What do you need?

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

What you need?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It’s important to know what you genuinely need.

Many people find it challenging to get clear about what they actually need. Making sure that your needs are being met is part of having a happy, contented life. Needs can come in all sizes, from the mandatory life-threatening needs for food and shelter to the transient ones like tickets to Friday’s concert. One way to improve your mental health is to get clear on what you need and find ways to prioritize those needs.

Learn the difference between wants and needs.

Have you ever thought, “I need a new car?” If the car you have isn’t running and you depend on it for getting to and from work and grocery shopping, then yes, you may genuinely need a new car. But be careful here. What you may need is to get the vehicle you have fixed.

On the other hand, if you’re telling yourself that you need a new car because yours is a whole year old and your neighbor just got a brand-new luxury model, the truth is that it is a want, not a need. Learning the difference between what you need and what you want can take a lot of stress off your life, particularly in the financial area.

Your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations help you determine your needs.

In deciding what you truly need, you must deal with three separate sources of information. It’s tempting to believe that whatever you think – that must be true. But the more you examine and test your thoughts, the more you may come to understand that just because you think it doesn’t make it true. It’s useful to continually re-examine your thoughts to determine if they are logical and if there’s evidence for that thought. A lot of people believe things simply because they would like them to be true.

Feelings can be a useful source of information. It’s dangerous to dismiss your feelings as unimportant. Nerve cells don’t exist solely in the brain. There are scattered throughout the body. They collect information about how the body is functioning, and they also send signals to the muscles and body parts, telling them to prepare for action.

If you’ve ever thought that someone is a pain in the neck, reach up and feel your neck muscles. Chances are they are tight. Does someone make you sick to your stomach? This is your nervous system telling you to beware of that person. Learn to use the information your feelings are giving you but don’t let them take over running your life. Sometimes your feelings are not helpful. Just because something scares you doesn’t mean it is dangerous.

Please don’t ignore your physical body. It is a source of information about what you really need. You will function better, both physically and emotionally, if you take good care of your body. Your body has many ways to tell you that you are hungry and need to eat. Just be sure you’re eating because the body needs fuel, not because you’re using food as a drug and becoming an emotional eater. Many people confuse thirst with hunger or even emotions. Drinking enough water to hydrate your body is a need. Listen to your body when it tells you that you need to sleep. Getting adequate rest will help you think more clearly and function more efficiently.

Allocate time for determining your needs.

Life can be overwhelming at times. We run from one problem to another, all the while hours, days, months, and years are slipping away. Periodically we need to take a break and examine the life we are living. Identifying what you need and don’t need in your life is an essential part of that periodic review. Are you doing a lot of things that are not benefiting your life?

Get clear on your values and whether your actions are helping you achieve goals consistent with those values. If you know what you need and want out of life, this can guide the way you will spend your time, your money, and your effort.

Do a daily review of your progress toward meeting your needs.

If your life hasn’t been meeting your needs, getting clear on those needs is only the first step. Next, each day you should be taking some action, however small, that is leading you in the direction of a fulfilled life. Doing a daily review just before going to bed can help you see whether your efforts are producing the results you want. After doing your daily review, make sure to forgive yourself for any shortcomings and decide that you’ll begin your efforts again tomorrow.

Ask yourself what you are grateful for.

If you only look at the things that are lacking in your life, you will get a very distorted picture. Painful and unpleasant things have a way of taking over our minds. Make sure you spend time paying attention to the positive things that happen. Ask yourself repeatedly, what are you grateful for? If you’re having trouble making up that list, talk with your support system or a professional. Often, we don’t notice the things we’re grateful for until we lose them. Practicing gratitude has positive mental health benefits that will help you through the tough times.

Ask yourself, what am I doing that I wish I could stop doing?

Have you ever said you needed to find more time to do things? The idea that you can find time is an illusion. Each week we have precisely one hundred and sixty-eight hours. There’s no way you’re going to find any more. The way you free up more time for the things that matter is to stop spending some of those hours on things that are not benefiting you. If you find it difficult to get your needs met, especially your self-care needs, a first step is eliminating all the things you’re doing that are not benefiting you.

Make friends with your feelings.

Learn to recognize when you are feeling something and what it is that you’re feeling. Learn your feeling’s names and remember that emotions come in intensities. Think of feelings as cues for action. You don’t have to let them control you, but you should learn to listen to what they’re telling you.

Pay attention to the things you’re telling yourself.

Self-talk is powerful. If you tell yourself negative statements, you undermine your efforts. Positive self-talk can be a powerful motivator. If you’re telling yourself that you can’t, then you won’t be able to. People who tell themselves that they can achieve more. When using self-talk, it is especially important not to lie to yourself. If your brain thinks you are lying, it will create failure.

Make self-assessment a regular habit.

You can’t figure out where to go unless you know where you’re at. At regular intervals, do a self-assessment. How have you been feeling, and what thoughts have been occupying your mind? How are you spending your time? You need to be patient with yourself. Change frequently happens gradually. But if you’re not moving in the right direction, you either need to change what you’re doing or change your goal.

Is the life you’re living meeting your needs? If not, what action will you take to get those needs met? If something in this post started you thinking, please leave a comment below or feel free to use the contact me form.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

The benefits of asking more questions.

Counseling questions

Asking questions.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

Many people don’t like to ask questions for fear; it will make them seem dumb. There’s an old saying that the dumbest question is the one you don’t ask. Research on asking questions shows that you can receive a lot of benefits from asking more questions. Learning to ask thoughtful questions can improve your knowledge and your career. Asking questions can show that you’re interested in what others have to say. Here are some ways in which asking more questions might benefit you.

Asking questions improves emotional intelligence.

High emotional intelligence can be a beneficial skill, particularly if you’re in a job or a situation that requires a lot of interaction with other people. People with high emotional intelligence are better at recognizing what their friends and partners are feeling, and it improves their interpersonal relationships.

Very few people announce what they’re feeling. Many people have trouble identifying their own feelings. Learning to understand what those around you are feeling can prevent a lot of problems. Asking people how they feel about things helps you learn to recognize other’s feelings and your own.

If you don’t ask, you won’t know.

A lot of errors and misunderstandings could be eliminated if only people would ask more questions. The people you’re talking with generally won’t know how much you know about the topic. Too much explanation may come across as demeaning and insulting. Too little explanation creates misunderstandings. By asking informed questions, you tell your conversation partner what things they need to explain better.

Good questions build relationships.

Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the other person and help build good relationships. By asking questions about the other person, you give them the opening to tell you more about themselves and their thinking. Allowing others to open up and talk about themselves deepens your connection.

Asking questions increase learning.

One way to consolidate learning is to ask questions about the material you have just been presented. If you’re reading something, pause periodically to ask yourself questions about the material. If you find it difficult to answer those questions, you need to reread or study the material more. Asking and answering these questions helps you to reinforce that learning. Asking questions of someone who is knowledgeable about a subject may reveal information you would not have learned otherwise.

Use open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions, ones that can’t be answered with a yes or no, increase communication. Closed-ended questions of the yes or no variety reduce communication. Too many closed-ended questions can shut down communication entirely and may come across as interrogation. Try asking people to tell you more about the topic. Encourage your conversation partner to expand on what they’ve already said.

You need to balance asking and answering questions.

Most people like being asked questions, but if you only ask them and never answer them, they find it hard to trust you. Good communication flows in both directions. If you want people to trust you and you expect them to answer your questions, you need to be trustworthy, and you need to answer their questions.

For more on the value of the skill of asking more and better questions, see the article in the Harvard Business Review titled The Surprising Power of Questions.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

6 Reasons you can’t make up your mind. – Video

A counselorssoapbox.com video by David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Are you one of those people who struggles with decisions? Does your family or friends call you indecisive? There may be several reasons why you find it hard to make decisions. Struggling with decisions uses up a lot of mental capacity and may result in confusion or even memory challenges. In this video we will explore 6 different types of decisions and why you may find it difficult to choose.

Ways to perform well when you’re under pressure.

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

Performing well under pressure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you perform when you’re under pressure?

Are you one of those people who are at your best when under pressure? Or are you one of those people who choke when the pressure is on?

People who perform well under pressure have developed the right mindsets, attitudes, and skills. Challenges don’t derail them; they energize them. You too can learn to perform well under pressure. Here are some of the techniques that will help you do better when the pressure is on.

Giving yourself as much time as possible reduces the pressure.

Some people delude themselves into believing that the way to get something done is to wait until the last possible minute. They tell themselves that they perform better under pressure. Unfortunately, what many people do when the pressure is lower their standards. Students who wait until the night before the paper is due can get an essay written in a very short amount of time. They also often do poorly and then use the lack of time as an excuse. Start as soon as possible on any new project. That allows you to correct mistakes. Build some extra time in your plans for those tasks, which ended up taking longer than you expected.

Practice skills beforehand reduce the pressure.

When under pressure, humans tend to revert to their usual way of doing things. To be able to make use of skills you are learning, you need to over-practice those skills until they become automatic. The better prepared you are for the challenge, the less stressful it will be. If you have thoroughly practiced a necessary skill, your muscles will remember it and perform that task automatically.

Use positive affirmations to reduce stress.

Putting yourself down will damage your performance. People who believe in themselves do better. Positive affirmations shouldn’t be a matter of lying to yourself. Tell yourself you can do it, and you probably will be able to. Tell yourself this will be the best performance anyone has ever done, and your brain will know you’re lying and try to sabotage you. Positive affirmations are a way to psych yourself up and maximize your performance.

Developing a positive stress mindset improves performance.

Viewing the task ahead as stressful makes it more challenging to accomplish. Looking for opportunities to grow and develop improves your performance. People with a positive stress mindset are energized by opportunities rather than being exhausted by them.

Tell your inner critic to shut up.

The evidence from psychology tells us that self-criticism is rarely helpful. Everyone has an inner critic telling them they can’t do this, or they’re not good enough. Some people are so used to listening to the inner critic that they find daily life stressful. Other people have practiced ignoring that inner critic enough that they rarely hear the inner critic’s voice anymore. The time for evaluation of what you have done is after everything is over, not before. Don’t start making excuses before you even begin the project.

For more on this topic see this article.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

How do you break a bad habit?

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

Breaking Bad Habits.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you have some bad habits you’d like to stop?

Many people have behaviors they would call a “bad habit,” they say they would like to stop. Habits by their very nature are things we do automatically, without thought, which makes them extra challenging to stop. Psychologists have studied habits, how to create them, and how to break them. There are some things you need to consider if you want to change a habit.

You have been doing the things that have become a habit for a long time. In the early stages of habit formation, it may not take long for something to become a new habit. If a fast-food restaurant gets you to come in for three visits in a row you will probably be a regular customer. Breaking that habit will probably take a lot longer. Highly reinforcing habits such as drugs and alcohol will require even more effort to end.

Is this habit something you can really stop?

There’s a difference between changing a habit that you need and want you don’t need. Many people would like to stop overeating or reduce the amount of food they eat. Humans must eat some food so the techniques you would use to reduce the amount of food you’re eating, would be very different from the methods you would use to end a bad habit such as drug use, that needs to be stopped completely.

Do you really want to stop this “bad habit?”

I’ve mentioned more than once that my purchasing of books has become a bad habit. I buy a lot of books. Sometimes more than I can read. I also download quite a few free Kindle e-books. While I say I need to stop accumulating books faster than I can read them, this is not a habit I especially want to break. It’s easy for me to excuse this habit on the grounds that I’m an author with at least six publish books, and if I’m going to write books, I need to read a great many also. I don’t actually want to stop this habit.

Many of the clients I work with, in my therapy practice, have bad habits such as drug use, which they want to stop completely. The techniques you use for ending a bad habit altogether, are different from the methods you use if you’re only trying to keep your habit from getting out of control.

What techniques can be used to end a bad habit?

First, let’s look at the ways to end a bad habit you want to eliminate entirely. Second, we will look at some techniques for modifying “bad habits” you want to reduce or control. Lastly, let’s look at some methods that might be useful regardless of whether you want to stop altogether or want to reduce the time and money you spend on the “bad habit.”

Eliminate cues that remind you to engage in this bad habit.

Most habits have cues that automatically trigger a response. Your phone rings and you reach and answer it. It’s hard to ignore that ringing phone even when you want to do something else. Turning off the ringing sound may help you avoid answering it when you need to focus on something else. Reducing or eliminating cues is an essential step in ending a bad habit.

People in substance abuse recovery are encouraged to get rid of drugs, alcohol, and any paraphernalia they might use. For recovering alcoholic, that means getting rid of your collection of beer-themed decorations or your collection of shot glasses. People use other drugs should get rid of things like pipes.

Avoid places you used to go to engage in this bad habit.

For an alcoholic stopping at the liquor store, even to pick up a gallon of milk, or some bread is a risky behavior. Hanging out in the bar, even if it’s only to play pool is likely to trigger urges to drink. Hanging out with people who drink or use drugs is also a risky behavior. Seeing them engage in the action you’re trying to stop is likely to cue intense cravings.

How might you alter a habit you don’t want to end completely?

Here are some suggestions for modifying a habit when you don’t want to end completely. Psychologists have suggested these for things such as eating less or not drinking as much.

To eat less, reduce the amount available.

