Tips for a Happy Relationship

happy-couple-saidaonline

Tips to finding happiness and satisfaction in a relationship: Express admiration and affection. The idea is to look for ways to appreciate and feel warmth for your partner, and express those things. Send unexpected text messages, leave a loving note near the … Continue reading

Tips for Coping with Anxiety

anxiety

Anxiety is a normal feeling that every person experiences at times in their life. Whether you have a big interview tomorrow, or work is getting hectic, people often get anxious and nervous when they have to make difficult decisions or they are a part of difficult situations. Those with anxiety often feel that they are stuck and are unsure of how to make themselves feel better. But there are many tools and techniques to use in order to manage your anxiety effectively.

Try these healthy ways to cope with anxiety:

  • Take a deep breath. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is great at reducing anxiety because it activates the body’s relaxation response.
  • Accept that you’re anxious. Remind yourself that anxiety is just an emotional reaction, and accept it.
  • Realize your brain is playing tricks on you. Your mind can make you think you are having a heart attack when it is only a panic attack.
  • Question your thoughts. When you’re anxious your mind starts coming up will outlandish and crazy ideas that aren’t realistic. Ask yourself, “is this really likely to happen?”, “is this really true or does it just seem that way?”.
  • Use a calming visualization. Practice picturing yourself on a the sandy shore of your favorite beach, or sitting on the lawn of your favorite park.
  • Be an observer. Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion.
  • Use positive self-talk. Anxiety can produce a lot of negative talk, so tell yourself positive coping statements, such as “my anxiety is making me feel horrible today, but I have tools I can use to manage it.”
  • Focus on the present. Anxiety usually makes people obsess about things that might happen in the future. Instead it is best to take a deep breath and focus on what is happening right now.
  • Focus on a meaningful activity. When feeling anxious it is helpful to focus on a goal driven activity. The worst thing you can do is sit around obsessing about how you are feeling. Keep busy with your every day life, don’t sit around and let the anxiety get to you.

Anxiety can feel like having chains around your feet, weighing you down. It can be very overwhelming at times. But by taking small steps – like the ones above – you can minimize your anxiety and cope effectively.

However, not all anxiety can be easily managed even with the right tools to do it individually. Sometimes, you need to reach out for help from another person that can help you feel better about your anxiety. As always, at Star Point Counseling we are here for you. So, if you feel like your anxiety is becoming too much to manage, or you just want to learn more about what to do about your anxiety, please visit our website starpointcounselingtampa.com or give us a call at (813)-244-1251.

Summer Parenting

Father-Daughter-Beach-300x186

Summer is well underway for school kids, but summer also has a long way until it is time to start thinking about going back to school. With the excitement of the ending of another school year waning down, it is … Continue reading

Check out Clarissa’s New Book!

Clarissa co-founder and Executive Clinical Director at Star Point Counseling Center has recently released a book about the struggles of working with defiant children. In her book she uses real life examples from her years of experience.She also presents how to better cope with the challenges children present. Clarissa says “spanking is not good. Children who are hurting act out. You can’t change their behavior by hurting them more.”

Her book is available both in the form of a pdf or for a Kindle on amazon.com for only $5.99

To learn more about Clarissa visit  http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/

Plan a Summer Staycation!

Many people use the summer as a time to go on a vacation but why not make it a staycation? Instead of stressing yourself out with an expensive trip that causes strain on your budget and on family relationships plan a staycation. Instead of going out of town take the time to explore and take advantage of the area that you live in. Do that activity or go to the place that you keeping meaning to go to, but somehow never do. Plan a staycation to bond with your family. Make an effort to spend quality time with those that you love and increase communication.

As always, whenever there are communication difficulties within a relationship or you are simply feeling overwhelmed, Star Point Counseling is here to help. Check out our website at http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/ to learn more about our counseling services. You can also call 813-244-1251 with any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our many great therapists today!

It’s Time for Summer Break!

Summer break is upon us and with that comes a busier household. Children that are normally at school are now at home or busy doing a multitude of summer activities. Summer is often associated with less stress , but the first week or so of summer is a time of transition for the whole family. Everyone is adjusting to new schedules and even new environments.

Summer break is a time of adjustment and like every adjustment difficulties and conflict can arise. When conflicts arise try to be patient and listen to one another.Take advantage of your children’s break from school. Use this time to spend time with them and when conflicts arise counseling is always an option. Visit our website at http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/ to learn more about our counseling services. You can also call us at 813-244-1251 for any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our many great therapists today!

Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a hot topic. People often link someone’s self-esteem to success. People assume that If you have high self-esteem you will be successful and if you have low self-esteem you are more likely to struggle. What most people do not realize is that many people that appear to have high self-esteem really are just the opposite. Inside they look down upon themselves and do not think they are as great as everyone says that they are.

Some people are better at hiding their insecurities than others. Some more obvious signs of low self-esteem are using self-disparaging remarks and taking blame easily. Some other signs are seeking praise from others and fearing rejection. Low self-esteem effects people from all backgrounds and at all ages. Seeking out a counselor can help. By talking to a counselor you can learn more about yourself and start learning to accept who you are. It is possible to love yourself and raise your self-esteem you may just need help getting started. Check out www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/ to learn more about our counseling services. Call 813-244-1251 with any questions or to schedule an appointment with our many great therapists today!

