Check out the best of Mental Health Moment

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Mental Health Moment on break

It’s summer, and my son is getting married this month! 💞❤

So I’m taking a short break from new episodes of Mental Health Moment.

I’ll return with NEW EPISODES on June 24.

Until then, here’s a few early episodes you may have missed!

 

Episode 2: Sticky note wins the day

 

 

 

Episode 3: Don’t stress exercise

 

 

 

Episode 4: Deep breathing isn’t just “take a deep breath”

 

 

 

Episode 5: Five things (and also 20 things) to reduce stress

 

 

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Ep 67: When do you know it’s time to see a therapist?

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We know life can just be challenging and stressful. That’s part of living in today’s modern world.

You may have your stress under control now but you may need some help just keeping it together. Is that serious enough for therapy?

This episode gives you a few things to look for to decide if it’s time to see a therapist.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 67: When do you know it's time to see a therapist?

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

People ask me all the time how they know it’s time to see a therapist.

Life can be hard sometimes. But how do you know when you need to actually enlist the help of a complete stranger?

Therapy is shrouded in more mystery than it needs to be. It’s easy to think therapy is for just the “seriously troubled.”

  • So if you’re anxious about big changes at work maybe that’s not serious enough.
  • Or your constant worry about those tests your doctor ran last week…you just need to figure out how to deal with that.

Many of the things that stress us out and make us anxious are just everyday things.

We can rely on resilience and try hard to manage our daily challenges as they come.

And most of the time, that works because we already have a few coping skills that we learned early in life.

Some coping skills are healthy, like exercise, meditation or reaching out to connect with good friends.

Other coping skills lean towards the unhealthy, like drinking a glass or two of wine every night after dinner to unwind or using food to calm those anxious emotions.

But at the end of the day, healthy or unhealthy, coping skills do work.

Until they don’t.

  • Going for a run no longer takes the edge off.
  • Killing that entire bag of chips sends you into a serious shame spiral.
  • You isolate yourself from your friends and family and go from one Netflix binge to another.
  • You call in sick to work multiple times rather than face the stress and pressure of your new boss.

It looks like you’ve officially overwhelmed your coping skills.

Here’s how you know: when the things you’ve always done to deal with your problems suddenly don’t work anymore, that’s the time to consider a professional perspective.

This is especially true when your problems begin to affect your functioning, like keeping your job or maintaining important relationships.

And that’s really the key.

When it starts getting hard to show up in your daily life, you need to give some thought to reaching out.

How can a therapist help?

I’ve heard more times than I care to count that talking about your problems won’t solve your problems.

And that’s kind of true. There’s no magic solution in just talking. That talking has to be followed up with real action from you to create the change you need.

But don’t underestimate the power in just telling your story to someone uninterrupted.

How often do you get to do that?

Your therapy session is your time and your space. You can talk about whatever the heck you want.

You can find a lot of insight while you’re rolling out all the details and forming a timeline of events.

And because your therapist isn’t living your life with you, she has no vested interest in how your story turns out. She wants what you want.

So you get to be the hero.

All that talking can lead to some interesting discoveries.

A therapist is an objective third party. It’s a lot easier for them to get an aerial view of your life without all the bias and expectations everyone else has for you.

They will pick up on behavior patterns and ways of responding that may not be that effective for you.

It’s really hard to see all that while you’re in it.

Patterns matter.

You need to understand why you’ve responded to things a certain way. Then you can learn how to create new patterns.

The best part about therapy is that you have a team working with you.

Therapy is supposed to be collaborative. You and your therapist work together to help you determine where you want to be.

What can you work on that will help you feel some control over how you respond to what’s happening to you?

Then you can develop a plan of action to get there.

Your therapist holds you accountable in a nonjudgmental way and helps you measure your progress.

The goal of therapy is that you develop the skills to kind of be your own therapist.

This goes a long way to help you manage the everyday issues in your life.

And it might be a key factor in how you weather tough times in the future.

There are several resources that can help you connect with a therapist in your area. You can search online or ask friends for recommendations.

If you have an Employee Assistance Program benefit at work, you can easily get started there.

It may feel a little weird making that first call. But I promise the therapist on the other end doesn’t think you’re weird because you’re asking for help with regular life stress.

They see this a lot because so many people struggle these days.

And they know you’re not alone.

I’ve said before that resilience to stress is identifying your strengths and taking advantage of the resources available to you.

Therapy can be a valuable resource when you need it most.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment at mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Here’s what else I’m saying about this topic

 

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 59: Are strong emotions bad for you?

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Did you grow up thinking your strong emotions are bad for you? We get the message early on that emotions are either bad or good. This is mostly based on what we do with those emotions.

It’s easy to avoid emotions that make us uncomfortable because we don’t think they have a role to play in our lives.

But emotions, especially powerful emotions, can tell us a lot about ourselves.

Learn how to let all your emotions find their natural place in your life.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 59: Are emotions bad for you?

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

How many times have you missed the mark with something because you just couldn’t handle your emotions? And then you chastised yourself for feeling such difficult emotion?

You don’t need a therapist to tell you that emotions are powerful.

Even though this therapist did just tell you that. 😀

Emotions represent some of the most basic needs that we have as humans.

The ability to love, fight for justice, feel joy, and move bravely through sadness is what makes us human.

We are absolutely wired for emotion, even the messy ones that spill out all over everybody around us.

From the minute we enter the grand stage of our life, one of our earliest, most basic needs is to attach to others.

This happens through a profound process of love and physical nurturing from a caregiver.

Attachment is a dealbreaker for every baby human to start healthy development.

And all that happens from powerful emotion going from one person to another.

Since we’re little kids, we are led to believe that some emotions are good and some emotions are bad.

The evidence for this is largely due to the behaviors that we show when we feel certain emotions.

  • If we get angry and we throw something, then anger is bad.
  • If we do something that pleases others and we didn’t get upset about having to do it, then we must be happy.

One fun exercise I like to do with kids is to give them a page full of different emojis. The faces range from happy to angry, and all points in between.

I simply ask the kid to cross out the bad faces and circle the good faces.

They waste no time crossing out the obvious angry face, the frustrated face, the sad face, the worried face, and sometimes the confused face.

It takes them a lot longer to pick out the good faces. Once they get past the obvious smiling face, you can see the philosophical war going on in their head with silly face and rolling eyes face.

They’re fun faces, but are they good?

When they’re done, I ask them to pick out one of the faces they crossed out.

In almost every case they pick the angry face. What makes that face a bad face, I ask.

Because that face was mad and did something wrong, so they got in trouble for it, comes their reply.

I keep probing.

So…it’s bad to feel angry?

They look at me as if I suddenly grew a third eyeball right in the middle of my forehead.

Of course it’s bad to feel angry because when you get angry you get in trouble.

So you shouldn’t feel angry.

And there it is.

Before you even hit puberty, you’re taught to avoid emotions that make you uncomfortable.

Yelling back at your mom or throwing your Xbox game controller on the ground is bad, so anger is bad.

Unfortunately, well-meaning parents focus just on correcting the negative behaviors that stem from unhealthy emotions instead of helping their kids listen to what those powerful feelings are trying to tell them.

And there’s almost no focus on healthy emotions and understanding how to appreciate that for the gift that it is.

Hearing what your emotions are trying to tell you helps you learn what to do to manage them when things get difficult.

Emotions are dashboard indicators that tell us what’s important to us, or to pay attention to something that’s bothering us.

  • Anger may tell you that you were actually hurt by a situation and you need to repair a relationship in order to move forward. You don’t need to run from that.
  • Contentment and joy may tell you that your focus on prioritizing your family is actually making you happier. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Emotions are less good or bad and more healthy or unhealthy.

Unhealthy emotions can lead to unhealthy behaviors, but that doesn’t make YOU bad.

Framing emotions in this way gives you more power to actually feel like you can have some mastery over them.

When you lose your cool with your kids, instead of beating yourself up for reacting in anger and thinking you’re a bad parent, you can spend some time trying to understand what’s really happening here.

  • Are you overwhelmed with all of your other responsibilities?
  • Have you set up clear boundaries with your kids so that they clearly understand the role they play in the family?

