A Raleigh Therapist's Blog

Thoughts on counseling, healing, and creating the life you want

The Importance of Sacred Spaces Plus an Invitation

I love putting together a new office. There is a wonderful sense of newness and urgency about it. It just feels like every great thing that is going to happen in that space will manifest all at once if I can hurry up and get the curtains hung. The new Lotus Therapy Center feels warm and cozy. I’m setting it up so that both you and I can express our awesomeness in there appropriately.

I think everyone should have somewhere–your car, a corner of your closet, a yoga mat and candle out on the fire escape–somewhere, that you can access a few moments of quiet and inspiration. For me, that place is usually my office. There are numerous reasons for this that include but are not limited to: 1) There are no legos to step on anywhere 2) I don’t have to put my coffee at a level somewhere above my head for fear that I will later be drinking after my mountain-climbing pug 3) I decorated it myself and all my best books are there.

Sacred spaces are important for recharging your batteries and equipping yourself to handle new challenges that come your way. You wouldn’t expect your car to continue to run if you don’t put gas in it. But, so many folks navigate the rigors of modern life by pushing through on fumes. Here are a few tips for creating sacred spaces in your life:

1) Wherever you go, there you are: Back in the day when I did in-home and in-school counseling, I carried around a very strongly-scented peppermint aromatherapy lotion from Origins. (It’s called Peace of Mind if you’re interested.) I did this for several reasons. First, studies show that athletes who smell peppermint feel better, perform more strongly and are more cheerful about the entire endeavor. Did you know you could get that kind of boost in a smell? Secondly, it gave a olfactory clue that our therapy sessions, no matter where they were that day, were sacred spaces. So, really all you need is a cue, a quiet place (seriously, your car will do) and a few minutes to set your intention on whatever will help you most.

2) R-E-S-P-E-C-T: I hope you just sang that in your head like I did. If you respect your responsibilities and want to do your best, you have to respect the instrument that will get all that stuff accomplished first–you. You are your own first and last resource for health and better performance. Can you make a corner of your office (you don’t have to tell anybody) a sacred space? My office has a plant my husband gave me many years ago, a special rock I got from a seminar I found inspiring, and a small statue of Kwan Yin. It doesn’t look like anything but a collection of mementos. But to me, it reminds me that if I want to practice compassion towards others, I have to do it for myself.

3) Come Together Right Now: There are those of us who make it our business to create sacred spaces to share. Folks who lead mediation groups, worship leaders of all religions, yoga teachers, massage therapists and a host of others are available to enter into those collaborative spaces with you. I would love to take this opportunity to invite you into mine.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

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The importance of Editing

Right now, as we speak, I am supposed to be hard at work finishing a writing project I started about 5 years ago. I’m not sure what all I have been doing lo these many moons, but it sure as heck hasn’t been carefully toiling over this long-hated research mess. So, I started thinking about what it means to us to finish what we start, and if sometimes it’s ok to simply decide to edit some things out of our lives entirely.

I don’t believe a stress-free life is possible, or even desirable. But, if we manage to lessen the things we “must” do down to the things that we have to do in order to be responsible, moral, and happy then we probably have a toehold on a pretty good life. Where are you overcommited?

1) Create more open spaces in your life: I don’t mean that in the literal sense. Though, if any of you wants to come and clean off the clutter of my toddler’s two-year-old birthday party (that was three days ago) I will be eternally grateful. What I mean is that Americans are waaaaaaay, waaaaaaay, too scheduled. We schedule ourselves into the ground at work, our religious centers, and with friends. But worst of all, we overschedule our children so much that there are whole families of sad, emotionally-winded people. Not to be a killjoy, but I am watching my fellow mommy friends put their toddlers into sports, music, art, and a host of other “lessons” and “learning opportunities.” Poppycock! I would rather sit with Gabe and dig in the dirt for three hours then listen to someone else tell me how to stimulate him to the ends of the earth. In my years of practice I have noticed that the children of all ages that are happiest are the ones who spend time with their folks. Period. They have, perhaps, a few activities to beef up the ol’ college resume, but that’s it. Take that time you were going to spend ferrying Jr. to freestyle football dance class and each of you read your own book on the couch, no cell phones. Now, that’s happiness. And literacy…but that’s probably another blog post.

