mental health

Shortcuts For a Happier Life

Happiness is often found in the small, everyday moments and habits that we cultivate. Here are some shortcuts to a happier life that you can start implementing today:

Find an Activity That Brings Happiness: Whether it’s taking long walks in nature, joining a book club, or engaging in creative hobbies, finding an activity that consistently brings you joy is key.

Reclaim An Old Activity That Brought You Happiness: As life gets busier, we often leave behind activities that used to bring us joy. Dust off that old violin or guitar, start journaling again, or revisit any other activity that once made your heart sing.

Come Up With a Schedule: Schedules and routines can help us stay focused and remind us to prioritize our happiness. Set aside dedicated time each day or week for activities that bring you joy.

Find a Happiness Buddy: Having a support system can make a big difference in our happiness journey. Whether it’s a friend, a support group, a therapist, or a coach, having someone to check in with can provide accountability and encouragement.

Accept Problems: No journey to happiness is without its challenges. Accept that setbacks are a natural part of the process, and instead of letting them define you, use them as opportunities to learn and grow.

By incorporating these simple shortcuts into your life, you can cultivate a happier, more fulfilling existence. Happiness is not a destination but a journey, and these shortcuts can help you enjoy the ride.

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5 Life Hacks to Navigate Hardships With Ease

Life is full of ups and downs, challenges and obstacles. Whether it’s personal crises like heartbreak or loss, feeling stuck in unfulfilling situations, or simply battling the blues, we all encounter moments of unhappiness. However, how we face these hardships ultimately determines whether they defeat or propel us towards a happier life.

Let’s explore five shortcuts to achieving a happier life by targeting self-destructive behaviors, embracing healthier habits and finding joy in everyday activities.

Identify Sustainable Happiness-Inducing Activities

The first step towards a happier life is identifying activities that bring peace of mind and contribute to long-term happiness. These activities serve as the foundation for sustainable happiness. Consider activities like long walks in nature, joining a book club or discussion group and engaging in creative hobbies like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument. By incorporating these activities into your routine, you’ll feel more refreshed, inspired and content.

Reclaim Abandoned Joyful Activities

As life gets busier and more demanding, we often abandon activities that once brought us joy. It’s time to reclaim those happiness-inducing pursuits. Dust off that guitar or violin, start journaling again or revive any other activity that used to light up your life. Reconnecting with these hobbies can reignite your passion and boost your overall happiness.

Create a Happiness-Focused Schedule

Schedules and routines play a crucial role in maintaining happiness. Designate specific times in your schedule for activities that bring you joy. Whether dedicating an hour daily to reading, setting aside time for creative endeavors, or prioritizing outdoor activities on weekends, a structured schedule helps you stay focused and motivated.

Find Your Happiness Buddy or Support System

True friends and supportive communities can be invaluable in your pursuit of happiness. Identify a “happiness buddy” or join a support group where you can share your goals, progress, and challenges. Having someone to hold you accountable, provide encouragement and offer perspective can make a significant difference in your journey towards a happier life.

Embrace Setbacks and Stay Determined

It’s important to remember that setbacks and challenges are a natural part of life. Instead of letting them discourage you, use them as opportunities for growth and learning. Accept that not every day will be perfect, and that’s okay. Stay focused on your goals, lean on your support system during tough times and recommit yourself to happiness each day.


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Unlock the Power of Sticky Goals

As we dive into the excitement of a new day, it’s an opportunity to harness the power of sticky goals to pave the way for success. Setting goals is easy, but sticking to them requires a unique approach that sparks motivation, fosters commitment, and ignites passion. 

Enter the “sticky goals” concept – the secret sauce that transforms dreams into reality. While the idea of setting SMART goals is well-known, the often-overlooked stickiness factor holds the key to lasting success. As our favorite apps and games keep us hooked with their engaging features, sticky goals captivate our attention, fuel our motivation, and keep us on track toward our objectives. 

So, whether you’re striving for personal growth, financial prosperity, or simply aiming to live your best life, it’s time to embrace the challenge of making your goals sticky – and watch your dreams take flight. 

Embrace the Power of Selectivity

Embrace the art of selectivity by prioritizing the goals that truly matter to you. Resist the urge to scatter your focus across numerous objectives; instead, channel your energy into a select few that align with your passions and aspirations. 

Keeping your goals in mind will pave the way for sustained commitment and unwavering determination.

Visualize Your Success:

Start with the end in mind and vividly describe your desired outcome. 

Whether it’s picturing yourself living your dream lifestyle or achieving a personal milestone, harness the power of visualization to fuel your motivation and guide your journey toward success. 

