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How to Create a Joyful Life

How to Create a Joyful Life

Reconnecting With Your SELF

A JOYFUL LIFE | Do you ever feel like you’ve lost touch with what really makes you happy? Or like you spend all of your time doing what you have to do, and almost never things that you want to do? Or, like so many people, do you go through your days with a vague sense of dissatisfaction — feeling like even on good days, they could somehow be better?

If so, you’re in good company. So many of our life coaching and therapy clients come to us with exactly this situation: They just want to feel happy. They want to feel good about themselves, and their lives. They want to feel connected to others, and like they have meaning and purpose in their lives.

But they currently don’t.

Too many adults, especially conscientious, hardworking, responsible and successful adults, spend so much time meeting their commitments to others they start to lose sight of who they really are, and what they like to do for fun.

It’s an easy slide: Especially as you “adult,” growing into a career with more responsibility, settle into a marriage, and start welcoming children into the world, you life starts to be more about all the other people you have depending on you than it is about you. Over time it stops feeling like “life is good” and more like, “I have so much to do.” Can you relate? (Lisa raises hand)

Many men and women spend their entire days, morning to night, doing things that they need to do, or to be of service in the lives of others — be it a boss, a business, a spouse or a kid. Even the darn dog needs something!

Who has time for fun?

Sometimes I ask a Denver therapy client or an online life coaching client, “What do you do for fun?” and I get a blank look, a stutter, or a reddening face. (This is especially true of my American clients. I do work with people all over the world for online life coaching and the Europeans with their six weeks a year of paid vacation can often tell me exactly what they do for fun!)

How to Be Happy Again

So this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success is all about YOU: and helping you get reconnected with your authentic happiness so you can experience a more joyful life. As always, I’ll be offering some insight, new ways of thinking, and actionable ideas you can start using today.

Specifically, we’ll be discussing:

  • What the current “science of happiness” has to say about what moves the happiness needle… and what does not.
  • The biggest hidden culprit getting in between you and a joyful life
  • Simple strategies to get reconnected with the real you (who IS still in there!)
  • Why you can’t buy happiness, but where to invest your resources to cultivate more joy
  • Life hacks to make more space in your life for fun and play

I hope this discussion helps YOU reconnect with your true self and what makes you most happy. You deserve it.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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How to Create a Joyful Life

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Teresa Thomas, M.A., AP is a marriage counselor, couples therapist, and life coach. Her approach is warm, positive, solution-focused, and all about helping you get to the core issues so that you can grow and move forward confidently. Teresa works with her marriage and couples clients to help them build a positive foundation and experience empowered relationships.

Cultivating positive growth

There comes a time in many relationships when the experiences you are having together make you feel less hopeful about the future of your partnership. Maybe you have been arguing more than you want, or you have been feeling disconnected for some time. When the relationship is no longer something you feel positive about, I suggest taking these steps to empower your relationship and revive the hope you once had. I encourage my clients in marriage and couples counseling to use these skills when beginning the journey of reconnecting and building a better relationship with their partner. 

Set Intentions of Change

The first essential step to empower your relationship is setting your intentions of change. When you feel like things have gotten to a point that you no longer feel satisfied it can be easy to begin the process of acceptance. I encourage my clients to resist accepting any part of life and relationships that they want to be different. Setting your intentions begins with refocusing your mind toward creating change. Start thinking about the things you want to be different. Sit down and start having loving conversations about each of your perspectives so that you are clear and on the same page about what changes you would like to make together.

Keep Communication Positive

I understand that when your relationship is needing some care it can be difficult to communicate with your partner. Many of us lose our cool and engage in negative communication when we feel stuck in the dynamic of the relationship. It is discouraging and sometimes painful to not be fulfilled in your relationship. So, when you are feeling stuck and it is hard to be hopeful, it is important to keep communication positive. Even when you are discussing the changes you want to make, try balancing out the conversation with the things you enjoy and want to stay the same. I encourage you to begin acknowledging your partner’s effort to change, as well as the small successes you have along the way. Consistently tell your partner what you love about them. Positive communication helps you stay motivated and willing to work through setbacks.

Establish & Evaluate Your Relationship Values & Principles

Empowerment will help you find motivation and purpose in your relationship. When you have set your intentions of change and made positive communication a priority, evaluating the values and principles of your relationship is a great next step. We all have personal values and principles that we live by. Relationships should also be based on a foundation of shared values between partners. Some examples are honesty, loyalty, open communication, and spontaneity. Begin thinking and talking about the values that you share with your partner. I suggest writing them down and putting them somewhere visible and accessible for you both to reference and add to the list.

