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Relationship Issues: Does Your Partner Know the Real You?

Often, the cause of many relationship issues, is lack of communication. A main reason this happens is because we are worried about or ashamed of what the other person will think if we say what is actually on our mind. This is when we hold back and don’t necessarily show or express our values and beliefs to our partner. So what does it mean to be the ‘real you’ with your partner?

– Would you rather show your partner a ‘false you’ and keep a perfect image? Or would you accept your partner knowing the real, imperfect you, not having the most favourable at all times? If you turn the tables, what do you think your partner would want?

– Would you rather remain guarded and difficult to read? Or would you rather let yourself be vulnerable to your partner? What do you think your partner would want?

It can be intimidating to think deeply about these questions. Being your true self is risky: it opens up the door to rejection. But, ask yourself this: if you haven’t shared your inner feelings or been totally honest, then has your partner accepted a ‘false you’? Honesty and authenticity makes it possible to have a deep connection, supported by acceptance and understanding. Chances are, if you take the risk, your partner will, too. It takes courage to do so, but you will experience relief and a deeper sense of intimacy once you take the plunge.

Being yourself is associated with higher self-esteem and satisfaction in relationships. It is not only associated with benefits for yourself, but also for your relationship. While it is important to make a conscious effort to share more with your partner, it is equally important for you to encourage them to share more with you. Exposing your ‘true self’ to your partner leads to increased trust over time. If you worry about trust or have relationship issues related to it, then consider this as a step to gaining a more secure attachment. Trust drives overall relationship satisfaction and commitment.

Building a relationship in which you can comfortably be yourself may be a great start to a satisfying partnership. Communicate with each other, take a risk, and be yourself.

If you feel stuck and unsure of how to approach sharing this part of you with your partner, relationship counselling with a professional can be extremely beneficial.

 

Rise Above Stigma! Mental Health Awareness

Rise Above Stigma! Bell Let’s Talk Day: Wednesday, January 28, 2015!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 is an important reminder of how we should think about, talk about, act, and treat others with mental illness. Not just today, but every day.

WHY? Most people cannot afford treatment to or are on a wait list for months.

MESSAGE:

If you are currently experiencing concerns about your own mental health, having difficulty managing emotions, or having trouble creating or maintaining healthy relationships, please act now. Remember that it takes courage and strength to reach out for help from loved ones or a mental health professional. This help is one difficult, yet life-changing step away. Help yourself and get help from people who care about you (and want to help you)!

We all struggle in life from time to time in our own ways. Take the time to assess your own self-esteem and emotional well-being, noticing any negative changes in your usual behaviours. Awareness of such changes, a strong desire for the suffering to end, and a willingness to help others is that next step you need toward reestablishing more meaning and positivity.

TAKE ACTION:

Take care of yourself, first and foremost. Practice mental wellness. Do what it takes to make you happy. Actively set aside that extra time in a day, week, and month to focus on you and how you can continually contribute to your overall wellbeing.
-Spend less on takeout, and more on pampering yourself.

Refrain from judging or criticizing those who have been labelled with or who have symptoms of a mental health disorder.
-Be conscious to avoid derogatory or hurtful terms that may offend those suffering with a disease.

Talk about therapy and encourage those around you to go. Never judge or criticize those who are seeking treatment for mental illness.
-Why don’t question medication for physical illness?

Listen to those around you with mental illness and ask questions.
-Learn about what they are going through and how you can help them, or how you can help prevent others from experiencing the negative effects of a similar disease.

Educate yourself on how you can help to spread awareness of the life-threatening effects of a mental health disorder (and how it impacts you or loved ones).

FAQS

– Mental health problems and illnesses also account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism. (The Mental Health Commission of Canada)

– 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life. (Canadian Institute of Health Research)

– At this very moment, some 3 million Canadians are suffering from depression. (CMHA)

MOTIVATION TO END STIGMA:

**Make the choice to rise above stigma and be more aware of your acceptance and non-judgment, toward yourself, those around you, and society in general.

**We need to make mental healthcare more accessible, affordable, and acceptable. You, as members in society, as a collective, have the power to influence that. Start by taking care of ‘you’ and others around you!

Here is more information on how psychotherapy or counselling can benefit you or those around you: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/etobicoke-psychotherapy-counselling/

How to Form Good Habits

A habit is a shortcut that makes your life easier because you don’t have to spend energy choosing to do it. It’s mentally exhausting thinking about every action and every behaviour. Time management involves having set ways to do things in the most efficient manner. Stop wasting energy by trying to do tasks more than one way. Take the opportunity to learn the best way and make a habit of it. If there are some things you have been meaning to do or incorporate into your daily routine, make a point of ‘just doing it’ over and over again.

Try and think of your day or weekly agenda in terms of three items: appointments, to-do lists, and habits. An appointment is a commitment with yourself or with another person. Your to-do list consists of tasks you would like to get done, but are not set to be completed in/by a certain time frame. Habits are part of our day that we do not really think about doing, but that have become routine and automatic. Habits may include organizing your briefcase or backpack before bed, brushing your teeth when you wake up, or walking your dog before dinner.

Habits are sometimes the most productive or important parts of our day, which take time to develop as an automatic routine. We find a strategy or way to most efficiently conquer a task or priority, and then we create a time or space for this new task. Once we create a regular time for this task, and we practice it, it becomes a habit.

Take the New Year as a time to reflect on new habits that you would like to create and/ or continue to develop. If a task seems daunting, split it into smaller tasks that seem more manageable. If we constantly work at and continually remind ourselves about this new idea when we first work at it, then we will gradually see how it naturally and effortlessly can become part of our everyday life.

 

Be a happier ‘you’ this holiday season!

Down in the dumps? Holiday blues? A lot of us feel more down in the winter season, especially around the holiday season. This time of year is naturally more stressful. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the general feeling in the air revolves around financial stress, what gifts to buy or will we be able to buy, or planning get togethers with people we do or do not usually see. That being said, why not take those extra steps to be happier and reduce stress as much as possible. Here is a list of tips to help bring about a happier mood.

Enjoy the moment. Look around your environment and take note of one thing that you need to appreciate more, and maybe that you do take for granted. Bring mindful attention and awareness to it. Notice the positive feelings and associations that go with it.

Practice non-judgmental awareness of yourself and others. Take the time to notice when you are and are not judging yourself or others around you. We often do it without noticing, even if it is just a mental note when someone walks by. If someone is short with you, don’t follow suit. Just remember when you are having a bad day, and accept that this person may be experiencing a loss (job, person) or some other negative event in their life.

Connect with others. Since this is a stressful time of year, positive influences can only help. Think about some positive people in your life that you have been procrastinating to see. Connect with them. Even if you feel down, you will most likely feel happier after reconnecting. There is at least one person who makes you feel good and who you know you enjoy spending time with.

Resolve conflicts. This time of year can be emotional and upsetting for a lot of people, especially if ties have been broken or relationships have ended. Take the time to repair these relationships. Be the bigger person: forgive someone or apologize to someone that hurt you in the past. Chances are, they are feeling the same way.

Make your health a priority. Exercise, eat healthy when you can, sleep at least 7 hours per night, be kind to yourself, and develop good boundaries. If you’ve been meaning to get to the gym, and keep procrastinating, just do it! Take little steps. Whether it’s a 5 minute workout or a 30 minute workout, something is better than nothing! (And you’ll probably stay for longer than you thought you would, once you get your gear on).

Be thankful and express your love. Make a phone call, meet with someone, or write them a nice letter. Show your appreciation for others. Why not brighten someone else’s day?

Focus on the good. If you find yourself to be more down than usual, write down or take pictures of 2-3 good things that happen each day. This will remind you to think more positively, and consequently, to be happier!

Have fun and laugh. Stop being so serious! Laughter has many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Whether it is watching a movie, talking to someone that makes you laugh, or just reminiscing about a funny memory, laughing will increase your happiness.

Simplify. Too many things, too many to do lists, and too many unattainable goals lead to a very complex life. Complex lives mean stress and unhappiness. Try to simplify your life by having more realistic expectations and standards for yourself, your job performance, and in your relationships.

Live an authentic and meaningful life. Be true to yourself and live in line with your values. Don’t fall accustom to someone else’s values and someone else’s way of living. You define and create your own happiness!

 

Steps to Build Your Confidence

We tend to get down on ourselves at certain times of the year, and the winter can be one of them. Take this as a healthy reminder to always work on yourself – there really is always room for self-improvement. It’s important to keep in mind that there are steps to build your confidence, rather than wallowing in self-created misery. Please read the following tips that are helpful to you or anyone around you. You create your own happiness, and you can increase your confidence with these simple suggestions.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Trying to live up to or compete with someone else’s personal standards is a losing game. Instead, focus on being the best YOU that you can be.

