This month I got into a new hobby, another creative outlet but this time it was jewelry making instead of ceramics. I made a few pieces that I got excited about and was secretly hoping that others would like what I made. I wanted to publicize my creations to see if anyone would be interested in buying them but I felt embarrassed and frozen when I thought about the possibility of getting no response at all. What if people don’t like my designs? What if I put myself out there and everything thinks that I am a complete amateur and crazy for trying to charge money for my creations?
These doubtful negative thoughts plague us all. They bruise our confidence and bring us down. I asked myself if I could handle the worst scenario - the lack of response and the feeling of embarrassment and rejection. Although these are not desired outcomes I realized that I could handle their reality and that long term I would probably forget about those negative feelings. I challenged myself to take that next step and put myself out there with realistic expectations. I did not expect to become an overnight success story making millions, but I did hope that I would get at least a few messages from people telling me they liked the pieces. What was most helpful for me was having balanced thinking instead of negative or overly positive thinking.
So I took the plunge and guess what happened? I got several messages from both friends and acquaintances saying that they liked my pieces. Even a few put in orders to buy them!
A few days later I put myself out there again, this time in front of strangers. I brought my jewelry creations to a boutique. Once again I surprised myself and got a few more sales.
Maybe I’m not quitting my day job as a therapist, but I do feel happy that I put myself out there and proud of the pieces that I have created and sold. The risk of failure and embarrassment was well worth the outcome.
Whether your big step is in dating, speaking up for yourself in a relationship, applying to a job that seems out of reach, or asking for a raise at work let us know on our social platforms if you have taken any risks and put yourself out there. If we never take risks we never find out what could have happened.
This week I felt tired and unmotivated to write my weekly Wellness Wednesday blog post. A lack of inspiration and writer’s block began to frustrate me as I realized that Wednesday is fast approaching. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and still feel proud that I have kept up my weekly posts for over a year. However, sometimes my lack of ideas makes me wonder if anyone would really notice if I stopped writing. I figure that this is likely something many can relate to at one time or another. Our passions can easily become burdens and our commitments can become stressors when we have too much on our plates. It can lead to a feeling of disappointment when we do not live up to our high expectations. I recognize that part of being human is accepting our personal limits and asking ourselves what is truly important and realistic to attend to given our time and energy limitations.
We all juggle several responsibilities each day. Whether it be meal prepping, exercising, taking care of dependents, social commitments and of course the many tasks of school or work. It is often hard to know which item takes the cut when there are too many tasks to get to in a day.
What I find most helpful is allowing myself to be imperfect. For me this means not beating myself up when certain tasks take longer to get accomplished or giving myself compassion when I just have to say no to another commitment. Perhaps this means turning down a work opportunity, or giving in to a frozen meal instead of a fresh home cooked meal. All things considered the tasks that I chose to prioritize changes each day.
When saying "no" to new commitments, and being slower or imperfect are not available options asking for help can be our best option. Asking for and accepting help may not be your first inclination, but it may help to get the task completed on time. It does not make us appear weak, rather it demonstrates to others that we are self aware and responsible.
Here are 6 Tips When You are Feeling Unmotivated:
So today my self compassion leads me to write a shorter blog post than usual.
But hey, at least I wrote something!
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Today I want to discuss an app that I use frequently with my clients to practice skills that I teach in therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps to teach individuals to challenge and change maladaptive thought patterns and learn to replace them with more balanced and adaptive thoughts. This skill takes practice and is best accompanied by a “thought record”, an integral tool to learning the skill of cognitive restructuring. A thought record is a tool that helps individuals to break down their experience into several components that allows them to see the impact of their thoughts on the resulting emotion and choices that they make in reaction to a situation. The columns in a thought record include: situation, emotion, automatic thought, cognitive distortions and the evidence surrounding the automatic thought, and a final column for the alternative thought that replaces the original thought.
Paper and pencil thought records are the traditional method of practicing this technique. For many individuals paper and pencil is effective but digital apps can be a helpful alternative for people who prefer the ease of typing and the accessibility of having the thought record structure on their phones.
The app called CBT Thought Diary, which is available for free on the Appstore to download to an iPhone, iPad or apple watch, smoothly helps the user to complete all necessary sections of a traditional thought record. This app allows the user to practice cognitive restructuring on a daily basis and all entries are maintained in a list in your app so that you can look back on your previous entries for later reflection.
Using this app with the guidance of a trained CBT therapist would be ideal and ensure that one is assisted in properly challenging and restructuring maladaptive automatic thoughts. However, this app can also be used for self help purposes. The current circumstances of our world has lead to an increase of need for psychological support and resources to help oneself. This app may be a helpful addition to an individuals mental health toolkit. Another feature that I appreciate about this app is that it provides that additional option to record a gratitude. So even if you find that you are not experiencing many negative or anxious thoughts and you want to continue the habit of reflection and cognitive awareness this app also provides a place to practice recognizing the good things that take place in our lives.
Have you used this app before? Let us know your thoughts and reviews of this app on our social platforms.
For a link to download this free app CLICK HERE.
As we all seem to be spending a lot of time with the same people, tension is bound to brew. For some it is simpler to just be easy going and put ones own needs aside in order to avoid confrontation. For others, not feeling respected or heard brings out a more aggressive tone to communicate ones needs with urgency and attention. The down side to both of these communication styles are that putting others first, never prioritizes your own needs, and being aggressive often does not lead to respectful and healthy relationships. Rather, we aim to be assertive so that we can communicate our needs and self advocate while also being able to listen to the perspectives and needs of others. But the boundaries between passive, assertive, and aggressive communication styles are often blurred together.
The esteemed couples therapist Esther Perel stated in one of her Youtube videos that assertiveness communicates confidence whereas aggressiveness is defensive. She also noted that assertiveness is a dialogue whereas aggressiveness is a debate.
If we think about these different styles of communication and how they are present in our lives it is clear that our communication styles can impact our professional, social, romantic, and familial relationships. No matter what context we are in our communication has an impact, and the demeanour and tone communicates much more than the literal meaning of our words. It may be helpful to think of times when we tend to be more passive, and environments that bring out our aggressive communication style. The assertive communication style is ideal because it allows both parties of the conversation to express their needs and heard and facilitates collaboration rather than competition.
The last few months I have been working on creating more awareness in my own use of communication in order to create more intentionality. Where some people find it is their natural tendency to not be assertive enough, others struggle to maintain assertiveness without crossing into aggressive territory. There are moments where each of these styles of communication are necessary and appropriate, but more often the middle ground of assertiveness may be most productive.
How do you find a healthy balance in your communication styles?
Let us know on our Instagram account which style of communication you tend to find yourself in.
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.