Confidences saves and makes you money

Confidence saves you money and makes you money!

The investment of time and money to work on yourself, your personal growth, your confidence, is not only worth it, but I honestly believe that the actual money comes back around.

What I mainly work on healing with clients are the deeply rooted maladaptive beliefs that we have held about ourselves since we are young. Most of the time we don’t always believe these scripts or stories, although some of my clients are firmly rooted in them and others bounce back and forth between adaptive information and unhelpful information. Therapy solidifies the adaptive information that breaks down these self-deprecating stories we have told ourselves which ultimately leads to increased self-esteem, confidence, feeling true to yourself, and not taking on all of the negative shit of the world (which there is clearly a lot of – but there is a lot of beauty too :-p).

I’m not good enough

I’m powerless

I am not safe

I am not valued

I’m unloveable

Depending on the things that have happened in your life, not only your response to the event, but also the responses you received from your caretakers/loved ones, contribute highly to these deeply held beliefs. They’re not just beliefs held in your mind, but beliefs held in your body. The beliefs are felt in places such as our chests, shoulders, stomach, etc.

These beliefs and feelings pop up in weird and unexpected ways and can really limit you and prevent you from moving forward in life and following your dreams. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about confidence and money and will use some personal examples.

Wardrobe confidence

The past 6 months or so I’ve really wanted to work on creating a “capsule” wardrobe. I’m no where near that goal as it overwhelms me so I’ve been slowly pairing things down and exploring what it is I like wearing the most. I’m taking my time with it and using it as gifts of self-discovery.

I love expensive clothes. I say I have expensive taste, or just like good high quality made stuff? Not sure. Or Maybe it’s the environment in which the clothes are bought, or the message the company stands for.

Oddly enough I realized recently that I love wearing $10 shirts.

What?

Why the sudden change? Well I still like some other expensive stuff, especially if it’s something I need in higher quality, but in working on my wardrobe and finding what I like I realized a plain fitted Ts are my current favorite items in my closet.

Why?

Confidence.

I’m confident in who I am and how I look.

It all started about that time in life when people started making fun of my clothing. Or how I look. Or the fact that I couldn’t fit into the styles and clothes everyone was wearing. Then it turned into not looking professional enough, not looking old enough, not looking good enough basically. You might say it’s because I’m older now, which could be a bit factor, but also because in working on myself and my confidence and accepting myself for who I am, I don’t need to hide behind a brand or expensive clothes. It’s confidence and it’s saving me money.  I see a world of not just a SMALLER wardrobe coming my way but a CHEAPER one too! Who cares if I wore this yesterday? I like it and yes, I washed it….

Lesson I learned? Confidence can save you money!

Confidence can also MAKE you money

It doesn’t matter if you are self-employed or if you work for a company, confidence in yourself is key to moving up in your career. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone as you likely know. Therefore having adaptive information is really helpful to manage the difficulties of being outside of your comfort zone.

When you believe you are good enough, when you are likable and lovable and can access feelings of safety and power, you have more agency to navigate the difficult periods and tenacity it takes to move forward WITHOUT STUFFING/IGNORING/AVOIDING/ADDICTING/ETC.

It sounds pretty savvy to work on yourself and even invest in yourself especially knowing the result can help you to increase your income as well as safe your hard earned money. When we are confident and comfortable in ourselves we look less to external means of happiness that can put a hole in the pocketbook that never ends, and it doesn’t end because external factors just won’t do the job.

Will I become a narcissist?

Often times people think that the opposite of not good enough is thinking you’re the shit. No. The opposite of not good enough is just good enough. The pendulum doesn’t swing the other way. Because it’s all about enhancing adaptive information, not creating a fake self to hide behind. That’s not healing; that’s not the goal.

So what’s stopping you from working on yourself? From investing in yourself? You might find that you’ll benefit in ways you weren’t expecting.

How to take a nap without feeling like you suck at life

How to take a nap without feeling like you suck at life

There is a lot of information out there about napping and it’s confusing.  There are power naps, certain rules on the best amount of time to nap, when to nap, if we should even nap at all!  It’s honestly, too much for me to handle.

While everyone is proposing the new and latest best way to nap (or not nap) I’d like to address a helpful tip that honestly, has nothing to do with napping, but can make all the difference.

First of all, I don’t really give a shit if you nap for 10 minutes or if you nap for 3 hours.  Do whatever your little heart desires to do.  The catch is when you wake up.

When you wake up from a nap are you saying:

“Fuck!”

“Why did I take a nap I have so much shit to do!!”

“That was a complete waste of time”

“I”m lazy”

“I suck at life”

“Will I ever stop having the needs of a 3 year old?!”

Now you feel like shit.  Right? Of course you do you just berated yourself for listening to your body and doing what it needed to do.  You have now likely undone any benefit of your nap because you are in a negative mental space.

When we feel like shit we are more likely to say, “oh man I slept 47 minutes.  I should have either slept 20 or 90 according to that article I just read online.  That’s why I still feel like crap.”

Well, maybe?  But let’s be honest.  You are probably feeling like crap from all that negative self-talk you just vomited about yourself.  And now you’re running around the house like a mad person pissing everyone off in your path in order to make up for that 47 minutes of lost time in which you probably weren’t going to be productive with any of it anyways because you were too damn tired.

Panic attack ensues…

I (hopefully) painted a lovely picture for you.

How to take a kick-ass nap:

Take a nap whenever you want! If your eyelids are drooping and you just “can’t even” take a nap.

If you’re at work… don’t take a nap.  Someone will fire your ass.

If you have a small child who is outside playing… don’t take a nap.  Your kid will get seriously injured, lost, or die.

If you’re driving… don’t take a nap.  Pull the car over first in an area where it is safe to pull your car over…

Hopefully common sense can take over from here.  Otherwise, if you are tired and say “I need a nap right now” and if napping would not cause death or serious harm to yourself or another, or job loss or some other social catastrophe, then go ahead and take a nap!

Now for the real work…..

The real work comes in when you awake from your nap.  The first thing to do is just be mindful of your thoughts and observe them.  If you notice any negative shit floating around then recognize that and challenge the thought.

“I’m not lazy, I work really hard” (maybe even provide an example or two)

“I don’t suck at life, I’m obviously performing so well at it that I needed to take a break for a minute”

“Yes, I’ve got shit to do, but it isn’t the end of the world and now I feel better and have more energy to be productive.”

Get the idea?

Just like magic that nap was suddenly a grand idea, you’re not beating yourself up, you are refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.  Maybe even with a smile :)

And that is how to take a nap without feeling like you suck at life

clock-daylight savings morning routine

Start your Morning Routine when Daylight Saving Time Ends

People complain about daylight saving time and every spring and autumn they ask, “WHY, WHY are we doing this?!” Despite all the asking why and complaining, the hour time change is still here – well, for most of us.

I’ve always LOVED “Fall Back” because who doesn’t love gaining an extra hour of sleep?! Despite love for the extra hour, it takes many people (me included!) a good week or two to fully adjust to that little hour difference. How do international travelers do it all the time???!

Many of my clients say things like, “I would love to exercise in the morning but I can’t bring myself to get up earlier.” Others might say, “I’d really love to start my day with meditation and yoga.” While others talk about the breakfast they would like to prepare or the newspaper they want to read… and many other “wishes” and “dreams” that they have about their morning routine. Having an hour or so to yourself in the morning is great (if you can figure out the logistics of it).

Capitalize on that extra hour when daylight saving time ends and we “fall back” to standard time! Your body will likely take a week or two to adjust so instead of adjusting, just get up an hour earlier. If you usually get up at 6, get up at 5. You might still be groggy, but if you want a time of year when your body is going to revolt less to getting up earlier, now is a great time! Take advantage of the changing of the clocks!!

Now you have an extra hour to engage in your self care morning routine!! It can be whatever you want – exercise, relaxation, cleaning, e-mails. Whatever floats your boat!

What have you always been wanting to do in the morning? Can you do it in an hour? Modify it to be an hour? Use this “Extra time” to your advantage!

Conversely, a lot of people say “I need to get to bed earlier” in order to wake up to do those things. Again. NOW is the time! If you keep waking up early you will be tired an hour earlier. So be it if you go to bed “early.” No one has to know. You don’t HAVE to tell people the “weird” hour in which you go to bed or arise in the morning. That’s personal information! All that matters is that you are using your time how YOU want to.

I hear so many people say they want to go to bed earlier in order to get up earlier to engage in whatever activity they desire….. Take advantage and starting owning you morning routine rather than your morning routine own you!

I love to accomplish something in the morning. By doing so, if I have a “bad” day, then I can always say I did “this” in the morning and that helps me to feel good!

You don’t have a desire to do anything in the morning?? Rather have more time in the evening? Well then forget everything I said and look forward to spring :)

Try out a new morning routine. What is your ideal routine? Test it out. How did it go?

You don't HAVE to be happy ALL the time. A blog about feelings

You don’t HAVE to be happy ALL the time

I am an advocate for re-framing negative thinking, use of positive affirmations, self-compassion and all the wonderful strategies to eliminate the negative and bring in the positive.  I see SO MANY positive memes out there on social media encouraging us to be grateful, thankful and happy.  In many ways this is a great reminder to put life into perspective and challenge that negative demon inside our brains.

The problem is that sometimes people take this to mean that they “shouldn’t be sad” or angry, disappointed, anxious, etc… So what do you do when you believe that you shouldn’t feel a certain way?  Stuff the feeling and replace it with the recommended feelings – happiness, gratitude, joy, love, etc. It is healthy to NOT become STUCK in negative emotions, but what happens when we don’t allow ourselves to feel them… or even worse, feel guilt or shame about feeling them!?!

The outcome of stuffed feelings can look different on different people and I can tell you it usually doesn’t turn out well.  Sometimes people stuff their feelings so that when the cup overflows they take it out on someone else. Other times they take it out on themselves and even a surge of uncontrollable symptoms appear (like a panic attack).  When done over and over again people can show signs of depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and other issues.

People can stuff for days, months, years, decades… I’ve seen a lot of stuffing in my therapy sessions.

So my goal of this post is to say….  Stop Stuffing and Start Feeling!

EWWWW Feeling!!!! Yuck.

I hear you.  Feeling isn’t the best thing in the world… good stuff maybe.. bad stuff not so much.  Feeling feelings is hard work, exhausting and downright UNCOMFORTABLE!

So How do I even begin to feel feelings?

Start small!  I’m a supporter of small steps as learned about in “What about Bob?

Allow yourself to feel a little bit and when it gets just outside your comfort zone engage yourself in some relaxation and calm down again.  Then feel some more outside your comfort zone and calm yourself down again. Every time a feeling arises and you allow yourself to feel just past the comfort zone before relaxing, you slowly increasing your tolerance for emotion!

Now, there is no need to work yourself up and make yourself uncomfortable.  Life is good about giving us plenty of opportunities to feel shitty.  So when an opportunity comes your way, feel the feels and then go to your “calm place.” Slowly build that window.

When the feelings come in, the healing can begin.
Use affirmations, be compassionate to yourself, change your negative thoughts, but don’t let these skills stop you from feeling your feelings. Ignored feelings fester and turn into bigger problems.  Go past your comfort zone and allow the wave of emotion to ebb and flow.  Ride the uncomfortable roller coaster toward healing.

stop shoulding on yourself

Stop Shoulding on Yourself

Are you tired of scrolling facebook and seeing countless articles about how you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be living your life?  I know I was and actually stopped following major blogging sites as a result.  I noticed I was feeling worse and the culprit wasn’t facebook envy.

I have a pet peeve with blog posts that contain the word “should.”  Especially posts that are intended to HELP people, but using the word should only passes negative judgment.  In starting my blogging adventure I vowed to myself to never use the word should in a title…. except for this fun variation ;-)

Should is a nasty word

It’s filled with negative judgement and shame.

“I should have done this/that” or “I shouldn’t have done this/that”

“Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda but didn’t”

I’m not exactly sure where this quote originates from other than from my brother.  He used to say it every time I stared “shoulding” on myself when I was younger.  I suppose it was the brotherly way to say, “What’s done is done, learn from your mistakes and move on.”

Now I’m NOT saying that no one makes mistakes…. it’s just that we can phrase things slightly differently and by doing so it has a surprising effect on our mood…..

