counseling, psychology, retirement, self-help

Retirement: Are You Mentally Prepared?

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Retirement is a goal for many people.

Some people count the days, months, YEARS until they are going to retire.

Yet for others, they will proudly say they NEVER plan to retire because they love what they do for a living. You can count me among these folks. (Although I also recognize as you change and evolve through life, how you feel can AND does change!)

On the other hand there are people who CANNOT retire because of financial reasons.

Others are forced into retirement because of factors outside of their control–health problems, downsizing, etc.

As you can see, retirement is a VERY personal experience.

One of life’s biggest decisions is whether to retire and if so, WHEN.  Retirement is a huge milestone. There are many factors that must be considered before pulling the trigger.

Retirement should not create difficulty in life, but it often does. The sad fact is in America, the vast majority of people do not plan well enough for their retirement–financially or emotionally. Saving enough money to have a comfortable retirement is a difficult process for many.  Perhaps even more important is planning what you’re going to do with your days in retirement. Or deciding if you even want to retire. Ever.

Do you believe you will happier retired or working? Do you enjoy your career and derive a sense of purpose from it? I know for myself my career provides much meaning for me both professionally AND personally. I love my field so much that writing a blog on different counseling related topics has become a fun pastime for me. Counseling and psychology are PASSIONS of mine. Thus I cannot imagine a day where I am not in the field of counseling and mental health in SOME capacity. But I am someone who feels my profession is a calling. I believe many people do NOT feel this way about their career. (Most even).

Is your job stressful? Do you find it fulfilling?

Do you look forward to going to work? Or is it something you dread come Sunday night?

When you think about retiring, do you believe you will you be physically healthier?

Do you believe you will be mentally and emotionally healthier when you retire?

What benefits does your career provide? Are their social benefits–colleagues who are friends? Book clubs? Social gatherings you love? Practical benefits like health insurance?

Are you psychologically prepared to retire? To give up your professional identity?

Do you think you will you live longer if you retire? Or do you fear soon after retirement will come declining health and loss of purpose?

What will you do in retirement? A good way to feel this out is reflecting on your life currently. Are you involved in volunteer work, hobbies, or a particular passion? If not, it may be unrealistic to believe that you will suddenly be a totally different person the day after you retire.

There is no right or wrong decision here. Deciding whether to retire is a life changing decision. Don’t rush it. Discuss your answers to these questions with people you love. Or a mental health professional (such as myself).

To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

https://anewcounselingservices.com/erin-theodorou%2Cm-ed-%2C-lpc

Anew Counseling Services LLC

617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649

(551) 795-3822
etheodorou@anewcounselingservices.com

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counseling, psychology, self-help

Your Opinion is NOT a Fact

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Is anyone else thrown by how many people confuse  OPINIONS with facts?

Our opinions are NOT facts.

For some of us, this is just stating the obvious.

However, it has become alarming, how many people believe that their opinion is fact. We incorrectly believe that IF we believe something, it is correct.  I mean, if WE believe it, it must be true. It holds true for us and we are ALWAYS right. Right!?!

Not so fast there. Looky below.

o·pin·ion

/əˈpinyən/
noun
  1. a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Key words there: NOT necessarily based on fact OR knowledge.  Yet in American culture, society as a large has this tendency to focus on ourselves. Yes. Ourselves. The “I KNOW best” mentality has been perfected by many who walk among us. Some people who even lead our nation (not mentioning any names, hint, hint) hold this close-minded perspective. Some people view their opinions and views as Gospel.

Even worse, people feel ENTITLED to offer up their opinion. Their UNSOLICITED opinions. To you. Me. Anyone who will listen.

And we know what they say about opinions….

Over time, this universal bad habit of speaking our opinions as facts has developed in our culture. I know I fall into this trap myself when I am passionate about the subject. I try to catch myself when I am doing it. And sadly in this political climate–actual facts are being refered to as opinions. It is a WILD time to be part of the political discourse.  People are no longer swayed by facts, JUST opinions.

In this day and age, people outright refuse to BELIEVE facts.

It is not just in the political landscape this is playing out. People state their “opinions” as truisms of how others should live their lives.

People use their opinions as weapons to HURT other people. To belittle them. To make them feel less than.  (they even defend themselves for doing such by saying it is just THEIR opinion so you have NO right to be offended as they are “entitled” to it–even if their opinion is an INHERENT insult on you).

