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Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been defined as “the quality of being conscious or aware of something.” Mindful.org refers to mindfulness as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are, and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Practicing mindfulness and incorporating this way of being into your life  can improve one’s physical, social and psychological wellbeing. The benefits are well worth the amount of time it takes and are as follows:

  1. Increase one’s ability to decrease anxiety and depression.
  2. Helps one to pay attention and observe thoughts and feelings without judgement.
  3. Promotes relaxation and calmness.
  4. Reduces negative emotions and stress. Improves memory.
  5. Boosts the immune systems ability to fight off illness.
  6. Encourages one to eat healthy and cope with cravings allowing them to pass.
  7. Alleviates physical pain. Develops a sharp focused mind.
  8. Improves relationships. Increases work satisfaction.
  9. Regulates emotions. Enhances digestion. Improves sleep.
  10. Improves academic achievement/reduces problem behaviors.

Apps and websites that can be used to incorporate Mindfulness into the lives of children, adolescents, adults and seniors include:

happify.com, omvana.com, brain.fm, mindfulness- app.com, joyable.com, calm.com, mindful.org, headspace.com, smilingmind.com, Stop, Breathe & Think, DreamyKid, Breathing Bubbles, Positive Penguins, Calm Counter, Emotionary, Take a chill, Chill Outz, Relax Melodies, Guided Mind, MINDBODY, Buddhify, Insight Timer, 10% Happier, Meditation Studio, Pacifica, Meditation Timer Pro. Sattva Meditations and Mantras, Breethe, Simply Being, Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine, Breathe, think, Do with Sesame, Super Stretch Yoga HD, Mandala Memory, Mindful Powers, Wellbeyond Meditation for kids, Zen Bound 2 Universal, 5 minute escapes, Jinglow, and Virtual Hope Box.

The practice of mindfulness can assist you to be in the moment bringing a sense of peace, joy and happiness into one’s life. Eckhart Tolle stated “Wherever you are be there totally.”

For additional assistance to learn more about living in the present (the here and now) Contact Sue Hodges LCSW at Wasatch Family Therapy at 801.944.4555

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School Daze

 
As a Mom of 5 school aged children, I remember that feeling of ELATION when my last child graduated from high school. My homework was finally complete!  During those 20 plus years, I now realize that, with good intent, I spent a fair amount of time hovering over my children “paying extremely close attention to their experiences and problems particularly at educational institutions”, much like a “helicopter parent.”
 
I have since discovered that the line between being a supportive parent and a hovering helicopter can be blurry, according to Malinda Carlson who authored the article “10 Warning Signs that You Might Be a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop). Malinda states that “Nobody sets out to be a helicopter parent; it kind of creeps up on you.”
 
So… How can you avoid being a full time “helicopter parent?”
 
Listen to your child.  Refrain from imposing your goals and wishes upon them.
 
Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for their actions unless you believe they are life altering or unfair. 
 
Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to think about possible solutions.
 
Don’t do your children’s work for them or completely relieve them from the responsibility of keeping track of deadlines.  
 
Support your child’s teacher and encourage your child to respect the teachers opinions.
 
Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions.
 
Don’t complete tasks that your child is capable of completing for themselves.
 
Let go of negative thoughts about your child’s future
 
Don’t micromanage your child’s life.
 
Avoid constantly worrying about your children.
 
Give them the opportunity to take small risks.
 
Take a few steps back and and give them some space.  
 
Some studies show that children who are hovered over by a “helicopter parent” were more likely to feel “self-conscious, worried, angry and have a poor sense of self esteem.”  However, other studies show that helicopter parenting can:
 
Help parents to know if the child is safe.
 
Assist the child to be less likely to misbehave and develop into a well mannered person.
 
Help develop a special bond between the child and the parent.
 
Help the child develop a better attitude towards life. 
 
So… It’s up to you as parents to determine what style of parenting works well you and your children.
 
If you would like to take a closer look at your style of parenting, call and make an appointment with me.
 
Happy parenting
 
Sue Hodges
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Wasatch Family therapy
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How do I love me? Let me count the ways!

Learning to love yourself is probably the greatest work that you will ever do. Loving yourself means just as you are willing to rescue someone else, you are also willing to rescue yourself.

Learning to love yourself is a quiet thing. When you gain the desire and practice eliminating negative influences, attitudes, and people who bring toxicity into your life, you will begin to love your self as well as you love someone else.

Learning to love yourself has a ripple effect. The more you are willing to love yourself the more others you associate with will be able to love themselves. Loving yourself is a work that can only be done by you. Each time you decide to “not beat yourself up” you are inspiring and giving others permission to be kind to themselves.

Albert Ellis stated, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” When you embrace your own unique self and conquer self- hate and doubt, you are helping yourself and others to get rid of unstable, unhealthy relationships.

Have you ever pondered about your need to be needed by others? Are you sacrificing your wants and needs in order to please someone else? Do you usually put yourself last, and do something just for you only if you have extra time left?

Taking time for self-reflection can assist you to determine what areas where you are having the greatest difficulty treating yourself well. There are many consequences that you will experience when you don’t love and care for you! Some of these include: Keeping yourself from being in healthy relationships that could nourish your body, mind, and soul. Preventing yourself from living up to your full potential and discovering and nourishing the individual gifts that make you uniquely you. Not being able to pursue a chosen career or life dream. Not taking good care of yourself, your spirit, mind, and physical body. Not having loving fulfilling relationships with family, friends and others.

If you have experienced any of the consequences as stated above, if your relationships are not fulfilling and you are unable to set healthy boundaries, and tell others “No,” Consider making an appointment with me to discover how to gain the desire and the tools to truly LOVE and Care for YOU!

Make a new choice.

I can assist you to love yourself and have healthy, fulfilling relationships with others.

Sharon Salzborg declared, “One must endeavor to love oneself abundantly.”

Don’t wait. If you aren’t willing to care for yourself, who will?

Sue Hodges LCSW

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Is Loneliness An Epidemic?

In 1949, Hank Williams composed the song, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” The single reached # 4 on the Country charts that year, and many great legends followed to record the song as well; Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley just to name a few.

As you read and ponder the lyrics below; what memories and emotions come to mind?

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves began to die?
Like me, he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up the purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review entitled, “Work and the Loneliness Epidemic,” reports that there is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet the rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980’s. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. Another article (this one in Psychology Today) expresses it this way: “Even though our need to connect is innate, some of us always go home alone. You could have people around you throughout the day or even be in a lifelong marriage and still experience a deep, pervasive loneliness. Unsurprisingly, isolation can have a serious detrimental effect on one’s mental and physical health.”

What is Loneliness?

Loneliness has been described as a social pain and an unmet longing to connect, physically and emotionally with someone else. It has been linked to depression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, sleep problems, tiredness, lack of motivation, cognitive decline, heart disease, and even suicide. People who are lonely often share certain characteristics. These include having experienced trauma and loss during their lifetime and having spent their childhood years being cared for by individuals who have harsh, critical and negative parenting skills. In children, a lack of social connection is directly linked to several forms of antisocial and self-destructive behavior.

How is Loneliness Treated?

Doctors are recommending that individuals who experience loneliness be evaluated for possible symptoms of depression and anxiety; as well as receiving treatment from a mental health professional if warranted. Don’t allow loneliness to impair your physical and emotional health or affect your rate of mortality. Our therapists here at Wasatch Family Therapy are available to treat loneliness and improve your quality of life.

Sue Hodges LCSW

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Now or Later

 
Perhaps you are one of those individuals who are constantly asking themselves the question, should I do this now or later?  If your answer to this question is usually later you may have created a habit which can lead to undue stress, anxiety, guilt and shame in your life. It has been said that, “Every day spent procrastinating is another day spent worrying about that thing.  Do it now, and move on with your life.”   
 
In his book “Wait: The Art and Science of delay,” San Diego University professor Frank Partnoy provides another perspective on procrastination, he states, “Procrastination is just a universal state of being for humans.  We will always have more things to do than we can possibly do, so we will always be imposing some sort of unwarranted delay on some tasks.  The question is not whether we are procrastinating, it is whether we are procrastinating well.”
 
