Self Help Info

The Self Help Check- Up

There are three basic components that help us maintain a good attitude and good mental health. Even if you are in therapy you will recognize some of these items as suggestions your therapist has made.  Go through the check-up and be honest.  How much exercise, nurturing and self criticism are you really doing?  Which areas do you need to improve?  Create a plan of action.  Pull out your calendar and schedule some time for yourself.  You will be surprised how much a little self care can bolster your mood and your life.  

Work It Out

You know that exercise is good for your body but did you also know it is a major mental health booster?  The chemicals our body releases during exercise can reduce stress and alleviate mild depression and anxiety.  Have you said to yourself "I used to work out and it felt good but now I just can't get motivated to start again?"  A therapist, or a personal trainer can help you set up exercise goals.  But you must motivate yourself to workout 3 times a week for at least 25 minutes.  The long term benefits far outweigh the momentary drag of procrastination.  Of course, if you have not been exercising in some time, it is best to consult a physician before you begin your exercise routine.  So, what will it be-a 25 minute brisk walk around the neighborhood or 25 minutes in the pool or 25 minutes watching re-runs of old sitcoms?  The choice is yours. 

Nurture Yourself.

The question to be asking is not what I can do for everyone else, but what have I done for myself lately?  Many times feelings of depression, resentment, frustration and dissatisfaction with life is related to a lack of self care.  Our lives are racing by us at a breakneck pace.  There is wisdom in the old saying "take time to smell the flowers."  We do need time to recreate.  The word says it all we need to Re-Create ourselves regularly.  So take a few minutes now and write down the number of times you have done the following in the past week.  You can count only those items that resulted in feeling relaxed or in a better state of mind.  TV doesn't count.  Exercise was already mentioned so that doesn't count either. Congratulations if you are a regular exerciser, but you do need other nurturing activities in your life. The prescription for good nurturing is 30 minutes a day three days a week.

 

Crafts/Hobbies/Meditation Or Other Relaxation Techniques
Relaxing To Music Or A Relaxation Tape/Playing Games
Reading For Pleasure/Visiting With Good Friends
Visiting A Museum Or Gallery/Going To A Movie
Self-Help Group/Nature Experience/Taking A Long Drive
Sports/Sporting Events/Spending Time With Pets
Relaxing In A Hot Bath Or Jacuzzi/Laughing
Playing A Musical Instrument/Attending A Special Event
Singing/Painting/Other Art/Getting A Massage
Spiritual Or Religious Practices/Gardening
Writing In A Diary Or Journal/Taking A Relaxing Vacation
Writing For Pleasure/Taking Classes That You Enjoy
( can you list any other nurturing activities?)


Putting a stop to negativity
Put an X on the dotted line indicating how you are FEELING  about yourself now.  

I Can't Change.......................................I Can Change

I Am No Good........................................I Am Good

I Am Ugly...............................................I Am Attractive

I Am Worthless...................................I Am Precious

Things Are Hopeless.........................There Is Hope

I Never Complete Tasks.....................I Do What I Set Out To Do

I Am Weak...............................................I Am Strong

I Am Stupid............................................I Am Smart

I Am Fat...................................................I Am At A Healthy Weight

I Am Not As Good As Others..............I Am As Good Or Better Than Others

I Will Be Rejected.................................I Will Be Accepted

I Am Wrong.............................................I Am Right

I Can't.......................................................I Can

I Am A Failure......................................I Am Successful

I Will Disappoint Others...................I Will Not Disappoint Others

I Am Incompetent..................................I Am Competent

I Am Unlovable......................................I Am Lovable

 

Look at where you placed your X's  The more that are towards the left, the stronger your negative beliefs.  Listening to the irrational negative beliefs  leaves you feeling depressed and unsure of yourself. So practice these four steps to rid yourself of negativity and move forward more confident and positive.

1. Notice the Negativity 

You can't fight something unless you take notice of what is happening.  You will start to become more aware of the critical things you tell yourself.  As you begin to notice the statements write them all down.  Just list the criticism as you hear it.  Don't justify or rationalize it.  No excuses, if, ands, or buts.  Just list all the negative statements.  If you begin to judge yourself  by saying you can't do this or it won't help- write that down too.

2. Thought stopping.

This process is a common technique I suggest to clients.  This step requires you to say stop to the negativity.  Not a little stop a big loud STOP!!!  If it would help picture it- hold up a stop sign.  If it helps, yell stop out loud.  Whatever you need to do to get the message across.   The message you are sending is to STOP the negative commentary.

 
3. Positive replaces negative

Now here is the tricky step. Step back and analyze those thoughts.  If you really look at them you will see they are based on irrational thoughts. Take the time to write down the opposing positive statement.  At this point, it doesn't matter if you don't believe the positive, just realize it is there.  Repeat the positives.  Saying them out loud makes them more real.

4. Practice Practice Practice.

Your own negative dialoge has been talking  to you constantly for a long time.  It won't go away automatically.  It will keep trying to sneak in.  You build strength to battle the negativity by spending 5 minutes a day writing down the negative statements, saying STOP like you mean it, and replacing those negatives with positives.  Beware of the HALT feelings:     Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. These feelings will be there ready to pull you down.

A good self-care plan in 200 minutes a week.  Certainly we can all find a little time to live a happier, healthier life.

Three days a week for 25 minutes a day to get a good work out

Three days a week for 30 minutes a day to take good care of yourself

Five minutes a day to clear your mind of negativity.