Everyone has expectations in life, whether it be what they expect from others or what they expect out of themselves. Expectations about others are generally bad to have because we cannot control others, and those expectations may never be met. Expectations about ourselves, however, are generally good, because they can keep us motivated, on the right track and accountable for our actions. Nevertheless, you need to be mindful of your personal expectations, and realize that meeting them is not always what is best for you. Personal expectations can push us forward as well as hold us back.
Take this real-life case for example. Beth had reasonable expectations for herself. She wanted to be a good person, get a college degree, land a great job and eventually get married and start a family. She met all of her expectations over the course of her life until her husband of 20 years divorced her for a younger woman and moved to Spain. Continue reading
You have probably heard at some point in your life that it is important to keep balance in all things such as a balanced diet, a balanced budget, a well-rounded (balanced) education, and a stable (balanced) family life to name a few. This is good advice because balance in our lives creates peace in our lives.
Our bodies are great at self-regulating to keep balance/homeostasis in order to function properly. We breathe, digest, fight off disease, maintain the right body temperature etc., all without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, our minds are not so talented. In fact, our psyche’s are intrinsically unbalanced. Have you ever seen the animation of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other whispering into each ear? That is essentially what we are dealing with on a day to day basis.
We all (without exception) have a good side and a bad side. This makes it very difficult to maintain balance sometimes. Not only do we wage a war within to do the right thing, but we also fight against our own side as we beat ourselves up over lost battles. This sort of self-sabotage is what we’d like to focus on as it pertains to hacking depression. Continue reading
You have all heard this idiom, but have you ever really sat down and thought about its’ meaning? It basically means BE PRESENT in your life. EXPERIENCE each and every moment. Don’t take ANYTHING for granted. It is a fabulous depression hack, because if you enjoy the little things in life instead of just the good times, the milestones and victories, there is much more to be happy about. If you consider each day, each moment, each and every breath to be a gift, you will have an appreciation for so much more in life, including hard times. So . . . how do you put this into practice? Two answers: TIME and FOCUS. Continue reading
The first appointment with a therapist can be a bit intimidating because unlike a visit to a physician, you are going there to talk about your emotional well-being instead of your physical well-being. Most of us consider our feelings and emotions to be personal and private. Therefore, the first thing you should know is that everything you say to a therapist is CONFIDENTIAL. Your privacy is taken very seriously. For all licensed Mental Health Professionals, confidentiality is PROTECTED BY STATE LAW. In fact, confidentiality applies not only to what you talk about, but also to the fact that you even made an appointment at all. There are some exceptions concerning safety/harm/abuse, however, unless there is an imminent threat, your visit will only be between you and your therapist. Don’t let privacy be a concern when making your first appointment.
Unfortunately, many people will suffer with depression for a long time before seeking outside help. If you find that you cannot deal with your depression on your own, it is a no-brainer to make an appointment to see a professional. This is not any different than seeking help from a Medical Doctor for a sore foot, upset stomach or other physical ailment. When you cannot fix something or make it better on your own, you get help. That is why doctors and therapists exist. Therefore, if you have already made an appointment with a therapist/counselor, you are a Rock Star! You have taken the first step to help yourself. Good for you! Now here is what you can expect. Continue reading
We make it a point to keep our readers’ questions confidential when they email us asking for advice. We answer them privately, and then usually share a general post on the topic they inquired about so that others can benefit as well. Lately, we have gotten multiple inquiries about a depression hack technique called thought-stopping.
Thought-stopping is literally stopping the thoughts that are running through your mind and focusing on something else. For example, say you have the annoying lyrics to a jingle stuck in your head like, “Nationwide is on your side.” Your inner voice keeps repeating it over and over until you want to scream! You don’t have to put up with that. All you have to do is consciously stop that thought from swirling around in your brain by choosing to think of something else. Yes, you are in control of what you want to think about. You can control that little voice in your head. You may not be able to control what random thoughts that little voice puts in there, but you can choose whether or not to keep listening to it. Continue reading
The scientifically proven health benefits of pet ownership are staggering. This is especially true when dealing with depression, because pets help to combat many of the main pillars of the disease. Our four-legged friends in particular can have a dramatic effect on our mental health by:
Boosting our mood
Giving us a sense of purpose
Providing distraction from negative thoughts
Providing companionship to fight loneliness
Promoting physical interaction (touch) to reduce stress & anxiety
Encouraging exercise and easing social anxiety
Adding joy and playfulness to our lives
Providing unconditional love
In a survey conducted by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, a whopping 74% of pet owners said that having a pet has improved their mental health. It’s been proven that three of the four chemicals in our brains responsible for happiness (serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins) are elevated in pet owners because they are released on a daily basis after interaction with pets. Continue reading
When someone is dealing with depression, the one thing they want more than anything else is to NOT be depressed. They want to feel better, happy, normal, like they used to be. They can’t understand why they are unable to just snap out of it and stop feeling bad. Circumstances or symptoms are too overwhelming and they feel helpless and without hope. This results in one of the main facets of depression, which is self-loathing or self-hate. Your inner voice asks:
“What’s wrong with me?”
“How did I get this way?”
“Why can’t I just be happy?”
“I’m a loser.”
“I’m a bad person.”
“I can’t do anything right”
“I’ll never get better.”
“I hate myself.”
These types of thoughts are common and even understandable as depression causes people to feel as though they have fallen in a deep, dark place that they can’t bring themselves out of. The inner voice is a saboteur that is often too loud to ignore. Working on blocking negative thoughts is a good strategy to deal with this, but they key is to try to avoid these thoughts before they take hold. In order to do that, you must practice loving yourself. Continue reading