17 Ways to Boost Your Self-esteem.

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

High self-essteem

Boost your self-confidence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Common sense ways to increase your self-esteem.

Feeling badly about yourself? If you have low self-esteem this does not need to hold you back. There are many things you can do to crank up your belief that no matter where you have been or what your life has been like, you can move forward and accomplish good things. If “low self-esteem” has been getting in the way of having the life you want, here are seventeen ways to change your thinking and behavior and start creating a life you can be proud of.

1. Stop comparing.

Who you are is not some sort of contest. You do not need to be better than others to feel OK about yourself. One of the fastest routes to improved self-confidence is to accept yourself as you are and stop comparing yourself to others.

Most people have the bad habit of comparing up. You know that you do not look as good as someone on the red carpet. People with only a thousand connections on social media compare themselves to someone with 15,000 connections. More connections do not make you a better person. Life is not a popularity contest.

2. Hang out with confident people.

Hang out with insecure and non-affirming people and you become insecure. Want to be a winner? Hang with the winners. (No comparing now.) Associating with happy people and their happiness will rub off. You become, over time, like the people you hang with.

3. Build on your strengths.

Everyone has strengths. Find the things you are good at. Identify and name those strengths and then emphasizes those things that allow you to make use of your best qualities.

4. Develop your undeveloped strengths.

Some strengths are developed, more or less, and others you still need to discover. Look for strengths and then practice them. Try out new things. You do not need to be great at every new thing you try. Some will not be your cup of coffee. But among those things you try, you may discover the strength that can build you a better life.

5. Study successful people.

Study those people who have overcome adversity and achieved noteworthy things. Read books about those who had great accomplishments. Those people’s journey can inspire you to be the best you can be.

6. Look for “improvement opportunities.”

Reframe every undesired outcome. When you try and do not reach your goal this is a chance to learn more and practice some new skills. No matter where you start out life requires all of us to keep working on our skills and on ourselves.

7. Work with a coach, counselor, or mentor.

No one is instinctively perfect. Most “naturals” got to be good by years of practice. Practice alone will not get you there. Not if you keep making the same mistakes over and over until they become automatic. You can’t see your own swing, but a coach can. An outside opinion, counselor, or peer can help you find more “improvement opportunities.”

8. Do good stuff.

The more positive things you do the better a person you become. Think of this as moral or karmic exercises. Good people do not become good by doing one great perfect task after a life of awful actions. Little random acts of kindness and positivity nurture a positive person.

9. Make positive self-talk the rule.

Calling yourself names will not make you work harder or build self-esteem. What you tell yourself your mind will try to make come true. Use positive affirmations, what you tell yourself becomes who you are. Remember to tell yourself you can and then go out and see how much you can do today.

10. Get acquainted with your feelings. Call them by their real names.

Feelings are not evil creatures to be banished. You fear is telling you something, so is your irritation. Learn to recognize and listen to what information those feelings are giving you, but do not let their voices drown out your thinking. If you are afraid examine this carefully. Is this really a dangerous situation or are your childlike feelings just needing reassurance that you are in control?

11. Life is about the journey, not the contests you win.

No one wins everything every time.  In life, there will be some second and third places and sometimes you may finish last. Those are not failures. Not being the best at something this time does not mean that you are flawed. Accept that life is about trying on new activities to see which fit you. You do not need to win every game to enjoy playing.

12. Enjoy being a beginner.

One way to cripple yourself self-esteem is to expect to be great at everything the first time. You learn a lot more by being the beginner and mentally observing yourself developing skills.

13. Be proud of your scars.

Victories come with a price. Sometimes that is pain, sometimes you have to fall down and get back up. Love yourself scars and all. You will have life experiences that are painful. You may not want to repeat some experiences but accept that they made you who you are.

14. Work hard at being you. Do not live to fulfill someone else’s dream.

Be sure that the yardstick you use to measure yourself is yours and not someone else’s. Better still toss those yardsticks and stop the measuring. Explore life and get acquainted with you. Live to be you not to fulfill someone else’s ambitions.

15. Stop hiding your mistakes.

Mistakes and imperfections do not diminish your value as a person. Don’t be afraid to look at your shortcomings and to admit them. Especially admit them to yourself. Looking at these less than perfect outcomes can help turn them into improvement opportunities.

16. Remember to love yourself.

You don’t take good care of things you don’t like and you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time with people who dislike you. You will spend the maximum part of your life with you. Make sure you grow to enjoy your company. Mostly that will happen when you stop criticizing you and begin to accept that however you are is perfectly fine.

17. Take good care of yourself, you deserve it.

This one got left for last. It could easily have been first on the list. Others will not treat you any better than you treat yourself. If you want to feel better about yourself start treating yourself better. You deserve to be treated well.

Self-worth is something you should have regardless of what you do. Remember you are a human being, not a human doing. You are more than the list of things you do.

There you have it, some of my suggestions for giving up self-judging and looking at yourself in a more positive way. Try these on and see if you don’t begin to feel just fine about yourself.

Check out the other counselorssoapbox.com posts on Self-esteem.

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

Getting your life unstuck.

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

Life stuck

Getting your life unstuck.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to create a better life.

Have you ever felt like your life is stuck?

Time is passing and you are just standing still, going nowhere, and wishing that your life had more meaning and purpose?

Getting your life on track requires a shift in how you see and do things. Here are some ways you can start creating the life you want.

Inventory what you have not what is missing.

If you spend all your time looking at the things you want and do not yet have you can get discouraged easily. Make sure you count up all the things you have accomplished. Emphasize what you have and the shortages will seem less overwhelming.

Keep your eye on the future, not the past.

Let things go. Always looking over your shoulder at the “good old days” can result in losing the present. Bemoaning what you had that is no longer in your life can take the pleasure of those experiences from you. Value what has been a part of your life rather than sit and cry over what has gone. Don’t lose the joys when it is time for something or someone to leave your life.

Plan to be in a good place.

Expect to have a good day. Plan on an excellent day and see if you do not attract more of them into your life. If you expect to have a bad day your brain will willingly create one for you.

Victims wait for things to happen to them, winners plan for the best while preparing for all eventualities.

Start doing more positive things.

Do more positive things and life becomes more positive. Do for others. Be of service. Do things you can be proud of and watch your self-esteem soar.

Say goodbye to unhelpful urges. – don’t give in.

One hallmark of addictions and dysfunctional behaviors are the cravings. Giving in to that desire may seem like the way to reduce the discomfort in the short-term but over the long-term resisting urges will grow your inner strength.

Rethink your life rules. Who says you have to be that way.

What you tell yourself about you becomes who you are. Tell yourself often enough that you can’t do something and you make it true. What are those unhelpful rules you find yourself living by? Who told you that you were just that way and needed to accept things the way they are?

Clean out the unhelpful activities.

Are there lots of busy activities that are filling up your time? It is not just garages, drawers, and closets that need spring cleanings. Our lives can fill up with habits and activates that result in a cluttered, stuck life. If you find yourself out of time each and every day to do those great things start cleaning out the unhelpful activities and make room for the future.

Get rid of toxic friends.

Good friends can help you build your life. Toxic friends poison your environment. Getting unstuck involves looking at your life and deciding what to keep and what to jettison. Unhelpful thoughts and draining friends need to go.

Stop worrying about what others think and say.  Make your own decisions.

Do the things you believe in, they matter. Other’s opinions shouldn’t matter. Decide what is right and act on that view. This doesn’t mean that you should be selfish. It does mean that you need to follow your dreams and live your life rather than curtailing your hopes and dreams to fit other’s preconceived beliefs about how you should be.

Be careful who you listen too.

Get good advice from those who want the best for you. There is lots of advice around. Much of it free, but beware those who tell you what to do because it benefits them. True experts can give you facts and options, not answers to how you should live. If you want to get that life of yours moving in a positive direction seek out a coach or mentor, work with a counselor. Look to see what changes in you will produce the changes you want in your life.

Be open to new experiences.

Everything in life does not need to go as planned. Opportunity does not always knock, not loudly anyway. Sometimes the greatest opportunities in life go to those who put themselves in new situations and learn as a result.

Let go of resentments. No more blame.

Whose fault things are matters far less than whose responsibility is it to change things. If you want to get going stop blaming others for steering you wrong. Take back control of your life’s steering wheel.

Emphasize experiences and people, not things.

Things wear out and break. The latest fashion goes out of fashion, but the things you experience are with you for a lifetime. You will forget about those things you bought but you will treasure the memories of what you did.

Tell doubt to shut up. Do not listen to that committee in your head.

There are always those thoughts in your head. “You should do this” and “what about that.” Ignore those limiting voices. Heed the conscience but not the chorus of doubts. Be careful about believing your own thoughts, not everything you think is true. Those voices in your head, sometimes they lie to you.

Start with small steps, one day, one hour at a time.

Do not put off life improvements until you have the time. You get 168 hours a week like everyone else. There will never be a week with more hours or a year with more days. Start now going where you want your life to go and a little at a time you will get there.

Do nothing and ten years from now you will still be where you are now, stuck! Do some small thing to improve that life each day and in ten years you can look back and marvel at how far you have come. Most great projects can be broken down into a series of small baby steps. Take them one step at a time and see where it gets you.

Ask instead of waiting for someone else to take the first step.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking others should anticipate your wants. There are very few mind readers around in spite of the large number who think they can read minds. If you expect others to know what you want, if you wait to be asked, you may miss out. That other person may be wanting for you to say something first.

Look for supporters, not obstacles.

Do not focus on the people or things that could get in your way. Look for those people who will be allies in your progress. Build bridges, not walls. There are all kinds of things that could hold you back but as long as you look around for obstacles you will miss identifying those who could truly help you get where it is you want to go.

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

Is this the year you will change?

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

Changing your life

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

Will anything change for you this year?

Look at that! New Year’s come and gone. Some resolutions have already been abandon. Change is hard, staying the same is easier. Have you ever thought that someday you will make some changes, but time continues on and nothing much changes? You may even have told yourself that you are too old to change, yet all around you others are making changes, small ones, major ones. Some of those people are older than you. Some have illnesses and challenges. And yet they change. Have you asked yourself when will you finally make those changes?

You may see from the blog title, counselorssoapbox Counseling, Therapy, Recovery, and a Happy Life, that I believe in people having a happy life. I believe in wellness and recovery. You can too. Improving your life does not need to be done all at once in huge seismic shifts. That old snowball effect, small changes mounting up, is at work here. Let’s start walking through the process of making life improvements and see where it takes us.

Self-improvement begins with finding out where you are.

Anyone can benefit from a conscious effort to make their life better. You start by looking at where you are and then you decide where you want to go. Don’t get sidetracked into how awful your current life is. View any problems you have as opportunities for improvement.

Some people call this process taking a life inventory. It is important to add to your inventory, not just the marked down and worthless items, but those skills and talents that may take you where you need to go. Make a concerted effort to look for undeveloped talents, those things you said you would do someday that you have not yet tried. One of those yet to be tried activities may be just the thing that has been missing from your life.

Do not rush the inventory process. If you sketch out a house on the back of a napkin you could rush out, buy materials, and start building. It is better to have a good blueprint. This keeps you from having to tear down your house because you forgot the foundation or a way to install electrical and plumbing.

Put your life improvement plan down in writing.

Some time back, a few decades ago, I started working on a written Happy Emotional Life Plan (H.E.L.P.) I carry this around in a loose-leaf binder. This plan is one section in the binder that includes sections for the classes I teach and my other important life activities. I look at this plan periodically, about once per week. It reminds me of where I have been and where I am going. It is surprising many years, when I get to the end of the year, how far I have come.

Along the way, I discovered that a WRAP plan (Wellness and Recovery Action Plan) was a part of the things I needed to work on. Staying emotionally healthy is a prerequisite for me if I want to reach my goals. But my H.E.L.P. plan includes a bunch of other things also.

You do not need to be lost to check a road map.

Having a Happy Emotional Life Plan does not require you to believe there is something wrong with you. Take a look at the post “Why do successful people have coaches” for more on the way in which anyone can use some help in reaching their life goals.

No matter how difficult or awful the place you are in you can still benefit from doing some things to make your life a better place.

It is not just where you are going but how you wish to travel that matters.

Part of creating a life change plan, one that will make your life what you want it to be, is getting clear on your values. Values clarification should always come before setting goals. If a goal for you is having more money, why do you want that and what are you willing to do or not do to get there.

Don’t try to visit all the countries in Europe in one week.

A common error in trying to improve your life is to try to tackle too many goals at once. People in early recovery from mental illness, substance use, disintegrating relationships and so on often make the mistake of trying to fix all their problems the first week.

You may decide you would like a more abundant life so you take a job working forty plus hours a week. Then you see the need for more education so you enroll in school as a full-time student. Some love in your life would make things better so you begin dating and start a new relationship. All that gets done in the first week of the year. What will you do for the second week?

Trying to make too many changes at once reduces the chances of success. Start by making a few small changes and practice them over and over until those new habits become automatic.

Start any self-improvement plan with a few selected goals and as you make progress towards those goals you can add more to the list.

Plans for self-improvement are life maps for a journey.

It is easier to say you want to be healthy. Taking action on that goal is more difficult. Break those goals you have set up into small steps. Take one step at a time and see how far you can travel. Include periodic reviews for your goals and progress as part of a life plan review.

Sometimes it helps to consult a travel adviser or guide.

If your life plan includes some serious renovations consider getting some professional help. A career counselor can help you look for the new job you want. If you have emotional or relationship issues you need to work on, then a counselor or therapist can help.

Throughout this year we will revisit this theme of transforming your life into the one you would like to have and how you can navigate this process of change.

How are you wanting to change yourself and the life you live?

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

12 Steps to increase your confidence.

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

Confidence

Confidence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Increase your self-confidence by following these 12 easy steps.

1. Stop trying to be perfect – no one is.

Focusing on being perfect keeps you thinking of the negative. Focus instead on your personal best. Work on being just a little better each time you do something and over the long haul you will see improvement. Skills take constant polishing to develop and to maintain.

2. Improve yourself.

Learn a new skill, tackle something you have never done before. Confidence is based on having a wide variety of areas in which you feel competent. Freed of the need to be perfect in everything, you can be however good you are at lots of things. The more skills you have, even rudimentary skills, the more confidence you will have.

3. Don’t compare your private self to others public selves.

We all know our private self. The times we have done something we regret. You know your imperfections. It is easy to compare yourself to someone else’s P.R. image. Do not compare your naked self to someone else’s red carpet costume. Time and again we have seen a public person that many thought had it so together, only to find out that this public person hid a major flaw.

4. Accept yourself warts and all.

The key to increasing your self-confidence is to accept that the way you are now is perfectly OK, all the while striving to become the best person you can be. Being self-deprecating is not being humble. Stop putting yourself down. Accept yourself and you make it easier for others to accept you. Reject yourself and no amount of accomplishments will make you feel good about yourself.

5. Please yourself first for increased confidence.

Trying to please others first results in being chronically unsure if you measure up. Outside people do not know you the way you know you. There will be others in your life you will never be able to please. Some parents think the way to get their children to do better is to always point out their offspring’s flaws. The result is that those children feel they can never measure up and some give up trying altogether, a thing we call learned helplessness. As adults, many people can trace their lack of confidence to a lifetime of trying to please impossible others.

If you have or had someone in your life like that, realize that pleasing them is an impossible task and focus on pleasing yourself.

6. Take more chances.

The great basketball players take more shots. Many highly successful people have tried a number of careers or businesses before they found their niche. You do not protect yourself from failure by sticking to the things you already know. Trying new things helps you discover talents you never knew you had.

7. Have a gratitude list.

Creating a list of the things you have that you are thankful for. Write down a list of your life accomplishments.  Remembering the things you have accomplished in life boosts your confidence. People who lack self-confidence tend to dismiss their accomplishments and discount what they have because they focus only on the things that are lacking.

Recognizing the things you have and the part you have played in creating those things can boost your self-confidence.

8. Use affirmations to increase your confidence.

Affirmations are an incredible tool for boosting confidence. Tell yourself that today you will have a great day and your brain creates it. Say these positive affirmations to yourself every morning. When you need a boost of confidence, repeat them to yourself.

For maximum effectiveness pick affirmations that you believe. Do not try to lie yourself into self-confidence. If you want to be more famous your brain may not accept the affirmation I am famous. It could accept that “Today I will do things that people should notice.”

9. Do your homework – be prepared.

Giving a speech about something you know nothing about will not inspire confidence. Teachers, even those who have been at it a long time, will prepare before classes. New to a field? Learn the basic vocabulary and the “who’s who” of your job. The more you know and the more subjects you know about the easier it will be for you to have conversations with people. Knowing what you are talking about breeds confidence.

10. Educate yourself – read.

Confident people know a bit about a great many things. Self-assured people read and read widely. Read about your own field but also read about things outside your interests. Being well versed in many things will help you interact with others in a confident way.

11. Find the things you care about.

Know yourself and know your interests. It is much easier to be confident when talking about or doing something you really care about. Self-knowledge should make you more confident not less. Accept your good qualities and do not dismiss them lightly. It takes time and practice to become proficient at things. Pick things to practice that you enjoy and you will learn them more rapidly and become better at them.

12. Look for the happy things in life – smile and laugh.

Being a happy person draws others to you. Happiness is a skill. It requires practice and observation. The negativity in the world yells at you every day. The positive happy things wait patiently to be noticed. Make happiness watching a skill you hone every day.

More self-esteem info

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

Excuses that keep you stuck.

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

Life stuck

Getting your life unstuck.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

These excuses will keep things from ever getting better.

Things in your life are not right. You know your life could be better but you talk yourself out of doing anything. Are you making excuses that allow things to stay the same? Are you cheating yourself out of the fulfilling life you could have? Here are some of the common ways people alibi their inaction and keep themselves stuck. How many of these thinking errors do you practice?

Things are not that bad.

Do you tell yourself that things are not THAT bad? That they could be worse. Clearly, the opposite of the best thing for you is not-that-bad things that could be better but you allow to stay unchanged.

I don’t know where to start.

That is a sneaky excuse. It tries to make you think there is something else you need to know before you can start on anything.  You always start where you are. You start at the beginning and keep going. Taking a trip to a strange place? Get a map, talk to a travel guide, or someone who has been there. Ask questions.

Same thing for life. Don’t know how to begin? Seek out someone who can help you. A counselor or therapist a friend or mentor. The trip to recovery land begins when you decide to leave where you are.

You need to be born with talent.

Talents are like seeds. When you were born you were given a whole lot of seeds stored away in your brain. The ones you plant and nurture will grow. You will never know how much talent you have unless you practice a skill to develop it to its fullest. Some people discover, in their retirement years, they had talents they never knew they had. What could they have done with those talents is they had nurtured them sooner?

I will never be as good as so and so.

Probably not. But then you will probably never be as bad as some other people. Comparing yourself to others is an exercise in mental avoidance. (You thought I was going to use another word didn’t you?)

There is no point in comparing yourself to others. You will never be them. But then Benjamin Franklin was no Michelangelo either. Shakespeare was no Chaucer. No one is ever anyone else. You need to be you and do the best you can. You will never know just how good you could be if you don’t try.

Things are just fine the way they are.

If you really believe that try just sitting where you are for the rest of your life. Will that work? No. You need to get up and move around. You need to work and laugh and play. Life is about the journey. If you do nothing things are not likely to stay fine. They are likely to get worse. Keep making you and your life better and see where you end up.

I will do it someday.

There are seven days in the week and none of them are Someday. Someday never comes. It is always today. Do not wait till you can spend full-time working on your dream. That day may never come. Life is all those things you experience while waiting for Someday to arrive.

It is no big deal.

It should be. This is your life. You should matter. Start by making your life matter to you. Everything is a big deal when you can’t do it anymore.

Things might get worse.

They might. But then do nothing and I can pretty much guarantee they will get worse. Things keep going in the direction they are going unless something like gravity or time bends them. Your actions can be the force that changes the trajectory of your life.

I will probably fail.

Telling yourself you will fail does not protect you from failure. Want to fail big? Do nothing. Not studying is the best way to fail a test. Do not turn in your assignment and you get a zero. Do it and you will get at least some points. In life doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.

Not sure what the risks are? Don’t let your mind try to protect you by inventing humongous possible consequences. Talk with experts, coaches, and mentors and see what the real situation is.

I might have to give something up.

You will eventually have to give everything up. You will never know what you could have had if you had gone for it. Most people have a whole lot of things, physical and habit wise that are cluttering up your life. To make room for anything new we always end up having to get something out of our lives. Pick the things you want to jettison before you run out of room, and nothing better can ever enter your life.

Change is hard.

Staying the same can be hard also. Yes, change is hard sometimes, especially that first step. But once you step out you will find that the movement gets easier the farther you go. Anything worth doing talks effort and the most valuable things sometimes takes the most effort.

Do things over and over till they become automatic habits and they become easy. The alphabet and writing were hard in the early grades, for most of us, it is easy now. Skills are all hard in the beginning but you would be surprised how quickly you can learn a new skill.

I don’t have the time for that.

You don’t have time to not do new, valuable things to improve your life. You only have so much time and then time runs out. Spend that time budget of yours wisely before all your time is gone and you regret never having done those things that might have made your life worth living.

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

Becoming your own best friend.

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

Friends

Best friend.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Would you treat a friend that way?

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 that are 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 musts 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.

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

Boost your willpower.

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

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

Simple ways to increase your willpower.

Willpower, both the making yourself do unpleasant things and the “won’t power” type where you have to pass up things that might not be good for you, are often in short supply. Some people just seem to have plenty of willpower and other people are constantly running out.

Whatever supply of willpower you have, it seems to be at its peak in the early part of the day and then declines as the day moves on. Start your day with a good supply and you will get a lot more go out of your willpower. Here are some ways to recharge that willpower supply of yours.

Get more sleep for more willpower.

Lack of sleep, an adequate amount, can cause all sorts of problems. When you are tired you do not feel like doing things, particularly things that will require a lot of willpower. People who get enough sleep appear to have an extra dose of willpower as a result of that dose of sleep.

Sleep is the “low hanging” fruit of self-care. Add in a healthy diet, some exercise, and some emotionally healthy things, and your willpower is bound to expand.

Improve your support system and improve your willpower.

Having people on your side helps stretch your willpower. People who support you can encourage you to do the hard things that require more willpower. They can also support you in avoiding those things that are not healthy. People who have lots of friends are less troubled about willpower than those who have few friends.

Make sure these friends are positive. Remember that resisting peer pressure thing? Well, resisting peer pressure uses up tons of willpower. Having good friends that support you in doing the right thing will get you extra miles out of your existing willpower.

Manage your blood sugar to manage willpower.

Low blood sugar makes you feel tired and irritable. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining proper blood sugar can both help you have the energy to do the hard stuff. Not feeling out of sorts can also help you avoid the arguments and conflicts that come more frequently when you are low on brain fuel.

Careful though, over the long-term, high blood sugars, the kind that can lead to or be the result of diabetes, can cause you to just not want to do anything. Not sure? Talk to your doctor about your blood sugar. Do not wait until your body is totally out of go to get that diabetes diagnosis. Knowledge is power, especially in the health area.

Create a schedule – making choices uses up willpower.

People report that they have less difficulty with willpower early in the day. The first few things go well. But as you do more and more your willpower gets used up. Each time you have to make another decision you use some more of that precious willpower.

Start your day with a lot of those willpower-sapping decisions already done. End your day by making a list of the things you are going to need to do tomorrow. Each successive act you take needs less willpower as you just keep working your way down the list.

Establish routines to maximize willpower.

Routines become automatic default settings in your brain. If you do things in a certain order, that takes the pressure off you to decide what to do first, second, and so on. Use your daily outline as a tool to propel you through the rest of the day’s activities without having to think each choice through all over again.

Write out your goals and look at this list often.

Out of sight out of mind especially applies to things that are harder to do. Make a written list of goals. Reward yourself as you accomplish each goal on your list. Reminding yourself why you are doing things today that are hard to do because you are working towards a set goal, can make staying on task much easier.

Rearrange your environment to reduce temptations – people, places, and things.

Does it take willpower to stay focused? Reduce the distractions in your environment. Do not go to places where you will be tempted and then blame your fall on your lack of willpower. Bakeries are not places to stay on your diet and bars will not be good places to help you avoid drinking.

Do you get distracted by social media or videos? Close the windows, turn off the set, and see how much less willpower it takes when you are in the place to do what needs doing.

If you slip do not stay down – the F&@*it’s.

A single slip in your willpower is not an excuse to say that you just “can’t” do something. Learn from that slip and make the changes you need to make in order to stay on track. Giving up after one set back is a way to shrink your willpower.

Break tasks up into manageable chunks.

Facing one huge task can overwhelm anyone’s store of willpower. Break that task up into small pieces. Need to write a report – make up a list of the steps and check one or two off each day. Over time you will make amazing progress.

Trying to improve your life? You can’t do everything in one day. Make a few small changes and then practice these over and over. Of course, if your life is way far out of control, like addiction or homelessness you may need to do some of the large work first.  Getting off drugs or finding a safe place to stay is the first job. Making more friends and eating healthy can wait till you’re off the drugs.

Those are some of the suggestions I have found that can help expand that most precious resource willpower. Have you found any other things that help you to have an adequate supply of willpower?

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

Ready for a life makeover?

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

Spring flowers

Spring is here.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Spring cleaning for your new life.

The winter season is coming to a close. Spring is approaching. Time for spring cleaning and getting the house and you spruced up for a new year. People often get makeovers for their looks and their clothing, sometimes for their places, but have you considered getting a makeover for your life?

Here are some things you may want to consider changing to create a new, clean, and effective new you.

1. Clean out the toxic habits.

Take an inventory of your life. Are there habits that became a part of your life that are toxic? Do you smoke, drink to excess, or do drugs? Would now be a good time to get rid of that habit before it becomes an addiction?

It is not just chemicals, drugs, and alcohol, which may need ejecting from your life. Behaviors can be just as addicting, mentally, and physically, as drugs. What behaviors have taken over your life uninvited?

Do you waste time complaining or gossiping, dwelling on personalities as some like to call it? Would now be a good time to resolve to work on issues rather than talk about people? Are there other habits that are harmful to your happy, productive life?

Have you settled for passive behaviors, watching sports instead of playing them? Are their activities that have become huge time wasters and which add nothing of values to your life? Get rid of the things that waste your time and spend that time on becoming a better happier you.

2. Update your friend’s list.

Do you have people in your life who are on the friend’s list, the electronic friends or associates you hang out with, that are bad for your emotional health? Consider if there are people you have been calling friends that are anything but a friend.

Is it time to work on making some new friends? Get yourself out there, say hi, put your hand out and start making new friends. You will begin to copy the people you hang out with. Show me your friends and this will tell us who you are.  Maybe your friends need an upgrade?

3. Shop for some new options – set new goals.

Has your life drifted into a rut? Are you aimlessly drifting along in life? It may be time to set new goals, rearrange your priorities, and head off in a new direction.

Were there things that you said you will do someday? Have you done them? Do not wait to create your “bucket list” until you are too old and weak to carry a bucket. If you knew time was running out, what would you want to do? Why not start doing those someday thinks today?

4. Refurbish your career.

Do you have a job or do you have a career? Work on creating a job that you enjoy going to. Make it into a career. Find something to do that you feel good about and you will find work is less of a chore and more of a life mission. Why do unpleasant work when you can do something you love all day and get paid for it?

Has your career gotten shabby and worn? Does it fit who you have become? Is it time to start shopping for ways to rework that career? Get more training, look for more opportunities in the place you work, or possibly launch out in a whole new direction.

In your lifetime you probably will need to move a bunch of times and if you are like most people you will end up changing jobs many times in your life. Start planning where you want to land when you leave where you are.

5. Get a new look.

Does your wardrobe need updating? Maybe just some outfits that are less shabby and worn? If you remember when you got that article of clothing, the decade, rather than where it may be time for a change.

6. Fix up your nest.

You spend a lot of time where you live. Make it as comfy and cozy as possible. Most people have accumulated more stuff than they can use. Do you live in the land of clutter? Now is the time to part with the out of date, the things that you keep because you have them not because you want them.

Hang some new pictures, rearrange a few things. What in your living area says “I live here?”

7. Try on some new hobbies.

Is there something you always wanted to try? Is now the time to try out that activity? Take up a new skill. Learn to cook. Find a hobby or craft that suits your lifestyle.

8. Visit some new places.

Get out of the old rut. See some new places, travel a little. Even something as simple as taking a different route to work can spark some new ideas and new experiences.

If a tourist came to your hometown where would you take them? Have you taken yourself there? What wonders await you just around the bend? Seeing things in person is a far different experience than looking at the pictures on the internet. Ask yourself what you would like to see or experience in person.

Attend some festivals. Enjoy the pageantry.  There are annual events all around you. Historical reenactments abound.

9. Make some repairs to your relationship.

Does your relationship need some work? Has it become shabby and run down? Do some things to repair the cracks that have developed between you and your partner. Good relationships require maintenance. The best relationships are between people who, once they notice the relationship has some damage, drop their pride, and work on making the repairs.

What areas of your life need remodeling or repair? Are you ready to start on some personal improvement?

For more on these topics see: Relationships,  Family ProblemsSelf-improvement   

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 personal 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 personal 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.

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.

Start making your own decisions.

Look for areas in your life where you can make a decision for yourself. Large or small it does not matter, simply 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 power away.

Try new things to increase your skills.

Going for ice cream? Look for a new flavor to try. You may like it, you may not. Check that one off 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.

Help yourself by volunteering to help others.

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 just may surprise yourself with how well you can do something.

Empower yourself by practicing leadership.

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.

Taking good care of you 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 matter 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.

Learn a new skill.

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 classes on how to use the products they sell.

Get more education or training.

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.

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

Is everyone Bipolar?

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

Person with masks

Bipolar.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Just how common is Bipolar Disorder?

There are people out there with Bipolar Disorder as we currently understand Bipolar. Some people who really have this issue never get diagnosed and miss out on the treatment they need. From some of the things on the web today it is hard to see how anyone could escape getting this diagnosis. For more on this dilemma see the post, Bipolar – Misdiagnosed or missing diagnosis?

If professionals give out a diagnosis too freely then it stops having any meaning. So just how common is Bipolar Disorder and what should we think about people who sort of have it?

Some perspective

Humans are not the only creatures on earth who act “bipolar.”

Think about some of the symptoms. Elevated expansive mood, reduced need for sleep, increased impulsivity and heightened sexuality. Hum—

It is hot here now, but only a few weeks ago it was spring. From the window in my office, I watch the birds in the trees and on the lawn. There are a lot of native doves in my immediate area. For a while, just after Valentine’s Day, those doves woke me up in the morning. They were cooing constantly and then mating – can’t describe that and stay P. G. rated. When pursuing and being pursued by mates their temperament can best be described as irritable. Are doves Bipolar? Are they only Bipolar in the spring time?

Every spring the days start getting longer, the creatures on planet earth respond by becoming more active, they and we humans with them, think about reproduction. If birds breed in February they have babies by Easter. Humans seem to breed just as fast but we take longer to get the babies done.

Then in the fall time, the doves seem to disappear. So do the humans on my block. All those exercise freaks stay indoors. As the days get shorter the mood among humans gets gloomier. This may be one reason we have so many holidays in the fall and winter, Halloween, American Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all in a couple of months. We do this to cheer ourselves up. We also see extra depression during those months of less light.

If birds are affected by the changes in weather, humans are affected, and other animals also, it is difficult to go on describing these mood fluctuations as a mental illness.

We know that some people are affected by the seasons more than others. The degree and magnitude of mania and depression vary from one person to another. When have we crossed the line and turned normal human emotions and feeling into a pathological disorder?

There are also milder variations in human behavior we call “personality.” Talking about personality types, wondering why we are the way we are, is an interesting study. One needs to be careful in learning about personality to not make the first year student mistake and start seeing pathology where none exists. Not everyone who is moody, sleepless, irritable, or extra sexual needs to be diagnosed and put on medication.

As a therapist, I know there are lots of folks who would benefit from talking to a counselor about their problems. We also know that insurance wants us to be sure they are mentally ill and meet the criteria for “medical necessity” before insurance pays for the treatment. The challenge is to stick to the criteria and make sure only people with a real mental illness get treated using insurance money, while still trying to help all the people we can. Professionals continue to debate exactly where the lines of a disorder should be drawn.

At this point, we have three for sure reasons why someone’s symptoms get severe enough that they get the diagnosis.

1. Your issue interferes with “occupational functioning,” which includes school, for children and volunteer work if you are disabled.

2. It interferes with “social functioning” which mainly means you have poor or no relationship with family and friends.

3. Your issue causes you “subjective distress,” meaning a whole lot of emotional pain.

Having a personality that is not as you would like it may be painful but I hesitate to throw that in with mental illness. So if you are too introverted, impulsive or have some such personality trait, you can work on that, but you are not likely to be severely enough impaired to be diagnosed with a mental illness.

Some people may have “bipolar trait” or a “bipolar temperament” these are things you may or may not choose to work on in yourself improvement projects. “Hyperthymic Temperament” and Hyperthymic Personality Disorder” is just such a condition. Hyperthymic Personality Disorder is a common name NOT a specific diagnosis. DSM Personality Disorders are far more severe than Hyperthymia.

My thinking is that if you have characteristics like this you may want to consider being screened by a profession and keep an eye out for the possible development of Bipolar Disorder.

One thing we professionals should avoid doing is turning everyone who is different, into a pathological condition.

So is everyone Bipolar? The DSM-4 reports that the prevalence of Bipolar I and Bipolar II combined is more or less 2%.  Irritable, moody, impulsive and sexual people – that is just about all of us.

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.

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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 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.