How to create job burnout.

By David Joel Miller.

Some of the things you’re doing can increase burnout risks.

Burning out

Creating Burnout.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Life can be stressful. Some jobs are more stressful than others. In recent years, job burnout has become extremely common. Once people reached the point of burnout they are likely to quit their job, get fired, or moved to a new equally stressful position. Some people become so burned out they must change careers or may not be able to work at all. While you can’t always control the stresses in your life some of the things you’re doing may be increasing the risk that you will burn out or have a nervous breakdown. How many of the things on this list are propelling you towards burnout?

Sleep less, and you can burn out more rapidly.

People under stress frequently try to do too much. You can’t continue burning the midnight oil for very long before the lack of sleep will wear you out. Not getting a full night’s sleep increases your risk of burnout. If you think you’re too busy to get a full night’s sleep just wait until you crack under the stress. Once you have a breakdown you will have plenty of time to stay home from work.

Increased alcohol consumption leads to burnout.

In the short term drinking alcohol or doing drugs seems like a way to cope with stress. Anesthetizing yourself with chemicals doesn’t allow you to rest, it creates one more stress for your body to recover from. Drinking alcohol does not improve sleep. When you drink alcohol, you end up unconscious rather than sleeping. Your brain does not get a chance to recover. When your liver detoxifies the alcohol, you will wake up. Frequently people who use alcohol to sleep have disrupted sleep, wake up early, and can’t get back to sleep.

Using stimulant drugs to increase your work abilities does not give you an unlimited supply of energy. When the drugs wear off, you crash, and your need for rest becomes even more acute. Abusing tranquilizers and pain medications will catch up with you eventually. You can only walk around with anesthetized pain, physical or emotional, for so long. Eventually, you will collapse into burnout from physical and emotional exhaustion.

Isolating leads to burnout.

Humans are inherently social. People who have a good support system, feel like a part of the team, can cope with stress. As people become physically and emotionally worn out, the early signs of burnout, they often isolate. The more you cut yourself off from other humans, the more rapid the journey toward burnout. If you find yourself too busy to spend time with your family and friends, you are traveling the dangerous road to an emotional breakdown.

Being a perfectionist will burn you out.

B students are happier than straight A students. When a straight “A” student gets even one “B,” they feel like a failure. The “B” student is delighted with the occasional “A.” If your way of coping with stress is to try to do everything perfectly, you are turning up the intensity of your stress and cooking yourself into a burnout. There is such a thing as “good enough parenting” if you do more things right than wrong your children will think you’re a wonderful parent. Try to get everything right, and insisting they be perfect is a recipe for conflicted relationships at home.

Many people who develop job burnout come to work in the morning already emotionally exhausted from relationship problems at home. If your relationships are not supportive, work on improving your home life. Consider counseling, for you, for your relationship, or for your family, before your stress at home destroys your work life and your emotional health.

Having few job prospects leads to burn.

People who feel trapped in a high-stress job convinced themselves they have no other options. If you’re unhappy while at your job, spend some time deciding what is causing this unhappiness. Is it the job you’re unhappy with? Would moving to a different company actually relieve your stress? Or have you trapped yourself working in a job you don’t enjoy, with few prospects of finding another job? The best time to look for a new job is when you have one.

If however, the problem is not the job, but that what you’re doing for an income doesn’t match with your values, life goals, and ambitions, the way to avoid job burnout is to work on yourself and become the best possible person.

Limited job skills increase the burnout risk.

Lack of variety in anything can take all the pleasure out of what you’re doing. If you have only one skill, that will be all you will ever do. The day you can’t earn a living doing that one skill is the day you become unemployed. Learning additional skills gives you the opportunity to have a more varied day and to be more useful to your employer. Look for opportunities to identify skills you have, but which have not been developed. Growing as a person opens up more opportunities and reduces your risk of burning out doing that one thing you know how to do until you can do it anymore.

