Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present, aware of what is going on right now, aware of what we are doing while not being overreactive to what is going on around us. In short, it is the ability to think about what we are doing right now. Taking attention with interest and kindness to our surroundings. We will take a look at that today and talk about how mindfulness can help us stay connected to our relationships and current life. Do you find yourself desiring the ability to enjoy the day, or this season? Mindfulness could help. Let’s take a look.
Do I Need Mindfulness?
I think it would be easy to not recognize our own need for mindfulness. We become used to our thoughts, and they are what they have always been, so maybe we don’t put time in considering a need for improvement. I hope to challenge that today, for the good. Mindfulness has not only helped some to decrease anxiety and depression but also improve their overall mental well-being and relationships. If you are still unsure if this concept could help you, hang on. Below are some indications that you could benefit from mindfulness.
- You spend a lot of time planning for the future
- You spend a lot of time pondering the past
- You have a hard time relaxing and just being
- You focus on things you cannot change
- You have a hard time enjoying pleasant experiences
- You overly judge, analyze, criticize or evaluate things
- You lack compassion
- You lack intention
Is it hard to read through this list? Can you relate to multiple items? Recognizing there may need to be a change is the first brave step. We will discuss why below. Choosing mindfulness can change your spirits as well as your mental health. Let’s take a look at how not being mindful can affect our lives.
What Does This Affect?
Allowing your mind and thoughts to wander to wherever they go can be unhealthy, especially if you have a tendency to gravitate toward negative thoughts or worse case scenarios. Keeping in mind that mindfulness is thinking about what you are doing right now, it is easy to see how the below can be common in those who react first over choosing mindfulness. Can you think of other ways that being mindless affects your life? Below are only a few impacts of how the lack of mindfulness can present itself in our lives.
- Issues with prioritizing tasks
- Burnout & exhaustion occurs more often
- Strained relationships
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Experience lack of focus
- High stress which can possibly lead to other illnesses
These are just some of the impacts of living a life without mindfulness. Are you experiencing any of the concerns shared above, hang on! There is help. We don’t have to remain in our thought patterns. Change is possible. Choosing change is the first step to succeeding in anything. Choosing to practice mindfulness can take time, but below are some suggestions that could help.
How Can I Practice Mindfulness?
Maybe you have made it this far and you recognize the need for some change, but have no idea where to start? You are in the right place. First, I want to address something. If you have lived life without mindfulness and feel your relationships have been impacted, you are not alone. There is hope and there is help. Below are some steps that you can take to practice mindfulness. If, however, you feel like this is a deeper issue within you and you need professional advice, we offer relationship counseling as well as counseling for anxiety, depression and other life transitions. Below are some suggestions you could choose to start practicing mindfulness.
Meditation Could Help.
If mindfulness is brand new to you, trying meditation first could help. These steps can help prepare you for mindfulness. Some suggestions are below.
- Find a comfortable & quite place to sit
- Take note of your posture – don’t slump
- Have your arms comfortable
- Soften your gaze by lowering the position of your head
- Practice deep breathing – feel the movement
- When your mind wanders, just bring it back to your body’s movements
- Give yourself grace if your mind wanders often
- When you have spent a time in this space, lift your gaze.
- Take note of how you feel. Listen for noises. Notice your thoughts.
- Journal your experience
Taking time to experience meditation and mindfulness could help reduce the frequency of negative thoughts or time spent on thoughts not of today. Below are some suggested steps that could help with mindfulness. Being committed and ready for change is the most important first step. Are you ready to take a step for change? Below are a few suggestions to learn and practice as you go about your day.
- Experience what is happening without judging or analyzing
- Acknowledge how you are feeling
- Listen to what is being said without forming what you will say
- Practice deep breathing while listening
- Remain in the current circumstance, do not think of future or past
- Pause before responding
- Inhale and exhale deeply
- Work or focus on one task at a time without considering future tasks
- Use breaks to practice these mind clearing exercises, instead of scrolling or reading news
- Your response is to a person, not a fear. Recognize which one you are responding to.
Sometimes the decision to practice mindfulness can make us aware of just how often we put our thoughts, preferences or fears above the person who is talking to us or the task at hand. This can be hard to see within ourselves. Give yourself grace, be kind. Growth takes recognition, then change. We all have room to recognize the need for change.
