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5 Dangers of Drinking to Cope With the Pandemic

There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on almost everyone. Now that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the illness itself, byproducts of the pandemic are starting to show up. Below we take a quick look at 5 dangers of drinking to cope with the pandemic.

There is a significant concern in the healthcare community about a different kind of pandemic — a mental health pandemic.

Stress, loneliness, isolation, and loss have all been common themes over the last year. So many people have tried to find ways to cope. Unfortunately, some coping mechanisms can lead to even more significant problems. That includes drinking.

While using alcohol to get through something difficult might feel fine in the moment, the implications are severe.

So, what are the real dangers of drinking to cope with the pandemic?

1. It Can Lead to Addiction

Perhaps the most considerable risk of using alcohol to cope is becoming addicted. The longer you drink, the more your tolerance for alcohol is likely to increase. As a result, you’ll end up wanting more to get the same numbing effect.

It doesn’t take long for that desire for more to turn into a full-fledged addiction. When that happens, it can be a long and challenging road to recovery.

2. It Can Damage Relationships

Using alcohol to cope can create tension in your relationships. You might find yourself distancing from the people you love. Maybe you’re embarrassed by your new “habit.” Or, perhaps you get angry when someone tries to talk to you about it.

It’s not uncommon for the abuse of alcohol to lead to broken relationships. If you see yourself starting to push loved ones away, consider it a huge red flag.

3. You Won’t Look for Healthier Alternatives

If you start using alcohol as a coping mechanism and think it works, you’re less likely to stop. Even if you begin to realize that you’re becoming dependent, it’s hard to turn to healthier coping mechanisms if alcohol seems to be “working.”

It’s better to start with stronger coping mechanisms. Whether that’s a support group, therapy, or even something like exercising instead, they will steer you down a much healthier and more stable path.

4. There Could Be Physical Implications

The short-term physical effects of alcohol might not seem so extreme. But, if you’re continuously using it to cope, you’re putting yourself at risk of some long-term consequences that could be pretty serious.

Alcohol abuse can lead to an increased risk of liver disease, heart disease, and specific types of cancer. It can impair your cognitive function and can even weaken your immune system. As a result, you’ll be much more susceptible to illnesses.

5. Long-Term Mental Health Effects

Not only can drinking to cope with the pandemic cause physical issues, but it can lead to long-term mental health problems, as well. Drinking can increase your risk of developing depression or anxiety.

That often creates a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Drinking causes you to experience symptoms of depression. So, you drink more to cope. That’s how easy it is to become addicted.

If you know you’re drinking to cope with the pandemic, you’re not alone. But, you also don’t have to depend on alcohol to get through it. Consider alcohol addiction counseling if you’ve started to notice your habit turning into something more. There are many other ways to cope, and you can break free from the confines that drinking wants to keep you in.

Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about alcohol addiction counseling. By taking the initiative now, you can break the cycle of addiction before becomes a more severe issue.

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How to Cope After the Death of a Co-Worker

Depending on where you work, you can develop a close, healthy relationship with your co-workers. These are the people you spend several hours a day with, after all. So, it’s natural for friendships to form. Unfortunately, that’s also why the death of a co-worker can feel as difficult to handle as that of a close friend or family member. It’s hard enough when it happens, and tragically it’s happened at bit more for many of us over the past year. That’s why we wrote an article on how to cope after the death of a co-worker.

With the COVID-19 pandemic running rampant over the last year, you may know someone from work who has passed away from it. Even without the pandemic, anything from old age, illnesses, or accidents can cause someone’s life to be cut short.

What can you do to cope after the death of a co-worker? How can you go back to work knowing things will be different and knowing that you’ve lost a friend?

Workplace grief is real, so let’s dive a bit deeper into how to cope after the death of a co-worker.

Talk About That Person

If you work for a large company, people in management or different departments might not feel as strongly as you do about that employee’s death. They may not even bring it up or recognize it.

But it’s okay to talk about it at work. Bring it up to your co-workers. Connect with those who are also hurting at work because of the loss. It can be much easier to grieve together after the death of a co-worker. You can share stories about that person, laugh, cry, and choose to remember them through the pain you’re feeling.

Grieve as a Business

More close-knit businesses may be hit harder by the death of an employee. Suggest some charity or volunteer event in the deceased’s name that the company can participate in together.

Anything from hosting a 5k for charity to planting a memorial tree on the business’ property is a great way to grieve as a company collectively and to celebrate that person’s life.

Give Yourself Time

No matter what your relationship was with your co-worker, it’s critical to permit yourself to grieve. Things won’t be the same at work, and accepting that is a good place to start the grieving process.

Everyone will cope and handle the loss differently. If you had a closer relationship with your co-worker than others, take the time you need to work through the loss. Ask your employer for a few days off or a more flexible schedule as you try to get used to the change. Ensure you get the support you need, both at work and in your personal life, to handle your grief effectively.

Be Respectful of Others

Again, everyone may have had a different relationship with your co-worker. Be respectful of that, especially if you’re unsure what that relationship was. While it’s okay to ask people how they’re doing, be careful not to overstep boundaries.

Additionally, you can set boundaries for yourself. If you don’t want to talk about things right away after the death of a co-worker or if you feel like someone at work is trying to dig too deep for information, it’s okay to tell them you’re uncomfortable answering.

If you’re genuinely struggling to cope after the death of a co-worker, you might benefit from death in the workplace counseling. It’s easy to feel like you’re “alone” in your grief if you were only of the only ones close to your co-worker — but you’re not.

Learning how to work through that grief and get back to your job is crucial, and counseling can help you to do just that. Feel free to contact me for more information or visit my Death in the Workplace Counseling page. We will work through your grief together.

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Addiction Relapse: Understanding the Role of Expectations

Understanding the role of expectations in a key aspect of preventing addiction relapse. If you’re recovering from alcohol or substance abuse, the last thing you want to think about is relapsing. Unfortunately, that’s when it happens the most. It’s far too easy to believe that recovery is permanent.

While it can seem that way at times, it’s very easy to relapse, and several factors can play into it.

Some of the most common causes of relapse include boredom, fear, and resentment.

One of the most significant factors in relapsing is the role of expectations. Expectations can help to guide your recovery. Having unrealistic expectations will only make a full recovery seem impossible.

So, how can you better understand how expectations and addiction relapse are connected? What can you do to manage those expectations better?

Understanding Unrealistic Expectations

Part of the recovery process is setting goals for yourself. Goals come with expectations — that’s just natural. However, your expectations must be realistic. That’s why you need to develop several small goals for yourself, rather than one large one.

Realistic expectations allow you to reach those goals effectively. As a result, you’ll feel more motivated to keep working toward recovery.

Unfortunately, unrealistic expectations happen far too often. You might have an idea in your mind of how recovery should look. Or what you want your life to look like after the recovery process. Some common unrealistic expectations include:

  • Thinking the recovery process will be easy
  • Assuming you can handle it on your own
  • Expecting immediate results

When those expectations aren’t met (because they aren’t realistic), you might become frustrated. You might start to think your recovery program doesn’t work. Or, you might even take all of the blame yourself and slip back into addiction.

How to Set Realistic Expectations

How can you make sure your expectations for recovery are realistic? First, understand that recovery is a process. Nothing is going to get “fixed” overnight. While you might feel impatient at times, trusting the process is essential.

Next, make sure you educate yourself as much as possible. That includes learning about addiction, how it impacts your mind and body, and how the recovery process works. The more you know about addiction, the more realistic your expectations can be.

You should also focus on your health overall. Don’t make the mistake of solely “getting over” your addiction. Instead, think about how you can improve your health. Addiction recovery is only a part of that. But, when you’re focused on your entire person, you’ll want to break free of those chains of addiction the right way — not by rushing.

Keeping Your Expectations in Check

Maintaining your expectations throughout the recovery process is crucial to avoid addiction relapse. You can do that by acknowledging the progress you’ve made. It’s okay to tell yourself that you’re doing a good job! By recognizing how far you’ve come, it will make it harder to fall back.

You can also manage your expectations by reaching out for support. Remember, one of the most unreasonable expectations you can have is thinking you can do this alone.

Whether you need someone to talk to or you feel like you might be slipping, reach out to your support system as often as possible. That might be a family member or friend. Or it could be a recovery group or therapist.

Alcohol addiction counseling or substance abuse counseling can make a big difference in your overall recovery. Talking to a counselor can help you manage your expectations realistically. In doing so, you can reduce your risk of addiction relapse and keep moving forward.

Please contact me today if you need support in your addiction recovery or visit my Alcohol Addiction Counseling page to learn more.

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How Codependency Is Fueling Your Depression

Do you know how codependency is fueling your depression? Did you know that depression is often a symptom of codependency? If not, you’re not alone. Most people who are codependent don’t realize they may have chronic depression.

That’s because the symptoms are usually mild. But, they can become worse over time as your codependency continues to fuel that depression.

People with severe depression might have problems doing something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. If you have depression due to codependency, you’re more likely to see signs of it in the form of fatigue, sadness, or low self-esteem.

How exactly does codependency fuel depression, and what can you do about it?

How Do You Know You’re Codependent?

You may not realize how much codependency fuels your depression if you aren’t aware of it in the first place. However, there are some common signs that a person is codependent, including:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Persistent people-pleasing
  • Emotionally reactive
  • Obsessing over what another person is doing
  • Willing to overlook destructive behaviors and habits in another person
  • Always needing to be in a relationship

If any of those signs sound like you, you could be dealing with codependency. Once the symptoms are identified, it can often become clearer why it’s easy for depression to grow and thrive in codependent people.

Codependent relationships are often intense and fueled by emotions. That can make it difficult to separate reality from what you’re feeling. For example, if you have a partner that treats you poorly or cheats on you, you might make up excuses for them or think things “aren’t that bad” because you’re afraid of losing them.

Unfortunately, those falsehoods you tell yourself serve as food for your depression and cause it to worsen. If that relationship ends, the depression can become even worse and cause you to become anxious. You might feel the need to get into another relationship immediately, which only continues the cycle.

Codependency and Depression; So What Can You Do?

If you recognize yourself as codependent and you already struggle with depression, there are a few things you can do to stop the cycle and focus on your mental health.

Most importantly, don’t wait to seek out professional help if you feel like your depression is out of control. In some cases, depression can lead to thoughts of self-harm. If you can see that you’re heading down that path or things feel genuinely hopeless, talking with a therapist can help you manage your symptoms of depression and work on freedom from codependency.

Additionally, start taking care of yourself. Codependency can cause a lack of self-esteem. By practicing self-care each day, you can boost your esteem and feel better about who you are on your own. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Lean on friends and family for support, and talk to them regularly about how you’re feeling.

Codependency and Depression; What to Avoid

Codependency and depression don’t just magically go away. They may both be something you have to work on managing for a very long time actively. With that in mind, there are a few things to avoid to keep your codependency from triggering your depression.

Most importantly, don’t isolate yourself from family and friends who love you. One of the biggest mistakes people with codependency make is believing they are weak. Focus on your strengths instead.

Additionally, work on yourself and manage your depression and codependency before getting into another relationship. Make sure you’re ready to be yourself, and you feel good about who you are before letting someone else in.

Codependency and depression are two “friends” you don’t want to have to deal with forever. By recognizing how being codependent can make your depression worse and doing what you can to manage it, you can break free from that emotional turmoil and be happy with who you are.

Please reach out to me today for support or visit my Addiction Intervention page to learn more about my services.

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Fight-or-Flight: How to Spot Familiar Trauma Responses

Fight-or-Flight: How to Spot Familiar Trauma Responses.

Most people have heard of the “fight-or-flight” response when it comes to traumatic or frightening situations. Either you stand up and confront your fear, or you run away from it.

While these are two of the most common trauma responses, they aren’t the only ones. (*even beyond “freeze” and “faun” too)

Additionally, trauma responses can happen years after the actual trauma occurs. Someone who experienced a traumatic situation may still have the same reactions when triggered in a specific way.

How can you spot some familiar trauma responses? What should you do about it if you regularly experience them?

Recognizing the Signs

Other common responses to trauma include everything from avoidance to vigilance. Because these are such varied responses, it’s only natural to expect different behaviors and reactions to each one.

Understanding some of the most common signs can make it easier to recognize trauma in yourself or others.. That said, some of the most common responses include:

  • Shock or disbelief
  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Withdrawl
  • Guilt

One could argue that all of these behaviors fall within the fight-or-flight category, though some are more extreme than others.

For example, if your response to trauma is guilt, you might “run away” or avoid reality to escape that guilt. If your response is anger, you may be more inclined to fight. Unfortunately, that may lead to reckless behaviors and unhealthy ways of coping.

It’s not always easy to spot these familiar signs in yourself. That’s especially true if you’ve been dealing with them for a long time, caused by something like childhood trauma. Understanding the various ways you might feel impacted can help you realize that you might need help working through those experiences.

Trauma Responses Aren’t Always What They Seem

It’s crucial to note that trauma responses are often misdiagnosed. That’s because they might “show up” as another type of mental health condition. Most commonly, they cause anxiety.

Someone who has experienced trauma in their life might struggle with symptoms of anxiety. That includes everything from fear and helplessness to physical signs like rapid breathing.

As a result, it’s critical to get to the underlying root of every mental health condition, especially anxiety and depression. Working through your responses will help with feelings of anxiety. It can also help you manage your symptoms even when you experience a triggering situation.

Why Are Trauma Responses So Important?

Why is it essential to spot familiar trauma responses? Because people respond to trauma in different ways. The more you understand about those various types of responses the easier it can be to recognize them sooner.

Issues like anxiety don’t often go away on their own. And, if you keep ignoring your trauma responses, likely, they won’t go away on their own either. Maybe you’ve been ignoring them without even realizing it. Whatever the case, if you’re dealing with any of these common responses, you’re not alone. Help is available.

If you experience any of the responses listed here or you feel like something is “off,” you could be dealing with the effects of trauma. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through those feelings forever.

Feel free to contact me to learn more about familiar trauma responses or to set up an appointment. Together, we can uncover your responses and what you can do to work through your trauma. That starts with identifying it and figuring out effective ways to manage your symptoms while bringing you into the present and looking toward the future.

Your trauma doesn’t define who you are, and acknowledging your experience(s) can help you realize that. Please reach out today or visit my page about law enforcement and stress to learn more about how I can help.

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5 Warning Signs of Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. That said, the signs of depression can vary for everyone. Some people might experience more severe symptoms. Others might be “high-functioning” with their depression. Knowing the signs of depression can help you determine when it might be time to get some help.

Despite some of the differences, there are a few warning signs of depression to be aware of. You may not be experiencing full-fledged symptoms yet, or you might be noticing that you feel a bit “off.”

Understanding some of these warning signs early on will make it easier to seek out help sooner. As a result, you can take control of your depression and manage your symptoms more effectively.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common warning signs of depression.

1. Your Outlook Has Changed

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. If you’ve noticed that you have started to see things in a negative light, or your mood is more “down” than usual, it could be an early sign of depression.

Keep in mind that everyone feels sad and down from time to time. But, if it’s persistent and those feelings don’t seem to go away, it may be something more.

2. Physical Signs

While depression is a mental health condition, there are physical signs to watch for, too.

Some of the most common symptoms of depression are changes in sleep patterns or eating habits. If you’ve started to notice some of those changes, consider why they might be happening. Are they connected to how you feel?

3. A Loss of Interest

Do you find yourself not wanting to do things you usually enjoy? It’s normal to want some alone time or to relax. However, if you’re always backing out of something you typically love, it could be a warning sign of depression. That’s especially true if those things usually bring you happiness.

4. Pulling Away From Loved Ones

In addition to losing interest in interests, another potential warning sign is withdrawing from the people in your life.

Have you said “no” to spending time with family and friends lately? When was the last time you talked to someone you love? Withdrawal is a common sign of depression, often linked with feelings of hopelessness or even fatigue.

5. Changes in Your Emotions

It’s not uncommon for emotions to fluctuate throughout the day. But, depression can take those emotions to the extreme. If you feel sad one minute and angry the next, to the point where it causes an irritable outburst, it’s likely more than just your “typical” emotions coming through.

People with depression also sometimes experience feelings of anxiety. Fear can be overwhelming, and you might feel as though it’s taking over every aspect of your life if you don’t find a way to fight against it.

If you feel like you are losing control over your emotions, or they’re controlling you, it’s essential to understand why as soon as possible.

What’s the Next Step?

