By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

It’s so hard to be your best when you’re stressed! Hard to focus, hard to see the big picture, and really hard to be productive. Productivity isn’t just about time management and work–it’s also about having fun, time with family and time to pursue your dreams.

Here are 5 Easy Tips To Be Happier and More Productive that I often share with my clients.

1. The “Top 3 Priorities” Rule: Throw out to-do lists that are miles long! They will just create anxiety and leave you feeling like a failure when you fail to cross everything off the list. Instead, make a list everyday of your Top 3 Priorities–the 3 most important things for you to accomplish that day. The 3 things that move you closer to your work or life goals. Then make sure you do those three things!

Side note–it’s also wise to have a list of your Top 3 Priorities for life in general!

2. Be 10 Minutes Early for All Meetings: Make it a habit to plan on arriving 10 minutes early for all of your meetings or appointments. If you encounter a delay, you will still be on time. If you arrive early use the extra time wisely–pray, meditate, send a note to a friend or loved one, or even write your Top 3 Priorities for the next day!

3. Delegate: One of my favorite sayings is “Only do what only you can do!“. Find one task at home or work that you can delegate to someone else. You don’t have to do everything yourself! Sometimes when we fail to delegate, we rob others of the opportunity to serve, grow or learn.

4. Take a 5 Minute Fun Break When Feeling Stressed: If you find yourself on the verge of getting stressed out, then take 5 minutes to do something fun like play with your pet, watch a funny video on Youtube (only 5 minutes! Be careful–Youtube is where time goes to die!), go for a walk, or do some deep breathing. The point is that your mind-shift will get you back on track and give you a productivity boost.

5. Manage Your Transitions: When you have short gaps of time between meetings and tasks avoid distractions that have no payoff. Instead of wasting time on social media, keep a list of 15 minute or less “filler tasks” (like online banking, returning emails, etc.) and get something done instead!

Challenge: pick one of the above and implement it tomorrow!

You do not have to do all 5 tips right away, but doing at least some of the tips will lead to increased happiness and productivity. You may also find that it’s easier for you to leave your work at work and enjoy more of your home life!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Email me at randy@randymoraitis.com to share your thoughts or for info on counseling or coaching. Find me on the web at www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)
Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

Here are the Top 5 Wisdom on the Way Blog Posts of 2014

What was your favorite blog post of 2014?  I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org.

Websites:
www.carepossible.org
www.thecrossing.com
www.randymoraitis.com

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CPC

Mindfulness is a hot topic today in both psychology and medicine. According to Psychology Today, mindfulness “is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

I first became mindful of mindfulness (sorry, I couldn’t resist the bad pun) several years ago while spending time with a friend who is a double board certified physician (family medicine and addictionology).

My friend was passionately extoling the virtues of mindfulness meditation in treating addiction, anxiety, depression, and more. As a pastor I was leery of the eastern mysticism baggage attached to my idea of mindfulness, but intrigued by the potential for healing. So I decided to do some research.

What I learned was both surprising and interesting. After Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin included a mindfulness treatment protocol (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts for chronic pain, research on mindfulness meditation exploded and today most major medical schools have a mindfulness center as part of their school or hospital.

As my physician friend told me, mindfulness as part of one’s treatment, has indeed helped many patients with addiction, anxiety, depression, attention disorders, and pain management.

And regarding my concerns as a pastor—I found the work of Mark J. Myers, Ph.D. to be reassuring. Dr. Myers conducted a study at Liberty University in 2012 that showed that not only does mindfulness meditation successfully treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain and more, but mindfulness may also improve one’s ability to be present with God. I love a good win-win!

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, anxiety, depression, attention deficit issues, or chronic pain, give mindfulness meditation a try.

Click here for a meditation you can do right now.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Email: randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites: www.thecrossing.comwww.randymoraitis.com, www.carepossible.com

anxiety

Anxiety Disorders affect millions of Americans filling them with dread, fear, and uncertainty. In my last blog I shared a brief history of anxiety in society which you can view here: History of Anxiety

This post is focused on treating anxiety. Those who struggle with anxiety experience physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual symptoms, so it makes sense that treatment for anxiety address these four types of symptoms.

Here are the four areas to focus on when treating anxiety. The most complete treatment program will cover each of the four areas.

1. PHYSICAL–this category looks at how the following impacts one’s anxiety:

  • Medications–some help, while others may increase anxiety.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, drugs–these can greatly increase anxiety.
  • Thyroid, adrenal function, anemia, asthma, etc–be aware that these factors may increase anxiety.
  • Food allergies/sensitivities–may play a role in increasing anxiety.
  • Sufficient sleep–can help reduce anxiety.
  • Supplements–may help reduce anxiety.
  • Physical exercise–very helpful in reducing anxiety.

2. EMOTIONAL–looks at the feeling involved and how to have emotional health:

  • Feelings underlying panic attacks–understanding and examining these feelings can lead to healing.
  • Emotionally tagging events–when the brain stores a memory of an event, it also stores an emotion associated with the event.
  • Evaluate your upbringing–learn to let go of anger, frustration, and control issues from your past.
  • Therapies–there are different types of therapy that can treat the emotional side of anxiety including cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR therapy, neurofeedback, Alpha-stim therapy, and more.

3. RELATIONAL–this area examines how we interact with others:

  • Choose to be around uplifting people.
  • Get out of toxic relationships.
  • Know and stay in your stress zone.
  • Do not isolate or shut down.
  • Avoid pushy, high maintenance, or unpredictable people.
  • Learn to say no and have healthy boundaries!

4. SPIRITUAL–feelings of anxiety are so deep, that a spiritual side of treatment is very effective.

  • Community–stay involved and connected in your local church.
  • Prayer–pray regularly, including prayers for a spirit of power and peace.
  • Verse memorization–memorize verses that give you peace and comfort and focus on these verses during times of anxiety.
  • Do not get caught up in the world–riches, fame, power–instead focus on the spiritual side of life.
  • Music–listening to uplifting music, such as praise and worship music, can reduce anxiety.

Anxiety is real and can be devastating. The good news is that there is hope and healing available for those with anxiety disorders. If you struggle with anxiety, contact a physician or mental health care professional right away to get on a path of healing.I have helped many groups and individuals have healing from their anxiety and would love to help you or your loved one. For more info lease email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or call 949-303-8264.

Websites: www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com.

About Randy Moraitis
Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy, he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

anxiety

Anxiety–A Brief History

Suffer from anxiety?  If so, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health over 55 million Americans struggle with anxiety.

In a quest for better understanding and relief from anxiety, author Scott Stossel chronicled the history of the evolution of anxiety (Psychology Today, Feb. 2014). Here are the highlights:

4th Century B.C.–Hippocrates describes anxiety as a medical disease caused by “body juices”. Plato and his followers argue that it’s a philosophical problem, not a physical one. This launched an enduring argument between biological and mental approaches.

1862–An anxiety ridden Union soldier is diagnosed with “soldier’s heart”, a precursor to “shell shock” and post-traumatic stress disorder.

1883–The case of a man with an open hole in his stomach sheds light on how emotion affects the digestive system. When the man is anxious, his stomach tissue turns visibly pale.

1899–The Merck Manual (a medical reference book) recommends opium as an anxiety remedy.

1908–Two psychologists connect peak performance with optimal levels of arousal, suggesting that the right balance of anxiety–not too much, not too little–can be helpful during a test or competition.

1959–The New York Times makes the first written reference to antidepressants which paves the way for a surge in pharmacological anxiety treatments.

1980–The 3rd edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is released, replacing Freudian concepts of neurosis with panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety.

2005–The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 18% of American adults have some type of anxiety disorder.

So anxiety is real, it’s been around for thousands of years, and it requires treatment. In my next blog I will give recommendations for those afflicted with anxiety issues. In the meantime you can check out some resources here: http://carepossible.org/resources/

I’d love to hear from you! If you need support with anxiety please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.carepossible.com, www.randymoraitis.com.

meditation
By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

In my last blog post (Meditation–Is It Worth My Time?), I shared the many benefits of meditation. As promised, here is a brief introduction on how to meditate.

