10 Signs You Might Be a “Highly Sensitive Person”

July 8, 2019

Do you hate hearing, “you’re just too sensitive?” Well, maybe you are more sensitive than the average person, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing and you are not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population fit in to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) category. In fact, […]

10 Signs You Might Be a “Highly Sensitive Person”

Do you hate hearing, “you’re just too sensitive?” Well, maybe you are more sensitive than the average person, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing and you are not alone. It is estimated that roughly 15 to 20 percent of the population fit in to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) category. In fact, scientists now believe there is a gene behind this trait.

What does it mean to be highly sensitive? The HSP is generally defined as someone with “acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli.” So, really sensitive to everything inside and out.

Being highly sensitive can make many “normal” life situations feel awkward and uncomfortable at times. However, there are some real perks to0, so make sure you read the whole post!

Signs You May Be a Highly Sensitive Person

If you are curious whether you may be part of the population that is highly sensitive, here are 10 signs to look for:

  1. You are quick to feel negative emotions, such as sadness and anxiety.
  2. You often feel physical symptoms with your emotions, such as headaches and muscle tension.
  3. You become overwhelmed with sensory stimuli such as sound, light and smells.
  4. The energy of the crowd easily overwhelms you and you feel tired after social outings.
  5. You become very emotional over the injustices of the world. (For example, you cry or become angry at the thought of children or animals being harmed).
  6. You often worry what others think of you.
  7. You often take things personally.
  8. You have a hard time letting things go and receiving critical feedback.
  9. You’re often tempted to avoid most social situations and prefer to stay home alone.
  10. You startle easily to loud noises.

Benefits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

As I mentioned earlier, while being a HSP can cause you to feel awkward or overwhelmed at times, there are some definite perks to being highly sensitive. For starters, you are someone who can enjoy subtle sensory detail that a majority of the population misses. You’ll notice subtle shades of color and texture and feel immense pleasure at the complexities of your sensory experience with food and art.

You’re also someone people like being around because you are aware of others’ feelings, needs, and emotions. This natural empathy, makes HSPs make great teachers, managers, and leaders.

HSPs are also incredibly creative. Many artists, musicians, and famous actors are highly sensitive people who have gifted the world with their talent and insight into what it means to be human.

As you can see, if you can cope with the difficult aspects of being a highly sensitive person, you can reap some pretty great rewards.

If you or someone you love suspects they are a HSP and would like to explore treatment options to manage the challenges, please contact me to set up a consultation.

A Meditation Exercise You Can Do with Your Child

June 24, 2019

It challenging to find the time or space to meditate when parenting a young child. One solution is to have your child meditate with you. This can allow you to make time for your self care while also teaching your child valuable skills. However, you will need to make some modifications to have this be […]

A Meditation Exercise You Can Do with Your Child

It challenging to find the time or space to meditate when parenting a young child. One solution is to have your child meditate with you. This can allow you to make time for your self care while also teaching your child valuable skills. However, you will need to make some modifications to have this be a peaceful experience.

Meditating with Young Children

For children five and under, it will be difficult for them to sit still for any length of time. Even a few seconds might be the most you can expect. Adjust your expectations and try to remain flexible in your approach. Most experts agree that by six years of age, children should be able to sit still for one minute and increase by one minute per year of age. So, age six would be one minute, age seven is two minutes and so on.

Kids Will Be Kids

It’s important to be patient as you work on a meditation exercise with your child. It’s normal for children to have difficulty settling. They may not be able to keep their eyes closed, they may fidget or wiggle as they sit, and they might laugh or try to be funny because it’s awkward or difficult for them to remain still and quiet. This is completely normal, so maintain a sense of humor and take any challenges that arise in stride. It will take time to teach your child to meditate. If you’re overly strict or discipline your child too much, you will end up making this a negative interaction instead of a calming one.

