Help that Relieves Stress NICEly

Help! You are probably looking for some, if you’re reading my blog. You have a choice, where you get help. If you’re in a city like Portland, Oregon where I am, it can be an overwhelming choice, with so many helpers available, advertising so many different kinds of help!

This is a long and exploratory blog post, so hang with me here, if you choose. I have some ideas I’m working on, and I’d like to share the initial concepts and reasons why I am thinking deeply on them.

We feel stress when our values conflict.

Our ‘Values,’ simply put, are any things that we care about strongly. Examples include abstract principles like “Kindness,” “Fairness,” “Justice,” and so forth, but also broad areas of interest and life experience, like “Art,” “Sports,” “Parenting,” “Adventure,” and even “Awareness.” Anything that really, really matters to you, is one of your values. Naturally, if we experience one of these things in conflict with another, we will feel stressed. Read More »

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A Guide to Being Mindful on the Road

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A Guide to Being Mindful on the Road

Image Source: Pexels

Congested highways, booming horns, unruly drivers and pedestrians — they form a familiar picture when you think about your daily commute. It’s easy to give way to distraction, whether it’s road rage, gadgets, or something outside that piques your interest. But as Portland Mindfulness Therapy wrote a few years back, if there’s any place in the world where you need to pay full attention, it’s out driving on the road. Read More »

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4 Key Anger Myths You Should Know

Anger Management - Dr Stan HymanThe idea of anger management is tossed around these days in political conversations or discussions about celebrities who have crossed a social or relational line.

However, managing anger well is more than a good idea or a recommendation for the other guy. It is an important life skill that prevents frustrating interactions and unwise decision-making.

It’s vital that you see your anger in a productive way and trust yourself to be angry responsibly without doing permanent damage. The first step? Look at what you believe about anger and how those beliefs affect the way you express anger or suppress it.

Consider the following anger myths and how they may be getting in your way: Read More »

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Is Self-Compassion the New Mindfulness?

Self-CompassionSocieties constant desire for the new, for innovation, for an updated trend, means that as soon as something becomes popular for many people it also becomes passé. This is something that we often see in popular music, fashion and technology but this same attitude is also affecting how we approach our mental health and wellbeing. According to an article recently published in Mindful magazine, mindfulness is out and self-compassion is in. The piece states that “attending without judgment is out and compassion for you as an antidote to your perceived low self-worth, failure, or any other form of suffering is definitely in.” But actually, it’s not that simple because in reality the two concepts are inextricably linked. Read More »

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Mental Illness and Addiction: The Basics

Guest Post


Image via Pixabay by maialisa

Mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand, leaving many people at risk without even realizing it. The general lack of education on mental illness leaves people unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way.

If you or a loved one is struggling with either a mental health disorder or an addiction, it is very important to understand the connection between the two, symptoms of each, and what you can do to prevent or treat each condition. Here is just a little basic information on addiction, mental illness, and how they connect.

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Improve Your “Self-Esteem” in 6 Steps

Self Esteem Tips Improve Thinking
Improve Your “Self-Esteem” in 6 Steps

“I have low self-esteem.”

“I want to work on my self-esteem”

“Can you help me with self-esteem?”

I hear these statements and requests all the time from my clients. But what is this “self-esteem,” and what can someone do if it appears to be “low”?

Read More »

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Top 7 Tips to Beating Stress

Beating Stress — Top 7 Tips

Stressed out? You’re not the only one–far from it! Sudden life changes, tough workplaces, troubled relationships, frightening medical concerns, and a long list of other sources of anxiety send enormous numbers of Americans to therapists and even emergency rooms every day. We are the only animal we know of that can think about the past and plan for the future, and while we enjoy the many benefits of technology as a result, we also pay the price: a lot of distraction from the present moment, and with it, a HUGE amount of stress from ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.

Beating Stress in Your Life

The good news is that this problem of stress has been around so long (thousands of years at least), that some of the best minds on the planet have been working on ways to mitigate it for equally long. Obviously, if stress becomes so severe as to cause serious psychiatric concerns such as depression, you need to see a mental health professional (my site has mental health links that may assist in finding help and support). Otherwise, there’s a lot you can do to handle your stress better.

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Mindfulness is Stupid!

Mindfulness is StupidMindfulness is stupid in many ways. It’s stupidly easy. It’s stupidly simple. And in some cases, it’s just plain stupid.

Our minds make mindfulness meditation complicated. Really, it’s just sitting still paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. Stupid-simple. But our minds want things fancy. We try to achieve some special state, or having encountered a state we think is desirable, we try to maintain it. But mindfulness meditation is not about achieving or maintaining any particular state. Mindfulness meditation is about being fully present and joining in with our experience, just as it is–“nothing special,” as Zen master Charlotte Joko Beck used to say.

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Fame: So You Want to Be A Big Shot?

Fame: So You Want to Be A Big Shot?I recently have had the good fortune to be in contact with a moderately famous person whom I’ve admired for much of my life. What I notice is that my first impulse, having some access to him, is to pester him as much as possible. This is unfortunate, but telling. Fame makes us strange–both the person who becomes famous, and their fans. We don’t act normal. They become reclusive or worse. We become toadying and star-struck. It’s all rather embarrassing. And yet many of us crave fame, perhaps even more than wealth. Why?

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Change Your Perception About Change Itself

Change our Perception about Change
What do we mean by “change” in psychotherapy or personal growth?

What I mean by “change,” as in “changing oneself,” differs significantly from what most therapists mean, and probably differs from what most people mean. When I say “change” I basically mean, “stay exactly who you are, but learn some new skills.” Learning new skills changes the context in which you function. Old behaviors may not go away, but they do less harm and more good, as defined by your own values system. And of course, so much of what we long to change in ourselves, has to do with the inevitable changes that happen constantly in the world around us.

To illustrate what I do and don’t mean by internal “change,” my superb webmaster Sean Cook engaged me in an email dialogue. What follows in this special blog post is the text of that dialogue. It’s admittedly kind of heady. I welcome comments and questions, as always.

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