Join us at Peak Professional Group as we teach all about how to manage everyday stress and anxiety through a variety of techniques and skills.
This six week Empowerment Group for women will begin on March 10, 2017 from 5:30pm-7:00pm at our Apex location and will encompass the following areas:
Week 1- Laying the Foundation for Core Mindfulness Skills
- Introduction to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy concepts
Week 2- Relaxation and Distress Tolerance Skills
- Introduction to anxiety disorders, the physiological and emotional symptoms, and benefits of mindfulness
Week 3- Wise Mind- Sharpening Inner Knowing and Intuition
- Exploring the concepts of wise mind, the balance between emotion mind and the rational mind- learn how to access and experience truth
Week 4- Emotion Regulation- Check the Facts
- Explore the key components to your anxiety disorder and how to check the facts.
Week 5- Healthy Boundaries and Assertiveness in Relationships
- Explore difficulties in their interpersonal relationships and review different types of communication, learn how to be more assertive and how to say "No".
Week 6- Build Mastery and Cope Ahead.
- Learn to use strategies to focus on the small things that make us feel good, identifying personal strengths and resources.
Cost is $25.00/Session.
I have never been a proponent of reading self-help books, although I have read a few good ones, most of them do not really “speak” to me, like the one that I just read- “You are a Badass”. OMG, I love it, if not for the title alone right? I mean, talk about getting hooked right off the get-go.
So, now that I have peaked your interest, I am going to take some time to give you my version of some of the things that really spoke to me about this book and why they spoke to me. I will get pretty “real” and “authentic” as I talk about some of these very important and even more personal issues.
Counselors are human too, ya know? This sparks the ever-important conversation about how much information is too much information to share but here are my thoughts on this. If you are going to spill your guts, become totally vulnerable with me in therapy and tell me your deepest, darkest secrets, your fears, dreams, frustrations and traumatic experiences, I want you to feel like you know who I am as a professional and as a human being sharing in a very intimate moment in your life. So, with this token, I will be speaking to you as a therapist, mother, woman, sister, daughter and any of the other hundred roles that most of us carry around with us on any given day. I own who I am, just as you own who you are.
I come from an all-American dream family with the white picket fence and parents who have been married forever (and they still are, which is a miracle these days). I learned some of my most basic beliefs about myself and relationships from them. Just like you, my parents taught me how to communicate (or not communicate) my emotions, I learned what parental roles looked like, how to treat others and more importantly what being successful and happy was ‘supposed’ to look like. We all learn basic belief systems from our family which is why it gets pretty messy and complicated when we come from dysfunctional families where parents are fighting, yelling or just not talking at all.
Families that are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet or trying to go to school while working and raising a family- kinda like me. I spent most of my mothering years working full-time and going to school while raising my two boys. Talk about learning time-management skills and becoming the ultimate multi-tasker right? Anyway, we base what life is supposed to be like, based off of these beliefs which enter into what is called our sub-conscious mind the moment that we are born. The subconscious mind is all about feelings, instincts, intuition and this is where nothing has a filter.
Filters come from our conscious mind, who by luck, is the one that keeps you up at night incessantly worrying about all of those impossible things that you cannot change. It is in our conscious mind that we get ourselves hung up on the “should’ves, would’ves, ought to’s” of life. In our conscious mind, we analyze everything from how the furniture is positioned to why is he coming home late and even that nagging thought that, as parent how are we screwing up our kids, LOL. We all do that so don’t worry, they will blame you for something just like we blame our parents for some things too!
So, now that we know a little bit about where our belief systems come from and how are mind works, what are we going to do about it? Well, like the counselor that I am, we spend some time processing this. Here is how you can start understanding your belief systems and how they impact you.
Our thoughts are the most important tools that we have in our life. To change our lives, we must first become aware of what those subconscious beliefs are and how they translate into thoughts in our conscious mind. When we get that done, we learn how to change those thoughts!
