Category: <span>Coping</span>

Stress Less with Exercise

How do you manage daily stress?

What is your favorite stress relief technique?

What can you do to improve your mood?

 

There is a stress management secret that only takes 30 minutes out of your 24 hours a day.

 

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s physical or emotional response to a challenge, pressure, or demand.  Stressful life events or situations are part of life.  Stress can be positive when you need to complete homework, meet a deadline for work or to help you avoid danger.

 

Sometimes stress can be negative. 

 

Acute stress is the immediate response to a challenging or new situation, it is short term and experienced in day-to-day life.  Episodic acute stress is frequent episodes of acute stress which can make life seem chaotic going from one stressful experience to the next crisis.

 

Chronic stress is experiencing high levels of stress for a long period of time.  Chronic stress can come from childhood trauma, traumatic experiences, a toxic relationship, or an extremely demanding job.

 

Emotional and Cognitive Symptoms of Stress:

  • Overwhelmed, anxious, afraid
  • Angry, irritable, frustrated, moody
  • Sad, depressed, lonely, worthless, low self esteem
  • Racing thoughts, excessive worry
  • Inability to focus, forgetfulness, disorganization

 

Physical Symptoms of Stress:

  • Headaches, muscle aches, tense muscles, body ache
  • Digestive problems: diarrhea, constipation, bloating
  • Indigestion, nausea
  • Frequent colds or infections
  • Insomnia or waking up frequently, over sleeping
  • Rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, chest pain
  • Sweating, shallow breathing
  • Low energy, tiredness

 

Stress can impact us in various ways.  It can feel overwhelming at times, but we can definitely combat our stress.

 

Combat your stress with exercise!

 

Any form of exercise is good for your body and mind. 

 

Benefits of Exercise:

  • Reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol
  • Physical activity increases the brain’s production of “feel good” neurotransmitters called endorphins that are the body’s natural pain killers and mood elevators
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Promotes positive changes in mental health and the ability to cope with stressful situations
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Improves sleep
  • Boosts energy
  • Improves self-esteem and self-image
  • Physical activity improves physical health and cardiovascular health
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation

 

All it takes is 30 minutes a day, to help improve your physical and mental health.  Anything from walking, dancing, yoga, running, basketball, soccer, baseball, hiking, weightlifting can help improve your mood.  Pick multiple things that work for you and incorporate them into your daily routine. 

 

When you feel super tired and drained push you yourself even harder.  It will be worth it!  You got this!

 

If you would like more information, please contact our office at: (915) 209-1234 .

Feeling Like an Imposter? The Impact of Imposter Syndrome and How to Cope with It

Feeling Like an Imposter?

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome and How to Cope with It

“I’m not good enough to be here.”

“What am I doing here?”

“Will they notice I don’t belong here and fire me?”

“I’m a fraud. Everyone will know.”

I

f you have these thoughts, chances are that you may be dealing with Imposter Syndrome. This phenomenon includes thoughts and feelings of self-doubt and incompetence that continue despite having background knowledge, experience, and accomplishments important to the position.

A person impacted by this phenomenon won’t believe they earned their success through their own merits and worry that their peers or employers will come to the same realization. Minor errors at work just reinforce this perception of yourself.

Imposter syndrome can impact anyone in any position or profession. Possible causes of Imposter Syndrome include: parental rearing or childhood environment, personality traits, current mental health status, new expectations and responsibilities, institutionalized racism, and gender bias.

Now that there is an understanding of what Imposter Syndrome is, we’re going to break-down the five types of Imposter Syndrome, the impact of Imposter Syndrome, and how to reduce the impact on your life.

The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome

The Perfectionist

If Imposter Syndrome shows up in this type, the person may focus on how things are done to the point that perfection is expected of themselves in every area of their life. Additionally, they will not acknowledge the hard work they’ve invested and may criticize themselves for any errors, seeing them as failures.

The Natural Genius

The Natural Genius type will appear in people who spend their lives easily picking up new skills and believe new information and processes should be understood easily as well. This relates to Imposter Syndrome when they begin to have difficulty with tasks because they feel that competent people would not have any difficulty with these tasks.

