Thursday, September 28, 2006

Depression Checklist

You may be saying “I can’t think straight. I can’t feel anything. I can’t even will myself out of the blues! What’s going on?” You may be weathering the storm clouds of depression. And just as there are different kinds of clouds, there are also different types of depression.

What is Depression?

  • Depression is a condition of being pressed to a lower position
  • Depression is a state of decline and reduced activity
  • The word Depression is from the Latin word depressus, which means “to press down.”

What is Psychological; Depression? Psychological Depression is a state in which the heart is pressed down and unable to experience joy.

Psychological Depression is an umbrella word when covers feelings from mild discouragement to intense despair.

Psychological depression is a condition which involves the whole person: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A DEPRESSION CHECKLIST FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES

The purpose of this checklist is to help you assess patterns of depression.
There are no good or bad answers- only honest ones.
Please answer Yes or No to each question as it describes.


1. ____ Do you feel sad or “empty” much of the time?

2. ____ Do you find you’re self becoming irritable and quick tempered?

3. ____ Have you lost interest in ordinary activities?

4. ____ Do you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?

5. ____ Do you tire easily?

6. ____ Is it becoming increasingly difficult to focus or concentrate?

7. ____ Have you gained or lost weight recently?

8. ____ Do you find yourself crying frequently or more easily?

9. ____ Do you feel anxious or fearful much of the time?

10. ____ Are you having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up early in the morning?

11. ____ Do you feel guilty or overly responsible for others?

12. ____ Is your attitude more negative than it used to be?

13. ____ Are you overly critical of yourself or do you find yourself lacking?

14. ____ Do you feel taken for granted by family, friends, or other relationships?

15. ____ Are you increasingly impatient with family members?

16. ____Does your work day stretch on endlessly?

17. ____ Do you have thoughts about dying or death?

18. ____ Have you started drinking or using drugs to dull your pain or have previous addictive habits worsened?

19. ____ Do you sometimes feel that other people are criticizing or talking about you?

20. ____ Do you find yourself experiencing headaches? Stomach aches? Muscle pain? Chronic aches and pains?

21. ____ Have you tried to hurt yourself or put yourself into dangerous situations?

22. ____ Is there a past history of depression for you or another family member?

23. ____ Do you find it hard to make decisions about everyday matters?

24. ____ Are you pulling away from family or friends and spending much of your time alone?

25. ____ Have you noticed a change in your libido?

The LifeWorks Group, Inc.

1850 Lee Rd. Suite 250

Winter Park, FL 32789

Phone: 407-647-7005,www.LifeWorksGroup.org

AFFAIRS -What is true about affairs and what is not? by Linda Riley, LMFT

Affairs are normal since everybody has them. Actually, marital fidelity is the norm and surveys show time and time again that the majority of people believe strongly in monogamous marriage. Intimacy requires exclusivity and always will. We try to justify cheating by telling ourselves that everybody cheats. Only about half of the population actually commits adultery.

1. Some people actually believe that affairs can keep marriages together or even enrich them. This idea is popular in secular society and is portrayed in the media; movies, books and magazines. The truth is that affairs are extremely destructive to both the people having them and their marriages. It takes a great deal of healing and pain to recover from an affair and save the marriage.

2. Affairs mean we aren’t in love with our spouse. In my practice I have worked with countless people who claim they still love their spouse even though they are involved in an affair. Frequently, we only fall out of love after having an affair not before. The affair breaks the bond and makes us feel no longer in love with our spouse. It is not uncommon for people to have an affair and justify it in their own mind by convincing themselves they are no longer in love only to wake up sometimes years later to the awful realization that they are in fact still in love with their ex-spouse.

3. Our spouse is to blame for our infidelity. They drove us to it by not meeting our needs sexual or otherwise. We make the choice to deal with our marital unhappiness by having an affair rather than confronting the problem or problems in the marriage. It can seem easier to turn to someone else to meet unmet needs than to try to resolve the conflict with our partner. However, the choice to cheat only makes our life more complicated and unhappy.

4. Affairs are about love and sex. Most of the people I have worked with can honestly acknowledge that the people they choose to have an affair with are not any better than their mates, in terms of desirability. In other words they aren’t better looking, more accomplished or sexier. In fact, often people will admit that the sex is better at home. Affairs happen for all kinds of strange reasons such as accidentally due to sexualizing friendships with the opposite sex. Other times the motive can be hate and revenge or a desperate attempt to get our mates attention.

5. If you discover that your spouse is having an affair the best thing to do is nothing, just keep quiet and hope they stop. This is the worst thing to do, since affairs thrive on secrecy. And the longer they go on the more damage they cause. Confronting your spouse and dealing with the pain and conflict is the only hope you have of possibly saving your marriage. Get help as quickly as possible!

6. Most affairs result in divorce. In my long career as a Marriage Therapist, I have helped many couples to not only heal from an affair but build a much stronger marriage. Marriage Counseling can make a significant difference in the outcome or aftermath of an affair.

For More Information Visit:
http://www.lifeworksgroup.org
http://www.family.org

Written by: Linda Riley, A Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Counselor who is part of the LifeWorks Group, Inc. in Winter Park, FL. She has counseled family's and couples for over 22 years. Her focus has been with enriching relationships and understanding relationship dynamics. Promoting personal growth and building healthy self-concepts to help her clients achieve maximum results in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about the LifeWorks Group, Inc. please visit, www.LifeWorksGroup.org.

