When Romance Dies: 7 Steps to Bounce Back

Heather Edwards RomanceSomeone yanked the carpet out from under you. You’re flabbergasted, broken-hearted, and wondering if you’ll ever love again.  You thought this was the one. It’s hard to imagine life without him. You were already thinking about next steps – marriage and children. What will you tell your friends and family? What will they think of you? Where did you go wrong?

Your mind races as the tears flow. It hurts. Yet, as much as you wanted it to work, it wasn’t a perfect relationship anyway. In fact, there’s no perfect relationship. But, what now?

  1. Allow yourself to cry. The loss of a relationship – even if YOU did the breaking up – is a loss. It can feel like a mini grief cycle. Your feelings will fluctuate between disbelief, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. Ride the wave. It will pass.
  2. Get rid of his belongings. Return them. Burn them. Sell them. Hide them from yourself. If you want to move on, you need to limit the reminders.
  3. Let go of your ego. There might be some embarrassment lurking in the shadows of your grief. It’s normal to consider the perception of others but, when it keeps you stuck in negative feelings or non-action, it only hurts you more. You were brave enough to love. You are strong enough to rise above the judgements. Heather Edwards Romance
  4. 4. Consider what you learned. Every relationship is an opportunity to be your best self and notice when you’re not. When you reflect on the break up, fill in this blank statement, “This experience is good because _______.”.
  5. Reach out to friends and family. We are social creatures. Studies show that stress hormones are reduced and calming hormones are stimulated when we touch one another. Ask for a hug. Allow those who love you to support you.
  6. Make YOURSELF a priority. Self care restores wellness, resilience, and inner strength. Talk to your therapist, get a massage, go for a hike, pet an animal, do lunch with a friend, eat healthy, paint your nails, listen to music, write in your gratitude journal.
  7. Quiet your inner critic. When your inner monologue is ripping you to shreds, deliberately change those self abusive thoughts to self encouraging ones. Focus on what you want to believe. Say them to yourself in the third person. Breathe. Trust them.

Heather Edwards RomanceHealing from a broken heart takes time. Honor yourself. Beware of destructive behaviors like drinking too much or jumping into another relationship before you’re ready – even if it’s just a hook up.

Sit. Write. Talk. Draw. Listen. Walk. Read. Paint. Cry. Work through the feelings. It will make you stronger, wiser, and more confident. When you face the pain and acknowledge your grief, the dark shadows fade away and new possibilities emerge. Your wholehearted self will again be open, authentic, vulnerable and loved.

The Art of Non-Attachment – Learning to let go

heather edwards psychotherapy letting goI heard the crash of my beloved pottery as it shattered on the cement floor. It jolted me. It freed me.

17 years ago when I was starting out as a potter (one of my passions), I toiled endlessly to make each piece perfect. The walls needed to be straight. The mouth perfectly circular, and the form of the body exact – that’s the beauty and the art of it.

My instructor painfully witnessed my labor and determination for perfection everyday. I attended every open studio session and took multiple classes per week. I knew if I worked hard enough, I’d get it.

One night that instructor suggested non-attachment to the work. I had no idea of what he meant. He might as well have been speaking a foreign language that I couldn’t understand.

That platter was my baby. I devoted hours to making each curve exactly how I wanted it – the thickness, the angle, and the integrity of the lip. It all had to be a certain way.

heather edwards psychotherapy in new york

Despite my efforts, he saw a flaw. One that was unfixable. I pleaded with him to let me try to make it right. He insisted, “No, Heather. You have to let it go. Smash the platter with me.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

It took a moment, in front of a classroom of students but I decided to comply. He took a piece of his pottery and we agreed to smash them together in the air and allow them to shatter.

The moment that platter left my grip, there was no turning back. I gasped. I closed my eyes. I heard the breakage and the outburst of joy among my peers.

It liberated us all. It was freeing. It was a literal breakthrough. There would be no more toiling.

Now I had a clean slate and a fresh start. I could refocus and begin anew. Fresh possibilities emerged and my work improved.

Who knows how many more hours I would’ve spent on that unfixable platter? Almost two decades later, that invaluable lesson sticks with me.

What are you holding onto that no longer serves you? What is unfixable or  keeping you stuck that needs to be released?
heather edwards psychotherapy in new york

When you release what you cannot change, fix, or control – you are free. You become open to the real possibilities of the  moment and live wholeheartedly.

Ever since that day, I try to recognize the point where it’s time to let go. It serves me and everyone around me to be diligent in that effort.

I’ve lost contact with that teacher. I’d like to thank him for the lessons I learned. It’s shaped me in ways beyond my art.

My pottery continues to develop but, with much less angst and much more joy and fluidity. It’s become a model and metaphor for living authentically, without regrets and fully engaged in the now.

 

Is Shame Holding You Back? You are worthy.

heather edwards shameLet’s go alternate reality. Yes, AR. What’s your biggest wish for this year? Five years from now? Or for your lifetime? Tap into the full experience of that image. Be the hero in your own game. One where you make the rules. You tell the story. You determine the outcome.

What’s there? Who’s there? Smell the scents, see the colors, connect to the people, hear the sounds, engage with your surroundings. Notice the energy that fills you up. Close your eyes. Lock it in.

Wait. Did I hear the voice of self doubt? Disbelief? Uncertainty? It’s okay. It’s what we do. Notice it and dismiss it. Shift your focus to what you want. The nasty little self critic gremlin works hard at sabotaging your dreams. It’s his job. In some contexts it’s what keeps you alive. It notices danger and warns you. But sometimes it’s nothing more than insecurity and a sense of unworthiness holding you back in the form of shame.

When the gremlin rears his ugly little head, you stop. You get scared and small. You start replaying the mental tape of negative messages you’ve heard throughout your lifetime. After all, they prove the critic is right. Wrong!

Those sabotaging statements from your family, the mean boss, or the bully on the playground have no merit. They no longer call the shots. You do. The next time you feel stifled, small, or unworthy do this…heather edwards worthy

1. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Identify three things you are grateful for today. Meditate on each of them for 30 seconds. You’ll strengthen the neural pathways responsible for happiness and wellbeing. To boot, Brene Brown’s research has identified gratitude as the antidote to shame and unworthiness.

2. Stretch. Take up space. Literally reach for the sky. BKS Iyengar (the father of Iyengar Yoga) believed that raising your arms above your head stimulates the lymphatic system which builds immunity and can improve mood and coping. Other studies have shown that it increases testosterone production and reduces cortisol (a stress hormone), creating a calm confident feeling.

3. Give yourself a hug. When you place your hand on your heart, you signal the body to release calming hormones. It’s comforting and grounding. Like other pressure points on the body, it shifts your energy from being uncomfortable to being more relaxed and fluid. Pair it with a deep breath and mantra like, “It will be okay.” and you’ll feel like a million bucks again.

This is just the start of managing uncomfortable feelings. Get to the root of what’s keeping you stuck. The only way out of it is through it. When you turn toward them, acknowledge them, and replace them with healthy thoughts and behaviors you narrate the story. For a more in depth exploration, call a mental health professional. Be the hero in your reality.heather edwards counseling psychotherapy

Adulthood Sucks… or does it?

Heather Edwards AdulthoodLast Friday I was sitting in the dentist’s chair chuckling between tooth jabbings with the hygienist, Jessica. She told me she bought a T-shirt for her friend who’s fallen on hard times. It reads, “I’m not a gynecologist but I’ll take a look.”. We laughed and I replied that I just bought a T-shirt for my sister that reads, “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.”  We relished each other’s sense of humor & noted how serious adulthood can be, if you let it. And how extra important it is to be silly & have fun, and acknowledge emotional pain and indulge your dreams.

Later that day I attended another doctor appointment and then took a long drive out of state to a dear one’s funeral. It didn’t feel like a Friday. It felt like a very heavy, fearful, solemn day.

What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be one of the toughest weekends I’ve ever had. It was also one of the most beautiful. Family and friends laughed and cried together. We supported each other in our grief and loss. And we created new bonds and memories. We brunched, hiked, went through old photos, and shared past experiences.

We explored nature and our place in it. On a hiking trail we came across a quote on a bridge rail that read, “…the universe is wider than our views of it.”- Henry David Thoreau. It was profoundly relevant and comforting considering our reason for the trip.Heather Edwards Adulthood

Adulthood sucks, right? Not so. Yes, the longer we live the more loss, tragedy, and heartbreak we will see but, we choose where to focus our attention and energy. While remaining open and aware of life’s challenges, we can choose to notice the gifts and find strength in what brings us joy.

