Emotional Health

Comparison and Competition

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Comparison and Competition causes us to lose the joy of being and doing what God has designed us to be and do.

These are probably the biggest obstacles I — and I dare say — others — fight on a regular basis. And then when you add impatience into the mix, oh brother!

So I love this sign I keep in my office to remind me that I do have a DREAM, and God put it there. My job is to believe and to do the next thing I see and find to do. What about you?

Anyone else have these or other dream-killers?

Four Christmas Killers

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Four Christmas killers:

 

1.  Rushing

2. Living in anxiety

3. Doing too much

4. Forgetting our greatest gift is who we are, not what we do

Four antidotes:

 

1.  Make a list of what needs to be done, then say “there is plenty of time.“

2. Make time to breathe deeply three times a day

3. Learn to say no – I know a good book for that!

4. Every day be grateful for the abilities you have

3 Things To Stop; 3 Things To Start To Be A Highly Effective Woman

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3 Things To Stop; 3 Things To Start To Be A Highly Effective Woman

Outline:     

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has gone; the new has come.

3 Things To Stop

 1.    Stop letting others dictate how YOU feel about YOU

2.   Stop looking for what’s wrong – even though we’re wired that way

3.   Stop being afraid – to face the past, to have a dream, to ask for what you want. 

 

3 Things to Start

1.    Start training others (yes, training – not teaching) how to treat you

2.   Start celebrating when you make a change – it affects the brain

3.   Start focusing on the 90% - The power of positive thinking

 

www.BarbraRussell.com

Healthy Boundaries Class

Yes, I Said No!
Setting Healthy Boundaries

Why We Need: Yes, I said No! Setting Healthy Boundaries:

In this class, participants will discover the answer to such questions as:

●       Have you experienced burnout or find it difficult to have time for both work and family?

●       Do you find it difficult to speak up for yourself?

●       Do you ever feel you have too much to do and not enough time to do it?

●       Is your life controlling you, instead of your being in charge of your own life?

All these concerns, and more, can be solved with proper boundaries to protect work/life balance and the challenges of an overloaded schedule or demands from family and friends. 

     “Setting Healthy Boundaries” is an eight-week class starting March 1 offered at the Potter’s House Church of Denver, 9495 E. Florida Avenue.  There is no charge for this class which will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. 

      Presented by Barbra Russell, Licensed Professional Counselor and author of the book, Yes! I Said No! – How To Set Healthy Boundaries and Increase Your Self Esteem, these classes will help you regain your passion, excitement and life balance. 

      Class participants will learn how to:

 ·        Say no without blowing up, wimping out or running away

·        Learn how to care for people without carrying them

·        Balance work and life in a healthy manner

     To more information, contact the counseling department at The Potter’s House at 303-369-8514

 

The tree trunk speaks!

J ust Say No! 

Just Say No! 

When it's even carved into tree trunks, you have to pay attention! Say no to the wrong things - the time grabbers, the people who leave you feeling sad and bad, or keep you dependent on them.

You'll then have the energy, passion and self confidence to say yes to risk, growth and things you love

Do you hang on to known misery rather than reach out for unknown happiness?

Do You Hang On To Known Misery Rather Than Reach Out For Unknown Happiness? 

                During July, I watched “The Sons of Liberty,” historical stories about a group of men fighting in the American Colonies for freedom.  It brought to life figures like John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, those US founding fathers we usually see depicted as older, bewigged and solemn as they’re signing the Declaration of Independence.  

  This series, however, shows young, courageous and seemingly fearless men determined to break away from a far-away king’s rule, British corruption and “taxation without representation.”  They were called “The Sons of Liberty.”  

In the TV depiction Samuel Adams, cousin to the more well-known John Adams, is a hero who found his calling as colonial activist, motivating and inspiring others to rebel against the British.  While admiring his dashing acts of bravery, I was struck by this thought:  today, we might not be physically fighting for our freedom, but we often wage war in our minds.  We need freedom; we metaphorically cry: “give me liberty or give me death!”  We can relate to Samuel Adams and The Sons Of Liberty.

  •          Like us, I imagine Samuel Adams often thought, “I can’t,” “why me?” or “this isn’t fair!” 
  •         Samuel was unsuccessful as a businessman in colonial Boston.  Who among us hasn’t faced defeat in a business opportunity or lost a job?  At those times, we might mumble as perhaps Samuel did, “I tried it and it didn’t work.” 
  •         Samuel experienced dissatisfaction with his life in general.  Perhaps, like us, he woke up one morning to discover he had turned into the wrong person. 
  •         Samuel was driven by desperation – he was broke – when he took on the unpopular task of tax collector for the British.  Although it’s been almost 250 years since the Sons of Liberty spearheaded the cause for liberty, I think at one time or another we all find ourselves feeling desperate.  I know I have.  I remember times filled with hopelessness, anxiety and despair when I was ill and jobless or when I was facing a life without one of my legs.

However, something interesting happened as Samuel Adams reluctantly collected taxes; he began to see a clear pattern of British corruption that did not sit well with him!  That immense dissatisfaction and sense of outrage ultimately led to his playing a significant role in “The Boston Tea Party,” and “The American Revolution.” 

Almost 150 years later, Oswald Chambers penned words that Samuel Adams would undoubtedly have embraced and that we identify with today: “We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our every-day life with its trivial tasks.”  Sometimes, like Samuel Adams, we just need a purpose.

In the war of our minds, we also experience times of overwhelming situations and wonder, “what on earth are you doing, God?”  We ask, “what possible good could come from such a horrible break-up, loss of a job, or devastating illness?”  If we’re honest, we get mad at God, upset with the world and are disappointed with ourselves for getting into such a mess. 

With the advantage of hindsight, we’ll later say things like, “Oh! That’s why I got so discouraged!”  Or, “Now I see what God had in mind; it was better for me to go through that situation.”   But usually, the first insight comes as we, like Samuel, start to dislike the way things are.  From that uncomfortable place, when we’ve had enough, we’re ready to do something different. 

That’s the beginning of the battle in our minds.  We long to step out of our comfort zone and react differently or try new things. But the part of our brain which seeks familiarity; which hangs on to known misery rather than seek unknown happiness, demands comfort, not challenge. 

      The first skirmish is the decisive one.  We struggle with how it’s always been, what we’ve always done and who we’ve always thought we were.  But when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the fear of change, we are ready to brawl. There may be more battles to face, more obstacles to conquer, but we’re on the way. 

And just as Samuel Adams and “The Sons of Liberty” brought freedom to our land, we can bring freedom to our minds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

Transition and Stress

      Everyone will experience change, a transition, at one time or another.  

There is nothing so consistent as change

                During a time of transition, people normally experience stress because our brains and entire beings seek homeostasis, a survival mechanism.  We want things to stay the same.  here are some helpful tips to deal with transitions and the accompanying stress. 

                 We can help others – and us – by doing three things:

1.  Normalize This Time – People are not crazy; it’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions during this time.  From depression, anger, sadness, & disappointment to confusion and triggers which remind us of previous trauma and loss; it’s all normal

2.  Grieving The Loss – We all go through the stages of grief because in transition, we always lose something.  As in the death of a loved one, the stages apply here as well:  Shock and denial, anger and depression come and go as we grieve.  Just when we think we’ve successfully navigated one stage, we find ourselves back in the same feelings.  Again, that’s normal.  Grieving is crazy-making!  We eventuallymove to acceptance with sadness for the loss.

3.  Process The Feelings – It’s important that people don’t stuff all that grief and emotions but rather have opportunity to process, or talk about, the change in a healthy manner.  We can help by using the following skills:

  •  Create Safety – Provide confidentiality; knowing what they share with you won’t go any further.
  •  Listen without judgment – paraphrase the content and feeling; they will feel understood.  “i.e.,  “I hear you saying you feel pretty angry about this.” 
  • What NOT To say: 
     
    • Just trust God
    • Look on the bright side
    • I conquered it this way
    • Just read and pray more
    • Or any other “advice-giving” statements.  Unsolicited advice is like chopped liver – not appreciated. 

The Meltdown

            It was August, and an idea hit me, like lightning striking a lone tree on a hilltop.  I would put on a women’s conference!  And I’d do it in two months!   After all, as one of my favorite authors, Jim Rohn, said: “The time to act is when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.”    

            I gathered a team around me and we set out to bring that idea to life. The “Highly Effective Women’s” conference was set for October and all worked feverishly to make sure it happened. 

            Chapter nine of my newly completed book, Yes! I Said No! clearly spelled out the steps to “Dream Big; Think Small.”  That was me, right?  If I wrote it, I’d better practice it!  This seminar would be a Joyce Myers, Christine Caine, Beth Moore event, all wrapped in one! 

It was the week before the conference when the meltdown happened. 

            Like hot lava spilling out from an erupting volcano, disturbing thoughts burned my mind, leaving tears and hopelessness in their wake.  “Who do you think you are to do this?  You are definitely not those famous women you admire; you’re just the Great Pretender.”   

            You can’t entertain such thoughts without suffering severe side effects and I spent the day wallowing in self-pity and despair.  The next day, however, the stern schoolmarm part of me stepped in, saying:  “Get a grip, Barbra!  You’re going to do this thing!”  And I set out to do it, to complete the job.  After the “Highly Effective Women’s Conference” was held in October, the participants, the team and I all declared it a success.

            Why do I tell you this story?  Because I bet I’m not the only one who has dreamed a dream that seemed too big to accomplish, not the only person who has doubted their ability to make it all the way to the goal line.  Perhaps you too have heard the echoes of doubters from your past wickedly whispering in your ear, “You never finish what you start, you quitter!”  I bet I’m not the only one who has ever felt those qualms of inadequacy; not the only one who has suffered a meltdown. 

            A few weeks after the conference, I was reflecting on what happened.  Why on earth did I experience that day of panic?  It had been a while since that happened, even though I remembered other times when such mind-attacks would put me in a depressive funk for weeks or maybe even months. 

            This truth then hit me – Even though I had had a bad day, I must be further from the volcano of self-doubt, insecurity and lack of confidence in myself.  Yes, only one day of feeling discouraged equals progress for me!

            When you encounter the inevitable setbacks, discouragement and doubts which beset purpose-driven people, instead of repeating a well-rehearsed mantra such as “well, I can’t do this,” look at the progress you’ve made.  All too often we assume an “all or nothing” attitude.  We look at things as black or white; success or failure.  We need to recognize the shades of gray which represent progress. 

            I imagine if today you carefully measured the distance from your particular volcano of obstacles, you’d see yourself further down the road than you were years ago, months ago or even weeks ago.  Because it’s a fact that if you keep getting up after you fall down, you are going to succeed.  If you keep trying, you will learn and grow.  And if in the process you have a meltdown, you will discover, as I did, that it wasn’t as bad and didn’t last as long as before.  Keep on dreaming those dreams; continue taking action when the idea is hot!   

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Barbra Russell, MA, LPC

Counselor/Writer/Speaker

www.BarbraRussell.com