Category: Mental Health

Don’t Keep Losing Your S!*T, Increase Your Patience.

Patience, oh Patience.  Some people believe this is a trait we are either born with or not or something we are either good at or not.  This is a hopeless belief and shines a dim light on the human race, can you imagine if we all walked around reacting to things like my 3 year old when he is tired and processed sugar is coursing through his veins (Because Halloween!) it would be the end of humanity if we all acted like this.  I believe that patience is something we can strengthen and get better at every day.

Patience is described as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry our upset.  Strengthening or growing my capacity to be patient is something that I work on each day.  Some moments are harder then others and some moments are completely fleeting and I lose my s!*T faster then I can realized what is going on.  But other moments I can take a deep breath and work through the situation no matter what it throws at me.  So why do we experience this difference in being able to keep it together and work through it or lose our s!*T.

There are many factors that can influence our capacity to be patient; amount of sleep, quality of food we are fueling our body with, level of stress and overwhelm, type of situation, amount of patience that have already been used for the day, amount of self-care that is engaged in, level of insight in to triggers, and the list goes on.  Some of these factors are in our control like making sure we get enough sleep, but others are out of our control.  Also, some of these factors may affect one person greater then another person.  With all these factors to consider it might seem overwhelming and hopeless that you can ever increase your patience and stop losing your s!*T.  But you can and here is how!!

Practice.  Practice. Practice.  I know boring right!  If you were looking for a quick fix this is not it but the good news is that it gets easier over time.  There are some basic first steps to make sure you are starting in the right place and those includes getting enough sleep, fueling your body with quality food, and getting regular physical movement.  After these things there are other steps that you can take to improve your patience.

Identify the feeling without attaching to it.

This means identifying and acknowledging the feeling that is causing the discomfort and labeling it, maybe even out loud.  By labeling the feeling it will help you to understand what is going on with your cognitive brain and not just your emotional center.  The next step is not attaching to this feeling.  This is the part that trips people up.  Sometimes you assume that the emotions you have are you and you label them good or bad.  This is not the case you are not your emotions, they are just reactions to moments in time and they are neither good nor bad, they are just telling you something.  Listen.

Change your perspective and rewrite your script.

After you identify the emotion and label it you get a change to change your perspective on it.  You are not a failure because you feel overwhelmed with managing your job, you kids schedules, keep the house clean, and cook wholesome meals.  You are doing the best you can with the time you have and maybe it is time to sit down and explore how you can reprioritize or ask for support.  This is challenging your inner critic by rewriting the story it is telling you and giving yourself some grace.  It is also hearing the criticism and using it to work through the barrier or explore alternative options.

Just breath and take some time for self-care.

Slow down and breath.  Sometimes just allowing yourself to take a deep breath will slow you down enough to be able to focus your reaction and redirect the emotions.  Allow yourself some space to take care of you so you have the capacity to have patience with others.  Do something that fills you up, gives you joy, and focuses you on enjoying that moment.  This is self care.  Everyone is different and the key is finding something that works for you and do it regularly.

Identify what you are grateful for.

While you are in a situation that is testing your patience it can be a really great time to remind yourself what you are grateful for in the situation or in the person.  This can break through the negative feelings and put you in a more positive mindset instantly.

It may seem odd that that I wrote this and attached a picture of my dog but let me tell you he is the perfect opportunity for me to practice patience everyday!  He is almost 13 years old and along with issues of aging he is also often a real JERK.  He has been this way for a long time and only really wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it and on no other terms.  Ever since I started looking at his behavior as an opportunity to practice patience it has improved our relationship and the negative feelings I have toward him.  He is still a JERK a lot of the time but I just take a deep breath and practice gratitude and smile and we usually get through it.

There is hope you can increase your patience in the world one situation at a time.  I believe in you!  You got this!  Start today growing your patience.  You will feel better and everyone in your world will react better to you when you are not losing your s!*T all the time!

Love, Ashley

Put an End to Solo Pity Parties and Blaming Others

Things that are happening in your life may not be your fault but they ARE your responsibility.  This is a hard pill to swallow sometimes and a lot of people want to run the other way or do something, anything, else to distract themselves from taking on this responsibility and dealing with it head on.  But none of these decisions will resolve the issues or change the things that are happening to you.  It is your responsibility to face these things head on and take 100% full responsibility so you are able to take ownership over the outcomes. 

In a world where people are quick blame others or have pity on themselves for negative things happening in their lives taking responsibility is often the least favorable choice.   But think about it, if you blame someone else or have a pity party that only you are attending how is this going to make you feel.  Worse!  When we blame someone else or throw a solo pity party we feel worse because it actually supports our notion that it is out of our control and we can do nothing about these negative things that are happening in our lives.  On the contrary, if we take full responsibility for these negative things we have full control over the outcomes.  This feels much more empowering and gives us forward momentum to make change. 

I know what you are thinking, but Ashley it was not my fault, why do I have to take responsibility?!?!  Hear me out.  Lets use the example of your mediocre job.  You hate it, you dread going everyday, and have to will yourself out of bed each morning.  When you do make it in to the office, late as usual, you spend most of your day counting down the time until you get to leave and day dreaming about all your fantasy job and your next vacation.  When asked about work you make comments like, “My boss still sucks”, “My coworkers can’t even do their jobs right”, “I am constantly amazed at how upper management treats us so poorly when we bring in all the money to keep this company a float”.  Blah Blah Blah!!  The work environment as a whole is not your fault but it is your responsibility to make changes.  You can make changes in your outlook, you level of production, and your engagement at the office.  You can also look for a new job or go back to school.  But be warned that the grass is not always greener on the other side, it is greener where you water it.  So taking the time and exerting the energy to water the grass at your current job might be the best way to improve your situation.  Regardless of what choices you make it is your responsibility to make these choices and take action.

I know that this problem may not fit for all of you but there are steps to every problem, sometimes you just need to look deep, get creative, and accept that you might have to do things that you don’t want to do to resolve the problem.  I challenge you to look at your life right now and identify something that you have been choosing to ignore or put on the back burner and choose right now to take 100% responsibility for it.  What action can you take right now to start working on the issue or moving toward your desired outcome? 

Love, Ashley

Does Therapy Work?

I am a therapist, what do you think I do?  You sought me out, you came to my office, and you stated you wanted to reduce your worries, your sadness, or make changes in your life.  Now you are sitting in front of me talking about all the “bad therapists” you have had in your life and how “therapy has never been helpful”.  In the same conversation when I asked what steps you have taken, what tools you have used you can not tell me or you give me vague answers and skirt around the question.  I say, “I can not solve this for you.”  You look surprised, stunned actually that I am saying this.  But I don’t know what else to say other then you are the only person that can change your problems and work toward your goals.  Yes, I think therapy can be very helpful in working on these problems and barriers however people need to be open and willing to do the work and hear the hard observations to be successful in therapy.

If you are wanting to work toward your goals or change something in you life please seek out a therapist, but also know that you have to the work.  Just showing up each week and “talking” is not going to do this for you.  There must be action involved.  The therapist can and should help you identify the action steps or new tools to use but you alone can actually take the action.

What will help you be successful in therapy?

-Find a therapist that you can talk to and feel comfortable being open and honest with.  (It is ok if this takes a while, not everyone will be your jam, that is ok! Find someone who is.) (Just make sure you are being honest with yourself and not ending a therapy relationship just because it got hard or they called you out on your crap.)

BE open and honest with the therapist.  Share it all, don’t sugar coat it, don’t let shame or fear get in the way just share.  Talk about the hard stuff.

-Actually do what the therapist suggests!  I don’t mean try it twice and chalk it up to another thing that doesn’t work.  I mean actually doing it, over and over again, even when, especially when, it gets hard.  Making it a new habit in your life takes time and consistent effort.

-Attend sessions as recommended.  Consistency is so important in making changes because as humans we are creatures of habit, if we stop making changes we will go right back in to our old ways.

Therapy should be hard work.   Working toward goals, making changes in our behaviors and patterns of thinking is very hard work, it is not easy.  But the thing is, time is going to pass anyways.  Spend your time wisely and do the work, make the progress.  Your future self will thank you.

Love, Ashley

How Can Living Mindfully Whole Help You be Your Best Self

How Can Living Mindfully Whole Help You be Your Best Self

Living Mindfully Whole means living your fullest life and being present in as many moments as possible.  Big emphasis on “YOUR fullest life” because no two people are fulfilled in the same way.  You are responsible for finding what gives you energy and pursuing it.  I know you are feeling overwhelmed and stuck without a idea how to start making changes.  This is where the idea of Living Mindfully Whole came from. This is a place where you can find support and get encouragement in defining your best life and the courage to start living it everyday.