Shepherd Way Counseling

Contentment Gives You a More Meaningful Life

Contentment is acceptance with where you are in life today. Being content is not having a lack of desire. It’s important to know the difference between goals and contentment. When you chose contentment, you can be at peace with your situation while believing there are good things to come.

Happiness is an inside job! Our culture pushes us to want more. There is nothing wrong with having a desire for a bigger home, nicer vehicle, a serious relationship, a higher paying job, the latest technology, or quarantine to end. I encourage growth in all areas. I have my own vision board.  What’s wrong is if you push contentment off until you have those things. External things give you temporary happiness. Do you remember when you got a higher paying job or the person you were pursuing became your significant other? Later you returned to your same stagnant mindset. Being discontent with your circumstances can spark anger, jealousy, depression, anxiousness. If you are not choosing contentment today you are slowing your growth.

Stop Comparison! Comparing yourself to others will still your joy. Choose to be inspired by others instead. Don’t worry about how green someone’s grass is. Water your own! Learn how to make your grass green. Heck, hire professional lawn care if you want. When you focus on your own desires while remaining inspired by others your grass will grow. It can be the most perfect color of green.

Be Grateful! Gratitude expedites growth as well as self-improvement. There is something you can find to be grateful for today. You are living if you are reading this so start there. Do you have a roof over your head? Have you eaten in the last twenty-four hours? I am certain most of you can name ten things you could choose to be grateful for today. For the ones who named one. I am proud of you for naming one. You are on your way to growth. I had a previous client years ago who had been released from prison with no support. He spent most of his life in foster care.  He never knew his biological family. He made the decision he would do whatever it took not to go back to prison. He started off living in a tent while he walked to his two jobs. He remained grateful for the two different companies that gave him an opportunity of employment. He didn’t focus on what he didn’t have, he focused on what he had. He saved his money and bought his own transportation. He was able to rent a place he now owns. When I get in my own pity party sometimes, I find inspiration in people like him and many others who chose gratitude over giving up.

Until Later,


Don’t Wait For The Pandemic to be Over Before You Decide to Choose Joy

Believe me, I understand the seriousness of the Coronavirus. Last week,  I woke up for the first time ever in my life having to do deep breathing exercises to calm my anxiety. I woke my husband up explaining I was having a hard time breathing and I wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack, anxiety attack, or caught the Coronavirus virus. My husband should write a book about me, I am sure it would be entertaining.  I was able to calm down within a few minutes from deep breathing exercises and get my thoughts straight. Since figuring out my anxiety was at an all-time high, I have been able to keep myself balanced and on track. You can too. You are not alone. Many people are feeling unsafe, expressing distress, having trouble sleeping, and difficulty balancing work-life issues. 

Focus on what you can control: When things are out of our control it makes us anxious. You can control how many times you wash your hands, what you touch, who you are near, what you get accomplished today, how much exercise you do, what you put in your mouth, what to invest your time in, who you decide to contact, the way you treat others, etc. Put your energy toward what you can control and you will be much more effective. 

Have a plan for your day: You feel better when you get things accomplished. Get ideas from the people in your home, your friends, people you admire, your own head or heart.  If you don’t set any goals this epidemic will be over and you will be at the same place you were when it started if not worse. Get moving on something you always wanted to learn. 

Meditation or mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness are about focusing on the present. When you focus too much on the past you feel depressed. Focusing on the future can make you anxious. Use your senses to keep you in the present; what you see, hear, feel, taste, smell. One of my favorite mediation breathing exercises is the  4-7-8 technique. Breathe in through the nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat for four cycles. Once you make meditation a habit it can help you find your inner balance and grow spiritually.

Take a break from the news, social media: Adults, teens, and children should limit their daily screen time.  You can always be updated by visiting the CDC site https://www.cdc.gov/. North Carolina friends can visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19 . It is important to stay informed, but focusing too much time on the Coronavirus will create more anxiety. 

When we are powerless, fear and uncertainty set in. Find your power. You can still make the decision to choose joy. Deciding to be joyful isn’t enough, you must put action behind your decision. My daughter is home from college because of the Coronavirus. Our family has eaten at our kitchen table together more in the last weeks than we probably have in the last two years she has been gone. Find things to be grateful for. 

Until Later, 


Think Straight to Find Your Purpose Faster

Shepherd Way Counseling derives from my maiden name Shepherd. Many times people assume I offer Christian counseling and ask about my faith. I am a Christian, but I always make clear I am not a Christian counselor. As a licensed clinician, I ethically cannot and do not project my own beliefs onto other people. I help people of all faiths. I have learned a lot through others, but mostly we are way more similar than different. 

Christianity encourages “the renewal of our mind.” I mainly use cognitive behavioral therapy in my practice. So I assist in helping individuals understand how thinking affects feelings that contribute to behavior.  

I understand psychology through both undergraduate and graduate education. Psychology explains the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a belief or expectation that you hold which can influence the outcome. Meaning if you think you will never be successful you more than likely won’t.

Universal laws teach us that as you think, so shall you be. This means that positive energies, thoughts, and vibrations attract positive things into your life; and negative energies, thoughts, and vibrations attract negative things to you.

No matter your belief, the moon affects the tides and it shines only by reflecting the sun. You can truly shine when you realize how your thoughts and feelings are affecting you. You can learn to control your thoughts. You have power over your life through your thinking.  

We have up to 60,000 thoughts per day. According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of those are negative and 95% are repetitive. Therefore, most people think more negatively than positively. Cognitive behavioral therapists call them ANTs, automatic negative thoughts. You don’t even realize you are replaying your negative thoughts which are causing anxiety. A negative thought cycle can become a habit like knowing how to ride a bike without having to think about it. If you are doing this you are STUCK, not growing. Fear can immobilize you. 

All of the above beliefs tell you to be aware of your words and thoughts and envision a positive outcome no matter your situation. If you are experiencing more anxiety than usual, you are focusing too much on a negative outcome of the future. There is no way to know exactly how your future is going to unfold, so worrying about it is wasting your time and making you feel miserable. Stop it! People are too worried about “how” and not focused on what they can accomplish today. God gives us grace for each day. If you are carrying worry it is a burden you were never meant to carry. The universe and science say all you have is now. Stressing yourself to the point of insanity is not helping anyone. Watch your thoughts and words. Change them when necessary. Be grateful for your life today believing it can get better.

 Until later, 


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