COUNSELLING BLOG

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How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Talk About

Starting a conversation to get to know someone or breaking an awkward silence can be very stressful. To start a conversation when you have nothing to talk about, use these guidelines.
1. Introduce yourself if necessary. If you don’t know the person, breaking the ice is very simple: look approachable, tell the new person your name, offer your hand to shake, and smile.
2. Remark on the location or occasion. Look around and see if there is anything worth pointing out. Examples of location or occasion comments include: “This is a gorgeous room!”, or “Great dog!”
3. Ask an open-ended question. Most people love to talk about themselves, and open questions can help with this. These require an explanation for an answer rather than just a simple yes or no. Open questions tend to begin with who, when, what, why, where, and how.
4. Keep the conversation going with small talk. This keeps the conversation light and simple, and helps to establish similarities.
5. Synchronize. Once the other person has started talking, follow his or her cues to keep the conversation going smoothly. Use active listening to reflect what they’re saying and, perhaps, feeling.
6. Helpful techniques and cues to convey your interest include: Say the other person’s name from time to time; give encouraging feedback (by nodding, saying “ah-ha”, “wow’, “oh” “That’s amazing!”, etc.); keep your body language open and welcoming; and make comfortable, genuine eye contact with the person.
7. Be aware of your internal monologue. When you suddenly feel that you’re not able to engage in conversation with someone else, it’s likely that you’re saying negative things to yourself. For example, you may be worrying that you’re boring, not good enough, too unimportant, intruding, wasting their time, and so on. Try to keep in mind that everyone has these self-doubts from time to time.
8. Respond thoughtfully to someone who remains awkward or uncomfortable. If he or she appears withdrawn and uninterested, don’t persist for too long. Try a bit more, and then make the decision to move on and talk to somebody else. Also, be careful not to ask too many questions as they may feel shy discussing themselves.
Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Conversation-When-You-Have-Nothing-to-Talk-About (Adapted)

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How to Cope with anxiety when Starting University

1. Accept that it is normal, and something you’d expect.
2. Talk about your feelings with someone you know well. Don’t bury how you feel and pretend that you’re OK.
3. Look after yourself – get plenty of sleep, take time for exercise, and make sure you eat well.
4. Ask when you’re confused, or uncertain, or need help. Usually others are quite happy to help you at this time.
5. Accept that it is takes time to make some friends when you are new. But others feel the same – and they want to make friends, too.
6. Don’t expect to feel comfortable within the first few weeks. It’s a whole different world and there’s so much to learn.
7. Remember you’ve made changes and have done new things before. You can cope and survive – so just be patient with yourself.

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How to Start Loving Yourself

1. Start by being kind and gentle with yourself. There are plenty of people who would love to criticise … So be your own protector and your own best friend.
2. Choose self-love over self-hatred. Many people find they veer between these two extremes – but over time gravitate more towards one or the other (through automatic thinking and their inner dialogue) … So actively reject self-hatred, and then exercise self-love.
3. Stop being harsh and judgmental, and accept your imperfections. We’re all flawed and broken, and we all make bad mistakes.
4. Start enjoying who you are, and being alone with yourself. Embrace solitude, and the chance to be with “you”.
5. Think of all the different things you’re grateful for in life, and the people who have loved you, and have seen the good in you. As you do that, you will start to value who and what you are.

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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

1. Don’t listen to the voice inside your head that tells you that you are inadequate.
2. Don’t hang out with people who look for the flaws and can’t see the best in the people in their lives.
3. Recognise that each person is different and unique. There is no-one like you - and you have great attributes.
4. Take note of your efforts, and the progress you have made. You’ve already come far. You should celebrate that!
5. Appreciate others, and what you gain from them. Don’t see them as people who undermine you.
6. Remember that NO-ONE is perfect at all - and that other people struggle with the same stuff as well.
7. Go after what matters the most in this life: being loyal, and thoughtful, and caring, and kind.

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