By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

My job as a coach, counselor and interventionist is to help my clients live more focused and healthier lives. We can get so busy with work, relationships and responsibilities that we can easily lose focus and feel frustrated.

One tool that I teach my clients (and do myself) is the Daily Top 3 List. Done consistently, this tool can lead to increased focus, success, and happiness.

There are two parts to the Daily Top 3 List–it is actually two separate top 3 lists. One is a task list and the other is a gratitude list.

Top 3 Tasks

Let’s look at the task list first. Have you ever written out a long to-do list then get stressed out about all the things you have to do? I have. Or do you have long to-do lists where you never finished crossing off all the tasks on the list? I do.

Long to-do lists really only serve to increase our anxiety so stop using them today! Instead carefully think through what are the top 3 most important tasks for you to complete each day that will keep you moving towards your main goals and priorities in life.

Imagine it is the end of the day and you’re laying your head on your pillow. What are the top 3 tasks you would need to have accomplished to feel successful about your day so you can relax and get a good night’s sleep? These are the items that must be on your daily top 3 tasks list. Write them down then do them!

Top 3 Gratitudes

The second part of the Daily Top 3 List is a gratitude list. Research is clear that when we live with an attitude of gratitude we are less stressed, less depressed and have happier relationships. Research also shows that cardiac patients who kept gratitude journals showed improvements in their heart health.

Gratitude is good for mind, body and spirit. With all the busyness in our lives and the craziness in the world we can lose sight of living in gratitude, so we must be intentional about gratitude.

Every morning stop to write down the 3 things for which you are most grateful. It could be family, friends, health–whatever you are truly grateful for–write them down. (And unlike the daily task list, you are welcome to write down more than 3 items on your gratitude list.)

Your Next Step

There you have it–to live a healthier, happier and more focused life, take a few moments every morning to write out your top 3 tasks of the day and your top 3 gratitudes of the day.

I hope this coaching tip helps you move towards becoming the very best version of you!

I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264. Check out my coaching/counseling/intervention website www.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.

 


By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

If you or a loved one are affected by any mental health, addiction or eating disorder issue then I encourage you to use HALT as an easy-to-remember tool for staying healthy.
HALT is an acronym that stands for:

It’s wise to avoid getting too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired because when we do, any underlying issues (such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, eating disorder, etc.) can be negatively impacted.

HUNGRY–have you seen those Snickers commercials where Marcia of The Brady Bunch turns into Machete because she’s too hungry (hangry)? It is both funny and true!

While I’m not recommending a candy bar, I do recommend that you keep healthy snacks with you throughout the day such as almonds, protein bars, or fruit. When your blood sugar drops your brain stops working at an optimal level and that means a bad decision or bad mood could easily happen. Keep your mind and body fueled for peak performance!

ANGRY–I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “When angry count to ten before you speak, if very angry count to one hundred.” Great advice here! Give it a try when you get angry.

Four Square Breathing is another great tool to use when you feel angry. It can help you calm down and regain focus so you do not make any bad choices. Here is a link to easily learn how to do four square breathing.

LONELY–Human beings need healthy community, healthy companionship. There is a great body of research proving that isolation has numerous negative side effects even causing cancer.

There is a very wise quote which says, “Two are better than one…” (Ecc 4:9). This is so true!

If you find yourself isolating–reach out to a friend, family member, or neighbor. Or join a club, group or activity that connects you to others.

If you know of someone that is isolating, reach out to they. They may need you more than you know.

TIRED–Being tired is bad for our health and can lead us to make bad decisions. Have you ever said anything that you didn’t really mean because you were too tired? Or have you ever failed to have a peak performance because you were too tired?

Research clearly shows that we need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be at our best. I encourage you to have some discipline with this–turn off the TV and put down the phone or iPad early enough for you to get a good night’s rest. Don’t sleep with your phone right by your head–the light interferes with your sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try the following:

  • Be sure to limit caffeine during the day–especially later in the day.
  • Try relaxation and visualization exercises to help induce sleep.
  • Use a sound machine or app to create a calm, soothing environment.

So give HALT a try. If you apply the concept on a daily basis you just might find yourself having a much healthier and happier life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Websites: 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.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Newsweek Magazine once said about coaches that “They’re part therapist, part consultant–and they sure know how to succeed in business”. While there is truth to this statement, many important differences do exist between coaching and therapy.

Here are the Top Ten Differences Between Life Coaching and Therapy:

1. Coaching is about achievement; therapy is about healing.

If you want to set and achieve goals to move you forward in life, then you need a coach. If you have past hurts that you have not yet processed through, then you need a therapist.

2. Coaching is about action; therapy is about understanding

I recently had a client say that she got more out of one coaching session than months spent with a therapist and a psychologist. This may be due to the fact that I assessed her current situation, then gave her specific action steps to move her towards healthier behaviors, and held her accountable to take the action steps.

3. Coaching is about transformation; therapy is about change.

A good coach seeks to guide the client through a transformation in one or more areas of life including career, relationships, emotional wellness, finances, addiction recovery, spiritual life, and physical health and wellness.

4. Coaching is about momentum; therapy is about safety.

Every coaching session should result in specific action steps to move the client closer towards their goals. A momentum is then developed that keeps the client progressing towards the results they seek.

5. Coaching is about intuition; therapy is about feelings.

A coach is more interested in your behavioral choices than your feelings. A good coach will sense how to inspire and motivate you to be the best version of you.

6. Coaching is about joy; therapy is about happiness.

Joy is internal and may derive from one’s beliefs and accomplishments. Happiness is external, future oriented, and can rely on outside situations, events, or people. Coaches often find that their clients have profound joy from their new way of thinking and the goals they have accomplished.

7. Coaching is about performance, therapy is about progress.

The coaching relationship is typically much shorter than the therapy relationship and during this time the coach seeks to motivate peak performance from the client.

Often the coach’s job is to guide their client to a win. For example, I recently coached the director of a large organization through the termination of a toxic employee. The client said hiring a coach was “the best money the organization ever spent”. The client was guided through performing a difficult task the best way possible. The client had a peak performance, and now the entire organization is performing better.

8. Coaching is about synchronicity; therapy is about timing.

In the initial coaching sessions an assessment is performed on various aspects of the client’s life to not only assess current satisfaction levels, but also look for patterns. Later coaching sessions may assess the client’s values, past experiences, and talents or gifting to determine whether there is a common thread or possible synchronicity.

9. Coaching is about attraction; therapy is about protection.

Coaching leads clients into new ways of thinking and behaving that result in the achievement of goals and success.

Some individuals are not quite ready for coaching. They may need to seek treatment from a therapist to build a strong and healthy foundation where they can protect themselves emotionally before working with a coach.

10. Coaching is about creating; therapy is about resolving.

Coaching is about creating a new and exciting future through setting and achieving goals. I often tell clients, “your dream job doesn’t exist–you have to create it!” Coaching looks to the future, often through the coach asking the client a series of thought provoking questions.

Therapy is about resolving–trauma, conflict, past hurts, etc. Therapy is excellent for resolving issues from one’s past.

Hopefully this sheds some light on some of the differences between Life Coaching and Therapy. Both are great tools to help individuals, families, and organizations be healthier, happier lives and more successful.

For more information on coaching, or a referral to a great therapist, please email randy@randymoraitis.com. You can also visit my websites www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

We use our phones and hand held devices for so many things! So why not mental health and wellness? Here are 5 great apps that offer help for a variety of afflictions and issues. Check them out, give them a try, and please share so we can all spread good mental health together!

1. Stop, Breathe & Think–This is a great, free app that has a 5 star rating and is a Webby Award Winner. I love this app and use it myself for relaxation and meditation. I also have many of my counseling and coaching clients use this app with great success.

The app is a simple tool to guide one through a variety of basic mindfulness meditations. Users can also check in with how they’re feeling and even notify their counselor or friend once a meditation has been completed.

 

2. Balanced–This is another free, 5 star rated app. Balanced helps users stay focused and motivated on their priorities. This app allows users to set a variety of goals each week, and helps one feel rewarded, in control, and focused on what to do next for success.

I personally use this app to remind me of weekly goals such as watching a TED Talk, meditating, and being thankful.

 

3. Mindshift–This app is specifically designed for those struggling with anxiety. Although not as highly rated as the above apps, my experience is that counselors love what this app does for their clients as a tool for managing and working through anxiety. The app includes a section on situations that trigger anxiety and how to have healing, as well as some great “chill out” tools and Twitter-worthy inspirational quotes.

 

4. PTSD Coach–This is a great app that was developed by the Department of Veteran Affairs National Center for PTSD. Although originally intended for use by vets with PTSD, a quick read through the reviews shows that many civilians have been helped by this app as well.

I am passionate about serving our military, treating PTSD, and preventing military suicide, so naturally I am a big fan of this app and hope readers of this blog will share so all our military families learn about PTSD Coach.

 

5. Optimism–This is a 4 star rated app that helps users with self-tracking as a tool for coping with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD. The app allows users to create a custom wellness plan and is particularly useful when the user is working with a mental health professional.

Give these apps a try if you could use some support and coaching right at your fingertips. And if you know of a great app that you recommend, please share in the comments section.

And please help spread good mental health by sharing this blog post. Thank you!

Feel free to email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or call me at 949-303-8264 for more info about this topic or my counseling, coaching or intervention services. 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.

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.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Are you in a role where you care for others? If so, you may experience burn out, compassion fatigue, or even vicarious trauma (if you haven’t already!). I believe that if you are a caregiver, then you must have a self-care plan in place to prevent or repair burn out, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma!

The goal of this blog post is to raise awareness of the need for self-care, and to encourage everyone, especially caregivers, to have an effective self-care plan in place.

Caregivers are so important to society and take many forms:

  • Counselors/Therapists/Psychologists
  • Physicians/Nurses
  • First Responders–police, fire, paramedics, EMT’s
  • Social Workers
  • Pastors/Ministry Workers

If you are in one of the above roles, then a good self-care plan is vital to your long term health, your future success, and your personal relationships.
Compassion Fatigue is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is a common occurrence in most of the roles listed above. Compassion fatigue is also known as secondary traumatic stress. Ask yourself if you may have some compassion fatigue.

Vicarious Trauma is defined as “a transformation in the helper’s inner sense of identity and existence that results from utilizing controlled empathy when listening to clients’ trauma-content narratives. In other words, Vicarious Trauma is what happens to your neurological (or cognitive), physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health when you listen to traumatic stories day after day or respond to traumatic situations while having to control your reaction.” (Vicarious Trauma Institute http://www.vicarioustrauma.com/). Ask yourself if you may have experienced vicarious trauma.

Start Self-Care Now!

One of the most important aspects of an effective self-care plan is consistency. Below are suggestions for self-care. Whichever options you choose–be consistent and put these activities on your calendar to ensure they happen!

Self-Care Activities:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Prayer
  • Exercise/Fitness Activities
  • Martial Arts
  • Counseling
  • Support Groups
  • Church
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Nutrition

I recommend choosing at least two to three items from the above list. As someone who has been a caregiver for many years and has heard and experienced many traumatic experiences, I have done all of the above, over time, to help me stay healthy.

Additionally, caregivers must have a healthy support network of several friends, and/or mentors, that can be counted on for conversation and support when needed.

Finally, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all the caregivers out there! You are loved, appreciated, and worthy of good care!

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on this topic. You can comment below or contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264. Visit my website www.randymoraitis.com for info on counseling or coaching, and our nonprofit foundation at 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 and individuals 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.

Be ready to tackle your day so your day doesn’t tackle you!

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Beginnings are so important–in books, movies, relationships, etc. And the way we begin our day is also important. If we do it right we can set ourselves up for more success and less stress throughout the day.

Give these 5 tools a try to jump-start your day. Make them habits and you’ll probably start having a lot more good days than bad days.

1. Catch Your ZZZ’S

Most folks need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested and have a peak performance day. A great morning starts with planning the night before. Get to bed early enough to get all the sleep you need. You don’t need to stay up to watch the Tonight Show–that’s what DVR’s are for!

2. Get Centered

Spend time every morning doing meditation or prayer. This will give you a calm, centered and focused start to your day. I love the Stop, Breathe and Think app for meditation.

3. Pump It Up

Do some form of exercise–cardio, weights, yoga, run, walk–whatever you like to do. If you are short on time you can find thousands of mini workout routines online. Do something to get that blood pumping and you will feel more energized and ready to tackle the day!

4. Be In The Know

Spend a few minutes getting caught up on the news or read a new blog related to your industry. Stay up to date and informed about the world, your community, and your chosen field. Do this and you’ll be ready and well informed for conversations throughout the day.

5. Focus

Be crystal clear on the most important item or items to accomplish each day. Ask yourself, “What is my priority today?” If you don’t know–then choose one!

I would love to hear if you have any tools you use to jump-start your mornings! You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my website for more info on counseling and life coaching at www.randymoraitis.com. Please visit our nonprofit foundation CarePossible at www.carepossible.org for info and resources for those in need.

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


Those who know me well know that I am a huge fan of healthy boundaries. So when I came across these tips on Finding Your Voice to say No by psychologist Judith Sills, Ph.D., I just had to share. If you are new to saying no and setting boundaries, give these tips a try– you will be empowered!

Finding Your Voice

1. Replace your automatic Yes with “I’ll think about it.” This puts you in control, softens the ground for a NO and gives you time to think things through to make a healthy choice.

2. Soften your language. Try “I’m not comfortable with that”, or “I’d rather not”, or “let’s agree to disagree”. You are still delivering a clear “no”, but softening your language may make it go down better.

3. Contain your feelings. Even though you may not feel like it, No is best delivered pleasantly with an air of calm. Outward calm quiets your inner turmoil and reduces the negative impact of your No on your audience.

4. Refer to your commitment to others. Say No without appearing selfish by stating how you would love to help, but must keep your prior commitment to your mother, child, etc., and you can’t let them down.

5. Realize you represent others. When you realize it is not just your own interest at stake, but that of your family’s, you will feel more assertive in giving a No to a low-ball offer or intrusion on your time.

6. Rehearse. This strategy is best for ongoing situations such as a demanding boss or recurring relational conflict with a spouse, friend, or family member. By rehearsing, you are prepared to respond with a calm, respectful No.

With some regular practice finding your voice, you just may get to the place where you can respond to any inappropriate, uncomfortable, excessive request with a firm one-word, no explanation verdict–No.

I wish you well in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries!

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

Websites: www.carepossible.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