One of the most profound moments in literature is in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Alice is walking and comes to a fork in the road. She’s not sure which way she should go, so she asks the Cheshire Cat, “Which road should I take?”
The cat asks her in return, “Well where are you going?”
“I don’t know” Alice replies.
“Then it does not really matter,” the cat tells her, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
An indispensable part of life is to know where you are going. If you don’t, you will find yourself wandering down any road that presents itself to you.
When you have no clear destination, the decisions along the way don’t matter. This is why the fastest way to reinvent yourself is to establish a destination—or, in other words, to establish a list of personal goals.
Personal Goals Give You Direction
Moving forward is good; moving in a specific direction is better. Personal goals put a clear direction to your movement. This is why personal goals are vital to any personal reinvention. Most of us are familiar with feeling constantly busy, on the move, and booked with appointments—yet nothing seems to get accomplished.
Personal goals give you a way to organize and direct all your movement into a specific direction so that you can accomplish what you want.
Personal Goals Put You in The Driver’s Seat
The essence of reinventing yourself is taking control of your life. Personal goals allow you to be in the driver’s seat. Goals allow you to take control of your time, energy and effort. Instead of just reacting to things that happen into your life, you take control. You decide where your energy is spent.
Nothing will help you reinvent your life like taking ownership of it via your personal goals.
Goals Inspire During the Mundane
Life is not a movie. We don’t experience a continual stream of magical experiences, one after another. There is a lot of dullness stuffed in-between the highlights of life. That’s OK. This is where our personal goals rise to assist us.
Personal goals can inspire us by reminding us of the bigger picture in life. We can compare that to what we are currently engaged in at any point in time. In other words, personal goals help frame how the smaller aspects of life play into the larger mosaic. Reflecting on how your day-to-day life fits in with your overall goals can thereby give you daily inspiration. Having this is pivotal in reinventing yourself
Goals Help Organize What Is Important
On a day-to-day basis everyone is bombarded with choices. How do you decided when to say yes and when to say no? With personal goals, that decision becomes easy. You can ask yourself: Does this activity align with my personal goals? Does this help me achieve my personal goals? The answer to those questions can help you decide what to invest your time in. It gives you a way to identify what is important to you.
Goals Allow Us to Enjoy Life
Ultimately, life is to be enjoyed, and nothing is more enjoyable than success. Personal goals not only define what success will look like for you, but also will give you the road map to achieving it.
What many people fail to realize is that personal goals will also allow you to enjoy life even when the goals are not accomplished. The ability to learn, progress, and develop yourself when you have not accomplished your goals will bring you an enjoyable personal maturity. These are the many ways that personal goals can bring a greater degree of purpose and fulfillment to your life.
Personal goals are a non-negotiable ingredient in any personal reinvention project. Thankfully you can start with something simple. Start your journey by making your first personal goal: A goal to develop a complete list of personal goals. And now you off!
A habit is a regular tendency or practice. You likely have many habits that you are regularly practicing. Many of these habits you perform on a daily basis, maybe unconsciously and a part of your regular routine. Unfortunately, these types of unconscious habits that you have built up over time are typically not the best types of habits.
Good habits, in particular, need to be developed and developed intentionally. Developing good habits can create a new, fresh, and better you. Here is why you should reinvent yourself by starting good habits today.
The Benefits Of A Good Habits
Habits are small activities that define or create who you are over time. The benefit of developing good habits is that it creates and define good attributes in you over an extended period of time. A good habit is like interest building in a bank. Over time, the interest continues to grow without much effort on your part. Likewise, a good habit continues to develop character and attributes in you, without much concentrated effort.
Developing good habits also takes the “work” out of doing the things that you want to do. When something becomes routine or automatic, it no longer becomes work. It is just something you do. Being able to routinely perform activity or tasks without much effort allows you to put your energy and focus into other areas of life. Developing good habits gives you the benefit for accomplishing more with less effort.
Repetition And Time Is The Key To Good Habit Forming
Developing a good habit may take longer than you think. When developing a new habit, the general rule of thumb has been about 21 days. This time frame was developed from Dr. Maxwell Maltz work in the 1960’s with amputees adjusting to the loss of a limb.
However, a more recent study from Lally et al, entitled How are habits formed: Modeling habit formation in the real world, indicates that it takes an average of 66 days for an activity to become “automatic”. The study also indicated that missing a day did not lead to negative effects to developing your habit, but that the more repetitions earlier in your development produced larger effects.
Developing good habits is both a marathon and a sprint. Start your habit forming strong with consistent repetitions in those first few weeks. Then turn your eyes to the horizon and settle in for the time that it will take to develop your habit.
Good Habits You Should Consider
There are lots of good habits that you should develop for yourself. Here are few to consider:
1. Exercise: This is the obvious good habit that you should be developing. The American Heart Association states that you can significantly improve your cardiovascular health with just 30 min of exercises a day. Even if this 30 min is broken into 10 min periods. Developing a habit of a daily walk can significantly impact your health. If you are into dancing, check out Zumba online or in your community.
2. Saving: This habit is not flashy, or exciting, or particularly fun. But it’s absolutely necessary. Start small and save a specific amount each week. Then build to a particular amount each month or a certain percentage each year. Building this habit can have lasting rewards for years to come.
3. Reading: Developing the habit of reading 15 min each day can lead to all kinds of benefits for you. Daily reading can increase memory and vocabulary or decrease stress and anxiety. With only 15 min of reading a day, you can easily read 1-2 books a month or 12-24 books a year. Imagine the benefit of learning new skills for recreations and work, or understanding a new topic, or developing a better imagination, all from 15 min a day.
4. Waking up early: Getting up early in the morning is not natural for everyone, but is a habit that can be developed. Start by setting your alarm 15 min earlier than usual. Every 1-2 weeks move your alarm back another 15 min until you reach your desired wake up time. Waking up early can benefit your health, energy, productivity and motivation.
Pay Attention To Your Habits
Whatever good habits you decide to develop will be worth the invested time. The important part is to pay attention to the habits that you are developing.
Start today, and make a note of all the habits that you find yourself routinely doing throughout the day. Is this habit something you want to keep? If not, start a better habit and begin the process of reinventing yourself.
Do you ever wonder how people who are at the top of their field are able to maintain their high level of achievement? One of the keys to their success is that they are not afraid to reinvent themselves.
Reinvention can take many forms. It can be the refinement of habits or characteristics that should remain in your life but need fine-tuning.
Reinvention can also take the form of letting go. Specifically, letting go of bad habits that hinder your success. John Maxwell, an American writer in the field of Leadership, says, “I can predict the long-term outcomes of your success if you show me your daily habits.”
Habits matter, and bad habits can cause lack of success and even failure.
This is particularly true when it comes to your health. Letting go of bad habits must be a top priority if you want to reinvent yourself.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It isn’t as simple as “just letting go of a bad habit.”
When you let go of a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit. So today is the day. No more excuses. No more tomorrow.
Below are three bad habits you need to finally let go of if you want to be healthy.
You have probably heard this admonition countless times throughout your life: Sit up straight and stop slouching! Well, as unpleasant at this feedback usually is, it’s right. Poor posture is nothing but a bad habit that has developed over time.
Slouching (which is typically defined as a forward head posture and rounded shoulders) causes poor joint alignment, especially in the neck and back. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, poor posture of the spine can contribute to muscle tightness, loss of range of motion, and even pain.
It’s very difficult to just “stop slouching.” You can reinvent yourself, however, by replacing the bad habit of slouching with the good habit of setting postural reminders for yourself. For example, if you are a desk worker, you can place a small mirror at the top of your computer screen. When you are in the correct posture, you should see the top of your head in the mirror. Seeing this continuous visual cue as you work will remind you to correct your posture.
You can also start the habit of checking your posture each time you send an email or start up your car.
These habits ensure that you continually assess and correct your posture, thus breaking you of bad postural habits.
Stop Drinking Sugary Drinks
Soft drinks and energy drinks are loaded with high amounts of sugar. Such drinks can have between 15-60 grams (or more!) of sugar per serving.
The American Heart Association reports that men should limit their intake to 36 grams of sugar per day while women should limit their intake to 25 grams of sugar per day.
You can easily consume the entire amount of your day’s allotted sugar with one soft or energy drink. This bad habit can create big problems.
The American Diabetic Association states that sugary drinks have been linked to type 2 diabetes. This disease, the ADA states, causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. That is a serious consequence to a bad habit!
Reinvent yourself by kicking your sugary drink habit. Replace it with a water drinking habit. Here are a couple of simple tricks to assist you in breaking this habit.
Set several reminders on your phone or computer at various points in the day to alert you to drink a glass of water.
A non-technological way to start this new habit is to keep 6-8 coins in your right pocket and to move a coin to your left pocket every time you drink a glass of water. Whenever you reach into your pocket, you will notice the coins. This will cue you to drink another glass of water.
Stop Going to Bed Late
Th bad habit of going to bed late can be the result of many other bad habits. For instance, it can result from the habit of lying in bed while scrolling through social media—which can make it more difficulty to fall asleep. Or it can result from the habit of falling asleep on a couch or in a recliner, which can make it more difficult to initiate sleep in bed.
Many other habits can contribute to the bad habit of going to bed late. This, in turn, can lead to sleep deprivation.
The National Institute of Health states that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. All of a sudden, we can see how this little habit can have big consequences.
Reinvent yourself by discontinuing your bad habit of going to bed late. Replace late nights with a routine that leads to a full night of sleep.
Here are some helpful nightly routines that can help to break the bad habit of going to bed late:
Letting go of bad habits is a challenging and yet simple way to reinvent yourself. It’s the old adage of “addition by subtraction.” Or better yet, its “addition by subtraction…with a new addition.”
Take a walk into any bookstore and you will quickly get lost in the sea of self-help books at your disposal. You may suddenly find yourself struggling to tread water in this vast body of knowledge attempting to impart the newest and most useful skills to you. Where do you start and where does it end?
Well, what better place to start developing life skills than in the arena of… you! There are some skills that every person should acquire and other skill that everyone needs to have. Life skills that are all about you fall into the need category. Instead of just keeping your head above water, ride the wave of these 5 key life skills that are all about you.
1. Stress Relief
Everyone is intimately acquainted with stress. Stress seems to collect as naturally as dust and likewise has an accumulating effect. The National Institute of Health states that chronic stress can lead to suppressed sleep, decreased immune response, headaches, muscle pain, and much more. Stress can have a significant toll on you both physically and mentally. While stress is unavoidable, relieving stress is a skill that can be developed.
Identifying what opens the valve of your stress hose is the first step. Stress can be relieved a variety of ways and figuring out what your stress relieving methods are can be fun and exciting. Some stress relieving methods to try can include: exercise, social interaction, reading, music, sleeping, or meditation. Whatever form your stress relief comes in, the key is to understand how that functions in your daily life.
Next, develop the ability to detect when your stress levels are reaching their maximum. Being able to sense when the stress tank is getting full and emptying it before it overflows will help you avoid many unnecessary struggles and hardships. This seemingly little, but actually significant skill, will allow you to avoid a lot of clean up.
TED Talks are brief 10-20 min videos of expert speakers discussing a variety of topics from a wide range of industries. These videos are extremely popular due to their motivational and inspiring themes, but these extremal mediums are typically only catalyst for a brief time, while self-motivation is a skill that can be developed and has a substantially longer lasting effect.
Self-motivation is a skill that can be developed by identify your strengths and areas of passion. Focusing and putting your efforts into the areas that you are naturally good at and enjoy creates an environment for consistent success. Nothing increases self-motivation like consistent success. And knowing that you have the ability to put yourself in a position to have consistent success increases the self-motivating cycle.
3. Receiving Feedback
Feedback is typically from an external source and comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes the feedback is sought, many times it isn’t. Yet the way we receive feedback is a skill that is all about you. There are certain characteristics that come with receiving feedback and it’s these characteristics that can be developed. Characteristics like: being prepared to receive and expecting to receive feedback. Also, being open to and interested in receiving feedback all enhance your ability to benefit from it.
Likewise, our perspective on feedback, is a skill that can be further developed. Feedback is simply information. Information that is processed and sorted into helpful or unhelpful categories. Perspective allows us to properly view both the good and the bad. Feedback ultimately is like a pair of shoes. If you think the shoe fits, then wear it. If it doesn’t fit, then don’t wear them.
“I am sorry,” might be the 3 most difficult words that you will ever have to say. Yet, apologizing is a skill that is all about you. Yes, apologizing helps rectify the situation with the other person, but it not just about them. Apologizing releases you from any emotional burdens you may be holding onto. Developing this skill can have a greater impact on yourself than those around you.
5. Living A Life Of Gratitude
This last skill might possibly be the most difficult and yet the most critical life skill that is all about you. This is due to the fact that the soil that gratitude works is internal more than external. In order to develop this skill, it requires that you practice it daily and with intention.
Develop this skill by identify 3 specific things that you are thankful for each day. The key here is to be specific. For example, you might be thankful for your job, but what specifically about your job. Maybe it’s the flexible hours, or the type of work that you do, or a specific person that you work with. Being specific about your gratitude makes it real and tangible. Performing it every day makes it a lifestyle.
It’s All About You!
At times, it may feel uncomfortable to talk about and develop skills that are about you. But there should be no hesitation and difficulty with this because no one is going to put in the work on yourself more than you. So, don’t be hesitant or afraid. But dig-in, achieve, and master the 5 skills that are all about you.
Who doesn’t dream of a better future for themselves? We wish that we could leave our humdrum job and instead sit on a beach to paint. Life would just be better if we could move to the country and live off the land.
The thing is, every one of us has a dream, they’re all different, but one thing many of us share in common is that we bury those dreams. At some point, we decide to take the well-traveled road and put aside our ‘childish dreams.’ We give up a bit of ourselves when we do that.
Think of reinvention as a re-brand. It’s something that major companies do. Coca-Cola has changed up their branding, a couple of times in recent years. Just as Richard Branson has reinvented himself over the years to become the businessman he is today.
Before Jim Carrey made his acting dreams come true, he wrote himself a massive check. He decided that if he could dream it, then he could also do it. One of the biggest things that hold us back from truly pursuing our dreams and reinventing ourselves is fear.
That doesn’t mean that it’s too late to reinvent yourself. The first step in doing that, though, is identifying the fears that have been holding you back and eliminating them. There are three massive fears that often hold us back.
1. The Fear of Failure
There is no one on this planet that enjoys failure. No one is into losing, no one sets out to do less than their best and lose. The problem with that mindset, though, is that we are too scared to take risks. While there are adrenaline junkies who pay people to throw them out of a plane, the idea of failure is paralyzing. Unfortunately, a lot of us really care about what others think about us. Failure is only temporary, though. You should think of it as a stepping stone.
So, how do you eliminate your fear of failure? Look to the lesson in every failure and learn how to use it to your advantage. You can better yourself through failure. So, instead of seeing it as the end of the world – start seeing it as a learning experience. You might fail more than you succeed, but the more you put yourself out there the greater your chance of increasing success is.
2. The Wrong Mindset
What is your inner voice telling you? Is it a positive force in your life? Or, is it whispering negativity in your ear and hating on your every action? That negative voice is fueling the wrong mindset and it’s that mindset that is keeping you tucked safely in your comfort zone. One of the best ways to eliminate this fear is to practice overriding those negative thoughts with positive affirmations. It’s all about drowning out that negativity and replacing it with the right mindset.
3. No Knowledge
Sometimes the biggest fear that holds us back is a lack of knowledge. We don’t know what to do or where to go to make our visions a reality. The best way to deal with this fear is to find yourself a mentor. Look for someone who works in the field that you want to be in or does the thing you want to do. You can learn from them. If it’s a specific thing you want to reinvent about yourself, then find someone who is good at it. You can use social media to find people that are outside of your circle and build your network. Or, find a coaching program.
You probably know someone with amazing self-discipline. They’re that person that manages to choke down a kale shake every morning after they went on a 5-mile run before your first alarm went off. They are incredibly efficient, they work hard, and seem to have endless amounts of energy. Then, there’s you.
You play games on your phone and look up at the television in between levels. Somehow, you have successfully managed to scoop snacks into your mouth at the same time. You’re not lazy, you are busy so when you have downtime you want to relax.
What about your dreams, though? How will you accomplish them if you have no self-discipline? You can build that self-discipline. It’s crucial to your success, that goes for both your personal and professional life. Here’s how!
1. Acknowledge Weakness
You should never let your weaknesses stand in your way, however, you should acknowledge them. It could be that social media is why you procrastinate or that pretzels are your biggest diet weakness. Either way, to improve your self-discipline you need to acknowledge what is most likely to derail you.
You don’t wake up and magically find yourself possessed by self-discipline. You need to build a strategy. It doesn’t matter whether you want to build new and good habits or eradicate bad habits. The key is that you create a plan that will outline exactly what steps you need to take to achieve the goal.
3. Remove Temptation
It would be nice if we were disciplined enough to resist our greatest temptations. However, if you know you’ve never met a bag of pretzels you didn’t love, then don’t keep them in the house. If it’s social media that messes with your day, remove the app from your phone or tablet. There are plenty of ways you can remove temptation, no matter what it is. Don’t be afraid to turn off the router and go without the internet until you achieve what you need to.
Humans naturally try to avoid any discomfort or pain. However, this will only make you more unlikely to deal with any distress life throws at you. Resilience is a really important skill to possess and there’s only one way to do this. You can’t dismiss uncomfortable emotions, you have to experience them, whether it’s loneliness, boredom, sadness or frustration. Negative emotions are part of building self-discipline.
Sometimes it’s easier to practice self-discipline when you’re capable of visualizing the long-term rewards that your behavior will bring. If you give in to temptation today you will experience a short-term boost in happiness, but think about the gratification that will come if you resist. Imagine yourself as you meet those goals and gain those rewards. This will help you exercise your self-discipline on a daily basis.
There will be days that you find easier than others. When you experience a slip-up, whether it’s a treat you shouldn’t have had or a workout that you skipped, recovery is key. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Recover from your mistakes and keep going. Acknowledge them, but move on.
Self-discipline is what is standing between you and achieving your goals. You don’t need to steep in jealousy at the people you know who possess self-discipline, though. You can use the tips above to increase your own self-discipline. Keep practicing and you will improve yourself.
When you improve your self-discipline skills you can start to improve your life by pushing hard to achieve your goals. Now all you need to decide is what goals you want to pursue – you’ll need to start with your core values.
We often make our way to the idea of reinvention after experiencing frustration and discontentment with our lives.
Sometimes there’s a sense of longing to do something different, to find a new way to live and to be. This kind of reinvention evolves from the human need to grow and to change. Change comes about because there has to be more to human existence than simply existing and most people sense that over time.
Sometimes in the early stages of reinvention, we think about what benefits we might receive from building a new self. Perhaps we just want to be free of a stale, confining and suffocating way of life, but that might not seem enough to us right then.
Other than liberating yourself from a life with no change and no growth, what other benefits does reinvention offer?
Of course, a huge benefit is a more authentic and fulfilling life. After all, that’s the first purpose of going through this transformation process. More importantly, you learn how to be adaptable in the face of new challenges and that is a life skill that is useful in many ways.
You learn how to cope with new problems and new situations. Once you've been through one reinvention cycle, you’ll be ready to do it again when you feel the need.
You may never decide to reinvent yourself again, but that’s a matter of choice. You’ll know how to do it. That’s a life-changing benefit all on its own!
People reinvent themselves for as many different reasons as there are different people. However, reinvention is usually driven by a few prominent emotions: boredom, restlessness, dissatisfaction, even fear. Sometimes reinvention rises out of personal crises. If you’re looking for ways to bring about self-renewal, we can help you find them.
Proactive Reinvention: Purposefully Forging A New You
There are several kinds of reinvention, but we’re looking at proactive Reinvention. Proactive reinvention can be the toughest of the three. In proactive reinvention, we’re at a place that’s safe and comfortable at that moment.
Major life changes aren’t immediately required. We might even be able to keep on coasting just as we are, but that’s not a satisfying place for us anymore. Even though reinvention can be scary, we still have the desire to do it. Reinvention seems better than where we are.
Maybe we’re simply tired and unfulfilled in our lives, our work, relationships, etc. Sometimes all three categories cry out for change. Proactive reinvention has the advantage of not being urgent in most cases. You can be deliberate in your choices.
1. Ask Yourself “What do I need in my life now? What do I want? What’s missing?”
To answer this question, we must dig deep, and it’s not a quick process in most cases. Proactive reinvention tends to arise out of a sense of dissatisfaction about where we are in life or even who we are. We may only know that we want something different.
2. Identify Your Passions
What do you value? What gets your engine running? If you could make a living at a hobby, what would it be? Getting a handle on what you enjoy and what you love to do, how you love to feel, and whom you love to be around lets you set some big, broad goals. In all cases and steps of reinvention, ask yourself questions like:
3. Explore Your Immediate Options
Immediate options generally include things like your skill set, your finances, your contacts and social links in life. These can be springboards to the new you. Think of these as assets you already must dedicate to your renewal.
4. Get a teacher, mentor or sounding board
If you’ve got a general idea of what you want to do, you can start homing in on sources of information and expertise. Those sources can be people who are knowledgeable or experience with the subject matter, profession, hobby, whatever it is that’s appealing to you. If you know you want to reinvent yourself, but haven’t got a lock on a destination yet, there’s no worry. Many people go through the renewal process without any hint of a fixed destination or end-point in mind when they start off.
That said, it’s good to have someone around who can give you ideas, feedback, and support that’s related to your journey.
5. Consider the Unknown
The unknown is scary, but it can also lead to some great discoveries. There are two big sources of it, too. There’s the unknown out there in the world external to us, and the unknown inside you. When you change your life, there’s bound to be internal changes that you didn’t plan for. If planning were all it took to reinvent one’s life, it’d be much simpler. Let the possibility of change flourish in you. If you try hard to hang on to everything that you’ve got now, that you are now, nothing will change.
6. Learn to live with fear while always going forward
Reinvention requires embracing uncertainty. It means getting comfortable with discomfort. Doing new things, trying new ways to be is scary! Allowing fear to stop us from changing is always the biggest block to proactive reinvention.
Always. Unlike reactive reinvention, when you must make big changes or face even worse situations than self-renewal, proactive reinvention seems optional when we get scared, so we have the option to retreat into safety. Safety is great. However, clinging to the safety of the familiar ensures you will never reinvent yourself.
Regeneration of the self requires living with fear, too. Consider as an example the situation of leaving one career for another, more ideal career. Common wisdom says you must have another job before leaving your current job.
That wisdom in this situation kills any chance of getting that ideal job. It’s very hard, maybe impossible, to prepare for a completely new profession while working a full-time job. A dentist who leaves her job for another job as a dentist has changed locales but has not at all reinvented herself.
Making a jump from the known into the unknown safely, with no risks, doesn’t happen. There is always some element of risk. Learning to live with risk in order to get something you dearly want is one of the biggest rewards of reinventing yourself.
The holiday season is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, to take some time off work, or even escape for a winter getaway. For all the joy and fun, though, so comes the stress.
The expectations of social events, gift shopping, and entertaining guests can become too much for even the most festive types. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association 8 out of 10 people expect to experience an increase in stress over the holiday season.
With stress comes a greater risk of anxiety and depression, and reports from the Mayo Clinic show that depression is frequently an unwelcome guest over the holidays. All is not lost however, there are many ways you can minimize your stress and anxiety to allow you to truly enjoy the season.
1.Set A Budget
Shopping can be fun, but spending money isn’t always easy, and Americans spend almost a $1,000 every holiday season on gifts alone. You can minimize the damage by setting a budget and sticking to it.
A lot of the stress that we experience during the holidays is due to financial pressure and the Mayo Clinic suggests that setting a budget can be beneficial to your stress levels. Work out how much you can afford to spend on food and gifts, and stick to it.
The American Heart Association wants you to stay active all the time, but it’s extremely important to keep that up during the holidays. Any activity or exercise you can fit in will help reduce your stress and elevate your mood. It’s going to stimulate endorphin production and trigger a positive feeling in your body.
You might be busy, but if you can find time to exercise for half an hour three times a week, you will feel better. You can go walking or jogging, swimming or biking, play sports, and find time for aerobics. Also, find an accountability partner. I’m working on this step so if you are too and want to link arms, send me an email at email@example.com and we can do this together.
3. Take It Easy
The American Psychological Association reminds us that we need to take time for ourselves. There are parties and gatherings and we are constantly surrounded by people. It’s great to be with the ones we love and laugh about the old days.
You shouldn’t miss all those great times, but what you should be careful of is setting unrealistic expectations. You can’t do everything, and it’s okay to take time out for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes. If you do a whole lot of hosting, make sure you delegate- whether you ask everyone to bring a different dish, or you rope in the family to take on certain tasks.
4. Stay Smart
The holiday season is a time of indulgence, but as the Mayo Clinic directs- it doesn’t mean you should abandon your healthy ways. There’s no need for a free for all that will just add to your stress.
Enjoy yourself, but try having healthy snacks before holiday gatherings so you don’t over snack while you’re out. Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep, as you are more likely to overindulge after a poor night’s sleep.
5. Choose Your Battles
We all have someone in our circle that rubs us the wrong way. It’s only natural- not everyone can always get along. Allowing someone else to get under your skin, though, is only going to ruin your holiday and increase your stress level. Learn to pick your battles, and don’t take the bait.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you have a real problem with someone, set it aside and save it for another day. Even the calmest people can lose their cool during the holidays.
Self-care is a conscious choice and this is even truer during times of more stress, such as the holiday season. Make sure to take the time and create a deliberate plan! Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun, family, and relaxation, don’t let stress interfere with this great time of year.
As always, prioritize wellbeing and the rest will flow. Happy Holidays!
