How to be more efficient.

By David Joel Miller.

Efficiency

How to get more done.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to increase your efficiency.

Do you struggle to get things done? Do you wish you could be more efficient?

Being efficient require systems and it requires practicing them until they become routine.

Consider incorporating some of these efficiency tips into your daily life.

Get more done by making lists.

Making lists helps you in several ways.  When you try to remember too many things you are likely to forget some things.  It’s easy to get so busy with the day-to-day tasks that important things don’t get done.  Not having something on your list can result in arriving at a deadline without having begun what you needed to do.

Prioritize.

You can increase your efficiency by prioritizing things.  Begin with the things that you must do today.  Avoid spending a lot of time on small things which can eat up your day without accomplishing anything.  Some large tasks may need to be broken up into smaller components so that you can do them a little of that time.

Make a schedule.

Efficient people make schedules and stick to them.  Allow enough time for each thing that you plan to do.  Make sure you include in your schedule time to get from one place or appointment to another. In making a schedule, try to be realistic. Do not over schedule. Machines that are pushed too close to their limit breakdown, so do people.

Do the hard things first.

Make it a point to tackle the most difficult thing on your list as soon as possible.  Do the hard things early when you are full of energy. Few people have unlimited willpower. Making yourself do things you don’t want to do requires a lot of willpower. Don’t squander your willpower on minor things use it for the tough chores.

Don’t expect to be perfect.

All aspects of the things you are doing are not equally important.  Get clear on which things you need to do well and which things have room for error.  Spending too much time trying to send one perfect e-mail can result in not getting all the emails answered. Perfectionism is an enemy of productivity. Don’t use perfectionism as an excuse for not getting anything done.

Take time for both short-term and long-term planning.

Investing a little time in planning can pay big dividends in the long run.  Good planning identifies which items will take longer and which things you need to do first.  Decide which things need doing in the short-term.  Long-term goals require setting up a list of steps that you were doing to work towards them. Time spent planning will reduce the time needed to be productive.

Keep your commitments or don’t make them.

If you fail to keep your commitments, you confuse yourself and others.  Be clear on which things you genuinely intend to follow through on. People with too many things on their to-do lists often fail to complete any of their intended tasks.

Take care of your tools – especially yourself, eat, sleep and exercise.

Invest some time in taking care of the equipment that helps you.  Trying to work with broken equipment is unproductive. Self-care is especially important if you want to stay efficient.  You can’t be particularly efficient if you don’t eat when needed, get some exercise and get adequate sleep.

Focus on solutions, not problems; stay in positivity.

Spending a lot of time looking at problems is unproductive.  When facing a problem, look for a solution.  Positive can-do people are much more efficient. Highly productive people look at challenges as opportunities, not obstacles

Make every day Thanksgiving, be grateful.

Approaching things in a positive manner makes you more productive, more efficient, and a lot happier doing the things you do.  Be grateful for what you have.  Remember to express thanks for the good things that happen to you.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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12 ways to learn to love yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

The way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Feeling loved begins with learning to like and then to love yourself. Loving yourself means you are gentle and caring towards the person you will spend your life with – you. Children who grow up never being shown they are loved may find it hard to think that they deserve love. Here are some ways you can create that feeling of being a valuable loved person.

1. Turn off the noise – disconnect from social media and others opinions.

A sad fact of modern life is that with more ways to connect people are feeling less and less connected.  Frantically posting and liking people on social media can create a false sense that your worth as a person is dependent on how many people like you and your posts.

The person whose opinion about you most matters is yours.  What other people think about you is not something you should be focused upon.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Stop rating yourself.  Work on doing more things that you can feel proud of.

2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your happiness will come from the time you spend with others.  Balance your time with others and your time alone.  Being alone should not be the same thing as being lonely.  Work at making your alone time an opportunity to rest, recharge and work on yourself.

3. Make meal time an adventure, not a chore.

Think about all the times that you have shared food with someone else.  Shared meals are a part of many celebrations.  Couples go out to dates over dinner.  Family share meal time. Share some time with you. When you eat invest some time in making special things for yourself, experimenting with new foods and making your individual meals something special.

4. Make bedtime and sleep important.

Sleep is an important component of the happy life.  Not getting enough sleep will leave you grumpy and irritable.  Value yourself enough to make rest an important part of your daily routine.  Staying up late doesn’t make for a happier life.  Putting off bedtime is trying to borrow hours from tomorrow to extend today.  The consequence of this is you shortchanged your tomorrow.

5. Maintain your body; you deserve it.

Take good care of herself.  Beyond the sleeping and eating part get plenty of exercise.  Do those things each day that makes you feel valued and loved. Pamper your body.

6. Stop and savor the good things.

Difficult, painful times will be easy to remember.  The happy events in life are harder to capture.  Make sure you spend the time observing and studying the good things that happen in your life.  Commit the flowers, the sunrises and the sunsets to memory.  Make a point of noticing and returning each and every smile you receive.  Share all the happiness you can, and you will never run short.

7. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up.

Be kind to you. The evidence tells us that beating someone up will not make them a better person.  A little bit of kindness for yourself and others goes a long way.  Compassion spent on yourself is never wasted.

8. Save some treasured mementos.

It is rarely the expensive things in life that bring the great joys.  Hang onto those little keepsakes that remind you of the fabulous adventures of life.  Those little pictures that your child draws, the craft projects they make in school, all add meaning to your life.

9. Learn to laugh.

Laughter is not frivolous.  The more you laugh, the more your soul matures.  People who smile and laugh more become happier.  Don’t wait to be happy to laugh, laugh to be happy.  Time invested in watching comedy, swapping jokes and gaiety will yield great dividends.

10. Have time to play.

Time spent playing is fundamental to creative pursuits.  Playing was someone can develop and strengthen relationships.  Play with your child.  Play with your friends.  Make having fun part of your time budget.

11. When something is wrong, take care of it.

People who love themselves do not hide from life’s problems.  When there something wrong the sooner you take care of it the better.

12. Save your stories.

As you move through life, you will experience things. These become your life stories.  Hold on to those stories.  Retell them as you can.  Writing out the stories of your life can become very good therapy.

Try to do some of these self-loving activities each and every day.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Could you have a Mental Illness?

By David Joel Miller.

You think you might have a mental illness, what should you do?

Could you be mentally ill?

What Causes Mental Illness?

Have you ever thought that you were someone close to you might have a mental illness?  Being faced with mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy or have lost your mind.  Many people go through episodes of depression, or you may have excess anxiety.  Sometimes the stress of life just is overwhelming.  Or you may be having conflicts with your family, your spouse, or your children.  If you are having difficulties with your thinking, feeling, or behavior you may be at risk for developing a mental illness.  If so what should you do in this situation?  Below are some do’s and do not’s for people who are at risk for emotional problems.

Don’t ignore it, get help.

Just like physical illnesses, mental, emotional, or behavioral problems don’t get better without attention.  Pretending you don’t have an illness doesn’t keep you healthy.  There’s no great virtue in toughing it out and suffering.  Seeking help when under stress can help prevent more serious emotional problems from developing.

Discuss your problem with someone who feels safe.

If you are thinking your problems have gotten out of control, now is the time to find someone safe you can talk to about it.  Sometimes that trusted person will be your friend or family member.

Talk about your symptoms with your medical doctor.

Whenever you’re feeling out of sorts, the first thing you need to do is talk to a medical doctor. Physical problems can often look like mental health symptoms.  It is important to make sure that your feelings of sadness or depression are not a physical illness.  Sometimes prescription medications can create symptoms that look like emotional disorders.

See a counselor or therapist.

Going to see a counselor or therapist does not mean that you have given in to a mental illness.  Professional athletes have coaches because they can help them improve their performance.  In the emotional area, it helps to see a counselor to work on your stress and issues before they turn into something more serious.  Counselors are specially trained to listen to what’s going on in your life, evaluate your symptoms, and decide whether what you’re experiencing is normal or qualifies for a mental illness diagnosis.

Reduce your stress.

A little bit of stress is good for you.  We exercise to keep our bodies in top condition.  But holding onto too much stress over too long a period of time can overwhelm our emotional system.  Often it is not a huge overwhelming stress the causes people difficulty, it’s the accumulations of lots of little stress day after day.  Work on ways to reduce those little stressors and learn to stop stressing over the things that don’t really matter.

Increase your self-care.

Failing to take care of yourself is not a value.  Learn to take good care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat as healthy a diet as possible.

Work on solving those other life problems.

Often emotional crises are the result of failure to deal with other real life problems.  Work on career problems.  Get some help with financial issues.  Tackle those legal problems you’ve been putting off.

