December 26, 2019

New Years Resolution: Change Things That No Longer Serve You



I need to connect with people and disconnect from my screens.

I want to keep this post simple. Life is complicated enough without a complicated post about how you can change your life.



I can let work and life distract me from really being present and fully enjoying the people and experiences in my life. I know I am not alone. I find times with friends often interrupted or diminished by regular phone checking.

For myself, I'm working on being more mindful and less distracted, which usually means having clear boundaries with the things that distract me, like my phone and computer. I find myself regularly trying to multitask. This desire to multitask comes from the nagging feeling that I can never get everything done. The reality, however, is that multitasking actually makes me less efficient, less present, more anxious, and less capable of enjoying my life and loved ones.

This New Years, I am going to focus on changing something that no longer serves me well--being on my phone and computer too much. It's hard to completely disconnect from my phone and computer. I need it for my practice and to communicate with family and friends. But the fact is that being so connected no longer serves me well.


What have you lost by holding onto things that no longer serve you?

I think of times my daughter was trying to get my attention, and I was distracted by an email or social media. I am not doing either thing well. I think of those times that I check email into the evening and then have trouble sleeping because I am trying to problem-solve things right before bed time.

I am making a commitment to powering down when possible, to putting my phone in the other room, to starting my day with some deep breathing, meditation, or scripture instead of checking email as soon as I get up. I am making a commitment to prioritize things that are of value. And I will start to consider which relationships no longer make sense in my life, hoping to make room for other new relationships. Change is hard, so these changes are largely aspirational, but you have to start somewhere.

Sometimes you have to let go of something to make room for the things of value. 

You may be working really hard at things that no longer work for your life. Be willing to let them go in pursuit of something else that makes more sense for you. Continuing to work hard at things you don't love and that no longer give you fulfillment will only keep making you frustrated, even if you happen to succeed.

By letting go of these things in your life, it may make room for something that will give you joy and fulfillment. It will make room for the things that are the best use of your time and talents.

We only have so much space in our hearts and minds. Human beings are creatures of habit and comfort. We keep doing what we have been doing because it is easier than changing. That is a big part of how we get stuck and stop growing and feeling interested in our lives. If you are feeling stuck, it's usually a sign that it's time for change. You have to have the courage to pursue change before things will get better.

How can you let go of things that no longer serve you?

This New Years, think about what is not working in your life. It may be a relationship that has not worked in a long time, a habit or addiction, a goal that is out of date with your values, a belief system that is keeping you stuck, or obligations that stress you out but provide no real value.

Stop and make a list of everything that you suspect may not serve you anymore. What is one of those things that you are willing to change, remove, or replace? Place a Post-It note or a reminder somewhere to help you remember the thing you want to change. Remind yourself why it is worth changing that thing. Imagine how your life will be improved with this change. Imagine how free you will be without this thing, habit or person.




Getting rid of that one thing may be the change you need.


If you are struggling to make changes in your life, we have Houston counselor who can help. Please call us at 713-591-3612 or email us at Nancy @ wilsoncounsleing . org.

This blog is not meant to replace professional counseling. 

December 4, 2019

Empathy is my superpower, but sometimes it feels like my kryptonite


People can begin to experience healing often after just a single encounter of empathy

I would be a rotten therapist if I didn't have empathy. Empathy allows me to understand and feel the world of my clients. It gives me the ability to help clients feel seen, cared for, and feel normal. People can begin to experience healing often with just a single encounter of empathy.




If empathy is such a great thing, why does it sometimes feel so bad to be an empathetic person? When people suffer, empathy allows us to go into their world and hold some of their suffering. But there is a cost to that. If you really share in someone's pain, that means you may also feel that pain. You lighten their burden, but sometimes in the process, you take part of their burden on yourself.

As a therapist, I have generally been able to be empathetic and present for my clients without taking all of the pain home with me. I have had less success doing that in my personal relationships.

To lighten someone elses burden, it may make your burden heavier


I had a friend whose husband died in a plane crash. I was shocked when I heard about it, and I couldn't stop thinking about her and her children. I felt overcome with emotion. I thought about her son's upcoming graduation and his first day of college without his dad. I thought about how it must feel for her to go to bed at night and not feel her husband next to her. I thought about the feelings of hopelessness and regret that come when someone you love deeply dies suddenly.


  


I had another friend whose stepchild was killed in a heartbreaking and senseless act of violence. She sent me a text with her favorite picture of him, young and full of life. And she shared that his burial day was also his birthday. I sobbed thinking of the unspeakable loss of a child and the cruel twist of fate that had him buried on his birthday. I sobbed sitting there at dinner in front of my kids feeling so sorry for her, and so thankful for my loved ones surrounding me. 

I would like to think that being empathetic in this way allowed me to be a more caring person in her life. And for that, I would not trade empathy for anything, but the truth is, sometimes it's a gift I would like to give back.

You have to go into someone's grief to really have compassion...and it's hard and uncomfortable


It is not fun feeling sad, feeling heart ache, confusion, and crying through other people's suffering. When I asked a friend of mine for advice about how to help a grieving friend who had just lost a child, she said this, "You have to go into someone's grief to really have compassion...and it's hard and uncomfortable." It's hard and uncomfortable. That is gospel truth.

We live a life where we choose comfort and pleasure most of the time. I can't really even blame people for doing that. I do it. But there are times that call for something more than that. You can either ignore other people's pain, or you can walk with them as far as you are able and as far as they will let you. For me, I don't think it's really even a choice if I am going to do the work I believe I am created to do.

So, even though it means I am sometimes more emotional and fragile, I want to keep committing to being empathetic. It is my superpower and my kryptonite. And that is part of what makes it a gift. It is something given at a cost.
Empathy is a gift and part of our calling as human beings living in community.


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To those of you who are struggling with pain, professional counseling can help lighten your load. Please contact one of our Houston counselors at 713 - 591 - 3612 or email us at Nancy @ wilsoncounseling.org

This blog is not intended to substitute for professional counseling. 

November 2, 2019

Stop Emotional Eating



We have all used food to deal with our emotions. If I have a bad day at work, I might come home and eat some ice cream or chocolate. I have clients who stop at the drive thru on the way home from work and get large meals and binge eat them in their car before heading home. They do this in hopes of push down some of the pain or anxiety they are feeling. 

I love food as much as anyone, but I know that when I use food to stop the pain, or distract myself, or keep myself from getting bored, it never works for long. After eating a tub of ice cream, I still feel lonely. I feel lonely and uncomfortably full, and ashamed. 

You can experience freedom from this kind of emotional eating and learn to meet your real needs. In this video we explore how to do that. It is a good first step. If you want more help, please contact one of our Houston therapists at Wilson Counseling. We can be reached by phone at 713-591-3612 or via email at www. wilsoncounseling. org. 



The advice on this blog is not a substitute for professional counseling. Please contact a therapist if you need help. 

October 17, 2019

New Associate at Wilson Counseling Offers Weekend Hours




Wilson Counseling is excited to welcome Sarah Bradshaw. Sarah is employed as a school counselor, in addition to working in private practice, so she has a lot of experience working with adolescents, including all educational issues, as well as college and career planning. She also has a heart for working with individuals who are going through infertility issues.

Sarah is working at Wilson Counseling on Saturdays. We know that sometimes it can be hard to make an appointment during the weekday, so we are thrilled to make Saturday appointments an option for clients.

If you are interested in setting up an appointment with Sarah, please contact Wilson Counseling at nancy@wilsoncounseling.org, or you can fill out a contact request here

September 10, 2019

Change How You Talk About Yourself To Boost Your Self Esteem





Change your critical self talk and you will change how you feel about yourself. Learn to notice negative self talk, stop it, and replace it with more affirming language. Don't be your own worst enemy. 

If you are struggling with feelings of despair, sadness, or anxiety, we have Houston Therapists who can help you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Wilson Counseling at 713 - 591 - 3612 or email us at Nancy@wilsoncounseling. org.

August 26, 2019

How To Successfully Communicate With Your Partner + Switching To Youtube

I have been blogging for a while now. It started from a place of wanting to share information that could be helpful to people who may never walk into my office, as well as people I work with who need resources even when they are not in the therapy room. I love writing and wish I could do it more regularly, but I honestly can't keep up with it, so I decided to make some changes and try vlogging instead. It's much quicker for me to shoot a video than it is to write a blog. When things are not working in your life, it's important to be honest about it and switch course to doing something that works. I hope to be putting out video content more regularly than I have been able to blog. 

This first video is about improving communication. 

You love your partner. You don't want to fight, but your find yourself miscommuncating and arguing anyways. In this short video, I cover two easy steps you can take to start communicating better with your partner, or really with anyone in your life. 

Enjoy! 

If you liked that and you have liked my content in the past feel free to subscribe to my channel!

If you have any topics you would be interested in hearing about in a video, comment them down below or send it to me via email (nancy@wilsoncounseling.org). 

April 14, 2019

Reasons why crying is good for your health.

When you bury your emotions, they have a way of coming out anyways

I always keep tissues in my counseling office. For a lot of people, once they start to open up, the emotions just find their way to the surface. Those emotions have been buried and pushed down long enough and the body knows. It needs an outlet. It needs to cry.

It's interesting that people often apologize when they start to cry in my office. I always reassure them that tears are a perfectly normal and healthy part of getting better. I point them in the direction of the tissue box. I like to think of the box as a reminder that they are not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people cry in my office.

You don't need to apologize for your tears; they are a sign of your humanity


I have one client who jokes with me abut how I like to make him cry. He's a stocky, muscular guy who played football in college. It's not exactly true that I like to make him cry, but I am grateful that he feels comfortable enough to let his feelings out. I am thankful, too,  that someone who appears so tough on the outside now has a place where he doesn't have to keep it all together. The counseling office is a safe place for him.

I had another client, Oscar, who came in this week to talk about the sense of depression that had overcome him. Depression is not a common experience for him. He has been through it a few times in his life, but those times were few and far between and they had not lasted long. Oscar is a high-powered businessman. He's logical, confident, driven, and not highly emotional. If anything, anxiety is his go-to emotion. So I was a bit surprised when he started crying almost uncontrollably in our session.

We all need places in our lives where we feel safe enough to cry


Society does not encourage crying. We're embarrassed to cry in front of other people. I have had clients who had a parent die and did not feel they had the right to cry at the funeral. They got the message that they had to be strong and keep it together. That sucks. And it gives the clear signal that crying is weakness, crying is for the weak, crying is bad.

Our bodies need to cry to get our needs met


That is just plain WRONG. Our bodies were made to cry as a natural and healthy way to get our needs met. If you hold back the tears, you are missing out on a lot of benefits. This article in Medical News discusses 8 benefits of crying. So cry away when you need to do so. It can be regenerating.


According to the Medical News article, there are eight primary benefits of crying. The following list below is quoted directly:

1. Has a soothing effect

Self-soothing is when people:
  • regulate their own emotions
  • calm themselves
  • reduce their own distress
2014 study found that crying may have a direct, self-soothing effect on people. The study explained how crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps people relax. 

2. Gets support from others

As well as helping people self-soothe, crying can help people get support from others around them. 
As this 2016 study explains, crying is primarily an attachment behavior, as it rallies support from the people around us. This is known as an interpersonal or social benefit.

3. Helps to relieve pain

Research has found that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins. 
These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being. 

4. Enhances mood

Crying may help lift people's spirits and make them feel better. As well as relieving pain, oxytocin and endorphins can help improve mood. This is why they are often known as "feel good" chemicals. 

5. Releases toxins and relieves stress

When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals. 
Researchers believe that crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress. More research is needed into this area, however, to confirm this.   

6. Aids sleep 

small study in 2015 found that crying can help babies sleep better. Whether crying has the same sleep-enhancing effect on adults is yet to be researched. 
However, it follows that the calming, mood-enhancing, and pain-relieving effects of crying above may help a person fall asleep more easily. 

7. Fights bacteria

Crying helps to kill bacteria and keep the eyes clean as tears contain a fluid called lysozyme. 2011 study found that lysozyme had such powerful antimicrobial properties that it could even help to reduce risks presented by bioterror agents, such as anthrax. 

8. Improves vision 

Basal tears, which are released every time a person blinks, help to keep the eyes moist and prevent mucous membranes from drying out.As the National Eye Institute explains, the lubricating effect of basal tears helps people to see more clearly. When the membranes dry out, vision can become blurry.
Crying from time to time is very normal, however, if you find you are crying everyday for long periods of time, you may experiencing depression, and should contact a professional counselor. At Wilson Counseling, we have Houston based counselors who can help you start to feel relief from your depression. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule and appointment, please contact us at (713) 591- 3612 or via email at Nancy @ wilsoncounseling .org.