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DBT, Inspiration, Journaling, mental health

Self-Assessment for the End of Year Pondering

As the year comes to an end, I believe it is a great practice for us all to slow down and assess where we are achieving and where we are struggling.

I have created this “worksheet” of sorts to to help people identify where they might have room for growth.  We all have areas for growth, we all have areas of strength. Consider these questions to guide you in your journey (with a therapist or without)! This is also a great exercise to do as a couple and as a family to set some goals, with intentionality, for the new year!

In what areas are you (or we) making emotionally based choices?

Consider the following areas. Do you (or we) tend to give into short term impulses in any specific areas?

  • Food/eating ____________________________________________________________________
  • Time management (working/playing) __________________________________________­
  • Anger impulses _________________________________________________________________
  • Social Anxiety ___________________________________________________________________
  • Fears ____________________________________________________________________________
  • Sleep schedule__________________________________________________________________
  • Self-harming behaviors__________________________________________________________
  • Substance abuse ________________________________________________________________
  • Emotional urges _________________________________________________________________
  • Trying to “fit in” __________________________________________________________________

Questions to journal on:

What changes would you like to see in those areas?

What are you doing to self-sabatoge?

What are you doing to set yourself up for success?

Are you able to identify any areas that you do well in exercising restraint against urges and making more mindful choices?

What changes are you willing to make in the next month, to work on moving in an effective direction for yourself?

If you want more help with managing short-term urges in order to achieve long-term goals, consider checking out my book Adulting Well (available in the Wellness Shop tab above)!

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Inspiration, mental health

Self-Worth

Worth is the value of something placed on it by society or yourself.  Worth is subjective and is up for discussion which is why some people have a difficult time believing a compliment or internalizing positive beliefs about themselves. 

I am sure you can think of an item you own (or owned in the past, even as a child) that you placed more worth on than society would have, it came from within. For me, I have had a treasured rock collection, special tattered quilts, and I currently still have a Fozzie Bear Muppet Baby figurine that is precious to me from my childhood. I place high worth on them, and I am aware that other people may not find them to be worth anything at all. 

Improving your self-worth must come from within.  You will need to determine that you are worthy of your own time, attention, and resources and until you do that, it is likely that others will ignore your requests and will see you as a push-over. People with low self-worth often make jokes at their own expense and are not likely to speak up for their preferences.  If others laugh along at the jokes or do not pick up on minor preferences that are casually mentioned, the person uses their confirmation bias to determine that it is proof of their low worth.  I mentioned earlier in the book that I would use your love for your children to manipulate you: this chapter is one place I will do that. If you want your children to have healthy self-worth, you must lead by example.

Self-esteem and self-worth can be thought of as synonymous.  Self-esteem cannot be bought; it must be earned. That means that unless you set a goal and struggle to reach it (be that at work, with parenting, in a hobby, financially, etc.), you will not feel good about yourself.   

Ideas for Raising your Self-Worth:

  • Treat your body as a sacred place.

This means that you recognize the mind-body connection and treat your physical body accordingly. You understand that chronic stress and anger take a dramatic toll on your physical and emotional well-being.  You can reverse that toll by taking the steps that you know lead to healthier life. 

  • Stop smoking and/or vaping.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Drink water as a primary beverage.
    • Go for walks.
    • Stretch.
    • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
    • Limit fast food and junk food.
    • Visit the dentist twice per year and the primary care doctor yearly.

To prioritize any of the mentioned suggestions here for healthier living forces you to engage in an action that only someone who thinks their life is worthy would do.  You might have to “fake it” initially, but I know that over time you will develop a sense of pride over the healthy choices you are making. In time, that pride will increase your self-worth!

  • Values-based living.

Values-based living is a concept that I introduced in chapter one.  If you have time, go back, and re-read that section and see if you have taken any strides toward values-based living in the time it has taken you to read the last 4 chapters.  If you have not taken any actions that are aligned with your previously identified values, that is ok! That might be a sign to pick a different value to start with, to recommit to your prior plan, or to evaluate what got in your way and problem solve it.

Living according to your values raises your self-worth because it is not always a convenient thing to do, and yet you are taking actions that tell yourself and the world, that you are worth it.  You are worth your own time, attention, and resources.

  • Journal and meditate.

Self-reflection is not something a person does if they think they are worthless.  They do not believe their thoughts, time or attention are worthy of evaluation or recording on paper.  They believe they are disposable and that others see them as disposable. I hope that you do not believes those things about yourself.

Journaling can help us to see patterns in our thinking and your behaviors. When we find problematic patterns, we can journal to explore solutions and problem solving. In doing so, you give yourself the message that your problems are worth solving, your moods are worth improving and your relationships are worth saving.

Meditation achieves a similar result without the writing.  When you meditate in any fashion (such as clearing the mind, listening to a meditation recording, focusing on a mantra or affirmation, praying, etc.) you will generally find a sense of peace and clarity that seems to magically improve your abilities to cope, and problem solve.  You would not take time for such an activity if you did not believe you deserved such an experience.  I believe that meditating and journaling on a regular basis will improve your self-worth because they are actions that tell yourself that you are worth your own time and energy!

  • Celebrate your wins (somewhat unapologetically).

People who have low self-esteem feel ashamed and embarrassed by their accomplishments. They are likely to think that they don not deserve celebration and/or their success was a fluke. If you fall into this category, you will need to practice acknowledging that you worked hard and that your success was earned, and you will need to accept compliments and/or praise from others with a “thank you” and not a self-deprecating remark. Your success is just as well earned as anyone else’s. You made the choices in life that yielded the results you have; when it pans out in your favor, accept the congratulations from others and pat yourself on the back! 

Give it a try! I can tell you all day long that you have worth…but that doesn’t mean you will believe me.

Journaling

Gratitude

It seems that some people love to sit in misery.  I say that with sarcasm…however that may be what you are doing when you journal.  Writing in your diary about all of the terrible things that happened during the day is a risky move.  Rehashing your day in print can go one of two ways: it can assist in your mental processing and help you reach a conclusion OR it can bring up and intensify the negative feelings. Only you know the effect writing has on your emotional state.  My advice to you is to be aware. Don’t get me wrong, journaling can be a fantastic coping tool.  If you need distance from a situation, need to rehearse what you want to say or want to keep a record of your growth, I’d say writing is a great option.  I’d worry if the nightly writing becomes a depressive trigger. 

An alternative to traditional journaling is to keep a gratitude journal instead.  A gratitude journal is where you keep a log of things you are thankful for each day.  As you may imagine, this task is easier some days than others.  When I keep a gratitude journal, I do it in list format.  Each day I only write the date and three things I’m grateful for in list form.  This creates a great record and tool I can look back on for inspiration.  In fact, just now I looked back through mine and felt a rush of satisfaction, happiness, love, and pride.

This post has reminded me how much the gratitude journal means to me and I’ve fallen away from the practice recently…So today I’m grateful for:

  1. Not procrastinating
  2. Having time to re-read my past gratitude lists
  3. New pillows
 
Journaling

Art Journaling

I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of this technique until recently (thank you pinterest!)…but the concept of art journaling is fairly new to me. Essentially, art journaling combines scrapbooking, journaling, doodling, and sketching into a creative outlet. 

Clinically I can see great value in this, as it is often time difficult for people to put the intensity of their emotions into words.  Color, bold lines, single words, etc may better express ones feelings than a standard journal entry.  I would encourage everyone to give it a try!  Below are a few examples found on-line: