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Many of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in a situation where somebody probably should be asking us “Do you want to talk about it?”. We will be asked this because they have recognised that our behaviour has changed. To them, we may appear overwhelmed, angry or even withdrawn, or we are not performing the way we used to.

If we are lucky, there will be a family member, partner, friend or colleague that asks us this question. At other times we might find ourselves asking ourselves this question. Our response might not always be a positive one and we could find ourselves avoiding the conversation, walking away, or even getting angry. That’s when it might be useful to consider the benefits of talking to a qualified, experienced therapist.

Why do some of us find it so hard to talk to a therapist?

Historically many of us have become conditioned not to share how we feel. We can become embarrassed to talk about our feelings and can see ourselves as weak for doing so. We might even think that what we are feeling isn’t real, or sufficiently important for anyone to take us seriously and that we just need to pull ourselves together. Too often we have a perception that no one wants to listen to us, no one will hear us, and it will just be an uncomfortable experience for all concerned if we talk about how we feel. Thankfully, that is only the stigma and perception talking.

Some fear that there will be an impact on their lives if they show their vulnerability. In some cultures or in the workplace, it has been seen as wrong to talk about feelings or mental health. This has been unhelpful to those needing help. Thankfully, increasingly those that are finding the strength to talk are finding that they are being heard and respected for doing so. Many have found that their initial fears were unfounded and that talking was liberating.

If we don’t talk about how we feel it can lead to us suppressing our pain or loss, locking it up inside us and hoping it goes away. If we are experiencing serious pain, or have suffered trauma or abuse, then suppressing our thoughts and emotions about it can lead to further difficulties in the future. Left unchecked, both our physical and mental health can deteriorate as a result of our repressed emotions. Our mental health is so important to our overall wellness that unchecked mental health challenges can manifest themselves in physical symptoms.

Seeking help is brave, strong and courageous, not a sign of weakness.

If we had a broken leg or physical illness we would likely talk about it, seek treatment, and tell our employer about it. We’d take leave from work, and take action to improve our health. It comes naturally.

Successful people generally recognise that they can’t do everything in life themselves, and benefit from help. Did you know that even the CEO’s of top global companies frequently have coaches, mentors, and use counselling? Even Psychologists benefit from counselling and talking about their feelings with problems with others! These “successful” people recognise that at times they need a different perspective, guidance and direction. They know, that a non-judgemental, third-party perspective and insight into their home and work-lives can be beneficial. Many will say that its a key to their success and they couldn’t have done it on their own.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to admit that at times we would benefit from a little help, or even just need to be able to talk, and know that someone will genuinely hear us. We all need help from time to time in our lives.

How can a Counsellor or therapist help me?

When you talk to a qualified Counsellor you will be talking to an individual who is trained to listen and really hear what you are saying. They’ll listen to you in non-judgemental way and allow you time to express yourself and how you are feeling. Importantly they’ll help you shape and put into context what you are feeling. Your Counsellor will explain to you that its far from unusual to feel the way you do and that you are certainly not alone in having to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.

Importantly your qualified Counsellor will offer you the opportunity to talk in a “safe space”. You will be assured of confidentiality, and what you talk about will stay in the room. You won’t be judged and they’ll respect that you had the strength to seek help.

Your experienced Counsellor will know a number of techniques that can be applied to help you in your situation. Interestingly, many of these will help you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings in different ways to how you have done it traditionally.

Amongst a number of techniques they can, for instance, help you recognise and explore negative thoughts to show you how you can help yourself respond differently in future. They’ll help you understand coping techniques for your situation, and how to perhaps respond differently to others around you and situations that you find yourself in. You may well find your experience with your counsellor life-changing and brings about far-reaching change and benefits beyond the initial reason that you went to them in the first

Our highly experienced Counsellor is waiting to hear from you

If you or a family member would benefit from counselling our experienced and highly qualified counsellor Maria Luedeke is available to help you.

Maria believes in using a collaborative approach with Clients to aid them in developing self-efficacy, resiliency and self-empowerment through their innate strengths and abilities. Utilising her experience, Maria empowers individuals to achieve what they aspire to and provide tools to respond, rather than react to life challenges. This enables growth, happiness and success in all facets of personal and professional life.

Aspire Counselling can be contacted, or you can make a booking for an online or face to face appointment on http://aspirecounselling.net or alternatively by emailing Maria Luedeke at marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

No matter who we are, or where we were born, each of us has an absolute right to a fulfilled life, and to achieve our goals. An equal right to a life without prejudice and constraint. Those who have, or have had mental health disorders have just the same rights.

During the course of their lifetime, many will face challenges. In fact so many will encounter mental health disorders at some point in their lives, that is should be treated as being normal. Normal as in, it can happen to anyone. Normal as in, it will likely affect about 25% of the population at one point or another in their lives. Being as “normal” as it is, it is important that those affected can achieve their goals and live their lives in a fulfilled way.

If you or someone you know is affected by a mental health issue, do seek help. With the correct guidance, it is possible learn to overcome the obstacles that appear to be in the way. By addressing the root causes, and learning how to cope with and manage what is affecting you, you can be empowered to achieve what you want to achieve.

Aspire Counselling – book an online or face-to-face counselling session, and get instant confirmation of your appointment at https://aspirecounselling.net

For further details email info@aspirecounselling.net or call 65 6570 2781

“I really struggled to get out of bed today. Did you?

I didn’t get up until noon. It was the same yesterday. Then I was hard on myself for it and as a result, I had a miserable day.  Today, the same happened, but I decided to be kind to myself. The difference? I gave myself a break and refused to feel guilty or bad about it. Today I’m happier, smiling even, working and I believe that tomorrow will be easier. And if it’s not I’ll try again. I need to be kind to myself.”

These are the words of a sufferer of Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and ADHD.  Many will be able to relate to them. No one says you should feel bad if you can’t live a perfect, happy life every single day. Let’s be realistic we all have our off-days. Be kind to yourself instead of getting more upset with yourself when you aren’t feeling at your best. Self-compassion is a useful way to help you get through your day.

Do seek help if you or someone you know needs help to learn coping techniques and strategies for days when not feeling at your best. If you can’t get out or bed, like the writer, it might be a sign that something isn’t quite right, or you are avoiding something. Aspire Counselling has a range of techniques that it can teach you to help you with your life. We do these in ways that will allow it to become habitual for you, so you won’t be dependent upon us. You will learn to manage your own life successfully.  You’ll find these techniques useful in everyday life too.

For details on our Counselling and Psychotherapy services, email Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net, call us on  6570 2781 or visit our website where you can book online face-to-face or video counselling sessions.  https://www.aspirecounselling.net

SOBERNATION – August 19, 2016 by Chris Boutte

From the moment I became sober back in 2012, I’ve been on a constant journey to improve who I am as a person. This is something I learned from going to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Meetings, a sponsor, and the steps taught me that drugs and alcohol were but a symptom of my disease. I had a major problem with living life.

My journey throughout the last four years has been incredible, and I am a much different person. Like a good addict, I always think I need more. Today I am grateful that I can focus that on self-discovery and self-improvement rather than self-destruction. This path led me to research something called mindfulness.

My name is Chris Boutte. I am currently the Lead Alumni Coordinator for American Untitled design (11)Addiction Centers, and I’m based out of Desert Hope in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am not a doctor or therapist. Heck, I only went to college for a semester. I’m a bit of a recovery

However, I am a bit of a recovery nerd, so I spend a lot of time researching the disease of addiction and learning how to strengthen my own recovery. For a few months, I kept seeing articles about something called mindfulness and how it could be used to improve work, relationships and life in general. Out of curiosity, I wondered if it could help people recover from addiction. I happened to find a book called The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery, and it intrigued me.

Since reading the book and learning how it can benefit people struggling with addiction, I decided to enroll in a six-week mindfulness course. I loved it so much that I then enrolled in the next course, which is about teaching mindfulness to others. Since practicing mindfulness, I feel my recovery has improved greatly, and I also realized that AA and NA had already taught me some mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

One of the best descriptions of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat Zinn who founded the Stress Reduction Clinic as well as the Center for Mindfulness. He says, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness practice is all about increasing one’s ability to have very short instances of moment-to-moment awareness for longer periods of time. Some of you may be wondering what this has to do with anything, and others may already be thinking about how this helps with addiction recovery.

