How an Online Psychologist Can Improve Your Mental Health

How an Online Psychologist Can Improve Your Mental Health

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, an online psychologist may be the perfect solution for you. Online counseling is a growing field, and there are many psychologists who offer their services online.

By talking to a therapist online, you can get the help you need without ever having to leave your home. Plus, online therapy is often more affordable than traditional therapy. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, keep reading to find out how a virtual psychologist can improve your mental health.

How Does Online Psychological Counseling Work?

Studies show that it is just as effective as traditional therapy

Online psychological counseling, also known as e-therapy, is a relatively new way to receive mental health services. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many advantages.

Online counseling can also be just as effective as traditional therapy. Studies have shown that it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you are considering online psychological counseling, there are a few things you should know about how it works.

First, you will need to choose a therapist that you feel comfortable with and that you feel has the necessary expertise to help you. Once you have found a therapist, you will schedule regular appointments for video or phone calls. During these calls, you will discuss your concerns and goals for treatment. Your therapist will then provide guidance and support to help you achieve your goals.

An Online Psychologist Can Teach You Better Coping Skills

When you are dealing with a difficult situation, it is easy to feel like you are all alone. But there is help available, even if you don’t live close to family or friends who can support you. An online psychologist can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to cope with whatever life throws your way.

While it may seem like online therapy is not as personal as meeting face-to-face, research has shown that it can be just as effective. And, in some cases, it can even be more convenient and affordable. An online psychologist can teach you better coping skills, help you to understand your emotions, and provide support when you need it most.

Whether you are dealing with a death in the family, a job loss, or any other type of challenge, an online psychologist can help you to get through it.

An Online Psychologist Can Diagnose Mental Health Conditions

Many people suffer from mental health conditions that go undiagnosed and untreated. This is because mental health conditions can be difficult to diagnose, and many people are reluctant to seek help from a mental health professional. However, an online psychologist can provide an accurate diagnosis for mental health conditions.

By conducting a comprehensive assessment of symptoms and family history, an online psychologist can reach a diagnosis that is based on the latest research. In addition, an online psychologist can provide valuable resources and support for people who are struggling with mental health conditions.

Working With an Online Therapist From Home Can Reduce Stress

Stress is a debilitating condition that can have serious consequences on our physical and mental health. If left unchecked, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. But finding the time and money to see a therapist can be difficult. That’s where online therapy comes in.

By connecting with a therapist via text, chat, or video call, you can get the help you need without having to step out of your home. For many people who are very anxious about being in face-to-face settings, the opportunity to receive therapy online makes them more likely to participate.

An Online Psychologist Can Provide Flexible Scheduling Options

It’s easy to fit online therapy into a busy schedule

It can be difficult to find the time to see a psychologist. Traditional therapy appointments often take place during the workday, which can make it tough to schedule around work and other obligations. However, an online psychologist can provide flexible scheduling options that make it easier to fit therapy into your busy life.

Many online psychologists offer appointments in the evening or on weekends, and some even provide 24/7 availability. In addition, online therapy sessions can be shorter than traditional in-person sessions, making them more convenient for busy schedules.

Online Therapy Is Often More Financially Accessible

When it comes to seeking professional help, many people find that traditional face-to-face therapy can be prohibitively expensive. This is especially true if you live in a rural area or are on a tight budget.

Online therapy can be a great alternative for those who might not otherwise be able to afford therapy. Because online therapists often work on a sliding scale, they can be more affordable for many people. You do not need to pay for travel expenses or childcare. In addition, online therapy can be flexible in terms of schedule and location, which can also make it more affordable.

You can often find online therapists who offer evening and weekend appointments, as well as therapists who offer sessions via Skype or other video call platforms. This flexibility can make online therapy a more affordable option for those who have busy schedules or live in rural areas.

Are You Ready to Talk to a Psychologist Online in San Francisco

By taking care of your mental health, you’re setting yourself up for success now and in the future. By reading this article, you’ve already taken a step on your journey and we’d love to be there the rest of the way.

If you’re looking for an online psychologist in San Francisco, we’re here to help. Here at Feeling Good Therapy, our founder, Dr. Katie Dashtban, is a virtual psychologist who offers online psychological counseling in San Francisco. Contact us today to learn more about our services and set up a free consultation.

How to Find the Right Therapist for You

How to Find the Right Therapist for You

Finding a therapist that is a good fit for you or a loved one is not always a walk in the park. Mental health professionals have become in increasingly high demand these days, as many people grapple with anxiety and depression related to the pandemic, social injustice, financial stress, and other disorders or trauma. Although it might take quite a bit some time and effort to find a therapist who is the best fit for you and all of your needs, it is worthwhile in the long run.

You’ll want to pick a therapist who offers openings that fit into your schedule, falls within your budget or takes your insurance, is experienced with treating the particular problems you’re facing, and ensures that you’re feeling safe and comfortable enough to open up. Here are a few tips on how you can find the right therapist for you.

What Is a Therapist?

Therapists, to speak broadly, are professionals trained to provide rehabilitation and treatment. This term often refers to psychologists, though it may also include others who offer many services, such as life coaches, counselors, and social workers. Though the term is not a protected occupational title, many types of therapists must be licensed to practice. Occupational therapists and marriage and family therapists both fall under this category. Therapists, sometimes known as psychotherapists or counselors, play integral roles in helping patients overcome their mental health issues.

How to Get a Therapist

Ask yourself some important questions

Wondering how to find a good therapist in Los Angeles? Here are some tips:

As you are the central part of your healing process, it’s up to you to decide who you want to help guide you throughout the process. Ask yourself some questions about what you need help with, such as:

  • Why are you going to therapy? Common reasons include anxiety, depression, adjusting to a new situation, or relationships.
  • What type of therapist do you think you’d be most comfortable with? You may prefer a professional you know nothing about or someone trained in social justice with a solid understanding of your unique situation.
  • What kind of approach do you think you’ll respond to? You might want something more solutions-oriented and intense, or you may prefer being able to break cultural stigmas and grow more comfortable being open with your feelings.

