New Years Resolution, How to Stick to the Plan!

Many people look to the New Year as a time to better themselves in one way or another. They begin to feel hopeful that a new year is about to arrive and they begin to think about goals and aspirations that they hope to achieve.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if change was as easy as they say? Well it can be. When you consider what you would like your New Year’s resolution to be, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Is this what I really want? – if this is truly a goal that you want for yourself, rather than making a goal that is for someone else, you are more likely to stick to it.
  2. Is my goal realistic and attainable for my life situation at this time? – If a goal is too big, it can be discouraging if you are unable to reach the goal. For example, if you plan on losing 100 pounds – that’s a big feat that many may not be able to accomplish on the first go. It may be useful to set goals that are within your reach, say, I plan to lose 25 pounds in 6 months. When you accomplish it, set further goals and work yourself up to the big goal.
  3. Is my New Year’s resolution specific and well defined? – How will you know if you achieved your goal? For example, let’s say that your goal is to lose weight. A well-defined and specific goal in this case may be: I want to lose 3 pounds per week.
  4. Is my goal measurable? – Measured goals are easily trackable and you are able to know exactly when you have accomplished your goals.
  5. Does your goal have a time limit? – Without a time limit, we may fall prey to the procrastination monster. A set time limit helps keep us on track.
  6. Is it hard to stick to your goal? – Keep going, even if you aren’t exactly accomplishing your goals. Remember, it takes several weeks to establish a new pattern of behaviour, but it is well worth it!
  7. Are you rewarding yourself along the way as you stick to your New Year’s Resolution? – Rewards can help keep you on track in working toward your goals.

Are you stressed?

Stress manifests itself in your thinking, emotional well-being, and body. It tends to impact your body through hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and a person is often left feeling defeated, drained, and exhausted, and may begin experiencing negative thoughts.

The following are some typical signs and symptoms of a stress response. If you are experiencing stressful situations and many or all of the following symptoms, you may be stressed and it may be time to get help from a professional at HopeWell Psychological.

 

Body Reactions Thoughts Feelings Behaviours
-Sleeping problems

-Dizzy

-Tired

-Stomach aches/problems

-Heart races

-Irregular heart beat

-Increased blood pressure

-Headaches

-Muscles tense/tight

-Problems with the digestive system

-Rumination/Replaying

-Nightmares

-Forgetting/Memory problems

-Catastrophizing

-Loss of sense of humor

-Lacking in creativity

-Indecision

-Suicidal thoughts

-Mentally blocked

-Worrisome thoughts

-Worried

-Anxious

-Afraid

-Defeated

-Powerlessness

-Frustration

-Nervousness

-Bored

-Apathetic

-On Edge

-Helplessness

-Withdrawing/Isolating

-Escaping

-Use of distractions

-Using substances as coping

-Short tempered

-Critical/Verbal aggression

-Easily startled

-Impatient

-Walking/Talking fast

-Inability to get things done

-Crying

5 Anger Styles

You probably knew that there are various styles of communication that people use to express their anger. But, it may be surprising to learn that there are 5 styles – Aggressive, Passive, Passive-Aggressive, Assertive, and Projective-Aggressive styles.

A person using the Aggressive style of anger often feels the need to be in control of themselves, other people, and situations. They do not take no for an answer and use hurt and/or anger to manipulate others into feeling guilty or backing down. Some patterns that typically emerge are that aggressive people use sarcasm, humiliation, put-downs, complaints, threats, and abuse to get what they want.

A Passive anger style tend to want to avoid conflict and confrontation. These individuals do not tend to express their needs and feelings and have a difficult time saying no without feeling guilty. A passive anger style tries hard to avoid hurting others because it leads them to feel guilty. They also avoid angering others so that they can avoid feeling uncomfortable and/or fearful.

People with a Passive-Aggressive anger style are not as outwardly aggressive towards others as the Aggressive style and they also do not want to avoid the conflict as with the Passive style. Instead, when they are mad, they want to get even and may use seduction and/or manipulation to get what they want. They are often nice to your face and use behind-the-back techniques to get even. They may use the silent treatment, withdraw their love/affection and/or attention, gossip, tattle, or refuse to cooperate. When asked what is wrong, they often say, “nothing,” even though their body language or behavior is clearly communicating that there is something wrong.

