By learning how to label our emotions, we can learn how to take better care of ourselves—the simple act of naming our feelings has actually been shown to help us to feel more in control of them. This can be hard, though. Sometimes emotions feel too overwhelming to handle, and when this happens, we might try coping through unhelpful and unhealthy techniques like screaming at our partner or shutting down. This can lead to us feeling even worse. To move through these difficult moments, it's helpful to try to understand what it is that we’re actually feeling.
It’s tempting to think that if we are smart enough, if we plan well, we can avoid heartbreak and sadness, anger or pain. The problem is – that’s not the way that we’re built. Emotions are our body’s way of motivating us and communicating with ourselves and others. Despite their usefulness, embracing our emotions doesn’t always seem easy. Sometimes feelings are so intense that it may seem impossible. But, by learning how to navigate through these moments, we can begin to feel more confident and in control.
In the thick of depression, anxiety, or even those everyday mood swings, the idea of self-help is almost absurd. You might feel like you’re already underwater, so how exactly are you supposed to throw yourself a life vest? The good news: we all have many of the tools that can help us to feel better. By learning which to use and how to do so, you can begin to move through tough times a little easier.
Depression often looks differently from person to person. Some symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts are more commonly known of and talked about. But, there are several other lesser talked about symptoms that are frequently seen in people who are depressed.
How can we possibly incorporate self-care into our lives when we’re overworked, exhausted, and time and money are in short supply? One of the biggest hurdles is changing our mindsets about what qualifies as self-care. Yoga, spin, massage, and vacation time are often out of the question when working your way through school or just starting out in your career. And for those who can afford these activities, time is often in short supply. Self-care should not be a one-size fits all model, because we all have different circumstances and needs. So, with this in mind, what are some realistic ways to incorporate self-care?
Mindfulness is a hot topic. You may have heard it mentioned in radio commercials, on tv, or even at happy hour. But, what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the act of purposefully calling your attention to the present moment without judgement. Its benefits have been well documented. Mindfulness can improve your concentration, reduce anxiety, and decrease racing thoughts. It can also help you to become a more active and aware participant in your daily activities and relationships.
Torie Cueto, LMFT
Torie is a licensed therapist in San Diego, California providing individual therapy for adults both in-person and online.