Create Action-Oriented Plans

The last essential step to empowering your relationship is to focus on action-oriented plans. In order to move forward and create lasting change in your relationship, it is important to identify the behaviors and actions that go along with the values you set in place. For example, if one of your values is trust, actions like telling the truth even when it is hard and allowing your partner to have healthy friendships outside of your relationship, communicate and support the value of trust. So for each of your values talk about the ways you put them into action. This way you are both aware of the expectations and how you can communicate your intention of love and support for each other and the relationship.

These first steps to empowerment will allow your hope to return and jump-start the positive changes. 

 

Warmly,

Teresa

 

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Teena encourages you to develop your own unique self-care plan and give yourself the gift of deeply caring for and loving yourself, so you can thrive in a forever changing world.

 

Feeling stressed out?

Everyone experiences stress in life, and as a Life and Career Coach, many of my clients come to me wondering how to better manage it. We actually need stress in order to thrive and continue to actualize as human beings. We also need to be okay with getting out of our own comfort zone so we can learn to thrive in a forever changing world.

The problem with stress is that we can often get stuck in a chronic state of stress that doesn’t allow us to thrive. When we are under too much stress for too long we are living in a state of survival that is headed down a path of self-destruction.

When we can manage the stress in our lives on a regular daily basis we learn to reset our nervous system back to a healthy baseline of rest and relaxation. Rest and relaxation is part of our natural state of being, without it we go into overdrive and lose touch with caring for ourselves, those we love, and the planet.

A self-care checklist is an excellent first step in bringing awareness to how you manage the stress in your life. Notice the areas of your life that need extra attention and begin to develop your own self-care plan.

Physical

_I get adequate sleep every night

_I eat healthy meals regularly

_I drink lots of water throughout the day

_I walk or exercise at least 3 times per week

Relationships

_I keep focused on how I can be more loving and kind with people in my life

_I share appreciation with those I love – friends and family throughout the day

_I am open to resolving conflict in a healthy loving way

_I am able to speak my truth and set loving boundaries with others

Fun and Relaxation

_I have fun on a regular basis

_I laugh freely and easily

_I take breaks for fun and relaxation – I don’t work non-stop

_I have things planned in the future that I look forward to

Physical Environment

_My home is well organized and clean

_I live in a home that I love

_My work environment is well organized and inspiring

_I love my lifestyle – the way I live my life

Emotional Health

_I feel peaceful and happy in my life

_I am pursuing my dreams and living my purpose

_I know my own intrinsic worth and feel loved

_I feel my life has balance and I have plenty of time to do all that I want to do

Spirituality

_I know that I am a spiritual being living in a human body

_I feel a deep connection with my spiritual connection

_I have activities I do on a regular basis that nurture my spiritual life

_I have faith that my life is unfolding exactly as it should for my highest good

Learning how to manage stress in your life is an essential part of skillful living and life satisfaction. It takes practice to know what works best on a regular daily basis. A self-care plan also needs to have some flexibility and adaptability, as it will change throughout the different stages in life, as well as with the seasons of nature.

What’s on your self-care checklist? Share with us below in the comments section.

Wishing you all the best,
Teena

 

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Take a Break From Stress

Take a Break From Stress As a life coach I hear a lot about stress. Whether I’m sitting with my clients in my office in Denver, or working with people for online life coaching the same themes come up: work, traffic, time, kids, family, money. When you think about stress, what do you usually think about? Same?

Let’s make a quick distinction. These are things that cause you to stress, but they aren’t stress themselves. Stress is what happens inside of you, as a result of these triggers. It’s normal to think of stress as something that is outside of us. The truth is, there are a lot of things in this world that can cause us stress.

 

 

However, when you learn skills and strategies to manage stress on the inside you can live through the same life experiences but feel much differently about them. Believe it or not, it is possible to learn how to manage yourself in such a way that you can maintain your inner zen no matter what is going on around you.

 

 

You Don’t Have to Live in Stress

Here’s some advice from a life coach and therapist with many years of experience in helping people develop more life satisfaction: you don’t have to feel this way. I believe that we are more stressed than ever before. Our lives tend to be overloaded and overstimulated, so much so, that we begin to feel like being stressed out is normal. We are being bombarded with constant stimulus and take very little time to recover and rest. Simply put, being stressed stinks, so making time to relax and relieve our stress every day is more important now than ever!

What is stress? Stress can be experienced physically, mentally and emotionally. Physical stress can be experienced as tight muscles, trouble sleeping, racing heart or fatigue. Emotional stress can be experienced as overwhelmed, irritation or frustrated. And mental stress can be experienced as having difficulty concentrating, forgetting things or an inability to quiet your mind at night.