Gone are the days when parents tell kids to keep their opinions to themselves. Even in polite company adults do not keep their opinions to themselves. Many people just let whatever they think rip.

Whenever someone tells me what they “think” or “believe” as a directive, I already know the type of individual I am dealing with.  A person who most likely does not follow the “let’s agree to disagree” mindset I try to embody for the most part. Instead these sorts of people try to convince you how wrong you are for your views. The sad truth is we are living in increasingly intolerant times.

Many people are confused about what tolerance is. The word tolerate means to allow or to permit, to recognize and respect others’ beliefs and practices without sharing them, to bear or put up with someone or something not necessarily liked.

The tolerant person occupies neutral ground, a place where each person is permitted to decide for himself. No judgments allowed. No “forcing” one’s personal views on another. No belittling or demeaning a person who does not hold your views. Being tolerant entails taking a neutral posture towards another’s convictions.

Tolerance, then, involves three components: (1) permitting or allowing (2) a conduct or point of view one disagrees with (3) while respecting the person in the process.

Sadly America is becoming an increasingly INtolerant society.

As a mental health clinician, I gently work to help clients who struggle in their interpersonal relationships with intolerance and the ability to tolerate differences. I point out to my clients that what they feel and think is not universal. It is not healthy to measure others against our own values and viewpoints because we all have different values–different does not mean better or worse JUST dissimilar. We cannot hold people to our own beliefs and opinions if we want to have healthy, enduring relationships. We have to be tolerant of differences and give people the freedom to be who they are, without our unrequested judgement.

On the other hand, I know I tend to be INtolerant of intolerant people. I just don’t like to spend my time with people who feel the need to judge and denigrate anyone who does not live according to THEIR standards and beliefs. I feel life is TOO short for that negativity.

If we want healthy relationships with others, we need to be tolerant of others and their dissenting opinions.

As a counselor, people often as me for my opinion or advice which I tell them is not my role.   The role of a therapist is to present clients with a better comprehension of what motivates or causes them to act or think in the way that they do.

Psychotherapy should be a tool that guides people in making their own decisions.

The reality is many of our opinions are often not based on data. Or research. Or any absolute truth. Do you ever question how you reached your conclusion? Our opinions are often based on our feelings and emotions–both which are notoriously irrational and unreliable.

As a therapist, I often hear people diagnosing other people with mental health issues–playing armchair psychologist and flippantly diagnosing friends, family members, and politicians–anyone they DISAGREE with. Frequently I hear about people giving their “opinions” of the mental health of other people as a way to pigeonhole and categorize them—with no background or training in psychology.

This is just another reflection of intolerance.

Why does it matter to understand the difference between fact and opinion? Because although everyone is entitled to an opinion, not all opinions are equally valuable. This is precisely why opinions by “experts” are more valued in court testimony and evaluative reporting because they are more likely to provide opinions based on facts. Based in knowledge.

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People often try to shut down another by saying, “That’s just YOUR opinion” as in to say what you are saying is a statement of opinion but in contrast what they are saying is a statement of FACT. A pernicious statement to make to say the least.

It is not always good to form an opinion on everything AND anything because in turn you feel internally compelled to share it with everyone and anyone.

For instance you may:

  • You spend time thinking imaginary arguments with others about how horrible they are.
  • You may actually engage in those arguments, in REAL life, wasting even more time.
  • You look for arguments and debates to get into.
  • You make other people feel bad. They either feel annoyed by you, angry with you, or offended about what you say.

Unless your goal is controversy and outrage, you should limit your opinions to topics that truly matter to you and topics you are INFORMED on. Opinions should be educated and based in evidence. Not just emotion BUT also logic and FACTS.

We need to stop having an opinion on everything. I don’t have opinions on MANY things–from stock portfolios to cooking to football to how to do anything crafty on Pinterest: I am opinionLESS (my lack of knowledge in football=pointed our frequently by my hubby). You need to be confident in what you know and be humble about what you DON’T know.

It seems as though intolerance of other people’s opinions infiltrates all different aspects of our lives. Here is to hoping we can someday grow more tolerant of our differences. In my “opinion” the growing intolerance in our nation is concerning. It is OKAY if someone disagrees with us for our opinion has the right to be expressed, but it has no rights to be imposed on others.

But, hey, what do I know?! These are just my “opinions.”

 

counseling, psychology, self-help

Managing Stress During the Holiday Season: It’s the Most Wonderful AND Stressful Time of the Year!

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Do you get stressed-out around the holidays? 

Thanksgiving is almost upon us which means the holiday season is about to be in full swing!

For many, this is their favorite time of year. Many look forward to the holidays and ending the year with a bang!

The holiday season can be full of joy and spending quality time with our loved ones…but it can also be stressful and full of angst. The holiday season is a time of year that often brings unwelcome visitors–anxiety, stress, and depression just to name a few–all of which can put a damper on one’s holiday spirit.

Stress is ever-present during the holiday season. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a multitude of demands — demands we place on our self AND demands placed on us by others.

We spend endless hours devoting much time to decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping, cleaning, and entertaining. Unrealistic expectations run rampant during the time of year. Just trying to stay within one’s budget can be stressful in and of itself.

It is the most wonderful and EXPENSIVE time of the year!

During this time of year, people often resort to bad habits—they may overindulged in sweet and sugar cravings, dip into the booze and pharmaceuticals, and live on cup after cup of caffeine filled drinks such as coffee and soda to power through their never-ending to-do list.

Emotions can be all over the place. You may feel annoyed by meddling relatives, experience bouts of loneliness,  miss loved ones who are no longer with you, or lose patience with your children over their endless requests and demands.

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your mental health. Being realistic, planning ahead, and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

Below are some strategies for managing the stress of the holidays:

1)Stay connected. As families change and grow, you may not all be able to be together on the holidays. People live on different coasts, other loved ones may spend time with their in-laws, and schedules may not allow everyone to be together in ONE place. Give people a call, send holiday cards, and do your best to stay connected even if you cannot physically be together. If you want to stay connected you need to do your part as well to stay in touch–even a simple “Missing you, thinking of you” text can go a long way to letting the people in your life know you care.

2)Don’t blow your budget–you can’t buy happiness for yourself OR anyone else. Design a budget and stick to it. How much you spend is NOT a reflection of how much you care. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to go big (big meaning expensive) on presents to make loved ones happy. It truly is the thought that counts.  The best presents to give are experiences–give loved ones Groupons such as to a paint class night or to try a cooking class.

3)Take care of YOU. Often during the holidays we are so focused on doing for others. It is also a trying time of year on us physically AND mentally— the days begin getting darker and colder (unless you live in a tropical climate-then LUCKY YOU), we eat more, drink more, sleep less, and are generally more busy. It is the recipe for the perfect storm on our emotional and mental well-being. Try not to abandon ALL your healthy habits. Try to get the proper amount of sleep, get some exercise in, and watch your diet during the work week. Don’t let the holidays be a free for all on your health. Come January 1st you WILL regret it.

4)Learn to say no. You do not have to attend every party you are invited to. You do not have to host your mother-in-law’s third cousins you never met before. You don’t have to drive to three different places on Christmas to not disappoint. Slow it down. Don’t allow the holiday season to run you ragged. Saying yes when you want to say no leaves you feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Nothing merry about that!

5)Lower your expectations. Cut yourself some slack. Cut others some slack as well. We are all doing the best we can. Things do not need to be perfect to be fun. Try for good enough and focus your attention on the real meaning of the holidays. Don’t let your annoying, crazy uncle get on your last nerve at the dinner table–this is why Jesus turned water into wine. Have a glass of red (heart health AND antioxidants), scoop on the salad, and try to have fun!

It is important to take control of the holidays before they take control of YOU.

Don’t let the holidays become something that spikes your stress levels to the max. Instead, take steps to prevent stress and depression that can arise during the holidays. Learn to recognize your triggers. Perhaps you worry about your family’s budget or demands placed on you. Stay mindful and take some time to RELAX. Keep in mind self-imposed demands tend to be especially tough, so try your best to mitigate the stress before it leads to a meltdown.

Even if you’re a easy going, laid back person, the holiday season can still be a trying time. Your stress level can go through the roof. Don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional if the holiday season has you feeling down or having a difficult time. A therapist can help you improve your coping skills so you can tap into the joy and peace that is all around you–and within you.

Happy Holidays!

To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

https://anewcounselingservices.com/erin-theodorou%2Cm-ed-%2C-lpc

Anew Counseling Services LLC

617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649

(551) 795-3822
etheodorou@anewcounselingservices.com

 

counseling, psychology, self-help

When You are Disappointed by Life

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Do you feel disappointed by life?

It is a question that as a therapist, I often find myself asking my clients, at some point in our sessions. The answer to this question gives me a peek into the inner workings of their emotional life, their expectations, and their overall life perspective.

Unfortunately, more often than I like to hear, people will share with me that YES, they are indeed disappointed by life.

As a clinician, I take the reveal of being disappointed with life as a possibility this person may be experiencing some form of depression (or has the potentiality to develop depression).

Disappointment is often the final step before depression. Thus how you answer the question of “Are you disappointed by life?” can be very telling of your mental state.

As a mental health professional, I have found that disappointment reveals a lot about the person who expresses said emotion because disappointment is largely a subjective emotion.  What I may be disappointed by may not even register on your radar. Disappointment reveals one’s values, expectations, and goals based on what they are disappointed by. Therefore, when a client tells me they are disappointed by life I follow-up with what specifically disappoints you about life. The answer is telling.

High expectations lead to frequent disappointment.

You cannot be disappointed by a situation you have no vested interest in. You cannot be disappointed by someone you expect nothing of (which should be most people because I feel we should not hold expectations of the vast majority of people we encounter unless we want to be constantly disappointed). We can only be disappointed by something we hold an expectation of. Disappointment manifests itself through the failure of expectations being met.

The thing about disappointment is it says a lot more about the person who experiences it than the target of the disappointment.  If you are frequently experiencing disappointment, then likely you need to reevaluate the expectations you hold of yourself, others, and life in general.

Now do not take this as me saying you should not have standards. You should. We should all have standards of being treated with civility and human decency. However, often I find clients will share with me their expectations of others are out of touch with what we can realistically expect of other people.

Disappointment is in many ways a narcissistic emotion. We experience it when life isn’t going according to “our” plan. If someone tells you they are disappointed in you, they are basically say you are not living up to THEIR expectations.

When you are experiencing disappointment, you likely are viewing life as unfair. Your glass is “half empty.” This is not a healthy place to be living life from.

When you think about what might have been, in contrast to what actually IS, you may experience disappointment. The further our ideal life is from our actual life, the more disappointed we will feel.

You likely have been disappointed many times before—by yourself, other people, and situations. It is extremely human to experience this emotion.

However, in trying to provide ourself with the ability to best cope with life’s inevitable “disappointments” we need to shift what we expect out of ourself, others, and life in general.

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Life is never the problem. Our expectations are. Often if an outcome is worse than expected, we experience extreme disappointment.

This is all simple stuff to understand but we are often not cognizant that our own expectations are what cause us to feel disappointed. We often shift the blame to “out there.” We blame the other person, the situation, anything but ourself.

When things go right, you feel happy.

When things go wrong, we feel sad, angry, frustrated, and YES disappointed.

I find in counseling session, many of the people I work with do WHATEVER they can to avoid experiencing disappointment. They play it too safe. They live cautiously. They avoid “putting themself out there” out of fear—fear of rejection, fear of looking foolish, or fear of being disappointed by how things turn out. This is no way to live.

The problem with disappointment is it feels so hard to manage and overcome.

In disappointment comes a certain finality–the fact that you don’t have, didn’t get, or will never achieve whatever it is that you wanted. This is a bitter pill to swallow. Thus people avoid experiencing the emotion at all cost.

In disappointment, a goal we are trying to achieve is not achievable. It can be not getting our “crush” to agree to a date, not getting into our first choice college, not getting a job we wanted, not getting a house we put an offer on. Throughout life many opportunities present to experience disappointment.

In dealing with the people we love, disappointment can be soul crushing.  When we expect our loved one to give us what we want or treat us with respect and they do not–it is quite painful. Constant disappointment by a loved one leads to blame, resentment, and eventual detachment as we no longer are able to see them as a person we can trust with our feelings and emotions. Being repeatedly disappointed in the actions and behaviors of another lead to friendships ending, marriages dissolving, and family estrangement. 

It is often in feeling disappointment that we turn to anger. It is easier to feel anger towards whatever it is that is causing of us to feel disappointment then to face the sadness about the course of events. It is also easier to not look at ourselves and the role we played in our disappointment. We stay angry to avoid the sadness experienced in disappointment.

With anger you can continue to fight against what is and denigrate the person, situation, or event that is causing you to feel this way. However, disappointment requires an acceptance of what is and the reality of the situation.

Many people do whatever they can to avoid reality. This includes avoiding the experience of disappointment.

