Heidi M. Woods, LCPC, LLC 

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Happy Holidays???

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The media and our culture convinces us that the holidays should be a great time and that we should be jolly and feel peace and tranquility when we are with our extended families. In reality that is easier said than done. Incidents of depression and anxiety go up around and especially after the holidays. 

So what can we do to not only manage but increase our joy during the holidays?

• Expectations – stop hoping that things will be different. Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. If that one family member has made negative remarks about your cooking in the past chances are it will happen again this year. Instead try….

Do something about it.

         * Be prepared with a calm response such as “It really hurts my feelings when you are critical of my cooking. I have worked  really hard to make things special for you and the family”. The family member may not know that your feelings have been hurt. 

         * Say positive things to yourself such as “I like my cooking. Other family members like my cooking. I feel good when I do this for the family. Not everyone has to like my cooking for me to feel good about it”. Talking kindly to yourself decreases the negative impact of someone’s negative words.

        *Don’t over focus on the negative comment. Look around and remember the positives.

Be realistic – This isn’t the movies. People aren’t perfect. They hurt each other and get on each other’s nerves. Families have positive and negative history. Focus on the positive history. Plan positive and fun activities. Don’t worry if everyone doesn’t participate, you can still have fun. It’s contagious!

Lean on your supports –  Find that person who will listen, but who will not encourage you to stay negative. If the phone call turns into trading complaints it may feel good in the moment but it actually encourages you to remain focused on your anger and hurt.

Use humor – If you look for it you will find it.

Recharge - Plan for a stress free rejuvenating activity for after the holidays.


Accentuate the Positive

Posted on November 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Negative, negative, negative.  Do you sometimes feel that it's all we hear and think about?  Just turn on the news. The majority of what is reported is the sad negative events going on in our world.  If we are not careful, attending to the negative can become an unhealthy habit.

Ever hear the saying "It's the small stuff that counts"?  When you really think about it that saying makes a lot of sense.  The major happy events in our lives are few and far between.  How many times and how often will you graduate, get a new job, buy a house, get engaged, get married, have children, get promoted etc.,? Even if you are lucky enough to experience several of these major positive events they don't happen daily, monthly or even yearly.  So then what keeps you going?  What makes you happy? :)

 It's the Small Stuff.

Examples of the small stuff:

* a hug from your child

* your morning run

* your first cup of coffee in the morning

* the kind smile from a stranger

* the feeling of relief when you organize that pile on your desk

* your favorite song

* laughing with your friend

* an outing with friends or family

* being silly

* engaging in a hobby

Take the time daily to notice and remember the small stuff.  Even if you are having a rough day there are some things that went well, or gave you a moment of contentment, or made you smile or even made you happy. Acknowledge that your day has been rough but then remember the small stuff.  The small stuff will go a long way in helping you feel positive and hopeful.  It will help with a positive mood and a positive disposition and will keep you going during the harder times. 




Posted on October 29, 2015 at 12:15 AM

Do you spend time wishing you could do or try something? Do you look at other people’s lives and wish you had their experiences?

You can make it happen.

Sometimes we spend too much time wishing and not enough time looking at our wishes and making them happen. A negative side effect of this is getting bogged down in wishing and forgetting to look around at the good things we already have.

Get it out of your head and write it down. This not only unclutters your mind but helps in gaining perspective (it this really for me) and taking action.

MAKE A LIST. Yes that good old fashioned bucket list.

1. Write down what you want to experience, do and accomplish.

2. Act on one of the easier short term items (take guitar lessons)

3. Make a plan for one of your long term items (save for that trip across Europe)

4. Over time add to and revise your list. Some times what you thought you wanted to try is not really for you.

5. Save your list. It’s fun to look back and see what you thought would be interesting or fun.

Writing it down and making a plan starts you on the positive journey of living.