Though you do not need to be an expert on all kinds of therapy, you should make sure you can communicate what you want to your therapist so they can determine if they have the right tools to assist and advise you.

Places to Look

Referrals
While some people might feel comfortable asking their family and friends for therapist recommendations, those who are less public can talk to their primary care physician. As healthcare providers have their own networks, they often refer clients to each other if they aren’t the right fit.

Insurance Directories
If the therapist is in-network and has an insurance plan, the client is only responsible for the co-pay. Contrarily, if they’re out of network, all insurance and benefit plans have different out-of-network deductibles. Thus, the client will pay a certain amount of money out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Therapists will frequently provide their clients with receipts to send to the insurance company, which will reimburse a percentage directly to the client.

Online Directories
Psychology Today provides the most widely used therapist directory, which generates over 95,000 referrals per day and includes over 165,000 therapists and treatment centers. You can search by various categories, including kinds of therapy, price, ethnicity, faith, location, insurance, age, issues, sexuality, gender, and language.

Another resource is GoodTherapy, which has filters allowing you to search by evening, weekend availability, and wheelchair accessibility. There has also been a movement to make more specialized directories over the past few years. For example, TherapyDen has even more filters to search with, such as political anxiety, racial justice, sex-positive, LGBT issues, and kink-friendly. Consider reaching out to churches, community organizations, or other therapists for advice or assistance for specific needs.

Searching for Criteria

If you can’t find a therapist near you, go online

Location
In case you’re asking yourself, “how do I find the best therapist near me?” you should know that fewer clients now search for therapists based on how close they are to them or their workplace. Location is less of a determining factor, mainly due to the pandemic causing many therapists to start seeing their clients over video. However, it’s important to remember that therapists can be reprimanded for working with residents outside their licensed state. This protects the client if the therapist does anything inappropriate: if they are in-state, they can report any issues to the state’s licensing board.

Budget
If you cannot afford to pay out of pocket or find someone appropriate through your insurance network, you may want to look for therapists who accept reduced-fee or sliding scale rates. Otherwise, you can consider a therapist in training. These are commonly graduate students or recent graduates who are looking for hours to qualify for certification and often work with a supervisor.

Credentials
It’s important to confirm that a therapist is licensed, meaning they have completed a specific number of hours of clinical experience. If you’re looking to find a therapist in California (or elsewhere), check the local state board to determine if a therapist is licensed and has been suspended or reprimanded.

Therapists who have master’s degrees can get different licenses, all of which have their own requirements and nuances:

  • Licensed professional counselor (LCP)
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
  • Licensed clinical social work (LCSW)

Additionally, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) can prescribe medications, conduct therapy, and diagnose. Physiatrists are medical doctors and can prescribe medication. Psychologists can do assessments and testing. While visiting psychologists and psychiatrists usually is more expensive, they typically provide more specialized and in-depth training.

Are you looking for psychotherapy in Los Angeles? Search no further than the Feeling Good Wellness Center. Contact Dr. Katie Dashtan at 831-621-1150.

How to Overcome Shame

How to Overcome Shame

We all experience feelings of shame from time to time. Though these feelings sometimes pass relatively quickly, they can often linger for longer than we’d like and lead to self-destructive behaviors even among the most confident people. Shame can be difficult to identify, whether it’s concealed by other emotions or disguised as anxiety or depression. Thus, we need to understand what shame is, how to identify it, and what we can do to overcome different types of this emotion. Here is some information about how to overcome shame:

What Is Shame?

Shame can be defined as feelings of embarrassment or humiliation resulting from the perception of having done some immoral, improper, or dishonorable. While it is important when it comes to following laws, adhering to cultural norms, and even having basic social skills, it can also be an extremely negative emotion. It can become problematic when it creates feelings of being fundamentally flawed or unworthy and causes those who have feelings of shame to hide what they are ashamed of.

Signs of Shame

 Learn how to recognize the signs of shame

 

If you’re wondering whether or not you’re experiencing feelings of shame, here are the signs. They are classified into two characters, feelings, and behaviors:

Feelings

  • Feeling sensitive, unappreciated, used, rejected, inadequate, or dishonorable
  • Worrying about how others perceive you
  • Worrying that you aren’t being treated with respect or are being taken advantage of
  • Wanting to have the last word
  • Being afraid to share your thoughts or feelings
  • Being afraid to look inappropriate or stupid
  • Fear of failure that outweighs the fear of doing some immoral
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Feeling different, like an outsider, or feeling left out
  • Feeling skeptical of others
  • Afraid to be the center of attention
  • Being a wallflower
  • Shutting people out, withdrawing
  • Feeling that you can’t be your true self
  • Loss of identity
  • Feelings of regret

Behaviors

  • Keeping your head down
  • Not looking people in the eye
  • Slumping your shoulders rather than standing straight
  • Feeling frozen
  • Being unable to act spontaneously
  • Stuttering while trying to speak
  • Talking in a very soft voice
  • Hiding from others
  • Crying when you feel ashamed or embarrassed

Overcoming Body Shame

Learn to love yourself just the way you are

 

In today’s society, many of us face challenges when it comes to loving and accepting our bodies. In a highly digital world where the presence of social media has led to constant comparison, we are often feeling ashamed of our bodies and telling ourselves that they aren’t good enough. However, it’s important to recognize that you don’t need to change your body to be able to show it off to the world if that’s what you’d like to do. Here are some tips for overcoming shameful feelings about your body:

  • Intentionally choose messages on social media platforms that promote body acceptance and self-love.
  • Believe you can love your body as it is.
  • Come out of your comfort zone, and don’t keep yourself hidden because you’re ashamed of your body.
    Consider that your negative feelings about your body could be wrong and practice more body-positive language toward yourself.
  • Become more aware of your negative self-talk and the effect you’re having on yourself so that you can entertain your harshness towards yourself.
  • Create an inner supporter, using caring, body-positive language towards yourself.
  • Practice thanking your body and all that it does for you.

Overcoming Shame and Codependency
For those with codependency, shame can linger for too long subconsciously, leading to other painful feelings and problematic behaviors. Additionally, it can lead to control, caretaking, and submissive, dysfunctional communication with others. It makes people scared to get close to others because they believe themselves to be unworthy of love or are worried about disappointing those with who they do form strong bonds. Their fear of being abandoned by others causes them to flee themselves. To overcome shame and codependency, make sure you’re in a safe environment where you can express yourself, receive acceptance and empathy, and be vulnerable. You can then internalize a new experience, revise your beliefs about yourself, and build positive self-esteem.

Overcome Shame and Anxiety
Mental health disorders involving self-criticism or judgment, such as anxiety can create feelings of shame. This can result from fears of not being able to live up to your own overly high standards, worries that your flaws or inadequacy will be revealed, or social anxiety that may come from being the victim of bullying or being rejected by others. If you feel shame about a certain aspect of your character or something you have been judged for by others, then your best solution is probably to show yourself some self-love.

How to Overcome Shame of Failure
If you fail to meet your expectations or succeed at something, you may feel shame related to failure and disappointment. This is closely related to shame concerning defeat. To overcome the shame of failure, remember that you don’t need to always achieve perfection to be a worthwhile person.

Overcoming Childhood Shame
Childhood trauma or neglect can be a significant cause of internalized shame, shame that has been turned inward. For example, an individual who is abused as a child might experience feelings of unworthiness or other feelings of shame related to their abuse. In this case, identify the shame and let go of it rather than holding onto it.

Overcoming Shame and Embarrassment
Humiliation, the most intense form of shame, emerges when we feel critically embarrassed about something. This emotion is often felt when we do something we deem embarrassing in front of other people. Since this source of shame comes from something others have judged you for, it’s important to accept yourself just as you are and move forward rather than trying to change yourself or your character to please others.

Looking for a therapist to help you deal with your feelings of shame? Search no further than Feeling Good Wellness Center. We provide structured, results-oriented, and tailor-made psychotherapy that will help restore peace in your mind. If you’re interested in our services, contact Dr. Kate Dashtban at (831) 621- 1150 or (888) 539- 1172.

How to Deal With Living in a Toxic Household

How to Deal With Living in a Toxic Household

When you’re in your own home, you should feel safe to be yourself. Home should be a place where you can share your struggles, overcome your challenges, and be supported along the way.

Unfortunately, many people don’t experience home in this way. There are people in their family — living in their household — who aren’t safe. In fact, the individuals may be toxic to your personal sense of safety, growth, and fulfillment.

How do you know if you are living in a toxic household, and what can you do to cope? Here are some tips.

Signs You’re in a Toxic Household

Recognizing the signs can help you cope

You might feel frustrated or hurt by interactions with family members at home, but you probably wonder if they are truly “toxic.” One of the most common traits of someone affected by toxic family is that they think “it’s not that bad.”

The truth is, if you’re feeling hurt or damaged, it is that bad when it comes to your personal experience. That’s enough for you to get help from a compassionate, trained therapist.

However, it can help to have validation and understand what behaviours are truly toxic. Here are some of the signs that you’re dealing with a toxic family household:

  • People make critical and cruel remarks to each other
  • They lie about, or are in denial about, family dynamics
  • Family members punish each other with silence or withholding affection
  • People talk behind each other’s backs
  • Family members dismiss others who bring up hurt feelings or bad interactions
  • One or more household members expect the others to be perfect or live up to ever-moving expectations
  • There are threats of violence and/or actual violence
  • There is a lot of passive-aggressive behaviour
  • Family members gaslight each other by denying that hurtful events happened

These are just the most common signs — to include every sign of a toxic household would take up an entire book, unfortunately. If you feel like you’re the victim of a toxic household, it’s time to break the cycle by getting the help you need.

Remember That Toxic People Also Had Toxic Experiences

People generally aren’t born angry, resentful, controlling, or passive-aggressive. Usually they had experiences growing up that create those attitudes in them and showed them that this behaviour is okay.

That doesn’t excuse what they’re doing, and it doesn’t make the behaviour OK. However, it can help you understand the generational pattern at work and give you some compassion for where they came from.

It’s also important to realize that because people generally repeat the behaviour they experience, you’re at risk of creating your own toxic household if you don’t get the help you need to break the cycle. This might look like belittling your own kids, being passive-aggressive with a spouse, or leaving a toxic relationship only to enter anothqweqweqweer one shortly afterward.

Breaking the cycle is one of the most courageous things you can do, and it’s much easier with the help of an understanding therapist.

Living With Toxic Family Members

If you’re in a situation where you can’t leave your current household, how do you deal with toxic family members? There are a variety of strategies, and we’ll dive into several here.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call the Authorities

We’re going to talk about coping with non-criminal toxic behaviour in a minute, but I want to make this important point first — if you are being physically or sexually abused, call the authorities right away.

It is never OK for someone to assault you. If someone does that, they need to be held accountable for their actions. Don’t let them intimidate you by claiming things will get worse if they leave. We all find ways to survive and the abuser must be stopped. Call 911 if you are being abused.

Set Clear Boundaries

Your family may not respect boundaries well, but by setting boundaries and sticking to them, you’re standing up for yourself and showing yourself that you’re valuable and deserve care. You can decide what kind of treatment you’ll accept and won’t accept.

You can start with requests for different behaviour, such as “I don’t appreciate being yelled at, please talk to me in a normal tone.” If they don’t comply, follow through with a consequence, such as walking away from the situation in that moment and going to your room or perhaps out for a drive.

Limit What You Share

Speak to a trusted friend or therapist

Even if you have to live with toxic family members, you can set limits on how much you let them in to your internal life. Even your mom doesn’t need to know your deepest secrets or struggles if she cannot be trusted with them. The same is true for your dad, siblings, or anyone else in the household.

Limiting what you share at home can be isolating, but it protects you from being belittled or making poor decisions due to pressure. Find someone outside your home that you can share with in confidence, such as a therapist, a wise friend, or another trustworthy person.