Serving food on smaller plates can help you cut down on how much you consume. Using smaller size glasses can reduce the volume of fluids you drink. Purchasing things like chocolate in smaller container sizes can reduce your consumption. Limiting the amount of food or beverages you consume by using smaller containers will only work if you don’t make repeated trips back to refill.

Use your nondominant hand for eating or drinking.

Using your nondominant hand slows down the eating or drinking process. People who ate popcorn with their nondominant hand ate smaller amounts, especially when the popcorn was stale. Changing how you do something, slows the process down, and may result in doing less of it.

Driving the “mindbus” can help you ignore automatic thoughts.

Sometimes it feels as if they’re a bunch of voices in your head urging you to do things you don’t want to do. I’m not talking about the voices that people with a serious mental illness experience. When you have those automatic thoughts telling you to do things you know, they are thoughts coming from your own brain. But when your mind is telling you that you need some more chocolate or another drink, it’s hard to ignore those automatic thoughts.

In the mindbus technique, you picture yourself as the driver of a bus taking yourself somewhere you want to go. All those loud voices in your head that are trying to distract you are the passengers on your bus. Ignore the noisy urges clamoring for you to turn the bus and take it in a different direction and stick to the route you have selected.

Substitute a positive behavior for a negative one.

If you have urges to eat some more chocolate, select a carrot or other fruit instead. Instead of heading to the bar go to an AA meeting or religious service. Rather than eat mindlessly go for a walk or do another exercise. By substituting positive behaviors for negative behaviors, you reduce your bad habits and improve the quality of your life.

What bad habits do you want to modify or end altogether?

For more on this topic, you might want to check out the British Psychological Society podcast on Breaking Bad Habits.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Grow Your Power.

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

No Power?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Empowerment – growing your power.

Ever wish you had more power? Would you like to be more in control of your own life? Do you feel helpless to change your life? There are ways to increase your power, be more effective, and have more of the things you want in life.

No matter how much or how little power you feel you have today, you can begin to grow that sense of personal power, step by step, starting today.

You may have learned to be helpless, been in a situation where no matter what you did, you were told you were wrong. Your efforts may have been invalidated and unrewarded. People may have taught you to be helpless. If you learned to be helpless you can unlearn that way of thinking.

Right now, what are you doing to enlarge your feelings of personal power? If not today, when will you begin to take control of your life?  Here are some ways to grow that personal power.

Look for areas in your life where you can take control.

If you focus only on the areas that are out of your control, you become debilitated and paralyzed. Focus on your choices.

When you think you have no control, you make it so. You may be in a situation where you are dependent on others. You have more control than you think. You may not be able to control your situation or surroundings, but you can control your attitude. You can think like a victim, or you can think like a survivor and be a participant in your life.

Look for help or a mentor to develop your skills.

If you are in a low power situation, an abusive relationship, or poverty, look for resources that can help you. Teachers, counselors, or mentors can help you to grow your power.

Can’t find a person to help you? Look for books on changing your life.

Begin making your own decisions.

Look for areas in your life where you can decide for yourself. Large or small, it does not matter, begin the process of thinking about how you feel about things and what you want. Cultivate the habit of making as many decisions about your life as possible. Especially pay attention to how you feel about things. If you feel helpless you may be giving up your power to someone else without even noticing you are giving your control away.

Try new things to grow your self-esteem.

Are you going for ice cream? Look for a new flavor to try. You may like it. You may not. Check off that one from your to-do list. The more experiences you have in life, the more you can adapt to change. Like it or not change is a part of life. Doing a wider variety of activities increases your sense of competency.

Volunteering to help others make you more confident.

This is a great way to try on new behaviors. In 12 step groups, people will become secretaries of meetings or chair a meeting. The experience of trying on a new behavior can increase your self-confidence. You may surprise yourself with how well you can do something.

Practice leadership to improve your confidence.

In many residential treatment facilities, the group selects client officials. Each week as clients come and go, these officials change. Clients frequently tell me this was the first time in their lives they have been in a leadership role. They discover talents they never knew they had.

Do something for yourself to feel more confident.

Taking good care of yourself is not being selfish. You can’t be of service to others if you don’t have it to give. Self-care is important. Making yourself a priority tells you that you are worth being cared for. Feeling good about yourself, knowing you mater will enlarge your sense of personal power and control of your life.

Make something “your own.”

Find something that brings joy to your life. Do you have a favorite author? Which sports team is “your” team? Do you crochet? Do you cook Italian? What interest or activity says, “you?” What is your religion or spiritual connection?  Feeling that there is something you connect to makes you feel more anchored, more a part of the community.

