Tag Archives: Counseling

Healthy habits for the New Year; pt. 1: Routine

Many people approach the New Year in a frenzy of goals and promises.  This is actually an unhealthy approach to change.  Take diet for example, if a person approaches “diet” in a frenzied state, making promises to themselves and others, they are setting themselves up for failure.

Any new goal should be approached in a balanced way.  I say that because even though this series is entitled “healthy habits,” if they are approached haphazardly, or even with an overabundance of enthusiasm, they are more likely to fail.  Also when I speak of health, I speak of the health of the whole human; body, mind, and soul.  Any or all of these suggestions should be approached in a balanced way, not to be seen as a set of rules that “must” be followed; humans don’t tend to do well with orders, even positive ones.

So, with that being said, the first “habit” is a bit redundant, it is “routine.”  This doesn’t mean you need to plot and plan every minute of every day, but rather it should be a framework.  Later I’ll specifically talk of sleep patterns, but every daily routine should begin with a plan of when to go to sleep and when to wake up.  This routine isn’t just a workday routine, but a routine that should be followed on weekends and holidays too.  In a later article, I’ll write about how waking early in the day is a way to get ahead, and be more successful at whatever you set out to do.

For now, you need to set a time to rise and a time to go to bed.  You also need to schedule time to eat during the day and try to stick as close to that schedule as possible.  These things help to regulate your body, which functions better with routine.  It’s the same with medication; in short, anything that will have an effect on your body and its metabolism should be a part of your routine, for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Establish “mini-routines” for the most important parts of your day.  When you rise, have a routine to kick off your day.  For example, an easy exercise (walking, yoga, etc…) or simple stretching routine, quiet time, a time for prayer and/or bible study/praise and worship, and then breakfast.  Then the steps you go through to make yourself presentable to the day; shower, brush your teeth, etc…  When you go to bed, the same thing (will blog about specific bed routines later).

One important routine to establish is a goal routine; you set specific goals in the morning, and review them at night.  Obviously this includes a lot of honesty.  If you failed to reach a goal, why did you fail?  Did you set too big of a goal, did you squander your time, did something else come up?  This is where you must watch for defense mechanisms, like rationalization.  Rationalization is where you basically fool yourself into believing an excuse instead of the real problem.  The truth is, many of us are lazy and just don’t want to do certain things, but routine and schedule will help to develop a level of discipline that will help get things done.

Figure out what else is important to you such as exercise, reading, gardening, etc… and make sure to set aside time for them as well.  There will be certain things you are willing to sacrifice in a day for the sake of already scheduled events, and somethings you make a priority.

Kids and pets thrive on routine, so they will thank you too.  What if you don’t have kids or pets?  You have friends or a boss, or a spouse, or co-workers who will also thank you, because you’ll be in a better mood and be better functioning.  One last point about routine; it is obvious but the routine you establish should be positive, if you establish a negative routine, you will reap the opposite results (for example, if going to bed at different times all week is your routine, that is going to have ill effects on your physical, mental and emotional state).

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Filed under Health, Of Interest, Philosophy, Prayer, Psychology

Confess your faults one to another…

Don’t get excited…I’m not planning on doing that in this article, so all you people who’d love get some dirt on me, just settle down. 😉  What I want to do is take this passage from James and flip the focus of it a bit.

At one of the churches I attend, the pastors have been teaching on “the one-anothers,” which I would like to go more into in future article (all the scriptures that exhort us to love one another, prefer one another, support one another, etc… look them up, there are a lot).  The sermon today was about accountability and how it isn’t limited to a list of sins we have committed that we have to sit down and confess to some priest.  That is the fist part I’d like to point out in this passage, we are to talk to one another, back and forth, between fellow believers about our struggles and successes, not to some person who is set apart from us.  Every believer is a priest in Christ, and we are all called to be an ear to our brothers and sisters.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The focus of sermons on this passage tend to zero in on the “confessee,” the one doing the confessing.  Today’s sermon was no different, and it was a good one.  However, I’d like to switch the focus to the “confessor,” the one listening.  I am a licensed counselor and I can tell you the important stuff that we “learn” as we move toward licensure is already available to everyone…in the Bible.  Listen to one another, love one another, weep when your brother or sister weeps, REJOICE when they rejoice, pray for each other (NOT in the way that ‘I’ll pray for you‘ gets better translated into, ‘I think you are a piece of dirt, so I’ll “pray” for you.‘  But, real genuine prayer)…

The attitude of the confessor is just as important, or perhaps even more so, as that of the confessee.  The person listening to another person’s problems should be mindful of the situation, of the respect and trust it takes for one human being to confide in another.  If you should be so honored with someone’s confession, as a brother or sister in Christ, give the other person the respect of at least really listening to what they say. Don’t think that you have to solve their problem, but do really listen to what they have to say.

Give a crap.  There’s a novel idea.  Think on that.

Half of helping a person bear their burden is simply to listen to what they are going through, and let them know that they are not alone.  Most people don’t need a sermon preached to them while they are going through tough times, save the platitudes, but a word of empathy and encouragement will not be out of place.  Pray for the person, if they like that kind of thing pray with them, but you can even pray for them when you are alone.  If you are hesitant about the “righteous man” part of that passage, don’t worry; as long as you are in Christ, you are righteous because of the righteousness you’ve been given, not because of your own works.

People in today’s society are used to superficial social interaction.  A sort of hit-and-run approach to listening to someone else.  Our own minds go in a thousand different directions at once.  You want to know the key to being a good confessor?  Listening.  Hearing and absorbing what the other person is really saying.  We are also told not to be judgmental.  If someone is telling you about something they’ve done wrong, it isn’t up to us to judge them; how arrogant.  We believers are all one family, we are all part of the body of Christ, and there is no room for arrogance and feelings of superiority.

My thought for the day can be summed up thus; LISTEN to one another.  (I dunno…I kind of like the “Give a crap” line from before…)

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Musings