What the Heck is Social Anxiety?

When I think about social anxiety, I imagine the student that is afraid to engage in any extracurricular activities in school, the adult that is afraid to speak up at work during a team meeting, the person that doesn’t leave home much to avoid crowds, or the kid that cries when it is time to go to school. On their own, these situations do not appear to be particularly restrictive, but what happens when they interfere with a person’s day-to-day functioning?

For example, a student who is afraid to participate in any extracurricular activities realizes that they have missed out on opportunities to make friends by not participating in these activities, and as a result, they are frequently lonely. This can eventually lead to this student experiencing a depressed mood in addition to the anxiety they already have. Depression causes the student to withdraw socially as well, and in order to avoid further discomfort, this student decides to discontinue attendance at school. This is how social anxiety develops. People begin to limit their day-to-day functioning in an effort to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety.

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety, also called social phobia, is excessive fear and avoidance of being socially embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected. In order to be diagnosed with social anxiety, you must have displayed the symptoms for at least 6 months. The feelings and emotional symptoms are:

  • Excessive Avoiding Fearful Situations
  • Hypersensitive to Negative Evaluations
  • Anxiety
  • Embarrassment, Shame, or Humiliation
  • Loneliness
  • Acting or Feeling Foolish
  • Feeling Panicky or Having a Panic Attack
  • Frustration or Anger
  • Fatigue

Here is a list of some physical and cognitive symptoms:

  • Stomach Ache
  • Rapid Heart Beat
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Blushing
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth or Throat
  • Trembling
  • Trouble Swallowing
  • Muscle Twitches
  • Headache
  • Grinding Teeth
  • Mind Goes Blank
  • Stumbling Over Words
  • Racing Thoughts
  • Poor Concentration
  • Easily Distracted
  • Uncoordinated
  • Self-Criticism
  • Tightness in Chest
  • Hyperventilating
  • Crying
  • Feeling Light-Headed

With social anxiety, a person will go to great lengths to avoid feared situations. They may also understand their anxiety response is excessive or unreasonable, but it does not change how they feel. Due to the fear of being judged by others, people with social anxiety find it difficult to not see those feared situations as real-life threats.

Situations That May Trigger Social Anxiety

Here is a list of potential situations a person with social anxiety may be afraid of:

  • Speaking in Public
  • Being Made the Center of Attention
  • Speaking to People in Authority Positions
  • Asking for Help
  • Being in a Group Setting
  • Taking or Making Phone Calls
  • A Place Where They are Expected to Perform
  • Interviewing
  • Being Looked at By Others
  • Any Situation Where A Person Feels Noticed, Observed, or Scrutinized
  • Interacting With Unfamiliar People
  • Making Eye Contact
  • Eating in Front of Others
  • Entering a Room When People Are Already Seated
  • Feeling as if People Notice Your Anxiety
  • Going to Parties
  • Inviting People to Home
  • Using Public Toilets
  • Checking Out at a Store
  • Taking a Class
  • Going to Work or School

What Causes Social Anxiety?

Of course, like any other psychological disorder, what may cause social anxiety has many different risk factors.

Previous situations where a person felt humiliated, embarrassed, or fearful: When a person feels humiliated, embarrassed, and fearful often times they will create a better response for next time or create a strategy to avoid that from happening again. People with social anxiety focus more on avoiding situations they believe may cause them to feel humiliated, embarrassed, and fearful.

Thinking patterns, believing situations will go badly: Having the belief that a situation will go badly will increase the likelihood that it will. What we believe is our reality and because of that reality, people with social anxiety focus on reinforcing their beliefs in feared social situations. If a person thinks “everyone will look at me and think I’m weird when I come to class late” when they arrive to class and people are looking at them enter the room, they are more likely to believe it is because others are thinking negatively about them.

Not knowing how to cope with a negative evaluation: Sometimes people do not know how to approach a situation in which they felt negatively evaluated. This is especially difficult for someone who already has insecurities about what is being criticized. Some people will internalize and believe those negative evaluations just because someone else said it.

