Posts By: annbhc

Using “Anchoring” to Cope with Anxiety

I have a lot of clients who suffer from anxiety and happen to know, on a more personal level, how it feels and what it does to a person, physiologically. We’ve all felt a bit anxious from time to time – sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s, taking an important test, going to a job interview…But for some, anxiety can be crippling and cause panic attacks that simulate heart attacks.

A panic attack can cause symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, flushing of the face and chest, feeling the air compressing in on you, feeling like you are going to die, tightening of the chest, and not being aware of what you are saying, just to name a few. Usually, this happens because the person having the experience is relating a particular situation to one that happened prior and generated negative feelings. For example, a person with a fear of public speaking might remember a time in college they had to give a presentation and had a panic attack. Any time after that, having to speak in front of others can generate (or re-generate) that feeling of negativity.
Others might get triggered by something as simple as the grocery store. It might start as a feeling of claustrophobia, combined with bright lights, tiny aisles filled with strangers watching as you walk past. One unpleasant experience in a grocery store could cause a person with anxiety to be horrified of going back to the grocery store.
Once we have felt that extreme level of anxiety in whatever situation, it is our human inclination to merely AVOID that situation… For the rest of your life. Problem solved.

Not so. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The only way to overcome that anxiety is to constantly expose yourself to that very situation that generates it. That person with the fear of public speaking might join Toastmaster’s, in which s/he would have to stand up and speak in front of others on various topics 2-4 times a month. The person who fears the grocery store should find a reason to go every other day, even if they don’t buy anything.

I know what you may be thinking: “Well that answer’s no good!!!” I agree. There ARE no easy answers. However, the more you expose yourself to that thing that gives you anxiety, the less power it will have over you. And there’s a way to help.

I’ve recently read about “anchoring” and have some clients trying it out. I’m trying it out, too! It works kind of like a savings account. Every time you have a good feeling, someone pays you a compliment, you mentally remark on what a nice day it is, or whatever is the case – produce a physical sensation, such as clenching your fist, touching your middle finger to your thumb, or pressing your big toe deep inside your shoe. When you do this, you’re connecting that physical sensation to something positive & putting it into your “positive energy savings account”. The more you do this, the stronger the reaction will be.

You’ll be surprised that the next time you find yourself giving a presentation or going into the grocery store, providing that physical sensation will automatically CONNECT your brain to a positive experience, which then discredits and overpowers the link to the negative.

It’s hard to remember to do this sometimes, so you might try something to remind you. On a day you want to monitor the positive and try it out, maybe switch a ring from one hand to the other or your watch from one wrist to the other to remember. Or try generating your own positive feelings – listening to music you like, dancing, meditating on your favorite place…whatever works for you.

Hope this helps! Have a great day!

MANIPULATION

This topic has come up throughout so many sessions in the last week or so that I felt the universe was telling me to write a blog on it. I realized, too, that a lot of people don’t know that they’re being manipulated and when I point it out to them they’re quite surprised. Manipulation comes in many different forms, which I’m about to lay out for you AND let you know what you can do when it happens.

1. THE CLASSIC “SHUT DOWN”: This happens a lot in relationships. When the discussion takes a dangerous turn or gets too difficult for someone, they use this technique to shut down the conversation. They may do it by beginning to cry, or simply stating “I can’t talk about this anymore” and then leaving the home or locking themselves in the bathroom.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Understand that someone using this technique does so as a defense mechanism. They have been taught (by themselves, or others – possibly even you!) that when a topic becomes too difficult, they can avoid, deny, and delay. Don’t back down if it’s something that needs to be discussed. Gently explain to the person that you understand why they don’t want to continue the conversation but that it’s necessary and is best done sooner, rather than later.

2. THE GUILT TRIP: Everyone has that person in their family – a mom, a grandmother, etc. – who always feels like your time at their home is never long enough. They might say things like: “You just can’t wait to get out of here, can you?” Nothing you do is ever enough and you might find that you constantly have to convince the person how much you love them because they feel so deserted and abandoned every time you leave. There are many variations to the guilt trip, this is merely one example.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Don’t give in to the guilt. Some statements don’t dignify a response. Give it one and you might find yourself in an argument with the person, so there’s no use in engaging in that conversation. You might say, “I’m sorry you feel that way”, while you give them a hug and kiss, then make your exit.

