San Francisco, CA (PressExposure) June 07, 2009 -- Americans have a lot to be stressed about these days. The newspapers present doom and gloom scenarios of mass lay-offs, foreclosures, an abysmal Dow Jones, bank failures and the list goes on. Meanwhile, the average American is struggling to pay for the basic necessities of life, juggle family and work priorities and maintain a sense of personal satisfaction in the midst of the maelstrom. Not everyone can afford counseling sessions with a psychiatrist to iron out self esteem issues and obtain prescriptions for depression, but enlisting the help of a life counselor is a much more cost-effective solution. A life counselor gives the individual that extra push to escape the destructive cycle of negative thinking that leads to unhappiness.
âYour thoughts dictate your behavior,â explains life counselor Marla Sloane, Ph.D. of San Francisco, California, âand when you change your thought patterns, you will be changing your behavioral patterns as well. Altering your behavior will change your life.â
There are a number of ways a life counselor can help Americans stuck in a rut. âWhen the tide has changed, and we are not as abundance as we once were, it is not a sign of failure,â Sloane says, âit is a time to learn. This is the time we can expand our consciousness and look beyond the material.â
Sometimes the lessons arenât immediately clear and it takes a fresh insight to help illuminate the path. Through one-on-one consultations, Marla Sloane helps her clients learn how to take responsibility for their mistakes, make better choices in the future and reshape their future with a more positive outlook.
Teaching stress relief techniques is another way a life counselor can transform American lives. According to Mayo Clinic, stress is a leading factor in Heart Disease, Insomnia, Digestive Problems, Depression, Obesity, Memory Impairment, and the worsening of skin conditions like Eczema. Moreover, the continuous stream of cortisol and adrenaline weakens our immune systems, putting us at risk for a number of other illnesses.
âThe key to relaxation is, first and foremost, your intention to relax,â Sloane tells her clients, âand to find the technique for you and your lifestyle.â
For some of her clients, the answer is mental imagery and visual meditation, which is aided through her CDs: The Mind, Body and Spirit, Trilogy of Meditations. For other clients, stretching, exercising or taking a hot bath eases tension. A third class of clients have thought patterns that exacerbate their stress levels and must learn to redirect the mind through positive affirmations, which she teaches in counseling sessions, teleclasses and seminars. The power of positive thinking is also discussed in her book The Masks We Wear And How To Live Without Them.
Relationships are a third area to enlist a life counselor to help. Whether itâs a child, a spouse, an in-law, a friend, a partner, a neighbor or a coworker, having smooth relationships makes life so much more manageable.
âGiving and receiving love is probably the most important element in achieving happiness,â Sloane explains. âIt has been said that we are motivated by two emotions; love and fear. If we choose to bring more love into our lives, we are happier, healthier, and fulfilled.â Remaining neutral and in control of oneâs emotions doesnât usually come natural; itâs an acquired skill that can be learned like a foreign language or riding a bike. We can learn to stop our emotions from escalating, to listen more efficiently, to say what we mean in a clearer fashion and to diffuse another personâs negative emotions to achieve a more effective resolution.
With the help of a life counselor and techniques like hypnotherapy, individuals can lose weight, quit smoking, stop destructive cycles, regulate sleeping patterns, calm anxiety, relieve stress, overcome depression, identify weaknesses, illuminate strengths and change negative thoughts into positive life directions.