COUNSELLING BLOG

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How to Cope with Blah Days

1. Recognise that it’s a feeling – and our moods go up and down.  Shrug your shoulders, grit your teeth and choose to make it through the day. Nothing’s really wrong – and there is nothing wrong with you. It’s just the way you’re feeling – and our feelings usually change.

2. Don’t be hard and condemn yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up for feeling miserable and blah, or for feeling apathetic and low on energy. Be patient, understanding and gentle with yourself. You’re no worse than others as we ALL have blah days

3. Do something rather that nothing.  Do a few mindless tasks so you don’t just waste the day – and you’re likely to feel better once those you’ve got those out the way as they’re usually the things that you never want to do!

4. Only do as much as you have to. It’s going to take all your strength just to make it through the day. Preserve your energy – and allow some things to slide. You can always get round to them another day.

5. Be extra nice to yourself.  One of the best ways to fight a bleary day is to be nice to yourself and to do the kinds of things that help to lift your mood and to brighten up your day. For example, go out for a coffee, or have a bubble bath, turn up your favourite music or call a bunch of friends.  Do all the kinds of things you know will help to boost your mood.

6. Remind yourself that it’s likely to pass.  A bad day is just a day. It’s not the whole of your life. It just means that right now you want to crawl back into bed. It doesn’t mean your goals are wrong or that you won’t succeed in life! You’re just having a bad day – and it’s likely to pass.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy depression mental illness happiness self help self improvement inspiration motivation online counseling college

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I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because, if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do - if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary - you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.
Kelly Cutrone

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Developing Effective Study Habits

Below are some tips to help you develop the attitudes and habits which lead to success:

1. Take responsibility for yourself, and your failure or success.

2. Understand that you’ll need to priorities the way you use your time and your energy. Make your own decisions, and don’t let your friends dictate what’s important, and how much you should work.

3. Figure out when your most productive work times are, and the types of environments where you work best.

4. Try to understand the material well – don’t just memorize what the textbook says. If possible, try to explain it to a friend.

5. Try something else if revision doesn’t help. Don’t just keep reading the same things again.

6. Then, if you still don’t understand then ask for some help. It’s not going to magically fall into place.

7. Study with a friend, and share ideas, and test each other on what you’re meant to know.

8. Keep working and revising throughout the term so the material stays fresh and is easy to retrieve.

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10 Traits that Lead to Success

1. Independence

2. Self-confidence

3. Persistence

4. Creative thinking

5. Being thick skinned

6. Knowing who you are and what you want from life

7. Setting clear goals – and going after them

8. Staying focused

9. Optimism

10. Passion and a zest for life.

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10 Types of Emotional Manipulators

1. The Constant Victim - This kind of individual will always finds a way to end up as a victim in their relationships.

2. One-Upmanship Expert – This person uses put downs, snide remarks and criticisms, to show that they’re superior, and know much more than you.

3. Powerful Dependents – They hide behind the mask of being weak and powerless – then use their helplessness to dominate relationships. That is, they send the subtle message “you must not let me down.”

4. Triangulators – This person tries to get other people on their side. They’re quick to put you down, and to say some nasty things. They separate good friends or drive a wedge in families.

5. The Blasters – They blast you with their anger or they blow up suddenly. That stops you asking questions - in case there’s a showdown.

6. The Projector – This person thinks they’re perfect and others have the flaws. They take no ownership – because they’re never, ever wrong.  

7. The Deliberate Mis-Interpreter – They seem like a nice person – but they twist and use your words. They spread misinformation and misinterpret you. Thus, they deliberately present you in a false, negative way.

8. The Flirt – This person uses flirting to get their way in life. They want to be admired and to have an audience. However, your feelings and your needs are of no concern to them.

9. The Iron Fist – They use intimidation and throw their weight around, to use you for their ends, and to get their way in life.

10. The Multiple Offender – This person uses several of the techniques we’ve described – and they’ll often switch between them if it suits their purposes.

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What to do with ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

We all have an automatic stream of thought – an unconscious commentary of what is going on, and how we are performing compared to other people. This commentary’s often harsh and negative. For example, we criticise ourselves for not being good enough, or saying something stupid, or doing something dumb. This increases our stress levels, and lowers self esteem. Thus, we need to try and notice and interrupt these ANTS – so we break the harmful patterns that are ruining our lives. Below are some steps that can help you with this:

1. First, try to get into the habit of noticing all the different thoughts that are passing through your mind. Some of these will be neutral or positive but many will be negative and damaging. These are the thoughts that you’re going to address.

2. Next, objectively look at how you are assessing yourself, and the situation. Try and identify your internal commentary or monologue. Notice the personal attacks, negative judgments and harsh criticisms.

3. Some specific questions you could ask yourself here include: What does this stressful situation mean to me? What does it say about me as a person? What does it say about my self-esteem? What is the message it is sending about my future? What negative images or tapes are playing in my head? What am I assuming, in terms of consequences?

4. Instead of ruminating on these negative thoughts, decide to interrupt the flow by saying “STOP” out loud, or by visualising a red stop sign. Use that as a trigger to put a stop to the self criticisms.

5. At this point, you need to make a conscious effort to find something distracting to do to keep your mind off your negative thoughts. This should be something you find interesting, or something that engages your full attention. Work on finding something that’s effective for you. The crucial thing is: you need to deliberately get your mind off the patterned negative thinking track.  

6. Try and come up with as many distractions as you can, so you’ve different options for resisting these ANTS. Some possibilities include: listening to music, humming along to music (or music in your head), exercising (going for a jog, cycle ride or swim), reading, surfing the internet, phoning a positive and upbeat friend, watching a funny video, playing with a pet, and so on.

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The Truth about Life

1. No-one has all the answers; much of life is a total mystery.

2. No job is “just perfect” or ideal for you. They all have their boring and frustrating times.

3. There are no perfect people - everybody lets you down at times – for even the best people have their failings and weak points.

4. Much of life is humdrum, unexciting and mundane – but it has its times of happiness and joy as well.

5. Our emotions are fickle and can quickly change. Don’t expect to feel happy and contented all the time.

6. No matter how well you plan, you will still meet obstacles – but overcoming challenges develops character.

7. Uncertainty and change are a major part of life – but that adds to the intrigue, and stops things getting dull.

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When you Feel Fed Up …

1. Remember that life is an emotional roller coaster - so there are times when you feel up, and there are times when you feel down. If you feel down at the moment, there’s a good chance it will pass.

2. Hang out with people who are warm and positive as other peoples’ feelings tend to rub off on us, too. Thus, you’ll start to feel less negative, and less self-critical.

3. Think about occasions when you’ve felt proud of yourself. Those are part of your experience, and are part of who you are.

4. Often, doing the same things can seem monotonous and dull. Try altering your routine, or trying something new.

5. Go out and enjoy nature, or spend time with your pet. That gets things in perspective, and changes how you feel.

6.  Ask yourself - do you need to make some changes to your environment? Do you need to make it brighter, or tidy a few things? 

7. Try hard to identify what bothers you the most – as changing one key thing can really change the way you feel.

8. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect too much right now. Be kind and understanding, and cut yourself some slack.  

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