Not Your Average Monday

People are generally open to trying new things.

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Most people who I interact with have either been through substantial change or are going through substantial change. I was tempted to change that sentence to read “everyone” instead of “most” however, I don’t interact with everyone in a way that allows me to be sure of the validity of the first sentence. As a licensed counselor, I like to think of myself as a change-agent. I also pride myself on being receptive and welcoming to change. That’s one of the factors that helps me to be able to successfully assist others through their change.

Adaptation. This is what sets those who do handle change apart from those who do not. Are you able to adapt to the challenges that life presents? The reality is that there will most certainly be change in your life but can you or should I say will you adapt? You can adapt and you probably, if you think long and hard, have some pretty good ideas of what to do to help yourself. Some of those ideas might sound like “I should really take a vacation” or “I should get a massage” or “I should sort through my things and donate what is unneeded” (clutter adds stress, but that’s a whole ‘nother post on its own) or “I should really talk to her about boundaries” and the list goes on and on and on. The truth is that most people really do have a good idea about what they should be doing to care for themselves.

Application. The willingness to follow through on what you know you need to do to care for yourself is the next step. That thought that keeps playing in your mind of what you should do for self-care…yea…you know what it is. Do it. Decide now that you will give yourself three days to schedule that massage or set a date to talk to that someone about some good ole’ boundaries. But if you really aren’t sure what to do for self-care ask a trusted friend or loved one. Support is crucial. Learning to or letting people care for us is not always easy but it is a part of the master plan.

What’s this master plan I speak of? Well as humans we are relational beings. We sometimes, every once in a while, ok so more often than not…we kind of stink at it but we know we need one another and we thrive off of connection. If you don’t have a sturdy someone special in your life research a good therapist (wink, wink- that would be me) and schedule some time to connect with someone who can help you to create some space in your life where you are able to adjust to change and the challenges of life.

MONDAY MANTRA: I LOVE MYSELF AND I WILL ACTIVELY CARE FOR MYSELF.

COMMITMENT: BECAUSE I LOVE MYSELF I WILL SET TIME THIS WEEK TO CARE FOR MYSELF.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

 

Whats the big deal?

Why do I post such vulnerable messages on a professional blog? Am I seeking attention or am I trying to be relatable to clients and potential clients? Both!

To me being vulnerable means that you are able to communicate in a way that shows your “human” side. It means that you are able to put down your defenses and to stop trying to prove to others that you “have it all together”. When a person has the ability to be vulnerable they likely maintain the ability to heal their emotional wounds because they aren’t afraid to draw attention to what they feel. You can’t fix something that you don’t understand, that you don’t recognize and that you won’t pay attention to.

The benefit of vulnerability is twofold: the person being vulnerable is open and their emotions are exposed in a way that allows them to be comforted by others and to comfort themselves just through their verbal expression. Then the person receiving the message is able to relate and to recognize that the struggles they face are all too common and that maybe if I (or whoever) can be brave in the face of adversity and can share what I have experienced and receive some healing that maybe they can too.

BUT… what does it mean to receive a message, truly? When we listen with the intent to understand rather then to respond it allows us to connect with the person we are engaged with- to use healthy communication skills and it provides an opportunity to stop making everything about us! But for a minute or two actually allow ourselves to be present for and WITH another person.

This involves not being defensive which is for sure a primary struggle for most people. Probably for a number of reasons- one of which is not having experience being validated and not believing that what they think and feel has true substance- that its worth sharing. When a person operates from a place of insecurity- as we all do at times because we all have insecurities- it blocks us from receiving and offering connection. Insecurity tells us that we need to be defensive because we might get hurt. And really that’s ok because we want to be protective of ourselves but hopefully not at the expense of cultivating a true and meaningful relationship.

So to now respond directly to the original question way back at the beginning- Am I seeking attention- YES-  I post vulnerable messages to bring attention to the fact that I am human and that I have real feelings and thoughts and that just because I am a professional counselor doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own struggles. I post vulnerable messages so that the reader recognizes that the professional counselor who they may be interested in working with is relatable and that because I am relatable I have the ability to teach them how to be vulnerable and relatable too.

So many of our personal struggles stem from relationship issues- be it our own personal complications or sorting through/with the complications that another person brings to the relationship. Either way being vulnerable takes courage and it brings you to a place where you can connect and heal and maybe even where you can offer that to another person.