3. CO-DEPENDENCY: This one’s a doozy! Again, this typically happens with people in relationships, though I’ve also seen this between parents and grown children. When we get to a point where we feel like we “can’t” do something without that other person, you are in dangerous territory. Sure, partners do nice things for each other and take advantage of the fact that one is better at fixing things around the house while the other might be better with balancing the budget. But when you feel like you could never manage the budget or pay the bills on time on your own, you might have entered into a co-dependency. This other person may do whatever s/he can to keep you in that situation and perpetuate your belief that you can’t manage such tasks without him/her. This is a severe form of manipulation.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Become more independent. If your partner or parent adds to the perpetuation that you will never be able to fix your car yourself, you might try to take an auto mechanics class or watch some You Tube videos or listen to Click and Clack on NPR podcasts. Remember that where there’s a will there’s a way, and you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s OK to depend on others, but not to be dependent on others. Ask yourself which is your situation and, if it’s the latter, get to work right away to remedy it.

These are the 3 big ones that come to mind, though there are many, many others. Just remember that if you find yourself doing things you didn’t want to do, if you have trouble telling someone “no”, or find that you feel unnecessary obligations to people, you might very well be being manipulated. We train others how to treat us! Be assertive, stand up for yourself, and stand your ground. If someone is being particularly unreasonable, try not to let it upset you, disengage in the conversation, and go on with your life.

If you find this happens all too often, you may want to evaluate what your place is in it and consider why you are so easily manipulated. And another thing to consider is that if you have someone in your life who does this and talking to them about it doesn’t change things, you may consider giving that person a break from your life – temporary or permanent, depending on the situation.

Hope this helps! Have a great day!

AT WHAT AGE DID WE BECOME SO FREAKING SERIOUS?!

I love working with kids! I love how (at younger ages) there is no filter between what they think and what they say. When you’re getting a criticism, you know it’s legit. When you’re getting a compliment, you know it’s sincere.

But, best of all, is that sense of wonder – when everything new is exciting, riveting, and spell-binding. I recently began to wonder: At what age do we lose that? At what age are we “forced” to “grow up”? And, most importantly: Do I have to?

Through working with kids, I was re-awakened to several activities that I thoroughly enjoy but haven’t engaged in, well, since I was a kid. Coloring, doing arts & crafts, building forts out of lounge chairs and blankets, climbing trees, playing UNO…Did this stuff stop being fun? (NO!) Or did I just, at some point, feel like I was too old to do them?

I’m 37 years old and am proud to announce that I keep a deck of UNO cards in my bag at all times. I can’t tell you how many times this has come in handy. Nights out with friends when the bar was slow or the people were few, holidays with my nieces (which, by the way, are all over the age of 18), get-togethers at the house…I have recommended coloring to adult clients suffering from extreme anxiety and have been told that it works like a charm. I plan on doing my own visualization board this weekend, to ring in the New Year (Yes, I still work on procrastination…Therapists aren’t perfect! Lol). And I love, love, LOVE getting magazines that give never-ending ideas on creative projects.

Life is short. It’s not a dress rehearsal, but the REAL DEAL. My mom once said to me: “Ann, life can’t be one constant party!” And my reply was, “Why not?” Life is nothing more than WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. I’m no longer a party girl, by any stretch of the imagination. Most nights, I’m in bed by 10. But working with kids has helped me regain that spark of finding wonder and having fun. A lot of them say to me: “You’re so silly! You get excited about the dumbest things!” And that, to me, is the best, most wonderful, and most sincere compliment of all.

WHAT DOES IS IT MEAN TO BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE?

As someone who used to be passive aggressive and avoid confrontation like the plague, I can speak to this with some degree of experience. I jokingly use a totally made-up scenario, approved by Dr. Dave, to explain to clients:

So Dr. Dave and I share an office. Naturally, there is a box of Kleenex in that office. We are therapists, after all. Suppose that I have some weird belief system that the Kleenex should not be easily accessible to clients and I, therefore, like to put them on the bookcase. That way, a client has to get up from the sofa and walk across the room to get a Kleenex. Meanwhile, Dr. Dave has absolutely NO IDEA I feel this way and has never stopped to wonder why the Kleenex box is on the book shelf every time he comes in after I’ve been in the office. He innocently scratches his head and places it back on the table in front of the sofa. When I come back into the office the next day, I notice that the box is back on the table and become irritated. My thought process (however irrational) is this: “Did he not notice that I moved the box? What is the matter with him?”

And this goes on for the next month. Each time he comes into the office and finds the box on the bookshelf, he innocently scratches his head and moves it back. Each time I come into the office and notice it’s back on the table next to the sofa, I become a little more irritated.

In a matter of time, I’ve pushed down all these irritated feelings (because I’m avoiding the confrontation with him) and one day I become irate and I explode like a volcano and unleash a verbal vomit of profanity and frustration because he didn’t say “Bless You” when I sneezed and THEN it comes out about the Kleenex box. “And another thing! What’s up with you and the damn Kleenex box? Why do you keep moving it back to the table when I have clearly told you it belongs on the book shelf? Idiot!”

(Necessary Disclaimers: #1) That would never happen! #2) The Kleenex box stays on the table next to sofa, in case the client needs one, lol. )

So what do you think happens next? I would most likely get fired for talking to my boss that way. Dr. Dave would be very upset over the encounter and he would be, for all intents and purposes, a victim to my passive aggressive behaviors. It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone – not to mention a totally unnecessary one.

THE PROBLEM: The passive aggressive person is TERRIFIED of confrontations, however small.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT? Either quit seeing it as a confrontation or change your perspective of what a confrontation is. You can politely say: “Honey, I get really bothered when you leave your shoes next to the kitchen door. They’re smelly and gross and the kitchen is where we prepare food. Is there any way you could wait until you get to the bedroom before you take them off?”
THE EFFECT: You’ve communicated your concerns, now your partner has the opportunity to accept or reject your suggestion, you’ve explained WHY you feel this way, AND you’ve offered an alternative.

THE PROBLEM: Passive Aggressive people assume that they’re communicating their feelings and beliefs through non-verbal communication, when what they are actually doing is assuming that others can read their minds.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Understand that others can’t read your mind. However clear you believe you’re being through non-verbal communication (tone of voice, slamming doors, sighing, rolling your eyes, etc.), the other person is most likely not getting the message. And that doesn’t mean the other person is an idiot. If someone is difficult for you to deal with, has hurt your feelings, or is being inappropriate, you need to tell them! We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and life events – that person’s intentions might be the opposite of what you believe them to be.
THE EFFECT: Once you get a handle on this, you won’t be as stressed out and the other person will be informed as to what’s bothering you, and they will then be given the opportunity to change or address said behavior.

THE PROBLEM: The root of passive aggressive tendencies is usually that the person either a) doesn’t feel that they deserve to speak their mind, or that they would not be heard in the event that they did, or b) feels totally entitled to every thought, whim, and emotion that rises within them.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Figure out which one you are (or which one the person with whom you are dealing is) and address it from there. Ask yourself why you feel that way? What other examples can you think of in which your approach (or someone else’s) didn’t work? What is your motivation for changing this behavior? When dealing with others, remember that they (usually) are not thinking about or analyzing us 1/3 as much as we are thinking about or analyzing ourselves. Be careful of the assumptions you make regarding others and be mindful of alternative explanations.
For example, if you walk into a room and 2 of your co-workers start laughing, what is your first thought? Are they laughing at you? If that’s what you believe, make up 2 alternative scenarios, such as “Maybe one of them had just finished a joke, right before I walked in”, or “The person that walked in behind me slipped on a banana peel and I didn’t notice because I was too worried what others were thinking of me”.
THE EFFECT: You start to train your brain with some pretty critical messages: It’s not all about you. Your perception of what others think about you is probably not the reality of what others think about you. You are entitled to speak your mind, as long as you do so appropriately.

We at BHC Assessment and Consulting hope this helps, whether you’re passive aggressive, or have to deal with someone who is!

TRANSGENDER SUPPORT 101

For those who don’t know, we at BHC specialize in transgender mental health (among many other things). Dr. Dave has been in this field for about 15 years and has assisted somewhere around 150 clients with successful transition. I particularly love specializing in this field, educating people about it, and raising awareness.
A lot of people have asked me, “How can I be supportive when I meet someone who is transgender?” “How can I make sure I don’t ask questions that would be offensive or stupid?” “How could I be more inclusive, should one of my co-workers come out as transgender?” I love questions like these, because it shows me that people really want to be supportive and inclusive, and they want to know how.

Tip #1: If and when someone comes out to you, start by addressing that person as their identified gender. From the moment a person identifies as a particular gender, use the appropriate pronouns. For a male-to-female transitioner, you would use feminine pronouns and refer to that person as a woman…Even if the person has not started the transition and is still presenting as the opposite gender in the community.

Tip #2: Don’t confuse sexuality with gender. A person’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender. As transgender issues become more mainstream in our society, it is my hope that it will shed light on other equality issues as well. For example, if a man and a woman are in a “heterosexual” relationship, what does it mean if the man transitions into a woman? Neither has ever identified as being “gay” or “lesbian”, but would then be recognized as such in the community, by law. Sexuality and gender are sometimes more fluid than concrete. According to the Kinsey Scale, there are only 20% of us who are completely heterosexual and 20% of us who are completely homosexual, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between.

Tip #3: Don’t make assumptions about surgeries. Each person’s experience is different and individualized. Not everyone feels the need to undergo surgeries. Some might feel better after receiving Hormone Treatment, some might want top surgery, but not bottom surgery. If the person coming out to you is not someone you know that well, asking these types of questions and making those types of assumptions can be offensive and are unnecessary.

Tip #4: Don’t make assumptions about the status of that person’s current relationship. More often than not, couples stay together when one learns that the other is transgender. If a friend or loved one tells you that his/her partner is transgender, don’t assume that they are going to break up. Statistics show that couples stay together and continue to have good relationships during and after a gender transition.

Tip #5: Go ahead and express your support! For people born in, what Dr. Dave calls, “right mind, wrong body”, making the decision to transition into the appropriate gender is a GOOD thing! By the time folks are at the “coming out” stage, it’s something they’ve already thought about, fought against, and contemplated for a long time and have made a conscious decision to correct it. It is not an easy path by any means, but in many ways it is a fascinating journey. A lot of times, undergoing transition can significantly ease, or even CURE, depression and anxiety.

I hope this helps facilitate some basic understanding of how to be better supportive. For more information on our Transgender-Inclusive Workplace Trainings, visit our website!

GETTING STARTED IN THE NEW YEAR…

I joke that my resolution is to NOT make any resolutions! However, ringing in the New Year is a good time to reflect on what your goals are, what you appreciate about what you have, and what you might like to change. I have a few suggestions that might get your creative juices flowing…

Try a VISUALIZATION BOARD. I’ve had several clients report to me that this idea sounds silly and that they’ve felt silly doing it but IT WORKS. I’ve also had several people report to me that when they do one, they get results. Think about it, it’s simple, common sense. Say your goal is to lose 10 pounds. Put a picture of yourself at that weight on the visualization board and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day, several times a day. Because you SEE the goal you want to work on so often, it will be on your mind that much more. Every day you’ll be reminded of that goal and you’re twice as likely to work on it. You can get a poster board at a local dollar store, use some old magazines, print pictures off the internet, or draw the pictures yourself. It can’t hurt you, I promise! 😉

Use a JAR OF POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES. I recently stole a post from my sister off Facebook that recommended having a jar and, throughout the year, jotting down the good things that happen or the good feelings you have, your accomplishments, the people you love for which you are grateful, etc. and slip them into the jar. What a great way to start 2014 – reading all the good stuff from 2013. It’s a good way to stay positive and shift your focus on the more positive events in your life. Our lovely administrative assistant, Sherrie Howell, and I got one for Dr. Dave to put in our office and he LOVED it! So it’s also a thoughtful, inexpensive gift!

Now that the gift giving season is over, try giving a gift to yourself! Dr. Dave created MENTAL HEALTH BOOT CAMP, which is a GREAT way to start off your New Year. It’s an 8 week intensive program that involves a series of short writing exercises throughout the week that will get you back on track in determining what your goals are and how to obtain them.

