Inspiration, mental health

Yelling is Futile

Are you a “yeller”? Yelling at your kids, your dog, your spouse, your siblings, your parents, your friends?

I do fall into this pattern at times: yelling at my kids more than I intend.  Either after a bad day, a tiring day, or long stretches of grey weather.  It is futile and literally has no effect on the outcome (except that I feel awful and they avoid me)…

…so why do we do it???

In general, yelling at another person is a punishment.  From behaviorism research and theory, punishment is the least effective way to get another human to change their behavior…so…

…why do we do it???

In general, yelling at another person is a REWARD to the yeller…and we know that behaviors that are reinforced (it feels good and it relieves our pressure/stress) are likely to continue.  The fact that we feel calmer after blowing off steam keeps us coming back to it time and again, even though it does not get the results we want! So many times we want to blame others or say things like “I don’t know why I did that”, so I am here to unveil this conundrum.  We yell because yelling rewards US.  We also have a lot of beliefs surrounding yelling that reinforce the behavior:

  1. That they will take us more seriously (the opposite is true, you are probably regularly telling them to speak to you calmly and respectfully; you are not modeling the behavior which makes you a hypocrite)
  2. That they will respect us more (again, the opposite is true…see reasoning above)
  3. That they will listen better (the opposite is usually true: either they respect you less and therefore don’t listen, they might think you are blowing off steam and therefore don’t take your yelling topic seriously, or you frighten them which causes their anxiety to spike and their brain processessing abilities to tank)
  4. That they are more likely to change (research shows that they are actually just more likely to lie to you, avoid you, and resent you)

Debunking the beliefs and educating ourselves on the facts about yelling is one step toward reducing the behavior.  Taking time to understand why we act in certain ways can allow us to increase our awareness and become more mindful of our behaviors and triggers.

 

 

DBT, Inspiration, mental health

Four Options with Any Problem

I am struck by the quickness with which we feel we do not have a choice.  I hear myself (and others) saying things like “I didn’t have a choice…” or “I guess I have to…” on a regular basis and yet I am also equally struck by the concept that we do have a choice! In any given moment and with every given situation, you always have a multitude of choices!

I DBT we teach that a person always has four choices in coping with a problem:

  • Solve the problem

This is quite possibly the worst one on this list because if it were so simple, I think we all WOULD solve our own problems!  What is valid about this option is that we must take time to assess what the actual problem is and determine whether it is in our control or not.  If we are determining that the problem is: my spouse folds the towels wrong then I would challenge you and say that you need to dig deeper and look at what role you play in the scenario.  We might discover that the real problem is: I am clinging to my preference as to how the towels are folded and judging my spouse as incompetent.  In the second version of the problem, we now can apply the strategies below to solve the problem in a more creative way.

  • Change your opinion/thoughts/beliefs about the problem (one of my favorite…more below)

In continuing with the same problem above, we could work to change how we are thinking about the towels.  We could have a more comical thought: The way the towels are folded does not change their absorbency. You could have an attitude of gratitude: I am so grateful that my spouse took time to fold the towels.  You could have a change in your thought process: I never thought to fold them like that, I’ll give their way a try and see if I like it better.

  • Accept the situation (ie: stop lamenting how bad it is and accept that it just IS, letting go of your anger and resentment about the situation)

This option allows you to not get so angry every time you see the towels folded differently than you prefer.  It allows you to look at the towel and recognize that it is a towel, not a symbol of spousal defiance.  It allows you to see your partner as a partner, not a nuisance.  I also love this option due to the freedom it brings.  There is a freedom in not getting so angry about the “little things” or about the things in life that are out of your control.

  • Stay miserable (and/or make it worse).

This is the option we all tend to jump to! We belittle people we love, we yell and scream over things that really don’t alter our life’s course.  We throw things, we hurl insults, we give the silent treatment, we make passive aggressive gestures and comments that only serve to fuel the fire.  This option does not take into account the long-term goals (staying married) and only pays attention to the short-term urge.

