5 Strategies You Can Use to Stop Overthinking

Have you ever laid in bed at night, replaying that first day on the job when you embarrassed yourself in front of all of your new coworkers? Don’t worry, other people get confused by our printer’s settings too…But do they actually?? Or am I the only one who can cause a disastrous paper jam that requires 4 hours of work to fix?? Nope, stop overthinking it. Don’t go down that road.

You know it was forever ago and most people won’t remember it…but you still can’t help thinking that you should have done something differently. Maybe even been funnier. Made more friends. Been more outgoing. Laughed it off instead of awkwardly apologizing.

On your commute home from work, do you keep thinking about the risky email you sent your boss with a dash of extra sarcasm? Did she get the joke?! Was everything even spelt correctly? Maybe the sarcasm won’t get through and now she’ll think you’re a snarky bee. You refresh your email and dang, no response yet. F**k.

Some of us love to play the “what if” game. What if I had accepted that job offer? What if I had gone to a different school? 

If this sounds like you, chances are you are an overthinker. Welcome to the club! 

But we hope to dismantle it soon so don’t get too comfortable.

We can confidently say you are not alone. A study from the University of Michigan found that 73% of adults between the ages of 25-35 overthink. That is a crazy amount of people who are overthinking on a daily basis. 

Overthinking not only leads to you reliving the embarrassing moments that are better left in the past, but it also impacts your decision making skills, drops your energy levels, impacts your sleep, and hinders your creativity

This is definitely a habit we need to kick. And we have just the strategies you need to stop overthinking and rein it all in!

1. Bring It Back Down to Size

Remind yourself that this worry is most likely smaller than you think it is. Ask yourself if you will remember this in three months, six months, a year. If not, it is probably not worth your time.

Remember that email you spent 35 mins reworking to ensure that your point was clear, you were assertive but not too confident, and your grammar was flawless? We commend you for being detail oriented! 

And if that email was of incredible importance, you were right to be diligent. But if that email was about where your team should go for lunch tomorrow, you were 12/10 overthinking it. 

If it won’t matter in a month, don’t get stuck on it.

2. Remind Yourself That Overthinking Magnifies Your Feelings

Here’s what you need to know.

When something embarrassing happens, the person who messed up always experiences magnified feelings. Observers do not experience the same shame, nervousness, or embarrassment. 

Prevent overthinking about embarrassing situations by consistently reminding yourself that people do not attach themselves to your mistakes the same way you do. 

How about that time you tripped walking out of Starbucks? Gravity did its job and you hugged the ground like a reunion in a post-war love story. Your iced coffee splattered in a 5 mile radius, your sunglasses found their way to Pluto, and your bag luckily protected the left side of your rib cage. Nobody remembers that but you.

When you are able, reframe your mistakes as learning experiences, as that is truly what they are.

3. Find Evidence to Use Against Your Worry

When you are overthinking about a specific worry, identify the worry as a cognitive distortion— there are several different types. 

Catastrophizing is a type of cognitive distortion and it makes you believe that everything will end in tragedy or disaster. When you make a mistake, no matter how small, this cognitive distortion snowballs your thinking. 

For example, what if you didn’t study as much as you would have wanted to for a very important test at school? 

Catastrophic thinking would lead to this narrative: “I am going to fail. If I fail this test, my GPA will drop. If my GPA drops, then I won’t get a good job after I graduate. And if I don’t get a good job, then I will be living in my parents’ basement forever.”

See how that snowballs?! No wonder your pulse is accelerating and you’re having trouble breathing. That sh*t is terrifying.

Here what you can do to stop that. Check the worry you have with evidence. Come up with the facts. Use the cold hard truth to keep your worry within its boundaries.

The Worry: I’m going to fail this test.

Evidence for: I didn’t study as much as I usually do.

Evidence against: A failing grade is less than 50%. I went to all the lectures and finished the readings in time, even though I didn’t study as much as usual. The likelihood of me failing this test is actually in reality about 20%, which means the likelihood that I will pass is about 80%. I may not get an A or B, but I won’t fail. Ultimately, this will only affect my grade a bit.

Looking at the evidence helps you remember the facts that you are ignoring when you overthink. Try to put things in perspective.

4. Use Journaling to Think It Through

Another type of overthinking we love to engage in is when it comes to the future and  potential scenarios. Why? Because the future is uncertain and we don’t like that. So we go back and forth in our heads analyzing every single scenario. Also goes by the nickname of analysis paralysis.

The problem is that we get stuck in our heads. That loop keeps playing and it exhausts you to the point where you might choose something just to be done with the process. We don’t want that, no sir.

This is where journaling comes in! Journaling has sooo many benefits, even beyond helping organize your thoughts. Writing down your worries can help you “play the tape through” which is what psychologists recommend as a strategy to stop overthinking.

It basically means you see the scenario allllll the way through and pay attention to the details. Like this.

Allow yourself to think of the worst possible scenario (if you feel safe enough to do so). What is the likelihood the worry will happen? If it does happen, who will be there to support you? How will you get through? What is Plan B? 

As you “play the tape through”, use a journal to write down what you are feeling and keep track of it. 

The DiveThru app is a great tool to help guide your journaling. Using 1000+ journaling exercises, we’ll help you dive thru different areas in your life where you are overthinking or you need more clarity.  

Download the app for free here to get started! 

5. Tell Yourself to STOP

If all else fails, there is one more strategy you can try. 

This might sound silly but take it literally. Tell yourself “STOP!” and imagine a stop sign in your mind when you notice you are overthinking. This works for some, but not all. 

When you rehash a conversation wishing you had been more witty (us overthinkers love to do that), you can use this technique to stop you from rethinking different lines for every person. 

Imagine a stop sign, and tell yourself to stop. Say it out loud if you have to. And rolling stops don’t count here, friends. 

So there you have it. You’ve looked up ways to stop overthinking because you were overthinking your overthinking…and now you have 5 strategies to show for it! As much as we love your company, we really are trying to break up the overthinking club. 

Looking for another club to join though? We have a DiveThru Together Community on Facebook where you’ll find a bunch of awesome people that are passionate about their mental wellbeing. 

Now THAT group is worth your time! Don’t be shy, drop us a line.


How to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem in 10 Steps

Ok, team. First things first! We’re going to be talking about how to build confidence and self-esteem and there’s one thing to get clear right off the bat.

Although they’re often used interchangeably, self-confidence and self-esteem are actually quite different. Think of them like cats and dogs. Both in the realm of friendly, adorable household animals but very different. Did we just compare self-confidence and self-esteem to our pets? Apparently yes…

Here’s the deal on the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem:

Self-confidence is the ability to trust (or have confidence) in yourself. This also translates into a broader view of how likely you are to accomplish something. For example, if you train for your track meet, you’ll have more confidence in your ability to succeed.

Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the ability to place value in yourself, and believe in your overall worth as a human being. If you have high self-esteem you do not fear failure or rejection because you know that your worth is not dependent on those things. 

Make sense? Now we just need to learn how to build confidence and self-esteem…keep reading.

First Up, How to Build Confidence

Let’s focus on building that ability to trust yourself to do things, both old and new. These strategies are not rocket science but they will help you recognize your ability to succeed.

But yes, there is a chance this increase in confidence will push you to apply to NASA.

1. Take It One Step at a Time

As with most things we chat about on the DiveThru blog, change will not come overnight. And believing it will come overnight can cause major frustration, which is defs not the goal.

Instead, get into the habit of doing little things every day that create big change. And if you have a couple of bad days, don’t get discouraged. There will be plenty of ups and downs. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

Take a lesson from the Tortoise: slow and steady wins the race. 

2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow. Trying new things will be scary, but that’s kind of the point.

Try to listen to the lululemon bag and do one thing a day that scares you. That will be a good start. Doing one scary thing per day is perfect because it combines taking it one step at a time and stepping out of your comfort zone. 

