Doing Life Together
Doing Life Together
Growing up, it seemed like your parents were always telling you to go outside and play. But, now that you’re older, you have more important things to worry about. You have a 40-hour workweek and a family to take care of. What you might not know is that nature can be healing. And, you don’t have to do anything more than to go outside to experience these effects.
The Benefits of Going Out Into Nature
There are plenty of benefits that come with going out into nature and truly experiencing the planet’s natural beauty. According to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, here’s a look at some of the possible benefits of exposing yourself to the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
What’s even better is that some of these effects are produced immediately. You may feel apprehensive or stressed out before visiting a local park and feel a sense of relief as soon as you hear the chirping of the birds.
How To Get Into Nature
Though America is very much a developed country, there are plenty of locations throughout the nation that give you the chance to explore nature. America is currently home to 62 National Parks, nearly 7,000 state parks, and countless local parks that you can visit. Let’s go over what you can do to get into nature to reap the benefits.
Figure Out What Calms You
Some things in nature will be much more calming to you than others. The first thing you want to do is figure out what calms you personally.
Whatever you love about nature that calms you the most, find somewhere that allows you to experience those specific things.
Turn Off Your Devices
According to the American Psychological Association, about 86% of Americans will check their phone constantly. So, to truly get the most out of your journey into nature, you’ll want to turn off your phone or tuck it away into your backpack. It allows you to truly focus on the world around you and escape the fear, worry, and pain that’s currently overwhelming you.
You are just going to the park, and hearing the birds chirping might be enough for you to calm you down and bring you back to the present moment. But, to truly experience nature as it was meant to be shared, you need to give yourself time to enjoy it.
That means make your trips into nature on days where you don’t have other obligations. Set aside a few hours for a 5-mile hike or an entire day to explore a state park. That way, you don’t have to rush around to see everything or look back in regret thinking you missed something.
Nature is something that very few people genuinely appreciate fully. But it’s known to produce healing effects and can improve your mental state indefinitely. When you get out into the forest, on top of a mountain, or along the shoreline, take the time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells. You’ll never feel as calm or free as you will when you’re out in the real world.
Do you want to improve your mental state?
Nature is something that very few people genuinely appreciate fully. But it’s known to produce healing effects and can improve your mental state indefinitely. It’s a great way for you to spend time with yourself, as well as find peace in the world around you.
If you are interested in improving your mental health, try spending some time outside today and see how much better life becomes when we take care of ourselves. You deserve it!
Go outside today and enjoy nature for all its worth!
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At some point in our lives, we all deal with painful and negative emotions. Whether those emotions are fear, anxiety, resentment, or other fear-based emotions, if we do not learn to manage those emotions properly, they can get the best of us and destroy us.
Identify the Emotion
You cannot correctly address something you cannot first identify. It requires a level of self-awareness. It allows you to sit with your feelings, genuinely get to the root of what is going on. The act of identifying what is triggering the negative feelings eases the burden of trying to ignore or mask the sense while allowing room for what was determined to be addressed in the right way. The ultimate benefits of this can include reduced stress and anxiety (Partnership Staff, 2017).
Once you know what you’re feeling, you can begin to identify what causes you to feel that way. Determining actionable strides, you can take the situation or trigger causing that particular emotion to remove or reduce the impacts of those triggers.
Or you can take steps to help you learn how to manage those triggers so they no longer produce the intense negative pain or fear-based emotion moving forward (Brown, 2019).
Redirecting the negative emotions you feel into positive activities can be a healthy way to release those negative emotions. Redirection is about channeling negative emotions and energy into an action that allows for emotional release without causing harm. Activities can include physical activity, breathing, journaling, or meditation, among others. Each of these outlets provides an opportunity to help you feel less overwhelmed, thus reducing stress, tension, and anxiety (Scott, 2020).
Getting help from outside sources can be one of the best ways to get help with painful and fear-based emotions. Whether that support is in the form of friends and family or a licensed professional, sometimes having an additional person to talk things through with can help bring relief mentally and emotionally.
