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Entrepreneurs – How Mindfulness Is Good for Business

Monday, January 22, 2018


Practice mindfulness, a simple form of meditation that helps you stay focused, less stressed, and more positive, as part of your self-care regimen, to benefit yourself and your business.As an entrepreneur, you probably work long hours. Between building your business and caring for your family, self-care can quickly take a backseat.

But with what result? A lot of built up stress with no relief in sight. This is bad for you, and for your business. To combat the personal and professional consequences of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, I encourage many of clients to employ the practice of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? Simply put, mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you get control of your thoughts and behaviors. It is the act of focusing all of your attention on the present. You focus on what you are doing or feeling without thinking about why you’re doing it or feeling that way, what you should do next, or what you think you should be doing. Mindfulness requires that you objectively consider your thoughts and feelings, thus helping you be truly present, living in the moment.

Before you dismiss mindfulness as some sort of hippie nonsense, there is solid, scientific evidence supporting the benefits of meditation. The latest research in neuroscience suggests that mindfulness causes real, observable changes in the brain. There is decreased activity areas of the brain associated with mind-wandering combined with increased activity in the areas associated with focus and cognitive control. There is also decreased activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety. Finally, they have noticed an increase in activity in the left frontal cortex which is associated with positivity.

So mindfulness changes your brain to be more focused and controlled, less stressed, and more positive. How do these changes then benefit your business? Mindfulness helps you to:

  • Discover your true motivation and drive. Entrepreneurs burn out when they do things for the wrong reasons, such as fame, fortune, or notoriety. Of course everyone needs to make money, and it’s not wrong to want recognition, but if these are your only motives behind your business, you will get pulled off track quickly. Mindfulness guides you back to the greater reasons you started your business. It helps you gain satisfaction from doing things for yourself and for the right reasons. Because of this, you and your business can continue on and grow.

  • Develop resilience. You will see how every failure, every bump in the road, is a chance to learn. Instead of becoming frustrated and giving up, you will develop the resilience needed to keep going in spite of problems. You will have an easier time standing back up and dusting yourself off. It helps you continue to get things done, even under very challenging circumstances.

  • Make needed changes. Mindfulness helps you challenge your approach to life and business when you reach a roadblock or experience failure. It helps you analyze your problem and determine objectively why you are not obtaining the results you want. The process of mindfulness helps you try different things, even when you are naturally opposed to change.

  • Trust your instincts. Entrepreneurs often use their instincts and intuition to make some of the best decisions for their life and business. You need to train yourself to trust your gut. So often entrepreneurs are stressed, pulled at from all directions, get advice and input from numerous sources, to the point that they lose confidence in their own instincts. Practices like mindfulness help you tune into your inner voice and reconnect with your intuition.

  • Enjoy the success you have right now. Entrepreneurs set goals and work toward them like no one else, and that’s part of why you are successful! But many entrepreneurs fail to slow down and rejoice in their present successes. Mindfulness helps you to focus on the things that make you feel successful now. This, in turn, will help you create more success.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges. What challenges are you dealing with? Could you use help achieving a more balanced and satisfying lifestyle? If so, contact my office and schedule an appointment. My office is located in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that is a better fit for your busy schedule.

8 Easy Ways to Take Care of Your Brain

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Your brain is the center and leader of your body, so take time to improve the health of your brain which will, in turn, help your whole body function at an optimal level.What are your resolutions for 2018? Popular New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving physical health by living a more active lifestyle. While this is important, there is a part of a person’s overall health that is often overlooked – brain health.

Why is it important to maintain a healthy brain? The brain is the center and leader of the body. When it’s not functioning at an optimal level, the whole body experiences stress. Of concern, too, is that without proper care your brain loses an average of 85,000 cells a day. This loss of brain cells contributes to the aging process.

The good news is that you can slow your brain’s aging process and increase your mental agility by thinking ahead and making brain health a priority.

How can you make brain a health a priority this year? Try some of these simple suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is known to literally change the size of your brain. Regular exercise has been found to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning. Exercise can double or triple the number of new cells in the hippocampus. These new cells translate to a significantly better ability to learn new things and remember experiences.

  • Eat a variety of healthful foods. What you put in your body has a direct effect on its ability to perform, starting with how your brain functions. Lean protein, whole grains, green leafy veggies, and healthy fats that contain Omega 3 fatty acids are great for your brain.

  • Stay hydrated. Your brain is 85% water, so don’t let yourself get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Add a little lemon or some cucumber slices if that will help motivate you to drink more water. Also steer clear of anything that dehydrates you. Alcohol, caffeine, and salt should be consumed in moderation.

  • Get more sleep. Depression, memory issues and poor decision-making skills are directly linked to lack of sleep. While you are sleeping, your brain is working hard to consolidate your memories, link them up with old memories, create new neural pathways that help you retrieve memories, and form connections between thoughts and ideas. It also uses that time to flush toxins out of your brain. So make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, even if you think you are functioning just fine on less.

  • Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But regardless of how difficult it may be to cut stressors out of your life, it is necessary for the health of your brain. Chronic stress kills cells in the memory centers of your brain. Exercise, healthy eating, and sleep all help reduce stress levels. The practice of mindfulness can also help you refocus and recharge. Even just a few minutes of meditation can quiet your mind and reduce stress.

  • Exercise your brain. Learn a new language, learn how to dance, or just try brushing your teeth with your less dominant hand. Learning new things helps develop new neural pathways in your brain. 

  • Consider brain-training activities. The idea is that by performing certain tasks like crossword puzzles and memory games, you can improve your cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. While researchers in the field have mixed feelings about the benefits of brain-training, studies indicate that learning and thinking of any type can improve the survival and function of young brain cells.

  • Be positive. Studies have found that focusing on negative thoughts changes the brain – when thinking negatively, creativity, learning and imagination all go down. Focusing on positive, hopeful thoughts, on the other hand, changes the brain in a good way. If you struggle with positive thinking, try this: keep a gratitude journal. Write down the good things you have in your life, from big to small.

Every brain is different, though, and needs different things to stay healthy. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading psychiatrist, there are 16 different brain types. Take the Aman Assessment quiz to find out what type of brain you have. Knowing your brain type can help you make decisions and lifestyle changes that will optimize your brain function, sharpen your focus, raise your energy levels, and get the right tools to conquer your day.

Still need helping achieving balance and staying healthy in all areas of your life? I can help you identify the areas that are out of balance so you can make the needed changes. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for you.

Holiday Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Along with joy and festivities, the holiday season can bring extra stress and work, especially when you run your own business. How can you not only survive the holiday season but truly enjoy itThe holidays are supposed to be a time to reconnect with family and friends, relax, and refocus on the important things. Ideally it should include looking for ways to give back and showing our gratitude for the life we enjoy. Unfortunately, busy entrepreneurs sometimes view the holidays as something they need to get through or survive.

What is it about the holiday season that creates so much stress and anxiety?

Since it’s such a significant time of year, it becomes very busy, very quickly. Think about all the things you try to pack in to the last few weeks of the year: vacations, holiday parties, hosting out of town guests, school events, community functions, shopping for gifts…the list goes on and on. That doesn’t even count the things you have to do for your business. You have to think about employee bonuses, client gifts, end of the year tax and accounting details, and last-minute rush orders.

With all the things you have to do, it would easy to become overwhelmed or just lock yourself in your office until the New Year. But that won’t help the situation. Working non-stop without taking time to de-stress and care for yourself is not good for you, and will not help your business in the long run.

So how can you survive this holiday season with enough energy to start the New Year with a bang? Here are some holiday survival suggestions for even the busiest entrepreneur:

  • Acknowledge the stress. Once you are mindful of the realities of this time of year, you are in a better position to handle them. Identify which things create the most stress for you, and create a plan for how to deal with them.

  • Prioritize your time. Make a to-do list and start prioritizing. There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and so many weeks before the New Year. So decide what needs to be done, and what can wait. Be realistic about what can and cannot get done. Delegate some responsibilities to others if possible.

  • Be positive. An optimistic outlook is linked to a myriad of mental and physical health benefits. It is also contagious. Your positive attitude can bring up the attitude of those around you. Having a positive attitude will help you navigate the highs and lows of running a business over the holidays.

  • Take care of yourself physically. Exercise regularly, eat right, and get enough sleep. When your schedule gets too packed, the first thing that tends to go is self-care. Don’t let that happen. To be at your best, you need to take care of your physical needs.

