12 ways to practice self awareness

12-ways-to-practice-self-awareness

Being self aware dramatically changes how we live. Understanding how we feel and why, what we are thinking, and how we are being perceived means we can facilitate better relationships privately and professionally.

Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, owner of the Golden State Warriors and best selling author, even said that self awareness is ‘the most important skill for career success’. So how do we become more self aware—especially when we’re scared about what we’ll find out?

Huffington Post and The Utopian Life put together this infographic, giving 12 steps to practice self awareness in your own life. Starting with asking yourself ‘why?’ every time to make a decision, to changing your posture, monitoring your self talk, being accountable, knowing your personality type and practicing meditation, try a couple of these practices this week and see what you learn about yourself.

12-essential-self-awareness-excercises

Do you want to become more self aware? Would you like to practice these exercises with the help of a professional? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how she can best help you or press book now on the online diary.

5 ways to practice positive self talk

5-ways-to-practice-positive-self-talk

One of the first strategies I ever learnt in counselling was self talk. Initially it sounded strange—who talks to themselves? But I soon found it was one of the simplest ways to overcome fear and anxiety in my own life.

Though we don’t talk about it, we all have our own inner monologue. Whether we think, “I looked stupid,” “I hope they like me,” or “I feel confident today,” it’s what goes through our heads each day. And the monologue you have will depend on the truths and lies you have believed about yourself.

Self-talk challenges this monologue and enables us to change our thinking and our behaviour. Here are five ways you can practice it in your own life.

  1. “I am enough”

Many people struggle with feelings of inferiority and have a fear of rejection. You may have grown up feeling like you had to compete for attention, or had words spoken to you by significant figures, stating that you were worthless, a failure or would amount to nothing in life.

When you feel this anxiety and loneliness, repeat these words to yourself: “I am enough”. You won’t believe them straight away, but use these words to give you confidence that you will get through your circumstances. As you keep saying these words and outliving them, eventually you will believe them about yourself.

  1. “I am brave”

Are you afraid of a certain person, an activity or an environment? Repeat the words, “I am brave,” to yourself, and challenge your inner monologue that says you are fearful, inconsequential and should be taken  advantage of.

Follow these words by doing what you are afraid of—speaking up for yourself, leaving a poisonous relationship, or trying something new. You will enforce your self talk and soon, you will realise that you are incredibly brave and do not have to let fear control you.

  1. “I am worthy”

Do people take advantage of you, speak down to you or say that everything they do wrong is your fault? Repeat the phrase, “I am worthy,” so you begin to believe that you deserve better than this. By simply existing, you are worthy of love, respect, value and feeling safe.

Next time someone challenges this belief, stand up for yourself. You don’t have to waiver or be fearful that you are ‘wrong’ to speak up. You are worthy of having a voice and being heard.

  1. “I am responsible for my actions and feelings”

If you struggle to take responsibility for your actions or words, begin to repeat this phrase to yourself: “I am responsible for my actions and feelings ”. By saying this, you break the cycle of blame and empower yourself to change your circumstances.

Saying these words does not make you entirely responsible for a situation or excuse the behaviour of another; it just allows you to take control of what you can change. When you take responsibility for yourself, you can begin a new chapter in your life.

  1. “I can do this”

These are simple words, but if you doubt yourself or are unconvinced you can overcome a situation, addiction or behaviour, then saying, “I can do this,” will compel you to move forward.

Challenge your inner belief that says you are a failure, and repeat this phrase to yourself before you go to a significant appointment, have cravings, or are ready to run away and live in denial.

Do you struggle with your inner monologue? Would you like to learn more about positive self talk? Contact Watersedgecounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

10 Ways to Break Negative Thinking

10-Ways-to-Break-Negative-Thinking

We all have negative thoughts every now and then, but there are times when they rule our lives. For people who are depressed, having a negative mindset can be both a symptom and a contributing factor to the illness.

In his book, ‘Feeling Better,’ Dr Antony Kidman identifies three thought processes that are common in depression-prone people. They are

  • a negative view of self,
  • a negative view of the world and
  • a negative view of the future.

Can you identify these mindsets in your own life? If you find yourself spiralling into negative thoughts, there is a way to break the cycle. Here are ten ways to break your negative thinking.