 

 

Stress Management Tips

1) Develop Self-Awareness

Learning how to take a break from stress can improve your life satisfaction. The first is to develop self-awareness around your stress patterns and learn ways to relax your mind and body each day by using mindfulness skills.

 

 

This is a challenge for many people because our minds are used to being overloaded and busy, therefore, it can take some time for our mind to get used to a more relaxed way of being. You might feel like you have a hard time sitting still and just relaxing, especially if you and your mind are used to being on overdrive all the time. In this case, you might feel more stress come up as you pause and take a break. This is because you’re becoming more aware of your stress in these moments. Also note that when you have a lot of stress built up inside, it can take some time to unwind.

 

 

2) Notice How Stress Shows Up

Stress can mean something different for each person and if affects everyone in different ways. By noticing how stress shows up for you, you’re developing self-awareness. Without this self-awareness, chronic stress can just become our way of life.

 

 

Some people notice that their stress pattern is mostly physical. They can’t sleep, they have headaches, back pain or fatigue. Other people notice that their stress pattern is mostly emotional. They are anxious, short-tempered or may even feel numb. While others notice that their stress is mostly mental. They can’t focus, they procrastinate or they make careless mistakes. (Learn more about how to manage your Body, Mind, and Emotions in our Happiness Class, Love Your Life: The Happiness Class.)

 

 

Whether stress shows up for you physically, emotionally, mentally or all three, the first step to relieving stress and managing it, is to have self-awareness around your stress patterns. No matter how it shows up for you, I want to encourage that you take a break from your daily life and slow down and relax the mind and body.

 

 

Mindfully and intentionally start to notice how stress shows up for you over the next several days. Simply having an awareness of these things is the first step to feeling less stressed. Notice how your body feels in stressful moments. What emotions come up for you? What thoughts distract you from what you’re doing?

 

 

Sometimes stress can be a general feeling that you want things to be different than they are right now. We can get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings associated with stress and often times we don’t even notice that we are stuck in that pattern. This is just one reason why I encourage my Denver therapy clients and online life coaching clients to learn mindfulness skills.

 

 

 

Mindfulness and regular meditation practice can be so helpful in reducing stress. You may already be aware of how stress shows up for you and what triggers you. If this is the case, continue to observe and be aware of when it happens. Developing the skill of catching it when it starts to happen is very important.

 

 

3) Get Back To a State of Calm

Being in a calm and relaxed state is the opposite of being in a highly stressed state. When we are highly stressed we’re in fight or flight. As a result, the mind races and cortisol and adrenaline pump throughout our body. We might shut down, get angry, or feel dull or helpless.

 

 

When we are calm and relaxed our mind feels quieter and we feel good, safe, and content. It’s important to know that we’re not creating a new feeling within us, we’re simply reminding ourselves what it feels like to be calm and relaxed. This is a natural human state that we can always return to when we want to. Sometimes it takes longer to find our calm state and sometimes we forget that we can even be in this state at all, especially when stress takes over and becomes the norm.

 

 

So whether you’ve been aware of your stress patterns for a while or you’re just starting to notice what they are now – you can begin to observe when they start to come up sooner. You might start to feel a headache coming on or feel parts of your body tensing up or feel irritable or sad, or find yourself worrying more or obsessing over things that are outside of your control.

 

 

The good news is that you can begin to catch these stress patterns before they spiral into a full-blown stress response and become overwhelming. You can learn to bring yourself back to this state of calm sooner and with more ease. Take a moment right now to check in with how you feel. By checking in on a regular basis, you can start to notice what state you’re in and catch stress creeping up on you and shift yourself into a state of calm. By increasing your self-awareness around stress you can begin to relieve your stress much earlier so that it doesn’t grow to be overwhelming.

 

 

4) Change Your Focus

Take it from a therapist: The best way to manage your stress in the moment and shift away from stress and towards relaxation and calm is to change what you’re focusing on. We can quickly get caught up in stressful thoughts and feelings. When this happens, instead of dwelling on these thoughts or feelings simply take a moment to do this simple exercise.

 

 

Here’s a quick mini-meditation practice you can do anytime and anywhere: Pause. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, letting your focus rest on the sensation of the breath slowly moving in and filling up the lungs, then slowly and gently moving all the way out. If your mind keeps jumping back to the stressful thought or feeling, just be aware that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, breathing deeply, for 30-60 seconds. You can do this multiple times a day. The more you practice the easier it will become to shift back into your natural state of peace and calm. Once you’re in a more relaxed state you can better deal with whatever caused you to stress in the first place, instead of just being stuck in it.

