Welcome Anne to Empower

Here we grow again! We are thrilled to welcome Anne Rooks to the Empower family! With more than 25 years of experience working with a variety of issues including: the most severe mental illnesses, Depression, Anxiety, Grief & Loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Substance Abuse, she is another amazing asset to our team. Please take a moment to get to know...
Our New Office is Cozy

Our New Office is Cozy

Welcome to our new office! As of May, we’ve put down roots in a new location in Huntsville. We’re now conveniently located in the Medical District, just off of Bob Wallace Avenue. What drew us to this location? Convenience played a factor, but it was mainly the warmth we found inside the cozy little house. Sunlight streams through the windows, which creates a cheerful vibe. It’s a warm, comfortable place and we think it has the perfect atmosphere for relaxing and engaging in meaningful conversation. We look forward to seeing you in our new “home.”...
Procrastination: Why Wait?

Procrastination: Why Wait?

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”  – Mark Twain It’s easy to make jokes and laugh about procrastination, but I think most of my clients struggle with it from time to time. Tim Urban, a popular blogger and a TED Annual Conference speaker, says, “For a real procrastinator, procrastination isn’t optional, it’s something they don’t know how to not do.” If you feel that way, read on. Or you might decide to read the article later. (Yes, I’m winking.) Procrastination is Easy The bottom line is that we always think that there is going to be more time to do something and so we idle. I do it, myself. I recently took a vacation and carried along a big file of “stuff.” As of the third day, I had been “too busy” to do any work. That included the morning I spent three hours surfing the internet in my workout clothes, before I finally made it outside for a walk. Technology certainly makes it easy to procrastinate. It’s a handy distraction that can keep us entertained for hours, if we let it. Whether we’re updating our Facebook status or searching for a new recipe on Pinterest, social media is a strong pull. From streaming movies to reading books, our devices can distract us from important tasks at hand. Sometimes, we simply want to be mindless . . . to escape. Certainly movies and books are a healthier outlet compared to things like drinking. But why does mindlessness win out over mindfulness? Let’s take a look at the things we procrastinate...
Finding Connection

Finding Connection

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. ” – Brené Brown Author Brené Brown studies human connection and says that, “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social work, she has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Let’s take a look at what it means to truly connect with another person. The Energy of Connection When talking about energy, I often ask people to think of a boomerang. The energy that you put out there often comes back to you. And, what you are feeling about yourself is often what you put out there. Many times, people don’t feel worthy. They feel like they put their best foot forward, but that fear of being unworthy is in the back of their head. They’re afraid of being “discovered.” In a dating situation, for example, you try to be your best self. Sometimes, that best self isn’t authentic. If you have insecurities, you hide them and you try to show your “Sunday best.” You’re always afraid that someone is going to see your “weekday self.” It’s an issue of perfectionism. You think others expect you to be perfect, which creates insecurity. When we give ourselves permission to be human, we give ourselves permission to be imperfect. We need to give other people permission to be human as well. Giving...
Are You Depressed, Grieving or Simply Stuck?

Are You Depressed, Grieving or Simply Stuck?

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus It’s no wonder that winter gets pegged as the most depressing time of the year. Chilly, often dreary weather and shorter days can combine to occasionally dampen even the most cheerful spirits. Yet, when we hear the words, “I’m so depressed,” either from our own mouths or from someone else, what can that really mean? “I’m So Sad.”  Sometimes when those words are said, what is really meant is that the person is sad. There is a distinct difference between being sad and being depressed. If something sad has happened, acknowledging that sadness could, in fact, be grief. Unresolved grief issues are often mistaken for depression. The only way to get through that grief is to simply allow yourself to grieve. However, some people never learned to grieve properly―to grieve in a healthy way. They may have been told, “You’re being silly; don’t feel that way” or “Get over it.” You see, for each loss that we have, we store information. Sometimes, we store misinformation. For example, if you were told that being sad was silly, you may have thought, “Is it not okay to be sad? Is there something wrong with being sad?” As a result, you may have stopped trusting your own feelings. With the help of a counselor, you have to go back and basically, “uninstall” that feeling. It’s okay to be sad. God gave us that emotion because a lot of life’s circumstances are sad! “I’m So Depressed.” You really feel like you are depressed. How...
Just Breathe!

Just Breathe!

We are often told to “take a deep breath” but did you know there is right way to breathe? Oddly enough I was in college before I learned that I was doing it wrong. I mean air had obviously been getting in since I was still here…so how was I doing it wrong? The truth is I was making a very common mistake. Have you ever paid attention to how your chest rises and falls while you’re breathing? Well, that’s what’s wrong. If your chest alone is showing movement that is a sign that your breathing is shallow. Breathing should happen below the area of the chest and using the diaphragm. The first time I tried this it actually felt pretty foreign so I will explain it the best way I can muster. Imagine that inside your belly, directly behind your belly button, there is a deflated balloon. Place your hand flat against your belly button. Make sure to breathe in and out through your nose. As you breathe in your goal should be to move your hand away from your body and feel your stomach rise. Think about “inflating” that balloon we talked about earlier until it is full. As you breathe out your goal should be to feel your hand come in toward your body. You will use your abdominal muscles to press and “deflate” the balloon completely. With some practice this will feel more natural. Focusing on our breathing and doing it correctly has many benefits. The most readily noticeable is the calming effect it has on us. When we breathe deeply our airways and blood...