Meditation Exercises for Children

You’ll want to start with a brief session and try to make it fun. I like to start with having each person hold a small river rock and close their eyes and focus on how it feels – shape, texture, differences that make each rock unique. Then open your eyes and do the same investigation with how it looks. This is a great way for children to start with mindfulness and focused attention.  This rock can also become a mindfulness object that they can use for calming when they need it.

For children, guided meditations are generally the best way to teach them to meditate. There are many guided meditations available for free online that are specifically for children. You can find them through a simple Google search or by searching on YouTube. There are also apps you can use on your phone, tablet or smart TV that are also completely free. One example is Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame, an app intended for children under five which is available for the Android and iOS. Another example is Wellbeyond Meditation for Kids for iOS.

There are also classes available at some meditation centers that are specifically for children. Do a Google search for “meditation center [city, state]”, then check their online schedule or give them a call to find out if they have meditation classes for children.

If you are you a parent looking for ways to cope with balancing your needs while caring for your child, a licensed psychologist can provide the support and guidance you need. Feel free to contact me today or check out my website at www.drjodykircher.com to learn more about my approach.

Breaking the Ice: Tips on Making Female Friends at Work for Women

June 10, 2019

Don’t you wish it was as easy to make friends today, as it was when you were a kid? Unfortunately, adult friendships often take more work to establish and maintain. Especially in the workplace, women can sometimes feel on-guard around other women and friendships can be harder to foster. Studies have found friendships, or a […]

Breaking the Ice: Tips on Making Female Friends at Work for Women

Don’t you wish it was as easy to make friends today, as it was when you were a kid? Unfortunately, adult friendships often take more work to establish and maintain. Especially in the workplace, women can sometimes feel on-guard around other women and friendships can be harder to foster. Studies have found friendships, or a lack of friendships, has a big impact on our overall health and well-being, so it is worth the work to connect.

Here are some ways you can foster real friendships with other women at work.

Make it a Priority

It’s easy to tell yourself you’d like to make friends with the women you work with, but following up on that impulse takes real effort. The journey of friendship is one you must commit to and nurture. Ask a coworker to lunch, compliment someone on the fine job she did, and invite others into the discussions you are leading. Each day make it a priority to reach out and connect, to build closer relationships with the women you work with.

Focus on Quality Not Quantity

Not everyone has real “friend potential” and that’s okay. Depending on how many female coworkers you have, you most likely won’t be able to make real and lasting friendships with all of them. This is not a popularity contest where you try to get everyone to like you. This is about seeking out women with whom you have a connection and putting in the effort to form a lasting bond.

Expect Some Rejection

The truth is, there’s not a whole lot of difference between romantic dating and platonic “dating.” You may feel a connection with another woman at work and ask her out to lunch. She may say no and that’s okay.

Don’t let rejection stop your efforts. Just as no one at work really knows your inner life and feelings, you don’t know anyone else’s. Some women may simply be in a bad space in their life and don’t have the energy to connect with a new person. Move on and keep trying. Eventually you will make a true and lasting connection.

Keep the Momentum Going

Once you’ve had that initial lunch or get-together, keep the momentum going. Building a relationship is like building a fire. It takes a bit of work to get that kindling to catch, but once it does, the fires grows and keeps you warm.

Like anything else in life, friendships require our time and attention, but when you consider the value and meaning they bring to our life, they are worth the extra effort.

If you are struggling to connect to others due to fears of rejection or judgment, therapy can help you deal with your social anxiety and get connected. Feel free to contact me to discuss how therapy could help.

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/03/04/women-report-increased-discrimination-from-workplace-queen-bees/133258.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/working-btches/201308/why-are-some-women-nasty-other-women

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/friendship-20/201605/10-ways-make-and-keep-friendships-adult

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

May 20, 2019

After months of waiting, the birth of a child can bring joy and wonder into a family’s life. Unfortunately, for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. […]

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

After months of waiting, the birth of a child can bring joy and wonder into a family’s life. Unfortunately, for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. It can also happen after a miscarriage and stillbirth as well. When it occurs, this affliction can also make it very difficult for a mother to bond with and care for her new baby.