Level Up With Gamification:

Transform the pursuit of your goals into an exhilarating game of progress and rewards. Inject fun and excitement into your journey by gamifying your objectives.

From earning points for completing tasks to treating yourself to small rewards, gamification adds a playful twist to goal-setting, making it both enjoyable and engaging.

Break Down Your Goals Down:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your goals. Break down your aspirations into bite-sized tasks or milestones that are easily achievable. 

By taking small, consistent actions, you build momentum and ward off overwhelm and anxiety. Embrace the power of incremental progress and celebrate each small victory, knowing that every step forward brings you closer to your ultimate destination.

Cultivate Self-Compassion: 

As you navigate the ups and downs of your goal pursuit, remember to be kind to yourself. Mastery takes time, and setbacks are inevitable. So, instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, practice self-compassion and patience. 

Treat yourself with the same kindness and embrace the journey with an open heart and a gentle spirit, knowing that every step forward is a testament to your resilience and growth.

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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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Mastering the Art of Not Overreacting

Do you find yourself getting upset over minor inconveniences or small issues? It’s a common experience, but it doesn’t have to control your reactions. Here are three steps to help you stop overreacting to the small stuff:

Take a Moment to Notice Your Reaction: When you feel yourself starting to overreact, take a moment to pause and notice what’s happening in your body. Are you feeling tension in your neck, heat in your cheeks, or an elevated heart rate? Take a few deep breaths and try to calm down.

Rationalize The Situation: Once you’ve calmed down, try to think about what happened rationally. Instead of focusing on your subjective experience, try to see the situation from an objective point of view. Ask yourself if your reaction is proportionate to what happened. Try to be compassionate and avoid personalizing the situation.

Take Constructive Action: Depending on the situation, you can express yourself using “I” statements to communicate your feelings calmly. If you’re still upset, consider removing yourself from the situation temporarily. Find a way to re-channel your emotions, whether it’s through physical activity, journaling, or talking to a friend.

Remember, it’s okay to feel emotions, but it’s important to manage them in a healthy way. By taking these steps, you can learn to respond to small issues more calmly and avoid overreacting.

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Elevate Your Well-Being With Random Acts of Kindness

By: Jen Champion

Random acts of kindness are spontaneous expressions of care and compassion that profoundly impact the giver and the receiver. These acts can range from small gestures, like holding the door open for someone, to more significant acts of service, such as volunteering in a soup kitchen. Regardless of the size of the act, research shows that random acts of kindness can have several positive benefits for our health and well-being. 

How have you expressed and received kindness?

Our actions go beyond improving mood. They contribute to overall well-being. The science of kindness informs us there are neurological benefits when we are on the giving and receiving sides. Just thinking about being kind, our body receives signals like we are in the act of it. Positive thoughts associated with expressing kindness release serotonin, the feel-good hormone, and oxytocin the love hormone. These hormones enhance our comfort, safety, and joy and support our minds, emotions, bodies, and spirits.

Kindness also provides emotional support and can help us relieve stress. We can build resilience to stressful conditions. When relaxed, we have space to explore and secure personal, authentic happiness, which grows towards graciously offering kindness to others. There are many techniques and resources for cultivating and replenishing individual reservoirs of vitality. You will find a few listed at the end of this article. In addition to personal benefits, acts of kindness significantly impact our social connections—acts of kindness foster social, familial, community, and workplace relationships. Experiencing and sharing kindness strengthens areas of human commonality and potential. We support each other with acts of kindness when we inspire, share, and try new things. In our shared existence, strength and happiness weave unity and community.

Kindness is an integral exploration in my life and yoga practice. I like to blend movements, meditations, and philosophies to encourage insight into the self as a human and divine source of kindness. I offer these opportunities in my classes with the intention that we will carry ourselves with peace and joy, on and off the yoga mat.

The Yoga Sutras is an ancient text describing the path to a fulfilling and happy life. In the Secret of the Yoga Sutra, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait translates Sutra 1:33: Transparency of mind comes by embracing an attitude of friendliness, compassion, happiness, and non-judgment toward those who are happy, miserable, virtuous, and non-virtuous.

The purpose of cultivating the four positive attitudes (friendliness, compassion, happiness, and non-judgment) is to instill higher virtues in our minds. These virtues allow our mind to reclaim its natural, pristine, joyful state. 

