Browsing Tag

self improvement

Letting Go of Anxious Thoughts

By Jennifer McDougall

It’s one thing to have a thought or two about this or that, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you find yourself anxiously thinking and dwelling on all the possibilities or worries you have running through your head. Trust me, it’s not uncommon to feel this way. It’s not uncommon to overthink things or worry about this or that, but that doesn’t make it healthy. At Passages, we are here to help you train your mind to let go of anxious thoughts so you can experience a more peaceful mindset.

You may find yourself sitting there at a traffic light going over everything you did or said. You may be there lying in bed at night going over every anxious little wonder you have in your busy mind. We have all been there at some point where we can’t seem to just chill and let go of all the anxiety clouding up our mind. It could be stress over a job, relationship, risky decision, or a worry you have about the coming day. It’s understandable. Life can be stressful at times and things may feel a bit overwhelming, but there is a way to release that tense energy and settle your thoughts so you can think more clearly and get a better night’s sleep.

Here are 10 simple ways to start practicing letting go of all those anxious thoughts.

  1. Remind yourself that no matter what, every little things gonna be alright.
  2. Take 3 deep breathes. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Feel yourself letting go of all your stresses and all your worries; no matter how big or small they are.
  3. Get on a healthy workout routine to release endorphins and burn off built up tension.
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you remain hydrated. This is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
  5. Write it down. Journal your thoughts and experiences in a notebook. Keep it by your bed, in your purse, backpack—wherever is most accessible to you throughout the day so whenever an anxious thought comes to mind you can write it down and get it off your chest.
  6. Talk to a professional therapist. Friends are great to lean on and vent to, but sometimes we need a professional’s unbiased take on specific situations we are experiencing.
  7. Once a week do something you’ve never done before. Go hike a trail you’ve never been on. Explore a place you’ve never been. Try something challenging such as surfing, golfing, or public speaking to get you out of your comfort zone. Afterwards you will feel rewarded and have a sense of accomplishment.
  8. Pick up that book sitting on your bookshelf that’s been staring you in the face for longer than you’d like to admit. Pick it up and start reading. We also encourage you to visit our wellness store for a collection of self-help books that will change your life.
  9. Meditation is great way to relieve anxiety. We recommend you invest 30 minutes per day to meditate away your worries.
  10. Make a gratitude list of even the most simplest things in life you are grateful for.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Image via We Heart It

Turning Your Life Around with Non 12-Step Addiction Treatment

By Jennifer McDougall

You might be asking yourself, “Where in the world do I even begin?” That’s where Passages comes in. We are a non-12-step addiction treatment center here to help you discover and heal the underlying conditions causing you to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. According to our research and years of hands on experience, at Passages, we believe addiction is brought on by one or all of these four causes.

  1. Chemical imbalance

  2. Unresolved events from the past

  3. Beliefs you hold that are inconsistent with what is true

  4. Inability to cope with current conditions

Once you’ve identified what is causing you to use and abuse drugs and alcohol, we will provide you with the proper tools to completely heal those underlying conditions.

Every one of us has a unique story; a timeline of events, traumas, fears, and anxieties that have brought us to where we are right now. At Passages, we do not judge you for your past or label you an addict. Realizing you have the power within yourself to overcome this extremely difficult battle with addiction is just the start of turning your life around. Yes, there is hope. Yes, you can do it. Yes, we are professionally trained to help you get to the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

“You are not an alcoholic or an addict. You are not incurably diseased. You have merely become dependent on substances or addictive behavior to cope with underlying conditions that you are now going to heal, at which time your dependency will cease completely and forever.” ― Chris Prentiss, The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure

With the help of non-12-step treatment, you will begin you see a brighter side of life. You will soon discover your life’s purpose, recover and heal from your past trauma, false beliefs, and chemical imbalance. You will learn to cope with life’s current conditions in a healthier, more stable way that will bring about a better quality of life.

Here are several examples of what you can expect your life to look like after treatment at Passages.

