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Waddington TracyTherapist's Corner...
Juggling Life

     Oftentimes life can be a whirlwind of lows and highs. Life can be overwhelming, stressful, and worrisome, yet light-hearted, full of laughter, and come with lots of joys. But what do we do when life gets in the way with the hustle and bustle of taking care of children, our family, loved ones, our jobs, our home, and most importantly OURSELVES?!!
     As a Mental Health Therapist, one of the many tasks that I work with is helping people carve time out EVERY SINGLE DAY for ONESELF. Truly this has to be a must; we need to invest in ourselves equally. Because if we don’t life is going to become a difficult balance at best.
     
One of the things that I do is to sit with my clients and create a list where we brainstorm as many things as we can come up with that brings, peace, joy, and relaxation within their lives. "Keep it simple" is my mantra; over-complicating is not useful nor is it necessary. Examples can be, going for a walk, reading a book, listening to music, going for a bicycle ride, taking a drive in the country, soaking in the bathtub, taking a warm/hot shower, and even making what I call a Daily Gratitude Journal.
     
What I love about doing a daily Gratitude Journal is that we are training our brain and our mind to only record positive things about our day and life. Nothing negative can be written in the Gratitude Journal, only positive messages. Focus on items such as “TODAY what I am Thankful and Grateful for in my life is…..”, "TODAY what I love and respect about myself in my life is….”, and "TODAY what I am most proud about what I have accomplished and completed is….”
     
Life is what we make of it. If we tell ourselves "Today is going to be a crummy day." Guess what? Today is likely going to be a crummy day. But if we tell ourselves every day when our eyes open and we awaken for a brand new day "TODAY is going to be a great day and I am going to work to be the best me that I can be!" Guess what?!!! Today will be a great day and we will be the best we can be. WHY?? Because it is a mindfulness activity that inserts that message of how it will be into our mindset and we act on it. What kind of messages are you working to choose to deposit within you? You have the control, and it takes practice and mindfulness in doing these things that re-invest in creating a much stronger, more positive and energetic you!
     
Believe in today; believe in YOU. There is no better day than today to PRACTICE BEING THE BEST YOU THAT YOU CAN BE!!! Start today with these kinds of mindfulness activities and apply them daily, and see where you will be in the next 30 days!

~ Tracy Waddington, Therapist

Ryan Linda

Therapist's Corner...
Listening Mindfully

     Not too long ago I had an awkward conversation with someone. I was trying to share some comments and ideas with an acquaintance. Before I could even finish a sentence, she interrupted and began to ask me questions in a demanding sort of way. She appeared to be answering my question before I even got done asking it, and she did not give me the time to share my whole thought. I have pondered this conversation over and over. If she was angry, then likely there was another sentiment lurking underneath. I likely hadn't done anything wrong other than to ask a question about something that was very present in her heart; therefore, she needed to defend. However, it could also be just her own conversational style. Perhaps she always stepped on the ends of others' sentences. Needless to say I did not feel heard or understood. I have wondered how I could have averted such an awkward moment. I also wondered if I had ever listened in that very poor way. As luck would often have it, an article from my Mindful Magazine came up on the internet the very day I was contemplating. 
     
The article talked about listening habits. It also suggested that we all have conversational habits. I realized that the person I talked with had a conversational habit of “teaching” others. Her habit is to tell others as much about a topic as she can, which controls the conversation and/or denies the other person to have an opinion, or even dismisses the other’s opinion as not possible because she "knows more" or is "more right." Her other habit is to think of an answer or her next comment before the person talking finished the thought. Whew! That’s a hard one with which to deal.
     
Well, obviously I cannot change the other person's conversational habits but I certainly can change or monitor my own.
     
The article in Mindful Magazine that I am referencing is titled, “How to Give Your Full Attention.” These listening technique suggestions are definitely mindful and are slightly different than those I teach in my therapy office. In a nutshell the techniques are:
     
1. Hear between the words. What is this person communicating beyond the words they use? What is your sense of what they are feeling?
     
2. Use nonverbal cues to indicate you’re listening. Let go of any agenda or points you want to make and try to be there quietly, but mentally active and alert.
     
3. Notice when your mind has wandered away from the conversation. It will happen and when it does let go of the thoughts and return your attention to what the person is saying.
     
4. Scan your body language. Tuning in to your own body can give you valuable information about your direct experience when listening.
     
5. Respond with curiosity. The key is to keep the focus on the speaker, not to bend it around to yourself.

Truly listening is an art form and can be learned. Give it a try and see how the suggestions can enrich your life and friendships.

~ Linda Ryan, Therapist

Lenz

From Our EAP...
Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media

     There have been many studies conducted on the impact social media has on kids and families. Although there are real benefits to kids using social media sites, including increased communication, access to information, and help in developing a sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing, too. Social media has been found to take a toll on teenager’s self-esteem and can be an avenue for kids to be cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked.
     
Here are 6 tips from kids.gov on how to keep your kids safe on social media:
     
1. Keep your child’s profile private so that only family and people you know see photos, important dates and other information.
     
2. Make sure they’re not posting personal details, including phone numbers, home address, and the name of their school or Social Security number.
     
3. Only allow them to publish photos and videos that don’t jeopardize their safety or their integrity.
     
4. Make sure they choose a strong password that can’t be guessed, and that it gets changed every three months.
     
5. Never allow them to accept friend requests from people they don’t know.
     
6. Keep an open dialogue with your children. Ask them to let you know if they’ve received private messages from a stranger, or from someone at school who is teasing, harassing or threatening them. Those could be signs of cyber-bullying or even a sexual predator.

     Make sure your kids understand the repercussions of what they post online. It’s easy to say something they may not mean behind the anonymity of a screen. Also, more and more employers are looking at social media accounts to screen candidates. Make sure they know that what they post online can never be truly deleted, and that something they post in middle school or high school can incriminate them in the future.
     
If you need someone to talk to about your kids online habits, or if you believe your child is being cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked, contact Family Resources through your EAP benefit. We can connect you with the help your child needs. Contact us today!

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (Article found on www.efr.org)

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