On Friday, my husband and I had the opportunity to speak at the Columbus Center about our son who has both Down Syndrome and Autism. I was so amazed and impressed with how involved the community is at helping those with disabilities obtain jobs and provide affordable housing. I tried holding back the tears as I gave the presentation but my heart was so full of gratitude. www.columbusservices.org partners with several businesses. It's a great place for companies and entrepreneurs to connect with each other while giving back to the community! -Heather Severn Callister, LMFT
Sometimes it's hard to know who to trust with those we interact with. I love Brene Brown's research on "The Anatomy of Trust". She breaks it down with the acronym B.R.A.V.I.N.G. It's worth the 24 minute watch. Enjoy!
I love this ad by Dove and wanted to share it. This shows how it would come across if we talked to others the same way we do in our own heads....
Events. Parties. Social engagements. Many of us have to attend them for work, friends, church, clubs, and loved ones. Sometimes they are not always pleasant but here are four ways to reduce anxiety to make it more enjoyable.
1. Power Pose! Amy Cuddy is a Harvard Professor who has done research on how power posing can help one feel more confident. After doing a trial study, she found that doing a power pose for at least two minutes increases your testosterone level and decreases your cortisol level, which is the stress hormone. Mock job interviews were conducted with candidates who did power poses for two minutes prior to their interviews and those who did no power posing at all. The candidates who were consistently selected after the interviews were the ones who had done power poses before they entered the room. Those candidates acted more confident and were willing to take more risks with the extra testosterone. Power posing before you go to an event or even slipping into a bathroom stall to power pose there, can help alleviate anxiety. Visit this link to see the video on the research. https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=84838260&x-yt-ts=1422327029&v=phcDQ0H_LnY
2. Set goals for the event. Let’s say you are attending a party and you are not obligated to stay for the entire time. Tell yourself, I’ll go for 30 minutes to 1 hour. While you are there, set a goal to introduce yourself to at least 1-2 people you don’t know. It can be as simple as saying, “Hello. I haven’t met you yet. My name is Heather. What is your name?” Ask the people you introduce yourself to about their jobs, families, or interests. Make the goal realistic but also slightly uncomfortable for you to get out of your comfort zone. The more you take smaller risks, the more you can overcome anxiety. If you have to stay longer than an hour, take a bathroom break to regroup. Then go back into the room and set another small goal for the next 30 minutes to 1 hour. Smile! The more you smile, the more approachable you will be to others. Fake it until you make it!
3. Do a mindfulness exercise. Mindfulness exercises allow you to get focused on being 100% in the present moment. If you worry, you are thinking about the future. If you feel a lot of guilt, your mind is in the past. Focus your mind on being in the present moment to help neutralize those thoughts and feelings. A mindfulness exercise you can do before you attend the event is to start describing what you see around you while you are driving in your car. Once you arrive at the social event, start describing in your mind the appearance of the room, such as the furniture and the colors that are used to decorate the room. Take some deep breaths.
4. Show up on time. I know that might sound weird to arrive at a party when it starts. But guess what? If not everyone has arrived yet, the less people there are can make it easier for you to introduce yourself to someone new. If you offer to help the host or hostess with anything, often they can put you to work. Remember to thank the host at the end of the party.
Thanks for reading and please pass it on. I would also love to hear what has worked for you?
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
"What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do-Showing Support In The Early Stages of Grief" By Chris Adams Hill, LCSW
I've been thinking a lot about grief lately and in fact I've been grieving too. Nearly two weeks ago,
we unexpectedly lost a member of my extended family. We were all in shock! The sadness that has
followed has reminded me just how painful and dark grief can be and the difference support can make
in the early stages of this process.
Most of us have grieved. Some have grieved the loss of a relationship, the passing of a loved one,
the passing of a pet. Any change to our lives can be mourned and the grief that follows is different
depending on the loss. I, like many of you, am well versed in the grief process. I've lost all my
grandparents, my father, a sister, my son, multiple pregnancies and pets. Each of these losses was
different, but all of them were profound, painful and changed my life forever.
When we lost James, my cousin's son, just last week, I couldn't help but relate very closely to my
cousin. I too, had lost a son. She was in shock and overwhelmed. I remembered feeling like she looked
- pale, exhausted, numb and heartbroken. Multiple family members asked me, “What do we do?”,
“How can we help her?”. Here is what I told them about the early stages of grief and how to help:
1. Little things feel like big things!
Just taking a shower is exhausting. Putting a few dishes in the dishwasher feels like an
accomplishment. So, if you want to help ask if you can show up with coffee and bagels in the
morning or bring dinner. Ask if you can do a load of laundry for them, run the vacuum or get
groceries. Show up emotionally and offer to help; giving a couple of suggestions of what you're
able to offer can be helpful because then they don't have to try and think of something at a time
when thinking feels nearly impossible.