Others can offer advice, tools, resources, and even just a listening ear to help you process what you’re feeling and develop healthy coping strategies to manage those negative emotions you feel (Scott, 2020).
Being thankful is a strategy that can act as a grounding force when faced with painful and fear-based emotions. Gratitude first draws us into the present moment by taking our focus off of the negative stimuli and causing us to find those good things that exist presently in our lives right now.
Then it replaces the negativity with positivity by causing us to deviate from the negative emotions towards the happiness and joy connected with gratitude in creating. Taking a few moments to either write down all that you are grateful for or even simply think about them helps counter these negative emotions.
We do not have to live indefinitely with painful and fear-based emotions. We can take action to help ourselves overcome negative feelings and thrive in our lives. Whether you adopt one of these strategies or several, these are great ways first to understand how you feel; address the cause of what you’re feeling. Develop coping strategies for situations where you find yourself encountering these negative emotions at any point in the future.
Brown, L. (2019, October 22). How to deal with negative emotions: 10 things you need to remember. Hack Spirit. https://hackspirit.com/negative-emotions/
Partnership Staff. (2017, May 28). Coping with fear, anger, and other negative emotions. Partnership to End Addiction | Where Families Find Answers. https://drugfree.org/article/coping-fear-anger/#
Scott, E. (2020). How to deal with negative emotions and stress. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-should-i-deal-with-negative-emotions-3144603
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The most common conversations that we have around depression and anxiety revolve around scientific literature. We look at how anxiety and depression can be relieved or solved through pharmacological responses or cognitive-behavioral solutions.
This is all helpful, and it's all true, but sometimes that isn't enough. Some people spend a lifetime on pharmacological products and still deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression. While some people go the route of ketamine infusions to get relief from treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, that is not the only option.
There is something to be said for hope and faith. How on earth can hope and faith have any effect whatsoever on depression and anxiety? Let's talk about it.
A big part of any spiritual framework is a belief in something greater than yourself. That can help you maintain hope even on the longest of roads. When you have faith in something, you believe that it's more than wishful thinking that positive change can and will come by holding onto it.
It's important to expect that things will get better. If that isn't present, what point is there to follow through? Life can be difficult, it can be challenging, and hope is key to getting through that relatively unscathed.
When you are filled with hope, you are more open-minded to new and different ways of handling anxiety and depression. Sometimes, the people who need the most help are the people who have found traditional treatment partially or entirely ineffective. So, what comes next? If you have tried CBT, you have attempted medication, then what's left? The open-mindedness of hope ensures that you never give up. Hope fills you with the power to do everything possible to move away from depression and anxiety.
For some, that means more prayer. Prayer, like meditation, offers stress relief and helps us feel more in control of our lives. Prayer doesn't have to be the traditional idea of prayer. It could also include journaling, meditation, sitting in peace, spending time in nature, or otherwise. While prayer isn't always practical, it can help.
Spiritual practices, whether meditation or prayer, communing with nature, or with fellow believers in service, may provide you with a boost in attitude and behavior. These positive boosts help you fight anxiety and depression. Prayer or meditation can help you recognize your emotional reactions more clearly, thus preventing the typical knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes the best thing you can do is accept the present and just do nothing. It’s a lesson that you can learn through the positive evolution of hope, faith, and practice of your spirituality.
When you look at your life through the lens of being on a spiritual journey, then you no longer view problems as obstacles. Instead, you recognize problems as opportunities to learn and grow. You get the sense that, at any given moment, you are where you are supposed to be.
I want to be clear; hope and faith won't necessarily leave you jumping with joy as though no harm can befall you. It's more about understanding that with difficulty comes growth and every setback is an opportunity.
Often, depression and anxiety stem from stress which comes from our inability to control everything. If you tend to react with disappointment, anger, sadness, or any other negative emotions, I want you to take it as an opportunity.
Take a step back and ask yourself what hope and faith can teach you at this moment and what this problem or obstacle may uncover opportunity.
You deserve to be happy.
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According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300 million people across the globe have depression. If depression is left untreated, it can increase your risk of dying by suicide, put you at increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, and negatively impact your social and physical health.
Fortunately, depression isn’t typically a condition that develops overnight. So, keeping an eye out for the tell-tale signs of depression may allow you or someone you love to get help before the condition worsens. Here are the signs to look for in yourself and those around you.
Loss of Interest & Motivation
One of the most obvious signs that somebody struggles with depression is a loss of interest in things they once loved, sometimes called anhedonia. This decreased interest is often unexplained and confusing to those around the person. For example, when a person whose world once revolved around playing basketball suddenly stops showing up for pick-up games and sells their favorite jerseys and basketball.
Difficulties with Thinking & Memory
When depression starts becoming severe, you’ll notice a difference in the thinking patterns of your friend or loved one. Once so eloquently, the person who eloquently expressed themselves and aced every test in school now struggles to get a single thought across. Their reviews appear disorganized or as if they’re in a mental fog. They may begin to speak slowly, and it seems to take them longer to process concepts or retrieve memories.
Unexplained Mood Changes
One of the biggest misconceptions of depression is that all depressed people will be plagued by sadness. While it’s true that your friend may appear down and unmotivated, mood changes might manifest them in other ways as well. Your normally level-headed friend may lose his cool over a minor inconvenience or event. Or a friend that’s typically upbeat and positive might shift their focus toward the negative.
Reduced Performance at Work & School
A lot of people you know might be struggling with depression without you even knowing it. Yet, declining performance in school and work is a clear-cut sign that somebody you care about is struggling. For example, depression may be the cause when a typically incredible student begins skipping class, forgetting to complete homework or failing assignments. If somebody who truly cared about success suddenly doesn’t anymore, they might have depression.
Appetite & Weight Changes
Eating is what keeps us alive and fuels our bodies to get through the day. Any unusual changes in eating and weight may be a sign that your loved one is struggling. It can show itself in several ways, including weight gain, weight loss, excessive eating, or not eating at all. Frequently, eating in excess is a coping strategy for depression.
Suicidal Thoughts & Ideation
The most concerning sign that a loved one struggles with depression are the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and imagination. When you notice these signs, time is of the essence if you want to save your friend’s life.
Here are some signs somebody is feeling suicidal, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE).
If you or somebody you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call emergency services.
Depression is more of a concern now than it has ever been before. If you or somebody you know is struggling with the signs and symptoms above, you may suffer from clinical depression. Make an appointment with a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
Depression is a serious issue that affects millions of people every day.
It can be hard to know what to do when you or someone you love is suffering from depression. But it's important not to give up hope. There are many different ways to help yourself or your loved one overcome depression, and there’s no need for anyone to suffer alone.
You deserve the best life possible, and I want you to get there! I offer free consultations to help you get started on living a joy-filled life.
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Therapy can come in many forms. Talk therapy is a practice that you can do differently where one of the most popular therapies available. Psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, and humanistic therapy are just a few popular therapy options.
6 Popular Types of Talk Therapy Currently Used Today
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely practiced form of talk therapy that involves structured sessions. It is usually a short-term mental health treatment that addresses patterns of existing behavior. By understanding unhelpful thought patterns, the therapist can help guide the patient into making healthier choices.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can identify beliefs the patient did not know they had. These beliefs can be about themselves, others, or the world around them, just by addressing current symptoms and not spending as much time on the past, the design of this therapy to work on simple changes.
Psychodynamic therapy stemmed from what was once called psychoanalysis. Like psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy allows the patient to talk about anything that’s on their mind. The subconscious thought is encouraged so that a therapist can uncover thought and behavior patterns that may contribute to distress. Psychodynamic therapy can focus on current events as well as childhood and past events.
Unlike cognitive behavioral therapy, a usual practice that is called psychodynamic therapy is on a long-term basis. It is an intensive form of talk therapy designed to treat depression, eating disorders, somatic symptoms, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
These are designed to help the patient develop self-acceptance. For those who struggle with low esteem and depression, this can be a beneficial form of talk therapy. By focusing on current life, a humanistic approach to counseling is different from psychodynamic treatment.
Possible techniques used in humanistic therapy include role-playing, reenacting, and active listening. Those who are suffering from relationship difficulties, trauma, or depression can all benefit from humanistic treatment.
Dialectic Behavior Therapy
DBT is a form of talk therapy that identifies negative thinking patterns by using favorable behavior modification. It is one of the most popular therapies for those who struggle with impulsive behavior and suicidal ideation or self-destructive behavior.
By accepting the patient’s experience of what is happening, a patient’s trust is at the forefront. Unlike many other talk therapy practices, DBT comprises several components, including individual therapy and group skills training. Many patients who have had little success in other forms of therapy do well with this type of intensive therapy.
Interpersonal therapy mainly focuses on depression and relationship issues. An interpersonal counselor can address relationships and mood cycles that impact one another.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR uses talking and sensation techniques to help those who may be suffering from trauma. Specific eye movements can help reframe memories and situations so that patients no longer have to endure flashbacks or intrusive thoughts. This type of therapy generally lasts between 8 and 12 sessions.
The Efficacy of Talk Therapy
Many people assume all talk therapies are the same. In reality, just as patients are unique, so are their therapies. While cognitive-behavioral therapy may work for some people with depression, it does not necessarily work for all.
Finding the right therapy is crucial when treating mental health issues. With a suitable form of treatment and counselor, therapy can help solve relationship and mood issues.
You may have heard about talk or cognitive behavioral therapies before but not know what they entail. They're both great for different reasons and it's important to find
which one will work best for you!
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Have you ever had trouble sleeping because you were worried about your finances? Have you ever avoided checking your bank account balance because you’re afraid to look? You’re not alone. In their latest Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association found 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money during the previous month.
Adding to our usual money worries is the economic fallout of a global pandemic. A lot of people lost their jobs, and it shut down many businesses. This global pandemic left many Americans wondering how to cope with the resulting financial worries and concerns.
How NOT to Cope
Most people cope with financial worries by avoiding them altogether. Although this might seem like the easiest way to deal with the situation, it’s unhealthy for your mind and wallet. Not addressing your financial concerns can lead to increased debt and worse anxiety than you had before.
Here are some of the negative results of dealing with our anxiety the WRONG way:
Tackling your financial problems may seem overwhelming, but it’s well worth the effort! Here are four simple things you can do to get started today.
Talk it out
Most people don’t like talking about money. But talking openly to a supportive friend can lessen your stress and help you gain perspective. They might even have some helpful ideas. Talking to a financial planner can boost those benefits even more. And a quick google search can show you some of the organizations in your area that offer free help from professional financial advisors.
Make a Plan
Creating a realistic budget is not something the high school has taught most of us. And confusing financial terms like equity, escrow, deprecation, bonds, and AGI can make us feel out of our depth. But making a financial plan doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a piece of paper and a calculator. Here’s how to get started.
Tackling your debt can seem overwhelming, especially if you owe on multiple accounts. But here’s a 3-step plan that can help!
1. Pay the minimum payment on all of your accounts so that they remain in good standing.
2. Use any extra money you have to pay off the account with the highest interest rate.
3. After paying the first debt, focus on the next highest interest rate plan. Keep doing this until you have fully paid all your accounts.
If it still seems like too much for you to handle on your own, don’t despair. Free financial planning services can be just what you need to get a plan in place to tackle your debt.
Stay Positive and Realistic
It’s easy to spiral into negative thinking, worried that your debt is insurmountable or that you can never pay it off. But that kind of thinking will only make it harder to take the proper steps towards financial freedom. It might be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Imagine how you’ll feel each time you see your debt shrinking due to your hard work! Your financial anxiety will lessen with each small victory. You can do this!
That said, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up once in a while. Make sure your goals are reasonable and not too extreme for your circumstances. It will keep you balanced if you have any setbacks.
