Friday, April 12, 2019

A Visit to the Park Improves Emotional Well-Being

Emotional Well BeingSpring is in the air in most areas of the country, and we can’t help but be drawn outdoors to enjoy a break from the icy chill of Winter! We know from studies and experience that getting outside can be a refreshing break from “cabin fever” but now we know that it might be easier than you think to enjoy the benefits.

The University of Alabama Birmingham conducted a study at three urban parks in Alabama that regularly have visitors. The study participants reported that they felt better after spending as little as 20 minutes in the park – even if they weren’t being physically active. An excerpt from the University’s report says:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips for Those Who Suffer from SAD

Seasonal Affective DisorderToday’s post is written by our guest blogger, Kimberly Hayes, Chief Blogger for,

Live, Work & Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a psychological condition provoked by a seasonal change that results in depression. While people can experience SAD at any time of year, the majority of cases occur in the winter when daylight is scarce. An accepted theory behind the cause of SAD is that decreased sunlight exposure directly affects a person’s biological clock and disrupts their regulation of hormones, neurochemicals, sleep, and overall mood.

Symptoms of SAD are akin to those of major depression:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Unhappiness
  • Changes in appetite and weight gain
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Free Yourself From Negative Emotion

Negative EmotionIn my professional practice I encounter men and women every day who are bound up in the proverbial chains of negative emotions. They are dragging their feet through life, weighed down by feelings of fear, jealousy, self-pity, anger, sadness, anxiety and rejection.

These chronic painful emotions are what often stand in the way of a person’s personal and professional success in life. Negative emotions can deplete you of energy and motivation, take away your joy and enthusiasm and keep you from pursuing positive goals for your life. It is very difficult to do well professionally or relationally if you don’t have a positive and realistic attitude and healthy emotions.

Monday, August 21, 2017

How Counseling Can Save Your Life

CounselingI will be talking with Dr. Randy Carlson on the Intentional Living radio program Tuesday, August 22nd. He has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of counseling and how it can potentially save a person’s life.

As I consider how to describe the value of counseling, a few things come to mind.

At some time in everyone’s life, something unexpected and painful can occur. Death, divorce, injustice, rejection and serious accidents can bring about intense emotions or slow-burning resentment. Counseling can help you identify and manage the hurt or anger that could lead to destructive decisions and negative reactions. Lashing out in anger or holding on to resentment can have long-lasting devastating consequences and derail the healing and recovery process. Letting hurt and anger go unattended will steal the peace and joy from your life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Never Give Up!

I often smile when I see the cartoon of the frog about to be swallowed by a pelican. All you can see are the frog’s hind feet sticking out of the pelican’s mouth and his hands wrapped tightly around the pelican’s throat. The caption reads: “Never give up!”

Never Give Up

I often counsel people who want to give up because they think their problems are insurmountable and their heartache will never subside. They are exhausted and discouraged, often for good reason. Their spouse may have just left them, they received a poor prognosis from their doctor, their children are in trouble or for some other reason, their hope and optimism have all but disappeared. During times like these, we can all be tempted to just give up. After all, wouldn’t it be better – or at least easier – if we could just go to sleep and wake up in Heaven with no problems? While many people look forward to that day to come eventually, if you’re reading this blog, chances are today is not the day for you. And if you’re asking the question, “Should I just give up?” the answer is a resounding, NO!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What is Loneliness and How Can You Rise Above It?


Loneliness is simply the feeling of being alone and feeling sad about it. It is a completely normal feeling that we all experience from time to time, but feeling trapped in our loneliness is what can become a problem. It can lead to isolation and depression or poor choices about how to feel better.

Why do we get lonely?

Loneliness can stem from missing loved ones who have died, are far away or whom we are no longer connected with because of a break-up, divorce, etc. It’s a significant factor in the process of grieving the loss.

Loneliness can also result from feeling fearful, unworthy or awkward around others. This is why you can feel lonely in a room full of people. These feelings and perceptions can make you want to withdraw and strongly influence isolation.

Sometimes, loneliness can be related to not being in love or having a romantic relationship. It’s only natural to miss feeling wanted, cared for and nurtured and to be disappointed by the absence of intimate companionship. The sense of being important in another person’s life is a deep human need for every one of us. The greatest risk with this cause of loneliness is the temptation to enter into unhealthy or unwise relationships too quickly.

If we feel lonely long enough we can become enveloped in the painful emotion and conclude that we can’t do anything about it and therefore remain passive and isolated. This is a type of loneliness that can lead to a sense of helplessness, despair and even precipitate depression.

How can you rise above loneliness?

  1. Recognize your lonely feelings and express them. Admitting we are lonely can be difficult, but it is often the beginning of breaking free from our pain. When we begin expressing our feelings of loneliness it’s
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Secret to a Better Life Lies In Simple Arithmetic

Do you like everything about your life just the way it is? If so, you can stop reading now. If not, what is it you don’t like or are unhappy with? You see, if you can identify what you don’t like with your life you can do one of two very simple things to make it a better life – either add or subtract.

Simple Arithmetic = A Better Life

The Principle of Addition and Subtraction

This wisdom associated with the Principle of Addition and Subtraction is revealed in the following statement, “If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got.” In other words, if there are things in your life that cause you pain you have to introduce something new or different in order to experience relief. If you are struggling with your children, marriage, finances, career, communication, health, friendships, etc., something must either be added to, or subtracted from your life in order to experience different, and ideally, desirable results.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

The demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress.  Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it as normal and even tolerable.  In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis.  This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Step 1:  Take an honest look at your behaviors.

Examples of behaviors influenced by stress:

Engaged in wasted motion and busywork
Irritability – critical of others
Not pleasant to be around
Agitated by little things
Caffeine and/or alcohol consumption increased
Diminished work quality
Unable to make decisions

Step 2:  Identify your physical reactions.

Examples of bodily reactions induced by stress:

Various aches and pains, such as headaches and neckaches
Stomach discomfort
Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
Skin rashes
Irregular breathing
Tense or tight muscles
Heart disease

Step 3:  Identify your emotions.

Anxious, timid, or fearful
Angry, resentful, dissatisfied, or bitter
Confused, overwhelmed or swamped
Helpless or powerless
Fear of inadequacy or failure
Tense or tight
Depressed, weary, or fed up

Once again, if you usually maintain a moderate to high level of stress you may have grown used to behaving and feeling the way you do and you explain it by saying, “that’s just the way I am.”  The truth may be that you are that way because of too much stress and you could experience positive benefits by consciously taking steps to lower it.