Optimism Answers

How do I move on?

Tragedy There is nothing that can be said here to make anything better. What happens in life are these inevitable situations where pain stacks up and pushes us to our limit. You were not yet an adult, but your parents' children, and now you are trying to visualize life without them, meanwhile living with the pain of watching them both die so abruptly.  Everybody will say this, but what would your parents want for your life? After all, they were the ones who sacrificed to get you to your adulthood. If they committed to their purpose, it was to get you fashioned into a responsible adult who, if blessed, takes on a family and does what is good for others. You are seeing this situation through the lens you are familiar with in your life. There is an alternative view: practice empathy and see the same situation from your parents' eyes.  Since you are a parent, you know what it is like to watch a cute little, helpless baby start to roll over, crawl, then walk, form a personality, and before you know it, start to talk back. The psychological development of children is just as much a milestone as walking or talking. Please stick with me here. However, when our little child minds become aware of others, such as our parents, we become aware of ourselves. When we become aware of ourselves, we start to say and do the things that expand on this "self" idea. Parents have to watch it go down every time we say "no," or "I hate you," or worse. You see, your parents have already sacrificed to do what was necessary, not for the pain itself, but for the joy of seeing you grow up and do the same for others.  Love doesn't stop at death, but continues on in teaching and modeling. Your parents gave you love, and you innately know love. Because of their sacrifice and their gift to you, in raising you and watching you grow and keeping you safe to grow into the person you need to be for others, they served their purpose.  I guess this always comes down to purpose. What is it in life that is worth all of this? What do we think of our life? Is it for comfort, or for purpose? Often when we mourn and lose hope in any purpose in life, it's because we seek the familiar comforts. Your parents served their purpose so that you could be comfortable? No, they sacrificed, innately, to provide for you to become something for others as well. This is the basic premise of humanity and one that you are responsible for, from them.  Use the gift they gave you, their time and genetics, to go out into the world and do what you are supposed to do. If, at this point, you do not know what that means or what that looks like, find what matters most to you. Whether that is service to others, or maybe it is an encouraging word. Whatever your view is on the afterlife, some people become more aware of their transcendent, spiritual self. Your job now is to appreciate mom and dad through living the life they would have wanted for you.  Your children do get to meet your mom and dad, their best parts, in fact, through you. I hate sounding wishy-washy, but this is reality; your parents are not "gone," but only in one form. Your parents invested their entire life into you, and now your kids get to see what that is like as you filter out and give to them the best parts. You have a job, and though sadness is present, you have things to do. Bring the sadness with you. Bring the pain and hurt with you on this. That feeling right now, what you are experiencing, hold on to that. Not as a victim, but remember it because one day, you will need to tap into that pain to relate to someone else and what they are going through. No, your situation will not be theirs, but, you will know what it is like to hurt. Maybe that will be for your own kids, as they grow up and face this harsh world. Maybe one day, you will sit at the foot of the bed while they are crying because a friend was mean or maybe they themselves messed up. Your job at that moment will depend on you today and what you contribute to yourself in finding hope in the darkest places. You can actually find gratitude in all of this when you think about it.  Your parents did all of this, to give to you, your kids, and the world you experience the gift of a fully formed and caring you. Show the world what they sacrificed for.
Answered on 02/07/2023

How do I choose joy everyday, instead of resentment and anger?

Thank you very much for asking your question regarding your emotions, it's a very interesting, meaningful and important topic for all human beings, as we are speaking about one basic pillar of our lives.  Basic emotions (Fear, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, Joy and Surprise) are common for many animals, including us, because they are natural (they are not learnt) and they are adaptive, which means they are there to help keep us alive and adapt to the changes of the environment we are living in. What does it all mean? That it's important to listen to them and take them into account.  In order to do this, I would recommend always assessing the experience of your emotions in a rational way. As you describe after your question, there are many good things going on now that you can focus on, but there are also many other things you are lacking and it's normal that it brings you certain emotions. In this sense, I honestly encourage you to explore new ways to enjoy yourself a bit more and, perhaps, socialise and make plans if possible, so you can address that loneliness. Besides, you could add to your daily routine some exercises of self-improvement (assertiveness, self-appreciation, sports, hobbies, meditation, etc.) that are very helpful in terms of improving your self-esteem and your self-confidence.  Working on all this together will allow you to feel better and happier, so you won't have as many unpleasant emotions towards your partner and your current situation. Actually, you will feel more grateful and enjoy more your time at home and with your partner.  I honestly think you can achieve this, you only need to assess your situation rationally and in a realistic way, so you can plan your long-term goals. Then, you can set some short-term goals (weekly and daily), so you approach your objectives little by little. Once you have your plan, try to stick to it and believe in yourself. Finally, remember always to be nice and kind to yourself during the whole process and try to keep it forever, being your own best friend is one of the most important things to be able to achieve anything.  I hope it all goes fantastically for you. Wish you all the best. 
(Master's, Degree, in, Third, Generation, Psychological, Therapies, Bsc, in, Psychology, Msc, in, Prevention, of, Addictions)
Answered on 02/06/2023

Why do I feel like I am always stuck in life and can't find my purpose no matter how far I've got?

