The key element behind anxiety and worry is an intolerance of uncertainty. Over time, our excessive worry becomes persistent, repetitive and uncontrollable. We rush around trying to find solutions, yet we never end up finding any sort of relief. We feel that worrying about the worst case scenario will make it not happen. Yet when we’re in the midst of worry, it’s a struggle as it’s so automatic and hard to stop.
The goal of having healthy boundaries is to strike a balance between not being firm enough and being overly harsh and uncaring. The main effect of not being assertive or having poor boundaries is that it can lead to low self-esteem. If we never express ourselves or conceal our thoughts and feelings, we can feel anxious, resentful and have uncomfortable relationships. We feel like the people closest to us don’t really know us and fear that being assertive means that we’ll be too aggressive or that others will reject us or react poorly.
When you’re doing all the work and suffering all the consequences, that’s codependency in action. It’s even possible that you may feel like you’re not doing enough for your own well being and instead just putting others way ahead of yourself. Yet you never seem to get your needs met or even recognized by others, no matter how much you do. Breaking this cycle seems insurmountable, because it’s all you’ve ever known. Yet understanding how changing your relationship with yourself can enhance your relationship is the key.
Perhaps you’re noticed that recently you’re having trouble finding motivation in your life. Everyday tasks seem daunting and even your relationships are suffering. This can put you at a loss of understanding what’s wrong. Sometimes this is an issue of depression; other times it can be related to the side effects of having overly-high standards. Making a change feels daunting and you’re not sure what the path forward should be. Knowing how to navigate out of this inertia can be tricky without having someone to help you understand what’s keeping you stuck and why.
Depression is the “common cold” of emotional disorders. It’s hard for us to admit, but we all go through periods of adjustment that can cause us to feel sad, blue, down, and unhappy. Yet we tend to forget that depressed feelings can also be important signs that something is changing in our lives. We can deny and run from them, but that is a serious mistake. It’s not uncommon for those struggling with depression to be well-functioning, capable people who “look like they’re doing well” on the outside. However, we can grow from these feelings if we take the time to look and examine what this means for our life’s journey.
Drs. John & Judy Gottman decided to take all the counseling approaches for couples and actually test what worked, and what didn’t. In the end, they discovered that most of the advice was useless. From this, they refined and established actual, measurable methods of working with couples that actually makes a difference.
“I’m my own worst critic,” we might say in a sudden moment of insight. It is very true that most of us are hard on ourselves, particularly if we get even the slightest hint that we don’t measure up in some way – in our achievements, career or study, social standing, relationships, appearance, body image, financial status, and so on. If we make even the smallest mistake, then we have a tendency to berate ourselves, and if we make a genuine medium or large mistake, then look out!
People talk about positive self-talk all the time. Logically it makes sense. Yet somehow, phrases like “I’m a good person” or “I’m worthwhile and valuable” seem disingenuous. These aspects of self-esteem lack two crucial elements: First, they’re not believable. And second, they don’t address the real question, buried down deep: We really do feel that we are unlovable, worthless, or permanently stuck because of who we are.
Perfectionism & Procrastination
Stress, burn-out, and coping requires that we come to understand our own perfectionistic traits. Perfectionism forces us to take on too much, to be impatient, angry, hostile, and competitive. We feel that we must have things done a certain way. It drives us to work all the time, making it difficult to relax and have fun and relationships. After a while, this trend can sometimes lead to Procrastination.
When you’re struggling with social anxiety disorder, you fear being judged negatively or harshly. You even may feel anxious about appearing anxious in front of other people. As a result, you find yourself avoiding social gatherings all-together or enduring them with a source of dread. There’s a fear that you might upset someone if you say the wrong thing. You may also feel that you don’t have anything useful to say, that you’re boring or that you don’t even know what to talk about. It can even feel like you have no personality at all or that you lack the necessary tools to make new friends. At its core, social anxiety is linked to the negative thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves and about how other people judge others.
Dysfunctional Family History
If you grew up in an unhealthy or dysfunctional family, it has drastically and permanently altered the course of your life. It is absolutely vital to understand how, specifically, this affects you so that you can stand a chance to change patterns of unhealthy choices and behaviors that plague you and your adult life.
Verbal & Emotional Abuse
Dealing with a verbally abusive relationship can be very stressful and negatively impact one’s mental and emotional health. It is hard to understand why our loved ones want to control and dominate us. We cannot understand it because we tend to see it in our own reality rather than through their own “private logic” which is totally different from how most people view the world. It is important to learn how to be assertive and effectively set boundaries.
Getting Through a Crisis (without Making it Worse)
How do you survive times of trauma and stress without making things worse? If all you want to do is escape, scream, hide or get in bed and pull the covers over your head, that’s not survival. What can help is learning the skills to survive a personal crisis. These essential life skills are for anyone feeling overwhelmed. We need to be able to survive the problems we face on a daily basis without falling to pieces.
Many people practice mindfulness but still feel anxious. Mindfulness is a lot like walking across the room with the lights off. You might end up bumping into the furniture and stubbing your toe if you walk too fast and without guided purpose. When you’re able to walk through life with skill and grace; this is when you’ve achieved living in the moment. It can help you adapt during times of stress and unexpected life events.
Regulating your Emotions
No one can live their entire life in “survival mode”. It’s important to find out why we always find ourselves reacting to a crisis and how to keep from ending up there in the first place. Living in a life full of this sort of chaos and drama is no way to survive. Learning how to adjust and react without letting ourselves spin out of control is key. This is the essential goal in learning to manage our emotions.