Saturday 3 August 2013

Your Self Esteem

Looking To Your Future 
When you feel down, it is common to have negative automatic thoughts about yourself .However some individual report that they never feel totally at ease with themselves. This is how self esteem or lack of self confidence may be lifelong characteristic, predating any mood swings; or it may have arisen as a consequence of repeated severe mood swings and difficulties in coming to terms with behaviour during these episodes. In reality many individuals mood disorder have a long - standing fragile self esteem that is further undermined by experiencing mood swings. There are number of approaches to overcoming low level self -esteem. 
-To Develop Realistic view yourself
-To reduce your over-dependency on other's opinions
-To try to build a positive self -image 
Try to clarify in your own mind where any negative feelings come from, and how accurate any negative thoughts are, it is helpful to draw up a list of your personal strengths and weakness. Like - What do you like/dislike about yourself?
- What positive/ negative qualities do you possess?
- What do other people like or dislike in other people?
Try to avoid global labels such as “i am a terrible mother” or " I am useless”. Even if you have such negative thoughts try to be specific about why you have made this statement. This means exploring the Evidence 
-trying to avoid thinking about what happened 
- trying to externalize the responsibility for the way you feel 
-  trying to convince yourself that being slightly high will overcome your negative view of yourself 
it is helpful to look at how you assess yourself day - day basis . By all means set yourself realistic and acceptable standards, and by all means assess whether you have lived up to your expectation. Try not to be overly self critical as self criticism motivates people. It does the opposite .individuals who constantly find fault with their own actions become demoralized and find it hard to keep going in face of increased stress. Making constructive and encouraging self-statements, on the other hand, can help you achieve your goals. To overcome self - criticism, see if you can reframe your criticism into more helpful statements that encourage you, rather than demand that you do certain things. If your internal critical voice is very powerful, imagine that it is a parrot sitting in your shoulder that is making this criticism. The way of dealing this parrot is either to make it fly away or kill it. Silence is the internal critic. 
  Some individuals, rather than experiencing persistent low self esteem, say that their self - image varies purely on the basis of the feedback they get from other people . Fluctuating self-esteem is an damaging as continuously low self - esteem, as it makes you vulnerable to more extreme mood swings. While you should not ignore all feedback from other , it is important to see these comments in context . ask yourself these  question 
- on scale 0-100 how sensitive you are  to the views of other 
- how critical are others of you 
- do you give equal attention to positive and negative feedback 
if you explore your answers to these questions , you may be able to judge whether you are too vulnerable  to other people's opinion, particularly critical comments . if you are sufficiently clear in your own mind about your strengths and weakness and your sensitivity to criticism, you will be better able to evaluate the comments other make about you . Positive feedback will confirm  your good points and negative feedback , although painful to hear , should not be too much of shock . Remember that it is important  to keep a balanced realistic view . Dont overemphasize positive comments , by all means be pleased , but keep your feet on the ground . Getting to carried away could simply set you on the path to  a high . don't castastrophize about negative comments , even if presented in critical way and are difficult to accept , try to work out what the person is trying to tell you . is there a grain of truth in their comments that you can learn from ? lastly remember your reaction to others comment will be largely detached by your automatic thoughts. 
Agree to explore the alternative views  eg if yo hold the belief that " i am unlovable ', rewrite as " i am lovable '.having  reframed the statement thus rate 0-100 scale how strongly you subscribe to this new beliefs . the likelihood is that you will give this alternative belief a very low rating . this is understandable  for throughout your whole life so far you have unwillingly collected information  to support your old views . however from today you have to  try to collect and record any piece of information , no matter how small , that supports the new belief . don't bother with the evidence against your new idea ; you have been attending to that for years , and could fill a textbook with it . 

The whole point is to  raise awareness of any information in the environment that starts to support your alternative belief and also remember you are not aiming for perfection . it is unlikely that you will feel 100% " i am lovable" however you may conclude that some individuals find you lovable most of the time . likewise, being totally competent is unrealistic , try to aim for a acceptable and reasonable level of competency 

what is Hopelessness

If you are depressed you may get thoughts that make you feel hopeless . Unfortunately , some individuals who feel intensely hopeless about their future begin to think that they cannot carry on . In order to keep yourself safe through these difficult times, it is important to remember that the automatic thoughts that are making you feel hopeless can be tackled through the same techniques as those used for anxiety or depression . What evidence is there for thoughts ? What alternative ways of viewing your situation are there ? What activities could you undertake right now to alleviate these feelings, even for a short time ?
If you really cannot overcome your hopelessness it is important to talk to someone else . This becomes vital if you have any associated idea about harming yourself . If these thoughts flood your mind and you are felling too down to tackle them alone , please seek help .
Even with practice , there will be times when it is very difficult to use the techniques , you may find it hard  to focus on thoughts , to write things down , or to take action . It does take an enormous effort to start using these approaches .
 If you are struggling  to implement these strategies , can anyone offer you support in your efforts? Even someone offering encouragement to try  self- management approaches may help you get started . Other approaches to the management of depression , such as professional input from mental health  and self medication with anti - depressants , are also important .


The most common automatic  thoughts that accompany a downswing are negative thoughts about yourself , your world and your future ( sometimes called negative cognitive trial ) which is associated with depressed mood , although the negative prediction about the future are also associated with anxiety . Irritability is also a prominent emotion in highs and lows , particularly in response to perceived criticism of what you do . Negative mood states can be alleviated temporarily by distracting yourself from the thoughts . However , to achieve lasting reduction in your depression and anxiety , it helps to be able to recognize and record , review and respond to your unhelpful automatic thoughts.
it is not easy to identify thoughts immediately as they run through your mind , and it will take some practice .The two key elements that will help are to note down exactly what you were doing when you noticed that your mood changed, then to record how depressed or anxious you felt on 0 - 100 scale . it is difficult to to describe what your where doing throughout the day , what thoughts where gong inside your mind . try closing your eyes and recreating the scene in your imagination . Ask yourself the following questions :
- what thoughts , memories , images do I have ?
-What thoughts do I have about other people ?
-What thoughts am I predicting they have about me ?
-What do any of these thoughts say about me or my situation ? And about other people
- If it were true, what does this idea mean about me ? Or about others ?
-What am I afraid of right now ?what bad events or outcomes am I predicting
Now fr this list try identifying what are the useless thoughts that  go through your mind rate them from 0- 100 . after rating pause and remind yourself that just because this is the first idea that came into your mind or the one you believe the most .before moving to explore your thoughts it is helpful to make sure  they accurately reflect  your immediate reaction to the situation . you may be tempted to be tone down  a statement  to make it less painful . unfortunately , techniques for modifying dysfunctional thoughts are probably more effective  if you deal with raw  rather than the polite version . for example " i am bad {or " i am no good " are clear negative automatic thoughts that would make you feel down , whereas " i began to think i wasn't very nice " or " i thought i did not do that  very well " do not convey the reality  of thoughts or depth of feeling .
Try selecting the one that you believe most strongly , or the most extreme idea , and then review it is detail by working through the following stages . EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE : Stick with factual evidence , not feelings , intuition , or hearsay . Next , write down all the evidence that does not support your automatic thoughts . To get started note anything that contradicts your thoughts , no matter how small . if you are still struggling , think about what you would say to someone else if they asked for your views of the evidence for and against the idea . You  could also think whether you have any past experience that support or refute your idea . having collected evidence for and against  your automatic thought, is there any room for doubt that it is right ? if you are still not sure , identify any additional source that will help you reach a conclusion ? what could you experiment  to test out the idea yourself ?
 Questions that may include :
- what other views could i take of the situation ?
- would i view the situation differently if I felt better ?
- have I any experience of similar situation ?
- what might someone else think in this situation , particularly someone who is not depressed ?
Question to yourself like :
- Are there any advantages to holding this views ? Are there any disadvantages ?
-Can I identify any particular pattern of thinking errors , e.g. overgeneralize
- Am I talking all the responsibility for a situation ? Can I take more balanced view , where I take some but not all of the responsibility  for what has occurred ?
- Finally , if my original idea an accurate reflection of the situation , what is the most constructive  and helpful action I can take ?
 - re - rate the intensity of your emotional  response ? It is unlikely  that your depression will have disappeared , but you may be able to rate your  feeling less negatively . Finally review the outcome of working through this process . What have you learned ? Is there any other action you can now take to help your future in modifying this thought ?
- if there is no change in your mood state , consider whether there is any other powerful thoughts operating that you have not yet examined . If so . it is worth rating the process , targeting the new thoughts.
-lastly , it is important to use these cognitive techniques alongside the practical techniques outlined in the previous section . The combination is likely to improve your mod state more than either approach alone .