Hi Vals, Thank you for asking this question. This is a common issue that many people from all walks of life face whether they become successful or not. From this you can see that the issue has nothing to do with being successful or financial stability, rather it has more to do with being content with what you already have. It is challenging to work on this as it is related to many deep rooted issues. However, if worked on one can overcome it and make life joyful and happy.  To start with you should become aware of your achievements, your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Reflect and then write down how each of the achievements made you feel and the reason for this feeling. Then reflect on the  motivation you had while you were working on this- were there external factors motivating you? If there were only external factors then are there any intrinsic factors that you think of that can develop overtime to become your intrinsic motivation? This would require a lot of reflecting and while you are writing all these thoughts down it will help clarify your thoughts and your feelings towards your goals.  The next thing I want you to think about is gratitude. List 10 things in your life you are grateful for. Are they related to any of your goals and achievements? As you are thinking and making the list think about life in general and see how when you did achieve some of your goals or while you had these blessings in life were you grateful in that moment- why or why not? This will help clarify your thought process and set your thought process to become more positive.  As you go through these exercises you will get a better understanding of yourself and why you choose to do certain things and what your priorities are in life. As you are becoming clear you can redshift your thought process and set more meaningful goals and find intrinsic motivation to work on rather than external validation. This will help you tremendously in finding your purpose in life and not choosing to do things for meaningless purposes.  I suggest that you work with a counselor to help you navigate this as it would be very helpful. I hope this was helpful for you.  Best,  Dr. Saima 
Answered on 01/31/2023

How is it possible to remove bad thoughts and ideas and just focus on the moment and be happy?

Happy? Boy, do I have a metaphor for you.  Imagine this; you are a bus driver in charge of doing what a bus driver does, driving the bus to and from places carrying what? Passengers. So the thing about the passengers is that you don't control who gets on and who gets off. The best you can do is drive the bus. Sometimes you have individuals who try to get your attention or distract you, and what happens when you take your eyes off the road? You get distracted, and you could crash the bus. So, it would be best if you kept your eyes on the road, no matter who gets on your bus.  See, the thing about life is, we aren't in as much control over ourselves and the environment as we are made to believe. You have thoughts and emotions, but they are not what defines you. You have to shift your perspective on how you think about things, not what you think about. Saying you aren't happy says that you would be better if you woke up tomorrow and felt happy. But what is happiness but a temporary state of mind that never actually lasts that long? Looking at human emotions, there are significantly more negative than positive emotions. So, to hold out for permanent happiness is a waste of life. Instead, you can let go of the belief that being happy and you could live in the state of presence.  One thing that therapy, yoga, athletics, and careers have in common is that we perform efficiently when we are in the moment. When we are distracted, our thoughts are racing, or we believe that some other place would be better, we aren't present. To be present means to be in the moment fully and to pull your attention to the moment with you. Rather than indulge the thought that you aren't happy or that this or that would be better, or the underlying belief that you would be happy when... So, you notice the passengers on your bus, and yet you keep your eyes on the road no matter what the passengers do or say. Your job in life isn't to cure, remedy, or set every passenger straight, but to drive the bus. You have the ability to do this, but you've formed a bad habit of indulging a little too much, the thought that you aren't happy and then that thought's cousin that says you could be happy if you make more money, or lose weight, or get that job. How many people sacrifice thousands of dollars and years of their life to go to school for a career they believe the whole way through will make them happy, and then get the job and are worse off than before?  Your moods will change. They convince you that they are you, and you believe your thoughts and feelings. You let the passengers tell you what to do and then are surprised that you didn't get to where you wanted to go. You can't kick the passengers off the bus; they are there with you. You have to accept they exist, even if you don't like them, and pay attention to what matters most to you.  What is all this pain of life, pain of change, and attempts to be happy for? What does all of our life bend in service to? Is the ultimate value to be happy in life? Or is there something deeper, something less selfish and more significant for others? It doesn't have to be, but there could be something you think is what you care about, but in reality, you are missing the real thing. Here's a way to find out what someone's value in life is: What is happiness, but maybe a sign that you made the right choice in life? Making the correct choice could be a sign of being an intelligent person. What kind of people are smart? Well, maybe good people are smart. You can see then that maybe all of this is in service to being a "good" person. Now you can start to do the mental work in what matters and what is worth living and enduring all this pain for. If you want to be content and feel satisfied, make sure that every move you make is in service to your highest value; anything less than that is suffering.  Pain without purpose is suffering.  Let go of your old belief that you must address every thought to improve. Let go of the belief that you won't improve until you rid yourself of problems. Get rid of listening to the thoughts that tell you how to remedy life's issues. Get accustomed to sitting with thoughts and emotions. And do all of this in service, not to be less miserable, but in service to what you value in life the most.  This will lead to a fulfilling life, making you pretty dang happy. 
Answered on 01/28/2023

How can I stop being in a slump?

Like a Snowball Rolls Downhill Momentum goes both for the good and the bad. It seems that momentum picks up quicker at times when we form bad habits. It's like the momentum of "bad" habits is the sticky wet snow, when the momentum of the "good" habits is that white powder (I hope you live in a snowy region with my metaphor). Either way, it's like we know, deep down inside of us, that what is easy and pleasurable is often not good for us, and therefore it takes little effort. Whereas the good things, those tough and challenging situations that produce something real and good and worth living and suffering for, can so easily fall away.  You are dealing with a problem that every human being on the planet has ever faced. Nonetheless, your problem is a unique one in your mind. You think and perceive things differently than everyone else. Sure, there are similarities, but your context is yours and yours alone. You may be struggling with doing what you need to do, but you aren't going to be better or worse for having done the thing.  First off, self-compassion. Do not think that doing whatever motivates you will fix anything inside of you. All doing something does is remind you of something that is already in you that gets revealed when you are in the right environment. Based on our experiences and fight or flight responses, our mental health and ego might argue that the tough thing is good. Instead, the mind, the ego, will argue that tough things are bad because it is painful, and then we concede on what we know (pre-frontal cortex) to be good for the low-hanging fruits of no longer being in pain. But again, whether or not you do what you set out to do, you are still the same you.  So then, what do you want to do, and what do you identify is holding you back from it, a feeling? Is that what this is about, a feeling? You know your feelings can come along as you do what you want/need to do. You know that you don't have to alter your feelings to do what you need to do? You know that your feelings are initiated by thoughts, which come from beliefs about yourself. Do you believe you are capable of doing what you need to do, or that what you are told you need to do is anything you want to do? These are the questions you need to ask yourself, starting with what is holding me back and whether you want to do it.  Living life avoiding the stick, hence avoiding pain, leads to nowhere. Leading a life chasing the carrot, which could have lots of pain, is often a life well-lived. Do not let your thoughts, which want you to be safe, tell you what to do. Emotions are like an ignorant friend. The emotions come from a genuine place to keep you safe, but they don't care about the long-term outcomes. You need to realize who is in control here and take it back. Right now, it sounds like you gave up your power to the feelings which are this way today and that way tomorrow. Learn to sit with those emotions and learn to allow them to speak while you live unaffected by them. I am not saying to ignore thoughts and feelings but rather embrace them. Embrace your thoughts and give yourself credit in your attempt to live the best you can when you do fail. There is pain no matter what you do in this life, the pain of guilt when not doing something, the pain of pain when doing something. Allow your mind to live in this duality of painful, yet purposeful. Pain and purpose go hand in hand. You are going to be better, the best, in fact, when you learn how to endure emotions and thoughts and head toward what matters for you in life. Whatever you say interferes is in the mind, and it has tricked you think thinking that its thoughts are your thoughts. The brain secretes thoughts like the pancreas secretes insulin; it's just what the brain does. None of these secretions have to be dealt with; not all have to be answered or remedied. They can all pass on by, like leaves on a stream. Practice this with the small things in life, letting the little things go, to practice letting go of the big things.  You have thoughts; you are not thoughts. You have feelings; you are not feelings. Be the you that realizes this and separates from the thoughts and feelings.
Answered on 01/23/2023

How do I know I can be fixed

Hello Cho: You have asked a great question. It takes a lot of courage to express your thoughts and to allow yourself to be vulnerable in this way. This is a strength. It means you recognize and you undestand that something is just not right for you. Even more so, you have a desire to get some help. These are all good things.  You asked: How do I know I can be fixed. The answer to the question boils down to what you allow yourself to believe about yourself. How do you narrate your life story? Do you narrate it from a place of lack, victimhood, despair, doomsday, over-the-hill disgrace? Do you narrate it from a place of strength, optimism, victory, and determination to make life work for you?  I noticed you mentioned nursing school a couple of times. It seems as though you are drawn to being a nurse or helping people. I want you to explore that a bit more. Do you want to be a nurse? Do you want to help people? Do you want to work in a medical facility? Do you have to wear the title of nurse to fulfill your life's purpose?  If the answer is yes, I want to be a nurse then I want you to analyze what worked and what did not work while you were on the road to becoming a nurse. Were there too many distractions? Was there a lot of stress? Did we say yes to too many things that did not serve us? Did we put healthy boundaries in place? Did we have a good grasp of the material? Did we need change our study habits? What happened? Now that you have your answer, think about what you can do to remove those barriers out of the way. Do you need a quieter place to study? Is there someone who finished the nursing program that could tutor you?  Sometimes, we have a tendency to think in Black or White thinking. Doing so is a cognitive distortion. When we think in black or white thinking we have a tendency to be narrow in thought. We are less likely to consider other options or ways of looking at life's challenges. We start to catastrophize and make things bigger than what they are. In the end, we become affected by the distorted reality of thought that festers, if unaddressed and corrected.  Saying, you have not really even had a life yet veers into the black or white thinking category. That is because the mind is given two choices, either we have completed nursing school and we have had a life, or we have not completed nursing school and we have not had a life. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. While, you may not have had the life that you envisioned, you have had some victories and moments of fulfillment when you obtained your B.S. degree. While you may not have had the life that you envisioned, you still have a desire to work in a helping profession and that could give you hope that your life can become more than what it is right now.  Another thing to consider is your values. What are your values? What do you hold as most important is life? Is that nursing? What else? What else do you value? How do you live life in accordance with your values? If you feel you do not do that very well, then perhaps a task for you is to write out a plan. Sometimes, we get so caught up in things working out perfectly. We presume that getting into a particular profession will occur in a straight line. Well, that does not always happen. Sometimes, we get from point A to point B through winding roads.  Determine what it is that you need in life at this point. Determine what you want. Determine what barriers exist to you getting what you need and want. Write out an action plan with goals and objectives to help you get from point A to point B. Surround yourself with people, places, and things that will support you in a healthy way.  Many people change career fields all of the time. The limitations that exist are the limitations we choose to put on ourselves. Have you heard of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Well, he did not a professional chef until he was 40 years old, and he did not franchise his company until he was in his 60s. People perceive age and "limitations" differently. How will you choose to look at it.  On another note, sometimes when we want something so bad and it seems to escape our reach, the loss can trigger the grief process. This is quite normal. You may feel in denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, before getting to a place of acceptance. Consider working with a good licensed mental health professional to help you work through these emotions and thoughts.  Cho: you deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, things do not go our way and we are left to pick up the pieces. You can do that. Take one step forward and another. Before you know it, you will be on your way to living the life you allow yourself to have.  Well Wishes, 
Answered on 01/23/2023

I've never done therapy but wondering how therapy can help me make both big and small decisions.

Hello Carrie, I cant imagine how difficult it has been for you getting multiple declines from vet school. I think first and foremost it must be identified that your perseverance in applying is an amazing strength. In therapy, we can make big and small changes through processing the thoughts and mindset that are leaving us feeling stuck and not happy and identify new thought patterns to help create the opposite. Together, we would also work on identifying and writing down your values. When we are able to identify what we value in life, making big life decisions becomes easier because we move towards alignment in our lives.  Continuing school and/or starting a family are large choices but also put you in a phase of transition. Solving small term goals starts with what is in your power and control now. It sounds like veterinary school has been a strong passion of yours and I think identifying where this passion comes from as well as your long term life goals may help you in deciding how to move forward.  Some questions that come to mind for you to possibly ponder: What has made you question that the vet school path is for you? Why did you originally choose this path? How do you view success and moments of failure? How have you made decisions in the past? Are there reoccurring thoughts that are keeping you in this "stuck" feeling?  These questions can help you ponder what your next steps are and why you feel like you do at this moment. It's important to know that a change of course or path does not mean failure. Often times when we shift goals and plans we think "I'm giving up" but rather you are making active choices to ensure that your goals and life values align for ultimate happiness. When we find this sweet spot, you are able to live in your truth. I hope that you continue to seek what you desire and while the small and long term decisions may seem uncertain, you have the potential to make them when a little clarity entered your head space. 
Answered on 01/23/2023

How can I stop having negative thoughts and be happy even though I’m not happy?

The only thing guaranteed is pain. One of the cruelest things in life is the false belief that life shouldn't be painful. In reality, it's quite the opposite. Life is full of pain, both good and bad. Good pain is the pain we endure on the road to our highest values. Bad pain then is the pain we experience when we avoid what matters to us because of fear or anxiety. Then when we feel shame or guilt, that is when we are in a bad pain situation. So, in your situation, what sort of pain are you in? The way you speak, it is as though you are a victim of circumstance. Life beating you down and no opportunities at work, is this what you want to teach your daughter? Do you want to model that you should only be in good spirits when fate or luck goes your way? Now, I know our language to a three year old seems insignificant, but you are acting as though what you believe to be true. Not just your language, but your body language, your choices, motivation, spirits and how much you engage in play. You become what you think. Your thoughts determine how you view life and it will be noticed by your daughter. Here's the good pain, to notice when you have those familiar negative thoughts and instead of indulging them you choose to see some alternative, something good in it all. You look for the good to start the habit of looking for the good. If you find the pain helpful in life because of the lessons it teaches you or the coping you have to practice, you can change your entire life. Honestly, look for the good in every situation and you will see good. Think about how going to the gym strengthens muscles. For you, working your brain to see how you benefit from every situation is the new exercise to then see the benefit of experience. From that perspective you will live differently and model endurance in even the toughest situations. When you experience situations in life that you allow to wear you down (choice) you can break the habit and see the positive in it (choice). This is all your choice and breaking habits is painful, but it's the pain on the road to what matters most in your life. You want to model good behaviors, it's not about circumstance, it's about what you choose to see in any situation. Again, it's all pain, life is full of it (accept it). So, instead of avoiding pain by putting responsibility on to circumstance and off of you, own your choice in life and accept life as it is. Imagine, you are in the same situation but view it as a learning opportunity, how great life can be in any circumstance. Don't believe the thought that your life will only be better when you get the opportunity at work or get a win at life. That belief is a cancer and shows your powerlessness. You give up your power when you think it's dependent on life circumstance. Take your power back, own your choices, practice seeing the good in any situation, and you will model the resistance you want to see in your daughter as inevitable pains will come her way in life as well. 
Answered on 01/21/2023

I often don't feel motivated to do anything, and waiting it out feels awful, what do I do?

Hi Mya! Thank you so much for asking this essential question on the BetterHelp platform. It is a wonderful sign that you are reaching out for support at this time. The concept of motivation is a truly great topic to bring to the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I will do my best to answer your question. I hope to assist you in coming up with a plan to further address your concerns about motivation. First and foremost, I can certainly understand why you would be seeking out answers about this important topic. The fact that you are unable to do anything, even the things that you like to do, sounds like a distressing situation. It makes sense why you would be feeling concerned since you are noticing a lack of motivation to do anything at times. It does sound concerning that this feeling can last for hours and that you have to lay down and do not feel like moving. This experience sounds paralyzing, in a sense. I realize that you had mentioned that this experience of feeling and thinking happens completely at random but I would like to try to encourage you to focus on seeking out a pattern for this behavior. You can begin doing this by keeping track of the days in which you sense that your motivation has been dwindling. It will more than likely be beneficial for you to improve your self awareness skills through self observational information. Utilize a calendar, daily planner, notebook or journal to keep track of these patterns of behaviors. Over time, you may observe a trend and a connection in your thoughts, feeling and experiences.You can also begin this process by asking yourself some thoughtful questions. I recommend documenting your observations of these behavioral patterns as well as answering the following questions through therapeutic writing. Writing and journaling can be a fantastic processing technique. Journaling about this experience can be a skill that you add to your tool box, which in turn could hopefully inspire you to try out other new coping skills, too. Some of the questions you could ask yourself that first come to mind include: Are there triggers in your life that impact your lack of motivation? What are some of the warning signs that you notice contribute to your lack of motivation? What emotions do you notice feeling during moments of low motivation? If your motivation could improve in any given moment, what would that look like for you? Who can you rely on to help you get back on track? What would help you to feel more motivated? What was the most motivating moment that you have endured? Secondly, I would like to give you some feedback for the way that you manage the situation. The strategy to wait for the feeling to pass is a very intuitive one. This sounds like the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) technique in which individuals notice feelings and allow them to pass. It can certainly take a lot of practice to do this. Therefore, I am so inspired to hear that this strategy is already something that you are trying out on your own! You can keep doing what you are doing as well as look deeper into the concept of mindfulness. Essentially, the mindfulness DBT approach offers a way for individuals to remove judgement from their situation and their feelings. Removing judgement can be a helpful way to move past a certain emotion or concerning experience. Distress tolerance, emotion management and interpersonal effectiveness skills may also be beneficial for you to try out. For more information about these DBT core skills, please check out the website: www.dialecticalbehaviortherapy.com  Another go to strategy for building and maintaining motivation is going to be utilizing positive self affirming statements. An example of a positive affirmation is: "I am feeling motivated to succeed. Today is a good day to make a new change happen. I am feeling motivated in this moment and I choose to feel this way throughout the day." Personalized mantras and motivational messages can be incredibly powerful, inspiring and thought provoking. For more information and details on the power of inspiring quotes, please check out the writing by Louise Hay. In her book "You Can Heal Your Life," Hay outlines a myriad of self affirming statements that can be utilized on a daily or weekly basis. When working with clients that lack motivation and are actively seeking to improve ambition, I oftentimes provide guidance and advice to allow ambition to over come anxiety. Think in terms of there being two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Ultimately, intrinsic motivation comes from the self and extrinsic motivation comes from others and external factors. In addition, it can be really helpful to visualize your motivation as an external object, symbol or shape. Think of a metaphorical way to describe your feeling of motivation. What symbol would you choose to best describe your motivation?  As an aspiring art therapist, I always recommend that individuals take some time to create art. The art making process can certainly provide a naturally motivating tool for creative problem solving. There are essentially countless art therapy directives that may be beneficial for you to try. One idea that comes to mind is to participate in a self portrait kinetic drawing. In essence, you are to draw yourself doing something. For more information on the benefits of art therapy, please check out the website for the American Art Therapy Association: www.arttherapy.org At this time, I would like to recommend that you begin attending individual therapy sessions. In concluding my response, I would like to thank you again, Mya, for your time asking this vital question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I sincerely hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Best wishes for an improvement with your overall feelings of motivation. Take good care and have a nice day! 
Answered on 01/18/2023

Would therapy be right for me or is this something I can work through myself?

I commend you first for taking the step to inquire about whether therapeutic support could be helpful to address concerns that are affecting functionality for you. I understand that recognizing disruptions and how they impact life satisfaction while considering options for help involves several factors. What, if any aspects of life currently are working well for you including any examples of positive coping? Of the things you want to change or to make different what could be a starting point for you? Identifying a small, realistic goal for a change that you are motivated to make can be motivating for other changes and reinforcing positive aspects of life currently. Redirecting your focus on what is positive or meaningful can also be encouraging to you and lessen negative thoughts. As you think about current thought patterns and emotions, and areas that you you want to be more successful in, how much of the influence of those thoughts is comparing yourself to others? Failures and areas that are less satisfying can be primary thoughts making it challenging to identify thoughts or factors that may be going well. Additionally, comparing yourself to others could be less helpful when expectations are unrealistic and misaligned with what would be satisfying to you. There is also the consideration that comparisons to others can be based on snapshots of others’ lives without knowing challenges that can be present for others. Having compassion for self and recognizing those glimmers from your life can help towards identifying what you are accomplishing and how you can approach other areas that you want to improve.  With thinking about the value of therapeutic support, it could also be helpful to think about what would be beneficial to you and aid in making changes that you are ready to make. Motivation is a key factor to consider. Therapy can be a part of what helps, along with active steps you are willing to take and put into practice for you to achieve the level of wellness that aligns with your goals for healthy functionality and life satisfaction. Have you considered what would help you make changes without therapy and also how you would make changes with engaging in therapy? Would you consider that you would be investing in an opportunity to help yourself along with a professional who can facilitate that process along with you, similar to other areas of life that you may seek help from others?  If you can think of benefits and you are ready to make changes, including a small one that would improve things, you may find therapy to be helpful with gaining effective coping skills and increasing life satisfaction for you. 
Answered on 01/07/2023

How long does it take for things to become better?

Hello, Thank you for reaching out here and I'll give you some more clarity on motivation, when things become difficult or redundant. I can understand wanting to push for more on being a good person or a great person (which I'm sure you are currently and it sounds like you want to do even more). The first question you asked was how long does it often take for things to become better. I would say things can become better today. When we decide to be intentional, we can make a 1 percent improvement. An example might be prepping lunch for work before leaving or making sure I speak to people I don't typically do or text a close friend or relative I haven't reached out to. Most habits will start to fully develop around 60 days, so consistency is king with developing habits or creating a new pathway in your brain here. I'd like to ask this for you to answer on your own- how do you want to be a good or great person? What are the tangibles of being a good person? If you can write it out on a sheet of paper- where do I see myself going this next year to be a great person or develop a life I want, what does that look like? It can include areas in relationships, career/school, mental and physical health, hobbies, finances and spirituality. They might not all apply and it can give you more specifics.  Once you have those areas here, then you double check that those ideas resonate, seem to fit your own values or goals (things you cherish in life) and are specific enough that it feels tangible within the next year. Once you've done that- choose one to work on this week. An example might be I want to manage my anxiety or stretch 3 times this week or call a friend and setup a time to hangout. As long as these are steps or building blocks towards your large goal, it counts! i.e. I want to be more physically active this next year to alleviate my chronic pain goal this week- I'm going to focus on stretching during my lunch break more often than not. Also, another component to this is called contingency management or asking what makes you tick as a person. I know myself that if I read new psychological articles or books, I tend to get excited for my work. I also know if I set out my clothing in the morning, I tend to follow through with going for a walk, etc. The important piece here is finding what makes you follow through on things in general or get from point a to b. The other odd one I have is frustration works well for me. If I get frustrated, it often gives me a burst of energy to get the task done. Lastly, to help with redundancy, I do recommend changing up your routine, even slightly. An example might be eating your lunch with chopsticks or talking to someone new. The goal here is you don't need to rearrange your entire life to enjoy it- often times we have to participate in it differently. Sometimes we can make small goals or have secrets to achieve- like complimenting 3 people at work or school today. I hope this all helps give a brief idea on how to start working on all of this, Take Care, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
Answered on 12/29/2022

How can I survive 2 more months at work?

It sounds like you are in a really stressful situation right now. It seems like you may be checked out of your job as you are feeling really burnt out. Feeling stuck or tied to a job where you are no longer feeling motivation can be tough to manage especially because you may have one foot out the door. And although, you may not be able to obtain full motivation at your current job, but it doesn't mean that the remainder of your time there has to be extreme torture. Being burnt out at a job can definitely take a toll on our well-being and mood. I can imagine it has been a lot to navigate the toll that it may be taking on you overall. Depending on the type of work that you do or schedule, it may be helpful to take care of yourself at work as needed. For example, taking breaks, which includes meal and other breaks, may seem very obvious, but not something all people do. So making the time to do this can be quite helpful.  One of the many benefits of taking breaks while at work consist of being able to catch your breath especially in high paced jobs. When we are able to remove ourselves (even if it's just for 10-15 minutes) from stressful situations, it can help us clear our heads and also recharge. And when we are able to remove ourselves for a bit, it can provide us with the energy to keep going. If you do have support from coworkers or others at work, you can always turn to them during these times as well. But sometimes we may not and it's important for us to then take care of ourselves in whatever way feels best for us. Another thing to consider is what things are you doing to take care of yourself when you are not at work. Self-care can seem like another time that we have to throw in the mix of things, but it can make all the difference of how we are feeling in our lives...especially if we are not feeling supported a work. Taking charge of our self-care time is really important as it can help with the burnout. Sometimes it may feel like our work and personal life are too occupied to fit it in, but again, this can definitely take a toll on how we feel and our energy level. And we don't necessarily have to go out of way too much either. For example, taking a bath or shower as we do a mindfulness exercise can help us feel grounded and relaxed. Using your senses to be present and enjoy the water as it hits your face can be quite grounding. Many times we go about life very quickly that we forget to pay attention to the smaller or daily tasks that we complete. Being present even during those essential tasks can make all the difference and would encourage you to see how it impacts your mood. Our mood and level of motivation are very much connected so it is important that we continue to be in tune with it. See worksheet below to refer to Five Senses mindfulness activity referenced above. https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/mindfulness-exercises At the end of the day, it's good that you are aware that this job has an expiration date. And sometimes the hope that we won't be in this situation forever can be very helpful. It's okay and valid to feel checked out of a job where we don't feel supported. But sometimes we cannot leave a job as quickly as we would like, and we need to remind ourselves of that. Even if the only motivator right now is that you are getting that paycheck during your pay period, I would encourage you to remember that...especially on those days that feel extra intense at work.  There are a few self-help books out there that can be helpful with motivation, which may be helpful as you are trying to hang in there. But also, these feelings can sometimes follow us even after we leave a stressful job as it can take some time to process everything. Here are some that I would check out: 1) Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Self-Help Workbook) by Steven C. Hayes 2) 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson 3) Superbetter: The Power of Living Gamefully by Jane McGonigal 4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson If you still feel like you need additional support, you are welcome to seek therapy services for yourself. I would continue to focus on February is coming up and that you are hanging in until then. But there is a time frame to get out of this stressful situation and that can definitely instill hope that this situation isn't forever. Best of luck to you with everything.
Answered on 12/14/2022

How can I stop self sabotaging my life goals and relationships with others?

Hi Su,  Thank you so much for reaching out and asking this important question. Recognizing that you may be sabotaging yourself is an important first step in making changes to help you move forward in achieving your goals and interrupting negative behaviors. The initial aspect of yourself to identify is the motivation that is driving your behavior. Every person’s behavior is supported by motivation even if that behavior is self-sabotage. This may seem counterproductive because, like you say, you have life goals that you truly want to achieve. Keep in mind that our motives are driven by our subconscious. This creates a difficult challenge because our subconscious is not readily retrievable; we do not have a way to directly know what's in the subconscious area of our mind. There are, however, tools you can implement in order to bring your motives to your conscious mind. Once you become conscious of your motives you will be able to change the sabotaging behavior.  One of the goals of our subconscious system is to try to keep us alive. To keep us alive the subconscious will ignite the fear center to direct us away from actual or perceived danger in our environment. What danger does a romantic relationship create for you; what danger do you feel is present if you were to achieve your goals? Another way to ask those questions: what causes you fear about being in a committed relationship; what causes you fear about achieving your goals? I recommend taking some time to journal about the fears you identify, the origin of those fears, and detaching from any self-judgment about those fears. Sit down and journal from your head to your heart to your hand.  Once you have identified your fears, you can begin addressing those fears and increasing motivation to achieve your goals. Of course, engaging in therapy will help you identify and address your fears. The aid of a therapist will help you dig into your subconscious drives and develop skills to address your fears. You can also engage in mindfulness techniques on your own or in a group setting that help you maintain a physiological balance and reduce the possibility of reacting to situations in an unhealthy sabotaging manner. There are a number of mindfulness techniques you can practice: meditation, balanced breathing, focus in the moment using your senses.  Mindfulness techniques can also teach you to identify problems as either “in your face problems” or “time to think problems”. Unless you are actually in life-threatening situations, every problem is a “time to think problem”. Lastly, creating a vision board to illustrate your goals will enhance your visualization of the desired outcome of your life. Studies have shown that visualization increases our motivation, performance and confidence. This website is an excellent resource in describing how to create and utilize your own vision board: https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/a29959841/how-to-make-a-vision-board/ Whichever technique or techniques you implement to reduce any sabotaging behaviors it is helpful to choose the one or ones that feel authentic to you. Be true to yourself, give yourself the gift of learning how your subconscious is driving your behavior, and allow yourself to create the life that brings you the most joy. 
Answered on 12/02/2022

How can I find meaning in the work I do as a highly sensitive person?

Hello Emmy, As a fellow empath, I'm happy to answer this question for you.  To begin, have you ever taken a career test?  They are usually available to college campus students, but you can probably take one online these days.There are many amazing jobs that will allow you to be an empath, but let's decide which type resonates with you.  To begin, empaths use animals, natural, etc. to feel recharged.   Do you have a close connection to animals?   If so, it would be good for you to venture in their route such as a vet, vet assistant, or even boarding and taking care of animals.   I have a friend that tends to animals and started her own business for people who have older animals and need to be loved when their owners are at work.   You can also take it a step up and be a park ranger if you are drawn to earth energy for healing and there are many places that rescue wild animals that need workers.You can also venture into spiritual healing arts such as:  reiki healer, massage therapist, acupuncturist, etc.  that helps you heal people.  To take it a step further- a social worker, therapist, etc.  There are many jobs that will fit an empath, but be careful, some jobs may be draining too so you need to assess which area makes you feel good and not drained after.You can always volunteer and do community work to see if that resonates with you.  Many fire departments take volunteers if you have a desire for a little danger.  If you need more help deciding, it might be good for you to work with a therapist to help you decide would work best with your energy.  There are a lot of seasonal jobs that are available if you still are not sure and you want to venture out and see what is out there.  My best advise is pay attention to your energy and see what you are drawn to doing.  Do something you love and money will come next.  Whatever you put your time and attention in that makes you happy and it's something you love doing, is a good start. So maybe asses what you like to do on your off-time, as a hobby, etc.I wish you the best and hope this helps :)   Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Why is it important to find meaning in work? How do employees find meaning at work? What means meaningful work? Is it the leaders responsibility to help people find meaning in their work? How do you help your team find purpose? How can I improve my meaning in the workplace? How do you find meaning in life outside of work? Are all employees interested in finding meaning at work? What makes your life meaningful? What gives you purpose? How do you motivate your team? What makes a strong team? What is the purpose of leadership? How do you inspire people at work? How can employees work well together?
Answered on 11/10/2022

How can I regain motivation and focus?

I'm sorry to hear of such struggles that you are experiencing.  First of all, thank you for sharing this with me, as it must have been really hard to bring it to reality, other than just thinking about it.  It sounds like, from what you have mentioned that you may benefit from some target setting by perhaps creating a plan, to help boost your motivation. Maybe start with one single thing that feels challenging but also manageable. Once that feels okay, challenging yourself to take each piece of your life back, one thing after another. Not flooding yourself with things that you can't manage, always being mindful of what you can do. Allow fear to be with you and don't push it away, as fear is a normal emotion, that we feel as human beings. Avoiding things in our life makes us feel overwhelmed with anxiety, so if there is something that you want to do and it makes you feel a little scared, do it as often as possible. As your body will habituate to your own environment and makes it feel less 'scary'. The more you repeat a behavior that makes you anxious, it becomes a part of your comfort zone.I'm wondering from what you have said, about the bad thoughts and the fear of failing taking over, what is the worst that could happen? Another solution could be thinking of the pro's and cons of difficult situations, thinking through if and how it will affect you, if it will - within, a week, a month, a year. I can't imagine how you're feeling to be in this predicament. But if you are willing to help yourself through it, there is no harm in trying. And if, after trying and it doesn't help, we are here to help, even more by communicating with you, to try and help you, help yourself. As you are the master of your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You know best! Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in your life, moving forward in a more positive way of living. 
Answered on 10/30/2022

Can I see a therapist every other week?

Hello! The short answer to your questions is yes, you can see a therapist every other week. However please allow me to explain this answer a little more in detail. You and your therapist will work together to determine how often you should be checking in for therapy. Some of the reasons for variations of frequency is because of the severity of your symptoms, or because of the type of treatment you are participating in with your therapist. For example- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) requires learning skill sets and this may take a longer time to learn these skills. If you are currently in a crisis situation you may find yourself seeing a therapist more frequently to help you process some of these emotions. In general, you may be seeing your therapist more frequently at the beginning of your therapy experience. This is because your therapist may be interested in learning about your history and background so that they are better able to understand exactly whom they are working with! It also helps you to better know your therapist and helps build a trusting rapport with that individual. Another reason for regular sessions is to keep the momentum going-especially if you have had a great session with your therapist and are ready to hit the ground running! It is also important to remember that it is important to not go too long between sessions, as you may find your progress being stalled. A therapist may often give you things to think about during your time between sessions- and it is important to know how well your new coping skills are working. There are times when life events and responsibilities occur and you may find yourself in therapy every other week. If this is the situation, then your therapist may suggest "homework" such as worksheets or readings to help you continue to work on your care even when you are not actively meeting with your therapist.  I know a person can have a lot of commitments in their life- but remember one of the most important commitments is for you to maintain your own well-being!
Answered on 10/27/2022

I'm feeling unmotivated and pressured these past few weeks.

I do not believe that any attempt to achieve a goal, even if not fully accomplished is a failure.  Did you try your best to accomplish the coursework and were vigilant in attending your classes?  I'm not sure how could you possibly see that as a failure?  Any challenge that you accept is brave in and of itself.  Many times when we try something that we know that it is going to be difficult, it is a risk.  Why would you try to accomplish it if it were easy?  There would be no challenge.  Applying for college and getting in is an accomplishment.  Signing up for the classes to get a college degree is a planned event working towards the goal of a degree.  Many times when starting coursework, we take classes that we may find interesting.  They are not always what is best for us, but we may pick them because it is popular or it is what we think our parents want us to have a certain career in.  Eventually, you will find out what is meant for you.  You would be very fortunate if you knew what you wanted to do from the beginning.  Going through trial and error is often the way to find your direction.   I'm certain that some of the classes that you have taken can be used for the general education credits.   So you see there is no failure, just learning experiences.  Enjoy every minute of your time in school, because it will go by so quickly.  Take the opportunity to know yourself and find your niche.  Oftentimes we focus on the negative of a situation, when we should focus on the process.  Everything in life is a process.  How could we know success, if we did not know failure.  They are mirrors of themselves. I know that sometimes we are not ready for the challenge, or we do not enjoy what we are doing.  When you enjoy what you are doing, then you know you have found your career and major.  It needs to be somewhat of a challenge and achievable at the same time.  You will find it, keep going.
Answered on 10/26/2022

I've been working through deep feelings of regret

Greetings Ryan, Let me start by saying you did the best you could with the knowledge and resources you had at the time.  Instead of regretting, let's reframe and ask empowerment questions. What did I learn that I did not know at the time? What will I do differently? How can I make this situation work for me now? Are there resources around me to assist me in correcting, if possible? Who can support me as I witness the consequences of this decision? What can I do to improve my situation now? Asking these questions can help you troubleshoot the after-effects and help you work toward a positive outcome or support the weight of experiencing the consequence. There are times when things do not go as planned; therefore, taking extra care of yourself is a must. Utilize positive self-language, for example, use "I am" positive affirmations like, "I am human and sometimes make mistakes, and I find solutions to my problems." Be compassionate and empathic with your thoughts and feelings. Find support, people who listen to you and help support your growth by asking you questions to help you problem solve. I can't stress enough that breathing is essential and the most effective way to reset and start over.   Here is how you can take care of your mind. Use your breath to clear the negative thoughts and reduce the anxiety associated with the feelings. I understand that it is hard to witness the results of your decision. However, it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Self-reflection is an essential part of learning and encourages self-mastery. Continue to trust yourself, take your time and collect all the necessary information, and utilize support when necessary, even when you believe you have made a mistake. Talking out your thoughts and feelings can assist you in understanding and exploring favorable resolutions that you may not have thought of before. You are human and making mistakes is part of the learning process. Breathe, Reflect and Learn. You can also go to www.thetappingsolution.com. They have free tapping meditations to help you work through depression. Peace
Answered on 10/21/2022

Is it possible to need help for something you don't know?

The presenting issue appears to me that there is a belief that somehow you are 'broken' and need fixing. I understand that at times it may feel this way and yet we humans are tremendously resilient. Our traumas & elations, dark & light experiences, flaws and strengths bring diverse beauty to our being; a wonderful gift to the world. I am left wondering what is your measure? How do you view the world and yourself as part of it? We may also experience a sense that something is missing, that we somehow are not having our needs met and we lack fulfillment. The exploration of meaning and purpose in all that you do will help guide and inform which path is more suitable for you to move along. What do I need, what serves me to become the best possible version of myself? Sitting and allowing the felt sense may be a way to getting closer to your truth, I believe C G Jung states, 'Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes'. Where within the body do you notice the angst residing? Does it have a color, shape, smell, taste or name? Acknowledge and face the shadow; 'I see you, I know what you are'.  What would you like to say to this feeling?  We can also reframe and choose to view it as an opportunity to overcome one of life's challenges and transition to a new epoch of existence. Whatever you are experiencing, may be the internal tension created when societal introjects become a barrier to your congruence and authenticity; sometimes we can become stuck and feel a little lost, hindering our growth. Our body, mind and spirit want to achieve a balance and strive towards actualization. Stepping into your power, taking responsibility for who you want to be and what you want to achieve will allow you to thrive and flourish.  Take the time to observe yourself, allow yourself to be curious. What does it look like to be 'fixed'? When you feel you have found a little more clarity to the questions posed, you must act to initiate a shift to change. An ounce of action is worth a ton of theoretical process. Prioritize the things you want to quit and the things you want to do. Keep what is useful and discard what holds you back. Separate yourself from the mob and be extraordinary.
Answered on 10/18/2022

Do you provide mentorship or professional coaching?

Hello and nice to meet you! I understand that you are looking for someone that can be a mentor or a coach to you.  Therapy focuses on healing the past while coaching helps clients to build a future. Imagine you are getting ready to climb a huge mountain. You could either hire an expert guide (coach) for your expedition or a doctor (therapist). Which would you choose? If you are in fragile health and would be in physical danger if you attempted the climb, a guide wouldn’t make the situation better. But a doctor would help you get back into shape before attempting the challenging feat. However, if you are already healthy and just need someone to help you with climbing strategy, carrying the load of supplies and finding the best path, the guide would be the better choice for you. A therapist supports someone to get into excellent mental and emotional health before they attempt to achieve ambitious goals, while a coach leads them over the mountain. It is very common for people wanting to make changes in their lives to invest in therapy first to work through past trauma, and then hire a business or life coach. A therapist is a licensed healthcare professional trained to diagnose and resolve destructive beliefs, behaviours, relationship issues and responses. They focus on helping their client: Recover from past setbacks and become aware of behavioural patterns. Explore why past relationships (business or personal) have been destructive Work through depression or anxiety Move forward after grief or loss etc. A coach, on the other hand, offers dynamic guidance for the client on: Clarifying personal and professional desires and goals Creating business plans or starting a business Designing systems to support performance, productivity and wellbeing Working to improve communication or marketing skills Increasing financial stability Depending on the depth of the trauma and pain to overcome, therapy is often conducted until the client feels they do not need it anymore, which could be anything from a matter of months to many years. Whether in groups or in one on one settings, coaching usually takes place over a shorter period (1 month to 1 year) and is a lot more goal-oriented, often with specific results in mind to reach during the coaching program. While I am a licensed clinical social worker, I have worked with clients in the past to coach them and motivate them to be the best versions of themselves. I am very solutions based and utilizing that approach is all I do. Let me know if you are interested in working together! Best, Hannah
Answered on 09/05/2022