6 Tips to Deal with Anxiety by Changing Your Habits

Anxiety is something almost everyone deals with, to varying degrees. For some people, it’s an annoyance that pops up when they’re overly busy or have to do something stress-inducing, like interview for a job. For the most severe sufferers, it can become a vicious cycle, as anxiety over the prospect of having a panic attack becomes the very thing that triggers the attack. If you struggle with anxiety, here are six things you can change about your daily habits to reduce its effects.

DO Sleep At Least Eight Hours A Night

A lack of sleep is a major contributor to anxiety, as your body interprets the lack of rest as an indicator that you’re in physical danger. Getting a solid eight hours of sleep, or more if you can manage, will greatly reduce the feeling of free-floating anxiety that sleep deprivation can exacerbate.

DON’T Isolate Yourself

When we’re struggling with feelings of nervousness, we usually avoid the company of others, withdrawing inward to try to deal with the issue ourselves. The problem with this ought to be apparent — you’re the one with the anxiety, so limiting your dialogue to your own anxiety-ridden thoughts is counterproductive. Instead of isolating yourself, reach out to the people who care about you and let them know what you’re going through. They can commiserate, provide advice, or at the very least remind you that you’renot alone. 

DO Go Outside

As is the case with the previous tip, anxiety often compels us to avoid the outside world for fear of encountering more anxiety-inducing situations or stimuli. But studies have shown that staying cooped up indoors only makes the problem worse. Your lack of exposure to sunlight and fresh air won’t help your anxiety, and will probably make it worse.

DON’T Stare at Your Phone

Your phone can be a retreat from reality, a distraction from the bubbling font of panic at the forefront of our minds, but in the long term, it only makes anxiety worse. The phone can become a security blanket of sorts, and when we depend on the constant stimulation of Twitter or Facebook, we don’t develop healthy strategies for coping with stress.

DO Learn to Meditate

The ancient practice of meditation has its place in many cultures, who have recognized its potential for improving mental health and getting in touch with nature. Believe it or not, meditating can greatly reduce your anxiety. If you have racing thoughts, an app like Insight Timer or Headspace can provide guided meditation, with sounds and instructions to focus on. Many sufferers of anxiety report that a meditation session can head off a panic attack

DON’T Binge on Junk Food

Not only does “comfort eating” have bad effects on your weight and blood pressure, butit can also actually increase your anxiety! The gut-brain connection means that unhealthy foods can lead the body to produce more stress hormones and fewer hormones with the opposite effect. Instead, try incorporating more fermented foods, like kefir, into your diet, as these have been shown to fight anxiety. 

Stress is a fact of life, but severe anxiety doesn’t have to be. Improve your life by taking putting these steps into place today.

Clinicians who provide Counseling for Anxiety:

 

Jordan Daugherty, lcpc, ctc

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 105
jordan@revivecounseling.org

Jordan Daugherty is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and Certified Temperament Counselor serving female clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet jordan Schedule an Appointment

 

Kansas Corley, LCC, CTC

CLINICAL TEAM LEADER

Owensboro | Hartford

270.926.6957 x 106
kansas@revivecounseling.org

Kansas Corley is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor and Certified Temperament Counselor serving clients in our Owensboro and Hartford offices.

 

Meet kansas Schedule an Appointment

 

Jeff Harris, lpcc, lcadc, CTC

CLINICAL THERAPIST

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 104
jeff@revivecounseling.org

Jeff Harris is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor, and Certified Temperament Counselor serving clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet jeff Schedule an Appointment

 

cyndi murphy, ctc

ASSOCIATE THERAPIST

Owensboro

270.926.6957 x 107
cyndi@revivecounseling.org

Cyndi Murphy is a Certified Temperament Counselor and Associate Therapist serving clients in our Owensboro office.

 

Meet Cyndi Schedule an Appointment

Your communication style is ruining your relationships

Here’s the problem with all of our relationships – with our spouses or significant others, with family, with friends, and with co-workers: None of us are born knowing how to communicate. In fact, we all kinda stink at it.

As most of us have heard, we all view the world through a different lens. The problem is, we hear everything through different filters too. That means, for example, when your better half says the house is a mess and needs to be cleaned up, he or she may not necessarily be griping at you. Maybe they’re just thinking out loud. But, if you’re always expecting the worse from them, then you’re always going to expect them to be nagging on you, when it’s possibly not the case at all.

Another scenario we may all be familiar with is a conversation between Tom and Ann:

Tom: “Where’s the checkbook?”

Ann: “I don’t know. Why are you always blaming me for everything?

Tom: “Why are you getting so upset? I just asked a simple question.”

Probably sounds a lot like a conversation you’ve had, right? The thing is, it’s not really a “simple” question or conversation. Think about your own relationship. You know that if you’re being asked “Where’s the checkbook?”, or “Why are you acting angry?”, there’s always more to it than the simple question.

The problem is that you’re each reinforcing the other’s communication style

There are a lot of things that could be going on in Tom and Ann’s conversation that we don’t know about. Ann was responding to a number of cues that Tom gave her. She may have felt like Tom’s tone was harsh or blaming. Maybe they’ve had a long-standing argument about where the dang checkbook is. Her response to Tom’s question is fueled by her own interpretation of what she thinks the question means.

