Brain Retraining: Change is Possible

As a parent, I get the opportunity to watch a lot of cartoons, so many of my analogies and thought processes are inspired by Disney and Nick Jr. For example, during the movie Frozen, Princess Anna and the trolls confidently declare “people really don’t change.” 

This song shares a sentiment embraced by many clients in the counseling process. I’ve often heard them say, “I can’t change, so why bother.” I can understand where they are coming from. Many have read books, created New Year’s resolutions and gone up for prayer. But the problem remains, leaving them feeling exhausted, desperate, and in many cases, hopeless.

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Melissa Clark
The Grit Factor

What goals are you stuck in or have stopped pursuing?

Is it because you don’t feel smart enough, good enough, or something along those lines? Good news - You don’t have to be the smartest in the room.  But, you do have to show up and keep showing up.

Even when things seem hard, even when they feel impossible.  Keep going.  Don't Stop. You don't have to take a giant step, one little step at a time gets you closer and closer. Paul says it like this, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and hope.”


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Melissa Clark
Children and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Mental health continues to be a taboo subject for many.  Because of shame and the stigma, too many individuals don't seek out the help they need. 

Adults aren't the only ones to struggle with mental health...so do children.

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Melissa Clark
Practice Makes Perfect?

Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” From sports to music, this mantra is continually being used as a means of motivation. Recently, I started poking around at the phrase questioning its power of inspiration.

What if practice doesn’t make perfect?  Think about, what is perfect? NO SLIP UPS. How is this even possible? 

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Melissa Clark
Cultivating Community

Today’s society prides individuals for their independence.  "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is a mantra for many.  Like Frank Sinatra they belt out, “I did it my way.”  But is independence a quality to seek out and celebrate?

One of the first things God said to Adam is that it's not good for man to be alone.  Humankind was designed to be in relationship with others. We are truly better when we are together. 

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Melissa Clark
Priming Your Day

The neocortex essentially covers your brain. Like many other parts of your highly interconnected brain, it holds a variety of jobs. For instance, the neocortex assists with the priming process.

Priming refers to your brain’s sensitivity to your environment as a result of having experienced prior events. In other words, your brain is subconsciously primed by what happens all around you, every day. Just as what you believe and how you believe conditions your brain, how you start your day impacts every event that follows.

Priming trains your brain to focus on what matters.

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Melissa Clark
5 Ways to Fight Distractions and Get Stuff Done

If you’re like most individuals, you grapple with how to shoo away daily distractions in order to get your stuff done. In fact, according to Psychology Today, “20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.”This means one-fifth of people struggle to get their stuff done.

What about you? What’s your daily task you put off? Is it a big report, preparing for a presentation, or even small, necessary things like getting to the grocery store?

 

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Melissa Clark
Organic Relationships

Every year Americans spend billions of dollars buying organic produce and foods.  The promise of the manufactures is a product free from pesticides, hormones, and toxins.  We pay a premium to eat “clean” foods.

By definition, organic means naturally occurring, derived from living matter. Organic food is treated differently than non-organic food. Not only is it free of toxins but it also does not contain anything man-made…it's natural.

We eat organically because who wants to eat pesticides and cancer-giving toxins?  Not me.

Every year Americans spend billions of dollars buying organic produce and foods.  The promise of the manufactures is a product free from pesticides, hormones, and toxins.  We pay a premium to eat “clean” foods.

 

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Melissa Clark
Self Care: Journaling
  1. Journaling helps you to process emotions.  You guys know I’m a counselor, right?  Processing emotions help to “clean out the refrigerator” of what’s happened in your life.  Just like the fridge, if you shove things to the back and try to forget about them, it turns into a science project (ahem…again, speaking from experience).  Dealing with emotions is messy but if you process often and frequently it’s usually a quicker, easier process.
  2. Journaling brings perspective – I love sitting down from time to time and looking at glimpses of my past.  Sure, it's  "cringe worthy" at times.  But, overall I can see why I was struggling and often see a resolution.  In our everyday lives, we are often too close to the picture.  Journaling helps you to take a step back and see things from a different perspective.
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Melissa Clark
New Year, New You?

How many times have you heard this phrase at the beginning of the year? “New Year…New You” Typically said by marketing campaigns' intent on selling you products.  Products promising to “fix” your problems, namely looking younger, thinner, and happier.

What if you didn’t need to be a new you, what if you simply needed to be yourself? With some minor adjustments.

Think about this: making tiny tweaks can produce significant changes. What happens at 211 degrees to a pot of water? It's just really hot water.  Turn up the heat one degree more and you have boiling water. Boiling water creates steam.  The power of steam is harnessed into energy.  One little degree makes the difference.

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Melissa Clark