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.

How to Cope with Grief During the Holidays

Date: December 6th, 2019

Filed under:

Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, and it can be especially so during the holidays. While nothing can make grief easy to deal with, here are three things that can help you to be gentle on yourself and make it through the holiday season.

Allow Complications

It’s okay if your emotions are complicated. You’re grieving during a time of celebration, which is hard. It’s normal to feel a mix of conflicting emotions, or to feel numb as you simply go through the motions of each day. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time, so whatever you’re feeling is part of your own unique grief process.

Avoid Comparing

After the loss of a loved one, it’s easy to compare this holiday season to the ones you enjoyed together in the past, or even to compare your experience with others. A holiday accompanied by grief will be different. Even if others have experienced a similar loss, your experiences are unique to you. Rather than compare, try starting a new tradition in honor of your loved one, or spend time with close family and friends sharing favorite memories of the person who has passed on. However, pay attention to your emotions: if this is something you’re not ready for yet, that’s completely okay.

Save it for Next Year

If you feel guilty that you aren’t up to doing something in memory of your loved one this holiday season, that old traditions have fallen by the wayside, or that you just can’t face celebrating, be assured: there is truly no need for guilt. Whether we want them to or not, the holidays come around every year. Give yourself a break this year and know that there will be a next time.

If you are struggling to cope with your grief over the holidays, please get in touch with us. Our experienced therapists and counselors can give you the listening ear you need and support you through the process of grieving. Grieving the loss of a loved one during the holidays is painful, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.

Tips for Spending Thanksgiving Alone

Date: November 19th, 2019

Filed under: Holidays

Spending holidays alone can be hard, and trying to recreate a big family Thanksgiving when you’re on your own can feel more discouraging than festive. But the truth is, there are ways you can enjoy your holiday, even if you’ll be spending it solo.

Volunteer

You may have fun meeting people at the local soup kitchen, cuddling animals at a shelter, or putting together a basket of items to donate. Helping others is a great way to boost your mood and keep busy, plus you’ll end up with a unique Thanksgiving memory that you can look back on in years to come.

Connect

If you’re spending Thanksgiving alone because you’re far away from family and friends, make arrangements to Skype or FaceTime with them. Connecting with loved ones—even remotely—can help you to feel less lonely and strengthen your relationships.

Rest

Spending a holiday alone is the ideal time to catch up on your Z’s. If you don’t have big plans, take advantage of the rare opportunity to relax and doze. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas if you don’t want to!

Create

Making something with your hands can be soothing, and a Thanksgiving day alone means you have time to do exactly that. Work on a fun project that’s been sitting in the garage for a while, or sit down to a puzzle or craft while you watch a favorite show on TV.

Eat

It’s a key component of any Thanksgiving, and you don’t have to skimp just because you aren’t sharing a meal with others. Make a favorite dish at home, treat yourself to a nice meal out, or splurge on a yummy treat.

Spending Thanksgiving alone doesn’t have to be lonely. It can be memorable, relaxing, and fun. If you know you’ll be spending the holiday alone, planning ahead so you have some activities to look forward to can make all the difference. You may enjoy it more than you expect!

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