Color Yourself Calm

Coloring as therapy has grown exponentially in the last few years. Coloring books, pencils, markers, and coloring apps are some of the best selling products currently. Everyone is jumping on the coloring bandwagon, but what are the benefits of coloring on mental health? Depending on whether you are an adult or a child they can differ slightly, but some of the benefits exist for both groups.

Let’s start with the benefits for children and coloring. They are not all mental health related, but they all build skills and provide tools that help with both mental health and learning. Ten benefits for kids are: Improving motor skills, prepares them for school and school work environment, stimulates creativity, contributes to better handwriting, color awareness and the nuances of colors, improved focus and hand to eye coordination, structure and spacial awareness, improved confidence and self-esteem, and stress relief. Coloring with kids offers a wide range of learning, motor, and mental health benefits. Coloring can be used to help children learn focus and to calm down when frustrated. Coloring can be used to express feelings. Remember it doesn’t have to stay in any lines or shapes to be helpful. The actual act of coloring in any manner – even angry coloring – is beneficial.

For adults, the benefits are mainly related to mental health, but even adults, especially the elderly can benefit from the motor skills benefits of coloring. Some of the benefits for adults and coloring are: Coloring produces a meditative state in the brain, Stress and anxiety levels can be reduced, Negative thoughts are replaced as you create positivity through coloring, being focused on the present activity creates mindfulness, if you color without an app unplugging from technology allows for less screen dependence, you don’t have to be an artist to color, it expands the creative parts of your brain, and it is something you can do anywhere. Since it is portable you can have it with you where ever you are and whenever emotional issues arise. You can use it to gain mindfulness. Meditation mantras or affirmations in your mind while coloring boost positivity and increase the meditative state.

Coloring is not about being perfect, always inside the lines, or needing to look a specific way. Coloring can be completely abstract. It can be messy. It can be quick or very slow. It can be whatever you need and however you want to do it. The focus should be just that – focus. The coloring allows you to focus – your mind, your emotions, your energy in a specific area instead of having these things be out of control. Transfer thoughts, emotions, energy through your arm into your hands and onto the coloring surface. Visualize this happening as you color. If your thoughts and emotions wander, notice it, let it go, and bring your focus back to the coloring. Mindful meditation through art therapy with coloring.

Here are a few coloring books to get you started:

Happy coloring!

Until next time,
Deborah

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Mindful Motivation

mindfulmotivation

We all need a little motivation at times. Everyone has days that they struggle to be positive. Things that are difficult come to us all. In those times, it is sometimes helpful to have a little mindful motivation to use as positive affirmations to get us through the hard times. I hope that you find some helpful mindful motivation here today.

I hope you found some mindful motivation for your day here. If you feel you could use some other skills and tools for mindfully motivating yourself, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. You can schedule an appointment by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Until next time,
Deborah

Just Be Happy

So many times, people will say to me, everyone tells me to just be happy. The next thing they usually say is, I can’t just be happy. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. They believe they cannot just be happy, and so they are not. But it is not true that they cannot just be happy, if they pay attention to the thoughts that dominate their minds.

I usually follow up with the question, why are you not happy? And 9 times out of 10, I get the answer, I don’t know. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. If there are many negative, self-defeating, self-doubting, self-judging thoughts in their minds, they truly may not be able to pick just one and say, THIS is why I am not happy. But it isn’t true that they truly do not know any reason why they are not happy. People know why they are not happy. They know what they think. They know what thoughts they believe. Acknowledging these things however, is another story entirely.

The next time you find yourself feeling unhappy, stop, and examine the thoughts you have been thinking. Truly look at them. Writing them down is even better, that way you can actually see them. What are you thinking when you are unhappy? It’s not just, I’m unhappy. There were a lot of thoughts leading up to that point. Are the thoughts about yourself? Are they about how you see yourself compared to others? Are they about yourself in relationships? Are they about yourself and your work? Are they about yourself and your grades? Are they about yourself and your family? Notice, every one of those questions included yourself. Almost every negative thought we have includes us. We may say, I am unhappy because my mother expects me to be perfect and think that is only about our mother. It is about how we FEEL about what our mother is projecting onto us. It is about how we feel that we cannot be perfect or good enough. It is NOT about our mother. Every thought has to be examined for what it says about us.

And this is where the trouble comes. If we have to acknowledge that our unhappiness is because of what we think, feel, believe about ourselves and not about others or outside events, then we have to do work on ourselves. We always prefer to have others change, to have events change, but to have ourselves change, that is where we draw the line. And why do we do this? Because we are afraid of what happens if we do change. Because we live in fear.

If we want to just be happy, we have to just be willing to come to the truth of why we are not happy. Start by looking in the mirror and asking questions and really digging down to the bottom line – I am the reason I cannot just be happy and how do I change the only thing I can change – myself.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (adolescent and adult females) for counseling. Please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to schedule an initial consultation.

Boundaries

Many of the problems humans suffer are as a result of unhealthy boundaries. These unhealthy boundaries start when we are very young by the way we allow others to treat us and make us feel. We are made to feel inadequate, or less than, by other people. We are in unhealthy situations where we are expected to be caretakers of others because our caretakers cannot function appropriately. We are made to feel as though we should be doormats for other people’s feelings, unresolved anger and trauma, or piled upon with heaping doses of guilt that are not ours to carry.

Regardless of how we come to allow people to treat us, we then start to believe this is how we should function in every relationship. We will always act as a doormat or a caretaker or that our needs mean nothing or our feelings are unimportant or we have to avoid making other people mad to avoid conflict or abuse. There can be many, many ways that we allow unhealthy boundaries and they can be very difficult to overcome.

How then do we move away from unhealthy boundaries? First, we must believe that we deserve to be treated better and that having boundaries is necessary. Second, we must love ourselves enough to implement boundaries regardless of how it makes others feel. Third, we must be willing to hold the line every time. Fourth, we must be prepared that the people we care about most will be the ones who push back the hardest when we enforce our boundaries.

If we have spent our entire lives allowing people to treat us in certain ways and expect that we will behave in certain ways when they do, we cannot expect that they will not be upset when we no longer comply. They will be very upset. They will take it personally. They will become angry with us. They will push back and want to reinforce that you have no boundaries. It will be very difficult to maintain the line. But if you are to be happy, to love yourself, to embrace what you deserve, you must hold the line.

We must start to draw our boundaries one event, one relationship at a time. We must find our voice to say no. We must express our feelings without anger yet filled with the truth. We must reinforce to ourselves daily, sometimes by the second, what we deserve, how we want to be treated, and that we love ourselves enough to have our relationships with others changed or abandoned.

Where do you need to start holding the line in your life?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule a FREE initial consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Ties That Bind

Sometimes the ties that bind are also the same ties that keep us bound. These ties can also be impossible to break because they are genetically woven into our brains. The tie that binds most is between mother and child.

All children are bound to their mothers at the very innermost levels. It does not matter if their mothers are caring and kind or if they are abusive and destructive. Children still want that relationship with their mothers. The relationship that is ingrained in their genetics. The one that wants nurturing, wants caring, wants love.

Many of the people I talk to trace their own negative beliefs, their own poor choices, their own sadness to their own mothers. Many of their negative beliefs are based on things their mother said to them or things they didn’t say. Many of their emotions – sadness, anger – they trace back to their mothers neglecting them, abusing them, abandoning them. But not a single person I have ever talked to has ever said that they wouldn’t want to have a relationship with their mother, that they wouldn’t want to go back to live with them, that they still don’t want their mother to love them. They all say that they want all those things, no matter what their mother has done to them.

Children want their mother’s approval and many spend their entire lives trying to get it. They want their mother’s love and will do anything to try and have it even if it isn’t real love but only something they take as love because it is all they will get. They want that relationship more than anything and without it they become damaged because genetically we all need it.

Unfortunately, the relationship may never be what the child craves. So then, how does one live with that loss. With time and understanding of who you really are separate from that tie. Understanding that your negative beliefs may not be your beliefs at all. Understanding that the choices your mother made were because of her own beliefs and emotions and that it was not about you. Understanding that having a relationship with your mother may be one where you have to accept that she is who she is and that may never change.

