Seeing the blood dripping into the toilet, I realized that I was going to drive myself crazy.
The brilliant red, larger drops than I had ever seen up close, poured out of me after the vomit had made its way through.
Drip, drip, drip, transfixed by deep red permeating the dark beige of whatever had been roiling around in my stomach that could no longer be contained. I felt like I'd never seen that colour before. It was beautiful in a grotesque way.
And I had one of those brilliant moments of clarity that we all wish for and fear at the same time. I couldn’t stay on this ride.
I had to stop this.
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” By Bil Keane
Have you ever heard this quote? It is a wise statement that talks about the importance of being able to enjoy the current moment, the here and now. But do you ever find it hard to enjoy the present? Does your mind focus on worrying about various things beyond your control? What if I burn dinner? What if my boss is unhappy with me? What if I can’t get everything done? What if she does not recover? What if...? What if…? What if…? Have others told you that you worry too much? Has someone called you a Worry Wart? No, you are not crazy.
Worrying is a pattern of thinking that our brain can get wrapped up in. Worry is the process of thinking about possible future outcomes, usually negative or fearful in nature, that can cause distress. It is normal to worry from time to time. It becomes a problem when it is negatively interfering with your ability to enjoy your life – to relax when you finally have the time, to sleep, or if you are avoiding the situations that you worry about. Although worrying can be useful, such as when we are planning to be prepared for something that is likely to happen…too much of it can make it hard to relax and enjoy our day.
Have you tried deep breathing, meditation or distractions to try and ease your worrying - but nothing seems to be working? Feeling frustrated? If you are finding that your worries just won’t let up, it might be that you actually need to allow the worry, but in a constructive way. Worrying is just the brain’s way of trying to problem solve possible future scenarios, and sometimes the brain can get stuck along the path to problem solving and enter in an unhelpful pattern of excessive worrying.
Here are 4 steps to improve your mental health by easing your mind of worry so that you can enjoy the here and now.
Bourne, E. (2015). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbood: Sixth Ed.
Linehan, M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Ed. The Guilford Press. Pg. 2013-220, 439.
We like feeling happiness, joy, love and contentment. We often don’t want to feel fear, sadness, despair, anger, frustration, jealousy and guilt. In fact, many of us will try and avoid these emotions at all costs. It is understandable as they can be very difficult to experience. However, a big part of healing involves allowing the space to feel the emotions. Emotions are our messengers for how we are doing in relation to our environment. This means, there are no good or bad emotions. All emotions are equally relevant and important. They are there for a reason.
What is your emotion telling you?
Allowing the space to see what emotion we are feeling gives us power over it. We then allow it to process rather than feeling like we are stuck in it. Some ways you can allow space for the emotion is to talk to a person you feel comfortable with, to write it out in a journal, sit in silent reflection, or let it out in counselling.
What you are feeling is valid and it is telling you something. What do you hear?
Linehand, M.M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, 2nd Ed. Page 229.
Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean? We all spend about one-third of our lives dreaming, whether you remember them or not. Dream interpretation dates back thousands of years. However, there are still a variety of theories on how to interpret dreams. By trying to understand your dreams, you may be able to find out more about yourself that you may not know.
Dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. There are a variety of factors that can affect your dreams. You age, gender, personality, and the events that occurred throughout the day, all have an impact on what dreams you have. Because we experience so many things in a day, we do not have time to process them all. This is where dreams come into play. They can help us process what we saw, felt, and thought during the day. Even what is happening around you while you sleep can also make it into your dream. This can include temperature changes, noises, sensations, even needing to pee. If you have strong feelings before you go to bed such as being anxious or worried, you will sleep lighter and have a better chance of remembering your dreams. However, this can also cause you to wake up before your dream is over. Dreams can also help us process many other events in our lives.
If you are worried, excited, traumatized, or have any strong emotions relating to a certain memory, then your brain uses dreams to help process the event and the feelings that occurred during, and because of, the event. If these memories and feelings are repressed, then they can still come out in your dreams. When you are awake, it is easier for your brain to repress unwanted thoughts, feelings, or memories. However, when you are sleeping these aspects can be less censored and make their way into your dreams. You may not always recognize them though.
Maybe it’s loneliness. Maybe there’s something you’re supposed to be doing and you just can’t. Maybe you’re on your own and you don’t want to be, or you want to enjoy yourself but all of the old vices aren’t available to you.
You could be one of those people, like me, who used to turn to food. For some, it’s cigarettes or booze. There’s an entire culture built around indulging in wine and chocolate, and it’s so normalized that if you choose not to go that route, if alcohol doesn’t agree with you, and if you’re SICK of spending money to feel better about your life, you’re left dealing with these uncomfortable feelings.
If you’re like me, you’re going to skip through this article, read the bolded items, and hope for the best. I’m not going to stop you. But I should tell you…
If you’re feeling alone,
If you hate how you feel right now,
If you wish you could indulge in something that you know isn’t going to help,
You are not alone.
I am right there with you. I HATE how this feels, and I wish I could escape it too.
Emotions are a very important component of our lives.
We feel different emotions throughout every single day, they influence our thoughts our behaviors, and ultimately determine our decisions. Emotions can be very helpful, they can help us to identify how we feel about a situation, a person, or a thought, however at times they can also be harmful if we don’t know how to express them in healthy ways.
These tips can help you to be more in tune with your emotions;
You may have heard or read about the elusive ‘self-care practice’ and wondered…
What the heck does that mean anyway?
Well, I am here to enlighten you. It is something that we often over-look, take for granted or push aside. To practice self-care is to deliberately engage in activities that improve your mental, emotional and physical well-being. This seems pretty simple, but in reality, it can be a challenging task for many. There are so many benefits to self-care, such as regulating your mood, reducing anxiety symptoms, and strengthening relationships with self and others.
A quote I enjoy that emphasizes the importance of this is “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. In short, you cannot give yourself to others (job included) unless you have taken the time to ‘recharge your batteries’ or ‘put fuel in your gas tank’. It is NOT selfish to self-care but in fact necessary to avoid burning yourself out. To take time to self-care means that you know yourself, your needs, and you are being responsible for yourself. Sometimes all that means is saying no to extra responsibilities and simply knowing what you can or cannot take on.
I wish people knew how much control they have over how they feel. Life is not about what happens to us, but about how we perceive our experiences. Our story is created in the way we define it, and this story is about how to take control of the thoughts that hold us back.
I’ve always wanted to do something important. As a kid, I dreamt of singing in front of thousands of people, writing books, and inspiring and motivating others to create a better world. But I didn’t. At least, I haven’t yet (fingers crossed!). When given opportunities, I let my pounding heart and shortness of breath convince me that it was safer to pass rather than speak up.
I used to tell myself that if I wanted to lead people, I had to be about 50 pounds lighter first, with better hair and clothes. I told myself that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough. I was worried about alienating people who didn’t agree with what I had to say. When it came to the really important moments, there was too much risk, and in the end, I was convinced I wouldn’t make a difference anyway. It sounds cynical, but it was purely a fear of rejection.
Your greatest foe and most powerful advocate is your own mind. I realize now that the greatest obstacle is the battle within. What if that nagging voice had been rooting for me instead of tearing me down? What if I had told myself that the worst-case scenarios weren’t really all that bad? Imagine how many incredible things I could have done if I had been willing to make mistakes. When you are conditioned to criticize yourself, it doesn’t seem possible to change the tone of the conversation. But it is.
Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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