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Posts tagged ‘anxiety’

Many people from time to time feel blue, depressed, or anxious. For some people these emotions are a common experience. Whether depression or anxiety is familiar to you or a rare occurrence, it is helpful to have tools to pick yourself back up when needed.

Positivity Portfolio

One way to increase positive emotion is to create positivity portfolios for yourself. A positivity portfolio is a collection of items of your choosing that represent and remind you of a specific positive emotion. Each portfolio you create will represent one positive emotion. One portfolio may be on “serenity” another on “love,” etc.

Your positivity portfolio “container” may be a manila folder, a folder on an MP3 player, or a special box. Once you decide what positive emotion your first portfolio will represent for you, you can then fill your portfolio with items that lead you toward that positive emotion when you look at the items. For example, if your positivity portfolio is about “love” you might have in your portfolio:
A copy of a sweet email that you received from someone you love
Photos of loved ones
Love poems
Video clips that represent love to you
A love song
A lotion with a sent that makes you feel loved

Tips for creating and using your Positivity Portfolios:
You will want to ultimately make several positivity portfolios, for the various positive emotions you want to generate for yourself.
Be creative! If an item reminds you of the intended emotion, than it is fine to include!
Take your time when creating your portfolios. The creation process itself feels good!
Pull out one of your positivity portfolios when you feel the slighted hint of a negative emotion
Let your portfolios evolve – add and subtract items when necessary
Engage with your portfolios mindfully and with an open heart.

James Pawelski, director of education for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, came up with the idea of a positivity portfolio. This idea has now been researched by Barbara Frederickson of UNC Chapel Hill. Feel free to comment below and share how you have used your positivity portfolio(s).

Here’s to feeling good!

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.

There are many reasons that people seek mental health counseling in Asheville, NC (or in any other city for that matter.) Many people seek depression treatment or anxiety treatment. Others seek counseling for stress management or counseling for agoraphobia. Yet is that enough?

Imagine a scale from -5 to +5. If, when people are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, etc. they are in the negative numbers, when they get rid of depression or get rid of anxiety, they move up the scale to “0”.

It is great to be depression free or free of anxiety, but is it enough to be at “O?” What about experiencing positive emotions that occur in as people move up toward “+5?” This is where Positive Psychology research and treatment focuses. Positive Psychology helps individuals to increase their well-being, quality of life and happiness.

One Positive Psychology technique is to savor enjoyable, positive experiences. This can be as simple as having a cup of tea, taking a shower, or enjoying an evening stroll. Savoring an experiencing by noticing everything that is delightful about an experience, prolongs enhances the pleasure of participating in that experience.

So enjoy, savor an experience or two today and notice how you feel. You may find that you creep up into those positive emotions more easily that you would have expected.

If you enjoy savoring, there are several other Positive Psychology techniques you may enjoy.
Feel free to contact me and I can help you with your specific needs.

Yours in well-being,
Deborah
http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

Dispute Your Thoughts to Decrease Depression and Anxiety

You don’t have to put up with those pessimistic thoughts that run around in your head and can lead to depression and anxiety. Instead, you can dispute those thoughts to build optimism. I have shared this technique with my Asheville counseling clients and they have found it helpful. Think of the last time you were accused by a partner, family or friend of always being late. What do you do? Right away you likely come up with examples of when you were on time, in order to defend yourself and dispute the accusation.

This is what will fight off that depression and anxiety – disputing your own unsupportive thoughts.

We will use the ABCDE model to dispute a pessimistic thought. Below is an example that a woman might have if her best friend didn’t call for a while. See how, by disputing her pessimistic thoughts, the woman ends up feeling better by the time she has energized her new perspective on the situation.

A (Adversity)
“My best friend hasn’t called me in 2 weeks.”

B (Belief)
“She must be angry at me.”

C (Consequence)
“I feel sad and confused. What did I do to upset her? Did I say something wrong? How could I be so stupid that I can’t even remember what it was and it really hurt her? Why can’t I get relationships right? I don’t want to go that party tomorrow, because our friends will be there and I know they will give me the cold shoulder.”

D (Dispute)
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on myself? Maybe I said something and she just misunderstood what I meant? Maybe she is feeling alone and wishing I would call her? Maybe she is feeling really down and needs a good friend to support her right now? I think I will call her and see if she needs my help. She has said that I am good at cheering her up.

E (Energize)
The truth is we have a great friendship and I am a good friend most of the time. We have so much fun when we are together. Maybe I will call her and tell her a funny story. It is so much fun laughing with her. I think I’ll go call her right now.
This is one example of how to decrease pessimism and the resulting depression and anxiety that can follow.

For more suggestions on how to decrease pessimism, depression and anxiety, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you. http://www.deborahbarnett.com/