Are you the kind of parent who would do anything to help your child grow up to be a happy, successful and independent adult?
"Of course!" you answered. Check out this video on how to help your teen practice good judgement and decision making
Becky Gosain, LCPC is NOVO's resident expert on working with families in difficult times.
We wish you well during your Thanksgiving celebrations. Here a few Thanksgiving quotes to send you on a day filled with gratitude and an appreciative outlook.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~ Melody Beattie
"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence."
~ Erma Bombeck
"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude."
~ E.P. Powell
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice."
~ Meister Eckhart
We requested last week that you provide us your feedback regarding the Parent University Weekend but we haven't heard what you thought. NOVO wants to provide to the community workshops/groups to instill confidence in what you do and arm you with education to better handle the challenges in your life. Tell us what you thought when you read about Parent University Weekend.
Honesty is the best quality - tell us your thoughts! We can't wait to hear from you.
Wellness, noun ~ the state of being well
Well, adjective ~ good; right; satisfactory, in good health
-I love life! I am glad to be alive!
-I appreciate everyone and everything.
-I am willing to ask for help when I need it.
-Life supports me every step of the way.
-I think big, and then I allow myself to accept even more.
-The quickest road to health is to fill my mind only with pleasant thoughts.
-Brian L. Weiss, M.D.
-Life supports me and wants me to be fulfilled and happy.
-This is a great day to create, imagine, produce, and visualize.
-I see the world through eyes of love.
-I am compassionate and understanding. I forgive and forget.
-I eagerly look forward to the future.
-I radiate success, and I prosper wherever I turn.
-People respect me and are very appreciative of everything I do.
It’s true I don’t know what’s going on in your world and it might be truly sad or angering or frustrating, but happiness is an inside job. It’s a feeling inside of you that really has little to do with the world outside of your skin. It’s very true, you may experience some not so good feelings when things don’t go as you intended. Being happy, however, is more than a fleeting emotion. It’s more a way of life, an attitude, a way of looking at the world from a Life is Good! perspective. It’s a close relative to Joy which has been the topic of more than one of my cyberspace essays.
When happiness is evading you and your thinking is spiraling downward, say CANCEL! out loud or to yourself – if you’re on a crowded train saying it to yourself is a really good idea! As soon as you cancel the negative, replace it with a positive thought like ‘life is good’ or ‘all is well in my world’ or ‘everything is in perfect order’, something that puts your mind on a positive path. Science has proven that our minds really do respond to what we think and say.
Before you decide it won’t work, give it a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised at the happiness you feel.
--Christiane Northrup, M.D.
There is a high cost to being a perfectionist. It usually results in paralyzing fear – like that of my friend who can’t bear to try new things for fear of failure. Perfectionists go from being happily highly productive and successful to being frustratingly and completely unproductive, sometimes within hours or even minutes.
Perfectionists, unlike high achievers, are not really trying to achieve success. Perfectionists are driven by the fear of failure and are generally motivated by self-doubt and the avoidance of disapproval, ridicule, and rejection instead of the healthy self-esteem and motivation of the high achiever.
If this perfectionist description sounds like you or someone you know don’t delay. Find or suggest a growth workshop lead by a professionally trained facilitator or a counselor/psychotherapist (preferably a Licensed Clinical Social Worker - LCSW) that can help in the journey to finding joy and peace in life!
--Deepak Chopra, M.D.
So often there are newspaper and magazine articles that report about how people say they aren’t spending time on what they enjoy. A recent poll actually found that 65% of people are spending their free time doing things they don’t want to do! Isn’t that amazing? It’s so very interesting that most of work so hard to create a full and interesting life but it’s so sad and frustrating that we then don’t take the time to enjoy it.
The challenge is to find those few very important and vital ideas or goals that produce the greatest value for you. Then focus on that small number of activities that result in most satisfaction for you instead of focusing on the larger number of activities that don’t result in satisfaction. This is summed up nicely in the 80/20 Principle first stated by Vilfredo Pareto in 1897. This principle states that 20% (the small amount) of your effort produces 80% (the large amount) of the results you really want.
Now, I have to admit that this statement was an ad to encourage advertisers to choose this publication to reach Social Workers. I, however, think it is a perfect statement on the benefit of choosing a Social Worker when you’re looking for someone to help you work through life’s difficulties, when you’re suffering from psychological dysfunction.
Social Workers receive more clinical training than any other counselor/therapist education program. Social workers learn from a person-in-environment perspective that looks not only at you but how those in your world impact your life. Social Workers actually do provide more than 70% of all counseling/therapy in our country. Just so you know, NOVO counselor/therapists are Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). We are your kind of people! Come and see how we might help you.
The Baby Boomer generation is at midlife and beyond right now. This generation includes almost 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. The Boomers are the largest generation in U.S. history! They have had major impacts on American society as they have passed through every life stage.
Taking time to assess how life is going in midlife and beyond can have many benefits. Just a few of these positives included:
Identifying and intensifying your inner strengths
Finding your own voice and expressing it your own way
Finding ways to reduce stress
Learning to simplify your life
Accepting the physical changes of aging
We’ll talk more about this stage of life and about how it impacts us in another blog entry soon.
--Caroline Myss and Peter Occhigrosso
All too often we regret what we did or didn’t do in the past. Regret is one of the most frequently expressed reasons for not being able to let go of the past. Regret is an emotion that feels very similar to depression or sadness. It also feels kind of like guilt but it really isn’t any of these.
As long as regret is not resolved, it is very difficult to move forward. So it’s really important to find ways to identify your regrets about the past and release yourself from them. There are many ways to accomplish this. You might want to journal if you like to write or read a good book about moving on. There are many out there that are really good. One of my favorite moving on authors is Louise Hay. Her classic book is You Can Heal Your Life. You might want to join a group where you can focus on letting go or find a qualified counselor/therapist (preferably a Licensed Clinical Social Worker).
--Don Miguel Ruiz
--Anne Wilson Schaef
2.) I know who I obviously am and what I like in personal relationships.
3.) I am attracting powerfully positive and healthy people into my life.
4.) I am caring, smart, supportive, loyal, and fun to be with.
5.) I feel completely at ease and comfortable with all types of people.
This is when it’s time to take a break and get centered. You really, really need to take care of yourself first. So maybe you’ll want to take a walk in the forest preserve. Here you have the path along the Fox River that is a wonderful place to find yourself. So is wandering around Geneva’s historic district You may be someone who needs to go within, to meditate or read a good book.
Think about it. What do you need to do for you that will allow you to find the needed peace and comfort to relax, reenergize, and focus on your own personal ambitions? Remember joy in life is necessity not a luxury!
"The joy in my life is overflowing. My life gets better all the time."
"When complimented, I smile and say 'thank you.' I do not say another word to diminish it."
"It is only change, and I am safe."
Bullies are not just kids. Bullies grow up to be adults who continue bullying. However, kids seemed to be the most negatively impacted by the terrorizing tactics of bullies. Kids don’t have the life skills, the tools, to overcome the hurtful and antisocial behavior of bullies. I was really interested to find Spry Living.com/kids that gives strategies on dealing with a bully. It also gives other tips. You might want to check it out.
Briefly, the Spry Living strategies include:
1) Asking a question can throw a bully off track.
2) Though it’s really tough try going along with the insult to stop, or at least slow down, the attack.
3) Try humor. Parents can help kids come up with possible things to say that add humor to the situation. Again, this can stop or slow down the bully’s attack.
4) Even if humor doesn’t fit the bill, brainstorming with your child and practicing responses that are to the point and given with confidence in a strong voice can impact a bully’s behavior. (Bullies are generally insecure individuals with low self esteem who need to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad.)
5) Ask for help from adults! Don’t ask just once and give up. Ask each time a bully behaves unacceptably until the harassment stops.
It’s important to keep in mind that bullies are insecure individuals with low self esteem who need to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. It probably doesn’t feel that way to one who is being bullied but it’s true.
--Louise L. Hay
I believe this is the way we think communication works. Our thoughts turn into words, which exit our mouths and enter the listener,s ear. Then they are magically reconfigured into the EXACT form they were in before leaving our mouth.
But it doesn't happen that way. Communication is a delicate thing. It is my experience that the message we deliver NEVER arrives the way it was sent. Our hearing is tuned by a lifetime of experiences. We hear with ears that grew up with the parents we had, the school we attended and the temperament that we arrived with. Then, of course, there are the joys and traumas of our lives that further tune our hearing and the mood we are in when we listen. Add to that the physical interruptions such as driving while listening, other people talking , background noise, or our own attempts at "multitasking. So many things are going on while we are listening.
Or are we listening? The truth is that we are listening, but primarily to ourselves. Think about it. When someone says something that you are uncomfortable with, what is going on in your mind? Are you carefully listening to the other person, or are you formulating a rebuttal? Are you considering the speakers words, or are you listing the ways that they are wrong and mounting a defense?
Is it any wonder that there is so much miscommunication? Imagine what your relationships would be like if people really took the time to hear you. I believe the first step in being heard is to learn to listen.
So take a moment to pay attention to what you are hearing. Notice if you are attending to the words of the speaker, or your own words. Take the risk of asking for clarification, and noticing how you are interpreting the speakers words. Really listening to someone is both simple, and challenging, so challenge yourself to truly hear what is being said it!
--Louise L. Hay
The idea of temperament, as I conceptualize it, is that each person is born with an inclination or preference for how they process information, manage their emotional energy and conceptualize the world. These characteristics are fixed, much like the hardware of a computer. This can be influenced, of course by how a person is nurtured. The situation in which a person is raised can be much like the software, interacting with the computer. However, it is important to note that temperament is considered fixed. Like the computer hardware. We can develop in ways that are different from our natural inclination, but the preference for certain temperament traits is thought to be constant.
The most familiar work on temperament was done by Carl Jung, who spoke of introversion and extroversion. His work was taken further by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers who created the Meyers Briggs type Indicator (MBTI).
As a therapist, helping people understand themselves through the eyes of temperament is exciting. For example, when someone begins to understand that their need for plenty of time alone, quiet and solitary thinking is an aspect of Introversion, they often let go of long held ideas that they are “antisocial” or neurotic. Helping people move from judgment to understanding is a very rewarding part of being a therapist.
I also find that explaining temperament to couples can be “marriage changing”. Imagine an introvert married to an extrovert. After a day at work, with a lot of interaction the introvert is ready to withdraw. The extrovert, on the other hand may feel no such need. When they come together in the evening, the extrovert might easily perceive the introvert’s withdrawal as disinterest or anger. When the behavior is reframed within the framework of temperament, both parties begin to understand each other in a new way. The dynamic is no longer personal and each is freer to ask for what they need.
If you are interested in exploring temperament further, I highly recommend the book Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey. Though different than the Meyers Briggs type Indicator, this book will help you understand your unique temperament and that of others too.
Some 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia. Each year over 56 million prescriptions are written for sleeping pills. Countless others use over-the-counter sleeping pills on a regular basis. We obviously aren’t doing well when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep!
Some of you probably remember the earthquake that jolted the west suburbs not long ago. I was awakened by it and decided to check out WGN for the early morning news to see what they had to say about the eerie event. Several west suburbanites called the TV station to report on their experiences of the earthquake. Almost all of them said they were awake when the quake struck. They reported they were snacking or watching television or reading when the quake hit. Now wait a minute! It was 4am and so many of the callers had not been sleeping? It appears these individuals are not among the sleeping pill users but certainly they need help to get a good night’s sleep.
