Why do people treat you badly?

Do you ever wonder why people treat you the way they do sometimes? Do you often feel taken for granted, unappreciated, or disrespected in general? If this is the case, then there may be a few questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. Do I respect my time? My feelings? Myself? If you consistently allow others to blow you off ("Oh that's okay, I have a lot to do any way"), allow yourself to be taken advantage of ("Sure, I'll watch your dog and water your plants (despite the fact you refuse to bring in my mail when I'm out of town)!"), or put yourself down ("I can be such an idiot! What a stupid thing to do"), you are inadvertently setting the precedent for how others will treat you. People aren't dumb. They pick up on the fact you do not value yourself. While some may be cheerleaders and encourage you to stick up for yourself, others will take advantage of your insecurities. They do not see why they need to treat you well. After all, you don't treat you well!
  2. Have I ever told them how I feel? People are not mind readers. We are all get wrapped up in our own head space sometimes and make comments or behave in a way that hurts other people without noticing it. It is your job to share how you feel. People who are worth your time and energy will care if they have hurt you. For tips of how to share your feelings effectively, please refer to my post Communication 101. 
  3. Do I allow myself to be taken care of? Hmmm...this is a deeeeeep question, huh? While lots of us like to complain about doing everything, we oftentimes do not allow others to do anything for us! When was the last time you asked for help? Asked for a hug? Asked for a pep talk? Or just said the words, "I need you." Being vulnerable is scary. Again, the people who are worth it will care and respond the best they can. 

If you're reading this and thinking to yourself, "What? So this is all my fault? I didn't ask to be treated like this!", then I would like you to take a deep breath. Exhale. There's a power to this, you know. If you have the ability to influence people to treat you badly, you also have the power to influence people to treat you well.  

This may take some thoughtful consideration on your part. Are there people in your life who don't seem to be responding to your new sense of empowerment? Then perhaps they are not the people you need in your life at this moment.

Surround yourself with people who add to your life, not people who take away. Practice forgiveness, but also self-love. Then enjoy the perks of finally being treated the right way. 

Communication 101

Are you having a conflict with a friend, family member, or spouse? Do you find yourself mumbling such statements as, "Well, they should KNOW better..." or "I shouldn't have to tell them over and over..."? Guess what?

It is YOUR job to communicate when you have a problem with someone. Your mother, best friend, or husband cannot read your mind.

Okay, so now that we have that settled, you may be wondering how in the world to tell your loved one how you have been feeling. I am here to share the following tips to effectively communicate in a way you will most likely be heard!

  1. Nip annoyances in the buds before they can blossom into huge problems. If you notice something bothering you, bring it up before it drives you crazy. If you hate it when your man leaves the toilet seat up or when your wife leaves her laundry on the floor, say something right away. However....
  2. Pick your battles wisely. Ask yourself, "Is bringing this up going to help or hurt the relationship?" Then proceed based upon your answer. Is it going to help? Then...
  3. Try to avoid the statement: We need to talk. Have you ever felt happy and excited when someone said this to you? Most likely not. This saying can automatically put someone in a defensive position in which they are coming up with all the possible rebuttals to your complaints before you even say a word. Instead, try to...
  4. Catch them when they are free and appear to be in a relaxed mood. It is not a wise idea to confront someone after they had a horrible day at work or school. Nor is it very nice to do this on their birthday! If possible, try to talk with your loved one when they have had time to wind down from their day and appear relaxed. Then...
  5. Bring up your concern using a neutral tone of voice and begin with the word 'I.' For example, "I have been feeling hurt since you [insert specific transgression]." This is what's known as an 'I statement.' It takes the form of "I feel ______ when you ______." Try to...
  6. Avoid using statements that start with "You...". When you start a sentence with the word 'you' it sounds blaming and accusatory. Your loved one will most likely react defensively. Instead of the sentence, "You are so lazy!", try, "I feel upset when you do not take out the garbage like I ask." Here's more...
  7. Try not to use the words 'always' and 'never.' Why? Because they are absolutes that are rarely true! Is someone ALWAYS mean to you? Most likely not or else you would not care enough about them to be having this conversation with them. 
  8. Keep your concerns recent, relevant, and specific. It is not cool to just lay out a laundry list of everything you have been angry about for the past six months. The person will be upset with you for not saying something sooner and will likely shut down on you. 
  9. It is never okay to name call, yell, or become physically violent with someone. If you feel yourself getting heated, ask for a time out and resume the conversation when you are both calm. 
  10. Ask if there is anything your loved one would like you to work on or improve. Doing this shows you do not believe that you are perfect and you are invested in the relationship. Try to listen and ask for clarification rather than becoming defensive. 

