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By associatesforl1144, Dec 13 2019 06:42PM

I purchased my first computer and was introduced to the internet in 1997. At that time, I was very interested in genealogy. The internet helped me to connect with a family member from another country whom I never knew existed. It was even more supportive when I returned to college and had easier access to information that became helpful writing research papers.

Most of us have probably experienced the many positive benefits that the internet and social media provides including connecting to long lost friends or family members that we haven’t seen in years. Social media has also provided the advantage of meeting new people whom we have shared interests with not just from our immediate area but from across the world.

As social media gained popularity and increased the rise in the use of smartphones “staying connected” in case you haven’t noticed, can take up a lot of our time. To see just how much stress, you might be under in connection to overuse of the internet take this quiz:

Internet Stress Survey

This nine-item survey is designed to test your tendency to become addicted to the 'Net. Please review each of the questions below and make a note of how many times you answer "Yes." After completing the survey, add up the number of times you answered YES.

1. Do you spend more time than you think you should surfing the 'Net?

Yes No

2. Do you feel you have a problem limiting the time you spend on the 'Net?

Yes No

3. Have any of your friends or family members complained about the time you spend at your

Computer?

Yes No

4. Do you find it hard to stay away from the 'Net for several days at a time?

Yes No

5. Has either your work output or your personal relationships suffered as a result of spending too

much

time on the 'Net?

Yes No

6. Are there particular areas of the 'Net, or types of files, you find hard to resist?

Yes No

7. Do you have troubling controlling your impulses to purchase items, products, or services on the

'Net?

Yes No

8. Have you tried, unsuccessfully, to curtail your use of the 'Net?

Yes No

9. Do you derive much of your pleasure and satisfaction in life from being on the 'Net?

Yes No

How did you do? If you scored between 0-3 yes answers on this survey--congratulations! You probably have very little tendency to become addicted to the 'Net. If you scored 4 yes answers, you may or may not have a tendency to become addicted to the 'Net. If you scored 5 or 6 yes answers, you may have a greater chance of developing a problem. If you gave 7-9 Yes Answers you may very well be addicted to the 'Net.

Taken from: http://www.stresscure.com/hrn/addiction.html

If after obtaining your score, and it is concerning to you what can you do about it?

If you have an iPhone you might want to begin to monitor your screen time or you can try the app "Moment" that can track the amount of time you spend on your phone and help you to develop limits for yourself. If you have an Android phone you might want to check out an app called "My Addictionmeter" and this too will help you to track the amount of time you spend on your phone.

Now, may be the time to take a good look at the amount of time you spend using the internet or the amount of time engaging on social media. Challenge yourself to cut back and see if it helps to improve mood, time spent with family and friends and improve your general wellbeing, overall.

Have you have been feeling overwhelmed lately? Do you often wonder why there never seems like enough time in your day? Are you having trouble with completing routine tasks? Examining your internet habits may be a good place to start.

By associatesforl1144, Dec 5 2019 03:39PM

People throughout much of the United States may remember the winter of 2014-2015. It brought many days of snow shoveling, driving through ice, snow, and slush, or missing time from work due to school closings for the kids who had the day off. Many experienced the stress and worry regarding the safety of loved ones.

Psychologically, this type of winter is one of the toughest kinds to endure. For many folks whom live in the Boston area there was so much snow that houses were buried as the result of one storm after another. The weather was consistently cold in most areas of the United States. Consequentially, people felt that they never had a break from shoveling, hazardous driving, rearranging work schedules, making arrangements for the children, and high heating bills.

There are coping tools that you can use to handle the frequent stressors of winter. The best way is to find activities that you enjoy. Listen to your favorite music, get a massage, call people and go out socially even if it is a hassle to put coats, gloves and boots on. When you stay in the house you do not get the benefits of sunlight and fresh air, and you do not feel connected to the world. This can lead to depression. Having houseplants and pets can be an antidote to depression. Read a book, meditate, or do anything that will get the blood flowing. All of these activities help to alleviate depression, anxiety, and anger.

Many people outside of northern latitudes judge winter as a bad time. However, it is the judging itself that makes winter seem depressing. If you just accept the fact that it is now winter but the snow and the cold will end this can make it easier. You can look for things to like about winter that you don't get during the rest of the year. For example, you could notice the way the snow and ice look on the ground and the tree branches. You can appreciate the exercise when shoveling and the good feeling you get when you have completed it. Some people actually like driving in snow because they feel like they are meeting a challenge and conquering. It is all contingent on how you view it.