Harvard, Yale, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and many other reputable organizations have produced research that meditation is a very effective treatment for anxiety, depression, addiction, smoking cessation and weight loss.

If you’d like to reap the benefits of meditation, then simply follow the steps below and you will be on your way.

Please keep in mind that it is a process. We don’t get fit the first time we work out at a gym. We have to work out regularly. In the same way, meditation should be done daily or several times per week to see results. So don’t get frustrated if you do not feel much different after the first few attempts!

Meditating

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for ten minutes.
  • Sit in a chair with your back straight and your hands resting on your knees or lap.
  • Relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Let your eyes unfocus and simply gaze into the middle distance.
  • Take 5 deep breaths–in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Close your eyes on the last exhale.
  • Start to notice your body–your posture, the sensations where your body touches the chair and feet touch the ground.
  • Become mindful of your senses–notice all that you can hear, taste or smell. Don’t worry about noises that you may hear.
  • Now scan your body from head to toe and notice any tension or discomfort.
  • Scan again this time noticing which body parts feel relaxed.
  • Become aware of your thoughts–simply notice them–you can’t turn them off, so don’t worry about them–just be aware.
  • Notice your breathing–are the breaths shallow or deep? Strive for deeper, relaxed breathing for about 5 minutes.
  • Become aware of your physical sensations–the chair, feet on the floor, hands in your lap, anything your senses can observe.
  • Open your eyes slowly and calmly continue with your day. Try to keep this awareness (mindfulness) with you in all you do.

Over time, you will find yourself being present more with family, friends, work, and other moments throughout the day.

Modification–you may find it very helpful and uplifting to meditate on a particular verse, proverb, phrase or quote that encourages or inspires you. Meditate on the phrase during the 5 minute focused breathing section above.

The key to successful meditation is to take it slow and be consistent!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Email: randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites: www.randymoraitis.com, www.carepossible.com

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CPC

Do you ever feel stressed out? Has anyone ever told you to “chill out”? If so, then it’s time you considered meditation as part of your daily routine.

Numerous highly regarded studies have shown that just 10 minutes of daily meditation can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, fight autoimmune diseases, and improve your attitude towards, and quality of, life.

Dr. Herbert Benson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, says, “You should be meditating every day.” That is quite a call to action from one of our nation’s leading physicians!

This is because our every day stressors from work, family, and society evoke a fight-or-flight response which increases our heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. But because we are not actually always running and fighting our body doesn’t use the hormones produced from the stress.

Dr. Benson states that these unused hormones put us at risk for a variety of diseases and conditions including anxiety, depression, insomnia, infertility, heart attacks, strokes, and more.

Dr. Benson claims that we can negate the fight-or-flight response by developing our “relaxation response”, which he claims can be done through repetitive prayer, Yoga, and of course meditation.

Meditation is great for you mental health, your spiritual health, even your physical health–but did you know that meditation can also be great for your financial health? According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension patients who regularly practiced meditation had a 28% decrease in physician fees.

It’s your health and your wallet, but the facts are clear–spending 10 minutes a day meditating may be the best investment you ever make!

Don’t know how to meditate? No worries! In my next blog post I will teach the basics and get you started. It’s easier than you think. In the meantime, click here for a relaxation technique that will definitely help you chill out.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Has meditation helped you?
Email: randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites: www.thecrossing.com, www.randymoraitis.com, www.carepossible.com

 

According to new data published in the world’s leading general medical journal The Lancet, mental and substance use disorders were the leading causes of illness worldwide in 2010.

Harvey A. Whiteford, MD, of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, Australia, and colleagues wrote, “These disorders were responsible for more of the global burden than were HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, diabetes, or transport injuries.”

Overall, mental and substance use disorders were the fifth leading cause of premature death and disease worldwide, and accounted for 22.9% of all nonfatal illness — more than any other disease!This is an alarming trend and in a press release Dr. Whiteford said, “barriers to mental health care must be addressed to reduce the global prevalence of mental and substance use disorders.”

A second study published alongside Dr. Whiteford’s stated that opioid dependence was responsible for the greatest burden of disease among all illicit drugs, accounting for 55% of the 78,000 deaths linked to drug use in 2010. The study also showed that more than two-thirds of individuals dependent on drugs were male — 64% each for cannabis and amphetamines and 70% each for opioids and cocaine, and the proportion of drug dependence increased in the highest-income countries.

What can you do to address the barriers to mental health and addiction treatment?

  • Get educated. We cannot fix what we do not understand.
  • Early intervention. If you or someone you know needs treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues, do all you can to encourage immediate treatment and research the treatment options.
  • Remove the stigma. Mental health and addiction issues should be looked at as disease, not personal failing. Surround these issues with support, not stigma or negativity.

To learn more or to help break through the barrier to treatment that so many face, visit www.carepossible.org. CarePossible is a nonprofit focused on making mental health care and addiction treatment possible for everyone.

I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.thecrossing.com and www.randymoraitis.com.

depression

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Depression is a very common problem. Approximately 10% of the US population, over 30 million Americans, suffer from depression–but most could be successfully treated. The first step towards healing is to know the symptoms of depression.

Here are the symptoms so you can tell if you, or someone you care about, may have clinical depression:

There is an mnemonic that mental health professionals use to list the symptoms:

SIGECAPS.

S—SADNESS—the first, most obvious symptom–more than just the blues or a funk, but a deep sadness.

S—SLEEP—some with depression have difficulty sleeping, especially between 2-4am, others with depression want to sleep all the time. They’d rather sleep than participate in life.

I—INTERESTS—the person is no longer interested in doing what were once their favorite activities.

G—GUILT—feeling guilty can contribute to depression.

E—ENERGY—feeling like you have no energy is a common symptom of depression. It feels like the wind was knocked out of your sails.

C—CONCENTRATION—people with depression find it very hard to focus so they have trouble with work or schoolwork. Their poor performance leads to more problems which can perpetuate the depression.

A—APPETITE—a sudden change in appetite is a common symptom with depression. 1 in 4 people gain weight, 3 in 4 lose weight—we see this a lot with people going through a painful divorce—the divorce diet.

P—PSYCHO-MOTOR ABNORMALITIES—for example when you’re depressed it may feel like you’re moving in slow motion.

S—SUICIDAL THOUGHTS—very common—and if you or someone you know ever has suicidal thoughts, especially if there is a time and a method—like “I am going to take pills tonight at midnight”—call 911 immediately!

For someone to be diagnosed with clinical depression, they need to have 5 or more of these 9 symptoms for 2 weeks or longer. If you think you may have depression, then make an appointment with a doctor or counselor today. There is hope for healing, so take the first step today!

If you or a loved one are affected by depression, please reach out for help today. Email: randy@randymoraitis.com
Phone: 949.303.8264
Websites: www.randymoraitis.com or www.carepossible.org

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)

Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

breathe
By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Stressed out? Tense? Anxious?

If so, here is a simple technique to help you relax. This technique will lower your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your potential for doing or saying something you may regret.

The technique is called “four square breathing” and is taught to military special forces units and first responders to help them stay calm in very stressful situations.

Four square breathing is a quick and easy way to get calm, cool, and collected and can be done virtually anytime and anywhere. I’ve used the technique very successfully with many clients over the years.

Here’s how to do Four Square Breathing:

1. Inhale through the nose for four seconds.
2. Hold the breath for four seconds.
3. Exhale through the mouth for four seconds.
4. Pause for four seconds.

Repeat for 1-3 minutes.

Tips to make this exercise even more effective:

1. Drop and relax your shoulders on each exhale.
2. Focus on a positive, encouraging, relaxing short phrase on each of the four breathing steps and say it in your during each of the four steps.
3. Listen to relaxing music while doing this technique.
4. Once four seconds per step becomes easy, you can increase the duration of each step to six or eight seconds.

I would love to hear any suggestions you have for relaxation. Contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.