12 Tips to Improve Mental Wellbeing

The New Joy
When we are talking about mental wellbeing what we are really referring to, is how we are feeling and coping on a day to day basis. For most of us this tends to vary from day to day. If we are feeling unhappy, overwhelmed and struggling with the demands of day to day life, it could be said that our mental wellbeing is not so good. On the other hand if we feel happy, confident, productive and engaged with the world we live in, this is a sign that our mental wellbeing is good. This also tends to suggest that our overall mental health is also good.

Many things can affect our mental wellbeing and such things as loss, relationship difficulties, money worries, work stress and even loneliness. There are also a number of things that may predispose and make us more vulnerable to poor mental health and wellbeing. These include childhood abuse or trauma, social isolation or discrimination, homelessness, poor housing or social isolation or discrimination. Caring for a sick relative or friend, unemployment, long term physical health difficulties and even being the victim of some kind of crime or accident. It could be said that if mental wellbeing is poor over a long period of time this is more likely to result in mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

 

There are however, a number of things that we can do to stay mentally well and build our mental wellbeing. These include:

 

1. Taking time to talk to others about our feelings. There really is some truth in the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved,” Just talking something through can help us feel lighter. Sometimes another person may be able to offer advice or a different perspective and this can help. It need not necessary be a mental health professional, a caring friend or family member can provide the listening ear so often needed.

 

2. Building friendships and relationships with others is an important part of staying well. Choosing positive, supportive and happy people to be around, rather than negative people who are always moaning and critical is very important. Volunteering and helping others can really help to feel you are helping others and contributing to society.

 

3. Staying physically active is a cornerstone to wellbeing. Good diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise all promote good mental health. Reducing reliance on alcohol, recreational drugs  and cigarettes can also help us to feel better about ourselves as we take care of our bodies.

 

4. Taking up a hobby, interest or pastime is really helpful. Doing things we enjoy can help to express how we feel through activity in way that is similar to childhood play. Whether it’s cooking, gardening or DIY, or maybe something more creative such as joining a local drama group. What we do in between the more mundane activities of life can give us a boost.

 

5. Setting some kind of life goal, “bucket list,” or challenge gives us something to aim for. When we begin to reach our goals we can feel positive about our achievements.

 

6. Learn to recognise the sort of things that drag you down. Keeping a mood diary can help us identify triggers. These may be many and can include people, places and events. Sometimes things like lack of sleep, overwork or even eating certain foods can underpin mood changes. Try to be a detective and identify the villains that scupper your wellbeing.

 

7. Take care of yourself. Try substituting the term “selfish” with the term “self-caring.” In other words, looking after you. Take the pressure of yourself, take small steps towards your goals and learn to be accepting and compassionate towards yourself. In other words, speaking to yourself with kindness and understanding as you would a friend you cared about.

 

8. Learn to accept yourself, stop being critical and learn to take yourself and life a little less seriously. Little things like smiling and saying hello to people, as well as valuing the things you do, however small. Learn to be assertive and trust in yourself a bit more.

 

9. Make building your self esteem and confidence a long term aspiration. Appreciating that you are important and that you are, who you are, a unique human being. Stop comparing yourself with others, forget about striving for perfection, identify your positive traits, such as caring for others or loving your pets.

 

10. Take time to read self help books, websites and blogs (such as this one!) to help you build your mental wellbeing change negative beliefs and old unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. Find yourself a therapist who can help you work on these areas, think of them as a mental wellbeing coach.

 

11. If you have mental health problems take an active part in your treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about your medication and learn to manage it in a way that helps you. Make sure you know about your medication, side effects and the best times of day to take it. Also if you wish to reduce or come off your medication, try to do it as a team with support from your therapist or healthcare provider. Take time to make a crisis plan and tell health professionals, family and others what helps and doesn’t help.

 

12. Finally join a support group or a group associated with a hobby or interest, such as a knitting, reading or art group. Join others for Pilates or other activities. Reach out to others, accept compliments and find time for you.

