A common question I get is, “What if I get overwhelmed before we meet next?” If we have ruled out serious risks dealing with safety, usually there’s a simple tool that can seriously help (while working the treatment plan). Through the study of the brain, human behavior, and feedback from clients, here is a ripcord to pull in your emotional parachute: Pause.
If you suffer from anything like OCD, social anxiety, boundaries in relationships, panic attacks, or just get overwhelmed at times, to get out of that trench your first step will always be some sort of pause- to gain a clear head and observe what's occurring.
Whether you’re a professional who wants to be a better leader (see “Harvard Business Review’s “The Power of Pause”) or a stay at home Mom or Dad (see Very Well’s “Avoid Burnout When You’re a Stressed Stay-At-Home Mom”) or just want to increase learning with a 10 second rest, learn the art of taking breaks.
For example, exercise. What’s a goal you’ve had for yourself? Build muscle, lose weight, get toned, run faster, workout longer, heart health? All of these goals will not see large jumps of progress in a day. If the only running you've done is in your car to Whataburger, it's going to take some time to train up to a marathon. Trying to run 26.2 miles the first day is almost a guaranteed injury. It’s really not any different with mental health. In order to be successful at anything, you must be realistic as to your definition of success for today. If you get overloaded and stressed, you will need to pause in order to get out of that mental hole, and if you have any long standing patterns of problems, you'll need a strategy that can only come out of pausing and evaluating.
As we enter into the most concentrated holiday season in the world- especially the U.S.- this means a concentration of other things, as well. Family time. Work deadlines. Change to daily structure. Sickness. Time off. So if you get stuck- stuck in your emotions, stuck in a tough conversation about politics at the dinner table, stuck in negativity over your life decisions, stuck in panic, do this one thing: Pause.
That’s right, pause, Santa Claus. Feeling anxious? Pause. Stuck in depressive rumination? Pause. Enjoying the moment? Yep, pause and reflect.
Here's my "Exposure Friendly Mindfulness" video and exercise if you want a tool to help. Blessings to you, and Happy Thanksgiving.
A Psychotherapists' thoughts on healthy living.
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