5 Simple Steps for Daily Happiness!

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In our 24/7 non-stop world of deadlines, hectic schedules, responsibility and stress, great days are hard to come by. But what if there was a way to change that?

Here are 5 simple steps you can do each day to help make it great with the goal of building happiness:

  1. Focus on gratitude early. Before even getting out of bed in the morning, clear your mind of the days “to do” list and spend 60 seconds focusing on what you are grateful for. By focusing on basic things you are grateful for you instantly help put yourself in a good mood.
  2. Choose happy foods. Part of having a great day is making healthy nutritional choices. One powerful approach is to choose your meals wisely and eat things that increase happiness. Foods such as apples, berries, and oranges have been found to have mood boosting powers.
  3. Do something physical.  Physical activity has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on mood while also acting as a powerful tool to increase happiness. You don’t have to hit the gym hard, stretching, walking or going for a bike ride will be enough to release powerful brain chemicals that are known to power up your happiness.
  4. Schedule happiness. Yes, it is possible. Scheduling happiness for yourself can be as simple as taking a quiet walk around the block and focusing on gratitude or spending some time with your pet.
  5. Choose happiness. It sounds simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Choosing happiness means reaching deep inside and believing you are worthy of happiness. It means identifying your triggers for stress in advance and choosing how you will respond. Choosing happiness means loving yourself for the person you are and turning off negative self-talk.

Having daily happiness is ultimately up to you! Sure there are days where things come up and derail you from time to time, but with the right mental and emotional attitude, coupled with some tweaking on your part, great days can become part of your reality. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to a great week!


The Impacts of Loneliness.


Despite how common loneliness is, few people are fully aware of the dramatic ways in which it impacts us. Here are ten surprising facts about loneliness that will change how you view it:

  • Loneliness does not depend of how many friends you have. Loneliness depends on the quality of the relationships and whether you feel emotionally and/or socially connected from those around you.
  • Loneliness is contagious in social networks. Loneliness has a clear stigma. We tend to be able to spot and identify the lonely people around us.
  • Loneliness actually makes us feel colder. Studies found that recalling a time in which we felt lonely made participants estimate the room temperature as being significant colder, it even made their actual skin temperature drop.
  • Loneliness makes our bodies feel like under attack. Loneliness causes an immediate and severe bodily reaction. It increases in blood pressure and cholesterol, and it activates our physical and psychological stress responses.
  • Loneliness suppresses the functioning of our immune system. Loneliness causes our immune systems to function less efficiently, which over time, puts us at increased risk for developing all kinds of illnesses and diseases.
  • Loneliness is as dangerous as cigarette smoking. Scientists have concluded that given all the drastic ways in which loneliness impacts our bodies, it represent as great a risk for our long term health and longevity as smoking cigarettes.

Clearly loneliness represents a hugely important psychological harm and not one we should ignore. Make sure to take steps when you are lonely, and educate others around you about how detrimental loneliness can be.


Solving Communication Problems with Your Tween.


Maintaining a good relationship with your child is important for getting them to do things that they prefer not to do and being able to influence them. Even tweens with an overly developed conscience are still at the stage where they do the right thing to avoid displeasing their parents, teachers, and other authority figures because they can readily tell the difference between right and wrong.

A big problem for parents is getting tweens to listen when they are being spoken to. In fact, many parents are so used to being ignored, they automatically raise their voices when asking their tween to do something, as if speaking to someone who is slightly deaf. Most tweens dislike being shouted to and ordered about. It makes them resentful, and as they mature, they begin speaking in the same disrespectful ways to their parents.

For many parents, the biggest challenges are remembering to treat their child respectfully on the one hand, and demanding that their child treat them respectfully on the other. Modeling is the most potent form of teaching.If you yell and scream out of frustration, apologize later, just as you would expect someone else to do if they lost their temper with your child, and just as you would expect your child to do if they took out their crankiness on you or their teachers. Down the road, they will need to be able to handle them self appropriately with bosses and employers.

For more tips and tools on solving communication problems with your tweens, call us today! We teach and demonstrate effective parenting skills and techniques that will help you to break through the communication barriers that may be undermining your authority in the home.

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com    (813)244-1251

Change Your Monday Morning Mood!

Even when you love your job, and especially if you don’t love your job, it can be hard to go back to work on Monday morning. After the weekend and having time out of the routine, it can feel overwhelming to jump back into work on Mondays. If you are aware that certain times of the day or days of the weak present a happiness challenge for you, you can take steps to improve them.

