About David Joel Miller

David Miller is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Counselor, faculty member at a local college, certified trainer and writer.

Independence.

Independence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Independence.

Inspiration.      Post by David Joel Miller.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

― Coco Chanel

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Normally I share these quotes on Sunday, but since this weekend is 4 July, America’s Independence Day, I thought it might be useful to share some additional quotes about the meanings people attach to independence.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Are you still walking on that broken leg?

Confused brain

Mental illness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Why is it so hard to seek treatment for mental health problems?

If you had a broken leg, most people would head immediately for the hospital to seek treatment. If you’re incredibly drunk or high, you might put off going for treatment until you sober up. That’s a terrible idea. The longer you walk on the broken leg, the more damage you could do.

Not attending to mental health problems is the same thing. There are effective treatments for mental illnesses. Avoiding that treatment doesn’t make a mental illness go away. But some mental illnesses the longer you put off treatment, the more help you will need. Here are some reasons people avoid seeking help for their emotional problems.

Do you think having feelings is a bad thing?

Many people develop the mistaken attitude that feelings are bad, and we shouldn’t have them. Men especially have been prone to this. Society tells you that if your sad, anxious, or afraid, you should ignore those feelings and get back in the game. There’s a difference between acknowledging your feelings, the way you would a physical pain, and allowing those feelings to take control of you.

Feelings are a valuable source of information. When we say that someone makes us sick to our stomach, there are nerve cells wrapped around the stomach and intestine which contract. Have you ever thought that someone was a pain in the neck? When you have that feeling, reach up and rub your neck. You’ll find it is stiff and the muscles have contracted.

Our nervous system sends signals when things are wrong. Some of those signals get interpreted as physical pains, and some get interpreted as feelings. In both cases, the body is trying to tell you something.

Do you feel you should be able to cure yourself of a mental illness?

Many people have the mistaken belief that if they bottle up feelings, those feelings will go away. We learn in anger management classes the bottling up anger allows it to build up steam. The opposite approach, venting your feelings, is just as dangerous. Exploding in anger can send you to jail and permanently destroy relationships.

The middle path, which is the most effective, is to learn to process those feelings and work through them. While you can learn skills to more effectively manage your mental and emotional challenges avoiding treatment for a mental illness is like trying to remove your appendix at home without anesthetic.

Do you expect an instant cure for your mental health problem?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a pill you could take, and you would magically lose all that extra weight? How many people have tried drugs that are supposed to grow their muscles and make them stronger? When it comes to your physical or mental health, change takes time and effort. It’s better to work on staying mentally healthy then expecting an instant cure for an emotional crisis.

Becoming physically healthy requires that you do the work. So, does becoming mentally and emotionally healthy.

Do you believe that the treatment will be worse than the disease?

Many people believe that treatment for mental illness means they must take medications that often come with severe side effects. There are indeed a few very severe mental illnesses that really require taking medication. And while medication can help with many mental illnesses, both therapy and self-help methods are also effective.

Getting help for mental health issues may involve some effort and some discomfort, but in the long run, you can save yourself a lot of pain by seeking help.

Do you think that therapy will be long, expensive, and painful?

Treatment for mental health problems is more available than it has ever been. Most medical insurance plans also cover mental health. More and more employers are providing employee assistance plan coverage for both mental health and substance use disorder issues.

Some mental health problems can be treated in as little as a single session. Many people find that a few sessions of counseling can help them create a plan for improving their lives and adapting to stress better.

There are newer techniques that don’t require you to revisit all that past pain. Solution-focused therapy helps you craft the solutions rather than stay stuck in the problem. Positive psychology approaches can help you manage your problems by building on your current strengths.

You may believe that going to see a counselor means you are crazy.

Do you sometimes think that if you go for help, you’ve lost control of your life? Seeking help doesn’t mean that it all. Top athletes all have coaches. Lawyers, if they have any sense, don’t represent themselves. Sometimes it can help to get another perspective on the challenges you’re facing. You may not be able to see your own swing, but a coach can tell you what you need to improve on. The same thing goes for a counselor. Sometimes if you’re struggling with life’s challenges, another perspective on your problems can be just what you need.

Do you have mental or emotional problems that would benefit from help? What’s keeping you from seeking out that help?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.

Bored.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Bored.

Bored.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

― Zelda Fitzgerald, The Collected Writings

“A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.”

― Oscar Wilde

“I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”

― Voltaire

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

How is your mental health?

How is your mental health?

Mental Health or Mental Illness

Mental Health or Mental Illness?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Being mentally healthy is more than just not being mentally ill.

There’s a lot of difference between having a physical illness and being healthy. The same thing is true of mental health. Being mentally healthy takes some skills and some practice. Whether you are someone with a mental illness or someone who just has difficulty coping with life, there are ways to become more mentally healthy.

What are some of the characteristics of the mentally healthy person?

Mentally healthy people have goals they’re working towards but see those goals as opportunities. They don’t see themselves as failures because they haven’t reached those goals yet. They adapt to changing circumstances and are continually learning new things. Mentally healthy people can have meaningful relationships with others, and they work on those relationships.

Mentally healthy people experience contentment.

The mentally healthy person has perfected the art of being content. Lots of people mistake excitement, those peak adrenaline experiences, for happiness. Your attitude in life is a significant factor in your mental health. Always chasing the next thing you want can leave you feeling empty. Make sure you pause to enjoy what you have and never underestimate the value of intangible things, like your spiritual beliefs and your friendships.

Life is fun when you’re mentally healthy.

A mentally healthy person enjoys life. They look forward to each day for what it might bring. They don’t avoid life’s challenges but look at those experiences as opportunities. They don’t wake up saying good God its morning. They thank their higher power for another morning.

Mentally healthy people make hope their friend.

Mentally healthy people hold onto the belief that if they try, they can reach their goals. They believe that their efforts will be rewarded. They avoid the belief that their successes are outside their control. People who are high in hope can generate multiple plans to reach their goals, and they don’t get stuck in believing that if one thing doesn’t work, they will never be successful.

The mentally healthy person cultivates resilience.

Things happen. People with mental illness struggle to cope with daily life. Mentally healthy people experience problems in life, but when something destroys their dreams, they build new dreams. Going through difficult times doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or that life will never get better. Don’t focus on the obstacles; instead, focus on the opportunities. Many of the people who have been highly successful in life had been knocked down multiple times. The reason for their success was often their ability to get back up and try again. Resilience doesn’t mean rigidity. If what you’re doing isn’t working, re-examine your goals and your approaches.

Learning a new skill can improve your opportunities. Developing new and better friendships can also provide you with a support system that carries you through the tough times.

Learn stress management techniques to improve your mental health.

Life can be stressful. Some people experience more stress than others, and some days are more stressful for all of us. But learning to manage your stress rather than getting stuck in it will make you less susceptible to the ill effects of stress.

Mentally healthy people know who they are.

They pursue their goals because they reflect their core values, not someone else’s values. One road to mental health is getting to know yourself, who you really are, at a profound level. Expect that who you are will change across the lifetime as a result of life experiences and the relationships you enter or exit. Cultivate the belief that setbacks are an opportunity for growth in another direction.

Learning to adapt to new situations increases your mental health.

Sometimes we’re faced with challenges, and we don’t like them. Whether you like them or not, the mentally healthy thing to do is to adapt. Rather than staying stuck on what you can’t do, people who take the attitude of looking for what they can do, strengthen their mental health. Learning to adapt to new situations and new technology fosters mental health. Resisting change adds to your stress and harms your mental health.

Keeping your life in balance strengthens your mental health.

Life consists of many segments, like the spokes on a wheel. Meaningful work is an essential part of keeping your life in balance, and that work doesn’t necessarily have to be paid employment. It does need to be something that gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

The other spokes in your life wheel should include relationships, both close intimate family relationships and friendships. Your physical health, religious or spiritual beliefs, and the ability to play and have fun, all contribute to keeping your life in balance and you mentally healthy.

