ways to cope

Decrease Holiday Stress- Part 1

 Decrease Holiday Stress- Part 1

Clients tell me all the time, “I hate the holidays”. There are many stressors as people are attending family gatherings and trying to meet everyone’s expectations for the season. We hope reading this week helps you stay focused on making this holiday season less stressful! Keep your emotional boundaries firm

Taking Care of Yourself Through A Divorce Part 4

10.  Evaluate your relationships and make whatever life adjustments you feel are necessary. During a divorce, you might encounter many "Monday Morning Quarterbacks"... the people who feel like they need to give you advice on what you should have done differently, or those that might think you need to hear them repeatedly "bash" your soon-to-be-ex.  Perhaps there are people around you that encourage you do things that are self-destructive (like trying to set you up on a date, thinking it will ease your transition period... a definite no-no!), or maybe there are people around you that discourage you from doing things that ARE healthy (like shaming you for setting boundaries and taking time for yourself).  This self-care tip might also include letting go of friendships that were a big part of your ex's life or adapting to the changes in the friendships that were friends of the marriage.  At this point in your divorce recovery, it might be necessary for you to reevaluate your relationships and determine which ones are helpful and which ones are harmful.

11.  Remind yourself that you still have a future.

Sometimes when our pain or discomfort during a situation is high, it can be difficult to remember what might be on the other side of the pain.  You can say this to yourself or outloud, but either way, tell yourself that you WILL have a future ahead of you, regardless of what it feels like right now.  Divorce is a process of grieving MANY losses, not just the marriage:  a loss of relationships as you knew them, a loss of extended family and in-laws (at least a change in the relationship).  It could be the loss of what you have called "home", if you are the one leaving the primary residence.  Grieving these losses free's you up to look on down the road at some point, so allow yourself to daydream about your future and what you want to see for yourself and your life.

12.  Look at this as an opportunity for self-growth and development, and understanding of "self". 

Many times in therapy, we hear those going through a divorce trying to rush back into a relationship before they are ready (even when you think you are ready, immediately after filing for divorce is not the appropriate time for you to begin dating!)  How do we know this?  Because any time you have loss, even if it's your decision, there are many unresolved feelings to process and cope with, and unresolved feelings tend to make us unable to be "present" in our current relationships-- which means you aren't "whole" yet.  A relationship with someone who has unresolved pain and who isn't "whole" again, doesn't have a good chance of working out and isn't fair to anyone involved.  Would you want to be with someone who carries bitterness towards their soon-to-be-ex?  That will be a part of your dating relationship every day!  Or someone who is still pining after their almost-ex and still has secret hopes of getting back together or talks (or thinks) about them all of the time?  It's difficult to get to know someone if part of them is still in their old relationship.  This also starts off a relationship with secrecy and is a form of betrayal-- both to yourself and to anyone you enter a relationship with. Not a good sign for the future of that relationship-- and you don't want to go through this AGAIN, right??!! It's better to cope with it now.

Leaving a relationship means reconciling a part of you that is different.  It's important to reflect during this period and figure out what your role was in the loss of the marriage.  Were there any bits of truth in the feedback that you received from the relationship?  It' doesn't mean that you sit and stew in the negative stuff (or if there were bitter words, it doesn't mean that you take everything to heart).  It just means that you take the opportunity to see what you contributed to the relationship not working out.  Look inward and ask yourself what lessons you learned about yourself (and others) that could help you in relationships on down the road.   It truly can be a great opportunity to learn about yourself and make huge strides towards self-growth!  The most important part of this tip:  If you don't take the time to look inward and learn from the experience, you more likely to repeat the same pattern (or mistakes) over and over again.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, we hope that this week's blog posts have helped you in your journey towards self-care during such a difficult transition.  

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

How to Help Someone Who Cuts Part 1

How to Help Someone Who Cuts Part 1

People have a variety of ways to cope when going thru a hard time. Some people find healthy ways, but reality is that many people seek out ways to cope that are destructive and make things worse. Whether a person turns to addiction, isolating from loved ones, or hurting themselves to ease the pain, if the coping skill isn't promoting a person's emotional health and growth, it can lead down a bad path.

Ways To Handle Change Better - 2

Ahhh, change. Sometimes it's welcomed, sometimes it's dreaded. I don't know about you, but I'd rather gracefully enter into change than trip and fall head first into it. This week we're offering up some tips to do just that... Think Outside The Box

Sometimes when we're facing change our vision gets near-sighted. We only see things from our perspective and from the view point of the here-and-now. We can get stuck in our heads and with our own limited thinking.

What's beneficial is to seek the perspectives of other trusted individuals who can share their own expertise and allow us to see this change from different angles. This may include discussing the change with other people or reading books by others who have gone through changes of a similar nature. Getting another's point-of-view challenges us to grow, flourish and thrive in an environment where otherwise we might have stagnated.

But this isn't all! There's still more ways to handle change better. We'll continue going over those ways in our blog this week. Thanks for reading.

 

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

The Masks We Wear…But Why?

Halloween can be so much fun to get dressed up and be whoever you want to be! At Halloween we give permission as a society to “pretend” to be someone else. It can be overwhelming to walk through the aisles and see all the choices!

Did you realize that people wear masks every day of their lives and not just on Halloween? No not real masks- emotional ones! This week Imagine Hope is going to help you understand some emotional masks we hide behind and why.

Have you ever noticed how you might be one way around some people and put on a new “mask” in another area of your life?

Why do we hide from people? Why aren’t we able to be our “real” self in all areas of our lives? Is it fear of judgment? Fear of getting hurt? An image thing? To impress others? To avoid conflict? Wearing masks keeps us from showing people who we really are and only let’s others see who we want them to see.

When we find ourselves switching to a different mask, we need to slow down and ask why. When you tune into your internal self-talk, you can develop more self awareness. Understanding the messages you say to yourself will help you see the masks you wear.

If you want to have connected and fulfilling relationships with others, it’s time to take off the masks and put your real self out there. Keep reading this week to hear more about the specific masks we see people use with others!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

How To Love Yourself

We all fail. It’s part of being human. Unfortunately many people respond to their mistakes with self-hatred and condemnation. The voice inside beats a person up like an internal bully and abuses it's victim relentlessly.

Believing the lies of this voice results in shame issues, feelings of abandonment, isolation and destruction in relationships.

When a person is under the influence of these issues, they often have trouble giving and receiving love. The voice tells them that they are not loveable due to their failures, so the result is a “love repellant”. The ability to love ones self is negated by the voice; therefore, the ability to accept another’s love is too.

The voice can be strong and will grow overtime when it is reinforced.

So what weapons can we use against such a powerful negative self-critic? LOVE YOURSELF.

This week we are going to share simple, yet powerful tools to help you learn to love yourself and practice it regularly.

As you can see, if you don’t learn the skills to love yourself, you will likely fall into the painful voice’s trap where your thoughts and relationship will be twisted to support it’s lies that you are not loveable.

Read all week for great tools to fight against and be free from the negative voice inside!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Food is a big part of our society. There are rarely times it is not included with socializing and celebrations. But sometimes food is misused. Many people use food for more than just nourishing their bodies to give it energy.

People emotional eat when they are using food to comfort themselves, reduce stress, and push away uncomfortable feelings.

Numbing out on food is not always a conscious thing people do. It is often an "easy" way to distract in a struggling time to get a quick fix to "feel a little bit better" in the moment. It's not common that someone will say, "I'm sad, where's the cookies."

Beware that this can be a dangerous cycle for many as they develop unhealthy coping skills and can find themselves and their health spiraling out of control.

Read more tomorrow about what triggers someone to become an emotional eater.

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

10 Ways to Become More Resilient-Part 3

5. Be Optimistic Staying positive during difficult times can be hard.  However, being optimistic and finding the silver lining can definitely help you to be more resilient.  This doesn’t mean you ignore the problem or dig your head in the sand—but rather that you are able to find some light among the darkness.   Understand that setbacks and struggles are a part of life.  However, you have the ability and the skills to handle any challenges you may be faced with.

6. Nurture Yourself

Something we therapists preach about here at Imagine Hope is self-care!  When you are stressed out, you have a tendency not to take care of your health.  You may not eat well, get enough sleep, or do positive things for yourself.  When you don’t take care of yourself, your overall health (physical and mental) decline.  Self-care is directly related to resiliency.  Make sure that despite your struggles, you are carving time out for yourself.  Read a book, get a massage, cook healthy dinners, go for a walk, etc.  It is amazing what these little things can do to make you feel better!

Come back tomorrow as we talk about more ways to become resilient.

*Source: 10 Ways to Become More Resilient by Kendra Cherry http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/tp/become-more-resilient.htm

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

4 Ways to Tear Apart A Relationship- Contempt

#2 Contempt In his book, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman describes contempt as the intention to insult and psychologically abuse your partner. Wow, that sounds bad, right? I don't think any of us set out to do this, but in the following examples, I think more of us are guilty of contempt than we realize.

Contempt is when we hold negative thoughts about our partner. Where as we start off with an innocent arguement, the further it goes, we no longer have any admiration for our spouse, and eventually forget why we married them in the first place. With contempt, we cannot see any positive qualities about our partners at all.

The most common signs of Contempt are:

  • Insults and Name Calling - whether it's calling each other a "jerk", "lazy", or worse
  • Hostile Humor - covering up contempt with a thin layer of humor. Cracking mean jokes at our spouse's expense
  • Mockery - a very passive put-down. When you put down/make fun of/ridicule  your spouse's words are actions
  • Body Language -  rolling your eyes, grunting, laughing , curling your upper lip, etc., while your spouse is sharing with you

The best way to approach your spouse and stop contempt is to stop seeing arguments as a way to "get back" at your spouse or get power over your spouse. Your relationship will get better if you approach your partner with direct complaints (see yesterday's blog for the difference between a complaint vs. a criticism) and show your spouse admiration.

*Source: Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

4 Ways to Tear Apart A Relationship- Criticism

Imagine Hope is in the relationship repairing business. Which means we see a lot of people come to us with bad habits that need undone in order for the relationship to last. This week we are going to explain John Gottman's theory called "The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse", which focuses on four behaviors that will sabotage a relationship's chance of being healthy and happy.

#1 Criticism

Expressing yourself in a relationship is key to fulfillment, so airing a complaint or disagreement will need to happen. But this can be a slippery slope into the pit of criticism.

The longer you hold in a complaint the more likely it will come out as a criticism, or even worse an explosion of criticisms that ends with a lot of damage.

So how do you know the differences between a complaint and criticism?

  • A complaint is "a specific statement of anger, displeasure, distress, or other activity". So basically it is when you need to tell someone that something isn't okay with you, and that you need it to be different. With complaints, you attack the action, not the person. The focus is on the negative thing that happened, not the person who did it.
  • A criticism is when someone accuses, attacks, and blames a person and their character when they need something to be different. It can be through a generalization ("You always..." or "You never..."), through keeping a long list of complaints and unleashing them all at once, by judging your partner ("You should..."), and by accusing them or betraying your trust ("You said you were going to get this done...").

A good way to figure out if you are complaining verses criticizing is the word "you" and "I".

  • Complaint: We don't go out as much as I'd like to.
  • Criticism: You never take me anywhere.

I hope you can see the ways criticism can cause things to fall apart in a relationship. Make an effort today to shift your criticism to complaints and see how quickly things change!

Check back tomorrow to hear how contempt can sabotage your relationship!

* Source: "Why Marriages Succeed Or Fail" by John Gottman

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

5 Steps for Handling Frustration- #1

Frustration is part of life and unavoidable. Everyone has a pet peeve and something that can get under their skin. The problem is that we don't always handle it too well. Some might take it out on others. Others might build resentments. And some people will overreact to a simple thing when frustration has built up and not been resolved. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life,  wrote 5 steps for people to follow when they feel frustrated. We hope you find these simple steps easy to include in your daily life in order to decrease frustration.

Step #1 Ask Yourself Did I Cause it?

Are you your own worst enemy? Do you put yourself in frustrating situations? Do you surround yourself with people who aren't emotionally safe and who push your buttons?

When you're frustrated, it is important to examine if you had anything to do with it. If so, it is refreshing and empowering to know that you can choose differently and have some control over this frustration from happening again!

This exercise is not meant for you to beat up on yourself and wallow in your mistakes. It is intended to help you get insight into what happened and how.

I know it doesn't feel good to admit that you brought this frustration on yourself, but it does help to own your actions and make a choice to do it differently in the future.

Once you realize you might have been the cause of your frustrations, try doing the following:

  • Set boundaries with others and yourself.
  • Surround yourself with safe and supportive people.
  • Be aware of your actions.
  • Be intentional as you make choices.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

Keep reading tomorrow for the next step for handling frustration! Thanks for reading!

Source: Five Steps for Handling Frustration by Rick Warren  author of Purpose Driven Life

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

How To Get Over A Breakup-1

Most people have experienced a hard breakup at some point in their life. The loss of the "norm" of being in a relationship can rattle you and cause strong emotional reactions. After all you are used to being connected to that person in some way, positive or negative, for a part of your life. Even when we know that the break up might be a good thing and healthy for us, or if you are the one breaking it off, there still is a grieving period as the loss settles in. You might notice emotional spirals, irrational thought patterns, and even depression after a break up.

Know that the emotional pain is normal and expected after a break up. But be careful to not loose yourself in the pain and find yourself at a deep emotional low if you don't push through the pain to the other side.

The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein is a great and simple reminder of what it means to be healthy in a relationship (by becoming a Big O) and stop trying to complete others by being their Missing Piece. Click Here to watch a short video of the kid's book.

Are you a Missing Piece or A Big O? After a break up, it is important to become a Big O and roll through life in a healthy way.

Keep checking in this week for tips to follow after a break up. Remember to work towards being ok being alone and become a healthy and complete "Big O"!

 

Source: How to get over a break up by Nathan Feiles

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Spring Book Recommendations- Teri

It is spring! Which means it is time for us to share some of our favorite reads as we look forward to nicer weather :) The Law of Happiness: How Spiritual Wisdom and Modern Science Can Change Your Life By Henry Cloud

We live in a world where people are always seeking happiness. Through medications, moving up the corporate ladder, and keeping up with the "Jones's", our society is filled with ideas of how to reach that feeling of true happiness.

So much of what people think will make them happy is through things on the outside, but Henry Cloud helps us see through research and biblical references that true sustainable happiness comes from the inside.

This book covers several different ways and character traits that people have to achieve sustainable happiness. Here are some of my favorite chapters:

  • Happy people are givers
  • Happy people aren't waiting for someday
  • Happy people connect
  • Happy people don't compare themselves
  • Happy people are grateful
  • Happy people have boundaries
  • Happy people forgive
  • Happy people have a faith

There are many more chapters and tons of powerful info that map out the road to happiness. Check it out for ways to overhaul your life towards a happy and fulfilling life!

Check in all week for more great books!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Wellness 1

It is a new year which is often a time for people to look at their lives and set goals. Many pick goals to meet that involve health and wellness. Running the mini, eating healthy, doing an intense workout program, drinking less caffeine etc., each can work together to give you a goal of wellness. What is wellness?

Gerald Corey says the following about wellness in his book, "I never knew I had a choice":

  • It is a lifestyle choice rather than a one time decision.
  • Wellness is a process that involves identifying personal goals.
  • It involves prioritizing your goals and values.
  • Part of wellness means you have to make an action plan.
  • It is about committing yourself to following through on your plans to reach your goals.
  • It is a bridge between self-responsibility and love.
  • We are in one energy system with everything else in creation.

This week we are focusing on wellness with the hopes that you will be inspired to pick the lifestyle of wellness in your life. Keep checking in all week to learn more about it and ways to achieve it!

Source: "I never knew I had a choice" by Gerald Corey

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

The Five Freedoms: To See And Hear

Virginia Satir was a pioneer in the therapy world in bringing amazing concepts to life to help individuals, families, and couples. She looked at the importance of the "experience" of life and how to make it a positive one. She connected the importance of our 5 senses and what impact they have on our experiences.

The 5 Freedoms are affirmations to help people connect with their lives and survive what is going on at each moment.

We hope you can find the deep freedom that can come from each of these this week and can take a step back in your crazy life to make it as positive of an experience as possible.

Freedom #1: To see and hear what is here instead of what should be, was, or will be

Do you ever feel controlled by should's? What about the pain of the past or fear of the future?

If so, you might need to spend time focusing on this freedom. Instead of "should-ing", look around and see what IS right in front of you.

Instead of getting lost in all the pain of the past, focus on what you DO see and hear that is right here. The past can serve it's purpose in directing you, but you need to heal from it not carry it with you. Living in the past robs you of today.

Instead of getting worked up about tomorrow, sit in today. Embrace it. Experience it. Don't loose today because of what is around the corner. You will never get today back.

I hope you can find freedom in your life by being in the moment. This moment is what you have, don't ruin it or loose it. Lean into it to see and hear all that it is and what it can mean for you in your life. There might be some powerful life lessons right before you!

Come back tomorrow for more!

*Adapted from Virginia Satir's The Five Freedoms

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.