April is Stress Awareness Month | Relieve Stress Through Counseling

job-stress-drug-abuseThis month is National Stress Awareness Month, and various health organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, are making an effort to expand the discussion on how anxiety can impair daily life. While stress is certainly inescapable in the modern world, there are many healthy ways to manage this mental health challenge to avoid further complications.

At Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, we are dedicated to using a supportive modality of counseling and therapy to help individuals address a wide range of mental health challenges, including stress and anxiety. However, many individuals may not even know when stress is a problem worth seeking professional help over.

When Stress Becomes A Problem

Our bodies are designed around learning how to respond to stress, so it can be difficult to notice when this mental health impairment is worth seeking attention for. Whether you face daily bouts of stress due to work or family responsibilities or experience random panic attacks, it is important to reflect on how this tension could be impacting your overall health—both physically and mentally. Here are some signs that you may need to seek additional guidance to adopt better practices in stress management:

  • Your immune system is regularly weakened, and you find yourself taking more sick days than normal.
  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You “self-medicate” stress with drugs or alcohol.
  • You have headaches every day.
  • You feel depressed because of the amount of stress in your life.
  • You respond to stress with anger.
  • You have developed visible health problems as a result of stress, such as high blood pressure.

Taking Action to Manage Stress Through Counseling

While there are many quick and unhealthy solutions to resolving stress, it is important for every individual to master the tools necessary to manage this tension with balance. Stress management can be obtained through many healthy ways. For instance, many may find that engaging in regular fitness, such as yoga, can help release tension and empower the body with stress-relieving energy. Others may discover that a change in diet can dramatically improve mood and make it much easier to work through stressful situations. Spiritual reflection or meditation is also an excellent way for stressed individuals to gain peace and avoid further complications.

At Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, our professional team has found that counseling—whether one-on-one or in a group setting—can be a great way to help both adolescents and adults better manage stress on a daily basis. Counseling can improve stress management by helping clients:

  • Explore the triggers of stress in their life in a comfortable setting.
  • Learn tools and practices that can be used to safely reduce or eliminate stress.
  • Let go of thoughts, worries and problems that may be causing repetitive stress.
  • Find ways to channel stress into positive energy, rather than through negativity or anger.

Raise Awareness, Get Professional Help

Although April is focused on raising awareness about stress and how it can impact our daily lives, it is essential to encourage individuals to know that there are safe, healthy ways to address this anxiety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with stress or want to learn more about how to manage this complicated mental health problem, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling invites you to visit our website. Our professional staff of trained counselors provides a welcoming environment for children, families, couples and adults to explore stress and many other mental health struggles that may occur at the same time.

Contact us today at 800.305.2089800.305.2089800.305.2089800.305.2089 to take a step away from stress and obtain the resources necessary to appreciate life in whole health and wellness. Interested parties are also encouraged to explore our dialogue about mental health and faith-based counseling on Twitter and Facebook.

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Changes in the Home that Can Impact Mental Health the Family

At Saf2117e Harbors Christian Counseling, we offer a wide array of services that allow people to understand and overcome very personal matters. While this is sometimes done on an individual level, we also specialize in a variety of counseling programs that offer those struggling with mental health issues an opportunity to restore relationships with family members and partners.

It is essential to recognize that major changes in life can have a strong impact on one’s mental health; abrupt transitions can prompt emotional reactions including depression and anxiety. In the home, a dramatic shift may not necessarily impact one’s personal mental health, but could affect the wellness of loved ones in that family environment.

Recognizing how changes can impact mental health and development—especially in children—can help many embrace the benefits of counseling. To keep parents aware of what changes in the home may impact the wellness of themselves, their marriage and their loved ones, we highlight a few events that could trigger imbalance:

  • Moving

Often, moving to a new home means welcoming a new change in life. Whether one moves to accept a new job or simply change atmosphere, this change can be exciting for the whole family. While a move may be a positive experience, it is still important to recognize how this change will impact everyone in the home, particularly children.

Children will often have more to cope with when moving, as their worlds typically revolve around what they consider home. A new environment, for instance, could mean having to go to a new school and make new friends. Children who do not adjust well to a new home may find that they become isolated, an experience that could lead to many mental health challenges.

  • Divorce

Divorce is one of the most prevalent family issues in the United States, but fortunately counseling has made it easier for parents and their children to adjust to these massive changes. In some cases, divorce may have stemmed from a myriad of other home environment struggles, such as violence or anger—all of these can have a major impact on children.

However, even in peaceful, mediated divorces, children can have a negative reaction when the nuclear family is divided. Some may feel that they are losing a parent; others may feel that they are responsible for the split. As such, it is important for the entire family to address feelings they may have about the divorce and to recognize the truth behind it. Coming from a place of honesty and openness, families can move forward in a healthy fashion while still remaining apart.

  • Sickness and Death

It is often said that strong families will stay together no matter what challenges they face. However, in some cases, these challenges can have a lasting impact on the way people feel inside their home. Severe illness and death are some of the most devastating changes that can happen in a home. While adults can sometimes cope and grieve in a healthy manner, children often can have a hard time interpreting such events. This lack of understanding can sometimes cause young ones to internalize emotions and develop mental health problems.

For this reason, Safe Harbor offers many counseling services that can help parents and children approach illness and loss with a sense of stability. While certainly emotional, it is important to understand that there are healthy ways to grieve and help families grow from loss in unity and wellness.

Reaching Out For Family Counseling

While many of these problems can be addressed in the home through proper and open communication, many times it is necessary to seek out additional help. If your household is facing a major transition, such as those listed above, we encourage seeking out professional family and group counseling programs such as those described at SafeHarbor1.com.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Mental Wellness

spring-cleaningThe 20th of March will mark the beginning of a new season—spring. Although it may take a while for America to warm up, the traditional idea of “spring cleaning” is a great approach to taking on a new perspective for health and wellness.

For many, spring cleaning is a chance to reduce clutter in a house or office—to regain balance from all those items that piled up during the winter season. For others, spring cleaning is an opportunity to reinvent one’s personal space, change wardrobes and just embrace the bright warmth of the sun.

Those who have been grappling with stress, anxiety and other issues may find that there are not only ways to “spring clean” one’s living space, but also one’s mind. Here are a few ideas for individuals who want to seek whole health and wellness by refreshing the brain for greater mental balance:

  • Take a Walk, Go For a Run – Just Get Moving!

Although many Americans rush to the gym in January to fulfill New Year’s resolutions for better fitness and health, the spring offers a great opportunity for individuals to get outdoors and get active. Moderate temperatures and longer days can allow people to get outdoors and away from the treadmill.

While exercise in general is known to help many achieve mental wellness and reduce stress, seeking fitness outdoors in particular can be incredibly refreshing. Going for a walk, hike or jog is an excellent way to find clarity while also taking in the beauty and splendor of nature.

  • Expand the Mind Through Creativity

In the cold of the winter, it is not uncommon for our senses to become dulled. For many, a lack of stimulation can lead to unnecessary stress, malaise and depression. Fortunately, the colors and life found in the awakening of spring can help many rediscover their senses through creativity.

Whether one reads in the park or takes pictures of the outdoors, there are many ways that spring can enhance the creative spirit. By indulging in one’s creative mind, it is possible for many to not only relieve tension, but also heighten problem-solving abilities. As a result, those who take time to appreciate beauty and creativity may find that their confidence skyrockets while their stress level falls.

  • Strengthen Relationships Outside

Although the natural world and warmth of spring can encourage many to explore inner thoughts, the season is also a perfect time to bond with others and strengthen relationships.

Having a picnic with family, going for a brisk walk with co-workers or having a date outside with a spouse can be great ways to let off steam and form stronger connections that may have weakened over the course of winter. Free of many indoor distractions, these gatherings can present a strong opportunity to discuss existing tensions, let them go and focus on the future with positivity and unity.

While the spring season certainly presents many opportunities for individuals to discover renewal and release anxiety, it is important to explore other options for mental wellness all year round. If you or a loved one is struggling with stress or anxiety, contact us at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling to learn more about how our unique counseling strategies can help.