10 Questions to See if Your Life Works by Deedra Hunter, LMHC

  1. Are you staying connected to your spiritual core?
  2. What are some of the things you are grateful for?
  3. Were you involved with people this week?
  4. What old feelings came up this week?
  5. What new feelings came up this week?
  6. What behavior did you handle noticeably different this week?
  7. How often were you angry this week?
  8. Did you challenge yourself to do, say, or think about something differently this week?
  9. Did you drink enough water?
  10. Did you get enough sleep?


    For More Information on how we can help make your life work contact:

    The LifeWorks Group, Inc
    1850 Lee Rd. Suite 250, Winter Park, FL 32789
    407-647-7005 or www.lifeworksgroup.org

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dangers of Media “Riptides” by Dwight Bain,LMHC

Positive steps to protect kids from negative media exposure
By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor

If you live near an ocean, you know about riptides, which are highly dangerous currents that can rip your legs out from under you and sweep you out into the ocean depths in a matter of seconds. If you try to fight the current, you will drown as dozens of people in Florida do every year. These silent and powerful ocean currents can overpower even the strongest of swimmers because the size and force of the waves become completely overwhelming. There is only one way to escape and save your life so listen carefully; “Don’t try to fight the riptide, just flow with it as you swim parallel to the shoreline. In a few dozen feet you will be out of the strong current and can safely swim back to the shore.”

So, if you have to deal with a dangerous ocean riptide, you have three choices… First- stay out of the water (and don’t let anyone you love go near it either). Second, pretend that riptides don’t exist and try to stay in the shallow water with hopes you never get swept away to drown in the depths. Third, learn how to swim safely out of the dangerous current and teach the people you love how to do the same. That way the ocean isn’t a scary place that could snatch you or a family member away in a blink of an eye- rather it becomes a serene place to sit and relax, or a place to make memories with your family or friends. When you and your kids learn how to use this life-saving advice you can spend your time at the beach having fun, instead of living in fear of the ocean.

Media riptides are dangerous

Media can be very similar to the description of riptides above because it can silently and rapidly become a powerful force that can sweep away unsuspecting kids or adults with dangerous consequences. Media is like an ocean because there are so many new technologies that allow it to reach into our daily lives.

To show you how big this media ‘ocean’ really is, consider the many ways we can be exposed to hearing, seeing or experiencing some form of multi-media from this partial list.

Television, radio, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS videos, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, billboards, handbills, signs, movies, MP3 music players or other portable downloadable media players, hundreds of channels of cablevision programming for television, iPod’s and high resolution cell-phones, accessing the Internet via the world-wide web on home computers with dial-up, broadband or wireless Internet service, the new technology of high-definition (HD) television, HD radio, and the ability to play any one of thousands of realistic video games on a laptop, home computer, video game system, cell phone or even through the pull down DVD players mounted in the roof of many new cars!

Media is flooding into our lives from every direction because this ocean of technology and communications is growing larger by the nanosecond.

MEDIA TRENDS

  • 20% of households in the US have at least one big screen TV
  • Video game sales are now a $10 billion per year industry
  • 33% of homes with Internet access in US also have high-speed access
  • Teenagers time in front of a computer has doubled over the last six years
  • Kids now spend up to 35 hours per week in front of electronic screens in addition to any academic studies and that number is rising every year!

As more and more media flows into every corner of our daily lives, it creates two distinctively different groups- watchers & doers. One group is actively connected to media, so they spend more time watching life, while the other group is growing more disconnected from media so they have the time to be more actively involved in doing life.

Kids, teens, adults and even senior adults can become overwhelmed by the flood of media images that can sweep even the strongest person into missing out on good things in life because of wasted time watching life instead of living it. Others do more than waste time- they get washed away from their basic values because of continual exposure to unmentionable web images that drown their conscious in the depths of darkness and depravity

“The Internet is a dangerous, dangerous thing
and parents have to know what’s going on.” ~ Dr. Phil McGraw

Here’s a common example to show how seemingly harmless media can steal away happiness in a family. Media experts believe that some guys park in front of the tube on a Friday night and then proceed to watch as much as 30 hours of televised sports and cable news over the rest of the weekend while totally ignoring their family. Are they ‘super fan’s’ or just distant dads? Even though they might say they’re just really serious about the sport, in reality I believe that guys who spend that much time in front of the TV are doing the same thing as anybody else watching endless hours of sitcoms, soaps, movies, surfing the web or playing video games. They are spending huge blocks of time in entertainment to escape something in life, no matter how much they may try to deny that media is a problem for them because they could ‘turn it off anytime they wanted.’

They are spending huge blocks of time in entertainment to try and escape something in their daily life because that is always the motivation behind habitual or compulsive behavior. You may have to dig to find it, but there is always some area of dysfunctional process going on when there is some form of addictive behavior present. Media can become an addiction for wounded or worried people no matter how much they try and deny that media really isn’t a problem for them because they could ‘turn it off anytime they wanted.’ The Nile is a river in Egypt that flows north, Denial is a part of escapism that flows away from the reality of something fearful inside the person who doesn’t want to deal with that part of life. Ignoring problems don’t make them go away- it simply makes them bigger, so any area of media usage that seems terribly out of balance for you, your kids or someone in your family should be brought up and discussed; instead of ignored as they silently are swept away by a flood of negative media exposure.

Benefits of Entertainment
Entertainment is beneficial when you need to take a break and turn your mind off to rest for a while. God designed our bodies to need rest 1/3 of every day and even more if you recall the example given in the book of Genesis where God rested on the seventh day to model healthy behavior for mankind to practice as well, That’s why we know we must have some down time for rest in order to allow our bodies time to repair and recharge. Media tends to steal this essential quiet time with distractions, interruptions and time wasters that prevent rest and recharge because there is always something on TV, radio or the Internet to focus on that has nothing to do with adding value to my health, life or relationships. .

