All posts by cmsadmin



Diet is so importantDiet is so important in the all-around functioning and health of our bodies. They are linking diet with more and more ailments and find that changing our eating habits to eat cleaner and eating the recommended portion sizes can change our health around and aid in combating various diseases and problems.

by Dr. Chris Mathe

Making small changes in what we eat can make a big difference in our physical, mental, and emotional health.


  • Food basics
  • Where to start?
  • Tracking and goals
  • Staying motivated

Diet – Food Basics

  • We truly are what we eat. Health is what we are after.
  • What we know:
  • The benefits of changes accrue immediately.

Diet – Where to Start?

  • Our goal is to change our relationship with food – Not find the next fad diet.
  • Making small, incremental changes leads to a habit that will last the rest of our lives.
  • Talk with a doctor or nutritionist. Identify areas in your diet that have the most room for increased health.
  • Any sustained movement along the lines of “what we know” will make a difference in our health.
  • Start small and incrementally. Use the tools in the next two sections.

Diet – Tracking and Goals

Diet – Staying Motivated

  • Make it routine; Think in terms of “The Zone.”
  • Get a buddy or buddies.
  • Join a support group.
  • Track it! Plan it!
  • Establish goals.
  • Know your “why.”


  • The effects start today
  • Start small
  • Make it a practice
  • Work on self-compassion



by Dr. Chris Mathe

ConnectionConnecting with safe others – friends, family, and support groups – is vital to our physical, mental, and emotional health.


  • Huge benefits to social connection
  • Where to start?
  • Long term view
  • Getting help

Connection – Huge benefits

  • Improved quality of life: Social connection is a greater determinant of health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.
  • Boost mental health: Increases in social connection increase sense of belonging, purpose, happiness, self-worth, and confidence. insufficient social support increases mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
  • Longer Life: Individuals with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival.
  • Decrease risk of suicide: Relationships can play a crucial role in protecting a person against suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Connection – Where to start?

  • Start by looking inward: What interests, hobbies, and personalities do you like? Become active in your community; volunteer; join a club or social organization.
  • If you meet a potential friend: Create opportunities to spend time together. Relationships require time and effort. Forming strong, healthy relationships with others means opening up, actively listening, and being open to sharing what you’re going through.

Connection – Long-term view

  • Much as we may dislike it, relationships come and go
  • Life circumstances and personality needs change
  • An engaged life means constantly forming potential friendships
  • Seeking ways to improve self and becoming a good listener could be helpful

Connection – Getting help

  • Some people, for a variety of reasons, have trouble forming and keeping relationships
  • Often experiences in our pasts make us afraid of connection – potential loss, hurt, or betrayal
  • Being an introvert does not mean disliking connection
  • Often a therapist, men’s or women’s group, or a spiritual group can be helpful

Connection – Summary

  • Social connections are as important as any of the Big 5 for our physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Start with the types of people and the activities that draw you and keep at it
  • If you are having trouble, seek help


Social Connection Definition | What Is Social Connection (

Social Connection Boosts Health, Even When You’re Isolated | Psychology Today

Lifeline (



by Dr. Chris Mathe, PhD

Cultivating more acceptance and awareness of one’s feelings, thoughts, body sensations, and surroundings can substantially decrease anxiety and increase peace.


  • What is it?
  • Why “cultivate” it?
  • Where do I start?

Mindfulness – what is it?

  • Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity.
  • Mindfulness helps us cultivate the “observer” in us where we can build the capacity to notice more of what is happening inside and outside of us.
  • It is a practice of accepting – not pushing away or chasing – our thoughts and feelings.
  • Exactly like maintaining physical health with regular practice that builds structure, mindfulness practice helps build emotional health by building structure.

Mindfulness – why cultivate it?

  • Mindfulness can support and sustain you, by helping you manage the stress of today’s world.
  • The American Psychological Association shares research on a range of benefits of mindfulness, including stress reduction, boosts to working memory, increased focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, more relationship satisfaction
  • More than the health benefits, mindfulness can help us develop our deeper human capacities for awareness, attention, empathy, kindness, and compassion.

Mindfulness – where do I start?

In Summary…..

  • The effects start today.
  • Start small.
  • Make it a practice.



Christmas Blog


Jonathan Venn, Ph.D.

The novelist and short-story writer Mary Flannery O’Connor famously said of her home in the southeastern U.S., “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”

That describes how I feel about Christmas in the United States of America.

Americans take all their goodwill and good wishes and shove them into one brief holiday season.

People being who we are, creates inevitably a sort of mental trap.  It is an opportunity once a year to check and see how much our loved ones really care about us.  How many presents will they give us?  How much money will they spend on us?  Will they send a card?  Will they remember to call?  Will they tell us that they love us?

Accompanying these cultural expectations — which I have never found in the New Testament — comes the almost-inevitable converse:  the Christmas snub.  When loved ones do not give us the right present, or don’t spend enough money, or don’t send a card, etc., we get our feelings hurt.  Every year we get this one opportunity to check out our families and test their love for us.  I do not think this is what Christ intended.  How nice it would be if, instead, we would just love each other every day, all year long, in a Christ-filled way!  It might be better than getting a Christmas card.



Creating Affirmations

Affirmations are one of the most powerful ways to help us change the way we feel at any particular moment. Unlike a general statement of “positive attitude,” an effective affirmation is a custom-designed statement that specifically targets your particular negative core beliefs. Since affirmations are, by their very nature, very personal statements, you can create and change your affirmations to suit your present situation and needs.

An effective affirmation has several basic characteristics

  • It is positive
  • It is true
  • It is stated in the now–present tense
  • It is brief and concise
  • It uses active language

Here’s how to create an effective affirmation

  • Identify 2-3 negative beliefs (e.g. I’m stupid, I’m unlovable, and I’m not good enough)
  • Find the words or phrases that are the opposites of the negative beliefs and are true about you (e.g. I’m smart; I’m lovable; and I’m more than good enough)
  • Arrange these words and phrases into a short statement that feels right to you – a statement that “sings” to you (e.g. I am a smart and lovable man who is more than good enough).

You can create affirmations for your general life and affirmations specifically designed for a particular challenge in your life. All you have to do is start with the particular negative beliefs – the negative statements you say about yourself – with regard to the challenge you are facing. Then just do the next two steps above to create the affirmation.

Here are a couple of great resources on the subject

20 Positive Affirmations You Can Use to Inspire Your Life (

An Attitude Of Gratitude Daily Journal: 80 Positive Affirmations +60 Things To Be Grateful For In Life: Books, Red Wheel: 9798530729041: Books

Want to improve your life?

Improve your life

Five Simple Things to Improve Your Life


  1. 10 minutes of meditation

The research is very clear on the benefits of meditative practice to physical and emotional health. One of many apps available towards this end is Headspace. It is a Mindfulness-based meditative approach that is simple and very accessible. The first 10 meditations are free and can be repeated as much as you want. If you subscribe (about $100 per year), you have access to thousands of hours of meditations directed at a vast array of life situations and goals. Meditation and Sleep Made Simple – Headspace

  1. Get 8 hours of sleep

Again, the research on the need for 7-8 hours of sleep is undeniable. Finding ways to rearrange one’s routine to generate more sleep is a very high payoff activity.

  1. Write down 5 things you are grateful for

We are what we spend our energy and time on. By making a habit of purposely noticing what is right with your world; what you are grateful for, we realign how we experience ourselves and our world.
Benefits of Journaling –

  1. Perform an act of kindness

Similar to number 3 above, by purposely performing an act of kindness, we realign and build structure in our brains to see the world and ourselves more positively.

  1. Move your body

Our bodies are made to move. Any increase in the movement of our bodies improves multiple bodily functions.

Improve your life!

Credit: Chelsea Bagias, PsyD.

Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks – What Are They?

Panic attacks are a set of symptoms that come on suddenly, putting your body into a “red flag alert” stance. The symptoms build to a peak rapidly, usually in ten minutes or less, although it can feel much longer. The common theme of the feelings and symptoms is one of impending doom and intense fearfulness or nervousness.

What are typical bodily symptoms?
  • racing or pounding heart
  • sweating, flushing, or feeling chilled
  • chest pains or tightness
  • difficulty getting your breath or a sense of smothering or choking
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, tingling, or numbness
  • trembling or shaking
  • nausea or abdominal discomfort
What are typical feelings and thoughts during a panic attack?

The overriding feeling is one of fear. People who have panic attacks say they feel like something awful is going to happen at any moment. They may also feel disconnected to their surroundings. Some people have described it as feeling like they are in a bubble. Others have said that suddenly nothing feels real. They feel out of control and may even fear that they will die. They may also be afraid of “going crazy” or starting to scream or run or do something embarrassing.

Can panic attacks kill me or make me go crazy?

NO! Even though it may feel that way, a panic attack will not give you a heart attack and it will not kill you, and it will not go on forever. And panic attacks are not the beginning of going crazy. They are panic attacks, pure and simple. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates at least 3 million Americans will have panic disorder at some time in their lives.

What causes panic attacks?

Some people seem especially vulnerable to panic attacks. Sometimes anxiety problems, including panic attacks, seem to run in families. Your nervous system may be easily triggered. We also know that chronic stress can contribute to all kinds of problems with anxiety, including panic attacks. According to one theory, in panic disorder, the body’s normal alarm – it’s “fight or flight” reaction, may be triggered unnecessarily. Sometimes the first attack can also be triggered by a change in the body, such as a serious illness or even a medication.

I think I have panic attacks, and I’m worried about what others will think. I’ve started to avoid people.

Starting to avoid people and places is very common for people who have panic attacks. Many times, they have told no one about their experiences. But to get support and help, you must tell someone. Consider talking with your doctor or a family member or friend. You can explain what you have learned about panic attacks.

I think I’m also getting depressed and I’ve started drinking to calm my nerves.

Secondary depression is common in sufferers of panic attacks. Once you get help, the depression may lift. If not, there is good, effective help for your depression as well. Many people start to “self-medicate” when they are feeling bad and don’t know where to turn. Of course, this only adds an additional problem. And drinking or abusing drugs will not stop panic attacks.

What help is there for panic attacks?

It is very important that you see a qualified, experienced professional to treat your panic attacks. The disorder will seldom go away by itself and may in fact worsen. A professional will assess your unique situation and together you will agree on a treatment plan.

For more information on panic attacks, please visit

The Mayo Clinic

Poem – My son moving into his freshman dorm

Graduation capA big step in many families is when children go off to college. This poem is a reflection on my son’s first day at college. He had written a poem regarding looking at the heavens and commanding the stars.

My son moving into his freshman dorm

I watch the stars tonight and listen.
The same stars you command to streak and to speak.
And they are different this night.
They speak of endings and beginnings.
Of doors closing and of millions of others opening.
So many wonderous possibilities.
I struggle for words
To tell you how I feel.
All the clichés apply
Analogies, fallacies… realities:
Leave the nest, passed the test, get no rest,
I remember when…
You were young then…
Pitcher, catcher, homerun hitter.
New school, new friends, new life…
The cycle starts again.
Each time stronger, wiser…
It never ends.
Mostly I feel joy for you
Your excitement splashes on me
And your new room and new life.
I expected sadness for the loss.
For the son gone.
But instead I feel the world so full of new things.
Of possibilities abounding for you…and me.
I feel so much pride
For the wonderful soul you are.
Not for the heights you will reach
But for the hearts you will touch.
And if there is sadness
It is not about loss or Should’ves or Could’ves.
You are perfect the way you are.
No–the sadness comes
When I think of my parents
Who never got to see you become the man you are.
They missed so much:
The scholar, the athlete, the independent soul.
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time”
I think I am catching on.
Each cycle of life brings its own challenges.
Its own ups and downs.
You’ve help me cherish the path so far.
Paths, passages, potentialities, possibilities.
You help me know that everything is possible.
But life is just right… Just perfect.
Here and now.
Some decry, or sigh, or lie
About the youth they see pass
As their children become.
You show me constantly
That it’s not youth
But love and wisdom
That lasts… and protects
…and comforts and gives us our truth.
Simply by being
You excite, you ignite my soul.
It’s not a struggle, a fight, a flight.
From fear or pain.
But a dance with all things
That quickens or slows… or stops sometimes.
All the dance perfect and necessary
For us here and now.

by: Dr. Christopher Mathe, PhD.

Poem – Accepting


In this moment, I recognize that there is within me a perfect Self; A Self that is not dysfunctional; A Self that is not weak but strong;Not small, but huge;

Not in pain, but in peace; Not scared and alone, but in Grace; I have been limited by my beliefs of weakness, smallness, pain, and fear. At times I wish these parts of me banished; At times I get so weary of the struggle; But I could no more banish these parts of myself than I could turn my back on a hurting child. These parts are my teachers and there is gold to be found. My wounds and fears do not define my limits; But show me the way to all of my Self if I am willing to listen. In this moment, I accept all parts of me. In this moment, Accept the parts that think me small That need my understanding and compassion. And I accept them back as a loving parent.

By: Dr. Christopher Mathe, PhD.

Poem – The Gift At Our Door

Train tracks

The Gift At Our Door

How were we to know that night
            A dark hurting desperation
Came to our door unbidden
            Carrying life and death
            In an angry mixture.
End of the line
            Everybody out!
No stops past here
            Except the last, long one.
You arrive.
            The tears are hot
The mask forgot
            No more robot.
You take the risk.
You face the fear
            And the years they say
You cannot trust
            And depend on anyone.
You reach across that
            Vast valley of doubt
And ask
            For help.
With clarity that hurts
            You find the wounds
You begin the healing
            And the search for
The treasure that’s always been there
With the doubts still lurking
            You persist.
You don’t run, or make excuses
            Or find the reasons
You can’t succeed.
            Your cloak of honor
            Fits well now.
Everyday brings new strength
            And new tears
And acceptance of yourself
            As a worthy and special being
Grows in you eyes,
            And your step.
End of the line?
            For that train, maybe.
The package opened
            The gifts received
Is freashly wrapped
            In hope and promise
And it leaves on a new train
            Heading for the horizon.