Mentally healthy people feel good about themselves and others.

We found little evidence that beating yourself up for mistakes makes you work harder. The way to increase your self-esteem is to do more worthwhile things. The more things you do, the more room there is for some of those efforts to turn out poorly. Don’t take failing at a task to mean that you are a failure. No one hits a home run every time they’re at-bat. Forgiving yourself when you’re less-than-perfect, and trying again should build your self-esteem.

Consider that if you don’t like yourself, you make it very hard for others to like you. Mentally healthy people accept themselves, warts and all. Part of a happy life is learning to be your own best friend. You should love yourself just as much as you love others.

Mentally healthy people do what they can to care for their physical bodies.

Get plenty of sleep. It’s not a waste of time. Lack of sleep is a significant cause of mental health issues. When you don’t sleep enough, you don’t think well, and everything is overwhelming. Eat adequate healthy food, but don’t let food become your drug of choice. Make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.

If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Alcohol dehydrates you, and it is a depressant. Don’t try to see how much of a dangerous substance you can use before you become depressed.

What steps will you take to improve your mental health?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.

Father.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Fatherhood

Happy Father’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

― Mark Twain

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

― Katharine Hepburn, Me: Stories of My Life

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

How to become a morning person.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Man sleeping

Sleeping person.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Is morning a real struggle for you?

When you’re younger, in your teens or early twenties, being a night owl can have its perks. At that age, you’re looking to have fun and being groggy in the morning isn’t a big deal. But over time, your career and reaching life goals become more important. If you want to be successful at your job, staying up late and being barely functional in the mornings becomes a disadvantage.

To some extent, whether you’re a morning person or a night person may be a part of your personality. But like many other parts of who you are, you can shift your sleep-wake cycle so that your more alert and productive in the mornings.

Some creative people can adjust their work schedules to fit their periods of maximum productivity. But if you work for someone else, or you have other people in your home who schedules don’t match yours, becoming more alert in the mornings has its benefits, and there are things you can do to improve your morning functioning. Here are some of the helpful things.

Allowing enough time for sleep helps start your morning.

For a while, productivity gurus were telling us that the way to get more done was to sleep less. While that may have worked for some people in the short run, research suggests that depending on your biology; there’s a certain number of minimum hours of sleep you need each night. Less than that amount will impair your cognitive functions, lead to weight gain, and hold you back in life.

Scheduling yourself with not enough hours between the time you go to bed and the time you get up will take its toll. Don’t think you can do that Monday through Friday and then try to make up the sleep deficit by sleeping in late on the weekends. If you’re exhausted, the extra sleep may help temporarily. But changing bedtime and awakening times will make it harder for you to get adequate sleep as you move back-and-forth.

Most people require somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep. While it’s possible to learn to break that up, allowing enough hours for sleep each night improves your health. If you routinely sleep less than six hours or more than nine, you should consult a medical doctor or mental health professional.

Make going to bed a priority if you want to be a morning person.

Don’t try to borrow hours from tomorrow. No matter how tempting it is to stay up and watch the end of the movie, or play one more videogame, spending hours you should be sleeping is sure to damage your alertness and productivity the next day. Cumulatively those late-night activities could damage your physical and emotional health. Set a bedtime that allows you to get enough hours of sleep and stick to it.

Don’t dance with the snooze alarm.

Rest is most restorative when your sleep moves through the standard stages. Interrupted sleep stages don’t allow the brain to heal and prepare for the day ahead. Getting into the habit of being overtired and trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep each morning prevents you from developing a regular sleep routine.

Practice good sleep hygiene to wake up rested.

If you want to avoid being tired in the morning, you need to develop a good sleep routine. Avoid caffeine or strenuous exercise before bedtime. Turn off the electronics and avoid blue light from screens for an hour or more before your planning to go to sleep. You’re more likely to be able to fall asleep if the room is both dark and cooler. Doing all the things you can to get your body ready for sleep will help you fall asleep faster and wake up more rested.

