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Healing Hearts Blog

I will post about different topics on the blog each month. I hope you will find information here that is interesting, helpful, and useful. Thanks for stopping by to read, and feel free to pass the blog along to someone who could benefit from reading the posts.

Positive Thinking

Well, I missed posting for October because I have been very busy with clients, which has been a blessing. Thank you to anyone out there who has referred someone or helped spread the word about Healing Hearts Professional Counseling. It is truly an honor to serve the people in this community.

If you have liked Healing Hearts Professional Counseling’s Facebook page, then you have probably seen me post a lot about positive thinking. A simple shift from negative to positive thinking can change your life. So, I thought I would post about some helpful tips on thinking more positively in your daily life. First, know that we are all wired differently. For some of us, it is easy to think positive and for others it takes a conscious effort. Several factors we all deal with can potentially affect your ability to think positively. These include stress, frustration, and unrealistic expectations. Anxiety and depression are more persistent mental health issues that can affect your thinking long term. Second, it’s important to realize your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. So, positive thoughts can improve your mood, and when you feel positive, you behave or function better. And here’s the good news: YOU control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. No one else has control over those. Now, if you have been thinking negatively for a long time, it will take practice to undo those thoughts and form more positive, healthy thoughts about yourself, the world around you, and the events that happen in it. Here are some tips that can help you get started thinking more positively:

  1. Realize that you cannot control others, only yourself.
  2. Have realistic expectations for yourself and others. No one is perfect and mistakes will be made.
  3. Try not to should, could, would yourself or others. These often involve unrealistic expectations that only lead us to feel disappointed, frustrated, or angry.
  4. Start your day with something positive. Some examples are prayer, journaling, listening to upbeat music, exercise, or a small act of kindness. Starting your day on a positive note can affect the rest of the day.
  5. Focus on the present rather than the past or future. The past cannot be changed and worrying about the future keeps you from enjoying the present moment.
  6. Don’t get hung up on your mistakes. Try to learn from them, because that’s how you grow.
  7. Get your mind off yourself and help someone else. Showing kindness helps you feel good and purposeful.
  8. When you are in a negative situation, try to find the positive.
  9. Find an activity or hobby you enjoy and do it regularly.
  10. Surround yourself with positive people whenever possible. They will lift you up and help you feel more positive, too.
  11. Leave yourself notes of encouragement and affirmation to help you get through the tough days.
  12. Keep a gratitude journal. Reminding yourself of your blessings can help you remember how much you have in your life that’s good.

I hope these ideas will be helpful for you. If you have other ideas of how to stay positive send me a message on the Healing Hearts Facebook page or on the website contact page. I’d love to hear your ideas. Until next time, stay positive!

How do I know if I ne​ed counseling?

I​ did not post for August because I have been so busy with preparing the office and opening to receive clients. It has been a busy time mixed with excitement, and yes, a little nervousness, too. I thought I would write about one of the questions I get asked so often, “How do I know if I need counseling?” So many people assume that counseling is only for people with really big or “bad” problems. As a professional and as someone who truly cares for people, I want to dispel this attitude about counseling so that all people can feel comfortable seeking help when they need it.

The truth is that we all have problems. Let me repeat that in case you missed it…ALL. OF. US. Sometimes you can manage your life and all the problems that come with it just fine. And other times, personal, work, and/or family problems become overwhelming, or a tragedy occurs and you can no longer cope. Unfortunately, too many people ignore the physical and emotional warning signs and simply keep trudging through life without much joy, satisfaction, or fulfillment. As a result, relationships often suffer, with your spouse, your children, and your friends. This problem ultimately stems from what we are taught growing up: to be independent and self-sufficient, and not ask for help. In other words, we’re taught to keep it all together, all the time. As some of you may already know, this is impossible. This becomes truer as the demands of adulthood increase, and with it, stress levels. We were not meant to do life alone. We need support, relationships, and community. Counseling is just that, a supportive, nonjudgmental, relationship where you can heal, learn, and grow. Anyone, at any age or stage of life, can benefit from the counseling process.

So, if you are struggling to cope with life, when should you seek help? The simple answer is, the sooner the better. Your problems can be resolved more easily, and you’ll likely need fewer sessions than if you wait until the problems become unbearable. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it’s time to seek counseling.

  • Do you ever feel really sad, frustrated, or lonely?
  • Do you feel especially angry, annoyed, or out-of-control?
  • Do you feel very anxious, worried, or guilty?
  • Have you experienced some major problems at home, at school, at work, or in your neighborhood?
  • Have you noticed some changes in the way you sleep, eat, or think and feel about life?
  • Is it hard for you to talk about these feelings with your family or friends?
  • Are your feelings having a negative effect on your life? Are they making your schoolwork, work, or relationships with family and friends hard?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then it may be a good idea to see a counselor. If you live in Alex City or the surrounding areas, then you can contact Healing Hearts. If you live elsewhere, you can find a qualified therapist in your area by searching google. Reaching out for help is a hard step, and it takes a lot of courage, but it’s not harder than struggling alone. As I have said many times, seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength. It is one step toward changing yourself and your life.

Let's Play

I thought some of you may be curious about play therapy and decided to make this my first blog topic. You may be a parent, but maybe you have never heard of play therapy before. Maybe you haven't really thought about the value of play in a child's life. But, you've certainly watched your children play on many occasions or even played with them. You have probably noticed that your children often play out different themes, or different events in their lives. They play school, babies, superheroes, blocks, and the list goes on and on. The play is only limited by opportunity and their imagination.

Play is serious business in a child's world. It is fun, but it also has a purpose. It is how they learn about themselves, other people, and the world we live in every day. It is also how they process the events in their lives, both good and not so good. Whether it's something good, like a new baby brother or sister, something a little more difficult, like becoming a blended family, or even a traumatic event, their thoughts and feelings can be worked through in a safe way through play. This is where play therapy comes into the picture.

The play therapist provides a safe environment (the play room), an opportunity, and the tools (toys) for the child to play out whatever is happening in his or her life. During a session, the therapist first sets firm boundaries to ensure safety and respect for people and property. Then, he or she guides the play as much as needed to help the child accomplish certain goals. Play therapy helps resolve problematic behaviors and teach children self-control, respect for boundaries, problem solving skills, appropriate expression of thoughts and feelings, and many other valuable life skills.

Parents are an essential part of the process, too, because you are the most important people in their lives. Play therapy can teach you about your child and what's happening in his or her world. Understanding your child enables you to communicate, interact, discipline, and love them in a way that helps them thrive.

For the parents out there reading this, I hope you understand more about the value of play. If you think your child could benefit from play therapy, please call me, (256)-279-5869) or a qualified therapist in your area to schedule an appointment.

You can encourage play at home in a variety of ways:

  1. Limit screen time. Kids need to move and play every day.
  2. Give them time and space to play. They need regular breaks from school, homework, responsibilities, and even fun activities to play.
  3. Remember that older children want and need time to play, too.
  4. Provide a variety of age appropriate toys (dolls, dollhouse, games, superheroes, blocks, trains, trucks, dress up clothes, etc.)
  5. Encourage your child to play with toys that spark their interest and imagination. In other words, don't limit girls to "girl toys" and boys to "boy toys." Some boys like playing with dolls, and some girls like playing with superheroes, and that's perfectly okay. Sometimes a boy needs to nurture, and sometimes a girl needs to feel empowered.
  6. Take time to play with your child. He or she needs your time and attention regularly. It helps them feel loved and secure. You will learn a lot about your children, and peek into their world. And, who knows? Maybe you'll have a little fun, too!


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