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Stinking Thinking

I have spoken on many occasions with my clients about “stinking thinking” with the question is often asked how they can get their minds to quiet down.  First it is important to understand that you are not your thinking! thinking is what you do not who you are. We spend over 90% of our time regretting things in the past, ruminating on what we should have done or worrying about what is going to happen in the future by constantly rehearsing the same possible conversation or scenarios we may face. We completely overlook what is happening now and take the time to appreciate the good things right in front of us.

One way that can help is Mindfulness meditation.  You can start with 5 minutes of silent meditation in the morning.  Some people think that if they meditate “properly”, they will have a “blank mind”.  I can tell you that I have never experienced a “blank mind” and I still have “stinking thinking” on a regular basis.

There are mindfulness exercises you can do sitting in your car or waiting for a bus its a matter of being present. As long as you are grounded in an awareness of the present moment, you are meditating. As I have said our ego’s dwell on the future or past, a meditation experience—even a short one—is a sort of ‘vacation’ from Stinking thinking, you might feel that you can’t put a stop to the thoughts.” The skill of meditation is not about shutting out thoughts or shutting down the mind. Rather, it’s about divesting ourselves of thoughts that arise when we need to get away from thinking. This is a practice of noticing the thoughts that arise and then letting them pass by turning your attention to an object like your breathing or imagine your thoughts floating past on a stream. It doesn’t really matter what object of concentration you use. It is important to remember the distinction between thoughts arising and thinking about them, you can let go of the ego’s urge to think about things when they pop up. Practice noticing thoughts arising and intervene by letting them go before you react, don’t let ‘stinking thinking’ of regrets and worries ruins your ability to enjoy life.

Another approach is called Diffusion this is the practice of learning how to avoid becoming “fused” with our thoughts.   Fusion is defined as when our thoughts and whatever we are thinking about become fused together in our minds.  I like to think about it as becoming overly attached to my thoughts, which leads to “stinking thinking”.  You could look at thoughts as “stories” so another way to explain diffusion is the story and the event become “fused” or stuck together.  We start believing that what our thoughts are telling us is the absolute truth.

One important principle of diffusion is to refrain from asking ourselves whether a thought is true and instead to focus on whether a thought is helpful.  If we pay attention to a particular thought is it going to help us to create the kind of life that we desire?  If I notice myself drifting off into worry I can stop and gently say “Is this thought helpful?”

When “Stinking Thinking” stats, stop, observe what you’re thinking, and ask yourself, “Is this true?” You can consider the evidence that it is and weigh that against the evidence that it isn’t, keeping in mind that extreme statements such as “I’ll never…” or “It always happens that…” are almost certainly distortions. Using logic and reason, you can analyze a situation and determine whether you were assuming a worst-case scenario, and consider what the best-case scenario and even the most likely scenario are. If you don’t know whether a particular negative thought is likely to be true, you can explore the possibilities instead of being pessimistic and assuming the worst.

Ideally it is best to work with a mindfulness trainer or a therapist to help figure out specific, remedying thoughts. If this isn’t possible, then write out the replacement thoughts. When you first begin using this remedy of a positive thought, feeling, or sensation, you’re likely to feel resistance, as the old neural pathways in the brain protest, “But this isn’t true!” One way to get around this obstacle is to design remedying thoughts that feel true in the moment. In mindfulness training, you actually teach the mind to create positive thoughts, and in so doing, you reprogram your brain, replacing old neural networks with new ones that foster creativity and optimism.

Once you’ve generated a new positive and healing thought, make a point of saying the words silently or aloud every time you witness yourself thinking negatively. Let’s say you’re experiencing the recurring negative thought, “I’m no good with numbers.” First look back to the source of that belief, examining your past. You may simply need to notice that your mind is creating a negative loop of self-talk, comprised of self-defeating thoughts. By adopting the new, positive thought, “I’m fully capable of learning anything I wish to learn,” your mind flow will begin to shift and travel on a more positive course.