Even in the wake of a global pandemic, there are several healthy ways to address financial worries and concerns. You can lessen your financial stress by talking it out, making a plan, tackling your debt, and having a positive and realistic viewpoint. So, if you’re stressed about your finances, manage your money the RIGHT way. You’ll be happier, healthier, and your wallet will thank you.
You’ve been feeling a little bit down lately?
It’s understandable, we all have our moments. But you don’t need to feel that way for long! Counseling and/or life coaching can help you get back on your feet and find the motivation to keep going.
I know it might sound like a lot of work at first, but life coaching is actually really easy and fun! All you have to do is talk about what's bothering you with someone who knows how to listen well and give advice when they're needed. And then before you know it, everything will be better again.
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Fear is an entirely normal part of life. Maybe you’re afraid of spiders or other critters. Perhaps you’re fearful of losing your loved ones to illness. Or it’s possible you’re terrified of what you don’t know, the unknown.
Regardless of your fears or where they come from, one thing is for sure: The antidote to fear is education and preparation. So, let’s talk about what that means and how you can make that a reality in your life.
Why We Have Fears
There are plenty of reasons that we as humans develop fears.
In some cases, we’re fearful because we know something is potentially dangerous to our safety and well-being. For example, you may be afraid of heights because you know that losing your balance can cause severe injury or death.
Sometimes, fear is something that we learn. For example, growing up in a household where your family members are deathly afraid of snakes may lead you to develop this fear as well. That may be the case, even if you’ve never encountered a snake in person.
Then, you also have the fear that comes from the unknown.
The Importance of Education
Often, what we see as the “unknown” comes down to a lack of education on our part. It’s not that the information isn’t readily available to us. It’s that we haven’t learned about it or haven’t been exposed to it.
Education is critical, especially if you have irrational fears.
Let’s say that, as a child, you watched a special on television about shark attacks on humans. Ever since you saw those haunting scenes of shark bite injuries and shark attacks, you’ve refused to go to the beach and get in the water.
Now, let’s say you choose to investigate your fear a little further.
Doing your research and looking at the topic in-depth might end up easing your fears. Instead of believing that all sharks will attack humans while they’re in the ocean, you’ll learn that this rarely occurs in this day and age.
Will this suddenly cure your fear? Maybe not. But it may just help you to work toward overcoming your fear in the future.
The Importance of Preparation
Sometimes, we have fears that come from what we know might happen. Though these instances may be rare, we intentionally avoid certain people, environments, or thoughts to protect ourselves from these fears.
You end up living your life in a bubble.
Let’s say that you grew up in a home where you witnessed emotional and verbal abuse. They told you that your parents truly loved each other, leading your younger self to believe that love comes with pain and abuse.
You choose to avoid relationships altogether as you get older.
Instead of letting your fear of bad relationships consume your life and deprive you of healthy relationships, it’s a better idea to prepare yourself for the “what-ifs.” That may mean figuring out where your boundaries are and knowing when to leave a relationship.
You’d be less afraid of what triggers your fear because you know how to cope with it and handle it if it were to happen.
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Nobody ever said that overcoming fear is simple, significantly if these fears date back years or even decades. The best thing you can do is learn about what you’re afraid of to determine whether your anxiety is rational and warranted. Otherwise, continue to live your life and simply be prepared to protect yourself if you ever come face-to-face with your fears.
Do you feel like your fear is getting in the way of you enjoying life?
You’re not alone. We all experience fear from time to time and can be debilitating if not dealt with.
But there are ways to manage it, so don’t let it get the best of you!
Let me help you find peace with yourself and live a happier life. I specialize in helping people overcome their fears by teaching them how to understand themselves better through counseling sessions, workshops, or one-on-one coaching. I offer free consultations for those who want to learn more about my services before committing.
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When was the last time you had a free moment to breathe simply? If it’s been a long time and you’re riddled with worry and racing thoughts, then you might be experiencing some anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 18 million Americans experience stress in any given year. The good news is that there are some positive actions that you can take to relieve the intensity of the constant worry.
Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing
Some of the more popular methods for treating anxiety are categorized as mindfulness. It is any relaxation technique designed to bring you back to the present moment and become aware of what you’re thinking and feeling. It can be monumental for anxiety in particular, as most of your worries are probably centered around the future.
Many people who practice mindfulness do so via meditation or deep breathing sessions. By focusing on counting your breaths and listening to the voice on the meditation track, you can bring yourself back to the here and now and minimize the anxiety you’re currently feeling. In just a few short minutes, you’ll feel more focused and ready to take on the next task.
Figure Out a Healthy “Escape”
Anxiety on its own can be debilitating and ruin your quality of life. Unfortunately, anxiety might feel even worse if you don’t have a physical location to deal with it best. After all, you might not feel comfortable doing your yoga stretches or screaming into a pillow while you’re at your work desk.
If you have severe constant worry, you want to designate a location that you can cope best. Nature lovers might prefer to walk a particular trail at the local park. Fitness gurus might instead go to the gym and sweat out their anxiety in a metaphorical sense. Or maybe you want to dedicate a specific room in your house with a comfortable chair and no distracting stimuli.
Create a Gratitude Journal
When worry and anxiety are overwhelming, it’s challenging to focus on anything else in life. Your mind immediately goes toward what’s wrong or what will go wrong instead of what’s going right in your life. You know how aggravating it can be for somebody to tell you that it “could be worse” when you’re struggling more than usual.
What you can do is create a gratitude journal. It can be written on a loose-leaf sheet of paper or even on a Word document on your computer. The goal of this is to create a list of the things you’re thankful for in life. So instead of focusing on how you didn’t get that job, you can write about how grateful you are for your sizeable caring family or your physical health.
A Few Extra Tips
There are more than enough positive actions you can take for your worry to go around. If you’d instead do something different, here’s a more comprehensive list of what your options are.
Figure out what works best for you, and stick to it!
If you live with constant worry, you probably know that you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to relieve this worry and improve your quality of life. If you notice that your constant concern is making it hard to do regular tasks and routines, you might want to pursue professional intervention instead.
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We all face seasons of life filled with uncertainty. It’s a feeling of being unsure or having doubt regarding a specific situation or set of circumstances. While not inherently wrong, when times of uncertainty are prolonged and go unmanaged, they can send us into a downward spiral very quickly. Thus, it is essential to find ways to manage uncertainty, and a great way to go about that process is by making a conscious choice to stay in the present.
One thing uncertainty does is cause us to focus on the unknown. We begin to develop fears, and it can even lead to paranoia if we allow it to go on for a prolonged period. One benefit of staying in the present is enhanced awareness.
This awareness can be critical in quickly identifying the root of any uncertainty you might be feeling so you can address it promptly before it mounts into anything more substantial. When you can figure out what situations or circumstances might lead you down a path of uncertainty and fear, you are better equipped to handle them as they arise (Raptitude, 2014).
We are remaining in the present stops overthinking in its tracks. When faced with uncertainty, we often spend a lot of time figuring out what comes next. In trying to figure out how to solve the issue or come out with more answers, we spend a significant amount of time thinking, sometimes to the point of obsessing. Being present is an excellent release from this pattern. Being in the present can allow you to stop worrying about what may happen and just take some time to enjoy what is happening (Edberg, 2020).
A focus on the present is a powerful way to combat uncertainty because it acts as an anchor. They live in the present means staying in a place of focus on what is within one’s immediate realm of control and influence. It establishes or re-establishes an element of power that can help people feel grounded and calm, even in scenarios where there is uncertainty. This state of being grounded ensures stability and evenness that helps people make level-headed decisions even when things are going on that they don’t understand (Raptitude, 2014).
Living in the present also provides a sense of inner calm and centeredness. Focus, all the stress of what might or could happen begins to fade on what is happening right now away. This, in turn, reduces any pressure one might be feeling. It then becomes a cycle of wellness, as the reduced stress then helps one cope with uncertainty more calmly and reasonably (Edberg, 2020).
A focus on the present can also enhance feelings of thankfulness. Uncertainty can often make you think about so many things of the future that are far out of reach. Focus on the present reminds you of those things that exist in the here and now.
That focus can help you reflect on the many blessings and positives that presently exist, rather than focusing on the uncertainty of the future. You begin to notice more of the world’s beauty and goodness, enhancing your feelings of thankfulness. Thus, gratitude is elevated and indirectly due to the reduced gratitude stress levels (Edberg, 2020).
Ultimately, choosing to live in the present can be a huge benefit when dealing with uncertainty. It helps bring us to a calm place by increasing our awareness, reducing our stress, decreasing our tendency to overthink while also enhancing our gratitude.
Edberg. (2020, May 19). Seven great reasons to be present and how to do it. The Positivity Blog. https://www.positivityblog.com/7-awesome-reasons-to-be-present-and-how-to-do-it/
Raptitude. (2014, June 23). Fifteen unexpected side-benefits to living in the present moment. Raptitude.com. https://www.raptitude.com/2014/03/present-moment-benefits/
Are you feeling stuck in the past or worried about the uncertainties of the future?
Life can be tough. Sometimes it feels like we're just going through the motions, and that's okay. But if you want to live a life of meaning, then it's time to start living in the present moment. That way, no matter what happens next, you'll know that your life
was lived fully and with intention.
I am here for people who want to live their lives more intentionally - whether they're looking for guidance on how to handle an uncertain future or need help dealing with difficult emotions from the past. I will work with you one-on-one so that together we can create a plan of action tailored specifically for your needs and goals. You deserve this! Let’s get started today!
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Mindfulness is a practice that emphasizes awareness of thoughts, feelings, sensations as a means of gaining more insight, increasing attention, improving concentration, and enhancing self-control, among many other benefits. The ultimate idea is that positive changes can be made to influence our attitudes and behaviors for the better via mindfulness producing improvements in these areas.
When it comes to situations and stimuli that can trigger fear and uncertainty, mindfulness can be a powerful tool in one’s arsenal to combat it. There are several specific ways mindfulness can promote mental health during times of fear and uncertainty, ultimately promoting overall wellness too.
Research shows that regularly practicing mindfulness can reduce stress. Since increased stress affects both short-term and long-term exposure to fear, reduction of stress is a valuable benefit. A 2010 study explored this by randomly assigning participants to an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group and comparing this group against controls on self-reported measures of depression, anxiety, and psychopathology, and on neural reactivity as measured by fMRI after watching sad films.
Researchers concluded that the participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression, and somatic distress than the control group. Thus, this demonstrated that mindfulness meditation increased positive affect and decreased anxiety and negative affect (Davis & Hayes, 2012).
Mindfulness is also known to improve attention over time. This can be hugely beneficial when trying to cope with fear and uncertainty because one can use mindfulness to shift focus away from the source of the anxiety and towards something healthier and more positive. A 2009 study by Moore and Malinowski explored how mindfulness affected participants’ ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information.
In the study, a group of experienced mindfulness meditators was compared with a control group with no meditation experience. The conclusion was that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were directly related to attentional functioning and cognitive flexibility (Davis & Hayes, 2012).
Less Emotionally Reactive
Often, fear causes panic, poor judgment, and poor reasoning. This can cause people to respond to fear and uncertainty very emotionally without adequately thinking things through.
However, research on mindfulness meditation shows that it decreases emotional reactivity. In a study that looked at people with experience in mindfulness meditation, evidence revealed that mindfulness meditation helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting circumstance. It also allowed them to focus on cognitive tasks better than people who saw the same images but did not practice mindfulness meditation (Davis & Hayes, 2012).
The final conclusion was that the meditation helped participants respond more appropriately emotionally (i.e. calmly) when presented with an image that should have created an adverse emotional reaction like fear or stress.
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What I Do When The World Overwhelms Me
Rumination can be defined as deep or considered thought about something. While not necessarily bad, when faced with fear and uncertainty, ruminating on the situation or the issue can lead to mental and emotional distress. However, several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. In one study by Chamber et. al. in 2008, participants who were new to meditation were asked to participate in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat.
