By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CPC

As I mentioned in a previous blog post there are many personality profiles out there–Myers-Briggs, DiSC, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter–most of which are used by prospective employers to determine the best hires for their companies, as well as for pre-marital counseling purposes.

These are all effective at determining personality style, but they take some time and they cost money!

Here is another free personality test that will help you learn more about your personality type and help you understand and communicate better with others.

This test is based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to understanding personality.

The test is from the website www.humanetrics.com which has a lot of great information to help you grow. The website states that after completing the questionairre you will be able to:

  • Obtain your 4-letter type formula according to Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typology, along with the strengths of preferences and the description of your personality type
  • Discover careers and occupations most suitable for your personality type along with examples of educational institutions where you can get a relevant degree or training
  • See which famous personalities share your type
  • Access free career development resources and learn about premium ones
  • Be able to use the results of this test as an input into the Jung Marriage Test™ and the Demo of the Marriage Test™, to assess your compatibility with your long-term romantic partner.

Just click here to take the test, it is free and only takes about 5-10 minutes.

I would love to hear what your type is! You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Websites: www.thecrossing.com, www.carepossible.com and 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.

marriage
1. TALK!
It is critical for couples to talk regularly and talk from the heart! As you get to know your spouse better you should grow in learning how and when to best communicate. Be wise and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. And when you do talk, share your feelings. If you have trouble expressing your emotions, try a feelings chart by clicking here.

2. GRATITUDE!
Having an attitude of gratitude will really change the tone of your marriage. Be sincerely grateful for your spouse, and let them know that you are grateful. Sometimes we get so busy with the daily tasks of life that we take our spouses for granted. Be thankful, then tell your spouse that you are thankful!

3. TEACHABILITY!
Be open minded and mature enough to realize that you may have some new lessons to learn. We are all works in progress that will do best if open to learning and growing through life. Sometimes couple may need a therapist or counselor to teach them the tools and skills needed to grow together through a difficult issue or season.

4. INTIMACY!
There are three types of intimacy that are key to the best marriages–relational intimacy, spiritual intimacy  and sexual intimacy. When you have the first two in place, the third flows more naturally. Be sure to invest in relational intimacy through talks, activities, and date nights. Invest in spiritual intimacy by praying together and attending church together. The closeness you develop through these activities will serve to strengthen your sexual intimacy.

5. DO-OVERS!
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes! Because of this I encourage all married couples to have a rule in their marriage: if they are arguing, one spouse can say, “Let’s start over” and the other agrees.This works great for most day to day marital spats. Obviously more serious issues may require a counselor to help resolve. Bottom line–forgiveness and the willingness to start fresh is key to a healthy marriage. Holding on to resentments only hurts the marriage.

Talk to your spouse, or future spouse, about these five tips. Just having that conversation is a healthy start!

If you have any marriage tips, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com.

five_love_languages

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CPC

What if there was a way for you to know how to have better relationships? A way to better understand yourself and a way to better understand your partner? Wouldn’t that be great? Well guess what? There is!

It is the New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This classic book is a favorite of pre-marital counselors and marriage counselors because the information it contains is helpful to any relationship. In fact it has been translated to more than 40 languages and has helped people around the world.

The premise of the book is that although there are many ways we can show our love to others, there are five “love languages” that are universal. Dr. Chapman states that we all have a love language and we can all relate primarily to one of these five love languages:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3.  Receiving Gifts
4.  Acts of Service
5.  Physical Touch

The book describes the different love languages in detail to help you understand both your primary love languages, as well as your partners. There is even an assessment in the book that will determine your primary and secondary love languages.

Why is this important? As a counselor I often work with couples who do not really understand their partners. They spend a lot of energy trying to show love to their partner, but it is usually in their own love language, not their partners. This ends up being wasted time and energy that only leads to frustration for both parties.

As an example, I once worked with a couple who just weren’t connecting. The husband was confused and frustrated. He came home from work every day and did a lot of housework thinking he was showing his love to his wife. He thought this way because his “love language” was acts of service. However, his wife’s love language was quality time. She just wanted his time and attention; she didn’t care about him mopping the floor, so she felt unloved and she let him know it!

They were not connecting because they were not speaking the right language to each other. Once they learned about their love languages, they were able to express their love to each other in ways that really led to deeper and more fulfilling connection.

How about you? Do you know your love language? And more importantly, do you know your partner’s love language? If not, I highly recommend you read The 5 Love Languages. A little education and a little effort can go a long way towards improving your relationship and transforming your life!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to randy@randymoraitis.com.

Website: www.randymoraitis.com or www.thecrossing.com.

valentine day

4 Steps to a Great Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day—the often dreaded, frequently disappointing, and usually expensive holiday is here.

Here are 4 easy to remember steps to help make this Valentine’s Day have more lasting meaning and depth than you can buy with an expensive present. (You can still buy the present!)

L—LOVE.
One of the best ways to show you love and care about someone is to actively listen to them. Look them in their eyes when they talk to you. Reflect, and repeat back, some of what they say to you in order to show and ensure that you understand them. Feeling listened to will make someone feel loved and cared for.

O—Overcome.
When you are in a long term relationship with someone you are bound to experience conflict. Remember to work together as a team so that you can overcome any bumps in the road together.

V—Value.
Stop and think about how important your special someone is to you. What do they mean to you? What do you appreciate about them? Whatever just came to your mind—be sure to share that. Tell them how much you value and appreciate them.

E—Encourage.
One of my favorite quotes is “encourage one another and build each other up” (from 1 Thessalonians 5:11). Our words are so powerful—we need to use them to encourage and build up our loved ones. It takes five positive comments to balance out one negative comment to others (read that twice so it sinks in!). Make sure your words encourage those you love if you really want them to feel loved.

Whether you are spending time on Valentine’s Day with your spouse, your significant other, or your children, if you remember to Listen, Overcome, Value, and Encourage them, I am pretty sure that they are going to feel the love!

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my websites www.randymoraitis.com or www.thecrossing.com

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC

Wellness is a hot topic right now. A quick Google search of the word “wellness” will net 490 million hits.
That is a huge amount of  interest in the subject of wellness.

So just what is “wellness”? According to the Oxford Dictionary, wellness is “the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health”.

While fitness programs focus on physical health, wellness programs, often designed by wellness coaches, take the process a step further by including focus on one’s mental health.

This is crucial because mental health and physical health are often closely connected, as we see in the proven link between anxiety, depression, and exercise. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression in certain individuals.

Starting on a Path to Wellness!

Physical—the American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following for physical exercise:

  • 3-5 times per week.
  • 30-60 minutes per session.
  • 1 session per day.
  • Include aerobic (cardio), strength training, and flexibility exercises.
  • Find activities you enjoy.

Mental—for good mental health try the following:

  • Schedule regular time for rest and relaxation.
  • Engage in healthy community such as a small group at your local church.
  • Seek a counselor or therapist to deal with past hurts.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Find your passion and purpose in life and live it out!

For more information on wellness programs please feel free to contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.thecrossing.com.

Consult with your physician or a qualified wellness coach before starting a new exercise program.

Couple arguing
By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC

Most people hate conflict and would rather avoid conflict altogether than work towards a solution. Here is a five step plan for you to use next time you have a conflict with a friend, family member, or significant other.

1. Check Your Anger.
Be sure your anger is under control. Thomas Jefferson once said, “When angry count to ten before speaking. When very angry count to 100.” This is great advice. If you cannot share your thoughts or feelings in a safe and loving way, take some time to cool down!

2. Check The Timing.
Is this an appropriate time to deal with this conflict? Are you in public or in front of children? Find a safe and appropriate time for both parties to work towards a solution.

3. Practice Intentional Listening and Forgiveness.
Decide who will share first and who will intentionally listen first. Practice empathy and humility, and try to stay as positive as possible while sharing. Then reverse roles of listener and sharer. Thank each other for listening and ask each other how you feel about what was shared. After sharing and listening, ask for forgiveness and apologize.

4. Brainstorm Solutions.
Work together with an open mind to come up with as many solutions as possible for the conflict.

5. Choose A Solution.

Decide which solution from the brainstorming session you each are willing to try. Do your best to agree on a win-win and be open to some compromise. Clearly communicate the plan to each other. Give it a try and then give it some time. If the solution does not work out, then do another brainstorming session and choose a new solution. You can do this!

Learn this plan and you can have confidence in yourself knowing you can handle any conflict!

Special thanks to Dr. Roger Tirabassi for teaching me these techniques.

I would love to hear your input on this topic. Email: randy@randymoraitis.com.

Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.thecrossing.com

forgive

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC

In my last blog post concepts from the book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman were discussed. Here we look at a later work by Dr. Chapman (along with Jennifer Thomas) called The Five Love Languages of Apology—How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships.

The main premise in this helpful book is that individuals must learn to apologize and forgive each other in order to have healthy relationships.

There are no perfect husbands or wives, parents or kids, family members or friends. We all make mistakes. We all blow it sometimes. When we do, we need to sincerely apologize. The problem is that people have different ideas about what an apology is. What may seem like a sincere apology to one person may not be seen that way by the injured party.

The books authors claim that, through countless hours of counseling sessions, they determined there are five different ways that folks usually apologize. These  languages of apology are usually learned in childhood. Here they are:

5 Languages of Apology

1. Expressing Regret—People who relate to this style of apology usually say, “I’m sorry that I.. “. Once they’ve said they are sorry, to them the situation should be over.  When expressing regret, always say what you’re sorry for, and never add the word “but”.

2. Accepting Responsibility—This is when the person says, “I was wrong”. For folks who speak this language of apology once they admit they were in the wrong, they feel the matter should be over.

3. Offering to Make Restitution—Those with this language of apology will often say, “What can I do to make this right?” They want to make up for the wrong. A husband forgets his wife’s birthday perhaps he can make up for it by taking her on a cruise. To be an effective apology, the bigger the wrong, the bigger the restitution!

4. Genuinely Repenting—This is where the person in the wrong truly wants to change their behavior. They often say, “I don’t want this to keep happening”. To be sincere this apology needs a plan to show that behavior really can change.

5. Requesting Forgiveness— Some people will not forgive if you don’t ask them for
forgiveness. You just may need to say, “Will you please forgive me?”

When you apologize, what do you normally say or do? See if you can determine your apology language from the five above. Remember, the way you apologize may not be what the person you hurt needs to hear.

For example, you may hurt someone’s feelings, then say “I am sorry”, and think you have properly apologized. But that person may be waiting for you to ask for forgiveness. If you sense your apology is not
connecting it is okay to ask the other person what they need.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other topic. If you have questions or comments please send them to randy@randymoraitis.com.
Website: www.randymoraitis.com. Twitter: @RMoraitis