If Ann thinks Tom is always overly controlling or blaming, and then hears what she interprets to be a controlling tone, or sees a particular look on his face, she’ll assume he’s doing what he “always” does and treat her poorly.

But Ann’s not the only one to blame here. Maybe Tom also has some negative beliefs about Ann. He likely thinks she’s unorganized or too sensitive, or easily provoked. So, because he’s probably unaware of his tone, he’ll be surprised by Ann’s angry response. This is filtered through his beliefs about her, and he’ll respond accordingly.

Both are trapped in this negative cycle of reinforcing each other’s beliefs by the way they interact with each other. It doesn’t matter how many times Tom has asked Ann about the checkbook, every time she’s probably going to respond poorly. She’ll get upset. And then he’ll get upset.

What happens next? You can probably guess. They’ll either both shut down and refuse to even look at the other person, or one of them will get mad and stomp out.

Why do these simple questions have to be so hard?

And so starts another cycle of the same never-ending argument. If you’re anything like Tom and Ann, these arguments are probably on auto-pilot by now, and all it takes is one person to say the wrong thing, and we’re off to the races. You can probably, at this point, list everything that’s going to be said during the argument and how it’s ultimately going to end. And yet we still keep doing it.

Stopping the negative cycle

To put a stop to this negative cycle, you’ve got to first understand a really important point about the situation you’re in:

It really only takes one person to change a relationship.

Wait, what?

That’s right – the other person could do absolutely nothing and you can still create positive, healthy change in the way you communicate in your relationship. Of course, it’s always nice when both people want to move the relationship forward, but even so, you have the ability and responsibility to make this change happen in your relationship.

Think back to Tom and Ann. What if Tom had reconsidered the way he asked that question? What if Ann had taken a moment to think about what Tom was really asking? Even a split-second of thought and consideration may have made that conversation turn out really differently.

Either Tom or Ann’s change in perception of the other person could’ve taken the conversation in a completely different direction. 

How to put it into practice

Changing the negative cycle in your relationship isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Really, it’s a simple mindset change. Next time you and the person you care about begin to have a conversation that usually leads to an argument, simply consider what what you’re hearing versus what they’re really saying. 

Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they are being a jerk, but just maybe they’re looking to move the conversation forward, rather than allowing it to continue getting stuck.

Dr. Zakk Gammon is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor at the Practice Administrator of Revive Christian Counseling.

Zakk works with couples who are tired of feeling stuck, and are ready to make a real, lasting change in their relationship.

Zakk can be reached at (270) 926-6957 or by email at zakk@revivecounseling.org.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.

Loving Your Spouse in a Way That Makes Sense: Improving Communication in Your Relationship

Remember when you were dating, how easy it was to go out to dinner or just spend the evening hanging out together? Fast forward a couples years into marriage and things are very different. The things that your spouse used to find cute are now driving them crazy. And the things you used to do for them don’t seem to be enough anymore.

Perhaps it’s because you’re loving them in the way that you want to feel love, but maybe it’s not the way they want to receive that love. Maybe it doesn’t make any sense to them. 

Think of it like this: you’re speaking to your partner in Spanish, but they’re speaking to you in German. In reality, both of you should be speaking Italian and you get in this endless loop of trying to understand the other person, and then getting frustrated when they don’t get it. 

Watch this video and see what small changes you can make to have a big impact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwrBUrmax94&feature=youtu.be

Dr. Zakk Gammon works with couples who are looking to make changes in their relationship by learning better communication skills to create a rock-solid foundation. Schedule your appointment with him here.

3 Ways to Keep Anxiety from Ruining Your Holidays

The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “It’s time for me to put up my regular anxiety and put on my fancy Christmas anxiety”. I kind of laughed, but only because it’s so true.

Are you stressed up to your eyeballs right now? This time of year, we see so many folks come in who are completely stressed and aren’t sure what to do about it. They’re trying to get to all the places, to do all the things, to make all the people happy. And yet, they’re miserable. Parents are rushing around trying to get all the junk their kids asked for this Christmas. You’re trying to frantically clean the house so when your in-laws show up they’re not judging the crap all over the floor. Or, you’re considering moving to a far-off island so you don’t have to listen to your mother while you’re stuck at her house for nine hours straight on Christmas Day.

Sound familiar?

The problem is, you’re only wearing yourself out. However, you don’t have to spend this Christmas season completely exhausted. And there is an opportunity to find freedom. Use these tips to make anxiety stop ruining your holidays:

1. Take the pressure off yourself

If you set high expectations for yourself and everyone around you, you’re going to be let down nearly every time. Planning for the holidays is important, but so is being aware that some things won’t go exactly to plan.

2. Most people aren’t paying much attention to you

A lot of times during the holidays, we feel like we have to “play the part”, looking like the perfect host, child, grandchild, in-law, etc. However, most people aren’t staring you down waiting for you to mess up. They’re probably worried about the same things themselves. Give yourself the grace to not be perfect. And that’s okay.

3. Choose to say no

You don’t have to say yes to everything. And there’s a lot of freedom in saying no. If your family gets upset with you over your no, chances are it’s time to put up boundaries with them.

Although some report that the holidays lift their spirits, many people say that the holiday season makes them feel a lot more anxious. Don’t add yourself to those statistics.

Dr. Zakk Gammon is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and the Director of Revive Christian Counseling.

