Friday, March 30, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: for the "ADD" in us all!

For the "attention deficit" in all of us...
Whether you truly have "ADD" (attention deficit disorder) or just have a case of "life in the fast lane," many of these tips may be helpful to you!

First, do any of these characteristics sound familiar?

  • A short attention span, especially for mundane day-to-day activities.
  • Enthusiastic beginnings with interest dwindling before completion; poor follow through.
  • Tendency toward impulsive behavior. Tend to make decisions before carefully thinking through the consequences.
  • Make repeated careless mistakes on the job.
  • Might change jobs frequently.
  • May have trouble managing money. Tend to overspend and disregard a budget.
  • Communication skills are limited. Have difficulty listening, tend to interrupt conversations, and speak without considering the possible reaction of others.
  • May have difficulty controlling temper.
  • Tend to have a low frustration tolerance.
  • Generally disorganized; frequently running late; rushed and unprepared.
  • Tendency to over commit themselves.
  • Problems with time management; have difficulty estimating how long a task might take.
  • Have difficulty prioritizing.
Because many adults in today's busy society suffer from disorganization, forgetfulness, and a lack of productivity, here are some suggested organizational tools that may be helpful:
  • Keep a daily "to do" list (carry it with you).
  • Keep a planning calendar.
  • Put notepads wherever you do your best thinking and jot down your ideas.
  • Try a cassette recorder for remembering ideas if that works better than notepads.
  • Put schedules, "to do" lists, and appointments where you can see them at home and in the office.
  • Learn and practice time management skills.
  • Break down large projects into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • Set up a reward system. When you attain a goal you have set, reward yourself. Don't overlook the small accomplishments—they add up to big ones.
It is important to find a supportive environment where individuals can learn to see their strengths and improve their social skills, stress management strategies, relaxation techniques, and perhaps anger control.

Other strategies that might be helpful:

  • Maintain or develop a sense of humor (a sense of humor goes a long way, laughter is an excellent "medicine"!).
  • Eliminate negative self-talk (believe it or not, our thoughts and self-talk "create" our reality).
  • Get regular exercise (even the simplest form, a short walk in the fresh air works wonders).
  • Find healthy ways to be involved in highly stimulating activities (this can reduce the urge to spontaneously create negative excitement if things get too boring).
  • Learn and practice effective communication skills.
  • Seek out individuals who will provide feedback on your efforts to implement these strategies. These individuals need to be supportive, encouraging, and have a sense of humor.

Any other thoughts? Feel free to share them here!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Song of the Week: "Hide"...

"Hide"... by Joy Williams,

"To anyone who hides behind a smile
To anyone who holds their pain inside
To anyone who thinks they’re not good enough
To anyone who feels unworthy of love
To anyone who ever closed the door
Closed their eyes and locked themselves away...

You don’t have to hide
You don’t have to hide anymore
You don’t have to face this on your own
You don’t have to hide anymore.

So come out, come out
Come out wherever you are
Anyone who’s trying to cover up their scars
To anyone who’s ever made a big mistake
We’ve all been there so don’t be ashamed
So come out, come out and join the rest of us
You’ve been alone for way too long!

And if you feel like no one understands
Come to the one with scars on His hands
Cause He knows where you are and where you’ve been
His scars will heal you if you let Him.

You don’t have to…
You don’t have to hide
Come out, come out wherever you are
You don’t have to hide
Come out, come out
Come out wherever you are
You don’t have to hide
You don’t have to…"

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some Proven Stress Reducers:

Mental Health Tip(s) of the Week: Please comment and suggest any other good ones you may utilize!
  • Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed.
  • Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.
  • Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.
  • Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear, etc.
  • Don't rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due, etc.
  • Don't forget to take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and mind, even if it's just for 15 or 20 minutes.
  • Make duplicates of all keys. Place a house key in a secret spot and carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring.
  • Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you want to do today, do it now.
  • Plan ahead. Don't let the gas tank get below one-quarter full; keep a well-stocked "emergency shelf" of home staples; don't wait until you're down to your last postage stamp to buy more; etc.
  • Get up and stretch periodically if your job requires that you sit for extended periods.
  • Say "No!" Saying "no" to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don't have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs quiet time to relax and be alone.
  • Unplug your phone. Want to take a long bath, meditate, sleep, or read without interruption? Drum up the courage to temporarily disconnect (the possibility of there being a terrible emergency in the next hour or so is almost zero). Or use an answering machine.
  • Turn "needs" into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water, and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don't get attached to preferences.
  • Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are fine to compromise upon.
  • Create order out of chaos. Organize your home and workspace so that you always know exactly where things are. Put things away where they belong and you won't have to go through the stress of losing things.
  • When feeling stressed, most people tend to breathe short, shallow breaths. When you breathe like this, stale air is not expelled, and muscle tension frequently results. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths.
  • Learn to live one day at a time.
  • Every day, do something you really enjoy.
  • Add a little love to everything you do.
  • Do something for somebody else.
  • Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Song of the Week:

"Better Than Drugs", by Skillet,

"Feel your every heartbeat
Feel you on these empty nights

Calm the ache, stop the shakes

You clear my mind
You're my escape
From this messed up place
'Cause you let me forget
You numb my pain

How can I tell you just all that you are
What you do to me.

You're better than drugs
your love is like wine
Feel you comin' on so fast
Feel you comin' to get me high
You're better than drugs
Addicted for life
Feel you comin' on so fast
Feel you comin' on to get me high.

Feel you when I'm restless
Feel you when I cannot cope
You're my addiction, my prescription, my antidote
You kill the poison
Ease the suffering
Calm the rage when I'm afraid to feel again.

How can I tell you just all that you are
What you do to me...

Feel your every heartbeat
Feel you on these empty nights
You're the strength of my life."

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Self-empowerment

  • When you look outside yourself for self-definition and self-worth, you are giving your power away and setting yourself up to be a victim. Society has trained you to be victim. You have been taught to give your power away.
  • As just one small example of how pervasively you were trained to be a victim, consider how often you have said, or heard someone say, "I have to go to work tomorrow." When a person says "I have to" they are making a victim statement. To say, "I have to get up, and I have to go to work," is a lie. No one forces an adult to get up and go to work. The truth is "I choose to get up and I choose to go to work today, because I choose to not have the consequences of not working."
  • To say "I choose" is not only the truth, it is empowering and acknowledges an act of self-love. When we "have to" do something we feel like a victim. And because we feel victimized, we will then be angry, and want to punish whomever we see as forcing us do something we do not want to do.
  • We always have a choice. The choice may sometimes seem to be awful - but in reality, allowing ourselves to buy into the illusion that we are trapped will have far worse consequences in the long run.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Song of the Week:

"Breathe Into Me"... by RED,

"...and this is how it feels when I ignore the words you spoke to me
and this is where I lose myself when I keep running away from you
and this is who I am when, when I don't know myself anymore
and this is what I choose when it's all left up to me

breathe your life into me
I can feel you
I'm falling, falling faster
breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling

breathe into me
breathe into me

and this is how it looks when I am standing on the edge
and this is how I break apart when I finally hit the ground
and this is how it hurts when I pretend I don't feel any pain
and this is how I disappear when I throw myself away

breathe your life into me

I can feel you
I'm falling, falling faster
breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling

breathe into me
breathe your life into me!
I'm falling, falling faster
breathe your life into me!
falling, falling, falling...
breathe into me
breathe into me

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

DEPRESSION - a lonely medical illness

DEPRESSION - a lonely medical illness: Depression - a lonely medical illness

Link will lead to information on Depression by Pat Risorn, the author of ebook "Understanding and Curing Depression"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: The Power of Saying "No"

The Power of Saying "No":

"No" is such a simple word... only two letters. Yet saying "No" out loud is harder for most people than saying, "I'll be glad to..." (eleven letters) or "When do you need me to..." (seventeen letters)

Most of us said, "No!" quite well when we were two. After all, it's the two-year-old's job to say "No." The authority figures in our lives at the time, our parents expect us to say "No." And it is because of "No" that the year is known as the "Terrible Two's."

Many of us grow up to be people pleasers. The word "No" drops out of our vocabulary, and we substitute lots of ways to be agreeable and keep the other person happy. Saying "No" to the authority figures is not expected. And underneath it all we believe that saying "No" can cost us a lot in our adult life.

The unassertive "No": is accompanied by weak excuses and rationalizations. If you lack confidence when you say "No" you may think that you need to support your "No" with lots of reasons to convince the other person that you mean it.

The aggressive "No": is done with contempt. "Are you kidding? Me, get your mail while you're out of town?" Sometimes the aggressive "No" includes an attack on the person making the request. "You must be crazy. I couldn't take on a project that unimportant."

The assertive "No": is simple and direct. "No, I won't be able to help with that." If you would like to offer an explanation, make it short and simple. "No, I won't be able to help with that. I've already made a commitment for Friday afternoon."

Strategies to make the assertive "No" easier:

1. When someone makes a request, it is always OK to ask for time to think it over. In thinking it over, remind yourself that the decision is entirely up to you.

2. Use your nonverbal assertiveness to underline the "No." Make sure that your voice is firm and direct. Look into the person's eyes as you say, "No." Shake your head "No," as you say, "No."

3. Remember that "No," is an honorable response. If you decide that "No," is the answer that you prefer to give, then it is authentic and honest for you to say, "No."

4. If you say, "Yes," when you want to say, "No," you will feel resentful throughout whatever you agreed to do. This costs you energy and discomfort and is not necessary if you just say, "No" when you need to.

5. If you are saying, "No," to someone whom you would help under different circumstances, use an empathic response to ease the rejection. For example, to your friend who needs you to keep her child while she goes to the doctor, you might say, "No, Susie, I can't keep Billie for you. I know it must be hard for you to find someone at that time of day, but I have already made lunch plans and I won't be able to help you."

6. Start your sentence with the word, "No." It's easier to keep the commitment to say "No" if it's the first word out of your mouth.

Let's look at some daily ways you can practice saying, "No," so that it comes more naturally to you.
Say "No":
  • to the clerk who wants to write your phone number down when you return something to the store
  • to the telemarketer who disturbs your dinner
  • to your friend's pets when they jump on you
  • to the secretary who answers the phone and asks if you mind if she puts you on hold

(by Linda D Tillman, PhD,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Song of the Week:

"Dare You To Move", by SWITCHFOOT,

"Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next
What happens next

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened before"

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Effective Conflict Resolution

Effective Conflict Resolution:
What Kind of "Fighter" Are You?
Do You...?

  • Avoid conflict at all costs?
  • Feel that any criticism or disagreement is an attack on you?
  • Hit "below the belt" and regret it later?
  • Feel "out of control" when conflict arises?
  • Withdraw and become silent when you're angry?
  • Store up complaints from the distant past?
At one time or another, most of us have done one or more of these things. That's because in most relationships, conflict inevitably arises, and for many of us it creates significant discomfort. But conflict, if handled appropriately, can actually strengthen relationships and improve our understanding of each other. When handled badly, conflict can result in broken friendships, ended relationships, and long-simmering feuds.

What Causes Conflict?

Conflict can arise whenever people - whether close friends, family members, co-workers, or romantic partners - disagree about their perceptions, desires, ideas, or values.

Anger and Conflict

Disagreements can lead to people feeling angry or hurt, and for many people, feeling hurt is a position of vulnerability. People generally feel less in control when they are hurt, and they may move into feeling angry as a way of feeling less vulnerable or more "powerful." Feeling angry isn't necessarily a problem if that anger is handled constructively; however, problems with anger are often worsened by common beliefs that are not necessarily true. Anger is a normal human emotion, just as normal (and healthy) as joy, happiness, and sadness.

Conflict Styles: "Mad Bomber," "Smolderer," or Somewhere in Between?

Because many people never learned to manage anger constructively, it's very common to handle it in inappropriate ways. The "Mad Bomber" gets angry easily and expresses it, but with little control. At the other end of the spectrum, the "Smolderer" stores up complaints but doesn't express them directly. Instead, "smolderers" may seethe inwardly and act out angry feelings in passive ways.

To the Rescue... Fair Fighting!!!

Fair fighting is a way to manage conflict and associated feelings effectively. To fight fairly, you need to follow some basic guidelines to help keep your disagreements from becoming entrenched or destructive. This may be difficult when you think another's point of view is silly, irrational, or just plain unfair. But remember, he or she may think the same thing about your ideas.

Fair Fighting: Ground rules...
  1. Remain calm. Try not to overreact to difficult situations. By remaining calm it will be more likely that others will consider your viewpoint.
  2. Express feelings in words, not actions. Telling someone directly and honestly how you feel can be a very powerful form of communication. If you start to feel so angry or upset that you feel you may lose control, take a "time out" and do something to help yourself feel steadier - take a walk, do some deep breathing, pet the cat, play with the dog, do the dishes - whatever works for you.
  3. Be specific about what is bothering you. Vague complaints are hard to work on.
  4. Deal with only one issue at a time. Don't introduce other topics until each is fully discussed. This avoids the "kitchen sink" effect where people throw in all their complaints while not allowing anything to be resolved.
  5. No "hitting below the belt." Attacking areas of personal sensitivity creates an atmosphere of distrust, anger, and vulnerability.
  6. Avoid accusations. Accusations will cause others to defend themselves. Instead, talk about how someone's actions made you feel.
  7. Don't generalize. Avoid words like "never" or "always." Such generalizations are usually inaccurate and will heighten tensions.
  8. Avoid "make believe." Exaggerating or inventing a complaint - or your feelings about it - will prevent the real issues from surfacing. Stick with the facts and your honest feelings.
  9. Don't stockpile. Storing up lots of grievances and hurt feelings over time is counterproductive. It's almost impossible to deal with numerous old problems for which interpretations may differ. Try to deal with problems as they arise.
  10. Avoid clamming up. When one person becomes silent and stops responding to the other, frustration and anger can result. Positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.
  11. Establish common ground rules. You may even want to ask your partner-in-conflict to read and discuss this brochure with you. When parties accept positive common ground rules for managing a conflict, resolution becomes much more likely.
Fair Fighting: Step by Step...

To make the Fair Fighting ground rules effective in resolving a specific conflict, use the following steps:

Step one: Before you begin, ask yourself, "What exactly is bothering me? What do I want the other person to do or not do? Are my feelings in proportion to the issue?"

Step two: Know what your goals are before you begin. What are the possible outcomes that could be acceptable to you?

Step three: Remember that the idea is not to "win" but to come to a mutually satisfying and peaceful solution to the problem.

Step four: Set a time for a discussion with your partner-in-conflict. It should be as soon as possible but agreeable to both persons. Springing something when another is unprepared may leave the other person feeling that he or she has to fend off an attack. If you encounter resistance to setting a time, try to help the other person see that the problem is important to you.

Step five: State the problem clearly. At first, try to stick to the facts; then, once you've stated the facts, state your feelings. Use "I" messages to describe feelings of anger, hurt, or disappointment. Avoid "you" messages such as "you make me angry...."

Step six: Invite your partner-in-conflict to share his or her point of view, and use active listening skills. Be careful not to interrupt, and genuinely try to hear his or her concerns and feelings. If it seems helpful, try to restate what you have heard in a way that lets your partner know you have fully understood, and ask your partner to do the same for you.

Step seven: Try to take the other's perspective - that is, try to see the problem through his or her eyes. The "opposing" viewpoint can make sense even if you don't agree.

Step eight: Propose specific solutions, and invite the other person to propose solutions, too.

Step nine: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal.

Step ten: Be ready for some compromise. Allowing the other person only one course of action will likely hinder resolution. When there is agreement on a proposal for change, celebrate! Set a trial period for the new behavior. At the end of the trial period, you can discuss the possibility of modifying or continuing the change. If no solution has been reached regarding the original problem, schedule a time to begin the discussion again.

Conflict is a normal, inevitable, and even healthy aspect of most relationships. When managed well, it can be used to enhance and strengthen relationships with friends, family members, co-workers, and romantic partners. Fair fighting provides the tools and techniques to help you achieve positive results when problems arise.

(Found at:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Song of the Week...

"I'm Not Alright" , by Sanctus Real,

"If weakness is a wound that no one wants to speak of,
Then cool is just how far we have to fall
I am not immune-I only wanna be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall
Can I lose my need to impress?
If you want the truth, I need to confess...

I'm not alright
I'm broken inside, broken inside
And all I go thru
It leads me to you, it leads me to you.

Burn away the pride, bring me to my weakness
'til everything I hide behind is gone
and when I’m open wide with nothing left to cling to
only you are there to lead me on
'cause honestly, I’m not that strong.

I’m not alright- I'm broken inside, broken inside
and all I go thru-it leads me to you, it leads me to you

(and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved) closer to you
(and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved) closer to you
(and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved) closer to you
(and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved, and now I’m moved)...

I’m not alright-I’m broken inside, broken inside
I’m broken inside, broken inside
and all I go thru leads me to you, leads me to you

I’m not alright-I’m not alright-I’m not alright
that’s why I need you."
(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Friday, March 9, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Calming Techniques

Calming Techniques:
(Note: it may take some practice before an individual becomes in tune enough with their own body sensations before they are able to fully take advantage of such techniques).

  • Two-step breathing: fill the bottom of your lungs first, then add the top as you breathe through your nose. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Work up to 3 second inhalations and exhalations. Focus on relaxing your belly and breathing through it (as opposed to breathing from your chest, a way to test if you are breathing from your chest is to clasp your hands above your head and breathe... this makes it easier to distinguish).
  • Tense-relaxed muscles: tighten the muscle that you want to relax. Focus on and feel the tension where you have tightened. Take a deep breath in and hold for 3 seconds. Exhale and allow the muscle to become loose and limp. Attempt to feel the relaxation flow into the muscle of focus.
  • Mindfulness: in times of stress or distress, pause and engage in "breathing & noticing." Inhale deeply and slowly 3 times. The first time, before you exhale, notice a particular sound around you. The second time, inhale deeply & slowly... this time noticing a different sound. The third time, repeat this process noticing a third and different sound.
Feel free to suggest any others that have worked for you!

What does "Selah" mean?

Welcome to the Selah Counseling Blog!

Selah Counseling, LLC, located in Linn Co. Oregon, established in 2005 to provide mental health services for individuals, families, couples, adolescents and groups.