Effective Goal Setting

Setting goals for your life is something that is so important. It can be very difficult to decide in which direction you want to take things, but it is very important that you set goals in order to achieve some sort of direction. Goals help keep your life structured and constantly moving forward. But how do you effectively set your goals?

Challenge yourself.

Goals should challenge you to make changes and better your life. Goals can be small or big, but they should present a hurtle that your need to jump over. Your goals should require you to expand your mind and push yourself to work hard to make your life the happiest it can be.

Make goals attainable.

It is important that your goals are not only challenging but realistic. Your goals should be something that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time that you set. For example, setting a goal to complete a 4 year university program in 2 years or owning a house withing a year when you do not have a stable full time job really isn’t realistic. Instead, setting the goal to graduate within the time your supposed to or perhaps finding a job that gives the right amount of pay and hours to get ready to buy that house.

Find ways to stay motivated.

Staying motivated is one of the biggest challenges of attaining goals. Achieving what you want out of life is hard work, and at times it can see impossible. You need to find ways to keep yourself on your path towards your goals and there are lots of ways that you can do that. Finding a way to treat yourself is so important to help keep you motivated. Maybe you just need a quiet night in with a good book, or a night out with your friends. Whatever is a good way for you to wind down and give yourself a break from the hard work.

Keep your goals fluid and accept change. 

Lives change regularly, and sometimes our goals need to change right along with them. Lots of things can happen unexpectedly and you need to prepare yourself for that chance that you might need to change your direction. The best way you can do that is to continue to be open to new experiences and embrace all that life has to offer you. It is not considered a failure to change your goals, but rather a successful way to reevaluate your life.

You can do anything that you set your mind to, but you need to set goals to get there. Being effective at goal setting will help you get things done and keep you going in the right direction. Set your goals and start working towards a happier and healthier life today.

Video Game Addiction

In today’s modern home a personal computer (PC) is the central hub for much of our communication and entertainment. As more and more day to day activity becomes linked to the PC most households own at least one of them. But a PC is not only a tool for communication and learning, it can also be used to play video games, and many of them can be accessed for free through the internet.

5e9fd9d21b1b12e59a1d749917785923Gaming addiction is becoming a serious problem in the younger generations. We are seeing a huge rise in the amount of teens and young adults that are addicted to video games, more so PC than gaming consoles (i.e. Xbox, Playstation, etc.). This largely has to do with how accessible PCs are compared to consoles which are relatively more expensive. Games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends attract millions from around the world on a daily basis, offering them adventure and excitement that they might not otherwise feel they can get. The community base of these games is huge, connecting people from every corner of the globe. But there are many players that become more concerned with in-game interactions than what is going on in their everyday life.

Gaming addiction is characterized by the following:

  • Preoccupation with the game (thinking about the game even when not playing or planning when you can get back to playing sooner)
  • Withdrawal symptoms like irritability or mood swings when unable to play or attempting to cut down
  • The need to play for more time or play more exciting games to get the same amount of excitement
  • Feeling like you need to cut back but you are unable to
  • Spending less (or no time) doing things other than gaming
  • Continuing playing despite lack of sleep, being late to work/school, spending more money than you should, and neglecting other responsibilities
  • Lying to friends and family about just how much you play
  • Losing important opportunities in relationships and career because you would rather game
  • Using gaming as an escape from negative feelings

Gaming addiction has been getting increased attention from professionals as more and more people are being drawn in. In the last 10 years, significant advances have been made in just how much we know about gaming addiction. It has come to light just how serious this problem is, especially in adolescents and young adults. It is estimated that between the ages of 12-18, many children are getting up to 7 hours a day of “screen time”. 

This means that the majority of time that these children are not asleep or at school, they are on their computer. Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft are huge part of this problem. These games require time commitments to learn and iStock_000004161479Small2-300x225participate in, drawing people in with new tasks and rewards. There are extremely tragic cases of addiction to these games, causing deaths after marathon gaming sessions and causing the addicted to act out in ways that they might not have normally. There are too many cases where a young person’s life is destroyed because of their gaming addiction.

