awareness

It’s Time To Go After What You Want

Experiencing self-doubt is a part of being human. It’s a universal emotion that affects everyone at some point in their lives. However, for those in minority groups or living with chronic health conditions, self-doubt can be even more pronounced. It can feel like a barrier, keeping you from going after what you truly want in life.

The most important step in going after what you want is taking action. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-doubt and inaction, but taking even the smallest step forward can break this cycle. Here are some strategies to help you move past self-doubt and take action:

  1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. This makes them feel less overwhelming and more attainable.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small, and give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made.
  3. Surround Yourself with Support: Build a network of supportive friends, family, and mentors who can encourage you and provide valuable feedback.
  4. Stay Flexible: Life is unpredictable, and goals may need to be adjusted. Stay open to change and adapt your plans as needed.
  5. Celebrate Progress: Recognize and celebrate your successes along the way. Each milestone is a step closer to your ultimate goal.

Going after what you want is not always easy, especially when self-doubt and additional challenges are involved. However, by leveraging the power of imagination and taking actionable steps, you can overcome these obstacles. Remember, the journey towards your goals is just as important as the destination. Embrace your potential, take action, and watch as your dreams become reality.

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How to Reassess Your Life in Retirement

Retirement is often seen as a period of relaxation and enjoyment after decades of hard work. However, it also presents a unique opportunity to reassess and realign your life to ensure it continues to be fulfilling and meaningful. Here are some steps to help you navigate this important transition.

Schedule Dedicated Time

One of the first steps in reassessing your life in retirement is to set aside dedicated time for reflection. Find a quiet place where you can contemplate or journal without distractions. This intentional quiet time allows you to deeply consider your current situation and future aspirations. Writing down your thoughts can also provide clarity and help organize your ideas.

Assess Your Needs Realistically

It’s essential to realistically assess your needs. Consider whether you need additional income or if you are managing a health concern. Are you serving as a caretaker for a loved one? Do you feel the need to relocate closer to family or a support system? Evaluating these practical aspects of your life can help you make informed decisions about your future.

Set Your Priorities

Retirement offers the perfect opportunity to set new priorities. Have you been putting off pursuing a new hobby or mastering an old one? Is this the time to devote yourself to a project or cause you care deeply about? Consider whether there are people in your life with whom you want to spend more quality time. Setting clear priorities can help you focus your energy on what truly matters to you.

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Unlocking Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a superpower. Understanding yourself deeply and objectively leads to healthier decisions and stronger relationships. Let’s explore self-awareness, why it matters and how you can cultivate it.

What is Self-Awareness?

Imagine having a personal coach inside your head, a voice that observes and guides your every action, thought, and emotion. This inner coach is your self-awareness, helping you understand your needs, wants, and feelings. It’s like having a superpower that can transform your life.

Why Self-Awareness Matters

Being self-aware is not just about understanding yourself. It’s about making choices that bring joy and health. Research shows that it can be a powerful tool in warding off depression and anxiety, improving physical health, and enhancing overall well-being. Imagine navigating life with a clear understanding of what truly makes you happy and healthy.

Three Key Areas of Self-Awareness

  1. Physical Self-Awareness: Know your body’s needs. For example, if you feel sluggish after 5 hours of sleep, aim for 7-8 hours. Track what foods energize you and what exercise routines work best.

  2. Relational Self-Awareness: Understand how others perceive you. If friends often say you’re a good listener, that’s a strength to build on. Conversely, if feedback suggests you interrupt often, it’s an area to improve.

  3. Emotional Self-Awareness: Identify your feelings. For instance, noticing that you get irritable when hungry can help you plan better meal times. Recognizing feelings like anger or loneliness allows you to address them constructively.

How to Boost Your Self-Awareness

  1. Tune into Your Body: Treat it like a valuable machine. Notice how much sleep, food, and exercise it needs. Track and adjust your habits accordingly.

  2. Listen to Others: Friends and family can offer insights about you. Pay attention to their feedback to understand how you’re perceived in relationships.

  3. Acknowledge Your Emotions: Regularly check in with your feelings. This practice can heal past neglect and improve your emotional health.

Transform Your Life

Becoming self-aware enhances your sense of being grounded, fulfilled, and connected. Knowing yourself helps you make better decisions and live a more meaningful life.

Remember, self-awareness is a journey, not a destination.

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Women’s History Month – Let’s Celebrate Women in Therapy

By: Tanya Kramer

In light of Women’s History Month, it seems like a good time to reflect on prominent names of women who often get missed when discussing the history and evolution of therapy. 

Below is not an exhaustive list, but it will expand your knowledge of women who have or continue to directly impact the counseling world. You will find a brief description of their impact and you can learn more about each one by doing your own research or by clicking on the links at the end of this list.

  • Mary Ainsworth – demonstrated the importance of healthy childhood attachments, created the “Strange Situation” assessment, and increased understanding around attachment styles.
  • Eleanor Maccoby – focused on developmental psychology, pioneered the psychology of gender roles.
  • Anna Freud – influenced Erik Erikson’s work, created the concept of defense mechanisms, and expanded the field of child psychology (yes, this is Sigmund Freud’s daughter)/
  • Martha Bernal – first woman of Mexican descent to earn a doctoral degree in psychology (1962), researcher on how the mind and body interact, championed efforts to study Latino Psychology and mental health issues in minority populations.
  • E. Kitch Childs – in 1969 she opened her practice to marginalized populations including the LGBTQIA+ community, people living with AIDS, etc., she researched Black women and how incorporating feminism into therapy could empower them.
  • Jean Lau Chin – explored assumptions about gender and race, her work in leadership styles, diversity, and women’s issues influenced governmental policies regarding cultural competency.
  • Jennifer Eberhart – studied how subliminal images trigger racial stereotypes and affect what people see, her work on understanding how people code and categorize others according to race has helped highlight stereotypes in policing and schools.
  • Tsuruko Haraguchi – pioneered research on mental fatigue, first Japanese woman to receive a doctoral degree in any subject area.
  • Ruth Howard – conducted groundbreaking child development research including a specific study called “A Study of the Development of Triplets” (included 229 sets of triplets including many ethnic groups) resulting in her career focusing on the underserved communities.
  • Marigold Linton – cognitive psychology research focusing on how long the brain can retain information, first indigenous woman in the United States to receive a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Inez Prosser – her study called “The Nonacademic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools” helped initiate discussion about school desegregation, one of the first Black women to earn a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Mary Whiton Calkins – navigated completing all doctorate requirements at Harvard but was refused a degree because she was a woman, developed the “paired-association” technique, she was the first female president of the American Psychological Association.
  • Maria Root – researches trauma, eating disorders, multiracial identities, and feminist therapy, created the “Bill of Rights for Mixed Heritage” to affirm mixed race identity, she is a trailblazer in the study of multiracial individuals.
  • Alberta Turner – a leading voice in the study of mental health disorders and juvenile delinquency, a civil rights activist who dedicated her career to implementing reforms in the criminal justice field.
  • Leta Stetter Hollingworth – did research on intelligence, gifted children, and women, proving that women were as capable as men “regardless of what time of the month it is”.
  • Karen Horney – refuted Freud’s ideas, brought increased attention on the psychology of women, and introduced the “theory of neurotic need” meaning people are able to take a personal role in their own mental health.
  • Ursula Bellugi – pioneering researcher in language and the effects on the nervous system, demonstrated how American Sign Language (ALS) draws on many of the same areas of the brain as spoken language.
  • Melanie Klein – contributions to the field of play therapy, discovered how children communicate through play.
  • Mamie Phipps Clark – developed the “Clark Doll” test, researched racism’s impact on Black children, and played an important role in the famous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case.
  • Florence Denmark – research on violence, prejudice, stereotyping, ethnicity, and gender earned her the role as the leading representative to the United Nations for the International Council of Psychologists and the APA, a founding member of the Association for Women in Psychology in 1969.
  • Naomi Weisstein – her paper called “Psychology Constructs the Female” helped launch the meeting of feminism and academic psychology, a founding member of the Association for Women in Psychology in 1969.
  • Bluma Zeigarnik – established the “Zeigarnik Effect” defined by how people have the tendency to remember information for unfinished tasks while erasing them from memory once the task is done.
  • Margaret Floy Washburn – first woman to earn a PhD in psychology, made strides in the fields of animal cognition and motor theory.
  • Marie Jahoda – trailblazer in the study of racial prejudice, positive mental health, and authoritarian personalities, studied the psychological impact of unemployment, she developed the theory of the “Ideal Mental Health”.
  • Rosa Katz – co-wrote “Conversations with Children” which chronicled more than 150 conversations with children which provided a foundation for the psychology of learning
  • Elizabeth Koppitz – wrote several books that influenced the psychoeducational assessment of children, involved in creation of the “Bender Gestalt Test for Young Children” and the “Psychological Evaluation of Children’s Human Figure Drawings” which are related to learning disabilities and exceptional education
  • Virginia Satir – recognized for her approach to family therapy by pioneering the field of family reconstruction, created the “Virginia Satir Change Process Model.
  • Kay Redfield Jamison – work centers on bipolar disorder, authored a number of books about mood disorders, suicide, mania, depression, named by Time Magazine as a “Hero of Medicine” as a clinical psychologist.
  • Carol Gilligan – originator of “The Ethics of Care”, best known for her work on ethical community and ethical relationships, in 1996 she was named by Time as one of America’s top 25 most influential people.
  • Francine Shapiro – originated and developed eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) which is a form of psychotherapy for resolving the symptoms of traumatic and other disturbing life experiences.
  • Julie Schwartz Gottman – co-founder of the Gottman Institute which is an organization dedicated to strengthening relationships through research based products and programs, co-creator of the “Sound Relationship House Theory”
  • Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt – investigates and researches the psychological association between race and crime which reveals the extent to which racial imagery and judgments impact our culture and society, specifically in the domain of criminal justice.

