Is Your Drinking a Problem?  

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Is Your Drinking a Problem?
 
Binge and excessive drinking have lately become a much bigger problem in my area in the past five years, and not necessarily with youth. It is probably in your community too.
 
Surprisingly, the number of people in their 40’s and 50’s say they cannot stop drinking once they start is increasing. Cannot stop at all regardless of the consequences to their careers and relationships. Yet they don’t want to stop drinking. 
 
It is time to get real about the consequences and what is dangerous drinking.
 
No part of your body is unaffected by drinking alcohol. Most of us know the liver is greatly affected, which can lead to cirrhosis as it can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at one time, so the rest circulates through the body. The central nervous system is depressed right away because alcohol is quickly absorbed by the small intestine and stomach and right into your blood.
 
In my experience, nearly all who say they are having problems admit they drink more than the average “pour” and they forget how much they actually drink in one sitting. Virtually all have to estimate how much they consumed during their last drinking event. Older persons and those with little food in their stomachs are affected faster and more profoundly than the average 25-year-old. People with parents or grandparents who have drinking problems are generally much more affected and endangered as well. Back to what is a true pour or serving in the U.S.
A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. All the drinks are about the same and beer is not “safer” than any other of these substances.
Therefore a standard amount of pure alcohol is:
· 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
· 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
· 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
· 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
 
What is moderate, controlled drinking?
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. This definition refers to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days. However, the Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that people who do not drink alcohol, start drinking for any reason. (1.) 
 
How do I know if I have a drinking problem?
Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in your relationships, in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel. 
Drinking is a problem anytime you can’t stop and won’t stop at 1 or 2 drinks per day.
Drinking is a problem when you drink every day.
Drinking is a problem when you drink more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
What is Dangerous Binge Drinking?
NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. (2.) And the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month. (3.) Many in the treatment community feel these definitions are out of date and the number of drinks should be defined as much lower.
Heavy Alcohol Use
SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
So how do clinicians diagnose Alcohol Use Disorder? We (psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists, clinicians of all licensing, treatment centers, etc.) are all required to use the DSM 5, which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” published by the American Psychiatric Association. Insurance nearly always requires a DSM 5 Dx (diagnosis).
To Dx with the DSM-5, if a person exhibits two or more symptoms from a list of 11 criteria, they are diagnosed as having an alcohol use disorder, with classifications of mild, moderate, and severe.
 
What are the types of Alcohol Use Disorder Severity 
When a person is diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, the severity of the condition is determined by the number of symptoms they have.
Mild: 2-3 symptoms present
Moderate: 4-5 symptoms present
Severe: 6 or more symptoms present
 
What are the symptoms used to Dx severity? 
The DSM-5 lists 11 symptoms that can be used to determine if someone has an alcohol use disorder.
1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
 