 

 

As you develop this awareness, remember not to judge yourself in any way and just observe. The truth is, stress is not likely to go away completely, but as you increase your self-awareness and practice shifting from a state of stress into a state of calm you’re helping yourself shift into a more empowered state of well-being.

 

 

Sometimes in life, there are moments where something triggers us into a highly stressed state. Although the state of calm and relaxation is a natural state that is always available to us – in a moment of high-stress nothing can seem further from the truth. The best way to shift out of a stressed state is to first simply observe that you are stressed then to change what you are focusing on. It’s very easy to stay engaged with stressful thoughts and feelings. When we stay stuck in that pattern, it continues to get worse. Take a moment to pause, Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and take 30-60 seconds to breathe and tune into the sensations of the breath.

 

 

5) Get Comfortable Slowing Down

I want to encourage you to get comfortable with slowing down and relaxing a bit more so that you can take a break from stress. Once you have the awareness that you have become stressed you can catch it sooner and then practice shifting your focus away from stress and towards your breath and body. As you do this, your state shifts and you see the external factors differently and can more easily deal with them or accept them. As we grow and improve our life’s problems will never go away, they will simply become higher quality problems. The good news is that we can change how we perceive these problems so that they don’t cause so much stress inside of us. See if you can find once or twice today where you can do 30-60 seconds of conscious breathing, especially if you have a particularly stressed moment. Then after notice if you see the problem differently.

 

 

Much of our stress is caused by problems that are out of our control or inconvenience us. Problems will never go away no matter how much we improve ourselves or our lives. We have this idea that if we just fixed each problem that everything would be okay, but when we fix one problem it doesn’t take long until another appears.

 

 

When we learn to focus on what’s happening inside of us, how to pause and shift our state away from stress and into a state of relaxation it becomes a powerful tool to manage how life affects us and how we affect life. Look for opportunities to remind yourself of this so you can experience a natural state of relaxation on a regular daily basis.

 

 

6) Have a Plan and a Practice

These are just a few of the stress management tips and ways of coping with stress that I teach my private therapy and life coaching clients. While trying out a few of the ideas I suggested is a great start, remember that managing stress is a lifelong practice. I encourage you to have a plan and a practice in place to relax and relieve your stress so that you can get comfortable with taking a break from stress to improve your overall life satisfaction.

 

 

If you would like some support and encouragement to help you manage your stress and improve your life satisfaction, I’m here to help. I specialize in stress resiliency and life satisfaction. You can always meet with me for a free consultation session to talk about how we can work together to help you conquer stress and create the inner peace you deserve. 

 

 

Warmly, Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT, LAC, PC

 

 

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Managing The Late-Winter Blues

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Dr. Chelsea Twiss is an individual therapist, life coach, couples counselor and creativity coach. She specializes in helping couples restore emotional and sexual intimacy, individuals heal and grow, and creatives find their voice.

Taking Care of You

 

As a therapist and life coach (and person with my own life going on) I’m well aware that we live in a fast-paced culture with copious demands that cause us to become used to high levels of stress. Human beings are adaptable creatures and we are particularly adept at meeting the demands of our environment, even in today’s world where multi-tasking and juggling multiple responsibilities is the norm.

This time of year can be hard: For many people, the holiday season can be particularly stressful. Fulfilling roles and family obligations arise which often lead many of us to a place of anxious distress. But what happens after all the chaos and events of the season end yet the winter months keep dragging on?

Dealing With The Late-Winter Blues

After the burst of holiday energy subsides, it can be easy to fall into a state of feeling low or a general lack of energy and motivation in the coming months of winter. Depending on where you live, the weather is usually gray and the temperature drops, family and friends depart and it can feel lonely.

This experience of feeling low and resistance to the slowness associated with the winter months can also often put strains on our relationships with others as well as our relationships with ourselves. Often times the inclination is to isolate or pretend to be feeling okay when we aren’t. These responses to feeling low, while they make perfect sense, only serve to further distance us from our connections with ourselves and with one another.

As winter drags on you might begin to wonder if you will ever see the sun again. You can help yourself through this experience by returning to some simple practices that allow grounding and slow-moving energy to flow.

Acceptance & Self-Compassion

Exercising self acceptance and self-compassion is imperative during this time and will ultimately help resolve feelings low sooner than fighting the way you’re feeling. I’m sure you’ve heard these buzz words before and maybe you will roll your eyes at them but these are the first things we often forget to do when feeling low.

Usually our inner monologue becomes something like, “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why am I feeling this way?” These statements discourage us from accepting where we are in the present and prevent us from embracing what we are truly needing in the moment. [More about mindfulness strategies here]. Below are some basic ways to practice acceptance and self-compassion when experiencing you’re not feeling great.

1) Check-in With Yourself

The first step to achieving acceptance and self-compassion is to check-in and notice when these thoughts or feelings arise. This first step is very powerful and is a skill that can be used not only to help manage difficult emotional experiences, but also to improve relationships with others.

Usually when we feel something uncomfortable, our first reaction may be to suppress it, deny it or fight it. Learning to roll with the punches and increase self and other acceptance is built on a foundation of emotional awareness. You feel the way you feel for a reason. Sometimes that reason is difficult to ascertain, but for the time being, simply noticing is your number one task.

2) Remind Yourself That It’s Okay To Say No

My mother used to say that nothing is worth doing if you aren’t doing it with a glad heart. This is ironic as my mother is also someone I endearingly refer to as the Queen of Doing Everything – a trait I am afraid I have also inherited. I’m sure many readers can relate that it’s easy to take on numerous tasks, especially when our self-worth is in doubt. Our impulse may be to rev up the engine and force ourselves into overdrive in order to escape feeling worthless or discontent with ourselves, piling on more tasks and responsibilities. But, if we have accomplished step one and have checked in with our feelings, when your friend invites you to their game night and your check-in tells you that your energy just isn’t there right now, it’s not only okay to say no, it’s actually healthy.

While you may worry about missing out, it will ultimately feel so good to give yourself what you’re needing in the moment versus denying yourself time that will, in fact, be restorative and prepare you for the exciting things to come tomorrow. If you’re already a natural no-sayer then keep on with the healthy self-care and boundaries, but this is something many people – especially in today’s busy world – generally struggle with.

3) Be Intentional With Your Quiet Time

 

It can be easy to turn on the TV and binge Netflix when you’re feeling low energy and depressed. While doing this is totally okay and feels good, it’s also very restorative to take some intentional downtime, especially when feeling low.

With the distractions of technology available at our fingertips, it can be easy to miss out on the important time of self-reflection that happens when our minds are quietly not focused on anything in particular. Some people spend lots of time avoiding intentional downtime. I often hear things from my clients like, “I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts.” With a few exceptions, it’s often healthy to be alone with your thoughts.

Our brains generally ramp up on anxiety when we haven’t given ourselves time during the day to be alone with our thoughts and so they keep us from sleeping at night or come up unexpectedly at unwanted times.

Intentional downtime can look different depending on the person; it can be as simple as laying on your bed or sitting on the couch quietly for ten minutes, taking a bath, meditating, taking a walk outside or sitting on a park bench and observing your surroundings. Whatever this might look like for you, it is important to give yourself this time to slow down and be present with you. Doing less and taking things off your plate may sound counterintuitive, but it actually often helps resolve feeling down sooner than trying to stay busy does.

4) Say How You’re Feeling

This last point is one of the key factors in maintaining connections with others while feeling down. A giant contributing factor to feeling down can be believing that we have to pretend we are feeling differently than we actually are to make others comfortable. It is important for your own mental health to say how you’re truly feeling when someone asks.

We may worry about disappointing others or making them uncomfortable, but the price of smiling through pain can be much greater than being honest when others ask how you’re doing. This is also an important part of exercising honesty and vulnerability in relationships that matter to us.

The false belief is that we are protecting those we love from a perceived burden when in fact we are distancing ourselves from them by not communicating how we are truly feeling or what we are truly needing in the moment. There is a significant amount of energy that goes into faking a smile for the imagined expectations we think others have of us.

Give yourself permission to say as much or as little as you feel comfortable about what you’re experiencing when others ask. Assert your needs in that moment around whether you need support from someone else or not. It’s okay to say you need some alone time to work through things. Again, the people who truly care about you will understand.

I hope you’ve found some of these strategies for managing feeling down and restoring energy helpful.

Warmly, 

Dr. Chelsea Twiss

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It’s easy to see the positive outcomes of people who successfully change their lives, but you don’t often hear about the ups and downs of their journey. Get the inside scoop and authentic truth of one woman’s story on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

A Self-Care Plan to Cultivate Calm

You plan your day, meetings, outings, grocery list, and events – but are you taking the time to plan your self-care? We are all busy, but forgetting to take care of yourself is a sure-fire way to burnout and neglect your personal health. Here is a self-care checklist from a therapist and life coach who understands wanting to “balance it all.”

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self
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