Your Two Best Tools for Better Communication with Your Partner

best tools for better communication“We need tools to communicate better.” This is one of the most common things I hear couples say when I first start counseling with them. And of course, it makes sense. After all, anyone going to marriage counseling or couples therapy would expect to learn ways of communicating better with his or her partner.

 

There’s more to the story here, though. In order for couples to communicate better and grow closer together, they need more than tools. They need to become skilled at using those tools, and that means that they themselves need to grow and change. 

Minding Your Emotions: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 3)

minding our emotionsGetting to know and understanding ourselves, our stories, and our feelings is such an important part of personal growth. Learning to live with difficult feelings instead of self-medicating, numbing ourselves, or in some other way avoiding vulnerability is the stuff of life. Doing this hard work of being aware of and owning our “stuff” is key to living with meaning and fulfillment.

 

In part 1 of this series, I shared a personal experience to illustrate how important learning to deal with our most painful feelings is important. In part 2, I talked about why some people have trouble identifying and describing what they feel. In this post, I’d like to share with you some strategies for how you can learn to get to know yourself and your feelings a little better.

Why We Have Trouble Knowing Our Feelings: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 2)

why you have trouble knowing your feelingsRemember the last time you felt something so strongly that your emotions got the better of you? Maybe you did something you regret. Maybe you spoke words that you wish you could take back. Or maybe you just gritted your teeth, trying your best to hang in there while it felt like the world was falling apart. Because in moments when strong emotions have ensnared us, it really does feel like the sky is falling.

 

Most of us, in moments like this, have at least some idea that we’re caught up in powerful feelings. What we don’t always know is what we’re feeling and why. As we’ll see, being aware of what you’re feeling is the first step to taking the reins back from your strong emotions.

How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 1)

how to recognize and deal with your feelingsWe’ve all been there. We have an experience that causes intense feelings to rise up in us, drowning out all others. We become momentarily awash in that painful experience, whether it’s anger, shame, anxiety, fear, or all of the above all at once. We feel so much so quickly, often without fully understanding what’s going on with us.

 

I had an experience like that recently. Without getting into the gritty details, I stepped in it with a family member, someone I love and care for deeply. I didn’t communicate clearly about some of my plans, and she was hurt. Of course, I didn’t mean to hurt her, but that’s beside the point. That’s what I was telling myself in between my flashes of anger, which is always a sure sign that I feel shame.

How to Change Beliefs to Form Better Habits (Part 2)

change beliefs

I believe I don’t like pineapple. That belief isn’t going to change.

Changing our habits can be challenging, and in part 1, we saw why. Whether it’s starting a new habit or ditching an old one, any changes we try make will quickly send us to a meet-n’-greet with the beliefs that are tied up with that habit.

 

Maybe you have trouble regularly checking your finances because we believe you’re not with money and there’s a lot of fear there for you. Maybe you’re afraid to start something new because you believe that you’ll fail. Maybe it’s been really tough to kick your pornography habit because you feel like you’re not good enough no matter what you do, and at least pornography makes you forget that for a while.

How to Change Beliefs to Form Better Habits (Part 1)

how to change beliefsAbout every month or so, I pick up a new business book from the local public library and dive in. I enjoy reading business books as I’ve found that it helps me with the business side of running a practice so that I can be my best for my clients. Recently, I picked up Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt, a book about how to set and achieve goals in your life.

 

It caught my eye because I’ve been wanting to find time to cultivate new habits. With our family’s sometimes crazy schedule, I was having trouble making the changes I wanted to make. Every time I try to create a new habit, I stopped after a week or so.

How I’m Learning to Slow Down (and How You Can, Too)

learning to slow down

“Learning to slow down,” an image of a snail, a snail is slow… You get it.

Learning to slow down in our fast-paced society is so difficult, but lately I’ve been realizing just how important it really is. Some of the last few posts I’ve written in this blog have been less focused on tips, advice, and other forms of useful content that I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to produce.

Pros and Cons of Twelve-Step Programs

pros and cons of twelve-step programsWhat are the pro and cons of twelve-step programs? In the early 20th century, Bill Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous in an attempt to address and ultimately cure his confounding and baffling condition. The approach and philosophy of AA are based on medical insights, ancient spiritual traditions, and consultation with a handful of psychologists and more than a few alcoholics.

 

Today, AA and other 12-step programs are easily the most widely known and available support for addiction. Although AA is the original, many splinter groups have formed based on the same 12-step philosophy, including Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Debtors Anonymous.

 

I’ve often referred clients to twelve-step groups if I think they’d be a good fit for such a group and if they’d likely find it helpful. But I’ve realized that AA and its variations aren’t for everyone. Here are some of my thoughts about the pros and cons of twelve-step programs to help you determine what’s right for you.