9 Ways to Reduce Anxiety.

What Your Anxiety Symptoms Are Really Telling You

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.

Visit our website or give us a call for information on how we can help you manage your anxiety! 

starpointcounselingtampa.com

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Co-parenting After Divorce.

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Usually after a divorce the last thing you want to do is deal with your ex and communication between the both of you seems impossible. But the best thing you can do for your child is try to have an amicable relationship with your ex, and taking the time to do this will make co-parenting much easier in the long run. 

Here are some tips for co-parenting after divorce:

  • Don’t let feelings rule your behavior.  Emotions can get the best of even the most rational individual. Vent your emotions to a friend, family member, or even a counselor. Keep your children hearing from these conversations, they do not need to hear bad things about the other parent. 
  • Mind your tone. To reduce the risk of instigating an argument, keep a professional tone as if you were talking to a colleague. Also, when you are trying to ask the co-parent for something make sure you are asking and just telling them what you want. 
  • Stay in touch. It is important not to ignore one another when trying tocbuild a more positive, working co-parent relationship. Make a plan to consistently stay in touch with each other about your child. This helps both of you to stay on the same page when it comes to how you are parenting your child, and makes dealing with each other easier if you are used to talking.  
  • Keep your child out of the middle. Your child’s well being should be the center of your focus, but do not put them in the middle of your issues. Do not make your child the messenger or middle man, and don’t make them feel as if they have to choose between the both of you. 

Co-parenting after divorce can be hard, but it can be done. If you find yourself hitting a dead end when it comes to co-parenting with your ex, we can help you. Counseling allows parents to discuss what is in the best interest of the child in a neutral environment and to get input and advice from a professional who has experience working with children and families of divorce. 

Visit our website for more information on how we can help you with co-parenting!

starpointcounselingtampa.com

Dealing With Anger In A Healthy Way.

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We all get angry every once in a while, it is unavoidable. For for some people this inevitable emotion is difficult to manage, express, and sometimes even recognize when it is getting out of control. This can lead to violent and destructive behaviors, and even affect some relationships with loved ones. 

There are many ways to deal with anger in a constructive and healthy way. 

  • Try not to avoid confrontation. Many people, particularly women are not comforable feeling anger or experiencing anger in others. But it’s a real emotion that can highlight important issues. Shoving your feelings of anger under the rug, or shying away from it in others, will either cause bigger explosions of built up anger in the future, or can lead to depression.
  • Avoid pointing the finger. No one likes to be the one who is in the wrong, but attacking the other person will just put them on the defensive. If they have upset you, for example, focus on how it made you feel rather than resorting to name-calling. Try to remain on the same topic and not bring up past mistakes that they have made. 
  • Stay cool. Although going on a huge angry rant is tempting, there are better ways for you to get your point across. Let your tone express the fact that you care about the other person, and in return the other person will express their feelings the same way. This helps both parties stay calm and level-headed, and in the long run you have more of a chance to be listened to and understood.
  • Be professional. If it is a work colleague that you are confronting, take some deep breaths and step back for a moment. End the confrontation as soon as possible and set a meeting so you can sit down and discuss how things can be done differently in the future. 
  • Be ready to make a compromise. Try to be open minded and think flexibly during your confrontation. Have a resolution in mind, but also be prepared to make a compromise based on the other person’s opinions. 

We are all human and sometimes we let our anger get the best of us. But just because you allow yourself to express anger it doesn’t mean you have to let it control you and destroy relationships. If you can’t seem to be able to manage your anger, then let us help you. We can give you more tips and tools on how to control your anger and deal with it in a more healthy way. Check out our website for more information! starpointcounselingtampa.com

 

Don’t Play the Blame Game!

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When it comes to our relationships, it is almost always easier to see the flaws in our partners then in ourselves. When it comes to finger pointing, both partners are usually right, and both are wrong. The only way to better your relationship is to always focus on empowering yourself. You can only change your part of the equation. Take charge and change the behaviors that are holding you back from a better relationship. 

  • Don’t build a case. Case building is a huge problem in a relationship. Once we start to see our partner a certain way, we start perceiving their actions through a negative filter.In these cases, we can either feed our feelings of blame or try to keep a more balanced perspective about what’s going on.
  • Drop it. Once the blame game begins it is hard to stop and resolve who did what or who’s at fault. There is NEVER a winner when you play the blame game. Sometimes it’s worth dropping the past, putting down your guard, and just being nice to each other. 
  • Calm yourself down. Relationships trigger us in ways we rarely expect. When we feel triggered, we should try focusing on relaxing before reacting. We can better manage our partner’s temper by calming ourselves down first, then approaching them with the issue. 
  • Reflect on your patterns. Once we have calmed down, you can take a step back and reflect. ask yourself why and what made you trigger. Does my reaction seem like an overreaction? Look for the thing you hate the most that your partner does and ask yourself what you did or said right before that. 
  • Have compassion.  When we understand the reasons why we both get triggered, we have more compassion for ourselves and our partner. We can have more compassion by always aiming to see the scenario from our partner’s eyes and understand how they view the situation.
  • Be open to feedback. It is very important that we are open to what our partner has to say. Don’t be defensive when your partner is giving you feedback, look for the truth in what they are saying. It will benefit you more than arguing every detail. 
  • Communicate what you felt. Once we are calm and we’ve given our partner the chance to express their perceptions, we can explain how we felt without placing blame or feeling victimized. We can also provide feedback that is direct, yet compassionate. We should avoid using victimized language or generalized statements. 