  1. Challenge your perception of ‘all or nothing’

Life isn’t black and white, so when we define ourselves by categories or achievements, we perpetuate negative thinking. Consider an A or A+ student. When they just pass, they can fall into the mindset of ‘I am a failure’.

You can challenge this all or nothing paradigm by considering your situation from another person’s point-of-view. Think about the best and worst of the situation, and recognise that this categorical thought process is a distorted and unrealistic way of thinking.

  1. Stop catastrophising a situation

When we are uncertain about the future, we tend to exaggerate the circumstances around upcoming events. This means that instead of expecting the best, we automatically jump to the worst conclusion possible.

For example, if your boss calls you into a meeting, you might exaggerate how they spoke to you that morning, imagining they are about to fire you. However, this is extremely unlikely, and in fact, they are about to praise you for your work. You can stop catastrophising by listing all the possible outcomes of an event (good and bad), and asking a friend for their perspective.

  1. Remember it’s not all about you

There’s nothing worse than seeing someone frown or give you a snide side-glance. You imagine that every negative comment is a passive attack on you, and the people are perpetually annoyed by your presence. This is a personalisation thought process.

Challenge this thinking by remembering this simple fact: you are not the centre of their universe, and that’s ok. It is extremely unlikely people are responding to you in these cases, and even if they did have a problem, it is their responsibility to approach you about it.

  1. Don’t predict the future

Misfortune telling occurs when we imagine the future in a totally negative light. This thought process prevents you from having a balanced and realistic view of the world and the opportunities ahead of you.

Challenge this thought process by considering the best possible outcome in a situation. Remember the good things you have experienced in the past, and use this as a shield to stop your negative predictions of the future.

  1. Try not to overgeneralise

Over-generalisation inhibits our confidence by suggesting a negative experience will always happen in certain situations. Like when a person is rejected for a date—they may then assume they will never fall in love, there is something wrong with them, and people find them repulsive.

When you start down this rabbit hole, challenge your over-generalisations with rationality. One rejection or failure is not a map for the future; it is a single event that has the potential to pan out differently in another place or time.

  1. Pay attention to the positive details

If you ignore positivity, you will get caught in negative thoughts and feelings of sadness. Even the good becomes bland, and we can become cynical and bored.

You can challenge your negative thoughts by looking for positive details—a delicious meal, a warm hug, or the sun peaking through the clouds. Write in a diary every day, and you will be surprised by how many wonderful things occur for you in a week!

  1. Stop jumping to conclusions

False conclusions are just that—false. But when we jump to them in the heat of the moment, they seem real and plausible. Our own insecurities cause us to misread people and circumstances, and bring us to negative conclusions.

You can challenge this thought process by identifying other factors happening around you. For instance, your friend may not have responded to your text straight away, but it’s unlikely they are annoyed with you. In fact, they’re probably just busy or have run out of credit.

  1. Don’t expect people to read your mind

Couples can tell you first-hand how dangerous this thought process is. When we expect people to read our minds and ‘just know’ what we need and how we feel, we will nearly always be disappointed. In turn, we jump to false conclusions and become unhappy with the people around us.

You can challenge this mindset by voicing your concerns and needs. Next time you get annoyed because your spouse isn’t doing the ‘right thing’, consider this question: ‘Have I actually asked them for help, or do I just expect them to know I need it’?

  1. Challenge irrational beliefs

Most people have beliefs that are unfounded. We believe that we ‘should’ do things, and that we ‘must’ fulfil certain expectations. These irrational beliefs make us feel isolated, burn out and cynical.

Challenge your irrational beliefs by changing your mindsets. Instead of ‘I must’ or ‘I never’, think, ‘I would prefer to do this’. Dare to sit-out an activity your irrational belief compels you to do. When you break these beliefs, you stop striving for an unattainable perfection.

  1. Practice self-talk

When we feel depressed or are consumed by negative thoughts, we get upset of a secondary disturbance. This thought process means that we get more upset about our negative feelings. For instance, someone who is depressed may think, ‘I should not be depressed’, and so feel even worse.

You can challenge this belief by practicing positive self-talk. Say to yourself, ‘It is okay to feel this way,’ ‘This feeling will pass,’ and ‘Positive things are ahead’. You might even try meditation or mindfulness to overcome this negative mindset.

Do you struggle with negative thought patterns? Would you like to break free? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

This blog was written with the assistance of Dr Antony Kidman’s book ‘Feeling Better: A Guide to Mood Management’.