Impact on your health, well-being, and appearance
Drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time can cause health problems, per the Mayo Clinic (4.) and many other sources:
·      Hair Loss. Alcohol depletes your hair follicles of essential minerals, including zinc. Zinc deficiency leads to hair fallout. The effects of alcohol on your hair does not take years to show up as you’ll begin to notice strands of your hair falling out more frequently. If you don’t stop drinking, you’ll eventually have thinner hair, with noticeable scalp showing in your part line. You might think that your hair loss is genetic, but it could be due to alcohol use.
·      Lines and Wrinkles. Alcohol dehydrates your body – every organ. As your body’s largest organ, your skin shows the effects of dehydration since wrinkles will first start to appear where the skin is thinnest, around the eyes. The longer you drink, your skin will develop even more lines and wrinkles, causing you to look like a much older person than your numerical age. While both sexes are affected, women seem to experience this somewhat more dramatically than men initially.
·      Eye problems. Excessive drinking can cause involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) as well as weakness and paralysis of your eye muscles due to a deficiency of vitamin B-1 (thiamin). A thiamin deficiency can also be associated with other brain changes, such as irreversible dementia, if not promptly treated.
·      Sagging Skin. Alcohol depletes vitamins and nutrients, so your skin won’t be able to produce as much collagen as it needs. Collagen is the substance that is responsible for keeping your skin supple and firm. This makes the skin on your face sag, causing that jowly look that is usually only seen on the elderly. 
·      Heart problems. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and it increases your risk of an enlarged heart, heart failure or stroke. Even a single binge can cause a serious heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.
·      Weight Gain. Alcohol is full of empty calories. One glass of red wine is about 125 calories. Many beers have at least 100 calories in each bottle. If you order mixed, flavored drinks and cocktails, expect your weight to soar. Alcohol is also full of sugars, which the body turns to stored fat. Some people gain weight in their stomach, giving them “booze belly”. Others gain weight all over.
·      Neurological complications. Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss. Having memory problems? Is it taking longer than usual to remember a fact or a name?
·      Broken Capillaries. Drinking alcohol often leads to flushing, which is when excess blood rushes to the face, a temporary overall temporary redness. Often it results in broken capillaries, particularly around the nose and cheeks which are often permanent.
·      Kidney Problems. Simply put, alcohol contains toxins that your body is not designed to handle. Your kidneys have a hard time processing the alcohol that you drink so fluids build up in your body and face, causing a bloated look. This can happen even to relatively slim people. The eyelids look swollen and the whole face takes on the appearance of being bloated. This condition may continue and worsen as alcohol use continues.
·      Digestive problems. Heavy drinking can result in inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), as well as stomach and esophageal ulcers. It can also interfere with the absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients. Heavy drinking can damage your pancreas or lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
·      Increased risk of cancer. Long-term, excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon and breast cancers. Even moderate drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer.
·      Liver disease. Heavy drinking often causes increased fat in the liver (hepatic steatosis), inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis), and over time, irreversible damage and scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis).
·      Birth defects, Weakened immune system, Medication and alcohol interactions, Diabetes complications, Bone damage and many more too numerous to list here.
Do you need help?
Stopping drinking excessively is tough for most people. Talk to your medical doctor right away and also check what resources are available through your insurance. Medications can help many. 
Some people can resume drinking sensibly after a period of “drying out” and getting healthy – but, honestly, most cannot if they’ve allowed their drinking to become habitual or are unable to stop once they had a drink or two. 
Seek the support of qualified addiction clinicians who actually have certifications in this field. Unfortunately, almost anyone can claim they treat addiction.
AA and other support organizations have helped many. Check out all the resources available to you because your life, your health, your looks and your quality of life depends on it.
Seek the support of your family and loved ones. You don’t have to drink and people supporting you don’t have to drink in front of you, so please don’t tell them it won’t bother you. It will sooner or later.
 
Sources:
1. US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon. 8th ed. Washington, DC: US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture; 2015.
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://www.samhsa.gov

Sharon Valentino, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health

Please check this site for more information in the future on treatment and more.

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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Practicing Gratitude Can Dramatically Change Your Life

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Practicing Gratitude Can Dramatically Change Your Life

Some of us may have had Thanksgiving with friends or family at some point where it was expected to go around the table before eating to say what each person was grateful for. Perhaps you will be asked to participate again this year. Why? Well, the name of the day is THANKSgiving. While others amongst us will choose to spend the day in rest and relaxing solitude – but the importance of gratitude is that it has the ability to quickly and dramatically change anyone’s life.

Everyone has the ability to practice gratitude by being thankful for what we have and to express appreciation as it costs nothing and expends little time.

Daily writing down what you are grateful for is one of the simplest ways to improve satisfaction with life, but many haven’t heard that it actually changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps gray matter functioning better, while making us healthier and happier according to UCLA research. That work showed gratitude can boost serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine, very similar to Prozac’s effects but much cheaper with no side effects.

What’s the best way to practice gratitude?

Thanking people for any kindness as soon as possible and daily writing down three things you are grateful for is simple and proven very effective. As you might guess those three things should be substantially different each, or most, days.

Harvard researcher, Shawn Achor, conducted research showing if you write down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row it significantly increases your level of optimism and, shockingly, that holds for the next six months! Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is obviously easy, free and takes little effort but the rewards are so extreme why wouldn’t you make a point to do it daily?

