Self-Help Articles

Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Coming to Terms With Your DelusionsI’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought some pretty outrageous things in the course of my illness. I’d also be lying if I said I don’t think about outrageous things still. Even with a good amount of stability, delusions can still persist.

Sometimes it’s about what people think of you, maybe just an offhand notion. Other times it can be so bad that you think you’re a king or a prophet or Jesus Christ himself. I’ve seen every part of the spectrum.

Nine years on, I still deal with whether people are making fun of me. This is a delusion which, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t stop.

A Surprising Way to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

The Many Factors That Trigger DepressionSelf-criticism has many faces. It might be a subtle push toward producing better work, or it might be an aggressive or abusive assertion that you’re wrong, bad or seriously flawed, said Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif., who specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.

Self-critical thoughts have two things in common, she said: They’re very painful, and they’re founded on the belief that you’re not good enough.

They may sound like: “I’ll never amount to anything,” “I’m so lazy,” “I always ruin relationships,” “I’m a lousy cook/mom/dad/friend/worker/person.”

Dealing with the Side Effects

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Dealing with The Side-EffectsHaving lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years I’m no stranger to the myriad things that can happen when you’re on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Many times these side effects can be disruptive to everyday life. Sometimes they come on slow and have a lasting impact, such as gaining a significant amount of weight. Sometimes they can be dull, such as drowsiness or a dissociative feeling.

The important thing to remember in all these cases is that side effects are negligible compared to the benefit of the drug.

5 Ways to Help Your Partner Feel Loved

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

5 Ways to Help Your Partner Feel LovedWe are wired for emotional connection, said Jazmin Moral, LCSW-C, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with couples in Rockville, Md. “Love is our foremost and most basic need — from the cradle to the grave.”

We feel loved in a romantic relationship when we’re truly seen, heard and understood by our partner, Moral said.

We feel loved when our partner is consistently kind, thoughtful and respectful toward us, said Christina Steinorth-Powell, MFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in couples counseling in Santa Barbara, Calif.

30 Prompts to Reflect on In the New Year

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The Power of the Written WordIn 2014 I shared 60 prompts we can respond to in order to get to know ourselves. (See here and here.)

Here’s another list of 30 prompts to help you delve deeper, take kinder care of yourself and connect to the core that is you. Prompts include everything from reflecting on 2014 to exploring your favorites to lessons you’ve learned about yourself.

A Kinder Take on New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

self-esteem

This time of year inspires us to be “out with the old and in with the new.” Is it a healthy path to take or are we caught in the self-improvement vortex?

Perhaps it is our restlessness, our lack of self acceptance and our inability to be with what is that makes this seems like a great opportunity to be better, do better, and have more.

The desire to change can be strong: an urgent craving that fills us with an energy we interpret as our inner voice speaking to us from a deep yearning to make our dreams come true. But is it actually a form of aggression toward ourselves?

Adding Power to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Five Ways Autumn Boosts Our SpiritsI’ve lost interest in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve long since lost the “rah-rah-rah” energy for deciding something, trying to be a new kind of me, with better results in the world out there — thinner, kinder, richer, organized, highly successful, time for everyone and never missing a yoga class.

And yet, it seems New Year’s resolutions haven’t finished with me yet. Driving along, following the river one afternoon, I was musing on the word “intention.” In-tend. Tend-in.

Resolutions: Letting Go of Shoulds this New Year

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Letting Go of Shoulds This New YearAround this time of year, you’ll inevitably see articles about how so many of us fail to follow through on our resolutions. Within a few months or even weeks, we drop whatever intentions we originally had.

I think a big reason why we fail to stick to our resolutions is because they’re really “shoulds” — as in I should be more efficient at work. I should exercise more. I should be more focused on my goals. I should be more organized. I should eat differently. I should look differently.

“Shoulds” don’t speak to our deep desires. Rather, they’re steeped in shame.

The Power of Being Self-Compassionate

Monday, December 29th, 2014

The Power of Being Self-Compassionate Think about a time that you were overly critical with yourself. You looked in the mirror and didn’t like what you saw. You told yourself you were too skinny or too fat or even too average.

You picked apart the image looking back at you. Or you forgot something important, or made a mistake and you told yourself you were stupid or incompetent.

Research demonstrates that our brains have a negativity bias, meaning we are more sensitive to negative than positive. This is because in the natural environment, negative signals were a sign of trouble and therefore took up more of our awareness.

How to Put the Brakes On

Monday, December 29th, 2014

7 Ways to Navigate Self-DoubtA lot of people run through their lives going from one task to another without taking time to stop and smell the roses.

Our society is overworked, and as result, overstressed.

I know what it’s like to get so overwhelmed on something that you slowly start to lose your grip on reality. That’s just one of the many things I have to deal with while living with schizophrenia.

The point is, it’s important to put the brakes on when you start to feel overwhelmed. This is just as important for regular people as it is for people with a major mental illness. However, these two types of people don’t react to stress the same way.

The Wisdom of Insecurity: The Promise and Perils of Being in the Moment

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

despair-513529_640When I read The Wisdom of Insecurity by the philosopher Alan Watts during college in the 1960s, it turned my world around. He hammered home a point that is as simple as it is startling: life only exists in the present moment. Rather than blindly pursue a happiness that continually eludes us, we need to open to what is here now.

As Watts puts it,

“If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.”

Very simple, very profound, but misleading?

A Creative Way to Usher in the New Year

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

A Creative Way to Usher in the New Year Many people have stopped setting New Year’s resolutions. That’s because traditional resolutions can feel tedious, punitive, uninspiring and overwhelming. Instead, many individuals have started selecting one word to encapsulate the upcoming year.

“The power in claiming a word for the year is that it allows you to claim who you wish to be in the world rather than grounding your worth and well-being in what you do,” said Rosie Molinary, author of the book Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.

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