"We cannot change anything until we accept it.
Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses."
- Carl Jung
Do you ever find you feel irritated with yourself for feeling irritated? Or maybe your bad mood makes you feel angry that you are in a bad mood? This might lead to further negative internal dialogue - “Stop feeling this way! Stop being so grouchy with everyone! You are doing this to yourself!” Which, of course, only makes things worse. The thoughts and feelings don’t go away, but rather, become stronger. Maybe we then add more self-blame and judgemental thoughts because we want to stop the feelings. Using self criticism to try and change our negative thoughts and emotions actually just intensifies them. Hence, the spiral of negative thinking continues onward. No matter how hard we try to change our thinking, it just doesn’t work.
If changing these thoughts isn’t possible, we may try to suppress them. Ignoring our thoughts and feelings isn’t an easy task. The more we try to avoid sadness, the sadder we become. When we are actively trying to not appear anxious in a high pressure situation, the more anxious we become. What would happen if we tried to accept these thoughts and feelings instead of working to change or ignore them?
There are going to be days when we don’t feel 100%. We will feel anxiety, anger, confusion, and sadness. No matter what we do, there will be times of emotional distress in our lives. Being human means we are able to experience a wide range of emotions in our day to day lives. If a friend or loved one were having a bad day, we would likely be kind, compassionate, and reassuring. Could we treat ourselves the same?
Rather than let our negative thoughts and feelings spiral, we can try acceptance. We can say to ourselves: “It’s ok that I am feeling sad right now.” “I’m transitioning; this feeling won’t last forever.” “Of course I’m angry right now, who wouldn’t be?” “This feeling is serving a purpose, and I wonder what that is?” Let’s try to give ourselves permission to feel whatever emotions are coming up. Acceptance empowers us to look at the present moment, embrace our emotions, and consider what to do next.
If you are looking for additional assistance in changing negative thoughts and feelings, individual therapy is something to consider. Therapy is a great place to get help in practicing acceptance. Take a look at our services page for more information on how we approach this process.
With summer in full swing, we at Bailey & Associates hope you are fully enjoying yourselves. Maybe you’re spending time enjoying a meal on a restaurant patio, relaxing at the beach, or at cookouts with friends and family. We understand that often these activities involve drinking alcohol. Enjoying a glass of rose, a summer cocktail, or a cold beer can be a big part of socializing.
Sometimes being safe and smart about alcohol consumption isn’t on the forefront of our minds. Here are some tips and tricks for safe drinking during summertime activities:
-Stay hydrated! - The sun is hot and alcohol makes us dehydrated. If you are drinking outdoors be sure to drink water periodically. One glass of water for each alcoholic beverage is a good idea.
-Maybe stick to one drink per hour? It’s a good rule of thumb. Your body processes about one alcoholic beverage per hour. If you don’t drink too much, too fast, you won’t get drunk as quickly.
-Be sure to eat a meal. If you are drinking at a cookout or at the beach, don’t skip the food. Our bodies need that nourishment.
-Stay mindful of your body and your surroundings. We don’t want any unfortunate, alcohol-related accidents.
-Look out for your friends. If someone is slurring their words, their eyes seem out of focus, or they are having trouble walking, keep an eye on them. If their heart rate is slowing too much they may need medical care.
-Be very careful about taking other drugs if you are already intoxicated. It’s especially risky to take benzos or opiates once you have been drinking alcohol.
-Make a plan to get home safely. Don’t drive! Bicycling can seem tempting, but it’s not safe either. Rely on public transit, walking, a cab, or a Lyft. Communicate with friends once you are safe at home, and have them do the same. Looking out for each other is key.
-If you are in recovery, remember your relapse prevention skills. Reach out to sober friends or attend a meeting if that is helpful.