I love January. It’s the time of the year most fraught with possibility and pregnant with the momentum of all our freshly made resolutions. Call me cheesy, but I relish the idea of hitting reset. If you have fallen on your face the rest of the year, now is a socially sanctioned time to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.
I don’t know about you, but I have a host of resolutions that are hot off the press and ready to be put into action. Want to know what they are?
1) Volunteer More: At the end of my pregnancy with Lily Belle, I volunteered at the Raleigh Rescue Mission, a truly amazing organization that not only provides shelter for the homeless in Wake County, but also offers a program to help them get back in the work force. In addition, I provided free counseling for service people through the Give an Hour Program. Now that I am returning from maternity leave, I hope to get back in action with both these amazing groups. If you would like to find volunteer opportunities that match your interests, check out www.volunteermatch.org for a listing of local activities for every taste from animal welfare to assisting the elderly. Need more motivation to get out there? Numerous studies have linked volunteerism with lower mortality, lower rates of depression and increased happiness and satisfaction. In fact, altruism has a positive impact on immune function. See? Science says kindness does a body good.
2) Meditate More: I truly believe that learning Transcendental Meditation saved my emotional life. There is no better remedy for anxiety, stress or trauma than to learn to access your own wisdom while managing the attendant body processes that make those things so challenging to our happiness. Every single client that walks through my door suffering from overwhelm and stress gets some instruction in meditation. As a person who has suffered from panic attacks, I know how scary and humiliating it is when anxiety strikes. But, you can carry meditation with you–an internal Rx and emergency room available to you at any time. I have meditated in bathroom stalls, in my car and any number of places when I began to feel icky. But, what makes that work for me is the dedicated practice I put in daily. That consistency gives me great emotional muscle memory for that calm place, and also helps me regulate body sensations I don’t like. There are myriad ways to approach meditation. Find one you like and make it a part of your routine. It’s good mental health hygiene.
3) Practice Gratitude More: I have been kind of grouchy lately. Lily Belle is still up and nursing every 3 hours and I have been coping with a relapse of my Grave’s Disease. This means that I have needed to limit lots of things in my life, including my work schedule and my exercise schedule–two things that I love and in which I find joy. However, I notice that I don’t feel that well when I choose to focus on the things that are diminished in my life rather than the many amazing things that are delightful. That’s not just feel-feel good positivity either. Studies show that people who make an effort to focus on the things they are grateful for experience a host of improvements in both physical and mental functioning. Want a concrete way to count your blessings? Head over to http://thnx4.org/ and anonymously participate in a study that the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center is conducting about gratitude and social and emotional well-being. You get a free online gratitude journal and society gets an addition to the science of happiness.
As my first act of volunteerism, I’ll give a free, one-hour session to the first new client who can tell me the composer of one of my favorite pieces of music, the Lietenant Kije Suite. And……go!
Do you need some help formulating the exciting things you’ll be working on this year? Why don’t you come on over so that we can talk about it?
Your Partner in Healing,
Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:
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