Allow enough time for your morning ritual.

You’ll have a better day if you don’t start the day rushed and behind schedule. You can create problems for the next day when you went to bed too late and struggled to get up the next day. Leave plenty of time in the morning so that getting ready for your day doesn’t leave you stressed. Make morning something you look forward to, whether that’s your morning cup of coffee or a few minutes with your family or pets. Being chronically stressed and hurried in the morning can take all the joy out of waking up.

For a better morning, invite some sunshine into your life.

Natural light tells the brain it’s time to get moving. Being able to spend a few minutes outdoors in the sunshine improves your mood. There’s something very soothing about plants and flowers. Our bodies have developed a natural reaction to sunshine.

Psych yourself up each morning for a better day.

A positive mindset makes the morning go better, and a better morning leads to a better day. Avoid looking at what you must do today as more stress you’d like to avoid and try to view it as an opportunity. The mindset you take into the day has a significant impact on how you experience that day. When you wake up looking forward to the day, morning becomes your friend.

Taking time for breakfast makes morning pleasurable.

Incorporate some time for breakfast into your daily routine. Even a small amount of food gets the body prepared for activity. Students who eat breakfast tend to get better grades in school. Workers who have a good breakfast arrive ready to work and are clearheaded and more productive.

Straighten up after yourself for a less stressful morning.

Allowing time in the evening before bed to straighten up means you wake up in a pleasant clean environment. Make your bed each morning. Taking the time to honor your environment sets up the whole day. Make the bed, straighten things up, leave your home ready to greet you when you return. Make waking up and going to bed a part of good self-care rather than a chore that interferes with your playtime.

Being well-rested reduces the risk of burnout.

When you’re chronically tired, every task is overwhelming. Work can be stressful. People who go to work already worn out don’t have the resiliency they need and are at increased risk of experiencing burnout.

Are you ready to become a morning person?

Are you a morning person or a night owl or somewhere in between? Would it be easier to fit into your work life and your family life if you were more of a morning person? Please leave a comment and tell me your thoughts about the morning and becoming a morning person.

For more on this and related topics, please see – Sleep

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.

Patriotic.

 

 

 

 

 

Patriotic.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Patriotic

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches, or its romance.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”

― Mark Twain

“I do this real moron thing, and it’s called thinking. And apparently, I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”

― George Carlin

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

How to improve your communication skills.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Couple

Good Relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Would better communication improve your relationships?

Communication between people, both verbal communication and nonverbal communication, are the primary ways we build and strengthen a relationship. Communication is a vital part of relationships. Communication has two elements, what you’re communicating and how you’re doing that communication. Good communicators can convey difficult messages in ways that improve the relationship. Poor communication skills can turn even the smallest conflict into a major battle.

When couples come for relationship counseling, they commonly say the problem is communication. Unfortunately, many of them are communicating very effectively, but what they are sharing is all the negative, hostile feelings they have towards their partner. It’s easy to believe that your partner has caused the problems in the relationship. Frequently one or both partners need to look at themselves. For many couples, individual therapy is a prerequisite for effective couples’ therapy.

Improving your communication can facilitate resolving some of these conflicts, but better communication by itself will not make your partner agree with you or change them. First, let’s look at some of the ways that people communicate that increase the number of problems.

Ineffective communication styles can destroy a relationship.

Some communication styles turn every statement into a conflict. Some communication destroys relationships.

Ways to damage communication in a relationship.

Stonewalling destroys communication.

Stonewalling is the process where one or both parties refuse to talk to the other party. Some couples go weeks or even months without ever talking about things. Families may have relatives they haven’t spoken to in years. Stonewalling – refusing to communicate may include walking away while they are talking.

Other harmful styles of communication may result in creating so much pain in your partner that you teach them to withdraw whenever communication gets difficult.

It’s impossible to avoid communicating. Your failure to talk to someone says volumes. This failure to communicate doesn’t solve problems it adds to them.