Too much of something tends to be a dangerous thing. If an alcoholic drinks too much at once, they can suffer from alcohol poisoning. If a drug addict uses too much, they can overdose. No matter what you do, if you place too much stress on your body you will injure it, and if go too far you can die. So it should come as no surprise that playing games too much can have serious consequences.

Deaths related to game addiction have mostly occurred after/during a marathon gaming session. These sessions last more than just hours, they can last for days. Many players go without food, sleep, or movement other than their hands and fingers during these sessions, and continuously putting their bodies through these sessions has serious repercussions on their health. Commonly we sleep disorders, malnutrition, and a complete lack of physical activity in those that are addicted to video games. Just as alcohol or drugs can destroy a person’s body, not fulfilling your body’s basic needs can as well. Let’s take a look at a few of the deaths that are related to gaming addiction.

  • Wang Gang of China collapsed and died after obsessively playing Dungeon Fighter in an internet café. Wang had been living in the internet café for months, having dropped out of college and cut his family out of his life. It was said that Wang would take very few breaks, consisting of a few hours of sleep each time. Due to his gaming habits, Wang became extremely thin and malnourished, possibility contributing to his death.
  • League of Legends claimed the life of Chen Rong-yu, a gamer that spent a continuous 23 hours playing.  It was concluded that his heart attack was caused by a combination of lack of movement, fatigue, and cold weather.
  • A 40 hour session of Diablo III is what claimed the life of Chuang, and 18 year old Taiwanese man. Chuang was left to play in a private internet café room for 40 hours, without food or drink on hand. He was woken by a staff member that found him resting in the morning of his last day. Chuang collapsed, dying shortly after arriving at the hospital. It is suspected that he died of a blood clot.

In addition to the health problems, we also see a large impact on the social interactions in the lives of those affected by gaming addiction. Those with gaming addictions tend to withdraw into the gaming community, choosing to develop their online relationships and ignore their real life relationships. It is fair to say that they are still participating in some form of social interaction, but at what cost? Isolation seems to be the key factor in the development of this addiction, despite their interactions with other players online. The fact of the matter is that many people play with others that they have never met face to face, and they may never meet them face to face. This is a resulting in a breakdown of what we might consider to be a more traditional friendship. The issue with this is that spending extended periods of time in front of the computer is not healthy, no matter how old or young you are. If you don’t have any outside relationships to participate in, you are more likely to spend that extra time in front of your computer.

As with any addiction, recovery needs to be the choice of the addicted. Scare tactics aren’t often enough to help them realize what a big impact their gaming is having on their lives. So what can you do to support your loved one through their addiction?

gameaddictionFirst and foremost, let them know that you are there when they need you. Keeping lines of communication open between you and your loved one is so important. It may be the real world connection that they need to pull them outside of the game.

Secondly, ask them to take a serious look about the impact their addiction is having on their life. Be honest with them about how you feel and let them know that you care about their well-being.

Finally, support them in seeking help. Be encouraging and hopeful, especially when it is hardest for them to feel that way themselves. It is much easier for a person to relapse if they feel that they do not have a strong support system. Make sure you know the signs to look for when they may be at risk of relapse, and let them know that you will be there throughout the struggle.

Gaming addiction has the power to take the life out of the person that you love, but it doesn’t have to. Recovery is a choice, as is falling further into addiction. Hope, love, faith, and encouragement are central to a successful recovery, and they are something that you can provide to your loved one. It is also important to know the nature of the addiction that they are dealing with. Education around gaming addiction will give you a better picture of just how serious this problem can be, and it will lead you to the tools that may help your loved one in their recovery.

Conquering Fears in Relationships

shutterstock_105933593  Fear. It can take over your thoughts, and in turn you can build up so many walls and blocks that you end up feeling alone and misunderstood. So many of us long for a meaningful relationship to another person, but it is fear that gets in the way. Fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of abandonment and fear of trust are just a few of the many fears that we must overcome in order to gain a meaningful relationship.

Fear of rejection is all about self-confidence and self esteem. It stops us from chasing after our dreams because we do not want to be turned down or fall. Every no we receive brings us closer to the door with the possibility of a yes, that is why it is so important to work through your fear of rejection and learn to cope rather than avoid.

shutterstock_123809797Fear of judgement stems from not having fully accepted ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. Full self-love and acceptance can change that, although we can never be 100% of anything 100% of the time. It does not mean that everyone thinks the way you do about yourself. People’s judgements on others have very little to do with the person being judged. It has much more to do with the person doing the judging. Their own insecurities come out against others. People will judge no matter what situation you are in, but it should matter not what they think, but what you think about yourself.

