Claire’s Story;

“I wake up, it’s 4am. The thought enters my mind, ‘Oh, it’s today. What am I going to have to face?’ Then I start ticking off all the things I have to face and with each one, I ask myself how I will cope with that. What if I can’t? What if I get anxious? What do I need to do in order to get myself through it? My mind fills with these possibilities and the anxiety starts to rise. I get this sinking nauseous feeling in my stomach and then the feeling of being broken and damaged washes over me again. I feel so vulnerable. I don’t undertstand why I am in this situation again. It feels like I am back at square one. If I can’t control myself, I am failing. All the things I have learned seem to be lost to me now. I feel so powerless,” (Grant, Townend, Mills, & Cockx, 2008, p. 162).

How many of us can identify with “Claire’s” “self”-defeating thoughts? We wake up, consider our responsibilities for the day, and then seem to give up on ourselves before we begin to accomplish anything. And even when we do accomplish our tasks, we may give luck the credit.

Like Claire, doubting thoughts may not be a daily reoccurrence. Some days may seem better than others. However on the not-so-good days, we feel that we are not progressing; one step forward and ten steps back!

“As the anxiety and feeling of being broken washes over me, the familiar image enters my mind. There I am, standing at the sink at 4 o’clock, feeling desperate, helpless, and anxious. I can’t go back to that place, I tell myself. It feels so dark and powerless,” (Grant, et al., 2008, p. 162).

The fear of once having experienced our lowest selves and not wanting to go through this again can have us feeling stuck. It is important to consider what we did to cope and overcome difficult times in the past. Ever wonder that thoughts may not really be ours? This includes the negatives that, along with all the positive thoughts, may just be a combination of thoughts collected over the years, beating up on us much like a virus beats up on a body or computer?

Some of us are able, at times, to talk ourselves out of it, stay focused and move forward. Some seek out their support system, calling upon a family member or friend. Our loved ones are often aware of our situation and, thus, can offer encouragement and even help to get through some of these troubling moments.

Some of us may choose to seek out professional counselling, getting coaching to get rid of “stinkin’ thinkin'” and develop a plan to get out of difficult times. It is important to note that seeking out supportive counselling is a strength, and does not indicate a failing or weakness. Some of us may benefit from monthly or bi-monthly coaching sessions to ensure we stay on track with our goals and receive the level of life coaching to help us improve our lives more efficiently and effectively.

Don’t give it up, “live it up” – call us today!

CBT-  Breakthrough to Reduce Anxiety

Anne’s presenting problem was preoccupation and fear that she had breast cancer. Five days a week, she would spend up to 80 per cent of her day thinking about the possibility that she might have cancer or that she had the symptoms of cancer in her breasts. On the other two days, she would have fleeting ideas that she might have cancer, but was able to dismiss them and continue with her normal activities. She sought reassurance from her husband at least ten times a day and visited her general practitioner, again for reassurance at least once a fortnight. She was unable to look at herself in the mirror as these evoked images of herself with cancer (Grant, Townend, Mills, & Cockx, 2008, p. 182).

Although Anne’s assessment and evaluations do not detect cancer-related symptoms (Grant, et al., 2008), the worry of possibly one day being diagnosed is all she seems to need to live with fear. The anticipation of a diagnosis of a life-threatening health concern can be overwhelming and consume much of our daily thoughts, feelings and routines.

Like Anne, we can have reoccurring thoughts that foster feelings of anxiety, anger, worry, fear, doubt, sadness, and depression. Experiencing these feelings each day may also create excessive and harmful behaviours. In Anne’s case, she avoided all forms of appropriate self-examinations for months at a time, however every three to four months, she would become so overwhelmed with her thoughts of having cancer that she would spend several hours examining her breasts (Grant, et al.). As a result, she would experience tenderness which she interpreted as a sign of cancer.

The cycle of stinkin’ thinkin’, where our overwhelming thoughts create excessive feelings that lead to harmful behaviours can be exhausting. It may have us feeling hopeless, living a life we do not want or enjoy and disrupting relationships with others.

Professional help can help you find the solutions to break this cycle so it will not continue to be debilitating. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy provides tools like cognitive or thought shifting, behavioural strategies and a safe professional place to identify the factors contributing to concerning behaviours. It has been proven to be helpful for re-balancing emotions.

If you are finding thinking cycles and the emotional upheaval unmanageable, call us today!

I’m emotionally spent. Enough is enough. Don’t talk to me. I’m done. I’m exhausted. I feel like people and my environment are draining the life out of me.

If we can relate to any of the above statements, we may want to stop for a moment and breathe. Like this picture above of a sink drain. When we feel like we are spiraling rapidly down a small hole, it may be time to see things a little differently.

The above comments describe a state of panic and physiologically, we are doing more than just speaking out our frustrations.What do our bodies feel like when we panic? Some of our body’s responses may include increased heart rate, accelerated breathing and sweating to name a few. Share with us what your responses to panic are.

When we stop and take some time to regain our normal breath, we are taking care of our bodies, not just physiologically but mindfully as well. Being mindful is a spiritual and physiological pathway to become aware. Aware of how our body is reacting to external stressors as well as being aware of our own thoughts and feelings influencing stress on our bodies.

Mindfulness techniques involve attentive awareness of our day-to-day lives; allowing us to attain a calm awareness of our bodies, feelings and minds. A therapeutic approach of mindfulness (Bishop, et. al., 2004), involves two components:

“The first component [of mindfulness] involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness and acceptance.”

Listen to your body. If you find that you are getting sick more often than normal. If you are feeling like you’ve just had enough. If you are feeling so drained that all you want to do is sleep the day away; reach out to us today because we can help you!

 

 

“Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself who you are, and who you want to be.” ~Sadie Nardini

Behind our stinkin’ thinkin’ lies the secret to our success. And if we could only dig through the negative thoughts on our mind, imagine what we can achieve in this lifetime.

Sometimes my mind is consumed with self-doubt and worry. So much that I have an increased heart rate. Or, I feel like I’m choking, but no one has their hands to my throat. At times, my worry about one small thing may magnify into twenty small things in seconds. I feel as small as an ant, surrounded by giant strands of grass, trying to avoid avalanches of footsteps that can destroy everything: my life, the home I created, and the people I love.

No one can free me from these anxious thoughts and feelings but myself, which is why cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is so impactful. CBT is helpful for anyone who is having trouble seeing the good in themselves; seeing the possibilities that each one of us are capable of achieving in our lives.

I understand the difficulty it takes to cope with anxiety and doubt. I am utilizing my coping strategies on a daily basis. This has helped me significantly decrease the length of my worrisome episodes. Here are my top 3 ways of coping:

(1)        Self-affirmations: changing my negative thoughts into positive declarations about myself.

(2)        Yoga: a practice dedicated to my mind and body. A flow of movements that allows me to accept who I am and what I can do, and also explore poses in which I once believed I was not capable of.

(3)       Goal setting: I have one, five, and ten year goals set to keep me motivated and focused. I don’t have time for worry!

 Allow me to help you through your journey of thoughts and better identify the real you!  Contact us today !

Horrendous secrets many people carry for months, years, decades and maybe even to their grave can lead to debilitating stress. This can result in what many people call a “break-down”.  It was historically referred to as a “nervous breakdown”, “hysteria” and “shell shock”.

I like to call it a “letting out“, in what may appear like sudden release of the awful trauma from the past. The information may be considered held in the background of the mind until the person suffering is better equipped to deal with it. It can take years to reach the point of release. When the abuse and violence happens during childhood, it is quite common to keep it secret; possibly not wanting further upset in the family, because of embarrassment, confusion, shame and guilt or simply because the child has no way of dealing with this at their age and stage.

This is a very serious psychological dilemma, a catch twenty-two. Victims are caught between two very stressful choices: speak up or not?

Studies show as many as one in four girls and one in six boys experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of eighteen. Not only is the offending behaviour severely troubling at the time, in the years that follow there is usually increase in emotional upset and imbalance. Negative thoughts can gradually increase with one’s heightened awareness of the nature of such an offence, the stigma associated and throughout the subsequent stages of sexual development.  

Of course, with the negative thoughts, or what I reframe as “stinkin thinkin“, comes negative emotional states and the negative behavioural patterns are not far behind. Those suffering from what Judith Herman (Trauma and Recovery, 1992) first called post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (or reaction – PTSR) may display symptoms often related to depression or anxiety, may engage in harmful and hurtful “risk-taking” behaviours, substance misuse and experience severe and chronic difficulties with relationships.

If you have experienced such a trauma, and feel ready and able to work on this obstacle to growth, I encourage you to seek out a specialized professional counsellor for assistance. There are also good books and resources to use in combination with recovery and restorative therapy. For more information on this and other issues  Contact us today

Gettin Rid of “Stinkin Thinkin”

Imagine your brain like a massive hard drive, super storage space, maybe a gazillion terabytes (that’s a lot of stuff on our minds). What do you think is on it at birth?  How much information is on the brain of a newly born baby? The philosopher and teacher David Hume called the mind at birth a “blank slate”. I’ve simply upgraded this to be the “virtually blank harddrive”, virtually because of some in vetro experiential loading in the womb.

Every input from the second we’re born… through our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and every nerve loads onto our brain. This super fast processor receives data from parents, family, extended family, media like TV, books and the internet, pets, nature, on and on. Brain or neuroscience experts suggest we don’t really forget as much as we have storage and retrieval challenges. Tough to keep all that data in the front of our hard drive.

Amazing to think about. Everything we see, taste, smell, touch, feel and hear stored in the “background” with very little on the desktop so to speak.

Wow! So much data. How we organize it from early on in our lives, whether consciously or not, begins to shape our thought patterns, schemata, constructs which then shape our emotions and moods. Together thoughts and feelings then drive our behaviour, this is simply going on in the background of our mind.

Computer Head

To think almost all the information loaded on our hard drive comes from elsewhere. Why do we quite often believe all the thoughts in our head are our own? Why do we quite often believe all the thoughts in our head are our own? This is perhaps my favourite question! That’s why I asked you twice.

If this analogy holds true then consider that we may also call the negative thoughts a virus, thoughts that spread, overshadow positive thinking, disrupt and infect healthier thoughts and files. Suppose it is possible to have a cognitive virus made up of all those negative, defeating words and phrases? I call this “Stinkin Thinkin”.

Through counselling that combines cognitive-behavioural therapy, we can effectively catch and “quarantine” out negativity.  At the same time, drawing upon narrative theory and re-writing of your story, our professional counsellors help people bring out their more positive thoughts and self which improves mood, emotional expressions and behaviour.

This counselling is a very effective therapy and can best be considered the first line of defence for those struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, chronic health issues, addictions and most relationship issues. 

To find out how get rid of “stinkin thinkin” easier…  Contact us today

 

 

 

8zaebiho

Why stop any addictive behaviour? Because it has reached the point where it is getting in the way of important relationships, blocking progress at home and work and/or because you simply want a better quality of life. Addictions can become such habitual behaviour that the body and mind simply become used to this.  Stopping addictive behaviour in its tracks often requires a team effort with a wide variety of supports and strategies.

Motivation to change increases when we explore the benefits or positive results that will happen as we take back control of our health.

One young man listed his top 10 motivators for stopping drinking as follows:

  1. Better myself
  2. Quality of life – e.g. travel, socialize
  3. Accomplish things – around house, with friends, at work
  4. Own a house – currently drinking a mortgage payment per month
  5. Family’s well being – so they don’t worry and are happier with me
  6. Physical health – healthier energy levels, organ functioning and sexuality
  7. Mental health – increased confidence, happiness and peace
  8. Spiritual health – strengthen my spirit, explore faith possibilities
  9. $$$$$ – save and re-invest thousands ($1000.00 to $1400.00 per month)
  10. LOVE – express this emotion through my actions toward me and others more!

Addictions can become all consuming thoughts and actions interfering with almost every area of our lives. No matter what the addiction, we can overcome it with help and by shifting our thoughts toward more hopeful and positive ones. Intentionally changing our mind is complicated.

Our professional registered counselors in Oshawa can assist you anywhere in Durham Region or even farther via internet video counselling sessions.

If you are, or a friend of yours is, struggling with an addictive behaviour, one that is causing you concern… even modest concern…then dig deep for the courage to reach out for help!  To find out how we can help Contact us today

0upskkge