2. Practice Gratitude: I believe that one of the single, best tools you can create for yourself is a gratitude journal. Take a few moments at some point during the day (I do it through an ap on my Iphone) to write down what’s going well and to thank God, the universe, or whatever floats your boat for the lovely things. I know this is a post about editing down your life, and I believe that this is a great way to do it. There are a few people (who shall remain nameless in case they read this blog) who really manage to push my buttons every time I see them. Seriously, even the therapist needs to go out back and have a quiet moment of resisting homicide sometimes. But, after that’s taken care of, I deliberately turn my focus instead to the myriad of people who are blessings to me. If I don’t do that, I for one, can ruminate. Unless it really is time for you to face a particular person or issue and make a big change–and by all means, don’t let me stop you–learn to pay attention to things that will water your emotional garden rather than grow weeds in it.

3) Have some Boundaries: Those people who know me might sometimes accuse me of being a raging liberal. On some points, I am. But I also think we live in an age of odd moral relativism. I know I’ll take some fire for that, but I don’t care. There are some things that you should do as a human being because they’re the right things to do. These include spending time with your children, keeping your commitment to your spouse or partner, and treating absolutely everyone else in your life the way you would want to be treated. If you’re lying, cheating, being a bully, and in general living in a selfish way you know who you are. Excuses like rotten parents, ugly breakups, and the whole host of other ills people use to justify mean-spirited selfishness just make the justifiers feel worse. If you’re haunted by something go ahead and get some help. Take care of it and choose not to perpetuate the emotional devestation that injured you. And, if you’re mollycoddling people like this you’re not helping them–you’re allowing them to remain emotionally handicapped and that is not kindness, it’s  facilitating a delay of their healing.

So, that’s it for me tonight. Happy editing to us both!

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

holly@lotustherapycenter.com

If you would like a free, 30-minute consultation to learn more about how counseling can be helpful to you, please don’t hesitate to call me at 407.913.4988 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com.

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Anger Management For Adolescents

Is your child rude, difficult to talk to, or sad? We all recognize the most noticeable face of anger; those behavioral problems that manifest as blowups. But, anger can translate not only as an overtly aggressive child, but also as one who withdraws and refuses to communicate. If you feel like there is more going on with your kid than meets the eye, you may be right to be concerned.

Though kids may not appreciate parents’ interference in their affairs, it’s better to confront these cries for help before they escalate. As always, the litmus test for making any decision in your child’s welfare is evaluating if that child will appreciate you for it when he or she is an adult. No teenager will thank you for limiting his or her freedoms now, because that is counter to their developmental level. But no 25-year-old I have ever met inside my therapy room or out has been thankful to parents for allowing them to experience things (drugs, sex, autonomy) they later realize they were not ready to handle. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for helping your angry teen.

1) Limit the number of violent things they watch/listen to/play: Experts estimate that the average teen has seen thousands of violent deaths depicted in tv, movies, and video games by the time he or she turns 18. We would be foolish to think that this does not desensitize our children to glamorized shows of anger. Think carefully not just about what you are allowing your teen to absorb through his or her media choices, but also about what they can be exposed to when they are at their friends’ houses as well. Keep tabs on who they hang out with, where, and talk to them about how to make good choices when they are not with you.

2) Be a good role model: Kids will do as you do, not as you say. If you routinely lose your temper, become angry and aggressive in traffic, yell at or hit your partner/spouse (or allow him or her to do this to you), and are rude and dismissive towards service people, your child will always model that behavior. They learn how to manage conflict and mediate stressful emotions from you. Consider yourself the architect of the blueprint for how your kids will treat their future employees, spouses, and children. If you need to get help to manage your own levels of stress and acting out, tell your kids that you are doing so, and then really do it. Parents are not to blame for all of their children’s problems. Certainly, some kids come into the world with tendencies that will be expressed in their behaviors. But, parents often have more influence over their children then they realize. Use it wisely.

3) Help your kids feel empowered: Resolving anger isn’t just about decreasing negative behaviors. It’s about increasing self-esteem so that kids feel positive about themselves and have more options in lieu of the bad behaviors. If your child is being bullied at school, be proactive about making it stop. If your child is the bully at school, help him or her get into counseling immediately. Some kids have a more difficult time fitting in at school than others. If your child is one of those kids, help him or her find another outlet like art, dance, sports, or youth groups at your place of worship.

4) Help your kids unplug and be part of the family: In the old days, when kids left school, all further communication with their friends had to go through the family phone. Now, teens are connecting around the clock via private cell phones with texting and social networking sites. The high drama of being a teen with any sort of social life needs to be mediated by the unconditional love and positive regard of being part of a family. Though they don’t know it, kids benefit from time to decompress from constant social interaction with their peers. If you’re not the one talking to your kid about his or her day, putting it all into perspective, and giving advice, someone else (much younger and less wise) will be doing it.

If you have any questions about how you can help your kid get off to a good start this school year and keep the momentum going, please feel free to drop me an email or give me a ring.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a good fit for your counseling needs, please call me at 407.913.4988 or email holly@nova.edu.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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Are you having an Online Affair?

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about a website that helps married people find other married people with whom to start affairs. Since the good people at wordpress are kind enough to provide me with stats about what folks are looking for when they stumble across my site, I have discovered that most of the people coming through this blog lately are reading that particular article and searching for the term ‘online affair.’

It makes sense that this is one of the most-searched terms on people’s finger tips these days. As the world at our door grows larger and larger via the connections we can make online, humans will continue to do what we’re good at–explore new things. However for some, exploring this new frontier has proved to be anything but harmless fun. Rather, it has allowed them to put themselves into positions that both they and their partners may view as the new gray area of relationship ethics. So how will you know if you’re starting to sail some dangerous waters? Here are a few warning signs:

1) Don’t ask don’t tell: Are parts or all of your online relationship a secret? The best litmus test for knowing if your interactions with an online “friend” are starting to stray into an emotional affair is to ask yourself if you would be afraid or ashamed for your partner to read anything you have exchanged between the two of you. Yes, I know, your online amiga or amigo may be a much better listener, or more sympathetic, or funnier than your real-life spouse. But, that person also doesn’t see you in your dirty underwear or listen to you snore at night. It’s easy to build up intimacy in cyber space. Even if you have known or know your pen pal in real life, that is very different than 24-hour contact. The very fact that you are starting to share personal details of your life is a warning sign. You are building intimacy with every click of your mouse. Emotional infidelity can pave the way towards physical infidelity by creating the illusion that you are meant to be together because you understand one another so well. This is particularly true if you are sharing derogatory information about your partner and recieving support in your frustration with him or her.

2) Take a look at me now: Are you sharing pictures of yourself with your online friend or getting pictures of him or her? It doesn’t matter if these photos are sexual in nature, or a shot of you in front of great grandma’s house. This indicates that it has become important to you or to your friend to “know” one another in an increasingly personal way. Trading pictures is often the first step to initiating other forms of offline contact.

3) Thinking it over: Are you spending increasing amounts of time thinking about when you can next get online to write to, chat with, or web cam your friend? As the thoughts become more intrusive, they not only interfere with your ‘real’ life, but they further enforce the distance that is growing between you and your current partner. As you allow that distance to grow, and focus all your emotional energy into your online relationship, you are creating more of the problems in your primary relationship you may be seeking to escape by engaging with someone else.

There are many reasons why both men and women seek emotional or physical intimacy outside of their primary relationships. If you believe that your actions are starting to put your relationship at risk, or if you think your spouse might be seeking connection outside of your relationship, there is help. Individual and/or couples therapy can help you sort out what to do next, and how to move forward, whatever that means to you, in a healthy way. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here, and I’ll do my best to briefly respond so that the folks who are stumbling across this blog can get some additional, tailored help.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION please feel free to contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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Success in Family Counseling

teenIf there are two groups of people that don’t want to be in the same room at the same time when the same argument is happening for the 5,009th time, it’s parents and teens. Young adults manage to conjure up rather remarkable dark, withering stares that leave me chilly from across the room. And, they often continue that voodoo side eye the entire first session. However,  I can hardly blame them–I wouldn’t trust me at first either. Why would it make sense to make yourself vulnerable to someone you can only assume is aligned with your parents?

The job of a good family counselor is to find a way to communicate with everyone in the family, surly teens included. So how can parents help family therapy meet with success?

1) Do your research–Participating in family counseling requires you to trust the therapist enough to allow that person to speak with your kids alone, and to keep some things confidential about those conversations. Of course, if I hear anything that leads me to believe your child is in danger or may be hurting him or herself, you will be advised of the situation. Otherwise, sessions between counselors and kids are somewhat private. Knowing this, you should interview several therapists and choose one you believe shares your goals and values.

2) Do your homework–Therapy is like a rest stop on the road of family life. It’s a place to get a cool drink, gather your thoughts, and stretch for a moment. But, the real stuff is happening outside of my therapy room. If I assign homework, it’s because I want to bridge the learning between sessions and encourage consistent change throughout the week. When you participate outside of therapy as well as inside the meetings, you will teach your children that family is important and that growth is everyone’s responsibility.

3) Ask Questions–Now is the time to ask your kids how they’re feeling and what they make out of challenges facing the family. Families who succed in therapy do so because they have learned to break out of old ruts and speak to one another in a process-oriented way. When you enlist your kids to help solve problems (including the ones they create) they will feel valued and give you a taste of their love and creativity.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how I can help you achieve your goals, please call me at (407) 913.4988 or email holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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Infidelity Wired: A Counselor's Perspective on Online Affairs

onlinepicThis morning a reporter from Channel 6 called to ask me my opinion about a website that has gotten quite a bit of press lately, www.ashleymadison.com. I almost hesitate to even put the link here because I would be loathe to think that I actually helped anyone find this site and consider using it. However, after a busy morning, I might have been too late  in returning that reporter’s message to make it on the air.  Just in case they run the story without me, here are my thoughts on the topic.

For the uninitiated, this website is the newest form of online matchmaker. Think eHarmony or match.com fueled by a liberal dose of predatory immorality. The sole purpose of this  site to help married people hook up with others (married or not) for  affairs. Think I’m exaggerating? The catchphrase is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Now, I’m no prude. I’ve worked with clients who have a variety of sexual lifestyles, and it’s not ordinarily my place to judge them. But this is not about lifestyle choices between consenting adults. It’s designed to keep one partner in the dark about the sexual activities of the other, and apparently helps thousands of people abandon all notion of working out differences in an explicit way. Furthermore, the maker of the site, Noel Biderman, uses the negative press generated by the discussion of his website to exemplify the old adage about any publicity being good publicity. I’ve seen interviews with this guy and I think he’s absolutely ghoulish–dancing on the graves of destroyed families for personal profit. Biderman seems blissfully unclear why  broken homes and children who must suffer through the divorces of their parents should be any deterrent to making some quick cash. If there is such a thing as karma, we all better stand back. This guy is in for a real whammy!

The internet has changed the face of marriage because it allows for emotional affairs via email, chat, and webcam that can quickly become real-life encounters with people that you might never meet in your everyday experiences. The Ashely Madison site is a sterling example of how someone recognized this new frontier and decided to make money off of it. Going online brings up issues that didn’t exist in the past when there was simply one family phone in the house and written mail came to the door. How do we negotiate the amount of privacy we want for our email inboxes, the sites we visit, or the content we view? To what degree do our spouses have “right” to know what we’re up to when that mouse is in our hands?

In the past, affairs were largely opportunistic, started with someone a person knew from work, circle of friends, or religious institution. But that also came with a certain amount of risk.  People might start to notice, and word might eventually get out to one’s partner. Now, sites like Ashley Madison inject another layer of privacy into the endeavor of infidelity and play to the consumerism  that Americans fall prey to so easily. It’s like a fast food affair: place your order, browse the menu on the site, and indulge in whatever flavors you think aren’t available at home.

The Ashely Madison commercials suggest that we have a  ‘right to be happy’ in a way that is individually determined,  and that happens in a vacuum from the people that we love. However, unless you grew up alone in the wilderness, you know this is not possible. We have to make choices in our lives between the types of happiness that we want. Some are mutually exclusive despite what marketers would have you believe.

My clients know that I believe in absolute transparency with online activities. I think that partners in established, commited relationships do have a right to know what the other person is looking at, with whom they are talking, and about what. That inevitably makes me unpopular with some people in my therapy room. No, I do not believe you have a sovereign right to have your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend on your Facebook friends list if your husband or wife doesn’t like it. Nope, I don’t think that chatting online (or texting) with that cute guy from work after hours is OK. I think that at the bottom of it all, human beings are incredibly complex and gorgeously emotional. If we want to stay married (or committed) we have to respect that temptations exist not because we’re bad, but because we’re curious, sexual, vibrant beings. If we don’t create boundaries for ourselves and our families, problems will crop up quickly, and vultures  like Noel Biderman will be waiting to seduce us with the promise of a quick thrill.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a good fit for your concerns and goals please contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@lotustherapycenter.com.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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I'm Baaaaack!

baby-rattleThose folks who read this blog with any regularity noticed that I dropped off the map sometime in July. No, I didn’t decide to race sled dogs in Alaska instead. Though, that does sound fun and I’m adding it to my life wish list. Nope, I had a wonderful baby boy, and have been away from my practice enjoying him immensely.

Now, however, I am slowly starting to accept clients into my practice again in the evenings and on Saturdays. Those folks who contacted me while I was out on leave are more than welcome to try me again now that I am back in the office.

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Free, Free, and Costs You a Little

My mama tells me I didn’t go to a really expensive graduate school to give free services. And, while she’s right, (my husband and son would probably like to continue to live under a roof) I do sometimes give away my therapy and life coaching services. I do this in the form of gift certificate donations to community events that I support. If you are in business for yourself, I really encourage you to do the same. It’s a fantastic way to be charitable that doesn’t require Oprah-type money in your bank account ready to be mailed. Whatever you’re doing, I promise that someone would love to win that for free. I’m especially talking to you house painters, dog walkers, and massage therapists. I need a legion of all three these days! If you need some suggestions about what kind of organizations could use your help, please feel free to contact me and I’ll tell you a few of my favorites. Alternatively, if you would like me to donate a gift certificate to your event, please do let me know that as well.

But, gift certificate raffles are not the only way you can get a good deal here at Lotus Therapy Center. Below are a few ways you can get free or lower-cost services at this practice.

1) “Wine for Whiskers”:The next worthy cause you can support for a chance to win 2 free sessions with me is the SPCA “Wine for Whiskers” event on July 24th, at the Orlando Marriott Downtown. You can check out the details here: http://www.ohs-spca.org/. Our local SPCA works overtime to help some of Orange County’s finest furry citizens find new homes. Please turn out and show that Central Florida has the biggest collective heart anywhere in the state.

2) Free Pet Loss Support Group: I am in the process of organizing a FREE group for individuals who have suffered the loss of a pet. If you know anyone who may be interested in this, please contact me for further details.

3) Reduced Rates for College Students: I particularly enjoy working with college students of any age. So, I cut my rate in half with proof of current enrollment in any of our fine institutions of higher learning. If you believe that you could use some help with depression, anxiety, or any number of concerns, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring or send me an email.

Your Partner in Healing,    Holly

If you would like to schedule an appointment or a phone consultation please call 407.913.4988 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com

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Driving with the Brakes on

“Driving with the brakes on,” is a rather lovely metaphor therapist Fred J. Hanna uses to describe individuals who would love to talk about their issues all day, but do not feel inclined to actively make any modifications.  I love this illustration because it defines one of the principle difficulties most individuals face at one time or another.

When you’re a new therapist, the client you hope for the most is the one who has a good deal of awareness about his or her issues and complaints. You love the individuals who present with beautifully-worded monologues about how these maladies have managed to hold them back. That is, until you realize that with many of those people the buck stops there. These are the daydreaming uber-clients who don’t really want to develop an ability to tolerate change. They just want to editorialize about it. In fact, therapy in the past may have been about endlessly analyzing the reasons for the trouble without making any concrete steps to forge a better life. We therapists can unwittingly reward this kind of perceptive client for standing still.  It’s like watching a carefully-planted garden wither and die when you’re standing right there with the watering hose. I believe that it’s that delicious moment of understanding paired with your own sense of agency that makes life really hum.

Make no mistake; sometimes, it makes good sense not to change. Life may be uncomfortable, but at least stable. You may have attached some piece of your identity to the issue that has gotten you under its thumb. Or, maybe you’re just scared. So, I challenge you to really take a look at your own self-work. Are you taking advantage of that big engine or driving with the brakes on?

Your Partner in Healing,  Holly

If you would like to scheudle and appointment or a free, 15-minute phone consultation please call 407.913.4988 or email holly@lotustherapycenter.com

 

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Anger Management: Battle Stations!

Usually, when I stop for coffee in the morning I needed to be at work 5 minutes ago. You would think that I would learn to get up earlier, schedule my first appointment for later, or—gasp—actually prepare myself for the day the night before. Honestly, I will probably never do any of that stuff successfully. (Don’t tell—we therapists often like to pretend like we’re above that kind of thing.) So there I am, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, fighting mad with anyone who gets in my way. This might sound like the start to a treatise about stress management through better time management. But it’s not. It’s about one of the calling cards of stress of any kind—anger.