Figure out what’s laying underneath that unhealthy emotion.

Do you feel like you’re going to lose it every day at work? Maybe you feel like you’re swimming in a cesspool of frustration, powerlessness, jealousy and boredom.

That’s a recipe for disengagement for sure. But this isn’t a bad thing. You can tap into each of these emotions and investigate the situations that got you here.

  • Are you jealous of that coworker who got promoted ahead of you? Maybe you’re feeling hurt that you didn’t get chosen and you feel rejected.
  • Fine. It’s okay to feel that way. Now you know that promotion was important to you.
  • What role can you play to make any changes that might set you up for the future?
  • What other options might you have?

In order to do the healthy work to improve yourself, it’s important to lose the idea of good or bad when it comes to emotions.

That’s a super fast way to judge yourself and others.

There are just too many variations on our emotions to think that just one set of emotions is good and the rest are bad.

Learn to be curious about what your emotions are telling you.

Emotions add color and joy to our lives.

They complement logic and reason because sometimes things are not always so black-and-white.

Even difficult emotions add value because they are a testament to what we’ve been through.

And if we’re still standing, our emotions and our ability to use them can show us just what we’re capable of.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 




Ep 55: How to find your power when dealing with change at work

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Change at work has become the new normal. You can fight it, or you can figure out how to find your power right in the midst of change.

Part of being resilient is knowing what you can hang on to to get through change.

As part of my series this week on resilience, in this episode, I share a story from the fifth grade to illustrate how you can find resilience and find your power even as everything is changing.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 55: How to find your power when dealing with change at work

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

One day when I was in the 5th grade, I was riding my bike to school on a small country road.

I was about halfway to school when I heard a vehicle coming up behind me. I turned my head to see a white pickup truck bouncing down the road in my direction.

I was pretty sure he saw me but I made sure I was fully on the right side of the road on the shoulder. I grabbed the handlebars tightly and steadied myself as I braced for the truck to go by, my little legs still pedaling so hard.

This was not the first time a truck had passed me on this road. So I fully expected to feel a breeze from the truck as it went by.

What I didn’t expect was a loud, obnoxious “Woof!” in my left ear as the truck flew by.

Okay, that was my attempt to sound like a very large barking dog.

Turns out, there was a big dog in the back of that truck who decided to say hi to a little girl on her bike right in that moment.

I was so startled I drove straight into the ditch next to the road and flew head first right off my bike and in to wet grass.

Books, lunchbox, glasses and all.

I’m sure it was a YouTube worthy moment. Thank goodness there was no YouTube in those days.

I can promise you the next time I heard a vehicle come up behind me on that road, I had some extra information in my pocket to prepare myself.

I became more keenly aware of the possibilities for what could happen when a truck goes by you on a country road.

And I learned what I need to do to become more resilient to prepare myself to stay out of that ditch.

Does this experience describe how you feel when change happens all around you at work?

We all just want to get on our bikes and get to school, for crying out loud. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and that can be really frustrating.

Constant change is just part of being in the workforce today.

It’s lovely to say that we wish it wouldn’t change so much and remember how it used to be.

But work is now very competitive and companies have to run fast to keep up with changes in your industry.

This means that:

  • leadership teams shuffle around more often,
  • technology gets outdated more quickly and has to change, and
  • markets get more unpredictable and require fast changes for companies to stay afloat.

And all that can add up to uncomfortable changes in how you do your work.

Remember in yesterday’s episode we talked about how resilience isn’t just about what you’ve already been through. You can use your own strengths to help you stay forward focused to weather what’s ahead of you.

The same formula applies here.

The first thing you have to remember here is to not take change at work personally.

It’s rarely about you and almost always about trying to survive to live another day.

Instead of complaining about how all these changes are affecting you, you can take a more offensive approach.

Use this time as things are shuffling and moving around to assess what you would like to see in your job.

  • Are you really feeling SO challenged and engaged in your job?
  • Is there some scenario where you would be okay with seeing some things change so that maybe you can re-engage in your work?

Ask yourself a series of questions to help you come up with some ideas in the middle of all this change happening around you.