Compliment yourself regularly, either by looking in the mirror and noting something you like about yourself, writing it in a journal or cell phone note. Don’t tell me you can’t think of one thing every so often. It’s great to compliment others on their success, as long as we make sure to do the same for ourselves.

Exercise consistently, at least 30 minutes of exercise several times a week, to strengthen your body, to burn calories, and to relieve stress. Exercising also provides a sense of empowerment that can positively enhance your self-esteem.

Simply smile. The mere act of smiling changes blood flow to the brain and can actually makes you feel happier and relieve tension and stress. A smile sets off chemical and physical reactions within your mind and body, releasing endorphins that boost your mood and increase confidence.

Focus on your accomplishments. Forgive yourself for mistakes, let go of guilt, and focus on the positive by celebrating your victories. Consider writing down your accomplishments, so you can review them when you’re feeling down. This will help to renew or revive your confidence.

Get the support you need to succeed. Take steps, rather than procrastinating, to accomplish your wellness goals. For example, join a gym class, where fellow members will help keep you motivated.

Make a list of your positive qualities. Write down at least ten positive qualities about yourself and return to this list as often as needed to boost your confidence.

Find something special in each day. Even if it’s in a small way, do something pleasant and rewarding, like catching up on your favorite television show, calling a friend to catch up, or indulging in a bubble bath.

Eat better. Pay attention to your food choices and nourish your body. Buy healthier foods and prepare well-balanced meals that will help give you energy and feel like your best self. If you eat poorly and/or overeat, your mood and confidence will reflect this negativity.

Finally and most often forgotten: explore a passion. Whether it’s a side job, hobby, or volunteer work, any small effort can lead to a sense of purpose and significantly improve your overall happiness and quality of life.

For more information on self-esteem counselling and ways to improve your confidence, call 647-961-9669, email carlyclifton@gmail.com, or visit:  https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/self-esteem-counselling-etobicoke/

 

What is Social Anxiety? Learn more for you or someone you know

Social anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders that is affecting more people than we may realize. It is important to be aware of you or people around you who may be showing variations of these symptoms. Extreme shyness is one way to think of social anxiety. Social anxiety exists along a continuum, ranging from normal shyness to high degrees of social anxiety. Social anxiety can be characterized by an intense fear of specific or all social settings. This usually also involves a heightened self-focus, and avoidance or escaping social situations. Sound familiar? This could be finding excuses not to attend a certain party or to socialize with certain people that make you feel uncomfortable. And if you do go to an uncomfortable event or surround yourself with people who make you feel this way, you may often leave early.

People who experience this social anxiety are extremely attentive to other people’s feelings, but they misread them, over-interpreting anything that could be taken as a negative reaction. They are oversensitive to criticism or negative comments. As a result, people who are highly sensitive tend to be overly aware of one’s behavior and how they think they should act in certain situations. They are so caught up in how they may appear to others that they often do not enjoy many simple experiences, for fear of negative evaluation by others.

This anxious feeling and desire to avoid an event manifests in physical ways, even before they encounter the social situation. This could be shortness of breath, faster heart rates, sweating, and stomach pains. Of course, then one would worry that people around them notice these physical signs of what they are thinking and feeling. After the encounter, they replay the situation over and over in their mind. They are so hard on themselves, and falsely accuse themselves of being ineffective or appearing insecure compared to others. Consequently, these individuals want to avoid situations with people and in places that these situations have occurred in the past.

Social anxiety is highly linked to eating disorders as well. This comes from the fear of people negatively evaluating them as overweight or unattractive, leading to dietary restriction and purging behaviours. (Please see https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/eating-disorder-counselling-etobicoke/ for more information on eating disorders).

There are many basic techniques that you can work on to feel more confident and worry less about what others think of you. Please be aware if you or someone around you seems to be displaying signs of anxiety or social anxiety. Start enjoying, be comfortable with, and stop avoiding social events and people where you want to be yourself!

