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I recently read an article I wanted to pass along. Since the holidays are upon us, I bet we can all use an extra coping skill or two!
Okay, so I just heard something very interesting about anger and the way humans expel it. Supposedly, according to scientific research, we have four main physical routes of expelling anger from our bodies, and they are through the hands, feet, teeth, and throat. That translates to hitting, kicking, chewing, and screaming as modes for releasing pent up anger-energy.
If you’ve had an extremely stressful day, have you ever felt like ordering a steak so you could chew and chew and chew on it? Or perhaps you felt like hitting fifty golf balls at the driving range? Or like picking up a tennis racket and slamming balls as hard as you could for a while? Maybe you kicked a soccer ball. Maybe you ate more food than normal. Maybe you just wanted to scream. Maybe you actually did scream. The point is, these are all very natural ways of expelling unwanted (sometimes even unrealized) stress, anger or agitation.
Anger is not, obviously, an emotion we want to keep in our bodies. And it’s highly recommended we find positive routes to get rid of it, rather than blowing up at our families, coworkers, friends, or perhaps perfect strangers at the post office.
First off, one must learn to interpret situations differently, so things just aren’t as big of a deal. Then, you won’t feel the emotion of anger or stress as often. Remember the quote we mentioned months ago? “Small people, big problems; big people, small problems.”
Beyond that, there is more good news. For any remaining pent-up anger or stress, you can engage in activities that naturally reduce the feelings of this type of stress. Here are a few: Baseball, basketball, racquetball, handball, golf, soccer, kickball. The key is to actually be hitting or kicking something, rather than just running or swimming, which is good for cardiovascular fitness and reducing stress but doesn’t necessarily release anger. You could even scream in your pillow if you need to, but I am unsure of how many calories that actually burns, which is the beautiful side-benefit to many of these activities.
Here’s an interesting true story: According to some experts, the primary cause of acne in teenagers is pent-up anger. Armed with this knowledge, one father bought a large piece of wood and some tenpenny nails for his teenage son who was suffering from acne. The father had the boy hammer nails into the wood for at least twenty minutes everyday. The boy’s acne cleared up in two weeks.
So get yourself, your kids, or your grandkids moving in healthy ways—hitting or kicking things—that will naturally allow you and your loved ones to deal with stress, anger, and other negative emotions we may not even realize we’re having.
Written by Heidi Tankersley
Article reprinted with permission from the GB Builders September newsletter.
Which one is it? Are we in control or are we not?
We have much more power than we typically assume but not the kind of power we typically try to exert.
What’s the difference?
The power we typically try to exert comes from our own storehouses- from our own determination, our own desires, our own agendas, our own ideas about what is best. We use our limited to resources to affect change, then get frustrated and even down right angry when our efforts don’t do the trick or when change is temporary. All this proves to be quite a roller coaster ride; the ups and downs make most of us a little sick to our stomachs.
Do you relate to this? Do you find yourself facing the same problem again and again like Bill Murray on Groundhog’s Day?
So I am interested in this second type of power- the kind I have more of but typically exert less often. There are many facets of this particular power, but today I’d like to focus on just one-
The power in our words.
Words have power beyond anything we can comprehend. They start wars, they end relationships, they heal the sick, they set prisoners free; words created the universe. Let us not overlook the power in our words.
So the question becomes, How am I using this incredible power I’ve been given?
Am I using this power to encourage, support, love, uplift, and create hope? Or am I using this power to cut, control, manipulate, condemn, and destroy. Am I using this power to put goodness into the world or am I sometimes using this power to give birth to misery? Am I using this power to bring about a sunny day or a dreary one? Am I hurting others or helping them with my words? Am I inviting a positive flow in my life or do my very words create much of the negativity I experience?
I know- it’s difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, to put good words into the world when all we feel is bad. But what if the words come first? What if we feel bad because we are often speaking unpleasant words? What if a shift in our language can help create the lasting change we long for?
And if we can’t muster up positive words just yet, what if we simply stopped putting negative ones into the universe? What if we stopped making cynical predictions about what will happen next? What if we quit making critical comments about ourselves? What if we avoided being sarcastic? What if we refrained from telling demeaning jokes? What if we nipped the judgmental commentary? What if we just stopped talking so much without considering the power of what we are saying?
