Emotional Wellness for Positive Living

Three Self-Esteem Boosting Tips and Activities

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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!

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Therapeutic Use of Metaphors

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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.

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Helping Clients Eliminate Cognitive Distortions

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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!

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Quick Quiz: What is your Forgiveness IQ?

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Forgiveness Self-Test

The Benefits of Choosing to Forgive  

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NOTE: This is beautiful guest post from Healthline, a wonderful site that offers heathy solutions to life.  Check it out! 


Although most people prefer not to hurt anyone in any way, ever, the fact is that in the course of their lives, almost everyone somehow hurts others whether they mean to or not. It’s simply part of the human condition—and it means that we’ve all been hurt at one time or another.


Forgiving those hurts, big and small, can have a huge beneficial effect on our lives—but it’s not always easy. The key is realizing that forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt you, or about making them apologize or change. To forgive another is to free yourself of hurtful thoughts and feelings.


Forgiveness is the decision to release feelings of resentment and bitterness toward the person who hurt you. It isn’t reconciliation, however. Forgiveness is not about them. It’s about you.


When you’re angry with someone and can’t forgive them, you’re carrying those hurtful and negative thoughts and feelings around with you everywhere you go. You might forget about them for a time, but something always happens that brings the hurt and anger bubbling up to the surface again. Those emotions trigger chemical and hormonal responses in the body that may, over time, turn into health issues.


We all know someone who’s nursed a grudge for years, someone whose whole outlook on life has turned sour and pessimistic. Perhaps if she’d forgiven the person who hurt her, she’d be a sunnier, happier, less closed-down person.


When you practice forgiveness, you rid yourself of those painful thoughts and feelings once and for all. Your spirit is free to move on.


Forgiveness means you accept your own life for what it is. Forgiveness means accepting others as they are, too. Some people get hung up on the old adage “forgive and forget.” They’re different, though. You can forgive being hurt, but there’s nothing wrong with remembering how it happened. Remembering events is how we learn and how we prepare ourselves for the future. The trick is to remember—and maintain forgiveness. You don’t have to absolve the person who hurt you. And in fact, you may not be able to. When we’re hurt, how we see and interact with someone changes. It’s only human.


The mind is a powerful thing. It can literally make us sick. When we nurse old grudges and rehash old hurts, dredging them up for another once-over and feeling the original anger and frustration yet again, our bodies can’t help but react. The result might be recurring headaches or a chronic sour stomach.


Not forgiving can also change the way we perceive the world at large. We may apply our reaction to old hurts to new circumstances—and in so doing, sabotage the outcome of new endeavors and even our own happiness now and into the future.


Forgiveness is healthy. Forgiveness is life-affirming. It may not be easy to do, but it can be learned. Cognitive therapy, where you learn to change your thoughts from negative to positive, is an excellent way to get started in learning to forgive.


Remember that in forgiving others, you’re really forgiving yourself. You’re lightening your load—your heart, your mind, and your spirit—and giving yourself room to breathe. You’ll be healthier, have better relationships, have less hostility, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of depression. You’ll have less anxiety and stress, and a much better feeling of spiritual and psychological well-being.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.





Identify Cognitive Distortions!

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12 ways to fight depression

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Robin Williams suicide was a wake-up call – 12 ways to fight depression.


Staying positive and combatting depression: What we can learn from Robin Williams

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Listen in to hear my interview on Todays Inspiring Women on RadioAmerica focusing on depression and how to stay positive in response to the suicide of Robin Williams.


What is your Sense of Humor IQ?   Take this Humor Inventory and find out!  

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What is your Sense of Humor IQ?  


Take this Humor Inventory and find out!  

Do you know anyone who loves to laugh?  No matter how serious the situation, this person seems to find something to laugh about?   We are not extolling the virtues of nervous laughter – pretending things are great when they are not. Rather, it is the ability to see the lightness and silver lining in every cloud that gives us lightness.  Laughter makes life more fun, more enjoyable, more playful.  Children have little problem laughing and playing.  Why is it often so hard for adults to play and laugh?  After all, no one else takes you so seriously, why should you?

 As the adage goes, “Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life”

 The following questions will help you take stock of your “humor inventory.”

Rate each item on the scale from 1-5



       1                  2                        3                        4                        5 

______  1.  Do you take yourself way too seriously?

______  2.   Are you too busy to find the humor in things?

______  3.  Are you involved with “important things” to look at the funny side of life?

_______ 4.   Are you worried about what others think about you?

_______ 5.  On average, I do not laugh a lot.

_______ 6.  There is not much that strikes me as funny

_______ 7.  I have not had a “good laugh” in quite some time. 

Total Score and Divide by 7: 

Total Score ___________  Divide by 7 ____________   equals your score

Where does your score fall?  

Score                                  Interpretation of your numeric score

   1            Superb:  Your Humor Quotient is unusually high!  Keep up the good work!

   2           Very Good:  You have a very good ability to see the lightness in life!

   3            Average:  Your Humor Quotient could use some boosting

   4            Needs Work:  Look for more opportunities to lighten your load

   5            Needs a lot of Work: Life is too serious to be taken so seriously!  Try to find more

                           lightness in your life!  If your mood is low, consider getting professional help.

What was your score? What are some ways that you can improve your Humor Quotient? 

Judith Belmont, MS, LPC                  www.belmontwellness.com


7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day … and Your Life!

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This post was originally published on Lifehack.org.

Most of us have heard the old adage, “Stop and smell the roses.” In the hectic pace of our lives, we often forget to slow down, pause, take a breath and reflect for even a couple moments. This compounds with the fact that in our everyday lives, especially in urban environments, there’s not a rose to be found! Hence, in our increasingly digital age, how about pausing and reflecting on Inspirational Quotes to help ground us in our busy lives? We might not be able to find a rose outside our door, but inspirational quotes are everywhere on the internet. You can’t miss them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and this easy accessibility can attest to a new adage I propose,

“An Inspirational Quote a Day can keep your keep your negativity away.”

How can inspirational quotes actually change your day and even your life? Here are 7 reasons that have become crystallized to me from the many comments I have gotten from the 175,000 followers to my own Inspirational Quote Facebook page.

What’s Next? 12 Not-to-Miss Quotes That Help You Go Through a Bad Day

1. It’s easier to keep a positive frame of mind if you make Inspirational Quotes a habit.
Everyday annoyances have a lessened negative emotional pull when you focus on the positive message of positive inspirational quotes. As the saying goes, “Perception is more important than reality” and inspirational quotes offer us help in forming healthy perceptions and attitudes.

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2. Inspirational quotes can serve as a comfort during difficult times of great personal challenges.
They keep hope alive when you are reminded that after the darkness there is always a dawn. Inspirational posts remind us that hope rises with the sun.

3. Daily inspirations remind you that you are not alone.
Who has not experienced a challenge, setback or disappointment? Regularly exposing yourself to universal issues that we all share as a virtue of being human serve as a comfort when you feel alone. The idea that “I am not the only one” is incredibly comforting in times of isolation and personal uncertainty. Furthermore, seeing messages of hope and comfort cutting across all cultures and nationalities all over the world becomes very powerful.

4. No matter how old you are, you are never too old to keep moving forward and build on yesterday.
Inspirational quotes remind you to see your mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities, and gives you comfort that there is nothing that we can’t learn from. Rather than living in the past and recycling old news, we gain support to move past our regrets and learn from them.

5. Inspirations help remind you what is really important.
In our hectic lives in which we are inundated with the lure of material wealth and “things,” inspirations can help keep us grounded in what is really important. We are reminded that our perceptions color our world, richness in our relationships make you much richer than all loads of money, and no one can ever have power over you unless you give it to them.

6. If you need help with being better instead of bitter, daily inspirations can help guide you on the journey.
Daily reminders that forgiveness is necessary to live a positive life will help you move on from negativity – not because they always deserve it, but you do. Inspirational reminders can give you the perspective and strength that releases you from the chains of bitterness that all too often make people prisoners of their past. Forgiveness, acceptance and compassion melt away the chains of resentment, keeping you stuck in moments of time.

7. Daily Inspirations help you “get through it” when you can’t “get over it.”
No one gets through life without some scars. No matter if you have visible scars or ones of the invisible type, they are both scars nonetheless. Death of loved ones, personal losses, health issues afflicting yourself or those close to you, personal setbacks and shaken confidence rarely, if ever, escape anyone who lives a full and complete life. Keeping up the regular habit of reading inspirational quotes helps you get through things when you can’t get over them.

Now here is an action plan on how to use you favorite daily inspiration:
1. Print the quote or inspirational post up and put on prominent places like your desk,mirror or refrigerator.

2. Use a quote or inspirational post as your computer desktop on your computer and change daily.

3. Share your quotes with friends and family through email and social media sites such as Facebook, twitter and Pinterest. Create a sharing community of positivity!

4. In the workplace, frame your daily quote by your desk or office door in an easily changeable plexiglass frame for everyone to be inspired!

5. Start your office meetings, book groups, family dinners with an inspirational quote to start our the gathering with a shared positive mindset.

7. Have a daily inspiration for your back pocket! Carry around in your wallet or back pocket an inspirational quote for the day.

8. At the end of the day, review how your daily inspiration helped you. Ask yourself if you kept this positive message in mind, and decide which quote to use for the next day to keep on truckin in a positive direction!

How has daily inspirations quotes helped you to stay more positive and keep negatively away? Please share in the comments below. We would love to hear!