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CHeadrickTherapist's Corner...
CHAKRAS

     I can hardly believe that we are coming upon the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer!! Spring is actually one of my favorite seasons, with Fall being the other. When I think of the two seasons, the one of the key elements I think of is that of COLOR. Spring brings us wonderful “surprise shoots” of color, seemingly out of nowhere – we see flower plants; Crocus, Pansies, Forsythia, Scilla, and Daffodils – all connected by freshly growing green grass – and then look up to see newly budded and leafing trees adorned by blossoms; Apple, Cherry, and Magnolia!! It makes my heart dance! Then Fall brings the rich colors of tree leaves, slowly dying and preparing to leave their life source, and of crops in the fields preparing to be harvested. 
     I have come to know that our bodies hold within them, seven main energy centers, called Chakras, which provide energy and healing for different aspects of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. These Chakras are located in the center of our body vertically, and interact with each other. Each of these Chakras are connected to a color. Starting at the top of the head is the CROWN chackra, governed by the color violet/purple. Next is the BROW chakra, or third eye, (the center of the forehead) governed by the color indigo. Then is the THROAT chakra, governed by blue, the HEART chakra by green, the SOLAR PLEXUS chakra, (below the ribs) by yellow, the SACRAL chakra (lower abdomen) by orange, and the BASE chakra (base of the spine) by red.
       An example of how this works is given in the resource that I am using: “Perhaps over the years we have been in a situation where we have felt unable, for one reason or another, to speak our mind, or to express our needs and feelings...thus the energy in this area will not be free flowing and can manifest as a problem in the throat chakra which relates in the spiritual aspect to self-expression”.
      As more and more studies are being done, and more and more people work directly with these energy centers, there are very fascinating discoveries happening! One of those is Color Therapy which “aims to balance and enhance the body’s energy centers and help stimulate its own healing process”, or to “re-balance the Chakras that have been depleted of energy”. People also use this knowledge to enrich their lives through Meditation, Color Breathing, and Using Color more purposefully within their homes. In the meantime, I believe that part of the dance in my heart in the Spring comes from just being in the presence of all the different, and yet significant (for my chakras) colors that give themselves to me so generously after the long Winter!
   The resource for the information can be found at www.threeheartscompany.com/chakra.html

 ~ Carlene Headrick, Therapist

HainA

Therapist's Corner...
Learning Silence
 

     I began practicing yoga when I was around 12 years old. That sounds as though I should be quite an experienced yogi. However, truly, I just began yoga at a young age as I had no interest in being involved in competitive sports and my parents “highly encouraged” me to be involved in some type of activity. I finally consented.
     My first memory of yoga class was being surrounded by women who were at least 30 to 40 years my senior and who were at least 70 to 80 percent more flexible than I. These women were laughing and connecting with each other but once the lights were dimmed and the soft music started the chatter drifted away and all that could be heard was breathing and light movements of contact with mats. We spent an hour flowing through poses. Well, the others flowed. I was sweating profusely and ungracefully flopping from one stance to the next.
     Finally, the teacher told us to lie down on our backs and relax into the final, resting pose. Music stopped. Breathing slowed. I can still remember how captivated and aware I was with the feeling of the silence that followed. However, it was not the relaxing and calming experience that my mother had described to me. The silence was frustrating. My mind began, like a naughty monkey climbing higher and higher and flitting from branch to branch with a seemingly important toy, to taunt me. “I am an important thought. Follow me.” “No. Pay attention to me.” “Hey, here I am. Think about me.”
     There seems to be this notion that the busier we are and the more work that we can juggle, then we will be more productive and successful. When I am at companies and talking with employees and employers about productivity and effectiveness I never ceased to be amazed at how often people are surprised to find out that there is the potential to be much more productive if a person would begin to practice stillness.
     This silence or stillness I am referring to is not the same as doing nothing. Research on monks practicing mindfulness or intentional quieting of the mind has shown that when a person can learn to quiet the mind that more areas of the brain light up and a person has more awareness. This research is counter-intuitive to most of us who would assume that if we are in a state of rest and quiet, then our minds are also resting and less aware. More awareness increases a person’s ability to at-will shift from a one way, sympathetic nervous system of functioning to another-way, parasympathetic system of functioning. This also allows a person to decrease external distractions and increase the ability to control how and on what the brain concentrates. It helps me to imagine the mind in this way:
     Imagine the brain is a lake. When a person is functioning out of the sympathetic nervous system and experiencing several competing ideas whipping around as with a storm, the lake’s surface would have choppy waves and the thoughts/storm would stir up the dirt and grime at the bottom of the lake. When, instead, a person learns to practice stillness, the ideas slow and focus which stills the surface of lake and the dirt sifts to the bottom. At this point of quiet, a person can more clearly “see” and make decisions based off of this clarity.
     I still practice yoga today. Honestly, I still have to constantly pay attention to the monkey in my mind that tries to distract me and carry my thoughts to times of the past or future, regrets or failures, or to worries of which I have no control. Though, the more I practice learning silence and sitting with stillness, the more I feel at peace regardless of any storm whipping through my life.  

~ Anna Hain, Therapist

Klein Chris

Therapist's Corner...
Our Stories

     Each one of us has a story, the details of our lives.  Where we were born, who we were born to, where we’ve lived and attended school, places we’ve traveled, people we’ve met-perhaps married, divorced and birthed. Our jobs, careers, goals, dreams.  Our story includes the choices we’ve made - good or bad, the pain other people have inflicted upon us or we upon them, and the joy and happiness we’ve experienced. Our story includes the ordinary and extraordinary experiences we’ve had.
     As therapists we meet a variety of people who have experienced a variety of life’s challenges, traumas, pain and triumphs. Each story is powerful and important. To share our story with another soul is an act of trust. Our story is a gift we offer others.  A peek into our inner world.
     As I’ve had the privilege to hear hundreds of stories from individuals who walk through our doors, I continue to be amazed at the resilience of the human spirit. We are all resilient to some degree. We can - and do - spring back in the face of adversity. And we can learn to be resilient!
     But there are those who experience horrible suffering, sickness, and/or pain beyond what you would think anyone should have to endure who, with their heads up optimistically move forward into the next day, and the next day, and the next.  I think of these individuals as “transcenders."  
     To “transcend” is to rise above or go beyond the limits of…, to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of…, to “overcome." I’m not sure how they do it I just know that they do! This is resilience times ten. Transcenders inspire me and I am awed.
     Maybe you are a “transcender” or know someone who is. Someone who has used their life experiences as a springboard for change, an inspiration to others, a growth opportunity.
     Each one of us has a story, the details of our lives. Celebrate your story.

~ Chris Klein, Therapist

HainA

From Our EAP...
Supporting Co-Workers During Job Loss

      Even if you’ve been spared during this recession, it’s no fun seeing someone you care about thrown into emotional upheaval because she's worried about losing her job. It’s even more distressing when it’s someone you work with.
     Of course you want to help, but what do you say? You both know that your job is secure, so will your reassurances and sympathies just cause resentment? 
     Here’s the short answer: If you care about this person, you must offer support even if it makes you uncomfortable. Staying silent or ignoring the elephant in the room will only make things worse for her. 

Dealing with the Bad News
     Hearing that they may be let go is devastating and can leave employees in a state of shock. Keep your strategy simple while your coworker processes the news--reach out, make yourself available, and listen. That’s it. Doing anything else during this time is counterproductive.

     If job loss is a possibility rather than a certainty, add helping your coworker stay focused on her day-to-day job duties to your list. Distraction and undue worry turn possible outcomes into self-fulfilling prophecies.

Long-Term Care Strategies
     After the initial shock of the news has passed, you'll have more ways to provide a helping hand. There are two ways to support your coworker—emotionally and practically. You should do both.

Emotional Support
Put it into perspective: It’s hard to see the big picture when you’re scared and angry. Your coworker will be both. Help her avoid obsessing over worse-case, doomsday scenarios.
Keep it real: Maintaining perspective does not mean putting a happy face on bad events. Impending job loss is no picnic. Acknowledge and respect her feelings.
Build self-esteem:Losing your job is a tremendous emotional blow. Relentlessly build up your coworker with positive affirmations and continuous reminders of her abilities and accomplishments.
Intervene to deter negativity: Don’t feed into her anger and resentment by being your coworker’s venting buddy. Instead, steer conversations into positive territory. Shield your coworker from doom-and-gloom coworkers.
Communicate carefully: Never ask open questions such as, “How will you pay the mortgage?” Instead, gently probe areas of concern and offer to help: “Is your resume current? Would you like help with that? Would you like me to put you in touch with a good service? Have you contacted the EAP? They are our resource experts.”

Tips for Support
Make an action plan: Get specific! Taking care of details is empowering. Help your coworker prepare a list of concerns and start problem-solving.
Help with budgeting: Encourage your coworker to start slashing expenses now, instead of waiting.
Use your network: Get the word out early that your coworker will be available for hire and start connecting her with professionals in your network.
Suggest retraining: Find out what your coworker's potential employers are looking for and help her uncover areas of weakness that she can improve upon before beginning her job search.
Help identify your coworker’s unique strengths and talents. Everyone has them, but they're usually more easily spotted by outsiders. Clarifying core competencies makes it possible to expand job searches into new, sometimes surprising areas that offer better prospects.
Offer your time and/or expertise: Solve at least one problem for your coworker. Does she need instructions on how to use a job search site? What about help with child care when she's interviewing for a new job? Find out where you can help, and make a commitment to do so.

Heads Up for Those Helping
     After the initial burst of sympathy and concern, support from others often dries up, so check in often with your coworker, both at work and at home (if you have a close relationship).
     Monitor for signs of depression, such as listlessness, disengagement, or frequently missing work, and intervene if there’s a problem by pointing your coworker to your company’s Employee Assistance Program.

~ Anna Hain, EAP Coordinator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

Sheldon Carrie



Happy June anniversary to Carrie, who despite her busy schedule at her full-time school job, still finds time for therapy with clients. Carrie celebrates eight years with Family Resources of Greater NE, P.C.!

 

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