Planning the future is another way to make the winter easier. Many people plan their summer vacations while it is still wintertime. Then you have the rest of the winter to look forward to it.

Don't let the weather determine how happy or unhappy you will be.

By associatesforl1144, Jul 19 2018 12:35PM

“If people would only do what I want them to do, my life would be perfect?” How often have you found yourself muttering those words? If never, good for you!


Clients tend to seek out counseling for a number of reasons. Frequently, symptoms may appear as depression, anxiety, stress, and anger. Often, some will present with a pattern of negative thinking that exhibits itself as low self-esteem, poor eating habits, fatigue, guilt, fear, irritability, conflict with others, difficult relationship patterns or just feeling overwhelmed.


Now, this isn’t to say that everyone who seeks counseling present with these symptoms. It is also important to also understand that these symptoms can be the result of one simply learning how to adjust to a new life situation such as the birth of a baby, marriage, divorce or even changing jobs. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that these types of symptoms can be indicative of a more serious problem such as trauma, bipolar disorder or other mental health difficulties that may need further assessment by a mental health professional. Therefore, this article is not suggesting a diagnosis of anyone it is merely the experience of this writer and discussion on the topic of CONTROL.


Now ask yourself the question again. Wouldn’t life be perfect if only the people in your life would do what you wanted them to do? Think about it. I would guess you answered: YES!!


If people did what you expected of them wouldn’t you have less stress and worry? If your children cleaned their rooms and put their things back where they belong the first time you ask, wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t life be wonderful if your spouse cooked dinner one night, helped with the laundry, helped pay the bills or even mowed the lawn? And what about your co-workers? Wouldn’t the day run smoother if your co-worker would show up on time and do their share of the work? YES!! I agree life would be more perfect if the people our lives did what we want them to do!!


The problem is that while it sounds great on paper in theory it is not reality. The truth is we don’t have control over the people in our lives no matter who it is. We cannot control our spouse, our children, our friends, our co-worker, our boss not even the person who cuts us off in traffic. Consequently, the concept of control becomes a problem and will manifest itself in some of the symptoms mentioned above when we unconsciously think or behave in ways that have us believing that we do have control.


For example, let’s say you made plans with a friend recently to meet her for lunch. You both have busy lives and you arranged your schedule to accommodate her hours because she works more. Isn’t it frustrating when your friend calls to cancel and waits until the last minute to notify you? In this situation, do you have control over your friend canceling? Absolutely not! What might happen if you responded to her unkindly? I would guess it might leave you feeling guilty about over reacting and then in turn it might leave you both feeling hurt and angry.


What is the solution? The solution comes in the understanding of what we do and do not have control over. To illustrate, think of a large circle that represents all of the things that a person does not have control over: Traffic, weather, illness and time. We also don’t have control over other people and their thoughts, feelings, actions or judgments. In the inside of the circle is a smaller circle that represents the only thing we do have control over: our thoughts, our feelings and our behaviors. Therefore, the KEY is to realize that our superpower lies in how we choose to react and respond to the situations in life that we cannot control.


Take a moment to think that idea over.

What circle are you in when you are stressed out, anxious or irritable? Focusing on the things that you can’t control means you’re resisting to accept your reality: The only thing you’re capable of controlling is yourself. When we can choose not to overreact to the situations beyond our control, then life can be experienced as more serene. Stress levels will decrease, relationships improve and then we can truly experience all the good that life has to offer.



By associatesforl1144, Sep 13 2017 07:03PM

Abandonment issues can cut us to our core. Many don't recognize that the abandonment one may have suffered in childhood can have a major negative effect impacting adulthood.


Fear of abandonment or rejection can create fear, anger, anxiety and depression. As a result, relationships may be difficult to navigate, self-esteem is diminished and trusting others is never easy.


Substance abuse issues or other addictive behaviors are very common for individuals who have experienced rejection or abandonment from a primary care giver during childhood. This abandonment can be the consequence of a parent leaving the home due to divorce, death or even illness. Physical abandonment is not always necessary; a child can suffer rejection through emotional abandonment such as being ignored or even rejection that one experiences through bullying. These types of occurrences can be traumatic for a child regardless of age.


It is not uncommon for someone who has experienced childhood abandonment to self-sabotage relationships, careers, or friendships. When someone has difficulty trusting others there appears to be an unconscious need for the person to push others away. In a sense, the person will want to reject you first before you can reject them.


If you have ever loved someone who has done this then you can understand how frustrating this can be but it is even more maddening for the person who is doing it because a person who has experienced abandonment really wants to feel safe, secure and more than ever to be loved and validated.


Other signs that you may love someone with abandonment issues or have abandonment issues yourself is there is a strong need for control. Individuals may attach themselves too quickly, have a sense of neediness and they always give too much. When this person begins to feel that their partner is not reciprocating they will typically begin to resent the person and then set out to sabotage the relationship by creating emotional distance.


When a person begins to distance from a partner emotionally it usually happens on an unconscious level. For example, one may notice some of these negative behaviors when arguments occur for no good reason or the person may find one negative aspect about their partner and then over focus on the flaw. There will be difficulty in communication and there is an expectation that a partner will commit 100% to them but they will have trouble committing to their partner.


So, what is the answer? Simply, it may be found in what is known in the field of psychology as Attachment Theory.


In the book Attached, The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it can Help you find and Keep Love (2011) authors, Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. provide a very thorough understanding of adult attachment that is relatable to anyone who may be experiencing this.


The authors provide comprehensive descriptions and good examples of the varied types of attachment styles that have been described as secure, avoidant and anxious. The book is a very good guide that can help someone understand their own attachment style and how it may be sabotaging significant relationships. They offer a solid approach to improve communication, deal with conflict, and skills to develop healthier relationship behaviors so that the abandonment issue does not continue to rule the relationship.


A mental health professional may also be a valuable resource that can help you or a loved one break painful relationship patterns or help understand how you may be sabotaging relationships.


Levin, Amir and Heller, Rachel S.F., (2011). Attached, The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love. Penguin Group: New York, NY.


By associatesforl1144, Aug 24 2016 01:21PM

Have you ever been in an activity where you gave it all you have and then felt disappointed, depressed or let down when it ended? It could be a show that you were in, a championship game if you were in sports, or maybe you were the organizer of the office holiday party, which kept you busy and excited for two months.

In order to understand what I am speaking of, I have divided these types of events into three stages. Stage one is the preparation stage, the performance stage and then the aftermath.


When you are in the preparation stage you prepare for the event. You can experience excitement, nervousness, anxiousness, determination and drive. Often, you devote so much time to practice and organizing your task at hand that other things in your life sometimes become neglected. However, it is during this stage that you have a sense of purpose in your life. For example, if you are in a show your purpose is to give everyone the best performance that you can. If it is a championship game you want to beat the opposition and bring honor to your school, town or family. Both the actor and the athlete look forward to the applause.


However, you may also hear a voice in your head that keeps you company. The voice reminds you that it's time to practice or that you need to improve something in your game or presentation. It guides you through the preparation phase and helps you to stay motivated. Anxiety and excitement are closely related emotions. Many actors and athletes have shared that when they were ready to take the field or the stage they felt nervous. This nervousness can come from fear of making a mistake, but it is also contained excitement that the big moment is imminent.


During the actual performance stage whether this is participating in some game or event the performer often becomes ecstatic and energy is high. All sense of time goes away and the individual has no awareness of anything outside of what they are doing. It is a great feeling.


After the performance, the performer continues to feel good for the rest of the day or night but for some, a moment of accomplishment and excitement can often feel like a letdown after the event is over and this can happen as early as the next morning. It is at this time that a person who one day previous was feeling upbeat, excited and accomplished, now all of a sudden feels dread and depression can take over. Newlywed brides have sometimes described a feeling of letdown after their wedding that has lasted from a week to several months, in some cases. For one day, all of the attention is focused on them and then it's over. For performers, the goal has been obtained and now there is nothing to strive for and the voice inside one's head is alive and keeping company and then there is nothing to look forward to anymore.


What do you do to avoid the letdown? Well, hopefully, someone attended your event that was able to take pictures of you and afterwards it can be helpful to take the time and spend it with family and friends who supported you during the event. It can be a time to share pictures and reminisce. You may also want to include people that were involved in the event such as teammates or colleagues. If you do this often for the first few days you will find that you need to do it less as the days go by. Call old friends whom you may not have seen for a while, spend time with your family if you neglected them leading up to your event and do activities that make you feel good. You will realize that you have many ways to feel good and one event does not need to be your only source for validation.


This article is a great recourse for people who perform in shows, play sports, or tend to get so involved in an activity that a blah feeling may seem inevitable once it is over. Some of what I spoke of are good practical tips for helping yourself to avoid the letdown. Most important though is to remember your hard work and what you were able to accomplish!



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Associates for Life Enhancement, Inc. is a group of professionals in private practice who provide counseling services with offices located in Atlantic and Burlington Counties. We hope to use this blog as a way to provide you with information on different topics that may be of interest. Please feel free to subscribe to our webfeed that will update you when new articles have been posted!