Adapting to Forward Thinking, Part One

Posted on December 23rd, 2022.

Ideally, we would all be moving forward in life all the time. Of course, we want ideal circumstances and sometimes we wish to keep things the same forever, but for the most part, we could probably all agree that forward is the best way to move, especially in our constantly changing world. When we experience disappointment, worry, regret, sadness, or even fatigue, we can become distressed both emotionally and physically. We are a complex and unique being that requires nurturing and fuel, just as a machine we would expect to run for any prolonged period of time. So why do we find ourselves stuck when this is clearly not the logical place for us?

When we are stuck or simply, frozen in place, we are depriving ourselves of experiencing life in authentic and fulfilling ways. Our difficult thoughts and feelings leave us in a chronic state of paralysis, and we are trying to find validation, approval, commiseration, basic understanding, and motivation that the efforts along the way will somehow equate to something good. When we have thoughts such as these, it can trigger difficult emotions such as, disappointment, fear, abandonment, shame, hopelessness, and more. Our thoughts can also trigger emotions we find pleasant and rewarding, such as love, hope, joy, and peace. Do you find yourself a passenger to your emotions? It is important to know that you are actually the driver!

We are able to build awareness to thoughts that trigger problematic emotions and stop it right there before we are stuck. We can learn to move forward through life with less distress, worry, and fear, and more love, hope, and joy just by learning a few techniques to manage our thoughts in healthier ways. Something you can do right now is to stop, take a deep breath in for at least four seconds, and then exhale as slowly as you can. As you inhale, you are aware that you are able to overcome these problematic situations in your life and as you exhale, you are aware that you are releasing your tension, stress, and fear of moving forward. As you relax in even small increments, you can notice the types of thoughts you are having and work on replacing those thoughts with thoughts that will trigger more pleasant emotions. If you know that you are a person who desires to move forward but find yourself often stuck, you can build skills and strengthen traits that will lead to more motivation through behavioral activation and practicing the opposite of what you are feeling at times.

I am happy you are here along this journey to wellness and pleased to be included. If you believe that the concept of being stuck resonates with you, this can be explored further in messages and/ or therapy sessions if you find that helpful. As we learn skills to better manage our lives and address the emotional first aid we are often missing, we are all working together to break the stigma on behavioral health awareness. This is, in fact, the only way we will ever profoundly move forward- by building resilience to adversity and being able to identify and process our thoughts and feelings in healthy ways.

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