Your thoughts are holding you back.

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

Unhelpful negative thoughts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Negative self-statements.

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.

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Fast Stress reduction.

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

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to quickly defuse stress.

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, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Restarting your day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

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.

Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence.

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

What is she feeling?

Emotional Intelligence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Characteristics of emotional intelligence.

The whole concept of what intelligence is has changed over the decades.  The idea of having an intelligence quotient or IQ was meant to be helpful in deciding how much someone was capable of learning.  We thought if we knew exactly how smart they were, we might be able to help them learn better and faster.  Knowing someone’s absolute IQ might also keep people from having an unrealistic expectation of people with an intellectual disability.

In practice, this concept has proved to have some problems.  There is some question about written IQ tests and exactly what it is they are measuring or not measuring.  It would appear that the thing we measure as an intelligence quotient may not be a single quality.  Someone’s intelligence may, in fact, be made up of the number of separate intelligence’s, skills, that involve different abilities. Their abilities in each of the skill areas May be quite different.

Which brings us to the idea of emotional intelligence.  I think we all have seen examples of people with a presumably high IQ and high educational levels, who lacked very much in the way of social skills.  This has given rise to the idea that there may, in fact, be a thing called emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and read emotions which are quite separate from what we measure when we test for IQ.

Part of this belief that there is an emotional intelligence includes the concept that emotional intelligence requires development.  Whether emotional intelligence is, in fact, an intelligence or more like a skill, there do appear to be some things you can do to increase your ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others.

If you’ve always felt at a disadvantage when it comes to recognizing and dealing with emotions, take a look at the list below of ways you might go about expanding your emotional skills.

Practice generosity to develop empathy.

Try giving without expecting anything in return. Generous people seem to be able to recognize what other people are feeling.  If you give with the expectation of getting something back, this is all about you.  Practicing acts of kindness can help you to understand what it would be like to be in that other person’s position.

Let it go. No anger or grudges.

Being able to let things go, reducing your anger, will improve your ability to recognize and identified emotions.  Anger is such a powerful emotion that it blocks out everything else.  When you hold onto your anger, you stay focused on yourself which prevents you developing an understanding of how others feel.  When we look closely at anger, we often find pain and sadness hiding underneath it.

Be thankful and practice gratitude.

Practice being thankful for the things you have.  Create a list of things you are grateful for.  Your feelings vocabulary should include a lot of positive emotions.  Learn to recognize when you are thankful or have things you could appreciate.

Acceptance of self and others.

Learning to accept yourself and see your positive qualities will increase your ability to see the good in others.  People who see only the bad in others reduce their ability to recognize when others have positive emotions.

Keep life in balance.

People who maintain a proper life balance can feel what they feel when they feel it.  Increasing your knowledge about your own feelings will help you to understand what others are feeling.

Be present where you are.

Learn to shift gears.  Holding onto thoughts and feelings from another situation prevents you from fully participating in the situation you are in.  The more you experience where you are, the more easily you will recognize appropriate emotions, both yours and others.

Be curious about everything.

Nurturing curiosity will result in you learning new things.  Hold on to the childlike quality to want to know about everything.  Maintaining a curious point of view opens you up to learning more.  Be especially curious about feelings and how others experienced them.

Are you OK with change?

Can you adapt?  People who resist change become fearful with the unfamiliar.  Work on your acceptance of new experiences and people.  Novel situations present the opportunity to learn about yourself about others and about the emotions these situations create.

You don’t need negative people.

Surrounding yourself with negative people drives away positive feelings.  Emotionally intelligent people learn to recognize when others around them are needlessly and excessively negative.  To become more emotionally intelligent, you need to get out of that negative space and experience some appropriate emotions.

You attract positive people.

People with high emotional intelligence can experience positive emotions and be happy.  Happy people tend to attract other positive, happy people.  Work on enlarging the number of positive feelings you can feel, and you will become a positive feelings expert.

You know and accept yourself.

Emotionally intelligent people can accept themselves and others.  Feelings are not automatically good or bad in and of themselves.  Feelings should be guides to experience.  The more you know about yourself, the more you can correctly identify what you’re feeling when you were feeling it.

You don’t do things half-hearted.

To learn more about emotions, you need to live life.  Don’t skim through your experiences, do what you do fully.

You can wait for what you want.

Develop the skill of patience.  Don’t let yourself get carried away by your wants and desires.  Cravings can come and go.  Just because something seems important or desirable in the moment does not mean that is the best thing for you.

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.

Why you should talk to yourself.

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

Talking to yourself, especially out loud has some benefits.

Girl talking out loud.

Girl Talking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

People who talk to themselves out loud can make people around them very nervous.  When we think about somebody who is talking out loud many people are likely to think of the psychotic person who was speaking to the voices or the disturbed person who is rambling on and on for no particular reason.  There can be some very definite positive benefits to talking to yourself.

Children are particularly likely to be talking to themselves out loud.  They have not yet developed the skills to self-monitoring and only speaking out loud when they are alone.  If you find that you are still talking out loud to yourself, this does not necessarily mean that are losing your mind.  But it may mean is that you have something very important on your mind and are forgetting to self-monitoring for other people around.  Below are some reasons that speaking to yourself out loud may be helpful.

You become a better public speaker.

Many famous public speakers began by practicing their speeches out loud.  If you know that you’re going to need to make a presentation, it can really improve your performance to practice that speech out loud.

Talking to yourself out loud reinforces memories.

If you just heard something and you need to remember it, saying it over and over again to yourself can help.  Going over a chain of events A happened and then B can help you to remember those events in sequence.

Talking allows you to practice what you are going to say.

Sometimes we know we’re going to have to have one of those difficult talks with someone.  It’s important to get the words just right.  Practicing what you’re going to say can help you identify things that may come out other than the way you want them to.  Listening to what you have to say can help you find just the right way to a convey that information.

Talking to yourself helps you learn the step of a process.

When you’re trying to learn a new procedure and there are several steps, it can help you to remember this process if you repeat each step as you do it.  In skills training, the trainer may initially repeat the steps out loud to the client.  They will then have the client do the process while repeating the steps out loud.  Finally, the client repeats the process while saying the steps silently in their head.

Talking aloud helps to clear a crowded mind.

People with very active, busy minds find that it can be helpful to clear that mind by going ahead and saying the things that are bothering them.  Sometimes this can be an automatic unconscious behavior.  While this is helpful to the person with a busy crowded mind it can be upsetting to others who might accidentally overhear.

You develop storytelling skills.

Good storytellers practice telling their story over and over.  If you’re going to be telling that story out loud to others it’s best to practice the story out loud.  Highly creative people often tell themselves stories. Sometimes when they’re alone they tell them out loud.  As you develop your storytelling and your self-monitoring skills you are likely to learn to tell the stories with your mouth closed and the words retained in your head.

You develop a supportive of relationship with yourself.

You’re going to spend a lot of time with yourself.  Work of becoming your own best friend.  One way of becoming supportive of yourself is to have those self-talks that you wish you could have with other people.  The more you practice these self-talks the better you will be able to contain them within your head instead of having them leak out and others hear them.

It helps you to focus on a task or conversation at hand.

Sometimes we repeat things out loud during a conversation with another person.  It can help to confirm that we’ve heard things accurately.  You can also use talking aloud to help you focus your attention on what is being discussed or what you need to do.

It improves self-monitoring skills.

People who are working on their self-monitoring skills may find it useful to comment on their activities as they do them.

Self-talk helps you self-sooth.

When you’re feeling upset or on edge talking to yourself can be helpful.  Remind yourself that you are safe.

You improve your creativity by exploring possibilities.

Creative people may find it useful to have these conversations out loud to explore possible conversations.

So if you or someone in your life makes a habit of talking out loud consider whether this is a helpful skill or a lack of self-monitoring.

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.

Getting your needs met.

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

Needs

Not getting your emotional needs met?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What if you haven’t been getting your needs met?

If you have been thinking that you have needs that are not being met, you need to be the one to take the steps to get those needs met. Too often people sit back waiting, expecting someone else to realize what is needed and meet those needs.

If you’re old enough to be reading this yourself, you have reached the age where you have to take responsibility for your own needs.  It would be wonderful if other people could know your needs, read your mind, and do the things you need for them to do. Unfortunately, mind reading is a skill most people do not have.

Effectively getting your needs met is a skill that you can develop.  Below are some ways that you might develop the skills to more successfully get your needs met.

Identifying the needs that you have.

One significant reason you may be unable to get your needs met is that you may be unclear about what those needs are.  Think about those things that you would like more of in your life.  Other things you may want less of in your life.  What specifically will you need in order to feel that your needs have been met?

It can help to write out these lists.  Sometimes you will have a very specific list of things you need.  You may need a ride going somewhere, you may need help with shopping, or it may be an emotional need that you want to meet.  Some needs are easier to identify than others.

On occasion, you may not be clear what your needs are.  You may simply feel uneasy, anxious or discouraged.  Spend some time thinking about what these needs are.  It may help to discuss your unmet needs with a friend or supporter.  Be careful not to insist that this friend or supporter must be the one to meet that need.  Once you’ve identified specifically what the need is which must be met, you can move on to the next part of the process.

Can you meet this need yourself?

It’s likely that some of the needs you have, you will be able to meet yourself or you can learn to meet this need.  Work on identifying specifically how you could go about meeting your need rather than being dependent on others. You may have to develop a written plan to help you in the process of learning to meet your own needs.  Begin by identifying the things you need which you can learn to do yourself.  But what if you can’t meet this need yourself?

