Happy New Year to you and yours from all of the staff at Mending Hearts Family Services! We are thrilled to have a new blog in order to kick off 2019! I wanted to share something that I learned from my grandson a few years ago, as we begin another new year with hope and expectation.
When my grandson was about 6 years old, I discovered that he preferred to eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t like milk chocolate? Loving dark chocolate is, after all, an acquired taste for most of us. The higher cocoa content is better for our bodies, but it makes the chocolate taste so bitter!
Somewhere along the way I discovered the DOVE brand of dark chocolate called PROMISES. My grandson loved to hear the messages inscribed on the foil wrapping and, as his reading got better, he would read them himself. These small sweets come in a variety of different types of chocolate, but the dark chocolate version was appealing to me because I had read that the dark chocolate was good at increasing serotonin levels. All chocolate increases serotonin levels, but dark chocolate is the best and has a smaller amount of sugar.
Since I am a Professional Counselor and Play Therapist, I work with many individuals who struggle with depression. Depression usually is an indicator of low serotonin levels. So, I began to keep these dark chocolates in my office. It amazed me that so many different people enjoyed them, including members of my own staff! After my grandson named them “chocolate with a promise,” I began to include that in my offer to have a candy. It became a ritual to some, to read the promise on the foil and enjoy a piece of chocolate. Both children and adults seem to enjoy the promises. Some are seasonal; some are just simple inspirational thoughts. Almost all of the promises brought on some productive discussions, smiles and laughter.
The expression “Laughter makes the best medicine,” became popular in the 20th Century. Well before that, the Bible states in Proverbs 17:22 that “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (NASB). I would agree, but a little DOVE PROMISE sure helps too! My grandson, now 16, still enjoys eating his dark chocolates with a promise and we chuckle over the messages he reads to this day. Chocolate with a promise is sweet treat to make the heart joyful and lift a broken spirit!
As we enter this new year, I want to encourage you to pursue joy for your own heart by making self-care a priority. So often we are busy, exhausted, distracted, and pulled in a thousand different directions. This year put yourself and your well-being at the top of your priority list and begin to move past some of the issues holding you back. Have an issue with anger management, depression, anxiety or fear of abandonment? Our counseling staff are available to help you address your issues in a safe and compassionate environment. Marital conflict? Thinking about separating from your spouse or are you recently divorced? We have therapists that can assist you with marriage counseling or divorce recovery. Want to strengthen your connection with your children or help your child struggling with low self-esteem, shame, or attachment issues? We can definitely help too. The important thing is that you make time for you and your needs as we start 2019 together!
If you are not following us on Facebook, I would encourage you to like our page (https://www.facebook.com/MendingHeartsFamilyServices/) so you can stay updated on all of our events, prayer requests, and opportunities to get involved in our foster care ministry. Our website, http://www.mendingheartsfs.org, also has updated information announcing our upcoming foster care classes, agency events, and ways to contact us to make an appointment with one of our trained counselors.
Blessings in this New Year!!!
Sharon Carl, MA, M.Ed, LPC
Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor
Mending Hearts Family Services, Inc., President/CEO