Click here to Download Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book by Julie Smith English having PDF Size 8.1 MB and No of Pages 302.
Everyone has low days. Everyone. But we all dier in how frequent the low days are and how severe the low mood. Something that I have come to realize over the years of working as a psychologist is how much people struggle with low mood and never tell a soul. Their friends and family would never know. They mask it, push it away and focus on meeting expectations.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book by Julie Smith
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About Book – Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book
Sometimes people arrive at therapy aer years of doing that. They feel like they’re geing something wrong. They compare themselves to the people who appear to have it all together all of the time. The ones who are always smiling and apparently full of energy. They buy into the idea that some people are just like that and happiness is some sort of personality type.
You either have it or you don’t. If we see low mood as purely a fault in the brain, we don’t believe we can change it, so instead we get to work on hiding it. We go about the day, doing all the right things, smiling at all the right people, yet all the time feeling a bit empty and dragged down by that low mood, not enjoying things in the way we are told we should.
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Take a moment to notice your body temperature. You might feel perfectly comfortable, or you may be too hot or too cold. While changes in how hot or cold you feel could be a sign of infection and illness, it could just as easily be a signal of things around you. Maybe you forgot your jacket, which is normally enough to protect you from the cold.
Perhaps the sky has clouded over and it has started to rain. Maybe you are hungry or dehydrated. When you run for the bus you notice you warm up. Our body temperature is aected by our environment, both internal and external, and we also have the power to influence it ourselves. Mood is much the same.
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When we experience low mood, it may have been influenced by several factors from our internal and external world, but when we understand what those influences are, we can use that knowledge to shi it in the direction we want it to go. Sometimes the answer is to grab an extra layer and run for the bus. Sometimes it’s something else.
Something that the science has been confirming to us, and something people oen learn in therapy, is that we have more power to influence our emotions than we thought. This means we get to start working on our own wellbeing and taking our emotional health into our own hands. It reminds us that our mood is not fixed and it does not define who we are; it is a sensation we experience.
This doesn’t mean we can eradicate low mood or depression. Life still presents us with hardship, pain and loss and that will always be reflected in our mental and physical health. Instead, it means we can build up a toolbox with things that help. The more we practise using those tools, the more skilled we get at using them. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book
So when life throws us problems that hammer our mood into the ground we have something to turn to. Beware of those musts and shoulds! I don’t mean the healthy and normal sense of duty we have to our community. I mean the relentless expectations that send us on a downward spiral of unhappiness. I must be more this, and I should feel that. The musts and shoulds are heavily tied up with perfectionism.
For example, if you feel you must never fail, you are seing yourself up for a rollercoaster of emotions and a struggle with mood when you make a mistake or encounter a setback. We can strive for success and accept failures along the way. But when we set ourselves unrealistic expectations, we become trapped by them.
That means we suer whenever there is any sign that we may not be living up to them. So watch out for those musts and shoulds. When you are already struggling with mood, expecting yourself to do, be and have everything that you are when you’re at your best is not realistic or helpful. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book
All-or-nothing thinking Also known as black-and-white thinking, this is another thought bias that can make mood worse if we leave it unchecked. This is when we think in absolutes or extremes. I am either a success or a complete failure. If I don’t look perfect, I’m ugly. If I make a mistake, I should never have bothered.
This polarized thinking style leaves no room for the grey areas that are oen closer to reality. The reason this paern of thought makes everything harder is because it makes us vulnerable to more intense emotional reactions. If failing one exam means you are a failure as a person, then the emotional fallout from that will be more extreme and much harder to pull back from.
When you feel low in mood, you’re more likely to think in this polarized way. But it’s important to remember that this is not because your brain is geing things wrong or malfunctioning in any way. When we are under stress, all-or-nothing thinking creates a sense of certainty or predictability about the world. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book
What we then miss is the chance to think things through more logically, weighing up the dierent sides of the argument and coming to a more informed judgement. When we feel low in mood, thoughts can become all-consuming in this way. The brain senses from the body that things are not OK and starts oering up lots of reasons why that may be.
Before you know it, a swarm of negative, self-critical thoughts are buzzing around your head. If we fuse with those thoughts and allow them to consume us, they can send the already low mood spiralling down further. All those self-help books that told the world to just think positive didn’t account for the fact that you can’t control the thoughts that arrive in your mind.
The part you can control is what you do once they appear. One of the most important skills for learning to deal with thoughts and their impact on our mood is geing some distance from them. Sounds dicult when those thoughts are inside your own mind, but humans have a powerful tool that helps us to put thoughts at arm’s length and give us the distance we need. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Download
It’s called metacognition, which is a fancy name for thoughts about your thoughts. We have this ability to think. But we also have the ability to think about what we are thinking. Metacognition is the process of stepping back from the thoughts and geing enough distance to allow us to see those thoughts for what they really are.
