5 More Myths about Emotions – Part 2

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I hope that you were able to start making some small changes after reading last week’s blog on 5 myths about emotions.  This week’s blog will reveal 5 more myths we have been told about our emotions.  It is my hope that we start to educate ourselves on our thoughts and feelings thus creating more of the actions that we would like to see in ourselves.

  1. If other don’t approve how you feel, you shouldn’t feel this way. As noted in myth number one, people will feel different about situation depending on their interpretation of the event and other factors. There is no right or wrong way to feel, ever. IF other seem to judge you for the feeling you are experiencing, remind yourself that the way you feel is just the way you feel, and it is okay.
  2. Painful emotions are bad and need to be fixed. Another myth. Painful emotions are painful, but that does not make them bad. Because all of our emotions serve a function, I could actually argue that all emotions are good. Granted, once you realize why emotion is there, you will likely don’t want that uncomfortable emotion hanging around. There are things you can do to help yourself with this but for now, simply recognized that no emotion needs to be fixed.
  3. Being emotional mean being out of control. Not necessarily true. Perhaps right nor, whenever you are emotional, you are out of control. We can learn to manage emotions more effectively so that we can remain in control even when you are experiencing strong emotions.
  4. It’s not healthy to express your emotions. Quite the opposite. It is not healthy if you do not express your emotions! Expressing your emotions in an assertive way is very healthy. Failing to express emotions, or expressing them in an aggressive or passive way is not effective and can even be harmful.
  5. Painful emotions will ever go away if you don’t act to make them go away. Another myth. The truth is that painful emotions often go away without us having to do anything about them. Trying to make them go away actually keeps them hanging around longer.

“Our Emotions need to be as educated as our intellect.  It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you.”

Balancing Emotions,

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

Reference: Van Dijk,S. (2012) Calming the Emotional Storm: using DBT skills to manage your emotion and balance your life.

5 Myths about Emotions – Part 1 

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The roles of our emotions serve an important function and are necessary; even they are painful at times. Emotions help with motivation, information, and communication. If the way we look at emotions are faulty, it will continue to make it difficult to manage our emotions effectively. Read below for the 5 of the ten common myths that people believe about their emotions. Allow this article to challenge your beliefs to make the necessary adjustment:

1. There is a right way and wrong way to feel in every situation. This is untrue. Everyone experiences different emotions about the same event because their interpretation of that event will vary. Your emotional response will also depend on many factors, such as your involvement in the situation, your relationship to others involved your state of mind before the event took place and so on. It is important to remember that emotions are not good or bad, right or wrong; however you feel in a situation is the way you should feel.

2. It’s not good or healthy to feel angry. Myth. Anger is a natural human emotion. It serves a purpose; therefore, it is good, and it is healthy. What may not be positive or healthy is the ways that you are expressing it.

3. Happy or emotionally healthy people don’t experience painful emotions. This is not true! Even the happiest people have pain in their lives sometimes. Life is about the good and bad, pain and joy. Life is naturally going to have painful moments, regardless of how happy or well-adjusted the person is.

4. Feeling sad is weak. Again this is another myth. Emotions arise for a reason, to motivate you to change something, to help you communicate and so on. The emotion is normal and healthy. You response to the emotion might be health and if this is the case, that is what you need to focus on. What would be the healthier course of action that could help you cope with this intense emotion?

5. Painful emotions are destructive. False. It is not the emotion that is destructive. It is how you chose to act because of the emotion. For example, feeling anger does physical hurt you or anyone else, it is when you choose to act in a violent physical way because of the anger that people get hurt.

Were you able to identify any faulty beliefs that may be causing difficulties in your life? If so, I hope that you can feel empowered to start making small changes. If you found these top 5 myths helpful, don’t forget to check back in with Balancing the Circus next week for myth about emotions 6-10.

Balancing emotions,

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

Reference: Van Dijk, S. (2012). Calming the Emotional Storm:using DBT skills to manage your emotions and balance your life.

The beauty of creating boundaries 

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Why  are boundaries necessary?

  • For protection and personal security
  • To create order
  • To define ourselves clearly
  • To gain a clearer sense of ourselves in relation to others
  • To empower us to determine how we will be treated by others

Maintaining boundaries allows us to gain trust in ourselves to take care of ourselves. It results in a healthy sense of control and overall well-being. How do you plan on creating boundaries in your life today?

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

Use the letter “A” to Manage your Stress

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Stress is bound to happen no matter what but how we deal with can help us reduce the amount of it.  Who doesn’t want to feel less stressed? Maybe we can actually enjoy Manic Monday’s. Check out the 3 ways to manage your stress: 

1) Avoid it. Remove yourself from the stressful situation when you can; don’t purposely put yourself into situations that you know are highly stressful for you; don’t dwell on thoughts that raise your stress level 

2) Make Adjustments. Do what you can to change the stressful situation 

3) Alter your thinking. If you can’t change something, change your thoughts about it so you don’t perceive it as stressful. Or change the way you cope with it so you can handle it better. 

Avoiding, Adjusting & Altering,

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

Can I get a refill? 

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Just a friendly reminder that we can help anyone else before we put our oxygen mask on first.  Allow this photo to be a visual reminder to refilled our pitcher in order to refresh ourselves and others around us.  We can not afford to neglect ourselves….our physical and mental health depends on it.  How do you plan to refill your pitcher this weekend? 

You are the Ringmaster

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IMG_0586Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages…..Life can feel like you are managing a circus, literally a circus attempting to balance different roles such as spouse, parent, son or daughter, brother or sister and friend. Let’s not forget the hoops we jump through for our careers. Along with juggling our feelings and past experiences that sometimes get in our way of making effective decisions.  Balancing the Circus’ missions is to provide tools to reduce the stress and create a space to produce a smoother running Circus (oops, I meant to say smoother running Life).  You are the Ringmaster or RingMistress (a female circus leader) of your life, and you get to decide the balance between acceptance and changes in your circus called, Life.  Imagine that you actually got a handle on family, work, life balance with a guest appearance mental wellness.  Let’s put on our high black boots and red top coat, because getting up and getting dress is half the battle.  Be the Ringmaster. It’s your Life!!!

 

Ringmistress,

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

6 Myths about Self-Injurious Behaviors

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The two most common reasons for self-injuring are 1) to control the extremely painful and frightening experiences of overwhelming emotions, and/or 2) escape from awful feelings of being numb and empty. Self-injury is not a cry for attention, it a way to regain emotional balance, it is a solution to the extremely disturbing emotional problem of feeling out of control, and it works. It can be considered an effective coping skill, just not a healthy coping skill. March 1 was Self-injurious Awareness Day, so let’s address the myths behind self-injurious behaviors according to the book, “Helping Teens who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury” by Dr. Michael Hollander, Ph.D.

MYTH 1 -They do it to get attention. According to some researcher, less than 4% of adolescents deliberating hurt themselves to get attention. It is the most common reason that parent and some therapy give account for the behavior despite the fact that often an adolescent is self-injurious for months before an adult even notice. The misconception of this kind derails treatment and prolongs both the adolescent’s and the parents’ distress.

MYTH 2 – Everyone is doing it. Deliberate self-injury has been part of the adolescent scene for many years. Many therapists suggest that self-injurious behaviors are on the rise. These are three possible reasons why self-harm is the rise a) deliberate self-injurious has often been mistakenly documented as a suicide attempt, b) no firm criteria due to the narrow to board view of what of what constitutes non-suicidal self-injury and c) Adolescences seem less secretive about it.

MYTH 3 – PEER PRESSURE is the Main Culprit. While those who cut themselves are often friends with others who do the same, peer pressure probably has little effect on keeping the behavior going. People use their peer groups to air their problems. People and Adolescent, in particular, don’t start injuring themselves because of the influences of friends; they are more likely to choose friends who share their behaviors. Therefore, it is not unusual for one teen to tell another about her personal experience with self-injury or to let on that another friend has tried it. Preliminary research suggests that 52% of adolescents learn about self-injuries from a friend or media.

MYTH 4 – Drugs and Alcohol Increase the likelihood of self-injury. Self-injury soothes emotional distress, just as drugs and alcohol do. So the behavior, especially in a person who self-injures as a way to regulate emotions, would rarely be triggered by drug or alcohol use.

MYTH 5 – Certain Kids Manage Physical Pain More Easily than Emotional Pain. When adolescents are asked about the self-injurious behaviors shared that it is easier for them to bear physical pain than emotional pain. However, when you ask an adolescent does their self –injurious behavior hurt, the typical answer is NO. How can it be easier to manage physical pain than emotional pain if there is no physical pain? When the mechanism that provides the relief for this teen has to do with the neuropsychological effect of self-injury some people experience when they are in an intense emotional state. This sense of soothing is the most common experience during the moment of self-injury. It seems that when emotional revved up, there is a sense of calmness and relief when skin tissue is damaged.

MYTH 6 – It’s a Failed Suicide Attempt. More often than not, deliberate self-harm is not a failed or half-hearted suicide attempt. Those people who self-injure themselves may do so as a type of suicide prevention. Most therapists are better able to differentiate self-injury from self-harm with the intent to die. It is critical that any person who is self-injuring undergo a thorough suicidal assessment by a qualified professional.
March 1 was Self Injury Awareness Day and I hope that this brief article shed light on the myths bout Self-injury. For additional information regarding assessments and treatment, please contact a qualified mental health professional in your area.

