Emotional Wellness for Positive Living

8 Ways to Finally “Get Over It” and Get On with Your Life!

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on stevenaitchison.co.uk.

“My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind before you can move on.” – Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump seemed to have learned a lesson that many smarter and more accomplished people have not. Despite the fact that we all know that life never gave us a guarantee that we would be fairly treated and that bad things would not happen to us, we commonly get taken by surprise when life gives us a blow that we think we don’t deserve. As much as we try to move on after a setback, all too often yesterday’s blows become today’s negative pull that grips us and limits our enjoyment of NOW. A powerful pull from the land of past regrets and “woulda coulda shouldas” loom larger than life, robbing us of our sense of well being. Perhaps most tragic, however, is the feeling that yesterday’s disappointments, losses and failures have set the stage for the rest of our lives, leaving many with a loss of hope that they will never, ever “get over” what is too late to change.

Continue reading “8 Ways to Finally “Get Over It” and Get On with Your Life!” »

Are you an active listener… or do you just hear?

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com.

One of the most valuable lessons that my clients have found useful over the years is learning the art of active listening.

All too often, when people think of being a good communicator, they think of having good verbal skills. However, much of healthy communication is knowing how to listen … and not just hear!

The first step to being an effective listener is to realize that hearing is not the same thing as listening! Watch out for being so focused on what you say that you end up hearing instead of listening!

Continue reading “Are you an active listener… or do you just hear?” »

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Technique: The Observing Self

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com.

Do you ever focus on looking AT your thoughts rather than FROM your thoughts?

If so, you are practicing one of the cornerstones of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy developed by Dr. Stephen Hayes. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, known as ACT, combines CBT principles with mindfulness techniques. In a process called Cognitive Fusion, your unhealthy thoughts are seen as being fused to your mind and those automatic thoughts distort your perceptions. Only by defusing from your mind those automatic negative thoughts can help you be more objective and see things more accurately. Cognitive Defusion is an example of mindfulness techniques, which have become increasingly important in treating persistent negative thinking that leads to depression and anxiety.

Continue reading “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Technique: The Observing Self” »

Using a Calming Box for Self-Soothing and Emotional Regulation

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com.

As a therapist, I have always been a big fan of offering my clients “hands on” practical strategies that can help them self-soothe immediately in times of anger and emotional distress. I refer to these self-soothing boxes by names such as a Calming Box or Coping Skills Toolbox. Self-soothing boxes are made up of a variety of items to distract and soothe. For example, a Hershey Kiss or Hug can remind us to be kind to ourselves and others and give figuratively “Hugs and Kisses” in times of anger and emotional upheaval. It also tastes good and gives ourselves a much needed “Kiss” or Hug!”

Using Calming Boxes are an example of an emotional regulation strategy in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, addressing the need to develop skills for increasing distress tolerance. The Coping Skills Toolbox replaces the urge for angry interpersonal exchanges or even self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse or self-harm.

Continue reading “Using a Calming Box for Self-Soothing and Emotional Regulation” »

Are You Highly Happy? 10 Simple Tips and Quick Quiz

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com.

How happy are you? Have you noticed that some people who seem to have so much in life would hardly describe themselves as happy, while others who seem to have so little feel happy with their lives and themselves? Truly, happiness is an inside job!

Yes, some of us have wiring that makes us more easily content with our lot in life. Regardless of what is in our DNA, however, we all have some control over our levels of happiness by controlling our perceptions and our mindset.

At the end of this list of 10 happiness tips, you will find a link to a quick quiz to help you determine how highly happy you really are!

Continue reading “Are You Highly Happy? 10 Simple Tips and Quick Quiz” »

CBT Technique: Using the Triple Column Technique to Change Your Thoughts To Change Your Life!

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com.

One of the cornerstones of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is to help individuals identify their negative and irrational ways of thinking. Cognitive Errors, also known as Cognitive Distortions, are unhealthy thinking habits that lead to most common mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. The concept of Cognitive Distortions is integral to a popular CBT technique that my clients have always found very helpful, called the Triple Column Technique. This is a technique developed by CBT psychologist and bestselling author David Burns.

To use this CBT technique, fold a paper width-wise into three columns. In the first column, Burns has us write our negative thoughts, such as, “I will never get my life together.” In the second column is the type of thinking error (see below), which in this case would be all-or-nothing thinking and fortunetelling. In the third column is the more rational alternative thought which is based on fact and not distortion, which would be, “I have challenges in getting my life to fall into place, but I will keep working at it until things get better.”

Continue reading “CBT Technique: Using the Triple Column Technique to Change Your Thoughts To Change Your Life!” »

Three Self-Esteem Boosting Tips and Activities

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com

It has never failed to amaze me in my many years as a therapist that no matter what type of problem a client presents – whether it be depression, anxiety, relationship problems, or stress management issues, the crux of the problems almost invariably lies in the shadow of low self-esteem. Self-esteem issues directly correlate to so many facets of mental health and life adjustment. The more persistent the symptoms, the lower the self-esteem. So whether you are a therapist, client or anyone wanting to get at the root of low moods, unhealthy thoughts, deep regrets, and debilitating anxiety, self-esteem is a good place to start. The following are 3 essential tips and tools to love yourself to love your life!

Continue reading “Three Self-Esteem Boosting Tips and Activities” »

Therapeutic Use of Metaphors

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com

Did you ever use a rubber band with clients to make a point? A magnifying glass? How about a carnival toy finger trap … or a visualization of monsters on a bus?

Each of these can serve as an example of therapeutic metaphors. Metaphors reach us in a way that unlocks insight and makes complex topics easy for our clients to understand. Metaphors use visualization plus words to reveal emotion and insight. Even the most resistant or confused client appreciates the relevance of a well-chosen metaphor. Using metaphors as a therapeutic tool generates many “aha” moments, and the more metaphors we have at our fingertips, the more potential we have to get our clients “unstuck” and on the path to growth and healing.

Continue reading “Therapeutic Use of Metaphors” »

Helping Clients Eliminate Cognitive Distortions

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Original article on pro.psychcentral.com

In my 40-plus years of being in the field of psychology, one thing that often strikes me is how clients come to therapy lacking basic life skills. Even the most successful and accomplished clients frequently need some education on basic life skills such as to how to manage stress, how to deal with anger, and how to communicate assertively without lapsing into non-assertion or aggression, to name a few.

It became clear to me as my career progressed that as therapists we have an obligation not just to listen, not just to support – but to educate!

Continue reading “Helping Clients Eliminate Cognitive Distortions” »

Quick Quiz: What is your Forgiveness IQ?

(Share!)Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Forgiveness Self-Test