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Remaining Resilient During Change
last updated:
Tue, 8/03/2010 10:41 AM

Change in our personal and professional lives can take its toll. There are many events that can increase stress in our lives; even positive events such as marriage, the birth of a child, starting a new job, and having a child leave home. It’s not uncommon for people to become anxious during these times, but if we learn how to build our resilience we can minimize the negative physical and emotional effects. A diversified approach to increasing resilience uses different strategies

Before

  • Develop a supportive network of family and friends
  • Practice relaxation techniques regularly
  • Give yourself permission to have fun and be creative
  • Take care of yourself with proper nutrition, regular exercise and adequate rest
  • Acknowledge the fact that stress is a normal part of life

During

  • Challenge stress-inducing beliefs
  • Stop before your thoughts escalate into worst case scenarios
  • Identify irrational thoughts, dispute them and reflect objectively on the cause of the stress
  • Establish a plan of action
  • Use positive self-talk

After

  • Continue to take good care of you
  • Congratulate yourself for being resilient

We’ve all heard the phrase, “the only thing constant is change,” so start preparing today. You can talk to a counselor about increasing your resilience or any other life challenge, by calling the Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Karole Blake-Shorter, LCSW is a counselor at the Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program. To contact Karole or another EAP counselor, call 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Handling and Expressing Anger
last updated:
Tue, 7/06/2010 10:23 AM

Anger is an emotion that we experience in a variety of situations and sometimes when we least expect it. Learning how to express anger appropriately starts in childhood. However, we have many opportunities along the journey of life to learn how to handle anger.

The Fence
author unknown

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. As each day went by, the number began to gradually dwindle down. He discovered that it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these scars.”

What is said in seconds can take years to heal from. Protect your relationships by using a kinder language such as “I” talk. (“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”) Avoid name calling and put downs. Apologize sincerely if you do make communication blunders. Verbal wounds will heal over time if new behavior and language patterns are developed and practiced. Never quit trying to treat others better.

If you have difficulty managing your anger, please consider contacting the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Employee Assistance Program at 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

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Brian Long is a Liscensed Professional Counselor with the Methodist Employee Assistance Program. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Counselors are available to you at 901.683.5658.

EAP: A Rest Stop for Life's Journey
last updated:
Mon, 6/07/2010 3:28 PM

Recently, I read a story from African folklore about a caravan of traders traveling on foot through Africa. After several days, their African assistants stopped and took a break. When the traders asked why, the Africans explained, “We have been traveling so long and so
fast that we need to wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

In this fast-paced world we live in, there are times when we all feel mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted. We may have lost our
sense of balance in our work and personal lives. At these times, we need to stop and allow our bodies and souls time to repair.
According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” When any one of
these components is out of balance, we are at risk for emotional conflict, burnout and disease.

Studies show that there is a relationship between the mind and emotions to a person’s overall state of health. Dr. Candace Pert’s research draws a direct correlation between the immune system and the health of body/mind/spirit. Talking to an EAP professional is an opportunity to experience a rest stop in life’s stressful journey. It is a place to refresh your soul, gain new awareness about your overall
health, rediscover your strengths, and create a plan of positive action for your life.

If you have been pushing too hard, moving too fast or traveling life’s journey too long without taking a break, call the Employee Assistance Program and make an appointment today. It could change your health.

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Myra Bennett is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapist, a Board Certified Chaplain, and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Counselors are available to you at 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

Good Grief Support - How Can I Help?
last updated:
Thu, 5/20/2010 12:47 PM

Most of us have experienced personal loss, but when we are the comforters instead of the mourners, we may be uncertain how to help. We worry that we will say or do the wrong thing. But, what can we do to help a grieving friend?

Show your support. Sending cards, making food and honoring the loved one with donations to their favorite charity are all ways to let the bereaved know you care.

Be available. Allow the mourner to talk—listen 80% of the time; talk 20% of the time.

Avoid clichés. Although well intentioned, phrases such as “I know how you feel” or “it was her time” negate the person’s strong feelings and may make the bereaved feel you do not care enough to hear his/her true feelings.

Realize that the grief process takes time. After the initial activity in the first few weeks following a death, the mourner often faces a tremendous void. This is an especially good time to be there for the bereaved as he/she faces the reality of the loss and increased feelings of loneliness.

Do not underestimate the value of presence. Sometimes we under-value the comfort of just “being”with a person who is mourning. Being comfortable with shared silence, offering a hug or just stopping for a cup of coffee shows that we care about them in the midst of their sadness.

Suggest professional help. There are signals that the bereaved may need more than time. Depression, persistent anxiety, substance abuse or deteriorating physical health may be signs that professional help is needed. The Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare Employee Assistance Program is the right place to call to find help. Your EAP counselors can help the greiving person find the right care. We are available to you at 901.683.5658.

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Colleen Bonadio, LPC, CEAP is a Liscensed Professional Counselor with the Methodist Employee Assistance Program. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Counselors are available to you at 901.683.5658.

Marriage: For Better AND Worse
last updated:
Fri, 4/30/2010 9:03 AM

You may have heard the old joke: Marriage is a three ring circus - engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering.

Based on my latest internet search, let me share some numbers on marriage and divorce:

  • The probability that a man will be married by age 40 is 80%; for a woman, it is 86%.
  • The chance that a first marriage will end in divorce is 45-50%.
  • Of those first marriages ending in divorce, the probability of re-marriage is 75%.
  • Of those who re-marry the probability of another divorce is even higher (67-74%)!

My conclusion: We are apparently "wired" for marriage but our "wiring" is faulty!

As an employee assistance program counselor, this reality is evident in my day-to-day practice. Individuals and couple’s present in various stages of enchantment and disenchantment- the unmarried recovering from the latest disappointment, the married seeking first aid--but all mystified by the absence of that love story that we carry in our heads! Competent in our challenging jobs and capable of multi-tasking with our latest electronic devices, we frequently feel like we’re suffering from a learning disorder when it comes to our love lives.

Counseling is a way to clarify thoughts and feelings regarding the complicated marital relationship. A licensed EAP counselor, as a neutral party, can help you better understand the patterns and dynamics in your marriage, so that once again your marriage can be "for better."

Please give Methodist Employee Assistance Program a call for easily accessible, no cost, confidential assistance.

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Wayne Hyatt has worked for Methodist LeBonheur since 1997 and as a behavioral health clinician, manager and consultant in the Memphis area for over 25 years. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. For more information about how the Methodist Employee Assistance Program can help you, call us at 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

Live Your Best Life: Engaged & Energized
last updated:
Thu, 4/22/2010 9:54 AM

Do you feel like a cast member in “Lost” most of the time? Before you sign up for an audition for “The Biggest Loser”, you might consider getting help, support and insight from a cognitive behavioral therapist.

We’ve heard that “we are what we eat” but do you realize that more importantly, you are what you think? Have you ever stopped to consider what you think about most of the time? Do you dream of more money, success, love, happiness? Maybe you find yourself trapped by thoughts of anger, grief, revenge. Are these thoughts making you happy, energized, or peaceful?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the related field of Positive Psychology can help you think more clearly as you examine and question your automatic negative thoughts, called “ANTS” by psychiatrist Daniel Amen. When you learn techniques to tame your wild mind, you will no longer see each moment as a problem and each person as a threat.

With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques (offered by your Employee Assistance Program counselors), you can learn to become more engaged and energized by your life and its circumstances rather than simply watching your life as a passive on-looker. The glass that was half empty can be seen as filled with your special strengths and abilities. You can learn to incorporate what is unique and wonderful about you in your work, play and relationships. You will be able to grieve your losses and graduate to gratitude.

Having the support of a CBT counselor can help you find your own balance between work and play, love and boundaries, acceptance and growth. As the French author Colette said, “I’ve been having a wonderful life; I wished I’d noticed it sooner.” Why wait to discover ways you can release negativity and learn to live your best life!

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Susan Erdman has been an EAP Counselor at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 1990. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. For more information about an Employee Assistance Program call 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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