Now there’s 3 great tips for building a better life and a better you! We wish you lots of luck and all the best for the New Year from BHC Assessment and Consulting! =)

CEU Credits: The Gender Variant Client

ATTENTION ALL SOCIAL WORKERS, LICENSED THERAPISTS, MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS, PSYCHOLOGISTS, PSYCHOTHERAPISTS, AND MARRIAGE AND FAMILY COUNSELORS!!!

We are offering an amazing opportunity to learn new skills and increase your client base, all while being entertained, informed, and educated by Dr. David Baker-Hargrove and earning 6 CEU CREDITS!

WORKING WITH GENDER VARIANT CLIENTS:

• Learn more about GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER ( GENDER DSYPHORIA) and how to utilize a therapeutic approach for the transgender/transsexual client
• Obtain a LIST OF RESOURCES in the community to make available for the client
• Possess a BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE MEDICAL PROCEDURES available to the client
• Learn about REFERRAL LETTER DEVELOPMENT to assist clients in obtaining Hormone Treatment Therapy

WHEN: January 11, 2013 WHERE: Crowne Plaza Airport; 950 NW Lejeune Rd.; Miami, 33126

WHEN: January 25, 2013 WHERE: 60 South Ivanhoe Blvd; Orlando 32804

WHEN: February 1, 2013 WHERE: Best Western; 7700 West Courtney Campell Causeway; Tampa, 33607

WHEN: February 15, 2013 WHERE: Ramada Inn Mandarin; 3130 Hartley Rd.; Jacksonville, 33257

WHEN: February 22, 2013 WHERE: Holiday Inn Conference Center; 2725 Graves Rd.; Tallahassee, 32303

HOW TO REGISTER:

ONLINE: www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com/ceu.php
BY PHONE: 407.963. 5664
E-MAIL: david@drdavidbakerhargrove.com

REGISTRATION FEE: $125
Pre-Registration is required. We accept VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, CHECKS, & MONEY ORDERS

SCHEDULE:
Check in at 8:15-8:50AM. Program starts at 8:50AM. Lunch (not provided) at 12-1PM. Seminar resumes at 1PM. Adjournment at 4PM. Please register early and arrive before start time. Space is limited!

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, PhD, LMCH, DAPA, has assisted clients with over 150 successful transitions in the past 15 years. He has served as the Vice President of the Mental Health Association of Central FL, the Mental Health Supervisor for the Hug-Me Program, and is President Emeritus of the Metropolitan Business Association and Come Out With Pride. He is also the author of the forthcoming book on gender transitioning, “He Says, She Says”.

WORKING THROUGH THE MONDAY BLUES

We can’t all be lucky enough to love what we do and, more likely than not, Monday morning has you pining for the upcoming weekend, in desperate need of coffee, and dreading going back to work. What can you do to make it better? Maybe I can help!

A wise attorney once told me that, for success, you just have to remember the 6 P’s: Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I always remembered that and have used it, time and again, to help me with a myriad of events – including starting a new week.

For example, what are you going to eat? Often, our days and weeks are so busy and we’re just running around, end up grabbing fast food on the way from point A to point B, and end up spending money we don’t have on food we don’t need to be eating. Also, that cheeseburger, fries and a Coke might temporarily put a spring in your step, but is most likely going to make you sleepy and bog you down later.

I try to plan out what I’m going to eat for the week and get it all prepared on Sundays. Don’t get me wrong, folks, I’m certainly no Martha Stewart! But if you work it into your routine, it’s not such a big deal and your wallet, stomach, and spirit will thank you for it! Almost anything you can make at home is going to be healthier then what you get in a restaurant. Plan your meals thoughtfully, keeping in mind what ingredients you’ll need. Try to reduce the amount of groceries you buy finding recipes that require the same ingredients. Cooking 3-4 items in advance will not only save you time and money, but will also provide a healthier alternative!

If you need help with this, try eMeals.com. For just a few dollars a month, you can get help planning meals and making grocery lists.

Remember to get enough sleep! The “normal” amount of sleep varies from person to person, but 6-8 hours is “average”. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning (YES, even on weekends!) help to train your body and your brain to get the sleep you need. Being well-rested will help tremendously with beginning your work week.

