Archive for the ‘Lois Trost M.S.W.’ Category


Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

criticism-440219_1280You are a powerful influence over your mood and self-esteem. How you think about yourself and the words you say (your self-talk) matter. Through self-talk, you provide opinions and evaluations on what you’re doing as you are doing it. When it’s upbeat and self-validating, the results can boost your confidence and motivation. When the messages are critical and harsh, however, the effects can be emotionally harmful. People with clinical levels of depression may have frequent and relentless forms of destructive self-talk. The more you talk yourself down and second guess yourself, the less free you are to creatively find solutions to daily problems.

More than likely, you aren’t aware of how frequent negative self-talk is occurring throughout your day. This destructive style may cause you to question yourself to the point of becoming paralyzed with self-doubt and uncertainty. Examples of these messages may include:

1) I am not interesting
2) I have no talent
3) People don’t like me

On the other hand, with constructive self-talk, you cheer yourself on, focus on the positive aspects of a situation and allow yourself to feel good. Positive self-talk has stress management benefits, productivity benefits and even health benefits. A few suggestions to try during stressful situations include:

1) This too shall pass and my life will be better
2) Look at how well I handled that situation
3) One step at a time
4) I am doing the best I can

Being aware of what you are saying to yourself is the first step. Changing the negative statements to more positive ones is the second. Other ideas on where to begin include:

1) Limiting negative influences in your life
2) Reading aloud positive affirmations
3) Identifying and confronting your fears
4) Focusing on the enjoyable moments in life

Implementing these changes a little at a time can bring satisfying results. If you need help, give us a call; the counselors at CFI are trained to assist you.

by Lois Trost, M.S.W.

(more articles on self talk)

7 Tips on Dealing with Depression

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015


Depression causes negative thinking, withdrawal, and inactivity. These symptoms, in turn, make you feel more depressed. The more depressed you feel, the more you think negatively, withdraw, and reduce activity. It’s a self-feeding cycle.

1. Get Real. You cannot prevent stressful things from happening in your life. However, learning to maintain balance and recover quickly when shaken puts you in control of a situation rather than a situation being in control of you. The following are a few suggestions on steps to take to refocus.

2. Get Involved. Volunteer work with a library, church or civic group. Go out with friends, or join a club (book club, knitting club, car club). Being around others rather than isolating yourself is a helpful way to resist depression.

3. Get Physical. Exercise plays an important role in your well-being and self-esteem. Join a gym or go for a walk (alone, with a friend or take the dog). Get on a bike and ride the trails. Tulsa Metro Area has over 80 miles of bicycle/pedestrian trails to keep you safely off the streets while enjoying fresh air. There are 75 free bikes to check out and use thanks to Saint Francis Health System. These are located along Riverside at 21st, 41st and 96th Streets.

4. Get Active. Learn a new skill, such as photography, cooking, gardening or woodworking. Learning raises self-esteem and makes you a more interesting person.

5. Get Relaxed. Listen to music and let your mood be uplifted. Learn yoga or Pilates from a book or DVD (stretching is relaxing!) or simply take the time to breathe slowly and deeply for several minutes.

6. Get Personal. Be aware of what you are doing and thinking that keeps depression around. Your mood is dependent on how you think, not on what happens to you, and the messages you tell yourself (your self-talk) influence your mood. Get in the habit of thinking about what you are thinking. Try changing negative thoughts into encouraging ones. Non-negative thinking is more powerful in terms of reducing depression than just thinking positive thoughts. This exercise can be difficult, however, because it is hard to concentrate when you are depressed. Your ability to minimize the negativity in situations allows you to take control away from depression and helps you feel empowered.

7. Get Help. The tips listed above are suggestions for you to try on your own. If you are unable to overcome a depressed mood on your own, call a qualified therapist to assist. There are many factors that cause depression and a therapist is equipped to help you find avenues to successfully overcome it.

Lois Trost, M.S.W.

(Click here for more articles on depression.)

Grandparenting: How to Help Without Butting In

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

grandparentsAs grandparents, you want your grandchildren to grow up in the most loving, healthy environment possible. You can play a significant role creating that environment by how you interact with your children who are now parents.  A few tips on making the best choices for the best environment include:

  • Don’t tell your “kids” how to raise their children.  Avoid judging their parenting style.  If you disagree with their decisions (and there will be times you will), bite your tongue unless you are asked for advice.  Your job is to be the grandparent, not the parent.
  • Respect their parenting efforts and look for reasons to complement them. Validating them builds not only their confidence but builds their relationship with you as well.
  • It’s important to realize that methods on raising children vary from one generation to the next.  For example, discipline styles and methods (or lack thereof) often become a source of tension.  Using a gentle approach in offering your input on this topic can avoid a defensive attitude and power struggle for “who knows best”.
  • Being a parent is hard work and most parents are a bit unsure of their parenting skills (remember?).  What they need is encouragement.  By being less critical, they become less defensive.  By being more supportive, you create a strong, healthy relationship with your “kids” and a loving, healthy environment for your grandchildren.

