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  • Your Mind, The Heckler

    “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James Your mind is one of your most powerful tools. It helps you plan, think, and achieve your goals. However, the mind can also be one of your greatest bullies. It may tell you what you can’t do, how you’re always doing something wrong, and that you’re never good enough. It’s like this heckler in the stands you can’t ignore. Well, maybe the solution to this isn’t to ignore your mind but to change your relationship with the thoughts your mind throws at you. Often times unhelpful thoughts are most damaging when you take them too literally, when we put them up on pedestals and treat them as if they are mandates or dictums. What if thoughts really aren’t as lofty or serious as we might make them? Your thoughts are composed of language and so essentially they are words on paper. Look at this thought for example: “I can’t do this.” When you look at this thought on your screen, what do you literally see? It’s a bunch of words. If we break down a word, what is that composed of? Letters. If we break-down letters, what are they made up of? Sounds, like “ah, vuh, buh, eee, and zee.” Also, letters are basically a collection of lines and curves. Think of the letter “t” for example. How do you draw a letter “t”? Make 2 lines that cross. That’s it! So at the end of the day, our thoughts are basically just a bunch of lines and curves put together in arbitrary ways. Think about that for a second… "thoughts are basically just a bunch of lines and curves put together in arbitrary ways." We’re allowing ourselves to get heckled and bullied by nothing more than a bunch of lines and curves. What does that tell you about your thoughts and the perceived power they may have over you? Perhaps, our thoughts don't need to be as omnipotent as we make them out to be? Thoughts get their power by the meaning we attach to them. So if we can learn to attach meaning to thoughts (or words), we can also learn to change that meaning. So when you notice yourself having unhelpful thoughts that are interfering, remember what they truly are at their core… lines and curves… and work on treating them with less seriousness, and even treating them with a good dose of silliness! Here’s one way to do that. Imagine an unhelpful thought that resonates with you, as if the thought was written out on a piece of paper. Now, you may have defaulted to viewing the thought written out in black ink. Try changing the font color of your thought to blue… green… tangerine… hot pink… or rainbow colors. Now, try changing the actual font of the thought… imagine it in Times New Roman… now Comic Sans… now imagine the thought is in a font you would see in a children’s fairy tale book… now a comic book… now a cartoon show. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can't do this. I can't do this. After doing this, take a moment now to see how you are relating to your original thought. Does the thought still have the same effect on you as before? You may find that simply changing the font or the color of your thought can help you remember that your thoughts are just words (lines and curves). Also, this brief exercise may remind you that just as you have the ability to view your thoughts with terror and doom, you can also cultivate an ability to view them as non-intimidating, lighthearted, and silly. Strive to treat your thoughts flexibly rather than literally, and once you have loosened your grip on them, practice letting them go like a bubble or a passing car, especially if they are not helping you. “Use your mind, don’t let your mind use you.” - Unknown Note: This exercise was inspired and adapted from Dr. Russ Harris. Train, Live, Rest, and Prevail. - Dr. Yu Learn more about Dr. Yu

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Other Pages (13)

  • About Dr. Yu | Prevail Performance

    Guiding, Educating, & Supporting You to Your Next Level Dr. Alexa nder "Brian" Yu (he/him) is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Sport Psychologist, and a Certified Mental Performance Consultant ® (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) . He is liste d in the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. Dr. Yu is dually-trained to optimize mental health and mental sports performance in sports, performing arts, work, or school. ​ ​ ​ WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH DR. YU? Dr. Yu is thoughtful and compassionate for wherever his clients are in life. He provides both emotional support and practical tools and strategies to his clients. He is a proponent of learning through experience, and frequently uses metaphors and exercises to enhance the acquisition of psychological strategies. Dr. Yu teaches mental skills that are transferable for life, beyond sports and performances. He utilizes mindfulness- and evidence-based therapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). ​ ​ Dr. Yu provides an environment of respect, collaboration, and non-judgment. He aims to create a space where clients are free to be themselves without fear of shame or criticism. He believes that understanding and appreciating the multicultural backgrounds of his clients are paramount in supporting them. He endeavors to recognize the diverse intersecting identities of his clients, while also continuously developing his own cultural humility. ​ EXPERIENCE Dr. Yu has several years of experience working with elite youth sports and student-athletes of NCAA Division I athletics at the University of California - Davis, California State University - Sacramento, University of North Texas, and most recently, at the University of Maryland - College Park. Dr. Yu has experience working with athletes from a variety of sports, including American football, basketball, swimming, water polo, soccer, track and field, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, and more. On the clinical side, he has addressed a wide range of mental health symptoms and disorders, working at several multidisciplinary health centers at universities and hospitals. ​​ PERSONAL SPORT-PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE Dr. Yu spent about a decade of his life as a competitive swimmer, and later coached in the sport. After swimming, he regularly participated in recreational roller hockey, Crossfit, and mixed martial arts. He also has been a musical performer, having learned the piano, saxophone, guitar, ukulele, and singing. ​He frequently practices sport psychology principles and techniques to improve performance in his own personal sport, exercise, and occupational endeavors. ​ EDUCATION Student Health & Counseling Services – University of California Davis APPIC-Accredited Postdoctoral Fellowship & Predoctoral Internship University of North Texas Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, specialty in Sport-Performance Psychology California State University, Fullerton M.S. in Clinical Psychology University of California, Irvine B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior OTHER AFFILIATIONS Maryland Sports Performance Maryland Centers for Psychiatry Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Sport & Performance Psychology (MAC-SAPP) ​ In the Media

  • Dr. Yu in the Media | Prevail Performance

    Dr. Yu in the Media Erasing The Stigma May 22, 2023 - Podcast ​ Mind Over Ma tter with Our Minds Matter March 23, 2 023 - Instagram Live ​ 5 people explain what it's like to live with high-functioning depress ion - November 4, 2022 - Blog ​ Careers in Mental Health - Montgomery County Public Schools TV (MCPSTV) November 11, 2021 - Youtube ​ Mental Health Awareness Special - Hear the Turtle Podcast September 26, 2021 - Podcast

  • GENERAL INFO | Prevail Performance Counseling PLLC

    SERVICES Mental health counseling and mental performance training for kids, adults, and groups Individual Sessions Habit Masters Teams & Organizations Workshops & Talks CMPC Mentorship Individual, confidential counseling & consultation for children (adolescents) & adults. Options for in-office or virtual sessions. An educational-support group designed to improve helpful habits. Learn more. Mental performance training and consultation for organizations that can be provided virtually or at your site. Speaking engagements provided at your site or virtually and designed to address your specific needs for your organization. Mentoring hours for students and practitioners that are applying to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC). TOPICS & ISSUES ANXIETY SPORT PSYCHOLOGY PRODUCTIVITY & HABITS Below are some topics and issues that can be addressed (not an exhaustive list): Confidence Motivation Productivity Habit Formation Anxiety Performance Anxiety Stress Management Resiliency Managing Difficult Emotions Performing Under Pressure Concentration Self Talk Burnout RATES First Appointment Intake Interview (conducted only once) $360 for a 90 minute session or $240 for a 60 minute session. ​ Individual Counseling and Sport Psychology Sessions $195 per 45 minute session. Team/Organizational Workshops and Group Sessions Rates will vary depending on service(s) requested. Contact Dr. Yu for more information and pricing. ​ CMPC Mentorship Contact Dr. Yu for more information and pricing. ​ ​ About Insurance : Prevail Performance Counseling, PLLC is a private pay practice, and Dr. Yu does not accept health insurance. If your health insurance provides Out-of-Network Benefits, you may be able to get reimbursed by your policy. Dr. Yu can provide superbills which you can use to submit claims with your insurance on your own. Speak with your insurance to find out if they provide Out-of-Network Benefits. SCHEDULE A FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION CONTACT DR. YU GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE NOTICE ​ You have the right to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” explaining how much your medical care will cost. Under the law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the bill for medical items and services. You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected cost of any non-emergency items or services. This includes related costs like medical tests, prescription drugs, equipment, and hospital fees. Make sure your health care provider (i.e., Dr. Yu) gives you a Good Faith Estimate in writing at least one business day before your medical service or item. You can also ask your health care provider, and any other provider you choose, for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule an item or service. If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you can dispute the bill. Make sure to save a copy or picture of your Good Faith Estimate. For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit or call Dr. Yu at 301-246-0194.

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