Try to get in some exercise before work – either that morning or the day before – for an added boost. Try taking a slow-paced walk around the neighborhood, or do extra housework if you don’t have a gym membership or exercise equipment at home. For those of you have Netflix, there is now a fitness section where you can find various workouts, such as Pilates or Yoga. Spend 30 minutes trying one of these activities and note the difference it makes!

Finally, be aware of what you bring into your environment. If you’re a news junkie, you might want to take a break the day before and the morning you go back to work. Listen to a comedy podcast instead. I recommend The Smartest Man in the World Comedy Podcast with Greg Proops. If you don’t mind a little profanity and vulgarity from time to time and just want a laugh, there’s 2 years worth of podcasts you could listen to, each a couple hours long. Also, be mindful about the music you’re listening to! When I’m feeling down, or just want a boost, I play a Motown mix I created on Spotify. If I’m feeling particularly stressed, I’ll play a Classical mix, to reduce tension. You could also try meditation techniques to quiet racing thoughts, or progressive muscle relaxation techniques to ease physical and mental tension.

For those of you who keep up with these blogs, I’m sure you’ll notice that I’ve simply found new/other ways to incorporate Dr. Dave’s Eat Right/Think Right/Sleep Right/Exercise model. I’m not trying to be tricky, lol, but being consistent in these practices can reduce depression and anxiety and, just all around, get you feeling better, well rested, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the new week. Hope this helps and hope you make it a good one! Happy New Year from all of us at BHC Assessment and Consulting!

Tis the Season…

…to be jolly! But it’s also the season to be completely stressed out and overwhelmed and privy to depression and anxiety. Putting up decorations, buying presents, accepting invitations, declining invitations, getting out cards, shopping, shopping, shopping…It’s important to make sure you take care of yourself during the holiday season and take time to stop along the way and smell the eggnog.

What do I recommend? Dr. Dave always recommends the Eat Right/Sleep Right/Think Right/Exercise model, which is particularly important during times of high stress. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but here are some tips to get you back on track.
Eating right is difficult, especially if you have a crazy busy schedule. Consider keeping healthy snacks on hand, such as apples and peanut butter, carrots and dressing or hummus, granola bars, peanuts, or small Tupperware containers of fruits or salads. Try to curb the carbs in the later evening hours and avoid eating dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime.

In order to maintain proper sleep hygiene, consider going to bed and waking up each night/day at the same time, even on the weekends! This technique essentially trains your body and your mind to do so and, before long, you might not even need your alarm clock. Watch your caffeine intake, eating, watching tv, and computer time before bedtime – those are all stimulants.

For the think right aspect of the model, make yourself aware of your negative thoughts, then rate the rationality of it on a scale of 1-10, then counter it with 3 positive thoughts. Our realities consist of what we notice and that on which we focus: Be careful what you choose to bring into your environment. If you’re feeling down and out, reduce the news and increase the comedy. Give The Cure a rest and try out some Motown or other more upbeat music.

Also, you can try our Mental Health Boot Camp, designed for folks who don’t necessarily need intensive therapy, but are just looking to recharge their lives in one respect or another. It’s an 8 week self-study treatment designed to help people better define their life goals and develop an action plan to achieve those goals. It involves daily wiring exercises that will re-awaken the passion for life and increase self-awareness. For more information, visit our website!

If exercise is a challenge for you, try signing up on meetup.com and join some fun groups, such as kickball, volleyball, pilates, yoga, or walking groups. Try taking your dog for a walk, or just walk around the neighborhood. Remember that movement is exercise: You can park in the furthest spot from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and/or increase the housecleaning.

Most importantly, remember to take time to ENJOY the special times with your family, friends, and loved ones. Be thankful for what you have and try to focus on what’s RIGHT in your life. And Happy Holidays!

The Powers of Positive Thinking

I know a lot of you think of this topic as a two day old pizza with extra ham and cheese, but I am here to tell you all that IT WORKS. And that it makes a difference. Before I started graduate school, I was a hard-core Negative Nancy. Back then, I would have told you I was “merely realistic”. No. I was downright cynical, complained all the time and, most likely, got on my friends’ last ever-loving nerves.

