Friends.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Friends.

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

― Mark Twain

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

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Becoming more resilient.

By David Joel Miller.

Resiliant

Resilient. 
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you get back up when life knocks you down?

Resiliency is the key to getting back up when life knocks you down. Resiliency is a skill that you can learn, but it requires practice. When you’re going through difficult times, it can be hard to imagine life getting better. Here are some tips for improving your resiliency and learning to bounce back from adversity.

Shift your focus from where you are to where you’re going.

When life has knocked you down, avoid wallowing in the mud. When your down, it is tempting to spend your time thinking about how bad things are and how unfair it is. It’s inviting to look for someone to blame. Don’t make the mistake of believing that there is something inherently wrong or defective about you. Don’t become paranoid and believe your difficulties are caused by others who are out to get you.

Do spend your time planning for and working to become the best person you can. Learn from your mistakes. Change what you can. Do the work you need to do to change where you are.

Strengthen or develop a support system.

Humans do best when they are part of a group. When times are tough, you will find out who your real friends are. If there are ruptures in your support system, try to repair those relationships that you can fix. Evaluate the people you spend your time with. Hang out with negative people, and you will become more negative. To be a healthy, happy person, you need to have positive people in your life.

Stay connected to family, friends, faith, support systems, and your community. When times are hard, your connections are vital. Friendships cannot be one-way streets. If someone only takes from you but never gives, that’s not a friend. If you have a particular faith or religion, make sure you stay connected. Stay involved in positive things in your community.

Contribute to the world around you.

Doing things to make the world a better place will improve your self-esteem and self-confidence. Do what you can. It’s not necessary to donate large amounts to causes. If you can afford to, give small amounts of money. More important than the money you give, is the time and the giving of yourself.

The smile you give some may be exactly what they needed. If you give a smile, you may get one in return.

Identify the areas in your life you can control.

Sometimes bad things happen, and they are out of your control. You may have an illness. You didn’t pick that sickness. Pretending you’re not ill will not help. Suffering in silence is not a virtue.

What you can do may be significant. You can see a doctor. You can take your medicine as prescribed. You can illuminate unhealthy habits. Quit smoking, give up or reduce your drinking. Get plenty of sleep. Get up off the couch and move around as much as you are able.

When you start looking for the things that are in your control you may find many opportunities to improve your life. Small improvements here and there can add up.

Identify and develop your skills.

The situations in your life will change. The skills you learn in one situation may be useful in the next situation you encounter. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Identify the strengths you have and build on them.

Develop the good parts of yourself.

Begin by identifying the good parts of you. If you have trouble thinking of those parts right now, ask yourself what a good friend might say about you. Maybe you’re creative. Some people are naturally curious, and they love to learn new things. Perhaps you are a kind person or someone who cares about fairness. Do you have a good sense of humor? Whatever your qualities look for ways to strengthen them and to build on them to create a better future.

Learn to manage stress.

Stress is a part of life. As long as you live, you will experience stress. Even good things can be stressful. Learn some simple stress reduction techniques. You may find that deep breathing can slow down the floods of emotion that can overwhelm you. Many stressful events have both good and bad features. Avoid focusing on only the distressing parts of the situation.

Practice coping with adversity.

Use the small, everyday problems as an opportunity to identify your strengths and to practice your coping skills. Coping with everyday irritations develops your coping skills for the big challenges in life.

Increase your self-confidence.

In parenting education, we tell people to build resiliency in children by catching them doing something right. Hopefully, you had people in your early life who gave you praise for the things you did well. If you didn’t get that praise, start today to recognize and acknowledge your accomplishments. If you have difficulty accepting, compliments learn to compliment yourself and receive the gift of a compliment rather than returning it as being of no value.

Avoid shaming and guilt tripping yourself.

The field of positive psychology tells us that shame and negative motivation does not spur people to do better. Recognize what you can improve on but don’t fall into the trap of believing that calling yourself names and beating yourself up will result in doing better. Making a mistake does not make you a “bad person.”

Try to fix the things you can and accept the things you can’t. What other ways have you found to increase your resilience? What will you start doing today to create a better future?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Coping with life’s regrets.

By David Joel Miller.

Don’t let regrets about the past ruin the present and future.

Regrets.

Regret.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you have regrets? Maybe they are small ones; you wish you bought the other color or model. Maybe your regrets are big ones, actions that caused you or others pain, things you wish you could go back and change. But you can’t change the past. Almost everyone has regrets, some small, some large, a few even gigantic. So, what to do with those regrets? How do you get past the pains of your past?

Fix the things you can.

You can repair some things. You said or did something that damaged a relationship. Sometimes you can apologize, say you’re sorry. If you owe somebody money you can pay it. Sometimes an apology is not enough. Maybe you need to do something to make it right, to make your amends to the person you have injured.

Undo yes and no decisions.

You can undo some decisions. You said yes to a job or attending a party and now you wish you hadn’t said yes. You’re entitled to change your mind. Call that person, send them an email. Maybe you said no to something or someone, and now you wish you had said yes. Check it out; sometimes it’s possible to change your mind.

Pick a new alternative from life’s menu.

Sometimes changing your decision is no longer a possibility. For example, you wanted to attend a concert but didn’t buy the tickets in time. Look for other options. Maybe the person or group you wanted to hear is performing somewhere else nearby. Maybe there’s some other event you would enjoy instead. Don’t stay stuck in regret over the relationship that didn’t work out, maybe it’s time to meet someone new.

Only take responsibility for your part of the problem.

A lot of life’s regrets are about relationships. Maybe it was an argument with a family member or friend, that conflict cost you a relationship. Take responsibility for your part of the conflict. You can’t take responsibility for what the other person did or said. If you can fix it do so, but not at the cost of ignoring the other person’s part in the problem.

Reevaluate the alternatives. You may have picked the best alternative you had.

Sometimes you must pick between two bad choices. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You may have made the best choice you could under the circumstances. Be careful of hindsight. If you would have had the information you have now back then, you might have made a different decision. But you didn’t have that information, and you had to choose. Don’t spend the rest of your life stuck in regret.

Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t be one of those people with tons of regret who keeps doing the same things over and over. Stop piling up new regrets by learning from your mistakes and making improved decisions in the present.

Practice extreme acceptance.

Staying stuck in regrets can use up a lot of energy. Practice accepting that what happened is in the past. Avoid ruminating and allowing your mind to enlarge the pain. Shift your focus from regrets about the past to opportunities for better future.

Stop looking over your shoulder at the past.

The past is gone. Don’t keep looking back at the things that can’t be altered. When the thought of that regret comes up, practice shifting your focus to the future. As long as your alive there will be more events ahead on the road of life. Look forward to making your future the best it can be. If you only look for the bad in life, you will find it. It’s quite possible that all around you are opportunities for happiness here in the present and in the future.

Do some psychological repair.

Make healing from life’s regrets a priority. Sometimes you will have a close friend with whom you can talk it through. You may need to be careful about who you tell what. Telling family or friends about things you regret may damage your relationship. If you are not sure how someone will react to hearing about your regrets, that person may not be the one to talk with. Once you tell that secret, it can’t be untold. Some people find it useful to journal, write out how they feel in a document meant for only them to see.

If you’re having trouble processing and dealing with regrets, you may need to seek professional counseling help. Don’t stay stuck in a life dominated by regrets. Use some of these approaches to change what you can, and accept what you cannot change.

You find more about this topic under Regret.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is your paranoia showing?

By David Joel Miller.

Increasing paranoia – the mental health challenge of this millennium?

Fearfulness

Paranoia.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The growing problem of paranoia is gone unrecognized for very long time. Currently, anxiety disorders are the number one diagnosed mental illness. The category of anxiety disorders has grown so large that recently professionals separated this family of disorders into two groups, the disorders of excessive anxiety, called anxiety disorders, and the disorders caused by real-life events, now referred to as trauma and stressor-related disorders. What has often overlooked is the prevalence of Paranoia.

