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#mood disorders
free--therapy · 20 hours ago
How to Identify Your Unhelpful Rules & Assumptions
Unhelpful rules are unreasonable, unrealistic, and rigid rules that we put in place for ourselves that end up governing our lives, while at the same time setting us up for failure that ends up maintaining our low self-esteems. They have developed as a result of negative experiences we may have had in our early lives. These rules then also lead to assumptions about facing certain situations, or rather avoiding situations because of the rules we put in place. Unfortunately this keeps us in a very tight box that never allows our beliefs to be challenged or changed.
Here's how you can begin to identify what unhelpful rules and assumptions that may be governing your life. When identifying these rules and assumptions, ask yourself:
What do I expect of myself when I'm at school? at work? at home?
What kinds of standards do I expect myself to meet? What do I find acceptable and unacceptable?
What kinds of things so I expect myself when I'm social with other people?
What do I expect of myself when in certain roles? (eg. friend, partner, child, parent, mentors)
What do I expect of myself when it comes to fun activities, recreation, or self-care?
To give you an idea of what rules and assumptions may sound like, they usually take the form of statements like:
"I must/should/have to always ____ or else _____." e.g. "I must always be the best at everything." "I must/should never ____." e.g. "I must never show any sign of weakness or back away from a challenge." "If ____, then ____." e.g. "If I show people the real me, then they're going to think I'm a loser." "If I don't ____, then ____." e.g. "If I don't do whatever it takes to be skinny, then I'll never have any friends."
Here are some good ways that we can practice identifying our rules and assumptions for living:
Thought Diaries When we write down our thoughts, we can notice that what is written are biased expectations and negative self-evaluations, a.k.a unhelpful thoughts. We can also notice that there is an extra layer behind those thoughts that stem from our core beliefs. Example: A thought like "This project sucks. I didn't have enough time to get pictures. I should have done better.", can stem from the rule, "I have to do everything perfectly." Sometimes there are rules and assumptions already present that generate or perpetuate unhelpful thoughts. Can you recognize if there are any rules and assumptions reflected in your unhelpful thoughts?
Themes We should ask ourselves if we notice any common themes that may be present to the concerns or issues we have or are occupied with. We should ask:
What types of situations do I experience the most anxiety or self-doubt in?
What aspects of myself am I the most harsh about?
What types of negative predictions do I make? (think cognitive distortions)
What behaviors do I see in other people that make me feel less confident about myself?
Negative Evaluation of Self + Others Let's consider the following questions:
What situations do I tend to put myself down?
What don't I allow myself to do?
What aspects of myself so I criticize the most? What does that say about what kinds of expectations have for myself?
If I relax my standards, what so I think might happen? What kind of person do I think I'll become?
What do I criticize in other people? What expectations of them do I have? What kinds of standards do I expect them to live up to?
Direct Messages Some of the rules and assumptions we may live by have come from our family members or mentors when we were younger. Let's ask ourselves:
What was I told about what I should and shouldn't do?
What was said to me when I wasn't able to meet someone else's expectations?
What happened when I didn't obey their rules? What did they tell me?
What did I have to do in order to get their praise and/or affection?
What did I get punished for? criticized for? ridiculed for?
How did important people to me respond when I did something wrong at school? at home? in public?
It's definitely interesting when you come to realize some of the things our families may have said to us that have practically become a motto or mantra, ends up being carried with us and shaping our view of the world. Examples: "People who are nice to you always want something in return.", "If you don't aim high, you'll never succeed.", "The only person you can depend on is yourself.", "Don't just worry about yourself, worry about others too.", etc. Can you think of any sayings that your parents or mentors have repeated a lot that you still recall today?
Taking some time to write down a lot of these rules that we have set up for ourselves can help us in starting to debunk some of the more rigid ones, so we can look at them more realistically and objectively. We can be surprised by how many of the things we were taught may not even be true, and have been contributing to our low self-esteem when they never needed to.
The next step will be to challenge these thoughts by unlearning what we may have believed and learning what is actually true versus what is untrue. We can do this by:
Questioning the impact and unhelpfulness that our rules and assumptions might have
Identifying any advantages and disadvantages
Develop new rules and assumptions
Thinking of new ways to behave to put those new rules into place
It'll definitely be difficult since a lot of the beliefs have been so engrained in us, but it's definitely possible! Like every new skill in life, practice, practice, practice!
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free--therapy · 3 days ago
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No-one's perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people's outsides. Dwelling on our flaws - what we're not rather than what we've got - makes it much harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are.
Having constant criticism in our heads about not being good enough is a sure way to be unhappy. This doesn't mean we should ignore our weaker areas or bad stuff that happens, but it does mean accepting that no-one is perfect, us included. It means putting our imperfections (and things that happen to us) into perspective - seeing them as normal rather than out of the ordinary. And it means a shift of focus, from what we don't have or can't do to what we have or can do.
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free--therapy · 4 days ago
Positive Self-Talk/Coping Thoughts
For most of us, we suffer from negative self-talk. This unfortunately perpetuates low self-esteem in us because most of the time we believe the negative things we think about ourselves, even if they're not technically true. In order to combat our negative coping thoughts, we need to realize that we can replace them with positive ones to help us remember that our thoughts are not facts.
We're so used to saying negative and mean things about ourselves that we may not even know how to say positive things or even what to say to ourselves. Positive self-talk statements can encourage us and help us cope through the times we are dealing with distress. We need to become our own cheerleaders to help us through difficult situations. The more we do it, the more automatic these thoughts will become to remind us that we've been through hard times before and we can do it again!
Here are some examples of positive coping statements we can keep in mind:
"This won't last forever."
"This will pass."
"It's okay that I'm feeling this way, it's a normal and valid reaction."
"Stop and breathe. I can do this."
"These are just feelings, they'll go away."
"I've survived moments like this before, I'll survive this."
"Right now, I'm not in any danger. I'm safe."
"This feels bad, but it's a normal reaction. It'll pass."
"Keep calm."
"We got this."
"My mind is not always my friend."
"Short term pain for long term gain."
"I feel this way because of my past experiences, but I'm safe right now."
"Thoughts are just thoughts--they're not necessarily true or factual."
"I can learn from this and it'll be easier next time."
Take a moment to think of some positive coping statements you can use next time you're facing a distressing situation. Maybe even write them down (perhaps on your phone) so you can easily refer to it next time you're experiencing an influx of those negative thoughts.
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free--therapy · 6 days ago
More About Self-Esteem
Our self-esteem is something fundamental and is more than just the ups and downs that we all experience in our daily lives from various situations. People with a healthy self-esteem, ups and downs can lead to them having temporary fluctuations of how they feel about themselves, but to an extent. Unfortunately, those with poor self-esteem are drastically impacted by these ups and downs in their life because of how they view themselves.
ℙ𝕠𝕠𝕣 𝕧𝕤. ℍ𝕖𝕒𝕝𝕥𝕙𝕪 𝕊𝕖𝕝𝕗-𝔼𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕖𝕞
Poor self-esteem is when we rely on how we are doing in the present moment to determine how we're feeling about ourselves. We need positive external experiences (eg. compliments, praise, etc.) to offset any negative feelings and thoughts that we're plagued with. But even then, these good feelings only feel temporary.
Healthy self-esteem is when we are able to assess ourselves accurately and still accept ourselves for who we are. We acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, knowing that we all have them, but also knowing and recognizing that we are worthy and worthwhile at the same time.
𝕎𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕚𝕥 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞?
Our self-esteem evolves with us as we go through life and develop an image of ourselves through experiences with different activities, people, etc. A lot of our childhood experiences shapes it and forms the foundation of it. While growing up, various things have contributed to it from our achievements, our failures, how we were treated by our family, our mentors, our teachers, each other, etc. Our self-esteem has been built up or torn down based on many common experiences.
Healthy experiences from childhood:
having someone listen to us/believe us
having people speak to us with respect
having appropriate affection and attention
having our achievements recognized and our failures accepted
Unhealthy experiences from childhood:
having someone judge or criticize us harshly
having someone physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abuse us
having the expectation of perfection with everything we do (on tests, in school, on sports teams, etc.)
Our past experiences continue to impact us on the daily, even now as grown adolescences/adults, and it does so in the form of our "inner voice". People with healthy self-esteem have an inner voice that is forgiving, accepting, and reassuring. Those with poor self-esteem have an inner voice that is critical, punishing, and belittling.
ℂ𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕖𝕢𝕦𝕖𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕃𝕠𝕨 𝕊𝕖𝕝𝕗-𝔼𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕖𝕞
it creates anxiety, stress, depression, and loneliness
it can cause problems with our relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, etc.)
it can seriously impair our professional or academic performances
it can lead to increased vulnerability to substance abuse
Unfortunately, the negative consequences of having low self-esteem can perpetuate a downward spiral of increasingly low self-esteem, which leads to us being unproductive or self-destructive in our behavior. Have you noticed this happening with you?
It's important to understand that changing our self-esteem won't happen overnight, but it's absolutely possible and achievable! You are not powerless! If you are willing to accept that it's possible for you to change, you can do anything. Learning to be the cheerleaders we wish we had from people in our lives is key when it comes to empowering ourselves.
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free--therapy · 7 days ago
To understand what it means, let's break it down:
self = you
esteem = the regard in which one is held; giving value or importance to a person or thing.
Self-esteem is how we value ourselves or the value/regard that we hold ourselves by. It's how we see ourselves and how we view our achievements. This isn't necessarily how we may brag about ourselves, but moreso a quiet and humble knowing that we're worth a lot (our self-worth). It's also not about us thinking that we're perfect, because we're not! It's knowing that we are worthy of being loved and accepted.
❓ Why is it important?
Having good self-esteem is important because it helps us to feel good about ourselves and hold our heads up high. It gives us courage to try new things because we have the power to believe in ourselves. It gives us self-respect, even when we mess up and make mistakes or fail. It allows us to persevere when times get tough and lets us be bold enough to get back up and try again. When we know how to respect ourselves, others will know how to respect us as well.
Good self-esteem lets us make good choices about our mind and body. If we hold ourselves in a high regard and think we are important, we'll be less likely to make choices that would be harmful to us. This includes starting to incorporate exercise more, healthy eating choices, rest when needed, self-care, and so forth. We essentially learn how to love and honor our whole selves 🥰
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neurotickittymeow · 7 days ago
Catching Vibes
Why are you mad, sad and lonely?
Take out the trash in your head
The toxic pacifists say it like
It‘s just a casual party
You can pop by and leave anytime
Why are you mad, sad and lonely?
Aggression, melancholy and apathy
in a turbulent alternating cycle
How is my long term engagement with volatility hard to understand?
You‘ll never fathom the dynamics
When you‘re just catching vibes.
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quanajean · 10 days ago
How can she ever be okay? She wonders as she stares at herself in the mirror. Standing there just looking at herself. Hearing the thoughts in her mind racing on what she should do? She's very conflicted at the moment. Fighting with herself. Do it. You will feel better. Don't. You must keep fighting. This is not the end. You will survive. I think its time for me to see red. Im Just empty and need to release. No your not. Your full. Don't listen to that motherfucker!! Don't worry I got this. I always do some how. Bang as she jump from the loud noise. The noise stopped her from fighting with herself....from her mind. She looks back in the mirror and does an unsure smile and walks away.
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kostas-pantremenos · 15 days ago
[ARTICLE] Effectiveness and safety of music-supported therapy on mood in post-stroke rehabilitation patients - Full Text
[ARTICLE] Effectiveness and safety of music-supported therapy on mood in post-stroke rehabilitation patients – Full Text
A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis Abstract Background:  Music-supported therapy has been widely used clinically to relieve post-stroke rehabilitation. However, the efficacy of Music-supported therapy in the treatment of Mood in post-stroke rehabilitation Patients is uncertain. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness and safety of Music-supported therapy in…
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umor-nero · 16 days ago
sometimes i think i would like to die. i lost my gaze in the void the moment when for the first time i told myself: "i would like to end it all".
but such a thought empties your heart and in the end i just wish i could close my eyes and feel the darkness around, and soar high into the sky, and simply dissolve into a myriad of stars.
a volte penso che vorrei morire. ho perso lo sguardo nel vuoto nell'attimo in cui per la prima volta me lo sono detta: "vorrei farla finita".
ma un pensiero simile ti svuota il cuore e alla fine vorrei solo poter chiudere gli occhi e sentire il buio attorno, e salire in alto nel cielo, e semplicemente dissolvermi in una miriade di stelle.
( )
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free--therapy · 16 days ago
One of the most important things we need to know about therapy is that we must have the courage to be uncomfortable, and the openness to accept and hear things we may not want to hear about ourselves. It's about surrendering ourselves to being vulnerable for a little period of time, while knowing in return that this is going to transform us forever for the better.
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dreams-in-cat · 17 days ago
So I might have ADHD and autism but I already have anxiety and depression. Oh life, what have you done to me? 😮‍💨
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free--therapy · 18 days ago
Understanding Cognitive Distortions Further
As humans, we like to think in extremes. When things become difficult for us we tend to think that way even more. This makes our thinking become biased, leading us to resort to our cognitive distortions or unhelpful negative thinking patterns. We’ve covered the more common unhelpful thinking styles here.