Perhaps there never will be a full answer to these questions. Opinions vary considerably as to why the alcoholic reacts differently from normal people. We are not sure why, once a certain point is reached, little can be done for him. We cannot answer the riddle.” -Alcoholics Anonymous Page 22

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was written in the 1930s, but now we have many more answers due to technological advances and research into addiction. Addicts and alcoholics have an issue with the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain has a slew of responsibilities, and one of them is impulse control. I truly believe that I had addictive traits long before drugs and alcohol came into the mix, and impulse control was always an issue. Us addicts instantly react on our impulses, which is why there’s often no thought before the first drink or drug. By increasing our moment-to-moment awareness, we’re able to pump the brakes before we pick up that first drink or drug.

AA and NA Taught Me Mindfulness Without Me Knowing It

Like most addicts in early recovery, I was a hot mess. I was restless, irritable and discontent. I didn’t know who I was without drugs or alcohol, and I didn’t know how to act. I had a sponsor who constantly reminded me not to trust my thinking because it’s what put me in my awful situation. That made sense, so I started taking suggestions from others. The cliché sayings the men and women of the fellowship were telling me was my first glimpse of mindfulness, and I didn’t even realize it then.

“Take it one day at a time.”

Although mindfulness is about moment-to-moment awareness, this was a stepping stone. They told me to just stay sober one day at a time. I had an issue living in the past or worrying about the future. I’d often ask myself, “How am I supposed to stay sober forever?!” They taught me that I only had to stay sober for today. When I was craving, I only had to stay sober for that hour, that minute or that second.

The Three Questions

I had a lot of anger issues when I got sober. I blamed the world for my problems, and I also had an unexplainable ego. I truly thought that my way was the right way, which caused me to get into a lot of arguments and put myself in bad situations. Someone in a meeting taught me to pause and ask myself these questions:

“Does it need to be said?”
“Does it need to be said right now?”
“Does it need to be said by me?”
This took quite a bit of practice, but it taught me to pause. It taught me to be mindful of what I was about to do. While I still sometimes said things that I immediately regretted, it started to happen less and less.

How am I feeling?

Working on my fourth step taught me to be mindful of the way I was feeling. I used to get resentful, sad or anxious, and I couldn’t figure out why. Even if I knew why, I would judge myself for feeling the way I felt, or I’d judge the other person for making me feel that way. The fourth step really helped me get clarity as to why I was feeling these emotions, and it gave me the opportunity to work on my issues. Mindfulness and acceptance go hand-in-hand.

In the online mindfulness course I was enrolled in, I noticed many people were having trouble with the practices. Assuming that I was the only recovering addict in the class, I started to see that the fellowships of AA and NA had already given me a jumpstart on mindfulness practice.

How Mindfulness is Improving My Recovery

I am by no means a mindfulness expert, but I’ve been practicing mindfulness for a few months, and I can see how it’s been strengthening my recovery in a variety of different aspects. They sometimes say in meetings that after you get some time, it’s not about not picking up, it’s about dealing with life on life’s terms. Meetings, a sponsor, and step work are still a valuable part of my recovery, but mindfulness has been added into the mix, and it’s continued to improve my day-to-day life.

Stress and anxiety are feelings that aren’t limited to addicts alone. They’re part of human nature. There are days where I can feel overwhelmed from the time I wake up in the morning. Juggling work, a seven-year-old, friends, family, and recovery can sometimes cause my mind to race. Also like most people, I begin to worry about the future. “How am I going to pay this bill?” or “How am I going to complete this next task?” are regular thoughts many of us have. Mindfulness helps me recognize these feelings and bring myself back in the moment.

The best part about using mindfulness as a form of stress reduction is that I can literally do it anywhere. I’ve found that I begin having stress or anxiety the most in the morning on my drive to work, and it may not even be for reasons related to work. To come back to the present moment, I place my hand in front of my A/C vent in my car and feel the cool air coming through. I recognize the way the steering wheel feels in my hand. I start to notice the colors of vehicles around me and the weather. I may even mindfully listen to the song playing through my speakers as a way to be brought back to the moment, and I feel much better after only doing this for a minute or two.

My listening skills during conversations have become much better because I’m able to stay in the moment much better. I can listen to clients, coworkers, friends and my son with more focus. I’ve seen how this has helped me with simply providing somebody with my undivided attention rather than fiddling with my phone, thinking about other tasks or judging what the other person is saying.

