Marriage and Family Therapy

Dr. Diaz's Newsletter

Making Contact With Your Environment

Have you made contact with your environment today?

Let me begin by explaining what I exactly mean by "making contact with your environment" before you answer that question.

As humans surviving in today's fast past, high impact world, we tend to function on semi-automatic. Meaning physically we are here (wherever here is) but mentally we are living in the past or the present. Our thoughts tend to run wild with ideas, mostly ones who are irrational in nature, leaving us numb to the present moment we are in. Have you ever arrived somewhere and then realized you have no idea how you got there? Physically you may have walked or drove your car, but mentally you were in another reality, either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. To much surprise, there is actually only "here" and "now", no other moment in time is promised. By making contact with your environment you can ground your whole being, mind, body, and soul, to the present time. This present moment.

So how do you make contact with your environment you ask? This can be done in many ways, but an easy place to start is through your innate five senses. Touch, taste, hear, see, and smell. What do you see around you? Take a deep breath, what do you smell? What can you hear? Turn off your minds chatter and actually tune in and listen. (Bonus, active listening is a great tool that will improve your relationships and memory).

When you make contact with your environment you will find a sense of peace and happiness, no longer in a state on angst dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Making contact with your environment is like a sport. The more you practice the stronger you get and your endurance builds. Meaning you are able to remain in present time for longer stretches at a time. Setting a goal of making contact with your environment first thing in the morning will also help you to continue making contact throughout your day.

There's no better time or place to start living presently than now. So go ahead, take a deep breath. What do you smell? What can you hear? What do you see around you?

We Are Constantly Shifting

We are constantly shifting. Nothing ever stays the same in this dimension that we are existing. The only thing constant is change. One good thing about that is that at any given moment we can choose to shift, to change, to raise to a higher frequency. We never have to stay stuck where we are at. When you are in a bad mood you have a choice to stay vibrating on that lower frequency or to shift up into a better mood. One of the easiest tools to get you their is expressing gratitude. Doing so will immediately begin your shift up and lighten your emotional load.

We are constantly shifting. Nothing ever remains the same. Every moment in time offers you the opportunity to shift up or down. Things happen that will set you off, but you don't have to stay upset for the rest of your day and spread that bad energy to all you interact with along your way

We are constantly shifting. You have control over your emotions. You can shift into a better more peaceful, happy, and grateful place at any given moment in time. We are constantly shifting people. Let that idea really settle and take root in your heart. Let's continue to shift up together and raise the vibration of this universe!

Is Your Smartphone Making You a Mindless Parent?

Is your smartphone making you a mindless parent?

Sure, your cellphone is a great tool in managing your families life, but I think we are all guilty of using it to shop, check scores, and watch that video our friend just posted.

Sadly many parents are aware of how distracted they are but can't take the steps to make a change.

Children are left feeling ignored and unworthy when we place them second to our internet feeds. Without a doubt, they begin acting out, because that is the behavior that actually gets parents to lift their heads up and pay attention. And for a child (and sometimes even adults) negative attention is better than no attention. As if that wasn't sad enough, parents who go from distracted to disciplining tend to use a more harsher form of punishment. Countertransference anyone?

We all know that excess screen time is not only damaging to our little ones but also to ourselves? So why the numbing internet scrolling addiction?

Being distracted is often a lot easier than dealing with our emotions in the present moment. Just like using a drug or alcohol, this cell phone addiction is an escape from whatever it is that weighs heavenly on us. Work stress, financial stress, relationship stress... You get the picture.

So enough talking about the problem and let's go over some actions plans to move toward a positive change.

Here are six things that can help you correct course and focus on the relationships that truly matter.

1. Establish technology free times at home. Like, no technology during dinner or after 7pm.

2. Limit the times you check you phone throughout the day. One time per hour should be plenty to keep up and manage your life.

3. Don't use your phone during social interactions. Posting that selfie can surly wait. Don't be so busy sharing your story that you're not present in your own experience.

4. Allow yourself a social media or entertainment binge once a day, like at night while winding down, instead of checking it throughout your day. I promise you, you're missing more right in front of you that what your phone has to offer.

5. Leave your phone in one place, like in your room, or in your desk drawer rather than carrying it around with you 24/7. Think of all of the extra damaging frequencies we are ingesting just by having these devices attached to our hips.

6. Instead of using your phone to kill time when bored or waiting, take the opportunity to meditate or do deep breathing exercises. You'll be surprised how your world will turn around after a few deep breaths or moments of focused concentration.

Countertransference: What it is, and How it is Affecting Your Relationships

Countertransference is a term we use in therapy to identify when a therapist is redirecting his own feelings onto the client. Ethically, therapist must remain aware of their countertransference as to not become emotionally entangled with a client. Countertransference can be triggered a few ways. What the client looks like (this includes physical characteristics, or how the client communicates nonverbally), the experience the client is talking about (let's say the client is processing a loss, and the therapist is grieving a loss of her own). Or thirdly, countertransference can take on the form of a bodily reaction. Meaning the therapist can feel the feelings of the client when in close contact. The idea of countertransference is that something about the client or the clients experience is triggering the therapist's own unresolved issues causing the therapist to lose objectivity and awareness in his interactions.

So what does all of this mean to you? Well, countertransference is something we all experience in every interaction we have in every relationship we have. Its not just in the counseling relationships, but it's happening in all relationships wether we acknowledge it or nor. Being aware of your countertransference will help you to interact in ways that promote peace and balance rather than mindlessly continuing in the path of our destructive unresolved issues.

Let me give you more examples. Have you ever met someone who really reminded you of someone from your past? You probably placed labels on them and assumed they were certain ways that aligned with the person from your past, only to realize with time who they really were. Or maybe you never got to know them because you immediately wrote them off as something bad like the person from your past.

Have you ever found it really hard to be happy for friends when they get something you've been longing for, even when you know it was well deserved? Your mistrust in the sequence of your life is robbing you from interacting in a healthy way, which would be to offer happiness and a high five to your friend. Instead you respond by boosting about yourself or by minimizing their accomplishment.

Countertransference takes a very strong presence in the life of those who lack awareness.

Many times in life we miss an opportunity or close a door on ourselves because of our countertransference. We say no when we really want to say yes because those issues from our past are polluting our current reality.

I feel strongly that by becoming aware of countertransference we can remain in control of our emotions and interact in ways that promote happiness and integrity. It's really to good to be kept secret and only used in the therapist client relationship. So go ahead, next time you're interacting with your partner of your friend, try to listen in and be aware of your motives behind your interactions. Are you coming from a pure and loving place, or are your past hurts and disappointments polluting what you say and do?

Self-Love Through Care

I strongly believe that we can't give away what we don't have. We can't give love to others when we don't have love for ourselves. If you want to experience true love in your life, start with yourself. One of the best ways to extend love to ourselves is by doing things to care for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves, with spirituality being at the center of the four. When we intentionally choose activities and make decisions which promote health in these four dimensions of ourselves, we are engaging in the act of loving ourselves.

Here's a list of 4 quick and easy things you can do as a part of your daily routine to practice a life infused with self love through the act of self care.

1. When you take a shower, intentionally wash away all of your stress and worries. Do this by imagining yourself washing away the negative and seeing it go down the drain. Allow yourself to finish your shower physically and emotionally cleansed each day.

2. When you wash your hand, make eye contact with yourself in the mirror and tell yourself something positive. Building yourself up mentally through eye contact and positive self talk will reshape you beliefs about yourself for the better.

3. Read. Each day read a book or a blog post that is inspiring in nature. Even if you only read a few lines at a time, read. You know that saying, " you are what you eat"? Well the same can be said about what you digest into your mind.

4. Meditate. Even if only for 2-3 minutes a day. Engaging in a silencing of the mind through meditation is one of the most effective ways of acquiring inner peace. It is often in silence that we can hear and receive the answers to our problems.

Fiding Calmness in a Busy Day

Is it just me or does life always feel so busy and hurried? Sometimes what life really feels like is the longest list of to-do's to tackle each day. And while happily scratching items off the list, new items are being added. Our busy lifestyles often robs us from living in the moment and actually being present in what we say or do.

So how do we find calmness in a busy day?

How do we get back to our mindful place?

Here are three techniques that you can do quickly and from anywhere to center your mind and find your chi.

1. Quick 4 minute Guided Meditation: Listen to a guided meditation for 4 minutes. This will be long enough to take your mind body and soul to a happier place. And short enough to not be able to claim that you don't have time for it in your day. A quick 4 minutes a day is powerful enough to lower your stress and increase your quality of life.

2. Spend time in nature: Wherever you are, stop and take a step outside. Sit in nature in silence. Allow the birds to sing a song special for you. Watch the tree next to you shed its leaves. In silence in nature we awaken our spirit and reconnect to our inner guidance.

3. Deep breathing: Taking 5 deep breaths will immediately center your mind and calm your body. Our minds and muscles need oxygen to function better. So for physical and mental clarity and calmness, breathe.

Fiding Your Flow

Chronic stress and anxiety signal the brain to wreak havoc on your body. The secret to hitting reset? Finding your Flow.

Your Flow is the universal rhythm within you that is the infinite source of joy, balance, harmony, and love. When you are in your Flow your mind, body, and soul are aligned as one in the present moment. Your whole self is focused and grounded. Your body is working like a well-oiled machine, each part effectively coordinated with one another.

You as an infinite being are functioning at your full capacity when you are in your Flow. For each of us our Flow looks different. You can find your flow by exploring your unique interests, gifts and talents. It maybe running that puts you in your Flow. Or maybe it is when you surf, paint, sing, dance, write, or play a musical instrument that you begin Vibrating at this high of a frequency. Spending time in your Flow attracts more goodness into your life. If you want to say goodbye to discomfort in your physical body, heavy emotions, and mental confusion then find your flow and participate in it regularly. To make this a more attainable goal, finding multiple avenues to reaching your flow will add flavor and variety to your everyday grind.

I suggest reaching your flow daily but in our world today with all of its demands that might feel unattainable. Make an effort to engage in your flow activities at least three times a week and your life with immediately begin to feel more light and in line with your destiny.

Vision Boards

Are you wanting to make a positive change in your daily habits and life? Do you want to manifest your desires?

Creating a vision board is a guaranteed way to manifest what you want in your life. What we focus on expands. This is universal law.  When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, you essentially end up doing short visualization exercises throughout your day. Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. Because we are creating our reality with every thought that we have, when you are visualizing you are engaging in a positive thought process about what you actually want. You are emitting a powerful frequency out into the universe.

In our ultra digital age, you can also create vision boards to display on your computer screen and phone.

The how to: On your vision board you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do, or have in life. In addition to images, your vision board can include words, phrases or sentences that affirm your intentions.

Your vision board is to bring clarity to your general desires and turn them into achievable goals. To say, “I want a better life” is a fine goal, but the next step is to give serious thought as to what that means. Try to envision what your “better life” looks like. For some it might be a new house or job. Others might be seeking a relationship or improved health. When creating your vision board, seek images that resonate with you and that represent specific details of this wonderful new life that you want.

In our world today we are constantly bombarded with distractions that often miss lead us down an unwanted path. Your vision board will keep your attention on your intentions.

What you'll need: A poster board cut to whatever size you desire, Scissors, Clear glue, 4-5 magazines of whatever topic inspired you (fitness, cooking, investments, fashion, music, travel, the list goes on) and space to create.

Quick and Easy Ways to Lift the Blanket of Anxiety

1. Express gratitude: Expressing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to instantly cultivate feelings of happiness and inner peace. This cocktail of good vibes will clear up your cloudy perspective and diminish anxiety. Grab a pen and paper (or open your notepad app on your phone) and start listing everything you're thankful for. Big and small. List it all and fell the good vibes rolling in. If you don't have time for all that, verbally identify what you're grateful for in the exact moment of life that you're in. For example. You're diving home from work in traffic and you can feel your irritability creeping in. Start telling yourself what you're grateful for in that moment. Such as "I'm grateful I have a job and a car to take me to and from." "I'm grateful for the music I'm listening to on this drive."

