April 29, 2017

Woke Up in a Bad Mood?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:37 pm by kellyfdennis

photoIt happens to all of us at one time or another, we wake up cranky and/or grumpy. Sometimes we can identify the reason, we slept poorly, have a busy day, the kids are fighting, the cat puked (and you stepped in it), etc. However, sometimes the source of the mood isn’t easily identifiable. When that happens here are some things you can try to help yourself feel better:

-Try some self compassion. Just acknowledging to yourself know that you feel grumpy right now and that’s ok is helpful. It won’t last forever, but you can love yourself even if you’re grumpy.

-Stop whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath and just notice your surroundings. What do you see, smell, hear, and feel? Sometimes just disengaging from autopilot for a moment is enough to lift your mood.

-Take a brisk walk outside. Physical exercise releases natural feel good chemicals in our brain which can help dispel a bad mood.

-Try just accepting it, instead of fighting against it. “Ok, this is how I feel right now, let’s just move on.”

-Think of situations and moods in the short term. A big contributor to a bad mood is catastrophizing about something. “Oh, no, this commute is going to be awful; this presentation is going to suck; this day is going to drag on forever” If we can think about just what’s happening now and stop ourselves from making the negative predictions, the bad mood may lift.

-Get out of your own head and focus on someone else. When we shift our focus to helping others or at least paying attention to them we engage the natural emotional warmth that occurs for us as humans when we are in relationship.

-Listen to some uplifting music and feel free to sing along at the top of your lungs!

I hope you’re bad mood has lifted by now!

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

April 25, 2017

The Role of Creativity in Counseling

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:36 pm by kellyfdennis

When you are going through a difficult time, creativity is sometimes the last thing on your mind. In fact, many clients tell me they believe they don’t have any creative skills. The truth is, we all are creative in some ways. Many people are obviously creative such as musicians, sculptors, painters. Others of us are creative in different way, perhaps in the way we problem solve or communicate.

Sometimes tapping into our creativity is just the thing we need to get out of a rut, look at things differently, or even move forward in recovery. Using our creative side takes us out of that autopilot mode we can get trapped in when we are analyzing, evaluating and thinking bout our thinking (all important tasks at one time or another). It can help us to get to know our authentic selves in a deeper way.

Maybe you have been one of those obviously creative people in the past, but have let your creativity lapse during a stressful or transitional time in your life. What would it be like to pick up that flute, or put your fingers on a piano, or pick up a paint brush or pencil? Although, clients will tell me it seems intimidating to think of, for most it is usually an awesome feeling when they allow themselves to just be curious about something that used to be a pretty big part of their lives.

If there’s nothing popping to mind when you read that word “creative”, there are many things you can try to get that creativity flowing. Try some (or all) of these ideas and be mindful of how you feel while you are participating: Dig in the dirt and plant something;  Pick up your phone (or a real camera even) and just start taking some pictures of whatever catches your eye; Experiment with make up or hair color; Go to a thrift store and put together some wacky or awesome outfits; Dig around in your junk drawer and make a 3d collage; Design your dream house; Try something completely new that uses your hands.

You get the idea! Don’t be afraid to be curious, no judgement; just let go and have fun!

Be well and have a wonderful day!


April 14, 2017

The Sun is Shining, yet Depression Lingers

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:43 am by kellyfdennis

According the the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 16 million adults over the age of 18 reported at least one major depressive episode las year. It is one of the most common problems, not only in the USA, but worldwide. While depression responds best to medications combined with therapy, there are some things you can do outside of session to ease the symptoms of depression.

Don’t sleep too much. Depression beckons some people to their beds for the better part of a day, but did you know too much sleep is actually not good for you? Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Getting more than that has been shown to increase heart disease, headaches, and the risk for diabetes. In fact, a recent study drew a correlation between oversleeping and the development of Alzheimer’s later in life. Try your best to wake up at the same time each morning and go to sleep at the same time every night.

Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself to healthy things you find calming and that improve your mood. Find relaxing activities that help you unwind. Listening to music or reading or just giving yourself 15 minutes of down time can be helpful. Say kind words to yourself as well. Even though this feels awkward at first, it is very helpful to say “I’m going through something hard right now, it’s ok to feel this way. I know I won’t feel this way forever.”

Practice self-acceptance. Others do not define you, accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. There is not a single person in this world that is perfect, everyone has strengths and growth areas. Many different qualities, including personality, background, character, make us who we are. Everyone has something to offer and is important and worthy of respect. Even though it doesn’t seem like it when you are considering it, connecting with other people can really be beneficial in combatting depression.

Remember that nothing lasts forever. This feeling of depression will dissipate, especially if you take your meds, go to therapy, and do some extra things to help it pass. I frequently pin activities, ideas, worksheets, etc. about therapy on Pinterest. Check out my boards sometime!

Be Well and Have a wonderful Day!



April 10, 2017

Retrain Your Brain

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:41 am by kellyfdennis

IMG_0208What good news! We now know that we can actually continue to grow, change and develop or brains throughout our lifespan. The human brain is very complex, but essentially the concept of retraining your brain is pretty simple. I love how Karen Koenig, author of many eating disorder self help books, describes it in The Rules of Normal Eating.  Imagine a pile of sand. On top of that pile is a marble, if you push the marble down the pile, it creates path. Now imagine picking the marble up and placing it back on top of the pile; the marble’s tendency will be to travel down the same path. If you repeat this process over and over, the path will become a rut. This is essentially what happens with the neural pathways in our brains. The “ruts” become habits, which become essentially automatic. Now, sometimes that’s a good thing. We don’t have to think about how to drive a car or brush our teeth after we’ve learned it. We just do it. However, some of these “ruts” are not helpful.

Some of these “ruts” are created very early on, all the way back to childhood. Many people get stuck in the thinking “rut” of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy of being treated well”, “I don’t deserve it” (whatever “it” is), “it’s too hard”, “I’m too old”, “I’m too much for people to handle.” You get the idea, maybe some of those statements are ones you hear in the inner dialogue inside your head. These thinking “ruts” can get in the way of our ability to make the changes we want to make to move forward in our lives.

We can change the “ruts”! One of the first ways to begin to change the “ruts” is to actually become aware that you’re stuck in a “rut”. What’s that area where you’ve been trying to make changes for years and nothing seems to work?  You might be stuck in a thinking “rut”. The second step is to accept where you are in your life and your journey in making changes. Instead of judging and fighting with yourself about where you are, change your inner dialogue to, “Ok, I’m here right now in my life. I’m (in whatever position you’re in: overweight, in an unhealthy relationship, in debt, having legal issues). But this is not the whole of who I am.”

The third step takes a little more time and energy than the last two. You have to “let go”. Let go of the judgment of yourself (and others), let go of the idea that you “shouldn’t” be in this predicament, let go of the struggle and fighting against yourself and change (I have some  YouTube videos to help you with this). The next step is a little more fun: Be curious. Begin to change the way your inner story goes. Instead of “I’m not good enough”, be curious about what would happen if you identified the things you do well. You can apply this to all the thinking “ruts”. Being curious, doesn’t mean change happens today, but what would it be like to think differently? What might change in my life just from thinking in a different way?

Mindfulness, guided imagery, and visualization, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy are all good tools to help you in your journey of getting out of the thinking “ruts” and making a change for the better!

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

April 4, 2017

How to Work Toward Mental Wellness

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:01 pm by kellyfdennis

In order to regain or maintain mental and emotional health, you need to become aware and stay aware of your own needs and feelings. Stress has a way of making us disconnect  from ourselves and the world around us.  When we are disconnected emotions can build up. Strive to maintain a good balance between your responsibilities and the things you like doing. Here are some tips for improving your overall mental health:

-Do things that have a positive impact on not only yourself, but those around you.

-Practice self-discipline. It leads to a sense of happiness and accomplishment which can help you to overcome feelings of helplessness or disappointment.

-Discover new things. New things are “intellectual treats” for our brains.

-Sleep 7-9 hours per night. Make your bedroom a haven for a wonderful, blissful sleep experience!

-Spend time in nature, soak up the sights, sounds and smells. Really notice what’s happening around you as you are outside.

-Laugh often.

-Accept yourself, imperfections and all.

-Forgive your mistakes and forgive the mistakes of others.

-Participate in regular, moderate exercise. Get those natural feel good chemicals flowing!

-Ask your self “Is thinking this thought right now helpful, or harmful?” If harmful, let it go!

-Practice gratitude daily.

-See a therapist ( I may be biased, but I think everyone benefits from therapy!)

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!


ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see