How to Overcome Martyr Syndrome

If you feel like you have martyr syndrome, the good news is there are things you can do to overcome it and start living a happier, more positive life. By learning to express your feelings more, challenge negative beliefs and expectations, and set some healthy boundaries, you’ll quickly start to notice a big difference in how you feel about yourself, your circumstances, and other people. If you’re not quite sure where to start, don’t worry—this article will help guide you through the process of addressing your martyr syndrome and overcoming it.

Part 1

Expressing Your Needs Download Article

  1. Image titled Overcome Martyr Syndrome Step 1
    Stop expecting others to read your mind. If other people were going to understand your needs without you telling them, they would have understood by now. Good communication skills involve both speaking and listening. A simple conversation can clear up a big misunderstanding. If you’re trying to express yourself via pouting, sulking, or otherwise acting out, you cannot expect to be understood. Recognize that the only way another person will understand you is if you reach out to that person.[1]

    • For example, you feel you’re being asked to do too much at work. Have you told people in your office you need help or have you simply acted cold towards others?
    • If you have not told anyone you need help on a project, chances are they don’t know. Being cold towards your co-workers is not really communication and, chances are, no one knows what the problem is on your end.
  2. Image titled Overcome Martyr Syndrome Step 2
    State your feelings directly. The first step to direct communication is stating your feelings. When expressing yourself, focus on what you’re feeling. Try to abandon any mentalities you have convincing yourself you’re inherently the victim or things are inherently stacked against. All you can know for sure are your own feelings, so focus on expressing these.[2]

    • Start with the words, “I feel…” when expressing yourself and then briefly state your feelings and the behaviors causing them. This reduces blame as you’re focusing on your personal reactions over objective facts.
    • For example, do not say, “You guys gave me too short notice for this project and now I have to work harder than everyone else in the office.” Instead, say something like, “I feel overwhelmed because I didn’t get enough notice about the project.”[3]
    • Focus on the present moment. Express how you feel now. Do not let past emotions or problems control how you act now.
  3. 3
    Express your needs. People with martyr syndrome may hesitate to express their needs or ask for help.[4] Rather than reaching out and explaining what people can do to help, you may prefer to view your situation as hopeless and harbor resentments. However, this is unhealthy long term and can lead to strained personal and professional relationships. If you need something, say so.[5]

    • For example, if you need help, just ask. Say something like, “I could really use some extra help on this project if any of you have any downtime.”
  4. 4
    Avoid escape mechanisms. People with martyr syndrome may have built in escape mechanisms to help them avoid communication. If you are frustrated or upset by a situation, think about the ways you handle that other than communicating directly. Learn to recognize and avoid these mechanisms to begin with.[6]

    • Some people may behave in a negative fashion in order to entice others to guess what’s wrong. Instead of expressing yourself directly, for example, you may sulk or act cold towards someone who’s upset you.
    • You also may complain about the issue in ineffective ways. For example, you may whine or complain continually, refusing to listen to advice or suggestions. You may also complain to other people around the person who’s frustrating or upsetting you while withholding information from them.
    • You may also find excuses for not communicating. For example, you will convince yourself you’re too tired or too busy to talk things out directly.
    • Writing in a journal is a great way to confront your daily life and to process your emotions in a healthy way.
Part 2

Changing Your Thought Patterns Download Article

  1. 1
    Examine your own feelings. Understanding the causes and issues behind your martyrdom can help you make positive changes in your life. Try to get into touch with your own emotional state. Question why you might act like a martyr. If you can identify the cause, you can identify the solution.

    • Do you have low self-esteem? Do you ever find yourself thinking that you are worthless or unable to control your own life?
    • When you feel upset, can you identify what is causing it? Or are you unsure?
    • Do you often hold grudges? Is there something from the past that you can’t let go of?
    • Do you often see situations as hopeless? Why is this? Does it help you avoid uncomfortable situations? Does it help you justify your current state of life?
  2. 2
    Recognize you have choices. Martyr syndrome is often marked by a feeling of helplessness. You may feel you are inherently the victim in life and that will not change. While there is a lot one cannot change about any given situation, learn to recognize where you can make choices. This will help you feel more in control of your life.[7]

    • For example, everyone finds their job stressful at times. Having to do things you dislike at work is part of life, and you cannot fully control stressful situations from occurring. However, you can control your reactions and coping mechanisms.
    • The next time you encounter stress at work, pause and remember you have choices. Think to yourself, “I can’t completely get rid of these stressors, but I can control how I react. I can make a choice to stay calm and deal with this effectively.”
    • When faced with a difficult situation, sit down, and make a list of everything that you can do to make a difference. This will help you feel as though you have more control in your life.
  3. 3
    Stop expecting to be rewarded for your suffering. Some people volunteer to endure pain and neglect with the hope of being rewarded somehow. People feel that being a martyr will lead to things like recognition, love, or other rewards. Think about how you expect to be rewarded for your martyrdom.[8]

    • Think about how often you talk to other people about your martyrdom. Do you think that you use this behavior to get attention from others?
    • Many people are relationship martyrs. You may find yourself putting a lot more into a relationship than you’re receiving. Oftentimes, people feel giving and giving to difficult people will eventually result in those people changing and becoming more loving and caring.
    • Ask yourself whether this has ever really happened. In most cases, giving more than you receive in a relationship does not result in the other person changing. It only builds resentments and frustrations on your end.
  4. 4
    Identify your unspoken expectations. People with martyr syndrome often expect a lot from others. You have ideas of how people should behave that are not always reasonable or realistic. If you find yourself frequently feeling victimized by others, pause and check your own expectations.[9]

    • Think about demands you place on others. Ask yourself what you expect from people around you and whether these demands are reasonable.
    • For example, in a romantic relationship, you may expect your partner to match you in certain ways. Say you prefer working out with your partner, but your partner prefers to work out alone. You may find yourself assuming you’re the victim. You may feel your partner should want to spend time with you so they’re automatically in the wrong.
    • Ask yourself whether this is really reasonable. If you’re unsure, you can ask a trusted family member or friend for their perspective.
  5. 5
    Examine your beliefs. Martyrdom is closely associated with certain religious and philosophical beliefs. If you have martyr syndrome, it may be related to your underlying worldview. Think about whether you choose to suffer for your beliefs. Consider whether you’re trying to live up to an impossible standard or demanding perfection from yourself.

    • If you feel guilt, spend some time examining how you view the world. Your worldview could contribute to your martyr syndrome.[10]
Part 3

Cutting Back on Your Work Load Download Article

  1. 1
    Lower your standards. Many people with martyr syndrome feel overwhelmed or victimized because they both take on too much and expect a lot from those around them. Ask yourself what you expect from yourself and examine whether this is realistic.

    • What you expect of yourself is often the same as what you expect from others. Adjust your expectations to a more reasonable level. This will improve both your relationship with yourself and others.
    • Accept not everything will turn out the way you wanted. If you expected yourself to complete a certain amount of work within the day, do not beat yourself up if you miss the mark. Instead, appreciate what you did get done.
    • Appreciate others for what they do, even if they don’t meet your exact expectations. For example, say your spouse brings home the wrong brand of toothpaste from the store. Instead of getting angry, be appreciative that you have toothpaste at all and this is one less thing for you to do.
  2. 2
    Focus on spending quality time with others. Rather than running yourself ragged all the time, spend time with others. This will help you learn to appreciate people in and of themselves, regardless of whether they meet your expectations. Strive for small relaxing interactions, such as chatting over lunch, as well as taking a day off to unwind with friends and family members.[11]

    • Keep in mind that not everyone is good company. If certain family members or classmates make you feel bad about yourself, don’t spend time with them.
    • Focus on spending time with people who make you feel happy and relaxed. Avoid people who drain too much of your energy, as interactions with them may leave you tired.
  3. 3
    Seek help from others. People with martyr complex may convince themselves they cannot ask for help. If you feel the inclination to ask someone for help, you may find yourself making excuses as to stop yourself from reaching out. For example, you may convince yourself that person is too busy or that you don’t want to burden them. Remember everyone needs help sometimes and there’s no shame in reaching out.

    • The worst that can happen is that someone will say “No.” Even if someone is unable to help, they probably will not think less of you for having to ask for help. Almost everyone has needed to reach out to others for help at some point.
  4. 4
    Learn to set effective boundaries. Every time you say yes when you mean no, you’re sabotaging yourself. You can learn to politely and respectfully decline to do what people ask you do. Before you agree to someone’s request, ask yourself some questions. Ask yourself if you truly have time. Commitment should make you feel good about yourself and not bitter and overwhelmed.[12]

    • You can say “no” without ever actually saying “no.” For example, you can say, “Sorry, I can’t commit to that right now” or “I already have plans.”
    • Think about the commitments that really make you happy and prioritize them over things that drain you. Say “Yes” that things that will make you feel personally fulfilled and pass on other commitments.
  5. 5
    Do something for yourself every day. Even if it’s something small, doing something for yourself every day can help you feel like less of martyr. Find ways to give yourself a small treat. For example, take half an hour before bed every night to unwind with a book.[13]

    • Make it a ritual or a habit, such as spending an extra 5 minutes in the shower, relaxing, or meditating in the morning.
    • Consider treating yourself to something bigger once every week or so, such as a manicure or bubble bath.

Expert Q&A

Ask a Question


  • Stop trying to be perfect. Rather, aspire to be better than you were yesterday. Nobody is perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. Correct the mistake and move on.

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About This Article

Elizabeth Weiss, PsyD
Co-authored by:
Clinical Psychologist
This article was co-authored by Elizabeth Weiss, PsyD. Dr. Elizabeth Weiss is a licensed clinical psychologist in Palo Alto, California. She received her Psy.D. in 2009 at Palo Alto University’s PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium. She specializes in trauma, grief, and resilience, and helps people reconnect with their full self after difficult and traumatic experiences. This article has been viewed 554,565 times.
4 votes – 100%
Co-authors: 36
Updated: July 22, 2021
Views: 554,565
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 554,565 times.

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How to Be Social at a Party

Whether you’re shy or you want to get better at being social, there are lots of things you can do to let loose and have fun at parties. Make some new friends by talking to people and getting to know them through conversation. Do an activity that gets people together to have fun. If you feel uncomfortable, bring friends to the party or hang out with people you know before you meet new friends.

Method 1

Making New Friends

  1. Image titled Be Social at a Party Step 1

    Look approachable. If people are avoiding you or not coming up to talk to you, assess your body language. Notice if you’re crossing your body and try to uncross your arms and legs. If you’re looking down (or on your phone), look up and try to make eye contact with other people. Smile and look friendly.[1]

    • If you appear open and friendly, people are more likely to approach you.
    • Stand near the action of the room. If you’re standing far from the crowd, it may be harder for people to approach you.
  2. 2

    Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Find someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. Keep it simple and don’t overthink it. Once you know each other’s names, you can start a conversation or find things you have in common.

    • For example, go up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m Liv. What’s your name?”
  3. 3

    Ask questions to get to know people better. Asking questions shows that you’re interested and engaged in conversation. Make a point to ask open-ended questions so that the person can elaborate on their answers and build on the conversation. You’ll get to know each other better and keep the conversation going.

