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Why You May Need to Rethink Your Moral Compass Now

“I believe that in healthy humans there is an inner compass that guides right from wrong. It may get modified through various lenses of philosophy, religion, and culture, but I think seeking peace and integrity and not causing harm are pretty universal. Unfortunately, it is also possible to get estranged from that compass, so it is good to stay in balance and in touch with it as much as we can.”

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Feelings or Morals?

As a therapist and mindset coach, I speak with many people that feel lost and stuck in life. They often have a difficult time making choices and knowing what the right thing to do is. I can relate to this as I have had my own fair share of difficulty determining whether or not my moral compass should be ruled by my in-the-moment emotions or whether it should be strong and steadfast.

The answer seems pretty simple- our choices should be guided by an unwavering moral compass, not by emotions. The reality is that feelings, no matter how strong, cloud the direction we should take.

Let’s say that you prefer to do what you want to do. “I’ll do what I feel like doing.”  We have a right to do whatever we want to do, when we want to do it, right? Feel your feelings and just go with it.

But isn’t that mindset like playing with fire? If we walk around doing only what we feel like doing, what will we accomplish?

Hatred, laziness, greed, jealously, insecurity, pride, selfishness, bitterness, the desire to fit in… these are all feelings that can lead to broken relationships, theft, drug abuse, fraud, violence, murder, mental illness, and chaos.

Living in a world that only honors people’s feelings and neglects the viewpoint of right vs. wrong doesn’t sit well with me. This is not to say that feelings are invalid and to be dismissed. Feelings can be intense and need to be spoken about and validated in order for them to be let go successfully. Feelings can be felt without being acted upon.

What if I just feel like taking something that doesn’t belong to me? Or if I say hateful things to someone because they are different than me? Maybe I feel angry so I hit the person closest to me or I lie whenever it suits me?

Aren’t those things wrong morally?

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” 

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

Core Values

Challenge: Feel your feelings and make the right choice based on your core values.

Let’s take a look at the core value of commitment. If we are to commit to something, it means that we dedicate ourselves to that person or thing. If we have committed ourselves to a new job or task, we get up everyday and do the best we can during the work day. It doesn’t matter if we are frustrated, tired, sad, or even happy- we are still going to head to work. Commitment is independent of feelings.

Core values like commitment are all independent of feelings.  Integrity is another great example of this. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching. How many times have you thought “I don’t feel like doing this?” and you do it anyway because you know it’s the right thing to do? The thought “I don’t feel like doing this” is a feeling. If you went with that feeling every time you were tired and not feeling up to the task, there would be dishes in the sink, laundry and trash everywhere, and extra pounds on your waistline. Maybe you don’t even have a job because you don’t feel like it! Integrity, like commitment, is independent of feelings. If you have integrity, you can feel like you don’t want to do something, but you do it anyway because it is the right thing to do.

Fine Tuning Your Moral Compass

A moral compass includes our principles, values, and beliefs. In typical development, our early childhood caregivers teach us these principles, values, and beliefs. If you have experienced a break in attachment or early childhood trauma or neglect, you may have to start from scratch in developing your own moral compass.

Where do I start?

A solid moral compass includes core values that will eventually govern your behaviors. In order to begin the process of developing a moral compass, you will need to do some research to determine which core values you want to include in your compass. Before I list out some core values, let’s define the word values. If you value something, you hold it in high regard, pursue it, and even love it.

Here is a list of some core values:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Honor
  • Courage
  • Commitment
  • Selfless Service
  • Respect
  • Self-Discipline
  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Transparency
  • Trust
  • Joy
  • Humility

Steps to Rethink Your Moral Compass

These are 15 core values, though there are hundreds of them! Follow these steps to start living by your own moral compass:

  1. Do your best to find the values that resonate with you.
  2.  Rank them in order of importance.
  3. Write them down.
  4. Define them.
  5. Hang the values and the definitions everywhere you can see them- fridge, mirrors, car, desk, dresser.
  6. Make all of your choices align with these values.
  7. Practice. Practice. Practice. It will take time to develop the ability to match your choices and actions with your moral compass. Like anything new, it will require patience and practice.

Still stumped or looking for an example? Below is a list of 10 of my core values and their definitions. With a solid moral compass, I can make my choices align with those core values, even when it doesn’t feel good. I know what I stand for and knowing what I stand for helps me trust in myself and my choices.