It can be that you can live beyond this tie. That you can come to understand your place in it. And that you can live as your true self separate from it. That you can be less bound to it if it is something that causes you pain. Sometimes undoing the ties that bind can set you free.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting girls and women for counseling. If you would like to set up an Initial Consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Circles

Allowing what other people think, do, and say to affect your life. This is something that almost everyone I’ve ever talked to does. Their perception of their lives of their very beliefs about who they are exist because they have allowed someone in their circles to affect them.

We all have circles of people in our lives. From the most inner to the almost unseen. In the most inner, most people have immediate family, a spouse or significant other, parents, children. The next circle is other family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. The next would be close friends, the very close, which is generally a smaller number of people. The next circle is other friends, not close, but still friends. The next would be people you might call friends, but they are just really people you know and this might include co-workers or classmates or bosses or teachers. The next circle are people you don’t really know but they know people you do know, satellites I call them. The next circle are people you see regularly like the person who makes your latte, or at the register at the grocery store. The next is people you don’t know at all, strangers. If we allow it, any one of the people in these circles can affect the way we view ourselves.

With the inner most circle it can be very difficult to not allow what they do, say or think to affect our lives. We spend a great deal of time with them, we have emotional bonds with them, we very often are seeking their approval. It can be very difficult to believe differently about ourselves if the person we care for most, such as our mothers or our children, tell us we are not good enough or they don’t really love us. But it is not impossible, with understanding and work.

As the circle grows wider, we can let others who mean far, far less in our lives have the same kind of impact on us. A stranger making a comment in the grocery store line can be enough for us to allow ourselves to believe what they are saying is true. But why do we allow the thoughts of all of these circles to matter to us?

Who in your circles actually has any real control over who you are and what you do? Who decides what grades you get? Who decides what job you apply for? Who decides what you eat? Who decides where you live? Who decides anything that you do or how you do it? If it is always someone else, why do you allow that? If it is you, why does anything anyone else say, do or think matter?

What other people do, think, or say matters because we allow it to matter. What do you allow to matter in your life, in your mind, in your heart?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (adolescent girls and women) for counseling. To schedule a FREE Initial Consultation call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Growing

Growing is hard. It is hard work. It often exacts a hard toll on relationships. It is hard for many people to do because of the fear of losing people. It is hard for others to understand. Growing is hard.

When we begin to change who we are at our core, we find that the change begins to affect everything around us. How we see ourselves in our relationships with others is one of the first things to change. If these relationships have been contributing to our pain, or sadness, or anxiety, when we change we no longer want these relationships in our lives. Sometimes, these relationships are with people we are very close to – family and friends, even spouses/significant others and children. When we begin to value ourselves, we expect that others should value us as well. When they do not or are unable to, we move away from those relationships and it is very, very hard in many cases.

We may feel tremendous fear at these changes. We have lived in these ways with these people for many years. It is all we know. It provides a sort of dark comfort, but at least we know what it is. If we move away, change, we have to build new relationships, with many unknowns. That is very scary to us. The familiar is easier. Even if we repeat the same destructive relationship patterns over and over, it is familiar.

There is also the hardness of the love we do have for people in these relationships. That love is damaged, it is unhealthy, it is not helping us, but it is still what we know as love. We can share years with these people, share memories, share life experiences, we can feel obligated to stay in these relationships because they are our “family.” But many times it is these relationships that further our damage, our negative self-image, our pain. It is very hard to let them go or change them to include boundaries that empower us to be happier, healthier, stronger.

Changing these relationships many times affects others around us and that is also hard. If it is a spouse or significant other who is the parent of your children or step-parent, removing them from your life also changes things for the children. We may stay in these relationships to avoid that very thing. But we continue to inflict our pain, sadness, negative self-image on our children, which in turn can damage them. Change is hard, but in the end it can be better for everyone involved.

Many people will start to make change, but when it becomes too hard or causes too much fear, they give up. If only they can push through that, they will find that the other side is brighter and better.

Growing is hard, but it is not impossible and you can do it.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you would like help to grow and change, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 for a FREE initial consultation or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com