  • An overall sense of clarity in the way you think and make logical decision

  • Drastically improved physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health

  • Healthier relationships and communication skills

  • Better job performance and an easier flow of ideas put into motion

  • All around gratefulness and a greater sense of joy for life

  • A meaningful life purpose that will bring you excitement to get out of bed in the morning

  • Motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as the well-being of those around you

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


30 Simple Tips for Self-Care

By Jennifer McDougall


Do you ever get so busy you forget to take care of yourself? You get so caught up in the day-to-day motions of work, family, and all the plans you set out for yourself, therefore, you unfortunately forget to leave time practice self-care. This happens to all of us from time to time because we aren’t always careful to pay attention to when we need to slow down and focus on treating ourselves. When life gets busy, remind yourself that you need to slow down and take a break. Don’t exhaust yourself. Stay connected to your mind, body, and soul. As a result, you to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

Here are 30 tips or suggestions for you to stay in tune with yourself, making sure you feel great, look great, and take the best care of yourself so you can be productive in all areas of your life.

  1. Practice good hygiene every single day
  2. Eat healthy meals and stay properly fueled
  3. Surround yourself with positive people
  4. Forgive yourself wholeheartedly
  5. Be gentle with your thoughts- your mind is a powerful thing
  6. Keep your home clean and organized
  7. Get outside and soak up the sun
  8. Take a nap
  9. Go to sleep early & wake up early
  10. Stop beating yourself up for not adding up to your own standards
  11. Avoid drugs and alcohol
  12. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated everyday
  13. Avoid negative influences and interactions
  14. Stop comparing yourself to others—we are all on our path, respect that
  15. Do something nice for someone else
  16. Think things out before making any rational decisions—feel it out
  17. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Listen to your body.
  18. Exercise for at least 30 minutes’ daily
  19. Journal your thoughts and daily experiences
  20. Build strong relationships with friends, family, and co-workers
  21. Allow yourself to have new experiences
  22. Step outside of your comfort zone with fearlessness and confidence
  23. Read for 20 minutes a day
  24. Mediate at least once a day
  25. If it doesn’t feel right or doesn’t suit you, say “NO” and don’t feel bad about it
  26. Pay your bills on time
  27. Spend less. Save more.
  28. Treat yourself to fresh flowers and desserts
  29. Turn up the music—sway to the rhythm
  30. Take the proper vitamins and supplements your body needs to thrive


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Images via We Heart It

10 Signs of Self-Destruction

By Jennifer McDougall

There’s a chance you know someone who has self-destructive behavior. You may have already recognized the signs and maybe you’ve talked to them about your concerns. The truth is that they might not realize what they are doing. Typically, those who have self-destruct tendencies do so for attention, self-pity, or maybe it’s because they have a load of issues they are unwilling to deal with. It’s an obvious cry for help. Instead, they choose to act out and behave in a careless manner that benefits no one, not even themselves, regardless of the people they drag down with them.

Here are 10 signs someone you know is self-destructive:

  1. Disregard for personal safety and security
  2. Careless spending
  3. Negative conversation
  4. Poor choices in friendships
  5. Blame others for their circumstances
  6. Overindulgence; purchases, eating habits, etc.
  7. Suicidal or bodily cutting
  8. Overuse of drugs and/or alcohol
  9. Refuse professional help or advice
  10. Ignore personal routine tasks; hygiene, personal finances, etc.

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Image via Pixabay

7 Simple Tips for Managing Stress

By Laurel Janssen Byrne

Stress is the body’s mental, physical and emotional response to changes in and around itself. Stress is normal, and everyone experiences it.

So why is managing ongoing stress important? Unrelieved stress can contribute to distress, which is a negative stress reaction. There are many symptoms of distress, like chest pain, sleep issues, blood pressure elevation, gastrointestinal disturbances and headaches. Over time, chronic stress can contribute to diseases and severe health problems, like depression, anxiety, hypertension, heart disease, asthma and arthritis.