Check out these resources for further education:

S.A.F.E. Alternative – www.selfinjury.com
Adolescent Self-Injury Foundation (ASIF) – www.adolescentselfinjuryfoundation.com

References:

Hollander, Micheal. Helping teens who cut: understanding and ending self-injury. (2008)
Shapiro, Lawrence. Stopping the Pain: a workbook for teens who cut & self-injure. (2008)

By Shayla Peterson, LCSW

I declare today to be STRESS FREE, join me

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There is so much to be stressed about, but there’s so many other things I rather fill my mind with today.  I understand that stress is a normal response to a state of unbalance.  Signs that I look for when my stress is unbalanced are in the areas of cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral.  Our brains may react by experiencing increased forgetfulness, poor concentration, increased worrying, poor judgement and seeing only the negative.  The emotional aspect of stress may present with moodiness,  feelings of being overwhelmed, isolation, difficult to relax and increased irritability.   Physical signs of stress may include aches & pains, nausea, easily catches colds, decreased sex drive and increased heart rate.  Behavioral signs may appear in the form of less/more eating, too much/too little sleep, isolation, neglecting responsibilities and using alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to relax.   These various symptoms if not addressed can lead to increased mental health concerns as the majority of these symptoms parallel with depression and anxiety.  In efforts to increase mental wellness and prevent further stress, make an active effort to reduce stress today to improve overall mental health.   These are the ten things I chose to use today to support my mission towards eliminating stress:

  1. I will participate in some form of meditation or relaxation (4-square breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and/or stretching)
  2. I will eat balanced meal (at least 5 servings of fruits, veggies and 8 glasses of water)
  3. I review how I typically think about stress.  Explore my “what ifs”? catastrophic thoughts? discounting the positives?
  4. I will take a break when I need one (I will leave the office for lunch).
  5. I will manage my time by planning my day so that it doesn’t run me.
  6. I will take about my troubles with close friend and end the conversation with a positive story.
  7. I will live a balanced life today.  After work, I will make time for my hobby, me-time, a social event or watch a movie with the family.
  8. I will develop a realistic goal and break it up into smaller realistic goals and then break them up into even smaller realistic goals.
  9. I will evaluate possible future stress and identify what can I do to reduce it.
  10. I will ask for help.  I will get in touch with my therapist if I’m having difficulties getting through my STRESS-FREE day.

Feel Free to use these ten ways to have a STRESS FREE day.  Note: Please do not feel disappointed if your day is not completely stress-free by using these tips, if you reduced one of your signs or decreased your symptoms of stress, you have made strides.  Let’s Celebrate our progress!!!

Balancing the Stress,

Shayla Peterson, LCSW

 

Thirty1 Days of Social Work

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As we recognize Social Work Month during the month of March, I have decided to posted the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.  I will never forget my professor in graduate school making the class recite the NASW Code of Ethics to promote memorization because of its importance.  A Big acknowledgement to all the social work students, BSW, MSW, LMSW, LICSW, LSW, LCSW and DSW standing by our code and doing good work in the community.

Value : Service
Ethical Principle : Social worker’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.

Value : Social Justice
Ethical Principle : Social worker challenge social injustice.

Value : Dignity and Worth of the Person
Ethical Principle : Social worker respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

Value : Importance of Human Relationship
Ethical Principle : Social Workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.

Value : Integrity
Ethical Principle : Social Worker behave in a trustworthy manner.

Value : Competence
Ethical Principle : Social worker practice within their areas of competent and develop and enhance their professional expertise.

Happy Social Work Month,
Shayla Peterson, LCSW

How to Vacation while on Lunch

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Lido Beach in Sarasota, Florida

 
As I look at this personal photo I’m reminded of how beautiful the weather was on that day, how the sun FELT on my skin, the SOUND of the waves crashing on the land, the SMELL of the ocean, FEELING the sand underneath my wiggling toes, SEEING how the sun reflects its light on the ocean, WATCHING the birds fly overhead and SIPPING on a ice cold water from the bottle.  *Insert deep BREATHE to take it all in*

Sometimes, a quick vacation while on lunch is what we need to get back on track for the next half of the day.  Anxiety has decreased and mood has increase after 60 seconds of vacation.  Where would you like to go!  Maybe it’s  somewhere you have been before, maybe a place you would like to go or make up a place in your mind.  When you think of your vacation don’t forget to tend to your 5 senses (SMELL, SIGHT, TOUCH, HEAR and TASTE).  Don’t delay, GO on vacation now!!! 

Have good trip!!! 

Shayla Peterson, LCSW