swimming to the surface

10 Mar

listening to: the album, “bon iver” by bon iver

i love, but also hate, giving advice. i love it because i very firmly believe that i can help others with my past experiences. but i also hate giving advice, because there are no two same situations. i used to consider it a strong point of mine, when people to help, to offer my personal experiences as some sort of guidance to help lead them forward. 

then i took counseling back in school as part of my psychology core course. one of the first exercises was to counsel one of the other people in the class on either a real or created problem/conflict – while we were being filmed to watch our techniques later. my first dyad was a total bust. when the person disclosed their problem, i immediately related it to my life. i soon learned this is a very big “no-no” in the counseling world. if someone is coming to you with their problems, they didn’t come to hear about yours and how much of a success story you are, they come to you to be listened to and guided. 

with all of this in mind, though, i wanted to address something. almost exactly a year ago i was struggling to keep my head above water emotionally. the details of the situation and the heartbreak aren’t what i am writing about, but about how i made it. and a method i think others can use as well to swim back up to the surface, and love life once again. 

and that is through keeping a gratitude journal. words do not describe the hopelessness and downright worthlessness i was feeling. but through my research for my thesis, i came across the facet of positive psychology of gratitude. the whole idea is that if you, at the end of the day, write down three things that happened during the day that you were grateful for, or that made you smile – you are able to slow your heart rate, relax, and allow the sunshine to flow back into your life. (and also be able to fall asleep, focusing on sunshiny thoughts allow sleep and relaxation a lot better than crying yourself to sleep) to make the task easier and more routine for me, i downloaded a gratitude journal app on my iphone and set a reminder on my phone as well. because eventually  this will become a habit. and instead of focusing on all of the super depressing things in your life, you can better appreciate and look for beautiful, happy things.

instead of only recording three things i could call to mind at the end of the day, i would pull my phone out and record things once they happened. so i could reflect at the end of the day. i was reading my journal from this time of my life and very often the thing that brought me the most joy were my friends and their support of me. and love. 

moral of the story: if you are upset and feel lost. try to focus on the tiny good things in life. examples from me include: “the sunrise over the plain” “free wraps in the psychology lounge” “the smell of the rain” literally anything that will take your mind away from the terrible awful you’re trying to overcome. secondly, don’t push away those who care about you. even if people don’t know what to say, or what to do, no one wants to see someone they care about suffering. 

hang in there

xoxo,
annie

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