These spring winds of late have been horrendous! They gust out of nowhere and can blow and toss you about like a ragdoll. They attack your car while driving with such fierceness that it is difficult to keep it on the road!
Sometimes, life feels like a gusting wind that comes out of nowhere and throws you for a loop. Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or just not feeling yourself start to come up. As a counselor who has worked with women struggling with various problems, I know it’s hard to get your footing and stand firm amidst the turmoil. Here are 5 ways to find calm in the emotional world around you and regain a solid foundation. Depression, anxiety, or losing your sense of self doesn’t have to blow you over. Using these tips from Tulsa Counselor Sandy Stone, LPC, can help:
- Stop. To calm the chaos around you, you’ve got to slow down. Even if it’s just a few minutes, stop. Managing stress doesn’t have to be complicated. You can see some ideas here.
- Take a deep breath. Deep breathing can reduce the heart rate and effectively lower stress levels. Known as diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, these deep breaths are extremely beneficial. To do these breathing techniques, sit or lie in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath through your nose and let your belly push your hand out. Breath out through pursed lips as if you are whistling. Repeat 3-10 times. Here’s a video to help you follow along.
- Refocus. For me, music calms my soul. For some, a walk is a key to refocusing. For others, a chat with a close friend or family member. Whatever works for you, it is time to move your mind from all the confusion and focus on peace and calmness. Remember that picture of the lighthouse on the coast of the stormy sea? That shining light is a beacon of peace and security to the ships passing by. You can find that calm in the midst of your storm as well if you will take a moment to refocus.
- Re-evaluate. When life has overwhelmed us, we often begin to have thoughts that are irrational. When our thoughts become negative thoughts driving us away from our place of peace, it is time to re-evaluate what we are thinking. All or nothing thinking (I’ll NEVER get passed this), overgeneralizing (applying one situation to everything) and magnification (making things bigger than they really are) are just a few cues that we need to re-evaluate. Restructuring our negative thoughts to positive ones can help calm the chaos. Instead of the negatives, think: “I’ve been here before and gotten through it. I can do it again”, “Just because it happened here, doesn’t mean every situation will be like this”, “It’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be.” Restructure your negative thoughts. Here’s a video to help you understand one reason we can get stuck in a cycle of negative beliefs and a video of how to do a “thought record” to pull out of that cycle.
- Face the Wind. It’s not always easy to walk against the wind, but it can usually be done. Be strong. Facing the difficulties in our lives can be scary and feel overwhelming, but with a renewed focus and more positive thinking, you can face the chaos and move forward, one step at a time.
If you are fighting against the winds of life, if you are trying to refocus, but just can’t seem to do it on your own and depression or anxiety are blowing strong winds your direction, let us help. Mental health struggles are real and happen to most people at least once in their life, if not more. Mental health counseling works – you can slow the wind and learn to be strong in the face of sudden wind gust.
At Legacy Counseling Service in Tulsa we are ready to listen and help you return to your calm place. We can weather the storm together. We are a group of mental health providers who serve the Broken Arrow and Tulsa communities to help children, teens, adults, and couples create a firm foundation to help them withstand the storms of life. Learn more about us here, then give us a call us at 539-777-1129.