COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged anxiety

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Tips for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

1. Start small, and take the first step. You are on a journey. This is just the beginning. You only have to start.
2. Have faith in yourself. At least you’re brave enough “to try”. If you’re patient and keep trying you will get there in the end.
3. Make a list of all your fears so they’re not formless and vague. It is easier to fight them if you know what you are fighting!
4. Accept that life is often hard, and fear is natural and normal. Every person who succeeds will have to face and deal with fear.
5. Remind yourself of your successes and the ways in which you’ve changed. You have triumphed and succeeded over obstacles before.
6. Remind yourself of those who love you and believe in you. They know that you can do it – so derive some strength from them.
7. Imagine how you’ll look and how you’ll feel when you’ve succeed. It is WORTH making the effort. Don’t give up: you’ll reach your goal!

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How to have a more peaceful life

1. Recognise how much your thoughts affect your feelings – and work on changing your self-destructive thinking.
2. Stop trying to be someone you’re not meant to be.
3. Stop trying hard to please other people all the time.
4. Expect to meet hurdles and to experience disappointments.
5. Enjoy experimenting with your creativity.
6. See life as an adventure, full of possibilities.
7. Be grateful for the small things that brighten up your day.

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Mental Illness: Fact or Fiction?

Those with mental illnesses are often stigmatised as people are confused over what is the truth … and a lot of what we hear is simply misinformation! For example,

1. Fiction: There’s no hope for those diagnosed with mental illness.
Truth: There are numerous treatments and forms of support that make it possible for those with mental illness to hold down jobs and lead a normal life.

2. Fiction: There’s nothing I can do to make a difference in their lives.
Truth: The way you speak and act can make a huge difference. It can promote understanding or it can add to the burden. For example, seek to separate the person from the diagnosis (So instead of calling him or her a schizophrenic, describe them as a person with schizophrenia). Also, don’t label them as crazy or inferior. That is both insulting and inaccurate. Those with mental illness should be treated with respect; they have the same rights as others in society.

3. Fiction: They’re more likely to be violent than the average person.
Truth: There is no evidence that those with mental illness are any more violent than another person (but they ARE more likely to be victims of crime.)

4. Fiction: I’m not at risk of mental illnesses myself.
Truth: Mental illnesses are common - more than half the population will receive a diagnosis at some point in their life. It will likely affect their wider family, too.

5. Fiction: Mental illness is related to mental retardation.
Truth: The two are not related in any way at all. Mental illness affects a person’s mood, thoughts and behaviour; retardation affects their intellectual functioning and creates some challenges for daily functioning.

6. Fiction: Mental illnesses are caused by a weak character.
Truth: Mental illnesses are caused by a number of factors – social, biological, emotional, psychological, environmental, or a mix of these.

7. Fiction: Those with mental illnesses can’t hold down a job (or they’re less effective than most other employees).
Truth: Studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) showed no differences in productivity between those with mental illness and those without mental illness.

8. Fiction: Children don’t suffer from mental illnesses. What we see is bad behaviour due to poor parenting. Many kids just want attention and have been spoiled by their parents.
Truth: 5-9 % of children are diagnosed with a recognised form of mental illness. However, they can still succeed at school and in relationships if they receive the understanding and support they deserve.

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Common Myths About Mental Illness

Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is an invisible disease which can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.

Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.

Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.

Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.

Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.

Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.

Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women - in all of the different mental illness categories.

Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.

Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.

Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.

Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.

Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.

Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.

Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.

Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.

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How our wrong beliefs can stress us out

Often the thoughts we carry round in our head – and our basic beliefs about the way things should be – are actually a source of unnecessary stress. So, check out the beliefs that we have listed below and see if there’s something that applies to you:

1. Demand for Approval: This is the belief that others must always treat us well. We must have love or approval all the time, from every single person who matters to us, or else we feel we’re worthless and unloveable.
2. High Self Expectations: This is the belief that we must always succeed, and even excel, in everything we do – or it means that we’re a failure and we don’t have any value.
3. Dependency: This is the belief that we can’t cope on our own. We need to lean on others to help us all the time – and we can’t be independent and just make our own decisions.
4. Helplessness: This is the belief that the events in our past have determined our future and the goals that we can set. That is, we think we’re helpless victims – and that’s why we have these problems.
5. Emotional Control: This where we give control to other people, and say that they’re the ones who make us feel the way we do. If only they were different then we wouldn’t feel this way.
6. Personal Idealism: This is the belief that other people and the world must always be predictable, and fair and just.
7. Problem Avoidance: This is the belief that problems make life hard and should be avoided wherever possible. We don’t believe they central for developing new skills, resilience, perseverance and character.
8. We Must Be Free From Anxiety At All Times (Discomfort Anxiety): This is the belief that we can’t cope with feeling anxious, nervous, worried or uncomfortable. Instead, life should be stress free so I don’t have to have these feelings.
9. Perfectionism: This is the belief that there’s a perfect answer, or that there’s only one solution, to the problems I am facing. Hence, I’m frightened to act in case I make a mistake.
10. Over Caring: This is the belief that I must become upset and show that I care when others are upset – or it means that I am heartless and I lack compassion.

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How to Stop Worrying

1. Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t stop things happening. Things will happen – or not happen –anyway.

2. Recognise that “What ifs” don’t usually help with problem solving. It’s better to use logic, and brain storm for solutions. Take control of your emotions by using rational thinking.

3. Motivate yourself by something other than worrying. Take a break and do something fun, and then go back to your work again. That positive approach will reap more benefits.  

4. Face your fears – and do the things that you worry about. The thought is often much worse than the actual thing you fear.

5. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then, “What are the chances that it will happen? Then “Will you survive it, if it happens, in the end?” Usually, that helps to move us from an extreme and irrational way of thinking to a more realistic, and reasonable way if thinking.

6. Teach yourself a range of relaxation strategies – and then concentrate on them instead of on your different fears. Or, adopt a mindful approach – and keep your focus on “right now”.

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Avoidant (or Anxious) Personality Disorder

This is very similar to generalized social phobia. Those with the disorder think of themselves as being inadequate, unlikeable and socially inept. They fear being rejected, criticised or ridiculed and would rather avoid most social situations. The reasons can differ may be related to emotional neglect and peer group rejection in childhood and/ or adolescence. Symptoms may include the following:

- Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism

- Self-imposed social isolation

- Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations. (However, the person still has a strong desire for close and meaningful relationships)

-  May avoid physical contact with others (because it is associated with emotional or physical pain)

- Painful feelings of inadequacy

- Poor self-esteem

- Intense feelings of self consciousness

- Self hatred or self-loathing

- Mistrust of others

- Emotional distancing/ fear of intimacy

- Highly critical of their ability to relate naturally and appropriately to others

- Do not feel they can connect with others (although others may view them as easy to relate to)

- Intense feelings of inferiority.

- In more extreme cases, may suffer from agoraphobia.

Treatment approaches include social skills training, cognitive therapy, gradually increasing exposure to social situations, group therapy and, occasionally, drug therapy. Gaining and keeping the client’s trust is essential for progress to be made.

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