Criticism – attacking the person rather than asking for change is destructive.

One way people attempt to tackle difficult communication and conflicts is to begin by an all-out attack on the other person. Knock them down and make them give in. Letting your frustration with your partner’s behavior get the better of you and venting all your anger at them isn’t likely to improve the situation. While telling someone what you think of them, venting may feel like a solution at the moment you attack; it now becomes a wound in your partner, which requires them to counterattack or withdraw. Criticism will sabotage your open communication.

Contempt – sarcasm, mocking, put down’s, escalate conflicts.

Belittling someone doesn’t lead to solving the problem. If anything, it pushes the conflict to the breaking point. If you have such a low opinion of someone, why do you have this relationship with them, and why did you start it? Attacking the other person says more about the attacker than the relationship partner.

Defensiveness – taking things as attacks and attacking back undermines communication.

Some people’s responses are all out of proportion to what was said to them. If you take everything your partner says as criticism or attack, you may need to do some work on yourself. People who come from abusive backgrounds, have lived with or grown up around narcissists, develop low self-esteem. Low self-esteem leads to taking any comment as hurtful.

Running away creates distance and destroys intimacy.

For many people in relationships, their go-to way of dealing with uncomfortable topics is to avoid them. When something comes up, they need to talk about; they run away. I’ve seen couples keep this up for decades. Some couples even seem to prefer this way of dealing with problems.

The issues you don’t talk about will continue to get worse, and eventually, they blow up in your face. After years of not dealing with the problems, couples can look at each other and wonder if they have anything in common and any reason to stay together. Lack of communication is not a solution to your communication problems.

Holding on to resentments will poison you and the relationship.

Many people like to hold on to resentments. Their anger keeps them warm at night. While you may not be able to forget something someone did to you, letting go of the resentment benefits you. The need to be right and to make the other person wrong is a corrosive chemical that eats away at your connection.

Not paying attention to your partner sabotages communication.

If the person you’re trying to talk to keeps repeating themselves, it’s likely they don’t believe you are hearing them. One of the best ways to improve communication is to listen to what they’re saying and try to figure out what they mean. Double-check if you’ve gotten their message correctly. Don’t waste your time in a conversation planning what you’re going to say in reply. Most of us humans can’t listen and understand what someone is saying while rehearsing what we are going to say in response at the same time. Failure to understand what they meant leaves you arguing about things they didn’t say and didn’t mean.

Don’t assume you know what they’re talking about.

Jumping to conclusions can sabotage communications. Ask meaningful questions. Make sure you understand their point before you reply.

Don’t over speak, interrupt, or start talking before they finished.

Not only is this rude, but it tells the party talking to you don’t care what they have to say. If you can be patient and listen longer, they may say something useful.

Accept silence as part of a conversation.

Some people are very uncomfortable with silence. Don’t expect your partner to have an instant answer to everything you say. Sometimes a little silence is a good thing. Ask yourself during the silence if your partner has stopped talking to you, or do they need some time to think it over? Things said in anger often damage the relationship, and if you give yourself some time to think of the right way to say something, you can improve communication.

Don’t cross-examine your partner.

Cross-examination should be reserved for the courtroom. You can ask for explanations, but if you are asking questions trying to trip them up and get them to tell you the truth, your relationship is already in serious trouble. Work on making your communication safe, and your partner will tell you a lot more. If you don’t trust them, you probably shouldn’t be in this relationship.

Planning communication, when not together improves relationships.

When you’re apart for any length of time, include communication as part of your relationship maintenance. Set a time for phone calls and have rules for when you will text and whether your partner will respond to all your texts.

More tips on improving communication will be found at – Communication.

 

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.

Tired.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Tired.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Suddenly this is all too hard. I am tired of putting up walls. I want someone with the strength – and the honesty – to break them down.”

― Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts

“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I only stop when I’m done …”

― Marilyn Monroe

“Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Ways counselors help you increase your hope.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Hope

Hope.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Seeing a therapist can help you develop more hope.

Many of the clients who come to see counselors tell us that they suffer from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem may create anxiety and depression, and it certainly makes those two problems worse. It’s hard to accomplish much if you don’t feel good about yourself.

One key component of low self-esteem is a lack of hope. Hope is made up of two parts, the belief that if you try something, you be able to do it, and the belief that you can generate multiple plans that will get you to your goal. Having more than one possible path forward gives you options and hope. The process of working with the counselor or therapist can increase your hope and raise your self-esteem. Here are some of the ways counseling may increase your hope and boost your self-esteem.

Counselors increase hope by showing unconditional positive regard.

If you suffer from low self-esteem, you likely have become hopeless, and don’t feel good about yourself. Sometimes this is because significant people in your life were abusive or negative towards you. It can also be the result of believing that one failure makes you a failure in life. Counselors call this black-and-white thinking. It’s an example of perfectionism at its worst.

Counselors are trained to see the potential in their clients, not the problems. Having the counselor believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself can provide you with another way of looking at your challenges. When you’re able to see things from a different point of view, the path forward looks brighter.

Counselors believe in your ability to make changes.

One thing that makes counseling helpful is the counselor’s ability to believe in your potential for change. The counselor frequently believes in your potential far more than you believe in yourself. While the counselor may not like some of the things you’ve done or are doing, a good counselor will continue to believe in your abilities to grow and change even when you don’t.

Counselors can help you see that you are not alone.

The technical term for this is normalizing problems. At many points in your life, you will face challenges that are specific to that time. It’s common to think you should be farther along in life than your chronological age. It can be helpful to hear that what you’re going through is common for other teenagers, new parents, people starting a new job, and so on.

One of the reasons self-help groups can be so useful is that you will meet other people who are going through exactly what you’re going through. It is reassuring to know that you’re not defective or crazy. That given what you’ve been through, how you’re feeling and acting makes sense. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any things you can do to improve your life.

Sometimes all you see are the problems, not the possibilities.

The counselor can help you by offering you other perspectives on the challenges you are facing. This process is sometimes called “a new pair of glasses.” The technical term counselors are taught is reframing. If you’ve gotten used to looking at the world through a dirty pair of glasses, the whole world begins to look filthy. Cleaning your glasses by using the counselor’s vision of your life and future can help you see new possibilities.

Being honest and genuine increases hope.

The counselor can teach you how to be honest and genuine by demonstrating those characteristics. There may be other people in your life who were dishonest and lied to you. Knowing the truth can set you on the path to change. Hopefully, the counselor will tell you these hard truths in a general way, and at a time, you can hear them. That process of experiencing someone in your life as extremely honest can help you grow.

Counselors can help you learn needed life skills.

You only know what you know, and sometimes the biggest impediment to growth is not knowing what you don’t know. Many of the most useful skills in life are not taught in school. If your parent or caregiver had their own problems, and they almost always do, you may have learned some things about life that worked when you were a child, but don’t work now that you’re an adult.

Counseling can be a corrective emotional experience.

You may have had damaging emotional experiences in the past. The counseling room is one place you can work through those experiences without having to worry about living with or seeing this person after the processes over.

The process of sharing your deepest secrets with another human can be freeing. If your past relationships have been one-sided or abusive, meeting someone whose primary concern is helping you may be a new experience.

The therapy or consulting room is inherently a unique situation. It’s a place where you can reveal your darkest secrets and know that the counselor is legally and ethically bound to keep those secrets unless you are harming someone who is helpless and can’t protect themselves. It’s important to remember that the counseling room is a laboratory where you can learn new skills and practice them, but it’s not real life.

As you begin to change and grow, your counselor should help you to transfer the skills you’ve learned as a result of the counseling process into your life outside the counseling room. Ideally, your counseling experience will have increased your level of hope and raised your self-esteem.

For more about hope, please see – Hope

For more on the process of counseling, please see the category – Counseling and Therapy

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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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.