4 Ways to Improve Self Esteem When You Have Depression

Depression and low self-esteem are two sides of the same coin. While low self-esteem leaves people vulnerable to depression, depression can absolutely destroy self-esteem.

But, though low self-esteem may be deeply rooted, there are things you can do to improve it, even if you are suffering from depression.

1. Start Your Day with Positivity

It’s important you start each day positively. Doing so will help your mind to habitually recognize good, especially the good in yourself. So, surround yourself with positivity in the form of music, books, calendars, computer wallpaper, etc. You can even sign up to a service that will send you funny memes or cute animal videos each day. Feeling good at the beginning of the day will set a tone and help you be positive throughout.

2. Analyze and Correct Negative Thinking

Negative thinking is the catalyst for both low self-esteem and depression. The more one thinks negatively, the less able they are to see themselves and the world around them in an accurate light. Soon, the negative thoughts are on a loop like an old record that keeps skipping, causing the same lyric to play over and over again.

The first thing that is needed is the ability to analyze your own thoughts. When a self-critical thought occurs, ask yourself three questions:

  • Is there any evidence to support this thinking?
  • Would people that know me say that my thought is true?
  • Does having this thought make me feel good or bad about myself?

Once you realize there is no evidence to support your thought, that your friends and family would disagree with your thought, and that your thought makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s time to replace that thought. Not with a vague affirmation, but with factual and meaningful self-statements.

For example, perhaps you have taken on a project at work, and currently you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Your thoughts may currently sound like, “Why did I say I could handle this? I never finish things on time.” You will now replace that thought with a positive factual thought, something simple like, “I’m doing better at this job everyday and am continuing to make progress.”

A healthy self-esteem is not about being perfect or thinking you’re perfect when you’re not. No one is. A healthy self-esteem is about acknowledging your strengths and accepting your weaknesses and realizing you’re like everyone else – human and beautifully flawed.

3. Treat Yourself Well

Though you may feel you don’t deserve it, by treating yourself, you will send positive messages to your subconscious mind that you ARE worth it. Consider taking yourself out to a nice lunch, buy yourself that sweater you’ve been eyeing, or go get a relaxing massage. You don’t even have to spend money; show yourself you’re worth it by spending time reading a book, going for a walk in nature, or doing anything that inspires you.

4. Seek Positive Support

You want to surround yourself with people who celebrate your strengths, not your weaknesses. This can include seeking the positive support of a therapist who can work with you on analyzing and replacing negative thought patterns. When we don’t have an accurate self-perception, it can help to get a new perspective from an objective third party.

Increasing your self-esteem isn’t easy, but if you practice these tips, you will be able to chip away at the negative self-talk every day.

Need help with your self-esteem? If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help. 

Do You Suffer from Anxiety? Yoga Can Help!

Life is full of moments that cause us to feel stressed or nervous. Getting up and speaking in front of a large group of people, starting a new school, and trying to ace that important job interview – all of these scenarios can make us fearful, resulting in sleepless nights and performance jitters.

The problem starts when this fear becomes persistent and overwhelming and interferes with everyday life. At this point “normal fear” becomes a full-blown anxiety disorder.

While a certified therapist should be consulted to develop a plan for treating your anxiety disorder, yoga is an effective and natural way to get some relief from symptoms like trouble sleeping, muscle tensions, and chronic digestive upset.

Yoga, it turns out, can help control anxiety in a few different ways:

1. Yoga Builds Confidence

Anxiety can result from a lack of confidence in our ability to handle negative situations, either real or theoretical, that may arise. We are not so much fearful of public speaking as we are fearful that we are somehow going to “screw up.”

Yoga is a major confidence-builder because it works to strengthen the body and mind at the same time. The practice includes body postures and breathing techniques, along with ancient meditation approaches, and combined, these can help a person feel calm, centered, and able to handle any situation that crops up in their life.

2. Yoga Distracts Your Mind from the Negative Loop

What can you do when your mind seems to be stuck on an endless loop of negative and worrisome thoughts? Distract with other thoughts.

Yoga trains a person to focus their thoughts on the moment, specifically by thinking only of their rhythmic breath. As soon as the mind wanders to its typical negative thinking, the practitioner simply guides it back to the breath without anger or judgement. Feelings of calmness and acceptance naturally follow intense breath work.

3. Yoga is like Your Inner Therapist

Yoga is a wonderful compliment to therapy because, like your therapist, yoga helps you to observe how your mind works. And, also like your therapist, there is no judgement involved. Mediation is simply about paying attention to the thoughts you are having, keeping the thoughts that are helpful and releasing those that are harmful.

Yoga and meditation will also help you to train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your life. When you surround yourself with positivity, the fear of negativity subsides.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment for your anxiety disorder, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

3 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

Self-doubt can be debilitating. It can hold you back from pursuing your dreams and living the life you really want. Self-doubt can also make it hard to complete necessary daily tasks and make simple decisions.

The good news is, it is possible to overcome self-doubt and quiet that negative self-talk. Here’s how:

1. Take Charge Immediately

When inner doubts start to creep up, many people let them spin out of control and fully take over. Once this happens, it’s incredibly difficult to regain control.

It’s important that you take charge immediately and stop the negative talk as soon as it begins. In your mind, speak to yourself and say something like, “No. Nope, we’re not gonna do this.” Should the negative talk start up seconds later, talk to it again and put it in its place. Doing this interrupts your thought patterns – which are basically thought habits – and eventually your inner self-doubter will realize you’re serious and retreat.

2. Remember, You Can Always Make Adjustments

Many times, people are so fearful of making mistakes, they take no action toward their goal. But reaching a goal should be thought of as going on a wonderful car trip. You have a map and a basic route planned out, but along the journey, you may decide you want to hop off the highway and try a scenic byway instead. You may decide to backtrack and stop at that cute little souvenir shop. Sure, all of these changes to your initial itinerary may add a little time to your trip, but you’ll still get to your destination. And you’ll get there with more photos and T-shirts and wonderful memories!

Trying to plan every single move you will take to get to your goal can be exhausting and impractical. Just take the first step, then another, and then another… and remember, you can always change your mind and adjust along the way.

3. Talk to Someone

Self-doubt can easily become distorted and exaggerated when you keep all of your thoughts to yourself. But, when you speak to someone and let those thoughts out into the light, you have the chance to hear how exaggerated they may be. Also, talking about your doubts with a therapist who is supportive is a great way to gain a fresh perspective.

If you or a loved one is afflicted with self-doubt and is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Why Timing is Everything When it Comes to Marriage Counseling

Seeking help from a marriage counselor is not unlike seeking help from a mechanic. It makes little sense to take your car into the shop a month after it started making a horrific noise. By that time, too much damage may have been done and your engine may be beyond repair.

By the same token, the effectiveness of marriage counseling is directly related not only to the willingness and motivation of both parties to put in the effort, but also to the timing. The time to consider marriage counseling is not when one (or both) people have already thrown in the towel.

For instance, in some relationships, when one or both partners have already decided to end the marriage, they may use counseling as a “safe space” to drop the news on their spouse. This is obviously not the best timing to attempt counseling.

Sometimes issues are too ingrained and longstanding for counseling to be truly effective. If a couple has been building up resentment toward one another for five or more years before seeking help, it may be too late. While counseling is a wonderful way to help couples reconnect and heal, it is not a miracle cure.

When and How Marriage Counseling Can Help

It’s important that both individuals truly want the relationship to work. When both parties are willing to invest time and energy, marriage counseling can be the catalyst for real and lasting change.

It is also important that couples choose a therapist who’s a good fit. Both spouses must feel comfortable with the therapist for any progress to be made.

So, how exactly can marriage counseling help? In a number of ways:

  • Counselors help couples identify toxic behavioral patterns and give them tools to make adjustments.
  • Each partner can gain new insights and perspective into the relationship.
  • Tools help couples resolve conflicts with grace and respect so escalation can be avoided.
  • Partners can begin to build trust and improve communication.

If you and your spouse decide to try marriage counseling, here are some tips for success:

  • Take it seriously. Commit to the work and do it.
  • Be open. If you’ve chosen the right therapist, you should feel free and safe to discuss your true feelings and needs. Don’t hold back. In order for therapy to work, both people have to have the courage to be vulnerable.
  • Avoid the blame game. Each person must take responsibility for their part.
  • Be realistic about how long it will take before real change begins. While you can begin using tools immediately, healing won’t happen overnight.

If you and your partner are experiencing marital problems, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you do, the more likely your issues can be resolved. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

When a Family Member Becomes an Addict

Addiction doesn’t just affect those who are abusing drugs or alcohol, it affects everyone around them as well. When a family member becomes an addict, it is often hard to know the right thing to say or how to act around them.

But there are things you can do to help your loved one and yourself during this critical time.

Take Care of Yourself

When a loved one is an addict, much focus and attention is given to their disease and their recovery. But it’s important that YOU take time for your self-care, too.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings. It is your right to feel anger, sadness and even resentment toward your loved one. This is a natural, human response to stress and chaos. And never feel guilty about living your own life and enjoying hobbies and time spent with friends.

Get Support

Peer support groups like Al-Anon will put you in touch with others who know exactly what you’re going through. Attending group meetings can help you understand the disease of addiction and the challenges that your family faces, as well as give you hope that things can get better.

Don’t Make Excuses for Their Behavior

Addiction to drugs or alcohol results in two things: poor behavior and memory loss. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can cause discernable memory changes after just one or two drinks. The more people drink, the more they forget. Some drugs work in the same way. This memory loss makes it difficult for the addict to know and feel the consequences of their behavior.

Addiction often causes problems for the addict. You might be tempted to fix these problems, but doing so can hinder your loved one’s recovery.

Don’t Offer Drugs or Alcohol to Your Loved One

This seems obvious, but people who have substance abuse issues often use language that confuses their loved ones. For instance, someone with an alcohol addiction is celebrating their birthday and thinks it’s okay for them to have one beer to “celebrate.” “Come on, just one beer… it’s my birthday!” An addict with a “splitting headache” may insist they be given a Vicodin instead of Tylenol.

Family members must understand that addictions are brain disorders and the addict is incapable of moderating their use. When they have access to their substance of choice, they will take full advantage. Part of your job is to not enable them.

Get Professional Help

Substance abuse is, without question, a disease, and without professional help, your loved one may not recover. While there are things you can do to support your loved one on their road to recovery, your family will need counseling from a trained therapist.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment for substance abuse, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.