It is important to not confuse the “baby blues” with postpartum depression.  The “baby blues” are common in the first few weeks after childbirth and include crying and feeling a bit overwhelmed, but not at the level that interfere with care and bonding. The symptoms of postpartum depression however, are more severe and can last for several months.

If left untreated, women experiencing postpartum depression are in danger of hurting their baby and themselves.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please speak with your doctor who can help you get connected with a licensed therapist and prescribe medication if needed. These symptoms are not a normal part of childbirth and you do not have to suffer silently.

Extreme Anxiety or Worry

It is normal for new mothers to be nervous. After all, taking care of a newborn baby is a huge responsibility. However, when these fears become irrational and increase in severity over time, this can be a sign of PPD. Here are some examples of this extreme worry: a mother who refuses to leave the house because she is convinced she and her child will get into a car accident or a mother who is terrified to bathe her baby because she believes her baby will drown.

Changes to Sleeping or Eating Habits

Changes in eating or sleeping habits are often warning signs of emotional distress. For new mothers, eating very little or far more than usual is a red flag and an assessment for PPD is warranted.

Also, new mothers are usually exhausted and should sleep when given the opportunity to rest. If you or someone you love is a new mother that is having difficulty sleeping, this can also be a sign of PPD.

Feelings of Rage

New mothers who have PPD may find themselves with feelings of chronic irritability and even rage. If you are experiencing or seeing a sudden shift towards unusually angry or aggressive behavior this could be a sign that something more may be going on and should be assessed.

Mothers experiencing PPD need a lot of support. This means asking not just how the baby is, but how she is and really listening to the answer. It also means helping take care of the baby so the new mother can rest and get the help she needs.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

4 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Relieve Depression & Anxiety

May 6, 2019

The human mind is powerful. Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? So, when the majority of these thoughts are negative, that means that you are telling yourself that everything sucks, over and over again throughout the day. This recurrent, frequent negative thinking is a hallmark of […]

4 Ways to Change Your Thoughts and Relieve Depression & Anxiety

The human mind is powerful. Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? So, when the majority of these thoughts are negative, that means that you are telling yourself that everything sucks, over and over again throughout the day.

This recurrent, frequent negative thinking is a hallmark of depression. Anxious thinking is similar, but more focused on what could go wrong or how you might have already messed up. Depressive thinking tends to be more hopeless, while anxious thinking is more fear based. Most people are not even aware of the degree that this is happening. It just feels like life – everything and everyone including you – just suck.

This is why it is so important for those suffering from depression and anxiety to become aware of their thought patterns. If not checked, negative thinking becomes a habit, one that has the potential to completely shape your life, and not in a good way.

Change How You Think

Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all linked and by changing one, you can cause change in them all. So, one of the most powerful ways people can lift themselves out of the darkness is to change their thinking patterns. Cognitive therapy helps you see the thought-processing errors, like focusing on the worst case scenario, that contribute to a depressed and/or anxious mood.

By changing how you think, you automatically change how you feel. Once you become aware that you can change your thinking, you have a sense of choice that can benefit your mental health. I know, this sounds about as easy as changing a tire in the rain with nothing more than a hardboiled egg and a paper clip, but it can be done.

Here are some tips on how you can begin to change your negative thoughts:

Keep Track of Your Thoughts

Many people are unaware or in denial about their thought patterns. They think that they see the world as it really is and don’t want to believe they are overly negative or pessimistic. Learning to watch you inner dialogue and catch your thoughts will help you to see your own mental patterns. Mindfulness can be very helpful for this. This practice teaches you to learn how to be in the present moment and see your thoughts as part of what is occurring, but not your whole reality.

