When we find ourselves stressed, angry, anxious, or depressed we often feel ungrounded, like a ship without an anchor. Overwhelmed by the what if’s of the future or stuck in the what happened of the past, being ungrounded makes it difficult to act from a calm, rational perspective. 

Sometimes being ungrounded makes us react poorly to situations, often escalating the difficult emotions that ungrounded us in the first place. For many, being ungrounded can be overwhelming. For some, it simply feels like being spaced out, disconnected, or not really present.

When I think of being ungrounded, I think of my kids in a candy store: frenetically driven by powerful emotions, overwhelmed by all the options, pulled in too many directions at once, reacting thoughtlessly rather than mindfully responding. Unlike the candy store, however, the stressors that typically leave us ungrounded are anything but fun. 

Grounding puts you, rather than your emotions, back in the driver’s seat. Grounding helps us to stay in the here and now, so we can interact effectively with the present. Grounding also helps us heal from the past and prepare for the future.

Here’s a simple grounding technique that’s handy to have at your disposal. You can use it in a room full of people and they probably won’t even notice. There are three parts to it: Breathe, Touch, and Move...

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I have to admit. I rarely find the portrayal of therapists in movies and television very flattering, let alone accurate. Too often, counselors are depicted as either cold and insensitive or full of cheesy cliches. In comedies I do find them pretty funny, but I sometimes wonder why anyone would seek out therapy based on some of these media portrayals. 

My wife and I recently saw the movie, “I Smile Back” starring Sarah Silverman as a drug-addicted mother. And actually, the therapist in the movie - played by Terry Kinney - wasn’t half bad. The movie itself was quite a downer and I wouldn’t consider this a wholehearted recommendation. But there was one line in the movie that stuck with me.

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When a couple goes through a significant crisis, such as one partner having an affair or even struggling with an addiction, the breach of trust in the relationship can be devastating. Trying to pick up the pieces and heal the marriage, you can often feel paralyzed by the doubt or distrust created in the aftermath of your partner's (or even your own) actions. However, what many couples don't realize is that doubt needn't only be seen as an obstacle, but can be transformed into an essential part of the recovery process.

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This three-letter word, so small yet so powerful, is among those most often expressed in my counseling office. This little word comes in many forms. Why did this happen to me? Why is he like that? Why did she do that? Why won’t he change? Why can’t I change? Why am I addicted to this?

What do we do with the Why questions? Here are some ideas that I find myself returning to in many of my counseling conversations...

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Divorce is never painless and is rarely a simple process. The practical and emotional difficulties faced, however, are compounded when there are children involved. Parenting after a divorce can be described as trying to share what you treasure most with someone you no longer want to share anything with at all. Having worked with countless parents during and after divorce, I have great respect for the courage it takes to make decisions taking into account their children's needs as well as their own.

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Children, just like any other human beings, are often self-determining, self-willed, even self-ish. According to child development theory, this self-centeredness is normal, appropriate, and hard-wired until midway through the school-age years.

As parents who want to raise kids who care about others and the world around them - or who simply behave and do what they're told - this can unfortunately lead to expending a lot of energy trying to convince them to listen or do what we say. 

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