Are you feeling down on most days?
Do you have aches or pains?
Do you find it difficult to stop dwelling on situations?
Are you noticing irritability?
Have you lost interest in everyday activities?
Have you gained or lost more than 15% of your body weight?
Do you have difficulty falling asleep, or wake during the night, or wake too early?
Do you feel you have lost energy?
Are you having difficulty with concentration or making decisions?
Are you self-critical?
Do you have difficulty sitting still or make repetitive motions, like bouncing your leg?
Do you notice slowed speech, thinking or body movements?
Do you have thoughts of killing yourself or someone else? (If you have such thoughts, talk to a counselor or doctor as soon as possible. If you have a plan or may act on your thoughts, call 911.)
Loss of energy or motivation prevents work from getting done. It leads to irritable moods, feelings of guilt, relationship problems, and disrupted sleep. It may lead to unwanted weight gain or loss. Goals at Blair Counseling include increasing energy, better sleep, and finding an effective way to reduce dwelling on problems.
Feeling down, loss of energy or motivation, sleep and appetite disturbance, difficulty concentrating, and irritability are treatable. Studies find that while medication can reduce activity in the brain´s emotion centers (called the limbic system) Blair Counseling uses cognitive-behavioral therapy, which quiets overactivity in a different region of the brain – the cortex, which is the seat of higher thought. This approach is demonstrated to have a much lower relapse rate.
Do you find that you can’t stop dwelling on problems, regrets, and aggravations? Over thinking can deplete the use of good chemicals in the brain and trigger the use of stress hormones, like adrenaline or cortisol. This makes it even more difficult to put a “brake” on negative thoughts. A number of techniques are available to help you relax, clarify your thinking, and balance your lifestyle to reduce stress.
What are some steps to take to reduce rumination? Talking with someone, or writing down your thoughts instead of going around and around in your head may be the most helpful. There is no one way to manage difficult emotions, but here are four approaches to consider to FACE problems and stress.
F ace what you feel. Knowing what we feel and making emotions count makes a difference. We may need to consider all our options to resolve an issue. But, if we are trying to fix our feelings, figure them out, or forget them, we may be avoiding what we feel. In this case, we inadvertently reinforce negative sensations by focusing on them, or trying not to focus on them. Awareness, though, includes mindfulness: observation of one’s feelings, thoughts, and sensations without reacting or judging them. With practice, strong feelings, thoughts and sensations will not alarm you. This can bring peace of mind. Facing feeling can be accompanied by “belly breathing,” deep breathing using your diaphragm. Many do not realize they the hyperventilate, which leads to emotional reactivity, insufficient carbon dioxide, and a higher pH level in the blood. To lessen the intake of oxygen and balance with carbon dioxide, breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Breath out slower than you breath in. Your stomach should extend, not your chest.
A ct based on acceptance of reality, and that includes what you feel. What does acceptance mean? It does not mean to feel good about your situation or feelings, it means you acknowledge what part is real and cannot be changed. Distinguish how you would act if you accepted what you feel, and how you would act if you did not accept what you feel. What would you do differently? What actions would you take to care for yourself and others? This includes taking steps to consider what you feel, but also act according to your values, what is important to you. Self-care includes eating right, exercise, and relaxation. Furthermore, what would give you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose and meaning at home and work?
C onnect and communicate with others. Don’t face feelings alone. Put energy into relationships by spending time, talking, giving and doing for others, including family, friends and God.
E njoy the moment. Our mind is often preoccupied with the past and fears of the future. Focus on the here and now. No matter what is happening, now is the only place it is happening. In this moment, you can handle it. Find something for which to be grateful.
One idea is to create a list of meaningful activities under each of these categories. Divide this list into your daily schedule. Find the right balance and budget your time.
Facing what we feel instead of fixing it, or forgetting it.
Actions, based on acceptance of what you feel, including caring for self and others, and that gives you sense of accomplishment.
Connecting and communicating with others.
Enjoyment and gratitude.