Self Esteem & Self Schema & Mental Health
Challenge self defeating thoughts and low self worth to reach your goals. Self-esteem is a term that has been over-used to describe how we FEEL ourselves. In psychology, the term “self-esteem” is more accurately discussed and presented as “self-schema”. The significant difference is that often our patients let their feelings and past experience define a diffuse and negative self-esteem. Self schema more importantly offers a realistic framework to think constructively about themselves and identify what they can or want to do differently.
Any system or structure has a functional schematic or plan as a foundation for success. For a building there’s blueprints; for a company, there’s an organization chart. Structures and plans keep interconnected systems performing optimally. This is particularly true in a world where automation is the norm. Cars can drive without us and for decades, planes have flown on autopilot from takeoff through landing roll-out. When our goals are specific to health and well-being, our thoughts must align with supporting our goals to acheive our potential. At BreakThough! we help our patients design their narrative for success to recover and rebuild optimal functioning. This active challenging of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, supports long term mental health wellness and weight loss.
Schema can be defined as the blueprint of our existence that explains how we think about ourselves and the world around us. To be of use, schema as a structural tool, depends on accurate cognitive appraisal.
Cognitive appraisal is the process of looking at ourselves and recognizing our traits (strengths & preferences), behaviors. Then looking at our inter connectivity and how we perceive our self in relationships with others.
Because of bias and unconscious assimilation, we usually need the help of others to assess if our schema is positively connected and supportive, or more of a disorganized, dysfunctional mess. Cognitive restructuring, at the heart of our sessions discussing depression, anxiety, trauma addiction & relationships, lends itself to creating a realistic and positive self-view and narrative. Patients become the architect holding the pencil (or eraser) with the opportunity to define and restructure self-view.
The best part of schema exercises is that if when patients change how they think…everything else changes as a result!
Schema and Recovery From Emotional Eating
We teach our patients that we can’t fix our feelings without changing how we think. If we don’t look at how we think; we’re simply along for the ride. Emotions surface in response to perceptions. If we think that we’re “less than”, that “what we do is never enough”, or that “we don’t have enough”, these thoughts or beliefs bring forth feelings of sadness, frustration and at times, emptiness. These emotions lead to weight gain. In sessions discussing Brain Health, we teach our clients that when dopamine and serotonin are depleted in response to emotional distress, our brain craves foods high in sugar and carbs to immediately restore a sense of peace (balance) in the brain. For a short while, carbs relieve feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety, but when emotion eating becomes the eat this way often enough…we’ll gain a lot of weight.
We hope your patients may benefit from the BreakThrough! course. We keep course materials, resources and access the learning management system https://www.breakthrough-lms.com/courses/online-course-demo-session/affordable and current with the latest clinical research and tools. Participants who complete this program have the tools to redesign their sense of self. and efficacy. They learn to appreciate their strengths, apply skills, make healthy choices, and develop the lasting motivation to take care of themselves.
We hope you have enjoyed this article from The BreakThrough! Program.