Positive Thinking

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 4

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 4

One of the things we help teach our clients is how to "reframe" something in their life from a negative to a positive.  This could be a characteristic of them, their spouse, or a behavior they do.  Most people become attracted to another person based on something specific, and end up in a marriage

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 3

Seeing Yourself in a New Way Part 3

Isn't it interesting to hear how other's view themselves? I would have never imagined that Tamara or Christy wanted to be any different. I LOVE their personalities. I think it is a special gift when we can see something we once saw negative in ourselves and now see it as positive.

Seeing Yourself in a Different Way Part 2

Seeing Yourself in a Different Way Part 2

As Christy introduced yesterday, we're taking a trait that we'd normally like to change about ourselves and spinning it into something we can see in a different, more positive way.

Seeing Yourself in a Different Way Part 1

Seeing Yourself in a Different Way Part 1

This week on the blog, we are discussing how to reframe the way you look at yourself—and spin it into something positive! We all have character traits that we probably don’t like or wish we could change. We hope this week that you will recognize that positive can come from what we perceive to be negative:

Great Self-Help Book Recommendation by Natalie

Great Self-Help Book Recommendation by Natalie

The book I want to recommend is one I read 14 years ago and still refer back to as a reminder for my thoughts and as a resource for my clients when they struggle with their thinking. It is Battlefield of the MInd by Joyce Meyer

Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Optimistic

Ways to Handle Change Better: Be Optimistic

New Year's Resolutions. Have you given up yet?? We hope not. Change is hard and takes real intention. That's why many people give up on it and don't follow through. They don't plan the intentions. Hopefully this week you are finding some ways to handle change and stick with it.

Accept Uncertainty and Be Optimistic

What is PTG? Part 3

What is PTG? Part 3

This week we have been talking about the positive outcomes of experiencing trauma.  We, as humans, have the incredible ability to be resilient to life's challenges.  When we experience traumatic experiences in our lives, we can learn and grow from these experiences, allowing each of us to find strength and increase our level of functioning, despite experiences of adversity.  Today I will be discussing how we can discover new possibilities in our lives after experiencing trauma.

Seeing Yourself in a New Way - 2

As Christy introduced yesterday, we're taking a trait that we'd normally like to change about ourselves and spinning it into something we can see in a different, more positive way. It's interesting that Christy mentioned wanting to be a big personality....because that's exactly what I can struggle with in my life. (By the way, we love Christy and her soft, yet funny demeanor!) I was a pretty quiet and introverted girl until I hit 5th grade....and then it was like this personality explosion occurred. I became outgoing, boisterous and talkative. And. I. Haven't. Stopped.

Having a big personality means that I can be bold, straightforward, loud, ask lots of questions, speak up when I see injustice, and laugh... A LOT. But there's times I walk away from a conversation or a group setting beating myself up for having this personality. Some things I "hear" or say to myself are:

  • "You were too loud"
  • "You shouldn't have said anything"
  • "You're being selfish when you act like this"

As I've gotten older, I realize God made me to have a big personality. And it's good He made me this way! Having a big personality allows me to do many things I wouldn't do otherwise. It allows me to live life in a big, grand way. And I love that. I combat those negative, defeating thoughts with these:

  • "My straightforwardness is valuable. Others won't have to guess how I feel or walk on eggshells around me."
  • "Speaking up against things I know to be wrong protects others. I'd want someone to stand up for me in the same situation."
  • "Sometimes I am loud. It's not to get attention. I'm loud because I'm having a good time. I'm not hurting anyone."

We all have something we would like to see be different about ourselves. We challenge you to take that very thing you'd like to change and look at it in a different light, rather than wish it away altogether. Thank you 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.

Seeing Yourself in a New Way-1

This week on the blog, we are discussing how to reframe the way you look at yourself—and spin it into something positive! We all have character traits that we probably don’t like or wish we could change. We hope this week that you will recognize that positive can come from what we perceive to be negative: When I was younger, I wished I had a big personality. You know, the kind of personality that is loud, big, funny, and everyone loves. I wanted to have the confidence to walk into a room and be the center of attention. I wanted to be the one who had so many friends because everyone was drawn to them. I thought that if I could achieve this, everything else in my life would change too.

If you know me, you know I don’t have a big personality AT ALL. I’m an extrovert but I can be quiet. In big groups, I am not the loudest, funniest, etc. In fact, I often sit back and watch the dynamics occurring in the room between everyone (which probably explains why I’m a therapist).

I used to view my quiet extrovert-ness as a weakness. I thought it would hold me back both socially and professionally. The older I get, the more I recognize that it actually is a strength. I’ve been told that people are drawn to me, not because I’m a huge personality, but because I have a calming personality. The older I get, the more my confidence has increased—but so has my acceptance of who I am at my core. I am just not a big personality. And that’s ok!

I also have realized the value in the quality of friends I have versus the quantity of friends. The friendships I have are more about deep connection and support than about being “surfacey” or being plentiful. Also, I can be funny in small groups, but I’m never going to be the funniest—and I’ve learned to accept that.

What about you? What traits do you view as negative that you need to view as positive?

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.

 

Lessons From Veterans- Strong

Happy Veteran's Day this week! We are so thankful to all the men and women who have served in our armed forces. In honor of all the brave veterans this week, we want to highlight some great attributes they exhibit. Strong-

When I think about veteran's, one word that comes to mind is "strong". Knowing many of the challenges people in the military face, their strength is an attribute that can carry them through hardships.

Strong has many great definitions:

  • able to perform a specified action well and powerfully.
  • having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks.
  • able to withstand great force or pressure.
  • possessing skills and qualities that create a likelihood of success.
  • (of a person's character) showing determination, self-control, and good judgment.
  • very intense.

We don't have to be in the military to be strong, but tapping into our inner strength even when we feel like giving up is a great lesson to follow of some of our veterans.

When you read some of these definitions above, do you notice that you may be stronger than you give yourself credit for?

Life throws us tons of unexpected challenges, without strength, we are likely to struggle and crumble through it.

What gives you strength? God? People believing in you? You believing in you?

Like veterans, there are no promises that things will be easy, so you must rely on strength to get you through.

Check in for more tomorrow!

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.

Simple Changes That Can Help Your Marriage 5-8

Sometimes it doesn't take much to lift our moods, does it? A simple compliment, a smile or a "thank-you" can go a long way. The same is true about marriage. It's the simple things that can help on days that seem never-ending, or just plain rotten. But, your marriage doesn't have to match the mood of the day. Here's some simple suggestions to help your marriage:

5. Sit next to each other. Some of you may be thinking, "What?" But, too often in our office we hear disconnected couples talk about sitting on separate couches/loveseats at night. This physical distance is representative of the emotional distance in their relationship. Begin changing the relationship by moving physically closer. Sooner or later you might find yourselves snuggling!

6. If you think he/she looks nice...say it! How often do we think something nice about our spouses, but that's where it ends? Follow-through and speak it. How much impact would this make on your marriage? And on your children?

7. Eat meals together as often as you can (without technology). Set aside time in your evening as a couple (or family) to eat together. Turn off the tv/computer/phone/tablets and (gasp!) talk to each other. (We know doing this every evening is not possible.)  Create connection, find out how your spouse or family members are doing face-to-face. Social media posts may say how your family members are doing, but face-to-face conversations will show you how they're doing.

8. Thank your spouse for doing what they always do. Thank each other for their normal roles from time-to-time. This doesn't need to be expected regularly, but every once in a while it's nice to hear, "Hey, thanks for making dinner", or "Thanks for picking up the kids",  "It's nice to come home to clean laundry", or "It's nice to not have to worry about taking the trash out".

There's many more simple changes that can help your marriage. Please keep reading this week as we discusses several more!

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.

 

Spring Book Recommendations

We love books here at Imagine Hope! They are such a good tool for clients to dig deeper into their learning which can help the therapy process in many ways. This week each of us will be sharing some books we've found to be helpful in our own journey that we recommend for clients.

Teri's Pick: "Lord, Change my Attitude" by James MacDonald

Do you need an attitude adjustment? If so, what are YOU willing to do about it?

Many times our stubborn hearts say we want our attitudes to change, but we are not willing to swallow our pride enough to get the results we are looking for.

We might think we want an attitude change, but what we are actually seeking is a circumstance change. These things are very different. We all know what it is like to be out of control of a difficult time in our lives. It brings us down and often creates anxiety. Sometimes there are circumstances we just can't change. But we can work to change our attitudes about the negative experience.

James MacDonald uses this book to help you understand what the Bible says about attitudes and how to flip a bad attitude into a good one. There is a study guide in the back that helps readers dig deeper into each chapter.

We often drift into complaining, wishing we had a life like someone else (coveting), being critical, doubting, and flat out rebellion from what we know we "should" do. This book exposes what scripture says each of these attitudes and confronts the heart issues surrounding each one. Then it gives solutions along with a new attitude to replace the old negative one.

Have a complaining attitude? If so, this book helps you see the harm, and guides you down the path to replace it with a thankful attitude.

I always love a great Christian book that uses the Bible to teach us how to live a more Christ-like life.

Remember an attitude change can change your outlook on life.

Check back in tomorrow for another great book to add to your list!

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 Love Yourself – 3

When you don’t love or accept yourself, it can be very difficult for others to love you.  If you’ve been reading this week, you know that we have talked about the importance of self-love and provided some tips to start moving you in a more positive direction.  Here are some additional ways to work towards loving yourself: Stop Perfectionism

Like Teri mentioned on Monday, none of us are perfect!  Accepting this truth is the first step in releasing perfectionistic tendencies.  Perfectionism is often created from shame and not feeling “good enough”.  Perfectionists often overcompensate for not feeling “good enough” by trying to gain others’ approval in alternative ways (ex. perfect house, perfect looks, overachieving at work).

Allowing yourself to mess up and recognizing your shortcomings can go a long way in decreasing perfectionism.  Realize that most people are still going to love you even if everything about you is not “perfect”.   YOU are ENOUGH!

Self-Support

You have the ability to be your biggest critic or your biggest cheerleader.  The self-talk that you hear constantly can either build you up or bring you down.  Which voice in your head is going to be the loudest today?

The negative voice is condemning, pessimistic, and always “glass half-empty”.  It makes you look at a difficult situation and feel completely overwhelmed and discouraged.  It convinces you that you’re incompetent for any task and that nothing is ever going to get better.  Is this the voice that you want helping to navigate you through life?  Of course not!

Listening to the positive voice can make you feel like a million bucks.  It’s encouraging, optimistic, and affirming.  It makes you look at difficult situations and see the silver lining.  It gives you confidence that you are capable and have the tools to handle life’s challenges.  It’s always PRO-YOU!

Utilize Your Support System

Recognizing your shortcomings as a human being can be humbling.  You are not always going to have the solution for every problem you encounter.  Sometimes, life is just tough.  Reaching out to people doesn’t mean that you are weak—it actually shows that you recognize the importance of community support.  We are not made to navigate life alone.

Utilize your support system as you learn to love and accept yourself.  If someone else can love you despite your flaws, you should be able to do the same.  Ask a friend what they see as your greatest gifts/talents/traits.  Sometimes all it takes is someone else seeing positive in you—and you can start to believe that you are worthy of love.

Continue to read this week as we share more ways that you can work towards loving yourself.

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.

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.

More Than Gratitude - 4

When I was in Graduate School I struggled with depression. Mostly because my life was out of balance due to working, going to school, and doing internships. I read something that changed my life. It talked about keeping a gratitude journal. I started writing down 5 things a day I was grateful for. Now it is just a habit to think in a grateful way, which has changed how I think and feel every day. That's why I love this week’s blog where we are sharing unconventional things to be grateful for.  

Access to Education

My kids do the normal moaning and groaning about going to school. However, recently I traveled to India where I saw kids who did not have access to school due to their social class or economic situation. I felt so sad for them. Many of them want to go to school and they see it as a privilege- only for the lucky ones. I shared this with my kids and now they actually try (aside from the Monday morning moaning) to be grateful for their education.

 

Clean Water

Do you know what the leading cause of death is in the world? Diarrhea.  And it stems from illnesses related to lack of clean water. In America, we are so fortunate to turn on the faucet and have clean water to drink, cook with, and clean ourselves. This is something to be thankful for.

 

The Very Breath We Breathe and Breathing It On Our Own

Two and a half years ago my niece was in a coma and on life support. As I sat by her bed and watched the ventilator breathe for her, I thought about how we take for granted every breath we breathe and the fact that we are able to do it on our own. This is truly something to be grateful for. And I'm grateful my niece made it okay and is living life to the fullest today!

 

What can you be grateful for today? Tomorrow Joleen will share more things to be grateful for.

 

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville

More Than Gratitude - 1

Look around you…can you see the good? Do you look around with gratitude when you survey your life? Having a gratitude lens can have a big impact on your life. Not only does it give you a more positive outlook, but it also has an impact on your body both physically and emotionally!

Gratitude can impact your body in ways you might not even realize. It can reduce your stress level, increase endorphins, and help strengthen your immunity.

It also has an impact on the way you think. People with an attitude of gratitude have a decreased chance of depression, and are more resilient because of their positive thinking. They can bounce back from difficult times better than people who lack gratitude.

Do you think having a spirit of gratitude has an impact on your relationships? You bet it does! People are drawn to thankful and appreciative people. They have more positive energy and are enjoyable to be around.  They are also less self-focused.

There may be hardships around you. But everyone can find something to be grateful for. Read the rest of the week for some simple things we tend to take for granted when it comes to gratitude.

Thanks for reading!

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.