The problem of paranoia frequently gets ignored.

Many people describe themselves as paranoid, or “a little bit paranoid.” Professionals often dismiss these labels as exaggerations. Over the last 25 years, as there has been more study of paranoia, professionals are starting to recognize how common paranoid symptoms are in the general population. Recent studies conclude that among the general population, people who have never been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, the rates of paranoia may run between 15 and 20 percent.

There’s no specific diagnosis for paranoia.

When we say paranoia, most people immediately think “paranoid schizophrenic.” We have come to understand that not everyone who has schizophrenia is paranoid. Paranoia can also be part of several other serious mental illnesses. Paranoia is also a part of paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder, and may even be a feature of severe major depressive disorder. Many drugs of abuse can cause paranoia. Paranoia in its less extreme forms may go under the label “excessive suspicion” or “trust issues.” In it’s more dangerous form; paranoia can be a feature of delusional jealousy.

Humans are often poor judges of danger.

In the 1950’s almost every small child look forward to getting their first bicycle. Kids commonly walk to and from schools which were often a considerable distance away. Today many people do not let their children play outside. One explanation for this is they are afraid something bad will happen to their child.

The statistics tell us that the most dangerous place for most children is at home. Every year in America more children are shot and killed at home by a biological parent who then turns the gun on themselves than all the children killed in school shootings. Absolutely school shootings are a problem that needs to be tackled, but we are fooling ourselves by thinking that it strangers who are the major danger.

America and many other industrial countries are facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. The risk of poor health and shortened lifespan from lack of exercise far outweigh the risk to most children from going outside to play.

Many people worry every time they take to the road that they will encounter someone with road rage will run them off the road or shoot them. These are certainly risks, but the far greater risk comes from people being injured or killed in automobile accidents while not wearing your seatbelt.

Why have we all become more fearful?

High levels of danger are often associated with the big city and crowded urban environments. A hundred years ago less than 5 percent of the world’s population lived in large cities; most people lived in small towns and rural settings. Since the year 2000 more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in large cities. Today television and the online news are available 24/7 to tell you about every awful event.

Belief in conspiracy theories has become more common than not.

Humans use to accept widespread death from illness as normal increasingly people believe these epidemics must be the result of some government or international conspiracy. Throughout history, there have been plagues which devastated humanity. During the Middle Ages, there were places where as much as 70 percent of the population died. These same epidemics would recur periodically. In the 1800’s epidemics of yellow fever and cholera resulted in death rates of 30 to 50 percent of the population of some towns. In the U.S. Civil War, for every man killed in battle mortality in camp due to illness could run from 5 to 10 men. During World War I, deaths from Spanish influenza ran into the millions. These recurring illnesses used to be blamed on devils and demons, religious minorities and more recently bacteria and viruses. Today, when a new illness is discovered many people’s first thought, is that someone has deliberately created this illness or that there is a cure for it, but someone is withholding that cure.

People who believe in conspiracy theories often believe in mutually contradictory ones. The same person who believes that Jimmy Hoffa was killed by the CIA might also believe that he faked his own death and is currently living in Bolivia. The average person’s willingness to believe a conspiracy theory seems to be growing exponentially.

Some increased trust issues, even paranoia, may be reality based.

Modern society has created dangers that didn’t exist past. With larger numbers of people working for the same employer competition on the job becomes fiercer. Many of the people you work with you may never see outside of work. This has led to more competition on the job and less cooperation. When we were an agricultural society, farmers tended to help each other. Today it’s likely that the person in the next cubicle may be undermining you in the competition for promotion or to avoid the downsizing layoff.

Your increased dependence on technology put you at risk.

Technology is becoming more complicated and more pervasive, growing at an exponential rate. Your personal information is no longer safe because you keep it locked up. Every company you do business with, every detail of your financial and healthcare life may be at risk. Online companies know more about the person you sleep with.

How are trust issues, suspiciousness, anxiety, and paranoia connected?

In upcoming posts, I want to talk to you more about why “trust issues, suspiciousness, anxiety and even paranoia have become so prevalent, how they may be connected and how you can cope with your fears and not let the forces of anxiety and paranoia take over your life. But I don’t want to overwhelm you with the problems without talking about the solutions.

The future is not all bleak.

At the same time psychologists and counselors have been looking at some under recognize problems, things like paranoia, burnout, and the role of the Internet in changing human relationships some positive things have also been recognized. Positive psychology has revealed an entire technology centered around having a happy life. We now know happiness is not the result of constant doses of temporary pleasure but comes from long-term ways of thinking and behaving. We are also recognizing that people have certain inherent strengths. Whether you know it or not, you and your children have some talents and abilities just waiting to be discovered and perfected.

For more on these topics see:

Paranoia

Anxiety

Happiness

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

20 Reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

By David Joel Miller.

What is getting in the way of reaching your goals?

Finish line

Reaching Goals.

You started out with a lot of goals you wanted to reach, but along the way, something went wrong.

Things are not turning out the way you wanted them to and are taking longer than you expected.

Sometimes you may feel like that hamster stuck in the wheel, running harder and harder but getting nowhere.

What can you do to finally reach your goals?

Here is my top 20 list of reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

1. Chasing someone else’s goal takes you in the wrong direction.

Make sure your goal reflects your passion in life. Pursuing someone else’s dream for you results in you neglecting your own dreams. Examine the goal you are working towards, are you the one who selected this goal and will reaching it satisfy you. If you are pursuing a goal to make someone else approve of you, it’s not your goal. You won’t be able to put your all into building something that’s not meaningful to you.

2. You’re pursuing the wrong goal.

Chasing money will not get you to love or happiness. Don’t make the mistake of pursuing one goal when what you want is something else. Many people make the mistake of pursuing money thinking this will get them the love and respect of others. Everyone needs enough money to meet their basic needs, but beyond that more money will not necessarily make you happier. Don’t tell yourself your pursuit of money is for your family if it takes you farther and farther away from them.

3. Your goals are fuzzy.

Beware of nebulous goals that are hard to define. You need to write goals down and research them. If your goal is success, you need to know how that success will be measured. Do you want to have a lot of friends? Do you want to do important work? Which would more say success to you, spending years alone in a lab in finding a cure for a rare disease or spending night after night on stage with people laughing at your jokes?

4. You’re waiting for “someday.”

Make inertia work for you. A body at rest requires a lot of energy to get it moving, once you start moving it takes a lot less energy to keep the progress going. Most people, when they reached their retirement years, find that their greatest regrets are not the things they did that didn’t turn out well. The biggest regrets with the things they said they would do something but never got around to doing them.

5. You’re not clear on your priorities.

If the goal you are working towards is not your top priority, it’s likely to keep getting pushed back. What you spend your time on each day is how you spend your life. As the time passes, if you’re not working on the thing you say is your goal, you haven’t made it your top priority. If you’re too busy to act on reaching your goal, then what you have in mind is a fantasy, not a goal.

6. You’ve left out some steps.

You tell yourself your goals to become a professional, a doctor, nurse, or lawyer but you have left school. Before you can be a teacher or any other professional you first must learn. If you don’t seem to be making progress toward your goal, re-examine your plan and see if there are any steps you need to take that you’ve left out of your planning.

7. Trying to do too much.

Trying to rise to the top of a profession requires you to start at the bottom. Whatever you want to accomplish, you must put in the time practicing. Working on too many things at once dilutes your effort. Highly successful people weed out the unimportant things and focus on their top priorities.

8. Trying to reach your goals too fast.

When you look closely at overnight successes, what you often find are people who spent years learning and honing their skills. Don’t be disappointed when reaching your goals takes longer than you expected.

9. You’re using the wrong tools.

Looking for a better paying job, when you require more education or training won’t get you where you want to go. Are the skills you have the ones you need to reach your goal? The world keeps changing. If you’re not updating your skills, they are becoming obsolete.