Write down a list of areas in your life that are less than perfect in your life right now, then pick one at a time, writing down five things that come to your mind when you exam each one, are they thoughts filled with fear or hope? What were your parents or other significant people in your life beliefs about these things?
Example areas: money, job, marriage, parenting
1. Dedication to the other person
2. What my partner needs and wants is more important
3. Should last forever
4. There should be no fighting
5. All decisions should be made together
As you can see from this example, there is a neat little mixture of ideas. There are some areas that could use some work though too, right? Awareness is the first step, more to follow soon!
We wear 50 hats all in one day. Have you ever thought about how much work we, women, actually due in any given day? We truly are woman warriors! As a business owner, mother of two teenagers and having been married now for roughly 20-ish years, I am still amazed that I have not gone completely bonkers nor have I pulled out all of my hair or done any permanent damage to my kids or husband (I plead the fifth on the last one). The ability to wear 50 hats at any given time is a trait that is special to women. We are able to juggle full-time (plus, plus) careers, be the housekeeper, master chef, project management coordinator, tutor, taxi driver and any of the other million things that we do in any given day. Have you ever wondered what gives us the ability to do this? Most of us can say that I have learned the art of multi-tasking as that is one common trait related to being a mom. One must be resilient and able to give it their all on a daily basis but sometimes we hit the wall. We become cranky, irritated, frustrated, biting everyone’s head off, losing things and many more signs are there that we have, indeed, hit the wall.
For me, I know that I have hit the wall when I start losing everything or when I try opening my mailbox with my USB drive instead of my key…literally this has happened to me or that moment when you are in the car in a traffic jam and realize that you forgot to brush your teeth. These have been my own personal signs that I am over-worked and under-appreciated (imagine that!). When this happens, I take a step back, hide out somewhere or even take a few hours to regroup myself emotionally. We are allowed to take a time-out from our lives. We deserve this. Maybe you go get a facial, go for a walk, stalk strangers on Facebook (I do not recommend this one…), get a haircut or read a book- one commonality is that we take the time to take care of ourselves. In my therapy practice, I specialize in working with women and one of the things I tell people time and time again is this “if mom is not good, the kids and partner are not good”. You wouldn’t expect a car to keep running on zero gas through the mountains, so why do we expect to keep going when we need to fill our own tanks with some self-love?
Take time to fill your tank with things that make you who you are-a unique and fantastic woman warrior. For more information regarding the benefits of counseling services, please visit our website at www.peakprofessionalgroup.com
Domestic violence abusers take away our dignity. They make us feel unworthy of love and strip us from what should be our most important asset- self-love. Men and women who use their place in our lives to manipulate and control us are not worthy of 'another chance'.
I was once told that to examine ourselves, we must first examine our environment - those around us. The best way that I have learned how to understand the difference between good influences and bad ones is the ask myself one simple question.
Does this person lift me up or hold me back?
If you are involved in a situation where domestic violence is an issue, don't be afraid to look for help.
There are many resources available to help you. As PPG continues to strive towards helping people make the best decison in life, remember that the National Hotline is available and confidential. If you are ready to take the first step towards healing from domestic violence, give us a call today @ 919-412-5685.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in honor of the women and men who have historically lost their voices in the domestic violence battle and have been forgotten, we will be offering a variety of supportive tools. Throughout the month of October, we will be posting blogs and information related to domestic violence and offering free 30 minute consultations and 2 hour workshops related to this topic. As the owner of Peak Professional Group, I am highly committed to helping other women find their voice and thereby find the courage that they need to stand up against violence and stand up for themselves.
At Peak Professional Group, one of the most common reasons that women seek out therapy is because they have experienced some sort of emotional, verbal, sexual or physical abuse in a current or past relationship. That experience can define the person in their present reality and also in their future relationships with others. In this blog edition we are going to concentrate on and briefly highlight what an abusive relationship can look like:
* Does your partner ever….
> Embarrass you with put-downs?
> Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
> Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
> Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
> Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
> Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
> Make all of the decisions?
> Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
> Prevent you from working or attending school?
> Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
> Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
> Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
> Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
> Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?
If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In this section, you’ll find more information on the types of abuse, why people abuse and why it’s so difficult to leave. Don’t hesitate to chat or call (1-800-799-SAFE) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know (information taken from http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/ , please see this site for more information).
Sometimes the abuse is more subtle but still abusive in nature. For example, if your partner holds back affection or emotional responses as a way to “punish” you, then you may be in a relationship that is not very healthy. If this is the case, you can give us a call at 919-412-5685 to receive the emotional support that you need to find your voice.
I will be honest, when I first saw this question posted somewhere on the intrinsic tangles of the internet, I rolled my eyes. I really did. After I got my sarcasm out, I began analyzing how I would answer this question for myself. What AM I good at? I am good at making jokes (sometimes in the least opportune moments of life but that is a part of me that I refuse to change. There comes a time in everyone's life when we question what we are good at, what is it that makes us human and vulnerable, strong and authentic- all at once. Of course....we are woman warriors.
We are good at juggling a hundred things at once, except taking care of ourselves. We are good at listening to advice without following our own. We certainly rein over the other gender in how we are able to multi-task, keep schedules straight, kids fed and clothed and god forbid we take 30 minutes for a quick walk or facial or something else that helps us feel more human! So, I am good at many, many things. I am good at doing more than one thing at a time (despite research that says the opposite- I am superwoman and get more things done than most men on any given day (I really am not a man-hater....promise). I am good at "keep on-keepin' on. In other words, I am 'stead-fast' in nature.
I fight for what I believe in, having the common sense to know when to back down and can find amazing ways to solve problems. I am persistent with my profession, with my family, my children's success and happiness and I am good at looking for new alternatives even in the darkest of moments and believe me when I say there have been dark days in my life (just like everyone else). Talking about what we are good at is liberating, if not empowering in nature. We spend so much time taking care of others and making sure that everyone else is "good" that we forget to notice what it is that we are GOOD at. So, take a moment to write down all of the things that you are good at! If you need help finding the sliver lining, ask those friends and family that are close to you.
So, the first step in figuring anything out is to accept the fact that something needs to change. For example, I can't change my bad habit of saying "ya know" (I don't really say that, although my bestie's mother said that all of the time) until I realize how many times I am actually saying those words. Once I figure out that fact, I can go about making changes to my life. Have you taken stock of your life lately? Let me take you on a quick walk through your life map.
Take stock of your life in a variety of areas by rating yourself from 1 to 10 (10 being the most satisfied ever and 1 being the least satisfied you have ever felt). Here we go......
1. Career/Work- _________________
2. Family Life- ____________
3. Financial Stability- _______________
4. Romantic or intimate life (not just the sex!)- ____________
5. Your personal values and beliefs- ____________
6. Your hobbies- _____________
7. Your emotional needs being met-____________
8. Your Physical health- ______________
9. Your Personal Growth- _____________
10. Your family and community interaction- _____________
Now that you have rated yourself, pay attention to the ones that made you think a bit more or even the ones that you weren't real sure how you felt- these are the areas that may be challenging you right now. No one has a perfect life and if they do, then I want in! Even as a therapist and relatively (I say this loosley) 'normal' person, there are always areas in my life that I would like to improve.
To be Continued (I love leaving my readers with anticipation!)
We spend a lot of time, working and working and then working some more. How can we keep sane when we need a break? Have you tried calling a friend? I know that this sounds like an elementary step to take but it works. Telling a friend that you need to “VENT” is a great way to start down that sometimes ugly but almost always needed path. Venting can help relieve pressure much like the acct of taking a lid off of a pressure cooker. It validates you, helps you understand how frustrated you really are and serves as a way to verbally “process” whatever issues it is that you are upset about. We need to have our “go to” people who will just let us vent and say all of those things that we need to say. When we are in venting mode, we don’t need someone to tell us “everything will be okay”- how do any of us know that? We don’t need someone to tell us “I know exactly what you are going through…” People can understand our feelings about events or issues in life but they most likely do NOT truly understand what we are going through. So, find that “go-to” person and give them a call!
