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

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.

10 Simple Ways to De-Stress Right Now

Let’s face it, at one point or another, we’re all stressed out. Whether your job requires a lot of you, you’re busy getting kids to and from where they need to go, you’re keeping up with and trying to maintain a social life, or you have responsibilities at church, stress can creep into your life and begin ruining everything. From anxiety about what the future holds, to feelings of exhaustion, to lashing out at family members, the repercussions of not dealing with stress in a healthy way can be major. And it doesn’t just affect one aspect of your life – it can cause negative damage to your spiritual, emotional and physical health.

These simple steps can help you begin to get a better handle on your stressful situations.

1. Exercise

Listen, I’m not here to be your doctor. But since you may have rolled your eyes at number 1, let me just remind you the importance of exercise.

A 20-minute walk or jog around the blog can bring you up to 12 hours of improved mood. Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s running, doing yoga, investing in a punching bag, or so on – every little bit helps.

2. Socialize

Yes, it’s important – even for the introverts! The idea of hanging out with people probably isn’t very high on your priority list when you’re feeling stressed out. However, being around others you love or care about gives you a sense of belonging, purpose and it’s just fun. A great way to get around others is to spend time with people at church (hint, hint).

3. Write and/or Journal

Setting aside a specific period of time each day to write thoughts out about a situation that’s bothering you can help reduce tension and give you stress relief for the rest of the day. It can also help you solve problems and find positivity in the midst of a negative situation.

4. Laugh

It really is the best medicine. Studies have proven that laughter lowers tension, and at the same time improves blood flow and the health of your heart. Rent a funny movie or hang out with those friends who are always cracking jokes.

5. Clean up

Seriously. Get all that crap off your desk that’s been piling up for weeks. Make the bed. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Each of these and similar items help to give us a sense of productivity. (In fact, I recommend making your bed every day as soon as you get up. It helps to start your day with one task already accomplished.)

6. Get some fresh air

If you’re stuck inside all day, take a few minutes to walk around outside. Open a window if you can. Fresh air and a change of scenery can help lift your spirits.

7. Be kind to yourself

Stop calling yourself names and telling yourself you’re not good enough. Thinking negative thoughts only makes you feel bad – and it increases your stress. Tell yourself you’re doing a good job – and actually believe it!

8. Pray

Did you really think the Christian counselor was going to write about all this and not talk about praying? When’s the last time you prayed about your situation? When’s the last time you prayed at all? Ask God to help in these areas, and be willing to give them up to Him.

9. Be thankful

Showing thanks for your family, friends and loved ones and being thankful for the positive aspects of your life has a calming affect. Not only does it give you perspective, it makes other people feel good too.

10. Make a change

Sometimes the best way to deal with something stressful is to remove your source of tension. I realize that we don’t all have the luxury of not going back to our soul-sucking job anymore, but are you looking for other work?

Maybe your spouse is the source of your stress. Have you considered counseling?

Maybe it’s a financial issue. Look for ways to cut and invest in a credit or debt counseling service.


Stress doesn’t have to continue ruining your life. And it won’t, as long as you don’t let it. How do you intend to lower your stress today?

 STRUGGLING WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY? Let’s work together to get you back on track. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

Discreet Addiction Treatment Advice for the Career-Minded Person

Addiction Affects Everyone

People always believe that they are the exception, but addiction does not discriminate. No matter what your standing in life is or how much money you make, you are just as likely to turn to drug or alcohol abuse as anyone else. There is no precise cause of addiction. Rather, various factors can contribute to the disease.

 

  • Genetic inheritance often plays a significant role in addiction. As it turns out, people that have relatives with addiction problems have an increased risk of developing one themselves.
  • Environment– that is, the people, places, and events a person is exposed to– is often an influence the contributes to a person’s addiction. Seeing and experiencing drug or alcohol use around you regularly normalizes and encourages it.
  • People who have experienced significant trauma in their life– especially during childhood– are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol. People often turn to substance abuse as a way to deal with physical and emotional difficulties that result from traumatic events.

Are You Addicted? Recognizing a Substance Abuse Problem

Most people are not willing to admit to themselves that they have a substance abuse problem. Generally, people let their destructive behaviors continue to a point of significant consequences, including severe health problems, family fractures, and professional woes. If you want to avoid such consequences, prevention is your best bet. However if you’ve already fallen into addictive behaviors, the earlier you recognize them and correct them, the easier reversal is.

Signs of addiction include:

  • You don’t feel normal without your substance
  • You’ve tried giving up your substance, but eventually returned to it.
  • You experience symptoms of withdrawalafter you quit using your substance of choice.
  • You find yourself making social or recreational sacrifices in favor of substance use.
  • You engage in risky or destructive behaviors.
  • You turn to your substance when confronted with stress or other problems.
  • You deny a problem when confronted by friends or family.
  • You hide your drug or alcohol use from those around you.
  • You begin to stash your substance in different places.
  • You binge your substance in an effort to feel good.
  • You spend a disproportionate amount of money on the substance.
  • You experience issues with work, family, or other relationships.

Discreet Addiction Treatment

Generally, people don’t want to advertise that they have a substance abuse problem. This is especially true for people like executives and other professionals whose job could be put in jeopardy if authorities discovered such an instability. Getting your addiction under control is important for job security, but doing so discreetly can help prevent professional problems while doing so.

  • Outpatient addiction programs allow recovering users to keep going to work throughout the day while experiencing treatment.
  • Journaling allows you to express difficulties and analyze your emotions to help get to the route of internal problems that contribute to destructive addictive behaviors. Keep a notebook and pen on you at all times and jot down thoughts and feelings as they come.
  • Meditation is a healthy way to re-align the mind so it is better able at dealing with stress and other triggers that lead to substance abuse. Set up a designated spot in or near your office where you can be alone and meditate when the pressures of work make substance use tempting. If your coworkers or boss ask about what you are doing, point out the number of successful people that use meditation as a tool to improve their professional performance.
  • Supplement your addiction recovery methods with healthy daily habits that help heal and balance both mind and body. Exercise stimulates the brain’s reward center to fight cravings while stimulating hormone and neurochemical development impeded by drug or alcohol abuse. Furthermore, pursuing a healthy diet provides the body with nutrients the body needs to repair the damage substance abuse inflicts.
  • Know your rights regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. The ADA protects recovering drug addicts and alcoholics from discrimination if they are currently in a rehabilitation program or have been successfully rehabilitated. If you feel your workplace is discriminating you based on your addiction, you can file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Having money and a successful career doesn’t make you immune to addiction. If you notice signs of addiction in your behaviors, catching and correcting them early makes recovery much easier so you can pursue it in a discreet manner. Utilize various treatments to correct destructive behaviors for a well-rounded recovery that enables you to get back to your life as soon as possible.

 STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION? It’s time to get your life back on track. Call us, send us a message on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction

Once you have gotten clean and built up a support system to keep you clean, you may be anxious to get back to work and rebuild your life so that you can really thrive.

Rebuilding a life after addiction isn’t easy. Addressing the physical and psychological issues that caused your substance abuse in the first place is an around-the-clock battle in many cases. Combined with the pressure of providing for your needs and those of your family, it can feel like too much to bear. To minimize stress and frustration that could threaten your sobriety, you must be patient, both with the process and with yourself.

Don’t neglect the habits that got you here

Sobriety is your first priority, so you can’t neglect the systems that got you clean in the first place. For instance, if Alcoholics Anonymous was a big factor in helping you recover, keep going to meetings. If you opted for methadone or buprenorphine, you have to keep up with those treatments, often on a daily basis.

If your faith is what got you to a state of recovery, don’t bypass Sunday services and Bible study. Similarly, if your family was your a large part of your process of healing, make sure to stay accountable to them and follow their rules.

Make sure you have identified the underlying cause of your addiction. New research suggests that most addiction is rooted in trauma or despair. It’s important that you have received counseling that enabled you to come to terms with that underlying issue. Therapy may need to be ongoing.

Find a job 

By finding employment, many recovering addicts find the structure they need to stay clean and sober. You get up in the morning at a specific time, and you have somewhere you need to be. That’s about half the battle for some people who might otherwise get up in the morning, wondering how to get through the day sober.

Be aware that some companies make a point of hiring recovering addicts. And other companies have a mission to those with disabilities. However, unless you were convicted of a crime while using, you are not obliged to share your experiences of addiction and recovery with an employer.

That said, there might be advantages to pulling back the curtain on your experiences. Some recovered addicts feel, rightly, that recovery and ongoing sobriety are the most heroic achievements of their lives. If you can frame your story as a story of persistence, faith, and achievement, you may move employers with your narrative.

If you choose to maintain your privacy, you will still need to explain any gap in employment of more than six months. “In treatment for a serious health issue” should be enough to satisfy most employers. You can also claim a nervous breakdown.

Benefits of Volunteering

If you are unsuccessful in your job search, consider volunteering. Volunteering gets you out doing something you are passionate about and helps you build a social network that you can then fall back on to find paid employment. Your volunteer coordinator can be a reference. Sometimes the company you volunteer for will hire you as an employee.

Other routes to full-time employment are working part-time or on a temporary basis. Another good pathway back to employment is national service. Americorps, VISTA, and the Peace Corps accept a broad range of talent and have a mission to employ people over 50 and people with disabilities.

Getting your life back may not be easy. But with some creativity and patience, you will do it. Remember you have a lot of options. If you don’t succeed going down one road, try another. And, above all, be patient with the process.

 STRUGGLING AFTER ADDICTION? You don’t have to go through this alone. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.
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.

Five Ways to Beat Your Anxiety

Anxiety, unfortunately, is a bit of an irrational disorder and struggle. The problem is, we know it’s irrational but we still can’t change the thoughts in the moment of extremely anxious thoughts or a panic attack. However, there are five ways you can begin working to beat your anxiety to help put it behind you.

1. Write down harmful thoughts

I’m not a big fan of the word “journaling”. I think it leads to thoughts of somebody sitting at a table with sad music playing in the background, tears streaming down their face writing down every sad thought that’s ever entered their mind.

However, there is a lot of benefit of keeping a daily log of the thoughts that are causing you trouble. Anxiety can come out of nowhere. It’s important to recognize those triggers as that can help you understand how to prevent them. Whenever you start feeling anxious with no apparent reason, begin thinking over your last few thoughts.

If you can catch them, you can examine and challenge the irrational thoughts that cause anxiety.

Writing them down allows you to keep a record so that you can examine their frequency, the timing, and any patterns that might exist.

2. Challenge those thoughts

After you’ve spent some time writing down those thoughts, you can begin the process of challenging them. It’s not much help for you to just write them down and do nothing with those.

See, the problem, is that our anxious brains are incredibly unreliable at judging those situations. Our brains will set off every alarm, and yet we still have trouble attaching those thoughts to the physical sensations that come with anxiety.

Some thoughts will be easier than others to challenge. No matter how difficult, though, challenge everything you have written down.

3. Find solutions in your thinking

Most of the thinking we do is what’s called “solution-oriented”. That means when we think of a problem, set-back or issue, our mind automatically searches for a solution to a problem. For instance, if you can’t find your car keys, your next logical step is to begin looking for them. This usually happens without much thought. You realize that if you want to find your keys, you must look for them. Seldom do we sit in a puddle of our own tears because we can’t find the keys — so why do we do that over other issues that cause us anxiety?

When we refuse to focus on solutions, we’re doing nothing more than overthinking. This overthinking, many times, is what leads to panic attacks and feelings of being sad or depressed.

Whenever we engaged in non-solution-oriented thinking, we’re essentially manufacturing our own unhappiness. Nothing good comes from obsessing about things we cannot control.

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” -Psalm 61:2

If you find yourself overthinking often, begin asking yourself what the solutions to your situation is. It is important to remember that obsessing over a problem isn’t always unhealthy. Sometimes big issues require a lot of thought. You certainly shouldn’t go out and buy and new house on a whim. Deciding to get a new job should take some time. As long as your goal is problem-solving and finding solutions, your thoughts are just fine.

4. Accept your anxiety

Trying to fight, avoid or struggle against anxious feelings is only going to make them worse.

Trying to oppose anxiety naturally means investing time into thinking about anxiety, or doing everything you can to avoid thinking about it. It requires time and energy that could be better spent cultivating positivity.

The healthiest course of action is to accept and observe what we’re feeling, but without reacting and becoming emotionally invested. The truth is that anxiety is not something negative, and it’s not something we have to fight or hate. It just is.

5. Get to know your anxiety

Understand and actively seek more knowledge — not only about anxiety in general — but specifically about your own anxiety. There are a wealth of topics to research, such as reading books, following blogs, joining support groups, and writing about your own experiences.

The idea is that through immersion in the subject, a resilience toward anxiety will naturally develop. You’ll begin to learn that it’s easier to handle a panic attack if you know it’s not a heart attack. You’ll realize it’s easier to accept and face anxiety without fear if you know what it is. And it’s easier to cope if you have a support network that knows what you’re going through.

Of course, it’s important to remember you don’t have to fight this battle alone. There’s no shame in reaching out for professional help when necessary.

 STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY? You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. There is hope. It’s time to get your life back.

14 Ways to Accept Criticism Without Being Defensive

I see it all the time – couples who want to improve their relationship by sharing things their spouse could do better. Heck, even outside of marriages – things like relationships with your best friend, or perhaps dealing with your boss at work – there are times in life when you receive criticism, and many times, it’s not fun.

After all, who likes to hear a list of negative things about themselves, especially when those points are true?

However, it’s important to be able to take and hear critical feedback without without getting defensive. People who can accept criticism at face value are able to make positive changes, and take their relationship or situation to the next level.

If you tend to get defensive in your marriage, your job or with friends and family members, you may have trouble growing and making healthy, long-lasting changes. These tips can help change your perspective on accepting criticism.

1. Actively Listen

Active listening means that you’re really hearing the feedback rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. It’s really the most important thing you can do when you’re receiving criticism. Give the conversation your full attention, concentrate, respond and make sure you can remember the main points.

You want to shut off the part of your brain that starts coming up with answers and pushback to what’s being said. Your defense is really beside the point right now. What does matter is being able to listen actively to what the person is saying and process it without the situation turning into a debate.

2. Ask Questions

It’s important to ask questions to fully understand where you have room for improvement. This might (and probably will) feel unnatural, but it’s one of the most important things you can do when receiving criticism. It’s hard enough to receive said feedback – it’s a whole other level to start asking questions about it so that you can get more information about where you can improve.

When you start asking questions, have an eye toward understanding the feedback. The point to your questions is not to find a flaw in the criticism, but rather to fully digest it. Remember that most of the time, the person is giving you feedback to see positive changes.

3. Understand Why Feedback is Important

Others can see flaws in you that you typically can’t see, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s true, people tend to be their own worst critics. The problem is that you’re too critical where you shouldn’t be, and you may have blind spots to areas where you need feedback the most.

This feedback from others is important because it’s more objective than what you’re going to give yourself. Don’t see feedback or constructive criticism as a reason to be upset. Rather, see it as an opportunity to improve.

4. Take Note

If you struggle with shutting out feedback, write it down so you can remember it. Feedback in your relationships is only as good as what you can remember. If you are in a situation and your spouse, friend or boss is telling you something they’re concerned about, take time to write it down after the conversation is over.