Now, contrast the differences between Entertainment where you might just watch a sport with the actual Experience of playing a sport, involving increased activity or sweat. One group are pushing themselves to a new level of exertion or competition; while the other group quietly is watching a satellite or video taped episode of someone else on the field playing their hearts out. Here are some of the startling differences between the two primary methods of interacting with the growing flood of media choices.


Entertainment Experience
Passively watching Actively doing
Leisure, (no sweating) Energetic, (sweating likely)
No discipline required Discipline required
No health benefit Some health benefit
Isolation, (mostly alone) Social connection with others
No teamwork required Teamwork may be required
Tendency to self-focus Tendency to focus on others
(“I want to watch this”) (“Let’s vote on what to do”)
Connect to media images Connect to real people
Empty feeling afterwards Energized feeling afterwards

There is another major difference between how these two groups tackle life and that is about what you wear on the outside. Think about if for a second. You can join in just about any form of entertainment by wearing ugly or baggy clothes, perhaps even your pajamas! However, if you are headed out to connect with other people through some type of shared experience there is an obvious tendency to focus attention given on some type of acceptable dress code or uniform. For instance, most golf courses require a very specific dress code to play, as do many tennis courts. Scuba divers need a certain type of equipment, as do bowlers and mountain bikers, and of course everyone knows that all basketball players wear their favorite brand of shoes!

Playing a game of catch in the front yard is a much better connection point than watching a child play a video game of catch in the family room. Moving away from passive to active approaches in dealing with media is essential if you want to reclaim your home from being a waste land of disconnected people who are growing even more distant because of media’s continual waves of distractions.

Media thieves come out late at night
Entertainment that steals time from other priorities is always a mistake, no matter how innocent it may seem at the time. Let me share a personal example of this process in my own struggles to maintain balance in media habits. Television news at bedtime- I’ve lost sleep time from trying to stay up and watch the news and then had times that I lost even more because of disturbing images that I saw on the news… far better to pray this prayer I learned in childhood, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I, (or someone in my family or community), should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.” That prayer may seem a bit drastic or odd for a child to learn- but it came out of the reality that God is the only one who could control the big stuff, which means that I don’t have to worry about world events and can just focus on closing my eyes and resting instead of sitting up to stress over breaking news stories on CNN’s and fueling my own feelings of increased anxiety.

Re-creating positive energy
Real life experience is so much better than even the most engaging and realistic entertainment because if involves the basic foundation of “re-creating” positive energy. When you are having an ‘over-the-top’ experience, you are laying the foundation for a process that re-creates something powerful in yourself and in others. This deep spiritual and emotional dynamic is from the reality of living through an experience which generates a great deal of ongoing value in the present, while bringing back long term benefits for many years to come through positive memories.

Self-Improve or Self Destruct?
Positive life experiences create a great deal of power from the re-creation process, which can keep you young at heart and because it involves real activity, is often good for your heart as well. Entertainment tends to shut off your brain and body since it’s more about watching others connect with their life, (or pretend to connect with something in life), than finding and reaching out to generate a connection with others who want to grow stronger. (However, with the incredible popularity of on-line video gaming you can actually reach out to hundreds of people somewhere in the world 24/7 who will temporarily connect as you play the game together. I suspect that this might create some degree of improvement to your hand-eye coordination, but it’s not a real improvement to your head through equipping of new skills; or a real improvement to your heart through encouraging words or lasting relationships ).
You may point out that self-improvement isn’t a driving force behind many popular forms of media because many television shows are written and designed as a ‘mindless’ or silly distraction to avoid the stress of the day, and I would agree to a point. What concerns me isn’t the abundance of silly shows that make us giggle, (I like those too), rather it’s the apparent lack of structured shows that make us grow.

I believe that life is continually changing which forces you to either take positive action to self-improve or you end up self-destructing by default. If you choose to believe that your exposure to media is only a neutral issue that doesn’t have much of an impact on you or your kids, then you are in the highest risk category to be swept away by the tsunami sized waves of new media that are already building up speed and size as they zoom toward us in the weeks and months ahead.

Massive Waves of Change:
If you don’t believe that media is zooming forward with massive new technologies, then consider the rapid changes in our culture since 1985, when VHS home video cameras were just becoming popular and nobody you knew even had a fax machine. Media has flooded our lives over the last twenty years in such a way that personal cell phones have gone from being a rare luxury for executives to a common part of life for teenagers… or even more telling, think of how many outdated cell-phones, cassette tape recorders, old computer monitors, worn out inkjet printers or non-cable ready television sets are sitting right now somewhere in a dusty corner of your garage or utility room. Media has changed so much of how we live that many young children don’t really know what a typewriter is or how to quickly use a rotary dial telephone or change channels on a television set that doesn’t have a remote control. Buckle up- bigger changes are coming!

Notpaying attention to media images in your home is like allowing kids who can’t swim to play in the strong currents. To not know how to swim and then be let loose with a remote control and a few hundred channels or a few hundred thousand websites and a wireless mouse is like pushing a kid out into the deep end with no life jacket. It’s setting them up to fail from being mentally swept away from the core values that protect us from making mistakes in life. These core values can protect us from the dangers in the very dark side of media, because they serve to light out path and guide our steps. One other significant challenge that can flood into our lives, but is often forgotten is how entertainment can suck up so much time, energy and money, leading to the potential health problems that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

To avoid taking bold action with media exposure is irresponsible because it sets kids up to fail from being mentally swept away from their protective core values which keep us focused and on track toward the things that matter most, instead of carelessly getting caught up in a current of wasted hours and careless mistakes. Core values can protect us from the dangers in the very dark side of media, because they serve to light out path and guide our steps. One other significant challenge that can flood into our lives, but is often forgotten is how entertainment can suck up so much time, energy and money, leading to the potential health problems that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle. You’ve probably already heard about the dangers of

The remote control can be used for parents to reclaim control. Does this mean that you should never watch a game on TV or movies with your kids? Of course not! Media should add value to your life, not steal it. It means you have to get honest with the real reasons behind the viewing habits in your home. Understand what motivates you or the kids to do things, especially any activity that might stand in the way of a more balanced and healthy life. Talk about it, deal with problems or out of balance areas at once. Even seemingly innocent things, like watching old reruns of “Leave it to Beaver” or trying to sell stuff on E-Bay, could become a roadblock to experiencing real life if you let it get out of balance with other, more important priorities in life. Leonardo DaVinci was likely thinking through the same issue when he said,

“Just as iron rusts from disuse, so does inaction spoil the intellect.”

So how can you swim in the waves of media washing up and not get swept away? Start by asking yourself some hard but important questions, because it’s the only way to protect you, or the kids you love from being harmed by media.

“Does this activity help me or my family to have a deeper level of spiritual or relational connection together?”

“Will this media bring peaceful contentment to our home-life?”

“Would I let someone with the kind of language or lifestyle as reflected in this film actually hang out with my kids on a daily basis?

WWJW… What would Jesus watch?

Would you be embarrassed to be seen on a new reality TV show viewing whatever it is that steals your time and energy at home?

Are you ready to get real and reclaim the time-energy or money that has been wasted in media so you can gain a clear direction to a better future of connecting as a family- instead of feeling lost and lonely with the people you live around who may already be drowning in media addictions?


Here’s the basic formula that even a small child can understand, so work it into your regular schedule and common discussions about how your family can play in the shallow end of media, while not being swept away in the depths of despair. Here’s the balancing formula to protect the process of recreating energy from positive experiences, while still enjoying some of the breaks that come from the benefits of entertainment. Regularly compare the differences of:

Entertainment, (watching life) with
Life Experiences, (living life)


Finally, learn to be gut level honest about the real motivations and reasons behind why you do things you do as an adult before trying to convince a child or teenager that it’s okay for you to watch it, but not them. If you act or sound like a hypocrite, they will eat you alive as they point out your inconsistencies! Better is to be honest about the real reasons. If you want to relax by watching a sailing regatta; good, enjoy it! Make some popcorn. Light an aromatherapy candle. Stretch out on the couch. Take a mental break. All of these things help you because they can soothe your soul. That process is important and necessary for kids or adults to know how to do in maintaining a healthy balance, both now and for the rest of their lives.

However, if you end up agitated that your crew didn’t win, or just spend three hours surfing through channels looking for something else to watch to escape the pressures you don’t want to deal with in your life; then you missed the benefit and value those three hours could have given you. You would have been better off to have taken a nap, or taken the dog for a long walk, or called a friend just to chat and catch up about their life. Any thing would have been better than wasting hours being swept away in the current of mindless media. If you do that, you are wasting your time. And when you waste time, you’re wasting your life.

Choose wisely to avoid the fear of the waves
You do get to choose how to deal with this growing ocean of media choices. Take positive action and choose wisely in preparing to swim away from the dangerous riptides in media and you will never have to live in fear of drowning in negative media again. You will be able to move from fear of media flooding into your home, to enjoying the benefits that this mighty ocean of options brings to you and your family. Education, spiritual growth, creative hobbies, connection with friends and family in any part of the world, personal development, fun games, laughter, building empathy or compassion by experiencing what life would be like in someone else’s situation, and the list of benefits goes on and on since there are tremendously positive things that this new ocean can bring to your doorsteps. However, if you choose poorly and watch someone you love be caught up in the currents that sweep away values you will be filled with regret and grief over how much you wish you would have taken positive action before it was too late.

Let me challenge you to do everything possible to take action to protect yourself and those you care about by getting involved, becoming educated, talking, listening, asking questions and setting boundaries right now before it’s too late! Take every step you can to prevent these powerful media messages from stealing your time, family traditions or faith and values. I believe the best way to do this is to make real memories as often as possible in front of your own camera by taking snapshots of your family, laughing, playing and enjoying the power of positive experiences together. This way you aren’t watching some other family in a situation comedy on television trying to figure out their life at home; you will be living out what it means to be a family as you find greater fulfillment in living out reality in your own home than anything the entertainment world could ever imagine possible.

Need help with media ‘swimming lessons’?

I believe that God designed your home to be a place of peace and safety that gets better over time because you all are growing in love and connection to the people you care about in your family. However, if your home has been a chaotic place of disconnected arguments or power struggles about media choices, here are some websites to help you take bold action to educate yourself about the pressure points that may be facing your family with movies, music, television, websites, and countless other forms of media that can harm you or someone you love.

Study this information now as it applies to you and your own family situation so you can develop strategies to tackle the hidden currents and silent media messages that may have been stealing from your family for years. The good news is that you can make positive choices in your home and when you do, it will bring a positive difference to your family as everyone learns to swim away from the dangers of media riptides, while enjoying the beneficial things that entertainment can bring us and never worrying again about how to get safely back to the shore.

http://www.mediafamily.org/

http://www.thetvboss.org/

http://www.demossnewspond.com/

http://www.movieministry.com/index.php

http://www.thetruthproject.org/

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/

http://www.lyricsstyle.com/

http://www.barna.org/

http://www.cultureshocktv.com/

http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below.

