BY: TRAY TANKERSLEY APC, NCC, THM
A few weeks ago I heard a memorable quote, part of a larger statement made by the leadership of Boeing, an American aerospace bellwether and the manufacturer of the 737 MAX plane. Responding to Congress’ damning investigation of a series of 737 MAX plane crashes, the leadership of the company stated:
Change is always hard and requires daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work...
I second that - change is hard and requires daily commitment. Those who seek therapy, whether they can articulate it or not, are seeking change. This sounds good, until the changes are articulated: I need a different spouse; I want my children to change their behaviors; I wish my manager would leave; can I get a new mom or dads. It’s human nature, isn’t it? We all want change. We just want someone else or something else (besides us) to change.
Our role will be to bring our best, most empathetic, patient, understanding self to help others make the necessary changes. Ok, hopefully you are chuckling with me.
We find as therapists that, at some level (usually on a “surface” cognitive level) clients believe that they have opportunity for growth and change. And, I find that clients believe that the other (fill in the blank) still possesses MOST of the responsibility for the problem and most of the needed change!
In the therapy room it sounds like this:
Client: “I know I don’t do everything perfect and I need to make some changes...”(long pause) “BUT YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT HE/SHE/THEY DO...”
Be that as it may, you do not have enough anger, manipulative skills, anxious activity or enough facts, logic, data and reason to make anyone else change.
The ONLY person you can change is yourself. The only responses you can change are yours. The only facial expressions, eyebrow raises, frowns you can change are your own. The only thoughts you can control are yours. The only emotions you can regulate belong to you. The only words you can command come out of your mouth.
Change is always hard...because it requires something from you. It’s always easier to require something of someone else.
But requiring change from someone else keeps you from the TREAT of change. It’s a treat to learn to respond differently. It’s a treat to grow as a person and learn the skill of grounding and emotionally regulating yourself without having to rely on someone else to do it for you. It’s a treat to find new words and new ways of expressing emotions and vulnerability.
The TRICK is embracing the well worn rule of life - you’re the only one you can change!
By: Sean Reilly, LCSW
Living in today’s social media driven age makes it difficult to not put pressure on ourselves.
Remember the Coca-Cola and Alka-Seltzer experiment in science class? Too much pressure results in an explosion. While we won’t physically explode, the feelings of being weighed down by societal and self-imposed pressure can lead to an emotional breakdown, blow up fight with a loved one, or even burnout.
To avoid a physical and mental crisis, perhaps we can try to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves! Although it’s easier said than done, we can learn to let things go. Be mindful that the change will probably not happen overnight; with some self-awareness, we can teach our self to stop trying to be so perfect all the time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, in the mental health industry we have observed an increasing trend of over pressurization leading to burnout--with clients, family, and friends--even some therapists! With decision fatigue, changes, wearing multiple hats, it is very common to feel like you need to do it all and do it perfectly. Here are a few strategies to reorient yourself when you are feeling over pressurized:
8 ways to stop putting pressure on yourself
1. Remember: Nobody is Perfect
Only one of these strategies may ring true to you and that’s great; we don’t need to do them all at once! Use that strategy to stop pressurization in its tracks--we can all use a little extra grace--especially in difficult seasons.
Sean Reilly, LCSW works with teenage boys and adults experiencing anxiety, stress & mood issues due to pressurization, burnout, and other life challenges; he utilizes talk therapy and EMDR to work through emotional distress from painful life events. Contact us to set up your appointment today.
By: Nicole Ayers Thaxton, PHD, APC, NCC
Teens and students have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 stress. One of the most challenging parts of the current pandemic is the uncertainty of what’s to come. Online school, college transition, SAT/ACT testing, athletics, extracurriculars, and so much more have been altered and impacted. Most universities have shifted their plans as well. Stress and anxiety are likely to proceed and follow life transition; however, with the great deal of uncertainty and multiple kinds of uncertainty at this time, major stress reactions are likely to follow. Stress is to be expected.
With many of my clients, I’m witnessing a reaction to the pandemic similar to that of loss and grief. I have spoken with parents and families about the complex nature of loss and grief during the pandemic. The loss of everyday interactions with peers and teachers as schools move online. The loss of structure with school and extracurriculars. The loss of rites of passage like homecoming, prom, graduation, moving to college, etc. Not being able to experience these things is very painful. It’s important for parents and adults to not downplay the loss of these experiences.
As with other losses, mindfulness and self-care play a large role in stress reduction.
Mindfulness includes staying in the present moment. It’s impossible to know how long the pandemic will be a part of our lives. The best antidote to uncertainty and loss is to shift our focus to what information we have currently. Mindfulness includes:
Self-care is also hugely important to stress reduction. Self-care can include:
Finally, it’s important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic impacts students and teens very differently than adults. Teens will experience fear, sadness, grief, anger, and other difficult emotions during this time, and they will express these feelings in different ways. Helping your teen cope with stress will involve validating their stress rather than minimizing it. It will involve having conversations about loss and self-care. Telling them to “get over it” or “it is the way it is” is unlikely to help them cope with the major stress they are experiencing. A great way to validate your teen’s new normal could include, “I hear how devastated/angry/sad you are about your new normal. Truly I’m so sorry. Is there anything we can do to help?”
Nicole works with teens, young adults, and families experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID, school, transitions, and more. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
By: Ariadne Crane, MA, APC, AMFT
If we were to compare deities from various religions, we would notice that the God from the Christian Bible is the only God that left his throne and met his people face to face. He literally came down from the high mountain to meet us and interact with us. We were created to be in relationships with others, modeled by God. Not only is it important to Him to relate to us, He also desires for us to relate to Him. He came to live among His people to model how to relate to one another.
One of the most significant versus in the Bible is in Matthew 22:37-40: "Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
The second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The word love has been used and abused throughout the centuries and thousands of books have been published interpreting the significance of love, so let's introduce a few questions that help identify the love demonstrations between a couple.
Often Marriage and Family Therapists begin a session with a focus on how the couple interacts and shows affection. Is there a friendship between them or a connection at all and if so is it purely physical? Do they trust each other? It is important to know how they connect or bond with one another. Do they feel protected as well as respected and do they feel they can count on each other no matter what. How the couple communicates is vital. How they solve conflict is also important. In most relationships there will be disagreements, but how they are worked through is critical.
What God models best is that being in relationships can be difficult because it often means having to give up our wants and needs. Being in a relationship takes sacrificial love to forgo one's own goals and dreams. This goes beyond being united or part of the team. It is the selfless act of wanting the other to succeed, to be part of the same team fighting and defending for the same objectives. This sacrificial love is not an obligation, but a desire to serve one another due to the commitment to the relationship, even if there is no benefit to the giver.
We can rely on His Word for guidance, though not everything is spelled out for us in the Bible. Jesus Christ demonstrated the ultimate sacrifice when He laid His life down for all of us. I believe that there is only one God; He is also known through Jesus Christ (our Advocate) and the Holy Spirit. No verse in the New Testament describes sacrificial love better than John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
In order to put the relationship ahead of the individual one must put his or her needs and desires aside and follow Christ's example of sacrificial love. This is love in its truest manifestation.
Photo Credit: Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash
By: M. Diane pearce, MFT, Legacy Strategy Clinical Director
See Part 1 for Tips 1-4
Continued from Part 1...
How do we survive these unprecedented circumstances with our Families intact?How do we keep intact the family and what family was created to be in the midst of our uncertainty?
5. SET UP A TIME ALONE FOR EVERYONE! We all need some time to be quiet and sit alone with a book, or take a nap, or sit outside and be fully present in the moment. Listen to the sounds around you and be still for a little while each day to notice the many things that go unnoticed in our normal daily routines. Without this, we can all begin to feel a bit like a tangled ball of tension. This tension will eventually fall out onto those we care about the most. Breathe deeply & notice the little things & smile….
6. CREATE A DAILY PLAN WITH FLEXIBILITY! Most of us are accustomed to accomplishing tasks each day during the traditional work week (Monday-Friday), so follow suit and have a project with a balanced amount of time designed for working on the project, breaks, meals, fun time, alone time and rest time. Our bodies and our minds work best when there is a rhythm to our activities. If our sleep rhythms are drastically altered, our entire body will be affected. Too much of any good thing can turn int a negative. As with life in general, plan for the unexpected. Flexibility eases the tension that builds when people are together for extended periods of time. Breathe deeply & be easy going & smile….
7. PRACTICE BOUNDARIES! It is very easy for us all to forget our place when we are in each other’s space physically, mentally and emotionally. We all have invisible property lines that give us some power in. One example might be that as parents, you probably decided what to wear today, and I am pretty sure that if your kids decided to select your clothes today, you would have likely responded with something like, ‘Nice try, but no thanks!’ Our kids need their own designated space to control (within reason and safety). When school is not formerly in operation, maybe we could let the kids have some freedom in their clothing choices. This principle can be practiced in most parts of our lives, not just in clothing. Breathe deeply & respect boundaries & smile….
8. ALIGN OUR ACTIONS WITH OUR FAITH! It is so very easy to allow our responses to be dictated by our circumstances, frustrations and hurts. If we allow our emotions to be in charge, we will spread a virus of negativity with our self-absorption, our actions, and attitudes towards those we do not understand. In my home, we know that our higher power, God, calls us to walk in His ways as we respond to our circumstances. For us, we know that His ways include truth in times of confusion, mercy in times of not knowing the full story, patience in times of frustration, gentleness in times of fear, and above all, love towards one another, regardless of what my emotion tells me. Are we perfect in this endeavor? Absolutely not! We are but broken humans striving to learn from our own mistakes. We re-focus and re-calibrate frequently, that means we apologize and lean into each other. Where does your moral compass comes from? Wherever it comes from, remember in times of uncertainty to re-calibrate often with the source of your compass! Breathe deeply & trust in one greater than yourself & smile….
Legacy strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.