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you can break free

When you or someone you love is self-destructing

By Alison Cook | February 12, 2019

On a hot summer day, Margaret marched into my office sporting a black, long-sleeve sweatshirt with an image of a giant middle finger on it. I liked her immediately. I’ve learned that the bolder the armor, the more tender the heart. Twenty-two going on forty, Margaret worked two jobs to make ends meet. She wanted...

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4 questions to ask when it comes to setting boundaries with your phone

By Alison Cook | January 29, 2019

Imagine a day without your phone. . . Does a quick hit of Instagram make the grocery store line bearable? Are you texting your friends more than you’re talking to them? If you’re panicked at the thought of a day without your phone, it might be time to set some boundaries with your internal phone...

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Boundaries with a numbing entertainment junkie

By Alison Cook | January 22, 2019

This one hurts. I’ll admit it – entertainment is probably my #1 numbing behavior and always has been. Whether it was Friday night sitcoms in the 80’s, Rom-Coms in the 90’s, or the binge-worthy internet surge of the 2000’s, I’m a sucker for escaping into the real or not-so-real lives of other people. So this...

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When you’re eating to numb, find the part of your soul in need of your care

By Alison Cook | January 17, 2019

I don’t want to face the pain. That’s rarely what we’re thinking when we’re mindlessly eating to numb. At least, that’s not my experience when I reach for that bag of chips or third cookie. Instead, what I notice is a sense of urgency. I really need that cookie. Grab it, fast! Some part of...

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7 common numbing behaviors that keep you from wholeness

By Alison Cook | January 3, 2019

As you probably know if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I was surprised to find my own inner numbing avoider completely upended by what you selected for me to write about this New Year. Yep, your overwhelming response to my poll on what to cover was numbing behaviors (e.g. overeating, binge watching television,...

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Guest Post | Leslie Vernick

By Leslie Vernick | December 20, 2018

If you’re struggling in an abusive relationship, you’ll want to check out Leslie Vernick’s many resources. She’s provided written materials and supportive community for thousands of people struggling in destructive relationships. Leslie can help you navigate the tricky, sometimes risky landscape of emotionally destructive relationships in a God-honoring way. She’s a national and international speaker,...

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Authentic connection

A simple tool for creating authentic connection

By Alison Cook | December 12, 2018

How are you doing? Whenever somebody asks me this question, I tend to get very deer in the headlights. A flurry of words dance through my mind. Typically the first one I land on is Good! followed by panic as my English teacher mom’s voice surfaces. . . .or is it Well? which never sounds...

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When you need a rest from your inner task manager

By Alison Cook | November 21, 2018

A need isn’t always your personal call to action. My dad wrote this on a sticky note once and pasted it to his bathroom mirror. At the time, I didn’t really understand – I was a young kid. I just knew that my dad – a bastion of encouragement and helpful support – thought enough...

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Overcoming Perfectionism poppy flower

4 tips for overcoming perfectionism

By Alison Cook | November 14, 2018

If you struggle with overcoming perfectionism, please understand:  I know how hard you work to be good. I know that you have the highest standards for yourself. . . that you value excellence. . . and that for the most part you are harder on yourself than you are on anyone else. You are cautious,...

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When your shaming inner critic meets gentleness

By Alison Cook | November 7, 2018

What is the club you beat yourself with? Take a moment and consider your internal dialogue. Do you ever notice thoughts like these: You should be more like her. He’s so successful. If you were better, you’d be where he is. You deserve this bad thing that’s happened. You’ll never be as good as other...

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Guest Post at AnnVoskamp.com

By Alison Cook | October 29, 2018

Thanks so much to the lovely Ann Voskamp for featuring my story—adapted from Chapter 5 of Boundaries for Your Soul —on her blog this week. It’s about how my journey to becoming a psychologist was disrupted when I had to face my own overwhelming emotions and learn to befriend them. If you’re anything like me,...

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How to calm your worry

By Alison Cook | October 17, 2018

My, friend, Nicole, could not calm her worry. She worried about everything: she worried that if she didn’t marry, she would grow old alone—and that if she were to marry, her husband would end up cheating on her. She worried that if she stayed in her job, she would burn out—and that if she left...

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