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A "Crazy in Love" Valentine's Day | 3 Tips for a Healthier Relationship

A "Crazy in Love" Valentine's Day | 3 Tips for a Healthier Relationship

Have you ever asked yourself why you put up with certain negative behaviors in a relationship? Have you ever wondered why you couldn’t get a certain person out of your mind?  Well, maybe it has everything to do with YOU and not necessarily them. Maybe we are crazy in love because we are in search of our deepest, most intimate desires in the form of a person. Once we believe we've found that person, we find ourselves lost in the sea of disappointment because our expectations were shattered. Well, whatever your "crazy-in-love" may be, we've all been there!

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Remember, most of us are in search of that special someone that we can spend the rest of our lives with and grow old together. Unfortunately, most of us that find ourselves saying, “I do,” also find ourselves saying, “I don’t!” That’s right, over 50% of all marriages end in divorces and dreams are shattered. Lives are changed and hearts are broken when we fail to address our "crazy-in-love" issues; and whether we believe it or not, ALL relationships experience conflict and challenges.

Here are the 3 most common relationship problems and possible solutions.

Communication:

This is the #1 conflict couples have and the basis for many arguments. It results in a lack of understanding that causes even further distance. There is a misconception that poor communication means a lack of verbal dialogue. But it really means that somewhere along the line the conversation has become guarded and there isn’t the openness necessary to have the discussions needed to stay connected and make the relationships last.

Communication Solutions:

o   Speak your mind: This means trusting yourself enough to be vulnerable in the relationship and share with your partner what is on your mind. It’s essential you speak up so you and your partner can be on the same page.

o   Be receptive: When a person speaks their mind and it isn’t received well, it can be discouraging for open communication in the future. Even in difficult situations its important to maintain respect and listen to what the other has to say. This gives you the ability to have a full understanding so you can work as a team to solve them.

Problem Solving:

Different personality types can create a wide range of responses when it comes to solving problems. Some people cope with avoidance, anger defensiveness, blame, etc. The method in which problems are handled can either strengthen or weaken the relationship.

Problem Solving Solutions:

o   Stay on topic: When problems arise they can often trigger past conflicts and create a bigger problem. Discuss the present issue with the intentions of resolving it and instead of strengthening your argument.

o   Agree to disagree: There will be things that you and your partner have different views on. You don’t have to sacrifice your values or what you think is right. Accept the difference in opinion so you can reach an emotional closure.

o   Work together: An argument shouldn’t become a battle of who wins or loses. Work together and encourage yourself to grow to a point where obstacles become lessons and problems in your relationship become a signal for teamwork.

Poor Sex Life:

Even couples that have a great emotional relationship can have completely different needs when it comes to sex. A good sex life is open to discussion and meets the needs of both people. Studies have shown that a good sex life is considered to contribute to about 20% of a happy relationship. But a bad sex life is said to contribute about 70% of an unhappy relationship. Meaning that a bad sex life has a much bigger impact on the connection.

Solutions For a Better Sex Life:

o   Express your needs: If you’re not feeling fulfilled in your sexual relationship with your partner, that void will just increase. Express what you’re needs and have a continuous open dialogue.

o   Be open-minded: Sex someone you love is a very intimate and vulnerable experience that allows you to love your partner in a physical way. Be open to new experiences, this helps foster the spark in your connection and keep the excitement alive.

o   Seek a therapist. A bad sex life could have an underlying problem that may need the help of a therapist or sex counselor to help discover what it is.

Relationships can bring the greatest joy you’ve ever known, but they take work.  If you consider the tips above, tune into your partner, and allow yourself to be vulnerable; you have the formula for what it takes to make your relationship last. 

Still feeling a little "Crazy-in-love?" Contact a therapist and book a session TODAY!

Jada Jackson  M.S., M.A., LMHC, NCC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Author, Talk Show Host, Life Coach and Communicator

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4 Simple Secrets to Create your Girlfriend Tribe! | Dr. Jada Jackson

You can’t survive without your tribe!

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Where my girls at? Yep, it’s all about your support system! Do you have a best friend? Do you have a group of friends? Do you have a support system that provides stability when you need it most?

As a mental health counselor, I believe a healthy support system is most necessary. More specifically, women need a supportive tribe. I not only believe it, I am living it. For decades, social and behavioral researchers have studied the necessity and benefits of female relationships. These supportive relationships have been linked to stress reduction and more fulfilled lives.

During my many years of mentoring and counseling women, I’ve encountered a large percentage of “girlfriend resistance”. Many women strongly believed “female” friendships are too difficult to maintain. Oftentimes, I’d hear, “I have more male friends because it’s just easier.” Although I understand this position, I believe there are alternative ideas that may suggest this position to be counterproductive for healthy emotional success in women.

The female-stress study conducted by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor suggests a correlation between friendships and stress. After I read the outcome of the study “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-befriend, Not Fight-or-flight,” I needed to know more.

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I have subscribed to the fight-or-flight idea for years and, of course, it makes sense. However, according to Klein and Taylor, women react to stress differently from men based on the amounts of hormones release into the bloodstream during a stressful episode. More specifically, Klein, et al., suggests that women release greater amounts of oxytocin causing a minimal fight-or-flight reaction. What is Oxytocin?

“It's sometimes known as the "cuddle hormone" or the "love hormone," because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially” (livescience.com).

So, the results of the Klein and Taylor suggest that women are prone to gravitate toward other women during stressful times. Additionally, the research states that it is normal for women to “tend and befriend” instead of engaging in “fight or flight”.

Following this “tend and befriend” ideology, I believe (based on my own experiences) that my female relationships have provided more stability, support and nurturing without the complications like that of male-female friendships.

Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that male-female relationships are incapable of producing highly supportive and nurturing effects. What I am saying is that women should embrace a solid woman-to-woman friendship circle (free of drama, jealousy, and cattiness) that should ultimately stabilize them during life’s stressful challenges. If you enjoy a strong female support system, I would really like to hear your strategies and how your tribe makes it work!

However, If you are struggling to develop healthy girlfriend relationships, hopefully, this blog post will assist.

Here are 4 ways that will help you create your girlfriend tribe:

1)    Cut away the fat. Whether you know it or not, relationships are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually draining. On the other hand, relationships can be incredibly supportive, encouraging, and rewarding. For example, people are like banks. The emotional-currency deposited into the relationship bank allows for withdrawing when needed. The more people draining you of your emotional currency without making deposits keeps you in an emotional deficit. You have the power to set boundaries, so set them. Stop allowing others to constantly take from you when they refuse to give. Use the power of boundaries to say, “No.” In other words, the girlfriends (or any friend) that hangs around to receive without reciprocity, does not deserve to reap the benefits of your friendship. So, cut away the fat.

2)    Acknowledge your insecurity. Insecurity breeds jealousy. Jealousy breeds distrust. Distrust ruins relationships, and relationships need trust. True friendship thrives on vulnerability, trust, and honesty. At the core of insecurity is fear…fear of losing something…or the fear of someone taking what belongs to us. No one has the power to make you feel insecure, that is your job. If you feel insecure about who you are, what you have, or where you are going in life, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that. Create a list of your fears (or insecurities). Ask yourself, “What is the worst-case scenario for each item?” Now, seek to find a strategy to improve each area of insecurity. If you find that an item cannot be improved (for example, you are 4’11 and you want to be 5’9), you must find “acceptance” of the things we cannot change. A therapist can assist you in addressing areas of discontentment and build healthy self-concept. Do not let your insecurity prevent you from establishing healthy female relationships.

3)    Share your dopeness. I received a candle from my sister that stated, “Trust your Dopeness.” I will take this statement one step further and say, “Share your Dopeness.” It is absolutely understood that you are dope! So, with that said, be willing to share your tips and brilliance with your girlfriends. You would be amazed at the amount of resources, knowledge, and beauty tips you possess in your tribe J We are stronger together. We are weaker, divided. So, help your girlfriend when she needs it and she will return the favor with a smile.

