One Thing

I have had a lot of conversations lately with people feeling overwhelmed with everything going on in their lives. Feeling as if they try to do one thing and then see all the other things they need to do and move on to something else and something else and ending up doing none of them well and feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.

I have been telling all of the people who are feeling this way that a beginning to gaining some control over these feelings is to do ONE thing. It doesn’t matter what that one thing is, just do ONE thing. Whether that one thing be decompressing in the bathroom or your bedroom of your home when you arrive from work for even 5 minutes. Changing your clothes into something more comfy, washing your face, taking a 5 minute brisk shower, doing 5 minutes of meditation or journal writing BEFORE you engage with other people or things in your home. Just a brief break to gather yourself and your thoughts. And when this one thing is accomplished, recognize it and yourself for having done so. Say it out loud, I have done this one thing, I feel more calm, I can think more clearly.

Another ONE thing can be to take a break when you feel overwhelmed. This can be the most difficult for overwhelmed people to do. The feelings generally push harder on us to get these things done or manage this situation or deal with these people wanting our attention right now all at once. When you start to feel overwhelmed take a break. A break can be just going into another room and doing some deep breathing. A 5 minute or even a 1 minute meditation. Going outside and grounding yourself in nature. Lying on a bed or even the floor and grounding yourself with the 5 steps – What can you see, what can you hear, what can you touch, what can you smell, what can you taste. Wash your face or take a quick brisk shower. Go for a short walk around the place where you are. Color something or do some free writing and emotionally transfer your feelings out of you. One thing, just one thing, can change your mindset in seconds. Again, be sure to recognize the one thing you are doing and recognize what it does for your emotions and how that feels in your body.

If you are driving from school or work to home or somewhere else use the drive to decompress. Do some deep breathing while you are driving. Get into the being mode while driving and notice everything around you during the drive instead of going on automatic pilot and letting your thoughts dominate the drive. Put on some relaxing music or something you like to sing to. Do progressive muscle relaxation while you drive. Don’t spend the drive thinking about all the things that will confront you at your destination and things you cannot control.

Try it out today. Do ONE thing to redirect anxiety and overwhelming feelings. It does not matter what the one thing is just make sure to acknowledge it, notice it, pay attention to how it makes you feel and where you experience that emotion in your body. Do ONE thing every day that centers you.

Until next time,
Deborah
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Where Is Your Proof?

Many people battle with negative automatic thoughts. These thoughts come from several sources including our families and friends, strangers, people in authority over us (teachers, coaches, bosses), social media, and of course from inside our own minds. However, those inside the mind came from somewhere or someone else almost all of the time.

A message, or seed, is introduced to our mind. Something someone has said, a way someone has acted or not acted, an assumption we have made about what someone has said or done or what we have seen online. This seed is at first nothing just as the words we hear or we create are nothing but thoughts. They have no life, unless we provide them with what they need to grow. If we water them, fertilize them, give them a place in our minds to live they become implanted and are always there.

There is of course one other thing we must do in order to grow our negative thought seeds – give them truth. By agreeing that this thoughts are true and using absolutes to describe them – I am, I do, I can’t, I don’t, etc. – the brain then views them as truths – not thoughts or seeds. But where is your proof that these thoughts are true? Where is your absolute proof?

When these thoughts appear, we must stop and question them just as any lawyer would do in court to prove an accusation is true. Imagine a stop sign appearing when the thought appears. Imagine yourself looking at this thought (only words) and asking where is your proof? Just because you think it does not make it true. Just because someone else said it does not make it true. Just because you read it does not make it true. Where is your proof? Almost always the proof will not be found except the truth that the thought is just words we have given life to and assumed a truth about.

Where is the proof that the thought is false? For example, if you have the thought “I never do anything right.” What is your proof of things and times where you have done things right? Did you put on your own clothes, take a shower, do your hair or makeup, drive a car, pass a test, complete a job task today? If you did, you obviously did it right. Therefore, “I never” cannot be true. There is no proof.

Without proof, we are left with giving truth to just words because we assume there must be some proof or we wouldn’t think these thoughts. Thoughts come and go all the time. It is up to us whether or not they grow and live in our minds or whether they are dismissed for lack of proof.

Where is your proof?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients, girls and women, for counseling in Montana. If you would like to set up a FREE initial consultation please call me at 406-413-9904, email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on Facebook.

Choose Happy

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC Professional Counseling Services Blog

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” When I present happiness as a choice to many people, they will many times look at me as if I have lobsters coming out of my head. As if this is an absolutely false statement and that there is no way people can choose to be happy.

While they are looking at me in disbelief, they are also telling me all the reasons they cannot choose to be happy. They were sexually or physically abused, their parents divorced or their parents abandoned them in some way, their family was or is dysfunctional, they were or are being bullied, their relationships with family and others were or are bad or difficult, they believe they are bad or damaged or ugly or stupid or any number of other negative thoughts and lies they have told themselves, people have done or are doing this and it MAKES them unhappy, or any number of other things as a reason for why they cannot be happy. They go on to say how they just can’t let that go and choose to be happy.

Why not? People choose to be unhappy. They choose to let the past, events, people, their own thoughts make them sad or anxious. We aren’t born sad. We become sad because we let the things that happen to us and around us make us believe negative things about ourselves. We feel responsible and blame ourselves or we feel victimized and blame others or events. Then we become unhappy. We are made unhappy by our own thoughts about people and events.

I am not saying that traumatic events are not sad or upsetting, they are. It is natural to feel these emotions at the time of the events and even for some time after, but when they become the thing that drives every emotion, every choice, every thought after that every day of your life – you are making a choice every day when you wake up that unhappy is how you will feel. No other emotion or thought is given a chance to see the light of day.

How then do you choose happy? You come to the truth of what started you on the path of unhappiness. You process exactly what happened, who was at fault, and how to walk through it not live in it. Sometimes people need help to do this and that is where counseling comes in. Once you have made this journey, you can then begin to let those things go as rulers of your life and mind. And replace them with what is happening right now, this moment and making the choice every single day and yes every single moment to choose happy. Just as the choice was made up to this point to be unhappy over and over millions of times a day, the choice can be made to be happy over and over millions of times a day.

Today, when the negative thoughts and emotions you have return, take a few seconds and counter them with a positive. There are always, always positives if you look for them, notice them, say them, write them down. They can be big or very very small things. Today, for every negative thought, emotion, memory insert something positive. If you have hours a day to spend on negative things, you have hours a day to spend on positive. It is all in what you think, what yous say, what you do, what you let go of, what you replace.

You have the power, not events, not people, not the past, not the future, to make you happy or unhappy. Choose happy.

Until next time,
Deborah

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC is accepting new clients in Billings Montana (and video/online clients in all of Montana) – girls and women – for professional counseling. To schedule a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904, email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page Mindful Montana Wellness on Facebook

Free To Change

The only thing that prevents anyone from changing their lives and thoughts is fear. Fear is the most powerful emotion in the world, stronger than anger, stronger than love, it is fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from making change in our lives. There are three main reasons people fear from changing themselves – fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of loss – and they prevent progress.

Because of this fear, most people try to change everything BUT themselves. They try to change how others act, think, and treat them. They try to change the past or future. They try to change everything that is outside their circle of control – which is everything outside of them. When in truth, the only thing anyone can ever change is inside their own bag of bones – nothing else. But that is so much harder and so much more fearful.

Fear of the unknown is present when people have become accustomed to the way things are.  No matter how bad, how repetitive the issues and thoughts, how miserable they are – what they know about how they feel and live is much less fearful than what they don’t know or what they fear may happen if they change.  How will they feel, how will they live their lives, who will they be if they don’t have the constant misery they current live with – the thing that has become their constant companion – their best friend.  Like an warm blanket, they cover themselves with the misery they know rather than letting go of fear and making changes to themselves.  They want to know what will happen, constantly anxious about the future. If they stay in the present misery they know what will happen – the same things that have happened for years.  People do not fear what they know.

Many people fear that change means losing control.  They have a false sense of control believing that they have some effect on other people, on situations, on the past or the future.  These are all lies we tell ourselves so that our actions can be justified and so that we can blame others for our misery.  Since we cannot control ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our pain we must control others and we can see it as the only control we have.  It is all fake control, all a lie, there is NO control of anything outside of our own skin to believe otherwise is to lie to yourself and everyone else.

Many people who fear change also fear loss.  This may be the greatest block to change of the three.  We fear that if we change we will lose those we love and care about.  If we stop making bad choices for ourselves – drugs, drinking, sex – the people we do these things with will not want to be around us anymore.  If we refuse to let others treat us badly, to keep rehashing the past, holding guilt and blame over us – they will stop talking to us, cut us out of their lives.  If we change ourselves and build ourselves up, we may realize we should end relationships and we fear being alone.  We are too afraid of what others will do as a result of our change that we continue on the same as we always have regardless of how miserable we are.

The only thing we can change is what is inside our own skin – our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our processing of the past and welcoming of the future.  The only way to make these changes is to let go of fear.  Fear is the enemy of change.  Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change themselves cannot change anything.

Until next time,

Deborah

I am now accepting new clients for counseling – adolescent girls and adult women.  If you think counseling can help you on the path to changing yourself call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a free initial consultation.

Enhance Your Calm

Enhance your calm and be well. So many of my clients struggle with anxiety related issues and find it hard to be calm. Whether it is non-stop thoughts, worrying about what other people say or think about them, inability to sleep or sleep well, social situations, past events or traumas they find it hard to notice the present moment, breathe, and relax. With just a few changes or additions to your daily routine, you can learn to enhance your calm and be well.

Everyone is so busy or think they are so busy that they often feel they cannot incorporate any calming strategies into their lives. However, many of those calming activities can take just a few short minutes each day. If you cut a few minutes off your time spent on your phone or other devices you could find the time very quickly to enhance your calm.

Meditation practice offers many ways to incorporate calm into your life. Headspace is a guided meditation app I have used for years. It offers a free option with 10 basic meditation units that you can use over and over again to become more calm. It also offers a paid version that has meditation units as short as 1 minute in length and other units that are targeted to specific situations. Meditation is not about learning how to STOP thinking it is about learning to notice your thoughts and let them GO. Seeing your thoughts as clouds and that just pass through, not as plants that put down roots and stay.

Another way to enhance your calm quickly is practicing deep breathing techniques. There are several techniques to practice and you may find you benefit from one more than another. It just takes practice. You can practice before sleep, while driving, on the bus, in class or at work, while you are scanning your electronic devices. Everyone has a few minutes to spare to enhance their calm.

Progressive muscle relaxation is another way to enhance your calm that once you have practiced it only takes a few minutes as well. Once you have learned the “script” by practicing multiple times, you will be able to achieve deep relaxation throughout your muscles with head to toe calm.

Essential oils can be an additional item to use to manage anxiety and stress. Using aromatherapy through diffusers, applying oils to cotton balls, or just breathing them as you are doing deep breathing practice can enhance your calm dramatically. Some of the best oils to use for anxiety and stress are Valerian, Jatamansi, Lavendar, Bergamot, Chamomile, Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Holy Basil are all very good at enhancing your calm. Blends of these oils are even more effective. Always use pure, organic oils for aromatherapy to get the best results.

Some other ways to enhance your calm that you can add on to these more practiced ways include exercise even if it’s just a little bit to release endorphins, very dark chocolate at least 80% cocoa, laughing A LOT, and a nice cup of Sleepytime tea from time to time.

If you find yourself getting on to your phone or other device and thinking you will spend just a few minutes only to realize you’ve been at it for hours, binge watch full seasons of shows on Netflix in a weekend, or spending a lot of time wondering how to feel less anxious – you have time to use some of these ways to enhance your calm and be well.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you think counseling can help you enhance your calm more and learn how to let go of some of the things that keep you anxious and worried, I am accepting new clients (adolescent girls and adult women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a FREE initial consultation.