About the Author: Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of StormStress.com and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association who partners with major corporations and national organizations to make a difference in our culture with the positive message of Jesus Christ.Access more counseling and coaching resources by calling his office in Orlando at 407.647.7005 or by visiting his counseling blog at http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/

WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING BORED, by Aaron Welch, LMHC

I remember, growing up, those horrible times when I was faced with the awful realization that I.............well............I had NOTHING TO DO. As a child, this was worse than almost anything, outside of going to the dentist. What made it worse was that I unfailingly had to keep this burden to myself. I mean, I couldn’t rely on my parents for relief. Whenever I would attempt to come to them for sympathy about such a depressing situation, they would always say something to the effect of, “well, if you’re bored, clean your room” or “I can find something for you to do”. The latter statement usually meant something abominably worse, like raking leaves or pulling weeds in the garden. What was productive about that? They obviously did not understand my predicament. KIDS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE BORED! Didn’t they know that? Didn’t that stipulation come in the handbook? Were they really that callous? To a child, there is nothing worse than being bored. Or is there?

In society today, kids rarely have time to be bored. They have homework, sports practice, extended day, video games, TV shows galore, dance lessons, and a plethora of other activities vying for their attention. Here in Central Florida, we must also remember that it takes time to drive to any of these activities and so they must carry their Game Boys with them, lest they be bored during the drive. (GASP!)

The problem in our society is not that kids are bored as much as it is that they are over stimulated. I mean, c’mon.........kids are exposed to ipods, the internet, chat rooms, thousands of channels on cable, video games, and various other gadgets. Kids today are exposed to more information by the time they are 18 than their parents have been exposed to their entire lives. Plus, kids are programmed that leisure time or “down” time is bad; it is evil; and they should stay away from it. Kids believe they should fill every second of every day with stimulating activities. The problem is that this leads to huge amounts of stress.

Stress is nothing more than an over stimulation of the adrenaline system. Our bodies are not meant to live in that state for long periods of time. Yet, many kids are constantly in a state of stress. This type of over stimulation and stress can lead to many problems for kids:

  • A shorter attention span: if it’s not visually stimulating, they don’t pay attention
  • Obesity: kids are less active and stress produces cortisol in the system which brings fat to the mid-section.
  • Depression: suicide rates in teens have tripled in the past 40 years
  • Early onset diabetes
  • Higher cholesterol in children
  • Violence is increasing among children and teen.
  • Lower immune systems: stress decreases the body’s ability to fight infection

The truth is that anxiety disorders seen in children are ever-increasing and seem to be manifesting themselves at earlier ages. Our kids are stressed out! So what can a parent do?

1. Limit the time you allow your children to spend playing video games, watching tv, or being on the computer. These are all good things but too much of it puts the body in a constant state of stress. Set healthy and fair limits on these activities. I know it won’t be popular but setting boundaries will be good for your child’s brain.

2. Force your children outdoors. Today’s kids need exercise more than ever before. Studies show that outdoor exercise can help kids to get rid of excess stress and can even help them in focusing on things like homework or reading.

3. Allow your kids time to be bored! This is not evil. Being bored forces children to use their imagination. It also gives their body a chance to slow down and re-energize. In fact, teach your kids how to relax.

4. Make sure they get enough sleep. Kids that stay up late and get up early have a harder time handling the stressors of life. Enforce a healthy bedtime.

5. Rethink your menu: If kids are eating too much sugars and simple carbs, it will negatively affect their immune system, hinder their sleeping, and deprive them of the energy they need to excel.

I know these tips will not be easy to incorporate in many homes. I’m aware of that. I have kids myself. I know it’s hard. But, in the long run, trying to change the atmosphere of your home from a zoo to a safe haven will dramatically help your kids in the long run. Be strong, take heart, and remember..........(say it with me).........it’s OKAY to be bored.

For more family resources visit:

http://www.family.org


www.lifeworksgroup.org



About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at the LifeWorks Group, Inc. in Winter Park, Florida. He has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together. To learn more about the LifeWorks Group, Inc. please visit, www.LifeWorksGroup.org.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

COMMENTARY: How to Beat the Bad-News Blahs by Huntington News Network

By Dan VierraSacramento Bee

A nationally recognized mental-health counselor from Winter Park, Fla., is certain people are being adversely affected by the barrage of bad news _ on TV, in newspapers and on the Internet. (SHNS photo courtesy photos.com)
Bummed? Could be the bad-news blahs, triggered by war, terrorist threats, hurricanes, gas prices, global warming and plenty of other equally deflating topics. Does a day pass when we don't get an earful about Hezbollah, Beirut or Baghdad? Or hear about a death caused by West Nile Virus, obesity or the serial killer of the month? A recent Harris Interactive poll of U.S. adults revealed a sense of deep pessimism. Only one in 100 believed there would be peace in the Middle East in the next year. A mere 10 percent predicted peace in the volatile region in the next 10 years. "Seems like in the past year with Katrina, Iraq, Lebanon and local kids in car crashes, it's gotten a lot more depressing," says Claire Gliddon of Fair Oaks, Calif. "We're all affected by the bad news," says Jennifer DeLugach of Folsom, Calif. "It's frustrating, it's sad.