Again, the warning signs of depression can be different for everyone. But, the signs listed here are relatively common. If you’re struggling with this condition, you’re likely to display at least one of them.

Thankfully, depression isn’t only one of the most common mental health conditions; it’s also one of the most manageable. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, even if you’re not sure why, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment or visit my page about Heart Disease and Depression.

Together, we can work out the underlying cause(s) of why you might be feeling this way. Once we understand that root cause better, we can work on a management plan to help you control those depressive thoughts and symptoms.

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A Gratitude Exercise For the Holiday

Shepherds, Angels and Wisemen; a gratitude exercise for the holiday


The holidays, regardless of which one or how you celebrate, are typically bursting with nostalgic looks back at memories from days past. While this can be beautiful and warming to the spirit. It can also be a way to enamor ourselves with things more distant and leave us forgetting appreciate the good things we have had most recently. In a year like this one, an actual exercise or practice of gratitude may be more needed than ever.

Because the nativity holds a special place for me in reflection this time of year, I like to use subjects from it. You can rename the three subject titles however best fits your family’s traditions,  beliefs or practices.

And yes, this can be adapted for use with kids as well. It can be a great way to share a practice of acknowledging what we have and hold dear in life. And adults can be an example by participating and sharing about ourselves as well. Might make a nice new family tradition?

So, here we go.

First, get some paper or use your journal. Yes, keep it ‘old school’ and hand write this. (it matters in several ways – including brain/memory). Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit with your thoughts and put them to paper without much distraction.

Shepherds;

These are people from your same walk of life, your neighborhood, old friends, coworkers – people who come from familiar territory; even if they have different roles, tasks. They are diligent, reliable and fierce defenders of your goodness. And, they support you and honor the ‘real’ you in some manner.

Write down the names of 3 people who have been shepherds to you in the past year and a few examples for each of them of how you have benefited from their presence in your life; how you have felt their support, love and camaraderie.

Angels;

These are people whose presence in your life has come to a conclusion this past year or a significant change. It could be a relationship that ended, it could be the result of a change of residence or career, or even someone who has passed away. The presence of them has added to your life, your learning, your appreciation or in some other way. Big or small, they have impacted your life and you will remember them.

Write down the names of 3 people who have been angels to you in the past year and few examples for each of how you have benefited from their presence in your life and why that matters to you. (Try to focus on ones from the past year. It’s sometimes easier to jump to larger losses of the past – try to refrain from this and focus on exits from this past year).

Wisemen (and Wisewomen);

These are the people who are very different from you. They may hold different careers, have different lives, perhaps have different faith traditions and cultures. Their lives are very different from yours and yet they have served as a guide to you; knowingly or unknowingly. They have gifted you a very different perspective. They do not challenge or dismiss you, but their presence has brought something new and unexpected into your way of living life. They may inspire, invite or share – but in all their action, they honor who you truly are.

Write down the names of 3 people who have been wisemen/wisewomen to you in the past year and a few examples of what their presence in your life has brought you; what you have learned, how you have changed or grown.

Finally, to bring this exercise into full resonance, share your answers for this year with someone else – talk about it. Elaborate on your responses and talk about the gratitude you hold for all of these people and your experiences. Put into words, aloud, how you are a better person for it. How your life has been added to by having them in it.

To really stretch – you can also opt to contact those people whom you can from your answers and let them know that you appreciate them being in your life and some of the ways who they have been to you in the past year has been impactful.

At bare minimum, when you complete the written exercise (not typed – handwritten), put it down for a while and come back to it a few hours later. When you do, read it out loud – not just the answers, but “One of my shepherd this year was _____ because she/he __________, _________ and __________. I am grateful for them and my life has grown in ways such as ______________________ and __________________.” (or something similar).

Don’t forget you can change the titles ‘shepherd’, ‘angel’ and ‘wisemen’ to whatever subject titles best fit your spiritual beliefs and practices.

Handwriting, reading and hearing are all different paths into memory. Discussion with someone else adds layers to this as well. Gratitude must be practice for the brain to learn to seek it out. The more we visit gratitude in our thoughts, the more readily and frequently we are to recognize the other things to be grateful for. Things that have always and will always come through life – if we only see and acknowledge them.

Peace, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your loved ones this holiday and in the year to come.

Pace’ Tutti –
Ben

 

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Embracing Change: How to Adapt Traditions in a Pandemic Holiday Season

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to change so many things about the way we live this year. Now, with the holidays fast approaching, it’s very likely that some of your favorite traditions will have to change and shift, too. So, the task becomes how to adapt traditions in the pandemic holiday season before us.

There are many new orders and guidelines in place with cases surging in different states across the country. Most of them reflect the idea that large get-togethers shouldn’t happen and that you should continue to distance yourself from others, not in your household.

Needless to say, you’re probably going to have to adapt traditions this year. That can be hard to deal with, especially if you’re already feeling sad, lonely, or even anxious. It can feel like you’re losing something special.

But, when you know how to adapt traditions effectively, you can still make the most of them and enjoy your holidays during these uncertain times. Let’s look at a few creative ways you can make changes.

Stay Connected

The holidays will always be about connecting with the people you love. This year, you may not be able to do that in person.

However, technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected. Schedule a video chat with your friends or family during the holidays. Make an “event” out of it and start a Zoom call with multiple people. Maybe you all can eat dinner together over the call or have a “cookie swap” where everyone shares their favorite recipe.

Even calling the people you love can make a big difference in how you feel. It can strengthen your bond in a time of loneliness, and that’s helpful to everyone. It may not be your usual tradition, but it’s the next best thing.

 

Keep Your Favorite Traditions

Just because your family may not be around this year doesn’t mean you need to give up every tradition. Think about the ones that put you in the holiday spirit. What are some of your favorite traditions?

How can you adapt those traditions this year to still make them a part of your holidays?

You could try making one of your favorite family holiday recipes, or opening a gift the night before Christmas, etc. One way to adapt traditions is simply to make them smaller, with the people in your household. They don’t need to go away completely.

Start New Traditions

You might think that starting new traditions isn’t exactly “adapting,” but it allows you to be flexible in light of the situation.

By taking your favorite things about the season and turning them into new traditions, you’ll still have reasons to celebrate. Whether you’re by yourself over the holidays or with your immediate family, having traditions (new or old) will help you feel more grounded. That’s crucial during a time when things seem so uncertain.

Struggling With the Loss of Tradition

It’s only natural to feel a bit down this holiday season. Knowing how to adapt traditions is an excellent place to start, but you might still feel like you’ve lost something. You may even be grieving over that loss — and that’s okay.

Feel free to contact me about counseling for loss if you’re genuinely struggling or consider some other options. One of the best things you can do is to accept that loss, rather than trying to deny it or pretend you’re feeling better than you are. Adapting traditions can help, of course. But, it may not wholly take away your “holiday blues.”

Keep in mind that this era isn’t forever. By adapting traditions now to keep everyone safe, your holiday season next year can be filled with the things you’re used to and the people you love.

Please reach out to me today or visit my page on Counseling for Loss to learn more about how I can help.

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3 Ways Gratitude Is More Than Merely Feeling Thankful

3 Ways Gratitude Is More Than Merely Feeling Thankful

It’s that time of year where we all start thinking about the things we’re thankful for. Those feelings can (and should) go well beyond the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Even though this year has been so challenging, most of us have plenty to be thankful for, and plenty of ways to show gratitude.

For example, I’ve spent time this year counseling organ transplant patients. These are people who have to undergo major surgeries due to health conditions and other untimely situations. Although they may be fearful or concerned, many of them learn to be grateful for things like modern medicine, skilled doctors, etc.

So, why is gratitude more essential than just “feeling” thankful? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Gratitude Is a Way of Life

Gratitude is an action. You might argue that feeling thankful is, too, but there are some differences. When you are thankful, it doesn’t usually extend beyond a feeling — you’re thankful that something happened.

Gratitude is a response to that thankfulness. It is something you can show. Therefore, it can be seen as a result of thankfulness that can turn into a positive, active way of life. When you show gratitude, especially toward another person, it can often create a ripple effect. That person might feel thankful for your gratitude and continue to pay it forward.

2. Gratitude Comes From Within

When you go to the store, or someone gives you something or does a favor for you, what’s your automatic response? Unfortunately, the phrase “thank you” has become a bit of a surface response for many people. That doesn’t mean you aren’t thankful for those things, but it can often feel impersonal.

Gratitude, on the other hand, feels very personal. It’s what you feel when you’ve had time to reflect on the things you’re thankful for. It also doesn’t require another person to be triggered. For example, you might have gratitude for your job, where you’ve been steadily employed for ten years.

3. Gratitude Lasts Longer

Thankfulness, although necessary, can be fleeting. You might be thankful for someone’s actions as they happen, but you lose that feeling moments later. Because gratitude truly comes from the heart, it can last for years.

Gratitude will affect you profoundly, often more than feeling thankful ever will. You might feel grateful for someone or something, and that feeling will last for years. A sense of gratitude doesn’t go away, and it isn’t fleeting. For example, if you’re grateful for something (or someone), you may not see it (or them) for years, but that feeling will be just as strong the next time you do.

Using the example from above, when talking about transplant patients. Those patients will be forever grateful for the doctors and medical staff that worked on them. They aren’t just thankful for the completed work but grateful for their knowledge, skill, and dedication.

Gratitude often sparks a chain reaction. That doesn’t necessarily make it more important than feeling thankful. However, it does require us to go deeper into our own feelings because gratitude is a matter of the heart, while thankfulness tends to stay on the surface.

So, this holiday season and beyond, consider the things in life that you’re grateful for. What are you going to do about it? What does that gratitude inspire you to do and change? Maybe even try a gratitude meditation before jumping into your annual traditions?

If you want to know more about how gratitude and thankfulness impact the way you feel, please contact me. Together, we can talk more about the importance of gratitude and how it can actually change the way you think, feel and act while shifting your perspective on things.

If you’re interested in talking about your current work/life situation and what you are wanting to move towards or change, reach out anytime.

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How Loved Ones Can Celebrate “Long-Term Care Awareness” Month

Long-term Care Awareness Month takes place every November. It’s a way to bring attention to the 70% of men and women over the age of 65 that will need some type of long-term care.

Now, more than ever, recognizing this month is vital. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, long-term care has looked different this year. People have been kept from their loved ones. Isolation has increased, and worries about the mental health effects of the virus are on the rise.

So, what can you do to celebrate Long-Term Care Awareness Month, and how can you pay more attention to the people you know who might be receiving this kind of care?

Sharing the Awareness

One of the easiest ways to celebrate the month is to share information about it as often as possible. By using the hashtag #LongtermCareAwarenessMonth on social media, you’ll grab the attention of your followers. You can then provide essential and educational information that can bring some of the factors of long-term care to light.

Those factors might include how many people need long-term care and the reasons why. They should also include how long-term care can be incredibly costly and that insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of everything people need.

That is one of the biggest reasons why this month started in the first place. Because there is such a need for long-term care in this country, many people believe there should be financial assistance for those who can’t afford such care.

Making a Plan for Yourself

Another way you can celebrate Long-Term Care Awareness Month is by making yourself more aware.

That might sound strange at first, but have you ever thought about what might happen if you need some care in the future?

Will you be able to afford it? Will you have to leave your home or stay with a family member?

No matter how old you are, it’s never a bad time to make a plan for yourself and your future. Doing so now will help you to feel more financially and emotionally-prepared, no matter what happens. Talk to your family about your plan and make sure they’re on board with what you plan to do if the need arises.

Preparing yourself is a great way to lessen the burden for yourself and those around you in the future. Everyone will know what you want and expect, and there will be no confusion when it comes to meeting your needs.

Talking to Your Loved Ones

With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to discuss long-term care options with anyone in your family who might be needing it in the future. It’s not easy to talk about, but it can be necessary to avoid issues down the road.

Talking about long-term care with your loved ones is crucial if someone has an underlying condition or has been diagnosed with an illness. In these cases, something like counseling for cancer patients and their loved ones can be beneficial. Getting to the root of your feelings and emotions is an excellent place to start before you jump into the discussion about long-term care.

So, don’t be afraid to bring awareness to the people in long-term care, the heroes that work in that industry, and the expense that it can bring to families all over the country. The more attention this topic gets, the more positive changes can happen in the future.

If you want to learn more about long-term care or how to cope with a loved one who might need it, feel free to contact me for more information or visit my page about Counseling for Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones.