety, the prognosis of going from HIGH energy to sleep within a reasonable time frame is about as realistic as the tooth fairy.

You could begin, at the end of your television viewing, reading for thirty minutes. Some people enjoy turning on something incredibly relaxing like the Weather Channel or golf to close out the day. You could even begin recording your favorite cooking show and watching an episode each night before bed. Cooking shows are off the chart relaxing.

Two hours before bedtime, cut off all caffeine. If you battle anxiety, you probably have already cut back on caffeine (smart move) – but make certain you don’t have any for at least two hours before you go to bed. As for food, try not to eat much before bedtime. Digesting requires energy and the e-word is the last thing you want when you’re trying to sleep.

Try Listening to Calming, Relaxing Music

There are countless relaxation apps (just be sure you put your device away when you lie down!) with soothing music. You could also go “old school” and listen to a cd or even relaxing music YouTube. If you search for Japanese Garden Music on YouTube, you will not be disappointed.

As the graphic above suggests, you could find a meditation app and use it right before bedtime.

Nature sounds are also blissfully relaxing. There are apps for these as well. Personally, I love a good old-fashioned fan. In fact, I associate the sound of a fan with sleep so soundly that, in the summer, I have to be careful turning one on in my home office. I made the mistake one day last August and it took me three hours to accomplish one post.

And it was a short one!

Turn off Your Thought Factory

Okay, I’ll go ahead and admit it – I do not battle anxiety, so this is easy for me to say. From what I’ve heard (from readers as well as family members), there is no flip switch on anxious thoughts. Instead of turning thoughts off, let’s just think of turning the channel on our thoughts. If you tend to have worrisome thoughts at bedtime, you’re going to have to outsmart them.

Here’s a cool mental exercise: Think of a small white poodle. It’s a little girl poodle with a pink bow on top of her hair. She’s lying on a big pink pillow and looking cuter than she has a right to look. Now think of a plate of spaghetti. The noodles are mounded up and topped off with a delicious, meaty sauce with mushrooms, onions, and garlic. You better believe it’s topped with Parmesan cheese!

You went from FiFi on a pillow to dinner in the blink of an eye. Why? Because your brain is an incredible machine, that’s why!

In the same way you just switched channels on your thoughts, do so the next time you’re lying in bed thinking of the electric bill, Christmas shopping, your daughter’s ridiculous new haircut, your husband’s spending habits…. switch the thought channel and focus (not just think… focus) on a favorite color, visions of the sky, the sound of rain on a summer afternoon… Pick one thing that is relaxing or satisfying to you and focus entirely on it.

Just be sure you stick with one. If you start out thinking about one, then your brain gets cute and tries to switch to another, you’re going to be annoyed and, worst of all, as anxious as you were before.

Use Imagery

This one is my personal favorite – which is why I saved it for last. While apps, music, fans, etc, can be a wonderful place to start – your ultimate goal is to be able to control your own destiny when it comes to sleep. When you get to where you can unwind and slide deliciously into a restful night’s sleep without the aid of any device or sound, you’ll be in complete control and that’s a wonderful place to be.

After my mother died in 2006, I developed horrible sleep problems. Like those of you with anxiety, my brain would NOT turn off and it was a hideous ordeal. It’s even worse for people who deal with anxiety because a lack of sleep makes their anxiety worse. They pay for it the next day when they aren’t able to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle!

When I went through this period of time, I dreaded bedtime because it felt like a battle each night.  I finally found a trick that worked for me and I believe it can work for anyone who needs a little help shutting off their brain at night. I decided to try something “visual.” I looked through the photographs on my phone – looking for one that evoked a feeling of peacefulness and relaxation.

When I came across a picture of a beautiful lake, I knew I’d found just what I needed. I studied the picture and began, each night, to visualize the photograph. The peaceful setting brought about relaxation but that was only half the magic. Focusing on the picture instead of the pain was probably even more important. If you don’t have personal pictures that do the trick, look through magazines, books, or even do a Google Image search for “relaxing pictures.” You’ll turn up lakes, birds, candles, oceans, etc – just find the one that whispers, “Relaxation” to you.

Make Your Busy Mind Work FOR You Instead of AGAINST You

On the playground of minds, anxious minds are in the hyper-active crowd. Busy, busy, busy. So, if this is something you can’t fight, go with it. If your brain refuses to shut off at night, another trick is to focus on an activity.  Some minds are simply too busy to use a relaxing image (like the suggestion above). These busy bee minds need to buzz a little more. If this is the case for you, go ahead and think… just think creatively.

