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Archive for the ‘Men’s Issues’ Category

Work DisputeWatch out!

When a codependent has a break through and they find their voice and how to make a stand in their life things can get a little rough. It follows the old cliche that things might get worse before they get better.

Underneath all of the self sacrifice that has been stuffed down and stacked up inside resurfaces going in the opposite direction. Instead of self sacrifice in order to get love from another person, this new found sense of freedom and independence turns into tough love. The codependent understands that it is okay to express themselves, their opinions and not worry any longer about what others think about them. It’s not that they don’t care, they just no longer worry about it.

Now comes the good and the not so good.

The good is personal freedom is often being experience for the first time in a very long time and quite possibly for the first time in their lives. This is not a move toward self-centeredness but a move toward self care taking and exercising some personal independence. It’s moving the self out from the subjection of others and into being objective in relationships and the environment in which they work and live.

Being objective in any situation means that the opinions, thoughts and feelings formed are unique to the individual who is experiencing them. These thoughts, feelings and opinions are viewed by the person who is holding them as just as worthy as anyone else, so there is a bit of self esteem that comes with this new freedom. It goes like this “my thoughts, feelings and opinions are just as valid as anyone else.”

Now the not so good, but it often gets better. Just like any new skill learned it takes practice to get the hang of it. Here is another cliche; “it’s not what we say, it’s how we say it. ” Here comes the stuffing. Like an overstuffed pillow, when the zipper first gets cracked open all the stuffing comes flying out all over the place. The idea is to treat it like a balloon, let out more air than is coming in bit by bit.

Usually the first few attempt come across as angry and brash. By validating and accepting themselves they struggle with the concept that they are doing harm or wronging another person by not putting the other person’s needs first. The codependent is finding their voice often for the first time and is learning how to communicate it. This takes time and practice. In this phase, learning self forgiveness goes a long way. Arguments may erupt, especially with family members who may not understand and only see a shift in behavior. Family and loved ones, not fully understanding what is going on, have to make adjustments as well since the dynamics of the relationship have changed.

One of the most common reasons why codependency happens is that somewhere along the road of the life the codependent learned to allow others to validate them. When they feel this validation is when they feel accepted, loved and liked as a person. When they move into this new sense of freedom they have learned how to accept themselves and not seek this validation from others. This can be a difficult behavior and habit for the codependent to detach from and learn new ones.

Learning how to live up to other people’s expectations is a tall order to fill. The codependent struggles to fit in with changing scenarios and compromises their true self in order to feel accepted or loved by others. People in healthy relationships have a genuine respect for each others thoughts, feelings and opinions, not because they match theirs, but because they are comfortable in their own skin, and their own right. It kinda follows one last cliche, “We can agree to disagree and still be friends. ” How is this possible? Because dropping codependency is about someone who accepts themselves for who they are, not who they think they ought to be in the eyes of another.

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Man stressWhy do men struggle with going to a counselor? Often they feel it is a threat to their masculinity, counseling is for wimps, or it will make them less of a man. Okay, if a man is so tough then why run from counseling? Face your fears, turn into the fight, enter the battle. Anxiety produces fight or flight, so what is going to be tough guy? Fight or flight? That’s right, I’m calling you out! What are you afraid of and hiding from? Join me, we’ll enter that fight together!

Running away from problems never works. It doesn’t work because it is a simple formula, wherever you go so there is your problem with you. It’s like those little hitch-hikers you get on your pants after walking through tall grass. I recall walking in the woods one day and I looked down and I was covered in these little thorny stickers. Not only was I unaware I was picking them up along the way, but when I tried to remove them they stuck me in the fingers. After trying to pick a few off my friend says to me, “such is life.” Reflecting on that situation it became apparent that is life. We pick up sticky annoying things along the way and don’t even realize they are there until we stop, look down and do some self examination. We find things we don’t like and try to remove them only to find out it’s painful, sticky and don’t like it. The easy way out is avoidance. To go somewhere else, ignore the problem, suffer silently, make excuses but inevitably sooner or later the problem has to be dealt with.

So often men struggle in this way. They just try to grit it out, suck it up or if the problem is ignored long enough it will just go away. Part of this is society expectations. Men are often raised to treat problems like water to a duck, just let it roll off. If only it were just that easy. Common long term effects from this thinking are depression, anger, ulcers, high blood pressure, worry, fatigue and what some “male therapists” call “Dead Men Walking.” Men become discouraged and hopeless and give up on life. The weight of all that emotional baggage begins to wear them down. They become compliant to the demands of their jobs, wives and society. They walk around feeling low, beaten and get an attitude of “whats the use, nothing changes.” It is amazing what can happen to a man when he takes the time to talk to another man in a confidential professional setting and work it out. The idea is to be men for an hour, talk like men, act like men, enter the wound and fight it out.

 

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Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is a mental health condition that involves a person who believes they are special and are entitled to violate the rights of others. They typically have a long term pattern lacking boundaries resulting in manipulation and exploitation of family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers alike. This disorder is commonly misunderstood to be the same as social phobia or social anxiety which is a fear of being around other people or out in public places.  APD is not the same as social phobia/anxiety. APD is about a person who thinks highly of themselves and is deserving of special recognition from others to the point of even being criminal about it.

Like most other personality disorders, they believe they do not have a problem but it is others who have the problem. They very seldom if ever exhibit empathy or compassion for others unless it is to achieve an end result such as getting money or favorable treatment. This is the manipulation. They may come across as charming in an almost narcissistic way engaging with others until they get what they want and then they go back to being themselves. When they don’t get their way they often scheme to find a way to exploit what they want out of others for personal profit and pleasure. Once they have what they want they go right back into a disrespectful and disregarding way of being.

The DSM-IV-TR, the clinical reference used by mental health clinicians for diagnosing clients, list other traits (this is not an exhaustive list) as being deceitful, repeated lying, conning others, impulsivity, irritability, aggressiveness, physical fights or assaults, reckless disregard and safety of others , failure to plan ahead in life, lack of remorse and rationalizing the pain they have inflicted on others. Rationalizing the pain inflicted on others is a defense mechanism utilized to cast blame because of somebody else, and not themselves, that caused them to behave this way. For someone to be diagnosed with this disorder they must be at least 18 years old, have had this pattern since they were 15 years of age and there is evidence of Conduct Disorder occurring before the 15 years of age marker.

A person, who has APD, or any personality disorder, can go for psychotherapy and healing can occur. The prognosis for treatment of APD is long term and often requires years of committed therapy in order to get favorable results. Because this disorder is a core identity issue the person must relearn their identity and how to overcome early life imprinting that signals to them about who they have leaned to be as a person. Strong defense mechanisms are often in place surrounding this core and require a skilled therapist to reach the inner core to address the wound that is found there. There is no single marker that points to how personality disorders develop whether it is environmental, family system or genetic. It appears that some combination of all of them contribute to the equation.

Sources:

DSM-IV-TR (American Psychological Association),

National Library of Medicine

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Controlling Behavior in Relationships

Controlling Behavior in Relationships

Being in a relationship with someone who is healthy creates good feelings of wanting to move forward with that person. In the process of relationship maturity there are certain characteristics to look out for that will help identify how things will play out in the long run. Sometimes unhealthy behavior can begin to raise little red flags in the mind that maybe something is not quite right. This is usually indicated by feelings of reluctance to spend time with the other person leading to avoidance issues. Wanting to isolate or getting away from the other person can be an indication of wanting to sort out thoughts and feelings about the relationship.

When sorting out these thoughts and feelings there are certain behaviors that signal there may be something to further evaluate. Whether married, engaged, dating or single; here are a few suggestions for self evaluation in a relationship.

  1. I can express my emotions, thoughts and feelings freely without judgment or criticism. Nurturing a relationship built on safety and trust goes a long way. Someone who is always criticizing or being judgmental about thoughts and feelings discourages growth and maturity and eventually other areas of the relationship, for example intimacy may begin to suffer. Healthy people respect each other, not criticize, even if they agree to disagree on certain subjects.
  2. Watch how the other person treats their close family members such as their parents and siblings. Are they being treated with respect or are they being negative and sarcastic? Often how these people are being treated can be a clue as to how people in a relationship will eventually be treated as well. When a relationship is new it can be exciting and most people want to present their best. As time goes on the real person begins to emerge and expose their true character. Conduct an early check by watching how they treat family.
  3. Be on the lookout for controlling behavior. Areas that are frequently used to control others are by getting aggressive regarding money, sex, anger and time spent with others. With money it is usually an issue by criticizing how you are spending money, making frequent suggestions on how to get more and then using manipulation to get it from you. In the case of marriage, money is controlled by restricting access to it and using intensive questioning about how it will be used. With sex, it is often withheld or the opposite occurs by being abusive and forceful when it is non-consensual. Anger is used to control the behavior response from others and is very highly prevalent with addictive behavior. Using anger to control is all about the controlling person which implies that “if you don’t do what I want then you will have to deal with me being unpleasant.” Finally, time with others, if a person questions or gets upset that time is being spent with others often presents an issue with jealousy. Jealousy can be an inroad leading to more complicated issues later in the relationship.

While this is not a comprehensive list of things to look out for in a relationship it can be a starting point or way to evaluate a few areas that may be of concern. Relationships can be complicated and involve many moving parts that go into the overall equation. Healthy relationships involve feeling comfortable with safety and trust with the other person. Safety and trust are foundational and allow for other areas of the relationship to grow such as maturity and intimacy. This is a kind of intimacy that goes beyond sex in the form of a deep knowing of the other person. Intimacy and maturity are lifelong endeavors in any relationship and really never stop growing. It takes time to get to really know someone.

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Substance abuse recovery is really about life changes. Going from a life dependent on a substance to dependent on the self can be stressful.  However, developing a positive attitude toward recovery can go a long way by reinforcing the purpose for quitting addictions. If you are a person or know of someone who is suffering from addictions here are 5 positive ways quitting affects a person.
  1. It increases control over your life. When a person makes a conscious choice to stop using drugs or alcohol it helps to empower them over the substance. It signals to themselves that “I can do this and I am doing it.” Recovery takes effort and discipline and will be challenging at times. Keep the recovery in perspective by developing a healthy perspective of self-worth.
  2. Fewer job problems. This benefit comes from not calling in sick, being late, having mental issues with memory and processing information. Mental fog is often a problem for people who are struggling with addiction and comes at a price of lost job performance. Missed work is often the result of dealing with hang overs or wanting to isolate with their drug of choice. So the benefit of not using is increased performance, being on time and not calling out. Over time the mental fog should lift after the substance has been stopped being used.
  3. Better health and restored balance. Substance abuse releases dopamine into the brain that signals “I feel good.” Over time it can get burned out losing the sensation of being able to feel good anymore which is also known as tolerance. The abuser will notice that no matter how much more of the drug they take, known as “bumping,” doesn’t work anymore because the dopamine has been all used up. When a person stops using the dopamine is allowed to return to normal levels allowing the brain to improve functioning. Other health benefits can be exercise, more sleep and an overall general sense of feeling better with improved self-esteem.
  4. More Financially Fit. One of the biggest assets for someone struggling with addiction is cash flow. If the money is flowing in then the drug can be resourced. If the money stops then finding a solution can be a real problem. Usually the resource is found by manipulating other people or finding a codependent partner to lean on . When the addiction stops then the money stops flowing toward the addiction and goes toward other things.
  5. Respect. Family and friends will notice the change, especially if the addicted person has been struggling for a while. Usually the first improvements they will notice is increased mood and an change of attitude. When a person feels they have put the worst behind them and have a healthy outlook on life it transcends to the body and presents itself in a positive way. The ultimate respect will come from the self, self-respect. The biggest thing a person who struggles with addiction is to get out of a shame based mind-set and adopt the mind-set that they have beat something that at one time seemed bigger than they are.

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addiction“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Addiction has a strong pull on the human psyche and in a lot of ways is like an emotional manipulator. Those who are caught in this affliction often testify that the pull of wanting to return to their drug of choice is stronger than their ability to overcome it. Addiction manipulates the pleasure center of the brain known as the limbic system which is a primitive part of the brain that is responsible for the feel good chemicals. This is accomplished when drugs manipulate the release of dopamine; a neurotransmitter that is responsible for producing pleasure, euphoria and controlling emotional responses, to basically feel good.

Manipulation in the brain is like a false positive; to feel good means one must not feel good, right? So if a person wants to feel better they must medicate, because, they don’t feel good. The problem with this theory is there is a lie involved. The quote at the beginning of this article gives an example of how there are two ways to be fooled, to believe the lie, or to think the truth is a lie.

This is the very nature of addiction; it is about living a lie. The addiction lies and seduces the user into believing that the substance is the answer for the pain they feel. Pain is there for a reason, usually emotional; to signal that there is a problem. To simply drown it, shoot it, snort it or swallow it is a short term solution to something that needs to be addressed on a deeper level.