The Soloist/Individualist

In this type of Imposter Syndrome, the person believes that they should be competent enough to not need help from others with tasks. If they are not able to successfully complete those tasks individually, they feel like frauds.

The Expert

This type will be observed in people who believe that they should have all the knowledge they need internally. If they are not able to answer questions or find out they were not aware of certain knowledge, they feel like failures.

The Superhero

The Superhero type often appears in people who connect competence to their capability of succeeding in every role they take on in their lives. Imposter Syndrome comes in if they are unable to successfully fulfill role demands and expectations.

This is merely an introduction to the five types of Imposter Syndrome, and we hope to elaborate on them in a future blog.

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome

            Imposter Syndrome can leave a lasting impact and overbearing burden on a person if they are not able to cope with the phenomenon. Since people are experiencing these thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence, they end up working harder than they usually would and placing higher expectations on themselves – leading to mental health issues and, ironically, poorer work performance. These thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence fuel anxiety, depression, guilt, and stress. The combination of these mental health symptoms then leads to a lack of sleep and inability to focus. If these symptoms are not worked through using effective coping skills, it can lead to other psychological and physiological symptoms.

How to Reduce the Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Sometimes our frequently used coping strategies may not work with certain phenomena, including Imposter Syndrome. There are plenty of ways to work through this self-doubt, including:

  • Discussing your feelings and thoughts with your peers, friends, coworkers, family, and mentors.
    • They may be feeling something similar and can provide insight on how they worked through the experience.
  • Recognizing your experience, knowledge, and competence.
    • It takes a lot of work to get where you are in your position or profession, and you would not have been able to get there by doing nothing.
  • Challenging your self-doubt.
    • It’s important to question whether the facts support the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others around you.
    • We are all unique in our own ways and comparing ourselves is not an accurate comparison.
  • Seek help if your symptoms worsen.
    • It can be hard to do this on our own and there is nothing wrong with needing help from a therapist, church leader, etc. to help you work through it.

Imposter Syndrome can be a difficult phenomenon to work through, especially when it feels so real and scary. However, it can be worked through if you have the right tools at your disposal. You are competent. You have the experience for the position you’re in. You’ve proved to your peers time and time again how you’re deserving of the role. Now, all you must do is allow yourself to believe it as well.

My hope for you is to see your worth in your role, profession, or position. If you would like more information, please contact our office at: (915) 209-1234.

                        Kindly,

                                 Zoe Olivo, LPC-Associate Supervised by Guillermo A. Castañeda, LPC-S

After Experiencing Relationship Hurt: 5 Healing Practices

Dear Reader,

 

When we are growing up, our primary caregivers are like mirrors.  They mirror back to us how they see the world, how they see others, and see us. Their way of relating and engaging with us and others impacts how we may see the world, others, and ourselves.

When reflecting on our own childhood experiences, we need to consider our primary caregiver’s mirrors.  They hold the reflections of their own caregiver’s mirrors which provide us with glimpses of transgenerational patterns and themes that may be passed down from one generation to another.  Hence, our world-views, the way we interpret the world, hold the mirrors of our caregivers, our culture, our ancestors, and own life experiences.

Over time, we internalize at a subconscious and conscious level our identity, our beliefs, and parts of ourselves.  Early life experiences highly influence the messages we learn about ourselves and how the world works.  This basically sets our subconscious programming.  

Is the world safe? Can I trust others? Am I worthy?  Am I capable? Am I enough? 

To further analyze what may influence these beliefs, we can explore the relational and emotional injuries that can occur in families and at a cultural level.

According to Dr. Mario Martinez, there are three common relational wounds we experience as human beings: shame, abandonment, and betrayal.

In his research and work, he also outlines the antidotes to those emotional injuries such as honor for shame, commitment for abandonment, and loyalty for betrayal.

Dr. Martinez encourages readers to seek evidence of individuals in our lives who have shown honor, commitment, and loyalty to help reframe our worldview.  Now, his message is one of empowerment where, if we can identify the origin of the wounding, we can then help it heal.

Now the words relational, emotional injury and wounding are used to reflect what we experience when being shamed, betrayed or abandoned, not as actual physical injuries, but to reflect the depth and complexity of the pain.

Below, I want to outline five practices to begin or compliment the healing journey after experiencing relational hurt.

An important ethical disclaimer:  This list does not in any way shape or form endorse staying in abusive relationships.  If there is any form of abuse in the relationship, sexual, emotional, physical or forms of neglect, it must be addressed with professional help.  I will outline our community resources available in the *References section and available hotlines as well.  This list is not exhaustive and is not meant to replace any form of therapy. If you believe you or someone you know would benefit from counseling you may call our office for more information.

So, what can we do if we have experienced any form of emotional wounds?

1. We need to take care of our body first. When we have experienced any type of emotional pain, our body registers the pain.  In fact, the brain cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional pain.  Pain is pain for the brain.  Hence, taking care of our sleep, nutrition, rest, and safety are incredibly important in allowing both our body and brain to recover and heal.  We want to take care of our body with more self-care than usual. This helps increase the level of safety and reduce levels of stress.

2. We need to reflect on the stories we are telling ourselves. Our brain thrives and yearns for purpose and meaning.  When we have incomplete fragments of what happened to us, it feels uncertain and our thoughts may loop, feel stuck, or feel intrusive in efforts to make sense of things.  Granted, there are things in life that are so painful that those experiences may not have any meaning because nothing will make sense of it.  If something truly doesn’t have meaning, then that’s completely fair and okay.  Helpful practices in processing meaning are practices such as journaling, contemplating, prayer, or meditation.  These introspective practices help increase our awareness while making meaning of our own story.

3. We need to surround ourselves around safe, supporting and encouraging individuals. When we experience a relational injury, it’s as if that’s all we see.  It’s the way we feel seen and known.  In fact, it limits and narrows our perspective to any other possible positive views of ourselves.  When we nourish our mind and heart with people who believe in the best of us and want the best of us, we make room for another internal dialogue and perspective that can truly feel liberating and healing.  This may mean spending more time with a supportive friend or family member who participates in active listening, expresses compassion and provides encouragement.

4. We need to reflect on what we’ve learned from the experience. In many cases, this is where reading books, listening to podcasts, and talking to others may be helpful in better understanding situations and dynamics; although the most important learning is the one that we derive from the experience.  Learning from external sources such as books and other resources can help us name what happened.  Like Dr. Daniel Siegel says, “When we can name it, we can tame it.”  Naming things has an empowering impact since it allows us to reclaim our reality, knowing that what we went through has a name.

5. In some cases, we need professional support. If that means a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, social worker, doctor, or any individual in a professional capacity who can help us or guide us, it’s highly encouraged.  We were never meant to do life alone.  In some cases, it’s liberating to admit, “I need help.”  Mental health professionals are there to help us understand ourselves, our emotions, beliefs, boundaries, and needs.  More importantly, counseling is a process where small changes have a compound effect on our desired goals.  In the beginning change feels small and unnoticeable, but, over time, we can see how much we have evolved, healed, and grown.

In closing, there may be experiences we may be holding on to that might be impacting our present.  If there are, know that for every injury there is an antidote and a way to reclaim our life and mental and emotional energy.  My hope for you is to live the life your heart longs for.

With warmth and kindness,

Jazmine

References

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Dial 1-800-799-7233  or Text: “START” to 88788

Community Centers in El Paso, Texas 

Center Against Sexual & Family Violence: Dial 800-727-0511

La Posada Home: Dial  915-544-4595

A., V. D. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York (New York): Penguin Books.

Martinez, M. E. (2016). The mindbody code: how to change the beliefs that limit your health, longevity, and success. Sounds True.

Wolynn, M. (2017). It didn’t start with you how inherited family trauma shapes who we are and how to end the cycle. Penguin Books.

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