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Reduce Anxiety in Five Minutes

Posted by Shawn on  December 1, 2022
Category: Reduce Anxiety

Reduce Anxiety in Five Minutes

There are a lot of different ways to treat your anxiety.  Some common examples are lifestyle changes, mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, or different types of talk therapy.   One way you can reduce your anxiety in five minutes is by EFT tapping.  EFT uses fingertip tapping on a numerous number of specific points in your body in order to reduce your anxiety over a certain thought or belief.

In this blog I will give you 5 steps to follow in order to balance your energy and decrease your stress.  EFT tapping is used to make a connection between your body and the damaging thoughts or emotions that you face.  Before you are able to make that connection you have to be willing to become aware of your own harmful thoughts.

Step 1: Identify Concern 

Identify what concern you want to address.  For example, that could be the anxiety you are experiencing over a recent health diagnosis.

Step 2: Rate Intensity of the Concern

When you start to think about that concern, rate it on a scale of 0-10 based on how much it is affecting you.  10 being that it is causing you a lot of distress and 0 being that it does not bother you at all.

The purpose of the scale is that you will be able to measure your anxiety level around the concern before you partake in the tapping exercise vs. after you finish it.

Step 3: Set up Statement

Before you begin tapping, you want to create a statement that you can use that narrows in on your problem.  The statement should consist of 2 different parts.

  1. Acknowledges the problem
  2. Promotes self-acceptance

An example could be “Even though I am afraid of not being good enough at my job, I deeply and fully accept myself.”

Step 4: Tapping Sequence

There are many different tapping points throughout your face and your body.  You will tap each one 5-7 times while completing the exercise.  For this specific activity you will be locating 9 individual tapping spots.

You will start with the karate chop point (on the side of your hand) and tap there with a couple fingers while repeating your set up statement. After that you will tap on these 8 points.

  1. Beginning of your eyebrow
  2. Side of your eye
  3. Under your eye
  4. Under your nose
  5. In between your mouth and chin
  6. Beginning of your collarbone
  7. Under your armpit
  8. Top of your head

While you are tapping at these spots you will want to have a statement that reminds you of your concern. This will help you stay focused. So if your set up statement was “Even though I am afraid of not being good enough at my job, I deeply and fully accept myself.” Your reminder statement could be “ I have anxiety about failing at my job.”

Step 5: Re-rate your distress level 

After you have finished the tapping sequence, you will then rate your anxiety over the same concern on a scale of 0-10. If your number was 8 in the beginning but now it is 4, that is great. The goal is to get your number down to 0, so you will want to continue with the sequence until that happens.  Sometimes your number may not get all the way down to 0 and that’s ok.  EFT can help you consistently lower the numbers and the more you practice the more effective it becomes.

Next Best Step– Contact Us and we CAN help!

If you found this helpful and are tired of dealing with the same issues only to get the same results we can help!  We CAN help you level up.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained that would love to walk with you and equip you with to tools to build the life you want.  We can help you heal and break free from the issues that create suffering in your life. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

What You Should NOT Say to Someone Grieving?

Posted by Shawn on  December 1, 2022
Category: grief

What You Should NOT Say to Someone Grieving?

If you are watching someone experience the horrible effects of grief, you might be having a difficult time finding the best ways to support them.  I’m guessing that you feel pressure to say the right words or feel as though you have to give them immediate relief.

Finding the “right words” in these scenarios does not usually come naturally and can be very uncomfortable for most people.  In hopes to best comfort the person grieving in your life,  this blog will go over 4 different areas that should be avoided when speaking to a friend or loved one.

Sugar Coating the Situation

Attempting to have a person look at the bright side of their circumstance is common when trying to comfort them, but doing this can be extremely invalidating to their feelings.  It tells a grieving person that they cannot be upset about their situation because it could be worse. Here are a few statements that should be avoided:

  • At least statements
  • “It could be worse”
  • “Life will go on”
  • Reminding them that they have things to be grateful for
  • “They are in a better place”

Making it About Yourself

Don’t make it about yourself when talking with someone who is grieving.  Everyone’s situation is unique and nobody grieves the exact same way.  It can be very easy to do this because as humans that’s how we feel most comfortable.  For example if your friend just lost her mother, it could be tempting to say ‘I know how you are feeling because when I lost my grandpa I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks.’

Even though you are trying to relate to their pain, this can come off as a dismissal of what they are going through. Try to keep the conversation about them or the person they have lost.

Giving Vague Support

When trying to support someone who is grieving it is best to be specific as possible. There is a good chance that this person will receive a lot of texts, phone calls, and cards that say things such as:

  • “Let me know if I can do anything for you”
  • “Do you need any help?”
  • “Call me if you need anything”
  • “I am always here for you”

These statements can come off as impersonal or as if you don’t actually want to help them.  They also put the ball in the grieving person’s court and make it their job to ask for help.  Showing up with specific actions can be a better alternative to showing your support.  Try bringing them dinner, calling them first, or going over to their house to help clean.

Avoid Religious Statements 

Religious statements can be another way of sugarcoating a situation.  Even if you know that person shares the same religious beliefs as you it can seem as though you are trying to put a bandaid over a bullet hole.  For example, telling someone “it is all a part of God’s plan” does not change the reality of their suffering and can infer they should be ok with what happened because God will work it out.    Some other statements that should be avoided are:

  • God never gives us more than we can handle
  • It was God’s will or this is what God wanted
  • Telling someone that something good will come out of this situation

It is also important to remember that during situations of grief people can wrestle with their beliefs, so you never know where they stand personally at that moment.

How Do You Help

You are off to a great start by thinking about what they need and avoiding these pitfalls.  So often we are overcome by someone’s sadness and want to stop their suffering.  We do this because we don’t like watching or being a part of that pain.  However, the best way to support them is to meet them where they are.  Meet them in the pain and give them a hug, cry with them, listen and offer specific help to meet their needs.  In the end, the best gift you can give them is your presence of loving them where they are.

If you found this helpful and want to move forward yourself or someone else to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseling.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

Posted by Shawn on  December 1, 2022
Category: Uncategorized

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety

You might be asking “What is exposure therapy?   Exposure therapy is used to help you face and work through your fears instead of avoiding them.  Imagine what you are most afraid of in life.  This could be a certain situation, activity, object or person.  Most of us  do everything we can to avoid the things we fear.  This is because we believe that the farther away we are the safer we feel.

Even though in moments we are able to avoid our fears, it is impossible to completely separate ourselves from things that make us panic.  In this blog I will describe the positive outcomes of exposure therapy, how it works and the types of anxiety it can be used for.  All of this in hopes of helping you discover if exposure therapy could be right for you?

