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Are you struggling? Are things just not quite right in your world? Have you not been yourself lately? There is no need to continue to suffer. Just call and set up an appointment and begin to feel better today! Rhino Wellness Center offers counseling services to help you navigate the waters of life.

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  • TRUST AND DEPENDABILITY YOU CAN COUNT ON!

    TRUST AND DEPENDABILITY YOU CAN COUNT ON!

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HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY

anxiety

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.

 

People often experience a general state of worry or fear before confronting something challenging such as a test, examination, recital, or interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered normal.

 

Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or otherwise function. Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.

 

Learning to manage anxiety and remain in control of your mind and body is a skill that many of us never learned in all the days of schooling. However, it is a crucial skill that must be mastered if we are to grow as a person and completely experience life.

 

Two simple steps to gain control of anxiety:

  1. Get control of your physiology by engaging in deep breathing. Try breathing in for four seconds, then out for four seconds in a rhythmic fashion for 5-10 minutes. Once you are able to slow your heart rate down, the physical feelings of the anxiety will begin to be less intense and your senses will begin to return.
  2. Get control of your mind by telling it what to focus on and using positive statements. Your mind is going to want to wander and dwell upon the anxiety and basically seek to freak you out! You must direct its focus by telling it what to focus on. Then use some power statements like, “I’ve got this!” “I am going to be OK!” or “Stay focused and remain calm.”

 

Managing anxiety takes time and practice. Start by practicing with lower-level anxiety that you probably experience to some extent each day and then work up to stronger anxiety. Trust me, if you live long enough, you will be in a situation where you will greatly need to manage anxiety. So why not begin to practice today!

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

Instructions for a Bad Day

All of us have a bad day from time to time. Wouldn’t it be great if you had some great instructions on how to deal with a bad day?

My friends at Finer Minds sent me an amazing video that details and lists a number of great instructions on how to deal with a bad day. I have seen many videos on the internet and this one is very moving, inspiring, and truly amazing!

The video is only a few minutes long. I am sure you can make a few minutes to watch the video as it will be truly rewarding!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Chris Swenson, LMFT

Founder Rhino Wellness Center

Who Really Goes to Counseling

going to counseling

Many people assume that if they go to counseling they will somehow be viewed as “weak,” “incapable of solving problems on their own,” or are just plain “crazy.” Others are afraid that they may be seen as “worthless, flawed, or unlovable.”

 

When did going to get help become a serious attack on one’s character? I don’t know about you, but the problems of our world must love these beliefs! Namely because they prevent people from getting help and feeling better which allows the problem to continue to get worse and make more problems for people.

 

The truth…..People who go to counseling improve four times as much as those who do not seek counseling. This has been scientifically proven over and over and over again! Yet, people continue to decide to not seek help, continue to wallow in their suffering, and continue to struggle.

 

I don’t know about you, but suffering and struggling are two thing I really don’t enjoy. Even more ludicrous is choosing to continue to suffer and struggle despite knowing a solution that may help!

 

Oh, I understand… it is tough struggling and suffering, but going to counseling may result in being seen as “crazy” or “inferior,” and you wouldn’t want that! (stated sarcastically)

 

If only you could get a glimpse of who really goes to counseling, then you probably wouldn’t have so many issues with going.

 

The reality is the majority of people who go to counseling are ordinary, everyday  people dealing with ordinary, everyday problems! They have serious life challenges or are going through difficult life transitions that may be taxing their ability to cope. These challenges may be adversely affecting their ability to function at a level they desire.

 

Examples of such challenges: work-related stressors, career issues, financial problems, health issues, stress, family or parent/child conflicts, academic issues, death of loved ones, relationship breakups, divorce, relationship struggles, and major life decisions related to life choices. Others are simply seeking to grow and become better as a person. Or, are just not sure of what to do and have noticed their way of reacting is creating more problems.

 

These are just some of the reasons why people decide to go to counseling. So, if you are going through one or more of these challenges at the same time, you’re not alone. The effects are often cumulative, which is generally referred to as a “pile-up” of stressors. Counseling during these times can be quite helpful in providing both the support and skills to better address these life challenges.

 

You see, ordinary, everyday  people dealing with ordinary, everyday problems! The idea that people seeking help for normal, common issues are somehow flawed couldn’t be further from the truth! The truth is going to counseling is an invaluable investment in your emotional, physical, and mental health, an act of courage not weakness, and a gift to those whose lives you touch each and every day.

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

Your Best Ally Against Stress

stress ally

Stress and pain are two words that many of us are all too familiar with. In this fast paced society of ours it seems that stress and pain have become our most constant companions. In fact, many of us feel this way so often that it seems almost normal to be stressed or in pain. Have we forgotten what it feels like to be healthy?

 

When the stress of life finally begins to weigh us down, we go in search of ways to feel better. During these times, we go looking for a cigarette, or a drink, drown ourselves in our smartphones, or escape into the reality of TV shows, all in the hopes that we can mask this pain. When these masking or denial attempts fail, we turn to other self-destructive methods in continued hope that we can just mask or deny the pain and stress that continues to eat away at our level of healthiness.

 

It almost seems that the pains of the world smile whenever we decide to use any of those masking methods. You see, those pains know that they have created a level of pain in our lives, but our choice to use self-destructive or denial means to cope only creates a higher level of pain. In other words, we tend to make things worse or more painful than they need to be.

 

We experience pain or stress. Then we use one of those destructive coping methods which create a momentary relief from the pressures. Once we begin to see the reality again, we now experience more pain and guilt over our choices to cope. We then begin to go through this same vicious cycle over and over and over again.

 

Dealing with pain and stress is not easy. However, there is a great ally that we can use at any time to cope. In fact it seems so simple. Then again, in life many things are simple, but not easy.

 

Creativity can be your strongest ally when facing any challenge in life. Simply put, when all else fails, turn to creativity! Srinivas Rao stated it best, “Creativity takes us into a world free of rules, expectations, and pressure. It’s a permission slip to imagine the impossible.”

 

So, the next time you find yourself drowning away in one of those destructive coping methods. Just remember to use your creativity! Instead of picking up a cigarette or beer, pick up a pen and begin to write. Or, grab a brush and begin painting something. Get some Lego’s and build something. Get out your laptop and begin writing your own screenplay! Just simply allow your creative juices to flow and see where you go!

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

If You Can Manage a Pop Bottle, You Can Manage Your Emotions!

Pop Bottle 2

Do you drink soda pop or know someone who does? What if I shook up a bottle and hand it to you to open right here without it going all over the place? How might you do that?

 

Some might let it sit for awhile. Others might loosen the cap letting out some pressure while watching the suds rise and closing the cap at just the right moment. Or, one might find a sink or safe place to let the bottle open and explode.

 

You and I are much like a pop bottle. When things happen in life we get shook up! And if we do not manage that pressure building, then we will blow up like the pop bottle and leave a really sticky mess for everyone around us.

 

Simply put, we can use the same advice, needed to manage a shook-up pop bottle, in order to manage our emotions. Take a minute and think about it…………

 

When you feel that pressure building you could take a break and sit quietly for awhile until the pressure subsides. This is no different than just letting the shook up pop bottle sit for a bit.

Or, you could vent a bit but, don’t let the pressure get too high before you close your cap! Much like opening the bottle slightly, releasing some pressure, but keeping an eye on the fizz so it doesn’t overflow! What are some ways you can slowly release some pressure in your life?

 

Sometimes the bottle is too shook up and is exploding. Then, we need to find a safe place for it to release; a sink for example. If the pressure is too high and you are gonna blow, then find a safe place to vent so there is no sticky emotional mess. You could always find a field and scream, find a place to yourself, scream in a pillow, etc. Can you think of other ideas?

 

Probably the biggest key to any successful endeavor is managing your emotions. If you are able to manage a pop bottle then you can manage your emotions. Whatever method you choose to manage your emotions, the first step is always recognizing the buildup of those emotions.

 

Awareness is critical and requires your concentration. It is easy to visually see the fizz rising in the pop bottle, but more of a challenge for you to sense the fizzy buildup within yourself. This takes practice.

 

The key is to just remember to check your emotional buildup throughout the day so you don’t unknowingly explode all over yourself or others.

 

Managing our emotions can be as simple as managing a pop bottle. However, as humans we tend to make things more difficult than they need to be.

 

Take the time to identify some ways to slowly release some pressure throughout the day; then begin to do them daily. Don’t forget to find some quiet still time to settle down. Oh, and definitely locate a safe place for you when the emotional fizz is just too much to bear!

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

How to Survive Strong Intense Emotions

emotional storm

Dealing with strong intense emotions can be quite the challenge. However, when you know what to do, then you have more confidence in calming the emotional storm within yourself.

 

The sensations associated with having strong intense emotions are very similar to a really bad weather storm. The strong wind begins to pick up, tossing the leaves from the tree, and scattering them all over the place.  The branches begin to sway back and forth and some are severed from the tree and fall to the ground. The solid trunk and roots stand firm against the terrible storm and helps the tree remain grounded during the difficult storm.

 

What is it that we do when a terrible storm is approaching? Alarms and sirens begin to go off notifying others to withdraw inside and seek shelter. We then withdraw into the safety of our shelters in order to ride out the storm.

 

During an emotional storm we need to do the very same thing….seek shelter deep within!  The thick of the emotional storm is within the brain and chest area…..don’t stay there!

 

We cannot withdraw into our minds or thoughts because they are like the leaves being scattered all over the place. Our chest area is much like the branches swaying back and forth and can be severed from the tree.

 

It’s much too dangerous to remain in your brain and chest area during an emotional storm. Bring your focus down to your navel area (your trunk and roots), the most solid part of yourself, and begin to practice mindful deep breathing.

 

Take a deep breath in, notice the air coming through your nose and become aware of the rise in your abdomen. Exhale deeply and pay attention to the fall of your abdomen. Continue to pay attention to the rise and fall of your stomach area as you breath in and out deeply. Do this for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and the emotional storm will pass through!

 

Don’t wait until the storm has arrived and hope you remember what to do. Give yourself your own emotional storm drills and practice taking refuge deep within, focusing your attention on the rise and fall of your stomach as you engage in deep mindful breathing.

 

Practice and preparation leads to the elimination of fear. Then, the next time you are faced with an emotional storm you are not afraid and can have confidence in knowing that you will survive it!

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

Stop Shaming and Start Shaping

Shaming

Do you know anyone that can undo the past? I certainly don’t! If someone makes a mistake and we tell them what they “should” have done, they will resent us even if we were right. They will resent us, especially if we were right, because they can’t do anything about it.

 

Telling someone what they “should” have done only creates a feeling of helplessness in that person, because they’re feeling shamed and they can’t do anything to erase their error!

 

Striking the word “should” from our vocabulary is easier said than done. Just pay attention to how often you or others use the word “should” and you will see how rampant its use is.

 

It is very important to remember, “shoulding” on someone creates shame. If you are a parent, then you will get to witness countless mistakes made by your children. If you are a teacher, then you will get to witness a number of mistakes by your students. If you are a leader or coach, you will also be faced with addressing mistakes made by your employees, players, and teammates.

 

Creating a shaming experience by using the word “should” will backfire on you in the long run. So, what is a person supposed to say when someone makes a mistake?

 

You have two options to use when faced with addressing a mistake; you can lash out or you can look for the lesson. Remember, that person cannot take back what they had done, the only thing they can do is learn from it. Use the words “next time” or “from now on” or “in the future” to COACH that mistake instead of CRITICIZE it!

 

Instead of telling someone, “You shouldn’t have done that,” use the words “from now on” and then fill in what you would rather have them do. For instance, if a player dropped a game winning pass, instead of saying, “You shouldn’t have looked behind you,” say, “From now on, keep your eyes on the ball.”

 

When you use the words “next time” or “from now on” or “in the future,” the person who made the mistake will no longer be obsessing about what happened and feeling ashamed. Rather, they will be able to turn this moment into a useful experience because that person is focused on how to do it better the next time, instead of why she or he did it wrong this time.

 

The word “should” is the verbal equivalent of a parent shaking an index finger at a child for messing up. Realize that we all make mistakes and that your advice is the difference between “shaming” someone and “shaping” them.

 

Thomas J. Watson, Sr. said it best when he stated, “Failure is a teacher – a harsh one, but the best.” Turn mistakes into teachers and you can become a better, instead of a bitter person.

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

Stop Reacting and Seek the Source

mopping

A teacher had entered his classroom after a long rainy weekend only to find a puddle of water in the middle of the floor. Realizing this was just another bad start to a new school week; he called the janitor and told him what was wrong. The janitor eventually came and mopped up the liquid mess in the middle of the classroom floor.

 

The next morning the same situation happened again! Once again the teacher contacted the janitor who came and mopped up the mess.

 

On the third day, the teacher came to class and found another puddle in the middle of the floor. This time, he was becoming quite frustrated and decided not to contact the regular janitor; he called the head custodian. He expressed his frustration to the custodian saying, “This is the third day in a row this has happened. Could you please come and take care of this?”

 

When the custodian arrived, the teacher noticed that he didn’t even have a mop! The frustration turned to anger as the teacher expressed, “How are you going to mop up this puddle without any mop?”  The teacher then sarcastically commented, “Is it just going to disappear?”

 

The wise custodian just stood silently for a few seconds and then said, “I’m not. I’M GOING TO FIX THE LEAK!”

 

Too often when we are faced with a troublesome situation we become upset. Then we react to what is happening on the surface instead of seeking the source of the problem and fixing that.

 

Take a look at another example. A child becomes disruptive during a church ceremony. The parent becomes upset and reacts to the child’s behaviors, frantically mopping up the puddle only to have it reappear.

 

However, the grandfather who was witness to this situation chose to listen between the lines of the child’s behavior rather than react to it. Therefore figuring out that the child did not have a nap and just needed some rest (the real problem). He took the child in his arms and she rested silently without any disruption.

 

The next time you are faced with a troublesome situation. Remember, instead of getting upset and reacting to the situation (mopping), be sure to seek the source of the problem and fix that (fixing the leak)! The best way to ensure that you are seeking the source is by making sure your mouth is shut and your ears are listening! Listening means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us; either verbally or behaviorally.

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

Facing the Sudden Death of a Loved One

grief and loss

When someone you know is going to die, you have a chance to prepare; at least a little. However, the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one can leave you feeling stunned, lost, and overwhelmed with pain. You may not even know where to begin to cope.

 

Sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult events for anyone to deal with. Anytime you lose someone you love, whether it is sudden or not, it can be challenging. Sudden loss definitely provides a unique challenge as the shock can intensify and complicate the grief.

 

Sudden loss gives you no chance to prepare, leaves you feeling cheated as you never had the chance to say your goodbye’s, and can make the world feel shaky and less safe leaving you feeling fearful, uncertain, angry, and frustrated.

 

At some point in our lives we all will face the death of a loved one. Cultivating fundamental beliefs that you believe to the very core of your soul will help you walk this difficult road.

 

The following is a list of key principles/beliefs to remember when dealing with sudden unexpected loss of a loved one and to deeply embed in the core of your soul as you prepare for such a difficult time:

People do recover from sudden losses and you will too! Grief is well known to mislead you into thinking that you will never recover. Don’t buy this for one minute. It may be a tough road to walk, but as long as you continue walking you will recover.

Love yourself and take special care of yourself while going through grief. Grief is especially gifted at getting you to forget about taking care of yourself. Even remembering to eat and breathe can be difficult at times.

Being strong and brave is important, but never, ever miss an opportunity to cry. Dealing with your feelings in a sensible and honest way will help you to heal.

Remember feelings expressed disappear; feelings repressed don’t. If I were to give you a hot rod of iron to hang onto, you would probably drop it immediately as it began to burn. So, don’t hang on to those feelings as those will burn too!

Get some support and teammates. Seek out a counselor, support group, church group, or any other supportive relationship or group. Walking a road of grief by yourself can be deadly; see out teammates that can help you along the way.

The person you lost would want you to recover from losing them. This is a very critical belief to adopt even before you lose someone close to you. Hang on to this belief tight!

The person you lost would want you to remember and honor them by living a fulfilling life. Grief is tough. You will have some really tough days and nights, but give it your best shot at living and creating a fulfilling life as this can be one of the most honorable ways to remember and honor them.

 

If you are going through a sudden loss of a loved one please remember these critical items as they can help you heal.  However, if you know of someone who is going through such a loss then also keep these in mind as you can become a very valuable teammate for them to heal.

 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.

The Greatest and Most Inexpensive Gift You Can Give

gift

With Christmas right around the corner, many of us are hustling to find that perfect gift for our children and loved ones. During this time, we tend to look outward for that perfect gift. Searching store after store for something we feel that our loved ones may love and remember forever.

However, the greatest gift is not something you will find outside of yourself. Rather, this great gift is found within each and every one of us. It is love! The greatest gift you can give to your children and loved ones is LOVE!

My grandmother had passed away last December. Many things were said of my grandmother. However, the one thing that nearly everyone talked about was that she was the epitome of giving love to others. There is so much I can learn from my grandmother.

Love can be given to others in five different ways (inspired by the Five Languages of Love written by Gary Chapman). However, when using these five ways you must ensure that you are doing them from a place of love and not from a position of want (expecting something in return).

  1. WORDS OF LOVE – using your words to tell someone how much and why you love them is crucial. Giving them some of the most affirming comments that one only dreams of can go a long way. Maybe you write them your own personal Christmas card. In what ways can you use your words to state how important someone is in your life?
  2. AFFECTION – don’t be afraid to be affectionate with those you love. Take your loved ones by the hand and give them a hug. Your children need such love and affection dearly. If you are married, affection becomes a crucial component in staying married. Sometimes, it is just light touching on someone’s shoulder that can make all the difference.
  3. ACTS OF SERVICE – doing something nice for someone. Just remember you must do these things with the spirit of love and not expecting something in return. What can you do for someone you love?
  4. QUALITY TIME – Spending time together is important. For children, be sure you spend time playing with them and being with them. If you are just in the room that doesn’t count. You need to be close and interacting with them. In what ways can you ensure you are spending quality time with loved ones?
  5. GIFTS – yes, giving gifts are also a sign of love. However, be sure to not break the bank or lose your house in the process of giving a gift. Be sure to give a gift with love and not to expect a gift in return. Is there a gift you can give to someone that truly demonstrates your love for them?

For children, our love is the greatest gift we can give to them. Read the following poem that describes this:

Love the Children 

by Dena Barry

Children are so innocent, so pure,

Their minds so curious, yet unsure.

They’re seeking love from you and I,

Do you take time or just past them by?

Are we too busy for a hug or two?

Or even to say, “I love you”?

We tell them of the wrongs they’ve done,

But, what about the battles they’ve won?

Take time to listen to what they say,

Tell them the joy they bring to your day.

Teach them of our Father’s Love,

Is this too much to ask us of?

Take their hand and help them walk,

Try to hear those who cannot talk.

Pick up those too young to crawl,

Don’t be afraid to love them All.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me via email at chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com. I am very appreciative of those that have responded in the past. I invite all of you to feel free to respond and share the articles with as many others as you see fit.

 

Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently accepting new consumers at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or send him an email at: chriss@rhinowellnesscenter.com.