How to Break a Bad Habit

I am sure at some point in our lives we have all struggled with a habit that was difficult to overcome or let go. If you have been able to break up with your unwanted habit-congratulations! If you continue to struggle and cannot seem to let it go, check out this short TED Talk about a simple way of breaking a pattern. I like this talk in particular because it is a little different from what we usually do when we want to let go of an unwanted behavior or change a routine.

The psychiatrist, Judson Brewer, emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and how learning to be more in tune with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions can help you break your unwanted habit, addiction, or routine. I am sure you have heard about the benefits of mindfulness, such as learning to regulate your intense emotions, helping you overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, improve health and many other aspects in your life. What makes it even more worthwhile is that it also aims to help you break up with parts of your life that you are not completely satisfied with. 

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how to change your unwanted patterns, do not hesitate to contact one of us at The Centered Life! We will be more than happy to help you create a more mindful and meaningful life. 

Happy Monday, 

 

Aneta

3 Lightning Fast Ways to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed

We have all been there, “the day that never ends” the one that has you asking yourself “are you kidding me right now? What else could go wrong?” Maybe its work or maybe its family or maybe it’s both!

Feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unable to cope with these feelings is a normal response when we are pushed past our capacity to manage. Here are 3 ways to begin coping and feel relief instantly.

 

  1. Change your Thoughts

Begin to notice your thinking. Are there themes to your thoughts? Are your thoughts stressful in nature and perpetuate feeling overwhelmed? Here is an example:

“This is too much”
“This is a terrible day”
“I can’t handle it”

Next, make a choice to argue your thoughts. Generalizing your experience is the biggest culprit of continuing the cycle of feeling overwhelmed!  Try asking yourself: Is this true 100% of the time? Another trick is, think the opposite. Here is an example:

“This is a lot of stress for the moment. I can handle everything I am given”
“This moment is tough for me and I will get through it”
“I can get through this, as I have before”

 

  1. Change Your Behavior

Evaluate what actions (behaviors) you are choosing, in the moment,  that maintain you feeling overwhelmed. Are you saying yes to too many people? Is your body/mind overstimulated by your environment? Then make an active choice to change your behavior. Here are some ways to practice this:

Give yourself a 5 minute break. NO EXCUSES ! Anyone can step away from anything for 5 minutes!
(Hint: Find a Bathroom, it’s the perfect excuse)
Practice saying No to tasks/responsibilities that will create addition stress
Breathe long, deep, slow breaths

 

  1. Practice Kindness

One of the most important ways to cope with stress and feeling overwhelmed is to practice kindness to yourself and others. People forget this often and it can make a huge difference in the ways we cope with stress. First, give yourself the gift of kindness- be patient with yourself and stop holding yourself to impossible standards! Give yourself credit and cut yourself a break!

Next, practice kindness towards others. Remember, everyone has their own journey in life and we often don’t know where others come from or their experiences- Chose to give people the benefit of the doubt-it will give you more peace.

Okay so this wasn’t as “Lightning Fast” as promised, but managing emotions is not always as logical and neat as we would like it to be! Remember the steps above when you are feeling overwhelmed or having a rough day. If these feelings become too difficult to bear, please seek professional help- we are here to help you improve your psychological well-being!

 

With Kindness,

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

www.TheCenteredLifeTherapy.com

 

 

 

 

“Say This…Not That,” How To Support a Loved One Going Through Emotional Distress

 

It is beyond difficult to go through mental and emotional distress. It can feel impossible to formulate what you are going through, let alone express to a loved one how they can help. So many people experience feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, grief, and loss due to struggling with a mental illness or enduring a period of pain. However, everyone goes through different experiences and struggles so it can feel helpless to explain your pain and it can feel helpless to be a loved one trying to help heal that pain. I understand how loved ones then can feel at a loss as to how to give their support. It is normal to not know what to say, how to say it, what to do, or know if you are being helpful in any way.

Being a family therapist at The Centered Life, I believe it is an essential piece to therapy to aid my clients to learn how to conceptualize and express what they are experiencing in order to work through it. But I think it is equally as important in therapy to bring in clients’ support systems so they can learn how to be helpful in a healthy way. It is hard to be vulnerable and ask for help. And if that help is received in a negative way, it will only set up a dynamic of little communication about emotional needs and can negatively affect the relationship as well. Which then creates more distress on both ends. Here is a list of  some ways that may help people express what kind of help they need and help support systems navigate how to be helpful.

Say This: “I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help”

Not That: “We all go through times like this”

Say This: “You may not believe it now, but the way you are feeling will change”

Not That: “Just snap out of it, look on the bright side”

Say This: “You are not alone in this. I’m here for you. We will get through this together”

Not That: “You’ll be fine. Stop worrying. Shouldn’t you be better right now?”

Say This: “Talk to me, I’m listening.”

Not That: “Here is my advice.”

Say This: “I know you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed right now, what can I do to help?”

Not That: “You are freaking out, you just need to calm down.”

Say This: “You are not alone in this”

Not That: “There is always someone worse off than you.”

Say This: “You are important to me and I want to help.”

Not That: “No one said life is fair.”

Say This: “Do you need a hug?”

Not That: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

Say This: “I can not completely understand what you are struggling with, but I can offer my love and compassion.”

Not That: “Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed/anxious for a few days”

Say This: “I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.”

Not This: “Your moods are bringing everyone around you down.”

Say This: “When these feelings subside, I will still be here and so will you.”

Not That: “Stop being so sensitive, cheer up.”

It can feel helpless for both the person enduring the emotional distress and the people who are trying to help, but it does NOT have to be. The above statements are some helpful outlines to enhance healthy and empowering support. If we can open up a dialogue about these topics and help each other understand from both sides, then there is so much more of a chance of coping better. It is important to offer support with an open mind, open heart, and with an open-ended approach because it only leaves room for open healthy communication and learning amongst support systems. All of us at The Centered Life are here to help people that are going through a hard time. Please call us if you are needing any kind of guidance and extra support!

All my best,

    Samantha