Once we start to see patterns in ourselves, we can challenge ourselves to act in ways we respect and repair when we make a mistake.When we stop placing blame, we shift our focus inward.By taking power over ourselves, we give our relationship its best chance of remaining equal, passionate, and fulfilling.

If you and your partner take part in playing the blame game and don’t know how to end it, there is something you can do. Call Star Point Counseling Center! Our Licensed Mental Heath Counselors can work with you and your partner at ending the blame game once and for all.

(813)244-1251 

Letting Go of Past Hurts.

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We all get hurt at least once in our lifetime, you can’t possibly be an adult or teen alive today who hasn’t gone through some kind of painful and hurtful experience in the past.I understand that it hurts, but would you rather get back to living life or continue to dwell on something that cannot be changed? People who hold on to these past hurts often relive the pain over and over in their minds.  The only way to move on and to accept new happiness into your life is to make room for it by getting rid of the pain and hurt. 

Five ways to let go of past hurts: 

  1. Make the decision to let it go. Like the popular song from the Disney movie Frozen says, “Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door.” You have to make a conscious decision to let it go and slam the door behind you. You have the choice to stop reliving the past and playing every detail out in your mind. 
  2. Express your pain, and responsibility. Express the pain that you feel, whether it is directly to the person who may have caused the pain, venting to a friend, or writing it down in a journal. Get it all out of your system at once. 
  3. Stop playing the victim and blaming others. Even though you may not mainly be responsible for the hurt, there may be something you could have done differently, or maybe you let it get to you way more than you should have. Take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put your happiness into the hands of someone else. 
  4. Focus on the present. Once you have let go its time to stop living in the past and start living for today. Once you start focusing on the here and now, there is no room left for you to think about the past. If the past begins to creep into your mind acknowledge it only for a moment and then bring yourself back to the present moment. 
  5. Forgive. We may not be able to forget a person’s behaviors but everybody deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is a way of letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view even though you may not agree with what they did. And forgiving yourself can be an important part, as sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation or hurt. 

Nobody’s life should be defined by their pain. It is not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study and work, and it impacts other relationships we have. Do something different today and welcome happiness and joy back into your life. 

If you are struggling with letting go and moving on from a past hurt check out our website to find out how we can help you. Whether you are unable to move on from a minor break-up, infidelity, or the loss of a loved one, we are here to help you learn to let go and begin living a happier life. 

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Do’s And Don’ts Of Teaching Your Child To Cope.

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The ability to cope is not something we are born with. Coping involves emotional and practical skills that our children learn through both observation and direct teaching. As parents it is our job to not only celebrate the good times but also prepare them for the bad times as well. Every disappointment in a child’s life is an opportunity to show them that they are strong enough to overcome it. 

Here are some ways we can encourage healthy coping skills:

  • DON’T ignore a problem. Avoiding the problem will only worsen with time. DO encourage your child to face their problems, facing small problems gives them the practice they need to solve big ones. It is also important to teach your child when and how to reach out for support when life hands them a big one.
  • DON’T step in too soon. We have to let our children learn how to handle situations by themselves without always coming to their rescue. DO have confidence in your child, with our help they can learn to use their hearts and minds to handle a difficult situation.
  • DON’T agree with your child that life is unfair, or mean. Yes, it may be true sometimes but having a negative attitude about life will leave them unhappy. DO acknowledge that sometimes life is unfair and people are mean but if there is nothing we can do about a negative situation we need to teach our children not to dwell on it and move on.
  • DON’T let yourself get down or depressed if your child is depressed. It adds more burden to the problem because kids don’t want to see their parents sad. DO teach your child to engage with problems. Have them talk out exactly what happened and why. Work together to decide what they can change and what they can’t. You may not be able to change a situation but you can always learn something from it. 
  • DON’T accept tantrums, acting out, or helplessness. No problem has ever been solved by tempers, aggression, or just giving up. DO listen and support their feelings, we need to let our children know that it is okay to let their emotions out, but not to make someone the target. It is important to teach your child how to calm themselves down and get past their feelings. 

If you have a child that is not coping well and you are having a hard time dealing with their depression, anger or tantrums, let us know! We can help teach your child coping skills that they will need to get past big or small problems that they may face now and in the future. 

(813)244-1251

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

7 Keys To A Healthy And A Happy Relationship.

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Short and simple, 7 ways your relationship can reach it’s potential: 

  1. Mutual respect. If you don’t have this, it will be a rough road to go down. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your partner says or does, but you do have to have admiration and trust with each other. You must have your partner’s back.
  2. Arguing, not fighting. Yes, there is a difference. Arguing is non-combative, you and your partner take turns saying you own point and views on the situation without name calling or yelling. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. 
  3. Agreement on sex. You’re both okay with how often you have sex, how you have sex, where you have sex, and there’s mutual participation. You also must find time to have sex, no matter how tired or busy you are. 
  4. Agreement on parenting. If the two of you don’t agree on a parenting style, you need to have a talk. If you don’t have kids yet but are thinking about it, you must have this conversation. 
  5. Equality with money. You both have an equal say in where the money goes. You discuss with your partner before making large purchases. If sharing an account is too complicated and you are always fighting about money then there is nothing wrong with having separate accounts.
  6. Common goals and values. Couples with very different interests can have healthy relationships, what counts is that they share common goals and values. Work together on setting one-year, five-year, and even ten or twenty-year goals. Working towards something big together helps strengthen your bond. 
  7. Have FUN! Enough said. Make time to have fun. Life gets too serious without enjoying the good things and getting your dose of laughter every day. 

Would you like more advise and tips on how to keep your relationship happy and healthy? Visit our website for information on how we can help you! 

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Proven And Effective Study Habits.

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With Fall right around the corner, everyone is preparing for school to start up again. Students deal with numerous things going on in their life, which makes it hard to concentrate on studying sometimes. And studying is very crucial in order to progress from year to year.

Whether you are a parent of a student, teenager, or beginning your first year of college these tips can be very helpful for you or your child. 

1. How you approach studying matters. Being in the right mindset is important in order for smarter studying. Do not force yourself to study when your not in the right mindset, come back to it when other things are not occupying your mind.

2. Where you study is important. A place that has a lot of distractions is a poor choice of a study area. Try to find a quiet nook in the library or study hall where there are no TVs or computers to distract you.

3. Bring everything you need, nothing you don’t. Many people use computers to take notes on, but this serves a huge distraction because there are many other things you could do on the computer other than studying. Try using just a pen and paper for note taking.

4. Outline and rewrite your notes. Make sure you translate notes and outlines into your owns words and concepts. 

5. Use memory games. Mnemonic devices are helpful because you use more of your brain to remember visual and active images than you do to remember just a list of items.

6. Practice by yourself or with friends. Practice by yourself or with friends by testing yourself with either practice exams, past quizzes, or flash cards. 

7. Make a schedule you can stick to. Schedule study time just as your class time is scheduled, you’ll find it becomes much less of a hassle in the long run. Spend 30-60 minutes before or after that class studying, it will allow you to learn more of the material.

8. Take breaks and reward yourself. Try studying for 1 hour and then give yourself a 5 minute break to grab your favorite snack.

If you find yourself struggling with concentrating during your study time or would like some more tips and pointers for effective study habits, let us know. We can help you get back on track! (813)244-1251

www.starointcounselingtampa.com

What Is A Codependent?

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A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior. The heart of the definition and recovery does not lie in the other person, it lies in the codependent and the way they have let other people’s behavior affect them and in the ways they try to affect the other person. Below is a short list of some characteristics of a codependent.

  • Think and feel responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, and well-being.
  • have anxiety, pity and guilt when other people have a problem.
  • feel angry when their help isn’t effective
  • wonder why others don’t do the same for them.
  • find themselves attracted to needy people, and vice-versa
  • over-commit themselves
  • come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families and deny it.
  • fear rejection
  • feel as if they aren’t good enough, and are different from other people
  • worry about the silliest things
  • lose sleep over problems or other people’s behaviors
  • lie to protect or cover for people they love
  • lack of trust of themselves and others, their feelings and decisions

It is estimated that 80 million people are chemically dependent or in a relationship with someone who is. If concern has turned into obsession; if compassion has turned into care taking;  if you are taking care of other people and not yourself, you may be in trouble with codependency.The first step toward change is awareness, and the second is acceptance.

Call us today for information on how we can help you understand what codependency is all about! (813)244-1251

 

Don’t Let Stress Control You!

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We are bound to feel stressed every once in a while, we can’t avoid it. But we do have a choice in how to handle it when it comes our way. Everyone deals with stress differently, you may have to experiment with many coping methods in order to find what works best for you.

Consider these four points below, they might help decrease the amount of stress and change the way you perceive it:

1. Nothing and no one can MAKE you feel anything. How you feel and deal with a situation is 100% your choice. We can’t control the actions of others but we can control our own reactions. If the situation is something that you can change then begin thinking about positive ways you can handle it, if it is not something you can change then you must accept it for what it is and find ways to cope.

2. Exchange attitude for gratitude. Negative attitudes affect our physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. When in a stressful situation try thinking about things you are grateful for, such as your health, friends, and family. Focusing on these things will change your attitude.

3. Relax! With our very hectic and busy lives, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Relaxing helps rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. Try finding something quiet that you enjoy doing, and set aside time every day to do it.

4. Look at the big picture. Take a step back and look at the big picture in the situation. Ask yourself “will this matter in the long run?” and “how important is this?” Don’t waste your time on things that don’t really matter.

Stress may be apart of our every day lives but we can control how much it affects us. Will you control the stress or will the stress control you?

If you are struggling with finding the right techniques for dealing with your stress, we can help you! Call us today to set an appointment with a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and learn how to control your stress. (813)244-1251

Visit our website for more information! www.starpointcounselingtampa.com