A person using a Projective-Aggressive anger style may appear as passive but they are not. They are usually pretty angry and are afraid to own and express their anger. Instead, they project their anger onto others and/or may get others to act out on their anger for them. They may say to you that you appear angry, when you are not.

Lastly, people using an Assertive anger style state their needs in a direct, open, and honest way and do not wait for others to read their mind. At the same time, they consider other people’s needs and feelings. They respect themselves and expect others to treat them with respect and dignity. They feel responsible for their own life and choices.

Tips on Managing Anger

Ever felt so angry that you did not know how to handle it? Anger is a typical emotion and it is okay to feel angry. However, when anger is so overwhelming that it is difficult to control, it may be time to see a psychologist about it. Here are some coping ideas regarding how to control anger before it controls you.

Breathe. Take a 3-second breath in and fill your lungs fully. Slowly exhale for 6 seconds. Count the seconds as you inhale and exhale and ensure that your breath is even and paced. Repeat this as many times as you need. Breathing tends to evoke a state of relaxation in the body.

Preoccupy your mind. Count to 50 by counting by 3’s (3, 6, 9, 12, etc.) or 4’s (4, 8, 12, etc.). Repeat if necessary and count to a higher number. Alternatively you can name all the colours you know or name all the vehicle models that you know.

Remove yourself, if possible, from the source of the stress and/or anger.

Exercise. Moderate physical activity can be a productive outlet for your emotions. It releases pent-up energy and your body releases endorphins, which make us feel good. Avoid emotionally charged and strenuous workouts, they can feed the anger.

Imagine a calm relaxing scene.
• Remember a time when you felt peace and calm.
• Close your eyes, and imagine being there.
• Allow yourself to be there for a while and feel yourself relax.
• If you do not have a calm place or cannot think if one, go find one.

Stop Ruminating. Negative thoughts and feelings can lead to destructive behaviours.

Share your feelings with a close friend or family member (provided that the individuals gives you a balanced view and does not further fuel you anger).

Ask yourself:
• What am I angry about?
• What is hurting me?
• What is going on that I am not okay with?

Write in a journal. By identifying your particular sources of anger, you can learn to anticipate and respond to anger situations before it feels unmanageable.
• What did I get angry about? Describe the situation.
• How did I feel physically (body reactions)?
• What thoughts did I have in my head?
• How did I feel emotionally?
• What did I do or say in response?

How to Spruce up your Romantic Relationship!

You may be wondering what to do to maintain your connection with your partner. Lets face it, life can get busy with work, children, and so many other things that demand your time and attention. But, a relationship can suffer if we do not take time to attend to it. Relationship therapists often suggest a few simple tricks to maintain your connection:

1. Make sure to give your partner a 6 second kiss when you part. Take the time to lose yourself in your partner’s embrace by noticing their smell, touch, and warmth. Try to push everything else out of your thoughts.

2. Take 10 minutes at the end of each day (or whenever possible during the day) for each partner to share one interesting thing that happened during their day. Take this time to just listen from your partner’s perspective and show your support. Be curious and ask questions but do not be quick to give advice or persuade.

3. Find the time every day to genuinely communicate affection, share compliments, and give appreciation towards your partner.

4. Ensure you resolve conflict when you are both in a reasonably good mood, don’t try to resolve any major issues when you are hungry, tired or too stressed out by other factors beyond your relationship.

5. Make sure to show physical affection – kiss, hold, and caress each other. Play is good, so feel free to tickle, joke around; not everything has to always be serious.

6. Have a date night once per week, if possible. Leave the children at home with a trusted family membr or baby-sitter so that you can enjoy eachother and not worry. Ensure to select a date where you and your partner can talk to one another, such as a dinner date. While on the date, have a meaningful conversation and discuss topics such as mutual life goals and future plans.