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Archive for February, 2018

Almost Time for Spring Cleaning!

Posted on: February 28th, 2018

As we head into March there is always that great anticipation of the newness of Spring. Spring begins officially on March 20th this year. As we begin to shed the layers of winter and look forward to the longer days with the warming sun, let’s consider how these activities can serve as symbolism for our emotional health. Let’s look at three areas that can serve as our points of reference.

  • Cleaning and organization
  • Anticipation of change
  • Embracing optimism and hope

Typically around the end of February I begin to look around my house and make decisions about what should stay and what should go. What clothes have my kids outgrown? What household items can be donated or just need to be thrown away? I do this because I know it is almost time for spring cleaning. My process is simple, items that are needed stay and are placed in its proper place. Items that are not needed are placed in two separate boxes marked donate or throw away depending on its value. Let’s place this example in the context of our thoughts and emotions. There are times when we must take a moment and become aware of our thoughts and beliefs and place them in proper context in order to achieve a healthy perspective. Are there negative thoughts and beliefs that we have held on to for far too long? Have these thoughts and beliefs become clutter in our emotional home? If so it may be time to consider eliminating those beliefs that don’t contribute to healthy living and placing other beliefs in their proper place.

Anticipation of change can be exhilarating and frightening all at once. It is easy to revert to what is familiar and safe. Even changing your perspective for the better can create some uncertainty. There is a saying that familiarity brings contentment. I challenge that perspective with the belief that maintaining an unhealthy perspective cannot lead to long term contentment. Change requires honesty. It requires a willingness to look at your situation and admit change must occur. Spring cleaning prepares your space for something fresh and new. Embrace change so that change can occur.

As the snow and ice turns to green grass and flowers, one cannot help but sense the presence of renewal. This renewal cultivates a feeling of new beginnings. The past is simply the past; dwelling in it doesn’t change it. Embracing hope and optimism points to the future. There is a reason we don’t have eyes in the back of our head, looking back doesn’t get you anywhere. Looking forward with hope can give you the perspective you need to blossom and grow.

Changing your perspective can be challenging. I encourage you to seek help if you need as you are beginning this process of spring cleaning.

 

Author

Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC CRC

Stress: Feeling the Weight of the World

Posted on: February 5th, 2018

There are moments in life when you feel as if you are carrying a load too heavy to carry. There are times when you start to feel the crushing weight of worry, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. These moments seem often to come out of nowhere. These moments can have adverse effects on your daily living and personal perspective. What do you do when you begin to feel crushed by life’s load? To answer this, it’s important to look at three key factors in stress management. Let’s consider the following:

  • What are your specific reactions to stress?
  • What message are you telling yourself about the stressful situation?
  • What stress relieving tools are currently within your reach?

Some common reactions to stress are crying, depressed mood, overeating, and smoking. You may be short tempered or feel pessimistic. You may also feel the physical sensation of pain. Understanding your reaction to stress will provide an opportunity for one to realize the source of these feelings. Understanding these feelings and behaviors as they are attributed to stress can provide a sense of control. As a therapist, there are times when I meet with a patient and they exhibit these symptoms. They are often fearful because they don’t understand why they feel this way. “Why can’t I stop crying?” They are so accustomed to carrying the load it doesn’t occur to them that it is simply stress. Naming the source of the problem can provide a vehicle to focus and begin to problem solve.

The message we tell ourselves about the stressful situation will determine our outcome in that situation. If we interpret the stressor to mean all is lost and things are hopeless, we will begin to react in the manner we believe. If we tell ourselves this is only temporary, we will develop the strength and resiliency necessary to move forward, usually a little wiser. Ultimately our beliefs help determine our steps.

When faced with stressful situations it is important to identify your resources. There is a tendency to isolate yourself and focus within when faced with stress. I believe that is the time to begin to rely on your support system. Support can come in the form of supportive family and friends. Support can also be community resources. Once you allow others to share the burden you may find that the load is much lighter.

We live in a world where stress is inevitable. Gaining the tools to manage stress successfully can make the difference in maintaining healthy mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Hang in there and don’t give up!

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC