APO's Blog

APO Small Steps Challenge - Challenge 2

by Kate Onorato
on Jan-14-2016

Today's challenge is to give someone your UNDIVIDED attention. It could be your spouse/significant other, child, mother, father, sister, brother, boss, coworker, friend or even a random stranger. The point here is to take a breather from the everyday noise that surrounds us and engage with someone else in a more meaningful way - and the bonus is that another can benefit from it as much as we do!

So how do we give someone our full attention?

1)  (and most obvious) is no electronic devices!!! Yes that means no cell phones, computers, tvs, radio or even one of those new interactive watches. We have become so dependent on our technology that it often replaces our ability and willingness to interact with someone face-to-face and have a real conversation!

2) Face the person you are speaking with. Don't allow yourself to get distracted by other things going on around you. Look at the person while they are speaking. This helps build trust and opens the door to further communication.

3) Listen - Oftentimes we feel as if we are simply being "talked at" and not being heard. True conversation is an exchange of information, ideas and thoughts. And an important component of this is to to hear and understand what someone else is saying (even if we don't necessarily agree).

4) Don't interrupt. How many times have you jumped into someone else's sentence or had someone jump into yours? It almost always changes the direction of the conversation because people get caught up in the their own thoughts and cease listening to the other.  Wait for the pause or question before you respond.

5) Ask questions. A simple "How was your day? Tell me about it" can get the conversation rolling.

Remember these small steps are meant to be incorporated into your everyday routines so that you can enhance the long-term quality of your life.  Want even more information? Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/APOCounseling/ to see more posts, information and inspiration!

APO Small Steps Challenge - Challenge 1

by Kate Onorato
on Jan-07-2016

We're a week into the new year. Many of us have created our resolutions and some of us have already wavered.Those 30-day challenges? Forgotten! Isn't it funny how life just gets in the way of our best intentions?

At APO, we believe that even the smallest changes can lead to awesome lifestyle alterations. So we're creating a call to action of our own - the APO Small Steps Challenge! By incorporating these small, easy changes into our normal routines, we can achieve long-term upgrades in our overall health, mental wellness, relationships, and financial strength.

Today's challenge is to replace one serving - whether it be coffee, juice, soda, etc - with a glass of water. I can hear you - "I hate water!" But hey, it's just one glass. Add some lemon, flavor drops or packet. Or try a sparkling water if you miss the fizz. If you're already a water drinker - great! How about adding one more glass? We'd love to hear how you did and watch for more challenges throughout the month.

Follow us on Facebook for all our tips, additional information and motivation!




Control Your Negative Thinking

by Kate Onorato
on Dec-16-2015

It's been estimated that we have anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. Our brains are conditioned to "solve," so it's only natural that oftentimes negative thinking takes over as we map out the possible scenarios and solutions.

But negative thinking can quickly consume us and lead to depression and/or anxiety. Here are a few tips to control those negative thoughts before they begin to control you.

Stop It! It's a simple command that we can tell ourselves but one that immediately interrupts the flow of the thought.

Swap it! Replace the negative thought with a positive one. For instance, instead of dwelling on all the things you have to do to get ready for a trip, take a moment to instead think about the fun you'll have ON the trip.

Share it! Sometimes just talking about our negative thoughts with others allows us to release them.

Shift it! Do something else and get your mind moving in another direction. Exercise, call a friend, take in a movie, read a book, play a game, or listen to music and sing along.

For more tips like these, give us a call!


A New Year Brings New Opportunities

by Kate Onorato
on Dec-31-2014

2015 is just hours away and with it brings the promise of new beginnings. Here are a few ideas to get you off to a great start in the upcoming year.

Appreciate those around you. All too often, we get so wrapped up in tasks and responsibilities that we forget to pay attention to the people we care most about. Say "I love you" more, hug, acknowledge someone's effort. "Thank you" goes a long way, whether it be your spouse who helped you with a household chore, a coworker who eased your workload, a child who brought you a flower from the yard, or the stranger who held the door for you.

Find your true worth. Stop defining yourself by the amount of money you make, the possessions you own, the title you hold, or the image you present to the world. Make 2015 the year you discover all of the special qualities and talents you posses internally and in spite of your external circumstances. This can be difficult as many of us tend to focus on what we lack instead of celebrating what we have.

Forgive. Let go of past hurts, thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and not a denial of another's responsibility in hurting you. Nor does it minimize or justify the wrong. Forgiveness is giving yourself permission to let go of the feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment that prevent you from regaining your sense of peace and happiness.

Set goals. It doesn't matter if they are big or small, elaborate or simple. Break them into smaller, manageable pieces and identify when you've reached those milestones to keep you motivated.Challenge yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need to.

Be more tolerant. Recognize that we all have different points of view and that those views may stem from long-standing beliefs or result from present situational circumstances. Show respect for the other even when you disagree with the opinion and work towards a mutually agreeable conclusion.

Laugh out loud. Life is serious business and sometimes we get so lost in it that we forget to have fun along the way. Did you know that on average kids smile 400 x a day. Adults? 20! Smiling can help reduce stress-inducing hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol and increase mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins as well as reducing overall blood pressure.

Adopt a healthier lifestyle. Even making small changes to your diet and exercise routine can produce big results over time. Enlist the help of a friend, family member, dietician, personal trainer, doctor or other professional to help you achieve better physical and emotional health.

Take a time out. Jobs, kids, errands, social obligations, daily to-do lists, finances - it is the constant motion of the body and mind everyday that wears us down. Try to fit in a workout, go on a date with your spouse or significant other, play a game with your kids, take in a show, watch or participate in a sport, read a book, or just give yourself a few moments of peace and quiet to reset your stress and energy levels.

Check out our facebook page www.facebook.com/APOCounseling for more tips and ideas on how to achieve your resolutions in the upcoming year.

From all of us here at APO - we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


My Freedom Day

by Kate Onorato
on Jun-12-2014

This was submitted to us and is being reprinted with permission of the author. It is the true story of a woman learning her own strength and declaring her own worth.......

June 9, 2005
“My Freedom Day”
Inspired by my therapist

For some of you, this day is just an ordinary day. Most of you got up that morning, had your coffee, showered, got ready for work and went about your day. Maybe you dealt with some issues such as a flat tire, not meeting a deadline for a report or just simply a little late because your alarm snoozed one too many times. Perhaps this is the day that you got a promotion, a pay raise, asked out on a date or even flowers from your love. This day, was no different than any other day, it’s a day that is only celebrated by happiness from birthdays and weddings. For me, it’s a day that is marked by an end to a war and celebrated to a start of new hope and freedom.

This is the day that I woke up, realizing I was getting married in exactly one month. Most brides- to-be are excited, getting last minutes things ordered, alterations done to their gown, DJ’s set up and so on. It wasn’t like that, not in the least bit. I had been hiding my true feelings behind the expressions of all the happiness and excitement for this “big day.” From the people who knew me and those who were close to me, nobody knew what I have been going through or what I had been enduring. Those who thought something may have been wrong, dismissed it as jitters and pre-wedding anxiety.

This is the day that I fought for my life, my freedom and my happiness. This was no easy war; the fight was hard and long. I was battered, bruised, and at one point, knocked out. It was a battle that shocked those who loved and knew me, close friends and family devastated by the hidden truth of such evilness. It was a sad and confusing day for most, but for me, it was a day of relief from the exhaustion of the war and the prisoner within myself. This was no ordinary day; it’s a day that has forever changed me.

You see, this is the day I broke the silence, the silence of the violence I had endured from my fiancé. This is the day that I had to make a decision to live or to die, this was no ordinary decision. I had opted to fight for my life, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I had forgotten who I was, how strong I am, and how happy I used to be but as the battle that day went on and the more I was taking myself back from him, the stronger I became and suddenly I was free.

This is the day of no return, this is the day that I took my life back from the hands that tore me down, destroyed my self-worth, and bruised me where no one could see. This is the day that he lost his control over me, lost the battle and learned how strong I truly was. This is the day that our God had His hands upon me and gave me the strength to win and take back my life so that I may be free.

This is the day I won my freedom. This is no ordinary day for me; it’s a day of celebration! The celebration of life!
This day is celebrated by strength, love, happiness and joy! I am me again but only better! He may have taken my pride, self worth, happiness and joy back then but little did he know how much I would flourish in the blessings received to this day.

This is my day!!! This is my “Freedom” day!!!