He works with people who a struggling with anxiety and are ready to find practical ways to get break free.

To schedule an appointment, call Zakk at 270.926.6957, email him at zakk@revivecounseling.org, or skip the conversation and click here to schedule an appointment.

It’s time to get your life back.

 

The simple way to rebuild trust in your relationship

One of the most frequent questions we receive at Revive Christian Counseling is from clients who are looking to rebuild what’s left of a damaged relationship. Whether you’re married and have cheated on your spouse, or you’ve done something really hurtful to a friend, the question we’re asked most often is “How do I get them to trust me again?”

The answer is really simple, but it’s probably not the answer that you want.

Rebuilding trust in your broken relationship

The simple truth of the matter there’s nothing you can say or do to instantly make the other person feel better. As you’ve certainly already discovered, there’s no “magic wand” you can wave to suddenly make everything okay. It’s not as simple as just moving on and forgetting the situation happened.

RELATED: Christian Counseling for Affairs

The only way to rebuild trust in your relationship is by being trustworthy

That means you’re going to have to do some things you probably don’t want to do. You’re going to have to be completely honest and open about what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. If you’ve cheated or come clean about a sex or pornography addiction to your spouse, you’re also going to have to do some work to reassure them it’s not going to happen again.

RELATED: Rebuilding Trust in Your Broken Relationship

The best way to begin rebuilding this trust is to use some type of accountability software. At Revive Christian Counseling, we recommend Accountable2You(We get no monetary earnings by you using this software; it is simply the one we think works the best.) Accountable2You and other similar accountability apps allow you to setup trusted contacts who’ll receive alerts if you visit inappropriate websites, or send or receive inappropriate text messages or emails.

Many choose to ask their pastor or a trusted friend or mentor to receive those alerts. Some choose to list their spouse as another contact. While there’s nothing wrong with your spouse receiving those alerts, it isn’t a good idea to expect them to be the only person to hold you accountable. They’re already going through a lot of emotions and challenges as they navigate their feelings around what’s happened, and so it’s a bit unfair to add that to their plate as well. Additionally, it forces them to have to be even more vigilant about your actions and who you’re talking to or what sites you’re visiting.

Accept responsibility

When working to rebuild trust in your relationship, it’s important to remember that you have to take responsibility for your actions. No, that doesn’t mean you have to live with immense guilt or shame, but it does mean you have to let the other person know that you’re accepting the blame for what’s happened, and that you’re going to do what it takes to get the relationship back on track.

Back up your words with actions

Now that you’ve accepted responsibility and you’ve come clean about what’s happened, it’s not enough to just say you’re sorry. You’re going to have to do some work to prove that you’re willing to do what needs to be done to rebuild the trust. To do so, remember to be humble, gracious and kind in regard to what they’re going through. Remember to over communicate your thoughts and actions so there’s never any doubt about what’s going on in your mind or what you’re doing. If the betrayal has to do with an inappropriate relationship or with pornography, consider seeking counseling for affairs or counseling for pornography addiction.

Be patient

If you’ve hurt someone else, they’re going to need time to process and understand what they’re feeling. Even if you’ve committed to never hurting them again, they’re still going to feel the hurt and pain caused by your actions. It’s important to remember that while these actions are in your past, it’s very much in the other person’s present as they work to navigate their emotions. Allow them to experience the anger, disbelief, sadness and hurt as they figure out how to begin healing.

Struggling to rebuild trust in your relationship? Give us a call, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here to begin getting back on track. It’s time to get your life back.

20 Small Things to Make a Huge Difference in Your Marriage

Let’s be honest. Marriage can be hard. Anyone who says marriage is easy has either never been married, or they’ve only been married for about five minutes. Over time, we tend to develop habits in our relationship. Some are good, and some aren’t so great. Whether you’re in a season where the bad’s outweighing the good, or you’re just looking for ways to continually improve your relationship, these 20 small tips can make a huge impact.

Use these tips to improve your marriage, and watch how the relationship changes.

1. Greet the other person with love at the end of the day.

Work sucked. The people sucked. The whole day sucked. You know, every day is supposed to be a gift, but today was probably socks. But when you walk in the door at home, you have the opportunity to hit the reset button, to shift your focus and to recenter on the relationships that matter most. There will be days when you have literally nothing left to give, but those should be few and far between. If you’re constantly expending all your energy on work relationships and you have nothing when you get home, your doing your most important relationships a disservice.

Show your spouse love by greeting them with a kiss, a hug or just a simple smile when you get home. Talk about the things that bothered you during the day, but also take time to enjoy being with the other person.

2. Offer a kind word.

Nothing makes someone feel better after a long day than saying something nice about them. Remind them of why you love them, or something you like about them. Tell them they look nice. Let them know how you thought about them during the day.

3. Give thanks.

It doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe he loaded the dishwasher when he got home. Maybe she started working on homework with the kids. It’s the small things that go a long way. Let the other person know that you noticed, and that you appreciate what they’re doing. A simple “thank you” really makes a big difference.

4. Speak the truth.

Don’t just tell the other person what they want to hear. But also, don’t just tell them everything’s fine when it’s not. Build trust in your relationship by being willing to discuss the hard stuff. It may not be easy, but it will make the relationship stronger.

5. Look for the positives.

Spread positivity in your relationship. Did your spouse have a crappy day? How can you make their day better? What’s something simple you can say to make them laugh or to bring a little sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day?

6. Shrug off the small things.

Yes, it’s true. Your spouse was raised by savages. Those savages never taught them how to squeeze toothpaste from a tube the proper way. Nobody ever explained to them how to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll. It’s probably physically impossible for them to put their dirty socks in the hamper, or park the car in a straight line in the garage. But it’s important to remember, in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t really matter. Use separate tubes of toothpaste. Put the roll of TP out yourself. Pick up the socks. Put reflective tape on the garage floor so they know how to pull the car in. Seriously – It. Will. Be. Okay.

When we choose to not sweat the small stuff, we’re telling our spouse we are overlooking those small things they do because we love them. And while they may suck at doing those little things around the house, they still love you with their whole heart.

Plus, there are areas you probably suck, too.

7. Snuggle together.

When’s the last time you curled up on the couch or spooned at bedtime? If you’re having a hard time remembering, maybe it’s time to try again. Your spouse will appreciate the attention

8. Serve together.

What’s something you and your spouse both enjoy doing? How to your talents compliment each other? In what ways can you use those gifts in your church or faith community? Despite what the children’s pastor at your church may tell you, not everybody is called to kids’ ministry. And that’s okay. But what other opportunities are there? Can you join the hospitality team? Serve in a soup kitchen? Mentor a hurting family? How can you use the gifts God has given you to find joy and purpose with your spouse?

9. Pray for each other.

Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and pray for your spouse. Even if you’re mad at them, or frustrated with them, or just completely and totally done dealing with them at the moment – pray for them to have a better day. Pray they have a day they enjoy that is satisfying and fulfilling. Pray they feel your love and God’s love. Pray they feel joy.

10. Listen carefully.

Are they telling you about a situation from work? Maybe they got into a disagreement with a friend. Maybe they had the best dang day in the history of ever. Whatever it is, really listen. Look them in the eye. Don’t listen for the sake of responding. Listen to understand them deeper. Ask follow-up questions.

11. Apologize and ask for grace.

Sometimes they suck. Sometimes we suck. Sometimes it all sucks. Maybe you said or did something that was hurtful or spiteful. Ask for their forgiveness and how you can make the situation better.

12. Kiss.

Don’t just say “love you” when you walk out the door mindlessly. Kiss them goodbye. Kiss them hello. Kiss them just because.

13. Laugh at their stupid jokes.

Yes, their jokes are dumb. They think they’re funny. You know they’re not. They probably feel the same way about you. Find the joy anyway. Laugh at the silliness. See Number 5.

14. Give a gracious answer.

Don’t be harsh. Not everything is serious. And even if it’s a serious topic, remember to show grace. For people who are constantly looking for grace from other people, we’re certainly pretty bad at extending it to others.

15. Spend time with just each other.

After you put the kids to bed, spend some time with just each other. Enjoy each other’s company. Talk about your hopes, dreams and plans. Talk about the future and what you want it to look like. Talk about favorite memories of the past. Building intimacy can start with this simple step.

16. Smile at each other.

A warm smile goes a long way. Stop scowling at the other person because it’s 6:00am and you hate people this early.

17. Forgive fully.

As stated previously, we all suck. We all fall short in marriage. Sometimes we say and do things that shouldn’t have been said or done. Those things can’t be changed, but your reactions can. They screwed up, and it hurt. But you don’t have to continue living in that hurt.

RELATED: Four Ways to Help You Forgive Someone

18. Act ridiculous with each other.

When’s the last time you just let your guard down around the other person? Sing an awful rendition of your favorite song. Dance around the living room. Look at funny videos on YouTube and giggle like 16-year-old girls together. Let your hair down.

19. Build each other up.

Tell the other person all the reasons why you love them, and why you fell in love with them. Write it down on a list. Send them an email. Leave it on sticky notes throughout the house. Give the other person a compliment that lets them know you really notice those things.

20. Decide you’re going to love each other.

Not every day is a walk in the park. Life isn’t always paradise. When you’re married to someone else, disagreements will undoubtedly come up. And that’s okay. But it’s also important to remember when you’re in the middle of a conflict, that you are going to continue loving that person even though they’re not really winning at this marriage thing right now.

Marriage isn’t a stagnant relationship. It’s always growing, always changing, and always evolving. Begin looking for small ways to make huge impacts in your relationship.

P.S. – If you haven’t already, download your copy of our FREE resource, 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week! Download your copy here.

Need some help getting your relationship on track? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

How to set appropriate boundaries with people to finally get some peace

Relationships with other people can be hard. Whether it’s in your marriage, with a friend, a family member, co-worker or somebody from church, there are times throughout these relationships when things don’t go the way you want. Conversations get difficult. People are hurt. Sometimes they get angry.

There comes a point, many times, in these situations when you realize your conversations and disagreements aren’t going anywhere and continuing to go round and round is only making things worse. This results in the relationship getting even more damaged, and the more you think about it, the worse it feels.

Eventually, you wind up in a place where you’re just fed up with the relationship, but you’re not sure how to move forward. Is the relationship salvageable? Can things change? These issues in relationships are unfortunately normal, but you don’t have to continue in this negative cycle.