  • What’s working for you?
  • What’s not working?
  • What skills would you like to continue to develop or deepen?
  • What other levers could you pull to achieve some larger career goals?
  • What do you want to do? There’s a wild question.

You don’t have to necessarily share your answers with anyone. But knowing what options you might have can help you have a little more power in those times when you feel like you have very little control.

The second thing to remember is to avoid sitting and stewing about all the negative possibilities in your situation.

Ruminating about all the things that are going wrong or could go wrong with all this change leads to a feeling of hopelessness.

And it certainly removes your power from the situation. Resilience is all about keeping your power so you can access it when you need it.

Because you answered those questions I mentioned earlier, AND you made a list of your strengths from yesterday‘s episode, you already know what you bring to the table. 😉

Now you can walk through a different perspective.

Not a paranoid one that thinks all of these changes are about making me miserable.

But a perspective that helps you learn how you might contribute to some of this change in a positive way.

Instead of replaying your scary movie in your head over and over again, challenge yourself to look for all of the possibilities and sniff out your opportunities.

Which leads me to this.

One of the most important things you can do to stay flexible and resilient through change at work is to stay away from gossip and rumors.

This is your kryptonite.

Sorry I just mixed a barking dog in a pickup truck analogy with Superman. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Gossip is the one thing that sinks many good people. When things change at work, we can be filled with fear.

Every little snackable morsel of information that comes your way is like kindling on a fire that stokes your fear.

To be fair, sometimes poor communication during times of change makes you desperate for any communication at all.

But the more you poke at gossip and entertain it, the more oxygen it gets and the brighter it burns.

Gossip takes away your ability to ask meaningful questions and find out where you have real power.

Instead it wants you to position yourself as the victim.

Now you’re more concerned about what’s happening to you and how you can protect yourself instead of focusing on your strengths and what you’re grateful for.

And for what might still be ahead.

You can’t avoid change at work.

And you can’t avoid all the ways it might affect you.

But you definitely have the power to use what you know about yourself and challenge your thoughts about what you see happening around you.

You have this power all day long.

Knowing what strengths you bring to this equation will help you keep your hands firmly on the handlebars, and hopefully, keep you out of the ditch looking for your glasses.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how stress can lead us to feel entitled and how we can find ways to live in a different mindset.

You can catch all the previous episodes of mental health moment at its new web address at mymentalhealthmoment.com.

As always you can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

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Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!

Ep 54: Building resilience to fight stress and find opportunity

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Building resilience isn’t just something that happens after you go through something challenging. You can build resilience every day. It’s a skill, a habit that will help you weather whatever comes your way.

In the first episode of this series, learn how you can focus on building resilience for creating a buffer against the stress of change and find opportunities to feel more powerful.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 54: Practice building resilience to fight stress and find opportunity

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

This week I want to look at some areas related to resilience.

We really don’t think about resilience a lot, do we? It’s hard to define.

You can put a number on how depressed or anxious you are, but how do you measure resilience?

Resilience is like that Jell-O salad at Thanksgiving. No one can define it, really, and everybody makes it a different way.

And it almost never looks sexy.

But thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without it, right?

The Google box defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Another definition is “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Those are pretty good definitions, but they focus more on resilience as a result of something we’ve already been through.

How can you leverage what you have right now, in the middle of what you’re dealing with right now, to become more resistant to the effects of change and challenge?

Resilience is simply this: how can you identify the resources available to you today and take action to help yourself when stuff gets real?

To find your resilience you have to look beyond your situation and figure out what YOU can bring to the table.

  • What strengths can you activate to deal with your situation?
  • When should you use those strengths?
  • How can you set yourself up for the next situation that rolls around?

Resilience, then, is actually a skill that you can build with intention and purpose.

The choices and decisions you make can empower you right in the middle of all your drama.

And with the right focus, you can make resilience a habit, and a powerful one.

How can you focus on building resilience?

First, identify your strengths

What strengths describe how you move through your life when you’re successful?

These are more like positive character traits.

  • Do you have courage?
  • Are you positive-minded?
  • Are you a rational thinker?
  • Are you enthusiastic?
  • Are you known for your integrity?
  • Do you like to show kindness to others?