 

Which do you jump to?

Which do you think would be the most effective one for you to start using more?

Take time this week to press pause when you feel yourself preparing to engage in a problematic reaction to a (perceived) problem and take a moment to ponder these 4 choices.  You may be able to free yourself from potential negative consequences!

doors

DBT, Journaling, mental health

Self-Encouragement

Today I want to introduce you to the skill of SELF-encouragement. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) it’s taught as one part of the IMPROVE acronym. I believe that it is one of the most overlooked and under-utilized skills in the book. In short, self-encouragement is talking to you self as you would talk to a friend.

inspirational pooh

We would NEVER say to friends the negative statement that we say to ourselves. If a friend is crying to you about a life problem, I doubt you’d say “suck it up”, “get over it”, “what’s wrong with you”, etc…So why on earth would you say those things to yourself?

Furthermore, would you keep a friend around who talked to you in that way??? NO! You would avoid them like the plague.

 

So get with it and take a page from Hobby Lobby or Instagram’s book…
– print out those cutesy phrases
– follow inspirational people on social media
– splurge on that wall art that moves you
– set the backdrop of your phone and/or laptop to be motivational
– use a dry erase marker on your mirrors
– use bathtub crayons in your shower
– buy a positive though-a-day calendar
– buy the jewelry with the catchy calming phrase on it

self encouragement

Take control of that inner critic, silence the stadium full of nay-sayers in your head and BE NICE to you!

Feel free to share your favorite self-encouraging ideas, quotes and plans in the comments below.

 

Updated from original post on Edit“Self-Encouragement”

Inspiration, Journaling, mental health

The Sound of Silence

In 2005 I took a trip as a college credit across the United States in a 15 passenger van with 12 other students that I really didn’t know.  The purpose of the trip was to experience different cultures and create art in ways that I could not experience in my Midwestern campus life.  The most inspiring part of the trip for me, that has left a lasting imprint on my psyche was a hike down into Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.  Hiking down into the basin of the canyon was the only time I have every experienced true Oneness with the world.

I recall a specific moment during the descent in which I subsequently felt minuscule and gigantic…and immediately started crying! In this one moment, I remember seeing a small flower growing out of a rock.  I was so much more complex, large, and evolved than this plant AND at the same time I looked across this canyon and realized that I am a tiny speck on this planet.  The hike into the Canyon is 1 1/4 miles each way and I would estimate that I had this experience about 1/3 of the way down.  I hiked the rest of the way with complete awareness of the awe of nature.

This is the sound of silence.

 

View of Canyon de Chelly

 

How would you capture silence in a photograph? Is it a positive image like this one, showing a much-needed break? Or is it the opposite, revealing the lack of communication in a friendship or the dangers of not speaking out? Show us your interpretation in a new post.

Inspiration, mental health

Things I learned from my 5 year old daughter:

1. Tell other people they are beautiful if you think they are.

It never ceases to amaze me how kind-hearted and honest kids can be. The truth is, I am shy! My daughter doesn’t get her outgoing nature from me! And yet…even today as we were walking into a building, she turned to another little girl (a stranger, approximately 9 years old) and said “you’re beautiful!” to her….and the little girl smiled so big and said “thanks! you are too!”

IT WAS AMAZING! In what world would two adult women (strangers) exchange compliments like that!?!

Furthermore, she does this often…grocery stores, church, etc…If she thinks you are beautiful, she will let you know 🙂

2. Dancing is a guaranteed mood boost.

Again…shy mom…NOT SHY kid! She can dance and dance and dance…My child will hear the faintest music in a store and break out dancing to her heart’s desire! It has taught me to join in occasionally…and it ALWAYS cheers me up 🙂

3. Slow and steady wins the race.

Being the mom of a preschooler is hard.  There are a LOT of comparisons.  There are parenting books about which parenting books to read! At every turn it seems like your preschooler is falling behind because she doesn’t know 7 languages and can’t write her entire name in cursive… but what I am learning right along side her, is that comparisons are crap.  Kids all get there in their own time and no amount of stress is going to speed them up, if anything, it will slow them down.