Positive Effects

Exposure therapy can be very challenging.  As you start to reveal yourself to the thing you are most afraid of, it causes you to feel uncomfortable and anxious.  But exposure therapy is all about helping you be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Some positive effects you will see from exposure therapy is an increased self-confidence to face your fears, an increased ability to cope.  You can also take the power away from that which you previously feared because you have faced it.  The realization that it won’t hurt you or you won’t hurt it settles in and you have more peace.  This can happen quickly or over time depending on the depth of what you are dealing with.

How Exposure Therapy Works

There are four different types and three different paces that can be used for exposure therapy.

Types

  1. In Vivo exposure: when you are exposed to your fear in real life.
  • Example: Someone who is afraid of snakes would be asked to hold a snake
  1. Imaginal exposure: when you are exposed to your fear by thinking about it in detail with your therapist guiding you.
  • Example: Asked to describe and imagine driving a car after getting in a bad car accident
  1. Virtual reality exposure: This is using life-like technology to face your fears. It can be used when it is not realistic to use In-vivo exposure.
  • Example: If someone is afraid of heights
  1. Interoceptive exposure therapy: this is used for fears that have to do with physical sensations
  • Example: Dizziness, getting spinned around in a chair

Paces

  1. Graded: you gradually get exposed to the thing you are afraid of. Could start with looking at a picture of something and then move on to holding the object.
  2. Flooding: you get exposed to the greatest amount of your fear all at once. This is if you are having to face what you are afraid of on a daily basis.
  3. Systematic desensitization: this is exposing you to your fears and will also teach you relaxation techniques.

Types of Anxiety 

Exposure therapy can be used for many different types of anxiety. Some popular disorders that it has been successful in treating are phobias, panic disorders, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and separation anxiety.

Next Step 

If you or someone you love is being affected by anxiety and are looking for ways to help them overcome them then we are here to help.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists who are trained and will compassionately walk with you through these fears.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseling.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Defining Trauma

Trauma is your body’s response to an incident that was disturbing, distressing or life threatening. If you have encountered a traumatic event it is not abnormal to not have addressed the damage you received from this experience. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the symptoms from trauma because they can be subtle or severe. And not all trauma has to be a life threatening event or something extreme.  Being made fun of at school, losing your job, a fender bender can all be traumatic for some of us.

After an event you may feel as though you can’t live your life the same way you used to before the incident.  You keep trying to get back to your previous normal but you just can’t.   Leaving trauma untouched can create long term effects and other mental health issues.  It is important that you are able to recognize when you may need outside help battling unaddressed trauma in your life.

If you are experiencing any of the following it might be time to seek therapy.

Mental Effects of Trauma

If faced with some type of trauma you might be noticing a change in your thoughts or how you process different situations. For example, you could notice yourself becoming more forgetful or find yourself repeating things you have already said. At work you might have a harder time paying attention to the task assigned to you or communicating/collaborating with co-workers. Some other cognitive consequences you could be experiencing are flashbacks of the event or nightmares. These effects can be a direct result of your trauma and can be really frustrating, scary, and overwhelming.

Physical Effects of Trauma

Physical effects may be hard to identify because you don’t automatically match your nagging headache as a direct result of a traumatic event. But your body can tell you a lot by just looking at physical changes. Some physical effects of trauma are:

  • Fatigue
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Change of appetite
  • Getting sick more often
  • Strong startle response

Behavioral Effects of Trauma

Trauma can cause you to start behaving differently than you used to before the event. After experiencing a distressing incident paranoia might be at an all-time high. This could lead you to avoiding different places, people, or situations. You could find yourself becoming distant from family and friends or having a decreased hope for the future. Emotional difficulties can also be a direct result of behavioral changes. Examples of emotions you could be experiencing are anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, fear, depression, shock, etc.

Religious effects of Trauma

A traumatic experience can shatter and shake your religious beliefs. You might be experiencing a lot of doubt or questions towards God. When you feel as though your whole world is flipped upside down it is normal for you to question how something like this could happen. Your perception of His goodness or His plan might have changed due to the trauma you are facing.  Thankfully, you don’t have to tackle the confusion and uncertainty alone.

Next Steps

If you feel as though you might have trauma in your negatively impacting you, your relationships, job…Life then we can help.  The next natural step is to reach out by going to NewVisionCounseling.org or call (405) 921-7776 to start your journey towards healing today.

Anxiety can sometimes feel as though you have a giant cloud lingering over your head, no matter where you go it is there.  This might be something you have experienced for months or even years.  But living with anxiety is not something you have to do forever.  There are spiritual ways you can find freedom from your worries.

The Lord did not create you to live a life enslaved to your fears.  Sometimes when you have experienced anxiety for so long it starts to feel comfortable or normal.  You can begin to forget that anxiety is not a set part of your personality. This blog will go over spiritual steps you can take in order to cope with your anxiety.

Self-Care

Since your body has been given to you by God, it is your responsibility to take care of who you are mentally and physically.  This may sound like common sense but in our society it’s rare to find someone investing consistent time in true self care.  You may have read or heard the Scripture from 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 which says: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore we can immediately debunk the myth that self care is selfish. God actually wants you to take care of yourself.  And since your body is a temple then taking care of yourself is an act of worship.  And, when we take care of ourselves consistently then anxiety can start decreasing.

Here are some ways you can show yourself love through self care:

  • Be still and off all devices- spend time alone and with God
  • Get your body moving
  • Feed your body spiritually- read God’s word, pray for others, practice gratitude daily
  • Feed your body physically- eat and drink foods and beverages that fuel your body to perform and move you to better health.
  • Create a routine that is healthy for you
  • Share your anxieties with trusted others
  • Schedule formal and informal activities that bring you joy

Choose to be Vulnerable

As Christians we can sometimes feel shame when wrestling with something like anxiety. It helps to remember that you are human and suffering is part of what we all go through in different seasons.  Sharing your struggles with others can build community that walk with you in the good and in the hard times. These relationships are vital because you won’t be alone.  You will be there for them and they can be there for you.  These friends and family can pray for you and surround you with their love, support and encouragement.

Give it to God

Anxiety can distract you from building a relationship with God.  It can tempt you to take your trust off of God and place it in your abilities.  Have you ever heard it said “If it’s gonna be it’s up to me?”  This mentality promises control and in the short term you may gain some sense of security.  In the long run trusting in your abilities over God and his becomes a crushing weight and a burden that can create anxiety, depression and a host of other issues.  Therefore, when faced with anxiety it is important to focus on the truths and promises that God has given you. Here are some examples given to us in the Bible:

  • God is for you, not against you
  • God is sufficient and gives sufficiently
  • God knows you and loves you deeply
  • He never leaves you or forsakes you
  • He is in control
  • He listens to you
  • No matter what happens on earth God’s love and you win out in the end…Guaranteed!

Become aware of your own worries in your life and give them to God in these practical ways.   God promises that no fear that you face is either too big or too small for our Lord. If its important to you then its important to God.

Next Step

When struggling with anxiety, you never have to walk alone. If you are looking for someone who can walk with you both spiritually and emotionally, at New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have trained therapists that can do just that. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Lower your Anxiety in 3 Minutes

Posted by Shawn on  November 7, 2022

Do you often find yourself in situations where anxious thoughts have taken over your mind? It could be while you are in the midst of people, at home by yourself, or maybe the feeling just lurks with you throughout the day. In these moments it can feel as though your body’s reactions and thoughts are uncontrollable. For example, having a fast heart rate or sweaty palms. It can be quite frustrating having your body respond in ways you don’t want it to, but there are methods to put your anxiety at ease.

In this blog, I will go through a 3 minute deep breathing technique to do 3 times a day. The 4-7-8 breathing technique helps increase the body and mind connection. The exercise will help you watch the anxiety go down like the ocean’s tide, slow but steady.

Steps:

Step 1: Position

Sit or stand in a position where you feel comfortable. You want to have your shoulders down and your body straight up, nice and tall. Next, you want to relax your eyes and place your tongue behind your top front teeth. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

Step 2: Inhale 

Start to inhale for 4 seconds through your nose. Allow yourself to become aware of the air inflating your stomach as it moves closer to your spine.

Step 3: Hold your breath

After the 4 second inhale, hold your breath where it is at for 7 seconds.

Step 4: Exhale

Allow yourself to start exhaling slowly for an 8 count. Your exhale should be through your mouth and you will hear a “woosh” sound while doing it.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat this cycle 3-4 times in a row. Don’t do more than 4 until you start to become more comfortable because it can cause you to become lightheaded. Remember that consistency is key, the more you practice the technique the more likely you will have positive results.

Call to Action:

If you found this to be helpful and are interested in finding new and effective ways to treat your anxiety we can help. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk beside you as you become the best version of yourself. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org for help with anxiety or any other issues you are facing. We look forward to meeting you!

Rebuilding Your Life After Trauma

Posted by Shawn on  November 7, 2022

I recently worked with a client who experienced a great deal of trauma in his life.  The betrayal and pain he experienced from the people closest to him made him believe that he would never be able to move forward.  No matter what he did to get free he remained paralyzed by his past.  Fast forward to today.  He has created a new life for himself that he never thought was possible.  Through counseling and continuing to show up to life he has created something new.   He created a life full of hope, joy, and fresh beginnings.  A life he previously thought was only for other people who didn’t have severe trauma.  The good news… This is also possible for YOU!

When faced with trauma it can often feel as though you will be defined by it forever.  In this blog I will identify ways that you can create a beautiful life beyond the trauma that you have experienced.

Find Ways to Love Yourself

Trauma often does a good job at making you forget parts of yourself that you once loved. Discovering things that fill you up can help rebuild your life.  Imagine your perfect day from start to finish.  What would that look like for you?  Who is with you?  What activities are you engaging in?  After answering these questions, start to integrate these aspects into your everyday life.  Maybe it means playing a sport or an instrument, spending time with friends, or spending the day reading a good book.  Let yourself be present each day and find things that bring you joy.

Find a Community 

Finding a group of people who love and support you can make a huge difference when you have experienced traumatic events.  You need individuals in your life who are going to encourage and respect the journey you are on.  Think about the people who are feeding into your life right now.  Are they lifting you up?  If you answered no, then it is time to make some changes in your community.  Some ways you can do this are by joining a church group, finding a therapist, or looking for positive relationships to add into your life.

Embrace Forgiveness 

Forgiving someone or yourself can be an unbearably hard act that seems almost impossible at times.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you, but it means letting go of feelings such as resentment or revenge that you might be holding on to.  As Christians we have been called to forgive one another because Jesus has forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32 says, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  God never said that this would be easy, but it is a step in the direction of living a life of emotional and spiritual freedom.

Next Steps

If you have experienced trauma and are looking to build a life full of freedom, joy, and hope we are here to help.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

When walking through grief it is helpful to know that it is going to come and go like waves. One day the water might be up to your neck, feeling as though you can’t catch a breath and will drown. Other days the waves will feel much smaller. And just like the storms in the ocean, grief can be unpredictable. Even though it is unpredictable, there are ways you can be proactive in going through your grief journey.

Identifying Coping Strategies

One way to find useful coping skills is being able to identify your triggers. This could be something such as a person, place, song, or a special day.  For example, I have seen Christmas time being a trigger because it was so special for the mom and her daughter.  Knowing this was a trigger helped her be extra aware of the steps she needs to take around that time of year.  Steps to surround herself with friends and family that were sensitive to her sadness and knew how to love her in her pain.

During this blog, I will go through how having a written plan is helpful when faced with triggers.  This can help calm you down when you are clouded with unrelenting emotions.  Answering these 3 questions will help you identify useful coping strategies.

What can you do?

When faced with a difficult reminder of your loss, it can be important to know what you can do to help yourself.  Take a few moments now to think of actions that bring you any form of relief.  This could be as big or small as you want it to be.   Having these written down can help you quickly identify steps to take in situations where you are overwhelmed by grief.  Some examples are:

  • Reading a book or verse that brings you comfort
  • Writing in a journal
  • Exercising
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Eating a favorite food at a restaurant
  • Going outside to a special place

    Where can you go?

Next, be able to know places where you can go when faced with a trigger.  Having safe places is vital for your mental health.  This should be an area where you feel comforted and safe to express how you are feeling.  For some this could be a place of community such as their Church. For others, it might be a quiet location such as your favorite walking trail or a home with family and friends.

  Who can you talk to?

When grieving it sometimes feels like no one is there or no one will fully understand what you are facing.  Don’t let grief isolate you from the people who love and care about you.  In these moments embrace the individuals who will let you fully express how you are feeling. In this moment, write out a list of people you can call or visit when faced with difficult reminders.  If no one comes to mind or you don’t feel comfortable confiding with someone close to you there is another option.   For many struggling with grief, talking to a therapist can be a great next step.

If this is something you are interested in exploring as you navigate through your grief journey, you can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We would love to be someone you can talk to and walk with as you face new and lasting reminders of your loss. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

How Do I Stop Feeling So Worried?

Posted by Shawn on  October 26, 2022

If you are reading this there is a good chance that you are experiencing some type of worry or anxiety in your life. This might be caused by work, financial issues, relationship problems, anticipation of a diagnosis, etc. There are so many aspects of life that can cause us to worry, it might even feel never ending. You might feel as though right when you start feeling at peace about one issue you turn around and there is something else getting thrown at you.

If you have ever encountered this feeling or are currently battling it, you know how exhausting and overwhelming worry can be. The good news is that worry can be stopped.  You don’t have to live a life of constant anticipation. There are ways that you can physically, mentally, and spiritually cope with life’s worries.

  • Physically

There are some physical actions that you can do when you are feeling an worried.

One is to go outside and move your body by doing some form of exercise. This could be walking your dog, lifting weights, or bike.  This will help your body release feel good chemicals called dopamine that will elevate your mood.  It will also give you a sense of accomplishment.  And even if it’s a small boost of feeling good that is better than letting anxiety torment you.

Another physical action you can do is focus on your senses. Find 5 things you can touch, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Becoming aware of your breathing is also a good one. When you start to slow your breathing down it decreases both your heart rate and blood pressure. A decrease in those will result in reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood.  And that equals less worry.

Lastly, make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.   Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. This will help you think more clearly and elevate your mood as well.

  • Mentally

There are ways that you can mentally challenge your anxious thoughts when you are feeling overwhelmed. One way to do that is talk to a trusted friend.  Someone who can validate your feelings, listen to you, and help bring logic into your emotional thought processes.  Another helpful tool is journaling.  This can give you an outlet to release all anxious thoughts and prioritize them.  Also, finding a therapist that is a good fit for you can help you learn different ways to identify and work through the issues that contribute to your anxiety.

  • Spiritually 

When you are experiencing anxious thoughts, God wants to be there for you. He wants to hear your frustration, confusion, and fears. He wants all of you.

Philippians 4:6 says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Giving your trust to the Lord and knowing that His plan is GOOD, can help release the fear and control that you are trying to have over the outcomes of your life.

If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

 

Practical Tips to Setting Boundaries

Posted by Shawn on  October 26, 2022
Category: Uncategorized

Setting boundaries can seem like an intimidating task especially if you are used to putting your own well-being in the backseat of your life. Without personal boundaries you might feel as though you are overwhelmed by the needs of others and unable to prioritize what you need. This may result in feeling anxiety, guilt, shame, depression, or an unrealistic amount of responsibility for the person or problems.

Since boundaries can seem like a big scary monster that is hard to tackle, we will walk through practical tips when setting boundaries. These tips will give you a realistic outline when trying to figure out what is best for YOU.

Self-Reflect and Gain Perspective

A good starting point is finding a place of self-reflection. This may be uncomfortable for you at the beginning, but it is a great way of identifying areas of your life where boundaries may be beneficial. Spend some time alone evaluating the areas in your life where you feel drained or your needs aren’t getting met. Understand what is happening within you.

Once you spend time gaining perspective it will give you a good idea of where you need to start. For example, let’s say after self-reflection you identify that your relationship with your mother is draining any possible free time you have for yourself. You would then be able to start thinking of boundaries you can set in order to gain back some of your freedom.

Be realistic 

Once you are ready to start setting boundaries, it is important to be realistic at the beginning. You don’t want to set too many boundaries where you are unable to uphold them or there are too many changes at one time. It is okay to start small and work your way to bigger boundaries as you become more confident. Sticking with the mom scenario, that might mean only answering one phone call a day from her instead of the five times she usually calls to just talk.

Be consistent 

Being consistent is vital because it shows an individual and yourself that you are serious about upholding the boundaries that you set.  Being consistent also helps you and others learn a new way to function in your relationship.  You are teaching yourself and them that you are worthy and that your time and emotions are valuable and need to be cared for.

Set boundaries face to face

If possible, set boundaries in person with someone. This can give you space and time to say what you need to say without distractions. This also allows everyone involved to read body language and facial expressions. When you call or text it is hard to understand or interpret all types of communication. Face to face conversations leave less room for misunderstandings and shows them you value the relationship.

Find an accountability partner

Lastly, find someone in your life that will hold you accountable to your boundaries. This could be a friend, family member, or a counselor.  This person can be anyone who knows the situation and is able to be honest and direct with you.

If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

How to Stop Spiraling Thoughts

Posted by Shawn on  October 26, 2022

Spiraling thoughts are something that all of us have experienced at some point. You start with one negative thought and after a couple minutes your mind is filled with a hoard of worse-case scenarios. When you are going through this it can feel like you have lost control of your mind and body.  It can be both exhausting and terrifying at the same time.

In these moments it feels as if it will never end.  Thankfully,  there are ways to interrupt these thought processes.  In this world we can’t expect that we won’t encounter negative thoughts on a daily basis but we can develop skills to decrease the effects they have on us.  Try these 3 techniques this week and let us know how effective they are for you.

Become Aware

When you have spiraling moments, being aware of the thoughts and identifying them can help you separate yourself from the scenario you have created in your mind. Ask yourself if this thought is realistic or not and if it holds any truth. Just because it’s a thought that crossed your mind doesn’t mean it’s true or even logical.

A way you can judge the merit of a thought is by trying to picture how you would talk to a friend if they came to you with the same scenario. How would you speak to them? What would you tell them? Would you validate their fear?

Compare to Past Experiences 

Thinking of past experiences can help decrease the fear of a spiraling thought. For example, let’s say that the spiraling thought process is this:

    I have a sore throat and fever
    The Doctor is going to tell me I have to go to the hospital
    If I go to the hospital then I am going to have to stay the night
    If I stay the night then I won’t be able to pay for the hospital bills and will go bankrupt.

In this moment one thought has spiraled into four negative thoughts. Instead of letting the thought process get that far along, you can stop and remember the last time you had a sore throat and a fever. Walk through that experience and think of the likelihood of other options happening.

Change Your Anxiety Routine

No matter if you are aware of it or not, everyone has an anxiety routine. It is how we react to anxiety induced thoughts or situations. It is important to recognize if the routine you have right now is helping you or giving you more anxiety.

Right now your anxiety routine might be internalizing your thoughts and sitting in your fear. Recognizing if your routine is helping you can be beneficial when you start to spiral.

Here are a few helpful actions you can take add to your routine when experiencing anxiety:

  • Talk to a friend
  • Go outside
  • Take a walk or exercise
  • Find a quick distraction- watch a show/read a book/call a friend
  • Breathing exercises
  • Find a therapist to help you address the source and walk you through how to implement helpful techniques selected uniquely for you.
  • If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

What is Trauma Bonding

Posted by Shawn on  September 28, 2022
Category: Trauma Bonding

Have you ever experienced trauma bonding?  Are you in a toxic relationship and others are telling you to leave but you feel stuck or confused?  And when you try to leave you feel guilty or can’t stop thinking about getting back with them?  These are some of the common symptoms of trauma bonding.

Trauma bonding is a strong attachment between an abuser and an abused person. The reason this attachment is formed is a result of the cycle of violence. The cycle of violence is tension building, event, reconciliation, and calmness. The abuser can twist exhilaration, terror, sexual physiology, and sexual affection to confuse your perception of the situation or abuse.

It is important that you are aware of some of the signs of trauma bonding in order to get the help you need.

Signs of Trauma Bonding

  • You feel stuck in the relationship and can’t find a way out
  • When you try to leave you long for that person afterwards
  • You worry about doing something that will set your abuser off
  • You fear they’ll hurt themselves if you end the relationship
  • The people around you don’t support the relationship
  • You will get “punished” by your abuser for doing something wrong
  • You live confused and anxious about what to do

Why Does It Happen?

One reason that trauma bonding occurs is because you become addicted to the hormonal roller coaster that the abuse brings. You start getting used to the ups and downs and your brain starts to crave it. Even though the abuse is horrible at the moment; the reconciliation between you and your abuser makes you feel as though you are in love. This makes it very hard for you to leave and when you do leave your brain desires the back and forth, so you start to long for that person again.

Since others are unable to understand your situation it also makes you become very isolated from your friends and family. Your relationships with people start to look different and you will likely become isolated and feel alone.  This gives you another reason to cling to your abuser because they may feel like all you have left.

3 Ways to Move Forward

If after reading this you have found that you are currently experiencing a trauma bond with someone, there are ways to get out of it. You are NOT stuck in this relationship. You CAN create a better life for yourself.

Find a Therapist

One way to start moving forward is to find a therapist that will help you process the abuse you have been experiencing and help you find ways to heal. Therapy can also look like finding a support group that will help you see that you are not alone in this experience. In those groups you will realize you are not the only one suffering like this.  That there are other people that are struggling to break a trauma bond between their abuser.

Journal the Abuse

Start journaling about your abuse, your relationship, the grief that is occuring, how hard it is to let go,  or any emotion that you are experiencing at the moment.  Be specific about the event including times, dates, what they did.  This will help you feel more sane and become more equipped to battle thoughts and accusations that you are the problem and other lies.

Find Support

Look for people, churches and organizations that will support your decision to break free of the trauma bond.  You can do this with certain friends, some family members, pastors at church and therapists to name a few.  This is vital for you to break free and stay free.  This along with continued therapy can hold you accountable to break free and stay free!

If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Have you ever wondered; ”Does anyone else have these kinds of thoughts?”  Thoughts like “They didn’t call back so I must have done something wrong to upset them.”  Or, consider what thoughts you have when someone gives you a compliment?  Do you think something like; “They wouldn’t say I was a good mother if they saw how many times I yelled at my kids?”  If these sound familiar, they are just two examples of cognitive distortions.

Cognitive Distortions

Irrational or exaggerated thought patterns are often referred to as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions can be formed in ways such as trying to cope with difficult life events or when you are attempting to have increased control over your circumstances. These thoughts can be hurtful to your mental health as they may result in depression, anxiety, or elevated stress just to name a few.

Examples of Cognitive Distortions

  • All or nothing thinking- seeing situations with no middle ground
  • Overgeneralization – applying a result from one event to all other events
  • Filtering – focusing only on negative aspects 
  • Disqualifying the positive- rejecting positive things about yourself
  • Jumping to conclusions- believing that you know what a person is thinking
  • Magnification- blowing things out of proportion
  • Emotional reasoning- believing that a negative thought reflects something true
  • “Should’ statements- “I should be better at my job by now”
  • Catastrophizing- imagining the worst possible outcome

How Can You Take Power Over These Thoughts?

These thoughts can be frustrating and hard to recognize when you have spent a lot of your time believing that they are rational. For example, if you struggle with “should statements” you might be subconsciously telling yourself that you “should” be doing this or “should” be better at that consistently throughout your day. The good news is that there are ways that you can change your negative thought patterns.

3 Ways You CAN Change your Thoughts

  • 1. Become Aware of Your Thoughts
  • Becoming aware of your own cognitive distortions is a great way to decrease negative thinking. You could do this by keeping a journal of your thoughts and writing them down as you experience them. Another way you could do this is by sharing your thoughts with a trusted person such as a friend, family member, or therapist. Becoming aware of these thoughts equips you to actively decide if you believe these thoughts to be “TRUth” or “lies”.

  • Challenge the Thoughts
  • Challenging your negative thoughts is another good way to change them. You can challenge your thoughts by asking yourself a series of questions. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

    Questions to Challenge Negative Thoughts

    • Is this a fact or my opinion?
    • What evidence is there to support this thought?
    • Why am I certain of these outcomes?
    • What is the worst that could happen?
    • How would I cope with the worst case scenario?

    These types of questions can help you think more logically about a situation and help decrease the likelihood of spiraling downward.

  • Reframing Your Thoughts 
  • Reframing is being able to take your cognitive distortions and challenge them in another direction.   Instead of allowing the negative thoughts to dominate, you choose to reframe them with the positive potential. It not only changes your perception of the situation, but also changes the meaning of the thought for yourself. You can reframe your thinking by actively doing it in your head, doing it outloud, or on a piece of paper. For example, let’s say that you are struggling with disqualifying the positive. The thought that may be occurring for you is “I only got that job promotion because another person turned it down.” You would reframe this thought by saying something such as “I got that job promotion because I give my best every day and always meet my deadlines.” By doing this you are able to take power over your negative thoughts.

    If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

    3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

    Posted by Shawn on  September 28, 2022
    Category: Setting Boundaries

    3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

    Most of us at some time in our life will have trouble setting boundaries with family, friends, employers or even with the family dog.  This could look like you going to Christmas with in laws who are toxic.  Neither of you want to go but you do because your in laws are great at manipulating you through guilt.  Or what about the boss who gives you too much work and has too high of expectations…and at the last minute puts high pressure on you to get it done?  Does any of this sound familiar?

    If you think about it, Setting Boundaries is a type of self-care.  It is a way of telling yourself and others that your needs are important. Without boundaries in your life, you are constantly having to sacrifice your own well-being in order to keep the peace within your relationships. This can cause you to feel drained, misunderstood, and unappreciated.

    If you are unable to set and keep healthy boundaries you may feel overwhelmed, used and feel stuck and uncertain of what to do. When you have a history of letting people dictate your actions, feelings, and emotions it can be difficult to step away from those tendencies.  The good news is You CAN do it.  Identifying what is standing in your way can be your first step in creating healthy boundaries in your life.   Read on to discover three barriers that may be keeping you stuck.

    3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

    1. Fear

    One barrier that might be standing in your way when creating boundaries is fear.

    There are a variety of things that might make you fearful when creating healthy boundaries with others. The first one is the fear of rejection. You might be afraid that this person will no longer want to be in your life or will no longer need you after setting boundaries with them.

    You might also be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, if you set boundaries with this individual it might cause them to be upset. If this is something that you fear, try this next time.   Remind yourself that you are not in control of their reaction.  And thankfully, you are not responsible for their emotions or for making them feel better.  The most loving thing you can do is set boundaries so you can show up to life and relationships as the most healthy version of yourself.  And setting boundaries is loving for you and for them.  You are educating them and yourself that you both have value and what you will and will not tolerate.   And, you can do this in a respectful and loving way most of the time.

    1. Guilt 

    Your own guilt could be standing in your way when setting boundaries. For example, there might be someone who is struggling in life and you feel like you need to be there for them. Just because you set boundaries doesn’t mean you can’t support them.  It might look different then what they are used to but, in this case, you are valuing yourself as well.  To make steady progress, It’s important that you do not let the other person’s resistance to your boundaries stop you.

    1. You Don’t Know Where to Start

    Not knowing where to begin can keep you from forming healthy boundaries. When you are not used to setting boundaries with others it might feel unnatural, confusing, and overwhelming.

    Practical Tips to Setting Boundaries

    • Writing them down can give you a clear outlook and can be used as a guide when having a conversation with a person.
    • Set a specific time to have this conversation. This will help you follow through with it and not have to feel rushed or as though you are blind siding someone.
    • Another helpful tip is to have an accountability partner. This is someone who is aware of the boundaries you have set and is willing to hold you to them.
    • Lastly, don’t be afraid or surprised if you have to reiterate your boundaries.

    Be patient with yourself and remember that your needs and wants are important.

    If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

     

    How Anxiety Affects Your Relationships

    Posted by Shawn on  September 12, 2022
    Category: Uncategorized

    As a human you were designed by God to pursue and desire close relationships with others. As you are reading, think about the person you depend on most in your life. This might be a spouse, best friend, sibling, or parent. Now think about how you feel when that relationship is in turmoil. It is a dreadful feeling. Even though you desire close relationships it does not mean they are always easy to maintain. Anxiety can affect how you communicate, sustain and connect with your most valued relationships.

    If you have struggled with anxiety you know how it can overwhelm how you feel, think, and act. In close relationships it is common for you to experience anxiety. Right about now you may be asking-”Why”? A few reasons are because the thought of losing that person, their affections, approval… can bring you great amounts of physical and emotional distress.

    Two ways anxiety can manifest in your relationships are becoming overly dependent on that person or distancing yourself from them. These actions are on two different ends of the spectrum but are both unhealthy ways to cope with the unknowns in your relationship.

    Overly Dependent

    Being overly dependent on a person can look like many different things. You might be feeling as though you could not live without this person’s love and support. Here are some examples you may be able to identify within your own relationships:

    • Overthinking
    • Replaying past conversations in your head
    • Wanting constant communication and feeling lost and desperate when you don’t get it
    • Need for excessive reassurance
    • Unable to be alone and at peace
    • Planning for the worst case scenario

    Avoidance

    On the other hand, your anxiety might motivate you to distance yourself from a close relationship. The common underlying belief is that the less you are deeply known the less you can be deeply hurt. You might feel as though you are the only person you can depend on. And although a big part of you may want to grow closer to that person; the fear of getting hurt stops you. Here are some signs that you may be avoiding intimacy.

    • Not wanting to be vulnerable about your inner thoughts and feelings
    • Fear of and refusal to make a true commitment
    • Making important decisions alone
    • Sending mixed signals
    • Withholding love and affection

    This is Me .. HELP!

    If you feel like you just read a blog about you I want you to know there is hope. Maintaining close relationships can be challenging; especially when you’re experiencing anxiety. The good news is you have already taken at least one step towards better by researching how your anxiety could be affecting your relationships. If you are ready to work through the anxiety and grow closer to the people you love, then reach out today. We can help you uncover the issues keeping you stuck and help you create a path of healing and growth moving forward. A path that includes loving relationships where you are loved and deeply known. We would consider it a privilege to walk alongside you in discovering how to work through the anxiety and strengthen your relationships.

    You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Written by Darby Hargrove and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who consistently help their clients achieve life changing results. Because of their success in helping clients heal and come alive they are currently the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in Oklahoma.

    Setting Boundaries to Reduce Stress

    Posted by Shawn on  September 12, 2022
    Category: Uncategorized

    Have you ever felt as though stress is following you? It keeps popping up in all different areas of your life. Have you ever considered this stress is created from your lack of personal boundaries? Before I understood the purpose and value of boundaries; I just assumed they only had to do with others. I thought boundaries were the rules and regulations that you put on others. Can you relate? This led to disappointment because at the end of the day you can’t control what other people say or do. Boundaries are about you, they give you the freedom to make your own decisions and gain control of your life. You deserve to live a life where you are in the driver’s seat.

    Boundaries can decrease your stress because it is a way of taking care of yourself. How many times have you said “yes” to something or someone because you were scared of what that person may think of you? I know I am WAY too guilty of this. Imagine if you stopped overextending yourself to others.

    The next time you find yourself stressing out, you may want to ask this question. What parts of my life are giving me the most stress. Then you will have a better idea if you are allowing people, projects or even FOMO to control those stressed out parts of your life. The following are just a few areas where you may find it helpful to set healthy boundaries to reduce your stress.

    Emotional boundaries

    Emotional boundaries keep you from taking on the feelings of someone or the expectation that it is your responsibility to fix them. Is there a person that you lack emotional boundaries with? Maybe you feel as though you are always the giver and never the taker. Maybe you have trouble declining this person’s calls or saying no when they tell you to come over. You might feel as though this person depends on you to function or that you have to take responsibility for their actions.

    Time Boundaries

    Time boundaries can help you know your limits when interacting with and doing things for others. If you don’t have clearly defined boundaries on your time, then you are choosing to let others determine them for you. And that gives people the opportunity to take advantage of you. For example, let’s say your best friend asks you to babysit her kids. No problem right? Except she didn’t give you any notice and she asked you to watch them at least 2 times per week. Up to now, you almost always say yes. You say yes because you know she has to work late and you don’t want to let her down. Even though you feel this is the right thing to do, it is making your life more stressful. One boundary you could set within yourself is telling your friend that moving forward you won’t be able to babysit unless she gives you one week’s notice.

    Financial Boundaries

    Financial boundaries can be challenging, especially in your family. You might feel that you have a financial obligation to a parent or an adult child. In these situations, resentment could be growing towards this person. You want to be able to support and care for them, but it is causing your own family financial stress because of it. With financial boundaries, you are able to still give to your loved ones without disabling your own life. For example, you could set up a budget for an appropriate amount of money that you are able to give each month. This could be called your benevolence fund.