If you have found yourself lacking mindfulness and desire professional help, Upstate Restorative Counseling can help, you are not alone.
When situations arise, yours and others, is your first thoughts toward fixing the issue? You wouldn’t be alone. Many feel as thou they should or are able to fix everything. Many believe they are great at fixing all their own situations so they believe they can then, fix their own partner, fix the lives of those around them if only people would listen to them. Sound familiar in you or in someone you know? Overcoming the need to fix everything can be a hard healing path. Understanding why we try to fix and how to overcome that need to fix is our topic today, so let’s dive right in.
Why Do I Try to Fix Everything?
One of the largest reasons we try to fix things and other people comes from our own need to control things. Sometimes we tire of hearing someone talk about the same issue over and over, and instead of processing our own thoughts and feelings of why we don’t want to hear our friend, we try to take control. We often feel so bad for others when hearing their circumstances that we feel we know the answer that will help them. Often we response from a place of our own discomfort of hearing someone else’s experience or situation. But how do you stop those thoughts when you hear someone else? Today, we will cover some suggestions. Below are some common indicators that you could struggle with trying to fix others. Do you recognize any within yourself?
- You feel a strong urge to step in and help
- You feel other people’s happiness is your responsibility
- Do you nag others to do things better, be better
- Do you often “know a better way”
- Do you feel you know what is best for someone
- Are you stressed over issues that are not yours
These are some suggestions that could reveal that you try to fix others. Do you relate to these? If so, I am thankful you can be honest with yourself. Being honest about what we see in ourselves is important to overcoming the need to fix others. Want to understand more about why we should not try to fix others? Keep reading.
Why Fixing Others Isn’t A Good Thing.
Often, the desire to help others comes from a place of compassion and care. But sometimes, the need to fix others comes from a completely different place. It is important to know the difference. Not only can you not fix other people, trying to do so can cause major damage within relationships. When someone confides their feelings or situation to you, they don’t need a fix, they need you to listen, really listen. Constantly trying to fix someone else sends a condescending message. This can, in the end, make the person who tried to open up to you, feel worse. Below are few things to consider that could result in people trying to fix another person.
- Codependency can form in the relationship
- Fixers often attract others that need to first do some self-work
- This personality often times neglects themselves
- Relationships become one sided
- Relationships can turn into long and unhealthy mental challenges
Desiring to help someone is a wonderful offering to another person. The need to fix others can come from a wound in yourself that needs healing. Overcoming the need to fix others is necessary to build and maintain healthy relationships. Is any of this information resonating with you? Are you ready to take a step to break the habit of try to fix other people? The below suggestions could help.
How do I Stop Fixing People?
The first thing to try and understand when taking on this boundary for yourself is this, you can not control other people, what they say, what they do or what they think. Period. The only person anyone can control is themselves. Knowing we shouldn’t try to fix other people or their circumstances and then deciding our actions are harmful, is a different choice. There are studies that can show we only truly change what we truly believe we should. When we have a better understanding that trying to fix others is harmful, this can encourage us to learn better ways to support and encourage others. So after you have taken time to process your actions and why you try to fix someone, it may be time to take a step toward change. Would you like some practical steps to take to help you learn to not fix people? Maybe the below can help.
- Know the reason why you are trying to fix, anything other than love, remain quiet
- Listen to what is said, only offer an opinion if it is asked for
- Hear what is said and try to understand their perspective, not the fix
- Affirm what is said, for example “I can hear you are upset, I would be too”
- Focus on their words, not your thoughts
Overcoming the need to fix others can be hard, especially if there is an underlying wound within you that is unresolved. If you have tried to work on relationships, but are still struggling, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling can help. We have a team of counselors who desire to help you establish steps of overcoming the need to fix others.
Have you been asked this question? Do you know if you are a good listener? Some, like Websters, defines a conversation as a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged. The key in this definition is between two or more. When we dominate or interrupt conversation, we are choosing to place our thoughts above the one we are having a conversation with. Maybe you are thinking but what if I know a better solution or maybe what they are saying isn’t right? When we listen to what others say, meaning we listen to understand what they are saying, we are showing them that we respect them. Being able to communicate and listen is the basis for healthy relationships. That’s what we are talking about today. Ready to learn something new?
Why is Listening so Important?
Choosing to be a good listener to another person is one of the first communication pathways we experience together. Conversation is the method we use to share our feelings, express emotions, build deep relationships and often the way we support one another. It is how we get to know each other. It is fundamental and necessary for all relationships. When you choose not to listen, you are choosing not respect and know the one you are having a conversation with. Are you a good listener? Below are a few benefits from being a good listener.
- Increases learning
- Helps mental health in you and them
- Enables you to understand what someone is truly feeling
- Decreases confusion and misunderstanding
- Builds trust
- Strengthens relationships
What if I Don’t Listen?
Do you find multiple relationships with conflict, confusion and misunderstandings at the center? One or both of you could be a poor listener. Being a poor listener enables assumptions and misunderstandings. If we are forming what we want to say while someone is actively speaking, how can truly hear all of what they have to say? Not listening to what someone has to say in the work place can lead to errors, ineffective work habits or even termination. Poor listening in personal relationships can cause hurts feelings and breaks down trust. When we over speak and not listen to someone we are talking to, we are saying “I don’t respect you.”. Overtime, the relationship suffers and weakens or even ends. Does anyone come to mind when you read over this? Do you want to strengthen your listening skills, be a good listener?
How Can I Be a Better Listener?
Thankfully there are steps we can all take to become better listeners. In doing so we can also improve our communication, develop empathy for others and grow to want to understand the person we are talking with. All of these are crucial for healthy relationships as it strengthens them, shows we care, displays attentiveness and respect. Listening involves empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Ready to learn more about being an effective listener? Below are some steps that could help when examining and improving your listening skills.
- Keep eye contact and do not look at phone or email etc.
- Decide to listen – put your thoughts aside for person talking
- Actively listen – to learn and hear what someone is saying
- Do not interrupt or over speak while they are speaking
- Ask open ended questions about what they are saying to understand
- Refrain from thinking ahead about what you are going to say next
- Process your response before you say it
Along with the steps we can take to be better listeners is our body language. Frequently looking away, crossing our arms over our chest, sighing or being distracted are all examples of how our body language can send the message that we are not interested in what someone is saying. Body language can help make someone feel you are engaged in what they are saying but can also say you are not listening. It is all a matter of being intentional when you stop to engage in conversation with someone. Do you find it hard to listen? Really listen? There is help.
Who Can Help?
Communication is key to relationships and taking steps to improve your relationships is the key to a more balanced and healthy life with the ones the love. If todays blog hit home with you and you find it difficult to listen effectively, you are not alone. Many find that communication is hard to establish and maintain in their relationships. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here for you. We have a team of therapists who can help you establish steps to improve your relationships.
Do you find it hard to put to words what you feel? If so, you are not alone. It is more common than you think. There are different reasons that we are unable to connect to our feelings, we will talk about some of those today. Regardless of what prevents us from knowing what we are feeling, it can affect us and our relationships. So today, we will explore this and talk about how a lower recognition of what we feel can affect us. We will finish up with some steps to take that could help be more aware that we are feeling. Do you have a hard time connecting or knowing what you are feeling? If so, I hope this information helps.
Are Emotions Important?
Emotions matter. They help us connect with people and make decisions. They tell us things about ourselves or our life or past that can help us today. They strengthen our relationships and aid in communication. Without emotions or feelings, it could increase how often others are having to guess at what has upset you. Over time, this could damage relationships. Emotions also help us to make decisions and survive our journey of life. Who knew that emotions aid in survival? Below are a few more reasons emotions are important to us.
- Aids in learning
- Connection and attachment to others
- Guides behaviors
- Helps motivation
- Increases awareness
- Supports growth and development
When considering if emotions are important, it’s safe to say that we have them for multiple reasons and they help us in multiple ways. Below, we will take a look at some scenarios that could affect our ability to process and feel emotion.
Why Can’t I Know?
There are so many different circumstances that can lead us to struggle to feel our emotions. In some cultures, feeling your emotions is frowned upon. Some households carry unrealistic expectations or have unhealthy dynamics. Genetically some people are more prone to experience lower emotion recognition. Chronic or overwhelming long-term stress can cause the body systems to not function as they should. Childhood trauma can also affect the level at which we process our feelings. So, while it is easy to see there are many reasons that could affect how we feel, there are just as many things we can do to help be more aware of our feelings. Are you able to know what you are feeling with emotions arise?
How Can I Get Help?
Taking the step to recognize when we are experiencing something hard and having the courage to seek help is brave. We don’t have to live forever with all the things that life has taught us or affected. Each day we can make a choice to try something different. Something new. We can choose us! Taking the time to help yourself not only helps you, it helps every relationship you maintain. Life is sometimes long and hard and we need help. Below are a few suggestions that could help you be more aware of what you are feeling.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Pay attention to exercise regularly
- Talk to someone you trust about something you are feeling
- Write out your feelings
- Accept what emotions you have
- Spend time with a friend
Having a lower ability to recognize what you feel can be frustrating. Taking steps toward something different can be hard. We understand. You are not alone. If this information resonates with you and you want help understanding why you have such a hard time expressing or feeling your emotions, we are here for you. Upstate Restorative Counseling has a team of therapists who desire to listen and walk alongside you. You deserve the best you!
Wait! Is friendship anxiety really a thing? It is and is often fueled by our self-image. Having and maintaining friendships are crucial parts of life. Sharing conversations and feelings and listening to someone’s conversations and feelings grow us. It helps us to persevere through life storms when we share life with people. Some of you may be feeling disheartened already, maybe you disagree and feel like you are ok being just you, no need for friends. I encourage you to read on anyway. Today we discuss why we need friends, what could have influenced your friendship anxiety and steps you can take be a friend. Do you find yourself longing for more closeness with people?
Why Do I Need Friends Anyway?
Friends offer companionship and prevent us from becoming too isolated and lonely. Allowing yourself the habit of being isolated is permitting yourself to increased chances of depression, unhappiness and loneliness. These feelings, overtime, can lead to not only depression but larger mental health issues. Having friends oftentimes helps our self-image. We need to have someone we care for. Someone we are concerned about and they about us. Humans are created to desire feelings of belonging. Do you desire to have friends but struggle to even consider making friends? Below we will discuss some life experiences that could help you understand why you struggle.
Why Don’t I Have The Desire For Friends?
There are many factors that can influence our lack of desire for friends. Some people are more introverted, and they treasure having time alone. They can be totally fine spending time alone and often don’t feel like they are missing connections from friends. Often times though, there could be reasons for your disinterest in having friends.
Each of needs to examine the deep feelings that we process in considering friendships. What do you think or feel when you tell yourself that you need a friend? Does that stir a feeling you can recognize? Can you answer why you feel this way? Examining these things within you could help you resolve the hurdle between you and finding a friend. Below are a few suggestions that could have led to decreased desire in looking for a friend. Can you relate to any of these?
- You’ve been hurt in past relationships
- You get burnt out easily from over stepping friends
- You feel uncomfortable navigating social events
- You can not tolerate drama
- Your upbringing included trauma or abuse
- You are scared to lose another person
There are many factors that can create friendship anxiety. For some, that is not an issue. Everyone needs healthy friend relationships and interactions. When we choose to be alone due to concerns or possibly feeling anxious it can sometimes cause more issues than taking a chance to make a friend. Are you ready to take a chance on a friend? Below are some suggestions that could help.
How Can I Take The Friend Step?
Deciding to put yourself out there and be open to finding a friend is a big step! It is important to remember that not everyone will be a friend. Not everyone will be an enemy. But each encounter can teach us if we are willing to taught.
Stepping forward and being true to yourself, meaning not trying to fit where you don’t, is important. If you don’t like to hike, then look for another group that shares an interest than you already enjoy. Look for opportunities to meet others while doing something you enjoy. You just might be surprised to meet someone new who enjoys at least one thing you do. Below are some suggestions that could help you in overcoming your friend anxiety. Will you take one suggestion?
- Join a club or group with interests you like
- Take a class with something you want to learn
- Volunteer some time and give back
- Find an activity group like biking, hiking, model cars, cameras
- Say hello to people and smile
- Complement someone
- Show interest in someone’s conversation
Meeting new people can be hard but taking a step toward meeting others is a start. New friendships will most likely not be made overnight or with one encounter. But overtime, as we practice habits of reaching out to others, friends find us and we find them. Check your expectations before meeting with a new group. Try to not be discouraged if you don’t meet a friend each time you commit to an outing. Instead, journal what you liked about the outing. What made you smile? Take note if you would like to partake in that again.
If you find yourself desiring more relationships, have taken steps to meet others and still struggle to make connections, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to listen and help you establish a plan to better relationships. We have therapists who have a passion to help others heal.
How quickly a month can fly by, especially November and December. With the gatherings and gift exchanges and family visits, you may find yourself asking “How can I help this holiday week be positive?”. If your traveling, planning, budgeting and schedule have you desiring a positive holiday week, I invite you to keep reading.
Gathering with family or friends can be so enriching to our hearts when time spent is positive. However, gathering with family or friends can be draining and stressful if there are wounds or trying relationships. How do you feel when you know there is a family gathering coming up? Below we will talk about ways that you can help this holiday week be positive, even if some of the family and friends you gather with aren’t. Did you know there are steps you can take to shape your holiday week to be positive, such as setting boundaries?
How Can I Set Boundaries?
Do you find it hard to say no to requests? If so, setting boundaries may be hard for you, but they help. Set boundaries for yourself before you travel to the gathering. You do not have to adhere to all the plans and expectations made on your behalf. Decide which houses or gatherings you will partake in and be intentional with planning. You are the decision maker for you and your actions. You get to decide which gatherings fit your budget, time schedule and emotional well-being. Below are some suggestions that could help you in setting boundaries before you travel.
- How will you get there
- Is there available budget for the travel and stay
- Plan your diet while away if there are restrictions
- How long will you stay
- How will you respond to conflict
Taking time to come in agreement with the boundaries you set for each visit can help you maintain sense of control of you and your choices and make this holiday week more positive. Planning ahead to ensure that the budget and resources needed are available can reduce adding additional stress of going into debt to participate in family gathers. Be ok with saying “No.” if the resources are not available.
Can I Truly Feel in Control?
Another area that can help you have a positive holiday week is control. We can easily feel out of control when we try to fix others or respond when topics trigger us. Do you find it hard to receive what others direct at you? Do you need help responding to them? Focus on things you can control. For example, your thoughts and your actions are the only things within your control. Practice thinking a positive thought when conversations trigger you. You have no control over people’s words or actions. Keeping these two things in mind can help this holiday week be positive. If conflict follows your family gatherings, below are some suggestions that could help you better plan control over yourself during the holiday.
- Make it clear if certain topics are not up for debate
- Do not engage with conflict
- Decide ahead of time how you will exit the conversation
- Take small breaks or walks
- Don’t overdo sugar, alcohol or caffeine
- Decide ahead of time how you will handle someone crossing your boundary
Planning ahead and taking control of your choices can be hard but can also help this holiday week be positive. If gatherings are hard for you and your family, you may have to make choices that help you to establish boundaries and maintain control of things within your control. Taking steps in letting go of what you cannot control is necessary for our mental health and stability. We take these steps for ourselves, for our lives.
You can also read other posts where holiday stress is discussed and ways to make the holiday week positive. In this post we talk about choosing gratitude and how that affects us mentally. Identifying anxiety during the holidays can be very helpful. We discuss identifying if there is trauma involved in your relationships and steps to take to heal in this post. Selfcare and ways to take care of yourself during the holidays can be easily forgotten during the additional stress and tasks during the holidays.
Selfcare is important, yet, for some, is hard. Each of us must take steps to keep ourselves healthy emotionally, mentally and physically. If you desire to take steps for improvement but struggle to know what steps to take, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. Our therapists are trained to help you understand why spending time with family is so hard. We offer different therapy approaches to help you overcome the past and live in the today.
Do you desire help overcoming past wounds?
Upstate Restorative Counseling provides other services that can help you! We provide assistance with counseling in Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Navigating Life Transitions, Resolving Relationship Issues, and Online Therapy. When you are ready, our team is here to support you.
Would you like to read more on this topic? Check out this blog post for ideas to help.