Consider taking medication for your problems.

Taking medication to help you live a healthy life is a reasonable thing to do.  It doesn’t matter whether those problems are physical or emotional, medications can sometimes help.  Have that talk with your doctor, and see if there’s some medication which might help you deal with your depression, anxiety or other emotional issues.

Taking inventory of where you are at.

After looking at all the possibilities listed above if you’re thinking that you might be experiencing a mental, emotional, or behavioral issues, something we might call a mental illness, now is the time to take action.  I hope some of the suggestions in this blog post are helpful.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Getting your needs met.

By David Joel Miller.

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

needs

Getting your needs met.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

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

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

Identifying the needs that you have.

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

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

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

Can you meet this need yourself?

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

Who should you ask to get these needs met?

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

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

Persistence pays off, keep asking.

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

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

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

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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 ear buds 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 affect 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?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Becoming your own best friend.

By David Joel Miller.

Would you treat a friend that way?

Friends

Best Friends
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You teach others how to treat you. How you treat yourself is the model for the kind of treatment you get from others. Part of recovery, from whatever challenge you are recovering from, is to develop a good support system. That support system should begin with you. If you don’t treat yourself right no one else will.

Some people think they need to whip themselves in order to become a better person. Being cruel to yourself does not make you a more loving person. Learn to be a good friend to yourself and you will be practicing being a better friend to others. You need to be a good friend to have friends. Treat yourself better and you will find treating others becomes your normal way of being.

Here are some things you can do to treat yourself better.

Recognize what you do right.

People who only hear about the things they did wrong start to feel like they can’t do anything right. Makes sure you are taking the time to notice the things you did well. Give yourself a mental round of applause for your accomplishments. Do not minimize what you accomplish by saying it should be more. Friends accept friends as they are and see the good in them. Do this for yourself.

Talk nicely to you. No name calling.

Calling someone names and putting them down damages relationships and it hurts others. Do not call yourself names. It is a form of bullying, maybe even abuse. How can you expect others to treat you well when you abuse yourself?

Practice good self-care.

If you value things you take care of them. If you care about others you want to take care of them. Do the same for yourself.

Accept that however you are is OK.

Learn to accept yourself as you are. Sure you can try to grow and improve, but how you are now is OK also. This is the great dilemma of life. You have to accept yourself as you are to be able to grow. You will become a better person because you care about yourself not because you try to whip yourself into shape. Love yourself warts and all.

Want better for you.

A real friend wants the best for their friends. Want the best for you. Plan for a better life. Do not let where you are determine where you are going. Be happy in the place you find you but always be striving to make you and your corner of the world better.

Make sure your needs are met.

You can’t get very many miles out of a car with an empty gas tank. Dead batteries do not make things go. Give yourself the best nutrition you can. Get plenty of sleep. Cars driven too far, too fast, break down. So do people, Do your daily maintenance. Keeping yourself together includes paying attention to your emotions as well as your body’s physical needs. Noticing you are depressed and using your tools to feel better will keep your emotions in better condition.

Challenge unhelpful thoughts.

Most people have a swarm of unhelpful thoughts every day. The should’s and can’t’s, the must’s and have-to’s. If those thoughts you have, are holding you back challenge them. Do you really have to or is this something you are doing for someone else?

Work to please you not others.

If you get pleasure out of doing something well that pleasure will motivate you to keep going. Try to please others and they may let you down. We rarely get as much recognition from others for a job well done as we want. If you make sure to give yourself that recognition, you will never be lacking in that essential ingredient – approval.

Show yourself, love.

If you love someone you need to show it. Kids who never hear from their family that they are loved can grow up to think they are unlovable. If you do not think you are lovable no amount of love from others can fill up that empty hole. Learn to do little things for yourself that tell you that you love yourself. Then share that love with others who also love themselves.

Loving yourself does not make you selfish or self-centered. Feeling good about you is a strength that allows you to care about others.

Forgive yourself.

All humans make mistakes. There are no perfect people and the more you do in life the more mistakes you will make. Learn to forgive yourself which makes forgiving others so much easier. Fail to forgive yourself and you can become a judgmental person who is unable to find anyone who measures up to their standards.

Get honest with yourself.

Sometimes a real friend needs to tell their friend the truth. Learn to tell yourself the truth. You do not need to pretend to be better than you are. The way you are is just fine. You will become a different person over time. Life experiences change us.

The people who grow and improve are the ones who are able to face the truth about themselves and still like who they are. Knowing the truth can free you to make the changes you need to make to move forward. Lying to yourself is a prescription for staying stuck in your problem filled life.

If you want more or better friends, begin by practicing being your own best friend and then expand that to befriending others. Let me know how this friend thing is working for you.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Ways to take care of yourself.

By David Joel Miller

You deserve to be well cared for.

Tender loving care

Tender loving care
Photo courtesy of Flickr (hehaden)

Did anyone teach you how to take care of yourself? Did they tell you that taking care of yourself is being selfish? Don’t listen to that kind of talk.

Taking good care of yourself is not being selfish. You can’t give others something you do not have. How can you expect your children and others around you to take care of themselves when you do not set a good example?

Having the guts and determination to keep on pushing forward despite the obstacles is an admirable quality. But eventually, even the superheroes need to rest and relax. Living your life as if the objective is to see how much you can suffer and push yourself is no way to live.

You are only here for one life. Try to get the most out of that life by living a life full of self-compassion.

Here is a list of simple to do self-care acts that can make you a more self-compassionate person.

1. Let yourself rest when tired – sleep.

This one is at the top of the list for a reason. Sleep is not unproductive time. You do not get more accomplished by sleeping less. When needed you can probably get by on less sleep for a few days or even weeks but eventually, that lack of rest catches up with you.

Sleep is the time when your brain cools down, increases blood flow and cleans out all the waste products. Your brain and nerves heal and memory’s get consolidated during sleep.

Fail to get enough sleep and your daily performance will decline. You may even damage that computer in your head and there are no replacement parts for the model brain you are using.

2. Take care of your body.

Eat healthily and get some exercise. If you are too busy to eat well or exercise you are too busy. Eventually, parts of the body get worn. You need good nutrition and some physical exercise to keep the machine you call your body working well.

Pushing yourself long hours on poor quality fuel results in excessive wear on your body and a shortened lifespan.

Want to get the most done in your career or home. Keep yourself in good shape for the whole journey.

3. Respect how you feel.

Do not ignore your feelings. If something is bothering you attend to it before it becomes a major problem. Talk that issue through with a trusted friend or professional. If the issue is between you and your spouse then your partner is the one you need to be talking with.

Having healthy supportive relationships keeps you mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.

If you emotions are running rough do not ignore the feelings. Take yourself in for an emotional tune-up if needed. Most people think that seeing a counselor or therapist is something you do after you have a nervous breakdown. Get emotional help in the early stages and there may be no breakdown.

4. Schedule time for you.

Never have any time for yourself? Then you are giving too much of your life away. Make time for yourself, your interests and enjoying life.

You are the only you there will ever be. Enjoy every minute you spend with yourself. Being alone some of the time should not equal being lonely. Balance the time around others with the time you spend in solitude.

5. Pause to take stock of where you are in life – have goals.

One good habit to get into is a periodic review of your life. Businesses take inventory at least one a year. Are there things in your life that are obsolete? Have a clearance sale and get those activities that are taking up your time but providing no value out of your life.

Are your activities taking you where you want to go? Review your goals and the strategies and tactics you are using to get to those goals.

6. Reward your hard work.

Make sure you build in rewards for the hard work you do. What special rewards will you give yourself when you reach a goal?

7. Challenge yourself to build a sense of accomplishment.

People have comfort zones. When you step just a little outside that zone you feel some anxiety but when you try on a new behavior and are successful you get used to this new area. Keep moving just a step outside that comfort zone and you will stretch out the area of things that you can comfortably do.

8. Give yourself a round of applause for things well done.

Be your most enthusiastic cheerleader. Make sure you notice the things that you do and give yourself a round of applause every time you are able to master a new skill or challenge.

Accept compliments when offered. Do not reject those compliments with a self-depreciating “It was nothing.” A simple thank you to the party that offered you the praise will go a long way in building your self-esteem and theirs.

9. Invest time and money in yourself.

You have a set amount of time each week. You can spend that time wisely or foolishly. Budget those hours and include an investment in yourself as part of that budget. Take a class, read something that interests you.

There is a difference between spending money and time for momentary pleasure and investing in yourself for the long run. Investments in yourself, in learning new skills or expanding your experiences, pay dividends down the road.

What other ways have you found that help you take care of yourself?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Start taking care of yourself.