    • Ask questions such as, “How did you end up in Los Angeles?” and, “What kinds of things do you do for fun?”
  4. 4

    Talk to new people as they arrive. Meeting new people is easy if you’re the first person they interact with once they get to the party. If you notice somebody new show up, go up to them and introduce yourself. If there’s food at the party, offer to get them a drink or show them the food table.[2]

    • If you and the person are of age to drink alcohol, offer them a drink.
  5. 5

    Find ways to connect with people. Search for things about someone else you can connect with. You might find someone who attends the same school or university as you, is from your hometown, or is wearing a similar shirt. You have more things in common with most people than you might think.[3]

    • Comment on what you have in common. For example, say, “I like your shirt! I have the same one.”
  6. Move around the room. Avoid staying in the same place all night. Get in the habit of moving around and seeing the room from different vantage points. This will help you observe what other people are doing and if you want to meet other interesting people present at the party.[4]

    • Moving can help you seem alluring to others and might keep people guessing. Aim to move every 10-15 minutes or so.

Method 2

Being Social in a Group

  1. 1

    Join groups slowly. If a bunch of people are together talking and you want to join the group, hang back for a moment and listen in to the conversation. You don’t need to walk up and contribute right away. Wait until you’re caught up on what’s being discussed, then chime in with a question or a statement.[5]

    • For example, if people are talking about sports, say, “I couldn’t believe the game last night!” If people are talking about school, say, “Who else has an exam tomorrow?”
  2. 2

    Start an activity to get people engaged. Especially if it’s a big party, it’s likely that people will break off into smaller groups. Suggest a card game or board game and invite people to play with you. It may be easy to talk to people while you play the game and being in a smaller circle can make you feel more comfortable.[6]

    • Put on some music and get people to dance.
    • Ask people you don’t know, “Do you want to play cards? We’re getting some teams together.”
  3. 3

    Include others in group conversations. If you successfully join a conversation with other people and someone new walks up, invite them to join the conversation. Let them know what everyone is discussing or invite them to contribute to the discussion.

    • For example, say, “Tim just got a puppy and we’re discussing dogs. What do you think about having a puppy?”
Method 3

Leaning on Friends to Feel More Comfortable

  1. 1

    Bring friends to the party. It’s easier to be social if you know other people at the party. Meet up with your friends at the party or go altogether. Knowing that your friends will be there can help you feel more comfortable and at ease.

    • Make sure you can invite people to the party and it’s not invite-only.
    • Invite people that you know well so you can talk comfortably around them.
  2. 2
    Hang out with friends to start. Assuming you’re not at the party alone, lean on the people you know. It’s okay if you feel shy or want to hang out with familiar people at first. Feel comfortable and at ease before you go meet new people.
  3. 3

    Meet friends of friends. If you want to meet new people but feel shy, have a friend introduce you to their friends. It can be nice to have something in common and know the same people. Ask a friend to introduce you to the people they know at the party.

    • For example, ask your friend, “Who do you know here? Can you introduce me?”
  4. 4

    Avoid socializing with only your friends. Parties are a great time to meet people. While it’s cool to be with your friends at the beginning, make an effort to meet other people as well. This will help you make new friends who you can hang out with at future parties.

    • You can always create a group that is a mix of new people and old friends.
Method 4

Dealing with Discomfort and Anxiety

  1. 1

    Ease your symptoms of anxiety. If you start to feel anxious before or during the party, focus on ways to decrease those feelings. Find a technique that works for you and do it before and during the party. You want to feel comfortable and put the focus on others, not yourself.[7]

    • For example, challenge negative thoughts about your performance, awkwardness, or that you don’t fit in. Replace your negative thoughts with rational and optimistic thoughts instead, such as “I’m an interesting person” and “Making a new friend can be fun.”
    • Take some deep breaths when you start to feel nervous or anxious.
  2. 2

    Build your social confidence. Building your social confidence helps you look and feel more comfortable in social settings. Tune into how others feel and look at their social cues so that you can respond better and focus less on yourself. Notice if someone looks bored, enthusiastic, or engaged and take their cues to continue the conversation or not. When you have a great interaction, remember what you did well and try it again.[8]

    • If you experience a failed interaction, don’t lose hope. Nobody has perfect interactions all of the time. Try again later or with someone else.
  3. 3

    Don’t give up if you feel uncomfortable. There may be times you feel awkward or uncomfortable, especially at the beginning of the party. Stick with it. Even if you feel uncomfortable, this doesn’t mean you will feel this way the rest of the night. Work through your discomfort.[9]

    • For example, set a challenge for yourself. Go talk to someone you haven’t met, even if it’s a brief conversation. Having a challenge can help you be motivated and push you slightly outside of your comfort zone.
    • If you couldn’t break the ice with the first person you met, remember that you might do better with the next person. The more people you meet, the easier it might become.
  4. 4

    Talk to a therapist if you struggle with social anxiety. If going to a party fills you with fear and you want to run away, you may suffer from social anxiety. Assess your symptoms and talk to a therapist about how you feel. Your therapist can help you manage your symptoms and help you to cope with potentially scary situations. Look for a therapist who specializes in working with people with anxiety disorders.[10]

    • Find a therapist by calling your insurance provider or contact a local mental health clinic. You can also ask your physician or a friend for a recommendation.

Expert Q&A

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  • If you’re of age and alcohol is served, drink a small amount of alcohol if this helps you feel comfortable and warm up.

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About This Article

Klare Heston, LCSW
Co-authored by:
Licensed Social Worker
This article was co-authored by Klare Heston, LCSW. Klare Heston is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker based in Clevaland, Ohio. With experience in academic counseling and clinical supervision, Klare received her Master of Social Work from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983. She also holds a 2-Year Post-Graduate Certificate from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, as well as certification in Family Therapy, Supervision, Mediation, and Trauma Recovery and Treatment (EMDR). This article has been viewed 468,821 times.
9 votes – 62%
Co-authors: 74
Updated: May 6, 2021
Views: 468,821
Categories: Party Socializing

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 468,821 times.

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How to Control Perfectionism

The desire to excel is usually a good thing, but there’s a difference between trying your best and demanding perfection of yourself. Perfectionists can be high achievers, but their efforts can also cause low self-esteem, misspent time, and strained relationships. The key is to find ways to give an effort you can be proud of without demanding the impossible of yourself. Instead of striving for “perfect,” strive for “good enough.”

Method 1

Replacing Perfectionist Thoughts and Words Download Article

  1. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 1
    Remove “should” from your vocabulary. Perfectionists think and talk about what they “should” be doing instead of what they are doing, or what they “should” do or never do. These types of absolutes set you up for inevitable failure.[1]

    • Instead of saying “I should be working on next week’s presentation instead of sitting out here in the garden,” allow yourself some time to relax and schedule in some work time for later.
    • Rather than telling yourself “I should get every question right on this test,” try “I’ll do my best and look carefully to avoid silly mistakes.”
  2. 2
    Stop using black-and-white language. Perfectionists set up scenarios in which the only possible results are either “perfection” or “failure,” with no middle ground. This makes it impossible to achieve a goal with a few inevitable flaws, and makes you feel like a “loser” even when you accomplish a task to someone else’s satisfaction.[2]

    • Add words like “acceptable” and “good enough” to your vocabulary, and use them when evaluating tasks and your results.
  3. 3
    Don’t view everything in catastrophic terms. Perfectionists tend to create the worst case scenario in regards to failure. They’ll say things like “If I don’t get this just right, everyone will hate me” or “Everyone will see that I’m not cut out for this job.” When you feel this way, try to balance things out with some best-case scenarios.[3]

    • For instance, say to yourself “If I mess up this part, we’ll all have a laugh and move on,” based on what you’ve observed when others have done the same thing.
    • Part of catastrophic thought is “probability overestimation” — that is, overplaying your odds of failure or of negative consequences from failure. Try to look at the situation from a detached perspective and consider the true “odds.”
  4. 4
    List your accomplishments every day, week, month, and year. Every evening, write down at least one thing you accomplished that day, no matter how mundane: “I emptied out my junk drawer in the dining room.” Do the same on a weekly, monthly, and perhaps even annual basis. In the process, you’ll realize just how much you get done — and that you are therefore the opposite of a “failure.”[4]

    • Don’t assess how “perfect” of a job you did — just focus on what you got done. After all, by June 30th, does it matter how well you mowed the lawn on June 1st?
Method 2

Being Imperfect on Purpose Download Article

  1. 1
    Make intentional mistakes in minor everyday matters. This can actually be a bit of fun, but the true purpose is to show you how little other people tend to care whether or not you do everything perfectly. For the most part, they won’t even notice your imperfections, and if they do, they usually won’t mind. Try, for instance:[5]

    • wearing a shirt with a stain on it on purpose.
    • inviting someone over without tidying up the house.
    • shorting yourself on bus fare so you have to ask someone for a dime.
    • making a few intentional grammar mistakes in an email.
    • pretending to lose your train of thought while speaking in front of a group.
  2. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 6
    Do imperfect work and see if anyone notices. In this case, instead of purposefully doing something imperfectly, simply leave some “imperfections” in place that you typically would find and eliminate. Does your boss even notice that your report is a bit less detailed than normal? Does your teacher seem aware that you didn’t re-write your math formulas to make your work look neater?[6]

    • And, even if people do notice, are they bothered by it at all? As long as you’re fulfilling the essential requirements of the task, the answer will almost always be “no.”
  3. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 7
    Leave others’ work unfinished instead of taking it on. Perfectionists often feel the need to take on others’ work to make sure it is “done right” as well, even if they’re already overworked with their own tasks. Resist this urge, and observe what happens — it will probably be one of the following:[7]

    • The other person will complete the task to an acceptable level.
    • The other person will do an unacceptable job and will face the consequences.
    • The job won’t get done and no one will seem to care all that much.
  4. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 8
    Identify your worst case scenario and ask “so what?” You may imagine that making a mistake will lead to your worst case scenario and find that you would still be okay if that happened. This can help to ease your concern and relax you. Try looking at the situation and taking the possible outcomes to their natural conclusion by continually asking “so what?”

    • For example, you might worry about being late to work and think, “If I am late, I will get into trouble.” Ask yourself, “so what?” “I might get a written warning or even get fired.” “So what?” “I might have to look for a new job?” “So what?” “If I can’t find a new job, I could end up having to move back in with my parents or borrow money from a friend to get by.” Although this scenario would be unpleasant, you would still be okay if this happened.
Method 3

Giving Your Perfectionism an Honest Assessment Download Article

  1. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 9
    List what you’re giving up in your quest for perfection. Striving to be perfect in all things takes up a lot of time — time that could be used for many other things. So, take a few minutes to write down what you’re missing out on because you spend so much time trying to be perfect.[8]

    • Are you giving up time with your family or friends?
    • Have you stopped doing (or never started doing) a hobby you really like?
    • Have you lost one or more promising romantic relationships?
    • Are you missing out on adequate sleep, exercise, meal times, or “me time”?
    • Use the list you create to consider your priorities and determine whether trying to be perfect is worth what you’re losing.
  2. Image titled Control Perfectionism Step 10
    Do a reality check about how much something really matters. Ask yourself “Will this matter in 5 years? 5 months? 5 weeks?” If the answer is “no” to all 3, then you’re almost certainly wasting your time trying to complete the task spotlessly.[9]

    • If the short-term answer is “yes,” ask yourself “Will it matter in 5 months/weeks whether this was done perfectly?”
    • Be honest with yourself — how good of a job do you need to do for it to truly matter in the long term?
  3. 3
    Compare your work and others’ fairly and equally. Perfectionists often suffer from one (and sometimes both) of the following problems when dealing with other people: they demand far more of themselves than they do others, or they can’t trust others to do a “perfect” enough job and must do it themselves.[10]

    • If you expect the impossible from yourself but not others, envision someone else doing the same task you’re doing. Would they have to be either “perfect” or a “failure,” or could they do a “good enough” job? If so, why can’t you?
    • If you feel like you have to do everything yourself, take some time observing other people accomplishing tasks and how their peers/superiors/etc. respond to them. If everyone else seems to think the job has been adequately done, remind yourself to accept the “will of the majority.”
  4. 4
    Get outside help if your perfectionism has spiraled out of control. Perfectionism, at its most extreme, can be a symptom of OCD or other medical or mental health issues. If you experience one or more of the following, it might be time to talk to your doctor or a licensed mental health professional:

    • Things must be “perfect” because, if they aren’t, very bad things will happen.
    • Things left “not perfect” cause you serious anxiety.
    • The repetitive nature of your perfectionism is causing a serious disruption to your daily life.
    • If you ever feel like harming yourself as a “deserved” self-punishment for your “failures,” seek help right away.[11]
Method 4

Working Toward a Reasonable Goal Download Article

  1. 1
    Forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has strengths and weaknesses. That’s not to say you should not try to grow. You can always learn something new or try to improve, but there are times when you’ll have to go with what you already know and do what you can based on that.[12]

    • Don’t waste time worrying about what you can’t (yet) do.
  2. 2
    Define your goal for the current task. Focus on what is really needed. Is the real purpose to be perfect or produce a perfect result, or is it to get something done? What really matters?[13]

    • Perfectionism can often cause the opposite of a timely result because the uncertainty that comes with it leads to procrastination.
    • Knowing what you want to achieve not only helps you go in the right direction, it also helps you know when you are finished.
    • Make sure to break up your goals into manageable tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed by them. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then focus on losing 5 pounds at a time or exercising regularly rather than on your overall weight loss goal.
  3. 3
    Strive for the results that are best for you. Do not let your productivity be dictated by fear of others’ judgment. Accept a broader form of excellence, rather than narrowly defined perfection. Perfectionism can be self-destructive when the perfectionist is too concerned with how others may perceive an imperfection.[14]

    • Study to learn, rather than to get a perfect score. Eat and exercise for health and fitness, not for simple weight targets.
  4. 4
    Get started instead of waiting for certainty. Even if you’re not sure yet what you’re doing, give it a try. You may be better at it than you think, or your task may be easier than you imagined it. Even if your first attempt doesn’t get you anywhere, perhaps you’ll know what or who to ask to get going. Or, you may just discover what not to do. Most of the time, you’ll find that you imagined the barriers as larger than they really are.[15]
  5. 5
    Set a time limit for the task. Some things, such as housekeeping, are never really finished. No matter how well you clean the floor today, it’ll get just as muddy tomorrow. Instead of spending hours scrubbing, set a timer for a reasonable amount of time, and clean for just that long. The place will still get cleaner and you’ll work faster and without obsessing over details.[16]

    • Make this sort of upkeep work a regular, brief part of the routine and things will stay at an acceptable, pretty good level.
    • On a longer or more detailed project, a deadline, even a self-imposed one, can get you started and keep you moving instead of worrying over details. Break things up into smaller parts or intermediate goals if they’re too big.
  6. 6
    Do things “your” way instead of the “right” way. Recognize that for many activities, especially anything with an element of creativity, there is no one “right” way, no one “right” answer. If you’re evaluated at all, it is subjectively. You cannot possibly please everybody who reads your writing or gazes at your painting, for instance. While keeping an audience in mind can help give your work direction, you should also allow for a large element of personal expression and style.[17]
  7. 7
    Reflect on your failures. Consider what you can learn from your shortcomings, and how that will help you do a better job next time. You cannot learn without making some mistakes.[18]

    • Recognize the beauty and benefits in imperfection. Dissonant harmonies in music can create tension and drama. Leaves left on the ground insulate plants’ roots and decompose to nourish the soil.

Help Managing Perfectionist Thoughts

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Expert Q&A

  • Question
    Is it okay if my parents always want me to be perfect?

    Liana Georgoulis, PsyD

    Licensed Psychologist
    Expert Answer
    There’s a difference between your parents having high standards for you, and having hyper-critical, unrealistic standards. You may want to try sitting down and talking to your parents. Tell them you feel like they’re being too hard on you. This is the best way to get them to understand. If they just want you to do well though, that’s a good thing!
  • Question
    How do you get rid of a perfectionist mindset?

    Tracy Carver, PhD

    Licensed Psychologist
    Expert Answer
    It’s actually really hard to do this, partially because some of this is natural. It’s normal for your brain to fire off and look for imperfections, so you can’t turn it off entirely. With that said, practicing mindfulness every day is a great way to unlock more self-compassion and calm in the way you think.
  • Question
    Can perfectionism ruin relationships?

    Tracy Carver, PhD

    Licensed Psychologist
    Expert Answer
    In some cases, it can. First, identify how severe the problem is—is your partner thinking about leaving you because of this, or is it a little more mild? Then, decide how important it is to you that thinks really be perfect.
  • Question
    How do you let go of control if you’re a perfectionist?

    Tracy Carver, PhD

    Licensed Psychologist
    Expert Answer
    That can be really hard for perfectionists to do. Start with small, pragmatic things, like letting your partner cook dinner twice a week or letting go of the car being clean a certain way. That’s going to cause you some anxiety, but with the help of a therapist, you should be able to tolerate it.
Ask a Question


  • If you’re great at something, help others who wish to learn. Practice being patient and not expecting them to do everything perfectly or just like you.

  • Never compare yourself to others. We all have our own pace, set of experiences, and different outcomes. You are an individual, and will never be exactly like someone else. This is what builds your character.

  • Be flexible. Dealing gracefully with unexpected developments may be more important than sticking strictly to a predefined system or plan.

  • Schedule yourself free time, if that is what it takes to get some. Then, relax and take the time off.

  • Always look on the positive side of your mistakes. That way, you’ll realize that it’s OK to make mistakes.


Related wikiHows

Exercise an Open Mind

Stop Procrastinating

Be Confident

Build Self‐Control

Be a Responsible Teen

Learn to Let Go of Things

Deal With a Perfectionist at Work

Stop Being Controlling

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Deal with a Perfectionist Spouse

Be a Perfectionist

Cope with Perfectionist Parents

Work for a Perfectionist Boss

Become Less of a Control Freak

About This Article

Liana Georgoulis, PsyD
Co-authored by:
Licensed Psychologist
This article was co-authored by Liana Georgoulis, PsyD. Dr. Liana Georgoulis is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 10 years of experience, and is now the Clinical Director at Coast Psychological Services in Los Angeles, California. She received her Doctor of Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2009. Her practice provides cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapies for adolescents, adults, and couples. This article has been viewed 432,040 times.
4 votes – 100%
Co-authors: 46
Updated: December 1, 2020
Views: 432,040
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 432,040 times.

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How to Fight Procrastination

Everyone struggles with procrastination on occasion. It can be hard to begin major projects or assignments that you don’t enjoy. However, there are specific techniques that you can try to fight procrastination and become more focused and productive on work, school, or home projects.

Part 1

Getting Started on Your Work

  1. Image titled Fight Procrastination Step 1

    Force yourself to begin the task. This might seem overly simplistic, but even sitting down at your desk to start a project or buying the materials needed for a home repair, for example, can help change your mindset and fight procrastination. The old saying that getting started is half the battle is true, especially if you struggle with procrastination.[1]

    • To help yourself get started, try to make your task as enjoyable as possible. For example, if you need to sit down to file your taxes, turn on some music that you like or envision how happy you’ll be once the task is complete and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. (Especially if you get a refund!)
  2. Image titled Fight Procrastination Step 2

    Eliminate your known distractions. Are you addicted to Tumblr or Pinterest? Is Netflix calling your name and taking you away from work that you need to be doing? If possible, disconnect from the internet while you work. Working with spreadsheets or other Office applications usually allows for this. If you need the internet for your project, try telling yourself that you can spend as much time watching your favorite shows as you like once the project is finished.[2]

    • If noise is a major distraction for you, then you might want to try foam earplugs or noise canceling headphones. You can find foam earplugs in any drugstore or convenience store.
  3. Image titled Fight Procrastination Step 3

    Set concrete goals for yourself. Sometimes procrastination is the result of feeling overwhelmed with too many projects or having tasks with non-specific requirements or due dates. Self-starting can be hard. It’s important to set specific, doable goals for yourself.[3]

    • For example, if you know that you have a major research paper due at the end of the semester, then it can be hard to start on it for a variety of reasons: a distant due date, no specific topic for the paper, or simply that there are more enjoyable ways to spend your time. However, if you set concrete goals like choosing a topic early on or writing a page or two a week, then the large, intimidating project that you might normally procrastinate on won’t simply exist in the abstract a few months down the road. It will exist “now” and you will be less likely to procrastinate and be pulling all-nighters at the end of the semester.
  4. 4

    Minimize interruptions as much as possible. When you finally do sit down to complete a task you’ve been procrastinating on, it can be frustrating to get interrupted repeatedly. Whether it’s an inconsiderate roommate or colleague or electronic interruptions, minimizing these will help you actually be able to get to work and not procrastinate.

    • Set your email client to not automatically alert you when emails arrive, and silence your phone completely. Be sure the phone is set to mute, not vibrate, as you can still hear/feel the vibrate setting and it will still distract you.[4]
    • Politely let your chatty roommate or colleague know that you are up against a deadline and have to get some work done. If you feel rude saying this, you can try softening the blow by mentioning that you can chat with then over lunch or dinner later on if they’re free, but right now you have to get your work done.
  5. 5

    Prioritize your work. Often, we procrastinate because we simply feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. To help fight procrastination, it is important to prioritize your work in order of importance and/or by deadline.[5]

    • Using a planner is helpful for this. Get one large enough to have both a weekly and monthly view so you can look ahead to future projects and visualize the deadlines for current projects.[6]
    • If you prefer, you can use the planner on your phone, tablet, or computer. If you choose to use an electronic planner, be sure to set audible alerts because these planners and calendars tend to have a smaller screen view that might not be able to show all tasks on a single screen. Play around with planner/calendar apps to find the one that works best for you and has the best interface.
  6. 6

    Change your work environment. Sometimes our work environment is the reason we tend to procrastinate. If you find yourself working in the middle of a huge mess or with noisy neighbors that drive you crazy, you need to change your environment to be productive and stop procrastinating.[7]

    • Try devoting 10 minutes to do a quick “tidy” of your immediate work space. Organize papers, put away clutter, and throw out any trash. This will give you some breathing room and a small sense of accomplishment which will help you begin your work.
    • If environmental factors beyond your control are the problem, then you might need to relocate your work space for the day. Good choices might be your local library or a cafe.
Part 2

Maximizing Your Productivity

  1. 1

    Break tasks down into manageable sizes. Feeling overwhelmed by huge projects can cause us to simply delay starting them. Breaking down projects into smaller goals can help you stop procrastinating and get started on your work.[8]

    • For example, if you need to repaint your bedroom, all the sanding, taping, trim work, priming and painting can be very overwhelming. However, if you make a goal to sand and clean the walls one day, tape everything off and prime the walls the next day, and finally paint on the third day, your major project will become more manageable, and you’ll be more likely to get started on it.
  2. 2

    Try using productivity apps. There are apps and browser extensions that will block your social media or any other sites that you deem “time wasters.” Check out one of these to maximize your productivity and cut down on distractions that help you procrastinate. [9]

    • Some good examples of apps and browser extensions designed to help you stay on track are StayFocusd for Google Chrome or Timeful and Pocket for Apple and Android products.[10]
  3. 3
    Take mental health breaks. Although this may seem counterproductive, breaks can help you reset and refocus. Get a snack or a cup of coffee and reflect on what you still need to do. Avoid beating yourself up for not having done more up to this point, and use your break as a refresher. Stand up, stretch, and use positive thinking to tell yourself that even though you haven’t accomplished as much as you wanted up to this point, you will once you go back to work. Sometimes a short break and a personal pep talk can help you refocus and stave off procrastination.
  4. 4
    Reward yourself for completing tasks. Even if your project is something you really dislike, you can help yourself get to work on it if you promise yourself something enjoyable upon its completion. You might tell yourself that you can binge watch your favorite show on Netflix or go out for a drink or some ice cream once you’ve completed your goal or task. Having something to look forward to can help jumpstart you and help you fight procrastination.[11]
  5. 5

    Have an accountability partner. If you have a friend or colleague who struggles with procrastination, too, then you might benefit from using each other as accountability partners. You can set up a friendly competition to see who can get further on their work, or you can simply use each other as support. Being accountable to someone will help you stop procrastinating. [12]

    • For example, if you catch your accountability partner checking Facebook during your designated work time, then you can gently remind them that they need to be working, and they can do the same for you. Be sure to be polite when you catch the other not working.
  6. 6

    Set a timer to keep you on track. Try setting a timer for 10 minutes and telling yourself that for that time, you have to work as hard as you can on a project. Regardless of how large the project is, you must work on it nonstop and give it your best for 10 minutes.