2. Learn to breathe: it's truly amazing what a few deep breaths can do for your state of mind. Welcome oxygen into your body and watch it bathe your soul in relief. Next time you're feeling symptoms of anxiety, stop, take 5 deep breaths and consider yourself restarted, rebooted, reset for greatness.

3. Visualize what you want, not what your anxious about or in fear of: Ease your anxiety by holding a visual in your mind of what you want to happen. And trust that it will be. Don't waist your time ruminating and daydreaming about what you don't want. Visualization exercises are a friendly way to control our thoughts and steer your feelings into a more positive direction.

4. Use positive self-talk: Much of what your anxious about may be stemmed from what you're telling yourself about your future. "I'll never meet someone" "Monday is going to be such a tough day" "I just can't do this anymore." Most of the time we are not even aware of the chatter going on in our minds dictating our feelings. Take your anxiety as a signal that you need to stop and listen to what you're saying to yourself and then choose to tell yourself a more positive story. "My perfect partner is being prepared for me as I am being prepared for him/her and we will meet in divine timing" "Monday is going to be a fresh start to a productive week" "I can do this, one day at a time I will get thru it."

5. Repeat mantras out loud: hearing yourself proclaim something positive has a very powerful effect on centering yourself and focusing your thoughts. Changing your thoughts in this way will immediately change your feelings. Choose or create mantras that define what you want. For instance, repeating to yourself, "I am calm, confident, and cool" will give you and instant boost of self-confidence in moments of angst.

The Mind-Body-Soul Connection

As the idea of holistic healing becomes more popular and socially accepted within the United States, many people are left with questions regarding the mind-body-soul connection. Exactly what is it? Where is it? How do you find it? Can you have it even when you are busy trying to keep up with life?

The exciting news is that it already exists inside of you; you were born with this connection in tact. By being conscious of this connection, you can start using it to your benefit.

The mind and the body are considered inseparable. This idea is a little easier for people to grasp because these are aspects of our life that are tangible. Have you ever been told some horrible news and suddenly felt sick to your stomach? This is an example of the mind-body connection. The same is true for good news. Thinking happy thoughts can actually create "happy" biochemistry in your body. The physical benefits you gain from relaxing the mind through the practice of meditation such as increased immunity, better sleep, improved metabolism which helps you lose weight, and improved brain functioning to name a few, further support the inescapable mind-body connection we all experience.

So where does the soul come in? The soul is an invisible, intangible, yet extremely powerful part of our lives that connects us to something much bigger than just what we can see happening around us. It is the part that joins our intellect to the divine energy matrix that connects everyone and everything. The soul is a divine energy, the subject of human consciousness, and freedom. The soul is the source of all aspects of our life.

When we contaminate the souls divine energy through self-harm such as repetitive negative thoughts about ourselves, or rage and envy toward others, these toxins manifest as physical conditions such as depression and disease.

Knowing this connection is ever present and existing at all times, you can focus on it, become conscious of it, and maximize the good in your life, rather than being at the mercy of random events. You may think your problems are coming from your boss, your partner, your children, and your health. In all actuality, these are just projections trying to awaken you to the current state of your mind-body-soul connection.

My favorite simple and quick technique for heightening the mind-body-soul connection is having gratitude. We all have circumstances happen in our life that we'd like to change, and feel justified in complaining about. But doing so depletes you of energy and pushes you further down a negative spiral, attracting more negativity into your realm, which manifests itself physically and mentally. Have you ever felt drained and without energy after venting or complaining about something you have no control over? By stating what you are grateful for out loud to yourself, or writing out a gratitude list, you strengthen the mind-body-soul connection. Gratitude will nourish you. This is something you can do everyday, even multiple times a day, to raise your vibrational frequency. A good place to start is by identifying and saying out loud 5 things your grateful for within the first 30 minutes of your day. If you'd like to take this one step further and really benefit from the well workings of a consciously connected mind, body, and soul, then do this same activity at any point in your day when you're feelings or thinking is negative. Before you know it you'll feel lighter, have greater cognitive clarity, and re-center your divine energy.

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