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10 Tips for Navigating Family Stress during the Holidays

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It’s Lent so Fast…or Slow!
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   



Lent is in full swing, a time for penance, almsgiving and fasting, but it occurs to me in this fast paced and chaotic world we’re living in that a more appropriate “fast” could be to go “slow”.

Jesus said, “Unless you become as little children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. Let’s think about that. What is the essence of childhood? Wonder! Children by their nature are present to all that’s good, beautiful and true around them. They’re not so “busy” as we adults are. I think the single greatest source of emotional dysfunction and stress today is our inability to simply “be”- to be present to the goodness around us and especially to the goodness in the people around us. Not only do we each lose out, but it’s caused a virtual epidemic of emotional suffering in our society.

Dr. Conrad Baars, the eminent Catholic psychiatrist, wrote extensively on the basic human need we all have for authentic affirmation. And when we talk about “affirmation”, please don’t confuse it with positive affirming statements we may use to bolster our self esteem. Sure, they have their place, but the affirmation that Dr. Baars talked about is something much deeper, more fundamental and more powerful.


Read more: It’s Lent so Fast…or Slow!  [It’s Lent so Fast…or Slow!]



Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times
Written by Gloria Lange, RN, LCSW   


rosary-on-bible morgue-file jclk8888Eight spiritual steps toward increasing your trust in God when going through tough times, and overcoming adversity with the Spirit of God.

Step 1: Turn to God

Realize that you don’t have what it takes in your own strength to overcome adversity. It is not by your own strength or power, but by the Spirit of God that we will overcome our difficulties. Turn to Jesus. Don’t shut down, don’t freak out, and don’t isolate yourself from those who can help you. Turn to Jesus.

He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

If you have sinned, go to confession and turn back to Jesus. We overcome adversity by allowing God to go before us. God is the fighter of our battles. He never expects you to fight the battles alone. He knows that you need the power of His Spirit. He has promised us His spirit to be with us until the end of time. Trust God and allow Him to work His timing in your life, because God has a plan and purpose for all things (Romans 8:25). Jesus defeated death with the cross. He defeated adversity before you and I ever had to face it in our lives. We need to have faith in the Lord, in His word, and live His word in our life. Have faith in what He has told us to do through Scripture.


Read more: Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times  [Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times]



“I Want to Forgive But I Still Have Pain.”
Written by Natalie Lane Eden, MBA, MA, LPC   



This phrase frequently comes up during the course of counseling.

Many have injuries from past and even current relationships that continue to cause pain thus hindering advancement to fuller productive lives. The desire to move on is present but former feelings of being hurt, mistreated, ignored, and/or neglected keep cropping up causing re-injury. The desire to eliminate these sensations and memories is strong but for some reason there is an inability to move on. Efforts to “stuff it down” and “forget about it” just don’t seem to work. Exasperated, they conclude that they are unforgiving simply based on the remaining sensation of pain and recurring memories.

The feelings can snowball by adding layer upon layer of frustration, guilt, and anger.



Read more: “I Want to Forgive But I Still Have Pain.”  [“I Want to Forgive But I Still Have Pain.”]



Overcoming Shame and Regret
Written by Dana Mayeux Nygaard   


dana-nygaardShame is absolutely shameless. It does not care that it debilitates us emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. Guilt lets us know when we have done something erroneous, whereas shame tries to trick us into believing we are fundamentally flawed. So flawed that we do not feel worthy of love. Shame colors not only our interactions with ourselves and others, but with God. Shame endeavors to shine a light on our flaws and to have us believe we are less than God’s children because of our failings. Our minds become inundated with self-ridicule and we become blinded by imaginings of imminent failings.


The following shame-based statements come from Letting Go of Shame by Ronald and Patricia Potter-Efron.

• I am defective (damaged, broken, a mistake, flawed).
• I am dirty (ugly, unclean, impure, filthy, disgusting).
• I am incompetent (not good enough, inept, ineffectual, useless).
• I am unwanted (unloved, unappreciated, uncherished).
• I am weak (small, impotent, puny, feeble).
• I am bad (awful, dreaded, evil, despicable).
• I am pitiful (contemptible, miserable, insignificant).
• I am nothing (worthless, invisible, unnoticed, empty).


Read more: Overcoming Shame and Regret  [Overcoming Shame and Regret]

ct angel"When Jesus saw the vast crowd His heart was moved with pity, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things."
Mark 6:34