How to Help Your Children Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Children can develop high levels of stress and anxiety just like adults. We’re often tempted to downplay that fact.

We hear things like, “children are resilient” or “they’ll get through it all right.”

But the truth is that children are too often exposed to stressful life situations with few resources to help them.

Are you concerned about the stress and anxiety level of your child? Here are some ideas about how to lessen the problem.

Remember They Can’t Handle as Much

Children can’t handle demands on their physical bodies like adults can. Adults can be out in the sun and cold much longer without becoming stressed.

The same goes for emotional strength. Kids need time to grow into these abilities. Things that you don’t find stressful at all could be very difficult for your child to deal with.

Learn to Notice Stress in Your Child

Adults tend to let others know when they experience too much stress and anxiety. Children usually don’t know how to express things so clearly when they’re in similar situations.

Look for physical or emotional changes in your child to help you see if they’re struggling with too much stress and anxiety.

Is your child wetting their bed, fatigued, angry or more emotional than usual?

These could all be indicators that your child is struggling to handle stress and anxiety.

If your child is old enough, ask them about how they’re feeling. If possible, try to find the causes of your child’s stress so you can come up with a plan to lessen it.

Create a Positive, Accepting Environment

There are enough causes of stress and anxiety in the world. Do your best to make sure that your family environment doesn’t add to the problem.

Was your childhood full of anger, negativity or abuse? If so, you experienced more stress than you should have.

Your family doesn’t need to be like the family you grew up in. Do all you can to create a healthy, nurturing and positive environment for your child.

This means that when you give consequences to your child for bad behavior, it should be done with controlled emotions.

It also means that you work hard to provide a happy environment. Do your best to smile often and compliment your child. This will help immensely with any other difficulties in your child’s life that can’t be avoided.

Another part of a positive environment is modeling for your child how to deal with stress in a healthy way.

Keep Your Child Active and Healthy

Obesity in children is on the rise. And it affects more than just your child’s body. It also affects their emotional state.

Teach your child to regularly eat healthily and exercise.

Feed your child plenty of fruits and vegetables and teach them the proper amount of food to eat. This is a great stress and anxiety reducing technique you can work at together.

You also can exercise together, getting rid of anxiety that’s been lurking in the back of your minds.

In Summary

Looking for something else to help your child?

Teach your child to practice deep-breathing techniques, listen to soothing music or watch calming nature videos online.

Also, don’t rule out counseling to help your child through a tough time. If you feel that your child has been through way too much stress and anxiety for his or her age, seriously consider that option.

By working with your child and others, you can help your child reduce their anxiety and stress which will result in a happier, healthier life. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

You Do Not Have to Be the “Perfect Daughter” Anymore

There have been billions of daughters throughout the generations.

Guess what. None of them were perfect.

Not one.

Do you secretly put pressure on yourself to be the perfect daughter?

You need to stop and just be yourself. Here’s why.

Playing the Perfect Game

Want to play that game? Really, you don’t.

Two things will happen if you try.

You may end up extremely discouraged or depressed because you can’t be who you think your parents want you to be.

Or, you’ll begin the adventure of the double life. This option’s probably more common.

You project a perfect image when around your parents but are anything but when not in their company.

This can lead to risky decisions because internally something tells you you’re being unfair to yourself by trying to appear perfect. So, you rebel from that pressure whenever you can.

But the decisions you make when your parents aren’t looking could hurt you. And your parents will probably eventually find out anyway.

Giving up on Perfect Doesn’t Mean Giving up

So, you’re finally convinced that being the perfect daughter isn’t possible.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on forward progress. Progress is your real goal. Just small progress over time.

Imagine that you have a big garden. You don’t want a single weed in that garden but find that there is always one more to pick.

You could just give up and say, “what’s the point of weeding?”

But you probably wouldn’t be proud to show your garden to guests who stop by.
That garden is your life. Keep weeding. Continually work towards being a better person.

But be kind to yourself and stop fretting. Otherwise, you’ll give up trying or pretend that you’re trying when you’re really not.

Who Says You Need to Be Perfect, Anyway?

There’s a good chance that you only think your parents expect that of you. It may only be a flawed perception.

After all, we’re often harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Your parents are full of mistakes just like you are.

They should have the ability to love you through your failures and imperfections. They needed the same understanding from others to get to where they are today.

What If Your Parent Demands Perfection?

That’s not an impossible place to find yourself as a daughter. If that’s you, things won’t be quite so easy.

You need to give yourself permission not to be perfect even though you feel like it’s expected.

Sometimes, parents are too hard on their children because they want a better life for them than they had.

But that can be taken too far.

Try to gain your parent’s approval. It’s a satisfying thing to accomplish.

But also know that you won’t be able to always gain their approval. At times, you’ll need to courageously do what you must even without their approval.

In Summary

You can be a great daughter but not a perfect one. Let the beauty of progress mark your life instead of perfection.

In doing so, you’ll be as near perfect as you could be without all the stress, fear, guilt and sadness of unmet expectations. Schedule your appointment for either couples counseling or men’s counseling using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Things Super-Happy Couples Talk About

 Super Happy Couple after successful couples counseling

Super-happy couples are in the minority. But there are always certain people who defy the odds.

If you fall into this select group, that’s awesome. If not, you can in time. (And some couples move from ‘good’ to ‘super-happy’ with some relationship skills training from  a short time in good couples counseling.) Here are some ideas for you:

Relationships are a journey and are always changing. Some are getting better and some are deteriorating.

Understanding what those with uniquely fulfilling relationships talk about will give you some ideas about how to improve your own relationship.

More Than the Weather

Before going into more specifics, it’s good to realize that the happiest couples talk mostly about things that have depth to them.

Sure, there are surface conversations about the weather, schedules and summaries of what happened during the day.

But those are conversations you can have with a perfect stranger at a coffee shop. Anyone can talk about those things.

In a healthy, committed relationship, the walls come down and discussions about things you wouldn’t share with anyone else come up.

Just what are some of these rich conversations about? Here are several common topics.

Problem-Solving Discussions

Problems abound in every relationship. Some of them, we cause. Others are completely out of our control.

Most of the time, unhappy couples fight about these stressors. By doing so, they make their problems worse than they originally were.

Although happy couples have moments of weakness and fight at times, those instances are quite rare. And when the inevitable fights come, the couples know hoe ‘fight fair.’

Instead, happy couples work together to come up with solutions to problems. They’re better able to handle the struggles every person experiences through teamwork.

They fight the problem instead of fighting about the problem. And that makes all the difference.

The result is that super-happy couples grow even closer together because of problems.

Problems cause the demise of some relationships. Those same difficulties become the glue that holds the relationships of fulfilled couples together.

Super-Happy Couples Talk About the Future

For anyone, thinking about the future can be scary. There’s no way to know exactly what will happen.

Happy couples talk about the future anyway. They share about their hopes, fears and dreams. They plan the best they can though they realize some things are out of their control.

After talking about the future, happy couples come up with ways to better themselves, their children, their community and people around the world.

Happy couples implement plans to make a positive difference in the world together.

Other Conversations

What else do exceptionally happy couples talk about?

They talk about their fears, their beliefs, their childhood and what bothers them. But that’s not all.

Happy couples build happy memories together and get to remind each other of them.

These memories make even unhappy situations much better. You’ll just know. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How Relationships Are Like Sports

Relationships are like sports. Image of sports balls.

Ever been on a sports team?

Did you know that your experience on a sports team can teach you a lot about how relationships work?

Here are some similarities between sports and relationships to consider.

Not a One-Man Show

Did you ever have someone on your team who thought they were the most important player? That they were better than others or privileged?

If you did, you probably weren’t full of happy thoughts towards them.

If you were the self-centered player, you may have wondered why people got frustrated and angry with you so much.

The tension happened because a sports team’s effectiveness breaks down when one person makes it all about them. Morale begins to really sag. People feel like quitting.

The same thing happens in relationships. When one person makes the relationship all about them, they consistently make selfish decisions.

They also make decisions that they think are in their best interest instead of the “team’s”. In your relationship, you really are a team.

You’ll need to put your ego and selfish desires aside even though it’s not easy. Instead, do what’s best for everyone. By doing so, you’ll do what’s best for you, too, though it may not always feel like it at the time.

You Face Many Opponents

Just like in sports, you face many opponents in relationships. In sports, a new “enemy” is always out there in a different-colored uniform from another town or city trying to conquer you. To make you lose.

Your adversaries in sports cause tension. They bring on struggle. But, with your team, you overcome them.

In your relationships, there are many rivals, too. They take more-complicated forms, though.

Your opponents may be poverty, health problems, a toxic job, the temptation to remain faithful, the death of a friend or sleeplessness. Or they may take a thousand other forms.

But one thing will always be the same. You must work together to beat back the challenger.

You must resolve to fight together. No, not fight with each other. But fight as one against anyone and anything that threatens to bring harm to your relationship.

Your Teammates Can Be Difficult

Yep. This one’s already been hit on some but is worth looking at a little closer.

