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Quick Life Lessons to Happiness

We all have something we wish we could have changed.  You take chances and risks in life. You let go and you learn.  Open your heart and turn risks into knowledge. Life is filled with quick lessons.  Here are some key lessons to finding happiness.    

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  • Be willing to change and be open to growth.
  • Use sincerity in everything you do.
  • Decisions will have to be made, whether they are good or bad.  My best advice is that you stick to the decisions once you make them.
  • Date clumsily, but with conviction.   Learn what you want in a partner and don’t be willing to compromise your needs.  
  • Accept apologies and apologize.
  • Never let money become more important than green and cream paper.  Manage it and don’t let it manage you. 
  • Let your pride go immediately after it comes. 
  • Go to the movies by yourself at least once.  Learn how to be alone.  With a movie, with a book, with yourself.  It’s amazing what you learn when all the other chatter is gone. 
  • Learn something from a stranger. 
  • Don’t be afraid to wait.  Don’t be in a hurry to marry, have kids, go to college or do what everyone else is doing.  Do it your way and make it right. 
  • If you have a strong passion for something try making it your career. 
  • Be with your loved ones as much as you can.  And when they are gone, remember them as much as you can in the little things you do.  
  • Exercise. 
  • Observe people rather than judge them.  Leave categories for arbitrary things like plants and food, don’t reduce people to categories. 
  • Find something or someone that inspires you.  
  • Try to find the silver lining.  Venting and complaining are not known to help the psyche feel better.  Positive vocabulary leads to a positive attitude.
  • Be open-minded.  
  • You will not always win, you will rarely be the best.  Learn how to take this with grace. 
  • Don’t let other people’s bad moods or attitudes become yours. 
  • Be careful what you do in public social media forms.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your parents, your boss, or your future children.  
  • Live life with poise and passion and never give up on any of your dreams. 
  • Don’t place too much weight on epiphanies.  
  • Laugh as much as your can for as long as you can. 

Break-Up Bod

Forbes magazine debunked the idea that a habit can be formed in 21 days.  That goes to show us that quick fix self-help won’t ingrain habits in the long run. However, active and consistent participation in self-help can maintain habits and provoke change.  With honest conviction, we can change.  So, yes, this will be hard, but I am going to get up and work out in the morning! 

Unfortunately, no Smart phone app will directly induce weight loss, secure relationship happiness or help with job perseverance. Sure, devices make situations easier, but we can’t just turn on the treadmill and watch it rotate.

Too often we make temporary changes that won’t form lasting habits.  We get motivated to work out because of our recent break-up.  We stop smoking because of a bad cough.  Don’t wait to form habits, form them daily!

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Here are some tips to form habits and sustain them:

  • Too Much Too Soon.  Sometimes we start with high expectations for ourselves or we get burnt out on the rigid regiment that we have set for ourselves.  Cut your beginning goals in half and build them over time.  Start small.

 

  • Know Yourself.  Do you like variety? Do you need to be pushed?  If you are not self-motivated to work out, a plain gym membership is not going to do you any good.  You need classes, trainers, or a work out buddy.  You need accountability.   My friend went to this amazing local Pilates class.  They had a cancellation fee so with finances being her priority, she got her butt to class.  Do what works for you. 

 

  • Discipline.  You have to be willing to meet your goals by setting them and achieving them often. Use SMART goals as a way to set up these goals.  Set them often.  Set them SMART. 

 

  • Excuses.  Successful people will be the first to tell you that they don’t use excuses.  You move forward, you take risks and you take responsibility.  Change happens when we stop excusing and start doing.  

 

  • Give Yourself Grace.  If you get stuck in a rut, have a pre-planned way to get out of it.  Shame will keep you stuck.   Give yourself grace to move forward. 

 

  • Reward Yourself. As adults we can have anything we want anytime we want it.  Be your own parent.  Allow yourself to have a treat, whether it is a new outfit or a fun vacation, but not until you reach a certain goal.   If you are motivated for the reward, the system works.  

 

I hope this article inspires your break-up bod to be your all- time bod! Get motivated and embrace change!

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Even been dating someone and you are not sure if he (or she) is into you?

We begin a relationship where our partner seems like our knight in shining armor; they listen to us about our bad day and they send flowers just to make us smile.  You have that goofy smile that you can’t get rid of and you talk about them to all your friends.