The things you are doing may be making the stresses you’re under worse. Your current actions, or inaction, may be accelerating your journey towards burnout and an emotional breakdown.

Check out the other counselorssoapbox.com posts about stress and burnout.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

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

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Fast Stress reduction.

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to quickly defuse stress.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

For less stress focus on your breathing.

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

Change the music.

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

Cool down for less stress.

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

Give yourself a timeout to allow your stress to subside.

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

Disengage from artificial environments.

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

To destress move your body.

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

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

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

Fuel and rest your body.

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

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Want the latest on my writing projects, speaking and teaching, along with comments on recent news in the field of counseling – sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page or my Facebook author’s page, David Joel Miller. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is your life out of balance?

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to get your life back in balance.

Life in balance

Staying Balanced.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It is easy to get stressed out. Getting ahead is getting more and more difficult. People tell me all the time that they are overwhelmed and that they just can’t keep up anymore. In the quest to be successful at work or competitive activities, one of the first things to suffer is your work-life balance.

Trying to be and do more results in relationships that get neglected. In extreme cases, people find they have neglected self-care and their physical and mental health have suffered. If you find your life has gotten way out of balance here are some tips on how to get that out of balance life back in balance.

Try doing less for a more balanced life.

The first step in a balanced life is to review the things on your plate and decide which are really necessary. There are plenty of things you could do but just because you can, does not mean you should.

Set a bedtime for a more balanced life.

There are times you can cut corners and squeeze a little more out, but giving up sleep time in the quest for success is a really bad idea. You can only get so many miles out of an unmaintained vehicle and the human body will not function well without adequate rest. Try cutting corners on sleep and you will find you will begin to make really bad decisions.

Make up a daily schedule to maintain balance.

Having a daily schedule all written out helps you chart a course for your day just like a road map will help you get to your destination. Writing out your day’s schedule will point to the times you have more to do than you could possibly be accomplished. A schedule can also help you see that you need to be across town two minutes after you started a meeting with your boss. Use the schedule to even out the workflow.

Reviewing that daily schedule at the end of the day may help you spot where you filled time with a water cooler session or a video game binge. It is those diversions that drag on and on which rob your day of a lot of potentially productive hours.

Allow adequate meal times to keep yourself healthy.

You can’t run your car on an empty tank nor can you run your body on substandard nutrition. Rushing through meals results in eating fewer healthy foods and more of those over-processed ones.

Investing more time in yourself keeps all aspects of your life balanced.

If you are too busy to learn a new skill then you are far too busy. Invest in your body and mind and they will still be serviceable when you reach the rewards of your life. Do you want to be one of those people who worked hard to have enough in retirement and find you are too sick to enjoy it? If you work yourself to death someone else can enjoy your efforts fruits.

Include social – friend time in the schedule for better work and life balance.

Humans are social creatures. You need positive supportive people in your life. Investing in friendships and socializing for the sake of enjoyment are not wastes of productive time. Having a good social life is the asset that will get you through those tough times in life.

Break up big tasks – chunking.

Life gets off kilter rapidly when you throw yourself at a task that is too big to complete all at once and you stay with it beyond the point of making progress. An occasional all night work binge may be part of life in this millennium but if taking on huge tasks and wearing yourself out in the process is your modus operandi try breaking that task up into smaller sub-tasks and doing one of these tasks each day.

Start accepting what is.

One of the biggest time sucks and a waste of energy is time spent on complaining about what is, should be and so on. Do not squander time saying something should not have happened or looking for whose fault it was.

Invest your energy in accepting the current situation as it exists and then focus on how to change it. Hint here. The solution probably consists in changing you and what you do rather than in trying to change others behavior to suit you.

Set time limits on tasks to prevent their expanding.

Ever had a fifteen-minute task take four hours? Work can expand to fill the time allotted. So can diversions. Set limits and if you are not done in the allotted time move on down your list. When you create your plan for the next day or revise today’s, try being more realistic about how much time this supposed fifteen-minute task will take.