My Core Values

  1. Integrity – doing the right thing even when no one is looking
  2. Honesty- speak the truth and act truthfully
  3. Loyalty- faithful and devoted to loved ones
  4. Courage- Being afraid of something and doing it anyway
  5. Self-Discipline- the ability to do what I think is right despite temptations to abandon my pursuit
  6. Forgiveness- deciding that someone who has wronged me doesn’t have to pay or be punished
  7. Joy- choosing to be happy even when things don’t go my way
  8. Selfless Service- being helpful and kind to others as well as serving others without expecting a reward or praise
  9. Humility- putting others first by giving up what you think you deserve
  10. Kindness- being friendly, generous, respectful and considerate of others

Recommended Reading

I started thinking about moral compass and values after reading Mark Divine’s book, Unbeatable Mind. I highly recommend it as a resource to help develop your moral compasss.

Side note: We love Amazon and participate in the Amazon Affiliate programs. If you are thinking about purchasing these books through the links above, we do get some credit. Thank you for understanding.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health symptoms that are concerning or that are getting progressively worse, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Thrive is a proud provider of telehealth (tele-therapy). We offer HIPAA compliant video, phone, and text sessions for individuals, adults, and families struggling with mental health. Call 844-984-7483 or request a free, confidential screening online. If you would like help with developing your moral compass, contact me today at rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com


Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2 Thrive:Mind/Body, LLC TMB Online Counseling

Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2

Rose Skeeters is the CVO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. She specializes in family & relationship counseling–helping couples, parents, & families get and stay on the same page. Rose is also the host of From Borderline to Beautiful, a podcast aimed at helping individuals with BPD, CPTSD, and EUPD find hope and help in their recovery journeys. Are you interested in working with Rose? Schedule a consult with her here or contact her today at Rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com.

Working From Home & Homeschooling?! Why You Need to Learn Executive Functioning Skills Now to Survive the Quarantine

You wake up ready to go. Yesterday was a wash—chaotic and intense. Today is a new day, though. You are prepared—up half the night making a schedule for everyone. The kids have their schoolwork and you and your spouse have their work from home tasks. Yes, today will be a great day! About 45 minutes into the first activity, you hear, “MOOOOOOM! MOM I NEED A BREAK!” Ugh… Your husband pops in the room just to say hi and your oldest is watching Tik Tok on his phone. You think to yourself, “We are never going to get anything done anyway, let’s just relax!” You whip up some pancakes while your husband and kids rent the latest Jumanji movie. A few more movies and snacks later, you go to bed feeling defeated and overwhelmed at the thought of another month of home schooling.

Sound familiar? Being stuck inside with everyone home (and having to work) can expose our weaknesses fast. Not everyone possesses the skill set needed to complete work at home with grit, organization and integrity. Learn the following executive functioning skills to survive the COVID-19 quarantine.

What are Executive Functioning Skills?

Some people describe executive functioning as the management system of the brain that helps us set goals, plan, and get things done. Most individuals have both strengths and weaknesses in executive functioning skills. Finding your weaknesses will enhance your performance, self-confidence, and sense of achievement and help you teach your children to do the same.

Executive skills can be split into two categories—thinking skills and doing skills. If you can identify how each skill functions, you can create a goal to help yourself and your children either think differently or behave differently.

Executive Thinking Skills:

  • Working memorythe ability to hold information in memory while doing other things
  • Planning/prioritizingthe ability to create a roadmap to reach a goal and to make decisions on what’s important and what’s not
  • Organizationthe ability to create and maintain systems to keep track of information or materials
  • Task initiation – the ability to begin projects without procrastinating
  • Time management – the capacity to estimate how much time you have, how to allocate it, and how to stay within time limits and deadlines
  • Metacognition – the ability to stand back and look at yourself in a situation to observe how you problem solve, to self-monitor and self-evaluate

Executive Doing Skills

  • Response inhibition – the capacity to think before you act
  • Emotional control – the ability to manage emotions to achieve goals, complete tasks, or control and direct behavior
  • Sustained attention – the capacity to keep paying attention in spite of distractions, fatigue, or boredom
  • Task initiation – the ability to begin projects without procrastinating
  • Goal-directed persistence – the ability to have a goal and follow through on the goal without getting distracted
  • Flexibility – the ability to change plans when faced with setbacks, obstacles, new information, or mistakes
Working from Home and Homeschooling Requires Executive Functioning Skills

Match the Skills with the Task

Now that you have an awareness of the different thinking and doing skills that make up your executive functioning skills set, you can figure out what executive skills a given task requires and ask yourself whether or not you possess these skills or need to teach yourself how to enhance these skills.

Completing a Project

Let’s take completing a work project or homework task for you and your children as an example. This is something that almost all us are doing (or maybe should be doing) while we are stuck at home. If you or your child is someone who doesn’t exactly look forward to settling in and completing your work projects or tasks and has a difficult time getting started, take a look at the executive skills required to complete the task:

  • Task initiation- the ability to begin a task or project without undue procrastination
  • Sustained attention- once you begin, sticking it out until the task is completely finished
  • Planning/ prioritization- having a plan for your task or project and knowing what’s important and what’s not important to focus on
  • Organization- having some way of organizing information to complete the task successfully  
  • Time management- having the capacity to accurately estimate how much time it would take you to finish your work (or homework) and to stay within a certain deadline or time limit
  • Goal-directed persistence- setting the goal of completing the task you have been assigned or have chosen and following through on this goal without getting distracted by other things that you deem more important

Breaking down this task allows us to see that there are multiple executive skills required to successfully complete either a project or a homework assignment. If you or your child struggle with this task, or any other task you are faced with while working from home, list out the executive skills required to complete the task and then identify where things breakdown for you and for your child. Is it time management? Task initiation? Sustained attention?

Come up with a Plan

Now that you can see where your executive skill weaknesses are, come up with a plan that looks like this:

Step 1. Identify the skill (s) you want to work on.

Step 2. Set a goal.

Step 3. Outline the steps you need to follow to reach the goal.

Step  4. Turn the steps into a list, a checklist, or a short set of rules to be followed.

Step 5. Practice following the “rules” until you feel you have mastered the skill.

You may find that you have executive skill strengths that your child lacks and that they have strengths that you lack. Make sure to come up with a plan that meets both your needs and the needs of your child or children. Ensure to create a plan and then to model the behaviors that you are looking for in your children while you are working from home.

It is tempting to take the time at home to relax, worry, or both. Instead of getting stuck in the what ifs of the pandemic, challenge yourself to focus on what you can control. Creating a plan to enhance your executive skills and to teach your children executive skills. Your whole family will reap the benefits long after the virus is over (while also getting a lot more done while at home!)  

Recommended Reading

I love the book Smart But Scattered for adults and Smart But Scattered for Children. Both of these books are great resources for children and adults alike. You don’t have to be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD to enhance your executive skills. Click on the links above to check out these two books if you want to increase your productivity and teach your children to do the same.

Side note: We love Amazon and participate in the Amazon Affiliate programs. If you are thinking about purchasing these books through the links above, we do get some credit. Thank you for understanding.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health symptoms that are concerning or that are getting progressively worse, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Thrive is a proud provider of telehealth (tele-therapy). We offer HIPAA compliant video, phone, and text sessions for individuals, adults, and families struggling with mental health. Call 844-984-7483 or request a free, confidential screening online.


Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2 Thrive:Mind/Body, LLC TMB Online Counseling

Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2

Rose Skeeters is the CVO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. She specializes in family & relationship counseling–helping couples, parents, & families get and stay on the same page. Rose is also the host of From Borderline to Beautiful, a podcast aimed at helping individuals with BPD, CPTSD, and EUPD find hope and help in their recovery journeys. Are you interested in working with Rose? Schedule a consult with her here or contact her today at Rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com.

COVID-19: 4 Ways to Decrease Anxiety During the Quarantine

No one expected this to happen. A few weeks ago, my son was home with strep throat. COVID-19 was just beginning to make the headlines. I took him to the doctors, got him an antibiotic, and was prepared to send him back to school on Friday, March 13, 2020. But then the news came- schools and businesses will be shut down. Stay home they said. This will get way worse they said.

No one expected this to happen. The first week of quarantine was met with mixed reactions- some hopeful, some jovial, some downright angry. Many folks in my local community were (and still are) dismissing the situation, saying that COVID-19 is “the same as the flu” and for people to just “wash your hands”. I felt a bit out of touch myself, honestly. As a telehealth provider, I worked from home prior to COVID-19. Perhaps this made the uncertainty difficult to wrap my mind around? Or maybe I was in disbelief.