You need to identify and develop a foundation of strengths to build on. This is what you can draw from on a dime when things get hot.

It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you.

If you can use your courage, for example, to make a simple decision to change something about your life today, then you can feel like you still have some power in the middle of your situation.

Your strengths are like health in a video game.

The more you have, the longer you can last. And you always want to pick up as much as you can, even if you don’t feel like you need them right now.

So, figure out what you’re really good at when things hit the fan.

Second, building resilience means you need to stay forward focused.

Your past plays a big role in building resilience because you can learn from what you’ve been through. I mean, hopefully at least you can learn from what you’ve been through, right? But that’s where it ends.

If you’re constantly replaying what happened to you over and over again, it’s easy to get stuck. You can take yourself right back to those same hurtful emotions and re-injure yourself.

Create the habit of being curious about what’s ahead.

Take a look at that list of strengths that you just built and figure out how you can leverage those strengths to impact something, or create a future opportunity for yourself right now.

Make a list of all of your possible options, even the weird or less-likely ones.

Sometimes this kind of brainstorming can generate solutions you hadn’t thought of yet.

Third, practice a gratitude mindset.

This is the special sauce you can come back to every time because gratitude reminds you of what you’ve already come through.

Gratitude is more than just being grateful that you have more than others. It’s appreciation for what you’ve been given and drives you to share with others out of that gratitude.

Maybe you can encourage someone with a text or a written note, or buy someone’s lunch today just because you’re grateful you’ve always had enough to eat.

So gratitude is more than a feeling.

It’s an actionable practice that takes your focus off of your own needs and places it squarely on what you can do for others.

A gratitude mindset is the cornerstone of building resilience because it helps you appreciate the contributions that other people are making in your life and in the lives of others.

Much of the stress we experience is reacting to stuff that happens to us.

Part of weathering that stress is making sure we have enough resources we can draw on to withstand what comes our way.

But you can take this a step further by asking yourself, what can I do to set myself up better for the next challenge that comes around?

That’s how you practice resilience.

Over the next few days we’ll look at how building resilience can help you in a few ways.

  • How can resilience help you create a buffer against the stress of change, especially at work?
  • How can you feel less entitled when you’re most stressed and really want to feel entitled?
  • How can resilience help you create your own opportunities to feel powerful and confident, and finally,
  • How can it help you find purpose and meaning in spite of your struggles?

Make sure you don’t miss any episodes this week by subscribing to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Spotify.

I would just be over the moon if you could leave me a review in any of those places.

For even more articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

GET THE BE WELL DO WELL DIGEST!

Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!

Ep 34: How to get going when you’re not feeling it

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Some days just make you feel kind of done. You may have low energy and your mood is tanked. So you just sit still. That’s okay.

But when it stretches into longer days, it might be time to try to activate yourself. Learn how behavioral activation can help you get going.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes wherever you are! 

Full transcript

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

One of the hardest things to combat with stress is the amount of energy it depletes from you.

If you end your day yearning for that moment that you can get in your PJs well before dark, then you know what I’m talking about.

It takes real energy to do what you do every day.

  • Trying to be your best positive self at work in spite of the challenges.
  • Getting your kids to all their practices and tournaments.
  • Helping your kids stay on top of homework after all that practice so they can finish the year strong.
  • Worrying about how much more money you seem to be spending.
  • Remembering to pull together the rest of the information for your taxes from that pile of papers on the kitchen table. That one’s coming, isn’t it?

Life today is so extra.

All of this activity and task management can be a drain on your energy reserves.

These are the days when you just don’t want to do anything.

And that’s okay. You may need some time to recharge and refresh your battery today.

But what if it extends beyond just today?

It’s hard to find that mojo to get moving again when you’re kind of done. All of your best energy just went into THIS day.

It’s easier to just keep sitting still. And after a while it can start to affect your mood.

How do you get going again?

The behaviors we run to when we’re stressed feel really good at the time and we give in to them.

  • Watching endless hours of TV feels like an escape without responsibility.
  • Sleeping too much gives us a break from reality.
  • Closing ourselves off from the rest of the world means we don’t have to answer how we feel.

But these behaviors are the very things that maintain our negative mood and loss of motivation.

We know they’re not good for us, but we can’t seem to find motivation to stop. And so we continue to have low mood and low energy.

It’s a loopy double edged sword.

Here’s how to break that loop.

Activate yourself.

Behavioral activation is a mental health treatment method that uses simple commitments to basic behaviors to help you start feeling a little better now.

Behavioral activation won’t solve all your problems. It’s designed to simply get you moving.

No judgment.

No master plan.

No epiphanies about a brand new you.

Just movement you can live with.

Here is a quick way to activate yourself and get going.

Make a list of activities you know how to do and already enjoy.

Not a long list. Just a couple of things that you know hands-down you enjoy doing.

Today’s not the day to do that energy zapping work out if it’s not something you love.

Once you make a list, pick the easiest activity for you.

What we want to do is quickly bring you a reward for your activity so you’ll feel good about that. So you want to stick with something you already have skills for and is easy for you to implement.

If a 10-mile run is not easy for you, please don’t include it on your list. We’re not trying to be a hero here.

Take just the first step of that easiest and most enjoyable activity.

So for example, maybe you really enjoy walking and it’s relatively easy for you. Great!

But let’s not even commit to walking.

Your very first step is to put on your shoes. There’s no commitment past that.

But here’s the dealio.

Once you get your shoes on, it will probably be doable for you to go ahead and walk out the door for your enjoyable and easy walk. I mean, you did just put your shoes on.

Still, you’re not walking yet.

Now, just commit to walk out the door and close it. Awesome!

Hang there for a second and appreciate the fact that you’re up and moving around.

Now start walking.

The rest is up to you.

Above all, don’t forget to congratulate yourself.

You get credit for taking a small action to help you feel a little bit better about today. Give yourself that checkmark.

Tomorrow, maybe try the next most enjoyable and easiest activity on your list.

Activating yourself is a quick and easy way to pull yourself out of that loop and just get going.

With each activity you can start to rebuild your energy, and your motivation won’t be far behind.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Episode 22: How to Survive the Winter Season at the Zoo

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You can always be sure that seasons will be part of life. But what do you do in a season you didn’t expect? Hear a couple of lessons I picked up from a trip to the Bronx Zoo.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes wherever you are! 

Full transcript

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Have you ever had one of those days when it just seems like everything that you tried to do kind of came back empty-handed? No matter how hard you planned or prepared you still ended up feeling like you came up short?

What can you do in times like this?

Sometimes we enter a time where it feels like this is kind of the norm. It feels like a long dry winter and it can be very frustrating.

But that is the nature of seasons.

I remember the very first time me and my family visited the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The Bronx Zoo is One of the world’s most respected zoos and one of the must see places when you visit the Big Apple. 🍎

I was so excited to add this to our itinerary on one of our trips to New York. My son was about ten years old at the time, and I just knew he would enjoy seeing such a diverse group of animals right there in the heart of this huge city.

We carved out a specific day to go, and I couldn’t wait! When we got there though, the place looked like a ghost town.

The front entrance was spooky and barren. There were literally no people milling around.

I live in Florida, home of Walt Disney World, so this made no sense to me at all. How could we be in the heart of a big touristy place like New York City with no people at the zoo?

Well, here’s a clue.

We went to the magnificent Bronx zoo in January, on a day that averaged about 19°. ❄

My first clue should’ve probably been the incredible discount on the tickets for that day. 

As you can imagine, at 19°, there were very few animals who felt like even venturing outside their habitat, much less giving US something entertaining to look at.

The few who did wander out looked at us in our giant parkas and our “I ❤ NYC” sock hats as if like we had lost…our… minds.

We had come to the zoo expecting to see a show in a season when the facility just isn’t designed to be on its best display.

  • Winter is a season for the animals to pull back from the demands of the big crowds in the busy season when the weather is warmer.
  • Winter also allows the staff to come up with new, innovative exhibits for later in the year when they know they will have tons of tourists with high expectations.

We had all the right ingredients: enthusiasm, time to kill because we were on vacation, and a plan for how to navigate this huge place.

But it just wasn’t the right time for our expectations. It wasn’t the zoo’s fault.

This just wasn’t their time of year to shine.

So we, standing there in our fluffy winter wardrobes, had a couple of options available to us:

  1. First, we could chalk it up to a ridiculous goof by our travel planner (see also: me), call it a day and come back later in the year when the season is ready.
  2. Or we could find ways to glean something fun and meaningful out of the day we were already having, in the season we were already in.

Neither one of those options is wrong.

But only one of them allowed us to enjoy the moment we were in and build a memory we would laugh about later.

Sometimes life feels like winter at the zoo.

Not every season in your life is meant to show your best performance. Some seasons are designed to prepare you for what’s to come.

Some seasons allow you to train hard for a season that will require your very best.

And some seasons are designed for rest and hibernation.

To expect each season to be like the big show all the time isn’t reasonable.

What is reasonable is to look at each day and determine what do you have in front of you now that will prepare you for that fuller season ahead.

  • Your job may be stressing you out and you don’t see an end in sight.
    What are you absolutely, 100% great at in your job right now that you can use as a platform to try one new thing? A small step to start creating a new season in your career?
  • Maybe you feel like you’re going to be parenting forever.
    Guess what? Parenting eventually becomes coaching. What is one parenting skill that you’re proud of that you can take to the next level for your kids? When they enter their season of young adulthood, they will absolutely need that coaching from you.
  • Maybe you’re anxious about moving in on middle-age.
    Or maybe middle age is moving in on you. 😁 Think of an earlier season in your life? What is one thing, one small thing that you always wanted to do?

Middle-age is going to give you a pretty sweet canvas to paint an even brighter season for yourself. You’re a little older, you’re wiser and you care a little less about what people think in this season.

So what season are you in today? 

Are you in that cold, sharp, and cloudy season at the zoo?

  • Find the animals that are okay being out in the cold with you.
  • Use the time today to explore exhibits that normally don’t see the light of day compared to the dancing seals that normally get all the attention.
  • Don’t be afraid to stick around for a bit in the cold and learn something new.

Use this season to enjoy a unique experience, have the zoo all to yourself, and get yourself ready for the big show ahead.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch mental health moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit Lori Miller.me for info on how to subscribe.

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


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Ep 11: The miracle question

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Have you ever thought about your life with no problems? Do you even know what that might look like?

Ask yourself this simple question to start figuring out what you really want.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 11: The Miracle Question

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

If you woke up tomorrow and your biggest problem in life was miraculously solved, and everything was exactly how you wanted it, what would that look like?

Can you even answer that?

Most likely it’s kind of difficult, right?

Part of the problems we run into in achieving our goals and dreams is that sometimes we really don’t know what the heck we want. Not in a specific sense, anyway.

We know we want to be healthy, and successful, and witty and fun, well, at least I do. And hopefully we want to have a positive impact on others.

But when we try to focus on those things, our resolve seems to evaporate into a bunch of short-term stuff that’s easy to give up on.

And we don’t always see how those short-term goals play into our larger efforts, the things we really want from life.

So we just stop. Or worse, we get distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter but makes us feel like we’re still moving.

The question I asked at the beginning here is called the Miracle Question.

The miracle question can help you try to picture your life and your future without your problems.

So you can come up with useful and actionable goals to start marching towards.

Easy enough.

Not really.

We talk about how great it would be to have all our problems go away, but then we have a hard time imagining just what our life might look like without our problems.

We get so fixated on what’s not working that we don’t really know what our life could look like when it’s actually working.

The best part is that you know what you want (you really do), and you know what works for you.

You just have to sit still long enough to let your mind wander and think it through.

This weekend, carve out some time to answer this question:
If you could have what you want tomorrow, with no roadblocks and no limitations on your potential, what would that look like?

What would you do then that you’re not doing now?

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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Ep 10: This is gratitude

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Gratitude is a big part of a healthy, happy life. But gratitude is more than just feeling good about what you have.

Learn how you can use gratitude to help others, and help yourself in return.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 10: This is gratitude

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

When I was a kid my mom used to tell me that I should be grateful for what I have because so many others around the world were doing without.

