Avoid Troubles That New College Students Frequently Face.

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Heading off to college may be the most exciting and scariest thing that you will ever do. Your parents try to tell you what to do and what not to do when you get into college. “Study hard,” “Don’t get into too much partying and drinking,” etc. But what incoming college student wants to listen to their parent’s advice and long lectures of what not to do in college? So here some principles that if new students can follow they’ll generally do just fine, and the best part is it’s not coming from your parent’s mouth.

  • Take self-regulation seriously. Many new college students get into trouble with regulation their sleep, eating, drinking, and exercise habits. Carefully following some rules such as getting 8 hours of sleep, exercising for 30 minutes 3 times a week, etc. Self-regulation can go a long way in avoiding physical, behavioral, and mental health related troubles.
  • DO NOT skip class. Other than the occasional sick days which are inevitable, always go to class. Missing a class will make you fall behind and make it much harder to catch up. Also, try sitting front and center in the classroom, this helps avoid distractions and the professors are more likely to engage with you.
  • Utilize student resources. Colleges today offer so many student resources that include academic and personal advising, peer mentoring, disability resources, psychological counseling services, campus ministry, career advising/search, and many more. All of these services are paid for with your tuition, so get your moneys worth!
  • Time is money. Just like money, time must be managed. Many students wait till the end of the day to study or get assignments done and they find themselves dozing off. Spend your free time in between classes productively.

If you are encountering these problems and can’t figure out how to change your patterns, we can help you get back on track! We have many tips and advice about how to stay on track (or get back on it) that can make your transition into college a smooth one.

Call us today for an appointment! (813)244-1251

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Building Blocks for Resilience.

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Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, to bounce back and rebound from negative experiences in life. Resilience is a skill set that can be learned and practiced over time. It plays an important role in minimizing the affects of negative events in young people’s lives, therefore it is crucial to help them develop the ability to cope in spite of adversity and achieve positive outcomes.

Here are some ways to build and reinforce resilience: 

  • Activate the relaxation response: Find a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your body, slow your breathing, focus on your breathing, or repeat a word, sound, prayer, phrase, or image on the exhale.
  • Install the good: Savor good experiences and feelings, let them sink into your body and mind, and reshape your brain.
  • Cultivate acceptance: You must learn to differentiate between what you can control and what is beyond your control. When you practice acceptance, you begin to loosen up on how you think your life should be. 
  • Practice gratitude: Making gratitude a habit increases well-being and promotes resilience. Train your mind to pay attention to the opportunities for gratitude in your daily life.
  • Build relationships: Having support and help from friends and family who will listen to you strengthens resilience.
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook: Having an optimistic outlook enables you to expect good things to happen in your life. Think about what you want in life, instead of worrying about your fears. 

Resilience is a skill set that must be learned and practiced. We can teach you tips and tools for building and strengthening your resilience.

Call us today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251

Skip Criticism, Give Feedback Instead!

Lets be honest, criticism stings and nobody likes it. Yet it is essential to be able to honestly tell someone how you feel and what you are thinking when having a relationship with them. There is a far better way to tell someone about their mistakes, and we call it feedback.

Here’s a few technical points to keep in mind when you want to give feedback instead of criticism:

Criticism complains, feedback explains. Instead of just complaining about the mistake they made, explain to them why it matters and what they can try doing differently next time. 

Feedback can be softened with a when-youWhen you came late to our noon lunch date there were already crowds lining up for tables at the restaurant we like so by the time we finished eating I was late returning to work.” 

Focus on sharing your own feelings and concerns. I-statements, which can be coupled with a when-you, keep the subject yourself. The feedback then is about how you felt and your concerns rather than about the person whose behavior was problematic.  

Keep the tone friendly. Try to stay away from irritated, critical, or judgmental tones.

Focus on solutions. Try focusing on finding a solution to the problem instead of dwelling on what they did wrong.

 

The therapists at Star Point Counseling Center can help you learn better tools for communicating and getting your point across in an effective way. Visit our website for more information on our services and how we can help!  www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

 

Manage Work-Related Stress.

The average person spends most of their life working, so it’s not surprising that work can have a significant impact on your health. Too much job-related stress can result in the development of certain mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, as well as drug abuse, alcoholism and gambling.

Take the steps to manage your work related stress, try these tips:

  • Establish boundaries. Make a rule not to check your work email at home, or not to answer the phone while at dinner. You must separate your work and home life.
  • Take time to recharge. Take small breaks at work to recharge, and when possible take time off to relax and unwind. Don’t let vacation time go to waste, leave all work related items at home.
  • Get support. Support from friends and family can help, but also from a licensed professional. Therapists can help you learn how to effectively manage your stress.

Call us today, we can give you tools and skills to better manage your work related stress! (813)244-1251

Remind Your Partner of Your Love!

Just as no one is a mind reader when it comes to problems in a relationship, no one is a mind reader for the good points either. You love and appreciate your partner, so let them know it. Every day, remind both yourself and your partner of the love between you. Serve up a compliment first thing in the morning. Think about how happy your partner would be to wake up and see your smiling face and hear, “I love you because…” That one compliment, that one reassurance, can set the tone for the whole day. Call your partner at work, or leave them a loving message on their voice mail. Do thoughtful things for your partner, like bringing them a drink when they are watching TV, ironing their clothes for them, or making them a cup of coffee in the morning. Even the worst day gets brighter when your partner reminds you of how much you’re appreciated and loved. 

These things can seem small, but they can be the glue that reminds each of you that you’re taking this journey together, being with each other through thick and thin, and that you want it this way. Small thoughtful acts can say, “I want you to be happy. I want to make you happy.” 

 

At Star Point Counseling Center, we are here to provide you with the tools and strategies that have saved countless relationships from estrangement, separation, and divorce. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors.  We are here to help you improve yourself and your relationship.

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Anxiety Relief Activities for Children.

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Believe it or not, kids have a lot to worry about. These worries usually include meeting expectations from school, expectations from adults, bullying, or changes such as a new sibling, moving to a new home, and simply growing up. Some children experience trauma, mental health disorders, abuse, family dysfunction, or health problems.

Here are three techniques parents to help their child manage anxiety: 

  1. Blowing bubbles: Deep breathing is an excellent way to reduce anxiety. What better way to teach your child deep breathing than blowing some bubbles? Deep breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system of the body in charge of the activities that a person performs when they are in a resting state, and it deactivates the body’s fight or flight response. 
  2. Worry can: Have your child write down his/her worries on a piece of paper, discuss it with you and put it in a jar labeled “fears”, “worries”, or “scary things.” This activity helps the child identify and express their worries and fears instead of keeping them bottled up. An alternative to this would be having the child journal about his/her worries. Journaling has been found to help ease anxiety and reduce stress. 
  3. Calm down box: This activity is used to help the child calm down after feeling anxious. Help your child come up with objects that help them relax and calm down and put these items inside a box. Some examples would be lavender scented play dough, stress balls, calming music, crayons, and coloring books. Break out the calm down box when your child needs something to feel more at ease. 

If your child has more than the typical anxiety or has gone through a difficult experience, it is best to consult with a therapist. Our therapists at Star Point Counseling Center can work with your child and help them learn to effectively manage and reduce their anxiety.

Call us today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251

 

 

 

Communication Guidelines.

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Communication isn’t just about talking to your partner, it’s about really understanding and acknowledging what your partner is saying and feeling. Everybody has a different level of skills when it comes to communication, and just like any other skill better communication can be learned. 

Communication can make or break relationships, try these guidelines for better communication in your relationship:

Get specific. There is too much room for misinterpretation when you use vague words. Avoid giving your opinions, interpretations, or generalizations when you are having communication problems. They are invitations to misunderstandings and conflicts. 

Be accountable. Each of us has a choice about what we say and do, no matter how we feel. Don’t excuse your behavior or blame it on others or on your childhood. 