10. Your goals are negative and punitive.

Set positive goals. The evidence doesn’t support the helpfulness of using negative self-talk or punishing yourself in reaching positive outcomes.

11. You failed to develop your team.

Everyone needs a support system. The journey to reaching goals involves many people. If you want to reach goals, look for teachers, mentors, and companions for your journey. Some things you will need to become an expert on, for other tasks you will need to learn to identify the experts who can support you in your quest.

12. The closer you get to your goal the stronger resistance becomes.

Don’t slack off when you get close to your goal. If you go to college for three years and then quit what do you have? You don’t have a degree. In my lifetime, I’ve known several people who always wanted to write a book. Some of them even had a manuscript tucked away in a drawer. What they didn’t do was write that last chapter, send that book off to the publisher, or learn the skills they would need to publish it themselves. In the early stages of your journey towards your goal you can see the progress but the closer you get to your goal, the more effort it takes to break through that resistance and reach the finish line.

13. You aim low and hit the mark.

Your goals should encourage you to stretch. Many people self-handicap. The set their goals so low that they can’t possibly fail to meet them. If you repeatedly set low goals, you are planning a life of low achievement.

14. You’re not reviewing and updating your goals.

The goals you set in middle school won’t mean much when you are middle-aged. Some of the goals no longer fit you. Reevaluate those goals. If you are no closer, revise your plan. If you met them all, you might have set your expectations too low and need to raise the bar.

15. You’re using the wrong “worry process.”

Some people try to protect themselves from failure by considering every possible thing that could go wrong. They worry endlessly that they’ll make a mistake or something bad will happen. The worry-about-everything approach leaves you paralyzed in inaction. People who reach their goals consider the big possibilities. They use a “worry-enough” process. Once they have thought it through enough, they stop worrying and take action.

16. You talk about your goals rather than working towards them.

Psychologists discovered that people who talk about their goals a great deal get their satisfaction out of discussing those goals with others. As a result, they rarely take significant action. People who reach goals discuss them with fewer others. Limit your discussion of your goals to mentors, advisers and those who can support you in the process. Don’t tell everyone, but do have a few accountability partners who will encourage you to keep working towards your goals.

17. You don’t recognize what you accomplish.

Many people who feel they’re not reaching their goals have failed to recognize all the things that they have accomplished. Your big goals need to be broken down into smaller segments, and you need to recognize each of those smaller goals as you accomplish them. You don’t get a college degree by taking all the classes at once. You take a few classes each semester, and at the end, your payoff is the degree. If you’re writing a book, you write it one chapter, maybe even one paragraph at a time. Pay attention to the things you accomplish. Don’t dismiss your achievements as unimportant. Not giving yourself credit where credit is due will leave you too discouraged to continue your journey towards even larger goals.

18. You have not learned from the mistakes of others.

Whatever goal you are pursuing, make it a practice to look at how others have tried to reach similar goals. Learn from their mistakes, so you don’t have to make them all yourself.

19. You can’t picture what reaching your goals would look like.

High performers can picture what their life will be like once they reach their goal. Olympic athletes practice imagining that perfect performance, then standing on the gold medal stand. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you sow seeds of doubt in your mind. Your mind is likely to protect you by creating that failure you imagine. Avoid fantasy images of sudden wealth and fame. Picture the very real results of long, hard, work towards your goals.

20. You haven’t become your own best friend.

If you don’t like yourself, no matter how many goals you reach, it will never be enough. Spend time getting to know who you are and work on accepting that how you are right now is adequate. Self-acceptance doesn’t lead to complacency. Negative self-thoughts become obstacles in your path to reaching your goals.

Take another look at your goals. Re-examine your plans and your attitudes. Change the things you’ve been doing that are not working and head back out there in your pursuit of the life you want to have.

You will find related posts under –

motivation 

success

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Fear.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Fear.

Fear.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Fear.

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”

― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.