0 comments on “How can I express how I really feel?”

How can I express how I really feel?

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services with Dr. Monica Borschel

Sometimes we might have a difficult time expressing how we feel because we are afraid of how others will react or perceive us. We might have a hard time expressing how we feel because we are not sure what it is we are feeling. Emotions can be complex. Part of it might be because we tell ourselves that how we feel doesn’t matter. Here are some simple guidelines to understand and express how you feel.

1. Your emotions matter: Emotions give us information about our environment and our choices. If we feel threatened or out of control we might feel angry or anxious. If we have lost or fear losing someone or something, we might grieve or feel sad. When things are going the way that we want them too, we feel happy or excited.

2. Emotions are in your body: One of the keys to understanding how you feel is to pay attention to sensations in your body. Is your heart racing or is your stomach tight? When we learn how to identify where we feel emotions in our body we can learn to speak about how we feel.

3. How are you perceiving the emotion? Our body gives us a signal about threats in our environment and our heart races. We can tell ourself that we are afraid, or we can tell ourself that we are excited. Be curious about the story that you are telling yourself about your bodies response to the environment.

4. Heathy responses: Healthy responses to emotion include talking, crying or calming down. Talking about how you feel helps to minimize conflict and misunderstanding. Crying helps to relieve pressure and stress and calming down prevents you from yelling or becoming aggressive.

4. Accept your emotions, don’t avoid them: Avoiding your emotions or distracting yourself from your emotions will not help you to understand or learn from them. Often when we feel heartache we tend to avoid it. Negative emotions help us to grow and understand ourselves better. Broken hearts help us to understand love, appreciation and compassion. We also learn from our mistakes by paying attention to the feelings we don’t like.

 

5. Write it out: It might be easier for some people to write their emotions out before they are able to speak about them. Writing your feelings on a piece of paper might help to clarify any confusion you have to what you are feeling.

 

6. Practice, practice, practice: If you are not used to speaking about your feelings, it will be quite challenging in the beginning. Don’t give up, try again. Every time that you try, it will become easier. There might be people in your life who are unable to cope with your emotions or anyone else’s for that matter. Practice with people are are open to hearing how you feel.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Becoming confident after abuse.”

Becoming confident after abuse.

US trained psychologist offering therapy services

If you have been abused as a child or as an adult, you might feel worthless.  If as a child you underwent neglect, rejection or abuse from your parents, confidence might be harder to find.  A child who has experienced verbal abuse and neglect will begin to believe that they are worthless and horrible.  The damage from abuse might take years to undo, here are some pointers to set you in the right direction.

1. Don’t judge yourself or others. When you judge other people, you also judge yourself.  If you change your mindset to acceptance of others, you also learn how to accept yourself.  This takes patience and practice as it is human nature to judge.

2. Speak kindly to yourself.  Notice when you are abusing yourself and rephrase.  For example, “I’m an idiot,” becomes, “I am capable of fixing that mistake.  I can handle this.”  Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone that you respect and admire.

3. Understand the abuse has nothing to do with you. When you are abused, you might begin to believe that you deserved it, or that you are worthless.  Understand that people who are happy and comfortable with themselves do not abuse others.  Abusers tend to be people who are hurting deeply and want to control by devaluing others.  Break the cycle of abuse by healing your emotional wounds and treating yourself and others with respect and compassion.

4. Set boundaries.  Learn how to communicate and put your needs before the needs of others.  Don’t allow people to violate or own your physical or psychological space.

5. Explore your fears and insecurities.  When we have been abused, we might have more fear of rejection and failure than others.  Be brave enough to look at your insecurities and ask if they are preventing you from reaching your potential.  Some fear is a liar.  You are not worthless, and you can accomplish goals.

6. Set goals and accomplish them: Push through your self-doubt and set manageable goals for yourself.  As you reach your goals, you become more confident.  Believe in yourself and tell yourself you can handle it.

7. Reach out for support: Speak to those who support you or reach out for professional help.  The effects of abuse can be unconscious and hard to detect.

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Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

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Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How to talk to your child about divorce”

How to talk to your child about divorce

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

child-blackandwhiteDivorce is a difficult situation for adults, let alone children and teenagers.  Parents who are separating might be experiencing their own grief, sadness and anxiety.  As the adult, it is important that you are able to be the secure base for your child or teenager during this time.  Children are intuitive and can sense the mood of their parents.  To hold a safe space for your child, make sure that you are calm.

Key points to remember while speaking to your child about divorce:

1. Unconditional Love: It is important that children understand that none of this is their fault.  A child might side with the parent who they feel is hurting or the same sex parent. No matter who the child lives with, or spends time with, it is important for them to know that you still love them and that they will not be punished for this.

2. Do not involve the children in the conflict.  The children should not know about the financial pressures or constraints of the divorce.  This is one more stress they do not need, they should not be involved in adult situations.

3. Expect to answer a lot of questions.  Your child or teenager might be hurt and confused.  Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over again as they try to process the situation.  Do your best to remain patient through this process.

4. Don’t interrogate your children.  Don’t ask them about the other parent or what the other parent is doing.  Do not make your children take sides.  When you say something negative about the other parent, the child unconsciously feels as if you feel the same way about them as they are genetically half of the other parent.

5. Listen to your child’s emotions.  Acknowledge your child’s emotions patiently.  You might say something like, “I know this is scary and you are sad.  It’s ok to cry and talk about it.  Your mum and dad will love you no matter what.  Even though you don’t live with both of us anymore, we are always your mum and dad.”

6. Be honest and sincere.  Children do not need to know the adult matters, but it is best, to be honest about the living arrangements.  Children understand more than adults often give them credit for, and lying upsets and angers them.  It is best not to introduce a new partner to your child or teenager for at least six months.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Private or skype sessions available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Navigating a break-up or divorce during the Holidays”

Navigating a break-up or divorce during the Holidays

The holiday season can be especially lonely if you are going through a recent break-up or divorce.  Break-ups and divorce sometimes break our hearts and leave us feeling depressed or lonely. An unexpected or sudden break-up or divorce can be an end to our hopes and dreams for a future with our loved one. We might find ourselves having a difficult time trusting again or finding the motivation to move on with our lives. Here are some pointers on how to navigate this difficult time to get your life back on track.

  1. Accept the loss for what it is:  Loss is painful.  The first step to moving on is to accept that the relationship is over.  Once we recognise that it is over, we can stop analysing, why? What if?
  2. Accept that it might be a difficult holiday season: Accept that this holiday season might be painful because you are not able to celebrate it with the person that you lost.  It might also be painful to see other happy couples and families together during this period.   Try to stay present and focus on what you do have, and not on what you don’t have.  Focus on what your holiday wants, and needs are this season.
  3. Be patient with your emotions: It is natural to grieve after a break-up or a divorce. Sometimes we are mourning the loss of mutual friends, finances and a future with the other person. During this period of grief, allow yourself some time to feel your feelings. If your emotions become overwhelming and consuming, reach out to a professional in the mental health field.
  4. Reconnect with loved ones: Reach out to friends and family who have been supportive and warm to you in the past. Social support is a great way to reconnect with yourself and others, helping to reduce loneliness.
  5. Focus on your desires and goals: Take the break-up as an opportunity to discover who you are and what you would like to do with your life. Set some goals and work towards them daily.
  6. Exercise: Physical activity releases stress and builds confidence. Often times after a break-up or divorce our self-esteem drops. Exercise helps us to feel healthy and fit as well as stimulates our mind and increases focus.
  7. Appreciate your journey: Appreciate the good times you had with your partner and the love that you once shared. It may seem like you will never find someone to love during this period of loss. On the contrary, you can use this experience to decide who you are and what you would like in your next partner.
  8. Rediscover who you are: A break-up or divorce can give you the opportunity to reflect on your own vulnerabilities and strengths. Who are you, where are you going and what have you learned from this experience. It can be helpful during this period to hire a psychologist to help you on your path to self-evolution.
  9. Do something nice for yourself every day: Everyday find 10-15 minutes to do something kind for yourself. It can be taking a nice bath, doing yoga, meditating, or reading a book. Make sure that you find the time for self-care.
  10. Self-compassion: After a break-up or divorce it can be easy to place blame on yourself or the other person. Blame does not heal or solve any problems. Be compassionate towards yourself and speak to yourself without judgement.