4)    Schedule Girl-Time Regularly.  I believe in girlfriend getaways. Spending quiet time with the girls is a great way to relax, decompress, and bond. When we are intentional about creating bonding relationships, we all benefit.

I believe in creating space and opportunities for women to thrive and become the best version of themselves. I want to encourage you to live your best life; be true to you; and, give your best to others. There is no one quite like you and there are many who could use your dopeness!  

 

 

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DOWNLOAD Free eBook | Stop Losing and Start Winning! | Overcome Losses

Jada Pic White touched up.jpg

What does it mean to lose? According to merriam-webster.com, the first definition is “to bring to destruction.” For those of us who have found ourselves constantly losing in life (personally, professionally, relationally, parentally, etc.), it’s time to change the game. Winning in the game of life means we must change. Change begins with acceptance.

How many losses have you had to overcome?

For me, there were many! How did I overcome extreme loss? Here are 3 steps to stop losing and start winning:

Step ONE: Understand the grieving process. Everyone knows there are stages of grief, however, I want to encourage you to understand each stage as you go through them in your daily life. For example, when I lost a job I loved deeply, I lost more than my job.

The stages of grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Each day after my loss, I vacillated between Denial and Anger. I bounced back and forth from Depression to Bargaining to Denial. I soon concluded that going through the grieving process does not happen in a straight line. It’s messy. It’s painful. It feels like it will never end. After I lost my job, I soon went through a divorce. I started the grieving process all over again. Actually, I don’t think I ever really resolved the job loss before I was slapped in the face with the reality of a divorce.

Here’s my point. We must understand what it means to grieve as individuals. We are all different and grieve differently. I had to sit in the pain and just let it hurt. I journaled and prayed. I spent hours sitting on my patio looking out across the lake. I spent time with ME. I spent time with myself. This was part of my acceptance stage.

Step TWO: Stop the cycle of losing. Sometimes we lose people, jobs, relationships and sometimes ourselves. I lost myself when I lost my job and my marriage. However, I eventually realized it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Here’s an important principle: breaking the cycle may mean breaking your heart. We are creatures of habit. We will do what feels comfortable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone (change) is the first step toward winning.

Just as we grieve differently, we also WIN differently. Winning means something different to everyone. Once I cleared the “acceptance” stage, I was ready to start my life again. Starting over meant forgiveness, determination, hope and love.

Step THREE: How do you define winning? What does it mean to win? For me, it meant finding the time to learn about and love ME. Winning meant that I needed to embrace those that loved me and stop running from those who wanted to help me. Today, winning means that I stay true to what I believe and embrace my core beliefs.

For the last three years, I’ve continued to grow as a person, a professional, and a therapist. I’ve learned to be authentic, vulnerable and true to me. I win!

How do you win? Only you can answer this question. Only YOU can answer the questions about who you are, what you want, and how you are going to get there. Unfortunately, many women harbor deep pain and problems. Beneath the passion, behind all of the great success we find ourselves also motivated by a deep, painful loss I, myself, know a great deal about.

- There’s Only One Way To Being You

Wherever you are; no matter how you’re going to “get there,” you’re not fulfilled until you arrive at your destination. The truth is, I don’t have a remedy or cure for the guilt you deal with. I do, however, have a solution to enable you to walk the happy road to being you.

I’m calling it my “positive step approach.” Instead of focusing on your pain trip, I’m going to work on your final destination…to WIN.

Let me take you on the journey to become you!

-----------Once you’re in your rightful place, there will be no more losing…just winning!

Take time to download your FREE ebook now!

- J.J.

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Overcome Losses! Stop Losing and Start Winning! | DOWNLOAD Free eBook

Jada Pic White touched up.jpg

What does it mean to lose? According to merriam-webster.com, the first definition is “to bring to destruction.” For those of us who have found ourselves constantly losing in life (personally, professionally, relationally, parentally, etc.), it’s time to change the game. Winning in the game of life means we must change. Change begins with acceptance.

How many losses have you had to overcome?

For me, there were many! How did I overcome extreme loss? Here are 3 steps to stop losing and start winning:

Step ONE: Understand the grieving process. Everyone knows there are stages of grief, however, I want to encourage you to understand each stage as you go through them in your daily life. For example, when I lost a job I loved deeply, I lost more than my job.

The stages of grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Each day after my loss, I vacillated between Denial and Anger. I bounced back and forth from Depression to Bargaining to Denial. I soon concluded that going through the grieving process does not happen in a straight line. It’s messy. It’s painful. It feels like it will never end. After I lost my job, I soon went through a divorce. I started the grieving process all over again. Actually, I don’t think I ever really resolved the job loss before I was slapped in the face with the reality of a divorce.

Here’s my point. We must understand what it means to grieve as individuals. We are all different and grieve differently. I had to sit in the pain and just let it hurt. I journaled and prayed. I spent hours sitting on my patio looking out across the lake. I spent time with ME. I spent time with myself. This was part of my acceptance stage.

Step TWO: Stop the cycle of losing. Sometimes we lose people, jobs, relationships and sometimes ourselves. I lost myself when I lost my job and my marriage. However, I eventually realized it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Here’s an important principle: breaking the cycle may mean breaking your heart. We are creatures of habit. We will do what feels comfortable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone (change) is the first step toward winning.

Just as we grieve differently, we also WIN differently. Winning means something different to everyone. Once I cleared the “acceptance” stage, I was ready to start my life again. Starting over meant forgiveness, determination, hope and love.

Step THREE: How do you define winning? What does it mean to win? For me, it meant finding the time to learn about and love ME. Winning meant that I needed to embrace those that loved me and stop running from those who wanted to help me. Today, winning means that I stay true to what I believe and embrace my core beliefs.

For the last three years, I’ve continued to grow as a person, a professional, and a therapist. I’ve learned to be authentic, vulnerable and true to me. I win!

How do you win? Only you can answer this question. Only YOU can answer the questions about who you are, what you want, and how you are going to get there. Unfortunately, many women harbor deep pain and problems. Beneath the passion, behind all of the great success we find ourselves also motivated by a deep, painful loss I, myself, know a great deal about.

- There’s Only One Way To Being You

Wherever you are; no matter how you’re going to “get there,” you’re not fulfilled until you arrive at your destination. The truth is, I don’t have a remedy or cure for the guilt you deal with. I do, however, have a solution to enable you to walk the happy road to being you.

I’m calling it my “positive step approach.” Instead of focusing on your pain trip, I’m going to work on your final destination…to WIN.

Let me take you on the journey to become you!

-----------Once you’re in your rightful place, there will be no more losing…just winning!

Take time to download your FREE ebook now!

- J.J.

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My Birthday Pledge | A Life of Gratitude

Have you ever cried uncontrollably?

Today, I sat in my meditation and prayer room with tears flowing from my eyes. The uncontrollable stream of tears was not of sadness, but quite the opposite. Genuine tears of joy and gratitude for the life I’ve been gifted; and how blessed we are to have life and breath.

Today is my birthday and I am grateful for another year; and I’m especially grateful for the flood of birthday wishes from my friends and family on social media.

As I look back over the last 12 months, I am in awe at the blessings of God. Sometimes I am hesitant to post about my spiritual beliefs because of my profession as a mental health counselor; but, today I am compelled to give God glory!

I am often asked, “Jada, how did you get that opportunity?” or “Who helped you get your foot in the door with that corporation?”

My answer is simple, “God opens the door and I walk through.”

I’ve given my life (the good and the bad; the ups and the downs) as a vehicle to serve others and honor God. It’s that simple and I am grateful.

I’m sure, if you think long enough, you can relate to the feelings of gratefulness and joy. Has there ever been a time when you felt accomplished? Has there ever been a time when you felt favored? Has there ever been a time when you looked at your children and felt blessed?

The gift of grace is given freely.

I am reminded of the scripture Matthew 10:8 which says, “Freely you have received; freely give.”

Each day is an opportunity to give to others what we’ve been so graciously blessed with; it is a challenge to extend love to others.

I challenge you today to give freely to others with a heart of gratitude and love.

Gratefully Yours,

Jada

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13 Reasons Why | Teen Suicide & Bullying | How to talk to you child

      13 Reasons Why

Teen suicide explodes into the forefront of societal discussions as new television series highlight bullying, family conflict, and socioeconomical struggles.  Suicidal signs are often overlooked due to its taboo stereotype. However, suicide and depression are very real. 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix series, shows us the reality and seriousness of this controversial subject. 13 Reasons Why is about a young girl who commits suicide, however, before she does she makes a tape for everyone who she feels has contributed to this final decision to end her life. Many viewers and critics are appalled because they feel that the show is too graphic and/or depressing; but the show is right on target! If we are to ever have a fighting chance against suicide, the first step is to talk about it.

The first step to the prevention of any societal problem is education. Without knowledge of the problem, we can acquire the appropriate weapons to combat the enemies of mental health. Education gives a person the necessary knowledge to make an executive decision about a situation. Maybe if Haley, the 13 Reasons Why series’ main character, took time to speak to the people she felt contributed to her self-destruction, the entire situation may have been avoided.

An important fact in the series is that Haley took the time to make detailed tapes highlighting the consequential impact of each person who wronged her. That means her decision was calculated, deliberate, and slightly revengeful. She took the time to make 13 tapes (hence the name 13 Reasons Why) both with a side A and B to send to 13 people with instructions before she died. This gives us an interesting perspective of suicide, depression, and the teenage mind.

5 Warning signs that a child is suicidal

1.    Change in eating and sleeping habits. This is one of the main signs of depression. This is usually accompanied by suicidal thought if allowed to carry on for a long period of time.

2.     Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities. When a child begins to lose interest in normal activities as a parent it is time to step in.

3.    Disinterest in using their computers and cell phones to text friends

4.    Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.

5.    Loss of interest in pleasurable activities

 

3 Things you should do if you suspect your child is suicidal

1.    Pay close attention to warning signs. If your child begins to be withdrawn, eating and sleeping habits change, or even changes in personality can all be signs of suicidal thoughts.

2.    Encourage your child to talk to someone. Children and their parents are not always best friends. Arrange for the child to speak with a counselor, preacher, teacher, or anyone they trust.

3.    Show your concern, love and support. By having Stay involved with you children. Keep the lines of communication open. Have conversations on a regular basis and keep them active. Your child may feel more compelled to confide in you. Most importantly, If they do open up, take it very seriously!

 

Authors:

Maxie Malone - Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern

Dr. Jada Jackson - Licensed Professional Counselor/Licensed Mental Health Counselor

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Generosity | Is it really better to give than receive?

My mom always told me it’s better to give than to receive. Hmmmm…ok, I get it, but I really like it when people give to me. J

It was not long before I’d learn that my mother’s encouraging words were the words recorded in Acts 20:35 where Luke quoted Jesus saying, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Over the years, I’ve had the amazing pleasure of experiencing great success in mostly every area of my life (I’m grateful, not boasting).  I’ve been incredibly blessed professionally and personally; but, what good is success if I could not share my lessons with others? So, years ago I committed to a life of generosity and giving (almost to a fault). I say, “almost to a fault” because once people realized that I am a kind, giving person, the human instinct to take advantage would soon kick in. It’s unfortunate because once I’d identify the “leech-mode” I would quickly shut down the relationship. From this normal human behavior, I learned a great deal about myself and others. The most important thing I learned about myself is that giving was very much a part of me and there was no way that I could get around it. I learned to embrace this gift, but I also learned to set healthy relationship boundaries as I gave.

The one thing I learned about others is that not everyone is out to get me! Yes, I said it. There was a time in my life when I felt every person I encountered was someone who wanted to “use” me. Ok, so where did that negative thought process come from? Well, we really don’t have time to get into that right now, but it was a long journey for me to accept that there are wonderful, good people in the world and my job is to give them a fighting chance.

It was back in 2009 when I really learned to give without expecting reciprocity. As a mentor, coach, and counselor, I rarely see the fruits of my labor because it is usually a slow process of personal development with my clients and mentees. However, celebrating the short-term milestones is a great way to acknowledge success. Additionally, it often gives me a greater sense of purpose to know that I am a part of contributing to a cause greater than myself.

This week my team and I are focusing on generosity and why it is important. Here are 3 quick reasons you should give without receiving:

1)    INNER POWER. When we give to others financially, relationally, spiritually, or professionally, we are in control. We feel better about ourselves and our commitment to a greater purpose. One of the basic human needs according to Maslow is self-actualization. This means that once we’ve fulfilled our basic needs of food, shelter, safety, connectivity, and self-concept, we are poised to give in a more philanthropic manner. Your ability to give will ultimately come back to you in the form of inner power, contentment, and self-actualization.

2)    MERCY. You’ve heard the saying, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” This is a true statement. Whatever you give will be given back to you. The more generous you are, the more you will find generosity when you need it most. One thing I’ve learned in my journey to success and that is: I have not gained success ALONE. There were always amazing mentors, professors, and friends that helped me along in my journey.

3)    SUCCESS. We all want success. We all want to have successful families, careers, and relationships. One of the most intriguing concepts I’ve encountered about success is that it comes in many forms; and only YOU can define your success. Last week, my mentor asked me, “How are you going to fill the gap between where you are now and where you want to be?” I thought about it and said, “I’ve already accomplished everything on my list of personal and professional goals…I’ve been blessed above measure and I’m not sure if there is anything else I want.” Once I said that out loud, I realized that the only way for me to find ultimate fulfillment is to make it a point to become a constant giver. For me, success is the ability to give to others what I’ve been blessed to receive for myself.

How do you define generosity? How do you define success? I would love to hear what you think because oftentimes our stories have a common thread.

...and if you haven't done so yet, PLEASE join my community of positive, savvy professionals by signing up for my monthly newsletter or visit my coaching page to learn how to book private sessions with yours truly! Also, DOWNLOAD my FREE eBook!

Happy Giving,

Dr. Jada

 

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Self-Love vs. Humility | A Challenge of Self-Exploration

Self-Love vs. Humility | A Challenge of Self-Exploration

Our society thrives on comparisons and competition. There’s nothing wrong with using a little competition to push us to excel or to maximize our greatest potential. However, when competition cause us make decisions that ultimately hurt others or ourselves, it is no longer healthy.

With so much attention on societal status, social media likes, and perfect beauty standards, we may find ourselves in the battle to win at the expense of others…or at the expense of our values.

I’ve found that the key to disconnecting from the chaos and unplugging from the insanity is HUMILITY.

What is humility? The ability to prefer others above oneself. Hmmmm, that’s seems like a difficult task. For many years, I was caught in the competitive fashion industry competing for jobs, campaigns, and other status driven commodities. When I made the decision to unplug from the chaos, my focus shifted from how I could be “better” than others to how to use my gifts and talents to make others better.

We are each gifted to “give” to others through humility and compassion. Here are 3 ways to embrace humility:

1)    Celebrate the gifts, beauty, and talents of others. We are all created differently, but equally. Take a moment today and celebrate someone else. Give kind words or send a message of encouragement to a coworker, family member, or friend.

2)    Remain open to feedback and positive criticism. We all need direction and feedback. Ask trusted friends or mentors to give you feedback about your career or personal development. Ask them how you can improve or excel in your pursuit of success.

3)    Be grateful for the small things. Sometimes it is difficult to be grateful when we are in constant pursuit of bigger and better. The Hedonic Adaptation or Treadmill suggests that the more we have the more we want. I encourage you to take time everyday to find something to be grateful for.

I’ve experienced a great amount of success in my life and career. One day I woke up and felt numb because I felt that I’d attained everything on my career list and I didn’t have anything to prove. It was at that moment that I realized I’d wasted a lot of time focused on me instead of helping others who really are in need. Today, I believe in embracing humility and extending my resources, services, and talents toward a greater cause: the healing and development of others.

 “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

 

 

 

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3 Tips to help you stop Losing and start Winning! | DOWNLOAD Free eBook

Jada Pic White touched up.jpg

What does it mean to lose? According to merriam-webster.com, the first definition is “to bring to destruction.” For those of us who have found ourselves constantly losing in life (personally, professionally, relationally, parentally, etc.), it’s time to change the game. Winning in the game of life means we must change. Change begins with acceptance.

How many losses have you had to overcome?

For me, there were many! How did I overcome extreme loss? Here are 3 steps to stop losing and start winning:

Step ONE: Understand the grieving process. Everyone knows there are stages of grief, however, I want to encourage you to understand each stage as you go through them in your daily life. For example, when I lost a job I loved deeply, I lost more than my job.

The stages of grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Each day after my loss, I vacillated between Denial and Anger. I bounced back and forth from Depression to Bargaining to Denial. I soon concluded that going through the grieving process does not happen in a straight line. It’s messy. It’s painful. It feels like it will never end. After I lost my job, I soon went through a divorce. I started the grieving process all over again. Actually, I don’t think I ever really resolved the job loss before I was slapped in the face with the reality of a divorce.

Here’s my point. We must understand what it means to grieve as individuals. We are all different and grieve differently. I had to sit in the pain and just let it hurt. I journaled and prayed. I spent hours sitting on my patio looking out across the lake. I spent time with ME. I spent time with myself. This was part of my acceptance stage.

Step TWO: Stop the cycle of losing. Sometimes we lose people, jobs, relationships and sometimes ourselves. I lost myself when I lost my job and my marriage. However, I eventually realized it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Here’s an important principle: breaking the cycle may mean breaking your heart. We are creatures of habit. We will do what feels comfortable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone (change) is the first step toward winning.

Just as we grieve differently, we also WIN differently. Winning means something different to everyone. Once I cleared the “acceptance” stage, I was ready to start my life again. Starting over meant forgiveness, determination, hope and love.

Step THREE: How do you define winning? What does it mean to win? For me, it meant finding the time to learn about and love ME. Winning meant that I needed to embrace those that loved me and stop running from those who wanted to help me. Today, winning means that I stay true to what I believe and embrace my core beliefs.

For the last three years, I’ve continued to grow as a person, a professional, and a therapist. I’ve learned to be authentic, vulnerable and true to me. I win!

How do you win? Only you can answer this question. Only YOU can answer the questions about who you are, what you want, and how you are going to get there.

This month, we celebrate Women’s History in the United States…but many women harbor deep pain and problems.

Beneath the passion, behind all of the great success we find ourselves also motivated by a deep, painful loss I, myself, know a great deal about.

 

- There’s Only One Way To Being You

 

Wherever you are; no matter how you’re going to “get there,” you’re not fulfilled until you arrive at your destination. The truth is, I don’t have a remedy or cure for the guilt you deal with.

I do, however, have a solution to enable you to walk the happy road to being you. The manifestation of who you are means you’ll be celebrated this month. There’s no need to wait.

I’m calling it my “positive step approach.” Instead of focusing on your pain trip, I’m going to work on your final destination…to WIN.

Let me take you on the journey to become you!

-----------Once you’re in your rightful place, there will be no more losing…just winning!

To assist you in your journey, I’m releasing my book for free this month.

Take time to download your FREE ebook now!

- J.J.

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Celebrating Women's History Month | DOWNLOAD Your FREE eBOOK

Are You Faithfully Celebrating Women's History Month? Yes! We celebrate all successful women, but not because they are greater than we are.

“I’m old. I have cellulite. I’m 10 lbs overweight. My husband doesn’t look at me the way he used to. I don’t love him the way I did before. What happened to my life?”

I listened to a friend of mine tell me about how she just didn’t feel like waking up to go to work because she hated life. “This is not the life I planned. I’m successful, but I’m not happy. Nothing makes me happy.”

As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, I thought it would be interesting to look at the contrast between what women want and what we actually get.

For many years, women have been celebrated during the month of March to highlight their extraordinary contributions to their countries. Both here in the U.S. and internationally, women have left a mark in history that deserves celebration, and this year, the theme for Women’s History Month is "Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.”

As a businesswoman, I am very much aware of the challenges that threaten success. The greatest struggles that kept me from wanting to get out of bed, like my friend, were financial challenges, uncertainty, lack of confidence, strong competitors, and my inability to find “loyal” staff members. All of the areas were extremely challenging, however, the greatest struggle I had was establishing work/life balance consistently.

Day after Day, I work with women who feel unworthy, devalued, uncelebrated, and insecure. Interestingly enough, if you walked past one of them on the street, you would never know that they’ve thrown in the towel on happiness, contentment, and peace. Why? Because she looks amazing! She drives a luxury car (or something close to it). Her makeup is flawless. Her children are adorable and well dressed. She works hard. People love her. She is successful. She is all that; but, she’s dying inside. I just described the clients that I work with, but I also described me. My passion to help others came from a long, hard look in the mirror. When each of us looks into the mirror we should see one thing: HUMANITY. We are all HUMAN. This means that we all struggle. We all have insecurities. We all want to be loved. We all want to be valued. We all want success.

 

Are You Faithfully Celebrating This Month?

We Celebrate Successful Women; But, Not Because They’re Greater Than Us.

 

This month, we celebrate Women’s History in the United States…but many women harbor deep pain and problems.

Beneath the passion, behind all of the great success we find ourselves also motivated by a deep, painful guilt I, myself, know a great deal about. You may even question the importance of celebrating someone's life that doesn't quite model yours. Maybe women's history means nothing to you.

Well, it really doesn’t matter if you’re in the beginning phase of history making or not. False comparisons are made when you’ve no personal success as a point of reference.  

When March comes around, we ironically invite “the comparison trip” into our heads. Guilt floods in when you want the success that you find in another person.

Don’t feel embarrassed by it. This particular battle is a hard one to fight. And maybe it’s not just during the month of March, maybe it every month of the year that you struggle with illegitimate comparisons to your friends, coworkers, societal icons, or your sister.

 

- There’s Only One Way To Being You

 

Wherever you are; no matter how you’re going to “get there,” you’re not fulfilled until you arrive at your destination. The truth is, I don’t have a remedy or cure for the guilt you deal with.

I do, however, have a solution to enable you to walk the happy road to being you. The manifestation of who you are means you’ll be celebrated this month. There’s no need to wait.

I’m calling it my “positive step approach.” Instead of working on your guilt trip, I’m going to work on your final destination. This isn’t the place you’re at, at the moment.

Let me take you on the journey to become you! This is the same journey that the women we celebrate this month took to ultimate success. It was never an overnight success, and I won’t make it one for you. The journey ahead is a serious commitment that you have to make to achieve your personal goals.

-----------Once you’re in the rightful place, there will be no one else to compare with.

To do that for you, I’m releasing my book for free this month. At the cost of nothing, it’s put directly into your hands. Your final commitment, to end the guilt, is to read it. I’ve never given something so valuable away for free.

I Will Not Put A Price Tag On What’s Rightfully Yours. I can only do it during this month.

You have an entire celebration to go through. And we’re now walking you past the emptiness, anxiety and void. Embrace the fullness that’s yours.

Do it now. Open your copy, and discover how powerful success becomes when you become you. We’re ready to celebrate Women’s History Month, but this time it’s for you to make YOUR MARK and success this time. I know…you already have it in you!

- J.J.

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Om: The Benefits of Meditation

Om: The Benefits of Meditation

 

      Meditation is the practice of thoughtless awareness (freemeditation.com). The practice of meditation is documented as far back as 1500 BCE, through the teachings of vedas in ancient India (chopra.com). In the 18th century, these teachings were translated and sent to scholars in the west (chopra.com). Since then meditation has been growing in popularity as a part of daily life. Many people who are not aware of the benefits of meditation, see it as Buddhist spiritual prayers. This is true to some degree, Buddhism uses meditation as a spiritual journey to reach “Enlightenment”. They do this following the acts of the original Buddha Siddhartha. Buddhist do not see Siddhartha as a god, but as a real person who lived and introduced Buddhism. A Buddha is a presence that lives in their lives, and serves to them as a reminder to remain mindful to be able to obtain enlightenment. There are several Buddhas, a buddha is defined as anyone who has ever reached the enlightened state according to Buddhism. Buddhism is a religion that centers around peace and compassion. In today’s century, there are many reform Buddhist temples that are open to outsiders, and share their teachings of meditation and mindfulness with the outside world. They usually do not expect a non-buddhist to meditate as vigorously as they do. They encourage people to take what they want from Buddhism and use meditation in their lives to lower stress-levels and be fully present. I first came across meditation about two years ago when I began college. I was developing high anxiety and was looking for techniques to reduce stress. I came across a Buddhist temple in my area that is actually a non-profit organization that hosts several meditation classes and buddhist teachings each week. I obviously did not become fully mindful right away, but I did enjoy the meditation and the teachings that they incorporated that I found I could use in my daily life. As I continued to attend these meditation classes each week, I noticed my anxiety began to decrease. I would meditate each night and any time during the day when I felt myself getting overly anxious about something. I think everyone should incorporate meditation in their life in any form they choose. Meditation can be done along with prayers for several different religions, or simply just to become aware of your breathing and relax. I now young girls experience more stress and anxiety than people think. I think incorporating meditation in your lives at this young age will help you deal with stressors now and in the future. If you are interested in trying meditation on your own, hopefully this will help you find a place to start:

 

1.  Find a local meditation class: meditation classes are being incorporated in many schools and college campuses where you can learn many different techniques on how to meditate. Also, look at any Buddhist temples in your area and see if they offer meditation classes.

2.  Look up videos on how to meditate: If you rather teach yourself how to meditate, there are thousands of videos online on meditation. Including guided meditation where they literally tell you what to picture and how to clear your mind.

3.  Include your friends and family: as I said, meditation can benefit anyone, ask your friends or loved ones if they would like to join you in your practice.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NICOLE PEREZ

Nicole is a psychology student at the University of Central Florida. She has always had a passion for psychology and helping people overcome the challenges in their loves. She especially has a passion for working with children and families. She plans on continuing on to receive her PhD in clinical psychology specializing in children and their development.

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Racism: Ignorance, Self-Appointed Superiority, and Fear

Continuous riots and acts of violence spotlight the topic of racism in America. Questions of racial injustice, acts of hatred, and personal safety have been thrust back into the center of our national dialogue.

The outcome of the election and other frustrations have left many Americans wondering what causes racism to persist in our society, and what psychological implications it has on our communities.

At the center of racism lies three concepts: ignorance, self-appointed superiority, and fear. Dividing the world into “us” and “them” is so powerful and results in an unwillingness to appreciate the benefits of diversity, as well as instills a fear of people who are different. As we evolved as a species, fearing people who were different became a way of survival. However, with the world being more connected than ever, this way of thinking has become extremely problematic and irresponsible.

America prides itself on being the melting pot of different cultures, but the way we welcome newcomers or change is a contradiction to that image. As long as the attitudes of privilege and superiority are supported, racism and the fear of the unknown will continue.

The psychological toll racism takes on its victims is ongoing. Dr. Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, a psychologist at Georgetown University, explained that people can become depressed, fearful, and anxious. Many have trouble sleeping because they are unable to settle down. They remain hypervigilant of their surroundings and feeling safe becomes a concept, not a reality.

The consequences of racism are very real and it is important to reach out for help or create a strategy to move forward. If you or someone you know has been victimized, here are some tips that may help:

·      Know your worth. Racist comments come from a previous bias or experience, not from you. It’s important to know your worth and what you offer. Doing this will quickly help you find the ignorance in racial statements.

·      Focus on your positive. Whatever you choose to focus your thoughts on-grows. Allowing negative comments to consume you is a waste of your energy and gives merit to uninformed individuals. Focus on your positive and the untrue and negative comments will soon fade.

·      Grieve and regroup. Feeling hurt after experiencing racism (or perceived racism) is normal and it’s important to not be ashamed. Share your experience with loved ones to help realize the comments say more about them then they ever could about you. Resist bitterness and anger. Most of all resist retaliation.

·      Live for your purpose. Begin each day with a well-established confidence in your purpose on this planet.  You’ve been purposefully placed exactly where you are to create a positive impact on the world.

·      Forgive. Life is short and forgiveness is a must. When we choose not to forgive, we only hurt ourselves.

When hatred and negativity are the focus of many national discussions, it can be hard to see the positive progression being made. We are moving forward and our continued fight for equality has brought us closer than ever before.

 

Authors: Dr. Jada Jackson and Dani James (Intern)

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Music | Why musical sounds are beneficial to your mental health

Music has been around for hundreds of years and for some people it is an important aspect of their lives. Many people listen to music to get through a tough day at work or to get through an intense workout session. Also, many of people’s careers revolve around music. But have you ever thought about how effective music is for your mental health? Even though people have different preferences in music or listen for different reasons, studies have shown that music is associated to mood. Listening to a certain song can make us feel different emotions and is an effective therapeutic tool. Music has effects on a person’s mind-set and over all well-being and it is shown that music can also increase your cognitive performance.

A study done by Cockerton, Moore, and Norman (1997) showed that participants who were listening to music while answering a series of questions were more quick and correct than the participants who were not listening to music. Listening to your favorite playlist during a workout can enhance your workout, which causes you to perform faster. This can release more endorphins throughout your body, which can elevate your mood. Music has also shown to relieved the symptoms of depression and anxiety as shown in a study done by Troppe in 2009. The neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, dopamine, is released when listening to your favorite song or artist.

Since dopamine also plays a role in the reward system in your brain, it causes you to feel happier and more motivated. Music can also help you become more relaxed whenever stress is present. Research done by Rickard and Knight (2001) showed that the sound of a violin helped reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate to those participants who were stressed. Since music is correlated to relaxation, it can also improve your sleep quality. Listening to classical music was shown to help treat insomnia and other sleep related issues for college students (Harmat, Takacs, & Bodizs, 2008). When your quality of sleep is improved, your energy levels increase, which causes you to become more happy and active. Why increase your pharmaceutical spending when you can plug in your earphones and listen to your favorite song, which is more effective and inexpensive? Next time that you find yourself in a rut, plug in your stereo and jam out to your favorite playlist and see how your mood enhances. 

 

Author: Alexis Hampilos, University of Central Florida Psychology Intern

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Crazy: The Stigma of Mental Illness

        According to NAMI, one in four adults are living with a mental illness. There are several different categories of mental illnesses, some being: schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. These illnesses have been around for hundreds of years, even before anyone knew what mental illnesses were. Historically, if someone showed symptoms of a mental illness, they were thought to be possessed, or practicing witchcraft. Now we have many medical conditions such as cancer, strokes, heart conditions, & many more. Illnesses like these are not considered to define who the person is. You would never tell a person with a serious medical condition that “it is all in their head” or to “snap out of it”. Then why is it that these things are said to people with serious mental illnesses? Why do we have this belief that mental illnesses define who a person is, and then completely avoid the person? Why do people who have been recently diagnosed or showing symptoms of an illness, feel ashamed, or embarrassed about their illness, and often keep quiet instead of seeking the help they need? Why do we keep quiet instead of talking about mental illnesses, and educate people about them? We would never think that of a physically ill person. It is simply because of the stigma that is attached to mental illnesses. Nobody wants to be considered “crazy” or “insane”. Even families, who should be seeking help for their loved one, keep quiet to avoid the stigma. Unlike physically ill people, who usually don’t think twice about receiving treatment, mentally ill people often don’t get the treatment they need.

     Why don’t we view psychiatric treatment, and psychotherapy the same way we view treatment from a physician or a specialized doctor? I know how stigma effects those with mental illnesses from my personally struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Depression. I was told to “snap out of it” and that it’s “all in my head”, when I knew I couldn’t. I knew I needed professional help, which I sought, but not without feeling like that stigma was attached to me. I have learned a lot since then, and my anxiety and depression have improved with that treatment. I know that my anxiety and depression do not define me. And because I sought treatment, I am able to go to school, and enjoy my life like everyone else. I hope to further educate people about mental illnesses, and change the face of how they are viewed. If everyone knew this, maybe no one with a mental illness would have to even think about receiving treatment. I hope our society becomes educated about mental illnesses, and stops putting stigmas on them.

    If you or someone you know are showing symptoms of a mental illness or have been easily diagnosed, remember this:

1.  You have and illness: you are not “crazy” or whatever people choose to all it.

2.  Seek professional help: like I said, you have an illness, it is not going to go away on its own.

3.  You are not alone: know that there are people who are willing to help you get better.

4.  Never feel ashamed: it takes a strong person to ask for help, there is no shame in that, you should be proud of yourself.

     5. Your illness does not define you: you are a unique human being who has the ability to succeed in life, don’t feel like your illness sets limits for you.

Author: Nicole Perez is a psychology student at the University of Central Florida. She has always had a passion for psychology and helping people overcome the challenges in their loves. She especially has a passion for working with children and families. She plans on continuing on to receive her PhD in clinical psychology specializing in children and their development.

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Manage Your Emotions & Deal with Rejection | Quick Tips to change your life!

5 Tips to get over feelings of REJECTION!

Dealing with rejection can be a very devastating, scary and unpleasant occurrence. However, in life we take many risks with decisions, people, investments, money, etc; and with risk comes the probability that rejection may occur. The reality is you will be rejected at some point in your life and learning how to cope and deal with rejection can be the difference between resilience and future success or unhappiness and becoming stagnant. Here are some common and effective ways to deal with rejection:

1.     Be aware of your response to rejection: 

        a)  Rejection can feel like a huge loss and a big disappointment mostly because you become emotionally attached to the possible outcome and      expectations. Therefore, when you are rejected you begin to feel offended and even taken advantage of because you have become attached to an expectation that was not given to you. When rejection is sudden and scary, some people develop the idea that the world is an evil and negative place and that the risk of rejection is not worth the leap of faith. When things do not go the way you expect for them to go,  you feel devastated, even powerless because of the loss of control.

         b)  When responding to rejection we may feel angry, disappointed, sad, embarrassed and vulnerable; but, remember these are common, natural emotional reactions to rejection. Allow yourself to feel these emotions for a little while, acknowledge these emotions and allow yourself to heal. Do not allow yourself to get overtaken by the emotions, but allow them to exist, and then encourage them to pass so that you can rejuvenate yourself and begin to hit the ground running. Sitting in the pain and discomfort is one of the most difficult things to do when we feel rejected. However, most people are so quick to just move on, give up, or give in without allowing themselves to "feel." After all, we are humans, so allow yourself a little time to experience these feelings and use them as a platform to perform, strive, and get better.

2.     Talk to people your trust

           a)  As mentioned earlier, most times people feel embarrassment, disappointment and even ashamed after being rejected. For example, when you are turned down for a job that you have been talking about for the past year to close friends and family, the first thing most people do is withdraw and isolate. Who needs further embarrassment? Who needs the stares, the “egg shell walkers” or the “I’m sorry” and “it’s their loss" speeches? Most people isolate as an unconscious way to protect themselves, however it is good to talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. Quality support systems help remind us how much good we have done and how many obstacles we have overcome. It is nice to have someone to vent to besides yourself and it is great to have someone who will just listen and maybe even give you great advice or help you figure out your next path. We NEED healthy support systems in our lives.

3.     Do not take it personal-They rejected what you had to offer, Not you.


         a) When rejection occurs, we immediately begin to do a full self-evaluation checklist. Did I say something wrong? Do I look incompetent? Am I not good enough? Whether it is rejection for a job opportunity or a university, the decision maker is not necessarily saying you as a person are not good enough or something is wrong with you and that is why they do not “want” you. They are just making a decision that while you may have few to most of the qualifications, they may be looking for something different then you are offering. When you take risks, it is like an interview or an audition. The people in charge usually have a standard or idea of the qualifications and skill sets they are looking for; and while you may have some, there may be another person who may be a better fit. For example,  if you have many shirts for a variety of occasions and if you are going to a dinner party, you decide to wear your silk blouse instead of your comfortable college t-shirt. You are not saying that the t-shirt is a failure, incompetent or that there is something wrong with it. You reason to yourself that this occasion calls for something specific and appropriate and at that time,

4. Do something for yourself, others, or both.

          a)  During these times, it helps to take a while to do something nice for yourself or others or both. Maybe you have wanted to paint your room, or try a new island recipe, or even clean your house. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but take some time out for yourself to occupy your hands and mind even if it’s just reading a book or magazine for a minute allow yourself to relax and focus on something more enjoyable. Rejection can become obsessive and really eat at you if you allow it to. It can cloud every judgment you have made, or make and it can discount all the great things you have accomplished if you allow it to fester and be on your mind. By taking time out to engage in activities with yourself or with others will put things in perspective. Helping others, even those less fortunate than you, helps you realize that there are more things that are far worse than what you are dealing with. You gain insight, resilience, and good feelings that you are taking time out to allow yourself to be committed to yourself or others if you choose. The message here is it does not matter how small the activity, it will do wonders for your attitude, belief system, and your mind.

5.  Move on

         a)  After you have had time to deal with rejection for a while, it is time to resist the easy road of giving up and get back into the boxing ring, we call life. No more complaining or self-pity it is time to reaffirm all the success you have accomplished and that you will accomplish. This is the step where you revamp yourself in a way that is fresh, energized, positive, and focused. It is easy to become stagnant, especially after multiple rejections, but eventually you will continue to thrive and things will fall right into place when the opportunity presents itself and you are prepared. This is a great time to rebrand yourself, rewrite your resume, study for a better greater success, develop a stronger skill set, and work hard in your position so that your supervisor sees how great of a worker you are. The point of this is to keep striving, to continue building, and putting your best foot forward. The worst thing that could possibly happen after doing this is that you are rejected; and if you think about it, rejection is not that bad when you know how to deal with it, get through it, and move on from it.

          b)  An important thing to remember is that rejection happens to everyone and it should be a wake-up call, not stop sign. As humans, we sometimes have the belief that if we do things by the “book” or give our all then everything we want will happen just the way we it expect it. The truth of the matter is you cannot control everything, and that is okay. All you can really control is continuing to grow and build from this experience.

Remember, we can’t control others but we can control ourselves. We have the power to choose how we react and/or respond to others. Holding on to anger and resentment will only hurt us. YOU have the power to CHOOSE…so, choose to LET GO and MOVE ON!

Authors: Jada Jackson – Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), M.S. and Breana Parker – University of Central Florida Graduate Intern

 

 

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7 Reasons You Are Having Trouble Climaxing | 7 Simple Solutions

Let’s be honest- climaxing can be difficult at times. If you are having trouble reaching your peak pleasure you are not alone. In fact, studies show that only 25 percent of women actually orgasm through sex alone. The majority of women require additional stimulation, like toys, fingers, or tongue, and some have never had an orgasm at all. 

While the female orgasm is still considered to be somewhat of a mystery, researchers have discovered a few reasons why some women aren’t climaxing. If you are having a hard time reaching orgasm either alone or with a partner, here are seven possible reasons why:

Reason #1: Rushing through the warm-up

This situation is pretty common, your partner is ready for the main event and you’re still getting warmed up. You don’t want to ruin the moment by being perceived as high-maintenance or selfish. Plus, many women feel self-conscious about lying there and receiving pleasure. But foreplay is a very important step that shouldn’t be skipped.

Sexologist Yvonne K. Fullbright explains, “Most women need about 20 minutes of arousal time to reach ‘orgasmic platform,’ when the clitoris is most sensitive and the body is primed for stimulation.”

Solution: Sex isn’t something that should be rushed, take your time and allow your mind to focus on the sensations. Let your partner know if you need longer. Sex is for the pleasure of both partners, 20 minutes may seem like a long time, but a good partner won’t mind and it will be worth every minute.

Reason #2: Tuning out

As many probably know, it’s easy to get distracted during sex. Everything from thinking about how your meeting at work went to if your stomach is jiggling, can take you right out of the moment. Losing focus is common, but once it happens reaching orgasm can seem almost impossible.

Georgia sexologist Gloria G Brame, Ph.D. states, “Your brain is a vital part of the sexual experience, registering sensations and releasing feel-good chemicals to the body.” Adding, “any mental distractions can spark conflicting, nonsexual impulses in the brain and lessen your pleasure.”

Solution: One way to ‘distract yourself from your distractions’ so to speak, is by rating the level of pleasure you’re feeling on a scale of 1-10. Guiding your focus back to your body and how the stimulation feels. Also, Fullbright suggests a concept called circular breathing, this is where you sync up your inhalations with your partner’s, putting the focus back on your body and each other.

Reason #3: Not enough water

For our tissue to works its magic it needs a consistent source of fluid to maintain lubrication and help things glide smoothly. Our bodies are made up of mostly fluid and if we are dehydrated it can make sex uncomfortable and reaching orgasm almost impossible.

Solution: Hydrate! Especially after drinking since alcohol dries out our bodies. Also, using lube during intercourse can help aid any discomfort.

Reason #4: Afraid to lose control

Having a healthy amount of control in our lives helps us feel safe and avoid some risky situations. But relying too heavily on control as a self-protecting defense mechanism can generalize into other areas of your life, like sex, and inhibit your ability to freely, sexually express yourself. It can be displayed in an overall fear of losing control or in more specific fears, like making noise or being afraid you’ll urinate if you let go.

Solution: Express yourself in ways that allow you to open up and use your creativity, such as dancing or writing. Self-arousal can also help to open you to those sensations. This can also be a sign of a deeper psychological concern, talking to a counselor or therapist may also be beneficial.

Reason #5: Your oxytocin levels are too low

Oxytocin is your “love” or “feel-good” hormone and is vital in producing orgasm and achieving climax. If you’re anxious or feel down and don’t want to participate in your normal activities, your oxytocin levels are likely to be low.

Solution: Engaging in intimacy, such as holding, kissing, and looking into your partners eyes have been proven to increase oxytocin. Also, if you have a furry friend, cuddling up to them has also been shown to boost your levels. Talking with your doctor about available supplements is also a good option.

Reason #6: You haven’t masturbated enough

Being able to achieve climax requires you to know your body and how to work it. Sexologist Betty Dodson, Ph.D. explains, “the most important aspect for any woman wanting to become more orgasmic is to explore her own body and discover what she likes, what feels good, and how to have orgasms alone before engaging in sex with a partner.”

Solution: Give yourself some needed alone time. Masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s the only way for you to be able to learn your body. Be patient and experiment to find what works for you. This is a great way to become more comfortable with the sensations and finally reach orgasm.

Reason #7: Your medication could be interfering

There are many medications that can cause sex to become uncomfortable or undesirable. Dr. Van Kirk suggests, “Typically, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and antidepressants are the main culprits.” He adds, “If a side effect of your drugs is a spike in your prolactin levels- a protein that reduces libido, this could be part of the problem”. Antihistamines can also reduce your ability to self lubricate and make sex uncomfortable.

Solution: Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms. Also, using lube before and during intercourse can help prevent pain and discomfort.

Reaching climax is something that can’t be rushed, pressured, or forced. If you’re having a hard time, change up your routine and practice these solutions.

Your orgasm awaits…

About the author:

Danielle James is a recent psychology graduate from the University of Central Florida. She has a passion for helping individuals identify and work through emotional and mental health concerns to provide a higher quality of life. Her goals include achieving her Psy.D in Clinical Psychology that allows for a deeper understanding of future clients and a more interactive perspective.

 

 

 

References:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/10/04/lets-talk-12-surprising-facts-about-sex-and-women/

http://www.womansday.com/relationships/sex-tips/advice/g1811/10-surprising-reasons-youre-not-reaching-orgasm/?slide=9

http://www.psychalive.org/7-factors-affecting-orgasm-in-women/

http://www.yourtango.com/2014239208/7-reasons-youre-not-having-orgasm-during-sex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What you should know before you date outside of your race | 3 Quick Tips

Diversity is one of the most beautiful things this world has to offer. Being around others different from you allows you to embrace yourself in a new culture, new food, new music and a new open-minded viewpoint on life. In a perfect world all interracial relationship would be viewed as an opportunity for humanity to grow into a well-rounded and accepting group. However, this is not a prefect world and differences in races are noticed. Therefore, the pleasures of dating someone outside of your race can be filled with bumps along the road. Here are three things to keep in mind when dating outside your race:

1)   You have not killed racism

In your eyes your partner may be the most loving, loyal and wonderful person you have ever encountered but not all of society will see things in this manner. You may have family members that disapprove, your friends may say racist things, you may get weird looks at the grocery store but it’s important to remain thick skinned in these situations. Be ready to communicate with your partner when they become uncomfortable if your friends and family say racial things even if they mean no harm. Be ready to stand up to your family and friends and help them understand your situation. Be ready to respond appropriately when people give you strange looks or ask inappropriate questions. It’s important to keep communication lines open with your partner and the rest of society.

2) Be open minded

It is never appropriate to stereotype different races, however it is important to acknowledge the differences. You will need to be open minded to differences in foods, music, holidays, and even religions. It is important to keep an open mind to things that may seem “strange” or “different” to you because you now have to focus on your partners happiness and comfort ability as much as your own. By choosing an interracial relationship you have decided to take the world on as a team despite your differences.

3)   Real love is more than skin deep

Yes, it is important to acknowledge that race is a factor in your relationship. It allows you to open the gates to communicate and appreciate your differences. However, it is also important to acknowledge all the things you have in common. There is a reason you selected this person despite all odds and when times get tough it is important to remember why you fell for this person. Real love is truly more than skin deep.

Don’t let society dictate your happiness. Yes, there will be challenges to dating interracially but true love conquers all.

AUTHOR: Danielle Hackett, Psychology Intern University of Central Florida

 

 

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How Men and Women View Sex Differently

Sex is appealing both physically and emotionally. Both men and women experience physically pleasing sensations while engaged in many sexual behaviors. Sex also brings a sense of connection between couples that brings them closer. Of course, every person is different. Not every man or woman view sex like all other men and women. It is important for partners to be open with each other, and share what is pleasing to them during sex and what is not. This is important for the partners’ sexual relationship and emotional relationship. Without this kind of communication, couples may experience frustration, misunderstandings, and pain in both their sexual and emotional relationships.

As previously stated, every individual has their own view and preferences regarding sex. However, typically in general, men and women view sex differently and enjoy it for different reasons. To begin, men view sex to be more physical and enjoy it for the physical pleasure they experience. This is also why they tend to prioritize sex over other events in the relationship compared to women. Women view sex as an activity to support the relationship and bring closeness emotionally. They may feel secure in their relationship while engaged in sex, they enjoy sex for the physical pleasures as well, but emphasize the emotional aspects more.

Men and woman also have different stimulations during sex that are appealing to both. Men appeal to sight, smell, and all stimulations are centered on the body. Women, on the other hand appeal to touch, attitudes, actions, and words. The stimulations they appeal to center on their partner. Everyone has needs they want met during sex. Men’s needs are generally respect, physical needs, and admiration. Women’s needs are generally understanding, love, emotional needs, and time. It is important that couples understand and do their best to meet these needs so both partners enjoy sex, and no misunderstandings occur.

There are also some physical differences between men and women. Both men and women experience orgasms but in slightly different ways. Men’s orgasms are shorter and more intense, while women's’ are longer and more in depth. Like other aspects of sex, orgasms are physically oriented for men and emotionally oriented for women. Lastly, it is possible for women to receive satisfaction with an orgasm. This is not possible for men, they do need an orgasm to receive satisfaction. With all of this information it is important for couples to remember this:

1.  Communication – is necessary for couples to bridge the gender gap. Men and women communicate differently and understand differently. To communicate with your partner more effectively, each of you should create a sexual expectation list and have a conversation surrounding your needs. Remember, your needs must be attainable and non-threatening. Intimacy is designed to support the relationship and bring a couple closer. It should not be a tool to hurt or control another person.

2.  Priorities – As stated in the article, sexual priorities are different for each individual. With that said, it is important to understand both your priorities and your partner’s priorities intimately. The only way to do this is to have a conversation. Communicating one’s expectations and setting healthy priorities will assist in preventing additional frustration during intimacy.

3.  Openness – Having opening discussions about difficult topics can be challenging. This challenge can be overcome. The ability to become vulnerable with your partner begins with understanding yourself first. Ask yourself, “What are my fears?” “What do I need from my partner?” “Are my expectations reasonable?” “What am I willing to give or invest in this process?” Remember, do your own work first, before expecting your partner to do the work for you.

Of course, men and women view sex differently; but, that’s okay! When we take the time to understand each other and give to each other unselfishly, we can enjoy healthy intimate relationships void of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and frustration.

 

Author: Nicole Perez - Psychology Intern (University of Central Florida)

Author: Dr. Jada Jackson LMHC, LPC, NCC

 

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Dallas Shooting: Fear, Chaos, and Tears

According to NBCDFW.com, “Three officers are dead, and at least seven others are injured in downtown Dallas Thursday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown says.”

Complete chaos erupted in Dallas just 30 hours after two black men were shot by police officers in two separate cities. During a peaceful protest, police were violently attacked by shooters that appear to have taken advantage of the gathering.

As a licensed mental health counselor, it is my job to remain objective. I do not know why violence continues to explode within our communities nationwide, but I do know that hatred only leads to chaos and death.

How can we make sense of senseless acts? How can victim’s families walk into their futures without the people they love. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, fear, and anger.

When a shocking event like this happens it can shake our sense of security and evoke a feeling of being unsafe. These feelings are completely normal, but it’s important to know how to handle them.

1.     Understand everyone responds differently. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to respond. It’s important to acknowledge your emotions and tell yourself what you’re feeling is OK.

2.     Talk with your loved ones. It is important to process your emotions instead of letting them build up. Be sure to take the time to talk with a loved one about your fears, your thoughts, and your mindset regarding today’s attacks. Also, be sure to ask your loved ones their thoughts and emotions. This allows you to process emotions and grieve in a healthy manner as well as realize you are not alone in your fears and reservations for the future.

3.     Limit media exposure. When a major tragedy like this strikes, it is reported on every media outlet and the topic of many conversations. While being aware of this event is important, repetitious thinking of fearful experiences can overwhelm your nervous system and make it harder to think clearly. Yes, it is important to know what is going on in the world around you and keep updates on how your fellow citizens are doing, however, do not let the media saturate your life. Be sure to get off Facebook, and turn off the news and do something you love like reading a good book, and going for a walk. By doing this you will not let your brain become obsessed with the matter and in turn raise your anxiety levels to an unhealthy level.

4.     Connect with your community. The shooting caused feelings of shock and grief to be felt across the nation. However, we as a community still have to move forward. Reach out to your loved ones and neighbors, or organize an activity for your community that can provide a forum for support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with managing emotions after shocking events of shootings and/or mass killings, please contact a therapist near you.

 

Authors: Dr. Jada Jackson, Danielle James, Danielle Hackett

 

 

 

 

 

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The Evolution of Swimsuits: Summer Fun & Beauty

School is out and it is officially summer break time for most of us! Along with that, especially here in Florida, comes many days of lounging by the pool, trips to the beach, and backyard barbeques with friends. It’s swimsuit season. While searching for the right swimsuit this year, I thought about the way fashion in swimwear has dramatically changed over the years, with one constant trend—show more.

Years ago when the first bathing suits appeared, they were an alternative to daily clothing, but something that could get wet because of its permitting material. The suits were obviously more revealing than wearing pants and a shirt, naturally, but not by much. The goal clearly was not to show off what you’ve got or be sexy.

 

In 1910 this was the fashion. Harper’s Bazaar wrote, “Bathing suits are famous for their perfect fit…” This was the beauty standard: curves and accentuating one’s real figure.

Above is a perfect visual of the way things have been changing over the last couple of centuries. What started as a way of being confortable in the water without ruining clothes has turned into a competition of showing off your body—as much of it as possible.

                          1930s     

 

 

The first bikini was donned in 1946 after Louis Reard and Jacques Heim introduced it in Paris. Otherwise, the 1940s were famous for the halter-top bating suits with the form fitting corset-style. They were more revealing than the popular backless one-pieces of the 1930s; gradually showing more skin as the decades passed.

 

                              

 

 

       

                                                                                                   1940s

                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

        

 

 

           One of the first bikinis to debut

 

 

 

Even though this is a bikini, back then it still covered quite a bit more than the modern bikinis do today. The bottoms go up a bit higher than her natural waistline, and the top is covering her breasts.

 

 

 

 

 

In the 50s, one-pieces were still the most popular choice, but now women were beginning to prefer showing more skin with the two-pieces.  On the left is an example of what one may call a tankini today: the shorts are modest and the top is quite conservative going by today’s standards. During this time, bikinis or two-pieces were chosen mainly because they allowed women to feel confident and attractive, revealing a new standard of sexy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1960s were really a turning point in swimsuit history. Modesty was no longer the default choice, and showing the majority of one’s body was the way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 70s and 80s were fraught with high-waisted or high cut bottoms—a trend we are experiencing again now! The vintage look of the 50s, with the corset, formfitting suits, is also back in mainstream fashion today. I absolutely love these looks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast forward a couple decades and here we are:

  Most of the fashion blogs, the runway shows, and all of the models we see are no less covered up than when wearing just undergarments. I think it’s interesting to note that along with the progression of time, there has been an obvious progression of women’s fashion toward showing more of your body to be considered sexy or in-keep with the day’s fashions.

I love finding pieces that are unique, which go against the grain, shall we say. I’m happy to see a popular interest in these suits as well. It just proves that being beautiful or sexy doesn’t have to equate with tiny bikinis.

Women shouldn’t have to feel obligated to show everything off just to fit in with the year’s trends. Swimsuit season shouldn’t be a stressful time spent worrying about whether one’s body will be good enough for a barely covering bikini.

I’m all for embracing your body and loving who you are; don’t embrace the all too popular mindset that beauty is showing off as much as you can, just because the world may tell you so.

 

About the Author:

Emily is a dual-degree seeking student in psychology and communication disorders, with minors in biomedical sciences and nonprofit management. Emily plans on getting her master’s degree in neuroscience then going to medical school. Emily wants to become a doctor of neurology, specializing in disorders affecting communication.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://blog.lulus.com/fashion/fashion-era-the-evolution-of-swimsuits-over-the-years/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bikini

 

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