parker colorado counseling

A short story about a little girl in elementary school. She sat in the middle row quietly looking down at her desk as the rest of the class engaged in a board exercise being presented by the teacher.  This little girl was not disruptive at all but rather quietly moving her pencil back and forth across a blank sheet of notebook paper.  The children around her were completely non-reactive to her disengagement and continued to focus on the teacher.  After several minutes went by, the teacher noticed the little girl and called on her to participate.  The little girl was quietly unresponsive, so the teacher moved on to a different student.

All too often little girls and boys like the one in this example are overlooked as a possibility for needing mental health services.  Why?  They are not a “behavior problem”.  These children often dissolve into the background while their more vocal counterparts get their needs met through negative and positive behaviors.   I like to call them “the silent ones”.

There’s an old saying that states “closed mouths don’t get fed”.  I think this has become a cultural and societal norm.  “The silent ones” do not present an overt concern and do not hinder the overall function of a classroom.   They may, however, be experiencing something significantly internally painful or have a past or current trauma.  They may not speak the class language well enough to engage or they simply may be shy and introverted.

As teachers, parents and mental health professionals, we must work together to determine the immediate needs of “the silent ones”.  The following are some easy steps to supporting “the silent ones”:

  • Identify – Determine who “the silent ones” are.  This is best done by teachers.  If there is a classroom full of disruptive behavior, it may be a little difficult to differentiate between the quiet, well-behaved child and the unusually quiet child who may need help. However, with time and persistence, it is possible.
  • Assess – Once the student has been identified, the teacher is encouraged to talk to the student individually in order to gather information on the child and try to gain some insight as to why the child is frequently disengaged and silent.
  • Refer – Once the teacher has gathered information, a meeting with the parents and the school counselor is helpful in developing a plan which may include a referral to mental health services.

Sometimes when we focus on the children who we perceive as giving us a hard time, we overlook the children who are having a hard time.  Don’t forget “the silent ones”.

In the best of intimate relationships, there are those subtle and not so subtle waves of difficulties. Some disagreements make sense; his words against hers, her values in the face of his values, old traditions vs. new ideas and so on. However, over a few years living with a partner, attempting and working on intimacy, you could see a few patterns emerging. Those patterns might be complicated for you to detect when you are a part of the ‘drama’.

For me, after thirty years of marriage-therapy and relationship-coaching, I find them simple to detect. Solving relationships’ problems take commitment, education and good will. From here the solutions are pretty much straightforward.

Some of these patterns are signs of troubled relationships. Here is the list of the seven most damaging intimate relationships’ troubles and their solutions:

  1. Inability to be emotionally open; the uniqueness and secret of intimate relationships in comparison to other social, workplace and family relationships is in staying emotionally open. By exercising daily confiding with each other, couples learn to become emotionally open towards each other.
  2. Lack of physical closeness and sings of affection may starve the relationship. It is not easy to undo the pain, shame and hurts of the past. Learn to be affectionate. Do it for the sake of this relationship.
  3. Not paying attention while listening: you might be listening to each other, even giving the right cues as in ‘active listening’. But do you get the meaning of each other’s message without the attempt to ‘solve’ the problem? Don’t solve each others’ problems. Share the gift of listening. Being heard is a treasure!
  4. Difficulty articulating what you feel; many adults don’t know to express what they feel. Instead, you communicate what you think. Learning about emotions and their logic is valuable to every intimate relationship. Taking a risk to expose your accurate feelings in your relationship is a wise investment. As the relationship grows and thrives, that risk of exposure becomes safe.
  5. Anger, fear, shame and other pains block the passages to feel tenderness, joy and love. Those painful emotions are not bad; they are information that should be shared so that your love will surface again.
  6. Power struggles on sex, money, children, free time, relatives or friends are all signs of other issues surfacing in the relationships. Learn to decode these symptoms and see the meaning beneath the issues.
  7. Contempt and its expressions are the ‘deadliest sin’ of all troubled relationships. This will take a bit longer to solve; I suggest treating this symptom deeper as in a ‘root canal’. Find the roots of those feelings of contempt or they’ll destroy your intimate relationship. It is challenging to get your intimate relationship out of trouble. The effort is worth it; as your intimate relationship is the most important investment of your time energy and endeavor.

How would you like to improve, strengthen or even save, in some cases, your intimate relationship? Please contact Counseling Services of Parker if you’re in the Colorado region and would like to talk.

There has been considerable research that has helped psychologists to identify specific factors that can help people lead happier lives.  This same research has also identified some common mistakes that people make when they pursue things they think will make them happy, but don’t.

The following is a list curated from leading psychologists and counselors of the “Top Ten Tips for Happiness”, we hope these suggestions will help you find more happiness in your own life.

1.  Make working on having good social relationships a TOP priority.

Most people find it easy to understand that they must work hard at their jobs, but they don’t always realize that this kind of thinking should apply every bit as much to their relationships.

Having good relationships is incredibly important for happiness. Virtually every psychologist who studies happiness has found very powerful effects of social relationships on happiness. Strong social relationships – in marriage (or other romantic relationships), friendship, family relationships – all positively affect physical and mental health, happiness, and mood. People often prioritize making more money at the expense of neglecting their relationships. This is a common mistake – and a big one.

2.  Focus on attaining a sense of accomplishment and meaning in your life and maintain it on a continual basis.

It is essential that you find a sense of accomplishment and meaning in your life. This can be through your work, but it doesn’t have to be. As quoted in a recent New York Times article: “What’s crucial to well-being is not how cheerful you feel, not how much money you make, but rather the meaning you find in life and your sense of “earned success” – the belief that you have created value in your life or others’ lives.”

This sense of meaning could very well be from your job. If you view your career as a “calling,” you are fortunate. But it is important to acquire this sense of meaningful accomplishment from somewhere in your life, and on a regular basis.

3.  Take Risks.

The word for “risk” in Chinese is made up of two words, “danger” and “opportunity.” Simple, elegant, brilliant composition. There is usually no opportunity without accompanying danger. The danger may be economic, or it may be purely psychological. To try to do something different, and better, invites the danger of failing, and this may feel like a humiliation.

It is the same with making changes in yourself via psychotherapy. To try to break self-defeating patterns can be uncomfortable, as one ventures out into the unfamiliar and the unknown. The safest position is lying on the floor. You can’t get hurt that way. The only problem with that is, well…you are lying on the floor. You’re not going anywhere. Go somewhere. Take a risk.

4.  Diversify your sources of self-esteem.

Many people make the mistake of investing too much of their sense of self-worth in one particular thing (“I am worthwhile because I am great athlete,” “I am worthwhile because I make a lot of money,” “I am an expert on fine wines”, etc.). This invites psychological disaster, because things can change, and your self-esteem can come tumbling down like a house of cards. Realize you are complex, with many different strengths (and weaknesses). Recognize your various individual strengths, develop them, and use them.

But even more important is to internalize your self-esteem as much as possible. In other words, be wary of tying your self-esteem too much to an externally-based factor (money, a fancy car, etc.) because you can lose it (i.e., you may be laid off from a high-paying job). But an internalized sense of self-esteem – qualities you like about yourself, such as your personality and character traits – is something that no one can take away from you, except yourself.

5.  Work on Goals, not Circumstances.

Happiness is a process, and not just a set of good circumstances. This may sound basic, but how often do we think we would be happy if ”I only had that, or this, in my life? If a person hopes to win a certain award, working for the award had better be enjoyable, because the award itself will produce only a short burst of happiness. In contrast, activities and striving for our goals is a lifetime endeavor.

Focus and find fulfillment in working on your personal goals, not in the attainment of any one particular thing.

6.  Develop a wiser relationship with money than most Americans have.

Research on the relationship between money and happiness is substantial and clear. More money yields significantly more happiness only when one is struggling to pay bills and is saddled with major money worries. Once a person attains enough money to not have to greatly struggle anymore, more money yields almost no greater happiness compared to relationships, personal meaning, and many other parts of life.

People think that doubling or tripling their income will bring great benefit to their levels of happiness. They are wrong. All that happens is that people adapt to their new income and soon find themselves wanting more and more. There is even a name for this phenomenon, the “hedonic treadmill.”

Love, satisfaction from work, and meaning yield much longer lasting gains in happiness.