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Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Attachment: A Different Perspective”

Attachment: A Different Perspective

Hong Kong counselling therapist services

heartArtwork by Kalok Ng

email:thekalokng@gmail.com

The first relationship we had was with our mother when we are in the womb. We were safe and protected in the womb; we were warm and well fed.  When we were born, we bonded with our parents through feeding, sleeping and eye contact.

As we grew into children, we realised that we were separate from our mother, and we developed a sense of self.  If our home environment was neglectful, rejecting or abusive, we might have come to the conclusion that we were not worthy of love.  If our home was safe and warm, we might have come to the conclusion that we were worthy of love.  This relationship decided our attachment style to our parents and our image about ourself.  We may have had an avoidant attachment style to one of our caretakers if they were too rejecting, abusive or if they were overbearing.  We might have had an anxious attachment anxious style to one of our parents if they were neglectful or abusive.  As we matured and formed other relationships, we formed different attachment patterns to different individuals.

An avoidant attachment to a person is the idea that “I am worthy of love, but the other person is not.”  If you are feeling an avoidant attachment to someone, you don’t want the other person to become too psychologically close or dependent on you.  You dislike the idea of psychological intimacy and prefer to remain independent of the other person.

An anxious attachment to a person is the idea that, “I am not worthy of love, but the other person is worthy of love.”  This is the feeling that you want to become intimate or psychologically close to this other person, but you believe that they do not want to be close to you.  You might be anxious about the other person abandoning you.

Secure attachment is the idea that, “I am worthy of love, and you are worthy of love.”  Ideally, both people in the relationship have a secure attachment to each other.  When the attachment is secure, communication and growth can happen.  Both partners feel safe and secure within the relationship.

If we are insecure about our worthiness of love, we may become vulnerable to the influences of the media and society that may heighten our sensitivities to rejection and failure. This, in turn, may harm our relationships, continuing the belief that we are not loveable.  Certain steps can help us to break this pattern.

Recognising negative thought patterns and reframing them.

Sometimes we may have a negative internal monologue because we have been around negative people, or we have been abused.  When we recognise that we have a negative internal monologue – such as calling ourselves “stupid, fat, or ugly.” Try to reframe that thought to constructive criticism. For example, “My boyfriend said he wants to spend time with his friends.  I understand it is nice for him to spend time with them.” Instead of “I think he is cheating on me because I am fat.” The first phrase provides a workable situation that enhances growth, whereas the second phrase leaves you unmotivated with a lowered self-esteem.

Allow yourself some space around your fears and emotions without judging them.

We evolved to heave fear to keep us out of danger and to prevent us from being eaten by bears, or killed by a neighbouring tribe.  However, sometimes our fear is irrational.  Sometimes we are afraid to talk to another person we are attracted to because we have a fear of rejection.  In this case, don’t judge your fear.  Don’t put yourself down.  Instead, breathe into the part of your body that is tight from the fear, and imagine a space opening up in that area.  Run through the worst and best case scenario in your mind.  If they reject you, how will you respond?  If they accept you, how will you respond?  Remember, rejection does not mean you are not worthy of love.  It merely means you are at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Learn communication strategies that enable you to express how you feel

If you feel that you are unworthy of love, you may have a hard time articulating your feelings.  This might be because you have not listened too in the past, or you believe that your feelings do not matter.  If this is the case, begin by noticing sensations in your body.  For example, if you have a stomach ache, ask yourself if you are anxious or scared, or if you have a tight chest ask yourself if you are sad or angry.  When you begin to recognise the emotional signals in your body, you can be patient with yourself in learning how to verbally express your feelings.  Another option is to write your feelings out and send to the other person.

Learn strategies to boost your self-esteem.

