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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!!


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.



Reverse PsychologyIt’s becoming increasingly popular to look for a therapist on the Internet. But how can you tell if a therapist is any good by reading their bio or looking at their picture? What are important things to look for?

Here are some important tips to help you find the perfect therapist. Keep in mind that research tells us that it is a therapist’s ability to build a genuine, trusting and meaningful relationship that is most likely to lead to client satisfaction. It has less to do with their training, orientation, or degree level.

Easy Steps

1. Use the therapist finders on the left hand column to locate therapists in your area. Keep in mind that if you go weekly, you’ll want your therapist to be close to your home or work.

2. Limit the list to things that are must haves: gender, age, rate and availability, insurance coverage.

3. Make a short list of at least five therapists and call them. How do they sound on their outgoing message? Do they return your call promptly? Do you feel comfortable with them on the phone? Ask them questions about their practice, how long they’ve been practicing, do they specialize in anything? Give them an idea of what you would be coming for and ask for their input.

4. Set up introductory sessions with at least three therapists. During these sessions see how you feel. Are you comfortable, is this the kind of person you can see yourself spilling your guts with, do you feel respected and important? A good therapist will make you feel heard, understood and hopeful in that first session. If you aren’t feeling this right away, move on!

5. Sleep on it. We tend to make good, solid decisions after a good night’s sleep. Pick your therapist and make your first appointment!

And that’s it! While it’s not always necessary to be this exhaustive, this is a sure fire way to find the therapist that is most likely to meet your needs. Just keep in mind that the key ingredient is your comfort level. If you don’t feel safe right away, chances are you won’t, and looking for someone that does can save you a lot of time, and money!

Good luck, and feel free to call or email if you need help or referrals.

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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