Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved? (Descriptive)

Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved? (Descriptive)

Every one of us has problems bigger or smaller. An interesting thing about “problem” is everyone thinks that his/her problem is the biggest one. For example, a person admitted to an orthopedic surgical ward with an ankle injured sees his problem bigger than a person who has injured his knee. We as an observer can see that problem is bigger for the person who injured his knee because he can’t move his leg and one side of his body would be paralyzed due to it. Whereas, the person on the next bed wouldn’t be able to recognize this thing because he would be so totally involved with his own sufferings. This will make him unable to see what is going around his surroundings.

We get entangled into problems on a daily basis and the problems increase when we don’t know the reason behind our problem. Most of us don’t get things solved because we are not consciously aware of what causes the problem. If we want to overcome our problems we need to understand the dynamics which exaggerate our problems. Here we discuss the factors which help your problems to get settled inside you.

1. Denial:

When a person denies the existence of a problem, how can he/she find any solution for the problem? Beware this denial is an unconscious process which drives a person to reduce his anxieties and thus, throws threatening facts into the unconscious to get safer on the surface level. The problem with denial lies in the fact that it actually doesn’t reduce anxiety but results in the form of psychological disturbance. For example, a girl who is a survivor of a rape may deny the fact but her unconscious processes would result in psychosis. Similarly, a woman who denies the existence of breast cancer would never seek help or even she wouldn’t go for a check-up and this would ultimately drive into last-stage where a tumour gets untreatable. These days we can observe many such cases who get examined at last stages of cancer. These people actually deny the warning signs of illness because it is threatening for a person to get such a terminal illness. Another example we must hear about smoking is that smokers deny the fact they can have cancer while watching or hearing many smokers dying of throat or lung cancer.

2. Wrong initial assumptions / false beliefs:

Another thing which doesn’t help in the solution of problems is; we make initial assumptions regarding things. For example, anyone of us can assume that he must not be betrayed, must not experience any corruption or must be dealt with respect. These initial assumptions will hurt the person whenever he suffers any experience of dishonesty or disrespect. Because the person has high expectations from people, he will be hurt on even minor immoral experiences, which every one of us experiences on a daily basis. This is the reason why keeping expectations from people or having high standards for yourself or others don’t always work.

Here I explain a scenario to get you a better understanding of how false initial assumptions work. A successful business woman gets attacked by conspirers and has a lawsuit on her. She gets deeply hurt by this fact because she had done nothing wrong and she had a belief that others should treat her with loyalty since she is loyal to everyone. While keeping this expectation, she became depressed and nothing worked out for her. When she consulted her psychologist and she was suggested to work on her initial assumptions. She developed more healthy beliefs e.g., every successful person gets hurdles and challenges in his/ her way to victory, and since she is a popular business woman, this is a challenge for her to face and overcome. After realizing the fact, she not only started working to overcome the lawsuits, but she learned more and more about the similar cases, gathered every useful info, presented herself in front of judges and then defeated her enemies who tried to let her down in the business world.

3. Fear:

When fear is at a normal level, it can be helpful and work as a survival instinct e.g., if you see a snake creeping towards you, you must be fearful and then run away to find a safer place. This is a normal response but, if you are fearful enough that you can’t move from the place, your legs get paralyzed and you feel numb, this is the excessive level of fear which will not work for you to overcome the problem.
Imagine a scenario where a flight pilot gets emergency situation while far up in clouds; the engine stops working properly. Think about the possible solutions. If the pilot should freeze and do nothing in this situation because the ultimate is death? Should he deny the fact because it is too threatening? Should he make initial assumptions that this crisis is unlikely because he is an excellent pilot and has never been to such situation ever? Will such kind of solutions work? You are right! Nothing like this is a workable solution. Then what you suggest that pilot should think about? The pilot should realize the emergency case and keep confidence in his ability to handle the emergency. Now he got the right one. He will take a step to contact his flight station, consult with supervisor and take necessary precautions to protect the survival.

4. Deceptive masking:

Everyone wants to present himself in an acceptable way in order to get approval from others. This is actually right but when you hide your problems from others particularly the right ones, this is the case which worsens your problems. For instance, if you have a sexual problem and you feel shy to tell your doctor just because he/ she will think you are bad. When you don’t reveal your actual problem, is it possible that doctor will be able to suggest you an appropriate treatment? No way! When you don’t get treatment for your problems than it is inevitable that your problems will increase in intensity and then you will become helpless. When it will be observable to others they may take you to doctor but this will be quite late and you will miss an opportunity to get treated at an initial stage.

Similarly, if you are suffering from a headache and you instantly get a knock from a guest. You greet the guest who observes you being unfit and asks about your health. You reply that you are perfectly all right. You don’t want to tell the guest about your headache because she will not like it. You try to be polite with your guest but your gestures show unpleasant feeling. What will the guest think about this scenario? She might think that you don’t like her arrival or you are uncomfortable talking to her or anything else, but she can’t reach to the right guess until you tell about your actual feelings. She might become doubtful at you and may not like to meet you again. Thus, deceptive masking prevents you to get the right treatment you deserve from others. If you show your real feelings and the need for help, others will definitely offer you comfort at their best level.

5. Behavioural choices:

Sometimes our choice of behavior leads us to problematic situations. For example, everyone knows that aggression is destructive and it always leads to negative consequence either for yourself or for others. But still, we get into arguments and choose aggression as it will help us solve the problem. If you review your experiences of aggression and try to find out how many times it helped you to get things right in the long run? You will definitely reach to the conclusion that it always get you into a disadvantage. For example, if a mother being aggressive on a child gets short-term results from the child such as he acts obediently and gets his homework done because of fear of punishment. Mother thinks that this was beneficial therefore repeatedly uses aggression as a strategy to discipline her child. Do you know how this affects the long-term relationship of mother-child? The child will get distant from his mother, he will never share his feelings and might remain fearful from parents for the rest of his life. Is it beneficial in the long run? Now you can clearly understand how our choice of behavior mistakenly leads many of us to choose unhealthy relationships. If we chose behavior which actually works for healthy relationships, we will never get into relationship problems. If you learn communication skills, talk assertively but not aggressively, deal problems through effective decision making, and use problem-solving in your life, many of your daily hassles will get settled at very initial level instead of piling up inside you and then bursting out in the form of psychological problems.

If you find any of these problems affecting your life and thus your problems are increasing day by day instead of getting solved, then you just talk to your psychologist about these issues. You will be guided about handling denial, false beliefs, fear, deceptive masking, and wrong behavioral choices.

 

Written By:

Mehwish Mursaleen (Ph.D. Clinical Psychology)

Online Psychotherapist (Consult-a-psychologist.com & iCliniq.com)

Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved?

Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved?

Every one of us has problems bigger or smaller. An interesting thing about “problem” is everyone thinks that his/her problem is the biggest one. We get entangled into problems on a daily basis and the problems increase when we don’t know the reason behind our problem. Most of us don’t get things solved because we are not consciously aware of what causes the problem. If we want to overcome our problems we need to understand the dynamics which exaggerate our problems.
Denial:
When a person denies the existence of a problem, how can he/she find any solution for the problem? Beware this denial is an unconscious process which drives a person to reduce his anxieties and thus, throws threatening facts into the unconscious to get safer on the surface level. The problem with denial lies in the fact that it actually doesn’t reduce anxiety but results in the form of psychological disturbance.
Wrong initial assumptions / false beliefs:
Another thing which doesn’t help in the solution of problems is; we make initial assumptions regarding things. For example, anyone of us can assume that he must not be betrayed, must not experience any corruption or must be dealt with respect. These initial assumptions will hurt the person whenever he suffers any experience of dishonesty or disrespect. Because the person has high expectations from people, he will be hurt on even minor immoral experiences, which every one of us experiences on a daily basis.
Fear:
When fear is at a normal level, it can be helpful and work as a survival instinct e.g., if you see a snake creeping towards you, you must be fearful and then run away to find a safer place. This is a normal response but, if you are fearful enough that you can’t move from the place, your legs get paralysed and you feel numb, this is the excessive level of fear which will not work for you to overcome the problem.
Deceptive masking:
Everyone wants to present himself in an acceptable way in order to get approval from others. This is actually right but when you hide your problems from others particularly the right ones, this is the case which worsens your problems. For instance, if you have a sexual problem and you feel shy to tell your doctor just because he/ she will think you are bad. When you don’t reveal your actual problem, is it possible that doctor will be able to suggest you an appropriate treatment? No way! When you don’t get treatment for your problems than it is inevitable that your problems will increase in intensity and then you will become helpless.
Behavioural choices:
Sometimes our choice of behaviour leads us to problematic situations. For example, everyone knows that aggression is destructive and it always leads to negative consequence either for yourself or for others. But still, we get into arguments and choose aggression as it will help us solve the problem. If you review your experiences of aggression and try to find out how many times it helped you to get things right in the long run? You will definitely reach to the conclusion that it always get you into a disadvantage.
If you find any of these problems affecting your life and thus your problems are increasing day by day instead of getting solved, then you just talk to your psychologist about these issues.

Written By:

Mehwish Mursaleen (PhD Clinical Psychology)

Online Psychotherapist (Consult-a-psychologist.com & iCliniq.com)

How to Identify Low Self-esteem

How to Identify Low Self-esteem

People think that those who appear over-confident are really getting the best of their lives. Just as the low self-esteem hurts personality, the over-confidence shakes the balance of an individual. We call this an inflated self-esteem. This is not the reality of people with over-confidence. Infect, they over-estimate themselves because there is an underline inferiority complex and actually the person has low self-esteem deep inside.
Similarly, a term is used in psychology literature i.e. Unstable self-esteem. This is a more threatening thing which underlies many personality disorders. You can understand the matter by simply assuming that anything other than a stable self-image is harmful to the psychological well-being of the person.
Here are some points which are characteristics of either unstable or low self-esteem. Reading this will help you to identify if you have a self-esteem issue.
People with low self-esteem:
1. Always try to impress others
2. Constantly compare self with others
3. Always think people are jealous of them or from their luxuries
4. Always need to be center of attention
5. Always want attention through attention seeking behaviors or statements e.g. “I am not feeling well”, “I am not being hungry”, “I am not eating proper meals” etc.
6. Always try to big head their related people’s designation, luxuries they have, and lifestyles
7. Always boost about themselves, show off, praise their self e.g., “I am so pretty”, “the outfit I’m wearing is so awesome” etc.
8. Easily impressed by the glamor or by the media fields
9. Always thinks they are right and others are wrong
10. The last but not the least, they don’t listen to others and can’t tolerate if someone criticizes them.
After you identify or suspect that you may possess low self-esteem, you can think to seek help from a professional psychologist to reshape your personality….

Written By:
Sana Mehboob (MS. Clinical Psychology)
Clinical Psychologist (Karachi psychiatric hospital)
Associate Clinical Psychologist (Institute of Professional Psychology-BUMDC & S. Abdur Razzak Medical Center)

Editor:
Mehwish Mursaleen (Ph.D., Clinical Psychology)
Clinical /Organizational Psychologist (Overtop Consultants),
Online Psychotherapist (iCliniq & Consult-a-psychologist.com)

How Low Self-Image Shatters Your Confidence to Let You Down In Life

How Low Self-Image Shatters Your Confidence to Let You Down In Life

Low Self-esteem vs. Low Self-image
“Confidence is a good thing but overconfidence always sinks the ship”