    • This is an effective jumpstart strategy that fights procrastination because the short time allotment is manageable and you can immediately see the results of your burst of hard work.[13]
Part 3

Maintaining Reasonable Expectations

  1. 1
    Step outside for some light exercise. It can be depressing to be indoors all day worrying about all the work you need to do. Even though it might seem counterproductive, step outside and take a short 5 to 10 minute walk in the fresh air. This can help you refocus and combat procrastination. Once you come back inside, however, ensure that you go back to work.
  2. 2
    Don’t be hard on yourself if you procrastinate. Be kind to yourself when you’re struggling with procrastination. Think about how you would treat someone else who was struggling with getting their work done. You would probably be kind and try to gently talk with them about how to go about completing their tasks. Do the same for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about procrastinating. Simply accept that you’ve put off your work up to this point and make a fresh start.[14]
  3. 3
    Don’t drag out work till it’s perfect. Our obsession with perfection can cause us to procrastinate in a roundabout way. Sometimes we’ll sit down and work hard on a project only to keep revising or fixing it until it’s past its deadline. Embrace that you only need to do your best and then submit your work. Don’t procrastinate submitting your work because you think it might not be perfect. It probably isn’t perfect, but it can be great and ready to turn in without being perfect.[15]
  4. 4

    Be introspective. Try to identify the importance of the task at hand and determine what the consequences will be if you don’t complete it. Will you receive a negative review at work for failing to complete a report or a bad grade for not writing your research paper? Objectively consider what will realistically happen if you keep procrastinating. Sometimes this bit of reflection can help you get going on a project.[16]

    • It’s important to remember when doing this to be objective about the possible outcomes. If the outcome isn’t especially negative, then this project or task might be one that you can delay in favor of more pressing work.
  5. 5
    Consider that there might be a medical reason for your procrastination. Finally, if your procrastinating is particularly bad and accompanied by other symptoms like sadness or hyperactivity, you might benefit from talking to your doctor. ADHD, depression, and thyroid disorders are just a few of the many medical issues that can affect your ability to concentrate, focus, and be productive.[17]

Expert Q&A

  • Question
    What if I’m procrastinating because I’m lazy?

    Annie Lin, MBA

    Life & Career Coach
    Expert Answer
    Laziness is rarely the primary reason for procrastination. It’s typically a lack of practice when it comes to breaking old habits. It’s hard to change things and when you don’t know how, you find yourself doing something else. Start by taking small steps to just build the mental muscle required to make changes.
Ask a Question


  • Remember to not be hard on yourself. Beginning major projects can be difficult. Try incorporating some concentration or focus techniques and finding a quiet space to work. It can take time to overcome a tendency to procrastinate. If you find that nothing is helping you, don’t be ashamed to talk to your doctor about the issues you’re having completing work for your job or school. You’re not alone.

 What You’ll Need

  • Planner
  • Foam earplugs
  • Noise canceling headphones

Related wikiHows

Stop Procrastinating


Get Out of a Slump

Stop Procrastination With Visualization

Use Apps to Help You Stop Procrastinating

Stop Procrastinating on the Internet

Motivate Yourself to Work

Stop Procrastinating at Work

About This Article

Annie Lin, MBA
Co-authored by:
Life & Career Coach
This article was co-authored by Annie Lin, MBA. Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching, a life and career coaching service based in Manhattan. Her holistic approach, combining elements from both Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, has made her a highly sought-after personal coach. Annie’s work has been featured in Elle Magazine, NBC News, New York Magazine, and BBC World News. She holds an MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University. Annie is also the founder of the New York Life Coaching Institute which offers a comprehensive life coach certification program. Learn more: This article has been viewed 59,663 times.
23 votes – 87%
Co-authors: 15
Updated: June 30, 2020
Views: 59,663
Categories: Procrastination

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 59,663 times.

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What Is a Schema in Psychology? Definition and Examples

I like this intro to Schemas/Lifetraps:


Human Head with Computer Folders

A schema is a cognitive structure that serves as a framework for one’s knowledge about people, places, objects, and events. Schemas help people organize their knowledge of the world and understand new information. While these mental shortcuts are useful in helping us make sense of the large amount of information we encounter on a daily basis, they can also narrow our thinking and result in stereotypes.

Key Takeaways: Schema

  • A schema is a mental representation that enables us to organize our knowledge into categories.
  • Our schemas help us simplify our interactions with the world. They are mental shortcuts that can both help us and hurt us.
  • We use our schemas to learn and think more quickly. However, some of our schemas may also be stereotypes that cause us to misinterpret or incorrectly recall information.
  • There are many types of schemas, including object, person, social, event, role, and self schemas.
  • Schemas are modified as we gain more information. This process can occur through assimilation or accommodation.

Schema: Definition and Origins

The term schema was first introduced in 1923 by developmental psychologist Jean Piaget. Piaget proposed a stage theory of cognitive development that utilized schemas as one of its key components. Piaget defined schemas as basic units of knowledge that related to all aspects of the world. He suggested that different schemas are mentally applied in appropriate situations to help people both comprehend and interpret information. To Piaget, cognitive development hinges on an individual acquiring more schemas and increasing the nuance and complexity of existing schemas.

The concept of schema was later described by psychologist Frederic Bartlett in 1932. Bartlett conducted experiments that tested how schemas factored into people’s memory of events. He said that people organize concepts into mental constructs he dubbed schemas. He suggested that schemas help people process and remember information. So when an individual is confronted with information that fits their existing schema, they will interpret it based on that cognitive framework. However, information that doesn’t fit into an existing schema will be forgotten.

Examples of Schemas

For example, when a child is young, they may develop a schema for a dog. They know a dog walks on four legs, is hairy, and has a tail. When the child goes to the zoo for the first time and sees a tiger, they may initially think the tiger is a dog as well. From the child’s perspective, the tiger fits their schema for a dog.

The child’s parents may explain that this is a tiger, a wild animal. It is not a dog because it doesn’t bark, it doesn’t live in people’s houses, and it hunts for its food. After learning the differences between a tiger and a dog, the child will modify their existing dog schema and create a new tiger schema.

As the child grows older and learns more about animals, they will develop more animal schemas. At the same time, their existing schemas for animals like dogs, birds, and cats will be modified to accommodate any new information they learn about animals. This is a process that continues into adulthood for all kinds of knowledge.

Types of Schemas

There are many kinds of schemas that assist us in understanding the world around us, the people we interact with, and even ourselves. Types of schemas include:

    • Object schemas, which help us understand and interpret inanimate objects, including what different objects are and how they work. For example, we have a schema for what a door is and how to use it. Our door schema may also include subcategories like sliding doors, screen doors, and revolving doors.
    • Person schemas, which are created to help us understand specific people. For instance, one’s schema for their significant other will include the way the individual looks, the way they act, what they like and don’t like, and their personality traits.
    • Social schemas, which help us understand how to behave in different social situations. For example, if an individual plans to see a movie, their movie schema provides them with a general understanding of the type of social situation to expect when they go to the movie theater.
    • Event schemas, also called scripts, which encompass the sequence of actions and behaviors one expects during a given event. For example, when an individual goes to see a movie, they anticipate going to the theater, buying their ticket, selecting a seat, silencing their mobile phone, watching the movie, and then exiting the theater.
  • Self-schemas, which help us understand ourselves. They focus on what we know about who we are now, who we were in the past, and who we could be in the future.
  • Role schemas, which encompass our expectations of how a person in a specific social role will behave. For example, we expect a waiter to be warm and welcoming. While not all waiters will act that way, our schema sets our expectations of each waiter we interact with.

Modification of Schema

As our example of the child changing their dog schema after encountering a tiger illustrates, schemas can be modified. Piaget suggested that we grow intellectually by adjusting our schemas when new information comes from the world around us. Schemas can be adjusted through:

  • Assimilation, the process of applying the schemas we already possess to understand something new.
  • Accommodation, the process of changing an existing schema or creating a new one because new information doesn’t fit the schemas one already has.

Impact on Learning and Memory

Schemas help us interact with the world efficiently. They help us categorize incoming information so we can learn and think more quickly. As a result, if we encounter new information that fits an existing schema, we can efficiently understand and interpret it with minimal cognitive effort.

However, schemas can also impact what we pay attention to and how we interpret new information. New information that fits an existing schema is more likely to attract an individual’s attention. In fact, people will occasionally change or distort new information so it will more comfortably fit into their existing schemas.

In addition, our schemas impact what we remember. Scholars William F. Brewer and James C. Treyens demonstrated this in a 1981 study. They individually brought 30 participants into a room and told them that the space was the office of the principal investigator. They waited in the office and after 35 seconds were taken to a different room. There, they were instructed to list everything they remembered about the room they had just been waiting in. Participants’ recall of the room was much better for objects that fit into their schema of an office, but they were less successful at remembering objects that didn’t fit their schema. For example, most participants remembered that the office had a desk and a chair, but only eight recalled the skull or bulletin board in the room. In addition, nine participants claimed that they saw books in the office when in reality there weren’t any there.

How Our Schemas Get Us Into Trouble

The study by Brewer and Trevens demonstrates that we notice and remember things that fit into our schemas but overlook and forget things that don’t. In addition, when we recall a memory that activates a certain schema, we may adjust that memory to better fit that schema.

So while schemas can help us efficiently learn and understand new information, at times they may also derail that process. For instance, schemas can lead to prejudice. Some of our schemas will be stereotypes, generalized ideas about whole groups of people. Whenever we encounter an individual from a certain group that we have a stereotype about, we will expect their behavior to fit into our schema. This can cause us to misinterpret the actions and intentions of others.

For example, we may believe anyone who is elderly is mentally compromised. If we meet an older individual who is sharp and perceptive and engage in an intellectually stimulating conversation with them, that would challenge our stereotype. However, instead of changing our schema, we might simply believe the individual was having a good day. Or we might recall the one time during our conversation that the individual seemed to have trouble remembering a fact and forget about the rest of the discussion when they were able to recall information perfectly. Our dependence on our schemas to simplify our interactions with the world may cause us to maintain incorrect and damaging stereotypes.

EMDR Therapy: What You Need to Know

here is a great article to start with.It explains some of the basics.



What to know before you try EMDR therapy

EMDR therapy is considered to be safe, with many fewer side effects than those of prescription medications. That said, there are some side effects that you may experience.

EMDR therapy causes a heightened awareness of thinking which does not end immediately when a session does. This can cause light-headedness. It can also cause vivid, realistic dreams.

It often takes several sessions to treat PTSD with EMDR therapy. This means that it doesn’t work overnight.

The beginning of therapy may be exceptionally triggering to people starting to deal with traumatic events, specifically because of the heightened focus. While the therapy will likely be effective in the long run, it may be emotionally stressful to move through the course of treatment.

Talk to your therapist about this when you start treatment so you’ll know how to cope if you experience these symptoms.

The bottom line

EMDR therapy has proven to be effective in treating trauma and PTSD. It may also be able to help treat other mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

Some people may prefer this treatment to prescription medications, which can have unexpected side effects. Others may find that EMDR therapy strengthens the effectiveness of their medications.

If you think EMDR therapy is right for you, make an appointment with a licensed therapist.

Resources: Addiction

Alcoholics Anonymous

Ottawa Area Meeting List

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcohol addiction.
Ottawa area (613) 267-6000

Al-Anon Family Groups

Al-Anon Ottawa

​Al-Anon offers strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers.
(613) 860-3431
(819) 669-0543

Badge of Life Canada

Badge of Life Canada enables individuals to have a safe place to go for direct support through making positive connections with volunteer peers, trauma and PTSD survivors/or front line professionals.

​Bellwood Health Services

Bellwood Health Services is a Canadian addiction treatment centre located in Toronto.  Bellwood offers treatment for individuals and families experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, sex, gambling and eating disorders.
Toronto, ON

Tel: 1-866-349-3869

​Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation

The Canadian Addiction Counsellors Federation was formed in 1985 and strives to offer the most effective and credible certifications to all specific counsellors in Canada.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as the world’s leading research centre in the area of addiction and mental health.

Ottawa Area Crisis Line

The Crisis Line is available anywhere in the City of Ottawa, Renfrew County, Storemont, Dundas & Glengary Counties, Akwesasne & Prescott and Russell Counties.  If you are outside the area, similar services may be available in the community were you live.
Within Ottawa call: 

Distress (613) 238-3311  

Crisis (613) 722-6914 

Outside Ottawa 1-866-996-0991

Gamblers Anonymous Canada

Gamblers Anonymous Eastern Ontario and Ottawa

​Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.
Ottawa Help Line (613) 567-3271

Homewood Health Centre

Homewood Health Centre is Canada’s medical leader in addiction and mental health treatment, providing highly specialized psychiatric and addiction services.
Guelph, ON
(519) 824-1010

Narcotics Anonymous World Services

Narcotics Anonymous Ottawa Area

Ottawa Meetings

Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit international community-based organization for recovering addicts.

Newgate 180

Newgate 180 has been Ontario’s premier non-profit drug and alcohol rehab treatment centre for more than 40 years.  Located in Merrickville, Negate 180 is situated approximately 75 Kms south of Ottawa.

The Royal Ottawa Hospital Mental Health Care Centre

(Rapid Access to Alcohol Withdrawal)
The Clinic provides fast medically supported withdrawal for people who have been referred by The Ottawa Hospital Emergency Department. family counselling addiction counselling

I Got COVID-19 4 Months Ago. I Still Live With Symptoms

After 100+ days of dealing with COVID-19 symptoms, it occurred to me that this just might be my new norm.

Source: I Got COVID-19 4 Months Ago. I Still Live With Symptoms

Rachel Baum

July 16, 2020
By Rachel Baum, as told to Jennifer Clopton

I might never get better.

I don’t know the exact day I had this realization. It came at some point after I crossed the 100-day mark of still dealing with COVID-19 symptoms.

I contracted the virus around March 10th, and the symptoms still hang on. A debilitating headache. A stabbing pain between my shoulders that feels like I’m getting jabbed by a hot poker, and never goes away. I have tightness in my chest and coughing that still requires an inhaler to clear. The brain fog, clumsiness, and confusion are so bad that I’m astonished by how much I’ve intellectually regressed. Overwhelming fatigue and nausea come and go, and my voice often sounds like a whisper because I can’t get a strong enough breath to speak louder.

After 100+ days of dealing with these symptoms that come – off and on like waves, lasting and leaving with no pattern – it finally dawned on me that maybe this is my life now. At this point I’m really not sure this is ever going to go away. It just might be my new normal.

This is a far cry from my old normal. I have fibromyalgia, but pre-COVID-19, I was very active. I’m a retired dog trainer, so I’ve always been on the go. I live near a lake and was kayaking sometimes twice a day, going for a 3-mile walk every day, and I took up tap dancing, practicing 45 minutes to an hour a day.

During my illness and now whenever I relapse, all I can do is look at the lake out the window. I haven’t even attempted tap dancing. I know I don’t have the energy for that. Still, I do have days where I feel pretty good. I can go for a walk, cook meals, and do laundry. But then the relapse comes. It always comes. Sometimes it lasts for 1 day or 2, but sometimes as many as 10. When this happens, I’m knocked down, back in bed, needing to sleep, feeling anxious, reaching for my inhaler to help me breathe.

This is better than it was when I first got sick with COVID-19. For that first month, I was sick with all the symptoms you hear about – nausea, chills, headache, loss of taste and smell. For a few days, I couldn’t walk because my whole left side – my leg and arm – were stiff and in terrible pain. I had debilitating fatigue, and at my worst, I couldn’t eat or take deep breaths. Once, I had to call 9-1-1 for oxygen. In time, I did see some improvement, but for me it’s been far from a full recovery.

It hasn’t been a linear journey, either. I have some good days that make me hopeful that I’ve finally kicked this, but then I backslide. There’s no medical explanation for this that we’ve been able to find. Chest x-rays show my lungs are fine. Follow-up COVID tests have been negative, and my oxygen saturation levels continue to register as normal. Doctors are frankly mystified about what’s happening and what to do about it. The only thing it seems I can do is take Tylenol when the headache comes, keep my maintenance and rescue inhalers within reach, and try to mentally adjust to this new reality.

I get very discouraged sometimes thinking – what did I do wrong, why me? But then I think I should just be grateful that I’m still alive. It helps to know I’m not alone (even though that is heartbreaking, too). When I joined a COVID-19 Long Haulers group on Facebook, I was amazed to read post after post that sounded like me. There are currently more than 7,000 people from around the world in this group, and they too are still struggling with a seemingly never-ending list of debilitating symptoms that come and go in waves. Some people are hospitalized during their relapses and have had far more extreme symptoms than me, so I guess I’m lucky, although it doesn’t always feel that way.

For now, I’m trying to focus on what I can control. I signed up to be part of two clinical trials where I log my symptoms every day so researchers can learn from people like me who haven’t gotten better. I try to help others in my Facebook group when they’re struggling with the symptoms they’re still dealing with. For my own mental health, at this point I’ve just decided I have to give up the idea that I’m ever going to fully recover. I’ve got to stop treating it as if I’m going to be back to where I was before because I really don’t know if that will ever happen.

A lot of people get better and that’s wonderful for them. But for some reason, there are thousands of us out there that the virus has grabbed onto and it’s not letting go.

If anyone else out there is dealing with this, I’d say – find yourself a support group because you’ll need it, and it helps – a lot. You need people who understand what you are going through and you may not find that in your family or social circle.

At this point, after experiencing symptoms for nearly 4 months, I’m trying to find the positive life lessons in this for me. I’ve always been a person who likes to go, go, go, and this is forcing me to learn to slow down, take things down a notch, and relax a bit more. I’m learning to really appreciate the good days when they come and pace myself on those days and then rest when the difficult times come.

Kayaking every day may not be in the cards for me anymore, but I can still enjoy the beauty of the lake. The other day I did fish a little bit, and that made me feel better. I’m finding new sources of Zen in quieter activities that bring me joy. I also think I’ll keep telling my story because sadly, I do believe there will continue to be many others like me. And realistically, I’m just not sure that everybody fully recovers from this virus.

Rachel Baum lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, and is currently participating in 2 studies tracking long-term symptoms in patients who had COVID-19. She says she finds great support from a Long Haul COVID-19 Fighters support group on Facebook and is happy that a book she authored in her first career as a librarian – Funeral and Memorial Readings, Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999) – is now helping many people who sadly have to bury loved ones from this virus.


How To Know When You’re Ready To Stop Therapy — And How To Do It

I like how this encourages the “discussion” around the topic.



There are some do’s and don’ts of taking a break from or leaving your therapist.

Source: How To Know When You’re Ready To Stop Therapy — And How To Do It

Finding the right therapist is often likened to the dating process: It can be daunting, requires serious effort and is very fulfilling once you find the one.

And — just like in dating — knowing if, when and how to end or put that relationship on hold can be equally stressful. It’s nerve-wracking, confusing and can leave you wondering if you’re making the right decision.

The good news is: Therapists are trained to want you to stop.

“I think people get nervous their therapists are going to feel hurt that they’re leaving,” Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and author of “Maybe You Should Talk To Someone,” explained to HuffPost. “Ours is the worst possible business model, because from day one our goal is how we can get you to be independent of us. We want you to be able to function without us.”

“Ours is the worst possible business model, because from day one our goal is how we can get you to be independent of us. We want you to be able to function without us.”

Growing out of your therapist can look many different ways, but there are concrete signs, and some of them exist outside the room, according to Meg Gitlin, psychotherapist and creator of the Instagram account City Therapist.

“I think it’s when the person starts internalizing your voice or is able to readily access the tools you have given them, when they come in and they say ‘oh, I was at my sister-in-law’s and I got into a tizzy about X,Y and Z but I was able to talk myself down and self-soothe,’” she said. “The things you practice and learn in therapy have no value unless you can take them outside of the room.”

Repeatedly struggling to come up with things to talk about in a session could also be a sign you’re ready to take a break, but Josephson warns against jumping the gun on that one.

“If you’re having a good week, it’s not a reason to cancel your therapy session,” she said. “Therapy is not a quick fix … But if you find yourself constantly coming up short of issues you really want to discuss I think it might be time to consider taking a pause.”

Taking a break or stopping altogether can feel scary, especially if you’ve been working with someone for a long time, but it can also be an opportunity to reflect on that work and see how it manifests in your daily life.

“There are many benefits of stopping or taking a break,” said Mark Aoyogi, director of sport and performance psychology at the University of Denver. “Reconnecting with your independence, practicing the skills you have developed, engaging in life with your deeper sense of self-awareness. It’s also a great opportunity for continued self-introspection on what has been learned, how to apply it and what works best” for you.

“If you are having apprehension about raising the topic of stopping with your therapist, that is probably an indication your therapist is not a good fit.”

As with anything, there are right and wrong ways to go about broaching the topic. The main one is: Don’t ghost someone who has committed time, care and effort into helping you. As Gottlieb puts it, it’s “a conversation.”

“We’re not going to keep you somewhere you don’t want to be,” she said. “At the same time, we’ll talk to you about where you think you’re at and what progress you’ve made and how you’re feeling. You can always leave and if something comes up you can come back ― our door is open. I think people need to feel really comfortable talking to their therapists about what they’re doing there and how long they’re going to be there.”

Importantly, Aoyogi said that if you’re seeing the right person, they will be supportive and understanding of your wishes.

“If you are having apprehension about raising the topic of stopping with your therapist, that is probably an indication your therapist is not a good fit,” he said. “I’m not sure therapy can be effective if you are feeling pressured to continue.”

My Fantasy Online Courtship Went From Charming To Creepy Once We Met

We texted day and night over weeks about novels, poems, single parenting, farming, teaching, and writing — proof positive of an extending courtship,

Recently, Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person,” a story about a faux-intimate, emoji-dependent, sad-in-the-sack relationship, went viral and millions of readers took to social media defending its genius or damning its drivel. While “Cat Person” speaks to our depressing State of Toxic Disunion and the difficulties negotiating sex, power, and consent via texts, sexts, and SociopathMatch.Com, it actually leaves us mired in misogyny’s muck. At the end of the story, Margot is rendered a passive pussy as Robert, her erstwhile Prince Charmless, gets the last text: “Whore.”

Fuck that.

It is now a truth universally acknowledged if you are a single woman in possession of a good cellphone and in want of a man, the odds are that you will, at some point, find yourself ensnared in a texting-sexting-dating cock-up, as I have, admittedly more than once.

But not again.

This is how I flipped the script from passive pussy to power pussy.

I was waiting outside airport baggage claim in the cold when Farmer Dick (real profession, fake name) pulled up in his dirty white delivery van, Heart and Soil Farm emblazoned on the side.

“Where do I pick you up?” he’d asked the night before.

It was years since he’d been to an airport, and his question suggested naïve bewilderment over how electricity, roads, and airplanes connected the great expanses between farms and cities — or how the internet highway connected singles, not-so-singles, polys, pans, earnest hopefuls, and predatory sociopaths.

He apologized for the rustic transport.

“Only kale and lettuce and cabbage go in the back,” he said. “No kidnap victims.”

“My friend has your cell, address, and the Airbnb link,” I said.

Airbnb first night — “Urban Duck Farm” — and if all went well, the rest of the weekend at his house.

“Ahh,” my girlfriend said, “more like Urban Fuck Farm.” Indeed, the likely activity after wandering the art museum.

“Let’s make love and paint faux Rothkos on my walls,” he’d suggested.

Perhaps you think this weekend was an ill-advised, ready-made disaster from the start. However, by the time I bought the tickets, Farmer Dick and I had spent dozens of hours in conversation, more than people spend for casual hookups, more than some before marriage. Enough hours that such a risk’s payoff might have been love.

Weeks of tremblings started with his profile pics: Gentleman Farmer in a rumpled blazer and jaunty beret with a scruffy beard; a hand held between nose and mouth, cupping soil. Ahhh, terroir! Another pic: Shirtless, riverside, a black dog curled up under his arm, like Coleridge’s “enamored rustic” lazing on the banks of the Thames.

Oh yes, I’d go with him to Xanadu’s pleasure dome.

We texted day and night over weeks about novels, poems, single parenting, farming, teaching, and writing — proof positive of an extending courtship,

Him: I feel you these miles apart.

Me: Energy travels fast and furious through the universe.

Skype proved he was not a Nigerian Prince Bot in need of my bank account. And bonus! At his suggestion (be still my writer’s heart), old-fashioned letters arrived in my mailbox in his homemade envelopes. In his first letter, Farmer Dick wrote, “In a sane and just world, you could fly to me in a few weeks — we could briefly winnow out all our insecurities, crash at an Airbnb — come back to my place, walk those quiet wooded places, make meals, make love, make words for our mealmaking and lovesharing.”

Even with a failed marriage and enough online dating disaster stories for 1001 nights, I felt soft and tingly, ignoring red flags. For instance: a message that ended, “I love you. Fuck me.” Fucked for loving me? Who claims love before meeting? Two nights before our rendezvous, he sent me a message: “Long business dinner. Feeling checked out. Please feel secure in any silence from me. Much love! ? heart heart heart.”

At the museum, we held hands — all erotic, anticipatory impatience — while strolling past Cezannes, Renoirs, and Rothkos. His hand moved to the back of my neck, and my thumb stroked his knuckles in incremental intimacy.

“I love making love with you,” Farmer Dick said later that night after we’d been having sex on and off for hours, and, as if marveling at his own piece de resistance, said, “I came three times! That hasn’t happened in years!”

Ahh, hubris.

Farmer Dick’s last message, sent days after our rendezvous: “How are you? It’d be pretty raw if we couldn’t have a conversation about how you felt — feel. I would appreciate the autopsy of the weekend from your p.o.v.”

Post-mortem vivisection? Okay.

Friday: Damn good, though Urban Duck Farm’s location, in a neighborhood of burned-out homes, made me wonder if he chose a hipster hostel for the bottom line?

Saturday: Farmer Dick earns his pseudonym. Not one casual touch or intimate kindness. At a coffee shop (so he could use the free WiFi), he read Slavoj Žižek quotes from Goodreads: “Love feels like a great misfortune, a monstrous parasite, a permanent state of emergency that ruins all small pleasures.” Žižek is generally regarded as a racist, misogynist, pseudo-intellectual, but I pretended to listen because, please please please don’t let Farmer Dick be just another asshole because assholes don’t write long letters and send them in homemade envelopes, do they?

He chattered about green burials on his farm (“I could sell plots for ten thousand!”) which drifted to talk about the dark web and ethical cannibalism: human bodies as haute cuisine. I blinked and sipped the coffee that I paid for.

Back at his house, as we inspected the walls and traced out the color blocks for the faux Rothkos, he pointed to knee-high, red specks along the walls. “Blood,” he said. “My dog had fleas. She got a sore behind her ear from scratching, and every time she shook her head…” He no longer had the dog.

I started painting a green square on the wall. He disappeared upstairs. When he returned, he said, “I took MDMA, and when I do, I’m not usually down for sex.”

However, he was down for a two hour, egomaniacal, run-on sentence regarding all the women he’d ever fucked and all the women who loved him. He went on and on about how two nights before — the night he sent me the text about feeling “checked out” — his ex-girlfriend stopped by. While they didn’t “fuck-fuck,” he said, “we sort of fucked, but I didn’t want to tell you because then you might not have come, but you say that you believe in truth and transparency, so I’m telling you now, and speaking of now…that the excitement of meeting is over, you’re cool if we don’t really text as much?”

I sat next to him on the couch, focusing first on his pupils — wide, dark saucers — and then on the drippy color blotches.

Fucker, I thought. You motherfucker. You won’t touch my insides anymore.

He jumped up and attacked the walls like a toddler with finger paints. I group texted girlfriends:

Me: He’s reading Neruda love poems. And strumming guitar.

GF’s: Humor him. Take notes for an essay.

Me: He’s claiming his Rothkos are more authentic than Rothkos.

GF’s: Is he a moron?

Me: He wants to tuck me in and read Žižek. I wonder if he knows how full of shit he is.

Sunday: That morning in bed, his hand found mine, fingers stroking my arm, then belly, then thigh. Feigned tenderness or a more likely last chance grab? Will you think me a fool or worse, think me a whore à la Cat Person, if I say that despite his epically awful behavior, I got wet and throbby, climbed on top of him, and with efficiency, achieved clinical solo success.

In short: I fucked him.

Don’t imagine I felt any pity as his twitching erect penis sagged in disappointment against his thigh.

“Sorry,” I said, flashing a bland smile, “have to get going. Got a text. New flight time. Hours earlier.”

An easy lie.

While Farmer Dick was warming up the van and shucking ice from the windshield for our airport drive, I found my stack of letters to him on the dining room windowsill and crammed them in my bag.

Those letters, delivered to the wrong address, were meant for a different man.

I was five hours early for my flight, but as I cleared security, another flight to my destination was announced: final boarding. I ran to the gate.

“Please,” I said to the agent, “I’ve had the worst date weekend ever. I just want to get home.” Did he see my wobbly, sad shame through the steel door?

The agent smiled.

“Ma’am, usually a $200 change fee, but for you? Free. Get home safe and sound.”

Safe and sound. Perhaps you think this weekend was an ill-advised, ready-made disaster from the start. However, by the time I bought the tickets, Farmer Dick and I had spent dozens of hours in conversation, more than people spend for casual hookups, more than some before marriage. Enough hours that such a risk’s payoff might have been love. Maybe when I arrived, no longer just abstract words but full-bodied, I wasn’t what he expected or wanted. Fine. No harm, no foul. U-turn on the next flight.

But he didn’t get the last word or last text: “You ask ‘Are you okay?’ Something you failed to ask me all weekend. But, in answer, I am perfectly fine. Minimal wounds. Healing fast.”

Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation

The Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation


What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological or emotional abuse — a series of manipulative techniques designed to gain control of another person. By blatantly and repeatedly lying or challenging reality, the gaslighters keep their victims off-kilter and make them question themselves. Many times, a person’s diagnosis of ADHD is used against him or her by the gaslighter. I have been a therapist for 20 years, and lately I have seen more and more clients with ADHD reporting being gaslighted in their relationships and at their jobs.

One of the best defenses against gaslighting is to educate yourself about this kind of emotional abuse. Adults with ADHD may be more vulnerable to gaslighting due to issues with self-esteem, difficulty with past relationships, and feelings of guilt and shame. Know that there is hope, and you can rebuild your life after living with gaslighting for months or even years.

Gaslighting Behaviors

Gaslighters sometimes hide their partners’ belongings and blame their partners for being “irresponsible,” “lazy,” or “so ADHD” when they can’t find the items. A gaslighter may also tell their partner that they don’t need to take medication for ADHD because “I know what you need better than some doctor does.”

Gaslighting behaviors include:

  • Telling you that you didn’t see or hear something
  • Cheating often, but obsessively accusing you of cheating
  • Saying that other people think you are crazy
  • Pitting you against people (this is known as “triangulating”)
  • Idealizing you, then devaluing you, and finally discarding the relationship

[Take This Self-Test: Emotional Hyperarousal in Adults]

Why and How Gaslighters Target People with ADHD

Gaslighters sense vulnerabilities in a person. They specifically target people who are grieving a loss or who feel inadequate or isolated. If you have ADHD, you probably grew up with the feeling that you were “less than.” You may have had difficulties maintaining friendships or relationships. You may have been dismissed by others who said you were “difficult.”

When you meet a gaslighter for the first time, he or she will do something called “love bombing.” They will tell you everything you have wanted to hear from someone, especially after a lifetime of rejection. The purpose of the behavior is to hook you. Once you are committed to the relationship, the gaslighter begins abusive behavior.

Early on, the gaslighter asks you about your fears and inadequacies. It feels good to have someone listening to you and caring about what you have to say. However, the gaslighter is gathering data to be used as ammunition against you later. You may eventually hear, “No wonder your sister doesn’t talk to you anymore. She knows you’re crazy, too.”

[Download This: 6 Ways ADHD Sabotages Relationships]

If you leave the relationship, the gaslighter will “hoover” — drawing you back. They will send messages through friends and family that they miss you. They will promise you the world, but will never apologize. They don’t think they did anything wrong. The threat of losing their ability to manipulate you motivates a gaslighter to get you back in their clutches. But once you return, everything promised to you disappears, and your relationship becomes more abusive than before.

How to Escape Gaslighting In a Relationship

For most people, leaving a gaslighting relationship means “no contact — at all.” Block phone numbers and email addresses. Tell friends and family that you will not listen to any messages sent through them. You should also meet with a licensed mental health professional; having ADHD makes you vulnerable to anxiety and mood disorders. Set up and follow through with an ADHD treatment plan, and re-establish connections with the healthy people in your life. If you have children with a gaslighter, meet with an attorney to establish a detailed parenting plan.

Gaslighting at the Workplace

Sometimes bosses and coworkers take advantage of the fact that someone has ADHD. They will accuse you of being forgetful or not caring about your work.

Ask your boss or coworker to send you an email with instructions or details of an assignment. If you complete the assignment and are told later that you didn’t do what was asked, refer to that email, instead of blaming yourself. Also, get to know the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of workplace harassment, found at

[Subscribe to the ADDitude Newsletter for Women with ADHD]

Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., the author of Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People, is a licensed and board-certified mental health counselor, and a Florida Supreme Court-certified family and civil mediator based in Tampa. She is a best-selling author, the host of the Talking Brains podcast, and is a contributor to Psychology Today, Forbes, and HuffPost. You can reach Stephanie at

Updated on January 29, 2020

Five rules for approaching our feelings with greater wisdom and effectiveness.

David B. Feldman Ph.D.

Building Emotional Intelligence Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Source: Pixabay

Dozens of times a week, we ask friends, family, and even strangers, “How are you?” Given this fact alone, you’d think our society was very interested in how people feel.

But all of us know that this question generally doesn’t get an honest answer. Instead, most people reply with, “good,” “fine,” or at least, “okay.” If we’re really honest with ourselves, most of us would be a bit uncomfortable if we got a more genuine answer.

For many of us, it can feel risky to get in touch with our feelings, let alone to express them to others. I was recently speaking with a close friend who was genuinely hurt by something his father posted in a family chat room. He had been ruminating about it for days. And yet, when I suggested that he bring it up with his dad, his answer was straightforward: “No,” he told me. “We don’t talk about feelings in our family.”

Psychologist Marc Brackett, the founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, argues that this tendency to avoid feelings, though understandable, can be a real disadvantage.

In one experiment, Brackett and his colleagues divided middle-school teachers into two groups. One group was placed in a good mood by recalling positive classroom experiences, while the other group was placed in a bad mood by recalling negative classroom experiences.

Then, they all were asked to grade the same essay. The teachers who were in a worse mood scored the essay a full letter grade lower than those in a better mood. But here’s the real kicker: Most of the teachers said they thought their mood had no influence on their grading, even though it clearly had.

Whether we like it or not, our feelings affect our thinking and behavior. Being out of touch with these feelings just means we’re at the mercy of them. So, it behooves us to get to know them better.

Our ability to understand and regulate our feelings is what psychologists often call “emotional intelligence.” Luckily, emotional intelligence isn’t a fixed commodity, but rather something we can build by learning what Brackett calls “emotion skills.”

He has developed a system, organized around the acronym R.U.L.E.R., which has been used in nearly 2,000 schools across the world to teach such skills to children and teenagers. But it can be equally applicable for helping all of us develop greater wisdom about our feelings and use them to our advantage.

Here are the five skills you can start practicing now:

R: Recognize

The first step toward productively managing any feeling is to recognize that we’re having it. Although this may sound easy, it’s equally easy to ignore our feelings. Have you ever said, “I don’t care,” about a situation when you really did? Have you ever gotten a head or neck ache, only to later realize you were actually feeling emotionally stressed?

To better recognize our feelings, Bracket suggests using a technique known as the “Mood Meter.” At its heart, this technique involves asking yourself two simple questions:

  1. How much energy does this emotion have?
  2. How pleasant is this emotion?

Emotions can be high in both, low in both, high in energy and low in pleasantness, or low in energy and high in pleasantness. Emotions high in both energy and pleasantness include joy, excitement, and optimism, while emotions low in both include sadness and depression. Anxiety, anger, and frustration are examples of feelings high in energy but low in pleasantness, whereas calmness and contentedness are examples of feelings low in energy but high in pleasantness. By at least identifying in which of these categories our feelings fall, we lay a foundation for wisely dealing with them.

U: Understand

The next emotion skill involves understanding our feelings. In short, this involves asking the question, “Why am I feeling this way?” Because this wide-open question is notoriously difficult to answer, in his book Permission to Feel, Brackett suggests some more specific questions we can ask ourselves to figure out the reasons behind our feelings. Here are a few of them:

  • What just happened? What was I doing before this happened?
  • What happened this morning, or last night, that might be involved in this?
  • What has happened before with this person that might be connected?
  • What memories do I have about the situation or place in which this emotion occurred?

Understanding the causes of our feelings can help provide clues about how to address them. If I’m feeling anxious because my new boss reminds me of a person from my past who was cruel to me, I’ll want to deal with the situation very differently than if my anxiety results from a particular managerial decision my boss just made. Of course, it could be both—so it can take serious time and introspection to really sort out what we’re experiencing and why. Be patient and keep at it.

L: Label

It’s not enough simply to recognize and understand an emotion; we also can benefit from finding the right word to describe it.

Many of us have a relatively limited emotion vocabulary. Some of us stick with two words: bad and good. Others might have three or four: happy, sad, mad, and scared. Still others may not use emotion words at all, but prefer figures of speech like, “on top of the world” or “burning up.”

But in actuality, there are thousands of words to describe emotions in the English language alone. We certainly don’t have to memorize all of them, but Brackett suggests that more accurate labels are usually better for us. In his words, “We know from neuroscience and brain imaging research that there is real, tangible truth to the proposition that ‘if you can name it, you can tame it.’”

For a start, knowing precisely what feelings we’re experiencing can give us clues about how to manage them. Although you may recognize that you’re experiencing a negative, high-energy emotion, both “stressed” and “overwhelmed” might fit that general description. But which of these labels most accurately describes our feeling really matters, because they mean different things.

“Stress” generally means we feel that what we’re trying to do or handle exceeds our capabilities, whereas “overwhelmed” means there’s just too much of it, regardless of our capabilities. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, the best approach may be to reduce our workload the best we can, whereas if we’re feeling stressed, the best approach may be to upgrade our capabilities by learning new skills or reorganizing the way we do things.

E: Express

If the R, U, and L of R.U.L.E.R. are about getting into touch with our emotions, the E and R are about what to do with them.

There are lots of reasons we hesitate to express our feelings. Especially when emotions fall on the negative end of the spectrum, we may be afraid they’re inappropriate, will embarrass us, or will somehow injure the person we express them to.

According to Brackett, however, “Hurt feelings don’t vanish on their own. They don’t heal themselves. If we don’t express our emotions, they pile up like a debt that will eventually come due.” So it’s important to express them in some way.

But this doesn’t mean we should let our emotions run wild, saying everything that’s on our minds to everyone we wish. According to Brackett, the skill of expressing our feelings “means knowing how and when to display our emotions, depending on the setting, the people we’re with, and the larger context.”

If we’re feeling hurt by something our boss said, for instance, it’s in our best interest to express this differently than if a close friend said something similar to us. Depending on the level of trust, we may make ourselves more vulnerable to our friend than our boss, expressing our feelings in greater depth or detail. If there’s a good chance we could lose our job, we may even choose not to express our hurt at all to our boss, instead confiding in and seeking support from someone else.

R: Regulate

The final emotion skill involves determining how to cope with our feelings.

Whether or not we choose to express them, feelings impact us. Regulating our emotions involves dealing with them in a way that allows us to best meet our personal and professional goals—or at least prevent our feelings from interfering with them. This certainly doesn’t mean ignoring our emotions; as already discussed, this doesn’t work well. Instead, it involves learning to accept and deal with them wisely.

Techniques for helping us cope with our feelings run the gamut, and we should strive to use ones that work for us. Relaxation videos abound on YouTube and can help us soothe strong emotions. Meditation phone apps can be used to facilitate mindfulness, which may help us accept our feelings. Physical exercise can help us to “work out” our feelings and feel more grounded in our bodies.

But emotion regulation can also be very simple. “You can’t stand your neighbor? Avoid her,” writes Brackett. “Your parents are coming to visit and you don’t want them to see some of your more outré artwork? Hide it until they leave. You’re tired? Splash some water on your face.” The important thing is to acknowledge our feelings—not avoid them—and then take productive steps toward dealing with them.

Learning to be more emotionally skilled isn’t a panacea. It won’t eliminate all our negative feelings or bring about a constant state of bliss. Such goals are probably impossible. But part of emotional intelligence is realizing that our feelings aren’t our enemies. In fact, if we approach them wisely, they can be some of our best friends. Let’s all get to know these friends a little better.

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Chronic insomnia best treated with psychotherapy 1st – Health – CBC News

People with chronic insomnia should try cognitive behavioral therapy before medications, suggests a prominent group of U.S. doctors.

Source: Chronic insomnia best treated with psychotherapy 1st – Health – CBC News

Chronic insomnia is defined as at least three restless nights per week for at least three months.

Chronic insomnia is defined as at least three restless nights per week for at least three months. (Alyssa L. Miller, Flickr cc)

While the American College of Physicians (ACP) can’t say cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) outperforms medications for chronic insomnia, the group does say psychotherapy is less risky than drugs.

“Sometimes we forget that sleep medications have the potential for serious side-effects in some patients, while cognitive behavioural therapy is very low [risk] to patients,” said Dr. Wayne J. Riley, ACP president.

“The evidence is clear that CBT and sleep hygiene can be long lasting, life long, durable and delivered at a lower cost,” said Riley, who is also affiliated with Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

About 6 to 10 per cent of people in the U.S. have insomnia. Through loss of productivity, the condition is estimated to have cost the country about $63 billion US in 2009, according to the ACP committee that wrote the new guideline, which is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Chronic insomnia is defined as at least three restless nights per week for at least three months.

“We wanted to take a deep dive into the literature for what makes a big difference with insomnia,” Riley told Reuters Health.

The ACP commissioned two reviews of insomnia treatments. One focused on medications, and the second focused on psychological and behavioural treatments.

Medication and ‘sleep driving’

Overall, the first review found that some medications may improve sleep over a short period of time, but those come with the potential for changes in thinking and behaviour. Additionally, there is a risk for infrequent but serious harms.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says medications for insomnia should only be used for short periods. The agency warns those drugs may impair people during the daytime, lead to “sleep driving,” behavioural changes and worsening depression.

The review of psychological and behavioural treatments found that CBT for insomnia improved overall sleep with a low risk of harms, the researchers report.

Evidence collected separately for the two reviews found that “side-effects can be quite severe with the use of insomnia medications in contrast to CBT, where there are minimal side-effects,” said Riley.

CBT for insomnia is typically delivered in four to six one-hour weekly sessions. People are taught behavioural techniques such as sleep restriction and stimulus control, and they are also taught sleep hygiene.

When chronic insomnia isn’t helped by CBT alone, the ACP advises patients and doctors to consider a short course of medication. That discussion should touch on the potential benefits, harms and costs of medication, the ACP says.

Doctors should encourage patients with insomnia to engage in CBT, according two researchers whose editorial was published with the reviews and the guideline.

‘Prescription not the best solution in the long term’

But, they admit, CBT for insomnia might not be covered by insurance and is likely not available at doctors’ offices, write Dr. Roger Kathol, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and J. Todd Arnedt, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.

“Unless access to and unencumbered payment for value-based behavioural interventions, such as CBT (for insomnia), in medical settings become a reality, patients with chronic insomnia will continue to receive suboptimal treatment and experience suboptimal outcomes,” they write.

Alternatives to in-person CBT for insomnia include group therapy session, telephone counseling, online lessons and self-help books, Riley said.

The ACP recommendations are similar to that of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), said Dr. Alcibiades Rodriguez, who is medical director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center-Sleep Center in New York City.

The AASM’s 2008 practice guidelines for treating chronic insomnia endorse psychotherapy as a first-line treatment and suggests it be used when medications are prescribed.

“The recommendations made by the ACP will appeal to a broader group of physicians to make them aware of this,” said Rodriguez, who was not involved with the new recommendations. “Then the doctors know just giving patients who come to their office with sleep problems a prescription is not the best solution in the long term.”

Residential school survivor uses poetry, psychotherapy to heal – Saskatoon – CBC News

A poet and residential school survivor is releasing her latest collections of poems, and she says they have been instrumental in healing from the scars of residential schools.

Source: Residential school survivor uses poetry, psychotherapy to heal – Saskatoon – CBC News

Louise Bernice Halfe was was born in Two Hills, Alta., and completed programs at the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan. She attended the Blue Quills Residential School, near St. Paul, Alta., for six years.

While the recently finished Truth and Reconciliation Commission was intended to help survivors heal, Bernice Halfe said the process opened old wounds. This collection of poetry, Burning in this Midnight Dream, helped heal those wounds.

Traditional ceremonies, psychology needed to help others

“It’s been extremely challenging and frightening as well,” she said of the process of walking backward, and retracing her past through the poetry. “What scared me was the feeling of being exposed and vlunerable.”

She said she needed to press ahead as a process of “accepting responsibility of my own actions and behaviours,” but the poetry is “also for the people who don’t have the vocabulary to articulate the shame and the pain and the anger that goes within their own stories.”

Bernice Halfe has training in drug and alcohol counseling, and in social work. She also emphasized the importance of psychotherapy and talking as tools for healing.

‘How do you recover as quickly as the people in the Canadian public want us to recover? I don’t know; I hope it’s possible. It’s very very hard.’– Louise Bernice Halfe

When asked how she wants to contribute to conversations on the legacy around residential schools, she described a photograph that showed her parents’ wedding and all of her relatives connected to her parents.

“There’s been a generational impact on whole communities. How do you recover as quickly as the people in the Canadian public want us to recover? I don’t know. I hope it’s possible. It’s very, very hard,” she said.

Bernice Halfe said she wants to see more aboriginal therapists and psychologists. “Not the kind that just prescribe pills,” she said.

Part of that responsibility is shared by the government, which she said has been insufficient in providing deep healing for aboriginal communities to recover from the legacy of residential schools.

“I would like to see more people trained in psychotherapy, along with their [traditional] ceremonial practices,” she said. “We needing funding for education in our communities. We also need mental health services closer to the communities.

“I’m talking about talk therapy. I’m talking about psychologists,” she emphasized.

Louise Bernice Halfe launches her latest collection of poems on Thursday at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon at 7 p.m. CST.

Why Isn’t Psychotherapy Covered By Health Care? | Chris Curry

In terms of health care, we have it pretty good. If you are unfortunately diagnosed with cancer, most, if not all of your treatment will be paid for. If you break your leg, you can go to the ER and get a cast and leave without a bill. If you require surgery, the government will pay for that too. But what if your issue isn’t physical? What if what’s holding you back in life is a mental concern? Well, then you’re kind of out of luck.

Source: Why Isn’t Psychotherapy Covered By Health Care? | Chris Curry


There are indeed mental health services that are covered by provincial programs such as OHIP here in Ontario. We are all allowed free access to psychiatrists, which sounds great on the surface. But the real story is that most psychiatrists are incredibly overworked and many have waiting lists over a year long. For anyone who has ever experienced a mental health crisis, you know that waiting a year just isn’t an option.

And if you are mentally well enough to wait for that year (or more) there is only so much a psychiatrist can do for you with their limited time and vast client lists. Sure, they can prescribe and monitor your medication. But they typically don’t have time to sit down with you week after week and get to the real reasons why you are facing either depression, anxiety, addiction or any other mental health issue.

Psychotherapists specialize in that kind of ‘getting to the root of the problem’ type of therapy. And each year, countless lives are changed by the hundreds of excellent psychotherapists we have in this country. But for every life that is changed by psychotherapy, their lives are also changed by way of having to spend their hard-earned money and by prioritizing their mental health, sometimes at the expense of other important bills.

Whenever I am discussing treatment with a new client, their first question is inevitably ‘is this covered by the government?’

My answer has to unfortunately be ‘no, it’s not. But someday, I sure hope it will be.’

There are of course some private benefit packages that do cover psychotherapy but most of us are not lucky enough to have such in depth personal coverage from our employers. And that leaves many paying out of pocket for what can be a fairly costly expenditure.

If therapy was free for everyone in Canada, we would see an incredible reduction in the amount of sick days due to depression and anxiety. Productivity would go through the roof and our emergency rooms would be able to focus more of physical injuries instead of having to attend to mental health crises as well.

We are a progressive country and we lead in many areas. Unfortunately we are falling flat when it comes to mental health treatment. We’ve decided that only the rich and prosperous can have access to therapy.

And that just doesn’t sound very progressive to me.

26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.

Source: 26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

 With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.

So, we asked our mental health community to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found helpful. These little nuggets of wisdom aren’t FDA-approved, but when used correctly side effects may include: self-care, acceptance and a little more patience with yourself.

Here’s some advice that’s actually helped people with mental illness:

1. “On a particularly difficult day, I was trying to fight through an anxiety attack and finish all the child-related tasks I needed to complete. My husband kept offering help, and I kept refusing. He pulled me aside in the laundry room as I was frantically folding another load and said, “Just let me help you.” It doesn’t immediately make the anxiety go away, but it’s helped me learn to let go.” — Maria Heldreth

2. “Don’t wait. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Chances are, someone knows exactly what you’re going through.” — Kristin Salber

3. “I have depression and anxiety (as well as other chronic medical conditions), and after the worst week I’ve had in a while, my doctor  said,“Find something you enjoy, and if you can’t find that, find the joy in something.” This really had an impact on me and still reminds me to look for a silver lining.” — Faith Merryn

Related: To the Husband With the Wife Who Has Depression

4. “I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I made friends with someone who’s extremely similar to me. She told me to always be myself and the people who truly care will stick around. It truly did help.” — Julia Ann Lange

5. “Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper.” — Melissa Cote

6. “A friend recently told me that no matter if I get a job one day or not,your life matters as long as you can make people smile. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to see my life as something of worth.” — Emma Wozny

7. “A great therapist I had told me to focus on ‘harm-reduction, not perfection.’ I felt like I was expected to magically ‘get better,’ and she helped me learn that starting with baby steps was totally OK.” — Jen Decker

8. “Someone said, ‘I’ve been here, I know a way out, I’m here to show you too.’ And, ‘It gets better, it may not leave, but it gets better. And it has.” — Tom Everman

9. “I have anxiety and major depressive disorder. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my best friend once told me, “When you’re sad, watch ‘The Simpsons.’” It actually works when I’m panicking, too. It gets my mind off whatever I’m obsessing about, and I usually end up laughing.” — Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri

10. “It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I was told pretty bluntly: ‘This illness is has no cure. You’re going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story.’” — Lyss Trayers

11. “My depression and anxiety stem from a traumatic childhood. Just hearing ‘it wasn’t your fault‘ from my psychologist was incredibly helpful.” — Kathrine Elise

12. “Don’t always believe what your brain is telling you.” — Kerri Lewis Brock

Related: 36 Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends to Know

13. “It’s OK to feel sad. You don’t need to pretend.” — Allyson White

14. “The best advice: Treat yourself as if you were a good friend.”— Julie Jeatran

15. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small,instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup

16. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy, the counselor looked at us and said,‘It’s over. That moment is over. It isn’t going to happen again.’For some reason, that resonated with me.” — Nicole Hanes

17. “They told me this: ‘You are not broken; you are a whole person. You are just human. A human who is living, learning and growing. And learning, living and growing comes with bumps in the road. Remember that this is just a bump.‘” — Kallie Kieffer

18. “Your worst days will only be 24 hours.“ — Arielle Smith

19. “You wouldn’t skip a dialysis or chemotherapy appointment. Your therapy appointments are just as important. No excuses.” — Jennifer Davis

20. “‘I think you need to give therapy a try.‘ Thanks to that, I started therapy and I’m now on the path to recovery.”  — Julianne Leow

21. “Your struggles are your accomplishments in disguise.” — Katherine J Palmer

Related: 14 Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn at a Psychiatric Hospital

22. “Remember: Depression lies. Don’t believe it.” — Beth Brogan

23. “Always ask for help. There is never any shame in asking for help.” — Meghan Shultz

24. “Take life 5 minutes at a time.” — Stephanie Lynn

25. “You can’t give everyone else everything you have. You absolutely have to save a little of yourself for yourself.” — Shawn Henfling

26. I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be.” — Michelle Balck

Answers have been edited and shortened.

By Sarah Schuster

More from The Mighty:

What the Starbucks Barista Didn’t Know When She Wrote ‘Smile’ on My Coffee

31 Secrets of People Who Live With Anxiety

I Have OCD. This Is What It’s Like to Be in My Mind for 3 Minutes.

“Clara’s Big Ride”: Watch Online Full Episodes

Watch Online on CTV | Watch Full Episodes.

About “Clara’s Big Ride”

Part catalyst for change and part epic road movie, CLARA’S BIG RIDE is an inspiring new film that tackles the profound conversation about mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.

Latest Videos

  • Clara’s Big Ride

    S0:E | 2015-01-28

    Chronicles an unprecedented 11,000 km bicycle journey across Canada by Olympic medallist and Bell Let’s Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes.

  • Let’s Talk: A Marilyn Denis Special

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Joined by Dr. Marla Shapiro & Clara Hughes, Marilyn Denis uncovers the stories of 5 remarkable Canadians who struggle with mental illness.

  • Words Of Hope

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Nolan is a student at the University of Waterloo who wrote a column about his struggles with his own mental illness.

  • Coping With Anxiety

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Richie from Montreal discusses overcoming anxiety and gets to meet and interview Clara Hughes for his university’s radio show.


Psychotherapy Beats Medication for Social Anxiety Disorder | Psych Central News

Psychotherapy Beats Medication for Social Anxiety Disorder | Psych Central News.

By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 27, 2014

While antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective and — unlike medication — can have lasting effects long after treatment has stopped, according to a new study. CBT is one of the most common forms of talk therapy or psychotherapy.

According to researchers at John Hopkins University, social anxiety disorder, which is characterized by intense fear and avoidance of social situations, affects up to 13 percent of Americans and Europeans.

Most people never receive treatment. For those who do, medication is the more accessible treatment because there is a shortage of trained psychotherapists, according to the researchers.

“Social anxiety is more than just shyness,” said study leader Evan Mayo-Wilson, D.Phil., a research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“People with this disorder can experience severe impairment, from shunning friendships to turning down promotions at work that would require increased social interaction.

“The good news from our study is that social anxiety is treatable. Now that we know what works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for those who are suffering.”

The study, a network meta-analysis that collected and analyzed data from 101 clinical trials comparing multiple types of medication and talk therapy, was a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Oxford University and University College in London, where Mayo-Wilson formerly worked.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed data from 13,164 participants in 101 clinical trials. All had severe and longstanding social anxiety. Approximately 9,000 received medication or a placebo, while more than 4,000 received a psychological intervention.

Few of the trials looked at combining medication with talk therapy, and there was no evidence that combined therapy was better than talk therapy alone, the researchers noted.

After comparing several different types of talk therapy, the researchers found that individual CBT was the most effective. CBT, which focuses on relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, helps people challenge irrational fears and overcome their avoidance of social situations, according to Mayo-Wilson.

For people who don’t want talk therapy, or who lack access to CBT, the most commonly used antidepressants — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — are effective, the researchers found. But they caution that medication can be associated with serious adverse events, that it doesn’t work at all for some people, and that improvements in symptoms do not last after patients stop taking the pills.

The researchers acknowledge that medication is important, but say it should be used as a second-line therapy for people who do not respond to or do not want psychological therapy.

According to Mayo-Wilson, the analysis has already led to new treatment guidelines in the U.K. and it could have a “significant impact on policymaking and the organization of care in the U.S.”

“Greater investment in psychological therapies would improve quality of life, increase workplace productivity, and reduce health care costs,” Mayo-Wilson said.

“The health care system does not treat mental health equitably, but meeting demand isn’t simply a matter of getting insurers to pay for psychological services. We need to improve infrastructure to treat mental health problems as the evidence shows they should be treated. We need more programs to train clinicians, more experienced supervisors who can work with new practitioners, more offices, and more support staff,” he said.

The study was published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Source: Johns Hopkins University