We're back. The previous few months have been filled with struggle and sacrifice. Seasons have changed, and we have set our sights on new goals and pursuits. Below we have summarized some recent Wellness Wednesday posts. Click the Title link to read more!
Checking In. It is important in everyday life to check in with yourself, assess your feelings and your overall well being. You can do this anywhere and with ease. There are three steps you can do to check in with yourself. Pause: slow down, take a deep breath. Calm yourself and put a pause on what is going on at the moment. Reflect: be mindful of your current state, emotionally, mentally, cognitively. Focus on your internal well being. Turn inwards: ask yourself if your needs are being met. If any of your needs are not being met, what can you do to meet them? It is important to check in not only with yourself, but also with the people around you. Have your friends and family check in with themselves, and if they find any of their needs not being met, what can you do to meet them? If you can help meet their needs, they may help you meet yours too.
Making Habits Stick. Maintaining new habits can be a bit of a difficult task for some. However, there are five tips to make any habit stick in your day to day life. Instigation habits are cues or triggers in your environment that will help you get started on your intended action. Tracking progress brings awareness to your successes and can keep you motivated. seeing consistency in your habits will motivate you to maintain them. Recognizing milestones will help you feel accomplished and motivated. Without celebrating our progress, it can be easier to give up. Celebrate the little things. Supportive cheerleaders in your social circle can keep you motivated to stay on track. The people you surround yourself with want you to succeed and will cheer you on. Self-efficacy helps you to understand why you are engaging in this habit. Understanding why you want to engage in this habit solidifies the meaning behind it and can further push you to maintain consistency.
Book club: In This Moment: In This Moment, written by Kirk Strosahl (Ph.D.) and Patricia Robinson (Ph.D.), (2015), teaches the reader how to take a mindfulness approach to handling everyday stressors. The book places an emphasis on how someone can integrate mindfulness skills and meditation into their everyday life. The writers of the book list five facets of mindfulness necessary to engage in the mindfulness approach to handling one's stress. These facets are observe, describe, detach, love yourself and act mindfully. One of the most interesting things of this book is that it breaks down the concept of mindfulness into easy to follow and tangible steps that can be practiced. As well, each chapter dedicates a section that explains the facet from a neuroscience perspective, which helps the reader understand and explore what area of the brain develops the skill.
Self Compassion: More recently, it is easy to find oneself in a situation where we may feel as though we are facing down critical judgement, social comparison or just a general feeling as though we are not enough. During these times, it is important to take a step back and engage in practicing self compassion. Dr. Kristen Neff (University of Texas) defined self compassion as the combination of 3 elements: Self kindness vs self judgement, common humanity vs isolation, and mindfulness vs over-identification. Embracing self compassion is a lifelong journey of learning to care for yourself, and is especially important to keep in mind during more recent world events.
Finding Meaning in the Madness: Recent world events have brought on a rather large change to everyone's way of life. It has brought on sacrifice, change, reflection and new perspectives. During times like these, it is important to look back at previous works to see how to adapt to the events that surround us. Victor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy, teaches that it is often within our struggles that we find meaning and can form the resilience we need in order to adapt. When we begin to look for the meaning behind our struggles, and understand that we may not be able to change our situation, it is in that moment that we understand we are challenged to change ourselves, to develop the resilience we need in order to adapt to the environment.
Passive, Assertive and Aggressive Communication Styles: Everyone has a different preferred style of communication. Some feel it easier to be more passive and easy going, while others use a more aggressive tone to garner respect in conversation. There are upsides and downsides to both. However, there is also a middle ground option: being assertive. We aim to be assertive so we can both communicate our needs while also being able to listen to the needs of others. There are times when each style of communication is necessary and appropriate, however, more often than not the middle ground of being assertive may end up being the most productive.
App Review: CBT Thought Diary: CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a therapy style that aims to teach individuals to challenge, and eventually change negative thoughts and learn to replace them with positive thoughts. Often, CBT is used with a thought record to keep track of the individual's thoughts and feelings throughout the day. The thought record helps individuals break down their experiences into several characteristics that allows them to see the impact of their thoughts on their emotions and choices that they may react with in a given situation. CBT Thought Diary, a free app on the app store, aims to help the user to complete all necessary sections of a traditional thought record and allows its users to track their emotions and allow for reflection on those moods. Currently, the state of the world has lead to an increased need for resources for people to turn to in order to help themselves. The CBT Thought Diary is no exception.
Motivation and Giving Up: Often when we feel we have too much on our plate in front of us, our passions can easily become burdens and stressors. It can lead down a path that makes you feel disappointed. It is important to keep in mind that everyone juggles many responsibilities on a daily basis. What can be helpful is to allow yourself to be imperfect. Offer yourself compassion instead of anger if you need to turn down another commitment. Many would refuse to asking for help and accepting help from others, however there is nothing to be ashamed of when we do. Asking for and receiving help doesn't make someone look weak, rather, it shows that they are responsible and self-aware of their strengths and limitations.
Putting Yourself Out There: Experiencing doubtful and negative thoughts affect everyone. It can affect our confidence in what we know and love. When this happens, there are ways to challenge these intrusive thoughts. Putting yourself out in the open may seem like a scary experience at first, however, it can prove to be very beneficial. When putting yourself out there, it is important to have balanced expectations rather than overly negative or overly positive expectations. You can start where you are comfortable, among family and friends, then move to less comfortable situations such as around strangers. If we never take the risks we are faced with, we never know what could have been.
The information provided on the Think FLEXibly Blog is for educational purposes only. These documents are not intended to be considered therapeutic guidance, nor should they be followed as a substitution to a well established therapeutic relationship.
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