What sounds better?

1. “I shouldn’t have eaten that bag of chips”

2. “I don’t feel good about eating that bag of chips.  Next time I will eat less to avoid feeling this way”

The first one is a JUDGEMENT on yourself.  Whereas the second sentence is not judgmental but yet an observation of the consequence of eating the bag of chips.  By observing the situation we can better LEARN from the mistake and work on acting differently to CHANGE the emotional response.

It might sound silly to some people, but by working to cut out or reduce these negative/judgmental words, depression symptoms will lessen and you will begin to feel better about yourself.

Try This:

Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend

We don’t should on our friends…. (sometimes we do) but often times when we are trying to be kind and compassionate to our friend who is shoulding on themselves, we help them see the positive, or help them reword their mistake to be less judgmental.

Therefore most people already possess the skill to change their thought patterns and negative self talk as demonstrated by doing it with others.  We just need to start practicing it on ourselves.

Next time you hear your voice shoulding on yourself, stop and think for a minute.  How can I reword this?  Is shoulding on myself helping me?

Answer: No it isn’t.  It is only make me feel WORSE.  How can I learn from my mistake? Move forward… and be happy :)

 

black and while shoreline with rocks

Take Charge of your Depression – Captain your own Ship.

Control is a big topic in most of my therapy sessions. People usually fall on either side of the line of trying to take too much control or feeling so overwhelmed they take no control. Today I’m going to talk about the side in which we are so overwhelmed and drowning, we just don’t even know where to turn…. also known as depression.

The truth of the matter is that storms happen. All the time. Set out to sea for a few days and I’m sure you will encounter some storms.

Life is the same.
We have hurdles, bumps, hills, mountains, valleys, etc. to combat often. One thing I CAN guarantee is that these challenges will continue to happen in life.

Sometimes storms seem never ending and they can happen consecutively.
When this happens people sometimes experience learned helplessness. This is common in depression when people cannot improve their situation, cannot get out, and feel stuck.

When people get stuck it is really hard to try and take hold of the wheel. Sometimes we just run in circles exhausting ourselves and look in all the wrong directions for the answers. That usually makes things worse and the learned helplessness and depression becomes stronger.

The problem is, if you don’t grab a hold of the wheel the ship, car, bike, what have you, the situation can be dire. I don’t know anyone that would set his or her car on cruise control and go in the back seat and take a nap. You know your car will eventually go off the road and you will end up in a ditch, or worse. So why live your life this way?

OK. So I have to take on the wheel of life, but Stacey, I don’t know where to begin?!?!

Well the answer to that is more complicated because it is different for everyone! A therapist is a trained professional who can help you to navigate through your situation in a few different ways.
Here are some areas that I may focus on with you in sessions:

Work through your ambivalence

People who struggle with depression do not move forward nor make decisions because they’re stupid. Rather, it comes from feeling overwhelmed and valuing two or more options (ambivalence). Therapy will help you to fully explore your feelings about your ambivalence to get a clearer picture of what is your strongest value and what it is that you need/want in your life right now.

PROS and CONS

This might sound simple, but it is actually really helpful. Making a PROS/CONS of EACH situation you are exploring can be eye opening! Beware of quantity over quality. Just because you have MORE listed on one side doesn’t mean it is of more VALUE. Try rating each item on a scale of 1-10 and add up the value in the column for more insight.

Understanding the Deeper Meaning

Therapists get a bad rap for making things more complicated, but hear me out. Our wants and desires are sometimes influenced by deeper psychological needs that often go back to childhood attachment. It can also go back to other relationships and significant life events. Therapy can help people to understand how events in life can shape current feelings, thoughts, desires, and needs. Once a deeper understanding occurs, one can make a more informed decision (and decrease depression!)

Those are a few examples of what I may explore with you if you come into my office with symptoms of depression. It is nice to know there are ways out and that you’ll be steering your ship once again.

Authentic Self Girl

How to find your Authentic Self

“If I hadn’t made me, I would’ve been made somehow
If I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now
If I hadn’t made me, I’d be more inclined to bow
Powers that be, would have swallowed me up
But that’s more than I can allow

But if you really want to live
Why not try, and make yourself”

~Incubus

I am a big Incubus fan and this is one of my anthems. I saved you all from the vulgarities, but I LOVE the message of this song and the premise is infused in the purpose of my practice.

My goal as a therapist is to help people to be themselves and to be happy with themselves. That’s why I went with the whole “authentic self” thing.

The wonderful thing is, or annoying (depends on how you look at it), is that we are always “making” ourselves. Often times in therapy sessions a client might say to me “but I already worked on that!!!” I say, “Sure, and you did a great job! However, you’re not the same person you were then! So lets revisit it and see what works for you now.”

Some wise person said something about not being able to step in the same river twice (after a quick Google search I find it is Heraclitus)

We are constantly changing and therefore constantly coming into our own.

How does one develop their authentic self???

Good question. There is no cut and dry answer, but I have some tips!

1. Exploration and Adventure!

I’m always encouraging clients to find out what they are interested in. Problem is, a main symptom of depression is loss of interest in activities or pleasures that one used to find pleasurable. The fancy word for that is anhedonia. So if you have some of that weird anhedonia going on, no worries, we can work through that in therapy.

2. Self-Compassion

Well, this one is a doozy! Part of finding your authentic self is actually working on liking yourself. And I don’t mean liking yourself when you have “finished” the job. Remember… there isn’t an end.. it keeps going. It is essential to like yourself during the process. This is particularly hard for you critical, perfectionist, logically minded people. I know, because I am one of them. During this process in therapy we learn that we are lovable, desirable, good enough, deserving, powerful, intelligent, strong and so on. I will likely write more on this topic another time!

3. Work through Cognitive Dissonance

When we have conflicting beliefs and behaviors we experience cognitive dissonance. It is hard to be true to one’s self when we are overwhelmed and things pile up to the point that we don’t even know who we are anymore, what we believe in, or what direction we are going in! It can get pretty messy when pushed to the side. Working through this helps you to define and understand your true values. When people address this in therapy it really helps them to find themselves and that’s when they really start to SHINE!

I feel like that is a lot for now, but I think this is something I will continue to build off in future blog posts. Bottom line is, being yourself and building your authentic self will help you to be the strong person you are and not controlled or formed by others. Because honestly, who likes to be controlled by others?!

Empty chair on a porch featuring an article written about suicide.

Lets take the ‘Selfish’ out of Suicide

This past weekend I was watching season 3 of House of Cards when there was a particular episode that mentioned suicide a couple of times. I noticed how suicide was viewed by some characters on the show as being a selfish act. As a mental health professional, I disagree.

Of course those left behind by a friend or family member who committed suicide are often distraught, upset, sad, guilty and angry. Calling someone selfish is a pretty angry thing to say and I want to note that it is OK to be angry!!. It is normal that we are mad at them for leaving us to grieve their loss! We are mad they chose to do what they did and wished they could have gotten better. Anger is a very normal part of grieving. However, once we feel our anger and begin to move forward, it’s helpful in the healing process to work on empathizing with the person who was lost.

Labeling suicide as selfish continues to stigmatize mental illness and the people suffering from a horrible disease.

Throughout my career, I have worked with some very high-risk populations. As a result, I have experienced two client suicides. Looking back on these situations I recognize how far into their illness these individuals were. They were experiencing clinical depression along with other diagnoses as well. They were battling with extreme hopelessness, helplessness and negative outlooks on the future. They did not see a solution to their problem. They did not see it getting better. There is nothing I could have said or done at that point to change their minds.

Does that make them selfish?

Did I know they were going to suicide? Of course not. They didn’t reach out for help in their final moments. The pain was too much to bear and they did not see life getting any better.

I recently heard a story of a woman who chose to go off life support in the final stages of battling with a brain tumor. Was she selfish? How is her lost battle to a brain tumor different from a lost battle to mental illness?

Sometimes it’s helpful to compare it to a physical disease because it makes more sense when it’s physical. The unknowns of suicide make it difficult for us to make sense of so when we try to make sense of it, we can’t and then label it instead. So looking at it similarly to a physical issue, it helps us open up to the fact that there was a mental issue and the person was in fact suffering quite a bit, but maybe we just didn’t know about it.