2. Say something even when you don't know what to say.
When someone is grieving, we are often so worried about saying the wrong thing, or making it worse
that we freeze and say nothing at all, but silence doesn't express your feelings of love or support. I have
found that sometimes the best thing to say is “I don't know what to say, but I love you and I'm just so
sorry.” This is always appropriate and says a great deal about your care and concern.
3. Avoid platitudes!
This too shall pass, what doesn't break us makes us stronger, God never gives us more than we can
handle, time heals all wounds, and other phrases like these are not usually comforting. Even if you
personally found one of these phrases helpful it doesn't mean that someone else will, so please avoid
them. We say these phrases when we're looking to offer comfort or make sense of a painful situation,
but saying these kinds of things usually does the opposite of what you are hoping. They show that
you don't understand what the person is going through. Say something else, give a hug and say “I love
4. Offer comfort.
This can look like so many different things. I remember finding comfort in my pets, the steady caring
of good friends who showed up with dinner weekly for months, occasional cards or phone calls and
the friend who showed up with junk food and a silly movie to distract and support me. You know your
loved one, you know what they find comfort in, and if you're not sure, ask.
5. You don't know how they feel.
Sometimes in an attempt to relate to others and help them feel less alone, we will say, “I know how
you feel”. But, how could we? We don't know what it's like to be them and though we may have had a
similar experience, we never know how someone else feels, so just don't say it!
6. Listen, listen, listen.
Let them talk, or just sit with them in solidarity; sometimes silence can also be full of emotion that
needs to be expressed. You don't need to say much, just be there. When their grief feels overwhelming
to them, have the courage to just be present with them – if they want you there. The wave of grief will
end and having support through those moments can be priceless.
7. Keep showing up!
This is one of the most important things you can do! A few weeks after the funeral, most of the cards
and flowers stop, the meals stop and the silence can become isolating and painful. So, keep the support
coming. I had a friend who was in weekly contact with me for months! She would call and we would
talk for a few minutes about nothing particularly profound, but I knew she hadn't forgotten me and I
knew she would be there if I needed her. It meant the world to me. You can do the same thing for your
loved one who is grieving – in your own way.
Lastly, please make sure that as you support your loved one that you also have support. Losses are
part of life. We can't avoid them and we will all experience them, but the amount of support we have
through these losses can transform the experience. We don't have to leave others to grieve alone
because we're uncertain of what to do. Speak up, show up and love them through the process.
Chris Adams Hill, LCSW
More information about Chris Adams Hill can be found at www.southvalleytherapy.com
When loved one is in a low place, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. The best thing you can do is be supportive. Here are seven ways you can support a loved one with depression.
1. Depression is a medical condition-encourage them to get help. If someone has diabetes, there is no shame in getting medical help. So it is with depression. Depression is a result of an imbalance in the system. For example, if their thyroid level is off or if there is a hormonal imbalance, it can cause the exact same symptoms as depression. Professionals can provide additional information on their condition.
2. Encourage them to get out of the house. This can be as simple as checking the mail in the mailbox or taking the loved one for a drive. Be complimentary for the small things they are able to do.
3. How is their sense of humor? Laughter is great medicine. If those who are depressed are open to some good humor, use it! Studies have proven when we laugh it produces endorphins in our bodies, which help us feel good. Be sensitive if they are not open to humor and move on to something else.
4. Encourage them to move their body. Our bodies are made to move. Brisk walking can help increase the serotonin levels in the system, which can help elevate the mood. When people are depressed, they may not have motivation to exercise. However, you can invite them to go on a walk with you. This might encourage them to open up and talk.
5. Get connected with support groups. National Alliance on Mental Health www.nami.org is an organization that helps to raise awareness on mental health issues and learn what to do about it. Resources are available for various support groups. There are support groups for loved ones of the depressed individual and for those who are depressed. It is important that you, as the supporter, do not get overwhelmed helping the depressed individual. Getting connected with others helps to alleviate stress.
6. Read Self-Help Books. There are many types of depression such as Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar, Dysthymia, Post-partum, Unresolved Grief, Adjustment Disorder, and Life Transition/Change. It’s helpful to know what type of depression the person has. This will help determine what approach to take in the healing process. Some suggestions for books are listed under the books and products section at http://www.skylightcounseling.com/books--products.html
7. Set Your Intention. Depression is treatable. The answers are there. It is a matter of finding what path will work best for the individual. Set your intention on how to help and the inspiration will come.
Thanks for reading!
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
P.S. Have you tried something that’s worked? I would love to hear your comments! Your comments might be the very answer other people are looking for!
Our thoughts can influence how we feel. I thought this was an excellent clip that demonstrates this process and had to repost this! Enjoy!
Thought some men would appreciate this... ;)
3 Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Great With or Without a Sweetheart! By Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
No sweetheart? No problem! You don’t need a sweetheart to express love on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite holidays in elementary school. Our teachers said if we wanted to give Valentine’s to our friends in class, we needed to make sure we gave one to EVERYONE. From a child's point of view, I thought it was the coolest thing to get notes and candy from my classmates. From that experience I viewed Valentine’s Day from a different perspective. I thought of the different types of Greek love whether it’s philia-love for your fellow being, agape-love in the spiritual sense, or eros-romantic love. Let’s not forget self-love! So if there’s no eros in your life, why not focus on the other types of love? Here are 3 ways to do that!
1. Do an act of kindness. This can be as simple as pushing an abandoned grocery cart in the parking lot back to the cart return. Trust me, the store clerk will appreciate that. While driving, let someone over in your lane when they turn on their blinker rather than speed up. Say hello to someone and give them a genuine compliment. Look for an opportunity to serve someone and do it! It will light up your life.
2. Express gratitude to someone. In a world where we hear so much negativity in the news,
it’s nice to hear some positivity! Think of a relative, friend, co-worker, or neighbor and tell them what you appreciate about them verbally or in a note with a goodie. When people feel appreciated they tend to be in a better mood and want to pay it forward. This can start a positive ripple effect.
3. Show love to yourself. One day a dear friend of mine, Sarah Kent, noticed I was feeling a little down. She and I love to say positive affirmations to boost our moods. She told me I needed to put my fingers on my heart and say out loud, “I’m AWESOME!” So, I did. I said it about 5 times and burst into laughter. Sarah responded and said, “Well at least it made you laugh!” Mission accomplished! Showing self-love can also include doing something nice for yourself such as getting a massage, a pedicure, or watch your favorite action movie. Remember, “To thine own self be true…”-Shakespeare
If you have other ways to make Valentine’s Day great, please share it in the comments!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
The Winter Olympic Games start this week in Sochi! It’s a great time to not only watch it but also create your own Olympic fun at home or at parties. So to kick things off, my friends and I came up with a list of ideas you can do with your family or friends.
Bring international foods to a party! People love trying a variety of foods from all over the globe and it adds zest to a party! Since the Olympics will be held in Russia, why not include Russian dishes. For a list of Russian recipes visit http://allrecipes.com/recipes/world-cuisine/european/eastern-european/russian/
Olympic Food Decorating. Decorate sugar cookies with a patriotic theme for Team USA. Another idea is to decorate Ding Dongs as Olympic Medals for everyone.
Sockies for Sochi. Wear festive socks to work, school or a party. Festive socks always make for an easy conversation piece.
CREATE YOUR OWN WINTER OLYMPIC EVENTS
Down below is a list of Winter Olympic Event ideas we modified to have fun with.
· Bobsled. You can convert this event by using a simple sled or tube. Have 2-3 people on each sled or tube to ride down the hill.
· Luge. 1 person is on a sled while sledding down the hill.
· Curling. This can be done on the living room floor, the kitchen floor, or on a kitchen table. In the living room, set up zone markers with allotted points. For pictures of the point zone, click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curling Then, take a tennis ball and roll it onto the point zone without overshooting. The one who scores the most points wins! If it is done on the kitchen floor, set up zone markers for the point zone. Then roll the tennis ball while another teammate sweeps with a broom in front of the ball to help it land in the point zone. If nothing else, you get your floor swept over several times! If it is done on a kitchen table, set up zone markers on the table. Then take a peanut m&m and roll it onto the point zone with the most points without over shooting it.
· Olympic Bingo. Jeremy Holm, American bobsled pilot and coach, has created fun Olympic bingo cards. To download the bingo cards, visit http://jeremycholm.com/blog/item/110-2014-sochi-russia-winter-games-bingo
· The Judger Competition. When people are watching the events, everyone has a card. After the athletes finish their event, each person writes down on the card what they think the Judges will give as the final score. Everyone holds up their cards. Whoever guesses the final score most accurately
earns points wins a prize!
· Speed Skating/Walk Like A Speed Skater. For this event, you walk like a speed skater. You’re rated on form and speed. Try walking like a speed skater from one end to the other while racing someone else.
· Hockey. You can do either broom hockey on a big floor or do table air hockey.
· Biathlon. Run around the house or a park then shoot a ball at a target. This can also be done with snowballs.
· Gold Medal Celebration. Put on a gold medal and then demonstrate your celebration dance as if you won!
Most importantly, have fun with it! It’s a wonderful time for the world to come together and celebrate. If you have any creative ideas, please share them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and feel free to share!
Heather Severn, LMFT & Coach
Here's the TV Clip of some of the demonstrations on KUTV Fresh Living...
Heather Severn Callister is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist