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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all enjoy your time with friends and family, and get your share of wonderful food and good company. Here are 10 things to do to make your holiday even more enjoyable!!

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1. Wake up each morning and smile! Let that be the very first thing you do, before you read your email, or wake the kids. Smile. Make the start of your day a positive one.

2. Drink lots of water! Make sure you drink about 1 liter of water for every 50 pounds of body weight. This will help you feel good, and will aid your body in digesting all the food it isn’t used to!

3. Get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise each day. It can be walking, running. I dare you to skip around the neighborhood!!!

4. Returning home, or spending time with family, can be a real treat. It can also bring up old difficult feelings. Remember to breathe, let things go, protect yourself energetically by imagining a shield or bubble of golden light surrounding you. And remember that the fastest way to dissolve conflict is with love and light. It’s easy to fight and blame, but more rewarding to find compassion, for yourself and your family.

5. Meditate! Take just 10-20 minutes, sit, follow your exhale, notice when you get distracted, label that “thinking” with compassion for yourself, and return to your exhale. Remember, the goal of meditation is not an empty mind, that is a side-effect. The goal is to get distracted, notice you are distracted, and return to your breath.

6. Really be thankful this year! Truly, seriously, what are you thankful for. In our family, we have a tradition of going around the dinner table on this holiday, and we each take a turn sharing what we are thankful for. I can never get through it without crying! It’s a wonderful tradition for us!

7. Do something active on Thanksgiving. Try taking the family on a walk, or a nearby hike, play some football! Get everyone out of the house, do something physical. Move your bodies. We know one family in our circle of friends who spend 30 minutes each Thanksgiving doing yoga together!! What a wonderful idea!2009 christmas doggies 007

8. Be careful with your animals! During the holidays, animals can get distressed. Their routine changes, suddenly the house is filled with other people, and sometimes they get these new and exciting food opportunities. Keep things as calm for them as possible, keep their exercise and eating routines the same. Remind your guests to not feed them extra food.

9. Do what makes you happy! If you notice that you are often left at the end of a holiday feeling empty, sad, unfulfilled, please make sure you get to do, say, feel, what you want to. Don’t spend the entire time pleasing everyone else.

10. Make the holiday spiritual. Thanksgiving is a time when we are grateful for the bounty of our lives, of the Earth. Celebrate friends, family, animals, nature, plants, the universe! Make a ritual with your family. On our Thanksgiving day hike, we like to do a ritual where we honor and celebrate the four directions and the four elements. Find a way to bring a spiritual element into your celebration!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

Chris Tickner, MFT (at Tree of Life Healing) is a Pasadena psychotherapistchild therapist, and clinical supervisor practicing holistic psychotherapy, combining mindfulness psychotherapysomatic psychotherapyneuroscience, and good old fashion humor and compassion to form a powerful treatment that is transformative and holistic. At Tree of Life Healing, Pasadena’s Holistic and Alternative Healing Resource, we provide an array of treatment approaches including Somatic Psychology, Jungian Psychotherapy, group therapyHakomi PsychotherapyReiki Energy TherapyShamanic Healing,Intuitive Counseling, and more.

 

Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Help-Seeking

Background: At least 1 in 6 men in the United States experience sexual abuse prior to the age of 18, and the painful impact of that abuse can be devastating and long-lasting. Yet many men remain silent for decades before talking about the abuse, and even fewer seek professional help. This research project will help us understand why male survivors tend to stay away from therapy and counseling, and will help the psychology community design more appropriate and effective ways to reach out and help.

Who: Seeking men between the ages of 25-75 , who experienced sexual abuse in childhood, who feel that the abuse has had some negative impact on their lives, and who have never sought therapy or counseling specifically focusing on the abuse, to take part in interviews about the experience of seeking help. You will not be asked to talk about the details of the abuse and your identity will be held in the strictest confidence.

Contact: If you are interested, please contact Chris Tickner at 818-568-6982 or cticksoma@gmail.com to set up an initial 20 minute screening phone call, or click here for more information. Also please feel free to share this link with friends and family, on Facebook, etc.

Resources: If you are looking for resources and referrals, particularly in the Los Angeles area, please go here.

Yesterday I had an wonderful opportunity to sit in on the kick off of Center Theatre Group’s year-long Writer’s Workshop. Several prominent playwrights are invited each year to develop new material for the theatre, and I was honored to be asked by playwright Henry Ong to be a topic expert on male sexual abuse and rape. The Writer’s Salon at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City included myself, another expert, several playwrights and theatre professionals.

I was able share important statistics about male sexual abuse, dispelled the numerous myths, and hopefully helped bring awareness to this important topic. As some of you might know, I have a background in theatre myself, including my BA degree from Indiana University and several years as an actor in Chicago. What a thrill to have my two worlds come together in such a meaningful way!

Chris Tickner, MFT (at Tree of Life Healing) is a Pasadena psychotherapistchild therapist, and clinical supervisor practicing holistic psychotherapy, combining mindfulness psychotherapysomatic psychotherapyneuroscience, and good old fashion humor and compassion to form a a powerful treatment that is transformative and holistic. At Tree of Life Healing, Pasadena’s Holistic and Alternative Healing Resource, we provide an array of treatment approaches including Somatic Psychology, Jungian Psychotherapy, group therapyHakomi PsychotherapyReiki Energy TherapyShamanic Healing,Intuitive Counseling, and more.

And breathe 2, 3, 4…

breathing

In this, the third of a four-part series on stress reduction, we will focus on treating the cause of stress.

 

Remember that stress is an automatic response to a perceived threat. This perception is based on our previous life experience. If we had an encounter with an aggressive dog as a child, for example, we might still be afraid of dogs as an adult.

 

 In order to reduce stress, therefore, we must find a way to change our perceptions. This requires mindfulness, the ability to be clear and present in a given moment, free from judgment, criticism or intense emotions. When we develop this ability, we find that we become intimately aware of our own perceptions and thoughts. For example, as an adult we can become aware that our fear of dogs is from our childhood, and certainly should not rule our lives as adults. Once we understand this, we can change our lives. Maybe we might discover we love dogs. Replace this dog example with any stressful situation in your life. You have the power to change the way you react. This power is mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can be cultivated in many ways including meditation, yoga, exercise, and spiritual practice. Try the following brief introduction to meditation.

 

Sit comfortably, or lie down. Start to notice your breath. There is no need to do or change anything. Just keep your attention on your breath. Eventually, a thought will come. When you notice you are thinking, don’t judge it, don’t indulge it. Just note it, and gently return your awareness to your breath. Do this for several minutes.

 

Cultivating mindfulness is not relaxation! It requires energy and discipline. It takes courage and intention to be open to knowing ourselves on such an intimate level. Research shows that mindfulness reduces stress, increases compassion for self and others, and promotes feelings of peacefulness and improved self-esteem. All of this leads to a more relaxed way of life.

 

Chris Tickner is a Pasadena psychotherapist, child therapist, and clinical supervisor practicing holistic psychotherapy, where he combines mindfulness psychotherapy,  somatic therapy, neuroscience, and good old fasion humor and compassion to form a a powerful treatment that is transformative and holistic.  There are thousands of California psychotherapists, and finding a counselor or finding a therapist can be daunting. On his website, Chris provides a primer to help you find the therapist that is perfect for you! Chris is also a Pasadena therapist specializing in anxiety psychotherapy and depression psychotherapy

 

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