Today, I invite you to take an inventory of the words you use in a day. Are your phrases, comments, and questions creating an atmosphere of goodness and hope around you? Are your words respectful or disrespectful? Are they considerate or inconsiderate of others? Are they filled with hope or despair? Are they encouraging or deflating? Are they too many or not enough?
If you only had one hundred words to use in a day to create the life you want- how would you choose them?
You have so much more power than know-
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 The Message (MSG)
amy crumpton, MS, LAC
Maybe we know someone who has had a bad experience with counseling? Maybe we have had a bad experience with counseling? Maybe we think we can’t afford it? Maybe we think counseling is only for “other” people? Maybe we’ve heard one too many jokes about counselors asking, “And how does that make you feel?” Maybe we are anxious about what the counselor will think when our truth comes out? Maybe we are parents, fearful about getting blamed for the challenges in our families? Maybe we don’t want to face that one thing we know we need to face?
Whatever it is that keeps us from seeking counseling support, I ask all of us to put a pin in it for a moment, to cast aside the stereotypes and the stigmas long enough to consider that counseling might just be that next step that takes our lives in a positive direction.
It takes courage of course, to reach out to a counselor. It takes faith, trust, and a fair amount of boldness… to say, “I am ready for change” … to finally tell the person you love it’s time to go see someone who can help… to dial the number… to send the email… to put that first session on your calendar.
Counseling isn’t for everyone… it’s only for the brave, the honest, the self-aware, the hopeful, the open-minded, the lion-hearted. Counseling is for those who dare hope for hope. Counseling is for those who are ready to start living life rather than letting life live them.
At Positive Energy Counseling, we offer loving, sincere support to those who are ready to find freedom and live in peace-
Are you ready?
If so, we offer a 30 minute interview free of charge so you may learn if counseling with us is the right fit for you.
Peace to you, Friend.
Positive Energy Counseling
108 East Central, Suite 200
It seems to me we too often focus on the gravity of our problems and forget about the call to be joyful. Most would say it’s a counselor’s role to focus on the problem, yet I think we do so to the detriment sometimes. We need to spend an equal amount of time focusing on joy. After all, joy is God’s will for us…
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, New Living Translation)
But how do we do this when our problems seem to loom large and at times appear insurmountable?
I would like to borrow a story from Ben Zander, the Conductor for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Ben is an author and speaker as well; I had the joy of hearing him at a conference in Quebec. His advice has often helped me get out of my own way. I am sharing it here in hopes it will open up a new pathway to joy for you.
Two prime ministers were sitting in a room, discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts through the door, screaming and shouting. The prime minister who’s hosting the meeting says to the man, “Peter, please remember Rule Number Six.” Peter is immediately restored to calm. He apologizes, bows, and walks out. About 20 minutes later, a woman comes flying in. She’s beside herself. The prime minister says, “Maria, please remember Rule Number Six.” Maria apologizes and walks out.
The visiting prime minister can’t contain his curiosity: “My dear colleague, what is this Rule Number Six?” The other prime minister says, “Very simple: Don’t take yourself so seriously.” The visitor replies, “That’s a nice rule. What, may I ask, are the other rules?” The prime minister answers, “There are no other rules.”
This is what we do- we take ourselves so seriously. And what would happen if we took a few steps back and stopped doing that?
What would happen if we learned to laugh more easily at ourselves and our circumstances?
What would happen if we stopped being so offended by people and situations?
What would happen if we weren’t so dramatic?
What would happen if we didn’t over think everything from our relationships to the kind of toothpaste we buy?
What would happen if we stopped (secretly) thinking the earth rotates around our issues rather than the sun?
What would happen if we trusted God to work things out on our behalf?
What would happen if we started counting our blessings instead of our blunders?
What would happen if we “didn’t take ourselves so seriously?”
I would like to venture a guess-
We would be happier.
We would be healthier.
We would be more compassionate.
We would forgive faster.
We would have stronger relationships.
We would gain a more useful perspective.
We would live gratefully.
We would have more peace.
