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JMcCasslinTherapist's Corner...

April is National Humor Month and FRGN is celebrating it with the theme of "Humor: Joy in the Heart...Laughter on the Lips." It's pretty obvious to most of us that we'd rather be smiling than frowning...and we'd rather interact with a smiling person than a grumpy one. Smiles and laughter are a (shhhh...spoiler alert! big therapy secret coming out here!) great form of free therapy! Ever wonder why?

According to Mark Stibich, a consultant at Columbia University, smiling can do all the following (summarized from

1.  Makes Us Attractive to Others People who smile appear younger. We are attracted to people who smile. We want to get to know them better.

2. Changes Mood If you try to smile when you don't feel happy, there is a chance it might improve your affect and change the way you are feeling.  

3. Contagious Others will want to get to know you better. You will help others feel good. Smiles are contagious!

4. Relieves Stress Stress ages our faces. When we smile, it can help us look better, less tired, less worn down...and it may even help you feel like there is less stress in your life.

5. Boosts Immune System Smiling can boost your immune system by helping you relax.

6. Lowers Blood Pressure When you smile, there is evidence that your blood pressure can decrease.

7. Releases Endorphins and Serotonin Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties. Hey, smiling is a natural high!

8. Seem Successful Smiling people give off the aura of success and confidence.

So remember to smile and laugh...they simply make life that much better!

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist

TCarlsonFrom Our Psychologist...
Creating Motivation For Weight Loss

Let's face it, getting motivated is hard!  It's even harder when you're trying to push yourself to do something you really don't want to do, like exercise or make drastic changes in your eating habits. In fact, it's about this time of year most people have lost whatever motivation they may have initially had for their New Year's resolution. They've decided it's just too hard and convinced themselves maybe it's really not that important anyway. It's easier to justify our inaction by saying we don't really want it that bad, rather than by admitting we do want it, yet fear we will never reach the goal. We are left with two choices, either work harder to get there or convince ourselves it doesn't really matter.

But the truth is, when it comes to self-care and quality of life, it DOES matter. What we do or don't do, if we exercise or not, what we eat or don't eat, all make a dramatic difference in our long-term health and well-being. We are constantly bombarded by messages of things we should do to improve our health like eat more vegetables, exercise more, improve our sleep, etc. and I believe the vast majority of people really do want to improve their health. We want to, but we just aren't always sure how to make ourselves do what it takes.

In my clinical work I often see people who feel overwhelmed about where to begin.  They aren't sure how to get started and have likely been unsuccessful in making changes in the past.  Previous attempts can be damaging and create severe doubt in our abilities to ever be successful. All these factors can become real barriers to weight loss and in order to set oneself up for the best chances of success, it's important to address them before attempting big changes.

Most people say they want to lose weight and get healthier, but that doesn't mean everyone is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. In order to be truly committed, it's important to be very honest with oneself and consider the following:

  • How important is this to me really? Why? Perhaps there are important health reasons, or activities you want to do that have been made difficult by your weight.
  • How will my life be different when I lose weight?   What will I be doing differently?  In what ways will I feel different?  Be specific and visualize what your life will look like in detail.
  • Why now?  Is this the right time?  There are better times than others to take on a new goal. It's important to be realistic about other responsibilities and obligations you may have in your life.
  • How confident are you that you can reach your goal? Bottom line, if you don't believe you can, you won't.

If ultimately you decide this goal isn't that important to you, or it isn’t the right time, that's okay! It’s better to be honest with yourself upfront, than try, fall short of your goal, and beat yourself up about it later! When the time is right, you will know and will be more successful moving forward.  If confidence in your ability to make long term changes is an area in which you struggle, then it's important to address that early on or it can sabotage even the best made plans.

If you've done an honest assessment of the above and decided this is important and it is the right time to take action, then good for you!  You are ready to move forward.  There are numerous strategies that can help you prepare for success such as watching and listening to inspiring stories of others, involving social support such as finding a workout partner, and using positive self talk to push yourself on the days when you least feel like it.  This includes reminding yourself why it is important and the benefits of making a change. If you can visualize success and believe in your power to change, you've opened the door to endless possibilities.

~ Dr. Tabitha Carlson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Sandstrom JudyTips from our EAP...
Team Building Is a Pathway to Achievement

The mention of teambuilding often elicits cynical groans and visions of silly, feel-good workshops, but teamwork doesn’t have to be a dirty word.  Look around you and you’ll see that extraordinary achievement almost always involves a cooperative, cohesive group working closely together toward a mutual goal. 

What’s missing from today’s often superficial treatment of team building is any positive long-term effect. Team building isn’t a weekend getaway. It’s an ongoing process in which every member of an organization plays a role.  

In the next issue of the newsletter, we will focus on how leadership, conflict, understanding others, admitting mistakes and participation combine to make a group of people into an efficient team.

~ Judy Sandstrom, EAP Coordinator

 Family Resources of Greater Nebraska is Out in Your Communities!

Emerton SeanneSeanne has been writing for Her View From Home, an online magazine "dedicated to enjoying the view from your home." Seanne writes about several topics, but you'll find she loves to write about marriages most. You can see all of her articles Here.


Waddington TracyTracy answered a special invitation from Central Community College-Grand Island. They were looking for for a mental health speaker to present at two separate sessions on mental health and the opportunities that are offered in the mental health field.

Ryan LindaLinda participated in an advanced curriculum training on “EMDR Treatment of Addictive and Compulsive Behavior” in Kansas City at Avila University March 20 through March 23, 2014. The training focused on equipping the therapist with knowledge and skills to treat addictive patterns directly by using EMDR and to use specialized EMDR strategies to address motivation, defenses and relapse prevention. The skills learned are helpful not only to treat addictions, but for many     other kinds of mental health issues as well.  


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