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- Using Affirmations to Shift from Self-Judgment to Self-Compassion
How do you talk to yourself? Really think about this. Take a regular morning routine, such as getting ready for work, and think about what you say to yourself. As you check the mirror before stepping out of your home, what do you say? If it's something like, "You look fabulous!" you're probably not suffering too much from self-judgment. But it might be more likely that you say something like, "I look so fat" or "Great, bags under my eyes again." As your day progresses, what's the self-talk? When you make a mistake at work, is your response compassionate or judgmental? Do you say things like "I'm such an idiot," or other negative comments? It's important to point out that most people are very self-critical and at the same time, totally unaware of how damaging this is. Listen to your own self-talk and then picture yourself talking to a friend that way. The odds are, you would never speak to someone else as harshly as you speak to yourself. Let's consider some strategies for reducing self judgement and its impacts. Positive affirmations If you are continuously having negative thoughts about yourself, it is very hard to feel positive about anything, much less yourself. A mindful approach to shifting this habit is to write down a few simple affirmations and say one of them any time you become aware of negative self-thinking. These don't need to be elaborate, but they need to feel at least possible. For example, if you hear your thoughts calling yourself fat, you can self-correct with "I am getting healthier every day." Amazingly, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you will notice at your next meal, you are at least considering making healthier choices. But the point is, you can't tell yourself that you're fat, then try to correct it with "I'm so skinny." When you try to use the positive words directly opposite your negative self-talk, your brain has trouble believing it. So find a statement better than what you're saying to yourself, that feels realistic, and keep improving it over time. If you call yourself stupid, you can do the same thing. If you don't believe that you're a genius, don't say to yourself, "I'm so intelligent." Say something like, "I'm actually pretty smart." Or you could try, "I'm pretty smart when I focus on something." Stop now and write down a negative thought you have repeatedly about yourself. Then write a gentle but opposite thought that you can replace the negative thought with each time it occurs. Keep it short so that you can remember it. Then practice it each time that negative thought pops up. Anytime you feel negative about yourself, pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself if you believe those thoughts and replace those thoughts with something more self-compassionate. If you are having trouble recognizing or replacing your negative self-talk, an EFAP counsellor can help you to identify negative thinking patterns and reframe them in a positive way. Connect with us. We're here to help.
- Five Benefits of Journaling
Journaling is a common and popular outlet for managing mental health, sparking creativity, and remembering events in one's life. There are many different reasons why people keep journals and all of them are beneficial. Benefits of keeping a journal 1. Organizes your thoughts and emotions We can use specific journals for different aspects such as goal setting, expressing gratitude, analyzing dreams, processing emotions, and the list goes on! Journaling helps many people keep track of and make sense of their thoughts and emotions. 2. Facilitates problem solving Writing down problems and life situations that are upsetting can help you to gain perspective on them. If they are situations within your control, oftentimes, one can come up with solutions more easily on paper. You can write out pros and cons of each solution thoroughly and choose the one that feels best. You can then create a plan to put the solution in place and reflect on your progress as you go. 3. Relieves stress Writing down your emotions can provide a sense of relief as it helps you to process them. It allows you to express any feelings that may be causing you anxiety or frustration instead of keeping them bottled up inside. 4. Encourages self-reflection Daily journaling allows us to reflect on our day, express our gratitude, or become aware of our triggers. The more we journal the more we become in-tune with our thoughts and emotions. We can use journals to reflect on our growth over a period of time. 5. Helps with memory Were you ever told in school that writing down your notes will help you remember them? It works the same with journaling! You are more likely to retain events in your life if you have written them down. Do you want to start journaling but don't know where to start? Download this self-care journaling prompts tip sheet for a list of questions that will get your pen on to the paper. Perfectionistic tendencies can make journaling challenging or make it less likely that you will get started. When you begin journaling, try not to worry about grammar, spelling, how much you write, or what you write. Let your thoughts flow from your head down onto the paper without judgment.
- 6 Steps for Better Communications With Your Partner
We all have misunderstandings and communication blunders with our partners, no matter how happy the relationship is. Here are six tips for improving communications and your relationship with your partner. 1. Schedule time with each other Set aside a certain amount of time each week to spend together and have this time free from interruptions (put those phones away!) so that you have an opportunity to listen to each other. Happy couples spend more time talking than unhappy couples. 2. Use “I” language When communicating, use "I" messages instead of “you” messages. “You” language can sound very accusatory and put your partner on the defensive, which will turn the conversation sour right off the bat. On the other hand, when you use “I” language, you take responsibility for your own emotions and don’t point the finger at your partner. There’s a big difference between “You never do your part of the chores!” and “I feel like I have to nag about the chores.” 3. Be clear and direct Send clear, direct messages about what you feel and what you want. You may spend a lot of time together, but your partner cannot read your mind. Also, don’t assume you know your partner’s thoughts and motivations. You may notice the dirty floors and that your child is struggling with her homework, but your partner may not. Don’t just assume they won’t pitch in when they start watching TV instead. Don’t get upset but be clear and direct: point out the work that must be done and say that you cannot do it all by yourself. 4. Rephrase to make sure you understand what is being said When conversation seems vague, rephrase it in words of your own. This way you can make sure that what you think your partner has said is, in fact, what your partner means or is trying to say. 5. Share emotions Talking about your feelings (even the embarrassing ones) is one of the most effective ways to build trust, openness, and closeness in your relationship. 6. Give positive feedback to each other Commenting on things that you like about each other, and openly appreciating what you do for each other builds closeness. Try to find something each day that your spouse has done that you appreciate, that you enjoy, or that you respect, and share that with your spouse. If you feel like your relationship needs more attention, an EFAP counsellor can help. We offer individual and couples counselling to assist you with improving the communication in your relationship.