Monday, April 30, 2007

Song of the Week: on Self-Worth!

"Imperfection" by Skillet,

"You're worth so much
It'll never be enough
To see what you have to give
How beautiful you are
Yet seem so far from everything
You're wanting to be
You're wanting to be

Tears falling down again
Tears falling down

You fall to your knees
You beg, you plead
Can I be somebody else
For all the times I hate myself?
Your failures devour your heart
In every hour, you're drowning
In your imperfection

You mean so much
That heaven would touch
The face of humankind for you
How special you are
Revel in your day
You're fearfully and wonderfully made
You're wonderfully made

Tears falling down again
Come let the healing begin

You fall to your knees
You beg, you plead
Can I be somebody else
For all the times I hate myself?
Your failures devour your heart
In every hour, you're drowning
In your imperfection

You're worth so much
So easily crushed
Wanna be like everyone else
No one escapes
Every breath we take
Dealing with our own skeletons, skeletons

You fall to your knees
You beg, you plead
Can I be somebody else
For all the times I hate myself?
Your failures devour your heart
In every hour, you're drowning
In your imperfection

Won't you believe, yeah
Won't you believe, yeah
All the things I see in you

You're not the only one
You're not the only one
Drowning in imperfection."

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Improving Self-esteem

Above is a humorous characterization of self-esteem! :)
It occurs to me that sometimes individuals have trouble with esteeming ("liking") themselves because they are unaware of their worth! It would seem that if one could become convinced of their true and unconditional worth that one might more easily embark upon improving how they esteem ("like") themselves.
In the post before this one, the "Song of the Week" covers the theme of how difficult it is to come to grips with our true "worth." Below is a wealth of information from the National Mental Health Information Center on how to improve self-esteem.

Things You Can Do Right Away—Every Day—to Raise Your Self-esteem:

Pay attention to your own needs and wants. Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you. For instance, if your body is telling you that you have been sitting down too long, stand up and stretch. If your heart is longing to spend more time with a special friend, do it. If your mind is telling you to clean up your basement, listen to your favorite music, or stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself, take those thoughts seriously.
Take very good care of yourself. As you were growing up you may not have learned how to take good care of yourself. In fact, much of your attention may have been on taking care of others, on just getting by, or on "behaving well." Begin today to take good care of yourself. Treat yourself as a wonderful parent would treat a small child or as one very best friend might treat another. If you work at taking good care of yourself, you will find that you feel better about yourself.

Here are some ways to take good care of yourself:

  • Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing a lot of sugar, salt, or fat).
  • Exercise. Moving your body helps you to feel better and improves your self-esteem. Arrange a time every day or as often as possible when you can get some exercise, preferably outdoors. You can do many different things. Taking a walk is the most common. If you have a health problem that may restrict your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before beginning or changing your exercise habits.
  • Do personal hygiene tasks that make you feel better about yourself–things like taking a regular shower or bath, washing and styling your hair, trimming your nails, brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Have a physical examination every year to make sure you are in good health.
  • Plan fun activities for yourself. Learn new things every day.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. You may be so busy, or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little or no time doing things you enjoy--things like playing a musical instrument, doing a craft project, flying a kite, or going fishing. Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Then do something from that list every day. Add to the list anything new that you discover you enjoy doing.
  • Get something done that you have been putting off. Clean out that drawer. Wash that window. Write that letter. Pay that bill.
  • Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities. For instance, if you are good with your hands, then make things for yourself, family, and friends. If you like animals, consider having a pet or at least playing with friends' pets.
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. If you have little money to spend on new clothes, check out thrift stores in your area.
  • Give yourself rewards—you are a great person.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself--people who treat you well. Avoid people who treat you badly.
  • Make your living space a place that honors the person you are. Whether you live in a single room, a small apartment, or a large home, make that space comfortable and attractive for you. If you share your living space with others, have some space that is just for you--a place where you can keep your things and know that they will not be disturbed and that you can decorate any way you choose.
  • Display items that you find attractive or that remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life. If cost is a factor, use your creativity to think of inexpensive or free ways that you can add to the comfort and enjoyment of your space.
  • Make your meals a special time. Turn off the television, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you are eating alone. Light a candle or put some flowers or an attractive object in the center of the table. Arrange your food in an attractive way on your plate. If you eat with others, encourage discussion of pleasant topics. Avoid discussing difficult issues at meals.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills. Take a class or go to a seminar. Many adult education programs are free or very inexpensive. For those that are more costly, ask about a possible scholarship or fee reduction.
  • Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself—like going on a diet, beginning an exercise program or keeping your living space clean.
  • Do something nice for another person. Smile at someone who looks sad. Say a few kind words to the check-out cashier. Help your spouse with an unpleasant chore. Take a meal to a friend who is sick. Send a card to an acquaintance. Volunteer for a worthy organization.
  • You may be doing some of these things now. There will be others you need to work on. You will find that you will continue to learn new and better ways to take care of yourself. As you incorporate these changes into your life, your self-esteem will continue to improve.

Changing Negative Thoughts About Yourself to Positive Ones:
You may be giving yourself negative messages about yourself. Many people do. These are messages that you learned when you were young. You learned from many different sources including other children, your teachers, family members, caregivers, even from the media, and from prejudice and stigma in our society.
Once you have learned them, you may have repeated these negative messages over and over to yourself, especially when you were not feeling well or when you were having a hard time. You may have come to believe them. You may have even worsened the problem by making up some negative messages or thoughts of your own. These negative thoughts or messages make you feel bad about yourself and lower your self-esteem.
Some examples of common negative messages that people repeat over and over to themselves include: "I am a jerk," "I am a loser," "I never do anything right," "No one would ever like me," "I am a klutz." Most people believe these messages, no matter how untrue or unreal they are. They come up immediately in the right circumstance, for instance if you get a wrong answer you think "I am so stupid." They may include words like should, ought, or must. The messages tend to imagine the worst in everything, especially you, and they are hard to turn off or unlearn.
You may think these thoughts or give yourself these negative messages so often that you are hardly aware of them. Pay attention to them. Carry a small pad with you as you go about your daily routine for several days and jot down negative thoughts about yourself whenever you notice them. Some people say they notice more negative thinking when they are tired, sick, or dealing with a lot of stress. As you become aware of your negative thoughts, you may notice more and more of them.
It helps to take a closer look at your negative thought patterns to check out whether or not they are true. You may want a close friend or counselor to help you with this. When you are in a good mood and when you have a positive attitude about yourself, ask yourself the following questions about each negative thought you have noticed:
  • Is this message really true?
  • Would a person say this to another person? If not, why am I saying it to myself?
  • What do I get out of thinking this thought? If it makes me feel badly about myself, why not stop thinking it?
  • You could also ask someone else—someone who likes you and who you trust—if you should believe this thought about yourself. Often, just looking at a thought or situation in a new light helps.
The next step in this process is to develop positive statements you can say to yourself to replace these negative thoughts whenever you notice yourself thinking them. You can't think two thoughts at the same time. When you are thinking a positive thought about yourself, you can't be thinking a negative one. In developing these thoughts, use positive words like happy, peaceful, loving, enthusiastic, warm.
Avoid using negative words such as worried, frightened, upset, tired, bored, not, never, can't. Don't make a statement like "I am not going to worry any more." Instead say "I focus on the positive" or whatever feels right to you. Substitute "it would be nice if" for "should." Always use the present tense, e.g., "I am healthy, I am well, I am happy, I have a good job," as if the condition already exists. Use I, me, or your own name.

You can work on changing your negative thoughts to positive ones by :
  • replacing the negative thought with the positive one every time you realize you are thinking the negative thought.
  • repeating your positive thought over and over to yourself, out loud whenever you get a chance and even sharing them with another person if possible.
  • writing them over and over.
  • making signs that say the positive thought, hanging them in places where you would see them often-like on your refrigerator door or on the mirror in your bathroom-and repeating the thought to yourself several times when you see it.
It helps to reinforce the positive thought if you repeat if over and over to yourself when you are deeply relaxed, like when you are doing a deep-breathing or relaxation exercise, or when you are just falling asleep or waking up.
Changing the negative thoughts you have about yourself to positive ones takes time and persistence. If you use the following techniques consistently for four to six weeks, you will notice that you don't think these negative thoughts about yourself as much. If they recur at some other time, you can repeat these activities.
Don't give up. You deserve to think good thoughts about yourself.

Activities That Will Help You Feel Good About Yourself:

Make a list of:
  • at least five of your strengths, for example, persistence, courage, friendliness, creativity
  • at least five things you admire about yourself, for example the way you have raised your children, your good relationship with your brother, or your spirituality
  • the five greatest achievements in your life so far, like recovering from a serious illness, graduating from high school, or learning to use a computer
  • at least 20 accomplishments-they can be as simple as learning to tie your shoes, to getting an advanced college degree
  • 10 ways you can "treat" or reward yourself that don't include food and that don't cost anything, such as walking in woods, window-shopping, watching children playing on a playground, gazing at a baby's face or at a beautiful flower, or chatting with a friend
  • 10 things you can do to make yourself laugh
  • 10 things you could do to help someone else
  • 10 things that you do that make you feel good about yourself

Reinforcing a positive self-image:
To do this exercise you will need a piece of paper, a pencil or pen, and a timer or clock. Set a timer for 10 minutes or note the time on your watch or a clock. Write your name across the top of the paper. Then write everything positive and good you can think of about yourself. Include special attributes, talents, and achievements. You can use single words or sentences, whichever you prefer. You can write the same things over and over if you want to emphasize them. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. Your ideas don't have to be organized. Write down whatever comes to mind. You are the only one who will see this paper.
Avoid making any negative statements or using any negative words—only positive ones.
When the 10 minutes are up, read the paper over to yourself. Read the paper over again several times. Put it in a convenient place–your pocket, purse, wallet, or the table beside your bed. Read it over to yourself at least several times a day to keep reminding yourself of how great you are!