7.  Become curious about yourself.

Introspection is often neglected or even looked down upon in our culture (“naval gazing”). While self-absorption is not a good thing, curiosity about oneself certainly is. If we can identify our self-defeating patterns, and our motivations for getting into these self-defeating patterns, we can navigate our life onto a better course.

Knowledge is power, and self-knowledge yields the most important power of all. By becoming curious about ourselves, and honing our ability to examine ourselves productively, we can greatly facilitate our well-being in terms of our ability to work and to love.

8.  Keep anxiety and depression at bay.

Related to #7, although distinct from it, is the importance of minimizing the disruptive and wasteful presence of unnecessary anxiety and depressive feelings. Healthy worry and sadness is one thing, and can be enormously useful. Obsessive, repetitive worries and paralyzing anxiety can block our ability to move forward and attain our personal goals, whether in our careers or in our relationships.

Recognizing, addressing, and removing these obstacles, whether by oneself or with a psychologist, is necessary if we are to more fully enjoy our lives.

9.  Make a conscious effort to avoid the trap of “Reference Anxiety.”

“Reference Anxiety” is one of the greatest threats to the happiness and emotional well-being of all Americans, and indeed all humanity. Despite this, most people fail to make an on-going conscious effort to recognize and minimize its painful effects. Strive to push anxiety back and refuse to let it run your life.

Reference anxiety is the process by which people compare what they have, materialistically, with their peers. It is a more scientific term for what has been called for a long time “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

If you have a four bedroom house, but everyone else in your neighborhood has a five bedroom house, you feel unhappy. However, if you have a three bedroom house (actually one less bedroom), you will tend to feel happier if you live in a neighborhood where your neighbors have two bedroom houses, because you have more, relatively speaking (vs. in an absolute sense of actual number of bedrooms).

It isn’t that you are actually uncomfortable with the number of bedrooms (or any materialistic possessions, for that matter). It’s that you feel you are not doing as well and have less – and perhaps feel you are less as a person – because your peers have more.

What people don’t realize is that there is often a hidden cost to having the bigger house or expensive car (not always, but often). From my own practice, consider the case of a patient who worked very long hours in a corporate job which he disliked intensely. He had a two-hour commute to work (long commutes have been found to be associated with decreased happiness), hated his time at the office, and had very little free time in his life. But he felt that unless he had a big, fancy house, he would not see himself as a “winner.” He could not be happy with himself knowing that others, to which he compared himself, had more. Despite all of his hard work, he did not fully realize that in terms of happiness, he would always have less than other people.

By the way, this patient eventually dropped out of psychotherapy. Why, you ask? Because he had “no time for therapy.” He had to work long hours, you see. Reference Anxiety was ruining his life, and he couldn’t get off the merry go-round.

10.  Be Afraid. But do things anyway.

Throughout the day in my work, I listen to people tell me how they would like things in their life to be different, but they are terrified of all the dangers associated with making significant changes. It is often not enough to tell ourselves that we should change, or to have someone else tell us that. We usually know that already. What we often lack is courage.

For example, you may be afraid to pursue a personal goal because you may try and fail. If you fail, you may experience it as a confirmation that you are “a failure.” This is one reason why many people don’t make changes, even when they know they should. They can hide behind the fact that since they didn’t try, they can’t conclude they have confirmation that they failed and, hence, that they aren’t “good enough.”

Similarly, the fear of rejection can be paralyzing, and it prevents people from trying to make any changes. The fear of the unfamiliar and the unknown can keep people in unhealthy and counterproductive patterns. But staying in the familiar, even if counterproductive, provides you with a map of how to live (“the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”). It is safe, even if it is unhealthy and is a map to nowhere. It is not anxiety-producing. To step out into the unfamiliar, sometimes with the possibility of rejection or failure, or a thousand other unknown dangers, is scary. One can often feel anxious.

The tip here is not to say “I won’t be scared.” Of course you may be scared. The point here is to be afraid and do it anyway. In order to do that, you must tap into your courage. It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being afraid and doing things anyway.

You may be able to make sufficient changes by yourself. Sometimes, however, people need another person, often a trained professional, who understands their anxieties and fears, but who also is invested in helping them attain their personal goals. Talk toa licensed professional if you want help tapping into your courage. They can “encourage” you, and help you make the changes you need to make in order to become a happier person.

We hope you found this helpful. Have a happy day!

Anxiety disorder sufferers do not wish to have anxiety. They do not wish to have their lives disrupted or to disrupt the lives of those who love them. There is nothing worse than feeling out of control, knowing you are out of control, and not being able to stop the behavior. Here are five ways you can help your loved ones suffering from anxiety.

  1. Reinforce the fact that suffering from anxiety does not mean your loved one is mentally deficient. Show empathy and support, but not sympathy. They need help, not pity. Encourage them to seek help from a medical professional.
  2. Educate yourself about the links between triggers – thoughts – behaviors and how to reframe anxiety thinking.
  3. Show positive reinforcement of rational behavior rather than criticism of irrational fears, etc. Knowing you are pleased will lead your loved one to want to repeat the rational behavior to keep that good feeling longer.
  4. Maintain your own support system. Having someone you trust to talk to is vital to your continuing ability to give the support your loved one needs.
  5. Spend time with them, as much as possible. Try to do outdoor activities to help them get as much exercise as possible. Let them know it’s okay to talk about their anxiety, you’re there to listen and not to judge.

Your loved one needs to exercise, eat healthy meals and snacks, and get enough sleep. It is very important for their well-being, as well as your own. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you’re helping them. 

Learning to deal with anxiety and give the best care are full of ups and downs. There is a learning curve you both have to go through before you reach an oasis, but you will get there. Do not give up. These five ways to support your loved one with anxiety seem simple, but they are very important and so are you! We are here to help.

Living with anxiety can be daunting, but you can empower yourself with self-help strategies to ease anxiety symptoms. The right approach to self-help and anxiety therapy, you can manage your anxiety and live with freedom and happiness.

Here are 5 scientifically proven self-care tips to help you cope with anxiety in day-to-day life.

Maintain healthy diet and exercise

Eating well and exercising regularly keeps you healthy – not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends aerobic exercise for anti-anxiety effects through elevated endorphins and stress-relieving effects. Adding just ten minutes of exercise into your everyday routine can reduce anxiety symptoms and help you go through the rest of your day with calm and clarity.

Find hobbies and activities you enjoy

A creative hobby can give you an outlet for expression. Having a hobby or activity you enjoy will give you a focus for anxious energy as well as a way to find fulfillment and contentment when you develop new skills or achieve a personal goal.

This can be anything from gardening to yoga to writing fiction – an activity to stimulate and provide a personal source of happiness and fulfillment. 

Practice mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness exercises have a number of empirically proven psychological benefits and can help you cope with situations of heightened anxiety, as well as reduce anxiety symptoms over time.

The American Psychological Association promotes mindfulness practice for reducing rumination and stress, which can improve anxiety in daily life. Taking some time to yourself in your day for a brief meditative moment can help reduce depressive and anxious feelings.

Reach out to your personal support network

You don’t have to manage your anxiety alone. A strong social support network can help you manage stress and anxiety.

Work on strengthening your social support network as a self-help resource.

Seek anxiety therapy

In addition to your personal support network, you can also seek the services of an anxiety counseling professional. Anxiety counseling can assist you with developing self-care methods to use in your everyday life.

If you are seeking anxiety therapy in Parker, Counseling Services of Parker can help you identify the cause of your anxiety, and work side by side with you to cope and thrive in everyday life. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

Our relationships with our significant others are among the most important in our lives. They give us satisfaction few other things or people in life can. Our relationships with our significant others provide the richest parts of our lives. However, few couples begin their relationships equipped for addressing anxiety disorder with anxiety counseling. Here at Parker Counseling Services of Parker, Colorado, we’re able to help couples build on their strengths and develop new strengths as well by addressing anxiety with anxiety counseling known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 


What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?  

The American Psychological Association explains Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

“CBT is based on several core principles, including:

  1. Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
  2. Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
  3. People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns” 

Engaging consistently in this practice decreases, or brings to a normal level an individual’s episodes of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is practical, and places tools in the hands of the client that he/she can use against anxiety, whether at work, out with their significant other, or home alone.