 Lois Trost, M.S.W

Lois Trost headshot

8 Things To Do to Help Beat Depression

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

beat-depressionImprove the quality of your life by taking control of depression before it takes control of you.
Depression can sometimes be managed with a few techniques. A few suggestions to try when you
begin to feel down include:

1.  Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk. Stop reminding yourself of all the things presently going wrong. Instead, conjure up memories from happier times. Remember that thought content = Mood.

2. Stop the negative thinking. Thought stopping is a simple technique
to learn and is very effective in redirecting negative thoughts. A counselor can help you learn this helpful tool.

3. Avoid social isolation. Spend time with people you enjoy, those who care about you. Many people also enjoy interacting with a pet to help lift their low mood.

4. Focus on one day at a time. Remind yourself that this is a temporary emotional state that will pass.

5. Write a Gratitude Journal. At the end of each day, list five things you are grateful for. Read through your journal throughout the day if necessary.

6. Get Active. Exercise is beneficial in reducing body tension, improving sleep, increasing energy and decreasing stress. Being outdoors often helps elevate your mood; so take a walk, ride
a bike, or simply sit on the porch and enjoy God’s creation.

7. Eat healthy! Sugar effects depression and irritability. Eating right will help you feel better, give you more energy, and help you look better too (which will likely raise self-esteem).

8. Enlist the help of a trusted person to help you monitor the depression and give you feedback on what they observe. If you can’t shake free of the depression, seek assistance from a professional counselor.

-Lois Trost

Lois Trost headshot

Adjustments in the Early Years of Marriage

Friday, June 17th, 2011

When couples realize marriage is not what they expected, they often think life would have been better in a different marriage to a different person.  That, however, is not necessarily true.

Many couples experience some level of disappointment while adjusting to the first year of marriage.   One reason disappointment occurs is that American culture views a “happy” marriage as one with unending romance.  This romantic view leads to idealizing your spouse and the relationship unrealistically.  A second reason for disappointment is couples fail to see the “red flags” that were prominently displayed prior to marriage.

Spouses may accuse each other of changing after marriage, but more likely, they are now seeing each other without the benefit of “rose colored glasses.”  Once a spouse accepts the other for who they are, a bond that is durable, secure, and rewarding begins to develop.  Here are a few adjustments to try that can keep the relationship on solid ground:

1.    Look at this period as a normal transition that all couples experience and not necessarily as a sign of a bad marriage.  Have the view that the marriage interactions need to change, not the partners.

2.    Concentrate on changing yourself rather than trying to change your spouse.  Talk with your spouse with the intention of giving feedback vs. giving criticism.

3.    Share your feelings with your spouse, but watch how you approach the subject.  “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like things are different than I expected” can open the door for discussion.  Your spouse may also feel disappointment and the need for change.  Discuss the changes that would make the marriage more rewarding for each of you.   A counselor may be needed to assist you in learning to talk with one another in this way.

4.    Strengthen the marital commitment.  Instead of using energy wishing for someone else (with whom there will be just as many or more adjustments), invest effort in being a better partner.

5.    Pour on the positives.  One of the simplest and most significant things a couple can do is ignore the negative. Instead, shower each other with positive appreciation, praise and affection.  Strong marriages need a balance of five positives to one negative.

A healthy marriage grows as the individuals in it change and mature.  Adjustments are an opportunity to strengthen the connection between you.  Don’t fear change, it can be a good thing..

If we can be of service to help you strengthen your marriage, please contact us at 918.745.0095

Lois Trost, M.S.W., LCSW

The Joys of an Empty Nest

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Fall is in the air, the season is about to change.  Like the seasons of life, the empty nest transition takes place over a period of time.  It can be a difficult time marked by feelings of emptiness, loss, and a longing for what was, OR the empty nest season can be a time for awareness, reflection and re-evaluation about your marriage, your children and yourself.

With only two of you living in the home, more time is available to spend with your spouse (this thought should not invoke fear!).  Schedules are less hectic allowing you to talk with each other versus talking at each other in passing.   Some couples discover they have little in common at this stage.  If so, give thought to finding something you both enjoy….remember when just being together was more important than what you were actually doing?  Consider using this time to explore new recreational activities and entertainment venues together.  Sharing ideas with each other can lead to great conversations.

Adult Children
It’s very gratifying to form relationships with your adult children…to watch them making and enjoying their new life apart from you.  A word of caution may be in order here.  With adult children, your role changes from one of parenting to consulting.  If you have allowed your child to make decisions and take consequences for those decisions early on, this transition is easier.  As a parent, you offer opinions, thoughts and input because “you know best”.  As a consultant, however, your opinions will be more influential if you wait until they are invited.  You are still the parent, but your approach, parent or consultant, could determine how glad your children are to see you coming.

Redefining Your Self

What happened to all those labels that used to define me?” you ask.  You were someone’s Mom, someone’s Wife, the Cook, the Chauffeur, the Nurse, the Event Coordinator, etc.  The empty nest season offers you an opportunity to revisit past dreams, desires and ambitions.  The choices are vast;  you could  learn a hobby, take a class, or engage in recreational activities.  You could enlarge your social circle, focus on a career, or volunteer for your church or a non-profit organization.  Begin by listing your dreams and desires, then gathering information to help you choose the direction you want to go.   Some resources that could be helpful include your church, the YWCA, walking or running clubs, book clubs, or community colleges.

This is also the season for grandchildren!  They bring a special joy to life that balances the void left by their parents.  Opportunity presents itself once again to teach, guide and influence, only this time the perspective is wiser, gentler and tempered with patience.  If you don’t have grandchildren, let your seasoned life benefit others through mentoring programs at church or within the community.  Making a difference gives you self worth.

Let the empty nest season be a new beginning for your marriage, your children and yourself…..Enjoy!

Salley Sutmiller, M.S. and Lois Trost, M.S.W.

Becoming a Mother-in-Law

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The wedding is over, the bride & groom begin adjusting to their life together, and the parents are doing a fair share of adjusting as well.   Parents go through numerous transitional periods with their children — adjusting to their birth, beginning school, driving, dating, off to college and eventually marriage.   For me, there was a dim finality when our daughter married and her bedroom was packed up and moved into “their home”.  The marriage of a child is one of the last separation stages parents and children experience, and the right attitude toward it can be key to maintaining a good relationship.   The way I handled changes taking place in my daughter’s life would influence the future closeness or distance I would have with the new couple.  Yes, I felt a sense of loss among all the happiness;  however, giving myself permission to feel that loss, as well as grieve it, was healthy.   The right attitude toward this separation would cushion the loss and enable my adult child to feel supported in her new spousal role.  Here are a few  attitude changes that I found helpful to make:

  1. Sensitivity.  Be sensitive to the fact that the primary relationship of your child is now with their spouse.  Their commitment to God comes first; then the bond to their spouse, and then to you as parents.   Good news!  You now have time and  opportunity to focus on your own marriage and make changes that will enhance it.  Talking with your spouse about your feelings brings sensitivity into your own marriage and allows connection to take place.  Build on that connection by having fun together or learning something new.  My husband and I took up bicycling when our last daughter married.  It gave us time together, topic for conversation, and something to look forward to on the weekends.
  2. Flexibility.  Be flexible when sharing the couple’s time with the other in-laws.   Try to understand that when your child marries, their family circle expands and relationships become more complicated;  they are having to share the same amount of free time among a greater number of family members.  It gets even more complicated when there are step-families within the circle.  Don’t add to the couple’s stress by playing the Guilt Card because your time with them is limited.  An understanding spirit will be appreciated….guaranteed.
  3. Privacy.  Allow me to be blunt:  Don’t meddle in their business, don’t visit too often, and don’t overstay your welcome.   In other words, be the in-law you desire to have.  Your behavior will enhance your relationship with both your child and their spouse.
  4. Let Go.  This process should have begun in the teenage years, teaching them responsibility and independence.  Enabling your child to become an adult of marriageable quality helps you both feel secure when the time actually arrives for marriage.  It then includes reducing your responsibility as parents and extending the couple’s responsibility of making choices for themselves and living with their consequences.  Respect them as adults, and remember that no matter how wise you are or how valuable your advice might be, until it is ready to be received, it’s worthless!

My intention is not to offend but to bring awareness to the role of in-law.  In 1961, Ernie K-Doe’s song, “Mother-in-law”, was a big hit (I thought it pretty funny back then).  It painted a picture of a woman giving unsolicited advice, asking how much the husband made, and stating “if she’d leave us alone, we’d have a happy home”……OUCH!  Forty years later and in the mother-in-law role, I still appreciate this song but for its instructional message instead of its humor……I can leave the newlyweds alone and bike ride with my husband at the same time!

Lois Trost, M.S.W