All the stress-reduction techniques in the world are of little value if you don’t find the cause of your stress. You could exercise until you pass out, but if you still can’t make your mortgage payment, no changes will happen for you. When you find out the cause, you can take steps to help yourself reduce the stress.
Taking the example of not paying your mortgage, you want to find a solution quickly. But, you might not want to use a solution like those online loan services. They charge exorbitant rates and the interest is calculated daily. Taking advantage of these services will increase your stress and will leave you stuck with a higher payment.
Your stress may be caused by someone you work with. Perhaps they are lagging in their work, and it is bringing your whole team down. One solution is to help the lagging member with his or her work. But, try to show them ways to get work done faster, so it doesn’t happen again in the future.
If your stress is caused by you procrastinating on something important, you need to reverse that immediately. The situation is likely to get worse. For instance, if you let a slow leak in your home keep building, it’s going to make it tougher to handle when it becomes a large leak. If you are not capable of fixing the leak yourself, hire a professional.
From the above scenarios, you would have dealt with the actual cause of the stress points. You could try meditating and exercising, those would help you reduce your stress to some degree. But, it wouldn’t do much to eliminate the situation. Only by finding what is causing the stress and taking actions based on that, would you be able to eliminate the stress it caused.
Stress reduction techniques not related to the cause can still help, however. They can help you relax, which can get you to think about solutions to the problem. The techniques can also help to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. When you are calmer, you will find solutions much quicker than when you are worried and stressed out.
In most cases, you’ll be able to determine what is stressing you out. There are situations where you become anxious, and you are not sure why. Hopefully, it is a temporary condition. Should it become more long-term, consider getting some help before it gets out of control.
For additional tips and strategies for stress management, check out my book, The Stress R.E.L.I.E.F. Method!
by Chou Hallegra, Certified Family Trauma Professional
A baby or toddler always trusts their parent, but as your child grows, they may not seem to trust your decisions and judgement anymore. It is a sad fact that some children seem to love their parents less as they get older. The best remedy for you, as the parent, is to lay new foundations for trust.
Let’s look at how you can build trust with a child of any age.
Children learn from their parents, so it makes sense to actually show your child what trust means, along with how to earn it. There is no point in getting mad at your young child when they won’t eat their broccoli, when you don’t eat it either. All this does is send the wrong message.
Next on your list is to ask yourself if you are really listening to what your child is trying to tell you. Do you interrupt them before they finish talking? Do you sympathize with their situation and show them that you understand and care? The minute your child knows that you listen and care, they will feel more comfortable when it comes to discussing more personal details with you.
Always be honest with your child. This will help you form a bond with them that will last a lifetime. If you are a single parent, tell them why and where their parent is. Don’t make up stories and half-truths. They will only come back to haunt you at some point. Take the time to explain things in a way that is appropriate to their age. You don’t want to scare them either.
Next, you should never break your promises to your child. This isn’t as always quite as easy as it sounds though. Life does get in the way and even the best laid plans need to be changed. When this happens, explain the reason why to them and then reschedule your time or activity together.
If you start promising to attend their school sports event and then don’t. Your child will eventually stop asking you to come. As you always break your promise.
Of course, you will need to discipline your child. These days, that could mean taking away their cell phone, not allowing them to play video games or chat online. When you take something away, or even if you threaten too, then it is vital that you follow through. Sticking to what you have said helps build trust with your child.
Parenting is not an easy job at all. The best way to build a good relationship between you and your child is to work hard at developing your child’s trust and respect.
By Chou Hallegra, Certified Family Trauma Professional
How much credence do you put into trust in your everyday dealings? For such a small word, trust is extremely powerful. It can build or break relationships that are beyond repair.
When it comes to your family, love and trust go hand in hand. All children love their parents from birth. The trust aspect isn’t always so easy to maintain. When your child’s trust is lost, their love begins to diminish as well.
If you want to maintain a healthy relationship not just with your child, but with your family, you need to know that they trust you. Think about the consequences this might have as they turn from children into adults. If they can’t trust their own parents, how can they trust and respect what the world has to offer them?
One thing you need to keep in mind is that a child’s understanding of the word “trust” may be different to yours. To instill trust in your child, you need to show them that they can trust you, no matter what.
Always talk with your children in an open manner. Don’t try to sneak around just to see what they are doing. Sneaky and suspicious parents are only going to raise sneaky and suspicious children.
Your young toddler is going to trust that you are there to pick them up when they fall, while learning to walk. They trust that you will feed them and change them. This means that even from such an early age, your child unconditionally loves and trust you, so why does this change?
Things change as your child grows because of the actions they see and hear around them. If you constantly break promises and don’t keep your word, your child will do the same. For example, if you told your child they can’t have a cookie because they didn’t pick up their toys. Then 10 minutes later, you relent. You have just shown your child that you don’t keep to your word. Repeating this pattern regularly will break the bond of trust.
Not lying to your children is another important factor. While sometimes it is necessary to cover up something small, for their own sake, telling outright lies is not going to help your relationship.
Always be an approachable parent. Don’t be the type that always gets mad over the smallest mishap. If you do, then your child won’t trust that they can confide in you or ask for your advice. If you constantly get mad, then your child just won’t bother you anymore.
Children learn from their parents, which is why it is vital that you always keep your word, are honest, calm, and understanding. This is the best approach for growing that bond of love and trust between you and your family.
There’s not a single person in America that hasn’t been impacted by the current pandemic and resulting quarantine somehow. These past several months have been characterized by loneliness, boredom, stress, and anxiety. That’s why many Americans have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the crisis and simply pass the time. Protecting yourself from substance abuse during these times of crisis is extremely important.
Dump the Alcohol
Alcohol sales have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. In research compiled by Nielsen, alcohol sales have been up 21% at liquor stores and 234% via online retailers. While drinking alcohol is less dangerous when done in moderation, there is a concern if you struggle with addiction or self-control.
Access to alcohol in your home combined with boredom and cravings may lead you to drink in excess. At least until the pandemic is over and things are back to normal, it’s best to dump the alcohol you do have and stop yourself from buying more.
Both alcohol and drugs can be draining financially, which might keep you from buying them in the first place. Unfortunately, seeing a few extra zeros in your bank account due to unemployment checks or stimulus checks might make obtaining drugs and alcohol easier than ever.
According to the American Medical Association, opioid overdoses have been on the rise since the pandemic began in March. Though you might be excited about your extra funds right now, be sure to spend it responsibly, get your bills paid, and put the rest into savings.
Find a Coping Strategy
Drugs and alcohol are often a focal point of parties and large gatherings, but substance abuse often goes hand-in-hand with inadequate coping mechanisms. Even casual substance use can turn into an addiction, primarily if you rely on substances to ease your emotional pain or “escape” the here and now. By keeping yourself from sinking into substance abuse, it’s best to find a healthy coping strategy to ease your mind and stress. That might include getting exercise, meditating, reading a book, going for a walk, or learning to play an instrument.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
One of the most debilitating aspects of this pandemic and quarantine has been the impact on social relationships. The loneliness and social isolation may cause severe boredom and the desire to “escape” to feel less lonely. Many times, this is done through substance abuse.
The best thing you can do when you feel lonely is to reach out to those you can lean on. That may include your best friend, your parents, your siblings, or even your coworker. Try to stick to a consistent contact schedule through text messages, phone calls, or video calls.
It might seem like this pandemic will never end, which may make you feel as if your life is going nowhere. When you feel like you’ve lost direction and purpose, you may turn to drugs and alcohol to get you through the day.
Giving yourself hope and prioritizing your mental health is vital, so it’s a great idea to set goals for yourself. They should be both short-term and long-term goals. Set goals for yourself during the pandemic, like exercising five times a week, and for when the pandemic finally ends, such as going back to college.
During these times of crisis, the mental health of Americans has been very much at risk. Being unable to cope with the current situation and shutting yourself off from the outside world can make you more susceptible to substance abuse. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, it’s best to reach out to a counselor or therapist to get a treatment plan in order.
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There is no simple answer to this question. Mental health therapy is different for every person, and if you do treatment two separate times, those times could be completely different.
So how does mental health therapy work? Is it awkward sitting in a chair talking to a stranger? Do you even need a therapist? For all this and more, read on!
How It Works
There are several approaches to psychotherapy, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). These include cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, psychodynamic therapy, and other kinds of talk therapy. No matter which method turns out to be best for you, the conversation is the crux of treatment.
Therapy for your mental health aims to teach you how your mind and emotions work. Therapy’s goal is to change things within yourself that are causing issues in your life or can even be as simple as starting a personal growth journey. Mental health therapy takes a lot of work and involvement on your part, a good therapist is a guide that can give you tools, but they can’t change anything for you; that is up to you.
You and your therapist build a relationship in which you can openly communicate with a neutral, non-judgmental party. As this relationship develops, you and your psychologist will work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that keep you from feeling your best.
When most people think of mental health therapy, they go right to counseling. Counseling is when you talk with a therapist about what is bothering you, and they ask you questions to try and dig deeper into the real reason you feel that way. It can help you better understand what you think and why you think it, enabling you to identify your issues, develop better coping skills, and grow as a person.
According to Psychology Today, different types of therapies work towards various goals, be it PTSD, depression, anxiety, or working through personal issues of any kind.
• For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to treat various issues, including panic attacks and eating disorders.
• Exposure therapy is a more niche-oriented therapy generally used to treat OCD, PTSD, or a range of phobias. Exposure therapy is just what it sounds like, exposing yourself to something that may be a trigger for you.
Do You Need Mental Health Therapy?
Any time your quality of life doesn’t want you to want it to be, therapy can help. Perhaps you have depression or anxiety issues, and treatment can help. Many people have problems from their childhoods that interfere with their adult life, and therapy can help.
According to the APA, signs that you could benefit from therapy include:
• Prolonged sadness or helplessness
• Chronic anxious feelings or worried thoughts
• Your problems haven’t gotten better despite your efforts
• Difficulty concentrating at work or in your personal life
• Drug or alcohol problems that are harming you or others
• You have problems with your relationships
• Self-esteem issues
• Problems with life skills, like confidence or motivation
• Marriage or relationship issues that require couples counseling
It is also important to note that you do not have to have any urgent issues. You may just want to learn about yourself, who you are, and work on developing a better you. In this case, therapy can help.
Types of Therapists
Different levels of education qualify and license a therapist, including but not limited to:
• MFT (marriage, family counselors)
• LCSW (licensed clinical social worker)
• MD Psychiatrists (medical doctors who specialize in psychiatry and can prescribe medications)
A great place to start is asking your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to refer you to a skilled psychologist they trust. This psychologist will often be covered under your insurance since they are associated with your primate care doctor. There will likely be a waiting period before you can see your new doctor, so be prepared for that. Your primary care doctor can often prescribe you medication to hold you over if your situation is dire. Be honest with them, and they can help.
If you do not have health insurance, consult the nearest university or mental health center. They often provide low-cost treatment and information that will help you find the therapy you need.
Psychology Today offers an online search tool to find a therapist in your area - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
What If It Isn’t Working?
If you’ve been in therapy a while and it doesn’t seem adequate, you should consider your psychologist and your treatment plan. You also need to keep in mind that as treatment progresses, repressed negative emotions may bubble up to the surface of your mind.
If you don’t feel like you can be open with your psychologist, you might want to find a new one. If your treatment plan doesn’t seem logical for you, bring that up with your psychologist and discuss making changes.
The journey to better mental health is just that, a trip, and no one should go on a long journey alone. Therapy can be a great asset, and your therapist can be a trusted confidant that can guide you towards a better you and a better life.
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Growing up, it seemed like your parents were always telling you to go outside and play. But, now that you’re older, you have more important things to worry about. You have a 40-hour workweek and a family to take care of. What you might not know is that nature can be healing. And, you don’t have to do anything more than to go outside to experience these effects.
The Benefits of Going Out Into Nature
There are plenty of benefits that come with going out into nature and truly experiencing the planet’s natural beauty. According to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, here’s a look at some of the possible benefits of exposing yourself to the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
What’s even better is that some of these effects are produced immediately. You may feel apprehensive or stressed out before visiting a local park and feel a sense of relief as soon as you hear the chirping of the birds.
How To Get Into Nature
Though America is very much a developed country, there are plenty of locations throughout the nation that give you the chance to explore nature. America is currently home to 62 National Parks, nearly 7,000 state parks, and countless local parks that you can visit. Let’s go over what you can do to get into nature to reap the benefits.
Figure Out What Calms You
Some things in nature will be much more calming to you than others. The first thing you want to do is figure out what calms you personally.
Whatever you love about nature that calms you the most, find somewhere that allows you to experience those specific things.
Turn Off Your Devices
According to the American Psychological Association, about 86% of Americans will check their phone constantly. So, to truly get the most out of your journey into nature, you’ll want to turn off your phone or tuck it away into your backpack. It allows you to truly focus on the world around you and escape the fear, worry, and pain that’s currently overwhelming you.
You are just going to the park, and hearing the birds chirping might be enough for you to calm you down and bring you back to the present moment. But, to truly experience nature as it was meant to be shared, you need to give yourself time to enjoy it.
That means make your trips into nature on days where you don’t have other obligations. Set aside a few hours for a 5-mile hike or an entire day to explore a state park. That way, you don’t have to rush around to see everything or look back in regret thinking you missed something.
Nature is something that very few people genuinely appreciate fully. But it’s known to produce healing effects and can improve your mental state indefinitely. When you get out into the forest, on top of a mountain, or along the shoreline, take the time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells. You’ll never feel as calm or free as you will when you’re out in the real world.
Do you want to improve your mental state?
Nature is something that very few people genuinely appreciate fully. But it’s known to produce healing effects and can improve your mental state indefinitely. It’s a great way for you to spend time with yourself, as well as find peace in the world around you.
If you are interested in improving your mental health, try spending some time outside today and see how much better life becomes when we take care of ourselves. You deserve it!
Go outside today and enjoy nature for all its worth!
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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, over 18% of the American population struggle with some form of anxiety at any given time. Coping with stress can be complicated, especially since there’s no single treatment that works for everyone. So, let’s talk about five completely natural ways that you can calm your anxiety today.
1. Meditation & Deep Breathing
Anxiety attacks and persistent anxiety typically come with the same few symptoms. You may notice that your heart rate is twice as fast as expected, that your blood pressure has skyrocketed, and that thoughts are racing through your mind at lightning speed.
Meditation and deep breathing techniques can help you to relieve both the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. Concentrating on your breathing will bring you back to the present moment and slow your thoughts. And, according to Harvard Health, meditation can also reduce your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and improve your heart health.
So, start with a brief 2-minute deep breathing meditation session and begin lengthening your sessions as you become accustomed to meditation.
The essential oils industry in America is booming these days, but these oils might be able to do a little more than make your home smell pleasant. Simply smelling these essential oils through aromatherapy can potentially reduce your symptoms of stress and anxiety.
And, research has revealed that essential oils like lemon, lavender, and rose are most effective for anxious people. All you have to do is squeeze a few drops of your favorite into an essential oil diffuser or in the bathtub and give yourself some time to relax and enjoy the scents!
Note: Carrier oils must mix with some essential oils must be combined if you’re planning to use them on your skin. Be sure to read the label before using your essential oil.
3. Intense Exercise
The last thing you want to do when you’re anxious is strap on your running shoes and go for a run, but it might just be the best thing for relieving your anxiety during the moment. That’s because exercise can help you naturally improve your mood, get rid of pent-up energy, and help you sleep much better at night (great if you have insomnia).
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that just about any exercise style can be successful when it comes to calming anxiety. Go for long walks along the canal, lift weights in your living room, follow along with a yoga video, or even play with your dog.
Exercise is excellent for treating and preventing anxiety, so do your best to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.
4. Laugh & Smile
When your mind is racing, and negative thoughts have taken over, it’s hard to stay positive and express emotions like happiness or joy. But according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can improve your mood and relieve the physical tension in your body as well.
So, when you’re feeling anxious, do something that makes you smile. That can be anything from watching your favorite TV show clip on YouTube to spending time playing with your young nieces and nephews in the yard.
5. Limit Caffeine Intake
Have you ever had a few too many cups of coffee (or energy drinks) and gotten the jitters? Maybe it felt like your heart was pounding in your chest and like your mind wouldn’t slow down. That’s because high levels of caffeine can mimic the effects of anxiety. That means caffeine and anxiety are a terrible combination for your mental state.
If you’re predisposed to high levels of anxiety, it’s best to avoid caffeine altogether. However, caffeine may be okay in moderation, such as a few cups of coffee in the morning each day. Just be sure you’re not drinking it too close to bedtime to avoid sleep difficulties.
Since there’s no “one size fits all” for treating anxiety, you may have to experiment with different coping strategies to see what works best for you. Ensure that the ways you try to calm your anxiety are healthy and don’t involve drugs and alcohol. Understand that pressure is complex, and it could take weeks or months to see significant results.
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At some point in our lives, we all deal with painful and negative emotions. Whether those emotions are fear, anxiety, resentment, or other fear-based emotions, if we do not learn to manage those emotions properly, they can get the best of us and destroy us.
Identify the Emotion
You cannot correctly address something you cannot first identify. It requires a level of self-awareness. It allows you to sit with your feelings, genuinely get to the root of what is going on. The act of identifying what is triggering the negative feelings eases the burden of trying to ignore or mask the sense while allowing room for what was determined to be addressed in the right way. The ultimate benefits of this can include reduced stress and anxiety (Partnership Staff, 2017).
Once you know what you’re feeling, you can begin to identify what causes you to feel that way. Determining actionable strides, you can take the situation or trigger causing that particular emotion to remove or reduce the impacts of those triggers.
Or you can take steps to help you learn how to manage those triggers so they no longer produce the intense negative pain or fear-based emotion moving forward (Brown, 2019).
Redirecting the negative emotions you feel into positive activities can be a healthy way to release those negative emotions. Redirection is about channeling negative emotions and energy into an action that allows for emotional release without causing harm. Activities can include physical activity, breathing, journaling, or meditation, among others. Each of these outlets provides an opportunity to help you feel less overwhelmed, thus reducing stress, tension, and anxiety (Scott, 2020).
Getting help from outside sources can be one of the best ways to get help with painful and fear-based emotions. Whether that support is in the form of friends and family or a licensed professional, sometimes having an additional person to talk things through with can help bring relief mentally and emotionally.
Others can offer advice, tools, resources, and even just a listening ear to help you process what you’re feeling and develop healthy coping strategies to manage those negative emotions you feel (Scott, 2020).
Being thankful is a strategy that can act as a grounding force when faced with painful and fear-based emotions. Gratitude first draws us into the present moment by taking our focus off of the negative stimuli and causing us to find those good things that exist presently in our lives right now.
Then it replaces the negativity with positivity by causing us to deviate from the negative emotions towards the happiness and joy connected with gratitude in creating. Taking a few moments to either write down all that you are grateful for or even simply think about them helps counter these negative emotions.
We do not have to live indefinitely with painful and fear-based emotions. We can take action to help ourselves overcome negative feelings and thrive in our lives. Whether you adopt one of these strategies or several, these are great ways first to understand how you feel; address the cause of what you’re feeling. Develop coping strategies for situations where you find yourself encountering these negative emotions at any point in the future.
Brown, L. (2019, October 22). How to deal with negative emotions: 10 things you need to remember. Hack Spirit. https://hackspirit.com/negative-emotions/
Partnership Staff. (2017, May 28). Coping with fear, anger, and other negative emotions. Partnership to End Addiction | Where Families Find Answers. https://drugfree.org/article/coping-fear-anger/#
Scott, E. (2020). How to deal with negative emotions and stress. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-should-i-deal-with-negative-emotions-3144603
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The most common conversations that we have around depression and anxiety revolve around scientific literature. We look at how anxiety and depression can be relieved or solved through pharmacological responses or cognitive-behavioral solutions.
This is all helpful, and it's all true, but sometimes that isn't enough. Some people spend a lifetime on pharmacological products and still deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression. While some people go the route of ketamine infusions to get relief from treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, that is not the only option.
There is something to be said for hope and faith. How on earth can hope and faith have any effect whatsoever on depression and anxiety? Let's talk about it.
A big part of any spiritual framework is a belief in something greater than yourself. That can help you maintain hope even on the longest of roads. When you have faith in something, you believe that it's more than wishful thinking that positive change can and will come by holding onto it.
It's important to expect that things will get better. If that isn't present, what point is there to follow through? Life can be difficult, it can be challenging, and hope is key to getting through that relatively unscathed.
When you are filled with hope, you are more open-minded to new and different ways of handling anxiety and depression. Sometimes, the people who need the most help are the people who have found traditional treatment partially or entirely ineffective. So, what comes next? If you have tried CBT, you have attempted medication, then what's left? The open-mindedness of hope ensures that you never give up. Hope fills you with the power to do everything possible to move away from depression and anxiety.
For some, that means more prayer. Prayer, like meditation, offers stress relief and helps us feel more in control of our lives. Prayer doesn't have to be the traditional idea of prayer. It could also include journaling, meditation, sitting in peace, spending time in nature, or otherwise. While prayer isn't always practical, it can help.
Spiritual practices, whether meditation or prayer, communing with nature, or with fellow believers in service, may provide you with a boost in attitude and behavior. These positive boosts help you fight anxiety and depression. Prayer or meditation can help you recognize your emotional reactions more clearly, thus preventing the typical knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes the best thing you can do is accept the present and just do nothing. It’s a lesson that you can learn through the positive evolution of hope, faith, and practice of your spirituality.
When you look at your life through the lens of being on a spiritual journey, then you no longer view problems as obstacles. Instead, you recognize problems as opportunities to learn and grow. You get the sense that, at any given moment, you are where you are supposed to be.
I want to be clear; hope and faith won't necessarily leave you jumping with joy as though no harm can befall you. It's more about understanding that with difficulty comes growth and every setback is an opportunity.
Often, depression and anxiety stem from stress which comes from our inability to control everything. If you tend to react with disappointment, anger, sadness, or any other negative emotions, I want you to take it as an opportunity.
Take a step back and ask yourself what hope and faith can teach you at this moment and what this problem or obstacle may uncover opportunity.
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According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300 million people across the globe have depression. If depression is left untreated, it can increase your risk of dying by suicide, put you at increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, and negatively impact your social and physical health.
Fortunately, depression isn’t typically a condition that develops overnight. So, keeping an eye out for the tell-tale signs of depression may allow you or someone you love to get help before the condition worsens. Here are the signs to look for in yourself and those around you.
Loss of Interest & Motivation
One of the most obvious signs that somebody struggles with depression is a loss of interest in things they once loved, sometimes called anhedonia. This decreased interest is often unexplained and confusing to those around the person. For example, when a person whose world once revolved around playing basketball suddenly stops showing up for pick-up games and sells their favorite jerseys and basketball.
Difficulties with Thinking & Memory
When depression starts becoming severe, you’ll notice a difference in the thinking patterns of your friend or loved one. Once so eloquently, the person who eloquently expressed themselves and aced every test in school now struggles to get a single thought across. Their reviews appear disorganized or as if they’re in a mental fog. They may begin to speak slowly, and it seems to take them longer to process concepts or retrieve memories.
Unexplained Mood Changes
One of the biggest misconceptions of depression is that all depressed people will be plagued by sadness. While it’s true that your friend may appear down and unmotivated, mood changes might manifest them in other ways as well. Your normally level-headed friend may lose his cool over a minor inconvenience or event. Or a friend that’s typically upbeat and positive might shift their focus toward the negative.
Reduced Performance at Work & School
A lot of people you know might be struggling with depression without you even knowing it. Yet, declining performance in school and work is a clear-cut sign that somebody you care about is struggling. For example, depression may be the cause when a typically incredible student begins skipping class, forgetting to complete homework or failing assignments. If somebody who truly cared about success suddenly doesn’t anymore, they might have depression.
Appetite & Weight Changes
Eating is what keeps us alive and fuels our bodies to get through the day. Any unusual changes in eating and weight may be a sign that your loved one is struggling. It can show itself in several ways, including weight gain, weight loss, excessive eating, or not eating at all. Frequently, eating in excess is a coping strategy for depression.
Suicidal Thoughts & Ideation
The most concerning sign that a loved one struggles with depression are the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and imagination. When you notice these signs, time is of the essence if you want to save your friend’s life.
Here are some signs somebody is feeling suicidal, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE).
If you or somebody you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call emergency services.
Depression is more of a concern now than it has ever been before. If you or somebody you know is struggling with the signs and symptoms above, you may suffer from clinical depression. Make an appointment with a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
Depression is a serious issue that affects millions of people every day.
It can be hard to know what to do when you or someone you love is suffering from depression. But it's important not to give up hope. There are many different ways to help yourself or your loved one overcome depression, and there’s no need for anyone to suffer alone.
You deserve the best life possible, and I want you to get there! I offer free consultations to help you get started on living a joy-filled life.
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If you’re considering therapy or even if you’re a few weeks in, you may be wondering if it’s all worth it. Is it working? You may not feel any different. Therapy can be expensive, so wondering about its efficacy is actually valid. If you’re new to treatment and still developing your relationship with your therapist, it may be hard to tell if you’re on the right track.
Therapy effectiveness is measured differently for everyone. Someone might measure its effectiveness by how many days they shower in a week. Someone else might measure it by eating regular meals more than a few times a week. There are endless possibilities; however, there are some general things that are the same for everyone.
Thankfully, there are some criteria you can use to evaluate the efficacy of therapy, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). These criteria, in a nutshell, use current empirical literature to make informed, research, and colleague-backed treatment decisions.
Is It Based On Relevant Empirical Literature?
Empirical means based on observation or experience rather than theory. The relevant empirical literature on psychology would be up to date, peer-reviewed, and based upon reproducible studies, and you can observe the results. You should evaluate if your treatment is based on sound science.
How can you do this without being a psychologist? Today we have the Internet. You can ask your psychologist about the name of your treatment and the studies associated with it. From there, you should have a basis for your research. If it isn’t relevant or up to date, you might want to consider a new psychologist. If it is, however, then stay the course!
Use Only Cutting Edge Research
This criterion will help you evaluate if the empirical literature is relevant. There is good science, and there is bad science. There is also new science that hasn’t been around long enough to be tested extensively. You don’t want to be a guinea pig.
An example of bad science is the science that draws a conclusion that isn’t based on enough evidence. Just because a treatment worked for a few people doesn’t mean it’s effective. Did the experiment account for the placebo effect? Was there a control group? Have the results been replicated? If the answer is no for any of these, be very wary.
A Treatment Must Be Better Than Doing Nothing
Let’s say someone has an extreme fear of spiders. One treatment might be exposing this person to so many spiders that they no longer afraid of is an option. However, this approach could horrify the person and increase their fear if unsuccessful. If this person has heart issues, it could also trigger those. A good therapist will evaluate all of these angles to determine if the treatment is worthwhile or if just letting this person be afraid of spiders is better.
Treatment should help, never harm. If you think the risk of damage is too high in your treatment, voice your concerns to your therapist. Hopefully, they will convince you of the best path, but you should consider finding a new therapist if you don’t trust them.
Guided By Specific Outcomes
You and your therapist should decide upon specific outcomes for your therapy. Maybe you want to be less anxious or become more assertive. Without precise, measurable results, any endeavor is sure to fail. So be specific, not vague.
Don’t aim at something like “I want to be happy.” Instead, work with your therapist to find specific aspects of your thoughts and habits that keep you unhappy. Then work on ways to change those.
According to the ADA, “The strongest recommendations are based on demonstrations that the treatment under consideration is more effective than alternative interventions that are known or believed to be effective.”
In other words, your therapist should give you a few options to weigh. Your therapist will be the best source of information on these treatments, but feel free to do your research as well. Choose only the treatments and goals that make the most sense to you. In the end, the final say is yours!
Therapist’s Interpersonal Skills
The central part of a therapist’s job is talking to many different people and engaging well with them. If your therapist is not involved or does not feel comfortable in the relationship, this can be an issue. If a therapist has good interpersonal skills, good enough to build a relationship with you, therapy will become much more effective.
Therapist’s Ability to Assess You
Upon going to a therapist, one of the first things they have to do is assess their new patient. If a therapist cannot evaluate their patient correctly, then there is no basis to start. Assessment is critical in creating the proper baseline and foundation for therapy.
Individualized Treatment Plan
Therapists deal with many different people that have various symptoms and issues. That means there is not a one size fits all type of advice or treatment. The ability of a therapist to alter treatment options for each patient based on their needs is a must for effective therapy.
Your Ability to Open Up
If you do not open up to your therapist and let them know what is going on, there is no way for therapy to work. It is not easy, but the honest conversation is a must. When you open up completely, your therapist gets a clear view of what they are dealing with, which will create a much more effective and efficient therapy experience.
Your Willingness to Learn
If you are going to therapy without learning, then treatment will not help you very much. You are opening up your mind to the options set before you is a must.
Your Willingness to Change
After you learn where your issues are coming from and ways you could potentially deal with them or fix them, you must want to change. Learning is one thing, but if you don’t apply it to your life and your issues, it will stall progress. If you are willing to make changes in your life, you are much more likely to work past whatever you are dealing with.
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Therapy can come in many forms. Talk therapy is a practice that you can do differently where one of the most popular therapies available. Psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, and humanistic therapy are just a few popular therapy options.
6 Popular Types of Talk Therapy Currently Used Today
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely practiced form of talk therapy that involves structured sessions. It is usually a short-term mental health treatment that addresses patterns of existing behavior. By understanding unhelpful thought patterns, the therapist can help guide the patient into making healthier choices.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can identify beliefs the patient did not know they had. These beliefs can be about themselves, others, or the world around them, just by addressing current symptoms and not spending as much time on the past, the design of this therapy to work on simple changes.
Psychodynamic therapy stemmed from what was once called psychoanalysis. Like psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy allows the patient to talk about anything that’s on their mind. The subconscious thought is encouraged so that a therapist can uncover thought and behavior patterns that may contribute to distress. Psychodynamic therapy can focus on current events as well as childhood and past events.
Unlike cognitive behavioral therapy, a usual practice that is called psychodynamic therapy is on a long-term basis. It is an intensive form of talk therapy designed to treat depression, eating disorders, somatic symptoms, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
These are designed to help the patient develop self-acceptance. For those who struggle with low esteem and depression, this can be a beneficial form of talk therapy. By focusing on current life, a humanistic approach to counseling is different from psychodynamic treatment.
Possible techniques used in humanistic therapy include role-playing, reenacting, and active listening. Those who are suffering from relationship difficulties, trauma, or depression can all benefit from humanistic treatment.
Dialectic Behavior Therapy
DBT is a form of talk therapy that identifies negative thinking patterns by using favorable behavior modification. It is one of the most popular therapies for those who struggle with impulsive behavior and suicidal ideation or self-destructive behavior.
By accepting the patient’s experience of what is happening, a patient’s trust is at the forefront. Unlike many other talk therapy practices, DBT comprises several components, including individual therapy and group skills training. Many patients who have had little success in other forms of therapy do well with this type of intensive therapy.
Interpersonal therapy mainly focuses on depression and relationship issues. An interpersonal counselor can address relationships and mood cycles that impact one another.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR uses talking and sensation techniques to help those who may be suffering from trauma. Specific eye movements can help reframe memories and situations so that patients no longer have to endure flashbacks or intrusive thoughts. This type of therapy generally lasts between 8 and 12 sessions.
The Efficacy of Talk Therapy
Many people assume all talk therapies are the same. In reality, just as patients are unique, so are their therapies. While cognitive-behavioral therapy may work for some people with depression, it does not necessarily work for all.
Finding the right therapy is crucial when treating mental health issues. With a suitable form of treatment and counselor, therapy can help solve relationship and mood issues.
You may have heard about talk or cognitive behavioral therapies before but not know what they entail. They're both great for different reasons and it's important to find
which one will work best for you!
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Have you ever had trouble sleeping because you were worried about your finances? Have you ever avoided checking your bank account balance because you’re afraid to look? You’re not alone. In their latest Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association found 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money during the previous month.
Adding to our usual money worries is the economic fallout of a global pandemic. A lot of people lost their jobs, and it shut down many businesses. This global pandemic left many Americans wondering how to cope with the resulting financial worries and concerns.
How NOT to Cope
Most people cope with financial worries by avoiding them altogether. Although this might seem like the easiest way to deal with the situation, it’s unhealthy for your mind and wallet. Not addressing your financial concerns can lead to increased debt and worse anxiety than you had before.
Here are some of the negative results of dealing with our anxiety the WRONG way:
Tackling your financial problems may seem overwhelming, but it’s well worth the effort! Here are four simple things you can do to get started today.
Talk it out
Most people don’t like talking about money. But talking openly to a supportive friend can lessen your stress and help you gain perspective. They might even have some helpful ideas. Talking to a financial planner can boost those benefits even more. And a quick google search can show you some of the organizations in your area that offer free help from professional financial advisors.
Make a Plan
Creating a realistic budget is not something the high school has taught most of us. And confusing financial terms like equity, escrow, deprecation, bonds, and AGI can make us feel out of our depth. But making a financial plan doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a piece of paper and a calculator. Here’s how to get started.
Tackling your debt can seem overwhelming, especially if you owe on multiple accounts. But here’s a 3-step plan that can help!
1. Pay the minimum payment on all of your accounts so that they remain in good standing.
2. Use any extra money you have to pay off the account with the highest interest rate.
3. After paying the first debt, focus on the next highest interest rate plan. Keep doing this until you have fully paid all your accounts.
If it still seems like too much for you to handle on your own, don’t despair. Free financial planning services can be just what you need to get a plan in place to tackle your debt.
Stay Positive and Realistic
It’s easy to spiral into negative thinking, worried that your debt is insurmountable or that you can never pay it off. But that kind of thinking will only make it harder to take the proper steps towards financial freedom. It might be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Imagine how you’ll feel each time you see your debt shrinking due to your hard work! Your financial anxiety will lessen with each small victory. You can do this!
That said, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up once in a while. Make sure your goals are reasonable and not too extreme for your circumstances. It will keep you balanced if you have any setbacks.
