Business Coaching Goals Problem-Solving

How Can I Solve My Problems?

 In a previous blog article entitled “Do I Really Believe that Life Is a Series of Problems?”, I said that life constantly presents us with problems to solve. Here I will give you tips on how to go about solving difficulties that you face.

How to Solve Personal Problems

This post will give you a detailed method to use to go about solving your own personal problems. Check it out and then put it to the test!

The goal in solving your personal problems is to chip away at one issue at a time, to successfully work through each problem in an unending sequential series. You must prioritize the issues that you intend to confront and then leverage your focus and problem-solving skills to overcome the different types of challenging obstacles and difficulties you choose to deal with.

6 Steps to Solve Your Problems:

  1. Write down a list of problems to deal with.
  2. Prioritize the problems from biggest to smallest.
  3. Assign each problem a number from highest to lowest priority.
  4. Assign some type of attractive reward to give to yourself after solving each problem.
  5. Make a new prioritized “working” list to start following and working on.
  6. After solving one issue, replace it with a new problem from your prioritized list.

Why Create Rewards for Myself?

Rewards are motivating and keep you working toward the desired goal. They give you something to look forward to. Rewards, or positive reinforcers, soothe the pain of your risk-taking and  hard labors. Match the size of the reward to the size of the problems. If you are working toward solving a big problem, then award yourself a big reward after successfully completing the task. Even if a problem is small, be sure to grant yourself something small when you succeed.

You should always congratulate and reward yourself after achieving something. You probably don’t praise yourself enough but you do deserve to give yourself more positive feedback when you accomplish something that took time, energy, money and/or courage. Give yourself recognition and esteem. Make sure the rewards match the problems to be solved. Avoid over-rewarding and under-rewarding.

Write down these rewards on your list of problems to be solved. Make the rewards visible so that you can refer to them in the future after you have worked to accomplish something. Then when you solve the problem refer to the list and follow through with making the reward to yourself.

How Do I Select Which Problems to Work On?

After making your new prioritized strategic “working list” to start your problem-solving adventure, select those issues to start with that you feel assured that you will successfully solve. Don’t start by tackling your most difficult or highly prioritized issues. The goal is to successively move forward, one success after another. Set yourself up for success because success breeds more success.

Don’t start with the most difficult or pressing problems. You want to move forward and gradually build your problem-solving skills, courage and confidence. Start with easier or moderately easy difficulties. Start with minor issues first to gain self-confidence in your problem-solving skills. This will take decision-making, commitment and persistence.

Be sure to protect yourself from failure when starting this process. Move slowly and keep your expectations as realistic as possible. By successfully moving through one problem after another, based on a chosen list, you are becoming smarter and stronger, hardier and wiser. Plus, you will eliminate problems and feel good about it!

Keep Progressing by Solving Problems One at a Time.

Once a problem is solved, from your original list of prioritized problems, select a new problem to solve. Go at the list with the same method outlined above. Be sure to choose new issues that you will probably be successful at achieving. Over time, you will develop the ability and desire to solve your largest problems.

Reach out now! As a psychologist and business coach, I am in the problem-solving business. Call for more information: 805-448-5053.

If you’d like to be notified when I post a new article, simply click the “Subscribe” link at the bottom of the page. Thanks!


Depression Emotions

How Do I Find Relief If I Am Depressed?

There Are 4 Basic Ways to Treat Depression:

  1. Psychiatric medicine works well for some patients but not everyone.
  2. Psychotherapy or depression counseling are very helpful for most people.
  3. Combining psychotherapy with psychiatric medicine works well for some people.
  4. Improving personal self-care is helpful for most people and supports psychotherapy and medicine.

Do You Want to Try Medicine?

You may want to try psychiatric medicine to control the symptoms of depression. If you do, then you might want to consult first with your primary care physician about treatment. Most anti-depressant medications in the USA are prescribed by primary care medical providers however they sometimes refer you to a psychiatrist for evaluation and initial prescriptions.

I tend to refer clients to psychiatrists because they specialize in mental health problems and psychiatric medications.

After assessing that you are a good candidate for psychiatric medicine, prescribing the first medication can be tricky. There are many different medicines to choose from and no physician can predict how you will respond to one. If you are lucky your first prescription will be quite helpful and include no negative side effects.

Usually, your doctor will need to make several adjustments before deciding to stick with one medicine and he/she will rely on your feedback to make changes. So, be sure to make a follow-up appointment, take the medicine exactly as prescribed, and accurately write down the positive and negative effects of your medicine. Keep meeting with your doctor until you find the right medicine and dosage.

