Create Your Own Therapy June 7, 2012Posted by doinglaundryinheels in How To, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships.
For many of us, life goes as planned. We have a loving family, grow-up, go to school, get a job, and proceed with the rest of the social and economic cycle our world has created. Not to say we don’t hit rough patches, but for the most part, life pans out the way we anticipated. Then there are the rest of us that never seem to get out of the hole, once one problem leaves another arises and while our problems may be different in scale or trauma, they’re still deep seeded issues that haunt us.
Real issues can prevent us from getting what we want most – the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect relationship, children, a family, friends, a healthy body, the list is endless but sometimes the things we need to do to fix ourselves aren’t always attainable. Maybe you’re not yet financially stable to be able to afford therapy which in turn could be preventing you from focusing on school to get a job that pays enough or provides health insurance. Perhaps you’re too scared about the emotional mess you’ll become and can’t afford to be off your game right now. Is the issue time? Do you have a rugrat at home, a demanding job, a full school schedule and the only time you have to yourself you’re sleeping? These things happen, it’s all in the vicious cycle of life but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Once you’ve decided you want to change, you want to get better and start living your life without the giant weights on your shoulders is the time to get yourself your own therapy. And that’s something that is totally possible.
#1. Sit down with yourself, in a quiet place or any place you feel comfortable. Take a few deep breaths and remove anything from your focus expect a pen and a piece of paper, number it 1-10. Now list the things you want the most in life in order of importance…not the things other people want for you, not the order you think they should go in, not the order you want them to go in, 100% how you feel, 100% what you want. Remember no one is going to see this list, it’s only for you, so don’t lie. If #1 is “Get Married” or “Be Rich” or “Travel to Africa” that’s okay, even if it’s not how others perceive you, what your mom feels you should do, what your significant other wants to hear from you, be you. Do you. Now that you have this list, you’ll see where your heart lies and now you can decide what to focus your life on. It may not solve your problem directly but it’ll be a good fresh start to begin your personal therapy.
#2. Write letters. Are you mad that your birth-mom never contact you? Did you never get over your first love? Have you not been able to get over the death of your sibling? Let them know, tell them, or tell someone else. When you feel intense emotion don’t take it out on your friends or family, sit down and let it out in writing. The medium doesn’t matter, but let them know how you feel, everything you want to say, cry, yell, curse, do what you need to do to let those feelings go. Putting it in writing makes it real, makes it physical and takes it out of your head and your heart and puts it into the world. It’s no different than pouring water into a glass, now the water jug is a little bit lighter. Keep your letters in a special place and keep writing every time you feel you need to let things go.
#3. Find an outlet…this is great for anyone, even if you’re not looking for healing. A outlet relieves stress, gets your mind active, releases endorphins and gives you something to do with your time so you’re not just sitting around thinking. Excellent examples are working out, jogging, going to a dance class, painting, joining a club or a league, volunteering at a dog shelter or the local community center in your area. Doing good for yourself or for others will make you feel empowered, it will make you feel above your demons and give you strength to fight them.
#4. Tell someone. It can be hard to reveal your deepest, darkest problems and sometimes there is no one, but if you can, find someone to confide in. Like a sponsor in AA, this person is trustworthy, cares about you, and knows that sometimes you’re going to break and you’ll need them. Schedule times to check-in with them over drinks or coffee and just talk about how you’re feeling, what you’re doing to help yourself and if it’s working, the obstacles you’re facing. Sometimes telling people what you’re doing i.e. jogging, writing letters, will actually make you feel really good about yourself, like “Hey, I started doing this to help me and I’m so excited to share it with you.”
#5. Make a project out of it, nothing gets you motivated like a goal to reach. Set little goals for yourself to reach your own personal breakthroughs. A small goal might be “I’m not going to snap at a single person this week.” Or “I’m going to take an extra class in school in order to keep my mind occupied”. How about “I’m going to go on 2 first dates this month in order to meet other people and not compare them to my ex”. Sometimes you might not achieve your goal and that’s okay, the point isn’t to invent unattainable benchmarks, it’s to help you. Didn’t achieve it this week, move it to next week and try again. Just like a level in a game, “Retry”.
How do I know this?…I’m a very lucky lady with some unlucky years and a small amount of wonderful people who’ve given me all these tips and they’ve all worked. I’m not an expert, I’m a living example. If you need to talk, my e-mail is welcome to you. No one should be alone, DLIH is about support and we mean every word of it. Whether you believe in therapy or not, there’s nothing that should stand in the way of you and a great life.