Tag Archives: #mentalhealthawareness

Enjoy The Party. Without The Cocktails.


If you feel self-conscious about not drinking alcohol at personal and professional gatherings, it’s time to relax. There are many reasons why adults choose to forego the alcohol, including health issues, religious beliefs, and various individual preferences.

In fact, about one-third of adult Americans don’t drink any alcohol, and another third consume less than one alcoholic beverage per week, according to government figures. See how easy it is to have plenty of fun and friends without drinking.

What to Do About Drinking
If you’re struggling with alcohol dependence, seeking support will help you deal with serious issues that may come up during your recovery. Otherwise, a few practical strategies may be all you need to enjoy a party without cocktails.

  1. Fill your glass. Avoid awkward questions by keeping a drink in your hand or by your plate. Others will assume that you’ve been served.
  2. Bring your own. Most hosts are likely to offer nondrinkers more options than plain old tap water. Still, you can guarantee that your favorites will be on hand by presenting them with a bottle of limeade or a six-pack of non-alcoholic beer.
  3. Offer to drive. Save lives by volunteering to be the designated driver for the evening. Many bars will thank you by letting you drink for free.
  4. Eat something. Cocktails are easier to resist on a full stomach. Have a hearty meal or snack before you go out. Check out the buffet table or snack plates if you get hungry again.
  5. Look ahead. Boost your motivation by anticipating how fresh and alert you’ll feel in the morning. You may also have more money in your pocket when you give up drinking alcohol.

What to Do About Socializing
Maybe you drink because you feel it’s expected or because it’s  easier for you to mingle. Below are some alternative ways to connect with family, friends, and business contacts.

  1. Talk it over. If your decision to quit drinking will be a major change, let your loved ones know how you feel. Discuss your hopes and concerns. Explain what kind of support you need.
  2. Rehearse your response. It’s up to you how much you want to tell strangers and acquaintances about your decision not to drink. If so, simple versions usually work best. Tell them you feel better without alcohol or you have to be up early in the morning.
  3. Prepare for small talk. Practice networking and hanging out without alcohol. Put together a few topics for conversation. Plus, if you show others that you’re interested in them, they’ll probably like anything you have to say.
  4. Arrive late. Time your arrival for when the party is reaching full swing. It will make it easier to feel festive and blend in.
  5. Help out. Looking for ways to assist others will take your focus off yourself. Ask your host if you can collect coats or peel lemons. Talk to a guest who’s asking for referrals for a local babysitter or car mechanic.
  6. Suggest other activities. Lots of places serve up entertainment without any alcohol. Go see a play or visit a science museum. Take a walk through a public garden or go hiking at your nearest mountain range.
  7. Make new friends. People who care about you will be happy to make any adjustments they can to support your decision. On the other hand, you might benefit from widening your circle to include more nondrinkers who want to go out for coffee or ice cream.

Advance planning and clear communications make it simple to socialize without alcohol. You can enjoy interesting conversations and entertaining activities just as much whether you fill your glass with champagne or cranberry juice.  As a reminder, September is National Recovery Month,  you will find helpful resources and links on SAMHSA. 

To Your Success,
Juan

Your Relationship With Food


While I don’t think there is anything wrong with occasional over eating, after all, many things propel us to gorge ourselves into a food coma. Relationship ending, failing an exam, being let down by others, etc.  However, you cannot ignore there is a problem, when you hide the habit from others, feel ashamed, and tried to stop on your own.

Overeating can have many causes, but they all produce the same result. You gain weight and feel like you’re out of control. While you may  blame yourself for lacking willpower or not trying hard enough, there could be something else at work. The real reasons (besides the mental and psychological aspects) why you eat more than you intend, may surprise you, and some are relatively easy to fix. 

There are many common lifestyle habits that tend to undermine a healthy diet. Take a look at this list to find out which things you’ll want to do differently.

Dealing with Eating Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Be flexible. You may think you’re being virtuous for starting a super-strict diet, but being too rigid can backfire. Allowing yourself a few treats can keep you from feeling so deprived, that you wind up eating an entire pizza.
  2. Shrink your menu. On the other hand, planning your meals and snacks around a limited number of healthy foods can help you eat less. The lack of variety dampens your appetite.
  3. Eat mindfully. A lot of overeating happens when you’re busy with something else. Sit down and pay attention to your food instead of watching TV. Beware of nibbling while you’re preparing meals or lingering at the table after dinner.
  4. Slow down. A leisurely pace gives your brain time to tell your stomach that you’re full. Chew thoroughly and pause between bites.
  5. Listen to cravings. Intense urges are usually trying to tell you something important. Eating light snacks can keep you from getting so hungry that you long for junk food.
  6. Avoid low fat foods. Did you know that low fat foods are usually only about 10% lower in calories? Plus, they’re often higher in sugar and sodium, which can make you want to eat more.
  7. Limit artificial sweeteners. Sweetness is one of the signs your brain uses to try to determine how much to eat based on how many calories a food has. Artificial sweeteners make those calculations difficult. Over time, your brain loses the ability to make correct judgements.

Dealing with Other Lifestyle Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Sleep well. A lack of sleep can make you want to eat more and make it difficult for your body to digest food efficiently. Go to bed early on a consistent basis so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Socialize wisely. We tend to eat more when we have company. Be especially vigilant when you’re enjoying holiday dinners and office parties. Try to find a lunch mate who eats healthy, so you can support each other.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity burns calories and helps to fight depression and anxiety, which can lead to overeating. Aim to work out at least 30 minutes a day 3 times a week.
  4. Deal with your feelings. While it’s natural to associate food with celebrations and comfort, it’s important to have other ways of managing your emotions. Call a friend or write in your journal.
  5. Talk with your doctor. A slice of cake rarely does much harm, but sometimes there are deeper issues at work. If you binge frequently or feel guilty and ashamed about your eating, talk with your doctor. Effective treatments are available.

Understanding the reason why you overindulge is the first step in finding solutions that enable you to stick to a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to take control of your eating, so you can stay fit and enjoy your food more.

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Approval Addiction


Today’s post might be uncomfortable for some. Anytime we are forced to closely look at more closely, the natural human reaction is to withdraw. No one likes being under a microscope. Receiving validation from other people feels good, so good that some people develop an addiction to receiving outside approval, instead of being motivated intrinsically. If you can’t motivate yourself without someone else’s approval, you may suffer from an approval addiction. The end result is anxiety, stress, depression, and yes addiction.  

Let’s dive into the signs you are addicted.

You’re Obsessed with Getting People to Express Interest in You
You like being on social media, dating sites, or any situation where you can attract attention. It might even be hard for you to settle down with a partner, because you enjoy the dating world more than being  partnered-up 

You Need Constant Reassurance 
When you are in a relationship, you find yourself asking whether they’re “mad” or “upset” with you. This may happen with lovers and friends, and even family members. If you often ask for reassurance about how someone feels about you, this may be due to a validation or approval addiction. 

You Like to Talk About Your Awesomeness
Sometimes people who aren’t confident will talk about impressive things they’ve done, to appear more worthy than they think they are, hoping others will agree and validate their thoughts about their awesomeness, even though they don’t generally believe it themselves. 

You’re Money Focused
If you tend to think more about money than the value you provide the world, you may have a problem with approval-seeking that is bordering on an addiction. Of course, money is a necessity, but it’s not the only thing important about you or anyone else. 

You Enjoy Name Dropping 
If you find yourself dropping names of well known people you’ve worked with or met, this is a sign of insecurity. You never need to make yourself look better by your company because you are special just as you are without anyone else. 

You Make Friends with Folks Based on Their Wealth or Reputation
 
When you look at your closest friend group, are they really your friends, or did you pick them based on what you think they can offer you? Friends should be chosen based on shared values, more than shared finances. 

Your Beliefs Change Depending on The Company You’re Keeping 
If you’re not keeping the same ideas and opinions across all friend and professional groups, you are part of, and you may be trying to please people too much. It’s okay to have your own fact-based ideas, thoughts, and opinions, and it’s okay for everyone else too. Hint: It’s also okay not to have any views or opinions about a topic you’re not educated enough about. 

You Prefer Being in Control of Each Social Situation 
When it comes to networking and making friends or building relationships, if you need to be the one in control of the event before you feel comfortable, you may have an issue with approval addiction. Letting other people oversee social situations and relationship building may seem scary because your self-esteem is low. Letting people lead is a clear sign that you are confident about your thoughts and ideas. 

You Easily Feed into Your Own Victimhood
 
If something starts going wrong, do you have a hard time seeing answers within yourself? Do you place blame on others? Do you feel good and safe being a victim instead of admitting where you have control and where you can make the change? 

Rejection Makes You Feel Out of Control 
If you’ve ever been rejected professionally or personally, you know it hurts. However, if you have an approval addiction, it might make you totally flip out if someone rejects you because you are doing everything (in your mind) to give them what they want, but they don’t want it anyway. If you take this personally, consider that you’re not even really being yourself and this rejection is not personal at all. 

Phew! There are some uncomfortable questions being asked in this post.  If you often find that you’re doing anything that you don’t want to do, only to gain acceptance of a person or group, you may be a people pleaser and even have an approval addiction. To overcome this, you need to figure out who you are, your personal values and design a path to reach your goals based on your own values. 

Next up, we will examine three ways to help you get clear on why you care too much!

Wishing You Well,
Juan

 

YOU MATTER!


For the past several months, I tried to shine light on some of the well known mental health disorders. I thought it best to take a break, and use June to remind all of us, that YOU MATTER. I’m a bit behind in my posts, having just returned from an epic adventure in Morocco. And what an adventure it was. Put this place on your list 🙂

Back to the matter at hand! Back in January, I blogged about the ability to set goals. Regardless of where you are in life, I hope you have goals. Achieving them, requires mustering up the courage to take responsibility for your life. That involves putting yourself first. You are simply making it a priority to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. 

Creating the life that you desire is no one else’s responsibility but yours. You cannot do that if you keep getting in the way of yourself by thinking and caring too much about others. No doubt, caring for the needs of others is a natural human instinct, but it should never be to your detriment.  

Many people are oblivious to the realization, they are the architects of their fortunes. They like to believe that putting the needs of others, before their own, follows a universal moral code of conduct that you must adhere to, the failure of which makes them less human or less fortunate in life.

There are various reasons why people believe that putting the needs of others ahead of their own is the best and only way to live. They may think people will stop liking them, or that being a tireless caregiver gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Some sincerely feel responsible for others, or worse, they don’t feel worthy of making themselves a priority. 

Whichever one of the above categories you may find yourself in, the good news is that you can reset your thinking. Sadly, many people today suffer from thoughts of negating their own needs for the benefit of others. It is, however, essential to know that this thinking is false. You need to unshackle yourself, to successfully take charge of your life and fully accomplish your goals.

Rather than confining your thoughts to the preconceived notion of scary consequence that would supposedly befall on you if you put yourself first, it is much more reassuring to focus on the numerous benefits guaranteed by putting yourself first. The importance of this is tied to many wholesome benefits some of which include:

  • Being more productive
  • Being happier and more joyful
  • Having more energy
  • Receiving more respect from others
  • Improved relationships
  • Experiencing less fear
  • Suffering from less stress
  • Feeling less resentment
  • Experiencing less depressed

These are the key areas where you stand to benefit if you learn to put yourself first. In the next several weeks, we will look at various healthy ways to put yourself first to gain the wonderful benefits which await you.. Next up, eleven clear strategies to get you started!

Until the next post,

To Your Success,
Juan