Self-Help Articles

How to Find a Therapist You Love

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

How to Find a Therapist You LoveWhen I was struggling with my eating disorder, I’d have particularly awful days. Often, it involved me crying into my carpet and wishing I didn’t exist. In those moments, when life was heavy and pressing, I was willing to reach out for help, but I didn’t know where to begin.

My eating disorder was a shameful secret, so naturally I didn’t want to elaborate to the random secretary who answered the phone. I did leave an awkward message or two on a voicemail.

Holiday Survival When Anxious or Depressed

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Holiday Survival When Anxious or DepressedFor those of us who suffer from anxiety or depression, the holiday season can prove especially challenging. The juxtaposition of unhappy thoughts alongside the cheery Christmas music, nostalgic movies dripping with holiday sentimentality, and advertisements displaying jubilant people celebrating the season can make us feel even worse.

The American Psychological Association lists financial concerns, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to be with certain family members and friends as contributing factors to holiday anxiety. Mix in the stressors of shopping, family reunions, travel, office parties, and dealing with houseguests, and no wonder this seasonal “cheer” can be a landmine.

3 More Obstacles in Therapy and How to Overcome Them

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Talk the Talk: 10 Tips for Starting TherapyLast month, in this piece, psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, shared three top obstacles in therapy: feeling shame for having problems and needing to go to therapy in the first place; not knowing how therapy works; and having to trust a total stranger with our innermost thoughts and feelings.

This month we asked Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist who pens the Psych Central blog “Psychology of Success,” to share three additional obstacles in therapy and how to overcome them.

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday Season

Monday, December 1st, 2014

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday SeasonFor many of us, the holidays are stressful. Our stress might stem from having a narrow, rigid view of how the holidays are supposed to be, said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco.

We might feel pressure, from ourselves and others, to have a joyful holiday. But we might not feel particularly joyful, or at least not all the time if our family isn’t close by or our relationship is complex, she said.

In fact, it’s not uncommon when you’re spending time with your family to “find yourself catapulted back in time, taking on roles and participating in dynamics that you may have believed you’d left behind,” Shinraku said.

Dealing with Rejection

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Dealing with RejectionIt’s been kind of a hard week. I’ve been sending out queries to literary agents for a new book I’m putting together and it’s been crazy. I sent 140 queries out over the last week and so far the only ones I’ve heard back from have written to tell me they weren’t interested.

In hindsight I’d advise not being so feverish about something career-oriented because on about the 20th or so rejection I just felt this sick, sinking feeling in my gut.

7 Tips for a Saner Holiday

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

7 Tips for a Saner HolidayAs soon as autumn comes, people’s thoughts begin to shift to the holidays, and sometimes those thoughts are accompanied by difficult emotions such as depression, frustration, and anxiety.

For some, the holidays conjure up unpleasant associations, such as the first event without Grandma there, or prickly family get-togethers. Then there are financial worries, the pressure to come up with gift ideas, dealing with school kids on vacation, to-do lists, and much more.

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good Start

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good StartI’m a deep thinker, a creative type — and a dysthymic. As in: a person with dysthymia, officially known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterized by feeling “down” on a regular basis without reaching the level of near-total impairment associated with major depressive disorder.

The sense of depression is at its worst when I have little immediate “busyness” to occupy my mind.

Often the hardest part of the day is starting it: that is, getting out of bed in the morning. If you have a similar problem, the following strategies help:

Tips to Ease Relationship Tensions

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Tips to Ease Relationship TensionsI came home after a dinner with friends to hungry cats, wet laundry still in the washing machine, and muddy footprints tracked across the carpet.

I was tired. And I felt my tension rise. I’d expected those chores to be covered.

He had been out in the yard, digging a French drain to keep the crawl space from drawing too much rainwater during the winter storms.

He was tired from the wet, dirty work. He’d expected me to be pleased by the effort.

By the time we sorted through missed expectations, we were both impatient and irritated. We didn’t feel like talking — probably good because neither of us felt like listening, either.

Plagued with Low Self-Esteem? You Might Suffer from ‘The Uncertainty Curse’

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Woman staring and appearing to be a in a nervous and depressed state

Few states of mind are more synonymous with low self-esteem than uncertainty.

People with medium or high self-esteem are confident and secure. This confidence and security might wane a bit under stress, but it bounces back eventually: a basic, taken-for-granted assumption that one is okay, that one is capable and, often as not, correct.

That’s what differentiates us from them.

How to Navigate Anger When You’re Used to Stuffing it Down

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

How to Navigate Anger When You’re Used to Stuffing it DownMany of us are afraid of our anger, so we shove it down. We may worry that if we express it, we’ll do damage to ourselves or others, said Selena C. Snow, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in anger management in Rockville, Md.

We may say or do things at home or at work that we regret or will trigger negative consequences, she said.

Society also plays a role in shaping our fear or mistrust of anger.

Do You Want to Be Depressed?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Woman Outdoors Looking Away“Do you WANT to get better?” a family member asked me a few weeks after I graduated from the psych ward in 2005.

I was furious and hurt.

Because it was just one of many insensitive comments that seem to imply that I was causing my illness.

3 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others On Social Media

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

teen_computer09“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
~ Steve Furtick

We all have certain triggers that can cause our confidence to take a sudden nosedive.

For some, it’s a trip to the gym. If you’re self-conscious of your body, watching fit people strut their stuff in their tightest fitting gym clothes likely has you over analyzing your every body part.

For others, it may be a certain individual — a family member, friend, or enemy that, for whatever reason, leaves them with the dreaded feeling that they just aren’t enough.

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