 

So think about your own life, what would be different if you were vocally kinder, danced more, and stopped comparing yourself to others?

Uncategorized

Break the Stereotype Challenge

Thebeatwithkey Presents – Breaking The Stereotype Challenge

The Amazing THEBEATWITHKEY has created a new challenge for the blogging community. I am honored to take a part in this. The goal of this challenge is to change the world by breaking all stereotypes. Just one person alone cannot do this because unfortunately, there are a countless amount. There are racial stereotypes, beauty stereotypes, body stereotypes, mental health stereotypes and many more. Since it would be really hard for one blogger to tackle all of them by their self, lets decide to make it a challenge. Team up with other bloggers to break these stereotypes. Link to the site that challenges you and challenge five new bloggers to join in. When responding to this challenge the rules are simple. Non- WordPress bloggers can also get in on this. The rules will be at the bottom.

My Response:

“Type A” people don’t have feelings

As a “type A” person, I am regularly offended by my co-workers and peers’ perception that I somehow don’t have feelings.  I am very good at task-oriented, I am very good at tackling a to-do list with impressive efficiency! That makes me a go-to at work for things that need done quickly.  

The truth is that I like to tackle tasks because it calms my anxiety…my very high anxiety! The hilarity is that people seem to think that because I use work to cope, that it means I am emotionless…I am far from it! I merely find being organized to be a way to keep myself from a mental breakdown.

What I would appreciate is if people would check in with me just as they would any other.  There seems to be a belief that if someone isn’t an emotional basket case, then they MUST have it all together.  The reality is that stereotypes don’t help in this realm! Some organized people are calm while others are anxious.  Some disorganized people are emotionally chaotic while others are perfectly balanced. The only way to know, is to ask and allow yourself to get to know the person, not the behavior. 

 

The 5 bloggers that I nominate is

In Transit

Reclaiming Hope

Rosie Culture

Dear Human

CrystalsandCurls

 

Non-Wordpress Blogger Rules

Rule #1-

Email subscribe to my blog

Rule #2-

Follow my Instagram or Twitter (@yourmentalrestoration on Insta or @alyxberesford on Twitter)

Rule # 3-

Nominate 3 others to join the challenge

 

 

I look forward to seeing your responses

Let’s make a difference!

 

 

Inspiration, mental health

Rise Up

A new year has me reflecting on words that spark passion in me.  Words that make me want to do better, be better, try harder…(yes…a word can do that for me!). Today I choose RISE.

When I think of the word rise, here’s what comes to mind:

  • sunrise
  • bread rising
  • Jesus rising from the dead
  • the phrase “rise up”
  • people rising up against something
  • a mountain peak rising against the horizon
  • the phrase “rise and shine”
  • my grandma saying “early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise”

Every single one of these associations has a positive connection in my mind! I think of the freshness, the renewed energy, the promise that is associating with something rising, and that makes me think it is a perfect word for January! January is the rising of a new year, the sun has set on 2017 and nothing can be done to change it.

For me, as I have shared, my goal this year is mostly centered on building my business Your Mental Restoration in an effort of achieving my larger goal of helping others optimize their mental health.  I see my role as being a hand that reaches down into the dust of the depression pit, into the chaos of an anxious mind and reaches through the brick walls of anger in an effort of helping even one person to have better mental health.  I know that as I work on this goal, it will also propel me to naturally work on others; as we know that helping others is  surefire way to help ones’ self!

I hope that you think of a way to help yourself rise against the strife that 2017 brought for so many.  I hope that you create a vision that inspires you as a majestic mountaintop inspires many.  I hope that you find habits that help you to rise and shine each morning much as the words my grandma shared with me have guided me.

Happy 2018! It’s not over yet so we can’t call it a loss, don’t dare have actions that make it seem like you think it already is!

Uncategorized

I’m inspired by…

Lately, I have been finding myself trying to surround myself with messages of inspiration! I find that our world has a way of being quite negative and I NEED positivity, optimism and energy in my environment to balance it out.  Here is a list of what I have been inspired by recently:

  1. Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire (on repeat…)
  2. Cooking – especially health conscious recipes that require a lot of ingredients. It makes me feel like I am doing something kind for my family
  3. Proverbs 31:25-31
  4. Words with Friends – I love the challenge!
  5. Gilmore Girls – I can only hope that my daughters will want to hang with me as much as Rory wants to hang with Lorelai
  6. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss
  7. Hobby Lobby – in general, this store always inspires me
  8. Christmas Music – ‘Tis the season and I LOVE it!
  9. My friends. I send silly, random messages to them when I am feeling lonely and it cheers both of us up! Memes and puns are the best!
  10. Crafting – There is something cathartic about creating something from nothing. Even if I am copying a Pinterest idea, I feel so masterful upon completion!

What inspires you?

Uncategorized

Expectations

I have noticed that people get themselves into trouble when they assume that everyone thinks like they do.  We tend to think that if something upsets us, it will upset everyone.  If we enjoy an activity, then everyone would enjoy it.  If we dislike someone, we expect everyone will dislike them.

This mentality assumes that:

  1. You are right
  2. You are smarter than everyone else
  3. Other people should want keep you happy
  4. Other people should defer to your preferences

This ties into our mental health as it increases suffering!  When you expect that someone will hold the same opinion as you do, you inevitably set yourself up for suffering due to the likely disappointment that will occur.  Holding others to the same standards as we hold ourselves also opens us to anger as high expectations are a form of judgment. Judging another person does not lead to the other person magically changing and thinking differently; it leads to you being angry (and them not usually even being aware of it!)

So what can you do about it? The trick here is to learn to recognize when you are judging other people for their opinions and when you are holding them to your standards.  When you find yourself “shoulding” on them, you are likely rigidly believing that they need to do it YOUR way.  Once you notice that you are in this trap, the trick is to replace the judgment with a factual description and acknowledge that other people are allowed to have their own opinions.

example:

“What an idiot, they should have known I wanted to leave at 5pm to beat traffic.  What is wrong with them? Who likes to sit in traffic??!”

reframe:

“I am tired from a long day and I know how annoyed I get in traffic.  I would have preferred to leave at 5pm and yet I can understand why they would want to wait until 6pm.  Getting downtown an hour early means we’d have to figure out a way to kill time”. 

or

example 2:

“How can the restaurant be out of rice? Whoever does their ordering needs fired!”

reframe:

I was really looking forward to beans and rice with my enchiladas, it’s frustrating that they are out.  I bet it is embarrassing for the manager and frustrating for the staff to keep having to explain this.  Perhaps tonight I will try the taco salad”.

 

See if you can try this in your family!

 

 

 

DBT, Inspiration, mental health

Mindfulness of Color

color

My previous post got me thinking about color.  Color is all around us in nature, life, the foods we eat, the habitats we live and work in; and yet color is something we often overlook.  If I asked you to stop and tell me what color your neighbors house is, what color your boss’s car is, what color the tiles are at work or school…would you be able to?  Mindfulness is all about WAKING UP from auto-pilot.  Mindfulness of color can be a quick way to wake up and increase the amount of time you spend observing the present.

Try it…

Take the next few moment to spot something red…something orange…yellow…green…something blue…and purple.  You can expand from their if you would like: black, brown, white, pink…

Allow the search for color, really noticing the colors in your world, to anchor you to the present moment.  Stop worrying about what might happen or fretting about what did.  Come back to the now and take a moment to find the beauty and variety of color where ever you are.