Positive Thinking

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

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Tammy McCord

More Than Gratitude at Thanksgiving by Tammy McCord

11 years ago I lost my driving ability due to a medical condition. For 6 months I had to depend on family, friends and taxi's to get everywhere. I don't live in an area that has a large public transportation system. Up until that point, I had taken for granted the fact I could hop in my car any time I wished and go anywhere I needed to go.

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.

Advice to My Younger Self- Christy

Don’t Sweat the Small Things Dear younger Christy-

I know you think the things you are going through right now are the end of the world. You just went through a bad break-up, have constant self-esteem and body image issues, friend drama, and overall High School stress. Let me tell you, it does get better.

The things that you think are so important right now, really aren’t. This isn’t meant to minimize what you’re going through, but rather to tell you that there is a much bigger world out there. Once you leave the four walls of High School, you will realize what’s truly important in life.

Don’t stress so much about the little things. Right now you think your looks and popularity are most important. They are how you judge your self-worth, which is at an all-time low. You will soon find that most people actually love you for what’s on the inside, as cliché as it may sound. Don’t stress about the number on the scale, the size of your jeans, or the zits on your face. They are merely the small things.

The people you’ve been surrounded by are not necessarily the people you will choose to keep in your life. You will soon learn the true meaning of friendship-the kind where a friend will drop anything, no questions asked, just to help you. No strings attached. The friends you make in the future won’t care about the name brand on your shirt or the car that you drive. Don’t stress about these little things now.

The guy you just broke up with will continue to play games. He is not the right one for you. He will tell you what you want to hear, then turn around and say mean and hurtful things. Don’t sweat the small things with him. Don’t allow him to cause you so much hurt and stress. Eventually you will look back on this relationship as merely a learning experience. Don’t let the small things bother you so much.

In a few years, you will realize what life is really all about. It’s about love, relationships, faith, and hope. These are the big things in life. The relationships you build will become so much more powerful than you can ever imagine. The wonderful man you meet in a few years ends up not only becoming your husband, but also your best friend. You accomplish more than you ever thought you could because you find your own positive self-worth.

So, don’t sweat the small things.

Love,

Christy

 

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.

10 Ways to Become More Resilient-Part 1

How good are you at bouncing back from a struggle? Do you wallow and feel pulled under by the heaviness of the negative situation? Or do you shift into an empowered mindset and refuse to let it bring you down?

 

Resilience is the ability to bounce back and cope well through and after a struggle. This week we are sharing Kendra Cherry’s tips to become more resilient.

Let’s face it…life is hard. We can all use a boost in these areas to help us make it through.

1. Build Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities

When you think of your abilities, do you see all the things you CAN’T do, or all you CAN do? When you focus on all your weaknesses, you tend to forget that you actually have strengths!

Believing in your abilities can help you cope through a tough storm. It might be helpful to make a list of your strengths and keep them handy for those times you have trouble focusing on the positive.

2. Find a Sense of Purpose in Your Life

When life gets harder than usual, it helps to have purpose to keep you focused and put one step in front of the other.

People find purpose in many ways like in a faith in Jesus, becoming part of a community, their marriage and kids, and meaningful jobs.

Purpose helps drive us to push through and become more resilient because we have something to fight for and live for. We believe in something and we feel so convicted that we won’t let anything get in the way.

Check in tomorrow for more tips. Life will always be hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bounce back and be resilient!

Source: 10 ways to become more resilient by Kendra Cherry http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/tp/become-more-resilient.htm

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.

Let Go & Let In 3

Today we continue to talk about the negative things that we need to let go of in our lives and the positive things we need to let into our lives-just thinking about these two put a smile on my face! 5. Let In Laughter

Are you going through life being too serious?  Is everything in your life “business” and something you “just need to get through”?  It’s time to lighten up and have a good laugh!

Laughter truly is the best medicine!  If you find your life void of laughter and fun, there is a very good chance you are depressed, withdrawn, and just existing.  It’s ok to have fun and let your guard down.  If you are serious all of the time, you will miss out on so much.  God gave us a sense of humor for a reason!  Let go of all the seriousness and just laugh-it will lighten your mood and improve your attitude-and life won’t feel like such a chore.

6. Let In Joy

What brings you joy?  If you have a hard time answering this, you need to think long and hard about your life and priorities.  We all deserve to feel love and joy in our lives-it’s what helps us get through the really difficult times.  Think about what makes you smile, and let it into your life.

If there are things or people in your life that are stealing your joy, it may be time to make some changes.  Maybe it’s time for a job change, or time to start setting boundaries with a toxic family member or friend.  It’s not always easy, but it is worth it.

Find joy in the little things.  Your children learning something new.  No line at Starbucks this morning.  Your spouse texting you just to say “I love you”.  A positive compliment from your boss.  Joy really comes to us in many different ways throughout our days-we just need to make sure we let it in.

Continue to read this week as we talk more about letting go of negatives and letting in the positives.  Have a great day!

*Adapted from “You Are Worthy of Receiving: 10 Things To Let Into Your Life” by Kathy Kruger

 

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.

Let Go & Let In 2

I love that we're talking about how to replace bad habits or ways of life with something positive. Let's continue with the positives we need to let into our lives as we let go of the negatives. 3. Let In Compassion

This starts by allowing ourselves to ask for help, and having compassion for ourselves. We can't worry we can't do everything on our own...no one else can do everything on their own, so why should we be any different? We need to start being kind to ourselves and stop judging ourselves for not being perfect. The more we're able to do this, the more we'll be able to be kind to others and stop judging others. Letting in compassion can also mean opening ourselves to being comforted and loved by others. It can be easier to offer comfort to friends and family at times, but letting them return the favor is necessary as well.

4. Let In Forgiveness

Forgiving others is just as healing and important as forgiving ourselves. Letting in forgiveness allows us to experience personal freedom, and internal peace. A key to experiencing forgiveness is allowing ourselves to be human, and admitting we're going to make mistakes. Once we're able to admit this, it will be easier to let in forgiveness. If there is someone in our lives we need to extend forgiveness to, this applies here as well. Not extending forgiveness to someone will hold bitterness inside, rather than create peace.

Hopefully this list is giving you some good ideas for letting some positive things into your life. We have many more wonderful things to discuss over the rest of the week. Thank you for reading!

*Adapted from “You Are Worthy of Receiving: 10 Things To Let Into Your Life” by Kathy Kruger

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.