Tips for the Procrastinator

  “We take it easy, and we make it easy” Many years ago, when I was having “another  life” in my job function, I was asked to interview a grandmotherly, African American female as a part of a child protective service investigation.  I encountered her in the middle of a field, where she was stooped over, picking vegetables in the scorching sun.  The day was so hot that I could barely stand the temperature inside of my air conditioned car. I walked through the field in the baking sun to approach this lady.  She was covered in dark clothing and wore a sort of bandana on her head.  Over that was perched a straw, brimmed hat.  As I walked over to her, I wondered how she could possibly stand to work under these conditions.  So I asked her exactly that question.  She grinned a partly toothless smile, winked, and said, “Ohh, we take it easy and we make it easy!” Over the years since that day,  I have pondered and marveled at the wisdom in that statement, given that she was still smiling during what seemed to me to be torturous working conditions. I sometimes relate that story to clients,…

Breathing to Regulate Overwhelming Emotions

If you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions from a recent or past event, or due to panic or anxiety, here are three simple breathing exercises that can really help. Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing only on the rise and fall of the belly. You may want to actually place your hand on the belly so you can concentrate on this motion.  We tend to breathe usually only in our upper chest, and this is less effective in regulating emotions. Complete breathing: Start with the belly breath as noted above, but this time, feel the breath coming into and expanding the rib cage.  You can release this breath slowly and steadily, which promotes tranquility, or you can push out the breath rapidly, and notice how good it feels to “let go”. Ujjayi breathing: This is a very noisy kind of breathing that you can use at a time of extreme stress, and it will calm your mood and affect.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose with your mouth closed, and this breathing should sound quite noisy.  Only try about five breaths the first time you try it. The louder…

Self Care Books for Recommended Reading

Sometimes I think I must be a bibliophile therapist. You would find my office and home very crowded with books. I always say that knowledge is power. While a person is reading, certain themes pop off of the pages that ring true. When this happens, there is a teachable moment, and new ideas and ways of understanding and change occur automatically. Change your thoughts and change your life, and this is a great way to help this to happen. Below is a brief list of some of my favorites, with a few comments. The mission of my practice has been to help others understand, grow and change, according to their own self-determined direction, starting from where they are at in their own life. Choose a place to begin, from where you are at, from the brief commentary below! You will intuitively know where to begin. Self-Understanding (the following are good places to begin) The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – A great tool, from a non-psychopathology standpoint, to begin finding out who you are TypeTalk (Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen) – A simple and fun book to introduce personality type Please Understand Me (David Kiersey, PhD. augments this) Do What You Are…

Natural Remedies for Depression & Anxiety

Many of my clients state that they would much prefer to avoid the use of medications and would rather natural remedies in dealing with their conditions. There are good reasons not to use medication if possible, given the plethora of side effects and the unstudied possibilities of long-term effects. Generally, if an individual is experiencing severe, such as suicidal thoughts, extensive sleeplessness or inability to function on a daily basis, I suggest that the individual talk with a physician about a trial of a prescription medication. These definitely have a place, and in some cases, there is better living through chemistry! That said, I believe that we are a pill-popping society, and the media influences us to believe that taking medication should just be a part of what we do. Billions are made in the pharmaceutical industry. Much information comes from the advertising done by the drug companies themselves, and of course, they do stand to profit. Regarding depression Exercise of 30 min. per day can do much to alleviate depression – endorphins, the body’s natural pleasure producing chemicals, are released during exercise. I suggest that a person get started with just five minutes if that is all he or she…

Healthful Products

I feel that my website would not be complete without a discussion of some products that are good for your body. All of the hypnotic effects of advertising proffer the belief system that various personal care products that we buy are wonderful for us. But if you really dig deeply, you will find that many of the simple things we use every day, such as toothpaste, shampoo, makeup, deodorant, lotions, cosmetics, contain very harmful ingredients. These ingredients penetrate our bodies not only by ingesting them, but they also get inside of our skin and our tissues through our pores. I am not even sure of the current count, but I do know that a Senate subcommittee headed by Edward Kennedy during the 1990’s revealed that over 870 products on the market contained carcinogens: cancer-causing or promoting ingredients. I do not believe for a minute that we can totally eliminate exposure to toxins. All we need to do is breathe or drink water to get something bad into our system. But I do believe, based on pretty extensive research into original sources, that we can control the amount of toxins that we allow into our systems. An interesting article I recently…