So in the face of sadness, anger, or loss what makes you experience gratitude? What shifts your energy from low to high, negative to positive, or sad to content?

What happened to that dream you had before life got so complicated? – The one where everything was perfect and you were sitting on a beach or mountaintop basking in the glow of the warm sunshine with your lover listening to the sounds of nature without a care in the world? It’s still there, somewhere beneath the chaos.

Heather Edwards AdulthoodEven though it may seem impossible or even irrelevant now, it’s more important than ever to pursue it. You may not know how to achieve the end goal but you can identify one way to get an inch closer today. What makes you feel joy?

Embrace your fearless inner kid and stop listening to the self defeating inner monologue. Take a moment to be still. Connect to your dreams. Find the silver lining.

Reclaim your life. Mourn those who pass, take responsibility for a mature life, and go play! -even if it means buying a funny teeshirt for a friend in need of a laugh.

Jumpstart Productivity: 7 Tips to Get on Track

productivityThose long lazy days filled with sunlight and flowers are nearing an end. Dawn and dusk last a bit longer as the sun’s angle lowers in the sky. Shadows dance through the trees upon the breeze while the air cools, just a touch. As the gardens wilt and turn to seed, shorts and tee shirts no longer comfort you. Instead, you reach for sweaters and pants each morning and enjoy the crisp new season. You begin looking forward to what autumn brings – change, purpose, and productivity.  While summer will be missed, you know it will come again. It’s bittersweet but the time is nigh to look ahead and plan for your most abundant fall and winter.

Here are a few tips to get started on making the new season a fruitful one.

  1. Establish a routine. The power of routine is immeasurable. Once you’ve created an order in your life that allows your brain to focus on higher level or creative pursuits, the mundane and trivial activities of everyday life become almost unconscious. This allows your mental effort to be applied to what you really want to accomplish, rather than getting bogged down in the details.
  2. Create accountability. Verbalize your goals with people around you to create an external source of responsibility to them. It’s motivating to answer publicly to your proclamations. Set clear boundaries and expectations for what you want. Use timers, calendars, and a daily schedule to keep on track.
  3. Clear your mind. Meditation is the most effective way of creating peace, clarity, and focus in your life. It can happen in just 20 minutes per day. It physically changes your brain structure to allow better coping with stress. Madonna, Clint Eastwood, Lady Gaga, Howard Stern, Katy Perry, and the list goes on… practice meditation to create a sense of calm groundedness amidst the chaos of a busy life.
  4. Just say, “no”.  This is an undervalued skill that makes life more manageable. How often have you overcommitted? When you’re frantically striving to complete many tasks, your quality of work is reduced. When you focus on only a few projects that are really important to you, your quality of work skyrockets. Practice the art of graciously declining invitations. It’s better for outcomes, relationships, and your health.
  5. Get some shut eye. The research into sleep is exploding. Recent studies are finding that sleep allows your brain to encode (save/remember) information, organize information, and cleanse itself of toxins. It not only allows your mind and body to rest, it can improve learning and memory, performance, and mood.
  6. Fuel your machine. Would you drive your car on an empty tank of gas, or expect your cell phone to ring when the battery is depleted? How could you expect peak performance from yourself without the proper fuel? Reduce your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and other vices. Increase consumption of lean meats, leafy greens, fruits, fatty fish, and nuts. They provide nutrients that reduce depression, increase energy, promote healthy brain function, heart health, and immunity. The benefits of eating right are endless.
  7. Burn it off. Exercise increases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It lowers stress related hormones like cortisol & adrenaline. Combined, these improve energy and balance emotions. Getting sweaty develops brain regions responsible for memory and learning, improves your overall physique, and can boost your self esteem. Commit to regular exercise.

productivityWhile the long, lazy days of summer are coming to a close, a new season of growth and opportunity beckons. Go with the flow, stay in the present moment, maintain your focus. When you implement these tips, you will improve your life. Start small. Begin with one change that will get you closer to the way you want to experience life. Make it a habit. Reap the benefits.

 

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
1st Photo courtesy of free digital photos.net. by David Castillo Dominici.

It’s Not Too Late! Set Your Goals for 2016

Heather Edwards GoalsWe’re still in the first half of 2016! But the fourth month & second quarter have begun. Where do you stand with your 2016 goals? If you didn’t write them down, draw them out, or mentally obsess about them, it’s not too late.

