How will you solve that problem?

By David Joel Miller.

Is your life full of problems?

Problem Solving

Problem Solving.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you’re one of those people who seems to go from problem to problem, maybe it’s time to change the way you handle problems. Problems can cause you a lot of unhappiness, derail your life and result in depression and anxiety, or they can simply be one more thing you must handle today. Unresolved problems can fester and damage relationships at home and work.

The problems you don’t tackle can undermine your self-esteem and hold you back from the life you want to have. Here are some simple steps you can take to move from a problem-filled life to a “problems handled” way of living.

This approach is often used by companies or businesses, but you can easily modify it for solving personal issues or family and relationship problems.

Define the problem accurately.

A couple comes in for relationship counseling, the problem they describe is that they are constantly fighting over money. Before this couple can solve this problem, we need to get more specific about what the problem is. For some couples, this is largely a financial problem. Scraping by from month-to-month, not being sure you’ll be able to pay the rent and the power bill can put a strain on any relationship. The solution will be learning some financials skills.

Another couple has plenty of income, and their expenses would be manageable if they could agree on how to spend their money. What we need to establish is whether this is a relationship issue or is it about power and control? Maybe one of them is a saver, and the other wants to spend. If one’s goal is a large savings account and the other’s goal is to do lots of traveling the problem to solve is not financial, but how they make decisions.

For couples whose problems are primarily fighting about money, the real issue may be that they barely have enough income to survive. When you live a life where what you earn each month is less than what you must spend, and you make up the deficit by using credit cards, eventually something must give, either before bankruptcy or after. The stress of unpaid bills can result in a lot of irritability and arguments.

Start any effort to solve your problems by creating an as specific as possible definition of the problem.

Who owns this problem?

What if your problem is someone else? Your partner makes you angry, or your kids won’t behave. It’s hard to develop a plan for anything you can do when the problem is someone else. There are three possible approaches, try to change the other person, change yourself, or stay miserable while insisting that things shouldn’t be the way they are.

While it’s difficult, it is sometimes possible to change the other person. Every relationship, especially couples and families, develop a pattern of how they relate to each other. Therapists call this the “family dance.” If you want to change the interaction, you must change the dance, and you begin this by doing different steps than you’ve done before. As you change others will be forced to change in response, though they may not always change in the way you want them to change.

Both changing yourself and the process of encouraging others to change are skills you can learn. You might want to look at the posts about problem ownership and behavioral modification.

Generate possible solutions for your identified problem.

Once you are clear on what the problem is and who needs to make the changes, you can begin to generate a list of possible solutions. Let’s take the “fighting about money” problem.

It may be hard work, but a first step would be to develop a budget. You need to know how much money is coming in each month and where it is going. The couple needs to agree on how important savings are to them. What percentage of each month’s income do they plan to save? Saving should include putting something away for retirement. A small amount saved each year can grow to a substantial amount over your working lifetime.

You also need to prioritize what you spend your money on. That mixed coffee drink can be a nice treat. But if you add up what you spend on those lattes and compare it to the cost of making a pot of coffee and taking a mug with you, having the money to pay the power bill the first of the month may be worth more than those daily splurges.

Solutions you might consider for solving your financial issues could be ways to earn more income, ways to reduce expenses, or sell something you have, to raise some extra cash. Many people find that their payments on expensive cars or credit card balances are the hole the drains money faster than they can earn it.

Solving financial problems is often painful, but if you don’t solve these problems, the stress can damage your mental health and destroying your relationship.

Explore the advantages and disadvantages.

Any effort to solve a problem comes with pros and cons. The last real estate downturn forced people to choose between making large payments for houses that were worth less than what they still owed on them, or giving up their dream home.

To solve a specific problem, you may have to give up something or do something you don’t wish to do. Evaluating your options can be difficult. You will never have all the information you would wish for. But eventually, you must choose to change something, or you will choose to continue to live with the pain of an unresolved issue.

Implement your selected solution.

This step trips up a lot of people. The couple decides they need to let things from the past go and focus on the future, but the next time there’s a disagreement about raising the kids or spending money all that past stuff gets thrown into the argument.

You may have decided to stop splurging on little expenses, and the next day, when you feel a little down, you start spending again. If you decided the way to solve your financial problems was to stop making impulsive purchases and pay down your credit card debt, be careful of making exceptions and buying something just this one time because you want it.

When you have these little slips and don’t follow your plan, don’t beat yourself up and don’t toss the plan away. Accept that you’re not going to be perfect the following the plan. Redouble your efforts again the next day.

Evaluate the results you are getting from your plan.

Whatever the problems you’re trying to solve, you need to do periodic reviews and evaluate whether what you’re doing is moving you in the right direction. Some problems may be easily solved. Others may require effort over a long period. Don’t get discouraged. Do give yourself credit for the effort you put in and for whatever results you achieve.

Modify the solution as needed.

Be careful about getting locked into one solution. Some ideas you may have had for solving your problem won’t work. Others may take more effort and time than you’re willing to put into them. Make whatever changes you need to make to reach your goal.

What should you do if your solutions don’t work?

At any point in the process, you might want to seek out professional help. For financial problems, you may need financial counseling. For work-related issues, you might need to see an educational or career counselor. For mental health and emotional problems consider therapy. If the problem is your relationship consider couples, marriage, or family counseling.

Behavioral problems such as excessive anger or a substance use disorder are likely to require professional help also. If your relationship is full of conflict, a relationship counselor can help you work through the conflict.

Don’t feel that it’s a sign of weakness to seek professional help. Athletes have coaches and businesses hire consultants. Sometimes the investment of a few dollars spent on professional help can pay off in huge improvements in solving your emotional and relationship problems.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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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

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Parenting yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

Learning the lessons, you didn’t get in childhood.

Lessons of childhood

Child learning.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many adults discover that there are things they should have learned in childhood, that they missed out on. Whether your parents didn’t know, weren’t any good at parenting, or just weren’t as available as you would have like them to be, you may need to go back and fill in those missing lessons. Even people who say they came from wonderful homes may find there are some lessons they should have learned in childhood that they still need to learn.

Below are some of the lessons of parenting you may need to work on to develop yourself. Studying the lessons of parenting helps many people in recovery to fill in the gaps and become the mature person they want to be. Here are some of the things adults should do and not do with children, and that you need to continue to do or not do for yourself in adulthood.

Don’t yell at yourself.

Yelling at children is likely to increase their anxiety. High anxiety can be protective if you live in an uncertain world. Too much anxiety is harmful. Yelling at yourself undermines your self-confidence and destroys your self-esteem. The things you tell yourself come true. Don’t call yourself names, put yourself down, or yell at yourself about the mistakes you have made. Learn to talk to yourself in a supportive, comforting way.

There is little evidence that you can make someone try harder by yelling or criticize them. There is lots of evidence that continued negativity will make people give up trying.

Communicate with yourself.

It’s important to pay attention to your wants and needs. Listen to your feelings and your thoughts. Many people find it helpful to keep a diary or journal. Writing down your thoughts can help to clarify them. If you are afraid of things, pay attention to those fears.

There are no right or wrong ways to feel. Your feelings are a valuable source of information.

Don’t dismiss your thoughts as unimportant. Your opinion on things matters. Especially pay attention to physical sensations. Learning to eat when you’re hungry, drink water when you are thirsty, and sleep when you are tired are important parts of self-care.

Practice patience’s with yourself.

Don’t expect that you should be able to master a new skill the first time you try. Don’t push yourself to do things before you’re ready. Be patient with yourself. Don’t confuse patience with not trying. Encourage yourself. Nurture yourself.

Allow yourself to relax.

Machines that are run too fast, too long, breakdown. You’re not a machine. You will need to give yourself enough relaxation and rest time. You do not need to spend your whole life driving yourself to do more. Giving yourself time to recharge your batteries. Life is a journey, enjoy the trip. There is a reason humans are called human beings. Don’t define yourself as a human doing.

Acknowledge your achievements.

Good bosses know that you can motivate employees by recognizing their efforts. Appreciation can be more motivating than money. Unfortunately, many parents forget to praise their children. People who are told their contributions are valuable are motivated to work harder. People who never receive any praise or acknowledgment eventually give up trying. Learn to accept compliments. Each day watch for the things you have done well and reward yourself for your achievements.

Remember to love yourself.

It’s hard to love other people when you don’t love yourself. Practice each day some self-compassion. Love should be unconditional not something that’s earned or bought. If you grew up in a home where love and affection conditional, based on what you did, work on loving yourself unconditionally.

Remember it’s never too late to learn the lessons of childhood that you will need to be a happy adult.

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.

Book – Bumps on the Road of Life is on Amazon now.

New Book Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in Kindle format for preorder. It will be released on 11/13/17. The paperback version should be ready shortly.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch. Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other time you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of life

Amazon Author Page  – David Joel Miller

More to come as other books are completed.

Thanks to all my readers for all your support.

Your thoughts are holding you back.

By David Joel Miller.

Negative self-statements.

Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Saying negative things about yourself creates negative results.

People who routinely practice positive affirmations begin to feel better about themselves.

Running yourself down in your own head will destroy self-esteem and hold you back from being the person you could become.

How many of these negative self-statements have you been telling yourself?

I’m stupid.

A natural impulse when you make a mistake is to run yourself down with a categorical statement such as “I am stupid.” Even the smartest people make mistakes. Avoid such global condemnations. One error does not make you stupid. There is no evidence that calling yourself names is effective in improving your performance. In fact, calling yourself stupid is one way of avoiding trying again. Acknowledge your mistakes and consider them improvement opportunities. Tell yourself to work and study harder so that you don’t make the same mistakes over and over.

I’m too young or too old.

One way of avoiding facing challenges is to tell yourself that you have some inherent flaw which prevents you from accomplishing your goal. If you are alive, you’re not too old to live. You’re never too young to start working on yourself. Many people go back to school and retrain for a new career. Plenty of successful business people have started new ventures at a time when they were past the normal retirement age. Younger people may have an advantage at some things, but not others. The goal of life ought to be becoming the best you can be, not requiring yourself to be better than everyone else.

I have bad luck.

Luck changes by the day. Most “luck” is the result of hard work and persistence. When you use bad luck as an excuse to avoid trying, you create your own bad luck. The people with the best luck are the people who tried the most.

People don’t like me.

The belief that control of your life is out your hands and that your happiness depends on others takes you nowhere. What other people think of you should not determine your self-worth. Most of the time the people you think don’t like you are too busy with their own lives to pay you any attention. If there are people in your life who don’t like you, work on repairing those relationships or decide that those people don’t matter.

It’s too hard.

Worthwhile things are often hard. If you want to build up muscles, you must exercise. To accomplish things in your life, you need to take on challenges. If you go through life avoiding the hard things you will cheat yourself out of many accomplishments.

I will look foolish.

Where in the life manual does it say, you should never look foolish? What’s so bad about looking foolish? The persons whose opinion should most matter is yours. The only people who have never looked foolish are those who have done nothing with their lives, which sounds like a foolish way to live.

No one loves me.

Work on fixing this problem. Start by loving yourself. Re-examine your relationships. Get rid of negative, toxic people in your life where possible. Start small and work your way up. Getting a pet, a dog, or a cat can be a good first step in learning to love and accept being loved. Don’t expect too much from love. Love is not about perfection but about accepting the imperfections.

I’m too fat, skinny, tall, short, stupid, smart.

Believing that personal characteristics can prevent you from a successful life is just one more way of making excuses. Work on improving yourself where possible and the things you can’t change, learn to accept them. Rather than using characteristics as excuses for avoiding things, ask yourself what things you could be successful at and pursue those wholeheartedly.

