Everyone has dreams, but not everyone makes their dreams into goals. You may have a few of these too. What are the reasons you tell yourself late at night to put the shutdown on making them a reality? These reasons are beliefs that you have, but that doesn’t mean they are valid reasons.
Not Enough Time
Everyone is busy these days. When someone asks how you are doing, you probably respond with “Busy.” But that might not be the truth. Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in the day. For a week or maybe two, keep a time ladder of how you spent your time. This includes sleeping, preparing and eating meals, social media, getting ready for work, cleaning your house. Take a good look at how your time is spent, and you might realize you have more time than you realize.
I Don’t Have ‘X’ Talent
It doesn’t matter if you want to write a book or paint a picture, you have as much talent as you are willing to work for. You may not have been born with the natural ability to paint, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn and practice.
After ‘X’ I Will Do It
“Once I get through this (insert tough project at work), I will start training for that marathon.” “After I lose twenty pounds, I will take a salsa dancing class.” Why are you waiting? Maybe that marathon training will help you work through the stress of that project at work. Perhaps salsa dancing lessons will allow you realize that no matter your weight, your body is worthy of fun and sexy movement. If you have a goal, go for it now.
I’m Not Good Enough
What ruler are you using to measure your “good enough”? You are always good enough to go after your own dreams and goals. If this is an internal dialogue, then you need to work on liking and loving yourself first. If this belief is coming from external sources, then consider those sources and if they are holding you back.
‘X’ Person Has it Easier
The grass is greener where you water it. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. There are many sayings that sum up that you really don’t know what someone else is going through. So do not assume that someone has it easier, and therefore can achieve their goals while you cannot. That person may think you have it easier or better.
Self-limiting beliefs can be a slippery slope. They can also keep you from even trying to reach your goals. Take time to examine your reasoning and come up with better beliefs to counter the negative ones.
Let Ron Huxley help you today. Schedule a session or take a free course at FamilyHealer.tv
When people treat you wrong, it is very easy to hold a grudge. You may not understand how it could be possible to forgive someone for a slight, especially if the action was especially hurtful. Maybe you think forgiveness is about the other person and somehow,they benefit from you forgiving them. Forgiveness is not about the other person; it is about you.
Forgiving another person does not always mean they stay in your life. Sometimes you do not even let them know you are forgiving them. You do not even need to trust them again. Just forgive them to eliminate the negativity in your life.
Even horrific crimes can be forgiven. For safety reasons, you may want to use an indirect way of forgiving them instead of contacting them directly. Write a letter as if you plan on sending it to the other person. Talk about how what they did made you feel, and about how it made you think about yourself. Write about how you are no longer going to allow them space in your head and how you forgive them for what they did to you.
When you finish writing, seal up the letter in an envelope and put their name on the front. Then either throw it away (shred it first!) or burn the letter. It does not have to actually be read by the person you are forgiving, this exercise is to help you get past the negativity and the chains that are holding you back as a person.
If you find you can’t forgive on your own, you may want to talk with a professional. Therapy can really help you get past this hurdle. Especially if the person committed a serious crime. If you have been abused, particularly over a long period of time, you may need therapy to help you get past what was done to you. There is nothing wrong with seeking help.
Once you have forgiven the other person, you will feel like a weight has been lifted, or chains have been removed. Grudges are not healthy for you and they do not affect the other person. When you bottle up negative feelings, you can increase your risks of developing heart disease, and other health conditions. You tend to age faster as well. Not forgiving others can dim your overall outlook on life, so why put yourself through all of that?
Remember that forgiveness is not about the other person, it is about eliminating the negativity in your own life. So free yourself today by forgiving others for the wrongs they have done to you.
Resiliency is the ability to adjust to life’s difficulties and overcome challenging and stressful situations. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how resilient are you? How resilient is your child?
Resilient parents don’t automatically have resilient children. This can be frustrating for parents who want their kids to get motivated about school, say no to bad choices, or accept rejection and failures. If your child scores low on the resiliency scale, you can build new skills to help them grow emotionally and mentally.
Resilience has several attributes that parents would love to see in their children:
Emotional awareness and regulation
Inner drive or motivation
Future focus and readiness for change
Strong social connections/relationships
Physical health, sleep, and diet
Creating this in your child will be a process that occurs over time. The hope is that children will show these characteristics by the time they turn 18 and leave the home but even if it takes longer it is a goal parents will want to continue nurturing in them.