Genetics: People who have siblings or parents who suffer from social anxiety are more likely to develop social anxiety. Sometimes people with social anxiety display hyperactivity in the amygdala and limbic regions of the brain. Such people are also found to have low levels of brain chemical substances such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and glutamate.

Trauma and bad experiences: Childhood trauma and stressful life events can have an impact on the development of social anxiety disorder. Some examples of these experiences are:

  • Physical, Sexual, or Emotional Abuse
  • A parent’s death or abandonment
  • Stress in the mother during pregnancy or infancy
  • Peer bullying and teasing
  • Divorce, unhealthy family dynamics, domestic violence

Life demands: Sometimes people have difficulty keeping up with life demands, for example, work, school, or anywhere where they are expected to perform. They may feel more pressure to not mess up and to display a lack of performance.

Stress: Stress refers to the present-day life problems that may be affecting a person.

How to Cope with Social Anxiety?

Setting aside time to worry: Make a decision to not worry all day. Give yourself time to worry, acknowledge your feelings, and implement some coping skills. When that time is up, tell yourself you will focus on other things for now and come back to worry later. You can always revisit it if you need to.

Be willing to experience discomfort: This is a big one! This is what anxiety, in a nutshell: fear of experiencing discomfort. If you practice becoming more accepting of discomfort, you are more likely to see discomfort as something that doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you would like to do.

Believing your anxiety triggers can be managed: Simply believing your anxiety triggers can be managed is a step close to anxiety relief. If you believe your anxiety triggers can be managed, this helps boost confidence in your abilities and promote self-esteem.

Developing healthy thoughts: Learning how to develop new thoughts about social situations and about yourself is a good way to manage your anxiety.

Focus more on the external than the internal in social situations: Instead of being self-conscious and focusing on how you are presenting yourself in a social situation, focus on what’s going on around you.

Decrease avoidance behaviors that keep you from being social: Instead of avoiding a feared situation, try to feel the fear and be social anyway.

Realizing anxiety is natural: Anxiety is a natural emotion.

Breathing anxiety away through deep breathing: Deep breathing can help control anxiety. Controlled breathing helps to decrease anxiety by helping the body relax.

There is always more to learn about social anxiety disorder. This information is just basic knowledge. If you would like to know more, you can start by visiting Mental Health America and the Social Anxiety Association.

Comment below! What did you learn? Or what can you add to this topic? I appreciate your input and hope that it helps others as well.

The content of this site is for informational and educational purposes only. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Read the full disclaimer HERE.

Signs You Are Improving In Therapy

As for clients I’ve done therapy with, there’s always a stage where clients often feel down on themselves about not making the progress they’ve hoped for.

Where they want to be versus they are, seemed to be so far and wide. They didn’t feel any closer to where they wanted to be after having a few sessions. People often get so frustrated with the process that their growth and small successes are not acknowledged.

Therapy is not a quick fix. Many people have some emotional unpacking to do that they have been carrying since childhood. There is no time frame on self-improvement and healing. It may involve months or years of personal development and therapy with a helping professional. As we know it, personal development overall is a lifetime journey.

Often times therapist see the progress before their clients do. That is why it’s so important for me to tell my clients where I see progress during each session. The client’s thoughts maybe clouded by anxiety, overthinking, over analyzing, and focusing on past and present problems.

It may also be the case that a person might be experiencing more emotional exhaustion from initial therapy sessions; again due to emotional unpacking. As a therapist, I try to remind them of this process and of their little successes. If you would like to know more, here are some early on signs a person is improving in therapy.

Increased Awareness

You are noticing more of your behaviors, your thinking pattern, what you think about, how you feel, and how to react to your thoughts. It’s like you are seeing yourself for the first time from another point of view. For example, you may notice you are feeling anxious right before work or more depressed when browsing through social media, and in turn you get negative thoughts about yourself and avoid socializing with people.

Why is increased awareness so important? Once you begin to see your own patterns of how your thoughts, feelings, and behavior are connected, you can then work towards changing them.

