Self-esteem is the evaluation and appreciation that one makes of oneself (self-concept) concerning one’s worth and self-acceptance. It involves emotions, thoughts, feelings, experiences and attitudes that have been collected and generated from the experiences lived throughout the person’s life. Likewise, self-esteem predisposes us to act and respond to our environment in a certain way or another depending on whether it is low or high.
In contrast to low self-esteem, high self-esteem confers a greater capacity for commitment and responsibility for what one does, strengthens the motivation to take on new challenges and work towards their achievement, improves social communication and, in general, favours greater autonomy and coping with difficult situations.
On the contrary, low self-esteem is characterized by a poor ability to cope successfully with problems due to low self-confidence, which leads to avoidance of commitments and responsibilities. In addition, people with low self-esteem tend to experience feelings of guilt and inferiority due to an internal dialogue full of self-criticism and blame which, in general, leads them to develop poor social skills and suffer from low moods.
Some of the most characteristic symptoms of low self-esteem are:
Depression is a common mood disorder characterised by an emotional state that negatively affects how one feels, thinks and acts. Depression can lead to a range of emotional and physical problems that can diminish one’s ability to function, either at work and/or at home.
As for the origin of depression, there is a wide variety of possible causes and reasons, some of them refer to pessimistic outlook and bias, lack of stimulation, attention management problems, chronic illnesses, active conflicts, traumatic events linked to the past, obsessive thinking tendencies…
The symptoms of depression can vary, depending on their intensity, and can be considered milder or more severe depending on their severity.
Some of the most characteristic symptoms include:
Stress is the body and mind’s reaction to any change and demand that requires an adjustment or response from our own. It involves the mobilization of physiological and psychological resources (internal and external) to address the situation we are in. Stress breaks our balance and comfort, as an alter mode, forcing us to act towards the stressor facing or avoiding it.
Generally, we tend to understand stress as something negative. However, it is the way we deal with stress that determines its consequences. It can affect our daily functioning, our well-being and adjustment, and our emotional balance.
What causes stress depends on the perception and interpretation (assessment) we make from the demands, situations or pressures we have to deal with (call Stressors).
– If we believe that we can cope successfully with the situation in which we find ourselves, the consequences of stress can be positive, enhancing self-determination and motivation to act.
– On the contrary, if we do not have effective resources to cope with the situation, the negative consequences can lead to a lot of suffering and discomfort.
Each person reacts differently to stressful situations, so sometimes is difficult to recognize their origin and repercussions.
Our body reacts to stress with physical, mental and emotional responses that manifest themselves in various ways and cause different states of activation or deactivation.
Some of the different negative and harmful symptoms that stress can trigger are:
Anxiety is a subjective feeling and experience that underlies fear, whether real or self-generated. Anxiety implies discomfort, worries and concerns that can be experienced in varying intensities, from mild to severe. Sometimes It can even appear driven as a reaction to stress.
The causes of anxiety and the symptoms in which is experienced can be many and vary according to the situations and/or objects feared. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
Anxiety disorders often involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and terror that can cause peaks of arousal within minutes, leading to panic attacks. Anxiety is a key part of several different disorders. These include:
– Panic disorder: involves experiencing recurrent panic attacks at unexpected times, generating an extreme fear of reliving new attacks.
– Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): characterised by the presence of disproportionate, persistent and excessive worries about activities or events, including common, routine matters.
– Phobia: involves an excessive fear of a specific object, situation or activity.
– Social anxiety disorder: characterised by extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations.
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): involves the presence of recurrent irrational thoughts that lead to specific and repeated behaviours (rituals).
– Separation anxiety disorder: characterised by recurrent fears of being away from home or loved ones.
– Illness anxiety disorder: involves hypervigilance and fear of illness (formerly called hypochondria).
– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): involves experiencing anxiety after a traumatic event that is often relived through flashbacks to similar situations or stimuli.
Grieving is a process that occurs after a loss, be it of a loved one, a job, a relationship or an object. Grief affects us psychologically, although it can also have consequences on our behaviour and our body.
It is a universal and painful process that evolves and requires space to heal and reposition the impact of the loss suffered. The duration and expression of normal grief vary greatly from person to person. Generally, the associated symptoms will gradually fade as the loss is accepted and one adapts to the new reality.
Normal grief has different phases through which we all must pass: emotional denial, protest, sadness, intellectual and global acceptance, search for global meaning and elaboration of new attachments.
Some people may develop persistent feelings of sadness and pathological symptoms that last for a long time, affecting all areas of the person. This is when they may need counselling and psychological care to enable them to overcome these states, to bring closure to grief and to be able to continue with their lives and obligations.
Some of the most characteristic symptoms of psychological grief are:
Emotions are automatic psychophysiological reactions that arise in response to certain stimuli around us, whether they are related to an object, a person, a place, an event, a mental image or a memory. Emotions are important because they give us information about what is happening in our environment and within us, preparing us to act.
Emotions are made up of 3 basic components:
– Subjective/cognitive experience: arises from the internal interpretation and evaluation we make of everything around us through thoughts, attitudes and beliefs.
– Physiological response: involuntary physical reactions involving hormonal and organic changes.
– Behavioural response: actual expression of the emotion externally, causing changes in the way we interact, behave and react with our environment.
All emotions have some function that makes them useful, regardless of the intensity and impact they generate. Each person experiences and reacts to their emotions in a particular way, depending on their experiences and personal history.
Emotional regulation is the person’s ability to recognise, manage and handle their own emotions appropriately. Sometimes some emotions overwhelm us and can cause us to react in non-functional ways, increasing our discomfort and relationships. The inability to understand and manage one’s own emotions is part of the origin and maintenance of a large number of mental disorders. This is why it is essential to develop good emotional regulation resources to act and function better with ourselves and our environment.
Some signs of emotional dysregulation are:
A social skill is any competence that facilitates interaction and communication with others in an assertive way, both verbally and behaviourally. The process of learning these skills is called socialisation and occurs throughout our development, with childhood and adolescence being the most influential stages of the social life cycle.
Learning to manage social skills is essential to know how to move confidently through a conversation with a smaller or larger group of people, to know how to initiate and end a conversation, to express and receive reinforcement. It also involves knowing how to say “no”, being able to express positive and negative emotions appropriately, as well as to defend our rights and wills without omitting those of our listeners. It also involves learning to listen and to be more empathetic towards other people rather than simply focusing on our thoughts and emotions.
The lack of these skills does not imply an inability to connect with other people but has to do with unsatisfactory past social experiences and lack of practice in such situations. The absence of these skills can also lead to social awkwardness, causing great discomfort for the person who usually reduces their social circle, reducing their possibilities for communication and reinforcement.
Some of the signs and problems resulting from a lack of social skills in young people and adults are:
The process of living together can be somewhat complicated, not only because of the fact of sharing many spaces with the same person but also because of all the changes, both personal and external, that appear in the life of any couple. It is, therefore, necessary to know how to adapt to these changes in order to be able to face and deal with all the difficulties that arise. When resources fail and are ineffective, problems appear becoming a source of conflict and emotional and social discomfort, increasing stability and dissatisfaction within the relationship.
Often the couples themselves look for solutions, trying to resolve their conflicts, giving themselves time, changing certain limits in the relationship. Sometimes this might work, however, on other occasions, these attempts are in vain and the couples need external help to guide and navigate in their relationship, finding new resources and strategies that allow them to continue moving forward together.
Couples therapy has proved to be a good mechanism and way to help partners develop resources to promote a more functional and constructive environment, in which both parties can feel fulfilled, both personally and as a couple. To this end, a therapeutic framework is created focusing on communication, dialogue and respect, finding a suitable space free of judgement in which to address the conflicts to be dealt with in the couple’s relationship.
Some signs that may indicate a dysfunctional relationship and the need to consider going to couple’s therapy are:
Family mediation is a process of conflict management and resolution within a system and group of people who share the same living space. We tend to understand family mediation as something only aimed at families, however, many other groups of people can benefit from its contributions (sports teams, work departments, workgroups…).
The main goal of mediation is to reach consensual agreements between all participants in order to improve the dynamics and the environment in which they relate to each other. It facilitates a space of trust and security where relationships can be expressed and managed in a healthier and more satisfactory way. Trying, as far as possible, to ensure that the agreements favour and satisfy the needs of all those involved. To this end, it is essential to guide and advise the affected members, providing them with resources and effective strategies that facilitate the unblocking of complicated situations through dialogue and assertive communication.
Depending on the needs and the nature of the conflict, the case must be dealt with from different perspectives:
– Mediation: when the basis of the problem must focus on the present, in the here and now, with a view to the future and the active collaboration of all those affected.
– Family therapy: when there is a real need to dig into the past to understand the current situation, where, in some cases, psychological difficulties may need to be addressed.
Some of the signs that may indicate the need for mediation and/or family therapy include:
Personal development or coaching is a process of self-knowledge and personal growth focused on strengthening our strategies, skills and tools allowing us to face and deal effectively with our obstacles. To achieve this is essential to establish a commitment with oneself, to work on self-esteem and self-direction, as well as to promote better emotional management and control in favour of greater self-confidence and personal, family, social and work-related well-being.
Coaching is a working method focused on the needs and individuality of the person or group you are working with. It focuses on setting goals, establishing an effective plan to achieve them while helping you to make better decisions to progress in your development.
It is important to note that in personal development and coaching we work with cognitive (thoughts and beliefs), emotional, behavioural and relational processes, so it is essential to turn to a qualified professional with studies and training in psychology.
Key factors for any process of change and personal development
– Responsibility: as in any psychological work, it is the person him/herself who takes responsibility for change through his/her decisions.
– Openness: this involves discovering and observing one’s own problems, developing new points of view and alternative interpretations to then propose effective courses of action.
– Development: by proposing new ways of action and coping, change is encouraged, progress is made and goals are achieved.
– Commitment: by taking action, new personal discoveries and ways of acting are found, always respecting one’s own will and timing.
– Learning and unlearning: in this process, one learns to leave behind ineffective behaviours and attitudes while developing new habits and coping strategies to face problems and difficulties in one’s environment.