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How to Cope with Loss and Pain

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It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, whether it is a close friend, a family member, or even a pet. There are many stages of grief that you will face immediately after their passing. You will experience pain, sadness, confusion, and possibly anger. All of these emotions are perfectly normal. However, it is important to understand that no matter how severe a loss, there is always hope on the horizon. With the right combination of hard work and mental fortitude, you can cope with the loss and pain.

  1. The first step is to accept and confront the loss. Many people who have recently experienced the death of a family member or friend may turn to substance abuse to cope with the pain. This is only a temporary fix and is not a healthy form of grieving. A person cannot truly conquer the pain until they confront it. This can be as simple as crying. It is okay to take a day, or even a week to let the emotions out. The important thing to remember is that grief should never be ignored.
  2. Do not be afraid to share your feelings with others. Sometimes, the best cure for grief is a shoulder to cry on. It is healthy and natural to seek out the comfort of others when grieving. You can talk to a priest, counselor, therapist, friend, family member, or anyone that you feel can offer their sympathy. One of the best parties to talk to is someone who is going through the same grief as you. You both know exactly how the other is feeling and can therefore overcome your sadness together.
  3. Unfortunately, not everyone will be sympathetic when you are grieving. Your job is to distance yourself from people who are not compassionate. They will tell you things like “get over it,” or “stop being so sensitive.” These people do not know how you feel and will thus give unnecessary, and sometimes hurtful advice. A good way to avoid non-compassionate people is to simply let them know that they are not being helpful and that you would prefer not to be around them.
  4. Get professional help if necessary. There is a harmful stigma in our society that shuns people who seek professional guidance for mental health issues such as grief, depression, anxiety, stress, etc. Seeing a therapist or a counselor is never a sign of a weakness and it does not make anyone pathetic. Instead, it should be considered a sign of strength, because the victim realizes that they need help and they are confronting their grief full-force.

For more details on how Safe Harbor can help you deal with your grief, visit www.safeharbor1.com.  Interested individuals are welcome to join in our faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page and we welcome you to follow us on Twitter.

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The Truth Behind Anxiety and How it Affects Relationships

A2FB56E11CD1397536CC4597E1_h351_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cUlmDjmhLPeople tend to think anxiety and panic attacks fall into the same category as a little stress or worry, but most people suffering from anxiety or panic attacks recognize the severe distinctions. Anxiety manifests in many different ways, affecting almost every facet of life, including physical and mental burdens, relationships, and overall satisfaction or purpose in life.

Understanding anxiety

Anxiety can occur for a long time before an individual recognizes signs or symptoms. If it is not dealt with, it can become apparent in the form of physical, psychological, and behavioral changes.

Physical changes: Different people experience varying levels of anxiety, therefore leading to varying physical ailments. Some common bodily changes include increased breathing rate, heightened blood pressure, sweating, and digestive symptoms. The physical manifestations of anxiety vary from person to person.

Psychological changes: Anxiety also takes a toll on the mental state of people of all different ages, causing those who suffer to become more focused and more directed toward problem-solving. Psychological conflicts can sometimes become apparent, making relationships and stability difficult to maintain.

Behavioral changes: Many people suffering from anxiety disorders and panic attacks demonstrate changing behavioral conditions, sometimes associated with bursts of energy or irrational behavior due to negative thinking patterns.

The following are emotional or mental signs that you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety:

  • Constant state of fear or apprehension
  • Feelings of dread that arise without known triggers
  • Issues with concentration
  • Inner tension or nervousness
  • Constantly “on-edge”
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden feelings of panic
  • Fear of losing control; feelings of detachment

Physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors and twitches

Anxiety and relationships

Due to constant worry and the avoidance of various situations, people suffering from anxiety generally express the difficulty they experience on a day-to-day basis within their relationships. A survey completed by ADAA with more than 1,000 people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), indicated that romantic relationships are greatly impacted by the disorder. According to several anxiety sufferers, their relationships are mostly marked by arguments or neglect of communication, which can lead to a vicious cycle of increased anxiety.

