How to Deal with Social Anxiety

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Did you know that almost everyone experiences social anxiety? The most common form of social anxiety is the fear of public speaking. However, for some people, social anxiety is a little bit more pervasive. It can involve fear of certain social situations, small talk, and even fear of familiar social situations. Social anxiety can be debilitating and can dramatically impact your quality of life. The good news is that everyone experiences social anxiety in varying degrees from time to time. The other good news is that there are ways to handle it and deal with it in a healthy manner. Check out these ways to deal with your social anxiety.

1. Work With a Therapist

It’s amazing what therapy can do for you. Therapy can truly transform you from the inside out. It can also help with your social anxiety. If your social anxiety is affecting your day to day life like your personal or professional life, it’s probably time to seek help. A little nervousness is totally normal but you shouldn’t be afraid to live your life and you don’t have to be.

2. Create an Exposure Hierarchy

Some social situations are easier to handle than others and everyone is different. For some people speaking to a barista is the top of the hierarchy, while for others, going to a party with friends sits at the top. If you can sit down and list out which situations are your worst nightmare and which are manageable you can slowly learn to expose yourself to situations you might not like. You can also make yourself aware of social situations that make you incredibly anxious and if possible, avoid them.

3. Stay Rational

The hardest part about social anxiety is getting out of your head and staying rational. The best way to stay rational is to remember that everyone around you is dealing with their own inner workings. It’s quite possible that someone else in the room is also experiencing an internal meltdown. The best way to stay rational is to stay kind. Treat everyone with kindness and remember we’re all out here just trying to do the best we can with what we have.

If social anxiety is impacting your daily life, please give us a call. You don’t have to be afraid to live your life. Gain control and get your confidence back with the help of one of our highly trained counselors. We’re here to help you navigate life with confidence and strength.

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4 Tips on Dealing with Negative Self Talk

 

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It happens to the best of us. I’m sure even Beyonce experiences negative self-talk from time to time. It’s almost impossible to stop that sneaky little voice from creeping up on us anytime we try to do something. It can come on at work, while out with friends, or even when you’re just alone watching television. Whenever you feel negative self-talk coming on you can do 1 of 2 things, you can engage with it or you can shut it down. However, sometimes we’ve let negative self-talk run our lives for so long that it’s hard to get a grip on it when it starts. Fortunately, these 4 tips will help you get a grip on that negative voice in your head.

 

1. Notice Your Thoughts

Negative self-talk often comes on as a random intrusive thought. “You suck” or “You’ll never be good at this” is common intrusive thoughts we all experience. The next time you have a negative thought notice it! You can say out loud or in your head, “hey I just had a negative thought about ___.” When you notice the thought right away you can shut it down rather than engaging with it.

 

2. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

That voice in your head that tells you that you’ll never be able to write a book or finish your degree is wrong. What degree or book has that thought ever authored or finished? None! Another way to challenge the thought is to ask yourself, “what evidence do I have that makes this thought true?” Probably none. Most negative thoughts are baseless and only go on because you engage with them.

 

3. Practice Letting Go

It’s hard when you are having negative thoughts about your body, your lifestyle, or your life decisions. But know that you can let these thoughts go any time you want. You don’t have to hold on to them. When a negative thought pops up in your mind, you can let it go. Don’t invite it to stay for tea.

 

4. Practice Gratitude

Negative thoughts and negative self-talk make us forget all the good things we have going for us.Which is why keeping a gratitude journal is so important. Whenever those negative self-talks start to bubble up, turn to the gratitude journal to remind yourself how good you really have it. Eventually, gratitude will be your go-to thought rather than negative self-talk.

 

Negative self-talk impacts everyone and it can be hard to get a grip on it. If you’re struggling with negative self-talk call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you master the skills and tools you need to function without negative self-talk.

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Dealing With Perfectionism And How Therapy Can Help

 

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Many people suffer in varying degrees with perfectionism. However, for some, it’s tied to their lifestyle, while others tie it into their profession. Perfectionism is when you strive to reach a high standard and expectation that is not realistically attainable at all. With perfectionism, anything short of perfect can cause an internal disaster. This is also known as “all or nothing” thinking. Perfectionism can increase stress, anxiety, depression, disappointment, and regret.

What Does Perfectionism Thinking Look Like?

Everyone has likely experienced perfectionism thinking at some point in their life. However, some people suffer from it daily. Perfectionism thinking looks like this:

  • I want to do better than anyone
  • I must be the best at everything
  • I want my superiors to like me
  • People will think I’m lazy if I take a day off
  • I want to be respected/acknowledged
  • I won’t survive if I make one mistake
  • What if I can’t?
  • I know I won’t do well even though I’m fully prepared.
  • If my work is perfect, only good things will happen

Perfectionism thinking can be brought on by high-stress situations like a big presentation at work or school and even sometimes family stress.

What does Engaging in Perfectionist Behavior Look Like

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I can’t do it because I know I won’t be able to do it perfectly”? This is one of many perfectionist behaviors that those who suffer from perfectionism deal with on a daily basis. Here are some other perfectionist behaviors you might be familiar with.

  • Waiting for the right moment
  • Seeing mistakes that others don’t
  • Avoiding new things out of fear of making a mistake
  • Spending obsessive amounts of time trying to make something “perfect”

These behaviors can be almost debilitating and can possibly complete a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being “good enough.”

How Can Therapy Help?

No one is perfect and therapy can help you see that. Seeking therapy for perfectionist thinking and behaviors can help you shift your thoughts into more self-serving, positive thoughts.

Our counselors can help to teach you how to find a home in compromise. In fact, compromise can help you switch your thinking from black and white to finding fulfillment in the gray areas. If you’re having trouble with perfectionism, please give us a call today to set up an appointment. No one is perfect and frankly, you don’t have to be either to be happy.

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3 Ways to Handle Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

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Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts people all around the world. Some people struggle with SAD during the winter months, however, many people struggle with SAD during the summer months as well. With spring just around the corner, some people are getting excited to get rid of their Seasonal Affective Disorder, while others are struggling to figure out how they’ll cope with theirs. Fortunately, we’ve found 3 ways to handle your Seasonal Affective Disorder no matter what season it impacts you.

 

Daily Physical Activity

Exercise is so important not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. Physical inactivity can make your depression feel even worse. You don’t need to start lifting heavy weights or training for a marathon to benefit from feel good endorphins. In fact, brisk walking 20 to 30 minutes every day can help to give you that mood boosting effect your looking for. If your SAD acts up in the spring and summer this is much easier. However, in the winter months this can be a little more difficult.

 

Get Regular Sleep

When you aren’t feeling well mentally over sleeping or not sleeping enough is extremely common. Sleep, like exercise, has a major impact on your moods. Do your best to avoid napping during the day in order to stay on top of your regular sleeping schedule. If you’re waking up randomly in the middle of the night, avoid the temptation of looking at your phone, tablet or laptop as the blue lights disrupt your melatonin cycle.

 

Minimize Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use

As tempting as it is to escape when you’re feeling depressed, using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco can actually make you feel worse in the long run. Alcohol, as you know, is a depressent. Hangovers can leave you feeling anxious, sad, moody, and just “off.” Additionally, drinking or drug use can cause you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Things that you might not feel great about later once the high wears off. Try to limit your alcohol, drug, and tobacco consumption when you know your mood is at its most vulnerable.

Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts so many people and is completely normal to the changing seasons. However, sometimes SAD becomes something more. If you’re struggling to take part or interest in activities that once normally captured your excitement and attention, call us. Our team of kind and caring professionals can help you rediscover the you that you remember loving so fondly.

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How To Deal With Workplace Stress

 

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No matter what your job is we all have to deal with workplace stress. Some of us are better at leaving work at work and not taking it home. Workplace stress can create many conflicts from interpersonal issues to productivity levels. Recurrent workplace stress can lead to poor sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, changes in mood, energy, and increased social isolation. All of which can have damaging results to your mental and emotional health in and outside of the workplace. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to deal and manage your workplace stress.

Create Awareness

Everyone’s body deals with stress differently. That’s why it’s important for you to create awareness as to how your body reacts to stress. It’s also important to note what your stressors are. Some general ways to reduce in-the-moment stress are deep breathing, 10-minute meditations or finding a quiet space to recalibrate.

Focus on Prioritizing

Stress is usually caused by feeling like everything is happening at once. Deadlines are encroaching, bills are piling, and it’s like there’s no room or time to breathe! Ultimately, we become so overwhelmed it’s hard to focus on any one of the tasks at hand. Taking some time every week to prioritize what you have going on will help you distribute your stress evenly. When you have everything laid out, you can focus on what’s important first and break down your to-do’s into easy to manage tasks.

Utilize Support Systems

Support systems help us cope with everyday life, not just the stressors. Friends, family, and significant others help make life worth living. They had fun, laughter, and love which enriches our lives. This is why they’re so important to have. It doesn’t matter if your support system is on or offline, just as long as you have someone to turn to when you need an ear. Support systems help you reflect on workplace stress and vent out any frustration and anger.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. Asking for help in the workplace is not a sign of weakness. Asking for help shows that you have the wherewithal to know what you don’t know and to know when you need help. When you ask for help, it doesn’t make others think you’re “dumb” or less smart, in fact, quite the contrary. Asking for help is a sign of effective leadership. If a task or assignment is outside the scope of your knowledge, speak up and be open to learning something new.

Create Healthy Boundaries

It can be incredibly difficult to separate your personal life from your professional life. But the fact is, it’s not only good but necessary. Creating healthy boundaries between your personal and professional life can help you reduce workplace stress. When your personal and professional life begin to blend too much together, that’s when stress can start to build. Try setting times when you will no longer answer work emails or phone calls and see how that starts to decrease your stress levels.

Learning to effectively deal with and manage stress isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Stress impacts each one of us differently and it can have adverse emotional, mental, and physical effects. If you are struggling to manage stress in your life, call us today to make an appointment.

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How to Let Go of Stuck Thoughts

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Stuck thoughts are those pesky little thoughts you can’t seem to stop thinking about. They’re usually negative and often very powerful. And for some wild reason, we choose to believe them. These thoughts come in the form of phrases like, “you can’t do that” or “no one likes you” and “no one will like that.” Even we inherently know that those thoughts have no meaning, we still let them control us. Eventually, it morphs into an obsession and we can become stuck on one singular thought for hours, days, weeks, and even months. In order to live a happy, healthy life we need to learn how to let go of stuck thoughts.

 

Know it will Pass

Mental health can feel like a roller coaster. One week you’re flying high and staying positive and a few weeks later you feel turned upside down. But each time, the bad moments pass and the good moments come right back along like they never left. The moment a negative thought pops into your head remember that it will pass. Even your most intrusive thoughts will have to leave at some point. Acknowledge the thought and then let it go.

 

Focus on the Now

This is a big theme in modern mental health because anxiety exists in the non-existent future. The future we’ve made up in our heads. It’s not always easy to come back into the now. That’s why you can use grounding techniques like counting down from 10 or acknowledging items and their colors in a room. Staying present will help to keep those annoying, intrusive thoughts at bay because those thoughts are usually focused on the future and you control your future.

 

Get Moving

Sometimes the reason why those intrusive thoughts make us feel stuck is because we are physically stuck. When an intrusive thought pops up ask yourself, “when was the last time I moved?”  If it’s been more than an hour, get up! Jump around, wiggle your arms, take a walk, just get that energy moving. You can paint, go golfing, play tennis, whatever you want to do just move. Moving helps occupy your brain so you’re not focused on stuck thoughts.

 

Everyone experiences intrusive thoughts and they’re perfectly normal–to a degree. It’s when you let them control your day and your emotions are when they become out of control and abnormal. If you’re struggling with letting go of certain thoughts or getting unstuck, call us today to schedule an appointment and learn how you can start living your best life.

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It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

 

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During a difficult period, everyone wants to know how to feel better. What’s the fastest way to feel better? So, we’re here to tell you what the big secret is on how to feel better. Permission and Acceptance. The biggest secret to feeling better is giving yourself permission. Permission to feel sad, mad, frustrated, hopeless, defeated, overwhelmed. It’s okay to not be okay. The sooner you grant yourself permission to be to feel everything you’re feeling, the sooner you can start moving forward. But sometimes permission isn’t so easily granted and you need a little bit of extra support. So what do you do?

Seek Help

Friends and family are there for a reason and they can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help. As hard as it may be to seek out help, no matter how big or small the request may be, it’s worth it and necessary. Seeking help is a powerful action that can help you feel powerful during times when you feel overall powerless. Speak up for what you need so people can provide the help and support you need right now. Additionally, you may want to seek out the help of a counselor or therapist to help you further sort out what you’re feeling.

Take a Step Back

It’s okay to cut back on activities, friends and family time when you’re going through something difficult. This is a period for reflection and if that means keeping to yourself for a while, then take that time. Never feel guilty for taking time to care for yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Accept What You’re Feeling

Whether you think you should or shouldn’t be feeling ‘not okay’ doesn’t take away from the fact that you don’t feel okay. And that’s okay. As hard as you might try, your feelings can’t be controlled 24/7 365. When you get stuck on the shame and guilt around how you’re feeling, it prevents you from moving forward.

 

You can’t expect to feel okay all the time. No matter how amazing and cushy your life may be, there are going to be periods where you feel unhappy, sad, undeserving, and anxious. This is okay. But you don’t have to feel this way forever. Through permission and acceptance, you can start moving forward and feeling better. If you’re still struggling, it’s okay to seek help. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors so you can start feeling like you again.

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