Well hello there! I am so happy to see You
by Donna McCullough, PhD
This article first appeared on the blog, the Alzheimer's Reading Room, a September 12, 2010 entry.
“Well hello there! I am so happy to see you! I love you and honor you for all you do! You are special to me!”
Imagine if everywhere you went, everyone that you encountered talked to you that way. Imagine whether you have just arrived home or just arrived at work and this is how you are greeted!
Would you not feel great on the inside? Could you not handle whatever task lies in front of you with more ease and grace?
When you stop and think about it, why don’t we talk to each other this way? In fact, do we even talk to ourselves this way?
Have you ever noticed the thoughts going on inside your head about yourself?
Most of us have an internal dialogue going on that at times sounds like this
“Gee I could be doing better at....I’m really bad at....Well that was a stupid thing to say"
We don’t mean to be so hard on ourselves, but more often than not we are more judgmental of ourselves and maybe even others than we would like to admit!
This kind of thinking leads to fatigue, feeling down and depressed, and low energy.
For someone who is taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the last thing you need is more stress and strain. I’d like to pose an alternative. What if you chose to pay attention to how you are talking to yourself, and decided to talk with tender loving care whenever possible.
There is an unlimited amount of energy inside of you and by opening your heart and choosing to release limiting thoughts you will feel better emotionally and will have more energy. No matter what is going on you can choose to be kind and gentle with yourself. Even if everything is going wrong that day, and the person in your care is really pressing you to your limits.
Instead of focusing on what is wrong what if you gave yourself a verbal pat on the back by thinking to yourself
“Well I am doing the best that I can with this difficult situation. I know I am trying as hard as I can.”
The first step to doing this would be to notice what you are currently saying to yourself. Since most of what we think is automatic this requires effort and focus.
It can be helpful to put up sticky notes (on the fridge, steering wheel etc.) or wear a bracelet that will remind you to notice your thoughts. Once you notice what you are saying to yourself you have the opportunity to change what you are saying.
A colleague and I have developed a CD called Affirmative Therapy for Caregivers which facilitates this process of sending positive messages to yourself and to help you recharge yourself when you are feeling down and overwhelmed.
These CDs provide positive messages that help caregivers to recognize that they are doing an important job and that they are a source of love in the life of the person in their charge.
The CDs have been called “Respite in a CD” and that is something caregivers cannot get enough of!
Editor note: Take a short listen here -- very relaxing
Donna McCullough, PhD is a psychologist with a private practice in Laguna Hills, CA and co-founder of Affirmative Therapy Products.
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