Much of what we experience is life is relatively neutral but our view on the experience colors whether it is good or bad.

How can we cope with our disappointment?

  1. Accept disappointment is a fact of life—it is an emotion we all will experience. Some disappointments are bigger than others but in resisting the reality of the situation, all we do is perpetuate the negative emotions that come with disappointment. Acceptance and normalizing the experience of disappointment is the first step in moving on.
  2. Reframe your perspective. Often our expectations of ourself, others, and situations are out of line with reality. Are you looking at the big picture? Take time to reflect on what mindset you are bringing to the table.
  3. Speak with a professional. If you are constantly feeling let down by life, now may be the time to speak with a professional counselor. Talking to a therapist who truly listens and has your best interest at heart can be incredibly helpful. Therapy can help you readjust your expectations to live a happier, more positive life.
  4. Shift your expectations. Are your expectations realistic? Can we expect people to do what is in the best interest of us over themselves? We forget that sometimes what is best for us is not necessarily best for another even someone we love. We all have our own lives to lead. Often our expectations of life can be unrealistic which sets us up for disappointment. Ask if what you’re expecting is reasonable.
  5. Don’t take it personally. Much of what people do is a reflection of their own reality, their own dreams. We need to work on becoming immune to the negative actions of others as to not destroy our own well-being. People largely do things because of themselves not you. It is not all about you–for most people it is all about THEM.

Life tests us all. We will all be disappointed. However, in self-reflecting you may find you are setting yourself up for much pain and disappointment by your own making. It is time for you to live a more positive, joyful existence.  Don’t let yesterday’s disappointments cast a dark shadow on today.

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To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

https://anewcounselingservices.com/erin-theodorou%2Cm-ed-%2C-lpc

Anew Counseling Services LLC

617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649

(551) 795-3822
etheodorou@anewcounselingservices.com

counseling, psychology, self-help

Psychological Rigidity: Why It Presents and the Benefits of Being Psychologically Flexible

If I asked you to think of the word “flexible” what comes to mind? Are you touching your toes? Doing a split? In a yoga class doing downward dog?

More than likely you are thinking of examples of PHYSICAL flexibility.

Most people know the importance of becoming and remaining physically flexible. But surprisingly very few individuals understand the importance of working on their psychological flexibility.

Psychological flexibility is the cornerstone to healthy, stable living. Any extreme form of thinking or behaving is a big red flag of a deeper issue to mental health professionals. Psychological rigidity is a growing problem in our society and tends to present in people who have personality disorders (or traits thereof).

In counseling, rigidity refers to an obstinate inability to yield or a refusal to appreciate another person’s viewpoint or emotions characterized by a lack of empathy. If you cannot empathize or relate to another person’s point of view this may be something to speak with a professional counselor about as empathy is the cornerstone of healthy interpersonal relationships. Psychological inflexibility often appears in people who have personality disorders.

Lack of empathy is HUGE red flag that presents when diagnosing personality disorders. Another tell-tale sign of a personality disorder is the tendency to perseverate, which is the inability to change habits and the inability to modify concepts and attitudes once developed.  These personality types are rigid, stubborn people.  These people just can’t let it go. They can talk about something over and over sometimes for YEARS on end.  You may be in their company and find them talking about the same person OR same issue ad nauseam. People with psychological inflexibility sound like broken records. They also tend to disregard the feelings of others. They are only able to see from their own limited perspective.

In assessing clients for different psychological disorders, polarized thinking and behavior are two ways therapists can uncover a client’s true self, which oftentimes a client is strongly inclined to hide.

These personality disorders have traits that any well-trained therapists can pick up on right away even if the client is working hard to put on a facade and fool the clinician. These people give themselves away to knowing therapists, however, precisely because their behavior is so polarized  – characterized by a combination of extremeness and inflexibility. They act as if they absolutely must act a certain way all the time even when external circumstances would seem to require a something entirely different.

Being flexible is important in maintaining relationships. People change, circumstances change, life is fluid. People move, get married, have kids, change careers, get sick, retire,pass away.  Life is constantly requiring us to adapt. Psychologically rigid people resist change at the expense of their relationships and well-being.  Being psychologically flexible is important within the context of  strong, enduring relationships, but is also important for healthy functioning.

If you want to be in a long-term relationship or marriage, balancing the wants and needs of a partner along with one’s own interests requires compromise and the ability to adapt; both of which require flexibility. When conflict occurs, the level of flexibility that exists between a couple is tested.

People with personality disorders are hard to maintain friendships or family relations with let alone romantic relationships. Oftentimes the only way a personality disordered person can maintain a romantic relationship is to be with another disordered individual (like attracts like, right).

Personality disorders exist when these traits become so pronounced, rigid, and maladaptive that they impair work and/or interpersonal functioning. In seeing how people react to stress and conflict, one can see a personality disorder come out in its extreme form. The mask tends to totally drop and a person’s true character shines through.  People with personality disorders tend to escalate rather than deescalate conflicts. Voices are raised, curse words are spoken, insults are thrown,  and any sense of civility falls by the wayside.

A person with a personality disorder causes extreme distress for those people around them—they refuse to bend, refuse to be reasoned with, refuse to budge an inch. These people have difficulty knowing the boundaries between themselves and others.

Healthy personalities are flexible enough to account for these differences and respond accordingly. People with personality disorders refuse to adapt. If they are told not to do something, they will do something again just to make a point. These are very child like individuals. They will fight to the point of self-destruction.  Personality disordered individuals attempt to navigate the world with a rigid, inflexible approach.

There approach is considered maladaptive because it leads to distress, dissatisfaction, and failure. These unfortunate folks frequently experience stormy relationships and repeatedly find themselves in situations that lead to their unhappiness and lack of success.

Of course, we ALL have our issues, conflicts, and adversities that may cause us to be dissatisfied and upset. We don’t behave well all the time. Sometimes we annoy other people. We may be hurtful in a heated moment. But for many of us, this is an anomaly not our pattern of behavior. Perhaps you may be reading the traits of the aforementioned personality disorders and thinking yikes this sounds like ME. Don’t worry–in the perfect storm with an extremely difficult, toxic person we can all BE rigid and inflexible in defending yourself from their wrath. For personality disordered individuals this a pattern of behavior across the lifespan.

In other words, some storms are inevitable and some detours are difficult to resist for ALL of us.  However, in diagnosing a personality disorder, we are looking at the overall behavior of a person. A healthy person will disengage from unhealthy relationships while a person with a personality disorder will want to scream, yell, and fight it out until they are the last man (or woman) standing.

People who have personality disorders can express a wide range of emotions and behaviors that are considered detrimental to relationships, causing friends and family to withdraw from the individual. It is hard to be close and intimate with someone with a disordered personality.

People with personality disorders cannot see the forest from the tree. These people have to win, have to be right, have to get their way. Their psychological inflexibility is constantly shining through in their words, thoughts, and opinions. A person with a personality disorder with have a history of problematic behaviors and traits, starting early in life, observed across many different situations, over a long period of time, with different people, that cause significant distress. As you can imagine, these are not the most likeable of people.

Nevertheless, we all can have traits or behaviors of the psychologically inflexible from time to time. We can all work on bettering the way we function in life and in our relationships.

Even if you a relatively healthy functioning individual, increasing your psychological flexibility will cultivate more peace and joy in your life and relationships. Below are some suggestions for growth.

Simple Ways to Increase Your Psychological Flexibility

  1. Get out of your comfort zone. It will make you happier and more fulfilled. Happier, satisfied people tend to go with the flow of life. When I think of the word rigid I do not think of “happiness.” In order to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you need to first step out of your comfort zone. The less you need life to be a certain way, the happier you will be. In turn, the happier and healthier your relationships will be.
  2. Exercise. This one is self-explanatory.
  3. Learn and do something new. Inflexible people hate change of any sort. Routine is their friend. Travel to new places. Meet new people. Try new foods. Explore new hobbies. Don’t get trapped into the same monotonous routine.
  4. Meditate. I just wrote a post on the benefits of meditating and take yourself less seriously (ie being psychologically flexible). As a clinician, I find the most miserable clients are the most rigid and are literally STUCK (psychologically).
  5. See things as they are, but not worse than they are. Keep things in perspective. People with disordered personalities struggle to look at the big picture.
  6. Keep your mind stimulated every day.
  7. Seek counseling.

Just remember, psychological flexibility is at the heart (and in the head) of good mental health and resilience for all of us. And mental health is JUST as important as physical health.

To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):

https://anewcounselingservices.com/erin-theodorou%2Cm-ed-%2C-lpc

Anew Counseling Services LLC

617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649

(551) 795-3822
etheodorou@anewcounselingservices.com