    Ways to Set Boundaries

    Setting boundaries is not always easy, but it is important for your mental health and well-being. It gives you the opportunity to make decisions that are right for you. You can still be giving with your time, money, and emotions without constantly sacrificing your emotional, physical and spiritual well being. Choose to press through the fear of having tough conversations. Conversations where you teach people the way you want to be treated. Here are a few ways to set boundaries:

    • Clearly and quickly communicate your boundaries to others
    • Choose to work through the fear of saying the word “no”
    • Find an accountability partner
    • Identify actions that are deal-breakers for you
    • Learn to let go of guilt

    If you are ready to stop feeling anxious from the stress of not setting Healthy boundaries then we are HERE for YOU. You do not have to walk this road alone. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at https://www.newvisioncounseling.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    3 MYTHS ABOUT GRIEF

    Posted by Shawn on  September 1, 2022
    Category: MYTHS ABOUT GRIEF

    If you have not personally experienced grief before, you will at some point because loss is a painful part of this life. When you grieve someone or something it can impact every part of you. Grief can affect your physical health, behavior, spiritual beliefs, social life, emotions and your cognitive functioning. Depending on the significance of your loss; no part of you would remain untouched. This looks different for each of us and these factors Don’t have a specific duration or intensity.

    If you are someone who has experienced grief before you might have heard or been told various misconceptions on what grief should look like for you. These myths might have left you feeling confused, misunderstood, and alone as you try to navigate through a significant loss in your life. This blog will go over various myths about grief that have been turned into facts over the years.

    Myth #1: There is a Specific Sequence of Emotions for Grief

    Most of you have probably heard of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You might have been told that once you get through one phase you move to the next until you are “healed”. Unfortunately, the journey of grief is not that easy to define. We are all unique individuals and thus we will have our own unique journey through the pain of grief. Not everyone is going to experience all of these emotions as they are grieving, and some people may experience each of these more than once.

    Everyone’s healing process looks different. For example, two siblings were grieving their mother’s death. One sibling over the span of three years, had waves of anger pop in and out of her life. The other one never experienced anger but spent the majority of the first year depressed. Neither of these individuals were grieving incorrectly. The important rule in grief is that you discover a personalized path to work through grief in a way that is healthy and right for you.

    Myth #2: Grief has a Deadline

    Warden’s Task of Mourning explains how there are no checkpoints to grief and that it is more of a fluctuating process. You learn to embrace a new lifestyle without the person, job, pet or whatever you have lost. Grief does not have a specific time where it will just stop. Instead, you learn how to cope, manage, and live with the loss you endured. Throughout your life grief will come and go, but it does not mean that you have not made progress towards healing.

    There is a 23-year old woman that had her spouse suddenly die in a car accident. 5 years later she struggled with the guilt that came from still grieving his death. She had moved on and was now dating someone new, but never understood why she still had grieving periods. So how did she get help? She began identifying her triggers, finding ways to cope with those triggers, and being able to honor him in her new relationship helped her release the guilt she had been experiencing.

    Myth #3: Grief is Harder on Women than Men

    There are multiple stereotypes that come along with grief, one of them being that men do not experience grief the same way that women experience it. It is not surprising that this is a stereotype considering that we live in a society where if men are emotional it has traditionally been perceived as weakness.

    No matter if you are a man,woman or identify as someone else, all of us need to accept permission to walk through grief in our own way. It is important that you see a grieving individual as a person and not as their gender. One way that one can be more empathetic to men that are grieving is becoming aware of our own personal biases and stereotypes. And if you are a man, giving yourself permission to be sad and to show emotion in ways that are healthy for you.

    If you would like someone to help walk with you and guide you in your grief journey we are here. You do not have to walk this road alone. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Written by Darby Hargrove and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who help their clients achieve life changing results. Because of their success in helping clients heal and come alive they are currently the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in Oklahoma.

    3 Ways to Manage Anxiety

    Posted by Shawn on  September 1, 2022
    Category: Manage Anxiety

    If you are reading this there is a good chance that either you or someone you love struggles with anxiety. The feeling of anxiety or panic can often decrease your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally. Anxious thoughts can be difficult to control as your mind begins to spiral in all different directions.

    Anxiety in your life may manifest in many different ways. For instance, it could be the feeling of restlessness, having a sense of impending danger, or even muscle tension. Once you recognize the signs in your life, you can learn how to cope with them. This can include lifestyle changes, adapting mindfulness techniques, or talking with a counselor.

    Lifestyle

    Some simple lifestyle changes can go a long way when coping with anxiety. For example, making exercise a part of your daily routine. This does not mean you have to incorporate a 10-mile run into your schedule. Exercise does not equal athleticism; anyone can find something they enjoy. It could be as simple as taking your dog on a walk or joining a beginner’s yoga class. Exercise stimulates production of both serotonin and endorphins which helps your mood and releases stress.

    Another lifestyle change that could help reduce anxiety is limiting screen time. We live in a world where we can be connected to the people around us in seconds. This can lead us to compare our achievements, relationships, and self-image to what we see on social media. This comparison can cause us to feel inadequate and unworthy because we don’t feel we measure up. One way to combat this is to make sure the social platforms you use our helping and not hurting you. Another strategy is you choosing to set time limits on your phone for social media or if you want to get next level help then choosing to delete the apps can be a game changer. In counseling for depression and anxiety this can be very effective.

    Some other lifestyle changes that can help manage anxiety are developing healthier eating habits, avoiding or limiting alcohol, and getting longer and better quality sleep.

    Mindfulness Techniques

    Mindfulness techniques can be a great way of managing your anxiety. You might be asking; what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the state where you focus your full attention on something. Anxiety can be reduced by focusing on the present, instead of what happened in the past or fearing what may happen in the future.

    One tool that I like to use when being mindful is the acronym S.T.O.P. The S stands for stop what you are doing and put things down for a minute. T is for taking a deep breath. The O is for observing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. P stands for proceeding with something that will support you in the moment. For example; if I am panicking about a big test this is how I would use S.T.O.P. .

    • S–I would put down my study materials.
    • T–Focus on my breath going in and out.
    • O–Understand that my thoughts about failing the test are not facts.
    • P–For my support I would call my best friend.

    Talk Therapy

    Talk therapy can be wonderful when managing stress or anxiety. A popular type of talk therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) which helps you understand the idea that our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions all affect one another. CBT can be useful when experiencing anxiety because it helps us become aware of anxious patterns and what fuels the anxiety. When you identify what is triggering you and how then you can move forward with changing the pattern from anxiety to peace.

    You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org for help with anxiety or any other issues you are facing. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Written by Darby Hargrove (counseling intern) and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who are exceptional at helping their clients achieve life changing results. Because their clients consistently achieve incredible results they are the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in the state of Oklahoma.

    The 3 G’s when Coping with Stress

    Posted by Shawn on  September 1, 2022
    Category: Coping with Stress

    Stress is inevitable for all of us and it can come from various areas of our lives. You may have pressure at work, relationship problems, or financial deadlines that feel like they are crushing you. There is no denying the mental, physical, and emotional toll stress can have on our mind, body and heart.

    Pressure in our lives can put us in “flight or fight” mode where we feel anxious and out of control when faced with stressful situations. In those situations it is helpful to accept that we cannot control distressing circumstances happening to us. What is in our power is how we cope with them.

    There are so many ways to handle stress and the three I am going to share are by no means an exhaustive list. They are, however, an opportunity for you to start using them to reduce the toxic affect stress is can have on you and your life.

    The three coping mechanisms are practicing gratitude, being aware of the people in your life, and spending time outside.

    Gratitude

    When faced with an overwhelming circumstance it is easy to get tunnel vision and only focus on that one thing. One way you can cope with stressful situations is reminding yourself of people and areas of your life that you are thankful for. This is not easy when you feel like you can’t catch a break, but it can bring your focus and energy towards the positive aspects in your life.

    Some people find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal in order to make it a part of their daily routine. Others will make a list in their note’s app or simply say them in their mind. This doesn’t take much time. And it can help ground you in the positives in your life instead of constantly being consumed by only the stressful areas.

    Example of a gratitude list:

    • Family dinners
    • The ability to feel emotions
    • Health
    • Friendship
    • Relationships (write down names)
    • Cuddling with my dog
    • Car to drive

    The list can be as simple as the example above. This will help you reflect and put your attention on positive aspects in your life that may be taken for granted on a daily basis.

    Groups of people

    Another way you can cope with stress in your life is by being aware of the people you surround yourself with. Are the groups of people in your life building you up or draining your energy? It’s important to identify individuals who are uplifting and that you can count on in difficult times. In stressful moments, a healthy relationship can be a breath of fresh air. A toxic or draining relationship can be…toxic and draining.

    If you feel that you do not have people in your life who are rejuvenating, it might be time to find a new community. There are a couple ways you could do this: join a new club or organization, get involved in a Church group, or volunteer. This can help you expand your horizons and find like minded individuals.

    Get Outside

    Getting outdoors can both decrease your heart rate and lower your stress-hormone, cortisol. This can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood or going on a bike ride at your nearest park. Being outside or in nature can help focus your senses on different sources of energy.

    Think about places you have been that have had natural beauty. Think of vacations, walks by water, sitting on beaches and watching the waves. God designed us to reset and relax when we experience the beauty of His creation. It’s how we are designed.

    For example, you could focus on different trees or flowers, the sound of the birds chirping, or watching the sunset or rise. Our mind and soul benefit from a relationship with nature and it helps us take a step back from life’s fast paced tempo. The more consistently you use these three coping strategies the more impact they will consistently have on your life.

    If you would like to connect and find out more ways to cope with stress and the overwhelm and anxiety that often accompanies it then please reach out. We would consider it a privilege to walk alongside you in discovering how to cope with stress, heal wounds and accomplish your goals.

    You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Written by Darby Hargrove and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who help their clients achieve life changing results. Because of the incredible results they help clients achieve they are currently the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in the state of Oklahoma.

    How to Support a Loved One Who is Grieving

    Posted by Shawn on  September 1, 2022
    Category: grief counseling

    When someone you love is grieving it can be heartbreaking to watch. We automatically want to do anything we can to make their pain more bearable. In these moments, sometimes what you do can be more meaningful than what you say. Many times we put pressure on ourselves to say the “right” things. We often do this because we feel uncomfortable and want their pain to stop. And as great as that sounds, we do not have the ability to do that. Instead, we can support them. We can do this by validating the pain they are in without judgment, just listen and DON’T correct them when they speak. We can empathize with their situation and be physically present to meet practical needs. People who are grieving are often hurting so much they become disoriented and may not know what they need. You can make clear suggestions and see if anything you suggest would be helpful for them.

    Acknowledge

    Acknowledge that their pain is real and the feelings and thoughts they have around it. Remember, this is a time to love and support instead of confront and correct. If they are grieving a loved one, give them a safe place to share memories and express their feelings. Another way you can support them in their pain is by offering to help with a specific task. People who are grieving are often hurting so much they become disoriented and may not know what they need. And many people will try to be supportive by asking the person in pain: “Let me know if I can do anything for you.” Instead of using vague phases, try asking if you can assist them with a particular burden. That might be bringing them dinner, cleaning up around their house, or helping with funeral arrangements.

    Active Listening

    Active listening is a great way to show support to someone who is grieving. When someone we love is grieving, a common response is to try to make them feel better or “fix them.” Even though we do this out of love and kindness it can be hurtful, especiall with a death. Those who are hurting because they lost someone don’t need advice. Instead, they will often need you to sit and listen without interrupting or judging them.

    Nonverbal communication is a big part of active listening. A couple ways you can show your support is by making eye contact, nodding your head, and being aware of your facial expressions. Refuse to say things like “OK”, “I understand” and any other one word answer that can feel like you are diminishing their pain. These are all simple gestures that can go a long way when it comes to supporting a loved one who has experienced a significant loss.

    Empathize

    A big part of being empathetic is being honest and vulnerable with the person you are talking to. It is easy to get empathy and sympathy confused when you are supporting someone who is in pain. Empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another person and connect with parts of yourself that know that feeling. It is making an effort to place yourself in their shoes. Sympathy is showing feelings of pity or sorrow on someone or their circumstances. An example of sympathy would be giving a person flowers and a card after their mom has passed away. Empathy on the other hand would be taking the perspective of that person, staying out of judgment, and being able to recognize and emotionally validate their feelings.

    Normalize

    Normalizing a person’s experience can bring them a great deal of comfort. When someone is encountering grief, they might be having thoughts and emotions that they never knew were possible. Validating these emotions can help bring acceptance to their grief experience. An example of this could be telling a person “I can see how after what happened you would feel that way.” Another instance could be saying something such as “It makes sense that you are angry with God after losing your brother in a car accident.” These statements show the individual that their thoughts are part of the grieving process and okay.

    The bottom line is that everyone has a unique grief journey. Whether you are in Oklahoma City, Edmond or Japan it will be unique to that person. You have an opportunity to come alongside and be a student of what they need. This could be one of the hardest parts of their life and the love and support you give could make all the difference.

    If you would like someone to help walk with you and guide you in your grief journey we are here. You do not have to walk this road alone. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Written by Darby Hargrove and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who help their clients achieve life changing results. Because of their success in helping clients heal and come alive they are currently the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in Oklahoma.

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