WAYS TO EXHALE
For people close to me, I might sound like a broken record on how therapy and self-actualization can help one's mental state tremendously. No means of me being an expert or free from the cluttered mind. I think it is a daily exercise for me to find a balance of stress and peace.
Recently there was a personal matter that someone close in my life that was happening but it affects my emotional state so much. I went through a deep emotional breakdown. Didn't know if the outcome will be bad if I would be able to handle it. I was trying to give myself other things to think off so I can escape from the heavyweight of thinking about it. Try to focus on the movie I was watching, It didn't work. Thank God the matter ended in a good note. But that experience comes with many notes and good learning experience. I feel I'm such an empath and I need to compartmentalize my emotions and thoughts better. Knowing myself (physically and emotionally) better when it's trying to give me those alarms. The blood rush, hard to swallow or breath, constantly checking my phone. I need to distant myself better with all the triggers, even though it is hard.
I'm sure I am not the only one who is going through this. But I'm alone on being responsible for my own happiness and ownership of my liveliness. For someone with many mental struggles, it is easier said than done to have a balance on stress and peace. It doesn't mean it's impossible though. Writing this down helps me recognize myself even more. A learning thesis if you will. If therapists sound daunting for you, maybe journaling is a great start for you.
There are many ways for you to start. It can be really simple, can be really artistic or it can be in the form of audio if you will. I'm not a good journalist (see what I did there... ) to say nonetheless. I have my moods, my excuses and lack of discipline in doing it. But when I remember how it felt to do it in a systematic way, it felt so good.. I crave that feeling even more.
How I do my journal:
- I do it after I have my breakfast or morning beverages ( water / coffee / tea / smoothies ) or on a really bad day after my meditation.
- I start with putting down whatever that is in my head; good, bad, about my dreams, about things that happened before I went to sleep... etc
- try to end with a good note of what has happened.
- writing down my gratitude list ( people in my life, my breakfast, a song, anything that makes you happy ) mostly it's in the most simple way/form.
Again journaling can be in many forms, just the routine of it can really help you understand yourself better.
I've been with a few therapists. Some I'm so grateful to have ever met and one who is really not worth to mention and great learning experience. They are just human beings after all, with flaws and all; so you can only hope that you can find the one that can help you to understand and manage yourself better. What I'm looking for in a therapist:
- A voice (a literal sound of their voice) that is calming.
- They are known to handle with similar trauma/condition that I might have.
- That has challenging questions in the sessions that can trigger my emotions and how then they can help me making me calm myself down.
- Giving me some exercises for me to do that I can implement to my life.
So far that is what I see in a therapist and being in therapy. The ability to express my frustration in a safe space and have another person to converse that is not related to my frustration in anyways. There are many on the phone sessions at this moment because of the lockdowns & quarantine that are happening in many countries. Also during this time, if you haven't got yourself health insurance, please do so. It can be one of the best gifts you give yourself. You will never know when you might need it.
COMMUNICATE / SHARE
I know for someone with a heavy mind, saying this verbally can be an impossible thing to do. It can feel like a really hard thing to actually do. Most of the time for me, just sharing it with one or two people it can give me a sense of relieve. It can give a different perspective. Just maybe there are many other ways to see the matter, maybe it is not as jumbled up as our mind made it up to be. Or maybe if it's really that bad, they can help you, maybe helping how to sort it through, sharing the burden of knowing it or maybe they went through the same thing and overcame it. I don't know anyone that can read minds, so if you want people to understand what you are feeling or going through, practice to communicate better is a great way to do it.
There are many ways to learn how to better communicating. One of the ways that I learn about communication in an intimate setting or with people who are close to you is by listening to Esther Perel's podcast. It is her sessions on different couples/people with different problems that they need to address. I knew about her through my sister first and then I just learned that my hubs and his guy friends actually listen to her as well. I find that as a comforting thing to know, that even my husband is interested in knowing how therapy can be like and the impact or reaction to it.
All of this can cost almost to $0. It is within your control how much you are willing or able to invest in these media of self-care. I would say start kind to yourself, be true to what you want and need and then you can venture and splurge on it if you can truly feel that you reap many benefits from it. For me, so far these things I want to keep and hold on. People can come and go in life, but if you can hold on to some things; these are definitely it. If you are interested in more what I say on this self-care journey you may see it on my video down below:
If you have any other good suggestions of audiobook/podcasts that I should check out let me know. And I hope this helps you and make you feel better.