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Then something changes; your partner doesn’t go out of their way to do the little things they did in the beginning.  They lose interest when you discuss something that is bothering you.   You may have experienced this before, where the relationship changed.  Unfortunately, the relationship was probably always like this.  It’s time to stop pulling those petals off the flower with, he loves me, he loves me not….  It’s time to take control of the situation. Trying to understand or fix the current dating situation will likely not work and the red flags will always be present, but here is what you can do:

 

Self-Care.  Get some exercise, good sleep, and eat nutritious meals.  The emotional rollercoaster will calm down if you feel physically good.

Positive Affirmations.  This experience may have you feeling less than great.  Listen to positive affirmations, pick up an inspiring book, or talk to helpful friends.  You need to feel good mentally as well.

You Have a Choice.  You get to choose who you date.  That is the best part.  This can also be the hardest part.  Our past experiences draw us to certain people, but our future doesn’t have to be the same.

Your Realization.  If you are feeling inconsistencies with your dating partner, it is likely that they are feeling the same way.  For whatever reason one or both of you are just not into the relationship. You have the realization, then you move on.

I Love Me.  If the person you are dating doesn’t show up when you need them emotionally or physically, remember – you love you.  Be your biggest fan and surround yourself with friends who love you and remind you how awesome you are.

Don’t Stop Dating.  The unrequited love may have left a damper on your ego.  However, sitting on your couch in your sweat pants is not going to help that ego dry any quicker.  Get back into dating and find someone who is consistent in the way they treat you.  You should never have to wonder if someone likes you.

 

 

A Message from the Author: 

I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern located in Huntington Beach, CA.  I am supervised by Jeffrey Kullmann (L.C.S.W. LCS 13661).  

I believe in helping others to develop happiness and grow emotional strength.  I work with individuals and couples to navigate life goals and relationships.  

Please visit: www.lauriekcounseling.com  to get more information or schedule a counseling appointment. 

 

-Laurie Kjelstrom, M.A. 

6 Quick Tips For Relationship Happiness

“A relationship is much like riding a horse: it is an action of constant rebalancing to achieve a place where both the partners are relaxed yet secure.”

-Anonymous 

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Relationships take work, but here are six quick tips to make that journey a little smoother:

  1. Friendship. The best relationships have a solid foundation of friendship.  You and your partner can learn to grow as friends.  I suggest Love Maps by John Gottman, which you can find in the book: The Seven Principals For Making a Marriage Work
  2. Say Sorry.  Saying sorry doesn’t mean that you are wrong, but it means that you are willing to be there to support and work on the relationship struggles with your partner.  Repairing hurt is one of the fastest ways to maintain good balance in the relationship.
  3. Willingness to Grow.  It is important that both partners are wiling to grow together.  Sure, this may mean having to go to counseling or planning weekly dinners to talk about the relationship.  But, hey, you take your car in for regular oil changes.  Try my couple’s counseling class: Relationship Tune-Up and Repair to get a quick jump start on your relationship happiness. www.LaurieKcounseling.com
  4. Curiosity to Explore.  You must meet life with the curiosity of getting to know people for who they are.  Take time to explore and get to know one another.  Like riding a bike, it might be harder in the beginning because you are working with one another’s attachment styles. (It is new)  Be vulnerable by exploring yourselves together with openness and honesty.
  5. Give Kisses.  Show caring support through physical affection, flirty texts, and loving calls to ask how their day was.  This is a constant way to enhance the connection in your relationship.  I suggest: 5 Love Languages quiz or book to learn how your partner feels cared for.
  6. Safety.  Help one another to feel safe by showing up when your partner needs you.  Never punish your partner by putting them in a time out.  This will only remove safety for both of you.  Attachment styles and patterns are the roots to who we are in our relationships.  Check out: How We Love to understand more about how you respond and act in your relationship.

Above all, happiness in a relationship has to be accompanied by your own happiness.  It is such an exciting adventure to get to share life with someone and to practice doing it well together.  

Not Just Any Valentine’s Day Story

As my friend and I made our way around the town of Hanalei on the island of Kauai, we ventured into an art shop and venue.  Aligning the walls were crafts made by locals exhibiting the Polynesian roots that still reside in Hawaii today.  I read descriptions and sifted through the artwork when I came across a card with a painting that had been reprinted into numerous copies.

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The back of the card told the story of the image.  The Polynesian tale was about a man named Nui.   He manned a fire day and night to make sure it stayed lit for village use of cooking animals.  Nui did his job, but “his vigil became long and lonely.”  One night he saw a similar fire in the distance.  He was curious so he followed it in his canoe where he met Pepe.  Pepe was the daughter of a prophet and also watched the fire for her village.  The two became friends and spent much time together.  They continued to spent time together, which meant more time away from their fires.  The story continues like this, “One night their fires when out.  The villagers spotted this catastrophe and came storming to the shores.  In great fear, Nui and Pepe fled in their canoe and never stopped.  Some say they went to Palekaiko, which is also known as paradise.”  I found this artwork and story to be very inspiring. It leads to some of the most important values that we find in relationships today that make them thrive:

  1. Being best friends
  2. Having admiration for one another
  3. Creating a shared meaning in life
  4. Having collaboration and not letting power turn you against one another
  5. Having shared values and beliefs

Cultures vary, but the connection between human beings and the active ways that relationships stay vibrant are fairly consistent.  In honor of St.Valentine, Romeo and Juliet, Nui and Pepe and all the other people who had to fight boldly for love, may you continue to fight for love in your marriage and to overcome the difficult parts to cultivate the love you deserve.

How To Survive A BreakUp

online-dating-free-chat-serBreakups are some of the hardest trials in life; they test our ability to cope with loss and stress.  They are emotionally difficult.  Trying not to sound too objective, I understand from experience what it is like to go through a breakup.  It is hard to see any bright side at the time of the loss of a relationship, but this bad experience will lead to better experiences in the future.  Until then try these ideas to cope with a breakup:

  • Fake letters.  Keep a journal or write out letters to your ex.  Write as many letters as it takes or type up fake emails. These can release every emotion you have and express exactly what you feel without hurting anyone directly.  It also keeps the person from responding because if broke up with the person, it is likely that the person was not responding to your needs in a constructive way.  You don’t need a response to get the emotional release.
  • Body pillow.  If you are used to cuddling or sleeping next to someone, the actual object can have a significant impact on your emotional well-being.  Tricking your brain with the physical can help with the emotional.  Snuggle up to a pillow or two and give your brain those feel good chemicals it is used to.
  • Avoid alcohol and mind-altering substances.  Having a clear mind is important in getting over difficult emotional struggles.  A clear mind can lessen the duration of pain.  This is a good time for you to get a clear head and make clear choices.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.  Your friends and family are great people to reach out to.  Familiar and positive people can help you push through a difficult time.  Don’t isolate and reach out to your loved ones often.
  • Stay occupied.  Keep yourself busy. You will have time later to work through all the emotions; sitting and ruminating about a bad situation will not help you start the healing process.
  • Mini-Vacation.  Take a short trip and go with a friend.  Clear your head and break away from the situation before coming back to begin the coping process.

The Bachelor- To Have and To… Hold Up Wait a Minute

Tonight marks another episode of this season’s Bachelor with Ben Higgins.  As my girlfriends and I watch this episode, we wonder why all the women keep referring to Ben as their “boyfriend” or “future husband.”  I mean, aren’t we in the courting stage here? The girls get upset when they see him spending time with and kissing other girls.  We do know what we signed up for, right?

In light of all the awkward assumptions and drama, I would still like to engage in making predictions for the future:

The chemistry between JoJo and Ben is unmatchable.  I think she will be one of the top two.  My prediction is along with Lauren B.  

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The premise of this show is interesting; especially to watch from a social perspective.  When you put one suitor in a house that is in search of love, and give them people to choose from, they are bound to find love during the show.  If someone told you that as a single man, you were going to be in a house with even six beautiful women who are also looking for love; likely that you will leave the house with one of those women.  Remember how The Real World panned out though.  The earlier seasons were based around social issues and overcoming prejudice, while the later episodes highlighted hooking up and drinking.  Sometimes less is more.

Reality tv shows make it hard for us to have real expectations of relationships, dates, and mates.  

We watch these seasons unfold as the couples are taken on elaborate dates, flown to exotic locations, and even have confetti thrown on them as they kiss.  It is important that we don’t let reality shows on love skew our image of the hard work, dedication, and collaboration it takes to make a relationship survive.

Ben, as a fellow Hoosier, I wish you all the luck in finding the woman of your dreams.  The sincerity of your words will make a very happy Mrs. Higgins.

 

Laurie Kjelstrom, M.A. is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern based in Huntington Beach, CA.  

www.lauriekcounseling.com