As you watch your thoughts, be particularly mindful of making generalizations from one specific event. “I made a mistake, so I am terrible at my job.” Also, black and white thinking can be particularly harmful. “Judy canceled on me, so she is not a good friend.” It assumes people are all good or all bad and they are much more complicated than that!

Try journalling your negative thoughts to help you see patterns and assess frequency.

Identify Triggers

Once you learn to observe your thoughts, you can start to pinpoint the triggers for them. Your journal will come in handy here, because they will help you see how certain types of events that set off a chain of negative thoughts. Triggers can be internal or external like assuming that you are being rejected or ignored or hearing an unkind remark said about or to you.

Positive Conversion

Since the human thinking process is habitual, you can create good thinking habits too. To do this you’ve got to start converting negative thoughts into positive ones. It will be hard at first, and you will most likely feel as if you’re lying to yourself and pretending to be a glass-half-full Pollyanna.

This is a good time for the old adage, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it.” Though thinking positively may feel foreign to you and like a waste of your time, you are re-training your brain to think (and feel) good.

Every time you catch a negative thought, recognize it as negative, and reframe it to a positive opposite thought. For example:

Negative thought: “I’ll never get this report done on time.”

Positive Switch: “I’m making great progress and being careful to always check my work.”

To get the hang of how to do this, go through your negativity journal and create a separate column in which you will write the positive alternative of your many negative thoughts.

If you feel too dark and down to complete these exercises, a trained therapist can support you in starting to shift your thinking.  If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and/or anxiety and are interested in exploring treatment options, please contact me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

April 15, 2019

Self-care is important, but while anyone can tell you should do it, only you can do it. The first step is recognizing that you deserve to be cared for, just as you do for others. So, how do you do this? By noticing the need for self-care by looking at the ways in which you are […]

5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is important, but while anyone can tell you should do it, only you can do it. The first step is recognizing that you deserve to be cared for, just as you do for others.

So, how do you do this? By noticing the need for self-care by looking at the ways in which you are currently not taking very good care of yourself.

Here are 5 signs you aren’t practicing enough self-care. If any seem familiar, it is time to make more time for yourself:

1. You Get Sick More Often

When we don’t take proper care of ourselves, it shows in our overall health. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can lead to an overworked immune system, which in turn makes you vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.

2. Increased Moodiness

What happens when a child does not get the care and attention they deserve? They begin to act out in order to get any attention. In much the same way, a lack of self-care and treating yourself as unimportant, can lead to increased irritability. This in turn, can result in negative effects in personal and professional relationships.

3. Unpleasant Physical Symptoms

What can start out as unpleasant (and even scary) physical symptoms, can be a sign of poor self-care. Symptoms may include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, headaches, and fainting spells. All of these symptoms should be taken seriously and checked out by your healthcare provider immediately. However, if a physical illness isn’t found, you need to look at your overall physical and emotional self-care for the remedy.

4. A Feeling of Isolation

When you feel you can’t take the time or don’t deserve to care for yourself, you naturally cut back on enjoying other aspects of your life. Socializing and connecting with friends and family can end up getting pushed out of the priority list too. This can lead to a detachment of others and a sense of isolation.

5. Depression

Feelings of worthlessness can snowball into feelings of hopelessness and depression. If you have noticed yourself slipping farther and farther into a depression, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you recognize where the darkness has come from, and how to break through back into the light.

If you or a loved one is experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, or would simply like some help practicing self-care, please contact me. I would be more than happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression and Suicide

April 1, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 8% of American teens will attempt suicide each year. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 to 24. In fact, it is believed that more teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, pneumonia, birth defects, AIDS, influenza and heart disease combined. According to […]

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression and Suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 8% of American teens will attempt suicide each year. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 to 24. In fact, it is believed that more teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, pneumonia, birth defects, AIDS, influenza and heart disease combined.

According to studies, teens who have presented with a mood disorder or who abuse drugs are at the greatest risk of attempting suicide. While research suggests girls attempt suicide more often, boys more often die from it.

Unfortunately, there is still much stigma surrounding depression and suicide. This leads to kids often keeping their emotional pain to themselves instead of asking for help.

So, what can you as a parent of a teenager do to keep your child safe and healthy?

Talk to Your Teen

Many parents believe that trying to speak with their kids about their feelings will only push them farther away. This is plain wrong. In reality, teenagers need their parents to check in with them to know that they are safe and loved.

It’s best to check in with your child on a regular basis. Ask general questions about what’s going on in their life and more specific questions about how they are feeling and coping. When the time feels right, make sure to ask clearly if they have ever had thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is also good to ask if any of their friends have talked about or attempted suicide. Also, be aware of any suicides at your child’s school, as that increases the risk of other teens attempting.

Validate Their Feelings

Once you’ve begun this sensitive conversation with your teen, it’s important to actively listen and validate your child’s feelings. You want to keep the conversation going as long as needed to really understand what is going on with your child. Try to stay calm and show a genuine interest to understand. You need to convey that you are a) hearing what they’re telling you and b) recognizing the importance of it. Focus on listening without judgement. This is your chance to gather information about your child’s inner world to help keep them safe.

Clarify the Situation

If your teen confides they are having thoughts of suicide, it’s incredibly important that you remain calm and ask questions that will help you clarify the situation. You will want to determine the nature of these thoughts and the level of danger to your child. Here are some examples of what you might find out.

Passive suicidal comments like,”I just want it all to stop” or “I just can’t take it anymore,” generally indicate your child is feeling overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to cope. You can help your child by offering increased supports. This may include spending more time with them, helping them work through a stressful situation, and offering to get them set up with a therapist to work on increasing their coping skills.

Other times, suicidal comments can be a means of getting something they need, like attention, or getting out of a situation that is causing them pain. With these comments, it is important to let your child know that you hear the need and try to redirect them to asking in a less extreme manner. Still asses for plan and intent, just in case you misread.

If your child does have a plan and indicates that they want to carry it out or that they don’t know if they can stop themselves, you need to get more help quickly. This is the time to take your child to the hospital or call for an ambulance. This is when it is most important to err on the side of caution and take your child’s warnings very seriously. Even if it turns out to be an extreme cry for help and not a serious threat, your child will know that you are listening and care. They will also get an intense dose of coping skills training at the hospital.

Seek Professional Guidance

Any talk of suicide is a serious matter and requires professional guidance by a trained therapist. It’s important not to force your teen into any treatment plan unless you feel that they are at immediate risk. Some of their depression might stem from the sense of lack of control they feel in their life, so it’s important you let them have a voice in the direction of treatment. That said, they might feel overwhelmed by trying to work out all of the details on their own, so try to find a balance. For instance, you might research therapists (be sure to call and make sure they are accepting new patients) and then show your teen the websites of your top 3 choices and ask them who they would be like to meet with.

It can also be helpful for parents to seek out treatment for themselves to work through your feelings and learn how to support your child through this difficult time.

I work with both teens and parents. Please feel free to contact me to discuss treatment for you or your child.

Stepping Back from the Edge: How to Deal with Anger in the Moment

March 20, 2019

Anger is a natural and healthy emotion that everyone feels. However, it can also be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. It can feel particularly scary if you find yourself being caught off guard with unexpected anger or feeling that you are getting too angry. So, what can you do when you find yourself feeling anger […]

Stepping Back from the Edge: How to Deal with Anger in the Moment

Anger is a natural and healthy emotion that everyone feels. However, it can also be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. It can feel particularly scary if you find yourself being caught off guard with unexpected anger or feeling that you are getting too angry.

So, what can you do when you find yourself feeling anger unexpectedly? Below are some strategies to help you keep your calm and respond appropriately.