  • Look at the big picture. There are a lot of things that “need” your time and attention. But look at the big picture. Your friends and family are the most important things in your life. Use this time to make memories with them. When it comes to your business, instead of getting caught up in the little details, focus on the core business ideas that will ultimately help your business grow next year.

If you follow these suggestions, you are well on your way to enjoying a less stressful holiday season and being prepared to hit the ground running. As you set personal and business goals for the New Year, it can be helpful to consult a trained therapist who can help you reach them. Please call my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that’s a better option for you. I can help you prepare yourself from the inside out to succeed in life and business in the coming year!

Entrepreneurship - Often the Perfect Solution for Gifted Adults

Monday, November 20, 2017


Gifted adults tend to struggle with a traditional career, but the qualities that make it hard are the same qualities that can make them great entrepreneurs.Are you a gifted adult? If so, you probably already know that finding the right career path can be more difficult for you than for others. Why do gifted adults tend to have a hard time finding the right fit for their career?

One reason is that gifted adults often struggle to stick with one thing. Many times they are interested in, and good at, so many different things. This broad range of talents and interests can make choosing and sticking with a just one career tricky.

On the other hand, because they do excel at an early age, gifted persons can become over-focused on one particular area of expertise. Family, friends, and teachers notice their abilities and encourage them to pursue that field. Before they know it, they end up on a career track at an early age. This can cut off creative thinking about other opportunities that might better suit their values and personality.

So whether you’ve jumped from one career to another and can’t find the right fit, or you’ve been stuck in the same old job for years, you might be ready for something new. Life is too short to have a career that leads to dissatisfaction, discontentment and boredom.

Over the years I’ve seen that many gifted adults find entrepreneurship to be the perfect solution. You may have heard that entrepreneurship is an incredibly challenging way of life. And that is true! It requires a drive, focus, and commitment that many people either don’t have, or aren’t willing to dedicate to a business. An entrepreneur needs to think outside the box and take risks.

It takes a special kind of person to make a success of entrepreneurship.

But the good news is that the special qualities needed to create a thriving business are exactly what make gifted adults great candidates for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have to adapt to new markets, products, and trends quickly. Entrepreneurs are doing a million things all at the same time, trying to juggle all the parts of their business. They are master problem-solvers and love finding solutions for their business challenges.

So if you are a gifted adult ask yourself: Are you a quick learner? Can you spot trends and movements? Can you complete assignments quickly and efficiently? Do you thrive on solving problems and overcoming challenges? Are new skills usually easy  for you to learn?

Does entrepreneurship sound like it might be the challenge you’re looking for? Take these steps to start your course toward entrepreneurship:
  1. Look at your circumstances objectively. Don’t blame anyone else for pushing you into a career, not pushing you hard enough, or for doubting you. Don’t blame your “giftedness” either. You have the power to change yourself and your circumstances when you make a conscious decision to do so.
  2. Identify the right business for you. Maybe you’ve had business ideas in your head since you were a child. Great! Revisit and explore those childhood dreams. But also give yourself permission to explore. Look at the many different facets of yourself and listen to your intuition. Ask yourself: “What gives me energy?” “What brings me joy?” 
  3. Make a plan. A business plan will help you gain clarity, focus, and confidence. Write down your goals, strategies, and actions. 
  4. Work out the details. Consider your target audience. Secure funding. Build a support network. Get the word out about your product or service.

After years of rejection and misunderstanding, a gifted adult has much misinformation about his or herself that may even be described as a “false self.” Through psychotherapy and education about giftedness you can reclaim your true self, find meaning in life and quite possibly create a whole new business enterprise for yourself. If this is something you’d like to explore, I can help you. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to set up an appointment. If it is better for you, I also offer online therapy.

Stay Positive - Limit Your Exposure to the 24-Hour News Cycle

Monday, November 13, 2017


Counteract the effect of constant, negative news on your mood and outlook by limiting your exposure.There’s no question that there is a lot of a bad stuff happening in the world today. While it isn’t often pleasant to think about, it is good to be aware of what's going on at local, national, and international levels. To get this information, we turn to the news. We listen to reports about crime, famine, war, political unrest, injustice, and terrorism. Simply hearing reports of people suffering is often enough to move us and touch our hearts.
 
But it is possible to watch too much news. Watching perpetually negative news can affect your mood, and your mood can go on to negatively affect your thinking and behavior. It can affect how you perceive events in your own life, how your brain remembers and processes memories, and how much you worry about your own specific problems. Have you noticed an increase in stress when you watch too much news?
 
