Инстаграм @kernwellnesscounseling Mental Health Blog
It's funny how New Year's works isn't it? Many of us see it as new beginnings, a chance to restart and so much more. But, I'm totally skipping this 2019's New Year's resolutions, and for good reason. I've learned a few things over the years of constantly starting and stopping goals every time that NYC ball drops. But, I say no more. In this weeks post we will learn the steps you can take today in order to have the year you really want. Link in bio. New Year | New Mind
Many a times I'll be waiting at a crosswalk and an unwanted thought will pop into my mind. "Don't ask your boss for a raise, you're not good enough." "You think you can amount to that at your age?" "What do you think you're doing, someone else can do that better than you." These pestering thoughts have so much power don't they? And you know what I noticed? The more I focused on them the more I fed them. I always used to think that if I thought about something then it must have been true. Believe it or not, not every thought holds truth. Some thoughts are pure nonsense and some provide some direction. These thoughts, these unwanted, negative and deceptive thoughts didn't necessarily hold any value for me to be honest. Sure, these thoughts were mine but what were to happen if I let them pass right on by, like moving cars. This is why this photo means so much to me. Just like cars in traffic, our brains will have so many racing thoughts. But, I noticed that my racing thoughts were parking in my view which made it so easy to focus on them. It became so distracting that I was unable to move forward at all. So, I've decided to allow those thoughts to pass on by like smooth traffic. I chose to accept these thoughts as, well, just thoughts. Just words placed in a sentence that didn't need a defined meaning. This takes practice, but it's practice worth taking.
What can I do differently?" Who would ever think to ask such a question! I sure didn't. If I was able to get what I wanted in the way that worked for me, why would I ask this? Well, as it turns out, sometimes life just doesn't pan out the way it originally worked. Things do change which means we probably would need to adapt. I remember having so much difficulty telling others NO because I thought if I say that word, it meant I wasn't a good friend. This was so wrong. It meant that I had taken more importance in what they wanted than what I wanted. But, if I kept saying yes I would have continued to burn out. It gets to a point where you feel you've hit below rock bottom (yes, it does exist) and you really don't know where to go next. This is where the mind has the capacity to get creative. It's as if this moment of suffering puts a spotlight on meaning. What did I learn? Well, I learned that after saying NO once, I didn't lose my friends. After saying NO again, they began to rely on me less and relied more on themselves. After saying NO some more, I learned that I began saying YES to the things I actually wanted to do. I began to ask myself more, "What can I really do differently?" The answer: small, doable steps. Practice saying no once to a person who constantly asks for help (when you know you don't got the time). After enough practice of thinking differently, I wondered what else could I do differently that would not be so bad, yet great for me. As it turns out, this applies to every aspect of making any type of decision. And you have the power in you, somewhere. I had that power in me, somewhere, and I eventually was able to tap into it. And so can you! Be patient, and ask yourself what you think you can do differently that is doable in the present moment. Good luck!
I recently posted a short maxim on Facebook regarding failure to hopefully encourage others: "Failures are just setbacks. You'll move forward again." A friend of mine commented on this saying: "...to me failure is just a stepping stone to improving what I couldn’t do before." Wow. This resonated with me so well I wanted to make a post out of it. This person truly encouraged me by offering their perspective of failure, and it was wonderful. This person was right. Failure viewed from all angles offers different interpretations, some helpful and some not so helpful. But this one was helpful and I hope it could resonate with others too. Ever heard "Failure is not an option?" I say, yeah right, only in a perfect reality. If anything, Failure is an outcome, and a reminder that your journey is not over just yet. The idea that failures are stepping stones is a helpful way of looking at difficult times where we find ourselves stuck because the barrier seems too high. But, with motivation, grit and persistence, that failure does really seem like a stepping stone for going in the right direction. Failure or not, keep steppin'.
Follow your map. Many of us can describe pretty well where we are at in our lives. Some are lost, others have a broken compass and some feel so uncomfortable even using a map. Let me just tell you that I hear you. To follow one's map means we have a goal in mind, or an "X" which means we've literally marked the spot of where we are aiming to one day hit. But, many a times there's obstacles and barriers that seem to get in the way. This isn't an easy journey. Whether it's fog from uncertainty, a dark creature from fear or maybe you might not feel strong enough to tame the next dragon that comes your way. Whatever it is, it's definitely uncomfortable. I'm here to tell you that what's going on is legitimate, and it's never easy to battle against something we feel is so sizable compared to little ol' you. However, think of a time where you found yourself in a similar situation, think of it right now! Did you tame it? I bet you did, or perhaps you're in the process of taming it? You're a fighter! I have a feeling you've gotten that much closer to your "X" before, and what's tough is that you've gotta do it all over again. It's a bummer, but it's also a preparer for the next thing that comes along the way on your map of life. You're a spartan to say the least, and a good one too! Follow your map as best as you can and know that you've tamed the tough things in life before and you probably have the capability and power to do it again once you feel ready. You got this!
Making new friends and holding onto the ones you already have can and is a difficult process. For some of us, we have friends we've had since grade school, and for others we struggle to just hold on to one. And then there's the many who just don't know how to meet and gain friendship anymore and aren't sure what to do anymore. At times, our minds may get the best of us, especially for those who have trouble with social anxiety. Thoughts may overwhelm you to the point that you believe you can't even make a friend, or that everyone is the wrong person for you regarding friendship because you didn't "click" the first moment you met. But this is further from the truth! Friendly people are all around us, and sometimes our expectations are unreliably high. In other words, if someone is friendly to you, they are fair game to be a friend. If someone is not friendly to you, perhaps it isn't the time to connect. And guess what? Best friends aren't created overnight, they are cultivated over time. This might not sit well at first because some of us want a perfect connection, and no awkward silences during conversation, and saying the right thing at the right time and all the other things that are running through our mind to get the ball rolling. I totally get it. But, let's for a moment try and sit with: "They just need to be friendly and that's a good start." And hey, if we're friendly back, who knows what could happen next.
I think it's safe to say that most of us worry about innate things that happen that is truly out of our control. Like, will it rain on my wedding day or something more existential like when is my last day here on earth? Extreme thoughts, yes. But these thoughts do occur in life and worry can take over heavily. Whenever I hear the words, "Don't worry," it doesn't seem to do justice for me. In fact, I think it makes it worse in my mind and I'm sure others could relate. But is it really possible to balance what I can and can't control? Sure is! As the old phrase goes, "Most of the things you worry about never happen." Well, I'm not sure if they will "never" happen, but there's a good chance it could. Regardless, you've made it this far, so what's stopping you now from surviving? Life does hit us, but if we focus so far into the future with a pessimistic attitude, surely our present will suffer. It may take some good time and thinking to understand the concept of changing where you place your focus. The more I focused on what I could control: how I react to others, what I eat (most of the time haha), and how I spend my time intentionally, for example, the easier it was to build a muscle of personal strength. Heck, I felt empowered by practicing this! So be encouraged by this if possible, and do your best to focus in what you really want to spend your time on. If you want to focus on how worried you are about something that hasn't happened yet, be my guest. If you'd like to focus on other things that deserves your time of day, do that then! Most of the time, you've got alternative choices. There's nothing wrong with trying something new, and who knows, maybe you'll enjoy worrying less.
It's enjoyable knowing that whenever payday comes, there's a nice deposit in our bank accounts. You've worked so hard for the past two weeks or month and it's time to reap the benefits. Your relationship is just the same when it comes down to making deposits in your emotional bank account. Imagine depositing moments of emotional connection on a daily basis. The more you turn toward your partner the more you are depositing. The more you share what you're feeling in your body and mind, you are depositing. And the more you give the benefit of the doubt during conflict and see the best in your partner, you again are depositing in that emotional bank account. Most of us would say it's a good thing to keep your financial account in the green and far from the red. Keeping your emotional bank account in the green means to make more deposits than withdrawals, but withdrawals do happen. Here are some more things you can do to make deposits in your account: -find the positive during conflict -turn toward your partner when talking -express how you feel, not how they feel -validate your partner's feelings -try to understand, not assume -have a date night for 2 hours -plan for weekends -show physical affections -be spontaneous at times -share your future vision with them -support the vision they share Good practice and good luck!
