Make Change Happen

Routines are hard to maintain. They are healthy because they keep us organized and help us maintain some sense of normalcy. But what happens when there is a glitch in our routine? What happens when we have to make a change?

Now, change can be a very broad term. We can change many things like the color of our hair, the clothes we wear, the way we act or even the way we think.

Each form of change comes with one common factor: the unknown.

Every time we make a change we take a risk, no matter how small or how noticeable this change may be. The changes that are the hardest to make though are those that come from within, rather than those that appear on the outside. Working to make an inner change is hard and it is completely normal to not know where to start or how to go about it.

Let’s talk about some examples of what making an inner change looks like.

It is healthy for us to notice our negative qualities and want to adjust them.

A bad trait we sometimes have is addressing ourselves with a negative tone. By this I mean you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, walk past a mirror and think “yikes” to yourself as you walk out the door because you’ve had better hair days before and today was just not cutting it.

We can start by taking baby steps toward the changes we wish to make that will create an overall happier version of ourselves.

Step 1: Identify the problem. What is causing you to be upset? When you go through your daily routine, take note of the things that make your day better and of the things that make you feel uncomfortable. By identifying the underlying causes of our feelings and insecurities, it becomes easier to change these behaviors slowly over time.

Step 2: Create a plan to make things better. If you notice every day you do happen to be that person that tells yourself you don’t look that great when you walk out the door in the morning, make it a priority to find something about you that you DO like. Look at yourself and find one thing to compliment. This will help build self-esteem and help us realize that no one is perfect so we must love our imperfections.

Step 3: Surround yourself with support. If you feel uncomfortable around a group of people, you feel like they are not good for your mental health, find a way to fix it. This does not always mean kicking people out of your life or cutting them off but, instead, try to find other grounds to talk about, other common factors. Learn to listen, rather than talk for a more positive outcome.

Step 4: Maintain a routine. Once we have identified the things we wish to change and come up with a plan to enact this change within our daily lives, we must find a way to keep the positivity prevalent.

As I’ve said before, being human is hard. It is not always easy to know right from wrong. It is not always clear what steps we should take to make ourselves feel happier. Change is ultimately inevitable. So, if we can learn how to maintain a sense of normalcy while going through a change that we decide on, it will make it easier to cope with the changes in our lives that are out of our control.

teen, young adult, millennial therapy, counseling, psychology, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, depression, anxiety, maternal mental health, infertility, postpartum , tampa

3 Ways to Treat Yourself this Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, the longing for a significant other becomes overwhelmingly apparent for those of us lacking our “perfect person.” For those of us in a relationship, the pressure of Valentine’s Day can be growing and we may be running to find the “perfect gift.” It is impossible to walk through a retail store without feeling overwhelmed by oversized teddy bears and heart shaped chocolates. It is natural for us to want another half, someone to hold or hug, someone who brings out the best in us.

We all know a perfect first date doesn’t exist, even if we are in a relationship.

How can we make Valentine’s Day About Self-Love?

Movies portray an unrealistic vision of how love really looks like and ultimately forces us to create unhealthy and unnecessary expectations for a potential partner and Valentine’s Day celebration.

So, instead of blindly searching for your person this February, or the perfect gift, I challenge you to find your self-love.

Here are three tips to spend your day in a healthy way:

1. Galentine’s day (or we can call it Palentine’s day for the fellas out there): Have a Valentine’s Day exchange with some of your friends, Secret-Santa style. This time, focus your gifts on self-love: everyone loves a good face mask, scented candles, great book, a gift card to your favorite spa or restaurant.

2. Snag a friend for the day and take advantage of Valentine’s Day deals: A half-off couple massage and discounted dinner for two are definitely some deals to take advantage of. You do not have to be in a relationship to enjoy great discounts.

3. Pamper yourself: Maybe you don’t want to go out, that is totally fine. While others stress about the pressure of planning the most romantic day of the year, you can sit and relax in your bathtub, watching standup comedy or horror movies, while eating your favorite chocolate. Soak in those positive endorphins and focus on you.

Love is everywhere we look, including inside ourselves. Searching in the wrong places will just leave you finding something you were not looking for. By finding and loving ourselves, we attract others who have the same energy. Your Valentine’s Day is what you want to make of it, be positive about your relationship status and focus on the relationship you have with yourself.

pexels-photo-481901.jpeg

The Truth About Therapy

How do you feel about the word therapy? Some of us are under the impression that attending therapy means we are going “crazy” or “insane.” This is false and if you believe this you are actually stereotyping and increasing the stigma related to mental health. Therapy is for all, the everyday unique person who simply wants to better them self. You do not have to be experiencing a major life crisis, transformation or a traumatic event to benefit from someone listening to you.

I want to debunk some therapy rumors and clear up any misconceptions about therapy:

1. My issues are not a big deal: Your anxiety may be related to things others may not understand or empathize with. That does NOT mean they are not a big deal, it means you can talk to someone who can empathize, listen and understand how your illogical thoughts may be growing in your own head.

2. In therapy I will be told what to do: NO, sorry that is truly the most far from the truth. A therapist listens and guides. But we do not tell anyone what to do. You come up with our choices based on what you want to accomplish. In therapy, you gain insight and the ability to make your own healthy choices.

3. My therapist does not care about my problems: That may be true or not, every therapist is different and unique. If you feel they do not empathize or understand you, leave. Find another therapist, we are everywhere and we all have different talents. The most important thing for you to benefit from therapy is simply your relationship with your therapist and how well you get along.

4. It is too expensive: This can be true, but it can also be very false. Therapists can work with insurance providers, some have sliding scales or discounts for college students. I always say therapy is not permanent, it is an investment. Put away your online shopping habit and instead commit to something that can help you gain better relationships, a promotion and self-esteem.

