3 unexpected ways to bring more purpose to your life

purpose

 

Waking up every morning and not knowing where your life is headed, or not knowing where it should be headed, is frightening. We all crave purpose, and when we don’t have it, our entire existence seems to appear meaningless and unimportant to us.

In this article, you’ll find some of the unexpected ways you can discover your purpose.

1. What values, traits, or actions does your ideal self live by?

We all have this ideal self we aspire to become, and when the disparity between who we are in the present and who we want to become is too big, low-self esteem creeps in.

In some cases, the ideal self is overly inflated. To avoid this, business owners use the acronym S.M.A.R.T for setting achievable goals as opposed to unrealistic standards that might cause them to fall flat on their faces.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aspire to reach your ideal, especially if your goals are realistic. By attempting to get to know your ideal self better, you can get a sense of what’s important to you and what’s purposeful.

For example, if your ideal self would spend more time helping those in need or building a business around helping others thrive, what may bring you long-term satisfaction is dedicating more time to serving underprivileged communities.

2. Experiment with different courses of action

Taking action can help you feel more purposeful and confident in your own strengths once you realize you can do something of value.

But that’s not all. You may think a certain career path or form of activism will be rewarding, but there’s only one way to find out if it suits you: by trying it.

Many people end up switching careers, going to college after their 30’s, or experimenting with new lifestyles to find what makes them feel accomplished and purposeful.

3. Ask yourself what’s wrong with the world and attempt to change it

Many of us live in frustration due to external factors. In some cases, it could be the negative people around us, unfair legislation, poverty, or censorship.

No matter what bothers you, always keep in mind that in order to change others, you have to change yourself first.

Wrapping up

A sense of purpose makes us feel happy and fulfilled, but sometimes it’s hard to look inside ourselves and find out what career path suits us best, where we should invest most of our time, and what our true values and motivations are.

If you struggle with finding purpose, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for advice and counseling.

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When Stress Is Just Too Much

stress

 

Do you often feel overwhelmed by work, family issues or health problems?

Believe it or not, over 8 million Americans suffer from serious psychological stress. This can lead to other stress-related illnesses, such as hypertension and elevated blood sugar levels.

To help you out, let’s look at 6 creative ways you can cope with daily stress.

1. Read a fantasy book

If you’re in a situation that seems inescapable at the moment, why not use the power of fantasy to get away from your daily burdens?

Many fantasy books have the power of showing us beautiful, unimaginable worlds and creatures. But they also contain characters that show unexpected resilience and inner strength, traits that inspire many of us.

2. Take a walk

Taking a walk not only relieves stress by helping your body soak up Vitamin D from the sun or get much-needed exercise, but it has another function as well: it keeps you away from unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as binge eating, smoking, etc.

3. Watch your favorite TV show or series

If you have the time, why not watch one of your favorite tv shows or series?

It can relax you, and who knows, maybe the plotline will offer a new perspective on how you can look at your current situation.

4. Clean your room

For some people, cleaning, especially with music in the background, is quite relaxing. Plus, you get a mild exercise session out of it, not to mention the fact that you’ll be proud of how clean and neat your place looks after you finish!

5. Share your thoughts with others

It could a friend, family, or your partner.

Even if you don’t have someone you trust at the moment, you can still find someone willing to listen to your sorrows, especially if you have an internet connection.

Free services such as Talk With a Stranger are a great way to have a conversation while staying anonymous.

6. Don’t acknowledge every negative thought that passes through your mind

Mindfulness a practice that teaches you how to passively observe your inner critic without getting trapped in a cycle of going back into the past and reliving traumatic situations or anticipating a grey future.

Wrapping up

Chronic stress can lead to many life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you feel like every day is more of a burden, and that finding enjoyment seems like an impossible task, perhaps you could use some help from a specialist who can teach you how to eliminate the stress from its roots.

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How Journaling Can Help You

 

Journaling has been used for a long time by therapists as a method of identifying mood shifts and the context in which they occur. It’s also helpful for figuring out what situations drive negative thinking.

 However, journaling isn’t just a way for us to systematically record our thoughts in an attempt to understand ourselves. It’s also a safe way to vent.

A loyal friend

Like everyone else, you may have periods in your life when you feel alone and you have nobody to listen to your problems. A diary is a great way to vent and share your thoughts, even when you don’t have people close to you who understand and appreciate you.

 

Writing in a diary will help you experience relief while keeping your secrets and thoughts safe from the eyes of the world.

Track how you’ve changed and make note of your progress

We all change over the years. And one of the best ways to look at where you were a few years or even months ago is by re-reading your diary.

 

Keeping a diary can reveal so much about how certain events in our lives change our mindset and actions. These are changes that otherwise happen so slowly that we would otherwise not notice them.

 

But a few journal entries might shed some light on how your personality and thinking patterns have changed over time and where you’ve taken steps in the right direction.

Helps you achieve your goals

Goals and desires that are written down are more likely to come true. This happens because when you write them down, you externalize them. Your dreams and goals suddenly become closer to you. And having them in a diary works as a reminder that will motivate you to work harder to reach them.

 

Many entrepreneurs use journaling for this purpose alone. They write their daily and weekly goals down along with the actions that need to be taken in order to achieve them.

Wrapping up

Keeping a journal is perhaps one of the oldest ways of coping with depression, loneliness, and anxiety. And it’s no wonder it’s so effective. When you write your thoughts down, you detach yourself from them.

 

If you have difficulties socializing with your peers, making friends, or coping with depression, journaling can help. However, so can seeking professional help. Reach out to us with the troubles you face in your life to find out how we can help.

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4 Healthy Daily Habits

healthy daily habits

 

In this article, we’re looking at 4 healthy habits that add meaning to your life and make you feel proud of yourself, no matter where you are in your daily journey.

1. Have a routine

Routines make us feel grounded and give us a sense of direction. Plus, the more we work on something consistently, the better we get at it.

 

But this doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, especially in the beginning. Ask yourself what are a few simple actions you can take on a daily basis to make your life better. And then ask yourself if you’re willing to do them.

 

It can be as simple as cleaning your room or brushing the teeth more often.

2. Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be all sweat and pain. Walking is a form of exercise as well. Getting outside of the house and being exposed to the sun also has a positive impact on our well-being, due to vitamin D.

Not to mention, exercise gets rid of fatigue and strengthens the immune system.

3. Eat well

The role of diet is often underestimated in relation to mental health. But there are many studies that show a link between diet and mood.

 

Also, inflammatory foods have a negative on the brain. Specialists go as far as talking about the link between a diet high in sugar and certain forms of dementia.

4. Write down your goals

The first step to reaching our destination is being on the right road. Writing down our goals helps us get a better idea of where we’re going.

 

Some goals seem scary to write down because we’re afraid they may never come true. But in order to make progress, we have to confront our deepest desires, no matter how foolish they seem. In the end, our wants shed some light on who we want to be.

Wrapping Up

Not having much to look forward to doesn’t necessarily mean we’re depressed. We all go through tough phases in our lives when we aren’t stimulated enough by our environment.

 

However, if you still struggle with being content with your life or finding meaning, you may benefit from talking with a specialist about the things you can do to improve your day-to-day experience.

 

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Why We Get Bored and When It Can Be a Sign of Something More Serious

boredom

 

We all get bored from time to time.Boredom itself isn’t a harmful feeling. Mere existence doesn’t satisfy us, and the yearning for something engaging and meaningful in our lives is perhaps what has driven our species forward.

Studies show that there’s a 5% decrease in the brain activity when we’re bored. We strengthen our notion of the self by reflecting on past events or imagining future scenarios.

Our response to boredom and our chances of getting bored are linked to our personalities. For example, introverts are more likely to enjoy spending time by themselves, and thus require less stimulation to stay focused. Extroverts, on the other hand, are always looking for new stimuli and are more likely to get bored as a result.

Stay with us to find out to find out when boredom can cause issues and when it’s a perfectly normal feeling.

Boredom may be a sign of ADHD or ADD

Difficulty to concentrate on one task is sometimes caused by boredom. People who suffer from ADHD or ADD have issues with their dopamine receptors, so they get bored easier because it’s harder for their brains to get stimulated by a task.

When boredom is paired with impulsivity or hyperactivity, especially over longer periods of time and in many areas of life, you may be showing signs of ADHD or ADD.

Boredom and depression

For many people, boredom, particularly chronic boredom, is part of depression.

If you find yourself unsatisfied almost every day and not stimulated enough to carry out your daily activities, it may be a sign that boredom is leading to your unhappiness. In many cases, it’s a vicious cycle: you get bored, so you’re unhappy, and because you’re unhappy there’s little energy left for you to focus on stimulating activities.

When is it okay to be bored?

A job that consists of repetitive tasks and doesn’t require much creativity or critical thinking can lead to boredom—that is, as long as you keep the job. However, once you’re in a more stimulating environment, the boredom tends to dissipate.

There are countless examples of this. Some people find that striving for realistic goals keeps them away from the claws of boredom.

Unsure about whether your boredom is a normal reaction to your environment or a warning sign? Feel free to reach out to us with your questions here!

 

3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Cope With Depression

depression

 

At its roots, depression can sometimes be caused by negative thinking. We often experience depression when we go back into the past and relive traumatic scenarios or anticipate a grey future based on what happened our past.

 While this sort of thinking can help us strategize and learn from our mistakes, it also has its flaws.  

Sometimes our memory is distorted or our interpretation of the past exists through a lense of self-criticism. As a result, instead of learning from the past, we blame ourselves for what happened and expect a future equally dreadful.

Mindfulness is all about stopping ourselves from becoming triggered by sad memories or anticipating the future and instead living in the moment.

Harvard researchers compared brain scans of patients suffering from clinical depression before and after a 2-month period where mindfulness was practiced. The results were astonishing: the scans showed changes in the thinking pattern inside the brain, specifically in the amygdala.

While it isn’t known for sure what aspects of mindfulness have the biggest impact on depression, there are some clues on how it works.

If you want to find out more about how mindfulness practices work and why they’re so effective, read on.

1. Not every problem needs to be resolved

 We’re problem solving-machines. And for a good reason, as we need this mechanism to evolve, learn from our mistakes, and progress through life. But what happens when there are problems we have no solutions to? Rumination is one of the biggest causes of depression. We go back and forth about what happened in an attempt to solve a problem that can’t be solved.What’s worse is that society itself deems those who leave issues unsolved as mentally weak or delusional. But the truth is that many problems stopped affecting us a long time ago. Some problems aren’t big enough for us to worry about, while others simply cannot be solved. Mindfulness practices help us zero in on the present by training our brain to let go of thoughts that lead to unresolved issues. This frees up more of our time and energy.

 

2. Distance from the inner critic

 Perhaps the most powerful use of mindfulness is learning to look at our thoughts passively and having the power to either engage with them or let them go. We can become observers rather than victims of our negative thinking,

 This means that when a negative thought pattern arises, we don’t act on it. Instead, we acknowledge its presence but we let it go. Mindfulness isn’t about “killing” negative thinking. It’s about leaving the room and refusing to engage in thoughts that don’t benefit us. The inner critic is usually one of the biggest issues people with depression and low-self esteem deal with. It can ruin our day at any given moment. However, instead of taking the inner voice’s words as gospel, we can distance ourselves by asking ourselves “Is the inner critic helpful?” If not, ignore what it says.

 

3. Improved focus

 One of the most noticeable effects of depression is a decrease in focus. How can we focus on studies or work when a war is happening inside our heads?Through meditation, mindfulness teaches the mind to have a better control over where and how resources are used. If we learn to stay focused on our breath or a certain object, we can also learn how to shift our focus on what we need to get done.

Wrapping up

There’s a lot of potential in using mindfulness practices with patients that suffer from clinical depression. While it may not be suitable for everyone, it can be a good option for patients who don’t want to rely on antidepressants.

If you want to talk with a specialist about your options when it comes to managing your depression, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Can Social Media Do Further Harm To Your Self Esteem?

social media and self esteem

 

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with your old friends and family members, but what happens when you find yourself wondering why everyone else is traveling around the world and you aren’t? What happens when instead of keeping in touch with old friends you envy the accomplishments of others and start competing for social validation?

These types of behaviors are a common occurrence. A study looked at how social media envy makes people more likely to spend their money on traveling so they can compete with their peers.

But what makes social media so dangerous for your mental health? In this article, we’ll explore how social media impacts our self-image.

 

1. Comparing yourself with others gets complicated

Back in the day, anyone could be the best, or at least the second best, at something. But these days, even if you’re a talented singer or good at math, a simple Google search can show you someone ten times better. The problem isn’t necessarily that you compare yourself with others, but it’s how you do it.

According to Leon Festinger, comparing yourself with others is a form of critical thinking. You look outside yourself to put yourself on a hierarchy of success and competence. But social media makes it almost impossible to feel good about your accomplishments because there’s always someone better than you at something.

2. You’re more likely to develop a false image of other’s lives

On social media, only the best selfies get posted. But who really knows how many tries and filters it took for your friend’s photo to get over 200 likes?

Because social media focuses only on the positives aspects of life, you’re more likely to feel ashamed of your current condition and aim for a lifestyle that’s unrealistic.

3. Fear of missing out

Fear of missing out isn’t something that showed up once social media became popular, but it was definitely exacerbated by social media.

When you see everyday people going out, having fun, and traveling, you may feel uneasy about your lifestyle. What you have to keep in mind is that most of the content on social media only tells half of the story, and since there’s an incentives to boast, some people invest time and money into activities to make others envious.

If your self-esteem is keeping you from living your best, happiest life, we can help.

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Forgiveness And You

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It’s both an emotion and an act. It doesn’t always come and if it does, it doesn’t always make us feel better. However, forgiveness isn’t always about the other person. In fact, forgiveness is about you. Forgiveness is a healing journey that can have endless benefits long after you’ve moved on from a trauma. If you’re struggling with forgiveness on your healing journey, here are a few things to remember.

 

1. Forgiveness Does Not Mean Forgetting

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re totally wiping the slate clean. It doesn’t mean you’re forgetting what happened. To move forward, you need to recognize the truth of the situation. When you can acknowledge and accept what happened, then you can start moving on. With this, you can find the motivation to heal.

 

2. Sometimes Forgiveness Isn’t Direct

What this means is that sometimes you can’t always direct your forgiveness to the person who hurt you for one reason or another. Forgiveness is for your benefit, never theirs. Forgiveness is so that you can feel better. Part of the forgiveness process is releasing the thoughts and emotions tied to this person.

 

3. Forgiveness is About Release

Forgiveness is about releasing regrets or resentments that consume you and your valuable energy. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to carry resentments and regrets around. Forgiveness allows you to become lighter, to release those, and to move forward.

 

4. It’s Okay to Feel

Forgiveness isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, forgiveness is often a journey that takes time. This means that it’s okay to full experience every emotion that comes up during the healing process. This includes anger, sadness, shame, and fear, etc.

Forgiving someone else is sometimes easier than forgiving ourselves. That’s because forgiving yourself requires you to acknowledge and accept responsibility for something you might not be particularly proud or fond of. Fortunately, if you’re struggling with forgiveness, whether it’s forgiving yourself or another, counseling can help. A compassionate counselor can help you identify parts of yourself that you need to forgive. Additionally, counseling can help you find the strength to forgive someone who has caused you trauma. Our team of counselors can help you find the strength to forgive through a series of sessions that provide you the safe space to express yourself and feel through your forgiveness journey in order to heal.

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How Your Spending Habits Are Connected to Your Mental Health

 

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

 

What you spend our money on says a lot about how you feel about yourself. While it’s okay to spend your money on alcohol, parties, etc once in a while when that becomes your main source of fun and spending money, it could be an indicator of a deeply rooted issue. There are many ways in which how you spend your money reflects your mental health. These 3 are some of the most common.

 

1. Relationships and Money

Money is one of the biggest stressors in a relationship. You can either be the person who is afraid of not having enough so you’re afraid to spend it or you could be with someone who uses yours or their money to manipulate and control the relationship. The challenges money can bring to a relationship can quickly diminish a healthy one. You may give your partner money often, potentially enabling a bad behavior or habit or you may allow your partner to control the spending of your own money. Neither practice is indicative of a confident and mentally strong individual.

 

2. Emotions and Money

impulsive spending habits are reflective of someone who may have grown up in a controlling home. Impulsive spending is a form of rebellion. While you may not consciously be thinking you’re spiting the person who controlled the finances when you were younger, subconsciously you’re reliving the time when you didn’t have control over what you wanted. Many people spend impulsively on alcohol, drugs, clothes, trips, etc. While an impulse splurge is okay once in a while, you’re allowed to live, it becomes a problem when you can’t control the impulse. The inability to control the impulse may indicate a deeper problem is going on. Something deeper than a 70% off shoe sale.

 

3. Core Beliefs and Money

Emotions are a reaction to something happening in our lives. A core belief is something you hold true to your heart. However, you can have emotional responses to your core beliefs. Growing up in a healthy environment you learned core beliefs like, “I am worthy” or “I am safe” which means that you never really felt like the world was against you. Those who grew up in an unsafe environment may not feel this way and their spending habits will reflect that. You might be afraid to spend because you have a core belief that people are not innately good or are out to get you.

 

If you’re struggling with your spending habits, it could be something bigger. Self-control is not always innate and is often times learned. At North Brooklyn Therapy, we can help you objectively look at some of your spending habits and connect them to your emotions. If you’re curious about how your mental health is impacting how you’re spending your money, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

 

 

4 Things To Do When You Can’t Stop Beating Yourself Up

 

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

 

We all have those days where it seems like you can’t do anything right. You spill coffee on your white shirt, you’re late to an important meeting, and you forgot your lunch in the fridge at home. As a result, you start to internally berate yourself. “I’m so dumb” or “I can’t do anything right.” If you find yourself stuck in this endless loop of beating yourself up, see how these 4 things work for you.

 

1. Thought Stopping

It might sound silly but literally stopping a negative thought is one of the simplest ways to get out of this habit. By imagining a stop sign or verbally say, “stop” when the thoughts come can act as a gentle reminder that you’re trying to change. This creates a new habit in exchange for your self-criticism.

 

2. Thought Replacing

Once you’ve successfully stopped a thought you need to replace it. Instead of saying something like “I can never do anything right” replace that with “I’m committed to learning and bettering myself.” You’re deserving of compassion, even from yourself.

 

3. Be Realistic

In the age of instant everything, it’s hard to remain realistic about trying to change bad habits. You’re not going to be free from your self-criticism right away. Additionally, you’ll likely want to spend some time analyzing some of your habits and daily activities. Just be sure that you’re doing so in a balanced way and staying focused on the present. You can’t change the fact that you never exercised enough in the past but you can focus on doing one active activity today.

 

4. Do Something You Enjoy

The problem with self-critical thoughts is that it’s easy to get stuck in them. In fact, they can be so bad you almost feel paralyzed by them. So get up and do something you enjoy! Do something that makes you feel good. Doing something you like boosts your confidence and makes you feel good.

 

Everyone is a little self-critical at times, which isn’t always a bad thing. Being a little critical allows us to improve ourselves. However, it becomes a problem when we become overly critical and allow that criticism to control our lives and our happiness. Self-criticism can result in anxiety, depression, and a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. If you’re struggling with your critical thoughts, counseling might be able to help. By offering an outside view of your thoughts, you can gain better clarity. If you’re curious about how counseling can help you, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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