No. The word I feel that is often absent from our vocabulary when we need it the most. Growing up I was definitely a yes man. I felt it was my right to give others my time to the detriment to myself. However, I had zero time to recharge and eventually my body began to speak up and tell me "Say no, get some rest and get some boundaries, dude." So, that's what I did. This was so hard at first, as most things tend to be. I thought I was letting others down after each decline, but people are pretty resilient on their own. I remember going on a binge of saying no and found that the more I did this, the more I was psychologically saying yes to the things I wanted to do. I felt so much better. I've now learned not to blurt out no, but to intentionally think about what the other person is asking. Here's a little sequence I've learned from the big wigs, and it's been super helpful: 1. Acknowledge the request by repeating it 2. Give short explaining of declining 3. Say no with confidence 4. Resist saying sorry for saying no Remember, you are totally allowed to say no and still be a good person! Hope this was helpful! Now get practicing! Full article here: https://bit.ly/2Is7rdo
When I was 16 years old I was attacked by my neighbors dog who bit up my arm pretty badly. I remember bandaging up my arm by myself because I didn't want to talk about it to my parents and cause an argument with the neighbors. To say the least, I just kept it to myself, for awhile. After some time passed I didn't feel so well. I became lightheaded, weak and was sick to my stomach. My wounds were infected and I wasn't taking very good care of them on my own. I finally told my parents what happened and I was rushed to the closest urgent care. The doctors began taking off my makeshift bandages and started scrubbing deep into my wounds (graphic I know). I will never forget how hard it was for them to reopen my wound just to clean it out. I fought as hard as I could to resist the pain. The same thing can be said about us and our mental health. There will be times when you see your therapist or a mental health professional and he or she may ask you about old emotional wounds and possible triggers. Wounds that may have not been truly healed as we did our best to keep them quiet and repressed. But the experiences we are having now seem to be stirring up these old emotional wounds, so there's a chance we can finally work through them with a bit of mental first-aid. Healing takes time...and effort, and sometimes rehashing through old wounds so delicately with a professional who is there for you. Your healing is worth it.
Labels. Some are good with them, some are not. We've been told our entire lives: "You are (insert here)." I can relate when it came to my own mental wellness. Eventually my mind went to, "You are anxious, therefore you are anxiety." But that didn't define 100% of me, perhaps just 2% of me, if I'm being nice to myself. Don't get me wrong, labels do help medical offices, insurance companies, mental health providers and so forth when it comes to recording our life history and describing bits and pieces of us, just not our entire livelihood. But that doesn't mean we gotta be held by our past always. And that's when our minds play tricks on us. A great thing I've practiced is first stating, "You are not your illness. You are a human being in search of wellness and are doing fine." And whenever I'm having automatic thoughts of something that isn't necessarily true, I say, "You are having a thought right now of saying you are anxious or that you are anxiety." This totally helps separating yourself from the "problem" at hand. If you accept some labels, embrace them if you'd like. If you don't, you have the power to retell your story and can hopefully grow from what your history tells you.
Do you measure and compare yourself to what you are surrounded by? Measuring could mean how much money you make, your body image, success, schooling or anything else you can think of. I've said it before, I'll raise my hand first when it comes to measuring my success to what others are up to...this is debilitating and overwhelming at the same time! I cannot tell you how much I used to compare my chapter 1 to others' chapter 15 when it comes to what my life should look like. When was the last time we've asked ourselves the following question: "Am I happy with where I'm at right now?" Nothing more or less to ask. To answer this question is the beginning of a powerful journey in comparing where you used to be to where you are now to where you'd like to be later on. This was an uphill battle for me in the beginning. Overtime, I learned that measuring where I was at and comparing it to others was poison to my soul and mental health. This question is a good reality check when searching for insightful information about...well... myself. Sure, admiring others' feat does feel good, but when we take measuring tape and compare it to our own life, that's when it can become an never ending nightmare. So go ahead and ask yourself if you are happy with where you are at, and measure it to where you'd like to go. Practice these mental tasks everyday and see what surprises you might find out about yourself.
Good things can cost time, effort, money, trust, vulnerability and so on, and it's up to you how much you put in. Nonetheless, I see myself and others investing in everyone but themselves, and that can be a problem. There are some people who thrive on serving others as it is an admirable task. Overtime, you might be asking yourself, "When will I get a helping hand?" "I have the right to ask for help too, right?" Yes you do!! Healthy relationships are reciprocal relationships, remember that. And if you don't feel what you give is not necessarily returned, you have the power to communicate your wants and needs, and if you'd like that relationship to continue. I cannot guarantee you'll get what you want in the end, but your assertiveness might get you more than you are getting now. You are one of your most important investments, so if you catch yourself serving others and giving till the detriment of yourself, try asking for help every once in awhile. You might be surprised at the outcome. Take care.
Nature has been one of the single most important things I've added to my mental wellness. And no, that doesn't mean I've traveled far and wide to the world's most beautiful forests. It means I've taken time, intentionally, to go out of my own way to seek nature that was near me. This also meant that I needed to set aside time to do this, for myself. At first, I had to take small steps like driving past a nearby park or taking a short walk outside. Eventually, I felt the need to search for more opportunity to be around nature! With practice, I began to feel more calm, peaceful and truly at ease in my thoughts. Do whatever you can to place yourself around nature, even if it means to purchase a small bonsai tree to take care of. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
I remember the days where I found myself completely overwhelmed because I began stacking goals on top of goals on top of more goals. It was ridiculous. More often than not I told myself that if I did everything at once, it would be completed faster, hah! Totally not true! Setting goals is fantastic, but I set way too many and all at the same time. Now, I set single goals and set sail until I've reached the destination I wanted, and feel satisfied. Working on one goal at a time has given me more patience and more of a reason to be kinder to myself. Things will get done in its own time. Doing things one step at a time one day at a time has done wonders for me. And if you're like me, I feel it might do wonders for you, too. So set goals and set sail. And don't forget to breathe!
There's something about eating natural that feels so...well natural. I feel almost calm and at ease knowing that I am eating something that came from the earth and was not necessarily processed. Blueberries, for example, has shown interesting clinical research about correlations to brain cognition (a fancy word for how we think and remember stuff). A simple google of 'blueberries and brain health' might surprise you. I am no doctor and am not giving medical advice whatsoever, but there's nothing like eating natural foods to calm my mental health. What foods calm your mental health?
If there's one thing that's hard to move forward without, it's hope. Hope, no matter the size is so important when you feel you are at your lowest point in life. It's the very thing that might seem invisible at the time, but it's there waiting for the right moment, at least that's what I tell myself. If there's one thing that's been helpful for me when it comes to trying new things and moving forward, it's learning to hold hope right in my pocket. Whenever I feel weak minded, stressed or fearful, I tell myself, "No worries, you've got hope in your pocket, just reach for some right now." This may not get rid of what's going on because it's not supposed to. It's something of a reminder to keep stretching as a mentally growing human being. I will say the more I use this, the easier things do seem to be. I seem to be pretty comfortable with who I am now. Just keep hope in your pocket and see what happens.
Ever heard of a blank slate? Theories aside, being a blank slate to me means that I have the opportunity to shape my own experiences, in my very own way. Far too often I've felt others telling my story for me, but that's not necessarily their job. In fact, it's not their place at all. This can feel like you have zero power over long periods of time. Your story is your story to be told, as theirs is theirs to be told. Imagine a blank canvas and you're the painter. You have the potential and power to figure out what to make of your experiences whether it's from the past, present or future. They may feel awful at times, yet you find the beauty in it. They may even feel good yet you feel bad for some reason. It is your right to share your experience how you'd like to share it. Be empowered by what you place on your blank slate. And be proud of the story you have to share. Be you.