When you consider celebrating New Year 2017, what do you want to have accomplished? I heard a rumor earlier this year that 2016, according to numerology, is the year of personal development.  So I ran with it. I won’t bore you with my plans, but it helped me shape what is important to me.

If you’re still waffling, try out the following tips to start improving your life…

    • Choose one task to do differently each day. Yes, mix up your routine. My yoga teacher encourages this with our poses and breathing. When things become automatic, we do them mindlessly. We lose our passion and connection to them. Since we aren’t robots, practice staying engaged and thoughtful in the art of doing things – whether it’s exercise, drinking coffee, or petting your cat.
    • Go slow to go fast. Breathe. Take a moment to slow down and check-in with yourself. This gives you the space to clear your mind, and gain clarity and momentum. It’s paradoxical but it works. When your mind is racing, let it be your cue to focus on the basics. Take three deep breaths. Notice how it feels. Enjoy the 30 seconds of “me” time  you just found in your hectic day.Heather Edwards Goals
    • Be curious. Where curiosity ends, judgement, blame, defensiveness, and burnout begin. Wonder about stuff – textures, people, sensations, colors, sunsets, ANYTHING! Just wonder. It promotes an open mind and creative thinking. When you’re feeling stuck for an answer, pose a question. It opens you up to possibilities you might not have considered otherwise. The human brain can’t stand an unanswered question.
    • When you imagine yourself in your most peaceful and fulfilling place, what do you see? Notice the details of where you are, who’s with you, and what you look like. What do you feel, sense, and think about? Witness your life as you would like it.  What needs to change in your life now for you to be in that peaceful place? What is in that picture that doesn’t exist now? How did you get there? Identify one step you can take today to get the metaphorical ball rolling toward your future self. Spend a few minutes each day with that image.
    • Write it out! Putting your ideas on paper makes them real, observable, and tangible. When you do, they’re no longer just ideas swirling around in your head. When you can see them, clarity is gained, and actionable steps emerge.

Heather Edwards GoalsIt can be simple to get out of a rut. Spring is here! Summer is coming! Get outside. Notice your surroundings. Find something new to wonder about.

Breathe. Mix up your routine but stay grounded. Slow down to speed up. Spend a few minutes everyday focusing on what you want.

If you’re like most people, too much time and energy is spent on what you don’t want. They say that what you think about you bring about. Allow your mind to wander and revel in the possibilities. Get real about your goals. It’s not too late!

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” -Earl Nightingale

Audio Blog: Reclaim Your Life

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

 

Is ego, fear, or someone else’s vision keeping you stuck?

You are the expert, master, and keeper of your life.

What are your guiding philosophies?  Are you functioning from a place of blame, entitlement, lack, fear, and greed? Or from a position of responsibility, abundance, wealth, courage, and charity? And I’m not talking about money – but rather about strength, purpose and meaning.

Maybe your mind is scattered and unfocused, or it seems too late to change course now.

Maybe you forgot to ask questions and push back a little along the way. Perhaps what you want seems unobtainable. Maybe you’ve never been a lucky person, or there’s too much burdening you to see the possibilities.

Our perspective is much like a camera lens.

Sometimes we need to stop to adjust the filter, focus, or breadth of what we see. When the inner critic speaks louder than the voice of reason, self doubt sounds like the gospel truth. When hopelessness reigns as the Queen of your mental castle, it’s time to step back and adjust the lens.

1. Focus. Adjust. Zoom.Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Switch the lens.

If what you want is to be happy, focus your energy and attention on the people, places, and experiences that lead you to feeling happy.  Doing this for just 30 seconds, five times per day, can change your brain structure and chemistry so that it’s easier to see the bright side of things.

If what you want is to be free, adjust the expectations, to-do’s, and beliefs that imprison you. What can you take off your plate, delegate or reprioritize?

If it’s love you seek, look at the bigger picture. Reach for the wide lens. You could be missing something, or someone, who’s right in front of you.

2. When you hear your inner monologue sweetly sabotaging your dreams, question it and correct it.

Ask, “What evidence do I have to support the idea that I can’t do it?” Then, flip it around and ask, “What evidence do I have that I CAN do it?”.  And, “What information do I need to make that dream happen?”.

3. Start with a top ten list.

Name your top ten most enjoyable activities – where you get lost in the flow, 10 people who inspire you – who you’ve learned from or have felt something change in your life because of them, and 10 things you can do so naturally that you can complete them without even thinking about them.

4. Identify your hidden values.

Notice overlapping activities, skills, or interests in your lists.  Cherish this crucial information as the foundation for beginning to reclaim your life. Now you are building, growing, grounding, and changing. Set one micro-goal for each day to get closer to your dream.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach5. Remind yourself you can do this.  Commit to staying THIS course.

When you commit to daily actionable steps toward your dream, you steadily move toward achieving them.  Envision your best self.  Embrace your unique strengths. Trust you have the drive and wherewithal to see them through. Clarify your intentions daily. Watch your life evolve.

“Your field of focus determines what you find in life.” T. Harv Eker

Discover YOUR Greatness: Quiet the Inner Critic

Discover Heather Edwards CoachYou get so close and back away. You taste greatness. But it seems too good to be real.

You’re actualizing your core self, your feelings, your desires. You knew you had it inside and could share it with the world… to make this a better world. A richer one made with a tapestry of creativity, passion, and truth.

But there’s a voice telling you no one wants to hear you. No one could enjoy you. No one appreciates the greatness within you. It calls your attention to an acute awareness of the catastrophe of life, and your part in it.

Say hello to the mindless chatter of your self sabotaging fear, sadness, and doubt. It wants you to stay where you are – numb, disconnected, where you don’t want to be. But where you’re oddly comfortable.

It’s a familiar place. It’s predictable and safe. But it’s limiting. It grows small inside the walls of your fear. It’s lonely. One dimensional.

Heather EdwardsBust out of that tiny room in your head. Refuse compliance with anger, anxiety, and loneliness. Rebel against the tired old messages that no longer serve you. Engage the hungry mind. Indulge the thirst for connection, impact, and influence.

Only the flow of word, deed, and experience can feed the soul of passion and creativity. Nourish the yearning. Manifest an energy larger than you.

Yes, it’s big. At times it’s overbearing. But this is life force. It moves you to a place of disbelief. It’s a place of profound joy that you could really be this person. This complex, passionate, relevant human being. Your true self. Unleashed. Vulnerable. Strong.

Welcome. Stay awhile. Keep your commitments. Dream big. Honor your inner greatness. Believe in your core self. Connect with your truest desires. Abandon judgement. Notice the intricacy, beauty, and complexity of this life as a living breathing human being.

ID-100362864You are as worthy as anyone else on this planet. Embrace that. When you do, you can only make this a better place for all.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

 

photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by nentus

3 Steps to Achieve the Life You Desire

Heather Edwards Coach PsychotherapyYou chose the path of least resistance. When starting college at age 17, I did the same. You followed the protocol. A real no-brainer. It’s what your parents or friends wanted for you. But it wasn’t YOUR dream. And you didn’t even realize it then.

According to Forbes.com, a Mercer survey of 30,000 workers worldwide showed that between 28% and 56% of employees in 17 spots around the globe want to leave their jobs. In the U.S., 32% said they want to find new work in a Right Management survey. Those employees reported they were either somewhat or totally unsatisfied.

Many spend years studying, training, and working in a job that’s not fulfilling. They did what their parents prescribed or chose what was available to them at the time. While noble because they value work, they consider work a four letter word. It creates stress, dread, and low self worth.

After years of  feeling exhausted, frustrated, and hopeless a light bulb glows. You realize it’s not too late to change your path. While regretting time lost – passion, creativity, and impact on the greater good tempt you. There is hope for for a happier, freer, more purposeful life.

Your unique strengths and talents can only be actualized by you. Don’t deprive the rest of us. The world needs you.

Own what makes you tick and what gifts you possess. If the path of least resistance failed you, then open up to the many opportunities available to you, and choose.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Heather Edwards Coach PsychotherapistWhen you have a few moments between tasks, what do you think about? If there were no obstacles, what would you do differently? Free your mind to explore the possibilities. Quiet the inner critic. Honor yourself in all your glory. Notice what you’re doing when time melts away. That’s a key to your mission and purpose.  Indulge your imagination.
  2. How do you want to feel? What kind of person do you want to be? Make of list of 10 feelings words and 10 adjectives that describe the kind of person you respect and admire. What and who moves you? Notice the moments you embody those feelings, attitudes, and attributes. These are more clues to materializing the life you desire… Focus on that.
  3. Draw a map of your future. Identify what you want this week, in 3 months, a year, in 5 years, and your lifetime. Write it down. When it’s written down, it’s real. Identify one step you can take today or this week to inch closer to achieving them. Now you can do something with it. Get started. What is the thing you need to do to begin the trajectory forward? Do you need information? Do you need support, resources, networking, training, funding, or time? Seek clarity.

Get off the metaphorical couch. Get real. Take action. The only real failure, is the failure to act. Just get started. The rest will follow.

 

Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages & David Castillo Dominici. 

7 Paths to Peace Amidst Terror

Heather Edwards Psychotherapy, & Coaching Anger. Fear. Helplessness. Rage. Suspicion. Guilt. Despair. These are just a few of the negative emotions felt all over the world since the Paris and Beirut terror attacks last week.

Like a suction cup, you’re glued to the TV, Internet, and radio. You are scared. And you’re angry that you’re scared. Layering feelings upon feelings. It means they won.

You want this to go away. Yet you obsess about what’s next and what it means for your future. It marks the beginning of World War 3. It’s something you didn’t foresee in your lifetime.

Questions abound. Is it best to stay home? Should I avoid the city? Are the subways safe? Can I freely discuss my concerns? How do I know if the person next to me is a terrorist, or not?

Here in New York City, people are re-traumatized by the horrific events of last week. It’s all too similar to what we experienced on September 11th, 2001.

According to PTSDUnited.org, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives… “This equates to approximately 223.4 million people. Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD. As of today, that equates to approximately 44.7 million people who were or are struggling with PTSD. An estimated 8% of Americans − 24.4 million people − have PTSD at any given time. That is equal to the total population of Texas.”.

Since you can’t change the events that have already happened, and you can’t control what other people do, how can you ease your experience of this chaos?  

Here are a few tips for creating peace, hope, and safety in your internal world and possibly your outer world, too…

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist & Coach1. Meditate:  Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take three belly breaths. Tune into the sensations of your in-breath and out-breath. Notice what you hear, feel, smell, taste, and see. Allow thoughts to pass through your mind without judging, evaluating, or solving anything. Simply observe your experience. Gently allow the present moment to pass through you and coexist with you in its entirety. This removes the chaos and struggle and strengthens the part of your brain responsible for kindness, compassion, peace, and calm.

2. Focus on the Good: Neurons that fire together wire together. Brain studies demonstrate that what you focus on grows stronger. If you want to feel calm, focus on calming thoughts. If you want to feel safe, focus on safety thoughts. If you want to feel happy, focus on happy thoughts. When you focus on fear, anger, and hatred you will strengthen those feelings. The choice is yours.

3. Write it Out/Draw it Out: Get those negative thoughts out of your head. Write them down. Scribble or draw them. Dump them onto paper. Journaling is cathartic and clarifying. It provides relief from distress and a safe place to channel negative emotions. Balance it with notes of gratitude and what you hope for the future. It can shift the energy in a positive direction.

4. Get Naked: Your physical body stores stress and trauma in the form of pain, inflammation, and disease. Release it. Have sex. Go to yoga. Take a walk. Play the drums. Get a massage. Climb a tree. Movement helps express and relieve tension. It keeps energy flowing in your body and supports a healthy nervous system. This clears the way for better coping to emerge.

5. Reach Out: Call a friend, Counselor, Pastor, relative, or other trusted person for support. Remember you are not alone. When it’s too difficult to manage your emotions and put healthy coping skills into play, take action! There’s no shame in being proactive about your mental health. Without it, everything else suffers.

6. Seek Inspiration: Whether in a fond memory, a quote, speech, poem, mantra, song, or dream find the nugget of positivity that resonates with you. There is safety, clarity, and hope in the words and images that move you. Use them to transcend today’s calamity and envision a better tomorrow.

Heather Edwards, Psychotherapy & Coaching - Terror7. Turn toward those negative emotions. Acknowledge them. Validate them. They are real. But then temper them, distract yourself from them, channel them, look for the middle ground. Life doesn’t only exist in hardships, extremes, and struggle. While chaos is happening around you there are beautiful things unfolding, too. Discover them. In modulating your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, you impact not only you, but also the greater good. Embrace courage, conviction, and belief in peace, love, and freedom.  

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see.”. Leading by example inspires others to do the same. You can institute positivity in this time of chaos.

 

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages, imagemajestic, and Jeroen van Oostrom.