Recognizing Our Own Prisons

This man was locked in this small cell for 19 years for a crime he committed. This was a 23 hour per day home for him. He had 1 hour outside the cell every day. No contact with others and no interaction. As if this isn’t sad and painful enough... after his release from prison, he fell apart “not” being in the cell. Life, freedom, and space was too difficult and scary for him to even function. In fact, we all have our own private prisons. Some are known and recognizable; and some are invisible to us.

Have you ever wondered why abuse victims return to their abuser? Essentially, we seek what is known to us even if it is painful or destructive. Our brain essentially finds “comfort” in what is known and familiar to us. This is why breaking cycles and establishing new patterns becomes so difficult.

Take time to notice what patterns are repeating themselves in your life so you can intervene to break the cycle. How are these patterns serving you? Or locking you up? Free yourself, therapy helps.


Social Media and Happiness


Are you observing life or engaging in it? What is social media doing for you? Or to you? Do you watch others on Facebook with regret or envy? Don’t worry…. That is totally normal. According to the Happiness Research Institute, “Five out of 10 people envy the amazing experiences of others who post on Facebook, while one out of three envy how happy other people seem on Facebook, and four out of 10 envy the apparent success of others on Facebook.”

This is only exacerbated by the fact that people are very selective about what they share through social media. According to the same report, ‘69% prefer to post pictures of the great things they experience, and 61% prefer to post their good sides to Facebook’. It makes total sense. But the cumulative effect of only showing the good stuff leads to increased stress, anxiety, and loneliness for the viewer; forcing one to contemplate their ‘ordinary’ lives, which may actually be pretty good.

If you are a part of the 94% of people that check Facebook as part of your daily routine, pay attention to the feelings you have spending time browsing and posting to see if this is enhancing your relationships, or robbing you of true connection and intimacy. Social media is an easy to way to check-out from everyday interactions. But often the connection that we are seeking online is all around us. We just have to be present and look around a little bit.

Try this exercise: Every time you have the urge to check social media, take a breath and think of something you are grateful for instead. Maybe even write it all down at the end of the day. Review this gratitude journal regularly and see if you feel differently.