Image result for Stress happens will when you try to control your life experiences. Relax and remember the only real control you have is over yourself.

I used to say, “Stress is the wear and tear on people over time.”  The above quote definitely clarifies it further.  The key word is “control,” i.e. the business of trying to make things happen according to your expectations.  When they don’t happen that way, usually because you are powerless over something, the result is stress.  People that I have known who have seemed peaceful or serene, have accepted life on life’s terms.  They let go of trying to have life be the way they want it, or think it should be.  Try changing some of your thoughts. Let go of the need to force it to be a certain way.  And this coming Thursday, let the turkey’s tryptophan help a bit!

Have a peace-filled and blessed Thanksgiving!

Peace, John



Image result for god & veteransPlease watch the video by clicking the link below:

If you get an ad, you can skip it!

Image result for Veterans thank you

And to their families, a special Thank You for their sacrifices as well.

May God bless each and every one of them, and you on this very special day!

Enough said!

I wish you peace in who you are and in all that you do!  



Image result for captain of a shipImage result for pirate“Work like a captain, play like a pirate”

Ever since I heard this quote 2 months ago I feel completely different about my work.

It no longer matters what people at work say or do.   All that matters is the job I do.

Captain Lisa

Thank you Lisa for being a guest blogger.  Here’s hoping this quote will have an impact on some others like it had on you. ~jp 

Image result for “I lied and said I was busy. I was busy; but not in a way most people understand. I was busy taking deeper breaths. I was busy silencing irrational thoughts. I was busy calming a racing heart. I was busy telling myself I am okay. Sometimes, this is my busy, and I will not apologize for it.”

Self-care can be time-consuming, but it is better than the alternative.  When’s the last time you did something for yourself?  Most of us are consumed with doing for others, frequently neglecting to also do for ourselves.  If we expect others to do for us, we are likely to end up disappointed.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that we are people too.  We deserve our own care and attention.  We may even be accused of being selfish.  I ask: “is it better to be selfish or selfless?”

You deserve from yourself the same care you offer others.  This is worth your busy-ness (“business?”) and, without apology!

Peace, John

Two reminders this week: 1) turn the clocks back one hour Sat night, & 2) vote on Tuesday.

If you enjoyed this blog post, I urge you to share it with your friends on social media.



Image result for “People can’t drive you crazy unless you give them the keys!” ~ Dr. Mike Bechtle

Can you believe this is the title of a book?  It is!  I haven’t read it.  Rather than pointing the finger at others and calling them words like, lunatic, banshee, idiot, nuts, why don’t you look at why you have relinquished your sense of your self to them?  Just because they have different opinions or beliefs, doesn’t mean you have to agree.  Perhaps you may need to compromise or negotiate with yourself and limit your interaction, or go along for the time being while you find a longer-term way to separate yourself.  Another option is to take their thoughts, or opinions and stop them from coming in.  Allow them to have theirs but shift the focus back onto your self and remind your self what your thoughts and opinions are on the topic and, that you are entitled to them.  Then figure out what if anything you may need to say or do.  In the meantime, keep your keys in your pocket where they belong.  Only use them in the ignition of the vehicle that is you!

Peace, John

Remember, get the date Tuesday, Nov 6th on your calendar and plan on “hiring your government” that day!

In addition to following me on Facebook and Twitter, you can also follow Personal Growth Concepts, Inc. on Facebook (@PersonalGrowthConceptsInc) and on Twitter (@PGCCounseling)





Image result for “Honor the space between no longer and not yet.” ~ Nancy Levin

What a way to look at what’s between the yesterdays and the tomorrows!  Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The Power of Now, discusses being in the “now” which is discoverable by mindfulness.  “No longer is gone” and “not yet” hasn’t come.  When you boil it down, the “now” is what we have.  It’s here and immediate.  What we feel, think, say and do in the “now” is most relevant.  It’s also where we can make changes in our lives.

How do you honor the space between?

Peace, John

I would like to urge you each to register to vote (if needed) and to actually vote on Nov 6th.  Our democracy is counting on you!

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider responding to the question at the end.  I also ask you to consider sharing it with your friends on social media.  Thank you!


Image result for “If you have told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner!” ~ Walter Barbie

Think about how you explain things to others.  How do you know whether they “get it” or not?  Sometimes you can tell by the expression on their face.  Sometimes you have to ask. When they don’t “get it”… what then?

When people aren’t “getting it,” saying the same thing, using the same words over and over doesn’t usually help.  Think about how you can say it differently.  What different words can you use?  How can you explain it differently?  Can you show them how to…?  Can you tell them a story or use an example?  We learn differently and by different ways.  Some do better hearing and others do better seeing.  Still others need to sense in other ways.

What’s your preferred way of learning?  Are you flexible and can you adapt to others’ ways of learning?

If you’re not able to adapt, do you blame the victim or are you the victim of your own lack of adapt-ability?  Who is the slow learner?

Peace, John

I invite you to become a guest blogger.  Find a quote that speaks to you and write a few sentences about it and what it means to you. Send it all to me in an email with subject line reading “Guest Blogger.”  I will review and publish it, with gratitude, and with the hope that others will benefit from it as well.   Peace,  John  


Image result for “It’s like a broken machine. Thoughts go in your head, get stuck and keep going around and around.” ~Megan Flynn

I sometimes ask, “Does it ever seem like your thoughts get going faster than you can catch up to?”  While a positive answer may indicate OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), it could also point to other disorders.  OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder.  A good therapist should be able to screen for OCD.  There are definite genetic factors at play for some.  For many, OCD is manageable with medication and psychotherapy.  Medication helps slow down the unwanted/irrational thoughts and allows the therapy to be more effective.  Support groups and self-help groups are available.  If you have, or know someone who may have the “broken machine” of OCD, why not get unstuck, or help them get unstuck, and have a chance of smoothing out that frantic ride on the hamster wheel?  It can be dizzying; help is available.  Remember OCD is a “disorder” not the person!

Peace, John

You can be a guest blogger.  Find a quote that speaks to you and write a few sentences about it and what it means to you. Send it all to me in an email with subject line reading “Guest Blogger.”  I will review and publish it, with gratitude, and with the hope that others will benefit from it as well.   Peace,  John



Image result for “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~ Brian Tracy

Sometimes getting out of your “comfort zone” can be scary.  May I suggest that you find the edge of your comfort zone and push it just a bit?  If you keep doing this you gradually expand your comfort zone and you can get to where you’re going either way.  Pushing the edges may take longer, and it still involves pushing yourself, not forcing yourself.  It will still be “awkward and uncomfortable” but, perhaps, more manageable.

Are you uncomfortable enough to get out of your boredom? Grow like the little seed, pushing the dirt out of its way and reaching for the warmth of the sun even as it put roots down into the soil.  Rooted in your comfort zone but reaching out for new adventures!  Calculate the risks!  Happy growing!

Peace, John

If you enjoyed this blog post, I urge you to share it with your friends on social media. Thank you!


Image result for “Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.” ~ Chinna Sharma

What’s holding you back? Does it have a grip on you? What power have you given it?

What’s behind you is yesterday, history, over and done with! You can’t change it – are you stuck here letting it change you? What to do?

The above quote says you can reach for what’s in front of you. Our guest blogger last week talked about setting goals. Goals are NOT behind you. Goals are in front of you. Reach for them.

I’ve said before, “If you’re looking backwards, you can’t go forward without bumping into stuff!”

Time for an “About Face?”

Happy reaching!  

Peace, John

 In addition to following me on Facebook and Twitter, you can also follow Personal Growth Concepts, Inc. on Facebook (@PersonalGrowthConceptsInc) and on Twitter (@PGCCounseling)


A DREAM – written down with a date, becomes a GOAL.

A GOAL – broken down into steps, becomes a PLAN.

A PLAN – backed by ACTION, becomes REALITY – A Dream Come True!

A friend sent me this quote and it got me thinking.  Every year on January first people set goals and by February, those goals fall by the wayside.  I know I’m guilty of that.  So, what causes us to lose sight of our goals even when we KNOW we should persevere?  Maybe it’s the language we use.

How do you feel when you hear the word “goal” or “goal setting?”  Now, how do you feel when you hear the word “dream” or “dream come true?”

This quote spoke to me because the language is clear and simple, and I love the idea of making my dreams come true.  “Goal setting” doesn’t speak to me in the same way, it’s not as exciting.

If we tie our goal-setting to our dreams, that’s where the magic can happen; we can make our dreams a reality.  What’s your dream?

Arden H. Church, LMSW

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink….


if the water is around, he might realize how thirsty he is!” ~ John

I’ve been saying this for years.  It’s about trying to control others.  Usually we want somebody else to do something and we get frustrated trying to get them to do it.  People may do “it” for a variety of reasons but frequently they turn passive-aggressive and there’s a price to pay.  When they do what we want them to do, they don’t experience the freedom of choice to do it themselves, in their own time and in their unique way.  Simply stop trying to force them to drink!  Make sure the water is around and as you wait (patience) and see what happens, get on with your own life.  Control yourself.  Take care and nurture yourself.  When you are thirsty, drink.  You may not realize it but, as you get healthier, you are setting a good role model.  If they decide they are thirsty, then they won’t have far to look to figure out how to go about drinking.  If they are in denial about their thirstiness, then you will be well hydrated and healthy!  Stay that way.  Whether they win or lose, you win.  “Them’s good odds.”

Peace, John


Image result for obi wan cannoli

I decided to lighten it up for today. Enjoy your self and share the chuckle(s).

Peace, John


Image result for “Grief is like living two lives. One is where you “pretend” everything is all right, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.

I am currently reading (listening to) a book written by a man who many years ago lost his wife and infant son in a horrible car accident.  More recently, he lost an adult son to the same form of brain cancer that took the life of Sen. John McCain.  He briefly describes the gut-wrenching grieving process.  He indicates, with the right support, attitude and time, you can eventually reach the point where the memory of the one lost initially begets a smile before the sadness.  While this may not be comforting to those whose loss is recent and deep, it offers hope that healing is possible.  The pretending is temporary, eventually blending with the pain.  You will never be the same, but you will be different.

A special thank you today to all who have labored to make this country a wonderful place to live, work and play.  Blessings to you. Have a peaceful and restful Labor Day. ~ John


Image result for "I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay." ~ Iyanla Vanzant

A client once shared that, when he was a kid, whenever he shared a feeling, he was cuffed upside the head or put down and made to feel guilty or “wrong” for having the feeling.  Most of our work focused on helping him figure out what he was feeling, accepting those feelings and then thinking his way through what choices he might make on how to deal with his situation.  It took him a while but he was eventually able to reverse the pattern of denying himself his feelings and gradually, over time, began to find “safe” people with whom he could share them.  “Safe” people are ones who will not ask why you are feeling what you are feeling.  Nor will they invalidate your feelings by telling that shouldn’t feel them.  “Safe” people will acknowledge and accept your feelings, and you, just as you are.

Do you have “safe” people in your life?  Do they help you feel what you feel?  Do they share and acknowledge your okay-ness?  If so, treasure them.  If not, consider getting some as a basic first step in healing yourself.

Peace, John

You too can be a guest blogger.  Find a quote that speaks to you and write a few sentences about it and what it means to you. Send it all to me in an email with subject line reading “Guest blogger.”  I will review and publish it, with gratitude, and with the hope that others will benefit from it as well.   Peace,  John  



“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make a difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it.

That factor is attitude.” ~ William James

Every relationship has conflict; it’s what you do with it that makes the difference.

Always sweat the small stuff. 

Allow yourself the luxury of saying in an even, matter of fact tone what you want/think and why.

Take a moment to pause and listen to the other person.

Before you say anything negative, take a deep breath.

Believe there is a solution and you will notice progress.


Respectfully submitted,

Carrie Lee Henderson, MSW, LCSW


A special thank you to our own Carrie Lee for her contribution to our blog. If you like this blog, please share it with your friends and encourage them to sign up and follow us at:

The following excerpt is from the book, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat–Zinn

After discussing depression as being primarily focused on the past and anxiety, being mostly focused on the future, the authors go on as follows:

“During such a mental time travel, we can easily forget that we are in the present, as we get into thinking about past or future situations. Instead, we become absorbed within those ideas of past or future as if we were actually there. We often relive remembered emotions or pre-live anticipated ones. Not only do we remove ourselves from the only reality that we can directly experience, the here and now, but we also suffer the agonies of events that are either long past or may never actually happen…. In this way, little by little, moment by moment, life can slip by without us being fully here for it. Always preoccupied with getting somewhere else, we are hardly ever wear we actually are and attentive to what is actually unfolding at this moment.”

A special thank you to George D for sharing this excerpt with me. I believe it’s the best supporting documentation that I’ve heard for my technique of, “be here now, [your name].”

Please consider sharing this post on your social media.  Thank you.  Peace, John

Image result for “It’s so difficult to explain depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not just sadness.” ~J.K. Rowling

It’s more complicated than “just sadness.”  It can be a whole cluster of feelings.  It’s involuntary.  No one decides to “be depressed.”  It’s often overwhelming and it may have physical, psychological and social causes and implications.  Physically, there may be serotonin and other biochemical imbalances or disease related causes and symptoms.  Physical symptoms can include sleep disturbances, poor or excessive appetite, weight gain or loss.  Psychologically one can feel tired, irritable, moody, blocked from enjoying things they usually enjoyed and powerless to effect change.  Socially one can feel withdrawn, uninterested in other’s company and frustrated trying to keep up a happy face when expected.

If you or someone you love is depressed, know that help is available and effective in the majority of cases.  Being properly diagnosed and treated is important.  Find a knowledgeable licensed mental health professional to meet with or, discuss it with your primary care doctor.  Help is within reach!

Peace, John

In addition to following me on Facebook and Twitter, you can also follow Personal Growth Concepts, Inc. on Facebook (@PersonalGrowthConceptsInc) and on Twitter (@PGCCounseling)



Image result for “Life is like a piano. The white keys are happy days, and the black keys are sad ones. Just remember that you need both to make music.”

Are you constantly playing Chopin’s Black Key Etude?  He wrote the piece of music using only the black keys of the piano.  Try checking it out on YouTube.

While you can make music on just the black keys, it lacks the depth, inspiration and flexibility of the full keyboard.  Balance is needed, in music and in life.  As you reflect on this simile, remember there are more white keys on a piano than black.  Are you playing your life in the proper balance?

Peace, John

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to share it with your friends on social media.


Image result for “There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”

There are two quotes today as we focus on improving our communication.  I was recently admonished by a client for not responding quickly enough.  I saw that as a compliment; I’m sure he did not!  Often, we are too busy formulating our response before the speaker has finished.  Slow it down.  Give it your full attention (I am super guilty of not doing this!).  Think about it before you respond – otherwise you are “reacting.”  You may even want to check that the message the other person sent is the same as you received.  To do this, you ask a question, like, “so I heard you just tell me that…. Is that correct?”  This will help reduce misunderstandings.  If you didn’t get it correct, it’s time to clarify before moving ahead.  If you did get it correct then you can share your thoughts.  To help the conversation continue, end with a question, inviting a response.  Happy communicating!

Peace, John Image result for “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”


You can be a guest blogger.  Find a quote that speaks to you and write a few sentences about it and what it means to you. Send it all to me in an email with subject line reading “Guest Blogger.”  I will review and publish it, with gratitude, and with the hope that others will benefit from it as well.   Peace,  John  





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