Why does modern news reporting make us feel this way? Today, reporters don’t stop at simply reporting the news. They tend to sensationalize news stories. This happens when they emphasize any potential negative outcomes of a story, no matter how low the risk of those negative outcomes might be. In fact, I’ve been on the receiving end of sensationalized reporting and it can be incredibly harmful. (I’m putting the final touch on my new book where I reveal the whole story behind my negative PR experience. If you want to stay up-to-date with the release sign-up for my newsletter or follow me on Facebook.)
 
This emotional, sensational way of presenting the news is a direct result of the 24-hour news coverage cycle that exists today. Journalists and reporters no longer have a few moments or one column in a newspaper to impartially report what is happening. The advent of the television and, especially the internet has created an environment where news is reported almost immediately. Everyone has access to the same story, the same visuals. So how does a journalist stand out? They begin to evaluate the story, in an effort to make it have a personal impact on each individual viewer.
 
Unfortunately, “evaluating” the story quickly turns into “sensationalizing” the story. And that is where the problem lies. When the news runs 24 hours a day, journalists quickly fill that time with emotional reports that no longer have a direct bearing on the original, informative story.

So if you have noticed that you are having trouble staying positive, try putting a limit on your news consumption. Don’t just leave the news on all night or check it every five minutes on your smartphone. Watch enough news to know what’s going on and stay informed, but once it moves past the main story and becomes more negative, turn it off.
 
What can you do instead? Here are some ideas:

  • Get out and exercise. I’ve shared the link between exercise and mental health many times. If you want to stay positive and push out negativity, moderate exercise is a great way to do it.

  • Educate yourself. Watch an educational program, download a language-learning app, or practice a new skill.

  • Spend time with family and friends. How long has it been since you had a really in-depth conversation with a loved one? When we make these connections and have real conversations, they refresh us and help us stay positive.

  • Read a book. Reading is a great stress-reliever, helping your efforts to stay positive. Just make sure to choose reading material that is uplifting, rather than depressing.

No matter how you choose to fill your time, the important thing is to not allow negative news broadcasts exacerbate your own stress and anxiety. If you have taken the above steps, and you still struggle with negative thoughts, there could be a deeper problem. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. I can help you pinpoint where your negativity is coming from, and guide you to enjoying a more optimistic outlook. If you live out of the area, I also offer online therapy.

How to Find a Good Online Therapist

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


If you choose to pursue online therapy, there are specific steps you must take to ensure you work with a licensed therapist who can truly help you reach your goals.So you want to begin therapy. This is a worthwhile investment in yourself. As you examine different therapy options, you may conclude that online therapy is best for you. Maybe it is challenging to find someone in your area who can effectively help you, or perhaps your busy schedule makes it difficult to make it to a therapist’s office on a regular basis.
 
The wonders of technology have made it possible to find and get anything with the click of a button. Finding a therapist online has never been easier. Unfortunately, it has also never been easier for people to disguise who they really are and make claims that are unfounded or outright false. There are many so-called “therapists” online who lack the education, experience, and certifications to genuinely help you.
 
So what can you do? Make sure to follow these steps as you research online therapists:

  1. Verify their license. Did you know that the terms “therapist” and “psychotherapist” are not legally protected words in most states? This means anyone can claim to be a therapist and offer therapy services. A licensed therapist is trained and qualified to practice, and they are held to high standards of conduct. This is also gives you recourse if there are problems with your treatment. So make sure to check their license. A quick phone call or email to obtain the license number will do the trick. In most states you can verify the information online. And if they get defensive, that’s a big red flag!
  2. Ensure the site or app is HIPAA-compliant and secure. The beauty of therapy is that clients have a safe, private space to share their most personal stories, thoughts, and emotions. Privacy is an absolute necessity. So when looking at an online therapist, check that their website or app platform is completely secure. At minimum it should comply with HIPAA standards for patient privacy and confidentiality.
  3. Interview the therapist. Make sure you are comfortable with them and that their therapy style and personality work for you. Chat with them for a while to ensure they have the qualities you particularly need or value in a therapist. Also, take a look at what you see on your screen. Are they in a professional, private location or are they in a coffee shop? Are they dressed professionally? Is the camera adjusted where you can see them clearly or does it look like they are doing this for the first time?
  4. Ask questions. You are a paying customer. You have the right to understand the therapy offered and to clarify information that will influence your experience. Ask any and all questions you need to make an informed and comfortable decision.
  5. Trust your instincts. If, after following the above steps, you still don’t feel comfortable with them, trust your gut and move on! To get the most out of your therapy you have to feel completely comfortable and safe. Do what it takes to find that safe space with an online therapist.

I offer online therapy and have found many clients love the convenience of meeting with me from the comfort of their own home. In order to protect your confidentiality, I utilize HIPAA-compliant software. I also always conduct sessions in the privacy of my office. Note that online therapy is only available if you live in Oregon, Washington, or abroad. For patients in any other state, I offer remote education services. And please feel free to ask any questions!

How to Foster Stewardship in Your Family Business

Monday, October 16, 2017


Family businesses, like the families who run them, go through various stages of development, ultimately reaching the “stewardship” stage.Why did you start your family business? Or why did you choose to carry on the legacy of generations before you? Have your goals and motivations changed and developed over the years?

Your business, like the family that runs it, also goes through different stages of development. There are three stages of growth for a family business:

  1. Entrepreneurship. This is the stage of early innovations, niche formation, and creativity. Long hours, endless enthusiasm, and determination make for a dynamic environment.
  2. Ownership. There is a need for stability and security to nurture the family. During this stage, the family business structure becomes more formalized and institutionalized.
  3. Stewardship. This offers the family business the opportunity to give something back to the community. At this point, employees and family members, especially those in line to take over the business, feel an intrinsic commitment to the success and reputation of the firm. Stewards of the family business nurture it so it endures and grows, and know enough about the company and its strategies to make good decisions.

Entrepreneurs who start a family business want and expect their business to reach the ownership stage. It’s a sign of success and accomplishment. But as the business grows, it’s beneficial to look forward and reach for the stewardship stage as well. Why?

Family-owned firms are influential in the community. How the family manages its wealth and influence can have a major impact on society. You must go beyond simple economic theory to understand this influence. The values of the family and the culture of the family business can have a tremendous social impact, not only on the quality of commerce but on the community as a whole.

Also, when family members and employees are motivated from the inside out to see the business succeed, they are happier workers. Happier workers are more productive workers. It benefits the business to employ persons who are invested in the company personally.

A sense of stewardship is also necessary when planning for succession in the family business. Succession planning typically focusing on selecting good management, but the development of strong owners is critical. Without a culture of stewardship, good management can be sabotaged by entitled owners. Entitlement leads to passiveness about how the company is run and managed and an unwillingness to reinvest in new initiatives.

Through successful stewardship, your family business can build a strong legacy. So how can you foster stewardship in your family business? Here are some ideas:

  • Set the course. Make sure everyone involved knows their purpose and their part in the business achieving success.

  • Create a collectivist culture. Ideas are welcome. Teamwork is a must. No one is in this alone. Encourage constructive criticism.

  • Insist on clarity, transparency, and consistency. Model these qualities for your family and employees.

  • Focus on both short-term and long-term success. Show the need for consistency between short-term actions and long-term goals.

  • Build infrastructure for the future. This can include employee retirement plans or bonuses.

  • Give back to the community. Some family businesses start a charitable foundation. Others donate time or resources to help. Look for ways to give back.

Just as with legal and financial decisions, the emotional or psychological aspects of planning for the future of your business often requires the assistance of a professional. I have worked with many families in business as they grow and move into the stewardship stage. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach or take advantage of online therapy.

How to Decide Which Kind of Therapy Is the Best Option for You

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


If you picture therapy as laying on a couch talking about your feelings, then you need to read up on some of new therapeutic approaches available.What do you envision when you think of going to therapy? Do you picture someone lying on a couch while a psychologist sits next to him with a notepad and pencil in hand? While some approaches do utilize this method, there are numerous types of therapy that can be used to help you overcome challenges. In all cases, the goal of therapy is to provide an environment that allows the client and therapist to work together openly and honestly toward a mutually agreed upon set of goals.

If you are considering starting therapy, know that there are many different types of therapy you can utilize. The success of any therapeutic approach depends on the needs of you as an individual. For this reason, many therapists use elements of several approaches. Your therapy should feel comfortable to you even as it challenges you to progress and develop.

Understanding how different therapies work and operate will help you determine whether your needs are being met, or what type of therapy might give you better results. Here are a few of the many types of therapy available to you that I have found to be particularly effective for many clients:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This type of therapy addresses the way people think. The techniques are designed to change faulty, irrational thinking into more constructive, solution-oriented thinking.

Often people are stuck because they have a belief from childhood that keeps them from living the way they wished they could. During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you are confronted with these beliefs and offered a new way of thinking about them. For example, just because your parents were divorced, does not mean you are incapable of learning the tools necessary for maintaining a satisfying relationship.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is usually considered short-term therapy. The reason for this is that the therapist is focusing on a specific problem. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used successfully with a variety of issues from depression, to low self-esteem, to relationship dysfunction, to phobias, and anxiety. Once that problem is resolved, the therapy is complete unless there are other issues you with to work on.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – This is a complex model of human communication. Essentially, there is a formula regarding how persons take in sensory impressions, organizes their impressions through memory and decision-making, and then translates those impressions into a response. NLP utilizes specific interventions and communications to change those responses to be more positive.

This system of therapy that enables people to reach more success in their chosen endeavors.  Goal-setting, negotiating, problem-solving, and creating become more streamlined and successful when you are equipped with a structure and formula to follow.

NeuroEmotionalTechnique (NET) – This type of therapy treats behavioral and physical conditions through identifying and removing the neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress. Normally we process stress and let it go. Sometimes, however, a disruption and imbalance occurs.

For example, you drive in rush hour traffic daily, automatically taking evasive action or jamming on the brakes when necessary. Your hands may sweat, your heart pumps faster, adrenaline rushes through your body. Your body engages its “fight or flight” response. But after the event ends, you calm down and forget it.

However, when something disrupts this natural letting-go process, your body may produce that same stress reaction when it's triggered by a memory. Often you'll be unaware of the connection. This unresolved stress can cause physiological problems such as pain, allergies, and headaches. It may also cause psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

A NET practitioner can pinpoint your very real physiological response (such as a racing heart and profuse sweating) to a stimulus (a situation that brings up the unresolved stress reaction memory). Once the system is brought back into balance, your mind and body can heal, relieving you of the symptoms caused by your unresolved stress.

Clinical hypnosis – This is a process used for treating psychological and physical problems. Through hypnosis a person achieves a relaxed state in which their conscious and unconscious mind become focused and ready to receive therapeutic suggestions. When used professionally, hypnosis is safe, relaxing, and refreshing.

Hypnosis can be used to assist you in resolving smoking and weight control, fears, depression, anxiety, stress, sexual problems, alcoholism, pain control, confidence building, memory and concentration, retrieving repressed memories, even to facilitate physical healing.


The first step is to get in contact with a trained therapist who can help you set goals, pinpoint what you want to work on, and formulate a treatment plan just for you. Please contact my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we could talk in person. Or take advantage of my online therapy option if that is a better fit for you. I can tailor therapy to your individual needs and goals to help you reach your full potential.

Expats – Be Prepared for Mental Health Challenges Abroad

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Along with joy relocating to a new country can bring frustration, anxiety, and depression, so prepare for these mental health challenges before you go.Have you decided to make a move abroad? Maybe you have accepted a job in another country or are moving to participate in volunteer work. An adventure like this is full of excitement and opportunity. But to be successful, you have to prepare yourself for the challenges that can come along with it.
 
Some of the challenges you may face as an expat include:

  • Living in a place where few people speak your language. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

  • Adjusting to a new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. Unfamiliar foods and lack of access to the comforts of home can cause stress.

  • Understanding and adapting to new cultures and customs. Learning what is proper and acceptable in another country can be a long process. When you aren’t familiar with local customs it can lead to frustration and embarrassment. 

  • Being separated from family and friends. If you want to grab lunch with your mom or a friend they are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive! It can also be upsetting if you have to miss important life events, milestones or beloved holidays.

This combination can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. In fact, expats experience a significantly higher risk for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems than their domestic counterparts. This was highlighted in a recent study that showed that expats are at a higher risk for mental health problems.
 
These feelings can quickly derail what should be an exciting, engaging, and interesting chapter of your life. They can lead to poor job performance, marital problems, and physical health issues.
 
What can you do before embarking on your journey to prepare yourself for these challenges? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Identify both the strengths and weakness that change brings out in you. This awareness will help you maximize your strengths and not be blindsided by your weaknesses.

  • Let go of the idea that life has to be a certain way. View change, big and small, as an opportunity to grow. 

  • Do research. Find out as much as you can about the country, city, and neighborhood as you can before you move. If possible, visit before your move so you have some idea of what to expect. Talk to people who have made the same move or a similar one.

  • Learn some basic phrases in the new language. Having a greeting and some basic sentences you’ll need on a regular basis memorized before you go will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment. It will also make it easier to pick up the language.

  • Plan ahead to see family and friends. Plan a definite time to come back to your home country for a visit or have loved ones come visit you. Schedule phone calls and video chat sessions. 

  • Find a therapist. You may come to realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. 

On the point of finding a therapist, how you do you find one in a new country? It can definitely be a challenge. Depending on where you are going, there may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. The local therapists may not speak your language. And in a small community, the local therapist could be someone you interact with in other circles. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.
 
What if you could have a qualified therapist who speaks your language, and who is available at the touch of a button? I offer a service that provides exactly that! My Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face and find a healthy way to cope with your new challenges. Please take advantage of this unique service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!

What is Anxiety Costing Your Business?

Monday, September 18, 2017


Anxiety can cost you your business so it is important to find out what you can do to combat negative thinking.Anxiety is costly. It costs you emotionally, mentally and physically. The mind-body connection is very real and very powerful. Our emotions affect our bodies and anxious feelings can cause many physical health problems.
 
What about the financial cost of dealing with anxiety? Doctor’s visits and medications are expensive. Personal steps taken to prevent anxiety, such as supplements or private forms of transportation to avoid crowds, can add up quickly. There is also the cost of re-doing a project or an activity if it has been disrupted by an anxiety attack, which was illustrated in a recent story in the NY Times of a woman whose panic attack cost her $1000.
 
Then there is the burden put on your business. Persons who suffer with anxiety take more time off work than their less-anxious counterparts. And if you own a business, your anxiety will eventually affect your bottom line. How?
 
Here are just a few ways anxiety can cost your business:

  • Anxiety can make you less solution-oriented. When you encounter a setback, you are likely to give up quickly instead of continuing to search for a way around the problem. It can prevent you from moving forward and persevering. 

  • Anxiety can prevent you from trying new things and expanding your business. Anxious persons are afraid of change and failure. Instead of looking at a new experience as an opportunity to learn, you look at it as a chance of failing.

  • Anxiety affects your employees. Your anxiety can rub off on the people who are around you, thus reducing their efficiency and even their attendance at work. It can also lead your employees to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around you, hindering communication which is a vital part of managing a successful business.

  • Anxiety can cost you clients. Clients are more likely to work with you if they sense you are confident in your product and relaxed. They, too, can pick up on your anxiety, and it could prevent them from doing business with you.

To clarify, the type of anxiety I am discussing here isn’t the “normal” feelings of nervousness, fear, or apprehension caused by new experiences, high-pressure situations, or stressful events. This type of anxiety usually goes as quickly as it comes. Once the anxiety-inducing event is over, feelings normalize.
 
The type of anxiety I’m talking about is the kind that nags at you on a daily basis. It is the type of anxiety that can sometimes be pushed out of mind enough to get through the day, but that eventually starts to affect your business, relationships, and health. This anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and may even feel inescapable.
 
If these are symptoms you deal with, you may have developed an anxiety disorder. In this case, help is needed to manage the mental and physical discomfort, and learn how to cope. If you do suffer from an anxiety disorder, be assured you can identify and correct your negative thoughts and beliefs. You can change the way you think, thereby changing the way you feel.
 
How can you do this? I encourage my clients to Identify, Challenge, and Replace their negative, anxious thoughts.

  • Identify what you’re thinking when you start feeling anxious.

  • Challenge those thoughts and ask yourself if your fears and concerns are legitimate and warranted.

  • Then Replace your negative thoughts with new thoughts that are more realistic and positive.

It’s simple but it can be far from easy! In many cases, if you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder you will need the guidance and support of a doctor. Anxiety disorders are not all treated the same, and it’s important to determine the specific problem before embarking on a course of treatment.
 
Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment, or try online therapy if that is best for you. I will conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine what type of anxiety you are truly dealing with and establish a plan of treatment to get you back to feeling and working at your best.


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