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3362 Big Pine Trail, Suite A, Champaign, Illinois 61822

If you've noticed that you tend to dwell on your mistakes more than your successes in your life or let 1 negative criticism dismiss 100 hundred compliments, you're not alone. That's just your negativity bias. As humans, our minds naturally pay more attention to the negative things than the positive ones. This bias can determine how we feel, think, and act and have undesirable effects on our mental state. 

How do we stop feeling so negative?

The strength of your negativity bias depends on how much you focus on it. By shifting the direction of your conscious attention towards positive events and feelings, you can start to balance, or even overpower, the negative strength. 

Here are 5 strategies you start implementing today:

 

  • Make positive concepts accessible. Although your brain is a part of you, it works against you at times. It prefers to go to whatever is familiar and certain-as it requires less energy and effort. To undo this, make positive concepts seem more familiar and accessible by scattering simple pleasures throughout your day. Having a positive word of the day, treat yourself to your favorite cup of coffee, or watch your "guilty pleasure" TV shows.  These small doses of positivity help your brain counteract its natural negativity—making it easier to access throughout the day.

 

 

  • Practice mindfulness. One of the best ways to overcome negative thoughts is to identify them and recognize them when they occur. To do this, you need to be present in the moment rather than thinking about the future or dwelling on the past. Notice and label the feelings and thoughts that arise. When you notice a negative thought, simply label it as "negative thought", or "unhelpful thought". Doing so creates a separation between you and the unpleasant thoughts that arise. 

 

 

  • Visualize positivity. When you notice your mind flooding with negative thoughts, stop and visualize something positive. This can be your favorite place, people, foods, or things. Indulge all of your senses as if you were experiencing these things; your brain can't tell the difference between what's real and what's imagined. 

 

 

  • Savor the positive. It's undeniable that we take things for granted. The next time you experience a joyful moment, take some time to enjoy it. Fully engage yourself in the sensations, pleasant thoughts, and bright emotions that you feel.

 

 

  • Take action. One of the most effective ways to start feeling more positive is to start acting in positive ways. The brain is motivated by action, not words. Start by doing something that makes you feel good-like spending time with friends, practicing an instrument, or playing with your dog. If you feel unmotivated to try, start by setting a timer for 2 minutes. You can stop when time's up, but your mind will likely want to keep going. 

 

Moving forward

We all feel negatively from time to time. When we find ourselves getting stuck, it's helpful to recognize why we might be doing so. We may be naturally wired to direct our attention to the negative, but it's possible to adopt more positive frames of reference and boost our well-being.

 

Pregnancy can be a joyful experience- and a stressful one. Research suggests that 1 in 7 women experience symptoms of depression throughout their pregnancy. While you may be more familiar with mental health issues following a pregnancy, experiencing periods of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness throughout this period of time is relatively common.  

Antepartum depression

Also known as prenatal depression, antepartum depression is defined by similar major depressive disorder or clinical depression symptoms. Difficulty sleeping, low energy, changes in appetite are expected throughout pregnancy. Women who are experiencing these symptoms for the first time may feel unsure whether this is normal and may be reluctant to address them with their healthcare providers as a result.

On the other hand, a woman's physical health tends to be the focus throughout her pregnancy rather than her mental health. Physicians may attribute your symptoms to your pregnancy rather than antepartum depression. 

In addition to these barriers, our society believes that being pregnant is the happiest period of a woman's life. Surging hormones combined with stress, anxiety, and pressure to feel endlessly optimistic can affect any woman's emotional state during pregnancy.

Signs of antepartum depression

Antepartum means "before childbirth" and only happens throughout pregnancy. With all of the expected changes that occur throughout pregnancy, you may not always recognize the symptoms of antepartum depression. A few indications may look like the following:

  • Increased anxiety in general or about your baby
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of dreadfulness
  • Feeling unprepared or inadequate about parenthood. 
  • A lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • A lack of motivation to take care of yourself
  • Poor adherence to prenatal care
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol, or drug use.
  • Not gaining enough weight.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide

 

It's important to note that your symptoms may be different from other women. Depending on your symptoms' severity, treatment options can range from psychotherapy, support groups, or medication. 

Treatment during pregnancy

If you're experiencing any symptoms of antepartum depression, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Your prenatal care, primary care, and mental health provider can communicate with one another to ensure that you and your baby receive quality care. There are safe and effective ways to treat and manage the symptoms of depression, so contact one of your providers today. Asking for help is the first step to finding ways to feel better and enjoy this incredible time in your life.

“Narcissist” is a term we tend to throw around to describe a person that’s overly vain, arrogant, and selfish. The actual personality disorder is much more profound and can be devastating to experience within a relationship.

The most common traits are entitlement, grandiosity, and dismissiveness. Someone with a narcissistic personality tends to grow jealous and resentful when others are in the spotlight and have outrageous expectations for how their needs should be met. 

If any of this sounds familiar, read on to learn about how to recognize these traits in your relationship:

 

  • They "love bomb" you. One of the most effective ways of manipulation, love bombing, is the practice of showering a person with excessive affection and attention to gain control or significantly influence their behavior. The love bomber's attention might feel good. Still, in particular, narcissists are known for their skills at manipulation. They may use praise, charm, and attention as means to appear as if they're the perfect partner.  Narcissists move swiftly to avoid exposure, so the more someone tries to flatter you into obedience, their motives should be explored more diligently.

 

  • They feed off your compliments. They may come off as overly confident, but someone with NPD lacks self-esteem. They need a lot of praise. If they don't get it from you, they'll get it from wherever they can. That's why they're continually looking at you to tell them how great they are. Narcissists feed off of empathetic people. They rely on them to supply their sense of self-worth. Confident people won't rely on you or other people to feel good about themselves.

 

  • They lack empathy. Lack of understanding, or the ability to feel how another person is feeling, is one of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist. Narcissists cannot validate and understand you. They don't understand the concept of feelings and is often the reason why their relationships fail. 

 

  • They gaslight you. A form of manipulation and emotional abuse, gaslighting is a hallmark of narcissism. Narcissists may blatantly lie, falsely accuse others, and make you feel like you're crazy.

Signs of gaslighting include the following:

  • You feel more anxious and less confident.
  • You question if you're too high-strung or sensitive.
  • You feel like you're always in the wrong.
  • You start to question yourself. 
  • You're often apologizing.
  • You make justifications for your partner's behavior.

Narcissists flourish off of power and being worshipped, so they use manipulation tactics to get you to do just that.

  • They’re never wrong. Arguing with a narcissist feels impossible because they think they’re always right. Narcissists refuse to compromise or take any responsibility because they rarely, if ever, think they're wrong. 

Getting help

Remember, these signs aren’t meant to diagnose your partner. It's meant to outline unacceptable behaviors and help you identify if your partner's actions are a sign of NPD.

If you determine you are struggling in your relationship, contact us today to learn more about how you can cope. 

 

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

Contact Information

Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

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Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!