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Monthly Archives: July 2014

9 Ways to Reduce Anxiety.

What Your Anxiety Symptoms Are Really Telling You

Those with anxiety often feel that they are stuck and are unsure of how to make themselves feel better. But there are many tools and techniques to use in order to manage your anxiety effectively. 

Try these healthy ways to cope with anxiety: 

  • Take a deep breath. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is great at reducing anxiety because it activates the body’s relaxation response.
  • Accept that you’re anxious. Remind yourself that anxiety is just an emotional reaction, and accept it. 
  • Realize your brain is playing tricks on you. Your mind can make you think you are having a heart attack when it is only a panic attack. 
  • Question your thoughts. When you’re anxious your mind starts coming up will outlandish and crazy ideas that aren’t realistic. Ask yourself, “is this really likely to happen?”, “is this really true or does it just seem that way?”. 
  • Use a calming visualization. Practice picturing yourself on a the sandy shore of your favorite beach, or sitting on the lawn of your favorite park. 
  • Be an observer. Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion.
  • Use positive self-talk. Anxiety can produce a lot of negative talk, so tell yourself positive coping statements, such as “my anxiety is making me feel horrible today, but I have tools I can use to manage it.”
  • Focus on the present. Anxiety usually makes people obsess about things that might happen in the future. Instead it is best to take a deep breath and focus on what is happening right now.
  • Focus on a meaningful activity. When feeling anxious it is helpful to focus on a goal driven activity. The worst thing you can do is sit around obsessing about how you are feeling. Keep busy with your every day life, don’t sit around and let the anxiety get to you. 

Anxiety can feel like having chains around your feet, weighing you down. It can be very overwhelming at times. But by taking small steps – like the ones above – you can minimize your anxiety and cope effectively.

Visit our website or give us a call for information on how we can help you manage your anxiety!


Drink A Cup Of Coffee… Or Two.


Why, you ask? Because coffee can be a pretty amazing thing for your brain, your skin and your body.

Here is why you should wake up and have a cup of Joe every day:

  • Just smelling the coffee can make you less stressed.  Researchers have found that the aroma of coffee lowers stress levels.
  • Coffee lessens the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Not only does it help those with Parkinson’s control their movements, but people are also less likely to develop the disease.
  • Coffee can make you feel happier. The reason behind the happiness coffee provides? The antioxidants we get from it.
  • Less likely to be depressed. A study found that those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be depressed.
  • Lower levels of suicide. Drinking between 2 and 4 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide by about 50 percent. Coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.
  • Coffee helps keep your brain healthier for longer. Moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or delay the onset. Coffee allows your brain t work in a more efficient and smarter way.

Coffee is pretty awesome, so drink up!

Check out our sister blog for more fun and interesting reads!

Stages of Change.


This model was introduced about 20 years ago by alcoholism researchers Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska, to help professionals understand their clients who had addiction problems and help them to change. It is based on personal observation of how people went about changing problem behaviors like smoking, drinking, and even over eating. 

The stages of the model are:

  1. Precontemplation. Individuals in this stage don’t believe they have a problem, they think everyone who tells them that they have a problem is exaggerating. Precontemplators don’t want to be told what to do, they have given up hope about changing, and have no inertia to even consider change. 
  2. Contempation. These individuals are willing to consider the possibility that they may have a problem. They are still walking the fence when it comes to change but are interested to learn about their problem and treatment. 
  3. Determination/Preparation. They have decided to stop their problem behavior. Most individuals in this stage will make a serious attempt to stop in the near future, they are prepared and committed to action.
  4. Action. This is the stage where individuals put their plan into action. This stage typically involves making some type of public commitment to stop their problem behavior in order to get external confirmation of the plan.They may have agreed to counseling, AA, or some other form of treatment. Making public commitments not only helps them obtain support that they need to recover, but also creates external monitors. 
  5. Maintenance, relapse, and recycling. The action stage normally takes three to six months to complete. You have to build a new pattern of behavior over time in order for change to be successful. In this stage your life free of problem behaviors is being established and the threat of the behavior coming back is becoming less and less. Although the possibility of relapse is always present, those who relapse learn from the relapse and returning to sobriety strengthens a persons determination to stay sober.
  6. Termination. Although termination is not apart of the stages of change model, it is the ultimate goal. At this stage the individual no longer find the problem behavior to be tempting or a threat to their sobriety. They have extreme confidence that they can cope without the fear of relapsing. 

If you or someone you may know needs help with their alcoholism, smoking, or some other problem behavior then get them the help that they need. Our counselors at Star Point Counseling Center are well experience and prepared to help you or your loved one get through all of these stages and begin living a happier ad healthier life.  

Live the life you know that you deserve! (813)244-1251

Don’t Play the Blame Game!


When it comes to our relationships, it is almost always easier to see the flaws in our partners then in ourselves. When it comes to finger pointing, both partners are usually right, and both are wrong. The only way to better your relationship is to always focus on empowering yourself. You can only change your part of the equation. Take charge and change the behaviors that are holding you back from a better relationship. 

  • Don’t build a case. Case building is a huge problem in a relationship. Once we start to see our partner a certain way, we start perceiving their actions through a negative filter.In these cases, we can either feed our feelings of blame or try to keep a more balanced perspective about what’s going on.
  • Drop it. Once the blame game begins it is hard to stop and resolve who did what or who’s at fault. There is NEVER a winner when you play the blame game. Sometimes it’s worth dropping the past, putting down your guard, and just being nice to each other. 
  • Calm yourself down. Relationships trigger us in ways we rarely expect. When we feel triggered, we should try focusing on relaxing before reacting. We can better manage our partner’s temper by calming ourselves down first, then approaching them with the issue. 
  • Reflect on your patterns. Once we have calmed down, you can take a step back and reflect. ask yourself why and what made you trigger. Does my reaction seem like an overreaction? Look for the thing you hate the most that your partner does and ask yourself what you did or said right before that. 
  • Have compassion.  When we understand the reasons why we both get triggered, we have more compassion for ourselves and our partner. We can have more compassion by always aiming to see the scenario from our partner’s eyes and understand how they view the situation.
  • Be open to feedback. It is very important that we are open to what our partner has to say. Don’t be defensive when your partner is giving you feedback, look for the truth in what they are saying. It will benefit you more than arguing every detail. 
  • Communicate what you felt. Once we are calm and we’ve given our partner the chance to express their perceptions, we can explain how we felt without placing blame or feeling victimized. We can also provide feedback that is direct, yet compassionate. We should avoid using victimized language or generalized statements. 

Once we start to see patterns in ourselves, we can challenge ourselves to act in ways we respect and repair when we make a mistake.When we stop placing blame, we shift our focus inward.By taking power over ourselves, we give our relationship its best chance of remaining equal, passionate, and fulfilling.

If you and your partner take part in playing the blame game and don’t know how to end it, there is something you can do. Call Star Point Counseling Center! Our Licensed Mental Heath Counselors can work with you and your partner at ending the blame game once and for all.


Letting Go of Past Hurts.


We all get hurt at least once in our lifetime, you can’t possibly be an adult or teen alive today who hasn’t gone through some kind of painful and hurtful experience in the past.I understand that it hurts, but would you rather get back to living life or continue to dwell on something that cannot be changed? People who hold on to these past hurts often relive the pain over and over in their minds.  The only way to move on and to accept new happiness into your life is to make room for it by getting rid of the pain and hurt. 

Five ways to let go of past hurts: 

  1. Make the decision to let it go. Like the popular song from the Disney movieFrozen says, “Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door.” You have to make a conscious decision to let it go and slam the door behind you. You have the choice to stop reliving the past and playing every detail out in your mind. 
  2. Express your pain, and responsibility. Express the pain that you feel, whether it is directly to the person who may have caused the pain, venting to a friend, or writing it down in a journal. Get it all out of your system at once. 
  3. Stop playing the victim and blaming others. Even though you may not mainly be responsible for the hurt, there may be something you could have done differently, or maybe you let it get to you way more than you should have. Take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put your happiness into the hands of someone else. 
  4. Focus on the present. Once you have let go its time to stop living in the past and start living for today. Once you start focusing on the here and now, there is no room left for you to think about the past. If the past begins to creep into your mind acknowledge it only for a moment and then bring yourself back to the present moment. 
  5. Forgive. We may not be able to forget a person’s behaviors but everybody deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is a way of letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view even though you may not agree with what they did. And forgiving yourself can be an important part, as sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation or hurt. 

Nobody’s life should be defined by their pain. It is not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study and work, and it impacts other relationships we have. Do something different today and welcome happiness and joy back into your life. 

If you are struggling with letting go and moving on from a past hurt check out our website to find out how we can help you. Whether you are unable to move on from a minor break-up, infidelity, or the loss of a loved one, we are here to help you learn to let go and begin living a happier life.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Teaching Your Child To Cope.


The ability to cope is not something we are born with. Coping involves emotional and practical skills that our children learn through both observation and direct teaching. As parents it is our job to not only celebrate the good times but also prepare them for the bad times as well. Every disappointment in a child’s life is an opportunity to show them that they are strong enough to overcome it. 

Here are some ways we can encourage healthy coping skills:

  • DON’T ignore a problem. Avoiding the problem will only worsen with time. DO encourage your child to face their problems, facing small problems gives them the practice they need to solve big ones. It is also important to teach your child when and how to reach out for support when life hands them a big one.
  • DON’T step in too soon. We have to let our children learn how to handle situations by themselves without always coming to their rescue. DO have confidence in your child, with our help they can learn to use their hearts and minds to handle a difficult situation.
  • DON’T agree with your child that life is unfair, or mean. Yes, it may be true sometimes but having a negative attitude about life will leave them unhappy. DO acknowledge that sometimes life is unfair and people are mean but if there is nothing we can do about a negative situation we need to teach our children not to dwell on it and move on.
  • DON’T let yourself get down or depressed if your child is depressed. It adds more burden to the problem because kids don’t want to see their parents sad. DO teach your child to engage with problems. Have them talk out exactly what happened and why. Work together to decide what they can change and what they can’t. You may not be able to change a situation but you can always learn something from it. 
  • DON’T accept tantrums, acting out, or helplessness. No problem has ever been solved by tempers, aggression, or just giving up. DO listen and support their feelings, we need to let our children know that it is okay to let their emotions out, but not to make someone the target. It is important to teach your child how to calm themselves down and get past their feelings. 

If you have a child that is not coping well and you are having a hard time dealing with their depression, anger or tantrums, let us know! We can help teach your child coping skills that they will need to get past big or small problems that they may face now and in the future. 


Five Friendship Warning Signs.

Two Friends Series

Friendships contribute significantly to our psychical and emotional health. The companionship provided by friends can help ward off depression, boost your self-esteem, and provide support. But occasionally we come across some mediocre friends and we feel pressured to keep it going, out of a sense of loyalty, fear, or guilt, which contributes more stress in the long run than cutting ties. Sometimes friendships wither or fade as two people grow and change, and it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault.

Here are a few clear signs that it may be time to cut loose from a friendship: 

  1. You do not like who you are when around them. Maybe when you’re around them you feel passive-aggressive, catty, envious, or resentful, and you don’t tend to act this way around other friends. 
  2. Your friend brings out bad behaviors in you. Maybe your drinking too much, lying more often, or getting into more arguments with other loved ones. There are many ways that a friend can be a bad influence, other than just skipping school when you were teens. 
  3. The friendship feels significantly unbalanced. There is no reciprocity in your friendship. Maybe you do so much for your friend and get nothing in return, or it may be the other way around and you don’t have the interest in doing the same for them. 
  4. The words you would use to describe them aren’t flattering. Maybe your constantly making fun of them in your head or really just don’t really like them anymore. If you find yourself describing them in ways that are not flattering it may be a sign.
  5. Your friend just doesn’t get you. Maybe they misunderstand you all the time, or make you feel embarrassed about how you dress or what you eat. You might feel so put down that you censor yourself when your around them. 

If this is something that doesn’t just feel like a phase you and your friend are going through then it may be time to consider if this friendship is healthy or not. Not all friendships last forever, it may be time to take the next step and cut loose. 

If you are currently in this situation and you are unsure of how to move on from a friendship or if your decision is weighing heavily on your heart and starting to affect you, give us a call. We will help you take small steps to remove yourself from this toxic friendship you may be in and start making healthy friendships. 



Break Bad Habits.


It’s bad for you, so why can’t you just stop? We are not just creatures of habit, we are better than any other animal at changing and orienting behavior toward long-term goals and/or benefits. We have the ability to replace our bad habits with other healthier habits and behaviors. Replacing does not simply erase the previous behavior, but you can strengthen the new one and suppress the old one. 

Here are five tips for breaking bad habits: 

  • Avoid temptations:  If you always stop for a donut on your way to work, try a different route. Keep fatty foods, cigarettes, alcohol and other tempting items out of your home.
  • Replace unhealthy with healthy behaviors: Try exercising, or practicing a favorite hobby.
  • Prepare mentally: If avoiding temptations is difficult for you, plan in advance. Plan how to handle temptations and practice what you plan.
  • Enlist support: Have friends, family, and co-workers to support your efforts to change.
  • Reward yourself for small steps: Give yourself a healthy treat every time you hit a small goal.

Our Licensed Mental Heath Counselors can help you change your bad behaviors and replace them with healthy ones. If you feel that you do not have the strength to begin the process on your own, let us help you. We will work with you every step of the way and help you create goals and steps for breaking your bad habits. 


What Is A Codependent?


A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior. The heart of the definition and recovery does not lie in the other person, it lies in the codependent and the way they have let other people’s behavior affect them and in the ways they try to affect the other person. Below is a short list of some characteristics of a codependent.

  • Think and feel responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, and well-being.
  • have anxiety, pity and guilt when other people have a problem.
  • feel angry when their help isn’t effective
  • wonder why others don’t do the same for them.
  • find themselves attracted to needy people, and vice-versa
  • over-commit themselves
  • come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families and deny it.
  • fear rejection
  • feel as if they aren’t good enough, and are different from other people
  • worry about the silliest things
  • lose sleep over problems or other people’s behaviors
  • lie to protect or cover for people they love
  • lack of trust of themselves and others, their feelings and decisions

It is estimated that 80 million people are chemically dependent or in a relationship with someone who is. If concern has turned into obsession; if compassion has turned into care taking;  if you are taking care of other people and not yourself, you may be in trouble with codependency.The first step toward change is awareness, and the second is acceptance.

Call us today for information on how we can help you understand what codependency is all about! (813)244-1251

Tips On Preventing A Break-up.

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Break-ups happen all the time, for multiple reasons. Believe it or not there are many ways to prevent them. Below are some helpful tips for keeping your love life on a positive track.

  • Let go of grudges: Don’t let resentment buld up, talk to your partner so you can fix the situation.
  • Avoid taking your partner for granted: Put a little bit of extra energy into your relationship and do small things to show your partner you care.
  • Be trusting of your partner: If you feel that your partner may lie or cheat on you, discuss those concerns with them
  • Face adversities with them: Be there for your loved one and support them, working as a team will help you get through any challenges you may face.
  • Deal with problems head-on: If you do not discuss your problems then they will build up and eventually become to difficult to solve.
  • Find new things to do together: Enhance your bond by mixing things up so the relationship doesn’t become boring. Find new hobbies and activities to participate in.
  • Speak whats in your heart: Being afraid to speak honestly and being vulnerable will only hinder your relationship. Let your partner know when you want to have a serious conversation and don’t be afraid to be open and honest.
  • Stand up for yourself: If you are unhappy with something your partner is doing or feel that your needs are not being met, let your partner know. If they won’t listen then it may be time to seek help from a professional.

Break-ups are always preventable, it’s just a matter of how much effort you are willing to put forth. Relationships take work and dedication. It is ultimately up to you to decide if your relationship is worth the effort or not.

If you feel that you are on the verge of a break-up, call us today. We can help you rebuild your relationship. (813)244-1251

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