Following the retreat, the meditation group reported significantly higher mindfulness and a decreased negative affect than a control group. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination (Davis & Hayes, 2012).
Ultimately, each of these positive impacts promotes mental health, especially during times of fear and uncertainty. When we are less stressed, less emotionally reactive, have better attention, and spend less time ruminating on fearful situations/stimuli, we are better positioned to make decisions, engage with others, and navigate through life with positivity.
Thus, finding ways to practice mindfulness via meditation and similar practices can prove to be a strong strategy for improving and maintaining mental health during times of fear and uncertainty.
Davis, & Hayes. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness? https://www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner
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Mindfulness can be achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It's been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety.
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In current times life is full of fear and uncertainty. You may not know when things will get back to normal, whether you’ll get your job back when businesses start opening back up, or if you’ll stay healthy for the remainder of the year.
It can be straightforward to lose hope, but that’s perhaps the most essential thing you can hold onto during this crisis. So, let’s talk about why that is.
The Belief that Things Will Get Better
After so many months in lockdown during this pandemic, it’s easy to believe that things will never get better. You may assume that if things were going to get better, they would’ve by now. By holding onto hope, you can hold onto the belief that things will get better in time.
Think about the worst thing that’s ever happened in your life that you thought you’d never survive. You did stay, and now you know that even the most traumatic events in your life will turn around eventually. Hold onto hope and trust that something better is coming in the future.
Holding onto hope doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t see the world for how it truly is. You’re not turning a blind eye to the problems in today’s society and acting as if they don’t exist…. because you know that they do.
Instead, hope involves recognizing the negatives that are happening but understanding that every situation also comes with positives. Having a positive outlook on every situation can help you to naturally improve your mood and find happiness and joy in even the worst cases.
“Fake It Till You Make It”
If you’re like just about everyone else in America, you’re afraid of what may happen today, a week from now, or even a year from now. This can be draining for the average person in the mental and emotional sense, unsure of what the future holds.
Most people who hold onto hope can implement the idea known as “fake it till you make it.” This is a theory that states that acting as if something is true will eventually make it true. You may remind yourself that you’re happy, that things will get better, and that you’ll survive this.
The Spread of Hope
The great thing about hope is that it tends to be contagious. Just by remaining hopeful around your family members or friends, it might start rubbing off on them. This can help to improve the mood and the outlook of those around you.
On the other hand, helping those around you can also end up helping you in the long run. If you happen to lose hope temporarily, it may just be those you’ve built up that come to bring you back up with them. It’s all about creating a positive support system in your circle.
Not Letting Fear Consume You
Have you ever felt extreme fear about something in your life?
If so, then there’s a chance that you experienced racing thoughts and extreme anxiety wondering what might happen. That’s precisely how many people are feeling in the current environment.
The thing about hope is that it somewhat reverses your fears. So instead of having every single thought in your mind focused on your worries and recent events, you can return your ideas to other things in your life. Less focus on fear can help you to focus on the good stuff.
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Finding PEACE in Christ
Hope is necessary if you want to make it through the current pandemic and state of the world with your mental health intact. To maintain hope and preserve your mental health, it’s a great idea to stay positive, surround yourself with good people, and limit your fears.
You deserve to feel better.
Life coaching is a process of self-discovery that helps you identify your values and goals, create achievable plans for change, and take the necessary steps to make those changes happen. It’s an investment in yourself—in your mental health and well-being.
Let me help you find hope again with life coaching sessions tailored specifically for you! I will work with you one on one or in groups to provide support, encouragement, guidance, and accountability. Together we can get through this difficult time with hope and peace!
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Chou is a best-selling Author, a Transformational Speaker, Certified Life Coach, Counselor and Consultant on a mission to inspire people to rise above their circumstances. She is passionate about helping others achieve emotional wellness, reach their full potential, and live fulfilling lives. You can contact Chou at email@example.com