1. Day in and day out, people enter Dr. Jennifer Jill Schwirzer’s office with the same problems. Dr. Schwirzer decided to boil those problems down, into what she calls the “7 Deadly Psychological Sins.”

    These aren’t moral sins per se, but they are things we do that sabotage ourselves, hurt other people, or sabotage our relationships. They are ways in which we dysfunction.

    The format of her videos will be like this: Dr. Schwirzer will start with an explanation of the sin, then share a “replacement behavior.” It’s futile to just point out problems, there needs to be a positive replacement for those problems.

    Negative reinforcement stops behavior. Positive reinforcement encourages behavior.

    If we don’t replace those negative patterns with something positive, then we’re likely to relapse. The replacement behavior will help to substitute that negative behavior, and will hopefully be helpful to you.

    Jennifer Jill Schwirzer is a practicing mental health counselor, author, and musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, check out her website: jenniferjill.org/

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  2. Human beings are by nature negatively focused and problem focused. Positive interaction and affirmation is a learned skill—it's something we have to do proactively and intentionally, or we will revert back to our critical patterns.

    Ask yourself 3 questions before criticizing someone:

    1. Do I love to criticize or do I hate to criticize? If you love it, I think you need to give yourself pause there.

    2. Am I doing it to help? Is that my motive?

    3. Will I do it kindly and will I do it to that person's face?

    The replacement for criticism is very simple: Affirmation.

    Learn to affirm people. This does not come naturally to us. If you're a "criti-holic," go on a criticism fast for 2-3 weeks. Afterward, when you criticize, do it "affirmation sandwich style." Affirm that person, then issue your criticism, then follow with another affirmation.

    It's been shown that, in order to neutralize the emotional impact of criticism, one must affirm five times. So remember that ratio: five affirmations to one criticism.

    Jennifer Jill Schwirzer is a practicing mental health counselor, author, and musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, check out her website: jenniferjill.org/

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  3. Closely related to criticism, complaining involves a lifestyle of pointing out and dwelling upon the negative, unfortunate, and difficult while excluding the positive and pleasant. At the foundation of this grumbling lifestyle lies a sense of entitlement in which we believe that the world, God, or society owe us a good time.

    Replace complaining with gratitude. Gratitude flows from a heart that understands its unworthiness, in the face of which all good things become gifts rather than entitlements. It is helpful to think of three things for which one is grateful before going to sleep at night, and three more upon arising in the morning. A habit of this will almost always result in a complete cure.

    Jennifer Jill Schwirzer is a practicing mental health counselor, author, and musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, check out her website: jenniferjill.org/

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  4. “Playing the victim” or feeling sorry for oneself actually deepens pain and prevents healing of emotional scars. The horrible reality of victimization can be prolonged when we dwell on it unnecessarily. In so doing we remain the victim, reinforcing powerless feelings.

    Replace self-pity with responsibility-taking. I like to say, “It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility,” meaning that you have a choice as to how you react to suffering and misfortune. Often dramatic growth and freedom comes when people finally transition from victim mode into responsibility-taking mode. You may begin by listing five things you can do to improve your situation, then asking a friend or other accountability partner to help you act upon them.

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  5. In psychology jargon, we call this “hypervigilance.” The dangerous world in which we live presents many threats to our well-being. When faced with threats, our fight-or-flight response gives us an adrenaline boost helping us escape danger. However, when we react to the possibility of danger, rather than actual danger, we carry the fear into our every day experience and the fear itself becomes a threat. More than this, it does absolutely nothing to actually protect us—in fact it often serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy that brings about the very event so dreaded!

    Replace worry with trust. God promises that, “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it,” 1 Corinthians 10:13. As we walk forward in faith and trust, we refute our own worst imaginings. You may want to begin by confining your worrying to one hour a day and gradually reduce the amount of time to zero.

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7 Psychological Sins

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Jennifer Jill Schwirzer talks about negative behaviors that can be changed to have better mental health.

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