Mindset Family Therapy

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What Do You Want Your Life to Stand For?

10.19.20

Halloween, All Hallows’ Day and Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) are part of family traditions for many. Halloween may be most familiar to you if you were born in the United States. Growing up in Guatemala my family used to celebrate el Día de Los Muertos. At that time families visit cemeteries, eat delicious food and remember their departed loved ones’ lives. Today, I’d like to invite you to think about the Day of the Dead and imagine what your grave will look like after you’re gone. Most importantly, what would the engraving on your tombstone say? Picture your loved ones talking about you and trying to decide what to inscribe. What would they think of you based on the way you’ve spent your time and energy every day of your life?

5 Ways to Cope with Parenting Stress

9.6.20

View original article published in Psych Central– The uncertainty in the world may be getting on your nerves, and the problem is that you are not the only one you need to worry about. Your children can also feel your stress and that can create stressed kids. If you and your children were struggling with anxiety before the pandemic, it has now probably heightened. Summer may have provided some respite, but new worries may be cropping up. What’s a parent to do when there are so many issues to worry about and no chance of knowing with certainty that your feared outcomes won’t come true? Here are a few questions to help you gauge your current stress level: Have you found yourself getting upset by trivial situations? Have you found it difficult

Stressed Out? Take A Breather!

8.17.20

Stress is not new. It has been around since life began. It’s part of our survival mechanism to help us stay alive when we are in danger. However, we live in a time of high pressure and demands, and most recently our stress may have heightened due to COVID-19 and uncertainties in the world. Stress can be different for everyone. There are individuals who may experience chronic stress and anxiety. As soon as they wake up, they start feeling the unpleasant sensations of stress and anxiety in their bodies. When we are stressed, our bodies start feeling tension. We may have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep. Some people may experience headaches, digestion problems, high blood pressure and generalized unhappiness. The question is, are

What to Do with Intrusive Thoughts?

8.13.20

View original article published in Psych Central– If you had a devastating illness and were given one year to live, what would you do? No question there would be grief and plenty of important decisions to make. If it didn’t debilitate you completely, what would you do with your time? Where would you focus your attention and energy? Would you be willing to spend more time with your loved ones despite the pain that shows up? Would you be doing activities that you’ve enjoyed in life or would you stay home lamenting what life would’ve been if you didn’t have this affliction? As mortal beings, we are guaranteed physical, mental and emotional pain. The prospect of getting away from pain is a fantasy, and we all know it. Yet, when we are in the

Learning to Embrace Uncertainty

6.30.20

View original article published in Psych Central– Uncertainty is the reigning emotion during critical times. The response to our feelings may depend on our physical, emotional, and mental health circumstances. The turmoil in the world can surely make for a perfect emotional daily storm. Our protective mind may advise us to curl up in bed and stay there. However, will avoidance provide us with moments of joy despite the turbulence and uncertainty around us? We are constantly being triggered by external signals. We may be aware of how our body and mind respond, but sometimes we may not consciously recognize it. When awareness is absent, we can quickly become entangled with unpleasant and unhelpful thoughts. Uncertainty can take over and pani

Coping with Germophobia in a Pandemic

5.20.20

Annabella Hagen, LCSW, was interviewed and quoted as part of the article, “Coping with Germophobia in a Pandemic”, recently published in BYU’s The Daily Universe. Hagen said a common phrase she hears is, “Being a little OCD,” where the letters “OCD” are used as an adjective. “It’s done innocently, but society needs to understand that OCD is a serious and debilitating illness for many people,” Hagen said. “Their daily distress affects their functioning and quality of life. There is nothing ‘little’ about struggling with this illness.” Read full article here. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Coping with Losses Due to COVID-19

4.2.20

View original article published in Psych Central– Weddings, graduations, business meetings, travel, friends and family gatherings have been interrupted. Some activities we may have been looking forward to have been wiped out or postponed. Some people’s reaction can be anger, anxiety or stress. Others are mourning what could’ve been in sadness and frustration. A friend whose yearly tradition has been to enjoy the national college basketball tournament during March (March Madness) with his sons and their families is lamenting his loss. For his family, March is usually a time to watch their favorite basketball players and teams compete, and most importantly, an opportunity to bond with one another as a family. Many college students have mixed

Connecting to the Here and Now During Uncertainty

3.18.20

If you struggle with uncertainty, the coronavirus crisis and other natural events in the world may only heighten your anxiety. If you tend to obsess about the future, your mind may be going a thousand miles a second providing a myriad of possible scenarios that could come true or not. Indeed, these are unprecedented times. The “what if” thoughts abound among all of us. You are not alone. As you read the news about the virus spreading, the fight-or-flight response is evident. It’s easy to go down the labyrinth of fear. Social distancing is limiting, and this has placed extra emotional stress because of our natural need for human connection. So what can we do? “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time

Mindset Family Therapy

Religious OCD: When faith becomes an obsession as published in BYU’s Daily Universe

2.14.20

Annabella Hagen, LCSW was interviewed and quoted as part of the article. “Imagine being obsessed with your personal worthiness before God — a captive to compulsive thoughts that require engaging in excessive religious behavior to cope. Imagine being weighed down with the constant need to confess sinful behavior to an ecclesiastical leader and unable to accept anything less than perfection…” Read full article here.

Don’t let Scrupulosity Beat You Down!

12.15.19

December can be a time of stress as you hurry to attend Christmas shows, plan parties, finish shopping, send greetings, and help your family and friends complete last minute preparations. Whether you have been practicing the skills you’ve learned in therapy, have just begun treatment, or haven’t yet begun, your scrupulosity OCD may flareup. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 1 Indeed, Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect on your religious beliefs and your relationship with the Lord. However, the season itself may trigger your scrupulosity. Questions may arise regarding your worthiness and God’s love for you. The uncertainty that

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