Of course, make your own notes alongside what you’ve been told, figuring out ways to improve what was discussed.

5. Follow Up

Just like taking notes doesn’t sound super fun, following up on the conversation sounds about as much fun as getting a root canal. It’s so much easier to ignore the conversation and pretend like it didn’t happen. If you follow up on the conversation, you’re going to have to revisit the same uncomfortable issues. And when you have the follow up meeting, that’s the time for you to not make counter arguments, but rather discuss and ask what changes the other person is seeing.

Focusing on the positive changes instead of arguing the point shows you’re serious about hearing the other person out and understanding their concerns. Even before you’ve started making progress and positive changes, you’re showing that you take the other person seriously and that it’s important to you.

6. Understand the Other Person’s Point of View

Obviously, getting this type of feedback is unpleasant. But it’s equally important to realize the other person is likely uncomfortable as well.

Especially if the situation is about an uncomfortable topic, like a common disagreement, or something really personal, the person providing the feedback isn’t likely having a lot of fun either.

Be sensitive to the fact that the other person isn’t comfortable; that may make you less anxious and more receptive.

7. Get in front of it

Don’t be afraid to ask for honest and frank feedback from your spouse, friends, family, boss or co-workers. The more you hear it, the more comfortable you’ll be hearing it when it’s totally unsolicited. That’ll make you more capable of hearing the negative feedback and improving your performance rather than getting defensive and rejecting what’s being said to you.

Asking for critical feedback also provides you with more opportunities to become better.

8. Surround Yourself with Frank People

Being around friends or co-workers who aren’t afraid to give feedback on the fly will help you to become more comfortable hearing it. You’ll also be more skilled at giving critical feedback yourself when necessary.

People who aren’t afraid to give feedback to their loved ones, friends and co-workers tend to have great relationship skills – something else that can rub off on you.

9. Understand the Difference Between Effort and Results

Feedback and concerns typically aren’t intended to point out that you weren’t trying hard enough. But it does mean there are things you could change to make life a whole lot easier or better.

This is part of not having to answer back when you’re being confronted with potentially uncomfortable criticism. Your job is to take it in, not fight back.

Being aware that your efforts aren’t being called into question helps you to prevent yourself from becoming negative and resentful.

10. Don’t Ignore the Positive

When your better half, best friend or other person in your life is talking to you about yourself, hopefully there’s some good in there too. Don’t forget that.

The positive stuff may give you a way to make the improvements and changes the other person is hoping to see. What’s more, it’s going to make it easier for you to have the rest of the conversation.

Remember, getting criticism doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but you may be doing something that’s hard to live with.

11. Listen to Intent as Well as Words

Let’s face it, not everybody is good at these conversations. Maybe your husband sucks at communicating. Maybe your wife looks angry while you’re talking. Perhaps your best friend stutters all over him or herself when trying to explain the situation. However, just because it’s inartful doesn’t mean what they’re saying is unimportant.

Sometimes, you have to listen for the ideas behind the words. That can be difficult if you’re confronted with somebody who doesn’t give feedback all that well.

Still, listening to what they’re trying to tell you and ignoring the actual words they’re using will help you to receive feedback better and perform better as a result.

12. Do as They Say, Not as They Do

So maybe your better half tells you that you need to stop yelling so much, even though every time you get into an argument they yell at you. Does that make their feedback any less valid? Absolutely not.

If a person with 10 DUI convictions tells you not to drive drunk, it’s still good advice. Just as you shouldn’t make getting feedback personal, you also shouldn’t make it personal in the other direction.

Good advice from a badly behaved person is still good advice. Lead by example and follow the advice. Don’t be surprised if they start following you.

13. Explain how the Feedback Helped You

Going back over the critical feedback will help you to acclimate yourself to hearing it. Expressing how it helped you will help the person who gave you the feedback better understand how they helped.

This will make hearing critical feedback much smoother in the future as you and the other person make communication easier.

14. Say Thank You

It can be humbling, to say the least, when somebody tells you something you don’t want to hear. This is even more true when you say “thank you” at the end of the conversation.

This lets the other person know you’re taking them seriously and you’re open to these conversations in the future. Opening that door gives you opportunities to grow and become better, without becoming defensive or standoffish.

Obviously, this doesn’t solve every problem. If you have a particularly difficult marriage, friendship, work environment or relationship with family, many times the things you hear may not be constructive, and is instead used as a way to try to control, guilt, or manipulate you. It’s important to learn to discern and understand the difference.

 STRUGGLING WITH NEGATIVITY, FRUSTRATION OR RESENTMENT? Let’s get you back on track. Give us a call, message us on Facebook or schedule your appointment right here. It’s time to get your life back.

Eight Practical Ways to Improve Your Mood

Y’all. We’re now officially in Spring, and yet it feels like January 59th outside. This is like the winter that never ends. This time of year, especially with a winter season that refuses to give up, it’s easy to feel down and depressed. Some people struggle with clinical depression, but many, however, deal with the “wintertime” blues. Here are eight practical ways to improve your mood when you’re feeling sour, whether it’s because of Mother Nature, a fight with a friend or trouble in your family.

 

 

 

 

1. Go outside

Yes, I realize this is the winter that refuses to go away. However, walking outside – even on a dreary day – can really improve your mood. If it’s raining, grab an umbrella. If it’s chilly, put on a jacket. Take a walk around the block and clear your mind. You’ll be amazed at what a ten minute walk can do for you.

2. Listen to music

Listening to music does a couple of things. First, it takes your mind off what’s going on around you. Second, research shows people who listen to music with an upbeat tempo have more energy and are able to keep more stamina throughout the day. Before bed, listen to calming tracks.

3. Get some essential oils

You’re not going to find any endorsement of a specific brand here (and yes, the cheap ones work just as well). Get a diffuser. Get some lavender. Also, grab a bottle of a citrus oil, like orange or lemongrass. Grab your diffuser and put that bad boy to work. Those oils can help to lift your spirits and give you more of a spring-time feel. Obviously, if you are allergic to those scents or oils, or have a medical condition that would not interact well with essential oils, don’t use them.

4. Get lost on purpose

When’s the last time you just got in the car and drove somewhere? Grab your phone, but don’t use it until you need the GPS to get back home. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Go for a drive with no destination in mind. The change of location can help take your mind off of troubles.

5. Reconnect

Reach out to a friend. Invite them to lunch or for coffee. Go for a walk with them. Being around people can lift our spirits, especially when we’re struck inside for long periods of time.

6. Find entertainment

Listen, we’re all capable of binge-watching something on Netflix. That’s not what I mean here. Go out for dinner. Go to the movies. Visit a craft store. Research shows that a majority of people with depression feel better when they participate in a leisure activity they enjoy.

7. Do Small Projects

Be productive! According to research, 79% of people feel better after completing a task. Clean, organize a junk drawer, write out a to-do list, or tackle some small project around the house to get a sense of accomplishment. However, don’t overdo it and become overwhelmed by a to-do list that’s a mile long!

8. Pray

You didn’t think you were going to get through a post from a Christian Counselor without this being mentioned, did you?

God doesn’t leave us alone in our suffering. In fact, He explicitly instructs us to not be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything. Have you prayed about it today? Have you taken the time to reconnect with God?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Of course, if you’re struggling with what you feel like may be more than some frustration, small stress or seasonal blues, it’s important to reach out to a professional. Don’t try to go it alone.

 STRUGGLING WITH FEELINGS OF STRESS, DEPRESSION, OR ANXIETY? You don’t have to go through this alone. We’re here to help. Give us a call, schedule your appointment right here, or message us on Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online via video-based counseling. It’s time to get your life back.
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