Learn More About These Women: 

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Life Transitions

By: Betsy Pownall

There are these moments in our lives where we are fully aware that an abrupt transition is taking place, the death of hope, the birth of a new idea. The death of a leader, the birth of new leadership. The death of a loved one, the birth of a baby. And meanwhile, we live our lives bookended by the greatest transitions of all: birth and death. Both events require a profound letting go, and both hold with them our humanity. And between the bookends we live, going through transitions, some big, some small, but growing nonetheless.

These transitions quietly whisper into our lives. We may not realize it at the time, but something in us is changing. Our body is changing. Our soul is changing. What used to be humorous, may no longer be. Where once we felt loud, we may feel quiet. Such is the process of aging.

Aging is an organic process of growth. And the trick for us humans is to lean into our aging process, but not too far. You don’t want to age yourself out too young, and you don’t want to deny aging, as that can be perilous.

My father, who had a slow onset kind of Parkinson’s, would walk with a ski pole when we hiked into the mountain village, where he lived. As we approached the bridge that led into town, he would hide his ski pole before crossing. I would walk closely beside him as we crossed the bridge. He would say I was too worried about him. I would think, “I hope he doesn’t fall.” 

Studies have shown an association between older people’s negative attitudes about aging and cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks, and with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. People who have a more positive outlook on aging do better on memory and hearing tests, have better physical function, recover from injury more quickly, and live longer.

There is honor in aging. An 85 -year-old has been on this earth for many years. Their body has carried them more or less to their 85th year. That, in itself, is profound. And yet, our culture isolates older adults. Older adults isolate themselves. There is segregation in the American Culture around aging, fueled by early retirement, age-specific housing, and a decline in social organization involvement. Our attitudes toward aging start when we are young. We were taught how to treat aging adults through our culture and our family system. And, our attitudes can change. It has been shown that programs that foster intergenerational understanding and experience have helped foster improved attitudes in both young and old participants.  Intergenerational programs can include toddlers playing with older adults, school-age children working with university students on climate change, Etc. 

A recent analysis of 23 intergenerational programs from nine countries found less depression, better physical health and increased “generativity” among aging adults. and increased “generativity” among aging adults. (Generativity refers to the desire to leave a legacy; a need to assist young people to create a better future that the aging adult won’t live to see.)

When I was young, I didn’t want to grow old. It didn’t mean I wanted to die, I just didn’t want to be old. Now that I am nearing retirement age, I have a dream that I will age gracefully. This will be challenging, though. The other day my daughter asked to carry something for me “because it was too heavy”. The back of my neck bristled and I wanted to say loudly, “I’m not old, yet!” Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “Thank you.”

