Category: <span>Corporate Mental Health</span>

anxious, communication

What Anxious Attachment Looks Like in Relationships

Attachment styles are based on a theory that your early connections in childhood with your caregivers directly impact how you approach relationships today. If we – as children – believe that our needs cannot and won’t be met by those closest to us, we are likely to exhibit attachment issues throughout our lives. 

big family in kitchen and man feeding baby in feeding chair
Photo by Vanessa Loring on Pexels.com

It’s an intriguing psychological framework to make sense of why you behave the way you do in intimate relationships and even at work. Yes, attachment patterns can impact our daily lives beyond our family.

A lack of attunement or connection between parent and child can contribute to anxious attachments in adulthood, which is the focus of this blog. Anxiety is one of the most common experiences, with  1 in 13 people worldwide experiencing anxiety, including children. Those who tend to be more anxious and worry extensively about relationships are probably engaged in an anxious attachment style.

Anxious Attachment Style

People with this attachment style are often insecure in their relationships, with a high need for reassurance from their partners to know that they are still wanted or loved. 

This style of attachment can also show up as:

· Overthinking and analyzing what others say or do 

· Negative view of themselves and anxious or stressed out about how others perceive them 

· Overinvested in relationships (at work and outside of that)

· Worry that you are “too much” or need alot from others

· Strong fear of rejection and evaluation 

· Sensitivity to abandonment or being left out

· Trouble working independently and a heavy dependence on their partner or team to finish tasks

· Often feel underappreciated or dissatisfied 

The Power of Anxious Thinking

Our thoughts (in this cause anxious thoughts and overthinking), can impact how we feel and respond. We often don’t realize this dynamic is quickly happening in our minds. 

Anxious thoughts

Where do I go from here?

If you recognize these issues in yourself or someone you love, the good news is attachment styles can change with time, effort and support. Self-development starts with awareness and approaching yourself with self-compassion and not criticism. 

Some tips to continue to strengthen how you show up in relationships: 

  • Continue to look for patterns of responding or shutting down. Write them down. Being mindful of them will make it easier to shift how you respond. 
  • Work on it with your partner
  • Realize that past experiences do not have to hold you emotionally hostage
  • Develop new ways of communicating and asking for what you need. The more you can express what you need, like saying I need regular reassurance, the more empowered you can feel

Psychotherapist, Coach for Women

Amanda Fludd,LCSW-R is a licensed Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer, and Mindset Coach to support the mind of the woman behind the business. In all avenues of life we have to learn to navigate fear and get to the root of our anxiety.

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission to fund our tea-drinking habits if you use these links to make a purchase. We only recommend products, tools, and services that we think would be beneficial to our audience.  

The Importance of Finding a Therapist Who Looks Like Me

When studying to become a therapist, they teach you that you must always be culturally competent, meaning aware of your personal beliefs and biases. We are asked to be knowledgeable about different cultures, have skills to manage our differences, and be mindful of our attitude towards other cultures. The real question is, is it possible to be culturally competent to all cultures?

 

The answer is no, which is why many people seeking therapy want a therapist who reflects their black and brown identities. A professional who can acknowledge unspoken expectations, and the rich tapestry of their culture, creating a safe space to know more.  

 

Trust is an important factor in mental health outcomes

 

Mistrust and the trouble finding a therapist
Mistrust and Misdiagnosis is Common For Marginalized Populations

Like it or not, the medical community is laced with disparities when it comes to race. Black people, for instance, are twice as likely to be hospitalized for care compared to white people and are often misdiagnosed. When working with a therapist who is not culturally competent, it leaves room for preconceived notions and conclusions that can have severe consequences on the emotional wellbeing of minority populations. This contributes to mistrust within the community and poor health outcomes in the long run.

 

Having a provider who deeply understands and can disarm those fears makes a significant difference for people of color seeking help. It’s no different than a woman seeking a female doctor for a specific issue because she feels more comfortable and better able to communicate her needs. We want to be careful not to generalize here, as even minority therapists need ongoing learning on the complexities of diversity, generational trauma, and systemic inequalities. However, even with that factor, diversity still matters. 

 

“My experience has shown that when you deal with culturally sensitive issues, you have no choice but to be as careful and as patient as possible. Every concern should be addressed properly. Otherwise, greater problems emerge at later times, when nothing can be done.”

 

—Mrs. Farzaneh Davari, UNFPA National Project Director, Iran

 

You may find the following reflections insightful, as shared in this piece by the Psychotherapy Networker regarding the experiences for people of color in the last year alone (but influenced by generations of disparities):

 

“We cannot accept people saying, ‘Get over it, it already happened, move on.’ I think this is a major problem—the lack of acknowledgment that we as a race have experienced trauma. We have to say it out loud, acknowledge it, and understand how this crime against humanity manifests. Only then can we truly address it, see it for what it is.”

 

 Zamantha Gobourne, LICSW

 Washington, DC

 

“I’ve begun telling students and beginning counselors to ‘lean in and look within’ at their own biases. Acknowledging personal biases and educating oneself about culture and ethnicities different from your own are ways to shift your thinking and become more open to differences. This can challenge and foster change.”

Shaketa Bruce, MS, LPC, NCC, CCH

 Atlanta, GA

 

“Understand that systemic racism contributes to Black people’s vulnerability to psychological, emotional, and social distress. It makes them hesitant to seek mental health services, especially from those who don’t look like them.”

Tytannie Harris, LCSW

 Chicago, IL

 

Here’s The Problem

 

According to the American Psychological Association, as of 2021 86% of therapists are White while only 4% are Black. 

 

There aren’t enough minority therapists to go around. 

 

Further complicating things, many insurance companies are unwilling to pay therapists their full fees- despite the caliber of work that goes into healing and the documentation to back it up. That means many shy away from certain plans leaving even fewer opportunities to receive care. 

 

Que the Pandemic 

 

Covid- 19 has placed a significant demand on an already strained system. Many individuals report a change in their mental health in the past year because of the following reasons:

 

. Death of a loved one

. Loss of employment/Income

. Quarantine (closures of schools, universities, jobs)

. Fear of being Infected 

. Returning to workplaces with no plan to address stress, anxiety, and burnout.

 

All of this and more directly contribute to increased rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as sleep issues and an increase in alcohol or substance use. 

 

Data has shown that in January of 2019, 11% of adults reported anxiety or depression symptoms, while in January of 2021 that percentage went up to 41%. Black and Hispanic minorities face a more considerable disparity compared to whites during the pandemic. They have been hit harder in deaths, infections rate, stress, depression, and anxiety.

 

As our stressors continue to rise, we have to explore opportunities to revolutionize access to mental health services. The goal should be to create more spaces where people can simply be all of their complex selves, and feel safe doing so. 

 

Here’s a list of resources that can be useful in obtaining a minority based or inclusive therapist: 

www.blacktherapistlist.com/Directory

https://www.psychologytoday.com/

https://www.therapyforlatinx.com/

www.cliniciansofcolor.org

https://borislhensonfoundation.org/

https://www.therapistsforblackgirls.com/

 

In Addition:

 

 If you are in the helping professions (Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist, Creative Arts

 Therapists, CASAC’s, Nursing, etc.) or just curious- Join us for an indepth conversation, Sound the Alarm: The Crisis of Mental Health in Communities of Color  on 10.19.21 hosted virtually by Molloy College: https://bit.ly/3jDWonC

 

** As a consumer– Call your insurance provider and ask why they don’t have more therapists of color on their panel. 

 

*** Tell your employer your wellness matters and ask why they don’t offer more onsite wellness programs. 

 

Piece written by Kilcy Martinez, York College Graduate School of Social Work Intern and edited by Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, Psychotherapist & Mental Health Consultant. 

My Thoughts Nurture and Support My Success

If you have a tough inner critic or get caught in worry, stress, near debilitating anxiety, overwhelm or wrestle with your self-worth, then you know some of the symptoms of negative thinking first hand. Unfortunately, negative thinking can paralyze your best efforts. This piece will explore the topic of negative thinking and what you can do to change your thinking to promote a life and business that’s more fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful.

