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JReisingerGuest Segment...
Helping People Lighten Up and Laugh

In today’s world we have much we can be concerned about.  The uncertainties of Obama-care looming in front of us, our troops continuing to be oversees in various locations, a missing airplane and continued acts of violence.   In our own families, we have concerns if we are caring appropriately for our parents, if we are being good role models and parents to our own children and, if we are loving and being loved in ways that are healthy for us and our own families.

One very healthy way to cope in the good times and the bad times is to add more HUMOR to our lives.  When we find ourselves being so serious and overly worried or concerned, it’s time to stop and evaluate how to “Lighten Up and Laugh”.

Humor changes our brain chemistry.  Humor releases endorphins that help us apply our reasoning powers and be less sensitive to pain.  Humor is what brings laughter into our lives.  “How many laughs have you had today?”  Research shows that a person needs to laugh at least 15 times a day or more to maintain a healthy balanced life.  If you don’t take time away from all the seriousness in your life, you are more likely to experience health problems in the future. 

Think about the last time you had a really great laugh.  Good laughter helps relieve tension and reduce stress.  Laughter can also release pent-up feelings of fear, anger and anxiety.    Some of the benefits of laughter are:

  • Humor makes life fun!
  • Humor helps us cope with problems
  • Humor is mentally and physically good for you
  • Humor affirms life and brings people together

Adults especially have a difficult time letting loose and allowing humor to have a role in their life.  Most adults tend to take themselves too seriously.  When that happens, we lose touch with the importance of having fun at home and on the job.  The older we become, the less appropriate it seems for us to allow laughter to be expressed.  Adults might have to work hard to seek out ways to bring humor into our lives and to those around us.

Ways to develop skills in humor are:

  • Become more playful
  • Begin telling a few jokes or funny stories
  • Laugh more often and more heartily
  • Watch a funny show and don’t be afraid to laugh out loud
  • Be open to laughing at yourself
  • Search for the light side of stressful situations

Once you allow yourself to see the world from a more lighter and happier perspective, you will find your daily stresses may diminish and your outlook improves.

By using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the Internet appropriately, good clean family jokes and quotes are easily found. 

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up afterwards.”  (SMILE)

                                                                        ~  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Joni Reisinger, MS Ed., PLMHP, MBA, Guest Columnist

Kristen Headshot CroppedGuest Segment...
Creating a Self-Care Plan for Wellness

Although I work with people facing acute mental health crises, one of my favorite group activities  applies to just about everyone. Anyone just plain busy with life may neglect self-care from time to time. But self-care is key in gaining and maintaining good all-over wellness. Since the various aspects of wellness influence each other—the basic ones being mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness—tending to each aspect results in better overall health. Thus, my favorite group activity involves putting together a self-care plan.

A self-care plan is, well, exactly as it sounds. What do you need to do in order to take good care of you, and function in a balanced and healthy way? It may seem strange to actually write out a plan of how you will take care of yourself, but like any plan or goal, committing it to paper makes it more real, holds you accountable, and helps you take stock of how you’re doing. If you’re looking to regain wellness and balance in your life by creating a self-care plan, here are some things to think about as you put together your plan.

First, brainstorm some ideas for each aspect of wellness—things that, ideally, you’d be able to do to keep yourself well. Some basic ideas for each aspect might include:

—Physical wellness: Physical activity/exercise, proper diet, taking medications as prescribed, getting proper sleep

—Mental/emotional wellness: Maintaining healthy relationships, learning new things, attending therapy appointments, laughter, doing creative activities

—Spiritual wellness: Attending worship services, prayer, meditation, reading sacred/spiritual texts, spending time outdoors, volunteering or helping others

These are merely suggestions, and there are tons more that you can add to personalize each category. You know yourself best, and what keeps you healthy, so think beyond the suggestions listed here. Add as many ideas as you can—give yourself lots of raw material.

Now, cut each category down to a few feasible and specific ideas. What can you realistically do to keep yourself well? How might you need to adjust your ideas? For example, “Run 3 miles every day” may sound great on paper, and may indeed be something you hope to accomplish in the future, but your other responsibilities don’t yet allow time for that. Instead, “Walk/jog 30 minutes each day”  might be more reasonable at this time. Keep your ideas realistic, possibly even something you already do (and need to keep doing, or need to get back in the habit of doing!).

Once you’ve decided on realistic ways to stay physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually well, commit it to paper. Put your plan where you can find it easily, whether that’s your wallet, your fridge, or your bathroom mirror—or all three. Read over it from time to time, and don’t be afraid to revise it. Needs and priorities change, and good self-care reflects those changes.

And I’ll sign off just like I remind my patients as they leave the hospital—Take good care of yourself!

Kristen Eckhardt, MS Ed., Guest Columnist

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

How you impact others. It may not be immediately apparent, but your own behavior has a significant impact on the level of teamwork in your organization. Individuals tend to reciprocate by nature. When you are conscientious about teaming with others, team mates reciprocate.

Get enough people working hard and reinforcing each other, and suddenly everyone’s “whistles why they work.” The positive effect is exponential.

Doesn’t team building require leadership? Yes, but no one said anything about official leadership. You can take the initiative yourself by changing your daily behavior. Here are things you can do, starting today.

Embrace conflict.  Conflict is a necessary and healthy part of problem solving. Expect others to disagree with you, and be respectful of their right to express themselves by listening carefully when they speak and not interrupting until it’s clear that they’ve finished.

A different opinion is not a personal attack. Do your best to weigh the merits of a contrary opinion objectively and dispassionately. Work through conflict by emphasizing points of agreement and soliciting input from everyone who may be affected by the final decision. 

Always try to resolve disagreements within your peer group before taking an issue to a higher authority. Accept rulings that don’t go your way, and do your best to ensure a successful outcome regardless.

Broaden your understanding of others.  It’s no secret that people who like each other tend to work well together, but there are always one or two personalities that seem destined to clash. You can minimize flare-ups and resentment by making it your priority to understand how others think and approach their work.

A simple question like “How do you organize your workload?” or “What do I do that frustrates you?” not only has the potential to reveal useful insights, but it will also please your coworker because you showed an interest in how he or she thinks.

Allow everyone to participate. Don’t be too focused on chalking up “wins.” Be willing to let go of some measure of control and authority to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take ownership of a given task or project. 

Acknowledge the importance of other people. Put team goals ahead of your personal agenda. Credit others publicly for their part in any success.

Back to basics.  Being honest about your shortcomings and displaying a willingness to admit when you are wrong is a sign of strength, not weakness. The more your coworkers see that you’re open to different ideas, the more likely they’ll be to deal with you in good faith.

Challenge yourself to be the first to admit a mistake and the first to apologize when a disagreement becomes personal. Imagine the kind of person that you’d like to work with and become that person. Chances are your coworkers will follow your lead.

~Judy Sandstrom, EAP Coordinator 

Always Learning...Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Emerton SeanneSeanne Larson Emerton, owner of Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. and licensed marriage and family therapist, completed an advanced course on “Adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Everyday Clinical Needs” in Omaha on April 17, 2014.  The training was written and presented by Andrew Bein PhD, LCSW. 

Participants were trained in modalities to use DBT skills to assist clients in effective mood regulation. DBT incorporates cognitive and behavioral strategies to foster change of maladaptive thoughts and behaviors while employing mindfulness techniques to facilitate acceptance of self.  Techniques for teaching mindfulness were highlighted, including helping clients learn to focus concentration and to tolerate stress effectively by reducing reactive behavior patterns.  Research in neuroscience was presented to show how mindfulness based stress reduction can assist in building neuroplasticity in the brain, ultimately helping individuals to stay happier, more contented, more centered and less anxious. Effective use of these techniques has shown significant reduction in depression and prevention of depression relapse.  

Several FRGN therapists are trained in DBT. Appointments may be made by calling 308.381.7487 or at www.family-resources.net 

 

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Continuing Education

Grand Island Independent Business Section

April 17, 2014

 

Seanne Larson Emerton, owner of Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. and licensed marriage and family therapist, recently completed an advanced course on “Adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Everyday Clinical Needs” in Omaha.  The training was written and presented by Andrew Bein PhD, LCSW. 

Participants were trained in modalities to use DBT skills to assist clients in effective mood regulation.  DBT incorporates cognitive and behavioral strategies to foster change of maladaptive thoughts and behaviors while employing mindfulness techniques to facilitate acceptance of self.   Techniques for teaching mindfulness were highlighted, including helping clients learn to focus concentration and to tolerate stress effectively by reducing reactive behavior patterns.   Research in neuroscience was presented to show how mindfulness based stress reduction can assist in building neuroplasticity in the brain, ultimately helping individuals to stay happier, more contented, more centered and less anxious.   Effective use of these techniques has shown significant reduction in depression and prevention of depression relapse.  

Appointments may be made by calling Family Resources at 308.381.7487.  (www.family-resources.net