As a counsellor, over the years I have found that many of my clients come to see me simply to learn a few really handy tools that they can use in order to counteract the effects of stress, anxiety and low mood. So I have gradually put together some information about some of the tools that I and they have tried and tested – things that really work. I call this the Emotional Health Toolbox.
Sometimes just making small changes in our lives can help us to feel good fairly quickly and it’s up to each individual to work out which will work best for them. It’s very important that once we start to make use of these tools that we understand that it’s really a lifelong process – I find myself that if a few weeks go by when I don’t watch what I eat, or don’t exercise or do my meditation practice, then I do start to notice – mood and energy levels start to go down, life just feels that little bit more of a struggle. So these tools are really for life – not just for a short spell!
This is the second blog in a series of three (click here for the previous blog)– giving a total of 12 tools, handy to have in your emotional health toolbox:
5. Smile and laugh
Be silly, have fun. Watch comedy on TV, spend time with young children, throw a ball for a dog. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions and we often hold a lot of the stress in our faces. Laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and produce the feel good hormone serotonin.
6. Get support
We are naturally social beings and so sharing our concerns or feelings with another person, can really help. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel will understand. This could be a family member or close friend, a work colleague or a therapist.
7. Do what you love – get in “the flow”
It’s so much easier to manage periods of stress when the rest of your life is filled with stuff you love. We have the tendency to stop doing those things when we feel stressed although that is very time when we really need to – even if you don’t feel like meeting up with friends, just do it and you’ll be glad you did.
8. Manage your time well
Reviewing your daily and weekly activities to see what you can weed out and what you really need to focus on is a great way of coping with stress. Clients sometimes find that “blocking” their week into time slots for activities such as “study”, “work”, “exercise”, “chores” and “doing nothing” takes away guilt and panic.
Alison is an experienced psychologist and counsellor specialising in trauma and PTSD. She is passionate about the concept of post-traumatic growth or “thriving” after trauma and showing people how to achieve it. She provides both one to one counselling (face to face and via Skype) and powerful, easy to follow and life changing online programmes for both individuals who want to recover from trauma and the professionals who work with them.
See also: Emotional Health Toolbox