It is important to control stress in positive ways, avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, which can lead to more stress and severe health problems. Thankfully there are many positive, simple ways for you to manage your stress. Here are a few good ones:

1. Regular Exercise releases stress, builds strength, and releases endorphins, the body’s natural chemical which relieves pain and improves mood. People who exercise regularly are generally happier due to reduced stress levels and improved health. A little goes a long way – a daily walk, a quick jog, an invigorating hike, lifting weights, practicing yoga, etc. Just get moving.

2. Getting enough sleep is often an overlooked key to great health and reduced stress. In fact, adequate sleep enables our body’s systems to function normally. Inadequate sleep can cause the body to release excess amounts of cortisol, or “the stress hormone.” While our bodies need some, excess amounts of cortisol can lead to weight gain and reduced immunity, and can prevent us from experiencing the restorative benefits of sleep. 7-9 hours nightly is recommended by most health professionals.

3. Meditation can provide great relief from the stresses of every day life. It trains the brain to move into a state of relaxation, rather than a stressed state. Meditation has been known to improve overall health, and can reduce negative health conditions like obesity and even cancer.

4. Laughter is  the best medicine, and has been known to have an anesthesia effect on a stressed body. Whether it’s chatting with your favorite cousin or seeing a funny movie, start laughing!

5. Eating a healthy, balance diet is crucial to proper bodily function. Ingesting processed foods has negative effects on the body and mind, as the chemicals, sugars and fats in these foods can cause obesity and addiction. Ditch fast food for healthier options, like lean proteins and plenty of fruits and veggies. These healthy foods allow your body to function smoothly, controlling stress and its harmful side effects. Your grandmother was right – you are what you eat.

6. Joining a healthy community can be a fulfilling, healthy, stress-reducing experience. Whether you go to church, take a fun class, or join a kayaking club, you will benefit from being around others with common interests, which alleviates loneliness. Lonely people often suffer from hearth disease more than their social counterparts.

7. Expressing your creative self can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of a healthy life. Creative expression releases endorphins, much like exercise. This lowers your heart rate, decreases your blood pressure, slows down your breathing, and lowers cortisol. Paint. Draw. Sing. Dance. Sculpt. Cook.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

Follow Passages Malibu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Jennifer McDougall

10 Ways to Build Courage

By Jennifer McDougall

Wouldn’t it be great if fear would just get out of the way so that we could make the moves we spend hours daydreaming about? Well, I have 10 suggestions that will help you overcome the fear and anxiety that is holding you back from living a courageous life.

Courage- Mark Twain

1. Identify what is you are afraid of.

2. Practice doing things you haven’t done before. This will help you become more bold in your actions and will open you up to new ideas and perspectives.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”- Neale Donald Walsch

3. Visit somewhere you have never been before. Take a different route home from work.

4. Speak from the heart.

5. Stand up for someone. It could be a total stranger or your best friend.

6. Express yourself with your style. Dress how you feel. Wear what you want. Use your personal style as a form of art to express yourself.

7. Trust yourself.

8. Know that no matter the outcome, what happens is exactly what is meant to happen. The universe makes no mistakes.

9. Try out new restaurants you don’t usually go to.

10. Admit when you are wrong.


Call us today at: (888) 397-0112.


Images via We Heart It

5 Types of Meditation Practices

By Jennifer McDougall

Our day-to-day lives are often times very busy, and our minds become extremely scattered if we do not take the time to relax and let go of our worries and stress. All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes in a quiet place to ease tension and achieve a sense of peacefulness and mental clarity. Meditation is the key to balancing your mind, body, and spirit. Below are 5 types of meditations you can begin doing today.

Before you get started, find a quiet place in your home, your backyard, or even under a shady tree in your favorite park. Sit in a comfortable seated position – it can be a simple, crossed-leg style, half lotus, or full lotus. Rest your hands on your knees either palms facing up if you’re looking to receive energy or palms facing down if you’re looking to be more grounded. Some practice with their fingers in the “gian mudra” position where your index fingers and thumbs touch to make an O shape. Do what feels comfortable for you.

1. Focused Meditation:

Calm your thoughts and focus on one thing. Eyes may be open or closed.

2. Mindfulness Meditation:

Attention on abdomen when breathing and/or on the awareness of your breath.

3. Body Scan Meditation:

Take three deep breaths. Close your eyes. Start from the top and slowly (mentally) scan down your body, and notice pain and tension at each point you reach. Be aware of what you feel and let the pain and tension dissolve as you continue downward through your body.

4. Mantra Meditation:

A mantra is a sacred sound, syllable, or groups of words that are repeated several times during mediation that have psychological and spiritual power.

5. Chakra Meditation:

Chakras are energy points that are centrally located in the subtle body. During this type of meditation you will focus on one chakra at a time. This also includes incorporating a bit of mantra meditation into the mix.


Check out Chris Prentiss’ “Meditation on the Perfect You” for a powerful, guided meditation that will help you transform into the person you have always dreamed to be.


Image via We Heart It

Are Your Influences Lifting You Up or Dragging You Down?

By Jennifer McDougall


How we feel and the circumstances of our lives can depend a lot on who we choose to surround ourselves with. The crucial question is asking yourself whether or not the people in your life (right now) are actually lifting you up and inspiring you, or are they dragging you down, complicating your life and putting you in dangerous or uncomfortable situations?

Take a moment and reflect on recent events with a friend or family member and find out whether or not they are lifting you up or bringing you down. Ask yourself these following questions to help make it clear in your mind if these influences are for your best interest, or the worst for your personal well-being.

  1. Do you feel inspired with new thoughts and ideas after spending time with this person, or do you feel drained and tired just from being around them?
  2. Do they listen to you as you speak, or do they interrupt you without hearing what you have to say?
  3. Do you trust this person, or do you feel uneasy about opening up to them because you fear they may use what you say to them against you to benefit themselves in one way or another?
  4. Do they compliment you on simple things and make you feel worthy, or do they belittle you making you feel like you’re not good enough, smart enough, or good looking enough?
  5. Do you feel safe around this person, or do they put you in uncomfortable and dangerous situations?
  6. Have you actually wondered why you continue to involve this person in your life because they don’t bring you much joy, or offer any kind of fun, excitement, or wisdom…?
  7. Do you feel a bit manipulated or disrespected by this person or this group of people?


After answering these questions and keeping a specific person, or group in mind, it should be clear to you who is lifting you up and who is dragging you down. The truth is that we all have someone in our lives that drag us down. The best way you can make life more enjoyable, peaceful, and less problematic is by distancing yourself from these people, and the situations they create.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center at (888) 397-0112, for information about getting the treatment you need for a drug or alcohol related addiction today.


Image via We Heart It

What Is Self-Control?

People throw around the phrase “self-control” quite often. But what does it really mean? Do we have a solid definition? And if we do, what does it mean for substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation? Thankfully all of these questions can be answered since we have a sufficient definition for self-control. Self-control works in two ways. First, it is the control of a spontaneous impulse. The second part of the definition is basically delayed gratification.

Controlling Impulses

Controlling impulses means that when something comes up, like having the desire to scratch an itchy mosquito bite, but resisting the temptation to do so because it would irritate the bite. Resisting temptation extends to anything that requires a conflict between what someone wants and what they ought to do. Similarly, successful impulse control is resisting the temptation to use drugs or alcohol, even though one might want to use.

Delaying Gratification

Another form of self-control is delayed gratification. This can be even trickier, because oftentimes not being able to vividly imagine a benefit makes it less appealing, even though they might be greater in the long-run. Let us take the example of smoking cigarettes. Independent of them being highly addictive, it’s hard to quit because the benefits of “being healthier” in the long-run is not something that is easily understood in the present. Nevertheless delayed gratification is an example of self-control because it is choosing what one ought to do (choosing greater, long-term benefit) over what one would like to do (choosing short-term benefit).

Relevance to Drug Treatment

It is pretty clear that the previously defined concept of self-control is fundamental in the scope of substance use, abuse, rehabilitation, treatment, and philosophy. Whether we are discussing the resistance to triggers or convincing a user of the long-term health benefits of not using substances, self-control almost always seems relevant to talk about.


Image via We Heart It