 

Until next time

 

Steve

 

 

Ref: How to improve and maintain your mental wellbeing – Mind                             info@mind.org.uk                                                                                                                                   mind.org.uk
Image:By Bart Everson – Flickr: The New Joy, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21362146

Why Self-Esteem Matters

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What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the way that you think about yourself. If your self-esteem is low, the thoughts you have about yourself are likely to be negative and you are likely to focus on what you think are your weaknesses.

Having low self-esteem can affect every area of life including work, personal relationships and your ability to socialise. Tackling low self-esteem and boosting positive thinking can really improve your sense of well-being and your mental health.

Here are a few tips you might find helpful.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. You will nearly always home in on their strengths and that will make you feel worse about yourself.
  2. Stop putting yourself down. Every time you that it will erode your self-esteem.
  3. Listen out for compliments, learn to accept them and say “thank you.”
  4. Find an affirmation, a statement such as, “I am confident and competent,” write it down and read it every day.
  5. Read everything you can about self-esteem, devour books, blogs, websites, etc, and make improving your self-esteem your mission in life.
  6. Avoid people who are negative and put you down, instead mix with people who are positive, confident and supportive.
  7. What do you like about yourself, however small? Kindness, friendliness, reliability, etc. note these down.
  8. Make a list of your past successes, however small, like learning to ride a bicycle or playing a musical instrument. Write these down.
  9. Try to do more of the things you love, rather than the things you think you ought to do.
  10. Finally, be true to yourself. Respect yourself, live your life, not a life dictated to you by others.

Begin to make these positive changes today – Good luck.

Until next time, Steve

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Steve Clifford                                                                                                                     Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                       Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

Image: By Samael Kreutz from Concepción, Chile (Broken Heart) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

10 steps to greater self-confidence

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Here at my practice in Bexhill I see lots of people who struggle with self-confidence. Why is it that low self-confidence is such an issue? There can be many reasons. Often low self confidence has its roots in our early relationships; sometimes bad childhood experiences such as bullying and abuse shape the way we view ourselves. The cumulative effect of “put downs” and ridicule lead us to form a view that we are somehow less worthy than others. .This view of ourselves becomes a rigid template upon which we hang our identity. Yet, so often, these, “beliefs,” are never challenged or even questioned. They are accepted as established facts, yet these so called “facts” are just “opinions”.

It is time to challenge and re-shape these opinions. Here’s how:

1. The first step in improving self-confidence is to accept responsibility for change and growth.

2. Stop spending time aimlessly drifting; stop procrastinating and do things on time. Recognise your own needs: sleep, relaxation and a good diet.

3. Are you a dreamer? If so, make some goals so that your dreams can come true.

4. Take risks, share in groups, give feedback to others. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and admit you’re wrong. Don’t refuse help when it is offered.

5. Start asserting yourself and stop saying yes when you really want to say no. Stop being a “people pleaser”.

6. You are an OK person. You do not need to depend on others for a sense of importance. You are of equal worth.

7. Speak up, believe in yourself. Remember, no one can insult you or put you down unless you allow them to so.

8. Behave towards yourself as you would a friend you care about. Listen to your inner compassionate voice not your inner critical voice.

9. Lower your expectations of yourself. No one has to be perfect.

10. Remember you are unique; you have a lot to offer, you are special and there is only one of you in the world. You are a worthwhile person.

Begin to make changes now. Good luck.

Until next time, Steve.

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Steve Clifford                                                                                                                             Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                 Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

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Eleven tips to boost self-esteem.

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Low self-esteem can really affect your emotional well-being and it can underpin some common mental health problems and lead to poor self-confidence and shyness.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the way that you think about yourself. If your self-esteem is low, the thoughts you have about yourself are likely to be negative and you are likely to focus on what you think are your weaknesses.

As a therapist I see many people with low-self esteem and this can often be at the root of problems such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety and phobias. While shyness and insecurity is often at the heart of low self-esteem, childhood factors such as bullying, abuse or neglect often leave the individual feeling less than good about themselves.

Having low self-esteem can affect a very area of life including work, personal relationships and your ability to socialise. Tackling low self-esteem and boosting positive thinking can really improve your sense of wellbeing and your mental health.

Here are some useful tips to help you boost your self-esteem.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. You will nearly always home in on their strengths and that will make you feel worse about yourself.