I’ve been hurt too much.

Part of life is getting hurt. Don’t give up your future by looking back over your shoulder at the past. Put some effort into healing from the hurt. Learn from your life experiences; they have made you who you are. If you look back on your life, the you of today is probably quite different from the you of past years. Don’t let who you are or what you been through prevents you from becoming the who you should be.

I won’t be able to.

This statement is one of the worst of self-fulfilling prophecies. If you tell yourself you can’t, what you’re saying is, I don’t want to. Tell yourself you can, and you will accomplish a great many things that you and others might have thought impossible. You will never know what might’ve been possible if you talk yourself out of trying.

Stop preventing the life you should have by using negative self-statements.

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.

Fast Stress reduction.

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to quickly defuse stress.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Life is full of stress, some good and some bad.  Even the good kind of stress can wear you down. The longer you hold on to stress the more harm it will cause you.  Work on releasing your stress as rapidly as possible. Avoid stress when you can. Eliminate unnecessary stress when possible. For the unavoidable stresses in life try practicing some of these rapid stress reduction methods.

For less stress focus on your breathing.

Breathe slowly, breathe deeply.  Rapid shallow breathing increases anxiety.  Slow, deep breathing relaxes and destresses you.  Anytime you feel overwhelmed shift your focus to the way you are breathing. In goes the oxygen, out goes the stress.

Change the music.

Music strongly influences our moods. The music you listen to can reflect your mood; it can also change your mood.  When you are feeling stressed, put on some soft, relaxing music. Instrumental music can be especially relaxing. Music connects with our inner feelings in a deeper way than words alone.

Cool down for less stress.

Chill out to reduce your stress.  Your body temperature can affect the feeling of stress.  When you are feeling under stress, pay extra attention to the way, your body experiences the temperature.  When possible turn on a fan, move to a cooler spot or drink something cold. A small desktop fan can blow away the stress along with the heat.

Give yourself a timeout to allow your stress to subside.

Allow time for you to think things over instead of reacting too quickly.  Look for ways to disengage from the stress if only for a few minutes. Counting to ten is a start. Longer timeouts are even better. Glancing away when safe, even for a moment, can help to interrupt the cycle of escalating stress. Taking short breaks will not detract from your productivity. Those rest breaks will keep you at top efficiency.

Disengage from artificial environments.

One quick way to reduce stress is to re-engage with the natural world.  Get outside for a few minutes.  Pay attention to the trees, the flowers and the world around.  Artificial environments can add to your stress. Spending some time in nature can reduce that stress. In times of stress, reconnect with nature. If you can’t get outside, try looking out a window. Having a houseplant on your desk can be relaxing.

To destress move your body.

Do a little exercise, take a walk. A little bit of physical exercise can be a great help in reducing and managing stress.  It does not need to be strenuous exercise.  Get up and walk around, take a trip to the copy machine or the water cooler.  Something as simple as shifting your body position can take the strain off your muscles and allow you to refocus on the task at hand.

Life becomes less stressful when you can picture the outcome you want.

Visualize having overcome your obstacles.  Sitting ruminating about your problems only magnifies the stress.  Think about what it will look like, what others will see, when you have overcome this obstacle.  If you can picture a positive result, you are on your way to overcoming your stress. When you shift from a problems orientation to a results outlook, the process of getting to your goal is less stressful.

Fuel and rest your body.

Drink some water. Your body and brain do not work well when you are dehydrated. Eat a snack, a good lunch to cope with stress. Low blood sugar will interfere with your body’s ability to run efficiently.  Don’t neglect nutrition, hydration or to get an adequate amount of sleep.  A worn-out body is less able to cope with stress.  Avoid high sugar snacks and heavy meals, both of which can result in a temporary boost of energy followed by a deep crash.

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.

Want the latest on my writing projects, speaking and teaching, along with comments on recent news in the field of counseling – 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 the about the author page or my Facebook author’s page, David Joel Miller. 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.

How to restart a bad day.

By David Joel Miller.

If your day is off to a bad start, you can restart it.

starting your day over.

Restart Your Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Have you ever gotten up and had something go very wrong first thing in the morning? Remember the day you went out to find your car had a flat tire? Maybe you spilled something on that brand-new outfit you just put on.

Those of you in relationships, or with school-age children, probably know exactly what I am talking about. They are just so many ways a day can get off to a bad start.

Was your first thought “this is going to be a bad day?” Thinking that, expecting the worst, is a sure way to create a terrible day. The secret you need to know is that no matter what has happened so far today there are ways to restart that day. You do not need to let small things first thing in the morning cascade into a simply dreadful rest of the day.

Some of you are probably thinking that some days in your life, something awful did happen. I grant you that the major things in life may take more than one day to get past. However, for the bulk of things that set people’s days off in the wrong direction, there are some ways to reset that day and make a difficulty into a small set back.

Here are some techniques for resetting a day that is off to a bad start.

Take a deep breath.

When something happens to knock you off your game, the first thing most people do is hold their breath. Some people begin to breathe rapidly and shallowly. The result of failing to breathe normally is to increase your anxiety. When your brain feels a shortage of oxygen, it goes into a panic mode, anything to get some more air.

Pause long enough to take some deep breaths, linger over those breaths and give yourself enough time for that oxygen to reach your brain. Deep and slow breathing is a sure antidote for the anxiety that takes over when you have had a setback first thing in the morning.

Center yourself.

When you begin to feel scattered, look for a way to center yourself. Some people find a simple prayer helpful. You might have a favorite poem, quotation, or personal affirmation, that you find useful in bringing yourself back to the present.

Many people use a small object as a way of grounding themselves. Whether it is a religious object, a rock or something else from nature, or a small object that brings back happy memories, objects can be very useful in centering yourself.

Move around, take a walk.

Fear likes to shut things down. Once one problem happens, you are likely to freeze. Don’t stay stuck there ruminating about how bad this day will go. Unstick yourself, move around a little bit, go for a short walk, or do a few simple exercises. Some stretching exercises or yoga postures can go a long way toward shifting your focus away from the issue.

Straighten up your environment.

When your life is feeling out of control, getting back control of even a little bit of space can be helpful. Did something spill or break? Cleaning it up is a first step in regaining control. Got a mass of bills, mail that needs an answer? Go through the mail, throw away or delete the junk and the duplicate items. Getting organized can cut that mountain of paperwork down to a manageable size.

Use your support system.

Feeling overwhelmed? Try reconnecting with your support system. A phone call to a family member or friend can turn your day around. Even a brief email or short text can help you shift your attitude and get you going again.

Plan something fun.

Today doesn’t look so gloomy when you have something to look forward to. It is easier to get through today when you have something positive to look forward to. As adults, we often forget how to play. Avoid the kind of fun that can result in a physical or emotional hangover. Get together with positive friends. Spend time with pets. Take yourself to a movie or the park.

Listen to your music.

Find a way to play your tunes. Look for music and songs that put you in a good mood. People in a negative mood often play sad or angry music. Make it a point to search out and collect up positive and relaxing tunes.

Say a prayer.

Many people will tell you about their religious faith, but when things are going wrong, they often forget to have a conversation with that higher power they report they believe in. Prayers don’t need to be reserved the life-and-death moments, the end of the world, try asking for the strength to get through the daily difficulties.

Meditate.

Meditating does not need to be complicated. Clear your mind of distractions and focus on something positive. Think about a happy place you have been, maybe a time you went to the mountain or the beach. The more time you spend focused on the positive, the more your happiness expands. Focus on the negative, and it obliterates those happy memories.

Read something inspirational.

Seek out inspiration. Keep a helpful book at hand. When you find things that are helpful, copy them down and save them for the next time you need to restart your day. Collect helpful saying that will help you to reset the next day that starts out the wrong direction.

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

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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. 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.