COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged moods

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Overcoming Discouragement

Ignore those who say that they never feel down. We’re surrounded by messages on positive thinking because so many battle with discouragement. So what can you do when you’re living in a cloud, and everything seems pointless and negative?

1. Ask someone you respect if they ever feel discouraged. You’ll be surprised by how common, and how normal, it is.

2. Acknowledge how you feel – as it’s better to be real than to stuff your emotions and pretend that things are fine.

3. Encourage someone else … and see the difference it makes. It will not just help them, you will feel better, too.

4. Get some exercise. Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones (endorphins) so you’ll feel less depressed, and you’ll have more energy.

5. Set some short term goals, and then work to reach those goals. There’s nothing like success for improving how we feel.

6. Focus on the things that you naturally do well – to remind yourself, again, of your talents and your strengths.

7. Talk to a friend. There nothing worse than feeling isolated and alone. But spending time with others can raise your self-esteem. Also, it puts things in perspective and your problems start to shrink.

8. Reward yourself, or do something you enjoy. You deserve to be nurtured, affirmed and treated well. When you’re battling your feelings you need that extra boost.

9. Journal how you feel. It’s highly therapeutic to express what’s on your mind.

10. Take a break and rest. Feeling worn out and discouraged can sap your energy. You need to stop, be refreshed, and have your energy restored.

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7 Quick Tips for Changing a Negative Mood

1. Change your environment, or leave the room.
2. Switch your thinking, or redirect your thoughts
3. Go outside and get some exercise
4. Listen to the music that usually lifts your mood
5. Look at those old photographs that always make you laugh
6. Text or call a friend who’s really going through tough times
7. Be nice to a stranger – play it forward – and be kind.

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You can’t trust your feelings

Although we would all like to trust our feelings, they are not a good guide for the ways things really are. They are often fickle and irrational – and not an accurate measure of reality. As you’ve probably discovered:

1. Feelings vary depending on our health. If we’re sick we often feel despondent and blah.

2. Feelings vary depending on our hormones – which is why doctors recognize and treat PMS.

3. Feelings vary depending on events and the changing circumstances of our life. If things are going wrong, or we’re highly stressed, we feel inadequate and overwhelmed.

4. Feelings are affected by relationships. If we fall in love we feel happy and elated; if a relationship breaks up we feel rejected and depressed.

5. Feelings vary depending on the weather. If it’s sunny we feel happy and optimistic; if it’s cloudy and grey, we feel morose and negative.

6. Feelings can depend on the way we’re being treated. If someone in a store is rude to us, we may react with anger, or even feel ashamed.

7. Feelings are affected by our actions at the time. If we do something kind we feel good about ourselves; and if we’ve hurt someone’s feelings we may feel some regret.

So don’t react and respond based on feelings alone. Always use your mind as well – and check your thoughts are accurate.

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Tips for Managing Intense, Negative Feelings

1. Try to figure out what is causing you to feel so awful, ashamed, or down.
2. Talk to someone you think will understand.
3. Identify and accept the feelings that you have (They’re not right or wrong … it’s simply how you feel right now.)
4. Express your feelings in a safe, non-threatening way.
5. Related to this, think of ways to manage them effectively so that you don’t feel quite so bad, and so completely overwhelmed.
6. Try to get some space, or a change of scenery.
7. Avoid being with people who demand too much from you (especially those who drain you emotionally.)

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What Factors Affect how Emotional we are?

· Personality – By nature, some people are more enthusiastic, excitable and changeable. They may feel as if they’re on an emotional roller coaster ride with unexpected swings in the way they feel.

· Family norms - Some families are chaotic and unpredictable. It seems like everything that happens to them is a crisis, there are outbursts of emotion, and feelings are intense. Other families are more stable - and they reward staying calm, controlling your emotions and thinking rationally.

· Cultural norms – These can vary widely and they define the norms for a country, culture or social group. For example, the Italians are known for being emotional. They are warm, affectionate, and show how the feel. In contrast, the British are uncomfortable with showing their emotions – and are known for having “a stiff upper lip”.

· Early life experiences – If our main caregiver was sensitive to us and responded to our needs in an appropriate way then we’re likely to be on a more even keel. However, if our caregiver ignored us, or we picked up the message that a lot of fuss was needed to get a small response then we might have a tendency to over-react. Alternatively, we may have concluded that nothing makes a difference so put up barriers and hardly feel at all.

· Negative life experience – If you’ve experienced a trauma that shattered your world you may expect the worst, and always be on edge. Alternatively, you may have buried your emotions as way of surviving and now it’s hard for you to feel anything.

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When you feel fed up …

1. Acknowledge how you feel – as it’s better to be real than to stuff your emotions and pretend that things are fine.

2. Encourage someone else … and see the difference it makes. It will not just help them, you will feel much better, too.

3. Get some exercise. Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones (endorphins) so you’ll feel less depressed, and you’ll have more energy.

4. Set some short term goals, and then work to reach those goals. There’s nothing like success for improving how we feel.

5. Focus on the things that you naturally do well – to remind yourself, again, of your talents and your strengths.

6. Talk to a friend. There nothing worse than feeling isolated and alone. But spending time with others can raise your self-esteem. Also, it puts things in perspective - so your problems start to shrink.

7. Reward yourself, or do something you enjoy. You deserve to be nurtured, affirmed and treated well. When you’re battling your feelings you need that extra lift.

8. Journal how you feel. It’s highly therapeutic to express what’s on your mind - and when it’s out in the open it starts to lose its hold.

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What to do When you Feel Negative

1. Be honest with yourself, and accept how you feel. You can’t work with your feelings if you deny that they are real.
2. At the same time, don’t keep going over the negative events, or they’ll start to dominate you, or spiral, and get worse.
3. Don’t react right away – take a breath and count to 10. Make sure you keep control and don’t do something you’ll regret.
4. Try to notice what are triggers and provoke negative feelings – and when you’re calm, try to think through how to cope and deal with these.
5. Think of things that you can do to try and help improve your mood … such as going for a jog, or talking with a caring friend.
6. Remind yourself that you are valuable, and have a lot to offer … and think of all your strengths, and all the good things you have done.
7. Choose just to let go of the past, and try to focus on the present. Don’t let it stop you living, and having a great life.

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Depression and Challenging Negative Thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.
But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Ways to challenge negative thinking:

1. Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
2. Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking
3. Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
4. Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. It’s possible, though, he’s just having a bad day.
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

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Some Information on the Highly Sensitive Person

Roughly 20% of the population struggle with high sensitivity. Typical traits include the following:

1. As students, they work differently from other people. They often pick up on subtleties and may think deeply about a subject before sharing in a discussion or contributing in a classroom setting. (This does not necessarily mean they don’t understand the material, or are too shy to speak in public. It has more to do with the way the person processes information.)

2. They tend to be highly conscientious in their work. They notice and pay attention to details, and they think things through very carefully. Also, often being highly sensitive is equated with higher levels of intelligence, being highly intuitive and having a vivid imagination. Highly sensitive individuals work and learn best in quiet and calm environments.

3. Highly sensitive students and employees generally underperform when they are being evaluated. They are highly conscious of being watched, and this inhibits their ability to function at their peak.

4. Although some individuals who are born with this trait may seem to be more introverted by nature, being introverted and highly sensitive do not always go together. Instead, environmental factors have a greater influence on how the individual feels and reacts.

5. People with high sensitivity are more sensitive to both negative and positive experiences. Thus, they are more affected by rough treatment, pain, heartaches and insensitivity from others … but also seem to benefit more from being treated with kindness, care and thoughtfulness.

6. Other common characteristics of the highly sensitive person being easily over-stimulated (hence the need for quiet and calm), being more emotionally reactive than others, and having higher levels of empathy.   

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Tips for Coping with a Dreary Mood

1. Accept that we all feel low at times (but recognize that’s different from clinical depression.)

2. Don’t beat yourself up about feeling miserable. Remind yourself it’s normal to feel this way sometimes. (That is, we all feel bored, discouraged or a failure at times.)  

3. Be real and acknowledge that today is a bad day so it’s going to be harder to keep your motivation.

4. Think about one thing you can try or do to interrupt your thinking and take your mind off things.

5. Get up from sofa, or switch off your computer, and make the small commitment to take some form of action. For example, just going for a walk can start to lift and change your mood.

6. Smile at yourself, and other people you encounter. You’ll start to feel more human, and things won’t seem so bad.

7. Don’t keep looking back, or going over what went wrong. That won’t help your feelings, or help to move you on.

8. Think of things that make you happy, or people you enjoy, or all the many things that you are grateful for.   

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Feelings come and feelings go. There is no need to fear them and no need to crave them. Be open to your feelings and experience them while they are here. Then be open to the feelings that will come next. Your feelings are a part of your experience. Yet no mere feeling, however intense it may seem, is your permanent reality.
Ralph Marston

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Tips for Coping with a Dreary Mood

1. Accept that we all feel low at times (but recognize that’s different from clinical depression.)

2. Don’t beat yourself up about feeling miserable. Remind yourself it’s normal to feel this way sometimes. (That is, we all feel bored, discouraged or a failure at times.) 

3. Be real and acknowledge that today is a bad day so it’s going to be harder to keep your motivation.

4. Think about one thing you can try or do to interrupt your thinking and take your mind off things.

5. Get up from sofa, or switch off your computer, and make the small commitment to take some form of action. For example, just going for a walk can start to lift and change your mood.

6. Smile at yourself, and other people you encounter. You’ll start to feel more human, and things won’t seem so bad.

7. Don’t keep looking back, or going over what went wrong. That won’t help your feelings, or help to move you on.

8. Think of things that make you happy, or people you enjoy, or all the many things that you are grateful for.    

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How to Gain Control of your Emotions

Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean ignoring them. It means you recognize them and act on them when you deem it appropriate, not randomly and uncontrollably.

1. Know your emotions. There are a million different ways you can feel, but scientists have classified human emotions into a few basics that everyone can recognize: joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation. Jealousy, for example, is a manifestation of fear - fear that you’re not “as good” as something else, fear of being abandoned because you’re not “perfect” or “the best”.

2.Recognize that emotions don’t just appear mysteriously out of nowhere. Many times, we’re at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level. By recognizing your emotions on a conscious level, you’re better able to control them. It’s also good to recognize an emotion from the moment it materializes, as opposed to letting it build up and intensify. The last thing you want to do is ignore or repress your feelings, because if you’re reading this, you probably know that when you do that, they tend to get worse and erupt later. Ask yourself throughout the day: “How am I feeling right now?” If you can, keep a journal.

3. Notice what was going through your mind when the emotion appeared. Stop and analyze what you were thinking about, until you find what thought was causing that emotion. Your boss may not have made eye contact with you at lunch, for example; and without even being aware of it, the thought may have been in the back of your mind, “He’s getting ready to fire me!”

4. Write down the evidence which supports the thought that produced the emotion or against that thought. When you begin to think about it, you might realize that since nobody gets along well with this particular boss, he can’t afford to actually fire anyone, because the department is too short-staffed. For example, you may have let slip something that you should not have said which angered him, but which it is too late to retract.

5. Ask yourself, “What is another way to look at the situation that is more rational and more balanced than the way I was looking at it before?” Taking this new evidence into account, you may conclude that your job is safe, regardless of your boss’s petty annoyances, and you’re relieved of the emotion that was troubling you. If this doesn’t work, however, continue to the next step.

6. Consider your options. Now that you know what emotion you’re dealing with, think of at least two different ways you can respond. Your emotions control you when you assume there’s only one way to react, but you always have a choice. For example, if someone insults you, and you experience anger, your immediate response might be to insult them back. But no matter what the emotion, there are always at least two alternatives, and you can probably think of more: (i) Don’t react; do nothing. (ii) Do the opposite of what you would normally do.

7. Make a choice. When deciding what to do, it’s important to make sure it’s a conscious choice, not a reaction to another, competing emotion. For example, if someone insults you and you do nothing, is it your decision, or is it a response to your fear of confrontation? Here are some good reasons to act upon:

a) Principles - Who do you want to be? What are your moral principles? What do you want the outcome of this situation to be? Ultimately, which is the decision you’d be most proud of? This is where religious guidance comes into play for many people.

b) Logic - Which course of action is the most likely to result in the outcome you desire? For example, if you’re being confronted with a street fight, and you want to take the pacifist route, you can walk away—but, there’s a good chance that burly drunk will be insulted if you turn your back. Maybe it’s better to apologize and keep him talking until he calms down.

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Gain-Control-of-Your-Emotions

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If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.

Stephen Fry

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