Here are some tips for improving your Monday mornings:

  • Look forward to something. Many people suffer from the Sunday blues knowing they have to go back to work on Mondays, but having something you can look forward to can make it less dreadful. Try scheduling lunch with a friend, or plan to take a quick break and go for a walk with a co-worker.
  • Set your own priorities. Get your own priorities done first and then worry about everything else.
  • Make the most of the morning. Studies show that the brain is often better able to tackle cognitive tasks before noon, so Monday morning is a great time to tackle a challenging task.
  • Shuffle the schedule. Maybe you have meetings or projects usually due on Mondays. Is it possible to move those things to another day of the week to give you a little cushion?
  • Roll with it. Try to embrace and enjoy your Mondays even though you may hate them.

How you face the morning influences your mood, your health, and your life. Try making the best out of your Mondays and you will find that the rest of the week just flies by.


Are Your Being Emotionally Abused?

Emotional abuse can be just as psychologically damaging as physical abuse, but it is also in some ways easier to explain and justify. People who are emotionally abused tend to downplay their victimization by comparing themselves to people who are physically abused. But abuse is detrimental, whether it is emotional, physical, or mental.

Are you accepting treatment that you shouldn’t?  Are you being emotionally abused?  Here are some indicators:

  • Lack of reciprocity. You feel as if you are always giving and they are always taking. You don’t give just because you want to make them feel good, you give to avoid having them make you feel bad.
  • Everything is made to be your fault. He or she is always looking for a way to put the blame on you.
  • Your self-esteem is being ripped to pieces. A way of maintaining the power dynamic is to make you second guess yourself and put all your faith and trust into the abuser.
  • Your abuser has isolated you. Again, that maintains the power dynamic in their favor.  This might also increase your financial dependence, another way of controlling you. Or maybe you don’t want to approach others because you are ashamed to say what is going on in your relationship.
  • You’re minimizing the occurrences, and the ways they make you feel. You make excuses, and you make it your fault when your partner says something demeaning or does something controlling. You say that the abuser is right, you do need to correct those things. Because if you did, then he/she wouldn’t have anything to complain about.

Emotional abuse breaks you down, shames, isolates, and confuses you.  It’s time to call it what it is and let other people know what’s happening. Then you can start to figure out what the right next step is for you–if it’s seeing a therapist, confronting your partner, or making plans to leave the relationship.

Call to schedule an appointment with a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and begin living the life that you deserve! (813)244-1251 www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

The Holidays Are Quickly Approaching!


Although the holiday season is supposed to make you feel merry and generous, for many people the stress that goes along with the holidays can trigger sadness and depression. This time of year is especially difficult for those people because there is an expectation of being merry and happy, so people compare their own emotions to what they assume others are experiencing and what they should be experiencing.

There are many things that can add to the stress and tough emotions during the holiday season:

  • Finances. Not having enough or the fear of not having enough money to be able to buy gifts for family and friends. When you can’t afford to celebrate it can feel devastating.
  • Stress. The stress comes from finding time to go shopping or planning family dinners, when you are already overwhelmed with work and the kids.
  • Loneliness. Even though the holidays brings families and friends together, there are those who may not have anyone to spend the holidays with.
  • Grief. For those who have lost a loved one, this may be the first holiday they are spending without that person.
  • Divorce. If you are recently divorced, the holidays may remind you of the good times you spent together. It can also be stressful for adult children who may have to balance seeing both parents.
  • Pleasing. Deciding what to get who and how much to spend on everyone can make you feel guilty, like you aren’t doing enough for everyone.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder. Many people experience the blues during gloomy weather due to decreased sunlight, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

There are many measures you can take to cope with the holiday blues, for example:

  • Make plans in advance
  • Get shopping done early
  • Make time to rest and rejuvenate
  • Spend time alone to reflect and grieve
  • Reach out to others who may be experiencing the same emotions

If you feel the stress and depression creeping up along with the holidays, call us for help before you get too entangled in stress and difficult emotions that comes with the holiday season! (813)244-1251

Getting The Most Out Of Sharing Your Feelings.


Lets face it, when we are angry or upset venting seems like the best thing to do. We just want to let it out and tell someone and usually it makes us feel so much better just to get it off our chest and to receive some advice. But we have all had at least one experience where we spilled our feelings just to have our listener sit there and mumble “bummer.” Sharing our feelings with someone who listens well, shows empathy, and validates our feelings, makes us feel much better afterwards.

When considering whether to share your feelings with a specific person consider the following:

  • Is the person a good listener? Think about whether the person has been a good listener in the past. Did they make eye contact with you, seem engaged in the conversation, make supportive comments, and avoid getting distracted or checking their phone mid-conversation?
  • Is the person supportive?  Do they usually agree with you or take the other side? Ideally you should choose someone who will see things from your point of view, at least when you’re sad and looking for empathy.
  • Do they offer empathy and emotional validation? Does this person usually understand how you feel? Not only is it important for them to see your view point but also expressing it as well. When someone can validate how and why we are feeling upset or angry it has a positive impact on our state of mind.
  • Is the person likely to make the talk about them? Some people are quick to offer support, but also quicker to make it about them and say things like “I totally get how you feel, the same thing happened to me!” and then continue talking about their own experience. It is important to choose someone who is willing to focus on your experience and emotions.
  • Is the person loyal? When we are hurting we want to choose someone who will keep our trust and respect our privacy, not someone who will go tell everyone about your issues.

Sharing your feelings with others will be much more helpful if you follow these guidelines and choose the right person when you’re trying to recover from emotionally upsetting incidents. Mental Health Counselors are great individuals to confide in and receive the best advice from. They are trained and educated on how to be good listeners, supportive, and loyal.

Do you need someone to vent to and get things off your chest? Do you want someone to be there for you while you are healing from emotional upsets? Call us today! (813)244-1251

Bad Habits That Drain You Of Your Energy.


It’s hard to be our best when we feel drained of energy. Here are 6 habits that you may have that drains you of your energy and keeps you from being your best:

You don’t drink enough water. Dehydration takes a toll on our energy levels. Instead of drinking a can of soda, replace it with a refreshing glass of water.

You have too much on your plate. How often are you tired because you have so much to do and not enough time to do it? Most people take on more than they can handle. Learn to say no and create a gap of relaxation in your day.

You’re a clutter bug. It’s natural that when we get busy and tired we often become cluttered and disorganized, but this only creates more stress and exhaustion in our lives. Make the time to get rid of things you don’t need and simplify your life.

You never take a break. You might think that taking a break will cause you to get behind or miss important opportunities. But by not taking a break it actually hinders your creativity and efficiency. Make time for a few quick breaks throughout the day to unwind, or even better plan a vacation and take a big break!

You have toxic relationships. Be aware of the people you surround yourself with. There are those that help us stay upbeat and focused, and then there are those that are negative and drain us. Make it a point to keep those around who fill you up emotionally instead of drain you.

You don’t get enough sleep. Getting less sleep may mean more hours to get things done, but you won’t be very efficient when you’re sleep deprived. Focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

Making small changes in your lifestyle will go a long way for your mental health!

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” – Anthony Robbins


What Can You Do If Your Child Has Been Bullied?

October is Bullying Prevention Month!

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When your child becomes old enough to go to school they automatically become at risk for becoming prey to aggressive other kids. Even the most socially successful kids can become the focus of a bully’s attention. Even just a single bullying experience can create a long-lasting depression, low self-image, emotional hypersensitivities and more. While prevention is ideal, there is much a parent can do to prevent lifelong impacts after a bullying incident or series of incidents.

If your child is verbal, the first thing to do after you suspect bullying would be to talk with your child. Sit down together, ask sensitively if someone at school has hurt their feelings, and if so encourage them to tell you about the incident. Ask what and how questions to help your child verbalize as many details as possible about what happened. Crying out the pain with a loving and comforting parent can further the process of washing it away. Warm hugs add the reassurance and emotional soothing that can enable even the most painful emotional wounds to heal. DO NOT minimize the incident by making comments like “there are always a few mean kids at every school” or “they probably didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” Minimizing the incident can discourage them from telling more. Instead, validate your child’s feelings by telling them how much you appreciate them telling you and how what they are feeling is normal and understandable, and explain to them that what the bully did was not right.

If you are not sure how to approach or talk to your child about the incident, we can help! We can work with you and your child to understand their feelings and help them heal from their bullying experience.

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

Affirmations To Improve Confidence.


Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the subconscious mind. The words composing the affirmation, automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images into the mind. The repetition of an affirmation, and the mental images, affect the subconscious mind, which in turn, influences a person’s behavior, habits, actions and reactions. Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and said to yourself “wow, I look so fat!” or “my hair looks so dull and terrible today!”  Well now I encourage you to stand in front of a mirror and say some positive affirmations. The new messages that you will say to yourself are designed to penetrate past the reinforced wall of negativity that has been cutting you off from self-love for so many years. Once you believe that you are truly worthy of happiness, you begin the mindful process of attracting positivity into your life!

Try these affirmations:

  1. I am worthy of happiness
  2. I am worthy of love
  3. I believe in my skills and abilities
  4. I have the knowledge to succeed
  5. I do not need someone to feel complete
  6. I am grateful to not be perfect
  7. I have the ability to grow and change
  8. Every moment I am here is a gift
  9. Because I believe in myself, so will others
  10. I am releasing negative thoughts
  11. I am not damaged goods
  12. I love that I am unique
  13. I attract harmony and peace
  14. I can do healthy things for myself
  15. I love that I have imperfections and flaws 

Try saying these 15 affirmations in the mirror every day, and add to the list! Use these affirmations to bring positive and permanent change to your life.