Self-care Tips When Living With Anxiety

Here are five self-care tips when living with anxiety:

1. Decrease or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Caffeine stays in the body’s system for up to six hours. When attempting to de-escalate from an episode of anxiety, that caffeine is resisting your efforts.

2. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep has been shown to be vital in having the energy needed to face the challenges of the day.

3. Socialize with family and friends daily. Even if it’s just a phone call, make that call.

4. Structure your day reasonably. We tend to put too much on ourselves, and it causes us to rush. This can cause heart rates to increase. Our brain responds which can cause anxiety. Make a list of all you want to get done. Cut half of that list out. 

5. Recreation is important for our daily routine and is often overlooked. Schedule recreation on your list whether it’s sports, reading a book, or crafts. Getting into the ‘zone’ is often relaxing and therapeutic.

Contact Us

Counseling Services of Parker is currently serving the Parker, Colorado area and is available with just one phone call. Call Counseling Services of Parker today for a stronger, better relationship experience when Cognitive Behavioral therapy is involved building strength upon strength. Contact us at Counseling Services of Parker. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Many people believe that if they have never suffered a panic attack, then they don’t suffer from anxiety. However, you need to know that isn’t the case and anxiety treatment is available. Anxiety sufferers can experience a multitude of symptoms at various degrees of severity and never know that their internal struggle isn’t healthy.

Signs You May Have Anxiety

Anxiety attack symptoms may not be what you thought. Think about the following questions, and ask yourself if they apply to you. If you answer yes to more than two or three, it’s very likely you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Are you constantly worried or tense?
  • Do you find that your worries interfere with work, school, or home responsibilities?
  • Are you ever afraid of something that you know is irrational, but you can’t control it?
  • Maybe you believe something bad is going to happen if something isn’t done a certain way?
  • Or do you avoid normal, everyday things because they make you feel nervous or frightened?
  • How about, do you have sudden, out-of-the-blue bouts of heart-pounding panic?
  • Okay, the last one, do you think there is always some danger nearby?

If yes, it is highly probable that you suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder.

How Are You Emotionally and Physically?

Your emotional and physical state are an important aspect of anxiety disorders. If you often feel apprehension, dread, or constantly on the lookout for danger, you are likely experiencing anxiety. You may feel restless, have a hard time concentrating, jumpy, and irritable. These are all normal, and treatment is available.

Physically, you may experience a pounding heart, sweating, headaches, upset stomach, nausea, muscle tension, fatigue, or insomnia.

Contact Us for Anxiety Treatment in Parker Colorado

If you think these symptoms apply to you, come see us at Counseling Services of Parker Colorado. We can teach you how to work through these symptoms and see a real improvement in your quality of life. Call now to learn more.

Anxiety attacks need not be taken lightly by those affected or their families. The condition can lead to further complications if not attended to properly. Anxiety is a natural human reaction to stress which is generally helpful for a number of purposes. Usually, it helps enhance our concentration. Not only that, it also helps us devise better problem-solving strategies. In excess anxiety can become a threat to a person’s psychological well-being. Anxiety can manifest in any number of forms. It’s not difficult to treat anxiety disorder of virtually any type. Although, it requires early diagnosis and professional care.

General Anxiety Disorder

Of the various forms, generalized anxiety disorder is the most common. Which can easily be identified with the help of a variety of anxiety-related symptoms. Usually, a person who suffers a high-level of anxiety taking on the shape of an anxiety disorder. The person is prone to a feeling of emotional irritability. This typically happens if placed in the slightest of uncomfortable situations. Numbness in hands and feet, nausea, shortness of breath and an inexplicable feeling of apprehension. This typically happens when facing routine stressful situations can indicate the existence of an anxiety disorder. A number of factors are responsible for the development of this class of psychological disorders. Consequently, one must keep in mind that it is very much possible to treat anxiety disorder effectively.

Anxiety Factors

Some of these factors involve a number of psychological traits. Additionally, it involves a family history of anxiety and depression-related conditions apart from genetic factors. If adequate treatment is not received to treat an anxiety disorder, the situation can grow worse with the passage of time. At its height, accumulated anxiety can result in panic attacks which are very disturbing in nature. Although, it can be helpful if in case of panic attacks help in the form of medication is available at hand.