Learning and Implementing Coping Skills

Sometimes people expect to hit the ground running after learning a new coping skills. However, learning a new coping skills and implementing then daily is the same as learning a new habit. It takes consistency and effort to continue implementing until you see change.

It’s like practicing for a sport. You can not expect to advance without practice. You may even feel the practice is not worth it in the beginning. It may feel like another overwhelming chore for you to complete. Nevertheless, when you start to see results, it all feels worth it. I see progress in clients when they take what they have learned in therapy and try to implement it in their daily life, even if it’s not yielding results yet.

Setting Boundaries

Image my surprise when I start to see client’s setting boundaries with work, family, friends, partners, their children, and in other areas of their life. This is actually one of the improvements I normally see first. Clients begin to see where they need to set limits and begin to see boundaries right away.

For example, a client may notice spending too much time at work is causing their feelings of overwhelm and decide they will no longer do overtime hours. As a therapist, I affirmed and reinforce these decisions and always point out the client how setting boundaries helps increase their mental health.

Increased Self-Care

When client’s start to focus more on self-care, I know they are making progress. It has been scientifically proven that engaging in a self-care routine decreases or removes anxiety and depression, reduces tension, improves attention, minimizes frustration and anger, enhances satisfaction, improves energy, and more.

For example, one person may decide to drink a cup of tea in the mornings to increase their alertness. Someone else may decide to focus on getting 8 hours of sleep at night to increase their productivity through the day and as a tool for stress management. It could also be as simple as deciding to listen to positive podcast during the day to increase their mood. Engaging in self-care is important to improving and maintaining mental health.

Continuing Therapy

When client’s continue therapy without feeling like they are making progress, that lets a therapist know they are all in. They know they need the help and are committed to sticking to it until they see the results. For instance, it’s like losing weight; you may not see any weight loss in the first couple of week, but if you stick to it 6 months to a year, the progress will be undeniable. Also, others may notice the changes in your health before you do. Alike, going to therapy will also need commitment and patience and others may notice your progress before you do.

Increased awareness of your current issues, implementing coping skills, setting boundaries, engaging in more self-care, and continuing therapy are some of the easiest ways to spot progress in therapy early on. Celebrate the small steps and achievements in your journey to better mental health. Every step is important in improving your mental health.

Comment below! I would love to get some comments on how you all have notice your improvements early on while attending therapy or it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on how this article was helpful to you. Wishing you self-care! Comment below!

Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving: Free CBT Worksheet

I have always felt drawn to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a psychotherapist because it involves changing perceptions. So in other words, for me that meant many people could benefit from CBT techniques.

During my work with community mental health, I quickly learned about the lack of resources plaguing our communities. Sometimes events are completely out of our control and all we may have left is our perception and the story we tell ourselves about what has happened and what it means to us now.

CBT to me intends to help you learn how to adapt to their circumstances, but in a way that is helpful and productive. That does not mean that your situation is not fair or difficult to live with; it just means that you have found a way to live with your surroundings until opportunities of change present themselves. So in other words, “hold on, change is coming”.

Cognitive behavior therapy has three main components; thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

The main focus of CBT is:
• To increase awareness of maladaptive patterns of thinking and acting out our feelings.
• To decrease of problematic symptoms in their frequency and intensity.
• To increase one’s ability to cope and to maintain their coping skills.
• And to prevent relapse back into maladaptive patterns.

So lets take a look at what these main components of CBT look like.


Here is where you begin notice your negative thought pattern. Let’s say you made a mistake with a task that is really important to you and your future. What are you are your automatic thoughts? What are you saying to yourself? What thoughts come flooding through you mind?

Pessimistic and Counterproductive Thoughts

“I am so stupid because I always make mistakes.”

Neutral and Productive Thoughts; Helpful in Overall Self-Acceptance

I sometimes make mistakes and I learn from them as well.”

Optimistic and Highly Productive Thoughts

My mistakes are apart of life and a sign I that am growing as a person.”

It’s not to say that mistakes does not cause disappointment. However, focusing on your thought process and redirecting yourself can help decrease the intensity in uncomfortable emotions. It can be helpful with being more resilient when situations do not go as expected.


Thoughts are not emotions. However, what you think is generally what you feel.

So if a person thinks “I am so stupid because I always make mistakes” in response to making a mistake, how is this person likely to feel? If it doesn’t sound good, it’s probably not going to make the person feel good either. This person may feel worthless, ashamed, and frustrated.

So let’s say this person take a neutral stance with the thought, “I sometimes make mistakes and I learn from them as well.” It is highly likely this person may initially feel sad but redirect themselves and feel hopeful about their future.

If a person took a positive stance and stated “My mistakes are apart of life and a sign that I am growing as a person“, this person would likely feel proud, powerful, and optimistic.


Because of your thoughts and feelings, how did you choose to act them out?

So if a person thinks “I am so stupid because I always make mistakes” and feels worthless, ashamed, and frustrated, how is that person likely to behave? Would they try new want to things? Would they fear failure? What does their confidence look like? This person would likely avoid making important decisions and trying new things in fear that they would make mistakes.

The person with a neutral stance thinking “I sometimes make mistakes and I learn from them as well” is likely to try again. Because this person was initially sad but was able to redirect themselves and feel hopeful about the future, they were able to bounce back. They may have some anxiety due to the past, but this person uses their mistakes as lessons and understands that with those lessons they will one day try again.

If a person took a positive stance with “My mistakes are apart of life and a sign that I am growing as a person“, and felt feel proud, powerful, and optimistic, this person would likely go full speed ahead towards their goals and ambitions. This person practices self-acceptance and does not see their mistakes as failures. This person is likely to engage in activities without fear and takes advantage of upcoming opportunities.

Super Tip and Takeway

Here is the super tip; you don’t have to react to your thoughts. It is your brains job to try and problem solve and protect your from potential harm. However, sometimes what the brain might perceive as threatening or dangerous may not be harmful to you in anyway at all. Your brain may tell you to not try again to avoid making mistakes in order to protect you and to protect your feelings, but just because you think it, that doesn’t mean that it is true. It’s just your mind trying to be protective.

This is when you have to take extra steps to increase your awareness of your thought pattern through Cognitive Defusion. Cognitive defusion is letting thoughts come and go without reacting to them or holding on to them. It is helpful to practice desensitizing your anxiety response to negative thinking patterns through techniques like mindfulness and mediation.

I hope you have gained a little insight on how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected. Comment below! Tell us if you find CBT helpful or what works better for you.

Here is a free CBT worksheet that focuses on increasing your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for anyone who would find it helpful.

Being Present For Those In Need

Please, do not ignore someone who comes to you for help. They may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issues and just want to feel safe. Some people fear judgment and not being taken seriously.

Trust me, if they have reached out to you, they either believe you will try to help them or their need for help is greater than your lack of understanding.

But guess what? You do not have to understand a person’s mental health issues to JUST BE PRESENT with them.

They are likely not looking for you to solve or fix their problems. It is actually alright if you do not understand. But can you at least recognize whatever they are going through, they are struggling? Some people find comfort in knowing that someone knows they are suffering and that person cares about their well-being.

Just ask, what can I do to help? Someone may just want you to listen to them express themselves. Another person may find it helpful for you to just sit in their presence so they don’t feel alone. Some people like distraction and would love to play a game or watch TV with someone. Some may just want a hug; you never know until you ask.

Depression and anxiety have moments of despair. Reaching out to someone during an episode is an nonverbal action that states “I don’t trust myself right now, stay with me, help me remain calm. Just be here with me so I know I am not alone in this”.

Think about how horrible someone might feel if they reached out and didn’t get a response, felt judged, or felt not taken seriously. This might reinforce their negative thoughts like “nobody cares” and cause them to fall deeper into depression.

Even if a person in need does not reach out, what’s wrong with asking “are you okay”? Is something wrong? Can I help you? Are you willing to help someone in need who you don’t even know or who doesn’t have the courage the reach out first. Just because a person does not ask doesn’t mean they do not need help. Many people with mental health issues worry about being a burden to others.

It reminds me of Kevin Hines, the man who survived a suicide jump from the golden gate bridge. In his story before attempting to die by suicide, he rode the bus down to the bridge. He talks about how he was crying his eyes out and hope one individual on the bus would help him. He says that everyone was in their own world. Even the bus driver told him to hurry and get off because he had somewhere to be. I always wonder what difference a smiling face and a kind voice would have made just by asking him if he was okay.

Depression and anxiety are sometimes like grief, you just can’t shake it. It’s like a wave is coming and you sitting on the shore. It’s there and it’s running it’s a course. Sometimes people just need to know they are safe and to reminded they are still their beautiful selves in spite of their emotions and their struggles. Support is an important part of their recovery.

Depression and anxiety might make you feel low, but it’s doesn’t change who you are. So be the person who says I will sit with you and hold your hand until it’s over. Don’t be afraid”.

Be the person to take a chance and reach out when you need to. Some people may find it difficult to just be present, but it’s perfectly okay to let them know how to be there for you in your time of need.

What ways have you shown someone you are there for them during their time of need. Give us some ideas. Comment Below!

Self-Acceptance: Are you denying yourself?

Self-acceptance is about accepting yourself for who you are and the way you are.

It’s easy to love and appreciate what you perceive as “good” about yourself. However, self-acceptance includes accepting your past, your mistakes, your failures, and all else that you might feel ashamed or disappointed.

Self-acceptance is giving yourself love unconditional love regardless of what happens in your life.

When you deny yourself and disown your feelings, your self-worth decreases as well. This may cause you to feel embarrassed, ashamed, tainted, broken, and unloved. You take away your right to grieve your pain and to properly heal by chastising yourself for having those feelings and your past experiences.

Why do you do this yourself?

It could be because someone else has done it to you in the past. Maybe you learned it as a child from a dysfunctional family, childhood illness, childhood abuse, household moves, family changes, death in the family, and so on. Children relationships with parents have a big impact on their self-esteem and how they cope with their problems as an adult.

Parents can not give what they do not have. So, if your parents didn’t have good coping strategies, problem-solving skills, emotional regulation, good self-esteem, chances are you would have had to learn all of that on your own as an adult.

So now you are an adult and you have to learn to re-parent yourself. You have to give yourself all the things you didn’t get that you needed as a child. You have to turn into that loving unconditional parent that helps you learn the tools you need to cope with your problems.

Self-acceptance includes recognizing areas you may need improvement and not hating yourself for it. Needing improvement doesn’t equal less than. If you are more accepting of yourself, you are less afraid to be vulnerable with yourself and others.

If you are more accepting of who you are:

  • You will feel more confident in yourself without the need for approval from others.
  • You would trust your actions and reactions.
  • You would be open to learning new things and self-discovery.
  • You would make decisions with more confidence instead of worrying about messing up or making a mistake.
  • You would encourage and praise yourself more for just trying even if you failed.
  • You will see every experience as something you could learn from or something that helped you have a greater awareness of self.
  • You would feel confident about what you have and what you have already accomplished.
  • You will allow yourself to grieve things that have caused you pain.
  • You will nurture yourself instead of scolding yourself.
  • You will practice self-forgiveness and let go of things you can not control.
  • You will believe you are enough.
  • You will validate and work to meet your own needs.

Are you beginning to see how you limit and deny yourself just by what you think about yourself? Just imaging if you were more kind and accepting of yourself. What could you accomplish in your life? What could you finally do since not accepting yourself is no longer holding you back?

How can you be more accepting of yourself? Comment below and let’s share ideas!

Sunshine Blogger Award

“The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer-recognition award, where bloggers can nominate other bloggers who are super creative, inspire them to grow, and bring positivity to the blogging community.”

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Caz at Mental health 360°. How nice of her! Thank you Caz!

Caz uses her personal and professional experiences to help raise mental health awareness. She has numerous insightful articles about a variety of mental health topics. Caz has followed this blog and has contributed some of her knowledge and experience as well. Caz’s hopes others can take something positive from her blogging and there is plenty positive to enjoy.


The guildlines for the sunshine blogger aware are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions.
  4. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  5. List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Questions From Caz:

  1. Are you more of a morning person or an evening person?  I am definitely an evening/night person. I get my most creative moments at night. I normally have more energy at night and feel more alert. Everything kind of slows down at night and I have less distractions.
  2. What genres do you like to read or watch?  I am a huge science fiction and fantasy fan when it comes to my TV shows and movies. When it comes to reading and podcast, I love to listen to anything that is motivating and inspiring. I often read spiritual and self-help books.
  3. What spices do you like? I enjoy using turmeric and not spice my foods. I take turmeric daily as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Turmeric has the ability to stimulate the release serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Taking curcumin may address anxiety and depression and improve an individual’s emotional well-being.
  4. What kind of food makes you feel at home? Soul food makes me feel at home. As a African American and as a part of Black culture, south food is down-home cooking that’s been passed down through many generations, with its roots in the rural South. My plate would consist of collard greens, rice, gravy, macaroni pie, yams, dressing, fried chicken, and cranberry sauce.
  5. What do you enjoy about blogging? I like the exchange. I like to talk about what I know or have experience with and have others to do the same. I have always enjoyed learning from others and feel that other’s life experiences help me to learn more about myself as well.
  6. What places do you feel most at ease? In my own space. My room is my safe space and my everything else in between. My room the environment that I can depend on to allow me to relax and recharge. On second thought, the beach does have a calming effect on me as well.
  7. If expenses were no object, would you want to live in the same place all your life or move often? I would want to live in the same place but travel when I felt like it. I like the idea of having a home and a place to come back to. It’s something comforting about having a constant in your life.
  8. What games do you like to play? I love to play video games. I am a PC and xbox player w/keyboard and mouse. I love first person shooter games, but that is new. My background is in play massive multiplayer online role playing games.
  9. What is a healthy habit you have? Drinking water, water, water. Sometimes I do not reach my daily goal, but I really enjoy drinking water. I try to remember to bless my water and visualize it healing my body.
  10. What helps you navigate? My inner guidance system and my intuition. I try to focus on trusting myself to know myself.
  11. What do you think of clouds? I think clouds are beautiful and are a free as I would like to be.

My Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
  2. What helps you to be your authentic self?
  3. What is one thing you want to do but have not done it yet?
  4. What will be your impact 100 years from now?
  5. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
  6. What makes you lose track of time?
  7. What is something in the past you accomplished and feel proud of?
  8. What motivates you and helps you manage your mental health?
  9. What is the best compliment you ever received?
  10. What are 5 positive aspects of yourself?
  11. What made you decide to be a blogger?

I have not yet to nominate anyone, but would like to update this blog article as time goes on with people who would like to participate. I am new to the blogging world and the person I would nominate, just nominated me.

I want to nominate people I feel who advocate and raise awareness about little known issues in the mental health community.

If you would like to participate, let me know.

Comment below and share you site!

Depressed For No Reason

I’ve heard clients say, “I don’t really have a reason to be depressed” or “my family doesn’t think I have anything to be depressed about”.

I’ve heard family utter “they can’t be depressed, they have everything they need” or “they can’t be depressed about that, that was so long ago”. I have even heard “they might be keeping something from me”.

Contrary to popular belief, negative thoughts about circumstances are not always the root of depression.

Now it can get tricky. You can think just because you have negative thoughts, you have somehow thought your way into a depression. This might be the case for some people.

It’s true. Some people have triggers like a bad break up, death of a loved one, work stress, divorce, or loss of a job. Negative thoughts can cause a physical reaction and emotional response within you. Good thoughts create good neurons and bad thoughts create bad neurons. So you get what I’m saying here?

However, others have a chemical imbalance in the body that can bring about a depressed mood and depressed thinking. This causes depression as well as other psychological disorders.

These clients are easy for me to spot. Once I ask them to explore some reasons they might be depressed and they can’t come up with any. They do not seem to have a trigger. It’s just crippling depression that plagues their daily lives for no significant reason.

They may focus on their symptoms of low energy, low motivation, low self-esteem, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness. In other words, “I just don’t feel good and I don’t why”.

How do you overcome this kind of depression?

Sometimes overcoming depression can come down to finding the right medication to help improve your brain chemistry, eating better nutrition, and getting daily exercise. It takes an integrative effort to help improve.

This is why you see some helping professionals focusing on treating symptoms before focusing on the causes.

It is difficult to think positive and remain positive when you have a chemical imbalance because the neurotransmitters and hormones you need to help improve your mood are low or deficient.

It would be beneficial to not focus on why you are depressed, but what can you try to help improve your mood. Eventually, you may find out what you were missing that you needed.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the root cause before taking action to remedy the situation. So going back to the basics of self-care is always a good way to start.

If you ever felt depressed for no reason, what did you do to help improve your mood? Comment below and help others find clarity!

Is it right to leave my relationship?

My mother told me something that always stuck with me.

She said…

“You don’t have to wait until it gets bad to break up. If you are unhappy, you should be the first to make the decision to call things off.”

From this very moment I understood that she was saying all that mattered was my happiness and if I was not happy, I had all the right to leave a relationship that was no longer meeting my needs. I didn’t have to have any other reason but that.

I used to tell myself that I have invested so much and that is enough to stay where I didn’t feel happy.

It was not healthy for me to make excuses why I had to stay, especially at the expense of my feelings so that someone else could be happy.

It’s not about whose fault it is or who is to blame.

This does not make you wrong for wanting to break up and this does not make your partner wrong for wanting to stay in the relationship.

Obviously, there is something that you are wanting out of the relationship that you are not getting and is causing you to question staying in this committed relationship.

I understand that it is up to everyone to find happiness within themselves.

But, if you feel that this relationship is not giving you what to expect from a relationship and you are not getting your needs met, you are validated in your feelings. And should not question yourself.

If you are willing to talk to your partner and try to work on your relationship, that’s good too. It’s up to you what you decide to do.

I used to ask my clients “can you see this person holding your hand on your death bed”? Most would say “no”. That gave me the insight I needed to confirm they do not feel emotionally supported.

So ask yourself, am I happy in this relationship? Am I willing to continue with this relationship for the rest of my life?

You have to prioritize yourself. You only have one life to live, so live it well with who you feel you should be with or welcome the single life.

How did you know it was time to end a relationship? Comment below and help someone else evaluate their situation.

Struggles With Exercise

To all my people who struggle with exercise, this talk is for you and me. Exercising is something I have struggled with all of my life.

I’ve had periods where I engage in a great exercise routine 4-6 days a week for an 1 hour or more for weight loss. I’ve also had times where I was exercising 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour. However, I have never had a consistent regimen that lasted over a year.

I know one thing for sure though, I’ve always felt better when I had a consistent regimen no matter how much exercise it was, as long as I was active.

There is evidence that exercise is beneficial for mental health; it reduces anxiety, depression, and negative mood, and improves self‐esteem and cognitive functioning.1

Struggling with my own bouts of stress, life transitions, hormonal issues and burnout, I would always ended up not exercising. Almost as if the feelings of being overwhelmed zapped me of energy. Exercising would look so displeasing and discouraging.

I roll my eyes at the people who talk about laziness in response to a lack of exercise regimen, but if you been there, you know it’s not about laziness. It’s about being completely overwhelm with life that any task SEEMS impossible. This is what depression is like for some people, complete overwhelm with daily task.

I always used to say to my client’s “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Even though I know this too be true, I still have difficulty maintaining and have fought hard to find ways around it. This helps me to understand my client’s struggle as well.

I have brought so many exercise videos, made workout playlist on youtube, have home workout equipment, have a membership to the gym, have a good walking area where I live, and I still find it hard to exercise due to fatigue.

I think part of the problem is believing that one day I would get the energy to start back up again. This is not true for me. The energy never comes. I always feel “too tired” to exercise.