Don’t compare your child to others. Focus on the qualities of your child only! Comparisons places to much pressure on you and your child and will sabotage your efforts to develop this mental strength.
Parents have to model resiliency. You can’t preach resiliency if you don’t practice resiliency. Children will always do what you do over what you say. Put words and actions together to encourage resiliency.
Peers have a strong pull on children actions contrary to what your teenager tries to tell you. Be aware of who they are interacting with and work to know your children’s friends and their family, if possible. You don’t have to ban a friend you feel is the best influence on your child but you can talk with your them your concerns and offer suggestions on how to set boundaries and stand up for themselves and what they believe in.
Start with emotions. The more you validate and empathize with your child the stronger their conscience development. A strong moral compass will help your child overcome tough circumstances and follow the right path. This way you don’t have to be hovering over their shoulder every minute. If your child handles a situation poorly or makes a wrong decision, be empathic but encourage them to try again. Isn’t this how we all learn? Focusing on your child’s emotional awareness will produce more resilient people. about changes in behavior and encourage your child’s friends to be at your home and offer your supervision over them. Children with high emotional awareness will be more resilient people.
Young children will need to increase their emotional vocabulary. Label feelings, explore different feelings, validate positive and uncomfortable emotions. Make feelings ok and don’t push them down or brush them off but don’t over focus on them. A good healthy, emotional balance translates into greater resiliency.
Older children can have more complex conversations about feelings and social situations. Don’t shy away from cultural discussions and world situations. Use them to explore thoughts and ideas, helping the older child to see all sides of an issue. A more open-minded approach will rap children who have better judgment and compassion.
You can learn more about resiliency by consulting with Ron Huxley through a free online course at FamilyHealer.tv or schedule a session today.
How’s your mood? Is it cheerful, irritable, fearful, or optimistic? Does your mood change from day to day, or is it relatively constant? Do you find that your mood creates problems in your relationship at home, school, or work?
When someone asks you how your mood is doing, it’s usually not because your mood is cheery and light, right? Someone has noticed a change in your attitude or demeanor. Perhaps this has been going on for some time, or it changes from day to day. People often get offended by this question precisely because of their negative feelings. It can feel like criticism or a put-down like you are a problem to them. But asking about your mood may be an attempt for others to understand what is going on. They may want to help but don’t know how difficult it is to explain when you are unsure about what is happening!
No one wants to feel sad or grumpy. We want to be happier, optimistic, open to new experiences, and deeply connected to others. That is not always the reality. Some people may not shake their negative moods, no matter how hard they try. Is this your situation?
If you could flip a switch on your mood, you would, wouldn’t you? It is hard to have a greater thought than your most intense feeling.
Let Ron Huxley help you today!
What is a “mood”?
A mood is an affective state that can last for days, months, or even a lifetime. In contrast to emotions or feelings, moods are not as intense, may reflect a general state of mind, or, if persistent, become descriptive of your personality. Moods aren’t usually swayed by external events, or not for very long. You might be intensely happy about a job promotion or getting an “A” on a test, but you quickly return to feeling angry or sad. What happened? There is no reason to feel this way. The reason is due to the nature of mood.
We describe the mood as an attitude, spirit, temper, tenor, disposition, tendency, or character. A parent might say that their teenager is “in a mood.” A spouse might tell a friend, “don’t bother him right now; he’s in one of his moods.” It can also be a way to describe a strong desire or craving, as in, “I am in the mood for ice cream” or, like the famous song states: “I am in the mood for love.”
Creative works of art can be said to have a mood. Masterful literature or film has light, cheery, or dark moods and is somber in tone. The story, song, or painting might be reflective, gloomy, romantic, mysterious, calm, hopeful, angry, fearful, tense, or lonely. These works of art resonate with our current mood. Comfort can be found in a book, movie, or lyric. Soundtracks give scenes in a film a mood that creates tension, fear, and drama.
We are so moody or easily swayed in our moods because human beings are hardwired social-emotional creatures. Moods can be contagious and quickly picked up by being around someone else who is in a different mood than us. A dark and depressing mood can promptly shift the atmosphere of the room. You weren’t depressed before you walked into the room, but now, one second later, you are. We think we are “bipolar,” but this is just being social-emotional creatures.
Test this out: the next time you have a sudden mood switch, look around you and notice who is in the room and how they are acting? You might spot the culprit giving off negative vibes that you are picking up.
Take a deep breath of relief and let your confusion and negative energy on. Breathe in and tell yourself: “the feeling is not about me,” and on the exhale, release it. Want this means about yourself is that you are empathic and sensitive, two wonderful human traits.
As a therapist with three decades of experience working with people with mood disorders and trauma, I have discovered some practical tools to help “flip the switch.” Schedule a session today!
The following is from a recent study on the effects of the pandemic on our mental health, substance use, and suicidality. It is safe to say that those of us who were already experience challenges before the pandemic have seen an increase in our struggles.
Even if we never had issues with mental health or substance use, the pandemic caused us to feel depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
Data show COVID’s impact on nation’s mental health, substance use…
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released findings from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the nation’s well-being. Americans responding to the NSDUH survey reported that the coronavirus outbreak adversely impacted their mental health, including by exacerbating use of alcohol or drugs among people who had used drugs in the past year.
Several changes to the 2020 NSDUH prevent its findings from being directly comparable to recent past-year surveys, as explained below.
Based on data collected nationally from October to December 2020, it is estimated that 25.9 million past-year users of alcohol and 10.9 million past-year users of drugs other than alcohol reported they were using these substances “a little more or much more” than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic began. During that same time period, youths ages 12 to 17 who had a past-year major depressive episode (MDE) reported they were more likely than those without a past-year MDE to feel that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health “quite a bit or a lot.” Adults 18 or older who had any mental illness (AMI) or serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year were more likely than adults without mental illness to report that the pandemic negatively affected their mental health “quite a bit or a lot.”
The 2020 data also estimate that 4.9 percent of adults aged 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide, 1.3 percent made a suicide plan, and 0.5 percent attempted suicide in the past year. These findings vary by race and ethnicity, with people of mixed ethnicity reporting higher rates of serious thoughts of suicide. Among people of mixed ethnicity 18 or older, 11 percent had serious thoughts of suicide, 3.3 percent made a suicide plan and 1.2 percent attempted suicide in the past year. Among Whites 18 or older, 5.3 percent had serious thoughts of suicide, 1.4 percent made a suicide plan, and 0.5 percent attempted suicide in the past year. Among Hispanics or Latinos 18 or older, 4.2 percent had serious thoughts of suicide, 1.2 percent made a suicide plan and 0.6 percent attempted suicide in the past year. Among adolescents 12 to 17, 12 percent had serious thoughts of suicide, 5.3 percent made a suicide plan, and 2.5 percent attempted suicide in the past year.
“SAMHSA’s annual NSDUH provides helpful data on the extent of substance use and mental health issues in the United States,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., who leads SAMHSA. “These data help to guide our policy directions in addressing such priorities as addiction, suicide prevention, and the intersection of substance use and mental health issues.”
If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, your mind cannot be at its best. You won’t function properly and may make some serious mistakes. Unfortunately, stress can cause people to stay awake at night. However, getting the right amount of sleep can help eventually reduce your stress levels.
To get better sleep, start exercising on a regular basis. While exercise may give you energy throughout the day, when you go to bed at night, it will help you to sleep better. You will have a quality sleep as well. Some people find that exercising in the evening causes them to be wired, and they can’t get to sleep. If you fall into this camp of people, consider doing your exercising in the morning. This way, you’ll use that energy burst throughout the day and will give you time to become tired.
Try to avoid using alcohol in excess. Although this seems counterintuitive as alcohol makes you sleepy, it causes you to fall into a deep sleep. You then wake up in the middle of the night and have a difficult time getting back to sleep. Without the alcohol, your sleep will be more even and allow you to sleep throughout the night. If you feel you must have alcohol, don’t have more than one drink.
See a doctor if you have sleeping problems that persist. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a decline in your health. Sleep recharges the body and allows it to function properly, including building up antibodies to fight off diseases. When you are deprived of sleep, a bunch of problems can arise because of it.
Hopefully, if you do resort to seeing a doctor, he will find solutions that are not drug-dependent. This may help your sleep problems in the short term but doesn’t do much to fix the reason why you are not getting sleep. Press your doctor for alternative solutions if drugs are being prescribed.
Consider learning meditation as that can relax the mind. It’s much easier to get good sleep when the mind is relaxed than when it is thinking about all the problems you are facing. Meditation won’t solve those problems. But, getting to sleep can help you to come up with solutions faster.
Eating at the proper times during the day and eating the right kinds of foods, can help you to sleep better at night, as well. If you have a heavy meal right before you are going to bed, you could suffer from indigestion, which will not lead to a good sleep at all.
You just went through a pandemic. You have to give yourself time to heal from all the stress and trauma you have experienced. Even if you didn’t go through a global health crisis, lose your job, or have to deal with children doing school in your living room, you still need a self-care plan for your life.
You started the day ready to take on the world. From the moment you got out of bed, you’ve been thinking about all the things you’re going to get done today. You can’t wait to get started!
Then it all falls apart.
By the end of the day, you’re grumpy and out of sorts. The day somehow derailed, and here you are, feeling like you didn’t accomplish half the things you wanted to today. What happened?
Well, sometimes life really does get in the way. The car won’t start, or the dog gets out, and you spend half the morning chasing him around the neighborhood. Life gets in the way. More often than not, though, you likely did what most people do: you crashed and burned. Somewhere …you just ran out of energy.
So, how do you maintain your energy levels even on the toughest of days?
Check-in With Yourself
First of all, you need to be paying attention to your body a little bit more. If you can catch yourself right when your energy begins to waver, you might be able to stave off a massive crash later on. Frequently when we’re lagging, it’s because we need something small, like a drink of water, a little activity, or even a small snack. These are quick and easy fixes that only take a minute. Ignore them, though, and you’re libel to lose hours out of your day before you know it.
Engage in a Routine (or Two)
We tend to burn out energy because we’re scrambling to sort out our day and find the things we need. If you have a morning routine, for example, you’ll have everything near at hand right when you need it. Getting out of the door will take half the energy, giving you reserves for where you need it most. Ask yourself what parts of your day you can streamline by creating a routine and make sure to follow through with those routines as often as possible.
Become More Intentional
Too often, our day becomes filled with little nonsense tasks which take up energy and time. Really, what is it you need to do? What actions will leave the biggest impact on the day? Put your energy where it counts most by being more intentional in what you’re doing. Remember, you don’t have to be the one to do everything. Delegate the non-essential items to keep yourself focused on what matters.
Get to Bed!
While a bedtime routine is a great start, pay more attention to your sleep. Create a sleep environment that is free from noise and distraction. Make sure your room is at an optimal temperature, and yes, if need be, invest in a better mattress or new pillows. Getting a good night’s sleep will keep you more energetic throughout the day.
This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.
Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month Ron Huxley is highlighting the TraumaToolbox.com- what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.
We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening at MHAscreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.
It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.
A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at MHAscreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing. Ultimately, during this month of May, Ron Huxley wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible.
Check out the many mental health tools create free at the TraumaToolbox.com.
A common struggle for modern people is a disconnection between the head and heart. We know one thing to be true, in our head, but we don’t feel or experience that truth, in our hearts or lives. We might have “Know-ledge” that someone love us (a partner, family, friend) but we don’t feel or experience the “know-ing.”
The result of this disconnection is a wide rage of negative emotions and physiological reactions. This lack, of knowing in our hearts, is rapidly creating anxiety in the world. The manifestation is broken relationships, depression and suicidal ideations, and addiction to handle pain. A simple remedy is to reconnect the head and heart.
Neuroscience provides the key to reconnecting head and heart through the new science of neuroplasticity. This refers to the brains ability to reorganize into new networks and mental patterns. It used to be believed that the brain and nervous system only grew during childhood and then stopped. All our learned patterns were fixed once we were adults or at least drastically slowed down. We know know that this is not true.
Learning can occur across the lifespan and the brain can reroute circuits, repattern networks, and even create new brain matter in response to new social emotional inputs, environmental influences, repeated practices, and even small amounts of psychological stress (yes, stress). The brain can also relearn skills, like speaking and motor movement, following brain damage.
Because the brain can be redesigned it is called “plastic” or moldable. Children are an example of neuroplasticity. Developmentally, they are “experience-dependent” coming into the world with neuro-hardware possessing basic operating instructions but needing software or experiences from loving caregivers to program the brain and its resulting behaviors or actions.