– human connection is truly invaluable. If that’s something you struggle with consider asking yourself if you are able to be vulnerable in relationships and if you are open to allowing others to be vulnerable with you. If you aren’t or if it’s a challenge for you evaluate your options and figure out what you need to do to learn how to open up and connect. Maybe, just maybe it’ll include meeting with a relatable professional counselor who recognizes how important real, meaningful, substantial human connection is.

Adaptation

There have been multiple challenging periods of time in my life over the last decade or so. There have been less periods of time that have included the support and validation that I could have used. I have struggled for many many years to be ok with that and honestly I continue to struggle even today. It’s really the primary struggle in my life- accepting people for who they are, as they are and for what they have to offer. I know I’m not supposed to do that or maybe its that I’m not supposed to admit that I do that but I do and I have- I’m working on it- I think.
As I am presently in a challenging period of my life I have been drawn to thoughts that are causing me to stretch and grow. While I ask myself “what do I need and how do I get what I need” both from myself and others I am learning to sit in the discomfort and to silence my irritations and thoughts so that I can lean in a little bit further and a little bit closer to who I need to be- the person who can grow and adapt and evolve.
Sometimes we enter challenging periods of time in our lives and we get stuck. We become distracted by what we think should have been or could have been. When we do that we don’t grow. We stunt growth.
Unfortunately- if there’s a down side to growth- when we evolve we can actually grow further away from the people who are incapable of providing us with what we need. I have a tendency- ok I always think this- to think that we are in each others lives so that we can give to one another and that part of being in relationship requires us to be willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of that relationship. When we are in relationship with those who are unable or unwilling to grow, to stretch, to evolve or even just to give, we then end up growing away from them.
The question here is- is that growing (away) ok? Is it ok to have relationships that are a constant in our lives that we do not experience growth within but actually separation or maybe the word is stagnancy (thats a word right)? Is that healthy or helpful for who who you’re wanting to be. Can we be ok with an ever evolving life that includes people who are incapable of evolving with us?
I read a quote once that went something like “don’t be mad at those who are incapable of change” meaning- don’t expect someone to do something that they don’t know how to do. Because of who I am (my beliefs and views and opinions really) I then think- oh I’ll just help them/teach them/tell them what to do. That doesn’t always work. Actually it rarely works. A person who is going to grow, to stretch, to evolve- has the desire to do so within them already- I don’t need to bring them to that realization. Growers know that they want and can grow. They already want it and they are capable of it. Non-growers don’t know what theyre capable of and they dont seek to understand themselves or others- truly.

Are you are grower and are you in relationship with growers?

How do you know if you’re doing a good job?

“Im a mess”. That was one of the sentences spoken at the Mama Bear group I ran a couple of weeks ago. We have all said or felt some version of that in whatever phase of life we may be in. What is it that qualifies as “a mess”? For some it has to do with the state of their home, the appearance of their children, the amount of tasks that go uncompleted throughout a day or week, maybe hygiene practices or eating habits. However, for some being “a mess” has more to with a mental state; NOT feeling stable, calm, grounded or self- aware.

The conversation during the group evolved to discussing: how do you know if you’re doing a good job? This is a question that was highlighted for me by my mother a couple of weeks prior to the Mama Bear group where the discussion began. My mother had agreed to watch my son for me while I went to a doctors appointment. On my way to the appointment I received a text from her that read “you’re doing a great job”. That’s all and that’s all that was needed. It felt so good to have someone other than my husband recognize me, even in a text message.

One of my strengths as noted by my husband (he’s so good at praise) is my ability to self soothe, which I suppose could be attributed back to my mother as well. However, because I am able to do this I put out a persona that adoration, support, guidance and appreciation may not be pleasures that I hold high. This is not true, not at all. As a woman, and I know I am not speaking for all women I am generalizing, we desire human connection. Connection is often or easily found in recognition. Its another person saying, “I see you and I like what I see”. Sometimes that message is accomplished through our words and sometimes through our actions. The absence of this is also unfortunately all too often what we receive.

My mother’s text message fueled me for days, remained at the forefront of my mind for weeks and will be included in the messages I strive to provide to the woman (and men) who I counsel for years to come.

The hardest part.

Loss sucks. It’s hard and it hurts and its confusing. Most of the time.

Sometimes we aren’t phased but when we are it’s usually pretty intense. The experience of grief tends to come in waves- periods of highs (lots of pain) and lows (not as much pain). During the lows most, people are ok to handle the grief on their own. During the highs most people need support, whether they recognize it or not. When we are not supported it takes longer to process the loss.

The tricky part is that, generally speaking, people are not very good at support. They’re easily confused by emotions- their own and the emotions of others. I believe that there is something in most people that tells them that they ought to offer support and if they tried hard enough to remove their pride they’d likely be able to muster up a few caring words to offer the person in pain.

Personally, I struggle to understand how so many people are so good at making another person’s loss about them. They do this by saying things like “I didn’t know what to say” or “I just can’t relate” or “I’m not good at consoling” or even “I don’t know him/her well”. These statements take the focus off of the person in need and on to their own emotional needs.

Most often when someone is in pain they simply need to know that you aware of their loss, that you are sorry they have experienced a loss and that you are there for them if they should need you.  Of course, there is a time and a place to offer caring words and there is not always an appropriate time to do this. However, technology now-a-days makes it easy for us to offer support from the furthest distance. Which conveniently provides comfort for the person providing the support- not that its about them.

Anywho…

So, there is the death of a loved one and most often that person has lived a long life. Unless the person was close to you, you will likely be able to process this loss easier than other losses.  Unless of course you are spun into an existential crisis. Again- this is more about you and less about the loss of the person. Consoling others at a funeral is basic and even so robotic that it can be weirdly awkward.

Then there’s the death of a relationship- divorce or break-up. This loss can be harder for most people to understand in terms of grief- that most people grieve when a significant relationship ends.

There’s also the loss of a child- pre-birth and post birth. This type of loss seems to be especially difficult for people, who have not experienced the loss of a child, to understand. However, this type of loss is the loss of potential, of a life unlived and can be particularly difficult to process especially when unsupported.

There’s other losses too. The thing about loss is that we all experience it in different ways and identify loss uniquely to us. However, none of us are exempt from the experience of loss. Grief is universal as is the need to feel connected, understood and supported.

I encourage you to take a minute to think of the people in your life and if you know someone who has experienced loss, is grieving and is in need of support- reach out to that person. Let them know that you are thinking of them and that you care. That’s it. That’s all it takes. Trust me, you can do it. After all, its not about you, its about them.

May less people know the pain of isolation in addition to the pain of grief/loss. May more people be able to process their grief without also feeling uncared for.  May we all be able to know what if feels like to receive genuine support.

Did you hear about……

 

What is that you suppose causes some people to be more prone to gossip?

First let me add that I do think it is ok to have conversations about other people when they are not present. I believe that we can talk about someone with genuine interest, with a desire to understand that person and needing to discuss certain things with a third party or even just with neutral words. The type of gossip that I am referring to here is also known as slander.

Actually I just looked up the definition of slander so I could be sure and no, slander- someone tells one or more persons and untruth about another person- that is not what I am referring to. I am referring to the sharing of truths about other people but in a manner that you would not continue in if that person(s) were present.

I asked around and some of the responses I received were:

  • To take the attention off themselves/to place attention on someone else
  • They think they are simply talking about the “misbehaviors” of another person
  • Jealousy- classic #1
  • Feeling poorly about themselves
  • It is interesting to discuss the change in other people’s lives- this one is not so much about gossip to me
  • They’re bored
  • They like getting a reaction from other people
  • They are insecure- classic #2

My favorite response was….bored. I really think bored deserves more attention. People are bored! They’re bored because they don’t know how to connect and they don’t know how to connect because they haven’t learned how to communicate. Real communication comes from a place of genuine interest in the other person and feeling like you bring something to the table that is worth sharing too. When we talk about others or about our own simple surface level stuff all people really know about us is what we think about other people, something about our job, maybe about our kids and blah blah blah.

How do we develop genuine interest? Well the reality is that you will not be genuinely interested in everyone- probably very few people in the grand scheme of things. If you do not have a genuine interest to connect with that person(s) may I recommend that you default to surface level topics? Defaulting to gossip is always a poor choice.

So many people are unsure of how to connect and maybe this is also where the insecurities come in- Im not sure what to talk about here- my brain isn’t producing anything- think, think, think- ahhh nothing…. Ok gossip it is! Start spending some time with yourself figuring out what your interests are so that you may share them with other people in the hopes of creating a connection. OR…OR… think about what you do know about the person whom you are in conversation with and here’s a doosey…..ask them about them! Yowser I know right.

Please don’t get me wrong I most certainly am not suggesting that you go out and try your hardest to create deep connections with everyone and anyone. I know that I do not have an interest in doing that. What I am asking is for you to consider if the topics that you focus on serve you well. Do they do anything for your own mental and emotional health and to they increase stability/peace of mind in the person you are talking with?

Start asking yourself: Does this serve me? Does this thought serve me? Does this emotion serve me? Does this behavior serve me? Do the words that I am allowing/choosing to come from my mouth serve me? If they do not than take some responsibility and shift your thoughts, refocus your emotions, make a different choice and shut your mouth!

MONDAY MANTRA: I have the courage to recognize and chose what serves me well.

COMMITMENT: I know my interests and the interests of others and I strive to develop meaningful connections or distance myself when needed.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

Your mind is a goal seeking device-

Most people at one time or another have felt deeply unsatisfied with their life aka unhappy. I know I have. When I have I wallow in self-pity. I think to myself that I do have or I can’t get what other people have. I blame certain personality characteristics. I am too introverted, I think too much (get in my own way), or I don’t think enough about what really matters. Sometimes I blame other factors. I don’t know the right people, I don’t have opportunities to mingle with the right crowd, I don’t have the right degree or the correct experience. Sometimes I even play the gender card or the mom card. Occasionally I can’t even figure out what the heck it is that I even want AND my mind just sucks right on to whatever it is that I focus on.

With the above negative stream of thoughts, I get further and further away from my full potential and even my truth (beliefs and desires). If like attracts like than focusing on what I do not have only attracts more of what I do not have. There’s that phrase: “everything you need is already within you”. That confuses me. Except when I am aligned with my potential and my truth. What I need is grace, forgiveness, guidance and faith. Grace allows me to believe in myself and in the truth that I was made for good- my abilities are within me if I have the courage to recognize them. Forgiveness allows me to try again and most importantly to acknowledge that I am human so I am flawed. Guidance allows me to spend time with myself sorting through my thoughts and prioritizing my emotions and choosing how I will structure my life. Even more importantly when I spend time with myself I am also able to consider those in my life who truly add value. Faith allows me to trust and believe that I am loved and cared for beyond measure and that because of this I am destined for goodness.

When I am centered I have the strength to be grateful and to spend time in gratitude. Spending time with yourself means getting rid of whatever it is that you are allowing to occupy your time so that you don’t have to face yourself. So that you don’t have to sort through your thoughts and acknowledge how you really feel. If you did that then you either wouldn’t know what to do next or you wouldn’t like what you’re guided to do. I believe that the more we spend time with ourselves the less we rely on others or things to fulfill our needs. So many people struggle to be deeply connected to others including their partner. Most of that is due to them not knowing their true needs and living in unfulfilled potential.

Confusion. Deception. Fear.

I encourage you to take some time for yourself with yourself. Just start by going to a quiet place with a notebook. Write down some of your thoughts. Recognize the category of these thoughts: stress, loss, fear, gratitude, ambition…. Then if you are in a place of lack identify what you would like to feel or think instead. Write that down. Generate a feeling. Here’s an example of how to do this: Close your eyes and bring to conscious thought the word pride. Conjure up the feeling in your body that is generated when you are proud of yourself. Take a deep breath and now recognize how your body feels. You should feel a little excited, maybe you’re smiling and maybe you even have an image of something you have done that you are proud of. Then focus on this emotion intently and make it as intense as you can. Stay here for a minute or so. Now with this feeling generated return to the written sentences that have to do with desired thoughts and feelings and attach the generated positive emotion to these sentences.

What this exercise is intended to do is to teach you that you have the power to generate a feeling in a moment and that you also have the ability to work out what you desire your mind to be attracted to. What you do next is up to you. You should feel led to take action and I believe that if you are focused you will know what is next. If you do not then reach our to a support or schedule to meet with a good therapist who can walk you further through this process.

You have a responsibility to take charge of your life and to lead a life that is satisfying. That is within your control if you chose to take control. Here’s another smaller example: rather than telling yourself that you don’t want to be stressed tell yourself that you want less stress. There is very little difference here other than that by telling yourself that you want less stress you are focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Also remember that if you have not spent much time with yourself ie. if you don’t know yourself well, it may be tricky for you to acknowledge that you struggle taking responsibility for your life. You may still believe that you have little control over your thoughts, emotions and the outcomes in your life. That’s ok this will change, if you want it to. If you want to you will soon lead a life that is more fulfilling and of which you are focused on gratitude because that’s what you want for yourself.

MONDAY MANTRA: My mind is a goal seeking mechanism and I chose to be aligned with greatness.

COMMITMENT: I live a fulfilling life which I am grateful for.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

 

What does that even really look like?

Someone once told me that if I would just lower my expectations then I wouldn’t be so disappointed-so often. That’s a real struggle for me. Why is knowing what I want in relationships seen as needy? There was a time in my life when I applied that advise and man was it devastating.

I come off as complicated.

I don’t go with the flow.

I question people’s intention.

Is that a fault?

I think that I am introverted but I also wonder if its more that I just don’t care enough what people think to over exert myself. Introverted-extroverted…what does that even really look like?

What does confidence look like and does it only look like that? When I speak up I ask the sort of questions and make the sort of statements that can sometimes leave people confused. I don’t pretend to know it all. I suck at pretending and I’m so far from being competitive that I cannot even bother acting like I do. I used to speak up a lot, I mean a real lot but what I learned is that most people only want to hear you if they agree with you and if you don’t question them.

Why are we all so concerned with being seen as confident that we only recognize it when its something that we envy in someone else?

It feels like it has become impossible to be more than one thing or one type of person without coming off as insecure. Insecure, what does that look like and does it only look like that?

^^^see I ask questions that can be confusing but its got you thinking, doesn’t it?^^^^^

I do well in a small group, as in me and one other person. As a young adult I could step it up in any setting. I don’t do that anymore. I think that has something to do with not liking the person who I used to be and still struggling with knowing how to be the person who I want to be, consistently.

BUT that’s ok. Its ok to struggle and its ok to not have it all figured out. Its ok not know what to say or what to do. We are all flawed. What makes us good is the desire to be not just who we really are but who we truly want to be.

I heard a quote once that went something like this “people fear each other because they don’t understand each other and they don’t understand each other because they have not properly communicated”. I wish everyone the strength they need to communicate effectively without the desire to conform and with the confidence they need to be true to themselves. Oh and also with the kahunas to be genuine, to speak with a clear mind and to stay the course.

MONDAY MANTRA: I do a damn good job at anything I put my mind to.

COMMITMENT: I recognize my full potential and I strive to meet it.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

 

Receiving Love.

I spend a lot of time thinking about things- marriage, parenting, relationships, faith, my career, mankind…you know…pretty much anything- I think about it. I think that I think so much that my brain is just programed to generate ideas and thoughts and store them for future conversations. I know what I think and I think about what I know and want to know.

I’m repeating a lot here for affect. This morning something happened to me that caused me to feel infinitely loved and appreciated by my daughter. I was cleaning, as I always am- it makes for the best thinking- duh, and she asked to help. She does chores and cleans up after herself but this was different- she volunteered her time to me. On the surface, I thought basic thoughts- “she’s so nice”, “she will make such a great wife” – I mean adult 😊 and so on. Then I  processed this event  a little more. I realized that this was a true opportunity to teach my beautiful daughter about relationships. It is a learned skill after all.

So I took a few brief minutes, all that was needed, and told her how much I appreciated her helping me. I explained that when the people I love take time to help me and or do things for me that I actually feel loved. I had tears in my eyes and she focused on my words. She caressed my face and told me how much she loved me. She walked away into the living room. A few minutes later she said “mommy can you play with me- I love when you do that and I deserve that too”. So we played together and loved together. True story.

Relationships are about giving and receiving. We can teach others how to love through our kindness, through example but also with direction. This does not just apply to the parent-child relationship. Love is the highest frequency. Spend some time in recognition of those who love you, let them know that you feel love when they do certain things. Relish in the incredible feeling that is generated from gratitude.

MONDAY MANTRA: I seek opportunities to share my gratitude and love with others.

COMMITMENT: I live in the frequency of love and gratitude.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

 

“There is a special place in my heart for people who take responsibility for their actions”

There is also a special place in my mind for them. A place that allows a different type of connection- a connection that is only reserved for those who operate from a place of self-reflection and insight. People who take responsibility for their actions- like truly do- not in that “I wish I wouldn’t have gotten caught doing (or saying) that” or “I wish this wasn’t a big deal” way but in a way that indicates that they are aware. People who value connection operate from a place of choice- they recognize the choice they have in their thoughts, they know where they stand and they make decisions that indicate this.

I am one of those people who is hyper-relational. Not in the “I have so many friends” way or “I go to a lot of social events” way. In the “I cherish deep connection with people” way. I’m (mostly) introverted and I love to be at home with my husband and children. When I do have an opportunity to spend time with a friend I go back and forth between whether I’ll go or not right up until the minute I leave my house. When I do go and I am able to (mentally/emotionally) connect I feel satisfied. When I go and I do not connect I feel disappointed…that I left my house. It really is a struggle but deep meaningful connection is so incredible. It’s something that unfortunately most people have not been privileged enough to enjoy.

Why haven’t they been privileged? Why aren’t more people searching for deep, meaningful connection? Probably because they either don’t want it (weird) or don’t know that’s what they want OR they don’t know how to get/give it. Also, some of most of those people aren’t able to obtain a deep meaningful connection. They just do not operate from a place of emotional intelligence. Or as my therapist tells me “they aren’t on the same frequency as you are”.

So, how do you develop emotional intelligence and how do you obtain a meaningful connection with other people. First you have to decide if that is something you want. Are you hyper-relational or socially- relational? If that makes sense to you ask yourself- who are the people in my life that operate from a frequency that is different than my own- you know those people that you think just know stuff- not like fact stuff but people stuff? Think about people who make statements that are insightful, that recognize the value of individual thought over collective thought and that truly have something to offer you that if you accepted you could be a changed person. Those people are likely operating on a high frequency and are emotionally intelligent. Make time for those people and decide that you are willing to be vulnerable, to share your thoughts, ideas, questions, longings and so on.

Spend time with this person and choose to recognize the inner-growth that develops from this relationship. Choose to recognize your ability for growth and the need for you to value relationships as something that can truly be fulfilling. You are meant to make a difference in this world and in order to do that you have to be able to develop connections- deep and meaningful. And who knows what else will come from that, what opportunity will develop and what power will be released in your ability to be together with another person not just in being but in thought and emotion- in true connection.

MONDAY MANTRA: self-growth is desirable

COMMITMENT: I WILL SEEK OUT VALUABLE RELATIONSHIPS AND I WILL MAINTAIN THEM.

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.

“Before you can do, you have to learn.”

A few months ago, someone said this phrase to me and it stuck with me. I thought to myself- “that must be why so many people have difficulty managing stressors- because they haven’t learned how to”. I mean this wasn’t like an AHHHAH moment or anything. I knew this to be true already. But sometimes things are so simple that we forget them to be true.

So of course, I first related this to my clients or in general people who seek the help of a mental health professional. I thought about the amount of time that I spend with clients discussing strategies for relieving distress. Some of the strategies require quite a bit of brainstorming; developing plans that are unique to that person and especially taking in to account their past experiences. Do they have (significant) relationship distress, do they have a trauma history, do they have comprehension difficulties, do they have a lack of support- in what ways are they struggling. Some strategies are generic- they can be applied to anyone and if applied correctly the person will experience a decline in stress which interferes in their life. Ie taking a bath, working less hours, applying boundaries to a relationship, exercise, hobbies, more sleep and so on and so on…

We all experience stress. Stress maintained turns in to anxiety and so often when people feel a lack of control over their life they also experience depression. Why is it though that so many people have difficulty reducing stress at the onset? Remove factors such as relationship distress, a trauma history, comprehension difficulties or a lack of support. There’s still an individual. An individual with the responsibility to care for themselves.

As I continued to think about that phrase I began to think more that maybe people are not giving themselves enough credit, maybe they are not taking responsibility for their emotional and mental health. Maybe there are adults out there who could be further along than they are irregardless of their circumstances if they just started taking responsibility for themselves. If they stopped waiting for someone else or something else to change first and if they decided now that a lot of stress management is common sense- go ahead and teach yourself. (I really should take the “maybes” out of those sentences but I wanna be nice here.)

Some people work from an internal locus of control- meaning that they believe that they have influence over their life and that create their reality. Some people work from an external locus of control- meaning that life just sort-of happens to them. Random. What I mean by taking responsibility is not like a behavior control thing- “If you took responsibility for yourself you’d make better choices” While I agree with that, it’s not the point I’m trying to drive home here. I’m saying that this is an inside job. It’s a real mind-bender, it’s not easy but it can be done and with less energy than is required to remain in the stress.

So, take a minute, step back and ask yourself what am I waiting for someone else to do first that I could do right now? Am I taking responsibility for my emotional and mental health? If not what would it look like if I were to?- that last question will tell you what you need to do.

 

MONDAY MANTRA: Do well at all things.

COMMITMENT: I WILL NOT ACCOMIDATE STRESS

*close your eyes, breathe in your nose (to the count of four) and then out your mouth (to the count of four) and say to yourself: Even though I am struggling I completely and totally accept myself. Repeat this three times.