Invest time in goal setting and planning.

Creating a specific goal and planning the steps to get you there is not a waste of time. Having clear goals can give your project and your life a focus. Developing a clear plan with periodic review points can keep you headed in the right direction. Good plans also prevent leaving out steps and then having to start the project all over again.

Make lists.

Make lists. Make lots of lists. Do what is most important on them and ignore the maybe’s. List of materials needed can help you avoid having to stop part way through because you are out of “stuff.” Lists that include rest and relaxation can keep you from being the machine that breaks down unexpectedly.

Prioritize – what should you be doing not what you can do.

A lot of time can get flushed away on all the things that you could be doing and result in little or no time for the big major jobs that were the real heart of the project. Let someone else do the optional tasks or delete them from your list altogether.

Was this post helpful? You might also want to check out these other counselorssoapbox posts.     Life Hacks     Self-improvement     Success

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.

What is Acute Stress Disorder?

By David Joel Miller.

Stress can knock you down and leave you in the mud.

What is? Series

What is Acute Stress Disorder?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Most people have heard of the granddaddy of all the Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, far fewer people have heard of the smaller member of this family, Acute Stress Disorder.

Acute Stress Disorder is a condition in which something bad happens and it knocks you for a loop but eventually, it goes away. We do not want to make the normal problems of living into a mental disorder so we only begin counting things as possible disorders when the stressor is still affecting your life at least 3 days after the incident.

A great many people experience some stressor which does not end up becoming PTSD. If you are still having symptoms a month after the event we start thinking this may become long-term and then you get the designation of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

We want to keep normal life events out of this equation, so expected events like having an elderly person in your family die an expected death do not count as a trauma disorder, either Acute Stress Disorder or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

The full text of the DSM-5 includes a detailed description of how to recognize Acute Stress Disorder but here is a short description of the condition.

Four conditions need to be met for this trauma to be Acute Stress Disorder.

  1. You get exposed to something that could kill or seriously injure you or someone close to you.
  2. It happens in the real world. Movies, TV or your imagination do not count.
  3. This is unexpected.
  4. You can’t escape the results of this experience. You re-experience the events in more ways than one. Think of people who investigate child abuse or first responders at shootings or those who recover body parts in the war zone in addition to those who were the direct victim.

This experiencing and re-experiencing causes you problems.

The DSM-5 lists 14 symptoms. I will not repeat them all here. For the full text see the DSM-5. These 14 symptoms are clustered in 5 categories. To get the Acute Stress Disorder you need to have at least 9 of the 14 symptoms but they can be from any category.

1.The experience keeps coming back.

You may have nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, spacing out and this may be triggered by either internal thoughts or external triggers.

2. This experience bums you out.

Basically, you get into and stay in a really negative mood.

3.The trauma spaces you out.

You may get overwhelmed and just “bounce” mentally. In more clinical language we would call this dissociation.

4.The result of the experience is it keeps you away from things.

You may find yourself avoiding people, places or things that remind you of the trauma. Some people do not like to be alone or they may use drugs and alcohol to knock themselves out rather than just falling asleep.

5.You are on edge and stay that way.

This could come out as poor sleep, being irritable or angry all the time, be losing your ability to concentrate, or being easily triggered by any little thing. People in this condition are always on high alert for something that might go wrong. The door slams down the block and those with Acute Stress Disorder will jump at a sound others will not notice.

As with the other things we are calling a mental illness, this needs to interfere with your ability to work or go to school, your relationships, your enjoyable activities, or cause you personal distress. Otherwise, you may have the issues but you will not get the diagnoses if this is a preference, not a problem. If the only time this happens is when you are under the influence of drugs or medicines or because of some other physical or medical problem this problem needs to be more than your situation would warrant. These other issues need treating first, then if you still have symptoms you could get this diagnosis.