Rather than subjecting your physical, mental, and spiritual state – as well as your relationships – to the harmful effects of anxiety, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is here to help. Overcoming anxiety requires patience, guidance, and more often than not, professional help. It is important to understand your fight-or-flight stress response, the different forms anxiety can take, how to deal with worrying thoughts, and more if you want to overcome anxiety. Safe Harbor offers Christian counseling services for adults, couples, children, and families. Through a biblical approach, the counselors at Safe Harbor can help you manage your anxiety and get your life – and relationships – on the right track.

For more details on Safe Harbor’s counseling, coaching, and therapy services, visit http://www.safeharbor1.com. Interested individuals are welcome to join in on the faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page and welcome to follow Safe Harbor Christian Counseling on Twitter.

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Conflict Resolution: Stepping Out of Pain and Into Marriage Counseling

Marriage therapy. Couple with an advisor.Marriage counseling is often a popular and worthwhile route for couples dealing with a number of issues, ranging from minor communication problems to severe issues leading to intensive counseling. Many married couples choose to seek marriage counseling as a healthy option to pinpoint potential problem areas or to simply encourage a marriage that cultivates love, positive communication and healthy growth.

But sometimes, couples take brave steps to seek intensive counseling for conflict resolution – a tricky part of marriage counseling that can bring out fear, hurt, criticism and other unwanted emotions as a result of vulnerability. The concept of “fighting fair” to resolve conflict within a marriage is extremely challenging, which is why marital experts urge couples to include a professional to guide them toward healing conversations.

The goal of couple’s intensive therapy and conflict resolution

The goal of most successful marriage counselors is to target conflict and create solutions to conflict and to enhance intimacy in a number of areas, including emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy.

Couple’s intensives generally involve a deeper understanding of conflict resolution and how to build a relationship that is safe and positive, including learning skills related to communication. Many couples seek inventories including Enrich, Myers Briggs, or Enneagram to better understand the other to prevent future conflict.

Your spouse isn’t the same person you married

While the saying is true that “opposites attract,” couples are similar and different in a lot of ways, but one thing is always true: The desire to be known – intimately and fully – is something every individual strives for. Marriage counseling, at best, encourages couples with various areas of conflict to learn more about their significant other: their fears, passions, most intimate thoughts and expectations.

Why? Because people are complex and constantly changing, and marriage experts are confident that two people married for more than a few years are not the same people they were when they got married. Because of this reality, it’s imperative that couples practice mindfulness in terms of these changes, learning about their spouse just as they would at the beginning of a relationship. Cultivating a healthy relationship that undergoes change, hardship or even trauma is difficult to do, especially when each person has different expectations. As such, conflict can arise.

When dealing with conflict resolution, consider the following:

What kind of “fighter” are you?

Learn about how you tend to deal with this conflict and how you resort to fighting back. Do you avoid conflict at all costs, bottling your anger or insecurities until you are ready to burst? Do you lash out in anger the moment the conflict arises? Do you withdraw and become silent, unwilling to communicate about the present problem? Do you feel criticism and immediately become hurt because you interpret the disagreement as an attack? Learn your “go-to” fighting mechanisms so you can best learn how to get on the same wave-length as your partner. If you tend to store up complaints and count wrongs, this is something you should both be aware of. Discussing the ways we fall short and creating an atmosphere of confession is the best way to bring these issues to light.

Learn about conflict “triggers”

During conflict resolution therapy, it’s important to understand what generally causes your conflict, and how those triggers come about. Conflict can arise whenever you and your spouse disagree about perceptions, desires, ideas, values and expectations. These triggers can range from trivial to more significant disagreements, but identifying them regardless of the content of the disagreement will help you both learn how to cope with these feelings.

Displaying anger

Different people demonstrate their anger differently, and learning how your spouse shows anger will help you learn how to resolve conflict better. Disagreements can lead people to feel angry and hurt, and feeling anger does not necessarily become a problem until it is no longer handled constructively. Anger can worsen depending on how people display it. For example, do you act childishly when you’re angry? Do you become aggressive or out of control? Do you use your words as a weapon, or do you resort to the silent treatment? Anger is a normal human emotion, but sometimes it can manifest into something more damaging than joy or sadness.

Setting ground rules

In order to “fight fair,” establish some ground rules. These rules will help keep expectations in check. Perhaps you and your spouse decide that avoiding bottled emotions is a priority, depending on whether one of you tends to clam up during conflict. Maybe a ground rule is to remain calm so you can both get your viewpoints out in the open. Perhaps one rule to keep in mind is dealing with one conflict at a time, especially if you tend to bring out past issues during different conflicts.

However you display anger or deal with conflict, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is here to help restore intimacy in marriage and encourage positive growth and conflict resolution. Within a biblical framework, Safe Harbor offers Couples Counseling Intensives to provide an opportunity for couples to gain personal insights, work on dynamics of the relationship, and build a spiritual foundation. Intensives are designed to meet the needs and budget of each couple and typically take place over a one to two-day period.

During this time, couples meet with specialized couples counselors for several hours per day, working on various assignments to restore a healthy marriage. Various interventions are directed toward increased communication skills, deeper understanding of one another, conflict resolution and spiritual oneness. Safe Harbor also extends other counseling services, including adult counseling, child counseling, family counseling and more.

To learn more about Safe Harbor’s counseling, coaching and therapy services, visit http://www.safeharbor1.com. Interested individuals are invited to join in on the faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page  and are welcome to follow Safe Harbor Christian Counseling on Twitter.

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How a Life Coach can Transform your Life – and Your Resolutions

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For many people, the idea of trying to keep New Year’s resolutions throughout the year is overwhelming and intimidating. Reaching your goals seems too far away and out of your grasp, how can you ever turn a new leaf and enjoy life the way you always wanted to? People young and old are inspired to make lofty resolutions, starting fresh in the new year, only to lose steam sooner than anticipated.

While some people have goals to travel more or to learn how to cook, there are many individuals interested in redefining their lives in other ways – overcoming fears, taking a leap of faith with a new entrepreneurial venture, leading a healthy lifestyle or a healthy marriage and so forth. Investing in yourself and watching your life change in the new year is a process, and many people find self-defeat before they even take the plunge.

That is where life coaching services come in. In 2014, make yourself the best investment you can make. Take the time to listen to the still, small voice that says you are worth it, as well as your dreams and goals.

Life coaching offers the following:

  • A renewed sense of purpose
  • A strategy to eliminate and overcome personal and professional obstacles
  • A roadmap to navigate new and old goals
  • Mindfulness and a new direction in relationships
  • Accountability and a healthy support system

Hiring a life coach can transform your life in a number of ways, including:

A charge to “GO!” Hiring a life coach is like preparing for a built-in life cheerleader. He or she helps you map out your goals and the steps needed to achieve them within a realistic timeframe, and then gives you a clear charge to GO! Life coaching is all about putting planning into action. The road to success is a hard one with many twists and turns, but with a life coach present every step of the way, it is possible to find the method that works for you to keep yourself on track.

Personal and vocational purpose: Many people looking for a life coach are individuals who not only want to meet goals, but they also lack a certain drive or passion. You do not need to be “stuck” in life or your career to benefit from a life coach, but those who do struggle with a vocational or personal sense of purpose can benefit immensely from this support and guidance. A life coach challenges clients to encourage space and mindfulness so that they can make valuable changes first by considering many different factors – including improvements within relationships, attitude, health and wellness and so forth. Sustainable change takes time to manifest, and many people need guidance and an extra “push” to stumble upon changes and directions that matter.

Specific goals mapped out, along with specific strategies: In 2014, sustaining certain resolutions requires specific goals, resources and a well-lit journey. A life coach helps individuals discover that the path to success is not as intimidating as they thought. Identifying the journey, along with every measurable goal, makes it easier for a person to envision the finish line or reaching final goals.

Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers outstanding life and health coaching services along with career and business coaching services to help others realize their true passion and purpose. Jory Fisher, certified life, health and Christian coach, aims to hold people accountable to their personal, professional and spiritual goals, providing gentle guidance and support throughout the coaching process. Safe Harbor helps people tap into their purpose and passion through a biblical framework.

For more details on Safe Harbor’s counseling, coaching and therapy services, visit http://www.safeharbor1.com. Interested individuals are welcome to join in on the faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page and welcome to follow Safe Harbor Christian Counseling on Twitter.

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