 

How Social Comparison is Related to Anxiety and Depression

Technology provides various forms of social comparison that can be taxing on our mental health and wellbeing, such as anxiety. It’s no wonder that youth today are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The platforms provide so many ways for us to compare ourselves to the people around us. And of course, most want to publicize and upload visions and notes on their most positive experiences and moments. These sources are constantly updated by the second, providing no escape from viewing others’ happiness. We are continually dissatisfied, as we are comparing ourselves to someone we think is or who has something better. But hey, who says the numbers of ‘happy’ pictures and notifications we send out determines our happiness?
Social comparison is part of human nature, and social media and technology have made this inescapable. We tend to rank ourselves according to social groups or classes, which can be determined by behaviours or hobbies (constantly posted on social media). Trends and fads can be picked up from following different sites or people online, and we choose to follow specific ones. This means that sometimes we are selecting unrealistic forms of social comparison (such as celebrities), which can cause great stress and anxiety. At times of unemployment or stress, some people may feel hopeless when they see large amounts of success. This feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to a downward spiral into depression. As a result of constant social comparison, we aren’t happy with ourselves and have low self-esteem.
If you haven’t thought of this, take note that people who post excessive happy notes and pictures sometimes do this as a form of insecurity. Even if this is not an insecurity, chances are, they aren’t always as happy as they appear in social media. It’s doubtful they would post a picture of a moment where they felt depressed.
It is important for us to learn to gain a healthier perspective on how we do compare ourselves to others. We must remember our strengths, and ask ourselves if our desires and goals are realistic. We need to be more accepting of what we have and who we are. We need eliminate feelings of anxiety, by creating goals for the future based on our strengths and abilities.

You determine your success, which should not be measured by social comparison. You determine your happiness – not anyone else.

For more information on anxiety counselling or anxiety psychotherapy, click here: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/anxiety-counselling-etobicoke/

For more information on relationship counselling or relationship therapy, click here: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/relationship-counselling-etobicoke/

Miscommunication: A Personal Setback in Relationships

One of the most common sources of tension in relationships is miscommunication or no communication. We often do not realize how little or how poorly we communicate with our partners. We may think we have said more than we have or we may think we have stated our point more clearly. We make assumptions. How do we really know if this is the case, though?

This assumption is also known as the ‘signal amplification bias’. Most of us tend to believe that our behavior is much more expressive than it actually is, and this is true across a variety of situations. We also assume that others understand our goals and what we’re trying to accomplish, when in fact they often don’t have a clue. The reality is that most of what we say and do every day is open to multiple interpretations. This means that any of the other person’s interpretations may have slim chances of being what we actually meant to convey.

This effect is further amplified with those we are closer to: our best friends, family, and partners. We assume that these people know us best – and they might – but this does not mean they can read our thoughts and behaviours to a tee in any given situation. This assumption actually leads to greater miscommunication with our romantic partner than with a stranger on the street. We are more clear and direct with our intentions and desires with someone we don’t know as well, and we leave less up to their interpretation. When we assume that other people know what we’re thinking, and what we expect of them, we actually complicate this relationship more than it needs to be. It is unfair to assume others know what we want and when things do not go the way we want or expect. Thus, nothing is ever obvious until you actually spell it out.

The moral here is end all roads that lead to miscommunication, and to stop personally creating setbacks in relationships. Make a point of saying exactly what you mean or feel, and asking for exactly what you need. In the end, this will provide you with more success, rewards, and happiness in all interactions you come across.

https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/relationship-counselling-etobicoke/

 

Acknowledge Your Success and Decrease Low Mood

Chances are, you are succeeding according to yours, others, or both standards. Everyone measures success in different ways. How do you measure your personal success? You need to give yourself more credit than you think you deserve! It is important to remind ourselves of successes we have had when we are down or in a depressed mood.

Depression often arises out of persistent low moods and lack of interest in usual activities. This often stems from low confidence levels. Are you being too hard on yourself?  It is important to acknowledge your success and perhaps re-evaluate your level of personal expectations. It is important to aim high, while setting attainable goals to achieve self-confidence.

For more on how to alleviate depression and depression counselling, please go to: 

https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/anxiety-counselling-etobicoke/

The nature of happiness

Happiness is not automatic – it does not come without effort and perseverance. You are the source for your light and hope. You choose whether you succeed and whether you are happy!

Be proactive in solving any issues or concerns you may have. Seek help for persistent low moods you may experience. Obtain your happiness… create your happiness with the help of someone else in times of great suffering.

https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/depression-counselling-etobicoke/

happiness quote