Once in school, a teacher “made” us watch “The Secret”. I vaguely knew about this as it had been popular once upon a time and was probably on Oprah’s book list – yada yada yada. I thought the whole thing was such rubbish that I found myself, in sheer boredom, practicing the philosophies of the Laws of Attraction, just so I could go back to my class and snidely report on its’ failings.

Boy, was I wrong!

This is how it works, these “Laws of Attraction”: This has NOTHING to do with religion, folks. It’s about asking the universe for what you want and, in turn, getting it.

Sound crazy? I can assure you, it’s not.

Let me put it to you like this: Everything you see is what you’re noticing. Everything you’re attracting to your life is what you’re accepting as your expectations of it. Everyone in your life is who you choose to be a part of it.

If all you ever do is look around and pine over the closed doors in your life, you’ll miss out on all the ones that are open. If you are in constant anticipation of that overdue bill or overdrawn credit card statement that’s coming in the mail today, you’ll miss out on the invitation to your best friend’s baby shower or that notification about the super cheap health insurance that you need. If all of your friends and family members are energy-sucking vampires and you focus all of your time on trying to “fix” them, you’ll completely neglect that awesome person that was trying to make small talk with you in line at the coffee shop.

THINK about it. All of our lives, we’ve been TRAINED to think negatively. Whether it’s guilt, the constant self-doubt given to us by our parents, the nagging partner who tells us we’ll never do better… You have to, first, be aware of those negative thoughts. Then you have to punch them in the throat, so to speak. It takes THREE positive thoughts to counter ONE negative. Think I’m wrong?

Have you ever gone to lunch/dinner/drinks with a friend who, for a full two hours, PRAISED you for how you handled that situation with your partner, told you how fabulous your new haircut looks, and how your personality is such a stellar fit for that job for which you just applied? “By the way,” this person says, nonchalantly, “have you noticed your face is kind of flushed? I worry you might have high blood pressure?” And then back to another hour of how awesome you are.

What is the one thing you remember about that conversation? (I don’t need you to answer, you KNOW the answer. And you know it, because it’s happened to you!)
Here’s how to put a STOP to the shenanigans:

1. Start by taking the time, every day, when you look in the mirror (brushing your teeth, combing your hair, washing your face, singing into your hairbrush, etc.) and MAKE YOURSELF AWARE of the negative things you are telling yourself.
2. Get pissed off at those negative thoughts! If your boyfriend/girlfriend/BFF/Mom were to say it to you, wouldn’t you be pissed? Have the same reaction when you say it to yourself!
3. Counter it with 3 positive thoughts: “I am a good person”, “I’m good at what I do”, “I treat others with respect”, “I have good hair”. This is for YOU to figure out! YOU know better than me how awesome you are!
4. Ask yourself: Is this something I would say to my daughter/best friend/partner/BANK TELLER?!?! If the answer is no, don’t you DARE say it to yourself!
5. ASK for what you want. Worst case scenario is that you get “no” for an answer. Last I heard, no one has ever died from being told “no”.
6. Use visualization. If you want that promotion, picture yourself being in that position. As you sit in that chair in that office, what 5 things do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste? VISUALIZE it. BECOME it. GO GET it!

I know I make it sound simple and it’s not, at first. And there are days when I still have to struggle with it. But let me tell you this, IT IS WORTH THE STRUGGLE. If you were trying to be a body builder and came to me for help and we sat around playing video games and watching reruns of The Golden Girls, are we going to accomplish that goal? NO. If you came to me to learn how to play guitar, but I never had one handy or taught you the chords, would you learn? NO. (By the way, don’t come to me if you want to be a body builder or learn to play guitar…I’m not equipped to teach you either, lol.)

But if you want to “train your brain” to get rid of that stinking thinking and bring some simplicity, peace, comfort, contentment, and enlightenment to your life, look no further. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Orlando area, give us a call and set up an appointment. If you don’t live in the Orlando area but have access to the internet, set up a Skype appointment. If you can’t be bothered with any of that, look into Mental Health Boot Camp – an 8 week intensive course life coaching program designed by Dr. Dave to empower and educate people to live their best lives.
Questions? Comments? No problem! Contact the lovely Sherrie at 407-963-5664 or visit us at http://drdavidbakerhargrove.com/index.php. We look forward to hearing from you!