Often when a person tries to move away from the drug and begin to face the deeper emotional problems they are experiencing some obstacles can arise, often in the form of the truth of what is being medicated. These obstacles are part of the denial process of trying to move away from dependency into independence. Independence is about being able to stand without using a coping mechanism to manipulate dopamine into feeling better. In this process the addicted person may begin to struggle with really wanting to give it up. They are afraid to leave the false reality of the safety and comfort of the drug that they have come to believe in. Here are a few of the common obstacles faced with addiction and alcoholism recovery.

Denying the Truth

Denying, or denial, in a nutshell is saying “I don’t have a problem.”  Someone who wants to recover admits there is a problem and takes steps to take care of it. Being hooked on a substance is a lot like being in a bad relationship. Like any good lover, the substance makes them feel better and is more important than regaining their dignity. The addicted person does not realize they deserve a better life.

Rationalizing

This voice says “I deserve it! I have earned it for whatever reason, xyz…” To put it bluntly, rationalization is about making an excuse to use and looking for a reason to pick up. This can also be an area where a person in recovery will test themselves to see if they are truly recovered. “I’ll just have one and prove to myself that I am no longer addicted.” Unfortunately this test rarely passes with positive results.

Intellectualizing

Intellectualizing addiction is about coming to a conclusion about how it all came about and this knowledge is going to be used on how they are going to outsmart the problem. This is not about facing the issue; this is about circumventing it and looking for a work around to real recovery.

Blaming

“I’m the victim of things that happened to me in my life, if it weren’t for these awful things that happened to me then I would not have this problem.” Okay, let’s go back to reality, not believing the lie. Blaming others or holding others responsible for the addiction will go nowhere. The decision to pick up and use is always the choice of the user. The old cliché about anger can be applied here “drink the poison and wait for the other person to die.”

The bottom line for addiction and recovery is about getting real that there is a problem and making a choice. It’s a matter of motivation. The addicted person has to make the choice to recognize that they have a problem and make a stand against it. There is no doubt, it is hard, it takes effort, it is a battle and it is not easy, but it is possible.

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It may sound contradictory for an angry person to be more assertive, however being more assertive can help release built up anger. Anger is a normal emotion and we all experience it at one time or another. However there are times when we have a tendency to hold things in regarding issues in life such as a perceived injustice or the lack of boundaries. When anger goes unexpressed for too long it can turn inward manifesting into resentment and compulsive behaviors. It is not uncommon for anger held on to for long periods of time to turn into depression. Other symptoms of mismanaged anger can be strong use of sarcasm, isolation, substance abuse, relationship problems and a general sense of the loss of self. Anger manifested outward is much more obvious. It appears as rage, directed at inanimate objects, road rage, yelling or becoming abusive toward others.

Since anger is a common emotion the idea of dealing with it is not to eliminate it, but to learn how to manage it. One common way is to learn how to be more assertive which is different than being aggressive. Being assertive is about expressing thoughts and feelings toward someone else in an open manner that fosters dialogue. Being aggressive is about dominance and trying to control someone or a situation in a more hostile way, usually as a monologue directed at someone. When anger becomes such a problem that it has a strong negative effect on others, or leads into self destructive behaviors then it may be time to get help.

How Assertiveness Releases Anger

In a metaphorical sense, anger directed at us is like a balloon being filled with air. Destructive anger is like the balloon that has been filled to its breaking point and then it explodes. With constructive anger, the balloon takes in some of the air, and then some of the air is let back out releasing the tension and preventing a blow up. This is the idea of being assertive, we do not take and take until we explode, we breathe in and breathe out. This is the boundaries part where some assertiveness training could come in handy on learning how to be more expressive with others. This often takes a little practice and getting used to if  being assertive and expressing yourself is something you are not used to. It follows the old cliché along the lines of “it’s not necessarily what we say, but how we say it” that matters. What will happen over time is this constructive outward flow back toward others provides a sense of empowerment and well being that relieves stress, anxiety and most importantly anger.