Even in the wake of a global pandemic, there are several healthy ways to address financial worries and concerns. You can lessen your financial stress by talking it out, making a plan, tackling your debt, and having a positive and realistic viewpoint. So, if you’re stressed about your finances, manage your money the RIGHT way. You’ll be happier, healthier, and your wallet will thank you.
You’ve been feeling a little bit down lately?
It’s understandable, we all have our moments. But you don’t need to feel that way for long! Counseling and/or life coaching can help you get back on your feet and find the motivation to keep going.
I know it might sound like a lot of work at first, but life coaching is actually really easy and fun! All you have to do is talk about what's bothering you with someone who knows how to listen well and give advice when they're needed. And then before you know it, everything will be better again.
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Many people will say, “Money isn’t everything.” That’s true in a sense. Life is more about contributing to society, being happy, and living a life worth remembering. The problem is that it’s impossible to live life in 2020 without the money to pay your bills and buy what you need to survive. Low funds can lead to money worries, which can then impact your mental health.
Money Worries Statistics
Even if you’re not precisely “struggling” financially, there’s still a chance that you have money worries. The topic is a huge social problem in America, with a 2019 Gallup Poll showing:
Though these statistics aren’t exactly comforting when it comes to the state of America’s economy, it might be relieving to know that you’re not the only one worrying about money.
How It Impacts Mental Health
Whether you’re worried about putting food on the table, avoiding foreclosure on your home, or keeping the lights on in your apartment, excessive money worries will eventually begin to take a toll on your mental health.
In some cases, you might experience intense anxiety or depression.
The constant money worries might keep you awake at night, unable to sleep, wondering whether you’ll have the funds to fill your gas tank to get to work in the morning. You might be afraid that your credit card will be declined when you go to buy groceries to feed your family.
Other times, you may begin to feel as if you’re in a hole that you’re unable to dig yourself out of, as you don’t have a college degree to get a higher-paying job. You might stop paying your bills entirely, knowing that you’re hardly making a dent in your student loans.
Reducing & Coping With Your Money Worries
The good news is that there are some things that you can do to cope with your money worries successfully. For example, you can:
There’s no quick fix when it comes to money worries. You can’t avoid paying your bills, and your rent has to be paid each month. Since there’s only so much you can do overnight regarding your financial situation, spend more time healing your mental health instead.
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Money worries are widespread, even when the economy seems to be booming. However, when they get severe, money worries can be extremely dangerous to your mental health. The best thing you can do is identify your money worries and then choose an appropriate and healthy coping mechanism. It also helps to educate yourself on financial planning and strategies.
Do you have money worries?
Money is a source of stress for many people. It can be difficult to know how to deal with your money worries. You may feel like you're drowning in debt, or that the bills are piling up and
there's no way out. But it doesn't have to be this way! There are ways to cope with
your financial stresses so they don't take over your life.
The best thing you can do is identify your money worries and then choose an appropriate and healthy coping mechanism. Setting up a budget, talking to a counselor, life coach or financial advisor are all healthy ways to deal with money stress.
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Fear is an entirely normal part of life. Maybe you’re afraid of spiders or other critters. Perhaps you’re fearful of losing your loved ones to illness. Or it’s possible you’re terrified of what you don’t know, the unknown.
Regardless of your fears or where they come from, one thing is for sure: The antidote to fear is education and preparation. So, let’s talk about what that means and how you can make that a reality in your life.
Why We Have Fears
There are plenty of reasons that we as humans develop fears.
In some cases, we’re fearful because we know something is potentially dangerous to our safety and well-being. For example, you may be afraid of heights because you know that losing your balance can cause severe injury or death.
Sometimes, fear is something that we learn. For example, growing up in a household where your family members are deathly afraid of snakes may lead you to develop this fear as well. That may be the case, even if you’ve never encountered a snake in person.
Then, you also have the fear that comes from the unknown.
The Importance of Education
Often, what we see as the “unknown” comes down to a lack of education on our part. It’s not that the information isn’t readily available to us. It’s that we haven’t learned about it or haven’t been exposed to it.
Education is critical, especially if you have irrational fears.
Let’s say that, as a child, you watched a special on television about shark attacks on humans. Ever since you saw those haunting scenes of shark bite injuries and shark attacks, you’ve refused to go to the beach and get in the water.
Now, let’s say you choose to investigate your fear a little further.
Doing your research and looking at the topic in-depth might end up easing your fears. Instead of believing that all sharks will attack humans while they’re in the ocean, you’ll learn that this rarely occurs in this day and age.
Will this suddenly cure your fear? Maybe not. But it may just help you to work toward overcoming your fear in the future.
The Importance of Preparation
Sometimes, we have fears that come from what we know might happen. Though these instances may be rare, we intentionally avoid certain people, environments, or thoughts to protect ourselves from these fears.
You end up living your life in a bubble.
Let’s say that you grew up in a home where you witnessed emotional and verbal abuse. They told you that your parents truly loved each other, leading your younger self to believe that love comes with pain and abuse.
You choose to avoid relationships altogether as you get older.
Instead of letting your fear of bad relationships consume your life and deprive you of healthy relationships, it’s a better idea to prepare yourself for the “what-ifs.” That may mean figuring out where your boundaries are and knowing when to leave a relationship.
You’d be less afraid of what triggers your fear because you know how to cope with it and handle it if it were to happen.
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Nobody ever said that overcoming fear is simple, significantly if these fears date back years or even decades. The best thing you can do is learn about what you’re afraid of to determine whether your anxiety is rational and warranted. Otherwise, continue to live your life and simply be prepared to protect yourself if you ever come face-to-face with your fears.
Do you feel like your fear is getting in the way of you enjoying life?
You’re not alone. We all experience fear from time to time and can be debilitating if not dealt with.
But there are ways to manage it, so don’t let it get the best of you!
Let me help you find peace with yourself and live a happier life. I specialize in helping people overcome their fears by teaching them how to understand themselves better through counseling sessions, workshops, or one-on-one coaching. I offer free consultations for those who want to learn more about my services before committing.
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Counseling can take many different forms. In addition to mental illness, many people seek therapy because of circumstantial issues. Depending on the person, there are a wide variety of treatment options available.
Not everyone who receive mental health treatment are mentally ill. Life provides everyone with certain challenges that may feel overwhelming. Needing professional help to overcome life obstacles is separate from having a mental illness.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a mental illness is a condition that is associated with distress or a problem functioning in social, work, or family environments. A mental illness is diagnosable and occurs when a significant change occurs in the foundation of emotions, communication, self-esteem, or realistic perception.
Examples of diagnosable mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, socialized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. Although mental illness can be brought on by external factors such as trauma or life circumstance, mental illness can also be rooted in biology. For severe cases of mental illness involving schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, medication is often a necessity.
Mental health does not describe a class of people. Regardless of personal, relational, or mood functioning, everybody has mental health. Because we are an emotional species, understanding and coping with our thoughts and feelings is essential. Visiting a mental health professional can help an individual uncover subconscious thought patterns, change problematic behavior, process grief, and repair relationships.
If you are going through a hard time and thinking of seeking professional help, here are three steps you can take to get ready for this process.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
A great deal of energy can be spent avoiding unwanted feelings and emotions. Whether you’re experiencing marital problems, living through a death in the family, or experiencing a change in routine, it can be second nature to deny your feelings. By masking them through using substances like alcohol or drugs or by avoiding them through long hours at the office, you can actually prolong suffering. The first step to overcoming difficult obstacles is to acknowledge the feelings surrounding them. Once this is done, you can accept the need for help.
If you do not feel particularly hopeful about a situation, let alone the future as a whole, it will be hard to manage whatever it is you are dealing with. By assigning small goals that can be realistically accomplished, you can start to have hope for a better life. This is not an easy step. For those who are feeling depressed or extremely anxious, having hope in the future may involve finding outside help. A mental health professional can guide you through the process of overcoming painful emotions. Many people find comfort knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
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Most people find that they recover from mental health problems after seeking professional help. While the time frame for everyone is different, an increase in energy is common. Making plans that are designed around small, individual goals can help boost confidence and happiness. Set goals for yourself and be ready to discuss those during your counseling sessions.
Therapy can help with all kinds of life circumstances. Whether you’re adjusting to a new routine or grieving the loss of a loved one, talking through the issues can improve behavior and mood. During a crisis, it is easy to become cognitively overwhelmed and when life feels unmanageable, our coping skills can decline.
Visiting a mental health professional is one way to feel secure and confident in a variety of situations.
Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed?
Therapy can help. It's not just for people with mental illnesses. It's for anyone who wants to feel better about themselves and their lives. Therapy is a process of talking through your thoughts and feelings in a safe space with someone who understands what you're going through. You'll learn how to cope with stressors in your life that are causing anxiety or depression so they don't control you anymore.
If therapy sounds like something that could benefit you,
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