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Anger Management Series – Part 3

Here are a few more tips for handling anger. As mentioned, process and handle your anger, don’t discount it and push it away.

Relaxation:

  • Try deep breathing exercises.
  • Repeat a phrase to relax your self like ‘take it easy’ or ‘you’re ok’ to calm yourself down.
  • Use imagery and go to your ‘happy or quiet place’
  • Exercise!

Cognitive Restructuring

  • Change the way you think.
  • Be more rational – “It’s the end of the world” can change to “It’s frustrating but understandable. It’s not the end of the world and overreacting never really fixes anything.”
  • Avoid phrases that start or end with never, always, or demand.
  • Logic can defeat your anger.

Problem Solving

  • Not all anger is displaced.
  • Don’t focus on the solution, focus on the process.

Improved Communication

  • Don’t act on your conclusions – they might be wrong. Clarify what’s going on by asking and using a conversation.
  • Listen to what’s going on.
  • Try not to fight back

Use Humor

  • Humor can diffuse rage quickly.

Change the Environment

  • Give yourself a break!
  • Don’t avoid confrontation but don’t put yourself in frustrating situations either.

Use Appropriate Timing for Conversations

  • Typically places like in front of the TV or when people are busy aren’t ideal conversation places.
  • If you have a confrontation situation then try planning a better place to talk where you can both focus on yourself.

Learn Assertiveness Training

  • Take a class on being more assertive rather than confrontational.
  • See a counselor for assertiveness training.

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Anger Management Series – Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article, it is important to explore your anger and exactly what is happening at that moment. One model of anger presents anger in an ABCDE format.

A – Activating Situation or Event

What is happening? What happened before you got angry and what is happening now?

B – Belief System

What is the self-talk going on in your head at the moment? What are your expectations?

C – Consequence

How do you feel about the event based on your self-talk? What are the feelings you are currently experiencing? What happens to your body when you’re experiencing these feelings? Notice the surface feelings and vulnerable feelings underneath.

D – Dispute

Examine your beliefs and expectations – are some unrealistic and maybe a bit irrational? Do you have to get angry? Is there another way to look at what is happening?

E – Evidence

Notice your evidence to support thoughts and be truthful about it. Be honest with yourself.

In reality when you’re angry is it likely that you’ll really sit and analyze the situation or just react on impulse? Probably act on impulse. Other situations you might be able to sit down and analyze what is happening, but in a confrontational situation it’s a lot harder.

One important thing about anger and learning about anger management is when to take a break and really evaluate your situation. By taking a break and stepping away it will allow you to not only analyze what is happening by using this format but it might save you and someone else from saying something you might regret.

By using this format you can eventually make a decision based on principles or logic rather than acting on those intense emotions.

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Anger Management Series – Part 1

Many of us struggle with anger and the first thing everyone wants to do when they’re angry is to get rid of it. In all actuality anger is a completely acceptable feeling and not something that we need to run away from or even be ashamed about. Anger has a place and a purpose. When you’re feeling anger – don’t discount it! When you’re feeling angry then listen to it and explore it. Anger is meant to tell us that something is wrong and there is something that we need to take care of. (c) Can Stock Photo” src=”http://www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/angrycouple2-150×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ />

When you’re angry talk it through your mind and ask yourself what is really happening in that exact moment. Explore the root of your anger. What’s happening? What are your immediate thoughts? Are there some boundaries you should be aware of and possibly set? Also pay attention to the vulnerable and untouched emotions underneath. Anger hides our feelings of hurt, fear, worry, or sadness. When you are feeling angry – work though it and don’t shut it down. Explore it. Below are some extra do’s and don’ts of anger.

What not to do:

  1. Have you ever noticed when you get angry but don’t handle it makes you sick? Don’t hold anger in because internalizing can lead to sickness and even depression. Be able to diffuse your anger, not hold it in.
  2. Don’t blame when you’re angry. Blaming leads to defensive behavior, which can get out of hand.

What to do:

  1. Control your tone of voice. This is where many misconceptions of reality happen and things get out of control when they aren’t meant to.
  2. Learn to make compromises between yourself and angry parties. This may diffuse anger pretty quickly.
  3. Develop a sense of humor. Don’t make mountains out of molehills and pick your battles. Some things just aren’t worth fighting for.
  4. Reduce the amount of stress in your life. If you’re stressed out, a lot of your molehills may turn into mountains.

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TV and the Negative Effects on Child Self-Esteem

A new study from Indiana University suggests television can decrease a child’s self-esteem. The study found this to be true especially with white girls or African-American girls and boys. The opposite was found to be true for white boys. A large amount of children spend their time in front of the TV instead of turning to different activities. The study stated the reason behind the decrease in self-esteem is children end up comparing themselves to the images and people they see on TV.

TV these days typically depicts white males in positions of power with important jobs and a glamorous lifestyle. Females are depicted in a completely different way where they have more simple lifestyles and tend to have more sexualized images. Messages to females often have the theme “you are what you are because of how you look.” Black males are often seen as the criminals. (c) Can Stock Photo” src=”http://www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/girlwatchingtvoptimized.jpg” alt=”” width=”269″ height=”179″ />

These images decrease self-esteem because children get the idea they really have nothing to aspire to. To children, TV is reality. A counter argument was made that these images and messages were available on other forms of media as well but the study found the majority of kid’s media usage today is still the TV.

Here are a few tips to counteract the negative effects of TV.

  1. Limit the amount of time spent watching TV – especially when the kids are out of school.
  2. Watch TV together, as family time. When these types of images come up, it can stimulate conversation about what is real life vs. TV life.
  3. Avoid the TV altogether! It’s summer! Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time together doing other activities besides watching TV
  4. Involve kids in wholesome activities promoting positive messages like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or the YMCA and just spend more time together as a family.

Use these links for more information:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/05/31/tv-can-decrease-a-childs-self-esteem/39496.html

http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10344-counteract-negative-effects-of-television-with-these-tips

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Empathy In Action – How To Be A Reflective Listener

What is empathy? Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s feelings and take their perspective. Empathy in action is the ability to be with someone, listen to what they say, feel it with them, and be able to reflect it back. This is an important skill that can be applied to any and all relationships such as romantic relationships, friendships, or even work relationships. Here are some steps to become a reflective listener:

 Step 1 – Be Present

By this I mean be involved in the conversation and not distracted by something else. At times important conversations at home might take place in front of the television which may not be the best place to really grasp what each other is saying. By being free from distractions it helps you to listen and it helps the other person to feel like you are actively listening to them.

 Step 2 – Listen

Let the sender send their message.

Step 3 – Reflect Back

Reflecting back is essentially restating what they have just said using different words. The word reflect sounds like a mirror which is exactly what you’re supposed to do. Mirror the words back and paraphrase what they said. An example of a reflection is below.

Sender: Work really gets me frustrated sometimes. It’s like they don’t even care about my potential. All I do is listen to everyone else’s orders. I could do well if they just gave me the opportunity!

Receiver: You feel like the little guy at work. You want to be more independent and have more opportunities.

 Step 4 – Listen Again

Let the message sender keep going. They probably have more to say than what they have just said.

 Step 5 – Continue to Reflect

Reflect back again. It lets the person know that you heard what they just said. The way you speak and reflect also lets them know you empathize with them. If you have questions this would be the time for you to ask questions and clarify anything that you need to understand better. Feeling words are also great to add into your reflections. It lets the sender know you are really feeling this with them and fully understand what they have to say. A second example of a reflection with a feeling word is below.

Sender: Exactly! I mean I like my job it’s just I’d like the chance for growth. It gets old doing the same thing day in and day out.

Receiver: It sounds like you’re really frustrated by this.

A lot of times people just need us to listen instead of impart our opinions and thoughts on them. By just using those simple reflection tools you can have much more meaningful conversations with people. It helps us be able to understand better if we can take others perspectives and become less judgmental in our discussions.

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Deep Breathing… How Can This Possibly Make Me Feel Better?

Wasatch Family TherapyA lot of therapists do deep breathing exercises with their clients and what’s going through your mind might be… does that really do anything? How can just breathing help make me feel better? I breathe all the time and it’s never helped me before! Well, here are a few benefits of  deep breathing:

1) Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen you take in which then releases tension in your body
2) Deep breathing massages your organs increasing and improving circulation
3) Deep breathing can actually strengthen and tone your stomach… who doesn’t want that?
4) Deep breathing can actually help you burn up excess fat… also something we all want
5) Deep breathing increases oxygen levels right? Increasing the amount of oxygen gives you more energy!
6) Deep breathing increases the pleasure chemicals in your brain making you feel happier and can even combat physical pain
7) If you put your mind into concentrating on ‘inhaling’ and ‘exhaling’ it clears your mind of whatever you were previously thinking about giving you a break from the stresses in your life, depressed thoughts, etc. How? Your mind can only think of one thing at one time so you’re concentrating on breathing and not anything else.

Just 15-20 minutes a day can help you feel better and give you all of those benefits. We all have 15 minutes right?

Learn more about deep breathing exercises…

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Children’s Mental Health Awareness: Myths

Children’s Mental Health Awareness: Myths

Myths About Child Mental Health

Due to the stigma attached to mental health many children do not receive the care that they need. People – adults and children – are afraid  to get help and feel shame about their mental disorder. Here are a few myths about child mental health disorders.

 1. A child with a mental disorder is damaged for life.

Early intervention can be very effective in preventing problems from becoming worse. Managing symptoms and getting treatment will likely stop the effects and increase likelihood for success in the future.

2. Psychiatric disorders result from personal weakness.

It is definitely hard to separate out problems from a personality. Often things like ADHD and aggressiveness can be deemed as just part of one’s personality but some disorders are genetic and have biological origins.

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Balloons to Heaven: An Exercise to Help Children With Grief & Loss

Dealing with grief and loss of a loved one is difficult for everyone let alone children. It’s hard for children to understand that their loved ones are gone and are not coming back because they have always been there in the past. Here is one tip for helping children to deal with the feelings of grief and loss.

I’m sure all of us feel like our loved ones are taken too soon from us and there are still things we would like to say to them. One idea to help a child handle the grief of a loved one is to send a balloon to heaven. Explain to your children they can write anything they need to say to their loved one as a final message on this or a few balloons.

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