Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

When Your Fears Are Real

As Halloween approaches, we are surrounded by scary images. Giant spiders, grinning skeletons, ugly witches and flickering jack-o-lanterns can give you the creeps as they seem to pop up everywhere you look. You may be brave enough to venture into a haunted house and allow the ghouls and ghosts to scare you out of your wits, but deep down, you know it’s not real. Before long, you come out into the light and tease your friends about how loudly they screamed.

If only every scary thing in life were so simple! The incidence of anxiety is increasing in the US, thanks in part to the speed with which we can hear or read a barrage of bad news all day, every day. Many people are afraid to let their children play because they’re sure they will get hurt or a stranger will kidnap them. They worry constantly about the state of the nation and are convinced the world will end soon. Some people are panicking over every minor ache or pain because it could be some new disease that was just...

Continue Reading...

Fear – The Great Impostor

Fear wears many masks. Some of these masks include procrastination, avoidance, perfectionism, anger, passivity and impatience. These behaviors and emotions often reflect fears of failure, rejection, abandonment, loss of security, looking foolish and being taken advantage of. The negative attitudes and actions we possess will only change when we begin challenging our fears.

Here’s how:

Understand your true worth.

Your value as a human being is not based on the opinions people have of you or what you accomplish or achieve. Therefore, the experiences of rejection, failure, criticism and abandonment, although painful, can never diminish your true worth because it is inherent!

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” Karl Menninger

Take positive action.

In other words, be willing to risk. Inaction or avoidance only breeds fear. Start off with small, relatively safe risks and then work your way towards the actions you...

Continue Reading...

Why Bad News Grabs Our Attention

Every day we are bombarded with television, radio, internet and newspaper headlines and stories that draw our attention to bad news.  We hear and read about natural disasters, economic uncertainty, wars and other tragedies that serve to trigger distress and worry in many people.

Did you know that 53.4% of the news on television alone depicts violence, conflict and suffering? The worse the report, the more likely it is to be the lead story because humans are naturally attracted to bad news. 

Humans exhibit this attraction to bad news thanks in large part to what is called the negativity bias.  This bias refers to a psychological phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences.  Researchers found that bad news… 

Attracts the pessimistic side of humans
Distracts us from boredom
Reminds us that we could have it worse
Reminds us to be careful and cautious
Often motivates us to take...

Continue Reading...

How Counseling Can Save Your Life

I will be talking with Dr. Randy Carlson on the Intentional Living radio program Tuesday, August 22nd. He has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of counseling and how it can potentially save a person’s life.

As I consider how to describe the value of counseling, a few things come to mind.

At some time in everyone’s life, something unexpected and painful can occur. Death, divorce, injustice, rejection and serious accidents can bring about intense emotions or slow-burning resentment. Counseling can help you identify and manage the hurt or anger that could lead to destructive decisions and negative reactions. Lashing out in anger or holding on to resentment can have long-lasting devastating consequences and derail the healing and recovery process. Letting hurt and anger go unattended will steal the peace and joy from your life.

Statistics tell us that 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders.  Almost all of us have...

Continue Reading...

Don't Let Your Thoughts Fool You!

I was reading an article on the internet called the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time and it was very entertaining. My favorite was about BBC TV conducting a prank interview with a London University professor who claimed to have created the technology to transmit odors through television. His invention was aptly named “Smellovision.” He performed a demonstration using coffee beans and onions and asked viewers to report if they detected the aromas. According to the article, numerous people reported being able to smell the coffee and onions and some even said the onion made their eyes water!

We laugh at their gullibility, but we should also pay attention to the fact that our brains can play tricks on us. Sometimes we need to evaluate the thoughts we think and make sure they are based in truth and reality, because our thoughts direct our perceptions and feelings, which results in our actions. So, our thoughts play a primary role when it comes to our...

Continue Reading...

Tips for Conquering Your Fears

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by an irrational fear – so much so that it prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? Believe it or not, this is a common problem faced by many people daily.

Fear has the power to hold you back from taking risks, following your dreams, or becoming successful at anything you attempt to do. If you allow it to control you for long enough, it can eventually erode your quality of life and keep you locked in a prison of inactivity and regret.

What many people fail to realize is that fear is nothing more than a conditioned response. It’s a natural reaction to any situation that is perceived as threatening.  Although not easy, there are things you can do on a regular basis to overcome irrational fear. Review the tips below and make the decision to begin putting them into practice today.

1)  Check your expectations

One major contributor of fear is the prevalence of negative expectations. Do you usually find yourself...

Continue Reading...

When You Don't Get Your Way

How do you respond when things don’t go your way or you don’t get what you want? The current news is filled with reports of people demonstrating their anger and rage about not getting what they want, and I am concerned that the methods too many have chosen to express their feelings are doing much more harm than good. The lack of ability to appropriately express anger and fear along with wants and needs is doing damage on a large scale in many cities, but it also impacts people on an individual level.

If it’s important to you to demonstrate maturity and self-control as well as communicate in a way that will give you credibility and reflect objectivity take the time and make the effort to be good and angry when you don’t get your way.

Life for you will always be difficult if you are unable to maturely, confidently, and fully express your concerns and let others know how you want things to change and that you’re willing to be part of the...

Continue Reading...

Worry vs. Healthy Concern

anxiety personal growth Aug 10, 2016

It is highly likely that within the last few hours you have given in to the urge to worry about something. Worry comes as naturally to most of us as breathing, so it is important for all of us to consider some basic questions and principles whenever worry begins to creep in to our thinking.

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of people who struggle with worry, and I have found that each person has their own unique triggers, reasons and methods of expressing worry, but they also have some things in common – they either worry too much, too little or just enough.

Excessive worry is always harmful. As it’s been said, worry doesn’t change the past or make things better tomorrow, but it steals all the joy from today. Not only that, but the effects of severe worry can include headaches, digestive illness, high blood pressure, irritability, sleep-deprivation, memory lapses, feelings of hopelessness and depression, and the list goes on. People who worry too much...

Continue Reading...

Do You Worry About What People Think?

It’s been said that more people are held captive in the prison of their own minds than in all the jail cells in the world… and Worry is their warden. There are countless things that may weigh heavily on our minds, but I have worked with many people who significantly struggle with worrying about what people think about them, and they always pay a price.

Many of the decisions you make on a daily basis, like what to wear, the music to listen to, what to say in a conversation, or who to associate with are governed, in large part, by a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process that attempts to influence what people think about you. We call this process impression management.

As humans, we all have needs for belonging, significance and acceptance. To not think about how others perceive you to some extent is to deny these needs. Unfortunately, many people are trapped by a powerful impulse to over-engage in impression management. In other words, they are overly...

Continue Reading...

Fear and Cockroaches

I meet with people nearly every day who are controlled by their fears or victimized by the fears of their spouse, parent or other influential person in their life.  They often miss out on the joy of life because they are consumed with worry about financial ruin, illness, rejection, criticism and the list goes on and on.

The emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that accompany the anxiety brought on by these fears often greatly diminish a person’s quality of life and ability to relate well at home and work.  People experiencing fear and anxiety often tell me they live with a constant sense of panic or dread that something bad is going to happen.  Or they suffer with physical symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, chest pain, tension and fatigue.  Of course, it’s always important to check with your physician to rule out health problems, but it’s equally important to learn how your body tends to react to fear and anxiety, because long...

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

Relate Well! Blog - Sign Up Today!

Receive weekly posts to enhance your personal growth and professional development.