When you do this, they lose some of their power over you and how you feel and behave. You get to choose how you respond to them rather than feeling controlled and driven by something. Metacognition sounds complicated but it is simply the process of noticing which thoughts pop into your head and observing how they make you feel.
You can have a go by pausing for a few minutes and noticing where your mind wanders to. Notice how you can choose to focus in on a thought, like Stanley puing the mask over his face, or you can let it pass and wait for the next thought to arrive. Take anyone on this earth and start depriving them of sleep and that person will become vulnerable to both physical and mental illness. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Download
But that relationship between sleep and mental health works both ways. When your mental health dips because of stress, low mood or anxiety, your sleep is likely to be disturbed at some point too. Whichever came first, you can almost guarantee that when your sleep takes a dive so will your mood and your belief in your ability to bounce back.
When you haven’t had enough sleep, everything feels ten times harder. Sleep has a profound eect on every aspect of your wellbeing, so if you think your sleep is not as good as it could be it is well worth your time and eort to try improving it. For those who experience long-term insomnia, working with a specialist is highly recommended.
But if you want to work on improving the amount or quality of sleep you are geing, I have included a list of tips below to get you started. Again, we are not aiming for perfection and you don’t have to do everything on the list to get good enough sleep. There are times when life happens and it pulls you away from a healthy sleep paern. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Download
If you work shis, travel long-haul, have young children or a habit of staying up late playing computer games, you can learn to check in with yourself and put in place whatever is necessary to steer you back in the right direction. Sadness can be a part of grief. But there is much more to grief than sadness. It can be a deep yearning for the person who is gone.
Relationships are at the core of what it means to be human. Among the people I have met in my career so far, their human connections have been the most meaningful aspects of their lives. When the relationship ends, the need for that connection doesn’t stop. Your body grieves too. As explained in previous chapters, everything we think and feel happens within the body.
Grief is no dierent. The loss of a loved one is a huge psychological and physical threat. The pain can feel both emotional and physical. The stress response is repeatedly triggered. In talking about things that help us through grief, let’s be clear on what help means. Things that help do not make the pain disappear or make us forget or force us to let go. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Free
Help might be as simple as finding out that the rollercoaster of emotions you feel is normal. It might be finding new ways to sit with and process the pain in a safe and healthy way. Grief can feel intolerable. It makes absolute sense that our most natural human response to that might be to block it out. The pain is so intense and vast that it is terrifying.
So we push it away if we can. But when we block one emotion, we tend to block them all. We can be le feeling hollow, numb and struggling to find meaning and to engage with life in the way we once did. If we find a way to push it all down under the surface, maybe by keeping really busy, numbing ourselves with alcohol or with denial of what has happened, we may feel like we’re doing OK.
Then something small that seems insignificant blows the lid o and this world of pain explodes, leaving us in shock and questioning whether we can cope. Aer a loss, people deal with their grief in dierent ways. While some are oriented towards feeling the pain and emotions that arise, others focus on trying their best to distract themselves from the overwhelming emotions. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Free
Neither of these are wrong. In fact, we need both. We cannot work through grief all in one go and feel that much emotional pain without rest. But we cannot do the work through grief without allowing ourselves the space to feel it. So the work becomes a process of movement between feeling the pain and replenishing the body and mind with something distracting.
Or comforting that allows you a break between the waves of emotion (Stroebe & Schut, 1999). So spending time with the emotions that come up (whether you made an active choice to go there, by looking in a memory box or visiting a memorial, or if that emotion rose up without choice) is a necessary part of that process.
It allows the feelings to unfold and be expressed, through talking, writing, or weeping. When you feel you need to step back from that, it helps to turn your aention to something that brings the stress response back down. Criticism and disapproval is something we all have to face at some point. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Free
But nobody ever really teaches us how to deal with it in a way that allows that feedback to enhance our life instead of destroying our self-esteem. Even the anticipation of criticism or disapproval can be enough to cause a paralysis in our ability to strive for things that maer most to us. So not having the skills to deal with criticism or disapproval in a healthy way can cost you.
Now, this chapter is not about to tell you to just stop caring what anyone else thinks of you. In fact, we are built to care about how we are being perceived by those around us. Criticism can be a sign that we haven’t lived up to expectation in some way and sometimes (but not always) can signal a risk of rejection or abandonment.
So receiving criticism will naturally trigger your stress response. That response gears us up, ready to do something about it. Historically, rejection from our community was a serious threat to our survival. These days, things are dierent in some ways, but similar in others. Rejection and loneliness continue to be a big threat to our health and the brain continues doing its job of trying to keep us safe in a group. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before PDF Book Free