Do You Want to Try Counseling?

Perhaps you want to talk about your depression with a counselor. You may want human support form a professional to get relief from your depressed state. Talking with an understanding and warm psychotherapist is popular and often helpful.

With depression counseling, most psychotherapists will want to evaluate you before suggesting a treatment plan. There are a number of different types of treatment approaches so be sure to ask your therapist what type of methods they use to treat depression. If it makes sense to you and you feel comfortable with your new therapist, then accept treatment and attend your sessions regularly.

In the USA, there are usually 3 different types of state licensed mental health professionals for you to choose from: 1) Clinical Psychologists, 2) Clinical Social Workers and 3) Marriage and Family Therapists.

Are you Interested in Combining Medicine and Counseling?

For some people, neither medication or psychotherapy may be effective enough alone. Therefore, combining the two is considered by many professionals and patients to be the best route to take if you can find a therapist you trust and get good results from medicine.

Do You Want to Improve Your Self-Care on Your Own?

There are actions you can take to combat depression however they require effort and discipline.

Here is a list of some practices to consider: nutrition, exercise, skin exposure to sunlight, watching humorous movies, talking to friends and loved ones, wrapping up old unfinished business, allowing yourself to grieve a loss, relaxation, massage, meditation, mindfulness, travel, withdrawal from toxic relationships, stop using alcohol and illicit drugs, etc.

Without much difficulty or interference, you can always combine these in with medication and depression counseling. In these self-care areas, you may need to consult professionals as well, such as: nutritionists, personal trainers, masseuses, meditation teachers.

Are You Depressed?

If you suspect that you are suffering with depression for more than a few weeks, don’t allow your painful feelings to linger on. You deserve more than sadness, pain and isolation. If you are concerned about your mood, make an appointment to get evaluated by a mental health professional and carry through with the treatment recommendation.

Do you Have a Friend or Family Member Who Is Depressed?

If  you suspect that a friend or relative is suffering with depression, reach out and take action. Intervene and discuss their feelings with them and persuade them to get professionally evaluated. Help them to find treatment and encourage them to make their first appointment. Support them in trying to overcome their depression.

Take Action Now. Don’t wait!

A depressed mood usually will not vanish on its own unless it is a reaction to a mildly stressful event. Don’t prolong or put-up with the pain and suffering. Depression treatment is vital. Hoping, praying and wishing will not make it disappear.

If you are depressed, then you are not alone. You can feel better.

As a clinical psychologist, I am available to help. Please call me soon for an initial meeting at 805-448-5053.

Learn more about my depression services here: Depression Counseling

Depression Emotions Men's Issues

Why Is Depression So Common in the USA?

Many people wonder why there are so many depressed citizens in the United States? After all, this is supposed to be the most advanced country in the world. This is “the home of the free” where we all venture forth in “the pursuit of happiness”. So, why do so many of us struggle with depression and other mental health problems?

And what about us lucky souls who live in Santa Barbara = “Paradise”? How can we possibly be depressed while living in such a pleasant environment with a near perfect climate for human beings?

5 Factors May Contribute to the Prevalence of Depression in the USA.

 Several theories exist among mental health professionals regarding the growing problem of depressive mood disorders. Consider the following 5 theories:

1. Americans drop into economic hardship.

The size of the middle class has decreased rapidly and more people have descended into financial struggles and uncertainty. Wealth is not fairly distributed amongst our citizens. When people are unable to find jobs or meaningful work with reasonable compensation, they feel stuck, worthless and depressed. Often, they see no way out of their dour position. However, most people want to be financially self-reliant, independently take care of themselves and provide for their family members. This is a disappointing reality to face. We were promised more equality and a higher standard of living. Financial stress creates depressing self-esteem problems.

2. Americans reach adulthood.

As the American population grows more people reach adulthood. Thus, more people reach the age or season of life in which depression and anxiety are most common. Adults suffer with more depression per capita than children and adolescents.

3. American interpersonal relationships and community ties are weaker now than in past decades.

Anecdotally, we know that a high divorce rate, periodic residential relocation, an increasingly isolating tech boom, and a magnified global awareness contribute to feelings of alienation and decreased face-to-face interactions. Additionally, mastery of healthy relationships, community contribution and communication have declined. This results in a diminished sense of belonging, support, meaning and purpose in our daily lives. Moreover, loneliness, social isolation and low self-esteem promote depressive thinking and moods.

4. Americans are often motivated and focused on wealth, fame, and image.

Some research supports the idea that the value placed on consumerism, materialism, and self-promotion in recent decades is detrimental to mental health. Focusing on these values may be linked to dissatisfaction, disappointment and insecurity that fuel depression.

5. American expectations may be too high.

Despite the best intentions of parents, schools and the mental health community in recent years, emphasis on unrealistic self-positive affirmations are harmful. By focusing on thoughts like “you can be anything you want/dream/desire”, Americans are setting-up themselves and their children for disappointment. Unmet expectations of ourselves based on other’s distorted beliefs about our inner abilities and potential prove discouraging and depressing over time. If we fail to reach our promised potential, it is a very big let-down.

If you are depressed, it may not be your fault or a sign of weakness. And remember, you are not alone. You can feel better. Depression counseling is helpful for you and your loved ones.

Remember that I’m here to help you. Call me soon (805-448-5053) for a brief phone consultation. And to learn more about my depression counseling services go here: Depression Counseling

Depression Emotions Men's Issues

Is Depression a Common Problem in the USA?

Are you sad, low and unable to bounce back?  Do you think you might be experiencing depression? Are you feeling lonely and inadequate?

If so, you are far from alone.

Depression Is a Big Problem in the USA.

Depression in the United States is very common and on the rise. In fact, you may be experiencing or witnessing depression in others more routinely than you realize.

Scientific studies in recent decades reveal that depression befalls millions in America annually. We know, too, that we don’t recognize its prevalence at times because depression often manifests differently among those of various genders and ages. Meanwhile, depression counseling is on the rise.

For instance:

  • Do you interact with men who are always irritable, angry, prone to recklessness or substance abuse?
  • Do you notice women who are typically consumed with guilt, grief, sadness, worthlessness, and loneliness?
  • Do you interact with youth who have separation anxiety, eating disorders, or are “troublemakers”?
  • Are you observe senior citizens who seem inordinately focused on death or illness?

All of these behaviors are lesser-known indicators of depression that show up quite commonly. It is important to be aware of them in yourself and your friends and loved ones for the sake of your and their health and futures.

How Many Americans Suffer from Depression?

Depression is the most common psychological disorder in the USA. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) paints a serious picture of depression in the United States. According to their research, between 5 and 10% of Americans are suffering with depression. This means around 15 to 30 million people are trying to navigate the symptoms of such a pervasive condition.

This also means that it’s important to notice and understand what so many of us are dealing with. In addition, this explains why so many mental health professionals offer depression counseling to alleviate the suffering of their patients.

Here’s some more sobering statistics:

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.
  • Major Depressive Disorder affects more than 16.1 million American adults over 18 years of age (about 6.7% of the U.S. population) each year.
  • Young adults 18 to 29 years old are three times more likely to get depressed.
  • The average age at onset of depression is just over 32 years old.
  • The prevalence of major depressive episodes is higher among adult females (8.7%) compared to males (5.3%).
  • The pervasiveness of adults with a major depressive episode is highest among individuals aged 18-25 (13.1%).
  • The prevalence of major depressive episode is highest among adults reporting two or more races/ethnicities (11.3%).

Unfortunately, depression is often overlooked and not detected by many health care professionals. Therefore, many people are missing the opportunity to utilize helpful psychiatric medicine and depression counseling.

Research Studies Demonstrate that Depression Can Afflict Anyone. 

Your own personal struggles and your observations of loved one or the general public may make this clear to you. Although depression impacts those of any age, gender, background, faith and financial status, there are groups for whom depression is more common.

As stated above, women are more commonly diagnosed with depression while many men are under-diagnosed with this psychological issue. In addition, depression is more likely to affect people who are impoverished, unemployed and survivors of trauma or tragedy.

I’m here to help. Please call me soon (805-448-5053) for a consultation and learn more about my services here: Depression Counseling

Depression Emotions Men's Issues

How Does Depression Manifest Itself in Human Beings?

Almost All People Experience a Painful Depressive Episode in Their Lifetime.

All people, no matter their age, gender, race, faith, ethnic identity, environment or financial status can suffer with depression. Many things happen in life to make us feel down, disappointed or blue. Fortunately, depression counseling can help.

How Do People Get Depressed?

Basically, there are 5 ways humans become depressed:

  1. Many adults get depressed as a natural reaction to a painful event in our life. Experiences happen that affect us emotionally, mentally and physically in a depressive way. If the event is mild then the sadness lasts for a short time. Some stressful events accumulate over time and cause depression. However,  some experiences are traumatic and overwhelming and they really set us back and disturb us psychologically for an extended period of time. Such stressful situations include divorce, death of a loved one, job loss or unemployment, relocating one’s home, loss of a friend, big disappointments, chronic or terminal illness or unexpected change. Some of these events may be rooted in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, deprivation, abandonment and other serious stressors.
  2. A chemical imbalance or toxicity can occur in the brain and results in moderate or serious symptoms associated to depression mood.
  3. Genetics and family history can be a contributor. Depressive states can be biologically inherited and there can be a history of depression across generations within a family.
  4. Medical illness can also set off depression. A physical injury or disability, or a chronic or life-threatening illness can easily trigger a depression response.
  5. Side-effects of medications and substance abuse (legal and illegal) can cause a chemically induced depression.