The infant brain is primed for social contact and seeks healthy attachments. If those attachments are missed or the attachment bond is frightening, as in case of abused and neglected children, the result is a child with severe emotional and behavioral disturbances.
Fortunatley, if a chlid did not “inherit” a healthy attachment, an adult, through deep inner work and repairing with healthy adult partners, can “earn” their lost security.
NOTE: You can learn more about attachment in our free online course at Traumatoolbox.com
Here is a simple two-step practice that has been proven to change the brain in a positive way and connect the head to the heart:
1. Activate your head. What is you WANT to believe but don’t currently feel is true? Write this statement out on a piece of paper and say it outloud. Of course, it will not FEEL true because it is your head that is saying it, not your heart.
2. Activate your heart. Picture this statement “as if” it were true. Hold that image in your heart while you take slow, deep breaths. The breathing will keep the body from overriding the statements as not true. It just wants to protect you from hurt or disappoinment. Ignore it, or better yet, thank it for trying to protect you and continue to picture it.
This is not “whoo-whoo” philosphy. This is science. Research has proven that daily expressions of gratitude create literal changes in brain structure and mental functions. This is measureable change! The brain looks for reasons to validate what it believes. If you believe that you people are rude to you, your reticular activating system (a group of neural connectsion in your brain stem that play a crucial role in maintaining behavioral arousl, direct focus, and conciousness) will filter sensor input to be congruent with the thoughts you think about yourself and your world. The brain validates what you believe! If you think people are rude, you will see rude people everwhere. They are not hard to find…
If you think that people are kind and generous toward you, the reticular activating system will filter out the rude people and notice only kind and generous people. In turn, this will reinforce your knowledge of kind and generous people, and increase your knowing additional kind and generous people, developing new neural pathways in the physical brain so you have new mental capacity and memories, and new moods and behaviors will develop.
If this doesn’t convince you, listen to this interesting fact:
The heart is a more power, electrical object than your brain! The heart is about 100,000 times stronger electrically and up to 5000 ties stronger magnetically than the brain. Although imperceptible to us, the heart give off an electromagnetic (EEG) field that can be measured up to three feet away from our bodies. It you are depressed, angry, bitter…can others experience it whether they mentally understand it or not? Of course, they can. Ask any highly sensitive person and they will tell you how challenging it is to be in a room with another sad or angry person. The emotional field will shift their emotional state as well unless they mentally (head and hearts connection again) rehearse this this feeling is not their but belongs to others.
Here’s another fact:
The heart is not just a blood-pumping organ, it is a sensory organ. It acts as a “sophisticated information encoding and processing center that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions.”
An emotion is e-motion or energy in motion. It is not just thoughts, in our head, that direct our lives. Our heart is an important area of personal and spiritual growth as well. We need it to have healthy relationships, make successful business decisions, and overcome traumatic events. This latter area is called “neuroresilience” as is a term coined by Ron Huxley in his online course: TraumaToolbox.com
It is really time to stop using our heads without connecting our hearts. Use the two-step practice, allow the principle of neuroplasticity to affect new change, and find more freedom in thoughts and emotions.
When it is chronic and untreated, adverse events can become toxic stress and severely impact individual health, social and cultural structure, and economic stability.
Trauma affects everyone and has known no boundaries. It affects children and adults from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. It is one of the common denominators for individuals receiving services from social services organizations, and its structural disorganization shows up in correctional institutions, jails, schools, hospitals, and the workplace.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” [https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/trauma-informed]
The upside of recognizing the commonality of adversity and toxic stress causes us to respond compassionately to ourselves and others!
This continual horror, triggered by events in the individual’s world, leads to a nervous system shutdown that has repercussions in the ability to read and express social cues, access executive brain skills, and find motivation or purpose in life. For researchers like van der Kolk, the body is key to understanding trauma treatment. This insight into toxic stress opens the doors of hope to helpers burdened by the cold cognitive concepts consisting of thought processes alone.
Recognizing the body’s role on the mind and the mind on the body has opened the door to new therapies that allow for deeper healing!
Get more healing for you and your family with Ron Huxley’s online courses at FamilyHealer.tv or schedule a session with Ron today.