Let Go of Your Expectations for Others’ Lives

This might be one of the hardest steps to take when you have toxic family members, but you have to let go of who you want them to be. Perhaps your mom will never be the mom you’ve seen on TV sitcoms. Maybe you and your sibling will never be close.

The truth is you can’t control other people’s lives or make decisions for them. However, you are in full control of your own life. You can choose to move on as soon as possible and let your family members be who they’re going to be.

How to Leave a Toxic Household

Living with toxic family members is damaging, and if you can leave, it’s a good idea to do so. However, it’s important to keep your plans to yourself until you can fully execute them.

You’ll need to create a detailed plan that includes:

  • Where you’re going to go
  • Saving up money for the move
  • A job to support yourself and pay your own bills
  • Who you’re going to live with, if anyone

It’s common for people who are in toxic situations to leave but then shortly end up in another toxic situation. In order to avoid being drawn back to what’s familiar (but harmful) to you, get the help you need in the form of professional therapy.

Get Help Coping Today

Living in a toxic household can cause a lot of damage to your confidence and mental health. Getting the help you need can allow you to break the cycle and create a healthy living space.

If you’re ready to break free, set up an appointment with Dr. Dashtban today!

How to Overcome Body Image Problem

How to Overcome Body Image Problem

Today, people live in a society where their bodies define who they are. Size and weight have become definitive factors of body image. When a person is unhappy with their size and weight, it makes it difficult for them to be satisfied with themselves. This problem causes men and women alike to take a step further and associate negative body image with self-image. Today’s society has forced people to believe that the only way to boost their self-image and feel better about themselves is to lose weight and become thinner, much like those extremely skinny models seen on television and in magazines.

Any damaging thought about your body image can have a direct impact on your self-esteem. Poor body image does not only affect how you perceive and carry yourself but also puts you at risk for serious mental health issues, such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and eating disorders.

Understanding the cause is a crucial part of overcoming body image issues and learning to view yourself in a healthy and positive way.

  • Rewrite Your Body Narrative

Your body narrative refers to how you see your body from a young age. The first step to overcoming issues with your body image is to reflect on how your body narrative started. This process can help you unravel thoughts and beliefs that are not healthy for your mental health. Take time to ask yourself:

    • At what age did you start having concerns about your body?
    • How did those stories impact your life at the time?

Once you recognize how these patterns are created in your mind, you can start to undo them.

  • Fight “Fatism”

Bodies come in different sizes and shapes

Accepting that bodies come in different sizes and shapes is another important step in appreciating your own body. You can even make a list of people you admire who do not have “perfect” bodies. How does their appearance affect how you feel about them? It is important to understand that the society’s body standards have significantly changed over the decades. Full-bodied women, like Marilyn Monroe and Mae West, were once considered the “ideal beauties” in the 1940s and 1950s. However, as the years passed, their body type came to be considered “overweight” by today’s standard.

  • Stop Comparing Yourself

Comparing your physical attributes to those of other people often results in despair and loss of self-esteem. Many people, especially women, find it challenging to stop comparing themselves with others. This negative habit is automatic and can happen several times a day. When you compare yourself with others, what do you usually say to yourself? Is it fair? Is it realistic? How does it impact you?

  • Practice Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating means viewing food from an unbiased place. When you view food as either healthy or unhealthy, it can make you feel guilty, straining your relationship with food. However, when you practice intuitive eating, it integrates emotion, instinct, and rational thoughts into your choices of food. Reminding yourself that you deserve to enjoy food helps you to easily adapt to a more neutral perspective on food choices.

  • Accept Genetics

There are certain aspects of your body that you cannot change no matter what you do. Genetics plays a significant role in your body size and shape. Medical experts said that at least 25% to 70% of your body is determined by your genes. Although it is impossible to change your genes, there are things you can do to alter or modify your beliefs and attitudes that will influence the way you feel about yourself.

When dealing with unhealthy body image, change should start with you. Also, it should start with self-respect and a positive attitude. You should also pay attention to your health and not your size. That is why it is important to stop comparing your body with that of your family members and friends, as well as media images. Keep in mind that no two bodies are the same. Your body is unique. It is impossible to be truly happy with yourself if you “diet into” a new body.

  • Set Healthy Boundaries

You can choose not to participate in a discussion with someone who is complaining about their body or food. However, if you feel comfortable about the topic of weight loss and diet, you can remind them that such discussion can bring up emotional discomfort. Gently letting them know that you prefer not to talk about these issues because of your personal struggles can be rewarding.

  • Befriend Your Body

Acceptance is the first step in overcoming body image issue

Fighting negative body image helps prevent depression, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and self-consciousness. Stop judging your body and start to appreciate your inner being. The body of every man and woman is a biological masterpiece. Remember that you are a unique human being and that you do not have to compare yourself to others, especially those women in the media. Instead, follow women on social media that promote body image positivity. No matter what images you see on the Internet, make sure you realize your worth and that you do not need to depend on how closely you fit into these unrealistic standards.

  • Seek Out Support

Wherever you are in North America, talking with a trusted online therapist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Toronto can help you identify the underlying feelings related to body image and heal your relationship with food rather than going through a rigid diet plan.

Accepting and loving your body always starts with you. Body image and self-esteem often go hand-in-hand. Any unrealistic pursuit of changing your body can often damage your mental and emotional health. If you know a loved one who struggles with negative body image, please seek professional mental health services in Toronto, Los Angeles or San Francisco to help stop the cycle of body hatred.

Dr. Katie Dashtban is here to help you redefine your body image and make you feel better about yourself. Give her a call at (831) 621-1150 or (888) 539-1172 to schedule a free consultation.

More Resolutions? Here's How to (Actually) Keep Them This Year

More Resolutions? Here’s How to (Actually) Keep Them This Year

For many of us, the new year often means the perfect time to start a new chapter in our lives. That is why people make New Year resolutions to help them change their bad habits and create new and healthier routines that will help them improve psychologically, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. 