Expanding on the previous post, we can identify ourselves as having a few of these cognitive distortions, and for each group of negative thinking patterns there is also a personality type that we can identify with. Again, learning to identify these things about ourselves can help us to better understand ourselves, which lets us determine how to make a change.
The Critic
constantly judge and evaluate your own behavior
focuses on flaws, weaknesses, limitations
focuses on mistakes and reminding yourself you’re a failure
compares self to others and others always come out on top (you feel less than others)
➡ these kinds of thoughts promote low self-esteem
Identified Cognitive Distortions:
Disqualifying the Positive: Similar to Mental Filtering, disqualifying any positives in our lives as “flukes” or something we don’t deserve, thereby clinging to a more negative world view, setting low expectations for the future. Ex: someone trying to offer encouragement, but we respond, “Yeah, but...”
Mental Filter: Allows us to gloss over any positive events and hold a magnifying glass on only the negatives. Constantly focusing on the negatives. Ex: 10 things can go right, but the 1 thing that goes wrong is what we choose to focus on.
Labeling & Mislabeling: Habitually placing labels that are often negative or inaccurate on ourselves and others. These labels tend to define people and contribute to a one-dimensional view of them, leading us to overgeneralizations. It cages people and ourselves into inapplicable roles, preventing us from seeing people and ourselves for who they/we are. Ex: “He’s a baby”, “I’m a loser”, etc.
The Perfectionist
tell yourself that your efforts aren’t good enough
tell yourself that you “should” do this or be ____
tell yourself that your self-worth is based on externals (how much $ you have, your grades, your job, acceptance by others, etc.)
➡ these kinds of thoughts promote stress and burnout
Identified Cognitive Distortions:
All-or-Nothing: This thinking style is usually responsible for when we think in extremes, with no middle ground or grey areas. Common words include “never” or “always” when describing things that happen to us. This thinking puts a magnifying glass on the stressors of our lives, making them seem a lot bigger than they actually are. Ex: “I always hit red lights!”, “People never listen to me”, “I suck at everything”.
Overgeneralization: Taking isolated events that have happened to us and assume that any similar events in the future will be exactly the same. Ex: “If I can’t even do this one thing, how can I do anything else?”, or maybe we have a bad experience with a cashier in a store and assume that all of our interactions with any cashiers will be negative from then on.
Should Statements: This kind of thinking usually has rigid rules set by the thinker that always need to be followed in the mind. These people are generally stubborn and inflexible in different circumstances, putting themselves under a lot of stress trying to live up to the self-imposed expectations. Ex: “Well he should have ___”
The Worrier
imagines worst case scenario
scare yourself with the idea of catastrophe
“what if __?”
➡ these kinds of thoughts promote anxiety
Identified Cognitive Distortions:
Jumping to Conclusions: A very common thinking style; Instead of thinking rationally and logically, we jump to a conclusion that is usually negative, then look for evidence to back up their claim, ignoring the contrary. Jumping to conclusions includes mind reading and fortune telling. This is when we believe we know the true intentions of others without actually just asking them, and predicting how things will turn out in the future and believing them as truth. Ex: “They probably think I’m an idiot”, “I know I’m going to fail this test”.
Emotional Reasoning: These kinds of thinkers will consider their emotions about a situation as evidence of their negative thoughts, ignoring any rational facts. These are the kinds of people who think their feelings/opinions are fact, when we’ve debunked this.
Catastrophizing: Similar to jumping to conclusions, but on an extreme level, turning everything into a catastrophe, always expecting the absolute worst thing to happen.
The Victim
telling yourself that you are helpless/hopeless
saying things like, “I can’t do it”, “Why is this happening to me?”, “What’s the point?”
telling yourself that there’s something wrong with you
➡ these kinds of thoughts promote depression
Identified Cognitive Distortions:
Personalization: These type of thinkers personalize their stressors to blame themselves for the things they have absolutely no control over in the first place. This creates unnecessary stress. These thinkers also like to blame themselves for the actions of others or blame others for their own feelings. Ex: “They broke up because of me”.
Can you resonate with any of these, or perhaps more than one? This will help us make conclusions and correlations with how we feel and how we can tie them to what we may be suffering from, because more often than not, there is more than one thing responsible for our mental illness. Understanding how we feel, what it’s tied to, and why we experience what we feel--putting a name to the “face”--gives us the opportunity to start tackling our healing journey! The first step in solving any problem is to identify them.
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free--therapy · 22 days ago
10 Tips for Mindfulness
Taken from Calming the Emotional Storm by Sheri Van Dijk, MSW. pp. 28-29
Use the following five steps to practice mindfulness: choose something to focus on; begin to focus; notice when your attention wanders; nonjudgmentally bring your attention back to the present; repeat steps three and four over again.
Remember that mindfulness isn’t only about focusing, or concentrating; it’s also about accepting and acknowledging whatever happens to come into your awareness.
If you have difficulties beginning to develop a mindfulness practice, start by practicing activities that are easy for you to engage in.
Keep in mind that mindfulness isn’t just about staying focused; it’s about returning to the present when you notice you’ve wandered.
Keep your eyes open as much as possible; you will be less likely to wander more likely to live your life mindfully.
Recall that the only goal with mindfulness is for you to be in the present moment more often, so when you hear yourself saying that “it’s not working,” review your expectations and revise them.
Use mental noting (or witnessing) of your experience to help you accept or acknowledge whatever happens to come to your awareness.
Even if it’s sometimes difficult to find time for formal practice, make sure that you practice formally as well as informally. You will benefit most from doing both.
Remember that the more time you spend in the present rather than in the past or future, the less emotional pain you will have in your life.
Live your life more mindfully.
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midnightdemon7 · 23 days ago
feeling exhausted
Feeling exhausted Since Wed’s appointment I have been feeling exhausted. It was a long test and not much came from it except that the doctor switched alpha blockers. I see the NP in a month to see how things are going and if I am voiding. She was very worried about me not going for 18 hours and had me promise to cath if it should happen again. My legs have been sore the past two days and it has…
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free--therapy · 23 days ago
How to Practice Mindfulness
It’s important to note that mindfulness is not the same thing as meditation. Although it may seem simple in concept, it’s going to be challenging to learn because we are approaching it with a lifetime of being conditioned to be judgmental and thinking that we have to be multitasking at all times (mind full).
1️⃣ Choose a focus: choose an activity that’s relatively simple that you would like to practice mindfulness. This can be something like watching TV, breathing, reading a book, eating, taking a walk, etc.
2️⃣ Pay attention: now it’s time to intentionally bring your focus to the activity you’ve chosen. The best way you can do this is to focus on your five senses. Example: if walking is your activity, notice how your feet feel on the sidewalk, the feel of the wind on your face or hair, how the sun feels on your skin, the smell in the air, any sounds you may be hearing.
3️⃣ Notice when you wander: your mind will naturally start to wander off because it’s our mind’s job to generate thoughts. At this point, all you need to do is notice as it’s happening.
4️⃣ Return your focus without judgment: this is usually the hard part. As you notice your mind wandering elsewhere, try to get your mind to focus back on to your activity, even if you’re rethinking or noticing the same things you have previously. Also, make sure you’re not judging yourself for when your mind does wander off. It’s inevitable! But you don’t have to beat yourself up over it.
5️⃣ Repeat: repeat steps 3 and 4 over and over again throughout the duration of your activity. The point of mindfulness isn’t necessarily about staying focused, but actually paying attention to when your mind wanders.
Like all new skills that we learn in life, it takes practice to get better at it. Don’t let the challenge discourage you from trying again. Growth happens at the point of resistance. Believe me, mindfulness will have nothing but a positive impact on your healing journey, and is a fantastic and beneficial skill worth learning how to do.
Adapted from Calming the Emotional Storm by Sheri Van Dijk, MSW
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2healthandwellness · 24 days ago
If you’ve ever experienced depression, it’s common to have fears of your depression being a life long struggle. 
With the right professional and self-help strategies for depression, you can help put yourself on the road to recovery and ensure your depression doesn’t take over your life. 
There are small steps you can take to improve your overall sense of well-being and help you feel more in control. Keep reading to learn how to incorporate these strategies into your depression treatment in a way that makes sense for you.
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allabouthealth · 25 days ago
When someone has trouble regulating their emotions they often get labeled as moody or overemotional. These stigmatizing labels imply that the person should be capable of controlling their mood. 
But many people aren’t able to control their emotions because they have a mood disorder. Mood disorders are a type of mental illness that manifests as difficulty with managing and regulating emotions. 
They are often caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. But they can also be triggered by difficult life circumstances and substance abuse.
How do you know if you or someone you know has a mood disorder? Find out everything you need to know.
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