Random acts of kindness are simple and powerful ways to positively persuade our world. By performing acts of kindness, we improve our health and well-being, strengthen social connections, foster compassionate and caring communities, and have more fun! Consider your time and dedication to actively contributing to the collective benefit of kindness. Learn what it is and how to become a Raktivist. Random Acts of Kindness 2024 is a worldwide celebration held during the week of February 11-17. Join me at the Vista Wellness Center on February 15 at 11:15 am. I will spread kindness and share yoga tips around our neighborhood, 15th and Pearl. Hope to see you there!

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

TED Talk: How Acts of Kindness Sparked a Global Movement

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Guided Meditation: Embodied Metta with Tara Brach


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Understanding and Coping With Grief

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC, CADC-I

Grief and Loss can and will affect everyone. Sometimes when we grieve, we might start to compare ourselves to others around us with thoughts such as:

  • “Why am I not crying”
  • “Everyone else seems to be OK”
  • “How come I can’t just move on”
  • “Why can’t I stop thinking about this when everyone else is not talking about it”
  • “One day I am fine and then I am back to feeling angry or sad”

Comparing how we grieve to others is not helpful for your grieving process, and can trigger the thought, “What is wrong with me”. However, it is important to know that everyone grieves differently, on different timelines, and in different ways. So, if you take anything from this article, it is to hold yourself with grace and kindness as you move through your OWN grief process.

What can trigger Grief and Loss?

Anything that is a change, a transition, a loss, or an unplanned event. Here are some examples of what could trigger Grief and Loss:

  • Someone passes away
  • Moving
  • Miscarriage
  • Changing a job, school, or an experience in your normal routine
  • Loss of a pet
  • Someone else moving away
  • A relationship or friendship ending
  • Seasons changing
  • Retirement
  • Change in financial stability
  • When plans such as a vacation get canceled
  • Loss of health
  • A loved one having an illness
  • An item of value being broken
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • This is not an exhaustive list!

What to expect when experiencing grief? A person can experience any or all of this list:

  • Crying
  • Worry / Anxiety / Frustration / Anger / Stress
  • Guilt
  • Confusion
  • Numbness
  • Isolation from others
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Fatigue
  • Body symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pain, nausea, tight chest, body aches and pains, etc.
  • Questioning life or spiritual beliefs
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Abnormal behavior

What are the Five Stages of Grief and Loss?

A Swiss psychiatrist named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book called “On Death and Dying” where she gathered information from terminally ill patients which led her to define the Five Stages of Grief and Loss:

  1. Denial – “This can’t be happening” or “I don’t believe it”
  2. Anger – “Why is this happening to me”
  3. Bargaining – “I will do anything to change this” or thoughts of “If I only had done _____ , then this would not be happening”
  4. Depression – “What is the point” or “I won’t ever get through this”
  5. Acceptance – “It’s going to be OK” or “This is hard, but I can accept it”

It is important to note that these Five Stages are listed in an order that they can occur in, but they don’t have to. Some people skip or never experience one or more stages. Often people move through the stages and then re-experience certain stages when triggered by a memory or a situation.

Here are some examples of how someone could move through the Stages of Grief and Loss:

  • Denial – Anger – Depression – Anger – Acceptance
  • Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance
  • Denial – Depression – Acceptance
  • Denial – Bargaining – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Anger – Acceptance – Depression –Acceptance
  • Anger – Denial – Depression – Anger – Depression – Acceptance – Anger – Depression –     Anger

Specifically notice from these examples that the last two showed someone getting to Acceptance, then experiencing other stages of grief and loss before returning to Acceptance. Just because we get to Acceptance does not always mean we stay there. We can be triggered by a song, picture, or a reminder, which can slip us out of Acceptance into one of the other Stages of Grief and Loss…which is a common experience. What is helpful to know is that if we experience Acceptance, even if we get triggered into one of the previous stages, we are more likely to return to it again sooner since we have already been there. Let’s take a deeper dive into each stage to better understand what happens in each of the Stages.


This stage can literally help us survive or cope with the loss. It can sometimes cause emotional numbness, shock, not believing something has happened, or result in our belief system leaning into a “preferable” reality. Denial and shock help individuals cope and survive the grief event by slowing down the event to the pace that your emotional self can take it in. It is the body’s natural defense when the mind might be thinking, “I can only handle so much at once”.


If anger comes up, then let yourself feel it. In many situations, anger is a necessary experience that helps move through the emotions that are overwhelming the system. Most people learn ways to manage their anger, but when faced with a significant event, feeling anger can be healthy and cathartic. Sometimes anger helps motivate people to take necessary action in a difficult situation. Anger can help individuals face the reality of the situation and attach to others who are also dealing with the situation.


