Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Community Care after a Crisis by Dwight Bain

Identifying Emotional Warning Signs and Trauma Symptoms

A community crisis can terrorize an entire community in just a few minutes, while the recovery process to rebuild from a major critical incident may take weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive and rebuild after the crisis, the faster you can take positive action to get your personal and professional life back on track.

Since community crisis events like school, mall or church shootings, bombing or terrorism are unpredictable, it requires a different course of action from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods. What can you do right now to cope with the psychological impact of a major community crisis brought on through violence?


1. Deal Directly with Your Emotions

This will reduce the tension and stress on you, which allows you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a major community crisis, your emotions can quickly blow up without warning. Exploding in rage on your children, your coworkers or your marriage partner will only make a difficult situation worse.

Community crisis events are a terrible situation full of loss and difficulty for everyone. By taking action now you can move beyond feeling overwhelmed by intense stress, anger or confusion. As you follow the insight from this recovery guide, you will be taking positive steps to rebuild with the focused energy of an even stronger life for you and your family after the emergency service workers pack up and go home because your community has recovered.

To best survive a major community crisis, you need a strong combination of three key elements:

·         Healthy coping skills

·         Healthy supports

·         Healthy perspective


2. Consider the Dangers of Long-term Stress

A major community crisis affects everyone however; it becomes dangerous to our health when the stress goes on for an extended period of time. Major stress can affect adults, children, the elderly and even pets, so it is important to be alert to watch for the danger signs of the psychological condition called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (commonly referred to as PTSD), in yourself, your family members and coworkers.

These symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks or even months. Since community crisis events are a terribly stressful time for everyone and often remain stressful for days or weeks to come, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe.

 

3. Identify the Warning Signs of Overload

These signs are indicators that the intense stress from the critical incident is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur, the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or personal weakness; rather, it simply indicates that the stress levels from the storm were too powerful for the person to manage and their body is reacting to the abnormal situation of having survived a major trauma.

It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed by a community crisis; however, there are danger signs to watch for in yourself or others that may indicate psychological trauma. Adults or children who display any of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of this crisis. It is strongly recommended that you seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance if you see a lot of the physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms listed below in you, your coworkers, or someone in your family or home, especially if these symptoms weren’t present before the crisis.

Physical Symptoms

Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, and so on.

Emotional Symptoms

Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, and feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, and so on.

Cognitive Symptoms

Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, and so on.

Behavioral Symptoms

Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, and so on.

If you are in doubt about these symptoms in your life, or someone you care about, it is wise to seek the care of a physician or certified mental health professional. Better to actively deal with the stressful emotions directly to help yourself and your loved ones to immediately cope with this crisis because these emotions tend to worsen and get more intense if left untreated. Remember that there are many experienced professionals who can help you and your children recover during a time of crisis.

You do not have to go through this alone.

Take action now to prevent stress from continuing to overwhelm you or the people you care about. Call a trusted friend to talk through it, reach out to clergy, or call your family doctor or counselor. If you don’t know someone to call about these emotional issues, you can reach out for assistance by calling telephone hotlines which are offered at no cost to you. These numbers are often posted by local media, hospitals, churches, and schools, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or FEMA. If you, or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, guilt or grief, it’s important to make the call for assistance now to learn how to get past the pressure to begin to feel “okay” again.

About the Author –

Dwight Bain has dedicated his life to guide people toward greater results as an Author, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Crisis Instructor in practice since 1984. His primary focus is managing major change as a Critical Incident Stress Management expert. Bain has spoken to over 3,000 groups on strategic change topics. He speaks over 100 times per year to groups across the United States on creating positive change. Follow him for updates at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain or www.Twitter.com/DwightBain and stay connected to his daily updates at www.LinkedIn.com/DwightBain

Monday, June 30, 2014

Trained Crisis Responder Certification Course

Managing a Community Crisis to prevent PTSD as a Trained Crisis Responder 
Terrorist Attack, School Shooting, Bombing, Hurricane, Tornado, Fire, Flood, Multiple Car crash, Co-worker Suicide or Airline Crash– when you hear about a crisis do you know what to do to help someone?  If you were at the scene of a community shooting or disaster would you know what to do?
 
Would you know what to say to protect that person from developing PTSD? Would you know what do to protect yourself or those you care about from secondary trauma?
 
This 2 day crisis certification course was designed by experts after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by the United States National Guard and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation as a rapid psychological response to community trauma. It prepares you to manage a major crisis and lead a critical incident stress debriefing session, (CISD) while keeping yourself and family safe from psychological harm.
 
There are eight TCR training modules in this certification class to equip you in dealing with community crisis events. You will learn the early warning signs of PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), how to prevent secondary psychological trauma while working as a first responder providing psychological first aid in real life scenarios. This rapid crisis stabilization process is taught by Dwight Bain, a certified crisis response trainer who worked at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and has equipped thousands with psychological survival skills to use until emergency management teams can arrive on the scene.  Crisis events will come to Florida – are you going to be prepared to help or will you be a helpless bystander?

“Up to 35% of those exposed to traumatic events such as disasters and terrorism will develop significant posttraumatic psychological distress and perhaps PTSD.”
 
This course is for counselors, nursing, clergy, teachers, lay counselors and anyone interested in becoming a trained crisis responder. Space is limited. Register now!
Orlando Trained Crisis Responder Certification Course
July 25-26, 2014, (must attend 9-5 both days to achieve certification)
Orlando 2 day Crisis Certification is only $99 (advance registration) Register now
Orlando Trained Crisis Responder (TCR) Certification
Registration Form
July 25-26  2014   9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily
Instructor Dwight Bain; Training facility - College Park Baptist Church
at 1914 Edgewater Drive Orlando, FL 32804
  
PLEASE PRINT your name clearly since it will be used for your certification
Name________________________________________________________________
Address  _____________________________________________________________                                    
Telephone: ___________________________________________________________
E-mail  ______________________________________________________________
  ______ $99.00 – regular registration (by July 11th)
 ______ $149.00 - for late registrations (after July 11th)
  ______ Group Registration -  4th person free with 3 paid registrations, ($99 value)
 (Names of 3 registered _____________________________________________________)
Payment Options:
*Make check or money order payable to:     
The LifeWorks Group
1850 Lee Road, suite 250
Winter Park, FL 32789
You can email or fax this registration form with your credit card information to Sola Thompson at info@lifeworksgroup.org    Or Fax directly to:  407-647-8874
Credit card number_______________________________________________________
Expiration date ___________________ CVV code ________________
 Zip code for billing address of credit card _______________    
Refund and cancellation policy: Full refund minus $25 processing fee if notice is given two weeks before workshop.  If later cancellation, fee can be applied to future crisis training.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nomophobia Changed My Life By: Dwight Bain

Yep, it finally happened to me. 12 days ago I dropped my iPhone into water and experienced "Nomophobia" which is the phobic reaction to being without your cell phone, (no-mo-mobile-phone-phobia).

 
For the first time in my adult life I don't have a mobile phone, and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t able to talk/text/FB/Instagram/Tweet/Post or watch baby panda's sneeze on YouTube. (Don’t judge until you’ve seen this adorable video).  Oh, and I found out that while my phone was dead, I'm actually more alive. Here's what I’ve noticed during these days of technology detox and full scale withdrawal. A lot of people are seriously addicted to their smart phones and sadly, I was one of them.

 
There are a series of very clever YouTube videos about the dumb things people do with smart phones, (missing the love of their life, not seeing cash right in front of them, running into trees, buildings, traffic, trains, all because they were watching their phone instead of their feet), and while they are funny – the truth they illustrate is quite sad. Our culture is addicted to smart media – and that’s quite dumb. One study found that 7 in 10 people are actually afraid to lose or be separated from their mobile phones. Dr. Leslie Perlow from Harvard Business School did some pioneer research on the addictive nature of mobile technology and discovered from 1600 respondents that -

 

70% check their smart phone within one hour of getting up.
56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
51% check continuously during vacation.
44% said they would experience "a great deal of anxiety" if they lost their phone and couldn't replace it for a week.

 

In fact, a study commissioned by Nokia discovered the average cellular phone user can't ignore their phone for more than 6 minutes and check their phone for updates 150 times per day!

 

While this may seem excessive, think about how many times you pick up your phone to check a text message, or email, or tweet, or Instagram or Facebook, or the weather report, or your bank account balance. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found 56% of American adults now have smart phones while 36% have only basic mobile phones and 9% don't own a cell phone at all. 

 

Sadly, more than 50% admit to texting and driving, even though a Mythbuster's controlled experiment showed this behavior was 6 times more dangerous than driving drunk. (Did you see the news story of the woman who posted, “Happy listening to the Happy song,” on Facebook right before she had a car wreck from texting and driving and died at the scene of the crash).

 

Smart phones are more than just phones because for many people they represent a soul mate, a constant companion and source of connection to the world around them.  According to a poll by SecurEnvoy, 70% of women have phone separation anxiety, (panic over the thought of losing their phone) as opposed to 61% of men.  Almost 75% of participants in the study indicated their smart phone is less than 5 feet from them at any given time. It's like our culture is now more connected to their smart phone than they are to their own family.

 

So, how can you tell if your smartphone connection has become a full-blown addiction?

Here are the symptoms to watch out for in you or a loved one –

 

·         Feeling stressed worried or anxious whenever you don’t have your phone in your hand or sight, (like it was a small child that needed constant attention)

·         Continually checking your cellphone for new tweets/posts or the need to instantly respond to text messages

·         Not really listening to the person in front of you because you are “checking a text” or posting a photo on Instagram or liking something on Pinterest.

·         Running an errand and turning around because you left your phone on the charger. (what did we do at Publix before we had smartphones to scan and comparison shop? Oh, that’s right, we had to think ahead. Gotcha)

 

One of the elements of addictive behavior is the classic denial dynamic that thinks, “well, I might have a problem, but my problem isn’t as bad as your problem”. And while doing research on nomophobia came to understand I was in the denial group. Simply stated – it had become a way bigger problem than I ever realized.

 

Over the last week and half I’ve had time to write some letters, read 3 books and exercise more. I helped a friend and got more sleep. Where did all the time come from? You guessed it – not having a phone to continually check, monitor and respond to. It’s hard to admit it but I was way too connected to my mobile phone and was more stressed because of it. Here’s how I define cellphone stress.

 

S - Self-Absorbed

T- Tired

R - Rushed

E - Exhausted

S - Serious

S - Solitude

 

The last one may seem unusual to you, but clinical research shows the more someone uses technology or social media, the less they are really connected to people. That’s right. MORE = LESS. More social media = less connection to real people and that’s a very bad trade.  

 

Anything can be abused to the point of dependence or addiction, including smartphones. It’s interesting to notice as culture becomes hungrier for smarter/faster technology to stay connected that cellphone-free zones are more common. Remember when restaurants and airports began to ban public smoking because it affected others? Now the same places are banning cellphone use by creating "Quiet Zones” and one chain even offers discounts for guests who deposit their mobile device with the hostess to pick up after their meal.

 

Maybe the rapid rise of smart phones that lead to dumb behavior, (for me wasting a lot of time), has reached a peak because there are national campaigns to get people to turn off their smartphones for a day, (Serenity Saturdays), I’ve heard that many spiritual leaders take a ‘Fast” from technology to better hear from God and the 9% of people in the US who don’t have cellphones mostly don’t want them. Why? Because they have less stress from the simplicity of their lives.  I define this type of minimalist change in these words -

 

S - Self-Aware

I - Insightful

M - Meditation

P - Peaceful

L - Listening

E- Experience Life

 

Losing a phone, (or having it stolen as the case might be), might make some people panic, but the experience has given me a welcome respite to a simpler life.  It’s been almost two weeks without the temptation to check messages at traffic lights. Instead I listen to music safe for the little ears on www.Zradio.com or audiobooks from the Library. I’m able to watch people in public places, or read another book on my Kindle. When our family watched a movie, I actually watched the movie, instead of checking the time or texts on the phone in my hand. 

 

In short - my life is simpler with less stress. Nomophobia for me turned into Mo-Life-to-Enjoy. Maybe it will for you too. All it takes is a bathtub full of water.

 

(Update – since writing this article I did surrender to the voices around me that said no human could survive in today’s modern world without a cellphone… “It’s a safety issue” they assured. So I went back to the drawer of old technology and found a flip phone from 2009 and reactivated it. Works fine for calls and won’t play “Words with Friends”. Saves money and time over the smartphone. Simple.)

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

 

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. "Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Community Care After a Crisis- Identifying Emotional Warning Signs and Trauma Symptoms By: Dwight Bain


Community Care After a Crisis-  Identifying Emotional Warning Signs and Trauma Symptoms

 

A community crisis can terrorize an entire community in just a few minutes, while the recovery process to rebuild from a major critical incident may take weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive and rebuild after the crisis, the faster you can take positive action to get your personal and professional life back on track.


Since community crisis events like shootings at schools, malls or churches, bombing or terrorism are unpredictable, it requires a different course of action than the crisis brought on from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods. What can you do right now to cope with the psychological impact of a major community crisis brought on through violence?


1. Deal Directly with Your Emotions


This will reduce the tension and stress on you, which allows you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a major community crisis, your emotions can quickly blow up without warning. Exploding in rage on your children, your coworkers or your marriage partner will only make a difficult situation worse.


Community crisis events are a terrible situation full of loss and difficulty for everyone. By taking action now you can move beyond feeling overwhelmed by intense stress, anger or confusion. As you follow the insight from this recovery guide, you will be taking positive steps to rebuild with the focused energy of an even stronger life for you and your family after the emergency service workers pack up and go home because your community has recovered.


To best survive a major community crisis, you need a strong combination of three key elements:

·         healthy coping skills
·         healthy supports
·         healthy perspective

 

2. Consider the Dangers of Long-term Stress

 

A major community crisis affects everyone however; it becomes dangerous to our health when the stress goes on for an extended period of time. Major stress can affect adults, children, the elderly and even pets, so it is important to be alert to watch for the danger signs of the psychological condition called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (commonly referred to as PTSD), in yourself, your family members and coworkers.


These symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks or even months. Since community crisis events are a terribly stressful time for everyone and often remain stressful for days or weeks to come, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe.
 

3. Identify the Warning Signs of Overload


These signs are indicators that the intense stress from the critical incident is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur, the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or personal weakness; rather, it simply indicates that the stress levels from the storm were too powerful for the person to manage and their body is reacting to the abnormal situation of having survived a major trauma.


It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed by a community crisis; however, there are danger signs to watch for in yourself or others that may indicate psychological trauma. Adults or children who display any of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of this crisis. It is strongly recommended that you seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance if you see a lot of the physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms listed below in you, your coworkers, or someone in your family or home, especially if these symptoms were not present before the crisis.


Physical Symptoms - Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, and so on.


Emotional Symptoms - Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, and feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, and so on.


Cognitive Symptoms- Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, and so on.


Behavioral Symptoms- Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, and so on.


If you are in doubt about these symptoms in your life, or someone you care about, it is wise to seek the care of a physician or certified mental health professional. Better to actively deal with the stressful emotions directly to help yourself and your loved ones to immediately cope with this crisis because these emotions tend to worsen and get more intense if left untreated. Remember that there are many experienced professionals who can help you and your children recover during a time of crisis.


You do not have to go through this alone. Take action now to prevent stress from continuing to overwhelm you or the people you care about. Call a trusted friend to talk through it, reach out to clergy, or call your family doctor or counselor. If you don’t know someone to call about these emotional issues, you can reach out for assistance by calling telephone hotlines which are offered at no cost to you. These numbers are often posted by local media, hospitals, churches, schools, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or FEMA. If you, or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, guilt or grief, it’s important to make the call for assistance now to learn how to get past the pressure to begin to feel “normal” again. Finally, meditate on the comforting words of Lamentations 3:22-24 where Jeremiah writes - "Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassion's fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

 


About the Author –  Dwight Bain has dedicated his life to guide people toward greater results as an Author, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984. His primary focus is on solving crisis events and managing major change as a Critical Incident Stress Management expert and speaker for over 3,000 groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress  He speaks over 100 times per year to groups across the United States on creating positive change. Follow him for updates at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain or www.Twitter.com/DwightBain

 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Money Can't Buy Me Love

 
A relationship strengthening guide for intimate connections
By Dwight Bain
 
Can a stuffed animal with a romantic message solve a relationship problem? Nope. Neither can a trip to the jewelry store, boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, balloons or vases of expensive flowers… none of these can fix a distant, damaged or dying relationship. But the VASE can.  Let me explain why.
Relationships take work. There is no easy way to achieve closeness and connection on an intimate level without time, talking and gentle touch. It can’t be done. We’ve all seen the commercials about a couple having a romantic exchange in a restaurant as the waiter brings them a special dessert with a diamond ring attached to a note that says, “Marry me”.  But as a counselor of more than 30 years I can tell you if that couple were distant or detached from each other before they got to the restaurant the jewelry would only be a shiny trinket that didn’t repair hurt, selfishness or neglect. 
Expensive gift cannot fix relationship problems. They can cause debt, which complicates problems, (84% of couples report they fight over spending according to Money Magazine), or cause a momentary escape from what isn’t working in their relationship… but the old saying is true. “Money can’t buy me love.”
So what can you do to really connect to the one you care about? Get a VASE. Here’s why.
Stuffed teddy bears and expensive perfumes affect the senses- the VASE approach affects the soul. Tina Turner got it right when she sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” because the feeling of romantic love is a fickle and temporary emotion. Having a fun dinner date on your anniversary is special – but not as powerful as really connecting over a bowl of Cheerios every day. Lasting love is about going deeper and that’s what this process creates… lasting committed relationship instead of a temporary feeling of chemistry. Real relationship connection on the heart level will grow a relationship closer than anything offered for sale at Macys.
V.A.S.E. stands for VALUES, ACCOUNTABILITY, SILENCE, EXPECTATIONS and here’s how it works.
Values-  Most couples have never sat down and actually talked about their core values. They might be able to guess what their partner believes, but haven’t communicated these issues to one another.
When you find a safe place to discuss your belief system with the person you care about the most it creates a powerful connection on a deep emotional level. One that is stronger than anything you could ever buy at a store. When I know what my wife believes about life, kids, family, money, love, politics, fun, God and everything else important to her I know her on a heart level. And when I know her heart, I can actively work to meet her there. Knowing and respecting your partner’s values removes silly arguments and power struggles from the conversation because you are working together out of shared beliefs instead of working against each other.
A-Accountability This isn’t a word most people like and it definitely isn’t a word people seek out. It’s tough to have someone in your life who asks you the hard questions like. “Haven’t you had enough to drink?” or “How is eating that going to affect your diabetes?” or “Why did you close the computer when I came in here?” or “Can we afford to do this?” When someone asks you a tough question you either have to face the issue and answer it, or you have to get really, really mad at them for having the courage to speak up. You know what path most people choose. They would rather fight than be held to a standard of behavior… one that matches what they say they believe, (see core values section above for more on this).
S-Silence isn’t golden in relationships, it’s deadly. If you go silent on expressing your feelings, fears or future with the one you say you love there is nothing a cute card with a talking dog that makes it better. I know card shops exist for the purpose of saying what you don’t know how to say… but can I be your friend for a moment and say “get a life?” There is more information available today on how to communicate in a loving way with your partner than there ever has been in the history of the world. Books, webinars, seminars, podcasts, workshops, retreats, teleseminars, counseling, classes, YouTube clips, even old episodes of Dr. Phil have tips on how to connect verbally. Too many people spend $5 on a piece of recycled card stock that says what a copywriter in Kansas thinks about love instead of sitting down to express what they believe about the one they care about. Want a more powerful relationship connection? Learn to express love. It’s worth every penny you spend to the people who won’t have to guess how you feel about them because you took the step, (and the risk) to verbalize your heart.
 
E-Expectations lead to great joy or great pain, which is usually heartbreaking and it goes back to silence. Here’s why. Picture a woman who thinks this is the year her guy will remember their special day and take her to their special place. She tells her friends, her mother and her therapist that they are going to the bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway because she has been dropping hints for months that were so easy a caveman could figure it out. Problem is her guy isn’t a caveman – he’s a guy and men often aren’t listening carefully to what their lady may be saying. In fact if the relationship is distant he may not be listening at all. Expecting your intended to read your mind isn’t going to get you what you want, but it can cause some huge explosions of rage over misunderstanding. If you expect a physically exciting weekend and you get ESPN instead your feelings are going to be hurt – and you may have caused it. I know some people like the feeling of being surprised that their hints led to a temporary feeling of being special, but most of the time their hints set them up for hurt. Better is to learn to speak up about what you want in the relationship. If you want more romance – say so. If going to a particular movie is what you want to do– bring it up. If something is important to you learn to express it directly. This may take away the pleasant feeling of surprise, but will guarantee you won’t experience the painful feeling of shock that silent expectations always bring.
So how does this VASE formula help?
It takes the cultural feeling of romance being something that money can buy down to a practical level of relationship that is priceless. The Beatles were wrong on this one. Money can’t buy love, but VASE’s can.
 
About the Author – Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach who has been making a difference in people’s lives since 1984. Follow him online at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain or @DwightBain

Monday, January 06, 2014

A New Year's Exercise to Improve the Outcomes of Your New Year's Goals


 

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

So, it’s the New Year again. And probably almost everyone will be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions or plans or desires about what they want to achieve during the year ahead. We seem to be oriented this way – to take stock once a year – to mark off our life journey, and use intervals to review and evaluate our course. That is what you are doing, right? Right?

I bet I probably had you with the first part – the part about making goals for the year ahead. But what about the next part – of evaluating and reviewing your course? Might you be doing the one without the other? If I’m right, I would say that if so you would be among the majority. It seems to me that many folks had all kinds of dreams, plans, goals etc. of where they want to get to or what they want to reach or achieve. But only a small percentage of those invest in reviewing their course direction, as it were. What I mean is, there are a lot of us Americans who really like to go,go,go – full steam, petal to the metal, squeeze all there is out of life, etc. etc.  I’m not saying that everyone is a high energy type. I am referring to our inner-directiveness, or drive. We want stuff! Not necessarily material stuff. It might be that we want more peace in our lives, to live in a better location or have a better or new job, or maybe a better or new relationship. I guess what I think it boils down to is that many of us would have to say we aren’t content.

Look, I’m not saying that having goals or dreams or ambition is a bad thing. I can’t say that because I have those things, too. Well, I guess I could but not in good conscience. What I am proposing is that we can all sometimes get caught up in our goals and desires in such a way that we don’t stop to reflect on what is good right now about our lives. We have a tendency to put our heads down and plow towards our goals, and we end up stepping over the very contentment and fulfillment we were striving for.

I’m not suggesting that it is easy to have contentment where you are. For many of you the circumstances are very challenging. I get why you would focus on the day when things will change. Nothing wrong with that desire at all. And I also know that there are many of you who aren’t dealing with severe life issues, although you may be dealing with other emotional struggles, you may be unhappy or you may be rather weary. Whether you are in the first category or the second,  I want to recommend an exercise in cultivating contentment.

Allow me first to present the foundation principle so that you can understand the exercise. The principle this is built on is this: that God is The Good Parent. What this means is that God is best understood in terms of how he thinks and feels about us and how he relates to us by seeing him as the parent of preschoolers. Oh – and by the way, you and I are the preschoolers.

Settle this notion that you are God’s toddler into your mind. See him as wonderfully excited by you – as parents of young kids are. See Him enjoying your eager inquisitiveness about the world around you, your every attempt to learn new things, your getting into things and making messes. Picture in your mind that even when you talk back, act out, tantrum, pout and get annoying in 100 ways that He is patient with you, since He knows that you are a preschooler and so He isn’t expecting you to be more mature than you currently are. He knows that it is HIS responsibility to develop you and grow you up to maturity. He is not worried about this happening. What this means is that God is in control of your life journey and your destiny. Like a good parent, He cares about your dreams and desires. In fact, He knew you would have them before you had them. He specifically designed you to have the dreams and desires and goals that you have.

Now, with this foundation principle in place, here’s the exercise. Every day for the next three weeks, I recommend that you take 10-15 minutes each day and you review the things you are grateful for. Begin in prayer and ask God to reveal things to you to be grateful for; to show you how He has been intimately engaged in your life journey and your life development. Ask for His perspective on the events of the past year or more. It will be more effective if you write things down.

At the end of the exercise, then go ahead with thinking and praying about your goals. See if this exercise doesn’t provide a new perspective on the way you go about making your goals, as well as the way you seek to carry them out.

I would love to hear from you about your experience with the exercise!

Drop me a line!


 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with me, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

 

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"