Acknowledge feelings and points of view. Listening to and acknowledging to the other person’s feelings and points of view can bypass many arguments and misunderstandings. Don’t try to correct others or rebut their points of view or feelings. Just listen and see if you can understand what the other person is trying to communicate. You don’t have to agree, but don’t dismiss or minimize their feelings. 

Break your patterns. Change your part of any pattern that isn’t currently working. Do anything that is not cruel, unethical, or distasteful to your partner that would be different from what you usually do in the situation. 

Visit our website for more information on how we can help you improve your communication. 

 

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Recognize Mental Health Problems In Your Child.

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Mental health problems in children are common, real, and treatable. Without treatment there is an increased risk in behavioral problems at school, decline in grades, suicide, trouble with the criminal justice system, and more. With the help of teachers and other caregivers, parents can identify these problems early on and can determine whether or not help should be sought out for the child. 

If you recognize the following signs, then professional help may be needed: 

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades in spite of strong efforts
  • Constantly worried or feeling anxious
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability

If you suspect a problem, or just have questions and concerns contact us to see a Mental Health professional. (813)244-1251

Depression and Suicide.

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Suicide is an stealthy choice due to the lies that depression tells us. Individuals who are suffering from severe depression are lied to by their depression, it can tell that person, “Hey, you’d be better off dead. Life isn’t going to get any better.” And sadly, individuals sometimes listen. Even some of the most accomplished people such as Robin Williams. Depression doesn’t overlook those who are rich, famous, funny, or even loved by many.

Here are a few tips for beating depression:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise, even just at a low intensity for 30 minutes a day is known to lower depression. Exercise increases the activity level of important brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which is the same neurochemical that popular drugs like Prozac and Zoloft target. 
  • Social support. Hormones that are involved in bonding and helping behaviors are known to lower stress and anxiety. People who lack a supportive social network are faced with an increase in depression. 
  • Sleep. Sleep deprivation after numerous days interferes with our ability to think clearly, it can even bring about serious health consequences. Disrupted sleep is one of the most powerful triggers of depression.

Suicide is a common symptom of severe, clinical depression. When depression is properly treated, the feelings of suicide often subside as the depression lifts. 

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to” -Robin Williams

Get the help that you need and deserve! Call us today to schedule an appointment. (813)244-1251

Managing School Stress.

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With the pressures from finals, GPA scores, and college admissions, school can easily become one of the most stressful things in our lives. Whether its parents and teachers pushing you to do your best, or your own drive to get the highest test scores and attend the best college in the state, stress can consume you unless you know the proper way to manage it. 

Here are 5 tips for getting through the school year with less stress: 

  1. Self-care. You have to start with the basics, take the time to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and enjoy activities that will get your mind off of the stress that comes with school. 
  2. Learn to change your thinking. You can’t get stress out unless you believe your thoughts, stress comes from stressful thinking. You have to learn to change your negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of stressing out about finishing a project on time, think about open slots in your schedule that you can use to get it done. 
  3. Take bite sized proportions. Assignments become easier when you manage them in smaller proportions than just looking at the big picture. Instead of writing a 9 page essay in one day, do the assignment in chunks. This technique makes it feel more manageable and less anxiety-inducing. 
  4. Lower your goals. I know this may seem odd because you are always told to set your goals high, but setting smaller and lower goals helps reduce stress and boost academic success. Instead of aiming for the highest grade in the class, aim for a grade that you will feel satisfied with your performance.
  5. Stay balanced. No matter how hard you push yourself during exam weeks, no body can remain focused for such long periods of time. Give yourself short breaks to do activities you enjoy, that way you will be refreshed when you go back to studying. 

Stress can turn your best school year into your worst. School doesn’t have to be all about stressing over finals, and GPA scores. If you know how to effectively manage your stress, then you can also enjoy what great and fun things school has to offer, like making new friends and participating in sports and clubs. 

Don’t let your stress consume you, give us a call today to schedule an appointment if you are feeling stressed and need help managing your time, focusing, etc. (813)244-1251