Learn about who you are as a human being.  What are you curious about, what is your passion?  What are your strengths and weaknesses and how can you promote growth in your life by setting goals and accomplishing them.  Take care of yourself physically by going to the gym, eating healthy and getting enough sleep.  Refuse to allow any negative people in your life who abuse you.

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Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Am I sad or depressed?”

Am I sad or depressed?

US trained psychologist in Hong Kong counselling and therapy services

fantasy-2964231_640Sadness is an emotion that slows us down and teaches us that we made a mistake, or that something or someone hurt us.  Usually, when we are sad, we are still able to get out of bed and maintain our daily routines.  Depression is a deeper emotion that often feels like darkness or heaviness.  We find ourselves unable to go about our daily routines because we are too tired or unmotivated.  If you have been feeling depressed for more than a couple of months, help from a professional is a good idea.  Here are some warning signs that you might be depressed.

1. Your sleeping habits have changed:  You might find that it feels almost impossible to get out of bed.  You want to sleep for days because when you are sleeping, you can’t feel the pain.  Or you might find that you can no longer sleep at night.  You might feel tired all the time.

2. Your relationships begin to suffer: Your relationships might be suffering because you are so overwhelmed with pain that you feel like you can not deal with anyone else.  You might feel agitated with others and have little empathy for what they are experiencing.  You might withdraw because you do not want to burden anyone else.  This is exactly the time when you should reach out to others who are caring and supportive.

3. You feel hopeless: You begin to feel like you will be suffering forever and that there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.  You might feel like you will always fail, never reach your goals or always be stuck.

4. Your body aches for no reason:  You might find that your muscles are sore and stiff, but you haven’t been exercising.  You might also have a change in appetite, either eating too much or too little.  Your body might feel heavy.   Though you feel tired and unmotivated, exercise will help you.

5. You can’t focus: You might not be able to focus at work or school.  You might become easily distracted or feel like you are dreaming.

6. Difficult to find joy in anything:  You might not be able to enjoy things that you used to love, or have a difficult time enjoying anything.

7. Your hygiene has suffered: You feel like taking a shower, doing your hair or brushing your teeth is too much effort.

8. You think badly about yourself: You feel like you are worthless, and that there is little to nothing good about yourself.  You are stuck in a negative mental loop.

Depression can be difficult to overcome on your own.  It is not something to be ashamed of or hidden from others.

Monica_in

 

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Skype or private session available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Connecting Through Play”

Connecting Through Play

Hong Kong psychologist counselling services-child therapy

People are social creatures that long for human connection.  This connection includes the feeling that you are seen and heard, and that you are respected and appreciated for who you are.  Children also need human connection; we can connect with them through play.  Play is a child’s way to innovate, problem solve and relax.  When we play with our children, we can teach them how to interact and play with other children on the playground or at home.  Here are some quick tips on how you and your child can connect and build a strong relationship through play.

Always ask first

This models the kind of behaviour that you want them to have with their siblings and other children.

Ask your child if you can play with them.  If they say no, do not be offended.  They might be in the middle of figuring out a solution to a problem they have been working on.
If they say yes, ask them which toy they want you to play with.

Let them lead the play

This shows your child that you care about them and that you are willing to step into their world.

Do not tell them what you two are going to play.  Follow their lead.  Ask, what do you want to play?  What do you want me to do?

Make eye contact and excited facial expressions

This helps your child feel seen and loved.  When you act excited, they will be excited.

Sit on the floor with them; get down on their level.

Children have little control or power.  This is a way to show them that the two of you are on the same level leading to a deeper connection.

Set boundaries, rules and expectations. 

Let them know that hands and feet are for playing and not kicking.  Explain that if they throw toys, they will be taken away.  Rules and boundaries keep a child feeling secure.  This way he understands what is appropriate behaviour and what consequences will be if rules are broken.  The rules and boundaries set are also for parents to follow.  Parents also should not hit, kick or throw.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for a private or skype session

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Overcoming Rejection”

Overcoming Rejection

Hong Kong counseling therapist services offers private professional therapy - Teenager therapy

loneliness-1879453_1920Being rejected is a sign that you have pushed yourself out of your comfort zone and have tried to achieve something.  Rejection can sting and hurt our self-esteem if we don’t manage it properly.  We can use rejection to learn and gain what we originally set out for.

Here are some pointers on how you can use rejection to your advantage.

1. Create some space to feel your emotions.  Avoiding your emotions by distracting yourself, using alcohol or drugs will eventually make you feel worse.  You can make space for your emotions by acknowledging and accepting the fear, loneliness or sadness that might come from rejection.  You do not need to let your emotions control you, but you can get comfortable with them by accepting that your emotions are there to teach you something.  Sadness allows us to slow down and analyze, fear pushes us out of our comfort zone, and loneliness enables us to reach out.

2. What did you learn? Rejection enables us to take a step back and learn about what about our priorities, goals, motivations and what we can do better next time.

3. Practice self-compassion.  Speak kindly to yourself.  Imagine you are speaking to a close friend who has just been rejected.  Would you belittle them or make them feel bad about themselves?  Or would you encourage them to try again and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes?  Do something kind for yourself on a daily basis, whether it is meditation, reading a book, getting a massage, or just spending time alone to reflect.

4. Reach out for social support.  When we feel down, it is easy to isolate ourselves.  Social support reminds us that we are not alone and that others have gone through what we have gone through.  Sometimes just talking about it with your friends or family helps you to feel better.

5. You are so much more than this one rejection.  Remember that this rejection has nothing to do with who you are as a person.  The rejection does not mean that you are fundamentally flawed.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Perception is everything”

Perception is everything

Hong Kong counselling therapy services

art-therapy-229312_640

Everyone views the world through the lens of their own reality.  In a sense, we all live in a different universe.  Though we may be experiencing the same events, the way we interpret the event may be different.  When we are depressed, anxious or grieving, we have a tendency to forget that things will get better.  When all you can see is darkness, you forget that the other side of darkness is light.

For example, you might feel rejected by a job, family, society or someone you love.  One person might see the rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, to find another solution to what they want.  And another person might see the rejection as proof that they are a failure.  Everyone fails sometimes.  What counts is how you react to the failure or rejection.

When we are grieving, depressed or anxious, we can’t understand how we will move past our intense emotions.  We can’t understand how other people can be so happy when we are suffering so.  Each feeling that we have gives us information.  Grief teaches us to appreciate the ones that we love, depression lets us know that something is out of balance, and anxiety tells us that we do not feel safe.  We can use these emotions to become introspective and more aware of who we are.  Here are some points to perception and how it can hurt or heal us:

1. We are a product of our genes and environment: When we fail to understand that other people see the world differently than us, miscommunication and tension develop.  We can have healthier and happier relationships in business and in our personal lives if we take the time to listen to someone else’s perception without judgement.

2. Focus on abundance and not lack: Sometimes we get stuck in the negative cycle of longing for what we don’t have.  This might make us anxious or depressed.  If we focus on what we do have, we become calmer and more focused.  Appreciation and gratitude is an easy trick to be a happier person.

3. Take criticism with a grain of salt: Sometimes people criticise us in a way that helps us to grow and develop.  This sort of criticism is coming from a place of care and love.  Destructive criticism comes from a place of jealousy or judgement and should be filtered out.  Do not internalise other people’s negativity towards you as it tends to be a projection of how they feel about themselves.

4. Be patient with yourself: Sometimes we might feel annoyed with ourselves because we think that our emotions are a sign of weakness.  This is not helpful.  When you feel down, give yourself some space.  Space to respect and grow from your emotions, and space from self-judgement and criticism.

5. Know yourself: Understand your emotions and what triggers them.  Knowing yourself helps you to avoid conflict and understand what you need to meet your goals.

6. Social support: Spend time with people who offer emotional support and support your growth as a person.  Stay away from people who are motivated by jealousy and anger.

7. Reach out to a professional: If you feel unmotivated, and can’t find joy in anything, it is a good idea to ask for help from an expert.  A professional can help you to understand yourself better and reach your full potential.

Monica_in

 

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for a private or skype session

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel