I'm reading the August 2009 edition (yes I am a little bit behind in my reading) of Yoga Journal and I am reminded once again of all the benefits yoga has to offer in one's struggle for peace of mind and mental health.
Virginia Satir was a renowned therapist who developed a mandala to illustrate the many aspects of a human being - all of which need to be fulfilled in order for us to be happy. I find this mandala to be especially important when working with clients struggling with depression or recovering from substance abuse.
Self talk is the little dialogue you have going on in your head throughout the day. It is extremely subtle and most people don't realize it's even going on. It's usually a "tape" of what your parents, or whoever raised you, said to you while you were growing up. If they were nurturing and supportive, your self talk probably is nurturing and forgiving. But if they were punitive, verbally abusive, demeaning, belittling, negative, fearful or insulting your self talk probably is too.
The hot new concept in psychotherapy these days is "mindfulness". At least the word is new. Most concepts are just old concepts revisited with new jargon. This concept is an important one and I'm glad it has been resurrected. Many of us grew up learning to be out of touch with our bodies, our senses and our emotions. People who experienced trauma as children and those who lived in repressive households are especially susceptible.
Many people ask me how to build self esteem. I think one of the most important aphorisms I've heard was spoken many years ago by Dear Abby, "We teach people how to treat us." So this is where you begin, with good, healthy self care. When you care for yourself you communicate to yourself and others that you are worthy of care. What constitutes good self care?