A fear of abandonment is within all of us, but the severity is based solely on our personal experiences in the past. With some it is much closer to the surface. A fear of abandonment can manifest in several different ways, the most apparent of which is the need to be clingy and demanding. Another way people cope with the fear of abandonment is rejecting their partner before they themselves are rejected, running away from relationships before they have reached their full potential. And finally, there are those who will change their whole entire person to become the “perfect” partner for the person that they are interested in. These coping skills are poor and maladaptive, which can cause train-wreck relationships to become normal. This is where being able to develop trust in your partner is so important.shutterstock_107413730

The fear of trust is a big deal in relationships, romantic or otherwise. It is a pretty common occurrence. We have all been hurt by someone we trusted, someone who decided that what they wanted was more important than our trust. But we have to keep in mind that we cannot punish everyone else for that person’s mistakes, especially when seeking out new relationships. It is perfectly normal to have a period of trust building and cautiousness in the beginning of a relationship. However, at some point we have to decide whether or not we can trust the other person. Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, and without it, you don’t really have a relationship at all.

But how do we overcome these fears? Well, it is a daily struggle. It takes a lot of reflection and deep inner work to break through these defenses. We have not only the outside opinions to combat with, but the internal ones as well. Our brain is pretty good at talking us out of things, but sometimes we just have to ignore it and take a leap of faith. Relationships, especially romantic ones, carry a lot of risk which is reasonable to be unsure of. But if we are unwilling to accept that risk, we may just lose out on having someone wonderful in our lives.

I Come First: Healthy Boundaries and Avoiding Burn Out

Expectations are a part of everyday life. We have expectations of others and them of us. There are times where there is so much pressure and so much to do, that it may feel like we are running in circles trying to get things done. The constant bombardment with new tasks and added responsibilities can weigh us down. If we are constantly putting ourselves behind others, we get burnt out. There is this constant drained feeling that just overtakes our emotions and our bodies.

shutterstock_62127079  So why do we feel the need to make everyone else happy? The biggest reason may be fear; fear of rejection, fear of being judged, and even fear of being alone. These fears can cause us to do crazy and unreasonable things for those around us, while we need to be thinking of ourselves as well. Finding a healthy balance in between what we need to do for others and what we need to do for ourselves can be a daily struggle. How can you find the balance between yourself and others?

Maintain healthy boundaries. Know when to say no and let others know what you are willing to do. There is no reason for you to be bending over backwards to make everyone happy all of the time. There should be boundaries for the amount of responsibility that other people can put onto you and you onto them. It is important to shutterstock_89030563know that saying no to things is okay.

Take time out for yourself daily. Turn off your phone, stay away from the computer, and just disconnect. Having time by yourself is one of the most important parts of the day. It is a time to reflect and heal and replenish your energy. It can be 15 minutes, or it can be 3 hours. But it is important to have that bit of time alone with yourself each and every day.

Ask for help. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, ask for help. If nothing else, talk to someone about how you are feeling and what you are taking on. Just getting it out can make a world of difference.

shutterstock_80333077Communicate your feelings to those around you. If you are feeling burnt out and under too much pressure, let those around you know. Communication is vital to every relationship and letting others know what you are feeling can open up doors to solutions you may not have thought possible. Just shutting yourself off from the world will not relieve any pressure, but it will create more problems for you in the long run.

There are times when we all feel overwhelmed and burnt out. However, it is how you handle these times that says the most about you. Take charge, find ways to feel empowered, and take care of yourself. At the end of the day, life is much too short to spend it being anything but happy.

 

 

The Codependent Relationship: Mother and Child

shutterstock_135236594  The bond between mother and child is something that no other relationship can quite match. When addiction is involved in this relationship, it is seriously damaging to the healthy functioning of all relationships.

Codependency, described simply, is when both parties are dependent on one another in order for the relationship to function. Codependency is unique between a mother and child because of the nature of the relationship. Mothers are meant to be nurturing and caring individuals. But when their child is addicted to drugs, their caring and nurturing may be doing more harm than good.

Mothers of those addicted will often times go above and beyond to make sure that their child has everything that they need. Buying food, clothes, paying rent, and giving them shutterstock_70611019money. Some go as far as buying the drugs for their child. In their eyes, they are doing well by their child, making sure that they are able to keep on living. These mothers struggle to focus on themselves in any way at all. They will put their lives aside to make sure that their child will continue to come back to them for what they need.

The child will manipulate in order to get what they want. They will say hateful and hurtful things in order to break their mother down. They will be deceptive and lie in order to get more money. The child is trying to stay sick, and they know that their mother will do anything to keep them happy and alive.

shutterstock_9303223This relationship is extremely toxic and allows for the addiction to continue. So what are some way to recover from codependency?

  • Attend family recovery programs with the addicted

  • Learn to put your interests and needs before others

  • Become aware of the signs of codependent behaviour

  • Develop strong boundaries

With these strategies and professional help, codependency is something that you and your family can recover from.

Where is My Life Going?: Planning for the Future You

shutterstock_7704406 Finding direction in your life can be a large task for anyone to take on, especially if you are switching careers. There are many things that you can do to make your choice easier. Listed and explained below are a few strategies to try.

Make short-term goals and long-term goals. Making goals that you can achieve in a short amount of time will allow you to be more productive in the goals you set for yourself in the long run. Small successes can motivate you to continue to achieve your goals. It is also important to set short-term goals that are in line with your long-term goals. Your short-term goals may help you achieve your long term goals.shutterstock_101575579

Ask for advice from people you trust. If you want advice, ask people that you trust. Ask questions about what got them to where they are in life. Ask all of the questions that they are willing to answer. They may be able to give you advice that you might not have gotten otherwise.

Explore all of your options. If you are interested in more than one direction, make sure that you explore all of your options. Research, ask questions, and above all else, make sure you know what you are getting into.

Try as many new things as you can. Explore new things that you might not have considered before. Take advantage of every new opportunity that you can. The more that you try, the easier that it may be to narrow down your choices.

Redirecting your life is not an easy task. Choosing a new career path can drastically change the structure of your life. It is important to explore all options and make the transition to your new life as easy as possible. Do what you can to prepare for living the life that you want to live.

Learning Disabilities

It is hard to watch someone you love struggle. It is especially hard to watch someone you love struggle with something that many others find easy. A learning disability is something that will last a life time, however, with the right interventions and assistance it does not have to be debilitating.

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So what is a learning disability? A learning disability is a classification that covers severe learning problems. These include: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia.

It is difficult to produce the exact number of cases of those with learning disabilities as some cases go undiagnosed for several years. An undiagnosed learning disability can present in more than one way. It can include:

·         Being unable to adequately participate in class

·         Being unable to adequately complete assignments

·         Frustration with reading and/or writing

·         Difficulties completing specific tasks

·         Inadequate development of language, speech, and other academic skills

It is important that these are not always tell-tale signs that a learning disability is present. It is important that a correct diagnosis is made by a professional. It is also important to keep in mind that no two cases are the same. So how it presents in your loved one may be completely different from another person.

Those who struggle with a learning disability often times also struggle with another co-occurring disorder. These disorders include (but are not limited to) ADHD, anxiety, as well as depression.  It is important that your loved one also receives treatment and support for these disorders as well.

So what can we do? Well, often times there is support for those who are struggling with a learning disability. Checking in with your child’s school may be a good place to start. It could give you a better idea of what kind of resources their school has and what kind of resources you will have to seek out on your own.

There are so many different things that you can do as a parent to help your child succeed. Keeping them goal-focused is so important. Making sure that they know they are loved and supported will allow them to feel confident and thrive. Educating them about their learning disability and helping them accept it is an important step in the right direction. And making sure that they are prepared with the right tools to cope emotionally with their learning disability in a healthy way is essential to molding  a successful young person.shutterstock_112519676

Many parents and educators struggle with the stigma that is attached to a learning disability. Keep in mind that the attitude you model will affect how the young minds around you model their attitude. Positivity and acceptance are the keys to learning and living with a learning disability.