Usually, a panic or anxiety attack lasts anywhere between ten minutes to more than half an hour. Symptoms may include strong feelings of panic gripping the individual. The individual may experience heavy sweating, cold hands, and feet, heart palpitation, a sensation of choking, dizziness, chills and hot flashes. The experience can be very traumatic for the victim. However, if effective medication is administered in the middle of a panic attack, the person can be relieved of the symptoms quickly. Emotionally, it can be a very disturbing experience. This might bring a rude jolt to the usual feelings of physical and emotional security.

Recurring Panic Attacks

If a panic attack should recur, it can be one of the worst possible developments possible leading to panic disorder, which is treatable yet holds the potential to wreck major psychological damage. Some patients with anxiety-related conditions are best referred to a specialized anxiety treatment center. They are developed to create a professional treatment and support system for those affected. Here, the patient might be subjected to different approaches to treatment. The treatment will likely have a rather large component of behavioral therapy to complement the medication successfully.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy broadly covers the field of psychotherapeutics associated with the treatment of anxiety. It involves Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) among other approaches to treat any anxiety disorder effectively. ERP helps an individual manage his fears and slowly but steadily desensitize them to uncomfortable feelings associated with anxiety and fear. The approach gradually encourages the person to face stressful situations squarely. And use his inherent psychological strength to fight the fear of the unknown. To remedy panic disorder, usually, the treatment centers use a combination of psychotherapeutics and suitable medication.

Antidepressants and benzodiazepines

Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are usually the kind of medicines usually prescribed as an integral part of panic attacks help mechanism. The stress, however, is laid on cognitive-behavior therapy instead of heavily relying on medication. This is due to some of the long-term benefits associated with the former. For instant relief, of course, medication is found very helpful. It is best to nip the threat of panic attacks in the bud. Although, don’t let it develop into panic disorder to avoid any possible complications. Panic disorder, problematic enough by itself, may well be accompanied by Agoraphobia, the fear of panic attacks recurring almost anywhere.

Self Help Strategies

Self-help strategies and family support form effective defenses to fend off the threat of continually growing anxiety. Any type of anxiety disorder can be treated successfully. This requires the condition is diagnosed in its initial stages and subjected to professional care. In cases with worsening symptoms, it is highly recommended to seek an anxiety treatment center for systematic treatment and proper medical support. No condition associated with anxiety is untreatable. Although, the affected and his near and dear ones must not hesitate to seek professional medical help.

Colorado Anxiety Counseling & Anxiety Treatment

Counseling Services of Parker Colorado specializes in anxiety counseling and anxiety treatment. If you have questions, or you would like to book a meeting, please contact us.

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5waystoahappieryou-300x233 Anxiety Counseling: 5 Ways to a Happier YouThe best way to fight anxiety is to be happy. Sounds easy, right? Maybe not? Wouldn’t it be great if happiness was something that just happened? Of course, that is what we all want. Counseling Services of Parker Colorado specializes in anxiety counseling. We know a lot about anxiety therapy, and anxiety treatment – and we found happiness takes a big part in treating anxiety. We want to wake up every morning with a smile on our face, ready to jump out of bed and see what the day has to offer. However, that isn’t reality. Too often, we get wrapped up in the everyday cycle of going through the motions. Some people may even be afraid of happiness.  Happiness is attainable! It might take some work, but you can find it. Happiness is a state-of-mind. More importantly, it is a choice. You need to work at it at it just like anything else in your life. Look at it like you are having a relationship or friendship with yourself. If you are married or in a relationship you work at loving that other person, you do things to show them you care and to see them smile, right? So why shouldn’t you do that for yourself. Show yourself that you care. By focusing on certain areas of your life that are meaningful to you, you can find happiness. Here are five ways to a happier you:

1.  Exercise Right

Exercise is a natural source of energy. Simply exercising for twenty minutes a day, three days a week will dramatically improve a person’s vitality. Exercise releases dopamine and adrenaline, which help us to feel better. Remember you have to work at it! It takes six weeks to build a habit. Challenge yourself to find twenty minutes three days a week for six weeks. This can be done in combination with breathing exercises to really maximize the impact.

2.  Enjoy Now

Many of us always think about the future or get stuck in the past. Instead of always anticipating what is going to happen or ruminating on the past, we need to take time to be in the present.  Practice the art of mindfulness. Take time to appreciate where you are and how far you have come.

3.  Make Life Fun

Too often we are caught up in the everyday life we forget what it is like to simply have fun. So what is fun for you? Take an opportunity each week to indulge in something you find fun. It simply may be going to the park and having lunch. You may want to join a recreational sports league or a book club. You can also try rewarding yourself in small ways daily. Treat yourself at the end of a long day! Whatever it is, it must be what YOU enjoy to do. If this seems challenging, you may want to think about anxiety counseling.

4.  Be Generous

Giving and making other people happy increase our own happiness. By serving others, we get our minds off of ourselves and focused on those in need. Find time to volunteer or to help friends or family. There are many articles about anxiety counseling and anxiety treatment which show that generosity leads to happiness. happiness. Random acts of kindness are always good for you and your soul!

5.  Laugh Out Loud

Humor is the best medicine. Laughter has positive effects on the body. It boosts immunity and lowers blood pressure. It takes five positive thoughts to counteract one negative thought, so surround yourself with positive energy. Far too often, people take themselves too seriously. Take time to smile and laugh at yourself.

These are just five ways to begin finding your happy state-of-mind. It takes time and a continual investment in yourself to be content. Investing in yourself is as important as investing in others. Take the time to exercise, enjoy the moment, have fun, give time to others, and laugh at yourself to begin finding YOUR happiness.

**For other resources on happiness, check out The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin as well as Shawn Achor’s TED talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXy__kBVq1M.

As a mental health counselor and anxiety therapist, I often times listen to concerns which manifest feelings such as worry, fear, panic, insomnia, and fatigue. These are all common symptoms of anxiety. Other symptoms people may experience include irrational thoughts, muscle tension and nausea. While anxiety is a natural reaction and we cannot eliminate it, there are techniques you can learn to reduce the symptoms and live a less anxious life.

  1. Exercise

    Exercise is one of the best ways to manage your anxiety. Not only does it help work out the stress, but it naturally increases the levels serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Anxiety therapists suggest exercising for 30 minutes a day.

  2. Deep Breathing

    Deep breathing techniques can help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as heart palpitations. It can also help slow down the racing thoughts in your brain. Try inhaling for a count of 5, holding for a count of 5, and exhaling for a count of 5. These techniques are often suggested and used by anxiety counselor and therapists.

  3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Meditation

    This technique helps slow your body down. You will want to find a quiet place where you can either lie down or sit comfortably. A good way to start learning this technique is through a guide either in person or through a recording. If you would like to try this Counseling Services of Colorado suggests downloading an application on your phone such as Insight Timer –https://insighttimer.com/.

  4. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

    Both of these are mood-altering substances and can increase levels of anxiety as well as depression. Many studies have been done stating the negative impacts of caffeine and alcohol on mental health.

  5. Get Adequate Sleep

    While insomnia is common for people who have anxiety, it is important to try to get the recommended amount of sleep. Lack of sleep will also increase anxiety. Try a deep breathing or muscle relaxation exercise to help you relax before trying to go to bed.

  6. Coloring (Yes, with crayons or Markers!)

    Counseling Services of Parker Colorado often suggests breaking out the crayons or markers and buying a coloring book. Adult coloring books have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Give them a try and have a little fun and make something beautiful. Many of my friends who are anxiety therapists shared the following link to affordable and popular coloring books for adults –http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Coloring-Book-Relieving-Patterns/dp/1941325122/ref=zg_bs_books_9.

  7. Acceptance

    Adverse feelings such as anxiety are normal. You’re not alone. The goal is not to eliminate the feelings rather to learn how to manage them. If you need help working through your thoughts and feelings, get in touch with a local anxiety therapist or anxiety counselor. We have a lot of experience helping people through their anxiety.

These techniques done in conjunction with therapy can help you learn your best practices for coping with your anxiety. You may also want to consider talking with your doctor about medications that can help with the physical symptoms. Counseling Services of Parker Colorado is happy to discuss this further with you. Please feel free to contact us whenever you’re ready.