So the next time your mind starts engaging in “stinking thinking” try one of these techniques and see if you find it helpful

 

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How to Manage your Anger

Anger is a powerful, all-encompassing emotion. Well harnessed, it can drive us to achieve great things. We can use it to fight injustice, increase confidence, and create focus. Anger is also one of the most destructive emotions. It ruins relationships, intimidates co-workers, and creates bad feelings. So it’s surprising that it’s often an overlooked issue.

 At some point,many angry people realise they have to change their tactics. They begin to see how negative anger really is. Weighed against its supposed usefulness, getting mad is unrealistic, impractical, and unhealthy. It’s unrealistic because your anger won’t cause others to change, no matter how strongly you feel they must. It’s impractical because solutions found in anger are very rarely long lasting or practical. It’s unhealthy because the upset you feel after is a state of stress that’s harmful to every cell in your body.

Are You Angry?

Where do you stand on your own anger? Have you turned the corner and seen it for the negative emotion it really is? Anger is rooted in human nature, no doubt. It runs the gamut from a righteous sense of injustice to petty resentment, fantasies of revenge, bullying, and intimidation—all very common human experiences—before escalating to physical violence, crime, and war. Aggression is something we must all confront either as a victim or an assailant.

Follow a process.

Create a process for managing situations that often trigger anger. When someone does something that upsets you, take a deep breath and trust in the process. One process I use to express my feelings calmly is to describe the behavior and explain my emotional response. So, I’d say something like, “When you yell at me, I feel hurt and upset,” or, “When you behave this way, I feel really angry.” It helps identify the problem and my emotions. It also helps me feel in control and prevents me from resorting to useless, blaming behavior.

Tap it out.

Try a little tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a healing tool that helps reduce deep emotional responses so we can manage our lives more calmly. The whole EFT process includes a tapping routine and a mantra, but you might find a simplified version just as effective. When you feel an intense emotion, just use your first two fingers and tap your collarbone until you feel calmer. If you start tapping quickly and then gradually slow your rhythm, you’ll find yourself calming down.

Canter Yourself

Centering is a super-simple technique that even a child can use. All you do is focus your mind on your belly button, or rather, just a smidge below your belly button. As you focus, tense those muscles and draw your belly button in toward your spine. If you’ve done any Pilates or yoga, you’ll be familiar with these deep abdominal muscles. It puts you in a state of calm control, so you’re less likely to react and lash out.

Practice daily calm.

We can experience anger and frustration almost daily, and the more we experience it, the more it becomes our way of operating. When you commit to practicing daily calm, you counteract the anger. You practice something much more beneficial to your health and well-being. This doesn’t have to be hard. Just spend a moment or two doing nothing, whenever you can. Engaging in meditation is one of the best long-term anger management techniques for adults. Moreover, it not only enables you to have better control of your emotions (especially the negative ones), but can also bring about a deep sense of inner peace and calm. There are several meditation techniques that can be applicable to anger management, but the simplest would be the most straightforward: tell yourself the following meditation mantra: “I control my anger. I control my mind. I am calm, peaceful, and contented. Nothing pierces the sphere of peace that surrounds me.” Regularly practice this little meditation technique a few minutes each day and you’ll eventually notice a significant difference in how well you can catch yourself before you lose your temper.

Get curious. 

The next time you find your anger rising, divert your energy into curiosity. Get really curious about the other person’s perspective. Keep asking questions until you fully understand the other person’s opinion. Once you do, you’ll be in a better position to discover a solution that suits everyone.

Look beneath the anger

Anger is often a secondary emotion that masks the true feelings beneath it. The next time you feel angry, look inside and see if your anger is masking another deeper emotion. Knowing why you’re angry in the first place can work only when you’re not angry—when you’re in the middle of that moment, your mind still white hot and seething, it would be impossible to know. But for the sake of your long-term control of anger, it is of utmost importance to self-analyze the underlying reasons for your anger. Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” This applies well to anger management. Think of the last time you got angry, and try to remember all the elements involved in that situation: what made you angry, what triggered it, how did other people react, and how did you also react to those people’s reactions. Write it down in some journal or notebook, the more detailed the better. Do this self-analysis after each instance that you get angry, and you will learn more about yourself and thereby master your own emotions.

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Dealing with Bereavement

Bereavement is a very distressing but common experience. Sooner or later most of us will suffer the death of someone we love, yet in our everyday life we think and talk about death rarely. When we have to face someone’s death (especially for the first time), we can feel inexperienced in coping with this traumatic event and its aftermath. If you have recently lost a loved one or a close friend, then you will know what it feels like to suffer a bereavement.

It is common in our grief to feel our experience is unlike anyone else’s – to feel abnormal, silly, overemotional or as though we are losing our grip on life. When we lose someone we dearly love, our minds can react and respond in so many unexpected and disturbing ways.  You need to know that these responses/reactions are temporary and they will pass in time.  You may experience:-

  • Disbelief
  • Pre-occupation
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Sensing the presence of the deceased

These reactions are quite natural and you need not worry about having them, no matter how disturbing the may make you feel.  They are all part of the grieving process and recognizing them for what they are can help you gradually come to terms with your loss. There are stages that you must go through when you are grieving a loss what is important to understand is that this is you need to do allow yourself to go though this process to reconcile yourself to the loss. There is no set time that you will experience all or any one of theses stages it can happen quickly or it can take months or in some cases years to move through these stages.

Denial

The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain. This can also manifest it self in keeping yourself busy organizing things and helping everyone else around you so that you don’t have to face the reality of your loss.

Anger

As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us.

Bargaining

The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–

  • If only we had sought medical attention sooner…
  • If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
  • If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
  • Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone or change what has happened what

Depression

Two main types of depression are associated with mourning.

  • The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words.
  • The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.

Acceptance

The experience of “depression” is what leads to “acceptance”. Many people mistakenly believe that “acceptance” means we are “cured” or “all right” with the loss. But this isn’t the case at all. The loss will forever be a part of us, though we will feel it more sometimes than others. Acceptance simply means we are ready to try and move on—to accommodate ourselves to this world without our loved one. This process can actually bring us closer to the one we loved as we make sense of how life was and process how we want life now to be.

How do you cope?

Taking one day at a time 

Focusing on one day at a time can help you cope with your feelings and get through the simple everyday tasks that you need to do.

 Keeping busy or taking time out

You may find that keeping busy and throwing yourself into different activities helps.  If this works for you, try to do things even if you don’t feel up to it.  Alternatively, you may find you need to take things more slowly and take time out of your day-to-day life and activities.  You need to do whichever works best for you.

 Recognising your emotions 

Lots of the emotions you might feel when you are grieving have physical symptoms.  If you are feeling stressed, your heart beat may be faster.  If you are angry, you might clench your jaw.  Sometimes those physical symptoms might be a way of helping you to recognise your own emotions.  When you notice them, you just need to make space at that time to feel those emotions, which can help you to cope with them.

 Getting out of the house 

Not only does getting out of the house give you some physical exercise, but it can help you to think differently.  Sometimes, particularly if you are feeling lonely, it can be good to see other people out and about, even if you’re not ready to engage with them.

 Looking after your physical health 

Getting enough sleep and eating properly can help you deal with the different emotions you are feeling.

 Get support from family and friends

It helps if you’ve got support within your own family and friends, as well as from others such as a support group.  This is because friends and family are the people who will be there for you in the long term.

 Talking through your feelings 

It may be enough to talk with family or close friends. Or you may find it helpful to get dedicated bereavement support, either one-to-one or in a group.

Letting others grieve in their own way 

Sometimes different family members may have different ways of grieving.  Perhaps one person wants to talk about and share their feelings, but another person prefers to busy themselves with activities.

