Thursday, August 11, 2016

Managing ADHD at Home

I have heard countless times from a parent that their child holds it together at school but melts down as soon as they arrive home. The parent cannot help but feel guilt that they are doing something wrong. If you are only seeing the negative behaviors at home, it must be your fault, right? No. A child who has an attention deficit disorder is completely wiped out from the energy it took to make it through the school day. Here are some tips to bring peace in the afternoon.

Make a schedule. Being able to anticipate what to expect significantly minimizes the anxiety a child with an attention deficit disorder experiences. Have a schedule that is visual to all family members. Make sure your child knows when it is time to study each day and what is expected each night.

Give your child a break. School is hard for many children, but it can be overwhelming for a child with an attention deficit disorder. When your child arrives home from school, make sure there is at least 30 minutes of free time. Allow the child to have a high protein snack and relax.

Use positive reinforcement. Many parents complain that a child should not be rewarded for doing behaviors that are expected. However, behavior change is most significant when a person has positive reinforcement. With your schedule, keep a list of expected responsibilities. Allow the child to earn screen or video game time by completing the expected responsibilities and assigned homework during the scheduled time. Instead of using punishment to take away privileges allow the child to earn privileges. Never shy from complimenting your child on good behavior, even if it is something that you expect.

Set your child up for success. Do not expect a child with an attention deficit disorder to be able to come home from soccer at 9 and then complete homework. It will be too much, and the child will likely have an emotional outburst. Instead plan to do more homework earlier in the week, wake earlier the next morning, or even skip soccer that day. Know your child’s limitations and respect them.

Lastly, stay calm. A person with an attention deficit disorder is very sensitive to the emotions around them. It will be tempting to lose your cool when things escalate. However, remaining calm is the best practice to help a child remain calm. Practice calming exercises, such as deep breathing when everyone is relaxed in order to utilize that strategy when emotions escalate.

Written by Clinical Director Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC

How to Relax in 4 Easy Steps

How to Relax in 4 “Easy” Steps
I constantly scroll through instant media pages and read how I can accomplish something in “4 Easy Steps.” “Geez”, I think to myself. “If it were so easy why hadn’t I managed this before?” The truth is, these are merely catchy headlines. We are all struggling with something and there often is not a magical 4 step process. However, in 4 steps we can set ourselves up for goal oriented behaviors.
Many adults who seek counseling are stressed. This stress leads to unhappiness and anxiety. By trying to keep every ball in the air, such as work, family, home, and self a person feels like there is barely room to breath. What people do not realize is the rule of “putting your own oxygen mask on first.” If we cannot care for ourselves first, we will have nothing left to provide to others. Learning to cope and relax is imperative and often one of the first steps to emotional health.
  1. Do one thing a day for you. Many people start their day off from the minute their feet hit the ground caring for others. Some grab their smart phones and send an email for work immediately. Others attend to a baby or make breakfast for a child. You could be working on homework your child “forgot” to do the night before while also trying to make it to work on time. Many people’s day does not end at 5. There is more work to be completed, kids to be cared for, dinner to cook, and a house to attend to. This is why I challenge you to do one thing. Whether it is to work-out for 30 minutes, take a bubble bath or watch a television show. Know that this is your time.
  2. Journal. How many of us lay down in bed and have our entire day repeat itself in our head? Sleep becomes restless and anxiety increases when we do this. I advocate having a journal by the nightstand. All those thoughts that repeat in your head, write them down. Visualize them in the book, then watch yourself close the notebook. Mentally store them in that “safe place” until the next day. Having 8 hours of restful sleep is imperative to relax.
  3. Exercise, meditate, yoga, color, or do deep breathing. All of these activities have been shown to decrease stress. Pick the one that works for you. Surprisingly, adult coloring has been shown to greatly reduce stress. Exercise, meditation, deep breathing and yoga are all forms to help the body relax. Pick the one that works with your personality and be consistent.
  4. The most important step to help you relax is to eliminate the negative thoughts. I recently read a quote that said, "When we fill our thoughts with the right things, the wrong ones have no room to enter." Make a choice to think about positive things. Do not focus on the negative. You will be amazed at the difference you will feel when you remove the negative thoughts.

Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LPC
Clinical Director, The Center For Children & Families
  Do you often find yourself getting in a furious mood over the most little obstacles in your life? Anger can take a toll on the best of us even on our best days. For the most part anger is an emotion that is necessary to the human experience but having too much anger can cause much trouble for anyone. Sometimes learning how to control our anger  can help us out and make our experiences in life more enjoyable. Here are some ideas to help learn more about anger and how to reduce it.
A big way to deal with anger is to learn what emotion is driving behind it. Often times, anger is a secondary emotion that is attached to a deeper feeling. Grief, hurt feelings, jealousy, sadness, and being denied something are examples of primary emotions that would influence anger. Exploring those deeper feelings will help you to learn more about what creates anger.
Another important aspect of anger is recognizing your triggers. What makes you angry? Think of times in your past where you were angry and why you reacted that way. The more you are able to recognize your triggers it can help you communicate to others if your beginning to feel angry and recognize ways to calm yourself.
Lastly, if you are feeling angry and in the heated moment, you can attempt to calm yourself by removing yourself from the situation. By excusing yourself, attempting to take a couple of breaths, and sometime to recollect yourself, this will allow you to work through the situation better and in some cases be the bigger person.
Anger can be tough to deal with but if you are able to recognize your triggers, finding the emotions driving the anger, and learning to remove yourself from the situation can help you out greatly. Remember that your anger does not control you, you can control your anger! 
Written by: Jasper Gates, M.A. LPC Intern

5 Stress Management Techniques

Have you been feeling stressed out lately? As if you can’t handle work, home, family, or life in general. The stress is piling up and you are not sure what to do. Well here are some quick tips to managing stress so you don’t feel so chaotic in your life:
1.Take a 10 minute walk. According to a few experts if you take a walk it will help reduce endorphins in the system that cause stress.
2. Practice mindfulness. Learning to focus on your breathing can help you reduce stress. If you are able to take a few minutes out of day and breath in silence this can greatly help you reduce your stress.
3. Create an exercise regiment. If you can spend some time of your day getting in a workout that you enjoy for about 45 this can also help reduce the amount of stress that you recieve and help you manage it.
4. Write a reflection journal. Create a journal where you can write down your thoughts and process events that have happened to you. This can help you get a fresh prospective about the situations you are in.
5. Organize yourself. Set aside a few minutes a day to create a planner in order to get your thoughts straight and take in a chill pill to avoid the chaos that might be taking place around you currently.
These are just a few points and tips to help get the stress you may have under control. One of the best ways you can help control your stress is by coming up with ideas on your own that have worked on reducing those stressful moments. The best stress manager is yourself. 
Written by: Jasper Gates, M.A., LPC Intern

Suicide Prevention

Each day, over 100 Americans die by suicide. For every one death, there are approximately 25 attempts. Suicide rates are highest among teenagers and elderly. It is likely that you or someone you know has been touched by suicide, but are you comfortable with talking to someone you think might be thinking about suicide?
How do I know if a loved one is thinking about suicide?
Sometimes people drop subtle hints about suicide. Some of them include:
  • Talking about death and dying or feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Talking about being in unbearable pain
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Giving away prized possessions
What do I do when a loved one is thinking about suicide?
Once you’ve suspected someone is thinking about suicide, the best way to help is to ask them directly: “Are you thinking about suicide?” Avoid ambiguity so you can be sure you’re on the same page. If a person tell you they are thinking about suicide, consider that your invitation to help. A few ways you can help HEAL are:
HOPE is the number one thing someone thinking about suicide needs. Offer hope in what way you can. Encourage them to think about their children, pets, or other goals they have set for themselves.
ENCOURAGE them to seek support from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Help them call for an appointment if needed. It may even be helpful for you to go with them to their first appointment.
ACT accordingly to the situation. Are the concerns about safety such as weapons or pills that could be used for suicide? If so, remove them from the situation.
LISTEN to concerns and for the reasons they want to die. Don’t pass judgements about whether suicide is wrong or selfish. Don’t make light of situations going on in their life. Just listen and show understanding.
If you are immediately concerned about someone’s safety, it is best to call 911 and alert the operator about the mental health crisis. Do not leave the person alone until help has arrived. 
If you are thinking about suicide and are not sure who you can talk to, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (Veterans, please select option 1) anytime day or night.

Cy-Hope Counseling is here to offer support to those who are thinking about suicide or are suicide survivors. Call our office to speak with the intake specialist. 
Written by: Kristina Camp, Practium Counselor

Having Fun. One Aspect of Self-Care

  For those of us who are constantly taking care of others such as in the field of counseling, healthcare, childcare, or ministries we constantly find ourselves pouring out energy for the needs of others while not getting our own cups refilled. This may not just be beyond the helping fields but in your life as well.
Whether you are taking care of your family, pets, or responsibilities that tend to others you are pouring your energy out to others. While this may not seem like a huge deal, eventually this steam will run out and everyone will have a piece of you except yourself. Once this happens you may find yourself low on energy and life.
The most important key to this is to remember that we cannot take care of others unless we can learn to care for ourselves first. In the profession of counseling we refer this concept as self-care. What this means is that we learn to take time to refill our own cups of energy before we an continue to care for others. This means taking time for yourself and doing something that puts some fulfillment in your own life.
Whether it is a form of exercise, sowing, gardening, playing video games, or some hobby that brings you peace it is important to make this time in your week as that big business meeting. Making time for yourself and having fun is but one way of utilizing self-care but it is by far a very good way of recharging your battery to take care of what you need to do for the rest of the week. 
Written by: Jasper Gates, M.A., LPC Intern

Fostering Relationships

As humans, we are genetically wired to want relationships with others. In today’s world, we are so connected to each other that we have become disconnected. It’s easy to check in on people through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and forget to actually check in with the person. I’ve caught myself seeing my friends relationships flourish and diminish through Facebook and commenting to my husband that I hope they are ok, but never texting or calling to see how they’re doing. Then, in my times of distress, I sit and wonder why no one has checked in on me. 
Where have all my friends gone?!
If I’m being honest: probably nowhere. We’re all just busy. Even though we care about each other, it’s hard to physically show that.
 So, how do we fix this? How do we foster relationships in this high-tech, long distanced world?
 I’d start with being intentional. There’s a quote somewhere that says, “It’s not abouthaving time, but about making time.” I get it. Schedules fill up and it’s difficult to just grab dinner with a friend. However, in the same way we schedule hair and doctor’s appointments, start scheduling dinner with friends. I call my best friend at least once a month and schedule a brunch date. There is nothing wrong with having to schedule a friend. It may feel artificial at the beginning, but honestly, scheduling someone simply means you care, you want them in your life, and you are making time for them.
 I think we should also start being honest with our friends. It’s time to get past this surface level small talk that everything is always “fine.” Take a second to truly ask how someone is doing and, in return, take a second to be honest about what’s going on with you. Here’s the secret about real friends: They want to know. They care about you and your life. AND – here’s the kicker – often, they want to help you. Trust me when I say, it’s much easier to get through difficult situations with a support system surrounding you. Sharing this vulnerability with each other will not only increase feelings of self-worth and caring, but also build deeper longer-lasting relationships.
 Think about those you care about. I challenge you to begin being intentional and honest with them. Notice how your relationships begin to shift.
 Last thought: How do you plan on fostering relationships? Comment below and let us know!
 Written by: Sarah Henry, M.A.