If you find yourself struggling with trying to manage the more destructive anger and wanting to react in a negative way there are a few techniques that you can use to help. The first is to ask yourself what you are reacting to and what exactly it is that is pressing your buttons? Once this information is realized then begin to challenge it by asking how important it is to react this way, or are the feelings appropriate to the perceived threat? This can be a lead-in to the next thought challenge by asking “am I over reacting to something? “ Other thought challenges include looking at how a situation is perceived, assuming the worst or thinking that someone meant harm when they really didn’t mean any harm at all. Think realistically, what outcome will my anger have on the situation?

When all fails and the anger still cannot be resolved, get away from the source of the anger, think blue for calm, breathe in and out slowly while counting to 10 or 100 if necessary. If you are able to get outdoors such as a park or lake to take a slow walk then even better. Remember, this is about managing anger.

Being assertive with others and expressing our thoughts and feelings can go a long way in preventing tension and anger from building up inside. Nobody wants to be the balloon where we take it all in until we explode. Allow yourself to breathe your thoughts and feelings with others through effective dialogue. You just might be surprised how much less anger you have as a result and how much better you feel about yourself as a person.

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nature-walk“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered why people gravitate toward nature when they want to relax? A walk on the beach, sitting by the lake, laying on a blanket at the park, standing in awe of waterfalls, a river, a mountain view, walking a nature trail, camping, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking and the list goes on. How come this is so attractive?  Look at music videos during church, rarely is there one that depicts scenery that does not involve nature as the setting. Coincidence? Hardly, there is a connection between our stress and anxiety levels and spending time in the great outdoors. While not true for everyone, most people marvel at nature, it’s peaceful and found living on its own terms. Sure, we attempt to bottle it up and put it into a zoo or theme park, but when we find it out in the wild there is something special that happens in those moments.

History and Research

Research and how nature impacts therapy goes back to the early 1990’s when a Psychologist by the name of Dr. Francine Shapiro noticed she felt better after taking nature walks and had a sense of feeling calmer. She followed up with it conducting years of research to try and understand why this was happening. To make a long story short, this initial walk in the woods was the beginning what is known today as EMDR, an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. It is a common technique used to treat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is a form of anxiety based on exposure to past traumatic events.

How It Works

 When we are out in nature the mind and our eyes scan looking around in a controlled manner and tend to focus on natural objects. In the process of looking around we fixate on an object, even if only for a second, and then another and another while sweeping back and forth from left to right and back again. When we are experiencing high levels of anxiety our eyes shift around in a very rapid motion in an uncontrolled way. This may also explain why we close our eyes to avoid stress, to take a moment to breathe and gain back some composure of our well being. Dr. Shapiro notes in her research what she discovered about herself that it is the controlled movement of the eyes, like mini/multiple focal points, is what produces the relief from anxiety.

What is intriguing is the whole process began with a simple solution for Dr. Shapiro, to relieve stress and relax her mind by taking a nature walk. Recently, some combat veterans who suffer from PTSD have also reported that time spent doing outdoor recreation activities helps relieve their symptoms. Popular outdoor themed recreation ventures designed to help veterans are beginning to spring up such as Heroes on The Water which is a kayak fishing organization designed to get veterans out and on the water fishing. Chances are there are plenty of local organizations whose sole purpose is designed to get outside, and for good reason.

Self Help

There are plenty of ways to get outside and one of the easiest can be to visit a local park and find a trail or path that has some of the key ingredients essential for relieving anxiety. Trees work very well as opposed to open field. Trees give closeness and the opportunity to look around for even the smallest of wildlife. Slow down the pace and make it more of a stroll, this is not about being competitive or trying to burn off those next 2 inches off the waistline. Take something along to feed some ducks at a local pond. Avoid taking music or headphones as this can be a distraction from the therapeutic experience. Taking a pet along for the stroll can be good too, both can benefit from being outside. Remember, the idea is to relax and enjoy being outside and to just take it all in.

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lonely

If you are feeling depressed there may be something you can do to relieve it. Feeling depressed can be due to an imbalance in the brain neurotransmitter called Serotonin of which medication from a medical doctor can help to stabilize. While antidepressants can help lift mood this is often not the sole culprit for depression. Studies show that the most effective way to relieve depression is through both mood stabilizers and talk therapy such as mental health counseling. Talk therapy helps bring a person to understanding and healing of why the depression is occurring in the first place with a goal of getting off of being dependent on mood stabilizing medications. There are times however when the body has a chronic problem with producing enough Serotonin to hold the lifted mood. In this case long term treatment with medications may be necessary under a medical doctor’s care.

When focusing on talk therapy there are three ways (formulas) that can help to relieve some of the depressive feelings. The first formula is about trying to change what cannot be changed. The Serenity Prayer is a brilliant piece of literature for addressing the worry that leads to depression. In this prayer part of it reads “to accept the things I cannot change.” Sometimes people can have the propensity to mull over things that they want changed and they hyper-analyze it to death. In the process of analyzing there is an absence of realizing that nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes. Over time it begins to weigh down the psyche, aka depressed. Sometimes we have to learn how to accept the things we cannot change, let it go, leave it in the past and move on.

Another formula leading to depression is unmet expectations. Unmet expectations fall into basically 3 common areas; expectations we have of ourselves, we have of others and those others have of us. Expectations are commonly grounded in childhood experiences when we learn how to handle life as it comes to us. However, when some needs become unmet they can turn into something else such as anger, anxiety and depression. One way to counter this is to begin to think or explore other alternatives to gratify the need.

The third formula is based on a cognitive distortion also known as unhelpful thinking habits. There are many of these patterns that can lead to mood problems, however there is one aptly named “compare and despair” which can be a real culprit when comparing our situation to others. What happens in a situation like this is people have a tendency to see the good in others, compare to what they have in themselves, and then come to the conclusion that they are not as good as others. If this goes on for too long and forms into a habitual way of thinking it can create a long term pattern of negative thinking. If everyone in the world around us is better than us, the underlying message often translates into something along the lines of “I don’t measure up” or “I am not good enough.” A helpful way of looking at a situation would be to strike a balanced way of self examination. If focused on just the negative, what are some positive things to help offset those things?

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unstuck Feeling stuck in life can bring about unsettling emotions and negative thinking. It can create questions in the mind about life, career, family and a whole host of other thinking patterns that can lead to major changes. Often the source of frustration for feeling stuck isn’t so much about the position someone finds themselves as it is about how they think about how they see themselves in their current situation. This negative thinking pattern over time can lead into other issues such as low self-esteem, self-worth, depression and anxiety. To head this off at the pass before it gets to that level and therapy is needed to reverse course there are a few things a person can do to help get directed back into a positive mindset.

Watch out for and filter internal self dialogue that has a critical voice saying something that leads to thinking “I’m not good enough and I’m incompetent.” This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame which has an underlying tone  that translates into “I am doing something wrong, or I am a bad person.” This is language of negative thinking and when it goes on for too long it becomes a habit. Just like any other habit, the longer it is done the more reinforced it becomes.

Now the good news. Getting into a negative thinking pattern is something that is learned and when something is learned it can be relearned. It  is like learning bad math and going through life with the understanding that 3 plus 2 equals 6 can be frustrating. The idea is to learn new ways of doing things by replacing the old ways with new ways with something more realistic.  Many years ago Alcoholics Anonymous figured this out and they use a common phrase saying “watch out for your stinking thinking.” They know that thinking despairing thoughts leads to distress and unhealthy coping mechanisms. So how does someone get into a more healthy and realistic frame of mind? Here are a few things that can help lead to change.

  • Be a self role model. If there is something that you do not like about yourself then acting more like the person you want to be can be a good starting point. This can be real or imagined, envision what this might look like and work toward that vision.
  • Take inventory of your posture. The way a person walks, talks, sits and stands can make a difference in how they feel about themselves. Using a confident posture can help a person feel more confident about who they are and their purpose in life.
  • No matter how small or big an achievement do some self rewarding. Feeling good and celebrating achievements helps reinforce something that was done that is good and puts things in a more positive light.
  • Recognize and accept your strengths. Be thankful for compliments and at times give some out to others. Sometimes a helpful way can be to write compliments down or thank you cards and put them into a file. If feeling negative a good technique for lifting mood in the future is to pull out that file and read a few of the notes tucked away.
  • Changing language to reflect motivation. Changing internal motivational language goes from “I will try” to “I will.” Trying can influence self doubt about the ability to achieve something and leaves an easy out. Motivational language reflects determination and a positive attitude about how “I can do it and I will do it.”

When feeling stuck take a look at the bigger picture and think about how there may be other ways of doing things. This list is not exhaustive and being creative on how to get unstuck goes a long way. Step outside of yourself and see how you would see yourself if you were another person. What would that person say to you? What would you say to another person if they were having the same experience?

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