1. Breathe and Get Some Space

As you feel the wave of emotions well up, stop and take a breath and then a few more. These deep breaths will allow you to slow your reaction and give you time to think. Also, giving yourself some space or physical distance between you and the other person will help calm your reaction.

2. Acknowledge Your Feelings

When you’re caught off guard with anger, you might start to feel defensive or emotional and not immediately know why. Pause for moment to assess your feelings. Acknowledge that you’re angry and look for the cause. Anger tends to be a protective emotion, so check to see if you, or someone you feel responsible for, is being attacked, criticized, or being treated unfairly.

3. Be Curious Instead of Furious

If you have difficulty controlling your anger, it can be all too easy to jump instantly into attack mode and unleash your anger. Instead try being curious. Consider why this person might be behaving this way, or saying these things. Try and brainstorm possible reasons, like could they have had a bad morning or heard some upsetting news?

4. It’s Not Personal

Remind yourself that this isn’t personal to you. Often, when people are behaving inappropriately or saying hurtful things, it’s because of things going on with them in their own lives. Practice reminding yourself that it’s not about you.

5. Use “I” Statements

Before responding, first consider if a response is necessary and helpful. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away. If you do need to say something, focus on the behavior you find unacceptable without placing blame. Talk specifically about your feelings and the effect of the behavior on you. I felt hurt when you commented on my parenting. By communicating without placing blame, you are more likely to be understood and work toward a resolution, rather than putting the other person on defense and starting a conflict.

If you’re still feeling upset after a difficult exchange, try calling a friend to talk it out, write your feelings down in a letter you’ll never send, or do some exercise to work off the adrenaline. You can also work through anger and other intense emotions with meditation.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by anger or emotions in general, there are many skills you can learn to help you manage them. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.

Making New “Glory Days”: How to Stop Obsessing About Youthful Successes

March 4, 2019

Do you find yourself often thinking and talking about “the good ol’ days?” It can be a source of great pleasure to reminisce about a time when you were younger, especially remembering a special event or activity. When looking back this way, we tend to look at our past experiences through a filter that magnifies […]

Making New “Glory Days”: How to Stop Obsessing About Youthful Successes

Do you find yourself often thinking and talking about “the good ol’ days?” It can be a source of great pleasure to reminisce about a time when you were younger, especially remembering a special event or activity. When looking back this way, we tend to look at our past experiences through a filter that magnifies the positive while diminishing the negative. When comparing to the present, we may see the present in the opposite way, which makes the past appear even better. While there’s no harm in basking in a memory, it can be harmful if you spend so much time looking at your past, that you neglect and devalue your present and future.

If you’re someone who spends too much time thinking about the “glory days,” you may benefit from assessing your present. Do you look back because your life has become dull and monotonous? Is there something in your present causing you anxiety and you are hiding from in thoughts of the past?

If you take a closer look and examine your life, you may be surprised to notice that you look back not because your past was so great, but rather because your present is not. Unfortunately, the more time you spend reminiscing, the worse your current life becomes. By hiding out in daydreaming of the past, you miss out on making positive changes to make the most of the present and build the future that you want.

Get Rid of Unneeded Memorabilia

Sometimes a memento represents a memory of a special time, and sometimes it’s just an object that’s imprisoning you in your past. Look around and decide which items are special remembrances that are relevant to your life now and which are trying to keep the past an active part of your present.

Volume matters here. One item is special, a whole mantle full of old trophies is a sign of being stuck. Get rid of or pack away excess items associated with the past. This will help you stop living in days gone by and free you up to make the most out of the present.

Fully Appreciate Each Day

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” One way to stop living in the past is to enjoy and appreciate each day. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude are great ways to do this. Tune in to you current sensory experience several times a day to come fully in to the present moment. Start keeping a journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. Adding three things that you are proud of yourself for will take this to an even more personal place, allowing you to appreciate your life and yourself!

Make Future Plans

Nothing can keep you from looking to the past quite like looking to the future. Plan a vacation or create goals. It might help to break down goals into parts to achieve over time and give yourself credit for each step you make towards achieving your final goal. Maybe you want to learn a new language, start playing the piano, or read all the classic novels. There’s a lot of life waiting to be lived, so make the most of it.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a moment of nostalgia, it’s important to live in the present. To learn to spend your time enjoying your life as you live it. You’ll not only bring yourself great happiness and satisfaction by focusing on living life today, but you’ll also create many more memories to relish in the days to come.

If you’re struggling and looking for support and guidance to create a better, more satisfying life, a licensed professional can help. Call me today to schedule a free consultation.

Is My Anger Normal, Or Should I Seek Help?

March 4, 2019

Life wouldn’t be life without those little irritants that push our buttons. And when our buttons get pushed, it’s completely natural to feel angry. In fact, anger is a normal emotion that can facilitate better communication and positive change when expressed appropriately. But for some people, managing their own anger is challenging. Usually these people […]

Is My Anger Normal, Or Should I Seek Help?

Life wouldn’t be life without those little irritants that push our buttons. And when our buttons get pushed, it’s completely natural to feel angry. In fact, anger is a normal emotion that can facilitate better communication and positive change when expressed appropriately.

But for some people, managing their own anger is challenging. Usually these people are the last to know they even have what others may describe as “toxic” or “out-of-control” anger. That’s because their loved ones have gotten used to regulating their anger for them by hiding their own feelings, choosing their words carefully, and walking on egg shells, all in an effort to “keep the peace.”

Common Reasons for Intense Anger

If you are uncertain whether or not you may have anger issues, read the following common reasons for intense anger and see if any of them ring true for you.

Anger as a Way to Self-Soothe

Self-medication, as a way to deal with life’s pain, is very common. For those with anger issues, there is a biochemical explanation as to why you may fly off the handle and often.

One of the hormones secreted by the brain during a fit of anger is called norepinephrine, which acts as an analgesic, or pain reliever. When we are triggered, often that trigger digs up deep wounds and past hurts, whether we are aware of it or not.

Becoming angry in the moment releases a powerful brain chemical that numbs our emotional pain so we don’t feel vulnerable, ignored, unimportant, rejected, or worthless. But as with any drug, a person can become addicted to their own anger because they become addicted to the chemical reaction of it.

Self-Empowerment

Another chemical released by the brain during a fit of anger is called epinephrine. While norepinephrine acts like a pain reliver, epinephrine acts like an amphetamine, allowing us to feel a sudden surge of energy throughout our entire body.

This adrenaline rush counteracts our feeling of powerlessness in the moment, or maybe in our life in general. How seductive is that? Many medical experts will tell you that epinephrine is every bit as addictive as alcohol and cocaine, so it’s no wonder so many people are addicted to their own anger.

“Safe” Attachment

Some of us don’t feel safe in a relationship without a safe bit of distance. This is typically a response to a parent or caretaker being unavailable, unresponsive, or untrustworthy in our past. The adult children of these types of parents feel the need to cultivate a certain emotional detachment in their relationships, and anger is a very effective way of doing that.

Tips for Managing Anger

1. Recognize the problem – As with a substance addiction, it’s important to recognize and admit you may have a problem.

2. Monitor your behavior – Keep an anger journal and log behavior you noticed or you were accused of by others. Note the incident, trigger, and the intensity of your anger from 0-10. Often just seeing your anger on paper will offer some insights into where it’s coming from.

3. Feel your anger but don’t act on it – Bottling up emotions is never the answer. It’s important for us to feel our feelings, ALL of them. But it’s equally important to regulate our actions. Walk away from potential fights and don’t send that angry email.

4. Get some help – Speaking with someone about your anger can often help. By uncovering the emotions underneath the anger, you can diffuse it and begin to heal from past traumas.

If you feel you may have an issue with anger and would like to explore therapy, please get in touch. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.