However, before you create a new year resolution list, you should understand that the New Year is not a catalyst for immediate and drastic behavioral transformation but a time to reflect on your past behaviors and establish positive lifestyle changes. No matter how long and well-thought-out your new year resolutions may be, many people end up abandoning their resolutions immediately and settling back into old patterns. 

How Your Behavior Affects Your New Year Resolution

Changing your unhealthy habits to good ones can be challenging

Why do many people find it hard to keep their new year resolutions?

Psychologists say that it typically takes 66 days to develop a habit. According to research, only 40% can successfully follow through with their resolutions after 6 months. While changing a person’s goals and intentions is relatively easy, it is much more difficult to change one’s behavior

While many people want to change their unhealthy ways, humans are creatures of habit. Between 40% and 95% percent of human behavior is habitual, making them difficult to break.

Another reason why people fail is that they make too many resolutions that are difficult to achieve, making them victims of “false hope syndrome”. This happens when you set unrealistic expectations about changing your behavior. To successfully change your actions, you have to start by changing your way of thinking. Keep in mind that the power of positive mental thinking is key to achieving your new year resolutions in 2022. 

Psychological Strategies to Help You Keep Your New Year Goals

Taking small steps is key to achieving your goals

Many of us probably do not know that psychological strategies can effectively help achieve a healthier new year. That is why we have rounded several tips on how to create a plan that will help you keep and reach your resolutions:

  • Set Realistic Goals

Your new year resolutions should not only be attainable but also practical. For instance, if you tend to drink alcohol every day and plan to minimize your intake, do not stop abruptly. Start by avoiding drinking alcoholic beverages every other day or only drink once every 3 days. You can also break down your long-term goal into more workable short-term goals. Apply this principle if you want to start exercising or eating more healthy foods this year. 

  • Start Small

Getting rid of your unhealthy habitual behaviors and replacing them with good ones requires time. While the thought of reassessing everything in your life may seem overwhelming, you only need to start small and work on one goal at a time.

If you want to start a fitter and healthier new year, take one step at a time. If your goals include quitting smoking, giving up drinking, getting regular exercise, and eating more nutritious foods, you don’t have to do them all at once. Focus on a single goal and stick to it. Once you achieve it, move to your next target 

  • Talk About It

Sharing your new year goals with your family and friends can help you keep your resolution since they can act as your support system. For instance, if you want to quit smoking or drinking, they will know not to smoke or drink in front of you. Also, talking about your goals makes you more accountable so it’s more difficult for you to back out.

  • Learn to Adapt

It is normal to encounter a setback, but do not let it be the reason to give up on your new year resolutions. If you suddenly find yourself falling back into a bad habit, do not consider it a failure. Understand that the process of changing your habits is often long, and there will be obstacles along the way. Instead of considering relapses as a failure, view them as learning opportunities.

  • Reaffirm Your Motivation

You may feel confident and highly motivated to achieve your goals during the first days of your New Year’s resolution. Change may seem easy because you have not yet encountered the discomfort and temptation along the way.

Eventually, your motivation will begin to dwindle when you start to deal with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym early in the morning or the unpleasant effects of nicotine withdrawal.

When you start to feel unmotivated, remind yourself why you want to do this. You can even write a journal to record your small successes. This can help inspire you to keep going when times get rough. 

When it comes to achieving new year resolutions, understand that perfection is not attainable. It is normal to falter along the way. If you failed to follow your diet or skipped the gym for three days because you are busy, it’s okay. We have ups and downs. What is important is that you get back on track.

If you are looking for a psychologist who can help you better understand your behavior and guide you in changing unhealthy habits into good ones, ask Dr. Katie Dashtban for help. She will see you through your new year resolution using cognitive behavioral therapy if you’re in Toronto, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Call 1-888-539-1172 to book a free online consultation.

Winter Blues: What to Do About Seasonal Depression

Winter Blues: What to Do About Seasonal Depression

Do you feel the need to be alone and to withdraw from the world this time of year? You might have winter blues, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. Fortunately, you are not alone in this battle, and there exist many ways to fight it.

Does Seasonal Depression Only Occur During Winter?

The weather affects your mood and energy. If you get depressed specifically in the middle of winter, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder usually lingers for a few months before disappearing. Then, it revisits you as the winter season approaches once more.

People in the Northern hemisphere are more prone to winter blues

SAD, however, isn’t limited to the winter. The disorder can affect you anytime, depending on which season triggers your depression. Despite being colourful seasons bringing in fairly enjoyable weather, fall, spring, and even summer can still bring in depression for those affected with SAD.

Why Am I SAD This Time of Year?

Sadness is an integral part of human emotion, a natural response to external forces. It’s another story, though, when it gets too extreme and lingers longer than usual during the winter months.

It helps to know the possible causes of your winter blues. You may be:

Experiencing a change in body clock pattern

Most animals — including us — are inclined to sleep longer in the winter

Your body clock patterns change depending on the seasons. And in winter time, it is expected to change drastically due to the shorter days and longer nights. When daylight decreases, your body automatically knows that it’s nighttime and you feel more fatigued.

Overproduction of melatonin

Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep. It is also a main factor to the body’s clock function. This hormone is produced when stimulated by darkness. When the nights are longer, melatonin increases and you feel tired the whole day.

Lacking Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from sunlight and the food you eat. The sunlight you get during winter is low, which also deprives you of the much-needed serotonin. As it happens, Vitamin D regulates your serotonin levels. When your Vitamin D cache is depleted, you may not feel like doing anything for the whole day because you’re not getting enough serotonin to stabilize your moods.

I’m Not Sure If I’m Having the Winter Blues

Before, winter blues might have felt quite “normal.” But with our world reeling from the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, depression has become common with extended periods of isolation from the outside world. Your feeling of being withdrawn from society may have become even more intense.

Seasonal affective depression takes on a different meaning these days because of the pandemic. In the USA, SAD affects an estimated 10 million people, with women being more affected than men. In Canada, 2% to 3% of the population experience the disorder in their entire lives. Most of these are living in areas less exposed to sunlight.

The symptoms of SAD vary from person to person, but if you’re having the winter blues, these are fairly common:

  • Sadness in the winter months
  • Unmotivated to do small tasks
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Spending a day or two in bed
  • Social withdrawal
  • Longer hours of sleep
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Irritability, fatigue, and a heavy weight in some parts of the body, especially in the arms and legs
  • Prolonged bouts of sadness

Formal diagnosis for SAD can only be confirmed with a visit to your psychologist. If going out of your way for a physical visit eludes you, consider online therapy so you can consult with your psychologist in the comforts of your own home.

The Fight For Seasonal Depression: How to Combat Your Winter Blues

While you’re still mulling over therapy as a viable option to fight your seasonal depression, there are other ways to help you deal with or overcome your winter blues. Admittedly, building a stronghold to fight your SAD doesn’t happen overnight, but you can start brick by brick by doing the following:

Mentally preparing yourself

Since SAD is a yearly affair for you, consider preparing your mind for the onset as early as fall. Do some activities with friends to help you keep connected. With the harsh winds and snow winter can bring, you’d be compelled to stay at home more than necessary.

Getting some light therapy

Light therapy for seasonal depression using SAD lamps and SAD lights can help stimulate light inside the room and lessen the fatigue you feel. Expose yourself to a light box for 20 to 30 minutes per day to get your body clock pattern on the right track. However, if you’re on medications that might cause photosensitivity, you need to talk to your doctor.

Moving your body

And we mean to get yourself moving more than usual. Take some time to do some light exercises to keep your mind off things. It will also help you stay fit for the holidays and beyond.

Letting the sunlight in

Sunlight in the winter is scarce, so whenever the sun shines, let up your blinds, open your windows to let the sunlight in. If you’re feeling it, you can take a quick stroll outside so you can stock up on your natural Vitamin D.

Writing your thoughts down

Grab a pen and a notebook to document your journey to battling SAD. Just write every thought you have throughout the season. Read every entry you have and take note of your progress however it might have turned out. Specifically pay attention to patterns of negative thinking such as overgeneralization, fortune telling and discounting the positive.

See Dr. Dashtban When the SAD Gets All Too Much to Bear

The SAD times are always tough to get through, but if everything’s too much to bear, you can always turn to Feeling Good Wellness Center for help. Whether you’re in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Toronto, you can talk to licensed online therapist Dr. Katie Dashtban through virtual one-on-one sessions. Call 888-539-1172 so you can feel good again.

YES to Less Stress: When and How to Say NO

YES to Less Stress: When and How to Say NO

“Can you do me a small favor?”

How you answer this question creates a direct impact in your life. Most of the time, you just can’t refuse any favor, especially if the other person is looking at you like you’re their savior. You find yourself giving in even if you don’t have the resources, let alone any idea, on where to start.

If you find yourself saying “yes” to most, if not all, of these “requests”, you’re giving yourself more stress than necessary. Learn to say “no” if it compromises your health and well-being. There’s always a bigger price to pay on your part if you keep on making yourself available for everyone.

Are You Saying “YES” Too Much?

Life provides more opportunities for us to improve ourselves. There’s work, organizations to support, and chores to do. Saying yes to everything that comes your way will drain your energy in the long run.

Here are some signs that you’re overextending yourself:

  • You’re busy almost the whole day.
  • Your to-do list is too long you can’t even track which ones are done.
  • No matter how hard you work, you feel like it’s still not enough.
  • You rush things and get impatient along the way.
  • Saying “no” makes you feel bad because you don’t want to disappoint somebody or miss an opportunity.

Saying yes to whatever life throws at you diminishes the amount of quality moments that you create with yourself or with somebody else.

Why Say “NO”?

Don't allow yourself to run out of you

You have to know something—you’re not at everyone’s disposal 24/7. You have things to attend to and you will get tired. There’s no way you can be anyone’s savior when they badly need saving. Your peace of mind always matters in situations that you can’t even handle.

Requests, regardless of intensity, won’t lessen over time. Saying “no” may not be easy, but there will be times you just need to do it for the sake of:

  • Self-care

Saying “no” to some requests gives you time to take better care of yourself. Eating out, watching a good movie, or just relaxing in your room would do.

  • Lessening their control over you

When you always say “yes” to requests, people think they have control over your time and will keep on making you do favors for them. Some people don’t even think of the stress they can cause to another when asking for favors. This can be toxic, or worse traumatic, for you if the cycle of bad feelings keeps repeating.

  • New opportunities for others

Saying “no” to requests gives opportunities for others to do it. This is especially important in a work setting when people have piles of deadlines to work on and a new task comes along the way. When you delegate requests to others, you give them a chance to learn a new skill that might come in handy in the future.

  • Pursuing other interests

Saying “no” allows you to pursue other interests outside of your work. You have more time to do your hobbies, go to the gym, and even relax in the comfort of your home.

  • Dodging stress

No one likes to be stressed, and if you say “no” to requests, you’re giving yourself more hours to relax. You feel better when you have fewer things to handle.

  • Diminishing the guilt

Saying “no” for the time being is not selfish. You can always say “yes” next time a person asks for another request.

How to Stop Saying Yes to Everything

Reaffirm the fact that there is only 1 you—nothing more

If you keep on saying “yes” to whatever comes your way, now is the time to stop. You don’t have to please everybody all the time by making yourself available.

Take your life back by saying “no” with these simple tips:

  • Focus on what’s important. When you have too much on your plate, saying “yes” to a request is an additional burden. Say “no” and focus on the matters that need your attention.
  • Weigh things. There are times when you’re not that busy. When someone requests something, think about whether or not the stress it will bring will last for quite some time. If you think it does, look for other ways to help.
  • Take the guilt out of the picture. You don’t have to fulfill a request just because you feel guilty.
  • Take time to think. Some requests can be physically taxing. Tell the person that you’ll give it some thought before giving your answer. However, always make sure to respond after a day or two. You need to respect the other person’s time as well.
  • Say the word “NO”. This two-letter word holds a great deal of power. Never be afraid to use it when you need it. There’s no shame in saying “no”.
  • Maintain honesty and respect. Sometimes, “no” can be interpreted as rude. Be honest and respectful in refusing requests. Tell the person why you can’t handle it using the right words. Don’t say that you think you can’t do it and that you’re not sure. The other person might think that you’re saying “yes” later on.
  • Make yourself clear. When all else fails and when worse comes to worst, make your stand clear. Some people just don’t understand your first refusal until you make it clear that a no is a no.

How to Minimize the Feeling of Guilt

It takes a great deal of courage and commitment to say no despite the pressure. More often than not, it comes with guilt. That feeling is normal and will linger for some time before it fades away. Take these steps to lessen that feeling of guilt.

  • Look at your own limits. People have their own limits, and you’re not an exception. Take a look at how your life would change if you go beyond your boundaries.
  • Stand by your decision. You shouldn’t be swayed by further pressure from other people. When people know that you stand on your ground, there would be no reason to force you more.
  • Expect various reactions when you say “no”. Some are calm while some are pretty much emotionally charged. Guilt won’t shake you up when you’re prepared enough before saying “no”.
  • Detach from emotions. Sometimes, our emotions after saying “no” get the best of us. It can cloud our judgment in the process. Take a step back and assess the situation you’re currently in. Know what you want and make sure to stick by it.
  • Never forget why you said “no” in the first place. This lessens the guilt you feel and decreases the chance of saying “yes” to roughly the same requests in the future.
  • Trust your gut. Humans have instincts for a reason. Listen to what your gut tells you, especially if a request seems to be a dangerous one. You might not reap the rewards of listening to your gut immediately, but it will unravel its magic of keeping you safe in time.
  • Write. If you have a problem with saying “yes” all the time and you just started declining requests, writing about your progress will show your journey. You’d be amazed at how far you’ve come. From someone who gets easily shaken, you’ll bloom into a person who knows what he wants and what he doesn’t.

Get Your Life Back

Let your healing journey begin with online psychotherapy

Learn how to say “no” to what you dread doing, and say “yes” to less stress. If you are having a hard time coping with such changes (and the stress it may bring), help is available for you at Feeling Good Wellness Center. Dr. Dashtban is an online therapist you can talk to from the comfort of your own home, whether you’re in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Toronto. Call 888-539-1172 now!

Life After Divorce: 12 Steps to Slow But Steady Recovery

Life After Divorce: 12 Steps to Slow But Steady Recovery

Couples go through challenges and problems that could make or break their relationship. If the marriage turns sour over time, it ends up in divorce. This life-changing event brings out the emotions couples have kept in for so long before agreeing to divorce formally.

Divorce affects you, your partner, your children (if you have any), and the people you hold dear. You fill in the role your partner once had. People take sides and can end up blaming you for everything. You don’t enjoy the same financial leeway as before. There’s almost no one you could seek help from after the divorce.

Rebuilding your life after divorce is definitely the hardest part. You’re doing everything alone and learning new things for the first time in a long time. While you will definitely face challenges as you start anew, you can find your way to a slow but steady recovery:

  1. Allow yourself to grieve

Just like any kind of loss, you need to allow yourself to grieve over divorce. Lie on your bed the whole day. Eat a tub of ice cream while watching sad movies. Spend days looking outside the window and crying all of a sudden.

The path to grieving is by no means linear, and a one-size-fits-all formula for how you mourn an unfortunate loss like this does not exist. Grieve as much as you can. Acknowledging what happened and letting the emotions flow through you are a good first step to recovery.

  1. Seek emotional support

Connecting with people who share the same pain can help you feel less alone

When you’re grieving and emotionally vulnerable, you need all the emotional support you can get. Call up your friends and vent your feelings. Join a support group for divorced individuals. Seek guidance and help from people who went through the same situation. You just can’t go through it alone. You’ll always need someone by your side.

  1. Write a journal

Words hold immense power. With the many things you want to say not just to your partner but also to yourself, you might struggle in finding the right ways to say it.

Spoiler alert: there is no one right way to say any of these difficult things, but writing them down, no holds barred, is a good place to start. Grab a pen and a notebook and write whatever you want. Your entries can be about your feelings or the most mundane everyday happenings.

Writing helps reduce the pain you feel. Develop the habit of writing and you’ll track your progress of healing over time. You’ll notice the changes in your moods and responses to your memories.

  1. Set goals and making new hobbies

Working on you hobbies allows you to feel good about doing something

Now that you’ve wiggled your way out of a messy (or amicable) divorce, it’s time to build new goals and hobbies. Return to your old hobbies or take on something new. You don’t need to excel at it. What’s important is that the hobby you choose makes you smile and relieves you from the upsets of your divorce (or life in general).

  1. Build new connections

With divorce comes losing the people you thought were true to you. At some point, you end up getting blamed for the entire thing. But it’s not too late to build new connections and meet people. It’s natural to gain new friends and to lose contact with some along the way. Open yourself up to new friendships.

  1. Celebrate the single life

Do yourself a favor and pay the world a long overdue visit

Life after divorce signifies a fresh start. Now that you’re single, you can find a way to celebrate what’s left of you and the countless possibilities for your future.

Spend a day alone. Take a trip with your friends. Go on a vacation in your family home. Talk to good old friends back in your hometown. Throw a party. Do all the things you did back when you were single.

Although it takes several adjustments and getting used to, there’s no reason not to be happy after your divorce.

  1. Consider dating again

Happiness after divorce may seem elusive for some people. Some choose not to open their hearts up to potential new partners while some put themselves out in the market again.

If you feel like it, download dating apps and begin swiping left and right. Ask your friends to set you up on a date. Divorce is not the end for you — it’s a new opportunity to find the right person.

  1. Explore what pleases you

Pleasure can be in the form of delicious food and good rest

Marriage may have toned down your libido. Bring it back to life by exploring sensations that you once felt. With divorce comes opportunities to pursue sexual relations with other people. Remember to practice safe sex, choose your partners wisely, and never feel shame about exploring what your body wants.