You may find that people’s different ways of coping can create tensions and strains within the family.  You need to try to find a way to be sensitive to each other’s needs, while coping with your feelings in your own way.

 Coping with your home

Living in a home you shared together can be particularly hard.  All around you are likely to be reminders of the person, which may trigger your feelings of grief. The home you shared together may feel like a sanctuary.  Or you may find you prefer to spend as little time as possible at home, because that it feels empty.  You may like to keep your home exactly the same, or you may prefer to rearrange it.

It is quite common that when a parent dies grown-up children no longer want to visit. The house often brings back so many memories and feelings of grief for them.  These are all normal feelings, and you need to do what works best for you.

Getting support

Getting help when you need it is sensible, not a sign you have failed.  You may feel that you can’t cope, but you may surprise yourself with what you can actually handle.  However, if you feel you are not coping, or you know that the way you are coping is not good for you – for example if you are drinking alcohol heavily – you should try to think about what help you might need.

Working with an effective counselling professional one-on-one can often be helpful

 

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Depression Cycle

Depression?

Throughout my life I have had many ups and downs as most of us have.  When it comes to the downs we can often feel low and sometimes depressed. In the case of bereavement depression is one of the stages we have to go through to come to terms with our loss. The problem comes when we become stuck or unable to come through the other side of the feelings and thinking we inevitably have when in a depressed state.

If we become stuck in this state then we get into a ‘cycle of depression’ that can be difficult to break free of.  The latest studies have shown that depression is not a disease. The physical symptoms are just that, symptoms, and not causes. Being depressed can feel like a physical disorder because you often feel exhausted, experience pain or have changes in appetite. To understand depression we need look at how the exhaustion and the physical effects of depression are caused by the link between emotionally arousing thoughts, dreaming and exhaustion.

If you are, or have been depressed, you may have noticed that your mind gets fixed on negative issues, or worry during those periods. Typically, these thoughts are emotionally-arousing as they are carried out using ‘All or Nothing thinking’ and a negative bias. That is, you have a thought and you feel unpleasant after it – anxious, angry or helpless. The thought creates the emotional reaction (usually anxiety or anger) and that’s it.  What this does is leave an uncompleted ‘loop’ in the brain. Normally, the emotion would be ‘played through’ by action being taken. For example: You think you are threatened you feel anxious, then run away. The cycle has been completed.

When these emotionally arousing thoughts remain incomplete at the onset of sleep then the brain needs to ‘do something’ with the emotional ‘loops’ that have been started.  The brain create scenarios that allow those loops to complete, dreams, dream acts out a situation that will allow the emotional loop to be completed and therefore ‘flushed’ from the brain. In other words, an imaginary experience whose pattern resembles the ‘real life’ one enough to create the same emotional reaction. Normally, this does its job, and everything stays in balance. However, because you do so much more worrying or stress full thinking, when depressed, the brain has to increase the amount of dreaming you do. And before long you are:

  • Spending too much time in dream sleep and missing out on physically-rejuvenating Slow Wave Sleep.
  • Depleting your hormonal system with extended night-time emotional arousal.
  • Exhausting your ‘orientation response’ – a crucial brain activity that allows you to change your focus of attention and so motivate yourself. It is also a key part of concentration.

As far as much of your brain is concerned, your dream is real. So adrenaline and other stress hormones in your system will be active in the body.  This is a double edged sword, because over-dreaming, as well as using up these hormones and energy, is actually making it harder for the body to make more. As you try to flush out the incomplete emotions, you spend more time in REM sleep, and therefore less time in deep sleep, when your body should be recuperating in preparation for producing these hormones for the next day.

Because of the increased tiredness then you increase your all or nothing thinking or depressive thinking style which will tend to cause more negative emotional arousal, and therefore more dreaming. most events are not ‘completely disastrous’ or ‘absolutely wonderful’ but somewhere in between, depression makes people think in absolutes this thought pattern that allows us to generate a “flight or fight” response to danger because all or nothing thinking is emotionally arousing, it causes over-dreaming and maintains depression.  This extra dreaming is to try to ‘clear the brain’ for the next day, but because our negative arousals are excessive when depressed, our natural rhythms find it hard to cope with this “over-dreaming” and then we are in the cycle of depression.

depression cycle

Getting Help with Depression

Antidepressants are shown to be effective in controlling depression in around one third of cases with partial success in another third, but are ineffective in the remaining third.

But where drugs as a treatment for depression really fall down is on the prevention of relapse.  Other, alternative treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy, have been shown to have 70% better success rate at beating depression for good. In other words, they have been shown to prevent relapse in 70% more cases than drugs. But this is obvious! Unless, of course, you consider the cause of depression to be a chemical imbalance. Which is widely accepted is not in the majority of cases

Help for depression varies wildly in terms of what it considers depression to be, how it treats it and therefore ultimately how effective it is.  The idea that depression can simply be treated as a chemical imbalance is rapidly losing ground. Therefore, the first incredibly important stage of getting help for depression is to understand what depression is.   Effective therapy needs to incorporate everything that works in lifting depression. You may be able to help yourself effectively, although often it is useful to get the help of a professional.

 

 

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Young Adult (Teenager) Support

As a father of five (5), I understand that living with teenagers can be one of the most exciting periods in a parent’s life. It is exciting to watch our children grow into young adults with different/separate views, hopes and ambitions from ours. I personally find it fascinating and interesting when I meet their friends, observe and get challenged by their ideas and thought process. Their vitality and energy is infectious and many parents enjoy the stimulation of living with teenagers. We sometimes (although with a level of difficultly), accept the moods swings and angry outbursts as part of the whole mixed ‘growing up’ package and more often than not, forget that we have lived through it ourselves.

Balancing the need to be able to support our children constructively and imaginatively, without being sucked into their problems is a challenge. However, for many parents it’s a much rougher ride when our young adults make us feel that we’ve ‘got it all wrong’, and don’t understand…….it can be hurtful and undermining. The most conscientious of parents can lose sight of the good feelings they once had about themselves as parents as some parents get so frightened and overwhelmed by the difficulties of adolescence that they miss out on the good times.

Does your young adult seem completely unmotivated? For parents of young adults, the refrains of, “Whatever,” and “I don’t care,” can become all too familiar. Some of the issues we as parents face include:

  • Lack of direction and self-positioning
  • Confusion – what do I want to do with my life?; what next steps should I take?
  • Lack of motivation
  • Isolation
  • Reliance on the virtual world ‘Video gaming etc’
  • Falling behind at school
  • Learning challenges
  • Lack of concentration and procrastination
  • Substance abuse
  • Anger issues
  • Sloth and self-entitlement
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bullying

Although good parenting is central and key to a young adult feeling connected and safe, let’s not make this just about the parents! This is certainly a mistake I have made as a parent! While today’s teenagers and young adults are more scheduled and pressured than ever, they are also coming of age in a world where setting aside time to teach and foster healthy human connections, creativity and self-knowledge is low on the priority list.

I sometimes wish someone had sat me down and helped me through challenging teenage times. Seeking answers to questions such as:

  • ‘What do I want to do with my life?’
  • How do I stand out or even just position myself?
  • How do I navigate through the education system to understand what works for me
  • How do I fit in?

It’s not about giving them the answers but more about helping them discover the answers.   Coaching is not meant to be an alternative to parenting; Young adults are developmentally wired to pull away from their parents and it is healthy for them to do so. Where, then, can they go to learn strategies that work for them if they are not talking to their parents? Finding themselves when it’s time to make the transition from secondary school; introduction into the work environment, starting and maintaining relationships – these are all milestones and activities to juggle without a real understanding of how to self-regulate, plan or problem-solve. Coaching provides an opportunity to rebuild this resilience — or grow it from scratch if needed.

