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Random acts of kindness.

When I am having a bad day performing random acts of kindness puts me in a better mood.  It honestly makes me feel better and even makes me smile.  So today’s blog is ideas that you can use for random acts of kindness.  The best part, some of them won’t cost you a dime.

  1. The simplest act of kindness is to SMILE at someone.  Smiles are contagious. You smile at someone and they smile back.  
  2. Hold the door open for someone.
  3. Let someone with a few items go in front of you at the store. 
  4. Give out sincere compliments to people.
  5. Buy someone else’s coffee.
  6. Buy the person’s breakfast behind you in the drive thru line. 
  7. Donate your gently used clothes and toys.
  8. Leave money in a gumball machine for children.
  9. Send someone a card in the mail.
  10. Send someone a gift for no reason.
  11. Leave a large tip for a server who was amazing.
  12. Donate dog/cat food, toys, blankets, or towels to the animal shelter.
  13. Volunteer at the animal shelter.
  14. Leave a sweet note in your child’s or spouse’s lunch.
  15. Put money in someone else’s meter.
  16. Give yourself a compliment.
  17. Plant a tree or flowers.
  18. Volunteer to read to children.
  19. Sing at a nursing home. 
  20. Visit an eldery person in your neighborhood.
  21. Cook dinner for a sick friend or a new mother.
  22. Buy people’s ice cream on a summer day. 
  23. If you own a business, have a bowl of water for dogs that people are walking.
  24. Tell someone a joke.
  25. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  26. Learn CPR.
  27. Help someone who is struggling with their grocery bags.
  28. Buy a gift card and hand it to someone on your way out of the coffee shop.
  29. Leave a coupon next to that item in the grocery store.
  30. Hold the elevator door for someone. 
  31. Send someone flowers, just because.
  32. Mow your neighbors lawn.
  33. Give up your seat on the bus or subway.
  34. Buy from mom and pop stores or buy local.
  35. Leave a positive note inside a library book when you return it. 
  36. Give someone a hug.
  37. If you see someone taking pictures of their family, offer to take one with them in it for them.
  38. Say Thank you and mean it. 
  39. Praise someone in front of their boss or co-workers.
  40. Tell the manager about wonderful service given by a waiter or waitress. 
  41. Donate blood.
  42. Paint rocks with messages and leave them lying about the park for people to find.
  43. Rescue an animal from the shelter. 
  44. Go to a free concert and leave the performer(s) a generous tip. 
  45. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  46. Have a cookout for the neighborhood.
  47. Pay for dessert for the table next to you.
  48. Donate your books to the library. 
  49. Help someone cross the street.
  50. Wave at your neighbors.

National Hug Your Dog Day

March 10th  is National Hug Your Dog Day.

This is National Hug Your Dog Day!!!  Ok, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a special day to hug on my fur baby.  I hug and love on them all the time!

 Let’s look at the mental health (and physical health) benefits to having a dog. 

Research supports that being around dogs (and cats) puts you in a better mood and offers stress relief.  They cut down on anxiety and depression. 

The actual act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. 

Oftentimes, we are more active because of our 4 legged friends.  We find ourselves out for walks, maybe even a jog.  Even if we just take our pooch to the dog park, we are getting vitamin D from the sun and that boosts our moods. 

When we are out in public with our dog, it increases our social interaction.  People are going to smile and we are going to smile back.  People are going to stop and ask to pet your dog and strike up a conversation with you.  In fact, if you walk your dog around the same time daily and in the same area, you are bound to run into the same people. 

Dogs offer us unconditional love and companionship.  They love to greet us when we come home and lavish us with love and affection. They cuddle with us and keep our deepest secrets.  They even warn us of people we should stay away from.  My dog has even been known to wipe away my tears.  

My dogs are my best friends! 

So Hug your Dog Today!

EMDR

EMDR 

EMDR is Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  It is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  EMDR therapy requires you to briefly focus on the trauma/event/memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation.  The stimulation is usually side to side eye movement, but it can also be hand tapping. 

With EMDR you are not hypnotized.  You are in control the whole time.  You are first asked to focus on the memory and a negative belief associated with it. Then you follow your providers finger.  You then work towards a positive belief associated with the memory and work your way, away from the negative belief.

The question is, does it work?  YES!!!!!  I was sceptic the first time I ever had an EMDR session.  I didn’t understand how it worked and had my doubts that it would work on me.  It worked! 

Here is my story…..

I was 15 when my uncle committed suicide.   Prior to his suicide, his last words to me were spoken in anger, maybe even rage.  The uncle that I loved and adored, broke my heart.  Then before we could make up, he took his own life.  I had so much guilt.  I felt that I was to blame.  I felt ashamed.  I felt unworthy. I even felt that my family blamed me in some ways.  That was so much for a 15-year-old to carry.  The pain would overwhelm me at times.  When I thought of my uncle, hate and anger surfaced. I felt cold inside. 

For 30 years I carried all those negative feelings with me. I would beat myself up. Can you image how all those negative feelings affected my life and my relationships with others? I never realized that at 15 I had no control over what a 38-year-old man did. 

I ended up seeing Skye at SkyeHelps. I was seeking guidance on how to help my son through a traumatic event that he had recently been through.  In one of my sessions the whole story of my uncle spilled out. At that time, I agreed to EMDR.  If it worked, awesome, if it didn’t, I wasn’t out anything.

When we started, I focused on my uncle and his death. The negative belief was it was all my fault. The positive belief was that he loved me. When I was asked where I felt it, I felt it in my heart.  It was crushing.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I was crying so hard that I could not follow her finger, she tapped my legs for the side to side movement.  I honestly don’t know how long we checked in to see where I was on a scale of 1-7.  I have no idea how long it took for me to get to zero.  What I do know is the end results.

When we were done and I thought of my uncle, I felt warmth.  I felt love.  I smiled.  I felt like he was hugging my and I was happy.  I had no guilt.  I knew that I wasn’t to blame for his actions.  I knew that my family did not blame me.  I had no shame.  All I had was love and warmth. 

30 years of negative feelings are completely gone.  30 years of blaming myself for something that I had no control over, is gone.  If EMDR can do that for me, it can you it for you.

What do you have to lose? Nothing.  What do you have to gain? Everything.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Therapy.

When I was first asked to write about how to get the most out of therapy, I thought that this was way out of my league. Yes, I have been in therapy and I knew what worked for me, but to tell other people what worked, that was another thing. Then I sat back and I thought about it. What if what I thought just made sense, opened someone else’s eyes and helped them during their sessions? So I decided to give it a go.

The first way to get the most out of therapy is to SHOW UP! Yes, we all have days where we don’t want to go. We don’t want to face our issues, our fears, our failures, or ourselves, but that’s what therapy is all about. Therapy will not work if you don’t show up. I have found that the days that I don’t want to go are often a break through day. These are the days that my emotions are running high and I need the outlet. I may not want to talk, but I NEED to talk.

The second way to get the most out of therapy is to communicate with your therapist. Be open. Be honest. They can’t help you if you hold anything back from them. Say whatever you feel. Don’t censor yourself due to fear of being judged. Don’t hold back emotions. Be willing and able to show your emotions. If you feel like you need to cry, cry. It’s ok. If you’re mad, then be mad. The goal is to work through whatever is causing the emotion. Let your therapist know what you need or why you are there. Let them know what you want to talk about. Let them know what’s on your mind. I know this is hard, I’ve been there. I’ve held back and not been open and I only cheated myself. When I open up I get so much out of the session.

The third way to get the most out of therapy is to do the work outside of our sessions. Make a conscious effort to practice what you learned in your session when you are not in a session. If you learned how to change your thinking from negative self talk to positive self talk during your session, then pay attention when you fall back into negative self talk. Think about what you learned and apply it. If your therapist gives you homework, do the homework. It may seem silly, but it is to help you and reinforce what you talked about during your session.

Another thing that is helpful to get the most out of therapy is keeping a journal. Write about how you feel, what you’re doing, what changes you have made, and the progress that you have made. This is a great tool for when you are having a bad day, you can look back and see how far you have already come.

I also recommend setting goals with your therapist. Set small goals, this way you can achieve them in a shorter time. Set long term goals so you have something to focus on. These goals can be something like planning an outing with a friend, having less negative self talk, or whatever you want them to be.

Remember when you are in a therapy session it is your time. It’s all about you for that session. You can make the most of it. You can open up. You can face those demons and fears. This is your time! Embrace it!

World Mental Health Day

“World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.” https://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/en/

The work I do is good. 

My work is about helping people understand and manage their feelings and behaviors. It’s about helping people process their grief, traumatic past, anxiety, shame, guilt, remorse, and confusion. It’s about building a trusting relationship with my clients. I provide a sounding board for their lives in a space where they can feel relief, knowing that I have no stake in their lives, no opinion, and no judgement. I provide a neutral space for them to explore their past and imagine new ways of being. My work is about listening. It’s about listening carefully so clients feel understood. Sometimes I point out patterns in their feelings, behaviors, or stories and I often cry, laugh, and learn with them. 

I love what I do. I love how I do it. I love my clients and the surprises and “ah-ha!” moments that unfold organically before our eyes. I love learning more ways to help others and myself as therapeutic models evolve and science reveals new information about how our brains and bodies work to make us who we are. I love practicing what I learn with my clients and colleagues. I am passionate about helping others and society at-large.

“How do we make mental health care a reality for people worldwide?” So much. So very much. However, we’ve already come a very long way:

When I think generationally, I consider the changing attitude towards mental health care in my own family. My grandparents did not talk about negative feelings, did not process grief, did NOT go to therapy. My parents sometimes talked about negative feelings, did not process grief, and did NOT go to therapy. My sister and I sometimes talk about negative feelings, process grief a little, and go to therapy occasionally. My children ALL feel free to talk about negative feelings, are learning to process grief, and DO go to therapy.

In America, we recognize that talking about our negative feelings and experiences helps us feel better and do better. We know now that processing grief in a healthy, proactive way helps us feel happier and more connected to others. We know now that going to therapy is not for “crazy” people. It’s for regular people with regular challenges that need or want some direction in their lives. There are also plenty of people who have severe depression, anxiety, panic, and addiction who got to that severe place because there was not early intervention.

I think one of the most helpful areas of mental health care where we could make the biggest impact worldwide is early intervention. When we validate a child’s negative feelings, help them process grief, or teach them to ask for help, we empower them to take control of their feelings instead of being a victim to them. We can build a trusting relationship with them that allows them to explore their world without shame and guilt. We can teach them early in life to choose what they believe about themselves. We can teach them they can trust themselves to move their feelings if and when they want. We can help them make good decisions based on rational thinking. 

How would you be different today if you had grown up with these resources? How would the world be a different place if every child could learn to control their feelings by recognizing, acknowledging, choosing, and moving them? I think it would be pretty magical.

And that’s what I see in my office every day. I see the magic that happens inside people and between people when I explain they are not crazy, broken, “the” problem, or stupid. Witnessing the magic that occurs when I give people the space to be themselves and explore the dark corners of their minds is wonderful. I see the behavior of children change with only a few minor tweaks to their parents’ words or actions. 

What I do is amazing to me. I’m thrilled by the possibilities for better mental health care and the improvements being made every day. Let’s keep up the good work. 

Book Recommendation: The Four Agreements

SkyeHelps recommends The Four Agreements
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

SkyeHelps recommends reading The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. This bestselling book suggests four principles to help bring happiness and peace into your life. The four principles are: be impeccable with your words, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. Ruiz goes into detail about what each on of these principles mean, and how to apply them to your everyday life. Reading the book is the easy part, but the challenging part is staying committed with applying the rules towards your life. SkyeHelps invites you to read our book selections to cultivate personal growth and emotional wellness.

Mental Health Tip #2

Meditation is a practice that can help you understand and clarify your emotions. Meditation can help you cope with negative emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, and sadness. The practice of meditation is when you focus your attention on a particular thought or activity to help provide mental clarity. An easy way to start meditating is in the shower. Begin by imagining yourself washing away the negative thoughts. Let the negative emotions wash down the drain, and leave you with a sense of peace.  Meditating just a few minutes each day will help improve your emotional well-being.

To schedule an appointment , visit https://skyehelps.com or Call 706-265-5681.

Therapy Myths #1

You are not crazy.

A common misconception about therapy is that it’s only for people who are weak or crazy. This is not true; it can help you with a range of difficulties life may throw at you. Anyone can benefit from therapy. When you are presented with struggles during your lifetime, and therapy can help you work through many different trials or life changes.  You are not weak for seeing a therapist. Being self-aware that seeking help may be the best case for you shows true strength. Life can bring waves of emotional destruction through career problems, school problems, relationship problems, and life transitions. Simply having someone to talk to and support you through these troubles can provide relief . Therapy can help bring you closer to emotional wellness.

To schedule an appointment , visit https://skyehelps.com or Call 706-265-5681.