Here are some small ways to step out of your comfort zone everyday: smile at a stranger, try a new food, find your destination without using Siri, tell someone how you really feel.

After you’ve done these small things, you’ll realize you survived and will gain the confidence to try bigger things.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Believe in You

We are often (or always) our own worst critics. If you’re having trouble developing self-confidence, try to surround yourself with people who are confident in you. You can’t control everything, but you can usually control – to some extent – the people you spend time with.

Say goodbye to the people who diminish you or put you down. Instead, stay close to those who build you up and believe in you. Their support will help you realize that you should believe in yourself too. 

4. Do Something That Makes You Happy

Doing something that you love is good for the soul. Whether it’s exercising, making art, or spending time outside, doing something that you’re passionate about just feels good. And it shows! The better you feel about yourself and how you’re spending your time, the more visible that becomes to others around you. Feeling good makes it easier to be confident in yourself and your choices.

So, you ready to test out our tips on how to be confident? Maybe even start with this one! Do something that makes you happy and then work your way up the list!

Next Up, How to Build Self-Esteem

Ok time to tackle another key element to who we are. We know self-esteem is rooted in the value you place on yourself and your overall worth as a human being. We also know you get to choose what to place that value on. So how do we do that?

We’re gonna unpack that below!

1. Embrace Yourself As You Are

Self-esteem means recognizing your inherent value as a human being. Not the value of your accomplishments or promotions or grades. Just you. All of you. The way you are.

Now, let’s be real. We’re not expecting you to wake up tomorrow morning and love every single thing about yourself. Embracing yourself will not happen overnight. Instead, spend time getting to know yourself and remember that whoever you are is perfectly ok. You don’t have to be who people think you should be – your value does not depend on what they think of you. 

2. Stand Up for Yourself

As we may have mentioned, um 3 seconds ago, you deserve to be happy and proud of who you are. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to put you down and make you believe that you aren’t good enough.

Stand up for yourself. Know that you are deserving of love and respect just the way you are.

To be clear, we’re not saying drop the gloves. What we are saying is make sure you are being treated the way you deserve to be treated. In prioritizing your value, you will start believing it.

It’s a circle: when you have high self-esteem, you stand up for yourself. And when you stand up for yourself, you strengthen your self-esteem. 

3. Notice, and Shift, Your Self-Talk

We all have a voice in our head. Sometimes it’s supportive and encouraging and super great. A lot of times it’s not. If you want to change your self-talk, start by simply recognizing your thoughts. When is it your nice voice and when is it your mean voice?

Then, one thought at a time, try training your brain to use positive language instead of the negative language that may first pop into your head. Research has shown that talking to yourself in the second- or third-person is even more effective because it creates psychological distance.

Statements like “Josie, you feel nervous” remove you from stressful situations and allow you to better cope with your emotions. Try to use these strategies to shift your self-talk; use it to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down.

4. Learn to Accept Compliments

How many times has this happened to you: someone compliments you and you don’t really believe them and you don’t know what to say so you just stand there and, not surprisingly, it becomes this awkward moment and now all you want to do is hide and did we mention awkwarddd??

According to psychologist Guy Winch, one way to boost your self-esteem (and avoid an uncomfortable situation) is to learn to accept those compliments. Just so you know, we think you’re pretty great. And you are completely deserving of any compliments you receive. Instead of brushing them off, try responding with a simple, “thank you”.

As you start accepting compliments, your self-esteem will grow, which will then make it easier to accept more compliments. Another nice little circle of growth. 

And Lastly, Here’s What Will Help You Build BOTH!

Like men’s shower products, we went after some 2-in-1 strategies. These will help you focus on your confidence as well as your self-esteem.

1. Begin a Journaling Practice

Journaling is the best of both worlds: it allows you to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

By writing down and reflecting on the events of the day, journaling builds self-confidence. Write about how you stepped out of your comfort zone. Write about how you survived. When you take the time to reflect on your own experiences, you’ll be able to build on them and see your self-confidence grow. Plus, you’ll be able to apply what you learned to future situations, so you’ll be going in with more knowledge and ultimately, more self-confidence.

Journaling also builds self-esteem because, by writing down your thoughts and exploring your emotions, you are giving yourself a judgement-free zone. In this safe space, you can grow to love yourself and know your worth. You’ll realize that, no matter the outcome of the event, interview, or exam, you are a valued human being.

By using the DiveThru app, you’ll be able to get the introspection and reflection you need, all while connecting with your thoughts on paper. Try it out today by downloading the DiveThru app!

2. Practice Self-Compassion

Let’s cut to the chase. Being kind to yourself is hella important. When you practice self-compassion, you create a safe space where you feel comfortable to try new things and make mistakes.

A judgement-free space to grow builds confidence and trust within yourself. Plus, when you inevitably do make mistakes, you’ll realize that you’re deserving of kindness anyways. Despite your achievements, rejections, or status, you are deserving of love and kindness. Just the way you are.

Lead by example and show yourself love every single day.


8 Steps for Finding the Right Career Path

You were hoping for a nice, uneventful family dinner and now you’ve been asked the official worst question of all time. “So, have you picked a major yet?” No, Aunt Janice, I most definitely have not. I’m still searching and learning and discovering and finding the right career path for me.

You’ve been preparing for this question, and darn it to heck you even practiced your answer. But now you’re nervous, you’re feeling intensely awkward and your heart is going to town, which only makes you more nervous. Your brain is screaming inside your head, Someone HELP me, I have NO IDEA what I’m doing with my life…

Instead, you mumble, “Oh, I’m not really sure yet, still trying to figure out what I wana do…” 

They give you the pity look. “That’s ok, you still have lots of time to decide”. Very reassuring. Thanks. And on that note, your family dinner is ruined. You’ll never be able to enjoy your mashed potatoes now.

If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone.

Finding the right career path – what you could be doing for the rest of your life – is a BIG DEAL. It’s intimidating and daunting and it’s very normal to be stressed, anxious, and worried. We all are. Or at least we all were at some point. 

But finding your career path can also be, dare we say it, fun? Think about it: you can literally be anything you want; do anything you want. To help ease your stress about finding the right career, check out this list of 8 helpful hacks. 

Here’s to finding your place at your own pace!

1. Do a Self-Assessment Test

First, admire your beautiful self in the mirror because you deserve that. Then, look within and perform a self-assessment. In order to understand what career is right for you, you have to understand yourself. We recommend making lists; lists will be your best friend. 

What are your skills, interests, and values? What level of education do you have? Are you willing to pursue a higher level of education? Is there a particular kind of environment you need to succeed? Think about everything from scheduling to hours to the work environment itself. All of these things come into play when finding the right career path. The bottom line is, it might be a great career, but it has to be a great career for you.

2. Research Different Career Options

One word: Google.

Could you imagine having to look for jobs in the newspaper?? No thanks. Take advantage of the fact that you have access to literally all of the information in the entire world and start researching potential career options. Browse LinkedIn, take some career tests (with a grain of salt), and read about people’s experiences in the field. You have to be willing to put in the time to sift through all of the information out there. We know it can be overwhelming, but just take it one step at a time. You’ll be surprised how much you can find. 

Then, combine that wealth of information with your newfound personal knowledge. The cross-referencing process will help you narrow down your search to a more reasonable number of careers. Not, you know, every career in the world. Then you can really dive in.  

3. Talk to People in the Careers You’re Interested In

You may be thinking, “How am I supposed to know what it’s like to do this job if I’ve never done this job before?”

 First of all, we get you. On a personal level. 

 Second of all, the answer is to talk to people. We know, we know, not always fun. But quite necessary. 

Talking to people can mean anyone from neighbours to career counselors to professors to CEOs. Ask them what a typical workday looks like. Ask them what they love about their job. Even more important, ask them what they can’t stand about it. Ask them questions you can’t find the answers to online. Ask them lots of questions. As someone starting a new career, every piece of information is valuable to help you find the right career. Everything you learn from odd conversations here and there will contribute to the overall picture you’re painting in your head.  

4. Find Opportunities to Job Shadow

After you’ve talked to people about the careers you’re interested in, take it one step further and ask about job shadowing. Job shadowing is magical. And it’s the perfect way to experience the real-world, day-to-day aspects of a potential career.

Two hours into the day, you may realize that you’re very much not a fan of the job. No problem. You can walk away at the end of the day, no strings attached. The only thing you will have lost is one day binging Gossip Girl. And you can make up for that on the weekend. 

On the other hand, you may spend 30 minutes at the job and realize that this is where you want to be. Suddenly, everything clicks into place and you just know.

The truth is, there are some things you don’t realize until you’ve lived them yourself. Job shadowing allows you to separate the idea of the career from the actual thing. It saves you from entering a career that doesn’t really fit and, in the process, saves you a whole lot of time, money, and stress.  

5. Discover Things That Are Meaningful to You 

You’re about to be spending all day every day at work. Now, this could go one of two ways: 1) you dread going to work every day, or 2) you genuinely like your job and are motivated to go to work. It’s like you’re at the optometrist’s office. 1 or 2? 1 or 2? We know which one we’d pick.

Listen, we’re not saying that every day is going to be the best day ever but finding meaningful work will sure make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Don’t just take our word for it. There is loads of research out there that says you are more happy, productive, and successful when you’re doing work you’re passionate about. You’ll find purpose in your career and you’ll feel like what you’re doing actually matters.

Unfortunately, you might not be able to survive on passion alone. For example, you might be passionate about music, but lack the skills to become the next Shawn Mendes. Don’t we all … The trick is to find a career that is meaningful, but that also aligns with your skills, values, and requirements. Maybe you’re not a performer, but you’re great at planning events, coordinating media, and making sure everything runs smoothly. With your passion for music and sweet organizational skills, instead, you could be a tour manager for the next Shawn Mendes. 

When you find a career that incorporates your skills and your passions, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Don’t settle for a job you hate.  

6. Think It Through

Once you have all of your information, the only thing left to do is decide. Hah. If only it were that easy. 

Like with any other big decision, we recommend writing down your thoughts in your journal. Write down how you feel about your career candidates, look at the pros and cons, and visualize how you might progress on each career path. But most importantly, be honest with yourself. This is for you, and you only. Use your journal to sort through and examine your feelings from a non-judgemental point of view. You’re allowed to feel whatever you’re feeling. 

Check out the DiveThru app for dives such as “making a career path change” and “picking your major”. We have everything you need to organize your thoughts and are here to support you as you make your decision. 

7. Choose a Career YOU Want

The worst thing you can do is go into a career solely because someone else wants you to. That someone could be a parent, a partner, or a friend, but any way you slice it, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you’re miserable at your job, it will translate into every other area of your life as well.

Think you need to make a change? Do it. If you need to go against someone else’s wishes to satisfy your own, do it. You are the top priority, here. Be bold and brave and trust your gut. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with what you’re doing because you’re the one doing it.

8. Be Open to Trying Multiple Things

Wow ok this heading sounds suuuper dramatic, but sometimes it feels like choosing your career is a one-time thing and you’re locked in for life. That’s not true though. At all.

According to a survey conducted by Indeed, over a third of Canadians make a complete career switch at least once in their life. And even better news, 87% of them are happier after they made the switch. So, despite what it might feel like, you are allowed to change your mind. 

We’re not saying choosing your career will be an easy decision. Because it probably won’t be. What we are saying is that, hopefully, with these tips, it will at least be a manageable one. If nothing else, we hope that the next time someone asks you the dreaded question, it might be a little less dreaded.

And now we leave you with one of our favourite accounts, @nathanwpylestrangeplanet. Because how relatable.


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15 Effective Ways to Tackle Acute Stress & Reduce Chronic Stress

Well, it’s been a long and shitty day at work. Your entire team is behind schedule, off sync, completely burned out already and your manager is unleashing alll of their stress on you. You leave work knowing that you’ll still have to get log on after dinner and get more shit done. And you’ll probably have one of those anxiety-filled work nightmares. We’ve been there. This type of chronic stress (along with acute stress, which we’ll tackle below too) is not something you want as a lifestyle.

Unfortunately, stress isn’t easy to avoid, and while we wish we were all miraculously born knowing how to cope with stress, that just isn’t the case. So let’s DiveThru some techniques to help you destress so you can continue living your best life. 

Can Stress Be “Good?” 

Are you living a stress-free life? Most likely not. There are, however, some examples of “good stress”—also described by psychologists as “eustress,” which is a type of positive stress that keeps you happy and motivated in life, especially when you need a little extra push of encouragement!

Examples of good stress:

  • Getting a promotion at work
  • Watching a thrilling movie 
  • Meeting someone new for the first time 
  • The excitement of going on vacation 

Oki great! We can handle that! Oh wait, there are more types.

Acute Stress and Chronic Stress

Acute stress and chronic stress are two different types of stress. While both types of stress can feel pretty similar at their onset, acute stress typically goes away once the stimulus has passed. Chronic stress is the extra fun kind of stress that doesn’t go away unless serious changes are made. 

Acute Stress

Acute stress is basically the stress response you feel when an unexpected event happens, like a car crash or forgetting your phone in a cab. Our bodies have had this stress reaction since the beginning of time and it used to save us from dying at the hands (paws?) of saber-toothed tigers. You have your amygdala to thank for this! 

As we mentioned, acute stress usually doesn’t last too long and once you’ve problem-solved your way through the stimulus, the stress dissipates. Here are a few more examples of acute stress: 

  • An impromptu meeting with your boss
  • Giving a speech in front of people you know
  • Giving a speech in front of people you DON’T know
  • Getting into an argument with your best friend
  • Having to parallel park downtown

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress, on the other hand, is described as long-term stress that arises when you are continuously confronted with stress factors that take a severe toll and feel unmanageable. It may be pretty harmful to your physical and mental health if it continues for a lengthy time. Not to scare you but if chronic stress is not addressed, it can later on be accompanied by other health risks like cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, etc.

Here are a few examples of chronic stress: 

  • Losing your job (and/or a lengthy period of unemployment)
  • Going through a divorce 
  • Dealing with a severe injury or sickness
  • Being in an abusive relationship
  • Overworking yourself in your career

Some of these are just a part of life, like losing your job, and some can’t be avoided at all, like injury or illness. The recovery period that comes after these may be quite lengthy and often there’s no way to avoid that stress. That’s okay. Just do your best to try to manage it during that period so that it doesn’t turn into chronic stress. Watch out for these symptoms of chronic stress: 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Low energy 
  • Tiredness
  • Pounding headaches
  • Inability to focus

Remember the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode where Rosa is involved in an active shooter situation? The rest of the squad can’t focus on anything else, and they’re all listening to the radio to make sure she’s all right. That was acute stress! It was a stressful situation, but one that was also resolved quickly. 

The same example could also lead to chronic stress if Rosa developed PTSD from her experience and felt like she was thrown back into that situation every time she came to work.

How To Reduce Stress (Both Acute and Chronic)

Well we told you all the hard news first, now let’s talk about the good news! There are at least 15 ways that you can tackle your stress! Put down your stress ball and give some of these stress-relief tools a try.

1. Have a Good Cry 

Stress management 101. It’s ok to cry. It’s good to cry. Crying is known to be a good release for pent-up emotions and stress. Friends, it literally detoxifies the body.

Did you know that feel-good hormones called oxytocin and endorphins are released everytime you cry?? And not only that, but if you dig further into research on the parasympathetic system (PNS) you’ll learn that crying activates it and becomes a great mechanism to self-soothe.

One more fact about crying and then we’re done: it doesn’t have to be a sad cry either! Crying is actually about restoring emotional balance, which is why we also cry our hearts out when we’re extremely happy.

