How Else Can You Say “Good Job?”


Who doesn’t love to hear that they are doing well? Whether you are an employee who likes a pat on the back after putting in the hours for a big project or a spouse who likes to be appreciated for taking the trash out - being noticed feels nice. Praise and encouragement are huge components to a healthy relationship. Although, before you say “good job” next time I want you to reconsider how you word your gratitude.

The issue…

“Good job” puts the focus on praising the outcome, but it can be way more powerful to build up someone’s effort and the process they went through to get something accomplished.

When we focus on the end result we then condition people to only feel worthy if they succeed, accomplish or complete. But, there are so many other qualities and attributes more important than finishing a task!

If you are not sure where to begin, here are some alternative options of praise:

  • I loved watching how you persisted

  • You were really focused!

  • I can tell you took your time

  • How did you do that?

  • What made you choose to do it that way? So inventive

  • You are a hard worker

  • I could see that was tough but you stuck with it

  • How do you feel? I noticed you kept trying even when it was difficult

If you are the type of person who loves to achieve, this could be a tough mental switch - but I think you’ll find the more you get comfortable saying it to others, the more the internal dialogue in your own brain will reflect the switch too!

How to Calm Down


Overstimulated? Overworked? In need of a break after the holiday break?

There are so many things vying for our time, attention, and money this time of year it can be overwhelming. If you need a mental break, here are some ways you can calm your central nervous system down and breathe into the holiday season.

1. Humming
This can become almost meditative as you connect into your body and hum low, consistent tones. It also encourages breathing as you engage in your diaphragm and connect to your body.

2. 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding
5 things you can see around you
4 things that you can touch around you
3 things you can hear around you
2 things that you can smell around you
1 thing that you can taste around you

3. Take a bath
Water has restorative properties, but on top of that the full-body ease into hot water relaxes your muscles and forces you to sit still within the moment. Add epsom salt, candles, and aromatherapy or essential oils to add to the ambiance.

Of course, there are multiple reasons this time of year can cause anxiety and if you find yourself needing to speak with someone about it, feel free to call my office and book an appointment, my door is always open.

5 Examples of Non-Physical Compliments


With the holidays approaching it can be tricky navigating conversations with family members - especially those you haven’t seen in some time. Over the course of a year people can change in their physical appearance and sadly there is a social precedent to comment on those changes. But, here is why that can be dangerous to speak about or make note of either way…

“Oh wow, you have lost weight, you look GREAT!”
Society glorifies and amplifies weight loss, regardless of whether or not the individual had a healthy avenue to it.

That individual could have gone through a very messy break-up and had no appetite due to the grieving of the loss. The weight could have come off in an unhealthy manner but now being complimented on it, they could think that people approve of them more now so why not continue the unhealthy eating patterns?

“I know I gained some weight at Thanksgiving and really need to work it off ASAP. I wish I could be as disciplined as you.”

We in a Westernized area are conditioned to believe weight gain is a sign of laziness or lack of discipline.
What if instead you thought of the weight gain as a natural follow up to an enjoyable day with friends and family? That life is all about balance and you don’t always have to restrict yourself in order to be “healthy” but occasional indulgence is a sign of a healthy life too.

If you are not sure how to compliment someone without noting on their outward appearance, here are some suggestions:

  1. You lighten up every room you walk into

  2. Your confidence is something I aspire to have

  3. I consistently learn from you

  4. The way you treat people is beautiful

  5. Your authenticity gives me the freedom to be myself

When in doubt, if you think of something kind to say - say it! But, ask yourself “is this a compliment about who this person truly is, or just what they look like?”


Don’t Force an Apology


Most of us remember a moment like this when we were a kid…

We hurt our sibling or take a toy from another child at the park causing them to get upset, then the parents come over and tell us to “Say you’re sorry!”

While, in theory this is absolutely the right response - we wronged someone else and need to make amends to repair the relationship. YET, if you are forcing someone to say something they don’t really feel or believe then it can cause issues later on. Children then internalize that when they make a mistake or harm someone that “Well, I don’t really mean the words I am saying, so when someone else apologizes to me they probably don’t mean it either.”

What are some alternative ways we can help teach children - and ourselves - to make amends when we aren’t feeling remorseful?

Offer suggestions:

You could help her up

You can give him a hug

You can ask them to play with you

You could draw them a picture

You can give him the toy back

These are elementary options but it translates to a larger picture of doing something out of our authentic selves as opposed to being told we “should” do something. Over time, it will also feel more natural as opposed to being forced into something.

I want to add the caveat that these are for trivial and middle-of-the-road issues, but that larger long-standing problems should be addressed head on and sorted through. But, I don’t know about you, the smaller ones come up far more often than the big blows do! Hope you find this helpful as you navigate the ins and outs of relationships, both with children and adults. 

Within 48 Hours


There is a quote circling the internet lately that says “If it still bothers you within 24 hours, speak up within 48 hours.” There is so much truth and wisdom in that message. I wanted to unpack it more together as we identify how to live out that concept.

If it still bothers you within 24 hours...

Firstly, it shows us that if something bothers us we don’t necessarily need to act immediately. If anything, that would be “reacting” immediately to the instance that upset us. It encourages us to take time to reflect, sleep on it, and identify whether or not this issue is something that really does need to be discussed or if it was something that arose out of the heat of the moment. So, give it time, let yourself think about other things in the meantime and circle back to what was bothering you.

Speak up within 48 hours…

Once you have identified that this is something to be addressed - don’t let it fester! The more time we have to mull over what wronged us, who upset us, what happened against us, etc. then the bigger the story we build in our head to blow it out of proportion. Then, if there is a longer span of time we are facing a romanticized and larger version of the incident versus what actually happened.

Sometimes we can be so blinded by our own past hurt or trauma it can be hard to identify what matters are worth discussion. In that arena, it can be helpful to talk to either a trusted friend or professional therapist. Someone with an outside perspective can help you shape your perspective on what occurred with a third party lens of objectivity which is easier said than done when you have your own emotions involved!

The Power of Salt Water


The cure for anything is salt water, sweat, tears, or the sea.

- Isak Dinesen

Although salt water may not exactly be the cure-all for everything, there is so much truth to this quote by Isak Dinesen. Here are three powerful ways that you can utilize salt water to help regulate your nervous system.


The physical connection to your body has huge effects on your mental health. Releasing toxins, producing endorphins, promoting better sleep, improving mood, weight loss, muscle recovery, heart health etc.

Whether you choose to do a run around your neighborhood or play outside with your kids, getting active in your body can be healing.


Crying is the first thing a baby does once they are born. It is completely natural and a way to communicate needs, feel the physical sensations in your body, release tension, and honor your body’s natural cues and needs.

As a Western society we don’t always value tears, especially if you identify as male it can be seen as not masculine to cry and show any vulnerability. But, cutting off one's sense of self and emotions only leads to further pain. It is healing to cry, to feel, to know yourself!


“Science says that walking barefoot helps us absorb negative ions from the earth, and due to the direct physical contact, it allows a vast supply of electrons from the surface of the earth, similar to what lighting up Himalayan pink salt lamps do.” (Resource)

The calming sounds of the ocean tide pulling in and out from the beach also mimics the familiar sounds from in utero when we were infants which instantly calms us.

So why not try one of the three ways to access salt-water sometime this week? You never know, you may just feel better afterwards!

What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?

Many of us grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood on TV. It was a safe program for kids to learn about how to handle real life issues in an age appropriate way. Even years down the line, the truths of what was taught still ring true.

One episode in particular Mr. Rogers sings a song called “What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?” about how to handle a big emotion like anger.

How many of us adults still need help learning how to deal with this?

The lyrics talk about how it feels in the body to be angry - how you want to punch a bag or pound some clay. It mentions how when we are mad we want to do things that we know are wrong purely out of emotion.

It then transitions to helping kids feel their power that they are still in control of their bodies and their minds - “I can stop when I want to, I can stop when I wish.” That is a powerful thing to note when we are angry, to acknowledge these feelings can feel overwhelming but they are just feelings.

It may be easier said than done to just “stop” so here are some other practical tips of how to channel or transition our anger in the moment, even as adults:

  1. Take a deep breath and count to 10

  2. Notice your 5 senses (name out loud something you can see, tase, touch, smell, and hear) to ground yourself into your body

  3. Work on calming down. You may think that channeling the anger into a workout would be beneficial but in the opposite effect it keeps arousal levels high and prolongs the feelings.

  4. Don’t suppress your emotion, but instead journal and address what is making you angry.

  5. Listen to the Mr. Rogers song. It’s hard to stay mad when you hear the soothing melody!

For some, anger can be a hereditary trait that was observed and learned without any boundaries and may be tougher to calm down. If that is the case, I would suggest seeking a professional therapist to help you with your own specific coping mechanisms. We can help give you the tools that, over time, can help make those big feelings more manageable.