Are There Different Levels of Depression?

Yes. Depression is a painful emotion that can manifest in many different ways – behaviorally, emotionally, socially, mentally. Some forms of depression are mild while others can become very serious or profound. Depression can be situational or chronic and the result of many different causes and combinations of circumstances. There are depressions that last for only a few months while others may be prolonged for decades.

Depression can affect children, teens, adults, and seniors so deeply that it can endanger their lives. Some people become so depressed that they cannot take care of themselves and expose themselves to danger or poor health conditions.

When significantly distraught and in emotional pain, people may become suicidal. They may lose hope and want to die in order to avoid their emotional and mental pain. Some may develop a plan and a method for killing themselves while others will make suicidal attempts or successfully end their lives.

Symptoms of Depression Often Vary between Genders and Age Groups.

Plus, these groups tend to respond differently to different types of treatment.

  • Men often show: anger, irritability, isolation, withdrawal, hostility, aggression, numbness, shame, stoicism, criticism, addictions, risk-taking and suicidal ideas. Most men don’t recognize that they feel depressed and they take longer to reach out for depression counseling. Their symptoms are more “covert”. Most depressed men are under-diagnosed by medical and mental health professionals.
  • Women tend to demonstrate: sadness, depressed mood, loss of energy, apathy, tearfulness, and reduced or increased appetite and weight. Most women recognize when they are depressed and talk about it. They tend to voluntarily reach out for help and are more easily diagnosed with depression.
  • Children and adolescents tend to: either become more withdrawn, isolated and quiet or they act-out by becoming aggressive, defiant and oppositional when depressed. Kids tend to either enjoy or resist depression counseling. Most younger children will engage in play and activity therapies. They struggle to talk about their experiences openly. Many teenagers prefer group therapy over individual therapy.
  • Elderly people often: become isolated, hopeless, helpless, apathetic, fatigued, angry, oppositional, sleep more, move slower, and have a reduced desire for pleasure and social interaction. Most elderly people with chronic illnesses, pain, disabilities or life-threatening diseases are usually depressed. Many seniors will resist participating in depression counseling or “talk therapy” but may passively take psychiatric medications.

If you are depressed, then you are not alone. You can feel better.

I’m here to help. Please contact me soon for a consultation at 805-448-5053.

Learn more about my depression services here: Depression Counseling

Depression Emotions

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Major Depression?

Here Are the Main Diagnostic Signs and Symptoms of Major Depression:

  1. Depressed mood with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, apathy, emptiness and tearfulness
  2. Markedly diminished interest in sex and pleasurable activities
  3. Social isolation and withdrawal from usual social interactions
  4. Significant weight loss or gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
  5. Sleep disturbance at night or sleeping much more than usual
  6. Anger, physical agitation and mental distraction
  7. Sedentary behavior and slow movement
  8. Fatigue or loss of energy
  9. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  10. Reduced ability to make decisions, concentrate, organize or think clearly
  11. Recurrent thoughts of death
  12. Suicidal ideas with or without a plan or an attempt
  13. These symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in the patients’ social and work functioning.

These symptoms are not attributed to drug abuse or a medical condition.

If you experience 5 or more of these symptoms above then you are probably depressed and could benefit from a professional evaluation and treatment. One to three of these symptoms does not mean you suffer with Major Depression. You may be struggling with a short-term transitional challenge or reacting to a sad or disappointing event.

Patients may present with mild, moderate, severe or profound forms of Major Depression. Depression is different than normal grief or bereavement reactions caused by a significant loss, usually of a loved one.

You Can Get Better and Feel Better.

Nobody deserves to suffer when treatment is available.

Do You Suffer with Any of These Symptoms of Depression?

If you do, then I encourage you to get a psychological evaluation and engage in depression counseling with a qualified mental health professional.

Give Me a Call Today So We Can Talk about It! – 805-448-5053.

Learn more about my depression services here: Depression Counseling

About Revel Goals Problem-Solving

Do I Really Believe that Life Is a Series of Problems?