In this stage, people try to cope by making deals with themselves, God, or others. This type of negotiation can give false hope. Bargaining can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt. When people have thoughts such as “What if I had only done this ______ differently, then they would still be OK” The problem is bargaining thoughts are rarely helpful, and can do more harm than good  to yourself. Understanding what bargaining is so you can notice when you are in this stage is helpful because then you can use positive self-talk to be kinder to yourself. You might need to tell yourself that you are not the cause of the incident. You might need to ask yourself the question, knowing what you know now, what you might you do differently in the future. You should be extra kind to yourself when in this stage.


Depression is the result of feeling empty, alone, lost, fearful, or other disregulating emotions when you realize something has ended or changed. In this stage, you might feel withdrawn from life, numb, emotional and cognitive fogginess, low motivation to do basic self-care, and feelings of being overwhelmed or hopeless. You might want to be alone and have space. Some people might have thoughts of self-harm or suicide with thoughts of, “What’s the point of going on?” This stage may be necessary as an outlet to feel the deep emotions that are coming up, so healing from these emotions can begin.


In this stage, individuals start to feel a sense of stabilization. It is not necessarily a feeling that everything is going to be okay, but more that in the midst of everything, you can be okay. This is when some people report they fully started to re-enter reality. The new situation may not be “good”, but you are able to start to figure out how to live in this new reality. Individuals go through a process of learning how to be adaptable, adjust their perspective, and often re-adjust as they get used to the change in their life. In this stage, you start to experience emotional and cognitive clarity, you are engaging more in social relationships, and you feel like you are ready to start making forward movement in life. Just because you make it to Acceptance does not necessarily mean you stay here, but each time you come here, you often get to stay longer.

The Stages of Grief and Loss can provide a sense of knowing that you are in a normal process that many people have and will experience.

What are the different kinds of Grief?

  1. Anticipatory Grief – This type of grief happens before the loss is actually experienced, such as having an aging pet, or witnessing a loved one who is terminally ill. You have not technically experienced the loss but you are experiencing the coming loss.
  2. Disenfranchised Grief – This type of grief happens when you experience a loss that is not recognized by others, it is stigmatized, minimized, or you can’t openly mourn your loss.
  1. Complicated Grief – This type of grief can result in a person feeling stuck in a state of bereavement due to an ongoing situation. An example is living in a house where the other person used to live with you and you see their stuff or have memories you shared with them in this space many times a day.

How to cope with the pain when grieving?

  1. Acknowledge your pain (to yourself and a trusted person)
  2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions
  3. Feel your feelings
  4. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you
  5. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you
  6. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically (eating, sleeping, hygiene)
  7. Try to maintain your hobbies and interests
  8. Don’t let anyone tell you how you feel and don’t tell yourself how to feel either

How to seek support for your grief?

  • Lean on your friends and family
  • Work with a therapist or counselor
  • Draw comfort from your faith or spirituality
  • Join a Support Group that focuses on grief and loss
  • Talk to others who have experienced a similar loss
  • Process your feelings through listening to music, journaling, making art, poetry, etc.
  • Read books or listen to podcasts about grief
  • Plan ahead.  When you know you have grief triggers such as special dates, or important milestones that might awaken the grief, be sure to engage your support system around grief triggers.

Everyone experiences grief so when you are the one grieving, reach out to others as you are not alone in your experience. Be kind to yourself. Hold yourself with grace and understanding. If you find yourself with limited support, then reach out to your local crisis lines for support.

Elizabeth Dubler-Ross Foundation – “Coping with Grief and Loss

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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

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 for links and details.

Contact: Betsy Pownall,, Joel Korin,

The Positive Effects of New Experiences

If you’re someone who shies away from change, the transformative science behind new experiences might just alter your perspective. While the idea of stepping outside your comfort zone may seem daunting, it explores the profound mental health benefits that come with embracing the unknown. 

From reshaping neural connections to boosting mood regulation, unravel the secrets of cognitive and emotional well-being, and explore a life of boundless possibilities. 

Rewires Your Brain

Give your brain a makeover! Novel experiences are the secret sauce that stimulates neuroplasticity. 

It’s like a brain workout, enhancing cognitive flexibility and breaking free from those negative thought patterns associated with depression. Who knew change could be so liberating?

Increases Social Interaction

Social interaction is your golden ticket to reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness often associated with depression. 

Many new experiences involve interacting with others, whether through group activities, classes, or simply sharing an experience with friends. 

Boosts Confidence: Strut Your Stuff

Conquering new challenges isn’t just about skill acquisition; it’s a confidence booster! 

