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.

Time for a change?

By David Joel Miller.

Feeling like you need a change but don’t know what to do?

Time to change.

Time for a change.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You have been plotting along, but things don’t seem to be getting any better. You may be feeling restless, irritable, confused and indecisive. There are times in most people’s lives they don’t like where they are, but they are not sure what to do about it.

Whether it is an unhappy romantic relationship or an unfulfilling dead-end job, the decision to stay or go can be a difficult one. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you feel you can’t stay stuck where you are, but you don’t see a way forward, here are some suggestions.

Enrich the relationship.

People start new relationships, romantic or occupation ones, full of enthusiasm. As time passes that relationship loses its luster and the job becomes boring. Couples who do not maintain their relationship can find it falling apart. Put some spark back in your relationship by doing more things together.

Add some new roles to your romantic relationship. Become activity partners. Do more things together. Set some couple goals. Some couples exercise together, cook meals together, read together, or they may even learn a new skill together.

On the job, learning a new skill, taking on additional responsibilities or transferring to another assignment can help you regain your interest and enthusiasm. Challenging yourself to grow in your work life prevents burnout and those trapped feelings.

Become open to new experiences.

One way to get unstuck is to open yourself up to novel experiences. Take up a hobby, begin an exercise routine, or learn to cook a new recipe. Do you have a special interest? Maybe like to read or garden? Consider joining a club focused on your interest. Joining clubs and organizations is a great way to make new friends and to vary the routine.

By being open to new experience, be very careful about making changes you will not be able to take back. It is common for people who are stuck to think the problem is their partner or their job. Using a new relationship as a parachute to get out of your current relationship, can result in emotional injury when you hit the ground hard.

Don’t overreact to an unsatisfying job situation by quitting your current job with no new job to go to. As you try new activities and learn new skills, keep your eyes open for jobs that might interest you or places you might want to work.

One reason you may feel stuck in your current situation could be you don’t feel confident in your skills. Take trainings when they are offered, take a night class or an online class to improve your skill. With more training and skills, you may find opportunities for advancement in the organization where you already work. The reason you are feeling trapped maybe you don’t yet have the skills needed to move forward.

Work on yourself.

When you are going through a rough patch, anxiety or depression, it is easy to blame the situation or the people around you. Sometimes the reason you are feeling stuck and confused is that there is work you need to do on yourself. New opportunities can’t present themselves until you develop the skills and attitudes you will need.

In couples counseling we often find the couple blaming each other for their unhappiness. Very shortly the couple separates, and one or both begin new relationships. Within a year or two, both new couples have turned unhappy. Happiness is an inside job. You need to be able to be happy by yourself before you can be happy in a relationship.

Develop distress tolerance.

Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes there are difficult patches. Don’t be too quick to make an impulsive change in your life. Sometimes the reason choices aren’t clear is because you are not yet ready to make that change. Sometimes discomfort lasts only briefly. Focus on the distress, and it becomes unbearable. Focus on living the best life possible, and the discomfort may fade away.

Use the calendar, not a watch.

Have you been feeling pressure, as if time was running out on you? Don’t be one of those people who have unrealistic high expectations for themselves. Life is not a destination but a process. In your rush to become successful, however, you define success, don’t lose the joys of the things you do accomplish.

A successful life is rarely the result of achieving great things at a young age. Don’t expect to be all you can be by a particular age. Ever hear of a musician called a one-hit wonder? Longevity in any field is the result of continual practice and improvement.

Clarify your choices by seeking professional help.

One legitimate goal of counseling is to help you see your choices clearly and resolve your confusion. The counseling room is a good place to talk things out with an objective person. Whether you are currently confused, facing difficult choices or is a time for a change professional counselor can help you through the process.

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.

Quitting.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Quitting

Quitting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Quitting.

“You have not failed until you quit trying.”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

― Muhammad Ali

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

― Vince Lombardi Jr.

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

Life lessons you need to learn.

By David Joel Miller.

What life lessons do you need to learn?

Learning lifes lessons

Life lessons you need to learn.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You probably went to school for a while or you wouldn’t be reading this. You learned your alphabet, reading and some math. Maybe a little history, very little history if you are typical. What most of us missed out on were the lessons about the required emotional skills. How you get through this life in one piece.

By life lessons, I am not necessarily talking about how to cook a meal or wash some clothes, though those are useful skills. What I am talking about is how to go about really “living” this thing we call a life. What do you do to create a happy life out of the raw material that will be thrown at you?

Below are some of the life lessons you may not have gotten enough training in. There are things counselors work on with their clients all the time. If you see any of these life lessons you feel you need to work on, consider some therapy or a good book on self-improvement that covers the part you still need to learn.

Stress reduction will keep you from stressing out.

Life is stressful. There is good stress and bad stress. Much of this thing we call stress is the result of our anticipating what will happen, not the actual happening. In another post about stress, I wrote about how people who are going through a really difficult time can be less stressed out than those who are afraid they will have to have that experience.  Accept that stress is a required part of living.  Learn to reduce the impact of that stress on your life.

Emotional Regulation is a skill that will keep you out of trouble.

It comes as a surprise to many people that they can regulate their emotions.  Most of us started out having feelings and then either getting in trouble for those feelings or being told we shouldn’t feel the way we were feeling.  Turns out that learning to regulate your emotions is an important life skill.

Many people end up having to take anger management classes where they learned that it is not other people who are “making them angry” but it is the way they view the situation that creates their anger.  Anger is not the only emotion you need to learn to regulate.  You will feel sadness and emotional pain. People who are good and regulating these emotions feel them but don’t get carried away.

Interpersonal communication is a make or break life skill.

Interpersonal communication is a skill that many people need to work on.  Some people get this skill wrong and develop the belief that interpersonal communication means learning how to tell other people things.  The biggest part of the interpersonal communications consists of learning how to accurately listen to others.  When you get a clear picture of what other people are saying you will discover that there are far fewer things you need to argue with.

Developing a support system isn’t always an easy skill to develop.

Having the support of people in your life makes life a whole lot easier.  For most people, friends were something that just happened.  In the early school grades, anyone that you spend time with could easily become your friend.  As we get older it becomes harder and harder to make real lasting friends.

When you are too close to things you miss the big picture.

One important life skill that an adult may still need to develop is the ability to look at things from different perspectives.  Often when people are caught up in the moment things look a very set way.  Learning to step back and analyze situations from other perspectives can help you solve life’s problems.

You can’t be objective about you.

People often work with coaches. counselors and therapists, because they can’t see their own behavior.  Even when it’s painful, it can be really helpful to have someone who will give you an honest version of what they see about you and your behavior.

Encouragement helps you change.

To really grow and progress people need positive reinforcement.  Many people grew up experiencing mostly negative feedback.  The belief in the past was that in order to get people to do better it was necessary to point out every single one of their flaws.  We’ve since learned that if you never hear anything positive it is easy to become discouraged and give up trying.

You need to learn being real can be scary.

Really young kids find it easy to be real.  Young people find it easy to spot people who are being fake.  As we get older, more and more we are likely to hide our real selves.  Often it’s easier to present a false image to others in the hope of being liked.  People who are able to be real have to take risks.  While being real involves taking some scary risks it also results in people being a lot happier.

Are any of these life lessons that you still need to learn?

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.

Growth.

Sunday Inspiration.          Post by David Joel Miller.

Growth.

Growth

Growth.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

― John F. Kennedy

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

― Anaïs Nin

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney

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

7 Top self-improvement mistakes.

By David Joel Miller.

7 Top things to avoid in recovery and self-improvement programs.

Mistakes to avoid

7 Top Self-improvement Mistakes.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (opensourceway)

Whether you are in recovery or just thinking that this would be a good time to make some changes in your life, it helps to develop a self-change plan that has a chance of working. Resolve and willpower will only take you so far. You will need to watch out for some self-change mistakes that doom your change project before it ever gets off the ground.  Here are some common beginner’s mistakes that may undermine your self-change program.

1. Losing hope reduces possibilities.

One of the hallmark characteristics of depression is feeling hopeless.  Nurture your hopes and dreams. By hope, I am not suggesting that pie in the sky thinking will get you where you want to be. What you do need is the belief that this goal you are pursuing is possible. Hold on to the hope that a better future is possible.

There will be setbacks, learn from them. Do not stay focused on what did not happen. Just because everything did not get done the first week does not mean that things will never happen. Have a well thought out plan for what you want to change and how you will do this self-improvement project and then stick to it. Believe that things can get better and work to make those positive events a reality.

2. Cultivating hope is a critical part of any change process.

Encourage and nurture hope in your life. Select friends and allies who have hope for you enough to share. Surround yourself with others that will encourage your hope. What you attend to you get more of, make sure that you are keeping your eyes on the end result and not down at the dirt along the way.

Change cannot be all negative and suffering. You need to build rewards and encouragement into your program to keep growing your hope and self-confidence.

3. Negative self-talk is a recovery barrier.

Tell yourself you can’t and you won’t, tell yourself that this thing is possible and you are already headed in the direction of self-improvement. What you tell yourself has a powerful impact on the successes of your efforts to change. Tell yourself that you can and you make it so.

Your brain holds onto self-talk and works overtime to make those things you are thinking about happen. Be sure you have given your unconscious thoughts the right goal to focus on. Do not ever call yourself names or beat yourself up for mistakes. Learn from missteps and keep moving forward.

4. Excuses keep you stuck– too old etc.

We can all find plenty of excuses for why we can’t do things. You can say you’re too old. Say it to yourself often enough and you make it so. Remember that old children’s story about the wee engine. Tell yourself you can and you are halfway there.

Setting low expectations and collecting alibis do not get things accomplished. Do not look for reasons you can’t do something. Look insisted for the things that you can do and get those done.

For every excuse you use to avoid trying and failing, there are people who refused to think that way. Because they did not know they couldn’t do something they accomplished it.