It’s true that a lot of people struggle creating healthy boundaries in their relationships. However, if we can learn how to create boundaries in a way that’s both effective and easy to follow, we can learn to actually enjoy those relationships again. When we learn to put those boundaries in place, it’s absolutely possible to finally find some peace.

Keep reading to learn how to start finding your peace again.

The negativity in the relationship is dragging you down to a place of anger and resentment

The downside of a relationship getting this way is that it just kind of consumes you. You start feeling bitter about the situation. You can become jaded, angry and beginning to wonder why the other person could do this to you.

Or, maybe you go the opposite route, and start feeling really unworthy. Maybe you reach a point that you start feeling bad about yourself and incredibly guilty. It starts to feel like you deserve the place you’re in, and that it’ll never get better.

You might start thinking things like, “How could they do this to me? After everything I’ve done for them.” At some point, maybe you’d just like to walk straight up to the other person and say, “Who do you think you are!?”

You can get back to that place of peace, contentment and joy in your relationship

Although you’re struggling with these negative feelings about the other person and the relationship feels like it’s falling apart, you have the potential to get back to a place where you enjoy being around them again. When we choose to implement these boundaries, we’re giving ourselves the freedom to find happiness again.

Not only do you get the chance to enjoy the relationship again, but perhaps, you’ll be able to make it better than before. Whether it’s a friendship, or a relationship with a family member, or even a co-worker, you can get back to the place where you look forward to talking to them and spending time together.

Perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to continue living with the feelings of anger, guilt, or not being good enough. Instead, imagine a time when you could begin feeling in control of your emotions again. You get the opportunity to take charge of your own life, feeling proud of yourself and get to remember what your worth really is. You finally get to feel respected.

The key to getting to this place is to create those boundaries now so the relationship can move forward

When you’re the middle of emotional drama in these relationships, it can feel pretty hopeless. Not only are you wondering if you can really move forward or if you should just consider it a loss, but you may be mourning what was once there, too.Making these changes isn’t really that difficult if you know how to get started. In fact, it’s a pretty simple four-step process. When you start following them, you’ll begin to see things falling into place.

Take a look at these four steps and begin watching your relationship change for the better.One of the reasons you’re struggling in the relationship is likely because you and the other person haven’t even realized the lack of boundaries and how the situation is unhealthy. It’s hard to take a step back and look at it from an objective perspective. In the middle of a messy relationship, everything is subjective.

Knowing that, it makes complete sense why you’re feeling so exhausted from this situation. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stay this way. When you start implementing boundaries, what you’re really saying to the other person is that you care about them enough to make an effort to create positive change.

Step 1: Recognize the relationship is unhealthy

When you’re stuck in the middle of a messy friendship, working relationship, situation with a family member or in a crappy situation with your better half, it’s difficult to realize how far south the relationship has gone. Taking a step back to create an inventory of the relationship allows you the chance to see it from all sides.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I beginning to dread talking to this person?
  • Do I find myself getting frustrated every time we talk about something?
  • Am I constantly having to bite my tongue to avoid a conflict?
  • Do I sit and stew over the situation without actually finding a way to make a change?

If you answered yes, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what expectations have been crossed. Is the other person telling you what to do or making comments that aren’t their place to make? Do they feel comfortable saying certain things to you that don’t seem like it’s their business? Are they trying to push you too hard to do something you don’t think is right?

RELATED: Three Ways Setting Boundaries will Help Your Sanity

Step 2: Lay out the expectations

How should this relationship really look? What are you hoping to get out of it? Realistically, what would make you most happy if the relationship moves forward? Have a conversation with the other person and decide: what are your non-negotiables?

  • Is the way they talk to you unacceptable? How do you want them to speak to you moving forward?
  • Do they speak disrespectfully to you? How would you prefer they speak to you in the future?
  • Do they butt in to situations that aren’t their business? How would you like for them to address areas of concern in the future?
  • Do they only focus on themselves and create a one-sided relationship? What can they do to show genuine interest in the things happening in your life?

At Revive Christian Counseling, we help clients to determine what non-negotiables they have by making a list based on their specific situations. It helps to write them down before getting together to have the discussion with the other person. What other questions could you add to this list? Creating these expectations and actually agreeing to them, can help you re-establish the relationship and likely create the one that you should have in the first place.

Step 3: After establishing these new ground rules, check in with the other person to see how things are going

How are you and the other person handling these new boundaries? The thing to remember is that these boundaries can change over time as necessary. Does the relationship feel stuffy now? Does it feel like you’re constantly tip-toeing around to avoid making each other mad, or hurting each other’s feelings?

It’s okay to go back and make changes to the original boundaries, so long as both of you are in agreement with the new rules. If you can’t agree, go back to the drawing board and discuss your non-negotiables again.

Step 4: Understand the consequences when the boundaries aren’t honored

One of the most frequent responses we receive from clients when talking about boundaries is that they’re afraid the other person won’t honor them. The truth is, not everybody will. Sometimes in dysfunctional relationships, the other person will try everything they can to avoid agreeing to the boundaries so they can keep pushing your buttons. Many times, we see this dynamic play out in dysfunctional family relationships, when the people will say things like, “We’re family. We have to stick together,” or,“Why are you treating me like this after everything I’ve done for you. That’s not how you treat family.

RELATED: DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY ROLES: DO YOU FIT ONE OF THEM?

That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place in the event these boundaries aren’t respected. What’ll happen in the relationship if the other person can’t get on board? Some solutions might include:

  • Lovingly, but firmly reminding the person the boundaries set in place.
  • Spending some time considering your role in the situation, and if you’re doing anything that gives the other person the impression they don’t have to follow those boundaries.
  • Taking some time apart from the other person, if and when possible.
  • Coming to the realization that this person may never respect your boundaries, and planning accordingly.
  • Completely disassociating with the other person so that you don’t continue getting dragged down into a negative spiral.

These conversations aren’t easy when you’ve set clear expectations, but sometimes they’re necessary if the other person continues to push you to that negative place.

Setting boundaries can feel difficult when it’s happening, but the peace and joy you feel afterward is well worth the journey.

Achieving healthy boundaries in relationships can be completely freeing. You are worthy of no longer living with anger, resentment, guilt, and low self-worth. You can absolutely reach that point. However, sometimes it’s difficult to do it on your own. And Revive Christian Counseling can help.

We work with people who are tired of feeling stuck in these situations and are ready to move on to finding freedom. We’ll help you to let go of the bitterness, to feel proud of yourself and to finally feel respected.

Are you ready to set boundaries and finally find your peace? Let’s work together to get you on track and find true emotional health. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule an appointment here on our website. It’s time to get your life back.

3 Ways You can Move from Emotional Pain to Healing and Freedom when Someone Hurts You

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to experience emotional pain and heartache. People let us down. Marriages fall apart. Children disappoint us. Bosses berate us. Family abandons us. Friends forget about us.

The downsides to these problems lead us to feeling like we aren’t good enough. We begin to feel upset, and worthless. We feel as though nobody cares. In short, we feel isolated. When we start feeling isolated, we react negatively, in ways like:

  • Lashing out at friends and family
  • Avoiding conflict and confrontation
  • Constantly worrying about every conversation we have with others
  • Desperately trying to get other people’s approval, many times in incredibly unhealthy ways

Maybe it plays out for you like this: your boss gets upset with you for something you did wrong at work. Sure, it was probably a simple mistake, and maybe they didn’t even make that big of a deal about it. But now you’re starting to feel nervous, maybe wondering if you’re at risk of getting fired. So now you’re working even harder trying to fix the situation, but you feel like you’re living under a microscope – like the boss is just waiting for you to mess up again. And so the whole time you’re working your butt off to try to make the situation better but you end up making even more mistakes because you’re so nervous.

Then, you go home at the end of another stressful day on the job to find the kids running around like savages. The house is a mess. Homework isn’t done. There are about 10 or 15 different things you look around and see that your spouse could have done when they got home, but now you’ve got to do all that work too. Time for dinner. Kids need baths. Oh look, there’s a pile of laundry that’s overflowing the hamper. When is all of this going to stop.

On top of that, something happened with your better half today. Who knows, maybe they had a crappy day at work too. Whatever is going on, now they’re being short and snippy with you too. You try to have a conversation and everything is met with either being ignored or some kind of hateful response. So at the end of another long, exhausting, frustrating day, you crawl into bed to try to get some sleep. But before you know it, your alarm is screaming in your ear. Time to get up. Time to do it all over again today.

All this endless cycle does is keep us feeling stuck. We’re not moving forward. All we’re doing is running in place, spending day after day after frustrating day trying to keep everything together. Unfortunately, all this does is continue to push us farther and farther away from other people to the point we’re so isolated we either look completely unapproachable, or nobody even has any idea of what’s happening with us.

The unfortunate reality is that at some point, probably everybody has gone through this. The good news is that you’re not alone. The bad news is that if you ask most people, they have no idea how in the world to make it any better because they’re stuck running in place themselves.

Moms everywhere feel like they’re drowning in responsibilities. Dads feel like they don’t have any respect at home. Employees feel unfulfilled by their draining jobs and families feel like there’s so much dysfunction they don’t know how to even have a freaking meal together in peace.

It’s true that this isolation keeps people from experiencing the true peace and joy that as Christians we’re promised. However, if we can learn how to begin working toward finding that freedom, we can truly find contentment and get back to enjoying life.

Keep reading for 3 tips so you can start finding peace today.

If you continue living in isolation, you’re going to keep feeling alone

The biggest downside of not overcoming these feelings of isolation is that you’re only going to continue going down this negative cycle of being alone. You’re going to feel like the crap just keeps piling up and there’s no real hope for digging your way out. You’re going to keep having the fights, arguments and excruciatingly painful silence at the end of another long day of disappointment.

Living this way is exhausting. Nothing ever moves forward. It only keeps pulling you back. Inside, you’re probably screaming for somebody, anybody to step in and help. On the outside, you’re just doing everything you can to hold it all together.

But thank God you don’t have to keep living alone in this cage of isolation

Although you’re struggling in this sucky, lonely pit of despair, you have the potential to really find pace, contentment and joy again. When we choose to do this, we realize we’re worth a heck of a lot more than the crap we’ve been living in.

3 Ways to Achieve this Healing and Wholeness

The key to achieving contentment is to put a plan into place to protect yourself from the negative feelings you’re experiencing. Making these changes isn’t as hard as you think if you’re willing to change your way of thinking.

It’s important to truly understand these feelings so that you can move forward in a healthy way.

1. You’re struggling to forgive

Forgiveness is hard. Countless examples in Scripture talk about the importance of forgiving others. And of course, we understand Christ’s ultimate act of forgiveness on the Cross for our sins.

But how often are you truly practicing forgiveness? Are you truly making the conscious decision to move past the negative emotions and bitterness you’re holding toward another person and lay them down? Or are you hoping that they’ll somehow get the message of your anger and come to you with an apology?

Maybe they already have apologized and you just can’t find it in your heart to allow yourself to forgive them. You feel angry, alone and justified in your emotions.

The solution: Understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re saying it’s okay and that they can hurt you again.

Remember in elementary school how somebody would do something to us and then the teacher would make them apologize? It would go something like this:

Teacher (obviously oblivious): “You need to apologize for what you’ve done.”

Mean, hateful, awful kid (obviously not really caring): “Sorry.”

You (obviously not over it): “It’s okay.”

Here’s the deal, though. It wasn’t okay 25 years ago when you were being picked on during recess, and it’s not okay what’s happening to you now.

We’re conditioned to think that when someone apologizes, we’re just supposed to say “It’s okay,” even though it’s not. And so as a result, we think forgiving somebody means that we just have to suck it up and tell them what they’ve done is okay, and it’s okay for them to do it again. It’s NOT. Forgiving someone means simply saying that you’re no longer going to cause you to hold bitterness, resentment and possibly hatred against them. It means you’re choosing to free yourself.

If, after you forgive them, they choose to continue acting the way they’re acting and trying to hurt you, that’s on them. But the idea after you forgive them isn’t to just get over it and move on, rather, to give yourself freedom and then not allow them to hurt you again.

Which brings us to our second point:

2. You’re not sure how to put up appropriate boundaries.

Establishing healthy boundaries is a therapeutic term that’s thrown around a lot, yet few people understand how to really do it with success. Boundaries can be hard.

Have you ever tried putting up a boundary with someone? What was the result? I can guarantee you that if the relationship was unhealthy and you tried to establish those boundaries, the unhealthy person tried their hardest to push against them.

The fastest way to tick off a dysfunctional family member is to put a boundary in place, telling them you have no desire to continue in a negative relationship the way it’s been happening. They may yell, throw a fit, bait you to get into a fight with them, or try to make you feel guilty, saying things like “But we’re family. You needme,”

The solution: Keep the boundaries in place. They’re there for a reason.

Dysfunctional people like to fight against boundaries. It’s what they do. However, it’s up to you to hold them in place. That may mean ignoring phone calls and texts. It could mean no longer going around that person when it can be avoided. It may mean choosing not to engage with them in their behavior when they’re acting out or trying to press your buttons.

Believe me, it’s easier said than done. You may feel bad because “you’re the only person they have,” or “there’s nobody else who can help them,”. It’s not your job to help them if it’s constantly causing you to struggling with that anger, bitterness and resentment. It’s your job to protect yourself.

3. You’re feeling alone and isolated.

When something bad happens to us, it’s human nature to retreat and try to get away from the situation. Sometimes, this means putting up walls to keep people out. Sometimes it means literally retreating and not talking to anyone for days at a time.

And the longer we do it, the easier it gets to isolate ourselves. When we avoid others, and avoid conflict, we’re keeping ourselves out of relationships with other people – and it only hurts us. Sure, there are people who are introverted and only need a handful of relationships. On the other hand, the extroverts of the world need a lot of relationships. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, each of us were created to live in relationship with one another. Keeping ourselves out of those healthy relationships only allows Satan to attack our minds by constantly telling us we’re not good enough.

The solution: Find healthy and safe ways to be with others, even if you don’t always feel like it.

The old saying is true, “misery loves company.” If you’re struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety, being alone only compounds those feelings. It may be difficult to go be with people when you’re hurting, but if you can find just one friend who you trust to call and spend an afternoon with, or go out to lunch, you’ll find yourself starting to feel better.

Each of us were created to be in relationships with other people. These relationships help us to navigate those feelings of not being good enough, not being worthy of finding hope, and getting through stressful situations. 

You’ve got some work to do.

Getting to the point of finding freedom is a difficult and challenging task. But achieving that hope can be liberating when you’re stuck in those negative emotions. You absolutely can find that freedom and healing for yourself.

If you’re having trouble doing it on your own, give us a shout and let us walk through it with you. At Revive Christian Counseling, we’re here to walk through it with you every step of the way.

Struggling to find freedom?
Let’s work together to get back on track. Call us, schedule an appointment online, or message us on Facebook to get started. It’s time to get your life back.

Forget the Myth: Professionals CAN Struggle with Addiction

Many people believe that professionals or business executives are immune to substance abuse. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a higher education, an executive title, and money doesn’t make you less vulnerable to addiction. In fact, it’s easy to see how the pressure that comes with maintaining a professional career could make you more prone to substance abuse.

If this is you, you may be good at hiding your problem and afraid that seeking treatment will destroy your career. However, getting help now will actually lower the chances of that happening. Here are some tips for getting on the right track.

Identify Your Problem

The first step in overcoming your addiction is recognizing you have a problem. Having a high-powered occupation could make you more likely to live in denial, because — in the back of your mind — you know all you have to lose. But you’ll never get better unless you accept your addiction and confront it head-on. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Mood swings
  • Money problems
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Difficulty performing menial tasks at work
  • Noticeable change in weight

Another indicator that you have a problem is if your family or friends see it. Oftentimes, they will notice it before you do. If your spouse, partner, friend, or coworker approaches you with concern, try not to blow them off. If it’s gotten to the point where they feel they have to confront you, it’s probably time to address the issue.

Get Help

The consequences of not getting help for addiction far outweigh any temporary pleasure or relief a substance can provide. Simply put, you could lose everything: your job, family, marriage, friendships, financial status, other business opportunities — the list goes on. Also, the physical and mental abuse you’re putting yourself through can take its toll quicker than you might think. Short-term effects include anything from sleeplessness, high blood pressure, and stroke to psychosis, overdose, and death. Over time, drugs and alcohol will deteriorate your body and mind. This can lead to heart, lung, or liver disease; cancer; mental illness; and so on.

Fortunately, there are treatment programs specifically for professionals and business executives. Such programs are designed to help you continue performing professional duties—whether you’re doing outpatient treatment or staying at a recovery center. In other words, you can get help to beat your addiction without losing your job. Executive programs can also help you to restore your career and reputation as you return to professional practice. When it comes down to it, even if you needed to leave work for some time to go to rehab, it could ultimately save your career—and life, for that matter.

Win in your environment

Another critical part of addiction recovery will be your environment. Part of the mission for many executive treatment programs is to equip you to deal with triggers in the workplace. Studies have shown that stress at work is a leading cause of substance abuse. Also, it’s common for employees to go out for drinks after work, as they feel it helps them destress and build relationships with their coworkers. But when done too often, that can be a slippery slope to dependency or addiction. In recovery, your first priority must be your recovery. That could mean saying no to going out with your coworkers or skipping certain company events where you know there will be drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, you may not be able to avoid being around substances, and there are ways to win in those situations as well.

Having a high-powered position doesn’t shield you from the perils of addiction. The stress and pressure that come with a professional career can lead to coping with drugs or alcohol. The most important thing to remember is that getting help now can save your career and life from being destroyed. If you realize that you have a problem, accept it. Don’t waste another moment self-medicating. Reach out to a professional so you can start to renew your life.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Eva Beniot, Life Coach and Author of “The 30-Day Plan for Ending Bad Habits and Improving Overall Health”.

Struggling with Addiction?
Let’s work together to get you back on track. Schedule an appointment with us, or message us on Facebook to get started. It’s time to get your life back.

Sober Vacation: Plan Ahead to Avoid Relapse During Recovery

Vacations are certainly different when we’re sober; in some ways, they’re even better. Prior to addiction recovery, many addicts have vacations that include partying hard for one night (which they probably won’t remember), then spending the next several days nursing a hangover. (What’s worse than a hangover? Having to fly on a plane while you have a hangover.)

Planning ahead for your vacation can help you avoid falling into traps.

Routines are key for addiction recovery – and yet, the very point of a vacation is to shake up your daily routine. With all the changes in your schedule while you are traveling, how are you supposed to continue your sober path while on vacation? It’s a vacation, after all… Aren’t you supposed to drink?

A sober vacation looks much different than this scenario. Instead, you might find yourself snorkeling in the ocean, exploring ancient ruins in another country, or relaxing by a fireplace while catching up on a good book. Best of all, you’ll be fully present and aware for all of it. You’ll remember your whole vacation, and you won’t be sick or hungover during any part of it. It’s simply not worth risking all of this joy, even for one teensy “little” drink.

Planning a vacation while in addiction recovery is simple. It really just comes down to knowing what to avoid. For recovering addicts and alcoholics, an obvious red flag is the presence of alcohol. While these things are more easily avoided at home, it can be tricky to avoid them completely while you are vacationing – especially if you’re visiting a new or unfamiliar place.

Another way to (hopefully) avoid relapse during your upcoming vacation is by carefully choosing your vacation activities. For instance, a yoga or meditation retreat will almost always be alcohol-free, and both of these activities – alone or apart – can be a boost to your mental health in sobriety. You can also look into vacation groups and specific vacation retreats that are available for newly-sober individuals like yourself. A simple Google search brings up a variety of Meetup groups, travel groups, and vacation planners specializing in retreats, resorts, sober travel, and getaways for those who are in addiction recovery.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly options and can’t afford an all-inclusive vacation, you’re in luck. Many travel websites now offer a “build-your-own sober vacation” package where you can pick a la carte activities while bundling your hotel and airfare for added savings. The Buzzfeed community also recently created this budget-friendly list. Many of the affordable options are appropriate for those who are living in sobriety and seeking an alcohol-free vacation.

If you haven’t noticed by now, planning a sober vacation doesn’t mean you have to plan a boring vacation – and it also doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. With some proactive planning on your part, and a little creative thinking, you’ll be able to plan your dream vacation – without the risks of relapsing. You’ll come home with your sobriety intact, along with new memories that will last you a lifetime.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Adam Cook of Addiction Hub, an online resource for addicts and those in recovery, as well as their families.

Struggling with Alcoholism? Let’s work together to get you on the right track. Call us, schedule your appointment online, or message us on Facebook. It’s time to get your life back.
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