If you are in need of more than just a "friend" to vent to, consider seeking the help of a professional. We can offer people the opportunity to "vent" in a non-judgmental arena where you can say whatever you need to say while gaining insight into what is going on. Give us a call at (919) 412-5685 for more information or to schedule your appointment.
Day 3- Laugh it off…seriously. I recently spent an hour or so in a traffic jam with my husband while on our way to visit with family. I have a very difficult time sitting still and not doing anything…I am a woman warrior, of course so my creative juices started flowing. I made a sign in the car that said “The Zombies are Coming!” and placed this sign on the side windows of my car. My husband (the driver) did everything he could to ignore the fact that people were giving us the “bug-eyed” look as they passed our car. I laughed and laughed and then snickered some more. Laughing has a very therapeutic value to it. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. So, as you can see there are many benefits to laughing every now and then or on a regular basis.
The link between laughter and mental health
Not sure how to laugh on a regular basis? Here are a few tips for that!
- Watch funny videos/movies/shows/programs...whether it is slap-stick humor like “The Three Stooges”, cutting-edge sarcastic movie like “The Bridesmaids” or blooper shoes like America’s Funnies Home Videos”, watching things on TV that make us laugh is a great experience.
- Do NOT laugh when other people fall…well maybe just a little bit even if it sounds really mean, any form of laughter is better than none.
- Go to a comedy show or look for funny jokes on Google or your favorite search engine. It is amazing how many funny jokes are out there….just not to be told by me (I am horrible at telling jokes).
- Laugh at yourself. Have you walked somewhere and accidently tripped over your own feet or the sidewalk or whatever and then looked around to see who was watching you? Yep, I do this sort of thing all of the time. I laugh at all of my funny accidents unless I am on the ground in excruciating pain…then I expect everyone else to laugh, of course only after you make sure that I am still alive!
- Fake it ‘till ya’ make it. This may sound funny (note the bad play on words) but our brain has a very difficult time determining the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. The same biological process happens either way. This means that if you “fake” laugh, you will still feel really good (after you get over feeling weird for fake laughing, that is). Now try it! Did it work? Are you feeling better? Even for a second? Good, my work is done for the day.
Enjoy your day today and keep laughing!
Day 2- You have probably heard everyone say “take a deep breath and relax”, I know that I am told this often…It has absolutely nothing to do with my hyperactive personality quirks, of course! In all seriousness, deep breathing or sometimes called “relaxed breathing” has a wonderful place on the pathway to self-care. Deep breathing increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain (a most essential part of the body) and helps the body relax as a result. When I talk about deep breathing, I am not saying that you need to do Lamaze style breathing every ten minutes but you should not just do one quick breath and be done with it. Deep breathing should include a powerful moment of “being in the moment” and allowing us to reset our brains and gather our place in the universe. I deep breathe on a very regular basis because I have found, over the years, that when I get anxious, nervous or stressed out in any way, I tend to hold my breath. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
1. Breathe in slowly. Count in your head and make sure the inward breath lasts at least 5 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of the air filling your lungs.
2. Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds (again, keep counting). You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, but it should last quite a bit longer than an ordinary breath.
3. Breathe out very slowly for 5-10 seconds (count!). Pretend like you are breathing through a straw to slow yourself down. Try using a real straw for practice…it works
4. Repeat the breathing process until you feel calm and then do it again.
About this Woman Warrior!
Samantha Afanador is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the proud owner of a private counseling practice in Apex, North Carolina Peak Professional Group. She has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field and has been a woman warrior since the very tender age of 16 when she first stood up for women's rights in the Dominican Republic. She has played many roles in her life and uses her sense of humor, authentic projection of herself and her clinical knowledge to support and mentor those around her.