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City Club of Eugene – Press Release – January 30, 2024

YouthLine: Bringing Peer-to-Peer Support to Every Youth

Speakers: Dwight Holton, CEO Lines for Life, Emily Moser, YouthLine Program Director Craig Leets, YouthLine Deputy Director

Forum Sponsor: Vista Counseling and Wellness Center

Date: Friday, February 23, 2024, at noon

Location: Maple Room, Inn at the 5th, 205 East 6th Ave., Eugene, OR

Livestream: City Club of Eugene YouTube Channel

Coordinators: Betsy Pownall, Joel Korin

Content warning: This program includes discussion about suicide and its impact on the individual and the community Suicide rates in Lane County increased by 80% from 2000 to 2020, according to a report from Lane County Public Health. In 2020, the suicide rate in Lane County was 65% greater than the US average, and 21% greater than the rest of Oregon. In the small communities of Junction City, Florence, and Cottage Grove, suicide rates were twice that for all Lane County. In May 2022, it was reported that suicide rates among youth under the age of 24 had nearly doubled in Lane County. In 2021, 42% of high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness or helplessness. This crisis is especially evident in communities of color and among LGBTQ youth, where rates are rapidly increasing, there is hope. While suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death among youth in Oregon, there has been an overall reduction in youth suicide over the last three years. 

This reduction reflects Oregon’s commitment and funding to expand youth mental health and intervention programs, such as YouthLine and Lines for Life. Suicide is a public health issue, and this is a call to action. These numbers affect everyone, and everyone can help. It starts with listening. YouthLine, a service of Lines for Life, provides a peer-to-peer help, support, and crisis line for youth ages 10-24 every day of the year, with options to call, text, or chat. With call centers in Portland, Bend, and Warm Springs, YouthLine recruits upwards of 200 volunteers and interns each year to serve youth all over the country. In this program, we will cover the three core components of YouthLine: the help, support, and crisis line; youth and workforce development; and education and outreach. Additionally, speakers will discuss the top issues for which young people seek support from YouthLine and provide some tips and resources for supporting youth. Finally, our presenters will share a brief history of Lines for Life and describe the important work the organization has been doing throughout Oregon for over 30 years.

Dwight Holton is the CEO of Lines for Life, the leading suicide and substance abuse prevention non-profit in the Northwest. Lines for Life helps over 170,000 families a year with its crisis intervention and prevention services, including mental wellness promotion, advocacy, and public policy development. Mr. Holton took the reins at Lines for Life after 15 years as a federal prosecutor, most recently as United States Attorney for Oregon. He prosecuted hundreds of federal criminal cases in Oregon and Brooklyn, New York, including terrorism and violent crime, narcotics trafficking, fraud, and environmental crimes. Through his work as a prosecutor, Mr. Holton learned the importance of early intervention and prevention strategies – and as U.S. Attorney, he launched efforts to improve access to addiction treatment and better mental health services.

Mr. Holton has worked to carry Lines for Life programs and initiatives to diverse communities throughout Oregon – including a satellite YouthLine office that opened in Central Oregon in 2019. Mr. Holton has also led efforts to expand cultural engagement at Lines for Life, supporting neighborhood empowerment to build better access to mental wellness and crisis intervention services in communities of color. He serves on the boards of Salmon Safe and the Basic Rights Oregon PAC, and the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission. 

Since 2002, he has taught classes at Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law in Portland. Mr. Holton lives in Southeast Portland with his wife, Mary Ellen Glynn, and their children. Emily Moser is a member of the Leadership Team for Lines for Life.  She directs YouthLine Programs and oversees the agency’s youth-related services. These include mental health education, training, and outreach; youth development and mentoring for more than 150 youth volunteers; statewide school suicide prevention; and a pilot program for online crisis support via social media. She has been on staff at Lines for Life for over a decade, with a primary focus on youth. 

Ms. Moser is a trainer in several evidence-based mental health and suicide-related programs, such as safeTALK, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and the Olweus  Bullying Prevention Program. She has also provided Crisis Intervention Training to law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon. Ms. Moser has actively participated in statewide youth development via the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide and Southwest Portland Boards for youth athletics. She earned a BA from the University of Oregon in business and dance, and MAT from Lewis and Clark College, and an MPA from Portland State University. Ms. Moser spends much of her free time outdoors with the family, which includes her husband Greg, two children, three dogs, and a cat.

Craig Leets began in January 2022 as the first YouthLine Deputy Director at Lines for Life, after spending a short stint at the Oregon State Treasury and almost a decade in Higher Education, where he led LGBTQ resource centers. Much of his career has focused on advocating for minoritized communities and facilitating organizational development to create more welcoming environments for all people. 

