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07

How Therapy Strengthens Love

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
love

The Valentine’s Day season is around the corner, and so is the pressure to celebrate it. During this time of year, there is no shortage of candy brands reminding us that the best way to express love is through treats. The fact of the matter is that love is a daily choice that requires much more than chocolate. 

Oftentimes we can get caught up in the overwhelming stress of life’s commitments. Therapy is a tool that helps us process our feelings and open our minds to giving and receiving love, thereby strengthening our relationship with others. 

Therapy teaches us to love ourselves with…

Compassion

Maybe you’re familiar with the phrase “You are your own worst critic”. 

Unfortunately, this phrase holds more truth than we want to believe. Psychology Today’s article discusses the negative impact that self-criticism can have on our mental health. Therapy creates a safe space where we can process the internal disapproval that we allow ourselves to be burdened with. By reducing some of these burdens, we can free our minds to make room for more positive mindfulness and self-love. 

Recognition

When we’ve learned to exercise compassion, there will then be space for recognition. The thought of having to be mindful and vulnerable is scary, but breaking down our internal barriers empowers us to see our strengths. All too often, we do not give ourselves enough credit for the good qualities that we have. We have a tendency to break ourselves down, instead of building ourselves up. By doing the opposite, and recognizing our strengths, we can master the art of loving who we are. 

Development

One way we can learn to love ourselves is by taking steps to help us meet our potential. Therapy creates a safe space where we can discover what we need to grow. This can be hard to do, as sometimes we are forced to acknowledge parts of ourselves that we hope not to. But, by managing bad habits or negative mindsets, we can develop into the thriving person we hope to be.

Therapy teaches us to love others with…

Communication

Communication is an important part of every relationship. If you google synonyms for “communication” you might find words like “give” or “deliver”. Very rarely do we equivocate communication with “receiving”. It’s important to remember that communication between two people goes both ways. While this practice requires speaking with calm tones and kind words, it also requires active listening. Therapy not only teaches us the techniques to be heard, but also the ability to hear others. This can be hard to put into practice, but, when done correctly, allows us to build a greater connection. 

If you’re looking for active ways that you can practice better communication with your partner, check out our blog on 10 Communication Tips for Couples

Recognition

When we interact with others, we tend to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to forget that the other person has a different perspective from our own. Therapy teaches us to take a step back and recognize the kinds of burdens that others might be carrying. Check out Psychology Today’s article on the 5 Ways Empathy is Good for Your Health. By practicing empathy, we will find that we can build stronger connections with others. 

Compassion

Just like we should work to be less critical of ourselves, therapy helps us to be less critical of each other. It can be hard to let go of the things that hurt us, but the practice of compassion can help us move forward. Therapy creates a safe environment where we can learn this skill, together, and strengthen our connections.

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26

Simple Self Care

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Photo by Dmitriy Frantsev on Unsplash

As we wind down from the holidays and settle back into our routines, we may find ourselves already dreading the season of cold and day-to-day living that awaits us. At times like these, it is important to actively engage in self-care. Some days, taking care of ourselves can come naturally. However, there are some days when it just feels like we don’t have enough time or energy to devote to proper care for our minds and bodies. 

Here are 5 simple methods of self-care that will have a big impact on how you feel with a small impact on your schedule.

Hydrate

We tend to associate being dehydrated with extreme physical symptoms. We forget that it can be a mild, everyday, occurrence resulting in a profound impact on our mental health. Drinking water throughout the day can help boost your energy and your mood, reducing overall feelings of depression and anxiety. If you struggle to keep up with your water intake, start with small goals. For example, drink a glass of water when you wake up, and at every meal. There are also great resources, and apps to help you track how much water you drink a day. Find a system that works for you, and start small. Remember to set achievable goals, and build as you go. 

Listen to Music

Listening to some good beats can be an excellent way to add simple self-care to your routine. It can help you gear up for your day, or wind down for the evening. You might have 5 minutes to sit and meditate, or have a day packed full of activities. Luckily, listening to music is an easy self-care method that can fit into any schedule. 

How does science link music to mental health? The University of Central Florida has a great tool that helps us understand how music positively impacts each area of the brain. Check it out here: https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/your-brain-on-music/

Take a Warm Shower (or bath)

When we experience extreme emotions like stress or anxiety, our muscles can get very tense. We might start to feel like we are stuck, or that our bodies have locked up. Taking 10 minutes for a hot shower can help relieve a lot of that tension, and allow us to relax. If you find that you have some extra time, try taking a warm bath right before bed to get a good night’s sleep. 

Take a Hike!

…Actually, even a short walk around the block will do some good. A study done in 2013 found that people who suffered from depression experienced a positive mood shift after walking outside for 50 minutes. In addition to a mental boost, a walk around the neighborhood is a simple and free way to add a little exercise to the day. 

Check our our blog post on what happens when you spend time outside.

Breathe

This last act of simple self-care requires little effort but will have mighty results. Deep breathing sessions are a great way to help the mind and body find a space to relax. If you’re experiencing anxiety, it can also slow your heart rate, and help to regain control. This exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Some smartwatches and phones come with guided breathing applications that make the process easy and convenient.  

If you want to give it a try, you can also check out this 3-minute guided breathing exercise video

These 5 acts of Simple Self-Care are a great way to boost your mood, and they only take 30 minutes or less. Consider adding just one to your daily routine, and you will find that even the slightest change can make a big difference. 

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12

The New Year is Finally Here

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
New Year's Sparkler

Amidst all the joy and excitement surrounding the holiday celebrations, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by all that the New Year has to offer. We get worn out by all of the holiday parties, or we put too much pressure on ourselves to live our next year better than the last. Here are a few small things that we can do to have a big impact on how we find joy in the new year:

Set some time to recharge

We can remember to charge our phone’s low battery, but how often do we pay attention to our own energy? Giving ourselves permission to relax physically, emotionally, and socially is important. It gives us the power we need to keep doing the things that we love to do. This doesn’t have to be something that is a big-time commitment – even taking a break for 30 minutes can make a huge difference. 

Once we’ve designated some time to recharge, we can choose any activity like:

  • reading 
  • listening to music 
  • exploring the outdoors
  • baking 
  • or snuggling our pets. 

Remember, pick an activity that draws you away from the hustle and bustle. Your mind and body need an appropriate amount of time and space to relax. 

If you find that you are still struggling to manage stress, check out our 5 Tips for Managing Stress

Celebrate Your Successes

Oftentimes, we get caught up in all the ways we can make the next year “better”. We get so focused on meeting future goals, that we forget to celebrate our past accomplishments. This year, take a moment to reflect on all of the things that you achieved in 2021. Perhaps there is a new habit that you developed that you hadn’t even noticed – rinsing your dishes, journaling, listening to a podcast, or drinking more water. Perhaps there were new chapters that you started like joining a league, owning a car, changing careers, or moving homes. Every time we accomplish something new, no matter how easy or hard, we deserve to give ourselves a little credit. 

Try Something New, But Simple

Around this time, we tend to start hearing more about trying new goals. We hear phrases like “saving 15% more of my income” or “biking an extra 200 miles”. While these big goals might be exciting for some, they can be daunting to others. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the “new” in New Year, without getting overwhelmed. 

Try picking one new thing to try that you’ve never thought of doing before. Maybe it’s visiting a museum, exploring a new park, or trying new food. New experiences can be exciting, without being big or expensive! Get out there and try something new

Apply Your Passions

One way we can try new things is to volunteer. Sometimes we tend to steer clear from “volunteering” because we associate the word with a high requirement of commitment and a low expectation of satisfaction. We forget that many times, there are opportunities to give back in ways that we know we’ll enjoy. 

For example:

  • Do you have a love of animals? Consider volunteering to walk dogs, or foster kittens. 
  • Are you an athlete? Consider volunteering to coach a little league. 
  • Are you passionate about history? Ask about volunteering as a local tour guide. 

There are plenty of ways to find opportunities that align with your interests and help the needs of others. 

Want to take these ideas and run with them? PsychologyToday.com’s article, “Rebooting 2022 for Fresh Awakenings”, has a list of ideas on where you can start.

Happy New Year!

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