The stories make you feel helpless and powerless." Dwight Bain, a nationally recognized mental-health counselor from Winter Park, Fla., is certain people are being adversely affected by the barrage of bad news * on TV, in newspapers and on the Internet. Bain describes the warning signs of bad-news overload as decreased sleep, feelings of stress, changes in appetite and mental numbness or "fog." "Literally their body is shouting, 'Turn it off, you're on overload,' " he says. Mary Ann Kalbach of Folsom, Calif., resents what she calls the "daily death toll." "In the morning I'll turn on TV news," says Kalbach, a bank vice president. "I told my husband, 'After the first three deaths, the TV goes off.' It usually lasts just a few seconds before I flick it off. I've taken this stand in my life." Jeff Davidson, author of "Breathing Space: Living & Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society" (Mastermedia Publishing Co., $14.95, 209 pages), points the finger of blame at the media. "They're going places they don't need to be going," he says from his office in Chapel Hill, N.C. "Take the JonBenet Ramsey thing. They were drooling in the dog days of August, opening up this 10-year-old story instead of what's going on in education, science, our communities. But the way of our society is, only the titillating gets covered."

Bain isn't buying into the idea that we're neck-deep in the worst news period in human history, but believes that technology is allowing us to hear, read and see the carnage more than ever before. He says people tend to forget that news has a psychological impact. DeLugach, a stay-at-home mom of three children age 5 and under, shields her kids from reports on wars and disasters. She "never" watches network-TV newscasts and always reads newspaper comics. "Baby Blues," "Dilbert," "The Pajama Diaries" and "Zits" lift her spirits. Bain served as a crisis counselor at Ground Zero five years ago and calls upon that experience to make an encouraging point. "The respite tents around the pile not only had food and water, but posters, letters and cards from people," he says. "To sit and read those cards and letters sent to firefighters and policemen stirs my heart even now. They said, 'You're not alone in this crisis.' " Sending cards, letters, money or goods to disaster-relief groups gives us a sense of empowerment. Bain says the media can play an important and positive role by emphasizing avenues of help, by reporting on how people can contribute money and goods and where to send cards and letters. Gliddon also has found that giving is the great equalizer. She crochets blankets for Project Linus, which donated them to hospitalized 9/11 and Katrina victims. Gliddon calls it "one security blanket at a time." So how to cope with the barrage of bad news? James Cooper, a licensed psychologist, offers this advice:

* Take inventory on how you receive information and make the necessary changes. Is the TV constantly on news channels? Are you watching channels that sensationalize but don't offer in-depth analysis? Change the channel, literally and metaphorically. * Before sleeping, what do you choose to reflect upon or allow into your mind? If you're constantly worrying about events and things that "might" happen, often a subtle sense of powerlessness and futility will develop. * Exercise, stretch out and allow at least part of each day to be devoted to things and activities you love. * Make peace with the unknown, which may involve facing fear and defeating it. It is better to live fully and creatively than to make life an exercise in security. * Allow yourself to be influenced by letting in the concerns and solutions of others. * There are many forces competing for your attention and emotions. Be in control and prioritize. Dan Vierria can be reached at dvierria@sacbee.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.
source: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/060914-shns-comment.html

Helping Kids Make Early Career Choices Written by: Dwight Bain, LMHC

The stress facing today's generation of young people looking for their first job is huge. Many older children, or young teens automatically expect they will experience 'reality TV' levels of instant success with five easy steps to land the job of their dreams; but it just ain't so! Thankfully there are some changes you can make now to help your son or daughter move forward and gain strength through the process of early career assessment and job development.

Everyone loves a great worker with a great attitude, but what can you do during the elementary or middle school years to better insure that your son or daughter's favorite pastime is building a positive future instead of ignoring it and settling for lots of promises with little to show for it? Career issues are a challenge for many adults, since the research tells us that the majority of Americans work a job they can't stand and often feel trapped into staying until retirement even if they worry they may not be able to physically keep up the pace. Obviously, if you as a parent aren't satisfied with your current working environment or career experience, then that would be the place to begin so that you are reaching out to your son or daughter from a position of strength and positive focus in guiding them toward exploring opportunities. (See the book, "Now Discover your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton for more on this strategic concept for career success)

The complexities of this day and age are many, ranging from the economy to affordable housing arrangements all while beginning a professional career in the early twenties. These job pressures bring many challenges back to the surface for both parents and older kids to figure out. It's been my experience that too often parents aren't spending time guiding their sons and daughters into building on their strengths as a springboard into a successful future career. I've been working on a new book called "FastTrack to Success- moving from college stress to career success". to guide young adults through each step of building a successful life with finances, career decisions, relationships and making responsible choices that build a better future. Some of the principles are outlined in this article to guide you in using teachable moments to encourage kids while still in school to consider taking the "FastTrack" to build career success as early as possible so they avoid many of the problems that come during late adolescence from boredom or the fear of growing up.

Sometimes there are unresolved issues which have been building tension for years between a child who feels motivated in one career direction, while mom or dad always had their heart set on that child becoming something else. For example, like the pressure to become the first medical doctor in the family; which is the wrong reason to pursue an advanced degree. If you go after a lot of education mostly to please a parent or other relative, it can often end up creating dissatisfaction and eventual failure. That's why it makes no sense to argue and fuss about career issues, instead treat this very important career discussion with your older sons or daughters like you would with an important business decision-just the facts, tied to some specific action points. How to map out a family meeting on this important issue is outlined below to guide you through the process of honestly addressing some key areas.

Solve problems early by setting an appointment to sit down with a legal pad and sort through the answers to the following questions together
When were you first interested in this career field and why did you pick this area to specialize in?
What is it about this career that you are most excited or passionate about?
When can you move into this career field and what certifications or degrees will you need to start?
Who do you know that has done well in this field and have you sought their advice to guide you?
Explain the details of how you will move from having career aspirations into developing career achievements?
Family stress is often solved with the use of a family meeting, especially when there are no limitations placed on the freedom to talk about anything.
Family stress is often solved with the use of a family meeting, especially when there are no limitations placed on the freedom to talk about anything respectfully. Remember, when parents and kids can sort through the pressures they feel verbally, it gives them extra time to sort through challenging issues to come to better conclusions.

Second, building the value of important family traditions by openly talking about issues through daily rituals can reduce conflicts by getting things out onto the table sooner. Remember - it's better to have a little more tension today than to allow things to gradually worsen and totally unravel later.

Third, silence isn't golden, it's creates huge pressures and allows huge problems to erupt. Everyone in the family need to be talking about the world of work in one way or another.

Fourth, are you on track with the details of your family plan, including timing, costs, benefits, values, educational requirements and such, so there is the potential for some emotions to rise as each person sorts through the issues. Keep in mind that the primary goal is to come to a decision to best guide this young person toward early career success, so if tension is building, it may be wise to take a short break, or schedule another meeting to allow some of the information to be addressed when emotions have calmed down. Wisely guiding a young adult through this process is a challenge, however, it may solve years of wasted time in the wrong career field just to stubbornly "prove a point."

When parents and kids can sort through the pressures they feel verbally it gives them the extra time to sort through the most challenging issues and come to better conclusions. Remember that building the value of this important family tradition of talking, listening and guiding our children into building daily rituals will reduce conflicts for everyone by getting issues on the table sooner. Better to have a little more tension today than to allow things to gradually worsen and unravel later. One path leads toward isolation, fear and long term frustration, while the other one leads toward early career success. Parents know which path they would pick for their kids- but until the child makes that choice on a personal level- their future career may end up blocked in fear for twenty years or longer. Taking action today is always the answer to experience a better life tomorrow.

For more helpful information on building strong kids and great relationships, contact the LifeWorks Group at www.lifeworksgroup.org or call (407) 647-7005
About the Author
Nationally Certified Counselor in practice since 1984 with a focus of bringing positive change to highly complex situations. Has spoken to over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic changes to overcome stress and achieve greater success, both professionally & personally. Corporate clients include: Toyota, State Farm, Harcourt, DuPont & Disney. Organizational clients include the US Army, Florida Hospital & the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Quoted by: The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel & New Man Magazine.
Motivating people to change with big thinking and bold action is the strategic focus of the LifeWorks Group
For Television News Feature: http://www.cultureshock90sec.com/
For Media Interviews: http://www.DwightBain.com/
For Speaking: http://www.NashSpeakers.com/
For Free Parenting Articles: http://www.LifeWorksGroup.org/

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Are You Living Life or Watching It? Written by: Dwight Bain, LMHC

Notice the difference between two groups of people in our culture. One group is actively watching life, while the other group is actively doing life. I discussed this gap recently about why some guys watch as much as 35 hours a week of ESPN sports on TV and totally ignore their family. During our conversation we determined that people who spent that much time watching sports were really doing the same thing as anybody else watching sitcoms, soaps or movies. It was entertainment, no more, no less. Even though the behavior might look like a serious study of the sport, in reality it was about watching TV. Entertainment is to relax and turn your mind off, which can be a useful activity. Yet some guys justify that they “need” to watch the sporting event so that their support will supernaturally go through the screen to somehow help their favorite team win! Not even realizing that the players don’t really hear the cheers when they score or groans when they miss the shot because they are so focused on staying in the game.
Now, contrast watching sports with playing sports, which involves tremendous activity and sweat. There is a major difference! One group is having the time of their lives by pushing themselves to a new level of exertion and competition. The other group is quietly watching a satellite or video taped episode of someone else on the field playing their hearts out. Here are some of the startling differences she and I discovered as began to contrast these two common, but misunderstood activities.

Amusement Recreation
Watching Doing
Leisure, (no sweating) Active, (sweating)
No discipline required Discipline required
No health benefit Some health benefit
Isolation, (mostly alone) Social connection with others
No teamwork required Teamwork required
Tendency to self-focus Tendency to focus on others
(“I want to watch this”) (“Let’s vote on what to do”)
Connect to media image Connect to real people
Empty feeling afterwards Energizing feeling afterwards

There is one other major difference between the two groups, and that is what you wear. Think about if for a second. You can participate in amusement by wearing ugly or baggy clothes, perhaps even your pajamas! Recreation involves some type of dress code, uniform, or equipment. For instance, most golf courses require you to meet a very specific dress code to play, as do many tennis courts. Scuba divers need a certain type of equipment, as do bowlers and mountain bikers, and of course everyone knows that basketball players wear their favorite brand of shoes! Recreation is doing something with others and creating an experience that results in creating more value for you and those that you share it with. Recreation keeps you young at heart and is usually good for your heart. Amusement tends to shut off your brain and body; which can lead to the multiple health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Does this mean that you should never watch the game on TV? Nope. It means that you have to get honest with the real reasons behind your behavior. Understand what motivates you to do things, especially any activity that might stand in the way of a more successful life. Even seemingly innocent things, like watching football or ice-skating could become a roadblock. Leonardo DaVinci was likely thinking through the same issue when he said, “Just as iron rusts from disuse, so does inaction spoil the intellect.” Ask yourself, “Does this activity help me have a more successful life?” Sometimes it’s hard to tell, so here’s the balancing formula to protect re-creation, while still taking advantage of the benefits from amusement.
Use of Media, (watching life) with Life Experiences, (living life) Ù

Learn to be honest with the real reasons behind why you do things. If you want to relax by watching a sailing regatta; good, enjoy it! Make some popcorn. Light an aromatherapy candle. Stretch out on the couch. Take a mental break. All of these things help you because they can soothe your soul. However, if you end up agitated that the wrong crew won, or just spend three hours surfing through channels looking for something else to watch to escape the pressures of your life; then you missed the benefit and value those three hours could have given you. You wasted your time. And when you waste time, you’re wasting your life.

-DwightDwight Bain Bio:Author, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of http://www.stormstress.com/ and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. Corporate clients include: Toyota, State Farm, DuPont, Bank of America & Disney. Organizational clients include the US Army, Florida Hospital & the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Quoted in: Investors Business Daily, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution & Orlando Sentinel. http://www.dwightbain.com/

Contact Info:Media interviews- schedule through Kristi Hendricks- office: 407.647.3900 cell: 321.356.0571 email:mailto:Kristi@DwightBain.com The LifeWorks Group, Inc. mailing:1850 Lee Road, Suite 250, Winter Park, FL 32789 main office: 407-647-7005 dedicated
FAX: 407.647.8874 Author email: Dwight@DwightBain.com

Friday, September 08, 2006

Am I wrong for feeling the way I do? Written by: Deedra Hunter, LMHC

Spoken or unspoken, this is one of the most frequently asked questions the LifeWorks team hears in our office. Why do we doubt, discount, and deny we have feelings? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the past. Children are often told in subtle and not so subtle ways that their feelings are unimportant. The old adage “children should be seen and not heard” certainly argues that point. Try as we might our feelings are real and must be taken seriously, to not do so invites a variety of unhealthy ways to express them. Addictions, panic attacks, suicidal gestures, abusive behaviors (toward self or others.), depression and some other diseases can be put into place by one seeking an emotional outlet for feelings.

So, to further answer the question “Am I wrong for feeling the way I do?” No, you are not wrong. You must get to the place where you feel comfortable acknowledging long ago hidden feelings and coming to accept them as rightfully yours. Only when you can own it, name it, and claim it, can you release the powerful negative energy that has been used to keep your feelings away from you, and then turn it into a positive face to enrich and renew your life. The LifeWorks Group is dedicated to making your life work. Nothing signals a successful life more than a healthy connection with God, ourselves, and each other.

Written by: Deedra Hunter is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has also published a book called; Winning Custody: A Woman’s Guide to Retaining Custody of Her Children.

Why Can’t I Forgive the People Who Hurt Me? Written by: Aaron Welch, LMHC

The ability and willingness to forgive the people who hurt us is one of the more difficult requirements for many Christians. I say “requirement” because God commands us to forgive other people. Jesus also emphasized that we must love our enemies and focused on the fact that anyone can love or forgive those people who are nice to us in return. It takes a truly mature Christian to offer forgiveness to the person that wounds us deeply and shows no remorse. Let me offer two common reasons that many of us struggle to forgive.

First, many people struggle to forgive others because they have never resolved the painful wounds of their past. In my ministry as a therapist, I meet people every day who have been deeply wounded and hurt by past insults, abuse, or betrayal. These hurts run deep and it is often easier to avoid dealing with them rather than face them and work through the emotions that accompany them. However, when we sweep our pain under the rug, it is always lurking there and waiting to come into the light. Because these angry and wounded emotions lie just under the surface, they can easily be triggered by present situations that become hurtful. When someone insults us, betrays us, or we perceive that they are attacking us, all of those buried emotions come to the surface and, often, this person becomes the brunt of years of pent-up frustration and anger. This release often feels great as, subconsciously, we have probably been waiting for someone to give us a reason to vent. Forgiving the person in the present situation seems ridiculous to us because they have hurt us and deserve to be punished. What we sometimes don’t realize is that it is not entirely about that person; our high level of anger and our lack of grace also have to do with the wounds of the past that have never healed. If you struggle with this, you need to seek a professional to help you bring closure to the hurts in your life that haunt you and the pain that you must be carrying around like a ball and chain. It is only when we allow God to enter the most wounded areas of our heart that healing can occur.

Another common reason that people struggle to forgive those who hurt them is that they minimize their own mistakes and magnify the mistakes of others. The basis for God’s command to forgive others is that we remember how much he has forgiven us. Jesus didn’t just die on the cross because the person who hurt us recently is such a horrible worm and a sinner; he died because WE are sinners. He had to suffer and become a sacrifice because WE break the law of God often, whether it is in our works or our attitudes or our fantasies. Many people downplay their own sins and justify it by saying that what they do or say is not nearly as bad as the way OTHER people are hurtful. The only way to forgive and to become a person that God can totally use is to be willing to look in the mirror. If you cannot take an honest look at your own deficiency before God then you will have a very difficult time in forgiving the mistakes or hurtfulness of others. Always be mindful of your own shortcomings and it will help you to show compassion for the mistakes of others. Humble yourself before God and he will help you to grow in this area.

Forgiveness is a struggle for many Christians. Holding on to the anger and bitterness of being hurt, however, it is simply allowing yourself to be under a yoke of slavery. I recently heard the following quote: “Holding onto bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick”. Refusing to offer forgiveness to someone is like allowing your own heart to experience the corrosion of bitterness and anger. The person that you are angry with probably will move on with their own lives, leaving you to carry the weight of suffering that goes with a lack of forgiveness. This bitterness of heart also gives Satan a foothold to get into your heart and life. Don’t give him a gateway to enter. Don’t give the devil room to work. Allow God to mend the wounds of your heart. Face those wounds with the courage that Christ offers. Seek the Lord and request that he shows you a mirror of your own mistakes. It is only through our humble willingness to let the Holy Spirit change us that forgiveness will be part of our lives. When that happens, you’ll be surprised at how free you are and how much more God can use you.

About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people to grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together