+852 2575 7707 drmelanie@mindmatters.hk

It’s Not About You

Its-not-about-you - Taking things Personally

Taking Things Personally: The Downside

Your partner is late – again. You begin to fume, assuming s/he didn’t consider you enough to call or text.

Your work colleague didn’t inform you about an important meeting – again. S/he is trying to sabotage you, it’s obvious.

Taking things personally: rapidly interpreting another person’s words or actions as negative comments about you without considering other potential explanations. This damages your self-esteem, pummels self-confidence and too often renders us feeling angry, guilty or defensive.

It’s not about you.

Once you accept your vulnerability to over-personalize and consider other explanations for another’s words or actions, you step out of your victim mentality and create choice for yourself. Really, taking ownership of these rapid reactions, appreciating they are not about you, is truly freeing. Now you have choice in how to address the issue.

What are your triggers, what presses your buttons?

Triggers are reactivation’s of old emotional wounds or frustrations that still sting. A host of similarities to the original experiences such as a comment, body language, voice tone or look can trigger an over-reaction similar to the source experiences. These reactions are unique to each individual but are invariably disproportionate to a current given comment or behavior.

Other triggers develop via repeated frustrations with someone such as their being chronically late.

Becoming attuned to your triggers: “The body keeps the score”

An emotional red flag may be a sudden, rapid heartbeat or quickened breath, your chest or stomach may tighten, or your jaws may clench. Any of these reactions are important signals. Noticing them rather than reacting out of them gives you the opportunity to grasp the messages fueling these feelings.

To quickly step back from the trigger and step into the present moment, take a few deep, slow breaths, hold each a few seconds, then exhale slowly and name the feeling. This brief exercise allows you to step into the present moment, consider possible alternative explanations and take proactive or protective action.

Expressing your needs calmly and assertively will have you feeling more empowered and comfortable within yourself than taking things personally ever can.

Solution-Oriented Therapy*

Shifting the focus, improving self-esteem

 

Solution Oriented Therapy

 

One approach (among many) to both therapy and coaching I tend to employ, engages the client (or clients, in the case of a couple or family), in searching for exceptions to the presenting complaints and out of this investigation, constructing solutions, rather than honing in on the problem itself.  This means expanding the clients framework to include descriptions of when things are already happening satisfactorily in the area of distress that the clients want to continue to have happen.

Within this framework, I search for something worthwhile that is happening, explore these worthwhile  interactions, be they attitude shifts, behaviours etc. and encourage the client to continue doing more of these in lieu of their problematic reactions.

Promoting awareness of exceptions to these problematic behaviours or interactions and encouraging consideration of the differences between the situations when the problem occurs and the situations in which exceptions to the problem occurs, helps to shift the client’s attention towards their current abilities, towards potential solutions and towards amplifying more of what works.  A greater sense of self-appreciation of one’s capabilities for change and growth naturally follows from such a line of thinking.

Solution-talk can be present-focused:  “What are you doing now that is effective in dealing with or over-coming ‘x’? (Anxiety, fears, relationship conflicts, compulsions, etc.).  “How do you do that? When?”  “What do you think this tells me about you?”  “This ability to do something different, is this new or have you always had it?”

Solution-talk can also be future-focused:  How will you know when this problem is solved?  What will you be doing differently?  “Are  you doing any of that now?”  “How will other people you are close to know things are different without your having to tell them?”.  Such questions shift the client’s attention toward generating and sustaining differences that make a difference in resolving their presenting complaints.

Solution-talk can elicit resources from the past that can be incorporated in the present to improve a client’s self-image or functioning:  “At what time in your life would you have been most confident that you could have accomplished this?”  “What experience was most important in supporting that belief in yourself?”  “What does that time in your life tell you about yourself and your potential now?”

Solution-talk leads to a picture of life after successful (and often brief) therapy which can guide both therapist and client toward positive change patterns in the client’s life.

*Developed by Steve de Shazer, Brief Family Therapy Centre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

 

 

 

Building Confidence

Building confidence

Many clients think if they were more confident their career potential would improve greatly and their personal and social life would be far more satisfying and fun.

This may well be true as they would feel far better about themselves and therefore extend themselves more across a variety of situations.

My solution for building confidence is not difficult but also not comfortable; be willing to make mistakes.

Think about it. Whatever you do well now, there was a time when you didn’t. But you persisted until you became confident at it.

If it is something you learned as a child, you were free of exactly the self-conscious concepts that are undoubtably holding you back now.
•Perhaps you are holding some of these commonly held beliefs about making mistakes:
•Mistakes means failing and must be avoided.
•Making mistakes means I am stupid; others will think I am stupid; they will laugh at me
•Making mistakes means I am really a closet idiot, no matter what my position
•I will feel bad about it and must beat myself up for a long time
•I had a bad experience in the past and must protect myself

Actually, a mistake is merely an opportunity to do (whatever) differently next time. Mistakes grow you, shaping your character as you meet challenges with persistence.

When the fearful voice in your head starts playing old tapes about your ‘limitations’, hindering you from focusing away from yourself and onto the present moments activity, change the voice to Donald Duck and get on with the task at hand.

Really, the more mistakes you, the more you will learn, and the more confident you will become.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

Your comments or questions are most welcome.

What is the difference between positive stress and negative stress?

Answer: Interpretation

Really, the ‘stressful’ situation, interaction or occurrence does not come with evaluation or judgment written on it; we supply that.

How we view or evaluate a circumstance triggers a cascade of mental, emotional and physiological responses that influence how we react on multiple levels in the short and medium term.

When we take our rapid interpretations as truth in the universe, we forfeit choices in how we could react if we didn’t respond so quickly. It would be helpful to consider our initial thoughts and feeling responses as a ‘speed bump’, reminding us to slow down and reconsider how else we could react. This does take practice, but is so worth the effort.

We are more likely to accept ‘positive’ stress when it is associated with an outcome we value, such as landing a new job, studying for a difficult exam, planning a wedding, having a baby, or relocating out of choice. Such stress is more likely to be viewed as normal and managed flexibly.

Conversely, we tend to evaluate undesirable outcomes, such as an unexpected job loss, illness, infidelity or divorce as highly undesirable ‘negative’ stress. In such circumstances if we focus only on the fearful, painful or depressing aspects of the situation, our negative beliefs are compounded.

Such types of interpretations leading to emotional stress lasting weeks or more can weaken the immune system, increase blood pressure, generate anxiety, depression and contribute to heart problems. Attributing such undesirable situations or outcomes to deficiencies in ourselves that are relatively fixed will intensify our negative beliefs and sense of powerlessness. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Many situations are indeed difficult and call for thoughtful consideration, emotional balance and creative responses. Accepting our knee-jerk interpretations can severely hamper such adaptive responses.

If you are having difficulty managing trying situations, do consider contacting me on +852 2575 7707 or via this link.

Melt Away Everyday Stress with Rainbow Mediation by Dr Melanie

Rainbow-Meditation

Meditation has significant mental and physical health benefits for both adults and kids.

Both in the corporate world and at schools, short meditations bring a more relaxed and focused state, with improved concentration and ability to cope throughout the day.

Research at Harvard has shown meditation can also increase levels of a key neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain, as well as growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue.

It has also been shown to lower the heart rate, boost immune function, lower blood pressure and inflammation, increase blood circulation to the body’s tissues, promote emotional balance, and induce a state of calmness.

This link is for PC only it will not work on a Mac.
To download the meditation for a PC click the following link in blue: rainbow_meditation_mindmatters
Then UNZIP the file, and follow the instructions given.

Mac video coming soon!

Beyond Blue – Depression in Teens

Teen Depression​Suicide is often a convergence of factors leading to a sudden, tragic event. What puts children, as well as adults, at risk and what are the warning signs to watch for?

Dr. Melanie was featured in the June 2016 edition of In Focus from AroundDB Magazine. In this article she discusses issues related to depression and suicide in teenagers, a must read for every parent.

To read the article please click the following link: ADB-Infocus-Jun-2016-previews

If your child is showing the signs outlined in this article or you have concerns contact Dr. Melanie on 2575 7707 in complete confidence for an initial discussion.