2. Stop putting yourself down. Avoid self-deprecating comments such as, “you silly fool” or “your useless.” Every time you say something like this it erodes your self-esteem.

3. Listen out for compliments, learn to accept them and say “thank you.”

4. Find an affirmation, a statement such as, “I am confident and competent,” write it down and read it every day.

5. Read everything you can about self-esteem, devour books, blogs, websites, attend workshops and really make improving your self-esteem your mission in life.

6. Avoid people who are negative and put you down, instead mix with people who are positive, confident and supportive. Their positive self-esteem will rub off on you.

7. What do you like about yourself, however small. What qualities do you possess, for example, kindness, friendly, reliable, etc. note these down even if less than 100% perfect.

8. Make a list of your past successes, however small, like learning to ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument. Write these down.

9. What do other people value or compliment you on. Note these down too.

10. Try to do more of the things you love, rather than the things you think you ought to do.

11. Finally, be true to yourself. Respect yourself, live your life, not a life dictated to you by others.

Begin to make these positive changes today – Good luck.

Until next time, very best wishes, Steve.

 

You may wish to know that Steve is now offering therapy sessions via Skype                   Please contact us through our website @  www.stevecliffordcbt.com

Visit our facebook site @ www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters

Steve Clifford                                                                                                                       Senior Accredited Integrative  Psychotherapist.                                                                 Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

image: By 143peace (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Ten simple rules to improve your self-esteem

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In my Bexhill practice I see many people with low self-esteem. Sometimes it arises out difficult childhood events, such as bullying or abuse, sometimes it is the bi-product of depression, anxiety or insecurity. Fortunately, it is very treatable.

As children we take on board messages and believe that we are somehow not good enough, illness too can really squash our outlook. However, as adults we can now choose to take on, or reject the messages we are given.

High self-esteem arises out of a combination of key ingredients. The more you work to put in place these ingredients the higher your self-esteem will be. Building high self esteem is not something that can be achieved instantly. It is something that develops when you do certain things and stop doing certain other things. Every single person is capable of having high self esteem if certain rules are followed.

The ten simple rules are:

1. Stop putting yourself down. Don’t ever use derogatory comments such as, “you stupid fool” or any other such statement however negative you are feeling about yourself. Stop insulting or mocking yourself. Be compassionate, kind and understanding towards yourself.

2. Forget all about comparing yourself with others. There will always be people who are better (or worse) than you. If you start doing this you will never feel good because there are always going to be those who appear more confident, more intelligent, more witty, more wealthy, more sexy, etc.

3. Take on board compliments, say “thank you,” not “Oh, it was nothing.” Stop rejecting compliments, you are worthy of praise and remember people like giving compliments just as much as you should like receiving them.

4. Use positive affirmations on a daily basis. For example, repeating a phrase such as, “I am a valuable and worthwhile person who has views and opinions of my own.” Believe in your worth as much as your own views and opinions.

5. Use every opportunity to read about developing self-esteem. Make it your life’s work and remember this will be “work in progress” from now on. Even if you only find one thing that resonates with you when you read a book on self-esteem it will have been worth the money you spent on it.

6. Mix with positive people, avoid people who will put you down. They are confidence destroyers not confidence feeders. Just like a flower, you will grow in confidence and esteem with the right conditions, just as the flower will blossom with the right fertiliser and the right conditions.

7. Keep a positive book and list all your successes, however small. Read this list often. Shut your eyes and feel your success throughout your whole body.

8. Spend time doing the things you love and feel passionate about. Do things that make you feel good. Devote some time to others, helping them. Remember to give of yourself, for you are developing abundance and positivity.

9. Be true to your values. Live the life you want to, not the life others think you should have.  The only person you need approval from is yourself.

10. Remember this always – You are a magnificent human being with a positive contribution you can make to the world. This is your birthright. You are truly unique, worthy of love for yourself and capable of giving love to others. Feel good and respect yourself.

Start today.

Until next time, Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

Visit us @  www.steveclifford.com                                                                                      Like us @ www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters                                                Tweet us @ cbt4you

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