5. Expecting results overnight will discourage you.

You have decided to get in shape. You start dieting and exercising, some of the time, and then when a week or two goes by, you are feeling tired and see no change in weight. It would be easy to give up and fall back on those old excuses. Change of any sort takes time and it takes rehearsal. Humans revert to their usual and customary ways of doing things. To make a change and have it stick you need to practice that new way of being long enough that it becomes your default setting.

To perfect a skill takes many long hours of dedicated work. It may also require working with a coach or adviser who can see the things you can improve on. Improvement comes in small increments. Have patience with yourself and the process, but always keep moving towards those goals.

6. Going too fast – overdoing things will undermine your efforts.

You decide you want to change yourself and change your life. You get a new job, go back to school and start a new relationship, all in the same week. A common recovery mistake is to try to change everything all at once. Working on too many goals all at once results in none of them coming to be.

Prioritize, work on the important things first. Do those “must do’s” and check them off your list. Set goals for the steps along the way so you can see the progress, not the distance that still remains. Include time to savor the results of your efforts. As time passes you will be able to add more to your goals.

Having a list of accomplishments that you can reflect back on and feel pride can fuel your future change process.

7. Thinking that believing in yourself means being selfish.

You are far more likely to be affected by a case of self-doubt than by a case of too much confidence. Taking good care of yourself is not being selfish, neither is believing in yourself.

The winners always have self-confidence. That self-confidence does not come from bragging or expectations of successes without work. True self-confidence consists of setting challenges for yourself, acknowledging your progress and then setting a new goal.

To build self-esteem do positive things and give yourself credit for what you have accomplished.

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.

Cultivating hope.

By David Joel Miller.

Recovery begins with having hope.

Hope or Despair

Cultivate Hope.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When you can’t see any way to turn you don’t make many changes. For most people, change begins with finding and holding onto hope. Look around for those who were in dire straits and who have overcome. Learn from those who surmounted difficulties. The first step on the journey of recovery is deciding that you can’t stay where you are, stuck in the past and in your suffering.

One definition of recovery is “overcoming a hopeless state of mind and body.” Recovery does not erase your past or the challenges you face. What recovery does mean is that you can learn to live with your challenges. Have you decided you want to create the best life possible? Then begin by nurturing hope.

Here are some ways you can grow more hope in your life.

Study hope, become an expert on hope cultivation.

Learn about hope. Make studying hope and recovery priorities. Ask yourself “How have others found their hope?” Read books about hope and recovery. There are a great many books, blogs and other hope-filled resources available these days.

Join groups that promote hope. Be around others who are in recovery and have overcome life’s setbacks. Hope, like light, can fade the farther you are from it. This is why it is important to have people in your closest circles who have hope and are willing to share it.

Look for others who have recovered, whatever that recovery may mean to them. Hope is one of these infinite resources, the more you give it away the more of it you have.

Everywhere around you are examples of recovery from serious, severe difficulties. Nurture connections with positive and hope-filled people.

Tell yourself that others have done it and you can too.

Self-talk creates self-destiny. Make use of positive affirmations. Learn how self-affirming thoughts can fill you with hope. Practice both hoping for a better future and doing the work needed to take you there.

Say it will never happen and you create that outcome. Say all things are possible for those who hope and you are already on the path. Affirmations are powerful forces for creating things. Negative self-talk creates pain and suffering, hopeful self-talk produces possibilities.

Let others hope for you until you can grow your own hope.

If you find yourself stuck in hopelessness seek out others, professionals or peers, who have hope for you and let them talk about those hopes for you until you are able to create that hope on your own.

Look for undeveloped strengths and improvement opportunities.

Weaknesses and failure are easy to spot in yourself and in others. Look for potential strengths you didn’t know you had. Try out new things and you are likely to find that some of those things are just the opportunity you have been looking for.

Great things can happen when someone takes a chance and tries something they have always wanted to do. You are likely to surprise yourself when you find that you have skills that are not yet developed.

This happens every semester at the community college when students who are returning after many years out of school discover they are far more capable than they had ever realized. Now that you are older and possibly wiser revisit something you have wanted to do but avoided because of a fear of failure. Wonderful things can happen when you have hope. Accomplishing the little things in life builds hope for the greater tasks.

Focus on the positive.

You find what you look for. Look for the negative and your life fills with misery. Search out the positive and it grows.

You can cry about your losses but sometimes those things need to leave your life to make room for better things.  Judith Viorst in her book Necessary Losses tells the story of how letting go of painful things can make room for a better life.

Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open tells of how the pain of loss can be the catalyst to finding yourself and deeper meaning.

Give yourself a round of applause for things well done.

Don’t be shy about accepting compliments and acknowledging rounds of applause. Recognizing accomplishments builds self-esteem. I see no evidence that accepting compliments from yourself or others will make you conceited. Failure to give yourself credit where credit is due will undermine your self-confidence.

When offered a compliment do you find it hard to accept? Learn to save compliments and simply thank those who offer them. Dismissing compliments with an “it was nothing” form of comment is not modesty it is devaluing the compliments of others.

Think about the ways you will you go about cultivating hope in your life and please leave a comment to share any hope building methods that have worked 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.