Professional female hurdler during trainingYesserie. I sure do and I lay it all out below. This is how I experience my life. And this is what other people reveal to me about their personal experience.

Life Presents Us with a Series of Endless Hurdles to Jump Over.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape this reality. It’s like a truth or a law of human life and this is our relentless predicament here on earth. We are constantly challenged with problems.

We struggle to feed and clothe ourselves, to protect ourselves, to belong, to find love, and to actualize our potential. Only seldom are we fully relaxed and free of difficulties and concerns that face us. We cannot sustain a blessed condition of being or a blissful meditative state of mind for very long. Problems just keep rising.

barbed wireYou experience this daily, don’t you? Some days are better and some are worse. At times we deal with these obstacles very well and we solve them. We clear the path for new issues to arise.

At other times, we hesitate, get overwhelmed and botch it up, thereby creating more problems. Therefore, having good problem-solving skills is very helpful as we meander and maneuver through life.

Problems Are Not All Bad or Negative.

They help us to grow and develop, to expand our horizons. Many problems and concerns are positive challenges. Sometimes they are growth experiences in disguise, opportunities to discover new things. Some demands that we face may actually be gateways to new arenas that we may never have experienced before. Challenges help us develop and mature.

So, don’t dread problems and hope for a passive and boring life because it will never happen. And if it did, then that would be like a slow death.

I want my posts to help you strive for your dreams, overcome obstacles, realize new truths, love more and accept yourself. Take your life on with a new and bold commitment!

To make sure that you read my future posts, simply click on the grey “Subscribe” link below to get email notifications. Thanks![related_posts limit=”5″]

About Revel

Who Wants to Read Your Blog Articles? And Who in the Heck Are You, Anyway?

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I Have Various Kinds of Readers.

They consist of: clients, professional colleagues and people interested in the topics that I address. They come here to read about certain issues of personal interest or they discover my blog while visiting my website.

Dr. Miller’s Background.

I’ve been a licensed clinical psychologist for over 30 years and I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for over 20 years. You can find out more about me and my practice here:.   and

Businessman with shrunken head calming the situationI want you to know that I am not a sullen “mind-shrinker”. I refer to myself as an upbeat “mind-expander”. I help people to broaden and enlarge their perspective, actions and feelings.

My Beliefs and Experience.

I deeply believe that we all have the personal power and a duty to continually improve and transform our life, behavior, mood, beliefs, relationships, health status and self-concept. I don’t want people to fear their own emotions or their communication with others.

I want you to stand your ground and be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. And because we all carry guilt and shame, I hope that you can own these negative feelings and then release them. Always strive to combat the inner guilt and shame that holds you hostage, chokes off your life and puts you into self-imposed bondage.

Every one of us has made errors and feels embarrassed about some our behaviors in the past. But don’t allow your memories and self-criticisms to control you. Gradually, one by one, shed your unnecessary guilt and shame. Boldly take control of your life and purposefully influence yourself in the direction of your choosing.

Cropped_stockfresh_1442004_business-man-with-thumbs-up_sizes_eb3457 In my life, I’ve witnessed, participated in and heard about many people who have significantly changed themselves, their relationships, and their day-to-day lives for the better with pride and gratitude. Like them, you too can improve or turn around your life.

If you want to automatically stay connected to my future posts, simply subscribe to this blog by clicking the grey “Subscribe” link at the very bottom. The link will instantaneously turn into green color which indicates that you have successfully subscribed. Then, every time I post a new article, you will be notified in your email Inbox. You will go on my list but I will never share the list with anybody – ever. And if you want to unsubscribe, you just re-click the  green “Subscribe” link and you’re instantaneously removed from my list. How easy is that?

About Revel

Welcome to My Blog!

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Welcome to My First Blog Post!

I’m glad you stopped by. My name is Revel Miller. I am a psychologist and an energetic liver of life.

I’m also ambitious. In my posts or short articles here, I hope to: stimulate your thoughts, stir up your emotions, penetrate your soul, impact your relationships, ignite your hope, and improve your self-concept. I strive to influence your attitude about your current life, your future life, and life in general.

How’s that for an audacious set of goals?

In This Blog, I’ll Share…

my professional views and personal beliefs about a wide array of topics. I will also present you with helpful information.

I’ve been on earth for quite some time and I’m insatiably curious. So, I’ve learned many things and I have a lot to say. For fun and inspiration, I will also share some mind twisters and thought-provoking quotes. I’ll blend serious topics with fun ideas because after all, we all enjoy humor. Just like love, good humor, interactive play and belly laughter heal our souls. And yes, I definitely do believe that you have a soul lurking around inside of you somewhere.