  There is a generally accepted notion in the psychological community that anger is a secondary emotion. That means it never rides in on its white horse alone. In fact, it’s never even at the head of the calvary. It’s actually somewhere near the back holding the flag and lookin’ tough. But, the big, flashy banner means you’ll sure notice it .You might even think the army is bigger than it really is.  In your body, you notice anger by the “banner” physical symptoms of stress gone wild. Your fists might tighten, your face becomes red. You feel like hitting that guy right in the face, and then drawing back and doing it one more time. That’s not to mention your poor shoulder muscles holding on to the tension, your palms that are slick with sweat, or the curse words that keep on rolling off your tongue.  So if anger isn’t first, what is? Fear. (Stay with me now, this is going to get deep.) If anger is the car, fear is the fuel that runs it. This is complicated by the fact that fear has many faces like: shame, low self-esteem, and a terror of abandonment. I once had a very intelligent and well-respect colleague who quickly became overwhelmed and verbally aggressive each time someone asked her even a simple question about the way she managed her staff. Was she angry at being questioned? Of course—we all get a little self-righteous sometimes. But what she was really afraid of was looking stupid and inept, or the rest of the team ganging up on her. She didn’t want to be ashamed or alone.

These very same themes play out all the time in intimate and parental relationships. They show up as an abuser isolating a domestic violence victim. They are there when a drug addict has to be committed against her will to save her life. Fear. Anger.  In small, manageable doses, anger is catalytic. It causes change and change is very often good. It only becomes a problem when it is expressed by violence or emotional terrorism. Rage is particularly virulent when it is allowed to make its bearer physically, mentally, or spiritually ill.

Fortunately, there are many ways to give anger a run for its money. Here are a few: 

1) Become Assertive: I put this one first because it sounds almost counter-intuitive. But, anger can arise out of feelings of being misunderstood or stymied in interpersonal communications. Yelling, threatening, or intimidating usually only reward you with a form of coerced cooperation. They do not help you solve problems that you could otherwise address with conversational tools that make a space for collaboration. And, reacting in an aggressive manner almost guarantees that you are teaching people to handle you with kid gloves—a recipe for feeling left out and abandoned. Guess what feelings of abandonment (sometimes experienced as being “not important enough” to treat well) lead to? That’s right—anger. It’s always interesting to meet people who get angry lots and lots because other people just don’t “get” them. If you’re finding that you’re one of those mysterious people, come down from your high horse and slowly back away. People don’t “get” you because you’re not giving them any help in understanding you. Focus on learning some skills that will help you get what you want by asking for it in appropriate and palatable ways. 

2) Deep Breathing: I can hear the sigh of “yeah, right,” across the miles. But, if you allow yourself to continue to breathe shallowly and rapidly, you are continuing to tell your body that this is a danger situation. Your body will respond really effectively with increased symptoms of anxiety. When you take a few seconds to breathe deeply from your diaphragm, you are alerting your whole system that physical reactivity is not required. If you are able to make your mental state and physical state more congruent, it will be easier to calm down and communicate well. 

3)  Walk Away:  This one is kind of a “duh” suggestion. But, you will be surprised by how many people sit in my office and have an “ah-ha” moment around learning to disengage. Your past relationships may have taught you that it is bad, cowardly, or even mean to walk away from confrontation. You can usually tell if you are one of these people because the folks around you often say, “Why can’t you just let it go?” If this is the case, you need to take a good look at how that belief system emerged in your life. If you can’t see the pattern, you won’t have any good starting place for changing it. 

4) Develop a Sense of Humor: There is a book that I almost always lend to clients who come to me because their anger is getting the best of them. It’s called, rather simply, “Anger,” and is by a guy named Thich Nhat Hanh. I give this book to even the baddest of the bad because it teaches you how to have a sense of humor about the ways you let yourself get really knotted up in rage. It usually doesn’t come back to me (you know who you are) because folks find it so helpful they just keep it. It is one of my greatest joys to see clients experience themselves as fallible, funny, and altogether interesting creatures.

5) Exercise: If you read these newsletters with any regularity, you’ll remember that I am forever recommending this. You don’t have to be preparing for the next Victoria’s Secret runway show. But, you do have to give your body an outlet for all the stuff you ask it to manage for you during the day. Even if you do nothing more than walk Fido around the block or do a Yoga tape after the kids go to bed, do something.

Your Partner in Healing,   Holly

If you would like to schedule an appointment or a free 15-minute phone consultation please write to holly@lotustherapycenter.com or call 407.913.4988

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