No doubt someone important in your life may have said the exact same thing to you.

But gratitude is more than just being grateful that you have more than others.

It’s appreciation for what you’ve been given and you want to share with others out of that gratitude.

Gratitude is more than a feeling.

It’s a practice that takes your focus off of your own needs and places it squarely on what you can do for others.

It helps you appreciate the contributions that other people are making in your life. This goes a long way in building your own resilience to stress.

So, how do you practice gratitude?

Quite a few years ago Oprah Winfrey made the gratitude journal quite popular. Then again, Oprah makes everything quite popular.

Gratitude journals are a way to capture daily reminders of the goodness in our lives. They’re effective, and I do recommend them to my clients.

But the practice of gratitude really takes off when you go beyond capturing good things on paper. You can take specific actions to show your gratitude to others who have helped you.

  • Like writing a thank you note to a coworker who helped you solve a problem that came up right before you left on Friday.
  • Or sending an encouraging text to a friend who helped you through some really tough stuff. You never know when OTHERS need that little notification to pop up on a tough day.
  • Maybe you buy someone’s lunch just because you’re grateful you’ve always had enough food on your table most of your life.

Those are just a couple of ideas.

This kind of actionable gratitude has some science on its side.

In a recent study out of Berkeley, researchers studied three groups of 300 college students who were seeking counseling for depression and anxiety.

All the groups received counseling.

But one group, in addition to counseling, wrote one gratitude letter each week to another person. (Gratitude letters describe what someone did for you and how it affected your life.)

The group kept up this practice for three weeks.

The second group wrote about their negative thoughts, feelings and experiences.

The third group just received the counseling.

More than four weeks after the writing exercise ended, the first group reported the most improved mental health of all three groups.

Here’s the interesting thing: only 23% of the participants in this group actually sent the letter.

And this positive effect lasted an additional eight weeks after the study was over.

The writers felt less depressed and anxious long after the exercise was over. They also probably improved someone else’s life with their kind and grateful words.

Take a moment and come up with a few practical ways you can show your gratitude to others this week, big or small, it doesn’t matter.

It will make you feel better and help you not just be grateful, but create a gratitude mindset.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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Ep 8: It is what it is

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Where you are now is where you are now. You know that.

Now how do you deal with it?

One of the most powerful ways you can gain real control over your mental health is to practice radical acceptance. We really don’t own much, but we do have the power to decide what to let go of.

In this episode, I share a bit about this radical acceptance and why it’s so important to add this tool to your toolbox.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 8: It is what it is

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

It is what it is.

Have you ever said this? Boy I sure have!

If something doesn’t go my way, I take that deep breath and say, reluctantly. “Yep, it is what it is.”

It sounds like I’m giving up, but there’s a way to make “it is what it is” work for you.

There’s a specific type of therapy called dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT.

In DBT, “it is what it is” has a more clinical name.

It’s called radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance means accepting your circumstances. It doesn’t mean you approve of those circumstances or even expect them to never change.

But you help yourself understand that where you are now is where you are now.

DBT was mainly developed for people with borderline personality disorder.

Clients with this disorder struggle with extreme emotional dysregulation. It’s really hard for them to simply manage their emotions when things happen that they just don’t understand.

They can’t even think of moving forward because they’re completely ruled by their past and their emotional response to their past. It’s a very difficult place to be and hard to change.

Radical acceptance helps people with borderline personality disorder to better manage their emotional selves.

Because you can’t control what you can’t control, right?

You can’t really move forward and take meaningful action until you acknowledge that things are the way they are, for whatever reason they are.

The serenity prayer is based on this idea. Having the courage to accept what you can’t change is very powerful.

Because it allows you to leave a lot of junk behind you.

Sounds simple but it’s hard, I know.

Practicing radical acceptance is a deliberate and purposeful action.

You have to commit to accept something regardless of how you feel about it in that moment.

But it allows you to look ahead and really weigh your options. Now that you accept what you can’t control about your life, you can decide what you do have control over.

And more importantly, what you CAN change.

Radical acceptance creates a line in the sand that you can step over.

It engages you in your options instead of looking back and wallowing in things that may never change.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

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