Here’s one exercise: Close your eyes and relive one of the best days you ever had. See the sights, smell the smells, hear the sounds, and feel the emotions. Focus your energy on that day.

Here’s another: Close your eyes and focus on the darkness until an object takes shape. The first one to take shape may be a ball or a star. The next may be more detailed, like a bird or tree. The images and shapes will fade in and out of “view” and (trust me) it’s completely relaxing.

Here’s another: This exercise should probably come under its own category heading, but it’s too late to turn back now. Get comfortable – with your pillow just right and your arms just where they ought to be…. close your eyes.. now imagine that your toes are being massaged. The masseuse is using warm lotion and is working slowly across each toe. Now imagine that the process is carried up to the arches of your feet… then the heels… (by this time your eyes may be rolling into the back of your head). I’ve tried this exercise many times and have NEVER even made it to my knees.

Remember: It’s a Process

As you try each of the above suggestions, remember that it’s a process. You’re a professor and you’re in the lab looking for the cure. You may not find it right off the bat.. then again, you may do just that.

Keep looking until you find your own magic key to unlock the sweetest sleep you’ve ever had.

 

How to Overcome Anxiety at Bedtime and Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sober

Staying Sober: Resisting the Urge to Relapse – by David Jones

Addiction is a terrible and tricky disease. It starts slowly and works its way into your life, often disguising itself as it goes. It can take a long time for someone suffering from an addiction to admit that they have a problem. It can take even longer for someone suffering from addiction to get the help they need to detox and regain their sobriety.

This is because, in spite of the lies an addict’s brain may be feeding itself, medical intervention is often needed to detox safely. “Remember,” says one Georgia detox center, “alcoholism creates very real changes in your brain chemistry. Medication can help sustain the chemical balance in your brain while also easing withdrawal symptoms.” Rehab, the experts go on to say, is where you go after detoxing–so you can learn and develop the tools you’ll need to resist an addiction and to stay sober.

That’s all well and good, but what about after rehab? What happens when after you leave your treatment program, you have a bad day and really want to drink? How are you supposed to handle stress? Your go-to method of self-medication is no longer an option!

Here are some good ways to deal with stress when you need to stay sober.

Self Care

Self care works differently for everyone. It’s slightly mislabeled because to the uninitiated, self care implies more coddling and comfort. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes you need to just take a night off, stay home by yourself and watch bad TV. More often than not, however, self care is about taking healthful care of yourself. It starts with the basics like bathing, eating a healthy diet, getting a good night’s sleep and getting some form of exercise every day. You work up from that into harder things like going out with friends, getting your errands done, going to therapy, etc. Self care really means taking care of yourself and what you need to do to stay healthy before you worry about what others are thinking and feeling.

Distraction

The hardest part of staying sober is learning how to distract yourself when you have down time. At work and when caring for your family, there are places you need to be and tasks and people who demand your focus. But once you’re done, and left to your own devices, it can be difficult to resist the urge to run out to the nearest bodega and buy a beer or a bottle of wine. This is when you need to find something else to focus on, some kind of (healthy!) distraction.

There are a lot of ways to distract yourself — some aren’t so great, like staring at social media all night. Others can be incredibly beneficial. One of the trendiest new hobbies/distractions right now is the adult coloring book. These coloring books are filled with intricate designs meant for older colorers and while it might seem juvenile, there is science that backs up the benefits of coloring.

Other healthy distractions are working out, gardening, crafting, etc.

Journaling

Buy yourself a blank book and go to town. You’ve undoubtedly been told that you need to share what you’re feeling but you’re also probably pretty self-conscious about what you’re feeling. Journaling will help you work through this. Your journal is a safe space in which you can write out everything you’re feeling and get it out of your head without having to worry about what anybody might think.

Meetings

There is a reason that so many people flock to AA and Al-Anon. It is because their system of support works. Forming connections with people who know what you’ve been and are going through is important. Having a sponsor, someone you can call when the temptation to drink overpowers your distractions, can help you stay sober even in your darkest moments. Moreover, going to meetings gets you out of the house and gives you a space in which to open up: two very important parts of self care.

Make no mistake: dealing with stress and sobriety is going to be difficult. Thankfully there are a lot of healthy ways to cope and work through it.

Staying Sober: Resisting the Urge to Relapse

Psychotherapy

10 Reasons Psychotherapy is Good for You

Why go to therapy?  Some people are under the misapprehension that going to therapy means that you are “crazy” or “weak.” But really, going to therapy for any reason, is at its most basic, an exercise in trying to improve the quality of your life.  Psychotherapy can help people of all different ages and lifestyles lead happier, healthier and more productive lives.

De-stress – Few people will deny being stressed at least once in their lifetime, but for many, stress can be ongoing and unbearable. Therapy can help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears; learn how to relax; look at situations in new, less frightening ways; and develop better coping and problem-solving skills. Therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them.

Love and accept yourself – Many people struggle with this even when they’re not necessarily depressed or suffering from other psychological disorders. Therapy can help you explore roadblocks to self-esteem and teach you practical ways to feel stronger and more confident in yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.

A healthier marriage/relationship – Let’s face it, relationships have the ability to bring out the best, but more often than not, the worst in us and our partners. Couples psychotherapy can help you identify problematic patterns in communication, such as habits of criticism, defensiveness or withdrawal and help a couple reconnect with what they value in each other, leading to a more fulfilled marriage and/or relationship.

Be a better parent – Many of us, to our horror, find ourselves reverting to parenting patterns we observed in our own childhood. Therapy can offer you the tools to help foster better parenting skills, helping you create healthier boundaries with your children, and becoming the parent you want to be.

Thrive in your career – A person’s career is often one of the most important aspects of their life. Are you unhappy where you work or do you want to strive for something different? Is fear or interpersonal conflict holding you back? Therapy can be the catalyst for healthy change in your career and provide you with the confidence to achieve your goals.

Lost your zest for life? – Does your life feel dry, flat or routine? Do you find more often than not that you’re simply going through the motions, doing the daily tasks that must be done with little pleasure, satisfaction or delight? When life has ceased feeling meaningful, joyous or purposeful, therapy can help us take a deeper look at ourselves and reevaluate our commitments and priorities, uncovering the passions buried under the ‘busyness’ of life.

Get some objectivity – Psychotherapy provides a supportive environment that enables you to discuss your issues openly with someone who is objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. You can explore yourself and go deeper into your thoughts and feelings. Therapy can offer a different perspective and assist you in gaining more insight into your situation and reactions.  Good therapy takes you further than just insight, it can teach you the skills you need to create the life you want.

Physical symptoms get treated too – Stomach aches, headaches, sleeping problems, and ulcers are just some of the ways our body reacts to stress and psychic pain. Through the use of psychotherapy to relieve stress and anxiety, you can experience relief from painful physical symptoms.

Learn to be more self assertive and express emotion – Explore, experiment, and practice behaviors that are scary for you in life. Shy people can learn and practice ways to manage confrontation without fear. Detached people can experiment with expressing emotion safely. When you’ve tried this out a few times in session, you’ll feel more comfortable putting it into practice out in the world.

Long-lasting benefits – A huge benefit of therapy is that its effects are long-lasting. You learn more effective ways to tackle problems and solve difficult situations, these include, different ways of thinking, more effective coping mechanisms, and improved problem-solving skills. This means you develop skills and tools, which arm you with better strategies for dealing more effectively with both current and any future life challenges, when they arise.

Psychotherapy is helpful in treating serious problems, but it offers many benefits for dealing with the problems and stresses of everyday life also. If we can move past the therapy stigma, perhaps many more people will come to experience therapy’s benefits first hand.

 

10 Reasons Psychotherapy is Good for You

Therapist

Six Signs You May Need a Therapist

 

Every year, thousands of individuals make the step to take some therapy and counselling sessions. However, many people are not even aware that they could benefit from this sort of help. Seeking therapy is nothing to be ashamed of – whether you’ve experienced a traumatic event or you have simply found yourself in a position where anxiety or depression has become a part of your life, sometimes everyone needs a helping hand. Emotional problems can be highly disruptive to your life but they can be overcome. Here are six signs that you might need therapy.

You can’t stop thinking about something

There are many things that can be traumatic to our lives. Whether it is the death of someone close to you, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, some events can be very difficult to overcome. However, there is a difference between a normal amount of grieving and something that you simply cannot get beyond. If you find that you are thinking about something constantly to the point where it affects your daily routine, it might be worth seeking some counselling on the issue.

You’ve started using substances

Whether you’ve started drinking heavily, started using drugs or are just having more thoughts about using drugs, this can be a sign that you are dealing with your problems in an unhealthy way. These substances can be very harmful to you, and even if you think the amount you drink or use is relatively low, it can be easy to fall into a spiral where you have to continuously use more.

Over dependence on other activities like eating or sex can also be a sign that you’re aren’t coping very well with problems. These kids of addictive behaviours are functionally the same thing are using drugs or alcohol to help you cope.

You feel disconnected from friends and family

Many people who are struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression, find that their relationships with loved ones become troubled and unhappy. You might find that you no longer find any joy on meeting up with friends or family, exactly at the time that you need to rely on their support. If you can’t feel positive even with the people who care most about you in can be a great idea to consider getting some therapy.

You’ve stopped enjoying your favourite things

Many people find that emotional struggles can start to permeate through everything that they do. Have you lost interest in your favourite activities? This could indicate that you are having trouble with a certain aspect of your life. It is usually the case that people find that they can’t enjoy activities because their mind is on something else, or that bad experiences mean that they now avoid meeting with other people.

People have become concerned about your behaviour

Sometimes it can be difficult to be aware of exactly how your behaviour has changed. You may not recognise that you are avoiding social contact or aren’t as happy as you once were. Sometimes it can mean a lot to hear it from someone close to you. While it may be a difficult conversation to have – if friends or family have commented on changes they have noticed in you, it could be worth considering counselling. Remember how hard it is to say something to someone who you care about; if a loved one has come to you it will almost certainly be something important.

You’re struggling at work or school

Have you noticed your performance at work or school slipping? Struggling with emotional difficulties tends to become an issue during your daily activities. If you are not able to concentrate properly it will naturally affect your ability to your best work. If you notice that comments at work have become more criticising than complimentary, it may be time to accept that something is changing your performance.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy, a UK based psychotherapy, CBT and life coaching specialist

 

Six Signs You May Need a Therapist

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Tired! Well What of That… – Didst fancy life was spent on beds of ease?

Tired! Well, what of that?
Didst fancy life was spent on beds of ease,
Fluttering the rose-leaves scattered by the breeze?
Come! rouse thee, work while it is called to-day!
Coward, arise–go forth upon the way!
Lonely! And what of that?
Some one must be lonely; ’tis not given to all
To feel a heart responsive rise and fall,
To blend another life into its own;
Work may be done in loneliness; work on.
Dark! Well, what of that?
Didst fondly dream the sun would never set?
Dost fear to lose thy way? Take courage yet,
Learn thou to walk by faith and not by sight,
Thy steps will be guided, and guided right.
– Unknown.

You gotta love it when your morning e-mail puts you in your place. At the very least, you have to appreciate the irony in spite of yourself.

This past month has been kind of nuts. N-U-T-S.  We had work done in our kitchen that involved a week of emptied cabinets and drawers – with contents spread here, there, and everywhere. When you could short out a pedometer simply by rounding up things to make supper, it grates on your nerves.

I was accidentally “glutened” (long story short: for health reasons I can’t have wheat or gluten because they make my body think it has been poisoned – ugly stomach pains, fatigue, bloating, weight gain, headaches, etc.. when gluten/wheat accidentally make their way into my diet, I refer to it as being “glutened”). Most of the time when this happens (which is rare, thank God), it makes me feel like I have the flu for anywhere between 3-7 days. This particular time, it has caused a lot of respiratory distress – which my asthma is kind of panicking over.

Worst of all, we had a very sick cat on our hands for about a week. We spent the better part of the day with one of our outside cats, Nacho, at the vet yesterday and when you love your pets like family, the whole experience takes its toll. Thankfully, he has his prescription and is expected to make a full recovery within a week.

If only our nerves recover in that time. He gave us a real scare.

There were a few other minor annoyances thrown in here and there, as well. Just suffice to say it has seemed like May was trying to pick a fight with me since day 1!

This morning, I found myself sitting and thinking about yesterday. When you love someone so much (yes, even when that someone is a cat), you risk great pain. Comes with the territory, of course, but it’s a risk nonetheless.  I kept telling my coffee, “I am so tired…” Seriously, I must have thought those words at least 6 times over the course of 3 hours.

Thankfully coffee is an excellent listener.

After I finished the morning chores and sat down at the computer in my home office, I opened my e-mail. I subscribe to several daily inspirational newsletters and I always go for them first. The poem at the top of the post is the first one I saw.

Well played, God. Very well played.

After re-reading the poem a few times (to let it really sink in), I started thinking about the lyrics to one of the catchiest songs in the world:

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime
When you take you gotta give so live and let live and let go oh oh oh oh
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings
But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover
So you better think it over
Well, if sweet talking you could make it come true
I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
But what would it matter
So smile for a while and let’s be jolly love shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime…

Like the poem, these lyrics are worth reading a few times through, too!

Roses don’t grow on stalks of clover. Cats aren’t healthy every single day of their lives and we won’t feel great every single day of our life.  Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime.  Every day of the year isn’t going to fall under the heading of “normal.”

I guess sometimes we just have to stop and think it over. We shouldn’t make life so melancholy… it was never meant to be a 24/7 walk in a rose garden, after all. The good times far outnumber the bad and the more energy we spend thinking about the bad times, the less time we’re spending thinking about the good.

Very often the bad is just a fleeting moment, when all things are considered. Take Nacho for example. The picture at the top was taken yesterday at the vet. That was one miserable little boy. But, in no time at all, he’ll be back to his old self, like the picture below. Healthy, happy, and actively looking for something to get into!

I beg your pardon, but think the song nailed it – let’s smile more and enjoy the good times while we can! Even in the rain, a rose garden is still a rose garden.

Tired! Well What of That…

Cancer

Heather Von St. James: 10 Years Cancer Free! – What We Can All Learn from a Very Special Lady Who Beat Mesothelioma

 

Ever read about what someone else has been through and want to kick yourself for complaining about allergies, low blood sugar, or migraines. Not that any of those are fun, mind you, but they’re pebbles compared to the mountains others have had to carry or continue to carry.

Case in point – a few days ago, I was bemoaning seasonal allergies when I read about a 26 year old young mother who had a stroke.

26!

People all around us are fighting monsters each and every day. Not the ones who hide under the bed or in the closet. The monsters I’m talking about aren’t fond of hiding. They’re fond of getting in your face, yelling, taunting, and threatening to take everything you love.

What never ceases to amaze me is this – some of these monsters pick fights with the wrong people!

In 2005, Heather Von St. James and her husband had just welcomed a beautiful healthy baby girl into the world, Lily.  Is that a beautiful name, or what?

The joy of having a newborn was short lived as the fear of what the ever-daunting “C” word would mean. Cancer. Heather was diagnosed with a rare but preventable cancer mesothelioma. The cancer, she learned, was something she developed after wearing her father’s work jacket around the house as a child, a jacket she did not know carried toxic asbestos fibers that would affect the lining of her lungs. Excitement and potential turned to fear and uncertainty as the new family she created began to slowly process that she was given only 15 months to live.

Fear can be quite powerful, something that paralyzes most, and prohibits. But Heather did not allow this to happen. After some time asking herself why, wondering what would happen, fearing the future even, her survivor instincts kicked in. She knew that she had no other option but to beat this, and looking at Lily and Cam affirmed this. She couldn’t let the fear control her, or dictate her decisions. This led Heather to undergo an extremely risky surgery that involved the removal of her left lung, which her family later dubbed Lung Leavin’ Day. The surgery in addition to early detection, radiation, and chemotherapy are some of the reasons that she can proudly stand a 10 year mesothelioma survivor today. This is not something that many meso patients can brag, as she is one of few.

Lung Leavin’ Day!Heather now aims to be a voice for the victims, and speak out about the secrets of the asbestos industry, as the material that almost took her life is still around and legal today. She encourages everyone to conquer their fears, and even has a site where you can virtually smash your fears into the fire, much like her friends and family do with her for Lung Leavin Day. Fear can be powerful, yes, but it should never control your life.

A clear case of, yet again, an ugly monster picking a fight with the wrong girl!

I hope you’ll click through the links above and learn more about Heather, her monster, and how she put him in his place.  This is one of those wonderful stories where, not only did the monster not take everything she loved, he (in spite of himself!) left her with more strength than she probably knew she’d ever had.

Take one look at Heather’s face and you’ll agree with me, strength is a very beautiful thing!

 

Heather Von St. James: 10 Years Cancer Free!