Five Ways to Show Self-Love

Date: February 18th, 2020

Filed under: Relationships

Your relationship with yourself is just like any other relationship: It requires commitment, time, and effort. It’s important not to neglect your relationship with yourself. If nurturing yourself doesn’t come naturally, try these five ways you can practice self-care and give yourself some love.

Replace criticism and comparison with acceptance and appreciation.

Try to be aware of when you begin to criticize or compare yourself to others. When those thoughts come, stop and think of something you like about yourself, or simply repeat a self-love mantra such as, “I am enough. I love and respect myself.”

Communicate with yourself in kind and positive ways.

Self-talk has a big impact on how you feel about yourself. Ask yourself how you would communicate with someone you love, care about, and admire, and then try to incorporate that communication style into your internal dialogue.

Show respect for yourself by setting boundaries and prioritizing your needs.

While helping others is a good thing, the demands of family, work, school, friends, and others can become overwhelming. Practice saying no sometimes so you can avoid putting yourself under too much pressure. And try not to feel guilty about it: you can’t take care of others unless you also take care of yourself.

Spend quality time with yourself.

Every relationship benefits from quality time. Learn to appreciate your own company by taking time to do things that feel good and make you happy. Whether it’s pursuing a hobby, meditating, going for a hike, or taking yourself out to the movies, spend time with yourself doing the things you enjoy.

Develop trust in yourself by honoring your commitments.

How would you feel if someone consistently broke their word to you or downplayed your needs? Doing this damages relationships—including your relationship with yourself. Whatever commitments you make to show self-love, make sure you honor them and make them a priority.

These five ways to show self-love can help you to develop greater confidence and self-esteem, help you to be happier, and even improve your relationships with others. Remember, there’s only one of you, so treat yourself right.

Small Ways to Deal with Big Changes

Date: February 5th, 2020

Filed under: Tips

The birth of a child, the death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, moving homes, switching jobs—life is full of big changes. Dealing with change can be challenging, but there are small things you can do to better adjust to the big changes in your life.

Acknowledge the Change

Putting off, resisting, or denying change is natural—especially when it’s a change we don’t welcome. But these reactions can prevent us from adapting to new circumstances. Simply acknowledging that change is real, and that your life is going through some changes right now, can open the door to allow you to deal with and accept the new reality.

Realize that Stress is Normal

Change can cause us to feel stressed or anxious. This is true whether the change is something we view as positive or negative. While it’s easy to accept that stress is a normal reaction to a new circumstance we don’t want, it can be confusing when you become stressed in reaction to an event you’ve been hoping for. Just realize that stress is a natural reaction when things don’t stay the same, and those feelings will pass as you adjust.

Keep Some Things the Same

When big changes happen, it can be helpful to keep some things consistent. Routine can give you a feeling of safety and security. Whether it’s walking the dog every day, ordering pizza on Fridays, or going to bed at the same time each night, give yourself something consistent to hold on to. Having an anchor can help reduce stress and give you reassurance that things will settle down eventually.

Practice Self-Care

It’s easy to get so caught up in change that you forget to take care of yourself. As tempting as it might be to reach for carbs and sugar when you’re stressed, be sure you eat well, exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep. Make time for favorite hobbies or calming activities as well, to boost your mood and increase feelings of optimism.

Whatever changes are happening in your life, small things like these can make a big difference. Use the power of simple thoughts and actions to help you survive—and even thrive—when a big change comes your way.

Three Ways to Stay Motivated During Therapy

Date: January 24th, 2020

Filed under: Counseling

Anyone who’s ever tried to make or break a habit can tell you that changing behavior is hard. Changing your thoughts is even more challenging, but both are possible. That’s what psychotherapy is all about: helping you to practice self acceptance in order to facilitate the lasting change you're looking for.

The end result is one we all want, but staying motivated to get there can be hard. If you’re struggling to stay motivated through treatment, make sure you ask your therapist for ideas on how you can keep focused. In the meantime, here are just two ideas that may help.

Make a Gratitude List

Making a list of things you’re grateful for can remind you of why you started therapy in the first place. Take a look at your list when you need an extra boost. It can help you to refocus on the things that are most important in your life and create some of the positive energy you need to stay motivated.

Set Goals

As well as remembering the things that bring you joy, it’s important that you and your therapist work together to set goals that will move you forward on the path to mental health. Having a clear idea of what you’re working towards gives you focus, and being able to celebrate each step you accomplish helps you to stay motivated and hopeful throughout the process of growth.

Normalizing the 'Stuck' Place

The therapy relationship is a microcosm for life. It's predictable that at times you will feel stuck, disappointed, even angry or upset. These are completely normal feelings that are great things to share with your therapist. In fact, treatment can often be accelerated by confronting negative thoughts and emotions in and even about, the therapeutic process.

If you’re already participating in counseling, ask your therapist for other ideas on how you can stay motivated as you work to make lasting change to troubling thoughts and behaviors. Your therapist is an excellent resource and can encourage you on the journey to better mental health.

If you feel that mental health counseling could be helpful for you, but don’t know where to start, contact our office to learn more. Our counselors and therapists are dedicated to helping people improve their lives through increased mental wellness, and they have the training and tools to help you change your thoughts and behaviors for the better.

3 Things Men Should Know About Depression

Date: January 10th, 2020

Filed under: Depression

While both men and women can experience depression, gender expectations in society can cause men and women to react differently to this mental health condition. Here are three things that men in particular should know about depression.

Depression does not equal weakness

One of the most damaging myths about depression is the belief that it is a sign of weakness. With cultural expectations of masculinity, this myth can make it particularly hard for men to accept depression in themselves. In fact, depression has nothing to do with personal strength or weakness. It is caused by a variety of complex factors that are often out of your control, including genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, and stressful life events.

Asking for help is a sign of strength

If you struggle with depression, asking for help is one of the best things you can do. While it can be difficult to open up about the emotions you’re experiencing, doing so makes it possible for you to better understand your mental health, gain new perspectives, and learn how to combat depression effectively. Asking for help demonstrates that you are ready to take on the challenges of depression in a healthy and mature way.

Seeking treatment for depression can help you and your loved ones

Some people feel that talking about depression can’t help. In fact, trying to do everything on your own can actually put greater stress on yourself and your family—especially if your depression worsens. By asking for help and following the treatment plan your mental health professional designs for you, you can make steps towards progress, making life and relationships easier and more fulfilling.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our mental health professionals. We’re here to help you and your loved ones on the path to better mental health.

SMART Goal Setting

Date: December 19th, 2019

Filed under: Mental Health

The start of a new year is a time when many people set goals to improve their lives. Goal setting can be a helpful activity that clarifies what you want to achieve and how you can get there. Achieving goals can also boost mental health by giving you a sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem. However, goals can also have drawbacks for mental health, particularly if you struggle with anxiety or depression.

Setting goals may make you feel under pressure and anxious about whether you can accomplish the tasks you’ve set yourself. And while achieving goals makes you feel better about yourself, not meeting a goal can lead to feelings of failure, self-criticism, and even increased depression.

So, should you simply not set any goals? On the contrary. The key is to set smart goals that will allow you to reap the benefits of goal setting—including better productivity, personal growth and experience, and greater happiness—without the negatives.

SMART Goal Setting

You may have heard of SMART goal-setting. SMART is an acronym that helps you remember to make sure that your goals meet the following criteria:

Specific

Frame your goal in detailed terms so that you know exactly what you want to accomplish and why.

Measurable

Think of this as making sure that your goal is checklist ready. You’ll be able to tell when it’s been completed.

Achievable

It seems obvious that a goal should be achievable, but sometimes we set ourselves a task without fully considering what it entails. A good goal is one you can realistically accomplish.

Relevant

Motivation is a key factor in whether or not you’re able to reach your goals. Make sure the goal you set matters to you and that now is the right time to tackle it.

Time-bound

Without a deadline, the things you hope to do can feel more like dreams than goals. Set a date for when you want to finish. Depending on the length of your goal, you may also want to set dates to achieve milestones on your way to reaching your goal.

After you’ve set a SMART goal, break it down into manageable steps. Your brain gives you a boost of feel-good dopamine every time you accomplish something you set out to do, so breaking down your goal can help you to stay motivated as you check off tasks in working towards it. It can also be helpful to find a friend or mentor who can keep you accountable and provide support and encouragement.

By setting SMART goals, breaking them into manageable chunks, and establishing a support net, you can set and achieve goals that will help you to grow as a person without harming your mental or emotional health.

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