Unfortunately, many of us learn inappropriate communication skills through the form of role models, parents, and the media when we were little. As a result, we never had the opportunity to learn effective ones. Practice self-compassion as you relearn to communicate and check in with your loved ones to see how you are doing. Contact a mental health professional if you need more help! 

 

The Power of Expectations

Have you ever heard the phrase "set your intentions?" It is a statement that seems to have become more popular over the last few years, but do you really understand it? Setting intentions means picturing your goal, believing it will come to fruition, and then thinking/behaving in a manner that gets you closer to it. 

Sure, it sounds really nice. But what's the science behind it? 

One of the most intriguing studies I have come across is a bit older, but still profound. A psychologist, Dr. Wolf, studied pregnant women who were suffering from persistent nausea. He gave these women a drug and told them it would cure them of their "morning sickness." It was actually ipecac, which is a medicine designed to INDUCE vomiting. Surprisingly, these same women who took this medicine reported a decrease in feelings of nausea. More objectively, images of their stomaches indicated these women were experiencing a decrease in stomach contractions compared to the women who were given nothing. 

What a horrible thing to do to a pregnant woman, right??

But how amazing is that?

Because these women BELIEVED this medicine would work, they reversed the proven action of a powerful drug! 

The point is...YOUR MIND IS POWERFUL! Harness your expectations and make them work for you!!

The GOOD kind of needles....

During my journey into holistic wellness, I had repeatedly heard about the benefits of acupuncture. 

ac·u·punc·ture

ˈakyo͞oˌpəNG(k)(t)SHər/

noun

  1. a system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles, used to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Originating in ancient China, acupuncture is now widely practiced in the West

Okay so now we are all on the same page with regard to the definition of acupuncture (thank you Google Dictionary)! So how can sticking needles into your skin help with stress, anxiety, or depression? There have been a few studies to address this particular topic. According to Dr. Rachel Anderson of www.naturalmedicinenh.com:

A study published in March 2013, in the Journal of Endocrinology, shed some light on the physiological mechanisms behind acupuncture’s beneficial effects on stress. The study examined the effect of acupuncture on rats subjected to the stressful experience of cold exposure for one hour daily for ten days.  Rats treated with acupuncture prior to the 10 day study period had significantly lower stress hormones (ACTH and cortisol) at the end of the 10 days than rats not treated with acupuncture.  Acupuncture helped the study rats to cope better with stress. Human bodies have the same type of response to the experience of stress that the rats in the study did....

With regard to anxiety and depression, Dr. Anderson goes on to say: 

Many studies have demonstrated the benefit of acupuncture for treating anxiety disorders and there is evidence that acupuncture’s effect is comparable to that of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of counseling commonly used for patients with anxiety and depression.  One recent study conducted at the University of York in the UK and published in September 2013, in the online journal PLOS Medicine, found that acupuncture is as effective as counseling and more effective than antidepressant medication alone in the treatment of depression.

In this study, 755 patients were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture, counseling, or standard medical treatment (medication) for their depression symptoms.  At the end of the 3-month study, the researchers found that one in three patients who received either acupuncture or counseling were no longer depressed, compared to one in five patients who received only standard medical care.

For the full article click here

Despite these studies, many people are still squeamish about the idea of having multiple needles inserted into their skin. I decided to undergo several treatments myself in order to better understand acupuncture and to be able to honestly address my clients' fears and concerns when I refer them to an acupuncturist. As a disclaimer, I do not like needles any more than the next person and always become lightheaded when I have to have my blood drawn. However, I found acupuncture to be relatively painless (FYI ladies- when you are ovulating, your skin is more sensitive and the needles may sting a bit at first) and, dare I say, relaxing! Upon inserting your needles, the acupuncturist will request that you sit for 20-45 minutes. This time is a great opportunity to practice your meditation and deep breathing!

I receive my acupuncture at Community Acupuncture of St. Louis and they provide a warm, dark room with soothing music during treatments. Worried about the cost? Community Acupuncture provides a sliding fee scale of $20 to $45/treatment so you pay what you can afford. For more information, visit http://www.acustl.com/

 

 

Upcoming Event: Have You Lost That Lovin' Feeling? Get it back!

Do you feel like it is progressing the way you had hoped? Or maybe you just need a "pick me up" more days than not? Do you give yourself the love and respect you deserve?

In honor of National Heart Month and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, Whole Foods invites you to attend a complimentary talk by guest speaker, Dr. Jenna Budreau, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and owner of Mind/Body/Soul Holistic Psychological Services in Clayton, Missouri. Dr. Budreau will share evidenced based tips to aid you in increasing your overall well-being and decreasing the amount of stress in your life. Space will be limited. Register today to learn how to begin loving yourself and your life again!

Where: Whole Foods Market in Town and Country, Missouri

When: Wednesday, February 11th at 6 PM. 

See more information at https://www.smore.com/03ws4-have-you-lost-that-lovin-feeling

 

 

The Positivity Jar

Happy New Year from Mind/Body/Soul! My husband recently shared an awesome idea with me that he found while browsing the internet:

The "Positivity Jar"

You may also find it labeled as the Happiness or Gratitude Jar. Here's how it works…When a positive event occurs in your life, write it down and place it in a designated jar. At the end of the year, open the jar and relive all of the happy memories you had! I love this idea and plan on implementing it in my home.

Happy Holidays from Mind/Body/Soul!

2014 is one week away from being over! As cliche as it may sound, the holidays are an excellent time to take a moment to reflect on your year. Why not pour yourself your winter beverage of choice, play some music, and write down everything you have accomplished in 2014?

You may be surprised at the length of your list!  

Often, we focus on what we have done wrong, what we wish we could change, or what we still want out of life rather than appreciating our good deeds and achievements.

After creating your list, allow yourself to feel good about it! Carry that positive energy with you throughout the rest of your day and others will feel it and benefit as well.

Enjoy your holiday. You deserve it. 

The Importance of Giving

Around this time of year, people are much more inclined to give. They excitedly purchase presents for others, bake cookies for friends and family, or ring the bell outside of the grocery store for the Salvation Army.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it feels better to give than it does to receive?

There's a reason why. According to Happify.com, volunteering at least once per week results in an increase in happiness that is equivalent to your salary increasing from $20,000 to $75,000. One could then assume giving or helping others results in a similar increase in mood! Cheers to another reason to be kind to others! 

The most wonderful time of the year?

The holidays are a busy and exciting time of year. However, for some it is particularly difficult due to reminders of missing someone, feeling alone, extensive time with unsupportive family, or for other personal reasons.

Are you one of these people?

If you are, you may feel the need to do the same thing each year because, well...

It's tradition. 

You and your family always watch "It's a Wonderful Life" after you eat the same Christmas dinner you eat every year. Everyone has to open their Hanukah presents the same spots as they did the year before while listening to the same stories. Or [insert your tradition here].

Why not break tradition? If you know that you are dreading this time of year, then make it different. Life is too short to be miserable. If you and your spouse do not get along with either side of your families, then take a trip and spend the holidays alone. If someone you love has passed, why not make a new tradition in their memory? If you do not have anyone to spend the holidays with, then maybe it is time to reach out to support groups in your area and find others who are also struggling with this time of year. 

Be inspired to make this holiday better!

Start making changes!

Are you one of those people who has New Year's resolutions every year? Are you going to get a gym membership and lose 10 pounds? Maybe stop smoking? Or even learn how to say 'no' to people?  

You do not need a new year to start making real changes. 

Why not jump the gun and begin making changes today? Changes need not be huge or lofty aspirations. In fact, just making itty bitty changes here and there (e.g. rearranging your room, discovering a more efficient way to work, starting a new class at the gym) can positively impact your mood and make you more likely to achieve those long-term goals.