Just a few of the research proven benefits are:

  • Gratitude is very good for your health. “Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” according to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”
  • A study from UC San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful had better heart health, less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
  • Yet another study found that gratitude can boost your immune system. Researchers at the U’s of Utah and Kentucky reported that stressed law students who had gratitude or optimism actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.
  • Gratitude adds more relationships to your life. While saying “thank you” constitutes good manners, showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to be open to becoming friends. So thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, and acknowledging other people’s kindness can lead to new opportunities.
  • Surprisingly people who keep a gratitude journal test at a reduced dietary fat intake around 25% lower and stress hormones like cortisol are 23 % lower in grateful people!
  • Having a daily gratitude practice could actually reduce the effects of aging to the brain.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. What we think of ourselves affects all aspects of our lives.
  • Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to a longer, happier life.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
  • Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful thoughts before bed, and you are likely to sleep better and longer.

So… what are three things you are grateful for right now?

1.

2.

3.

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
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Nature Bathing

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Nature Bathing

“What is a good practice to help de-stress?”

Nature bathing is quite trendy now, but it’s been popular in Japan for decades with some high-stress companies demanding their key employees (in some cases, all employees) take some time off for it. This decades-old Japanese practice of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku (which means ”taking in the forest”) is used to provide stress reduction, relaxation and deeper insights into life.
Scientists have shown that nature bathing lowers cortisol and depression in adults and increases the activity of killer cells that fight off infection and cancer.
An ever-growing amount of research shows that spending more time in natural green spaces such as parks, woodlands, deserts, mountains, and beaches. Such places are said to possess healing properties which underscore the importance of nature on your mental and physical health along with general well-being.

I don’t know why we are suddenly catching on to this free, healthy activity since older studies have shown the benefits of vacations in nature. These studies also show and that even living in greener urban areas is linked to lower incidences of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, mental distress, and mortality rates.
Too many of us spend hours inside in front of screens. With winter upon us, we will be inside even more. The EPA sponsored a study showing average Americans spend 93% of their indoors.

Just being outside enhances creativity per the scientists at U. of Utah, while other researchers have shown it positively affects the prefrontal cortex which you use for critical thinking, executive functioning, multi-tasking and problem solving – in short making good decisions.

Those of faith report connecting with the Lord, while those who consider themselves spiritual say they connect with their true nature quite quickly and are able to remember who they are and who they want to be. While the scientists report heartbeat slows, healing and “feel good” endorphins are released, disease fighters are activated.
Sounds good. How do you do it?

In the U.S. it is now becoming common to pay certified guides to take folks for walks pointing out the need to slow down, to notice the smells of soil, plants plus the sounds of birds, insects and to take in the wealth of colors.

The simplest version of Nature Bathing (you can readily look up more info.) is when you go out in nature, by however you define nature, though seaside, desert or forest seems best. Many parks and nature preserves these days have something of these sorts.
Be alone as much as is safe and find a quiet place to sit or stand, take off your shoes and be firmly grounded on the earth’s floor and just breathe – deeply and calmly while you sit or stand without any talking for as long as you want.
And then you put on your shoes and go in peace.
Why not take some time and try this tomorrow?

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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How to Feel Better Fast!

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How to Feel Better Fast!

“I get so tense when I’m going to meet my boss do you have any suggestions on how to calm myself?”

Everyone has days where you feel “off”, anxious or unsettled.
There are ways to connect mind-body, feel more in control of your reactions and be grounded.

I like to take a Tai-Chi class, which balances and reconnects left brain/right brain, but to be candid sometimes it is very hard to get up and get there when I work late on paperwork and online client needs.

There’s another, much faster way that works almost instantly and even better when you are about to have a tense or intense experience like asking for a raise, confronting a friend or spouse about behavior that isn’t working, dealing with a difficult, demanding boss, etc.

You can even do this in public – to a degree, depending on your comfort level.

Put your palms together and rub them very vigorously for 2 or 3 deep, calm breaths which connect the two sides of your body making you feel calmer and more balanced.
This works best if you are standing or sitting with good posture – no slouching.
Then shake both hands as if you’ve just washed them and the towels are missing to dry off.

I’ve learned this is actually an ancient yoga practice used to quickly calm and balance a person’s feelings/emotions and it also promotes good health.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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Habits of the Rich that Mimic Good Mental Health Habits.

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Habits of the Rich that Mimic Good Mental Health Habits.

I saw an article about Thomas C. Corley, titled  “17 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires”, who spent 5 years studying 177 self-made rich people. I don’t know why it took him 5 years to do this but I’d read his book, “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life” a few years ago when it was the rage, so I read this article. This took me a bit longer to write up and condense it for you than I planned but I think/hope it is worth it.

I was struck by the habits that Corley claims are almost universal among the very rich because they are excellent mental health practices. Here they are. I wonder how many you practice now and how many you’d entertain starting to use on a daily basis?

  1. They consistently read.
    The rich would rather be educated than entertained.
    88% of rich people “devote thirty minutes or more each day to self-education or self-improvement reading”. “The rich read to acquire or maintain knowledge,” he said.Corley found that they tended to read three types of books: biographies of successful people, self-help or personal development books, and history books.
  1. They exercise.
    “Seventy-six percent of the rich aerobically exercise 30 minutes or more every day,” Corley said. “Cardio is not only good for the body, but it’s good for the brain,” he wrote. “It grows the neurons (brain cells) in the brain.” He added: “Exercise also increases the production of glucose. Glucose is brain fuel. The more fuel you feed your brain, the more it grows and the smarter you become.”
  1. They hang with other successful people.
    “You are only as successful as those you frequently associate with,” Corley wrote. “The rich are always on the lookout for individuals who are goal-oriented, optimistic, enthusiastic, and who have an overall positive mental outlook.”
  1. They volunteer.
    To surround themselves with the above good people, many self-made millionaires turn to charity.
    “This is why so many wealthy people volunteer for charitable organizations, civic groups, or trade groups. It helps them expand their network of other success-minded people,” he wrote.
    Of the millionaires he studied, 72% volunteered five hours or more every month.
  1. They define their ideal lives.
    61% did this by imagining all their dreams coming true and then writing them down in around 500 words with the steps necessary to make that happen.
  1. They pursue their own goals rather than what is expected of them.
    And that is where they find their passion, energy, and drive.
  1. They sleep at least 7 hours a night.
    Sleep accomplishes so many things – repair and memory formation to name only two.
  1. They get up early.
    Nearly 50% of the self-made millionaires in Corley’s study said they woke up at least three hours before their workday actually began. It’s a strategy to deal with inevitable daily disruptions, such as a meeting that went too long, egregious traffic, or having to pick up your sick kid from school.
    “These disruptions have a psychological effect on us. They can drip into our subconscious and eventually form the belief that we have no control over our life,” Corley wrote. “Getting up at five in the morning to tackle the top three things you want to accomplish in your day allows you to regain control of your life. It gives you a sense of confidence that you, indeed, direct your life.”
  1. They have multiple sources of income.
    65% reported their goal was at least 3 streams of income and they created them before they attained their first million dollars.
  1. They find and check in with mentors.
    Find a mentor that puts you on a fast track with advice, wisdom and contacts.
  1. They help others succeed.
    Only help those who are positive and goal-oriented b/c you must spend your time wisely.
  1. They are positive.
    “If you stop to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of them, you’d find most of them are negative,” he wrote. “But you only realize you are having these negative thoughts when you force yourself to be aware of them. Awareness is the key.” This is where CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is so useful.
  1. They don’t follow the herd.
    They don’t conform to what others are doing or thinking and don’t worry about gossip.
  1. They practice good etiquette.
    Critical to success, they reported, was sending thank-you notes, acknowledging important life events such as a wedding or a birthday, eating politely and using table manners, and dressing properly for various social events. Anytime someone mentions their birthday, add it to your calendar to call or send a note next year.
  1. They dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to just thinking.
  2. They seek feedback.
    They do not fear criticism because it is essential to understand what might not be on the right track.
  1. They never give up.
    Enough said.
Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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Anxiety Self Test

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Anxiety Self Test

So many people these days are suffering from undiagnosed anxiety or are continually anxious, cranky, tired, etc. and don’t know why. It might be anxiety which is often fairly easy to treat holistically, medically or psychologically.

There are different kinds of diagnosable anxiety. Some are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS), Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety and more. 

  • Is it difficult to maintain your involvement in work, family or social activities without avoidance or dread?
  • Do you avoid certain situations because you are afraid or embarrassed to be judged by other people?
  • Do you suffer from excessive and/or unrealistic worry that is difficult to control, occurring more days than not for at least 6 months about a number of events or activities?
  • Do you continually think about negative situations or events in your current life or the past?
  • Are you experiencing motor tension (restlessness, tiredness, shakiness, muscle tension, etc.)?
  • Do you worry excessively about your job, school, relationship(s), health, or money?
  • Are you having panic attacks?
  • Is it hard to let go or forgive and forget?
  • Are you easily frightened, or surprised?
  • Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Are you using substances or OTC drugs to cause sleep?
  • Do you have a pessimistic, fearful view of the future?
  • Do you often think about how unsatisfied you are with your life?
  • Are you having autonomic hyperactivity (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry mouth, trouble swallowing, nausea, diarrhea)?
  • Do you avoid certain situations, people or places that increase your anxiety?
  • Are you hypervigilant (feeling constantly on edge, experiencing concentration difficulties, having sleep problems, and/or exhibiting a general state of irritability)?
  • Is it hard to concentrate or make decisions?
  • Do you suffer from indigestion/ stomach problems?
  • Do you throw up when you are tense?
  • Are you afraid of crowds, being left alone, the dark, of strangers, or of traffic?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating or remembering things?
  • Have you recently lost interest in activities you enjoyed in the past?
  • Do you often have nightmares?
  • Do you feel tense or extremely jumpy?
  • Do you occasionally feel that you are losing control?

If you answered yes to five or more items, please discuss this with your health care professional.

DISCLAIMER:
This Site Does Not Provide Medical Advice. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional psychological psychiatric or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with your physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or another qualified health provider without delay to gain more information regarding your specific medical and/or psychological condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Research shows that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is the fastest and most effective for the conditions most of us deal with today – being unkind to ourselves and inviting negative, constant thinking to sabotage our happiness.

A large part of the effectiveness of CBT comes from the worksheets which are designed first very simply so you get a very good feel for the basic premise and then become more specific. The idea is to give you insights which we can then discuss, if appropriate, and use those to effect change. They are not designed to be raced through but rather to give some thought as to exactly when and in how many areas they apply to you. I urge you to daily incorporate the STOP method into your life, a small part of which I helped develop and I promise you it works.

The first thing is to catch an unhelpful thought (meaning you have to be mindful and breathing deeply enough for your brain to get enough fresh oxygen to make great decisions), then vividly imagine a red, octagonal STOP sign and shout STOP! If you are around others, I’d advise you to shout silently, but w/some emotion. That should short-circuit your problem thought for 2 to 6 seconds, so you need to immediately substitute it with an entirely different, positive thought, or even a problem such as, “Where did I leave the keys to ___?”

Why don’t you take your most troubling thought right now? When you have troubling thoughts it is often a great opportunity to practice CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Originally introduced to treat depression it is now used for a variety of issues, such as negative thoughts, anxieties, fearful thoughts, unnecessary worry and a host of other troublesome automatic thinking patterns. The thought record is one of the fundamental tools in CBT.

The underlying principle can be summarized as “what do you believe, and why do you believe it and are you aware of the feeling/emotion in your body when you think this thought?”. A columned thought record can be used to:
•identify negative automatic thoughts (NATs)
•help clients understand the links between thoughts and emotions
•examine the evidence for and against a selected NAT – is it true, what can be done about it

In therapy clients often need assistance and practice in identifying the link between thoughts and emotions before they move on to challenging thoughts and substituting more helpful thoughts for less helpful ones. Some clients might find it helpful to practice identifying NATs using a Simple Thought Record before introducing the complexity of evidence-gathering and thought challenging. The principle stems from Socratic Reasoning (is it true, is it always true, then is it false, is it always false)

The simplest version is:
What is your core belief (negative thought)?
List 3 reasons why it is true (or why I want it):
1.
2.
3.
List 3 reasons why it might not be true (or why it would not be good for me):
1.
2.
3.
What could you do to improve or eliminate this situation:
1.
2.
3.

Our thoughts control how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Positive thoughts lead to us feeling good and negative thoughts can put us down. Sometimes our thoughts happen so quickly that we fail to notice them, but they can still affect our mood. These are called automatic thoughts. They are often negative or at least not useful. They can even apply to ruminations about romantic partners lost or present.

Oftentimes, our automatic thoughts are negative and irrational – sometimes not but can still be intrusive and unwanted. Identifying these negative automatic thoughts and replacing them with new rational thoughts can improve our mood.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist
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