The Ultimate Perks

For me, the primary benefit of mindfulness is acknowledging happiness and joy. Due to human evolution, our brains are designed to focus on the negative as a form of survival. Mindfulness has taught me bring attention to my happiness and serenity. In early recovery, I remember being more mindful of just feeling well physically and mentally because I was free from active addiction, but eventually I stopped noticing it. Today, I can bring attention to my positive feelings more than ever, and it’s truly a great experience.

The byproducts of mindfulness are endless, and I hope this article helped shed some light as to how it can help you in your daily life no matter who you are or how much clean time you have. I highly recommend that if you’re like me and wish to add to your recovery tool kit, research some mindfulness practices and continue to strengthen your recovery.

SOBERNATION – August 19, 2016 by Chris Boutte

#sober #self-improvement #self-discovery #self-destruction

Relationships are shown to be the key to a happy life

Did you know, there are a number of practical strategies you can use to increase your psychological wellbeing. One such strategy is to nurture relationships.

Research suggests that personal relationships have the greatest impact on your satisfaction with life. Try to dedicate time and energy into nurturing relationships with your friends, family or co-workers this week!

This above first appeared on Black Dog Institute

Relationships are repeatedly highlighted as being key to a happy life. Yet we so often neglect them and under invest in them. Aspire Counselling specialises in Couples Counselling and Relationship Counselling and can support you in maintaining a successful and dynamic relationship. Whether you are focused on growing your relationships with friends, family or colleagues we can help.

You can visit our website to book an online counselling or face to face couples, relationship counselling session with us. http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

Recently, my husband severely injured his right hand, requiring emergency surgery and a stay in the hospital. This was stressful on many different levels: emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. I had to find friends to watch our kids, arrange follow-ups with doctors, and learn how to care for my husband who would have difficulty caring for himself for a while. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

Coping with the trauma of the event itself was something completely different. I’d observed my husband’s mutilated hand, and witnessed his agony, which was very troubling. Once I realized how bad the injury was, I had to go completely into crisis mode. That expends a lot of my extra energy and I ended up sobbing uncontrollably several times that difficult day.

With my recent Type I Bipolar diagnosis, I know that I have to stay away from stress as much as possible. But what happens when the stress comes to me? What happens when the unthinkable occurs? How does one with Bipolar Disorder cope with those events?

I’m certainly no expert in this area, but I found a few things that really helped me stabilize myself when I felt like the ominous string of sudden responsibilities would envelop me. I hope you find them helpful, as well

7 Tips For Coping With Stressful Events When You're Bipolar

1. Setting healthy boundaries. I started with backing off of all unimportant projects that were unrelated to the event, making sure I wrote them down to get to at a later date.

2. Rearranging priorities. This is when I really had to divide the necessary from the unnecessary. I started from the source of the trauma and worked my way out, noting the most important people that needed my care first.

3. Taking personal time. It’s important for me to continue to listen to what my body needs in order to stay balanced. I had to do my best to keep from continuously ignoring my own needs for those of someone else.

4. Staying organized. If you need to manage an unprecedented schedule, you’ll want to be as organized as possible. It’s harder to do when you’re in the middle of a crisis, so I like to stick to easy ways of keeping a schedule, like using a planner or my phone’s calendar app.

5. Getting enough rest. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Sleep can be paramount to coping well within difficult situations, and each day is going to bring something different. I planned for chaos, and stuck to my sleep schedule as best I could, and it made such a difference.

6. Asking for help. Reaching out only improved my situation. I had to call on my close friends and family members to help me cope and manage added responsibilities. It was a huge relief.

7. Talking to a therapist. My therapist helped me stay on track and reminded me that I needed to cut myself slack during that challenging situation. It also was really nice to have someone outside the situation to talk to about my struggles with the event.

It can be difficult to balance, and extra stress can cause all kinds of problems with your mind and body, poor judgment, to depression and irritability.

But don’t worry! You will get through this. With mindful planning, it’s possible to survive traumatic events without losing your entire ability to cope.

This article appeared on www.bhope.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie McKinnon

Melanie McKinnon is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She’s a blogger for The Huffington Post and has written for several notable websites, such as Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and The Mighty. Diagnosed with Type I Bipolar Disorder in July of 2015, she spends her time balancing her moods and responsibilities at work, as a writer and barre fitness instructor, and at home, with her spouse and three children. Her favorite things include meditation, Diet Pepsi, Arizona, and football. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage and inspire anyone fighting a daily battle. Read more from Melanie on her blog: MelanieMeditates.com.

This article by Madelyn Heslet, appeared in TheMighty

When I’m depressed or anxious, it can be hard for me to remember what makes me happy or what calms me down. Every coping skill I’ve learned in therapy seems to fly out of my head and disappear elsewhere. I used to let the depression or anxiety take over and control my mind, and would be miserable as a result.

During my last hospitalization, I learned about a meditation technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to what is going on internally and externally in the moment you are in. Mindfulness doesn’t exactly rid your mind of negative or anxious thoughts, but trains you to accept them and let them flow freely without feeling bad about having them.

It’s hard to accept negative thoughts at first; you just want them to leave you and not return. But acceptance is an important step in recovery, and accepting your thoughts for what they are is important when battling anxiety or depression.

On my bad days, I try to be mindful in everything I do, not just sit and think mindfully. When I wake up, I am aware of how I feel. I’m aware of the warmth still in my body as I stretch, and am aware of the immediately negative thoughts I have about the day that hasn’t even begun yet. I let those thoughts be, and move onto being mindful about my surroundings. As I travel from my room, to the bathroom and into the kitchen, I am mindful of how the carpet feels between my toes and of the bird’s songs outside the windows. Already my negative thoughts are moving through my mind, making room for positive thoughts.

As I sit down for breakfast, I eat mindfully. I eat slowly, savoring each bite and each texture of the food. I enjoy what I’m eating, even though on my bad days I don’t want to eat. Mindfulness helps me to not only satisfy the hunger I can’t feel on a bad day, it helps me to truly find pleasure in something so simple as eating an apple. And finding pleasure on a bad day is so very, very important.

As I walk down the street with my daughter in the stroller, I am mindful of my surroundings. I notice the birds flying, the trees swaying and the bees moving from flower to flower. I notice my daughter look around, imagining she is being mindful as well. Children look at the world with such innocence and wonder, much like mindfulness has us do. I accept the worries swimming in my head for when we return home; chores, lunch to prepare, phone calls to make. I accept them and move on, back to observing the beauty around me.

When it’s raining, it’s hard for me to remain mindful. The weather matches my mood and I would like to just stay in bed. But I am mindful about the rain. I notice the size and the speed of the drops,
and remind myself that water, even in the form of rain, is good. It is good for the plants, for the crops and for me. It washes away yesterday and prepares me for another new day. I used to let the rain, the bad days, control me. But when I learned to look at the rain mindfully, my mood toward it changed, just like my mind has changed when it comes to negative thoughts.

Remaining mindful helps me cope with my anxiety and depression. It keeps me in the present moment, and manages my worries about the past and the future. Mindfulness doesn’t make my worries disappear, but rather equips me with the peace and strength to deal with them. I was just practicing mindfulness on my bad days, but now I try to remain mindful on my good days, too. Since trying to remain mindful all of the time, I see my situation and the world around me in a more positive light. I find I enjoy the little things more often when I’m mindful; my daughter’s laugh, the neighbour ’s dog, my mom ’s cooking.

Without mindfulness, I would still be in darkness on my bad days. I would let my negative thoughts completely take over, leaving no room for an inkling of positivity. Without mindfulness, I may not see myself or the world around me in a realistic, positive way. I am glad I learned the technique during one of my most difficult times, so I could learn to use it in the most trying, and the most wonderful times. Mindfulness is not only just a form of meditation. I believe it is a way of life, and a natural medicine to help treat anxiety and depression.

Learning mindfulness

Aspire Counselling offers Mindfulness as one of its services.  We can help you learn the technique and how to apply it in your life, such that you can support yourself.  This can be extremely useful to support you in managing stress, anxiety and depression amounst other things.  It is equally applicable to men, women, couples, and for use in a corporate setting to manage employee and work related stress.

You can visit our website to book an online counselling or face to face couples, relationship counselling session with us. http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

tel:        8748 2964
fax:       6570 2751

email:  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net