Procrastination has been referred to as an active process where one chooses to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. You may find that procrastination is not working well for you because avoidance doesn’t erase anxiety it just delays it.  If you are telling yourself that the reason why you procrastinate is because your are disorganized, apathetic or lazy, most likely you are telling yourself an untruth. Smart individuals are often procrastinators.
 
For some individuals procrastination can be symptomatic of a psychological disorder.  Procrastination has been linked to depression, low self esteem, irrational behavior, anxiety and neurological disorders such as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  If you are finding that procrastination is impairing your quality of life consider seeking professional help from a mental health provider at Wasatch Family Therapy. 
 
Sue Hodges LCSW
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Misbehavior – A Form of Communication

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When a child misbehaves or exhibits behavior that becomes problematic, their behavior is telling you something, but what?
A child that misbehaves is trying to communicate that they have an unmet need, but how do parents determine what that need is?
Parents can look for clues that might tell them how the child is feeling. When parents figure out what is wrong or missing, they can then follow to assist the child to take care of themselves.
What are some of the reasons that a child might misbehave?
  • They may be hungry, tired, ill or bored.
  • They might not know or understand what is expected of them.
  • They might be held to expectations that are beyond their developmental level.
  • They may have experienced trauma or abuse.
  • They may be copying the bad behavior or their parents or someone else.
  • They may be trying to cover up feelings of pain, fear or loneliness.
  • They may be experiencing feelings that are overwhelming to them.
  • They may feel bad about themselves.
  • They may be experiencing bullying.
  • They may be experiencing dietary issues.
  • They may be trying to get attention from others.
  • They may be testing whether parents will set limits, boundaries and enforce rules.
  • They may be asserting themselves and seeking to be independent.
They may have an untreated disorder such as:
  • Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • General anxiety disorder.
  • Sensory processing disorder
It is important to remember that misbehavior does not mean that a child is “bad.” They should never be labeled as such. There is a difference between a child’s character and how they behave. What a child does is not who they are.
Maybe you’re frustrated and having difficulty determining why your child is misbehaving. Maybe you have an idea of why your child is misbehaving but don’t know how to approach the issue. Maybe you’re wondering if your child has an untreated disorder. If so, call us at Wasatch Family Therapy (801.944.4555) to schedule an appointment for a parent consultation with one of our trained providers. Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child’s well being.
Sue Hodges, LCSW

 

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Catch and Don’t Release: That Gratitude Attitude!

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It’s been twenty years now since a caring neighbor and friend challenged me to change my ATTITUDE.  It was a difficult time for me as suddenly my life became filled with darkness, doubt and pain.  My Spouse of almost 20 years had recently been diagnosed as having a brain tumor and given only a few months to live.  While he was fighting a battle to survive for as long as possible by receiving daily treatments of both Chemo and Radiation, I was trying to continue to raise five children and eventually became a caregiver of a man who couldn’t even remember how to brush his teeth.
My friend encouraged me to read and study a book that contained wise advice, “Simple Abundance  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,”  She provided me with a beautiful Journal and instructed me to take a few minutes each day to write down 5 things that I was grateful for.  Although at the time I doubted that such a simple task could improve my mood and change my ATTITIUDE  I took on the challenge.  As I began to focus on what I HAD rather than what I lacked my burdens became lighter and my soul was filled with joy and hope.  Now 20 years later this small and simple task has become not only a habit but a ritual I look forward to performing.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal.  While doing so you will discover what works best for you, but here are some tips:
1-  Keep a physical record.  Write things down.  Just don’t think about these things in your head.
2-  Look for the small things that may seem trivial,small or unimportant.
3-  Include a narrative as to WHY you are grateful.
4-  Focus on people as well as things you are grateful for.
5-  Record unexpected events or surprises.
6-  Write regularly.  Commit to a certain day and or time and be consistent.  New evidence has shown that writing 1-3 times a week can be more effective than writing daily,
7-  Set a goal to write for at least 15 minutes each time.
8- Try it!  You’ll  like it!
It’s easy to take the people who we love and the good things in our lives for granted.  Keeping a gratitude journal will improve your relationships with others, improve your sense of well being, and enable you to enjoy greater happiness and better health.
So… Catch but DON’T release that “GRATITUDE ATTITUDE!”  Doing so has made an incredible difference in my life and it can in yours too.
Sue Hodges  LCSW Wasatch Family Therapy

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Take Time to “Spruce It Up!”

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I recently read an article entitled “Time for a Spring cleaning of the mind” by Jeannette Bessinger.

Because I have never been interested in Spring cleaning my home, I paid close attention to the tips that were given on how to “declutter my emotional space.”

I share these tasks with you along with some ideas of my own, and encourage you to join with me in asking yourself these questions, and reflecting  on how you can work towards clearing  the emotional junk from your mind.

  1. Mind your own business.  Most of us have enough business of our own to tend to.  Ask yourself, “If it’s not my business, why am I in it?”
  2. Let go of the need to be right.  Ask yourself,  Is it more important for me to love and be loved or to be right?  Who do you play the right wrong game with?  Make a commitment to  eliminate the need to play this game with others.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.  All three behaviors are negative and do not bring joy to your life.  Ask yourself,  Does my behavior of blaming, shaming and or complaining assist me and others to feel joy and happiness?   Continue to remind yourself that these behaviors are toxic and will not improve your relationships and sense of well being.
  4. Stop trying to impress and please everyone.  Ask yourself, Will I die if  someone disapproves of something that I think, do, or say?  Remember you don’t have to do everything and be everything for everyone else.  Make a list of 10 things that you can do for yourself and select one to do TODAY.   Make yourself a priority.  Put yourself on your “To do” list.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.   Ask yourself, If not now when will I begin?  Pick a task that you have been procrastinating to complete and DO IT TODAY!  Eckert Tolle stated, “That which stands in the was IS the way.  Beginning is usually the hardest part of the task.  Just Begin.
  6. Forgive someone.  Ask yourself, Who am I holding a grudge against?  Am I being unforgiving as a way to punish them? Remember forgiving others is a gift you give to yourself.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, Make it right.  Ask yourself, Have I committed a wrong that I can make right?  Follow this admonition,” When you do something wrong, tell the truth, apologize and right the wrong if you possibly can.  Owning up means it won’t own you.”
  8. Let go of self limiting beliefs.  Ask yourself, Do I believe everything I think?  Work towards eliminating the negative self talk you engage in.  Use positive affirmations to rid yourself of stinking thinking, such as, I am capable of achieving that which I believe.  I am capable of achieving the task at hand.
  9. Let go of perfectionism.  Adopt the belief that, “Nothing in life is perfect.”  Stop comparing yourself to others and remind yourself that, “It is what it is, and it’s all good.”
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.  Ask yourself, Am I stuffing my unpleasant feelings down with too much food, or shopping.  Remember, that “feelings are like the weather, natural and ever changing.”  It is important to take time to acknowledge them, feel them and release them through healthy coping skills.

Only you know which task will be the most beneficial for you to complete.  I challenge you to choose a task and begin to work towards clearing the emotional junk from your life.  Begin now to “Spruce up your life,” YOU DESERVE IT!

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The Power of Emulating LOVE

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Mark Twain once said that he could go for two months on a good compliment.
Sincere compliments build self esteem in ourselves and others,and foster feelings of good will, peace and thus harmony.
To quote Leo Buscaglia, “Honest compliments are simple, and cost nothing to give…we must not underestimate their worth.”
Here is a list of phrases that are complimentary in nature that are easy to use.  Try them!
 *  You make me happy!
 *  I trust you.
*  I like it when you…
*  I know you can do this.
*  You are special.
*  I am grateful for you.
*  I love you.
*  I believe in you.
*  I am proud of you.
Because nearly everyone appreciates a compliment, be sure to use them daily.  The primary reason being, “The life and love we create is the life and love we live.”  L. Buscagia
For more inspirational thoughts related to creating abundant relationships of LOVE, please refer to any or all of these publications authored by; Leo Buscagia, Ph.D.
“Born for Love, Reflections on loving”
“Personhood,  The art of being fully human”
“Loving each other, The challenge of Human Relationships”
“Living, Learning and Loving”
“LOVE, A warm and wonderful book about the Largest experience in life”
“Bus 9 to Paradise”
“The way of the Bull”
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