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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Hunt for Happiness
By Matthew Williams

Before we get started…Good Luck! I say this not as a nuance that you are never going to find happiness, but as a notion that this is a life long journey—one that does not end when you think you have found it. But once you’ve found it, working to keep it will probably show how elusive it can be. With that said, I am going to share something so you can truly grasp the idea of what I mean when I say a life long journey.

I sought some spiritual guidance from someone of prominence in my church. After our conversation, he looked at me and said, “You want eternal happiness? Then say, ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ and say it until you mean it. Until you truly believe it and live it.” I believed, so I thought—no big deal. It was not until after leaving that meeting when the dread fell over me like an avalanche of guilt and sorrow.

People have died in pursuit of the very thing I was told to do. Talk about a reality check! Religious or not, one can appreciate the magnitude of my grief when this hit me: I will never achieve happiness. Simply put! That was until I realized my source of happiness, which we can save for later. However, know this: everyone’s source of happiness is different. It can be your faith, your children or grandchildren, family, friends, artistic abilities…the point is that it changes for everyone and at different stages of your life, both physically and emotionally.

According to the Society of Happy People there are 31 different types of happiness. YES—31 types! But, what is happiness and what does it look like? Happiness, by definition, is the state of being happy and this can take many forms. Think of something you enjoy. Does it bring a smile to your face, butterflies to your stomach, or maybe just a sense of fulfillment? That is, in reality, happiness! It’s everywhere and highly contagious. It is up to us—you and me—to find it.

In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed how ATTENTION is the Essential Ingredient for success. When we succeed at something, it tends to make us happy. By paying attention to our goals and leaving the distractions at the door, we get that much closer to what makes us happy. However, what do we do when we find it (“It” being happiness)? One of the things that I personally believe in, is to simply nurture it and live in the moment, soaking in all the goodness that it brings in your life. Remember two things: 1) Happiness is what we make of it. We are in charge of our happiness—nobody else—and what we do with it is our own choosing. 2) Happiness is a life long journey. It will ebb and flow, and that is ok.

January 15th-21st is the HUNT FOR HAPPINESS WEEK! Yes, a whole week dedicated to happiness. One way or another, it is my mission this week to help share happiness with all of you. So in the comments of this blog post, I will be sharing some funny moments from my own life and trust me, when you come from a rather large family, there is always a story or two to tell. Along with this, I will be posting links to fun little activities you can do and share with your families. Just remember this—happiness is everywhere. It is all around us, and we need to make the most of what life brings to us. If you can smile just once a day, then you are one step closer to becoming the person who you were made to be!

~Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger~
My Happiness:
I was speaking to a colleague of mine, and asked her what made her happy. Her response mirrored in a way, what makes me happy. I said earlier I would disclose what that was. While I love my family, friends, and my faith, what truly makes me happy is knowing I made a difference in someone else’s life. No matter how big or small, to know that I touched someone’s life for the better. This reminds me that my time here will not be for nothing. At the end of the day, I can say, “Jesus I trust in you, to love people, as you love me!”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Does Your "Life Balance Wheel" Resemble a Lumpy Tire?

Beth Healey, Director of Development and Marketing

We all do it from time to time—“fall out of balance.” If we don’t consciously take care of our bodies, manage stress nor seek to enrich ourselves spiritually, emotionally and socially, we risk slipping into a state of unhealthiness.

It can be difficult to identify exactly what is causing us to be out of balance. Mind and body are inseparable. It is not possible to experience whole health and wellness if a part or parts of your whole self are out of balance.

We hope and strive for a lot of things in our lives: a loving spouse and family, a successful career, financial stability, etc. In the midst of our journeys, we inevitably encounter rough spots that can make us feel our efforts are in vain. As a result, we begin to experience self-doubt and negative emotions that hinder us, making our dreams and goals seem that much more impossible to attain. Then, the physical maladies set in. These may include fatigue, headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, digestive problems and the like.* Enrichment, positivity and self-care are suddenly out the window.

When you reach one of those low, frustrating points in your life—and we all do—try putting aside fretting and ruminating on your troubles for a while and concentrate on finding what is out of balance in your life. The “life balance wheel” is a valuable tool to help you discover the answer.
Check out these resources to find out which one works best for you and give it a try:


You might be surprised what you learn about yourself. Better yet, you will have the information you need to develop a plan of action to achieve balance, harmony and peace in your life. Being on a balanced course empowers you to achieve the things that are important to you.

However, sometimes the things that are causing great pain and struggling in our lives are things that we cannot change by ourselves. Identifying the areas of imbalance is a good start, but knowing how to go about making the appropriate changes can seem impossible. You may be overwhelmed, anxious or on the verge of exhaustion. These are strong indicators that you may need professional help.

Getting counseling may be the best thing you will ever do for yourself. Even counselors see other counselors when the need presents itself—just like doctors see other doctors! Below is another valuable link to mental health screening tools to help you evaluate feelings you may be experiencing.


And remember, Samaritan’s caring therapists are only a phone call away at 412-741-7430.
*This is not intended to be medical advice. Please see your physician for your health concerns

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Essential Ingredient

By Matthew A. Williams, Administrative Coordinator, Samaritan Counseling Center

What if I told you that I have failed? More importantly, what if I told you that I have failed multiple times trying to achieve the same goal? Insanity right? (Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.) It may sound familiar. In fact, it is probably safe to say that we all have something in our lives we strive for and no matter how many times we try, we still fall short of our goal. Could it be we are lacking an essential ingredient to help push us over that threshold to greatness and success?
Most of us are currently in that yearly pursuit of greatness in the form of New Year Resolutions. How many times, over and over, do we set the same goal, year after year, and…nothing! What we lack is ATTENTIONthe essential ingredient in our quest for success!

Simply put, our lives are full of distraction. Phone calls, emails, text messages, kids, TV, the never ending trips to the fridge for snacks, and the big one—FACEBOOK! We give these things our time and attention without much thought.
Or, we multi-task, which has a tendency to get us into more trouble than we realize. The fact of the matter is, our attention is strained to the point of catastrophic failure—and who are we failing? Ourselves!
Bonne Artman Fox, a licensed therapist and founder of A Conscious Choice, offers some advice to help us better manage our attention in order to achieve success during the New Year:

·       Clear your desk. Even if you know where things are amidst stacks of papers, clutter slows down your creativity and productivity.

·       Respond to phone calls, emails, or text messages at designated times throughout the day. Your attention is the driver of excellence. Protect it by turning off ringers that may distract you from the task at hand.

·       Leave a daily message on your voice mail greeting about your day. Give an overview of your meetings, appointments, etc. By doing so, you are giving a personal touch to your callers and letting them know when you will be available to return calls.

·       Establish a timeline of how long you will work on projects before you move on to the next. Research shows our concentration is best when we work at 60 minutes intervals, and then take a 5-10 minute break.

By eliminating the clutter (distractions) all around us, we can hone in our attention to the task at hand and maximize our efforts. So go ahead—set a goal, clear your desk off, cut out the distractions and start the New Year off right by managing your attention. Don’t forget to schedule your snack run ahead of time!