You’re going to spend your whole life with you. Invest some time in getting to know you.

Learning a new skill will make you feel more competent.

Expanding your skills is a great way to make you feel more competent and useful. Is there something you always wanted to try? If not now, when will you do this? Look for someone in your life who has this skill and ask them to teach you. Go to places where people who have this skill hang out and learn from them. Clubs, online blogs, and short-term classes are all great sources of information. Stores sometimes teach courses on how to use the products they sell.

Get more education or training, and you will feel more confident.

Opportunities for education and training are more available than at any time in history.  There are plenty of adults of all ages back in school, learning a new skill. Check out some of the online tutorials which show you how to do something. Staying current on your skills makes you feel better about yourself.

There are some suggestions for creating empowerment and growing your personal power. Have you found any other ways to feel more competent and in charge of your life?

Leave a comment and share with the rest of us the things you have done to empower yourself and grow that personal power.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Self-care is more than playing hooky.

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

Taking care of yourself

Self-care.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Don’t confuse self-care with trips to the spa or vegetating.

When you hear the term self-care, do you think pampering? There’s a lot more to self-care than scented candles or taking an extra day off. Human beings are complicated. We need to take care of both our physical bodies and our emotional lives. Examine the various aspects of your life and make sure you are including self-care in everything you do.

Car care doesn’t involve letting the car sit in the driveway. A car that isn’t driven slowly deteriorates. If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not growing. Include forward motion, moving towards goals as part of your self-care. Self-care may also consist of a life makeover.

Self-care includes increasing your self-confidence by tackling challenges.

Self-care includes training for that marathon or writing that novel, maybe both. When people age, the major regrets they have are often for the things, they didn’t do. I’ve never heard anybody say they regretted not spending more days sitting on the couch. I have heard people say they always wanted to learn a foreign language or finish a college degree.

Self-care needs to include self-improvement.

Stretch yourself both physically and mentally. Join a gym or take up exercising. Take up a hobby. Sign up for that class whether it’s in person or online. Anything that requires effort on your part can also bring emotional rewards. Do things you can check off on your list of life goals. Look here for more information about making self-care a part of your self-improvement program. 

Do something at the edge of your comfort zone.

Avoiding things that make you uncomfortable may feel like you’re protecting yourself from anxiety, but if you avoid that anxiety for very long, your comfort zone will continue to shrink. Self-care can include challenging herself to do things that feel just a little uncomfortable or scary.

Self-care includes getting rid of things that are holding back.

Eliminate the things that are holding you down. Trying to do too many things results in not getting anything done. Self-care includes giving up activities that you’re doing because you “have to” not because you want to. Pulling out the weeds allows room for the plants to grow. Eliminating unnecessary activities allows you to grow.

Cut the toxic people out of your life.

Examine your relationships. If your relationships can be improved, put the work in. The people you spend time will influence the way you feel. If someone in your life is dealing with a mental health challenge, then encourage them to get help. Eliminate negative people from your life where possible. If there are negative people you absolutely must deal with, try to limit the time you spend with them.

Doing less accomplishes more.

Businesses periodically take an inventory, and they get rid of the things on the shelves that take up space but don’t contribute to making a profit. It’s a good practice to inventory your life periodically. Eliminate as many of those needless activities as possible so that you free up time to spend on the important things. Stop spending so much time reading emails and spend a little time unsubscribing to the mailing lists that don’t bring your life any benefits.

Reevaluating your goals is a part of self-care.

Don’t be the person lost in the woods wandering around in circles. Don’t waste your life pursuing goals that don’t matter. Time spent getting clear on your values and decided whether what you are doing is taking you towards the goals you really want to reach is time well spent. Don’t waste time pursuing goals that are no longer meaningful to you.

Self-care includes time spent maintaining your body.

Sleep is not a waste of time. It is an essential ingredient in self-care. Your body has a natural rhythm. While people vary slightly in their need for sleep if you’re not meeting your body’s need, your lack of sleep will increase negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and irritability. Getting plenty of sleep will make for a happier, healthier you.

Include a healthy diet in your self-care.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Occasional indulgence makes life more fun. Try to include a lot of healthy food in your diet, so the occasional splurge doesn’t become your regular diet.

How will you go about improving the self-care you do in every part of your life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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

David Joel Miller Books

David Joel Miller Books

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, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Changing your life

Time for a life change?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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 a 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.

When being open to new experiences, 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 it is time for a change a professional counselor can help you through the process.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

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

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

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

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

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

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

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

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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.