Brain Tired – Sleep Hygiene

Posted on Categories:Anxiety, Depression, Difficulty, Interpersonal Issues, Mental Health, Social Media, Struggle, Worry

Brain Tired – Sleep Hygiene

Kevin Phillips

People will often tell me how they have difficulty concentrating, how depressed they are, how angry they are and how they have anxiety. They go on to tell me how easily frustrated they become and how irritable they are and how they want to change. Sometimes people put pressure on me like they need me to come up with some wiz banger, re-invent the wheel concept or phenomenon that will cure all their problems. I understand the sentiment as I yearn to help but sometimes we can overthink and gloss over simple common-sense interventions that our grandparents seemed to inherently know about. Sometimes we get too complicated in seeking answers and we espouse that one has to be some kind of guru to find the answers. In my close to 20 years studying, observing and talking to thousands of patients about their struggles, I have discovered a profound trend. Sometimes our mental health difficulties can be diminished, ameliorated for and greatly improved by consistent, ongoing sleep quality and getting enough sleep. But there’s plenty to take away from our sleep quality: 1) work pressures 2) family squabbles 3) relationship friction 4) financial problems 5) Covid worries 5) the Russians attacking Ukraine and whether that war will spill over into other countries and whether our gas and food prices will go up 6) keeping up with social media and how good we look on Facebook and on and on. Oftentimes our phones, tablets and devices keep us looking at stuff even when we’re tired. We don’t get rest and rejuvenation anymore. When’s the last time we went a few hours without our cellphones? Studies have shown that if people for example continue to use their devices up until they go to sleep it takes their brain about two hours to reach the relaxation stages of sleep. So if you want to sleep better, quit using your electronic devices and phones about two hours before you desire to fall asleep and create other healthy and balanced bedtime routines like reading or talking or painting or writing or taking a soothing bath. We need to stop the merry-go-round, the hamster wheel and the rat race and chill. If we don’t learn to chill before we go to bed and relax our brains, we’ll continue to build anxiety into our lives and invite its cousin along for the ride – depression. Some of us may need a sleep aid to help us get into a routine of good sleep. I encourage you to talk to your pharmacist, doctor or family and friends to see what they use. Most of the sleep aids can be purchased over-the-counter although some may have to be prescribed by doctors or nurse practitioners. All of us make sure we’re doing our personal hygiene frequently so we smell better, are more healthy and to be honest to not offend our peers. Why don’t we consider working on our sleep hygiene more effectively so we can feel more alert, more mentally sharp, more emotionally in control, more calm and more resilient to handle the difficult world we live in? Sometimes we don’t have to seek far-flung cures, methods and fancy interventions, we just need more sleep! Sleep on it and see how you feel about it tomorrow

Setting The Trajectory

Posted on Categories:Anxiety, Control, Encouragement, Faith, Fear, Hope, Mental Health, Peace, Struggle, Worry, Worth

Setting The Trajectory

Kevin Phillips

Have you ever asked yourself, “where am I going in life, what’s my purpose, what do I want to accomplish, what kind of person do I want to be or become?” Growing up I always marveled at people who somehow inherently knew what they wanted to do in life. My daughter for example has known since she was in elementary school that she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. In high school I could never relate to other students who knew what they wanted to do and what they wanted to study in college. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I didn’t understand why I had no idea what to do in life. It was so frustrating and at times I kind of felt like a loser. I really didn’t know that my calling was to be a therapist/counselor until my late 30’s, wow talk about a late bloomer. But after I reflected on this meandering way of settling upon a profession, I realized that all my frustrations and confusion and life experiences gave me the ability to become a better, more effective, real therapist that could relate to people. Then I started to realize that as individuals we need to set a trajectory for ourselves. If not, where are we flying to, where are we going, what do we stand for, what’s the purpose?

Choose Your Course

Posted on Categories:Anxiety, Control, Depression, Difficulty, Dispare, Fear, Grief, Interpersonal Issues, Intimidation, Manipulation, Rage, Struggle, Worry, Worth

Written by Kevin J. Phillips
Founder of Encouragement Now Ministries

“That’s what the Christian life is all about, isn’t it? Going, yet not knowing.

As followers of our Lord, we believe He leads us in a certain direction, or in pursuit of a precise goal.”

~ Charles R. Swindoll


Have you ever contemplated: “What is my life’s purpose? What do I want to accomplish, and who do I want to become?” I used to be in awe of folks who just knew what they wanted to do with their lives. For instance, my daughter has known she wanted to be a teacher ever since elementary school. But I was never able to connect with others who were certain about what they wanted to do or study in college.

I felt like an outsider, and that was frustrating since I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t know what to do with my life. Until I was in my late 30s, I had no idea I wanted to be a counselor. 

Yet, after giving it some thought, I saw that all of my struggles, difficulties, and experiences had prepared me to become a better, more capable counselor who could connect and relate to his patients. I concluded that each of us needs to determine our life course. 

Now, imagine for a moment that you are launching a rocket to the moon. Many engineers would be required to manage all the details for such a mission. Your job is to enter the correct coordinates for the rocket. If the coordinates are off by even 1/2 a degree, the mission would be a failure since that one mistake repeated over and over again would cause the rocket to veer and miss the moon by thousands of miles. Even a small mistake gets bigger the longer it goes uncorrected. To reach our goals or to achieve anything in life—we must have the proper trajectory set in place. But first, we must decide where we’re heading before setting the coordinates.


-What are your objectives and goals in life?-What sort of person do you want to be?
-What direction is your life currently going in, and does it need to change?


Resting In Hope

Posted on Categories:Anxiety, Hope, Peace

Written by Bianca Gurciullo
Executive Assistant of Encouragement Now Ministries

“Rest time is not a waste of time. It is economy to gather fresh strength…In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

~ Charles Spurgeon


Rest is the opposite of anxiety, and we can find hope in that rest. Hope can get us through the hard times, but without rest, hope is hard to find. The question is: what are we hoping for? Is it strong enough to lead us to rest? Also, what are we putting our hope in, and will it cause us additional frustration?


Psalm 16:9        
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.