Outside of work, Mr. Leets has served on boards for local nonprofits supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. He earned an MA in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland and a BA in Communication Studies from Chapman University. Outside of work, Mr. Leets enjoys spending time with friends and family, taking long walks, sampling localvegan food, and drinking decaf coffee from shops across Portland.

Program Sponsor:

Vista Counseling and Wellness Center is our featured sponsor for this forum, YouthLine: Bringing Peer-to-Peer Support to Every Youth. Vista Counseling strives to provide the highest level of care and service to our clients and community, helping them to remove barriers in order to reach their full potential.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of significant local, state, and national issues and helps to formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of concern with elected officials and other policymakers. The City Club mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and Broadcast:

This program will be live-streamed and will be available on the City Club of Eugene’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Rebroadcasts and recordings will be available the Monday immediately following the program at 7:00 pm, on KLCC 89.7 FM and available later as an episode on City Club’s podcast. Visit cityclubofeugene.org for links and details.

Contact: Betsy Pownall, betsy327@comcast.net, Joel Korin, joelkorin@gmail.com

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

By: Betsy Pownall

As Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is coming up in February, here are some statistics to keep in mind:

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • 1 in 3 girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • 81% of parents believe dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know it’s an issue. (From loveisrespect.org)
  • 1 in 3 young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship.
  • 33% of adolescents in America are victims of sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physicalcal or sexual abuse will attempt suicide. (From dosomething.org)

Some teens are at greater risk than others. Sexual minority groups as well as racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence. (From www.cdc.gov)

Dating can mean something different to each person. No matter who the people are, or what their age is, it is important, when two people make a decision to date, that each one is aware of their ‘dating bill of rights’. Below is the Dating Bill of Rights for Teens (as well as anyone else):

Dating Bill of Rights

I have the right:

  • To ask for a date.
  • To refuse a date.
  • To suggest activities.
  • To refuse any activities, even if my date is excited about them.
  • To have my own feelings and be able to express them.
  • To say I think my partner’s information is wrong or his/her actions are unfair or inappropriate.
  • To tell someone not to interrupt me.
  • To have my limits and values respected.
  • To tell my partner when I need affection.
  • To be heard.
  • To refuse to lend money.
  • To refuse affection.
  • To refuse affection.
  • To refuse sex with anyone for any reason.
  • To refuse sex anytime for any reason.
  • To have friends and space outside from my partner.

I have the responsibility:

  • To determine my limits and values.
  • To respect the limits and values of others.
  • To communicate clearly and honestly.
  • To ask for help when I need it.
  • To be considerate.
  • To check my actions/decisions to determine if they are good for me or bad for me; to set high goals.

(From Dating Violence: An Anti-Victimization Program, Texas Council on Family Violence and The Bridge Over Troubled Waters.)

Some Regional Resources For Adolescents

ABC House

1054 29th Ave; Albany, OR (visit by appointment)

541.926.2203

 https://www.abchouse.org/

Hope & Safety Alliance

1577 Pearl St STE 200; Eugene, OR

Hotline: 541.485.6513 (local Eugene); 1.800.281.2800

https://www.hopesafetyalliance.org/

Call to Safety 24/7 crisis line

Hotline: 503.235.5333 (local Portland)

1.888.235.5333

https://calltosafety.org/

Raphael House of Portland

4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd. #503, Portland

503.222.6507

https://raphaelhouse.com/teen-dating-violence/

The Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services

Portland based; does not accept walk-ins. Call for one-one support to create a safety plan and get connected to other services

503.988.6400

Center for Hope and Safety

605 Center St NE; Salem, OR

Hotline: 503.399.7722 (local Salem) 1.866.399.7722

https://hopeandsafety.org/

 

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3 Steps to Take Control of Overwhelming Feelings

In your journey through life, feeling overwhelmed is a shared human experience. 

But know that dealing with overwhelming thoughts and feelings is not about perfection but a continuous growth process. Explore practical insights from the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) world, gaining a valuable perspective on embracing your humanity. 

It’s about more than just recognizing difficulty; it’s about sensing within and embracing the profound connection between mind and body. 

Now, let’s unravel the transformative journey of noticing, feeling, and moving towards a direction aligned with your deepest values with this go-to formula you can use when feeling overwhelmed.

Step 1: Notice Your Emotions

When the world seems to come crashing down, it’s hard to think straight, so the first step is straightforward and simple. You only need to notice that this is currently hard for you. It can be as simple as having a quick moment of clarity while experiencing an emotional outburst.

If you practice the skill of noticing, you will be able to catch your experiences as they unfold in the present moment, allowing you to make a conscious decision about what you want to do next.

Step 2: Feel The Unseen

When overwhelming thoughts and feelings grip you, they may deceive you into believing you’re not okay. The impulse to dispel these emotions often leads to familiar coping mechanisms—lashing out, indulging in comfort food, smoking, or escaping into social media. While effective momentarily, the cycle repeats, leaving you once again submerged in overwhelm.

In such moments, it is crucial to recognize your power of choice. Instead of evading your experience, embrace it. Dive into your body: What sensations are present, and where? Invest a few seconds, perhaps a minute or two, in exploring your internal landscape. 

Start small and gradually expand your awareness with self-kindness, patience, and care.

Step 3: Move Towards What Matters

The third and final step in regaining control is to shift your focus outward. Reflect on the things that hold greater significance than succumbing to overwhelm. Whether it’s commitments to loved ones, career goals, or enhancing self-care, some aspects of your life matter deeply.

Take a moment to move in a valued direction; it need not be a grand gesture. A small step suffices—sip a glass of water, send a quick text to a loved one, bask in a short walk in the sun, or indulge your dog with a belly rub. The options are limitless. 

What matters is the commitment to small actions that are aligned with your life’s purpose and meaning.

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3 Telltale Signs You Need Tighter Boundaries

We’ve all heard that setting boundaries is essential for our mental strength, but let’s face it; it can be challenging.  

Why is it so tricky? Well, the fear of being left high and dry, the unrelenting urge to be everyone’s best buddy, and the classic “what do I do if someone steps over my line” conundrum can leave you feeling like you’re in a whirlwind of uncertainty.

If your boundaries sometimes feel as sturdy as a sandcastle, don’t worry. Embark on this boundary-setting adventure and discover a treasure trove of self-respect, mental strength, and a happier, healthier you.  

Now, buckle up as we dive into the world of boundaries and discover the signs that you need better boundaries! 

You Are a ‘Yes’ Person 

Do you have a hard time saying “no”? Are you the go-getter, the problem-solver, and the one who can do what no one else can? 

At first, being the one who can handle anything feels like a badge of honour. The accolades, the praise—it’s all intoxicating. But here’s the twist: that initial high soon plummets into a pit of exhaustion and frustration.

Every “yes” you utter means a silent “no” to something else. That project you agreed to help your friend with? It’s precious family time you’re sacrificing. And that late-night task that seemed like a heroic feat? It’s robbing you of the self-care you truly deserve.

So this is your sign to rethink your powers and learn the art of strategic “no” s. 

You Take Responsibility For Things That Aren’t Your Fault

Ever find yourself apologizing for things that aren’t remotely your fault? Welcome to the “Sorry Syndrome. 

One classic symptom of boundary struggles is apologizing for other people’s feelings. You might catch yourself saying things like, “I’m sorry you feel bad” or “I’m sorry you had a bad day.” While empathy is a wonderful quality, taking on undue responsibility for others’ emotions isn’t.

Carrying someone else’s emotional baggage can be quite exhausting. So, get ready to kick the Sorry Syndrome to the curb and stop shouldering blame for feelings that aren’t yours to own. 

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them 

If you can’t beat them, join them – this is a common temptation when you’re dealing with people who aren’t treating you right. But hold on, boundary-setter, there’s a better way!

When others dive into gossip or start raising their voices, it doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Your values should remain your guiding light. Instead of getting pulled into negativity, it’s the perfect moment to let your boundaries shine.

Also, remember boundaries don’t always require words. You can assert yourself without ever uttering a phrase. Walking away from a situation or ending a conversation sends a clear message that you won’t engage in activities that clash with your core values. 

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Tips on Talking to Loved Ones in DV Relationship

By: Betsy Pownall 

It is difficult to know what to say when someone shares that they are in an abusive relationship. Whether it be a friend, family member, client, there is this moment of pause~the thought of ‘how I respond right now will really matter’. Here are some tips on what to, and not do to/say when someone discloses this vulnerable fact of their lives. This information is from WomenSpace (now Hope and Safety Alliance). 

What to say:

“I’m sorry this has happened (or is happening) to you.”

Acknowledge you have heard what has been said, that you heard it and are listening. Acknowledge the courage it takes to disclose abuse and the strength it takes to survive. This is your opportunity to empathize.

“No one deserves to be abused.”

This is a universal statement and an opportunity to connect with the survivor.

“It’s not your fault.”

Don’t minimize the violence or blame the victim. The batterer is accountable and responsible for his/her choices and behaviors.

“You are not alone.”

Violence in relationships is a widespread social problem, yet the victim often feels very alone. By generalizing, we can help the survivor understand that the abuse is not about who they are or what they did but about their partner’s attempt to maintain power and control.

“There is help.”

Empower the survivor by offering information choices, safe space and support. 

What not to say/do:

  1. Give advice.
  2. Change the subject.
  3. Ask trivial questions.
  4. Intellectualize the problem.
  5. Become emotional.
  6. Make decisions for them.
  7. Be evasive or elusive.
  8. Handle everything yourself.
  9. Ask ‘why’ questions.
  10. Pity them.
  11. Indulge in silly witticisms.
  12. Become insensitive or cold.
  13. Cut communication.
  14. Be judgmental or rejecting.
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Embracing Positive Experiences

Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to remember the bad stuff than the good? It’ss because the brain is wired that way, naturally gravitating towards negativity. But here’s the thing: dwelling on the negative can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety.

The good news is that you have the power to change that. Mindfulness is that secret weapon that can help you train your brain to focus on the positive, boost your mood and make you more resilient. By embracing positive experiences and pushing aside the negative, you can transform your life for the better.

Shifting your focus from negative to positive may feel unfamiliar, require effort, or seem time-consuming. Yet, even amidst life’s chaos, you can start small. Practice mindfulness, be aware of your thoughts, and try these simple tips to kickstart your journey toward positivity.

Turn Your Victories Into a Celebration

Acknowledge and applaud yourself for accomplishments, big or small. 

Keep a meticulous to-do list, and revel in the joy of checking off each task, no matter how mundane. Remember to include even the little things you might have once overlooked, like savoring a healthy snack or simply stepping outside. Every achievement counts.

 Remember, it’s these small wins that pave the path to a more positive and fulfilling life.

Accept Compliments Gracefully 

Accepting compliments with grace is an art that can brighten your day and strengthen relationships. Saying ‘thank you’ not only acknowledges their kindness but also fosters a sense of mutual connection. This connection benefits both you and the giver by creating positive energy in the interaction.  

Make it a point to rehearse your ‘thank you’ in your mind, and the next time you receive a compliment, seize the chance to say ‘thank you’ and keep the cycle of kindness going.

Embrace Nature’s Serenity 

Find solace in contemplative moments connected to nature and let yourself savor the beauty of the present. Because in nature’s embrace, you’ll discover the art of just being and finding peace in the simplicity of the moment.

Sometimes, all you need is a hug from nature that ensures you get that daily dose of tranquility and positivity.

 

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Small Acts – Big Impact

Have you ever done something nice for someone else “just because”? It wasn’t to repay them or because you had to, it was simply because you wanted to. 

Well, then, you’ve done a random act of kindness. They are those unexpected, selfless deeds that bring joy and positivity to others without expecting anything in return. 

Kindness is like a universal language, and it’s one of the most valued character strengths in our society. You are naturally drawn to kind-hearted people, and as it turns out, being kind not only brightens someone else’s day but also enhances your well-being. 

From selfless gestures to acts of generosity, get ready to be inspired to sprinkle more kindness into your life as you uncover the secrets to making the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time. 

Practice the Attitude of Gratitude 

In a fast-paced world, pausing to show gratitude reminds people of the beauty in their connections. It’s a way of saying, ‘You matter, and I appreciate you just as you are.’ 

It isn’t just a feeling; it’s a powerful force that deepens connections and spreads positivity. So, go ahead and send that heartfelt message, make that call, or write that note of thanks.

Be Respectful and Celebrate Goodness

Being respectful is all about treating every person you meet with kindness and respect, no matter who they are or where they come from. It’s a reminder that we’re all part of the same human family. 

And don’t stop there. Acknowledge and celebrate the positive actions of others – from a heartfelt “thank you” to a simple nod of appreciation, these gestures can brighten someone’s day and inspire more acts of kindness.  

Gift Your Time

You can make a positive change in someone’s life by simply offering your time.

Whether lending an empathetic ear to a friend in need or dedicating hours to volunteer at a local charity your time can be just what they need! 

So make the world a brighter, kinder place – one shared second at a time.

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