Make your space your own

By David Joel Miller.

Make the place you spend your time a happy place.

View from window

Make it your place
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

We live most of our lives in spaces. Spaces protect us from the elements when it is hot and when it rains. Some of these spaces are of our choosing but many more are spaces created by others. If you want to feel more comfortable with your life find ways to make the spaces you inhabit more of your own.

Below are some suggestions to transform places you are stuck with into places you want to be.

A view or pictures creates personal space.

Windows open to views. You may have little control over what is outside that window but you can impact the views inside your space.

Consider planting a bush or flower outside your window when possible. Place something on that window sill. A plant, real or artificial can make that bare window sill feel more like your windowsill.

Put up some pictures. Create an environment that says this is my place. Pictures of what matters to you, of places you have been or want to go can all help to dedicate that space to your life.

Personal mementos or keepsakes make you feel at home.

Even on shared desks people find ways to place their family picture or moments. Bring a rock or souvenir from your life and set it by that monitor to feel like this is your space, at least for now.

Just remember to pick it up and take it with you clearing the way for the next person at the desk to make it theirs while they are there.

Your music takes you home.

Having your tunes on helps make this place you are confined to your own. If you can play your tunes do so. Especially at home have that option. Are there others in your environment that do not like your music? No need to squabble. Get a set of headphones or ear buds and turn up the sounds.

Notice how music connects with your brain on a deep level. Change the music with the task and you will see how music sets the mood. Too much stress in your life, look for relaxing tunes to tame the chaos.

Have restful colors when you spend your life.

Color affect our moods. Green and Blue the colors of Mother Nature are restful to many people. Bright colors can spark your creativity. Decorate what you can in helpful colors.

Make things comfortable in your space.

A few minutes spent adjusting the chair the foot rest and the other things around you can make you time in any setting more positive. Can you move an end table or add one to make things within your reach? Maybe you need to move things so they are out of your way. Some of us need to get things out of our productive spaces and clear a path to use the space we claim as our own.

Plan for maximum safety.

Know how to get out of your space when needed. Make sure you have safety equipment, fire extinguishers and the like available. What changes in your room will make you feel more secure? Safety means different things to different people. Find the things that turn you space into a sanctuary of safety.

Pets and plants say this is my space.

Having a pet or plant in your living area makes it so much more your own. Can’t have a dog or cat? Consider a goldfish or a potted plant. It is so much nicer to return home and find something alive there.

Leave room to move and stand.

Avid environments that keep you restricted to one place to sit and another to stand. Create the option to stand and move about. Frequent changes of posture can relive stress and tension. Include those options to the best of your abilities in your environment. Having created that space to move make use of it. Frequent breaks, even small changes of position can reduce fatigue.

Those are some of the ways that occur to me that might help you to create a place that feels like home. Feeling that this is your place, that you belong here, helps in creating that happy life that we all deserve.

Any other thoughts about how you have made where you stay your home?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Can you spare a cup of hope?

By David Joel Miller.

Do you have enough hope in you that you could share some?

Spare some hope

Cup of Hope
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Hope seems to be in short supply. People find it hard to hope. Hope is something that makes recovery possible. So what is someone to do who has lost hope? Maybe you can be that “cup of hope” this other person needs just now.

The quote “Can you spare a cup of sugar” goes back to a different time in our history. There was a time when people could go to their neighbors and ask for the loan of something that they needed in that moment. Asking the people around you for help seems to be less common these days. Help, like hope, seems to require you to pay a price nowadays.

Some people just are afraid to be involved with others. Connections are fraught with danger. So there are some of you who I know will not open your door. Not for a cup of sugar and certainly not to offer a neighbor some hope that things can get better. Has it really reached the point when offering up hope is a dangerous thing to do?

Sometimes we see people who need help and we wonder if helping them is something we should do. Giving an addict money may only add to their addiction. Giving them food may keep them alive today. But if you give someone hope then they may change their lives.

Hope is one of those commodities in short supply these days, like water in the desert. We are all wishing for the rain to end the drought but when will the showers of hope come?

Hope is one of those “core” values in a Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP.) Without some measure, a cup or a teaspoon full, of hope recovery fails to materialize. Sometimes all we can offer a struggling person is the “Hope that they will be able to cultivate a crop of Hope.”

Twelve step groups talk about “sharing their experience, strength and hope.”  People who have found recovery seem to have enough hope to spare. Hope comes from a well that never runs dry. The more of this hope thing you share the more you have. Without hope people perish, with hope they thrive.

The seeds of hope are everywhere. What is lacking sometimes is a person to nurture them. Hope starts with a smile to someone who can’t smile. It grows in the attitude that someone believes this person is of value no matter what their current position. Judgment and disdain prune hope back.

Hope is the chance to find a job when you had come to believe you would never work again. Hope is seeing you family when you thought that connection was gone forever. Hope is a place to sleep for the homeless and a meal for the hungry.

For some hope is knowing that there is someone in your life who believes in you when you find it hard to believe in yourself.

In this country, one of the wealthiest on earth, it is hard to imagine that hope is in such short supply. How have so many lost their hope and see only the bas that can occur when everyday there are miracles growing form the seeds of hope planted by caring people. Has hope become too precious and expensive for all of us to be able to share a “cup of hope” to those in need of an extra cup of hope?

Do you have enough hope that you can share some?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Mental Health Art

By David Joel Miller.

Winners of the “My Art Matters” poster contest.

For some time now Fresno County department of Behavioral Health has sponsored a program called “My Art Matters.” Art entered in these contests comes from Mental Health Clients (Consumers) and their families. Over the course of this project many wonderful pieces of art has been created.

www.co.fresno.ca.us/MyArtMatters

Recently the project sponsored a poster contest. I wanted to share with you some of the winners.

#1

Mental Health Art

Mental Health Art Poster #1 Courtesy of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

#2

Mental Health Art

Mental Health Art Poster #2 Courtesy of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

#3

Mental Health Art

Mental Health Art Poster #3 Courtesy of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

#4

Sorry this one did not translate through the copy process. I lost it somewhere.

#5

Mental Health Art

Mental Health Art Poster #5 Courtesy of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

You become who you think you are.

By David Joel Miller.

What you tell yourself about you comes true.

Growth

Becoming who you can be.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are you a great fortune-teller or do you just specialize in self-fulfilling prophesies? People like to tell themselves things about the future. They sometimes think by predicting the future they are protecting themselves from disappointment. The truth is you may be creating your own disappointment.

One of the surest ways to snatch defeat out of the grasp of victory is to tell yourself constantly that something bad will happen. Give your brain enough of this message and it works hard to create the failure you predicted.

Say you can’t and you can’t.

We hear a lot about the power of positive thinking. There is truth to that. If you think you can do things you get more done. We tell kids the story of “The Little Engine that Could” for a reason. Belief in yourself makes things happen.

Team leaders that inspire optimism in their teams reach more goals. Leaders know that telling their followers “they can” helps create accomplishments. Tell your people they have no chance and the effort ends.

What we miss sometimes is that negative thoughts are just as powerful, maybe more powerful.

Telling yourself you will fail inhibits any effort to succeed. Say you can’t often enough and your brain will start believing you. You can influence yourself to sabotage your efforts.

Think about a team and the half-time locker-room talk. Does the coach say don’t be concerned. I knew we were going to lose so don’t bother to put in any more effort? What a good coach does in inspire his team to believe in themselves.

Winners don’t just hope they will prevail they see themselves already having won. Those who plan on returning home empty-handed do not stand on the victory platform.

Be your own coach, expect you can do more than you know at this point in your life and then go out and make it happen.

Say no one likes you and you become difficult to like.

If you expect people to dislike you, the natural behavior would be to treat that person curtly. Why waste your time on people who do not like you? But if you expect everyone to dislike you this makes it hard for them to get past your wall and get to know you.

Expect the world to be full of enemies and you will find them. Believe that there are lots of friends out there you just haven’t met them yet and every day is another chance to meet that friend you do not yet know.

Start by liking yourself. To improve your self-esteem do more things and some of them have to work out. Ignore your less than perfect events and focus on your accomplishments. If you have had difficulties in your life and still showed up and tried, how have you been able to do that? Focus on your strengths and you will become stronger.

Saying you are dumb prevents learning.

Students who think they are dumb study less. They do not becomes excited about learning and they learn less. We repeatedly see adult learners who return to school after many years away from school and then they begin to study something that interests them. They commonly do better than they expected. Learning is very much about attitude. If you like what you are studying and you expect to learn it, the learning comes more easily.

What do you tell yourself about you?

Many people spend life thinking very unhelpful thoughts. If you say you will be lonely you create that isolation. Say you are on a quest to find a good friend and you will begin to meet new interesting people. Believe in yourself and search in new places. You may find a better you and a happier life just around the corner.