May= Mental Health Awareness Month

Many people may not know this, but May has been Mental Health Awareness month for over six decades now. It is important to pay attention to our mental health. When it comes to physical health we tend to take preventative measures and make changes before disease or health problems escalate, why not do the same for your mental health?

The goal of mental health awareness month is to encourage people to pay attention to their mental health and take action before things escalate. So many wait to ask for help. Why ignore it, when you take charge and make change?

Do something for yourself! Do not be afraid to ask for help. There are people out there that have the knowledge to teach you many skills that can help you cope and overcome your difficulties. Check out our website at http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/ to learn more about our counseling services. You can also call 813-244-1251 with any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our many great therapists today!

Spring into Summer Stress

It is that time of year again. The time that you have been looking forward to, but also dreading…..Finals. Finals signal the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, but that time of the year puts a lot of pressure on students and on their parents.  It is during this time of the year that projects that have been known about all year are finally due. Students often feel burnout at this point and are scrambling to get all of their major projects done as well as studying for their final exams.

Its during this stressful time for students, that parents also feel overwhelmed. Parents want to be there for their child and encourage them to do their best even though they may feel stressed. It is difficult for parents to handle their stressed child. Their children may snap at them or their siblings randomly. It is important that parents take charge and understand why their child is behaving that way.

Stress happens to everyone both young and old. It is important to learn coping skills in order to deal with stressful situations in a healthy way. Going to counseling can provide an opportunity to learn coping skills for stress as well as teach parents how to work with their children who are feeling stressed. Visit http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com/ to learn more about our counseling services or call 813-244-1251 to schedule an appointment with one of our many great therapists today!

It All Begins With Clear Communication

Image result for communication

Many people will agree that communication is KEY to any relationship. Whether it is with your significant other, family members, or very close friends, you want to have clear and open dialogue. Are experiencing communication blockage in your relationship? You might not be using clean communication. Follow these basic guidelines for cleaner communication:

  1. Avoid using judgmental words.  Avoid using words that convey to your partner that he/she is flawed. Examples: “childish, uncooperative, thoughtless.” These words do not belong in a caring relationship.
  2. Avoid using global labels.  A global label is a generalized disapproval of your partner’s identity. Examples: he or she is “stupid, selfish, lazy, useless.” These labels attack your partner’s person instead of his/her behavior. They convey that your partner is “always” bad. Use of these labels results in a loss of trust and a loss of closeness.
  3. Avoid “you” messages of blame and accusation.  Examples: “You always make us late; you never ask what I want; you never offer to help with chores.” The true meaning behind these “you” messages is: “I’m in pain, and you did it to me.” They also convey the message: “You were bad and wrong for doing this to me.” Instead use “I” messages which show no direct accusation or blaming of your partner. For example: “I feel sad about missing the evening with you when you come home late; I feel tired and irritated when I put the groceries away alone.”
  4. Avoid bringing up the past.  When communicating with your partner, especially while angry, try to stay in the present moment and deal with the current issue. Bringing up past events tends to build up a case against your partner compiling evidence to prove his/her faults. Example: “You did the same thing to me last week, and the week before.” This statement sends the message: “You’ve always had this flaw, and it’s not getting any better.”
  5. Avoid using negative comparisons.  Clean communication is about helping, not hurting your partner. It is meant to resolve conflict by not rejecting your partner. Negative comparisons only seek to punish and attack your partner.
  6. Avoid using threats.  Example: “If you leave this house right now, don’t expect me to be here when you get back.” This sends the message that your partner is bad and you are going to punish him/her. The deliberate intention to hurt is tremendously destructive to your relationship.
  7. Describe your  feelings rather than attack with them.  Using clarifying words to describe your feelings will help your partner to hear and understand you. Statements like: “I am sad, or I am feeling hurt,” are clear ways to express your feelings to your partner. Be mindful of your tone of voice when describing your feelings. Using sarcasm, threatening, or raising your voice can be perceived as an attack on your partner.
  8. Keep your body language open and receptive.  Believe it or not your body language can actually depict whether or not you are open and willing to communicate. Crossing your arms, pinched lips or a tight jaw, or looking away in a disgusted manner are all signs that you do not want to communicate. To portray openness, keep good eye contact, nod or acknowledge while listening, relax your face, uncross your arms, and if you are sitting lean slightly forward.
  9. Use whole messages.  Whole messages consist of observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs or wants. “You’re spending too much time at work” is not an appropriate way to express thoughts in a whole message, because it turns your opinion into  an absolute truth. “I am sensing that the balance is off; I think you need to spend more time at home.” This statement shows that the speaker takes responsibility for his/her own opinion and does not try to make it absolute.
  10. Use clear messages.  A woman who sarcastically says to her partner at the dinner table, “You’re talkative as usual,” may pretend her statement is a simple observation, but the observation is contaminated with judging thoughts, feelings, and needs. A more accurate statement would be clear and whole: “I notice you’re pretty quiet tonight (observation). It makes me think you’re not interested in me (thought), and I feel hurt and a little angry (feeling). I’d really like you to talk with me more (need).”

Image result for open communication

Are you using clean communication with those around you and/or with your partner? Call Star point today to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. They can help guide you and your partner (or family members) down the road to cleaner and clearer communication.

McKay, M., Fanning, P. & Paleg, K. (2006). Couple skills: Making your relationship work. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Visit our website to learn more about how a counselor can help: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com