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5; some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

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.

What operating system is installed in your brain?

By David Joel Miller.

How is your brain programmed to handle life?

Brain Apps

Brain Apps.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Most of us like to think that we have a lot of free will, we can make choices.  Psychology tells us that many of those choices we think we’re making are the result of programming, early life learning, which has created a default way in which we deal with life.

Sometimes it is helpful to think of these default operating systems as blueprints for living which we developed in childhood.  Many people find that the problems they deal with in adult life are things they learned between the ages of eight and eighteen which worked back then but do not work well as adults.

These default operating systems can sometimes work well and help us get through things.  Other times we find that there are flaws, fatal errors in our programming, which result in a less than ideal life. If you’re finding life isn’t going the way you thought it would, you may want to take a look at that programming and see if it doesn’t need an update.

Here are the most common brain operating system problems.

Act out, behavioral solutions.

For many people, this is the default setting.  When upset or angry they act out.  People who opt for the behavioral solution may become violent, throw things, yell at people or swear.  In action adventure movies this is the way the hero frequently behaves.

Acting out and behavioral solutions are a typical male way of reacting.  In athletic competition, young men and women are encouraged to be aggressive.  Outside of athletic competition, these behaviors are unacceptable.

In school, many boys get in trouble for this and may be suspended or expelled.  Later on in life using behavioral solutions to life’s problems may get you arrested, put in jail or result in prison time.  Developing the skill to think it over before using a behavioral solution is an important part of the developmental process.

Stay inside your head, isolate.

A second response pattern which is often learned in childhood is to avoid problems by withdrawing and pulling inside.  Historically girls tended to use this strategy. When stressed they would often sit at their desks staring at their work.

The result of using the isolating, withdrawal strategy, is to avoid confrontations.  It may also result in you being considered less intelligent or incapable of doing the work.

High alert, stay in fear. Scan for the negative.

A certain amount of vigilance and anxiety can be protective.  Too much anxiety becomes a problem.  People who adopt a strategy of using high attention to avoid danger can become over-anxious.  This can result in hypervigilance.  People with hypervigilance often have an exaggerated startle response.  The door slams down the hall and they jump out of their seats.

Avoidance. Use drugs, don’t trust.

Another common way of dealing with problem situations is simply to avoid interacting with the situation.  Avoidance can be as simple as just don’t talk to or see someone who is upsetting.  Other common avoidance techniques are using alcohol, drugs or another behavioral addiction.

Some people avoid painful situations simply by not interacting with others.  They may avoid friendships or close intimate relationships.  People who have been disappointed by others try to avoid additional disappointments by not putting their trust in other people.

Don’t feel.

In some family’s feelings are a banned substance.  The goal of not feeling was to avoid anything that would be upsetting.  In family’s like this people never talk about their pain or their hurt.  While this strategy may seem like a good way to avoid unpleasant emotions, it has some long-lasting negative effects.

If you grew up in a home which never dealt with feelings, you may be totally unprepared for the feelings that you do have.  People who never learned how to manage anger, pain, and sadness, are at high risk to be overwhelmed by these feelings when they do experience them.

People who have a history of not feeling are likely to also say that they have never experienced happiness.  In order to experience positive emotions, you also need to be able to experience the negative ones.  Consistently avoiding feelings can leave people feeling numb.

What are the rules? Tell me what to do.

When people don’t develop basic skills to make decisions, they may have a strong tendency to rely on extensive rules.  These people are often attracted to dogmatic leaders.  And they’re likely to be very legalistic.  You can easily spot these people.  They frequently can cite the exact rule that they believe applies to this situation.  What they find difficult to do is to function in situations where there are unclear rules or were new rules need to be made.

Rule users are also likely to try to impose their beliefs about what things should be like on other people.  They are likely to be intolerant of variation and nonconformity.

File everything for future use. Hold onto the hurts.

