Life has been SO busy. I honestly cannot believe it is already August. My life has had so many changes in the past 8 months. While I’ve been a little quiet on An Anxious Millennial lately (I’m sorry!!!) I've spent that time really reflecting and focusing on myself which has helped me grow. But I’ve missed writing and sharing what is happening in my life so the hiatus is over.
It’s no secret that I am a big advocate for self care and discuss anxiety a lot (hello anxious millennial here). I’m not someone who is shy about my experiences with therapy and I truly believe everyone can benefit from a little emotional tune up from time to time. If you are someone who has never experienced a form of therapy before, don’t worry. I’m going to share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned. So even if you are at a place where you don’t see therapy in your future, I hope you can at least learn something from my experiences.
EMOTIONS CAN’T DRIVE
This is maybe the most important lesson I learned. I can be a pretty emotional decision maker. My emotions often overshadow all logic and can easily dictate my decision. Not always, but in big moments my emotions can heavily influence how I feel and respond. But our emotions and feelings can’t drive the car. They can’t even be in the front seat. No backseat driving either. Maybe they let us know if we are about to crash, but they can’t make our decisions for us. Therapy forced me to realize that. It forced me to recognize my emotions and appreciate them but still make any decisions based on logic rather than feelings.
CHALLENGING YOUR BELIEFS
This one is my favorite. When you are in a moment where your emotions are heavily driving your car, you step back and challenge what you are feeling. For all of us emotional decision makers (guilty) this has been such a great tool that I use all the time. Let’s say you believe something really strongly and are really stuck on this one thought. Assign a percentage to your feelings. Like 100% of you believes it. You ask yourself how it makes you feel and then you start to challenge yourself. What evidence is there to support how I’m feeling? Is this based on feelings or facts? You then look for patterns. Am I jumping to conclusions? Am I minimizing or maximizing this situation? Once you ask yourself all these questions, you re-assign a percentage to your feelings. Maybe after looking at the situation from a holistic view, now only 40% of you believes this scenario. If you want to learn more, google the challenging beliefs worksheet. It seriously is something I practice all the time.
TRUE SELF LOVE
Oh self love. The code everyone is trying to crack. I’ve been pretty open about my journey with ulcers over the past year and a half. It can be really challenging when you don’t physically feel like yourself to have a good day. But I’ve started a whole new chapter of self love. One that focuses more on my body than my mind. It helps me to push through moments where I don’t feel the best and be kind to myself. Reminding myself that my health is like a wave and it may be choppy and rough at times but it always returns to calm, still waters. I’m thankful for my body and having this perspective helps me push through these storms.
IT’S OKAY TO FEEL SAD
Here’s a funny story. One night I got to therapy and my therapist said, “you seem like you are in a much better place. Like you weren’t on the floor crying last night.” I looked at her and let out a laugh and said, “well actually…” Because the night before I was laying on the floor with my feet in the air (which is very relaxing) and listening to guided meditation. This meditation in particular was all about relationships and did in fact make me cry. So quite literally I had been on the floor crying the night before our session. Telling this to her opened up a conversation of emotions. And how every day doesn’t need to be an up day (we are all humans). We are going to have shitty days. We are going to have days where we feel sad or upset. And that’s okay. I’ve learned to give myself grace in moments like that. Moments where I don’t quite feel like myself. Moments where I am down and can’t shake it. Be patient with yourself. It’s okay to listen to a sad playlist and then try for a better day tomorrow.
THERE IS A LESSON IN EVERYTHING
We’ve all heard the quote, “if it’s not a blessing it’s a lesson” before. And honestly, I used to hate it. Who wants to be reminded of learning a lesson in a moment where there is pain and hurt? But I’ve come to appreciate this. Therapy forces you to talk about every detail of your life, the good and the bad, and forces you to be as self reflective as you can get. So when I’m having a bad day or when something happened that turned my mood upside down, I start changing my perspective and focusing on what I just learned. Trust me, this is hard and I am not an expert but doing this has helped shift my outlook on things SO much. It has forced me to be more positive and not let every situation weigh me down.
There is so much I’ve learned and so much more I could share but these are the five biggest topics that I apply to my life every day. I hope you can take some of these nuggets and apply them to your life as well. Happy Friday everyone!