Whether a teen / young adult is gifted, an underachiever or someone who is learning challenged, filled with anxiety or anger or just simply trying to find their way, we can help. If they lack motivation, or are simply stuck in a pattern that does not lead to success, we can help. Then there is the question of the young adult who does well at school but are in danger of ending up in a job that does not match their potential upon leaving school or graduating from University.

It is important to empower young adults to:

  1. Find their personal power,
  2. gain the confidence to grow on a day-to-day basis,
  3. learn to achieve their greatest successes by thinking outside of the box and
  4. reduce anxiety that can sometimes lead to addiction in teenagers and/or depression in young adults.

Many teenagers or young adults are suffering from teen depression and/or teen anxiety, and these challenges can lead to depression and anxiety into young adulthood.

It is important to empower our young people to create small daily successes in their lives that encourage them to embrace success from a new perspective. This is all done through a simple daily schedule system that builds on success that may help decrease depression, anxiety and addiction.

What should we as parents do when our teenager/ young adult lacks motivation?

There has to be something within your teenagers and young adults that pushes them past the inconveniences, the shortcomings, and the hiccups that will, without question, arise when they undertake something that’s challenging. So it’s important for them to understand why they want to do something, not just that they have to do it.

If you’re the parent of a teen/ young adult, you know how much they like to debate and question things. Sometimes that’s a pain, but I think it’s actually okay to a point. Here’s something I’ve come to understand from personal experience as a teen: ‘When they finally understand how something benefits them, they will do it long term’. If the reason your teenager/ young adult does something is only because it’s important to you, that is short term motivation and will end. The reason also needs to be important to your teenager/ young adult, not just important to you. If your teenager is doing well at school because they want to make you happy, eventually that’s probably going to stop. They need to have a personal reason ‘WHY’.

It’s very unlikely that you have a teenager that is 100% lazy and unmotivated. What’s more likely is that in a few areas that drive you crazy as a parent, they are lazy and unmotivated. This was true for me. As a teenager, in certain periods of my life, I wasn’t focused on my academics, but I was 100% committed to martial arts and would practice for hours. Clearly I had the ability to be disciplined and to work hard at something – so what I would say is, find an area where your teenager/ young adult is motivated: Where are they committed? Have a conversation with them about that.

It’s okay for your teenager to say, “I hate doing certain things, or I’m not good at this.” Those are fine things to express. And you don’t need to say, “No you don’t.” We all have subjects that we gravitate towards a little more. That’s not what needs to be focus on. What you do need to focus on is “I understand that you don’t like it, but how can you succeed at this?” Again, to them, it’s a valid feeling when they say, “I’m not good at this. This is hard. I hate it.” In my opinion, a good response is, “I have no problem with you hating it, but I do have a problem with you quitting.”

There’s a lot of pressure on a teenager, and many of them get anxious or feel overwhelmed with everything they have to do. To a certain degree, teenagers are not allowed to be teenagers these days. Sometimes they really are overscheduled hence it’s pretty realistic that they feel overwhelmed in some cases. It is important to help teenagers make positive goals and then make sure the things that they are saying yes or no to match up with that.

We are in an age of mass media, generated by marketing, advertising, and technology which means that many teenagers are raised with excessive electronics and lack of community. It’s important that we have a lot of compassion for the fast-paced environment that many of our teenagers/ young adults are growing up in, that is their generation afterall!

This means being very forgiving when our young adults feel that they want to advance and develop quicker than we think is appropriate.

At Lloyds Counselling service we provide teenage/young adult life coaching which provides an independent way for them to get in touch with what they are looking for such as:

  • what do I want?
  • how do I focus on getting things done
  • do I want to go to university?
  • what university should I go to?
  • interviews for jobs
  • CV’s

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential”. Bruce Lee

 

 

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Why Seek Marriage Counselling

When divorce does happen, it results in difficulties for adults as well as children. For adults, divorce/separation can be one of life’s most stressful life events. The decision to divorce /separate often is met with ambivalence and uncertainty about the future. If children are involved, they may experience negative effects such as denial, feelings of abandonment, anger, blame, guilt, preoccupation with reconciliation, and acting out.

While divorce/separation may be necessary and the healthiest choice for some, others may wish to try to salvage whatever is left of the union. When couples encounter problems or issues, they may wonder when it is appropriate to seek marriage counselling. Here are seven good reasons.

  1. Communication has become negative. Once communication has deteriorated, often it is hard to get it going back in the right direction. Negative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling depressed, insecure, disregarded, or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. This can also include the tone of the conversation. It is important to remember that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.Negative communication can also include any communication that not only leads to hurt feelings, but emotional or physical abuse, as well as nonverbal communication.
  1. When one or both partners consider having an affair, or one partner has had an affair. Recovering from an affair is not impossible, but it takes a lot of work. It takes commitment and a willingness to forgive and move forward. There is no magic formula for recovering from an affair. But if both individuals are committed to the therapy process and are being honest, the marriage may be salvaged. At the very least, it may be determined that it is healthier for both individuals to move on.
  1. When the couple seems to be “just occupying the same space.” When couples become more like roommates than a married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling. This does not mean if the couple isn’t doing everything together they are in trouble. If there is a lack of communication, conversation and intimacy or any other elements the couple feels are important and they feel they just “co-exist,” this may be an indication that a skilled clinician can help sort out what is missing and how to get it back.
  1. When the partners do not know how to resolve their differences. Many times you hear couples say, “We know what’s wrong, but we just don’t know how to fix it.”. This is a perfect time to get a third party involved. If a couple is stuck,
  1. When one partner begins to act out on negative feelings. I believe what we feel on the inside shows on the outside. Even if we are able to mask these feelings for a while, they are bound to surface. Negative feelings such as resentment or disappointment can turn into hurtful, sometimes harmful behaviors. A skilled counselor can help the couple sort out negative feelings and find better ways to express them.
  1. When the only resolution appears to be separation. When a couple disagrees or argues, a break often is very helpful. However, when a timeout turns into an overnight stay away from home or eventually leads to a temporary separation, this may indicate a need for counseling. Spending time away from home does not usually resolve the situation. Instead, it reinforces the thought that time away is helpful, often leading to more absences. When the absent partner returns, the problem is still there, but often avoided because time has passed.
  1. When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children. If a couple feels it is wise to stay together for the sake of the children, it may help to involve an objective third party. Often couples believe that they are doing the right thing when staying together actually is detrimental to the children. On the contrary, if the couple is able to resolve issue and move toward a positive, healthy relationship, this may be the best decision for all involved.

I don’t think that children should never be the deciding factor when couples are determining whether to stay together. Children are generally very intuitive and intelligent. No matter how couples may think they are able to fake their happiness, most children are able to tell.

All marriages are not salvageable. In the process of marriage counseling, some couples may discover it is healthier for them to be apart. However, for those relationships that can be salvaged, and for those couples willing to commit to the process, marriage counseling may be able to remind them why they fell in love and keep them that way.

Working with an effective counselling professional can often be If you would like to book an appointment, please email me at: davidlloydlcs@gmail.com to arrange a confidential chat.

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Looking after your employees mental wellbeing adds real value

Frequently clients feel undervalued or unappreciated by their employer. It’s a worrying trend and one that has become worse during the current economic climate. It feels like we’re all trying to do more, with less staff and no pay rise in sight. This means that come Friday, the workforce is exhausted, frustrated and resentful.

Financial remuneration continues to be a prime motivator for workers but given the widely reported pay freezes, redundancies and lack of growth, this is not a realistic solution. In reality, we are living in a time of financial austerity, cost-cutting and budget-freezing.

People are worried about losing their jobs, so they come into work in an ‘underperforming’ state, i.e. suffering stress, anxiety, dealing with a physical injury, coping with personal problems or going through a life crisis issue such as loss or bereavement.

This is a worrying trend given that employees should be viewed and treated as an organisation’s greatest asset. They should be supported and encouraged to enable them to flourish and be at their most productive. This is not only best for them but also best for a company’s bottom line. So where are employers going wrong and how can we change this?

There is a potential solution and a low-cost, low-risk one at that. It centres on looking after the mental wellbeing of employees and putting supportive processes in place for those who need them. Looking after your staff in this way will enable them to engage more at work, take less time off and perform better.

A commitment to wellbeing needs to be established, demonstrated and championed at the top of the organisation. It can be delivered through three broad strands:

Policy: Policies need to demonstrate a ‘duty of care’ to all staff, to embrace opportunities within employment legislation to offer leverage for staff, to provide, where reasonable, flexible and adaptable working conditions;

 

As human beings, we grow and develop, learning from life experiences along the way, some positive, some less so. But, on top of the current economic struggle, we’re all going to face certain difficult life issues now and again. With one in four people likely to experience a mental health issue in their lives, there needs to be support and understanding for those of us who will. The GP is responsible for our primary care but organisations have a duty of care to employees too. At any given time, there will be employees trying to cope with bereavement, or family issues, stress, depression and anxiety, relationship problems and a host of life issues that can affect anyone.

Without adequate support, these people (you and me) might find themselves distracted at work, more irritable, unable to concentrate as they normally would and thereby edging closer to the unproductive presenteeism precipice.

Creating a cohesive wellbeing strategy allows organisations to put in place a series of early interventions that aim to resolve issues before they become problems.  Whatever option is offered to staff, you’ll find this not only provides a release-valve for employees but the positive wellbeing message the initiative communicates will help make all employees feel valued and appreciated.

Working with an effective counselling professional to put in place a counselling support strategy can reduce stress at work and help provide a stronger working environment. If you would like to book an appointment, please email me at: davidlloydlcs@gmail.com to arrange a confidential chat.

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How do you cope when problems come?

Most of us are coping within our daily lives. The question is how well are we coping? How good are our coping skills? Life shows us that we can cope in many different ways but some of these ways are constructive and others are damaging.

 

Damaging Coping Behavior:

  • Hide from reality and the truth of your situation by denial and rationalisation.
  • Be drawn into addictive behaviors, such as drinking, drug-taking, gambling, eating.
  • Disconnect yourself from friends and family to prevent feeling negative emotions.
  • Pretend and cover over your true feelings as you tell people, ‘everything is fine.’
  • Wallow and blame others for your situation.

 

Constructive Coping Skills:

  • Directly connect with your problem, be willing to think about it and spend time figuring out your options – not wallowing, but constructive contemplation.
  • Take responsibility for the problem, don’t look to others to solve it, don’t wait around and don’t blame others for your situation.
  • Be open about your problem with someone – be willing to ask for help and be willing to receive valuable advice and support.
  • Revisit various scenarios that you had previously anticipated in relation to possible job loss in this fragile economic climate.

 

It is fine to close down for a short while, the emergency strategy for coping. But if closing down becomes a way of life then we are venturing into damaging coping behavior. In fact, we’re not coping well at all, and storing up problems for the future. You will not only have the initial problem you are escaping from but then further problems down the line. Burying your pain usually has a downside as this pain may need to resurface at some point. Also, disconnecting from a problem – numbing ourselves to negative feelings – usually results in numbing ourselves to positive feelings too. This has far reaching consequences for our long-term emotional happiness.

 

On the other hand, if you take responsibility, are open and engaged with your problem, include others, look for help and talk honestly about what is happening to you, then you have a better chance of successfully coping with your problems and not causing yourself further harm.  However hard it seems initially, let your feelings be seen and give voice to what has happened to you. By positively coping in this way you may well prevent deeper pain and suffering in the longer term.

 

Working with an effective counselling professional one-on-one can often be helpful in improving your coping behavior or at least give you some one you can voice what is happening to you.  If you would like to book an appointment, please email me at: davidlloydlcs@gmail.com to arrange a confidential chat.

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