Another way of coping with life’s uncertainties is to never express how you feel about things.  People who adopt this strategy, often do a thing called gunny sacking.  When someone does something to bother or upset them they will hold onto that slight for later use.  They pick these little resentments up, one at a time, holding onto them for future use.  When the gunny sack gets full they unload the entire list of past resentments on the other person.

Act on those feelings, impulsivity.

Some people rather than using feelings as information feel compelled to do whatever those feelings urge them to do.  They become, in effect, slaves to those feelings.  Rather than taking ownership of their feelings they believe that other people make them happy, make them sad, or make them angry.  Since they ascribe their feelings to another person, they also believe the other person is responsible for that feeling and for their actions.

Beat your body into submission.

Some people, when under stress, take it out on themselves.  They may engage in an excess of exercise or even in physical abuse.  These people are at high risk to become cutters or in other ways engage in self-injurious behavior.

No Starter.

Some people adopt a strategy of dealing with the risks of life but trying to avoid taking any risks.  They simply never begin anything and therefore never fail at anything.  The downside of this strategy is that by never starting anything they are never successful at anything.

No brakes.

Other people avoid the uncertainties of life by trying to never accept any feedback on their actions.  Once they begin on a course of action no matter how many difficulties they may encounter they continue going forward.  These are the people who find it impossible to admit they’ve made a mistake.

Not many functions. No vocabulary.

Some people’s brains are programmed for a limited number of functions.  They simply haven’t developed the skills necessary to do other things.  A lot of what humans do is symbolic.  We use words to talk about the feelings in our lives and what we want to do.  Some people lack the vocabulary to express the feelings they do have.

Executive function that decides what routine to use.

The most desirable and most effective operating system for humans is one that involves a great deal of executive function, the ability to think about, communicate about, and make decisions.  People with a good executive function are able to set a new course, stick to that course and accomplish great things.

This is a brief description of possible human operating systems.  Many people probably use several of these methods on a daily basis.  Which of these mental operating systems have you developed?  Consider increasing the number of apps your brain has available for day-to-day life.

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.

The hidden cause of stress.

By David Joel Miller.

Why are you stressed out if things are going so well?

Stressed

Feeling stressed out?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress is epidemic in our modern world. Everyone has heard about stress management classes and tools. Everywhere you go these days people are talking about their stress levels and how hard their life is. We live in a world with more material comforts and technology than ever before. Why is everyone so stressed?

What comes as a surprise many times is that the people who are reporting the most stress are not the people who are going through the roughest times. Now we know that hard times are not always apparent. Some people have really difficult things going on in their lives and they never mention it. But what is so amazing is how people who for all apparent evidence are doing well, have so much stress.

Being unemployed is stressful but working can be even more stressful. Someone has a good job, one that pays well, and they work every day but the work is stressing them out. They have a relatively new car and the payments on that car are stressful. Frankly, the biggest stressors in life are often not the things that are the most harmful or the most painful. Why when so many people in the western industrial world have so very many things that look like advantages do we also have the corner on the world’s inventory of stress?

You can end up stressed out even if nothing bad ever happens.

What has largely gone unnoticed is that you can be so stressed out even when nothing bad ever happens. See it is not the actual event that is stressful. The fear you will lose your job can be more stressful than the actual loss. People live for years worrying that the place they work at will close or downsize and they will lose their job. That is stressful. Then the closure happens and life changes.

People can go through life always on edge, always stressed even when none of the bad things that should be the cause of their stress ever happen. Sometimes when it happens it is even a relief. At least once the shoe drops you can start making plans for the rest of your life.

The threat is more stressful than the event.

Stress is not about the actual event, at least most of the time it isn’t. Once the bad event happens people go through the grieving and adjusting process and then they get to work fixing things and rebuilding things. People who are out of work and unemployed may even go about the process of reinventing themselves.

Worry about the end of a relationship can be stressful, the thoughts about why and how come and what will you do next. But once you are convinced the relationship is in fact over and gone you can let go of the stress and start moving forward finding out who you are outside of that relationship.

Even good things can be very stressful.

The first week at a new job many people get sick. Trying to learn that new role can be stressful. You want to do well. Weddings and the birth of a child can all be extremely stressful. So can falling in love. Happy things can cause lots of stress.

What causes the stress is not the reality. What is stressful are the expectations about what will or might happen. Uncertainty is stressful. Not knowing and worry wear you out.

Stress is about anticipation.

Turns out in the end that the major factor that decides if something will cause you stress is what you anticipate happening. Worry works the stress hormones over time. Fear and anticipation take their toll. Holding on to expectations, especially negative, fearful, possible results of things makes even the best of situations stressful.

It is the things we worry about, the things outside our control that are the most stressful. We can’t control the future. The most we may be able to do is to be prepared and work to influence the outcomes.

Are you ready to give up your expectations and let life be what it is? When will you be ready to release the stress?

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.

Make your space your own

By David Joel Miller.

Make the place you spend your time a happy place.

View from window

Make it your place
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We live most of our lives in spaces. Spaces protect us from the elements when it is hot and when it rains.

Some of these spaces are of our choosing, but many more are spaces created by others. If you want to feel more comfortable with your life find ways to make the spaces you inhabit more of your own.

Below are some suggestions to transform places you are stuck with into places you want to be.

A view or pictures create personal space.

Windows open to views. You may have little control over what is outside that window but you can impact the views inside your space.

Consider planting a bush or flower outside your window when possible. Place something on that window sill. A plant, real or artificial can make that bare window sill feel more like your windowsill.

Put up some pictures. Create an environment that says this is my place. Pictures of what matters to you, of places you have been or want to go can all help to dedicate that space to your life.

Personal mementos or keepsakes make you feel at home.

Even on shared desks, people find ways to place their family picture or moments. Bring a rock or souvenir from your life and set it by that monitor to feel like this is your space, at least for now.

Just remember to pick it up and take it with you clearing the way for the next person at the desk to make it theirs while they are there.

Your music takes you home.

Having your tunes on helps make this place you are confined to your own. If you can play your tunes do so. Especially at home have that option. Are there others in your environment that do not like your music? No need to squabble. Get a set of headphones or earbuds and turn up the sounds.

Notice how music connects with your brain on a deep level. Change the music with the task and you will see how music sets the mood. Too much stress in your life, look for relaxing tunes to tame the chaos.

Have restful colors where you spend your life.

Color affects our moods. Green and Blue, the colors of Mother Nature, are restful to many people. Bright colors can spark your creativity. Decorate what you can in helpful colors.

Make things comfortable in your space.

A few minutes spent adjusting the chair, the footrest and the other things around you can make your time in any setting more positive. Can you move an end table or add one to make things within your reach? Maybe you need to move things so they are out of your way. Some of us need to get things out of our productive spaces and clear a path to use the space we claim as our own.

Plan for maximum safety.

Know how to get out of your space when needed. Make sure you have safety equipment, fire extinguishers and the like available. What changes in your room will make you feel more secure? Safety means different things to different people. Find the things that turn your space into a sanctuary of safety.

Pets and plants say this is my space.

Having a pet or plant in your living area makes it so much more your own. Can’t have a dog or cat? Consider a goldfish or a potted plant. It is so much nicer to return home and find something alive there.

Leave room to move and stand.

Avoid environments that keep you restricted to one place to sit and another to stand. Create the option to stand and move about. Frequent changes of posture can relieve stress and tension. Include those options to the best of your abilities in your environment. Having created that space to move make use of it. Frequent breaks, even small changes of position can reduce fatigue.

Those are some of the ways that occur to me that might help you to create a place that feels like home. Feeling that this is your place, that you belong here, helps in creating that happy life that we all deserve.

Any other thoughts about how you have made where you stay your home?

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.