I think where real change begin is setting small goals and tricking your mind in to believing that you can easily achieve it.

For instance, it would be easier to convince myself that listening to 1-3 of my favorite songs and dancing my life away than it would for me to tell myself to leave the house and go for a walk at the park.

When I think about going for the park for a walk, I begin to think about the whole process before I even get there (putting on workout clothes, charging my phone, driving in traffic and etc). Before I know it, the walk at the park appears overwhelming because of all the steps.

However, dancing at home in front of the TV sounds doable. I can even keep on the same clothes I’ve had on all day. I don’t have to drive. I don’t have to look presentable and I get to work on my dance moves.

You also have to learn your body. If you are more energetic in evenings or at night, exercise at night. If you find that you have more energy in the morning, try to get a workout in then. Find your sweet spot for exercise. Find that time of the day where it’s more likely you will try to be more active.

There is this one lady on YouTube I absolutely love. Her name is Leslie Sansone. She has 1 mile walking video for about 15 minutes you can do at home. She also has some videos that are 30-45 minutes. But just imagine, if all you did was walk 1 mile a day for 15 minutes in your living room. This could be an easy start for anyone.

Also, never underestimate the power of chores and errands to help you stay active. If you don’t see yourself exercising, get up and starting cleaning or go window shopping for an hour or two. Just do anything to foster movement and being active.

If nothing else, you will at least thank yourself for achieving something and feel better for getting out of your head and focusing on something else.

Start by making a commitment to just do something. You decide! But the goal is to be active and I know you can do it. I am cheering for you as I cheer for myself! We can do this!

Anyone have any good tips on overcoming exercise struggles? Comment below? Some people who find it difficult need encouragement. Let’s show them how to start smart and strong!


1. Callaghan P.. Exercise: a neglected intervention in mental health care? Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing. 2004;11:476–483. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Racial Bias: A Black Therapist Experience

As a black therapist and even as a client I have experienced racial bias within the counseling profession.

Despite the emphasis on diversity that is part of most counselors’ and psychiatrists’ training, I continue to experience racial bias in my field.

I have witnessed other helping professionals reinforce the stigma associated with mental health and race with their lack of cultural competence.

I have felt undervalued, dismissed, disrespected, and defeated.

Racism has affected my ability to want to get help for myself as well as advocating for my all clients, in fear that I will not be heard or understood.

I feel no matter what comes out of my mouth, my race discredits me in this society as helping professional and as a woman of color needing help with my own mental health issues.

Mental health comes with its own stigma and adding race as a factor in treatment decreases the likelihood that person will get the help they need.

I’ve seen how my clients have been dismissed by coworkers just because they were black or a person of color. Also in other discriminating and unjust ways as well.

Their stories were mimicked, shamed, and dismissed because of the color of their skin and their mental health status.

I’ve been called “angry” by my Caucasian therapist during my own therapy session as a client because I did not agree with a Caucasian psychiatrist who dismissed me, silenced me, and did not care to collaborate on my treatment.

I was told my “anger” and resistance was stopping me from getting the treatment I was being offered. My feelings of disappointment, frustration, and helplessness were not validated.

Imagine being afraid to seek help because you are used to not getting it.

Racial misdiagnosing and being treated by helping professionals with lack of knowledge and cultural competence are common for people of color.

How can you treat someone who you do not respect their beliefs, norms, values, or language and other cultural characteristics?

To all helping professionals out there, you have to earn our trust by learning how to diagnose and treat the needs of people of color.

This is why I do what I do!

For all the people out there who feel helpless and defeated and as if no one understands.

I understand you!

For all the people who feel dismissed and overlooked when seeking help.

I see you!

For all the people who feel undervalued and disrespected when advocating for yourself and others.

I am you!

And, I will not give up on myself and others who are in need.

I will continue to focus on practicing, encouraging, and empowering others to self-manage and to seek professional help by competent and empathetic helping professionals if needed.

Black lives matter and so does mine!

Have you been mistreated and misdiagnosed because of your race? Or have you witnessed it happening to someone else? Comment below!