5. Talking won’t help me solve anything: Of course, it can! You just have not found the right person for you to talk to. See talking to a therapist is not like talking to a friend, spouse or family member. It is unique in that your therapist has no motif, no underlying gain, they do not know you or your acquaintances. A therapist learns to see you the way you see yourself, through your own eyes.

6.  I can not change people around me: Very true, in therapy, you will learn this. But you should not be going to therapy to change people, you should be going to therapy to improve your own thinking and insight.

7. It is embarrassing: If you feel this way, talk about it in therapy. I do not see people feeling embarrassed about going to the doctor, dentist and even your gynecologist. Talking to a therapist is empowering and the most opposite of embarrassing.

8. Therapy is forever: No, it does not have to be forever. Find a therapist with a therapy style that gives you results and you too will see not every therapist is the same, and you do not have to invest your entire future going to therapy.

Please remember your therapist is human too. In fact, many of us attend our own therapy. It is not as shocking, embarrassing or outlandish as you may think. We study the art and science of psychology, it is important for us all to realize our own limitations and to consult with other like-minded humans, who are impartial and non-biased when we need an extra boost.

depression anxiety tampa therapy young adult millennial teen counseling psychology maternal health postpartum self esteem self love self care

The 3 R's to Help You Stick to Your Resolution

Hi everyone, my name is Melanie. I am the new administrative assistant of Serene Mind, and I wanted to take a second to congratulate everyone for making it through another year! No matter what happened, no matter how you are feeling or where you are, if you’re reading this, you made it. 

                Such as the New Year, I would like to take a closer look at New Year’s Resolutions. How many of us have made one this year, and moving towards the end of the month, aren’t feeling all that hopeful anymore? How many of us have made the same one that we made last year…and the year before that? I am writing this in the hopes that after reading it, you don’t walk away feeling discouraged, or berating yourself. All of us have things about ourselves that we would like to work on, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it. A New Year’s Resolution should not be something for us told hold over our heads like a demanding cloud of gloom. It should a goal. Humans are creatures of habit. If you have been doing the same things for the past fifteen, or even five years, please do not think that you will suddenly be able to change it at the stroke of midnight. 

                The same way that a habit is made, it can be broken. Some of us don’t know how we even got to the point that we are at today, we just know that change is necessary. Know that is half the battle, having the motivation to see it through, is the other half. I would like to share a little bit of knowledge that I acquired recently that might make this whole thing seem a little more feasible. 

What are the 3 R’s of Habit Formation? 

Reminder: The Reminder is a trigger and it can come in the form of many different forms such as a location, time, struggle, emotion, or action. A good amount of the time, this isn’t something that is within our power to change.

Routine: Then there is the Routine, which is what we do in response to the Reminder. This is where change happens. You control how you respond to that Reminder, and you alter your process. Try doing this 21 days in a row, however big or small it may be, and you are on track to modeling a new behavior.

Reward: The last is the Reward, and this is the joy within ourselves that we feel after a job well done. Don’t forget to celebrate each day that you accomplish your daily goals.

       This formula is broad for the purpose of it being adaptable to all of your different situations and work habits. There is wiggle room, and forgiveness if you allow it. There isn’t room for self-doubt, or beating yourself out, so leave it all at the door, and see what happens. I wish you guys the best of luck in all that you set out to accomplish and have the happiest of New Years.

Goal Motivation

Hi Everyone! My name is Angelica, but I prefer to be called Angie.  I am a student in the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at the University of South Florida. I also work as Mrs. Stephanie’s Administrative Assistant here at Serene Mind Psychology.

In addition to my professional interest in counseling, I am a certified Success and Wellness Coach. In my work as a coach, I help my clients (who all happen to be college students) to first cultivate a vision for how they’d like to live their best lives. Most of that process involves asking them to consider their values, their priorities, and to reflect on their level of satisfaction in eight dimensions of their wellness: Physical Environment, Career, Finances, Physical Health, Friends/Family, Romance, Personal Development/Growth, and Fun/Recreation. From this vision, my clients then set goals to help facilitate balance across each of the eight areas mentioned.

While there is a certain objectivity to the goal setting process, our goals are a reflection of who we are and what we value. The art of goal setting is important to facilitating forward movement in both the coaching and counseling environments. So how can you ensure you set goals that allow you to cultivate a momentum and will carry you forward into living life on your own terms? The key is to set SMART goals! SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Specific goals are those that get down to business. What behavior or thought are you seeking to change in order to improve your satisfaction with your life or holistic wellness?
  • Measurable: Measurable goals allow you to answer the question, “what will it look like when this goal is met?” If you either can’t measure your goal progress or don’t know what to look for, how will you know when you’re ready to set your sights on a new target?

  • Attainable: Attainable goals are those that stretch you just outside of your comfort zone-- but not so far out of it that your goals are no longer within reach. This makes the difference between a goal that is a confidence boost and one that is a confidence bust!

  • Relevant: Relevant goals help us answer the question “why”—why does this goal matter? What purpose will it serve to accomplish this goal? When you know your ‘why’, you can accomplish any ‘what’!

  • Time-bound: Time-bound goals have a timestamp on them: By when will you have this goal completed? It is important to be realistic as you are setting your timeframe; again, this be a make-it or break-it for your confidence!

I learn through examples, so here is an example of one of my goals for this year:

In order to become the best coach I can be, I will read one piece of material per month that expands my knowledge and skill set as a coach. After reading each resource, I will create a 1-page summary of major takeaways and strategies I can use to integrate the resource into my practice as a coach.

Can you identify each element of the SMART framework in my goal?