Tag Archives: stress

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling.

Seeing a counselor can be a great way to move forward if you are struggling in some way. There is often a stigma about going to counseling, as if counseling is something only reserved for “crazy” people. The truth is, we all need help sometimes. Proverbs 11:14 evens tells us “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Think about it: would you make a huge life decision without talking to someone first? Do you talk to friends or elders when you need another perspective? 

A counselor is an objective, outside person. Counselors do work with people battling severe mental illnesses, but they also work with ordinary people trying to make their way through life. Counselors can help you dig deep inside of yourself to discover where lies and pain came in, and figure out how to put the broken pieces back together. They can walk with you as go through any kind of past or present trauma, grief, tragedy, or unexpected life situation. A solid counselor can help you pinpoint where certain behaviors or feelings are coming from (anger, overeating, excessive drinking, etc.) and move forward into more healthy ways of behaving and relating. They can help if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or map out a plan for healthy ways to manage stress.

When you meet with a counselor, you will set goals for yourself. Your counselor will check in with you occasionally about how you are doing on your goals and if there is any way he/she can assist you in meeting them. In this way, you could even think of your counselor as accountability partner as you seek stronger mental health and a better life!

About 80% of people who attend counseling have found benefits in doing so.

A few possible benefits you may find from counseling:

  • Increased insight about self and relationships
  • Stronger relationships
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased hope and positive outlook
  • Lessened feelings of anxiety

I want to tell you to be careful of whom you go to, if you are seeking counseling. There are people who have entered therapy and come out in bad shape due to faulty counseling or incompetent counselors. Also, I encourage Christian counseling! A Christian counselor will look at God’s word and the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. They will not forget the spiritual component of you. Find a counselor you are comfortable with and who you feel actually listens to and hears you. The process is not always easy–it forces you to confront truths about yourself and your past (or present) that may not be pretty. Yet the goal is for healing and wholeness. Counseling holds benefits for many types of people! There is no shame in seeing a counselor if you are struggling with your thought patterns or difficult situations in life, past or present!

Have you gone to counseling and found benefits in dong so? Do you have any questions about counseling?

 Next up: faith and mental health!

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Highlights of 2016

It’s difficult to believe that 2016 is almost over! I feel as if the year was swift, yet when I look back, it’s hard to believe how much happened!

Let’s start with something that will begin in early 2017. My patron for 2016, randomly chosen through the Saint Name Generator, turned out to be significant. It was St. Ignatius of Loyola. I have been a fan of the Examen and Ignatian discernment for a number of years. It turns out that one of his patronages also became important in my life. He’s the patron of educators and education. This year, I really felt the Lord nudging me to go back to school. After an interesting journey, I was accepted to the program of my choice! I will be starting as a part-time grad student for an M.A. in Counseling, as of January!

The year started out rough. Within the first week of the year I was ill. There was a high

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amount of drama at my workplace. It was a struggle. Through it all, I learned to lean on Christ even more. Reading the Scriptures & knowing my Creator through this became more important to me than ever before.

My city had a lot of victories. In June, I went to the parade celebrating our basketball team winning the NBA title! It was really a great celebration and a show of unity for a city that has had many setbacks and much division. The next month we hosted the Republican National Convention-and the candidate won the presidential election! Months later, the baseball team went to the World Series (though we did not win). In God’s eyes, this city is not “The Mistake on the Lake.” He is at work in this city.

I moved in with a roommate. Financially, this was a great decision. Even moreso, it is a benny-cuddle-2blessing to have a companion on the journey & who is also seeking God. She gets the journey. Not long after moving to the new place, a seeming “super-mouse” pushed me over the edge to adopt a cat. Though he did nothing to help with the mouse, he’s brought much laughter. (And praise God–the mouse (mice?) are gone. May they never return to our home.)

 

For the second year in a row, one of my reflections was published in a book! This time, it was a book written by my very own roomie! It’s a raw reflection about a relationship breaking up, but I pray it ministers to someone who may be in a similar situation.

I visited Africa, finally! It’s difficult to put into words how much this experience affected me and the joys it brought. I am so thankful for the miraculous way God brought it about. The whole trip and all His movements on the trip, too, were truly miraculous! I will be forever grateful.forblog

Truly, this was a year of beauty. Thank You, Heavenly Father. I look forward to 2017 and whatever adventures may lie ahead.

Happy New Year’s to all my readers! May our Heavenly Father bless, direct, and strengthen you in all your ways.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”~Philippians 3:13

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Walking into Rainbows

This week was one of the most trying I have had in a long time. I was in survival mode, at work and at home. I felt out of my element and exhausted, emotionally and physically. The cold and rainy, dark weather did not help my energy level or my mood.

Then came the long-awaited Friday. I made it through the workday, where once again nothing seemed to go successfully. I looked forward to finally going home and take care of personal business that needed to be done, and to unpacking my new place and making it feel like home. I was so drained and questioning many things. Then, I noticed this sight.rainbow-september-30th

I felt clearly the presence of my Father, and His love. The sight of that rainbow, a sign of His promises, gave me so much strength. We think we can’t do it on our own, and it’s true: we can’t! But leaning on God’s grace, we can do it. We can trust His faithfulness and that He is working even through the storms and rain. One day, when you think you simply can’t walk another step, you just might yourself walking into a rainbow.

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”~Genesis 9:13

“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”~Lamentations 3:22-23

Simple Ways to Stick Close to God Throughout the Day

I don’t know about you, but some days I feel pulled further and further from God. Frustrating situations, stress, uncertainties, and just plain busyness pull me deeper into myself. It shouldn’t be like that. Each day we have opportunities to come to know God more through the situations we encounter. So, what are a few simple ways to stick close to God throughout the day and keep Him at the center?

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1. Carry your Bible with you. In the waiting room or at the bus stop, get into the Word! It’s amazing how much time we spend waiting each day, or those little snatches of time we don’t realize we have. When others see you carrying a Bible, they too, may be inspired in their relationship with the Lord! 2. Keep a prayer list close by, or in multiple places. This can be a list of general intentions (such as for particular people, situations in your life, or needs in the world) to remember to pray for. It could also be things in your life you want to remember to thank God for. You could put this on a bulletin board, or even on the dash of your car. This is a great way to stay steeped in prayer each day. 3. Wear a religious bracelet or necklace. You will be reminded to turn your mind to God whenever you see your rosary bracelet or adjust your necklace. Other people may comment or ask you, and again you’ll have an opportunity to turn to God. 4. Start or end your day with Mass. Starting the day with the Eucharist will give you strength and peace to carry you through the day. Ending the day with the Eucharist will keep your mind oriented to where you’ll be going after work or school, and also help to settle you after what may have been a trying day. Now, these are very simple ideas, but they are a start. Do you have any other ideas or strategies for keeping God front and center each day?