Whether you’re mastering a new skill or waltzing out of your comfort zone, each positive experience adds to your self-worth and self-efficacy. It’s time to strut your stuff! 

Reduces Ruminative Thinking

People with depression tend to ruminate on negative thoughts and feelings. 

Engaging in new experiences can redirect your focus away from rumination, providing temporary relief from distressing thoughts. Time to break free from that negative thought carousel!

Helps in Focusing on the Present

Experiencing something new often requires being present in the moment. This mindfulness can help you let go of past regrets or future worries and focus on the here and now. 

Savor the here and now – it’s like a therapeutic spa day for your mind.

Inspires a Sense of Purpose

Embarking on new adventures is more than a mere change of scenery; it’s a transformative journey that can profoundly impact one’s sense of purpose. 

New experiences act as catalysts, stirring the soul and inspiring individuals to redefine their purpose. For those navigating the complexities of depression, each new encounter becomes a stepping stone toward overcoming challenges and discovering a renewed sense of joy and fulfillment.

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Embracing Joy: A Holistic Guide to Holiday Season Wellness

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it a whirlwind of traditions, expectations, and emotions. 

For many, it’s a time of joy, connection, and celebration. Yet, navigating through this time isn’t always easy. Amidst the festivities, stress can sneak in, creating an overwhelming cloud over what should be a cheerful period.

In honor of When Difficult Relatives Happen To Good People, Leonard Felder – here’s a comprehensive guide filled with tips, experiences, and strategies!

Infuse Festive Cheer into Every Corner

Decorations can work wonders, lifting spirits and setting the holiday mood. Taking crisp outdoor walks bundled up, marveling at neighborhood lights, and indulging in homemade hot apple cider, can be simple yet powerful ways to celebrate.

Mindful Gift-Giving and Family Conversations

Planning gift-giving strategies with family members, whether through Secret Santa or charitable donations, alleviates financial and mental strain. This thoughtful approach ensures that the joy of giving isn’t overshadowed by stress.

Light Does Come Back After the Solstice on December 21st

A simple way to celebrate the natural seasonal change is to light a candle and take it into every corner of your home, welcoming the light back. This is one of my favorite personal traditions. It may seem like there’s a long dark winter left to struggle through after the holidays are over, but the truth is, the days are already getting longer. -Joanna

Prioritize Activities and Connection Over Material Things

Engaging in shared activities, planning family meals together, and fostering meaningful conversations can create lasting memories. – Annette

Coping Strategies and Self-Care Tips

Recognizing the importance of self-care and implementing strategies to counteract negative feelings is a crucial aspect of navigating the season.

Practical Tips for Holiday Preparedness

Stocking up on comforting foods and being mindful of store closures on holidays ensures that small details don’t diminish the festive spirit.

Finding Joy Amidst the Chaos

As the holiday whirlwind engulfs us, it’s essential to remember that amidst the chaos and expectations, our well-being is paramount. Prioritizing joy, connection, and self-care helps us navigate this season with grace.

Wishing you a season filled with warmth, joy, and moments that matter most. – Ash

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Holiday Survival Guide Ideas

The holidays can be a wonderful time, but they can also be a stressful time.   We asked our staff for their best tips for surviving the holidays.  

For a few years when my children were young, I questioned “tradition”: Things I believed I was obligated to do to “celebrate” the holiday season.  I started letting go of things for a year, to see how it impacted our family life. Some traditions returned, and some permanently disappeared. Something I let go of for good was writing and mailing Christmas cards. While I don’t get many Christmas cards anymore, I feel less stressed, less anxious, and I am able to be more fully engaged in the moment, rather than sitting and writing cards to people I may never see again. 

Once the dark nights start falling, I light candles every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. It softens the brightness and busyness of the outside world, and marks the end of one week, the beginning of the next. #wicklight

When in doubt at the holiday table where anything might be said: Talk movies, shows, and books. If you stay on the topic of the movie, show or book, you may be able to keep things calm(ish). If someone mentions something that could be a trigger, mention Succession! That’ll change the subject! 

My way of surviving the holidays is by saying ‘no’ to things so I can spend more quiet time with my family and animals. It actually feels good to stay still while the world is madly turning. 

If you feel triggered and anxious at a family gathering, go do the dishes. It works for me. 

I feel that this time of year can be so stressful. It has always helped me to think in terms of giving, especially to those in need.

How to survive the dark month of December? I get outside and exercise on a daily basis – hiking, biking or walking. My mind feels clearer, my body less anxious, and my soul, nourished.

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