Monday, November 1, 2010

Moving to new website

For those of you who have followed me on this blogsite and my Healing hearts and mind blogsite, please join me on my new website, for continuing blog postings and podcasts. I will be starting a brand new series entitled "Developing Character" that will be reader friendly to teens and young adults as well as older adults. I will also be starting a new series on Working your Way Through Grief.

See you at my new website.

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

Thursday, September 2, 2010


For those of you who have been following my series, I apologize for the great lapse between entries and podcasts and thank you for your willingness to wait as I sort out instructions on how to post these. I do not have a lot of computer savey, and struggle with the complexities of how things are done. Put me in front of a group of people and I love it - put me in front of a computer and I often feel like yelling with Charlie Brown and Snoopy - Auughh!!! As a result, pods don't get cast and blogs don't get completed. I am also in the process of having a new website designed that will make it much easier for me to complete the sequences.

Until then, attached should be the Podcast #5 - Fear the Great Motivator.

Thanks, Marlene Anderson

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Waterwheel of Life

There are many strategies we can use to either manage or reduce stress. However, it might be helpful to understand why stress overload is such a concern and why we need to take it seriously. Here is an illustration.

Picture a stream of water flowing over a water wheel. As it flows over the wheel, it turns and creates energy. When the stream of water remains relatively constant, we can manage its effects.

But imagine what happens if those water levels rise higher and higher. Soon, this predictable stream becomes instead a raging river with incredible destructive power. Now, when this increased powerful stream of water flows over the water wheel, it begins to spin faster and faster until at some point, it can longer use the water to create energy, but instead is broken by its intensity and force.

If we are that water wheel and the stream of water is life, then when life runs along fairly smoothly and predictably, we, like the water wheel, have no trouble adjusting to the fluctuating levels of demands. The stressors of life (water going over the wheel) create life energy, and when the levels rise and fall, we adapt and compensate. This up and down of stress levels is continual and normal in our lives, and even when high levels are prolonged for short periods of time, we are able to meet the challenges, adapt and soon life evens out again.

It is when the stressors of life remain at flood stage, like the raging waters of a swollen river, creating a non-stop intensity, that the water wheel (or our ability to compensate) can no longer handle the relentless torrent of stress and like the water wheel we begin to break down and are rendered useless.

In my next podcast, we will examine some of the many different "tributaries" of life that dump stress into our life as we explore ways to manage our stress.

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

The Waterwheel of Life

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Creating Fear Dragons - The "What if's....."

Most fears are created in our mind and they seem just as real as any real danger we might encounter. In fact they are probably more resistant and difficult to deal with because once we have created them, we go to great lengths to prove to ourselves and others that they are real and because we do, we set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we create a "what if" scenario, it is based on the belief that we are not good enough, there won't ever be anything we can do, we are helpless, it is a hopeless situation and the list goes on and on.

After listening to my latest podcast #4, here are some ways to combat your "fear dragons"...

  • If you are a believer, then go to your Bibles and turn to every scripture verse in the Bible that speaks of God's faithfulness. Ask for and expect faith. If you are not a believer, perhaps this is a good time to explore the fact that we are not the center of the universe and need the strength and direction of a loving God.

  • Challenge every negative thought with a positive one. Then focus on all the positive things that could happen and you can do to bring about what you want to have happen. If you are concerned about losing your job, that worry will create high stress keeping you less focused, less capable, etc. By focusing on the negative, we draw ourselves toward an outcome we do not want.

  • Push the STOP button on your fear monitor. Imagine you can see on the monitor how high your fear and stress is. Pushing the STOP button or dialing down the fear dail, gives you control over what you are feeling. Fear as with all our emotions give us important information. When the emotional response to danger is triggered, your body is geared up for action. But when you find no way to act, you become frozen in place. Eventually our bodies become exhausted and begins to break down.

  • Focus on what you can do - not what you have no control over. Make a list of all the things you can do right now to improve yourself and your situation.

  • Make a list of all the positive things you can do and start doing them. Focusing on our fears blocks any creative alternatives and solutions.

  • Counter what is happening right now with prevention, preparation and positive thinking. Downsize, stop spending money on frivolous things, learn to say "no", put yourself on a strict budget, etc.

All these things are positive actions that can take our stress and use it in a productive way. Our fears are there to help us do something. Choose from this list - make your own.

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Podcast #2 - Stress - Challenging the "What if's. . ."

We need stress to live. It is the engine that allows the body to function. When we have no place to use the energy that is created by the stress response, it turns into distress.

Part of stress overload that we experience revolves around things that seem to be completely out of our control: the potential loss of our job through downsizing, the overall general economy, the loss of our income and financial stability, the inability to find work, the loss of our homes, savings and investments and the loss of any future achievements with our goals and careers. The list is endless. All of these serious circumstances immediately register in our brain as danger which then trigger the flight/fight survival response. Sometimes, we can't even articulate the danger while still experiencing the effect of it. The more severe the loss in terms of our basic survival, the more panic and fear is generated, which sets enormous stress and distress.

Listen to podcast #2 for strategies.

2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

Friday, July 2, 2010

New blog and podcast series

I'm beginning a new series on Stress that will include blog postings and podcasts. Here is the link to my first podcast in this series. Listen and comment as you would on the blog postings.

©2010 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC