All posts in Depression

Effective Communication for Dealing with Conflict

Effective Communication for Dealing with Conflict

Before you begin, ask yourself why you feel upset – Are you truly angry because the ketchup was left on the counter? Or are you upset because you feel like you’re doing an uneven share of the housework and this is just one more piece of evidence? Take time to think about your own feelings before starting an argument.

 Discuss one issue at a time – “You shouldn’t be spending so much money without talking to me” can quickly turn into “You don’t care about our family.” Now you need to resolve two problems instead of one. Plus, when an argument starts to get off topic, it can easily become about everything a person has ever done wrong. We’ve all done a lot wrong, so this can be especially cumbersome.

Use “I” statements – When sharing a concern, begin your sentence with an “I” statement.  This technique will help you share your true feelings about the situation instead of spewing blame which will often cause defensiveness.

“I feel ____________ when you ____________ because ____________.”

Use reflective listening – Oftentimes we focus on getting our own point across rather than listening.  When reflecting, you will repeat back what someone has said to you, but in your own words.  This shows that you didn’t just hear the other person, but you are trying to understand them.  For example, you can say, “I think this is what you’re telling me, but correct me if I’m wrong.”

“I hear you saying that…”     

“It sounds like you feel…”    breakup-908714_1280

“You’re telling me that…”

Focus on the problem, not the person – When a disagreement turns to personal insults, raised voices, or mocking tones, the conversation is no longer productive. Be careful to focus on the problem without placing blame on the other person.  No put-downs, swearing, or name-calling.  Degrading language is an attempt to make your partner feel bad.

 Know when to take a time-out – When the conversation is becoming argumentative, insulting, aggressive, or is a repetitive pattern, it’s a clue for a time-out.  The person who called for the time-out is the person who will call for a time-in when he or she feels calm and relaxed enough to continue the conversation.  Spend some time doing something alone that you find relaxing.  Focus on how you can make this a more productive conversation.

Work toward a resolution – Disagreement is a normal part of a relationship. If it becomes clear that you and your partner will not agree, focus on a resolution instead. Attempt to find a compromise that benefits both individuals. Ask yourself if this disagreement really matters to your relationship and let yourself move on, if not.

IMG_0072_DawnDawn Schroeder is a professional counselor who enjoys helping people of all ages overcome life’s struggles.  She also has a special place in her heart for working with children and teenagers.  To learn more about Dawn, or to set up an appointment click here.

More

Why People Procrastinate

Why People Procrastinate

Everyone procrastinates sometimes and for different reasons.  Here are some of the common ones with suggestions as to how to get those tasks done that have been haunting you!

work-management-907669_640

1 – Overwhelming –

The task is so overwhelming that you don’t know how to start.  It will help you to break down the big task into smaller tasks on paper.  Than only focus on task at a time.

2 – Unenjoyable

You avoid something that was previously unenjoyable.  Your thoughts made you unhappy while doing the task.  Identify what thoughts are making you suffer, the thoughts that are not true.  It will be bad if ______________.  It is not the activity that’s bad, it’s the story you tell yourself about the activity or that you are not good or smart enough to complete the activity.  Let yourself know it is possible and that you are capable to complete the activity to the best of your ability.

3 – Comparison

You compare the job at hand to a fantasytemporal-distance-1138191_1280 world.  You have a task to accomplish but your mind visualizes doing something fun.  Your mind starts complaining that this job has no purpose or meaning, it’s boring and unsatisfying.   Ask yourself what you want most in life.  Purpose and meaning attainable only having fun or are you really looking for peace in your life.  Thoughts that compare you to others do not give you peace.  Don’t give attention to these thoughts, they are a waste of your time. Look at how you feel in the moment.  What is the story you are telling yourself.  Focus on now.  Get rid of the fantasy thoughts and get to the business at hand so you can finish the task and attain peace.

4 – Distractions

You distract yourself to avoid thoughts and suffering.  Your mind naturally goes to what makes you happy (shopping, eating, internet).  These things are stored in your memory and have offered you a temporary high in the past so you run to them to take away the suffering you are experiencing in the moment.  Don’t try to force these thoughts to stop with distraction.  Instead, look at how you are feeling in the moment.  Ask yourself what you are trying to escape from (not good enough, won’t do it perfect, boredom, too stressful).  What is the story you are telling yourself?

5 – Not the Right Fit

You feel the task is not the right fit for you.  You may love interacting with people but you have an accounting job which may not be a good fit for you.  You may have to pursue a different job but don’t avoid your current job. Focus on your current job while seeking a better fit for you but don’t let your thoughts make you procrastinate the tasks at your current job.

The cure for procrastination is ACTION.  Examine your thoughts and correct your story.

Stop procrastinating, focus on the task at hand, and attain peace.


IMG_0072_DawnDawn Schroeder
 is a professional counselor who enjoys helping people of all ages overcome life’s struggles.  She also has a special place in her heart for working with children and teenagers.  To learn more about Dawn, or to set up an appointment click here.

More

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mental health condition associated with depression during the fall and winter seasons of the year. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.”

SAD was formally described and named in 1984 by Norman E. Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health.  Dr. Rosenthal a psychiatrist, author, and scientist is credited with identifying SAD, as well as, the use of light therapy for its treatment.  Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder.  SAD’s prevalence in the U.S. ranges from 1.4% in Florida to 9.9% in Alaska.

SAD can often begin as mild depression and may progress to a more severe condition.  As the days begin to shorten and available sunlight becomes scarce, some people themselves (or others) may see changes in their mood: they become irritable, possess low energy, are hypersensitive to criticism, and see changes in their appetite (craving for foods high in carbohydrates).  Comparisons of people suffering from SAD to those of a bear preparing for hibernation have been made.

Light therapy is one way to treat SAD by exposure to artificial light.  During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box.  This box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.  Light therapy is thought to cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts one’s mood and eases the symptoms of SAD.

In addition to light therapy, it is important to be sure that your levels of vitamin D are sufficient.  People in Northern Climates simply do not get enough sunlight which supplies this vitamin.  Vitamin D levels can be checked by your physician using a simple blood test.

Exercise and diet may also help relieve or reduce the symptoms of SAD.

Finally, remember that not all winter depression is related to SAD.  If the above recommendations do not work, seek out a professional counselor.   SAD_2

As with most health issues it is important to seek help early because symptoms may start to develop as early as September.  The sooner the SAD problem is addressed, the better.  Winter can be a wonderful season and it provides for some very special activities that can be enjoyed by you and your family. It doesn’t have to be a SAD time..

Symptoms specific to winter onset of SAD may include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy “leaden” feeling in the arms and legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

Dave Tice imageDave Tice is a licensed professional counselor at the Center with over 6 years of counseling experience.  To learn more about Dave, or to set up an appointment click here.

More