Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Don’t Worry Be Happy was an expression found on cards, posters, and shirts in the 1960s. It also was a popular song by Bobby McFerrin in the 1980s. It was created by Meher Baba, a spiritual teacher from India. Even though we may not agree with all the teachings of Meher Baba, one must agree this is a great philosophy to have. While it is a catchy phrase, and makes sense, it often can be difficult to apply, at least when attempting to manage some of the negative symptoms of anxiety. For example, when I reflect over my life, I remember some of the most wonderful moments in my life made me anxious. Things like driving my first car, going on my first date, buying our first house…. All of these moments made me anxious with anticipation which manifest in my body causing an increase in heart rate, tightness in my chest, and sweaty palms. (Remember that it is vital for all of us to keep up with our medical physicals and good self-care to rule out any possible medical causes of symptoms that may present like anxiety.) Although these symptoms go mostly unnoticed in our body when we are excited, they take on a whole new meaning when associated with worry, especially chronic worry. And worry can be different for each of us but usually follows common themes of health, friends/family, work/school, finances, and/or just daily life. As we age, many of us become more worried about health and safety. If this fear becomes excessive or chronic, it can increasingly limit our activities and social life. For me,...
Suicide

Suicide

She walks into her office to have a moment to herself. Once again, she is feeling overwhelmed with complex feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, shame, and deep emptiness.  She isn’t really sure what to do with these feelings or where to find answers. Her friends try to reach out to provide comfort, though most of the time it just feels awkward.  In the quietness of her mind questions race, Why did this happen? Were there signs? Could I have been more attentive? Could I have seen this coming? Could I have prevented this from happening?  Will I ever be able to move on? Her close friend recently died by suicide. You or someone you know may be going through this horrific loss. Even though grief is a universal feeling that everyone experiences, grief from suicide is distinct. Due to the stigma in our society and self-blame, suicide survivors subject themselves to myriad struggles for years as they attempt to make sense of it, retracing all the memories and searching for answers and some validation or clue that could possibly bring some relief. There also are some who will hold on to the pain to try to punish themselves. Others may be fearful of forgetting thinking that, somehow, the pain may serve as a way of honoring their loved one or paying penance for not being able to prevent the suicide.   When you are willing to listen openly, acknowledging the death and the survivor’s emotional pain, you have taken the first vital steps toward helping a suicide survivor. This may include just sitting with them in silence, allowing yourself...
Getting the Response You Desire

Getting the Response You Desire

“Seeing the color change in her face and her eyes look away, I knew I was not getting the reaction I desired.  In the moment, it felt like the most natural thing to say, but oh how I wished for a do over”.  Can you relate?  You know the moment when it did not play out like it did in your mind. This happens most when we get upset or angry and say the first thing that comes to our mind.  Our heart rate rises, emotions become more intense, and we lose clarity of thought.  It is in these moments we present our most ineffective communication skills and create distance from those we love most.  Most of us don’t spend our time thinking of ways to push our mate away, decrease our sex life, and lessen the possibility of our dreams coming true in our relationships;  although we may give someone this impression by our reaction to our mate during conflict. Could it be true that there really is a voice inside of our heads giving us bad direction and creating mayhem in our lives?  Well I do believe there is some truth in this idea.  It is our inner voice which arises when we feel threatened or challenged in some way.  Coaching us to “push back”, “give them what for”, “let them have it”, and/ or “give them a piece of your mind”.  Please don’t misunderstand me; no one should be a doormat.  We need to be able to set boundaries with one another.  It is the way we set those boundaries that will bring the most return...