So, I’ve had a pretty difficult month. Nothing life threatening but emotional pain is pain all the same. I mournfully found myself writing a tearful treatise about the loss of love and how, poor victim cupcakes is doomed to a life of unyielding loneliness. After some time passed and I found myself atop a tear soaked pillow; I became utterly exhausted with my champagne problems and took a realistic look at my life. What a novel notion; look at the reality, the facts, instead of focusing on my wild emotions. Reality becomes so easily distorted during moments of extreme emotion that we begin to buy the goods our emotions are selling. Yes, emotions are helpful but we need to understand their purpose. Emotions do three things-thank you Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.:
Provide us information about our environment: Our emotions are little beacons, indicating things happening around us. Anxiety is a good example. When the anxiety response is working properly it is triggered by a threat, say a wild animal, we respond with anxiety, which tells us something isn’t right.
Provide our environment information about us: Emotions also send signals to others. For example if something makes you angry that something…or someone…will know when you raise your voice and start balling up your fists. So that something can take cover or attempt to soothe you.
Motivate us to act: Finally, emotions motivate us to make behavioral changes. Say that animal comes back and you experience anxiety, hopefully that anxiety will motivate you to get out of there.
Aren’t our emotions just wonderful. They offer us so much information but we just manage to misinterpret and over estimate their power. Yes, negative emotions feel bad but when you break it down, look at what your emotions are communicating, everything starts to look a bit different. Sometimes we have to distract ourselves a little before we can take this realistic look inward, but the search is worth it. I tend to distract with crafts or TED talks. Nothing like trying to feel smart to help you forget your problems.
Be strong and inquisitive my readers and friends.
When do you know you need to seek help? For some it’s after a major incident, when when life stretches us so thin we are afraid we may snap in two or break into a million pieces. For others it is when those around us notice a major shift in our behavior Then for others the help comes too late. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Have you experienced a major life change? A major life change includes anything from a new job to a marriage.
2. Do you have a history of mental illness? If you have experienced a bout a depression in the past you are at risk for future bouts if untreated. The same goes for other types of mental illness, anxiety, psychosis, etc…
3. Does anyone in your family have mental illness? People with a first degree relative with a mental illness have a higher chance of also having a mental illness. It’s a little nature and a little nurture.
4. Have you noticed a recent change in your behavior? Have you been crying more lately? Are you angry more often? Maybe you’ve lost a number of friends because of your actions. Keep aware.
Sometimes a shopping trip, a walk, a talk with friends is all you need to elevate and change your mood. Sometimes it’s not enough. This is a pretty serious sounding public announcement from your resident psychologist Cupcakes, but if you are looking or know anyone who is looking for a clinician here is an amazing link. PSYCHOLOGIST TODAY
In rebuttal to my wonderful Cigar’s “Cure your Anxiety.” If you really want to “cure” anxiety work on a skill called mindfulness. Anxiety is basically a persistent worry about the future and how horrible it will be. Mindfulness is a practice that keeps you tethered to the current moment. Many people will argue, “But all of these things could happen, I’m just being realistic and prepared.” Mindfulness doesn’t ask you to neglect planning for the future, but it requires that you plan for the future in the calm of the present moment. There is a chance that you will get in a car accident in the future but not a large chance, worrying about it also won’t make it any less likely to happen. So, stay in the current moment, after all, we reach the future every passing moment. I will post future blogs about some specific mindfulness techniques. Stay Posted!!!!!
Placing fresh flowers in your home can reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
Having a space that you love can decrease depression and anxiety. So if you are feeling a little down redecorate. Paint your walls a warm color, get some new lights, buy a new comforter, just create a wonderful space. Wouldn’t we all love to get a remodel as a prescription from our doctors.