Wednesday, April 27, 2011

need some change?

The question that has been rolling around my noggin this week:

What are you willing to change today?

As a mental health counselor, I am constantly working with people to help them find the means of change in themselves. They often get overwhelmed by the tasks at hand: Reducing severe depression, dealing with auditory hallucinations, coping with family discourse, dealing with intense mood swings, handling emotional reactions in a rational manor or improving their life situations. These are all common topics that can feel like insurmountable tasks.

Empowering people (including myself) to change for the better is never an all or nothing task. Small changes really do add up to eventual larger scale changes. And, yes, there are often setbacks. Life is usually not a straight, smooth path. A minor setback does not equate to failure. The realization that we didn't become (depressed, anxious, overweight, disorganized, frazzled...fill in the blank) overnight and we are not going to change completely overnight.

What are you willing to change today?
Can you replace a self-deprecating phrase with a positive one? No? How about start by recognizing when you are putting yourself down which many people do unconsciously?

Can you make an effort to smile at a stranger and brighten their day?

Are you willing to eat one piece of fruit today than you did yesterday?

How about taking five minutes to do some deep breathing or enjoy something in nature?

Would sorting through a desk be too much? Then how about just one pile of papers?

Can you track your hallucinations to become aware of when they happen and what might be triggering them?

Are you unhappy with a body part (i.e. my thighs are too big)? Can you find the positive traits of that body part (my thighs help me walk through the park)?

Can you go for a stroll instead of napping on the couch for just ten minutes?

Change is stressful for many people, but it is also inevitable. Are you willing to take control of something today and make a change for the better? If today is too much of a time frame, how about this hour? This moment? Something small, something attainable. Then tomorrow, ask yourself the same question. Before you know it those overwhelming tasks will become manageable.

So, what are you willing to change today?

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