About a week into the quarantine, I had to restock our groceries. Fortunate and grateful to have a mask and gloves, I started with Weiss. I felt silly, admittedly, wearing a mask, though that feeling quickly faded as I saw many others wearing similar “gear”. No toilet paper, barely any meats, and limited stock on many essential items. Shop Rite next door was much of the same (though I scored some 2 ply toilet paper while there).

As I pulled into Costco, there was a line to get into the building that spanned the length of the parking lot. They let only a few people in at a time and had employees wipe down carts as we walked into the store. Signs about social distancing decorated the aisles. I raced to the meat department- now not sure if I would be able to feed my family. Luckily, they had many items in stock and I was able to purchase what we would need for the quarantine. But a question still ate away at me as I stood six feet away from the person in line ahead of me– when will this end? Is there going to be enough food when I go back? Will I get sick? Will we survive this?

Anxiety and worry filled my mind as it has many others. Uncertainty brings about chaos and fear. So what do we do? Here are 4 ways to deal with anxiety during the quarantine.

1. Stay Active.

Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but also for your mental health. Research has shown that regular participation in exercise decreases levels of tension, elevates and stabilizes our moods, improves our sleep, and improves our self-esteem. If you are not used to being active, start with 5 minutes of physical activity. It takes about 5 minutes of aerobic exercise to begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Take walks outside, have a catch with your children, play outdoor games, and search for online workouts that you can do at home.

2. Stay Connected To Family and Friends.

I’ve heard that social distancing has thrown people for a loop because it perpetuates the notion of quarantine being lonely and leaving us in isolation. Some have even changed the term to physical distancing to help people feel better about the situation they are in.

Whatever terms you use, remember to stay connected to friends and family. Face Time, Skype, and Zoom are just a few ways that you can check in on and connect with others. Even though we may have a tendency to withdraw during these times, we are social beings that need social contact.

If you have children, set up Zoom calls with friends, family, and cousins. Sign up for Facebook Messenger Kids. Model connectivity to your children during these times so that they too can feel connected to people that they love and care about.

3. Stay In Your Time Zone.

Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. If you feel your mind starting to time travel into the zone of maybes and what ifs and oh nos, reel yourself back to the present moment by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What’s happening right now?
  • Am I safe?
  • Is there something I need to do or can do right now?

If you are safe and there is nothing you need to or can do right now to attend to your worry, stay in the present moment and promise yourself that you will check back in later on to engage in self-care.

Mindfulness is also a great tool to use during times of uncertainty. Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can be very helpful in decreasing anxiety. Check out you tube videos and apps that facilitate these activities or sign up for an individual session here to learn more about implementing these techniques with support from a trained clinician.

4. Stay Healthy and Hydrated.

What you eat can make or break your immune function, more than half of which resides in your gut. The best way to activate a sluggish immune system during the quarantine is to drink a lot of water and to choose foods that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Check out the infographic below.

You may also want to consider adding these supplements to your diet to boost your immune system during the quarantine:

Helping Others.

Do you know someone that needs reassurance and validation? Young children may have a particularly tough time wrapping their minds around the corona virus quarantine. Explain what is happening in a clear, concise, and age-appropriate way. Convey what you know about the virus and ways to decrease the risk of getting sick. Young children cannot understand adult emotions and need adults to model calm during these chaotic times to foster a sense of safety and security at home.

Getting Help.

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health symptoms that are concerning or that are getting progressively worse, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Thrive is a proud provider of telehealth (tele-therapy). We offer HIPAA compliant video, phone, and text sessions for individuals, adults, and families struggling with mental health. Call 844-984-7483 or request a free, confidential screening online.


Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2 Thrive:Mind/Body, LLC TMB Online Counseling

Rose Skeeters, MA, LPC, PN2

Rose Skeeters is the CVO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. She specializes in family & relationship counseling–helping couples, parents, & families get and stay on the same page. Rose is also the host of From Borderline to Beautiful, a podcast aimed at helping individuals with BPD, CPTSD, and EUPD find hope and help in their recovery journeys. Are you interested in working with Rose? Schedule a consult with her here or contact her today at Rose@thriveonlinecounseling.com.