And so I heartily recommended that you pursue joy, for the best a person can do under the sun is to enjoy life. Eat, drink, and be happy. If this is your attitude, joy will carry you through the toil every day that God gives you under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15, The Voice)
I challenge you this weekend, when you get worked up, to remember Rule #6!
Have a great weekend!
I have an experiment for you today before you read on-
Take something near you now- your phone, your bag, a piece of paper, your water bottle, anything will work. Bring the object right up against your eyes, so close it actually touches your nose. Hold it there. Describe what you see.
After holding the object directly in front of your eyes and describing it, take the object to the other side of the room, or at least 2o feet away, and lay it down. Walk back to your original spot. Describe what you see.
Go get the object and hold it. Straighten your arms, so that the object is approximately an arms length from you. Describe what you see.
Where did you get the most practical perspective of the object? When I tried it, the most reasonable angle was at arms length. Why? I had enough distance to see the object in realistic detail yet not so much distance I couldn’t see it clearly.
Often times in our lives we hold people and problems so close to us, we cannot get a practical perspective. Or we we move so far away from people and problems, we can no longer see them for what they are and we fill in a lot of the details with our own worries and assumptions.
Do you have a situation in your life that is possibly out of focus? Are you too close to it or do you need to move a little closer?
Our willingness to assess challenging circumstances and relationships at arms length gives us new perspective. We are able to identify details we cannot otherwise see… realistic details that better inform and equip us to handle our challenges with wisdom.
Today I encourage you to examine something troubling you and decide if you are way too close to the situation or possibly too far away. Then adjust your position in relationship to it, so you get a different angle, a different vantage point, a fresh perspective. If this is tough to do on your own, ask a trusted confidante to help you. I believe what you discover from your new point of view will help you make strides towards positive change.
Have a great day!
Today we will start a new series on setting healthy boundaries. Many of us quickly tune out when we hear the word “boundaries,” assuming “boundary talk” doesn’t apply to us personally. However, identifying and maintaining healthy boundaries is an ongoing process throughout our lives, because we are in a continual state of change.
Boundary talk often starts with someone encouraging us to say, “no” to the things in our lives that cause us to experience depletion, discouragement, distraction, and defeat. Because our time, our money, our energy, and all of our resources are limited, we experience depletion, discouragement, distraction, and defeat when we are stretched beyond our God-given limits.
Some of us go about over committing and over spending our limited resources, often trying to please those around us, keep up appearances, and prove that we are valuable. But when we give more than we have to give- to a job, a relationship, a task, a role, or an ideal- we end up feeling exhausted, bitter, confused, and even hopeless at times.
We need boundaries. But before we begin to assess setting new boundaries, we need to ask ourselves- ”Do I readily accept the boundaries of others?”
When someone (politely or not) tells you “no,” do you get offended? How do you respond when someone tells you… she cannot immediately complete the report you need… he cannot take on that additional responsibility you are proposing… she does not have time to sit on the committee you are chairing… he cannot spare the money you want to borrow… she cannot drop everything she’s doing and come to your side at this moment… she will not put you through to that person you are demanding to speak with… he cannot help you with that project you already promised?
As we begin to take a fresh look at healthy boundaries, I invite you to consider how you handle people setting boundaries with you.
Do you respectfully agree?
Do you give him space to do what he thinks is best for himself even if it isn’t what you wanted?
Do you trust God with the outcome for all involved?
Do you admire the person who is able to set the boundary?
Do you feel inspired to examine your own “yes” and “no?”
Do you try to change her mind?
Do you demand your own way?
Do you get angry?
Do you talk badly about the person who set the boundary?
Do you stonewall and refuse to communicate?
Our process of setting healthy boundaries begins with recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others. Are you able to recognize and respect the boundaries other people set?
For each will have to bear his own load. (Galatians 6:5, ESV)
Have a great Friday!
I find it easy to want to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, patient, gentle, humble, and tolerant when I am alone with God in the wee hours of the morning planning and praying about my day.
(Do you want those things too?)
But then… the rubber meets the road. The rest of the world wakes up. Other people enter in. And lots of my good intentions fall through the cracks of my oh-so human exterior. There are so many challenges in a day that (contain the potential to) get me off track- situations, circumstances, conditions, problems, and people that make me agitated, angry, anxious, and/or overwhelmed.
(How about you?)
And just like Paul (in the Bible), I find that I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate (Romans 7:15). And when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind (Romans 7:21-23).
(Can you relate?)
The good news is, there is no condemnation for those who live in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned (Psalm 34:22). This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person, a new creature. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
And that is definitely the best news ever.
Yet I often ask, “how do I get my life to look like this on the outside?” How can I behave like the new creature in Christ that I am? Because frankly situations, circumstances, conditions, problems, and people make me agitated, angry, anxious, and overwhelmed. When that happens, I often forget my butterfly transformation in Christ and shrink back down into my selfish, fleshy, caterpillar state- crawling and slinking slowly and lowly as I try to figure things out on my own.
More good news- it’s okay. God examines our hearts and knows everything about us (Psalm 139:1). He is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. When we cross all the lines, He is patient with us. When we struggle against Him, He lovingly stays with us changing, convicting, prodding (Psalm 103:8). He knows what we are made of; He knows our frame is frail (103:14), so He directs our steps. He delights in every detail of our lives. And even though we stumble, we will not fall for God holds us by the hand (Psalm 37:24).
This immediately eases my mind and plants hope in my heart because such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us and give us hope (Romans 15:4).
(Does it give you hope?)
And the fact that God understands me and loves me in all my messiness, makes me want to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, patient, gentle, humble, and tolerant again… even in the midst of situations, circumstances, conditions, problems, and people that make me agitated, angry, anxious, and overwhelmed.
(Does it make you want to be those things too?)
That is why we never give up. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing new life every day. The short lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
So today, when situations, circumstances, conditions, problems, and people make me agitated, angry, anxious, and overwhelmed (because they will), I will rejoice as I run into these problems and trials…
…because these things help us develop endurance, which shapes our character. And when our character is refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love (Romans 5:3-5).
And by rejoicing, by being thankful in all circumstances, we are living God’s will for us who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we maintain a posture of thankfulness (rather than relying on our own efforts to fix what is broken in both ourselves and others), we begin behaving like the new creatures in Christ that we are, without even trying. Which just goes to show that human effort accomplishes nothing, but the words Jesus speaks to us are spirit and life (John 6:63).
Today, rather than try so hard (and likely fail again) to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, patient, gentle, humble, and tolerant- I’m just going to be thankful. Thankful, thankful, thankful.
And as we come, eager to offer a sacrifice of gratitude, and call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17), not allowing this world to mold us in its own image, we will be transformed from the inside out (Romans 12:2).
(Want to be transformed from the inside out?)
Have a great Labor Day Weekend!
Once upon a time…
A hare was bragging about how fast he could run. He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise, who was so slow. The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh.
“My, my, what a joke!” thought the hare.
“A race, indeed, a race. Oh! what fun! My, my! a race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!” said the hare.
The forest animals met and mapped out the course. The race begun, and the hare, being such a swift runner, soon left the tortoise far behind. About halfway through the course, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise.
“Oh, my!” thought the hare, “I have plenty of time to play in the meadow here.”
And so he did.
After the hare finished playing, he decided that he had time to take a little nap.
“I have plenty of time to beat that tortoise,” he thought. And he cuddle up against a tree and dozed.
The tortoise, in the meantime, continued to plod on, albeit, it ever so slowly. He never stopped, but took one good step after another.
The hare finally woke from his nap. “Time to get going,” he thought. And off he went faster than he had ever run before! He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.
Aesop’s moral of the story: Slow and steady wins the race.
amy’s moral of the story: Slow and humble gets the grace.
God treats the arrogant as they treat others,
mocking the mockers, scorning the scornful,
but He pours out His grace on the humble.
Proverbs 3:34 (The Voice)
The torrent tempo at which we pour out our efforts… the blistering pace at which we move through a day… the myriad of multi-tasks in which we try to maneuver… the busyness that binds us?
If we stand back to gain some perspective, we will see, whatever we believe we are doing by attempting to “do it all,” is powered by pride.
The theory that drives our blistering pace?
If I don’t do this, that, the other, and all of it asap… I will let people down and/or I will let God down and/or I will fall behind and/or I will be less valuable and/or I will fail and/or the world will fall apart at the seams without me.
Please bear with me. I know you likely go about your day at a blistering pace to please and provide for those around you. I do too.
And it’s time we stop- so we can see (and do) the thing God is truly inviting us to do so we can receive God’s grace-
God wants us to humble ourselves.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 New Living Translation
That’s right- GOD does the heavy lifting. What God wants us to do is “humble ourselves.”
But how do we do that?
Let’s try an experiment- Try to maintain the blistering pace our culture expects and be humble at the same time.
Not humble as in “polite,” but humble as in- stopping to submit each effort to God first. Humble as in- surrendering our schedules. Humble as in- confirming our commitments with God before committing to them. Humble as in- delivering our “to-dos” to the One Who did, does, and will do.
Humble as in- acknowledging God is sovereign and comprehensively in charge and we are not. Humble as in- trusting God will care for the people we have been trying to save like Superman does Lois Lane. Humble as in- being aware the world can and most definitely will go on without us.
How do we really humble ourselves? We slow way down.
Before we can be humble, we must lay down our harried pace.
Well, just ask the hare who truly wins the race.
If you live in Northwest Arkansas, you know it’s been rather stormy this week. Which is unusual for our habitually hot and arid Augusts.
The big storm woke me early Thursday morning around 2:30 am. Lightening illuminated my bedroom, thunder shook the house, and rain rattled on the windows. Sleep escaped me. I wondered, as I tossed and turned, if the threatening weather would ever stop? Of course it did stop- but in those long hours, it seemed likely it never would.
There was quite a bit of damage and debris in our area. Bridges were out, rubble filled the roads, water roared dangerously through unwelcome places. In these flash floods, we risk getting swept away if we don’t slow down or even stop to respect the power of what lies in front of us.
And doesn’t that sound familiar?
Can you feel the humid weight of a recent storm in your own life?
It may be difficult to believe, but your storm will cease. The lightening will stop; the thunder will conclude, the rain will taper off, and the flood waters will recede. Your storm may seem unending in these long hours, but it will pass.
In the midst of the storm, respect the weather. I am not saying to give into the storm and let it drown you, yet I am suggesting you stand still and acknowledge its presence. Storms are amazing as you observe their power from a safe place. Storms are an invitation to take shelter in God as He demonstrates His presence and His plan for our lives. We take shelter in prayer; in being still; in ceasing to strive; in letting go of the control to which we are clinging. We take shelter in God by saying out loud, “God, I trust You- whatever and however.”
Why would we do this in the midst of a storm?
Because whether we are aware of it or not, the storm is producing growth. If you don’t believe me, consider how frequently the grass needs mowing lately. It’s practically a jungle around here.
Storms make an impact deep down in the soil and deep down in our souls. Storms expand the root systems of vegetation and the root systems of our spirits, so we can receive more nutrients from the One who made us.
How is the storm you are currently experiencing growing you and helping you bloom right where you are planted?
Listen to the Lord who created you. The one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.”
Isaiah 43: 1-2
Have a blessed Friday!
But have we ever stopped long enough to ask ourselves, “What’s the rush?”
Whatever you are doing hurriedly today, “What’s the hurry?”
My guess is, when you stop, breathe deeply, and sit with the question long enough to move past the anxious thoughts that immediately surge, your answer will sound something like this-
“I’m not really sure what the hurry is…”
And you may feel a little silly in the midst of your hurry. I usually do.
I know; I know. You have places to be and people to see; emails to be sending and due dates pending. You may have ball games to attend and volunteer hours to lend; groceries to buy and recipes to try. You probably have expectations to meet and people to greet; errands to run and tasks to get done.
Hurry is an illusion. It does not result in us getting things done faster. The main result of hurry is worry.
If we slow the wind we are huffing and puffing through our sails by a few knots, we will experience peace.
Take one item you were planning on doing in a hurry today and slow it down. Be present. Do it with intention. Stay focused on the task at hand, rather than simultaneously planning your next fourteen. Notice what joy arises in the work set before you!
Licensed Associate Counselor