Therapist’s Advice For Gay Men Who Couldn’t Come Out To Parents

As an avid supporter of the LGBTQ community, I had always had a soft spot for gay men or women who reached out to me to get mental help. Although many of them – especially the gay guys – were universally known to be the lives of various parties, it did not always reflect how they felt deep inside.

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“I Do Not Want To Be Disowned” – Sam 

Sam came from a family of real cowboys in Texas. He grew up shepherding cows and tackling horses on their farm with his brothers. His father, a typical macho man, told them early that there were no “flimsy guys” in the clan.

Unfortunately, Sam was only 16 years old when he doubted his gender preference. He had been sending flowers to cute girls at school, but he had also been taking an interest in some guys, albeit secretly. Sam went back and forth in his head for years until John, one of his schoolmates, kissed him under the bleachers out of the blue.

That’s when Sam knew that he preferred men over women. He went on to date John, but only his closest friends knew about it. If they wanted to go on a date, they had to sneak to the next city or go to one of his friends’ houses, where the parents were more open-minded.

Sam vividly remembered the day he found the courage to tell his dad about John. They were already in college at the time – about to have careers of their own – so Sam thought he should come out of the closet. However, his dad merely ordered him to straighten up if Sam wanted to see his family again.

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That statement made Sam chicken out. He did not split with John, but he decided to keep their relationship a secret. John agreed with it, but Sam came to me because his boyfriend wanted to settle down, and he could not decide if they should get married without his family’s blessing.

“I Do Not Want My Parents To Look At Me Differently” – Oswald 

Unlike Sam, Oswald had known he liked boys ever since he was eight years old. He was often seen in the company of girls, but that’s mere because he loved doing their makeups and braiding their hair. No one questioned his behavior in their city because the community was apparently embracing all types of equality at the time.

The thing was, young Oswald was in the car when his parents saw a couple of guys holding hands on the street. His mom was like, “Oh, look at those two best friends!” But his dad was quick to say, “No, honey, those are two gay dudes. Thank God I was not their dad; I would not have to endure the humiliation.”

Oswald’s father’s comment shocked him. He never heard his dad speak against gay people in the past, so he assumed he would be okay if it were his turn to come out. However, due to what happened, Oswald felt scared to at least hint that he was gay.

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Oswald had been carrying his secret for many years now. He practically led a double life in which he cross-dressed with his friends and stayed prim and proper in front of his parents. But he was getting tired of the double life, so he came to me for advice.

What Can You Do In Such Situations?

One harsh reality that might never go away was that people would always have opinions about a delicate matter like gender acceptance and equality. Some would be cool with gay people; others would not want to be associated with them. Sadly, the disapproval often seemed like discrimination, but that’s not always the case.

When I met Sam and Oswald separately, I said, “I understand your fears. I also know that you may not want to try coming out because of your experience. The possibility of getting disowned would always be there as well. However, the traditional idea of the family seems to be overrated at this point.

“I am not telling you to go ahead and have a devil-may-care attitude when it comes to telling the truth to your parents. But you will eventually have to make a stand and decide on what’s best for you. If coming out will make you happy, go for it. If your loved ones cannot accept you for who you are, so be it. Just focus on your happiness and try making your family realize that you are still you in the future.”

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Final Thoughts

Of course, all challenging tasks are easier said than done. I helped Sam and Oswald build up their courage and confidence since they could not – and should not – hide forever. I also taught them coping mechanisms ahead as a way of preparing them for the worst.

Luckily, the funny thing about aging was that people tend to become more accepting of others. Sam went to the farm to formally introduce John to his family. He told me that his dad did not talk much, but he did not chase them away either, so that’s a start.

As for Oswald, it turned out that he did not have to worry about anything at all. Though his parents were surprised, they said that they would always have his back.

I know that there are many more Sams and Oswalds out there. If you are reading this now, I hope you have learned a thing or two from the stories above.

I Need Counseling! My Husband Isn’t Communicating

This whole mental and emotional fiasco that I have been dealing with for the past couple of weeks has already reached its limits. I am so goddamn frustrated about everything, and all I can blame for this messed-up situation is no other than my husband. Our whole situation is uncontrollable, and still, he doesn’t seem to care. What can I do? I need help right now!

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What Happened?

That is the thing; nothing happened. It was all of a sudden that my partner began to lose all interest in communication. It is as if he entirely never wanted to keep in touch about everything in his life and that he required nobody to be around him anymore. It was all confusing because he was the type of person who would often talk about his problems whenever he felt the need for discussion. My husband has always prioritized expressing his thoughts and feelings ever since. Therefore, it was such a big surprise for me that he seemed so aloof and detached nowadays.

At first, I thought that maybe he just wanted to have some space to have some alone time. I was considerate to give my partner all the time and space he needed because that is what I thought healthy at some amount. But unfortunately, I never realized that the more I allowed my husband to be alone, the more I gave him the right to isolate himself. So now I was wondering, was it my entire fault that he turned out to be so distant to everyone, including me?

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The Struggle I Currently Deal With

Apparently, there are instances that I can pretty much say I connect with my husband, especially when we are talking about our children’s needs. But when we try and discuss current thoughts and feelings for only the two of us, he would immediately shrug off some of my concerned questions. Sadly, my husband’s actions made me think that perhaps I did something wrong that made him treat me indifferently. That is why he often responded to me negatively. It hurts a lot because I was not used to his antics like that. I wished I knew what was going on.

Unfortunately, the heartaches and confusion didn’t end there. In fact, ever since my husband began slowly moving away from me, I developed these mental illnesses that I never knew I could have. I struggled with severe anxiety and depression because I overthink a lot. I became so frustrated and worried about things that seemed too impossible to happen. I was on the brink of a mental breakdown just because I can’t seem to unravel what was going on in my husband’s head.

At times, the things between my husband and me are tolerable. There are instances that we smiled at each other and discussed a few things about the future. But then again, when the topic turned around and start to open a series of questions regarding our married life, my husband would immediately shut down whatever it is that connects to the subject. I told myself that I should get used to that because it was probably nothing to worry about. Thus, I learned to ignore those particular scenarios. Unfortunately, that was a mistake.

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The Real Problem Revealed

It was almost past midnight, and I was preparing myself to go to bed. My husband was already lying down, so I thought he was asleep. But right after I got into the bed, he woke up and straightly told me that we need to talk. My heart was racing that time, and I felt so nervous. I was not expecting to see his reaction with a serious facial expression. I calmed myself and asked him, “okay” what was it all about? Then he said, “I want a divorce,” and that hit me. It all made sense.

I replied by saying “okay” and lay down to bed. I was so certain that my partner was confused about my reaction, but I didn’t care. Because honestly, I knew it would come to that part where one of us would break the bad news sooner or later. I didn’t expect the whole situation to be, so stress relieving.

Final Thought

I never asked my husband for his reason for wanting a divorce because I find it unnecessary. His actions said it all, so there is nothing I would want to hear anymore. It is funny, though, that I didn’t feel that much emotional pain after hearing those words. I guess I managed to endure so much mental torture that the results came out normal as I expected they would due to the cold treatment. But I believed I still need to seek professional help because I want to understand my emotions. I also want to deal with communication issues that I might unnoticingly have.

 

A Counselor’s Advice On How To Communicate For Mental Health Needs

Mental health needs can sometimes bring a lot of frustrations and confusion. That is because coping requires so many different methods that are unfortunately ineffective to some extent. But when you think about it, the mere problem with many health tips and advice is those following guidelines in chronological order, which seem a little bit redundant. Unfortunately, some people prefer to give you a step-by-step procedure regardless of the unfit nature of the techniques. It creates an issue because there are too many strings that can pull the whole mental health progress, making you stick to the step-by-step arrangement despite not getting any positive results.

But in evaluation, these issues return to an original cause, which is miscommunication between you and the people trying to help. Miscommunication means the shared coping strategy is not what it is because you and the individuals around you can’t get to the root cause of it all. But don’t worry because different communication techniques can help you cross all different communication barriers and struggles.

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What You Need To Do

Assess Who You Are Talking To

When dealing with mental or emotional health needs, you often seek specific people you know would listen to your concerns. For example, there is your family, friends, colleagues, and special someone. But communicating with these people requires different methods because there are some experiences that you ought not to tell to some of them at some point. Thus, one way you can get that emotional and mental health support is to assess the people you are talking to carefully. You need to identify what kind of communicator these people feel more comfortable and confident towards your mental health condition. That way, you can effectively communicate with the right individuals who will not invalidate your thoughts and feelings and respond to your needs accordingly.

Simplify The Information 

Commonly, you get overwhelmed with so many emotions, especially when you are mentally and emotionally unstable. That could give you a hard time dealing with communication because sometimes your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors do not work together. To address that problem, you need to try and focus on simplifying the information and stick with the facts. You can start by telling people what you need from them and why you need it. Be honest about your situation as much as possible and be considerate of your condition. Of course, there will be some cases that you might doubt the straightforwardness. But the primary goal for that direct and simplified expression is to prepare yourself to handle the emotional and mental crisis.

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Write About It

There will be instances that even if you try hard, you will never get to express all your worries and fears. You will not tell anyone anything, which could cause serious emotional and mental health problems in the long run. So to address that uncomfortable feeling of unexpressed thoughts and to get rid of the communication barrier, you can consider writing it down. Writing your emotional and mental struggles is a good way to grasp more about the issue that you are going through. It would be easy for you to enumerate and focus on what needs to be given importance. You can highlight and make bullet points so you can manage your problems in detail. And when you finally want to share your crisis with someone, you are unable to say it. Personally, you can just let them read through your notes.

Do Not Settle For Less

Usually, when dealing with a mental health crisis, you tend to believe that talking to just anybody is okay. That as long as these people listen to your rants and ramblings, even if they do not genuinely care about you, can make you feel better. But that is farther from the truth. Communicating for your mental and emotional health needs requires specific people that are more than willing to understand and support you rather than listen to your whole day and ignore you afterward. You need to find the right individuals for you to safely and conveniently explain something that is genuinely difficult on your part. You need those people that will not only listen but will be there for you throughout your mental health battle. Do not settle for people who you believe are significant. But rather, choose the ones that are worth a shot.

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Final Thoughts

It is natural to feel a little worried about expressing your thoughts and feelings to people around you. You will normally have that reaction where you feel like they do not listen and care about you. If you need someone to speak to but have a hard time expressing your thoughts and feelings, try seeking professional advice. Most counselors and therapists understand and know what to do.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Speech Anxiety

 

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Anxiety, which is characterized by extreme apprehension, concern, or tension, can present with physical indications, like fast breathing, trembling, or nausea, or manifest as a certain fear, for example, fear of social events or a large audience.

Anxiety is common in patients with Parkinson’s disease, although experts quote its incidence to happen in nearly 40% of individuals with PD. Recent research reveals that anxiety could not only be a psychological response to the disease but instead may be connected to a certain neurobiological process that accompanies PD.

A number of people defined anxiety as affecting their challenge with being capable of thinking about the words to express how they feel, therefore, ‘shutting off’ during conversations. Others report their difficulty as becoming ‘tongue-tied,’ particularly when sending voice mail messages.

Rational and coordination problems can happen to anyone, especially when the body is unusually stressed. Additionally, anxiety causes alterations to breathe patterns that can influence add to speech and voice difficulties.

The connection between speaking and anxiety has been researched in various groups of people, specifically those who stutter. While stuttering and anxiety are complicated, the research has revealed a high incidence of social anxiety among people who stutter. By the way, social anxiety disorder is described as a chronic and predominant anxiety disorder that involves fear of being humiliated, embarrassed, and negatively assessed in performance-based or social situations.

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Below are frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers in relation to speech anxiety. 

What are the signs of speech anxiety?  

Among the most common speech indications, anxiety includes rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, shakiness, feeling of butterflies in the stomach, high-pitched voice, and sweating. It is usually impossible to fully eliminate speech anxiety; there are several ways to manage it and live with it, even using it to your advantage.

How do you overcome speech anxiety?

These steps may help improve your speech anxiety:

  • Be organized and learn more about your topic.
  • Keep practicing, and then practice even more.
  • Fight your worries and negative thoughts.
  • Focus on the topic you are talking about, not the people in front of you.
  • Do deep breathing.
  • Do not panic about a little silence.
  • Picture your success.

Does anxiety affect speech?

Thinking problems and coordination can happen to us when our bodies become unusually tensed, and additionally, anxiety may lead to alterations in our breathing. This can also contribute to speech and voice difficulty.

Why do I have public speaking anxiety?

The fear of speaking in public occurs when a person overestimates the risks of communicating their insights and in front of other people, viewing the situation as a possible threat to his image, accountability, and opportunity to reach out and capture his audience.

How do I cope with anxiety?  

When done habitually, relaxation strategies like meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can lower your anxiety levels and produce relaxation and improved emotional well-being. Exercising regularly is also very potent stress and anxiety reliever. 

Why do I forget my words while speaking?

There is a clear reason why most people feel obliged to memorize. It’s because public speaking makes people nervous. The twist here is that when a person gets anxious and nervous, he is often very bad at remembering things. And the more he depends on a scripted speech, the less likely he can remember it at the moment when he needs to. 

Is Glossophobia a mental illness?

Glossophobia is considered a social anxiety disorder or social phobia. It does have identifiable signs, symptoms, and treatment. If you ignore it, you may feel lonely, isolated, and depressed, and insecure. There are useful strategies that you can try to help manage Glossophobia effectively.

What is Glossophobia the fear of?

Glossophobia is the medical term for public speaking phobia. It affects four out of ten Americans. For people with this kind of fear, speaking in front of others can evoke anxiety and discomfort. 

How do you begin a speech?  

You start your speech by making an entrance and then pretending to talk to just one person. Talk about something that you love and have extensive knowledge of, and add purposeful action to your speech. Also, save time for Q & A. Finally, always have fun. 

Why do I suddenly have trouble speaking?  

When you’re anxious about being criticized by other people or feel embarrassed, you may freeze up or have trouble talking. Anxiety, particularly if it arises when you’re in front of many people, can cause you to stumble with your words, have a dry mouth, or have more problems that could get in the way of talking or speaking. 

What is it called when you mix up words when speaking?  

A spoonerism is a term used to describe a speaker who unintentionally mixes up beginning words or sounds of two words in a certain phrase. The outcome is usually funny. 

Can aphasia be caused by anxiety?  

Stress and anxiety do not directly lead to anomic aphasia, but struggling with persistent stress might heighten your risk of getting a stroke that causes anomic aphasia. 

What are the 2 types of anxiety?

The two most common types of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

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Additional Information 

Having speech anxiety is not uncommon. Almost everybody gets tense when they are about to give a presentation or speech, despite being seasoned speakers. The speakers that seem confident and calm have merely learned how to manage their anxiety and utilize it to improve their performance.

Most of a person’s anxiety is not observable to the audience. You may feel as if you are trembling uncontrollably, but those in the audience possibly are not even aware. Develop self-esteem from the fact that no one will know how tense you are – only you.

The spectators want you to be successful. Amateur speakers usually feel that the audience is really judgmental and expect them to crumble. This is very seldom the situation. Consider the circumstances where you have been a spectator. Did you want the presenter to fail? Most probably not – you would probably be supportive of the speaker and may even feel empathetic to him if they stutter or lose his sentence order. Most people you will present to as a student are rooting for your success.

Anxiety reduces as the speech or presentation progresses. Speech anxiety is typically worst before a speech and at the start of the speech. Most individuals feel that when they can get past the introduction, their anxiety starts to subside, and self-esteem increases.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Morning Anxiety

 

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Many everyday events can trigger anxiety. It can be caused by recent events, relationship issues, work stress, or any other situation, and everybody knows the feeling of being anxious, nervous, or tense. For some people, though, merely waking up in the morning and beginning a new day can cultivate a sense of fear. This is known as morning anxiety.

Morning anxiety is exactly what the name implies – anxiety that occurs at the beginning of the day. For other people, this would mean just being worried – about things that happened in the past or what might occur today. For some, it could be much more severe.

Licensed professional counselors state that for some of their patients, morning is the worst moment of the day. Some of their patients would apparently have a panic attack every single day. While not everyone suffers from anxiety the same way or perhaps at the same intensity, the reasons why morning anxiety occurs are more or less the same across the board. Additionally, there are ways that people can minimize their anxiety in the morning and look forward to – rather than be disappointed – every waking day.

Morning is a crucial time for having anxiety for several reasons. One of the reasons is that many of us do not get sufficient amounts of sleep.

Most anxiety arises from hormonal, physical, and chemical factors, therapists say. Sleep is among the best methods that our bodies can normalize these physiological areas of our mental health. It is during sleeping that our brain chemicals associated with mental health are refilled. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are certainly going to wake up in the morning feeling anxious and on edge. Having very little sleep can cause our stress hormones to rise, so we begin the day in an organically stressed state.

Considering that one-third of American adults are not getting the suggested hours of sleep, it is not alarming that a lot of us feel mentally deranged in the morning. Moreover, it is typical for yesterday’s concerns to resurface the minute your brain wakes up. You won’t feel off only physically but as soon as the brain shrugs off the sleep clouds, it’s going to recall everything that was laid on its plate the day before that wasn’t fixed and regulated. Now you’ll have to find sensibility while you are in a chemically stressed environment, which is pretty difficult. Additionally, you probably begin to think about everything fresh on your plate for the present day.

Morning anxiety may occur when a person is too consumed with the anticipated events of the day or week. This was a statement said by Jamison Monroe, head of the Newport Academy, a healing facility for young adults battling mental health problems. He further explained that this apprehension of future events is known as ‘future tripping.’ When someone is centered too much on what’s about to come, upon waking up, they could be distressed by all the tasks that they need to fulfill for the day, or worse, everything that could go bad. This extreme worry can become all-consuming and result in an increasing level of anxiety.

If you experience morning anxiety on a regular basis for months, your brain starts to anticipate it, even at times when you don’t really have any concerns. You have to cut off the cycle by re-educating yourself to not be afraid of each morning that you wake up. Subsequently, practice morning routines that cultivate peace and relaxation as you live in the present.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What causes morning anxiety?  

Experts have reviewed the CAR or cortisol awakening response and they established that cortisol is at its highest during the first hour of waking up for those with heightened stress levels. This actually helps explain why you are experiencing an increase in anxiety levels during the mornings. 

How can I stop waking up with anxiety?  

Physical activity is among the best routines you can try in the morning, particularly if you are trying to cope with extreme amounts of stress and anxiety upon waking up in the morning. Walking, swimming or any type of exercise can improve your mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety. 

Why do I wake up with anxiety in the middle of the night?  

There are a lot of reasons why your fears and anxieties are worse at night. Everyday challenges, unhealthy habits, erratic sleep patterns, and other health illnesses could result in increased panic and anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. But there are also many treatments that can be done to help relieve your anxiety and enhance the quality of your life.

What is sleep anxiety?  

Sleep anxiety is a type of performance anxiety. A lot of people may worry about not getting sufficient sleep in order to function normally, but the worry alone of trying to get sleep may cause some to be awake for hours. 

What is the significance of waking up at 3 am?  

If you happen to keep waking up at 3 a.m. or another timeframe and you’re unable to fall back to sleep, it might be because of other reasons. These reasons include stress, lighter sleep patterns, or preexisting health illnesses. Your awakenings at 3 a.m. might happen intermittently and may not really be serious, but regularly evenings like this one could potentially be an indication of insomnia.

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Conclusion 

When you have learned techniques that may help you get over your morning anxiety, it may take some time to get used to them. Dealing with morning anxiety is much tougher than you think, so trying creating a worry timer. Create a time limit of ten minutes for yourself, a time where you can feel all the worry and distress. When the ten minutes are over, move forward and practice the self-care techniques that you have learned. While you can’t really switch off your anxiety just like that, this technique permits you to recognize your worries and give you a specific point that you can use to remind you to begin self-care.

It is true that morning anxiety symptoms can feel overpowering and longstanding; it is reassuring to know that these symptoms are very treatable. Consult your therapist or other mental health providers about professional treatments that you can try to combine with your self-care techniques. This combination helps you experience an alleviation of the existing worry and fear that engulfs your mind.

 

 

Talk To Someone, It Always Helps (A Mental Health Advice)

In life, you experience a lot of messy stuff that could hurt you physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is the pressure at school or work; there are societal standards on life decision-making; there are relationship problems, and so on. There is no exemption to those negativities. Sometimes, you get too fed up with all of it that you feel like locking yourself in your room and be alone. Understandably, you want to get over the stress caused by the unfortunate events in your life. That is why you chose isolation. Because at some point, you see that move as a better resolution to your emotional and mental dilemma. But considering the effects of sadness and loneliness, why not express your thoughts? Why don’t you try communicating with others and tell them how you feel?

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Are You Scared Of Judgments?

Perhaps one of the reasons you somehow choose to stay silent with what you are going through is that you are scared of other people’s judgments. You believe that they will blame you for the bad things in your life. It somehow makes you feel like they are picturing you as an incapable individual who can’t make better decisions, even for your own benefit. Honestly, that is normal. When people see you struggling, the majority of them will not help. Instead, they will validate your behavior and personality to associate it with a state of mental incapacity. All of which are based on other people’s approval levels.

With this unfortunate possibility of judgments from people you may or may not know, it is okay to feel scared. It is normal to feel disappointed because you somehow lose all the confidence you have. But what is not acceptable is you keep on proving them right. Yes, the majority of people you know won’t care about you. But that does not mean all of them are. So instead of keeping yourself locked up in a box, reach out to someone who knows you better than everyone else. Talk to that person about what you are going through. Do not hesitate or be afraid to bare it all. Because when you know that you are with the right individual, you will never feel alone.

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Don’t Be Too Harsh On Yourself

There are always people like you who never want to show weakness. Maybe because you don’t want others to take advantage of your situation and use your instability against you, that is fine. The more you can confidently handle yourself, the less you will bring life stressors seriously. However, there is still a drawback to that strategy. That is because when you keep showing people your strong side, they will never consider your needs. All of them will end up thinking that because you are capable of almost anything, especially in handling your thoughts and feelings, these individuals will assume that you are better off alone. Sadly, that is the reality of it.

In that case, where people are not looking deeply into you, you should consider letting go of the idea that you are always strong and capable. You know you are not, and you understand that you need help as well. Stop convincing people that you don’t need them because there is no way you can make it alone. Do not be hard on yourself and let someone hear your pain. Talk about how you genuinely feel. Because, again, when you are with the right circle, things can get a little better.

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You Are Not Alone

It is okay to feel hurt, disappointed, sad, and frustrated considering all the negative things happening in your life right now. You don’t need to authenticate your feelings to other people just because you want their attention. Go burst into tears or just sit-down and not give a damn about everything if you have to. You entirely do not need to explain yourself because there is no point in doing so. People will judge you anyway. Whether you do good or bad things, they also have a lot of something to say that can make you feel stressed, anxious, and even depressed.

Given all of these possible scenarios, never think that you are alone. Millions of people out in the world also experience the same thing you are dealing with right now. Yes, some portions of it may not be as precise as yours, but it is guaranteed that the level of mental and emotional pain is more likely equal.

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Takeaway

Honestly, you just got to have someone in your life who will tell you not to underestimate yourself. Cherish this person because even if you show or say a different story to the world, only this person can understand and know you better. This particular person will stand by your side no matter what. So consider talking to him because it will help.

How To Strengthen Communication Within The Family

One of the main reasons why a family relationship often fails is due to a lack of communication. But note, it is not just about the difficulty of expressing someone’s feelings towards a family member. Communication issues within the family have a lot of contributing factors. It is important that you determine those elements first before trying to make any possible adjustments. It would also be helpful to seek support from online counseling platforms like BetterHelp to gain professional advice. Many families benefit from these online resources when it comes to gaining a better understanding of each individual.

With that, here are some of the significant things you should understand to strengthen communication within the family.

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Listen Attentively – This is a no brainer. It is important that when communicating, you listen attentively. You need to realize that all people want to be heard because their ideas also matter. So it is essential that you entirely listen to what your loved ones are saying rather than focusing yourself on formulating a response. If the conversation has something to do with fixing an issue, never multitask. It would be very disrespectful when you show your loved ones that you have divided attention. Face your family members when talking to them and pay close attention to your gestures and facial expressions.

Make Eye Contact – A critical factor of communication is eye contact. It serves as a tool that makes you and your family members connected while talking about any issues. Eye contact is vital when having a meaningful conversation because it represents honesty, enthusiasm, and understanding. It also helps you to stay focus on a conversation by making you less distracted on other things. So next time, when you have a discussion with your family, avoid looking elsewhere as it will make you look less interested in spending time with your loved ones.

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Show Appreciation And Respect – Appreciation and respect for others can go a long way. It can make your loved ones more open to communicating with you because they will receive the desired respect for their thoughts and ideas. Giving them respect will make them feel comfortable discussing things with you no matter how sensitive the topics can get. And if ever the conversation is about the discussion of different opinions, showing respect will allow your family members to appreciate your communication skills and attitude as well.

Ask Questions – It might seem too obvious, but asking questions can help strengthen communication. It is one of the best approaches to show family members that you are genuinely interested in what they are trying to say. It opens up a conversation and helps in maintaining the discussion. It also signals that you want to hear and understand your loved ones, regardless of how complicated a situation may be.  You have to remember that you are continually communicating, even if you are not saying anything. But note, never to ask a stupid question, if you do not want to get a sarcastic answer.

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Be Brief But Specific – When having a meaningful conversation with family members, it is essential to be specific. You need to provide enough information to your loved ones to understand what you are trying to say. Also, always remember never to jump in and give out comments, not unless you have an idea of the topic. Try to learn not to ramble and take the time to think about your responses. Ensure that your words will cause a better understanding rather than an emotional impact.

Watch Your Tone – Improving communication skills is useless if you can’t watch your tone. Yes, you can be assertive at times. But you can only consider that if your goal is to necessarily make a point. Avoid being aggressive. Remind yourself that there is a fine line between aggression and assertion. A rude tone is not going to lead a productive conversation. Instead, it will only cater to misunderstandings and conflicts. So try to avoid using a combating tone and use a confident and calm voice instead. Always ensure a positive attitude when talking to your loved ones so that they will respond positively.

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Validate Thoughts And Feelings – When members of the family express themselves differently, allow it. They feel that way for a reason. It is essential to acknowledge the emotions your loved ones put through within the discussion. But also remind yourself that you don’t have to agree with them if you entirely do not have to even if that is to validate their feelings. Despite disagreeing with them, you can still make them feel important by accepting their perspective. You can express your thoughts while ensuring that you care about whatever it is that they tell you.

Effective communication is one of the essential life skills that you can have. Whether you want to experience a good relationship with people, or you want others to appreciate your ideas, communicating is the best way to do that. It is important that you practice these critical things so that it can help improve your communication skills.

How To Stay In Touch Effectively With Your Loved Ones During Quarantine

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It has been a few months since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world in its clutches. We’re living in a new normal where we need to put a physical distance with one another. While this is essential in flattening the curve, it also led some of us to distance ourselves socially. This self-isolation can take a toll on our mental and emotional state. Online platforms like BetterHelp provides a support system that can help us get through this trying time. Seeking professional psychological help is one of the best ways for us to navigate this pandemic.

“Even though we are forced to be physically separated from one another, it doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of connection,” says Nicholas Epley, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Even during quarantine, there is a myriad of ways to stay in touch with your loved ones. These ways can help make your self-isolation feel a bit less lonely.

Here are some tips on how you can make keeping in touch extra fun and creative.

Host A Virtual Netflix Party

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Nowadays, you can binge-watch movies together with your friends or family even when apart. While you cannot plop on the floor or the couch together, you can still stream movies together. You can do this by installing the Netflix Party Chrome extension on your desktop.

After setting it up, send the link to your loved one to sync the movie with a built-in chat interface. You can now enjoy an episode or a series or a movie together in real-time.

Play A Game Together While In Isolation

Bring the party to your respective houses with Houseparty. The app is full of features that you can use to start your party. It has a chat feature that allows you to catch up with each other. You can also play games as a group, such as Heads Up and Pictionary. Furthermore, you can record your party’s highlight to keep as a memory through the facemail feature. 

The app is an excellent way for a group of friends to stay in touch, creatively.

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Video Call And Teleconference

There are various video calling and teleconference apps that you can download to stay in touch with your loved ones. Some of these are Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. You can also play around with stickers and fun backgrounds to make each call more fun. No matter where both of you live, you can call your friends and family with just a few clicks.

Create And Listen To A Spotify Playlist Together

Back in the day, recording a song playlist on cassette tape was a huge trend. Now, you can do this through an app with just a few clicks. If you’re a music lover, you must be keeping up with the latest album releases. You can create a playlist with your significant other or friends through Spotify’s Collaborative Playlist. You can also have fun lining up the titles to send a message.

To make this, you need to create a playlist and click the Collaborative Playlist option. Send the link to your loved one, and then they’ll have access to adding tracks to the playlist with their accounts.

Join A Book Club

Meanwhile, if you and your friends love reading, you can still discuss your favorite books while in quarantine. List down a selection of books and assign a book for each week and then set a date for discussion. You can use various apps to read ebooks, or you can also order a hard copy for delivery.

Send A Snail Mail

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If you want to connect the old school way, this is the perfect time to write on real paper and get creative. Writing a handwritten letter or greeting cards to your friends and family never goes out of style. Moreover, you can input helpful tips from YouTube that can help boost their mental and emotional state.

It is also helpful for you as you will get to produce a creative output and distract yourself for some time. This gesture will surely be a beautiful surprise for the recipient, as sending snail mails are not as common now. By starting this, you can even create a domino effect as you send snail letters back and forth.

Stay In Touch!

This uncertain situation that we’re facing due to the coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly taxing. It is affecting all of us, emotionally and mentally. That is why it is crucial to stay virtually connected with your loved ones. Don’t forget to take a break from time-to-time and schedule a time to connect with your friends and family. Stay in touch and check in with your loved ones now!

How To Communicate With Your Kids About The COVID-19 Pandemic

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These months have been extremely daunting for all of us. The lack of assurance about our safety and livelihood amidst the ongoing crisis can lead to frustration and anxiety. As the news of the pandemic rules the television and social media conversations, your kids may be experiencing much stress as well. And they can worry more if you continue keeping them in the dark. Therefore, you have to communicate the news of COVID-19 in the best way possible.

According to child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, Jamie Howard, Ph.D., “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” Relaying to them valuable and factual information allows your kids to have a sense of direction and lessen their worries in these trying times. But how do you talk to them without adding fuel to their fears and frustrations? Here are some of the tips you can follow.

Level With Your Kids Knowledge

Depending on your kids’ age level, ask questions fitted to their current capacities. Construct your questions in a natural and calming manner. For example, ask them what they have heard lately about the new sickness, or their thoughts about people wearing masks. You can also ask them their reasoning on why they have to stay at home for a while. In this way, you can get to know how much your children understand about the pandemic.

With many media outlets available to us in this day of age, you have to be mindful of your kids’ source of news. You can discuss this with them so that they will have reliable information. Since you’re the one relaying the details, you have the power to filter the news appropriate to your kids’ age level as well. Avoiding the conversation can make them worry more.

Provide Sincere And Honest Answers To Their Questions

You shouldn’t provide more information than what your kids would like to know. Instead, try to answer your children’s questions with honesty and clarity. It’s okay if you can’t answer all of them, the important thing is to show them you’re available in talking with them. Only get information to credible organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kids can easily pick up fears from their parents. Therefore, you have to talk to them calmly and reassuringly. As much as you have anxiety as well, allowing your kids to panic won’t do any good to your family. Don’t get upset and use a calm voice. Be emotionally available to your children’s emotions and questions.

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Help Them Feel In Control

Young kids do need assurance that there are ways to prevent getting sick. Remind them that getting lots of sleep and washing their hands will help them to remain healthy. Explain to your kids as well that proper hygiene, social distancing, and protective wear prevent the spread of diseases to other people. With this, be a good role model and show your kids that you are following proper guidelines during this crisis too.

Do also tell your kids that people are assisting and saving people’s lives. It may give them comfort to know that doctors are treating infected people, and scientists are working to produce a vaccine. If they know that things can go back to normal, they will feel hopeful for the future.

Children also have tendencies to worry more about their loved ones than themselves. Allowing them to talk with relatives and friends online can affirm them that they’re safe. Having constant communication with the people closest to them also helps them cope with the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let Your Kids Express Their Emotions

Supporting your kids to express their emotions can build their resilience. Silencing them will only create panic and anxiety. Listen to their stories, and tell them that their feelings are valid. Let your kids know and understand that feeling stressed is part of life and is relatively reasonable. Children can share with you more if you recognize their problems and feelings.

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Keep Your Kids Updated

Check on your kids regarding their feelings and the information they heard or read. Offer regular updates so that they can learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic. Let them understand the precautions the family needs to take too. It allows them to know that the line of communication in the family remains open.

As we continue to live through the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, let’s not also forget how kids perceive these alterations. Proper communication is needed when situations demand us to be united. Pay attention to your emotions and the people around you. We will need each other to get through this!