This quote has a very deep interpretation; being a psychologist my interpretation about this quote is related to low self-image and low self-esteem.
If you want to be a healthy individual, want to live a successful life, want to achieve your goals, you have to identify your weaknesses, faults in your personality& your complexes. Then work on your mental condition and reshape your personality.
Having complexes is not a bad thing complexes lead to low self-esteem but we can work on low self-esteem, boost low self-esteem through positive activities, and work on cognitions. The main difference of low self-esteem and low self-image is the person who has low self-esteem underestimates self but people with low self-image always overestimate themselves.
Low self-esteem can easily be boosted if you identify the lacking needs or the cause of your low self-esteem: for example, if someone is not very good in speaking English and can’t write well, always feels sad or low in his academic or professional life. He always thinks that I am not good I can’t speak, I can’t write, other people are very genius, they all speak well etc. In this case, he can work on his unreasonable thoughts/beliefs, can learn strategies to become an expert in English, and definitely, it will boost his self-esteem.
Building self-esteem is related to things which boost your esteem needs and channelize your low self-esteem towards personal growth. If it is fulfilled, the individual reaches to self-actualization stage.
People who have a low self-image means that they feel low in their own self. They are not satisfied with their personality they do not own their self and unconsciously they start to compare themselves with others.
It can be surprising for you that people who have low self-image may appear as over confident. These people hide their low self-esteem unconsciously which may lead to Narcissistic personality. Having low self-image can never be a positive thing because it will never lead towards personal growth and the person will never go to the self-actualization stage.
It is therefore very important to identify if you are low on confidence or overconfident because neither of the two things will help you to succeed in life.

Written By:
Sana Mehboob (MS. Clinical Psychology)
Clinical Psychologist (Karachi psychiatric hospital)
Associate Clinical Psychologist (S. Abdur Razzak Medical Center)
Editor:
Mehwish Mursaleen (Ph.D., Clinical Psychology)
Clinical /Organizational Psychologist (Overtop Consultants),
Online Psychotherapist (Consult-a-psychologist.com & iCliniq.com)

Stress Management: An Effective Way to Prevent Psychological Disturbance

Stress Management: An Effective Way to Prevent Psychological Disturbance

Stress is defined as any kind of strain, tension or load in your mind and body. The reasons behind this kind of stress are various but one thing is common, whatever thing is causing you to stress it must be psychological in nature. People generally report having tension headaches, body pains, ulcers, allergies, and many medical problems. When they go to a doctor for the checkup, their medical test reports show normal results. This is a big indication that stress is psychological although it may manifest in form of physiological/bodily symptoms.
Stress is a kind of psychological problem which needs management. When someone is going through stress for a longer time, generally it ends up in self-medication or physician prescribed medication. This is the biggest culprit in increasing problems. Researchers now show that medicines are not always an effective treatment for psychological problems. Therefore, evidence based psychotherapeutic methods are now practiced which seem to be very effective in dealing with stress related problems and a variety of other mental health issues.
Stress management is a form of counseling method and people go to a psychologist in order to learn stress management techniques. It is mandatory to deal with your stress before it turns into a psychological disorder. Psychologists teach various strategies of stress management during a detailed counseling session. Some simple tips are described here for your understanding.

Tips on Stress Management:

  1. Relaxation or deep breathing exercise which seems to improve your concentration, alertness, and freshness of mind.
  2. Take a good sleep because it is a natural way to heal daily wear & tear process of our brain & body.
  3. Eat healthy food low in calories which is also beneficial in maintaining weight, skin tone, and figure.
  4. Take some time out for yourself, out of your busy schedule. Do exercise, cycling, or physical activity which requires movement of your body and muscles.
  5. Go out into nature since it provides you with inner peace and serenity.
  6. Watch your favorite movie, drama, comedy, or anything which visually fascinate you. If nothing possible for the time being just sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes and image a favorite scene or your favorite place where you enjoy the most.
  7. Listen to calming music or your favorite voices. Consequently, you feel relaxed.
  8. Eat your favorite food or things you find tasty because it gives you ultimate enjoyment.
  9. In addition, smell the delicious food or use your favorite perfume or aromas.
  10. Play with natural stuff like clay, smooth surfaces, touch and feel your pets like cat, rabbits etc. or any of your favorite textures which provide you a calming effect.
  11. Do whatever makes you happy. It may range from a recitation, travel, keeping a hobby, exercise or a dance.
  12. Spend time with your loved ones, friends, or someone you can share your feelings with.
  13. Find out the reasons of stress. It may be due to workload, difficulty in managing time, or any negative experiences of life. Work out the reason for stress

Finally, if you find it difficult to reason out, just take help of the psychologist who will help you effectively work out the reasons for tension/stress and guide you to deal with your stress successfully.

Written By:
Mehwish Mursaleen
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

How to Develop Optimism (A way to boost your self-esteem)

How to Develop Optimism (A way to boost your self-esteem)

Optimism is a term which means being positive about the outcomes going to be happening in our future. Many theorists in psychology consider optimism as a personality trait. Research in psychology relates optimism with positive mental and physical health outcomes. Researchers show that optimistic people are less likely to have depression and other mental health problems. They have low chances of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other medical diseases. They use effective coping strategies to deal with stressful life circumstances. They have better adaptability and high quality of life. They adopt the healthy lifestyle and protect themselves from engaging in harmful behaviors such as smoking and other risky outcomes (Conversano et. al. 2010).
If optimism is supposed to be such a useful factor in life, then the question arises here is: How to develop optimism in your personality. Here I’m giving you some tips which you will use and enjoy the positive outcomes in life.
Think Positive: This is something easy to say then do it. How can you make it easy to do? You just need to get over your past (particularly those negative memories which could have been hurtful to you). Focus on your present life circumstances and you will find a way to make your future better than today.
Every day takes some time for yourself in which you do something creative or helpful. It can be a listening music, doing the relaxation exercise, helping someone, enjoying cycling/exercise or anything which you consider pleasurable.
Keep eye on what’s going on in your life. There might be stressful times in your life but the effective tool here is, you understand your life stressors and find ways to come out of them. Don’t make you stuck on one point. Always push yourself to move ahead and work out problems.
Take some time to show gratitude. Think of the blessings you have in life, positive qualities you possess, and achievements you got in career/family/professional/social/community life.
Take care of your self-talk: We all communicate to ourselves in form of thoughts, images, or words. If your thoughts are positive, you will experience positive emotions, and then your behaviors and life outcomes will be positive because there is a link between thoughts-emotions-behaviors. An easy way to do this is: write down positive affirmations for yourself and refer them every day.
Keep yourself in a company of positive people because you are a reflection of the people with whom you spend most of the time. You always have a choice to include and exclude people in your life. Positive people will leave a positive impact and the negative ones will affect you adversely. Therefore, plan ahead of the time what consequences do you want in your life. Make friends who are likable, easy to get along, and match with your positive self.
Develop problem-solving skills: Problems and stress is a part of everyone’s life. What optimistic people do is plan ahead of the time before the problems take over them. There are always ups and downs in life. If you understand this fact, you will be able to take responsibility for your life and hence own your problems. You will find yourself in a better position to deal with problems and find solutions.
Set your goals and priorities in life: this is the secret how optimistic people get more success in life. How they look positively towards their future is through goal planning. They have a very clear idea where they want to go in life. They give themselves easy steps towards success. Such as, they make to-do-list of every day so, every day they spend becomes useful in some way. They also have long-term planning for their career, family, social, and professional life and “to-do-list” helps them every day to cover one step of stairs to success.
If you start developing above mentioned skills and practice each in real life circumstances, definitely you are making your way easy to optimism. And, now you know how optimism is going to make your life outcomes so positive and healthy just as you want.

Reference:
Conversano, C., Rotondo, A., Lensi, E., Vista, O.D., Arpone, F., & Reda, M.A. (2010). Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health, 6, pp: 25–29.
Doi: 10.2174/1745017901006010025

Written By:
Mehwish Mursaleen (Ph.D., Clinical Psychology)
Clinical Psychologist & Online Psychotherapist
(Consult-a-psychologist.com & iCliniq.com)