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Some emotions such as joy or inspiration are wonderful to experience. We usually welcome them with open arms.
Conversely, we often meet emotions such as sadness or frustration with a large “please leave now” sign.
These feelings can quickly drag us down into the pits of despair, impacting our bodies and outlook on life. When these intense depression symptoms take hold, overcoming them can be incredibly challenging.
Unsurprisingly, millions of people around the world struggle with depression.
If you’re facing your own battle against depression, it’s important to know that there are tools available to empower you in your struggle.
Here are four practical tips that you can start applying today to help you overcome depression.
1. Harness the Power of Your Body
Far too many times, people underestimate the significance of the body-mind connection. Yet, your body can have a profound impact on your mind—boosting your mood, changing your outlook on life, and improving your overall mental health.
And you have the ability to harness this incredible power!
With a couple of physical adjustments, you can instantly improve the way you feel. Start by noticing how you’re currently holding your body.
Are you slumped over? Or is your mouth turned down, by any chance?
Gravity is a strong force. So is depression. To battle both, try raising your chest bone a bit. Pull your shoulders back and keep your chin parallel with the ground as well.
This will encourage a feeling of strength, confidence, and being in control of your life.
2. Embrace Structure
Depression is the nemesis of routine, robbing your life of any type of a structure. Causing you to feel as though you can’t do this or accomplish that, depression often weighs you down.
A way to fight this heavy feeling is to establish a solid routine in your life. It may sound odd to fight the enemy of structure with structure, but it really works.
For example, along with a healthy self-care routine, create a daily routine that you really enjoy. As a result, you’ll feel more secure when things don’t go your way.
This daily depression-fighting routine will look different for each person, of course. For some, it may be dedicating an hour to yoga and meditation. Others may thrive on a daily three-mile jog or walk.
Whatever you insert into your routine that makes you feel good, stick with it. There’s even a hashtag trend #DoItAnyway, helping people to stay committed to a healthy daily routine.
3. Use Empowering Language
As you’re probably well aware, depression has a filthy mouth. Not only does it attempt to cripple your mind and body but it also tries to stifle your emotions as well.
Often, depression uses your own tongue to do its dirty work through negative self-talk. In fact, even your choice of words to describe an experience can impact the way you store that memory. Thus, influencing the way that you perceive the world around you.
To help you control your emotions, choose your words carefully.
For example, instead of saying that you were “crushed” when a friend failed to return your phone call, use the word “disappointed.”
Although it seems like a minor shift, it’s amazing how much of a difference such a small change can make.
4. Unplug for a Day (or More)
In an attempt to connect the corners of this big wide world, social media has actually done its part to push us further back into our cave.
Of course, social media does have its place in our lives. It can be a great resource to maintain long-distance relationships or to stay current on local new and events. With that said, social media can also increase feelings of depression.
To effectively deal with depression, face-to-face interactions are your best bet. And that’s just for starters.
To take “IRL” (in real life) experiences to another level, go for a walk in the park or sit in the sunshine for 20 minutes. These organic experiences do wonders for boosting your mood and fighting depression.
For more support in your struggle with depression, please reach out to me today. I would like to help. Counselling can empower you to use the skills and tools you already possess to overcome depression.
Grief and loss
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Trudy Jacobsen | Grief and loss
If you’re like many people, you’re okay letting the shoulder of your shirt get tear-soaked.
You’re a good person, and being that “rock” is honourable. You’re willing to love and care for those who are facing a loss, even without knowing exactly how.
Yet, when that same bereaved person stops sniffling and begins to speak, you may start to feel really uncertain about how to respond. Not knowing what to say or do can make people feel very uncomfortable.
It’s normal to feel uncertain, grief comes in all forms. So, you may wonder, how do you deal with another person’s pain? What’s your role in their grieving? How do you show your love beyond providing a shoulder to cry on?
Understand the Problem
Feeling uncomfortable with grief, you may be at a loss for what to say to someone dealing with a loss. So, you may say nothing at all. Until, suddenly, months have gone by and you now feel like a terrible friend rather than anything remotely honourable.
Or not knowing what to say, you may constantly fill each moment with distracting small talk. In addition to the meaningless chatter, you may also shy away from mentioning the deceased. After all, you don’t want to be the one to cause more pain.
Believing you’ve effectively “fixed” the bereaved person’s problems, the circle of avoidance and distraction continues. And your mission of being a good support system silently crumbles.
5 Practical Ways to Support Someone Who Is Facing a Loss
The thing to remember about grief is that it’s okay not to be okay. It really is! And you are an incredibly good friend for caring so deeply for your bereaved friend or family member.
So, here are five ways you can express your care in a way that your loved one truly feels it and benefits from it.
1. Normalise Grief
Although grief is uncomfortable and often doesn’t make complete sense, it’s a normal part of life. For that reason, it’s important to view it as such.
Normalising grief will help ease your anxious feelings about being a proper support system. Also, it will make your loved one a bit more comfortable with their own emotions as well.
2. Accept Your Response as Normal
As well as normalising grief itself, be sure to accept your response to it as normal. This is a difficult situation, full of complexities. Wanting to avoid those twists and turns is understandable.
One way to accept your response as normal is simply to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your feelings of wanting to avoid the uncertainty of not knowing exactly the right thing to say.
You don’t have to pretend like you have all the answers. Who actually does? Be honest with your loved one, telling them you’re there for them even though you may stumble a bit.
3. Offer Encouragement
Coping with the loss of a loved one is a huge challenge. As you may know, there are days when a bereaved person feels as though their insides have taken a beating. Such things as upset stomachs, headaches, and insomnia can all be a normal part of grief.
Most importantly, listen to your loved one and validate their feelings. Encourage them to see that they can cope with these problems. Simply hearing that they’ll get through this can offer them a great deal of hope.
And, then, encourage yourself, too. A little positive self-talk goes a long way.
4. Ask Questions
No one expects you to be a mindreader. So, don’t try to be. Remember, grief can be difficult for others to see and understand. What you may think is normal behaviour, your loved one may view as grieving.
It’s important to ask them questions, such as:
- How can I help you?
- What do you need today?
- How are you feeling?
- Is there anything specific I can do for you? I would like to help. Perhaps I could…
Whether your loved one needs you to sit quietly with them to look through old photo albums, talk to an insurance agent, or handle some arrangements, be there. Listen to them and ask questions about how you can best support them.
5. Give Up on Timeframes
Grief works at its own pace. Giving up on any sort of timeframe is a good idea. Although there may be distinguishable phases as your loved one grieves, people tend to go back and forth.
To best support your loved one, just let them repeat a phase or feel that emotion again, or whatever they need.
One last tip—possibly the most overlooked—is simply look after yourself. Grieving and loving someone who is grieving is exhausting. Don’t forget that you need to conserve your energy and fill up the emotional tank while you’re being there for someone else.
If you’re supporting someone who is facing a loss, please reach out. I would really like to help.
Marriage Counselling / Relationship Counselling
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Being in a successful relationship takes purposeful work.
Sometimes connecting with each other comes more naturally. Other days, it may be very hard to find a path to your partner.
For this reason, it’s important to make a conscious effort to understand your partner’s needs. Doing so makes connecting possible.
But first, it’s important to understand what “connecting” really is.
Most people assume it simply means having a conversation. While talking is a big part of it, there can be so much more to communication than simply passing on information.
Connecting with your partner means you are present, not just physically!. You listen to, understand and validate their needs. It also means finding ways to fill those needs.
Here’s how to make it happen in your own relationship.
How to Understand What Your Partner Needs
According to motivational author and speaker Tony Robbins, humans have six fundamental needs. To figure out what is most important to your partner in the relationship, consider these six pillars as a starting point.
Avoiding pain and seeking out pleasure, certainty surrounds the idea of security.
An idea to help you understand your partner’s needs is to talk to your partner about how secure or certain they feel in the relationship. Do they feel as though your love is a gamble? And what can make them feel more secure?
Humans thrive on variety. In other words, exciting and even unexpected challenges motivate us, it builds character and increases our abilities.
In your relationship, do you have enough healthy challenges with which to nurture a strong connection? If not, you may want to give the idea of adding variety some thought.
How important does your partner feel to you? In a relationship, feeling important is invaluable.
It’s vital, therefore, that you find ways to let your partner know you need them (and not just a partner). But don’t just restrict yourself to words, think about what you can do each day to show they are important to you.
4. Connection and Love
Humans are social animals, thriving on social interaction. We each need to feel that sense of love and connectivity in our lives.
Ask yourself, does your partner feel loved? Identify how you show your love—holding hands, helping with household chores, etc. Again, this encompasses much more than simply verbal affirmations.
The human experience is one of motion, stopping means withering away. And on this path, people constantly evolve and change.
In your relationship, are you growing as a couple? How do you support your partner as they change and grow?
6. Contribution and Giving
What we contribute to the world becomes our legacy. You may give your time, undivided attention, or even your undying support to your partner.
Think about it: What do you contribute to your relationship? In what ways would your partner see you contribute?
What It Means to Listen to Your Partner
From these six fundamental human needs, you can begin to determine what your partner’s core values are. Effectively, what is truly important to your partner?
Once identified, you can begin to connect with your partner on that level. But, how do you figure out their core values in the first place? You listen.
Listening is probably more involved than you may realise. It’s more than simply waiting for your turn to talk, for example. Rather, listening involves a great deal of observation as well. To make a conscious effort to understand your partner’s needs, it’s necessary to know them.
Watch your partner. Take note of things to which they respond—physical touch, spending time together, having a conversation, gifts, etc.
Listening to your partner is key to connecting with them. Without listening, it’s nearly impossible to truly know them, let alone connect with them.
Why It’s Vital to Break Certain Patterns
To take your conscious effort a step further, make it a point to spot negative communication patterns in your relationship. For example, take a step back when you’re in a conflict and observe what’s really going on. Are you shouting, criticising, waving your arms about, pointing your finger, or playing the blame game?
These negative habits do nothing to help you connect with each other. Instead, they will quickly push you apart.
In making a conscious effort to fill your partner’s needs, have the wherewithal to stop negative patterns. This literally means stopping right in the middle of a heated battle and saying, “Honey, I love you, and I don’t want to fight like this. I’m sorry. Can we start over, please?”
You may be surprised about the impact of such a bold and loving action.
For more ways to discover your partner’s needs as well as unique ways to fill them, please contact me. I would like to help you feel more connected in your relationship. Together, we can make that happen.
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Trudy Jacobsen | Relationships | Family
Being a part of a family unit can be both rewarding and challenging, all at the same time.
On one hand, your family consists of irreplaceable bonds you’ll keep throughout your lifetime. On the other hand, there are days when the very same people drive you up the wall.
Such is family life. It’s sometimes beautiful and sometimes messy.
To improve your family relationships, it’s important to understand the dynamics of your family interactions. In other words, you need to know what emotions drive each family member to behave the way they do.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help you accomplish this. Here’s how it works.
The Goal of EFT
Most people participate in therapy to produce results. Some may want to handle their emotions more effectively. Others seek to improve their interpersonal relationships.
While each person has a unique goal, patients and counsellors have one aim—encourage positive outcomes.
When it comes to EFT, the goal is to motivate behavioural change by understanding patterns through attachment or bonding.
Some key elements in EFT include:
Examining relationship patterns
Understanding the motive behind those patterns
Developing skills to connect with others more effectively
Practising self-validation and validating others
Continuing to become more emotionally intelligent by honing in on emotions
Essentially, all family members have a need for connection and validation from the family. Furthermore, how we feel and express ourselves plays a big role in arranging and regulating relationships in a family.
In other words, we all impact each other. You impact each of your family members, and they each impact you as well.
How EFT Works to Improve Family Relationships
Knowing what EFT entails may help to wrap your mind around what it aims to do. However, how does this actually play out in a family unit?
To begin with, a counsellor will observe your family’s interactions. The point of this is to access the underlying key emotional drivers, influencing certain behaviours.
As you may have imagined, these behaviours impact family interactions. Thus, affecting the quality of relationships.
When we understand and validate the emotions causing us to act in a particular way, it helps us to make necessary changes to improve our interactions.
What you’ll likely discover is a sort of “aha” moment when you realize why a negative pattern exists in your family. As a result of this moment of revelation—understand each other’s needs more—you’ll be motivated to respond accordingly.
Becoming Accessible and Responsive
As alluded to before, the goal of EFT is to change the family dynamic. This is accomplished by encouraging each family member to be more emotionally accessible and responsive.
The best part? This approach creates a secure attachment for young people to grow, develop and explore the world. Furthermore, improving your family relationships typically trickles down into other areas of life—friendships, co-workers, teammates, etc.
Why EFT Actually Works
Confidence is touted throughout the world in sports advertisements, makeup commercials, and clothing line pitches. Yet, most of us have realized by now that confidence isn’t a result of what you put on your body. Rather, this idea of confidence grows from the inside of a person.
A family unit works to plant the seed of confidence, nurturing it until that individual family member has deep roots and strong limbs. As in nature, however, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. Life happens that way.
EFT actually works because it focuses on present-day issues. It takes the tree—no matter how big, small, gnarled, or twisted—and encourages it to take root again.
In real life, the more secure a young person feels in their relationship with caregivers, the more confident they are to expand and explore their world. You can see how security equates to strong roots and can almost picture swaying branches exploring the horizon.
Consider that securely attached children are more self-confident and independent. They are also more resilient and able to deal with life stressors.
If you’re feeling disjointed in your family life, I would like to help. Improving your family relationships is possible. Please contact me today to learn about how I can support you.