But not all pleasure is sexual. If this is not your cup of tea, you always have the choice to pursue other avenues of pleasure.

  1. Reinvent your whole self

Take the time after divorce to evaluate where you are in life. Try a new fitness routine. Get a makeover. Apply for a job that’s a total opposite of what you do. Shift your mindset and get used to the new you.

Don’t forget to love yourself after everything you’ve been through. Remember, you can only begin loving others if you love yourself first. Know your worth, always.

  1. Handle your finances

Life after divorce is hard, especially for women. If your partner was financially supporting you, you may now have to handle the finances on your own. Don’t worry, though, there are practical ways to managing your finances post-divorce: Try:

  • Flipping the budget

Revamp the whole budget since you’re handling it alone. You need to make huge changes including downsizing your home and eating at home instead of outside. Lifestyle changes come along with budget.

  • Evaluating accounts

Look at your bank account and make compromises about giving up the things you used to enjoy. Spend the money on more important things.

  • Setting goals and priorities

If you have children, put their needs first above anything. Set goals with your finances and prioritize the things you need to do after the split. Boost your finances by finding home-based jobs and setting up a small business.

  • Talking to a financial planner

If you can’t handle your finances well or you overspend along the way, talk to a financial planner. They’ll help you set goals and allot the money to important matters.

The dreams you built with your ex-partner haven’t completely gone down the drain after divorce. You have the choice to achieve them by yourself or with a new partner, as long as it does not bring back the unpleasant parts of your former life.

  1. Be strong for your children

Never make your child feel like the divorce is their fault

Divorce brings about huge changes to both parents and children. Co-parenting is even more challenging for divorced parents who separated on bad terms. As a child, seeing your parents divorcing when you thought everything was okay can be shocking and confusing. As parents, you have to be strong for the sake of your children.

Explain divorce and be strong for the children by:

  • Being united

Talk to your partner and come up with the best explanation for the divorce. Stick to it and relay it to your children.

  • Putting a stop to fights

There’s no real benefit if you and your partner always fight even after the divorce. You’ll just bring more harm to the children than any good.

  • Getting involved

It won’t hurt to ask your children how they are doing and asking them questions. That way, your children feel that you still care for them individually.

  • Being honest

Honesty is always the best policy, especially in divorce. When your child asks questions, answer them as honestly as you can. You need to be aware of the information you share too. Little children don’t need too much information. For teenagers, you need more transparency. They are surely as confused as you are in navigating their new normal.

  • Spending time

Plan the times you spend with your children. You can ask them what they want to do and go with it.

  • Addressing changes

Tell your children about the changes in living arrangements now that the divorce is finally official. Downsizing the home and cutting back on some unimportant expenses are some things your children need to understand.

  • Giving love and reassurance

Your children need to feel that you still love them despite the divorce. Always assure them that you’re there for them no matter what happens.

  • Respecting your partner

Treat your partner with the same respect you once did while you were married. Respect their decision in life and their parenting style.

  1. Consider divorce mediation and therapy

When things are hard to deal with, therapists are there to listen and help you out. Divorce mediation or divorce therapy is a viable choice for individuals seeking support during the rockiest days of their new post-divorce life. Divorce therapy is a new approach that is not as prevalent as couple’s therapy, but is quite effective for those who are motivated to re-gain their steady and happy selves after divorce.

You and your psychologist can work on a solution that’s tailor-fit to your situation. You don’t need to delay getting help if you badly need it. If you are in Toronto, ON or San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, help is available at Feeling Good Wellness Center. Consider online divorce mediation or divorce therapy with Dr. Katie Dashtban and begin your journey to healing.

A future filled with love and happiness awaits you and it must start with yourself. Let Dr. Dashtban help you feel good about your life after divorce. Call 1-888-539-1172 or email [email protected].

 

Therapy for medical diagnosis

What Happens When You Receive a Medical Diagnosis?

What happens when you first receive the news of a medical diagnosis? When you first learn that there is something about your health or a loved one’s that has been compromised. If you are like most people, you probably feel a rush of anxiety and maybe even anger. Some also feel a rush of sadness and grief, become tearful and feel extreme fear and a sense of doom.

These emotions are difficult to handle. Here is a list of best ways to embrace yourself and handle such a challenging moment in life with grace.

 

First Do Nothing

In order for the news to set in, it needs to go through the “Alarm System” of the brain first. In there, the brain needs to process it and decide if it is imminent danger, such as when you are about to be in a car accident, or is it non-imminent, like when you can wait and decide on the best course of action.

You might have heard of the Fight or Flight response, which is the brain’s way to keep you away from imminent danger.  In this case, you do not want to kick start that fight or flight response, instead you need to give your brain time to turn on it’s higher thinking parts, which is the Cortex or the “thinking brain.”

 

Know that you have options

Instead of letting your mind take you to a thousand places, where all that comes to mind is doom and gloom, allow yourself to think. Asking questions like “what options do I have, even if they seem far-fetched.”

It is always a great idea to seek a second and even a third opinion, from a variety of different medical providers and even other health care providers. Medical doctors can inform you of the medical aspects of your health, but other health care providers such as psychologists can tell you about your psychological and emotional health status, which are just as important.

 

Reach out to people who might have been in your situation

Not only you can learn of the options that others have used, which is a significant source of information you could really use, but you also get some support and empathy from those who understand you. Receiving that kind of empathy is super important for the actions you will be choosing to make.

 

Keep hope alive

Hope is what keeps us going through our entire life. Without hope, we are practically gone. Hope in this case does not refer to wishful thinking. It is recognizing that you can work through this, as opposed to work passed this. True that many of us do work passed several obstacles in life, including a severe medical diagnosis.

But what I mean by hope in this context, is trusting yourself that with the proper help from your doctors, your psychologist, your family, and the community, you will GO THROUGH and EMBRACE this phase of your life. And in the end, you will experience it with grace as opposed to experiencing it with grief.