Who should you ask to get these needs met?

The next step in the process of learning to get needs met involves identifying who might be able to do that for you.  Maybe your need involves a problem with a business or government agency that you are dealing with.  You may need to talk to a specific person in order to get that problem solved.  Be sure that you are talking to the person who might be able to help you with this issue.

Sometimes a crisis crops up.  Say your car isn’t working and you need to get work.  Who could help you with this?  You may need to call some friends who have cars and might be able to give you a ride.  Other times you might need to find the bus schedule and how much time it would take to get there on the bus.  In some situations, the person who could meet this need may be a taxi or other paid ride service.

Persistence pays off, keep asking.

Some of the people who you will need help from in order to meet these needs may have many other things to do.  You may need to ask for what you want more than once.  Sometimes you have to remind people.  Other times you may need to be persistent enough that you become a priority in their daily schedule.

Think about using this process to do a better job of meeting your life needs.  First get clear on what you need.  Secondly, decide whether this is something you can do yourself.  Then if this requires someone else to help you meet that need, identify who that person might be.  Lastly be persistent, keep asking in a polite way.

Try using this process and see if you are not able to improve the number of your needs that are getting met.

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.

Who needs to change for you to be OK?

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

Change

Change.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What do you do if they won’t change?

Have you ever thought to yourself, if only my partner, my child, my parents or my boss would just change than I would be OK?  Lots of people who come to counseling start by wishing that other people would somehow change and that would make them happy.  The problem with this is that most of the time those other people just refuse to change.

Teen’s often complain about how unreasonable their parents are.  I asked them had those parents been that way your whole life?  Most of the time they say yes.  Have you been trying to change them that whole time, I ask?  They tell me yes.  Then I asked them, “How successful have you been at getting your parents to change?” Most of the time the answer is “not very successful at all.”

If you’ve reached this point, where you concluded that the only way for you to be happy is for someone else to change you have a limited number of options.  The longer you wait for someone else to change without taking action the less likely it is that any change will ever happen.

If you ever said that your happiness depends on someone else changing here are some of the options.

You could try changing them.

Insisting that others change is not likely to happen.  For people to be willing to change they need to have an incentive.  Humans are creatures of habit.  Even when people try to change they tend to revert back to their old way of being unless they practice that change repeatedly.

There are two possible ways to get someone else to change.  One is to have that discussion with them, get them to see that they need to change and have them agree to participate in this change effort.  Most of the time people who decide on this option come back to see me later and tell me it didn’t work.  The other person has refused to change.  The longer they continue to insist the other person change the longer they stay miserable.

The other option is to try to shape this other person’s behavior by changing your response to their behavior.  This procedure can work well with children by using reward and punishment to encourage them to modify their behavior.  For more on that process of changing others by behavioral modification look at the series of posts on counselorssoapbox.com on this topic.

If you’ve tried repeatedly to get someone else to change and had no success you may want to consider one of the options below.

Changing you – personal responsibility.

Interactions between people are sometimes like a square dance.  You move in a certain direction everyone else moves in that same direction.  If one person in the square turns and walks the other way the square falls apart.  This kind of repeating pattern, like a square dance, often occurs in families. To create change in this kind of situation, you need to change your behavior first.

Rather than continuing to insist that someone else needs to change you need to be the person to create the change you want to see.  If there something you don’t like and you can’t get the other person to change, you may need to go about making the changes that are needed yourself.

Letting go of your insistence they change.

One way to reduce this long period of suffering, while you wait for the other person to change, is to let go of the insistence that they change.  Say your boss is the kind of person who thinks that the only way to motivate employees was to constantly point out their faults.  In this situation you can continue to argue with them, you can stay unhappy and insist that they need to change for you to be happy, or and this is not easy to do, you can learn to simply accept that this is the way they are and not let them get to you.

In relationships, this is often the path that people take.  After years of insisting that your partner be neater, you may simply decide to accept they are not neat and let them be the way they are.

Sometimes change comes by ending things.

Say you’re were married to a person with an alcohol problem, you’ve insisted for years that they change, but nothing happens.  You may start trying to change your life without them.  Eventually, you may decide that it’s not worth staying together with the person whose primary relationship is with Ethyl alcohol.

Have you had enough of trying to get someone else to change?

If you’ve reached the point where you’re willing to let go of insisting they change so you can be happy, you will need to consider the other alternatives.  Thinking about trying to get them to change by altering your behavior.  Try learning to accept them the way they are and be happy anyway.  Eventually, you may decide you need to take the responsibility for your happiness and make the changes that need to be made.

Are you ready to stop insisting someone else needs to change for you to be happy?

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.