Developing Positive Affirmations:
Affirmations are positive statements that you can make about yourself that make you feel better about yourself. They describe ways you would like to feel about yourself all the time. They may not, however, describe how you feel about yourself right now. The following examples of affirmations will help you in making your own list of affirmations:
  • I feel good about myself
  • I take good care of myself. I eat right, get plenty of exercise, do things I enjoy, get good health care, and attend to my personal hygiene needs
  • I spend my time with people who are nice to me and make me feel good about myself
  • I am a good person
  • I deserve to be alive
  • Many people like me
Make a list of your own affirmations. Keep this list in a handy place, like your pocket or purse. You may want to make copies of your list so you can have them in several different places of easy access. Read the affirmations over and over to yourself--aloud whenever you can. Write them down from time to time. As you do this, the affirmations tend to gradually become true for you. You gradually come to feel better and better about yourself!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Forgiveness & Health

Forgiveness & Health:
"Whether you are forgiving yourself or someone else, choosing to forgive is a courageous decision. It means that you are committed to freeing yourself from the dark emotions of the past--emotions that affect your health and well-being today.
Forgiveness means that you are willing to let go of the pain. It will not erase what happened in the past--but it does recognize that you can use the past to grow.
Forgiveness will not only help you to be healthier--it will improve your overall quality of life.
Without the power of forgiveness to help us heal, the past has the potential to destroy our present lives. Giving up the pain of the past is not easy--but it is one of the keys to a healthy life.
When we release the past, we have more power to heal, to self-actualize, to become whole--to live a full and satisfying life."
By Judith Perlman, MSW, LCSW. Read much more, including five realistic steps toward forgiveness, at

"The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt, depression, and stress which leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health. It also influences our attitude which opens the heart to kindness, beauty, and love."
By Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. Read much more, including nine practical steps toward forgiveness, at

Monday, April 16, 2007

Song of the Week: "I'm not who I was"...

"I'm not who I was" by Brandon Heath

"I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was.
I used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
But I'm not who I was.

I found my way around
To forgiving you
Some time ago...
But I never got to tell you so.

I found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I'm not who I was
You were there, you were right above me
And I wonder if you ever loved me
Just for who I was.

When the pain came back again
Like a bitter friend
It was all that I could do
To keep myself from blaming you...

I reckon it's a funny thing
I figured out I can sing
Now I'm not who I was.
I write about love and such
Maybe 'cause I want it so much
I'm not who I was.

I was thinking maybe I
I should let you know
I am not the same
...I never did forget your name

Well the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about..."

... for dad

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Song of the Week: Fighting to Survive

Fighting To Survive, by Building 429

"Crying on the inside and it cuts me deep
'Cause I know you're gonna smile when I fall
I can’t help but feel the fear when I'm standing here
'Cause I know you're gonna laugh if I have to crawl

Can you see the desperation? But you don’t know my situation.

'Cause I, I'm fighting to survive
Can’t you see it in my eyes?
Please don't push me anymore
But I, I'm still fighting to believe
That there is hope for me
Somewhere beneath the very least of these.

And I can't help but feel ashamed when I know the truth
That there was more than I surmised inside your heart
I want to make it go away but you bear the proof
My words burnt through your skin and left you scarred...

I didn't see the desperation--somehow I didn't see your situation.

Because I've been fighting to survive
I didn't see it in your eyes
But I won't hurt you anymore
And I, I'm fighting to believe
That there is hope for me
Somewhere beneath the least of these."

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Depression Help Guides: Rhodiola Rosea - Fighting Stress and Anxiety

"Depression Help Guides: Rhodiola Rosea - Fighting Stress and Anxiety"

"Rhodiola Rosea - Fighting Stress and Anxiety Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress reducers. Rhodiola Rosea, also known as Golden Root, is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders. " (more at the linked blog)

I had not previously heard of this particular natural remedy, but it sounds interesting--if it really does what it is reported to do. More information can be found at this link: Mind Reference Review of Rhodiola Rosea.
There are other informational posts listed at the above blog that may be of interest to those looking for help with depression.

If you once attended LaSalle University in Mandeville, LA come check in with an Alumni page on Facebook.

Selah Counseling, LLC in Lebanon Oregon

Resources and information on Mental Health. In-crisis contact information for Linn and Benton Counties, Oregon. Information about Selah Counseling and the counselor behind it. Links to other valuable resources and sites.

read more digg story

Song of the Week: Breathe you in...

"Breathe You In" by Thousand Foot Krutch

"Taking hold, breaking in
The pressures on, need to circulate
Mesmerized and taken in
Moving slow, so it resonates
It's time to rest, not to sleep away
My thoughts alone, try to complicate
I'll do my best, to seek you out
And be myself, and not impersonate

I tried so hard to not walk away
And when things don't go my way
I'll still carry on and on just the same
I've always been strong
But can't make this happen
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
The fear of becoming
I'm so tired of running
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breath you in
I want to breathe you in

I'm going in, so cover me
Your compass will, help me turn the page
The laughing stock, I'll never be
Because I won't let them take me

Took awhile to see all the love that's around me
Through the highs and lows there's a truth that I've known
And it's you...

I've always been strong
But can't make this happen
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
The fear of becoming
I'm so tired of running
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
I want to breathe you in
I wanna breathe…"

(lyrics © by the artist & used for educational purposes only)