As you work in the trenches on a team, at times, you grow frustrated with each other. That’s perfectly normal as tensions can be very high during stressful situations.

In your relationships, you won’t always think the other person is the best person in the world. You’ll likely even go through times you don’t want to love them.

But, eventually, you triumph over these disagreements because you’re on the same team.

It’s All Worth It in the End!

You work together to overcome difficult situations in sports. You do the same in relationships.

And as you work together in that relationship, you eventually discover something wonderful.

You find the hard times that could’ve torn you apart, instead, brought you closer together.

That a lifelong friend was the result. And that a satisfying journey was shared together. And all that happened was worth it in the end!

Are you looking to improve your relationship? Or have you struggled recently with a breakup? We’d like to help. Schedule your appointment for either couples counseling or men’s counseling using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Stress Is Really a Killer

Sometimes stress is like a small dose of sunburn. Other times, it feels like a tidal wave just crashed on your head and won’t let you up for air.

Some amount of both of those experiences and anything in between are par for the course. Welcome to life, my friend.

But what happens when things become stress-filled on a regular basis?

Early death can result. Some studies estimate up to ten years can be lost.

Why is this?

The Body Breaks Down Under Chronic Stress

That’s the simple answer that helps explain why early death occurs although technical medical accounts show more of the science behind why and how this happens.

All sorts of things go wrong when the body experiences high levels of stress over long periods of time. And these things are stressful only compounding the problem.

Brain Drain—Severe and prolonged stress damages the brain. Brain cells die off. The brain’s memory weakens as well as its ability to handle complex life scenarios.

Depression—The regularly stressed struggle badly to find hope. And when you can’t picture your life getting any better, watch out. Depression is right around the corner.

Fatigue and Weight Gain—Depression leads to fatigue and fatigue leads to depression so that it’s sometimes hard to tell which one came first.

Heart Attack and Stroke—Prolonged stress puts you at greater risk of both.

Fatigue and depression make it difficult to impossible to make healthy diet and exercise choices. Also, cortisol is released into the body during stress. Consistent release of this chemical leads to weight gain.

In summary, these causes and more can lead to an unsatisfying and short life.

So, What Can Be Done?

There’s plenty that you can do to destress your life.

Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Practice positive-thinking strategies to handle stress better.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Leave stressful situations such as a job (when possible).
  • Stop trying to control things you can’t.
  • Smile often even if you sometimes need to force it.
  • Find a hobby you look forward to doing.
  • Read the funniest book in your local library. (Ask your librarian)
  • Develop a good support system of family and friends.
  • Practice meditation.
  • Consider counseling for support and help with implementing better coping strategies.

Ongoing and high levels of stress are something that require your immediate attention. You may need to take some drastic steps to decrease your stress.

Any inconvenience caused by your healthy change will quickly be repaid. You’ll experience a longer, happier and more fulfilling life as a result. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How to Introduce Your Kids to Someone You’ve Been Dating

Looking for the ever-elusive relationship fairy to give you the nod? For her to tell you that you should marry your partner?

Good luck with that one!

Although there are plenty of emotions that go into a budding relationship, deciding if your partner is the one doesn’t need to be a mystical decision.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding. But here are some ways to help determine if your partner is “the one.”

Most Of The Time, You’re Happy

This is an important one because if you ask 10 different people how they knew their spouse was the one, you may get ten different answers.

It may have been because their partner made them laugh, was kind, romantic, responsible, physically attractive or any combination of things.

But boiled down, it meant that, most of the time, they were happier with their partner than unhappy.

It sounds very similar to what makes someone conclude they have a satisfying job. Most of the time, they are happy with it so they stick with it.

Conversely, if you increasingly find you’re unhappy in your relationship, this could be a sign to hold off.

Others Say Your Partner’s The One

You shouldn’t necessarily give up on a relationship if someone close to you doesn’t like your partner.

However, if you have more than one close friend or family member who thinks your significant other is the one, that’s worth paying attention to.

Your friends and family are able to maintain a less biased view of your relationship. While you’re worried about your relationship working and doing all you can to make it a success, they’re just watching.

Most of the time, those who know you best have a pretty good idea. They can easily tell if you become a better person because of the person you’re with or the opposite.

If you’re consistently happy, they pick up on that. If there’s a consistent dark cloud over your life that wasn’t there before your relationship started, there’s no way those closest to you won’t notice.

Spend A Lot Of Time With Them

Lastly, spend plenty of time with your partner before deciding to marry.

Spend enough time with them to know if you’re happy most of the time with them or not.

Marriage never should be a knee-jerk or desperation move. Those who hope marriage will “clean up” their relationship problems are almost always disappointed.

Make the reason you marry be because you can’t imagine going through life without your partner.

The more time you spend together, the less you’ll second guess your decision. You’ll just know. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How Do You Know Your Partner Is The One?

Looking for the ever-elusive relationship fairy to give you the nod? For her to tell you that you should marry your partner?

Good luck with that one!

Although there are plenty of emotions that go into a budding relationship, deciding if your partner is the one doesn’t need to be a mystical decision.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding. But here are some ways to help determine if your partner is “the one.”

Most Of The Time, You’re Happy

This is an important one because if you ask 10 different people how they knew their spouse was the one, you may get ten different answers.

It may have been because their partner made them laugh, was kind, romantic, responsible, physically attractive or any combination of things.

But boiled down, it meant that, most of the time, they were happier with their partner than unhappy.

It sounds very similar to what makes someone conclude they have a satisfying job. Most of the time, they are happy with it so they stick with it.

Conversely, if you increasingly find you’re unhappy in your relationship, this could be a sign to hold off.

Others Say Your Partner’s The One

You shouldn’t necessarily give up on a relationship if someone close to you doesn’t like your partner.

However, if you have more than one close friend or family member who thinks your significant other is the one, that’s worth paying attention to.

Your friends and family are able to maintain a less biased view of your relationship. While you’re worried about your relationship working and doing all you can to make it a success, they’re just watching.

Most of the time, those who know you best have a pretty good idea. They can easily tell if you become a better person because of the person you’re with or the opposite.

If you’re consistently happy, they pick up on that. If there’s a consistent dark cloud over your life that wasn’t there before your relationship started, there’s no way those closest to you won’t notice.

Spend A Lot Of Time With Them

Lastly, spend plenty of time with your partner before deciding to marry.

Spend enough time with them to know if you’re happy most of the time with them or not.

Marriage never should be a knee-jerk or desperation move. Those who hope marriage will “clean up” their relationship problems are almost always disappointed.

Make the reason you marry be because you can’t imagine going through life without your partner.

The more time you spend together, the less you’ll second guess your decision. You’ll just know. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Breadwinner Dads—How to Handle the Stress

This a timely topic as the American middle class continues to disappear from the economic landscape. There are plenty of jobs out there but a full-time one is less likely to support a family.

A multitude of dads are really having a tough time. If you can relate, you may feel worthless, like a failure, depressed and angry. There’s the temptation to disconnect from your family and even engage in risky behavior to escape your crummy situation.

Your job may be the best out there but if you can’t provide for your family with it, eventually, you’ll struggle to maintain quality work. There’ll be too many financial stressors that overshadow doing a great job.

This is the most stressed breadwinner dads have been for generations. But what can be done?

Here are a few ideas but don’t stop there. You owe it to yourself and your family to do what it takes.

Cut Your Commute

Even a twenty-minute commute to work each way adds up to over a solid month of 40-hour work weeks where you’re doing nothing but driving!

That’s on top of the solid year of work you’ll already be doing.

That’s not all, though. You’ll also spend thousands of dollars in gas and auto repairs. The money you spend on your commute is immediately subtracted from your income along with taxes, lessening your earning potential.

Unless you work an unusually hazardous job, this is also the most dangerous part of your day. You are far more likely to be injured on the way to and from work than at your job.

Are you driving far away for a higher paying job that stresses you out like crazy? Do the math and decide if you’re better off with a lower-paid job closer to home.

The results of your quick study may shock you. Cut down on your commute and you’ll save money, time and be safer. This adds up to less stress and more positive family influence.

Work Remotely

There’s a huge shift in the job world that simply wasn’t possible before the internet age.
The number of dads (and moms) who work from home continues to increase.

This is a great thing for many dads. You completely cut out the time and expenses of a commute.

Your day also becomes more than punching a clock or mandatory overtime. Instead, you’re focused solely on the quality of hours you work.

This means you work when you’re most productive and that you can pick your own hours.

Doctors appointments, illness and unforeseen life events can be worked through without so much fear that you’ll lose your job by taking too much time off.

You’ll also get much more interaction with your spouse and children.

Is this lifestyle a cakewalk? Hardly.

Still, many dads find remote work to be more of a dance than a 9-to-5 dirge.

Create A Job

Does your pay stink? Do you dread long hours in a toxic environment?

Maybe you look at the job listings in despair finding nothing that suits you. It could be time to create your own job.

Again, this isn’t easy but more dads are finding freedom by creating a job that isn’t at the mercy of micromanagement and corporate cuts. Perhaps you could start a business that involves remote work.

Summing It Up

Other ways to reduce your stress should be considered, too. Some include consistent physical exercise and sleep, a healthy hobby and a good support system.

Know that you’re not alone in your struggle, men. Keep trying until you find what works best to ease your stress. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

3 Ways To Reduce Your Stress

Our culture tends to view stress as negative. That isn’t necessarily the case.

Stress is unavoidable and for generations, pushed people to achieve things beyond what anyone thought possible.

It isn’t stress by itself that causes major life problems. It’s the amount of it. Unfortunately, everyone experiences levels of stress they find hard to manage at times.

If that’s you right now, here are some things you can do.

Simplify Your Schedule

One major cause of stress is a schedule that’s too full. Busyness can reduce anyone to a frazzled mess.

First, look for things you can easily cut out of your life for a while.

Are you a news hound? There’s nothing wrong with staying informed but much of the news out there details the greatest tragedies of others.

You can only handle so much. Consider backing away for a while. This will give you added time and the chance to dwell on happier things.

Are you consumed with social media and staying connected? Consider taking a break (unless this is an effective stress-management technique for you).

Also, say no to those who request your time if you can get away with it. If you can’t say no, maybe it’s time to leave a career that could literally be killing you. Do what it takes to regain control of your life.

Simplifying your schedule is key. With the many ways to destress your life, there’s just one problem. If you’re too busy to practice any of them, they’re not going to help you too much.

Get In Or Near Water

Water has a natural calming effect. Grab a blanket and lay near a dam, ocean or waterfall. Breathe deep and listen as you relax and forget about your stress.

Think outside the box with this one. There are places where everyone swims. Why not sit in or swim in a river, creek or lake off the beaten path? Bring along goggles and a snorkel and do some exploring if you want.

If you prefer to stay inside or can’t get out due to the weather, take a warm bubble bath, long shower, sit in a hot tub or pool. Also, consider purchasing a small fountain to keep in your home or office.

Research Stress-Relief Tactics

Talk to your coworkers, family, friends, neighbors and search the web for ideas. Try out ones that interest you until you find something that works.

There are literally thousands of stress-relief techniques. That’s a good thing, too, since we’re all different.

Some people find skydiving or rappelling from steep mountain cliffs a remarkable form of stress relief. Others would become way more stressed than they already are doing activities like that!

Try these activities and more:

  • Ride a Bike
  • Take a power nap
  • Spend time with your best friend
  • Create something (a story, painting, drawing, sculpture or craft)
  • Meditate
  • Make a list of 20 (or more) positive things about your life
  • Get a massage
  • Aromatherapy

The opportunities to destress your life are endless. Half the fun is trying new things. Lower your stress and improve the quality of your life now! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Empty Nesting—Is It Real?

Yes. It’s real.

Psychology Today describes empty nesting this way:

“feelings of depression, sadness and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood home.”

What is Empty Nest Syndrome really? It’s the loss of a mission or role. For decades, you took care of your child in your house and now they’re no longer home.

With that role gone, it can be difficult to know what to do next.

Any major changes in life can cause sadness and depression.

This can happen in job gain and loss, retirement, moving, the loss of a family member, the birth of a child, a new adult trying to forge a path and in many other circumstances.

Empty nesting is a transition point and loss that can be difficult to handle and comes with some disillusionment.

Since empty nesting is real, here are some thoughts to help.

Varying Levels of Empty Nesting Sadness

Do your best to be sensitive to your spouse, family and friends who are going through empty nesting.

Each person’s symptoms are different. They can range from minor to severe depending on the person and their level of involvement in raising their child.

Telling those who are struggling that it isn’t real or to just “toughen up” only increases a person’s sadness.

Your Child Still Needs You

Your child may have recently left your home. They still need you, though. And that will always be the case.

Remembering this can help relieve some of your sadness. Some of the most meaningful and satisfying parent-child interaction happens after the empty-nest stage begins.

Yes, empty nesting marks the end of a mission. Every parent hopes for a well-adjusted child who can live on their own. You just helped to fulfill that mission.

Now you take on the role of mentor, life coach and friend to your child in a new way. You’re further down the path of life than your child and will be a great help.

Your children will value your input as you help them through the intricacies of life. You’ll also be a key influencer for your present or up-and-coming grandchildren.

Empty nesting may mark the end of a specific mission with your children but it by no means is the end.

In fact, your mission just became larger and arguably better. But it may take some time and sadness before this is easy to see.

The horizons for you and your child are broadening and that’s an exciting place to be. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.