So, I think I can safely say we are experiencing an epidemic of insomnia! What could be going on? Maybe we’re just too stressed, too uptight to relax enough to sleep. Our fast-paced lives, the economy, world events, unrealistic expectations of ourselves could all be factors in our insomnia epidemic. Some of us may also be experiencing medical problems that increase the likelihood of insomnia.
Adequate, regenerating, natural sleep is necessary to health and well-being. So what might you do to get – and stay – asleep? How about:
Get a physical exam to rule out medical problems or get treatment for health problems.
Stay on a routine:
? Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day.
? Exercise daily or at least three every other day. Make sure you exercise early in the day or at least three hours before bed time.
? Eat healthy, balanced diets of ‘real’ food. Start with fresh, unprocessed food and prepare it at home.
Limit your intake of stimulants, like caffeine for example, and limit their use to early in the day.
Learn relaxation techniques to help you ‘come down’ at the end of the day.
Check out our workshops, perhaps the one on relaxation, for more helpful information on getting a good night’s sleep.
The creative workshops provide practical tools that are easy to use. They are interactive and include practice with a skilled facilitator. Many of the workshops are short so they fit your busy daily schedule. Best of all, the concepts have been proven to save money and have delivered results such as 50% or greater improvement in productivity and a 24% decrease in turnover!
Getting Better Results focuses on five powerful competencies: Managing Your Job, Building the Team, Managing the Team, Communicating with Others, and Thinking Clearly. Several workshops that impact business are offered within each area. The Managing Your Job workshop series includes Setting Goals and Standards, Managing Time and Priorities, Planning and Scheduling, and Organizing Your Work Space for Productivity and will be released in May. They can be conveniently scheduled at your business or off site. Watch for more workshops that will be coming soon!
First and most importantly, it is vital that those suffering from mental illness or life coping issues get the help they need to function and cope optimally – to find the joy in life that’s a necessity, not a luxury!
If there is diagnosable mental illness that will need ongoing, potentially life-long care, taking advantage of insurance benefits is often necessary.
However, when using insurance benefits, be aware of this: a mental illness diagnosis is required for consideration of benefit eligibility and the mental illness diagnosis remains in your medical record permanently!
If you are suffering from grief or life-transition coping difficulties, you may, or more likely may not, have a diagnosable mental illness. Using insurance benefits in these circumstances can be problematic: if you do not have a diagnosable mental illness, traditional health insurance does not pay the bill.
Yet, for life-coping issues to qualify for insurance benefits you will need to be given a mental illness diagnosis that remains with you – for life – on your permanent medical record, even after the life coping issues have been resolved. As a result, you may find yourself uninsurable for life because of a ‘pre-existing mental illness condition’.
Therapists at NOVO: Renewing Joy in Life, LLC can work with you to see if insurance benefits are appropriate for your treatment and help you apply and bill for these benefits. If you opt not to be given a mental illness diagnosis with its labeling and possible future implications, we will help with manageable fees and/or payment plans.
The therapist/counselor you choose to see must have all the necessary credentials. This means there have been years of education – book learning and clinical training. There is also licensure and continuing education to keep up-to-date and informed to most appropriately help you.
Please do even consider trusting your psychological health and life growth and development to anyone who is not well-credentialed.
You should expect that your therapist is prepared to really ‘be there’ for you at your appointment times as well as take the time needed to process your treatment before and after sessions. Your therapist will spend approximately 2 hours of time for each 45 to 50 minute appointment you schedule. Most therapists also offer 5 to 15 minute phone contact for no additional cost; the amount of phone contact allowed varies and will usually be discussed at your first visit.
Some really good news about quality psychotherapy/counseling is that it generally has a positive impact on your physical health! Several research studies have even concluded this. In fact, some data suggests that for every dollar spent on psychotherapy approximately four dollars is saved in medical expenses.
When you ‘heal your mental hurts’ you have better more satisfying relationships, you are more productive, and you are generally more successful in your daily life.
Many more of us have times in our lives when we simply are not coping or functioning optimally. Sometimes this ‘dysfunction’ might be due to the death of a loved family member or friend. When we grieve we may not be coping with daily life for sometimes lengthy periods of time. We feel overwhelmed, lonely, sad, depressed, angry, as well as many other feelings that prevent us from living life to its fullest. We might believe we will never again find that joy in life to which I’m always referring.
We may also have what might be called life-transition situations that cause us not to cope well with life. Relationship difficulties or divorce can cause ‘dysfunction’ that interrupts our ability to cope. The loss of a job, a catastrophic financial problem, home foreclosure, or a medical problem are some the many negative life-transitions that can bring on coping difficulties.
Even good and wanted life-transitions can negatively impact our emotional life. A promotion at work, getting married, buying new house, the birth of a child, children growing up (empty nest issues) or relocation to a new - maybe warm and sunny - location are some generally happily anticipated life-transitions that can cause us to need some help from a professional psychotherapist/counselor.
--Anne Wilson Schaef
A goal is long-term and focuses on a specific category such as career/profession, education, spiritual, personal health & fitness, social, relationship, cultural and undoubtedly others that an individual identifies as important to living a balanced and successful life.
Objectives are short-term tasks that lead you to the achievement of your goal. Let’s use the category of education as an example of a goal – this goal might be earning a specific college degree or it may be becoming an accomplished pianist. Your initial short-term objectives might include:
1) investigation of what you need do to accomplish the goal;
2) contact some good places to get the required knowledge to accomplish your goal;
3) determine costs involved (time, money); and anything you think you need to begin.
You may want to consider getting some help in your plan for success. We offer individual consultation and group workshops specifically to help you.
What is success? There is no one answer to this question. Success is something different to all of us. Some of us may immediately plug into the ‘American Dream’ as our answer, though I wonder how true this is for any of us. Most of us probably want parts of the traditional American Dream – a house that fits our needs or our dreams, enough money to live to our desired standard. It’s likely that we define the greater picture of success from our own unique perspective.
One way to determine your definition of success was talked about in a past entry. There I wrote about finding a job you love, a job for which you have a passion. But a job, a career, is only part of success.
Successful people live balanced lives. They nurture body, mind, and spirit. They have a plan for success.
It has been proven time and time again that successful people, those who live a balanced life and find joy in living, have this plan for success grounded in specific goals. These goals include a long-term (three to ten years or more) goals with short-term (six to twelve month) objectives.
You’ll find more about developing your individual success plan in another entry.
--Stephen R. Covey
--Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
--Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.
--Caroline Myss & Peter Occhiogrosso
--Keith D. Harrell
In my opinion, if you’re working at a job that fits my attempt at the quote above, you are at the wrong job. I am certainly aware that at times people need to take a job doing something they don’t love doing just to make some money. Sometimes most of us just need to do that. What I’m suggesting is that when you’re planning for your future you really think about and identify the perfect job for you and then go for it.
When planning for this perfect job you might want to make of list of your passions – the things you love to do and do even though you don’t get paid for doing them. This list could probably include hobbies that make you lose track of time because you get so focused and involved. Your passions are a great place to start in your search for the perfect job. First of all, when you truly love something, you usually get to be pretty good at it and, second, being good at something helps you become successful at it.
Maybe your passions don’t seem to easily translate into employment. You might be surprised at your opportunities. You may, however, need to be creative! If not your exact passion, maybe there is something closely related to this passion that could become a perfect job. A career counselor/consultant or a workshop experience or some of the many books on finding you niche in the job market could help you clarify your search.
It’s important to consider getting more educated to qualify for your perfect job. Once you’ve identified some possible perfect jobs find out what qualifications you need to get hired. If you need some specific classes or training or even a degree, it is worth investigating how you might complete the necessary learning. Sometimes volunteering in your identified job area can be great way to pick up some necessary skills as well.
And by the way, there is seldom, if ever, only one perfect job for each of us. Be creative and brainstorm the possibilities that could be on your list of perfect jobs.
--Louise L. Hay
Another entry talked about S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder which tends to get worse as winter drags on. That entry talked about some things you can do to lessen the impact of S.A.D. It may be a good idea to take a look back and review the list of things to do to help.
Today I’ll focus on one aspect of the things to do list – keep contact with others by taking part in social activities of all kinds. A Chicago Tribune article on Sunday, December 13, 2009, focused on the health benefits of socializing in Be a Social Butterfly by Bob Condor. This article was not particularly related to S.A.D. remedies but it provides some evidence that keeping in touch with family and friends whose company we enjoy can have a health boosting impact.
It points out that about twenty-five percent of us say we have no close contacts with whom we can share our deepest thoughts and concerns. How terrible is that? When we have nobody to really talk to a very important human need is left unfulfilled! We are social animals after all. I’m not referring to the long popular party animal concept here though I’m not excluding party animals from those who need someone to talk to either.
Make one of your goals for the great year of 2010 to find at least one close confidant that can listen to you and help make your life happier and healthier.
Look for more on the topic of goals in future entries. And remember we want to hear from you! Reply with questions, comments, or whatever by pressing the ‘Respond’ button. If you’d like to get our blog entries emailed to you as soon as they are posted we will be glad to do that , too.
--Keith D. Harrell
--Brian L. Weiss, M.D.
There are, of course, times when divorce may be necessary especially when psychological, physical, or sexual abuse is involved. However, this article based on the book, Divorce in Missouri: The Ultimate Guide to Show-Me State Divorce, by Alisse Camazine and Alan Freed and published by Acorn House, cites some of the issues, maybe the pitfalls, that can be associated with divorce. (I have to admit I haven’t read the book but I was intrigued by the five things.)
The authors present the following five issues that they believe should be considered before going for a divorce. I’ve added my own comments after each issue.
1) Be realistic – very difficult to do when emotions run high but really,really important.
2) Find out what your true expenses are - an issue most of us probably
don’t know for sure until we really delve into it.
3) Don’t put the kids in the middle – this is the most important issue of
all. When divorce occurs it is a major trauma for kids. Parents can
help by keeping kids safe, loved, and out of the conflict.
4) Don’t get emotionally attached to an asset – the reality of divorce is everyone involved loses things that are important to them, material goods and, more importantly, relationships.
5) Don’t expect that life will be the same – some people equate this with life being better, freer, and/or calmer after divorce, others equate this with sadness, lose, and/or hardship. No matter what the expectation, the reality is that life is forever changed for all involved during and after a divorce, maybe for the better and maybe not.
We at novo: Renewing Joy in Life would love to hear from you – your questions and comments. You can subscribe to receive our blog entries by email, just let us know your email address and we’ll do the rest!
--Keith D. Harrell
--Doreen Virtue, PhD
--Louise L. Hay
--Keith D. Harrell
Suppose you go to bed tonight and in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and your problem is solved just like that. When you wake up the next morning, how do you know that the miracle happened?
What is different? What do you notice?
When using this type of therapy, the focus is on what the future would look like to you and envisioning how to change the present to reflect what we look for in the future. Goal-setting is used. Using the miracle question, a therapist focuses on when this miracle occurred even a little bit in an effort to increase on those times. People are naturally born to focus on the negative. Ask anyone: if I were to tell you 20 wonderful things about you and 1 negative thing, what are you going to be more inclined to remember? Yes, the one negative. In SFBT, focusing on when things are positive empowers us to acknowledge those positive times when this miracle has already happened (even if only a little bit) and figure out what we did that made those moments occur and thereby, increase their frequency.