Archives for posts with tag: mental health

I saw this bottle cap at my friend’s house yesterday.  I think this is a battle worth fighting, with one caveat.

Growing up is tough

Do allow maturity to enhance your life.  Don’t give up in life what fuels your spirit.


The bane of my existence.  The thorn in my pride.  A pain in the a** (for others).

Say it with me.  “I am a procrastinator”.

Now, for those that aren’t procrastinators, I say congratulations.  I have no ill will towards you.  My wife is a non-procrastinator and I derive endless inspiration from her tireless energy to “get things done”.

For the rest of my procrastinating brethren,  I offer this list to help with your understanding of what procrastination is not.  Not so we can procrastinate more and push-off responsibility, but so we can shed light on what gets in the way and be more honest with ourselves.  It makes more sense to OWN our procrastination, and what we feel with it, and allow it to guide us to use more of our energies doing what we love.

There is a tendency to feel guilt and shame around the subject of procrastination because we associate it with being LAZY.

procrastination is not being lazy

Here is a list of reasons that suggest your procrastination has NOTHING to do with being lazy.

1.  You don’t like boring routine tasks.  Nobody does, but for you it’s excruciating.  The more importance and meaning a task has for you, the easier it is for you to do.

2.  You have a waning attention span.  It’s hard for your attention to not go to things that are attractive to you.  These are things that you don’t procrastinate on.   They’re fun and entertaining.

3.   There is a level of anxiety about starting tasks.  Maybe you are a perfectionist, there has to be a set amount of time for you to just start the task.  The thought of starting something and then stopping in the middle of it gives you and your perfectionist side anxiety.

procrastination is not being lazy

4.  You are a creative type.  I’ve found that the most creative people who I know are procrastinators.  There seems to be positive correlation between creative energies and procrastinating, maybe for the same reason with ADD and creativity.

5.   You are successful at many areas of your life and don’t procrastinate in those.  At work, being a parent, coordinating nights out with your friends.  You excel in these areas and you AREN’T A LAZY PERSON.  Getting the basement organized?  Not so much.

What are ways you’ve been able to successfully view, or manage,  your procrastination?


(This is part one of a two-part post on procrastination)


It’s Sunday and that nagging reminder the weekend is coming to an end has settled in our being.  Not only are we bummed about the weekend ending but we dread Monday.  Monday means that we have to go back to work.

Even if we love our jobs and the people we work with, it’s normal to feel some apprehension about starting the new week. But what if we don’t love our jobs?  What if one of the biggest reasons we don’t love them is because our work environment is fear driven?

Fear in the workplace

Here are some common themes in a fear based work environment:  “If you don’t do ‘this’ then ‘that’ will happen”, “If we don’t comply then ‘they’ll’ find a reason to get rid of us!”, “We need to do ‘this’.  You want us to look good, don’t you?”.  This is the “stick” part of the “carrot and stick” approach to managing.

Fear and stress in the workplace

Pressure, pressure, pressure.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  Stress, stress, stress.  Sounds miserable doesn’t it?

What if there were other ways to motivate a workplace?

“Oh, sure!”, you are saying.  “That’s just the way it is.  That’s the way it has to be.”

Not necessarily. Check out this Ted Talk looking at work environments and motivation.

We’ve been accustomed to accepting a pure “carrot and stick”, or reward/punishment system, in the workplace.  What the science is finding is that by getting away from the old reward and punishment approach, many places of business are becoming much more productive.  On top of that, their employees are happier.

Doesn’t going to work and being happy sound good?

Frequently I hear from clients that they did like or did not connect with their past therapists.  It could be easy to say that it’s just a simple matter of “there are a lot of bad therapists out there”, but I think it goes deeper than that.  Getting therapy that works is about finding a therapist that you fit with.  One that is getting what you, or you and your partner, need.

Just because someone has gone through graduate school, or received a doctorate, does not mean that they are automatically an effective therapist for your needs.

John Harrison Counseling Blog Finding a Good Therapist

Here’s a brief list of some things I would suggest anyone look for when choosing a counselor or psychologist to work with.

Find someone who:

You feel a connection with and you feel comfortable talking with.  If you are not sure, refer to the people closest to you and noticing what about them makes you feel comfortable.  Your personal life, current issues, past issues, traumas, it’s all sacred.  It should not feel as if you’re “just another client”.

Encourages you and supports you.   Even as adults, it’s important that we receive acknowledgement for our accomplishments.   It’s also helpful because it assists us in gauging our progress.

Can be honest with you.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to hear someone’s thoughts on ourselves but it’s necessary to receive constructive reflection.

You feel that you honestly express yourself with without fear of being criticized.  Being told what you are thinking or experiencing by a therapist is wrong is…well…wrong.

Is meeting you on your level and for your needs.  There was no chapter titled “you” in those books the therapist read in grad school.  A good therapist is meeting you where you are, not where they want you to be.

Does not make you feel pressured to do anything.  You should feel free to say no to something you are not comfortable with.

Does not talk down to you and is not egocentric.  A good therapist remembers that they are human first and their credentials are a distant second.  Because they know they are human too, they use that as a basis of connection, empathy and understanding.

Does not make you feel as if they are “just treating your diagnosis”.  A diagnosis isn’t “you”.  The focus on therapy is not solely on your diagnosis.  The focus is on you as a whole person.

What kind of things are important for you, or would be, if you were looking to work with a therapist?



We really do take our emotional health for granted.  We pay attention to our physical health in various ways, such as through diet and exercise, but we continually allow ourselves to cross our own boundaries internally.

How often do we allow our own self talk to say things to us we’d never allow someone else to say to us?  How frequently are we sabotaging our own contentment and success, yet we focus the blame to our environments and other people as if they are the reason?

To get love we have to love ourselves first.

Check out this excellent Ted Talk  on emotional hygiene.

When is the right time to see a counselor?  This is a very good question.  It can be hard to know when we’ve crossed over from being able to “handle our stuff” on our own to seeking professional help.  Many of us have lived up to the mantra of “suck it up and deal with it” for so long that it seems foreign to even consider seeking the services of a therapist.

Contrary to what some of us may think, there’s nothing wrong with getting counseling! That goes for everyone.  Many people see a counselor to help them with the in’s and out’s of life.  You don’t need a diagnosis to see a counselor and you don’t have to feel you are crazy to seek therapy, either.

Seeking counseling


However, there are some signs that we should look for as signals that it’s probably time to at least strongly consider getting some therapeutic help.

Here are some common reasons to seek counseling.  These reasons are in no specific order and there are many things I’m sure I could add that I’ve left out.

1.  Symptoms of feeling down that have lasted longer than they normally do.  The event or the circumstance that we attributed to us feeling down has ended long ago, yet we’re still not the same.

2.  People that we are close to are concerned about our mood or lack of energy.  If people are asking us if we “really are ok” they know something is amiss.  Chances are they’ve just now felt it necessary to say something.  They’ve probably been noticing the shift in us for awhile.

3.  Feelings of being “out of control”.  If we don’t feel in control, we probably aren’t.

4.  Lack of energy.  If we’re feeling tired all of the time, or have very little motivation, it’s a sign that we may need some help.

getting counseling

5.  Apathy.  Not caring can feel worse than feeling down or worrying all the time.  If feeling apathetic about your relationship or your job is the case, this could have serious repercussions.

6.  Feeling frustrated about being stuck or going through the same things AGAIN.  Feeling stuck in a cycle of emotional turmoil or certain types of relationship disaster?

7.  Our partner feels that we are distant or disconnected from the relationship.  The longer this goes on, the worse it can get.

8.  Bouts of anger that make you feel out of control or are affecting your family.  Please consider help for their sake, if not yours.

9.  Feeling confused about self or place in the world.  It’s normal to go through significant periods of change throughout our lives.  It can be very helpful to have someone to help keep you grounded in the process.

10.  Any thoughts of harming yourself or others.  Of course, if this is the case.  The first step is to call for EMERGENCY help.  Counseling will be needed at some point.  Just not immediately.

Also, one of the biggest indicators that it might be a good idea to consider therapy is if you continually think about if it’s a good idea to do therapy!  Sounds simple, but going with the gut intuition is typically the best route!


What is it that drives us to seek truths or cling to culturally accepted beliefs?  When faced by others who have different beliefs, why do we at times feel so threatened?  We seek others who tend to hold our viewpoints and when around those who we differ with we may refrain from intently listening to their viewpoint.  In conversation we formulate the words in our minds to refute what they are communicating while they are talking to us instead of listening to what they are saying.  Being right is justifying.  It is validating.  It brings us worth and value.  For example, as a parent being “right” brings us security and a sense of role fulfillment.  However, is it necessary to be “right”?  Does emphasizing a “correct viewpoint” bring more issues and problems than simply “letting things go”?

The psychology/counseling fields discourage the concept of a “right” or an absolute way of being or thinking.  This is called the “righting reflex”.  Most people can appreciate this needed aspect of a therapeutic or psychological approach.  Feeling accepted, appreciated, and acknowledged are intrinsic human needs.  People come to therapy to escape the outside polarized world of “right and wrong” and allow themselves the opportunity to be free.  Free to be themselves without judgement.  We all want to fit in and we want to belong with something greater than ourselves.  However, we will all feel rejection at some point.  This perception of rejection may not be a total rejection of self but simply a rejection of “part” of self, such as our ideas, thoughts, or opinions.  However, we tend to guard these parts of self as if they are part of who we are as individuals.  We cling on to our believe systems as if it is who we are.  When our ideas, or opinions, are refuted by others we can tend to feel “less than”.  There is a disruption of our perceived sense of self and reality and this doesn’t feel good!  If we can appreciate that we all have a need to be acknowledged and appreciated, it’s possible that we can better understand our own “righting reflex”.  Is the “need to be right” more about the person we are trying to convince or is it more about protecting that part of us that seeks approval and the need to be validated?

Even more difficult to navigate is our communication with our children.  While it may be easy to walk away from a conversation with a friend or co-worker, the emphasis on being “right” can be especially difficult to give up when we are dealing with our kids.  We may tend to think “I know better and it is my job as a parent to make sure they know what is right”.  That makes sense, right?  How else is a child supposed to learn?  Unfortunately for our parental urge to protect, the learning process for a child has a lot to do with their own experiences and learning from their mistakes.  As parents we can only do so much.  This fact can lead us to feel vulnerable and anxious.  We simply cannot hold our kids hands, nor can we force them to learn anything.  They have to be willing to accept it.  We know this is true as we were children and young adults once finding our way through life feeling out our own boundaries and self-identity.



This look inward at our perceptions of “right and wrong” can be a great opportunity to learn about self.  We have the ability look internally and check our intentions or motivations.  We may end up asking ourselves “Why do I need to have all of the answers?” or “What if we are both right and both wrong all at the same time?  What does that mean?”  The questions are endless.  The process seems to be full of opportunity to expand one’s worldview, though probably not without some discomfort.  None of that matters unless we have the intention to listen and understand more and project less.  Are we trying to make progress or be right?  Are we seeking happiness or do we want to be right?