If you expect unhappiness you will look everywhere for it. If you expect to find happiness you may be surprised at how often it is waiting there along your life path for you to stop and recognize it.

Is it time for you to toss the unhelpful thoughts and start practicing the new useful thought patterns? Who do you want to be? Focus on this. Practice thinking you are there and then move forward.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Why counselorssoapbox by David Joel Miller

By David Joel Miller.

Who is this David Joel Miller and why is he writing a blog called counselorssoapbox?

Amazing Happy Places Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Amazing Happy Places
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Counselorssoapbox is a blog about recovery, wellness and having happy life. Yes, you guessed it, I am David Joel Miller and I write this blog. It occurs to me though that I have not explained why I write this blog and why I called it counselorssoapbox.

Someone is snickering under their breath the words “for the money” If you were thinking that they you would be more delusional than I was when I started writing this blog. Not delusional in the psychiatric sense, but delusional in that I had no idea how much work writing a blog on a regular basis would be. As for this blog making money, I definitely will not be quitting my day job, or my night job for that matter, any time soon.

My first exposure to all things psychological was, like many of you, a few classes in psychology. It was the sixties after all. I have since learned that psychology, the kind we study in high school or most colleges is only a distant relative of counseling and recovery. Clinical Psychology, that takes 6 years of college for a PhD and then you can start looking of the answers to why life is the way it is.

My first exposure to counseling and therapy was as a client. I discovered school counselors could tell me what classes to take if I wanted to make the big bucks but none of them seemed to know how to be happy along the way. Eventually I ended up seeing some therapists. I discovered that there were helpful therapists and unhelpful therapists.

Becoming a therapist was not in my original plan. I took the classes, and became a Drug and alcohol counselor. Along the way I learned a few things. One was that there was a lot of wisdom in those 12 step programs. The other was that my AOD (Alcohol and other Drugs) clients all had families. If I wanted to be helpful with those families, especially the children and the significant others, then I needed more training.

Next stop was the classes in how to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. Originally here in California this was called a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor. Marriage in this context means any two or more people who have a close primary, usually sexual, relationship.

Over the years of trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be when I grow up, I discovered that having a job or at least a purpose in life was an immense part of being happy. The answer to the who and what question I am still working on, but at least now I know something about the how of being happy.

To help people with their job issues and substance use issues took me in the direction of Professional Clinician Counseling and today I have that license also. From there I drifted, more like jumped, into teaching and supervising other counselors and therapists. So now you know a little bit about me. More is on my “about me” page.

But I still haven’t told you “Why a blog named counselorssoapbox?”

Throughout my process of becoming a professional in this field I kept thinking about those times I had sat on the other side of the desk and what I had experienced. I decided I did not ever want to forget what it was like to be on the client side of the room.

In graduate school they explained a lot of stuff to us but honestly I did not feel like some of these professionals I had seen had explained things to me in the way they were supposed to be explained. I asked about confidentiality, and never seemed to get a straight answer.

Therapists were often good listeners but if they knew the answers to the “how to have a happy life question” they wanted me to suffer through the process of finding them myself and they flat resisted giving me any answers to these questions.

Counselorssoapbox started off as a way for me to express my opinions about what worked and what didn’t in the therapy world. I wanted to demystify the therapy process and explain what I had learned. Those times I got a reader question and didn’t have the answer took me back to reading the research and looking for more ideas. Writing a blog meant I needed to keep reading, studying and living wellness and recovery. So I just took it one post at a time.

What quickly happened was you readers prodded me in a few directions. Counselorssoapbox received a lot of questions about the safety of counseling, confidentiality and what gets reported. I was surprised at the number of search terms that involved counselors having sex with clients. So I put up a link to the publication “Professional Counseling Never Includes Sex.”  That post and the link keep getting hits so there remains an interest in this topic.

There has also been some interest in particular diagnoses and their treatment. While I can’t do therapy by blog post I have tried to provide general information on mental health and illness. All sorts of how to have a happy, productive, successful life posts find their way onto the bog also. Whatever tips on having the best life possible I come across I try to share.

There you have it. The answers to the questions who is this David Joel Miller and why a blog called counselorssoapbox.

What’s next? I continue to work on some books, both fiction and nonfiction and I write more blog posts looking for all the things that seem worthy of sharing with you. So if there are questions or comments related to the fields of substance use disorders, mental health and wellness or living a happy life, send them along. I will do my best to answer questions or send you to someone who can. Comments and information from you or others gets shared here also.

If you read this far an extra thanks. Talk with you again soon.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books