The next move you make in your life will be a reflection of what you think will happen. 

Most people don’t realize they are responding to fear (or others know they are clearly panicking) and catapulting themselves into worse-case scenarios. Scenarios that aren’t true but are pretty freaking believable like:

  • I’m not good enough to be here (ignoring your experience and degrees)
  • This isn’t going to work 
  • I failed, the business failed, I’m a failure
  • I can’t let people who depend on me see how I feel; they’ll never trust my ability to lead

“We spend all our time and money and energy trying to change our experience on the outside, not realizing that the whole thing is being projected from the inside out.”—Michael Neill, Author

If you don’t check your thinking style, it can have a strong and sometimes devastating impact on your relationships, health, business, and life.

 

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings, And Behavior 

Your thoughts influence your mood and contribute to your actions. That makes our thoughts pretty darn powerful. Yet, like most people, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about such an automatic thing as thinking?

I do. 

 

My thoughts have a tremendous impact on my actions and my life, so I refuse to maintain a thought that takes me further from the life I have in mind. However, the reality is we live in a world of thought, with an average of 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day- mostly nonsense, with a dash of irrational thoughts. This makes the ability to reframe counterproductive thoughts an essential skill to overall wellbeing and positive outcomes. 

 

I often see this connection play out with clients who come in saying, “I don’t think I can take this business to the next level.” That assumption is a catalyst for feeling defeated, contributing to her second-guessing her years of skill and consequently avoiding the tasks she needs to grow her business. That shift in effort prevents her from really seeing the potential of her business and herself. So basically, if you think you are a failure and repeatedly engage in the same thought patterns and reactions, your behaviors align, and you are more likely to fail. 

Positive Thoughts Lead to Success

Most of us have heard that we are what we eat. In the same way, we are what we think. Thoughts are energy. They are vibrations. They are manifestations. They are statements about our world. Suppose you want a better life, a more prosperous, accessible, and successful life? In that case, it’s strongly connected to your ability to maintain a positive mindset. 

 

Do you have a problem with a part of your life? You have a problem with your mindset, and the real problem is your thoughts about that part of your life.

 

English philosopher James Allen wrote: “As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

The good news is that you can choose what thoughts you act on, so invest that mental energy carefully. I have several goals that are important to me. Before I choose a course of action, I ask myself what do I really think about this task and what actions will support my goals. I favor actions that nurture my goals. I avoid thoughts that lead to actions that make my goals less likely to happen. 

 

A positive thought approach allows me to embrace a more favorable perspectiveIt supports and uplifts me. With that in mind, I take responsibility for my thoughts and my future.

 

Do your thoughts support what you want? Let’s assess. 

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Are my thoughts predominantly positive or negative? How could I increase the number of positive thoughts I think about daily?
  2. What are some of the labels I’ve placed on myself? (I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible leader, I don’t have sufficient skills, I’m not the expert in the room, I can’t be a mom and boss) How accurate are these ideas?
  3. What would happen if I focused on maintaining positive thoughts? How would my life change?
  4. What do I think I accomplish by thinking negatively?

 

 Your thoughts have the power to nurture and support the life you want. 

Save this article. 

Reread it often. 

Pay attention to the thoughts you give attention to. Remind yourself that your thoughts become your beliefs, and those beliefs shape your life and how you experience it.

You are what you think.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success. 

Give Yourself a Break: The Gift of Self-Compassion

When you have a setback towards your goals, treat yourself as you would a friend: with kindness and understanding

Self Compassion Supports Motivation

Even with the best plan and intention, things can go wrong. For most people, their initial reaction in the presence of failure at work is to turn up the inner critic more harshly than we’d find acceptable by anyone else.  I have no idea what’s going on here or why I’m on this team. You’re an idiot; you blew that presentation. Get it together, you’ll never have another opportunity at this.  

We often assume that criticism will motivate us to do better. In fact, most highly productive and driven people seem to be quite unforgiving of their own mistakes.  

To Motivate or To Berate—That is the Question

We hold on to this belief that with enough self-abuse, it will change whatever we believe to be “wrong,” “inadequate,” or “imperfect” about us. Yes, that degree of negativity you drop on yourself falls under the category of abuse, and it really doesn’t move you any closer to your intended outcome. Self-criticism can be paralyzing, and it’s a response that has brought many to my couch as a psychotherapist. While I am grateful to have you, I would like to offer you this instead- what if you were to treat yourself with a bit more understanding and compassion?  

 

When things don’t go as expected, or a goal seems out of your reach, what would you tell a friend in the same situation? That is called self-compassion, and it’s an approach that allows leaders to increase their resilience and outthink their setbacks.  

 

The Science Behind Compassion 

There is growing research supporting things like compassion and gratitude, supporting its motivational power on a psychological level. It’s becoming a valuable tool for enhancing performance and improving professional development. Self-compassionate people set high standards for themselves, and in the face of setbacks, when they don’t meet their goals, they are more likely to regroup quickly. They are less likely to get hung up on mistakes or sidetracked by feelings of embarrassment, frustration, and disappointment. In fact, according to recent neuroscientific data, those who exhibit compassion are more likely to have the emotional resilience to combat suffering, anxiety, burnout, or stress, according to Frontiers in Psychology.     

 

“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” – Kristin Neff

Let’s put this into action: 

 

I’m inviting you to try a short experiment. Bring to mind a situation when you didn’t achieve your goal. Please take a few moments to recall the response of your inner critical voice and note what it says and how you feel, especially in your body. 

Now, bring to mind the same situation and imagine what you would say to your colleague or good friend in the same case if they brought that same failure to you. Say the exact words you would tell them to yourself (that’s self-compassion). How does that feel in your body?

 

If you did this short exercise, you probably noticed the following:

Self-criticism made you feel:

· Small

· Incompetent

· Embarrassed

· Tense

· Wanting to quit or give up

 

 Self-compassion made you feel:

· Validated 

· Understood

· Good enough

· Relaxed and calm 

 

Self-compassion is a mindset shift leaders and managers can benefit from because it reinforces worth, optimism, personal initiative, self-determination, and a sense of control even in the context of the pressure to succeed. These traits tend to be contagious and have a consequent ability to foster resilient teams. Developing a self-compassionate self and team does take time but is possible with intentional effort. Organizations should look at ways to create space for conversations and resources around compassion and navigating stress and change in the workplace.   

A few additional ideas to foster the overall resilience of your organization:

Improve your self-talk. Practice responding to yourself in ways you would to support a colleague, embrace criticism from others as a means to personal growth, and engaging with others without judgment or in a tone that would hurt their feelings.

Bring in workshops to grow as a team. Create opportunities for staff to learn from each other, for leaders to take their teams’ temperature, and boost morale and promote better staff engagement.  Bring in professionals with fresh ideas or a similar option is to set aside funding to allow staff to pursue outside opportunities (books, webinars, training) that will support their emotional wellbeing. As they invest in themselves, they become a more incredible asset to your team.

Prioritize communication and mental health at work. Having regular meetings where people are encouraged to share not only work achievements but mistakes and experiences around that make workplaces safe for learning. Also, work to improve access to support services onsite (training, consultations, mindful breaks) and outside of work (like EAP). Making compassionate and supportive workplaces a priority reduces pressure, anxiety and improves an organization’s resilience to stress, burnout, and turnover.

It’s innovative approaches that focus on self-compassion and overall well-being that will determine if teams, individuals, and organizations can embrace a more adaptive attitude and thrive through challenging experiences and transitions.

In the comments, make sure to share with us how well you think organizations are embracing concepts like compassion and emotional wellness at work and whether you believe well-being training might be valuable to your team.

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

If you would like information on how to infuse mental health support at work and facilitate practices like self-compassion, schedule a call here to discuss program options.

 

 

4 Useful Ways to Ease the Stress of Change for Women Who Lead

The mass exodus back to normal has heightened stress levels, and it’s important to acknowledge that change can be stressful. If you are someone who gets upset and loses focus when things don’t go as expected or strongly dislikes change, automatically expects the worst, and struggles to adapt, this piece is for you.

 

Do you think we are ready to return to ‘normal’? 

Well, whether we’re fully ready, we have to be prepared and adapt. In the ever-changing landscape of life and work, adaptability is a crucial skill for managers, leaders, and anyone looking to navigate change successfully. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the resistance of change, and can skillfully ride the wave.

 

The Brain Behind Change

Our brain hates the unknown that comes with change, and that can show up as anxiety, which is your brain’s way of protecting you from the unfamiliar. However, that can mean saving you from a necessary or required action. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” The threat is that feeling of not knowing and the associated fear of what could happen in the future. Sometimes that fear is rational, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s about something that will happen in three minutes (getting on a call to close a deal, for example) or in 30 years (having enough money to retire).

Depending on how you respond to your brain’s conceptualization of the fear can make change or transitions so difficult. It’s easy to feel powerless in these moments, but your power is in the ways you decide to navigate change.

You can decide how you want to think about the situation and what you want to do about it.

We can’t resist returning to work, going back to college, or whatever transition is on the horizon, but you always have a choice within the change. I’m not dismissing that it won’t be hard at times, but this is about being skillful so you can continue to live, lead, and enjoy life.

Let’s jump to 4 quick tips to navigate change and ease the fear of transition:

  1. Notice when an interaction or the thought of a situation upsets you and examine why. Acknowledge out loud any unhelpful thoughts going through your mind, then take those thoughts and challenge their accuracy to determine whether they represent reality. Perhaps you can then find another way to think about them that allows you to move forward.
    How you think or what you are ruminating over is often connected to the experience of procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, or feeling unmotivated. Learn to challenge and change the thoughts behind those responses.
  1. Successful leaders often react to anxiety by working harder, holding themselves and others to impossibly high standards, only to cause further stress or burnout in themselves and others. Examine your use of time and what you are asking of others. Putting in place a support infrastructure that includes breaks for you and your team and time to discuss expectations openly.

 

  1. Find a practice that eases your stress. Sometimes our minds operate like a runaway train. If you can quiet your mind for just a moment, you may notice there is always a fork in the road. One road allows your anxious thoughts to derail you, and the other will enable you to inject more positive thoughts and intentional actions.This can look like daily mindfulness practices, laughing, or sometimes more high-intensity activities like running or a good cardio workout. These practices short circuits the stress response by getting you out of your head, incorporating your body, and allowing the experience of stress, anxiety, and worry to subside.
  2. Don’t stay on your island; build connections. You are an expert at what you do, and getting things done is your superpower. However, we all will face the challenge of transitions and change that can make you feel alone or cause you to isolate and withdraw. Do the opposite. Instead, try coming out of your office and chatting with a colleague, or reach out via text, call a friend or  maybe even perform a quick act of kindness. Be open to also ask for help or outsource tasks to create more time and space for wellbeing.

 

In this time of crisis and change, where many are experiencing anxiety for the first time, it is an opportunity to develop our ability to adapt and contribute to a culture the prioritizes the importance of emotional wellbeing.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of July 2021. UPDATE: The series was such a success it WILL CONTINUE through the end of 2021. Every first Monday of the month.  #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

 

motivation, how to find your purpose

4 Clever Tips To Find Your Purpose and Redefine Yourself

Discovering who you are is a way to understand your purpose and reduce the anxiety and disconnect you feel in your life. …

overthinking, anxious thinkin

Simple Ways to Calm an Anxious Mind

How to recognize the signs of anxiety, especially for multitaskers and those constantly on the go, and what to do about it. …

anxious, communication

What Anxious Attachment Looks Like in Relationships

Attachment styles are developed in childhood and are the blueprint for approaching relationships today, even at work.