Ringing the changes
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lyn Reed, MBACP (Registered), Ad.Prof Dip.PC, Dip.PC, B.A., M.A., Adv.Dip.CQSW
29th December, 2014
Another year is a traditional time to make a new start. Yet making changes isn't always easy. But once we are ready and able to reflect on whatever it is we are doing to ourselves which seems to make us feel we are being held back, we have a good chance of maintaining the changes we want to make.
Habits can become self-defeating behaviours and as such affect our self-confidence. How do we deal with this? Well it depends. Sometimes we may hide away because we feel we cannot face other people or ourselves; or we may turn to alcohol, smoking, food, drugs, work - whatever is going to give us a quick fix to instantly make us feel better. The trouble is that we can become dependent on something (or someone) which can develop into an addiction or obsession - which can be even harder to break.
Negative self-talk is an example of an 'empty' habit. We can start to believe our negative thoughts - they can quickly become part of our self-belief system. If we have told ourselves over and over again that 'I'm a failure' we may find ourselves reaching for our support - drink, food, credit card. We have lost our own self worth. In our heads our thoughts seem to have become facts. We may now believe that we are on a path from which we cannot escape - often because we have convinced ourselves there is no other route. Our self defeating behaviour often indicates our lives are out of balance. We are jeopardising our emotional health. And we can become anxious and fearful.
Therapy can often show us there is another route. It can help us to tackle our habits; to ask ourselves what has triggered our behaviour; and help us to reflect on what we believe will happen to us if we ditch our self-destructive habits and replace them with some new ones. It is a good place to explore our empty habits and to learn how to change them - in an environment which is supportive, safe and non-judgemental. Once we talk about our feelings we can often begin to take the next step to finding a solution for ourselves. Taking control to finding a way forward and having the courage to take a different path to the one which brought us to therapy in the first place.
To change habitual behaviour takes time. But it can be time well spent.
About the author
I am a qualified and experienced counsellor offering a professional and confidential service to those who are experiencing depression, anxiety and/or stress. My empathetic and supportive approach can help clients make sense of their place in the world and by doing so, approach the future with renewed confidence, self-belief and inner strength,
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