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5 Ways to Develop a Positive Mindset That Lasts

You should never underestimate the power of positive thinking. We know we know, it’s cliche and a little outdated, but there is some truth to how a positive mindset can reshape your day and mental health overall for the better. 

The way we view ourselves and the world around us paints an important picture, one that you’ll have to see every day. Studies have shown that positive thinking can have a significant effect on both the mind and the body. Not only can a change in the way you think shift your perspective, but it can also improve your overall mood, boost confidence, and even have physiological effects such as reducing the likelihood of hypertension or depressive symptoms. 

Ok, so what does positive thinking look like? Well, that’s what we’re here to help with. Whether it’s through setting goals, self-talk, or positive imagery — there are a ton of ways you can implement positive thinking into your everyday routine. 

1. Dealing With Negative Self-Talk 

If you’ve landed on this article, it’s safe to say that negative self-talk isn’t a foreign concept. One of the biggest adversaries for a positive mindset is most oftentimes ourselves — and we plague our days with sentiments like:

  • “I’m terrible at this”
  • “I shouldn’t have even tried that” 
  • “I could never make it that far” 
  • “I’ll never accomplish this” 

While these thoughts may seem like fleeting bits of cynicism, they can have lasting effects on our state of being. Over time, they may become cemented as internalized feelings or even beliefs, which may prevent you from living a productive and happy life.

Now, fixing negative self-talk is a simple concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It starts with identifying these moments in your mind when they pop up. If you notice that you’re belittling or discouraging yourself, take a moment to reflect on it. Once you’ve called attention to it, change the perspective, and attempt to redirect the negative self-talk into encouragement. Instead of saying, “I’ll never accomplish this” — try, “with enough practice, I’ll get there.” 

It seems silly and minimal, but it can go a long way if practiced at every turn. Just like with any other feat in life, it takes practice. Dealing with negative self-talk is a step in the right direction, and will help you develop an overall positive mindset. 

2. Mental Breakfast is the Most Important Meal 

You’ve heard the saying; you know what it means. However, here we’re not talking about what you eat, but rather what you reaffirm within yourself every morning. 

The start of each new day brings a breadth of opportunity. Your mornings set the tone — and positive affirmations can be a great addition to your morning routine. We mentioned the impact of negative self-talk above, and it can be especially demoralizing and derailing early on in the day. That’s why giving yourself positive self-talk and assurance in the morning is especially helpful — even if it seems strange. When we say self-talk, we mean it. Anything from, “I’m going to have a good day” to “I’m amazing today” can help set the tone and give you the positive light you need to have a brighter, better day. 

3. Rethinking Failure 

Listen, failing at something isn’t any fun. Whether it’s a task at work, living up to an expectation, or simply making mistakes — we all crash and burn sometimes. 

Well, it’s time to reframe the way we see failure because how we approach our shortcomings can have a real effect on our future. Failure is best understood when we think about it like a road diverged — and no, we’re not talking about Langston Hughes. Instead, we must look at failure as a pathway that leads to two separate destinations. 

  1. Failure can lead to apprehension to try again
  2. Failure can teach us about what not to do

While the first outcome is quite limiting, the second is liberating. Reshaping failure to educate ourselves is the pathway forward while becoming scared to ever try again will stop us dead in our tracks. Far too often, we fixate on our shortcomings and misgivings — but these are moments that can be learned from and are an important part of life. Turn your failures into valuable lessons that you can learn and grow from. 

4. Be Mindful of the Present 

The present is a magical time. It’s a moment that is unappreciated — yet can help those struggling with a positive mindset find clarity. When we’re talking about the present, we don’t mean today — we mean the exact moment you’re in. One of the reasons why those who meditate are able to have some semblance of “peace of mind” is their understanding of the present. 

Many external issues that hinder our ability to connect with a positive mindset make use of our inability to live in the present. What your boss said that made you upset, the guy that cut you off on the way home from work, the big deadline at the end of the week — these are issues that fall outside of the present. 

Learning how to focus on an individual moment and suspend yourself in what is going on at that exact time can be extremely freeing. We’re constantly fighting off thoughts about the past or worries about the future, but in a brief moment — you’re able to find the perspective you need. 

5. Use Support Channels 

Developing a positive mindset doesn’t need to be a solo venture. Friends, family members, classmates, coworkers, mentors, and more can all help mold your mindset for the better — so long as they’re supportive. These aren’t the only outlets — as therapy and counseling can be a huge help in creating a more positive mindset.

If you’re considering therapy or counseling, we recommend checking out our Guide to Your First Therapy Appointment so that you know what to expect. Counselors and therapists are fantastic advocates for creating a more positive mindset — and will help with various coping strategies and actionable steps to work towards your goals. 

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Well, look at you — you’ve made it all the way through our 5 ways to develop a positive mindset that lasts. Now, we think it’s deserving of some positive self-talk, so give yourself a few cheers for taking the time to read through this article. 

A positive mindset isn’t something that sticks around forever, and it will obviously be tried and tested each and every day. The good news is that the more you practice the art of a positive outlook on life, the better prepared you’ll be for those low times. 

A Guide to Your First Therapy Appointment

Your first therapy or mental health counseling appointment can be intimidating. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious about attending your first session — don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s completely normal to feel uneasy about change, even if it’s for the better. 

If you’ve already scheduled your first session, congratulations, you’ve made it past one of the hardest steps. One of the most challenging parts about getting therapy or counseling help is choosing to start. So, give yourself a round of applause, a gold star, a pat on the back. Starting therapy is riddled with uncertainty — but it’s starting down the right path. 

If you’ve landed on this article, your appointment is probably coming up soon, and you’re unsure how to navigate the process. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide to help with your first therapy appointment so that you can go in with confidence. 

Ask Questions 

You’re probably going to have a lot of questions going into your first therapy appointment. Ask them! Therapists and counselors are there to help and will be happy to assist with any questions or concerns. Feel free to reach out even before your appointment. Doing so can better prepare you for what’s on the horizon while also easing some angst regarding your meetup. 

There’s no such thing as a bad question here. Here are some common questions we’ve had that have helped alleviate some stress prior to a first appointment. 

  1. What should I expect during the first session? 
  2. How long will the session be? 
  3. Will we jump right into why I’m getting therapy? 
  4. What’s your counseling style? 

These are just a few popular questions — but any questions will do. Whatever information you need to feel at ease with your first counseling or therapy session, feel free to reach out and ask before arriving. 

Think About Your Goals 

While you don’t need to come up with any comprehensive plan or checklist of tangible objectives, it’s good to think about what you want to achieve from your therapy or counseling session. It can be just a few words or actionable goals — whatever it is, take some time to reflect before heading to your first appointment to try and come up with at least somewhere to aim. 

Your therapist may use these goals to better understand if they’re the right fit for you — and make your first visit a meaningful one. 

Carve Out Some Time Before and After Your Session 

If your schedule permits, we’d recommend putting some buffer time both before and after your session. This time allows for some reflection and introspection. Your first appointment is going to fill you with some angst, uncertainty, and maybe even a little dread. Having some time before your appointment to breathe, stay hydrated, and jot down some things you’d like to discuss can help you prepare for the task ahead. 

Likewise, blocking out some time to reflect after your appointment is also beneficial. It’s a new experience, and you’re going to walk out with a lot on your mind. Instead of jumping straight from your first therapy or counseling appointment into a commitment, give yourself a little time to mull over what you learned during your appointment afterward. This cushion time also gives you a brief moment to deal with intense emotions that may be uncovered during your session. 

Set Realistic Expectations 

One of the best things you can do to prepare for your first therapy or counseling appointments is to set realistic expectations. Your first appointment isn’t typically going to take a deep dive into the complexities of your long term goals — and much of what you’ll do could be more clerical than therapeutic. Much of what you’ll do during your first appointment will be you and your therapist getting a feel for one another and making sure it’s a good fit. 

The first session is all about getting to know one another. Your therapist may have their own questions to ask — and will likely gather some information about you to ensure that the relationship can be productive. Likewise, you can also ask questions, and together you’ll be able to gauge how to approach your primary issues. 

Remember, Everything is Confidential 

Opening up about your life and obstacles is extremely personal, but it’s important to remember that everything you discuss is confidential. Not only do therapists have ethical guidelines to adhere to, but also strict federal privacy regulations that protect information about you without written permission. The one exception is that a therapist may contact the authorities is they have reason to believe you are planning to harm yourself or others. 

The Counselor is On Your Side 

Your therapist or counselor is on your team. They’re here to help advocate for your betterment and assist you with navigating challenges in your life. A therapist isn’t there to point out all of your shortcomings or highlight your flaws — instead, it’s quite the opposite. 

Remember that your therapist is on your side, and the more you begin to open up — the easier it will be. The initial fears and anxieties that accompany a first session fade quickly, and you’ll begin to look forward to these appointments as they are, well, therapeutic. 

What About Virtual Appointments? 

Many individuals have their first counseling session through telehealth services, but that doesn’t mean their fears, worries, or concerns are any less than an in-person meetup. Don’t worry; we’d recommend following the same formula we’ve gone over in this article for online counseling services.

  • Reach out to your appointed mental health professional with any questions 
  • Consider any goals you may have for your therapy
  • Block out some time for before and after your appointment
  • Set some realistic expectations 
  • Keep in mind what you discuss in your sessions is confidential
  • Your counselor is on your team 

You’ve Got This

Attending your first counseling or therapy session is a big step in the right direction. It’s a step into the unknown, so it will be a bit frightening. However, once you start, you’ll be glad you did. Remember, there’s never enough questions — so make sure you ask all that you want before your appointment to relieve any stress or uncertainty. Your therapy is all about you.

Tips for Talking to Your Children About Mental Health

For parents struggling with mental health, talking to your children about the symptoms, the struggles, and certain behaviors may be difficult. It can certainly be a frightening experience for the parent, but for children who may not fully understand or comprehend what is happening — it may be confusing as well. 

That’s why it’s so important to talk to your children about mental health and mental illness in the family. Whether it’s a parent, grandparent, sibling, or guardian going through it — openness and communication about why certain behaviors or situations occur are necessary for moving forward. 

Take the time to sit down and talk or address questions and concerns a child may have. Mental health issues can be frightening — but they’re far more terrifying when left unaddressed — especially for kids. 

We recommend explaining how a certain mental illness or symptom works, because it may give children peace of mind and the right tools to live a happier and more confident life. We’ve put together some tips and advice that we believe is a great starting point for open and effective communication regarding your mental health with your children. 

Open Communication 

Your child may begin to identify that mom or dad isn’t like other moms and dads. When they’re old enough, it’s time to have a talk. They may not understand right away, and that’s OK. It takes time. You can take each day as a new opportunity to help them gain perspective and learn. Having open and casual conversations about mental health is important, and your child should feel free to ask questions or voice concerns throughout these discussions. 

This communication works well when it’s scheduled. Children, especially the younger ones, respond positively to a structured environment. So, maybe a family meeting to discuss what’s been going on is the best course of action. Or, if there’s a time during the day or night when you’re asking about a child’s day, this could be a great time to let them know about your day as well. 

You can use this time to address how your mental health (or your partners) has affected the day. Perhaps one of you has struggled with loud noises or simply need some alone time to recharge. Children may not understand this, and the reactions of a parent may not convey what is really going on. 

For example, if a parent needs to recharge and wants some alone time, a child may feel as if their actions prompted this — which is absolutely not true. However, if a parent explains to their child that “daddy’s batteries are low and he needs to recharge,” it takes the blame away from the child.

Answer Questions 

Children are curious little detectives, and they will ask questions. Parents may not have all of the answers, but it’s important that they make an effort to answer or explain to the best of their ability. 

Parents should try to field as many questions as they’re able to. If unsure about how to respond or answer — there are a ton of helpful tools and resources available. There is even a children’s book that can help address specific mental health issues such as bipolar disorder. It’s called Binky Bunny Wants To Know About Bipolarand can be a great tool. There are other books to help with mental health awareness from the Binky Bunny and the Psychiatric Briar Patch collection. 

Sometimes, the best way to address questions or concerns is to seek mental health counseling options that involve the parent and the child. An experienced counselor or therapist may be able to facilitate the conversation more effectively while offering sound advice and tips for fielding questions. 

Tips for Helping Children Understand Mental Health  

It’s easier said than done, and every family dynamic and mental health situation is unique, but helping a child understand the struggles and roadblocks can create a much better environment. 

If you haven’t noticed, communication is the backbone of effectively speaking with your child about mental illness. Here are some tips for how to guide their understanding of your particular mental health concerns. 

Tell Them How You Feel 

Explaining how your particular mental health challenges make you feel, along with how you feel about the illness or symptoms, can be a great way to open up some new lines of communication. 

Explain That It’s Nobody’s Fault 

Mental health concerns are difficult enough for adults to understand, but for children, it can be even more challenging. Explain that mental illness isn’t anyone’s fault — and that it’s something humans live with and fight through. 

Explore How They Feel or Talk About Behaviors 

Your child may be frustrated or even self-blaming when it comes to how a parent or guardian behaves. Understanding how they talk about or feel about the situation can give insight into how they perceive the mental health dynamic. 

Speak In Their Language 

It can be difficult to have conversations with a child about mental health because the language itself is complex. However, you can get creative in the various ways you explain behaviors, reactions, or mental illness itself. Whether it be telling a story, using an analogy, or even the child’s own experiences as a way to have a productive conversation about mental health. 

Be Open About Medication 

There’s no shame in taking medication for mental health issues, and there’s certainly no shame in informing your children about these medications. Now, we’re not saying you need to go into the monotony of psychotropics — but it’s OK to explain to them why you’re taking medicine. Children understand shots and medicine — mental health medication is no different. You can even explain side effects in case you’re concerned that they may affect behaviors. 

Don’t Underestimate Potential Trauma 

If a child has witnessed self-harming, violence, or suicidal behavior — do not underestimate how that may affect them. These events can be terrifying and also have a lasting impact on the young and underdeveloped brains of children. If this occurs, we recommend having a child see a therapist. If that’s not feasible due to where a family lives, there are online mental health counseling and psychiatry options available that take advantage of the incredible advances in technology to provide care. 

Never Stop The Conversation 

It may be easier to just “get the conversation out of the way.” However, those struggling with mental health know that it doesn’t just go away. It’s a lifelong fight, one that certainly affects the ones we love. Always keep the lines of communication and conversation open with children about mental health. The more they understand mental illness, a parent’s particular struggle, and the various ways to symptom manage and overcome psychological adversity — the better the relationships will be. 

Additionally, children will learn how to cope with their own potential mental health concerns as well. Luckily, mental illness is slowly losing its stigma, which means that conversations are becoming easier, and resources are abundant. Take advantage of all the tools at your disposal to talk to your children about mental health.