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By associatesforl1144, May 15 2016 03:46PM

Anna Freud psychiatrist and daughter of well-known psychiatrist Sigmund Freud wrote “I was always looking outside of myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”

This quote speaks to me because when I was younger I believed that self-esteem came through achievement, how much you weighed, your position in society or how much money you made. However, having accomplished much in life that has included completing the degree, obtaining a great job, making a good living and being at a normal weight helped me to learn that those were not the things that gave me the strength and confidence that I thought I lacked.

The strength and confidence that I believed came as a result of obtaining my degree or reaching my goal weight never changed anything for me. What I failed to recognize is that my strength and confidence really did come from within because without it I never would have been able to pursue any of my life goals.

It took great strength and confidence to go back to college at the age of 36. Millions of times I wanted to give up but I continued to push through, by just putting one foot in front of the other. It took strength and confidence to run in my first 5k and actually win it for my age group at the age of 30. It took strength and confidence to purchase my first home something that I mistakenly believed would never be possible. It took strength and confidence to believe that I had the ability to help care for both of my parents when they each were diagnosed with cancer. It took strength and confidence to cope with their deaths.

Think about the changes you would like to make but perhaps you just don’t feel motivated. What are some of the negative messages you give to yourself? For example, if returning to college is a goal for you then take the step to reach out to the college of your choice and find out how you can enroll. Living in the digital age has made life simpler. It is probably a task you can complete with a click of a button. If organizing is something you want to achieve then start with making a list of things to accomplish. Completing simple tasks lends to motivation and often can give you the strength to tackle the next project. Maybe you a ready to embark on an entirely different career path than the one you are presently in but are filled with fear about making any kind of change. There is nothing wrong with going after what you feel you want. The point is that nothing changes if nothing changes.

Life will continue to just happen and we never know what it will present to us. Many use faith, friends, or even counselors to help them cope with problems of daily living. What I believe we sometimes fail to remember is that more often than not we are more capable and more resilient than we realize. Strength and confidence can be found within if you have a strong determination to succeed, focus on the end result and each day do just one thing toward you goal. You will be amazed by what you can accomplish.

By associatesforl1144, Apr 14 2016 01:00PM

Often, individuals seek help because they feel besieged by the responsibilities that are put upon them as a parent, worker, spouse or even as an adult care-giver for an ailing parent. Living life out of balance can easily happen to anyone but for some it can lead to anger, frustration, stress, physical problems, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. How can one achieve balance and find peace amongst chaos?

A good place to begin might be to examine life in terms of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. How are you taking care of yourself? Do you neglect any of these areas? Lately, whenever I speak to someone it seems many are running on empty because it is easy to disregard those different areas in life. In order for one to get grounded and manage all of the chaos and responsibilities of living life it is essential to make time for yourself.

For example, you might want to take 10 minutes on your lunch hour and go for a walk, or decrease your use of caffeine or sugar. Sometimes making simple changes in diet or taking time for exercise can give you more energy and improve your mood.

How do you pay attention to the emotional and mental side of yourself? You can begin this by using a simple daily affirmation such as "all is well in my world." It may seem strange to you but positive affirmations tend to lift our mood and help us to stay focused and it can help you to have a positive outlook. According to an article published online in Psychology Today (May, 2013) author, Ray Williams reported on research results that demonstrated that the use of positive affirmations helped to reduce stress and assisted individuals in coping more effectively and enhanced problem solving abilities. One affirmation that I teach my clients is to use the statement "oh well" particularly when things do not always go as planned. That one simple statement, can immediately change your mood when you can begin to recognize that sometimes things are too beyond your control.

Finally, what do you do to maintain a spiritual connection? For some this might mean attending weekly religious services or for others it can be about the development of faith or an understanding of a higher power as a way to help one achieve balance and order in life when it seems out of balance. Do you pray or meditate? These are simple methods that might help to strengthen one's spiritual side.

Paying attention to these different areas in your life can help you to make good decisions for yourself; bring order when life seems to be out of control, and give you peace and balance in the midst of feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Reference: Williams, R. (2013). Do Self-Affirmations Work? A revisit. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201305/do-self-affirmations-work-revisit

By associatesforl1144, Apr 8 2016 01:27PM

When you look through old pictures, library cards, sports uniforms, instruments and other items that a loved one owned, it can be therapeutic to happily reminisce. This is because you think of the good times you had and feel gratitude for the memories.

Get together with other family members or friends of your loved one because it will feel good for everyone to remember the good times that were had. When a memory of the person is triggered, you can allow yourself to be grateful for the experience. There are many ways that a memory can be triggered. It can happen when you go to a place you used to go with the person, such as a restaurant or a vacation destination. Let yourself feel happiness for the times you had with your loved one instead of thinking how bad it is that they are no longer with you.

When you do feel mournful, accept the feeling. Even if you apply the first three techniques, there are probably going to be times when you feel sad, angry, or think about what might have saved the person. Don't fight these feelings or judge yourself as selfish. Ironically, accepting how you feel often makes the sad feelings less intense.

People who have experienced loss sometimes often believe that they have to stay sad all of the time. It is ok to give yourself permission to be happy when you feel happy without feeling guilty because you are having fun after you recently lost someone.

Many people stay sad over a loss for years for basically two reasons. One is that they feel they need to stay sad to prove that they cared about the person who died. You can mourn for a short period of time and still care about your loved one who is no longer with you. A second reason people stay sad is because they think it is the only way to still feel connected to their deceased loved one. However, you can still feel connected by remembering the good times you had with them. Your memories will always stay with you.

It is not necessary to judge anyone who does not act mournful at the funeral. People mourn and say goodbye to others in different ways. In India's culture they mourn by lighting a candle and peacefully reflect on the life. It's great that many funerals today display pictures of the person's life. Consequentially, they make the funeral a celebration of life instead of a sad time.

If you had a strained relationship with the person, don't judge yourself for not feeling sad when they pass. Your feelings are not good or bad, they are just feelings. When most of your memories with the person are not pleasant ones, it is not necessary to feel sad or mourn.

Many people say that when they lost a loved one there were things they left unsaid, such as they never told their parent they loved them. Many of the things people wish they had said were understood, particularly in close family relationships. If you took care of a sick parent or grandparent and they died they understand that you loved them. Sometimes young adults get impatient with a non ambulatory person they are taking care of. The person will understand if most of your interactions were positive.

There are many ways to use your memories to help yourself through the loss of a loved one. You can enjoy thinking about the happy memories, and you do not have to stay angry, sad, or have regrets. Going through memorabilia is healthy and a great activity for the whole family to do.

By associatesforl1144, Feb 23 2016 05:43PM

Remarriage has been on the rise and why not? Everybody seems to be doing it and individuals are now living longer. You might ask yourself will this time work?

Are you considering marriage again? It’s very popular these days. Although it is easier to get a divorce than ever before and maybe you are thinking that perhaps this time, it will work!!!

Sometimes not enough thought is given to this decision and this may cause tremendous confusion for the children, very supportive parents, grandparents and other important persons in your life. Thinking forward, what about the step-children? It's very important that visitation and living status be defined early in your plans. Continued employment with your company may require long distance travel or even relocation to a new area. These are just some of the issues that need to be thought through carefully and addressed before you actually take the plunge.

Yes, you are in love. It feels wonderful, freeing again, totally alive and smiling! However, it might also be the right time to think about clarifying and defining the new rules and expectations so that the support you will need will actually be there for you.

Thinking through the idea of re-marriage this time is vastly different from the first marriage! Other issues to consider is the possibility of multiple parents and spouses or a large extended family system of all whom want to be involved. Learning to set limits and boundaries is crucial to the success in navigating the family.

When you decide and imagine that this marriage will be the most wonderful, it’s imperative that you also discuss with your new partner obligations of finance, parenting issues, expectations and communication as significant issues can arise that may cause distress to all parties involved.

Before, you take the plunge, give it considerable thought as this time you might have much more at stake and sometimes what we imagine for ourselves, children and partners can become clouded when we are on the love cloud!

By associatesforl1144, Feb 23 2016 05:35PM

Have you ever wondered if you have High or Low Self-Esteem? Self-Esteem is the measure of how we see ourselves, our role in the world and the actions we take to bolster or diminish our Self-Esteem. People with High Self-Esteem are positive, loving, friendly, goal achieving and have healthy relationships with others; while people with Low Self-Esteem act in ways that consistently erode their self confidence. Some of the actions people with Low Self-Esteems take are listed below:

1. Saying “Yes” when you mean to say “No”.

2. Putting other people first to the exclusion of your own needs.

3. Saying “Sorry” frequently, even when you are not at fault.

4. Being scared to take the limelight or express your innermost feelings.

If you have any of these signs, make sure to talk them over with a therapist. Targeting your Low Self-Esteem issues in counseling can bring you greater confidence and success and, ultimately, a happier you.


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Associates for Life Enhancement, Inc. is a group of professionals in private practice who provide counseling services with offices located in Atlantic and Burlington Counties. We hope to use this blog as a way to provide you with information on different topics that may be of interest. Please feel free to subscribe to our webfeed that will update you when new articles have been posted!