Keeping everything bottled in isn’t healthy, and at some point, you’ve just gotta let it out. You’ll feel like a million bucks after. Well, we don’t know what a million bucks feels like, but we guarantee you’ll feel better than before.

2. Track Your Feelings 

A feeling tracker is a super cool emotion-focused coping tool! In fact it’s so cool that we bet your therapist has already talked to you about it. There are many free apps you can use to do it and yes, you bet you’ll find a daily feeling tracker in the DiveThru app. There are just so many benefits to using one!

First, having the nuanced language to describe what you’re feeling every day has such a powerful effect on your mental health. Therapists call it emotional granularity! Second, when you track your feelings regularly, you can pick up on patterns. Feeling-tracking cna help you figure out what’s making you stressed and/or what’s helping you de-stress. It’s also an excellent tool when combined with a quick journaling prompt that helps you explore your thoughts and release tension that way.

We 13/10 would recommend it. Download the DiveThru app to begin documenting your feelsss.

3. Connect With Loved Ones

Simply having someone to talk to about what you’re going through can do wonders. Whether it’s your best friend, your favourite aunt, or just someone in your community that you’re close with — verbalizing the stress you’re feeling is a good step to addressing it. Even if they don’t have all the answers for you, just talking it out with someone and/or ranting for a hot minute can make you feel way better. 

When you’re stressed out, your first instinct might be to isolate yourself and deal with everything on your own because you don’t want to be a burden to anybody. But the fact is, your family and friends genuinely care about you and want to help you. Let them!

4. Prioritize Self-Care 

When you think about self-care, what pops up into your mind? Bath bombs, spa days, and expensive massages? Well, nothing wrong with any of those if that’s what relaxes you!

BUT — and this is a big but — self-care encompasses soo much more than that. It’s all of the ways that you take care of your body: physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. The purpose of self-care is to give your body and your mind what they need, when they need it. It’s a pretty customized journey because the only person who knows you as well as you is…well, you!

For some, self-care might look like adding mindful movement into their day, like a lunchtime walk or some stretching to relieve stress from sitting at your desk. For others, a lunchtime nap might be better because it’s actually their sleep schedule that has been thrown out of whack lately. Self-care can also look like making time to do the dishes, clean your apartment, or take a hot shower. Making time to see your friends and cutting back on overtime work could also be considered self-care. Same with setting boundaries around family events if you find them too draining! 

Basically, anything that helps you take care of you is self-care. Do it and do it often. It will not only help you destress in the moment but also serve as a preventative measure against that chronic stress we talked about.

5. Tackle the Problems 

Problem-based coping is a stress-management tool to discover what causes stress and figure out the best way to confront it through problem-solving.

The idea behind this is that if you can identify what triggers your stress, it will be simpler to plan for and deal with it when it occurs. It kinda depends on the situation though and if your stressors are actually under your control to change or not. But if it’s an option, problem-based coping can be really effective long-term!

To help you with some acute stress scenarios, here are some coping mechanisms for everyday stressful situations: 

Phone calls: prepare notes for what you want to say and have them ready when you call.

Presentations: take the time to anticipate potential questions and draft your answers; wear an outfit that doesn’t show sweat and do a breathing exercise 5 minutes before you have to present. 

Exams: get there early and work through a visualization exercise; bring water, snacks, and something that calms your nerves; 5 minutes before the exam, do a breathing exercise.

Job interviews: do your research and prepare questions ahead of time; wear an outfit that you feel confident in.

Going somewhere new: talk to other people going and ask if they can meet you outside the venue; ask your friends if anyone is familiar with the location and plan your route ahead of time.

Feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list: prioritize specific tasks and assign them an order to be completed in; focus on one task at a time and hide your list until that task is fully done.

6. Manage Your Time & Stay Organized

Staying organized means spending less time searching through piles and piles of missing documents, items, and emails. That means more time to focus on tasks that really matter. That means more productivity at work. And that means, you guessed it, less stress.

Even the people who have a very detailed system of organization can sometimes lose control of their system (and their day). This is a reminder for everyone reading the article to slow down, take a breath, and get organized before you start saving the world. Then you’re only dealing with the stress of being a hero.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Negative self-talk makes stress even more difficult to manage. On top of the stressful situation, you have to deal with your inner critic making comments like, “Why can’t you handle this?” Not helping! Instead, try replacing what your inner critic is saying with something like, “I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but you’re doing your best.” Practicing self-compassion means treating yourself like a good friend. This positive self-talk will help you feel more supported in all aspects of your life, including during stressful times.

​​Now, we’re not saying you have to be upbeat all the time because that’s impossible — have you seen, umm, everything lately? But developing a mindset that acknowledges you are not powerless in the face of adversity improves your ability to deal with stress. 

8. Hit Pause and Take a Break

You do need a break from time to time, regardless of what you and your coffee believe. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and irritated, it’s a sign that you need to hit that pause button before your stress escalates. Try to take a break from your work for even just a few minutes and do something completely different. Take a lap around the office. Go bug your work bestie for a few minutes. Then, when you’re ready to return, you’ll be much more productive. Trust us.

9. Move Your Body

Did you know that stretching and exercising can help enhance your mental health? Moving your body supports the release of those feel-good endorphins, which can improve your mood and, in some cases, help you sleep better!

Now, this doesn’t mean your goal has to be increasing muscle mass and breaking personal records. You can include exercise into your life at your own pace! And you don’t have to do the same type of movement every time — experiment to see what works best for you! Here are some examples:

  • Swimming 
  • Following along to a YouTube yoga video
  • Going for a walk around your neighbourhood 
  • Going for a hike 
  • Taking a friend to Zumba
  • Attending a water aerobics class (don’t underestimate the strength of those grandmas, they know what’s up)

10.  Breathe It Out 

There’s a reason you’ve heard that deep breathing can help you feel calmer (hint: it actually works). During times of intense stress, your body goes on autopilot and starts quick shallow breathing as part of its stress response. Taking a few deep breaths helps you refocus and feel less tense!

60 seconds of breathing can calm the mind.

60 seconds of breathing can lower an accelerating pulse.

And 60 seconds of breathing can slow a panic attack.

Let’s get into a breathing exercise together. You can try this anytime you’re feeling hella stressed. 

Count out the seconds in your head as they’re passing by or put on a timer and try to clear your head.

  1. Find a quiet space 
  2. Get comfortable (sitting or lying down, whichever you prefer) 
  3. Close your eyes, or pick a neutral point of focus
  4. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds and then exhale for 4 seconds 
  5. Repeat until you begin to feel a bit more at ease 

Try to keep your attention on your breath and bring your awareness to the way it moves through your lungs. You should notice your thoughts and your pulse slowing down a bit after a few rounds of deep breathing.

11. Listen to Your Fave Tunes 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing, put on your headphones, and listen to a song or two. Music offers several mental health advantages, including releasing tension, reducing stress, and increasing optimism. 

If you want to relax, listen to one of your chill playlists. If you need to feel inspired, classical music is usually a good choice! Especially if you’re wanting those dark academia vibes full of mystery and maybe even a good sword fight. If you’re needing to stimulate your brain, lo-fi music is perfect for that — it’s intentionally recorded with imperfections and your brain gets absolutely tickled by that. And if none of these ideas work for you, feel free to create your own playlist full of whatever stress relieving music you want! That’ll be a relaxing activity. Music has a lot of power; use it to your advantage.

12. Create Boundaries

Let’s talk healthy boundaries. They’re those limits that you set for your time, energy and effort so that you don’t burn yourself out. We have soo much on our plates on every given day and it’s always going to be a challenge balancing everything. If you learn how to set boundaries and communicate them, you’ll notice that you no longer say yes to everything — just the stuff that you actually care about and have time for.

You can set boundaries in every area of your life: friends, family, relationships, work, school, volunteering, etc. Say for example that your friend calls you four times in a row and leaves a voicemail that says you NEEED to hear about who she just ran into. If you’re focused on a different task or you just don’t have the energy to listen to a vent session right now, consider sending a message like this: “I’m swamped right now, and I wouldn’t be able to offer you my undivided attention, which you deserve. Can I call you tomorrow?”

Done. This helps them realize that you have reached a limit for how much you can take on right now and that’s perfectly understandable. Of course, we hope they understand but if they don’t, it doesn’t mean you should drop that boundary. It just means they need more time to adjust to it — here’s a more detailed article on how to set boundaries and enforce them.

13. Disconnect From Social Media 

Throw your phone over the bridge. No, jk, that’s not good for the environment or your wallet. But there are ways you can disconnect from it! 

Social media and the various platform algorithms are built so that you stay engaged and keep scrolling as long as possible. We spend a lot of time on social media because it’s so easy to immerse yourself in it. It also feels like it moves so fast and if you’re not engaging with something while it’s trending, you’re going to miss out. 

Well sometimes it’s better to miss out so that you can give yourself a break. “But social media isn’t the thing that’s stressing me out??” That might be true but it could also be adding to the stress you’re already feeling, especially with the current state of the world. We’re not saying delete your accounts — just turn off notifications for a couple of hours each day and spend that time getting coffee with a friend, taking a rock climbing class, reading your book, or finger-painting a masterpiece! Maybe it’ll be the next Banksy, who knows. Social media will still be there for you when you get back.

14. Catch Some Zzzzzzz’s 

A good night’s sleep can also help you deal with stress more effectively! The relationship between stress and sleep is actually a two-way street. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to stress; if you’re stressed, it can lead to a loss of sleep. A bit of a catch-22! 

Studies show that people who are not getting enough sleep (less than 4 hours a night) are more likely to experience cognitive decline. That, in addition to all the ways stress affects your body, basically tells you how important it is to get enough sleep. 

Create a nightly routine that helps you prepare for a good sleep and try to stick to it as much as possible. You can also try to integrate some deep breathing and stretching right before bed to help you ease the tension in your body. Then focus on addressing the root cause of your stress so you can work on the problem, not just the symptoms of stress.

15. Learn More About Stress

There’s no shame in the mental health game. We love seeing people open up about what they’re going through and then learning everything they can about the issue. Psychoeducation is important because it helps you figure out what you need. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to mental health.

That’s why we love bringing you resources that can help you dive thru what you’re going through! And we created the perfect course with Dr. Justin Puder to learn all about stress. It’s called Stress 101 in the DiveThru app, look it up!

In this course, Dr. J talks about the neurological roots of stress as we make sense of what it is and what purpose it serves in our lives. You’ll also get to learn about different stress signals, dive into some cool research and learn all the ways you can create a more balanced relationship with stress.

Think of this course (and this article) as a toolbox you can go to anytime you find yourself facing stress!


Well, there you have it. The Ultimate Stress Management List.

With these suggestions in hand, you’ll be promoted to your new role as Manager of Stress in no time.


The Mental Health Benefits of Music: Lyrics & Emotions

What if we told you we found something that could transport you back in time? No, we’re not talking about a backyard cardboard time machine – although that would be cool. What if we told you that the superpower we’re talking about is music? Yep. Music. And what if we told you while you’re being transported back in time, you’re also experiencing the mental health benefits of music?

Think about it.

Have you ever been jamming out to your favourite playlist when all of a sudden that one song comes on? Immediately, you’re back with your friends on summer vacation, windows rolled down, singing at the top of your lungs, cheeks sore from smiling so big.

Maybe you’re taken back to your wedding day. Your partner is by your side as the sparklers twinkle and you dance your first dance. You’re surrounded by family and friends. You feel warm and safe and full of love.

That’s the (super)power of music. 

On top of providing entertainment, enjoyment, and comfort, music also has important impacts on mental health and wellbeing. Talk about a superpower.  

According to John Hopkins Medicine, “research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.”

Ok…we’re listening. Any other benefits of music to know about? YOU BET.

Music Reduces Stress

Listening to music is like a workout for your entire brain and autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system plays a key role in the human stress response, which explains why music can help reduce stress.  

What are some everyday examples of how listening to music can help reduce stress, you ask?

During your morning routine — it’s sure to be a great day if it starts with some upbeat, motivational music.

During your commute — combat bad drivers with good music.

While cooking or cleaning — these will feel less like chores when you have the backdrop of some nice music. If your broom becomes a guitar or your spatula becomes a microphone we won’t judge.

While eating — playing instrumental or classical music while eating can make you more relaxed, which makes it easier to digest food.

Before bed — music can help you relax and slow down your breathing, making it easier to fall asleep.

Music can be a backdrop for almost any activity, but it’s important to find the right genre or playlist for the situation you find yourself in. Loud, intense music isn’t good right before bed and classical music likely won’t get you motivated to run 10km.

Can anything get you motivated to run 10km? If so, please send suggestions.

The point is, be willing to change it up and experiment until you find what works for you!

Music Therapy Helps You Process Emotions

Another way music can improve mental health and wellbeing is through music therapy. For example, it has been used to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in those suffering from neurological conditions. Music therapy can involve a variety of different elements including lyric analysis, improvisation music playing, active music listening, and songwriting. Because people can connect with music so well, music therapy allows them to process emotions and communicate in new and helpful ways. 

At DiveThru, we understand the power of words. Lyrics are no different. Have you ever stopped in your tracks because it felt like the lyrics you just heard were taken straight from your soul?? Have you felt better understood by the words in a song than by actual human beings? Ok ok, we know that the words in the song were written by actual human beings but you get the point. 

Lyrics allow us to connect because they often describe what we’re feeling better than we ourselves can. In the same way that writing out your feelings in a journal helps to process them, listening to music can help make sense of your emotions, too. A lot of times you might not even realize what you’re feeling until you hear it sung back to you. Then, suddenly, it all makes sense.

Music Empowers Your Journaling Practice

The next time you hear lyrics that really hit home, take a minute to write them down in your journal or in the notes on your phone. Reflect on how they make you feel and why they spoke to you. This reflection will likely lead to some insight on what you’re feeling in the moment. Download the DiveThru app so you’re ready to go the next time you need a quick journaling session. 

Lyrics can also impact action, so choose your music wisely. Listening to songs with positive messages can inspire you to take positive action, just as listening to songs with negative lyrics can have the opposite effect on your wellbeing. For example, according to Patricia Fox Ransom (Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology), a song like “Brave” by Sara Bareilles “encourages people to have hope and chase their dreams” (p. 18). According to another study from her secondary research, “listening to songs with pro-social lyrics increases empathy, which leads to helping behavior in other settings” (p. 18).

Because of this effect on wellbeing, something as simple as your background music may have a significant impact on your daily life.  Why not take full advantage of the benefits of music?

Think about the songs that you listen to and ask yourself this. Are they promoting healthy behaviours and mindsets? Or are they contributing to negative thoughts and reduced wellbeing? Feel free to use these questions as journaling prompts to dive deeper into what music means to you. You may discover that it’s impacting your life in more ways than you could’ve imagined. 

Music is a secret superpower for the promotion of mental wellbeing. Grab your phone, pull up your fave Spotify playlist and get into your feels!


6 Journaling Prompts to Help You Improve Communication

If you’re thinking to yourself there’s gotta be something I can do to improve communication, the answer is yes.

Picture this.

You’re having a fight with your partner. They go silent and shut down – like always. Why won’t they just talk to you and work it out?? 

You’re having a fight with your partner. They keep rambling on and on – like always. Why won’t they just give you some space to think?? 

Maybe because they don’t realize that’s what you need.

It happens all the time, whether it’s in a personal relationship, a work relationship, or any other kind of relationship. Everyone communicates differently.

The key to minimizing frustration and conflict is to understand how you, and those around you, communicate. Communication is a critical (and we mean critical) part of any healthy relationship. This includes open communication during fights, difficult tasks, and heart-to-heart conversations. But it also includes communication about communication. If you don’t talk about how you communicate to one another and what you need to feel seen, heard, and appreciated, it will only cause more problems. 

That’s where journaling comes in. Journaling is a wonderful tool because it allows you to explore and clarify your thoughts. Sometimes you may not even know you’re feeling a certain way until you write it out and realize, ah, that’s what it is. Once you have a better understanding of your feelings, you’ll be able to better articulate what you want and need in any communication situation. 

To help you dive into what communication means to you, we’ve created a list of 6 journaling prompts to explore.

Grab your pen + paper and let’s divethru…

1. List three people who you think have excellent communication skills. What about them do you admire?

Your list can include people in your own life or those you look up to. It can even include fictional characters if you’d like. The point is, they should be good at communicating. 

What about them makes them a good communicator? Is it their open body language, their willingness to be honest, or their non-judgemental listening ear? How can you incorporate some of these characteristics into your own daily communication? 

2. How do you communicate?

This may seem like a simple prompt but take a minute to really think about how you communicate. How do you react to difficult conversations or negative feedback? What type of body language do you use while talking to a co-worker or a friend? How often do you speak up at board meetings or family gatherings? Details that may seem tiny all come together to create your personal communication habits. On the flip side, what do you need from others in order to feel heard? It’s not selfish to create boundaries and let others know what you need to succeed. 

3. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your communication skills? What are your strengths? What are some areas that might need a little improvement?

Knowing how you communicate is kiiiinda important (see point #2). After a little reflection, try to identify the areas of communication that you’re comfortable with and those that make you want to shrink back and hide. 

Let’s say you struggle with having difficult conversations face-to-face. Same. You may not be able to avoid these conversations all together (and if you are that could be a different problem, see point #4), but you can come up with strategies to make them easier. 

For example, you could think about what you want to say beforehand and bring in a list of points to help you feel more prepared. Something as simple as getting your thoughts on paper can make a world of difference in how you approach and handle difficult conversations. This will not only help you, but the person you’re speaking with as well. 

So, what are you great at and what can you work on? How will you work on it? 

4. How can your communication practices be inadvertently hurting others?

Do you hold back because you’re scared to hurt people’s feelings? In doing so, you may be inadvertently harming them. Do you tell it like it is, no sugar-coating? This straightforward approach may be equally as hurtful. 

The important thing to know is how other people like to receive messages. These personal preferences should determine how you communicate with them. Communication is a two-way street. You have to take into account your communication style as well as your partner, co-worker, friend, or parent’s communication style. 

5. How does your self-confidence impact your communication?

Does your confidence come across as cockiness? 

Does your lack of confidence come across as disengagement? 

Have you found a happy medium? 

Does your confidence level, and therefore your communication, change depending on the situation you find yourself in? 

All of these factors will influence your relationships and are important in assessing your communication skills.

6. How can you improve your active listening skills?

Communication is not just about talking. In fact, listening is one of the most important elements of communication. Active listening means “listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice”. 

Try not to think of what you’re going to have for lunch, what your puppy is doing at home, or what you’re going to say next. Instead, focus your attention on the person speaking to make them feel heard and respected. 

What are you doing well in terms of active listening? 

How can you create a better environment for listening? 

Go ahead and give an honest, non-judgemental assessment of your active listening skills. Your journal is probably the best active listener out there. 

So, the next time you’re having a fight with your partner and they stay quiet, you’ll realize that they just need time to process, it’s not that they don’t care. And when they keep talking, they’re not trying to push you, that’s just their way of working it out – they think out loud. 

By paying attention to the needs of yourself and others, you’ll create more effective communication and more meaningful relationships with those around you. 

Well, looks like you’re ready to conquer the world now. 

Mission accomplished, over and out.


How to Recognize Symptoms of Depression: COVID Edition

We kicked off 2020 with a ruthless virus and by March of that year, the whole world was in quarantine. As we’re writing to you now, it’s 2022 and the pandemic is still in full swing. Everyone is coping the best way they know how…and if you’ve been noticing your mental health take a toll, know that you’re not alone. So in order for us to watch out for ourselves and others, we’ve put together a list of symptoms of depression, especially as they may show up during our current panini reality.

Our in-house mental health professional, Natalie Asayag MSW LCSW, reminds us that “human connection is necessary to our survival.” While the introverts of the world will now take a minute to argue “is it tho??” the truth is that we do need each other! We need our family and our friends and our social rituals and all of the fun things we do to enjoy time together.

But we also need to care for each other’s health and personal safety! And as we’ve been prioritizing that over the past 2 years, we’ve naturally and validly started to feel lonely and overwhelmed.

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and collective trauma may be showing up so we reached out to Natalie and asked a few questions on the matter. Below you’ll find her answers and her professional recommendations!

1. What are symptoms of depression that can particularly crop up when social distancing? 

Symptoms of depression during social distancing can show up in a few different ways. Pay attention to things like lack of motivation, fatigue, trouble sleeping, as well as a drop in seeking support or connection (further self-isolating). 

Another important symptom to look for is a loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, and any accompanying irritability, negative thoughts, or a loud inner critic. Equally important to keep an eye out for is an uptick in restriction or binge behaviours because these may also crop up during social distancing.

Because depression is a complicated illness, there are other signs of depression to consider. If at any point you feel these warning symptoms worsen or develop more, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional. 

2. How can you recognize these symptoms in yourself and others?

To recognize symptoms showing up in loved ones, ask yourself if you’ve been noticing them reaching out less or responding less. Have they been ignoring your (hilarious) meme accounts? Are they starting to let your texts sit without a response for a long time? Skipping planned phone calls? On the other side, notice if you yourself have done the same. 

Recognize if you or your friend have been engaging in escapism (like video games, or TV). Every once in a while we all find that one TV show that we just HAVE to watch in one sitting because it’s soooooo good. But escapism may be a symptom of depression if you notice you’ve been doing it more than usual. Netflix shouldn’t be taking up a large portion of your day every day.

A few more things to recognize as potential symptoms are a lack of motivation to do [school] work, not engaging in usual activities (think cleaning, making meals, showering, etc.), and finding less pleasure in previously pleasurable activities. If you feel like it takes more energy to start or follow through with a task, that may also be a warning sign. Because irritability can be a symptom of depression, lashing out or being “short” with friends and loved ones may also be a sign. 

3. How can loneliness from the pandemic cause depression or depressive episodes?

Human connection is necessary to our survival. Without social connections, we begin to feel empty and lose sight of life’s purpose, as loneliness informs our inner world of feelings and thoughts. 

This can quite quickly lead to feelings of depression, considering various factors, such as frequency of connection, quality of friendships, ability to connect beyond surface conversation and the length of time without quality interactions.

4. What are some ways to combat feelings of loneliness, especially if you are far from friends and family?

Ideally, connect via video so you can see the person’s facial expressions and read their non-verbals. If this isn’t your preference, certainly audio calls are the next best thing. Set a time each day or week to connect with specific people in your life. 

Another option is to join one of the many free, live collective experiences offered online: meditations, yoga, workouts, lectures, FB support groups, online book clubs. Send handwritten letters or cards to friends — let’s bring back the pen pal experience. Connect with others who are willing to sit with your emotions it’s powerful to be able to share your feelings and feel “heard” and validated.  

5. What are some other ways people with depression can cope while they’re self-isolating?

It’s a good idea to schedule daily or weekly calls with friends and family and conduct reciprocal daily check-ins with each other. You can also virtually watch a movie with a friend or start an online game together! Or get outside and go on a social distancing walk with your friends (don’t forget your mask). Be brave in your vulnerability and ask for support when you need it.

Journaling is a great way to allow yourself to feel your feelings, and even get a little creative. Create a comfortable and warm space and explore the thoughts and feelings whirling around inside you. The physical and mental health benefits of journaling are countless.

As you try to replicate some normalcy, build a loose schedule for yourself and lower your expectations of yourself. 

Some other creative activities you can engage in are cooking, baking, sketching, painting, photography, poetry, writing, and reading. Build a playlist for different moods, listen to podcasts, meet with a therapist. Many senior care homes are looking for pen pals right now so grab a pen and write a letter to them! Come up with a detailed escape plan of how you’re going to break them out of the senior home and take them on a rad adventure. Embrace your creativity and you’ll make their day, and your day.

Take Care of Yourself

So there you have it! A few ways to recognize symptoms of depression and a few ways to cope with them as they crop up. It’s more important now than ever to take care of each other as we try to fight this ruthless virus. 

Let’s show extra love, be super mindful in our communication, and purposeful in our interactions.

We got this, fam.


How to Stop Being a Perfectionist One Step at a Time

When you think of the word perfect, maybe you think of a sunny afternoon on the beach, your partner’s eyes, or the smell of a new book. What you probably don’t think of is a mountain of stress, hours of procrastination, or feelings of inadequacy. How can something with the root word “perfect” be so not perfect? Welcome to perfectionism. In this article, we dive thru how to stop being a perfectionist and letting it run your life.

Perfectionism “involves a tendency to set standards that are so high they either cannot be met or are only met with great difficulty.” Basically, perfectionism is trying to make things so perfect that they become unattainable. Whether it’s spending hours on a simple task or rewriting an email for the tenth time, these high standards usually leave no room for error. 

This leads to another noteworthy aspect of perfectionism: the fear of failure. Perfectionism creates the belief that making a mistake, no matter how small, will lead to criticism and rejection. The belief that, if you are not perfect you will not be liked. 

As if this wasn’t enough, there is an added desire to be perfect that comes from social media. We all know what it’s like to see an immaculate Instagram feed where every image is filtered in Clarendon and everyone looks like they’ve walked right out of a movie – with the body to match. 

What we never see are the makeup products, the 47 other photos, and the hours of editing that go into capturing even the most “spontaneous” and “authentic” moments. It’s easy to look at social media and believe that everyone else has the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect life. 

It’s easy to believe that you should too.

Managing Your Perfectionism

Social media and today’s society are creating a world where, despite success, people feel inadequate. The growing issue of perfectionism is negatively affecting the mental health and wellbeing of people around the world. 

Perfectionism is sometimes thought of as a positive characteristic. People pride themselves on being perfectionists. But for those who struggle with perfectionism, it is the complete opposite. We know how hard it can be. And we’ve got your back. Here are 4 ways to manage your perfectionism and make peace with where you’re at. 

1. Set realistic goals. 

Realistic goals are a great way to address perfectionism because they work with you, at your pace. You can start wherever you are right now and keep working on them for as long as you need to. Overcoming perfectionism won’t be easy or instantaneous.

Setting SMART goals allows you to split a seemingly impossible task into smaller, more manageable pieces. Goals will give you guidelines to stick to so that perfectionism doesn’t try to creep in. Having a trusted friend or family member check them over to make sure they are realistic and achievable is also a great idea!

2. Celebrate the little things.

Just because your achievements aren’t revolutionary and earth-shattering doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be celebrated. Maybe you posted a picture without editing it, or maybe you only proofread your email twice before sending it instead of the usual ten times. 

Whatever your little victory is today, celebrate it!! 

Rewarding yourself for the little things can help with perfectionism, too. By acknowledging that every little thing is important, you won’t feel like everything is riding on one big thing that has to be absolutely perfect. Celebrate the little wins – they’re all a part of the big picture. 

3. Share your imperfections.

This will probably be the most terrifying thing ever. But as Brene Brown has taught us, vulnerability is the key to human connection. Every one of us experiences vulnerability but it takes courage and strength to let it show. In an attempt to remain perfect, we often don’t show our whole selves. 



Don’t forget that every part of you, every stage of your life, is important and worth celebrating. Being grateful for where you are right now will help you acknowledge and accept imperfections as normal and human (we’re getting to that). 

So, tell people about a time you failed. Post a picture without makeup on. Normalize imperfections. These are the ways to build connections and truly understand one another. You never know who you might be helping by sharing your vulnerability.

4. Remember: NO ONE is perfect. 

Think about someone in your life who is perfect. Someone who has never sent an email with a spelling mistake, never forgotten their lines during a presentation, and never had a pimple on their face. Someone who has never made a mistake. You’re going to be thinking for a while. 

Because despite what it may feel like, and what you may hear, and what you may see on social media, NO ONE IS PERFECT. Not even Beyoncé. Seriously. What we are is human

We are clumsy, forgetful, imperfect, mistake-making humans. And we are still loved, and we are still beautiful.

 When perfectionism is getting the best of you, make a conscious effort to shift your thoughts from “I need to be perfect” to “I will do the best I can”. Remember that your appearance, work, or grade does not define you. You are so much more than that. And if you ever forget, come on back here and we’ll remind you.


What Are You Grateful For? 6 Ways to Reflect with Gratitude Journaling

When was the last time you expressed your gratitude? This isn’t an attack btw (lol) because you can show that you are grateful without saying it out loud. There are so many ways to do it! You could surprise a friend by sending them a thank-you lunch, show support to a family member who’s going through a tough time, or give a shout-out to a coworker for their hard work.

But we totally get it if you haven’t done it for a while. The ups and downs of life can keep you preoccupied and make it difficult to take a beat for all the awesome things that do happen. 

It’s also easier to express gratitude when good things happen in your life, like getting into a university program, getting hired at a new job, getting engaged, or announcing a pregnancy. If you’re overwhelmed, anxious, or unhappy…welllllll, being grateful may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But don’t worry! There’s good news. You can learn gratitude by practicing more of it!

The Power of Positive Thinking

Now suppose you’ve had a horrible day. You rush to catch the train, your venti iced coffee spills all over your new jeans, and you’re mad because you left home early but you still wound up being late for your class. Ugh. Is Mercury in the microwave again?

When these situations happen, it can be all too tempting to succumb to your disappointment or anger and let it take over. And if that’s what’s best for you in the moment, take a break and call it a mental health day. Go home and feel all of your feels bc that can be really good for you. 

However, taking a mental health day is not always accessible and you might have to just “get through” your day. The good news is that there are some coping strategies for when that’s the case! One way is to establish positive thinking strategies in your life by navigating your negative self-talk with self-compassion. We teach you how to be kind to yourself in one of our other articles.

Another way is to learn how to practice gratitude and use gratitude journaling to reframe your perspective. Practicing gratitude retrains the brain to look at the positives in addition to the negatives. And there are sooooo many benefits of gratitude including emotional, social, personality, career, and health benefits

For example, gratitude can improve your self-esteem, relationships, decision-making, and even your sleep. That’s right, we’re offering you a scientifically proven way to improve your sleep. If we were you, we’d take it. Get those extra Zzzzz’s.

The Reality of Toxic Positivity

Before we move any further, we better chat about toxic positivity real quick. Toxic positivity basically takes the idea of reframing negative thoughts to positive thoughts and runnnnnns with it to the point where it becomes toxic. 

Positive thinking in and of itself is not toxic. In fact, it can be really helpful to reframe harsh self-talk from our inner critic! But toxic positivity takes it one step too far in that it doesn’t allow for negative thoughts or difficult feelings to exist at all. It summons “good vibez only” in EVERY situation and promotes unhealthy avoidance of tough feelings.

It’s not only irritating to hear others tell you to “Just be positive!!” or “Just look at the bright side!!” but it’s also invalidating as all hell. It makes you feel like your emotions are not real (they are) and not valid (again, they are!). Covering your feelings with positivity can lead to self-doubt, worry, and self-denial. It’s perfectly OK to express yourself through your emotions and sentiments!

Now that we covered that, let’s take a look at how to practice gratitude.

How to Reflect with Gratitude Journaling 

You live a busy life! And you’re probably not looking forward to adding something to your plate right now. We get it!

Gratitude journaling is a form of self-care. A gratitude journal is a place where you can record what you’re thankful for, what makes you happy, and anything good that is happening in your life. It can be fancy or not, long or short, doesn’t matter! As long as it exists.

You can start by saying thank you — for anything. Jot down your thoughts as you reflect on the things in your life that bring you joy and that you’re grateful for. You’ll see that things start flowing preeeetty quickly once you begin writing! That’s the power of journaling!

The next step is to develop a practice around gratitude journaling and incorporate it into your daily life. Don’t stress if you’re not sure where to begin! We have a short and simple course in the DiveThru app that is entirely free. DiveThru Therapist Simone Saunders walks you through how to seek gratitude, understanding the mental health benefits of gratitude activities, and developing and mastering gratitude techniques!

If you haven’t already, download the DiveThru app and try it out! 

With a gratitude journal, you’ll have a perfectly personalized list of everything that makes you happy. So, the next time you feel sad, angry, or like the sun has gone behind a dark cloud, you can look at your list. There will be tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of things sitting right there to remind you of everything that is good in the world.

6 Ways to Start Gratitude Journaling

Let’s do this. *Cue inspirational music and serious faces­—no, smiling faces. Ah, much better.*

Think of us as your entourage. We’ve got your back as you begin your gratitude practice and we’ll be here to support you every step of the way. For our first task, we’ve gathered up 6 tips for starting (and maintaining) your gratitude journal:

1. Set Aside Time for Your Gratitude Journaling

There is no right or wrong way to journal as long as you do it. Many people like to journal right before they go to bed because it has benefits for sleep and allows you to reflect on the events of the day. 

But it’s entirely up to you! It all depends on what makes you the most comfortable and what your schedule is. Devoting time to an existing habit, such as your morning tea/latte or your 10-minute bus ride, are some ahh-mazing ways to implement gratitude journaling.

2. Make It a Habit

Habits take time to establish, so don’t be disheartened if it takes some time to form and become accustomed to your new routine. According to a research study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, developing a new practice takes anywhere between 18 to 254 days. However, when you stay consistent, it will soon feel natural and easy. 

3. Tailor Your Journal to You 

When it comes to gratitude journaling, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it is a deeply personal experience. It will appear different for each person, so make it personal to you and what makes you happy. 

Do you like to draw or keep a bullet journal? You are free to be as creative as you’d like! You can paint, sketch, or create a mood board! Whether it’s a lengthy ritual or a brief break to jot things down in your phone’s notes, do what feels right for you. You are a constantly changing and evolving person, so don’t be afraid to let your gratitude practice evolve as well.

4. Use the Resources Available to You 

You’ve already discovered a fantastic resource in DiveThru by reading this. Mental health is our jam! In our app, you’ll find a tonnnnn of guided journaling prompts that can get you started on your gratitude journaling. 

The good news? The app is completely free to download! The even better news? After you download it, you’ll always be a tap away from a gratitude hit.

From journal prompts to interactive courses to articles, we work with mental health professionals to help people lead a mentally healthier and more fulfilling life. Like the free Practicing Gratitude course we created with Simone Saunders! Head to the app to check it out.

5. Take It One Step at a Time 

If you’re still unsure where to start, try writing something you’re glad for every day for a year, which will leave you with 365 things to be thankful for. 


That’s incredible! That’s a lot of things to be grateful for. And if you write 3 things you’re grateful for, the number only goes up. Imagine if you did this for 5, 10, or 15 years. We’re not really in the mood for math right now, but that would be thousands of things to be thankful for. 

Not bad. 

6. Focus on What’s Important to You 

When you initially start gratitude journaling, you’ll be writing down the first things that come to mind! But as you continue to journal, you will be able to connect with more profound and particular emotions by having a clear sense of what you are grateful for and expanding on what it means to you.

Bring in some details. If you’re thankful for the weather, what about it? A light, soft, snowfall? The warmth of the sun on your face? Or a thunderstorm that shook you to your core? Be patient and really think about what makes you grateful. When you’ve found it, you’ll know. 

We know that you’re kind of busy reading this, but we’d like you to pause anyways. Right there, yup. Here we go. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Now, think of one thing that you’re grateful for in this tiny little sweet moment of the day. Go. 

Congratulations! You just started your gratitude practice. Go ahead and write that thought down as point #1 in a long list of things to be grateful for. 

While you were thinking, we were too. What are we grateful for? We’re grateful for you.

Learning How to Love Yourself More with 8 Journaling Prompts

There are a lot of things that make you you. And learning to embrace all of these things is a hefty task. Sure, it may be easy to embrace the qualities you like about yourself, but it may be more difficult to embrace and accept those qualities that you don’t like. Maybe there are things you push down because you really just don’t want to think about them. And maybe there are things that you are constantly thinking about, things that consume your mind on a daily basis. If only there were a happy medium. Is there a secret formula for how to love yourself more??

No. But there is journaling and journaling will help you sort through your emotions and come up with a plan to start accepting and embracing your whole self – every part of you. Because, after all, without any one of those parts, you wouldn’t be you! And being you is pretty cool.  

As you dive thru the following prompts, let yourself explore your thoughts and try to welcome them with acceptance, not criticism. Your journal should be a judgement-free zone and should be a space where you practice self-compassion. Try to treat yourself as you would treat any friend going through the same situation – with love and understanding.

Ready? Grab your pen + paper.

Happy writing!

1. Define what it means to “love yourself.”

What does the concept mean to you? It will likely mean something different to everyone. Is it positive self-talk? Is it going out in public without a figurative mask on?

Before you can start learning how to love yourself, you have to know what that means for you. It would be like trying to learn tennis without knowing what tennis is. Automatically more difficult.  

2. Name one thing that makes you feel each of these emotions: happy, frustrated, sad, inspired.

Every single person feels every single one of these emotions, has good days and bad days. The better you know yourself, the better you will be able to embrace the wave of emotions that comes with being a human being. Feel free to expand the list by adding other emotions. 

3. What is your favourite thing about yourself?

It could be a physical trait, a personality trait, or anything in between. What is something you love about yourself? Something that makes you proud? Don’t be shy. Go ahead, brag!

4. Name something about yourself that you consider a flaw and turn it into a strength. 

Again, it could be a physical trait, a personality trait, or a habit. Why do you consider it to be a flaw? How can you start to appreciate and embrace that aspect of yourself? Write down tangible steps or goals so that you can measure your progress. 

5. Talk about a time in your life when you felt most like yourself.

What were you doing? Who were you with? What stars aligned to make you feel like the most authentic version of yourself? And finally, how can you make that happen again? Because there’s something very freeing about being yourself. No guards up, no fear of judgement, no second-guessing. Just being. 

6. What would you do if you could do anything?

We all have something that we’ve always wanted to do, deep down inside – if money wasn’t an option and you knew you couldn’t fail, if there was no fear, judgement, or fear of judgement. What would you do if you could do anything in the world? (Psst… you can!) Listen to what your heart and mind are telling you. Listening to yourself is one way you can start embracing everything you are, not just everything you want to be or thought you would be. 

7. What do you value most in life? How can you prioritize it?

We often know what we value but fail to make it a priority in our lives. Write down tangible steps you can take to embrace what is important to you. 

8. What is an excuse you use often? 

Why do you use this excuse? Part of embracing yourself is knowing yourself and knowing why you do what you do. For example, if your excuse is that you don’t have time, do you really not have time? Or do you just not make time? How can you start holding yourself accountable when you want to resort to that excuse? 

We hope that these prompts will help you learn to appreciate the beauty of being you. There are over 7 billion (?!) people in the world but there is only one you.

Think about that for a second. No more of this one in a million business. You’re one in seven billion! And that is something worth celebrating. Cheers!